The pavement was still warm where her body had been.

He did not register much else, not really, not after Combeferre had taken her body away. His chest was still warm where she had lain against him, although it was growing steadily colder with the rain. Enjolras had taken hold of his wrist, pulled his hand from where it rested against her cheek. He was still crouched there next to Marius, still holding his wrist, although his grip was looser now. The other hand rested on Marius's shoulder, and he might have said something – he almost certainly had – but Marius did not know what.

After several minutes, Marius spoke. "Combeferre is angry."

Enjolras shifted slightly, dropping his wrist but redoubling the grip on his shoulder. "What?"

"I nearly got us all killed."

Enjolras hesitated a long moment before replying. "You believed you were doing the right thing. And you did not – get us killed, that is."

"Ferre is angry."

"It is of no consequence. He was worried, as he should be. If he is angry, it will pass."

"I killed her." Regardless of what else may happen at the barricade, Marius knew this for certain. It was a truth from which he knew he could never escape.

Enjolras shifted again, settling against the barricade, and said nothing.

"I should have known she would come here," Marius elaborated. "I should have – if I had just been there, if I had – she would not have had to –" His voice broke. He was shivering violently, he realized, but he could not tell if he was cold.

Enjolras' hand reappeared on his back, rubbing light circles, and Marius wondered if he had ever seen the other man so vulnerable, so freely affectionate. He wondered if it was because they were all going to die here. "It was not your fault, Marius. Surely you know that."

"Ou la mort," he said.


Marius indicated the banner they both were leaning on. "Ou la mort," he repeated. "We all made that sacrifice. But she – she was seventeen, Enjolras. She could not have known."

"She knew," Enjolras said. "I did not know her, Marius, but I do know that. If she did not know when she stepped onto the barricade, she at least knew when she stepped in front of the gun."

Marius did not want to think of Éponine stepping in front of a gun. It had not been her place to save him, and he was angry, irrationally so.

"She gave you a letter," said Enjolras after a while. "What was it?"

It was ruined now, in all probability, soaked through and crumpled in Marius's fist, but he smoothed it out anyway. "From Cosette," he said.


"She was in love with me."

"Cosette? I am sure she is still."

"No. Éponine."


They were silent for a while longer, and Marius knew it was foolish to keep sitting huddled against the barricade in the rain when there was shelter so nearby, but he could not bring himself to move. Enjolras, realizing this, had not left his side, nor had his hand left his back. It was comforting, Marius supposed, having that touch to ground him; but it was a physical reminder of what had happened all the same.

"I'm all right," said Marius eventually. He was uncertain how long they had been there, but it was long enough that his voice had at least regained most of its stability.

Enjolras took this as a cue to stand, and held out a hand for Marius to do the same. "You're not," he said, and with Marius now standing eye to eye with him, he gave a small, sad smile. "But you will be."

Marius nodded, once, uncertain how to respond, and they made their way back to join the others.