Awakening. Darkness. Silence. Something firm bearing into the small of my back. The dull glow of embers that are beyond half spent. A silvery light vaguely defining shadowy objects.

Terror. An undefined fear. Non–existent hands that clutch at my throat thrusting me back, beating me for... for... for what? It was the same dream I always have. Some event, half-forgotten pushing itself forwards into consciousness. But I was never beaten... was I?

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She was hungry, so hungry. Madame had already cut the bread for the customers and she was to take it to them. Surely they wouldn't miss a small piece. Perhaps she could eat that bit of crust that had fallen to the edge of the plate? Yes, Madame would never know if she had taken it, or if Eponine or Azelma had.

Her hand reached out, scarcely cognizant of its own action.

Slap.

"How dare you, you little street brat. I'm going to tell Maman on you, yes I am!"

Cosette whirled to face her attacker. Eponine was resplendent in a warm dress, dyed yellow with yarrow by her mother. Her hair was glossy and well kept, her feet covered by the soft stockings that had prevented Cosette's hearing her approach.

"Maman," she cried. "That brat has been stealing bread. Besides," she added venomously, speaking to Cosette, "I wanted that piece."

Large, rough hands pushed down on Cosette's neck and thin shoulders, forcing her to the floor.

Slap. Kick. Slap.

Tears.

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Papa never beat me. I don't know why I dream of it. Only one of my dreams of the time before the convent is pleasant. At least I've realized where I am now. Waking after the dreams I normally can't remember and run downstairs to do something.... what?

I must go to bed. Marius will be home soon and he'll scold me if he knows I tried to wait up for him. He is meeting with a poor family again. The father stole some food for his family. They were all starving and now the law wants to send him to the galleys. It isn't, can't be right.

My Marius, he is so good to people like this helping them whenever he can. What could I ever have done to deserve such wonderful people in my life? First my father, now my husband, both of whom were and are so kind and gentle towards me.

Softly as I can, I make my way upstairs. Little Jean is awake and stares at me with his tremendous blue eyes. Gently, I rock him until he falls asleep. He's such a good child. I'll go to bed now. Perhaps my good dream will come.

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Gold. Everywhere cascades of gold. A pretty woman in a lavender "Roman" style dress bends over a child, allowing her hair to flow over the girl.

"Remember my dear, I am only going to dine with your father. He has promised me a surprise. Soon I will come back to you and we can play at dressing up if you wish... I can show you my surprise then."

She hugs the little one gently before dancing from the room humming a waltz. Cosette looks after her mother, then quietly returns to her play. Maman will be back soon. She said so.

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A/N: Thank you to Sweet775 for beta reading this and sparing others my stupid errors. I think everything is correct now, tell me if it's not...

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