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DV Fic - Always

From the Requestathon leftovers, the prompt was: the boys as rival crime lords in prohibition-era Chicago.

I got as far as an illustration for this and then a certain character took over. So, illustration which was for the prompt first, followed by the story which has very little to do with the prompt, I’m afraid...

Title: Always

Rating: m/m mild






Leonard Vicarye had always loved Thomas Doughtie. From their early, halcyon days at Cambridge, their shared experiences at the Inner Temple, and on through the tempest and tragedy of their later lives, Leonard Vicarye had always loved Thomas Doughtie.

There were times when Leonard thought that Thomas shared his passion. Thomas Doughtie was an effusive friend, always generous with his affections – but alas, not just to Leonard. With his charm and wit and extraordinary good looks, Thomas was ever the centre of attention of a wide circle of friends; at Cambridge, at the Inner Temple, or in Elizabeth’s glittering court, wherever he went, Thomas Doughtie turned heads and attracted admirers.

In the Elizabethan world that they inhabited it was common for men to profess their love for one another. Men would embrace; men would kiss; men would extol each other’s virtues with florid, extravagant words. Such expressions of platonic love were intrinsic to gentlemanly behaviour. But this courtly love was not how Leonard Vicarye loved Thomas Doughtie. Leonard Vicarye’s love for Thomas Doughtie went well beyond the propriety of his day.

When it came to this one particular gentleman, Leonard Vicarye had always wanted so much more than the polite brushing of lips against the cheek and a firm manly embrace. He wanted to kiss the sensuous, all too perfect lips of Thomas Doughtie, slowly, softly; to gently explore his mouth with his tongue. He wanted to strip him of his fine clothes until he wore nothing, save that one beautiful, lustrous pearl earring, which he could suck and fondle; teasing Thomas and whispering in his ear until the gentleman moaned with pleasure.

He longed to tangle his fingers in Doughtie’s thick, dark hair, caress the finely sculptured face and run his hands across the pale chest and along his firm, white flank…to feel his lover’s desire growing and hardening against his own. To have him spread his legs and smile at him wantonly…

Dreams. Dreams. All just fanciful dreams, because, despite their long friendship and the close quarters they had often shared, there was a line beyond which Thomas Doughtie’s affections would not transgress. From their first meeting Thomas was a most pious young man, fervently committed to God and his commandments, an ardent believer in the new religion. Thomas Doughtie would consider Leonard Vicarye’s desire for such an unrestrained expression of his love to be a sin. And so Leonard had to content himself with being Thomas’ closest friend. He could live on that.

When Thomas Doughtie was unfairly and publicly disgraced for the sake of harmony within Elizabeth's court, Leonard Vicarye stood by him; Leonard was more than glad to have Thomas back in England away from the perils of Ireland.

When Thomas Doughtie’s young brother was thrown into a common prison for imprudent utterings against a noble lord, Leonard Vicarye worked ceaselessly with Thomas to have John released.

When Thomas Doughtie wed, Leonard Vicarye stood beside him in the church of St Clement Danes, and when he was too soon widowed, Leonard stood beside his friend at his young wife’s grave while Thomas grieved.

When Thomas Doughtie decided to go adventuring with his new friend, the privateer Francis Drake, Leonard Vicarye gave up his life at the Inner Temple and went with him. The tragic outcome of that venture becoming a poignant and greatly misunderstood episode in history.

When Thomas Doughtie was executed by his new friend, Leonard Vicarye stood beside Thomas’ young brother on the beach at Port San Julian; John, standing rigid and silent, steeled by hatred for his brother’s murderer; Leonard standing rigid and silent, numbed by cold and disbelief.

And so this saga should have ended on that bitter winter’s day, but it seemed that Leonard Vicarye’s love for Thomas Doughtie was destined to extend beyond that so tragic event and, following his own death only a few years after that of his friend, Leonard Vicarye had repeatedly found himself in the company of Thomas Doughtie in some new life.

But to Leonard’s dismay, in every existence it was the same. Thomas Doughtie was successful, gregarious, affectionate, generous; and in every existence he always, always made the wrong choice – fatally attracted to the same destructive, manipulative and possessive persona. Sometimes Leonard Vicarye’s rival would look like the Francis Drake of Elizabeth’s time; other times he would not. But always there was the look in Thomas Doughtie’s eyes when he met his fatal paramour which foretold his doom. Infatuation, wonder, anticipation were all writ large upon Thomas’ face, and Leonard knew how it would end.

Was the 16th century their first meeting? Leonard Vicarye could not remember any earlier lives, but since the death of Thomas Doughtie on 2nd July 1578, he could recall half a dozen lives where Leonard Vicarye, and Thomas Doughtie, and Francis Drake had been brought together, and always the outcome was the same: Thomas did not survive the encounter with Drake.

A French nobleman in the 17th Century, Thomas had an overwhelming desire to study astronomy; Leon Vicarye was there to assist his studies, the two friends working well into the night making their observations. In 1930’s Chicago, Lenny McVicars was the ever dependable lawyer to the baby faced gangster, Tommy Doughty; a famed gypsy flamenco dancer in 19th Century Seville, Tomas was accompanied by the guitarist Leandro Vicario. In every life the two were always constant companions. The rock star, Tommi, in London in the 1980’s had Len Vicary as his long suffering manager and to his horror, Leonardo Vicari had even been what could only been described as his pimp in 18th century Venice, where ‘Tommas’ was a high priced courtesan gracing the beds of the rich and noble.

On each reunion the tragic end differed as widely as the lives; shot, hanged, drowned, death by suicide, but always, always death in some way attributable to Francis Drake. When the end again seemed inevitable, Leonard would find himself thinking: ‘Next time …’, but really, what could he do? Thomas was always blissfully unaware of his previous lives and so seemed destined to repeat his disastrous liaison. And Leonard knew too that his own fate was sealed for, just as in Elizabeth’s time, Leonard Vicarye would not survive his friend by many years. It was as if Thomas was the one shining star of Leonard’s firmament that sustained him and when that star was extinguished his life would slowly ebb and fade.

Leonard had tried to alert his friend to the danger but Thomas only ever found the analagies amusing. He had even tried to warn Francis of the inevitable outcome because, although Drake was always the cause of Thomas' death, Leonard felt the man did truly love Thomas. Why was it only he who could remember all the past disasters? In their last encounter Leonard had to contend with a distraught and inebriated Drake, drowning his sorrows and seeking solace from Leonard after Tommi, the stellar but brittle rock musician, had taken his own life following a spectacular and public display of jealous rage by Drake. "Why, Lennie. Why? I loved him, how could he leave me?" Leonard of course, suffering his own silent grief, had no answer.

As the ages had moved on, Thomas Doughtie’s preferences, which had always been so ambiguous in the 16th century, had become more defined; by the mid 19th century he surreptitiously sought male lovers, by the 20th century he was overtly gay. But still, in all these incarnations, he viewed Leonard Vicarye as his friend. His ‘anchor’, Thomas called him. Leonard hated the term – he hated anything to do with boats.

And so on to a new century and a new life; this time, however, Leonard Vicarye had some hope. Thomas and Leonard, friends from school as ever, and partners in a successful business enterprise in London had travelled to Sydney in the mid years of the 21st Century to experience the Mardi Gras – a bawdy, freewheeling extravaganza of homosexual pride. After a week of celebrations Leonard was uncharacteristically enthralled. “Let’s stay, Thomas. Let’s stay and enjoy the sun and the freedom that this city offers.”

Thomas was bemused at such an audacious suggestions from his normally so conservative friend, but he agreed and, after 5 years, they had re-established their thriving business in their new country. They shared an elegant old Art Deco apartment in the city overlooking the Botanic Gardens, and sometimes shared a bed in Thomas’ casual and ‘non-committed’ style. Thomas in his mid thirties was as handsome as ever and, as he had always done, he took pride in his looks and worked hard at maintaining his lithe physique; swimming and running. Often now on weekends he would return from his morning run through the gardens glistening with perspiration, short of breath and high on adrenaline. He would throw Leonard a look as he walked to the shower, carelessly discarding his clothes in an unmistakable invitation that woud lead to an afternoon of more intimate physical exertion for the both of them.

This was the first time they had ever shared a real home, as opposed to mere lodgings, and while Thomas still took other lovers in his search for adventure and excitement, they were never invited to this home. Their many friends considered them a perfectly charming couple and Leonard had never been happier as he approached his 40th birthday, a milestone that he knew he had never attained in any of his previous lives. He now dared to hope that this time they may be allowed to grow old together. Perhaps that one impulsive suggestion of his had finally changed their fate. Perhaps.

Thomas phoned; apologising for the late notice but he was bringing home a new client to meet him – Leonard knew as soon as the man entered the room. He saw the cold, calculating look in the man’s sharp, blue eyes as he first watched Thomas hungrily then sized up Leonard as ‘no threat’. And Leonard saw too, that old familiar look of ingénue on Thomas’ face. What was to be done? Should he put a proprietary arm around Thomas? Kiss him perhaps? Well, that would certainly come as a surprise to Thomas, but he knew it would have no effect on the interloper. This Drake, like all the others, would take what he wanted without thought of consequence. I care not for the law, I will do what I will. Leonard Vicarye slowly and silently offered his hand; his rival shook it firmly, holding Leonard's gaze with those familiar cold, cruel eyes that made no attempt to hide his intent. It was all Leonard could do to suppress despairing sob.

As he watched Thomas, ever the effervescent, charming host, show his new friend around their home, Leonard’s heart ached – he was so tired of it. ‘I should leave,’ he thought. ‘Thomas Doughtie’s fate is preordained. Nothing I can do will change it. I should just walk away now; save myself the misery of experiencing his death all over again.’

But then that centuries old memory emerged of his first Thomas Doughtie on that long, cold night at Port San Julian. How Thomas had reminisced with him of their long friendship and entrusted Leonard with his personal affairs and also the care of his young brother. How Thomas had held him and spoken softly and earnestly of his faith in God and the eternal reward he believed awaited him, wiping the tears from Leonard’s face with a gentle, steady hand. And, of course, Leonard knew that he must always continue to repeat his role as many times as the play began because, when all was said and done, Leonard Vicarye would always love Thomas Doughtie and, ‘though not in quite the way Leonard wanted, Thomas Doughtie would always love Leonard Vicarye. He could live on that.

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Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
entropy_house
Dec. 6th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
AWWw, poor Lennie! *sniffle* He's so sweet and loyal.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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