Courfeyrac roamed the streets, though it was winter and almost midnight. As he passed a dark alleyway, he heard what sounded like crying. He got closer to the noise and saw a small girl curled up, sobbing. He soon noticed that girl, was Eponine.
"'Ponine? Is that you?" He asked
"Go away Courfeyrac, I don't need your help." She told him harshly.
"You may not need my help," He said kneeling down to sit by his friend, "but your gonna get it." She flinched at the words.
'You're gonna get it!'
"I'm sorry. Did I say something wrong?" Courfeyrac asked concerned.
"No." She spat, trying and failing, to get up. When she stumbled, Courfeyrac was there. 'He was always there' Eponine thought.
When Eponine fell back into Courfeyrac's arms, she immediately started to sob again. He was going to kill whoever had hurt his Eponine this much.
He shouldn't think that way. He saw the way she looked at Marius-who (stupidly) didn't feel the same way about her as she did for him.
Eponine looked up at him, "Where's Gavroche?" She asked him, voice full of concern. Since her little brother lived with Courfeyrac, she was a bit concerned not to see him.
"With Grantaire for the night." He assured her.
"Good." He looked at her confused. "I don't want him to see me like this."
Again, Courfeyrac looked puzzled.
"He thinks I'm so strong. He looks up to me."
"But 'Ponine," He lifted her chin gently "You are strong. And brave and kind..." He paused "and beautiful."
She blushed and looked down at the street, a breathy laugh escaping her lips.
"Honest Ep, anyone who can't see that is blind." Then she lost her smile.
'You stupid, worthless slut!'
"I just keep saying the wrong things tonight don't I?" He asked running a hand through his curls.
"No, I just-thank you Courfeyrac. For every thing." She told him.
"You're welcome, mademoiselle ." He told her, standing and offering his hand. She stumbled again and this time, Courfeyrac scooped her into his arms.
"Where are we going?" Eponine asked him.
"Do you trust me?" He asked her.
"Of course." She replied immediately without hesitation.
"Good." He told her smiling, as he continued to walk through the streets.
Courfeyrac opened the door to the small flat he shared with Grantaire and Gavroche. They were like a small family, those three boys. And he wouldn't have it any other way.
The door creaked slightly making Courfeyrac flinch. He looked down at the sleeping girl in his arms. He could not remember a time when she looked more peaceful.
As he made his way through the door, Courfeyrac noticed that Gavroche and Grantaire were already asleep on their small couch. Gavroche's small head laying on Grantaire's shoulder brought a small smile to Courfeyrac's lips.
He continued to walk through their small flat and placed Eponine on his mattress. Bits of moonlight came flooding through the ripped curtains and fell onto Eponine's small figure. Courfeyrac looked down at her battered body and it took everything in him not to cry. How could anyone ever hurt his beautiful Eponine?
"Please Monsieur, come this way..." Eponine heard her fathers voice as he led the stranger toward their small tent. Eponine looked around and saw no signs of the police. She looked over toward the small corner stores and saw families talking and laughing.
She fantasized about what it would be like to have a family like that, to not have an abusive thief as a father. To have a mother who cared.
She was snapped out of her thoughts when she saw Javert walking toward her. She warned her family and ran as fast as she could away from the scene.
Eponine awoke to the sound of Gavroche's voice calling her name. Smiling, she hopped out of bed and walked out of the room (which she presumed belonged to Courfeyrac) and joined her three friends.
"Sleep well?" Asked Courfeyrac
"Yes. Thank you." Eponine responded smiling
"'Ponine!" Gavroche yelled from the small kitchen, making his way toward his sister, "I made you some toast!" He exclaimed proudly.
Though the edges were a bit burnt and the boys had no butter or jam, she smiled at the young boy, "Thank you Monsieur!" Eponine exclaimed grabbing the small piece of toast as she kissed little Gavroche on his cheek.
Gavroche smiled, feeling proud of himself. Grantaire and Courfeyrac couldn't help but smile at the small child as well.
Walking toward the small living area, Grantaire looked at Courfeyrac, "I'm going to take little Gav on a walk, would you two like to join us?" He asked
"No, but thank you." Courfeyrac said, politely declining his friends offer.
"Alright," Grantaire turned towards little Gavroche, smiling mischievously. Gavroche gasped slightly and began running. Grantaire soon caught up with the boy and flung him over his shoulders, laughing as he walked to the door.
"You look better today." Courfeyrac told Eponine as the pair sat on the small couch.
"I feel better." She responded "I can't thank you enough, Courfeyrac."
"Don't mention it," He asked her and paused slightly before starting again. "Eponine," she looked up at him, meeting his eyes, "What happened?"
Eponine ran as fast as her small legs would carry her. When she finally made it to the tiny house where she and her 'family' lived, she stopped to catch her breath.
After a few minutes, she saw her family, who pushed past her inside the house.
All but one person.
"You stupid, worthless slut!" Her father yelled, his hand stinging her thin face.
"You were supposed to warn us when the coppers were coming!"
"But I did-" she tried to argue, but to no avail.
"You didn't warn us quick enough!" He yelled, slapping her again. "You're lucky he let us off with a warning!"
"Maybe if you weren't a thief, we wouldn't have to worry about getting caught all the time!" She spat
"Now you're gonna get it!" He yelled. Eponine felt powerless as her father repeatedly kicked her, punched her, slapped her. She just didn't have the strength to fight back anymore.
"Have you learned your lesson now you stupid hussy?" Thenardier yelled, walking away from his sobbing, beaten daughter.
"Eponine?" Courfeyrac asked again, grabbing Eponine's hand and trying to snap her out of her thoughts.
When she finally 'woke up' from her nightmarish memories, she fell into Courfeyrac's arms and started to cry. She was normally strong, but her father must have beaten her bravery out of her.
"I'm sorry." She cried "I'm sorry."
"No need to be sorry," Courfeyrac told her, rubbing her back soothingly. "What's the matter, my dear 'Ponine?"
Eponine, after telling Courfeyrac everything that had happened, pulled away from his embrace.
"I'm sorry that you ever had to go through that 'Ponine." He told her wiping the tears from her face. "You know I would never hurt you, right?"
She nodded, a single tear rolling down her cheek. Courfeyrac leaned towards her, only slightly, not wanting to scare her away. When she leaned closer to him, Courfeyrac closed the small gap between them and gently placed his lips on hers. Not wanting to hurt her, he placed his arms delicately around her too thin waist as she coiled her arms around his neck.
Eponine pulled away too quickly for Courfeyrac's liking, but when he heard her say, "I love you, Courfeyrac." He smiled and said it back. Of course he loved the girl. It was so hard not to. He loved her with every bone in his body and could not help but lean in again to kiss her once more.
The two did not notice Grantaire and Gavroche open the door and quickly close it behind them to sit on the steps outside their flat.
Smiling, Gavroche triumphantly said, "I told you so."