A/N: My fanfic prompt was Fantine – hat – free. I hope no one is ridiculously OOC. I'd like to see what you think, since this is my first “real” fanfiction. So – here it is.
Barricade Day Fanfic 2013
In Which Fantine Has an Ugly Hat
Fantine sat down next to Dahlia, who was chattering about Listolier again. “He's so intelligent,” she gushed. “He is perhaps the most clever man I know.”
Favourite put her hand on her heart in mock horror. “No, no, Dahlia, surely not! For Blacheville is wiser than Listolier and Fameuil put together.”
“Leave Fameuil out of this, Favourite,” Zéphine said. “After all, he is wise beyond his years.”
“But what say, you, Fantine?” Favourite coaxed. “Is Tholomyès as clever as Blacheville?”
“He is,” Fantine replied dreamily. “He knows more than I ever shall.”
“About what?” Favourite asked haughtily. She couldn't help but notice the gaudy bonnet perched atop Fantine's head.
“Love,” Fantine answered, happiness lighting her face.
Favourite shook her head condescendingly. “Dear Fantine, you mustn't take Félix so seriously.”
“Whyever not?” Fantine asked, only half listening.
Favourite shrugged at Dahlia and Zéphine. Dahlia rolled her eyes, and Zéphine giggled at Fantine's naïveté.
“Never mind,” Dahlia said, holding back a biting mockery of the ghastly headgear.
Favourite examined Fantine's hat. She smirked at the garish flowers and excessive ribbons adorning it. “Where did you get this, ah, stunning creation?” she asked, hiding a snicker.
“Félix gave it to me, as a gift.” She smiled. “Isn't it so beautiful?” She admired herself in the mirror hanging on the wall.
“One could say that,” Favourite managed, suppressing a giggle. She mouthed over Fantine's head, Where did Fantine learn fashion? Dahlia sniffed delicately, and Zéphine disguised her laughter as a cough.
“Oh, Zéphine, you ought to be looked at. That cough sounds dreadful,” Fantine said, concerned. The hat slid very slightly to the side, and the loose decorations wobbled.
“I'm fine,” Zéphine assured her, barely containing a fit of giggles. The three older girls continued their discussion of who was more intelligent: Listolier, Fameuil, and Blacheville. Fantine, meanwhile, watched the people pass by with a pensive expression on her face. All the while, Zéphine, Dahlia, and Favourite would glance at Fantine's terrible hat and snicker to themselves.
Favourite clapped her hands. “I've just had a lovely idea. While our men are off at their classes, why don't we walk out and visit the Pont d'Iéna? The river would be a pleasant change of pace.”
Soon the four girls were walking through Paris, talking of the latest fashions. Favourite dropped pointed remarks about the style of Fantine's hat, all of which went straight over the youngest girl's head. When they reached the bridge, Fantine gazed out over the water. “Félix would love to see this, when the sun goes down, and the colors are reflected on the water...” she trailed off into a silent reverie. The seagulls chattering in the background, the river swirling away, the setting sun transforming the sky into a painting, oh, how Félix would love it!
Dahlia motioned for Favourite and Zéphine to watch. She crept up behind Fantine and slowly worked the hat loose, revealing the girl's golden hair. The wind began to pick up, catching at the hat. To Dahlia's disappointment, Fantine realized her hat was about to be blown off and secured it tightly.
Zéphine left the group, returning with brioche. While Fantine stared pensively into the river, she gently set a large piece on the hat. The nearby flock of seagulls took notice, and within a few minutes one had gathered enough courage to attempt to eat the cake. It pecked hard at the brioche.
Fantine shrieked out of her daze, swatting at the offending bird. He flew off with the brioche triumphantly. Zéphine struggled to contain her laughter, though her giggles faded when Favourite fixed her with a pointed look.
Fantine gazed out into the water, returning to her previous tranquility. Favourite lost interest in the terrible hat and moved on to comparing Blacheville to Fameuil and Listolier. Eventually, she suggested that the group move on, perhaps visit the Jardin du Luxembourg. Fantine reluctantly agreed.
As they walked through Paris, a few homeless children pointed and laughed at Fantine's awful hat. Fantine, radiant in her innocent joy, didn't notice. It took all Zéphine's control not to giggle as the young boys improvised a mocking song about the hat. Despite their raucous voices, Fantine didn't even register their laughter and simply admired a flowershop's display.
After their excursion to the Luxembourg, Dahlia suggested they meet Blacheville, Listolier, Fameuil, and Tholomyès. The four grisettes walked cheerfully to Edon's, and were met by their college boys. Favourite whispered in Blacheville's ear, “Look, I have been out walking today with Madame le Fleuri.”
Tholomyès had a glass in hand, and was lecturing Listolier on the finer points of romance. Fantine sat next to him, and began to fill him in on her day. Félix slipped a word in to Listolier: “The most important rule is to act as though you are listening.” Fantine, in the innocence of enthusiasm, did not notice this remark. She told Tholomyès how she adored her new hat, for the hundredth time since he had given it to her.
They dined, Fantine rambling all the while to Tholomyès about the beauty of the Pont d'Iéna. Félix himself listened with half an ear, the rest of his attention focused on his side comments to Listolier.
The sun was setting when they came out of Edon's. Fameuil, who had been much entertained by Fantine's ceaseless chatter, suggested, “Let us all go down to the Pont d'Iéna to watch the sun set.”
“Yes, sir,” Zéphine said coyly, though Dahlia looked less than pleased with the prospect.
The seagulls had left by the time the group arrived at the bridge. The sun was, as Fantine had thought earlier, turning the sky into a painting. Fantine sighed contentedly, leaning against Tholomyès happily.
When the sun disappeared below the horizon, Blacheville and Favourite adjourned, Listolier and Dahlia following close after. Fameuil and Zéphine lingered a bit longer, until finally only Fantine and Tholomyès remained.
Félix pointed out that it was getting late, they ought to leave before it was too dark to find their way. He moved away from the edge. Fantine began to follow him, then she turned back and untied the hat. She pulled it off, allowing her golden hair to tumble around her face. She held the hat high, then tossed it into the river and watched it float away lazily, before it sank and disappeared from view.
“Why did you do that?” Félix asked, annoyed. He had paid good money for that hat!
Fantine turned and smiled. “Because if you love something, you set it free.” She kissed him softly, and they walked home together.
All the world's a party, and I'm usually the awkward wallflower in the corner with a glass of water and a copy of Les Mis.