a/n: last chapter and i'm posting in a rush because earlier it wouldn't allow me to post this, so thank you all for reading, enjoy the ending!
It's been an hour and no one has bothered me. I've been able to lie still, but now I grow anxious, for that's the only word for it. I want to know where they are, not because I'm worried about them or myself, I just want to know.
I slowly sit and climb out of bed, my fever having worn off a little more. Using the wall as a support, I make it to a chair where my coat and shirts are draped. I shrug on the shirt and button only what could be considered decent, leaving the top two buttons undone, exposing little skin, but enough to keep me cool.
Walking carefully, I move into the hallway and am instantly greeted by a shrieking scream. It's the sort of scream accompanied by pain. I follow it to a closed door. Knocking on the door, I hear feet moving and then Valjean opens the door.
"Javert?" he seems almost out of breath.
"I couldn't rest," I state, plainly.
"Are you alright, are we being too loud?"
I shake my head, "No, I'm just… I guess you could call it restless."
He nods and sighs, opening the door and leaving the room.
He speaks only when the door is shut again, and we are moving down the hall, him leading, "Marius doesn't know that you're still alive. The word around town is that you died."
"I'd rather him not know that I'm alive," I look back at the door, "he seems to have enough problems."
Valjean almost laughs at that, "I guess he does."
There is a silence that floats between us, uncomfortable and thick.
He breaks is quickly, "I understand that you're restless, but all you're going to do by walking around is bring back the fever. Rest for another day or so, and then we'll see. I can get you a book, if you'd like."
"You can't read," I point out.
"My daughter reads to me, and I can read, very simple things. I read slowly, but I can read," he seems proud, and he should be. Not many people would be able to teach themselves how to read, and even fewer people would be able to learn such a thing at his age.
He turns to me and I sigh, leaning against the wall, "I don't need a book."
"Are you sure? It is no trouble at all."
"Would you like me to help you back to your room?"
"No," I manage to stand, the rest having given me just enough strength.
He doesn't repsond, and I don't give him time to give me a delayed response as I walk toward the room that I've been staying in.
"Who's room is this? It seems like it would be occupied by someone else if I weren't here," I look around once I'm back inside.
"Mine," he smiles.
I raise a questioning eyebrow, but obediently sit back down on the bed.
He turns to leave and I speak to his back, "That thing that was nothing before. It is something…"
He turns back and moves to my side, "What is it?"
"I was…" I pause, thinking of how to word this, "I was afraid. This is the first time anyone has ever really cared about me, and I didn't want to lose that. You moved to leave, and in my mind that was bad. The last time someone left me was my family. And I mean, truly left me. They wanted to teach me lessons, on how to be tough like them, and they did, I just was never tough enough, I guess. I was never good enough. They didn't care about me. You do, though, and I don't think I'd be able to handle losing that."
He brings me into a tight embrace and runs fingers through my hair, "You won't lose me. You never have to worry about that."
I allow him to hold me. I let myself burry my face into his chest, bringing in the warmth and the comfort to the best of my ability.
I knew about his mother, his father, he told me about them once. Back then he seemed almost proud of them. I didn't know that they had hurt him, I didn't know what he put up with.
I run my hands lower and lower, until they rest on the small of his back, pulling him toward me, protecting him.
I sigh and smile at him, afraid to do more than embrace him, yet longing to act like a father, I long to comfort him. I pull his head back and lightly brush my lips across his forehead. He is startled, but he doesn't pull back.
There's a knock on the door and I draw back.
I sigh and get up, opening the door, greeted by Cosette, "Papa, there are men at the door. They want to talk to you."
I nod, "Stay here, and keep close to Javert, if worse comes to worse he can protect you."
"Papa?" she tilts her head.
"I'm just being safe, Cosette, it should be nothing," I assure her, before leaving.
Me? He trusts me to protect her? Regardless, he closes the door and goes down stairs.
I sigh, "How's the boy?"
She turns to me, a little startled by the question, "Fine, and though papa told me not to, I told him about you. He says that if you'd kill yourself over him or my father, then he can put up with you."
She grins and I laugh.
A few minutes later Valjean comes through the door, "Those were some of the people that got away from the fighting. They say that the police are looking for me, they think that I was the one who killed Javert."
"Then let me show them I'm alive!" I insist.
"I'd rather not," he turns to me slowly, "You wouldn't understand, even if I tried to explain it, but we HAVE to get out of here."
Cosette looks mildly frightened, but nods, "I'll go tell Marius."
She leaves and Valjean stays with me.
He closes the door calmly and takes a chair beside me, "You realize that if you start to run now, you can never go back?"
"We don't have to worry about me anymore, the others are nothing like me, they won't keep searching," I point out.
"I know, but you do realize that if you are ever caught, that you could be in serious trouble," he states.
"I've tried to lived my life without breaking a single rule, and I now realize that this isn't the way I want to do anything anymore. Sparing you did something to me that nothing else has or could, it gave me a reason to live. I thought that my reason to live was to catch you, and now I see my reason to live is to take chances, and break some rules now and then," I smile, "and who better to learn from?"
He grins, "I guess I can take that as you'll come with."
I nod, "Sure, I'll go."
He smiles and laughs, "I brought some of your stuff, but a lot of it we'll have to buy new. I have enough money, so that's nothing to worry about."
He leaves and as I stand up and follow, I realize for once that I am not a lawbreaker or a law abider. I'm both. Just like the convict, Jean Valjean.