Another AU... I don't know how I got this idea, or why I would choose to put Valjean through this. But I hope you enjoy this new series.
One evening shortly before Christmas in 1832, Marius, Cosette, Monsieur Fauchelevent, and Monsieur Gillenormond went out to once all four of them were having a good, relaxed time. Monsieur Fauchelevent had not wanted to go- when Grandfather invited him out, he stiffened, worrying about the public setting and exposure. But he remembered Javert's death and, saying a prayer for the man's soul, decided it was safe.
He had also shared something of a bond with his soon-to-be son-in-law when he discovered that neither of them had wanted to go out.
"I'm just fine here, eating in the dining room like usual," Marius had claimed. He seemed to be clutching at straws once Cosette had agreed with Grandfather. The two of them wanted a change of pace, and the force of Cosette was something neither Marius nor Valjean could ignore. Still, it was comforting to know that there was at least one person nearby who did not need excitement or a dinner out to be happy. Like Valjean himself, Marius did not need to vary from the routine to enjoy his life. In fact, they both seemed to be comforted by the familiar.
The snow was swirling outside the window of the restaurant, catching hte light of the streetlamps and illuminated the passersby. For once, despite the dark of the street and the brightness of the restaurant, it was easy to see the street. Marius, facing the window and sitting opposite Cosette and her father, gazed over their shoulders and saw an inspector, some civilians, and a couple who had just exited the restaurant.
Shortly after they had received their food, Grandfather asked for the check, standing up to pay. They were by no means finished eating, but he claimed to be tired.
"I'm ninety-two," he grumbled. "And done eating. Don't let me rush you, but I want to go home."
Marius got up with his grandfather, and walked him out of the restaurant so he wouldn't slip on the streets, slick with freshly fallen snow. He helped him into the fiacre, and then bid him goodnight. The man would doubtlessly be asleep when he returned home, even if it merely in another hour. Turning to go back inside, Marius caught side of several police officers, who had joined the inspector from earlier. They were looking in the window of the restaurant. Marius bowed his head, wondering what those men were here for. But he went back inside, taking off his hat and wiping the snow from his shoulders.
About twenty minutes later when they were done eating, Marius stood up and held Cosette's coat open for her. He looked outside once more, and stiffened when he saw the police were looking inside the restaurant- right at them!He swallowed and stood up straight, looking away and pretending not to have seen them, meanwhile his brain was working hard. Why were they staring at them? The only thing he could think of was... what if the doctor had sold the information, and told the police that he'd been a rebel? That he had fought last summer in the riots? That had to be it- what else could it be?
Treason, he'd be imprisoned for treason, and possibly put to death.
Oh God... and they would arrest him, right here, right in front of Cosette and her father. He breathed deeply, trying to calm himself. He was a lawyer, and he knew plenty of other lawyers. His grandfather could help him, they would get this fixed. He would not be put to death! He could not be!
He stood up straight and walked beside Cosette and her father outside the restaurant, Cosette with her arm in her father's.
"That's him," a policeman said.
Marius closed his eyes, wishing he could rewind time and never have gone out tonight... but how had they known he would be going out to this restaurant anyway?
"Cosette, go with Marius." Marius heard Cosette's father say. His voice was calm, but very serious.
"Papa?" she asked. Marius opened his eyes and saw the police walking over to the three of them.
"Cosette, please do as I say. Go with Marius." Marius looked at Monsieur Fauchelevent's eyes, and they were resigned and calm, exactly the opposite of Cosette's, which were frantic and panicked.
She took a step away from her father obediantly, but a small enough one to make it clear she was not ready to go anywhere.
"Monsieur Pontmercy, please take my daughter home." His voice was rehearsed, as though he'd been planning for this day for many years and it had come.
"Monsieur, I don't think-"
But Marius was interrupted when the police reached them. Instead of talking to Marius, like he'd thought, they ignored him entirely. Marius heard the familiar murmurings- the things police offers said when they arrested someone. And they were speaking to Monsieur Fauchelevent. Marius was far away, his mind scraping over the past few months, wondering what could have happened then, wondering if he'd missed something, thinking of small gestures and facial expressions, looking for clues. Cosette cried out, bringing him back to the present- her hands were pressed over her mouth, her eyes filled with tears. The police had her father pressed against the wall, and were putting him in handcuffs.
"I demand to know why you are arresting this man!" Marius thundered.
"Jean Valjean is being arrested for..." The police officer began listing a thread of crimes. Theft. Broken parole. Forgery. Impersonating a public official. Assault.
His heart dropped so far, he thought it had hit the ground. Cosette was sobbing.
"It's not true!" she screamed.
"You must have the wrong man. Monsieur?" Marius asked, looking at Cosette's father. The man said nothing. Marius' insides turned cold.
"Where is your proof?" he demanded. "And you have the wrong man! This is not 'Jean Valjean!'"
"If you come to court, we can discuss this there. Until then-" They heaved Monsieur Fauchelevent from the side of the building where he'd been pressed, and began directing him into the police carriage.
Cosette ran after them, throwing her arms around her father, sobbing hysterically.
"No," she yelled when they ordered her to let go, and held on tighter to him. "No! He would never do anything like that!" she cried, her voice thick and filled with the sounds of her tears, her breath coming in spurts, her face red and wet. "You don't understand."
Her father tried to edge away from her, to get her to let go before any of the officers forced her off him. But she clung to him in a vice grip, her cries shrill and filled with fear and sorrow.
"Control her," the an officer said coldly to Marius.
Marius unhooked Cosette's arms from her father's neck, and this time she relented, pressing herself against Marius' chest, not wanting to look as they loaded her father into the carriage.
"Where are you taking him? Mark my words, you will hear from us- you can't just take a man away-"
"Not yet. But soon," he leered. Cosette sobbed harder, remembering the men from the galley's she'd seen once- monsters. Her father was no monster!
"I'll be there," Marius promised Monsieur Fauchelevent. "Just keep quiet until then," he said, trying to sound like he knew what he was doing, despite his shaking hands and voice. "Don't say anything to anyone," Marius told him, remembering his lawyer's training briefly. "I'll be there shortly."
"Take her home first," Monsieur Fauchelevent said as they roughly shoved him into the car, cracking his head against the top of the door. He closed his eyes, his face white with shame and pain. Cosette was still not looking. She did not want to see her father this way. "Keep her safe. Don't worry about me until she's-"
They slammed the door then, silencing Monsieur Fauchelevent. A moment later, they were driving away, the horse's hooves clacking aginst the cobblestones menacingly, leaving Marius and Cosette standing in the snow, staring at the back of the carriage.
More coming soon! Thoughts?