Here's the next chapter!

Disclaimer: I don't own Les Mis or the characters

As Marius was trying to sleep that night, he found himself thinking of his grandfather. Would he survive this? He was very, very, old, and, from what Marius could tell, very sick. All Marius could do was hope for the best. At least his grandfather was getting the help he needed in the hospital. Then, as he started to drift off, he found his thoughts being drawn to that girl he'd bumped into in the hallway, Eponine. He couldn't help but wonder how she had become like that, so distant, as if she wasn't really there. She had only her father, Marius recalled the nurse saying. He had to wonder how often her father visited. She had been there for a long time, he knew, but why had her father put her in there? There must have been other ways of treating her than just keeping her in a hospital for such a long time. A 'very, very long time...' she had said. And then something had happened, though Marius hadn't the faintest idea of what it was. What could have made her so frightened? What caused her to be like that? He felt bad for the poor girl. She looked so scared, so completely and utterly terrified. The poor girl... And, with that, Marius finally drifted off into sleep.

...

Marius woke up at 7 the next day. It was a Saturday, so he knew he could sleep in, but, though he did try, he could not get back to sleep. He got up and quickly changed. He skipped breakfast entirely, starting off towards the hospital instead. He didn't live too far, so he decided to go by foot. It was a chilly February morning, but Marius did not care about the cold. He walked briskly and with long strides. It was not long before he reached the large hospital. He all but ran inside, quickly finding his grandfather's room. Gillenormand looked up at him when he entered.

"Marius, my boy, you have come to visit me." he said delightedly.

"Of course, father." Marius replied, walking over to him and gently hugging him. "Have the results come in yet?"

"Ah, yes, they have. It's pneumonia." he replied. Marius frowned. "Do not worry, my boy, I will be just fine."

"But father, pneumonia is very serious."

"It is nothing, I will be fine." Marius knew that Gillenormand was saying this to make him feel better, but it wasn't working. "It's good that you are here, Marius. I have missed you, you know."

"I have missed you too, father."

"I do understand why you left, my boy, I really do, and yet that does not stop me from missing your presence. It means a lot that you have come."

"We may not always agree, father, but you are still the one who raised me, who cared for me. No matter how many times we argue, that will not change. I love you, father."

"I love you too, Marius, my boy."

...

Marius stayed with his grandfather for hours, until the old man fell asleep. Marius stayed with him for a little while longer before his thoughts turned to Eponine again. He considered seeking her out. She might not remember me. he told himself. But perhaps she needs a friend. Everyone needs a friend. He quietly got up from the chair next to Gillenormand's bed and walked out to the hall. He wandered the hospital in search of the psychiatric ward. Luckily, it was not a very big hospital and he soon found the place. He walked up to a nurse who sat at a desk.

"Excuse me," he said politely. The nurse looked at him. She was young, no older than thirty, with bright red hair, light blue eyes, and a lot of freckles. "Could you tell me where I could find Eponine Thenardier's room?"

"Oh! Are you a friend?" the nurse asked him, smiling brightly as she got up. "Her room is right this way. Oh, she'll be so happy! She never gets visitors, except for her father, but he rarely visits her." Marius followed her.

"He doesn't visit much?"

"No, and when he does, his visits are always very brief. The poor girl gets so lonely. It will be nice for her to have a friend visit her!" She stopped right outside the room. "Here it is." she said. "I'm Mira, by the way."

"Nice to meet you, I'm Marius." he introduced himself. She smiled.

"Enjoy your visit!" she said before going back to her work.

Marius knocked on the open door before stepping inside. There Eponine was, laying in the hospital bed with a blank expression on her face. When Marius entered, however, her expression changed to mixture of mild surprise and of delight.

"I remember you!" she said, a large smile spreading across her face. "Though, I must say, I am surprised you remember me. People usually don't remember me. I guess I'm just the forgettable type. You know, the not very important type. People don't see any reason to remember me and so they forget. It's odd, isn't it? How one can just entirely forget someone or something. It's also odd how they can remember. But we can't choose what we remember and what we forget. Somethings we want to remember but can't and other's we try to forget, but..." she trailed off and was silent for a few moments. She blinked and shook her head, "Sorry..." she said, "I tend to ramble at times..."

"That's just fine," Marius said, sitting down in the chair next to her bed.

"I don't even realise that I'm doing it alot of the time." she said, her words coming out in a rush, "My thoughts all mash together, you see, and, sometimes, I just jump from one thought to another. I don't mean to."

"Really, Mademoiselle Eponine, it is alright." he smiled. She smiled back.

"Merci, Monsieur... I'm sorry, I do not know your name. Forgive me, I should have thought to ask. If I hadn't been rambling, maybe I would have thought of it. Really sorry, Monsieur."

"My name is Marius Pontmercy."

"Well it is nice to meet you, Monsieur Marius, and very nice of you to visit me. Though that does make me think, why did you visit me? No one ever does, you know."

"Everyone needs a friend."

"I've never had a friend before." she said distantly.

"Well now, you can't say that anymore now can you?" he said with a smile. She smiled back.

"You must be a good person, Monsieur Marius, to think of a lonely stranger and then decide to be her friend. Most would not have bothered. But you aren't like most people, are you? And that's a good thing. It's okay to be different, isn't it Monsieur Marius?"

"It sure is. Life would be boring if everyone was normal."

"Normal." Eponine scoffed, "Is there even such a thing?"

"I suppose not." Marius said with a laugh. Eponine laughed as well, but after a few moments, her laughter faded and she was silent, staring at the wall, but not really seeing it. "Mademoiselle?" Marius asked, a bit worried. She didn't respond. "Eponine?" Still nothing. He gently placed a hand on her shoulder. She flinched. Marius removed his hand from her shoulder. "'Ponine?" he said, using a nickname he'd just come up with. She blinked and then looked at him. She seemed to be very tired now, completely drained. Marius was reminded of what the nurse had said the night before, She hardly sleeps. "Rest, 'Ponine." he said softly.

"No, no," she said, shaking her head, "I'm fine."

"I can tell that you're tired. You should really get some sleep." Eponine sighed.

"Alright," she said, "I will sleep for a little while." Marius lightly patted her hand. She closed her eyes and was asleep within seconds.

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