His eyes were the strangest mixture of blue and gray and green that Cosette had ever seen, and she thought they were beautiful. She felt those eyes on her and had to look up to meet their gaze: He gave her a sweet, shy smile and she found herself smiling in return. She reached down to pick up the books that had fallen to the ground at the same time he did. Their hands brushed together. She blushed bright red and tried to pull away, but his fingers curled around her wrist and brought her back. She looked back up at him again. She couldn't help but be almost enraptured by them; she thought she could spend hours trying to identify the all the shades of color.

Cosette had to let go eventually when she heard her Papa calling her name. She blushed even darker, smoothed her dress and tugged her bonnet lower on her forehead to hide her confusion. She went to stand by her father, who was talking to another man and offering him a little bag of money. In all honesty, she wasn't paying much attention. She was looking for the boy in the crowd and trying not to seem like she was looking for the boy.

And then she was distracted as the man tugged at her father's shirt, revealing a brand of black numbers across his chest. Her Papa turned very white and wrapped his coat about him, buttoning it all the way up his neck. The man, who looked quite mad, yelled, "You're the bastard who borrowed Cosette!" and tried to grab for her.

Cosette gave a little gasp and reached out for her papa, but he was ignoring her. He pushed the man back and said something she couldn't hear. He tensed when a tall, commanding man strode in and glared from under heavy brows who demanded information from Papa in a deep, imperious voice. Papa did not look at him, and when the policeman turned, he put his arm about Cosette and hurried her down the street and around the corner.

She didn't get to see where the boy had gone.

In the evening, she made a point of avoiding her Papa. Luckily for her, he didn't seem to notice much and had spent most of the day pacing about his study, scowling fiercely. Cosette went out in to the garden with a book with all intentions to read it and get her thoughts ordered, but she found herself slipping into a daydream. Love at first sight was something she had read about in the fairytales she'd loved as a little girl, and she'd thought it quite wonderful then. Although she still romanticized it now, she found it rather hard to believe that love at first sight actually existed.

Now, though...

As strange as it sounded, in that boy's eyes, she had seen the escape she had been longing for. Every day now, she was beginning to feel that she did not belong behind walls. Even her garden was feeling like an expensive cage. She wanted out, and she had seen that opportunity in him. Somehow, she had seen that spark of freedom, of adventure, in his eyes. She thought that somehow, this boy understood that longing, for something greater than himself, which conflicted with other, more mundane desires.

And yet how was it possible? She had never been in love before, so how could she know how it felt, let alone be so sure she was in it after seeing someone for all of three minutes? "Can people really fall in love so fast?" she whispered to herself. Rationally, she knew it wasn't possible. And yet...and yet...

Perhaps she was trying too hard to put a label on this...this feeling. She was trying to call it love when it was nothing but infatuation and her wish to have something more in her life. Maybe she had imagined it - imagined everything. The crash, the boy, and the strange, immediate feeling of a connection. Yes, now that she had thought about it, it made quite a bit of sense. She had bumped into a normal boy in the square and there had been no connection, no spark, no ridiculous love at first sight. She nodded. Yes. That was it.

But a very large part of her was convinced it was real. There was a undeniable certainty in her mind that it really had happened. And that she might be falling in love with a stranger whose name she didn't know.

It was more than a little unnerving to think about.

Cosette shook her head and sat down on the bench. She thumbed idly through her book and didn't read a word of it. She put it back down and began to wander aimlessly, pausing at the gate to lean against it, chin in hand, elbow resting atop the low stone wall. Her thoughts drifted to the boy again. Perhaps, just perhaps, she wasn't so alone any more.

She was broken out of her reverie from the sound of footsteps. Her Papa entered the garden, looking a little frazzled, but he put on a smile for her. He sat down on the bench. "You look lonely, Cosette," he said with a touch of humor. "What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing really," she said, returning the smile. "Just...things."

He hesitated. "Cosette, are you truly happy here?"

"I..." Strange that he should bring this up now, of all times. But she couldn't lie to her Papa; that was a sin. "Papa, I love you, I do, but I want something more! There are things you won't tell me - why were you so frightened by that policeman? Why won't you tell me what happened to my mother? Papa, you can't keep secrets from me! You have to trust me." It wasn't really a lie, she tried to convince herself. It was true.

"Cosette." His voice was firm. "These things are in the past and you needn't worry about them. I won't put the burden of knowledge on you - you're still too young."

"But I'm not!" she cried. "Papa, I'm not a child any longer!"

"Enough, Cosette!" He paused, calmed himself. "In time, God will reveal the truth to you." He left her in the garden. Cosette slammed her hand down on the wall in anger. Her palm stung from the force; she winced and balled it in a fist, covering it with her other hand.

"God forgive me," she murmured. She took in a deep breath and unclenched her first and began to walk about the garden until she began to calm down. She sighed and sat on the bench, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

The sound of footsteps made her start violently. For a moment she thought her father had come back, but when she looked at the house, there was no sign of him. She looked at the gate and her heart began to race out of control. The boy from the street was climbing over the wall and into her garden. He smiled shyly at her; she could do nothing but stare and try to remember how to breathe.

"Mademoiselle..." The boy offered her a bouquet of flowers, blushing. "These are for you, I - my God, what is wrong with me?" He looked helplessly at her. "I don't even know your name!" Cosette blushed as well; it was very silly indeed. She pressed the flowers to her chest. "I...mademoiselle, I - I think..." He trailed off.

She put the flowers down and approached him, holding her hand to take his. "M'sieur," she said breathlessly, "you needn't worry. I know what you're trying to say." She flushed from her head to her toes as his handsome face lit up in a wide, beaming smile.

"My name is Marius Pontmercy," he said, bowing elegantly.

She curtsied. "And mine's Cosette."

"Cosette!" She loved the way he said her name. He laughed. "Cosette, I don't know what to say!"

She giggled. He was adorable. "Then don't say anything," she said. He ran a hand through his unruly brown curls and she had to smile again. How had she questioned herself before? Everything felt so right that it seemed impossible to deny it. She flung her arms around him and he quite lifted her off her feet. She buried her face in his shirt. And when she lifted her head and he bent down to press his lips to hers, she was sure she had never felt so happy in her life.

A/N: Well, lookie there...Cosette has depth...XD I think Cosette is written off far too often as a shallow love interest, which she isn't. She's very innocent and sheltered, yes, but that doesn't mean she's not a full-fledged character and person and deserves to be portrayed as such. So this is my attempt to give Cosette a chance to say her piece! (In the musical-verse, I mean.) Besides, you've gotta admit...Cosette and Marius are pretty dang cute. :3