So this is a mini-series, revising "At the Barricade" with a more plausible and less cheesey plotline and better dialogue, as I am writing it several years after the first one was published. REVIEWS WOULD BE LOVERLY!
Hmph. He really was cold to her now, wasn't he? That just would not do. Loving him felt like a knife in the ribs- every time she breathed it hurt, and the pain never dulled. The thought of him was once exciting and hopeful, but now it just brought pain. It was all that Cosette's fault.
On June 4th, 1832, Eponine was roaming the streets. In one part of Paris she could hear screams and shots sounding off- chaos. She longed for somewhere quieter, and wandered to a nearly empty field, one in which she had once talked to Monsieur Marius.
She'd only been sitting a minute, but she got up from her seat at the park and began to walk again. Eponine did not know exactly what took her there, but she decided to go to the rue Plumet. She knew Marius would not be there, for it was only midday, but wanted to see if her plan had gone into action. Would Cosette and Valjean be moving today?
So, dressed, in boy's clothes, Eponine paced outside that little bon-bon's gate. She was wrapped up in her thoughts- would it be enough to just send Cosette to England? What if Marius found a way to go there himself? Or they wrote letters? Distance might not keep them apart- still, she believed he would move on eventually. But maybe more decisive action should be taken...
Eponine whirled around, and searched for the voice. It was high and mature, and came from inside the gate. Cosette. Eponine glanced over her and saw her rosy cheeks, her blue eyes, though a little frantic, still beautiful.
"I'm sorry, but I was wondering if you could do me a favor, young man?"
Eponine chafed at that- yes, she was dressed in boy's clothes, but it was obvious she was not a boy! The fact was not so apparent to such a pretty thing like Cosette, who was so used to her own beauty that anyone with less wasn't even a girl anymore. Eponine glared.
"What is it?" she croaked, her voice harsh.
Cosette looked put off but her tone, but continued. "I have a letter for someone, and was wondering if you could put it to post for me. It's very important." She took a coin from the pocket of her dress. "I'll give you five francs."
Eponine sniffed rudely.
"Please?" Cosette pleaded. "I'm begging-"
"Give it here," Eponine said, knowing who the letter would be sent to.
"Oh- thank you," Cosette said, and handed it over. Indeed, it was addressed to M. Marius Pontmercy. Eponine's insides dropped, sickened. She grimaced, but then realized that, with Cosette's letter, she had ultimate power.
She could not deliver the letter. She didn't know what it said, but could just as soon read it once around the corner, away from Cosette's prying eyes. Either way, it was obvious the letter was important, or Cosette wouldn't be so desperate to have it posted. Not delivering it would surely cause some problem in their relationship. Or...
The idea struck Eponine suddenly, seeing Marius' address in print. M. Courfeyrac lived with Marius- Courfeyrac who would be going to the barricades. It would be only so easy to get Marius there, as well- all she'd have to do was not give him the letter, and then plant the idea in his mind to go there... Surely Marius would be in despair, in some kind of depression, and would want solace...
And Cosette could be there too. Eponine snickered, imagining Cosette at a street riot. But she could suggest it to the girl, mention that her lover was going to fight... Either Cosette was too self-centered and cowardly to try and save him, or she'd run to the fighting to try and save her Marius.
Where she would surely die.
"Monsieur Marius?" Eponine said, reading it.
"You know him?" Cosette said interestedly, interpreting her tone correctly.
"Yes... I don't know that he'll be home tonight, though," Eponine said, trying to plant the seed of Marius going off to fight. "He's planning to go out."
"I know," Cosette said, unruffled.
How could she already know? Surely he hasn't mentioned anything about the barricades to this little sugared-up, lacy girl. Then Eponine realized. Oh. He would be out with Cosette tonight, coming to her garden.
Not if I can help it.
"I know his friends are going out, Mademoiselle. They are going to the fighting on the streets- I heard them talking earlier today, Monsieur Marius too... he sounded unhappy."
"Fighting?" Cosette said, gripping the wrought iron bars of the gate.
"Yes- there are riots going on due to the funeral of General Lamarque. I believe Monsieur Marius was going to go."
"Will people die?" Cosette asked, her eyes wide, her voice soft.
"I'm afraid so," Eponine said.
Cosette took a step back, and Eponine noticed the girl's hands were shaking. She resisted the urge to snicker.
"Wait right here," Cosette said, and reached her hand for the letter back. "I'll just write something else... I add something to the bottom of the letter. He won't go if I ask him not to, I know he won't-"
"Oh, you're sure you know him so well?"
Cosette's eyes, usually so docile and demure, flared a bit. "Yes. I know he would listen to me."
Eponine said. "Maybe in person, but in a letter... And I already said, he might not be home. He's probably not home. The chances of your letter reaching him are slim."
"What do I do? I can't let him go!" Cosette said desperately.
"I'll help you," Eponine said. She took a step closer to the gate, and Cosette stepped back, afraid. Eponine decided that she could gain Cosette's trust some, and took off her hat, letting her hair down. Then Eponine looked up at the other girl- Eponine's natural gaze fell to Cosette's lips, that was how much shorter she was than the other girl. Her lips were beautiful- red and rosy and right now, pouted in fear. Eponine wondered if she had kissed Marius' lips- he had a beautiful mouth. Had he kissed her?
She knew that answer was yes.
"Oh," Cosette gasped, thrown by the fact that she was not talking to a young man.
"That's right. I'm a girl- you know me. I want to help you."
"I know you?" Cosette asked, confused. She knew so few people in her life that not recognizing one was a strange occurrence.
"Why, yes. Don't you remember me, Cosette? I'm Eponine. You used to live with my family- my mother treated you awfully. Worse than the dog." Eponine lowered her eyes, feigning a look of shame. "I understand if you don't want to come with me. I can see why you wouldn't trust me. But really, I want to make it up to you."
Cosette's mouth dropped open, thinking of those mysterious years before she had met her Papa, and how she never knew the answers to all the questions she had...
Eponine held up a hand. "We don't have time to talk about that-"
"How do you know Marius?" Cosette asked.
Eponine snickered. She was sorely tempted to tell Cosette that she knew Monsieur Marius because she often shared a bed with him... but Cosette probably wouldn't even know what that meant, nor would she believe it anyway. Regardless, for this plan to work, Cosette needed to trust Eponine.
"He used to be my neighbor. He gave me bread once and gave my family money."
Cosette got a disgusting sweet look on her face than, and Eponine cut her off before she could say something too complementary about her beau.
"Anyway, are you going to let me take you there or not?"
"Take me there?" Cosette exclaimed. "To the barricades? But-"
"But what? If you don't go, you'll never save him. You love him, don't you?"
"Yes!" Cosette shot back, angrily and defensively. "Of course I do! How dare you? But that doesn't mean I'm going to do something thoughtless- I have to have a plan first-"
"Well I can be waiting here for you at midnight tonight. If you want to come, I'll take you to him. If you don't... just stay upstairs." She said that last part cruelly, her voice pointing out the Cosette's bourgeoisie lifestyle while her eyes scraped over her dress.
However, Cosette refused to get mad. She instead turned pale, worried about Marius. "Midnight! But it's two o'clock now. That's ten hours away... what if he's hurt by then?"
"He'll be fine- the fighting won't start until later, trust me."
"And you know your way? You're positive?"
"Yes," Eponine said truthfully. "I know exactly where the fighting is."
Cosette looked toward the house. "My father... I've never lied to him before."
Eponine snorted. "Not true. You lie to him every night, don't you?"
Cosette blushed. "It's not the same thing. I'm perfectly safe here in the garden. He'd be angry if he knew I ran out of the house alone, where it's dangerous."
Eponine was about to say that he would probably be angry if he knew his daughter was sneaking out for midnight rendezvous every night, but bit her tongue.
"You'll be with me. You won't be alone," Eponine said instead.
Cosette bit her lip, getting the feeling that Eponine might not be the most trustworthy friend for her. However, if she could help save Marius, Cosette would have to take a chance. But still... Papa would be so angry. Maybe...
"I can ask him to come with us!" Cosette said. "I know Papa will help. I know he'll say yes if I ask him-"
"You certainly put a lot of faith into these men you love, don't you?" Eponine said cynically. "'He won't go if I ask him not to,' 'he'll say yes if I ask him' bah!"
"Why shouldn't I?" Cosette said with strength. "Neither of them have given me reason to distrust."
Eponine's desire to claim that she was sleeping with Marius was even stronger then, but again she suppressed it with a roll of her eyes.
"Anyway, enough chatter. I'm going to get you some boy's clothes to wear so you can go about the streets better at night, alright?"
"Do you need some money?" Cosette asked.
"No- for future reference, Mademoiselle, you don't need to pay someone five francs to mail a letter."
With that, Eponine departed, her tiny figure swallowed up in the men's clothing, her movements lithe and quiet as a cat as she ran down the street.
Cosette was left staring out the bars of the gate in astonishment. She'd never met anyone like that girl before.