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 trailed Mrs Summers from the dining room into the small drawing room. Nanny and Drusilla withdrew to the nursery and Willow was dispatched to bring the obligatory headache powder. Xander was bid take a seat and sit quietly by the fire. Willow appeared with a glass of water with a spoon in it and a small, folded, dark blue piece of paper. Under the careful scrutiny of Mrs Summers the paper was unfolded and Willow added the white powder it contained to the glass now held by Xander and thoroughly stirred it round. The water became cloudy and fizzed slightly, Xander glanced at both ladies doubtfully. "Drink it down in one go Mr Harris and you'll soon be restored." Mrs Summers instructed, Willow nodded and Xander hesitated.
Mrs Summers, herself a mother with a son in his twenties and an Under Butler at a very fine house in Tumbridge Wells, knew well the reluctant face. "Come Mr Harris, you do not want Willow to hold your nose?" She threatened as Willow flexed her nose pinching fingers, Xander drank the foul potion. To the amusement of the ladies he spluttered, coughed, retched and threatened to revisit what little dinner he'd eaten. He then belched, covered his mouth with his hand and begged everyone's pardon, the ladies seemed positively gleeful.
Willow withdrew and Mrs Summer bid him relax and allow the medicine to work, herself taking up some embroidery. She glanced at the somewhat pale young man much concerned that he seemed distracted and not at all himself. She resolved that a motherly chat was in order, to quiet his mind and set all in order.
"Tell me Mr Harris, were your past evenings in The Master 's company to your liking?" She enquired gently.
"They were Ma'am," he frowned a little. "most enjoyable."
"If you do not mind my asking, what topics of conversation did you pursue?"
"I do not mind at all, " Xander shrugged. "he was most interested to know my history and scrutinize my qualifications and accomplishments."
"Ah," she nodded. "quite so. It is to be expected is it not, that the Master should want to know the provenance of the young man employed to be the Tutor of his Ward.?"
"Yes of course." Xander nodded. There followed a moments silence as Mrs Summers glanced up at him and saw Xander look at the mantle clock. "I expect you have become quite accustomed to his company in the evenings."
Xander started a little. "The Master's company is most pleasant, but I cannot say I am accustomed to it."
She rested her embroidery in her lap and sighed. " That is prudent for to come to expect it or be disappointed when it is not forthcoming would be foolish. Mr Rochester is a gentleman and there is much truth in the adage 'birds of a feather flock together'. It may be for instance that The Master having learnt all he wishes does not seek your company further; not because he intends any unkindness or slight, but that simply he finds more to interest him in the company of his own kind."
Xander blinked, was that it? That having found out all he wanted, Rochester would now ignore him? Xander's mind raced, he saw the logic in it, Rochester was a gentleman and he was not and despite what he said they were worlds apart in social class. He was foolish to think The Master could intend any friendship. Truth and disappointment washed over him, he nodded. "I am aware of my station and my standing in the Household Ma'am."
Mrs Summers smiled at him. "We are all very fond of you, you are a most personable young gentleman." Xander ducked his head. "Thank you Mrs Summers, I am very fond of the Household." She nodded and took up her embroidery. "You will see it when the party arrives, The Master will make much of his friends, especially Lord Lindsey."
"Has the Master known Lord Lindsey long?" He asked miserably.
"A little over a year, they met in London and The Master is uncommon taken with him." She looked thoughtful. "Strange really, he is not the usual type of gentleman Master is want to befriend and this will be his third time of visiting Thornfield for an extended period."
"There are gentlemen and there are gentlemen." She fixed Xander with a firm gaze. "There are those born to high station who although used to their own way and inclined to be a mite thoughtless, treat those they meet whatever their station, with respect and courtesy until they are made aware that they do not merit it. Then there are those born to high station who count themselves better than everyone else, who demand their own way and treat all with disdain and who find fault with all. The Master is the former, Lord Lindsey the latter."
Xander nodded. "Miss Drusilla ventured that Lord Lindsey might take up residency here"
"The child hears altogether too much." Mrs Summers snorted, though her face darkened. "Why ever should Lord Lindsey want to live here? He has apartments in London," she continued. "he has been quoted as saying he finds country life dull and that is the reason he maintains no country house."
"Yet he visits his cousin at the Hall."
"True enough," she nodded. "though that is not often. Mr O'Conner himself stays mostly in the City. Though truthfully, last time he stayed the gentleman did make reference to taking up residence here, that must be where the child heard it. Master has made no mention of it, although he did not refute the statement."
Mrs Summers shook her head. "If his Lordship were to move in, there would be much upset. He has less tolerance of Drusilla than The Master, greater impatience and a sharp tongue. It was he and Miss Post the last Governess, expressed the opinion that the child would do better at a boarding school. The Master thought on it and then instructed me look for a new person to take up her education, so he must have dismissed the notion. Also his Lordship does not approve of hounds in the house, so Pilot would be placed in the kennels, again I do not think that would find favor with The Master."
"He does seem a somewhat intolerant type of person." Xander opinioned. Mrs Summers raised her eyebrow. "Nevertheless The Master is very solicitous of him." She nodded. "Though it has to be said I have never seen him so solicitous of anyone as of yourself," she added mumbling.
Xander blinked and opened his mouth to ask for clarification of the statement when Willow bustled in. "Dan's back from the village Missus, Mrs Meakin and her daughter Thelma will be here first thing tomorrow to discuss what's needed, the menus and so fourth. Anna, Rosie and Peter will be here mid morning and move into servants quarters for the duration of the party. Rowena and Mary will move in, in the afternoon and help prepare the servant's quarters for the Valets and Maids as come with the gentry."
"Good, good, we shall manage, all will be well," she nodded. "First thing tomorrow open up the guest rooms on the top floor, Master says gentry's all to be accommodated there."
"All?" Willow glanced at Xander. "All," Mrs Summers replied. Willow shrugged "We'll open the large dining room, parlors and large drawing room over the weekend," she finished.
"Very good Missus." Willow turned. "Oh I nearly forgot, Master asked if Mr Harris would be inclined to join him for an hour or so in his rooms."
Xander almost jumped out of his seat.
"But I told him," she continued. "as Mr Harris was a little indisposed."
Xander almost groaned. At that moment the door opened and Rochester strode in. He was casually dressed in boots and breeches, his shirt open at the neck and without either waistcoat or jacket. Mrs Summers blinked as he side stepped Willow and went straight to Xander. He placed firm hand on his forehead. "There is no fever, but, " he looked at Xander's face. "his pallor is pale. Has Doctor Walsh been summoned?"
The ladies exchanged glances. "No Sir," Mrs Summers began. "Mr Harris only mentioned a slight headache."
"I can send Dan right off if you want Sir?" Willow offered.
"Please," Xander panicked. "I am quite well, there is no need to trouble the doctor."
Rochester kept his hand on his forehead and looked thoughtful, then he spoke. "You will forgive me taking your evening companion Mrs Summers, I think Mr Harris would benefit from a drop of Brandy and to sit quietly in my rooms a while. You do not object?" The ladies blinked.
"Not at all Sir, as you see fit." Mrs Summers agreed.
Rochester took Xander's arm and drew him to his feet and ushered him gently along. "Be so kind as to ask Daniel to bring a small glass of Brandy to my rooms, we will try that before we summon the good doctor."
Willow nodded. "Very good Sir."