A Les Miserables Fanfic

The sun shone weakly overhead, covered lightly by a thin layer of fog-like cloud. A cloak of white snow covered the frozen ground, and some of the white crystals still fell lazily through the sky. It was a little early in the year for snow, but not terribly so. A large house stood alone, snow collecting on the roof.

Outside, in the frozen garden of this house, a woman stood alone, ignoring the snow falling around her. She was clothed in a simple black cloak that reached down to her ankles and blew softly around her feet in the gentle wind. The hood hid most of her face, but what could be seen of it was beautiful. Her slender face and wide blue eyes gave her an innocent look, but there was a shadow of some past pain in her eyes, a wound that never quite healed. On this day in particular, the usual hint of pain in her eyes had increased to pure, raw grief, a silent tear running down each cheek. The woman stood with her face tilted up, watching the sky with her miserable blue gaze. She seemed to be searching for something that eluded her, waiting for something that did not come.

"Cosette, what on earth are you doing?" The woman turned to see a handsome man of medium height and jet black hair walking towards her, concern in his deep brown eyes. "You'll catch your death in this cold! Come on, let's go back inside." He said in an almost motherly tone of worry.

Cosette turned away, trying to ward off her over-concerned husband. "I'm fine, Marius." She murmured with only slight annoyance. She knew he meant well, and his concern was touching, but she'd just as soon be left alone.

Marius grew serious, hearing the muffled tears in her voice. "Cosette, what's wrong?" He asked worriedly. Her husband touched her cheek gently and turned her face toward him. "You've been crying." He accused lightly, concern heavy in his voice.

Cosette sighed. "It's nothing. I'm fine." She insisted, her weary tone contradicting her words.

Marius frowned, unconvinced. There was a knowing gleam in his eyes as he wrapped his arms around his wife in a gentle embrace. Cosette allowed herself to relax in his arms, resting her head against his chest, the tears falling freely. She whispered, "I miss him, Marius. Oh God, I miss him."

Her husband hugged her a little tighter. "I know. I wish I could help."

Cosette closed her eyes, allowing herself to find comfort in her husband's embrace. It had only been three months since her adopted father, Jean Valjean, had died. The name still sounded strange to her, for she had only learned it after his death. His letter had been obscure in meaning, and what she didn't grasp from the letter, she had forced Marius to explain. The death of the old man, his blatant hints to past events during his last hour, seemed to be pardon from Marius's promise for silence. He had explained everything to Cosette; Valjean's criminal past, his life as Monsieur Madeleine, his decision to skip parole, and most of all, his shame at all he had done, and his wish for Cosette to understand why he had been unable to reveal this in person. She understood that he had been ashamed, but she still felt irritated at his silence. Why on earth would he assume that she would hold a few petty crimes against him? Did he honestly think that the revelation of his past would cause her to recoil in horror, her vision of him shifting to a hideous convict in chains, instead of the father who had raised her with love? And now he was gone, and she would never be able to convince him otherwise.

She murmered as if to herself, "I never thought I'd lose him like that. You know what I mean? Somehow, I always thought he'd be there, a strong, kind presence that never left, never worn by age. He always seemed so strong. God knows how many times I've seen him lift a weight that would prove a challenge to a bull. Ever since I met him, I haven't been able to imagine life without him. And now he's gone."

Marius pulled back so he could look her in the eyes. She stared back at him with her miserable blue gaze, unflinching. Marius saw something in her which he hadn't seen before, some quiet inner strength that was buried deep in her. Even in her misery, he saw that she was strong, strong enough to make it through this. Some past pain had hardened her enough to survive this grief. And he would help her through every moment of it.

He lifted his hand and cupped her chin in his hand, wiping away a stray tear with his thumb. "He's at peace now." He said simply. "I know you miss him, but now he's in a place beyond suffering. He's with your mother, and he's watching over you as closely as he did in life."

She sighed, closing her eyes and lifting her hand and laying it on top of his. "I know." They stood like that for a while, taking comfort in each other's presence. After a while, Cosette opened her eyes, a sort of grim determination in her eyes. "Go on inside. I'll only be a few minutes more."

Marius wanted to protest, but he knew that it would be in vain. His wife was decidedly stubborn when she felt the need to be. Besides, hovering over her like a worried mother would probably do more harm than good. He nodded. "Very well." He turned to go, but couldn't supress the urge to ask in an anxious voice, "Don't take too long, okay?"

Cosette smiled a little at the last remark. "I won't." Marius left, closing the door of their home softly behind him. Cosette was alone once more, a lone figure in that solemn world of white. She looked up at the pale sky, her blue eyes searching for something that escaped her. She said in a low, hesitent voice, "Father... I don't know if you can hear me..." The woman hesitated, then continued, "I wish you were here. I wish I didn't have to do this without you."

She closed her eyes, her voice becoming suddenly stronger. "Thank you. Thank you for caring for me beyond duty, for protecting me from harm, for raising me when I was not yours to raise. Thank you for everything." There was a deep undercurrent of love in her voice, love for a man who had raised her like his own. So passionate was her speech that it seemed impossible that there would be no answer, that some stray voice would not make itself heard in response. But no one did. The silence of the snowy air would have seemed cruel to an onlooker, but in it, Cosette seemed to hear everything she needed to. She looked at the heavens with a smile that, while retaining some of its misery, still seemed to speak of hope, of a time when grief would be a distant memory.

The woman remained there only for a minute or so more, watching the sky with pain mixed with hope in her wide blue eyes, then turned and retreated to the warmth of her house. The snow continued to fall, but no one was there to see it. A new life had been embraced, and nothing outside of it mattered. A memory of death still lingered, but one day it would bring joy, not tears. They had take a step towards hope, and that was enough for now.

As previously stated, I see no reason to hate Cosette simply because she got the guy and Eponine didn't. Sure, she seems a little annoying when she's older, but in my opinion, that's due to the fact that she's in love with Marius. I think some of the tough little girl is still in her, and I tried to convey that. She spent most of her childhood as a slave, with abusive guardians. I'm not sure that something like that can ever completely go away. I also wanted to show them grieving for Valjean, who deserves so much more then the plain tombstone he got. Grief like that takes a while to fade, but Cosette will be stronger because of it. I also wanted to do a bit of MariusXCosette fluff. Marius might not be my favorite character ever *coughstalkercough*, but he truly does love Cosette, and the idea of him fretting over her like a mother hen seemed both realistic and adorable. Also, this is supposed to be book-verse, although looking at it now, it's pretty interchangeable with musical-verse.

If anyone sees any inconsistencies, inaccuracies, or has any suggestions as to better my writing, please tell me. We can only improve through learning our mistakes. In other words, critique is greatly appreciated.

Cosette, Marius, and Jean Valjean (c) Victor Hugo and the guys who wrote the musical