Fandom: Les Miserables
Pairing: Jean Valjean/Javert
Word Count: 2,673
Prompt: As the mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer it would be possible for Monsieur Madeleine to break through Javert's armor and into his heart... once there, it would be easy to destroy the man who plagued Jean Valjean.
Notes: Written for dark_fest. The details here are mainly from the musical, although I've taken a few minor things from the book.
Summary: In the guise of Monsieur Madeleine, Jean Valjean is gradually losing himself under a sugary pile of good deeds. But Javert knows Valjean’s true self - given that temptation, how can Valjean stay away?
“Good day, Monsieur Mayor,” said the Inspector, as he did every morning. And, as he did every morning, Jean Valjean felt a pang of delicious fear under his breastbone, just touching his heart, before he tipped his hat, and smiled, and said ‘good day’ in return.
It was their ritual. Inspector Javert was all about rituals, striding about Montreuil-sur-Mer like a looming crow, but always on time, always correctly placed and attired. You could set your watch by him. Valjean did not - not least because he found his mind dwelling too much as it was upon the policeman’s lithe figure as he trod his steady way. Valjean felt he had to keep some boundaries - his deepest self dreamed of Javert, but not in a comforting way. There was blood in those dreams, and screams - a woman sobbing. Valjean was happy to attribute it to his convict past, and a mind troubled by anxiety - however safe and respected he was now as the Mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer, as Monsieur Madeleine, the real Jean Valjean was never far away. Javert merely brought his true past to mind.
It kept him sharp. That was what Valjean believed and he welcomed it - welcomed Javert, and all that his very presence promised. It was best to keep one’s enemies close, yes? That was the saying. Valjean wanted him close all right. He wanted to crumple those perfectly arranged neckcloths, he wanted to disarrange the man and make him whimper, as Valjean had whimpered once. If there was a trickle of blood at the corner of Javert’s mouth in these fantasies, and Valjean occasionally imagined he licked it away, well, no-one need know except himself. Monsieur Madeleine was far too respectable for such things, after all. He merely lusted after a fresh baked choux bun, or perhaps gazed with platonic love upon a puppy or a kitten. Monsieur Madeleine was above it all, skating across life’s pond in serene unconcern.
Valjean knew he needed to be that man, that Monsieur Madeleine was created deliberately to be as far removed from Jean Valjean as possible, but that didn’t make it any easier to live within his skin. Valjean had sworn he would be this; proper, god-fearing, hard-working and honest - or something very like that - to the Bishop of Digne, and he would not be forsworn. But, oh. Sometimes it was hard. Nineteen years in the Bagne of Toulon meant he was not that man - however much his mind and soul might wish for it, his heart cried out. He had been twisted and warped by the cold stone walls and chafing fetters; by the blazing heat, and the flies, and the stink of his own flesh as he laboured. He missed its simplicity. He dreamed of it.
Javert smelled of the place. It was a mystery, a small puzzle for Valjean, because Javert had never been broken on the wheel, had never been chained to men dying of the flux, or felt the lick of the overseers lash. He had been above it all, striding through the heart of them like a priest of order, his votive keys always at his command. His truncheon of justice ever ready to fall. They should not have been the same. Valjean should not be desperate for a glance, or an acknowledgement; he should not be made homesick just watching a man who breathed out prison miasma as though he was still striding through its air. But he was.
“Good day, Monsieur Mayor,” said Javert, on yet one more morning, and, “Good day,” said Valjean, in return. Their tiny ritual completed, he watched Javert tip his hat, and swivel on his heel, readying himself to stride off down the Boulevard Rouget de Lisle towards his morning coffee at Café La Pêche. Valjean felt a tiny shiver, knowing these details about the man, however commonplace, and before he could stop himself he was asking, “Chess, Inspector Javert - I have heard that you play?”
Javert looked a little wrong-footed, but unlike many men it didn’t make him seem foolish or weak, he only frowned even harder, and stared at Valjean out of deep-set eyes. “I do, Monsieur. On occasion.”
“Then you will join me, perhaps, one evening,” said Valjean, gaily, his heart fluttering near his mouth, “Shall we say Wednesday at 8.00pm? We shall have a late supper and a game, if you will.”
Javert pursed his lips in apparent uncertainty, and Valjean found he was holding his breath. Like a young grisette might upon contemplating her swain. It was ridiculous, and yet - his heart was still beating faster.
“It would be an honour,” said Javert, and strode away.
Ah, what a wonderful occasion it was - there were great balls and soirées that had not been planned with such dedication, or such care. Monsieur Madeleine would have everything just so - his housekeeper despaired of him, and gossiped to her cronies about it at market - and all the while Valjean held a sick feeling of triumph tight in his belly, secret and queasy like a stolen loaf of bread. He did not want to examine it too closely.
For the question remained - why did Valjean gain such pleasure from this encounter, and others like it afterwards? Surely, it was no more than two grand burghers of the town meeting to socialise when there were few other opportunities. A simple game of chess, that was all it was, and yet...
Monsieur Madeleine had no notion of the danger, of the undercurrents that flowed between them when Javert lent forward from the good leather chair to move his castle, or sacrifice his pawn. Monsieur Madeleine only saw the institution of inspector, the upright man, the unbending officer of the law. Monsieur Madeleine merely sought a casual civil bond, no more than that. An excuse to broach the good Armagnac, perhaps. A reason to indulge in a brace of hares. Sometimes Valjean hated Monsieur Madeleine.
But not more than he hated Javert. And there was the point of it. Valjean could feel the lash upon his back and smell the shit even when he was sat in his own parlour with his visitor. He could see the contempt in Javert’s hooded eyes, when he casually asked for water instead of cognac, or for plain bread instead of roasted meats. An abstemious man, the Inspector, and with every polite refusal Valjean sensed the weight of the chains as they dragged at his ankles, could smell the odour of his own roasting flesh as they branded his chest with their numbers - 24601. He would rub at his watch chain sometimes, his thumb tucked between his waistcoat buttons, just below the scar, and Javert knew nothing of why. Javert knew nothing.
It grew easy. They even became friends of a sort. Sometimes Valjean would marvel at the circumstance, and his stomach would tie itself in obscene knots, before he would smile benevolently across the table and offer another glass of madeira, which Javert would refuse. Javert himself would go so far as to relax in his chair, and stretch his legs out towards the fire. He would sometimes crack a small smile, if he thought Monsieur Madeleine wasn’t looking, or even sometimes when he was. They were... comfortable together, in so far as each other’s demons would allow. It horrified Valjean, even as it comforted him.
But it wasn’t enough. The sense memory from the past grew elusive, became a thin weak thing, fading with repetition and Javert’s transformation into something nearly human. Valjean didn’t want that. Javert had to stay aloof, had to remain something other, an implacable force sent to test him. He wasn’t allowed to laugh, or loosen his neckcloth. He wasn’t allowed to lean forward to pat Valjean on the arm, however much the heat from his fingers painted Valjean with warmth, with chills, and with a dizzying desire to draw Javert forward and taste those pale lips. The urge to debauch Javert grew stronger with each visit, and Valjean’s dreams changed, no longer was there a woman screaming, instead a man’s voice had taken its place, and his cries were not of pain - or not only that. The scent of the prison was strong in these, and Valjean would wake, harder than he had ever been in his life, and full of a twisted kind of longing.
It meant he said nothing when Javert moved from the good leather chair to share the settle with himself. It meant he did not shrink away when Javert would fondle the chess pieces as he put them away in their case, all the while looking at him. It meant... he knew what was to come, and he couldn’t say it was unwelcome. On the day that Javert placed his hand on Monsieur Madeleine’s thigh instead of on his own, Valjean got his wish. He surged forward into Javert’s space and wrenched his neckcloth in his fist before attacking Javert’s mouth with his own; pressing deep bruising kisses upon his lips, and feeling the scrape of Javert’s stubble burning him so beautifully. The harsh sound of the crows upon the Bagne midden heaps rose up in his ears once more, and the taste of Javert’s tongue was the tepid blandness of prison gruel, better than the finest haute cuisine. Javert too seemed not to care about the niceties, now they had finally come to it, the noises he made were thick grunts in his throat, not doting blandishments, and Valjean loved it, loved them all.
It seemed only a matter of seconds before Valjean was pushing himself to his knees, and dragging desperately at Javert’s buttons and then smallclothes. The cock he revealed was thick and red, as proud and upstanding as the man himself, and Valjean found his mouth salivating like a dog’s. He took it into his mouth with little ado, heavy and blood-warm on his tongue, Javert’s thick musky scent surrounding him as he shut his eyes and sucked. But it wasn’t enough. Javert had put his blunt-fingered hand into Valjean’s hair, tangling it and gripping it, but far too gently, there was nowhere near enough pressure for true enjoyment. With an obscene pop, Valjean took his mouth away and looked up. Javert was frowning his pleasure, even here, even now - it gave Valjean a tiny thrill to see the control he still had. But Valjean wanted more than that, he wanted the loss of that discipline, he wanted Javert to abandon himself, to forget what he did, and who to. Grasping at Javert’s buttocks, he pulled him towards himself, this time thrusting the man by main force into his mouth, a heavy intrusion, crammed bluntly against the back of his throat, starting a welcome burn that Javert seemed to understand. He began to take the control Valjean ceded to him so willingly, fucking into Valjean, making his eyes water and his throat sting. In ecstasy, Valjean shut his eyes and hung on, his fingers making dents in the good wool cloth of Javert’s coat, his throat loosening to accept thrusts that grew wilder and more erratic as they continued.
This was not the behaviour of Monsieur Madeleine, Valjean thought to himself in blurred triumph. That straw man redolent of sugar and good deeds would not go on his knees for anyone, this could only be the humiliation due to a prisoner who had tried to run, who’d stolen a loaf of bread and thereby had his life stolen from him in turn. This could only be the punishment due to Jean Valjean, his glorious humiliation, his ignoble victory. Jean Valjean was not defeated, his existence still mattered. Clumsily, Valjean reached down and viciously pushed the heel of his hand onto his straining prick, once, twice, and then he was coming, harder than he’d ever done before, staining his trousers like a untried boy.
It did not take long for Javert to follow, spilling bitter fluid into Valjean’s mouth, that he supped down like it was finest wine. They slumped there like that, Valjean leaning against Javert’s leather boot, allowing each other’s racing hearts to slow, waiting for their harsh pants for breath to become more regular. Javert’s hand was still in Valjean hair, and he toyed with the salt and pepper locks there, an almost tender caress Valjean might have said, if he did not know better. A light tug had Valjean moving, staggering to his feet before slumping onto the settle once more. A companionable arm was thrown around his shoulders, and a chuckle followed; Valjean stiffened. An actual laugh, however deep, was an unwelcome noise - it did not fit with what Valjean chose to think of Javert, any more than the other arm that now reached over and began to toy with the buttons on his waistcoat, blunt thick fingers slipping the discs through their holes in a playful way, before reaching for his shirt to do the same.
An icy chill swept his body, chasing away any lingering pleasure. Valjean rose abruptly, and stood swaying on trembling legs. He stared down at Javert, who looked more than debauched, his mouth red, his raiment askew - he looked thoroughly ravished, with his breeches still gaping open. No-one who knew the Inspector could possibly recognise him, Valjean thought, for he had been changed. He was not the man Valjean thought he knew. He swallowed down the bile these musings brought to mind, desperately trying not to see the gentleness in Javert, the apparent desire for affection - for the idea was horrifying.
Also, he blindly refused to realise how close he had come to discovery, how much he truly desired to bare himself to Javert, to finish undoing the shirt buttons and reveal his true self, scars and numbers and everything. For that would be the end of him. The end of Jean Valjean and Monsieur Madeleine both, and perhaps that was the greatest temptation of all.
Valjean left Javert then, left him upon the instant, indecently abruptly, and strode to the outhouse where he could empty his poor stomach, and scrub his trembling limbs at his own despised leisure. They didn’t play chess again. They barely spoke. Even their daily ritual greeting was tinged with shame for Valjean, and a certain knowledge of his cowardice. In return, he thought he caught a hint of hurt in those deep-set eyes, and the confusion of that felt disturbingly like regret.
Because Javert was an ever-present reminder of that temptation. That he had nearly fallen - nearly abandoned all his responsibilities and succumbed to all his base desires. His promise to the Bishop rang in his ears until he was sick of the din it made, but still Valjean held himself to it. He was a better man now, even if that man was not himself.
But then one day there was a commotion in the market place, with many people screaming, Javert calling for people to get out of the way, and then a runaway cart bursting free - until finally unfortunate Fauchelevent was trapped underneath. He was a poor man but an honest one, saving his life was honourable, it would be a good deed... Valjean tried not to think about it as he used his still prodigious strength to lift the cart from the trapped man, even as he saw the dawning doubt and contempt in Javert’s eyes.
He was Valjean again in those seconds, and the scents and sounds of the prison arose once more in a blessed cacophony around him. He smiled and threw his head up to the skies as he strained at his task. Javert would never let him go now - however far he ran. Javert would know him again. The world would know him.
Valjean smiled, and tried not to remember that he had felt only relief as the cart had come thundering down.