Javert survives the Seine and finds redemption. Javert/Original Character
was what she believed) to another dead man? Tears burned in her throat as she cried out to God.
After a moment she looked again on the dead man. She knelt and kissed his forehead. The dead
man's eyes fluttered open. Victoria jumped back, barely covering a scream.
The man sat up, and began to cough violently, to the point of vomiting, although he had nothing to
vomit except for more of the murky water that his lungs were already expelling through his mouth
and nose. After the fearful paroxysms of coughing and retching had subsided, Victoria took out her
handkerchief, and gently wiped the man's face. He offered no resistance as she went about her task.
He lay back, exhausted, his eyes closing of their own accord.
"No!" Victoria cried, rousing him with a violent shake. "There's only me! I can't carry you!"
"Then I shall die here." He said hoarsely, "It is of no consequence..."His voice trailed off.
"No!" Victoria cried again, almost hysterically. She grabbed him by the shoulders, tenaciously trying
to force him into a sitting position. "You will NOT die! I...won't...ALLOW it!!!"
The man stared at Victoria, noticing for the first time how small she was. This tiny woman, wearing a
man's coat and hat, physically willing him to live. If she only knew...
Undeterred, Victoria continued to push and shove. He sat up and caught her hand. "Madame." He
said, "Stop at once. You do not know me. Why is my life of any concern to you?" Victoria looked at
him, new tears streaming down her cheeks. "It is you who have saved my life, Monsieur."
He couldn't be sure of what it was that convinced him, perhaps the honest innocence in the deep
brown eyes, or the desperation of her voice; how unusual to feel swayed by such trivialities... but for
now, he would do as he was bidden. He rose to his full height, only to be overcome by waves of
dizziness and nausea. He held onto Victoria for support, and she allowed him to sit down for a
moment until the feeling passed.
"I'm sorry, Monsieur." Victoria said, after several minutes, "We must be on our way. I promise it
won't be long."
He rose, slowly this time, and they started walking toward Victoria's home.
Once they'd arrived, it was a simple matter to find dry nightclothes for Victoria's guest to change
into. After all, Antoine had closets full of clothing for all occasions. Strangely, Victoria held no
sentimental attachment to any of her late husband's clothing or indeed to most of his personal effects.
Without him, they were nothing at all. She supposed she would eventually give them all to the needy.
How fortunate that this man was of a similar build, although considerably taller...no matter, in the
morning Victoria would lengthen a pair of trousers to fit. His own clothing would have to be
laundered, perhaps mended. Victoria would see to that.
The man numbly complied with Victoria's ministrations without uttering a word. By this time, a chill
had set in, and he was shivering too much to talk anyway. Victoria decided he'd be better off settled
into her own bed. She would sleep in the smaller guest's quarters. Her aunt wasn't due back till late
the next day, against her better judgment, but Victoria had insisted.
The rigors of the man's ordeal, combined with the dry clothes and the warm bed, were such that he
fell instantly asleep. Victoria wished she had bothered to ask him his name before that, but she
supposed, that could wait until tomorrow. "Tomorrow will come after all." She said, as she gently
kissed him goodnight. "For both of us."