Title: Foil Paper CrownRating: RPairing: Charles Ryder/Sebastian FlyteWarnings: mentions of sex but nothing terribly explicit.Words: 808Summary: A letter leads to Sebastian's insecurity and a private triumph.A/N: Set in the summer when Charles & Sebastian are at Brideshead alone, shortly after Julia leaves. Written from Sebastian's POV.A letter came from Cap Ferrat, written in a deep rose-coloured ink which mummy would have found gauche and I rather did, too.In it, Julia revealed a lot of dull news and the hiding place of a foil paper crown we'd fought over during my convalescence. It had been the prize for winning at cards, and apparently I was insufferable when it was in my custody because she took it away and hid it in the library, in a book the letter said I'd need a ladder to reach. As much as I'd coveted it in earlier weeks, I had not thought of it or anything else since Charles came."There's a paragraph about you," I said, and showed him the lines devoted to her gratitude for his coming. He smiled as he read, but before giving the letter back he touched the paper to the tip of his nose; it happened so fast he may not have realised he'd done it, but suddenly it it corroded my insides and crowded all good out of my heart.I pretended to be happy and arranged my props to watch him paint the garden-room: a cushion, a dish of almonds, and a book I had no intention of opening. But the letter remained stuck in my throat and the words burst out before I could plan the strongest way to say them. "Do you fancy my sister?"He was shocked at first, but then amused, as if I'd asked whether he liked being beaten with a hammer or stung by bees. "Of course not! Why would you ask such a thing?""I'm sorry. I don't know."Despite what we'd each said, I felt oddly unsatisfied and wandered away once he was immersed in his work. Reviewing our recent days was of some comfort - we had been quiet friends appreciating the bright warmth of summer, young husbands learning one another's habits, and two drunken fools who might bleed Château Margaux if cut. But now there was a stone in my tread - a pebble that felt the size of an egg.I limped through the house, utterly bored by its contents and wishing I could run. I entered Julia's room on the premise that because she'd robbed me of an hour's idyll on my innominate honeymoon, I would take something of hers. What to pinch was difficult because she owned nothing I wanted, and hiding jewelry wouldn't work because she might not notice or care.The answer was suspended in crystal on her dressing table.I moved the vial of oil she dotted at the sides of her eyes to the drawer by Charles's bed, where if all fell into place, we might try what we never had. Our latest and boldest intimacy was to grind against the hard crescent of each other's hipbone until we twitched and cried out into each other's mouths, but I had no doubt he'd like to be closer to me than that. That night, with the oil close by, I would roll onto my front and let him."Sebastian!" My name came from far away. Had it not been for the wicket incident I might have eluded Charles in that house for weeks, but I hobbled to a rarely used bedroom where he wouldn't look until exhausting the parts of the house he knew. "Se-bas-ti-an!" His panic cleaved my name into syllables, and his footsteps came faster...I had been lost awhile, and smiled innocently when he found me slumped upon a chaise."Is painting really so strenuous, Charles? You look quite flushed.""I've been looking for you!""Oh. Well, I went for a walk, and my arch felt like it was on fire so I stopped to get the weight off. I didn't think you'd miss me.""Well, I did." He knelt to place a warm hand where the pain would have been, had I been in any. "Does it hurt very much?""No. Not now." "Good." He wrestled his worry down enough to smile. "I must keep a better eye on you." "Yes, I think you should!"His kiss on my cheek was like tipping back into a favourite chair.Later, when the cocktail hour swung into place, I was in place with a full glass and my own sparkle to mimic its starry cuts. "How ridiculous that we spent all that time apart today, Charles. Tonight we shall have nothing but fun!" He clinked his glass against mine, and the soft affection in his eyes was every bit as scrumptious as the celery scent of gin. He didn't know it yet, but in the morning I would have him climb a ladder to retrieve my crown out of Cervantes, and I would wear it everywhere but the bath.After that night, he would think of no one but me.
Oh, Sebastien is so wicked. Delightful!
Thanks for reading! I'm happy you liked it.
Whoa! Many, many thanks - you are far too good to me. ♥
This is wonderful! I think it must be a huge challenge to write from Sebastian's point of view, but you have really captured his voice. Even when he's thinking of adult things like sex and jealousy, the ideas are filtered through child-like playfulness. Great fic![Oops, reposting in the right place...]
Thank you for all of your kind words - I appreciate it so much.
Oh, just delightful. Very, very delightful.
Thank you so much! :)