Valjean saw her last on rough cotton sheets. He took note of the defeated blue of her eyes – the shade of the ocean when it realizes that its waves would never touch the clouds – and the sharp lines of her shape, the sickly glow of the melting candle on the other side of the room scattering soft light on the sweat of her cold skin, the words from her used lips.

Is Cosette close to the house, monsieur? Does she not look lovely in her coat? Pink and white and smiling. I do hope the children won't be rough. She is so frail! Thenardier said so herself. Five francs for the warm wool. And what am I, if only sweet Cosette could be warm?! I'm so tired, monsieur, as if I've been hurting for the longest time. Perhaps, if I close my eyes.

The bridge of his nose throbbed, like what noses did before tears start to paint cheeks and jaws. Slowly, Valjean sat on the edge of the bed. A feeling rattled in his lungs; the one that stains when you have just finished racing through hell, thanking God that only you had to do it, and then suddenly finding out someone else had to as well.

He held her hand for the longest time, as only two people of the same sadness can.

When rain from her eyes started rolling over her face (one, two, three, four), he gathered the sleeping woman into his arms. He held Fantine impossibly tight, hoping that it could break their skin, so he could somehow take her shivering heart and exchange it for his own, for a second forgetting that his too had barely recovered. Valjean couldn't let go. He might have thought that by sitting on a derelict bed, he can whisk her away from the sorrow, the pain that tainted their breaths.

Together, Valjean and Fantine tinted each other with a familiar melancholy and an unsaid prayer. He cocooned her into himself as life has ensnared them in an eternity of loving and never receiving, and in that space of unending grief, they loved. So, in a way, they may have loved each other.


Disclaimer: I do not own Les Miserables.

A/N: Reviews are greatly appreciated!