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In Words

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AN: Happy birthday Inge. I wrote this crackfic satire in one massive sitting for you because you’re awesome-sauce. I hope you don’t mind that I did a little “borrowing” and that you have a wonderful day. 

“And by the way, Monsieur Marius, I believe that I was a little bit in love with you.”

She tried to smile once more and expired.

-Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, pg 754

The world went black with a resounding and angry thud. It was something that Eponine no longer took personally, and over the past 152 years, had learned to take as a compliment. Still, she laid in Marius’ arms for another few seconds just to be safe—you never knew when a reader might come back. Sometimes they just popped off for a few seconds to the toilet, other times they left for weeks before returning. The worst were the Double R’s—repeat readers—who liked to scour over their favorite bits over and over again with hardly a moment’s notice. 

Sometimes, they never came back at all but those were usually the overly ambitious students, people who had no idea what they were getting into and ultra pretentious literary types who liked to list all the difficult-to-read books they’d pretended to have read at dinner parties. They usually stopped somewhere around page twenty—a fact that made the Bishop of D— very upset. Often, during the great lulls when nobody was reading, the Bishop drank himself silly at Corinthe, moaning to anyone who’d listen about how young folk today had no appreciation for great literature.

“Great job today,” Marius said after a few beats. He helped her sit up, brushing some of the gunpowder off her hand, which magically healed now that the reader had left the book for the night. “It’s been a while since we’ve gotten this far.”

“Thanks,” Eponine replied. “This one is a close reader too. Makes it harder to fudge.”

“Yeah. I noticed,” Marius grimaced. “And I don’t think she likes me much. She keeps imagining me with this ridiculous hair and freckles.” 

Eponine rolled her eyes. They’d been through it a million times before. “It’s the movie Marius. They watch the movie and then we start looking like movie Marius and movie Eponine.”

“I still don’t get it. Pictures that move? Are you sure?”

She shrugged. The details of how reading actually worked was fuzzy and after 152 years, they still hadn’t figured it out. The creator, a rather grumpy looking bearded man, had written them into being and then suddenly, they were alive. Theoretically, Eponine knew she was little more than a jumble of words describing an idea of a person. For the longest time, she hadn’t even been totally sure of her own face. That depended entirely on the reader. Sometimes she was little more than a waif with horrible teeth. But more recently, she had become prettier. Less emaciated, her hair less prone to falling out and sometimes, when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, she reminded herself to thank Samantha. Whoever she was.

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