All I Want for Christmas... (Solarium-Charlie)

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All I Want for Christmas... (Solarium-Charlie)

Post  Verne Fitzwilliam on Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:02 pm

Verne hated Christmas. While he was not the only person on the planet to hold such a claim to seasonal loathing, Verne had rather specific reasons for his dislike. Or rather, one specific reason. It was a damned good one too. Many years ago in the run-up to Christmas (which he had always enjoyed as a boy) his life had fallen apart in one fell swoop. The world he had known had been irreparably changed, and that year the presents that had gathered under the family tree had sat untouched, dormant, alone in an abandoned house cordoned off with blue and while police line tape. He had shunned Christmas since, and everything that came with it. The music, the decorations, the food, the gifts. All of it. He wanted no part of it, and if he had such a will to overthrow the rest of the world's fascination with it, he would have done so.

Instead, this year, he was stuck with it. Highgrove House looked like a Christmas wonderland out of some glorified Victorian Christmas card, so it was hard to avoid it. Garlands and lights lined the hallways and common rooms. Some hapless grounds keeper had even tried to string up lights at the stables, but had been promptly chased off by Verne, under the pretence that the lights would spook the horses. The stables and the house he shared with the warden seemed to be the only bastions from the festive storm. Fortunately for him, Simeon had not seemed to mind his small request that they forgo the tree and lights and other little touches of the season. It had worked out fairly well until now...

Naturally, as tasks for the evening of Christmas had been divvied out, Verne had been the first to jump at the task of supervising the solarium. He had hoped that it would be less fucking festive than the dining hall or the functions room. He was half right, but it was still decorated in the same lights and garlands. Even a few of the many massive plants had been hung with baubles. For the sake of the kids at Highgrove, he resisted the urge to pocket the shiny glass balls for later disposal, and resolved to lurking quietly by the back corner of the room, where he could supervise without imposing too much on the other poor saps wanting to get away from the celebrations and glitz.

He had not dressed in a festive manner, as some of the staff had. There was not a shred of red of green to be found upon him, and he didn't really own a formal suit outside of those he wore for various riding competitions. Relegated to such things, and eager to be in clothes he felt more comfortable in, he'd opted in for something resembling dressage attire. White shirt and black coattails were paired with black jodhpurs and his finest pair of knee-high, shiny black leather riding boots. He was idly picking at his teeth with a toothpick as he lingered at the rear of the room, pretending to supervise but mostly spending his evening staring out of the immense, seamless windows into the darkened grounds outside. He would much rather have been back at the stables, getting everyone situated for the night before putting his feet up in the office with a cup of tea and the Eastenders omnibus. Bored, he crossed one ankle over the other, his shoulder leaned into the window nearest him. At least his feet weren't aching from standing so long, given that he worked on his feet all day every day.
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Verne Fitzwilliam

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Re: All I Want for Christmas... (Solarium-Charlie)

Post  Charles Wright on Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:48 pm

Charlie drifted down the halls, on patrol as was his assigned task, and almost did not stop in the solarium. Other staff members were sent there to watch the kids who chose to hang out instead of join the dance and they likely wouldn’t need him lingering about. He was told to walk the halls, check to make sure all other doors were secure and that no children were attempting to slip off into other parts of the home while the party was in swing. But as he neared the door he felt…something pulling him in. It was almost as if he knew he had to be there. Like those moments people have where their gut tells them something and they end up saving a life or being saved themselves because of this split second change in course. He felt that same pull as he moved through the hall, eyes on the light spilling out from the room. He couldn’t explain it, but the need to be in there now was so pressing that by the time he reached the threshold his pace had increased to nearly a jog.

Stopping in the door way his eyes scanned the area, locating each resident and staff member to make sure all were accounted for. Not that he’d know how many people were supposed to be in there or if there was actually a set number but he had to look. Half of Charlie expected to find someone bleeding on the floor but no, all seemed well. Relief rushed through the teacher and he almost walked back out when the man standing in the corner caught his eye. Once again Charlie’s gut was talking to him, telling him he had to move closer for a better look. The surroundings and the manner in which the man was dressed gave him flashes to scenes in his favorite book, watching the distant and disinterested man among the elegant decorations and lively party. At first Charlie thought nothing of this and even laughed softly to himself at the mental comparison. Mr. Darcy indeed. He still pressed on, wanting to attempt to brighten the evening of the gentleman who seemed utterly miserable.

But as the gap between them closed and he could see the face of the other man in the reflection in the window he felt…something. Mr. Darcy….Darcy…Was it? He stopped and stared for a moment, looking at him and praying to God that the other didn’t turn around and catch him staring. After fifteen years of not seeing his cousin he’d worried that if he ever did bump into him he wouldn’t recognize him but every piece of him screamed that this was him. He could see the boy who’d shared his bed in the face of the man blankly staring out the window and that hair was unmistakable. How? How could he be here? So many questions were blazing through his mind as he questioned his own sanity for thinking that this was his Darcy. If he’d been here why hadn’t he reached out to him? Had he been here the whole time? Charlie didn’t know whether to be excited or hurt in this moment. If Darcy had been at Highgrove why didn’t he look for him? Charlie had stayed in Spalding so that he’d be easy to track down. Maybe he had tried but his mother had intercepted. He figured he ought to figure out who this man was before getting worked up over what could be nothing. After all it had been so long. He may just be another man with similar facial features. But that gut feeling, the one that had brought him to the room to begin with, was still telling him that this was Darcy. Which was probably why the words that came out of his mouth did without giving him a chance to edit them. He neared him, hands shaking at his sides, hope and some fear in his eyes. “Do you dance, Mr. Darcy?”
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Re: All I Want for Christmas... (Solarium-Charlie)

Post  Verne Fitzwilliam on Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:35 pm

Verne "Darcy" Fitzwilliam had not been called 'Darcy' in many a year, and never by anyone but his fondly remembered Cousin. Sometimes, when the nights were long, cold and lonely, he pushed his mind to wander, wishing he could master the art of astral projection so that he could float out of himself, and find Charlie wherever he might be. But he'd never been able to do it, and being chained to the corporeal earth meant that Charlie was gone from his life. As the years ticked by and the rest of 'Darcy's' life unfolded before him, he simply began to hope that Charlie was happy and healthy, somewhere far away from him. He grew to imagine himself as poisoned, the ultimate bad luck charm. The belligerent berating of his uncle did not help matters, and years after he'd been transferred from Dr. Rose's car to Dr. Penhurst's care, he began to question his own self worth and whether anyone would ever actually care for him in the way he'd wanted again. His own mother had tried to kill him, and had succeeded in killing his younger brother and his father. If that wasn't a hint, he didn't know what was. His aunt -Charlie's mother- had stepped up as a surrogate mother, but in the end, she had called him a dirty little freak and had disowned him too. And then there was Dr. Rose. He wasn't even sure what he thought or felt about that any more. Some deep, dark part of him wanted to hate the man, but he couldn't logically find a reason why he should.

For years he'd thought about trying to find Charlie, to contact him. But wasn't Charlie better off without him? Maybe he was married by now, with a happy family, a couple of kids to read his books to. Verne showing up on his doorstep might be just the kind of disaster he didn't need. It would complicate things, and it would only hurt them both more, surely. Not to mention, his uncle and the shrinks were typically watching him like a hawk. There would be no way he could slip away for a few days to try and track him down. He found it too difficult to lie to anyone any more enough to cover something like that up, and Charlie's mother had been very specific that Verne should never try to contact her son again. Maybe she was right. Maybe he was a dirty little freak. Maybe he'd just imagined that Charlie felt the same as he, those long years ago. Maybe he was crazy. And maybe he was just to chicken shit too find out for sure.

Whatever the case, he hadn't sought Charlie out when he'd finally left the livery in Surrey some weeks ago. Psychologically speaking, a shrink would probably say that he had trust issues and a deep-seated fear of rejection. They might also add that he preferred to live in his own dream world where he and Charlie were happy and meant to be together, than risk finding out that the reality was not so bright. He'd just gotten stuck into his new work at Highgrove, and had tried to push all thoughts of his past from his mind. But it was difficult. This house and these grounds were like something out of one of those books Charlie loved so much, and as he stared out of the solarium window, he couldn't help thinking of his cousin. He felt so impossibly near now, as if the very walls and floors could exhale the essence of him into the room. The faintest of electric chills slithered up his spine to nest in the wild swoops of hair at the nape of his neck, and he shifted against the glass to rub his arms with each opposite hand, absently. It wasn't until he heard his name, that reality forced its way in. He answered without skipping a beat, not even sure where the words had come from. He hadn't even thought to turn around, hadn't thought to craft them. It was muscle memory.

"Not if I can help it..."

Only then did he slowly roll his shoulder against the window, enough that he could pivot by it some and turn his head to stare. Given the few seconds thought that followed his answer, he realised that he could not mistake that voice, that name... or that face. Had Charlie been looking for him all these years? had he finally tracked him down? Was he even here at all, or had Darcy foolishly fallen asleep at the window? Maybe he was sleepwalking again. He'd seen Charlie in his dreams so many times over the years that his reaction to seeing him now might not have been as surprised as it should have been. He took the apparition with degree of healthy scepticism. "I'm asleep, aren't I?" He queried of the spectre of his cousin, now full grown into a man. "I knew I shouldn't have had wine with dinner." With a saddened but resigned expression, he turned his face back to the window, to watch the grounds outside again. But Charlie's reflection in the darkened glass caught his eye instead, and he found himself watching it, though he didn't want to. He didn't want the dream, because he didn't want to have to wake, and have it dissolve all over again. "You look... good. Nice. ...Heh." He smiled a wistful smile, lifting a hand to touch the cold glass where Charlie's reflection appeared to him. "Just like I imagined you'd look, actually. I suppose that's appropriate though."
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Re: All I Want for Christmas... (Solarium-Charlie)

Post  Charles Wright on Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:39 pm

The day Darcy was taken away was burned into the memories and dreams that haunted Charlie along with a guilty pang that came around every Christmas. He loved the holiday and couldn’t help but want to celebrate it to its commercialized fullest. His mum continued with Christmas after Darcy came to live with them and he remember each year he’d spend much of his time comforting his cousin, feeling like a horrible person for being so excited about the presents under the tree in the front room. The first Christmas without Darcy had been a rough one and all he’d asked for that year was to have his cousin back. He’d even written to Father Christmas on the off chance that a little bit of magic would come his way and he’d hear from him. The letters stopped after that year but it was always a wish. At night Charlie would pray for it, hoping that one day his Christmas wish to see his beloved cousin would one day come true.

He’d made the wish this year, last night when he’d been lying awake in his bed. He’d already opened the packages from his family and enjoyed the little dinner he’d made for him and his roommate. It wasn’t anything fancy but it did the trick. It was true that Charlie’s move from Spalding had been him resigning himself to the fact that he would never find Darcy again but it didn’t feel right not making the little wish. What harm could it do? The disappointment of it not coming true had become part of his holiday ritual and so one last time would just finish it off. So he’d closed his eyes, mumbled it to the stars, and rolled over. He wanted to hope that this time, this last time, it would come true but he knew better. He would get up and help with set up, chaperone the dance, go home, go to bed, and Christmas would be done for another year. He never thought that it might actually come true but here to stood, staring at a man who could very well be his long lost Darcy. Had his prayers and wishes finally been heard? Would he finally get his love back? He stood there watching him and waited for the response. Darcy would know how to reply. He always asked this question if they were goofing around and somehow dancing came up.

Charlie’s heart skipped a beat at those few words and he breathed in, emotion filling him instantly. That was the answer he’d been hoping for. But his happiness was put on hold a second later when Darcy turned back to look at him. He’d imagined their reunion to be full of desperate hugging and happy gibbering, unable to properly express just how much they’d missed each other. Instead, Charlie felt the bubble deflating within him as Darcy dismissed this as a dream and went back to looking out the window. How could he so easily brush this off? He couldn’t even entertain the idea that he was really here? Confusion and a little sadness began to color the reflected face that Darcy was watching as Charlie took a step closer to him. “Darcy, you’re not dreaming. I’m here.” His hand lifted as though he might reach out to him and he wanted to so badly but his hand stopped just short of reaching his arm. It hovered there a moment before he pulled it back, eyes falling to the floor. Maybe Darcy didn’t want to see him. Maybe this was his way of rejecting him without having to actually come out and say it. “I…I work here. I’m a teacher. Please…Darcy…”
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