Hallo! Sorry for the long absence. I've been struggling with depression due to the fact that, apparently, my family can't ever be healthy. Someone is always sick. Lately, it's been more than just 'sick.'
Disclaimer: I don't own Les Misérables or the characters. Sorry 'bout that, guys and gals.
A month passed and not one single day went by that the four of them–and sometimes Cosette–didn't visit the final resting place of Les Amis de l'ABC. Each knew that this was a tradition that they would uphold so as long as they were able.
Eponine stayed with Marius in his home with Mme. Marque– much to his joy. The moment she had so much as mentioned returning to the streets–which had occurred a week after the funeral–he had incessantly tried to convince her that he really didn't mind that she stayed with him. In fact, he went on to say, he would be much happier knowing that she was safe and not sleeping in some gutter or alleyway.
Gavroche, on the other hand, had moved in with Courfeyrac and was helping him as needed. Courfeyrac was in definite need of the young boy to brighten his spirits. Gavroche had the amazing talent of being able to make almost anyone smile– an excellent talent to have.
Eponine, Marius, and Cosette often visited Courfeyrac, as he had difficulty moving around still. Since Courfeyrac's return, Gavroche noticed that Cosette and Marius weren't as close as they used to be. This he often pointed out to Eponine, who didn't believe a word of it. Gavroche seemed to be under the impression that, soon, Cosette and Marius would be a couple no more and that Cosette would turn to Courfeyrac; but Eponine knew that, flirtatious as Courfeyrac was, he would never do that to Marius.
"Ready to go, 'Ponine?" Marius asked as he put his coat on.
"I'm ready. I'm surprised 'Sette isn't here yet."
"Oh, I forgot to mention; she's gone to Courf's to help him to the cemetery. They're going to meet us there."
"Let's go then."
Marius offered her his arm. She took it and smiled faintly. Then, they were off.
"We really need to get you a jacket." Marius said, "It's getting colder."
"I'm fine, Marius. I'm used to being cold."
"That doesn't even remotely reassure me."
"You've helped enough–"
"And I could help more."
"– so don't worry about me."
"Not gonna happen."
"Should have known better."
"Yes. Yes, you should have."
The two shared a smile. Despite her protests, Eponine was cold. She shivered.
"Would you like my jacket?" Marius offered. Naturally, she shook her head. Marius wrapped an arm around her. She looked at him questioningly. "Well, I'm not going to let you freeze."
"My hero." She laughed. He smiled,
The two soon reached the cemetery and the smiles left their faces. The others weren't there yet. Marius held Eponine a bit closer as they approached the graves. Eponine wrapped her arms around his waist. She didn't need to look up to know that there were tears in his eyes.
Marius blinked them back, refusing to cry. He had to be strong now, didn't he? He had cried, now he needed to be strong… but how could he be strong when the majority of his friends were dead? These were men he had fought alongside, men he had trusted, men he had cared for. Now they were dead; but, he had to remind himself, at least he still had Eponine, Courfeyrac, Gavroche, and Cosette. They were still alive; they weren't going to leave him.
"You can cry, Marius. It would not do to hold it in." Eponine murmured; very similar words to what Cosette had murmured to Courfeyrac.
"No, I have to be strong."
"And crying doesn't make you weak."
"She's right, mate." Came Courfeyrac's voice from behind. "I know that now." And he managed a weak smile in Cosette's direction. Cosette returned his smile.
Eponine stepped away from Marius and allowed Cosette to take her place. It felt like her heart was being shattered into a million pieces when, almost immediately, she did.
Gavroche thought he noticed Marius tense slightly, which, naturally, caused him to think that Marius was more comfortable with his sister.
Courfeyrac, with Gavroche's help, limped over to sit in between the graves of Combeferre and Enjolras– his brothers for as long as he could remember. Tears rolled down his cheeks. It felt like a piece of his heart was missing. Never again would he tease Combeferre for always having his head stuck in a book, or try to get Enjolras drunk by spiking his tea. He would never beg Combeferre to tutor him in whichever class he fell asleep in, nor would he tell Enjolras that he swore he had no idea where his red vest was.
"Mes frères sont morts." Courfeyrac whispered brokenly.
"But they ain't gone." Gavroche reminded him. "They'll never be gone."
"Except they are." Courfeyrac disagreed, "They're gone where I can never see them again, never speak to them, never listen to them… They are gone. Dead."
"They're still with you in 'ere." Gavroche said, placing a hand over his heart. "And they live in your memories."
"How did you get to be so smart?" Courfeyrac asked, wiping away his tears. Gavroche shrugged,
"I lived in the streets, where death is all 'round ya. I seen death before."
Courfeyrac hugged him.
"Well, no more of that. You live with me now and I won't hear a word of you wanting to leave once I heal. Got that?"
"I wouldn' dream of it." Gavroche replied.
Eponine watched all of this with a melancholy air. Gavroche had Courfeyrac; Marius had Cosette. Who did she have? She knew it was silly to think like this. In a way, she had all of them, didn't she? And they all had each other? Yet, she still felt unspeakably lonely. Though Gavroche seemed to think that Marius and Cosette wouldn't be together much longer; it seemed, to Eponine, that they would be together forever. Woe to those who love unrequitedly! Eponine felt like crying, but it seemed wrong to cry about something she deemed so trivial in front of these graves. Her feelings about Marius did not matter, she thought, and certainly not in a cemetery. He loved Cosette and Cosette loved him; therefore, Eponine's feelings did not matter. His feelings wouldn't change, would they?
Any glimmer of hope that Eponine may have had was crushed as Marius knelt down on one knee in front of Cosette and withdrew, from his pocket, a small black box.