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As Solid As Shadow

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All day, he had been watching Monsieur Madeleine from the shadows, his hand tightening around his cudgel, his mouth narrowed in suspicion – as always, the mayor was going about his business, speaking softly, smiling rarely, his aloof benevolence incapable of hiding the strength of his loins.

At nightfall, Javert's suspicions gave way to doubt as he pondered the conundrum of the man. He had seen Madeleine in church. The mayor's pew was at the very front, and so Javert had to observe from a distance; even so, he would notice the dejected slump of Madeleine's shoulders, almost invisible, as the priest spoke of sin and reparation.

What could such a man have to atone for? Then again, who ever heard of a pious criminal?

He went to bed, his frustration haunting him until he fell into restless sleep.

In his dreams, a figure came to him – a man's figure, his shoulders broad and his face in shadow as he crouched at the foot of the bed.

"Who are you?" Javert asked, sitting half upright, his heart beating with something that was not mere fear and not mere anger.

The figure rose to his feet. He was naked, the moonlight painting the lines of his muscled body in black and silver. Javert still could not make out his face; instead, his gaze was drawn downwards to where the outline of a large bulge was visible. Involuntarily, he licked his lips.

"Who are you?" Javert demanded again, feeling himself grow hard in turn. "Reveal yourself."

The figure shook his head, and Javert was not certain whether to feel vexation or relief.

Then, in the blink of an eye, the figure was upon him, straddling his hips. Javert struggled, but only for a moment; in this strange state, he found himself willing enough, aroused and ashamed in equal measure as he let the figure push him down.

"You are a demon," he muttered through his teeth, reaching out to run a hand down the man's side. "You are here to corrupt me. To drag me down into the gutter with you..."

Even as he spoke, he felt himself doomed. Was not the corruption already within him?

He groaned, tilting his head back, as a hand found his erection, curling around it. Yes, perhaps this was a test – to see whether he, indeed, was not the criminal, he who would willingly engage in congress with a demon?

A demon who might bear Madeleine's face, or another one – unless those two were the same.

Javert closed his eyes, surrendering to the turmoil of his mind, the insistence of his flesh, the relentless movements of the demon's hand.

"Have your way," he said tersely, spreading his thighs. His pulse was hammering; he could not believe himself, and yet – he yearned for it.

The figure laughed, then, a low blurred sound. It vanished into thin air, as silently as it had come, and Javert woke with a start.

He was still hard, but now it was only his own hand grasping his rigid flesh, it was only his own corruption driving him to completion, his panting harsh in the silence of the room.

The next morning, out on his patrol, his eyes were still following Madeleine's form with suspicion, his mind searching for any incriminating detail. But he found that he was unable to look into the mayor's face.