A/N: This is an attempt to re-write my ghastly Un Coeur pour la Revolution. Similarities are thus bound to happen, but of course since that AU wasn't finished, here we are, and I am trying to make right by it.
Disclaimer: Victor Hugo may be dead, but his memory lives. I am not about to claim to be him, so anything you can recognise from Les Miserables are his. The bastardising of his story, though, with the plot and the whole shenanigans are mine.
Chapter 1: April 7, 1832
It is only through respect that Aurelien Enjolras managed not to choose to deflect the blows coming from his father, as he fell to the floor. A man of sixty years, yet his brute force has not faded, and one can only expect this from Olivier Enjolras, a former military officer. The younger wished he wasn't on the receiving end, but that was not to be as the elder repeatedly kicked his stomach and shins while shouting, "You obstinate child! I raised you to be monarchist in order to save you from corruption! How dare you betray this household with your childish play at Sorbonne?"
He could no longer keep his silence when his father continued to lay more comment on his friends, and stood up, replying, "If you wish me to maintain your views, then you will have sent me to Sorbonne for nothing!"
His father stopped in aghast, and pointed at him with a finger, his wrath visible in his shaking frame. "Get out, you ingrate," Olivier seethed, his blue eyes appearing nearly black in anger. "I have no need of a son who disrespects me."
The younger Enjolras gritted his teeth and put his blonde curls away from his eyes, even as his mother Elisabeth approached him in tears, and calmly eyed her husband who left to go to his room. "Aurelien, look at me," she beckoned him, her voice shaky, "this will not be easy, I know, but if you think that I have forsaken you, believe otherwise."
At this, Aurelien eyed his mother. "You need not bother with me. I can survive it," he replied, and tried to explain, but at the gaze of his mother Elisabeth, he quieted.
"I have secret lodgings not far from here. It's an apartment on the street bearing the name of one of the values of this household. Find Victor, and tell them it will be used by you under the name 'Firenze'," his mother instructed. "It will be yours, then. Beneath the floorboards is a box filled with enough money to last you for half a year. Whether you like it or not, I will send you food when I find out you are lacking."
Aurelien wanted to inquire of this arrangement more, but his eye twitched at the voice of his father asking for his mother to get him out. His mother clasped his hand, and said, "Remember our codes. I will find a way to reach you soon."
His face now stoic, he bowed in response, and vacated the house immediately.
So much for upholding respect, Enjolras thought as he limped his way through Rue Honore.
Eponine Thenardier kicked a stone as she walked listlessly, her stomach grumbling after not eating since last night. She looked above the skies, and let the sun warm her body, and for a moment, she is at peace in dreaming that she is breakfasting a hot meal with her dear Marius Pontmercy at La Musain. It is well that her mind can cast vivid images, and she could almost taste the slight saltiness of the soup of a pot-au-feu.
She imagined that she donned on a pretty blue dress, and that Marius would clasp her hand in earnest, and touch his lips upon her knuckles.
She hummed in contentment, and her reverie is broken when she heard the sound of a horse neighing in an effort to carry the full weight of the chaise and persons huddled inside as it travels in the street. Eponine blinked as her vision gave way to reality, and she sighed as she continued to look around for people she can pick pocket a meal or two from.
Her eyes land on a blonde schoolboy wearing a red coat, and she scoffs at his tenacity to don such an outfit that easily marked him out as a bourgeois. Nonetheless, a mark is a mark, and she moves away from the centre of the street to ascertain how best to approach this fool. Eponine assessed the environment, and noted that there were no men in uniform so far.
The boy was carrying books, and seemingly looking to purchase bread from a stall. What was better was that he appeared to be alone, and that there was a way to hide her thieving from him. She shrugged, and timed her walk to him as a couple arrived.
When she was near, her hand was already about to steal a pouch from the side of the schoolboy, but he turned so suddenly that she herself was taken aback and froze. His blue eyes peered at her questioningly before realising what was about to happen, and his lips moved to make a reply.
The movement of his mouth sparked Eponine into action, and she bolted immediately, grasping the tatters of her skirt. She ignored the knotting of her stomach in hunger, and eyed a quick escape by way of allowing another chaise be the distraction to the schoolboy. Once she felt the pads of her feet hurt, she stopped and panted. After recovering, she rested her back to a wall, and felt hot tears falling from her lids.
That schoolboy saw her, and in so much proximity! She gritted her teeth, and crossed her arms before opening her eyes to hear a child crying, and then being hurriedly hushed by his mother, who looked way too young to ever have a baby. She saw them share a piece of bread silently. Eponine turned away, her hunger still making her dizzy, and felt herself deflate in the situation.
Now, what was she ever going to say to her father later? She sighed once more, and steeled herself for another night of being taken advantage of by the Patron Minette. It was either that, or no rhino at all, and she can't let Azelma be the one to take the brunt of this nightmare again.
Ultime and Cosette Fauchelevent are solemn after hearing mass at Notre Dame, and they walked in silence as usual as they checked the various stalls selling bread and vegetables of varied kinds. The former picked up a carrot, and inspected it before handing a few louis d'ors to buy it. He then gave it to his daughter, who proceeded to put it in the basket she was carrying.
Cosette then saw a young man painting the church, and was going to approach him when her shoulder was patted by her father, who looked at her, and shook his head.
"It is an appealing venture, papa," she said, as she hid her hand as it became a fist, and pouted. "Surely, you would not mind if my mind can explore even on just a canvass?"
Ultime sighed, and nodded his approval for her to approach the artist, who sported unruly black curls and took a break from painting to drink from a bottle. Cosette stepped near him, and silently observed the image in front of her.
Two young urchins also neared the artist who continued to colour the canvass before one of them, a kid with fair hair, turned to Cosette and asked her, "Lady, is it possible to beg for a few sous from you?"
She looked at her father, who reached her in a few steps, and he gave the boys some coins. "There you go, young one," Ultime said. The blonde urchin gave his thanks, and soon left with his brown-haired friend.
As they were not yet far away, Cosette heard their conversation.
"See, Navet, that is how you do it!" the fair-haired one said as he raised his chin in pride.
"Yes, but that was because the lady's papa was there!" Navet countered, elbowing his friend. "You wouldn't even have mustered the courage to try to steal from the bourgeois if the old man wasn't there, Gavroche!"
Gavroche elbowed him back, and put out his tongue in childish retort. "Different methods for different people, idiot," he spat back.
Cosette rolled her eyes at this one, and they were lucky that her father didn't hear them as he was already busy buying one of the smaller paintings from the artist, whose name apparently was just "R".
Monsieur "R" was then greeted by two male friends, and that was when her father and she chose to leave the area to go home.
From afar, Gavroche and Navet suddenly ran upon seeing an old man in uniform nearing them. Fortunately, they weren't the focus of that particular officer, but the former urchin paled when he saw that a tall muscular man was eyeing the painter and some friends.
Gavroche put a palm to his face as he realised that it was this giant that the officer had targeted, and muttered, "Claquesous, you stupid carcajou."
Rhino - French argot for money. | Carcajou - slang for glutton.