This is so short that it shouldn't even be called a story, but I'm calling it one anyway. Please enjoy!

(For my own reference: 61st fanfiction, 7th story for Les Miserables.)


"Good night, darling," Cosette tells her seven-year-old son, slipping his book from his hands and inserting a bookmark.

"But Mama, I want to read a little more," Jean-Antoine protests. The boy has his father's raven hair and his sharp mind. He loves learning and often devours books as soon as he gets his hands on them. The shelves in his nursery are cluttered up with books. Some of them had been his parents' when they were children, and it was easy for Jean-Antoine to tell which ones had belonged to his mother or father. Mama's old story-books all have inscriptions on the front page, where his grandfather, the man Jean-Antoine was in part named after, wrote things like, To my Cosette, with love from Papa, Noël 1822. His papa's old books have no inscriptions.

Jean-Antoine knows that the other part of his name is after Antoine Enjolras, a friend of his papa's. His namesakes had both died before he was born – one as a tired old man who'd finally reached the end of a long, hard life, and the other as a passionate young man who'd been shot down in his prime by eight bullets – but his parents had told him about them. They haven't told him everything, of course. He loves stories, but this is one story that he won't hear until he was older.

"Jean-Antoine, it's late," Cosette says firmly. "You need to go to sleep. Your book will be right here in the morning." She places the book on his bedside table, next to the oil-lamp, and kisses her son goodnight. The boy has his mother's blue eyes and her tender heart. He still likes to be kissed goodnight, and to sleep with a night-light. Cosette turns the oil-lamp down to a dim orange glow for him. Tonight her son's book is René, Chateaubriand's adventure story about a Frenchman who journeys to Louisiana to live among the Natchez Indians. Cosette gave it to him for his last birthday, writing on the first page an inscription just like the ones that her father always wrote in her books, To my Jean-Antoine, with love from Mama. It comforts her to do the same things with Jean-Antoine that her father did with her.

In half an hour, Cosette returns to check on Jean-Antoine and finds him lying innocently with his head on the pillow and his eyes closed, his eyelashes casting a delicate shadow like angel's wings over his cheeks. The book is still on the nightstand, but the oil-lamp has been moved closer to the bed and the bookmark has moved forward by several pages.

Cosette knows that Marius always removes the book from Jean-Antoine's room when he puts him to bed, but she prefers to preserve their son's innocent illusion that she doesn't know his secret. She still hasn't forgotten her early years, when she was always alone and afraid and hungry, without even a bed to sleep in at night. She loves to picture her son propped against the pillows, warm and safe in the soft light of his own room, breathlessly turning the pages.

FIN


P.S. Re: Enjolras's name – The fandom seems pretty split on whether Enjolras is his first or last name. I've always thought it was probably his last name, and here I chose Antoine for his first because Hugo compares him to Antinous so often in the novel.