Title- She Will Not Be Betrayed
Summary- "She is the first to fall on this barricade... he finds it bitterly ironic." E/E but not shippy in the traditional sense
A/N- I think this may be loosely inspired by the scene where Enjolras kisses the hand of M. Mabeuf's corpse in the novel, but for the nth time I'm once again not actually sure of my own thought process... I know things like this have been done, but we all have the right to our own little twist on it, I guess. Call it a meme or something.
"We fight here in her name,
She will not die in vain,
She will not be betrayed."
Enjolras does not know her. He has seen her, a time or two, following Marius around, but never paid much attention. If he thought of her at all, it was with mild annoyance and once the passing thought that, were she not so wretched, she might even be pretty.
Her eyes are open as Marius cradles her slim body in his arms, and his tears fall on her face and mingle with hers. Death has given her a strange innocence. Enjolras doubts that she was so innocent in life, but there was a sort of tragic acceptance and beautiful strength in her last moments that he cannot help but be moved by.
"She is the first to fall," he says in a reverent whisper that nonetheless carries across the circle of young men who have gathered around the tragic waif.
Marius looks up at him. "Her name was Eponine," he says softly. "She lived in hell on earth, but she never- she never..." Renewed tears choke him and he cannot go on, but they all understand anyway. They have all seen this very creature reflecting back in the eyes of the people they pass on the street every day. It is why they are fighting this battle he knows they cannot win alone.
"Eponine," Jean Prouvaire intones, as if the name were a hymn. He looks at her for a moment, then raises his idealist's eyes to the rest of the group. "We will fight in her name today."
"We will not betray her memory," L'aigle agrees solemnly.
Marius seems content to sit there with the corpse all night, but Enjolras knows better. "The enemy will not wait. Return to your positions," he says as gently as he can. For a few moments more, they stand in silent tribute to the fallen girl, and then one by one they move back to their positions along their makeshift ramparts. Marius does not move, and neither does he, and quite soon they are alone with the body.
Enjolras sighs. "Marius, you must let her go," he says. "I will take her into the cafe. Take a few minutes to compose yourself before they attack."
The younger man nods and moves away, wiping his eyes on his sleeve. Hesitantly, Enjolras takes his place by the body and lifts her carefully in his arms, carrying her into the bistro. She was tall, he notes, but despite that she hardly weighs a thing, she was so underfed. He is strangely moved by this observation.
He lays her out on a table inside and respectfully arranges her limp and disordered limbs. Her blood stains his white shirt, but he does not care. When he's finished, he steps back, taking a moment to look at her. She is dressed in boys clothing, which displays even more how painfully thin she is. Death is already beginning to strip her of what little color she had, but even now he can see that he was right. Had circumstances been different, she might have been beautiful. The hint of red in her hair, her delicate features, those wide gray eyes...
Enjolras sighs sadly, and closes those eyes.
"She is the first to fall on this barricade," he repeats to himself, shaking his head. "Who were you? You're so young..."
He finds it bitterly ironic. It is always the women and the children who suffer first from the sting of injustice, and it's almost fitting that the first to die on their haphazard monument to freedom is both woman and child. For the tiniest moment, he regrets this. Liberty is worth any price, but looking at this girl, who never deserved to die like this... that's not fair. He wishes more than anything that there were a way to right all that is wrong with the world without bloodshed. He wants freedom, he wants justice, he wants equality, but he doesn't want to fight. He doesn't want his friends to die, he doesn't want his enemies to die, and he never meant for her to die. And then, just like that, he understands.
Softly, he kisses her on the forehead, like a benediction. "You will not die in vain," he promises her, lips still brushing her cooling skin as he speaks.