Eponine kept her head low, her hands tucked in the pockets of her oversized coat, unnoticed by any and all passersby. Unnoticed. Unseen. Invisible, like a ghost. And she liked it that way. Picking pockets was quite easy when one went unnoticed by the bourgeoisie. And her father... well, there were many days when he was too drunk to notice much of anything.
"Eponine!" a voice called from behind her. "Wait!"
She whirled around, a smile on her face and color blooming in her cheeks. "Marius!"
Her friend ran to her, his long legs eating up the distance between them, and she quickened her steps to meet him halfway. With a laugh, he caught her around the waist and swung her around. Eponine laughed with him, feeling the rain on her face and feeling so free. Marius set her down gently, resting his forehead against hers. He smiled at her like they had a secret, and Eponine loved him for it.
"Come, 'Ponine," Marius said suddenly. "We musn't be late." Taking her by the hand, he took off at a run for the Café Musain.
"Marius, wait!" Eponine laughed as she was towed along. Marius obliged, slowing down to her pace, and she rested her head against his shoulder. The very world seemed different when Marius was by her side. The bare, empty branches above now shone like candelabras, glistening with silver dew. The stars smiled down on them, filling the darkness with their light. And even thpugh Eponine could certainly fend for herself, she felt safer when she was with Marius. She wasn't invisible to him. He always saw her, always protected her from harm. Every night he showed up to meet her, and to escort her to the Café Musain. Sometimes they stayed out long after the meetings had ended, walking the streets of Paris and talking into the long hours of the morning, just enjoying each other's company.
At the base of the steps leading up to the café, Marius stopped. He tucked a loose strand of hair behind Eponine's ear, and she caught his hand and kissed it. "I love you," she told him.
Marius smiled slightly. "I love you, too."
Eponine beamed up at him, still holding his hand as she started up the stairs. She made it only a few steps before she had to stop. Marius hadn't budged, and she was unwilling to let go of his hand. "Marius? Come along, we'll be late." Marius avoided her gaze, and Eponine felt her eyes begin to fill with tears. "Marius?"
He took a step forward and pressed a soft kiss to her forehead. "Goodbye, 'Ponine."
Eponine squeezed her eyes shut. "Don't go," she whispered. When she opened them, he was gone. Eponine dashed the tears away from her eyes, drawing in a deep breath. She kept her head down as she climbed the stairs, every step weighing on her like lead.
In the small room were the Les Amis held their meetings, the real Marius sat at the table, deep in discussion with Combeferre. "Hello, 'Ponine," he acknowledged before returning to his conversation.
Eponine managed a smile, feeling herself begin to fade back into the background. Little he knows, little he sees.
(A/N): Hey everyone! I know this isn't one of my Newsies stories, but at least I finally posted something! Life has been so crazy lately, but I haven't forgotten any of m stories. I WILL return to them sooner or later. (Hopefully sooner than later!)
I've had the idea for this story for a while now, and I finally just sat down and wrote it. Let me know what you think in a review! Thoughts, compliments, constructive criticism... they all help me grow as a writer. Love ya!