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The Les Mis Anon Kink Meme
george sand
10littlebullets wrote in makinghugospin
BECAUSE YES WE TOTALLY NEED ONE.

(Loosely based on similar memes in Good Omens and other fandoms.)

Here's how it works:

Leave an anonymous comment with a kink request. Reply anonymously with fic or art fulfilling other people's kink requests. It is as simple as that.

Fiddly details:
- Feel free to make more than one request! And of course, multiple responses to the same request are allowed and encouraged.
- No stomping on other people's kinks. If you think it's gross or un-hot, you don't have to write fic for it.
- Anonymous posting is encouraged, but if you want to claim ownership of your fic, go right ahead! Don't try to guess who other people are, though, it takes some of the fun and freedom out of an anon kinkmeme.
- The definition of "kink" here is very loose, from all the fetishistic goodness your wicked hearts can imagine, to the downright silly (Javert/snuffbox!), on through the not-even-X-rated ("Enjolras kicking ass gets me hot, can somebody write it?")
- There is no time limit on the kinkmeme. There is no size limit either: you can respond with a drabble or a pornographic epic or anything in between.

HAVE FUN.

Updated rules/policies now that the meme has officially turned Feckin' Huge:

- No '+1'/'seconded'/'need this like air' comments on prompts. While these do serve a purpose, they also make the meme cluttered and difficult to mod when things get busy. You're still welcome to discuss prompts, and of course any feedback whatsoever is more than welcome on fills, including the '+1' variety.
- No RPS. This is mostly for logistical reasons: the distance between fans and actors has traditionally been very small in the stage fandom, there's a lot of actor crossover between the film and the stage, and not everyone involved in the show is enough of a celebrity that they can be said to have a public persona (or that they've taken their name off Google Alerts). There is just no good place to draw that line.
- The kink meme is a place of sparkles and joy and rainbows and unicorn farts, and as such it is not the place to pick fights over... well, anything, really, but other people's tastes and/or interpretation of canon especially. There are plenty of places to tell people they're Wrong On The Internet. If you mistake the kink meme for one of them, it is not Mod's fault if you get an ice-cream headache from having your thread frozen too quickly.
- Mod reserves the right to apply reasonable standards of decent conduct, even ones not explicitly laid out in the rules. Mod reserves the right to IP-ban repeat offenders, especially ones posting in bad faith. (This is the only thing Mod will ever use your IP address for.) If you have questions or issues, or would like to draw Mod's attention to a thread that's going pear-shaped, please PM 10littlebullets or email enjolraic@gmail.com.

MAYDAY MAYDAY COMMENT LIMIT REACHED. Get your cute anon butts over to Round 2 unless you're replying to a prompt that's already on this post.

Round One | in ?format=light (LJ site-scheme style) | in ?view=flat (chronological, non-threaded)

Grantaire is the personification of Paris. (because after all that city's been through, wouldn't you be a drunk cynic?)

Enjolras finds out.

Cue angst and E being all: "But I love you"
"You hated me before you found out what I was."
"And you hate me?"
"No, you remind me of what I wanted to be."

And body worship sex happens.

Holy shit yes please

OMG THIS! One of my interpretations of Grantaire's character has always been that he represented the people of Paris in a way: not believing in anything, needing something to believe into to rise, it is a lengthy analysis that I won't clog up this post with.

So this prompt really turns me on. I love (love, love) that you have Grantaire snapping back, aware that Enjolras does not love him for him and that hurts and the idealist/cynic balance (one headcanon I have is that R was once an idealist but had his beliefs betray him, a common literary device).

What I am getting at is that I love this and that I can't speak for joy at this prompt and I dunno if I'll write it, I don't think I can do it justice but if someone else does it I will very likely draw on them for inspiration and second fill maybe I don't know I love you

Omg and Grantaire's a cynic because

"They're all willing to martyr themselves. I never asked for that. I never wanted anyone to die for me."

because he's drawn to people like this- Enjolras isn't the first by any means- but he doesn't want to be. He's sick and tired of it all.

In other words, thirded.

They had no name.

Perhaps that was because nothing could be found to accurately describe them. Religion had tried, through worship and condemnation equally. Science had tried too, through labels and diagrams that a frustrated Combeferre had poured over night after night before his exams. Both failed.

It was the people that had come closest. They merely called them ‘the Cities’.

That’s what they were. They were men and women, they had hair, and eyes, and limbs, and mouths and yet…they were more. They were the streets and buildings, the monuments and markets, the palaces and the sewers, the poor and rich, all locked together in a deceptively human form. They were the cities. Any other grand title they shrugged off.

They had no need of titles.

Enjolras was fond of underlining this in his speeches. After all if the very epitome of humanity and its greatest creations didn’t need titles or money, why should we, the people have the same?

This would have been a good point to make if not for one small problem. It was hard to extol the values of a city that you weren’t sure existed.

After all, no one knew who Paris was.

That’s an unfair statement, perhaps. Of course Paris existed. It was right there before one’s eyes. It had streets, and houses and people. It was a fine city, and certainly there. Yes, everyone agreed that Paris the city existed. But no one was sure if Paris the City existed.

Cities were always referred to in history. Painted on the walls of pyramids in Egypt, or carved into Aztec temples. The reason was obvious: barely aging, wise, and immortal, they were the answer to a world that found their gods to be distant and cruel. Emperors kept them at their side, Kings used them as advisors, people came from the country and found that the City understood their plight, no matter how insignificant.

No wonder they were so loved.

No wonder Paris’ failure to appear caused so much strife.

It had long been thought that the King, in his selfishness, had locked her or him away. Prizing safety over the people’s comfort. A little unusual, as the attack on a City was seen as an unforgivable crime, even in times of war, but it was an excuse that the French clung to.

But then the King fled with no one but his family.

The palaces, and later the prisons were emptied with increasing desperation. They stood empty.

Even Napoleon couldn’t find their beloved Paris.

Centuries later historians would argue that this was actually the start of the leader’s decline, despite the many battles he would go on to win. After all, how could armies march for an ideal, the jewel of their nation, when they weren’t sure it existed?

Their enemies were quick to point out this irregularity. After all, Madrid and Berlin rode into battle with their leaders. St. Petersburg laughed and danced in the snow when the French were forced to flee her winter. Even London sat at her King’s side, her cool blue eyes appraising each soldier who swore to protect her. They were powerful, and most of all they were loyal.

And where was Paris, a foreigner would ask, mocking smirk on his face. Many fights would break out, in taverns and even in classrooms. Because their city was not lesser, they themselves were not lesser just because their City hadn’t revealed itself yet. Because they would prove themselves, they would keep fighting and dying for their beloved Paris until a time came when she or he would come and be proud to stand at their side.

Yes, they would be happy to die for Paris.

(no one noticed a man with dark curls throwing up in an alleyway)

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I love this so much that I would be honoured if you can give me the permission to translate this wonderful fiction into Chinese.

All credits still go to you of course.

PLZ

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I’m not really sure where this is going. To be honest, I’m winging it at this point.

Thanks for all your lovely reviews, sorry I can’t answer them individually but I’m trying to lessen the work load for our dear mod.

Paris Burning Part 4/?

Grantaire didn’t know it was him at first. How could he, his dreams a confusing blur expect for that flash of gold. But soon the glint of gold became an all consuming flame that lit up his mind, rending him from his sleep night after night.

All Cities dreamt of gold. It was a sign of something coming, something terrible or wonderful. Gold could mean great wealth or prosperity, God knew he needed that, but it could also be a warning. A sun, to warm him or burn him if he flew too high. Or worse: a flash of fire, destruction.

He tried to drink himself into dreamlessness but the visions couldn’t be silenced. Every night it burned brighter, until one midsummer the brilliant light condensed into a figure. Golden and tall and beautiful, and Grantaire was struck to the bone. The man before him was better than any coins his King could provide, he was the sun, an Apollo. But in all his dreams, the figure had his back to him. Grantaire tried to get him to notice him, turn and look at him, but the Apollo walked on, and Grantaire was left chasing him through the endless catacombs of his mind.

It went on like that for months. Chasing dreams that made him wake exhausted, coupled with frustrated imaginings that left him hard and chafing at his threadbare trousers. The City’s suffering was echoed around him in the high stink of summer. Flies buzzed in great clouds as the houses sweltered, the city of Paris sweating as it sank deeper into poverty, its personification refusing to leave his bed out of want for sleep’s embrace.

It was one cloudy night, when the cries from the slums were low, when Grantaire chased Apollo out of his dreams and into the waking world. He fell off his bed, bottle smashing at his side, and felt the need tug at him, low in his belly. The chase was still on. He stood, feeling the tug pull, and he could only follow, like a fish caught helpless on a line.

He dodged through the shadows of the night, chasing the feeling like a moonstruck fool, until he came to a tiny café. It would have been like any other, except for the light that poured out of the windows, and the sound of loud, cheerful voices. Tucking in his shirt and feeling strangely anxious, Grantaire walked up the steps to the bar.

And there, amidst the chattering students, was his Apollo.

Enjolras.

Grantaire ordered a whole bottle and slunk to the back. For the next week, he listened to their speeches and fine ideas for France…and despaired.

They were revolutionaries. Of all the foul ideas. He seen it before, wrapping around the minds of the young and marching them straight into their deaths. He had no interest in watching as these students built their own funeral pyre.

He said as much too. That was a mistake, as suddenly every eye was turned to him, and his Apollo scowled. That night he swore he’d never return.

And came back the next day, hooked on the larkspur blue of their leader’s eyes. It was worse than any bottle he’d had. He was surprised to find they recognised him, and instead of throwing him out engaged him in conversation. He learnt their names as if he hadn’t known them since they were born. Combeferre, Courfeyrac, Joly, Feuilly…good men, honest men, dead men.

Weeks turned into months, and he found he had friends again. But the dreams didn’t stop, if anything they grew worse, despite being able to picture him in human clothes with a human name Apollo, no, Enjolras, burnt brighter than ever before. And now…now he turned to look at Paris and his eyes hurt. They looked at him and expected, demanded things that Grantaire could never provide.

He woke weeping.

Lisbon was the oldest City in all of Western Europe. Desperate, he dashed off a letter to her, needing to know what his dream could possibly mean. But asking advice from someone you’d had a war with wasn’t always wise.

(“You are half catacombs, dear Paris. It makes sense that you should feel empty, because that’s what you are. Graveyards are often haunted by life they lack.”)

Enjolras and he fought for the first time that night. Face to face, raging in the middle of the café over rights and privileges and what the people wanted. It was exhilarating; it was terrifying. Enjolras was never more in command of his words than when he was spitting them out at this drunkard.

A tiny part of Grantaire was almost pleased with that. Another, baser part of him only noticed that this was when Enjolras was most beautiful, his statue flushed red, illuminated with an inner light. Ashamed, he swore to himself that he would leave the second his Apollo told him to, a single word would sent him on his way, never to return.

But Enjolras never did.

Grantaire returned home to find a letter from London. Lisbon must have told her about his letter, they always were close. He eyed it carefully as one would a viper. London had a way with words that he’d often been on the receiving end of. He hoped this one wouldn’t spit poison at him.

(“I dreamt of a figure too, once. A flame-haired figure drenched in white. She was my fairie Queen, my Gloriana, my Elizabeth.”) The letter dropped out of numbed fingers. (“Sweet Paris, do not fear what you will love.”)

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AN: Wow what a response! Thanks so much everyone (laughing at the epic love for London/Elizabeth. I for one now ship Napoleon/Grantaire because why not.)

I should be finishing my own book and doing university stuff but instead I wrote more personification of Paris/dead revolutionary angst because PRIORITIES.

Paris Burning. Part 5/11ish

Fire always revealed them.

Buildings fell and rivers flooded, but it was the only the burns that remained on their skin. It was every City’s fear, ever since old Rome fell dead at Nero’s feet as he fiddled, music covering her screams.

Fire was the only thing that could kill them.

Was it any wonder that Bergen flinched at the fire that almost consumed him, that London wakes to nightmares of whistling explosions and flames that hadn’t fallen yet. (Odd, that Berlin was the only one not to fear fire. Instead he dreamed of trenches, but that’s a different story).

So when fire curled up his wrist, Grantaire felt a very real fear grip his heart. The alcohol in his veins was wiped away in an instant, and his cloudy eyes became sharp. He hated everything he was and would be, but he’d be damned if he didn’t choose his own death.

He raced out onto the streets, feeling where the fire roared highest. It had caught in the lower levels of the slums, a few streets away from the café his friends met at. Grantaire broke into a loping sprint, moving with a speed that would’ve shocked those who knew him. But he was a City, and the city moved with him.

Every stumble was accounted for by shifting cobblestones, crowds found themselves parting easily to let the strange man through. Streets shortened, bunching up at the corners, houses creaked, new alleys sprang up where he needed to pass, walls fell and Grantaire reached the fire in a fraction of the time it would have taken an ordinary man.

(tomorrow would see great confusion for the residents of the streets he passed, as they found themselves with new neighbours, or occasionally lacking a wall or gaining an extra one where they were sure one hadn’t been before. But again, that’s another story).

He stopped dead at the end of the road, taking in the sight. Three houses were already locked in an inferno, sick yellow flames engulfing their neighbours even as men tried to beat back the flames. Grantaire could see several members of Les Amis in the crowd. Perhaps that shouldn’t have been that surprising. It was nice to see they weren’t talk after all. Bahorel was bodily dragging people away from the wrecked buildings. Joly, deadly serious, was treating the burnt survivors while Feuilly, who clearly knew the families, looked over them and tried to work out who was missing.

And in the middle of this contained chaos stood Enjolras and Combeferre, organising a bucket line from the well. Seeing his Apollo on a backdrop of flames was enough to make Grantaire sway on his feet. There was a shout: “This is no place for a drunkard!” Which led him to snap,

“I’m no more flammable than you are.” Statue like or not, his Apollo was still flesh.

He tried to start forward but his head was pounding from the ugly smoke that swirled through the air. The burn on his arm was deepening as he felt lives snuffing out all around him. Anton and his twin both lying still in the basement they’d fled to. Elderly Monsieur Chastain hadn’t managed to get down the rickety steps in time. Grantaire swayed again.

His awareness was expanding outwards uncontrollably. With no alcohol to tame it, he was suddenly aware of every heart beat around him, every breath, the water spewing through the sewers below, and of course the fires that spread inside of him, peeling off his skin in agonising inches. But no, no, his body- his human, immediate person- was fine. He had to remember that. A City could go crazy not being able to differentiate between the two.

A cry rang out across the street, a mother realising her daughter wasn’t with her. Grantaire turned in time to see Enjolras dive towards the houses, running along the side alley to look for a way in.

With an exhalation that could have been a curse or a prayer, Grantaire stumbled after him.

Heat hit his face like a slap, almost rocking him back on his heels. The air whooshed out of him to mix with the poisonous air and Enjolras kept going, ignoring that the house he was aiming for had become a death trap. Grantaire could feel the wooden floors and furniture fall into the fire’s greedy maw, could feel the ceiling sag inwards, could feel the house creak and groan under the pressure of its own destruction.

And worst of all, he could feel the girl dying in one of the upper levels of the building. He knew her in that instant, as all Cities did with their citizens. He knew her name was Madalene. He knew that she was seven years old and liked to braid her sister’s hair. And he knew that her lungs were too weak to survive the smoke.

Enjolras had found a window, and deep in the alley away from prying eyes, Grantaire moved with inhuman speed. He grabbed his Apollo by that red vest and dragged him back. “It’s no use! It’s too late!”

Madalene breathed out her last right there and then.

He’d forgotten what that felt like, that echo of death inside his heart, unsoftened by the haze of wine. It hurt. It hurt so much he didn’t feel it when Enjolras whirled around to strike Grantaire and free himself.

“How do you know? Stop giving up so easily!”

He was radiant in his fury and hatred of Grantaire.

Something inside him fell away, like catacombs crumbling into deep water. So empty, as that the loudest cry for help would only hear its own echoes. Nothing formed in this pit that could ever live in the light of the sun. How could he have not realised that before?

Grantaire pulled away from Enjolras.

“I know,” he said quietly.

With a tortured scream of wood, the house fell to the side, crashing down on the alley. Grantaire shoved Enjolras out of the way, out onto the street on the other side, and it crushed him.

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AN: I’d like to apologise in advance for this chapter. You’ll know why soon enough. (Also its extra long to tide you over because I have real life stuff that I actually have to pay attention to)

Also for world building sake I’m saying that Cities are born from the first settlement they had, even if it’s just a village, because their city-hood is inevitable. So Paris was born around 4200 BC and grew up with Celtic and Franks etc before he ever became the capital. Same with London and Lisbon like they didn’t wait around for the Romans to notice them, these lovely ladies were already planning on being Cities and murdering anyone who tried to stop them.

The difference in between a not-yet-City and a current-City is that a current-City is definitely immortal (except fire) and powerful and a not-yet-City is mortal to everything (though they age much slower) and basically have to wait around for their humans to notice them. Current-Cities can also have their cityship removed (I mentioned St. Petersburg vs. Moscow earlier) and be reduced to a not-yet-City again but it doesn’t kill them though it does piss them off.

(This also leads to more than one City existing for one country. The Cities don’t admit it but this often leads to murder attempts to try and make sure they’re the only ones their children could turn to, for example when Philip II moved his court to Madrid and made him the political capital, Madrid seized his chance and murdered Toledo so he could become capital city on top of that and it caused a massive scandal that only faded when the Vatican City offered his support. Omg drama).

I HAVE SO MANY HEAD CANONS.

Paris Burning. Part 6/11ish

He’d have to run away.

That was the only bleak thought that remained in Grantaire’s head as he ran. He slammed his way back into his loft and for a moment just stood there and shook, barely able to comprehend what had happened.

He’d been found out. How was it even possible? He hadn’t been found out for centuries, not since he perfected the art of slipping in and out of people’s lives, unnoticed, unimportant, because if a drunk stopped coming back to a bar then everyone knew he was dead in a ditch, not making up a new name and life elsewhere so no one noticed he didn’t age.

In the turning centuries he’s never been caught. The closest was when Napoleon ripped up the streets of Paris looking for him, a man made dangerous from wounded ego when his City did not come to him willingly. He overturned the slums and sought out rumours of a man who’d moved in claiming to be the previous tenant’s son, despite said tenant being young and wifeless and the eerie similarities in their looks. Grantaire had hidden in the rafters while the little man stalked beneath him, kicking aside brushes and canvases. He held his breath until Napoleon left, declaring “My Paris” (My!) “would not lower himself to live in such filth.”

After he was gone Grantaire swung down and bowed mockingly at the door. “Sorry to disappoint Emperor but not all of us have delusions of grandeur.”

And now he’d been found by a boy barely out of his teens, a boy who’d barely tried, who’d made him stupid and slow with a single glance. A boy who made him burn himself. A boy who was dangerous, dangerous to Paris, dangerous to his children and- something dark began to whisper inside his head.

The ancient part of him, buried deep under Christianity and colonisation and supposed civilisation, shifted and sang to him in Celtic Gallic. He’d missed his mother’s tongue, remembered it hissed to him as a child, teachings of pleasure and violence and-

- it was only one witness. Easy to get rid of. The Seine was forgiving, the water deep and the catacombs silent. Because he was a City and a City must protect his people.

Thick tattoos of blue and green blossomed like bruises on his skin, writhing in patterns that slunk down his hips, twisted lines that spoke of the hunt. A fine hunt, reversing the roles to chase that flash of gold, the boy would fight of course, not used to being the prey but he’d break and run eventually and then they’d be swift through the forest of the streets but Paris knew it better and he’d trap him and pin him and bite his neck as he forced him down-

- Grantaire snapped back to himself so fast he almost fell over. The tattoos faded but his racing heartbeat didn’t. He hadn’t heard the call of drums in over a millennia. Things must be bad if the old world thought it could call him so easily.

There was nothing for it then: he’d have to run. Grantaire grabbed a battered case and started to fill it up with art supplies. He didn’t have many clothes except for the ones on his back, and the bottles that littered his room, well, he planned to drink before he got moving. And once he did no one could ever find him. Especially not a few well-meaning men who’d been cut off from what little circle of influence they had.

He couldn’t leave the boundaries of the city. That was physically impossible, of course. But he could hide, there were a thousand nooks and crannies in this place. Honestly, if he was really desperate he could go and knock on the Palace door, the King wouldn’t turn Grantaire away once he proved what he was. (an image of Enjolras’ face when he heard, pain that didn’t suit him, and no, Grantaire wasn’t that desperate.)

There was a knock at the door.

Or maybe he was. Grantaire looked around in panic, and for one hysterical moment, wondered if he could hide under the bed.

The knock became insistent, frantic even. Grantaire screwed all his courage together and, in a distressingly high-pitched voice, called out “Who is it?”

There was a muffled swear and Enjolras wrenched the door open. He was out of breath, hair falling into his face, and all movement stopped dead at seeing Grantaire. They stared at each other for a moment.

“Aren’t you going to close the door?” Grantaire asked with exaggerated casualness. Maybe it was all a smoke-induced nightmare. Maybe Enjolras wouldn’t mention it.

“You’re Paris.”

Or not.

It was almost an accusation. Grantaire didn’t do well with confrontations, so instead he did the only thing he knew how when trapped in a corner.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” There was a pause as both of them tried to digest the sheer volume of that lie. Enjolras stared at him in disbelief.

“There is a straight-lined street between your loft and the burnt houses that you ran down in seconds.”

“That’s always been there it’s hardly my fault if you didn’t notice.”

“It goes through buildings.” The door slammed shut and Enjolras was stalking forwards. Grantaire stumbled back. “I saw you shrug off debris that would’ve killed a man.”

“You breathed in a lot of smoke and hit your head, would you like me to get Joly for you?” He was backed up against the desk now and Enjolras kept coming.

“You answered to your name.”

“I reacted to you randomly shouting it in the middle of the street. Can’t blame me for acting surprised when you start on about your Patria when we’d almost died.”

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I LIKE YOUR HEADCANONS! Mostly because they mean New York City exists, because I am from there and center of the universe. And now I am picturing him/her looking around at Washington and all the American not-Cities and being like "Fuck you guys, I'm gonna become more important than all of you."

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AN: I’m not sure what to do; it appears I’ve inadvertently started a cult.

No seriously there are headcanons and fancasts and fanmixes and screen caps and art and it’s all so overwhelming and stunning and I’m so humbled by your enthusiasm. Thank you all so much.

I also felt a little hunted you will never catch me javert but I manned up and announced I was 24601 by making a tumblr for this universe here: http://thecitysmith.tumblr.com so if you want you can follow (but I already have 100+ followers and that must be all of you, right? Right??? seriously who are you people.)

If you have a headcanon or something you made or you just wanted to talk then tag your stuff with ‘paris burning’ and I’ll try and reblog it. (There are a couple I haven’t reblogged yet but I’m trying to give each piece time to be savoured as it deserves).

This isn’t actually all of part 7 it was just getting SO long that I thought the wait was ridiculous so I’m posting the first part now.

Onwards!

Paris Burning. Part 7/…12? I should stop pretending I know.

Enjolras hadn’t seen Grantaire in two days.

It had rained continuously since then.

After Paris- Grantaire- Paris had sent him away Enjolras had gone back to the burnt out houses, trying to find something to distract himself with. The fire had long since burnt itself out, the victims bandaged up and sent off to loved ones to be taken care of as doctors were too expensive. (Joly promised to visit as many of them as he could later).

Normally this would’ve been enough to get him fired up, to talk about care for the sick and obvious lack of concern, but it’d been a long day, and not just for him. So Enjolras called off the meeting for that night, aware that too many of them had seen death today (good practice, a cold part of him noted, they’ll have to get used to it). Les Amis’ faces ranged from grateful to surprised and he felt a pang; did he really come across as so callous? (He thought of Grantaire’s endless blue eyes and thinks that maybe they had a point.)

He’d been distracted since then, caught in a haze of confusion and disbelief. Enjolras wasn’t an uncertain man, he rarely had doubts about what he did or felt, but that was before the world turned upside down and Patria turned out to be a drunk who had no patience for rich young boys playing games.

And yet he couldn’t find it in himself to be angry, or even upset at the man- the City. Grantaire hadn’t turned up since the fire, and yet Enjolras’ head whipped around hopefully every time someone came up the stairs. It was obvious to the others that something was wrong. Combeferre had even cornered him the night before.

( “Did Grantaire and you have an argument?”

“What makes you think that?”

“He hasn’t turned up, and he never misses a meeting when he knows you’re the one speaking.”
)

Yes, that was true. Enjolras had noticed. Grantaire wasn’t exactly someone one could ignore, he had always been perfectly clear about how he felt about the revolution. (I never once agreed with you!) So why did he come day after day? Even he wouldn’t be so cruel as to find amusement in their drive for freedom. Then again, what did he actually know about the man? He hadn’t even asked for his Christian name for God’s sake!

( “Tell me; what do you think of Grantaire?”

“Ah,” his friend sounded strangely knowing. Combeferre wiped the smile from his face when it became obvious Enjolras was genuinely distressed. “I think he can brilliant when he wants to be. He’s the only one who’s managed to go toe to toe with you during arguments after all.”

“Yes I noticed that.” The uncertain part of him was rising up again, making it hard to speak. “But he was always drunk when doing so, I never thought he was being serious.”

“I never had the impression he wasn’t.” Enjolras shrank a little and Combeferre touched his shoulder. “I think it’s possible that you concentrate too much on how you want him to be rather than seeing the values he already has.” And with that he left him alone.
)

It was now heading towards the third day of not seeing Grantaire. Enjolras hadn’t slept at all, staying up well past dawn though it was hard to tell. No sunlight broke through the sullen cloud-cast sky. Paris was locked in an eerie twilight and it was because of his foolishness. Now he couldn’t help but go over every criticism Grantaire had ever made obsessively. (He was able to remember them perfectly, for some reason).

It was hard to concentrate, even during the meeting, when all he could think of was Grantaire’s words being spat at him over and over again, like nails breaking through his thoughts. The way his dark curls fell in front of his face when he refused to look at Enjolras. Just- a thousand little things- the rasp of his voice when he snarled Enjorlas’ name-

“Enjolras.”

Grantaire had never called him that. It was always Apollo or some other figure.

“Enjolras.”

Something out of history, a history he would have lived through. It hurt, Grantaire plucking figures out of his past to mock Enjolras with. Did he dangle the truth in front of Enjolras deliberately, knowing that he’d never guess?

“Enjolras!” The blond jerked back into the present. He was at the table in the café, with Les Amis all staring at him expectantly. They’d been discussing something and he’d completely lost track. How embarrassing.

Trying to save face, he hastily said “Yes, I agree.” Les Amis gave him stunned looks.

“You agree with me?” Marius looked utterly astonished.

“What? Wait, were you talking about Napoleon again? No.” Rain trailed down the window, begging to be let in. Enjolras closed his eyes. “Right. This is ridiculous. I’m sorry my friends, I have to leave for today.”

“What?” several voices responded in confusion.

“That’s fine, we weren’t really getting anywhere anyway.” Combeferre looked relieved. Enjolras nodded and walked out. Les Amis stared after him.

“What?” Joly said, as if repeating the question would make things clearer.

“Well this has been a long time coming,” Courferyrac said with some satisfaction. Next to him, Jehan nodded in agreement even as he absent-mindedly weaved more flowers into his plait.

“I hope him and Grantaire work things out.”

“Do you ever feel like you’re missing something?” Bossuet complained.

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A couple of people got confused by the use of ‘larkspur’ to describe Enjolras’ eyes. They’re a deep blue flower. In the language of flowers they represent an open heart/first love. They’re also supposed to ward off vemon…and ghosts. So. Yeah.

Oh, and thanks so much for all your reviews! (even the misfires! Please be careful with where you post because though it’s charming I don’t want to overwork dear Prank_Writer).

Sorry that this last part took me so long, I’m in the middle of coursework etc at the moment (three essays due Monday!) as well as trying to get a house for next year. It’s all a bit hectic really.

Paris Burning. Part 7b/12ish. (so this is going to be much shorter than usual)

They sat there in silence for a while. The sun was out now, casting light into the flat. It caught the gold of Enjolras’ eyelashes and the arch of his cheekbones, making him look more angelic than ever. Grantaire forced himself look away, ringing the water out of his hair idly. Some blood rose to the surface from a couple of cuts he gotten.

“Are you alright?” Enjolras asked at last.

“I’m fine Apollo. Fluctuat nec mergitu. It’s tossed in the waves but it does not sink,” he quoted Paris’ motto with only the slightest bit of sarcasm. Anger still rose up inside of him, such a human emotion that it made him feel more vulnerable than ever.

“I’m Grantaire,” he said at last, wanting to get this over with. His words came fast and bitter. “You need to understand this Apollo. I may be a City, but I’m not the ideal you’ve been building up. I suppose that’s the problem with no appearing for ages, gives people time to get their hopes up. Not all of us can be marble, dear Apollo. I’m Paris, but not your perfect Paris.”

“And I’m not Apollo!” That made Grantaire start. Enjolras looked flushed, but not embarrassed that he’d raised his voice. He laced his fingers together, brow furrowed. “I’m not the only one who’s been putting people on pedestals. You know when you lost your temper, that’s the only time you’ve called me by my real name?”

Grantaire sank further down into the bath. Apol- Enjolras had a point, as always. But he couldn’t just stop seeing him as a golden light just like that. And maybe it was unfair of him to ask him to never see him as Paris. (can’t it be both, he’d said. Was that even possible?) He’d never consider this normally, but the cold water had temporarily doused the burning flame inside into a dull throb. He rubbed his chest and realised it was his heartbeat. His traitorous old heart, battering its wings against the cage of his ribs in an attempt to fly to Enjolras’ side. Silly old thing.

“It seems we’ve done each other a disservice,” he said at last, heart still pounding just from Enjolras eyes on him. He should of clipped those wings decades ago; he thought he had.

“I’m not Apollo. I’m human, I make mistakes and I can be wrong. And I was wrong. I didn’t mean to hurt you and I’m sorry.” Enjolras knew he’d let himself get carried away, and despite his frequent fights with Grantaire, he had no desire to see the man hurt.

“And I’m sorry too, for not being what you expected.” How many people had he made the same apology to over the centuries after Jean? When they found a sad man who just wanted to be left alone. Some had turned away in disgust. Yet here Enjolras was, and he knew more of Grantaire’s faults than any of his past monarchs had. “You were disappointed.”

“No!” Enjolras spoke with a sudden ferociousness. “I was shocked and I was worried and confused but never once was I disappointed. Don’t ever say that!” He pushed back his curls with one hand. “I thought it was me who disappointed you. I couldn’t sleep thinking that you might hate me.”

“Hate you?” That actually got a laugh out of Grantaire. Didn’t he know? How could he not know? “I could never hate you Enjolras.”

His Apollo’s hair had dried now, blazing around his head like a halo. But he didn’t look down like an angel from heaven; he looked across to Grantaire as an equal, and somehow that was harder to bear. His gaze was pure light, it slipped past his ribcage, down into the catacombs where something still lived. The water receded and Grantaire found himself breathing with ease for the first time in years.

“You remind me of who I wanted to be once.”

Enjolras blinked, perplexed and Grantaire curled in on himself a little. He couldn’t imagine it, that much was obvious, couldn’t imagine Grantaire as anything other than the drunken waste he saw before him.

“Is that why you ran?” Enjolras paused, lips thinning. “Or did you run because it was me? Would you’ve done the same if another friend found out your secret?”

“I probably wouldn’t of,” he admitted. The others could have been reasoned with, to a certain extent. They didn’t speak of Paris with every other breath. “But the fault lies with me, not you. It can be painful for a cynic to be reminded of what they lost.” Something occurred to him. “You didn’t tell the others did you?!”

“No. No, I left that up to you.”

“Thank you,” Grantaire relaxed. “It’s not that I don’t trust you. But it’s so easy for someone to get over excited, or just careless, one word and you’d have the guards swarming us.”

“We wouldn’t use you, not like that,” Enjolras said. “Not if you didn’t want us to. You’re our friend first and foremost, you know that.”

Do I? He shook the thought away. Les Amis had given him a home, he had no reason to doubt them now. “Well it’s not like it’s going to matter for much longer. Now that your revolution has supporters flocking to it, I’m not needed anymore.”


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8a.

(Anonymous)

2013-03-22 01:50 am (UTC)

AN: Sorry it took me so long to update but I HAVE A HOUSE. I have a house and it’s rickety and probably shit and there are going to be seven of us but it’s going to be so amazing. I have an attic room and my housemates are all mad, and for my birthday party we went out and ended up drunk singing ‘do you hear the people sing’ in a club.

So yes my life is rapidly turning into that Les Amis university AU you’ve been reading. Omg does that mean I’m a member of Les Amis? Which one?!

Just so you know, this fic was updated because one reader offered me a goat as a sacrifice. This pleases me.

Once again, thanks for all the reviews and follows on the tumblr. This whole this is expanding like crazy, but hey that’s what stories are meant to do. They’re organic things, and should grow when cultivated by so many hands.

In honour of the 400 followers, my ask box is finally open. Come ask me pointless things!

(praying that the italics and bolded text works for this).

Paris Burning. Part 8/12 (maybe)

Grantaire spent the next few days alone, but he didn’t lack for conversation. His letters to Lisbon and London had opened the floodgates and now the letters poured in. Cities were eager to catch up now that he was out of his self-imposed exile.

He had written to Lisbon, politely inquiring as to where they might have gotten the idea that he was venturing out, as he’d certainly never promised such a thing himself. Her reply was sweet enough to rot his teeth.

You needn’t worry dear, I made that decision for you.
Please try to see it from our point of view. You go off on your own, next thing we know is the French start murdering each other and only stop in order to launch an empire across Europe. After that mess is finally over you write to us about falling in love with a human without mentioning the war at all, and then try to slip back into obscurity. Either you are the most oblivious person in the world or the most exquisite tease. If you honestly think we’ve not going to pursue this communication then you’ve been away far too long. It’s time for you to rejoin polite society.


Well at least she’s softened a little from her previous letter. Portugal as a whole had suffered during Napoleon’s time. He had a feeling his absence from the Emperor’s side was the only reason she’d remained so civil. He was grateful (she, an empire herself, if a fading one, understood well that actions of humans were not up to a City). Still, Grantaire wasn’t in the mood to be bullied into it by someone who seemed to think she was a well-meaning older sister.

He said as much in his next letter, this time complaining to Edinburgh. They’d been drinking partners for centuries, so perhaps he should’ve expected the merry onslaught in his reply.

8b.

(Anonymous)

2013-03-22 01:51 am (UTC)

You write to London before you write to me?! Did you hit your head? Did you manage to forget the Auld Alliance? All those years of me listening to your drunken complaining and you throw me away for the blonde. I’m shocked, Paris, shocked. Distressed, even. When are you coming drinking with us again you great bastard? Ignore that, Glasgow stole the quill again.

The excellent thing about Edinburgh, who still grew his hair in a long, red stream down his back, was that he knew Paris. He knew what Paris cared about, so when Grantaire dashed off a careless ‘polite society? I’m not interested in appearing to my King’ at the end of his letter, that’s exactly what Edinburgh focused on.

So that’s what’s upsetting you then. No one expects you to turn up at your court. Lisbon said polite society, not Kings, though they try sometimes. You’ve missed a lot. Kings aren’t as fashionable as they used to be. Even London is bored of them. Aye, she’s got a taste for military men nowadays. Thank you Glasgow. But for Christ’s sake don’t ask her about that unless you want to lose your teeth.

Now, I hate to say this, but Lisbon has a point. You disappeared once and Europe went to hell. Cities are a superstitious lot. If you do it again, they might lash out at you, thinking that you’re brewing up another Napoleon. What’s so bad about talking to us anyway? Say what you want about the politics and the backstabbing, whenever the Cities get together we throw a great party. You missed some great ones. I’m not even going to tell you what Berlin did that one time in case anyone finds this letter.

Anyway as far as I’m concerned you owe me a debt. Do you know what it’s like being stuck on this island with London heading towards empirehood? She and Lisbon have taken to whispering together, and London does that witchy laugh that I hate whenever she sees me. I’m not asking you to put on a tricolour flag and dance in front of your bloody King, I’m asking you to show some solidarity. Who am I supposed to go out drinking with? Who am I supposed to complain to? Just come and have a drink with us, like the old days.

Yours, Edinburgh.

P.S. I’ve heard some interesting rumours about you and a human. I’m assuming they’re false, because I know you’re not a complete idiot. Unless you are. Are you??


Grantaire rolled his eyes. Edinburgh’s letter was the first to come, but he still hadn’t written back yet. Mostly because he didn’t know what to say. He’d missed his friend, of course he had. But one didn’t get rid of years of depression and alcoholism just like that, not even a City could. And he’d only have to appear with a few Cities before the word got back to the French court, though the hunt for him had lessened over the years.

Still, there was no reason he couldn’t write to the others, was there? That was harmless enough, and it wouldn’t get back to the court. One of the laws the Cities had agreed on was that the less the humans knew about their communication the better. A City had to have some part of them that was their own, after all.

That was one of the reasons he had written letters to several other Cities, aiming for the oldest or most experienced ones in Europe. With Lisbon and Edinburgh’s advice in mind, he greeted them as one who was simply returning to their society, talked about nothing, and then, very casually, jokingly, almost, mentioned that you couldn’t blame him if he was distracted by a human. Not that had happened, oh no, but what if it had?

It wasn’t his best façade, but at this point he was desperate. The Apollo in his dreams had been replaced by Enjolras, warm, human Enjolras, diving down through the water to grasp Grantaire’s hand and pull him up to the light. His hand in his, so warm…

He was getting distracted. And the replies had come thick and fast.



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AN: Urgh, sorry for the late update. I just- **curls up into a ball and whimpers**- I’m still a little loopy from the medicine and have to go back to get more. Oh and one of my cards was stolen and possibly my identity too so that’s fun.

So tired.

Paris Burning. Part 9/?

(This is how it starts)

Grantaire could be silent when he wanted to. This may have shocked his current friends, but decades of slipping into shadows and losing himself in a crowd meant that it was easy to creep up the stairs of the Musain café without anyone noticing.

Wary, an animal half-tamed, Grantaire glanced about him before taking a seat at the very back. His breath was coming short, anxiety prickled at his skin. This was the first time, in a long time, that he had ever- ever really let someone change him- or given them the potential to, at least. He didn’t know what he was thinking. He needed a drink.

Then Enjolras saw him. Grantaire didn’t know how he did it. He was at the other end of the café, in the middle of a crowd, in the middle of an impassioned speech, and yet his larkspur eyes found Grantaire in the shadows. He turned, and he smiled, a brief flash of brilliance; like lightning, or fire.

The others noticed, and soon swarmed their friend, welcoming him back from his ‘illness’ with open arms. Despite their familiar chatter, the air had changed. Something had passed between them and now they couldn’t go back. Grantaire looked at him. Enjolras didn’t go over, he didn’t try anything, didn’t expect anything of him now that he knew. He just watched him, and waited for Grantaire to come to him.

It didn’t happen that meeting. But they both knew it would, eventually.

(A slow, strange dance )

For the next few weeks, they treaded around each other carefully. Grantaire bit his tongue at the meetings and Enjolras forced himself to look away every time he picked up a bottle. It didn’t work. If anything it made things tenser. Eventually, after one meeting, they had a raging match all the way to Enjolras’ apartment. When they reached the door, Grantaire realised that his leader hadn’t once brought up him being a City, and Enjolras in turn realised that Grantaire was speaking from experience, not cynicism.

They looked at each other, and once again it became a little easier to breathe.

Not fighting, they decided, was not the answer. But now, instead of interrupting the meetings, they argued during their walks. Grantaire showed Enjolras the hidden parts of Paris that no one else knew (not the catacombs though, never those) in return Enjolras often insisted that Grantaire stay to eat with him, or even over night.

(Grantaire wondered if his fearless leader was trying to keep him from returning to his admittedly scummier apartments. Enjolras never failed to mention that it was probably bad for his health whenever they were there. Not that Grantaire pointed that out because, well- “My Paris wouldn’t lower himself to live in such filth” – and wouldn’t that little association burn Enjolras up?)

It wasn’t suddenly bliss, but it was better.

Enjolras, now that didn’t feel like he was being mocked in front of his lieutenants, reined in on his cruelty. Most times, even after arguing, they ended up sitting in companionable silence: Enjolras pouring over his notes, Grantaire flipping through his history books and idly pointing out all the mistakes in them.

(“God is that what they really thought?”
“Ah I remember the reformation. That was confusing. London’s King- Henry something- had to explain to her five times what the difference was between Catholics and Protestants. When she started to complain that paganism was easier because trees didn’t ask for anything he gave up.”
“If they’d actually met Rome they’d be horrified. Woman drank like- well- like me.”
“I don’t remember that war. Were we even in that war?”
“Ahahaha, you should have seen Oslo’s face! He was furious with us.”
“I was a monk once.”
“None of us came to that battle; we were all hungover from Prague’s birthday party.”
“Well that’s not how that happened.”
“Oh Lord, not the Franks!”
“Grantaire, please stop.” But he was laughing and Grantaire grinned.
“That’s what the Franks said.”)

Re: Paris Burning. 9b.

thecitysmith

2013-04-09 10:39 pm (UTC)

(always circling each other, trying to keep in time)

They stayed up most nights. This was when Grantaire spoke of his Cityhood. He didn’t dare do it during their walks, years of caution had taught him that a single word in the wrong place could bring soldiers running. (Admittedly the search for him had died down rapidly after Napoleon but he’d rather not take the chance).

He did it, not because Enjolras asked him to, but because he didn’t. And so Grantaire gave the information he felt comfortable with, and with what he knew Enjolras would be comfortable with. Despite what the other might think, there was a lot that humans couldn’t comprehend about Cities, and frankly wouldn’t want to. Grantaire kept his stories to the most recent decades. Even the most sensible of humans found it unnerving when he mentioned talking to Charlemagne, or fighting off the Vikings. Odd little things, humans.

“I don’t speak to my brothers and sisters as much as I’d like.” He admitted, playing with his hands. Enjolras was pretending to read, but his stillness belied his interest. “It wasn’t like with the others, where I knew them wouldn’t let me hide. I wanted to keep contact with them. They’re my family. But…they never understood. Most of them are very wrapped up in politics and the powerful people and didn’t see what my problem was, when Napoleon happened, I had to cut ties completely. I couldn’t trust them not to reveal me.”

“They were so willing to betray you?”

“They were influenced by their people. It’s hard to explain- when the people decide something- it’s like a heady rush. If you’re not careful you can be swept away by it.”

“They override your opinions?”

“The people’s opinions are our opinions. Most of the time. I remember how hard it was to refuse Napoleon’s call back when everyone loved him. Luckily though the City of Paris worshipped him, I, Grantaire, did not.”

“So you do have your own free will,” Enjolras was relieved. It was hard to think of the people as a force that could remove freedom, even if it was a City’s freedom (they weren’t the most independent of creatures). “That is to say, you’re a separate entity from your Cityhood. You have personhood too.”

“Oh God don’t ask me that. The last time someone asked the Vatican City whether or not Cities had souls he had a complete breakdown and fasted for three weeks.” He paused thoughtfully. “Marseille would like to answer that. He got a taste for philosophy when the Greeks came to him.”

“Really? I wouldn’t mind discussing that with him,” Enjolras said out of habit, then looked up from his work with a start, realising that Marseille wasn’t just another student he could recruit. Grantaire waved it away.

“It’s fine. Though technically you’ve already met him- you caught us playing dominoes together.”

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AN: Okay so this is my first time writing NSFW so…please be gentle?

Thank you again for all the reviews and comments on tumblr (it feels weird to write this chapter knowing there’s a whole universe out there). The next chapter might take a little longer because happiness is hard to write. Then my exams are coming up. Busy, busy, busy.

Paris Burning. Part 10/15. Probably 15. I’m feeling the 15 right now.

Oh.

This was a new development. Grantaire shifted under Enjolras’ gaze. All Cities had scars. Their histories were written out on their bodies. Enjolras knew about his wars, it should be no more uncomfortable than seeing him flick through a historical text and yet…and yet…

The feel of Enjolras’ hands on his skin, mapping him out, being unable to hide anything. He almost wanted to say no (a low heat in his belly disagreed) but Enjolras was still looking at him- and he had never been able to deny him anything, not really.

“There are…quite a few.” Grantaire said finally. Enjolras didn’t give him a pitying look, just nodded with the grave acceptance of someone who knew Paris’ history.

“If you don’t want to-”

“No. No I think I should.” He’d been carrying this weight for a very long time. London’s writers traced the scars on her shoulders to soothe away the pain, Madrid’s lovers kissed even the deepest burns. And once Jeanne had stroked Paris’ bleeding temple and smiled. He’d forgotten what it was like to feel weightless. Maybe it was time to stop carrying it around with him.

Grantaire licked his lips, throat dry. “How far- I mean- how far would you be willing-”
“You don’t have to hide from me,” Enjolras said quietly. “You shouldn’t have ever had to hide.”

Grantaire nodded, and shakily stood. “It- it would be easier on the bed.” He could lie down and Enjolras could look from the sofa, but no, his golden leader was up and following him.

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AN: Okay I do genuinely have exams but every time I try to get out you lot keep pulling me back in. Thank you <3

Trigger Warning: There’s a pretty serious discussion of suicide in here. I’m not condemning it, I’m not glorifying it. The characters’ opinions are not my own. The effects it has on a City are unfortunate (and fictional!) but I’m not making any kind of statement.

Paris Burning. Part 11/15.

Grantaire dreamt.

(he understood now, why so many Cities loved their writers, purveyors of their language, because there was poetry in Enjolras. Not just in his words- spitting fire- but in his very skin. And in the dream Grantaire reached through the marble and found a nursery of stars locked in his ribcage, and there, instead of a heart was a spinning, white hot sun. The sun that pumped not blood, nor love, but pure life through his veins. The life of suns and solar systems in his veins and eyes and hair. Enjolras who’d bleed nothing but light. Yes, he dreamt of stars in Enjolras’ skin. And sometimes, deep in the night, he dreamt of the stars going out)

Winter is over, and that wasn’t poetry, just simple fact. The summer had truly started, the last of the spring rain whirled away (it rained often, in Paris). It was warm now, the sky light, and living was easy, especially when Grantaire woke up in Enjolras’ bed. Winter was over for him too, he thought as kissed the top of the golden head that rested on his chest.

The sex was glorious. The desperate haste of their first time had melted into something languid and easy. He’d learnt Enjolras too, his latitude and longitude in those golden mornings: the surprising freckles on his shoulder, the scar on his knee (falling out of a tree as a young boy; he’d always climbed too high), bitten nails, little imperfections that breathed humanity more than anything else. Because Grantaire didn’t want great, iconic love. He wanted these mornings with Enjolras, to share stories and sweat. (“Don’t give me glory, just give me a minute of your time.” He’d asked once, and Enjolras had smiled and kissed him, but hadn’t agreed.)

He knew it couldn’t last. Humans were like candles, bright and warm, but quick to burn. Enjolras was worst in his fiercer flame. He was always moving onto the next thing, and the revolution was approaching. Enjolras said he could feel it in his bones (and he looked at Grantaire with hope, until the City agreed, desperately hoping he wasn’t lying).

And so he painted, trying to collect the memories to him. He had painted Enjolras before they’d even met; a bright figure flying. The paintings were of a man now, but no less bright. He painted with the fervour of a disciple- every line- every curve- every curl in gold and red. (so much red). Once he splattered the paint, accidentally, yes? And it soaked through his shirt, his hands were drenched in red, nine red splotches ruin Enjolras’ portrait- but then he wakes up and it was just a dream and he painted again.

He did it to capture those moments of pure happiness. Soft wisps of chalk for the nights they wandered through the streets. Dramatic oils for the saturated colours: meetings at the café where everything was in red and black. Stark charcoal for when they fought. Watercolours for their time together, blurring the colours so it’s hard to tell where one of them begins and the other ends. (painted Enjolras himself, brush over smooth skin until they matched in green and blue, until Enjolras echoed the god Grantaire was worshipped as once.)

They were fragments, bright stars in the dark that he could stare at and ignore the approaching night. Because happiness was fleeting and something was coming. So Grantaire gripped what peace he could find, hoarded it greedily, could you blame him? Here’s a comfort for those who care: those last few weeks were perfect.


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I don't know if anyone here is still reading/checking this fill, but I've moved chapters 1-12 over here:

http://archiveofourown.org/works/825130/chapters/1566309

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