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☆ Round One!

Welcome to the first round of the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Kink Meme at [community profile] jsmn_kinkmeme!

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FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-07-31 12:58 am (UTC)(link)
After this Grant no longer dreamt of Jonathan Strange, and as before he did not remember his dreams at all. He also refrained from raising the matter with Strange again, not because he objected to any thing that he had done, but because he had an idea that this would result in a conversation that he did not know how to have. So he did not find out whether Strange ever succeeded in reaching his wife through magical means. He thought, however, that he might sense some change in Strange's spirits or demeanour if he had managed it, and he did not pick up on any such signs.

Other than this things were much the same between them. Both Grant and Strange devoted most of their thoughts and conversation to the day to day challenges of the terrain and the wider strategy of the war. But then one day something extremely surprizing happened. Napoleon Buonaparte abdicated and the war was ended.

Of course this was not so surprizing as all that. Lord Wellington's forces had made such progress as to have driven the French troops out of the Peninsula entirely, and were now pursuing them across their own country. An allied victory seemed very possible and Grant had had many tactical conversations about such an outcome with Wellington and his other closest officers. But the fact remained that Buonaparte had been terrorizing Europe for over a decade, and Grant had now been in the Peninsula for nearly six years attempting to do something about it. The idea that all of this should should end so abruptly seemed somehow ludicrous and not entirely real.

It was some days into a battle in the city of Toulouse that the announcement of Napoleon's surrender reached Wellington. He agreed with Marshal Soult, the commander of the French garrison there, that in light of this news it would be rather pointless to carry on fighting. So Wellington and his soldiers occupied the city and were apparently the victors.

Naturally there was very much business to be done in Toulouse, but there was still time that night for a great celebration among the British Army. Strange had been almost as good a drinker as any officer when he had first arrived and now he was better than many of them. He and Grant and a number of others were awake almost through to dawn, and in fact they only went to bed because the hotel they were in, which was thoughtlessly unprepared for a large delegation of His Majesty's soldiers, actually ran out of alcohol.

But the next morning Strange reported for duty at the appointed hour. He looked exhausted, faintly uncomprehending and extremely hung over, which was exactly how Grant felt, but having been a soldier for a long time Grant was much better at not appearing outwardly to be any of these things. Grant handed him a hip-flask of whisky, a mouthful of which Strange swilled around his mouth and then spat onto the ground. Grant did the same and then they went to Wellington's conference room to find out what would happen now that the war was over.

Lord Wellington's first concern was of course the occupation of Toulouse. After this had been properly established, Wellington and a select number of divisions would proceed to Paris, but the repatriation of much of the British Army would also begin.

In a manner of speaking, Major Grant lived in London. However he had not set foot in England for many years and could not in all honesty remember what living in London might be like. He had a notion that it had involved a quantity of leisure time that seemed rather improbable, and that he had enjoyed the experience. He supposed he would enjoy it again.

"We are going home," was all Strange said to him, over and over again, at the end of the first day. "We are going home." The idea seemed incredible to him too, but there was a wonder and a joy in his tone that implied a knowledge and understanding of what this might mean, which Grant could not quite grasp hold of in his own mind.

Grant had thought a little about the conversation that he and Jonathan Strange would need to have if it became clear that they would both be returning to England. He had not thought about it in great detail up until now because this would have required him to assume not only that they would win the war but also that they would both survive to see such a thing, which taken together seemed dangerously optimistic. Nonetheless he had had these sorts of conversations before, and knew broadly how he ought to raise the matter and what they both ought to say. But some how there never seemed to be quite the right moment. There were no quiet interludes in Toulouse and they were very rarely alone together.

Then about a week after Buonaparte's abdication there was an evening that, had circumstances been otherwise, might have ended in the way they had become accustomed to. Colonel Murray went very suddenly to bed after eating a bad oyster, and Strange and Grant were left by themselves. They walked together back to the house in which Grant was now staying. It was in a small side-street that was quite deserted as they approached. But when they got to the street-door Strange stayed where he was and seemed abruptly to stiffen, as if Wellington had called him to attention.

"Grant," he said, "I have been thinking recently about what will happen when we return to England. Well, I do not know what will happen. I do not know much of any thing any more. But I hope very sincerely that we will be friends when we are there."

Strange delivered all of this while staring so fixedly at a strand of ivy over the door that, considering his known propensity for talking to plants, Grant might well have assumed that the speech was intended for the ivy if it had not been prefaced by his own name. "I hope the same," said Grant.

Strange nodded, but still did not turn to face him. "I am glad you agree. Of course our conduct will have to be very much different there. And in preparation for that…" Here he faltered. It seemed that he had not quite agreed with himself what he wished to say, but Grant understood very well and found that he did not particularly want to hear the rest of it.

"You are quite right," said Grant. "I think it is a good idea for us to begin to behave differently."

Strange finally met his eyes, and smiled at him with a sort of awkward relief. Grant smiled back in a way that he hoped was reassuring. But he was surprized to discover that some part of him had been made deeply unhappy. Since he had been trying to find the right way to begin exactly this conversation himself, it was a very odd thing to feel. He ought to be grateful that Strange was the sort of person he was. In this position many men would suggest that they ought not to see each other in England at all. Indeed in some particular situations in the past Grant had suggested this himself. After a moment of consideration, he realized that in this case the idea was quite intolerable. He did not know if it was the same for Strange.

"Then I shall leave," said Strange, "and see you in the morning."

Grant nodded. He was not much intoxicated but he was overcome with an unusually strong desire to kiss Strange, to push him hard up against the door and lick into his mouth untill he buckled with want. He did not think this was only a contrary notion because they had just agreed that they ought not to do any thing of the sort. In truth he could not say why it was.

"Of course," said Grant. "I am very glad that we understand each other."

As he climbed the stairs to his room Grant was struck by the unreasonably dramatic idea that this had all so disquieted him that he might not sleep at all. But of course like all soldiers he was very tired indeed, and like all soldiers he fell asleep the moment he lay down.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-07-31 01:09 am (UTC)(link)
I WAS SO OVERJOYED TO SEE THIS HAD BEEN UPDATED THAT I LEAPT AROUND MY ROOM

AND THEN IT WAS SO PAINFUL

BUT SO GOOD

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-07-31 05:25 am (UTC)(link)
I knew that it simply couldn't end happily, but God, it stings so hard. Grant, that poor fellow.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-07-31 10:40 am (UTC)(link)
Why this. As always, you're an incredible writer A!A. I have to. I have to go sit under my desk and make sad faces for a bit now.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-07-31 12:00 pm (UTC)(link)
We shall hope that Strange will pay our fine Grant a visit that night. Well, there's still a hope, I'll stick to it.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-01 10:39 am (UTC)(link)
Oh my GOODNESS this is the most heartbreaking and beautiful thing!

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 04:36 am (UTC)(link)
these two are so full of feels and pain. how can anyone not like them. ahah. ha. ha. ha. *laughing through horrible sobbing*

A!A you are a treasure.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 11:34 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, poor, poor Grant, and poor Jonathan too. A!A, my heart is breaking for them, and I'm not a sentimental type. This continues to be one of the most excellent pieces of fanfic I have ever read in any fandom.

Oh god, I just had a thought. Remember at the end of episode 4, when TV!Grant comes in to tell Strange that Wellington wants him back? I saw that as a soldier bracing himself for a battle, with a spark of excitement; now all I can see is a man in love clutching at straws.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-04 09:44 pm (UTC)(link)
SOOOOO INTO THIS! I've been refreshing the Colquhoun Grant tag on AO3 for many weeks hoping that something like this might appear; SO GLAD I finally made my way over here!!

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-05 07:25 am (UTC)(link)
*keeps updating thread every hour*
*suffers*

So sad and yet so good! Waiting for the next part with baited breath.




Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-07 07:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Sorry, don't want to seem pushy, I just wanted to say that I really wait for this fill to be updated (more like I desperately need another shot because your writing is realy addictive). It will make me absolutely happy.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-09 11:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Not pushy at all! Everybody has been very patient while I have been painfully slowly writing this. All being well, the final part should go up tomorrow.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-09 11:55 pm (UTC)(link)
God bless you, and I mean it )

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-10 04:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Terribly off topic, sorry! Let me guess: you are Russian?

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-10 04:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes I am, and now I am really curious as to why are you asking :)

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-10 05:34 pm (UTC)(link)
That thing ')' is common for Russians. I've never met a person from country other than Russia who used it. Sorry for being annoying, I'm just proving a point to myself. Also greetings from the South, compatriot :)

Patiently waiting for A!A to continue, btw!

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) 2015-08-10 05:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Another Russian here kinda wants to hug all the other Russians here :3

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) - 2015-08-10 18:07 (UTC) - Expand

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) - 2015-08-10 18:25 (UTC) - Expand

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 7/?

(Anonymous) - 2015-08-10 18:36 (UTC) - Expand

FILL: Strange/Grant, 8/9

(Anonymous) 2015-08-11 01:56 am (UTC)(link)
It was nearly a month later when they reached Bordeaux. Lord Wellington, being content that Toulouse was sufficiently occupied, was now on his way to Paris, but the majority of soldiers were to embark either for England or for the war in America. Grant was bound for England, but had been entrusted with overseeing a good deal of business in Wellington's stead in Bordeaux before leaving, probably another month hence. Strange was returning home immediately.

"Goodbye, Merlin," Wellington had said, shaking his hand, when their parties diverged north of Toulouse. "Your acquaintance has been most thoroughly unusual. I hope to hear good news of you."

"Thank you, my Lord," said Strange. "I hope we will meet again under happier circumstances."

"Oh! What could be happier than this?" asked Wellington, as a musket fired accidentally somewhere in the ranks, followed by some distant, irritated shouting.

On the march from Toulouse, Strange moved between a sort of wild exultation at the knowledge that his ordeal was nearly over, and a deep exhaustion that had settled in now that he was no longer required to be ready to fight at any moment. This made him appear almost as unstable as he had been in the early days that Grant had known him. He and Grant remained often in each other's company, but there was something a little different about the way they spoke to each other, a shared lack of reference to whatever it was that existed between them.

Eventually Grant, Strange, and thousands of soldiers of the British Army arrived on a warm May afternoon in Bordeaux, which they proceeded somewhat to overrun. The ale-houses, wine-shops and brothels did exceedingly good trade, while a quantity of the citizens of Bordeaux retired in displeasure to the surrounding country until the army would be so good as to leave.

Strange was leaving the very next morning on one of the first ships to sail. Of course, since a good deal of other soldiers were leaving then too, there was something of a festival mood in the city, from which Grant and Strange were not exempt. It was well-known that the magician was sailing in the morning and so any man who saw him and knew him came to speak to Strange and to offer him a drink. The conclusion of all of this was that somewhere in the early hours Strange disappeared briefly among a cluster of the 14th Light Dragoons, and when Grant remembered to look for him he was nowhere to be found. Admittedly Grant was not in a particularly fit state for investigatory work at this point.

For perhaps an hour or so Grant remained in the company of the other officers who had been with them, until it was proposed that they move to another tavern. They all went out into the street, which was full of soldiers and other people, and began to walk down it in a direction that seemed as good as any. But after a little while Grant felt someone catch at his hand. He supposed it to be either a beggar or a whore and turned to shake them off, and found instead that it was Strange. He looked very still and dark among the noise and movement and red coats that thronged around them, and Grant was arrested by the sight of him in a way that he had managed not to be over the past few weeks.

"Will you come with me?" Strange asked, and Grant did not even answer. He just stepped towards him and left his hand in Strange's so that he pulled him through the river of people in whatever direction he chose.

They walked for a short time until they turned into a street that was no so well-lit, although just as full of bodies. Strange dropt his hand and Grant followed him to the door of a boarding-house. Inside it was almost as crowded as the street outside. Nobody paid them any attention as they threaded their way to the staircase, the parlour being busy with soldiers and women who presumably did not fit into the rooms available or could not afford them.

It seemed Strange had already taken a room. Once they had climbed the stairs he led Grant along a corridor, which was the first empty place Grant had seen all evening, and unlocked a door. Grant followed him in to a room that was small but not at all unpleasant. There was a grate with a fire, dying now, but the warmth of which was evident; a mirror on the wall that was plain but scrubbed clean; a table with a shaving-bowl; and an iron-framed bed that was probably not large by the general standards of beds, but was unimaginably luxurious by the standards of war. Strange's things were all in one corner where he had left them before coming to find him: his baggage, his overcoat, his silver basin. Grant looked about him in a sort of daze, and realized, as one often does when confronted suddenly with a quiet, calm place, that he was very much more drunk than he had supposed. But at the sound of the key turning he looked up.

Strange had locked the door and placed the key on the shaving-table. "I'm sorry," he said. "I'm sorry. I couldn't – "

Grant actually might have been interested to hear the end of this statement, but before he could stop himself he had taken Strange by the collar and kissed him very hard. Strange leant back against the door and Grant went with him. Indeed Grant only stopt and pulled back because he found he had to breathe. When he did so the sight of Strange – pliant under his hands, mouth open and wet – was so very arousing that he had to turn his face to one side. He could hear and feel Strange breathing heavily against his ear.

"Yes," Strange said. "Something like that."

Grant turned to look at him again. For a moment they stayed where they were, but then Strange pushed him gently away. Before Grant could protest at this, Strange took off his jacket and began to unbutton his waistcoat, holding his gaze all the while, and for the first time the significance of the locked room came to him. Grant began to pull at the buttons of his tunic and then stood on one foot at a time to pull off his boots. For a short while he became distracted from his own task by pulling Strange's shirt over his head for him, which Grant judged not to have been removed at all quickly enough.

While Grant had at some point or other seen every part of Strange's anatomy he had never actually seen all of it at once, and when at last he was naked, Grant was a little shocked by the sight. Although the war had given him callouses on his hands and feet and worn away any softnesses of his body, Grant thought as he looked at Strange that there was still something delicate there that the Peninsula had not entirely managed to destroy. Although delicate did not seem quite the right word. Perhaps it was simply the reminder of how very human he was. However, these thoughts were mostly overtaken by far baser ones, and Strange's expression as Grant removed his own underwear indicated something similar.

Strange took a step towards him and for the first time they kissed with every part of their bodies pressed together. Grant was so overcome with both the physical sensation of it and the knowledge that this would not ever happen again that he could do nothing of any use, and only held Strange against him until Strange began with small movements to direct him towards the bed. There they lay down, and Grant ran his hands once along the length of Strange's whole body, since this too was something he could do for the first and last time. Then he leant over Strange with his knees on either side of his hips and kissed him again. But it seemed the alcohol had loosened Grant's tongue and he found that he was saying, over and over, very close to Strange's mouth, "Please – please – please – "

"Please what?" Strange asked him. "What would you have?"

Grant swallowed. He did not know why he had been saying it. But as he considered the question a very clear answer came to him, and so without pause he gave it. "Would you do some magic?"

Strange did not look as if this was the answer he was expecting. After a moment, he said, "What sort of magic?"

"I do not much care," said Grant. "Only I would like to see you to do something that is not for Wellington or for the army or for the war at all. I would like you to do some magic for – " For me. "For yourself."

Grant moved to one side so that Strange had a little more space; he did not know if being on top of him would hinder any magic, or at least make it more difficult to concentrate. Strange had propt himself up against the pillows and appeared to be giving the matter some thought. "I do not know what to do," he said, with a half-frown that creased his face in a way that Grant found quite beautiful. "I do not think there are any spells particularly for this." Then an unwelcome thought seemed to strike him and he looked rather annoyed. "Or if there are, Mr Norrell has not let me read about them."

But then his eye fell upon the fire in the grate, which was by now down to its embers. As Grant watched, Strange held out his hand towards it, and then slowly brought his fingers together into a fist, as if he were crushing something he held in his palm. As he did this the remains of the fire went out completely. A queer chill came into the room which did not seem to be just because the fire was no longer there, but like all magical sensations, Grant would have struggled later to describe it.

Strange cast his eye around the room again, and then, slowly, he opened his hand. One by one, the candles that stood unlit on the table and on the window-sill flickered into life. The wider his hand opened the brighter they burned, until the room was lit with an orange glow and flooded with warmth. Like the chill that preceded them, it did not feel as though these sensations could have been caused by the candles alone. In fact the warmth seemed to sink into Grant's skin and mingle with the heat of the alcohol in his blood to tune his body to an absolute point of desire.

He felt suddenly desperate for touch, and caught the hand that Strange was still holding out. He brought it to his face, nuzzled against it, kissed the knuckles and licked the palm, and then moved it down to where he was by now quite hard. Strange took hold of him immediately, and at that Grant made a deep, harsh noise and began to move into his fist. All of the rather sad, complicated thoughts he had had since they had entered the room seemed to melt away and he was left shaking with a desperation and desire that he could not control. He had had some idea that since this was the last time they would be able to do any thing like this, and that they were unusually unlikely to be disturbed, he ought to consider carefully what should happen and indeed how best to prolong it. But Grant felt as hot and frantic as if he were being fired upon, with the same instinctive, single-minded determination. He found that all he wanted was for Strange to do exactly this, to kiss him and do this, until he spilled. So he pulled Strange by the hip until he straddled him, and pulled him downwards with a hand behind his neck to kiss him, and murmured, "Please, please, please," again. He did not let him go until Strange swiped a thumb over him and he spent, gasping and swallowing, his fingers tangled in Strange's hair.

After this Grant fell back against the pillows. Strange was looking down at him and breathing almost as heavily as if he were the one to have climaxed. He ran his hands carefully along Grant's arms, from his shoulders to his elbows, and then over the hair on his chest, and the stubble at his jaw. Grant took one of his hands by the wrist and kept it there, next to his face, and slipped the tip of Strange's thumb into his mouth. He licked gently at the rough skin at the top, and at the pad, and Strange groaned and jerked his hips slightly forward. He met with nothing, so Grant pushed the pillows higher behind him and sat up a little more so that when Strange moved, he moved against Grant's chest and stomach. Then he let go of Strange's thumb and instead put his index and middle fingers into his mouth, running his tongue along the length of them, sucking a little when he had put them as far in as they would go. Strange watched him with wide black eyes, his face flushed with arousal, rubbing gently up against him and letting Grant do whatever he wished.

Grant took Strange's fingers out of his mouth and moved his hand down between their bodies, between his own legs. "Go on, Merlin," he said, and Strange made a high, hard noise of surprize and want.

They had not done this very many times before: it was an act that generally required more time, care and privacy than they had been able to find during the course of the war, and Grant had also for some reason thought at first that Strange might find it distasteful. But he had been disabused of this notion when eventually he did suggest it, and so he had taught Strange, slowly and carefully, in the dark, how best to prepare him so that it did not hurt very much. Once Strange had had him for the first time he had shewn a surprizing interest in Grant having him in return, but this Grant summarily refused to do until they came to a town where he was able to buy a bottle of olive oil and prepare Strange much more thoroughly. This bottle had been lost some time ago, and since then, having become used to its aid, they had left off. But Grant felt as though every bit of tension in his body had fallen away, and thought that they would be able to do without; and besides he wanted it so very much that he did not care.

Nonetheless Strange put his fingers into his own mouth and made them very much wetter before he would put them into Grant, and when at last he took him, it was far more slowly and deliberately than Grant had imagined. Grant had put one of the pillows under his hips but kept the other behind him so that he could stay half-sitting, half lying where he was, and so that when Strange pushed as far forward as he could they were very close together. Strange stayed near him, not moving, and gave Grant a kiss that started off very tenderly but soon turned rough. Then Grant put his hands at Strange's hips and urged him to move. Strange did this until he started to make sounds that were very long and low, as if they came from somewhere deep inside him that he was not quite opening up on purpose.

When at last Strange finished in him Grant shivered so violently at the sensation that Strange held him tight by the arms. For a short time they stayed as they were, Strange resting against his body with his forehead pressed against Grant's and the sweat cooling on their skin. Grant felt very thoroughly used and glad of it, although when Strange removed himself and lay down by his side, he could not think of any thing they could possibly say to one another. Instead he rolled over and kissed Strange again, pulling their bodies together, and pulling the bedclothes around them. In fact they kissed for so long that at some point Grant fell asleep.

FILL: Strange/Grant, 9/9

(Anonymous) 2015-08-11 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
He woke at the sound of a bottle breaking in the street outside and some shouting that followed. The room felt quite different. The magic had seeped out of it and the candles were no longer burning, and while a faint sort of greyness crept in through the gaps in the shutters, it was not yet dawn. Grant judged that he could not have slept for more than an hour or two. After a moment of confusion he recognized what he had taken for the faint sound of pattering footsteps as rain falling into the dust outside.

He and Strange both lay on their sides, Strange in front of him, fitted against his body. Grant had one arm wrapped around him quite tightly as if in his sleep he had feared that Strange might try to leave. In Grant's defence, this was exactly what Strange was going to do. Grant loosened his grip a little, and shifted to ease the stiffness in his limbs. As he moved he felt quite odd. It did not feel like inebriation, but he was also fairly sure he was not yet sober. It was a very thick and fuzzy sort of sensation, as if his mind had not at all prepared itself to be used at this hour.

Either Strange had been dozing very lightly or he had not been asleep, for at Grant's slight movement he moved too. Grant removed his arm so that Strange might make himself comfortable, and Strange turned over to face him. Then Grant rolled on to his back, and Strange on to his, and they listened to the rain.

"What are you going to do when you return to England?" Grant asked him, after a time.

"I shall eat an enormous quantity of food," said Strange's voice. "It will all be of my chusing and prepared in the manner one might expect. I will also retire at any time I wish to a very comfortable bed in a very well-heated house. Those will be my chief pursuits."

Grant laughed, quietly, tiredly. "Good," he said.

Then Strange said, "I might go north for a while. I do not know John Uskglass's country as well as I would like and I think I ought to do something about that. And perhaps I will spend some time in Shropshire too. But whatever I desire, I suppose I will be bound to remain principally in London. You will be in London, won't you?"

"I imagine so. I do not know where else I ought to go."

"I mean it very sincerely when I say I would value your companionship there," said Strange. He spoke slowly, not as one who is loathe to say what he is saying, but as one who is saying it very seriously. "I do not think things can ever be quite the same for me and for English magic as they were before. You are somebody I would be very grateful to have as a friend during this time. Do you think that is possible?"

Over the past few weeks, which had been quite surprizingly difficult, Grant had been considering the same question. But his profound sadness at Strange's leaving him for even so short a time as a month rather answered it for him. He thought he could manage the difficulty in the future if it meant he would not be entirely without Strange's company.

"Of course we will be friends," Grant said. He turned his head on the pillow to look at Strange. "What do you think we are now?"

Strange seemed to find this very funny. A slightly hysterical laugh escaped from him and he rubbed at his eyes with one hand. "I cannot say," he said. "I have not the slightest idea what this is. I suppose it is a peculiarity of the Iberian Peninsula."

This made a kind of sense. There was something wild and ragged about the country they had travelled together, ravaged as it was by Buonaparte, that was very different from the solemnity of England. After all the things Grant had read in Strange's book of the Raven King about the influence of the trees and the sky and the earth on the people who lived among them, it did not seem impossible that this had had something to do with the way they had behaved. Although if Grant had been able to express in any way what he thought they were to each other, this probably would not have been it.

Grant sat up in the bed, which made his head feel very odd and muggy, but after a moment of stillness it cleared a little. He knew at once that he would have to leave. This was not really because there was a great possibility of their being discovered, but more because if he went back to sleep and remained here for the night, he would certainly have to accompany Strange to his boat in the morning and see him off at the port. He found that this was something he could not bear to do. It seemed very important that his last memory of Strange on the continent was not one of him leaving it.

Strange did not say any thing as Grant swung his legs out from under the blanket, turning to face away from him into the room; neither did he say any thing as he got up and looked about for his underclothes. But as he put on his shirt Strange said, "Surely you will not go out in the rain."

The hint of petulance in his voice made Grant smile. "It will not be a great hardship," he said. In a way it was pleasing to think that Strange imagined that despite everything they had both endured, bad weather might have any impact on Grant's wellbeing. There was an Englishman alive and well in Strange yet.

Grant found and put on each item of his uniform until he was quite pieced back together. When he faced the mirror and ran a hand through his hair to put it in order, the man looking back at him appeared to be the same as ever. Then he looked a little to the side and met the eyes of Strange's reflection. He was sat naked and cross-legged on the bed, watching him. Grant turned around so that they faced each other, and let the absolute focus of Strange's gaze rest on him in a way he had often found disquieting before. He willed it now to seep somehow into his skin, to mark him indelibly, so that if Strange no longer looked at him like this when they were in England, he would not forget how it felt.

"I will see you very soon," Grant said.

"Yes," Strange said. "You have my address. Let me know as soon as you are in London. I can meet you where ever you wish, and of course if you want to visit…"

Strange stopt abruptly and seemed unsure if he ought to continue, but Grant said, "I would be glad to. I would very much like to make the acquaintance of Mrs Strange."

This was absolutely true. Grant did not imagine that the woman who had won the love of Jonathan Strange could be any thing other than extraordinary. Indeed on the few occasions that Strange had given accounts of her that invoked her spirit or personality – rather than simply giving voice to how terribly he missed her – Grant had had the sense that they might get on well.

"I would like that too," said Strange.

Grant breathed out very deeply. He wondered if he ought to leave without further ceremony in order to cause himself as little difficulty as possible. But in the end he crossed the few steps of the room to the bed. He leant down and Strange leant up and for a final time they kissed, very gently, as if they had never done such a thing before.

"Goodbye, Merlin," he said.

"Wait," Strange said, "Wait, just for a moment." Grant felt something in his chest constrict, but Strange had closed his eyes and dropt both his hands to his sides. He gripped hold of the blanket there and muttered something under his breath. Grant felt as though the air around them breathed in and then out again, and his skin prickled with the spell. For a moment he did not know what had changed. Then he noticed that the sound of the rain had ceased.

"There," Strange said.

"Thank you," said Grant. "Although I think I would probably have been all right."

"I know," said Strange. "It was my rain to begin with."

"I see," said Grant. He was not sure he trusted himself to speak further, so instead he took Strange's hand in his and held it very hard, and Strange gripped back with equal force. Then he let go, and went out of the room, and into the grey, waiting world.

--

(Enormous thanks to everybody who has been very patient and very kind while I've been writing this. If you like reading things in one go, you can also find it here on AO3:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/4546782)

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 9/9

(Anonymous) 2015-08-11 02:05 am (UTC)(link)
SCREAMING FOREVER ABOUT THIS

LITERALLY FOREVER

NEVER CEASING TO SCREAM

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 9/9

(Anonymous) 2015-08-11 04:56 am (UTC)(link)
I want to thank you so much for writing this fic.

I just loved the entire atmosphere of the fic and how it created such a beautiful melancholic tension.

It also helped that it hit all of my guilty kinks, including my guiltiest of kinks: really well written tragic characters.

I loved this final part especially because of so much was said unspoken by the characters. Grant's pining for Strange to do magic for him broke my heart, especially at the end. I just love how Strange casts the rain from what we can assume it more 'selfish pursuits' yet in the end he ends the spell and in a sad way is completing Grant's desire for him to do magic solely for him.

This is probably now one of my favorite fics of all time now. I am beyond thrilled it is AO3 so I can reread again. I am now thrilled to read your other writing as well. Just thank you so much.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 9/9

(Anonymous) 2015-08-11 06:14 am (UTC)(link)
AD THEN ALL THREE OF THEM LIVE TOGETHER IN PERFECT ADORABLE POLYAMOUROUS HARMONY YES?

Look I cannot even begin to tell you how much this fic just absolutely destroyed me in the best way. I'm off to A03 to scream at you some more WATCH OUT.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 9/9

(Anonymous) 2015-08-11 07:47 am (UTC)(link)
You've bloody wrecked me, holy Christ.

"Of course we will be friends," Grant said. He turned his head on the pillow to look at Strange. "What do you think we are now?"

Strange seemed to find this very funny. A slightly hysterical laugh escaped from him and he rubbed at his eyes with one hand. "I cannot say," he said. "I have not the slightest idea what this is. I suppose it is a peculiarity of the Iberian Peninsula."


<-- THIS IS the actual place where my heart's stopped working.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 9/9

(Anonymous) 2015-08-11 09:25 pm (UTC)(link)
oh god, I cried so hard over this, cried all night through. this is so heart-wrenching and so beautiful. and all of the words left me. I can't even leave a coherent comment with all the things that I wish to say... about characters, so spot-on, story and language and everything... being... perfect... ahhh... you killed me, you killed me. I will need to re-read it soon.

Re: FILL: Strange/Grant, 9/9

(Anonymous) 2015-08-12 06:30 am (UTC)(link)
I'M DEAD. COMMENTING VIA THE ASTRAL PLANE TO POLITELY INFORM YOU THAT ALTHOUGH YOU HAVE RENT MY SOUL FROM MY BODY, I REGRET NOTHING. IT WAS A FINE WAY TO GO.