The battle was won shortly after. No crewmate decided to join the infamous pirate. Finally Grantaire could witness firsthand what the pirates did to the other ship. They took everything valuable, water, food. There was just enough left to reach the shore. They destroyed the chains, the cells, enough of the ship so that it would take months to repair it, but not enough to sink it.
The former enslaved people were offered a trip to the mainland. They would set sail to Nassau. There was enough opportunity for them to make a living, as a free man or woman.
It was a strange sense of victory, walking on the deck, seeing all those people. Knowing they were spared a much worse fate, but nevertheless knowing they were suffering still. Still anxious, still underfed even when Joly tried to make them as much food as possible.
People were stitching up wounds, helping their more injured crewmates. Bossuet had gotten a pretty severe stabwound and even though he was cracking jokes while Musichetta was trying to stitch him up, Grantaire just knew he was in a lot of pain. Joly came checking over and over how his partner was holding up. Bossuet just claimed that now he finally had gotten some scar to brag about in the pub. There was no way Bossuet would let either Joly or Musichetta worry about him.
Another injured person was Montparnasse. He had gotten a deep cut in the leg and claimed to not be able to stand on his own. He really needed Jehan’s help to walk. And Jehan, sweet, innocent, a little naive Jehan actually helped him and let Montparnasse use them as support. Somehow they hadn’t noticed that Montparnasse was pretty able to move himself when Jehan wasn’t around.
It wasn’t the sweet victory Grantaire had hoped on - had expected perhaps. They had barely won the fight and it was a fucking miracle none or them had died.
Maybe the fact Enjolras wasn’t there to support his people helped temper the revelry. It was Combeferre who walked around, spoke to everybody, made sure everybody was okay and not in need of anything. It was Combeferre who spoke to the crew while Courfeyrac spoke to their new guests. Not Enjolras himself, even when he was the leader after all. Were Les Amis a little 'less amies' than they had claimed? Or maybe Combeferre felt more human, more real for everyone. A bit more an equal, a friend.
Éponine had been angry with Grantaire for risking his life, but he had quickly left her to look after some other people. He knew it had been foolish, entering that deck. He knew it was a lot of luck he had even survived. He knew he should have stayed with her.
He knew he would make the same decision again without doubt.
Because that feeling of standing there, back to back with Enjolras. Of his plan being the thing that saved everyone. Of being the hero, even if nobody knew, of finally being useful. (Of showing Enjolras he could be useful).
It was almost a drug.
Grantaire had never been one for heroic actions, for self sacrifice for the greater good. He didn’t particularly care about preserving himself, but some sense of self-preservation was still embedded inside him. He was definitely not the one to risk everything for another. But for Enjolras, for the well-being of the captain and his crew, he had risked everything.
Nobody knew of course. They were too busy cleaning up the mess, helping each other. Nobody talked about the fire that saved everyone, or almost no-one. Grantaire had heard Feuilly whisper about the smart thinking of the captain to start that fire. He had thought about telling the real story, but he hadn’t. It felt wrong to brag about it. (It didn’t matter because Enjolras knew the truth).
Grantaire found the captain hidden away in the captain’s cabin. He hadn’t been looking for him (no, really, he had just noticed Combeferre taking care of the crew), but had found him nevertheless.
The captain didn’t look up from the map he was staring at. He was almost a statue, one of those Roman statues made of marble. Even the candle light knew how to accentuate his face the right way.
“Don’t tell me you’re planning on making another stop before reaching Nassau,” Grantaire said. Somehow it seemed very probable for the captain to attack another ship first, even with their guests.
The captain didn’t bite back with the same fierceness Grantaire had gotten used to. “I don’t think we’re up to that.” He almost sounded defeated, nothing like the arrogant man Grantaire had seen those first days after his imprisonment. Could he even still call it that after everything? He was no prisoner anymore, but they never freed him. He just wasn’t, just as he just had been in the beginning. Grantaire had no idea where he had changed from prisoner to guest.
“Well, shouldn’t you at least be outside looking after your people? I thought it was your thing, showing you care about them?” Maybe it sounded judgemental. Maybe it didn’t. Grantaire honestly didn’t know if he judged Enjolras for it. He knew the people outside needed their captain, knew the man who was slowly looking smaller and smaller was nothing like he had been.
“I don’t think they need me right now.”
Grantaire raised an eyebrow. “Oh that’s bullshit, and we both know it.”
“I misinterpreted the information. I almost got them killed.” The man looked so defeated, like he was ready to collapse. Like he wanted to give up everything and everything bad in the world had been his mistake. There was no fire, no fighting spirit.
“Well, but they didn’t die. You’re captain Enjolras. The captain Enjolras. The fear of the seven seas, the one they tell stories about. You’re captain of the Mussain, captain of Les Amis. You can do pretty much anything if you set your mind on it. So get up, get yourself together and go outside.” How has he ended up giving some sort of motivational speech to the captain? The captain had been so unreachable for him, had looked so divine since Grantaire had met him. There was no way the captain was falling apart too. What religion followed a fallen god?
“Just leave, Grantaire.”
Grantaire scoffed. “You can’t hide forever, Apollo.” Really, he was so infuriating. Always claiming to be the better man, to be the one his men could look up to. But now he hid behind closed doors? It was just so unbelievable.
It took maybe an hour, an hour of gambling games to kill the time and to pretend everyone was okay, for the captain to reappear on deck again. He looked strong as ever, head held high, in every way the captain everyone believed him to be. It was almost like Grantaire had dreamed his earlier meeting.
“Right, and now he comes to take the honor,” Grantaire muttered to himself. Like Combeferre and Courfeyrac hadn’t done his job for him. All hail to the captain.
And when Enjolras passed Grantaire without even looking, went talking to Combeferre like always, Grantaire suddenly felt so invisible. He had saved his entire crew, and the captain didn’t even look at him, goddammit!
When Enjolras formally welcomed the rescued people and congratulated the crew on their victory, Grantaire just couldn’t take it. He stood up and started walking away. He didn’t care if people looked at him, didn’t care if Enjolras saw him. Maybe he wanted Enjolras to see how little he and his speech mattered to Grantaire. Two could play this game, right? He didn’t care about the captain, about his whereabouts, about the way the captain acted like the conversation the night before never happened.
“Grantaire, don’t go,” he suddenly heard the captain say.
Grantaire turned around abruptly. “Why would it matter,” he snapped. Was it such a punch in the captain’s fragile ego, knowing people could actually walk away from him?
“Because how can we honor the one whose clever plan got us to victory?” Right, now he suddenly remembered how they had won this stupid fight?
“Well, I don’t care,” he said. What benefit would it be for him? He wasn’t like Enjolras. He didn’t need the adoration of the others to keep on breathing. He was perfectly fine on his own. He walked away, leaving Enjolras and his crew alone.
“Are you okay?” Oh dear, the captain himself had come up to Grantaire to ask him if he was okay? Where had Grantaire gotten the honor of that?
“Why do you care? There’s no one here to see your act of empathy.” The captain couldn’t just decide when and if Grantaire got attention. Grantaire would not let him, okay? He was not turning into one of the captain’s toys, to play with as it pleased him. To be thrown away when he was done playing.
(To be left waiting, begging for any sort of attention.)
“Since when can I not even show some decency?”
“Oh, cut the crap, Apollo. Don’t act like you care. Don’t you fucking dare to act like it matters to you.” He was tired of the mind games, of the way Enjolras could manipulate him with a simple gesture.
“You’re just so infuriating!” Enjolras snapped. “Everything I say seems to be the wrong thing! No matter what I say to you, you turn it into something else. You make it impossible to just talk to you!”
"Well what about you?” There was no way to talk to Enjolras. If Grantaire was infuriating, what was Enjolras then? What was the right word for ‘even more infuriating?’ “Every time you smile that stupid smile I just want to wipe it off your face! And then those stupid words! Don’t make it sound like you mean them, when you obviously don’t! All I want to do is make you stop saying those stupid words."
"Well do that then!"
Grantaire kissed him.
WHOOPWHOOOOOP the ship is sailing heheheheh (pun very much intended)3 maanden geleden
Eeeeekkkkk they kissed3 maanden geleden