"So which bed do you want?"

Cosette blinked. A pixish face with thick hipster glasses swam back into focus. She stared.

"Okay," the girl said, swinging a bag up onto the top bunk. "I'll take top, I guess."

"That's fine," Cosette managed to stammer out. The girl smiled.

"Don't worry. I don't snore. And I probably won't be here much, so I won't get in your way."

"Oh, no," Cosette said, blushing. "I wasn't worried about that- I'm just-"

"First time away from home?"

Cosette grimaced. "Is it that obvious?"

The girl laughed. Cosette smiled in spite of herself. She had a very nice laugh, this girl. "I'm Ferre," the girl said, sticking an arm down through the bars of her bed.

"Cosette," she replied, reaching up and shaking the proffered hand. "Nice to meet you."

"Cosette," the girl said. "That's kind of a strange name."

"My real name's Euphrasie. And you're one to talk, Ferre."

"I'm really Elizabeth Ann Combeferre, but as part of my rebellion from my upper-class republican upbringing I just go by Ferre and I sleep with women."

Cosette chuckled. "Good to know."

"Don't worry though," Ferre said. "You're not my type. I like blondes."

A gentle knock came at the door. "Come in," Ferre called, flopping backwards. The door was pushed open and Cosette's father entered carrying a huge trunk. Ferre looked up in surprise. "Wow," she said, impressed. "You're strong."

"Thanks, Papa," Cosette said. "Ferre, this is my father, Jean Fauchelvaut. He's the head of the botany department in the school. Papa, this is Ferre."

Mr Fauchelvaut put down the trunk and nodded up at Ferre. "That's the last one," he said, his eyes filling with tears.

"Papa," she said, feeling her own eyes watering. He hugged her tight. "I'll still see you every day on campus," she murmured into her shirt.

"I know," he said. "But I'll still miss you like crazy."

He tilted up her head. "You be good now, young lady."

She nodded up at him and he embraced her again. "I love you, dear," he said.

"I love you too."

She walked him back down to his car. "Call me," he said.

"Every night."

He hugged her once more and was gone. Cosette stood for a moment, blinking tears out of her eyes, then turned to go inside. Through the salty blur she noticed a handsome young boy staring over a map at her. She blushed, sure she was the object of some "new freshman" jokes, and headed back up the stairs.

She arrived to find that the third girl had arrived and had claimed the single bed against the wall. Cosette smiled weakly at her. She looked familiar. She was ragged, in a very defiant sort of way, the kind of poor that keeps itself very clean without trying too hard to hide its poverty. She didn't return Cosette's smile, instead looking at her in a wary, almost appraising way. "I'm Cosette," Cosette offered. The girl finally smiled. "Eponine," she said, her voice carrying with it the husk of countless cigarettes.

Cosette looked at her. "I knew an Eponine once," she said, almost without realizing it. "When I was very small."

From up on her bed Ferre snapped her fingers. "Oh! You're Pontmercy's friend, aren't you?"

Eponine looked up at her, surprised. "You definitely are," Ferre said. "Didn't you come to a meeting once?"

"Yes," Eponine said. "I know Marius." She said his name almost reverently. Ferre looked like she was about to say something when a loud knock sounded and a tousled head poked around the door.

"Are there any naked girls in here?"

Ferre squealed in excitement. "Fey!" She jumped off the bed and ran to hug the head, which had revealed itself to be an actual boy, tall and good-looking, dressed kind of preppy and beaming. He wrapped his arms around the tiny Ferre, who barely reached his shoulder.


"Right here," another voice said. A different boy stepped into view. Both Eponine and Cosette sucked in a little gasp of air. If the first boy was good-looking, this one was a god. His blond hair waved down his lofty brow and stopped just before a pair of ice-blue eyes. He stood ramrod straight, like a soldier. Everything about him seemed erect and poised, but he smiled down at Ferre and hugged her too.

"We're here, Enjolras," Ferre was saying. "We got out!"

"We always knew you would," the first boy said. "It's a shock Enjolras and I graduated."

"Yeah, because you almost got sent to juevy, assholes," Ferre said, mock slapping him. "Let me introduce you to my roommates," she said, turning back to face Eponine and Cosette with the air of a proud mother showing off her sons. "Eponine, Cosette, this is Enjolras, our chief, and Courfeyrac, our center. I think you two already know Eponine, she's Marius's friend. She came to a meeting once, remember?"

They nodded. "How do you do, ladies? Call me Fey," Courfeyrac said, shaking their hands. "I do remember you, Eponine. That's such a cool coincidence, that you're rooming with Ferre. Have you seen Marius lately, by the way?"

Eponine shook her head. "He's getting settled in."

"We'll have to pay him a visit, next, Enjolras."

Enjolras made a face. "Have fun with that," he said, turning back to Ferre. "Joly and Bosseut just called. They want to meet us at the Musain in twenty minutes."

Ferre nodded. "Lemme grab my coat. I can't wait for classes to start, can you?"

Enjolras smiled. Ferre grabbed her jacket off of her bed and bounded back over to her boys. "I'll see you two later?" she said questioningly.

"Definitely," Cosette said. She liked this girl. Eponine, too, nodded. Ferre waved cheerily and dragged Enjolras and Courfeyrac outside. Cosette smiled and began to unpack. Eponine had only two suitcases, she noticed with some surprise. Ferre had four, plus multiple boxes and books, and Cosette had six filled with clothes alone. She began to hang some of her dresses.

"So," she said, trying to make small talk. "What sort of a meeting did you go to?"

Eponine smiled. "Some stupid socialist thing. They all went to the same high school, I think."

Cosette nodded. Eponine shrugged. "I only went because Marius dragged me along. Although the eyecandy was pretty superb."

Cosette chuckled. "So I'd imagine, after seeing Enjolras."

"Yeah, he's a hottie, isn't he? Totally too-rebellious for a commitment, though. He and Marius don't really get along, I think."


"Marius Pontmercy. He was my neighbor."

Cosette nodded. "Did you live in the same town as Ferre?"

Eponine shook her head. "Just the same voting district. My dad used to own a hotel, but it went out of business and we've had- trouble- since then." She looked sad. Cosette was rather sorry she'd asked. The room had suddenly become very awkward. Eponine looked up and shrugged. "But things are getting better, now that I have this scholarship and stuff."

Cosette nodded. "Yeah," she said awkwardly. Eponine smiled suddenly, a real smile. "Marius?" she said, her entire face glowing. Cosette marveled at how pretty she was before turning to see a boy in their doorway, the boy from downstairs, the one with the map. She stared. He was even more handsome up close. She felt distinctly dazzled. His gaze slid past Eponine and locked on Cosette. They looked at each other for a few moments, then Eponine cleared her throat. "Marius? Did you want something?"

The boy- Marius- didn't look away from Cosette. "I... just wanted to make sure you were settling in okay," he stammered. Eponine grabbed his arm and he looked down.

"I'm good," she said. "Why don't we go get some food?"

Marius nodded without seeming to realize what he was agreeing too. Then he looked back up at Cosette. Eponine looked back and forth between the two of them. Her face was strangely impassive. "Let's go, Marius," she said, pulling on his arm. He halfheartedly pointed towards Cosette.

"Would you like to-" he began.

"No." Eponine said, dragging him out into the hall and slamming the door with her foot. Cosette was left alone. Shit, she thought. Have I just fallen in love with my roommate's boyfriend?