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:
Xander was stunned. That any woman once having secured the affections of his Master should then choose to throw them away, was incomprehensible to him; but perhaps the lady had found some flaw in his character or nature which he, as yet had not? Then surely the right course of action would have been to make her feelings known, and if the matter could not be resolved for them to part on good terms, that she had chosen to betray Mr Rochester was abhorrent to him. Xander was drawn back from his thoughts by the sound of Mr Rochester's voice continuing his story.
"He was a dark, wickedly handsome cavalry officer." Rochester continued. "a youth of barely nineteen with a vicious temper and braggarts tongue. When I saw them together you might assume that I was consumed by jealousy and rage, but you would be wrong. I felt nothing but the bitter, chill of betrayal, my obsession and passion ended in that very instant. I felt sickened that she would choose such a creature over me and resolved to just walk away and leave them to each other." He paused. "And I would have done, but he seeing my slight build, dress and demeanor of a gentleman thought he was safe in calling into question my courage and honor and the good name of my family, I was duty bound to answer him."
Xander wondered that anyone could be so foolish.
"I called him out, a duel was arranged and venue chosen. Cordelia tried to dissuade me from it, asked me to retract my challenge, more because she knew something of my reputation with both the sword and pistol and feared for her lover than any concern for me. Since the insults had been leveled at the Rochester name in private, I requested that he apologize and there the matter would have ended, he refused. He left me no choice but to face him on the dueling field."
"Surely she feared for you Sir, you had been," Xander hesitated, "lovers for several months, she must have been concerned for you," Xander protested.
Rochester gave a bitter smile. "She had been seeing him for several weeks Xander and I suspect he was not the first, she was more enamored of my wealth and name, than of me."
Xander shook his head sadly.
"Seconds were chosen and we met at the appointed time and place. I received this scar," he indicated his eyebrow, "he died." Xander's breath caught. "You killed him?" The question was asked flatly and without emotion.
"I was responsible for his death, yes." Rochester confirmed. "It was a duel Xander, he had as much chance of killing me and in fact, he fired first." Rochester explained.
Xander blinked trying to process what he'd heard. That Mr Rochester had killed someone was unwelcome and disturbing news and yet he knew of duels being fought and of men like Mr Rochester defending their honor. He looked into the pale eyes and for a moment thought he saw an asking for understanding. That Mr Rochester was a man of honor was beyond doubt, what he had done, he was forced to do and he could not find it within himself to condemn him for it. Was it for this that Mr Rochester sought redemption? He would certainly receive no condemnation from him.
"You did what you had to do Sir," Xander stated firmly.
Rochester breathed again and continued his story.
"Hearing of her lover's death Cordelia begged me to forgive her and take her back. In truth I could barely look at her. I could see only her faults and none of her virtues, it sickened me to think how I could have been so passionate about her, so obsessed. I caused a generous amount of money to be settled on her, severed all ties and returned to London and resolved to put her out of my mind and never see her again. I resumed my life of revelry and so it continued for a few months, then she sent word she was with child and swore that it was mine. Just as she was convinced the child was mine, I was convinced it was not. She could do nothing to persuade me otherwise and I heard nothing more from her for almost two years." He paused and glanced at Drusilla still absorbed in her painting.
"During that time," Rochester continued, "my brother imprudently got his neck broken on the hunting field and as he died without a wife or issue, I inherited everything and my life changed somewhat. I found myself Master of Thornfield and several other properties, I went from having no responsibilities to being swamped by them and set about ridding myself of them as soon as possible. I found by appointing first class managers and agents my life was eased and was not as changed as I had feared. I do not know if Cordelia knew of my inheritance, but she contacted me and informed me she was dying of Consumption and that my daughter, some sixteen months old, would be raised an orphan if I did not lay claim to her." He paused and looked at Drusilla for several moments. Xander solemnly followed his gaze.
"I was convinced then and I still am, Drusilla is not my child but she could have been and in any case, my actions had robbed her of her father."
"From what you say Sir, I doubt very much the young man would have laid claim to her." Xander commented.
Rochester nodded. "Perhaps so, but I felt prevailed upon to exercise some responsibility for the situation. At any rate I resolved to see the child and so went to Paris. Cordelia was in a very poor way, she had, had Consumption for some time and there were other complications speeding her end. I got her and the child the best doctors, it was too late for her mother, but it turned out the child at least was spared any infection." He drew a deep breath. "When I saw the child I was more convinced than ever she was not mine, but it was decided, whilst she still lived Cordelia would sign the child over to me to be her legal Guardian and so it was done. I returned to London, engaged the services of Miss Mclay, we returned to Paris and collected the child and brought her to one of the London houses. We remained in London until I had word Cordelia had passed away, I arranged that she received a decent burial though I did not attend the internment. Then the three of us traveled to Thornfield where Drusilla and Miss Mclay have remained."
Both men studied the child. Rochester turned to Xander and spoke shortly. "And now I have scandalized you, you will be wanting references and to leave, no doubt."
Xander frowned and shook his head. "Nothing I have heard would merit such action, none of it is Drusilla's fault, she is innocent of all involvement. And as for the rest, I am in no position to sit in judgement. I do not know what prompted her mother to act as she did and set in motion the sad turn of events that led to this situation, and I will not apportion blame on anyone involved." He shrugged.
Rochester gazed at him and frowned slightly. He would have wagered good money that Xander would have been appalled, that he would have taken issue with his morals and been horrified that he had caused a man's death, and yet he took it all quite calmly. Rochester was relieved, telling Xander the story was a big gamble and he wasn't sure he would have been able to justify himself to the boy. "You are a strange one," he mumbled.
Xander pretended he hadn't heard. "She is not her mother and this is probably the only home she remembers." Suddenly he felt bold and looked at Rochester. "It is my opinion you are wrong Sir, in every way that counts you are to Drusilla as a father." Rochester scowled. "How so?"
"You give her a home and security, you see that she wants for nothing, that she is surrounded by kind and loving people, that she is educated, you think about her future and though you will not admit it, in your own way, you care for her. You are a charitable man Mr Rochester."
Rochester cocked his head to one side and stared at him for some moments.
"I have been called many things in my life Xander, I do not recall charitable being one of them."