Sunrise Beyond A Barricade


"Where are you taking me Monsieur?" Éponine had curled her head into his chest as he carried her slowly. He was walking with a limp but showed no outward signs of discomfort.

"To the hospital. You need medical attention. Then you should call the Police Inspector to lay charges." He replied.

"Please no; please don't take me there?" She asked.

"I don't understand."

"They will be obliged to contact my family, please; they cannot find me Monsieur." Éponine was pleading now.

"But what of the crime? Surely you wish to see the man who has done this brought to justice." He argued.

"That man is a rat. His dues will be paid one day; perhaps not today." She sighed. "Besides; Javert has no time for the likes of me."

"Javert is dead. Murdered by one of the men at the Barricade; people's justice. I expect it will be a few days before they appoint a new Inspector so that should give you enough time to come to your senses."

"Pardon me Monsieur?"

"The man forced himself on you. Why you would not press charges is beyond me."

"Sometimes the consequences outweigh the gain." Éponine knew that if she set the police upon Montparnasse it would only give Thenardier more reason to come after her.

Enjolras sighed. Women were impossible which was why he had no time for them. He was still unsure what compelled him to help the girl in the first place; especially when he was in need of urgent medical attention himself. However Enjolras couldn't be sure that if he sought aid at a hospital they wouldn't hand him over to the gendarmes. It appeared a hospital was out of the question for them both.

He managed to get them both back to his apartment. It was comfortable but by no means wealthy. Although it was clear to Éponine that Enjolras had probably never starved throughout his life. He carried her to the bathroom and set her down gently.

"You should draw yourself a bath, and I would imagine you want to clean your dress. You may wear my robe."

"Thank you Monsieur." She smiled at his kindness.

"Now if you'll excuse me."

Éponine nodded.

Enjolras hobbled downstairs to his study. He exhaled sharply as he removed his red blazer. His blood had soaked his shirt underneath completely through on one side. He gathered some medical supplies and sat down in his favourite chair. He was cursing quietly to himself in no time after he realised he could not bandage his own wounds. Reluctant to give up Enjolras pawed away at where the wood had pierced him with some gauze but quickly felt light-headed. He had lost a lot of blood. He closed his eyes for a moment; the thought of death was a welcome one.

When he opened his eyes next it was in shock. Enjolras cried out in pain as fire coursed through his veins. He looked down to find the girl swabbing the wound with some wine from his kitchen.

"What do you think you are doing?" He gasped.

"Forgive me Monsieur, you're bleeding."

"That much is obvious."

"Well you obviously cannot tend to this yourself." She argued back.

"This is entirely inappropriate." His shirt was ripped open to reveal his bare chest. He felt practically naked. It also did not help that the girl was dressed in only his robe.

Éponine raised an eyebrow. "Would you like to bleed out? I'm surprised you're still alive. Why didn't you say anything earlier?"

"It was not so bad." He was trying to be a gentleman and averting his gaze from her near naked frame.

"I hardly believe that." She kept swabbing with the alcohol in order to disinfect the wound.

"You seem to be making death impossible. Do you have any idea how painful this is?" Even a man as proud and as beautiful as Enjolras could act like a child when he was injured or ill.

"This is just the start you know; I'll need to stitch this closed."

Enjolras' face turned a ghostly shade of pale. "No, thank you; that's really not necessary."

"Oh hush. Monsieur; the students called you Enjolras?" Éponine removed the wine-soaked gauze and readied her needle.

"That is my name; it makes sense that they address me as such." He inhaled sharply as the needle pierced his skin. "Where did you learn to do this? You are no nurse."

"When you have nothing you must learn how to survive." She completed her stitching and bit off the end of the cotton. "And what should I call you sir?" Éponine applied fresh gauze and began wrapping the bandage around his torso.

"You may address me as Monsieur." Enjolras was still sulking from the pain.

"My name is Éponine." She sighed slightly.

"Under normal circumstances; I would say pleased to meet you Mademoiselle."

"You are not pleased?"

"I could have dressed this myself." He was stubborn; she had to give him that.

She almost told the mule to have it his way and to let him try. Instead Éponine was determined to complete what she had started. She wrapped the last length of bandage around him and fastened the end.

"There. Perhaps you will survive the night." She stood up, making sure her robe was tightly fastened.

"I do not deserve to." He whispered more to himself than to the girl. "Thank you." He looked up at Éponine.

"Think of it as repaying the kindness you showed me. You did not have to gather me up from that gutter."

"It is late and we should both rest. The other bedroom in the flat belonged to Grantaire; and I will spare you the night of sleeping in his filthy sheets."

"Pardon Monsieur?"

"God rest his soul the man was a drunk. Not to mention the different women he would bring home each night. You are my guest this evening you may sleep in my bed. At least it is clean."

Éponine tried to protest. "I will not take your bed; where would you sleep?"

"This chair is as good as any."

"But you're injured."

"I insist. Do not fret. I will see you in the morning." Enjolras was short with her. He didn't dislike her; but she was very argumentative. He had no experience dealing with the fairer sex, choosing to spend his life dedicated to his work. He decided the least amount of time they spent together the better.

Éponine sighed as she climbed the stairs to the bedrooms. Before retiring for the night she went back into the bathroom to remove her dress that was soaking in the tub. To tend to her wounds the women had undressed her and given her a new dress. It was much nicer than her old one which had almost worn all the way through. This one was a pale maroon colour with long sleeves and a warm pale green shawl over the top. She was grateful; at least this one would keep out the chill. When she was sure all of the blood and dirt had come out she hung it over a rail to dry still trying to forget the reason it had to be washed in the first place.

Éponine wandered across the hall and could see why Enjolras had offered her his bed. His room was tidy and organised whereas Graintaire's room looked like a storm had travelled through. At least Enjolras' bed was made. She climbed into the bedcovers and sighed happily at how comfortable it was. She assumed he expected her to leave in the morning despite the fact she had nowhere to go. Éponine could tell the Revolutionary leader was keeping her well at arms length. She wished she knew what had happened to Marius. She knew the chances of him surviving were next to nothing and was amazed Enjolras had not perished. Éponine had woken in a house just off of the barricade she frantically checked her coat pockets. Cosette's letter was missing. She had no idea if Marius had read it or not and the fact that she had deliberately kept it from him only made it worse. The women who had taken her in tried desperately to keep her from leaving the safety of the house but Éponine was determined to find Marius, and had left as soon as the gunfire had ended.

She tried so hard to drift off to sleep but every time she closed her eyes she would she Montparnasse's wicked grin and that gleam in his eyes as he had his way with her. Éponine involuntarily shivered pulling the covers tighter around her. After an hour of tossing and turning she gave up the fight and hopped out of the bed. The wood was cold on her feet. Éponine quietly slipped down the stairs and back into Enjolras' study. There were still embers of a fire burning and she could make out Enjolras' tired features as he slept. She crept over to the fireplace and added two more logs that would hopefully catch. Once the fire was stoked 'Ponine wandered over to the bookshelf and ran her fingers across the leather bindings. She had a fairly good understanding of the written word but books were a luxury she would never afford. Pulling one down Éponine settled herself onto the floor enjoying the warmth from the hearth. She read the first chapter eagerly and could understand most of it. She was asleep within little time smiling peacefully which is how Enjolras found her when he woke during the night. He was surprised to see that she had been reading. He had of course assumed that being uneducated the girl would never have learnt. Despite being a little irritated that she had borrowed his book without permission Enjolras was more intrigued than anything else. Éponine was still wrapped up in his robe and as the fire had died he was concerned she may get cold. Enjolras fetched a blanket and draped it overtop of her before throwing some water on the embers in the hearth and settling back down in his chair.
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