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The Trouble with Souls

Title: The Trouble with Souls

Author Eglantine_br

Rating R (implied sex, and some angry words)

Word Count 788


The Trouble with Souls


Kit could never tell when it would happen. When it threatened he kept it away with distraction. He rolled to light a candle, or take a sip of wine. And often he escaped it, by diving back into carnal frolic. Thomas Walsingham never knew. He did not see. Kit did not let him see.




But today it came on so fast. They rolled apart, on the rumpled sheets, grinning and sweating, and the moment shattered. Kit came down with a thump. His body was his own poor kingdom, as it had been always. He would live and die in it. The touch of another soul was illusion, a trick of the friction. He was utterly alone. He stared up at the canopy seeing the stinging blur of the painted stars. Only bodies could touch. And that would never be enough


Walsingham had him by the hand, and looked at him with melting eyes, and said things that were breathless and delightful, and strange. Strange was bad. Kit had to pick it apart. And alone in his soul, wanted to weep.


Thomas Walsingham saw.


“What troubles thee, Kit?”


Walsingham drew his finger down the long line of Kit's spine, following the bumped declivity, to terminate on the tailbone. His hand was gentle. Kit shivered.


Kit had a question too, had not wanted to ask it. known that he would have to ask. Ignoring change in another was deadly dangerous. That had been the first lesson he'd got of any Walsingham. Learned it against his will, in France, where Francis had made him spy.


“I was thinking of your uncle.” (Francis Walsingham, dark as a moor, dark where Thomas was golden, slow to speak where Thomas was quick, repellent where Thomas was so beautiful.)


“Uncle? At a time like this?”


Thomas chuckled. It was a chuckle free of artifice. It was kind, and thought the world kind in return. Kit loved him the more for it, and wanted to weep.


“He made me the man I am today.”


Kit felt his mouth push forward as he said it, like an angry dog. Best not to bait him, but Tom would. Kit would have it so. Better to quarrel now than to have to ask 'why say you love me now, when you never said it before.'


“Uncle Francis is dying.” The traveling hand did not stop. Walsingham's pale eyes followed it, intent.


“Aye? I am sorry for it.” He supposed he was, or would be later.


“Scadbury is to come to me.”


“Hmm.” He sighed against the moving hand. It was somewhere so good now, and he wished he could just--


“Kit, there is more. “ The honest eyes came up to his. “I must tell you, I am to marry.”


“What-- when?”


“Two weeks. I – no, it's all right. Kit, don't get up.”


But he was up, and dressing, at speed. His clothes were all around the room, draped on furniture, cowering under the bed. He was shaking. He wanted his skin covered.


Walsingham, naked, lovely, must have felt the same. He pulled the blankets up.


“It happens, you know. It doesn't have to mean--”


“Fuck you.”


He stood now, dressed. Covered. He stood facing away from the bed.


“What is her name?” As if it mattered.


“Audrey. She is good, sensible, I have known her for years. And Uncle Francis thinks--”


“He thinks you should marry, and stay here, and have the running of Scadbury, and an easy life, and-- and children, and be--”


“No, he thinks--”


“He thinks you should not be sharing your bed with a sodomite, a spy-- and it was he who made me a spy--” Kit gave a bitter laugh.


And as Walsingham drew breath to reply, Kit rode over him. “And worst of all, a cobbler's son.”


“Kit, please.”


“No! That is what he thinks, and you--”


“No.”


“Yes, it is. You do. I am unsuitable.” He made the word drip with filth.


“No.”


“Yes, for God's sake, you should have told me sooner. Before they were reading the banns.”


“I didn't want to hurt you, loose you.”


“Well. You have.”


He was not going back to London tonight. He would leave in the morning. And he was damned if he would weep like an idiot. He should have seen this coming. He closed the door to Walsingham's chamber quietly. But he slammed the door of the guest chamber with great force.



Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
charliecochrane
Jan. 7th, 2013 11:14 am (UTC)
But today it came on so fast. They rolled apart, on the rumpled sheets, grinning and sweating, and the moment shattered. Kit came down with a thump. His body was his own poor kingdom, as it had been always. He would live and die in it. The touch of another soul was illusion, a trick of the friction. He was utterly alone. He stared up at the canopy seeing the stinging blur of the painted stars. Only bodies could touch. And that would never be enough

That's the best thing you've ever written. Fabby.
eglantine_br
Jan. 7th, 2013 12:19 pm (UTC)
I knew what I wanted to describe, but I had to noodle with it for ages to get close as I could to right.

Poor poor Kit. It feels like one of the cruelest things i have ever written.

He so wants to be loved. Eventually, he will be.

Edited at 2013-01-07 12:26 pm (UTC)
anteros_lmc
Jan. 12th, 2013 12:15 am (UTC)
I'm with charliecochrane. This whole piece is really, really powerful and that paragraph is outstanding. Reading this is like that sudden feeling of falling that slams you awake and leaves you wondering what happened.

And I love the final two lines. There is something so painful in the way that Kit controls his pain and his anger.

Great writing from a great writer. Looking forward to catching up with the next installment tomorrow.
eglantine_br
Jan. 12th, 2013 01:31 am (UTC)
I think I am liking Kit better as I get to know him That is not a terrible surprise.

But I am surprised to find myself liking Thomas Walsingham. I was all prepared for him to be a bad guy But he is just sort of oblivious and self-absorbed.

anteros_lmc
Jan. 12th, 2013 11:37 am (UTC)
Thomas Walsingham very much comes across as a man swept along by events and by the conventions of the time.

I also loved that line about the danger of ignoring change. Somehow that speaks volumes about Kit's character.
eglantine_br
Jan. 12th, 2013 03:12 pm (UTC)
Yes, part of him is nearly always drawn up, ready to be fierce, to be prepared for the next thing. He is hypervigilant. And he cannot let anything alone. If something is not as he expects he has to turn and face it.
bauhiniakapok
Oct. 3rd, 2016 10:58 am (UTC)
It's amazing how you make people so real. Even when they were "real" to begin with. Poor Kit.
eglantine_br
Oct. 3rd, 2016 02:05 pm (UTC)
When my kids were born I held them and I thought "someday you will have your heart broken by love, someday the person you want will say 'it is not you, its me.' Someday you will loose a job, or have to make a hard decision, and I will not be able to help."

I was horror struck by the ordinary human pain that I could not spare them. That is how I feel about Kit. It already happened, it is done, closed. And yet I want to protect him so much.
bauhiniakapok
Oct. 4th, 2016 12:34 am (UTC)
When my first baby was born I wept over the brokenness of the world. The lullabies I played then still make me sad because they are all tied up with those emotions.
eglantine_br
Oct. 4th, 2016 06:36 am (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean.
bauhiniakapok
Oct. 4th, 2016 09:01 am (UTC)
Knowing it was hormones and to be expected didn't make the woe feel any less real. My mom said she felt childbirth made her more soft-hearted in general. I think that is true. Descriptions of children in stories get me in the heart much more now, even after the hormones are (presumably) back to normal!
eglantine_br
Oct. 4th, 2016 10:31 am (UTC)
I always jump and look around when a kid yells 'Mama,' or 'Mom.' I am ready to do the job. Like an old war horse hearing the trumpet...
bauhiniakapok
Oct. 4th, 2016 11:46 am (UTC)
I love it!

And "Mama" and "Mommy" are used almost regardless of language, so that's a lot of jumping.
vintagehearted
Jan. 7th, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
Ouch. Poor Kit. He must feel such bitterness towards Thomas.

It's gorgeous. You have such a way with words and truly your own style.
eglantine_br
Jan. 7th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you. This part hurt to write. Thomas was trying to be nice, as he sees it, but he is not the most deft guy around.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )