AUTHOR'S NOTE: My dreams have come true. They have replaced Taylor Swift as Éponine with Samantha Barks.
Samantha Barks is my favorite Éponine after Lea Salonga. You can't beat Lea, but Samantha came a close second. She has the look, the acting, and the voice for the role. In short, she's perfect for Éponine. I never dreamed of her ever being chosen for the movie. Cameron Mackintosh was making such terrible casting choices that I never hoped that he would actually pick a professional Broadway performer as any of the leads. What good could ever come out of all the terrible casting choices Mackintosh has made?
Well, he proved me wrong. Samantha could potentially save the movie. Éponine is a large role, and has one of the biggest songs for women ever. On My Own is up there with Memory, I Dreamed A Dream, etc. on famous women's belt songs. I think that Samantha can potentially save the movie.
A note on the fanfic itself: this is the classic A-Little-Fall-Of-Rain-with-Enjolras (and extended to the fall of the revolution) that was incredibly popular right after Les Mis 25 came out. As always, the fantastic Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras and the amazing Samantha Barks as Éponine.
Éponine Thénardier walked down the cobblestone street in the heart of Paris, avoiding the pools of water that had collected after the most recent rain. The sky was dark, but the moon shone down to light her path. The gamine pulled her old, worn hat from her head, and her dark hair fell around her shoulders. She pulled the coat tighter around her slender frame as a cold wind picked up, chilling her to the bone. Placing the hat on her dark hair, she made her way to the Seine River.
Éponine stood on the bridge, gazing into the dark water. Her thoughts drifted to Marius Pontmercy, out of habit, it seemed. But another face came to mind, one filled with passion for the revolution and an intense desire to free the poor around him from the chains of poverty.
She had watched Alexandre Enjolras during the meetings as she sat by Marius' side. The black-haired and equally dark-eyed student was filled with a rebellious fire, wanting to right social injustices. He asked the students to join with him in a crusade against elitism and the belief that everyone was born into the life they were meant to lead. Enjolras believed the wealthy were not meant to stay in power and the downtrodden always be caught in the claws of poverty. He want equality and freedom for everyone, from the beggar on the street corner to a noble with purple blood. He was not against government as a concept, but rather the corruption that held sway. Leaders were meant to be in power, but not if they abused their positions. Enjolras wanted servants to be set free from bondage, the poor to be respected, and women to have rights.
Éponine was captivated by his ideals. His goal was to create a better society, not destroy government and leadership. He knew that they could not change everything, but if the French government continued as it was, the country would surely suffer. Éponine wanted what he offered. She wanted to grasp this new life and watch it unfold before her. She wanted to be respected as a person, not as chattel for men to use her as they wished.
Enjolras, Marius, and the students from the university, to Éponine, represented a better life. She was valued among them, seen as an important part of the Glorious Cause. They asked her opinion on crucial matters. She was consulted for information, seen as a key to the world they were fighting for. Outside of the walls of Le Café Musain, however, Éponine was seen as useful for merely being the company of various men to be used for their pleasure. Her father took her pay before she even saw the money she had earned spending night after night in stranger's beds. Other than this, she was seen as worthless. Her father reminded her of this concept frequently. So she fled from her dark life and entered into the safety the students offered. They never even hinted at ever using her in that way, and so she stayed for hours with them, desperate for respect in any form, in a world where she was constantly degraded.
When she had first met Marius, she became infatuated with him. It was not love; it was better seen as she was enamored with what he stood for. He was one of the first people to enter her life that treated her well. When they were neighbors and her father once offered Marius the use of Éponine's services, he refused, never taking advantage of her in any way. He seemed goodness incarnate to her. At the time, Éponine believed that angels could not be more kind than Marius. He was just, noble, and genuinely good. She pictured him as her savior, sent to rescue her from the terrible life she led.
However, when he invited her to the meetings, her eyes were opened to the possibilities of what her life could have been. Now it was not just Marius, but a group of university students who respected her. She felt like a worthy individual among them. When she had to return to her life in the slums, she clung to the memory of the students.
Now, as she stood before the river, Éponine reflected. When it was announced that General Lamarque, the people's man in government, was dead, the revolution went from a dream to reality. A barricade was erected in the streets, a looming symbol of the bright and glorious future.
As the revolution took shape, Éponine suddenly found that she saw the same rebellious passion that she found inside her also in the eyes of Enjolras. As the students rallied, their eyes would meet. She would gaze at him, wanting to stand by his side and fight for freedom at that very moment, and he would look at her, his eyes telling her the same message. He wanted her to join him in the revolution, but not just as a fellow advocate for the cause. Éponine saw in Enjolras' eyes that he also wanted her as a permanent part of his life. She found she wanted exactly the same. She did not know how she would balance her infatuation for Marius - she, of course, viewed it as love for him, not infatuation - and her newfound love, if she dared to call it, or attraction, for Enjolras.
But they never were given the chance to discuss any of their feelings. The revolution happened far too quickly for any words of meaning to take place between them. But they believed that, after the battles to come, they would have the rest of their lives to say what they wanted so desperately to say.
Éponine wanted more than anything to fight at the barricade. But Marius sent her away from the fighting with a letter to the beautiful Lark, Cosette Fauchelevent. She delivered the letter to the Lark's father and left, planning on returning to the barricade. It seemed a lifetime ago that she was jealous of the beautiful golden-haired, blue-eyed Cosette who captured Marius' heart and was everything a lady should be. She was beginning to drift away from her constant adoration of Marius. A part of her heart, it seemed, would always be his, but her infatuation was lessening for Marius was lessening as she learned more and more about Enjolras.
Éponine looked into the water for a moment longer, then put her dark hair under her hat once more. She would return to Enjolras and Marius' side at the barricade if it killed her.
Evening had just begun to fall when Marius had sent her with the letter, but even in almost complete darkness, she merely followed the sound of battle. However, her sense of direction was slightly different than what she had thought - she was on the enemy side of the street.
The National Guard stood in row after row of battle-ready soldiers in precede uniforms, each aiming to kill the students. She knew she had to reach the other side of the barricade at all cost.
Éponine made sure her disguise was intact and waited until there was a lull in the fighting. She tried to walk nonchalantly through the ranks of National Guard soldiers, forcing herself not to react as they made crude jokes and slurs that would make even her father cringe. She approached the foot of the barricade and was about to begin climbing it when a National Guard soldier called out, "Boy!"
She began to scale the barricade as fast as she could as more and more soldiers began to shout. A gun fired, and she doubled her speed in the ascent, trying to escape unharmed.
Another shot fired, and this time fortune did not smile upon her. As she reached the peak of the barricade, Éponine was shot in the shoulder. She cried out, clutching her shoulder as blood began to flow. She did not know if she could fight past the pain and find the strength to climb over the peak of the barricade to safety. 'Marius,' she told herself. 'Marius is on the other side.' But not even thoughts of him gave her enough strength. She knew she would die here, shot like a dog on the street.
Suddenly, a pair of strong hands grasped her and pulled her over the peak of the barricade. She cried out in agony as she staggered against her savior, falling into his arms. As Éponine's legs gave out beneath her, she began to cough violently, a few drops of blood coming to her lips. She felt a hand gently lift her chin up, and she found herself gazing into the dark eyes of Enjolras.
He knelt beside her, holding her tight. "Why did you come back?" he asked quietly, his voice firm. He inspected her wound, his eyes filled with concern.
"I wanted to be with—" Éponine abruptly broke off, crying out in pain as his hand accidentally put too much pressure on the wound.
"With Marius," he said curtly. Before she could reply, however, Enjolras picked her, cradling her to his chest. "I'm getting you to Joly," he said as he began to descend the barricade to the street below.
"Enjolras—" Éponine began as they reached the street, but she was interrupted by a sudden barrage of bullets raining down on the students. Enjolras immediately took shelter behind a bench, still holding her in his arms. His embrace tightened around her as the shooting continued. Enjolras began shouting orders to the students, but there was a prolonged silence. Courfeyrac announced that the National Guard was regrouping but did not seem ready to attack.
"Enjolras," she said. "I did not come back to be with Marius." He looked at her, shocked. He had assumed that she returned to be with Marius. Éponine's voice grew fainter as the pain increased. "I came—" she paused, coughing as more blood came to her lips "—to fight by... your side." She avoided his eyes as he gazed down at her.
He could not believe that she had admitted that she want to fight by his side. Enjolras himself had never dared to tell Éponine that he admired her as much more than a fellow revolutionary. He had wanted to know the gamine on a deeper level than mere friendship, but had not thought she would ever return his feelings. Besides, what image would beginning a relationship in the middle of all of this cast on the uprising itself? On his leadership? He asked the students to give up everything, especially their lovers, for the revolution. There was only the Glorious Cause; there could be no distractions. If he began a relationship, he would be hypocritical to his fellow rebels. He would not be able to have their trust and respect any longer, and the revolution would fall apart.
"You shouldn't have come back," he said, smoothing her hair back from her face. As an indignant and hurt look came into her eyes, he added, "I would rather you be safe somewhere else than wounded at the barricade."
She smiled, but began to cough again, wracking coughs that shook her entire body. Blood once more came to her lips, and she closed her eyes as searing pain began shooting again through her shoulder.
Enjolras began to lay her down. "I'm getting Joly," he said, worried.
"No!" she cried, reaching out to him. "It's no use," Éponine said. "Let him save those who can be saved. Stay with me, Enjolras," she pleaded, her voice becoming fainter and fainter. He obliged, holding her tight. She lay her head on his arm, gazing into his eyes.
"Don't worry, Enjolras," she said with a heartbreaking smile. She reached up a hand, and he grasped it in his own. "I don't feel any pain," she lied. She was determined not to cause him anymore grief or worry. "I'm sorry I never told you," she said softly, her voice alarmingly faint.
"Don't leave me, Éponine!" he said desperately, holding her tighter. "No," he said. "Stay strong. Don't leave me."
Her voice dropped to a whisper, unable to speak any louder. "You were the only thing that kept me from giving up on hope."
"What do you mean?" he asked, holding her tighter.
"I've lived for loving you," she said. She was tired, so tired. Her eyes began to shut, but Enjolras' voice called her back.
"I love you, Éponine," he whispered for only her to hear. Tears began to fill his eyes.
"Will you do something for me?" she breathed.
"Anything." He would have given her the moon if she asked for it.
Their lips met hesitantly. He did not want to deprive her of air, but she lifted her head slowly. He deepened the kiss, holding her as if she was the most precious person in the entire world. Then her head fell back, her eyes closing and her body limp.
She was dead.
A light rain began to fall as he cradled her body, tears beginning to fall down his face and mixing with the rain. He gently lay her on the ground as carefully as if she had been alive. Enjolras stood, leaving her body, his entire body rigid. Marius approached him quickly, but stopped abruptly at the sight of Enjolras' grief. Marius looked down and saw Éponine's body. Turning white, he went to her body, folding her hands on her chest to create a semblance of peace.
Enjolras picked up a gun from the stockpile of weapons that the students had amassed. The revolutionaries watched him in silence, hardly daring to breathe. They sensed that he was close to breaking, and no one wanted to accidentally say something that would make his already shaky resolve shatter. But he revealed a strength that no one expected. It would have been his right to deeply mourn her death - they all saw how profound his love was for her - but he once again took on the mantle of leadership.
"I'll take the watch," he said, his voice strained with grief. "They might attack during the rain. Be ready, my friends." Enjolras turned to scale the barricade, but Combeferre stepped forward and stopped him, grabbing his arm.
"Enjolras, rest," Combeferre said firmly. The two men stared at each other, neither willing to give in. Then Enjolras stepped back and nodded. Returning the gun to the stockpile, he went into the café. Combeferre's voice carried, telling the students that he would take the watch.
Enjolras saw Marius standing in a side room in the café, and he immediately saw Éponine's body lying on a table. Enjolras went to the room and stood in the doorway, and Marius turned, hearing him approach. "I brought her in," Marius said quietly after a long moment of silence. "I didn't want her... body left outside in the rain." Enjolras did not reply, his dark eyes hard with grief. Marius looked at him hesitantly. "Did you love her?" he asked carefully.
"Yes." Enjolras' reply was curt. He did not trust himself to speak.
"She would have been happy with you," Marius continued. Enjolras looked at him, a questioning look in his dark eyes. "More than with me. We were very good friends - I trust... trusted her with my life." He corrected himself, rephrasing the sentence into past tense. "I knew she loved me. Not at first, but by the end. I was so wrapped up in Cosette, the university, and the revolution that I didn't take the time to really know what went on in her mind. Then I realized that she did love me, but by then, the revolution was upon us and I didn't have time to talk to her about it." He ran a hand through his hair. "I was such a fool."
Under different circumstances, Enjolras would have replied, assuring Marius that he was no fool. The two men were close friends, almost like brothers. But it seemed that Enjolras was incapable of saying anything. Marius, thankfully, seemed to realize this and did not expect a reply. He left Enjolras alone, going back out to the street to join the students.
Enjolras shut the door leading to the side room out of respect for the dead. He stood there for a moment, a phrase echoing in his mind over and over. It seemed it would never stop, and every time it repeated, it felt like a knife was being plunged into his heart.
She's dead... She's dead...
A rage slowly began to rise inside him. At first, he barely recognized it, but it grew, slowly encompassing him so completely it seemed there was nothing left in him but rage. In the back of his mind, he heard that the shooting had started again. Going out into the street, he took a gun and scaled the barricade. None of the students dared to stop him. As bullets flew past him, he dimly heard Marius call his name, but he did not react. Standing at the peak of the barricade, he began to shoot at the National Guard below.
It seemed like he fought for years and yet only moments. He watched as enemy soldier after enemy soldier fell. But it seemed that when he killed one, ten more would take their fallen comrades place.
Enjolras was shot in the arm, but he continued to fight. He was then shot in the opposite shoulder, but he did not stop. He was shot in the side, in the stomach, in the leg, in the collarbone, but it seemed nothing would stop him. He was the Revolution - unstoppable, defiant, unwavering. It seemed that he was untouchable, though he was pierced by six bullets and covered in blood.
Then a private named Louis Proulx aimed his gun at the black-haired revolutionary and fired.
Time seemed to stand still. Enjolras, for some reason, amid all of the shooting, heard only that shot. He watched it hurtle towards him, but found he could not move to avoid it. It hit him in the chest, and he cried out. The leader of revolution fell back and half-stumbled, half-fell down the barricade. He fell to the street, slamming to the ground. Enjolras was dead the moment he reached the cobblestones, shot by seven bullets.
Marius screamed Enjolras' name hoarsely at the sight of his friend's body lying broken, battered, and covered in blood. Grantaire looked in shock and horror at Enjolras' body. Jean Prouvaire held Joly back from racing to save the already dead student. The students could not believe that their leader was dead. Combeferre ran up the barricade and, waving the red flag, screamed, "Vivé la république!" The students took up the cry and fought with more fervor than ever before. Combeferre was shot and killed, the flag falling from his hands. Courfeyrac lunged for the flag, holding it aloft. He too was killed, and it was Marius who took up the flag. He waved it defiantly, but was shot in the leg. Unable to stand, he fell to the street below, the flag clutched in his hands.
Another student picked up the flag. It was Grantaire, the bottle falling from his hand to crash to the cobblestones in favor of the flag. He scaled the barricade, waving the red flag. But the student was killed, and he fell to the street, blood covering his chest. One by one, the revolutionaries were shot, their bodies lying side by side and covered in blood.
Jean Valjean stood, his features hard with grief. Every single one of the students were dead, killed in the name of the revolution. He took the red flag from Grantaire's grasp and draped it over Enjolras' body to honor the leader of the uprising. Jean Valjean approached every body, trying to find a pulse on any of the students to betray the mask of death and reveal that they were indeed alive. But they all were dead except for Marius, who was unconscious and losing blood fast. Jean Valjean lifted Marius and went to a grating leading to the sewers. He looked back for a moment at the sight of the rebels lying where they died.
"Vivé la république," he said quietly. "You will never be forgotten."