[A/N]: Here it is, then, my tribute for this fateful day. This is what I've promised my fellow readers/writers in Dawn A Glance. I hope you still remember me. This is my favorite work, other than That's What You Get for Waking Up in Vegas and Dawn A Glance. I really hope you will like it, m'amie. And I hope you enjoyed the Barricade Day. (It's quite fine for me even if my school decided to start classes today. Really, my school is such a bummer.) Oh, and I'd rather remind you, the full summary of this is in my tumblr, poeticbibliophile.
And I'd like to thank my dear beta, Romas1912, for helping me fixing the errors. I really appreciate your help, insight, and suggestions. I dedicate this story to you, as well. :)
Disclaimer: No musket, bayonet, saber, pistol, or deathly glares are needed to bring me down because I did not live in 19th century Paris, France (though most of the people who knows me would rather beg to differ), am not male, and/or that wise enough to be Victor Hugo to create the beloved characters and their stories, who and which I will now be writing about. The music and lyrics from the musical, movie, or whatever you like to call it I am utilizing as quotes (I'd rather call them 'warnings' because they are, sort of) are not crafted from the neurons my brain has, so rest assured, m'amie, that they are all credited (always, mind you) to these wonderful people, too – Alain Boublil & Michel Schönberg & Jean-Marc Natel & Herbert Kretzmer. It is the plot only that I own, 'nothing more'. Seriously. Well, unless I make a song or poem for it, then, that's mine, but, I will tell you when it is so.
Have fun reading it, then!
+ Chapter 1 +
Cold and Dark
For the wretched of the earth, there is a flame that never dies…
- Do You Hear the People Sing? (Epilogue)
"How dare you, you insolent child! How dare you defile the name and prestige of this household! How dare you! We are royalists! I raised you to be one, to be loyal to the monarchs of our nation—to the King!" His father, who tried not to breakdown or hit his own son, scolded him. Enjolras only raised his head in defiance and looked at the man he considered his pére for so many years. The leader of les mis'l abaissé held his breath to keep his marmoreal resolve, but in his mind, he was reasoning with logic why he wanted to do this—to lead a revolt for the liberty of his native land. His reasons crowded in his brain, so without meaning to, he let it slip out of his mouth. He was not one to lose control easily, but his father was pushing the barricades of his firm self- control down.
"Mon pére, people are dying, and the king is doing nothing! Nothing at all! All he favors doing is warring with other countries to gain achievement and popularity! His line promised freedom and equality for all, but what now?" He said back. "France needs emancipation from so many things—pauperism, asphyxiation from an unjust law and discriminating society, prostitution, and some children are not educated, for this privilege has not been extended to them; and diseases are rampant; and the sewers are not regularly cleaned!"
"Father, you accuse me of defiling our name and prestige, but I am doing the exact opposite! I am upholding it! I'm bringing it a pure, fresh life! I'd rather deny being a royalist than deny my countrymen of their freedom! I'm giving my life a pur—" Enjolras was cut by a punch to the gut from his father.
"Enough, I no longer consider you mon fils," his father coldly announced. "Gather your things—all of it! I want no sign of you ever to remain in this house. To think that I gave you time and money, so you can study to serve the king… was utter, foolish waste. Well, I take them back! All of it! Your inheritance shall never, ever be yours! You will receive no sou or franc or napoleon or louis'dors from me. I forsake you!"
Enjolras dared one last glance at his father despite the gagging pain from his stomach. He stared at his father's eyes—they were the clear blue eyes that he had inherited—and saw nothing but hatred and repulsion for him. He thought that he would see at least a small quantity of pity and love from him, but it was not there—gone, like he implicated in his words.
His own azure eyes hardened as blood poured from his lips and trickled down his white shirt, but he remained stoic as he ignored it, for he felt empty. When a father has lost his love for his own son, only one thing can a son do—nothing, for an old dog can no longer learn a new trick, such as pardon; for forgiveness from an obstinate person will reap long, hurtful years until the aged scoundrel realizes the rapport's lost value.
"Out of my sight, now, you traitor," his father ordered roughly, kicking Enjolras once more in the same place he punched him. The young bourgeois—now, a destitute—moaned in pain, but tried to stand and leave his… this antediluvian man. He limped in his endeavor, but, nonetheless, he managed to get to the knob of the door and hold it. Using his right hand to hold and massage his sore abdomen, he used the other to twist the doorknob slowly. Before he could leave, he heard his father mutter, "Weak". He turned his head a little and wearily said, "Au revoir, mon pére."
He left him speechless in the room to go out and see the drawing chamber where he found his mother weeping on a chair near it. When his mother's eyes cleared for a moment, she was surprised to see the blood on his lips, so she stood, walked towards him and used the white kerchief she was crying on to dab it. Enjolras tried to refuse, but he hesitated because of his mother's silent plea and the pain from his stomach. "Ma, mére, waste no more tears for me. I am no longer your beloved fils. M'sieur has stripped me of bearing the name of this household. Shed no more, please, at least, in this life," Enjolras pleaded, trying to be strong in the presence of his mother. He didn't want to be a failure in her eyes, for she would be the only hope he would have.
"But you shall always be my son! I have birthed you in labor! You are of my own flesh and blood! How can I not weep for you and your pére?" His mother answered, bitter tears falling from her eyes as she ceased taking care of him. "I shall be wailing forever! My love for him has turned cold because of this…. He'd rather abandon his own son than the monarchs!" She sobbed in her hands, and Enjolras embraced her for one last time as he tried to comfort her.
"Oui, ma mére, I am, and I forever regret father's illusion of the king," Enjolras replied silently, gripping her tightly. "But, please, do not forget that I love you both—even if the man I lived to know as my father has ceased to. I have to fight, ma mére, for the liberty of this nation. If I have to die for that endeavor, then I must. I'd rather die than live and see my nation suffer from that illness."
His mother looked up at him and took his face in her hands. "But, mon fils, can you not? Can you just not start and lead a revolution, so that you can live and be with us, or just me, for the peace of all in this household? Can you not?" Enjolras gazed at his mother as if he was seeing her for the first time. He was surprised and frightened that his mother dared even suggest such a prospect to him. He released her and took her hands away in response. She had always been the one to come and agree with his side, but why was she now rebuking him with these kinds of pleas?
"Ma mére, you know that I cannot do what you are asking me to do! That's to live as if in a dream and not mind the problems of our society—of France! I can't, ma mére, and I hope you understand. I know you do. Bear with me, please," he pleaded, as he felt himself revert to his usual marmoreal feelings and façade. But not before a single tear fell from his eye. "If I have to die... so be it, but remember me, ma mére, for I shall live… in your heart forever. And… that would be enough for a son like me." Enjolras wasn't a man who wore his emotions on his sleeve or lips, but he was having a hard time saying goodbye to his mother.
His mother's green eyes begged one last thing—for him to reconsider once more, but he shook his head. Enjolras turned to leave and collect his things, but before he could, his mother took his hand. He didn't turn to face her anymore, for the heartbreak in her eyes was too much. She spoke wearily and sadly. "There is… a lodging I have hidden from your father's knowledge. You can live there. It's just behind the academy that you are studying at, but beware that it is quite near the miscreants of Paris." She squeezed his hand when he shook his head and tried to argue. "Now, do not disobey or question me. Please, mon fils, just do that one last thing for me. It would be… enough for a mother like me."
Enjolras turned one more time to face and tell her, "Merci, ma mére". His mother smiled, a gift to her once youthful appearance, for it brought a lightness to her features and gave Enjolras one last happy memory with her. "And remember, my son, another thing—in the bedroom of that humble lodging, under the bed is a trap door—a covert place for the money I have safely kept in there. Use it wisely to your advantage, or anyone of need, if it be," his mother told him in a whisper. "I give you my blessing. And… now, I bid you my farewell, mon fils." She kissed his forehead swiftly and then released her hand from him. Enjolras bowed slowly—as respect to his mére and because the soreness in his abdomen still lingered—and left to gather his things.
~o0oUn Cœur pour la Révolutiono0o~
A Day after…
Éponine trudged along the dark rues of Paris. Sundry people dwelled in the place. There were thieves hovering about. Destitute and frail women and children lingered about, asking for alms and Providence. But there were malefactors in disguise and on the rues, looking out for unsuspecting rich men and women. She did not mind the nebulous aura of the place she was walking on, for she had a purpose in mind. And why should she mind it? She was only a child, oui, but hard to scare.
She has grown and woken from the little, dreamy, spoiled bubble she used to live in to the harsh realities of life. But even as she tried to keep her head focused on wiping the unsuspecting monsieur of the wallet in his pocket, recollections of how she was able to live with piles of dolls and money on her bed kept tapping on her head. The desolate gamine shook her head at the memories of her once luxurious childhood and was about to take the purse from the young lad when he suddenly turned in her direction.
It was good thing, however, that she managed to gyrate around him and was, therefore, already a step away from that man when he finally did. The young bourgeois looked around him and then sighed when he saw that he missed her. She frowned. Éponine wasn't able to steal his wallet. That meant that she would have to go home without a sou or franc to present to her father, who would be gravely disappointed and, thus, send her to the Patron-Minette—especially, Montparnasse—to be treated like a… human doll, who isn't… alive and conscious of the pain brought to her. Sometimes, she'd rather be beaten by her father than face that wretch and smell his disgusting breath and feel his wandering hands.
She grumbled in anger and proceeded to glare at the back of that lad's head. The bourgeois' hair was blonde and curly, and he wore a red coat, which because of its brightness, made him stand out in the rue, with him. She clucked her tongue and thought, What man wears red when there is no occasion to be celebrated? It only makes him a vulnerable and distinctive target.
She shook her head and made a detour in the corner of the rue to find another victim. And, sure, she could find another one to steal money from in that place, but the pockets of the majority of those living in that area were quite scant. That young man was supposed to be her big catch that day, but circumstances were jeopardized, so she ran.
At the turn, she discovered a gaudy man flaunting his satchel of napoleons to a prostitute. "Come now, lovely lady, spread yourself before me, and you'd have half of this gold for it. I'd give you a good time, too," the man winked as he cajoled the lady, who looked at him frighteningly. Éponine guessed that that girl was new to how things were—she still looked pretty in her full brown locks and… virgin. No doubt that mid-forties man wanted her.
Her beauty was still distinctive, not like the old hags who did nothing but shag men around for money. Éponine shook her head again—she knew how it felt and what was at stake for them to do that. To scorn at them for doing that was hypocrisy on her part. They were desperate, and desperation would always seek to have the fastest, easiest, most convenient way of getting a ticket to live in this harsh world of France.
"I—I can't, m'sieur. Please, don't," the young prostitute replied as he tried to pull her towards him. The kitschy man frowned and roared at her, "But you're a whore! Now, come with me on that dark alley and lay down!" Éponine tried to move on and let them have their business alone, but the young girl's tears stopped her. It reminded her of her sister, Azelma, when she was forced to do it the first time. She was just an innocent child.
Éponine, being the older, had endeavored to prevent it from ever happening to her, but when their pére and mére were being desperate for money, they just pushed them both to the Patron-Minette, who had a lot of money from their successful schemes of robbery and God-knows-what-other-malevolence.
It was a night they wanted to forget. They were pushed, pulled, and taken advantage of all around. Éponine was trying hard to get used to it by not shedding a tear because she was already quite adept with it when they needed a franc, but 'Zelma wasn't able to suppress hers. She sobbed hard and loud, so the men slapped her cheek and told her to shut up while they forced their manhood into her childhood and womanhood. Some put it in her pure lips, so it did quite silence her. But the bitter tears continued to pour from her closed eyes. 'Ponine tried to console her afterwards, saying that she would just get back at those men who took her innocence away. Éponine was tough and has done her share of regretted crimes, after all, but even the bravest Amazonian warrior has a heart for their sisters.
"Don't, 'Ponine," the red-haired sister said in between sobs, "Don't. It's not worth it. They'll never learn how to stop. But, thank you, for comforting me, anyway. Now, I understand the pain you're going through… every night that they forced you to become a prostitute for those… uncouth men." Azelma put her face in her hands and cried silently. "I will never be able to find a prince like mére used to dream about. My virginity has been taken."
So, when that young girl cried, Éponine turned and hit the flashy man in the head. It was good that she did, because he has already successfully torn the girl's chemise and ragged skirt and was about to pounce on her. Before the man had fallen on top of the prostitute, however, she grabbed his collar and hauled him, who was quite heavy, a bit out of the way.
Éponine took the satchel of gold and gave half of it to the poor girl, who was desperately trying to cover her exposed body with her hands and what's left of her original garments. "Here, you have the other half of my shawl," she said, as she tore and gave it to the crying lady, who took both the napoleons and article of clothing from her.
"Merci, mad'moiselle," the young prostitute told her, smiling, despite the tears.
Éponine shook her head for what must be the hundredth time that day. "I'm no mademoiselle, my dear. But you're welcome, anyway. Now, hurry, before that man wakes up and discovers his precious money is gone."
The girl nodded, and with that, the gamine ran to a place they, the Thérnardiers, called home in the Gourbeau House.
[A/N]: How is it, then, m'amie? Deep? Heavy? Wonderful? I don't know about you, so tell me, then! And, hey, my wonderful readers in my other stories, I did mean it when I said a "deeper Enjonine story". I know you love modern AUs, but I do hope you'll love this one, as well.