SUMMARY: In an alternate universe where Valjean and Javert work together in the Sûreté, not so much as buddy cops but as cops who yell at each other a lot, a run-in with a gang of criminals leaves them in an awkward predicament.

CANON: Mostly book, canon divergence AU

PAIRING: Javert/Jean Valjean UST

RATING: T


An Unwelcome Marriage

Valjean fought like a lion, his ordinarily calm demeanor reverting in an instant to the instinctive animal panic of the bagne; it was curiously painful for Javert to watch, when he should have felt vindicated. It took five of the thugs to subdue Valjean, who stood sullenly in their grip, barely-leashed rage in his posture, his chest heaving from the fight. A trickle of blood ran down the side of his face, but he hardly seemed to notice it.

For his own part, Javert offered a token resistance, and they failed to find the knife in his boot.

In their current situation that seemed unlikely to be helpful unless Valjean could pick a shackle with it. Javert crouched, wincing at the ache in his bruised ribs, and shoved his handkerchief under the shackle cuff in an attempt to prevent it from chafing as badly. "This is hardly how I thought to end my bachelorhood," he muttered.

Valjean was so silent, Javert would have thought him dead, but for the harsh, rasping pants of his breath. Perhaps that had been a poor joke, under the circumstances—he looked up, to find Valjean paper-white under his beard, trembling, his gaze fixed on some far point.

No—no—Valjean could not do this now; he'd get them killed—

"Please," Valjean said, his voice hollow; he tugged fitfully at the chain between their ankles, so it clanked dully against the floor of the cellar they'd been thrust into. "Don't make me go back, for God's sake, please."

The cold stone in the pit of Javert's stomach grew heavier. He had seen this sort of fit once before, during a riot, a fellow officer who had been in the wars suddenly taken as if he were still there among the cannon.

They could hardly escape if Valjean remained convinced Javert was a convict-guard still; he needed Valjean to pick the locks, and, for that matter, if there was going to be more fighting. And besides, thrice-damned Monsieur Vidocq had made it excruciatingly clear that he regarded Valjean as not only an important agent, but a friend. For the sake of his career, Javert had to get them both out.

He acted before he could think better of it, grabbing Valjean by the collar and yanking him forward. "Jean Valjean!" he growled. "You are not in Toulon!" Let Valjean think him a convict-guard now!

Their lips came together in something rough and bruising; Valjean's mouth opened, slack and surprised, and then it was a kiss.

Kissing, Javert thought dimly, was rather disgusting. Valjean's tongue was in his mouth, and the whole affair was unpleasantly wet and messy; invasive. God alone knew why so many poets felt compelled to write inane odes about this act. He had not missed it and he would not be sorry if it never happened again.

Valjean made a queer little noise in his throat, clutching at Javert's shoulders, and something warm fluttered in Javert's gut. His hands remained clenched in Valjean's shirt and waistcoat; he could not make them release. He was suddenly aware of the power in the body under his hands, the heat of Valjean's skin. Even the feel of Valjean's mouth against his was not so distasteful as it had been a moment ago.

At last Javert managed to force himself to pull away. "I don't suppose you happen to have lockpicks on you," he managed, despising the way his voice came out breathless and raspy.

Valjean was still staring, but this time at Javert's mouth, and the color had begun to return to his face. "What?"

Javert flushed-with irritation, he told himself, not because of Valjean's intent gaze-and said, very slowly, "Lockpicks. Do you have any? Unless you thought to enjoy the comforts of the Château de la Cave indefinitely."

Valjean shifted, dropping his eyes; Javert pretended he was not relieved. "I-yes, of course." But he made no move to extract the picks from their location on his person.

"Valjean-" Javert pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to think of something kind to say. He ought to be more patient, he supposed; Valjean surely could not help his strange and frustrating reaction to their predicament. But his supply of patience, poor to begin with, was running low. He wanted only to be out of the damned cellar, to make his report to damned Vidocq and go home and sleep and forget this entire damned day.

He never should have taken the Sûreté's offer; and certainly he should have turned around and walked out of the room when Vidocq had told him he would be working with Valjean. He had thought that would be no worse than working with any of the other supposedly reformed criminals in Vidocq's employ, the more fool him.

Javert laughed, soundlessly. "Come on, the sooner we are out of here, the sooner this can be an amusing story for your mistress."

"Fantine isn't my mistress." Valjean sighed, running a hand through his hair in agitation. "At least close your eyes." He was staring at the wall somewhere over Javert's shoulder now, with such intensity that Javert had to repress the urge to turn and see what was so fascinating.

"Oh for God's sake—"

"Please," Valjean said, firmly. Color burned high in his cheeks.

Oh, so that was where—Christ—

Javert squeezed his eyes shut and tried desperately not to listen to the rustling of Valjean's clothing, or to consider what Valjean was doing. After what seemed an eternity, he heard the chink of metal falling into Valjean's palm.

He was glad not to be able to see Valjean's face as Valjean bent and began to work at the locks, and gladder still that Valjean could not see his.


Notes:

-Two convicts chained together was known in prison slang as a "marriage"
-Convicts did sometimes hide contraband things up their asses inside a hollow tube or something like that -Don't ask me how Vidocq convinced Javert to join the Sûreté; there's a reason I haven't attempted to properly write this AU (but if you have ideas, please tell me, because it's my biggest sticking point)
-In this AU Fantine never left Paris; she's probably lodging with Valjean's sister, and her life is not terrible -This is probably a really awful way to pull most people out of a PTSD flashback, and I probably should have done more research; I hope this isn't offensive