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Pour la Justice!
Javert gripped the gun even tighter in his hands, the cold metal mouth pressed into the soft flesh of Val Jean’s neck. The rain came down in icy sheets around him, soaking him through his clothes and nipping at his bones. He did not care. He was close, so close… more so than he had ever been. His life’s pursuit, finally at an end! The criminal was finally about to be brought to justice, which had waited so long to be satisfied. And now, on the cold empty streets of Paris, at last it would claim its prize.
Val Jean met his gaze. That calm, resigned gaze that Javert loathed. How dare the man accept his fate! Did he not know what awaited for him, resting patiently in Javert’s hands? He had brought this on himself! Where was the repentance? He should be groveling on his knees, begging for the Inspector’s mercy. He was a filthy criminal, he did not deserve peace! If he wanted peace, he should have killed Javert when he had had the chance.
The room was settling to a steady drizzle. The cold metal was warming to the temperature of Val Jean’s skin. A choice had to be made.
“It is a pity,” Javert said slowly. “That the law does not allow me to be merciful.”
“No more of a pit than what I feel for you, Javert.” Val Jean spoke, his voice dry and cracked. “You do not lack mercy, you just simply don’t feel it. It’s not a human trait…” he was silenced when the gun forced his jaw shut.
“Don’t you dare pity me,” the inspector hissed. “I never asked for it.”
Silence. The rain continued to drum against the street at a maddening pace.
Ruefully, Javert drew the gun away.
“Go,” he said, shoving the gun back into his belt.
“You’re letting me go?” there was a flicker of something behind the man’s eyes. A vaguely haunted look, something that took him back all those years to the prison quarry.
“Do not mistake my actions for kindness,” Javert snapped. He couldn’t look at Val Jean anymore, so he turned away. It was overwhelming, the sheer pain and suffering that reflected in the man’s eyes. “I am letting you go, Val Jean, to repay a debt that unfortunately I owe you. The next time we meet, I shall not be inclined to do so.”
A moment of hesitation, and then a weary smile touched Val Jean’s lips.
“So you best make sure we do not meet again,” Javert stressed.
Val Jean nodded and slicked back his dripping hair. “I’m not going to forget,” he said, quietly.
“It’s best that you do,” Javert replied. “Because in the eyes of myself and the law, this never happened.”