“Monsieur Mayor, you were severe with me the other day, and unjustly. Be so today, with justice.”
He was grave and still, standing before the mayor with his hands clasped behind his back, the weight of his crime heavy on his conscience. The letter from Paris had damned him. No. It had been his own pride that had damned him, he could not forget that. He had proven himself a lesser man, and it was but just that now he should reap the rewards for the crime he had committed against a superior. A man like him was not fit to represent the law.
“Monsieur, I deserve to be turned out for what I have done. It is just. You must punish me.”
There was a hint of laughter in the mayor's voice when he replied. “Come now, Inspector. This is nonsense.”
Javert breathed slowly and deeply. A deep sadness engulfed him, for the law was all he had ever known, and the uniform all he had ever aspired to. With that taken from him, his life would be dull and empty. A just punishment, exactly as he deserved, and he could not bear the thought of betraying the law a second time by wishing for leniency – but still, it was a thought that chilled him to the bottom of his self. And now the police spy would turn on himself, for he could live no more with the shame of his ignoble actions than a wolf could live among dogs.
He was calm and composed when he made his report on the grave mistake he had committed, although once or twice, a deep sigh escaped him. He did not spare himself despite the melancholy thought that this would be the last day, the last hour, that he would wear the uniform that had once been all he had aspired to. He omitted none of his many sins. His hurt pride and humiliation at how the magistrate had handled the case of the prostitute. His preposterous suspicions, fed by the hurt pride. The letter sent to the Prefecture, and the answer he had received.
Silently, he held out the letter at last, a wordless entreaty to take the weight of the law from his shoulders that during the last hour had grown too weak to bear the weight they had been so long accustomed to. “You see, Monsieur. It must be done. Do with me as you please; it is just.”
The mayor's amusement had vanished, and had Javert dared to raise his humbly lowered eyes, he might have been surprised by the mayor's sudden paleness. There was a long silence, only broken by the sound of paper being turned as the mayor read the letter.
“And you are going to Arras in that matter in a week or ten days?”
“It was to be sooner than that, Monsieur. The case was to be tried tomorrow, but Valjean escaped. As soon as he is found, I will be summoned to Arras again.”
“Ah.” The mayor returned the letter, then turned towards the window. “There is much to be done today, it is good you do not have to leave. Starting with the house of the woman Buseaupied–”
“Monsieur le Maire,” Javert said very respectfully, with great sadness in his voice at having to interrupt a superior whom he had already wronged so gravely. “You forget that I am to be dismissed. Turned out.”
“Inspector, I should have you promoted instead. You are a man of honour, and I esteem you.”
Javert stood unwavering, grave and sad. “Be just with me, Monsieur. I wronged you greatly. I have insulted authority in your person. I have committed a great crime. Monsieur le Maire, I do not desire that you should treat me kindly.”
Again there was a long silence while Javert waited with lowered eyes for all the severity of justice that was his due. At last, the mayor stepped closer. His voice was softer, and there was no hint of the earlier amusement left at all now.
“Yet if you have wronged me, to do what you desire would be no punishment, Javert.” Again the mayor fell silent, then walked until he stood behind Javert. “You think you have disgraced the uniform that you wear, Inspector, and that is true. But your crime was a crime against me. Your hurt pride, as you said, is a personal failing. Your penance will be to me. It will not be decided by the police, nor by a judge.”
“Yes, Monsieur,” Javert said simply, relief filling him when at last the mayor began to understand the severity of what he had done. “I give myself into your hands. Whatever punishment you decide will be just.”
Another silence. Javert waited, his heart heavy in his chest, although an unsettling warmth was starting to spread in his stomach at the realisation that now, at last, it would be done.
“Take off the uniform you disgraced.” The mayor's voice was taut, and Javert found that the thought of anger was welcome. A punishment born from anger would still be just, and easier to bear than the mayor's earlier talk of promotion.
“Take of your drawers as well. Bend over my desk.”
His breath stocked in his throat for a moment. Then his fingers mechanically set to work. A flush had risen to his face, but even so, the thought of disobedience was more abhorrent than the humiliation that was asked of him. He did as he was told, not thinking, denying the heat of the shame that made him want to shudder as he bared himself in all his abjectness, positioning himself over the mayor's desk like a child waiting for chastisement. The heat had turned into a burning fire now that ate at him like a sickness, a fever that had made his weak flesh rouse, and he wanted to curl in on himself with shame to hide his sin from the man he had wronged. But he had been ordered to bend over the desk, and so he remained, unmoving and sickened by the way he was pressed hot and hard against the dark wood.
His breath came in harsh pants as he waited. The sound was jarring to him, who had never been anything but proper in the presence of the mayor before. Now, though, bent over the mayor's desk in a position most undignified and improper, he could do nothing but listen to it, and flush with further shame when he thought of what Monsieur Madeleine must think of him. For he sounded like an animal, there was no doubt about it – like any man visiting the prostitutes down at the pier, where he had often hear the sounds when he made his rounds at night, the harsh grunts and pants that made him clench his jaw at he walked past what were perfectly legal transactions in the eye of the law.
Still, he remembered the sounds, and he could not help comparing them to his own now, his laboured breathing, the hitch when now, at last, the mayor's hand brushed his skin. His cock was hard and aching, pressing against the wood of the desk with exhilarating pain until Madeleine's hands pulled his hips back, denying him even the small satisfaction of that dull ache. He swallowed, then turned his head, biting down onto the linen of his sleeve in his embarrassment as he tried to somehow contain all that threatened to break apart inside him at that first touch.
Monsieur Madeleine drew a finger up his naked thigh, and a muffled groan escaped despite his clenched teeth.
“You enjoy this too much, Javert,” the mayor said. Javert wondered if even now, the mayor felt reluctance at the thought of the justice he had asked of him.“You asked me to be harsh with you, but now I wonder. Was this for selfish reasons?”
“Monsieur...” Javert groaned, his face burning as he tried to hide against his arm. The mayor's fingers curled around his hard cock as if in a warning – or maybe just to remind him of the humiliating position he was in, and Javert's lips parted for another undignified sound.
“You will answer when I ask a question, Inspector,” Madeleine ordered, and Javert panted another gasp of shocked, shamed need into his arm. He could feel the heat of the man pressed up against his body, the strong muscles which could hold him down easily if he were presumptuous enough to struggle. The thought of the mayor holding him down with all that incredible strength sent a new thrill of arousal through his shameful body, though the mere thought of resisting, wilfully disobeying the order of a superior made him pale.
“Monsieur, it is not selfish to ask you to uphold the law... I must be judged as severely as I judge others. I... I beg your forgiveness for... I do not mean to...” He could feel the sweat beading at his nape.
He broke off with another gasp when the mayor's hand cupped his testes, the strong, warm palm testing the weight of him, then curling around him to squeeze until the immoral pleasure of his touch turned into pain. Still he held his position, his thighs trembling, his eyes closed with mortification at how he must look to the mayor.
There was a long silence, only broken by the sound of his laboured breathing.
“I think your problem is lack of self-control, Inspector.” The mayor had not released him, and Javert felt himself grow even harder with shame, humiliation filling his stomach with a terrible heat. “I can see that now. It was not only that letter you sent, no. Clearly there is a deeper root that is the reason for your transgression.”
“Monsieur le Maire, I'm fully aware of the magnitude of my transgression,” Javert said fervently, turning his head so that his cheek rested against the cool, polished wood as he prayed voicelessly for anything but the mayor's too gentle touches. “Show me no mercy. Be harsh with me to be just.”
The mayor's fingers squeezed just a little more tightly, drawing another sound from him at the threat of pain. “When was the last time you touched yourself, Inspector?”
For a moment, he could not breathe as a larger wave of humiliation washed over him, and he choked out a soft sound against his arm. “Monsieur...” he implored, helpless, mortified both at the question and his disobedience despite the direct question of a superior.
“Answer, Inspector.” Madeleine’s hands were still on him, and he had never known anything like it, the terrible shame of exposure and the pleasure that was sharp like pain. It took all his willpower not to give in to the base animalistic need, to move his hips in search of friction instead of following the order to hold still for the mayor's inspection.
He swallowed thickly, feeling his shirt cling to his damp skin. “Two weeks ago, Monsieur.” He prayed that the mayor would not ask further questions. There had been an accident involving a carriage, and he had remembered the day he had watched the mayor do the impossible and free Fauchelevant from beneath a cart. He had tried not to think of it again in the two years that had passed, but sometimes, late at night, when sleep eluded him and the base nature of his body tempted his mind to stray, he had no choice but to give in to his body's urges and reach a damp, shameful release at his own touch.
He shuddered when Madeleine's hand slid over his hard cock once more, all thought lost for a moment as his body tensed. The mere thought of the mayor sullying his hand in such a way was abhorrent, but then, so was the thought of disobedience when he had already transgressed so egregiously.
“And how often would you say you usually touch yourself, Javert?”
Javert watched from half-closed eyes how his breath fogged the desk. “Monsieur,” he begged again, pain in his voice though he knew it would do no good, and then could not stop himself from offering the mayor the truth, as if in apology for withholding an answer at all, if even for a moment. “Every few weeks, Monsieur le Maire.” He hesitated for a long moment, shuddering at the way the mayor's hand felt against his cock, warm and calloused and rough from hard work. The man's hand never moved, never stroked or even tried to give pleasure, and that was only right, of course, he was here to do penitence, not to shame a magistrate with the baseness of his body which he could not of control. Another broken sound escaped as he tried to keep himself from moving. “More often late,” he offered, tears stinging his eyes as he prayed that the mayor would not ask for a reason. He would have to answer such a question, of course, and then he would be disgraced in truth, and the mayor would follow his suggestion and press charges against him after all, for which magistrate would wish to be sullied by an inferior's impure thoughts?
There was a thoughtful sound, and Madeleine's fingers released him at last. “Maybe I should beat you like a child. Were you beaten as a child, Javert?”
Javert tensed again. “Yes, Monsieur,” he murmured against the desk, forcing himself not to shift even though the humiliation made his fingers curl with the need to escape. “The guards beat me when I misbehaved. I learned that rules are not to be broken.”
There was a long silence, then the mayor took a step back, and Javert shuddered with inexplicable longing, wondering if now, he would hear the sound of a belt being undone...
“I shall not beat you then. That approach has been tried, and it failed to leave an impression on you. You are no child, Inspector – which makes your failings all that more disappointing.”
At the sound of that final word, Javert's stomach clenched, and sudden wetness welled up in his eyes. “Monsieur,” he forced out. “I beg you. Allow me to make amends. I deserve to be beaten. Not like a child, but like any criminal who has committed a crime well aware of the law, and the consequences. I deserve the lash, Monsieur.”
“And do you believe I keep a whip in my office, Javert? To discipline my workers? No. No, your disappointment was of a personal nature, Inspector. Not a crime to be judged by the law. You crave discipline, and I shall give it to you – but discipline more suited to your position, and to the nature of your transgression.”
Javert lowered his head again in submission. “Anything you demand of me, Monsieur le Maire,” he offered softly, his voice quavering a little as he imagined just what he might be asked to do to prove his penitence, sickened with shame at the rush of new heat that thought brought forth.
The mayor continued to talk calmly, slowly stepping around the desk until he faced Javert, who did not dare to raise his head. “As you have proven today, you have trouble to control your urges. What did you call your transgression? The result of pride, of an unwillingness to accept the rightness of the order given you by a superior? Very well then. I will give you another order I expect you to follow. This is how you shall make up for your insult to me, Javert. You will not touch yourself again. You are a man, not a child. I shall expect you to behave like a man of your position, Inspector. Control your urges. This seems to be difficult for you, but I expect you to find no release from now on.”
There was a moment's pause, then the sound of a chair being pulled back. When Javert dared to raise his eyes slightly, he found the mayor seated uncomfortably close, bent over a letter as if he had already forgotten the disgraced man he had humbled and questioned so intimately. “I suggest you pray instead when the urge overcomes you. You may dress and leave now, Inspector. I await your next report tomorrow.”
Javert kept his eyes lowered as he stood and dressed. His hands did not shake, though he fumbled when he tried to button his woollen uniform trousers, humiliation heavy in his stomach at the way he ached with painful need at the thought of the mayor watching his disgrace. He bowed very low. There was something satisfying about the shame that engulfed him. He deserved to be brought down so low, he thought, almost relishing the agonising chafe of wool against his disobedient flesh. It had not been what he had asked for, but certainly in this, too, the mayor was right. Monsieur Madeleine deserved a more personal satisfaction for his crime against him, for it had been a personal failing, and not a failing of the law. That the revenge the mayor exacted was personal, too, was only just.
Javert kept his eyes low as he reported on a prostitute arrested for a venereal disease. He had almost daily dealings with the wretched creatures, of course, and never before had he been embarrassed to give the mayor a report, despite the details of filth he had to list on a regular basis. But to talk of such details now, in this office, when he was sweating beneath his uniform, craven and fallen to inexplicable sin for he had hardened with shame before he had even entered the mayor's office, was becoming a sudden, unexpected torment. How could he list a gentleman's intimate accusations when only a day ago, he had pressed his cheek against the polished wood of the mayor's desk, Madeleine's impersonal touch taking stock of him as if he were little more than a horse he sought to purchase?
He had treated the whore he had arrested with more respect than the mayor had granted him. Something about the thought made him breathless, swallowing thickly against the shame of coming undone before the mayor's eyes.
“If that was all, Inspector, I believe it is time to move on.” The mayor was calm and preoccupied with his letters. He had barely looked up from his desk as Javert, flushed and ashamed at his body's obvious state, had delivered his report standing straight, arms clasped behind his back, showing no mercy for himself despite way this displayed the outline of his traitorous, sinful flesh for the mayor's perusal. And even though the shame cut hard, bringing with it the memory of every prostitute he had ever arrested, every day of clawing his way out of the filth his mother had born into, the bitter humiliation on his tongue gave him satisfaction. This was just. It was the mayor's right to exact this penance, and though Javert had shamed himself by suspecting a magistrate, there was a relief in the knowledge that at least in this, Monsieur Madeleine was as severe as his crime warranted.
“Please take off your uniform. This is not about your position as Inspector of the Police.”
“Yes, Monsieur.” Javert bowed slightly, though he knew the mayor was not watching. He tried not to think as he stripped, removing the heavy, navy wool of his uniform as if he were removing his armour in surrender to a victorious enemy, voluntarily releasing all that which made him just and right in the eyes of the law until he was revealed to the mayor in nothing but his human miserableness, small and shivering beneath the weight of his sin.
“Over my desk, Javert.” The mayor had stood silently and come to stand beside him, and at the gentle touch to the small of his back, Javert bent readily, light-headed at the calm assuredness of the mayor’s voice.
He was still clad in his drawers, for the mayor had not ordered him to remove them as well, and so this time there was a layer of thin, damp linen between the heat of his shameful arousal and the cold, polished wood of the man's desk. Javert shifted once, uncomfortable by how the edge of the desk pressed against his aching cock, then stopped with mortification when the mayor's hand came to rest on his back to hold him in place.
Madeleine’s fingers traced up a thigh again. Javert swallowed, his brow shining with perspiration when the strong hand once more sought out the shape of his arousal, feeling him through the dampness of his undergarments. He squeezed his eyes shut at the thought of soiling the magistrate's hands so, feeling a sudden jolt of shame and terrible excitement as he imagined the utter humiliation of spending himself like this, wondering if for that, at last, the mayor would beat him like a dog.
"Why, Javert," the mayor said softly. "This is a harder task I set you than I first suspected. I had always thought my Inspector of the police to be firm, unshakable, a man ruled by the law alone and not by his body's base urges."
"I... I beg your pardon, Monsieur," Javert forced himself to say, eyes still closed in misery.
Madeleine was silent for a moment, though he did not remove his hand, and Javert's breathing grew heavy as the mayor's fingers traced around the head of his cock through his damp drawers, the pressure too strong to be teasing, and not rough enough to fulfil his need. He thought of how the man's callouses would feel against the slick, sensitive skin and wanted to moan with wretched despair.
"Was it your talk of that prostitute you arrested, Javert? Many an Inspector has made use of the women of the town, I would think. It is not against the law, after all." The pressure of those strong fingers increased, and a soft, choked sound escaped Javert, though it was still not enough as he trembled with the need to hold still. "When was the last time you visited a prostitute, Javert?"
"Please, Monsieur, leave me my dignity!" The abject lowliness of his plea made him flush, and he thought that he might have fallen to his knees at the mayor's feet, to clasp his knee and beg to be beaten like he deserved, if the thought of disobedience had not roused an even greater shame in him even now.
"Did you not try to take my dignity when you sent that letter, Javert? Is it not just that you offer me your own in payment of that debt now?" The mayor's voice was kind despite the terrible thing he demanded, and Javert trembled again, because this was indeed just, and as severe a reprimand as his actions deserved.
He swallowed, trying to ignore the hot sting of tears in his eyes at the indignity of it, and the ache of his swollen cock that even now had grown even harder in the man's painful grasp despite what was demanded of him.
"Never, Monsieur le Maire." He could have given the mayor excuses. It was not right. It was a wretched, filthy thing. He could barely live on what little an Inspector was paid. He was the dog that hunted wolves, he did not lie with them, else they would lose their fear of him. Yet instead of explaining himself, he was silent, feeling his shame fill the moment as the mayor took in that answer.
"Any other woman, Javert?"
"No, Monsieur." He tried to imagine that he was simply giving the mayor his report, though his voice was shaking slightly, despite his best efforts to ignore the impropriety of the questions he was asked, and his shameful acquiescence to them. Even now, it was hard to surrender his dignity when he had clung to it for so long, but there was a terrible pleasure in imagining himself offering up the very last thing that remained of him in payment of his debt to the mayor. "Never," he repeated, quiet and defeated now, all pride gone from his voice. And that was right, too, for it had been his pride that had brought him so low.
The mayor's thumb brushed against his balls. "Did you touch yourself tonight?"
Javert thought of how he had tried to find rest in vain, damp with sweat beneath his blanket as he turned and tried to ignore the sinful desires that made him ache with need all night. He licked at his dry, cracked lips.
"But you wanted to?"
"Yes, Monsieur." He swallowed, staring unblinkingly at the dark wood of the desk when the mayor's palm cupped his balls once more.
His heartbeat echoed like thunder in his ears. Cold sweat broke out on his back. "Please, Monsieur..."
"I expect an answer, Inspector."
Javert closed his eyes in torment. He forced himself to speak, for he had never uttered a lie, and he had never disregarded an order. There was a faint feeling of satisfaction when he realized that he would indeed rather damn himself than abandon the principles that governed men like him.
"I thought of you beating me, Monsieur le Maire, as I had asked of you." His voice was very soft, but it was steady, and he awaited the mayor’s condemnation of him with quiet surrender.
Instead, the mayor remained pressed against him for a moment, strong and warm. He thought he felt the lightest touch to his hair when the man turned away, but it might have been nothing more than a strand stirred by the mayor's breath, or a draught of air.
“Dress, Inspector. I will await your report tomorrow.”