Hey you guys! This is a simple one-shot I was suddenly inspired to do. It's musical-based, not book-based, but I hope it will appeal to both audiences.
When the bullets first struck her, piercing her skin and embedding themselves deep within the softest flesh of her body, Eponine merely looked down at herself, dumbstruck. She was shot…? But…how…? She couldn't be shot, she had to get to Marius!
And then came the pain.
It was almost amazing how much pain a person could feel, she reflected, curled in on herself, gasping. It didn't cease-it came in waves, crashing over her in droves so strong that even she, hardy streetrat as she was, couldn't stop the shrieks of pain from ripping painfully from her throat. Deep, primal shrieks, from when a human is reduced to one of their most basic forms.
And then-because Eponine was Eponine-came the determination.
Clenching her teeth so hard it was a wonder they didn't crack, she pushed herself to a sitting position, before collapsing back to the ground almost immediately.
"C'mon…'Ponine," she gasped to herself, rising up painfully to her feet. She stumbled, looking for all the world a drunkard, but she managed to propel herself forward, both arms wrapped tightly about her torso, quickly becoming slick with her blood.
The night, its darkness almost palpable, managed to conceal obstacles that impeded her path. Every time she stumbled, her wounds ripped open slightly more, forcing her to curl into a fetal position multiple times before she could once again wrench herself up.
When at last Marius' barricade came into sight, tears of joy joined Eponine's tears of agony.
"Marius…" she breathed, before another wave washed over her, sending her to her knees, choking on her own blood.
Back on her feet, she pushed her hair back from her face, slightly annoyed-even in her suffering-that her hat was failing to keep it all back. The contact left streaks of red on her hair, but it escaped her notice.
Vaguely, she heard someone call out, "There's a boy climbing the barricade!" Her clouded mind, finally grasping that the crier was referring to her, directed her on an easier path.
Realizing that the climber was a girl, and posed no danger, students dressed in borrowed military coats and holding muskets distractedly helped her over, not even noticing her injuries, which she half-consciously covered with her coat.
"Eponine!" The girl couldn't help smiling slightly when she felt strong, yet ever-gentle hands grasp her upper-arms, and she looked up into the face of Marius. "'Ponine! You foolish girl! What in God's name possessed you to come? Do you have word of my love?"
'Ponine, resisting now the tears from both physical and mental pain, shook her head. The poor light managed to shine on the slick liquid in her hair, catching Marius' attention.
"Eponine," he murmured, almost to himself, reaching a hand to touch her hair. His eyes widened in fear when he saw that the liquid was blood.
"'Ponine! You're hurt! You need some help, oh God-"
He was stopped by Eponine, who collapsed to her knees with a weak, "I can't stand anymore."
The young man moved with her, catching her against him before she could fully hit the cold ground. The movement had opened her coat slightly, revealing suspicious dark spots on her dirty chemise. He swallowed, terror building. Opening her coat slowly, he chanted, mainly to himself: "Oh, God, no! Not 'Ponine! Oh God, oh God-"
He let out a strangled cry when the full scope of her wounds was visible. The thin material clung to her small frame, and yet more blood poured from multiple holes on her abdomen.
She reached a shaking, red hand to touch his cheek gently. She managed to smile, even as she gasped from another wave of pain.
He smiled gently back, to reassure her, even though tears began to stream from his eyes. 'Not 'Ponine, not 'Ponine, please, not 'Ponine,' he thought desperately.
"'Ponine, you need a doctor!" She stopped him before he could really move, urgently clutching to him.
"Don't fret, Monsieur Marius. " She paused to cough up more blood, much to Marius' growing trepidation. "I don't feel any pain at all, now that I'm with you."
"Liar," he accused, softly. She laughed, a short noise, desperate and heart-wrenching.
"Don't fret," she repeated. "Look at this rain-" she broke off to gaze at the drops pouring down.
"You'll get sick. We should get you inside," Marius said, though he made no move to fulfill his words.
"Silly Marius," she teased. "This rain…can't hurt me now. In fact, it will make the flowers grow, big and beautiful. Won't that be lovely?"
"I'll pick the best ones and bring them to you, 'Ponine," he promised, hoping to encourage her to live, even as he knew it was too late.
"I'll hold you to that," she laughed, still choking on her blood. Suddenly, her face grew serious. "Marius…before I leave, there's one thing that I've always wished to do."
"Anything, 'Ponine. Anything at all, just-"
She cut him off, pulling herself up and capturing his lips with her own. The kiss, though short, was full of a youthful passion that Eponine could never have before expressed. Marius, too shocked to pull away, froze. Their tears mingled together, exchanging places.
And then, with a final gasp, Eponine fell backward, her eyes open and staring at the heavens, an enraptured smile forever captured on her lips. Marius caught her before her head hit the ground, though it wouldn't have made much difference by then. Her blood was on his lips, he could taste it, metallic and hot; but he couldn't think straight to wipe it off.
Instead, he bent over her, crumpled and sorrow-stricken. "'Ponine," he whimpered, his tears falling and soaking through the chemise at her breast, mingling with the blood.
"'Ponine!" He howled, capturing the attention of fellow students, whose eyes softened immediately when they took in the scene.
"Marius," that was Enjolras' voice, as he placed a hand on his shoulder. The one word held so much weight: it was condolence, order, and gentle reprimand at his behavior.
He struggled at first when they tried to remove Eponine's body from his grasp. It was still warm and limp, and he was trying to convince himself that she wasn't dead-merely sleeping. When he moved to snatch her back, Enjolras said again, more harshly, "Marius!"
Hands appeared to help him to his feet, and he followed behind the man carrying Eponine's body. Gaining his senses somewhat, he moved forward, stopping him.
"Please, let me." He took the body in his arms gently. Mindful of anything in his way that would cause him to drop 'Ponine, he made his way to an inn that was being used to hold the dead.
Rather than degrade her by setting her on a table, he ventured upstairs, opening a vacant bedroom with his foot. Crossing to the bed, he set her down gently, clasping her hands on her chest and closing her eyelids. As a sudden thought, he pulled a bouquet of flowers from a vase, placing them in her already cold hands.
Marius pressed a firm kiss to her forehead, tears still streaming from his eyes.
Long after Eponine had died, and the fracas of the barricades had settled down, you could venture to a certain graveyard in France, and you would always see a bright, fresh bouquet of flowers on the grave of a young girl who had died too early for the sake of her love.
Marius, even after his marriage to Cosette, still kept his promise to Eponine: that he would bring her the best flowers. Every day, even during the harshest weather, he would venture to the graveyard, kneel in front of the grave, and place his flowers gently on the stone. He even spoke to her resting place, keeping her up-to-date. He told her of his marriage, and then of the birth of each of his children, and later, in sorrow, of the death of Cosette.
Although he never saw her, he was watched over by Eponine. She would manifest herself in various ways: a warm rush of wind when he was chilled, a cool breeze to dry his tears, or to cool him on a hot day. When he slumped over, exhausted, she would gently convince him to move to his bed. If he was focusing on something too much, and becoming stressed over it, she would take something of his, hide it, and force him to take a break and look for it.
When the day came of Marius' death, she was waiting for him.
"Hello, Marius," she greeted, smiling and radiant. She looked exactly as she had before she died, except she was now well-fed and healthy. He ran to embrace her, spinning her around and around. He was once again young, the age he had been when Eponine had died.
"'Ponine," he said, nuzzling his head into her neck. A sudden thought occurred to him, one that he couldn't help asking: "Where's Cosette?"
She smiled, soothing his worry.
"Do not fear, Marius. She has already moved on, she is waiting for you in Heaven."
She held up a hand, stopping him, already knowing where his train of thought had led him.
"I waited for you, Marius."
"Because you needed me, so I was there. How could you make it without me?" She grinned cheekily.
"Same old 'Ponine," he said affectionately. She took his hand in her own, squeezing it reassuringly.
"Are you ready?"
And together, they stepped into to the light.
Okay! That's it! I think I've covered both bases here: Cosette and Marius (*cough* boo *cough*), and Eponine and Marius (cue rambunctious cheering from the authoress). And yes, authoress is a word, look it up. And no, this totally wasn't a way to procrastinate from updating any of my stories.
Please review! C'mon! You know you want to!