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There are places in Paris governed by darkness, where depravity flourishes, where sins abound. Where a man can be found, needy and willing to be degraded; where desire can be indulged, no questions asked.

Inspector Javert has always avoided such places. He came from the gutter and he rose above it; he spent so many years as a guardsman without ever touching a prisoner other than with his eyes; he has turned down so many attempts at trading favours from desperate women and boys, never once feeling conflicted about it, never once tempted by their red mouths or smooth cheeks. At night, when it could not be helped, there were his thoughts and his hand. He has always kept his path pure.

And now?

Now Inspector Javert, newly returned to Paris hot on the heels of a liar and a thief, finds his mind unable to refrain from straying towards those places. Patrolling his new streets, his steps quick and his hand clasped around the cudgel as he makes his way among the poor, he notices things -- the glimpse of men's muscles under tattered shirts; the way his eyes will follow certain individuals regardless of whether they look criminal or not; the occasional, knowing gleam in a stranger's eyes.

For a month or so, he does nothing about it. He writhes in his bed and grits his teeth, lust-mingled anger torturing his mind and his flesh. He thinks of how cruelly he was deceived, of the heinous mockery of him and the Law both. He thinks of punishment and subdual and control. He thinks of the gutter.

Then he has a night off, and he cannot take it any more.


As far as he can tell in the dim light in the dingy tavern, the stranger is close enough -- his shoulders are broad, his hands large; he looks at least like he could lift a man without difficulty. Javert allows him to pay for his beer, allows the man to touch him -- casually at first, then more boldly, letting his hand brush over Javert's shoulder as if they are friends. A deception, a ridiculous conceit, and so much the better.

After two beers, Javert takes the stranger out into the back alley and pushes him against the wall. The man does not protest. His mouth is hot and open under Javert's; he pants eagerly when Javert seizes his hips and turns him to face the wall; he has no objections when Javert yanks his trousers down and spits in his own hand.

Javert has never done this before, but he knows the basics. His fingers push into the stranger without mercy, and the stranger groans and clenches around him. Perhaps he is far too willing for this to be what Javert needs -- or perhaps not. Perhaps this is just right, that he should succumb so readily to Javert's will, that he should be so eager to let Javert show him who is in charge. Yes, it is more than right.

It is a foul act, he thinks as he pulls his fingers out -- foul, dirty, all the words describing it tasting of the gutter. That, too, is right. He is already on the edge when he angrily pushes into the stranger, who cries out but pushes back -- apparently he likes it rough, and Javert does not spare him.

Afterwards, back in his own quarters, he washes and goes to bed and tries to feel satisfied.


There are more men after that.

He does not indulge very often, only on those rare nights off and only when the restlessness in him is strong enough to drive him to those places, those taverns or dark parks where men can be found. Every time he finds one, it is the same: a strong man, a powerful man, his eyes gentle despite his depravity, despite his willingness to let Javert fuck him against the wall or against a tree trunk or on all fours on the ground, like dogs.

They are all the same, in the end, their likeness only fleeting, the relief they offer only temporary. He does not know their names and he does not want to know.


Then something happens.

Javert does not know why this man should be any different. He is a stranger, like the rest; like them, he is powerfully-built, his chest broad and his arms strong. Perhaps it is his eyes: they are inscrutable rather than soft, though Javert does not realise this until afterwards.

They meet at the dingy tavern, but they do not go out into the alley. The stranger is staying nearby, he says; he claims to be only in Paris for a few days, which is more than good enough for Javert's purposes. When they arrive in his rooms he offers Javert liquor, and Javert accepts.

When Javert tries to push him down on the bed, he does not give way.

"I'm flattered by your eagerness," he says. "But I'm not in such a hurry."

"Monsieur," Javert says, downing his glass, "I'm afraid I do not have the whole evening."

"Fair enough." The stranger gestures at him with his own drink. "You may begin to undress, then."

Javert is still. This has never happened before. Usually the men he finds are more than happy to let him be in charge, as if this is the only situation in which they find themselves less powerful, and are all the more aroused for it. While this makes things easier for Javert, it is also strangely infuriating to him. He wishes he did not understand their leanings so well.

"I do not take orders, Monsieur," he says at last, his mouth dry.

"Oh, but you do," says the stranger with a small laugh. "You will take my orders and you will be happy to do so."

"And if not?"

"Then," says the stranger, smiling, "I'm afraid our meeting is over. Good night, Monsieur."

Javert looks at the door. Then he looks back. Then he begins to remove his coat.

The stranger sips his drink while Javert undresses. Javert is intensely aware of his gaze and the way his own body reacts. It strikes him that the scenario reminds him of embarrassing dreams he used to have -- not so long ago, is it? -- back in Montreuil-sur-Mer, and he bites his lip as anger and desire and shame rush through him, indistinguishable from one another.

When he is naked, the stranger puts down his drink and comes to him. He puts a large hand on Javert's head. "Get down on your knees," he says, and Javert sinks down in front of him, his face level with the stranger's groin. He stares at it, the hand still on his head, and all he can think of is how much he has wanted this -- all those nights --

"You may," says the stranger, "suck me. If you ask." The hand fists in his hair. "Nicely."

Javert licks his lips. "Monsieur..." He does not add 'le maire'. He manages not to. "Please. May I?"

The hand that is not busy holding Javert's hair in a firm grip comes down to unbutton the stranger's trousers. Soon there is a large cock in front of him, a hard length which seems to grow even longer under his eyes, and he cannot stop himself from gazing at it, his mouth watering with anticipation.

"Yes," the stranger says. Javert can hear the smile in his voice. "You may."

This is something else he has never done before, outside of his own shameful fantasies. He imagined it, ever so often, between dream and waking -- how he wold drop to his knees, there in the Mayor's office, how the Mayor would grow hard and soft under his mouth and his hands, how he'd sigh and moan Javert's name... A filthy lie, a deception, all of it; and the thought makes Javert more aroused than ever as he rests on his knees on the floor of a grim Parisian room, bracing himself with his hands on a stranger's hip, a stranger's cock in his mouth.

"You're new to this, I gather?" the stranger says, not unkindly. Javert can only manage a slight bob of his head as his mouth and tongue work the hot flesh, and the stranger laughs. "No matter. You're doing very well. In fact, I might finish soon..."

His hand tightens in Javert's hair. "What if I did that? Finished in your mouth? Or perhaps all over your face, would you like that? You look as if you would..."

The words excite Javert much more than they should. He can't help but think about making his way home, through the streets, with the remains of the man's seed on his face and in his hair -- and, God help him, the thought almost makes his heart stop. But he tears himself away from his task for a moment and gasps, roughly, "In my mouth -- please!" and the stranger nods and pushes back into his mouth.

More minutes pass, and the floor is not the floor of a grim Parisian room, but the floor of an office in Montreuil-sur-Mer; the hips under his hands do not belong to a stranger from a tavern but to a ghost, a mirage, a demon in the guise of an angel; and Javert is only too glad that his mouth is busy so that he will not choke and moan a name that was never even real. If tears gather in his eyes, he does not notice; and when the stranger grunts at last, and spends himself in Javert's mouth, Javert swallows it all and savours the taste.

Some time later, he is on his hands and knees on the bed, and the stranger is driving into him with such force, and his hands hold Javert's hips in such a brutal grip, and it is almost like -- like --

The stranger thrusts into him, pausing now and then to make him gasp and pant and cry out for more -- harder, please! I beg you! -- and every time he picks up his pace, Javert squeezes his eyes shut and the bed disappears, becomes a rough surface smelling of dirt and worse, a prison cell in Toulon --

He comes at last, though not before the stranger tells him to, spending all over the blanket underneath, and the stranger fucks him through it, rides him until Javert is broken and trembling and does not know if he is in Heaven or in Hell.

The stranger pulls out and leaves him. Javert can hear the rustle of clothing, of trousers being buttoned up. Soon he comes over and puts a hand on Javert's head again. "Well, Inspector," he says, ruffling Javert's hair. "That was quite excellent."

Javert goes cold, every sated muscle tensing. He looks up into the stranger's eyes, as frostily as he can. "I beg your pardon?"

"Oh, please," says the stranger, his voice merry. "We may not be formally introduced, but I do recognise you, Inspector Javert. I'm not the only one, either." He winks. "You may have put my brother-in-law in jail, once, but you're still good for a shag."

Javert drags himself up from the bed. He starts to put on his clothes. His ears are ringing; his nostrils are filled with the stench of the gutter. He buttons his greatcoat with icy fingers and does not reply when the stranger wishes him a good night.

There are no more men after that.