So this is not entirely original. I have adapted it loosely from my old story "The Lark." I felt there was more I could have gotten into there, and I am a better writer now than I was when I wrote that story. Mind you this does not follow the same story arc, but you will find some similarities.
Anyway, enjoy this! It's been stewing for some time now.
AU, of course.
Marius and Courfeyrac were finishing up their humble dinners, Marius' stomach in knots.
"Feuilly and I are going out," Courfeyrac informed his friend. "We're going to the theatre. Want to come? I heard the comedy we're seeing is so raucous that grown men faint. I'm deliciously excited."
Marius flashed a smile at his friend, but his nerves prevented him from actually laughing. "I would like to join you, but I have somewhere to be."
Courfeyrac rolled his eyes. "Of course. We mustn't keep her waiting, right there Marius?" He flashed a smile, winking.
Marius shrugged, not volunteering any information. He was actually not seeing Cosette that night- he was throwing caution and his last hope to the wind and going to see his grandfather.
"Anyway, if you can bear to drag yourself away before midnight, I'm sure our meeting at the Musain will run late. Come by and join us."
"You're meeting this late at night?" Marius asked. "After you go to the theatre?"
"We have quite a lot to finish up tonight," Courfeyrac said impatiently. "Has your head come down from the sky long enough to perceive that General Lamarque is dead? My dear Marius, you are so thick sometimes-"
"I know he's dead!" Marius snapped.
"Well the funeral is tomorrow, and we all know there will be an uproar!" Courfeyrac's eyes gleamed, hungry for what was to come. "Oh, Marius, we've been waiting for ages but something will finally change! You'll be there, won't you?"
"Where?" Marius asked, distractedly rehearsing what he was to say to his grandfather.
"At the funeral," Courfeyrac drove.
"Oh," Marius said, genuinely surprised. "Um... No, I don't think so."
Courfeyrac looked taken aback. "Marius," he said, his eyebrows very high. "I know our politics differ somewhat, but this is huge! We even agree on this! You know it's ridiculous, what's they're doing to the man-"
"I know," Marius said. "But tomorrow just is not a good day for me."
"Mary, Mary, quite Contrary," Courfeyrac said under his breath.
"Don't call me that!" Marius snapped, hating the nickname his friend had made up for him years ago, who had often called him a bothered old woman named Mary. "I just have a lot on my mind."
It was true. Tonight, he would either emerge with permission to marry Cosette, or his hopes dashed completely. Whatever the case, his life would be in a completely different place as of tomorrow afternoon, and he did not have the patience to consider adding political unrest to his turmoil.
"So you're planning a revolt tonight?" Marius asked, changing the subject slightly.
"Yes," Courfeyrac said.
"Don't get caught," Marius said warningly.
"Oh, I was planning on leaving a note to the police about it," Courfeyrac said sarcastically, and then sent his friend a winning smile. "Come on! Give me a grin, Marius! What's there to frown so about? We're young! The world is about to change! We're hot blooded Frenchmen who have freedom in our hearts and beautiful women in our beds! Well, I have the last part, anyway... you never seem to be able to get any. Why not enjoy it? Come to the meeting tonight. Come to the theatre."
"I can't," Marius said, his face white, and looking like he swallowed something too large.
"Mary! Monsieur l'abbé!"
"Stop it!" Marius snapped, too nervous to be amused by his friend, whose spirits were flying higher than the clouds. He got up, and put his glass on the counter with the basin of water. Marius was halfway to the bedroom when a knock sounded at the door.
"Can you get that?" he called to Courfeyrac. "I'm about to go change my shirt."
"Yes," Courfeyrac said. "And make sure you shut that door tight! God forbid I see your scrawny chest-"
"Just answer the door, Courfeyrac," Marius said, rolling his eyes. Courfeyrac always made fun of the fact that Marius, after having spent hundreds of nights sleeping in the same room as Courfeyrac, still would not even change his shirt in front of him. At least not with the lights on.
Courfeyrac, still laughing, opened the door. His eyes landed on a very tearful young woman. Her face was red, and she was shaking.
Courfeyrac immediately thought she might be a thief or a prostitute, fleeing from the police and wanting a place to hide. But then he took in the sight of her clothing: clean, modest, well-made bourgeoisie clothing.
He could not even decide if she was pretty or not, given the fact that her face was scrunched up and her eyes wide with terror. She continued to cry.
When she looked at him, her gaze darkened with disappointment, and she looked utterly crestfallen. The urge to laugh actually overtook him- what a greeting! After just boasting about all the highs of life, he opens the door to a girl who bursts into tears.
"I'm sorry I'm not better looking," was all he had to offer.
She looked at him with such complete confusion and fear that he immediately regretted it. Obviously sarcasm was wholly lost on her. And anyway, he hadn't been completely correct- she did not burst into tears at the sight of him. Obviously she'd burst a few blocks back.
He looked at her very modest clothing, obviously a tightly laced corset, the thick cotton, the buttons, the laces, and the burst image just made him laugh. This poor convent girl quite needed to burst out of herself!
Realizing he'd not properly greeted her, he cleared his head and continued.
"Bon soir, mademoiselle," he offered, giving her his most charming smile, and a very nonchalant lean against the doorframe. One of his mistresses told him once that men looked handsome when they rolled their sleeves up to their elbows, and he was pleased to see that he was wearing his shirt that way. Subtly, he reached his arm across the doorway and rested his hand against the other side, showing off the sinewy muscle of his forearm. "Do I know you?"
She dissolved into more tears. He had never seen anyone look more pitiful in his life.
Courfeyrac was not used to his charm being lost on the female lot. Though he still hadn't decided if she was pretty, he now decided she wasn't much worth the trouble- if she couldn't stop crying long enough to say 'hello,' she certainly would not be very much fun in the bedroom. Not to mention she did not laugh at his joke. It had been funny, hadn't it? She was just a boring drab not to have laughed.
Still, he decidedly did not like the fact that she didn't succumb to him, and he tried softening his demeanor. Maybe the change of tactic would appeal him more to her.
"May I help you, dear?"
"Who's at the door, Courfeyrac?" Marius asked.
Hearing his voice, the girl seemed to have some sense knocked into her. She dropped her gaze from Courfeyrac's face and, with a determined look on her face while still managing to continue looking completely miserable, she actually physically pushed past Courfeyrac into the apartment.
Courfeyrac turned, mouth slack in surprise, as she threw her arms around Marius' waist, sobbing hysterically against him. He looked desperately at his friend for an explanation, but received none. Marius' attention was completely diverted onto the girl.
"Cosette," Marius whispered, obviously demanding to know what had happened.
Whatever had happened, Courfeyrac cracked a huge smile.
Ha! He knew her name!
Trust Marius to find the only girl in Paris who didn't like him, Courfeyrac.
And the only girl in Paris without a sense of humor.
Humph. So there would be no fun times out to dinner with him, Marius, this 'Cosette' and one of his girls, would there?
Still, Courfeyrac felt triumphant. He found out something Marius had tried so desperately to keep from him for weeks- months even. He'd won!
A few moments later, though, and Courfeyrac's mood was deterred. Marius still had not paid him the slightest bit of mind, and from the girl's hysterics, it was clear that something was actually wrong. Courfeyrac watched his friend's face, and saw unadulterated fear there.
The smile died from Courfeyrac's face.
Something was very, very wrong.