Chapter Twenty-

Everyone was antsy the next morning, worried about what was going to come. They had been told that the National Guard was close by, and that they would certainly be attacking today. Evangeline flitted nervously around Enjolras, who seemed more anxious by the minute. Evangeline couldn't find anything to do, but she couldn't stop moving, pacing the barricade, the wine shop.

She didn't talk to Eponine, and she didn't eat - she couldn't, her stomach was in knots. Then there came the order to prepare for combat. The National Guard was approaching. The rebels lined up, and Courfeyrac began handing out guns. When Evangeline stepped up though, he stopped. "Come with me," He ordered in a gruff voice and led her out of view of the others.

"Pierre LaRue, you are a liar," He jabbed a finger in her face. "You're not a student, and you're not a man."

"What?!" Evangeline cried nervously. She had been caught, only moments before her mission was to begin! "No, Courfeyrac, you don't understand-"

"You're a girl," He snarled. "And there is no place for women here." Suddenly, he picked her up by the waist and threw Evangeline over his shoulder. "I don't know what you think you're doing, but you're going home."

"Courfeyrac, please!" Evangeline begged. "Put me down!" She kneed him in the chest with all her strength and he bent over with a grunt. Evangeline slid off him and darted back, her hands poised and ready to strike. "You let the little boy - Gavroche - you let him stay here. Why not me? I won't get in the way, I promise."

"You're a liability," Courfeyrac breathed hard, standing up straight again. "If they captured you, we'd have to rescue you, and that puts more men in danger."

"Your chivalry is touching, but unnecessary." Evangeline narrowed her eyes. "I don't need you to save me."

"Call to arms!" Someone shouted and Evangeline looked at each other in fear.

"I'm not protecting you," Courfeyrac promised and rushed out the door. Evangeline followed and grabbed a gun.

The National Guard was pouring into the streets, and the students were lining up in the barricade taking aim. Evangeline steadied her pistol, not fully sure how to shoot it.

"Fire!" Enjolras shouted and there were several loud explosions. Evangeline ducked, as screams of pain emerged from the Guard. The soldiers surged forward and Evangeline stood up and raised the pistol, firing. She faintly heard a crack of a rifle ahead, and something ripped through her shoulder.

Evangeline toppled of the barricade, clutching her shoulder. Blood was running from the bullet and over her hands, making them slippery and wet. The pain was horrible, and she felt that with each palpitation of her heart, she was slowly bleeding out. She cried out in anguish and heard voices swim around her. Someone, a man was shouting, sounding furious and scared.

"Relax Enjolras," An old man said quietly. Valjean. "I've got him." Evangeline felt herself being lifted and cried out as her shoulder was jerked, causing it to bleed further.

"Monsieur, no, please, I'm alright!" She shouted, as he carried her into the wine shop. "I can fight!"

"No you can't," He said gently, setting her down against the wall. "I'll take care of you."

"Please, Monsieur, I'm fine," Evangeline panicked. "Go back to the fight."

"My boy, you're hurt." Valjean tried to pull down Evangeline's shirt and she shrieked at his touch.

"Stop!" She swatted his hand away. "I am a woman!" She cried, and Valjean's face paled. Evangeline watched him with terrified eyes, breathing hard, labored breaths. "Please," She murmured. "Don't tell, Monsieur. I have to be here...I have to be here..."

"What possible reason could there be?" Valjean asked in dismay.

"I have to protect Enjolras," Evangeline breathed and suddenly burst into tears. She covered her face in her hands, which tugged on the wound. "He's my husband, and he can't die! Valjean, I have to protect him. I have to save him. He can't die."

Evangeline crumpled and began sobbing, and gently, almost paternally, Valjean folded her into his arms. She moaned in anguish, as the pain from the bullet intensified. She leaned against Valjean's chest and breathed hard, the pain almost unbearable. She screamed, tears and snot running down her face and he rubbed her back gently.

"It's going to be fine," He murmured, almost paternally. "I have a daughter too, but she isn't nearly as brave as you."

"I have to get the bullet out," Evangeline sniffed sharply, trying her best to ignore the pain. "Valjean, you have to help me." She pulled down her shirt, just enough so it would expose the wound. There was so much blood, she couldn't even see the skin.

The old man dug in his pocket and drew out a pocketknife and a flask of alcohol. "I will do my best," He promised. "But it will be incredibly painful. Are you sure you really want this?"

"Yes," Evangeline placed her hands against the floor, for want of something better to grab. "Do it."

"Alright then," Valjean gently laid the girl on her back. "You are so brave," He wiped away the blood and drizzled the bullet hole with alcohol. Evangeline winced, breathing out hard. She felt Valjean's hands on either side of her wound, gently pulling away the sides. She breathed in sharply, but when the knife slid in, she cried out in pain.

"Do you want me to stop?" Valjean cried, but Evangeline vehemently shook her head.

"Keep going!" She cried, and the knife slid around, hitting every single available nerve and severing it. She moaned in agony, tears running down her face. No one in the barricade heard her suffering; the noise from the battle was too loud.

"Here it is," Valjean murmured, and Evangeline let out a final scream before Valjean procured the bullet. She leaned her head back against the wooden floor as Valjean swiftly began to bind the wound with his own jacket, tying it fiercely to stop the blood. "Mademoiselle," He helped her sit up. Evangeline felt ready to pass out. "How do you feel?"

"Horrible," She wept softly. "I want to go home."

"Be brave," Valjean said encouragingly. "If not for yourself, but for Enjolras. He needs you."

"Oh, God, Enjolras..." She murmured. "Please Monsieur, please check on him. Is he alive?"

"Of course," Valjean stood and went off to the barricade. Evangeline tilted to her side and vomited, feeling sick and terrible and nervous. She wanted Enjolras to kiss her and hold her and tell her everything would be okay, that Theirry wasn't dead, that she hadn't been shot, and that he was safe.

"He lives," Valjean came back, his face solemn. "But...I don't know his name, a boy is dying."

"Could you take me there?" Evangeline asked, and Valjean helped her to her feet and helped her walk over to the barricade.

Eponine was in Marius' arms, blood running from a hole in her chest. Rain had begun to softly fall around them, and Evangeline felt like someone had stabbed a hole in her chest, seeing her friend dying in such a horrible way. "Eponine," Evangeline murmured, a tear running down her cheek. She bowed her head out of respect and knew when Eponine had died when everyone had let out a collective murmur of respect.

Evangeline turned and walked back off into the wine shop, leaning heavily on the wall. Tears smarted her vision, as she made her way back into the room where she and Eponine had just met. Could it really have been only yesterday? Now she was gone, and she was terrified. She had come so close to death today, and now two more people she cared about were forever gone.

Evangeline couldn't help but ask...who would be next?"


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