Cosette could never understand why the rain made him sad.

Marius stood at the drawing-room window, holding back the drapery, staring out blankly, as he always did when the skies grew grey. She could tell that whatever he was seeing was nothing that actually existed beyond the pane of glass, but rather the landscape of his imagination. It did not appear to be a cheerful place at times like this.

Sometimes she was able to cajole him out of his dark moods, but he looked so solemn at the moment that she felt as though she'd be intruding on something private if she tried. These bouts had been at their worst when he'd been recovering from his wounds; they'd barely existed at all for a brief, idyllic time after they'd married. But after settling into a comfortable household routine, they returned: not quite the same as before, not as harshly; just an almost gentle melancholy, and only when it rained. At times she felt a bit shut out but he was a kind and attentive husband at all other times, and the moods were so fleeting that she felt she really had no cause for complaint.

Cosette left the room quietly. Marius heard neither her skirts brushing the carpet nor the soft click of the door behind her.


She'd died in the rain.

He didn't know why that bothered him so, but it did. It seemed vastly unfair, somehow: that she, who had had to endure all the ravages of the weather during her lifetime, had had to do so even as she'd left it.

And she'd died in his arms. He'd been as unable to shield her from harm as he'd been unable to shield her from the rain.

She'd died bravely, telling him not to worry.

He hadn't realized until long afterward, and much too late, how very much he would miss her.

He missed all his friends. He'd had to work through not only physical wounds but emotional ones. The feeling that he should not have lived through it all was so strong sometimes that guilt had threatened to overwhelm him, especially in the early days.

Cosette had helped him through that and had given him a reason to live and to keep fighting. He was profoundly grateful to her.

But at times...he had the sense that they were all out there somewhere, all the friends who had left him behind, in a place he couldn't reach. Together, healed, never aging, forever hopeful, while he plodded relentlessly and inevitably toward the waning of his youth.

He reached one hand toward the glass. Sometimes he could swear he almost saw them, but it was always a trick of the light. He missed them all, but it was Eponine who haunted him.

His father-in-law had sworn he could see a lady in a white gown and a girl in boys' clothes right before he'd passed away. He and Cosette had looked at each other, pale as ghosts, startled for completely different reasons. Jean Valjean had said that the girl had brought him a message once and was back to bring him another.

Marius had nearly wept. It was his fault. He'd tried to keep Eponine out of harm's way but failed.

Why did she never return with a message for him? Was she angry? Did she forgive him? Did she ever think of him still, wherever she was? Did she know he thought of her?

It had taken him a long time to realize what a good friend she'd really been to him. And what a void she left in his life by leaving it. Too late. He could never thank her now.

He wished...he wasn't sure what he wished. He wished he'd paid more attention to her. Thanked her for putting her life on the line for him. He wished they'd had more time.

The skies were getting darker outside. It was going to rain at any moment.

There was a knock on the drawing-room door, and he heard a servant saying something about lighting the fire. He made no answer; the servant left without entering, evidently assuming no one was in the room.

He wanted it dark.

He'd kissed her once, and once only. And that only after she was gone. She'd asked him to, but in truth, he would have done it anyway. That was the moment he'd begun to realize that she might be more important to him than he'd understood.

Why did every important realization in his life come to him too late?

No – there had been another time, too. He hadn't kissed her, but he'd thought of doing so. She'd been in his room at the Gorbeau house. They'd looked at each other, and he'd been ashamed of what he'd been thinking. She'd just smiled.

Had it been raining then, too? He couldn't recall.

Thick drops began to patter on the glass, and soon the room was completely dark; the rain descending in great sheets.

There was a tentative knock on the door, which then opened. A pale face peeped around it.

"Marius? Are you all right?" Cosette's soft voice held a note of worry.

He instantly felt guilty, and forced a smile.

"Yes, of course. I'm sorry. I was only daydreaming."

"I didn't want to disturb you, but it's nearly dinnertime - "

"You never disturb me." He crossed the room and laid a hand atop hers. "I'll get ready for dinner. Thank you for coming to get me."

Cosette flashed him a hesitant smile and hurried away to continue her own preparations.

Marius glanced at the window and the rain one last time before he left the room.

Think of me sometimes – won't you?

He wiped a speck of dust from his eye before walking out of the cold and dark of the drawing room and into the warmth and light of the hall, closing the door behind him. But not closing his past away. Not completely.


In the holding tank I built for myself it's feeding time

And I start to feel afraid 'cause I'm the last one left in line

The endless string of summer storms that led me to today

Began one afternoon with you long ago and far away

And someone leads the beast in on its chain

But I know you're thinking of me 'cause it's just about to rain

So I won't be afraid of anything ever again

In the cell that holds my body back the door swings wide

And I feel like someone's lost child as the guards lead me outside

And if the clouds are gathering, it's just to point the way

To an afternoon I spent with you when it rained all day

And someone leads the beast in on its chain

But I know you're thinking of me 'cause it's just about to rain

So I won't be afraid of anything ever again