“Open it!” Enjolras barked, as he stormed across the walkway, stabbing a finger towards the door.
“Captain…Captain I can’t, the radiation-” Bahorel pulled an agonised expression, bringing a hand up to nurse a large bruise blossoming on the side of his head. Enjolras surmised that this was probably the only reason Bahorel wasn’t behind the door too – Grantaire must have knocked him out to keep him safe. And that was no mean feat. Bahorel took a deep breath that filled his double-barrel chest, behind him Feuilly was wringing his hat in his fists. “The door is there for a reason, Enjolras. I can’t.”
Enjolras scowled at the logic of the engineer’s words and turned back to the door, crouching down to peer at the prone figure on the other side of the glass. He tried to twist his face into something that didn’t look quite so murderous, “Grantaire.”
Grantaire’s eyes flickered open, “Oh Captain, my Captain.” He chuckled wetly, heaving himself up into a sitting position, slumped against the door. “You came.”
Enjolras’ mouth twitched, “You asked for me.”
“So I did.” Grantaire murmured. His face was creased in pain, skin sickly-coloured, eyes sunken and red. But he was smiling.
“You shouldn’t have-” Enjolras began, then cut himself off with a deep breath, and tried again, “We could have found another way, we could have- you didn’t need to-”
Grantaire was laughing again, quietly, bitterly, and then he was coughing. Enjolras moved closer to the glass, aching with helplessness.
“That’s bullshit and you know it.” He croaked when he had finished, pointing a shaking finger at his captain. “At least give me the grace of acknowledging that I made the logical decision. The right decision.”
Enjolras bowed his head, lips pressed together. The anger was draining out of him, leaving frustration and sadness and the slow throb of guilt in its wake. “You should have called me, it should have been me, you shouldn’t have had to sacr-”
“No, you’re vital, Enjolras. You know we couldn’t go on without you. We need you. They need you. No, it had to be me.” His lips curled up, “I’m nothing but a failure of a ship’s councillor, pretty damn useless. I’m dispensable. The ship will go on without me. I’m not important to the mission.”
“You’re important to me!” Enjolras burst out, slapping his palm against the glass panel, “Don’t talk like that, Grantaire! You’re important to all of us. Do you understand? You are important!”
Grantaire stared at him, stunned, for a moment, then gave a small, sad smile, “Thank you.”
“No! Grantaire, it’s the truth, listen to me, I- I ca-”
“Shh!” Grantaire lifted a finger and tried to press it against Enjolras’ lips but hit glass instead. Surprised, he blinked, let out a quiet ‘oh’. His eyes travelled down and noticed the palm of his captain’s hand flush against the door, and splayed his fingers so that they aligned. He glanced up again in time to see a single tear drip off a marble cheekbone.
“I know you’re gonna catch the bastard…” Grantaire’s voice was weaker now, his eyes a little glazed, “You’re all gonna be just fine…” he tried to laugh but it came out as more of a wheeze, “Ah man, I’m gonna miss…Jim’s birthday pissup…I was looking forward…to that…”
He made an effort to focus his eyes, smiling as he noticed that Enjolras hadn’t moved his palm away. They almost looked like they were holding hands. It was…nice.
“Enjolras…what is that…that thing Vulcans say?” he rasped.
“‘Live long and prosper.’” Enjolras murmured, blinking, lashes wet with tears.
“Ah yes.” Grantaire used the last of his strength to give a proper bright grin, “Do that…for me…would you?”
And then his hand dropped.
Enjolras stayed there, crouched down by Grantaire’s body for a few more seconds, then scrubbed furiously at his face and almost jumped to his feet. Bahorel and Feuilly, who had kept a respectful distance, snapped to attention when he scowled at them, albeit through watery eyes.
“Get Joly over here for Grantaire the moment its safe to get him out. Put him on ice.” The captain was already half-running out of the room, eyes narrowed and fists clenched. Feuilly caught him by the shoulder.
“Captain? What are you-?”
Enjolras turned back to the engineer, jaw set, eyes dark and glinting, “I’m going to bring him back.”