I wanted to write this, because of historical accuracy... I thought that, if Cosette didn't have a dowry, she would doubtlessly have had a different future. If they did not go to England, what would have happened? The garden visits would have continued, but eventually some kind of permanant plan would have had to been made. Valjean was already in his sixties...
Anyway, just ignore canon with the book, other than what happens up to their going to England. And I doubt M. Gillenormond will make an appearence, but don't quote me on that. Let's see where this goes!
One evening, when Marius was making his way to the rue Plumet on a crisp, cold November day, he found Cosette in tears.
"What's wrong?" he asked, taking her hand. They'd never had a sad night yet, and he'd been coming for nearly seven months.
She sat down on the bench, made him sit down next to her, took his hand, and tearfully began. "My father is ill."
Marius knew this- he'd been ill since September. Apparently he'd been getting chilled and had been coughing a lot. She'd suspected it to be a common cold, but when he began having shooting stomach pains, she'd began to worry. Had he taken a turn for the worse?
"I'm sorry," he whispered, but she shushed him.
"I'm not finished! He is ill, and he talked to me today about arrangements for me, following his death. We don't have much money, you know, and he started telling me about what I was going to do. What he'd arranged for me."
Marius shivered, feeling the meaning of her next words but not letting himself believe them.
"I am marrying another man in three weeks. It's all been arranged," she said, her voice breaking.
Marius did not answer for a long time. He sat on the bench, staring at the ground. He felt Cosette's eyes on him, but he could not look at her just yet. Instead, he stood, and kicked the nearby tree in a gesture that was supposed to make him feel better, but did not.
"What did you say when he told you this? Did you just… go along with it?" Marius demanded, his anger and hopelessness so acute that he was directing it at the wrong person; the wrong person entirely. However, he just couldn't believe it- he'd been with her long enough now that he couldn't see his life without her, or her life without him. And this just reminded him- she did not belong to him. She belonged to her father, and soon would belong to someone else. Another man.
"No!" she gasped. "I pleaded for hours- all day today I have been crying, pleading. I screamed at him- I! I've never screamed at him before, never. We've never had a fight. On one hand, I feel dreadfully guilty, and on the other, I can't imagine he would do this to me. I threw fits. Then I realized I was being childish- so I prayed to God for a solution. I plan to act like an adult, and tomorrow talk to him more thoroughly."
Marius as quiet. "Who are you marrying?" he asked, knowing that, no matter who it was, he would hate them.
"A man my father knows," she said in a small voice. It turned quickly to disgust. "He is old- much older than you. Maybe thirty? I don't know. He works in the French Navy. He is rich- not that I care. He could be the king and have mountains of money and I would not want any of it. The trouble is, as angry and betrayed as I feel, I can't really be angry with my father. Of course, he did not consult me at all, but from his point of view… He doesn't know I love you. He is just thinking that I need someone to care for me when he'd gone. And this man, you see, seems perfectly nice. To my father, he's respectful, kind to me and most of all, can take care of me. But there's something in his eyes that tells me he's not who he appears to be. He's not nearly as kind as he wants my father to believe. But most of all, he's not you."
Marius would not hear any of it. He could not fathom that Monsieur Fauchelevent's actions were benevolent in any way- not when he was causing this much pain. Instead, he just paced angrily for a long time.
"I know what you're thinking," she said, shaking her head. "That my father is cruel! And I wish I could think that, but it's just not true. He is not cruel. He wants me to have a good life, and he only knows one way to give it to me. He knows I won't be happy this way, but what else could he do?"
He didn't answer.
"Marius," she whispered. "I am so unhappy. He knows this. Maybe… would you… Well, I'm not the one suggesting…but if he would say yes, would you be willing to… to, maybe. Well, instead of marrying him, I'd rather- would you…?"
"Marry you?" Marius asked, stopping his pacing and looking at her. "In a heartbeat. I've thought about it a lot, almost daily."
This surprised Cosette, since up until today, she had not thought of marriage at all. It had been far beyond the horizon.
"I would have asked long ago, if I'd even thought he would have said yes. But he won't."
"Why?" Cosette pleaded. "If we love each other-"
"Money, Cosette. Money," Marius said, and she knew he was right.
For two weeks, their precious time slipped by. Cosette learned that this truly was happening, and that it wasn't a cruel joke. Her father denied each time she asked for any kind of consultation.
"I don't want to tell him about us," Cosette said. "Because if he finds out, he'll be so angry, and then we'll be forbidden from seeing each other. I don't want to ruin what little time we have left." She told Marius how she hinted that she was in love with someone else, and her father said that unless he could support her, he would hear none of it. She'd replied saying that living a life without love would kill her. He said life without food would kill her faster, and she could not argue.
She knew her father was right in thinking what he was thinking. What were they to do?