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For every sin I have committed, Javert thinks, sliding his hands up Valjean's thighs, for every wrong deed I have done.

Valjean buries his face in the pillow. Javert's eyes linger at the nape of his neck, miraculously unmarked by the slave collar. The only blemish visible is the slight purple spot left by Javert's lips.

His mark will fade with time, unlike the scars on Valjean's back. Javert presses his mouth to those as well, licks along the marred skin as though his touch could change it. Valjean shivers, almost imperceptibly.

Somewhere in Heaven, a score is kept. He cannot fathom it otherwise. There may not be justice on Earth, but surely there is justice in Eternity.

Even so, Javert cannot but hope that there is mercy in the end. He will suffer in Purgatory for all his sins, but if he cannot be reunited with Valjean at the end of it, God would be kinder in sending him to Hell.

He leans down and kisses Valjean's ear. Valjean lets out a sigh and turns his head slightly, and Javert kisses him again, on the temple this time.

If there is a just God, then surely He will not ignore Valjean's sighs of pleasure, or those secret smiles that are meant for Javert alone? Surely those moments of happiness Javert has brought him, however small they seem compared to the years of terror, must count for something?

Javert unscrews the small jar of salve and coats his fingers. Last night, he was the one spread out on the bed, panting into the pillow as he was filled by Valjean's heat. To learn such joys together, to be able to pleasure each other this way, so late in life -- it is a mercy all of its own. Valjean is a gift; Javert has given himself in turn, and done so gladly. Why should his own pleasure count as penance?

"Relax," he says, his voice rough with desire. His hands are still large and greedy. He curves them around Valjean's backside, pressing his mouth to the small of his back. Valjean lets out a low moan, raising his hips a little, and there is such trust in him, such grace, that even now, in this very moment, Javert is taken aback. For a moment he simply stares, forgetting what it was he intended to do.

He has always been singleminded when it comes to pursuing a task, and yet it takes nothing for Jean Valjean to scatter his thoughts apart.

Javert shakes his head. "Relax," he says again, more to himself than to Valjean. He traces an salve-slick finger down Valjean's cleft, caressing Valjean's hip with his free hand. When he finally slips the tip of his finger inside, Valjean gives another soft sigh and spreads his thighs a little.

You are my salvation, Javert thinks, stroking him gently from within; then, easing another finger inside, You are the reason I care to be saved.

Valjean's breath is coming faster; he is bucking ever so lightly against Javert's hand. This is as far as he will get to losing control, to let himself go. With a sudden wistfulness Javert wonders if that will ever change -- if, given enough time and opportunity, he could learn how to pleasure Valjean fiercely enough to give up his restraint, cry out for more...

The thought sends a spike of heat through him, immediately followed by shame: how can he wish for more, with everything he has already been given? Why should God indulge him after death, when Javert has been so indulged in life?

But it would not be for my sake. His fingers find that secret spot, brush it slowly. Valjean arches his back. It would be for yours, to set you free, the way you have set me free.

He can't -- won't -- ask for it, at least not now. He greedily grasps what he has been given, which is the whole world and Eternity besides, contained in the way Valjean is tossing his head, clenching around Javert's fingers where they curl and writhe within him.

"Javert," he is panting now, "Javert, Javert," and any other man would be begging by now. Javert's own breath is harsh and rapid, his cock hard and aching at the sight of Valjean, the feel of him, the sounds of Javert's name on his lips.

He could keep Valjean like this for a while, bring him to the edge and then pull him back. He has done it before, to see how far Valjean's restraint will go; in the end, however, Javert is always the first to cave. He can postpone his own climax for as long as it takes, or so he likes to think, but the longing for Valjean's pleasure -- and, perhaps, his loss of control -- is too great.

It is too great now, almost as great as the weight of his sins. Working his free hand under Valjean's hips, he manages to wrap it around his cock; a final flick of his frist, a tug on Valjean's straining flesh, and then Valjean is coming under his hands, trembling and breathless and with Javert's name still on his lips.

Javert leans down to nuzzle his neck, the sweaty strands of hair clinging to Valjean's nape. He presses his lips to his skin and secretly hopes there will be another mark: if this should count amongst his sins, he will atone for it gladly.