Title- La Fleur d'Argent
Characters/Pairings-
Many and various, primarily Marius/Cosette
Rating-
T for swearing and Courfeyrac
Summary-
The last place young Baron Marius Pontmercy wants to be is at the party in honor of his cousin Theodule's engagement. Until, that is, he meets the bride. When he falls head-over-heels for Cosette Tholomyes, it falls to his friends to help him win her away from his rakish cousin.

Very Long A/N- This requires some explaining. If you've ever seen Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, then nothing needs to be explained. The plot was hugely inspired by that opera (in particular Barbara Bonney's 1985 performance of Sophie opposite Kiri Te Kanawa), so if you have seen it, you can probably guess where this is going. If you haven't seen it... you'll still understand this perfectly well, but you may not experience it on quite the same level.
The idea is, of course, that we retell the delightful (but rather lackluster) story of Marius and Cosette in the style of an operatic farce... specifically, one rather similar to that of Der Rosenkavalier, in which the beautiful Sophie is engaged to an oafish and wholly unsuitable man, only to fall head over heels in love with the charming young Octavian. What results is a rather ridiculous chain of events that can only be untangled by the intervention of Octavian's much older lover, Princess Marie Therese, who decides to sacrifice her own happiness that the one she loves may be happy.

Get the picture? Good, because this author's note is way too long already!


Prologue

It was an unfortunate circumstance, everyone later said, that Felix Tholomyes did not marry better. He was a rather brilliant young lawyer, and had he made a match with someone more suitable, he might even have become a great man. His bride was so excruciatingly common, quite clearly born of peasantry as she had no parents to speak of and never had, and the fact that she had grown up to be beautiful was no excuse. The general consensus was that the grisettes of Paris were made to be mistresses, not wives... at least, not wives of personages of as much consequence as the son of the mayor of Toulouse.

Still, there was no helping it, they said. Tholomyes had made his choice, such as it was, and there was no fixing it. He was excused this blunder, to some extent, on the basis of youthful folly.

And the girl was pretty, they acknowledged. With her beautiful blonde hair and her free laughter, no one could help but be charmed by the lovely Fantine. No wonder Tholomyes had so thoroughly lost his head over her.

They were married in Paris- no one ever quite discovered the date- and when Tholomyes had done with his studies they returned together, with their child. Everyone considered that perhaps the date of the child's birth might be called into question, but no one actually said it aloud and so it more or less passed without scandal.

It probably helped, of course, that the little girl was delightful. From the moment the friends and neighbors of the Tholomyes family saw her toddling about, with her mother's beauty and a brand of childlike wit that seemed to have surely been inherited from her father, they were captivated. No one could really find fault with little Euphrasie over her parents' sins, for she was too beloved, and so they called her Cosette.

She quickly befriended all the other little children of bourgeois families that she encountered. She also took to enthusiastically tailing after a pair of the older boys in the neighborhood, who were perhaps four or five years her senior. René Combeferre and Antoine Enjolras, like any pair of young boys would, resented the intrusion of this very small person upon their boyhood games, but even they were not immune to Cosette's charms, and tolerated her as best they could.

All in all, it was not really such a bad thing. The misfortunate alliance perhaps hindered Tholomyes career, but as he was still the most competent lawyer in Toulouse, it did not matter much. It was a pleasant life for the little family, and it fed the provincial gossip-mill for some time. Pleasant things, though, cannot go on forever, and change came upon Felix Tholomyes in a most shocking manner.

Fantine was not a strong woman, and one winter she fell desperately ill. For weeks she struggled valiantly against the infection in her lungs, determined to survive for her daughter's sake. Still, not even the strongest mind can combat the weakness of the body forever, and within a month she had died.

The funeral was a simple but well-attended event, and the wagging tongues of Toulouse called it a tasteful affair. The widower was appropriately heartbroken, the child- now seven years old- looked pretty in her mourning clothes and her grief was a quiet, as befitted a young girl from a mostly respectable family.

Felix Tholomyes was many things, a brilliant lawyer, an upstanding citizen, but he was not ever really meant to be a father. Lost in grief for his wife, suddenly abandoned and as busy as ever, he was utterly incapable of properly caring for a young daughter. To his credit, he knew this. Little Cosette was sent to a convent of the Ursulines to commence an education, which served the dual purpose of bringing her up as properly as could be achieved and of getting her out from beneath her father's feet.

To the convent she went and at the convent she remained until the age of sixteen. And that, my friends... well, that is where the story of Cosette Tholomyes really begins.


A/N- Do not expect regular updates. I am a fast writer who is excruciatingly busy and with way too many works-in-progress in fanfiction-world right now. However, I solemnly swear to do my best (and reviews do help, I promise they do).