HAI! Have a chapter.

Disclaimer: I don'town Les Mis, et cetera, et cetera.

Eponine's stay in the hospital was not a long one, though it certainly did merit one. Really, they could not afford the health care that she required. They had only scarcely been able to afford the small amount of morphine to help Eponine with the pain. Of course, they could no longer afford to leave Paris; but they also no longer had any need to.

They still had enough to rent a room that was still much nicer than their previous tenement. Unfortunately, they could not afford a crib for little Gabrielle, so she slept on the bed between her parents, who took extra precautions so as not to roll onto her during the night.

Despite not necessarily living in the best conditions, they were all quite content. Gabrielle kept Eponine fairly busy while Enjolras and Marius were at work. Of course, it was not easy for Eponine to care for the tiny girl all day while the other two were at work; but she did not mind in the least. She did not even mind the pain she often felt from her wound. It was dulled, of course, since she took very small amounts of morphine.

Really, Eponine could not recall ever being so happy. At long last, she had a family–a proper family–who loved her and treated her well. Her mother, she knew, had loved her; but that had had no effect on how her father had treated her. Her mother had never stood up for her or tried to protect her. Had she loved her, really? How could anyone watch a loved one being beaten and do not a thing about it? How could any mother allow her husband to force her daughter into prostitution? No, Eponine was almost certain that what her mother had felt for her had been fondness and nothing more. If she had loved her, certainly she would have spoken up rather than letting her husband ruin her daughter's life.

But, oh, how her life had changed… She would no longer have to live in worry that her father might seek her out; that she might be forced to sell herself once more; that she might have to return to that cruel and wretched life of poverty and abuse, to that dark abyss where no light could reach and in which no one could escape unscathed. Eponine bore her marks of misery all over her body. She had lived in this abyss for so very long and, she knew, a part of her would live there always. No one ever escapes this dark cavern– never entirely. In the depths of her minds, she could still picture her dingy room in the old inn where her own father had once solicited her; she could remember all too well the bitter taste of blood in her mouth as she had to endure yet another beating; she could still feel the harshness of Thenardier's belt on her skin as she was subjected to a torrent of abuse at the hands of her own father. Eponine knew that, no matter how happy her life from that point on might be, she could never forget the misery of her past. It would stay with her until the day she died.

Endure. It was a word that Eponine was very familiar with. Endure. Such had been her life when she had lived with her parents. Really, that had been the definition of life for her then; she had to endure– not live, but endure. That was it. Each moment had been a struggle, every breath had been heavy, each word uttered fulfilled one purpose, which was to show that she was still there, that she had endured. Life had held little meaning then. Each day was just another day to endure; another day to fight against the heaviness that weighed down on her chest, to fight against the nearly irresistible urge to give in and to give up, to show her father that he could never break her. Except he had. He had broken her so entirely that she had, on occasion, wished to die; but she could not give him that satisfaction, she could not let him win. So, she fought; she struggled; she endured. That was what life had been for her. The she had met Marius and she had fallen so hard and so fast. It was as if he had guided her, had led her by her hand to the opening of the abyss and had shown her to the light. To Eponine, he had been the light; he had given life a reason. Life had become more than just enduring; life held meaning and that meaning's name was Marius.

Marius. Still the very thought of his name brought a certain fluttering in her stomach. Even now, when she'd had his child, his name still had almost a magical effect on her; it could still transform her dismal thoughts into much happier, much freer ones. If not for him, she would still be trapped in that torrent of darkness that was the abyss in which she had lived.

It is amazing how one person can bring so much change, can affect completely the course of someone's life. One person can change all simply by igniting a spark, by being the very start of change. That same spark would remain always in Eponine's eyes. Marius had been her friend when she had had none, he had treated her with kindness no matter how wretched the poverty of her family became, he had cared when no one else even gave her a second thought. By simply being there, Marius had changed Eponine's entire life for the better and there could be no doubt that it had, in fact, been changed for the better. The two were happy together and happier, still, to have Enjolras as part of their lives; and their happiness only grew at the birth of Gabrielle. Together, the four of them were a family and a happy one at that.

So as long as they had each other, their happiness could only prosper.