Hey guys. I wanted to write this, even though I've written another fanfiction that wouldn't relate to the universe that this fic would imply at all. But I'm in a mood right now, and I just had to write this. Lemme know what you think!
By the way, I was just cast in the role of Cosette at my school's production of Les Miz... SO excited. She's my favorite character ever.
It was February 16, 1834, and Marius couldn't believe it had been a year already. Life had a way of speeding things up and slowing them down in such a thrilling and tricky way. This past year had gone by so fast, compared to how slow days had gone by in the winter of 1831 until spring of 1832.
The weeks flew by, Cosette getting more and more excited each passing day. They learned she was pregnant in October, and Marius was happy and Cosette was thrilled. Each day they spent together was a blessing. With pregnancy, Cosette grew tired easily, and would often take naps during the day and fall asleep as soon as she retired at night. In the dark, Marius liked to rest his hand on her stomach, feeling the stirrings of life and the future.
Despite feeling achy and tired, Cosette was unbelievably happy. She anxiously counted off the days and months. "Only four more months until we meet the baby!" she'd say, a smile bright on her face and a hand covering the bump on her stomach lovingly.
She spent her time embroidering, knitting, or doing some other dainty kind of work preparing for the child. She was infectious to all, her face alight. She shed happiness and good fortune around her, thanking God for her blessings. Marius watched in astonishment as his beloved wife turned more into mother with each passing day. She spread love like perfume, and he loved her right back all the more. He couldn't have predicted how his feelings for her would have deepened, but deepen they had.
As spring came, Cosette's spirits increased with the temperature. Flowers grew, and she would spend hours in the garden looking at them. She was eating well, and her midwife said that Cosette was perfectly healthy, and this pregnancy was developing quite well. The baby was expected to be healthy.
She did everything she was supposed to- slept well, ate all the right foods, declined alcohol, did nothing strenuous. All the while she waited for her child to come.
"Marius," she whispered once in March, late at night. She took his hand and held it to her stomach.
He felt something push up against his hand. Cosette sighed- was she in pain?
"Cosette? Are you alright?"
"I'm fine- Marius, you just felt the baby. He just moved."
It hit him then- this baby was alive, and coming soon. In a matter of months, it wouldn't be just the two of them anymore. But he already felt a profound connection to the little being living inside Cosette. This child seemed to underline their connection to each other- they were no longer just in love, or simply a husband and wife, but they were to raise a child together. Or two, or three... he couldn't say what the future held for them, but it looked good.
In June, the midwife moved into one of the guest bedrooms and they prepared a room for Cosette to give birth in. On June 30 and right on time, Cosette sat up, gasping in pain and clutching her swollen stomach.
"Marius," she whispered, too quietly to wake him up. "Marius!"
His eyes fluttered open as a particularly painful shock ran through her, causing her to gasp.
Everything had been prepared- the midwife was woken, and Cosette was transferred into the room next door. After she was settled into the bed, Marius sat down right next to her, but the midwife shook her head.
"I'm sorry, monsieur, but rules are rules." Marius decided he did not like this woman. How could he trust her with his wife when she was in labor? Obviously what was best was that they stayed together- she wasn't doing what was best.
"Let him stay!" Cosette cried. "Please."
"You need to relax, Madame," the midwife said.
Cosette shook her head, in tears because of the pain and because of her agitation.
"No! I can't do this without him-"
"Madame," Marius said, "May I stay just for a while? The baby surely isn't coming for another few hours?"
She sighed. "Alright. But as soon as I have to really work, you need to leave. We can't have you getting in the way," she replied. "I'm going to go get some wet cloths for Madame's head."
Cosette breathed a sigh of relief as she and Marius were left alone.
"I'm so excited," Cosette said, resting her hands on her stomach eagerly. The pain had subsided a little for now, and she was able to fully realize that the baby was finally coming. "Do you think it'll be a boy or a girl?"
"I have no idea," he said. Throughout the pregnancy, Cosette had referred to the baby as both 'he' and 'she,' trying to see which one felt better. She hadn't come to any solid conclusions, though. "I just can't believe how everything's going to change after tonight."
"Ah!" she cried, reaching for his hand and gripping it so tightly he thought his fingers would break. He didn't know what to do- his pulse picked up speed, and he looked around for someone to help. Tears poured out of her eyes, and she breathed deeply, whimpering in pain. A few sobs broke through her tense disposition, and she squeezed her eyes shut.
She surely shouldn't be in this much pain- was something wrong? Was the baby coming to fast? It was supposed to hurt, but Cosette looked as though she was dying. He couldn't take it.
The midwife came back then.
"Should she be in this much pain?" Marius asked anxiously. "This doesn't seem normal-"
"Monsieur, I've seen many pregnancies, and this is normal. It's called a contraction, and yes, they hurt. Her body is trying to push the baby out, and it takes a lot of energy."
"Oh," he said. Cosette seemed to be recovering a bit now- her grip on his hand was less painful, and her breathing wasn't as frantic.
But these contractions didn't seem to be working, or so Marius thought. Two hours later, Cosette was still scrunched in pain, whimpering and gasping. The midwife insisted they were making progress, however.
"Monsieur, it's time for you to leave," she insisted brusquely. Marius found it hard to take orders from someone with their head between his wife's legs, but complied anyway, kissing Cosette goodbye.
"I love you," he said, but she was too concentrated to reply.
Outside the room, he paced for hours. He thought he was going crazy, waiting like this. All he wanted was for Cosette's pain to be over, so she could finally hold their baby in her arms like she wanted to. He could only imagine the look of bliss that would be on her face as she held their child- he could almost see it. The triumphant smile, the pride, her arms at once protective and caring holding the tiny being.
Noises constantly came from inside the room- Cosette gasping, and he heard the midwife muttering things, sounding soothing and encouraging. He wished he could help- knowing Cosette was in pain and suffering just made him agitated. He didn't like knowing she was uncomfortable and knowing he could do nothing to help.
At three in the morning, he was sitting on the ground, his eyes sliding in and out of focus as he stared at the pattern of the wall paper. He was exhausted. He did become aware, however, that there was silence from inside the room. Then a scream, much worse than any of the cries he'd heard before.
Cosette! "Cosette!" he cried. Without thinking, he threw open the door and ran inside. He hurried to the bed, but the midwife, held out a hand and stopping him.
"No- this is an emergency-"
"She's my wife- what's going on?" he cried, desperate.
"I have to get the baby out," she said, businesslike, focused on her goal. Marius' heart seemed to stop beating. The midwife released her grip on him, and he fell to his knees next to Cosette on the bed, reaching for her hand.
"Cosette?" he said. Her eyes were closed. Was she in pain? "Cosette, I'm here."
Her hand was limp. He turned to look at the midwife in desperation.
"What's going on?" He turned back to Cosette, shakiong her shoulder.
"Cosette? Cosette! Wake up! Wake up!" But she didn't move as he shook her. He shouted over and over for her to wake up, but she didn't reply. Eventually, his cries turned to sobs, and he dropped his head onto her stomach, crying into her body.
"Monsieur," the midwife whispered. He looked up, and saw what she was holding. Not who, but what. His child, their child, in her arms, covered in blood. Underneath the blood, however, was a gray and pallid complexion that even Marius knew meant the worst.
"I'm so, so-"
"No. Don't say anything to me," he said coldly. "Just... leave. Leave me!" he cried.
Tears were pouring down her face- it was seldom that both the mother and the child died, and she'd never seen a scene this pitiful. She wrapped the child in a blanket and handed it to Monsieur Pontmercy.
He took the child with shaking arms, his tears making the room blurry. He realized then that he didn't have to be quiet, and he clutched the child to his heart while he sobbed for the loss of his family.
He looked down, and saw Cosette's face- eyes closed, her forehead smooth and peaceful. He smoothed her hair back, moved her legs down. Straightened her nightgown, and tucked her hands around herself the way she liked to sleep. They'd had less than two years together. He'd spoken to her for the first time just over two years ago. And here she lay next to him, dead.
He knew childbirth could be dangerous. But hadn't let himself think of the worst...
He hated himself. He'd done this to her. If he'd known this would have happened, he never would have touched her. He'd have been happy just waking next to her every morning, the world of the flesh left unexplored. He knew that opening that door led to sin and danger. Yes, it had brought pleasure as well- but had it been worth it? No. Here, his beloved wife lay dead next to him. His heart felt like cold stone in his chest.
As he looked at their child in his arms, he realized he didn't know what it was. He was reluctant to pull back the blankets- for even though he knew it was dead, the little body in his arms was so small. He didn't want it to get cold. In his arms, he held a little boy. His son lay in his arms, dead.
That was not where he belonged. What Marius did next seemed the natural thing to do- he opened Cosette's arms again, and, as gently as he could, he settled the little boy into his wife's arms. For she was a mother now- she never got to meet her child, but she'd been a mother from the moment she realized they were to have a child together. And, in Heaven, the two could be together. Cosette could live there with her father and their son.
And he would be left alone.
He didn't know how he could face the coming hour, let alone the rest of his life. Here he was, twenty-three and a widower. His love lay unmoving next to him. She'd been so full of life, dreams, love and sweetness that he couldn't imagine her ever leaving the earth. She was spring, she was flowers, she was light- how could those things exist without her?
He had no answer. He was alone now, as he'd been for the first twenty-one years of his life. She'd come forth like a stray sunbeam, enchanting his life with music and Heaven for two short years, then dancing off back to God.
You always knew she was an angel, Marius thought. Now she's back home.
He hoped she was with their son. He hoped they were together. And he hoped to see her again- soon.
But for the moment, he lay next to his family, wrapping an arm around them both and burying his face into Cosette's still-warm shoulder, inhaling the scent of her hair, which still lingered. The lack of a blush on her cheeks was the only indication of her present state. When he closed his eyes, he could almost here her breathing as he had every night for the past year.
He lay next to Cosette and their son who she held in her arms. They were not protective or proud the way he'd imagined. He'd never see her look of triumph. But for one last moment, he could be with his family.