For another week the ship stayed in Nassau. It gave the injured time to heal. Grantaire barely saw Joly, as he and Musichetta had turns keeping Bossuet company. Every day the man got his strength a bit more back. It was enough to make him intolerable, if Grantaire could believe the few things Joly told him. Trying to keep that man rested was like trying to tell a puppy to keep their focus on one thing. But Joly smiled endearingly as he told it, just as he smiled when talking about Musichetta. He just cared so much about his partners, it almost made Grantaire jealous. He had Éponine, he had the crew, hell he even had Montparnasse and that was a sentence he had never expected to say. He had his friends, he wasn’t alone, and he was pretty capable of being alone or making new friends. But the uther adoration in Joly’s voice, it was something anybody would want.

Grantaire spent most of his time helping repair the ship. He knew Enjolras was busy selling their stock, purchasing their new stock. He didn’t see the captain (or maybe he was gone before the captain returned). The rest of his time he spent trying to find himself a job. Courfeyrac had offered to help, but he had turned down the offer. He knew the pirates had a lot of connections, but he needed something that wasn’t connected to the ship (to Enjolras). Courfeyrac had understood him.

Almost every crewmember had told him they would miss him, that he was welcome on the ship. It was endearing somehow, but it had gotten to a point where Grantaire had felt he needed to defend himself for his choices. With Courfeyrac it had been different. He had seemed to understand Grantaire without Grantaire actually saying it. When the crew set sail again and said goodbye to Grantaire, he had just said “I’m glad you finally get to make your own choices.” He was welcome, if he chose to return, but Courfeyrac understood Grantaire had to make another choice right now.

It was a weird sense of empty seeing the ship leave the harbor, knowing it was just him now. A foreigner in an unknown city. He had found a job at the docks with the shipbuilder, Monsieur Thénardier. It was a tough job, he knew. It would mean making long days with work that was physically challenging. Helping repair ships, helping load the different ships, seeing how every ship would leave the dock for their own adventures.

Always staying on land himself.

The days and weeks passed. Every day almost felt the same, and even when Grantaire slowly got to know Nassau, got to know the people living there, he couldn’t feel at home. The little house, more like a little barn, he rented didn’t feel like home. He was still a stranger here, too foreign for here. Too foreign from home. No place really fitted him.

He had a lot of time to think about what he really wanted. He had always known he wanted to sail the seas. There had been no doubt of that. The sea had called him, and he had answered. The sea had felt like home.

But the people he had given his life to had betrayed him. He had thought he had boarded a trading ship. It was always a risk to sail with a trading ship, as pirates loved a well-loaded ship. But perhaps that had been the thrill.

And for a time it had been a trading ship, just sailing around with luxury products. Perhaps slaves were just another luxury product for the rich, or according to Claquesous’ opinion. Because Grantaire would have never boarded if he had known about their latest cargo. He had been able to endure the hard work, the ongoing verbal abuse of the captain, the never knowing who would be punished if the captain was drunk again. He had been able to survive that, because it had meant he was sailing the sea.

But knowing everything he knew now it just felt like a kick in the stomach. Thinking of returning to the sea made him feel nauseous. He loved the sea, but who could promise him history wouldn’t repeat itself.

He was nothing special. It was something he had always known. He was just a commoner, but apparently he wasn’t ever worth the truth. Claquesous hadn’t told him the truth, had told them lies about their destination. Even Enjolras hadn’t deemed him worthy for the truth, not for a long time at least.

And there it was, wasn’t it? No matter what happened, his thoughts kept returning to the golden haired man, even when he hadn’t seen him in weeks. The way Enjolras had lied to him, had kept him captive even when claiming Grantaire was no prisoner. How he had kept Éponine away from him, had left Grantaire thinking he had lost his best friend. Perhaps Enjolras wasn’t the bad guy Grantaire had learned him to be, but he had done a lot of things Grantaire couldn’t forget. Didn’t want to forget.

Because it wasn’t just that what he thought about every day while towing planks. It would be easier if it was just that, because then he could have quit his job and tried to make his fortune somewhere else. He was in a pirate city at the moment. There was a whole world for him to discover. A whole world where he could find his destiny.

But every time he was making plans to leave this town, he heard about a new ship arriving. And every time he heard it wasn’t the Mussain, he felt a little bit disappointed. Every time he hit the pub, he heard the gossip and he was there listening for a sign. Anything about the whereabouts of the Mussain. And every time it was quiet about the ship. Perhaps they had gotten lost in a storm, or had found their fortune somewhere else. Perhaps they had ended up on the bottom of the ocean.

He wanted to deny it all, like he was not so infested in the Mussain. It was just because Éponine was on the ship, he told himself. Joly, Courfeyrac, Marius. All those people he had called friends were there. Of course he cared about the fate of the ship.

But no matter how many times he told himself that, even weeks and weeks after saying goodbye, he just couldn’t deny he saw Enjolras’ face in his sleep. It wasn’t the lies, the ways the man had hurt him. It was the way their lips had fitted so perfectly. The way even their bickering had felt familiar.

He just couldn’t leave Nassau. He had promised himself not to worship the man, not to devote his life to the god, but here he was stuck in Nassau, waiting for a man to return, while knowing the man wouldn’t think about him, would barely look at him.

He was so screwed.

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