The Last Girl
"In Which M. the Inspector Resembles a Certain Archdeacon" or "El Tango de Fantine"
Fantine/Javert, mostly because I wanted to write one. I'd like to think it's a little bit canon, even. Maybe - I tried. But I digress. I don't own the Mizzies; r/r and all such as that. :)
Javert hated the red-light district of Montreuil. Not that it really deserved to be called such anyway. A town that small couldn't have districts, per say; it was really more of a little spit of sidewalk. There wasn't even ample land over which the women could spread to lure their prey. They were all packed together, their dirty, torn skirts brushing up against each other. The street corner where her kind congregated echoed with bawdy laughter.
Though he didn't admit it, Javert felt an odd connection to those women on the street corner. His mother had been one, but he didn't think that was why. Something about the circumstance was akin to the slavery that he saw in prison camps such as Toulon. But had these women done anything to merit the lives they lived?
That was the question, wasn't it?
Moreover, Javert struggled with the fact that he felt so drawn to her. Her – the one that stood out. At night, as the men left the tavern, the crowd of prostitutes would dissipate one by one. They would glide away on the arms of their prospective customers, but she would always be left behind.
The Last Girl, he called her in his mind. He never caught her real name. The prostitutes usually didn't tell their customers their names, and their customers didn't want them to begin with. It made the midnight rendezvous too real, if one had a name to assign to his woman. He felt dirty or disloyal if she became a human being.
Maybe that's why they disliked the Last Girl so much. She was real to begin with. Her clothes looked so much like those on their women back home, only lacking a washing and far too worn. Her face wasn't overly-painted. When she spoke, she didn't sound ill-educated and resigned to her work.
The Last Girl tried hard enough to be like the others; her failure certainly wasn't for lack of effort. She just lacked something. Something that Javert couldn't put his finger on. Her laughter tried to be as raucous as the rest, but it sounded empty and forced. She would try to bend down and flash a bit of skin as the others did, but her actions were terribly clumsy, and afterwards she always looked deeply ashamed.
It was partly Javert's intrinsic compassion for the underdog that had led him into the police force. But he felt sorely mocked as this trait put him in the grips of an awkward crisis. She was criminal, but the way she conjured up his deeply-held pity frustrated him.
Worst of all, she affected him otherwise as well. Her sweet smile and her lithe limbs. Something else about her distracted him. She had been a true beauty, at some point in her life. And if someone took her home to love her rather than to use her, the beauty might somehow be able to come back.
But that wasn't going to happen. Sure enough, after she had been alone on the corner for a while, a gruff-looking working-man would approach her and lead her off. And Javert was always there to notice the look of pain mixed with the relief in her eyes.
Javert ignored the stabbing feeling of anger and hate he felt as he watched her led away to some dirty apartment on the arm of some hateful man that pretended to be a gentleman in the daylight. Gripping the stone with white-knuckled hands, he averted his eyes and pretended as though he didn't know the Last Girl's fate. Obstinately pushing the images of her abuse from his mind.
He walked home after she left, his work done. Somehow, he disdained her for the moral crossroads at which her dirt-stained, blushed ivory cheeks left him. That was the only way he could make himself walk off each night. Put her from his mind and get some sleep.
These deplorable circumstances she brought on herself – she violated the law, her punishment was just.
That's what he told himself when he awoke at night thinking of the Last Girl.