samyazaz asked: Éponine/Cosette, language barriers
The most beautiful person in the world is talking to Cosette.
The most beautiful person in the world is talking to Cosette, and it takes Cosette a little too long to realize that it’s not that she’s not comprehending what the woman is saying because she’s too busy staring at her mouth but because the woman is speaking French, and oh, shit, whatever she’s saying is not in Cosette’s phrase book. “Wait, shit, um, attendez,” says Cosette.
“Anglaise?” asks the woman.
“Non." She frowns, says a quick succession of things that Cosette isn’t sure she expects her to understand or not, jerks her head over at a table in the corner of the coffee shop where Cosette was sitting to wait for her father while he had his meetings, because he actually speaks French, and she takes Mandarin at school because it seemed more useful until exactly this moment. There’s a man sitting at the table, with freckles and an awkward air that seems very out of place in Paris.
"Your boyfriend?" Cosette asks. "Um, petit ami?”
She shakes her head again, frowns her frustration again. “Il parle anglais,” she says, and Cosette beams her relief and stands up, follows her over to the table. The woman lets loose a stream of annoyed-sounding French for her friend, who seems to be looking more at Cosette than her (how could anyone ever look away, Cosette would like to know that).
"I’m Marius," says the man after a minute, only a little accent to the words, and he smiles hopefully at her. "Eponine says you don’t speak French. You look very Parisian, we thought …"
"No, just a tourist, but thank you." She looks over at Eponine. "Eponine? Your name?" Eponine nods. "Je suis Cosette.” She looks back to Marius. “Can I ask why she came over to say hello?”
Marius turns pink. “Oh, I asked her to. I was too nervous. I should have gone after all, though, Eponine always said she refused to learn English in protest of a globalized and homogenized culture, and you … probably don’t care.”
"I definitely do," says Cosette, feeling a little starry-eyed, and most of her realizes that Marius is probably interested if he sent Eponine over to her, but she can’t bring herself to feel too bad for him, smiling at Eponine instead, a little helplessly. "Do you mind terribly translating for a bit?"
She thinks she hears Marius sigh and mutter something to himself in French, and then he turns to Eponine and says a few more things. Eponine’s eyebrows go up the longer he talks, and eventually she turns to Cosette, and says, in English, “Me?”
“Vous," says Cosette, and grins.