Random idea I had. Literally just popped into my head.
Disclaimer: I don't own Les Miserables or any of the characters.
Marius was used to hearing the sound of fists on flesh. He knew that Eponine's father beat her, her sister, and her brother, and, what was worse, he knew he couldn't help her. He'd tried to once, but it had only made things worse. He couldn't help his best friend the girl who loved nextdoor.
That night was different though. He heard the sound of someone being beaten through the thin walls of the Gorbeau building, that was normal. But this time the beating was followed by screams. Eponine's screams. In the many years that Marius had known her, Eponine had never screamed once. Never screamed, never cried, never complained about her miserable life. He could hear Gavroche crying.
"I'll kill you!" he heard Eponine shout, "I'LL KILL YOU, YOU BASTARD!" Marius got up from his desk chair. He heard another scream. "DON'T TOUCH HIM, YOU MONSTER!" he heard the door slam. He went over to his apartment door and opened it just in time to see Eponine and Gavroche running down the stairs, both dripping blood as they ran. Marius followed them out of the Gorbeau building. Eponine, hearing his footsteps, looked back and saw him. She scooped Gravroche up and ran faster. She didn't want Marius to know what had happened, she didn't want to talk about it and knew that Gavroche wouldn't either. Marius eventually stopped chasing after them, realising that he would not catch them. The image of Eponine's terrified face haunted his thoughts. She'd looked at him with such fear and sorrow that Marius had never seen in her before. Eponine never really showed her emotions, except for the obvious fact (well, it was obvious to everyoe except for Marius) that she loved him. Eponine stopped running and placed Gavroche back on the ground. Gavroche, who was already crying, watched as tears began to form in Eponine's eyes. It was the first time he'd ever seen her cry. "I... I can't believe..." she whispered.
"I know..." Gavroche whispered back.
"How could he...?"
"I don't know..."
"She didn't do anything wrong..."
"He... SHE DIDN'T DESERVE IT!" Eponine shouted. Gavroche jumped. Eponine was angry. Not at Gavroche, of course, but at their father. "She didn't do anything wrong..." Eponine repeated brokenly.
"HE KILLED HER! He... he killed her..." Eponine was sobbing now. Gavroche wrapped his scrawny arms around her. Eponine hugged him back. Both were crying, both were mourning. "He... he killed... he killed Azelma..."
"I know..." his voice shook.
"We're on our own now... but don't worry, 'Vroche, I'll take good care of you. I promise..."
Over the course of the next few weeks, Eponine did indeed take care of Gavroche. Marius searched for them, but was unsuccessful. He wondered what had become of them and he worried very much for them. Eponine managed to pickpocket enough money to buy a loaf of bread that they could make last for a week. Eponine ate very little of it, she gave most of it to Gavroche. She soon became thinner than she ever had been and she was very skeletal. She had made herself and Gavroche a shelter of sorts in an abandoned house. It wasn't much, all of the windows were smashed which allowed the cold air to get in (it was Winter), there was nothing in the house except for a torn up sofa (which Gavroche used as a bed), and there were shards of glass everywhere.
As they passed deeper into Winter, money was becoming fewer and fewer. Eponine could barely afford a loaf of bread every two weeks, which was not enough. Both were becoming ill, though Eponine was worse off, though she'd never admit it, than Gavroche. But both were close to death. It soon became clear that pickpocketing would be enough anymore, so Eponine did the only thing that she could think of to get money for food and medicine for Gavroche (she didn't care about herself), she sold all that she had left; she sold herself, her body. That is to say, she became a whore.
Eponine was working the streets while Gavroche was at 'home' sleeping. So far, she had been rather fortunate. She'd had several 'costumers'. She saw some bourgeois walking by. He was clearly new to the area. Eponine crept up behind him.
"Hello M'sieur. Wanna go a round? Only 10 francs, I'll make it worth your while." she said to him. The man turned and both gasped for each recognised the other. "S-sorry M'sieur, I'll just be going..." she turned and ran off.
"Wait! 'Ponine!" Marius ran after her. Eponine was overcome by a violent coughing fit. She doubled over and then fell to the ground, coughing up blood. Marius ran over to her. "Oh 'Ponine, what happened? What led you to this?" he asked. She laughed bitterly.
"M'sieur don't mock me now I pray, it's hard enough I've lost my pride..." she coughed again and gasped for breath. "I never did no wrong... my brother's close to dying... If there's a God above, he'd let me die instead." Eponine shivered in the cold. Marius noticed how awful she looked. Her cheekbones jutted out from her face, which was much too thin, her waist was thinner than Marius had known it could be possible, and she had dark bags under eyes that showed that she rarely slept. He touched her face lightly and she flinched.
"Eponine, I can help you. Please, let me help you." said Marius. Eponine looked at him. He helped her up. "Where is Gavroche? Take me to him." For a second he thought Eponine smile, but only for a second. She led him to hers and Gavroche's 'home'. Gavroche was just waking up.
"Eponine?" he asked.
"I'm here, 'Vroche." she replied. Then Gavroche saw Marius and he smiled slightly. Marius noticed that Gavroche was also much too thing. Eponine walked over to the sofa where Gavroche lay and kneeled down in front of it. She felt his forehead. "Still feverous." she said with a frown. Marius walked over to them and bent down and picked Gavroche up. Gavroche looked at him.
"You need a doctor's care." he told him. They left the sorry excuse for a house and Marius got them a carriage to the hospital. He paid for both Eponine and Gavroche to be seen by doctors. Both were told that they needed to stay in the hospital for a couple of days to recover.
That night, as Gavroche slept, Marius sat down in the chair next to Eponine's hospital bed. She wouldn't meet his eyes. It was quite obvious that she was embarrassed about earlier. Marius looked at her.
"What happened that night that you left the Gorbeau house?" he asked. And so she explained. "I could have helped you."
"And now you have."
"But I could have helped you then."
"It does not do to dwell on the past."
"'Ponine..." he whispered. She finally looked at him. His green eyes were filled with such concern for her. She nearly smiled. She also nearly melted. But that was normal for her whenever she looked into his eyes. Eponine looked away. No, Eponine, he does not love you. she told herself, he never will so stop thinking that he might... he won't... Her eyes were filled with sadness. "Eponine, what's wrong?" he asked her. She said nothing and refused to look at him. "'Ponine?" he took one of her hands in his. "'Ponine, what's wrong?" he asked again. She looked at him and knew that she couldn't keep her secret from him any longer. She sighed slightly.
"Marius, there is something that I need to tell you..." she began, "I... well, er... I kind of... um..."
"What is it, 'Ponine?"
"Marius, I love you..." she told him, already starting to blush. He looked at her, wide eyed.
"You... you do?"
"For how long?"
"Since I've known you..." she replied. "And I already know that you do not feel the same way. Why would you? I am dirty, I am homeless, I am poor, I am hideous..." she whispered weakly.
"You are beautiful."
She looked at him, disbelief in her soft brown eyes. Then Marius leaned in and kissed her softly. Her breath hitched in her throat. She kissed him back with burning desire. He caressed her face softly and she ran her fingers through his hair.
"I love you, Mademoiselle." he told her. Her lips twitched upward into a smile.
Eponine and Gavroche soon fully recovered, but they did not have to return to their 'home', instead they got a real home with Marius and they were truly happy. They did not live in the Gorbeau house, they lived in a large apartment in the Place Saint-Michel. Neither Eponine nor Gavroche were too thin anymore. Nor were they covered in dirt and grime, nor did they wear rags.
Marius came home one day from work and found Gavroche trying to read one of his law books and Eponine watching him struggle. She tried to help her brother, but she didn't understand it much better than he did. They looked over at Marius when he walked in.
"Hello." they greeted him in unison.
"Hey." he replied with a smile. He looked at Eponine. "'Ponine?"
"Will you marry me?" he asked casually as he pulled a ring from his pocket. Eponine smiled widely and nodded, clearly speechless. Gavroche cheered. Marius went over to her and kissed her passionately, then slipped the ring on to her finger. "I love you, 'Ponine."
"I love you too, Marius."
Well I hope you enjoyed that! Please review!