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“Do you think Papa would put a dad joke in his bio, or be serious?” Cosette asked, rubbing her chin.

“Are you kidding? A dad joke, for sure!” Marius said.

“You’re right.” Cosette watched the blinking cursor and tried to come up with something her father would say. “‘I’m a papa bear looking for his honey’?”

Marius groaned. “That’s awful. Write it in.”

Cosette giggled and typed that opening line. “‘Hello! I’m a papa bear looking for his honey’,” she read out as she wrote. “‘I enjoy fitness, gardening, and taking long walks—‘“

“—On the beach?” Marius suggested.

Cosette giggled. “‘— On the beach or otherwise’,” she repeated, typing it in. “‘I’d love someone laid back and traditional who will come to church with me’... And uh… ‘and eat my cooking.’” She stopped typing and looked at her husband. “What do you think?”

Marius nodded. “That sounds like your papa to me.”

The young woman smiled. “This is so exciting!”

“It’s strange, is what it is,” corrected Marius. “Don’t you think he’ll be upset?”

“Papa never gets upset with me.”

Marius shrugged. “You’ve never made him a dating profile before, though, ‘Sette.”

“Marius, we’ve talked about this! You see how lonely Papa is. Ever since I’ve moved out, he’s gotten so mopey. The only time he’s been truly happy is since then is when he was helping us plan the wedding, and at the wedding itself. It’s clear —“

“—Yes, I know. Your logic is sound. He really should find someone,” admitted Marius. “But shouldn’t you have gotten his permission?”

“He won’t agree with me. He keeps saying crap about how he’s ‘too old to date’ and he’s ‘meant to be alone’. How can such a hopeless romantic be ‘meant to be alone’? I don’t get it.”

Marius sighed. They’d been over this several times already. As much as the young man wanted to be the voice of reason, he couldn't help but agree with his wife. “You’re right. Just… finish the profile.”

Cosette knew she was right. She was already looking for good pictures of her Papa on the computer. “Okay. So I was thinking a face picture, a full-body picture, and a goofy one?”

The young man nodded. “Sounds good to me.”

Cosette scrolled through the pictures on the computer. The majority of them were of her and Marius or of scenery, and the pictures of her father were mostly not very good. Eventually, she found one from a trip she and her Papa took to the Alps a few years ago. This was right after she had bought him a selfie stick, and he had taken a selfie with the beautiful view of the mountains behind him. Her Papa was smiling and looked truly joyful. He was squinting a little into the sun, and it wasn’t the absolute best picture of him ever taken, but he looked so incredibly happy… Cosette almost felt sad, as she realized she hadn’t seen her Papa that happy in too long.

“I like that,” Marius said. “You should use that one for sure!”

“Mm-hm,” she agreed, selecting it and cropping it into a square as the site wished. She clicked on ‘add another photo’, which took her back to the photo gallery.

“Oh, there are our wedding photos!” Marius pointed out. “There’ll be good ones of him all dressed up.”

“You’re right, babe! Smart cookie.”

Cosette chose one of her and her father. He was in a crisp white suit with his hair done, which Cosette had always thought looked a little out of place. She thought Papa was meant to wear unflattering polo shirts and khaki shorts, or torn and dirty overalls and a big straw hat for gardening. But that was likely just her.

“Should I crop myself out?” Cosette wondered aloud.

“No! You look beautiful!” Her husband protested.

“But this isn’t about me, hun. It’s about Papa.”

“That’s true. But he wouldn’t want to crop you out, would he?”

She nodded. “I guess you’re right. I’ll leave myself in.”

For the goofy one, Marius and Cosette settled on a picture of her Papa from a few Halloweens ago—they joked it would prove to the skeptics that he was gay. He was dressed in very bad drag, with ill-fitting, cheap clothes and an even cheaper wig. The makeup looked somewhat okay because Cosette had done it and sincerely tried her best. Her father was blowing a kiss at the camera, his chest hair spilling out of his pink sequinned dress. Marius and Cosette had both seen the photo before — of course, Cosette had taken it — but they had a good laugh at it anyway.

“Is that enough?” Cosette asked once they had finally settled down.

“Wait a sec,” Marius said, “Do you have any pictures of your dad from the time we went to the beach with my family?”

“Probably, why?”

“Shirtless pics are always a plus.”

Cosette grimaced. “Ew!”

Marius shrugged. “What? He has good muscles. Remember how many women approached him?”

“I don’t want to remember,” she muttered.

“But I think it would help attract people to your father’s profile. Seriously.”

Cosette sighed. “You’re probably right. My dad works out a lot, so he’s pretty ripped. That’s sure to get him a date with someone.”

They looked through the photo gallery one more time, and found a cute photo of Cosette’s father with one of Marius’s little cousins on his shoulders. He was smiling wide here, too— he really loved kids.

“Well,” Cosette said, “Do you think we’re done now?”

“Give it a read-over,” answered Marius.

“Okay!” Cosette cleared her throat. “‘Jean, 65. Hello! I’m a papa bear looking for his honey. I enjoy fitness, gardening, and taking long walks- on the beach or otherwise. I’d love someone laid back and traditional who will come to church with me and eat my cooking.’”

“That’s so perfect. It sounds like a 65-year-old man wrote it,” said Marius.

Cosette laughed. “Thanks! So shall we click ‘sign up’?”

“Of course.”

On the count of three, Cosette clicked the ‘sign up’ button, and after a short loading screen, Jean Fauchelevent was officially on ‘www.silversoulmates.com, the #1 50+ exclusive dating site in the world’’. The young couple cheered and high fived.

Now came the waiting and hoping.

Chapter Text

“Waiting and hoping”, it turned out, was also Inspector Javert’s motto when it came to online dating. He’d done six months of it already, and so far only one date had come out of it. It had been the most awkward, boring night of his life. The man — Bruno— had looked attractive in his photos, but that was because he’d used photos from at least two decades ago, from before hair loss and weight gain. Instead of the lean, curly-haired fellow with a sexy amount of stubble Javert had been promised, he met up with a balding, pot-bellied guy who smelled shockingly like sauerkraut. He gave Bruno a chance, however, which Javert soon regretted. They ate at a cheap restaurant with loud, obnoxious music that made Javert’s head hurt and food that was all the wrong texture. Bruno chewed with his mouth open and had an annoying laugh and talked exclusively about shit Javert had no interest in. To make it worse — as if it needed to be worse —  he kept making cop jokes and he showed far too much interest in Javert’s race.

“So where are you from?” Bruno had asked through a mouthful of a greasy burger.

“I was born and raised in this country,” Javert replied, shocked at the normal question.

“No, I mean, where are you really from?”

Javert rolled his eyes. Oh. Never mind. “I am French. My parents are both French.”

“Are you, like… Indian? Like, you have long hair and all that.”

Javert pursed his lips. “My heritage is Romani.”

“But Romanians are white, I thought.”

Javert felt like he was about to explode. “Not Romanian, Romani . Bohemian.”

Bruno’s jaw dropped, exposing thoroughly-chewed burger. Javert almost wretched. “Man, that’s so cool! So… you’re like a gypsy? Do you live in an RV? Is your life like ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’?”

At that moment, Javert announced that he had to go, and he quickly left the restaurant.

“Wait, where are you going? I thought this was going great! Javert?” Bruno called to him.

Yeah. Sure.

As soon as he got home (which was an unmoving apartment, NOT an RV, thankyouverymuch), Javert blocked Bruno’s number (since he had already received a number of texts from the man, the last one being “fuck you you gypsy bitch you’re ugly anyways”). He also blocked the man’s SilverSoulmates profile and reported it for using misleading photos. That was just the right thing to do.

Since that harrowing experience, Javert had deleted the app from his phone and sworn off the site. He regretted making a profile in the first place. He had been celibate (save for a few drunken encounters and regrettable dates) all his fifty-three years. What made him think that should change now? Was he that lonely?

This evening, he was. He was so bored and so lonely that he went on silversoulmates.com for the first time since the whole Bruno debacle.

He sipped some red wine as he poked around. In almost two months, Javert had gathered a lot of new potential matches.

Pierre, 59, read his screen. Pierre was a white man with short, salt-and-pepper hair. He wasn’t bad-looking, really. Javert reminded himself to lower his standards as he himself was nothing to look at.

Corporate lawyer living in Paris. Ooh, a fellow man of the law! This looked promising. I want someone to do naughty things to in exchange for being spoiled. Hmm… having a sugar daddy didn’t sound too bad. Javert could get used to that. Needs to be very discreet so that my wife doesn’t find out. Ugh. Next.

Benjamin, 50 was the next man. He was a cute, perhaps Latino man who looked far under 50. Suspicious but intrigued, Javert looked at the bio.

I’m actually 23. I’m here looking for an older man to spoil me ;)

Javert sighed. He hoped Pierre and Benjamin would find each other.

Jean, 65. Javert stared in awe at what had to be the only truly, completely attractive man he had ever seen on this site. He put his wine down to more closely inspect the picture. The man was outside, and there were mountains — the Alps? — behind him. He was smiling wide, his eyes squinted. There were deep crinkles around the corners of his eyes. He had fluffy grey-white hair and a beard, too. And he had light freckles over his nose and cheeks and forehead. He was very, very handsome. He looked like one of the example profiles on the signup page that gave Javert false expectations of the type of men he’d find on this site. Was this a bot? A catfish? Probably. But there was no harm in looking at “Jean’s” other pictures to see more of whatever attractive silver fox celebrity had been used in this profile.

The next photo featured “Jean” in a beautiful white suit. He stood next to an attractive woman in a wedding dress. Oh, no. Was this another married “straight” man looking for side action? Javert took a closer look at the bride. She couldn’t be over twenty-five, and this didn’t look like an old photo. He thought with relief that it was far more likely that this was his daughter. After all, they were standing side-by-side in the photo; it was far from romantic. However, if this “Jean” had a daughter… Oh, no. Was this another married “straight” man looking for side action? Javert sighed. Hopefully the guy was divorced or widowed or something. And not a catfish. The old man really looked handsome in this photo, too. His hair and beard were nicely trimmed and styled, and that suit looked great on him. Javert noticed the man’s body was quite built, and that the sleeves of his tailored suit hugged tightly at his arms. Javert took a sip of wine as he scrolled to the next photo.

The inspector nearly spat out his mouthful as he laid eyes on a hideous picture. It was a man — the same man, presumably — in dramatic makeup and horrendous women’s clothes, complete with a tangled blond wig. Based on the Halloween decor in the background of the photo, Javert surmised this “Jean” was merely goofing around and wasn’t a real drag queen. Not that he’d mind dating a drag queen— he just wanted a man who was skilled at what he did. Javert did, however, like the chest hair that wasn’t covered by Jean’s too-tight pink sequinned dress.

Javert was glad he wasn’t trying to drink his wine when he looked at the next photo. The man was at the beach with a kid on his shoulders, but Javert wouldn’t have cared if he was holding a dinosaur because Jean was shirtless. He had on only short pink swim shorts, sunglasses, and a beaming smile. The guy was ripped, truly— he had huge pecs and a six pack and defined biceps and chest hair and Javert almost forgot he ought to read Jean’s profile before clicking on the little green check mark at the bottom of the screen.

Hello! I’m a papa bear looking for his honey. Javert cringed a little. This guy sure was a bear, though. I enjoy fitness — “I can tell,” Javert whispered to himself — gardening, and taking long walks- on the beach or otherwise. I’d love someone laid back and traditional who will come to church with me and eat my cooking. Javert wasn’t sure he was traditional or laid back, nor did he, an atheist, want to go to church with anyone; but he was certainly willing to eat someone's cooking— provided it was something he liked, as picky as he was. Really, he was just glad this guy wasn’t looking for a sugar baby or someone he could hide from his wife. He was still quite certain that this was a catfish or a bot, but he figured he would soon find out if he got a message from “Jean” telling Javert  to meet him in an alleyway or buy his “herbal sexual performance enhancer”. Javert finished off his wine as he clicked the check mark. Here goes nothing.

 

***

 

Cosette was excited to log back in to SilverSoulmates the next morning, but she was absolutely not expecting to have so many notifications.

“Marius! Oh my God, Marius!” She called to her husband.

“What is it, baby?” The man asked, thundering down the stairs, shaving cream covering half his face. “Is there a spider?”

“No! Forty-seven people have liked Papa’s profile!”

“You’re kidding me,” Marius said, rushing to where his wife was sitting at the computer. He leaned over and looked at the screen. Cosette’s cursor was pointing at the notification icon, beside which there was a little yellow box with the number 47. “Holy shit,” he muttered, “It hasn’t even been twenty-four hours.”

“I know, right?”

“It has to have been that shirtless picture.”

Cosette snorted. “Well, we can’t see who liked the profile unless we like them back. Shall we start looking for guys?”

Marius was still taken aback. He’d never had that many notifications when he had Tinder. “Sure, dear. Can I finish shaving first?”

“No,” Cosette said. “This is important. You can finish later.”

The young man sighed. “Fine. I’ll just go to the kitchen to wash my face.”

As Marius did so, Cosette went to the ‘find matches’ tab of the website. Since it was the first time she clicked on it, and this was a website geared towards seniors, it forced her to scroll through a little tutorial. Once this was done, Marius had returned.

“Okay, here’s contestant number one,” Cosette announced in an over dramatic voice, “Renaud, 67!”

Renaud was a chubby tan gentleman with grey hair and a moustache. He was smiling with yellowed teeth.

“Ew,” said Cosette.

“You’re looking for a man for your dad, not yourself,” Marius reminded as he pulled up a chair beside his wife.

“You’re right…” She looked at his bio and read it aloud: “‘I like gambling, drinking, and hunting—‘ Marius, Papa’s a Catholic vegetarian. This isn’t gonna work.”

Marius chuckled. “You’re right. Next.”

After Cosette clicked on the red ‘x’ at the bottom of the screen, that profile disappeared and was replaced with: “Garreth, 51! Ooh, he’s not bad-looking at all!”

It was true– Garth– Garreth– looked like an average white middle-aged man, maybe even above average. He had on athletic gear, which could mean he was into fitness too.

“So our friend Garrett– uh, Garreth– says: ‘Namaste! I’m Garreth, yoga enthusiast and nature lover.’ Ooh! This sounds great! ‘I’m looking for a kind, open-hearted, fit man to join me on my journey of enlightenment.’ Okay, that’s Papa for sure!” Just as Cosette was getting her hopes up, she read the last part: “‘disclaimer: I’m actually 41 years old, but I have an old soul and I feel like I’m most attracted to older men.’” Cosette cringed. “Okay, that’s really weird. Right?”

“Yeah, for sure,” Marius agreed.

Cosette clicked the ‘x’ on this guy, too.

“Contestant number three: Bruno, 57!” Continued Cosette. “He’s kind of handsome!” she remarked.

“I feel like those pictures are kind of old…” Marius said. “Something tells me he doesn’t look like that anymore.”

Cosette shrugged, clicking to the other pictures. “Really? I mean, there are celebrities that look this good in their fifties!”

“Maybe we can give him the benefit of the doubt,” Marius said. “Let’s see that bio.” He decided to be the announcer this time: “‘Why does no one want a nice man like me anymore?! I do my best but guys always leave me anyway! I’m so done with dating. NO GYPSIES!’” Marius stopped, in awe of what he just read. “Uh… no.”

Cosette cackled. “Yeah, we are not trying to set my dad up with an incel.”

“A gay, racist incel,” Marius mused.

Feeling quite honestly deflated, Cosette clicked the ‘x’ harder than she’d clicked so far.

“Alright,” the young woman sighed. “‘Javert, 53’.” The man in the photo was a dark-skinned, dark-haired man with sunglasses on. He was wearing a police uniform and looked to be in the front of a cop car. “Ooh!” Cosette said, “A cop! That’s perfect for my straight-edge Papa! This man doesn’t look ugly, either.” Cosette tried to click to see the next picture, but there was only one. She looked at the bio: “‘Police Inspector. Workaholic. If you respect the law, I’ll respect you. Believe it or not, I do have a sense of humour. Please message me first. I like to avoid embarrassing myself.’” Cosette chuckled as she read this last line. “Hey, I kinda like this guy! No red flags in the bio, either!”

Marius agreed, nodding. “Yeah. Say yes to him!”

Cosette squealed a little as she clicked on the little check mark button. She and her husband were slightly startled by the colourful confetti animation that flashed across the screen. ‘Yay! It’s a match!’ It said, followed by a prompt to message Javert.

“Oh my God! Yay!” Cosette said, clapping.

“I suppose this gentleman was one of the forty-five or whatever men who liked your Papa’s profile,” Marius said.

Cosette chuckled and kissed her husband’s single shaved cheek. “Alright. You can go finish shaving now.”

Marius smiled. “I have been released from my matchmaking duties?”

“Yes,” she answered.

“Thanks, ‘Sette!” Marius stood up and scampered away upstairs.

“See you, hun!”

Cosette turned back to the computer. After clicking through a pointless (for her, anyway) messaging tutorial, she went to Javert’s profile and composed a message.

Hello, Javert! How’s your Saturday morning? :)

Send.

Chapter Text

Javert was working on his computer when it made a noise he hadn’t heard in a long while. It was the cutesy little “ping” of a notification from SilverSoulmates.com. With his luck, it was probably a prompt to purchase a subscription to SilverSoulmatesPlus. But he checked anyway. He logged onto his account.

To his absolute shock, it was a message. From Jean. The hot Jean. Way more excited than he’d like to admit, he clicked into the chat window. He read the message.

Hello, Javert! How’s your Saturday morning? :) (10:28 am)

He stared in disbelief. That seemed… almost not like a catfish or bot message. It had his name in it and everything. He blinked several times, but the message was still there. Well. He supposed he ought to respond. Maybe whatever trick was being played would reveal itself soon.

Hello, Jean. It’s going quite well. How’s yours? (10:29 am)

Javert sent the message before he could overthink it. Oh. The message was instantly marked with “seen 10:29 am”. Then the horrid little typing bubble appeared. How Javert hated that. He stared at it until it was suddenly replaced by a text bubble, accompanied by another little ‘ping’. Javert turned the volume down on his computer. He already knew he was getting notifications. This was just annoying.

I’m glad to hear that! And mine’s going very well, thanks! I just came back from the gym. Have you been up to much? (10:30 am)

Of course he’d been to the gym. Javert blew a little air out of his nose in amusement. He considered lying and telling Jean he’d done something very impressive, but he settled on telling the truth.

Not really. I’ve just been catching up on some work. (10:30 am)

Oh, I hope I’m not distracting you from important inspector stuff! (10:31 am)

Jean just referenced his bio. A bot wouldn’t do that. Would it? That seemed far too advanced.

No, not at all. This is my day off. Talking to you is a welcome break. (10:31 am)

Javert blushed. Did he really just say that? Did that seem clingy? It probably seemed clingy. He wasn’t even sure Jean was real, and here he was, being clingy…

Awh, that’s sweet! :) (10:32 am)

I am happy to be chatting with you. I would hate to have to wait until you’re done working. (10:32 am)

Javert stared at the two messages, blushing harder. Oh… Jean was sure a flatterer. He didn’t really know what to say in return. He couldn’t recall if he’d ever been called ‘sweet’ before.

Will you be free for the rest of the day? (10:33 am)

Javert thought for a moment.

Yes. Why? (10:34 am)

That stupid text bubble appeared and disappeared several times over.

I know we’ve only just started talking, but I’m quite old-fashioned and I’m not an online-chatting kind of a man at all. I’d love to meet up with you later today and get coffee or something. If you’re free and you’re okay with that, I mean. :) (10:35 am)

Javert’s eyes widened and he blushed yet again. A date? Already?

So you want to take me out already? We don’t even know each other, Jean. (10:36 am)

Well, we can get to know each other in person. :) I find it’s a lot better than over a silly computer screen. But I won’t force you to accept. :) (10:37 am)

Wow, this man used a lot of smiley faces. Javert wanted badly to say yes, but he still had doubts.

How do you know I’m real? How do I know you’re real? I honestly thought you were a bot at first, and I’m still not 100% convinced that you’re a real person. No one on this site is as good-looking as you. (10:38 am)

Javert couldn’t believe he’d just said that.

Wow, that’s very kind of you to say! I could say the same about you. ;) (10:39 am)

So I suppose we’ll just have to have confidence that we’re both real people. We should meet somewhere really public and central, just in case you’re not who you say you are. Lol. :P (10:40 am)

Javert felt there was nothing really to lose. He could end up disappointed, but he could also end up on a date with a handsome man with great muscles— and who was quite the flirt.

Okay, Jean. You’ve twisted my arm. I’d love to get coffee with you. When and where shall we go? (10:41 am)

 

***

 

Jean was in his garden, harvesting some vegetables and humming an upbeat song to himself. It had been a decent day so far; he’d had some breakfast, been to the gym, bought some new garden decorations (including a very funny gnome wearing a disco outfit), had lunch, and now he was gardening. It wasn’t as exciting as it had been before Cosette had gotten married, but that was to be expected. It was just how it went.

As if knowing Jean was thinking about her, Cosette called him just then. He felt the custom vibration and heard the custom ringtone — Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé. Excitedly, Jean tossed his basket of carrots down and scrambled to get his iPhone out of the pocket of his dirty overalls.

“Hello?” He said as soon as he accepted the call and got the phone to his ear.

“Hi, Papa!” Came Cosette’s voice. Jean couldn’t help but smile at the sound of his daughter greeting him. “How are you?”

“I’m doing really well, Coco!” He said. “I’m in the garden right now. The carrots are looking so great. The beets too. Oh, and I bought some new garden decorations earlier, including the funniest little gnome—“

“—I’m sorry to cut you off, Papa,” said Cosette, “but I didn’t just call you to see how you’re doing. I have a surprise for you!”

Jean gasped. “A surprise! Ooh!”

“Yes, Papa! A big surprise. I hope you didn’t plan anything today.”

“Nothing as important as a ‘big surprise’ from my darling daughter!”

“Okay, good! I’m gonna need you to get dressed in your Sunday clothes and make yourself look nice. This is a bit of a fancy surprise!”

“A fancy surprise? It’s way too early for a nice dinner. Are we going to the theatre?”

“Why would I tell you? It’s a surprise!”

Jean chuckled. “I suppose you’re right. When should I be ready?”

“Would an hour work?”

Jean looked at his watch. It was almost 1:00. “Yes! So I should be ready at 2:00?”

“Yep! I’ll come pick you up.”

“Okay! Is that it, then?”

“Yeah, for now. I’ll see you then, Papa. Love you!”

“Love you too, Cosette! See you soon!”

Jean waited for his daughter to hang up, as he always did. When she hung up, he put the phone back in his pocket, smiling. This day was about to get a lot better, he felt it! He started planning what outfit he would wear — not that he had many, but there was still a choice to make. But first, he had to pick up his carrots.

 

***

 

At 1:59 pm, Jean heard his daughter pull up to his house. Nearly giddy with excitement, he got up from his spot on the couch and rushed to the door. He grabbed his keys and patted his pockets to make sure he still had his phone and his wallet— he did— and left his house, closing and locking the front door behind him. He rushed out to find Cosette’s pink Jeep sitting in the driveway. Jean waved. He saw Cosette and Marius wave back. He supposed he would be confined to the back seat, then.

“Hello Cosette! Hello Marius!” He said cheerfully, sliding into the back seat. The two greeted him back. “You didn’t tell me Marius would be here!” Jean remarked to his daughter.

“There are lots of things I didn’t tell you,” said Cosette, looking at him over her shoulder.

The old man chuckled. “I suppose that’s true. Well, do I seem ready? All I have is my phone and my wallet.”

“That should be all you need. And you look lovely, Papa!”

Jean smiled. “Thank you!” He put on his seatbelt, now that he knew he didn’t need to return to the house to get something.

Cosette pulled out of the driveway, and they were on their way.

“Do I get any more clues as to what’s going on?” Asked Jean.

“Nope! Not yet, at least,” said Cosette.

“She’ll tell you everything you need to know when we get there,” Marius assured him.

“‘Everything I need to know’?! Are you sending me on some kind of mission?”

Cosette laughed. “No, Papa. It’s not a mission at all. It’ll be tons of fun!”

Jean smiled. “I’m excited!” He said. “I don’t remember the last time you gave me a big surprise like this! I think it may have been when you told me that you and Marius were engaged.” Jean thought for a moment and suddenly gasped. “Cosette… are you going to announce that you’re pregnant?!”

She and Marius laughed. “No, Papa! I’m not pregnant.”

Jean was a tiny bit disappointed. “Oh, okay. I would be so happy if you were, though.”

“I’m sure you would be. In time, okay?”

“A baby is certainly in our future plans,” Marius assured him.

Jean’s face lit up. “Really?! Oh my goodness! How soon? Next year?”

“Babe, you got him too excited!” Cosette chided softly.

“No, not next year,” Marius said in an effort to calm down the older man. “There are too many things that need to be settled. But eventually.”

Jean nodded. “I understand. Do you promise, though? That I will have a grandchild?”

“Papa—“

“I don’t know if I can make that promise,” Marius jumped in. “I mean, there are so many things that could go wrong… But I can promise you that I want Cosette and I to be parents as much as you do.”

Jean smiled. “Okay. I like that promise. Very reasonable.”

“I promise that too, Papa,” Cosette said.

“I’m glad.”

The old man looked out the window, smiling wistfully as he thought about having a grandchild. He loved children so very much, and he could not wait to babysit and buy gifts and read stories and bake treats and be the best grandpa he could be…

“Anyway,” said Cosette after a minute or so, “we’re here.”

Jean perked up. “We are?” He looked around for some kind of fancy place, but they were just outside their local Starbucks. “You made me dress up for Starbucks?”

“Not just Starbucks, Papa,” laughed Cosette. “You’ll see.” She parked the car and turned off the engine. “Come on, let’s go!” She unbuckled her seatbelt and opened her door, so Jean did the same. After the two of them were out of the car and standing next to it, he realized that Marius was still sitting in the passenger seat.

“Is Marius not coming?” He asked.

“He’s just going to stay in the car for a little. Again, you’ll see, Papa! Trust me.”

“Uh… Okay.”

The two of them walked into Starbucks. Cosette instructed her father to sit at a booth by the window while she got them drinks, and no, she wanted to pay because this was her treat, and yes, she was sure.

Jean was getting a little nervous. This was becoming a little strange. He hoped he’d get answers soon.

When Cosette came back with two Frappuccinos and sat across from him, he asked: “Will you tell me what’s going on now?”

The blonde was grinning. “Yes. Get out your phone.” She had hers in her hands, and was already pulling something up.

Confused, Jean fished his phone out of the pocket of his pants. “Okay.”

“Alright. I’ve sent you your surprise.”

The older man opened his text conversation with his daughter and waited. In a moment, a picture showed up on his screen. “A police officer?” He asked, even more puzzled.

“He is your date for today!”

Jean turned pale. “M-my what?”

“Your date! You’ve been so lonely since I moved out and I know you’re a total hopeless romantic and I want you to find someone but you refuse to do it yourself, so I made you a profile on a dating site for people over fifty and I found you a really nice man who is a cop named Javert and he’s coming to this Starbucks at 2:30!”

Jean blinked once, twice. “2:30?” Then he looked at his phone screen. “It’s 2:15.”

“Yep!” Cosette said, grinning. “So you’ve got fifteen minutes to prepare yourself!”

He looked up at her. “Wait… You made me a dating profile?! And you got me a date?! How— Why— Cosette, that’s —- That’s just unacceptable! I didn’t give you permission to do this! This is —“

Cosette finally frowned. “Papa, I love you. And I’ve noticed that since I moved out, you haven’t been the same. You’ve been lonely, Papa. I really, really think that you should try to find someone.”

“So you made me an online dating profile…?”

Cosette nodded. “It worked, though. I found you a nice man your age who is kind of good-looking and seems to have values like yours.”

Jean had so much to say about how this was wrong, about how this was identity theft and how she impersonated him and how this was the most out-of-line thing she had ever done and how he was very disappointed in her and how he couldn’t believe she’d do such a thing. But at the moment, there were much more pressing matters. There was a man arriving in under fifteen minutes who believed he was on a date with him. “I can’t do this, Cosette. I can’t be on a date with someone— I haven’t been on a date since— since— I don’t know. And it’s not fair for this man, either! He’s wasting his time! And he probably got his hopes up and they’re just going to be dashed. What am I supposed to do?”

“Papa…” Cosette smiled and touched her hand to his. “You can do this. You’re friendly and funny and smart and have great stories. And this man thinks you’re very handsome. You most certainly can sit here and talk to him.”

Despite himself, Jean blushed. “He thinks I’m… handsome?”

“Yes! And you are!”

“I… uh…” Jean looked down at his phone. He couldn’t see much of the man in the photo. He was wearing sunglasses. But he had smooth-looking tan skin and sharp cheekbones and a strong jaw. He was attractive. “Um…”

“Seriously.” Cosette squeezed his hand. “I really think this’ll be fun. I know it’s scary, but it will go fine. And if something does go wrong, you can end it! It’s no biggie. Marius and I will be at the ice cream place down the street if you need us.”

Jean swallowed thickly. “Uh…” It was almost 2:20. The guy might already be on his way. He looked at Cosette, with her bright green eyes and her innocent smile. He couldn't be mad at her, really. She was right, anyway, about him being lonely. And about him being a hopeless romantic. He did secretly want to find a man and court him and be sappy and finally have a first kiss in the moonlight or in the rain… Maybe— just maybe — this would work out. And if it didn’t… Perhaps he could have a new friend.

“Please, Papa. Do it for me.”

He could not say no to his little girl. “Okay,” he agreed. “We’re going to have to talk later, but okay. I’ll stay and meet this man.”

Cosette squealed as quietly as she could manage, breaking into a huge smile. “Thank you. Papa! I knew you would do it!”

Jean smiled back nervously. “I, uh, don’t think it’ll go well. I’m not prepared. I know nothing about this man.”

“That’s why I sent you a screenshot of his profile! You can look at his picture and read his bio. And then you’ll know about as much about him as he knows about you! The whole point of a first date is to get to know each other!”

The older man licked his lips. “Okay.”

“One more thing,” Cosette said, “Please don’t mention that I was the one who set this whole thing up.”

Jean nodded. That made sense. It would make it far more awkward than it had to be if he brought that up. “Okay. I won’t.”

His daughter grinned. “Thank you so, so much, Papa! I love you!” She grabbed her Frappuccino and started to stand up.

“Cosette? You’re leaving?”

“Yeah! Your date will be here pretty soon!” After she was standing, Cosette walked up to her father. “I believe in you, Papa. Don’t be so scared. Text me if you need anything, alright?”

Cosette sounded like Jean remembered himself before Cosette’s first ever date when she was in high school. He smiled at the memory. “Okay, Coco.”

She smiled and started walking out of the Starbucks. “See you later, Papa!”

“Bye, dear!” Answered Jean.

And just like that, she was gone.

That made Jean far, far more nervous. He looked at his phone. 2:24. This was ridiculous. He looked again at the handsome man on his phone screen.

The cop.

What Cosette didn’t know— what she could never, ever know — was that Jean was an ex-convict.

He had served his time, sure, but still… He was always so nervous around police officers. And now he was about to be on a date with one. One particular line stood out in this Javert’s bio: “ if you respect the law, I’ll respect you.” It stressed Jean out. Now, he lived by the law, yes, but he didn’t always.

Jean took a big sip of his yet untouched Frappuccino. The sweetness and the caffeine hit him at once. He was sweating, and his heart was beating a million miles an hour. He felt like a panic attack wasn’t totally out of the question.

Jean looked down at his phone. He didn’t notice that the door to the Starbucks swung open.

Chapter Text

It was 2:29 pm. Javert was wearing black jeans and a grey button-up shirt with a black leather jacket. His hair was in a low ponytail. He entered the Starbucks, so nervous he was almost calm. He looked around.

At a booth by the window, an old white man sat alone. A very handsome man whose shoulders and upper arms stretched the fabric of his burgundy button-up shirt. It had to be Jean. The man was staring at his phone and didn’t notice him, so Javert chose to approach him.

He came up to the man’s table. “Excuse me—“ Javert said.

The man was so startled that he dropped his phone onto the table with a little cry of shock. “Oh, I’m so sorry— Y-you scared me,” he laughed nervously.

“Evidently,” Javert said. “I’m sorry. You’re Jean, correct?”

He smiled awkwardly. ‘Yes, that’s me! You must be Javert.”

“I am,” Javert replied. He extended his hand, which Jean stared at for a moment before shaking with a large, warm, clammy hand.

“Lovely to meet you, Inspector.”

“No need to call me Inspector,” Javert replied. He pulled his hand away and wiped it casually on his pants.

“Right, of course, sorry! This is a date, so it would be pretty weird to call you by your rank the whole time!” Jean laughed nervously again.

Javert nodded. “Indeed.” After a moment of silence, he cleared his throat. “Well, I am going to order, now.”

“Oh, would you like me to come with you?”

“I am perfectly capable of doing that myself,” Javert said, a little more snappily than he intended.

Jean blushed. “Yes, of course, I meant to pay for you! Is that… would you like that?”

Javert blushed in return. Of course that was what Jean meant; why did he reply so rudely? “Oh, no, it’s alright. Thank you for offering, but I will pay for myself. Don’t worry.” Javert gave him an awkward smile and left to the counter to order.

God above, Javert thought, this was going horribly. He’d scared the guy AND been accidentally rude to him. And it had only been a couple minutes. Jean was so handsome and he was so nervous… Javert hated himself for how he was ruining this date.

 

***

 

God above, Jean thought, this was going horribly. He’d been scared by the guy AND been accidentally rude to him. And it had only been a couple minutes. Javert was so  handsome and he was so nervous… Jean hated himself for how he was ruining this date.

He watched as the other man ordered. He was far more good-looking in real life than Jean could have possibly imagined. Javert was tall and thin and had piercing blue eyes. He also had a long, dark brown ponytail that almost reached his rear end, and the hair looked very well-kept and healthy. Jean took a sip of his drink. He wondered if Javert would allow him to braid it, if they were in a relationship, with ribbons to decorate the beautiful locks. Jean thought of himself running his fingers through the smooth, stick-straight hair, kissing the top of the Inspector’s head…

“I’m back,” Javert announced, forcing Jean out of his reverie. Jean blushed at his secret thoughts.

“What did you get?” Jean asked as the man as he slid into his seat across the table.

“Just black coffee,” Javert said.

“You take your coffee black? Wow. I’m impressed. I can’t drink anything with coffee unless it’s got sugar.”

Javert noticeably eyed Jean’s Frappuccino. “Yes, I can tell.”

Jean chuckled. “Yeah, I’ve got a sweet tooth. Or more like a whole set of ‘em.”

Javert smirked. “Really? But you’re so health-conscious.”

The older man shrugged. “I, uh… Thanks?”

Was that even a compliment? Was he even meant to say thanks to that? Jean took a long sip of his drink so he didn’t have to talk for a bit.

“So…” Javert started. His voice was nice and deep, which Jean liked. He’d always liked deep voices. “You mentioned you went to the gym this morning. Have you been doing anything else?”

Jean supposed Cosette knew his routine enough to know that’s what he’d been up to. He nodded. “Yes! I went to the gardening store. I meant to only get stuff for my vines to grow on, but I kind of went on a tangent and I got some really cute garden decorations, too!” Jean pulled out his phone and quickly clicked away from the screenshot of Javert’s profile. He looked through his photo gallery until he found a picture of the six simple fairy figurines he’d bought earlier. He gave his phone to the other man. “Aren’t they sweet?”

Javert looked at them for a moment. “They’re… pretty gay.”

Jean blushed. They were glittery, and there was one for each colour of the rainbows. He giggled awkwardly. “Yeah, well, I’m pretty gay.”

The other man smirked a little. Jean liked his smirk. Javert handed the phone back.

“I bought something even better…” He scrolled a bit through his image gallery. “Aha!” He showed his date the screen. “Here’s my little disco gnome!”

Javert didn’t look as impressed as Jean had hoped he would be. The man did, however, smile a little. “I… like him. That’s pretty funny.” Javert took a sip of his coffee.

“Yeah, I thought he was hilarious! I named him Bruno,” Jean said.

Javert choked on his coffee.

“You okay, Javert?” He asked with genuine concern. “I know CPR.”

Javert waved his hand in dismissal, coughing. “No, don’t worry about it. Just… went down the wrong way,” he sputtered.

Jean nodded. “Okay. If you like gnomes, I have a whole family!” Again, he looked through his phone. Once he found the picture — and Javert found his ability to breathe — he showed it to the other man. “So in the back we’ve got great-grandpa Charles, Grandma Jeanne, and Grandpa Jean. The mom here is also named Jeanne. Her children are Clarence, Benoit, Margarite, Joseph, Louise, Camille, and Simon. There’s an uncle here named Jehan, and a little boy named Gervais. There’s also the aunt Fantine and her daughter, Euphrasie. Bruno, the disco guy, is… the family friend, I guess? I’m not sure.”

Javert stared at the phone in awe. “Wow… That’s a large gnome family.”

“Yeah, I’m quite proud of them.”

“Do you just like gnomes that much, or…”

“Well, yes, but… They’re all named after my family, and other people who have been important in my life. Charles is the name of an old… mentor of mine. Jean and Jeanne were my parents. Jeanne was the name of my sister, and Jehan was my brother. Yes, I know. We’re all named the same. All the gnome children are named after my sister’s kids, except Gervais; he was a child I met once who changed my life. Fantine is my daughter’s mother, and Euphrasie was my daughter’s name before it was legally changed to Cosette. Bruno is the first gnome I’ve bought who isn’t named after anyone. I just thought he was funny.”

Jean realized he had been talking nonstop for quite awhile. He looked up at Javert. “Sorry. I’m telling you way too much.”

Javert shook his head. “No, it’s… It’s fine, Jean. Are all those people dead?”

Jean was silent for a moment. “Most of them, yes. I don’t know about the children. I’ve been completely estranged from my family. My daughter — Thank God — is alive and well.”

“I’m sorry. I understand. Much of my family is dead as well, and I am not in contact with the rest of them,” said Javert.

The mood had been turned very heavy. The older man nodded a little. “Well. At least we understand each other on that front.”

There was a brief silence. “May I ask about your daughter?” Javert interjected.

Jean nodded. “Of course!”

“Was she the young blonde woman in one of the pictures on your profile? She was wearing a wedding dress and you were in a white suit.”

Ah, yes. The profile. Thankfully, he didn’t need to see the picture to know how to answer Javert. “Yes, that’s her.”

“I see. She’s beautiful.”

Jean beamed with pride. “Isn’t she?”

“She must have gotten her good looks from you,” said Javert before taking a sip of his coffee.

The older man turned bright red. “Oh… uh… Thanks, but… She isn’t blood related to me. I adopted her after her birth mother passed away. Her biological father had abandoned them both, so poor Cosette was living with family friends who turned out to be abusive… Anyway, long story short, I adopted her when she was six years old, and she’s been safe with me ever since. She’s twenty-four now— she just got married and moved out. She’s finishing college, too.”

“I see,” Javert said. “I’m glad she ended up with a good father.”

Valjean smiled. “I’m happy I could be a good father to her. Anyway… Enough about me and my family. I’ve been blathering on for too long. Tell me about yourself, Javert! Do you have any children?”

Javert scoffed. “No way. I’m not the kind of person to have children.”

Jean was actually hoping the other man did have kids — or even grandkids — that he could meet, so he was a little disappointed. But perhaps it was simpler this way. There would be no awkward introductions or family members preferring Javert’s ex spouse or nonsense like that. “Fair enough. And you said you have lost touch with your family?”

He nodded. “Yes. But it’s for the best. I don’t really want to talk about that.”

“It’s okay; you don't have to tell me everything. It’s just our first date, after all,” Jean said. He realized it sounded like he was expecting a second date… What if Javert didn’t want a second date? What if Javert thought this was going horribly? It probably was. Jean took another sip of his Frap. “So, like… Where are you from, Javert?”

The other man looked almost disappointed. “I’m from France.”

“But… What city? Where were you born?”

Now he looked a little relieved. Why did these questions affect him so? “Oh… I thought you were about to ask ‘where I’m really from’,” Javert scoffed. “I was born in Paris. In Fleury-Mérogis.”

“Ah, so you’re from the suburbs?” Jean asked.

Javert nodded, sipping his coffee.

“I was born in Faverolles. Do you know where that is? It’s tiny.”

Javert squinted in thought. “Yes, I believe so. I’ve never been there, but it’s in northern France, correct?”

The older man smiled. “Yes, that’s it! I’ve lived all around France, but I think I’ve liked Paris the most.”

“I’ve never lived outside Paris. Travelled, yes, but I’ve only ever lived here.”

Jean tilted his head. “Wow! That’s interesting.”

The other man just nodded a little. The conversation was dying down, and Jean felt powerless to do anything. What could he say? He had no idea what to do...

“I must say,” Javert muttered lowly, “You were far more forward online.”

Jean blushed. Forward?! “I-I’m sorry, I don’t understand…”

Javert shrugged. “You seemed… More flirty. I don’t know. Don’t take this the wrong way.”

“I’m sorry, I guess I’m just so nervous… I haven’t really ever been on a date like this before…” Jean admitted.

Javert’s eyebrows raised. “Really? Online you seemed like an expert. Almost like… Like a different person.”

Jean turned tomato red. He’d promised Cosette, but… He couldn’t carry on pretending. And he needed to know what Cosette had said to this poor man. “I-I’m so sorry, Javert, but… Well, I was a different person. My—“ He swallowed. “My daughter was fed up with me being alone, so she made an online dating profile for me and set up a date with you on my behalf. I had absolutely no idea what was going on… She told me to put on my Sunday clothes and then she brought me here and dropped the news to me and there was no time left for me to say no, and… Yeah.” Jean’s heart was thumping. This was bad.

Javert had a blank look in his eyes. His eyebrows were still raised, but they began slowly descending. “So… Online, I was talking to… Your twenty-four-year-old daughter, pretending to be you, her sixty-five-year old father.”

Jean nodded. “Yes. And I’m so sorry. I will be giving her a stern talk about this and—“

His second rant was cut short as Javert threw his head back and started laughing; cackling, almost. He laughed so loudly that various other Starbucks patrons stopped what they were doing to see what all was going on.

“Javert—“

The man’s laughter soon turned to wheezing, and then became almost silent. He drooped over forwards and flapped his hand against the table a couple times. Once he finally caught his breath, he had a huge smile on his face. “Sorry. That’s hilarious. I hope you know that’s absolutely hysterical.”

Jean blushed, feeling awkward and confused. “It’s… I… You’re not upset?”

Javert shook his head. “No, not at all.”

“You don’t want to leave?”

“Why would I want that?”

“I’m… I’m obviously not what my daughter made me out to be.”

Javert laughed again; thankfully more quietly. This laugh was kind of attractive. More than kind of. “No, not really. But… But that’s fine.”

Jean smiled a bit. “I’m glad. Also… I do think you’re attractive, by the way. Although I wouldn’t have organized this date myself, I’m far happier to be forced on a date with you than…” he didn’t know how to finish. “... someone… Worse.” He frowned. That didn’t sound great. “Not that you’re, like, near the bottom or anything. You’re probably at the top.” Did that sound like he was too into Javert? “I’m not in love with you or anything, like I’m not saying you’re the one — I mean, you could be; time will tell —“

Jean was cut off as he felt Javert tap his hand. “Please stop talking,” he muttered. “I understood what you were trying to say many words ago.”

Jean blushed heavily. “Oh… sorry,” he whispered.

“It’s okay.”

Jean sipped his drink again. “Uh, Javert, if you don’t mind, may I see… The profile my daughter made for me?”

Javert grinned, his gums showing as well as teeth. He had dimples when he smiled, Jean noticed. “Of course.”

Javert stood up and brought himself and his coffee to Jean’s side of the table. Jean scooted over so the other man had space to sit beside him. There was enough space for the both of them, but they were close enough that Jean could feel the heat emanating from the other man. And that jacket smelled like real leather, which would make Jean a little sad if he was being picky, but he really wasn’t. Not with a man this attractive who was still interested in him after finding out his online dating profile was made by his daughter.

Javert got out his phone and navigated to the SilverSoulmates app. He quickly found Jean’s profile and handed his phone to the other man with a muttered “here”.

The older man checked the screen of Javert’s older Samsung phone. There was a nice picture of him— it looked like it was from his trip with Cosette to the Alps. “Looks like Cosette chose a picture quite well!”

“Wait, there are more,” Javert prompted. He was looking over Jean’s shoulder — or more his head, because of their height difference.

Jean scrolled. The next one was the picture Javert had referenced; the one from Cosette and Marius’s wedding. “That’s a lovely picture, too,” he muttered as he went to the next picture. Oh.

“Why… Why would she choose that one?” He asked of the one of him in his crazy Halloween costume from several years ago. He rubbed his forehead and blushed profusely.

Javert was cackling into his ear. “It’s so ugly. I love it.”

“It’s so embarrassing…” the older man groaned and swiped to the next one. Oh. This wasn’t another humiliating picture, at least, but he was shirtless. His eyes widened and he turned off Javert’s phone in panic. “Oh, my…”

“What?” Javert asked. “That was a great picture of you.”

“Yes, but… I wasn’t wearing a shirt!”

“You didn’t mind being without a shirt when that picture was taken,” Javert pointed out.

“That’s normal at the beach!”

“I think it’s normal on a dating site, as well. Especially for someone who looks as good shirtless as you do.” Javert seemed too close to Jean’s ear, and his voice was very nearly a grumble. Jean’s stomach sank and his cheeks burned.

“Uh…” Jean tried. He had to clear his throat. “Thanks?”

“It’s just the truth,” said Javert.

“Sorry, but can you please unlock your phone again so I can read my bio?” Jean asked, pushing the phone towards the other man.

The inspector chuckled. “Sure, no problem.”

As he was doing so, Jean took another big sip of his Frap.

“There you are,” muttered Javert, sliding his device back to his date.

Jean picked it up and read his bio. He could only read the first line — Hello! I’m a papa bear looking for his honey — before slapping his forehead into his hand. “Lord above…” Jean said, starting to laugh.

“That opening line is extraordinarily cringeworthy,” Javert said against his coffee cup before taking a sip.

“It is kind of clever, I have to admit. It’s almost like something I would say.”

Javert raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Not in this context, though. Definitely not in this context.”

Jean skimmed the rest of the short paragraph. “This stuff is all true, though. I do enjoy those things, and that is what I suppose I’m looking for.”

“Now read our conversation,” Javert urged.

Nervously, he did so. Thankfully, the conversation was short enough that he could read it quickly and realize Cosette didn’t say anything completely scandalous on his behalf. He did blush quite a few times, though. It was much flirtier a conversation that he’d ever be able to pull off.

“This isn’t as bad as I’d feared,” Jean concluded. “She didn’t say anything… untoward.”

Javert laughed lightly. “Yes. And it’s a good thing, too. I might have said something inappropriate back to your poor daughter.”

Jean blushed yet again. He chose to ignore that comment. “Javert, is it true that no one on that site is as attractive to you as I am?” He asked quietly.

It was Javert’s turn to blush. “Well… Yes. It is true. But you must agree. You’ve seen the men on SilverSoulmates.”

“I haven’t, actually,” Jean reminded.

“Right. Well, they’re all ugly. Compared to those men, you look more like a catfishing attempt than a real man looking for love.”

“Was my profile technically a catfishing attempt?”

Javert chuckled. “I suppose it was, in a way. I knew there was something up with your profile. I knew my work as a police inspector would amount to something.”

Right. Jean had almost forgotten Javert was with the police. He found it much less of a concern now, though. He even managed a little laugh. “Indeed.”

“Well,” Javert put his phone back in his pocket. “Now you know what your daughter whipped up.”

“I do. I must admit, she did pretty well. I’m still going to give her a serious talk about it, though.”

Javert hummed. He was still so close to Jean. The older man leaned away as nonchalantly as he could to continue sipping his drink.

They sat in silence for a short while. Jean looked out the window. He didn't know where Javert was looking. He heard Javert tapping softly on the table. It could have been annoying, Jean thought, except it wasn’t, really. Every so often, the tapping would stop, and Javert would pick up his coffee and swallow. After he set the cup back on the table, the tapping would resume. Jean smiled a little to himself. They weren’t saying anything, but it was nice. It was actually far less awkward to be silent than it was when they were talking. He suspected Javert was an introvert at heart, just like him.

Soon enough, Jean had finished his drink. He looked at his watch. It was 3:34. That was a little hard to believe. He looked back at Javert; to his surprise, the other man was already looking at him.

Jean smirked. “Hey.”

“Hello,” Javert replied.

“I’m done. Are you?”

“Done what? With this date?”

“No, with your drink.”

“Oh. Yes, I am.”

“Are you done with the date too, though? I won’t be offended if you’d like to leave.”

“No. I want to stay with you longer.”

Jean smiled. He liked Javert’s straightforwardness. “I want to stay with you longer, as well.”

Javert flashed a bigger smile— one that showed his dimples — very briefly, before settling on a little smirk. “Good. I’m happy about that.”

“Would you like to, uh… Go for a walk with me?”

“Yes, I would like that very much.”

Chapter Text

Jean was ecstatic — almost giddy — when he got back to his place. He didn’t even take off his shoes after locking the door behind him. He just flopped on the couch with a sigh that turned into a giggle. Oh, he was so happy! He was so happy and he hadn’t been this kind of happy in so very long. He had a massive grin, and no matter how tired his face muscles were getting, he wasn’t about to stop smiling.

Javert. Javert, Javert, Javert… it was as if his mind was filled suddenly with glowing neon signs that read that name: Javert. Jean giggled again.

The date had gotten off to a rough start, of course, but as it went on, it got so much better. He and Javert had walked around the streets, having easy banter about nothing in particular. Sometimes they would be silent, too, and that was alright. It was more than alright. The silence was just as comfortable as the conversation.

Jean giggled yet again as he remembered how sometimes their arms would brush and bump as they walked next to each other, side by side. He had wanted to hold hands with the other man, but that would have been much too forward for a first date.

They had walked a long while. Javert said, as they sat down on a bench, that they were very near to his place. Javert had given him a look, then, that made Jean blush.

“You want me to… go home with you?”

Javert nodded, and Jean imagined the two of them seated on a couch, laughing together. What if Javert leaned over to put his arm around Jean’s shoulders? He feared he wouldn’t want to tell the man to stop. Now that would be way too far for the first date!

“I, uh… I think that’s a little… Maybe not yet.”

Javert looked disappointed. “Okay.”

“In fact, I should probably head home soon…”

The other man frowned. “Oh…”

“—But I had a great time!” Jean was quick to interject. “I really had fun today.”

Now Javert was smirking a bit. Jean much preferred this kind of expression, and was very glad he was able to bring it back. “Me too,” he answered.

Now was the big moment, which made Jean smile even wider as he recollected it.

Jean had been blushing as he fumbled through his words: “Would you, uh… I mean, I really would like to… Do this again. Like… Not the same stuff, but… I’d love to take you out again. On another date. If you want.”

Javert smiled big, showcasing those adorable dimples.  “Yes, of course. I’d love to.”

They’d exchanged phone numbers, then, and before they parted, they hugged! Jean closed his eyes as he recalled how wonderful it had felt to hold Javert’s body against  his own for those three seconds (he’d counted) until Jean felt he ought to let go. It was amazing.

He had been living in that feeling as he Ubered home, as he left said Uber a massive tip, and now as he was on the couch. He hadn’t even noticed that he had been hugging a pillow to his chest this whole time. He hugged it closer. What an amazing date it had been.

Suddenly, his phone vibrated — Javert? But no, he heard the Beyoncé ringtone as well and realized it was only Cosette. Wait, Cosette… He hadn’t called her yet! And it had been hours! He rushed to pull his phone out.

“Hello?” He answered.

“Papa!” Cosette practically yelled from the other end. “You’re alive! You realize it’s been more than FOUR HOURS since I dropped you off?”

“Really?! It’s been that long? It didn’t feel like it at all…”

“Well it has been! And I’ve been sitting here waiting for you to call me and tell me all about your date! How was it?!”

Jean giggled and held the pillow even tighter. “Oh my goodness, Coco, it was so great! I haven’t stopped grinning since Javert and I parted ways. But I miss him already…”

Cosette squealed on the other end, and Jean allowed himself to join in. “Yes! I knew it!” Cosette said. “Is there gonna be a second date?”

“Yes!” Jean answered excitedly, setting off another squeal.

“Oh my God, Papa! I’m so happy for you! Tell me everything!”

Jean quickly launched into indeed telling his daughter everything, except the part where he did exactly what he promised Cosette he wouldn’t do.

The whole time, he couldn’t help but wonder what Javert was up to. Was he thinking about Jean? Was he as happy as Jean was? He hoped so.

 

***

 

Javert was standing over the sink when he heard his phone buzz. He looked over, and it was a text from Jean. How nice. He had mentioned to Jean that he preferred texting over calling, and was glad that the other man cared to remember.

Hey, Javert! :), the text read, Just wanted to say hi. I had so much fun earlier :) (6:43 pm)

Javert realized that Cosette’s overuse of smiley faces while she pretended to be Jean was perhaps accurate. That was amusing, and drew a chuckle from Javert.

Hello, Jean. I had a lot of fun today, too. (6:44 pm)

What are you up to? (6:44 pm)

Javert looked into the sink at the 8-inch, flesh-coloured dildo he was currently washing.

Just doing some cleaning. (6:45 pm)

Very responsible of you! :) (6:46 pm)

I have been meaning to do some chores but I just can’t get my mind to focus (6:47 pm)

I’ve just been thinking about you :P (6:47 pm)

Javert smiled a bit at the screen. He didn’t really know what to say. He’d never been told something so sweet in his whole life, and he really hadn’t known he’d wanted to be talked to this way until it was happening. His fingers hovered confusedly over the keyboard. Javert turned off the sink and watched his dildo float around in the hot, soapy water.

I’ve been thinking about you, too. (6:49 pm)

:D (6:49 pm)

Javert exhaled loudly through his nose. He’d been thinking a lot of Jean, for sure. He’d been thinking of little else since he got home. It had been only Jean on his mind when he had been in bed with his toy, doing to himself what Jean wasn’t willing to do to him.

I hope you don’t mind that I told Cosette all about the date… :P (6:53 pm)

Javert chuckled to himself.

Of course not. Have you given her that stern chat yet? (6:54 pm)

I guess I kind of forgot to do that… (6:55 pm)

I’m still going to. I just haven’t yet. I’ve been in too good of a mood xD (6:55 pm)

Besides, I had her delete the profile. No one else will ever see that humiliating picture of me in drag! :P (6:56 pm)

Javert was thankful he had screenshotted the other photos— especially the shirtless one — from Jean’s profile. He wouldn’t be able to handle never seeing that one again. He also the implications of Valjean’s decision to delete the profile... The older man must have really liked Javert and felt he had no need to meet other men.

Ah, good! That was a questionable picture, for sure. (6:57 pm)

A long moment passed without a text from Jean, so Javert figured the conversation was over. He sighed and put his phone down, then pulled the plug on the sink. As the soapy water drained out, he rinsed his dildo, then dried it, then finally went to put it back with the rest of his collection, which he re-organized, just for fun.

He went to make himself a microwaved meal, but checked his phone a few minutes later out of impulse, and realized he did have more texts from Jean.

But all in all, I’m glad my daughter made that profile. Even though that was not a good thing of her to do, I really believe that everything happens for a reason, and she did that so I could meet you. And I’m super super happy that I met you. I know we’ve only known each other for a day, but you’re amazing and you’re special to me already, Javert. Today has been my favourite day in a while and I’m so looking forward to seeing you again. :) (7:03 pm)

I’m sorry, was that too much? (7:07 pm)

Javert? (7:10 pm)

Oh, no… his dallying had made Jean believe he’d done something wrong. Quickly, he typed a response.

Sorry, Jean. I stepped away from my phone to finish my cleaning. I didn’t notice you texted me until just now. No, it’s not too much. (7:14 pm)

I don’t believe in fate, but I feel similarly. I really feel connected to you as well, even though we’ve just had one date. Today was absolutely wonderful and I cannot wait to see you again. (7:15 pm)

Jean responded right away.

Oh, good! ‘:D (7:15 pm)

Sorry, I have anxiety and I tend to think the worst when things like that happen! Thanks for the reassurance. :) (7:16 pm)

It’s no problem, Jean. I’m sorry for worrying you. (7:16 pm)

No, it’s alright! Not your fault. :) (7:17 pm)

Anyway, I’m going to make dinner now. I’m so happy to know that you and I are on the same page with this. :D Bye Javert! Ttyl! :) (7:18 pm)

I’m happy, too. Talk to you later, Jean. (7:19 pm)

He could not believe that he was being this sappy. He was never sappy. Though, he realized, he had never had anything to be sappy about until now. All his previous attempts at romantic relationships — if they were even worthy of the terms “romantic” or “relationship” — had been pathetic. None of those men had been as attractive to Javert, both in appearance and in personality, as Jean.

There was just that small problem of him being so… pure. They had hardly made physical contact on the date, and every time Javert tried to move in closer to as much as touch the other’s hand, Jean would blush dark and pull away as if he’d been burned. It would have been quite adorable had Javert not wanted very much to be fucked. That gorgeous man thrusting into him would have been an ideal end to their date, and it was what he was hoping for from the beginning. However, as bad as Javert was at reading social cues, he gathered quite easily that Jean was disinterested in that. Between his shying away from physical touch and his ignoring of much of Javert’s flirtation, it was clear as day that Jean didn’t want to be intimate. Very well. For today, he was (almost) content with one of his toys and the image of Jean in his head.

He wondered if Jean would ever want to have sex with him. He sincerely hoped so. But it wouldn’t surprise him if Jean was too Catholic for such a thing. He sighed as he imagined how he would feel always going on dates with such an attractive person and yet never being quite able to get what he truly wanted. Wasn’t there a Greek myth about such a thing?

He pushed those thoughts away for the moment, realizing that wallowing in his frustration was likely to only make it worse.

Besides, Jean already had so much to offer. He was making Javert truly happy, somehow. Javert who had never been satisfied by anyone. Javert who was only happy at work or organizing things or looking at the stars. He was grateful for Jean. Was it selfish to want more?

Chapter Text

Javert was on his very brief lunch break. He sat alone in his office, having only emerged to use the microwave to warm his lunch before retreating to solitude. He had worked for the Paris police department long enough that the others knew by now not to talk to or bother Javert in any way unless absolutely essential, so it wasn’t necessary anymore to shut himself in his office for privacy. However, he disliked even hearing the conversations of his colleagues. Their jovial voices grated on his ears like the sound of nails on a chalkboard.

Javert checked his phone at some point, and was surprised to see a text. It was from Jean, of course — no one else would text him. Not that a message from Jean wasn’t both shocking and wonderful.

I’m not sure what time you wake up, but good morning, Javert! :) (7:46 am)

Ah, yes. He had already left for work at that point, and had not checked his phone since he put it in his pocket, powered off. There was another text, as well.

You’re busy, I presume? (11:03 am)

Well, yes. He had been. And would be again in a short twenty-eight minutes. He figured he ought to reply, anyway. He really did want to, to be perfectly honest.

Yes. I’m at work. I am on my lunch break, now. (12:17 pm)

Javert put his phone down and kept eating his leftover pasta, which was just a little too bland, even for his taste. He really hoped Cosette was right and Jean really wanted to cook for someone. Javert was atrocious in the kitchen.

Javert’s phone vibrated.

Work? On Sunday? :O (12:20 pm)

Right, with Jean being Catholic, he put a lot of weight on Sundays. To Javert, however, today was just any other day of the week.

Yes, well, someone has too. Criminals don’t take Sundays off, so neither can we. (12:22 pm)

Bless you, Javert. That’s very selfless of you. (12:23 pm)

Javert scoffed a little. It really wasn’t. But he figured he could let Jean believe he was some kind of Good Samaritan… at least for now.

Thank you. (12:24 pm)

Javert was able to eat a few more forkfuls of pasta before he got another notification.

Is Saturday your only day off? (12:26 pm)

It is, yes. (12:27 pm)

That’s really too bad :( (12:28 pm)

How so? (12:28 pm)

I would have loved to take you out sometime this week. (12:29 pm)

Javert blushed at this message. He had never wished for more than one day off – in fact, he often wished he had no day off at all – but now that there was something else in his life to look forward to besides work, he saw he benefit in another day to himself.

Ah. Well, there’s this Saturday. (12:31 pm)

I know, but that’s so far from now! Especially as an old retiree with nothing much to do but sit around being lonely. (12:32 pm)

I don’t mean to guilt you, by the way. (12:32 pm)

It’s very admirable of you to work so much, and I’m selfish to wish that you had another day off just so I could see you. (12:34 pm)

I’d be very happy to see you on Saturday, Javert. :) (12:35 pm)

Javert watched this train of messages, feeling quite a few things at once. His thumbs hovered with uncertainty over the keyboard.

I’d be happy to see you then, too. It does seem quite far away, though, I agree. (12:37 pm)

Perhaps we could see each other on an evening? I get off work at 6:00 every day. (12:38 pm)

There was a moment with no reply.

I don’t know…Are you sure we ought to be going on dates at night? (12:41 pm)

Javert raised an eyebrow at his phone.

Why not? What’s wrong with that? (12:42 pm)

It just seems… I don’t know. Like it’s too early for that, maybe? Like we might get into trouble or something. (12:43 pm)

Get into trouble? We’re adults, Jean. I think we can keep ourselves out of trouble, whatever you mean by that. (12:45 pm)

I guess you’re right. We are adults. What was I thinking? XD (12:46 pm)

Javert chuckled at his phone.

I don’t know what you were thinking. I appreciate your concern for us, though. Wouldn’t want either of us to break our curfews. (12:47 pm)

Haha, most definitely not! :P (12:48 pm)

If we stay out too late, our parents will never let us see each other again, and we’ll have to sneak out to meet!!! (12:49 pm)

Javert laughed aloud at the text, grinning at his phone screen. He was trying to think of a witty reply when he heard a knock at his door, and then the door opening.

“Excuse me, Inspector?” came the quiet voice of a young officer.

Javert wiped the smile off his face as swiftly as he could. Oh… it was almost five minutes past the end of his lunch break. He had really lost track of time, he realized, fighting down a blush.

“Yes, Sergeant?” Javert replied in his most authoritative tone.

“I was told to inform you that there has been a development with the Doucet-Malenfant case…”

Javert was excited by the news, perking up instantly. “Right, of course!” He stood up from his desk chair, but looked down to his phone and remembered how Jean had worried the last time Javert had not responded for a while. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”

“Okay,” the sergeant muttered, a little confused. Javert practically never hesitated before jumping to a case, nor did he ever smile or laugh. However, the young man knew not to question his superiors, especially not this superior. He stepped out of the way.

Javert quickly looked down at his phone.

Yes, indeed! (12:52 pm)

I’m sorry to cut this short, but I have to get back to work. I’ll talk to you later, Jean. (12:53 pm)

As soon as he sent the text, Javert tossed his phone down to his desk and rushed out of his office. He would not leave that sergeant any more time to question what he had just seen.

 

***

 

Jean frowned at that last text from Javert. Of course it was going to happen soon, but he still hoped that somehow, Javert’s lunch break would be extended… He sighed.

Okay! Have a good afternoon, Javert. :) (12:54 pm)

Or, since you’ll be reading this after work, I hope you had a good afternoon! :P (12:55 pm)

Jean put his phone down on the table and stared at the screen— at his text conversation with Javert— until the phone automatically powered off, at which point he sighed again. He looked at the book next to his phone. He had been reading it until Javert had texted him. It was a romance novel; one involving two men, at that. Cosette had given it to him a week ago, having read it and loved it herself. Jean was about halfway into it. It was about a middle-aged schoolteacher named Xavier and the single father — Marc— of a boy in Xavier’s class. The character of Marc was warm-hearted and very caring towards his young son, but a little awkward… Jean had kind of seen himself in this character the whole time. However, up until that day, the strict, mysterious Xavier had had no real-life equivalent for Jean… But now, Jean couldn’t help but see Xavier as quite a bit like Javert. The fictional teacher and the real-life policeman had similar personalities and quirks; they were both introverted and rule-oriented, with hard edges and a hidden soft side. However, Xavier was a tad too self-centred and quite a bit too sociable to be Javert… It didn’t matter too much, though. Jean could brush off the lines of dialogue that didn’t seem like Javert just as easily as he could change his mental image of Xavier. In the book, Xavier was described as being an average-height, muscular, pale, bald man; yet, in Jean’s mind, he appeared as a tall, thin, long-haired Romani.

And thus Jean had built this little fantasy… It was even more intense when, earlier that day, Jean read the first kiss between Marc and Xavier. He recalled the passage:

“It’s been very pleasant meeting with you,” Xavier said in his customary low tone. Marc shivered at how that voice positively dripped with masculinity.

“It certainly has been,” Marc replied, his tone matching the other’s manliness. He stood slowly, smiling a little at the teacher. Xavier was watching him intently with his green-hued eyes. Marc had to swallow the tension in his throat and lick his lips.

He started to make his way out of the sexually-charged office bursting with testosterone and masculine energy, when he heard a voice:

“Wait…” It was Xavier who spoke. Marc paused by the door.

Xavier was suddenly right behind Marc. Marc could feel the other man’s warmth and energy. He swallowed down a little moan.

“What?” He managed to ask.

Xavier came between Marc and the door. “I forgot to ask you for something.”

“What do you need, Xavier?” He asked, blushing.

“A kiss,” he answered bluntly.

Marc’s eyes widened. “Like… the chocolate?”

Xavier rolled his emerald orbs. “No. I want you to kiss me, Marc. Your lips to mine.”

Marc stared at the plump lips in question. They looked very kissable. He ran his tongue over his own, thinner lips to wet them until they were suitable to kiss Xavier with. He took a deep breath. “Okay.”

Marc leaned forward and touched his lips to Xavier’s. He had never felt anything so masculine and wonderful in his whole life. Fireworks went off in his head and in his heart. His tongue danced with Xavier’s, their tongues battling for dominance, which Marc eventually won. Xavier moaned loudly and masculinely as he willingly gave up control. Marc moaned in return, just as loudly and desperately…

It was certainly not the best writing Jean had ever come across. In fact, it was atrocious. The author cared far too much about asserting both characters’ masculinity and far too little about anything else. Jean had no idea how Cosette enjoyed books like this one. But, despite the clunky and honestly cringeworthy writing, the passage made him practically shiver with delight as he imagined the same scene between him and Javert.

It was far too early, he thought, to be imagining such a thing with Javert. Even in the romance novel, Xavier and Marc had known each other for three months before their first kiss. Jean was suddenly worried about moving too fast. What if Javert thought so too?

Jean decided to put the book away. He really didn’t want to accidentally start imagining anything else happening between himself and the other man. He decided, furthermore, that he would try to leave the pace-setting up to Javert. He wouldn’t say anything that was further than something Javert had already said. He wouldn’t go deeper into planning their rendez-vous unless Javert asked. He would tread carefully. If he could help it, he would even allow Javert to text first. Yes, Jean figured Javert would appreciate that.

 

***

 

Javert got home a little after 11:30 that night. Work had kept him. It turned out the case had progressed much faster than anyone had expected, and had led to the arrest of three gang members. He was quite exhausted by the time he returned to his apartment, and was looking forward to a good night’s rest…

But there was something else, he realized with excitement. Or, more accurately, someone else. There was Jean. Javert wondered if Jean had texted him since lunchtime… perhaps the other man had sent a goodnight text?

Javert scrambled to get his phone from his bag. There were two texts from Jean:

Okay! Have a good afternoon, Javert. :) (12:54 pm)

Or, since you’ll be reading this after work, I hope you had a good afternoon! :P (12:55 pm)

And nothing after that. Javert couldn’t deny that he was a little disappointed. He wondered why Jean hadn’t said anything since then… After all, their conversation had been going swimmingly. Maybe Jean had forgotten? Or maybe… maybe he’d had enough of Javert for the day. The inspector frowned further. That wouldn’t be hard to believe.

Jean likely didn’t want to text all day, which was reasonable. Javert was greedy for wanting anything more. He plugged his phone in to charge and went to bed, trying not to think anything of it.

He still couldn’t shake the hope that he would wake to a text from Jean.

 

***

 

Jean was still in bed when he checked his phone for the first time that morning. And thus he started his day off on a disappointing foot: no text from Javert. He frowned at the screen. Javert hadn’t texted him yesterday afternoon, either, and that had already been bad enough.

The lack of correspondence made Jean worry– and worry was what he did best. Part of him started to wonder if Javert was alright. His line of work was a dangerous one, after all… Had something happened to him on the job?

Realistically, it was a lot more likely that Javert simply didn’t have the chance to send him a message… or that he didn’t want to.

Valjean had done some reading online regarding the topic, and sources were pretty much unanimous that, while two people are in the stage of seeing each other, they should not be texting each other constantly. That could put unnecessary pressure on the budding relationship. In fact, based on expert recommendations, Valjean had already been bothering Javert too much. It was just as he’d feared earlier…

The rational explanation was that Javert didn’t want to rush this by texting Jean too often. That was reasonable. And the reasonable thing for Jean to do was to wait for Javert to initiate another conversation.

Still, Jean’s day went by slowly and agonizingly, with him checking his phone far more often than he ought to have been. Nothing. The whole day, nothing.

Jean figured he had to have been doing something wrong, for Javert to ignore him for such a long time. But what was it? He honestly had no idea. He just kept waiting on a text message that seemed less and less likely as time passed.

 

***

 

Javert figured he had to have been doing something wrong, for Jean to ignore him for such a long time. But what was it? He honestly had no idea. He just kept waiting on a text message that seemed less and less likely as time passed.

Javert was home from work. It was 5:42 pm. It had been exactly twenty-eight hours and forty-seven minutes since Jean had last texted him. The numbers just weren’t adding up.

Did Jean suddenly not like Javert anymore? Did he finally realize that Javert was a strange-looking and bitter old man and he could do so, so much better? That wouldn’t be surprising. What was surprising was how long it had taken Jean to come to this inevitable conclusion. Or, worse yet, had Jean somehow realized the extent of what Javert truly wanted? That the very existence of his desires was in direct opposition to Jean’s moral code?

Javert spent the evening slumped in an armchair pondering the situation in which he had found himself. What could he do about it? Was there anything to do about it? He opened his text conversation with Jean and typed a message:

Hello, Jean. It’s been a few days. How have you been?

He scowled at the text. It seemed too desperate, too forward, too… Just not right. He promptly deleted it, placed his phone down, and got out of his chair. This was pathetic. He had to do something to distract himself.


***


Jean woke up the next morning to, yet again, no word from Javert. At this point, it was almost driving him to a panic.

Did Javert suddenly not like Jean anymore? Did he finally realize that Jean was a strange-looking and eccentric old man and he could do so, so much better? That wouldn’t be surprising. What was surprising was how long it had taken Javert to come to this inevitable conclusion. Or, worse yet, had Javert somehow realized who Jean truly was? That his very existence was in direct opposition to Javert’s moral code?

Javert spent the morning stuck in bed, fretting over the situation in which he had found himself. What could he do about it? Was there anything to do about it? He opened his text conversation with Javert and typed a message:

Hi, Javert! :) It’s been a few days. How’ve you been?

He frowned at the text. It seemed too desperate, too forward, too… Just not right. He promptly deleted it, placed his phone down, and got out of bed. This was unbecoming. He had to go about his day and distract himself.

 

***

It was 8:02 pm. It had been fifty-five hours and seven minutes since Jean had last texted. Javert wished he was over it, but he was nowhere near. He felt upset and confused and disappointed and heartbroken a lot more emotions he couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt in such magnitudes. He almost wished Jean had sent him a text to confess that this was a horrible mistake and that he had no interest in Javert, or whatever it was that he felt. It would have at least brought closure. Pain, but closure. Instead, Javert had no idea what happened or what went wrong or what exactly had tipped Jean over the brink.


Tuesday nights were when Javert went grocery shopping. The routine of doing something familiar was nice. It didn’t completely assuage his grief, but it took the edge off. The discomfort of carrying heavy bags of cheap food and various other household necessities out of the grocery store was a welcome change from a similar ache in his heart.

He was almost succeeding in putting Jean out of his mind, so it was irritating when he walked out of the grocery store and made it down the block only to see Jean himself.

Wait.

Javert stopped walking abruptly. Javert’s eyes settled on the other man, looking him up and down. It was dark out, but the streetlights provided enough like that Javert could confirm: it was indeed Jean. And he was standing still as well, looking back at Javert with a wide-eyed expression of shock.

“Jean,” Javert said, keeping his voice even.

“Javert!” the man replied. He sounded and looked flustered. “How… How are you?”

Javert nodded. Jean wasn’t running away… “I’m alright, and you?”

“Good, good,” the older man replied. He shifted his weight awkwardly. “What are you up to?”

“Just picked up some groceries,” Javert said, cocking his head towards the bags in his hands. “And now I’m heading home.”

“Ah.”

Javert looked into Jean’s eyes. The other man looked just as nervous as he had when they first met in that Starbucks. “And you? What brings you here?”

The other man shrugged. “Just taking a walk.”

Javert nodded. He stared down the man in front of him and he couldn’t keep quiet anymore.

“So? Are you going to explain yourself?” Javert asked.

Jean’s eyes widened. “Wh-- Pardon?”

“You know what I mean, Jean. Why did you ignore me for two days?”

Jean’s mouth opened and closed as he evidently searched for an answer. “I wasn’t ignoring you; I was waiting for you to text me!”

“... What?” Javert paused. “Why? I was waiting for you to text me!”

The older man’s eyes narrowed. “But… I was the last one to text you. I figured I would let you start the next conversation.”

“But you initiated all the conversations up until then. It’s only logical that you’d keep doing the same.”

“I felt like I was texting you too often…”

“Ah. You realized you didn’t actually want to talk to me several times a day?”

“No, that’s not it at all!” Jean said quickly. “I thought that you wouldn’t want to talk to me that often… I didn’t want to put pressure on you.”

“What on Earth made you think that?” Javert scoffed. “I always answered you.”

“Well, I read online that people shouldn’t text too much when they’re just seeing each other, because it can rush the relationship too much. I didn’t want to do that.”

If Javert’s hands had been free, he would have pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. “You… read online…? And you decided to follow this advice instead of… asking me directly?”

Jean looked away. “Well, when you put it like that…”

Javert rolled his eyes. “Were were in a digital Mexican standoff because of something you read online.”

“Yes… But you could have texted me as just as easily!”

"I truly thought you wanted nothing to do with me anymore.”

“I thought the same about you!”

“Well, I really don’t feel that way. I would like to keep talking to you.”

“I’d like, that, too.”

Javert shook his head, chuckling. “We’re a pair of dolts, aren’t we?”

Jean smirked. “Yes, I suppose we are.”

The older man’s gaze had, at some point, drifted to his feet. He took this opportunity to meet Javert’s eyes again. “I’m sorry for what happened, Javert.”

“As am I,” he replied.

“Maybe I shouldn’t get my dating advice from Cosmo articles…”

Javert laughed. “Good Lord, Jean. That’s ridiculous. You’re ridiculous.”

“Well, I…” Jean rubbed the back of his neck. “Yes. I’ll admit that. But I’m done being ridiculous.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Javert said.

After a moment, Javert remembered how heavy his grocery bags were. “I’m sorry, Jean, but I really ought to get home. I don’t think I can stand here holding these for much longer.”

Valjean looked down at Javert’s cargo. “Oh, dear! Those look very heavy!” he exclaimed. “Here, why don’t I take those for you? I can walk with you to your apartment.”

Javert shook his head. “No, Jean, you don’t have to do that.” He quickly realized how Jean was likely to interpret this statement. “You can accompany me to my apartment if you’d like, but you don’t need to carry my things.”

“Please, it’s the least I can do…” Jean reached out and grabbed the handles of both of Javert’s reusable cloth grocery bags.

Javert was just about to protest, but the selfishness brought on by his aching arms made him give in. Jean took the bags from him, easily bearing the load. Relief washed over Javert and he stretched his arms.

“Thank you,” he muttered.

“It’s no problem, Javert,” Jean replied with a bright smile.

Ah, yes, there was the added benefit of having Jean carry his groceries; he saw Jean’s arm muscles bulge out against the sleeves of his long-sleeved shirt. It was quite the treat.

Javert finally remembered to start walking towards his apartment. Jean followed half a step behind him to his left.

“So, how have the last couple days been for you, Javert?” Jean asked.

“Sunday afternoon was quite exciting; solved a case, arrested a few gang members. I’ll spare you the details; I’m technically not allowed to tell you much about it, anyway. Yesterday and today were uneventful and rather long.”

“Well, solving a case sounds like something to be proud of, congratulations!”

“It’s not as glamorous as it is in the movies, Jean. But thank you anyway.”

Jean chuckled a little. “So what does a police inspector do on slow days?”

“Paperwork,” Javert grumbled.

“Ah. That isn’t fun, no.”

“How about you? What have you been doing these past few days?” Javert asked.

“Nothing much. Just the usual kind of thing. Working out, gardening, reading; all that.”

“Of course,” Javert muttered. “Is it boring, being retired?”

Jean shrugged. “Occasionally. But I have many hobbies to keep me occupied. Why do you ask?”

“Just wondering.”

“Are you planning on retiring soon, Javert?”

The inspector scoffed. “On my salary? I’ll be working from beyond the grave.”

“Really? I thought your rank would pay quite well.”

“It pays decently. But my parents’... estate has to be taken into account.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. They gifted me with an ungodly amount of money. In debt.”

“...Oh. That’s very unfortunate.”

“There’s no use feeling sorry for myself. It is what it is,” Javert said; words he had told himself many a time.

There was a silence, then. It wasn’t quite uncomfortable, but it wasn’t exactly pleasant, either. It seemed there was something left unsaid, and yet saying  something didn’t seem right, either. The two men walked the few remaining minutes without talking, only breaking the silence one they arrived at Javert’s apartment building.

“Here we are,” Javert announced quietly and slowed to a stop.

Jean stopped walking as well and looked up at the unimpressive building. Javert, in turn, looked at Jean. The glow of the streetlights shone off his white hair and beard, leaving an almost ethereal glow. He didn’t want to let Jean go just yet. Especially not after the last few days.

“Do you have anything planned for the rest of the evening, Jean?” He tried.

“Well, after this walk I was going to go home and relax, probably read a little,” Jean answered.

Did Jean not want to stay here, or did he really not understand Javert’s subtext? “Ah. I was going to ask if you would like to come in with me.”

Maybe it was just the lighting, but it really looked like Jean was blushing. “Oh, I don’t want to impose…”

“You wouldn’t be imposing. I was the one who offered.”

Jean chewed on his lower lip. “I… I suppose that’s true, but…”

“But a Cosmopolitan article told you not to go over to a boy’s house? Is that it?”

Jean was definitely blushing now. “Uh, well… Those articles have a point, though! I wouldn’t want to rush into things with you. As much as I want to accept, I ought to have some self control.”

Javert sighed. “Jean, if you want to decline, that’s your right. But don’t say no just because you’re worried about rushing things . That’s a load of bullshit.”

“Javert, there’s no need to curse!”

The Inspector nodded, clenching and unclenching his jaw. “We’re too old to be playing by these silly rules.”

Something seemed to click for Jean, then. He laughed a little. “You’re right. Gosh, I’m usually not this much of a fool, I swear. Believe it or not, I’m a functioning adult in other aspects of life. You’ve turned me into some kind of lovesick idiot.”

Javert grinned. “Really?”

“Really. But, as I said earlier, I’m done being ridiculous.”

“You did say that, yes.”

Jean stood up straighter, cleared his throat. “I would love to come in with you for a while, Javert.”

The Inspector smiled even wider. He wasn’t sure he’d ever heard sweeter words.

 

Chapter Text

It was an hour later, approximately. Maybe more. Jean didn’t really have any clue. It didn’t matter one bit.

The two men were sitting on Javert’s ugly old couch, each with a half-finished glass of wine in hand. Jean didn’t drink often at all, and at first he had refused Javert’s offer, but he figured a glass or two hurt. They weren’t drunk; they weren’t even tipsy. But the presence of alcohol was known to ease conversation. And it had worked.

“...And it gets worse,” Javert said. “I got home and checked my phone and I saw he’d texted me several times.”

“Oh no,” Jean replied.

“Yeah. It was just a bunch texts like ‘why did you leave, Javert?’ ‘I thought it was going so well!’ ‘Please give me another chance!’ That kind of thing.”

Jean laughed. “Good grief. How desperate.”

“But I guess he couldn’t handle me not texting him back within twenty minutes. The last text Bruno sent me was ‘fuck you, you gypsy bitch; you’re ugly anyways’.”

Jean felt his jaw drop in anger and disbelief. “He did not!”

Javert laughed. “He certainly did.”

“What a– a… Horrible thing to say! That’s just simply awful!”

“It was funny to me, Jean. Really,” Javert assured him.

“How can that be funny? It was racist, incredibly rude and totally uncalled for!”

“It was funny because of the dichotomy between that text and all the other ones.”

“I suppose. Did you block him afterwards?”

“Yes. His number and his profile. And I reported the profile for using misleading profile photos.”

Jean nodded. “Good. I’m glad. What he said to you was deeply hurtful.”

“It wasn’t really. That was his intention, but it really didn’t work.”

Jean smiled a little. “That’s good. He stooped really low, trying to insult your race. And I’m glad you don’t think you’re ugly just because some disgusting stranger told you so.”

Javert chuckled, swirling his wine around in its glass. “You’re right. I think I’m ugly because I have eyes.”

Jean was appalled by what he heard. “What?! Javert, don’t say that!”

“It’s the simple truth, Jean. It doesn’t hurt anymore. I’ve long accepted it.”

The older man shook his head in disbelief. He placed his glass down on the coffee table. “No, Javert. It’s not true at all. You’re… not in the least bit ugly.”

Javert scoffed. “You think?”

“No, I know. You’re very handsome. Why is it that so many attractive people think they’re ugly? Cosette was the same way until she was in her late teens, at which point she finally realized she’s beautiful.”

“Jean, the difference here is that your daughter is actually beautiful. I’m downright freakish in appearance.”

Jean shook his head yet again. “No. No, that’s… No. That’s a load of garbage, Javert. I’m sure deep down inside you know you’re extremely handsome.”

Javert snorted. “Nope. Honestly, Jean, all you need to do to prove yourself wrong is to compare your looks to mine.”

“Okay. I’m a fairly average-looking old man. You’re gorgeous.”

Javert’s eyes were wide as saucers. “... What did you just say you were?”

“A fairly average-looking old man?” Jean repeated.

“What the fuck?” Javert muttered.

“Hey, watch your–“ Jean started, but was quickly interrupted:

“–See, your perception of attractiveness, at least for men, is completely fucked up. You’re more attractive than most men half your age, Jean.”

“Right, well, thank you, but–“

“–But what?” Javert cut him off. “It’s the truth.”

“Is it? The thing is, Javert, I used to be a very good-looking young man. And then I aged.”

“And became a very good-looking older man,” Javert finished for him.

“I’m not sure about that… I never thought I aged very well. I got a lot of freckles and wrinkles.”

“And those are attractive.”

Jean felt himself blushing. “You’re such a flatterer, Javert.”

Javert shrugged and sipped his wine. “Again, I’m simply telling you the truth.”

“But anyway…” Jean said, realizing they had strayed from the topic of Javert. “About you. You’re attractive, too.”

“No, I’m–“

“Yes,” Jean said, taking his turn to interrupt the other man. “You are. You have stunning eyes and very nice hair. And your facial features are attractive, too. You have a lovely strong jawline.”

Javert raised his eyebrows. “Do I, now?”

“And you have the most beautiful smile, Javert.”

Javert guffawed. “That’s not true. I have a hideous smile. My own mother used to tell me to smile with my mouth closed because she could see my gums too much.”

Jean couldn’t believe what he heard. “That’s– My goodness, Javert, that’s awful! I’m so sorry…”

“She was right, though. She was wrong about many things, but she was right about that.”

“But you have dimples when you smile, Javert. And those are very sweet.”

“I… Have dimples? I assumed I just had really deep wrinkles.”

Jean laughed. “Of course that’s what you thought. But it’s true; when you smile– when you really smile– you have dimples. And they’re cute.”

“I don’t believe it.”

“Why not? Don’t you have a picture where you can see them?”

“No, why would I?”

Jean frowned a little. That was… a bit sad, actually. “Well, I’ll have to take one to show you.” Jean pulled his phone out of his pocket.

“Oh, please, don’t do that…” Javert said.

“It’ll just be to show you your adorable dimples.”

“No, I hate having my picture taken…”

Jean cocked his head to the side. “Please, Javert? I’ll delete it immediately, if that’s what you want. I just want to show you what you look like smiling. That’s all.”

Javert sighed. “Fine.” He put his wine glass on the table and laced his fingers over his lap. “Do your worst.”

Jean smiled and opened the camera app on his phone. He leaned back until he found a halfway decent angle. “Okay… Say cheese!”

Javert smiled a tiny bit.

“More!”

Javert smiled more. It looked forced as anything, but it would do.

“Okay…” Jean pressed where he believed the capture button to be, but the frame shape changed instead. “Wait, what? What button did I press?”

“I don’t know, what button did you press, Jean?” Javert said through teeth clenched in a fake smile.

“Wait, back, back…” He said to himself, trying to find what he’d done wrong before Javert could move. “There!” He pressed a button, and was greeted with a close up image of his own face. “Oh shoot, that’s my face! Why is my face on my phone? Hello?”

Javert burst out laughing. Somehow, Jean managed to turn the camera back to rear-facing and press the correct button. The shutter sound went off, confirming his success.

“There we go!”

He opened the photo gallery to take a look at the picture. It wasn’t very good; it was blurry from movement, and Javert wasn’t facing the camera, but looking to the side. However, Javert was genuinely smiling, and even Javert would agree that there were dimples (well, one dimple) visible.

“Ah-ha!” Jean exclaimed, sitting up. “I have evidence!” He scooted closer to Javert, who leaned towards him in turn. He proudly showed the image to the other man.

“There! Dimples! What say you to that, Inspector?” he asked smugly.

“Well,” Javert replied. “I suppose I do have dimples. But I still look absolutely hideous,” he said, pushing Jean’s phone away.

Jean sighed in exasperation, placing his phone on the coffee table. “You’re exhausting.”

“No, you’re exhausting,” Javert countered.

“You need an attitude check.”

“You need an eyesight check.”

Jean laughed at Javert’s admittedly funny quip. “My eyes work just fine, I assure you. You’re just stubborn.”

“The first true thing you’ve said about me for a while,” Javert said.

“What about the dimples thing?” Jean asked, crossing his arms.

“Okay, I’ll give you that one too.”

“What if I simply put it thus: I believe that very attractive. You can’t say that isn’t true.”

Javert crossed his arms, mirroring Jean. “You’re right. I can’t. But I can say that I believe, in turn, that you’re a complete fool for thinking that.”

Jean cocked his head to the side. “Well, you are entitled to your belief.”

“As are you. No matter how wrong it is.”

Jean shook his head, smiling wistfully. “Will you at least indulge this fool a little longer?”

“In what way?”

“May I tell you again how handsome you are?”

Javert rolled his eyes, but Jean still caught his blush. “If you must.”

Jean’s smile widened and he moved yet closer to the other man, leaning on his thighs. “Wonderful. Javert, you are… uniquely attractive. I have never seen a man who has captivated me quite like you have. Your eyes are the most gorgeous shade of blue I have ever seen. I like how your jaw and your cheekbones are so pronounced. Your hair is beautiful.” It must have been the wine, Jean thought, that made him able to speak like this. It wasn’t exactly poetic, but the words he spoke flowed together with more grace than he was expecting. He elected to continue. “Your skin is… Beautiful. I’ve run out of synonyms.”

Javert chuckled. “Shall I get you a thesaurus?”

“No, I’ll manage,” Jean dismissed. “Your smile is beautiful, and so are your dimples, and so are your lips and… And everything. I just really think you’re quite good-looking, Javert. You’re honestly just… very handsome.”

Javert was smiling bashfully. “Oh… well. Thank you, Jean.”

“You’re most welcome,” he replied with a little nod. “It’s my pleasure.”

“It seems to me, though, that I am but a floating head in your mind,” the younger man said.

Jean’s eyebrows pulled together and he pursed his lips. “What do you mean by that?”

“You have mentioned nothing about my body. Do you like my body as well, Jean?” Javert asked this with a mock innocence that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

Jean blushed furiously. He did like Javert’s body. Far too much. He had, in fact, been trying desperately to ignore just how much he liked Javert’s body. “I, uh… Yes. It’s also… good.”

Javert cocked his head to the side. “Is it? Care to elaborate?”

Jean swallowed. Goodness, he’d really backed himself into a corner here. “Um… It’s… Well, you have… You have good proportions.”

“Do I, now?” Javert asked, his typically deep voice now scarcely higher than a growl.

Jean was tomato red. “Uh…” He cleared his throat. “Yeah. You do.”

Javert smirked and uncrossed his arms, opening his posture. “I’m very curious as to what you mean, Jean. Please, do continue.”

Jean had no idea any voice could sound so sinful. He shuddered. “Javert, I– I’d rather not– I’d rather not talk about this. I feel like this is going somewhere that… I’m not comfortable with.”

Javert looked disappointed. The bright look in his eye was extinguished. He nodded. “Alright, Jean. I understand.”

Jean nodded back. “I’m sorry, I–“

“–Don’t be sorry. I was very brash. I ought to apologize for that.”

“It’s alright, Javert. Thanks for your understanding.”

He nodded once in affirmation, staying silent.

Jean had nothing to say, either. The danger had been avoided, but the possibility of what could have been still hung heavy in the air.

He hadn’t felt this kind of tension since he was a much younger man, and even then, it had been vastly different. In his head, he asked the Lord for forgiveness.

“By the way, Jean… Thank you for your kind words,” Javert said softly. “Even though I may not agree with or understand how you view me. I appreciate what you said.”

Jean smiled. “You’re most welcome. You deserve to hear those kinds of words.”

The younger man was smiling a little. He looked down, seemingly at Jean’s chest. “As do you. You are most definitely not average-looking. Or average in any respect.”

“Oh… Thank you.”

Javert was still looking at him funny, biting his lip a little.

“What is it, Javert?”

“I would like to, uh… May I… cuddle with you?” Javert asked awkwardly.

Jean blushed. He had been blushing an awful lot. “Uh…” He really did like the idea of cuddling, especially with Javert. “Yes, I don’t see why not.”

Javert nodded and moved closer.

Jean felt Javert’s body touch his. He flushed hot at the sensation. Soon enough, the other man had pressed himself to Jean, his head resting on Jean’s shoulder. At this, he couldn’t help but smile. It was so new, but so right. He let his head fall on Javert, and he snuck an arm around Javert’s torso. After a couple more little adjustments from the both of them, they had found the perfect position. It was so very comfortable like this that Jean found himself wishing to somehow hold Javert even closer.

A couple minutes later, Javert moved his head, shaking Jean out of his trancelike state. Jean looked at the other man, wordlessly demanding an answer. As if in reply, Javert placed a tentative hand on Jean’s beaded cheek. The touch was gentle, questioning.

“May I?” Javert asked softly.

“May you what?"

“Kiss you,” he replied.

Jean’s eyes widened. “Uh…”

Javert waited patiently for a reply. He looked strikingly calm. Jean glanced down at Javert’s lips and they looked so darn appealing… Was it too soon to kiss? Did it even matter?

“Yeah,” Jean muttered.

Javert smiled a tiny bit. He leaned forward more and Jean realized he was dreadfully unprepared; he hadn’t kissed anyone in 30, 40… forty-something years… Sixty-five minus twenty-one made-

Oh, dear, Javert’s lips were touching his and he wasn’t ready at all, he was doing nothing and this was very bad. He made a sharp little noise, tapping Javert’s shoulder insistently.

Javert pulled back immediately, looking confused. “What? Change your mind?"

“No, I… I was doing math in my head.”

“You were doing what, now?”

“Math,” Jean repeated. “I found the answer, though. It’s forty-forty.”

Javert nodded. “...Alright, then. Do you have any other calculations you need to solve, or can we get back to kissing?”

“No, I’m done.” Jean ran his hand through his own hair. “I just… Goodness, Javert, I haven’t kissed anyone in forty-four years!”

Javert’s eyes widened. “Oh. That’s… quite a long time.”

“Yeah,” Jean muttered.

“And you don’t want to break your streak?”

“No, that’s not it at all… I just don’t know what I’m doing.”

“You think I know what I’m doing?” Javert asked.

“Yeah, you seem to.”

“Well, I haven’t a clue,” Javert admitted sharply.

“Oh…”

“Now, if you don’t mind, I’d really like to be kissed,” Javert said.

Jean chuckled. “Right. And no math this time.”

He took a breath and leaned forward, tilting his head slightly to the side. He closed his eyes. Jean felt his nose bump against Javert’s and he adjusted his angle. Then his lips found the other’s properly, and it was… it was lovely, really. He broke the kiss after a moment, only to go in again for more. He tried to dig up foggy memories of what to do when kissing, tried to recall what exactly it was that made several people call him an excellent kisser. He couldn’t really remember. But this was so far removed from all that nonsense, anyway; it was like a completely new experience.

Gradually, their kisses became longer, the quiet sounds of their lips separating getting less frequent. Jean tried a hand on what he approximated to be Javert’s waist. His eyes were closed, so he couldn’t be sure… Yes, that felt like a waist.

Javert’s tongue swiped against his lower lip, and that seemed to ignite something in Jean. He hummed lowly and pressed his tongue forward. From there on in, it was coming naturally to him. His arms slid to better hold Javert close, and he kissed with more passion.

It was really, really good. He wouldn’t have described the whole endeavour as particularly masculine, nor the gentle motion of their tongues as a “battle for dominance”. That poorly-written book he’d been reading was even worse than he’d previously thought. Xavier and Marc’s first kiss had nothing on what was going on now. The only thing Jean felt was accurate was the idea of fireworks going off inside him; he certainly felt something along those lines.

He eventually pulled away, finishing with a long, close-mouthed kiss. Jean opened his eyes to find Javert in some kind of trance-like state.

“Good God, Jean…” he muttered. “That was amazing.”

Jean nodded. He elected to ignore Javert’s use of the Lord’s name. “It… It was.”

Javert finally blinked his eyes open. “You’re really good at that, when you’re not doing math.”

Jean chuckled. “Thank you. You’re good at it, too.”

“I’d like to kiss more,” Javert said.

“I would, as well,” Jean replied. He leaned in again and kissed Javert’s cheek lightly.

The other man laughed a little. “Your beard tickles.”

Jean smiled. “Does it?” He continued to kiss Javert’s cheek and over his jaw.

Javert was practically giggling. “Jean–“

He grinned wider and rubbed the side of his face down Javert’s neck. The other man’s laughing continued, to his delight. Jean kissed Javert’s neck a little and slid back up to his cheek. He hugged Javert close.

“Goodness, I love your laugh,” Jean muttered.

Javert hummed in reply.

It wasn’t long before they began kissing again. It was as if they couldn’t help it. They probably couldn’t.

Chapter Text

Javert let out a breathy moan, his thighs spreading apart almost of their own volition. Glassy-eyed, he stared at the ceiling of his bedroom.

He was alone, but damn him if he couldn’t pretend that the large and lifeless dildo he was riding was Jean’s cock. It was so easy to want sex with Jean-- and in turn, to imagine it. When they had cuddled and kissed earlier that evening, Jean had been so soft and gentle. Making love to him would be the same, Javert surmised: affectionate, loving, tender.

With how focused he was, Javert could almost feel Jean lightly kissing his back and shoulders, that soft beard tickling his bare skin. He could easily imagine Jean running his warm, calloused hands over Javert’s body, comforting but possessive. Javert whimpered with need.

He wondered what sounds Jean might make. Would he moan loudly and lustfully into Javert’s ear? Would he try his best to remain silent and only let out the occasional quiet gasp? What would Jean say? Javert thought of Jean telling him how handsome he was, how beautiful his body was…

It wasn’t long before Javert reached his climax, crying out in pleasure. He sunk down onto the dildo, his tired legs needing the relief.

And as sense began replacing lust in his mind, he frowned. Why was he torturing himself in this manner? Why was he imagining such things with a man who had so pointedly rejected his sexual advances? This would do him no good, he knew.

Javert started to feel ashamed. Jean was such a pure, innocent man. A man that gave Javert more than he felt he rightfully deserved. Who was he to ask for even more?


But Javert felt like he couldn’t be blamed for it. Jean was so attractive… But that didn’t excuse Javert’s lust, did it? Jean couldn’t help how he looked. Jean didn’t decide to be absolutely stunning just to tease Javert. The dolt thought he was “average-looking”, for God’s sake.

Javert sighed. Perhaps he would gain the strength to ignore his lust. Or perhaps his age would catch up to him and mercifully rob him of his libido. He could only hope.

***

Jean woke up feeling awful. He wasn’t surprised, given how poorly he had slept during the night.

After getting home very late– around 11:30– he couldn’t stop thinking about Javert. Firstly in a positive light; he had enjoyed their evening together so very much. The conversation, the laughter… The cuddling and the kissing, too. Javert made him so genuinely happy. He was feeling something with this man that he had truly never felt before.

But there was something else he felt, too. Something all too familiar. It took him back to his years as a teenager and young adult, chasing women in search of what young men were meant to feel, and finally finding it with other men. He remembered this feeling well, though it had been many decades. He remembered the weight in the pit of his stomach, the magnetic pull of his body to another’s. The desperate want for more, for…

Sinning, that’s what it was. It was all sin, it was all so very dirty and it was one of the many things Jean had sworn to give up when the bishop Myriel had saved his soul.

Of course, he had eventually accepted his homosexuality. He eventually believed it wasn’t a sin to want to sleep with men, only to actually go through with it. And as the years went on, Jean began to realize queer people weren’t automatically sinners, even when acted on their desires.

Especially when Cosette nervously came out to him as bisexual when she was fourteen. How could he call his own daughter a sinner, simply because she had feelings for a girl in her grade?

This was when Jean had confessed to Cosette that he, too, wasn’t straight. But somehow, he still didn’t quite accept himself. He could accept that he had a bit of a “gay accent”, that he had some traditionally feminine interests and mannerisms, and that he had no romantic interest in women. But still, for some reason, he couldn’t accept that he liked men. He still found his own desires filthy and sinful.

That was one of the main reasons he had remained single all this time. Somehow, in his mind, it was okay for anyone in the world to be gay… Except him.

He began to think that if he hadn’t told Cosette he was gay, he would never have met Javert, and he wouldn’t be in this debacle in the first place. But it wasn’t Cosette’s fault. She didn’t know that Javert would stir Jean in this way. She didn’t know the things he would say.

Oh, but he couldn’t place the blame on Javert, either. Jean couldn’t expect Javert to know that he was so disgusted by his own sexuality. Besides, Javert had immediately stopped talking about it when Jean had asked him to.

No, the only guilty party was Jean himself. He had allowed himself to lust after Javert. He had let his guard down, assuming that he was too old to want Javert in that way.

Why wasn’t he too old? He had thought that was a reasonable assumption to make. This was God testing him, was it not? God had sent Jean a beautiful man with whom he seemed entirely compatible. He was testing Jean’s commitment to purity.

There was something else, though, was there not? It couldn’t be a coincidence that Javert was a police officer . Was God telling him that his ruse was up, that it was time to confess his past? Was it time to suffer the ultimate consequence by revealing it to Javert and being forsaken by his only romantic interest since prison?

Before going to sleep, Jean had prayed for what could have been hours, for forgiveness and for guidance. Now that he had woken up from a restless sleep, he prayed again.

Jean was disturbed by the sound of his phone buzzing. It was a text from Javert.

Good morning, Jean. I’m on my way to work now and won’t be available to talk until my lunch break at noon. I just wanted to say hello and tell you again how much I enjoyed last night. You know, just in case you were starting to doubt yourself like before. Looking forward to hearing from you. (7:42 am)

Jean stared in something akin to disbelief. The text was just what he needed. He was indeed starting to doubt himself… Maybe he was thinking of this whole thing incorrectly. Perhaps Javert wasn’t a test from God, but a gift. He typed a response:

Good morning, Javert! Honestly, I needed to hear that; thank you. I was kind of doubting myself. I had a great time last night, too! Talk to you in a few hours. :) (7:45 am)

Jean put his phone down and got out of bed. He was a little behind his self-imposed schedule, but that was alright. It would be fine.

Perhaps, he thought, this would all be fine.

***

Javert had never been particularly excited for his lunch break before. In fact, he loathed that he had to take a break from work to put nutrients into his body. Sometimes, he elected to skip lunch altogether.

Now, though, things were very different. There was Jean.

Javert got his phone out of his bag with an almost embarrassing amount of excitement. To his delight, he already had a text

Good morning, Javert! Honestly, I needed to hear that; thank you. I was kind of doubting myself. I had a great time last night, too! Talk to you in a few hours. :) (7:45 am) 

Javert read the text over a couple times, a little confused. He had meant that bit about Jean doubting himself as kind of a joke.

Why are you doubting yourself, Jean? More dubious online articles telling you you’re courting me incorrectly? (12:17 pm)

Javert put his phone down and started to eat the plain rice he had packed for lunch that day. He hoped Jean would reply soon. The man couldn’t be trusted to not read any damn Cosmopolitan articles.

In a couple long minutes, his phone buzzed.

No, haha :P I haven’t been going anywhere near those! (12:20 pm)

It’s just me being silly. Don’t worry about it. (12:21 pm)

Javert chewed thoughtfully as he considered how to reply. His inspector senses told him that something was up, here.


Are you sure that’s it, Jean? There isn’t something bigger going on here? (12:24 pm)

The typing bubble appeared, disappeared, and re-appeared several times before it went away entirely. Javert frowned.

Please tell me how you really feel, Jean. (12:27 pm)

That damn bubble kept popping up and going away again. Javert wanted to climb through the phone and ask Jean what the hell was going on.

It’s my anxiety. That’s all. (12:29 pm)

Javert frowned. That didn’t seem like the whole truth, but it would have to do.

If you insist. Please feel free to tell me whenever there’s something on your mind. (12:30 pm)

That’s really kind of you. Same goes for you! :) (12:31 pm)

So, how’s your day been? (12:32 pm)

Javert was about to press further, but he noted Jean’s move to change the topic and decided to respect it – at least for now.

It’s been okay. Nothing too exciting. How about yours? (12:33 pm)

S ame here. Just the usual. (12:34 pm) 

Are you free this evening, Javert? Would you like to go for a walk together? (12:35 pm) 

Javert smiled at his phone.

Yes, I would indeed like to. (12:37 pm)

Great! (12:38 pm)

I could meet you at your apartment building. (12:40 pm)

Sounds good. What time should I expect you? (12:41 pm)

Hmm… (12:41 pm)

7:30? (12:42 pm)

That works. (12:43 pm)

I look forward to it! (12:44 pm)

So do I! :) (12:45 pm)

Javert frowned as he noticed the timestamp on the message.

Well, Jean, it’s unfortunately the end of my lunch break. I have to get back to work now. (12:46 pm)

I’ll see you this evening. (12:46 pm)

Alright, Javert! Have a good afternoon. See you! :) (12:47 pm)

With a sigh, Javert turned his phone off and put it away. At least he would see Jean tonight.

***

It was mid-afternoon and Jean was reading – a non-fiction book about the Mongols, not that darned romance – when he got a call from Cosette.

It had been a while since he’d talked to his daughter over the phone, so he was very happy. He picked the phone up quickly, sliding a bookmark between the pages of his novel.

“Hey, Cosette!” he greeted cheerfully.

“Papa! How’ve you been?” she asked.

“I’ve been great! How are you and Marius?”

“We’re just fine.” She paused for a moment. “How’s Javert?”

Jean blushed a little. “Oh, he’s… he’s well. He’s at work right now.”

“I meant how’s it going between you and him, Papa?” Cosette asked, her tone insistent.

“It’s going quite well! We saw each other last night. And we’re going to take a walk together this evening.”

“Yay!” Cosette exclaimed. “I’m so happy for you! What did you do last night?”

Jean smiled to himself, blushing. “We ran into each other unexpectedly and he invited me to his apartment.”

“Oh…?” Cosette prompted.

“Yeah, and we talked for a long time.”

“Did anything else happen?”

Jean blushed more. “Well, we… We cuddled on his couch.

“Aww, that’s cute!”

“...And we ended up kissing.”

Cosette squealed. “Oh my God, really?! How was it?”

“It was really nice, Coco. It was…  really, really nice.”

“That’s so great, Papa. How do you feel? Are you finally less nervous?”

He sighed, his smile fading. “Oh, Cosette, I’m not any less nervous. I'm kind of a mess, to be honest with you.”

“Really?” She sighed as well. “Why?”

“I just feel… I just feel like I’m doing it all wrong. Like I’m moving too fast and that I’m going to wreck it somehow.” He declined to tell Cosette about the other things, for obvious reasons.

“Papa… why? Haven’t things been going well?”

“They were, until we ended up not texting each other for four days. I thought I was being too forward and that I should give him space, so I was waiting for him to text me first… Turns out he was worried about the same. Both of us were just… waiting on the other, thinking they didn’t want anything to do with us anymore.”

Jean was shocked to hear Cosette laughing on the other end. “What’s so funny?”

“I’m sorry, Papa, but that’s so… You’ve got to realize that’s hilarious, right? Like, that’s rom-com material.”

Jean smiled. “I– Well, I suppose it was quite silly of us.”

“And cute, in a weird sort of way.”

“You think?” He cocked his head to the side, though Cosette obviously couldn’t see.

“Yeah. Like… You were both so concerned about the other person’s thoughts? I mean, you obviously care quite a bit about each other.”

“I see. Yeah, I do think we both care a lot.”

“So, how is that a problem?” Cosette asked.

Jean frowned again. “Well, I’m just so worried that something like that will happen again. But worse.”

“What do you mean, Papa?”

“I… I don’t know exactly. But we may have never spoken again if we hadn’t met again by chance. And that’s scary to me.”

“Well, Papa, as you’ve said to me before, there’s no use in focusing on the ‘ifs’. That didn’t happen. Now you just need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“Okay, but how am I supposed to do that?”

“You can start by not ignoring each other for four days straight.”

Jean chuckled despite himself. “Fair enough. So, you think I should be texting him regularly?”

“I would think so,” Cosette answered. “But don’t double text him.”

“‘Double text’? What does that mean?” Jean asked.

“If you text him and he doesn’t respond, don’t text him again unless you’ve got something important to say.”

“Oh, that makes sense.”

“Yeah. But maybe he wouldn’t mind that? I don’t know this guy. It’s your call.”

“But I am so bad at this, Coco…” Jean complained.

“I know you’ll be fine. Just go with your instinct. It’s clear he does care about you.”

Jean smiled. “Thank you, Cosette. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“You’re most welcome, Papa.”

Jean smiled to himself, not speaking for a moment.

“Well, I should get back to work,” Cosette said.

“Wait, there’s another thing,” he said. “How do I change my phone background, again? Last night I took a really adorable picture of Javert…"

Cosette laughed. “Aww, Papa! Well, you go to settings and scroll down a bit until you see ‘wallpaper’. Click on that.”

“Oh, okay. Got it. Thanks, Cosette!”

“Is that it?”

“Yeah, that’s all.”

“Okay. Talk to you later.”

“Talk to you later! Love you, Coco!”

“Love you too, Papa!”

Cosette hung up. Before he could forget what she’d said, Jean went to settings and changed his home screen background to that picture of Javert. He ended up staring at it for quite a bit, smiling at Javert’s smile. He wasn’t entirely calmed, but he felt a lot better now. He really felt like everything could turn out okay.

***

Javert was sitting on his couch, his leg bouncing excitedly. He had done everything he could think of to prepare for the date– he’d eaten a small dinner that would leave him not hungry but also not bloated, he’d changed out of his uniform into some nice but casual clothes, he’d brushed his hair and teeth. Javert even preemptively jerked off in hopes that it would curb his need for Jean. He was still kind of nervous. Well, quite nervous. He kept checking his phone, waiting for Jean to say he was on his way or that he was at Javert’s apartment building. He was half expecting to see a text saying that Jean had to cancel.

A text finally came. Javert looked at his phone as soon as it buzzed.

Hey, Javert! I’m on my way. (7:16 pm)

I should be there at 7:30! (7:17 pm)

Oops, sorry for the double-text. :-/ (7:17 pm)

Javert raised an eyebrow. Why was he apologizing for having sent two messages? He hadn’t done so prior. Did Jean read some no-double-texting rule in another one of those damned articles?

It’s alright, Jean. No need to apologize. (7:18 pm)

See you soon. I’ll be waiting in the lobby. (7:20 pm)

Okay! :) (7:21 pm)

Javert stood and put his phone in his pocket. He went to the bathroom to check the mirror one last time, making sure he wasn’t uglier than usual. Then, he got a light jacket from the closet, picked up his keys, and left his apartment.

Javert took the elevator down to the lobby, and sat on a rather uncomfortable armchair from which he could see outside. It was dark, but the streetlights would let him see Jean as he approached. Javert checked his phone. It was 7:26. His leg was bouncing again. He had just seen Jean a day ago; this was almost embarrassing. He watched out the window with a great deal of anticipation. Every person who walked by made him perk up, but none of them were Jean.

Finally, Javert spotted a familiar man. Jean met Javert’s eyes through the window, smiled big and waved. Javert felt a smirk tug at his own lips, and he waved back. He sprung to his feet and walked out the front door.

“Good evening, Jean,” Javert greeted as he walked outside.

“Hello, Javert!” the other man replied. He went up to Javert and hugged him, which surprised Javert slightly. He eventually rested his hand against Jean’s upper back. Even this part of him was muscular.

When Jean pulled away, he was grinning even wider. “You look lovely.”

Javert squinted in confusion. “I do?”

Jean nodded.

“I didn’t do anything,” Javert countered.

“You don’t have to do anything to look lovely.”

Javert scoffed.

“I’m serious, Javert.”

“Right, whatever you say.”

Jean sighed. “Anyway,” he said, seeming a little frustrated, “Are you certain you won’t be cold with that jacket, Javert? It’s quite chilly out.”

It was kind of cold. But Javert didn’t want to return to his apartment to get another one. He should be alright, anyway. “Don’t worry; I’ll be perfectly fine,” he said.

“Are you sure? I wouldn’t mind waiting for you to get a different jacket.”

Javert shook his head. “I’m certain.”

“Okay, if you insist.” Jean smiled a little. “Shall we go, then?”

Javert nodded. “Yes, let’s.”

Jean extended his elbow to Javert, he linked his arm through Jean’s, and they started walking. Javert found that quite old-fashioned, even for ancients such as them. Perhaps it was the Catholic alternative for sinful hand holding?

“How was your day, Javert?” Jean asked after a short moment.

“It was actually quite good,” Javert answered. “I was doing nothing interesting this morning, but in the afternoon, I was called to a crime scene.”

“Oh?” to Javert’s surprise, Jean seemed genuinely interested. “What happened?”

“An important investor was murdered in his home,” Javert said. “You’ll probably see it in the news shortly.”

“Oh, goodness, that’s terrible! Was it… messy?”

Javert smirked a little at Jean’s wording. “Well, yes. It was indeed messy. Nothing that particularly shocked me, though. I must say, the person who did it was quite… thorough. And clever. It took me and my team quite a while to find any clues, but we did eventually find them.”

“Oh? So do you have any leads?”

“Yes, sort of. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much else until the information is made public. Not that I really have anything else to say that isn’t pure speculation.”

“Ah. I understand.”

“I feel like it will take quite a while to solve this one. Thankfully, most of the people working on this case are quite competent.”

Jean chuckled. “So you’ve worked with incompetent officers before?”

“Oh, Lord, yes,” Javert said. “It’s tiresome. Some of the new recruits can’t even use the coffee machine. I think ACAB ought to stand for ‘Are Cops All Boneheads?’”

Jean laughed. “But you’re very smart, Javert.”

“Yes, and so are several of my co-workers. But it seems we’re the minority.”

“I see. Javert, would you like to walk through the park?”

“Yes, that should be nice.”

Jean nodded and led Javert to take a left turn on the main road. “I feel like that’s true of many professions, though. When I worked, too many of my colleagues seemed to have no common sense.”

“Where did you work, anyway?”

“Oh, I’ve done all kinds of things,” Jean said. “But when I was younger, I used to do landscaping work. A lack of common sense is incredibly dangerous when you’re up high in a tree, or when you’ve got all manner of sharp tools.”

“I can imagine,” Javert said.

“I was in many ways a really stupid young man, but I’m proud to say I never injured myself on the job,” Jean avowed.

“How were you stupid?” Javert asked.

“Well, maybe not stupid , per se, but definitely reckless. And not very respectful.”

“You, not respectful?” Javert couldn’t imagine that.

“Yeah. I used to be a real bully in school. Kept skipping class, too. Ended up flunking out of high school entirely.”

Javert was perplexed. “But you’re nothing like that now. You’re anything but that.”

“Yes, thankfully.”

“How?”

Jean chuckled. “People change, Javert.”

“But not that much.”

“Well, I got a serious wake up call. And then I found God.”

Javert frowned. “What do you mean, ‘a serious wake up call’?”

Jean was looking away. “I’d rather not go into too much detail. It’s a… really painful memory. Essentially, I lost everything and I realized I needed to change my ways or I’d be miserable forever.”

Javert cocked his head. He had so many questions, but Jean didn’t want to talk about it, so he couldn’t ask them. He wondered why Jean had brought it up in the first place if he didn’t want to talk about it. “I see.”

There was a moment of silence before Jean looked back at Javert. “I apologize for making everything sad like that. I don’t know what made me start blabbing about my past,” Jean said, chuckling slightly. Javert noticed he didn’t seem entirely happy.

“It’s alright, Jean. We don’t always need to talk about happy things, you know.”

“Very true. But it seems too soon to be regaling you with stories of my turbulent young adulthood.”

Javert rolled his eyes. “There you go again, with ‘it’s too soon’.”

“Do you not agree?”

“I’ve never cared for or understood silly rules like that.”

“But… You’re a police officer. I thought you were all about silly rules.”

Javert’s eyes widened. “The law is not ‘silly rules’,” Javert said defensively. “At least most laws aren’t. Laws are logical.”

“You’re right; sorry,” Jean said.

Javert paid him no heed and continued: “–And there’s no logic in silly social rules, like ‘don’t talk about anything serious with a new romantic partner’ and ‘don’t be upfront about anything’ and ‘don’t fiddle with things’.”

Jean was silent for a moment. “You don’t think those things are logical?”

“No, not at all!” Javert exclaimed. He took a deep breath. “But that’s… Mostly because I’m autistic.”

“You’re what?”

“Autistic.”

Jean was silent again. Oh, no. Did he not understand? “Oh… Really? You don’t –”

“– I don’t seem autistic? Because I can speak clearly and fluently? Because I have a job and can take care of myself?” Javert snapped. “I know. I’ve heard it all before.”

Jean seemed embarrassed. “I’m sorry, I’ve just… I’ve never met an adult with autism before. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

Javert sighed. “Of course you didn’t. No one ever means to offend me.”

Jean didn’t reply. He obviously didn’t know what to say.

“I’m not mad at you,” Javert said. “It’s not your fault you don’t know much about autistic people.”

“Okay. I just… I don’t know how to treat you…”

“The same as you have been treating me.”

“Really? I don’t need to…?”

“You don’t need to do anything.”

“Are you sure? I mean, there was a child in Cosette’s class in elementary school suffering from autism, and there was a whole different way to talk to him…”
Javert elected to ignore Jean’s phrasing. “I’m sure there was, Jean. But everyone is different.”

“That’s true. But you’ll tell me if I’m doing something wrong…?”

“Yes, Jean.”

He nodded. “Good.”

There was a moment for which neither man spoke. Javert felt he ought not to have brought this up. Jean obviously only thought autism was for little boys playing with toy trains and spewing science facts.

“Would you like to sit down for a bit?” Jean said. He gestured to a park bench under a tree. It seemed like a rather nice place to sit.

“Sure,” Javert replied.

They walked towards it and sat down. Jean pulled his arm away from Javert’s.

It was starting to register with Javert that he was cold. Quite cold. He did wish he had chosen a different jacket to wear. Well, he would have to last until he got home.

“Are you cold, Javert?” Jean asked. He sure was observant.

“No, I’m fine,” Javert lied.

“You’re shivering,” Jean pointed out, slightly worried.

“I’m just fine, Jean,” Javert insisted.

“Would you like my coat?”

Javert glanced at Jean’s grey wool coat. It looked quite warm. Still, he couldn’t accept it. “I don’t need it. Besides, if you give me your coat, you’ll be cold.”

“No, I won’t be. I have a sweater on underneath.” Jean took his coat off. “See?” He held it out to Javert. “I can tell you’re cold. Just take it.”

Javert eyed the coat but shook his head. “Jean, it’s kind of you to offer, but I really don’t need–”

Jean draped the coat over Javert’s shoulders. “Take it, you stubborn rascal.”

Javert blushed. “Jean–”

He was abruptly cut off by Jean leaning in and kissing him. Javert’s eyes widened in surprise. He felt a gentle touch on the back of his head and he started to relax into the kiss.

It was very nice, as it had been the night prior. But something about Jean sneaking a kiss like that was even better.

Unfortunately, it did not last long. Jean pulled away rather soon. “Well, Javert, we are in public,” Jean muttered.

Javert hummed in disappointment. “No one’s here,” he protested.

“But I don’t want to risk scandalising anyone with the sight of two old men making out.”

Javert chuckled. “Fair enough. I suppose that’s not something I would like to see, either.”

Jean was smiling. Javert loved his smile, and the way it crinkled the corners of his light brown eyes. Javert felt warm. It was indeed because of the coat Jean had forced on him, but it was something else as well. It was Jean’s very presence, really.

“So you want to keep the coat on, I presume?” Jean asked.

“Well, since it’s on me, I might as well.”

Jean shook his head, still smiling. “You’re the most uncooperative, headstrong person I’ve ever met. And somehow that’s endearing.”

“Is it?” Javert asked, grinning.

“Yes. It really shouldn’t be. But here you are, making me swoon over your pigheadedness.”

Javert chuckled. “Well,” he said, and leaned towards the other man; “oink,” he whispered in Jean’s ear.

Jean burst into laughter, causing Javert to smile wide.

“Oh, Javert, you’re… You’re a treasure,” Jean said quietly.

“As are you, Jean.”

***

Jean and Javert arrived outside Javert’s apartment quite late. They hadn’t wanted to part ways… Well, they still didn’t. But the both of them were tired, and Javert had work in the morning.

“Well,” Javert started.

Jean smiled at the other man. “Well,” he agreed.

“This was… good.”

Jean nodded. “It certainly was.” He paused for a moment. Would it be too much to… No. Javert didn’t care for silly social protocol. “Would you like to go out again tomorrow night?”

“I would indeed, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to, what with the new case I’ve just undertaken,” Javert said.

“Ah. I understand.” Jean tried not to let himself look too disappointed.

“I’ll try to text you at my break tomorrow. Perhaps I will be available in the evening after all.”

Jean smiled slightly. “Okay.”

Javert smiled a little as well.

The two men looked at each other in silence for a long moment. Jean cleared his throat. “Well…”

Javert nodded. “Well,” he agreed.

“Goodnight, Javert” Jean said.

“Goodnight,” Javert replied.

Jean stepped closer and stood on his toes to kiss Javert. He only intended for it to be a quick peck, but as he attempted to pull away, Javert followed. A blush heated Jean’s cheeks at this, but he kept kissing the other man. A little sigh escaped Javert’s lips; Jean’s eyes popped open. This was far too intimate for being outside! He ducked away, forcing himself out of the embrace.

“We’re still in public, Javert,” Jean whispered.

“I don’t particularly care,” Javert admitted.

“Well I don’t want…”

“–To scandalize anyone. I remember.”

“Or to be spied on.”

Javert sighed. “Okay, fine.”

Jean nodded. “Alright. Have a lovely night, Javert.”

“Goodnight, Jean.”

Finally, Jean made his way back home. It was quite chilly; he wondered why he felt so cold. Regardless, his warm feelings for Javert would keep him toasty all the way home.

Chapter Text

Javert realized once he entered his apartment that he still had Jean’s coat with him. He quickly took out his phone. 

Jean, I forgot to give you your coat back. (10:42 pm)

He felt a buzz in Jean’s coat pocket. Oh dear. He fished around in it, and sure enough, Jean’s phone was in there. He sighed. He rushed to the window to look out; perhaps Jean had realized he’d left his coat… Javert had a clear view to the front of the building, but he saw no sign of Jean.

Well. He didn’t have Jean’s home phone number, email, or any other way of contacting him. What was he to do?

The phone buzzed again, and Javert glanced at it. It was a text from Cosette, Jean’s daughter. There was a pink heart emoji and a blonde princess emoji next to her contact name.

So how was the walk? (10:47 pm)

Hmm, perhaps he could reach Jean through her. He swiped on the notification. The phone was locked with a password. Javert frowned. This wasn’t ideal.

Javert thought for a moment. It was a 4-digit numerical code. Jean didn’t seem like the kind of person to have a complex, hard-to-guess password. Perhaps his year or date of birth?  Jean was sixty-five years old, and he was born in March. That would mean his birth year was 1952. He tried “1952”. Nope. He didn’t happen to know Jean’s exact birthday…

Javert walked to the kitchen and sat down at the table. He took his laptop out of his messenger bag, placed it in front of him, and opened it. He quickly signed in and waited for his old, slow PC to boot up. Once it did, he opened a Google Chrome window. He remembered Jean mentioning that he had Facebook… He Googled “Jean Fauchelevent”, and, sure enough, the man’s facebook profile came up. He clicked on it, and, though Javert did not have a Facebook account, and Jean’s privacy settings didn’t allow Javert to see very much of his profile, he was still able to see basic information. His birthday was March 30th, 1952.

Javert intended to close the window, but he couldn’t help himself but click on Jean’s profile picture. It was something between laughable and absolutely gorgeous… In the photo, Jean was seated cross-legged on a carefully-maintained lawn, in front of a beautiful garden. He was wearing a crown made of flowers twisted together at the stems, and he was smiling brightly. In the bright summer sun of the photo, his eyes seemed to sparkle, and his freckles were much more obvious than usual. Javert couldn’t help himself but save the photo to his computer. Creepy, perhaps, but it was such a lovely photo…

Before he could do anything else questionable, Javert closed the tab. He picked up Jean’s phone and tried “3003”... It didn’t work. Well, it was worth a shot. And he got to see that picture of Jean.

Perhaps his phone password was his daughter’s birthday? That would make sense.

He Googled “Cosette Fauchelevent”. He found a Twitter account attached to that name, and based on the profile picture, it appeared to indeed belong to Jean’s daughter. In her bio, it had “1995 baby; Aries Sun, Gemini Moon”. Oh. Astrology. Lovely. And no birthdate.

Javert tried “1995” as the password, but that didn’t work. He sighed and resigned himself to figuring out Cosette’s birth date.

Surprisingly, Javert knew quite a bit about astrology. He didn’t believe one word of it, but his mother had been a fortune teller. Some of the first books Javert had read as a child were on astrology, since that’s what had been around the house. Aries meant she was born from March twenty-first to April nineteenth. Backwards calculation of birth date through moon sign was something Javert didn’t know– or care to know – how to do, so he Googled “Astrological moon chart 1995.” According to the chart, the moon only passed through the Gemini constellation once under the Aries sun sign: from April third to April fourth.

Javert tried 0304. Incorrect. He tried 0404. To his utmost relief, the phone unlocked. He quickly closed the tabs he’d just opened. He hoped he never had to think about Astrology that much ever again.

He was greeted by a home screen that was… a picture of him? It was the one Jean had taken of him the night before, while trying to prove that Javert had dimples. He was slightly puzzled. This wasn’t a good picture of him (not that were really any good pictures of Javert). He had no idea Jean would want Javert as his phone wallpaper. He felt flattered.

He opened the messages app. He noticed that next to the contact name “Javert”, there was a heart emoji. He blushed. He felt he was snooping. He quickly opened the conversation with Cosette and started to type a message.

Hello, Cosette. This is Javert.

What if Cosette didn’t recognize his name?

Hello, Cosette. This is Javert, the man you set your father up with.

That was strange wording. Also, he was fairly certain Cosette didn’t know he knew what happened, and that Jean wouldn’t want him to reveal it in this way.

Hello, Cosette. This is Javert, your father’s

What? What were they? His thumbs hovered over the keyboard, uncertain. The phone suddenly buzzed.

Helloooooo? I know you read the message!!! (10:58 pm)

Well, he couldn’t spend anymore time dallying. He figured Cosette would recognize his name; Jean had said he’d told his daughter all about him, anyway.

Hello, Cosette. This is Javert. Your father left his coat and his phone with me and I have no other way of reaching him. (10:59 pm)

The texting bubble appeared and disappeared a couple times.

Oh, hi Javert! (11:01 pm)

That does sound like something he would do (11:02 pm)

I’ll call his home phone and see if he picks up (11:02 pm)

Okay. (11:03 pm)

Javert put the phone down. At least he had made contact with her. A few minutes later, he got another text.

He didn’t pick up. He’s probably asleep (11:06 pm)

Do you know his address? You could just drop it off tomorrow morning (11:06 pm)

He wakes up early so it shouldn’t be an issue (11:07 pm)

Javert thought for a moment. That probably wouldn’t work.

I have to go to work early tomorrow morning, and my lunch break isn’t long  enough to go to his place then. (11:09 pm)

Maybe he could come by the police station during my lunch break. (11:10 pm)

It was a moment before Cosette replied again.

I don’t know, he’s weirdly uneasy about police stations. (11:11 pm)

Javert furrowed his brow.

Huh. Do you know why? (11:12 pm)

I don’t really know, tbh (11:14 pm)

I think it’s cause of what happened when he adopted me… Someone accused him of having bad intentions with me. He is totally innocent of course, but it took a long time and a lot of police intervention for it to be solved (11:15 pm)

Maybe he’ll tell you more if you ask gently, but he’s REALLY touchy about the past (11:16 pm)

Hmm. Interesting. Maybe that was the wake-up call Jean had mentioned earlier that evening?

I see. What should we do instead? (11:18 pm)

I have a pretty long break between my classes tomorrow (11:18 pm)

I could come pick it up? (11:19 pm)

Alright. That should work. (11:20pm)

Javert confirmed the address of the police station with Cosette, as well as the time of his lunch break. He also gave her his phone number, just in case.

With that out of the way, he finally went to bed. Tomorrow was likely to be a long day.

***

“–And what about Monsieur Jondrette?” Javert asked his colleague. “Did you find any of his story to be, well… Suspicious?”

Lieutenant Trépannier shrugged and leant forward in his chair. “Unusual, perhaps. But not necessarily suspicious. Why, did you?”

“Yes, actually. His description of the man he saw enter the victim’s house was stunningly vague, yet he seemed adamant that he’d recognize the suspect if he saw him again.”

“Well, it was vague, yes. But I don’t see how that is necessarily suspicious. Isn’t it reasonable to only have a fuzzy mental picture of someone you’ve only seen once, but if you saw them again, you’d know who they were?”

Javert frowned. “I suppose. But there was something odd about his whole account. I’m not sure I trust him.”

Trépannier laughed and clapped Javert’s shoulder, causing the Inspector to twitch almost imperceptibly. “You’re too quick to make judgements, Javert. Relax a little, will you?”

“I’m not making a judgement, Lieutenant. I’m simply voicing my suspicions.” The other man’s hand was still resting on his shoulder. Javert didn’t like how often Trépannier touched him casually like this.

Finally, the offending hand was removed. “Fair enough,” he said.

Javert felt his phone buzz in his pocket. He took it out; it was Cosette telling him she’d arrived.

“If you’ll excuse me, Lieutenant,” Javert said, standing. “I have to attend to something. I’ll be back in a moment.”

“Alright. I suppose we ought to break for lunch, anyway,” Trépannier answered. “We’ll get back to work at 1:30.”

Javert nodded. “Alright.” He walked to the other side of the office, where he had hung Jean’s coat on the coat rack. He grabbed it and left the room.

A familiar-looking young blonde woman was sitting in the waiting area.

“Good afternoon, Cosette,” he greeted.

She looked up, smiling. “Hey, Javert!” Cosette stood up from her chair. “Wow, you’re… taller than I expected,” she pointed out.

Javert smirked slightly. He found this amusing, but he didn’t know how to reply. “Well. Here’s the coat,” he said, holding it out to Cosette. She took it. “His phone is safe in an inside pocket. I didn’t find anything else in it.”

“Thanks, Javert.” She cleared her throat and added, sotto voce: “Also… my father wanted me to ask you if you were free this evening.”

Javert frowned. “Unfortunately, I am not. I am very busy with the case I’m working on and I most likely won’t be able to see him for the rest of the week.”

Cosette frowned as well. “Ah, okay.”

Javert nodded. He felt there was something more he ought to say. However, he had no idea what. It seemed Cosette was feeling similarly; she was shuffling her feet awkwardly and looking around.

He cleared his throat.

Cosette seemed to be alerted to the fact that there was no more conversation to be had. “Well, thanks for returning the coat.”

“It was no problem.”

She nodded and started to back away. “Bye, Javert!”

“Goodbye, Cosette.”

He watched her leave, and suddenly he realized there was indeed something else. “Wait, Cosette, there’s one more thing–” He followed her quickly.

She stopped just short of the door. “Yes?”

“Uh… Tell your father that… I’ll still be available on Saturday and I’d love to see him then.”

Cosette grinned. “Okay, will do! He’ll be so glad to hear that.”

Javert nodded with a little smile. “Thank you.”

“Have a good day!” she said, opening the door.

“You too.”

Cosette left properly this time, and Javert returned to his office.

*** 

Javert was exhausted when he got home that evening. It was a long, gruelling day, and tomorrow would likely be the same story. He stripped himself of his work clothes and climbed into bed without bothering to even brush his teeth.

He expected sleep to come almost instantly, but somehow, as tired as he was, he couldn’t drift off. His mind was swimming with details of the case and he couldn’t seem to put those thoughts away.

Eventually, he found his phone on the ground in his heap of clothes, intending to find some mindless entertainment to put him to sleep.

But there was a text from Jean:

Thanks for your help in returning my things! I honestly didn’t even realize I was missing my coat and phone. I really am scatterbrained! I’m glad I have you to keep me sorted. :P (1:32 pm)

Also, Cosette told me you’ll be busy until Saturday. That’s too bad. But I’m looking forward to catching up then! Let me know if there’s anything in particular you want to do. (1:36 pm)

Javert smiled. This was a pleasant surprise.

You’re most welcome. Keeping scatterbrained people in line is one of my specialties.

About Saturday, I don’t have anything in particular in mind, but I doubt I will have the energy for a great adventure. I’d prefer something more laid back. (12:32 am)

Javert put his phone down onto his lap. He began to imagine what he and Jean could get up to on Saturday. Perhaps they could do something similar to what they had done on Tuesday, and simply lounge around together, cuddling and kissing… That would be lovely.

He wasn’t expecting to feel his phone buzz, and even less for there to already be a reply from Jean.

My goodness, Javert! You’re up late! I thought you had work in the morning. (12:34 am)

Javert smirked. Of course Jean was concerned that he was staying up.

I do. But I can’t get to sleep. I don’t know why. I came home exhausted but I’m just not able to sleep. (12:36 am)

Oh, poor you! I hate that feeling. :( (12:37 am)

Say, Jean, why are you up at this hour? (12:38 am)

I can’t sleep either. I’ve been watching Netflix. (12:40 am)

Ah. (12:40 am)

So, about Saturday… Would you like to come over to my house for dinner? (12:42 am)

Javert grinned to himself. Jean seemed to be coming out of his shell at last.

I’d love to. (12:43 am)

Great! :) (12:43 am)

I’m glad to see you’re no longer being overly cautious with your date ideas. (12:44 am)

Yes, I’ve finally realized dinner at my place isn’t exactly scandalous. :P (12:45 am)

What kind of things do you like to eat, Javert? (12:46 am)

He frowned slightly. This question was inevitable, but unwanted.

Well, I should warn you, I’m not exactly an adventurous eater. (12:47 am)

This was an understatement.

I do tend to like things like rice and pasta. (12:47 am)

Oh, okay! That’s fine. (12:48 pm)

How do you feel about lasagna? I’ve been told I make a great one :) (12:48 pm)

That sounds good. (12:48 pm)

Wonderful! (12:49 pm)

Will you mind if I make it with vegetarian ground beef? I’m vegetarian. (12:49 am)

Javert didn’t know this. Perhaps this contributed to Jean’s fitness.

Does it taste like tofu? If so, I’m going to have to pass. (12:50 am)

Haha, no, don’t worry! :) There’s not much of a noticeable difference when it’s in a dish. At least not for me. Maybe you’d be able to taste it…. Are you really sensitive to that kind of stuff? (12:51 am)

Yes, quite. But if you don’t think it’s that big of a difference, I would be willing to try. (12:52 am)

Are you sure? I’ve been reading up on autism. I wouldn’t want to give you food that would be a sensory issue for you. It’s really not a problem… I could make two smaller lasagnas, one for me, and one for you with regular ground beef. :) (12:54 am)

Javert knew Jean was caring, but the fact that he’d been doing research on Javert’s disorder was still surprising, not to mention heartwarming.

Unless the taste is completely bizarre, there shouldn’t be an issue. (12:55 am)

And I appreciate your concern, Jean. Very much. (12:55 am)

Okay. :) Also, it’s the least I can do. I can’t help but want to rectify my ignorance after last night. (12:56 am)

That means a lot to me. Thank you. (12:57 am)

You’re very welcome, dear. :) (12:57 am)

Javert blushed. He was pretty sure that was the first time Jean had used a pet name for him. And even though it was “dear”– probably the least saucy thing to be called – he felt warm.

Javert, do you have any special tricks to help yourself fall asleep? (12:58 am)

No, not particularly. (12:58 am)

Darn. I’ve already had chamomile tea, then I read and watched TV. I’m still not falling asleep. I’m running low on options. (12:58 am)

Well, the only trick I have is the tried and true method I’ve used since I was a teenager. (12:59 am)

And that is? (12:59 am)

Oh, you know. What young men do when they can’t fall asleep? (1:00 am)

No, I don’t know. What do you mean? (1:01 am)

Oh. Of course Jean wouldn’t catch his drift. He immediately regretted his attempt at humour.

Never mind. I was trying to make a joke and it evidently fell flat. (1:02 am)

No, Javert, tell me! What do young men do when they can’t fall asleep? (1:02 am)

Javert sighed.

Masturbate. (1:03 am)

Jean didn’t respond for a while and Javert feared he’d fucked up.

Oh. (1:05 am)

Of course, haha. (1:05 am)

I’m sorry. That was crude. (1:06 am)

Don’t apologize. What you said was true. (1:07 am)

Besides, masturbation is normal and healthy. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. (1:07 am)

Javert swallowed, his cheeks flushed. Sure, he’d wanted to discuss more intimate topics with Jean, but not like this. Certainly not like this.

I’m glad you do not agree with Catholic doctrine that it is a sin. (1:08 am)

No, definitely not. (1:08 am)

As long as no one else is implicated against their will, it’s not hurting anyone. (1:09 am)

Javert didn’t know what to say. Part of him wanted to press further; turn the conversation in a more interesting direction – ask Jean’s opinion on sex toys, perhaps? Or reveal how often he pleasured himself…  But the larger, smarter part of him knew this wouldn’t be a good idea.

So, no other ideas? There’s no magic mantra I can chant that will make me pass out? (1:10 am)

Certainly not that I know of. (1:10 am)

Haha, rats. :P Well, I’m going to try to get to sleep now. Thanks again for returning my things. Hopefully we can text more tomorrow! (1:11 am)

Alright. Yes, I’ll try to keep in touch with you during breaks. And you’re welcome again. (1:11 am)

Goodnight, dear! :* (1:12 am)

Oh, my; there he went with “dear” again. And a kissing emoji.

Goodnight, Jean. (1:12 am)

Javert put his phone down again, this time on his nightstand. He snuggled into the pillow and closed his eyes, finally feeling ready to sleep. He allowed himself to think of Jean lying next to him, holding him as they both drifted off. Soon, he was asleep.

Chapter Text

It was early afternoon on Saturday. Jean was obsessively cleaning every single visible surface of his already tidy house, making sure that there was not a single speck of dust or crooked picture frame that could somehow cause Javert to think less of him.

He and Javert had decided that, since this was the only day of the week they could be sure they’d spend together, to make the most of it. Javert was coming over mid-afternoon, and they would relax together until Jean had to make dinner. While he did that, Javert would get ahead on some work. Then they’d eat dinner and stay together during the evening. It was all perfectly planned and Jean was incredibly excited.

Also nervous, for some reason. This seemed like such an important step in their budding relationship, and he most definitely did not want to mess anything up. In addition to a spotless house, he wanted to serve a perfect dinner, and look his best (without appearing to have tried too hard). Jean settled on a nice pair of pants and a light blue striped button-up shirt. He had trimmed his beard –making sure there was not the slightest trace of stubble on his neck – and spent an unnecessarily long time on combing his hair so that every individual strand was in the correct place.

This was stressful. He knew deep down he ought not to be this worked up. He and Javert were already fairly comfortable with each other. But still… He wanted this to be perfect.

He had barely put away all his cleaning supplies when he got a text from Javert:

I’m almost at your place. (1:27 pm)

Jean’s eyes widened. He glanced around nervously, half expecting to suddenly notice some massive, embarrassing mess.

Yay! I can’t wait to see you! :) (1:28 pm)

Jean stowed his phone in his pocket and rushed around his house again, triple-checking that everything was in its proper place.

A couple minutes later, the doorbell rang. He walked to open the door.

Javert stood in the doorway. He was wearing dark jeans and a plain t-shirt. His hair was tied back in a messy sort of bun that was oddly adorable. Jean smiled.

“Hello, Javert,” he greeted, moving out of the way of the door. “Please, come in.”

Javert stepped inside. “Good afternoon,” he greeted.

“Let me take your coat for you…” Jean offered. Javert pushed the strap of his messenger bag off his shoulder and placed the bag on the floor for a moment so that he could take off his coat. Once this was done, he handed his coat to Jean who carefully hung it on the rack.

Once Jean turned around again, he grinned widely and enveloped Javert in a big bear hug. “Oh, I’ve missed you.”

Javert was stiff for a moment, but he soon relaxed into the hug and brought his arms up to Jean’s back to return it. “I’ve missed you, too.”

“Even though it’s only been a couple days,” Jean remarked, “It feels like longer.”

“Yes, these past few days have felt like a lifetime.”

Jean pulled away, but Javert leaned in, folding himself over slightly to kiss the shorter man. Jean blushed hard, not expecting this. It wasn’t a little peck, either; it was a full kiss. Jean stood on his toes to take some strain off Javert, and kissed back. Javert hummed and started rubbing at his waist and back.

Jean felt very warm. Javert was trying to sneak his tongue in and Jean felt, somehow, that it was way too soon for this. Even though they’d done this before. And they were in private…

But no. Jean closed his lips and pulled back, giving the other man a little peck on the cheek before stepping away entirely to hold Javert at arms’ length.

“I’m very happy to see you,” Jean said.

He was certain he saw a flicker of disappointment in the other man’s eyes, but it was soon concealed. “As am I.”

After a moment of slightly uncomfortable silence, Jean piped up again. “Shall we sit down? It seems awkward to stand here by the doorway.”

The other man nodded, picking up his bag. “Yes, that would make sense.”

Jean led Javert to the living room.

“You have a very nice place,” Javert pointed out.

“Well, thank you.”

“Much nicer than I was expecting.”

They arrived made their way to a grey sectional couch that was next to the fireplace.

“What do you mean by that?” Jean asked, sitting down near the middle, giving Javert plenty of room. He placed his bag down on the couch and sat next to Jean, quite close.

“I was under the impression that you weren’t this wealthy.”

Jean raised an eyebrow. “What? I’m not wealthy, Javert. I am fortunate, yes, but–”

“–This is a fairly large house in a very good neighbourhood in one of the most attractive cities to live in,” Javert interrupted. “It seems quite old. Lots of stone and brick. Hardwood floors. Open plan. Large front and back yards. You’re no billionaire, sure, but this house tells me you’re doing quite well for yourself.”

He blushed. “Well, yes, I suppose…”

“May I look around?” he asked, standing– seeming to have already decided to take a look.

“Yes, of course,” Jean answered.

Javert walked to the fireplace, his hands clasped behind his back. He looked at what was on the mantle. “Are these real silver?” Javert asked about the candlesticks.

“Yes, as far as I’m aware.”

“Incredible. How much did they cost?”

“They were a gift.”

“Ah. Must have been quite the occasion.”

“They were from an… old mentor of mine,” Jean explained. “A very extravagant gift, yeah.”

“Evidently.” Javert’s gaze shifted to the framed photos on the mantle. “This must be your daughter and her husband on their wedding day.”

“Yes.”

Javert didn’t seem very interested in this photo, nor in the others on the mantle; Cosette’s high school graduation photo, a picture of Cosette as a child. He kept walking, observing the artwork and photos on the wall as if he was in a museum.

Unsurprisingly, he was most interested in the photos of Jean. He asked the occasional question of when and where the photo was taken, and Jean supplied him answers. Eventually, Javert came to the wall on which Jean had displayed his own achievements.

“A Bachelor’s degree in business, huh?” Javert pointed out. He looked down further. Jean had framed several cutouts from newspapers about the success of his business in Montreuil, and his mayorship of eighteen years. Javert was scanning them, his eyes widening the more he read.

Jean shifted in his seat. Did it seem self-absorbed to have all these newspaper cutouts praising him? Probably. He knew he should have hid them before Javert came over.

“You started a successful bead-making business that completely jumpstarted the economy of Montreuil, you were mayor of the town for three terms and greatly changed everything there for the better, and people were disappointed when you resigned,” Javert said, almost confused. He turned to Jean, puzzled.

“Yes,” Jean confirmed bashfully.

“This whole time I believed you were some nobody,” Javert said. “But you– I–” Javert shook his head in disbelief. “You’re–” He squinted at one of the newspaper articles. “There’s a statue of you in the town square of Montreuil!”

Jean nodded. “Well, yes, there is. It’s not in the centre of the town square or anything. And it’s not that big, or that nice. It’s just a metal one, next to a bench. Not that I’m not incredibly grateful, goodness knows I am, but it’s not like I’m cast in gold next to the king or something.”

Javert looked at the other man and blinked. “There’s a goddamn statue of you. In a town square.”

The older man didn’t know what to say to that, so he only nodded again.

Javert walked back to the couch and sat down next to Jean, squinting at him.

“Javert…?” Jean started.

“Are you… Real?” Javert said finally.

“What do you mean?”

“It was unbelievable enough that a kind, funny, caring, intelligent, outrageously attractive man would be even remotely interested in me. But it turns out he’s also a reasonably wealthy ex-mayor is was almost universally loved,” Javert explained. “Am I going to wake up? Am I on some crazy drug right now?”

Jean chuckled. “Come on, Javert. I’m no superhero. I’m just a regular old man with a past in local politics.”

“Why aren’t you dating a young supermodel or something? Or at least someone of equal status to you? Why stoop to the level of an altogether average, lonely, middle-class, autistic, workaholic, cop?”

“Don’t be silly, Javert. I’m not shallow. I see you as much more than your class and your profession,” he said, grabbing Javert’s hand gently.

Javert looked at their hands, still seeming to be in disbelief. “You’re the kind of man that isn’t supposed to be real. You’re an honest-to-God Prince Charming.”

“I’m flattered. But I’m not a prince, Javert.”

“At least there’s that. I was half expecting your next reveal to be that you have royal blood.”

He laughed. “Oh, dear. No. My heritage is about as far from royal as it can get.”

Javert looked the other man in the eyes. “I just hope that now you don’t believe I’m showing so much interest in you because of your money.”

“Oh, not at all,” Jean assured him. “That never crossed my mind.”

Javert thought for a moment, chewing on his lip. “I suppose it was very smart of you to conceal it, in case I was a gold digger.”

“That… wasn’t my intention. I just didn’t want to seem like I was bragging.”

Javert smirked, exhaling a small laugh. “Of course. That’s so very Jean Fauchelevent of you.”

Jean rubbed the back of Javert’s hand with his thumb. “What is, not bragging?”

“The irrational worry that everything you say or do will offend someone or be taken the wrong way, and a resulting cautiousness that can be ridiculous at times.”

“I wouldn’t say I–”

Javert shot a look at the other man, raising a brow.

Jean looked down. “Well… Yes, I suppose that’s fairly accurate, yes. Very… Really accurate.”

Javert said nothing, but Jean could feel the man’s gaze on him.

“You know me very well for only having known me a week,” Jean said.

“Has it really only been a week?” Javert asked.

“Yes. To the day.”

“Hmm. Feels like quite a bit longer.”

“Does it?”

“Yes. But at the same time, I believe it’s only been a week. It feels kind of like I’ve known you for decades, but also that I’ve just met you.”

Jean looked up. “What do you mean by that?”

“I don’t know,” Javert shrugged. “But that’s how I feel.”

“Huh,” Jean muttered. “I… think I understand what you mean, somehow.”

Jean was looking into Javert’s bright blue eyes, and the other man was looking back, his gaze not quite holding Jean’s own. It shifted between his eyes and elsewhere on his face and body. Jean had noticed this about Javert before, but now knew it was because of his autism. It didn’t bother Jean, anyway.

He leaned forward to wrap his arms around Javert in a warm hug. “I’m very glad you could come today.”

“Me, too,” Javert answered.

***

Javert was sitting at Jean’s dining room table with his laptop, working on a report. He had barely gotten started when Jean appeared in the doorway.

“Sorry to bother you, Javert, but, before I get started, I’d like you to taste something…”

Javert looked at him. “I would think there’s nothing for me to taste if you haven’t started yet.”

“It’s the vegetarian ground beef. I want to make sure you’re okay with it.”

“Ah. Right. I’ll try some.”

The other man approached him with a small dish that had some little bits of meat-like substance. Javert looked at it, considering it carefully. It didn’t look disgusting. He gingerly reached in and touched it, picking it up with his thumb and forefingers. It felt quite a bit like regular ground beef. He held it to his nose. It smelled… It didn’t have much of a smell. It smelled like something edible.

He was aware of Jean watching him, surprised the man wasn’t rushing him.

Javert put the little bit in his mouth, chewing carefully. It was surprisingly similar to meat. The texture was slightly granier, but nothing disturbing. It tasted kind of meaty, but less so than meat, understandably. It wasn’t delicious, but Javert wouldn’t be eating it on its own anyway. He nodded.

“It’s alright.”

“Just ‘alright’? Do you want me to use real meat instead?” Jean asked him.

Javert swallowed and shook his head. “No, certainly not.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

Jean smiled, evidently relieved. “Good. Thank you!” He walked back into the kitchen.

“Don’t mention it.” Javert turned his attention back to his laptop.

He was typing away, starting to make a little progress. Not minutes later, Jean had turned on the radio to some older pop songs, and was quietly singing along to the Beegees as he worked on dinner.

Curious, Javert leaned back in his chair to get a view of the kitchen. Jean was dancing a little as he chopped vegetables. Javert smirked. It was incredibly dorky and just as endearing, watching him bob back and forth to the music. The man had put on a white apron, too. The whole scene was decidedly amusing. Almost an entire minute had gone by before Jean noticed he was being watched.

“Oh, Javert–” he stuttered, blushing. “I’m sorry, am I distracting you?”

The inspector shook his head. “No, I just couldn’t help but notice you.”

He blushed even more. “I-I’m sorry. I’ll tone it down.”

“Please don’t feel the need to do that,” Javert said.

Jean smiled awkwardly and went back to his chopping in silence.

Javert looked back to his laptop. A few minutes later, Javert heard Jean’s quiet singing resume. He smiled to himself, but elected not to watch, for fear of embarrassing Jean further. Instead, he just imagined Jean’s foot tapping the beat, lost in the music.

But he wasn’t content on just imagining it. He quietly pushed his chair back until he could see into the kitchen again. Now, Jean was boiling the pasta, watching the pot and swaying his hips from side to side to the music while tapping the counter with one hand. Javert was glad he was watching. As soon as Jean moved to turn, however, Javert quickly leaned forward again to hide his eavesdropping.

And so the next fifteen minutes or so progressed; Javert attempting to get some work done, only to be inevitably distracted by Jean’s antics. Eventually, he stopped trying to work at all. He closed his laptop and stood up to get a full view of the other man. He wasn’t dancing, at that point, but he was hard at work assembling the lasagna while singing along to Michael Jackson under his breath, and that was just as attractive. Javert put his hands in his pockets and leaned against the doorway, smiling as he observed.

Jean was reaching to grab a box of aluminum foil when he caught sight of Javert. He made a rather high-pitched sound of shock, jumping up and putting a hand to his chest. “Goodness gracious, Javert. You startled me!”

Javert chuckled. “Sorry.”

“Why are you hovering in the doorway like that? Either come in or don’t!” He tore off a section of foil and covered the dish with it.

“I don’t want to be in your way.”

“You won’t be in my way unless you stand between this lasagna and the oven,” Jean assured him.

The inspector accepted this as an invitation and walked into the kitchen, past the kitchen table until he was about a metre or so away from the other man.

“Done your work already?” Jean asked, glancing his way.

“I was just taking a break,” he answered. Javert had made a pitiful amount of progress, but Jean didn’t need to know that.

“Ah, I see. I’m about to put this in the oven, so it should be ready in an hour.”

Javert looked at the clock. It was 5:47 at the moment. “Okay.”

“You’re not hungry, are you?” Jean asked.

“No, don’t worry.”

“Good, good.”

Jean opened the oven, releasing a great deal of hot air. He put on some oven mitts and carefully inserted the pan, made sure it was in the right position, and closed the oven door.

“There we go,” he said, taking his oven mitts off and putting them on the counter.

“So… you’ll just… leave it there for an hour?” Javert asked.

“Well, not exactly. I have to check it to see when the cheese is bubbling, and then, when that’s happening, take the foil off and put it back in for another bit,” he explained.

“Ah, yes. I figured it would require some babysitting.”

Jean smiled, untying the back of his apron. “Do you truly never cook for yourself, Javert?”

“Not beyond what I can microwave or boil in a pot.”

“Good heavens. You must get awfully sick of microwaved meals and soup.” Jean hung the apron on a hook on the wall.

Javert shrugged. “Not particularly. My tastes are rather bland, anyway.”

“And you wouldn’t want to learn?”

“The thought’s never crossed my mind.”

“What if I taught you? Or at least taught you enough that we could cook together?”

Javert chewed his lip. That would be nice, perhaps. “I would only slow you down.”

“I wouldn’t care if you did,” Jean said, approaching Javert. “It would be fun.”

Javert looked down at the other man. He was smiling so brightly and he looked so hopeful that Javert really couldn’t tell him no.

“Alright. We could cook together sometime.”

Jean smiled even wider. “Yay! It’ll be so much fun, Javert. I can’t wait.”

Javert smiled too. “I suppose it will be a good time.”

***

Jean had just checked the lasagna– the cheese wasn’t quite bubbling yet, so he was back at the kitchen table, reading.

He heard Javert’s quiet footsteps draw near to him, and he looked up. “Taking another break?”

“Yeah. I feel like I expected too much of myself to be able to work in your presence,” Javert admitted.

“Oh? Am I… Distracting you?” Jean asked, not really knowing how his silent reading could affect Javert’s concentration.

“No, it’s just that I can’t concentrate knowing that you’re so close, being much more interesting than my work.”

The older man chuckled. “Am I, now?”

“Yes, very much so.” Javert glanced at Jean’s book. “What are you reading?”

Jean put the book down, a little ashamed. “Oh, just a little romance novel. Nothing particularly intellectual.”

“Romance, huh?” Javert approached the table. “Between whom?”

“A single father and an elementary school teacher,” Jean answered.

“Ah. Do you read a lot of romance?”

Jean smiled slightly. “Well, yes, it’s kind of my guilty pleasure. But Cosette recommended this one to me, actually.”

“I see. Is it any good?”

Jean laughed. “To be honest… The writing is quite juvenile. But the plot is fairly good and the characters are interesting enough, so I figured I’d read it to the end.”

Javert nodded. “Based on where your bookmark is, it seems like you’re almost there.”

“Indeed,” Jean said. He checked the time on his fitbit. “I’ll take a look at the lasagna again,” he muttered, standing and walking towards the oven.

He grabbed his oven mitts and opened the oven, removing the dish and placing it on the stove. He carefully lifted the foil with a skewer he had at the ready.

“Ah, the cheese is bubbling!” he said, more to himself than to Javert. “I can uncover it now.”

In a minute or so, Valjean had finished removing the foil and had replaced the lasagna in the oven. When he took off his oven mitts and turned around, Javert was reading the book.

“Jean, this is quite the book you’re reading,” Javert said, his voice strangely animated.

“What do you mean?” Jean asked approaching him.

“It’s very… Racy.”

“‘Racy’?” Jean asked. “The most they’ve done is kiss. With tongue, I suppose, but…” Well, the language used was quite suggestive, to be fair, but nothing sexual had happened.

Javert smirked. “Well, it seems you’ve stopped reading pages before Marc and Xavier tumble passionately into Xavier’s bedroom.”

Jean gaped, blushing furiously. “There’s a sex scene ?!”

“Well, it isn’t described. Just heavily implied.” Javert flipped a page. “And the narrative picks up shortly after they’ve done the deed.”

Jean was thoroughly embarrassed. “Oh my goodness! And Cosette recommended this to me– Cosette’s read this!”

“Oh, don’t worry, Jean. She’s an adult. And so are you. Besides, this is hardly erotica. It doesn’t even describe how big either of their–”

Jean snatched the book from Javert’s hands. “–Well. I guess I won’t be reading the end of that. Thanks for the warning.”

“Why not?” Javert asked, sounding almost disappointed.

“Because I don’t want to read smut.” He tossed the book onto the counter.

“This isn’t smut. It’s just what happens directly before and directly after the smut,” Javert clarified.

“And I don’t want to read that either!”

“How very prudish of you,” Javert remarked. “You’re missing out on some tantalizing literature.”

“I’m alright with that,” Jean said, his face hot.

“Sometimes, there’s nothing better than reading something x-rated, you know?”

Jean’s eyes widened and he looked back at Javert. “You… you read… That kind of stuff?!”

Javert crossed his arms. “Occasionally. I’m more into videos, though. What of it? Do you think it’s shameful?”

Jean felt almost lightheaded. He bit his lip, suddenly bashful. “Well, I just– I mean…” He searched his mind for something he could say.

“You think pornography is a sin, don’t you?” Javert asked, tilting his head forward and raising his eyebrows.

Jean swallowed thickly. “I-I… I wouldn’t say it is, in most cases, I think. It’s just, well, you… You didn’t strike me as the kind of person who would enjoy it.”

Javert had that salacious look of his again, and it was making Jean want to run and hide. “Ah. Well, Jean, most people have not denied themselves pleasures of the flesh as you have.”

Embarrassment and defensiveness bloomed in Jean’s gut. “Don’t mock me,” he said firmly.

Javert seemed to realize immediately that he’d overstepped a boundary. “I’m sorry, Jean. That was quite rude of me. I got carried away.”

He took a breath to calm himself, looking down. “I accept your apology.”

“I shouldn’t poke fun at your personal choices.”

“And I shouldn’t judge yours,” Jean returned.

There was a short silence. “You have every right to avoid suggestive content if it makes you uncomfortable,” Javert said.

“And you have every right to enjoy it.” Jean’s body warmed slightly. He wondered what Javert liked to read and watch. He didn’t want to know, but somehow, he did.

“That book’s badly-written, anyway,” Javert muttered after another moment, nodding his head towards the rejected paperback. “I only skimmed a few pages and it made me cringe. You’ve probably made the best choice to put it down for good.”

Jean laughed, feeling the tension in the air melt away some. “You’re right. It’s atrocious.”

“It seems as if the author believes we’ll forget the characters are male if they don’t remind us every other moment.”

“I know, right? I don’t want to see the word ‘masculine’ ever again in my life.”

Javert chuckled. “I counted three instances of that and related words already. Perhaps you should stop taking book recommendations from your young adult daughter.”

Jean sighed. “I’m going back to Brontë and Jane Austen after this.”

***

That small clash was quickly forgotten, especially when food and wine were served. Javert and Jean ate and drank together, chatting and laughing and feeling entirely mirthful. Javert thoroughly enjoyed the lasagna— he didn’t even notice the vegetarian ground beef.

Chapter Text

After dinner, Jean felt his inhibitions practically disappear. He and Javert had ended up on the couch – a different one than before; this one was more comfortable and had several fleece blankets and pillows. The two men were cuddling under one of the blankets now. Javert was leaning into Jean, who had his arm around the other. It was very nice. It was very warm as well.

They had been chatting, but had fallen into a comfortable silence. The only sounds they could hear were ambient; soft jazz music still playing from the radio in the kitchen, the occasional car passing out front. Their slow, even breaths as they relaxed. The both of them were fairly introverted and reserved, so silence was almost always comfortable between them. It hardly ever held the expectation of words or conversation.

However, it often held the weight of something else unspoken. Something that wasn’t meant to be said with language.

Jean was fascinated by Javert, in many ways. The man was so beautiful. His appearance was unique and striking, and he had many compelling features that Jean loved to study. At this very moment, he had become fixed on Javert’s plush lips. Then Jean’s eyes travelled to his strong, sharp jaw and his long neck and pronounced Adam’s apple, and finally the hollow where his collarbones met at the base of his neck. Then he looked back up to Javert’s lips and found them even more entrancing than before. He met Javert’s eyes. They were the kind of eyes that would be described in a romance novel as doe eyes, perhaps. They were strikingly large and bright and seemed to be able to communicate an incredible amount with a single look. Now, the lids were heavy and his look was languidly alluring.

“Kiss me, Jean,” Javert muttered, his voice very low.

Jean pressed his lips eagerly to the other man’s. He was met with a soft hum from Javert, who immediately pressed his tongue forward. Jean’s hands fumbled out from under the blanket and he reached for Javert’s hair. It was tied back, and Jean couldn’t easily untie it, at least not without looking. Javert understood his desire and pulled away to remove his hair elastic.

As he did so, Jean moved forward again to kiss at Javert’s jaw.

The man reacted with a low hum, and he tilted his head back, exposing the length of his neck.

Jean’s lips travelled over the soft flesh, slowly pressing little kisses to every inch of skin. Javert’s hands settled on his shoulders and the other man was moving to sit on Jean’s lap. The older man’s heart leapt, warmth stirring the pit of his stomach. He brought his kisses downwards as he gently touched Javert’s hair, which was now falling freely down his back. He left a long kiss on Javert’s Adam’s apple and the other man groaned softly, making the skin vibrate under Jean’s mouth.

“More, Jean,” Javert said, soft but insistent. His deep voice made Jean shiver with delight. He migrated to the side of Javert’s neck, his kisses becoming longer, more relaxed, more open-mouthed.

“Yes, like that,” Javert affirmed. His hands were on Jean’s shoulders, squeezing gently.

It suddenly occurred to Jean, somehow, to suck lightly on the skin. Javert’s breathy moan of response was plenty in the way of encouragement. Driven by the warmth boiling in his abdomen, he continued, applying slightly more pressure and a sucking a little harder, down Javert’s neck.

“Oh, yes, Jean–”

Jean leaned forward, and one of Javert’s hands raked up the back of his neck, into his hair. Jean shivered with delight and nipped Javert’s skin slightly, sucking harder, moving down ever so slightly.

“Yeah, right there,” Javert muttered, and his voice sounded so different, it sounded sensual, and heat ran up Jean’s neck and he felt he was being swallowed by something wonderful and terrible. He kept sucking, nibbling, right at that same tiny area of Javert’s neck. An artery pulsed quickly under the man’s warm skin.

“Mm, just like that…” Javert’s voice was a breathy, low moan, causing Jean to feel another twinge of interest and a kind of desperation deep in his guts to do something more, to be closer to the other man, to be one with him.

Javert shifted and Jean felt a bizarre kind of lump between them that had not been there even a minute ago–

–Oh dear. Jean froze completely, and for a moment, Javert did too.

Then Javert moved his leg again slightly, leaning more of his weight onto Jean’s thigh, and that lump was most definitely attached to Jean because he felt a wave of bliss when Javert rubbed against it, causing a little choked noise to escape his throat. He leaned back abruptly against the couch, eyes wide, turning bright red.

Javert was staring back at him. Those eyes, those damning eyes were wide and inquisitive and he leaned further onto the bulge in Jean’s trousers and Jean inhaled sharply.

Javert raised his eyebrows. “You’re–”

“–I’m sorry,” Jean butted in before Javert could say something witty or seductive, or mock him about the pleasures of the flesh. “I don’t know how– Please just….” He swallowed and he had to look away. “Let’s just– I’d like it if we pretended that… that never happened,” he said meekly.

In a moment, Javert moved off his lap, relieving the pressure from his troublesome prick. He had a strange look about him that Jean couldn’t bare to look at. Jean was ashamed, most of all, and confused.

“Jean,” Javert said. “Don’t be embarrassed. That’s–”

“–Please just pretend it didn’t happen, okay?”

Javert was silent then, and Jean believed for a moment that he understood.

“But… It did happen. And you shouldn’t be ashamed that it happened.”

Jean blushed. “I am ashamed, though, and I’d like to do my best to forget about it.”

“Neither of us will forget, though. And you’ll just keep being humiliated.”

He was right. “I’ll be far less humiliated if we stop talking about it.”

“That’s probably not true.”

“I want to stop talking about it, Javert.”

“–But–”

“–Please.”

Another pause. A shallow sigh. “Fine.”

“Thank you.”

There was another long silence, but this one wasn’t comfortable at all. Jean felt completely mortified. He still couldn’t bring himself to look at Javert, and definitely not down at himself.

What felt like ages later, Javert shifted.

“I think… I’ll go, now.”

Jean didn’t know whether he was disappointed or relieved. “Okay.”

Javert stood. He walked to the dining room to collect his things, and Jean didn’t watch him, for fear of catching sight of his rear end, because he knew how it looked when Javert walked.

Within five minutes, give or take a few, Jean was helping Javert into his coat.

“Thank you for dinner, Jean,” the younger man said with a small smile. “I had a lovely time.”

Jean nodded, smiling back, though it was overshadowed by sheepishness. “You’re very welcome! Thank you for coming.”

Javert nodded. “We’ll keep in touch.”

Jean nodded back. “Yes, indeed.”

Jean kept his distance from the other man, and when Javert moved closer for some kind of embrace, Jean deflected it as casually as he could muster. Javert, thankfully, got the hint. He opened the door.

“Goodnight, Javert,” Jean said.

“Goodnight, Jean,” Javert replied, stepping out.

“Have a safe trip home.”

“Thank you.”

Javert walked away, and Jean closed the door almost immediately.

***

Javert sat in bed later that night, thinking. Though he’d already fucked himself senseless with one of his larger dildos, he still couldn’t get that memory out of his head.

It had been so good. Jean’s kisses had been so wonderfully possessive and just right… And the protrusion Javert had felt, hard and insistent, against Jean’s left thigh… He had pushed his own leg against it to try to estimate its size, and it was massive, to say the least. It was thick and long and Javert wished he could have caught a glimpse of its shape in Jean’s trouser leg, at the minimum.

Of course, Jean was a total prude. He was absolutely humiliated and refused to even acknowledge that he was aroused, beyond a completely unnecessary apology. That was expected. But Javert really did not think Jean needed to be so embarrassed.

No matter. Javert did not think any less of Jean for what had happened. He simply wished Jean wasn’t so… chaste. Disgusted by sexuality. Suppressive. He would have liked nothing more in that moment than to take that wayward flesh into his own hand and show Jean pleasure he doubt the man had ever let himself feel.

What’s more, Javert had a lovely deep purple mark forming on his neck to commemorate the occasion. It was somewhat of a participation ribbon, in the grand scheme of things, but at least he had not left empty-handed.

***

Javert had been right, dang it. The man was right a lot, so Jean should have known that he couldn’t simply forget what had happened the night before. He had ignored his desperate, rebellious erection until it subsided, but the shame stayed past a cold shower, prayer, and sleep.

He had prayed until God had forgiven him, surely. He should be feeling better. He hadn’t acted on any impure desires, anyway.

But Javert felt… Javert experienced a tiny crack in Jean’s will. A moment of failure on his part. And Javert felt, and Jean had felt Javert on his–

He’d–

Jean did feel better after church. As he usually did. That was good.

When he got back to his house, he checked his phone for the first time that morning and noticed a text from Javert:

Good morning, Jean. Thanks again for a wonderful time last night. I was just about to drive to work and I noticed something a little different about my appearance. (7:23 am)

[“Javert <3” sent a photo.] (7:25 am)

Confused and intrigued, Jean opened his phone and looked at the message. The photo showed the bottom half of Javert’s face, down to around the region of his collarbone. He was wearing his police uniform, and, on the left side of his neck, just above the collar of his dark blue shirt, was a very noticeable bruise. Except it wasn’t a bruise, it was – Oh, dear. Jean blushed profusely as he remembered what had happened.

Oh, my goodness! I’m so sorry, Javert! I really hope no one noticed!!! :-/ (11:22 am)

He stared at the photo. It wasn’t that bad, honestly. It wasn’t massive, or very high, or even all that dark compared to Javert’s skin tone. But it was just what Jean needed to bring all the shame back again. He felt like a teenager, with these hickeys and unwanted erections– It was absolutely ridiculous. Jean spent the rest of the morning in his garden, harvesting vegetables and trimming bushes.

After finishing lunch, Jean checked his phone again.

I wasn’t seeking an apology from you. I just wanted to show you. I suppose I should have known better than to expect you to find it amusing. (12:12 pm)

And if anyone noticed, they know better than to comment on it. (12:13 pm)

Jean frowned at the messages from Javert. He wasn’t sure how to reply. Something about Javert at work baring the evidence of his romantic involvement with Jean made him feel… Many ways. Surprisingly, not all of them were completely negative.

Well, that’s good. (12:41 pm)

How’s work going, Javert? (12:42 pm)

Javert replied promptly.

Alright, thanks. Quite strenuous, and we still haven’t made much progress on this case. (12:43 pm)

Oh, that’s too bad. (12:43 pm)

Certainly not ideal. But it could be – and has been – a lot worse. (12:44 pm)

What about you, Jean? What have you been up to today? (12:44 pm)

Not a lot. (12:44) pm

I went to church, then when I got back, I did some gardening. My usual kind of thing. (12:46 pm)

I see. (12:46 pm)

Jean didn’t have very much to say. He didn’t have anything interesting to talk about, really, and he wasn’t sure how much he was allowed to ask Javert about his case.

I ought to get back to work. (12:48 pm)

I’ll talk to you later, Jean. (12:48 pm)

Okay! (12:48 pm)

Have a good afternoon, Javert. :) (12:49 pm)

You, too. (12:50 pm)

Jean was relieved that nothing seemed too different between them after what had happened the previous night. Javert truly didn’t seem to mind.

He wondered if Javert had thought about what had happened after the fact, or if he’d put it out of his mind. He wondered if Javert found it funny. Probably– he recalled Javert’s sly comments about him denying himself sexual pleasure– the other man likely found it ironic that Jean’s self-control was so weak. But Javert didn’t seem so harshly judgemental…

Jean was disappointed in himself for thinking about that again. He resolved to do something to distract himself.

Now would be a good time to read something intellectual and well-crafted to cleanse his palate after the horrid book Cosette had forced upon him. He walked upstairs to his bedroom to browse the bookshelf there. That’s where he kept his very favourite books, including several classics that would be sure to distract him.

***

Just one chapter into Wuthering Heights, Jean found himself distracted again. Why did Heathcliff remind him so startlingly of Javert? Was he going crazy?

Well, no. There was quite the similarity in his physical appearance– “a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose.” That sounded quite like Javert, though he wasn’t generally morose around Jean. He recalled, too, that Heathcliff was tall and broad-shouldered and had long dark hair and thick eyebrows with prominent creases between them and on his forehead– Heathcliff had small, black eyes and thin lips, but those were perhaps the only major physical difference between the two.

The way he acted, too, at least in this first chapter, was quite like Javert. Heathcliff at this point was quite intelligent, withdrawn, reserved, sarcastic and dry but not rude.

Good grief. The other times Jean had read Emily Brontë’s novel, Heathcliff had been a firm antagonist for whom Jean had no sympathy whatsoever, and whose features were indistinct and unimportant. Now, however, Jean felt drawn to the character, and in his mind’s eye, he saw a slightly dirtier, scruffier Javert in Heathcliff’s place.

He read on, knowing that as the story progressed, Heathcliff would take a turn to be absolutely nothing like the man of Jean’s affections. He’d get past the coincidence of their similarities soon, surely.

***

“Inspector Javert, I’ve been meaning to ask you something,” Trépannier began, as Javert was leaving that evening.

“Yes?” he asked.

“That woman who came in around noon last week, was she your daughter?”

Javert chuckled. “No, most certainly not.”

“Ah. Who was she, then, if you don’t mind me asking?” The Lieutenant continued.

“She’s… The daughter of a…” Javert hesitated a moment. “A close friend of mine.”

“Oh, I see. I would have commented that she must have received entirely her mother’s appearance.”

Javert didn’t quite know how to answer. He didn’t know where this conversation was coming from, or where his colleague intended it to go.

“Do you have a family, then?” Trépannier continued.

“No,” Javert answered.

The Lieutenant leaned back in his desk chair. “Ah. I don’t have much of one either, really. I’m divorced as of two years, and my ex-wife gets the kids most of the time.”

Javert blinked. He honestly didn’t know what was going on here. “I’m… sorry to hear that.”

The other man waved away his apology. “Oh, it’s alright. In this line of work, it’s probably best to be more of a loner. You feel less guilty about working long hours or going into dangerous situations.”

The Inspector only nodded.

“But it seems you’ve got something going on, haven’t you?” Trépannier asked, grinning. “You’re not married, but you have someone, right?”

Javert’s eyebrows furrowed slightly. “Where are you getting that idea?”

Trépannier tapped the side of his own neck. “You’re bearing the evidence.”

Javert blushed, trying to hide his reaction by scowling. “And why do you think it’s appropriate to point it out?”

Trépannier raised his hands defensively. “Alright, sorry, I just thought maybe you’d want to talk about it.”

“Why on earth would I want that?”

He shrugged. “I dunno, maybe you’d like me to congratulate you on the pussy you got.”

Javert nearly wretched. “Fucking Christ. For further reference, no. That is the last thing I could possibly want.”

Trépannier rolled his eyes. “Geez, okay. I thought you’d just want a pat on the back for getting laid.”

“Please, just stop thinking, then.” Javert said, walking away.

“Damn, okay. Goodnight, Javert,” Trépannier called after him. The Inspector declined to respond.

Chapter Text

A couple days later, Jean had to put down Wuthering Heights, with no plans to pick it up again in the near future. After Catherine died, he simply couldn’t bear to read it any longer. He knew it was a sad book, but before, it had been bearable to read because he could blame much of the sadness on Heathcliff. He could dislike – even hate — Heathcliff, and feel the pain of the other characters. But now… Oh, now he was attached to Heathcliff, too. Though it was true that this character was quite different from Javert, he had clung on to every similarity and somehow felt deeply for this antagonist.

Jean saw himself in the women who loved Heathcliff, though they shared even fewer similarities. He saw himself in Isabella, who ached to be with Heathcliff at every moment, and thought he was a much better man than he thought himself to be. And he saw himself even more in Catherine, who denied herself the pleasure of being with Heathcliff and tortured them both in the process…

Though the situation was so incredibly different, Jean’s infatuation for Javert led him to see his own predicament in the novel, and when Heathcliff cried that Catherine had broken the both of their hearts by denying herself what her heart truly wanted… Jean saw in his mind’s eye Javert bemoaning Jean’s chastity, how he cut their kisses short, how he tread so carefully around boundaries he himself invented. Jean was denying himself what he wanted with Javert, wasn’t he? And although the stakes for Jean and Javert were nowhere near as great as they were for Catherine and Heathcliff, Jean felt pained and distressed and guilty and had to put the book away.

As he distracted himself by going on a long walk, he realized how foolish he was being. He didn’t even know what exactly Javert wanted. Javert may have been perfectly content with the way their relationship was at. He may have had no real desire to take anything further. Jean felt he was probably inventing that Javert was yearning for him in order to justify his own desires. This was silly. Besides, their text conversations had shown no indication to him that Javert wanted anything else.

Jean sat down at a park bench to read their text conversations from the past few days, in order to solidify with himself that Javert was content, and that he should be as well.

– – –

Sunday

I just had a really uncomfortable conversation with some guy I’m working with. (6:03 pm)

Oh? (6:05 pm)

Yeah. He asked if I had a family, and when I said no, he said it’s probably better to have no family as a police officer. Then he told me he is divorced, but that he didn’t want my sympathy. Then he tried to congratulate me on getting laid on the basis of me having a hickey. It was very strange. (6:14 pm)

Good grief!!! That does sound very uncomfortable!! :-/ (6:15 pm)

For sure. What do you think he wanted to get out of that? (6:15 pm)

I honestly don’t know, Javert. Maybe he’s lonely and just wanted someone to talk to? (6:16 pm)

About our sex lives? (6:17 pm)

That’s what a lot of men like to talk about, right? (6:20 pm)

I suppose so. I hope he won’t try again. (6:20 pm)

Did you let him know you didn’t want to talk about it? (6:21 pm)

Yes. (6:21 pm)

Good. (6:22 pm)

– – –

Did you end up finishing that book? (11:42 pm)

The one with the sex scene? (11:43 pm)

– – –

Monday

Goodness, no! (7:15 am)

I moved on to Brontë, as I said I would. :P (7:16 am)

I see. Good choice. (7:20 am)

Are you on your way to the gym now? (7:22 am)

Yes, actually! (7:23 am)

I still can’t believe that you’re at the gym this early every day. You must be lying. (7:23 am)

Haha, no! I’m not lying! I just got to the gym now. (7:28 am)

As much as I want to believe you, I just can’t. (7:29 am)

Why would I lie about that? (7:29 am)

I don’t know. But I’m just having trouble believing you. (7:30 am)

I would believe you if you send me a picture of you at the gym, though. (7:30 am)

Um, okay… (7:30 am)

[You sent a photo.] (7:31 am)

That’s just a picture of the gym. You could’ve got it from the Internet. I meant a picture of YOU, at the gym. (7:31 am)

If you insist… (7:32 am)

[You sent a photo.] (7:33 am)

Well, you could have taken that at home; it’s just your face. I mean a full body picture of you in a mirror, with weights or machines or something in the background. Then I’ll believe you. (7:33 am)

Javert, I can’t do that! People will see! (7:34 am)

Then I guess that’s just proof you’re not at the gym. (7:34 am)

I really am at the gym!!! I don’t get why you think I’m lying… (7:35 am)

I will believe you when I see that picture. (7:35 am)

Fine! (7:36 am)

[You sent a photo.] (7:37 am)

Wow, you really are at the gym! (7:37 am)

I believe you now. (7:38 am)

Goodness, Javert. Why are you such a skeptic? (7:38 am)

Why would I lie to you about going to the gym? (7:39 am)

And how does that blurry mirror picture of me prove anything? I could have taken that some other time. (7:39 am)

Javert? (7:44 am)

– – –

Was this some kind of trick? (9:32 am)

– – –

Yes. (12:10 pm)

I believed from the start you were at the gym. (12:1o pm)

It was entirely a ruse. (12:11 pm)

JAVERT!!! XD (12:13 pm)

You’re too sneaky. Why would you do that?? I didn’t realize you were such a trickster. (12:14 pm)

I’m not the biggest fan of practical jokes. But that was amusing. (12:14 pm)

I suppose it was! You really did get me. :P (12:15 pm)

Also, Jean, I must say… You look lovely in that photo you sent me. Those shorts and muscle shirt show off your form extremely well. (12:16 pm)

Oh, why, thank you, Javert! :) (12:16 pm)

It’s almost like… A body can’t really look like that. Wait… I think I see a little curve in that mirror! I think you retouched the photo! You edited it to make yourself look more muscular! (12:17 pm)

What?! Why would I do that?! (12:18 pm)

HOW would I do that? I can’t use photoshop, let alone that quickly. (12:18 pm)

I don’t know, Jean… That photo seemed too good to be true. If you send me another like it right now, I’ll believe it isn’t retouched. (12:19 pm)

Oh, you almost got me again, Javert! You really are a sly fox, aren’t you? :D (12:2o pm)

Hah. Yes. (12:20 pm)

You can’t fool me twice with the same joke! I’m not that gullible. :P (12:21 pm)

This is true. You’re too intelligent to fall for that again. (12:21 pm)

So, how was your morning, dear? (12:24 pm)

It was quite good, thank you. We’re slowly but surely making progress on the case. (12:25 pm)

Great to hear! (12:25 pm)

And that colleague hasn’t been inappropriate to you again, I hope? (12:26 pm)

No, he hasn’t, thankfully. At least not yet. (12:26 pm)

Whew! ‘:) I sincerely hope it stays that way. (12:26 pm)

Me, too. (12:27 pm)

How has your day been, after you came back from the gym? (12:29 pm)

It’s been fine. I took a shower, then I relaxed and read a bit of Wuthering Heights. (12:30 pm)

Do you know that book, Javert? (12:30 pm)

I’ve never read of it, but I’ve heard of it. Isn’t there incest in it? (12:31 pm)

Yes, between cousins. But that’s not the point of the story. Plus, it takes place at a time where that was much more normal. (12:31 pm)

Of course. (12:32 pm)

There’s also a guy in it who looks quite a bit like you! (12:33 pm)

A tall, long-haired, dark-skinned man? In a book from that era? Must be the villain. (12:34 pm)

Is he Roma, too? (12:34 pm)

They call him a gypsy, so I think he is Roma, yes. And, unfortunately, he is the villain. (12:35 pm)

Of course. How ugly is he? (12:36 pm)

He’s not ugly! Two different women are head over heels for him. (12:37 pm)

With a Romani? This must be quite the progressive novel. (12:37 pm)

And he must be quite a bit more good-looking than me. (12:38 pm)

Certainly not! Based on his description, I would say he’s good-looking, for sure. But he’s got small black eyes and thin lips. So you’re more attractive. :P (12:39 pm)

Oh? So you must be into the tall, dark, and handsome type? (12:39 pm)

For sure! ;) (12:40 pm)

I see. I suppose that explains your attraction to me. I’m tall and dark; 2 for 3 isn’t bad. (12:41 pm)

Oh, stop it! You are very handsome, Javert! (12:41 pm)

You do seem to be convinced of that, yes. (12:42 pm)

Completely. And you won’t be able to change that. (12:43 pm)

Hmm. Fine. (12:44 pm)

I’m being called back to work, now. It was good to talk to you, as always, Jean. (12:45 pm)

Okay! Have a good afternoon, dear. :) (12:45 pm)

– – –

Javert, I’ve been thinking… What was the purpose of those tricks of yours? Did you just want photos of me or something? (2:23 pm)

– – –

Perhaps... (6:42 pm)

Why? (6:44 pm)

Because you look nice. (6:45 pm)

Well, thanks! :) (6:45 pm)

Why did you feel you had to trick me, though? You could have just asked me to send you a photo. (6:46 pm)

Really? Would you have sent me one? (6:46 pm)

Of course! (6:47 pm)

Without questioning me? (6:47  pm)

Well, I suppose I would have asked you the same question I did earlier… Why you would want a photo of me. (6:48 pm)

And if I said I wanted it because you look nice, you would have sent it? (6:49 pm)

Yes! Why wouldn’t I? (6:50 pm)

I don’t know. It seems like something you wouldn’t want to do for some reason no one understands but you. (6:50 pm)

Haha, okay. That’s true. :P (6:51 pm)

To be clear, you would be okay if I asked you to send photos of yourself? (6:53 pm)

Yes, I would. (6:53 pm)

Good. (6:55 pm)

Tuesday

– – –

What kind of photos would you be willing to send to me? (12:14 am)

– – –

What do you mean by that? (6:53 am)

I’m not sure what I meant. I was quite tired. (7:00 am)

Haha, okay. :P Well, what kind of pictures would you want? (7:01 am)

Selfies of any kind. Gym photos are especially nice. (7:02 am)

I see. Would you like another gym photo today? :) (7:03 am)

I would appreciate that very much, yes. (7:10 am)

Ask, and you shall receive! ;) (7:12 am)

[You sent a photo.] (7:33 am)

– – –

Wow… (12:22 pm)

Good ‘wow’, I hope? (12:31 pm)

Of course. You look phenomenal, Jean. I can’t stop staring at your arms in that photo. (12:35 pm)

Aw, thank you! ‘:) You’re so kind. (12:36 pm)

I’m only speaking the obvious truth. You’ve got the kind of body most men can only dream of having. (12:38 pm)

Oh, Javert, you’re making me blush! :3 (12:39 pm)

Am I, now? (12:40 pm)

Yes, you’re very good at doing that. (12:40 pm)

Hmm, it does seem so. It helps that you seem to blush at the least provocation. (12:41 pm)

Do I really? (12:41 pm)

Most definitely. (12:43 pm)

Considering it a victory whenever I make you blush has dramatically increased my self-esteem. (12:44 pm)

Well, I’m happy that I’m helping you. :P (12:44 pm)

I’ll get back to it after work. (12:45 pm)

I’ll talk to you later, my Adonis. I’ll be thinking of you. (12:47 pm)

Oh, you did it again! I’m bright red!! ‘:D (12:48 pm)

– – –

Jean couldn’t help but blush again as he reread those messages. Javert was quite the charmer.

But there was nothing in the conversation that suggested he was longing for something more. Javert seemed comfortable and satisfied with their relationship, and very happy.

Jean was relieved at this. It would make it far easier for him to curb his shameful yearnings if Javert did not reciprocate them. It seemed that Javert would sleep with Jean, perhaps, but Jean didn’t feel that the other man was lusting over him. He was obviously admiring of Jean’s physique, but that didn't necessarily indicate a sexual desire.

***

As soon as Javert got home that evening, he flopped onto his couch and pulled out his phone.

He read the last text from Jean:

Oh, you did it again! I’m bright red!! ‘:D (12:48 pm)

Javert smirked. This was a lot of fun. He pondered on what to say next.

Good evening, handsome. You’ve been on my mind all afternoon. (7:12 pm)

This was completely accurate. In every momentary break from work, his thoughts had been on Jean and Jean alone. And this little game he’d planned; to be as flirtatious and suggestive as he possibly could be over text, without being flat-out sexual. He was hoping to warm Jean up to this, slowly but surely, until he would eventually have to give in. It was difficult, though, to not be flat-out obscene. He was deeply infatuated with this man, and it was incredibly hard to put a cork on his lust. He often had to delete and rewrite his messages to Jean when they sounded too forward. Especially in response to the pictures he’d received from Jean… Fuck, those made Javert salivate. He was slightly startled by his phone vibrating;

Oh, my, Javert! You’re at it again, aren’t you? :3 I have to confess I’ve been thinking a lot of you, too… (7:29 pm)

Javert grinned, his gums showing just as much as his teeth.

Have you, Jean? I’m flattered to be on your mind. (7:29 pm)

:) (7:30 pm)

Is there a chance I can see you tonight? (7:31 pm)

Javert smiled even wider. Was it working?

Would you come over to my place? I would rather not go anywhere tonight. (7:31 pm)

Sure! :) (7:32 pm)

I’ll leave ASAP! (7:32 pm)

Fuck yes.

There was a problem, however… Javert’s apartment had not been cleaned properly in some time, what with his obsessive focus on the case. It wasn’t disgusting, per se, but it was certainly not up to Javert’s personal standards. There were dishes that had been cleaned but not put away, and others had hadn’t even been cleaned. There were books Javert had pulled off the shelf to look something up but not replaced afterwards. There were socks, shirts, and various pairs of underwear on the ground. Most definitely not ideal for company. Well. Jean generally took about twenty minutes to walk to Javert’s apartment building, so that would at least give him time to pick up the extraneous items.

He immediately began doing so; starting with the clothing. He gathered each item and brought them into his bedroom to fold them and return each of them to the dresser.

He was part way through dealing with the books when his phone buzzed.

I’m almost at your place! :) (7:46 pm)

What?! No… It had barely been ten minutes!!

Javert hastily finished with his bundle of books and rushed to check if there was anything else embarassing or personal out in the open. He caught sight of a bottle of lube and quickly returned it to his bedroom.

Javert’s home phone rang. Assuming it was Jean, he pressed 9 to let him in. He glanced over the apartment one last time and checked in the mirror that he didn’t have something stuck in his teeth. He looked like a tired wreck with his messy hair and old sweatpants and sweatshirt, but there wasn’t any time…

There was a knock. Javert turned the bathroom light off and opened his door.

Jean smiled. “Good evening, Javert!”

“Good evening. You’ll have to excuse the appearance of both me and my apartment. The case has really eaten away at my time.” He stepped aside to allow the other man entrance.

“Oh, don’t you worry. I understand what it’s like to be busy!” he said, dismissing Javert’s concerns with a wave.

Once he was over the threshold, Javert closed and locked the door. “I was expecting a few more minutes to tidy before you arrived, as well… How did you get here so quickly?”

“I took an Uber,” Jean replied, removing his coat – the same one Javert had accidentally stolen. “I wanted to get here as soon as possible.”

“Ah, I see.” Javert took the other man’s coat from him and hung it on a peg by the door.

Jean laid a hand on his waist. “So… Have I truly been on your mind all afternoon?”

Javert turned to him. “Of course. And all morning, and before that. You’re always in my thoughts, it seems, even if I’m not actively thinking about you.”

The older man was blushing. “That’s so sweet. I think I’m in a similar boat. When my mind wanders, it wanders back to you without fail.”

Javert gave a small smile. “I’m glad your feet wandered to me as well. As lovely as it is to think about you, I much prefer to be with you in person.”

Jean stood on his toes to give Javert a short peck on the lips. “I agree.”

In a moment, they moved to sit down on the couch, and Jean had cuddled up to Javert.

“I don’t mean to sound rude, but you look quite tired,” Jean pointed out.

“Hmm, yes,” Javert acknowledged. “I suppose I have been sleeping quite a bit less than is ideal.”

“You poor thing.” Jean stroked his hair gently. “It seems they’ve overworked you. No time to take care of yourself.” His voice had taken on a caring, pseudo-parental tone.

“Oh, it’s alright. I’ve had much worse.”

“Worse?” Jean exclaimed. “Goodness… How much worse can it get?”

Javert met the other’s eyes. “Believe me, much worse. I have gone three days without sleeping, multiple times.”

Jean gasped. “That’s outrageous! How are you supposed to function like that?”

“We simply have to. Police work is much different than a nine-to-five office job, of course. You can’t just clock out and go home if a criminal is on the loose.”

Jean shook his head. “Yes, but… No one should have to live like that. And then come home to a house that hasn’t been cleaned and dinner that hasn’t been made… You have eaten, haven’t you?”

“Yes,” Javert said. He did have dinner, since he was very hungry due to not having eaten since he’d shoved a granola bar in his mouth while sitting in traffic that morning.

“Good. And you’ve had a shower?”

“Yes, I only skip showers in the most dire of circumstances. Why, do I smell like I haven’t showered?”

Jean shook his head. “No, you smell fine;  I’m just making sure. I’m quite worried about you, dear.”

“I can tell.”

Jean looked around the apartment. “I’d like to help you, if you don’t mind.”

“Help me? With what?”

“How about I clean and put away your dishes for you?”

Javert shook his head. “No, I couldn’t have you be my maid.”

“I want to do it for you, though. Just so that there’s one less thing you have to think about.”

“Jean, it’s alright. I’ll do them myself.”

“Absolutely not! I want you to relax for a moment while I do your dishes and keep you company.”

“No, that’s outrageous. I won’t let you do my chores for me.”

He sighed. “Fine. Will you at least let me help you do them?”rs

Javert considered this. With Jean’s help, it would take half the time – probably less – versus him doing it himself. “You didn’t come here to wash dishes.”

“Please, Javert?” Jean asked, squeezing the younger man’s hand. “I want to help you with something. It’s no trouble at all for me, really.”

Javert caved. “Alright, if you insist.”

Jean smiled and he stood. “Great! Let’s get to it, then!”

With a surprising amount of pep, Jean made his way to the kitchen area of Javert’s apartment, with the other trudging close behind.

“I’ll wash, and you put away?” Jean suggested. “Since you know your organization system better than I do.”

The Inspector nodded. “Logical.” He picked up some of the dishes that had already been cleaned and began to put them away.

He heard Jean start the tap. “I suppose I’ve got nothing to talk to you about,” he mused, “considering we’ve been texting all day.”

“Yes, the magic of modern technology,” Javert said, sorting utensils into a drawer.

“When we were younger, we wouldn’t have been able to keep in touch throughout the day. We’d have to call each other, and only when we were both at home. Isn’t that crazy to think?” Javert heard the clatter of a plate being put on the dish rack.

“Indeed. And I wouldn’t have the privilege of your gym photos.”

Jean laughed. “That’s true! Nor would I get your charmingly witty texts.”

“At least I would be able attempt to be charming and witty in face-to-face conversation. Twenty or thirty years ago, you would have had to mail me a polaroid of you in shorts and a muscle shirt.”

Jean laughed heartily. “Oh, dear. That would be impractical, wouldn’t it? I think it’s best that we’ve met as older men, for many reasons.”

Jean collected some bowls from the other counter. “What are the other reasons?”

“Well, now we can be somewhat affectionate to each other in public without getting yelled at by strangers.”

“I suppose, though I’m not sure who in their right mind would yell at a six-foot-four cop and a man of your muscle mass.”

“If that were true, neither of us would have ever been mocked for being gay.”

Javert nodded. “I suppose you’re right. Though most of the mocking for me came before I was a cop, and when I wasn’t so tall… Or when I was tall but skinny and looked rather feminine.”

“I have a difficult time imagining that you looked feminine,” Jean admitted.

“Yes, well. When I was sixteen it was a different story. When my shoulders hadn’t broadened and I didn’t have such pronounced facial features. I was late to finish puberty. My balls dropped and I grew fairly tall along with other boys, but I didn’t grow much facial or body hair until I was eighteen and my voice didn’t drop all the way until I was something like twenty. I think I looked and sounded like a proper man by twenty-two, maybe? And all this time I was drooling over every male individual who gave me any attention. Plus, I looked even more like my prostitute mother than I do now. I inherited the waist and ass that drew in her customers. I would sometimes have my ass slapped by men on the street who thought I was a woman. My nicknames in high school were all variations on ‘that gypsy faggot’.”

Javert heard the tap shut off and suddenly felt arms around his waist, and he froze.

“I’m so sorry, Javert,” Jean said, hugging him tightly from behind. “That’s horrible.”

Javert blushed. He’d been rambling. He’d never told this to anyone before. “Don’t apologize. I should be apologizing for having told you all this–”

Valjean took the bowl Javert was holding out of his hands and put it on the counter. He turned Javert around to look at him. “Please don’t feel badly for opening up to me. Thank you for trusting me like this. I am honoured that you’re willing to share your pain with me.”

“It’s not painful, Jean. Not anymore. It’s been so long that I’ve stopped caring.” That wasn’t entirely true, and it seemed Jean could see that.

“You’re so strong and so brave, Javert. You’re incredibly resilient to have overcome all that. And I hope you know there’s nothing wrong with you. Not because of your body or your sexuality or your autism or anything. You’re absolutely perfect just the way God made you – or whoever or whatever you believe made you. You’re gorgeous and intelligent and witty and I’m so glad you are the way that you are, and that we met the way that we did. I am blessed to know you, Javert, and I am blessed to be allowed to show you affection and care. You are one of the best things to have ever happened to me and I never want you to lose sight of how important you are to me and to this world.”

Javert didn’t know what to say. He felt warm and he felt overwhelmed. No one had ever said such things to him. He didn’t think he’d ever heard words like that said to anyone. He blinked, his mouth opened uselessly. His throat felt so tight. He reached out to Jean and hugged him tight, the other man immediately returning the embrace, his strong arms and solid form keeping him close.

A single tear slid down Javert’s cheek. When was the last time he’d cried? Could he even remember? He wiped it away so Jean wouldn’t notice and hugged the man tighter still.

Chapter Text

“Yes, hold it like that. Hey, be careful–” 

“–I’m not a child, Jean,” Javert retorted. “I’ve used a knife before.”

“Yes, but–” Jean took hold of Javert’s left hand and moved it a centimetre or so to the side. “Your fingers were in the way.”

“They are quite long.” Javert began to chop the onion. 

“Don’t put so much pressure on the knife, dear. Let it glide.”

Javert sighed. “Why don’t you just do it?”

“You’re getting the hang of it! I believe in you!”

A piece of onion stuck to the knife Javert was holding and he shook it to dislodge it. It landed on the counter next to the cutting board.

“Oops,” Jean muttered and picked it up. “Make sure to keep all the slices together.” He replaced it with the other onion slices. 

“How am I supposed to do that?”

“Use your other hand.”

“You throw a fit whenever my fingers get near the knife,” Javert protested. 

“When you’re cutting, yes, but not when you’re pulling the knife back out. Then it’s much safer.”

The younger man sighed. “Fine.” He made sure to hold the onions in place while withdrawing the knife this time. “Like that?”

“Yes, good job!” Jean said. 

Javert soon finished cutting the onion, then cutting it into smaller chunks. It felt like such hard work. 

“That took me at least three times as long as it would take you,” he pointed out. 

“But you’re only learning, Javert. And that’s why we started preparing dinner so early!” 

Javert sighed. “You’re right. Still, though, I am ridiculously slow.”

He put the knife down and rubbed his eyes.

Bad idea.

“Shit, oh God–” Javert exclaimed as his eyes began to sting. Pulling his hands away from his eyes didn’t seem to help at all. “Fuck, ow, fuck, my eyes, shit!”

“Oh, dear…” Jean muttered. “Wash your hands, Javert. I’ll get a cloth wet for you.”

“I can’t fucking see,” Javert said.

“It’s alright. Just blink it out. The sink is right next to you.” 

Javert felt hands gently guide him by his waist to face what he presumed to be the sink. He heard the water turn on. 

“There. Wash your hands before you can touch your eyes again.”

Javert fumbled dramatically for the running water. “It fucking burns, Jean, Christ! I can’t see shit!” He managed to find some soap and rinse it off his hands. 

Jean was beside him again, a hand on the small of Javert’s back. Soon, a damp, cool cloth was gently applied to his eyes. Javert grabbed it and pressed it in, rubbing. “Fucking hell–”

“Gently, dear,” Jean said. “You’ll only make it worse like that.” 

“I doubt it can get much worse. For Christ’s sake, my eyes are on fucking fire!” Javert exclaimed.

Jean sighed. “It’s just an onion, sweetheart. I know it stings, but it’ll go away soon.”

“‘Just an onion’ my ass,” Javert muttered. However, the cloth was providing some relief. Soon, he could start to blink away the tears in his eyes, and he could see again. 

“Are you alright now?” 

“It’s getting better,” Javert replied. “And I’ve learned my lesson.”

Jean chuckled. “You have quite the potty mouth, Javert. Perhaps I should clean that next.”

Javert rolled his eyes, though this caused them to sting again. “Oh, please. It’s not like you don’t curse. I mean, I’ve never heard you swear, but I’m sure you do on the occasion.”

Jean shook his head. “I don’t, as a matter of fact. I haven’t for a very long time.”

“Not even when you’re angry? Or when you stub your toe?” Javert asked, dabbing at his eye with the cloth for good measure.

“No. There are plenty of other expressions that suffice for expressing pain or anger.”

“Like ‘gosh darn it’ and ‘goodness gracious’? I doubt it.”

“Someone as clever as yourself shouldn’t have to stoop to profanity.”

“Swearing doesn’t make you dumb,” Javert countered.

“It doesn’t, but you should be able to come up with alternatives.”

“You end up sounding like a nun.”

Jean shrugged. “I see nothing wrong with that.”

“You don’t even say ‘hell’, ‘damn’, or ‘God’ outside of religious context, do you?”

“There’s no need to.”

Javert shook his head. “Your self-discipline is commendable.”

The other man smiled. “Well, thank you, but I would say yours is quite superior, with the work you do and the hours you have to put in.”

“It’s all necessary. I have to work those hours in order to keep my job.”

“You chose the career you did. No one forced you into it.”

“I would still argue your degree of self-discipline is more impressive. No one rewards you for spending hours exercising every day at age sixty-five. No one gives you a pay raise or a promotion for reading voraciously. You choose to donate to charity anonymously so that no one can congratulate you. And on top of that, you deny yourself meat, drugs, most alcohol, smoking, gambling, sex... Almost every indulgence of vice imaginable. And you don’t even swear. I would say you’re absolutely remarkable.”

Jean blushed slightly. “Oh, Javert… you give me too much credit. Most of those things were either very easy for me to begin or to give up. Many of those vices were never appealing in the first place, anyway.”

“Very interesting. May I ask what were the most difficult things to give up, or to begin?”

Jean smirked. “That’s a very personal question, dear.”

“One you’re willing to answer?” Javert pressed.

“Perhaps eventually.”

Javert nodded. He was definitely curious, but he wasn’t surprised the other man didn’t want to answer yet. 

Jean turned back to the counter, clapping his hands together. “Well… I suppose we should get back to making dinner!”

Javert scowled. “May I just sit back and watch?”

“Really? You don’t want to help me anymore?” Jean asked with a frown. 

“I’ve already injured myself once, proving my incompetence. Do you really want to see what else I can manage to do?”

“For one thing, I would hardly call that an injury. And you’re not incompetent, Javert! You’re just a beginner!”

Javert sighed and tossed the damp cloth towards the sink, no longer needing it. “Fine. I’ll continue to prove to you my uselessness in the kitchen.”

***

Jean turned off the stove. “That looks and smells great, doesn’t it?” he asked Javert.

“Yes, I must admit it does,” Javert replied. They had successfully made a rice stir fry with vegetables Javert didn’t hate, most of which had come from Jean’s garden. “You did most of the work, though.” 

Javert was still trying to diminish his own contribution, it seemed. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we made it together.” Jean hugged Javert from the side. 

Jean suddenly had an idea. “Shall we eat outside?” he asked. “It’s warm enough at the moment, and we can watch the sunset.”

Javert turned around to look into Jean’s backyard. “That sounds like a good idea.”

“Great,” Jean said, smiling. “You take some wine, glasses, and napkins out to the table, and I’ll bring the stir fry?” 

The other man nodded. “Sounds reasonable.”

Jean used the stirring spoon to dish out the food into two bowls, as evenly as possible, but giving himself more vegetables and Javert more rice. Done this, he opened a drawer and removed two spoons. 

He looked out onto the backyard and saw Javert, his back to Jean, sitting on a chair at the patio table, pouring himself some wine. Jean couldn’t help but watch a moment, a small smile on his lips. He felt affection bloom in his chest, somewhat similar to what he felt when he used to watch Cosette play when she was a child. It was some kind of domestic bliss, he thought; comfort and familiarity. Javert, sitting at the table, waiting for the dinner they’d cooked together… It was a lovely thing to see. He decided not to keep Javert waiting any longer, and opened the sliding door to the backyard. He closed it behind him and walked to the table on the patio.

“There you go,” the older man said, placing one bowl in front of Javert.

Javert looked up to him and smiled slightly. “Thank you,” Javert said. 

Jean sat to his heft and handed him one of the spoons. “Bon appétit.”

“To you as well,” Javert replied, and took a bite. He raised his eyebrows and nodded approvingly. “That’s quite good,” he said after swallowing.

Jean very quickly said grace in his head, as he had become accustomed to doing when he ate with Javert, an apparent atheist. This done, he took a bite of his serving as well. He was in agreement. “We did a commendable job!”

Javert nodded again. He was looking out into the garden, and up into the sky where the sun was setting as he continued to eat. 

Jean watched him, watched his big blue eyes turned upwards, and those long, beautiful eyelashes, black and soft against his skin. This man was so stunning. The warm light of the setting sun suited him– as did daylight, moonlight, indeed any type of light. Jean ate slowly, distractedly, as he admired Javert, watching his eyes and his eyelashes, watching his hair as it blew slightly in the gentle breeze, watching his strong jawline as he chewed. 

“The sunset does look lovely from this vantage point,” Javert said.

Jean hummed. Javert turned to look at him. “Have you been staring at me this whole time?”

Jean smiled. “Yes.”

“No matter how intriguing you believe I am, you can’t possibly tell me I’m more visually pleasing than a sunset,” Javert said, his tone a little argumentative.

“Well, I’ve seen sixty-five years worth of sunsets,” Jean explained. “And only two weeks worth of you. I’m trying to make up for time lost.”

Javert smirked. “You’ve gotten exponentially better at flirting, Jean.”

“Have I? Thank you.”

“Yes. And evidently not from Cosmo articles. Is this what classic literature has taught you?”

Jean chuckled. “I have to admit that some of it comes from classic literature and old movies, yes.”

“Oh? Do you fancy yourself Humphrey Bogart or Marlon Brando, then?”

“Neither, though I’m quite sure I had a crush on Marlon Brando at some point,” Jean said.

Javert chuckled. “Who didn’t? I’m curious, though; what were your other celebrity crushes?”

Jean thought for a moment. “James Dean, Frank Sinatra, Anthony Perkins… Lots more. Mostly the cuter, softer ones, instead of the burly ones, though Clint Eastwood caught my attention too.”

Javert nodded, smirking. “Yeah, I had a similar experience. I never watched much television or movies – I still don’t – but whenever I’d happen to see a movie, there’d always be at least one actor to catch my eye. I always liked the burly ones, though. I still do,” Javert said jokingly, reaching out to playfully squeeze Jean’s bicep. 

Jean’s cheeks coloured a little, thinking of the almost daily requests he’d gotten from Javert for pictures of him at the gym, showing off his muscles. He wondered why Javert wanted so many pictures. He was flattered, but he could help feeling… dirty, somehow, as if somehow his arms had become sexual objects.

“You could have become an actor or a model,” Javert said to him. “I could see you as the rugged hero of an action movie, couldn’t you?”

Jean blushed, both at the compliment and at the fact that he was indeed an actor– he had been acting for half his life, playing the characters of the mayor and the innocent old Christian man, hiding one faded prison tattoo; a small clock with no hands on his back by his right shoulder blade. He instinctively rubbed the location of said tattoo. “Really?”

Javert nodded. “Yes.” He placed his hand out on the table, near Jean. 

The older man looked at it and forced his hand away from his tattoo to take Javert’s hand. To his surprise, he jerked it away with a small hiss of pain.

“Are you hurt?” Jean asked, confused.

“Oh, no, I just burned myself a little, earlier,” Javert explained, looking at the side of his hand, near his pinky finger. “It’s nothing.”

Jean frowned. “I didn’t realize you’d burned yourself! May I see?”

Javert held his hand out, and Jean took it very gently this time, avoiding the area of the injury. Sure enough, there was a painful-looking thin red stripe, about half an inch or so long, on his hand. It didn’t look too serious– Jean had burned himself like this while cooking many times – but he was sure it was quite painful. He furrowed his brow. “Hmm, that doesn’t seem too serious. I’ll get some things to patch you up with.” He let go of Javert’s hand and stood.

“That’s not necessary, Jean,” the younger man insisted. “It barely even hurts.”

“You jerked away when I touched it,” Jean reminded.

“That’s because… Because I forgot about it. It hurts so little I forgot it was even there,” Javert explained. 

Jean shook his head, smirking. “Ah, of course. Well, regardless of how much it hurts, it’ll only make it better if I clean it up, don’t you agree?”

“I can do that when I get home,” Javert said with a tone that made it obvious he had no intention of doing so. 

“But if it ‘hurts so little you forgot about it’, you’re surely going to forget again by the time you get home.”

“And what if I do? What will happen then?” Javert asked somewhat confrontationally. 

“Then you’ll have wound that hasn’t properly been taken care of.”

Javert rolled his eyes. “My hand won’t fall off, Jean!”

Knowing he wouldn’t win, Jean simply went inside to get his first aid supplies. He heard Javert calling his name after him, but ignored it. Soon enough, he found disinfecting wipes, polysporin, and the right size of Bandaid for the situation. He returned to the patio a moment later. 

Javert rolled his eyes as soon as he saw Jean. “This is incredibly unnecessary.”

“Shush,” Jean said. “It’ll only take a moment.” He sat back down at the table. 

Javert held his hand out with a dramatic sigh. “There you are, Doctor Fauchelevent.”

Jean smiled. “Thank you for your cooperation.” He pulled out a disinfecting wipe. “This may sting a little.”

Javert’s jaw clenched slightly as Jean cleaned the wound. He put the wipe down and administered a small amount of polysporin to it. This done, he opened the Bandaid, peeled off the paper bits, and carefully placed it over the small burn. He rubbed the sticky ends of the bandage to make sure it was secure. 

“There,” he announced. “That wasn’t worth all the complaining, now was it?”

“It was still overkill for a tiny little burn.”

“Oh, I almost forgot!” Jean said. “Doctor Fauchelevent’s special treatment!”

Javert raised his eyebrows. “Oh? And what is that?”

Jean brought Javert’s hand closer to him and leaned forward to kiss the bandaged area. 

Javert smirked. “Oh, Doctor… I’m suddenly remembering several other injuries I have.” 

Jean smiled back. “Really? Do tell me where, and I’ll be sure to administer my special treatment.”

“My lips, Doctor… And all over my face!”

“You poor thing! Don’t worry; you’ll feel good as new in no time at all!” 

Jean scooted forwards in his chair and gently directed Javert’s head downwards so he could kiss the man’s forehead, then his temples, then his cheeks.

“Hmm, I can feel it working already,” Javert said softly with a smirk. 

Jean continued to kiss Javert’s soft face, over his nose and his chin and jaw. He paused at Javert’s lips, kissing him passionately but sweetly. It was lovely to kiss Javert; it brought such strong feelings and warmth to his heart. Every touch was electric and yet soothing. 

After a minute or so, he pulled away. Javert’s eyes were still closed. He he looked softer, younger like this. Jean could almost see how Javert could have seemed feminine, once – when he was unguarded and relaxed, he had the kind of gentle and ethereal beauty of a high elf inhabiting a distant woodland. And yet, Javert was very masculine as well, with a strong browbone and thick, dark eyebrows, chiseled cheekbones and a powerful jawline no woman could have. He was one of a kind, this man. Jean couldn’t get enough.

“You’re a miracle-worker, Jean Fauchelevent,” Javert said with a smirk. 

“And you’re a miracle in your own right, Javert…” Jean trailed off. “Well, this is embarrassing. I don’t know your surname.”

Javert opened his eyes at last. “It’s Javert.”

Jean raised his eyebrows. “Your name is… Javert Javert?”

The other man laughed. “No, no. Javert is my last name. I have a different first name.”

Jean’s eyes widened. “So I’ve been calling you by your last name this whole time?”

Javert nodded. “Yes. Everyone does. That’s how I like it. I’d rather not be called by my first name.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t like it. It’s a Roma name. It helps to pin me as exotic.” 

Jean frowned. “You shouldn’t be ashamed of your culture.”

“When I’ve been teased for my culture my whole life, it’s difficult. Besides, my first name on documentation is the equivalent of a childhood nickname. Roma people are given several names– To simplify it, there’s often an official first name which can be European, a Roma middle name, a sort of nickname which is used by family and close friends, and sometimes more. When I was taken into foster care as a child, and my parents were nowhere to be found, I did not know my real first name. I knew what my mother called me. So that’s what’s on all my papers now.”

“May I know what it is?” Jean asked earnestly. 

Javert sniffed. “I… You’ll laugh at it. It’s a cutesy name with a cutesy meaning. You won’t take me seriously.”

“I won’t laugh, and I won’t see you any differently. I promise.”

Javert looked away. He sighed, and took something out of his pants pocket. He tossed it towards Jean. It looked somewhat like a wallet; small and black and made out of leather or an alternative.

“What’s that?” he asked, eyeing it in confusion.

“My police badge,” Javert said. “Open it.” He still wasn’t looking at Jean. 

Jean blushed a little. Right, Javert was a cop… His stomach sank as he was forced to recall this fact. He gingerly touched the thing, and opened it. There was a shiny silver police badge on one side, and on the other, an identification card. 

“‘Inspecteur Rukeli Javert’,” Jean read. “That’s not bad at all!” 

Javert grunted. “Yes it is. It’s stupid.”

Jean looked over the identification card. There was a small picture of Javert, hair tied tightly back in braids, staring stone-faced at the camera. “Rukeli sounds like a lovely name to me.”

“It means ‘little tree’,” Javert spat. 

Jean smiled, mostly because he knew Javert couldn’t see him. “I like the meaning as well. It–”

“–I know you’re going to tell me it’s ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’ or something of the like. Save it. I don’t want to have a cute name.”

“I was going to say it suits you,” Jean told him.

Javert finally faced him again. “Really? In what way?”

“You’re strong and you’re grounded in your morals and responsibilities, like a tree is grounded in the earth.”

Javert snorted. “Oh, please, Jean.”

“I’m serious, Javert. I’m not trying to mock you. If you recall, I was a landscaper when I was younger, and I am quite fond of trees. I think it’s a lovely thing to be called.”

“You think so?” 

Jean nodded. “Yes.” He reached out to touch Javert’s hand, careful to avoid the burn. “Besides, you’re tall and thin, like a tree,” he joked. 

Javert grinned. “I need to be watered regularly.”

Jean chuckled. “I would hate to see someone cut you down.”

“My trunk is brown in colour,” Javert added.

Jean thought for a moment. “I can’t come up with anything else.”

“If I fell in a forest and no one was around to hear me, would I make a sound?”

Jean chuckled. “I don’t know, would you?”

“I’d probably say ‘ouch’,” answered Javert. Both of them laughed.

Jean squeezed the other’s hand and looked into Javert’s blue eyes, which seemed warmer in the fading light of the sunset.

“May I call you Rukeli?” 

Javert’s brows knitted together. “Hm… I’m not sure.”

“It’s alright if you don’t want me to. I just feel… I suppose I don’t want to call someone I’m involved with romantically by their surname. But I understand if you don’t feel comfortable with it.”

Javert thought for a moment. “I think I would like it. Only… Please call me Javert in public, though.”

Jean smiled. “Of course, Rukeli.”

He thought he saw Javert blush a little. “I do hope I will remember to respond to the name, seeing as no one’s called me so in decades.”

“You couldn’t forget to respond to your own name,” Jean assured him.

Javert shrugged. “Every time I’ve been promoted in rank, I’ve had to stop myself from responding to something I used to be called. Furthermore, since high school, I’ve had to learn to stop looking up everytime someone says ‘hey, faggot’.”

Jean frowned, remembering the other man’s troubled adolescence. “I know what you’re talking about. I have been known by different names as well, and have had to force myself to not react to an older alias.”

Javert raised his brows. “Really? And for what reason?”

Jean turned red. Oh, no. He wasn’t meant to tell Javert such things, he really wasn’t– How did he let this slip? “To avoid being recognized as the man I was in my youth.”

The other man seemed confused. “Oh? I was under the impression you were just reckless and kind of a dick.”

Jean tried to smirk. “I really wanted to escape that.”

“Seems like a lot of trouble to go through.”

The older man nodded. “Yes, it was. But I don’t regret it.” It wasn’t done legally, that time. 

Javert looked away, and Jean felt some relief. “What was your given name, if you don’t mind?”

“Jean,” he replied. “That’s the name I was given at birth. I haven’t needed to change it, seeing as it’s so common.”

Javert smiled. “I see. That is convenient.”

Jean rubbed the location of his tattoo again. It seemed to sting like it was fresh again. He recalled the feeling of the makeshift tattoo gun stabbing repeatedly into his skin. 

“I think we’ve seen the whole sunset,” Javert remarked. “Shall we go inside?”

Jean smiled, relieved by the change of subject. “Yes, let’s.”

***

That night, Javert lay in his bed, thinking of Jean. But for once, it wasn’t with a mind clouded with lust and a dildo spearing his body. Instead, he pondered some of Jean’s strange behaviour. Why had he changed his name to escape a reckless and regrettable youth? Most everyone was ashamed of their adolescent self, but not to such an extent as to change their name. What was it exactly that Jean had done as a young man that was so terrible?

A painful thought pushed to the forefront of Javert’s mind. What if Jean had done something illegal when he was young?

It seemed so unlikely, with who Jean was as a person. His kindness, his trustworthiness, his wholesomeness and purity... He was nothing like any criminal Javert had ever come across. Except there was his complete avoidance of mentioning his past, and his fear of police stations, and the way he twitched ever so slightly when Javert mentioned his own job. And a few days prior, Jean had come visit him right after work, and Javert was still in uniform. Jean had seemed uncomfortable, almost frightened, of his uniform, even for a moment after he had changed. Javert was used to reactions like this, even from innocent civilians, but Jean’s reaction was more intense than he would have expected. More guttural. He had foolishly thought Jean might have found it sexy. 

God, it would make no sense and total sense at the same time. Jean, an ex-criminal. It couldn’t be. 

Even though he had no real proof this was the case, Javert prepared for the worst. What would he do? Of course it would depend on the severity of Jean’s infraction. If he was a murderer or rapist or something else completely despicable who had escaped from prison and started a new life, he would of course make sure he was returned to prison. Thankfully, this seemed unlikely to Javert. It was far more likely that Jean had committed a smaller offense as a youth– breaking and entering, property damage, theft, vandalism, or something else of the sort. Still… Javert didn’t think he could be with a former criminal, no matter how long ago the crime occurred. He was an officer of the law; he could not keep company with convicts, or ex-convicts, because people can never really change. Someone with the capacity to steal, cheat, or lie may stop committing crimes, but they will always have that capacity; it will linger like a black stain on white cloth. 

This was painful. He had known Jean for a scarce three weeks, but he felt an overwhelming connection to him. If it was possible to feel such an emotion so quickly, he loved Jean. He couldn’t bear the thought of having to part ways with the man. 

Fortunately, he had no solid evidence to suggest Jean had ever broken the law. Javert tried to put the thought out of his mind and sleep.

Chapter Text

 

“I know what you are,” Javert spat, snarling.

Jean knelt on the ground, shivering with fear. “Rukeli, please–”

“– You can’t call me that!” The taller man interrupted him, his voice unwavering. “ Criminals can’t call me by my first name!”

The tattoo on Jean’s back stung as if it were a fresh brand. Jean collapsed to the floor, crying out in pain, both physical and emotional.

“I never want anything to do with you again, Jean Valjean! ” 

Jean sobbed, called out after Javert as he walked away. It was useless, Javert was never coming back, never again…

Jean woke with a start, gasping as he sat up in his bed. It was just a dream. 

He sobbed nonetheless, overwhelmed. It didn’t matter how unrealistic the dream was, how the Javert in his dream spoke like a movie villain and how he himself had been incapacitated for no apparent reason. It hurt all the same. It terrified him.

It was Wednesday, now, and ever since the last Saturday – when Jean had accidentally revealed that he’d changed his name – things hadn’t really been the same between them. They’d still been texting, but it somehow seemed… Drier. Javert hadn’t asked for gym pictures, nor said anything to make him blush. Javert hadn’t asked him to come over. Jean had come up with the courage to ask Javert if everything was alright. Javert had told him the case was finally progressing more, and he didn’t have the time or energy to be more sociable. Jean couldn’t help but feel that this was a half-truth, that Javert somehow had him figured out. Javert was smart. Javert was trained to catch criminals. And Jean had let himself fall in love with this man and let his guard down… He was a fool. He deserved to be caught, really. He had lived too well for too long, and he’d deliberately hid the truth from Javert in order to gain his trust. He deserved the worst.

Jean didn’t leave the house that day. Cosette had called him, wanting to take a walk with him to catch up. Jean lied and told her he was sick, and then told her she shouldn’t come over as he was fine in bed alone. He wasn’t fine, obviously, and Cosette’s presence would likely help. But what could he do? He didn’t want her to see him like this, nor could he even tell her what he was upset about. Cosette could never know what was wrong. And so Jean wallowed, scared and alone, in his own state of mind.

***

“So that’s it, then?” Javert asked, straightening from his position leaning over the desk. “It’s a gang led by Jondrette?”

Lieutenant Trépannier nodded. “Yes, it certainly is.”

“I suppose I was correct all along then, to be suspicious of him,” Javert pointed out, crossing his arms. 

Trépannier looked at him, brow furrowed. “You were never suspicious of him.”

“Yes, I was– since the very beginning. I remember this because, when we first interviewed him, I asked you if you found Monsieur Jondrette’s story to be fishy, and you told me to stop being so judgemental.”

The other man shook his head. “That definitely didn’t happen.”

Javert rolled his eyes. “Never mind. Forget it.”

Javert didn’t forget it, though. He had a great memory for this kind of thing, and he knew he’d been suspicious of Monsieur Jondrette from the beginning and had been brushed off when he told his colleague so. However, the small defeat of being unable to win this small dispute with Trépannier was greatly overshadowed by the fact that they were tantalizingly close to solving the case. They knew pretty much everything about the gang save for their location, and even that was close to being discovered. Javert even got to go home on time, for the first time in weeks. 

As soon as he got home, Javert changed into comfortable clothes and put a frozen pizza in the oven. Next, he got a bottle of vodka out of the cupboard and poured himself a shot. The slight burning taste of the alcohol was very welcome, and so was the slight tipsiness that had come over him by the time he’d finished a couple slices of pizza and a few more shots. He felt more relaxed than he’d let himself be since before this case started ramping up. 

He finally decided what else it was he wanted. To make out, maybe be fucked… Though he was painfully certain Jean would never offer him the second, he felt he had a fair chance at the first, despite the slight rift that had opened between them. It didn’t really matter to Javert, at least not at that moment; the alcohol in him simply wanted the company of an attractive and caring man who would cuddle with him and kiss him as they sat together on the couch. It didn’t matter to him then that he was questioning if Jean was an ex-con, he just wanted the other man’s arms around him and lips on his skin. 

He found his cellphone and opened his conversation with Jean.

 

I miss you. Do you think you could come over? I want to be kissed and cuddled. (8:21 pm)

After pressing send, he leaned back on the couch. He let his hand sneak under the waistband of his sweatpants to rest against his cock through his boxers. It was warm, and he could imagine Jean’s calloused hand – a little smaller than his, with stubbier and thicker fingers – sitting there posessively. As if Jean would ever do that. Javert sighed. He hadn’t shaved down there in a while, and he wished there was a reason to be concerned about that fact. 

 

I miss you too, Rukeli. :) I would love to come over, if you would have me. (8:25 pm)

Javert shivered. He really did enjoy how Jean used his first name, now. It felt very special, like a pet name even more endearing than any others. 

 

Of course I would have you! That’s why I’m asking. (8:25 pm)

Haha, right. Well, if you’re sure… I can be there in about 10 minutes? (8:26 pm)

Javert raised an eyebrow at his phone. 

 

What do you mean “if I’m sure”? Of course I’m sure. Come over. (8:26 pm)

Just being certain. Okay, I’m calling an uber now; see you soon. :) (8:27 pm)

Weird. But not unlike how Jean had been weird in the past. Javert shrugged it off and started to tidy up his apartment, moving the least visually pleasing things out of sight. He took another shot as he did this – why not? He was still just a little tipsy. 

His apartment was vaguely organized when Jean buzzed at the door. Javert excitedly pressed 9 on his phone and let his hair loose, as he knew Jean would appreciate it thus. 

The man in question arrived at his door very quickly. Javert grinned as he ushered his date inside. 

“Good evening,” he said flirtatiously.

“Hello,” Jean replied, uncharacteristically timid. Javert ignored this and draped his arms around the shorter man’s shoulders. 

“You smell of alcohol,” Jean pointed out, almost nervously. 

“Yes, I’ve been celebrating that we’ve almost solved the case!” Javert explained. 

The other man wiggled out of his embrace. “Seems a bit of a premature celebration.”

Javert laughed. “Perhaps. But I’ll celebrate more when we’re actually done.” He moved closer to Jean again. “Now kiss me, please. I’ve missed you.”

To Javert’s bewilderment, Jean stopped him. “Wait– Are you sure? You haven’t had too much to drink or something?”

Javert furrowed his brows. “No, I’ve only had a few shots. Besides, this is nothing we haven’t done before. Kiss me, Jean.”

The other man looked even more bashful than usual. He chewed on his lip. “Okay,” he said quietly.

Javert moved in and touched his mouth to Jean’s, greedy. He kissed with need and desire, wanting to go back to that evening when they’d been on Jean’s couch, kissing with a desperate passion, and he’d felt the man’s hard cock against his thigh… To his great disappointment, Jean wasn’t returning his intensity. The other man was stock still, barely moving his lips at all against Javert’s. The younger man pulled back, frowning. 

“What’s wrong, Jean?”

He forced a smile. “Nothing, nothing at all! Why do you ask?”

“I’m better at reading people than you think. And even if I wasn’t, you’re quite obviously distracted in some way. What’s the issue?”

Jean blinked, shook his head. “I don’t know what you mean, Javert. I’m fine.”

His surname was unexpectedly cold, now, juxtaposed with the sweetness of his given name when Jean spoke it. Javert frowned. “You’re not fooling me, Jean. It’s… We’re probably both bothered by the same thing, I think. That conversation we had the other day, when you said you’d changed your name in the past to escape your youth.”

Jean turned pale. Javert couldn’t help but notice he hadn’t looked quite his best this evening, anyway. He seemed a little disheveled. 

“Am I wrong?” Javert insisted.

Jean’s eyes flickered to the ground. “No,” he said quietly, almost imperceptibly so. 

“Get it off your chest, Jean. It’ll make both of us feel better.”

Jean shook his head. “No, it won’t. It couldn’t.”

Javert looked over the man in front of him. He seemed so small, all of a sudden; their height difference seemed exaggerated. “What did you do when you were younger, Jean? What was it that was so horrible that you can’t tell me?”

Jean looked away, blinking slowly as if he wished to close his eyes. He opened his mouth and closed it again. 

Javert’s worst fears were starting to become more relevant. “Does it have anything to do with how you’re afraid of police stations and how you got so scared when you saw me in uniform?”

Jean suddenly turned away from Javert and took a step. 

“Speak,” Javert said, suddenly harsh. 

“I... “ Jean started, his voice small. He swallowed laboriously. “Oh, God, Javert, you’re going to leave me, aren’t you?”

Javert could have sworn that his heart stopped for a moment. “What did you do, Jean?”

“It was shoplifting. I got caught stealing groceries to feed my sister’s starving children. I had a light sentence but I kept trying to escape from jail so I had to stay for longer and longer, and I broke parole when I got out. I spent 19 years in jail and on parole in total before I finally wisened up and served my time. I met a kind Bishop who helped me find God and turn my life around. He gave me money, I got a job and I went to college and I became a better man. I changed my name and let my past life go. But yes, I’m an ex-convict.”

Javert’s stomach sank. “You’re… a thief?”

“Was,” Jean corrected meekly. “I haven’t stolen so much as a dime since–”

“–It doesn’t matter!” Javert snapped. “Once a thief, always a thief! And a fraud, too– You changed your name so that no one would find out you had a criminal record, and you became mayor of a town, you started a business, you adopted a child… And you fooled me, a servant of justice, into this– God, you’re disgusting! I can’t believe what you’ve done! I can’t believe what you’ve made me do!”

Jean was looking back at Javert, now, tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry, I–”

“I don’t want the apologies of a criminal! ” Javert barked. “Get the fuck out of here, you fraudulent piece of shit, you–” Javert’s heart chose this exact moment to remind him of how in love he had thought he was with Jean, and to feel pain for seeing the man of his affections looking distraught and on the verge of crying. Javert’s heart chose this moment to make him truly look at Jean, at how handsome he was, at those arms which had held Javert close and that strong chest he’d nuzzled into. At the lips that felt so perfect against his own, at the beard that had tickled his face and neck with tender kisses. “Leave now!” he finished suddenly, overcome with emotion.

Jean didn’t bother to protest– he left as quickly as he could. 

***

Cosette put down her cellphone as soon as she heard the start of her father’s voicemail. 

“He didn’t pick up?” Marius asked, though he already knew the answer. 

The young woman shook her head slowly in reply. 

Marius got up from the table. “I’m going over there right now.”

Cosette got up as well, but Marius stopped her. “No, if you come, he’s going to do his damndest to pretend everything’s fine. He won’t say anything if you’re there.”

The blonde frowned, but she knew her husband was right, and they needed answers as soon as possible. It had been days since she’d last heard from her papa, and she was downright terrified of what could have happened to him. “Okay.”

Marius nodded to her and walked out of the kitchen. “I’ll text you as soon as I know what’s up.”

It was a short but tense drive to his father-in-law’s house, and when Marius rang the doorbell, there was no answer. He rang it again; nothing. Thankfully, Jean had once given them a spare key for the front door– he used it now, and entered the house. 

It was strangely dark, gloomy. There was no sign of Jean anywhere. 

“Papa? Are you home? It’s me, Marius!” he called.

“M-Marius? Oh, I really– I’m sorry, but I’m not prepared for guests right now!” A weak voice only barely recognizable as Jean’s answered from upstairs. “Please come back another time– I’m sorry, really.”

“I’m not here as a guest,” Marius replied. “I’m here because Cosette and I haven’t heard from you in several days and we’re worried about you.”

“Worried? Oh, there’s no need to be worried about little old me! I’ve just come down with something, that’s all! I’ll be all better in no time!” 

“If that’s the case, you’ve been bedridden for half a week, now. Have you seen a doctor?”

“I don’t need a doctor! I’ll get better on my own!”

Marius wasn’t convinced. He began to scale the stairs, and soon he reached the master bedroom. The door was ajar, and he barged in to see the curtains drawn and his father-in-law sprawled on the bed in pyjamas surrounded by used tissues. He was startled when Marius entered. 

Marius was terribly saddened to see Jean like this, and quite glad that Cosette hadn’t. The man looked a wreck– his eyes were red and puffy, his nose rubbed raw, his facial hair unkempt and overgrown, and his entire appearance ragged, disheveled, and pitiful. 

“What’s going on?” Marius asked firmly. 

The older man’s lip began trembling. “Javert– broke up with me–” That was all he could say before he began sobbing for what was evidently not the first time that day. 

Marius sighed, honestly quite relieved that it wasn’t something more serious. He pulled out his phone and opened his text conversation with his wife. 

 

He’s in a funk because the guy you set him up with broke up with him. (2:17 pm)

“I’m very sorry to hear that,” Marius said. “That’s tough.”

Jean was bawling, hiding his face under his blanket. Marius walked over to open the curtains. “But there’s no use sitting in a dark room all alone! You won’t feel better that way!”

“I don’t deserve to feel better,” he blubbered. 

“Come on now, that’s nonsense!” Marius said, sitting down next to his father-in-law. He gently placed a hand on one of his shaking shoulders. “Of course you deserve to feel better!”

“Y-you don’t understand,” Jean began, poking his head out from the covers. “He broke up with me b-because I’m an ex-con!”

Marius’s eyes widened. “You’re a what-now?!”

“You heard correctly. I shoplifted when I was a young man. And I was sent to jail. And I’m a total fraud for changing my name and trying to be a better person and becoming a mayor and adopting Cosette and never telling anyone about it, not even you or Cosette… And I tried to make a police officer love me, even though I’m a criminal. How could I do that? I’m–” And that was all he was able to say before he began to cry harder again. 

Marius was genuinely confused. “He broke up with you… because you shoplifted once?”

“I’m a criminal!” Jean sobbed, his whole body heaving.

Marius knew he wouldn’t be able to talk sense into the man just yet, and besides, his phone had been blowing up (with texts from Cosette, surely), so he pulled it out of his pocket.

 

Wait what the fuck???? (2:18 pm)

Noooooooooo!!!!! (2:18 pm)

Why??? Did he say??? (2:19 pm)

I’m gonna beat that fucker up (2:19 pm)

Idc that he’s 6’4 and a cop. I will beat him up for breaking my papa’s heart (2:20 pm)

Marius shook his head at the texts. He couldn’t help but agree somewhat. 

 

All your dad’s told me is that he shoplifted once when he was younger and that he’s a fraud? (2:21 pm)

And I guess this guy was upset that your dad didn’t like… Advertise himself as an ex-con on his dating profile? Or something? And broke up with him cause of that? I honestly have no idea (2:22 pm)

WAIT WHAT THE FUCK?????????? (2:22 pm)

MY GOODY TWO SHOES CATHOLIC DAD IS AN EX CON???????????? (2:22 pm)

AND THAT’S WHY JAVERT BROKE UP WITH HIM??????? (2:23 pm)

I’m coming over right now (2:24 pm)

Idk if you want to… He’s kind of a mess rn (2:24 pm)

He’s my mess though (2:25 pm)

***

“Cheers again,” said Trépannier, and the two officers clumsily knocked their shot glasses together. Javert downed the glass quickly, wincing a little. 

“I thought I’d finally see you in a good mood,” the other man said, “now that the case is closed and you have another successful arrest under your belt. But you seem just as solemn as ever.” 

Javert frowned, leaning against the bar counter. “What, I’m not in a good mood?”

Trépannier shook his head. “You look… empty.”

Javert cackled. “A few more shots’ll fix that. Next round’s on me.”

“Is it that lady?”

“What lady?” Javert asked. The only ladies he knew were his colleagues, and they caused him little trouble at all. 

“You know what lady,” Trépannier said. “The one who gave you a hickey. You yelled at me when I asked about her.”

Javert made a disgusted face. “I’ve never been with a woman in my life, nor have I ever had the slightest urge to do so.”

Trépannier rolled his eyes. “You gave yourself that hickey, then?” he asked sarcastically. 

“For fuck’s sake, dumbass– I’m gay!” 

The other man blushed. “Oh… Oh. So… The man that you were with left you?”

Javert’s chest clenched. “Nah, I broke up with him.”

“Why?” Trépannier asked. 

Javert asked the bartender for another round of shots. “Turns out he had a criminal record he didn’t tell me about.” 

“Ah. What’d he do?”

“Shoplifted, once, when he was a young man. Supposedly to feed his starving family.” Javert said. 

“And…?”

“He attempted to escape prison several times, and broke parole.”

“So he never served his whole sentence?”

“Yeah, he did. Decades ago. But then he changed his name and ‘found God’ and has been masquerading as an honest man ever since. He went to college, started a business, became mayor of a small town, adopted a kid and raised her to adulthood, donated lots of money to charity… He’s been doing all this good samaritan shit for thirty-odd years. Fooled me into falling in love with him, thinking he was a perfect man. It was too good to be true.”

Trépannier looked confused. “I don’t think I follow.”

Javert scowled at him. “How thick are you? He’s a criminal!”

“Sounds like he’s turned his life around as well as can be expected.”

“He illegally changed his name to escape his past so he could parade around as a good person!”

“Wouldn’t you, if you were in his place?”

“Well, I wouldn’t have ever stolen! I’ve been poor, too, and I never stooped that low!” Javert recalled distantly that his mother had stolen food to feed him, and if it wasn’t for her theft, he might have starved to death as a toddler. 

“I don’t know, Javert, it sounds like you’ve overreacting. If he served his time and hasn’t broken the law since, I feel like he’s redeemed himself. What more can anyone expect?”

Javert didn’t want this to make sense. “Whatever. He wouldn’t fuck me, anyway.” 

The shots arrived, and Javert downed his immediately. “I want to suck some dick tonight,” he said, as if it were some great revelation. 

Trépannier grinned. “I wouldn’t mind having my dick sucked.” 

Javert glanced at the other man, wide-eyed. “I thought you were straight?”

The other man shrugged. “I’m bi-curious, I think.”

Javert looked Trépannier up and down. He wasn’t bad-looking, Javert supposed, though nothing extraordinary. But Javert was currently sporting ragged facial hair from having neglected to shave since he’d ended things with Jean, and otherwise looked a mess, so he doubted he’d be able to score anything better. He nodded. “A couple more drinks from now, I’ll be drunk enough for that,” he decided. 

Trépannier nodded, smirking. “They’re on me, then.”

A few drinks later, Javert was indeed sufficiently drunk. He and Trépannier stumbled off their bar stools to the dingy bathroom. Javert fell – literally – to his knees in front of the other man, who unzipped his fly and pulled out his half-hard cock. It was of average size, which Javert found slightly disappointing. But it was not horrendous-looking or disgusting in smell, so Javert took it into his mouth dutifully. 

The other man moaned above him as Javert got to work, sucking and lapping as if his life depended on it. 

“Fuck, you’re good at this,” Trépannier muttered, grabbing a handful of Javert’s hair. 

Javert closed his eyes as he bobbed his head back and forth. He was so drunk, he kind of forgot where he was and who he was with for a moment. 

He decided it was Jean, then, whose cock was in his mouth and whose hands were buried in his hair. Javert moaned in desperation, seeing in his mind’s eye that beautiful, strong, lovely man looking down at him, mumbling praises to Javert and trying his best not to curse. He ignored what Trépannier was saying and doing, as much of it was too vulgar for it to be Jean, and it was ruining his mental image. How he wished it was Jean, how he wished he was with that man, pleasuring him with his mouth…

“What the fuck?” said a stranger’s voice. 

Javert removed his mouth and looked to the direction of the voice. It was some frat boy-looking individual who had just entered the bathroom to find them. “There’s some trap sucking an old dude’s dick in here!”

Soon enough, bouncers came and extracted both Javert and Trépannier, telling them both they were banned from the bar, and if they returned, the police would be called. Javert was far too out of it to protest beyond a weak ‘but we are the police…’, whereas Trépannier yelled back, and then, once they were properly thrown out of the bar, he turned on Javert. 

“Look what you’ve done now! You’ve got me banned from my favourite bar!” 

Javert struggled to face Trépannier. “It was your idea…”

“Fuck you!” he screamed before stomping off. 

“No, thanks, I don’t think I’m up for that right now,” Javert replied in a mutter. 

He was alone, now, and he wasn’t far from his apartment. He supposed he should call an uber, but, of course, it seemed his phone was dead. Oh well. He could walk.

Javert stumbled with great effort towards the sidewalk, each step seeming more and more difficult. His stomach churned and his head spun. ‘I’ll just take a little break here,’ he thought to himself, before unceremoniously falling into a bush, unconscious.


Chapter Text

Javert was being jostled, suddenly. He groaned. “Lea’ me ’lone,” he slurred, practically creating a new language. 

“Javert?!” A woman’s voice called. 

He grunted. “ Inspector Javert t’ you,” he corrected indignantly. 

“Oh my God, Éponine,” the woman continued, “This is the guy that dumped my dad!”

“Jeez, really? What did he see in him?” asked another woman’s voice.

“I don’t know– I thought he wasn’t too bad looking. Obviously not when he’s passed out in a bush.”

“I’ve been told I’m ugly a’ sin,” Javert muttered, and began to laugh for a moment before his whole body hurt and he felt queasy. 

“I kind of want to leave him here,” the first woman said. “He deserves it.”

“That’s low, Cosette,” the other replied. “I think we should at least call him an Uber.” 

The first sighed. “You’re right. He broke my dad’s heart, but I guess I should be the better person.”

Javert pried his eyes open to look at the women. The blonde one knelt beside him. 

“Y’look familiar…” Javert drawled, squinting. “D’ I know you?”

“Yes, though I wish we’d never met,” she snapped. 

“Tha’ s’not very nice,” Javert admonished. 

“Neither is what you did to my dad,” the blonde lady said. 

“What’d I do t’your dad?” Javert asked. “If I arrested ‘im, ‘m sure ‘e deserved it.”

The woman sighed. “What’s your address, Javert?”

“‘m not gonna tell you,” he said firmly. “I don’t gi’ my a… Address t’ strangers.”

“I just want to help you get home, dummy!”

“Nuh-uh. ‘m no’ fallin’ for that.” Javert shook his head, pointing his finger weakly. 

“I’m not a stranger, Javert, remember? You know me! I’m Cosette! Jean Fauchelevent’s daughter!”

Javert chuckled. “I reco’nize that name. Jean… Fauch’levent… Myeah, he’s seeeexy. I wanna… I wanna… Y’think he’d lemme… Uh… Hmm.” Javert remembered how Jean looked, and he smiled to himself, closing his eyes.

“Good God, this man is fucked up,” the woman who wasn’t Cosette said. 

“So you remember me, right? What’s your address?” Cosette pressed.

“Nooooo, take me t’ Jean!” Javert protested. 

“No, I can’t do that, because you broke up with him, remember?” The woman said sternly.

Javert opened his eyes wide. “Wha’?! Nooo! Why’d I do tha’? He’s sooo… hunky.”

“What’s. Your. Address.” Cosette said slowly, exaggeratedly, holding onto his shoulders and forcing him to sit.

Javert looked into her eyes. She looked so angry. Javert felt a wave of nausea come over him and he turned away from her to throw up into the bush. 

Cosette got up with a defeated ‘ugh’. Soon, the other woman was crouching behind him, and hands were collecting his long hair behind his head. 

“Thank y–” he started, only to throw up again, even more violently. 

“You’re welcome,” the woman said, “we’ve all been there, believe me.”

“What should I do, Éponine?” Cosette asked, frustrated.

“Does your dad know this guy’s address?” she suggested. 

“Yeah, but in what world would it be a good idea to ask him?”

“You’re right. I dunno, would you let this guy crash on your couch for the night?”

Fuck no,” Cosette said. “Only if I had no other choice!”

“You might not have another choice,” the woman said, adjusting her grip on Javert’s hair. “Unless you tell us where you live, pal,” she said to him. 

“Noooo way. Too dangerous. Y’might be a criminal.” Javert wretched, having almost nothing left to vomit. 

Cosette sighed. “I’ll call Marius and see what he thinks.”

A moment later, Javert heard her talking on the phone:

“Hi darling – yes, we’re okay – guess who we just found blackout drunk in a bush? – No, not Ép’s dad. Javert... Yes, I’m sure it’s him. And he refuses to tell us his address. Ép thinks we’re gonna have to let him crash on our couch tonight… Yes, that would be extremely helpful… Well, you can try, but he seems adamant that he can’t give his address to strangers. Okay, we’re at… We’re near that shady ass bar, the one with the Quickie right next to it, and the smoke shop? Yeah, that’s the street. Thank you so much, baby. Love you too. See you soon.” 

“So? What’d he say?” the woman holding Javert’s hair asked. 

“He’s coming to pick us up, the absolute angel,” Cosette answered. 

Éponine sighed. “What a gentleman. You’ll be nice and not puke in his car, right, dude?” she asked, rubbing Javert’s shoulder.

Javert heaved. He still felt nauseous, but nothing was coming out. 

“I hope that means no.”

A few minutes later, a car pulled up to where they were, and Javert heard the car door open and close. 

“Jeez, he really is a mess,” said a man’s voice. 

“I think between the three of us we should get him in, right?” the woman by Javert asked, finally letting go of his hair.

“Wait, w-where are y’ takin’ me?” asked Javert.

“Home,” the man replied. Suddenly, two sets of arms were pulling him to his feet. 

“Nuh, you’re tryin’a kidnap me aren’cha? Well, you’re not gonna get away with it!” Javert attempted to struggle against his captors, but it was too difficult. He eventually resigned to be kidnapped – his fellow officers would track him down anyway. He was corralled into the back seat, and a seatbelt was done up around him. At least the kidnappers were respectful of road safety laws. He heard other doors being closed and seatbelts being done up.

“You have one last chance to tell us your address, officer, or we’re going to take you somewhere very unpleasant,” said the man in a warning tone. 

Javert crossed his arms. “Y’ won’t break me this eas’ly!”

“You fucking idiot!” the woman beside him in the back cried out. “We’re offering to take you home, safe and sound!”

Javert shook his head. “‘m not givin’ my address t’people who’re gonna kidnap me!”

“Fine, you got us figured out!” the man said animatedly. “We’re criminals who were going to kidnap you hold you for a ransom. You caught us. If you promise not to arrest us, we will take you to your house!”

Javert laughed. “Inspector Javert doesn’t take bribes!” he announced proudly. “Y’ are all under ‘rrest for… For kidnapping!”

“You can’t arrest us for kidnapping since we haven’t kidnapped you,” Cosette explained. “So we’re innocent. You don’t have to arrest us, so you can go home now.”

Javert shook his head. “You’re tryn’a trick me!” Javert said. “I dunno what you’re talkin’ ‘bout, but I know it’s a trick! Y’ can’t trick me! I won’t tell you my address! In fact, I won’t tell y’ nothi– anything!” 

“If you don’t tell us your address, we’re going to – to take you to a dungeon and tie you up in chains and leave you there!” the woman beside him threatened. 

“Mmm… I like bein’ tied up, sometimes. Will Jean be there while I’m tiiied up in the dungeon ?” Javert asked suggestively, laughing to himself.

“Okay, fuck it. We’re taking this absolute disaster to our place just so we can get him to shut up,” the man said, and the car was started. Soon, they were on their way.

Javert looked out the window. These idiot kidnappers had let him see where he was being taken! He tried to memorize where they were going so he could direct his rescue party later, but it was too hard– the view out the window was so blurry. Maybe they had special blurry windows for kidnapping. Well, he would figure something out. He had managed to not let these criminals trick him into giving out his address, so he knew he could outsmart them. He only hoped they would give him a good place to sleep.

Eventually, Javert was being half-dragged, half-carried out of the car and into a house. It didn’t look a lot like a dungeon. Hah, these stupid criminals couldn’t even manage a good dungeon! There were windows everywhere! 

He was made to sit down on a couch, and a moment later, a cup was being pressed to his mouth. He turned away. 

“No, y’can’t poison m–” he started, his voice embarrassingly weak, but he was cut off as a hand prevented him from moving his head, and the poison was poured into his mouth. It was tasteless but cool and very nice, so he drank the whole thing. 

Javert was exhausted. He couldn’t even resist as he felt hands robbing him of his shoes and the contents of his pockets, and pushing him to lay on his side. His head was propped up by a nice pillow, and a lovely soft blanket was pulled over his body. These kidnappers were oddly hospitable. He let his heavy eyelids fall shut.

“Goodnight, Inspector Inebriated,” said the woman who wasn’t Cosette, patting his hair. “Please don’t throw up or piss yourself on my friends’ couch.”

Javert hummed in reply. Maybe he would; it would serve them right for kidnapping him. 

A light was turned off, and Javert was soon fast asleep. 

***

Javert woke up to blinding light around him and discomfort in every part of his body. What the fuck had happened? He felt around him– he was on a couch, not a bed, and it didn’t feel like his own couch. Javert pried his eyes open with great difficulty. He couldn’t see much, but he was very obviously not in his own home. Where the fuck was he? 

He groaned. His head hurt like hell. He was obviously extremely hungover; he knew that much.

“So, you’re finally awake?” asked a man, whose voice Javert did not recognize one bit. 

Javert looked to the source of the voice. It was a young, pale man with auburn hair. Javert did not know who he was. 

“Who are you? Where am I?” Javert at least knew who he was, himself. 

“My name is Marius, and you’re at my house.”

Javert’s eyes widened. “Fuck, I didn’t… I didn’t sleep with you last night, did I?”

“God, no,” Marius said emphatically. “I have no idea what you did last night, other than pass out drunk in a bush for my wife and her best friend to find you. You then adamantly refused to give us your address, so we took you to our place.”

Javert blushed. That was almost as bad as sleeping with a strange man half his age. However, Javert was certainly glad he’d fallen into the hands of kind strangers. These people didn’t need to know he was a cop or that he fancied himself an upstanding member of society. “I’m… I’m so sorry. I– I can’t believe I did that. Well… Thank you. Thank you so much for helping me, that’s very kind of you. I owe you and your wife and her friend so much… You saved… What’s left of my dignity, and possibly my life.” 

Marius smiled. “Well, I’m not sure there’s much left of your dignity, but you are alive.”

“May I use your bathroom? I’d like to maintain my one remaining shred.”

The young man laughed. “Certainly. Follow me.”

He helped Javert up – Javert who was clothed under the blanket, thank God – and led him, wobbling on his feet, out of the living room.

At the kitchen table in front of a recently finished breakfast sat two women. One of them was a brunette whom Javert did not recognize either, and the other was a blonde whom… Whom he immediately recognized as Cosette Fauchelevent. He stopped dead in his tracks, blood draining from his face. 

“Cosette…?” he asked weekly. 

“Good morning, Inspector Rukeli Javert,” she greeted facetiously.

Javert heaved, and Marius rushed him to the bathroom. Javert closed the door behind him and threw up a meager amount into the toilet, and then stood to piss. At least he was able to do this in a dignified manner. 

Cosette. It was Cosette and her husband and her friend who had found him. Not kind strangers after all. He was even more mortified as he finished up, flushed the toilet, and washed his hands. He looked absolutely disgusting in the mirror, with an unshaven face and massive dark circles under his eyes. He looked like some kind of harrowed zombie. Javert exited the bathroom and returned the way he came to the kitchen, where his three saviours were waiting. 

“How are you feeling on this fine morning?” the brunette asked him. 

“Better, thanks to your kindness,” Javert answered, his voice low and respectful, as if he was speaking to royalty. He might as well have been, what with how they saved him, despite how he’d ended things with Jean, which Cosette and her entourage most certainly knew. “Thank you so much, for saving me and for your hospitality. You three are… Extraordinarily good people.”

My father raised me well,” Cosette said emphatically. 

Javert realized no amount of deference would allow him to save face. He frowned. He also realized Jean had certainly not told her the real reason Javert had broken up with him– he wouldn’t have wanted to tell his daughter that he was a criminal. 

“I know I must seem like a villain to you,” Javert said, “but there was more to the breakup than you know. Trust me.”

“More than the fact that you think shoplifting to help his starving family is an unforgivable sin, even though that was ages ago and he has repaid his debt to society several times over?” Cosette asked, her voice harsh. 

Oh. So, she did know after all. “Not only that,” Javert continued, keeping his tone calm despite Cosette aggravating his headache, “but he kept it a secret. He illegally changed his name to escape his past so that he could live with the privileges of an honest man. He has masqueraded himself as a good man all these years. He shouldn’t have been able to adopt you, Cosette.”

“And you know where I’d be, if he hadn’t?!” Cosette nearly yelled. “My biological father left when I was born, and my mother died, and I was living with Éponine’s parents–” she gestured to the brunette – “who are real criminals. They abused Éponine, her siblings, and me worst of all. My papa rescued me from them. He saved me from them and resigned as mayor to raise me and give me love and a home and a special education to catch me up on the years of school I’d missed. As for Éponine, you know where she’d be without my papa? About four years ago, he ran into Éponine begging on the street – her parents had been less lucky in conning people recently – and he recognized her from when he adopted me. He gave Éponine and her siblings enough money to move out of their parents’ house and finally be rid of them, and he’s taken them in to help them find their way. And Marius – Marius and I were engaged when last year’s protests happened, you remember that? How many people were injured, some even killed? Marius was part of the main activist group involved. My papa was worried about him being there, and sure enough, Marius had been gravely injured and was left unconscious in the way of the protests. My papa, who was sixty-four at the time, risked his life to carry Marius to safety. Do you understand? He isn’t ‘masquerading’ as a good man; he is a good man. The best man I know. Without him, I would be suffering God-knows-where, my best friend and her siblings – all younger than her – would be living in poverty, and my husband would likely be dead. When my papa was mayor of that town, he changed so many peoples’ lives for the better, they made a statue of him in the town square. You know that. He donates as much money as he can to charity every year. You know that, too. And you think all this is negated because he shoplifted once – which, by the way, he did because he couldn’t support his seven nieces and nephews on his minimum wage salary, and they were starving! You think you have the right to call him a fraud and a criminal, and to break his heart, when he never shut up about how you were one of the best things to ever happen to him?”

Cosette’s rant ended there, and the silence was deafening. 

“This is why I wanted to leave you passed out drunk in that bush, But my ex-convict father raised me better. He raised me to help people in need, no matter who they are and whether they deserve it or not.”

Javert felt Cosette’s words like a winding blow to the chest. He couldn’t have known how to reply, no matter how long he had to think it over; it turned out he’d have no time at all, as there was suddenly the sound of the doorbell ringing. 

“Who’s that?” Éponine asked, looking confused. 

“I’ll check,” Marius said. He quickly walked over to the front door. 

Cosette glared at Javert, who wanted to shrink away. He felt he should say something, but what was there to say? He couldn’t argue. He couldn’t defend himself. He simply stood there, turning her words over in his head.

“Shit, Cosette, it’s your dad!” Marius called out. 

The blonde woman went pale, and she stood up immediately. “Fuck…” she muttered. She turned to look at Javert again with a piercing stare that rivaled even his own. “You are going to stay here and make yourself invisible and you are not going to make a single sound. And don’t you even think of trying to talk to him. Or I’ll–”

Marius opened the door. 

“Good morning Marius,” said a voice Javert only just recognized as Jean’s. It was quiet and depressingly small. “I hope this isn’t a bad time? I hate to come over unannounced, but I really needed company this morning…”

“It’s never a bad time!” Marius said, though it most definitely was a bad time. “Please, come in.” 

Cosette was walking towards the foyer, and Éponine was in action removing any trace of Javert having slept on the couch. She shot him a look and pointed to a convenient hiding spot beside a pantry, which Javert dutifully inserted himself into. 

“Éponine’s here, too,” came Cosette’s voice. “She slept over last night. We had a bit of a girls’ night out. I hope you don’t mind her being here.”

“Oh no, not at all,” said Jean. “She’s essentially another daughter to me, you know that!” 

“Here, come sit down,” Marius said. “Would you like something to drink?”

“I’d like tea, please– if it’s not a bother,” Jean asked. 

“Of course it’s not a bother! I think there’s still hot water in the kettle from breakfast!” Marius replied. “Green tea, yes?”

“Please,” Jean said. 

Javert heard three people settling in the living room, and Marius’s footsteps approaching the kitchen. The kettle was a few metres away from Javert. Marius did not even glance at him as he poured the water into a cup.

“How are you feeling today, Papa?” asked Cosette. Her voice sounded so much sweeter than it had a moment ago. 

“Not well,” he said with a sigh. “It’s my first Saturday without him–” his sentence broke off there, and he sniffled. “Saturdays are his day off, so we’d always spend the day together…”

“Oh, Papa…” Cosette said, and now Javert could pick out a trace of the vitriol he’d heard. 

Marius shot Javert a very quick look as he put a teabag in the cup and left the kitchen. 

“We should all do something together!” Éponine suggested.

“That would be nice, but I don’t want to – Thank you, Marius, dear– I don’t want to take up too much of your time.”

“Nonsense, Papa! We love you, and we love spending time with you! We should go on a walk all together, down your favourite path in the park!”

“But… But I went there with Javert, and now it reminds me of him…” 

Jean’s voice was choked up, and it made Javert’s neck tighten in sympathy. He sounded so miserable… Javert had to restrain himself from clearing his throat. 

“Well we’ll do something else, then!” Marius said. 

“It’s no use… Everything reminds me of him. I tried to go to the gym, yesterday morning, but I remembered how he’d ask me for pictures in my gym clothes and I’d send them over text and he’d always tell me h-how handsome I looked–” Jean’s voice rose in pitch over the course of the sentence, and he finally burst into tears. “Oh, it’s no use! I’m inconsolable! I should never have come here, I’m sorry– You three don’t deserve a brokenhearted old man crying to you. You should be enjoying your morning, I should go–”

“–No, Papa,” Cosette said firmly. “You’re not going anywhere.”

“You’re always welcome here, Papa,” Marius agreed. 

“You’ve always been there for us, and for my siblings,” added Éponine, “we’re more than happy to return the favour.”

“Thank you all; so, so much,” Jean sniffled. “I don’t deserve this much love.”

“Yes, you do!” Cosette insisted. “You deserve this much and more! You deserve the whole world loving you, Papa. And you deserve much, much better than him. It’s probably for the best that he left you– You’re so much better off without that bitter and judgemental cloud hanging around you.”

Javert felt physically wounded by the words. God, it was true, wasn’t it? Javert had it all wrong. Jean was the better man by far–

“Don’t say that!” Jean exclaimed. “Please… You don’t know him like I do. You don’t know the way his hair looks when it blows in the wind, you don’t know how his eyes sparkle when he smiles, how he sounds when he laughs, how his voice gets all sentimental when he says sweet things. You’ve never heard how excited he gets when he talks about his interests – Gosh, I could listen to him talk about astronomy for hours, though I never really knew what he was going on about. You’ve never gotten a text from him that makes you blush and tingle and you’ve never felt what it’s like to hold him in your arms and kiss him and touch his beautiful hair and know that against all odds you’ve found love… You don’t know why I love him, and why I don’t want to forget him, but every moment I spend crying over him is a small price to pay so that I don’t forget the way he made me feel, how he made me feel like I was worthy of love–

Javert came barreling out of the kitchen at that moment, and no one could stop him from throwing himself at Jean’s feet, kneeling before the man and clutching onto his legs, sobbing. 

“Javert–?!” Jean’s voice was broken with tears. 

“I love you!” Javert exclaimed through his own sobs. “I love you and I should never have made you leave, and I’ve never loved anyone like I love you and I never will again– I forgive you, though it shouldn’t be me forgiving you – I should be begging for your forgiveness, for being an ass and for thinking I was somehow better than you. You’re not a fraud or a criminal; you’re a truly good man, Jean– you’re the best man I’ve ever met, and I’ve made the biggest mistake in my life trying to let you go. Please, Jean, take me back; I love you, I love you so much, I–” He buried his face in Jean’s knees. He felt hands try to pull on him, he heard voices raised in alarm, but he clutched onto Jean’s legs like his life depended on it– for he felt, in that moment, that it did indeed. 

The strongest set of arms yet were familiar and warm and they pulled him up and forward, into Jean’s lap, and those arms held him close to Jean’s solid body. “I love you too, Javert! I love you–” And the both of them were crying harder than they’d probably ever cried before, and they were clutching onto each other with all their strength. 

“Of course I’ll take you back, Javert, that’s all I want in the whole world–”

Javert broke his previous record and cried harder, though there was joy in his sobs, now, mingled with the despair. “I love you…”

Javert was vaguely aware of footsteps growing quieter, but he couldn’t have cared less about any of his surroundings, save Jean. His Jean, once again– and forever more, if it was up to him.

“I love you too, Rukeli.”


Chapter Text

Javert didn’t know how long he and Jean sat there, holding onto each other for dear life. Eventually they had both stopped crying, and had the strength to look each other in the eyes once again. 

“Oh, Rukeli, you look…” Jean had started timidly. 

“Awful, I know,” Javert finished for him. 

“I do as well, I know it. I’ve been avoiding mirrors for days because I get spooked by how horrible I look.”

“You do look haggard, but… But you’re somehow still handsome.” That hadn’t been a lie. He was still handsome. Jean laughed, told him he was handsome, too. Javert was less convinced of this. 

Eventually, Cosette, Marius, and Éponine returned to fill Jean in on how it was Javert had gotten there. They gave Javert some food and water, and his hangover had faded enough that he could contribute a few tidbits that he had since remembered about last night. To Javert’s great relief, Jean still wished to stay with him, despite knowing he’d passed out drunk in a bush the previous night. 

Jean and Javert had made plans to meet up later at Jean’s house, but first, Javert desperately needed to go home to straighten himself out. Marius graciously drove him there, as Javert was now willing to disclose his address. Javert thanked him again, profusely. 

Javert had showered, shaved, brushed his teeth and his hair, and put on clean clothes. He still looked far from his best, but at least he no longer smelled of vomit. His phone was charged, too. He sent a text message to Jean – whose number he had deleted several days ago, but had been given again today.

Hi, Jean. I’ve made myself presentable. Do you still want me to come over? (4:13 pm)

Of course, Rukeli! Please come. (4:14 pm)

I want to hold you again. And kiss you. :) (4:14 pm)

Javert swallowed down the lump in his throat. 

I’ll be there as soon as I can. (4:15 pm)

Javert drove to Jean’s house – he rarely drove since most everywhere he needed to be was within walking distance, but he couldn’t wait to be with Jean. He arrived within five minutes, and practically bounded out of his car and to Jean’s doorstep. 

It seemed Jean had been waiting, watching out the window for his arrival, as the front door was opened for him as soon as he arrived. 

He rushed into Jean’s waiting arms, and Jean grabbed him tightly and pulled him into the house, pushing the door closed behind them. Jean suddenly hoisted Javert off his feet and into the air. The younger man wrapped his legs around Jean’s body as he was held, and he felt himself being lowered slightly so that he and his lover were at face level. This was a lovely way to kiss, Javert thought; there was no awkward craning of necks or bending of limbs or standing on tiptoes to make their lips meet. 

After a moment, they stopped kissing to take a good look at each other. 

“You shaved,” Jean pointed out. 

“Yes, my disgusting ‘busy-with-a-case beard’ is gone,” Javert agreed. 

Jean chuckled. “It may have been nice, if you’d have had the chance to maintain it better. But I’m glad to see your pretty, smooth face again.”

“Looks like you’ve trimmed, too,” Javert said, bringing a hand to the other man’s face to stroke his beard. 

“Yes, well, you haven’t been the only one neglecting to take care of yourself over the last few days,” Jean admitted. He adjusted his grip on Javert. “In fact, I may have to put you down. I haven’t been to the gym in far too long.” 

Javert frowned. “I’m sorry.” He extended his legs so that he could stand, and found that, due to his height, his feet were already on the ground. 

Once he was stable, Jean let him go and shook his arms for a moment. “I know. And I forgive you. I don’t want to talk about sad things anymore.”

Javert nodded, smiling a little. “Neither do I.”

The two of them sat down on Jean’s couch and they held each other close, though not as desperately as they had earlier, and they talked of happy things. They spoke of how Javert was going to take a weeklong vacation starting the next day, as he wished to spend time with Jean instead of at work. Javert even made the call to the station to inform them thus– and despite being inconvenienced by such a short notice absence, they were surprisingly understanding. Jean and Javert decided that they would make the most of every moment; they would go on walks together and they would cook and eat meals together and they would spend part of the week at Javert’s apartment, reorganizing it to make it less depressing. Their talk was interrupted only by kisses and cuddles and reiterations of how they loved each other.

***

Javert stayed for dinner, and as neither of them were in any state of mind to cook, they ordered Chinese food. After dinner, they returned to the couch and to each other’s arms, apparently having not yet had their fill of cuddling. 

Jean felt tired; exhausted, even. The day had been so full of every extreme of every emotion, and here he was, relaxed at last with the man he loved, who loved him. Javert’s head was resting on his shoulder, and their fingers were laced together, their legs intertwined. They had been like this for long enough that Jean was startled when the other moved, suddenly picking up his head and pulling his hand away. 

“What is it, darling?” Jean asked him softly. 

“I just remembered something,” Javert said, his voice alarmingly grave. “Something I did last night.”

“What was it?”

Javert turned away. “Oh, God… I’m – This is humiliating, Jean, and I feel like I’m about to break your heart again by telling you.”

Jean’s stomach sank. “Did you… Did you do something with another man?”

Javert nodded almost imperceptibly. “I don’t know what I was thinking, but I… Oh, fuck, why did I– I don’t even like that man as a person– It was the colleague I was drinking with. He was the one who asked me about that hickey, remember? In the bathroom of the bar, I–”

“–Spare me the details,” Jean said. He didn’t want to think of it. He didn’t want to know.

Javert was silent for a moment. “I’m sorry. I feel– filthy. I don’t know why I did it–”

“–You were drunk; you were hurting,” Jean told him. He squeezed Javert’s shoulder gently. “It was a mistake.”

“You’re not angry with me?” the younger man asked. 

Jean swallowed. He was hurt, yes. He was jealous and he was hoping it was only a drunken makeout that had occurred, but he was dreading what it may have been. “No. I’m not angry. I can’t be. I am not happy, but… We were apart, and you were drunk, and I’m sure he wasn’t trying to stop you.”

“I’m sorry, Jean. I– God, I feel disgusting. I was on my knees in the bathroom of a seedy bar, sucking the cock of a man I can’t stand!”

Jean went pale. So not just making out, then. Of course. Jean would have had to be incredibly green to truly think it had been just that. But now he had an image in his mind he truly didn’t want. He closed his eyes and shook his head, trying to dispel it. 

“It doesn’t matter. You’ve apologized, and you won’t– you won’t do it again. I don’t need to hear anything more.”

Javert turned back to look at him. He looked as remorseful as he had earlier, minus the tears. Neither of them had any left to cry, truthfully. 

“I love you, Rukeli.”

Javert smiled lightly. “I love you too, Jean.”

More time passed, with the two of them cuddling even closer. Jean eventually caught sight of the clock on the wall. It was only 10:32, but the both of them were almost nodding off.

“Would you like to spend the night?” he asked Javert. 

The other man looked at him wide-eyed, turning slightly pink. “A-are you sure? It’s not too… Too soon?”

Jean was confused for a moment, but he blushed as well as he realized Javert had likely misinterpreted. “I meant… In the spare room, sweetheart.”

Javert looked simultaneously placated and deflated. “Ah.”

“Well? Would you like to?”

“Yes, I would indeed,” Javert said. “I would appreciate being spared driving home right now.”

Jean took the other man upstairs and got out spare blankets and pillowcases for him, and found a disposable toothbrush for him to use (he had something of a stockpile of these for when he had visitors who forgot toothbrushes). 

Both of them were completely spent, so they shared only a short kiss and exchange of ‘I love you’s and ‘goodnight’s before being off to bed. 

***

Jean woke early the next morning feeling refreshed from what had been his only truly pleasant and relaxing sleep in almost a week. Quite gingerly, he tiptoed to the guest room and quietly opened the door. Javert was still fast asleep in bed, snoring softly (or, well, not quite softly, but not really loudly, either). Despite how the sight filled him with a giddy warmth, Jean decided not to eavesdrop and to leave him alone, and only come check on him again before he left for church, if the other man hadn’t gotten up by then. 

Jean made coffee – enough for the two of them – and thought about making Javert breakfast, but he realized he didn’t know what Javert wanted, and with the other man’s difficulties when it came to food, he did not want to chance making something Javert didn’t like. Jean made himself eggs and toast, and sat down to eat. 

He looked outside into his backyard, which was looking a little worse for wear after not having been properly tended in a while. It was beautiful out there; perhaps he and Javert could garden, after he came home from church. Oh, but he wanted to go to the gym, as well – he was embarrassed that he had had to put Javert down so quickly yesterday, and he wanted to be able to pick his lover up to kiss him many, many more times. 

It was settled, then– church, he would come home to change, gym, he would come home again, and then garden with Javert– But they didn’t have groceries for dinner that night! Oh, dear…

Jean finished breakfast, and Javert had still not woken up. It was not terribly surprising; Javert hadn’t slept well recently either, by his own admission. Not to mention that part of his previous night’s sleep had been in a bush. 

Jean got dressed and ready to leave, and Javert was still not awake, so he decided to check on him. He didn’t want Javert to wake up and be all alone in the house. 

He knocked softly on the door. He received no response. Jean opened it carefully. It seemed the other man had not moved so much as an inch since the last time Jean had checked on him an hour or so ago. 

“Rukeli?” he said softly. There was no reply to this either, so he approached the bed. 

Javert was bundled up under the covers, his back to Jean, with only his unruly dark mane poking out of his blanket cocoon. Jean put a hand on what he approximated to be Javert’s shoulder, and he shook him lightly. 

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” he greeted.

The bundle of blankets groaned and curled around itself like a wounded beast. 

“Oh, Rukeli, it’s nearly 8:30! Come on; rise and shine, darling.”

“I don’t have to get up. I’m not going to work,” Javert protested, his voice a low, sleepy grumble.

“But I am going to church,” Jean said, “And I didn’t want you to wake up with me mysteriously missing!”

“So you woke me up to tell me? Couldn’t you have left a note?”

“I suppose I could have,” he admitted, “but I wanted to give you kisses before I left.”

Javert seemed to perk up at the words. He poked his head out of his swaddling and blinked at Jean. “Will you perhaps lie with me for a bit and make it worth my while?”

Jean checked his FitBit. “For a short while, yes. I don’t have to leave just yet.” He climbed into the queen bed that Javert was occupying. “If I can just find you within all these blankets…”

Javert crawled out, and like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon indeed, he was very much naked. Well, he was wearing boxer briefs, but to Jean it was still shocking. 

“Oh, my, Rukeli, you’re– You’re not wearing anything!” he sputtered. 

“You think I sleep fully clothed? You should be thankful I even kept my underwear on. I do like to sleep in the nude.”

“Duly noted,” Jean muttered. Javert kissed him softly, twice. Jean didn’t mind his morning breath. And it didn’t matter if he was comfortable with Javert’s unclothed state, either, as the man was already clutching onto him and nuzzling into his chest with a sigh. He blushed. Javert was so warm, and his skin looked so soft, with hardly a freckle or a scar that he could see. He was glad he could only see Javert’s back, as he was not sure if he could handle seeing the other side – he would see what Javert’s nipples looked like, if he did, and just the thought of that alone sent him reeling. As it was, he pulled the covers over Javert’s rear before he could catch a glimpse of it; for his own piece of mind. 

“Did you sleep well, dear?” Jean asked. 

“Myeah,” the other man yawned. “Bed’s a lot softer than mine. Blankets smell like the laundry detergent you use, and thus like you.”

Jean blushed. “I’m glad to hear you slept well. I feel like you’ll go right back to sleep once I leave, am I right?”

“Perhaps.”

Jean chuckled. “Well… I should be off now, or else I may be late for service. If you’re up before I return, please help yourself to coffee and breakfast.” Jean extracted himself from Javert’s sleepy embrace.

“Mthanks,” Javert groaned, stretching a little. Jean did indeed catch sight of one of Javert’s nipples, and he flushed at the sight. He bent down to kiss Javert once more. 

“See you later, Rukeli. I love you.”

“Love you too, Jean.”

And with that, Jean left the room, closing the door softly behind him.

***

Javert listened carefully for the sound of the front door closing, and he let out a breath. He nuzzled into the area of the bed Jean had just occupied, and he inhaled the lingering scent of the other man. He groaned, and without fully meaning to, he slipped his underwear off. 

He’d woken up with morning wood, which had only become more insistent when Jean had come to lie with him. It had been so innocent, so innocuous… And yet. He was aroused by the powerful form of the man lying beside him for that brief moment, at how flustered he’d been at Javert’s lack of a shirt… By the way he smelled, by the way he sounded, by the way he looked in the early morning sunlight that leaked around the blinds. 

Javert squeezed his cock wishfully. He couldn’t touch himself, not here, not in Jean’s spare bed… But it seemed his hand had a mind of its own, and he was stroking himself already. 

He whimpered into the pillow Jean’s head had rested on minutes ago. He thought vaguely he may have had a dream about Jean, last night, which may have contributed to his morning wood. He couldn’t remember it, but he could remember cuddling Jean the previous night, and again this morning. And, oh, the taste of Jean’s kiss was still on his lips–

Javert moaned, his voice a throaty grumble. He stroked himself, needing touch, needing pleasure. He hadn’t touched himself in a week, and he was paying for it now in desperation… Though Jean made him so needy that he doubted it would make a difference had he spent all of yesterday with his cock in hand. 

He wished he were at home, so he could fuck himself silly with any one of his many toys. He could do with a vibrator, now, he thought– He recalled the last time he’d used his vibrator with a bizarre kind of fondness. He’d deliberately teased himself, then, until he was desperate and his whole body singing with pleasure and need. He’d imagined it was Jean who was in control, torturing him with a slow pulse of vibrations deep inside him when he was so close to his release. 

Javert sucked two fingers into his mouth to slick them, having to make do with what he quite literally had on hand. He snuck his middle finger into his asshole with a grunt of exertion and pleasure. He fingered himself slowly at first, stroking his sensitive insides in just the right way that only he knew. 

He imagined what Jean would do if he saw Javert like this. Jean, who was on his way to church– What if he were here? He’d been so flustered at Javert’s bare torso, Javert could only imagine what he’d do with the sight of Javert, completely naked, with his finger deep in his own body.

Javert pushed his index inside as well, and he pretended that his spit-slicked fingers were replaced by Jean’s tongue – oh, his tongue – and he pictured the other man looking up from between Javert’s legs as he licked him in his most sensitive area. He imagined the tickle of the man’s beard on the inside of his thighs, on his ass cheeks, on his balls. He imagined the man’s warm breath ghosting over his wet and needy hole. He would beg for more, beg for Jean’s fingers to reach inside where he tongue couldn’t– 

Javert cried out. His imagination was too keen. He rubbed his prostate with the pad of his middle finger, desperate. He had to stop. He couldn’t come, not here, not in Jean’s spare bed– Not with a small crucifix on the wall of even this room, reminding him of the man’s excruciating chastity. 

God, I’m sorry for what you’re witnessing, he thought to himself, but could only finger himself harder, stroke his cock faster. Javert whimpered, his hips beginning to rock into his hands. Tattle on me, I dare you, he said in his mind to the little crucifix on the wall. Tell Jean how depraved I am, how horny he makes me, how much I wish I had him here to fill me with his cock. 

He slowed down his touches. He couldn’t come. He had to stop. He couldn’t come, not in Jean’s spare bed, he reminded himself.

Javert let go of his cock with great difficulty, and with an even greater sense of loss, pulled his fingers out, too. He lay there, panting, still on the edge of orgasm, for a moment, not daring to move. He felt that if he closed his legs in the wrong manner he would climax and soil the bed. 

He stumbled out of bed a bit later, and put on yesterday’s clothes. Though he felt a twinge of the need to, he didn’t trust himself to piss– he would probably start stroking himself again the second his hand touched his cock. Instead, he simply washed his hands thoroughly and went downstairs. 

Javert poured himself a mug of coffee and sat at the kitchen table. He didn’t usually eat breakfast, and he was quite a bit more horny than hungry anyway. He resisted the urge to squeeze his thighs around the erection he’d carefully tucked away. 

Javert eventually grew bored of feeling sorry for his lack of sexual satisfaction, and took his half finished mug of coffee to the living room. He turned on the TV and watched the news for a bit. 

It was at once a moment and an eternity later when he heard the grind of a key in a lock, and the front door being opened. Javert turned the volume down on the TV. 

“Hello, Jean!” he called out. 

“Ah, you’ve gotten up! And gotten dressed too, I hope?” Jean teased. Javert had half the mind to strip right then and there, so he could see Jean flustered again like earlier. 

“Yes, on both accounts,” Javert said instead. “How was church?”

“Lovely, thank you,” Jean said, entering the living room. “It was noticed that I’m in an especially good mood. I got some comments about looking extra cheerful.” Jean grinned as he spoke. 

Javert smiled back. “It’s a good look for you,” he said truthfully.

Jean didn’t reply, he only walked towards Javert, sat on the couch beside him, and kissed him square on the lips. He pulled back, but Javert wasn’t ready to stop kissing; he put his mug of coffee down on the end table and pushed himself towards Jean, crashing his lips into the other man’s. 

Jean sighed, and the sound reminded Javert of how desperate he’d been earlier. He let out an answering moan, parting his lips, hoping Jean would press his tongue forward. 

Instead, Jean gave a small peck to Javert’s lower lip and pulled away. “I love kissing you, Rukeli. But I have other plans for today.”

Javert wished with all his might that Jean meant his plans were to go further than kissing. “Oh?”

“I need to go to the gym,” Jean explained. “That way I can pick you up and kiss you for longer, next time.”

Javert smiled. “That’s a good idea. I’m happy to see that you’re getting back into your routine.” 

“And I was thinking that, while I’m gone, you could pop back to your place and bring over anything you’ll need to stay here overnight again… Perhaps we can spend tonight and tomorrow morning at my place before heading over to yours... If you want to, that is. I would understand if you’d prefer to sleep at your own place.”

Javert turned pink. “I would love to spend the night here.”

Jean grinned. “Good. I’ll go change and get my gym stuff ready, now.” 

He kissed Javert briefly one last time before getting up from the couch. Javert watched him walk away and up the stairs, humming something lighthearted to himself. 

He tried to focus again on the news, but it wasn’t as interesting as the idea that he’d be spending another whole day and night with Jean. He wondered if Jean had any other plans for the day. Javert eventually turned off the TV, not even bothering to pretend to be interested, and took his now empty coffee mug to the kitchen to rinse it in the sink. 

Next, he went upstairs. He’d left his phone and his keys in the spare room, and he’d need at least his keys in order to get home and back. 

Once he reached the top of the stairs, movement in his periphery caught his eye. He glanced over to see the door to the master bedroom halfway open. His eyes widened and he sucked in a sudden breath; Jean was in the midst of changing, and had his bare back to Javert. He was about to put on a t-shirt, it seemed. Javert stared in awe as he saw the muscles of his back move under his skin– that pale skin that was dotted with little freckles and marks and scars that Javert wished so desperately to run his hands over and kiss. He imagined his own nails digging into that back as Jean fucked him, leaving little shallow scratches over his shoulder blades… And what was that grey thing on his right upper back? It was circular, with little markings Javert couldn’t make out. Was it a faded tattoo? Javert didn’t know he had any tattoos. 

Too soon, Jean pulled his shirt on. Javert quickly forced himself to backtrack down the stairs and pretend he’d only just come up, not wanting to be caught staring. He climbed the steps again, purposefully making more noise than usual.

Jean was coming out of his bedroom now, finished dressing. He had his gym bag over his shoulder. He smiled at Javert in acknowledgement. 

“God, you look good,” Javert muttered, unable to keep that observation to himself. 

The other man blushed a little, smiling bashfully. “Oh, stop. I’m in ratty old workout gear.”

“And you know how much I’ve enjoyed the photos of you dressed this way. It’s even better in real life.” Javert walked up to him. His t-shirt was tight, the material thin and breathable. He reached to place a flat palm on Jean’s abs. They were even more solid than he’d expected, and his breath caught in his throat. 

To his dismay, Jean reacted by giggling and jerking away. “I’m ticklish!” He pushed by Javert to walk down the stairs. “Lock the door behind you when you leave, please. I’ll be back in an hour and a half, maybe?” he called from the bottom of the staircase. “There’s a spare key on the hangers by the front door; you can take that and use it to get in if you come back before me, which I figure you will.”

“Okay,” Javert replied, trying to keep his disappointment out of his tone. “Have a good time at the gym.”

“Thank you, darling! See you at lunchtime!” 

Javert heard the front door open and close. He sighed. 

He went to the bathroom, as the urge to go was now impossible to ignore. He found that he wasn’t quite as soft as he had been – his arousal had dissipated at some point when he’d been at the kitchen table, but Jean – that damned and blessed man – had rekindled his desire already. At least he would be going home, now. He knew what he would do there. 

Javert collected his keys and phone and left the house, almost forgetting the spare key Jean had mentioned. He locked the front door behind him, hopped in his car, and drove to his building. 

Once in his own apartment, he made quick work of removing his clothes and prepping himself and his vibrator. He was still sensitive from earlier, and slightly sore from where his own fingers had probed a little too desperately inside him. He lay on his back, his legs spread wide, and fucked himself mercilessly with the vibrator, eventually leaving it deep inside him as it pulsed quickly against his prostate. 

Javert whined, gripping at the sheets. What if Jean saw him now, too, again incapacitated by his own boiling hot need? What if Jean knew how Javert writhed naked and sweaty, grappling for purchase on his unmade bed, his hips rocking desperately? 

He didn’t even care, now, if Jean would find it disgusting or sinful or immoral. Perhaps he wanted to see Jean flustered at his state and lost for words and backing out in a panic– it would be much preferable to never being seen like this, never giving Jean the sight of his body contorted while an expensive sex toy buzzing away inside him. Perhaps he wished even to be humiliated like this in front of Jean, to be seen as a whore and a slut and as someone who couldn’t master his body’s basest urges. 

It was sweeter yet to imagine Jean wanting to take part in Javert’s pleasure, though. Javert imagined Jean kissing him– Jean’s lips against his open, panting mouth, Jean’s bearded kisses down his craned neck and trembling shoulders. He imagined the other man lavishing the whole of his body with attention, calling him by his first name, calling him darling and sweetheart, taking a nipple into his warm mouth and flicking his tongue against it.

Javert came hard, his eyelids fluttering, his voice raised in a choked cry. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had such a wonderful orgasm that racked his body with tingles and shimmering pleasure that reached every nerve.

Chapter Text

Jean had just finished at the gym and was walking home when he got a call from Cosette. He answered it quickly. 

“Hey, Coco! What’s up?”

“I wanted to make sure that the cop is still treating you well,” she said firmly.

Jean chuckled. “Oh, Cosette, don’t you worry; he’s been treating me very well. He’s been absolutely lavishing me with affection. I’m over the moon to have him back.”

“Are you just saying this because he’s in the room right now?” 

“No! As a matter of fact, he isn’t with me at all at the moment. I’m walking home from the gym.”

“That’s awesome, Papa! I’m so happy you’ve been getting back into your routine!”

Jean smiled to himself. “Yes, it feels lovely. And to make it even better, I’m coming back home to Ru– to Javert, and he’s taking the week off so we can spend time together!” His voice rose nearly to a squeal as he spoke. 

“Are you sure that’s a good idea, Papa?” Cosette asked. “It’s not too soon after making up, or something?”

Jean laughed. “Coco, sweetie, we’re adults! We can decide for ourselves at what pace to take things. Don’t worry.”

Jean reached his house and unlocked the front door. 

“Are you home?” she asked. 

“Yeah,” Jean answered, “so I’ll have to let you go so I can have a shower. Call you back later?”

“Can you pass the phone to Javert?” Cosette requested. “I’d like to speak to him.”

Jean frowned. He’d stepped into the house and locked the door behind him. “I don’t know if I trust you to be kind to him, after what happened yesterday.”

“Papa, I’ll just call him if you don’t pass over the phone. And he knows better than to not pick up if I call him.”

Jean sighed. “Coco… He feels horrible about what he did. Both he and I want to leave it in the past.”

Jean watched Javert coming down the stairs. He was in different clothes, and he looked much more put-together than he had earlier. Jean smiled a little and nodded to Javert, who nodded back.

“Please, Papa. Hand him the phone and go take your shower. I promise I won’t be rude to him.”

Jean took the phone away from his ear. “It’s Cosette,” he said to Javert. “She wants to talk to you. I really don’t want her to tear into you… Would you feel comfortable speaking to her?”

Javert nodded. “Yes, I would.”

Jean spoke into the phone again: “Okay, I’m passing you to Javert.” Somewhat reluctantly, he handed the phone to the other man, who took it and brought it to his ear. 

“Hello, this is Javert.”

Jean watched as he listened to whatever his daughter was saying. He could only make out the muffled sound of speech through the receiver, not words. 

After a moment, Javert turned to Jean. “She says she wants you to go upstairs while we talk.”

Jean frowned. “Okay.” He began to climb the stairs, nervous for what the two people he loved most might say to each other. 

“Alright, he’s gone,” was the last thing Jean heard before he closed the bathroom door behind him. 

***

“Okay,” Cosette said. “My Papa says you’ve been treating him well yesterday and today. Is that true?”

“Yes, I would say so.” Javert made his way to sit in an armchair in the living room. 

“You’ve been giving him lots of attention and reminding him you love him as often as possible?”

Javert nodded, though Cosette couldn’t see. “Yes. And he has been doing the same for me.”

“Good.” She sighed. “I hope you realize you’re still on thin ice, Mister Javert.”

“Yes, I acknowledge that, and I find it very reasonable.” Javert fiddled with a lock of his hair.

“You know, I kind of feel responsible for this whole thing…” Cosette said. “For you and my father.”

“Right. Because you set us up,” Javert agreed. 

The line was silent for a moment. “Wait… You know that?!”

Ah, yes… Javert wasn’t meant to know. “Well… yes. I did find out.”

“When? And don’t bother lying to me.”

Javert sighed. “On our first date. I noticed he was a lot more forward online than in person, and I asked him about it. He broke down and told me the truth.”

Javert heard Cosette slap her forehead. “Really?! On the first date?! I explicitly told him not to do that!”

“To be fair to him,” Javert said, “there really was quite the discrepancy between his online persona and the person I met.”

“I’m shocked you stuck with him,” Cosette admitted. “I don’t know if I would have if I were in that kind of position.”

“Well, he looked like he did in his profile. That was more shocking to me, that he wasn’t a catfish. That’s part of the reason I gave him a chance. You don’t see men that handsome every day, especially not men over fifty. I suppose you don’t want to hear me go on about your father’s physique, but…”

“Oh, it’s nothing I haven’t heard. I can recall him being ogled all the way back to when he would pick me up from the playground as a kid and all the moms would stare at him.”

Javert laughed. “I can imagine.”

“But you said ‘part of the reason’... What was the other part?” Cosette pressed. 

“Oh, well. It’s that I liked the real Jean very much, perhaps even more than I liked how you portrayed him. He’s quirky and gentle and kind and funny... He’s very sweet, too, and he can flirt, but in a much different way than I saw online. The real Jean was very charming, if shy… And he continues to charm me to this day.”

Cosette was silent, as if trying to make sense of where this fit in, in terms of her mental picture of Javert. 

After a moment, Javert decided to say what had been on his mind for a while.“Cosette, I didn’t properly thank you for yesterday. For how you knocked some sense into me. Thank you for not holding back. I needed it– I’m so autistic, I otherwise would have kept myself away from him forever.”

Cosette inhaled through her teeth. “Jeez, Javert, you’re welcome, but… I don’t appreciate people using that word.”

“What word?” Javert asked earnestly.

“Autistic. It’s a real disability, and it’s not okay to use it like that.”

“Oh. I’m not being facetious, though. I have autism.”

She was silent again. “Wait… really?”

“Yes. I am very much autistic.”

“Shit… Javert, I’m so, so, sorry! If I’d’ve known, I–”

“– Please, Cosette, don’t apologize!” Javert interrupted. “I wouldn’t have had you treat me any differently. Thank you for being harsh with me. And I mean that. I needed someone to be frank with me and force me to see around the ideas I’d built up about criminals and ex-cons. So, thank you.”

Cosette sighed. “You’re… Welcome, I guess.”

There was another brief pause. 

“So… Papa told me you two are spending the week together?”

“Yes, we are,” Javert affirmed. 

“I’m honestly shocked he was willing to take such a huge step, and so soon after you two made up!”

“Yes, I was, too. Though I am confined to the guest room,” Javert explained. 

Cosette laughed. “Ah, that sounds more like my Papa.”

Javert frowned slightly. “Yes. I’m not sure if you would be able to answer this question, but… What are the chances? Of us… sharing a bed?”

“I don’t know, to be honest. When did you guys first… Like, I really don’t want to think about it, but when did you first become intimate? If it’s been a while, he’d probably be alright with it.”

Javert turned pale. “You… I can’t believe you’re under the impression we’ve done that.”

“You… Haven’t? I thought people didn’t just… stop doing that at a certain age…”

“No, it’s…” Javert made sure Jean wasn’t coming down the stairs. “I would, but… Your father is very Catholic, you must know that.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t think he was that Catholic…”

Javert sighed. “He is. He’s… aggravatingly Catholic.”

Cosette laughed. “Well, at least now I don’t have to be plagued with thoughts of what you and my sweet Papa could be getting up to.”

“Cosette, do you know if there’s a chance, though?”

“You know more about this than I do. And thank God for that.”

Javert bit his lip. It was true, he couldn’t ask Cosette for advice on how to get her father to fuck him. He gave up.

“I’m not quite sure how to phrase this without it sounding odd, but… You’re a very caring daughter, truly. The way you look out for your father is extremely admirable.”

“Thank you, Javert.”

“And I will do everything I can to win your trust, so that you don’t feel you have to defend your father against me. I hope that you and I can be… Allies, for lack of a better term, in protecting your father.”

“How about ‘friends’?” Cosette asked. 

Javert smiled. “Yes, that is indeed a better term.”

“And you’re well on your way to earning my trust,” Cosette assured him. “I think you’ve learned your lesson, and you know how to treat my Papa. He did seem genuinely happy when I spoke to him earlier.”

“That is wonderful news. What I want most right now is for him to be genuinely happy. God knows he deserves it.”

Jean entered the living room, then; his hair was damp and he was wearing fresh clothes. He was grinning and blushing as he zoomed to Javert’s side. He bent over and picked Javert up with one arm under his armpit and one under his butt. 

“Your father’s back,” Javert said as Jean kissed his neck and his face, “and he seems pleased with me indeed.”

Cosette laughed. “Pass the phone back to him for a second.”

Javert took it away from his ear. “She wants to talk to you again.”

Jean placed Javert on the couch and took the phone from him. “Myes?”

Jean listened to his daughter for a moment, and his smile grew. 

“See? You shouldn’t have been suspicious one bit, Coco, I–”

Cosette’s voice on the other end grew louder, and Jean’s eyes widened. “Sweetie, I– Well, the thing is– I–” Jean struggled to butt into Cosette’s tirade. 

“Well, if you hadn’t been such a flirt on my behalf–” he finally got a phrase in “–then he wouldn’t have asked. And it doesn’t matter, now, does it? He stuck with me, bless him, and now we’re all happy. Is that all you–”

Evidently that was not all, as Cosette went off again with renewed vigour. Jean repeatedly opened and closed his mouth, and eventually frowned. This time he waited until Cosette was done to respond. “Because,” he said emphatically, sitting down on the couch beside Javert and putting an arm around him, “that isn’t important at all, Cosette.”

“I would say it is important, actually,” she countered (Jean was now close enough to Javert that he could hear her through the phone speakers). 

“No, it isn’t. It’s just one tiny facet of who he is. And Javert told me explicitly not to treat him any differently because of it. He’s a person, Cosette. A person who happens to be autistic.”

“Actually, Papa, most autistic people find ‘person-first’ language to be unnecessary and even demonizing their condition.”

Jean blinked. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about, honey. But I’m not demonizing Javert’s condition one bit. You’re the one who thinks I should have told you so that you could have treated him differently.”

Javert gestured for Jean to hand him the phone, and the older man obliged, as he was most definitely out of his element. 

Javert put the phone on speaker. “Cosette, I appreciate your concern for the autistic community, but I don’t think that’s necessary here. Your father may not know all the correct terminology, but he understands the most important part– that I wish to be treated the same way as anyone else. Please don’t berate your father for having chosen not to tell you about my disorder – as I assume that’s what it is you’re going on about.”

Cosette was silent for a moment. “I guess you’re right. You do know better than me what you need, Javert.”

“Indeed.”

“Is that everything now, dear?” Jean asked, rubbing Javert’s back. 

“Yes, that’s it. You two lovebirds enjoy your day,” Cosette said. 

Jean giggled. “Alright. Bye, Coco! Have a good day!”

“Goodbye, Cosette,” Javert added. 

“Bye!” Cosette answered before she hung up.

Jean placed his cell phone on the end table with a sigh. “I’m sorry about that, Rukeli.”

Javert shook his head. “Don’t apologize, Jean. I think she had every right to make sure I’m behaving. Perhaps… Well, that last bit wasn’t needed, but her heart is in the right place.”

Jean smiled. “I’m glad you see that.”

Javert moved in closer, and was soon captured in a sweet kiss. He sighed as Jean’s lips worked softly against his own. 

However, as he often seemed to do, Jean pulled back far too soon. “Did you get your things from your apartment?” he asked. 

“I did,” Javert said, running his fingers through Jean’s damp hair. “How was the gym?”

“It was so good to be back,” Jean said earnestly. “I’m not where I was before I took a break, it won’t take me long to get back on track.”

Javert smiled. “That is lovely to hear.”

They kissed again, and were this time interrupted by Jean’s stomach growling insistently. They pulled apart as Jean chuckled. “I think we ought to get some lunch.”

Javert smirked. “Yes, let’s.”

***

It had been a long day. A long, lovely day. He and Javert had made and ate lunch together, and then Jean had convinced the other man to do some gardening with him. Javert didn’t particularly enjoy it, and indeed after a while he seemed very bored of it. Jean allowed him to rest in the shade on the porch and read a book he offered to Javert. Though he had grown bored of this, too – Javert was not, by his own admission, much of a reader. He and Jean conversed as Jean clipped vines and pulled up carrots and picked ripe tomatoes. Javert made himself useful by bringing the veggies inside and washing them. 

When Jean was satisfied with the state of the garden, they returned inside. Neither of them were in the mood for talking; the heat of the outdoors had tired them. Jean relaxed on the couch and read, and Javert lay with his head on Jean’s lap. Jean had offered him a different book, suggesting he take a look at the bookshelf in Jean’s room for his favourite titles, but Javert said he didn’t want to read. 

Jean read The Hobbit as he absentmindedly stroked Javert’s hair, gentle fingers against his scalp. They passed perhaps an hour like this until Javert grew restless.

“Would it be too much if I asked you to put down your book and touch me instead?” Javert had asked.

Jean smirked. “I am touching you, my dear.”

“And I’d like to be touched more. I’m greedy,” Javert admitted.

With a chuckle, Jean inserted a bookmark and placed his novel on the end table. “Come, then.”

With a smile, Javert sat up and snuggled into Jean’s arms. They kissed for a long time. Jean had felt shivers through his body as their lips and tongues met again and again; drawn out, languid. They kissed each other’s necks and faces, gently but passionately. Jean felt thoroughly loved, though something deep within him was not satisfied. The hollow of Javert’s neck once again caught his wandering eye, and the dips on his collar bones called to him. Jean wished to kiss these. He recalled the sight of Javert’s bare torso from this morning, and he wanted to touch that smooth, warm skin, and pepper it with kisses…

Jean and Javert had left the house, then. They’d gone on a short walk, and then to the grocery store to pick up what they needed for dinner. The two of them made spaghetti for dinner – with zero kitchen accidents, this time around – and had ice cream for dessert. 

They’d spent the rest of the evening similarly to how they’d spent the afternoon, but this time with a cheesy reality show on the TV in the background. Mostly they ignored it in favour of kissing each other and watching how the light from the screen illuminated each other’s faces. 

It was late when he and Javert had said goodnight. Javert told him to feel free to come into the guest room whenever he woke up so that they could lay together for longer. Jean blushed deep but agreed to this. They then shared a deep, slow kiss outside the spare bedroom. Jean had felt Javert’s hands wander up and down his back, and he himself had chanced resting his hands around Javert’s slim waist. It was delectable, that kiss. Jean could have sworn he was melting further into the taller man’s arms with every moment. 

Jean had gone to bed feeling full of love and life. And he was tired, very tired. He lay there expecting sleep to find him quickly and without struggle, with his lips still tingling from Javert’s kiss. 

And yet, he lay awake. Sleep did not find him, tired as he was. He read some more, he watched some YouTube videos on his iPad… Still, he did not sleep. 

Sighing and grumbling, he tried several different positions, more reading, deep breathing, more videos. He attempted to clear all this thoughts, he imagined a calm beach, he counted sheep.

It was nearly 2:30 am, according to the clock on his nightstand, and yet Jean was still wide awake. He’d tried removing and adding various blankets and layers of clothing, flipping his pillow no less than four times. None of this worked. 

Jean had recently begun to feel very warm, so he had taken off his pyjamas and was laying in his boxers under a light sheet, staring at the clock. He’d tried everything.

Well… Not everything. There was still what Javert had jokingly suggested to him, all those weeks ago. ‘What all young men do to help themselves fall asleep’. He’d briefly considered this already, but decided against it. There had to be something else to try. Something less… sexual.

Oh, but masturbation wasn’t necessarily sexual. If he didn’t fill his mind with dirty thoughts while doing it, and only focused on the relaxation it could bring him, there was nothing wrong with it. He recalled doing this as a preteen, before he completely understood what masturbation was. At that time, it was only to help him relax (or for when he was bored or anytime he was alone, as is the case with many in that age group). 

Jean had tried everything else, at that point. There was nothing to lose, was there? It wasn’t a sin. It was perfectly natural. And he did very much wish to be asleep.

In a way that could be described as gingerly, Jean peeled the sheet off his body and pushed his boxers down to his thighs. His cock was soft at the moment, resting limp between his legs. Jean took hold of it with thumb and two fingers, and started slowly stroking himself in order to get blood flowing.

The process was a little slower than it used to be. He was old, now. However, as he kept himself in such great shape (and had a family mostly made up of people who lived long, healthy lives), his sex drive was still quite present. Generally, this had been a disadvantage since he had adopted a life of chastity, but he supposed he should consider it a boon to have a functioning body at his age.

A half a minute passed during which Jean squeezed and gently pulled on his cock. He had hardened considerably, and his touches began to feel quite good. He looked down at himself to affirm that he was fully erect. He hadn’t seen himself like this in some time, and was almost surprised that he was still so big, so solid. He’d almost expected his penis to shrink with age or with time unused, but no, it seemed the same size as it had been when he was a young man. He took himself in his fist to touch himself properly, now.

He recalled that it had been quite the curiosity when he was in prison, his cock. He couldn’t remember all the lewd comments and nicknames he’d received there, but he did know many such things had been said, and, strangely, they’d made him proud as a young man.

Jean kept his mind carefully blank as he touched himself. It felt wonderful. He hadn’t done this in such a long time; hadn’t felt such pleasure in an age. He couldn’t help but sigh a little at the jolts of pleasure that ricocheted through his abdomen. 

For some unknown reason, Jean’s thoughts returned to prison. That was where he’d had his first – and last – sexual experiences with men. The first time, he had been taking a shower in one of those disgusting, dingy bathrooms. Another convict – a skinny, heavily-tattooed young man – had walked in on him. Jean ignored him at first, but he soon realized he was being watched. The other man approached, his eyes fixed on Jean’s naked body. He’d said “you’ve got the biggest cock I’ve ever seen.” The other prisoner stripped as well, joining him in the shower. A hormonal young man at the time, Jean was aroused. He’d started to touch himself. The other man was watching with interest and soon began to stroke his own cock as well. Soon, they were touching each other’s bodies, instead, and grabbing at each other’s erections, writhing in pleasure under the stream of cold water, and Jean could no longer deny how blatantly gay he was. He’d never felt that good with a woman.  He’d never felt that alive…

Oh, no. Jean couldn’t be thinking about this. He had decided firmly not to make this sexual. He tried to focus again on simply the feeling of his hand on his–

It had been so long since he’d held another man’s cock in his hand. Since he’d given another man pleasure. He realized he missed that even more than feeling pleasure himself. He remembered what it was like to rub another man’s prick, hot and slick with precome, and see him tense up, hear his deep voice break into a moan, then feel warm fluid spill onto his skin. It was so downright beautiful, so genuinely, unbelievably breathtaking, how a male body looked in the throes of passion.

It had been so long since he’d seen another man’s naked body. Men’s bodies were like fine art to Jean. He yearned to be running his hands over warm skin that was drawn taut over firm muscle; to clutch at broad shoulders, a flat chest. He wanted so much to kiss a man’s strong jaw and a neck that pricking with stubble, to gently nip over a protruding Adam’s apple. And to hear a deep voice moaning in his ear… Jean wanted fistfuls of long, dark brown hair. He wanted plump lips pressed his own in a desperate kiss, long-fingered hands gripping at his back. Javert’s gorgeous body pinned under his –

Yes, he wanted Javert– of course he wanted Javert; he couldn’t want anyone but Javert. How could he? How could he think of anyone else, even a nameless stranger, when he was so desperately in love with this man who was more pleasing to him than any fantasy ever could be? Jean was so enamoured with him, with every facet of him, and of his body… Oh, how he wanted Javert, he wanted to make love to Javert; he had half the mind to burst into the guest room with his cock out and proclaim as much.

His hand moved faster over his own cock. He was desperate with need, the kind he’d been suppressing for so long, the kind that had begun to lick at his conscience with an insistent tongue every time Javert touched him, kissed him; every time Javert flirted with him or called him handsome. 

Javert aroused him, he knew; he had tried fervently to deny it, but it was useless. He had no power over the deep desires Javert kindled in him. In this moment, he was a slave to the way Javert made him feel.

Jean imagined Javert was here with him now. He imagined the other man’s bare body draped languidly across the bed while Jean tugged at his own erection. He could see in his mind’s eye those long limbs and that dark skin with hardly a scar or a freckle to mar it. Javert’s dark hair would flow freely about his shoulders and over the bedspread like a waterfall of deep brown, black as pitch in the dark. Jean knew too well how Javert’s face would look in these circumstances. Javert had fixed him many a time with his bedroom eyes, heavy lids shadowing piercing blue eyes that glinted with mock innocence. Jean imagined himself giving into that look, now, and reaching out to touch Javert’s tempting body. 

Javert had spoken of his prostitute mother, and how he believed he’d inherited her curves. Jean had to agree, though he’d never spoken these words aloud. Hardly any men had a figure like Javert’s, with hips that read nearly feminine and a full rear that pushed insistently against his trousers. No man should be allowed such a figure. It was simply too much for Jean, when he accidentally caught sight of Javert walking, and saw the tantalizing sway of his behind that seemed to tease him with every step. 

Jean wondered how it would feel in his hands, if it would be as soft and supple as it looked. He imagined Javert before him now, that beautiful rear bare for him, his back arched as Jean nearly worshipped it with gentle caresses and kisses, kneading the flesh of Javert’s behind. 

Jean was close. Precome slicked his cock and he stroked himself fast, faster until his wrist was starting to beg for him to stop. But he couldn’t stop. He bit his lip to prevent some moan or sigh from escaping him and his toes curled in delight. 

He wanted to bring Javert to orgasm. He wanted the man to come apart around him, moaning desperately… Jean imagined what it would be like to make love to him, proper– he imagined how his cock would feel buried deep in Javert’s warm hole, ridges of muscle shuddering around him. He pretended he heard the sound of his flesh slapping lewdly against Javert’s. And that voice, deep and authoritative – would he moan as low as he spoke? Would his cries of pleasure be nothing more than a throaty growl? Or would his voice change entirely… Would he whimper and whine for Jean to take him harder? Either choice made the hairs on the back of Jean’s neck stand on end. He imagined how his own name would sound on Javert’s tongue as he neared his climax, how Javert’s sweat-slick skin would feel warm and alive under his palms, how he would answer… Oh, Rukeli, oh, you feel so good– I love you, I love you, Rukeli– He pictured Javert’s face contorted with pleasure, his jaw slack and his blue eyes wide and wild, his eyes rolling back into his head and his mouth open in an ‘o’...

Jean orgasmed with a strangled cry, his hips bucking upwards, his own semen splattering his torso. The pleasure was intense, in building waves, and it didn’t end just yet. He realized how loud he had been and he clamped a hand around his mouth to muffle groans he couldn’t seem to stop at the source. Javert was in the other room, with only one wall between them…

His legs were shuddering, his toes still curling around the fleeting pleasure of his aftershocks. He whimpered into his palm. Oh, Javert… He clutched his own cock with a tight grip. Rukeli…

***

Javert woke to the sound of a muffled shout. His eyes flew open in alarm. What was that? Had he simply imagined it? 

He heard soft groans, even more muffled. Jean? Was he alright? Javert sat upright in his bed. Was something the matter? 

Javert heard another quiet sound, more pathetic. He kept his ears peeled, but heard nothing more. Perhaps Jean was having a nightmare...

He lay back down, listening for any other sounds of alarm, but when none came, he assumed whatever it was had passed, and he closed his eyes again and soon drifted back to sleep.

Chapter Text

Javert woke to a gentle voice calling his name. He groaned, but then remembered his pact with Jean the night prior and quickly blinked his eyes open to look upon the other man, a small smile blooming on his face. 

“You’ve come to deliver my morning cuddles, have you?” Javert asked groggily. He reached his arms out to Jean. “Come to me.”

Jean had a curious expression on his face. “Oh, sorry, Rukeli, I… I forgot about that… I… I was just telling you I’m off to the gym now.”

Javert frowned. “You… forgot? Jean…”

“I know, I’m sorry… But I’ll make up for it later, I promise.”

“But I wanted to be with you here, now… When I’ve just woken up,” Javert complained, “and when… And when I’m only in my underwear,” he added with a smirk. Jean was in workout gear, he noticed. How he wished to have Jean hold him and kiss him now!

Jean was blushing dark. “Perhaps it’s… best if we don’t cuddle now,” he said quietly.

Javert frowned deeper. “Is this about your whole chastity thing again? For fuck’s sake, Jean, that’s getting tiresome,” Javert drawled before he could think better of it. 

Jean opened his mouth, but he soon closed it and left the room, shutting the door behind him with a little more force than he usually displayed. 

Javert was shocked. Had he really upset Jean so? He reached for his phone and quickly opened his text conversation with Jean. 

I’m sorry for what I said, Jean. I wasn’t thinking. (8:32 am)

It was a tense couple minutes until the other man replied.

I know. It’s alright. I’m sorry for walking out on you like that. I just didn’t know how to answer you and I really didn’t want it to become a fight. (8:35 am)

Javert frowned. He supposed that made sense. 

You don’t need to apologize, Jean. Now that I’m thinking straight, I’m not sure what kind of answer I was expecting. (8:36 am)

Rukeli, do you actually find it tiresome? (8:28 am)

Javert blushed. Yes, he did; extremely so. But he couldn’t say it… Yet he couldn’t bring himself to lie to Jean, either. He stared at his phone, trying to imagine some nuanced way to approach it. 

Your lack of a reply tells me all I need to know. (8:30 am)

Unless you just fell asleep again? (8:30 am)

Javert bit his lip. 

Please don’t take this the wrong way, Jean. I don’t want you to do anything you’re uncomfortable with because you think I need it from you. I love you the way you are and I respect your choices. (8:31 am)

Thank you, Rukeli. (8:31 am)

I think this is a conversation for another time, though. (8:32 am)

Fair enough. Have a good time at the gym. I’ll see you later. (8:32 am)

See you, dear! <3 (8:33 am)

Feeling somewhat deflated, Javert eventually did drift back to sleep. He woke again less than an hour later, at which point he got dressed and went to the kitchen. He poured a mug of black coffee and sat at the kitchen table as he had the previous day. Strangely enough, there was a Bible on the table, now. That seemed like bizarre morning reading, Javert thought, even for a man like Jean. There was a piece of note paper slipped under the front cover, upon which Javert could see some of Jean’s neat cursive handwriting. 

Javert didn’t want to snoop, per se, but he was curious what it was that Jean had written on that paper. Was it his very own bible commentary? Questions for his pastor? Against his better judgement, Javert got up and walked to the other end of the table. He opened the cover and read the note. Upon it was written thus:

Verses to remember

1 Corinthians 6:13

2 Timothy 2:22

1 John 2:16

Galatians 5:16-17

Galatians 5:19-21

Romans 8:6

James 1:13-15

Ephesians 4:22

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

 

Leviticus 18:22

Leviticus 20:13

Goodness, that was a lot to remember. And Javert knew not a single one of them. Wait… Those Leviticus ones sounded familiar. Javert took his phone out and Googled them.

Yes, just as he’d feared:

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)

Fucking Christ. What on Earth was Jean up to? Feeling particularly enraged, Javert began to Google from the top of the list down.

You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:13)

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. ( 1 John 2:16)

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (Galatians 5:16-17)

 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. ( Galatians 5:19-21)

Javert had read more than enough. It was already blatantly obvious what Jean was doing here. But why? Why was Jean punishing himself with these verses? Was he not chaste enough already? Perhaps – Javert wondered with something akin to pride – was he chipping away at Jean’s resolve? 

But it wouldn’t work, Javert soon realized. If Jean insisted on hammering himself with primordial dogma, Javert would never manage any kind of “abominations” with Jean, at least not without him feeling brutally guilty afterwards.

Javert didn’t know what to do. He wanted nothing more than to burn this note and the whole bible at that, yet that would do nothing to free Jean from his spiritual prison. He stared into his coffee, feeling terribly sorry for Jean. He didn’t even know how a person could manage to burden themselves with so much guilt.

He snapped out of it upon receiving a text message. It was from Cosette.

Good morning, Javert. What’s the scoop? (9:27 am)

Well… She asked, so he supposed he’d might as well tell her the whole “scoop.”

Good morning, Cosette. We’re doing well. I’ve been on my best behaviour with your father, but it seems he isn’t treating himself as kindly. This morning I found a bible on the kitchen table with a note about “verses to remember”. He had the two infamous Leviticus ones about laying with another man being an abomination, and a bunch about the “desires of the flesh.” (9:29 am)

Oh, lovely (9:29 am)

That’s some prime religious guilt right there. (9:30 am)

Indeed. (9:30 am)

I honestly don’t know what to do about it. About him. Do you think he’ll leave me because of it? (9:31 am)

Absolutely not! (9:31 am)

He’ll just be dealing with internalized homophobia for the rest of his life I guess (9:32 am)

I’ve never heard the term “internalized homophobia.” But it seems to apply very well here. The poor man. (9:33 am)

Well, on another note… Marius and I were thinking of inviting you guys and Éponine over for dinner tonight, to kind of have a “do over” of us all meeting… And because Marius just figured out how to barbeque veggie burgers without turning them into a flavourless husk and he wants to impress his father-in-law (9:35 am)

I already texted Papa and he said you two would be coming, but I just wanted to make sure you like burgers (9:36 am)

Well, that’s very considerate of you, Cosette. I don’t generally like meat substitutes, but meat burgers are alright with me. (9:36 am)

Awesome! We’ll be doing both since Marius and Éponine don’t do veggie burgers either, so no worries (9:37 am)

I gtg now; talk to you later! (9:37 am)

Talk to you later, Cosette. (9:38 am)

Javert put his phone down and finished his coffee. It would be nice to see Cosette, Marius, and Éponine again now that he wasn’t an absolute disaster of a human being. It would also be incredibly awkward, he foresaw. 

Soon enough, he heard the door unlock and open. 

“Welcome back,” Javert called out. 

“Hello!” replied Jean, closing the door behind him. “How is your morning going?”

“Well enough,” Javert answered. “And yours?”

“Very well, thank you. I put in a little extra work at the gym today, and I feel amazing!” Jean walked towards the kitchen and peered inside. “Have you not had breakfast yet?”

“I had coffee. That’s all the breakfast I need,” Javert said. This was a grave error on his part. 

Jean’s jaw dropped. “What?! Rukeli, you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”

“Perhaps it is for lunatics like you who lift weights early in the morning. But I have no need for breakfast.”

“Nonsense! You need protein!” Jean dropped his gym bag where he stood and entered the kitchen. Sweat was drying on his clothes and his skin. God, he looked gorgeous. Javert wanted to kiss his neck and nibble on his skin...

“Do you like eggs?” Jean asked, forcing Javert out of his reverie. 

“Not really, no.”

Jean frowned. “I doubt you’d want veggie bacon… What about yogurt?”

Javert shook his head, grimacing. “I can’t stand the texture.”

Jean sighed, putting his hands on his hips. “Can I at least make you a smoothie?”

Javert shrugged. “I guess. I don’t need one, but–”

Jean was already opening the fridge. “Great! What fruits do you like?”

“Uh… Strawberries, blueberries… Um… Grapes? Peaches… But only sliced ones.”

“Strawberries, blueberries, and bananas should be enough,” Jean said, grabbing ingredients from the fridge.

“Oh, I hate bananas,” Javert warned.

“It’s only for thickness,” Jean explained. “You’ll barely taste it at all, trust me. And the yogurt is for that purpose as well. You’ll really only taste the berries.”

Javert bit his lip. “Okay.”

Jean hummed to himself as he threw ingredients into the blender. He was very quick at this. He added protein powder, which Javert was hoping he couldn’t taste, either, as he hated the smell and look of it. After about half a minute of blending, Jean poured the pink smoothie into a tall glass and added a big reusable straw. He brought it over to Javert with a smile. 

“Here you are, monsieur,” he said exaggeratedly, “I hope it is to your tastes.”

“Thank you, garçon,” Javert replied in a similar manner. He took a sip through the straw. It did indeed taste mostly of berries, though there was a kind of aftertaste Javert wasn’t sure he liked. Probably the protein powder. Nevertheless, it was quite good. He nodded. 

“Exquisite!” he said in the same tone. “Send my compliments to the chef. Tell him his cuisine is as delectable as his muscles.”

Jean blushed, but to Javert’s surprise, he giggled instead of becoming bashful. 

“I am the chef, and I overheard your compliments,” Jean said, putting on a lower voice and a thicker Parisian accent than his own. “You are quite the flatterer, Monsieur. I am afraid that if you keep speaking in this manner, I will have to kiss you.”

“Chef, your lips look as appetizing as the finest hors d’œuvre!” Javert said dramatically. 

“Oh, Monsieur…” Jean leaned down to kiss Javert where he sat, forceful and desperate. Though it was a joke, Javert felt his body react in a very real manner, heating up against Jean’s truly appetizing lips. He kissed back, his tongue dancing alongside Jean’s. The other man growled deep in his throat – still joking, obviously, but the sound sent shivers up Javert’s spine. Javert let his arms creep up Jean’s back, feeling the warm skin of his shoulders, and those gorgeous muscles. One of Jean’s hands followed a similar path up Javert’s spine, giving him shivers. The broad hand reached the back of Javert’s head, and then – and then, oh – Jean grabbed onto Javert’s hair and he pulled, not hard; just hard enough to make Javert’s mouth break away from Jean’s and his neck tilt back. He gasped, his mouth falling open in shock. Jean growled again , kissed his neck fervently, his beard tickling the sensitive flesh, and he licked a stripe up Javert’s neck to his ear. Every hair on Javert’s body was standing on end and he clutched harder at Jean’s back. And then Jean’s tongue traced his shell of his ear and he was shivering and he whimpered, pleasure racking his body–

Jean pulled away suddenly, easily breaking free of Javert’s clutches. He started giggling, and then laughing heartily. Right. It had all been a joke. Javert couldn’t bring himself to laugh along with him– he was still in shock from what Jean had just done to him. He managed a weak chuckle. His cock was half hard in his pants. 

Jean kissed him on the forehead. “That was too funny,” he said. “Sorry about slobbering on you, Rukeli.” Jean took a napkin and wiped away the line of saliva he’d left on Javert’s neck. The man shivered again. 

“Good God, Jean…” he said, his voice nearly shaking. “Why have you never kissed me like that before?”

Jean’s whole demeanor changed. His amused grin disappeared and his eyes widened. “Wh-what do you mean?”

Javert licked his lips. “That was– Well– I know it was a joke, but… I just wish you would do that to me for real. As Jean Fauchelevent. I–” he looked down at where his erection was pressing his trousers. Jean saw, too, and his eyes somehow got even wider. He straightened immediately, as if he’d just noticed Javert had a dagger in his belt, and backed away, turning red. 

“Oh, Rukeli, I–I’m so sorry–”

“–Don’t be sorry,” Javert insisted. 

Jean clenched his fists. “I didn’t mean to– Oh, Lord, forgive me, I’ve just–” He put his hands to his face and closed his eyes. 

“Jean, don’t be upset with yourself, please,” Javert said. “There was nothing wrong with what you did. In fact, it was incredibly right… God, I still have shivers, Jean. I can’t remember the last time someone’s made me get goosebumps just from kissing me.”

Jean shook his head. “It wasn’t just kissing you– it was sin, it was– Oh, goodness me– Please forget this ever happened, please Rukeli, I know you don’t think it’s bad but I–”

“–Yes, your ‘verses to remember’ have told you otherwise,” Javert said, nodding his head towards the bible. “Why can’t you just let it go a little, Jean? Why can’t you just allow yourself one of the most natural things in the world? We’re both consenting adults. There’s no adultery or anything, either. We love each other. We’re not even strangers. Stop beating yourself over the head with outdated doctrine some ancient power tripping slave owner with twenty child brides coughed up.”

Jean turned yet another shade of red. Javert was always in awe at how white people could display such a wide variety of colours. “That was private, Rukeli!” Jean nearly exploded before rushing up the stairs. 

Okay, Javert thought, maybe that wasn’t the most politically correct thing to say, but where was the lie? 

He drank his smoothie and wondered where a virgin like Jean had learned to do that whole routine with pulling on his hair and licking his neck and his ear. Maybe Jean had seen men do it in prison? Maybe he’d done it there himself? Javert was immediately jealous of anyone who’d had Jean do that to them in seriousness. 

***

Jean wasn’t anywhere near as angry with Javert as he wished he was, and that irritated him. In the shower, he stood under cold water and pondered Javert’s words. They bordered on blasphemous, and yet… And yet in some way they made sense? In a fit of guilt, Jean had spent the early morning hunting down bible verses about lust. Of course, the majority had been from the Old Testament, which Jean himself rarely turned to for guidance. Jean, as a general rule, believed that non-adulterous sex between consenting adults was not a sin, and none of anyone else’s busines. So why was he concerned with it when it came to himself? 

Jean frowned. He was weak. He was incredibly weak for thinking in this manner. And he was weak for allowing himself to touch Javert as he had earlier, under the guise of a game, a joke. Some prehistoric corner of his brain wanted to arouse Javert and had delighted at Javert’s reaction, at the gasps and whimpers that had escaped the man’s throat. At Javert’s confessions: ‘I just wish you would do that to me for real… God, I still have shivers, Jean. I can’t remember the last time someone’s made me get goosebumps just from kissing me.’ He’d seen the lump in Javert’s trousers and that little damned corner of his mind had wanted to reach out and rub it. 

He couldn’t let that corner win. Even though, now, the ‘corner’ had become at least half of his conscious, and his own cock stood erect. Already, even after he’d given in last night?

Jean frowned, shook his head. He began to stroke himself quickly. He didn’t want to drag it out. He wanted to be over with this foolishness, this weakness as soon as possible. 

To speed things along, he recalled again Javert’s moans and gasps, the feeling of Javert’s skin, the texture of his smooth hair in Jean’s fingers. The bulge in his pants, Javert’s breathless voice and wild eyes. 

He wouldn’t have wanted that to be their first time, though. Not at the kitchen table. If it happened, it’d have to be proper. In the evening, on Jean’s bed, with the lights dimmed. Perhaps he’d light a candle or two. He wondered if Javert would like soft jazz in the background. He imagined himself and Javert in missionary position  – he shivered at the absolutely scandalous mental picture – with him thrusting slowly and carefully into the other man. Javert softly sighing and moaning – Jean knew, because of this morning, that Javert’s voice would probably get a little higher – in pleasure and relaxation. He would take Javert oh so carefully, oh so gently, with the other man’s body hot and soft below him like the blushing bride in an erotic poem of the middle ages. He imagined them praising each other in quiet, reverent voices, muttering little ‘ I love you’ s and sharing sweet kisses. They would be gentle and loving to each other, and perhaps Jean would lick at Javert’s ear again, if Javert truly wanted, and if they wanted to make things even more passionate. He could imagine the sweet, melodic sigh Javert would heave as he spilled himself, and Jean would follow soon after. They’d kiss and cuddle each other and praise and thank each other for the pleasure and they would clean up their little mess and fall asleep in each other’s arms. Maybe that wasn’t too sinful. Maybe… Maybe eventually, he could let this happen. 

There was a knock at the door. “Jean, are you crying in there?” Javert asked with concern. 

Jean turned bright red again, his desperate hand stilling. He was very close. “No, I’m alright! Sorry for running off like that; I’m fine now! I’d still rather we forget about that, though.”

“Are you sure you’re alright?” Javert asked. “You’ve been in there a while, and it kind of sounds like you’re crying to me.”

Oh no. Had he been moaning aloud? He struggled to find an explanation. “N-no, I haven’t been crying! I– You must be hearing things. I’m fine; you’ll see when I get out that my eyes aren’t red or puffy. I’ll be out soon.”

“Okay, then…” Javert said, obviously suspicious. 

Jean didn’t hear Javert’s footsteps to signify he’d walked away, but Jean couldn’t wait a moment longer. He put the knuckle of the index finger of his left hand into his mouth and bit down to prevent any other sounds, and he inserted himself back into his fantasy. Yes; gentle, sweet, slow, passionate, romantic, missionary sex with Javert on his soft bed in low lighting with candles and jazz and words of love to each other and kisses… He imagined thrusting harder into Javert’s warm hole as he approached his climax– Oh, that would be… He bucked into his hand, now; so close– He imagined he was holding Javert tightly (but not too tightly), his face buried in the crook of Javert’s beautiful long neck as he approached his release, and– 

As he came, Jean let out a sound that was halfway between a moan and a grunt, that seemed more animal than human, and the strangeness of which was compounded by how he knew he needed to be quiet. 

“What the fuck was that?” Javert asked from – as Jean dreaded – just outside the bathroom door. 

Jean began to cough; partially fake, but also due to shock. “Breathed in–” cough, cough “–some water–” cough, sputter “–Don’t worry about me–” he squeezed his cock and he coughed and sputtered some more.

“Okay…”

Jean made sure there was no trace of his weakness on his body and he got out of the shower as quickly as possible. He dried himself, dried and combed his hair, and got dressed speedily as well. When he opened the door, Javert was there, staring at him with all the skepticism an inspector could have. 

***

“Hmm,” Javert said, rubbing his chin as he surveyed the other man carefully. His eyes were indeed not the least bit red or puffy. “You really haven’t been crying. You look flushed, though. I guess that’s just from the water.”

Jean crossed his arms. “See, your eavesdropping has been for naught!”

Javert frowned at the accusation. “Hey, I was just looking out for you. I really did think you’d be crying.”

Jean shook his head. “I’m not exactly pleased with what you said to me, but… I really do want to forget the whole thing. All of it. Including what you said; that makes it fair for both of us.”

Javert frowned. “But…”

Jean walked past him into his own room. “No buts! I want us to head to your apartment as soon as possible with no weird moods between each other; just the mood to clean!” 

“Okay, then…” Javert said. This was… strange, to say the least. He’d expected Jean to berate him what he’d said about the Old Testament, or be upset, at the very minimum. Apparently not. Javert went into the guest room and began to pack his things into his overnight bag. He sighed to himself. He wondered what is was that Jean had been doing in the shower, if not crying– because he was very obviously making some kind of noise. Javert’s ears were very good. If it had been anyone else in the world, Javert would have assumed he was jacking off, but there was no way in hell Jean was doing that. Javert placed a hand on the crotch of his pants. His erection had subsided, but the warmth that had arisen from Jean’s teasing still coursed through his blood.

Jean was already waiting for him when he came downstairs, tossing his keys up in the air and catching them, whistling to himself. “You ready to go?” he asked.

Javert nodded. “Yes.” He looked to the duffle bag Jean had over his shoulder. “What’s in there?”

“A change of clothes for later. Oh, I forgot to ask you– Did Cosette text you about dinner at her place this evening?”

Right, that. “Yes, she did. And I told her I would be alright with eating a burger, provided it’s made of meat.”

Jean chuckled. He opened the front door. “Good, good. Yeah, I’m a little nervous myself– Cosette did tell me Marius has finally gotten the knack of barbecuing veggie burgers, but I’ll have to taste it to believe it,” he said as he left the house. Javert followed him. 

“You do have all your things, right? And you turned the lights off?” Jean asked him. 

“Yes, on both counts,” Javert replied.

“Good.” Jean locked the door behind them. 

“How bad is Marius at barbecuing?” Javert asked warily as they approached his car in the driveway. 

“He seems fine when it’s traditional meat, but meat substitutes don’t cook or grill the same, so he always ends up overcooking them – charing them, really – and they just kind of…” Jean gestured vaguely, “disintegrate, honestly. It’s like they come apart at the atomic level. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Javert laughed as got in the car. He pressed the button to unlock the passenger doors and wondered vaguely if he ought to have held the door for Jean. “Well, I’m certainly glad I won’t be feasting on a science experiment tonight.” Once both their seatbelts were on, he started the car. Javert used his arm on the back of the passenger seat to look out the rear window so he could reverse out of Jean’s driveway properly.

“I just hope they all get to know the Javert I know tonight,” Jean said, looking out the window. 

“You mean, not hungover and miserable Javert? Yes, I do regret having introduced him to anyone,” Javert replied as he began to drive.

“I know that Cosette wants to like you. I think Éponine is alright with you. I’m not sure what Marius thinks, though.”

Javert ‘hmm’d in response. “We’ll know how he feels based on the structural integrity of the burger he gives me tonight.”

“I’m serious, Rukeli. I want them to see you how I see you.”

“Yes, I’d like that as well. But I figure anything is an upgrade from the last time.”

Jean sighed. They said nothing more until they arrived at the parking lot of Javert’s apartment building. 

“I think you’ll be shocked at the state of my apartment,” Javert said gravely. “It’s extremely unbecoming.” He had only genuinely realized how horrifying it was in there when he’d returned the previous day to pack his overnight things. He’d hidden his most “personal” stuff, then, but that barely made it any better. 

Jean shook his head. “Don’t worry about it, dear. I’m here to help you, not judge you.”

They rode the elevator to Javert’s floor, and Javert’s sense of dread climbed until the very moment he unlocked his door. 

“Well… here we are,” he said solemnly as he locked the door behind them. It was more than unbecoming. It was revolting. Nothing was in its place and there was a place for nothing; there were clothes on the floor and draped on furniture, dirty dishes on coffee tables, books and papers strewn everywhere… Javert cast a look in Jean’s direction in time to see him carefully arrange his features into a neutral expression. 

“Okay,” Jean said, his tone squished. “I… I think we should start with the dirty dishes and any other food-related items.”

Jean didn’t say anything mocking or derisive to Javert, even as he found a travel mug with ramen in it, a cereal bowl on top of a bookshelf, and a serving dish that had become a veritable exhibit on new and exciting kinds of fungus. Javert took care of the most disgusting messes, but that didn’t mean Jean didn’t do more than his fair share of mold-scrubbing. Yet the man was positive – even cheerful – the whole time. He told stories and engaged in interesting banter with Javert as they worked, managing to keep even the Inspector’s spirits up. By 1pm, they had finished with the biohazards. They went out for lunch at a nearby café, as Javert had no edible food in his apartment, aside from a few cans of soup. The afternoon saw Javert collecting dirty clothes and taking them to the building’s laundry room while Jean collected books, papers, and other items to be dealt with later. 

By 4 o’clock, Jean and Javert figured they had done enough for the day, and they should be getting ready for dinner, anyway. Thankfully, the bathroom was usable. Even at the absolute worst of times, Javert couldn’t stand a dirty bathroom, so he’d kept it in a decent enough state that it had been quick work to bring it back to normal that day. Javert took a shower and shaved – he trimmed his body hair as well, though he knew in his heart of hearts it was in vain – and blowdried his hair as he brushed it thoroughly. He changed into some nice clothes that had just made it up from the laundry room – Jean, upon seeing most of his wardrobe, said that ought to go shopping together once they finished their cleanup, as he found Javert’s collection clothes to be ‘not at all indicative of his personality’ and ‘not doing him justice whatsoever.’ Jean changed and freshened up next, and by about 5 they were ready to go. 

Jean called his daughter to make sure their hosts were ready– Cosette confirmed that they could come over, so they were off, making only one stop on the way: at Jean’s house, where he quickly retrieved a good bottle of wine from his basement, as they had realized bringing wine would be a good idea. Jean convinced Javert to let him tell Cosette and Marius that Javert had purchased this wine for them.

Chapter Text

Soon after Jean rang the doorbell, Cosette answered, with Éponine close behind her. 

“Hello Papa!” Cosette said excitedly, practically leaping on him to give him a tight hug. And this was why Jean had given Javert the wine bottle to hang onto after they’d got out of the car.

“My darling Cosette,” Jean replied, matching her excitement. It was as if they hadn’t seen each other in months, when in reality it had only been days. 

They finally pulled back from their hug. “You look wonderful, Papa,” Cosette said happily.

“Thank you, dear. And you look beautiful as always!” They kissed each other on the cheeks.

Javert met Éponine’s eyes over Cosette’s shoulder, and the brunette shook her head slowly. Javert smirked a little. 

“Good to see you again, Javert,” Cosette said as she released Jean. Her tone was not quite as jovial as it had been with her father, but she had shed some of her former skepticism as well. 

“You too, Cosette,” he replied. The young woman ushered them both inside. 

“You brought wine? You didn’t have to do that!” she said. Javert noticed the second half of the statement was directed at her father. 

“Javert insisted,” Jean said, rubbing the taller man’s back affectionately. “He bought it earlier today.”

Cosette smiled and Javert handed the bottle to her. 

“Well, thank you very much,” she said to him. 

“It’s our pleasure,” Javert replied. Our? Maybe he should have said ‘my’...

“Lovely to see you too, ‘Ponine!” Jean said to the brunette, moving in to give her a bear hug as well. She expertly maneuvered her open beer bottle out of the way and hugged him back with her free arm.

“And you, Jean!” Éponine returned. 

Javert simply shook hands with her. “Good to see you again, Éponine.”

“And you too, Inspector Javert.” She had a good, firm handshake.

Cosette brought all of them to the backyard, where Marius was hard at work at the grill. Hugs and handshakes were repeated once again. Marius was the most apprehensive of Javert, but, strangely, it seemed he was scared instead of judgemental. 

“Hey, Javert, do you like beer?” Éponine asked suddenly. “I brought a case, but I forgot Marius doesn’t like it. And Cosette and Jean… I knew they don’t like it, but… Well, I like beer, and I knew I’d have to bring it myself if I wanted any. You interested?”

Javert peered at the label on the bottle in her hand. “Guinness? Certainly.”

Éponine smiled. “A man of taste, I see! Follow me.”

She led Javert into the kitchen. Jean and Cosette were busy talking, and Marius was busy being overly prudent with the veggie burgers (which, in his defence, were whole at the moment), so their exit was easy. 

Éponine opened the fridge and handed Javert a bottle and a bottle opener which was on the counter. Javert thanked her and removed the cap.

She closed the fridge. “The other reason I wanted to bring you inside–” she turned to Javert– “I wanted to thank you for arresting my dad.”

Javert managed to narrowly avoid choking on his first sip of Guinness. “Wh-what?”

“The case you just solved. That dirty fucker Jondrette is– most unfortunately – my father. And no, I had no idea where he was, so I couldn’t have helped the case along. As soon as Jean was helping me and my siblings, my fucked right out of our lives and we’ve never seen them since. Didn’t even know they’d changed their last names to Jondrette. So it was a bit of a crazy surprise when Cosette, Marius, and I were hanging out and I saw the news on my Twitter feed that the murder of Léon Riel had been solved, and there was a mugshot of my dad. I read the article, and it credited you with the arrest. Did you really tackle him?”

This was a lot to process, so it took Javert a moment before he could nod and affirm that yes, he had indeed tackled Jondrette so that he could be arrested. 

“That’s fuckin’ rad, man,” Éponine said, laughing. “Jeez, after all that piece of shit has done to me, my siblings, Cosette, and however many people he’s scammed and apparently had killed– Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. I used to be one of those ACAB kids, but no more,” she clapped Javert on the shoulder. “You put away a dangerous criminal and you didn’t even shoot an unarmed black kid in the process.”

Javert barked a laugh. “I’ll have you know, I’ve never even shot a single unarmed black kid, or an unarmed person of any race or age.”

Éponine gasped. “Are you the mythical ‘good cop’?” 

“I try my hardest to be a fair cop. Not one of those dickheads you see on the news spewing chemicals at anyone who looks like a protester.”

Éponine nodded. “I can respect that.”

“And why did this conversation need to happen inside?” Javert asked. “Not that I have a problem.” 

“Oh, because it finally sunk in for Marius that you’re more than a weird drunk who spendt hours crying at his father-in-law’s feet. He Googled you and realizes you’re a successful and accomplished police officer who’s done lots of dangerous and important shit and now he’s scared of you even more than he’s scared of other cops, which is already a lot.”

Javert raised his eyebrows. “Really? Well. I did get that impression talking to him just now, but it’s surprising that he can find me intimidating after having a hands-on experience with me at my lowest.”

Éponine shrugged. “Listen, man; Marius is a good guy– a sweet guy – but really simple, too. He’s book smart as fuck, but he’s kind of stupid at the same time, if you know what I mean. I had a huge crush on him as a teen, but I eventually realized he’s too airheaded for my taste, and that’s why sweet and lovely Cosette is married to him, not me. So, really… He’s probably just confused by the realization that the Javert from a couple days ago and the Javert he’s read about online is the same person, and that that person is currently in his house. It’s like how toddlers think a tall and skinny glass holds more water than a short and fat glass, even when they see the same amount of water poured between both. The tall skinny glass is the fearsome Inspector Javert, and the short fat glass is his father-in-law’s weird boyfriend who he met on old people Tinder. Marius’s brain is short-circuiting, trying to process that the same shit goes in both cups.”

Javert nodded, smiling. “Yes, you’re far, far too bright for Marius. I hope you started looking for men in your own league after that.”

Éponine laughed. “Thanks. I’ve gotten a little better. After Marius, I was head-over-heels for Cosette. Obviously, that didn’t work out either. But at least she’s got common sense.”

“Yes, she’s clever, for sure. God, Éponine, you really need to get out more– No offense, but if your list of loves is entirely procured from one location, you’re going to run out of choices pretty fast.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m working on it.”

“If an old, autistic gypsy with a face like mine can get a guy like Jean to look twice at me, a beautiful, witty young lady such as yourself can certainly get anyone she fancies.”

Éponine snickered. “Well, thank you. And you’re Roma?”

“Yes, I am. Why?”

“I’m part Roma, from my mother’s side.”

“Really? That’s interesting! Explains your good looks, compared to your father.”

The young woman smirked. “Wait, you just said you’re ugly, though– Are Romani people attractive or not?”

“Just the women,” Javert explained. “I’m joking, of course. Ethnicity and beauty have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Your generation gets upset when I make that kind of comments.”

Éponine shook her head. “You being Roma explains your first name,” she said.

Javert’s eyes widened. “How do you know my first name?”

“Marius showed me some old article about you getting promoted after arresting a whole gang or something. Rukeli Javert, huh?”

Javert cringed. “Listen, when I went into foster care, I didn’t have any legal documents and I only knew what my mother called me. I had no idea it was just a nickname until later.”

Éponine patted his shoulder in sympathy – whether genuine or sarcastic, Javert wasn’t sure. “It’s okay, little tree.”

Javert clenched his jaw. “ Karbaro ,” he muttered.

“Did you just call me a ‘big penis’ in Romani?” Éponine asked, laughing. 

“I called you an erection,” Javert admitted, “Because I don’t remember any real insults. I… I really only remember various terms for male genitalia.”

Éponine guffawed. “Honestly, I mostly only remember dirty words, too. But don’t worry, small tree man, your secret is safe with me. I didn’t and I won’t tell Cosette or Marius what your name means.”

“Thank you for that.” 

The sliding door to the backyard opened, then, and Jean peeked his head. “Why have you two been hiding in here? Come join us! The burgers are almost done!”

“We were bonding over something we just realized we had in common,” Éponine explained as she and Javert went outside. 

“Oh? And what would that be?”

“We both have Roma heritage,” she said. 

Jean’s face lit up, and he looked somewhat relieved. “Well, that’s really interesting!” 

“Yes, but I’m a proper rom , and she’s just a didikai, ” Javert said with pretend indignance. “Or not even that.”

“Hey, neither of those words mean ‘dick’! Good on you!” Éponine nudged him playfully before she walked off. 

Jean looked very confused, so Javert explained. “I told her I don’t really remember any Romani words, other than ones that mean ‘penis’... The language has a surprising abundance of such words.”

To Javert’s surprise, Jean laughed at this. He laughed hard, and eventually Javert joined in. 

“What’s so funny?” Javert heard Cosette ask. Thankfully, Éponine filled her in, though Cosette did not find it as amusing as they did, judging by her lack of uproarious laughter.

***

Once Marius had fussed over the burgers enough, he announced that dinner was ready. Jean, Javert, and Éponine sat at the patio table, with Javert on one end, Éponine to his left, and Jean to his right. The table was already mostly set with placemats, plates, and glasses, and Cosette brought out the wine that ‘Javert had bought’, followed by several condiments, a pitcher of water, several bowls full of chips, and a bag of hamburger buns.

Soon enough, food was in front of everyone. Jean did notice that his veggie burger was noticeably not crumbling apart. His daughter, who was sitting beside him, gave him an excited look, as her veggie patty was holding together as well. 

“Shall we say grace?” Marius asked from the opposite end of the table from Javert. 

“Yes, let’s!” Jean said. He glanced at Javert, who was about to take his first bite, and the man quickly dropped his burger with a little nod. Jean bowed his head and sincerely hoped Javert did so as well.

Jean began the familiar words: “ Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.” He heard Cosette and Marius’ voices join him. He was unsurprised that the other two weren’t saying grace, but was glad enough that when he raised his head, Javert hadn’t started eating.

“Cheers, guys!” Éponine said, raising her bottle of Guinness. They all touched glasses and bottles to varying degrees of success, save for Javert and Marius, who were too far apart. Javert gestured with his bottle while smiling, and Marius gave a nervous twitch of his lips in response. 

Jean was pleasantly surprised that he managed to get his patty onto his bun without the whole thing falling apart; and he could get condiments on it, too. 

“Dude, have you ever, like, heard of ketchup?” Éponine asked Javert.

Jean looked up to see Javert already eating his burger, which was just a burger between the bun. “I don’t need any,” he explained once he swallowed. Javert had a tendency to talk with his mouth full, so Jean was quite thankful he was abstaining from that here. 

“That’s pretty weird, I’ve gotta say,” she said. 

“Ép, you don’t have to be rude!” Cosette said, sounding nearly horrified. “He can eat his food however he wants!” 

“I know, but… isn’t a plain burger kind of, like, dry?”

“Oh, God– is it dry? P-please tell me it isn’t dry!” Marius stuttered. 

“No, it’s not dry,” Javert said. “It’s very good. Great job, Marius.”

Jean looked to his son-in-law, who had the look of someone who’d just been told they passed their most difficult exam. “Oh, thank you, Inspector, Sir, I’m– I’m very glad to hear that you like it.” 

“You’re most welcome,” Javert returned. 

Jean wasn’t sure whether to find it worrisome or amusing that Marius was so high-strung. It reminded him of the first time he himself had met Marius when Cosette started dating him. He recalled much of the same stuttering and use of ‘Sir’.

Once Jean had finished preparing his meal – as he, personally, found that hamburgers were better with condiments – he took a careful bite. To his relief, the taste and texture was as it was meant to be. He hummed his approval as he chewed. “Yes, Marius– very good!”

The young man beamed. “Thanks, Papa. I’m so happy I got it right this time.”

Cosette nodded as she took a bite of her own veggie burger. “It took lots of trial and error, but he’s finally figured out the subtleties of cooking these things!”

Marius blushed. “Turns out they don’t need to be cooked as long as meat. I wish I’d figured that out earlier,” he said with an awkward laugh. 

The rest of the meal passed in a similar manner. Éponine and Javert seemed to get along surprisingly well; in fact, Jean thought they talked and joked with each other like old friends. Cosette seemed slightly wary of Éponine and Javert’s sudden bond, though she relaxed as the evening went on. Marius, for his part, never quite relaxed, as if Javert were currently out to get him. Jean’s attempts to ease conversation between the two never ended very well– Marius was never inclined to say more than a short sentence to Javert at a time. He seemed like a deer in the headlights. Jean eventually gave up trying; he figured he was only making the young man more nervous. 

After they’d all finished, all five of them pitched in to clear the plates, drinks, and condiments from the patio table. Cosette served homemade brownies for dessert, which they all ate in the living room. It was a similar seating arrangement to a few days ago, when the same group had discussed Javert’s drunken adventures. This time, however, Jean did not cling to the other man. That is not to say he didn’t wish to. Jean kept glancing at Javert longingly, only the presence of polite company stopping him from hugging the other man close. 

He was proud. Javert was indeed presenting himself very well, and though he picked up on subtle signs that Javert weas growing weary of socializing, he’d been extremely well-behaved. He didn’t know why he’d doubted Javert in the first place, and indeed felt guilty for having done so. He satisfied his desire to touch the other man by reaching out to gently grasp his hand. Javert quickly settled his fingers between Jean’s own.

After a while, Jean felt Javert squeeze his hand three times. This was their agreed-upon nonverbal signal that Javert was nearing as much social interaction as he could handle for the night. As soon as was comfortable, Jean announced that they should be off. Jean and Javert thanked the young couple for a lovely evening, and after minimal dallying and drawn-out goodbyes, Jean managed to extract himself and his partner, who was very obviously ready to go, as he was fiddling nearly constantly with his hair and clothes (which he’d explained to Jean was ‘stimming’). Jean wondered, as he and Javert entered the car, when it was that he’d begun to mentally refer to Javert as ‘his partner.’ 

“Did I manage to make our escape quick enough?” Jean asked. 

“Yes, and thank you for taking me seriously on that front,” Javert said, leaning back against his car seat, relieved. “Ten more minutes and I think I would have been climbing the furniture.” 

Jean chuckled, doing up his seatbelt. “You did very well tonight, Rukeli.”

“I know,” Javert said, buckling himself in as well. “I was quite pleasant, I think.”

“Yes, you were. I see you’ve become fast friends with Éponine!”

Javert nodded as he prepared to back out of the driveway. “She and I get along very well. She’s a very bright young lady. And it turns out I just arrested her father.”

Jean’s jaw dropped. “Jondrette was… He was Thénardier?”

“If that is the real name of Éponine’s father, then yes.”

Jean laughed. “Wow… If it’s possible, I love you even more, now. That man has been deserving of jail time for decades, as I’m sure Éponine has told you. I doubt she told you this though; when I was in the process of adopting Cosette, he tried to claim I was a pedophile and had nefarious intent with her. Of course, the case didn’t last long in court as his only ‘evidence’ to support his claims didn’t have a leg to stand on. Still, that was dreadful. It was reported on, as I was mayor of Montreuil-Sur-Mer at the time, and for a brief time, people believed I was a monster, and they wondered if their children had fallen victim to me… Thank God I was proven innocent fairly quickly, and I was able to resign as mayor on my own terms and with a proper sendoff. That’s why I changed my name from Madeleine to Fauchelevent, though. That, and ‘Cosette Madeleine’ flows horribly.”

Javert shook his head. “Jesus Christ. What a repulsive individual. I’m so glad you were proven innocent.”

“Me too. Well. I don’t want to think any more of those dark times,” Jean said earnestly.

“Fair.” 

Soon enough, they pulled into Jean’s driveway. Javert walked the other man to his front door. 

“Thank you for driving me home,” Jean said. 

“You’re most welcome.”

Jean smiled and hugged Javert close. “I’m sorry for ever doubting you, love. For being worried that the others wouldn’t see you as the man I know and love.”

“Your concerns were valid, Jean. I can be an ass on occasion.” 

Jean shook his head against the other man’s shoulder. “No, darling. I should’ve trusted you better.”

Jean felt the other man’s hands resting on his back. “This isn’t fair. I don’t have any smart words left for tonight.”

Jean laughed. “I don’t need them from you. I just need to hold you a bit before I go inside.”

“Ah, good. Can do that just fine.”

After a long moment, Jean looked up at Javert, a smile erupting on his face. “Oh, Rukeli, I love you so much,” he said.

“I love you so much, too, Jean.”

He stood on his tiptoes and kissed Javert firmly, passionately. Javert’s mouth tasted like brownies. Javert leaned over to spare Jean some reaching, and Jean began to run his fingers through Javert’s hair. 

“What are we, Rukeli? You and I?” Jean asked when they broke apart for air.

“I don’t have the spoons for existentialism, Jean.”

He laughed. “No, I mean… I feel like we’re too old to be ‘boyfriends’, but ‘partners’ seems rather stilted to me.”

“Oh. That kind of ‘what are we.’ Personally, I quite like ‘partners,’” Javert said.

“Do you? Are we ‘partners,’ then?”

“Yes, I would say so.”

Jean grinned. “Good. I do like the sound of that, now that the word describes you. My partner.”

Javert smiled back. They kissed again, deeper this time, their tongues sliding against each other. Jean sighed at how good it felt to kiss him like this. He wished he could take Javert inside and keep kissing him– that he could pick him up and carry him to bed and continue kissing just like this until they were too tired to go on and they nodded off in each other’s arms. He wished this, but he knew he couldn’t make it happen. Javert didn’t have his things to stay overnight, and he was not truly ready to sleep with Javert in his bed. Was he? It seemed oftly tempting at the moment. 

A few minutes later, he knew he had to let Javert go. “What time should I come over tomorrow? I’ll be ready to come over about 10 o’clock in the morning, I believe; is that a good time?”

“Yes, I should be awake by then,” Javert answered. His voice was low and soft. Jean wanted to keep him here.

“Okay. Have a safe drive home and a good night. I’ll text you in the morning when I’m leaving for your place.” Jean unlocked his door.

Javert sighed, seeming equally as reluctant to part. “Okay. See you tomorrow, Jean.”

“See you, Rukeli.” Jean walked inside and closed the door behind him; he knew that if he tarried one more moment he’d be kissing Javert again. He sighed to himself as Javert had just a moment ago. He’d be kissing his partner . Jean smiled in the dark at the word; his partner.

Chapter Text

It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday – day three of their cleanup – and they were done. Finished. Everything was tidied and swept and put away in a manner that satisfied Javert’s organizational particularities and Jean’s concerns for the ambiance of the apartment. Tired but proud, Jean and Javert collapsed on the couch, which had never looked so clean, even when Javert first moved in. They shared victory kisses as they looked around the apartment. 

Well, Javert’s bedroom wasn’t completely clean, yet, but they weren’t counting that. They’d decided not to do that part together after Jean had opened the bottom drawer of Javert’s dresser, before Javert was able to stop him. This was, of course, where Javert stored all of his sex toys and other accoutrements. Jean’s poor Catholic eyes had seen his vibrator and two of his biggest and most lifelike dildos, along with several pairs of skimpy underwear, a variety of butt plugs, bondage ropes, a ball gag, a real pair of handcuffs Javert had been told to get rid of years ago due to a slight malfunction, a huge bottle of lube… Jean shut the drawer very quickly, but his ghostly pale face and wide eyes told Javert he’d seen enough. Javert had been strangely not very embarrassed. He just shrugged and said: “That drawer’s the most organized thing in this whole apartment, so you don’t need to worry about it.”

At present, Jean wasn’t thinking about that, it seemed. Jean was busy kissing him and petting his hair. 

“Are you up for that shopping trip?” Jean asked.

“What shopping trip?”

“Remember? The other day I told you we should get you a whole new wardrobe.”

Javert blinked. “You were… serious about that?”

Jean nodded. “One hundred percent. I mean, we don’t need to do the whole thing today, but I figure we can at least get started on it.”

Javert frowned. “I don’t like shopping…”

“I can tell that by the state of your wardrobe. Come on, Rukeli… There’s no time like the present!”

And so, Jean managed to drag him to their nearest shopping mall, and into a store that was far out of his price range, at that. Javert had never even dreamed of setting foot in a place like this; in fact, he felt too poor to be allowed inside. Yet here he was, with Jean promising – under no lack of protest from Javert – to pay for everything they bought today. Javert wondered if he’d actually found a sugar daddy after all. 

Jean flagged down a salesperson and explained, to Javert’s embarrassment, that Javert hadn’t been clothes shopping in quite some time and needed a complete wardrobe overhaul. Javert added that finding pants that fit him was especially challenging due to his proportions – referring, of course, to his huge ass. The salesman brought several sizes and styles of trousers for Javert to try on, and Jean, for his part, picked out some shirts. Javert thought that many of them were, bless Jean, extremely tacky, but he’d try them on anyway, if only to show Jean how disgusting some of the patterns were. 

Javert ended up in a changeroom with more items of clothing than he’d ever held at one time, and he began the painstaking process of trying things on. The first pair of pants he attempted didn’t make it over his ass, so he aborted the effort and went up a size. They looked kind of strange in the mirror, he thought, but he knew damn well it wasn’t his own opinion that mattered most here. He threw on one of Jean’s tacky button up shirts and pulled back the curtain. 

Jean beamed at him like the mother of the bride-to-be on one of those wedding dress shows Jean watched. 

The salesman (rich people stores had salespeople standing around helping individuals, Javert realized) shook his head. “The pants don’t fit right. The shirt fits well, but the pattern doesn’t work on you.”

“I told you the patten was obnoxious, Jean,” Javert said.

Jean rolled his eyes. “Well, I think you look very dashing.” Good grief, Jean sounded extra gay now. Maybe it was to compete with the salesman, who had to be the most flamboyant individual Javert had ever encountered. 

Javert closed the curtain again and put on different pants and a different shirt. The pants felt a little tight, but looked quite good. This shirt was not as bad as it had looked on the hanger, so maybe Jean wasn’t totally blind after all. He pulled back the curtain to a similar reaction from Jean as before. 

“Okay, yes,” the salesman said, pointing to Javert. “That’s a good start. Turn around.”

Javert did. 

“Your butt looks amazing , so the pants are a big yes from me. How do they feel?”

Javert looked at himself in the mirror. “They feel a little tight, but good. Probably better than the dress pants I own, I’d say.”

“And what do you think?” the young man asked Jean. “Do those pants make his butt look good or what?”

Jean turned pink and laughed awkwardly. “I… Yeah– yeah, I think they do. It looks… He looks great.”

Javert realized he needed to bring this flamboyant salesman around with him everywhere in order to get Jean to compliment his ass more often. He made eye contact with the guy in the mirror, and the salesman winked.

“And I think that shirt’s a winner, too!” he said. 

“For sure!” Jean agreed, having regained his composure. 

“What size were those pants? I’ll take the other sizes away and bring you more styles in the size that fits.”

Javert told him the size, and the salesman did as promised. He returned with a variety of colours, including pink, which Javert was not entirely sure about, but the young gentleman was positive would look great on him. 

Slowly but surely, Javert made progress trying on each shirt and each pair of pants. As he changed, the salesman chatted with Jean about how he met Javert. He found it very unique that they’d met online at their ages. Javert chuckled to himself; if only this man knew the rest of their story– that was far more unique. 

Jean seemed to grow more bashful as he was forced to look over Javert’s body again and again. Javert was decidedly amused by this, and was almost disappointed when he ran out of clothes to try on. He easily chose which items to buy – surprisingly, the pink pants were among the keepers – and made his way out. Jean went to the cash to pay, and Javert stayed behind a moment to thank the salesman for his time.

“Hey, it’s what I’m paid for!” the young man replied. “I’m glad to have been helpful.” He leaned in closer to Javert. “And I don’t know what’s up between you two,” he muttered, “but I could taste the sexual tension there; hot damn. You two are almost unfit to be out in public, with that kind of aura.”

Javert smirked. “Yeah, the thing about that is… Well, let’s just say I’m working on it. Thanks for making him look at my ass; it’s my best chance of winning him over.”

The salesman laughed. “I’m glad I could be of assistance.”

Jean soon walked over to Javert with a shopping bag. “Alright, love; I’m done. Thanks for your help, sir!” he said to the young man. 

“You’re welcome. You both have a great day, now!” 

The two men drove back to Javert’s place. Javert put his new purchases away and joined Jean on the couch once again. 

“Thank you for taking me shopping. You’re extremely generous.”

“I’m just lucky to have expendable cash and a handsome partner to spend it on,” Jean said before kissing Javert’s hands. 

The younger man laughed. “Still, there’s plenty else you could be spending your money on.”

“How could I resist? Your figure looks so darn good in expensive clothes.”

Javert chuckled. “And my butt?”

Jean giggled. “Yes, that, too.”

***

They ordered Chinese food for dinner and ate at Javert’s house, still relishing in how clean it was. Jean kept realizing he should leave and return to his own place, and yet, he stayed. It seemed Javert was not keen on them parting yet, either. Javert didn’t let the conversation lag for too long, and kept suggesting new topics of conversation, and eventually even asked if Jean wanted to watch a space documentary with him. Cuddling on the couch and watching a documentary on Javert’s favourite subject together was far too sweet for even Jean to resist. The hour and a half passed, and it was late, yet Jean was still there. He and Javert held onto each other tightly, and Jean was so warm and Javert’s bony shoulder somehow so comfortable that he nodded off without even realizing. In fact, he only recognized that he’d been asleep when Javert gently nudged him awake.

“Jean,” the low voice muttered to him, close to his ear. 

“Hmmm?” he answered, blinking his eyes open. 

“It’s 11:30. I’d like to go to bed now. If you want, you can spend the night here?”

Jean knew he didn’t want to make his way home right now– it was in every way too much effort. He rubbed his eyes. “If it’s alright with you, I’ll sleep right here. Can you bring me a blanket and a pillow?”

The other man was silent for a moment, exhaling softly in a small sigh. “Yes, of course. I’ll be back in a moment.” Javert pulled away from him, and Jean sat, his head drooping down with exhaustion. This couch was big and comfortable enough to sleep on.

Javert returned soon and handed him a pillow and a knit blanket. “I hope this blanket is warm enough… I don’t really have much else to offer you.”

“It’s fine, Rukeli,” Jean said, figuring he’d be tired enough that it wouldn’t matter. He snuggled down onto the pillow – it smelled like Javert… Did it come from his own bed? – and pulled the blanket over himself with a sigh. 

“Goodnight, Jean. I love you,” Javert said before kissing Jean’s lips briefly. 

“‘Night Rukeli; I love you too,” Jean muttered. 

Javert padded away softly and turned off the lamp. It became nearly pitch black around Jean, and he very quickly drifted off again. 

This did not last long, however. He woke up suddenly, shivering. It was cold, and the blanket he had was far too thin to be of any help. He checked his phone. It was only 12:15 am. Jean tried to cover more of his body with the blanket, but it wasn’t helping whatsoever. He frowned. He knew there weren’t any spare blankets in the linen closet near the bathroom, just towels… He nearly considered piling those on top of himself, but that seemed odd. He sat up and looked in the direction of Javert’s bedroom; there was dim light leaking out from beneath the door. Javert must be awake, then; Jean figured he could ask the man for another blanket. He still felt like perhaps he shouldn’t disturb the other man. It was the middle of the night and Javert had already given him a blanket and pillow… He frowned as he shivered again. If he didn’t ask for another blanket, he wouldn’t sleep any more the whole night long– he steeled himself to get up and ask.

He gingerly tiptoed across the dark apartment towards Javert’s bedroom door. With a deep breath, he reached out and knocked three times before he opened the door. 

Javert was sitting up in bed. Jean smiled. “Ah, good, you’re awake. I’m sorry to bother you, Rukeli, but I–”

Jean suddenly realized the other man was in a very odd position; he looked to be kneeling on the bed, his back slightly arched. He clutched his blanket to his chest in one hand, and the other seemed to be behind his back. His eyes were open wide as saucers and his face was flushed and his mouth slightly open. Javert was frozen in place, terror striking his features. 

“Rukeli?” Jean asked nervously. No response. “Rukeli, are you alright?”

Javert’s mouth opened slightly more and he emitted a strange choked sound of distress. 

Nearly panicking, Jean rushed to the bed and ripped the blanket out of Javert’s clutches. The both of them gasped in unison. 

Oh. 

Javert was naked, and he was fully erect, fluid glistening at the tip of his cock. The hand that was behind his back held something flesh coloured at his rear, something that was obviously inside his body. Jean turned bright red and met Javert’s face, sure his eyes were at least as wide as the other man’s. Oh. 

He stared, unable to move. 

***

Javert stared back, equally frozen. He couldn’t reach to cover himself with the blanket, he couldn’t take the dildo out of him… He couldn’t even blink. When he finally let out the breath he was holding, it caught again in his throat in a little grunt. 

This sound broke the silence between them and seemed to force Jean into action. He swallowed thickly. “Uh…”

Javert watched helplessly as Jean’s eyes flicked down to his ass, staring at where the dildo pierced into his body. Javert was parylized by shock, arousal, adrenaline, humiliation. Jean met his eyes again. “Rukeli…”

Javert bit his lip. “Jean.” Damn it, the name came out as a moan . His muscles twitched and he sank almost imperceptibly lower onto the dildo and he shivered. Oh God, oh fuck–

Jean was still there. Jean was bright red and he looked like he’d seen a ghost, but he was still there, standing next to the bed, staring at Javert, his eyes wandering over Javert’s naked and sweaty body as if he was studying a map. 

“Oh, Jesus Christ, Jean–” Javert whispered. He needed to move. His body screamed at him to resume what he’d been doing a minute ago, before Jean had walked in on him– he wanted to move his hips and ride, keep riding. He bit his lip. 

Jean was blinking slowly, as if his brain had yet to make sense of the sight before him. “Oh, Rukeli,” he said at last. His voice was low and throaty. 

Javert whimpered. “I need–” No. Don’t say it. Don’t do it. Every muscle in Javert’s body begged for him to move and yet he knew he couldn’t. But he didn’t know what else to do. Jean was still there. Jean was still there. Jean was–

Jean’s hand was on his bare back. It was gentle, light– the touch made Javert shiver and whimper, his voice embarrassingly high. His wide and wild eyes flicked towards Jean’s, but the man wasn’t looking at his face. 

“What are you–?” he tried to ask. 

Jean’s hand moved lower. Jean was staring at his ass. Jean was staring at his ass and his hand was moving closer– 

Javert shivered at the man’s featherlight touch on the small of his back. “Oh Jean, oh God, Jean, please–”

The man moved onto the bed in front of him and kissed his lips. It was soft and it was loving and it was strange, such a sweet and tender in this circumstance. And yet Javert keened, his hips bucking of their own volition. Jean’s hands held his bare chest close to his own.

Javert whimpered, his hands finally moving to grab hold of Jean by the collar of his polo shirt. 

Jean broke their kiss and met Javert’s eyes. “Let me see what you have inside you.”

Jean lifted Javert slightly so he was off his knees – which were quite sore by now, anyway – and laid him down on his back. Panting, mostly in a state of disbelief, Javert spread his legs and reached to grab hold of the base of the dildo. He pulled, his left lower eyelid twitching as it brushed his prostate, until the whole thing was out, leaving him feeling rather empty. 

Jean stared at the thing. “My goodness, Rukeli, that’s–” his voice was a deep whisper. “It’s so big… How do you manage to get the whole thing in?”

“Lube, time, perseverance–” he panted breathlessly. 

“How big is it?” Jean asked. 

“Eight inches long, about two inches thick.”

Jean swallowed. “And it feels good?”

So good–” Javert answered before he could think better of it. Was Jean about to admonish him for his sins, for enjoying this self-sodomization?

“When I saw it in the drawer yesterday, I couldn’t believe you could actually–” Jean admitted, gesturing vaguely.

Javert’s mouth twitched into a smirk, despite himself. “Of course I can take it.”

Jean was blushing. He looked down to Javert’s asshole, slick with lube.

Javert shivered, clenching and unclenching his hole. “Touch me. Touch it. Please, Jean, I’m going to go crazy if I have to stay like this any longer!”

Jean stared for a moment. He was sitting on his haunches between Javert’s knees. He was so close, and Javert so desperate, and Javert needed him to touch his cock, his asshole, something, anything. 

“I want to see you… use that thing on yourself. I want to watch you,” Jean said softly. 

Oh– Well, that wasn’t exactly what Javert wanted, but he was more than willing to comply. He shifted his hips ever so slightly and pressed the tip of the dildo to the rim of his hole and he pushed. It went in easily, as both it and his body were still slippery with lube and the thing had been inside him just moments earlier. He groaned as he was once again filled to the brim. 

“Gosh, Rukeli–” Jean’s eyes were wide and alight as he watched. Javert kept his eyes glued to Jean’s face, feeling that if he looked away for even a fraction of a second, Jean would cease to be there– as this could not be really happening, it just couldn’t be. There was no way that Jean Fauchelevent was here in Javert’s bed, watching Javert fuck himself with an eight-inch dildo, and not telling him he was a sinner, or begging him to stop torturing himself, or even looking away in disgust. Javert moved his hand faster, canting his hips slightly. This couldn’t be real, and yet, when Jean reached out to rest his hands on Javert’s bucking waist, Javert felt the warmth of his touch, the calluses on his hands from manual work and weightlifting. 

“Rukeli, I can’t look away.” Jean’s voice was soft and appreciative, almost reverent. His hands moved to better hold onto Javert’s waist and pulled Javert’s body closer to him until his ass was on Jean’s thighs. This angle– this angle let Javert hit his prostate with stunning accuracy; it was almost as if Jean knew that, given the confidence with which he pulled Javert into this position. Javert wondered if perhaps Jean did know that. He fucked himself harder, sighing. He parted his thighs yet further; his knees were nearly by his shoulders. Suddenly, Jean’s hand covered his own. 

“Let me use it.”

Javert shivered and moved his hand away and he felt the dildo being pulled out of him at a snail’s pace. He groaned; he was too close to his climax for this. 

“Jean, please… I’m close– please go faster,” he panted desperately. 

Jean was pushing it back in slowly, punishingly slowly. 

The lagging slide of the lubed-up silicone inside him was making Javert squirm with the need for more. He curled his toes, tipping his head back and squeezing his eyes shut. “Jean, I need you to go faster, I need–

“Does it not feel good, to go slowly?” Jean asked. He sounded genuinely concerned instead of teasing. 

“Yes, yes it feels good– of course it feels good…”

“Trust me, Rukeli.”

Javert opened his eyes and looked Jean in the face again. Jean looked sincere, looked so caring and loving and in love– He continued to move the toy slowly, in and out. Javert whimpered, stretching his arms above his head. “I trust you. I love you, Jean.”

“I love you too, Rukeli– I love you so much,” he said, smiling slightly. 

“Can you at least put it in deeper?” Javert requested. No answer

Javert swallowed and bit his lip. He didn’t know what Jean knew about sex. How long did he think this would last? Did he know he’d have to hit Javert’s prostate in order to make him orgasm, or touch his cock? Would he know how to find Javert’s prostate?

Jean massaged Javert’s waist with his left hand and finally picked up the pace– At last! Jean’s rhythm was steady, fluid. He pushed in a little deeper, and Javert could feel how close the tip was coming to his prostate– 

“Oh, fuck, Jean– Just a little deeper, just a little further, please…” he begged.

Nothing. No change.

“No, Jean, you don’t understand– You’re so close to hitting just the right spot.”

Absolutely nothing. 

Javert moaned in a way that came out like a sound of frustration. “Dammit, Jean–”

“I know.”

“You know what?”

No answer. Never in all their time together had Jean used so few words.

Javert squirmed. He looked down at where his turgid cock lay ignored against his stomach, weeping precome. He groaned. He played with the fitted sheet on his bed and tried to withstand the sweet, sweet torture Jean was inflicting on him. He knew complaining would do him no good– Jean had ignored him or brushed him off every time so far. 

“You’re so gorgeous, Rukeli; my love, my treasure…” Jean spoke low and smooth, his voice like velvet. Javert hummed. It was nice to be spoken to like this. The last time someone else had used a dildo on him, the man had called Javert a dirty whore– Well, Javert had liked that, too, but Jean’s words of love felt so right and they only added to the fire in Javert’s belly. Javert looked to him and the man was looking directly at his asshole, where it stretched around the thick protrusion. His eyes were wide and his face was flushed.

Javert whined. He was growing more desperate again. “Have I been patient long enough?”

Jean’s lips twitched ever so slightly into a smirk. And the dildo was pushed in that crucial centimetre further, nudging against Javert’s prostate with alarming precision.

Javert threw his head back against his pillow, crying out at the exquisite pleasure. Jean continued, fucking him with it harder and faster, just as Javert needed. “Oh, fuck, Jean, yes, yes, oh God, yes–

Jean pulled Javert yet closer to his body and adjusted the angle of his movements accordingly. Javert could never have achieved this position without someone so strong having put him there. The hand at his waist squeezed possessively as the toy plunged inside him again and again, hitting that perfect spot every time. Javert was vaguely aware of his own voice, and how he moaned and whined with every thrust inside him. He was being loud– would his neighbours realize the grumpy middle-aged cop was getting some? He didn’t care. His fingers clutched at the blankets, desperate for purchase.

Fuck me, Jean, yes– Oh, putain de merde– Harder, please, ah, foutre, Jean, please, fuck–” Javert reached to grab his own cock and pull on it harshly. He bit his lip but found it was far more satisfying to speak.  “Oh, I’m so close, I’m going to come, oh my God, I’m so close Jean–”

The thrust of the toy was insistent and the hand that rested on his waist comforting. His toes curled and his chest heaved and his back arched. No part of his body was unaffected by the soaring pleasure. “Fuck, oh Jean, yes, ohyesohfuckohGodoh fuckmeJeanohJeanohfuck–”

With one last cry of pleasure, Javert came, hot liquid bursting onto his stomach with the force of a geisser. Jean didn’t stop moving the toy right away, but he eventually slowed and pushed it deep into Javert’s body and held it there, still. Every muscle in Javert’s body shook and twitched as pleasure continued to move though him in waves. He panted breathlessly.

Jean held him by the armpits and pushed him up further onto the bed so he was in a more comfortable position, and so that Jean was finally off his knees. Jean laid down beside him, a look of awe on his face. 

Javert blinked at him. “Fuck… That felt so good…”

“I love you,” he said quietly. His voice sounded strange. 

“I love you too.” Javert reached for the rag on the bedside table and wiped his stomach clean. Jean watched his movements carefully, and began to stroke Javert’s hair, his arms, his chest. The younger man pulled the dildo out of his body and wiped it with a clean part of the rag. Of course, he would wash it properly later, but there were much more important things to do now.

“Let me return the favour,” Javert said, starting to unbutton Jean’s stupid polo shirt that he couldn’t believe the other was still wearing. 

A warm hand stopped him. “It’s alright, Rukeli. You don’t need to,” Jean said kindly.

“I want to,” Javert insisted. “I want to make you come, too. I’ve been wanting to since we first met, Jean. Let me suck your cock. Please.”

Jean blushed and smiled awkwardly. “I’m serious that I don’t need you to do anything. I’m alright.”

Javert wondered if Jean had some kind of erectile dysfunction issue, but when he looked down, Jean was fully erect, his obviously huge member pushing insistently at the confines of his shorts. 

“You’re hard,” Javert said. “I don’t want to leave you like this.”

Jean shifted his body so that his chest was closer to Javert, but his hips were not. “I’m okay, Rukeli. Really. Don’t feel selfish.”

Javert frowned. “Jean, this really isn’t the time to be chaste and pure. You just fucked me with a dildo.”

Jean’s face darkened, the light in his eye nearly extinguishing. He couldn’t meet Javert’s eyes anymore. “I’m tired. I came in here in the first place because I wanted another blanket. May I have one?”

Javert frowned. “Jean–”

“–Please. I love you dearly, but I’m tired.”

“Then sleep here. With me.”

Jean shook his head. “No… I’m not ready for that.”

Javert sighed. “Okay.” He got out of bed and walked to the closet. “I have another one like the last one I gave you… Should that be enough?” he asked. 

Jean wasn’t looking at him. He was sitting up on the bed, rubbing his eyes. “Yes, thank you.”

Javert got it out. Jean was ready to fuck his ass with an eight-inch realistic didlo, but not share a bed? Are Catholics all this strange?

He gave the blanket to Jean, who looked almost at his face and smiled meekly. “Thank you, Rukeli. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, Jean,” Javert replied, disappointment evident in his voice.

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Jean looked like he meant to say something else, but instead he left the bedroom in a hurry, closing the door behind him.

Chapter Text

Javert woke earlier than usual– he had become well-rested over the last five full nights of sleep. However, he felt troubled when he woke. He was hardly sure whether last night was a bizarre dream or a bizarre reality. It had certainly felt real, but… 

Well, the way it ended was certainly in line with Jean’s regular behaviour. Javert sat up. It was 7:45. Perhaps he should get up anyway to talk to Jean and figure out what last night meant, and how both of them wished to proceed.

Javert dressed in some of his new clothes and exited his room. He was shocked to find the couch unoccupied, the kitchen empty, the bathroom door open and no one inside… Jean’s shoes and bag were nowhere to be seen, either. 

Oh no. 

“Jean?” Javert called out quietly. No answer. Where was he? 

Javert’s heart was racing as he searched for any sign of Jean’s whereabouts. He was relieved to at least find a scrap of paper left on the couch, on top of two carefully folded blankets. Javert picked it up to read it.

Rukeli, 

I’m sorry that I’ve probably scared you. I hope you’ve found this note before I made you too worried! 

I left early in the morning because what happened last night really confused me and I’m at a loss for how to move forward. I’m going home to think things through.

Please don’t think that you did anything wrong last night. You didn’t force me to do anything. I also don’t want you to think I’m mad at you. I’m not. 

However, I do need some time alone to figure things out. I hope you understand that.

I love you so much, Rukeli, and it’s hurting me that I need you to stay away when we planned a whole week to spend time with each other. I want nothing more than to hold you and kiss you, but something’s wrong with me right now and I know I can’t be around you. I can’t trust myself to.

I love you from the bottom of my heart. Please don’t forget that, Rukeli.

-Jean 

Javert frowned. The paper had a small dry water stain on it– oh God, had Jean been crying? 

He felt torn. On one hand, Jean had clearly asked to be left alone. On the other, Javert sincerely doubted that he was in any state to be alone. One particular bit of Jean’s note stood out to him: “ something’s wrong with me right now and I know I can’t be around you. I can’t trust myself to.” This worried him quite a bit. 

He had to go check on Jean. He had to! Jean couldn’t be alone in this state, no matter how much he believed he ought to be. He grabbed his keys and his phone and left without bothering to brush his hair or his teeth. 

As Javert drove to the other man’s place, he wondered if Jean would let him speak. Would Jean see who had come to his house and lock the door in his face? Would Jean even answer the door? He considered if he should have sent Cosette to check on him, instead… But she would want to know why her father was so upset again, and Javert did not want to tell her that her beloved papa had used a massive sex toy on him and was now having second thoughts. Besides, he could not involve her in this. It wasn’t her business; it was his and Jean’s alone.

He pulled into Jean’s driveway and immediately felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. When he pulled it out to look, it was a text from Jean.

Rukeli, is that your car in my driveway? (8:03 am)

Yes. (8:03 am)

Did you not see my note? (8:04 am)

I did, yes. But the thought of you stewing alone right now doesn’t sit well with me. I’m worried about you. (8:05 am)

I appreciate your concern, Rukeli, but I told you I needed some time alone to think. (8:06 am)

In the month, give or take, that I’ve known you, every single time you’ve been ‘left alone to think’ has led to nothing good. You just make yourself more and more upset and you dig yourself into holes that never should have been there in the first place. (8:09 am)

I’m not able to see you now. (8:10 am)

Because “something’s wrong with you,” as you said in your note, and “you can’t trust yourself to be around me right now?” That’s the part that made me the most anxious. There’s nothing wrong with you, Jean. (8:11 am)

Yes, there is. You don’t understand. (8:12 am)

I know I don’t understand, so I want you to talk to me and tell me what’s going on in your head so that I DO understand. (8:12 am)

These are not your problems. They’re my problems. I don’t want you to burden you with them. (8:14 am)

Jean, your problems ARE my problems. We’re partners. (8:14 am)

And I’m already burdened with the knowledge that my partner thinks there’s something wrong with him. (8:15 am)

You’re not going to like what I’ll tell you. (8:16 am)

I don’t like not knowing why the man I love wants to lock himself in his house and cry and not allow me to talk to him. (8:17 am)

You do know why! It’s because I need time to think! (8:18 am)

And I want to be there to help you with it. Please. (8:19 am)

I at least want to know what it is that I’m “not going to like.” (8:19 am)

After that, Javert watched the typing bubble appear and disappear several times. 

Fine. (8:21 am)

Come in. (8:22 am)

Javert immediately jumped out of the car and ran to Jean’s front door. It was opened for him as soon as he reached it, but Jean walked away from the door instead of greeting him properly. 

Javert rushed inside and closed the door after himself and quickly followed Jean into the living room. The man, who was wearing a fluffy white bathrobe, sat on the couch with his arms crossed over his chest. He had definitely been crying; his eyes were red and his eyelids puffy. Javert sat next to him, leaving a respectful bit of space between them. 

“Talk to me, Jean,” Javert said softly.

Jean rubbed his eyes. “I was serious when I said you wouldn’t like what I’d say.”

“It can’t be much worse than what I’m expecting to hear,” Javert said frankly.

“And what is it you’re expecting?” Jean asked.

“That you’re regretting what you did last night because it goes against your commitment to chastity? That you’ve never done something so impure and now you feel disgusting and you hate yourself?”

The older man chuckled, but the sound held no mirth. “Yes, you think I’m a virgin, don’t you?”

Javert flushed. “I… Well, I’d assumed so, anyway. Now I’m guessing that’s… not the case?”

Jean shook his head, smiling sadly. “No. Again– this will upset you, I’m sure. This whole thing is far deeper than just my ‘tiresome chastity,’ as you’ve called it. I haven’t had sex in a long time– not since I was a young man– but I’m not as pure as you believe.”

Javert cocked his head to the side. “So? You’re not a virgin. I don’t mind.” That also explained how Jean was so talented with the dildo last night, Javert thought, but he knew that would be inappropriate to mention.

“It’s not only that, but… I was quite the animal in my youth. I was a handsome young man, and I was the typical ‘bad boy,’ so girls went crazy for me, for whatever reason. I lost my virginity to a classmate I barely knew– she and I were both fifteen. I didn’t like it much, but I thought it was her fault. I messed around with every girl that was interested– and more became interested once they heard I’d been unimpressed with all the girls I’d been with thus far. This continued through high school, but it slowed down when my family’s situation became more desperate and I had to focus all my energy on working. Then, when I went to prison– me, a closeted gay man who’d never allowed himself to think about men– well, what do you think I got up to there, Rukeli?”

Javert bit his lip. He had spent some time as a prison guard himself, and he’d walked in on many an unfortunate scene in his time there– but even if he hadn’t, he could have guessed where Jean was going with this. He swallowed, not knowing what to say aloud.

“Lord have mercy– I partook in some of the most disgusting, sinful acts imaginable. I was known to other prisoners for my strength and the size of my– of my penis, and how I’d use both against anyone, anytime… Any number of men in a day, even at a time. Gosh, Rukeli, you’d be disgusted by the things I did back then– the atrocious, immoral, sickening things I did!”

Javert had much trouble imagining Jean taking part in a prison orgy, but he found the idea strangely arousing. Of course, this was another thought that he could not voice. “You’re being too hard on yourself, Jean. That is in a long-gone past. And I have accepted that you are a changed man, a good man– Have you not accepted this as well?”

“I have, but–” Jean looked even more away from Javert. “I’m terrified of– of somehow becoming that person again. Rukeli, I love you in a way that I could have never loved back then, but… I lust after you as well. And I’ve been trying to control it, I’ve been praying and I’ve been punishing myself for my impure thoughts of you, but… But I can’t–” Jean was choked up. Javert wanted to touch him, but he felt that may only make things worse. “And it reminds me too much of who I was back then. It makes me feel like I’ve become that monster again, who took what he wanted from every man that would let him. In prison, everything was so hopeless, and I felt all I could give and get was sexual pleasure. It was my only source of comfort. And everything’s so different now than it was then, but the feeling in my belly is the same when I think about you as it was when I’d see a new prisoner that caught my eye, and I felt the same hunger last night when I saw your naked body than when I did when I’d look at four young men kneeling naked in front of me–” Jean began to cry. “I’m terrified, Rukeli– of turning into that horrible person again. Of treating you like a prison hookup. Because you’ve trusted me with your beautiful soul and your beautiful body and I don’t know if I can stop myself from abusing that trust. I don’t know if I’m strong enough. I’m not strong enough to control the urges of my body, so how can I be strong enough to stop the man I used to be from taking over and hurting you?”

Jean sobbed, and Javert slowly realized how much of an ass he’d been over the course of their relationship. All his teasing and prodding and arguing and complaining about Jean’s chastity… He should have known better. He should have realized that Jean must have been choosing abstinence for a bigger reason than pleasing God. He should have truly respected Jean’s choice, instead of simply saying he did. “I’m so sorry, Jean. I should have known.”

“How would you have known? You thought I was a virgin,” Jean sobbed. 

“I should have known your choice to abstain wasn’t just to show off your dedication to your religion. I should have truly respected it and left it alone instead of constantly being a little bitch about it.”

Jean shook his head. “But you never gave me a hard enough time about it to make me change my mind– No, it was my own weakness. I allowed myself to lust after you and to desire you sexually. It’s my fault; not yours.”

“But I purposefully tempted you!” Javert exclaimed. “Don’t you remember how I’ve come on to you, over text and in person, in the last month? How I’ve been sneaking in subtle innuendos everywhere I can? How I’ve been trying to talk to you about sex to make you blush? All those gym selfies I’ve asked for, and the way I’ve complimented your body in them… I’ve been a dick. I’ve been stupid. I thought I was being clever and coy, and I wanted the victory of breaking your resolve and getting to have you in bed, thinking I’d be the first. I never even gave a thought to what that would do to your conscience. I’m so very sorry.”

Jean finally turned to face the other man, his eyes filled with tears. “You– purposefully tempted me?”

“Yes… Did you not realize?”

“Oh–” Jean buried his face in his hands. “I’d thought that was my own weakness playing tricks on me, trying to make me see signals where there were none!”

Javert wanted to slap himself. “That makes it even worse. Oh, God, what have I done–”

Jean stared at him again. “Wait– did you… You didn’t set up last night on purpose, did you?”

“W-what do you mean?” Javert asked, confused. 

“You didn’t give me a thin blanket so that I’d come to ask for another one and see you..? Right?”

Javert shook his head. “Oh, God, no– No, Jean, as much of a tool as I’ve been, I’d never stoop that low. I didn’t mean for that to happen any more than you did. I swear that to you.”

Jean seemed relieved. He nodded. “Good. I didn’t think you had.”

“I’m so sorry, Jean. I’ve been selfish and disrespectful.”

“But even if you had arranged last night on purpose, it still would have been my decision to do what I did. It would have been my weakness,” Jean said, his voice straining through tears, again turning away from Javert. 

Javert didn’t know what to say. He wanted to tell Jean he wasn’t weak in the least, or tell him there was no way that he could ever revert to his younger self. “I feel like nothing I can say will help you,” he admitted. 

“And this is why I wanted time alone to think,” Jean said. 

“I want to tell you that you’re wrong, but–”

“–But you realize I’m right? That I’m being consumed by my own filthy desires and that I’m going to hurt you?” Jean interrupted. 

“No, not that at all. I want to tell you you’re wrong, but you won’t believe me, and besides, anything I say will sound like me trying to convince you to have sex with me… Which is something I’ve been doing a lot of, anyway, and–”

“You don’t take my worries seriously, do you?” Jean accused. 

“And that’s the other thing. Anything I say will make it sound like I’m not taking this seriously. Which I am. I know this is serious. I can’t put myself in your shoes, but I can imagine the pain you are going through because of this.”

Jean sighed. “But you think my worries are unwarranted, don’t you? You still want me– in that way, and you don’t think I’d become a monster again?”

Javert bit his lip. “Well… Yes– But not because I think they’re stupid, or because I don’t take them seriously. I just think it’s–” ‘All in your head,’ he was going to say, but that didn’t sound nice. “Your concerns aren’t based on logic. It’s your anxiety and your trauma thinking for you.”

“You think?” Jean said weakly. “You didn’t feel last night that I was… That the way I touched you and looked at you– You didn’t think that was...?”

Javert shook his head, though the other man still wasn’t looking in his direction. “No, Jean. I didn’t feel a single trace of mistreatment or objectification. And believe me, I know what that’s like. I’ve been with men– especially in my youth– who treated me like a toy, and nothing more. I didn’t feel an ounce of that with you last night. I felt that you were hesitant and that you were unsure, and that you were oddly silent… But you treated me with nothing less than respect.” 

Jean finally looked at him again. “I felt it in my gut, though. That same sinful yearning to– to do things to you. And when you offered to… To reciprocate, I felt so tempted, but then I saw myself back in prison, choking another man with my penis, thrusting into his throat as tears streamed down his face as others looked on, touching themselves– But instead of the face of a nameless prisoner, it became your face, Rukeli, and I realized what I’d done to you. I’d used that– that thing on you, and I took pleasure in seeing you like that, in seeing you desperate, in hearing you beg… I realized how I’d dehumanized you, and I knew then that I was losing my battle against the devil’s temptation… Did you not feel that? Did you not feel how I sinned against you and against God?”

Javert couldn’t stop the pity and confusion from showing on his face. Jean sobbed again. 

“I’m a disgusting wretch, Javert. I’m so sorry.”

“No, Jean– You’re not. I don’t know how to make you believe that you’re not a sinner, and that you haven’t dehumanized me and that you’ve done nothing wrong. But I firmly believe you have not shown me any disrespect.”

“You said last night: ‘ Jean, this really isn’t the time to be chaste and pure. You just effed me with a dildo.’ And I realized how I couldn’t save myself anymore– I was too far gone!”

Javert frowned. “I shouldn’t have said that. That was incredibly insensitive.”

“And yet you were right. You made me realize the weight of what I’d done…”

Javert felt helpless. Jean was hating himself for something Javert saw no issue with whatsoever, and he had no idea how to make the other man see that he’d done nothing wrong. “Jean… I want to make you feel better, but I have no idea how. You seem intent on punishing yourself for some injury you believe you’ve caused me, but I swear to God and on my mother’s grave that I felt nothing sinful or evil in the way you treated me last night – and always, for that matter. I’ve only ever felt love and respect coming from you. It’s me that has been disrespectful to you. And I want so badly to repair the damage I’ve caused, but I don’t know how. This isn’t even about sex anymore, Jean. I will never mention it ever again, if that will help you– I just want you to stop punishing yourself for a non-existent crime! I will never tease you again about chastity, I will never again ask you for a picture in gym clothes, and I’ll never move my hips so much when I walk or wear my tightest pants around you or make innuendos to you– I’ll stop all of that to see you happy. If you’ll stop feeling so guilty.”

To his surprise, Jean didn’t leap at this offer. “But I won’t satisfy you, then. You have needs. You’ll grow bored of our sexless relationship and you’ll– and you’ll find it with other men.”

Javert frowned. “I would never. Anything I need, I can find on my own. You’ve seen my drawer.”

“But that man at the bar…” Jean said. His voice was so small.

“That was a mistake, Jean, and I was drunk. Even as I was doing it, I was imagining– no, wishing– it was you–” Javert couldn’t stop himself before the words tumbled out. 

Jean nodded. “Yes, that’s what I’d feared. You’d have to fulfill your needs with other men, because you want only me, but I can’t give you everything you need.”

“I will never be with another man. I can use a toy on myself and pretend it’s you, just as well.”

“Will that satisfy you?”

No, no it wouldn’t. Not in the least. But it would have to. “Yes, it will.”

Jean smiled weakly. “If we can move past this, I would be so happy.”

“Me, too,” Javert agreed. That was true; a sexless relationship with Jean was far superior to none at all. 

“In the future, if you can… Refrain from tempting me in every way you can, that would be most appreciated,” Jean said. 

“Of course. And if ever I do something that tempts you, though I didn’t mean it to, do tell me to stop.”

“Perhaps we ought to have some kind of code word or signal,” Jean proposed, “In case it happens in public?”

Javert nodded. “Yes, a phrase that seems normal to anyone else would be best.”

Jean though for a moment. “How about… Something weather related? Like… ‘do you think it’s going to rain today?’”

Javert nodded. “Yes… That is very inconspicuous. I like it. How about ‘rain’, for short, when we’re in private, or over text?” 

Jean nodded as well. “Sounds like a plan.”

Javert felt relieved. At least they weren’t going to break up over this. “I’m happy that we’re reached an agreement.”

“Me too, Rukeli.”

Javert looked at the other man, whose eyes were still red from crying. “May I hug you?”

Jean smiled a little and moved closer to Javert to give him a tender hug. 

Javert nuzzled into his soft robe, squeezing back. “I love you, Jean.”

“I love you too, Rukeli.”

After too short a moment, Jean pulled back. “I know we’ve just made up, but… I still think it would be best if we spent the day apart. Just today.”

Javert frowned, but he understood. “Alright. As long as you won’t spend the whole day crying and torturing yourself.”

Jean chuckled softly. “I promise, I won’t. I feel much better now that we’ve spoken.”

“Good. I’m happy to give you space, as long as you will be kind to yourself.”

Jean nodded. “Thank you.”

Javert got up and walked to the front door, and Jean followed him.

“I’ll text you tomorrow morning, I expect. Hopefully I’ll be in a much better mental state by then,” Jean said. 

“Take as much time as you need,” Javert said, though he hoped Jean wouldn’t even need the whole day. 

“I love you, Rukeli,” said Jean, his voice soft. 

“I love you too, Jean.”

Jean stood on his toes to give Javert a short peck on the lips before he opened the front door. “Have a good day, dear.”

“You as well.” And Javert left. 

***

Jean was glad that Javert had ignored his requests to leave him alone. Talking with the other man helped him to realize there was a solution to the problem, and that Javert could tone himself down to make things easier for Jean. He managed to get a start on most of his daily routine– albeit late – including going to the gym. 

When he’d finished his post-workout shower at home, he realized he had a missed call from Cosette. He quickly called her back, and she picked up right away. 

“Hey, Coco! Sorry I missed your call; I was in the shower. What’s up?”

“I just wanted to see how your morning is going, Papa!” Cosette said. “How are you?”

“I’m doing just fine, honey. I just came back from the gym. And how is my lovely daughter?”

“Great, great… Is Javert with you?”

Jean frowned. How could he say they were spending the day apart without worrying her? “No, he’s at home today. We both have some things to do.”

“Oh, okay… And why wouldn’t you do those things together?”

“Javert isn’t fond of gardening, and he has other chores anyway.”

“Huh. I see. Are you sure everything is okay between you two?” she pressed, sounding slightly skeptical.

“Yes, I’m sure!” Jean said. He walked downstairs to the kitchen, intending to start making lunch. 

“Okay, because if things aren’t okay, you can tell me.”

“I know I can tell you, but nothing’s the matter! We talked this morning and agreed spending today apart would be the best idea. Both of us. Please don’t call Javert and yell at him.”

“Alright, I believe you… I think,” Cosette said. “Well, I’ll leave you to your ‘things you have to do.’

Jean chuckled. “Okay, Coco. I love you. Have a wonderful day.”

“Love you too, Papa! Bye!”

Cosette hung up, and Jean put his phone in his pocket and started to make himself macaroni and cheese. He wondered if Javert had put her up to this… That would have been thoughtful of him. If so, he hoped Cosette would assure him he was okay. 

***

Sure enough, Javert had indeed put Cosette up to it. He was sitting on the couch that had become quite the important feature of his apartment, staring at the tearstained note Jean had left that morning, when he finally received a text from Cosette. 

I called him and he seems genuinely fine. Like I know when he’s faking it, and he wasn’t faking it. (11:52 am)

Javert felt relieved. 

Thank God. (11:52 am)

Although he did say you two had decided to spend the day apart so you could get chores done… That was a lie? (11:53 am)

Yes, but a harmless one, as far as lies go. (11:53 am)

Great. Thanks for making me worried about him for nothing, then :P (11:54 am)

(I’m joking) (11:54 am)

Yes, I assumed that due to your emoji usage. (11:55 am)

Just making sure! (11:56 am)

Well, have a good day Javert! (11:56 am)

You too, Cosette. Thanks again for checking up on your father for me. (11:57 am)

No problem man. (11:57 am)

Javert put his phone down with a sigh. He realized he had absolutely nothing to occupy his time, without Jean. It would be something like seventeen hours before he’d next be in contact with the other man, and he had nothing planned. He supposed he still needed to finish cleaning his bedroom. He could start with that. 

This, of course, didn’t take Javert even an hour. His bedroom was small and he was quick at cleaning when he had the chance. Lunch only brought him to 1:33 pm, but it did remind him that he was in sore need of groceries. He drove to the grocery store – taking his car as he planned to buy a lot to stock up. He chose a long, scenic route to spend extra time.

In the store, he carefully weighed his options for every item he planned on purchasing, comparing prices down to the cent to find the best deal. He had never had enough spare time to do this, and found it far more enjoyable than he’d expected. 

He was crunching the numbers for two brands of toilet paper when he heard a familiar voice greet him. 

“Hey, tree boy! Grieving for your murdered kin?”

Javert looked to his left and saw Éponine grinning at him, evidently proud of her joke. “Oh, hello there. No, I’m just trying to spend as much time buying groceries as humanly possible.”

“May I ask… why?” 

“Well,” Javert said, turning back to the toilet paper, “Jean wishes to be alone today, I’m on vacation from work, and I have absolutely nothing to do with my time because I’m a boring son of a bitch.”

“Ah, I see. Did you fuck up with him?”

“No,” Javert said with a sigh, finally settling on Cashmere over Charmin, mainly because those bears are just too obsessed with wiping their asses and the Cashmere lady looks far more reasonable. He started pushing his cart away, and Éponine followed. “To put it simply… He thinks he’s a horrible sinner because of something that happened between us, and he wants a day to himself to, uh… Read the bible and do housework and pray, I guess?”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa… Hold the fuck up, what happened between you?!” 

“I probably shouldn’t tell you, at least not in public.”

“I’ll give you the ‘in public’ part, but you can’t not tell me!” Éponine said emphatically. 

“Fine. If you promise not to tell anyone about it, or to even hint to Jean that I told you. I’ll tell you later. I still need to buy a few things, though.”

Éponine and Javert made their way around the store, picking up items as they went. Javert didn’t take quite the amount of time he had before, as Éponine was extremely impatient to hear the story. After they had bought the groceries, Javert offered to drive Éponine to her apartment, as she had taken the bus there.

“Okay, Jav– spill,” Éponine said as they began loading items into the back of Javert’s car. 

“I almost prefer you calling me variations of ‘tree boy’ to ‘Jav,’ but okay,” he grumbled. “So it all started because Jean fell asleep on my couch last night…”

And so Javert told the story, emitting hardly a detail, especially once they were in the privacy of his car. Éponine didn’t seem disgusted– No, she was intrigued. She gasped and begged him to tell her more many times over, and she was only satisfied when he’d told her about Cosette calling to make sure Jean was okay. They’d reached Éponine’s apartment, but they were parked on the side of the road as she’d refused to leave until she’d heard the whole story. 

“Jesus Christ on a cracker, that’s quite the story,” Éponine said. “I wish something that raunchy would happen to me! I mean, I’m a domme, so it’d be the other way around, but you get my point.”

Javert blew some air out of his nose– as much of a laugh as he could manage. “Yes, but it seems like that’s going to be the last thing I do with another man. That was my final hurrah, and now the curtains are drawn on my sex life.”

“Talk about going out with a bang, though,” Éponine said, shaking her head. “I feel worse for Jean, though... The poor man seems to be intent on making every molehill into Mount Doom.”

“‘Mount Doom ?” Javert asked.

“You don’t know The Lord of the Rings ? Jean’s a huge fan. He got me into it, actually.”

“Hmm, no. He has tried to get me to read it, but I’m not enough of a reader.”

“Ah, that’s too bad. I’ve always wanted to tell you how much you remind me of a Tolkien elf. You’re tall and thin, you’re wise but you don’t understand feelings, you have long, beautiful hair, you like the stars, and you have a nature-related name. You’re a fucking elf.”

Javert was a little confused. “And what kind of creature is Jean? I’m assuming he isn’t an elf, too?”

“Jean fancies himself one of the brave and powerful men, but Cosette and I think he’s a hobbit– a three-foot-tall, good-hearted creature that lives in a comfortable little hole in the country and never leaves. There’s one hobbit in particular that is one-hundred percent Jean, but he doesn’t see it.”

Javert barked a laugh. “Oh, now I have to get into it; if just to see what you mean.”

Éponine unbuckled her seatbelt. “Now, tree man, I have a proposition for you– If you want to continue wasting time with me… There’s a pub I know of around here that does free beer for father-daughter pairs, and I think you and I could pull that off, if you’re interested.”

Javert grinned. “You’re on, daughter of mine.”

They made plans for Javert to pick Éponine up that evening, and he was off to his apartment. It was nearly 3 pm– that gave him 3 and a half hours that he had to kill, but that was a whole lot better than it was when he’d started the morning. He was happy that he’d apparently made friends with this young woman– he hadn’t had a real friend in quite a while. Oh, that was sad. But he was getting free beer that night!

***

Jean had been working in the garden so long he felt he needed another shower. It was 4 pm when he at last had had enough and he went inside. His garden looked lovely, now– better than it had all year! He was so proud, he wanted to send a picture to Javert, but he then remembered they were spending the day apart. He frowned to himself as he recalled this. 

It was a good idea, he still thought, but he missed Javert. It was funny how that worked; that even as his mind knew they should stay apart for the day, his heart longed to be with him. As he showered again, he wondered what Javert was getting up to. He hoped Javert had enough to keep himself occupied. There was his bedroom that still needed to be cleaned, and he definitely would need to get groceries… That was hardly a full day’s worth of things to do, so he hoped Javert could keep himself busy for the rest of the day.

After his shower, Jean began planning what he and Javert could do for the last three days of Javert’s vacation. It turned out the planetarium had a new exhibit on black holes that had just opened– that seemed like something Javert would certainly enjoy! Jean also thought of taking him shopping for home decor to spice up his now clean, but still very boring apartment. Javert would enjoy that less, but Jean thought it had to be done. Perhaps one evening, they could have Cosette and Marius over for dinner, to return the favour… Oh, and the weekend was meant to bring lovely weather! They could go to the beach!

Jean realized he was spending an awful lot of time thinking about Javert. His thoughts took him dangerously close to the previous night, and occasionally his mind assaulted him with memories of what had occurred. He recalled especially how beautiful Javert’s body had looked nude. Javert’s penis was probably about average-sized, Jean guessed, and it had been so deliciously hard– Jean could have easily traced the largest veins up to the head. His balls, too, were smaller than Jean’s own, though not little by any means. Javert had trimmed down the dark hair in this area, and removed it entirely between his cheeks. The flesh there was smooth and soft-looking, and where his hole had stretched around the dildo, it was a surprisingly inviting shade of pink…

Oh, goodness– This wouldn’t do at all. Jean was happy to have not thought about this to the point of arousing himself, but he was ashamed nonetheless. He busied himself with reading for a couple hours, and then he prepared dinner. He was able to successfully keep his thoughts clean for the rest of the day.

***

Javert couldn’t remember the last time he’d had fish and chips, but they hadn’t been this good. This meal had been much tastier. He’d told Éponine as much– Éponine who was sitting across the table from him at the pub, very satisfied for having conned the restaurant for free beer for two. This was the kind of mild trickery that Javert had no issue with– the pub must know that many “father-daughter” pairs were nothing of the sort. This promotion, in all likelihood, brought them much more business than they’d lose to paternal imposters. Their waiter had seemed to genuinely believe they were related, and had even remarked on their striking physical resemblance. This was likely because Éponine had chosen to wear light blue coloured contacts, which Javert thought was a brilliant touch.

They had paid their bill and were finishing up the last of their beer, when someone very clumsy bumped into their table, nearly falling over. 

“Whoa, watch where you’re g–” Éponine started, and immediately grew silent as she made eye contact with the pretty young redhead.

“I-I’m so sorry,” the girl said, straightening out her mini skirt while she turned bright pink. “I didn’t knock anything over, did I?”

“No, don’t worry about it!” Éponine said, her demeanour entirely changing. “And you’re not hurt?”

“N-no, I’m– I’m fine,” she stammered. She glanced nervously at Javert. “Sorry, I’ll go back to my table–”

“–I like your skirt,” Éponine said, obviously not wanting her to go anywhere. “It’s really cute on you.”

“Oh, thanks!” the girl replied bashfully. “I like your outfit, too. A-and your earrings.”

Éponine grinned. “Thank you! You know what they are, right?” 

“Y-yeah, of course…”

“Well, in that case, my name is Éponine– who might you be?”

“My name’s Camille,” she answered. 

Éponine extended her hand. “A beautiful name for a beautiful girl. Lovely to meet you, Camille.”

Javert rolled his eyes as the two girls shook hands. Éponine explained that she wore her bisexual flag earrings out and about so often mostly to find girls, and Javert was realizing now that apparently it worked. Javert downed his glass. 

“I’m going to go to the bathroom and leave you girls some space,” Javert said to Éponine, who barely acknowledged him. However, he only made it a few metres before he spotted the absolute last person he wanted to see – Lieutenant Trépannier. The both of them looked at each other with wide eyes and shocked faces, until Trépannier’s settled into a smile. 

“Oh, Javert… How unexpected to see you here!”

Javert clenched his teeth. “Yes, unexpected indeed.”

Trépannier looked over Javert’s shoulder. “I was just looking for my daughter, Camille, but it seems she’s over there… Say, Javert, is that your daughter she’s talking to? You never told me you had a daughter!”

Javert paled. Camille was Trépannier’s daughter ? No. No, no, no… He remembered to answer. “Well, it never became relevant.”

Trépannier smiled wistfully. “It certainly looks like they’re getting along well… Young love– isn’t it sweet?”

“Indeed,” Javert said, turning to rush back to the table and extract Éponine before the ‘young love’ got too out of hand.

He felt a hand on his shoulder, stopping him. “Javert, wait…”

Javert turned reluctantly to look at the other man.

“I want to apologize for what happened that night… I shouldn’t have reacted like that. I’m very sorry.”

Ah. That wasn’t too bad. “Thank you for your apology, Lieutenant.”

“And–” his voice dropped to a whisper– “I never got to tell you how much I enjoyed that. I’ve never felt so amazing as by your mouth… I’ve been dreaming about it since then. What do you say we continue where we left off at my place tonight?”

Javert grimaced. “I am far too sober to even entertain the thought of allowing your sad little stump anywhere near my body ever again.”

Trépannier’s jaw dropped. “You ungrateful cow! You’re no better than women!”

“I hope I never have the misfortune of seeing you ever again, you pathetic, repugnant, half-witted sleazeball.” 

Javert made a beeline back to his table, pushing past other patrons until he arrived back to where Éponine was still flirting with that scum’s kid. 

“Éponine, we have to go,” he said firmly.

“Just a sec, Ja– dad, I’m–”

Now, ” he insisted in his most fatherly manner. This earned a confused look from Éponine.

“Wha–?”

“–No time.” He grabbed Éponine’s arm and pulled her to stand. He glanced to the even more confused young woman. “I’m sorry about your father.”

“My father– Why–?”

“Just about who he is as a person. Good night.” 

He dragged Éponine out of the pub, despite her protests and the stares of strangers around them. He nearly threw her into his car.

“What the actual fuck was that about?!” Éponine yelled. 

Javert got in the car, did up his seatbelt, started the car, and began to drive away as fast as he could. “I’m very sorry, Éponine– but it turns out that girl’s dad is the guy I gave a blowjob to the night you found me in the bush. And he was in that pub, trying to convince me to come home with him. I told him no, and he called me an ungrateful cow and said I’m no better than women, so I called him a few choice words.” Javert checked the rear view mirror to make sure they weren’t being pursued. All seemed to be clear.

“What the fuck?!” Éponine nearly shrieked. “And how is that my fucking problem?!”

“I’m your ride.”

“You could have texted me that you were leaving! I would have gotten a fucking Uber or something!”

“He also thinks that you’re my daughter, and he saw his daughter talking to you. I doubt that would have ended very well for you or her.”

Éponine looked like she was going to argue, but closed her mouth and nodded. “Yeah… I guess you’re right. But, shit– I had literally just asked for her number, and she was actually going to give it to me! Couldn’t you have waited just one more fucking second ?!”

“I don’t know if you’d want to be with anyone who is related to a dunce of that echelon.”

“She told me she was here with her dad who she hates– She and I could have bonded over our mutual hatred of the men who raised us!”

“Still… Meeting the parents would be brutal.”

“Javert, I’d be dating her, not her dad. And it’s not every day I meet a sweet, beautiful girl who’s exactly my type and actually likes women! I don’t care if her dad is a seedy creep!”

Javert frowned. “Hmm. I see what you mean. Well, what’s done is done– We can’t exactly go back now, can we?”

“You know the guy’s last name, though, don’t you? There’s a good chance that’s her last name, and there’s a possibility I could find her online!”

Javert considered this. On one hand, he hated the idea that his life could be in anyway intertwined with Trépannier’s ever again, but on the other, he felt he owed this to Éponine after aborting an apparently successful courtship. Besides, she really wasn’t his daughter, and he had no right to control her any more than he already had. He sighed. “Trépannier. T-r-e with an acute accent-p-a-n-n-i-e-r.”

“Thank you,” she said excitedly, immediately taking out her phone. 

Javert soon pulled up to Éponine’s apartment building. 

“Well, here we are,” he said. “Thank you for being my daughter for the night.”

“It was my pleasure! Thanks for footing the bill.” She unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the car door. 

“And I’m sorry again for dragging you out like that,” Javert said sincerely.

“I’ll forgive you, if I can find her online,” Éponine said with a grin. “After all, you’re not my real dad.”

Javert laughed. “Best of luck, then! If you need the help of a police Inspector to track her down, I offer my services. Goodnight, Éponine.”

“Goodnight, Javert!” She closed the passenger door, and Javert drove off. 

He felt satisfied that he’d spoken his true feelings to Trépannier, and even more glad that the Lieutenant was already being transferred to a different station to begin with.

Chapter Text

As soon as she made into her apartment, Éponine took off her coloured contacts and her bra, and was immediately searching on Instagram for a beautiful redhead by the name of Camille Trépannier. To her shock and joy, the girl she was looking for popped up immediately, as she apparently had a cosplay account with thousands of followers. Éponine forced herself to stop ogling the photos on the account in order to message her. 

Hey, Camille. This is Éponine, the girl you just met in the pub... If you’re still interested after what just went down, I’d love to keep talking to you. :) (8:15 pm)

  After pressing send, she looked through the photos on the account. Camille was truly beautiful, and a very talented cosplayer and makeup artist. Not to mention extremely sexy… 

To her absolute joy, she soon received a message back.

[camcam.cosplay accepted your message request.] (8:17 pm)

[camcam.cosplay liked a message you sent.] (8:18 pm)

OMG hi!!!!! I thought you’d be lost to me forever!!!! Of course I want to keep talking to you! You’re super sweet and honestly so pretty (8:18 pm)

Also I have no idea what the fuck is up between our dads, but I hate mine even more now… He told me your dad is a g*psy f*g (he fucking said racial and homophobic slurs in the middle of the pub I’m ???) and “just like my mom” and that I wasn’t allowed to talk to you… I told him to fuck off because I’m an adult and I can talk to whoever I want and I wish I never gave him a chance to reconnect with me, and I got tf out of there (8:19 pm)

Shit… Okay for one thing, I totally thought the same thing, and I’m SO GLAD I found you again, and thank you, you’re fucking gorgeous too (8:19 pm)

And secondly, I know exactly what is up, and it’s weird af so strap in… You probably won’t believe me, but I swear to God that everything I’m about to say is 100% true (8:20 pm)

Oh jeez, ok… I’m ready I guess… Spill the tea (8:20 pm)

So, to start off… “my dad” that you saw tonight is not my dad at all. We just pretended to be father and daughter tonight for the free beer. So please don’t judge me based on the shit I’m about to tell you about him, I am NOT his daughter (8:21 pm)

Ok this is already off to a crazy start (8:21 pm)

So I know him because he’s my best friend’s dad’s boyfriend, and he and I get along super well for some reason. So anyway, he’s a cop, Inspector Javert is his name, and it turns out your dad and him worked on a case together, and your dad was creepy to him about his sex life at some point (8:23 pm)

My dad was creepy? I thought you were gonna tell me something unbelievable lmao (8:23 pm)

Well anyway, Javert and his boyfriend, Jean, broke up for a very dumb and very specific reason that I might tell you about someday if you’re interested, but is not currently relevant to the story (8:24 pm)

(They’re back together now, but the tea between Javert and your dad happened while they were broken up) (8:24 pm)

Ok word (8:25 pm)

So after Javert and your dad, but mostly Javert, solved the case, they went to a bar and got smashed together, and your dad was creepy again which I’m sure surprises you (8:25 pm)

So Javert is all sad about Jean because he still loves him, but then he is all like “wahhh Jean was catholic and never had sex with me” (8:26 pm)

Mood (8:26 pm)

And then – and here’s the fucking tea – then apparently your dad was like hey I’m bi curious will you suck my dick in the bathroom?? And then Javert, despite hating your dad, was so fucking shitfaced that he fucking did??? (8:27 pm)

WHAT THE FUCK????!!!!!! (8:28 pm)

I HAD NO FUCKING IDEA MY DAD WOULD EVER LET A GUY NEAR HIS JUNK WTF???????? (8:28 pm)

Yeah so someone found them and they got thrown out and permanently banned from the bar, and your dad threw a shit fit at Javert and left him to fend for himself… Javert who was, again, drunk off his ass (8:29 pm)

Ok that sounds like something my dad would do (8:30 pm)

So luckily for Javert, me and my best friend (Jean’s daughter) found him passed out in a bush and took him home, and the next day shit happened and Javert and Jean got back together (8:30 pm)

Yay! (8:31 pm)

So anyway Javert remembered that he sucked your dad’s dick in a dingy bar bathroom and is fucking disgusted at himself and he told Jean but apparently Jean was all like ‘well you were drunk and we weren’t together at the time so I’ll let it slide’ so I guess that’s all good but Javert told me he’s still angry at himself (8:31 pm)

Reasonable (8:31 pm)

So then tonight… Me at pub with fake dad for free beer, you at pub with real dad for free beer. We’re talking and Javert goes to give us some space, and runs into your dad. Your dad apparently was like ‘hey let’s go back to place and you can suck my dick again’ and Javert was like hell no, and then, according to Javert, your dad called him “an ungrateful cow” and said he’s “no better than women,” and then Javert insulted him once more – I’ll have to ask him what exactly he said, because it was probably a zinger– and cue him dragging me out of the pub. (8:33 pm)

So that’s the tea (8:33 pm)

DAMN (8:34 pm)

My dad really is a total piece of shit!!! (8:34 pm)

He keeps calling me now so I blocked his number. Lmao bye felicia (8:35 pm)

Power move (8:36 pm)

Anyway so yeah that’s the sitch. And I can totally relate to the shit dad thing because my real dad, aka not Javert, is a top-tier douchebag. Like actually a criminal. Turns out your dad and Javert arrested him, so uh… That’s one thing your dad has done that’s good :) (8:37 pm)

Omg the bad dad squad :’) (8:37 pm)

Although as far as I understand it Javert did like all the work and my dad just sat there being a creepy and useless little shit (8:38 pm)

Yeah that’s my understanding as well, but I was trying to find a silver lining haha (8:39 pm)

Éponine got a notification that Javert had texted her. 

Hang on 1 sec Javert is texting me (8:49 pm)

She opened her messages app. 

Éponine– I think I may have found your girl. (8:49 pm)

[Little Tree Boy attached a link.] (8:49 pm)

Javert had sent a link to a Twitch channel that appeared to be Camille’s. Éponine smiled at her phone. 

That’s her alright! I already found her on Insta, since it turns out she’s something of an Internet celebrity, but thank you so much for looking! You’re the best fake dad I could ask for! :’) (8:50 pm)

Ah, that’s good! Have you made contact? Have you assured her the weirdo you were sitting with is not related to you? (8:51 pm)

Lol, yes. She wanted to know what was up and why her dad said you were, and I quote, a “gypsy fag”, so I told her everything. (8:51 pm)

Hmm, that’s not a very creative insult. That was just my high school nickname. Well, I guess you telling her about what I did with her father makes us even. (8:52 pm)

Speaking of insults, Javert… What did you call the guy? Camille and I are dying to know. (8:52 pm)

When he asked me to come home with him, I said “I am far too sober to even entertain the thought of allowing your sad little stump anywhere near my body ever again,” and when he called me an ungrateful cow, I said “I hope I never have the misfortune of seeing you ever again, you pathetic, repugnant, half-witted sleazeball.” (8:53 pm)

Éponine laughed out loud and screenshotted the exchange to show Camille. 

That’s fucking stellar, dude (8:54 pm)

100/10 (8:55 pm)

Why, thank you. (8:55 pm)

Say hi to Camille for me, and tell her I’m happy you two found each other. (8:56 pm)

Will do! (8:56 pm)

Éponine switched back to the Instagram app and opened her conversation with Camille. 

Oh ok :) (8:49 pm)

[epipen.thenardigay sent a photo.] (8:57 pm)

I fucking adore this man. (8:57 pm)

[camcam.cosplay liked a message you sent.] (8:58 pm)

LMFAO I’M FUCKING WEAK XD (8:59 pm)

‘YOUR SAD LITTLE STUMP’ BAHAHA (8:59 pm)

HOLY SHIT THIS IS LITERALLY THE BEST FUCKING THING I’VE EVER HEARD. I WISH I COULD SEND THIS TO MY SIBLINGS AND MY MOM(8:59 pm)

I also can’t stop thinking about what Javert said to me at the pub… “I’m sorry about your father… Just about who he is as a person” (9:00 pm)

Like this guy should literally quit policing and become one of those comedians who specializes in roasts (9:00 pm)

I forgot about that one! Lmao you’re so right, I wish I could have his level of savagery (9:01 pm)

Also the reason Javert texted me in the first place was him sending me a link to your Twitch channel… He felt bad that he interrupted us when I was just about to get your number that he went and Internet stalked you for me (9:02 pm)

I hope you find that sweet instead of creepy (9:02 pm)

No dw that is sweet of him (9:03 pm)

Oh and he also told me to say hi to you from him and that he’s happy we found each other (9:03 pm)

Awwww :’) (9:04 pm)

Wow this man is the strangest mix of savage and wholesome (9:04 pm)

Very true. (9:05 pm)

I also have questions about your contact name for him… ‘Little Tree Boy’??? (9:05 pm)

I’ll answer those questions and more on our first date. ;) (9:06 pm)

Damn, you are really smooth, Éponine ‘:D (9:07 pm)

Full disclosure though: my eyes aren’t blue irl. I was wearing contacts tonight to really sell the dad/daughter thing (9:07 pm)

I’m slightly disappointed, not gonna lie. But you’re just as beautiful in your insta pictures with brown eyes. :) (9:08 pm)

Thanks, Camille :) (9:08 pm)

How about coffee tomorrow afternoon? (9:09 pm)

Sounds great! :) (9:09 pm)

Score! 

***

Jean held off on texting Javert until he came back from the gym and had a shower, not wanting to risk waking him up. He was very excited to text him. 

Good morning, Rukeli! How are you on this fine day? :) (9:42 am)

He put his phone down and picked up The Hobbit to continue reading. He recollected as he read how Éponine and Cosette always told him that he reminded them of Bilbo Baggins, but he’d never understoodit!... well, he sort of did, he had to admit. 

Sooner than he was expecting, Jean got a text from Javert. 

Well, good morning, Jean! You seem to be in a good mood. I’m doing well, thanks. (9:47 am)

Jean smiled at the text. 

Yes, I am indeed in a good mood! I’m glad to hear you’re well. Are you up to going somewhere fun today? (9:48 am)

Depends on your idea of ‘fun,’ I suppose. (9:48 am)

How does the planetarium sound to you? They recently opened a new exhibit on black holes! :P (9:49 am)

I haven’t been to the planetarium in ages! I think that sounds like fun indeed. (9:50 am)

And maybe you could come over to my place beforehand? We could have lunch here. Up to you. (9:51 am)

I’d love to, Jean. (9:51 am)

Yay! Come over as soon as you want; I’m ready anytime. :) (9:52 am)

Great– expect me around 10:30 to 11, I think. (9:53 am)

Okay– Can’t wait! See you soon Rukeli :* (9:53 am)

See you, Jean. (9:54 am)

Jean went back to reading. He wondered what he’d make for Javert today… He had fresh bread for sandwiches, and lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers from his garden. He hoped that would please. 

His doorbell rang around 10:45, and Jean leapt up to answer it. He welcomed Javert inside with a warm hug.

“So, tell me what you got up to yesterday!” Jean asked as he led Javert to the backyard. It was a beautiful morning, and they both figured they could sit on the porch for a change. 

“Well, I cleaned my bedroom, and then I went grocery shopping. There, I unexpectedly ran into Éponine, and we talked for a bit. We made plans to get dinner together at a pub, and while we were there, she met a nice young lady, and they seemed to be interested in each other immediately. They got in contact, and they’ve set up a date for today.” Unbeknownst to Jean, there were a few key details missing from Javert’s story. 

Jean smiled. He was happy both that Javert had someone to spend the day with, and for Éponine, who he believed had been single for almost the whole time he’d known her. “That’s wonderful! I’m so glad for Éponine. I hope she lets us know if the date goes well!” he said as he and Javert sat on a bench under the large oak tree in the backyard.

“It’s actually at the same Starbucks in which we met. Perhaps the location is charmed,” Javert joked. 

Jean smirked. “Perhaps.”

“And how did you spend the day?” 

Jean explained to Javert all the work in the garden he’d accomplished, pointing to the areas he’d worked on the most. Javert nodded along politely, but eventually Jean noticed the other man was watching him instead. He trailed off his description.

“What is it, Rukeli?” he asked. 

“I missed you yesterday, Jean,” Javert answered. 

Jean smiled at him, shifting to face him on the bench. “I missed you too, dear.”

“And you’re distractingly handsome,” the younger man continued. “I think you tanned a little yesterday, or something… Somehow, you’ve managed to look even more dashing than usual.”

This earned a bashful smile from Jean. “Oh, Rukeli; you and your compliments! Come here, darling.”

He pulled Javert towards himself slightly so he could kiss him. He made sure not to let himself deepen it too much, not to part his lips or move his tongue forward or allow the kiss to last too long. He pulled back and Javert tried to follow before seeming to remember their agreement. Instead, Javert contented himself by nuzzling into Jean’s hair and resting his head there with a sigh. 

The hairs on the back of Jean’s neck stood on end at this. It felt strangely good– why did it feel so good? It was so innocent, and yet… 

“Rain,” he muttered softly.

Javert ‘hmm’ed quizzically against Jean’s scalp. 

“Rain,” he repeated. “Remember, yesterday… ‘Do you think it’s going to rain today?’”

Finally, Javert understood. “Ah.” He sat up straight. 

Jean took his hand and held it to his lips to give his knuckles a kiss. 

***

Jean hadn’t realized the planetarium would make him fall even deeper in love with his partner. It was as if Javert had shed several decades as soon as he stepped through the doors, suddenly becoming an excited child, full of youthful awe and wonder. His bright blue eyes were wide as he took in every minute detail of every exhibit, and his voice was uncharacteristically animated as he recounted to Jean his most interesting facts about space, proudly clarifying that which he had already known before coming to this planetarium. Jean had seen the man happy before, but this was something altogether new. Javert was able to spend what seemed like hours staring at one display before bounding to the next in easy strides of his long legs, and Jean soon became much more interested in Javert than anything the planetarium had to offer. 

Javert was so beautiful like this, so endearing. His enjoyment and his eagerness to absorb every bit of information was tangible and infectious, though Jean wasn’t anywhere near as fascinated as Javert had been. Jean managed to sneak several pictures of him staring at a model or poring over a paragraph of information to preserve this joy forever.

After they had seen every exhibit, he and Javert visited the gift shop. Here, more than anywhere else, they had to step carefully around the small children running amok. One speedy young boy who was too eager to show his mother some cheap toy knocked a large plush alien off its display and onto the ground. Javert bent over to pick it up so he could replace it. He smiled at it. 

“Look at this, Jean,” he said softly. “Imagine the child who would cuddle this at night?”

Jean chuckled. “I could imagine a little Javert with something like that, no?”

Javert hummed, stroking the grey fabric of the alien’s large head. “Perhaps. I was never given plush toys. My mother couldn’t afford toys, and my foster parents believed they were nothing but breeding grounds for dust and mold, and should be for infants only.” He looked at it with a strange fondness for a moment more before carefully placing it back on its display with the other aliens and walking away. 

Jean felt suddenly very sad for young Javert. He fondly remembered his first teddy bear – aptly named Ourson– that he’d loved dearly until it became threadbare. He touched the plush alien where it was still warm from Javert’s hands. It was surprisingly soft, and seemed well made. 

“Jean, come look at this!” Javert said excitedly. He sounded no different than the children calling out to their mothers and fathers, Jean thought to himself. He walked over to where Javert was standing, holding a large hardcover book. 

“What kind of book is that?” Jean asked, settling a gentle hand around Javert’s waist. 

“It has the photos from all the exhibits in this planetarium, including the brand new one,” he explained. “Take a look at that–! You remember this photo from the third floor, don’t you?”

Jean stared at the glossy full-page spread. It was certainly a photo of space, but it blended in with all the other photo of space he’d seen today, and he couldn’t have guessed where it had come from. “Of course!” he said. 

Javert sighed. “It’d be nice to have this to be able to see the photos whenever I wish.” He reluctantly closed the cover and put it back. 

“Why don’t you buy it?” Jean asked. 

“It’s quite expensive,” he said. “Besides, I don’t need it. I could see those photos online, anyway.”

He walked away, a little deflated. 

“Leaving already?” Jean asked. “There’s more to look at!”

Javert waved a hand. “It’s all silly things, Jean. I have no need for more clutter in my apartment.”

Jean thought ‘what clutter?’, as Javert’s place was barely anything more than the necessities. “Alright,” he said, instead. “I’m going to look around for a bit more, though, if you don’t mind.”

Javert nodded. “I’ll wait by the rocket ship near the entrance.”

As soon as Javert was out, Jean reached to grab the book off the shelf, not even having to give it a moment of thought.

He picked out a magnet he liked for his fridge at home and nearly proceeded straight to the cash, but he glanced at the display of plush aliens once again. He remembered the delicate way Javert had handled it in his oversized hands, and the way he’d stroked its soft fabric… He grabbed one of those, too. 

Jean got in line at the cash, and managed to convince the young father in front of him in line to let him buy the small toy space shuttle his daughter wanted. The father thanked Jean profusely and instructed his shy young girl to thank him as well. Jean paid for his things next, and exited the gift shop to find Javert, who was staring at the model rocket ship near the entrance of the museum as if he was seeing it for the first time. Jean approached him quickly.

“Sorry to have kept you waiting, dear,” Jean said.

Javert met his eye. “You kept me waiting? It didn’t feel like a long time.”

“I have something for you.” Jean carefully pulled the book out of the gift shop bag.

Javert’s face lit up and he gasped slightly. “Oh, Jean– Y-you shouldn’t have, really! It was expensive, I– Thank you!” He took the book from Jean with reverent hands, glancing from it to his partner with a wide grin. “Thank you so much!” 

Javert hugged Jean, who felt the corner of the hardcover book poke into his ribs. He didn’t care much. 

“You’re most welcome, my love,” Jean said. 

Javert was eager to get home to look at his book, it seemed, as he rushed out of the planetarium so quickly that Jean had to break into a jog to keep up enough to tell him to slow down. Jean figured the alien could wait until later. 

Sure enough, once they had arrived back at Jean’s place, Javert was curled up on the couch with the book, studying each page, Jean watched him, and marveled at how much he loved this man. 

***

Javert hadn’t thought that Jean would want him to spend the night, but when the other man offered, he was not about to refuse. He returned to his apartment to get his things to stay overnight, packing extra sets of clothes as he wasn’t sure how many more days it would be before he’d spend a night under his own roof.

When he arrived at Jean’s house again, it was nearly time for bed. Javert snuggled against Jean as he finished an episode of a reality TV show, and when that was done, they headed upstairs. Javert went to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and changed into a shirt that he had reluctantly brought to sleep in, for Jean’s sake. He entered the guest room and sat on the bed, waiting for Jean to finish in his bathroom and come kiss him goodnight. 

Jean arrived soon after, grinning. “Hey, Rukeli– I have something to give to you. Close your eyes and hold out your hands.”

Javert smiled a little and complied. He fully expected the ‘something’ to be Jean’s hands in his own and a kiss on his forehead or lips, so he was genuinely surprised when something large, soft, and not-Jean was placed in his hands. 

“Okay; open,” Jean said excitedly. 

Javert peeked and was shocked to see one of the plush aliens from the planetarium gift shop staring back at him with large black eyes and a little sewn smile. He laughed and looked back at Jean. “You didn’t!”

Jean laughed as well. “I most certainly did. I mean, it’s more of a… a joke, I suppose, than the book was, but… Come on, look at its face! I couldn’t resist taking it home, not after hearing that you’d never even owned a plush toy before.”

Javert shook his head, looking back down at the soft toy in his hands. “You’re unbelievable, Jean. Buying me a child’s toy.” He squeezed it a little. It was so very soft. “And I will treasure it dearly,” he said, and he meant it. Every gift from Jean was indeed a treasure. 

The older man grinned. “I’m glad to hear it. Will it perhaps have a place on the top of your bookshelf, near your telescope?”

Javert considered this and nodded. “Perhaps, yes. Then she can look towards her home world whenever she likes,” Javert joked. 

Jean sat down on the bed beside him, chuckling. “It’s a she, then?”

“Yes– far too often aliens are assumed to be male, don’t you think? And in the store, I looked at this toy and I thought of the name ‘Estelle’.” Javert blushed as soon as the words left his mouth. Now that was just childish– giving this thing a name and a gender?

To his surprise, Jean simply hugged him. “I agree. And Estelle is a lovely name for a lovely alien lady.”

Javert chuckled, putting the toy down on the bed so he could hug his partner in return. “Thank you, Jean. For the planetarium visit, for the book and for this. You spoil me far too much, you know.”

“You’re most welcome. And I don’t spoil you, Rukeli; really. If I wanted to spoil you, I’d have bought you everything in that shop!”

Javert shook his head. “If that’s your idea of spoiling, it’s a small wonder your daughter is as humble as she is.”

“I was more careful with her. You’re past the age where it’s dangerous to shower you with gifts.” Jean pulled back. “I had a lovely time today, Rukeli.”

“As did I, Jean,” Javert replied. 

Jean moved forward again to kiss Javert softly, gently. “I love you,” he said against Javert’s lips. 

“I love you too,” Javert replied. 

“Goodnight,” Jean said, and got up. “You and Estelle have a good sleep.”

Javert grinned. “Thank you. There’s one more thing I’d like to ask of you, Jean– If I keep a shirt on, will you feel comfortable joining me in bed tomorrow morning?”

Jean blushed a little. “Uh…”

“There’s no pressure, Jean,” Javert assured him. “I just enjoyed it quite a bit when we did that earlier in the week.”

Jean nodded a little. “Alright. If you’re clothed, I’d be comfortable with it.”

Javert smiled, relieved. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning, then. Sleep well.”

“You too, Rukeli. Love you,” he said, and flicked off the light switch. 

“Love you too, Jean.” 

Jean left the guest room and softly closed the door behind him. 

Javert lay down, but soon remembered that he’d meant to check if Éponine had told him about her date. He opened the drawer of the nightstand and pulled his phone out from where it had sat neglected for most of the day. He indeed had many texts from Éponine. He opened the conversation to read them. 

OH. MY. GOD. RUKELI. I’VE LITERALLY NEVER BEEN SO IN LOVE IN MY LIFE HOLY FUCKK (4:03 pm)

This must be serious, for Éponine to be referring to him by his name, and not ‘Tree Boy.’

That was literally such an amazing date I’m still shook (4:03 pm)

Camille is literally the sweetest, most beautiful, sexiest, funniest, cutest girl on the planet!!! Like the date was literally so perfect!!!!!!! (4:04 pm)

Javert smiled at his phone as he read.

We didn’t kiss or anything but we hugged at the end and it was magical (4:05 pm)

I still feel warm and fuzzy (4:05 pm)

Oh and we’re going to see a movie on Sunday I’m hyped :’) (4:06 pm)

Basically I’m so fucking happy (4:07 pm)

– – –

I send Cosette pictures of Camille and she’s also ecstatic for me bc she agrees this girl is HAWT (6:18 pm)

Literally everyone ships us haha (6:18 pm)

– – –

Dude did you get cut down and made into plywood or something (8:27 pm)

– – –

Respond, thot (9:49 pm)

Javert chuckled. Somehow, he couldn’t get irritated at Éponine for calling him that. 

Sorry. Was busy with Jean. (10:42 pm)

I’m glad to hear your date went well! (10:42 pm)

He checked his emails as he waited for Éponine’s reply. 

Thanks man! (10:56 pm)

Yeah I figured you’d be busy with Jean. What did you two get up to? (10:57 pm)

We met up for lunch, and then he took me to the planetarium. That was wonderful… I’m a bit of an astronomy buff. We had dinner together as well, and I’m spending the night. In the guest room, unfortunately. (10:57 pm)

Ah, yes, banished once again to the guest room. (10:58 pm)

Did he safeword you much today? (10:58 pm)

Only a couple times. (10:59 pm)

Also, he bought me a book I liked from the planetarium gift shop, as well as plush toy alien, for some reason. (11:00 pm)

Omg show me the alien (11:00 pm)

Javert stood the toy up on the pillow as best he could and took a photo of it on his phone. 

[You sent a photo.] (11:02 pm)

I FUCKING LOVE HIM (11:03 PM)

LOOK AT HIS LITTLE CHEEKS OMG (11:03 pm)

It’s a ‘she’, I’ll have you know. (11:04 pm)

Oops sorry… I FUCKING LOVE HER, LOOK AT HER LITTLE CHEEKS OMG (11:04 pm)

There you go. (11:05 pm)

Does she have a name? (11:05 pm)

I named her Estelle. (11:06 pm)

Ok well that’s fucking adorable. That’s why Jean bought that for you (11:07 pm)

Why? Am I childish? (11:07 pm)

Well not to get all psychological, I’m assuming part of this is that due to your rough childhood you’re kind of compensating now, if you know what I mean. Cosette is super like that as well, and my baby brother Gavroche, who was little when my parents had lost a lot of money so he essentially had no real childhood… Also you’re just adorable for naming that alien Estelle. Like obviously Jean would want to see you with a plushie. He’s probably grinning like an idiot thinking about it right now. (11:09 pm)

I hope so. (11:10 pm)

***

In his bedroom, Jean was indeed grinning like an idiot, nearly squealing to himself. How could Javert be so… Adorable? How was this possible? He drifted off to sleep with a heart bursting with love and the memory of his partner’s excitement fresh in his mind.