Your Rapture: Chapter Four: Legacy
A.N.: The song Legacy is by Theresa Johnson. I use it without permission, but I met Theresa once and she is such a nice person! I really don't think she'd mind me using it for this song-fic chapter. I really wish you could hear it. It's a lovely song. E-mail me and I can send you a really, really bad midi version of the song I made. Also, this is going to be a really, really, really long chapter. Also, this take on Hell is based off of Dante's Inferno, but I have made some changes for my own convenience (these can't be considered wrong, really, since how did Dante even know?)
When I am ninety-two
And my living days are through
Will you remember me?
Javert wasn't even given the luxury of pausing to guzzle down some coffee, which really didn't matter. The fear and adrenalin rush were keeping him well awake.
He was panting as they ran. The elevator would take too long so they bolted down the stairs, turning and leaping on the landings, and occasionally crashing to the floor if they stumbled.
When they finally made it down to the bottom, they were once again dogs, and the spirits that were coming up the stairs were giving them odd looks.
"Well," panted Marius, clutching a stitch in his chest. "We're on earth. Now, is there time to stop and breath?"
Apparently not. Valjean prodded the group to keep moving. Something was really; really bad if the archangels were in on it. Racing along the night, they finally decided to check the alley way, not knowing where else to look.
There they found her, huddled next to a garbage can, her eyes wide, and she shook and shivered uncontrollably. Occasionally she muttered "What am I doing here? Who am I? What's going on?" Javert looked taken aback as Valjean quickly whipped out a miracle and the five dogs became visible.
"Brianna?" Javert asked. The insanity that seemed to grip Brianna let go as Javert said her name, and her eyes snapped in his direction.
"Daddy?" she asked, afraid. Javert disliked being called daddy, but swept it to the side. More important things had to be dealt with first.
"What's going on? What are you doing here?"
She burst into a flurry of emotional frenzy. "Quick! You've got to do something! If I go home they're sure to come after me! Oh, they're going to kill me!"
"What? Who's going to kill you?"
"The pack! The pack of the female I killed!"
All five ghosts looked startled at this.
"Oh dear Lord," Fantine said, slumping against the brick wall for support.
"You what?" Javert demanded hotly. Javert could not stand murders of any sort. "You did what?"
"I didn't mean to! I just....stopped thinking!"
"How could you do such a thing?"
"Daddy, you'll help me, won't you?" she cried, stepping closer to him as Javert stepped back.
"The blood is on your hands, Brianna, not mine. I don't know what you want me to do about it!"
"But you're my father! You've got to do something!"
"What? Hm? What can I do about it?" he yelled, become increasingly agitated. Valjean tried to calm him down, but it did no good.
"I don't know! But you're purebred! Surely you can do something!"
At this, Javert just snapped. "No! No I'm not Brianna! Is that what you want to hear? I never was! I was the son of a convict and a gypsy. Does that comfort you?"
"But none of that matters now! In the life you fathered me in, you were-"
"I was exactly the same! This," he motioned to himself and the others, "none of this is real Brianna! Don't pin your dreams to it! It's all one big mask!"
Brianna looked terribly confused.
"I never was as good as you wanted me to be! There never was a purpose to my birth!"
"Are you saying that you shouldn't have been born?" she cried, terrified and confused.
"And what about me! What does that make me? Was I supposed to never be born?"
Javert was angry and upset. He wasn't thinking. "Yes! Maybe that's true too!"
They all gasped. Brianna looked about ready to burst into tears if dogs could cry. She couldn't cry, so she ran. She ran out the alley and far away.
"Oh Javert, how could you say such a thing!" Fantine may be a dog, but she was a ghost, and she was crying. "How could you be so heartless?" Javert was paying her no heed, he was secretly regretting saying any of those things, but he'd never admit to it. He was too proud and stubborn for that. Instead he paced and paced the alley way, grunting here and there and being generally angry and upset. Marius and Cosette had not dared to say a word, and simply clung to each other and the wall, neither bold enough to move.
"Mon Dieu, mon Dieu," Valjean repeated over and over, trying to think. Finally, tired of pacing, Javert grumbled and lay down, not noticing the fact that he was lying in a puddle. Valjean finally began to say coherent words. "Javert, you shouldn't have said those things. Oh no, oh no.... We've got to find her before something happens."
"Why?" Javert demanded. "Why do we need to find her? What difference does it make to us?"
"Be quiet, monsieur!" Fantine shouted. "Reap what you have sown!" Javert didn't dare argue, and rose.
"Well, how do we find her?"
"I don't know," admitted Valjean. "We'll think of something."
The something they thought of was to run, smell the air, try and scent her, try and find her.
Brianna felt like her whole world had begun to crash around her. She didn't understand what was going on. Once again, her name, her life, all of if began to become a hazy blur. The black pavement beneath her became so odd that she didn't understand it. What were those odd silver beams that rose up caring boards with words on them? What was this black river? Why wasn't she swimming?
Brianna had no concept for how fast and far she had gone. She had no concept for anything. Nothing made sense anymore! Had it ever?
And what was that odd, painfully bright light coming straight towards her?
Brianna would never see the semi truck coming.
Valjean suddenly stopped running, stricken. The others, noticing he was no longer with them, stopped and walked back to him.
"What is it?" Marius asked seriously.
"Look," he said breathlessly, fearfully, pointing to a point on the distant horizon.
Black. It glowed black, like heavy, heavy smog was radiating from the spot. Valjean had paled.
"But what is it?" Javert asked, equally perplexed.
"I think...." But Valjean did not finish the sentence. Instead, he moved his pack on, on to that distant spot.
New York City, New York
Present Day: 2005
The mess on the side of the road doesn't even look like the elegant, finely boned creature I'd been yelling at mere hours ago. The same fur color, the same, dirty, matted look, but the bones hadn't been snapped and bent at odd angles, and there weren't patches of blood here and there. Had anyone even noticed? Had the car that hit her even cared?
"Oh Brianna....." I whisper, not knowing what to do. I creep to the cold body, too late to do anything to help her. "Oh Brianna..." this time louder, beginning to cry ever so slightly. "What have I done to you? What has happened to you?" That poor child... that poor, poor, child! What had she ever done to deserve such a fate? She'd lived a life deprived of love, of any kind of warmth! Oh, that poor soul. That poor wretched soul! "I should have taken better care of you. I should of done something, thought of something. But now....But now it comes to this...." I watch her with a hint of fondness. She would have appreciated that. "Well," I say, turning back to my compatriots. "At least now her suffering is over."
Marius looks surprised. "Over?" He turns to Valjean, stricken. "He's kidding, right?"
I darken. "What do you mean?"
Marius backs up, frightened. "You mean.... You mean he doesn't know? Mon Dieu, he doesn't know?"
I snarl and leap towards him, knocking the lab over. "What don't I know? Stop speaking in rhymes!"
"Yes Monsieur la Inspector, solve it with violence, I agree whole heartedly."
We all turn to the speaker, an unknown voice. Rough, dark, and frightening. We cower and pale, huddling against each other in terror.
His eyes are red, and there is blood dripping from his awful fangs. He stinks of brimstone and fire, and all he is is a dark, dark shadow that you cannot possibly put to the likeness of another image.
"Murderers, heretics... Your little brat fit both roles."
"Mon Dieu..." I whisper, terribly frightened.
"Yes, I think we'll quite enjoy our new addition to hell...." He looks about ready to say something else, but looks slightly frightened as Valjean is doing several Hail Mary's, hymns, and psalms under his breath in increasingly louder intervals. "Stop it," the demon says, but obviously without much power to it. It hisses as Valjean's words become very distinct, loud, and clear, ringing in the wet night air. Slowly, it slinks away, retreating into that black fog.
"What do we do?" I ask Valjean. Suddenly, an idea strikes.... Hell! I must go there! I've got to find a way to save Brianna's soul, if it's the only kind, good thing I ever did for her! I'm her father; I must.
I snatch Valjean's bag from around his neck. "Hey!" he cries out as I pull it over is head and dig a black paw into the bag. A miracle! I must have a miracle! The little ball of fluffy, orange light whirls and shakes itself, as though it were waking up.
"Take me to the gates of-"
I can't finish. Valjean has whapped the thing out of my paws. "Hey!" I cry out. The little orange ball bounces on the pavement and makes a slight clucking sound, as though not liking the treatment it's getting.
"Javert, you great, big, idiot! What do you think you are doing?"
"I've got to do something to help her!" I argue.
"Valjean, you have to let me go! I've got to do this one thing for her!"
"He's not stopping you!" Marius said stubbornly. "But he won't let you go alone. We won't let you go alone."
I look surprised. "This is my burden."
"And we shall help you carry the load. That is what friends do, monsieur," Cosette says. What can I do? I agree, Valjean picks up the fallen miracle, which looks quite miffed, and asks for us all to go to the gates of Hell.
When the sky is on fire,
And I've reached my heart's desire,
Will you remember me?
I don't have to wait,
To see what might become.
Today is now,
And I am today,
Now I ask and say;
It's dark. It's not the kind of dark where you feel all tranquil and are looking up at the stars dark. It's the kind of dark where you're trying desperately to convince yourself there aren't monsters in your closet, just sweaters dark. Vaguely, you can see the outlines of trees, and feel as though no matter how far you walk, no matter how many years, you're always stuck in that wood; like you're never getting out. Valjean is the only one who can possibly relate to such a feeling, but of course he's not sharing. We all just huddle together and try to figure out what we're supposed to do now.
But it isn't all dark! Far, far up and on the horizon, one big, bright fire is glowing. It isn't a comforting fire, it's a frightening one, but that obviously means there's a way out. "Dis..." Marius whispers. "The walled city of Dis...."
We follow the fire light, and then, slowly, the trees are becoming less and less, and we can almost see the edge.... There's a stone wall far off and away, but it's getting closer every moment. It's not a fiery wall, but I think that's all okay with us.
And then, we are out! It's broad daylight! There are no trees! Marius lets out an appreciative whoop of joy, and I can't help but echo the feeling. Confidently, we begin to walk in the direction of the wall.
And simultaneously, are all whapped on the head.
Ow, it hurts.....It's been a while since I've felt physical pain, so it's a bit unnerving. My head hurts, and a soft, whispering voice is calling to me. "Javert, wake up, Javert......" It's such a familiar voice. It almost sounds like.....
I open my eyes, and there she is, washing my head with a cool, damp cloth. "You're safe now."
"What?" I ask, beginning to stand.
"No, sit down. You're fine. You're safe." I sit. Why, I don't know. Because there's no reason not to, I suppose.
"What are you doing here?" I ask her.
She looks surprised. "What do you mean? We're at home. Just like always."
Home.... That sounds so nice, that I feel like I could just relax and sleep, and never, ever wake up.... Just stay there, with her......
What was it I was doing before being here? Who was it I was talking with? There was something going on.... Something important. But it must not be that important if I can't remember it.
"But it is important," I think to myself. "It's very important." I slowly repeat this in my mind, over, and over, and over, until I'm whispering it, and then saying it aloud.
"What's important?" Emily asks. "Nothing's going on. There's nothing important."
"There is!" I argue. Wait? Why is she talking to me? Why can she understand me? How can she see me? Why did she call me Javert?
There is something important!
"None of this is real! None of this is true!" I begin to shout.
"Stop it! Stop saying that!" she screams. "Don't you want to stay here? Don't you want to be happy?"
"I don't want to live inside of a lie!" I shout back.
And then it's gone!
It's as though I've been asleep, and I start coughing and shouting, vaguely for help, maybe for something else. I look around, and I see the others slowly rise.
"Where are we?" I ask Valjean. "What was....that? That thing, that phantasm?"
He shakes his head like a wet dog. Wait, he is still a dog! He's still a Golden Retriever! And I'm still a German shepherd. What? But we're in the realm of the dead. We're never dogs amongst the dead! "The city of the virtuous pagans." He helps the others, also looking groggy from their own untrue fantasies. "That's where we are."
Looking over the white wall of the city, I can see hills far off in the distance, and that stone wall we had finally reached. On the hills people are chasing banners and swatting at insects, their own eternal punishment. Looking around the beautiful city, it looks like everyone is asleep, with smiles on their faces.
"Why are they all sleeping?" Cosette asks.
"Because they decided the dream was better than the reality. They chose not to wake up."
"Do they know they are asleep?" Fantine questions.
"Not so far as I know," the old man says, sniffing around for the gate.
"That's awful!" cries Cosette.
Valjean gave a snuff at that. "That's not the worst part."
"Well what's the worst part?" I ask nervously.
"The worst part is they think they're happy. They're not..." he sighs. "They're not."
"But this is for pagans, so why are we here?" Marius inquires.
Valjean shrugs. "They probably don't know what else to do with us."
"Then where's Brianna?" I ask.
"Don't rush me, that's an awful lot of questions, and I've got to sort out where she is and how to get there." Valjean paces back and forth, carefully avoiding a Border collie's tail that tries vainly to wag. "Limbo...Limbo..." he repeats. I assume that's where we are. "Alright, so we're in Limbo." Bingo. "All we need to do is get to Minos."
"What's in Minos?" I ask.
"Minos isn't a what. He's a who," Valjean corrects.
"Fine, so who is Minos?"
Valjean gives a slight shudder. "The Eternal Judge."
Our eyes go wide. "No way," I argue. "We were judged by God. Not any sort of Minos, whoever, whatever, and wherever that is!"
"It's only for those who most definitely did not have God in their hearts or who committed terrible, terrible sins without repent."
"This is all terribly confusing," admits Marius, and I think we all agree on that.
"Look, the more time we stand around here talking, the less gets done. Now, I know this isn't exactly something we can do full of confidence, but lets not be cowardly about it."
Fantine sighs. "Valjean's right. Let's get moving."
So, slowly, we move along.
What is my Legacy?
Will God say you've lived for me?
Will my life live on
In your hearts when I am gone?
We are all beginning to feel that, while we wouldn't want to vacation here, Hell isn't so bad. Even the great Palace of Justice that Minos works in doesn't seem so terrible.
That is, until you get inside the great Palace of Justice.
Minos is clearly no pushover. He seems to be having a bit of an off day (are there on days in Hell?) and he has his head resting on a fist tightened into a ball, the elbow resting on his great ivory chair. He clearly does not have that much patience, for his tail lashes angrily back and forth as he listens to the begging and pleading.
"Mon Dieu monsieur!" Fantine cries, turning to look at me. "He's just like you."
I look stricken, and try to think of an answer, but there is nothing to say. She is right, that is simply it. I open my mouth anyway, but am distracted when Minos' tail wraps around his body four times, and then shoots out at its victim before carrying it very quickly away. We all simultaneously gulp.
"Next!" he calls annoyed. We realize that we're next, and nervously shift up. He glances at us. "Sorry, but you've already been judged. Furthermore, you're not supposed to be here. Go back to Heaven before I drown you in the Styx. I don't have time for useless banter. There's a suicide bombing in five minutes, and guess who has to do all the judging? Me!" he shouts, clearly unhappy. My God, what are we doing here? This guy could put us in boiling blood before you count to three! What did we think we were gong to say to him? "I'm sorry sir, I want my daughter's soul back, and can you point us in the right direction?"
Clever Valjean quickly twists Minos' melancholy to our advantage. "Sir, we represent the BBE, and we'd just like to briefly ask you a few questions."
Needless to say, the other four of us, and Minos, are blinking. "What?" he asks. "What now? And then why are you all glowing? Souls judged by God are always glowing!"
"The BBE," Valjean repeats. "The Bureau for Better Eternity. It is a relatively new organization. God just set it up."
"God?" Minos asks sarcastically. "Since when did He start caring?"
"Well, you did come to Hell by choice, sir, did you not?"
"Well, yeah, but-"
"And God still has your best interests in mind."
None of us know if it's true or not, we're not asking. Minos looks stunned. "Erm, well, what do you want to know? But you better make it snappy, because if we get to big a back log, then-"
"We assure you we won't take up any more of your precious time than we have to."
"Do you have proper health care here, sir?"
Minos seems slightly surprised by the question. "Health care?" Valjean nods. "You know, I don't think we get health care in the package.... I mean, I know we don't even have dental!"
Valjean leans into Marius and says "Make a note: they don't even have dental." Marius looks somber and clucks his tongue in a manner of utmost disapproval. "Yes, we'll have to speak to your supervisor about that."
Minos suddenly seems nervous. "But, this is all strictly confidential, right?"
"Oh yes, of course," Valjean assures him. "Now all we need to do is see some records, and we'll be done with you."
Minos now seems confused. "But most of them are in Dis...."
"The one's you have here will do fine."
He shrugs. "All right." He points to the left where a dark corridor is. "Just down that hall."
"Thank you, sir."
We turn and all try hard not to exhale one collective breath of relief.
"Wait!" he suddenly calls, and we all turn in utmost fear.
"Y-yes?" Valjean asks, trying to sound calm.
"You're colleagues; don't they have any questions?" We all shake our head furiously no.
"No, just witnesses."
"Secretarial work, mostly!"
"Just coming along for the ride!"
"You answered them all!"
He waves goodbye and we can hear him, once again, call icily "Next!"
"Bingo!" Valjean says through clenched teeth as he delicately pulls out the piece of paper from the file.
"Good, now can you get off my back before it snaps?" Marius whispers. The cabinet that we were certain had Brianna's paper in it was too high up, so Valjean had to stand on mine and Marius' back. When he's finally off, we collapse to the floor.
"So what's it say?" Cosette asks anxiously.
Valjean holds it at arms distance and reads: Name: Brianna Race: Canine Sex: Female Judgment: Murderer Circle: Seven. Well that tells all then!"
"But that barely even makes sense!" Fantine cries!
"Well, it does if you know the structure of Hell." Valjean draws a crude map in the dust on the floor. "See, here's where we are, and here's where the Violent are. Just past Dis and the Phlegethon River."
Marius pales. "We don't have to go in Dis, do we?"
"Not so far as I can figure," the old Retriever says, scratching his ear with his back paw. He stretches, thinks, and then continues. "Right, all the rivers connect and loop into one continues circle." He points out the Acheron, Styx, Phlegethon and the Cocytus. "All we have to do is go through the first four circles and we can make it to the River Styx. As long as we continue to move down river, we can eventually go into the Phlegethon, stop, save Brianna's soul, and use a miracle to get out! We've used...." Valjean begins to count in his head "...Three, which gives us seven left. We're okay for now, but let's not be extravagant, shall we?"
We all nod in agreement. That's just fine with us.
"All right then! Let's get moving then! Next stop is the River Styx!"
Of course, getting to the River Styx is completely different than wanting to be at the River Styx. We are all wishing to use a miracle, but Valjean, the only one who's aloud to use them, stands firm. We might get ourselves into a tight spot latter and need to use it then. It would not be good to discover that we've used all of them up when we really need those most.
It is almost comical at the Whirl Wind, land of the Lustful. One guy is waving his arms furiously and leaping to get off the ground. "Man, if I could just get up there! That guy's got three of them!" High above the heads of the afflicted, people who Minos rewarded are swirling around with others, coupling, and to Cosette's distaste, occasionally copulating. It's driving the ones stuck on the ground wild. Marius snickers uncontrollably, and the sinful are giving him such evil looks that it looks like one is about to attack him. Valjean quickly moves us on.
It doesn't take too much longer to get to the Gluttons, stuck in cold, muddy snow. We have to lift our feet high and with all our might to simply get our stuck feet out to take another step. Cerebus looks at us demurely but does nothing to stop us. I guess we positively glow with the love of God when placed next to the damned. No one would dare chain a beloved of God in Hell.
And next, are the Angry, which are even more comical than the Lustful. Two separate sides form themselves into a living battering ram and have at each other all day. Lord knows what they're fighting about, for they don't. Occasionally, you can hear such shouts as "Oh yeah, well you're momma was a foot stool!" "Don't you dare talk about my momma!"
We stop, and watch from side to side, like a tennis match, until we finally decide they're not interested in us, and hurry on.
After a while, we're all getting bored and tired, and so we don't even bother to stop and watch the other tribulations of the sinful. All we want is to get to the river.
We find it all too soon. A huge line of people stretches for miles, and far away, we can see the gray, tiny line of the River Styx.
A demon hands us a number. Mine's 294875. "What's this mean?" I ask him.
"That's how many years you have to wait till you get to the front of the line." We all pale, but I'm the worst. Everyone I care about will be gone by then! Brianna's soul will be destroyed; she will remember noting of me, of love, of life! Emily will be gone! Everything will be. I can't wait that long!
So I run, past the crowd, down the river bank, and just before I leap into the water, I can hear Valjean shouting "Javert, you idiot, what are you doing? We have to pay the-"
I am starting to dog paddle for that frightening distant shore – the fiery city of Dis – when I feel as though a hand has grabbed at my ankle. What the? Without a second warning, dozens of hands are grabbing me and pulling me down. I struggle for air, for the surface of the water, to swim on, but slowly, the Sullen, condemned to forever float and sigh amongst the waters of the Styx for all eternity, are pulling me down with them. I haven't got a prayer.
Or do I? Looking around, I can see the little wooden boat right next to me, Cosette and Fantine smacking the heads of souls furiously with the oars. "Let him go, you monsters, you brutes!" Cosette is screaming. Marius is clawing and snarling at them, which confuses and distracts them long enough for Valjean to lift me out of the water. Coughing and sputtering, I claw my way onto the boat, and curl up in a little, wet, fuzzy ball for a moment, coughing the water out of my lungs.
I look up and ask Valjean "Why are we still dogs?"
"I don't know," he answers with a shake of his head. "I've only experienced the Hell of the living, not the dead. Cosette is holding onto Marius with all her strength, and little flecks of bad memories are whisking in my head, and I begin to realize we're all living through the Hell's we remembered from life.
"Marius, I'm afraid!" Cosette cries, clinging to him. We all huddle in to each other until the moments of terror have passed and we know we're safe as we ever are in hell.
"How did we get the Ferryman's boat?" I ask Valjean. "We weren't buried with coins in our mouths...."
Valjean indicates the little leather pouch, still fastened about his neck. "We use a miracle."
"How many do we have left?" Marius asks.
"Six," Valjean answers.
"What happens now?" questions Fantine.
"We float down river until we reach the mouth of the Phlegethon, then we turn in there and dock at the seventh circle: murderers. See, everything's going according to plan."
But suddenly, this isn't true. Valjean has started to row so that we are turning into the Phlegethon, but the Sullen don't like this; why should we be happy if they never are? They don't seem to realize that it is thinking such as this that got them into Hell in the first place. Slowly, they begin to form their own sort of tide; the boat is being pushed off course. We begin to row with all our might, begging the Sullen to think; what difference would it make to them if we saved a soul or not? But terrible, selfish beings that they are! They refuse to listen, and we are stuck on the wrong river, and the only way to get back towards the Phlegethon is to go all the way down to the Cocytus, which no one wants to do. The Cocytus River is what separates Lucifer from the rest of Hell, and none of us is ready to take on Lucifer. We try desperately to row against this make-shift tide, but it is to no avail. We have no choice but to go down the Cocytus, and pray to God we meet no trouble along the way.
As these days pass by,
And I try to look through your eyes;
Was I good enough for you?
Am I good enough for me?
I ask on bended knee.
I don't have to wait,
To see what might become.
Today is now,
And I am today,
Now I ask and say.
What is my Legacy?
Will God say you've lived for me?
Will my life live on?
In your hearts when I am gone?
The boat continues to drift ideally along, but we manage to keep it just close enough to shore so we always have a land feature, but not close enough anyone could attack us if they really wanted to. It grows colder as we go farther down river, and Valjean explains that's because we're nearing Lucifer, and we all squeeze together, half frightened out of our wits.
Finally, we see the mouth of the Cocytus, and row like made to make it to it. We enter the river, and the current slows down, and we move quietly along this deathly water. Finally, we think we can see where it lets up and goes into the main stream. If we can just make it there, all we need to do is row up river and drift into the Phlegethon, and we have it set!
But the river has other ideas, for it drags us down until we almost crash upon the shoreline of a tiny island in the middle of the river. Unfortunately, we do not make it to the shore unscathed, for the boat has a nasty tear in it. But luck, for the moment, is with us, for there's tons of trees on this island. We begin to try and cut one down, when a nasty voice calls from behind us.
"Don't touch my trees!"
We turn and see with horror a demon, his red eyes glaring at us, a rusty chain in his hands, the end of which is connected to a fierce dog, blind by the look of it's eyes. It sniffs and snarls in our direction, and we all cower back.
"Ah, you fear now, yes I can see it," he says slickly, reaching down to unclip the chain and we pull back even farther. "Do you wonder at his eyes? Have you not heard? Hate is blind, as well as love! Yes, this is my faithful dog; Blind Hatred. Ha ha!" With that last terrible laugh, he unclips the chain and Blind Hatred comes lunging at us and I yelp as he sinks his teeth into my leg, some insidious poison seeping in....
"Somebody get him!"
Javert was deaf to the shouts around him, and blind to whomever it was he was trying to attack. The demon was cackling merrily before retaining his dog and disappearing. Foam dripped from the mad ghost's muzzle and he snarled terribly. Confused and angry, he finally lunged at whatever objects was closest to him.
It happened to be Valjean, and he bit at his leg, but Valjean was able to pull away before whatever poison had infected Javert seeped into his own blood stream. However, he was out of action, the wound hurting terribly as he nursed it.
"Marius, do something!" Cosette screamed at him. Marius quickly climbed the sapling they had just about knocked down and with a well calculated amount of force, brought the tree down on Javert's head. The mad man gave a small yelp before toppling to the ground.
"Now what are we going to do?" Fantine asked.
"Get to work, I guess....." Marius suggested, trying to split the wood apart and see if he could find a way to nail it to the hole in the boat.
When this had been accomplished, they all climbed into the boat – though Valjean limped, and Javert was dragged and gave a short moan when his head hit the side. They began to go afloat, but knew they had to heal and revive their companion sometime soon, other wise they didn't know how they'd get Brianna out.
"I've got an idea! Give me a miracle!" Cosette cried excitedly. Marius rummaged through Valjean's leather pouch and handed her one. She whispered words to it, and finally, let it loose. It hovered in the air for a moment, buzzing and humming, before it expanded and formed the shape of a man, and finally, became a man; Saint Servatus.
"Got a bit of leg trouble, have we?" he asked, floating above the boat and peering in.
"You can say that again," Marius sighed gruffly at the patron saint of leg wounds.
"Just for time's sake, I won't," the man smiled. "Now, what happened?"
"Blind Hate attacked Javert, Javert attacked Valjean. Marius knocked Javert out, and the rest is self explanatory," Fantine supplied.
"Hm, hm, hm...." he hummed, placing a hand on his chin. "Yes, I can fix that easily enough." He wrapped Valjean's wounded leg, and did the same for Javert, sticking a small vial of green liquid in his mouth and getting him to swallow.
Javert began to open his eyes, coughing and groaning. Marius put a hand on his nose, just incase it hadn't worked.
"You'd better let him up," suggested the saint. "He's going to be feeling pretty sick." Marius quickly scrambled out of the way as the German shepherd managed to heave himself up and throw his head over the port side of the boat, and depositing the contents of his stomach into the river as the boat floated away from the Cocytus and closer to the Phlegethon. This process was repeated a few times before Javert finally collapsed back into the boat, still groaning and clutching his stomach.
Fantine glided over to Javert's side to help comfort him as he nestled into a ball and groaned. "Think you could get us into the Phlegethon River?" she asked.
Servatus clucked his tongue. "Sorry, you'll have to try a different saint for that. I'm afraid I'm no good at boats." Valjean shook his head no when asked if they could use another miracle to conjure up another saint.
"There's no more islands from here to the mouth of the river," he pointed that feature out. "We can make it to land, through the boiling blood, grab Brianna, and miracle our way out of this place. Saving that one, we only have four miracles left. I don't want to chance it."
"Well then it looks like you won't be needing me," Servatus said, and with a last goodbye and a God-bless, popped out of sight.
They all just sort of stared at the shore. There was about two inches of land, and then it was up to their torsos – their dog torsos, that is – in hot, boiling blood.
"Ew," was Marius' commented.
"No kidding," Fantine said dryly.
Cosette was burying her head into her husband's shoulder so she wouldn't be sick, and Javert, who was still in the boat and feeling sickly, tossed his head over the side again and emptied the contents of whatever stomach a ghost has.
Valjean turned his head to look at him after he'd finished. "Well? Aren't you going in?"
Javert stared at him as though he were mad. "You're kidding, right?"
"That's the land of murderers, and your daughter's a murderer," Marius reminded, while Javert shot him a cold glare.
"Yeah, but boiling
blood? That's a little bit different then trekking all over New
"It was your idea to come down here!" Fantine accused.
"I didn't think it would be this bad!"
"What did you think it would be like? This is hell!" Cosette snapped, raising her head up quickly before putting it back down. "Just go in there and get her," she begged.
Sighing, Javert said alright, and jumped out of the boat, the water flickering around him. He walked onto the shore, took a deep breathe, and bolted into the blood, running as fast as he could while he called Brianna's name. The others soon followed suit.
"Daddy......" there was a faint whisper of the word, and Javert's ear flickered towards it. There he found her, covered in blood, turning her head to the side so she could see him, for lifting her head was in impossibility. He slipped and slid through the blood trying to get to her, desperately calling her name.
"It's okay now, Brianna! I came! I'm here! We'll get you out."
The girl seemed to take heart in these words, for she wagged her tail, but it was feeble, and she seemed so exhausted that she put her head back down, the spirit driven out of her.
Javert grabbed her head and pulled it up so he could look into her eyes. "Don't do this, don't give up! Damn it, I went through hell for you, the least you could do is stay awake!"
She shuddered and closed her eyes, and didn't move. The others had come sliding forward, and fell in a heap as they tried to stop. Valjean whipped out a miracle and started whispering hurried words. "Stay awake, Brianna, you must stay awake!" the others encouraged.
"Yes, I want the miracle to be done now!" Valjean shouted at the miracle as it purred a question. "What do you think? We're in the middle of hell, here! What are we going to do, pick out summer homes?" It whirled indignantly, and bustled itself up, but with a pop, took them all out.
"I'm frightened," Brianna admitted as they used another miracle to drag her soul up to heaven so she wouldn't be stuck on earth as a ghost her whole after life; Hell might be preferable to that.
"It will be alright," Valjean encouraged.
"All we have to do is ask God if he will regenerate your body and put your soul in it, and then you may live again!"
"But I was a heretic! He must hate me!"
Valjean gently comforted her. "All the angels in heaven rejoice more over a repentant sinner than the white robes of a thousand good men."
"Are you repentant?" Cosette asked.
"Of course! I mean, I believe in God, if that's what you mean. How can I not, having been in Hell? As for the murder...."
"That wasn't your fault," Marius said stoutly. "The disease took over you, and you couldn't help that."
"Speaking of disease," piped up Javert, who was absolutely exhausted, and had been remaining quite, trying to get the remainder of the blood off him, "Will that still effect her in her regenerated body?"
"Your guess is as good as mine," Valjean supplied. "Personally, I doubt it, but you never know."
They waited in line for a while, but were finally able to see God. He took one look at them, just as Fantine began to open her mouth, and said "Alright." She shut it, confused.
"But you don't even know what we were going to say!" Cosette said, stunned.
"Of course I do! I'm God! You want Brianna's soul be allowed to re-inhibit a body again, and I said alright. Anything else?"
They all stared at him stupidly.
"No? Well, down you go!" And he waved them off.
Remember my songs,
Remember this tune
On cold winter nights,
And hot times in June.
Live life out loud
And God will be proud.
Together we'll stand up and say:
"You don't have to do this," Marius reminded. "She's a pretty dog. Chances are some one else will adopt her."
"But if someone doesn't, she'll be killed, and I didn't go through hell just so she'd be killed after how ever many months they'll give her."
"Yes, but this time she'll go to Heaven," Valjean reminded.
"It doesn't matter. This is the only way it will work. How many miracles have we got, Valjean?"
Valjean peered into the bag and did a quick count. "Well, since God made us use one to regenerate Brianna's body, that leaves us three. Since we had to use another one to put her in East Side Animal Shelter, that left us two. Using this one to get into Emily's dream will leave us one. Yes, we have enough." With that, he handed Javert the orange miracle.
Closing his eyes tightly, Javert prayed to the fluffy orange ball in his hands. It vibrated between his paws, and finally engulfed him, so all that anyone saw was bright orange light, and then that vanished too.
Where Javert had vanished to was Emily's dream. He had one shot at this, one shot at convincing her he was her dead dog and that she had to adopt his daughter. He hadn't the faintest idea in the world as to how he would do that.
So, he just walked through the dream – since it was a prophetic dream there was nothing but white – until he found Emily, turning her head this way and that and wondering how she gone from dreaming about toaster ovens, to this.
Javert felt his heart leap into his throat, and for a moment, he couldn't speak. Just stare. He'd never spoken to her before. She'd never heard his voice. Oh, but he'd heard hers. He'd heard it a thousand times, and he cherished every singly one of the words she had spoken. Finally, he managed to swallow the organ in his throat and managed a some what feeble "Hello, Emily."
She turned her head, and smiled. "Hello. I'm dreaming. Have we met before?" She then went back to studying the nothingness in her dream, and occasionally muttered things like "So odd, yes this is odd."
Javert continued to stare at her for a moment, but finally spoke. "Yes, we have, but you might not remember."
She now gave him her full attention. "Really? Where?"
"We last saw each other last summer."
"What were we doing?"
"You were crying, I was getting put to sleep."
All the color drained from her face, and she closed her eyes and put a hand to her temple. "Yes, I'm dreaming," she confirmed. "Only it's a bad, horribly nightmare and I want out."
Javert bit his lip. "I can't let you out. Not yet. Just hear me out first."
"Oh, come on! I'm dreaming that my dead dog is not only alive but a human and talking to me! I don't like dreams like these; I want to wake up!"
"I can deny you nothing, you ought to know that by now, but I need you to listen to me."
She stared at him. "You can't be Cojack. Who are you?"
"My name's Javert."
"But you called me Cojack."
"Not so much proof anymore....." She stared at him again, deeply in the eyes, until she thought she saw something that just might resemble her German Shepherd. "Why are you a human?"
"I always was. This is very hard to explain, and maybe, someday, I'll tell the entire story to you, but now I don't have the time. I need to ask a favor of you."
She threw her hands into the air. "Why not! I've dreamed about everything else tonight!"
"I need you to adopt my daughter."
"Well, I wasn't expecting the favor to be that weird....."
"No, you don't understand! She's a dog."
"Does she look like you?" the woman teased.
"I'm told she has my ears. The dog ones, that is."
She looked perturbed. "I was joking about that, you know."
"But I'm not. This is what I'm asking you to do. Whether you do or not, well...... that's up to you, but just listen: Tomorrow you'll wake up. You'll go to the same animal shelter you got me at, and you will find a dog. You will adopt her, and if you like, you can name her Brianna. The name's not important."
"How will I know her?"
Javert was silent for a moment, and just said "You'll know. Now I've got to go."
"Will I get to see you again?"
His eyes lit up. "Would you like to see me again?"
"If you're really my dog, sure, why not."
Javert looked elated. "I'll see if I can come! Good night! Sweet dreams!"
And with that, he walked out of the dream, a dog once more, so happy that he was nearly walking on air, and the others had to hold his paws down to make sure he didn't defy gravity in his absolute joy.
When Emily Leroux got up the next morning, she was amazed at how vivid the dream had been, and what an odd dream it was, too! She had tried typing on her article, but found she simply couldn't. Something kept nagging at the back of her brain. She didn't really want to go to that animal shelter, did she?
Why not go, though? It'd been a year since she lost Cojack. Had she gotten over the grief? Did she think she could handle another dog? Why not?
So, she hopped in her car and drove down to the shelter. At first, for some insane reason, she was looking at the dog's ears. She soon laughed at herself, and looked at the dogs themselves. There were some nice border collies, Labradors, pit bulls....
And then she saw it. For a moment, she saw a coal black German Shepherd, it's yellow eyes flashing. Emily blinked, and the German Shepherd was gone. In it's place stood a creamy brown colored dog, her pointed ears looking remarkably like a German Shepherd's, her nose pointed finely like a Collie's, and she stared up in awe at Emily. And Emily knew:
This was the dog that Cojack wanted her to adopt.
Tensely, she reached her hand forward. The dog wagged her tail, and reached her own nose forward, sniffing the hand before licking it, the tail wagging furiously. Yes, this was the one.
"So, you're sure you're going to be alright?" Javert asked her in the lobby, able to see him without a miracle only because she'd been through the netherworld.
"Daddy, I'll be fine."
"For the twentieth time yes! Emily seems really nice."
"Oh, she is. You'll get along great," he affirmed, yet some what glumly. Brianna didn't notice.
"She's changed my name. She's going to call me Penny now."
"But you won't forget your original name?" he asked worriedly.
"The one my mother gave me? Never."
"So you don't think you'll start forgetting things again?"
"I know this is my own body, but it's basically brand new again! I don't think it has any problems at all!" she said with intense pride.
"If you're sure-"
"Daddy, just go catch up to the others. People are starting to stare at me funny."
"Well, you are pretty weird."
"Alright, alright, I'm going!" he sighed, and – thank goodness Brianna didn't notice him doing it – took one last longing look up at Emily before turning on his heels and left.
"So? How did it go?" asked Marius, as Javert walked out. The rest of the pack stood up and walked with him now towards the elevator to heaven. This was preferable to the stairs, since they were all exhausted.
"It went.... well. I think they'll be quite happy together."
The sound of a couple fighting drew their attention to the right. To they're surprise, it wasn't a human couple, but a dog couple.
"Aw, come on, Colette. You know I'm the only dog for you."
"You are an idiot, Maurice," the collie mix female said, walking away while the brown pit bull Maurice chased after her. Suddenly, she stopped, and stared right through the group of dogs. But that's when they realized she wasn't looking through them.
She was looking at them.
Valjean checked his feet. They were invisible. How could she see them? Javert was staring slack jawed right at her, as she stared at him.
"Mon Dieu..." Fantine breathed. "An old friend of yours, Monsieur?"
"Colette, what are you staring at?" Maurice then flew into a rage. "Is it another male? Point him out to me, I'll rip his head off."
"Maurice, a German Shepherd could take an idiot like you down before you could blink."
"So it is another male!"
"Correction, a toy poodle could do it."
"Wait, so is it a poodle, or a German Shepherd?"
"It's nobody, Maurice," and she began to coax him away, but she did turn to stare at Javert once more, but this time, she couldn't see him.
"We've still got one miracle left, if you want to use it, Javert."
Javert turned to stare at Valjean, having totally forgotten he was there. "Yes, actually, I would like to use it."
Valjean handed it to him, and Javert began a prayer that no one had expected. "May Emily's life be filled with happiness. My Jason treat her well. May all her days be blest..... Even if I'm not in them."
The miracle cooed and clucked, and finally blew away, to go and do his bidding.
"That was very good of you, Inspector," Cosette said. Javert scratched at his ear lazily, before yawning, and said nothing about his good deed.
"Let's just go home."
The elevator music was not really the kind to put you to sleep, but Javert was falling asleep anyway. Marius was humming to it, because it was one of his favorites, and Javert, interested if it was any good or not, perked his ear toward the speaker.
Is a life of faith and love.
Javert speculated that that was true. His second life had been full of the stuff. And his second death was nothing short of ideal. Fantine was staring at him, and cried "Mon Dieu! It's the sign of the apocalypse! Monsieur Inspector, you are smiling!"
And he was smiling. Not the kind of smile he got when he'd arrested Valjean. This was a pure, true, happy smile.
To share all I have
And the gift of one above
Had he really shared anything? With Brianna – Penny – he had. He'd tried, at least. It still took Hell for her to appreciate that God was there, but it had happened. Given the choice, he'd do it all again. With a bing, the elevator stopped and it's doors opened. The five stepped out, and were immediately attacked by old Lutheran ladies.
"The Jell-O fest! I'd completely forgotten about it!" Valjean shouted merrily.
Hell had changed Javert, it was true. He'd never been so happy to be in heaven ever before, and he didn't mind eating pounds and pounds of that Banana Lime Surprise. When it was all over, he slumped against a wall, and found himself quite comfortable. Closing his eyes, he fell asleep, and decided the others were right: He was happy.
What is your Legacy?
Will God say you've lived for me?
Will your life live on
In their hearts when you are gone?
A.N.: Well guys, I surprised even myself. I thought "There's no way I can possibly do another one of these. There's no way you can top hell. But I thought of a way! Be afraid, be very afraid. And be on the look out for the ghosties newest adventure: Your Refuge.