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making Victor Hugo turn in his grave since 1885


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The Les Mis Anon Kink Meme, Round 6
exit pursued by javert
10littlebullets wrote in makinghugospin
Since LJ seems to have finally capitulated to the Russian government and is now subject to Russian anti-obscenity laws, I'm not going to take a chance on sudden deletions. The Les Mis kinkmeme now lives at https://lesmiskinkmeme.dreamwidth.org/. (Round 6 here.) Everything has been backed up there. The LJ kinkmeme will stay up, but is now closed to new comments.


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Javert, the ghost of Pont Au Change

(Anonymous)
Instead of haunting Valjean, Javert lingers at Pont Au Change instead since it is the place of his death. Does he appear to other would-be jumpers and talk them out of it? Does Valjean hear the rumors that the bridge is haunted and try to communicate with him?

Anything goes, I just want something based on the premise that ghost!Javert is unable to leave the bridge and spends his time haunting it.
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Re: Javert, the ghost of Pont Au Change

(Anonymous)
No promises because I have 1058625 fic ideas going right now and am not sure how much time I'll have in the coming days to write, but I might try to fill this. Would you object if a little Valjean/Javert crept in there? I'll try to hold back on it if you would rather this stayed gen.
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Re: Javert, the ghost of Pont Au Change - OP

(Anonymous)
OP here, I'm always up for Valjean/Javert, go right ahead! :)
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Re: Javert, the ghost of Pont Au Change

(Anonymous)
Really interesting idea -- I've incorporated this prompt into an afterlife fic that I've been working on, and that helped some of the pieces come together, so thanks! I'll try to get pieces of it up shortly. :)
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Re: Javert, the ghost of Pont Au Change - OP

(Anonymous)
You're welcome, anon! I'm really glad to hear that I've managed to inspire you with this prompt, and I can't wait to read your fic! :)
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FILL: Wet and Weary (Prologue/?)

(Anonymous)
He had died in the earliest morning hours of a summer’s day, but no matter that: he would never again be warm. He expected nothing more. Indeed, somehow Javert had always known that Hell would be cold.

The winds swept the river at a regular pace, as predictable as the tides, though perhaps only noticeable to one who was unable to leave. The winds were cold too, cutting through his wet figure like knives. It was the only thing he could feel, though, and a part of him relished the chill. In a queer, ironic way, it kept him feeling alive.

At first, he had watched the passers-by with great interest: the hurried men of business, the frazzled mothers, the gamin, and even the occasional officer on patrol, whom he would gaze upon with a studied indifference, striving to ignore any identifying features. He had never been taken to flights of fancy, and fiction had always sent him right to sleep, but as time progressed, he found himself imagining the stories of these figments, these flickers who walked in and out of his afterlife.

Some, in his mind, were clearly criminals, with shifty eyes and pockets that bulged suspiciously, although he found himself more than once attributing these more sympathetic backgrounds, good men fallen on hard times. Some were estranged from their families, walking alone with downcast gazes, or perhaps bereaved in the fall of the barricades. Some of the gamin had had mothers who loved them very much, and others had been birthed in alleys and left there to rot, depending on Javert’s mood at the time. None of them had been born in a prison.

Occasionally, love-stricken youths youths would lean against the parapet and sigh, echoing the gusting winds. These were the most bothersome, and he never wasted the energy to consider their stories. For one thing, he could not understand the ones whose sighs were of a contentment that could not be expressed in words, and for another, for those who were apparently spurned by the targets of their interest, he felt vague terror at the prospect of another soul taking up permanent residence on the stones of the bridge. Javert had never done well with extended company. A few of these were even female, which only magnified the potential horror.

In the rare event of such visitors, he had tried various forms of intervention, from cajoling in their ears to shrieking before their eyes, but although none of them had been foolish enough to follow in his footsteps off the bridge, he was fairly certain that his efforts deserved no credit, as the ninnies did not even flinch. They undoubtedly had realized, quite simply, that it was a ridiculous thing to die for love.

As time passed, though, no matter how much he clung to whatever sensation he could, days began to blend into nights into days, both in his eyes and in his heart. It had initially seemed to him that he was simply losing interest in the humdrum of daily life, that the faces around him blurred because they no longer held interest, because he had already told all the stories that were within his capabilities, but before long, it became undeniable that the part of Javert that could not leave the Pont-au-Change could observe less and less of the goings-on about him. From the very beginning, sounds had been distant, faraway and echoed; scents had been utterly lost; touch and taste had been reduced to icicle winds and a gritty tongue. But his sight had held true, and watching the goings-on of the Seine and the bridge above had kept him alert and connected to himself, even in his utter isolation.

It was not his mind that was failing him; it was everything but, and that made it worse.

Of course, he had known all along that nothing that caused him even the slightest bit of pleasure or basic human contentment could last in Hell, and thus he had not been surprised to realize that it was becoming harder and harder to discern daylight from nightfall, let alone identify the faces of the living. All he could do was hope that his consciousness too would fade when the darkness in his vision became complete.

He hoped to disappear, but he anticipated his fate to be lost in the cold and the dark, damned to be forever imprisoned by the weight of a sodden greatcoat and the icy blades of the winds above the river.
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Re: FILL: Wet and Weary (Prologue/?)

(Anonymous)
That is beautiful, and so sad. I'm crying already. Will this be going up somewhere I can bookmark it?
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Re: FILL: Wet and Weary (Prologue/?)

(Anonymous)
Thank you so much! I will probably be putting it on AO3 once I edit it and have a stronger sense of where it's going. I'll link it when I do!
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Re: FILL: Wet and Weary (Prologue/?)

(Anonymous)
Oh this is fantastic!
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Re: FILL: Wet and Weary (Prologue/?)

(Anonymous)
Thank you! I hope you enjoy the continuation!
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Re: FILL: Wet and Weary (Prologue/?) - OP

(Anonymous)
This is gorgeous, A!A! It's everything I hoped and way beyond that! Both your style and narrative are absolutely beautiful and I can't wait to read more!

A!A, you are amazing!

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Re: FILL: Wet and Weary (Prologue/?) - OP

(Anonymous)
Thank you, OP! I'm glad the beginning made you happy -- I enjoyed using the prompt! The story's going to look at Valjean for a bit, but we'll be back to poor Javert soon. <3
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FILL: Wet and Weary (1a/?)

(Anonymous)
----

“But,” murmured what remained of Jean Valjean after he had left his body behind, “this cannot be eternity.”

Fantine’s soft eyes searched his, and it was only moments before he dropped his view to the wooden structure beneath their feet. He had never done well with being looked at directly, and the dead woman’s gentle and terrible gaze had threatened to burn into him as though he were looking into the sun. In life, even at her lowest, Fantine’s aura had had a clean, pure light that had brought strength and conviction to a man who called himself Madeleine (though now, he was merely Jean Valjean, and those days of fearlessness and righteousness were scarcely a memory). In death, she was radiant.

“My love,” she said, and Valjean’s head snapped back up in spite of himself, in spite of the weights that seemed to hang invisibly from every part of his being. The young woman laughed. She had looked so young -- a mere child herself, though glowing with the timelessness of heaven -- when she had taken him by the hand into a place their sobbing daughter could not see. When she laughed, this manifestation of Fantine became younger still, heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

“Forgive me. I have never been so called,” muttered Valjean as an apology, feeling the heat of a blush extend across his face, though he knew he no longer possessed body nor blood.

Cool fingers brushed against his face, and Valjean tried his best to keep his reflexive flinch as minimal as possible. “You are as red as yonder flags, Monsieur,” she said gently. “But don’t you see? Your past no longer matters. Everyone here is united in love, and you especially are my dear, because you raised my Cosette, my heart and my soul.”

He felt a familiar pang in his chest at these words, echoing that from when the Pontmercy boy had requested his daughter’s hand. “Then I suppose we are of the same spirit,” he said finally, when the tide of gratitude and jealousy and guilt had subsided enough to let him breathe, “for your heart and soul not only saved my own, but became them.”

She ran the backs of her fingers down his cheek, a maternal touch that life had scarcely allowed her to apply to her own child. He closed his eyes and listened. There were people singing.

“But this,” he began again, eyes still closed, “this cannot be.” It was painful to be reminded of the past, but, apparently, necessary. “Those boys died here; they failed to inspire the soul of Paris, so why -- and why me, why us? You did not live-”

He cut off his words abruptly, as though he thought it a breach of heavenly protocol to remind her that she had not lived to see the ill-fated June of 1832, had in fact missed it by nearly a decade.

“But they died there,” he continued again, “and this place means little to me, save -- save something that is far from a pleasant memory, and-”

He wasn’t sure what else to say, and when Fantine did not speak for some long moments, he timidly peeked open an eye. She seemed to be waiting for something.

Tentatively, he raised both eyelids; she was not looking at him, but beyond, squinting at the massive barricade in the distance. Puzzled, he glanced down at his feet, and where before there had been the remains of what seemed to be all the furnishings in France, there was now soft spring grass.

“Already,” Fantine whispered, to him or to herself. “Monsieur, I thought -- oh, but you are no ordinary man in this regard either, so I see. No, Monsieur le maire, Monsieur Fauchelevent, Saint Jean Valjean, this is not your eternity. But I did hope that seeing what this place has become -- when they first arrived, you see, they did not sing but shouted and cried, and the structure was scarcely more than a few rocking chairs and mattresses -- might hearten you before your journey.”

With great effort, he fought off the instinct to repeat the final word back to her, but he could feel his face fall, and his shoulders droop. He was too tired to travel further, and too old, and he did not know the way, and he sensed that he could not keep the disappointment from his expression. Cosette had often told him that even though he kept his past a closed book to her, his face was often an open one.

“You smiled when you arrived, but so quickly it fades,” noted Fantine.
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Re: FILL: Wet and Weary (1b/?)

(Anonymous)
Again, Valjean felt the urge to apologize for his manners, and this time he did, simultaneously lifting the corners of his mouth, though they were heavier than anything he had lifted in his wasted youth. “Forgive me my rudeness,” he stumbled, “I had just -- not imagined that -- attaining one’s glory -- that is -- for me I had never presumed it at all, but when you guided me here -- did I say something wrong?” For Fantine’s features, so delicate in death, had begun to warp, but not, as Valjean had feared, in anger or disappointment; rather, she again began to laugh.

“Your heart is so big, Monsieur,” she said, when she was again able to speak; a soft chuckle still lightened her voice. Valjean ducked his head to hide his sheepish smile. She reached up and rested a pale hand lightly on his shoulder. “But, my love, this is not your glory.”

He raised his eyes to hers again, briefly, then blinked and looked aside. “It... is not?”

“Walk with me further,” said Fantine, and turned, heading toward a forest that had no place being so near the scene of an event that had happened in Paris.

Although all he wanted to do was rest, he could not but follow. Though her legs were much shorter, she covered distance quickly, and if he’d had the strength, he would have had to jog to keep up. But the strength that had filled his muscles when he’d first found himself reunited with all the children lost was ebbing from his body like blood from a reopened wound, and the best he could do was keep her diaphanous gown in his sights as she moved ahead, further and further from the barricade.

When she got to the edge of the forest, just up to the first tree, she stopped, turned around, and waited for him to catch her once more, shading her eyes from the rays of the sun with a pale, bare arm.

“It is,” he said breathlessly, forcing himself to put more spring into his step as he approached, “wonderful to see you so strong.” Certainly, he had never seen her so in life -- or if he had, when she worked in his factory, he had not noticed; yet another of his unforgivable crimes.

Demurely, she looked down for a moment, blushing like a proper woman, running her fingers through the long locks that had no recollection of having seen before. And had not noticed until that moment. Was that how she had always appeared? He fought back a comment, and instead waited for her to speak, putting to use his lifetime of patience even in the afterlife. She combed through her hair, then lifted her head to look at the sky, which still held the clarity of a summer’s day. “Soon,” she said.

“Soon?”

“You too will be so soon, I believe. I want to believe. Oh, Monsieur Jean!” He startled at the address, but now she had turned away from him, looking into the depths of the forest. “I will soon see you again, and we will have a long talk, and you will tell me everything!”

Little made sense, and the further they walked, the more Valjean’s mind moved with the consistency of old porridge. It took him far too long to make words for what he was trying to think. The brief clarity that had filled his mind when he had first set foot on that heavenly barricade had long since been covered by the fog that had blanketed everything he’d experienced since that day in June. “Are you leaving? You can’t leave! What will I do?”

She had stopped once more, where the shadows of the forest ended the pale green of the fields with a line that could almost have been drawn with a ruler. She gave him a moment’s time to reach her -- his legs felt so heavy, as though he were again trudging through the quicksand of a sewer, or, going further back in time, as though he were once again a youth with an iron chain clapped around his ankle for the first time -- and only turned to him at the moment that his shoulders aligned with hers, though not once had she glanced back.

“I will be waiting for you,” she said. That did not answer his question.

“But...”

“Everything is for the best here.” Another reassurance, but another non-answer. Her smile did not reach her eyes, which held his firmly.
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Re: FILL: Wet and Weary (1b/?) - OP

(Anonymous)
Seeing that another part was up made my morning, A!A. <3 I really like the touch of mystery that's present in this part, and I enjoyed the conversation with Valjean and Fantine; It was really smooth and flowing and your characterization of Valjean, I think, is spot on. After all, he has been through a lot in his lifetime, and I can imagine the shock of finding out that even the afterlife is not the final destination, but merely a beginning of another journey.

I'm eagerly awaiting to see what the afterlife has in store for Valjean, and eventually, his reaction when/if he comes across Javert. :)
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