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Faultlines of the Heart

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Javert kneels. He is lightheaded; he cannot believe that he talked Valjean into such a thing. Valjean is thick and hard; the lewdness of his taste on his tongue makes him breathless, and though they have done this before, this time the fantasy makes it at once better and worse, so that he chokes around Valjean's cock, so desperate for it that he can imagine the disdain on Valjean's face at the sight he must be.

On Madeleine's face, he corrects himself, keeping his eyes tightly squeezed shut as he sucks on Madeleine's prick as if he is starving, welcoming all of it, the humiliation of his own drool dripping down his chin, the ache of Madeleine filling his mouth beyond all comfort, the sharp tang of inadequacy at his failing to perform this task in a manner befitting a man of the mayor's position.

Madeleine's hands rest lightly on his shoulders. He needs no force, of course; his station alone awards him with sufficient authority that a gentle touch is enough to keep Javert in place – to teach him his place, which is here, at Monsieur le Maire's feet, serving him in whichever way is asked of him. The weight of those hands is enough to remind him that this is a service due the mayor; and that, should he choose so, Monsieur Madeleine could easily force him. He knows the strength of those hands; a shudder runs through him at the memory, and even though he would never willingly show such disobedience, something within him tenses at the thought of that strength being used against him – hands tightening in his hair to hold him in place despite his struggle while Monsieur Madeleine forcefully fucks his mouth until he chokes around him, his chest burning as he makes desperate, wet sounds around the cock that fills him until he cannot breathe...

He is painfully hard; his trousers are damp from the fluid that keeps seeping into the worn fabric. The wool is cheap and scratches against his sensitive prick with every breath he tries to take, and the need to touch himself is almost unbearable.

He does not. His hands are resting on his thighs; now he pulls them back to clench them behind his back. Almost he can pretend that they are bound; better: that someone has come to hold him like this, watching this shameful, filthy act as the mayor uses him, as he struggles in despair to take more of that swollen prick – and then he feels Madeleine's climax, a choked moan escaping as he tries to swallow all of the thick come that coats his mouth. He fails, again, feels it drip down his chin together with his saliva, choking and still desperate when Madeleine pulls away so that he is forced to lean forward, uncaring what Madeleine might think to see him so eager for it as he nuzzles at him until more of Madeleine's come is smeared all over his cheek. That thought is exciting too, to have the mayor's secretary come in to find him so marked, depraved and humiliated and unable to do anything about it because this is the mayor, because he owes Monsieur Madeleine loyalty, unquestioning obedience, because who is he to deny a Magistrate if such a man asks a service of a subordinate...

His breath is the panting of an animal, loud and harsh. He is ashamed, and that is good too: he should be ashamed – and then Madeleine's hands push him away, very gently, and he squeezes his eyes shut for one moment longer, too aware of his degradation, and humiliated by how good that is.

He opens his eyes with great reluctance, but truth cannot be denied forever. Once, he would have denied that he is capable of lie; now, he knows that he has lied to himself, always. What is one more lie then, he asks himself as the shame within him rises when he meets Valjean's gaze. And still, to lie to himself when he is with the one man who above all others showed him mercy when he had no reason to do so? Does not Valjean deserve more than to be used in such a way by him?

Even now there is some of that sweetness in Valjean's eyes that has taught Javert more about goodness than any sermon or psalm. Sometimes, he thinks there is heaven in Valjean's eyes; what happens after does not matter. If it is his lot to descend into Hell, he will go willingly, and with a smile; he has tasted more of Heaven by Valjean's side than is due a man of his choices.

But now, Valjean is unsettled. There is a crease between his brows as he regards him, a nearly imperceptible flinch before he slowly reaches out to wipe at the saliva and come that cools on his chin, and Javert flinches away before he can help himself, rubbing at the stains with furious shame while he hates that mix of disgust and terrible pleasure that even now has him hard.

“Do not besmirch yourself,” he says, and if the words come out more harshly than intended, then it is because he is angry at himself, not at Valjean.

Valjean watches for a long moment. When he stays silent, Javert's anger retreats like a candle extinguished by a sudden, cold draft. It is sobering; humiliation curls within him. He should not have talked Valjean into this. All this time, and still he is a liar. Still he is selfish, holding his own needs above those of the man to whom he owes all.

He is cold; he shivers; still arousal does not quite retreat. He is on his knees, and humiliation is thick on his tongue, like this man's spend – it is fuel enough for his body to keep betraying him, and Javert is shamed at having this deep faultline in his heart exposed.

“Javert,” Valjean says. He does not try to touch, and still his voice is so gentle that Javert looks up. He is trying to understand, Javert can see that, and watching that struggle brings new guilt with it. “This was what you wanted?”

Javert nods silently, then forces himself to speak. Valjean tried to give him this; he owes him the truth in return. No – he owes him truth, always. He owes him his life.

He owes him his soul.

“It was what I wanted.” He cannot quite meet Valjean's eyes; he lingers on that mouth he knows so well. His heart is a mire of depravity; in his place, he thinks suddenly, Valjean would have asked for a kiss. He takes a deep breath. “It was good. Then, when I felt your hands – I imagined you were–”

He cannot even bring himself to say it. It is shameful, to turn a saint into a sinner even in his thoughts. “I imagined I was in Montreuil. You were mayor. I imagined I was kneeling before you, there in the office, that you... used me, like that, that your hands held me in place...”

His face burns. He feels sick from the shame that is curdling in his stomach. He still cannot bear to look at Valjean – what can he find in his eyes but disappointment, after such a condemning confession?

“Is this the sort of man you think I am?” Valjean asks, and when he leans back a little, as if to escape Javert's touch, he knows that he was right to fear. “Do you think me capable of such a thing?” Another long pause. Javert trembles silently, tries to think of something to say, but his shame drowns out all thought. “Javert... Do you wish I were capable of such a thing?”

Javert chokes back a sound of guilt. How can he explain something which deep in his heart he knows is a thing of darkness, of filth? “I know you are not.” He looks up, at last, helpless, imploring for an understanding he does not think he deserves. “I should never have asked – forgive me. I should never have told you what I imagined. To wish for you to be that man – ah, Valjean, never. Never that. My thoughts have always shamed me.”

“Always.” It is a question, and Javert shudders when he thinks back, seeing other things he might once have imagined. Does Valjean truly wish to know? But he deserves to know, he thinks, Valjean who showers him with mercy and kindness and goodness. Valjean deserves to know all of him, before he can manage to further soil this saint.

“Always.” It comes out almost as a sigh. Valjean's hand comes to rest on his head as if in blessing, and his shame grows. “I have thought of worse things. If you knew...”

He closes his eyes. The images come unbidden, conjured by his words. “Your hands on me, only you are rough. You hold me down. Or I am told to strip... You look at me like that. You touch me. Someone else is watching, several people, it doesn't matter, they look as you touch me in any way you please... Oh, worse, things far, far worse, Valjean, I am stripped, tied to a pole with my hands above my head – as they did in Toulon – and, and you... the lash...” He stops, sucks in a gulp of air, then covers his eyes with his hands, unable to bear it. He gets up suddenly, paces in despair, a hand in his hair.

“Forgive me, forgive me, I cannot, I should not – but always, you see? Always! And how can I, with you, how can I even think something like that, and worse, ask you to–”

“Do you want that from me? All of that?” Javert stops, shudders, shakes his head. Still he cannot look at Valjean, and the part of him that wanted to lie for the first time knows that Valjean does not stand, does not come to comfort him.

“No. Christ, Valjean, no, never; how can you think I would want that – to force you of all people to raise the lash–”

His agitation is too great, his throat too tight; he cannot talk anymore. He fears any word he speaks might come out as a sob. He turns; he casts himself at Valjean's feet again, grips his hands to press them to his eyes in his despair. For a long moment he cannot speak, can only tremble in his shame.

Valjean is silent too. He does not draw away, but when he finally speaks, his words are uncertain. “Do you think you deserve to be treated with contempt instead of love? Is this your idea of repentance?”

He shakes his head silently at the question, hating the helplessness in Valjean's voice. He does not have an answer; if he speaks now, he fears there will be tears.

“The bishop only taught me mercy and love, Javert,” Valjean says, and his voice is very soft, and his hands are gentle. They cup his face; they raise him to meet Valjean's eyes, and what he sees there reassures him, and heightens the shame. How can Valjean still desire to touch him, now that he knows the way in which Javert betrays him in his thoughts?

“I always only want your love.” His voice is close to breaking. He forces himself to breathe deeply. His humiliation is nearly complete, there is no need to shame himself further with tears. “You do not understand. Of course you do not understand, you cannot; I pray you never will.” He laughs all of a sudden, wonders in despair if this is madness at last as he buries a hand in his hair in frustration. “I do not even – I am sickened by myself, Valjean. You must believe that. I... after my soul sinks into such depravity, after I've given in to such thoughts, after – well, after. I feel sick. It is not how I think of you. It is not even what I want you to be.”

He looks up at Valjean. The light of the candle shines golden on the white hair. “Saint,” he says softly. “I defile you with my very thoughts. Is there no end to my sins?”

Valjean watches him, and he does not know how much time passes until Valjean sits up straight, as if he had come to a decision.

“Get up.” The command is spoken quietly. Javert obeys. He is not quite certain what to make of the expression on Valjean's face – it is not disgust, and that, he thinks, is already more than he deserves.

Valjean watches. Javert forces himself to relax his hands, barely able to keep from fidgeting. For a moment he imagines standing at attention, the tense posture of delivering a report, then he flushes, his prick returning to hardness with an insistent ache.

“Strip,” Valjean says, and although his voice is mild, the word is not. Javert swallows and does as commanded, his heart beating faster in his chest. Valjean smiles at that, almost as if he is amused that Javert will obey, and Javert wants to scoff at the notion that Valjean of all people might question his willingness to serve.

“Good.” Valjean's voice is even softer, more intimate, and then he reaches out–

Javert cannot bite back a gasp when Valjean touches the tip of his prick with a finger, wetness clinging to it in a long string that gleams obscenely in the light when he pulls back again. “Now, do not move. That is an order, Javert.”

“Yes, Monsieur.” His answer comes out as little more than another gasp. He does not even realize what he has said until Valjean freezes; and then, just as worry begins to return, Valjean reaches out again, touching him with one finger, a slow, tormenting stroke upwards, from the base of his cock right to the tip. More wetness beads up at that light touch; he shudders, groans, and then Valjean once more begins that long, sweet stroke. His lips part; he trembles, but still he does not move. If Valjean seeks to torment him into disobedience, he shall not be overcome so easily; he has withstood worse.

He straightens with determination, clasps his hands behind his back again; Valjean's finger once more starts that slow journey upwards from the base of his cock, and he feels the coolness of his own fluids traced against the heat of his skin. Again and again Valjean repeats that slow, tantalizing stroke that brings him to the edge of insanity; it is too much, it is not enough, there is a sound building in his throat that he fears will come out as he whimper if he dares to breathe, but then, what is dignity when he is so hard, when Valjean sees for himself now what this fantasy does to him, and–

“Javert,” Valjean says with great kindness. “Please do obey. I asked you not to move.”

And now it is a whimper indeed that escapes him at the admonition, only he is too mortified to care when he realizes that he has been trying to move against Valjean's finger for that tiny increase of pressure that is all it will take. His hands clench behind his back until he feels the bite of his nails. He exhales deeply.

“Yes, Monsieur.” He is flushed; he trembles; sweat beads at his nape, on his brow. He can feel his hair sticking to his skin, but he does not dare to wipe the strands away. Half-despairing, he wonders what Valjean must think to see him so – the once fearsome inspector grown old, hair graying, body still serviceable but too lanky to be pleasing, and now naked and trembling in his subservience to–

“Ah!” He gasps despite himself when Valjean breaks his rhythm to drag the pad of his finger slowly through the fluids that gleam at the tip of his prick. Valjean looks up at him with a small smile.

“Please be silent, Javert,” he says, and when Javert tenses even more, his smile widens a little. Almost it looks as if he is holding back laughter, but his eyes are full of deceptive kindness as he once again starts that long, slow stroke from the base of Javert's prick that now makes him nearly weep with frustration.

“Truly, I am used to better behavior from you. All I asked was for you to stand still. Certainly that is not too much to demand from a man of your experience. One more word, Javert, and I shall have to ask you to bend over my desk, so that I can chastise you like an unruly schoolboy, and–”

Javert groans, clenching his teeth as he shudders and comes, helpless and ashamed and too aware of the amusement in Valjean's eyes, the way he is almost laughing as he looks up at him, and–

He sinks to his knees, overcome and unable to stand, resting his head on Valjean's knee for a moment as he waits for his heartbeat to slow. His breath comes in great, shuddering gasps. Valjean's hand moves through his hair, gentling him, and he squeezes his eyes shut against the rising embarrassment.

“Laugh at me if you must,” he mutters, face still pressed into Valjean's trousers. “Lord knows I deserve it.”

And now Valjean truly laughs, and his hands grasp his face to draw him up so that Valjean can press a kiss to his sweat-damp brow. Javert sighs deeply. The embarrassment does not abate, but he feels calmness return while the hands which he imagined dealing him pain stroke his face with great gentleness.

“I will not laugh.” It is as good as a promise, from Valjean, and yet Javert remembers his last suggestion all too well, wonders with sudden despair if Valjean might not laugh after all if only he knew how desperately the twisted need within him wants that to be reality.

He looks away at last. A part of him is sickened by his own selfishness – to not only admit to his own depravity, but to expect this man, who is very nearly a saint, to take a part in it! “I would not fault you if you did. Even now I feel shame for the nature of my thoughts.” A deep breath, then he forces himself to face Valjean once more. “But more than that, I feel shame that I ask this of you. Because you give this to me, even though you should not. Even though you never ask anything for yourself. You seek to give me happiness; how do I give you happiness? What would you have of me? Please, Valjean. I am selfish, but I do not want to be.”

Valjean hesitantly buries a hand in his hair, combing his fingers through the strands with warm affection, despite the frown on his face.

“I do not understand – but you are not selfish. Never that. Seeing you happy gives me happiness. And I would rather know your thoughts, Javert. As unsettled as I am, there is happiness too in knowing that you trust me. And for what I want...” He falls silent for a long moment. Javert waits, patient, aching for a way to return some of the blessings Valjean keeps bestowing on him.

“I do not know,” Valjean says after a while, his voice soft and puzzled. “No, let me explain – you said that you had these thoughts about me, in Montreuil? A guilty secret that haunted you at night, maybe, but regardless; you had these dreams of yours for a long time. I have not thought about such things. Truly, Javert. I did not think much about you then, except for my fear of discovery. And after – there was happiness to be found in the quiet life of the convent. I thought I would live like that for the rest of my life. Content to see Cosette happy. Yet here you are, and I – I feel a joy I have no words for. My thoughts of you are not chaste.” Valjean flushes a little, but still he holds Javert's gaze, earnest in his confession. “You know they are not. But what do I want? I do not know. I only know that all we have done has given me pleasure. How can I even think of more, when this is already more than I thought I would ever have?”

Javert shakes his head in denial. “No. Not – please, Valjean. Do not talk like that. I only regret that I am so little compared to what you deserve. And still you give. Any time I ask, you give. Will you take nothing for yourself? You know I would give anything, and count myself blessed if it gives you just a small measure of the joy you give me.”

Valjean smiles, although there is an almost pained expression on his face. “Your company,” he says at last, and Javert scoffs and rises, making a face at the pain in his knees. Maybe he is too old to kneel on the floor, although a part of him clenches at the hope that one day, he might experience this particular pain again.

“I tell you I imagined you forcing me, and you smile despite the way I insult you with my fantasies, and even then strive to give me something which is against the very nature of your soul. You are a saint; that much I know is true.”

He cannot stand still; he strides towards the window, because that is better than striding towards the door. He wants to escape this more than anything; he knows he owes Valjean too much to shy away from the truth now, when he has believed himself an honest man all his life.

He does not turn, although he is grateful when Valjean rises and comes to his side. Valjean's hand rests between his shoulder blades; Javert breathes deeply, looks at the garden outside. The hand is warm against his bare skin, and the tension within him slowly abates.

“It is true,” Valjean says after a moment. Javert does not need to turn his head to know that he is smiling – that sweet, wistful smile that makes his heart ache because even now, he knows he does not deserve this man's affection. “Your company. You do not doubt how dear you are to me, I hope? I did not think I would have companionship. Not like this. Not now, my years almost lived.”

Javert's heart clenches. No, he thinks. No, that is not true. It is not right. Valjean deserves another lifetime of nothing but happiness.

“I did not think I would have this, but now that I do, I am grateful, Javert.” Valjean's hand cups his cheek, and slowly, he turns at last. “It is a great blessing. Never doubt that. What more can I ask?”

Javert closes his eyes, bows his head. “You saw what I asked, even though I know myself blessed.”

“You will not rest until you have my own secrets, will you?” Javert looks up again at the dry amusement in Valjean's voice. Valjean gives him another smile. “Your company, as I said. If you feel the need to pay me, come walk in the Luxembourg with me. Come with me on Sunday to give alms.”

Javert snorts, and Valjean's smile deepens. He leans forward a little to lightly press his mouth to Javert's. “A terrible thing to ask, I know. Humor me. It would make me very happy.”

Javert cannot bring himself to say no. He does not say yes – but it is as good as an admission, and they both know it. Valjean is silent for another moment, and Javert waits. He has always been patient.

“Do you know... I have never been to the theater,” Valjean says at last. He is still smiling, although some of the warmth Javert so craves has gone out of it. He wonders if Valjean thinks he will laugh at such a request. He wonders if Valjean hopes that he will say no, so that he can keep denying himself.

“You great ninny,” he says, and snorts again, and then takes Valjean's hand to brush a kiss to his knuckles before he clasps it to his cheek once more. “And you could not ask that before? Of course I will go. I will tell you in great detail afterward all the things I hated about it. But I will also be grateful for every moment spent in your company.”

The warmth returns to Valjean's eyes at his words, and he pretends he cannot see the relief. It hurts too much to imagine a man like Valjean should ever feel relief at the affirmation that his company is cherished. He draws Valjean close, realizes, with a detached confusion, that still it takes courage to embrace him, when only minutes ago he knelt before him. He wants to laugh at himself; instead, he sighs into Valjean's hair. Gradually, Valjean relaxes.

“I'll think of something else,” he says softly. “I just... Give me time, Javert. I truly have not thought about it, ever – not after Toulon. Give me time to learn how to–”

“How to want things,” Javert says, and he knows that it is the truth when Valjean remains silent. “Well. You had better come up with something then, if you ever intend to suffer through such an embarrassing display again. What a fool I must have looked.”

Valjean draws back a little to give him a gentle smile. “Oh, I do not know. It might not have been my dream, but still, you looked very fine. Standing at attention. Taking orders. It is not quite as fearsome a look on you if you are out of your uniform. I would not mind indulging you again, I think – as long as – it is what you wanted?”

Javert starts to turn away, suddenly flushed once more, his throat so tight that his voice is embarrassingly rough. “I would suck your cock day and night if you did that again,” he says with helpless fervor. Startled, Valjean laughs, although there is no mockery in it, and Javert laughs as well, half-mortified, and then he turns and flees from the room and only remembers that he is still naked when he reaches the door.