Sorry for the delay!

Disclaimer: I don't own Les Misérables or the characters, alas.

Chapter III

The Society of Les Amis de l'ABC

"Les Amis de l'ABC?" Eponine asked, confused.

"I've heard of you." Marius said, "You're a revolutionary group, aren't you?"

"Yes," Enjolras replied, "we believe in justice for the people and equality and liberty for all through a just, republican society. Which means, in simpler terms, the end of the monarchy and of kings. No more will the people be oppressed by a tyrannical ruler and no longer will the poor be forced to stay impoverished by the bourgeoisie who refuse to hire them due to their low social standing. We, Les Amis de l'ABC, strive to successfully overthrow the King by means of revolution, thus liberating all of France."

Many of the students applauded; a few watched indifferently, giving rise to Marius's and Eponine's assumption that speeches such as these occurred often– and, indeed, they did.

"How often do you meet?" Marius asked, clearly interested in this strange group of revolutionaries.

"Most nights." Enjolras replied.

"Is there a meeting tonight?"

"Yes."

"I'll be there."

Marius kept true to his word and returned to the café that night. Though Eponine would have gladly joined him, she knew that she must return home for she doubted her father would allow it. He always seemed to have some task for her to fulfill and she rarely had time to herself. So as Marius headed through the streets, which were shrouded in the darkness of the night, and to the café, Eponine was being shouted at by her father.

"Only €10?" he spat. "What are we supposed to do with €10, you useless girl!? You know what this means, don't you? You're not completely daft."

"Please... Not that..."

"It's your own fault." he replied, "Don't give me that look, you brought this on yourself. Now go!"

At this command, Eponine found herself heading for the slums, where she knew she could find men that would pay for her services.

Marius, as we have said, had gone to the Café Musain. Already, he had discovered that Les Amis de l'ABC were a colourful group. There was Jean Prouvaire, the hopeless romantic and poet; there was Feuilly, who had a passion for fans; Bahorel, who was always eager for a fight; Grantaire, a drunk who really didn't believe in the cause; Courfeyrac, an enigmatic young man whose phone kept ringing with calls from various girls he had hooked up with; there was Combeferre, a medical student and somewhat of a philosopher; a hypochondriac named Joly, who also studied medicine; the very unlucky Bossuet, also called Lesgles; Enjolras, the fearless, marble leader; and several others, all with a deep passion for the cause.

He became fast friends with most of them and was in complete awe over the speeches and debates that occurred. He truly admired Enjolras, who was clearly the most devoted to the revolution and to the people. He knew that, if anyone could lead them to victory; to liberty, it would be Enjolras.

One thing that surprised him was that Eponine's brother, Gavroche, frequented these meetings as well. He doubted that Eponine knew though. After all, Gavroche hadn't lived at home for a long time, having been kicked out by Monsieur and Madame Thenardier. Les Amis de l'ABC all seemed to adore and care for the boy. Though he didn't thoroughly understand all of the debates, he was still a believer of the cause and that the King should be removed from the throne.

The whole night, as much as Marius was enjoying himself, he couldn't help but wish that Eponine was there too.

"Something wrong?" Courfeyrac asked him, noticing his melancholy expression.

"No." Marius sighed, "Well, yes."

"What's up?" he asked at the same time that Grantaire said,

"Have a drink."

"What's troubling you, Marius?" Combeferre asked.

"I just wish that Eponine could have come. She so rarely has the chance for any fun."

"Eponine... She was the abaissée with you earlier, correct?" said Enjolras.

"Yes. Her father always has her running about, doing errands for him. I feel bad that she has to work so hard and she's never allowed a single euro. It all goes to her father."

Enjolras frowned,

"You see, mes frères et mes sœurs, this is the type of oppression we fight against. Once the King is dethroned, the poor will be liberated and given the chance to truly live. We live in a country run by the bourgeoisie who frown upon those below them and who spit upon them. The King allows this! This cycle of poverty has continued because he allows it! The poor of our country are forced to steal or run errands that will only earn them a euro or two; nothing that can truly enable them to live. They are considered as unequal because they are poor when they are forced to be poor by those same bourgeoisie that are calling them unequal. Liberty and equality, my friends. That is what we fight for. France is a good country, and she will be great once the day of glory arrives. That day will come, my friends, I swear to you; that glorious day will come."

His speech was met with applause from everyone in the café, but he was not yet finished,

"Equality is a right, my friends, as is liberty; and the citizens of France have been robbed of both. No one in this country can speak freely, without fear of punishment. Do we not have the right to freedom of speech? Should we not be able to speak our beliefs without worry of persecution? My friends, we do not even have the right to our own political opinions, or, at least, we do not have the right to voice them. Is that just? Is it right that speaking against the King is considered a worse crime than assault? No! Of course not!

"A republic is what France needs and what France will become, where the people will elect a leader instead of having one thrust upon them. In a republic, we will regain our rights! Aux armes, citoyens! To arms so that we can reclaim the freedoms and rights that we are entitled to!"

Eponine shuddered as she finished with yet another man. She had earned a fair amount, €70– and it disgusted her. Oh, how she loathed herself on the nights that she was forced to sell herself. She was disgusted with herself. She tried to keep herself emotionally detached. She tried to keep telling herself that it was a job, just like any other; just a way to earn money. She wanted so desperately to believe that this was perfectly okay, that no one would think any less of her for it; but try as she may, she hated herself a little more with each man she bedded.

As she walked the streets, looking for potential clients, she found herself wishing many things; that she didn't have to sell herself, that her family didn't have to live in poverty, that Marius might notice her, but mainly that the pain in her head would go away, for it worsened with each step.

It should be noted that this occurred half an hour after the meeting at the Café Musain had finished.

Eponine rubbed her temples for moment before scanning the streets again. And what did she see? None other than Enjolras, who was making his way home from the meeting. This, seen in the dark, left his identity as a mystery to Eponine, who, as it was, had not seen much of this marble leader. She approached him.

"Company, Monsieur?" she offered.

As she walked toward him, the light of a streetlamp lit up her gaunt face.

"Mademoiselle Eponine, a surprise to see you here." Enjolras said, smiling politely. Eponine froze where she stood– directly beneath the light, casting upon her a halo of light which made this creature of the darkness seem an angel. "What might you be doing in the streets so late?"

Eponine didn't recognise the laugh that came from her own mouth,

"You... You aren't serious, are you?" she asked incredulously. Enjolras regarded her with a bemused expression. Her eyes widened, "Oh my God, you really are serious. You actually don't know what I'm doing out here."

"I was hoping that I was wrong." he replied evenly.

"Look, I had no choice."

"I understand."

"I didn't want– wait, what?"

"I said I understand. We do what we must to stay alive."

"Aren't you disgusted?" she asked, completely bewildered.

"I think no less of you. The poor of France don't have many ways of gaining money. Prostitution is one of the few options available."

Eponine did not know what to say. Never had she met someone so understanding– well, other than Marius; but she doubted that even Marius would understand why she had to sell herself and why she no longer put up a fight. She wasn't proud of it, but she had no choice; it was this or starve.

"Monsieur, you won't... you won't tell anyone, will you?"

"Your secret is safe with me."