Oh, the Fantine/Valjean ship. Yes, I am aware that I am destroying one of the most beautiful platonic relationships in the history of classical literature. Oh well. I couldn't resist.
Just in case you're wondering, I more or less base the setting and the characters' appearance on the 2012 movie, so you are welcome to envision Valjean as Hugh Jackman and Fantine as, uh…a blonde Anne Hathaway? Weird thought…
Disclaimer: I have absolutely no idea as to who actually owns Les Misérables nowadays, but it sure ain't me. All rights go to Hugo, Schönberg, etc.
Years later, she will look back at her life and see a series of turning points. The individual moments of agony and joy will have blended together, leaving only an image here and there to be sharp and defined, with razor-like edges still dripping blood.
She'll remember she turned her head and saw her lover, saw his beautiful eyes, molten gold in the lamplight. But she won't recall the words he said to her, what he ever did that made her trust him so completely, so foolishly. She'll remember her stomach heaving, and again, and again, and the ring on the finger of the doctor who told her what she already knew. She'll remember her child's eyes, bluer than the sky. And she'll remember her own voice echoing inside her head, later, her lips forming a soundless chant—Cosette, for Cosette, you do this for Cosette. After that, it's all a blur.
But she'll remember his soft brown eyes and their strange glistening quality, the warmth of his coat as he wrapped her in it and carried her away. She'll remember his hand around hers, the callouses on his fingertips, every last detail, and she'll remember clawing her way back to reality with the help of that hand. Reality was a whirlwind of sensations, blood in her mouth, chills wracking her body, her stomach cramping, coughs forcing their way out from her throat, but the quiet pressure of his fingers kept her safe, even inside her frighteningly lucid mind.
She was happy, in some warped way, to hear that he, too, had his secrets. He had seemed too perfect until then. But after his confession, they both came to accept that they were perfect together, the ex-convict and the ex-whore, with all the old demons that haunted them not enough to dispel their harmony. He, tired and conflicted. She, physically wrecked and emotionally shattered. Perfect.
Years later, she will look back and see his smile.
Once he is there to clear her eyes, she starts making real memories. The days that will stay with her forever.
I don't know where I am going with this, so please let me know if you want me to continue.
Also, which would you prefer: an afterlife fic (because we don't have nearly enough of those) or an AU where Fantine survives?