As early as Cosette could remember, she had her Papa and her Father. The two men had decided these names early on before they even know a little girl would enter their lives.
"If we were to have a child, what would we be called?" Valjean asked. He was supine on the grass with his head resting on Javert's lap. Javert had been reading a crime novel while Valjean looked up at the sky. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon after Mass. Javert never joined Valjean; he instead waited in a nearby park reading until the service was over, and Valjean joined him. This had been the habit for the past few years since they were married.
"What do you mean?" Javert asked curiously, not putting his book down.
"Well, one of us is obviously dad or some other paternal title, but what about the other? Would you like to be called 'mom'?" Valjean said while propping himself on his elbow and looking down.
"Of course not!" Javert scoffed and gently hit Valjean's leg with the book.
"Well?" Valjean was not ready to drop this line of conversation
"We haven't even decided if we are having a child. Christ, you only just sprung this idea on me last week!" Javert said, putting his book down and looked into his husband's eyes.
"Please don't use the Lord's name in vain and besides…humor me," Valjean pleaded.
"Oh, fine!" Javert said and then thought. "I suppose Father would be appropriate."
"So formal. Any particular reason?"
"Excuse me; I am the Inspector here."
Valjean sat up and put his arms in front of himself in defense.
"I suppose," Javert said, relenting, "I suppose that if I ever knew my father, I think I would have called him that. Besides, 'father' commands presence and respect."
"Our child is not a prisoner. I don't want him or her thinking they have a prison warden for a parent, even if that was your old day job," Valjean said suspiciously.
"No, I suppose not. But it evokes dignity and a strong presence," Javert included, "I want our child to feel safe. And if anyone dares pick on them, they can say 'My father will hear about this!'"
"That is very interesting, a bit Draco Malfoy, but I like your intentions. And look, you sound like you are warming to the idea of a child," Valjean teased.
"I won't warm up entirely until I hear what you want to be called? Daddy?" That last word made Javert smirk. He hoped he could keep that one for himself.
"If they choose. Frankly, anything would be acceptable."
"Daddio, Dadster, male parental figure, D-man?" Javert listed off.
"Oh, goodness, no."
"Well, those could all be possibilities if you don't set a precedent," Javert warned.
"Oh, alright. Papa. I always liked that. It sounds so warm and inviting. Since we will likely be adopting, I want the child to hear something nice. Not Mr. Javert-Valjean," he said. "But depending on the culture of the child, perhaps baba or Papi. But honestly, anything the child would be comfortable with. And perhaps it will change over time."
"Yes. Father and Papa. That all sounds so… domestic," Javert noted.
And so Cosette had always known these two men as that. She was six when they adopted her, and the first words she heard from Valjean was, "Hello Cosette, I am your Papa, and this is your Father. How do you feel about coming to live with us as our daughter?"
"Yes," is all she said simply. It would take some time before she actually used those names, but she never the less knew that she had two loving parents.