Warnings: Set in 1850s, HAU/Historical Romance, M/M sex, angst, a little humor, OOC, varying chapter lengths. Vague, brief references to: underage sex (consensual), het sex, BDSM (mild), Sub/Dom, prostitution. Original characters.
Pairing: 100% S/X (With brief, vague mentions of heterosexual/homosexual relationships with others .)
Ubeta'd All freerange boo, boos are mine and should be left unmolested
Status COMPLETED. Posted daily.
Link to previous chapters HERE
Comments: Comment if you want to, though it would be nice to know someone is reading it and will encourage a sequel.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, everything belongs to someone who is not me. I write for fun not profit.
Additional Warning:This is a LONG, SLOW moving fic. Feelings/relationships develop gradually. Sexual situations happen throughout. I have tried to be historically accurate but I do not profess to be a historian, I have knowingly messed with some dates. At this time Homosexuality carried the Death Penalty, here it is viewed as a mere eccentricity.
Note 1: Although Sunnydale character names have been used they are NOT in their Sunnydale persona's. William Rochester= A version of Spike NOT human William as in BTVS.
Note 2: My heartfelt thanks go out to my dear friend Bmblbee, for pre-reading the story and her encouragement. *Hugs*
Summary: Alexander Harris is orphaned at the age of six. He is sent to live with his wealthy but uncaring aunt Anya Jenkins in Gateshead and his three cruel cousins. Aged eight he is sent away to Lowood School For Boys and endures life there for ten miserable years, eight as a student and two as an assistant teacher. At last aged eighteen he is free to leave and secures employment at Thornfield as Tutor to the bright, temperamental and eccentric Drusilla and meets The Master of Thornfield, the handsome, aloof, passionate, possibly dangerous and mysterious William Rochester.
Rating: NC17 Overall
Rating: NC17 Overall
Love, Love changes everything:
Alex shifted in his chair, he was unused to talking about himself and the enormity of distracting Mr Rochester was daunting, but he would do his best.
"My father owned a Greengrocers in Ayton and my mother was the second daughter of a coal merchant."
"So your family are in trade?" Alex nodded. "continue."
I lived a normal, happy childhood until the age of six."
"You are an only child?"
"Yes Sir." Rochester nodded. "A few weeks after my sixth Birthday my parents were killed in a carriage accident, the exact particulars are unknown to me."
"You were not with them?"
"No Sir, I was left in the charge of one of my mother's friends." Rochester motioned with his hand for Alex to continue. "I was not aware of having any relatives, I knew both sets of grandparents to have passed away and my parents never talked of any aunts or uncles. In the course of his business my father had association with a Solicitor gentleman called Hart. He and his wife took me in for a time whilst he attempted to find out if I was truly alone in the world."
"And were you?"
"It transpired Sir that I was not. In the course of his investigation Mr Hart found that my father had an older brother, Rory Harris who had apparently taken himself off to live abroad, France or somewhere. All attempts to trace him failed, but it also came to light that my mother had a sister some ten years her senior."
"Ah, no doubt a spinster lady of kind heart and good character who took you in and doted upon you?"
Alex fixed Rochester with a somewhat cold gaze. "No Sir, quite the opposite."
Rochester sipped his Madeira. "Your story intrigues me, I see from your countenance that this relative was not all that you had hoped?"
"No Sir, she was not. My aunt Anya had the great good fortune to marry far above her station and expectations to a wealthy, older gentleman. She was at the time of which we speak, a rich widow living in a large house in Gateshead with her three children. She felt herself so far removed from her family that she had severed all ties with them. It is not unexpected therefore that when Mr Hart contacted her as to my existence, she was very far from pleased.
Convention and reputation demanded that she take me in and she reluctantly did so. From the moment I entered that house until I left two years later it was made clear to me on a daily basis that my presence was neither welcome, nor wished for. " He took a deep breath. "My aunt found me a great trial, I had grown up in a small house with simple surroundings and was unused to many of the behaviors expected of me. Perhaps at that time I was not bright, or still grieving my parents but she found me stupid, sullen, withdrawn, disobedient and stubborn, she could not bear my presence in the same room with her, so I was kept largely apart and on my own. My cousins were encouraged to be spiteful and hateful, my aunt engaged a tutor for them, but I was excluded from lessons, at length she decided to be rid of me and used what little inheritance I had from my parents to secure education and board for me until I reached eighteen; in the hopes she would be permanently rid of me. I think she only spoke half a dozen words to me the time I was in Gateshead and none of those were kind. The only kindnesses I received were from the servants and the only affection from Bessie, the cook."
Rochester sighed. "I can somewhat relate to your story. My mother died shortly after my birth, my father was a man who found it hard to express his feelings, and was both cold, distant and frequently absent. Though I confess I benefited in having both a kindly nanny and tutors and of course Thornfield about me."
Alex nodded. Rochester studied him. "Telling your story does not distress you?"
"No Sir, it does not." Alex assured him.
"A month past my eighth Birthday, a gentleman called Rupert Giles came to the house. He interviewed me in the parlor and I learned he was the owner and Headmaster of Lowood School For Boys. My aunt had contacted him and secured education and board for me there until my eighteenth Birthday. The next day he collected me and what few belongings I possessed and I left Gateshead. I have not seen or heard from my aunt or cousin's since."
"So let me see," Rochester frowned a little. "at the moment you are unaware of the condition of either your aunt or cousins?" Alex nodded. "What about your uncle?"
"When I was twelve Bessie wrote to me at the school. My uncle Rory had returned to England and learnt of his brother's death and my existence. He traveled to Gateshead to see me and was told I was at Lowood. He had to return abroad and could not travel to the school but said he would make contact."
"No Sir, I never heard from him and have no knowledge of his whereabouts."
Rochester nodded. "But life at the school, that was better? You made friends and so forth?" He probed.
Alex sighed. "At first I was overjoyed at leaving Gateshead, but the expression 'out of the frying pan and into the fire' best fits what happened."
Rochester scowled. "You were bullied? I have heard it said that such establishments are rife with bullying."
"No Sir, there is no bullying at Lowood, the boys are united in their common misery, older boys take care of younger and they watch out for one another."
"Ahh, so you did make friends?" He nodded.
"Yes Sir, some. The regime at Lowood is based on abstinence, privation, sobriety and religion, it is both strict and harsh. My aunt had made certain to acquaint Mr Giles with my many faults and he and the teachers set about vigorously correcting them."
Rochester raised an eyebrow. "Did they punish you physically? Were you beaten?"
"Yes Sir, for the first few weeks until I learnt to at least give the appearance of understanding, obedience and submission."
Rochester nodded. "What were your accommodations like? Did you have a room or did many boys share one room?"
"We shared Sir, boys of a similar age are put together as many as possible to a room, each with their own, narrow cot. The building and interior are gloomy, austere and without comfort. As well as tending to our lessons we were expected to do our share of cleaning and washing. The only words to describe the place are miserable and depressing. Two days after my arrival a boy arrived called Jesse McNally, he was my age and we soon became good friends and for a time we were inseparable and my misery was relieved."
"Where is he now?"
"With the Lord Sir, Jesse died when I was eleven."
Rochester's eyebrows rose. "What happened?"
"There was an outbreak of Typhoid at the school and Jesse was amongst those who died."