Pairing: S(William)/X

Rating: Eventual NC-17. VERY eventual.

Disclaimer: I am not Joss, damn it. I am also not Mutant Enemy, though I may be A mutant… and an enemy of someone, somewhere. The boys are not mine. *pouts*

Summary: Human AU set in the late 1700's Various parts of the US. A young Londoner is forced to go live with his father in America, but does he ever make it there? Maybe. Maybe not.

A/N: I am way too lazy to do actual research, so this is entirely inaccurate from an historical standpoint. Let’s say that it’s not only human AU but entirely AU. MY world, my rules, my history. *grins* No offense is meant to anyone of Native American descent or to anyone in Boston, Arizona or Texas. I am wildly enamoured of Ancient Native American culture and mythology but I have every intention of mixing tribal beliefs at will. This goes back to the ‘lazy’ comment above. I have also played fast and loose with the geography… see previous sentence. LOL

Warnings: All plot is merely to get the boys together. Attempted non-con in one part, but not by either of our guys. Character death (VERY minor—like, doesn’t even count, really, cuz it’s nobody important here).

Written for: the [info]fall_for_sx 2007 season.

Distribution: Spander Files, if they want it… and anyone else I’ve said yes to before. Otherwise, ask and I’ll prolly say yes. LOL





New World


by
Tisienne Blue



Part One



23 October, 1778

Dear Mother,

I miss you.

Yes, I know I promised that I wouldn’t mourn inappropriately, but as this is my first entry in the journal you recommended I keep, I feel that such words are not only permissible but entirely forgivable, as well as true.

It has only been nineteen days since I laid you to rest, Mother, and although I am trying to be strong, it is difficult.

I am to board the ‘Smiling Eyes’ in the morning to embark upon the voyage to the Colonies.

I suppose I should not refer to them as such any longer. It is ‘America’ now, is it not? Bloody ungrateful settlers. And I do apologize for speaking in such a manner, however I find that my ire is raised by the knowledge that I must now go there to join Father.

I do not WISH to go to America, but you know that. We discussed it on many an occasion. I do not wish to live with Father, whom I barely recall. Perhaps I might feel differently had he not left us when I was but four years old. Still, I suppose such was preferable to having him force us to accompany him on his quest for fortune and adventure.

We had enough fortune, did we not? Yet obviously being husband and father did not provide the excitement he sought.

I know that it was not your intention that I use this journal as a link to you, Mother, and I sincerely give you my word that I will not do so in future. This book is, though, the last thing you gave me, and as such I can not help but think about you when I write within its pages.

One thing we never discussed during your thankfully short illness was the words you wished inscribed upon your stone. I believe my choice was not ill, regardless of the look Mister Fortesque sent my way upon its unveiling.

‘Darla Ravielle O’Leary, 1745-1778, Beloved Mother…

She walked in beauty and grace and lays in His Hands, a child’.

I felt that you would appreciate the sentiment, although I can no longer share your belief in some nebulous ‘God’.

I am not entirely sure that I trust Mister Fortesque to look after the family interests while I am a full ocean away awaiting my majority, but as I am only seventeen, I haven’t much choice in the matter. Perhaps I will speak on it with Father after I have arrived.

I dread the coming journey with every fibre of my being.

I have never found the notion of sea travel appealing and the fact that I will not only be on the ocean but trapped there for at least eight weeks does nothing for my mental state.

How I wish the consumption had passed you by, Mother. Or been drawn to me instead. Perhaps, being younger, I might have fought it off and triumphed where you could not.

You were always delicate and yet you were also always strong. I remember so many nights when you held me, slender arms pushing back the darkest dreams.

If only you were here now, for this… this is no dream, but I feel certain that you could protect me. That you could and would make me feel safe, as only you have ever done.

I will miss London, although not in the way that I miss you. It feels as though I have lost my entire world, and I know not what awaits.

I am hoping that Society in this Texas of Father’s is not too different from what I am used to. Perhaps I am simply worrying too much. I do have that tendency, as you know.

According to the crier, it is now two of the clock. I truly wish that I could sleep overlong and miss the ‘Smiling Eyes’. It will be at least a month before another ship leaves for ‘America’.

Unfortunately, Mister Fortesque seems to have a vested interest in making sure that such an event does not occur and as I am certain he will ensure my wakefulness in ample time to board, I suppose it would be best to retire.

I miss you, Mother.

With love,

William





He carefully cleaned his writing instrument—a pen, his friend Daniel had called it, although William had never owned one before, having made do with the standard quill—and capped the small pot of ink as his words dried.

One minuscule tear flowed down his cheek and he dashed it away, flushing in shame.

He was a man, and men did not cry. That was a womanly activity, and while William was possibly not the most masculine of young men, he was far from girlish.

“I am sorry, Mother,” he whispered, discarding his dressing gown and climbing into the high bed which was surprisingly comfortable, considering it was in an Inn not far from the docks, “but I’ll not be addressing you again in my journal. I must… let go. I will always love you and I wish you naught but peace with your God.”

That He had once been William’s God as well wasn’t something he chose to think about overmuch. After all, what kind of benevolent creator would take a boy’s beloved Mother away so suddenly, leaving him no option other than this… trip he was to make?

“I am going to hate America,” he mumbled as the events of the last few weeks caught up with him and dragged him down to sleep.





Part Two


November 16, 1778

“Did you hear, Joy-of-my-heart? Our eldest son has brought in another deer!” The Chief of the tribe smiled proudly at his capture-bride, thanking his Gods for the day he and the rest of the scouting party had come upon her smoking encampment, although that had been a bad day otherwise.

He would never know just why the raiding enemy tribe had chosen to attack, mostly because he and his warrior braves had decimated them in minutes and left none to speak, but he frequently blessed the fact that they had. Otherwise, he never would have found the woman. His woman, now.

That she had been pregnant was of little concern to him once he’d looked into her wide, frightened eyes and seen his own soul staring back at him.

He had claimed her at that moment, as was his right. He was the Chief’s son and already chosen by their Shaman as his Father’s heir.

And he had taken her son as his own, although the boy’s natural father had somehow learned of his existence some years later and insisted upon equal time with the child after some careful negotiations.

The woman smiled, pushing sun-lightened hair behind one ear as she stirred the corn and buffalo mixture over the fire before their teepee. The iron pot was one of the few things she’d managed to salvage from the wagon train she’d been traveling with and it had become a treasured possession for the whole tribe. Her dowry, in a manner of speaking.

“I did, my love,” she replied easily, her use of the tribal language still heavily accented, though she’d never tried to change that. Her man found the small lilt charming and she knew it. “In fact, I believe our youngest had a hand in it, as well.”

It truly still amazed her that this man—this ‘savage’, as her people would say—never differentiated between the boys, though the elder was his solely by love. That was the true measure of a man, she’d come to realize. The ability to love whole-heartedly and without reservation, regardless of anything else.

Her husband—former husband, to be more precise—would never have chosen to take on a woman who was with child. Of course, he also wouldn’t have come to such a woman’s rescue, but Hank was a man of cities and business. He likely wouldn’t have lasted more than a week in the wilds of this enormous country.

Sometimes, when she was feeling particularly honest with herself, Joyce admitted that she was glad she’d taken the trip Hank hadn’t wanted to allow. She’d been so determined, though, that he hadn’t been able to stop her.

Of course, the fact that she’d discovered she was pregnant a mere month before she was to leave had him changing his tune.

She blamed his brother Walter for that… Walter and his stories of what his wife had been like while carrying their first child… and their second.

So Hank had let her go off to the West to visit with her sister, and while Joyce had never gotten there, she’d found her home. And she’d found the kind of man she’d always dreamed about, even as a child.

Strong. Capable. Loving. Smart.

And that man… well, certainly he’d frightened her at first. She’d heard the whispered stories about Indians and what they did with White Women, after all, but…

Rupeh-hey was nothing like that. As she’d discovered after less than a week in his tent.

He’d wanted her. She’d known that. She’d seen it every time he’d looked at her, and yet… he’d never taken advantage.

He’d simply ensconced her there and slept a few feet away in a separate pile of furs and taught her his language slowly but surely… he’d taken care of her and gotten his mother to teach her how to cook over an open fire, how to scrape and tan hides, how to ornament his buckskins with quills and beadwork, and… do everything a man of his status would require in a wife.

He’d held her hand when the birthing pains made her cry out to her God, wiped her brow and stroked her swollen belly as it rippled roughly with contractions, and through it all he’d ignored his own mother and the wise-women of the tribe who insisted that no man be present during the sacred woman-time she was experiencing.

And when the baby finally came, hours later, she’d been cradled between his thighs, her back tight to his chest as his mother delivered their first son… the one that wasn’t even his!

And he’d taken that tiny, squalling infant into his hands, the boy still bloody from his arrival, and left the tent.

She’d watched through the open flap as he’d held the angry little boy up before his assembled tribe and announced the arrival of his son, whom, he stated clearly through the furious baby’s cries, Joy-of-his-heart had named Alexander, but who would be known to the tribe as Soul of Zephyr— spirit of the west wind.

His actions on that day had amazed her even more a year later when she’d birthed their second child, Lawrence—or Chance the Autumn Wind, as he was known to the tribe… and Rupeh-hey hadn’t been even a little bit more—or less—excited and pleased.

Rupeh-hey smiled and leaned down, stroking his woman’s hair. “Yes, Joy-of-my-heart… and that pleases me greatly. They are fine warriors and hunters that you have given us.”

Joyce smiled up into his eyes and laughed. “I think you might have had more to do with it than I did, my love. It was not I who initiated them into the men’s mysteries… or put them on the Brave’s Path.”

He shook his head, dropping to one knee as he kissed her slowly. “No, my Joy,” he smiled back when he pulled away, “As you know, everything belongs to the woman. The man is simply lucky to be allowed its use. Our boys owe their strength and courage to you, but I might have helped just a bit.”

She laughed again and pushed him away gently. “Off with you. I know what you’re after and you’ll get it, Rupeh… but later. I won’t let you make me burn dinner this time.”

Rupeh-hey laughed as well. “I’ll have to try again tomorrow,” he said as he stood and looked towards the edges of their camp. “And I do believe our sons have finally caught up with the scouts.”


~*~*~*~*~


Zephyr chuckled to himself as he and Chance lugged the carcass of the stag into camp. It looked like father and mother were playing again, judging by the looks on their faces. Then again, they always shone with the love they bore each other.

He managed to swallow his own small sigh, though he still missed his late love. Jesseh had been dead for close to a year, gone back to join the circle of life and death, and while Zephyr was happy for him, he was also sad to be without his company.

Still, life went on, and he knew that Jesseh wouldn’t wish for his grief. A thought now and then, yes. But sorrow? No.

He’d rejoined the Great Wheel, after all, and that was nothing to regret.

“Hey, Chance!” he called ahead to his younger brother, “Maybe you should claim one of the antlers! I bet Cordaha would love it… she could make you beads from it… or loin-pegs!” He sniggered, knowing just how big of a crush his brother had on the slightly older girl.

Chance slowed then adjusted his hold on the deer’s neck as he turned a bit to face his brother. Brown eyes met equally brown ones, and though Chance’s skin was a touch darker, it was very clear that the two were closely related.

“I… don’t say things like that, Zeph! She’s…” his eyes went dreamier than a warrior’s should, but then again, he was only seventeen. “She’s… wonderful!”

Zephyr rolled his eyes at the wistful tone to Chance’s voice. “She’s beautiful. Like White Corn Woman. We all know that. But Chance…” he set himself, thighs tensing as he held the stag’s weight, “You’re Father’s son. She’s only half a turning older and… she looks on you kindly.” He grinned on the inside when his brother blinked.

“She watches you, Chance. And I may not be experienced with females, but… to me it seems that she watches you the way I used to watch…” his eyes dropped for a moment. “The way I watched Jesseh. Don’t… don’t lose that if it’s something you could have, brother.”

Chance blinked again, then shifted his grip on the deer. “Fine,” he said, like he was doing Zephyr a favor, “I’ll take an antler. And when I offer it to her and she shoots me down like she’s done to, oh… every other brave in the tribe, I’ll know who to blame!”

Zephyr grinned—externally this time—as they finally reached the fire before their parents’ tent. Cordaha wouldn’t refuse the antler. He knew she wouldn’t. She’d told him all about her interest in Chance, after all… repeatedly. At length. Exhaustively. Until Zephyr was ready to scream!

Now if he could just find someone he cared for again, things would be… perfect.

Unfortunately, that didn’t seem likely.





Part Three





29 December, 1778

I was correct, indeed. I do hate America.

One would think the first sensation one would experience upon reaching land after more than two months adrift on choppy winter seas would be relief.

It is not.

I do not care for this… country, if I may even call it that.

The people are ill-mannered and poorly spoken. They smell… odd.

I am not entirely certain that they understand what water is, other than something to drink when they’ve run out of spirits.

The voyage was atrocious; the living conditions sub-standard to my way of thinking.

I am a gentleman! I had expected to be treated as such!

Yet the Captain, may he rot in whatever Hell demons of his sort inhabit, showed me upon boarding to a cabin not quite as large as my closet at home! AND had the unmitigated gall to imply that I was lucky to have it!

I believe he may also have had the cook poison me, for I was unable to retain food for close to two weeks!

Of course, it may be that it was the entire food supply which had become somehow contaminated. I very clearly recall the nightly moaning, grunting and crying out which came from the crew quarters beneath my own, although those sounds continued long past the time when I recovered.

I find myself worried that those noises… affected me rather oddly, but that is my secret and it shall not be repeated outside of these pages.

The trip did eventually end.

I am here now, and I suppose I must make the best of it.

It is true that Mr. Fortesque’s letter of introduction gained me admittance to the home of one Mr. Walter Summers, and I must admit that he is a fine man. Refined, even, when compared to the ruffians I saw in the streets.

His home is rather well appointed, and while he is perhaps slightly beneath my own station, America is supposedly a place where such things matter for naught.

I have met his wife and children, of course, as I am now counted ‘guest’ in their home until transport to Father’s estate can be arranged.

Mrs. Walter Summers is quite a beauty, although getting on in years. She does not appear old enough to be Mother to the three Summers children, however, though they have assured me that she is indeed.

The children themselves… I suppose I can not call them such, as only one is younger than myself, but I can not seem to help it.

They are lucky to have their Mother still and have no understanding of what it is to be suddenly bereft, as I am.

Mr. Summers informs me that I will be meeting his brother, Mr. Henry Summers, and his wife at their home on the morrow. Apparently, Mr. Henry Summers is somewhat connected with regards to transportation, so perhaps he will be able to ease my way Westward.

I am not entirely certain that it is appropriate for me to accompany my host and his family to what is clearly a private affair, but Mr. Walter Summers insists that it is not only acceptable, but expected.

I sincerely hope so, on both counts.

Boston is not entirely uncouth, but I can not quite manage to regret leaving it. I am certain this Texas of Father’s must have more to offer in the way of culture… and society.

How I long for a good soiree!

William




He gazed longingly at his journal, even as he did his best to make himself presentable, though that was difficult to do without a valet.

Still, William supposed he looked well enough.

He brushed careful fingers through his short hair, silently cursing his Father for ‘blessing’ him with the unruly curls his Mother had never had. He’d tried everything, in fact. Oils, unguents, even dressings created specifically for ladies. None of them had worked, however, and finally he’d admitted defeat.

He frowned slightly, only then noticing that he hadn’t quite regained the weight he’d lost in those first two weeks on the ‘Smiling Eyes’, but… it wasn’t likely that anyone else would notice the way his clothing didn’t quite conform to his shape. He was in America, after all.

He pulled his watch from his pocket and silently castigated himself for cutting such a fine line before rushing from his room and down to the foyer where most of the family waited.

At least he wasn’t the only latecomer, he thought with a small bit of relief as Mr. Walter Summers’ eldest child Devon came running down the stairs, his waistcoat in a bit of disarray.

William would have given the young man a disappointed look in payment for his tardiness, but he’d been avoiding even the smallest glance at Devon ever since he’d arrived.

There was something about him that made William uncomfortable… and that made him think about those moans and grunts he’d been so fascinated by on the ‘Smiling Eyes’.

It made no sense to him, of course, because the somewhat older young man was truly irritating, but something about the way he looked was… unsettling to both body and mind.

He shook off the discomfiting thoughts as Mrs. Walter Summers straightened her eldest son’s ensemble. It was time to leave, after all.


~*~*~*~*~


“Come, William,” Mr. Henry ‘call me Hank, please, we don’t stand on ceremony here’ Summers invited, “Join us in the study. Only William,” he added when Devon began to stand as well. “We have things to discuss that don’t involve anyone else.”

“Father! If he gets to come, why can’t I? I am older!” Devon nearly whined, only to swallow whatever other words he might have spoken when he saw the look on his father’s face.

Walter Summers frowned and shook his head. “You may well be older in years, my boy, but William is not as young as mere age would indicate. Now stay here with the Ladies. I’m sure they’ll appreciate your company.”


~*~*~*~*~


William’s eyes watered slightly in the smoke-filled room. He’d never been overly fond of cigars. Still, the noxious items were traditional after-dinner fare for gentlemen, along with the port he’d been pretending to sip for close to thirty minutes as the Misters Summers discussed William’s ‘situation’.

Apparently, traveling safely to Texas from Boston took some doing and neither man wanted to endanger the boy. Not when Mr. Fortesque, whom they’d attended Cambridge with in their younger days, had spoken so eloquently of the young man’s coming inheritance… and lack of business sense.

Neither Summers man had any doubt that their old friend had done everything in his power to keep the boy ignorant. It was far simpler to control someone’s fortune when they had no idea of whether it was being handled appropriately, after all.

Hank and Walter exchanged one of their ‘looks’, silently agreeing that while the boy was a bit of a prig, he was no more so than should be expected of a young and privileged Londoner, and perhaps less so, considering everything that had befallen the lad in the last few months. Walter could only imagine how Devon would be behaving in William’s place, and the thought alone made him shudder.

The main stumbling block between the brothers at the moment was that they’d discussed the way Reginald Fortesque was taking advantage of the boy and disagreed as to what should be done about it.

Of course, in the end, it wasn’t truly any of their business. It was up to William’s father to teach the young man what he needed to know, and in order to make that possible, they had to get William there!

“Perhaps,” William finally said, his voice soft but slightly hoarse from the smoke, “That is… I had understood that there was a train operating…?”

The two men exchanged another glance before turning to the young man.

“Yes, of course there is, but… the train doesn’t go in quite the right direction,” Walter said with a smile as he poured himself another snifter of aged port. “It would be better if we could hire a wagon team to take you directly to El Sangre. Unfortunately, that will take time.”

Although Mr. Walter Summers hadn’t said the words, William still heard the ‘and money’ that belonged at the end of that statement.

“Yes… and please forgive me for being so bold, but…” William blushed. “I fear I have trespassed upon your hospitality long enough, Mr. Summers. And I must admit that I am rather… anxious… to continue my journey. Might it be possible to take the train to the closest station and perhaps… hire men there? I am certain… that is, I have heard that one might arrange for such things…”

Hank frowned slightly and drained his glass. Whatever Reginald had said about William in his many letters over the last few years, Hank was coming to believe that his friend had never truly known the boy. The suggestion was entirely practical, much less time consuming than arranging a full wagon trip, and also showed that the young man had a good mind. Not to mention a sort of bravery that neither he nor his brother had been expecting.

Walter nodded slowly, silently agreeing with his twin’s assessment of the boy. “That may well be a more practical idea, William. In fact, I have some business connections in the Arizona Territories. Would it suit if I were to telegraph them tomorrow? They may be able to arrange an appropriate escort to your father’s.”

William smiled, relieved. “I will be greatly in your debt, sir. And I thank you.”


~*~*~*~*~


“Do you think I should write to Alexander?” Hank asked his brother quietly after the young man had gone to join the others. “He might make a good friend for young William and it couldn’t hurt to have someone reminding my son of the joys of civilization…”

Walter chuckled quietly and shook his head. “I doubt Alexander will ever be truly satisfied in the city, Hank. He’s wild, after all. But I don’t suppose it could do any harm.”

Hank nodded and made a mental note to write first thing in the morning. Alexander was more than likely to receive the communication well before William would arrive, assuming his son bothered to check the Painted Desert Post Office.

“Maybe he’d be willing to meet the train. That would be ideal. I’m not sure that everyone in those parts can be trusted.”

And that was at least the beginning of a plan, the men agreed.




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