Hey y'all! I 've returned to fanfiction. Please, give this a try. This is a prologue, an introductory chapter. This shoul dbe about three or four chapters. I do hope you like it, and welcome me back!

The fever that was sitting heavy in Marius' mind caused everything around him to be a thick, clouded haze. Voices drifted in and around him, but he could not pin them to their owners. The concept of time was utterly lost to him. He felt the constant burn and torture of his wounds, and the absolute refusal to eat anything. He sweat profusely and was cold all throughout. He felt himself speaking but was completely unaware of what he was saying. In moment of lucidity when he most wanted to call out and ask foranyone, to tell him where he was, his voice was lost to him. It was clear he was in a terrible state.

But there was one face... no, not a face, a concept that kept him from going under. The concept was Cosette. It would be completely false, romantic and ridiculous to say he continued to fight to see her once again. In the deep throes of fever, Marius was so far from planning any kind of return to her. But the concept of happiness ahead, the hope for something to fight for, that did keep him holding on. He was obviously still alive; if it was Hell, he'd be in worse pain. If he was in Heaven, he would be happy. So he was not dead.

And if he was not dead, then his story was not done being told. So the possibility of Cosette kept him from sinking under.

The time did roll by, whether in days or weeks or months Marius did not know. Eventually, he found he could open his eyes and gaze about him as well as sustain conscious thought. He was in his grandfather's house, bedridden. A doctor was caring for him. His shoulder had been horrible dislocated. Marius gathered that he had been spotted at the barricades by a friend of his grandfather's, and one who knew Theodole, and they had brought him home in a carriage.

As his speech grew stronger, he asked his grandfather whether he would stand trial.

"Not with some strings pulled, you won't," his grandfather said with a wink. Uncharacteristic of him to want to pardon a rebel, but Marius did not have the energy to argue. From his place on his bed, Cosette was gone, as were all his friends.

He'd asked for the paper from the day after the fighting, and there it was, clearly in print: Courfeyrac, Jean Prouvaire, Enjolras, Combeferre, all of them, dead, along with "numerous others yet to be identified."

A few more inquiries answered something else: Cosette, nor anyone else for that matter, had come to ask after him. A plea to Basque sent him to the rue plumet and the rue de l'Ouest; she was not there.

He had no idea what became of her, but he knew he had to find her again. As soon as he was well enough to leave the house, Marius took a (well supervised) carriage to Cosette's church. While they visited in the rue plumet, she told him the parish she and her father belonged to. He stayed for every service that Sunday morning, but she did not enter the church.

He returned home that evening exhausted and yet very sure. Cosette was no longer a resident ofFrance. She had gone toLondon, just like she had said.

There was only one thing for it. If he'd been given a second chance at life, Marius would have to make the most of it. He would go toEnglandand find her once more.

Of course his grandfather refused outright.

"I am not going to let you chase some little girlie all over God-knows-where. I will not pay for a ticket, not ever. Even if you weren't recovering from a near-death experience. Marius, dear, you go to fight to prove something to me, and I understood it. You wanted me to know that I had to take you seriously, you were not a child anymore. Well, you've done it. I take you plenty seriously, I know you make your own choices. You don't need to go toEnglandto prove anything to me, I understand it just fine now. Don't go putting yourself in danger over some pretty lass. There are thousands of pretty lassies inParis, I can find you another one tomorrow if you wish. Once you're well again I'll invite all the girls I know from all the families I'm friends with, we'll have a party, you'll forget all about this one before you can say-"

"No, Grandfather," Marius said, gritting his teeth. "I did not fight to prove you a point about my decisiveness. I told you that if you did not let me marry Cosette, I would kill myself. She left forEngland, I tried to keep my promise, but fate intervened. There's only one thing left for me to do. I have to find her. If I don't, I'll never be happy again."

"Oh," Grandfather said, rolling his eyes. "Don't be ridiculous, Marius. You're not even twenty-two. How could you know you'll never be happy again?"

"I have to try," Marius said, growing very angry. "Grandfather, please. I know I can't go until I'm well enough to travel, but if you don't let me go I'll leave right now, in my sickly state, and refuse food and live on the streets. I'm perfectly content to die without her- my friends are gone, and if I can't go find her, she's gone too."

"Marius," his grandfather said, turning very pale.

"No, Grandfather. You don't understand, you've never met her. You don't understand how much I love her. I won't live without her. I'll leave right this minute if you refuse."

"Marius, stop it," his grandfather said, finally looking shaken. "Don't say things like that."

With that, the old man left and locked himself in his study for the remainder of the day, and most of the following morning.

While Marius lay fuming, thinking and rethinking the previous conversation, his grandfather strode defiantly back into the room.

"You are to write every day. And for God's sake, I am buying you a new suit before you go."

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