It had been several months later that Cosette saw the boy again. He was hanging around outside their apartment, and smiled widely when he saw her.
"Oh, you look as wonderful as I remember." He breathed, stepping aside to allow her onto the pavement as she walked outside the apartment. She smiled shyly when she heard this, looking up at him through her eye lashes.
"Umm... Hi." She took a step closer to him, not really sure of what to say.
"Oh, I'm doing this wrong. I do not even know your name..." He laughed awkwardly, but Cosette simply found it rather endearing. "Won't you say? Will you tell?"
"No fear, no regret." She whispered, thinking of her parents, who told her they had spent many years around each other before they got together. She would not wait so long. She nodded her head at him.
"My name is Marius Pontmercy."
"And mine's Cosette." She smiled at him, her heart fluttered rapidly.
"Cosette, I don't know what to say."
"Then say nothing."
The soft sad cry of a girl further down the street caught her attention. It was the dark haired girl, standing and staring at them. Éponine? She was not sure. It looked like her, still too thin and gaunt. She was... not very clean, like she could use a good shower, some new clothes and a good meal. She turned and walked away.
"This is... This feels like a dream. I cannot quite believe you are here."
"Well, I'm awake." She smiled.
She stared into his eyes for another long moment, before glancing at her watch. "Oh no. I have to go."
"Can I see you again?" Marius asked, reaching out to hold her hand.
"Yes, yes." She smiled, and shouldered her bag. She grasped his hand, turned it over and scribbled her number onto the back of it. "I'll be late for class if I don't go."
He nodded, staring at her with soft eyes. She smiled, but turned and hurried to the bus stop.
She tried to tell her parents about Marius, but she was not entirely sure how to go about it. Father was still frustrated with being only allowed to do work in the academy. His arm was not healed, having cracked the joint in his shoulder when the shot went off, and chipped some of the bone. He was still in a lot of pain, but was refusing to take anything stronger than paracetamol because he did not want to be stuck at home constantly. Even though he was in pain, he was still allowed to teach his classes because he wasn't loopy.
Cosette had to admit, she kind of missed him on the drugs. He had stumbled about in an odd haze, grinning happily at her. He also managed what Cosette had views as impossible, and spent even more time plastered to Papa's side. Every time she came into a room, her Father was sat in his lap, kissing his neck or snuggling in.
It was rather sweet, even though she had not really wanted to see them quite so close outside their bedroom.
He had also made some odd comments, and had had one evening where he insisted on calling Papa 'Valjean'. It made her wonder where the name had come from. Was it a nickname?
She had asked her Papa, but he had made odd noises and refused to say anything. She had decided to find out by asking Father. He was better at trusting in her affection. He was capable of admitting to mistakes, and still believing she would love him anyway. Papa sometimes seemed worried that she would lose interest in them, or stop loving them. Father told her it was an odd worry, but he knew otherwise.
She was sat beside her Father, drinking a cup of hot tea. Papa was still in his factory, filling in paperwork or whatever it was he did there. He was starting to think about retiring, she knew, and was trying to get everything in order to do so.
"Father... Why did you call Papa 'Valjean' all last Wednesday?"
"Yes." He looked startled.
"I... Your Papa would not like me to discuss this with you."
Her Father sighed and scrubbed his face. He leaned back and stared at her.
"I... I met your Papa about 30 years ago. He was a thief and was in prison." She gasped slightly, the idea of her giving parent, whom always helped out those less fortunate, the idea of him stealing. She nodded, but kept quiet.
"I was a prison guard there, and his name was Jean Valjean. He gave evidence against the main perpetrators in the crime. However, when he was released, he had to be put into witness protection."
She nodded again, hanging onto every word he was saying.
"I... I did not meet him again till I was moved to Montreuil sur Mer. He was mayor, friendly and oh-so-familiar. I am afraid... I fell in love. I spent a long time working with your Papa, and we were fine. I was suspicious of him though. I did some digging, and found out who he was, but I was ordered to forget it."
Her Father stood up, hurrying over to put his cup in the kitchen. He came back to her and stood by the doorframe, gazing down at her.
"I told your Papa, because I could not deny I felt for him. He forgave me in an instant."
"That sounds like him." He smiled, and nodded his head.
"I... He kissed me several days later, and I was gone." He grinned lightly at her, and she smiled back at him. "About two years later, I arrested a woman for attacking a man in the street. Your Papa interrupted and took her to the hospital instead. She kept ranting about this child she had to pay for..."
He sat down beside her. "The woman was your mother. It was about three months later I found you. Do you remember going to see her?"
"I remember you found me in a cupboard. I remember you opening the door. I remember thinking you were safe. I was right."
"Yes." He shuffled over, and gave her one of his lovely awkward embraces. "She told us to adopt you. It was the most wonderful order I have ever been given."
She smiled and kissed his cheek. "This is what he was panicking about?" He nodded, and she grinned.
Cosette decided to go shower and have a decent think about what her Father had told her. The idea that her father was a thief and he had even been arrested was just so odd... she put her cup in the kitchen, kissed her Father's cheek and went upstairs.
It was several days later when she told her parents to about Marius. Her Father told her to bring him over one evening, while her Papa spent time panicking over the idea that she was growing up. Neither had mentioned it yet to him that they had discussed their past. He really could only handle one thing at a time, after all.
She spent time finishing off her exams, thankfully passing them, and was accepted into the academy. It was in autumn when she finally decided to let her parents meet Marius. He was too taken with her now to be scared off by them.
They went home and her Papa and Father were not downstairs. She shouted, and received no reply. She frowned and went upstairs. Marius was concerned, and hurried past her. He checked her painting room, her bedroom and was about to go charging into their room when she snagged his collar.
"Hey, let's not. Come here. I'll show you my paintings."
"But they might need help..."
"They won't. I forgot to mention I was bringing you with me. It's best if we just leave them alone in there."
"Marius, they will be having sex."
Marius flushed a deep red, and stared at her.
"Come on, I'll show you my paintings."
Her boyfriend had better not be traumatised by the idea. It really was something he would have to get used to.