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jsmn_kink ([personal profile] jsmn_kink) wrote in [community profile] jsmn_kinkmeme2015-08-30 12:20 pm
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☆ Round Two!

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

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☆ Previous Rounds: Round One

Stephen/Vinculus(/Childermass), post-resurrection protective stalking

(Anonymous) 2015-08-30 03:13 pm (UTC)(link)
When Stephen finds out that Vinculus is still alive, he finds he has a definite urge to see that the man stays that way. Hence Vinculus (and occasionally Childermass by extension) finds that he has something of a protective stalker in the form of a guilt-ridden newly-crowned faerie king, and isn't entirely sure what to do about this, aside from being appreciative.

Bonus if Stephen struggles with the fear that he is turning into the Gentleman by doing this, but finds that he simply cannot watch Vinculus be harmed again.

Re: Stephen/Vinculus(/Childermass), post-resurrection protective stalking

(Anonymous) 2015-08-30 04:18 pm (UTC)(link)
This is a fantastic prompt. Seconded!

Re: Stephen/Vinculus(/Childermass), post-resurrection protective stalking

(Anonymous) 2015-08-30 11:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Yesssss. This meme needs more King Stephen.

Re: Stephen/Vinculus(/Childermass), post-resurrection protective stalking

(Anonymous) 2015-09-04 09:37 am (UTC)(link)
This is one of the most thoughtful prompts I've seen in a long time! What an excellent idea!

FILL: In a strange country (Stephen/Vinculus(/Childermass), post-resurrection protective stalking)

(Anonymous) 2016-12-10 07:20 pm (UTC)(link)
The old England used to be frightening, with all the threats it held for a man like Stephen. But these days, it has no power over him. Quite the opposite. He can watch all of it whenever he wishes. And he rules over the trees, the rivers and the stones. Or perhaps, that is unkind, not quite right. He is still getting used to the meaning of being a king, of being elsewhere.

Time in Faerie moves in peculiar ways, both slowly and quickly. But being king does not mean that every single one of his hours is filled up, and he is left with too many lost moments. And sometimes, his thoughts can't be stopped. They coil around one another like branches. He lets his mind follow a single thread and go along with it, pursuing something he can't name, and yet knows is lost to him.

Stephen shakes his head. There is little point to these endless thoughts. Visiting the old England seems like a better pastime. He watches the people, the houses, the streets and the corners, with both longing and detachment. It all seems so long ago. A part of the world has gone on without him, and left him behind. But there is a part of this strange country that hasn't forgotten him. The trees are glad to see him, the rivers sing louder for him, and the stones turn and beat in their old rhythms. And they don't care for the old England at all. They were there long before it was dreamt up by greed and the need for transcendence. As he crosses over through the fog and the rain, they make him feel that perhaps he is welcomed here.

It is during one of these visits when Stephen comes across Mr Norrell's former servant (Childermass, he recalls) and the strange blue man called Vinculus, whom he had thought dead. He knew it for a fact, he had seen it happen. And yet, nothing is certain now. The man appears to be very much alive, walking along with Childermass along the woods, drinking from a jar, bickering about something or other. The sight of him should surprise Stephen, but nothing does anymore. Magic has made everything possible.

Slowly, without him noticing it, his visits become more frequent. He sees them taking a hearty supper with kind Mr Segundus, a gentleman Stephen remembers well. Or working together for hours, trying to make sense of the words in Vinculus's skin. Or simply sitting in silence, smoking. Theirs seems like an unlikely friendship, but it makes Stephen's heart glad. If they are still here, it is for a reason. It means that they weren't left alone after everything changed. They weren't forgotten.

Stephen gets used to watching over them from afar, hiding among the birds and the trees. He does not want to make his presence known. Knowing that they are safe is enough for him. And he does not wish to disturb them. He supposes he is not that kind of king. But still, he wishes to help and protect them. He feels the magic around them, but that is not the only reason why he wants them to be safe. The old part of him remembers, and it remembers kindess. A Faerie king would repay that. A man would, as well.

One night, as he watches over the two men sleeping under the stars, he thinks he is merely offering the protection of a king. But Vinculus, who suddenly opens his eyes and sits up, seems to have a different idea. "Well met, king", he says, without any trace of surprise or fear in his voice. He looks straight at the trees where Stephen is hiding, and says nothing else. He waits, as if he is granting Stephen a silent permission to show himself and stop hiding. As if this was meant to be.

"My apologies. I didn't know you could see me", says Stephen, after a moment. He approaches them slowly, his heart full of doubt. He doesn't know how to explain himself, but he has to try. "I was merely... wanting to help. Watching over you. I didn't know you were alive. Now I do, and something inside of me won't rest. Not unless I know you won't come to any harm, ever again". He pauses at this, and closes his eyes. For a king, he feels too small, too inadequate. He is not enough to do what he promises. Not enough to be known and understood. Deep down, he is ashamed of himself for being here. He might not even be needed, in the first place. Why would he? After all, he no longer belongs to this old world. It has moved on, exactly as he had suspected. And it hurts more than it should. More than he thought it would.

Vinculus laughs in that peculiar way of his, that seems to say that all of this is already known to him. Perhaps it is written upon him as well, and he does not find it ridiculous, as Stephen had feared. "I thank you, king. However, I think you might be of more use to us as a friend, rather than as a shadow. Isn't that right?" As he says this, he nudges Childermass, who is half asleep, but manages to nod, as if he was dreaming about the answer. It makes Stephen feel lighter. In a moment, small and quick as a heartbeat, both of them have uncoiled his thoughts. They have made him feel that he shouldn't have bothered with guilt or fear. And they have truly seen him. Yet another thing made possible by magic.

"Come, king, it is a cold night", Vinculus says, and holds out his hand. His voice sounds familiar, like the song of the crows and the rivers. And his gesture is simple, but speaks louder than any word. Stephen lays down beside them, and the comfort of magic floods his heart. Theirs is not faerie magic, but something better, perhaps. It is the earthly, simple spell of a shared moment. He wanted to offer protection, and he did. And he learnt what the spell said: that he would get it in return. That he would be remembered. Stephen breathes easily. Perhaps for the first time, he feels at home in the old England, which appears brand new to him now. As if some hope had crossed over with him, and made itself a home among the trees, the rivers and the stones. A place to rest safely underneath the sky. To be remembered, to be understood.

*

Also on A03: http://archiveofourown.org/works/8808868