Disclaimer: I disclaim any perceived ownership of any characters from Harry Potter and Les Miserables, save my creative creation of the plot, as well as the characterization of my characters. This is purely a work of fiction, done for fun and not commercial purposes.
A/N: It has been a while since I've written anything since law school has eaten so much of my time. I miss it so and thus, please let me know how I can make this series of drabbles enjoyable for yourselves as well. I'd love feedback.
You don't necessarily need to read Harry Potter and the Lethifold Division for this one, but I also recommend reading that one too. (Even though, yes it needs a reworking). At last, I give you, Chapter 1 of Red and Black in the Sea of Powder Blue
Chapter 1: The Scamp
To the casual observer, one would simply see an anxious 11-year-old girl arguing with her mother and younger sister about to ride a train at Gare Montparnasse. However if one looks closer, the anxiety isn't about riding a train alone but rather because of her mismatched clothes and battered trunk on rollers.
'This wasn't what I imagined when Maman told us about her glamorous rides going to Beauxbatons. Or her ramblings about the purity of blood.' Eponine tells herself, as she was trying to keep her temper down. 'She spent the money Zelma and I earned on fake jewelry, with Father spending the rest for booze! Those were supposed to be for our new school things and clothes!'
With a sigh, she decides to let her mother prattle on to end the argument. After that, she hugs her younger sister Azelma. "Where's Gavroche, Philippe, and Nicolas?" Eponine asks both of them, while attempting to straighten her unruly black shoulder-length hair to no avail.
"With your Father probably, I don't quite care at the moment. It's none of our business" Martine replies nonchalantly. Noticing the crowd about to build up, she waves her hands calmly and smiles at passersby before patting Eponine on the head and nudges her to leave. "Your sister and I have unfinished business at the Rue De La Magique. Have a good day at Beauxbatons. Your father and I worked so hard for it."
Eponine walks away and mutters, "Worked hard for it, my foot." She drags her wheeled trunk that's disguised as carry-on luggage. As she was about to make a turn, she almost ran into another girl with an older man headed the same way. Her eyes instantly zoom to the written parchment on the blond girl's left hand. 'Some sans magique I think. It would be easy to get something out of them if I wasn't in a hurry to get to the train.' She moves away before colliding with the two and notices their confusion.
Clearing her throat, she introduces herself, "May I help you? My name's Eponine Thenadier." She shows her Beauxbatons crest discreetly, which puts the pair at ease.
The blond girl offers her right hand for a handshake, which Eponine reciprocates. "I'm Euphrasie Cosette Fauchelevent and this is my father, Jean. Glad to find someone who's about to go to the same school as I am!"
For a moment, Eponine takes a moment to glance at Cosette's companion and finds an alert mind like her own behind the gentle eyes of the strong 40-year-old man. "It's a pleasure to meet you too. I'd like to help you find your train. It's also my first year here." Pushing back her envy at the well-kept clothes and carefree nature of her companion, she brings the Fauchelevents to the designated Metro Station where the train will fetch them.
Jean helps with their bags and waves them goodbye from outside the train, a nod to Eponine, which Eponine interprets as "Take care of my daughter."
The trip itself is uneventful with Cosette enjoying the view outside, passing through the vineyards and fields. Eponine, on the other hand, made herself comfortable laying down on the compartment bed. She occupies her time either napping or talking to Cosette about life in Paris. The blond girl tells her of the time she discovered magic, meeting the Headmistress, and reading her art books. Eponine decides to share her typical fabricated cover story of being from a well-to-do but very frugal family, hence the second-hand clothes.
Still used to the wide spaces of Paris, Eponine eventually excuses herself to take a leisurely walk to stretch her legs. "Cosette's nice but it can get stifling, those enclosed spaces," she tells herself, while making her way down the hallway.
A sudden movement from the edge of her eye was all the warning she got to dodge. She sidesteps the two boys that came running through the corridor. She was about to use some of her usual string of curses she reserves for the rabble around her place, but she notices that they were chasing after something.
The object of the excitement is a surly white and tabby-colored kneazle that was running away from them. "Get that cat, it's my friend's cat!" the black-haired boy shouts, mid chase.
Eponine rummaged to her pockets and her fingers fell a small cylindrical container inside. 'Thank heavens I forgot to take this one out.' She grabs the item from her pocket, which reveals itself to be some dry kneazle treats for a stray cat or kneazle she sees during her daily walks. She opens the container and shakes it vigorously. The kneazle stops for a moment to look for the source of the sound and scent.
Upon seeing it, the kneazle runs to Eponine and nudges her legs to give it some. She complies by crouching and placing some dry treats on the floor. The kneazle munches on it happily and she beckons the boys toward her. "Lucky for you two, I still have some cat food on hand," Eponine says, finally looking up.
The boy on the right had a beaming smile at her with a slight dimple on his left cheek. He combs back his trussed up brown hair. "Thanks. We've been chasing Mme. Tomate for five minutes now." He says, catching his breath, before introducing himself. "My name's Mikael Courfeyrac and my friend here is Marius Pontmercy."
Eponine's eyes move to the face of the boy on the right. It felt like the world stopped, seeing the black-haired boy. He has a certain innocence to him that Eponine found alluring, from the way his silky smooth black hair fell to his ears, his almost porcelain-like skin, a quiet intelligence in his eyes, and down to his shy "Hello and thank you for helping us get the cat."
She catches herself from the involuntary daydream and goes back to looking at Mme. Tomate. "You're welcome. Are you her owner?"
"No, she belongs to our friend, Combeferre." Courfeyrac replies, sitting down next to the kneazle and she gently goes to sit on his lap. He strokes her fur and remarks, "You're pretty good with kneazles and cats. You have one of your own?"
Eponine shakes her head and whispers, "My father isn't entirely fond of them, but I like feeding the strays." She fidgets, being self-aware of her appearance in comparison to the boys.
A yelp interrupts her thoughts with the kneazle running away again and Courfeyrac nursing his right hand. "I thought she was a dear, Combeferre! I swear, he better chase her with us right now! She's a fel beast, she is."
Just before they give chase again, they hear "Wingardium Leviosa!". An older teen, with burgundy hair and a tired look on his face, levitates Mme. Tomate with his wand. He grins at the three slightly then says, "I believe you've lost this one?" The kneazle is unfortunately displeased and hissing at all four teens. "Where did you touch her by any chance?" the older teen asks curiously.
Courfeyrac ponders for a moment then replies, "I think the back and then the belly?"
"No wonder she's livid. All cat owners know that's a murder button. Do not touch that, especially when the cat goes belly up. It's a trap." Eponine chimes in, closing her food container and smiles kindly at the younger boys. She then turns to the older boy and remarking, "Thanks. You wouldn't mind helping them bring Mme. Tomate back to her owner? My name's Eponine."
"I'm Bahorel and it's my fifth year here. I'm from the Peverell house and I hope you'd like it here at Beauxbatons." Bahorel says with a proud smile on his face, the tiredness disappears for a moment or two.
"Pleasure to meet you, Bahorel. I'll get back to walking a bit. This is probably too much excitement for me in one day." Eponine waves her right hand at them and walks away. A few moments later, she sneaks a glance at Marius as he walks away. A soft smile and a slight blush appears on her face. 'He's cute.'
Around 10 minutes after the chance meet and her peaceful walk, she spots a stoic boy with blond hair and sad eyes reading up on a thick book. Initially, she thinks it is a Charms or Transfiguration book in his compartment, but she then decides to gander a little bit closer.
'I wonder what he's up to?' She tells herself, seeing him read Un Discours sur l'Origine et les Fondemens de l'Inégalité parmi les Hommes by Rosseau. 'An odd duck, this one. Best I leave him for now. After all, I also hate being interrupted while reading.'
Upon removing her gaze from the book cover, her brown eyes meet his sapphire blue eyes. His eyes, while pretty, hide the depth and drive from within. A sigh she has only seen in the eyes of the ambitious and the social worker she befriended a few months back. 'An odd duck indeed, but one who will fight tooth and nail for their righteous beliefs,' she muses, and gives him a polite nod before walking away and heading back to the compartment with Cosette.
Half an hour later, A ruckus was heard outside of their compartment. Eponine pokes her head out and sees a screeching ginger cat sitting on top of a pile of boys. It's the Bahorel, Courfeyrac, and Marius, along with another boy, all piled up on the boy she nodded to recently. She simply shakes her head and closes the door behind her.
"What was that?" Cosette asks, curiosity in her eyes.
"Nothing much, just a bunch of guys chasing a cat again. Don't mind them. Nothing to see anyway." Eponine replies, shrugging off the antics of her new acquaintances and goes back to her chair. Her subtle hope for peace is all for naught of course, with the one reading shouting at them for interrupting his reading time. She just lets out a chuckle of amusement. 'Schadenfreude.'
The rest of the trip is uneventful but picturesque, the midafternoon sun illuminating the countryside during the train ride. Before anyone realizes it, the train stops at the train station near the Pyrenees. It is late afternoon and sprites lead everyone to the carriages. Eponine and Cosette ride a powder blue-colored carriage with two Camargue horses pulling it effortlessly without a driver. They go through a forest until they see it. A majestic chateau worthy of Versailles peeks through the valley. The grass is green and pristine throughout, accompanied by the forests on the sides of the mountains.
"Beauxbatons, just like mother and father used to tell me," Eponine mutters, and remembers that she's the first Thenadier in a long time with a shot of finishing here this time. 'The things I had to do to get here…' She pauses and shakes her head from the con games and odd jobs she played with his sister in the Rue de la Magique or Sans Magique Paris. 'I'm safe from that for now. I just hope Azelma, Gavroche, Philippine and Nicolas make it here. I might have to do more after the school year.'
Instead of wallowing in her thoughts, she watches the wonder in the eyes of her naive acquaintance and perhaps erstwhile companion at Beauxbatons. 'That's a welcome sight indeed, and I hope it lasts for her.'
The carriages stop and the older students are ushered inside, while the first years form up lines outside. Organized well but not as stuffy as the military. To beat back the boredom, Eponine takes a deep breath into the fresh late afternoon air, a clean and chilly breeze from the mountains.
With her years in the street, she takes a moment to feel the crowd, hearing the familiarity of Parisian, and what she surmises to be Occitan, with others that she guesses as Spanish or Dutch. She is safe at least, no one alert or worried over Death Eaters that are on the continent.
Eponine's musings are interrupted once more as the massive doors open again to reveal a large woman.
The woman's appearance exudes a noble upbringing and a strength beyond her height and bulk. She walks with purpose and taps her wand to her throat. "Welcome to Beauxbatons. I am Headmistress Olympe Maxime and I hope you have an excellent stay in our school. Our reputation for being the finest institution of learning in Europe and the World allows us to demand excellence from each one of you. You will be the best in the world with hard work, determination, and a thirst for knowledge tempered by the wisdom we impart in you." Her stern eyes gaze on each new student before continuing.
"We will be sorting to which house you will go. There is Peverell, renamed after one of our finest educators, Ignotus, where ingenuity is treasured. Another is Le Fay, after Morgana, where creativity abounds, be it the arts, or solutions to the quandaries of magic. And last but not least, Richelieu is renamed after an esteemed alum, Cardinal Richelieu, where craftiness in adversity is your friend in life. The people in these houses will be your family for your entire stay and I trust that you will take care of each other. Together, we are stronger. Now please follow over me for the sorting."
The apprehension in the air is palpable while various languages flood through the walk inside. However, the moment each one passes through, they can understand each other, even those who were for a minute talking in entirely different languages.
"Please don't be surprised that you can now understand each other. We are a diverse community and Beauxbatons always values community and diversity within its halls." The Headmistress explains, walking briskly into the wide halls of students. She waves her wand and two massive doors open. There are three long tables, each one equally spaced from the center. The teacher's table is opposite the main entrance. The chatter dies in an instant and each student quiets down for the sorting.
The Headmistress claps her hands once, then an oak table and chair appears at the center dais. There are also three batons on a silver tray, all three are nondescript.
The students from each house look curiously at the newcomers, anticipating the sorting. A face stands out for Eponine. The boy who helped them catch the cat. 'Bahorel, I think his name was. I'd probably get a chance for some help now and then from him, I suppose.'
An auburn-haired and spry young wizard with a long scar on his cheek takes out a scroll from the satchel he carries and clears his throat. "Each name will be called out alphabetically and the Headmistress will guide you to the center dais. You will be sorted to your houses."
The tiles underneath each of the students stuck to their shoes and arranged them alphabetically before setting themselves down, pristine as before.
The first name on the list is "Sebastien Combeferre!" The headmistress taps the table and one of the batons taps Combeferre's head and white sparks appear. "Peverell!" was heard coming from the baton.
"Mikael Courfeyrac!" calmly walks in and another baton taps his head after a moment. Red sparks appear and everyone hears "Richelieu!"
For each student, the Headmistress guides each student towards the table at the center dais, sometimes whispering words of encouragement at them and tapping the table.
Eventually, "Auguste Enjolras!" was called. Madame Maxime guides him to his chair. She taps her wand on the tray on the table. All three dart up and duel each other in midair, the loud banging of wood seen and heard loudly in the chamber. It lasts for nearly five minutes and the one with blue sparks goes back to the tray. The other two zoom towards him and stop half a foot away. With both batons waiting in front of him, Madame Maxime urges, "It seems the batons want you to choose your destiny, Mr. Enjolras. Do not worry, there are no wrong answers with this one."
Auguste picks the one on his left and red sparks come out. "Welcome to the Richelieu house, Auguste Enjolras." She smiles at him and he joins the table for his house. He locks eyes with the girl with brown eyes at the end of the line. He looks back at the batons and nods at her to reassure her a bit that everything will be alright.
"Euphrasie Fauchelevent!" Maxime pauses, looking at Cosette longingly before whispering "I knew your mother Fantine, she would be proud to see you here. If there's anything I can do for you, my door is always open." Cosette's eyes water but she steadies herself. One of the batons floats up and taps her head. Blue sparks appear. "Le Fay!"
And the names gradually went by with Eponine at the back of the line. Her anxiety grows from within in each passing moment. She could hear the names called and which houses they would go after a few moments, but she takes note of the names of a few, just to keep the wait out of her mind while continuing to adjust her second-hand robes.
"Cyril Feuilly! Peverell!"
"Philippe Grantaire! Richelieu!"
"Damien Joly! Peverell!"
"Olivier Lesgle! Richelieu!"
"Jean Provaire! Le Fay!"
She catches her breath when she hears, "Marius Pontmercy!", the boy she met on the train. "Le Fay!"
A few more and it was her turn. "Eponine Thenadier!" The warm and cordial atmosphere from before cools down slightly, finally seeing the distrustful stares of some of the students at her. 'Even my father's reputation follows me here. I don't want to be here. I don't want to be here. I...'
She walks solemnly and hesitantly towards the table, biting back the growing feeling of dread. A whisper caresses her ears, "Don't be afraid, Ms. Thenadier. You are not dictated by the actions of that man and will forge a better path."
The moment Eponine is out of earshot, Olympe adds, "I have faith in you and in doing the right thing."
Eponine's sad eyes change to a resolute one and she sits on the chair to be sorted. Again, the batons duel in the air. Each one hitting each other viciously compared to Enjolras' batons. Roughly five minutes pass by and the one in the middle zooms off towards Eponine and she grabs it before the other two get close. The baton lets out royal blue sparks and all three go back to the silver tray. "Welcome to the Le Fay house, Ms. Thenadier. I hope you enjoy your time here in Beauxbatons."
And it disappears. Eponine makes her way to the Le Fay table and Cosette immediately hugs her, excited to have someone she knows together. Marius smiles at both of them and they all eat their dinner, chatting about each other's lives.
Time flies by and Eponine is on her comfortable bed, still awake despite the hour, and remembers the last time she had a bed this comfortable. It was five years back, when her father was somewhat well off with their modest inn at Lane Boulanger in Montfermeil. Tears start welling up her eyes but she blinks it away. She glances to her left and sees a peacefully sleeping Cosette. "It will be alright," she whispers, "I will make my destiny." She casts tempus and sees the time and it reads 1:46 AM. "I better get some sleep and I hope I'm not dreaming at all." Eponine falls asleep for a new day tomorrow.
2nd A/N: For lack of confusion, I've also listed down the names of the characters:
Euphrasie "Cosette" Fauchelevent
Olivier "Bossuet" Lesgle
Martine Thenadier nee Babin - Mother of Eponine, Azelma, Gavroche, Philippine, Nicolas Thenadier