Sorry, I didn’t have a lot of time so I didn’t edit it, but I hope it’s okay:) I didn’t know if you wanted it to be a bromance or romance so I sort of made it both???
Grantaire sat in his corner of the preschool. He was surrounded with brightly colored papers on the wall, healthy snacks cut into bite sized squares, loud and untamed toddlers, and a young teacher with a permanent smile on her lips. None of this interested him; he didn’t want to be here. His mother told him it would be fun, that he’d make friends, but five-year-olds with sticky fingers and no sense of personal space was not his idea of “fun.”
So, he’d created his own corner, which he’d called “Grantaire’s corner”(a very clever name, to his young mind). On a white piece of construction paper, he’d scribbled down R’s corner in barely legible green sharpie because he couldn’t spell “Grantaire” yet. On the second day of preschool, he taped this up onto the wall, and dragged over a chair, which he pushed directly below the handmade sign. The teacher told him he couldn’t just sit in the chair all day, and, as a response, Grantaire had chosen to take this as a challenge rather than an order.
To pass the time, he took to the act of people watching. His current interest was a boy Grantaire convinced himself he hated named Enjolras. The other boys in the preschool seemed to follow him. Maybe they weren’t even conscious of it, but they did. If Enjolras took an extra apple slice at snack time, but let the girl sitting next to him have his cookie, they did the same thing. If Enjolras decided to read a book(although “reading” meant he was looking at the pictures), they would slowly migrate from the toy section to the mini library. Maybe that’s why non of the other boys asked Grantaire to play with them; Enjolras never did. He didn’t even acknowledge Grantaire’s presence…until the week before the last day of preschool.
“Can I use that?”
Grantaire looked up to see Enjolras standing in front of him, his finger pointing towards the red marker on the floor beside Grantaire. Seeing this, Grantaire promptly snatched up the marker, uncapped it, and raised his eyebrows at the blue eyed boy in front of him. “But I’m using it.”
“No, you’re not,” Enjolras replied, frustrated. “It was just sitting there!”
“Well, now I’m using it,” Grantaire replied stubbornly.
Angrily, Enjolras proceeded to grab the marker from Grantaire’s hand and stomp away, his head held high. Surprised, yet still thoroughly annoyed, Grantaire jumped after him. “Hey!”
His fingers successfully grabbed the back of Enjolras’ shirt, making the blond spin around to face him. Shortly after this, a teacher intervention caused both boys to sit in chairs next to each other with the teacher in front of them. “Tell me what happened.”
“He stole my marker!” Grantaire yelled.
“He wasn’t using it!” Enjolras protested.
“Yes I was!”
“No you weren’t!”
While Enjolras’ distaste for the younger boy only grew, Grantaire’s hatred morphed into fascination. It wasn’t often that another boy at the preschool would challenge him like that. After the first month of Grantaire sitting in his corner, lots of the kids had asked to borrow a pencil or a toy he was hoarding. Following the request was a repeat of Grantaire stubbornly insisting that he was using whatever item it was. After that, the kid usually went away and left him alone for the rest of the year.
Enjolras, however, had decided that no, Grantaire was not using the marker, and took it from him. While Grantaire’s first instinct was to be annoyed, he was actually deeply impressed. He then took it upon himself to become Enjolras’ friend. This was easier said than done, because at the same time, Enjolras had decided he wanted nothing more to do with the other boy.
Summer went by, and the only change in Grantaire’s life was his parents’ bickering had grown more consistent. That didn’t worry him, however, he got mad at his mom sometimes, but he knew she loved him.
On the first day of kindergarten, Grantaire was overjoyed that Enjolras was in his class, while Enjolras had the opposite reaction. While the teacher talked to them in a sickeningly sweet voice, both boys were bouncing in their seats so they could get away. Grantaire wanted to escape the teacher, while Enjolras wanted to escape Grantaire.
When they were given free time, Grantaire took this opportunity to sit next to Enjolras where he was messing around with a bucket of Lego blocks. After rubbing his fingers on the carpet a bit, Grantaire plucked up the courage to grab a few red and black bricks of his own, and whispered, “Hi.”
“Why are you sitting here?” Enjolras asked, clearly remembering their brief interaction in preschool a year before.
“So we can be friends,” Grantaire replied.
“I don’t want to be your friend.” Enjolras’ voice was short and laced with malice as he watching Grantaire’s reaction for a moment.
“That’s okay,” Grantaire said softly, arranging an army of yellow men. “It doesn’t mean you won’t be.”
The two built in silence for a good five minutes, Enjolras constructing a large tower, and Grantaire lining up an array of soldiers fighting against each other on the carpet. Finally, the blond boy set his gaze on the Lego people and shook his head, the blond curls on his head bouncing slightly. “That won’t work.”
“That won’t work,” he repeated, pointing to the other boy’s work. “The other soldiers can easily attack on the left side.” Grantaire watched for a moment, confusion evident on his face. Enjolras sighed. “Look, here.” He proceeded to move Grantaire’s Lego people to the tower he had built and showed him that the left flank had a clear opening.
The two spent the rest of the day building off of the simple building Enjolras had constructed, rearranging their soldiers ten different times while they tried to figure out the most solid form of defense. As the school day drew to a close, Enjolras stood up and pushed the Legos into the corner of the room. “We’ll finish this tomorrow.”
Grantaire nodded excitedly, a small smile forming on his face, but his happy expression dropped slightly as Enjolras added, “This doesn’t mean we’re friends.”
Throughout the next couple years, both of them continued to spend time together during school. Enjolras often ditched his own circle of friends to join Grantaire who was sitting alone. During PE, if Grantaire didn’t have a soccer partner, Enjolras volunteered. At the end of every day, however, Enjolras continued to assure Grantaire that they were certainly not friends.
Enjolras proceeded to rise the social ladder until he was the most popular boy in the grade. He had mountains of friends, while Grantaire never made an effort to reach out to anyone(except Enjolras), and was promptly ignored by the rest of the school.
When they were eight was the first time they interacted outside of school. Before then, there had been multiple occasions where Grantaire had seen Enjolras trailing his mother in the supermarket or on the street, but if Grantaire tried to say hello, Enjolras simply ignored him and walked right past him.
They had been assigned to work together on a presentation about the water cycle. After partners had been announced, Grantaire instantly jumped over to Enjolras’ desk, but Enjolras had just said, “You can come over tomorrow after school” in an obviously dismissive tone. Disappointed, Grantaire sat down at his desk again as the chair next to Enjolras at his table was occupied by his best friend, a boy named Combeferre.
The project was executed and delivered perfectly, but no further advancements were made to the boys’ relationship. Grantaire didn’t know what to call it, because Enjolras still made it very clear that they were not friends.
The next month, Enjolras sat beside Grantaire at his lunch table, and quietly unpacked his own meal. One of Enjolras’ friends called out, “Hey, Enj, why are you sitting with Grantaire?” He said the name like it was a disease.
Defiantly, Enjolras said, “Because I want to.”
Grantaire smiled to himself, and this time, when Enjolras said, “We’re still not friends,” he didn’t lose his happy expression.
In fifth grade, Grantaire’s parents’ fighting was still going on. Grantaire’s mother finally just said, “I want you to spend the night at a friend’s house tonight.”
“I don’t have any friends,” he replied.
“What about that boy, Enjolras?” she asked. Grantaire shrugged. “I’ll call his mom right now,” she decided. “She’s my friend, I’m sure she’ll let you stay the night.”
And Grantaire’s mother was right. Enjolras greeted Grantaire at the door to his house, and lead him upstairs to his room where he directed the dark haired boy to set his stuff on the bottom bunk bed. Enjolras climbed up to his own bed and pulled out a book, leaving Grantaire to look around his room until Enjolras’ mother called them down for dinner. Unlike Grantaire, Enjolras belonged to a very wealthy family. His level of discomfort was at an all time high as he watched Grantaire notice how many more toys and clothes and books Enjolras had than him, and made sure to slip a couple novels into Grantaire’s bag with a note saying This doesn’t make us friends before he left.
One random day, Enjolras showed up at Grantaire’s house and asked him if he wanted to see a movie. Grantaire agreed. This happened multiple times, and after a couple months, Grantaire felt confident enough to be the one to initiate the outings as well. It ranged from getting Starbucks to teaching Grantaire to ride a bike, but after every single one, Enjolras always told Grantaire that they weren’t friends.
On the second week of middle school, they exchanged numbers because they were assigned to do a project together again. When Grantaire was made fun of for his new hairstyle, Enjolras pushed the bullies away and said, “Don’t listen to them. The only opinion that matters is yours.”
“He’s a good friend,” a boy named Jehan told him.
“He’s not my friend,” Grantaire said, watching Enjolras walk away.
The next month, the fighting at Grantaire’s house got so bad that he couldn’t concentrate on his homework. In a desperate move, he called Enjolras and asked to come over and do his homework. Without questioning anything, the blond agreed, and Grantaire immediately pedaled over on his bicycle.
At the end of eighth grade, Grantaire’s mother asked the court for full custody of her son. After Grantaire refused to to tell the court he would rather live with his father, Grantaire’s dad beat him up, and forced him to lie about what happened. After the court decided to let Grantaire’s dad have him every other weekend, Grantaire became his father’s personal punching bag.
He turned to drinking to escape, at least for a little while, and so, he entered high school already immersed in a world of alcohol and drugs. Despite his persistent knowledge and thirst for information, he found himself skipping class and forgetting his homework. The only classes he consistently showed up for were the ones he shared with Enjolras, yet he never actually listened to the teacher, he merely spent the hour scribbling random thoughts in a journal. What his teachers couldn’t understand was the fact that he got 100% on every test, yet he was failing nearly every single subject because he never turned in any work.
Enjolras quickly became one of the most popular students at the school, even among the upperclassmen. He was a favorite among his teachers, and even volunteered to tutor Grantaire. When he was questioned about it by his newfound student, Enjolras just told him that he was asked to do it and he couldn’t say no, making it clear that he was not doing it as a friend; they were not friends.
They still hung out after school, but the occasions happened less and less frequently as Enjolras was getting busier and busier, his schedule filled up with football games and his friends.
Enjolras was getting impatient with his student, and asked, “Don’t you want to pass your classes?”
“Don’t you want to get into a good college?”
“It would be okay if I didn’t.”
“What do you want?”
“I want a drink. I desire to forget life. Life is a hideous invention of someone I don’t know. It doesn’t last and it’s good for nothing. You break your neck simply living,” he declared.
Enjolras was surprised at how intelligent Grantaire was. Despite his lack of effort in the academic mindset, his brain was a complex storage room for all of Grantaire’s continuous thoughts and observations.
One night, Enjolras showed up at Grantaire’s doorstep asking to drink with him. Although he was confused, Grantaire agreed. The two snuck out onto the roof and drank through the night, stargazing. When they were too drunk to even remember their own names, Enjolras accidentally tripped and landed on top of the boy beside him. Their faces were inches away, and after a few awkward seconds, Enjolras just muttered that he had to go.
The next morning, despite a raging hangover, there was a smile on his face as Grantaire read a simple text from Enjolras. Good morning.
The short texts continued, greeting Grantaire when he woke up and bidding him goodnight when he went to sleep. Through the year, they evolved into full scale conversations ranging from what happens after death to why cats can’t speak like people.
At the beginning of senior year, Enjolras greeted Grantaire in the hallway. A simple thing, really, but for someone who had spent the last fourteen years of his life insisting that they weren’t friends, it was a major advancement in…whatever they had. Grantaire begin slipping little papers into Enjolras’ locker, not love letters, but notes with a random thought of the day. Sometimes they were a short poem, sometimes a compliment to Enjolras, and sometimes a fact about something random.
Enjolras found one of Grantaire’s notebooks in his locker one day, left over from a tutoring session when he’d accidentally taken one home with him. He flipped through it, and noticed that the handwriting was similar to the ones on the papers he’d been receiving. After comparing them side by side, he realized they weren’t just similar, they were exact copies. From the way the dots on the i’s looked more like slashes to the way the g’s never dipped below the line, it was obviously the same person.
Enjolras slipped the notebook into his backpack and grabbed his penny board from his locker, rolling out of the halls and over to Grantaire’s house. He weaved between cars and bikers, waving apologies to pedestrians. Knocking on the door, he shifted back and forth on his feet impatiently.
Grantaire pulled the door open, and said, a bit confused, “Hi Enj—”
Without thinking, Enjolras pulled him in for a hug. Grantaire smelled like cigarette smoke and vanilla, while Enjolras gave out the simple scent of mint. It was an obvious reflection on how different both of them were. In personality and aspirations for the future, in all ways, they were polar opposites. But you know what they say; opposites attract.
“Thank you,” Enjolras breathed into Grantaire’s ear.
Grantaire pulled back slightly. “Thank you for what?”
“For being the best friend I’ve ever had, even when I didn’t know we were.”
Grantaire swallowed thickly. “Best friends?”
“C’mon, R, you know it, I know it,” Enjolras admitted. “All those times I told you we weren’t friends…I wasn’t trying to convince you, I was trying to convince myself.”
“Well, thank you.”
“For what?” This time, it was Enjolras’ turn to be confused.
“For not letting yourself succeed.”