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To call it an eventful day would have been an understatement Valjean had not dared to even think of. He had seen people die. Young men who had no business falling for this cause, whispering for their mothers with blood running down their faces. He had carried a boy to safety, the one who would take Cosette away with him, offer her a life Valjean could not give. He had...

He paused briefly on the small path that led to the house, trying to regain his breath, his composure. He was tired, he was drained, he was feeling dirty, even after washing himself hastily in the hospital when the nuns insisted on it, their glances telling him he probably looked like a demon and smelled worse. He had scrubbed his skin until it turned red and he had to flinch when he put on the used, but clean clothes they'd given him and the rough fabric touched his shoulders.
There were things you could not wash away. Memories. Images.

In the dim light of the morning, merely moments away from sunset, he was suddenly more than grateful that Marius' family had sent for Cosette right away when they had learned of the news, of their son's whereabouts and the girl he loved, had offered to take her in for the rest of the night and Valjean was too exhausted to argue with their good reasons. At least Cosette wouldn't have to see him in this state.

No, the best he could do with this day was to leave it in the past, behind him where it belonged. He did not care to relive it, not even in his mind.

Except for one little thing.

A little thing that made him even more relieved to be alone for now, alone with himself and not feeling like people could tell by just a look at his face what he had been up to. And despite everything else, despite all things he had witnessed on this dreadful night, this thing and its images, its memories, seemed to be what would haunt him most, seemed to be what he could not break free from. No matter how hard he tried to forget.

Because one way or another, his past would always catch up with him. Waiting for him where he least expected it, even if he probably should have.

Javert sat in front of his lodge, back leaned against the wall and legs tucked up. His head was bowed and for a tumbling moment Valjean thought he was asleep. Maybe he himself had fallen asleep in the hospital's bathtub, maybe all of this was a dream, and maybe Javert wasn't here at all. Wearing his uniform and looking as lost as Valjean felt. Maybe.

But of course he was wrong.

"I was beginning to think that I was right about you after all." Javert spoke quietly, the voice of a man who had to use up all remaining strength to keep whatever was boiling inside of him at bay. "Would you lie about this? Would you run again?"

"I see you did not waste any time." Valjean replied instead of an answer, eyes roaming over Javert's crouched figure.

A noise came over the inspector's lips, half a laugh, half something dangerously close to a sob, before he caught himself: "There was not much of a choice."

Valjean considered this for a moment before he answered: "But as you said, you had no certainty but my word that I would return. I could have been dead." He added, not sure who he was reminding, Javert or himself. It seemed like a thing worth mentioning.

Javert's head snapped up, the white in his eyes bright in the grey light from the sky above: "But you are not."

"So it appears." Valjean walked past him, opening the door and turning around in the threshold, gazing at the man in the shadows, trying to make sense of all this. "Are you coming?"

oOo

Javert shuffled to his feet all too quickly for his own liking. He was acting like a dog, jumping at his master's voice and the thought twisted his stomach and tightened his throat at the same time.

Valjean was right, he had had no chance of knowing whether the man would come back here at the end of this night. He had nothing to go on by but the words that were still tingling in his ears and causing shivers down his spine. And the words of a convict at that.

Yes, he had tried to ignore them. Yes, he had tried to fight it.

The spreading warmth throughout his body as well as Valjean's offer. What he at least took to be an offer, Javert corrected himself, setting his foot on the doorstep and swallowing hard against the uneasiness in his throat.

He had tried to ignore it in the face of his duty and the events of the night. He had done everything he could to will it away, to make it disappear.

And he had failed.

In some way it was worse than his weakness out there in the alley, when he had thought and felt like Valjean's touch was all that kept him from burning to ashes, burning alive and not being able to save himself. He hadn't meant for Valjean to be there, to find him. It hadn't been his decision to make. But now, here... he had come on his own accord., had he not? It was his choice to stand where he stood, watching as Valjean took off his coat, the sight alone making his mouth go dry. Surely, the newly awakened flame in his belly had a fair share in that, was quite possibly to blame for all of this, even if the voice at the back of his head whispered doubt, but still...

And the shame that burnt in his cheeks shouldn't contribute to his arousal.

But oh, it did.

oOo

He saw the hesitation in Javert's expression, saw him lingering just in front of the door, not willing to give up already and follow him inside, despite everything that had brought him here. Despite what they had already done.

Valjean's stomach dropped at the memory and his face felt hot, so he placed his coat on a chair and went to light up a candle, mostly to busy himself. Soon it would be morning, but for now it seemed unthinkable to sit in the dawn light, here in his own home, the place he had thought safest, with all these unspoken questions whispering between them.

"Would you care for something to drink?" He asked, more loudly this time in case Javert was merely too lost in his own thoughts to react to his previous invitation.

"No."

The answer was quiet and then the door snapped shut, the sound echoing in Valjean's ears and making him swallow.

"Thank you." Javert added like an afterthought, sounding confused and upset all at once.

Valjean watched the candle for a moment, its light warming the tips of his fingers and somehow calming his mind. It wasn't his place to act so resentful towards Javert, but he couldn't help it. The man had only taken him by his word and that alone should be surprise enough. Valjean had spoken the words hastily, without considering their meaning, had already given up all thoughts of disguise and escape, and perhaps he had doubted he would leave the barricade alive at all. And upon seeing the desperation in Javert's gaze his heart had stuttered. Because he was weak before this man, weak in a way he could never admit to himself in its entirety. It could end in nothing but damnation. The knowledge was a knot of frustration in his stomach and bitter in his mouth.

"Well," he took a deep breath, turning around to look at Javert, leaning himself against the wall. "What is it that I can do for you, Inspector?"

Javert's ears turned red and his voice was lowered, more dangerous: "If you must mock me, go ahead. But let us be plain about this situation."

"Surely a man like you can understand my wish to estimate this situation beforehand." Valjean did not take his gaze off of him, watching the impact of his words on the man's face. "Surely you can see that I would like to know whether you desire to take me to a cell or the bedroom."

Javert flinched, his eyes darkening: "Valjean..."

"Surely," Valjean continued, talking over him. "You realise that my day was rough, to say in the least, and that I would appreciate some answers."

"Your day was rough?" Javert spat out. "As far as I recall you weren't the one who was poisoned and left to wither and die."

They stared at each other for a few seconds, neither willing to look away first. Neither yielding under the other's gaze. Valjean noticed the perspiration on Javert's temple and the slight tremble of his body. He wondered how long it would take for the drug to be completely washed out of Javert's system. And if he expected him to be by his side until it was over. The thought seemed overwhelming.

He shivered and closed his eyes, desire already sending surges of warmth through his body. The feeling of Javert's body pressed against his own was still all too vivid in his memory and the taste of his lips burning on his mouth like the fires of hell.

"What is it you want from me, Javert?" He whispered and opened his eyes again.

oOo

Of course Valjean had to insist on tormenting him. Javert should have known it would be like this, should have known that there would be a price to pay for his fall. And yet it made him shiver with anger and anticipation all the same. Merely to be in the same room with this man was causing heat in his body, filling his head with unspeakable wishes and his heart with a fear he'd never known. The words dripping off Valjean's lips felt like salt water in his wounded pride, the man's dark eyes on him like the touch of all too knowing hands, and still Javert couldn't help inching closer, as much as he hated himself for it.

"You want me to say it out loud? Is that what it will take?"

Javert pushed himself away from the door fully, crossing over to the table and looking everywhere but at Valjean, his heart beating too fast and his blood too hot in his veins. It was pathetic, it was undignified – how could he dread and desire this man's touch again?

"It is not enough for you to watch me crawl in the dirt on my knees. You wish to hear me beg so you can laugh in my face."

Was this the truth? It certainly felt like it was, couldn't be any different, but at the same time Javert remembered the softness of Valjean's voice out there in the night, the grip of his hands holding him up against him and his mouth on his own like a promise of gentleness.

But he was a criminal, a liar and a thief. He had taken what was before him, crushing Javert's dignity and making them both groaning beasts in a dirty street. How could these two images of only one man become an entity? How could one man be at once repellent and compelling to him? It was a paradox.

There was rustling behind him as Valjean moved and Javert tensed, his hand twitching to his hip, fingers brushing the grip of his pistol in reflex. He felt stupid immediately, pressing his lips together forcefully and trying to regain control of himself.

"I expected as much. From a man like you," he spit out, turning around brusquely only to find Valjean in front of him, dangerously close, and the expression on his face unreadable.

"Javert." Valjean said slowly, taking another step and backing him up against the table's edge before Javert's mind could catch up with their movement, their chests almost touching. He stared into his eyes for the longest moment before he spoke again. "Do be quiet now. Please." He added after a beat, his voice dropping lower.

Javert bit down on his lip, watching Valjean like someone would watch a mountain lion, a few steps ahead on a lonely path. Carefully and with thoughts stumbling over each other, all muscles tense and with a heart that was giving away too much of its owner's fear. He had given himself over to danger and now he had to face it.

"You should have killed me." Javert muttered and Valjean stopped, lingering before the distance left between them.

"I never wanted your death."

Didn't he know the cruelty of his own voice? The gentle, soft words, spoken so sincerely as if he actually believed what he was saying? It escaped Javert's imagination entirely how Valjean could miss his current state, the suffering he had to live through over and over again while being with him, seeing him, almost breathing the same air. It was preposterous.

"But this is a fate far worse than death."

He did not only imagine the way Valjean tensed, taking a deep breath and bowing his head. Javert could smell his scent, the plain soap mingling with sweat, the linen fabric and something darker than all of this, something that was nothing but Valjean himself and he swallowed.

"You think this worse than death?" Valjean repeated after an endless second had stretched out through the room and made the air ripe with tension.

"I was poisoned. You saved me." It was hard to say the words, each syllable like steel on his tongue. "I'm in your debt and still I'm here, before you, asking to be saved again." Admitting it was defeat and Javert felt the warmth in his body swelling at it like he'd just fed dry wood to a fire. "What could be worse than that?"

oOo

"You," Valjean said, raising a hand to Javert's face and stopping before he could touch him as if he'd just realised his own actions. "You want me to save you?"

Javert took a gulp of air, his grey eyes darting over Valjean's features as in search for an answer: "You gave me this address. You made it sound like..." he trailed off, blinking and turning his head so he was facing the room rather than Valjean. "Perhaps I was mistaken." His voice became almost inaudible. "I should leave."

Before he could make a move to follow up his words, Valjean placed his hands on the table's edge, trapping Javert in the space between the wood and his body.

"It is not like you to give up so easily," he muttered.

Javert made a growling sound: "It is not like me to ask for your help either, Jean Valjean. And yet look where we are."

"You want my help. My saving." Valjean said, leaning in a little closer and watching Javert's body tense. "Because there is still poison inside you and nobody out there to take care of it?"

Silence fell upon the room, merely broken by the candle's flickering and hissing and the two men's respective breathing.

"No one who can save you but I?" Valjean whispered, causing Javert to look at him again, his expression pained and his lips slightly parted as if there wasn't enough air in the room to fill his lungs.

The thought of Javert, in the state in which he had come upon him... the desperation of his look, the neediness of his touch and the hoarseness of his voice... if this strange illness was still working inside of him, if this drug's effect took more than a day to wear out... And the thought that it could become worse again...

Could it grow once more to be greater than only the shadow of the symptoms he was showing now? Would Javert fall to his knees again? In an hour or two? And what if someone found him on the streets like that, brought him back home and used his weakness for their own pleasure? There were many people in the streets of Paris, and even if one chose to believe in the general goodness of mankind there were lots of examples to prove a different point.

And the mere idea of Javert being at a stranger's mercy, begging on his hands and knees for relief... it was enough to darken Valjean's vision, to make something in his chest turn painfully. An awful feeling, ancient and overwhelming that clouded his mind as he repeated the question.

Javert shuddered but he didn't avert his eyes, keeping his spine straight and his face unmoved: "No one but you."

oOo

Javert had spoken before he could force the words back where they belonged. At the back of his throat, at the back of his mind, somewhere in a dark corner where they wouldn't be heard. Not by anybody. Not even by himself.

Not because they were a lie.

Because they were true.

It made them all the more terrible. All the more powerful. Yes, there was no one but Valjean, and the reality of that thought made Javert shudder. He had come straight to him, not even wasting one fleeting thought on different options. His feet had guided him to the Rue Plumet without hesitation, instead of leading him into darker parts of the town where even darker needs could be fulfilled for nothing but a few sous by those who were all the more desperate than himself.

And yet here he was.

Yet here they were.

Valjean took a deep breath at his response, shutting his eyes for a second before he looked at Javert again. His whole posture made him appear furtive and unyielding, but his eyes betrayed him. There was something else in their darkness, something greater and less understandable than this thing that drew them towards each other, this strange desire the drug had awakened in him, and Javert couldn't figure out what it was, but it left him without breath.

He gave a strangled sound that caused Valjean to draw back without letting him go, his hands still resting on the table top, looking him over with great carefulness like he was searching for one distinct sign that would tell him what to do next.

And when he seemed to have found it, he stilled completely, the air between them loaded with tension, with a meaning they couldn't wrap their minds around.

"Then I will do whatever is in my power." Valjean said lowly, the vocals resounding deep in his throat. "Whatever it will take."

And this time around Javert forgot how to breathe altogether.

oOo

It wasn't as he had thought about simply letting Javert go like this. That wasn't an option he would even consider, and if it meant to knock the man over the head with the back of his hand and cuff him to the furniture, so be it. But just like that hadn't been the solution out there at the barricade, it wasn't what would help them now. He could almost feel it, the poison moving under Javert's skin, merely a hand's width away where he was standing and staring up at him, his eyes reflecting the candle light.

He had to see what was stirring in Valjean, that much was clear.

At any other time he would have cursed himself silently for the fact that it was so readily on his face, in his expression, every time he felt this utter sense of needing. Needing another person, so much closer than he could allow himself, in an all-encompassing way that left him shivering in face of his own animalistic nature. It had been far too long since he had felt such desire, the memory buried under years of misery, and the thought of having Javert in this way never more than a guilty fantasy. One night on the street... it had brought all of those hidden wishes out in the open and pushed him into sin's gravity, where he now was trapped, struggling uselessly against a power that was already more than he could fight.

He wanted Javert, but the sheer force of that feeling almost scared him witless.

To get away with this just one time was lucky. Twice was madness.

The first light of the day had begun to seep into the room, extinguishing shadows and making their frozen figures strangely flat and almost unreal. But then again, there was no dream like reality, was there?

"Javert..." Valjean said again, taking a last small step and their chests were flush against each other.

He heard Javert gasp, felt the shudder throughout his entire body just like it had been earlier this night, behind the tavern in the dark. His palms glided over the table, hands coming up against Javert's hips and staying there as he watched him, not actually touching, but close enough to feel each other's heartbeat, feel each breath on their cheeks.

"You," Javert muttered, his eyes piercing into Valjean's and his voice hoarse. "You're always giving promises, always. That you will return after saving one more person, that you have changed, that you will be waiting somewhere, some day. And now this." A shadow crept upon his face, darkening his eyes and his gaze dropped to Valjean's lips. "Valjean, your promises are like poison just the same. Do you even know what they do to a man?"

It was as something snapped inside Valjean at Javert's utterance and how was he supposed to take it any longer?

He gave a growling sound, knuckles turning white against Javert's sides and he leant forward, crushing their mouths together, and his thoughts silencing at the way Javert responded immediately, like he had been waiting just for this, for him to take what was in front of him, returning the kiss with hot lips and breathless, his legs falling open easily for Valjean to slide in between.

oOo

Finally was the only word echoing through Javert's head over and over again as Valjean pressed up against him, teeth dragging across his bottom lip before he was licking over the corner of his mouth. His self-loathing at the relief he felt to have Valjean this close once more, was crawling to the far back of his mind where it would doubtlessly taunt him later. For now he had what he had come for, hard limbs embracing him and Valjean's mouth on his own like absolution.

It had not even been half a day, only a few hours since he had tasted Valjean, yet it felt like they had to make up for the time lost without clinging to one another, without moaning against the other' lips when they had to take a breath. Javert's hands were heavy on Valjean's shoulders, drawing him in nearer and his hips rolling against him, already impatient.

Defeat, surrender, losing at last and all over again. But no white flag was in sight, he didn't ask for mercy, but for a continuation of their downfall. Until they came crashing down at the very bottom. Yes, they had to make up for the time that was lost. You can only go so many years without losing your mind.

Valjean didn't seem to think any differently, his fingers curling around Javert's hips and pushing him against the table, lifting him up so he came to sit on the edge and Valjean could move further forward, so close and their bodies rocking against each other as the sun rose and the world took shape once again.

Javert squeezed his eyes shut, focusing on the way Valjean trailed kisses over his jaw, and he only startled when warm fingertips touched the back of his neck and he had to look up again. Heat was streaming through him, not as painful as he remembered it, but like purest pleasure with an almost wonderful edge to it.

"What are you doing?" He said, voice thick, and his head spinning.

"What you asked me to." Valjean murmured back, fingers gliding from Javert's neck to the front of his coat, undoing buttons and slipping to the thin fabric of the shirt underneath every now and then. "Or have you changed your mind in the meantime?"

He wanted to laugh but it sounded all wrong, weakened by the urgency that was burning low in his guts: "You're making it sound like you are the one who is being toyed with."

"For God's sake, Javert," Valjean had reached the last button, pushing the coat open and wrapping his hands around Javert's waist to pull him nearer again, pushing their hips together almost roughly, and whispering against his parted lips. "What does it take for you to be quiet for only once in your life?"

Javert felt the blood rising hotly to his cheeks and ears, but he couldn't prevent the words from tumbling out over his lips and into Valjean's mouth: "Why don't you give it a try?"

oOo

Every small word, every syllable coming from Javert's throat, every tone of that voice made Valjean feel like the world he knew must have come to an end and he had entered a new one. One that was startling and felt more than simply overwhelming.

He couldn't tell if it was purgatory or paradise.

On the one hand, Javert's talk was like torment, making him angry, aroused and vulnerable in a way he hadn't known before. On the other hand, it was intoxicating to have this man so unhinged before him, whispering, begging, groaning his name – and biting down on his own lip because of it – when Valjean thrust down his hips against him.

His skin was warm underneath the shirt, now that Valjean had managed to shove his hands between that and the coat, dragging his palms over every inch of Javert's back and chest he could reach, feeling him arch into his fingers and his heartbeat quickening as Valjean slid one hand over his stomach, down, down, and Javert sucked in a breath.

Valjean found too much delight in the noise to ponder on heaven and hell for a moment longer. Even though... the thought that this was the second time today, the second time he had abandoned worrying over his immortal soul in favour of listening as Javert came undone... that thought was troublesome...

And yet it all left only one thought in his mind.

Not enough.

Bowing down his head to press a kiss to Javert's neck, he pushed the coat from his shoulders, causing the man to groan in his arms, and as soon as his hands were freed from the sleeves, Javert ran his fingers through Valjean's hair and down his back, pulling him up to his lips again and kissing him hard enough to bruise.

How could they fit together so perfectly, how could this feel like a bliss Valjean had never thought of finding in life, when it was so clear that they were ruining one another?

Valjean broke away from his mouth, leaving Javert panting for breath and staring at him with eyes that were almost wild. His hair ruffled from grasping fingers and his lips swollen by kisses and murmured curses he was a sight that was almost too much, and Valjean looked away, tugging at his shirt instead, pulling it out of his trousers and pushing it up over his chest. Javert moved, struggled a bit as if in protest before he complied, lifting his arms and letting himself be rid of the fabric.

A searching beam of sunlight fell onto Javert's skin as Valjean looked at him. He was still sitting on the table's edge, hands now again firmly pressed to the surface and his head tilted to one side as if in contemplation. Dark hair led down a trail from his broad chest over his stomach to disappear where his trousers were riding on his hips. Each breath caused a lifting and lowering, his ribcage moving and his shoulders seeming to grow tense under Valjean's continuing gaze.

"What are you staring at?"

Valjean swallowed and focused on Javert's eyes again. He had seen the expression on his face before, at their first meeting in Montreuil-sur-mer, seemingly ages ago. And countless times after that whenever someone had made a comment that could be tracked back to Javert's appearance.
The man didn't believe himself to be much to look at.

It was unfathomable how he had come to this conclusion, and Valjean shook his head, trying to clear his mind of stupid ideas and the overwhelming urge to prove to Javert how very wrong he was. It was all enough of a mess already, he shouldn't go ahead and make it more of a tragedy by blurting out what moved him beyond desire.

"You," he said simply, and almost too late, Javert's eyes having grown suspicious and his posture almost defensive. Valjean could hear the barely hidden need in his own voice all too clearly. "Or am I not allowed to enjoy myself in all this?"

There was a response readily on Javert's lips before he changed his mind, cleared his throat and fixed his eyes on a spot on the wall somewhere behind Valjean.

How strange he was. How strange and how beautiful, and how utterly unaware of both these things.

"Nothing you've got to say?" Valjean moved in closer again, placing his hands on Javert's thighs and rubbing over the wool fabric of the trousers. He leaned in for a split second, his lips brushing the shell of Javert's ear: "That was easier than expected."

Javert flinched barely perceivable, a frown on his forehead and confusion in his eyes when he looked up at him: "Valjean..."

oOo

Once he had thought he knew this man's mind.

24601 was a convict, a man who had slipped and become a criminal and that was who he was. Being sent to prison and trying to escape, those were the things to be expected of this man, such was the life he had chosen.
Then he broke parole and that was to be expected just as well. He was capable of lying and manipulating to get wherever he wanted, but in the end his own nature would betray him and he would be brought to justice. It was simple.

Once he had thought he knew Jean Valjean.

Not anymore.

Javert thought he had caught a glimpse at whatever it was that moved this man's thoughts. A glimpse deeper inside of Valjean when he should do nothing but press up against him and close his eyes in shame, not reminding himself of what they were doing.

But now Javert had seen it and it confused him because he didn't understand.

There was something else Valjean saw in him, not merely a prey, a victim at his mercy. And as Javert stared into his dark eyes, searching for an answer that made something in him shiver, he saw it. He saw the same thing in Valjean's gaze, the same thing he felt inside of himself, a simmering want that could not be because it was too much, too intense, because it could only destroy both of them. To recognise it in Valjean made him start back, trying to break from his gaze even though there was no escape.

"Valjean," he repeated, suddenly his throat too tight and his heartbeat painfully loud.

Valjean bowed his head, shut his eyes, finally breaking the connection of their stare and leaning his forehead to Javert's, taking in a deep breath as his fingers slid over Javert's bare stomach to the fastening of his trousers.

"Javert, please..." Valjean murmured, pushing away the belt that held the pistol and fingers working faster than they both probably thought they could in his current state. But then the trousers were opened and Javert inhaled sharply as the cool air touched his hot skin.

But that sound was nothing compared to the one that escaped his lips as Valjean sank to his knees before him, more hastily than in a deliberate movement, desperation being a much more powerful motivator than anything else, meeting the floor boards with potentially painful speed, and yet not hesitating a moment to press his lips to Javert's flesh, freeing him of the fabric and wrapping shaking fingers around his length. He pushed down his undergarments, everything that was in the way without taking the time to actually undress him, and Javert could do nothing but stare at him.

Valjean was trailing down kisses from his lower stomach, wet and quick, like he couldn't stop to pause for breath and meet Javert's eye. Perhaps he was avoiding just that.

How had he ever thought he knew this man who was kneeling before him, when he himself was the one feeling exposed like this, feeling the most vulnerable he had in his entire life?

And then hot lips closed around his flesh, taking him into a wonderful wetness, Valjean's tongue swiping over the underside of his prick, and Javert's mind went blank. His fingers curled around the table's edge and he shut his eyes, but the image was burning brightly behind his lids.

Valjean's mouth on him, around him. His eyes half-closed and his hands holding Javert in place, a palm brushing against his balls, fingers digging into his hip.

How could he take in such a sight without going mad, without spending himself at once and dropping to the ground in mortification and satisfied arousal all the same? It was simply not possible.

Once he had thought this man capable of killing him with bare hands. Now it seemed he needed nothing more than his mouth to get the job done...

oOo

He knew.

There was no doubt any longer and Valjean gripped him harder, forcing down his own head to take Javert in deeper, the taste on his tongue heavy and dark, sweat and saliva slick on Javert's warm skin and Valjean's moving fingers.

At the barricade the drug might have been too fresh, too strong in Javert's blood for him to see, but now he had realised what was in Valjean's mind and there was no way to make it undone. His longing was no longer secret, this want, greater than things he could understand, was discovered.

But still Javert didn't push him away to gather his clothes, his shame, his dignity, instead he stayed right where he was, almost motionless on the table, except for the slight stuttering of his hips against Valjean's searching lips and this was even more confusing.

If Javert knew that Valjean needed this just as much as he did, why was he still giving it...?

He swallowed, tasting bitterness and feeling Javert tense and heard him mutter something that could be a curse as well as his name. Quite possibly a mixture of both. Fingernails scratched over the table and then a hand tangled in his hair, fingers trembling ever so slightly as they stroked his head.

Valjean's face felt hot, his neck cool with goosebumps and he hummed contently, causing Javert's hips to snap forward and he held him tightly, swirling his tongue, and breathing through his nose because this was too good to interrupt, too good to feel that Javert was just that close to losing it.

And even though Javert was shaking, murmuring half-words and rolling his hips every now and then when he couldn't keep himself from doing so, he didn't push down on Valjean's head, simply caressing the soft locks, and this gesture – at once tender and helpless – made Valjean become aware of how hard he was in his trousers, of how desperately he wanted this to continue and to end. They were both struggling for relief and yet keeping it a hand's width away at the same time. For the wait was just as exquisite as the pay-off.

He had closed his eyes, focusing on the movements of his head and his hands, the working of his tongue and his own breathing. The noises that kept escaping Javert's throat were what he strived for, each and every one a reward for his doing and making it so much sweeter than it already was. His jaw ached and the floor boards were hard under his knees but stopping was an impossibility.

From the garden came the singing of birds and the first sunlight was doubtlessly filling the room by now, but what did it matter when fingertips slid over his skull and Javert tensed once more, a tremor going through his body, his breath hitching and his voice rough as if he'd been screaming.

"Valjean, I..."

There was exhaustion in his voice, there was strain, and a warning, and Valjean shivered a little as he pulled him closer, pretending the following moan didn't bring him close to the edge himself, his eyes stinging as he enclosed him fully, his skin tingling with a maddening pleasure.

The hand on his head fisted into his hair, Javert's body trembled and then there was heat and a foreign taste filling his mouth, making him pull back slightly and swallow down what would otherwise drip from the corner of his mouth.

By the time he had finished, he felt light-headed and tired, content and impatient all at once. He let go of Javert and raised his head, searching for his gaze as he licked his lips.

oOo

Nothing could have described the perturbation Javert experienced at the image before him. From somewhere deep inside him there came pleasant little aftershocks throughout his entire body. His mind, having been at ease for a few seconds was now precisely and relentlessly calculating the facts of what had happened and its consequences. His eyes were drawn to the spot where Valjean's tongue was darting out to clean his lips, and even in his spent state Javert felt arousal rising in his guts again. He wanted to hate himself and the world, but it seemed like too much of an effort. He wanted to walk away from Valjean and he wanted to pull him close and kiss these shameless lips. In whichever direction his mind went, it also dragged him into the opposite. He was lost in his own thoughts, his own body, and there was no one he could blame but himself for coming here.

"You did not have to do this." He said quietly, his fingers already missing the softness of Valjean's hair underneath them.

His heartbeat had resumed a steady pace and his breathing became slower with every second.

"I said I would help you, didn't I?" Valjean took a breath, his fingers coming up against his bottom lip and tracing across it absent-mindedly. "Whatever it would take."

Javert swallowed hard, forcing himself to look away, his thighs starting to hurt from the hard surface of the table top. He was tired, but he was also agitated, and it was a strange thing to endure both at once.

"I wanted to." Valjean murmured, his gaze on Javert's face and his voice husky. "I did it as much for you as for me."

And again Javert didn't know whether he should be bewildered or bemused, his new arousal growing stronger at the words nevertheless. His eyes trailing over Valjean's kneeling figure he didn't fail to notice the way the man's fingers twisted into the fabric of his trousers, didn't fail to see that he was hard inside his clothes. He had done this, which achieved nothing that would contribute to his own relief, and still he was hard. Javert wished he could make his thoughts stop from spinning around in his head.

"What about you?" He asked when it became too much to look at him, too much to remember the feeling of hands and lips on his skin.

Valjean stilled, his brow furrowed: "Me?"

oOo

It was difficult to concentrate on anything, when all he tasted was Javert, and all he felt was the need to have more. It was the same thing he had experienced in the back alley, but now there was time and a bed in the corner, and Valjean took a deep breath.

"Don't worry about me."

He couldn't possibly take this any further, could he? It was pure madness as it was and the sheer thought of getting everything from Javert, everything he hadn't even dared to dream of... well, it was enough to leave him shiver.

Brushing over his mouth brusquely with the back of his hand he looked away from Javert: "How do you feel?"

There was the sharp intake of breath and then something like choked laughter: "What do you want me to say?"

"I don't want anything from you." Valjean replied, his voice hoarse and the strain of his prick against his trousers making his lie all the worse, all the more obvious to both of them.

Javert did not move. Valjean could hear his breathing above his head. He could still feel his skin under the tips of his fingers. And he could almost hear the beating of his heart when he held his own breath. A gust of wind came from the window he had left ajar and cooled the sweat on their foreheads.

"No..." Javert said quietly, causing Valjean to lift his head again. His expression was stern. "It's me who wants and you who promised to give."

It wasn't so much the words that mattered as the things that were spoken with their eyes as they gazed at each other once more, frozen in their positions and the world around them quietly vanishing into oblivion. And afterwards Valjean could not say how he found it in himself to speak up again, after seconds had passed in a silence that was full of exchange nevertheless.

"You're right," he murmured, hands dropping from his own face to Javert's legs, gliding down onto his boots and fingers fumbling with the laces, but eventually loosening them. He pulled them off quickly, tossing them aside without a second glance. Having done this, Valjean straightened himself on his knees, stretching his back until Javert leaned down, their mouths almost meeting. His hands slid over his clothed legs, slowly and deliberately. Javert's breath hitched as he reached his thighs.

"Forgive me," he whispered against Javert's parted lips, hands gripping his upper legs harder and his nails digging into the thick fabric.

Javert groaned at the touch, pressing his lips to Valjean's firmly while he shut his eyes. Surely he had to taste himself, had to feel that taste that lingered on Valjean's tongue and made his blood boil when he thought about what he had done just moments ago. But he didn't pull back or made a noise of disgust, he simply pressed himself closer to Valjean who was now moving his hands again, pushing down Javert's opened trousers, his undergarments, and letting them fall to the ground.

Then he broke the kiss, leaving Javert panting and his forehead wrinkled. Getting to his feet wasn't as easy as it should be. His knees hurt and again he felt light-headed, stumbling back a little and shaking his head to clear it of the vertigo.

It took him perhaps a few seconds to look up then, taking in the sight of Javert, still seated on the table, hands gripping the edge and his face heating under the eyes that were roaming over his body once more. This time he had the good sense not to speak, pressing his lips together instead and his gaze directed to the floor, leaving Valjean with plenty of time to admire what was at once so close and yet too far away.

"Come here," he said lastly, the syllables raw in his throat and dark on his lips.

oOo

Javert felt he might be burning brightly from the rush of blood to his face as he stepped away from the table and crossed over to Valjean without meeting his gaze. The floor boards creaked under his steps and the sunlight, filtered through trees and glass, warmed his back. After everything he had given up today, his shame, his good sense, his faith in some way, this still felt eternal. Every movement that brought him closer to Valjean was like a step closer to an unknown destiny, something he could have never seen coming and yet had to have been aware of all along.

Valjean took a shaky breath when he stopped in front of him, apparently not as composed as he wanted to appear. This discovery was as pleasing as confusing to Javert. Confusing because he still didn't know what to make of the desire he had sensed in Valjean. Confusing because he had a hard time believing it. If Valjean wanted him, why had he hold back out there at the barricade? It had been his chance to take another kind of revenge altogether, and if he wanted to take Javert why hadn't he simply acted on that wish while there was the opportunity?
Nothing, nothing made sense any longer, but what remained in Javert's mind was that he couldn't stop. Not now that everything he'd never known to want this badly was so close at hand.

He stood still before Valjean, raising his chin and studying his face, trying to ignore the embarrassment he felt at his own nakedness.

"I'm here," Javert said brusquely.

"You are." Valjean agreed, a strange expression crossing over his face.

With a quick motion of his head Javert stepped closer, placing his hands on Valjean's belt, determination making his lips a thin line, and he saw Valjean's eyes widening.

His fingers worked on the fastening of the trousers already when he spoke up again, a lump in his throat making the words husky: "Don't make me regret it now."

"Javert..."

He let his hands linger where they were, taking a breath, feeling Valjean shudder against him. It was unreal, that was how it was. Unreal and certainly intoxicating in a way he could not grasp in its entirety.

"I'm merely..." he licked his lips. "I'm merely trying to restore some balance."

oOo

Valjean's heart beat faster at the words, at the suggestion they contained, with Javert's fingertips brushing over his hips and the man before him stripped down to nothing but skin, flexing over muscles and flesh, something so pure and real, it made him question whatever he had thought to believe.

"There is nothing you have to do for me." He said firmly, not quite trusting the voice at the back of his head that demanded something else entirely.

"And just like you before," Javert reached into his trousers, cupping him through the fabric of his undergarments and Valjean gasped. "I'm doing this not only for your sake."

Their lips found together, parted and wetted by their tongues, Javert closing his eyes at the impact and Valjean leaving them open for a split second, the press of Javert's fingers against him making him too aware of everything to yet lose himself.

Slipping out of his boots, and the smoothness of the floor boards under his bare feet. Pulling his shirt over his head with Javert's help, hands gliding over his chest, to his back, fingers against shoulder blades and then Javert's lips on his collarbone. His trousers and undergarments pushed down, pooling around his ankles. The sun on him, not quite as hot as Javert's skin against his own as they pressed up against each other, one moment patiently and slow, the next panting for breath and clutching at each other like it meant holding onto dear life.

Everything was cursed with too many sensations, details, seconds that made Valjean's heart stop.

The smell of Javert's skin when he buried his nose in the crook of his neck, drawing him closer and Javert himself groaning at it. He was hard again, they both were. Their hips rolling forward every now and then, the friction increasing and building up something deep down in Valjean's stomach didn't help the matter a whole lot.

He couldn't go on like this for much longer, that much was clear.

His hands around Javert's waist he moved, made them stumble over to the bed until they bumped against the frame, Javert cursing under his breath before he kissed him again, catching his bottom lip between his own. They sank onto the mattress, their bodies lined up against each other, breathing like the air was draining off the room and leaving them suffocating in their embrace.

Valjean shut his eyes, letting his hands glide over Javert's body, drinking in his sight blindly now, not using eyes but fingertips, palms, and careful nails.

"Valjean." Javert croaked, just as spread out his hands on his upper leg, pressing into the flesh and delighting in the smoothness of skin.

He looked at him, the way he was lying there, resting on his side, their legs entangled and their chests lifting and lowering heavily. The space between them was already filled with heat, their skin slick with sweat and precome, his fingertips slipping to the inside of Javert's thigh easily, and he felt him tense against him, a shuddering breath at his jaw, and Valjean stilled.

"If I didn't know any better," Javert cleared his throat. "I might think you're trying to kill me now, after all."

oOo

How was this not teasing, how was this not torture? Valjean's movements were so slow, so patient, driving him to the brink of madness and then drawing him back when he stopped, murmuring soft words into Javert's hair, pressing kisses to his temple, his forehead, fingers gliding over his skin like the touch of sunlight and rain, not enough and still sufficient to make his heart stumble in his chest and his blood pool hotly in his lower stomach.

Javert closed his eyes, inching closer, pressing himself against Valjean as much as he dared, his hips seemingly moving on their own accord, desperate little motions seeking friction and not finding enough.

"Javert." Valjean's mouth was on his earlobe, his fingers wandering up his thigh, higher until they paused on the spot where his body became more rounded, less muscular, softer, and Javert tensed again. He heard Valjean swallow thickly.

He wanted to say something, but he didn't trust his own voice as Valjean's lips closed around his lobe, his fingers gliding underneath him, pushing between flesh, parting him and rubbing around the ring of muscle there, excruciatingly slow, before Valjean grew bolder, pressing a fingertip inside. Javert flinched, unsure whether to push back into the touch or move away. It seemed that no matter in which direction he was going he would always end up closer to Valjean. The thought was as terrifying as arousing.

"Wait." Valjean muttered, moving away, his hands leaving Javert's body, and the mattress creaking when he sat up, fumbling for something on the night stand by the sound of it.

"What are you doing?" Javert wetted his lips, blinking into the sunlight.

Valjean was pouring the content of a small bottle into his palm, the expression on his face one of contemplation. He turned back to look at Javert, his eyes warm and his voice a little rough: "I don't want to hurt you."

Javert's face was hot as Valjean knelt between his legs, lowering himself down to kiss him. Javert opened his lips, letting the taste fill his mouth, breathing in Valjean's scent until he felt drunk on sensations, drunk on the thought of letting go so completely and under these circumstances.

Still he gasped when fingers slipped inside of him, the oily substance cool on his feverish skin, coating Valjean's fingers as he pushed further inside.

"Is this alright for you?" Valjean had leaned their foreheads together, taking a breath, his other hand spread on Javert's waist, caressing the skin like he wanted to soothe him. "I got it for a strain in my shoulder, I thought it could help here as well..." there was something in his voice, other than just the awkward explanation, and only now Javert realised it was nervousness.

"You've never done this before." It was more of a statement than a question and Valjean laughed quietly, the sound a deep vibration in his throat.

"As have you."

There wasn't even a hint of doubt or denial in either of them.

Quite possibly he should have known, should have had an idea, as abstract as it might have been, about how this day could culminate in something so simple and yet so inevitable. A long time he had thought everything had to end with one of them gone, so a common beginning seemed just as natural, didn't it?

Javert huffed: "Don't make a fuss of it."

He couldn't take the gentleness as it was. Every brush of lips, every look speaking of Valjean's desire and flooding his brain with confusion and need all the same, making him feel like he was about to lose his mind.

"For someone who's asking a favour you're telling me a whole lot what to do." Valjean moved his fingers, slid them in deeper, stretching him until his knuckles pushed against Javert's entrance.

The sound he made was something between a groan and a growl, more animalistic than human. And for a while so was everything that fell from his lips, while Valjean slipped his fingers in and out, spreading the oil and loosening him up to his intrusion. Javert had his heard turned, biting down on his lip, unsuccessfully fighting the half-syllables from rolling off his tongue. His prick lay hard against his skin, every time Valjean bowed down to catch his lip, to steal another kiss, his stomach brushed against it, causing Javert to lift his hips, the sinking down that followed pressing fingers into him only harder. Soon there was nothing but the motion, rising and falling, gasping into Valjean's mouth and never enough breath to convince him he wasn't about to die.

But then it stopped, Valjean was drawing back and Javert opened his eyes, opened his mouth to protest, to speak up, yet he didn't when he saw Valjean moving closer, hands sliding up Javert's thighs to cup his hips, holding him in place as he positioned himself, his gaze on Javert's face and his expression uncertain. He was shaking slightly, the tip of his prick brushing against Javert's backside. Everything was heat and salt. From the top of his head down to his toes Javert felt hot and sweat drops were shining on his skin. For a brief moment their eyes met and Javert nodded, his throat dry and blood rushing in his ears. Valjean lifted him up, pulling him almost onto his lap and pushing forward, sliding into him slowly. The pressure was somehow better and worse. It was too much and still Javert had to have more.

He pushed down, feeling Valjean stretching him, hearing him gasp and groan his name, whiteness flickering behind his eyelids, the pain for one moment too great to endure and then Valjean thrust his hips, pushing in fully and Javert threw back his head, his heart drumming relentlessly.

oOo

To feel Javert like this was maddening. Nothing could have prepared Valjean for the intensity, for the tightness or the heat that enclosed him now. No guilty fantasy, no dream could ever compare to this, the sheer desire that coursed through his body, blindingly and almost painful.

Javert's legs were slung around his waist, his hands fisting into the sheets at once and then letting go, reaching out to pull Valjean down, kissing him roughly, his teeth grazing Valjean's lip and his beard stubble scratching his chin, the skin there already starting to feel sore.

"Oh dear---" he stopped himself from moaning God's name, there in the corner of Javert's mouth where it would be nothing but a mock-prayer, a dreadful thing that failed to describe what he experienced.

He breathed a kiss on his cheek, thumbs on Javert's hipbones circling on the skin. At this moment, buried deep inside Javert, feeling him as close as they could physically get, the world seemed more perfect and cruel than it had ever been. Perfect because he wanted to cry out with bliss. Cruel because he knew it couldn't last forever.

"For heaven's sake." Javert's voice was like a broken bell, fingers digging into Valjean's shoulder. "Would you just move already?"

Valjean lifted his head, gazing at Javert in wonder, but not finding an answer other than rolling his hips against him, one time, then another, thrusting into him almost lazily, not sure of his movements, of what would send him over the edge far too quickly. And Javert cursed quietly, eyes shut and lips parted, panting with every jolt that went through his body. Valjean held onto him as tightly as he dared, one of his hands slipping from Javert's hip down to the mattress, keeping himself propped up above him, the angle changed slightly and Javert gasped.

The room was quiet apart from the sounds coming from them. Their struggle for air, alternating between shallow breaths and deep sighs. The meeting of their skin, slick with oil and so intimate it coloured Valjean's cheeks. Their fingers curling into sheets and causing a soft rustling, their hands fisting into hair and eliciting surprised noises of pain. Every now and then Valjean found himself murmuring unintelligible words, heard Javert grunt what could be the beginning of a sentence and what was drowned out when one of them moved faster, their bodies seemingly colliding with no other purpose than to melt into one another.

And Valjean couldn't stop looking. Watching Javert's body move under heavy breaths and his thighs shiver after the uncounted thrust. Seeing his face twist and relax like he could barely control the muscles there. Valjean wanted to capture every second, every image, everything. To make it his own in his memory. Stealing impressions wasn't actual theft, was it? His only crime being to need more, want more, than he should.

But there was one thing he had to possess completely and if only for a split moment.

He swallowed, stilling inside of him, and Javert groaned in frustration.

"Look at me," Valjean said.

Javert blinked, his tongue darting out to wet his dry lips: "Valjean..."

"Come on." There was a rushing in his ears and his skin felt too tight to contain him much longer. But he wanted to look him in the eye during all this only once.

Javert's eyes were dark, flickering over Valjean's features and then focusing on the ceiling. He sounded defeated: "Don't."

Just that one word.

"Javert."

Javert arched his back underneath him, trying to get him to move again. Valjean took a breath, the friction almost too distracting to insist on his request. Slowly, Javert's gaze returned back to Valjean's face, until they looked at each other in silence and a moment went by unnoticed before Valjean let his hips snap forward sharply, panting at the feeling, but not taking his eyes off Javert.

He leaned down, brushing his lips against Javert's as he thrust into him harder, motions growing more sloppy, somehow more desperate. They kissed with opened eyes, their mouths crushing together like their hips. There was nothing soft about it anymore, nothing lazy. They were rutting against each other, not able to stop and catch their breath, their gazes locked and in that they poured whatever they could not say, for the lack of breath as well as for the lack of words.

Valjean felt like an invisible fist had gripped his heart and was squeezing it in his chest, for the things that stirred him were so raw and forceful, he doubted he could survive them and come out of this unchanged.

But one thought remained and the knowledge that he had to speak it at some point.

oOo

He had thought it dangerous to beg for Valjean's help. He had known the risks of what he was doing. But he had failed to understand that the real danger was in Valjean's eyes, that looking at him during these breathless moments, when there was nothing but their movements and their mingled breath, lips opened and their limbs bathed in sweat, that this would be the thing that made him truly lost.

Everything was reduced to Valjean. His taste in his mouth, his scent in his nose, his thrusts inside his body pushing him to that simmering point of arousal in his guts, filling his veins and just about to boil over in his mind.

"Valjean..." he breathed, close, so close...

He felt Valjean shudder above him, against him, felt him draw breath and mutter his name, felt his hands gliding over his stomach, wrapping around his prick and giving him a few hard strokes. Javert writhed to meet the touch, to get away from it, to find relief, to prolong what was happening. He didn't know. Everything was hot and slippery, neither the sheets nor Valjean's shoulders providing enough support for his grasping fingers.

And Javert was looking at him transfixed, unable to turn his head, falling into his dark gaze as his whole body tensed, everything rushing through him and extinguishing his thoughts like the flicker of a flame. Valjean gave a sound, different from any he had heard from him before, thrusting into him once more, his hand still wrapped around Javert and he could feel his heart beating against his ribs as he collapsed on top of him, spending himself deep inside of Javert.

Then the lay there, not speaking a word for the longest time, their breath growing more steady and the sweat on their skin slowly cooling. For a moment he still felt Valjean inside of him before he pulled out, his hand letting go of Javert's now soft prick as he rolled over onto his back and closed his eyes.

Although his whole body was calming down with every passing second, all his muscles in a state of utter relaxation, his heart was drumming still, resounding in his ears and making it hard for him to focus. What was he to do? How was he supposed to handle this strange feeling of content and intimacy?

He searched for traces of poison inside himself and found none. He couldn't remember when he had lastly felt them. The fact came to him with sudden clarity, piercing through his drowsed brain like brightest light and he swallowed. Maybe it had been partly the poison that had brought him here, maybe he could blame it for some of his actions, but he had stayed freely. Had done everything freely. So where was he to turn now, that it was over?

And what was he to say to Valjean?

The candle hissed one last time before it went out.

With a heart that was trying to escape his body, and a tongue that felt heavy against the roof of his mouth Javert turned onto his side, watching the figure next to him on the narrow bed, their arms pressed together and both of them sticky on the sheets.

"Listen..." he started, face heating as Valjean opened his eyes to look at him.

"Javert." Valjean's voice was quiet, yet he heard the strain in the words, like he was trying to say something that could have more than one possible outcome. "... maybe I can ask you a favour this time?"

Javert stared at him, frowning slightly before he nodded.

The sun had moved up higher in the sky, the city seemed strangely calm after last night's disturbances. From somewhere up in a tree outside a bird's wings flapped. Nothing could have been as usual and peaceful as the day that had begun unnoticed by them. The mattress shifted as Valjean pushed himself up on his elbow, searching for Javert's gaze, a question in his eyes that could not yet be voiced.

"Stay."

There were a thousand answers but none of them could suffice to explain what he was experiencing at that very moment. So he leaned in to press his lips to Valjean's, feeling a hesitant smile form there before the kiss deepened and his heartbeat finally slowed down.

The End