Author: coldie voldie PM
Mostly based off of Chapters 34 and 35 of the book. John comes to call on Mr. Hale right after Mrs. Hale's death, and the Police Inspector comes to question Margaret while he's there. She's so overwhelmed by everything going on that she passes out. In the book, no one finds her, but this is something I always wished had happened here. Slightly AU. More summary inside!Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 19 - Words: 64,411 - Reviews: 305 - Favs: 78 - Follows: 226 - Updated: 05-19-13 - Published: 08-05-12 - id: 8396403
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So this is just something I thought should have been in the book. There's a point in the book (for those of you who have not had the pleasure of reading it yet) right after the incident at Outwood Station, where Mr. Thornton comes to call on Mr. Hale, and while he is there the Police inspector comes and calls on Margaret. Immediately after he leaves she becomes so overwhelmed with everything that's going on, that she passes out cold on the floor. She wakes up, and goes into the study to compose her self, and Mr. Thornton leaves seconds afterwards. Anyways I always wondered what would've happened if Mr. Thornton had found her on the floor, so I've decided to write it out!
Obviously it's book-based, and I don't own any rights to this story. So enjoy, and please please please tell me what you think!
John Thornton made his way through the crowded streets towards Crampton, somewhat anxious about his upcoming visit. He had not seen Margaret since Mrs. Hale's funeral, and even then he had kept his head bent low the entire service, believing that if he looked upwards he would just stare at the back of her head the entire time. He didn't dare raise his head as everyone began to file out; he wasn't quite sure he would be able to witness her grief without being able to offer her some sort of comfort, which he knew would only repulse her. An unbidden thought that he had been repressing for days tore through him the moment he thought of offering her comfort: the handsome unknown stranger at Outwood Station. The memory of this man was so vivid in John's mind; it pained him to catch sight of his own reflection, knowing that he was nothing like the handsome gentleman Margaret had given her affection to. He shook himself out of his own thoughts as he knocked on the Hale's door. Dixon opened the door, and showed him into the drawing room.
Even though Margaret was sitting directly opposite the drawing room door, thus within his first direct line of sight, he refused to look at her. He had to keep things exactly how they were; he would not be unkind to her father, as she herself requested on the day of his first proposal. He did not think he could keep his emotions in check if he were to stare into her bewitching blue eyes. He strode purposefully towards Mr. Hale and clasped his hands. He didn't trust himself to speak, but he tried to pour all his condolences into his expression, and hoped Mr. Hale would understand. Mr. Hale closed his eyes momentarily, accepting the sympathy of his friend, and glanced surreptitiously in his daughters direction. John knew there was nothing he could do to avoid her without being rude, and most likely hurting his close friends' feelings. Preparing himself for the absolute worst, he turned to face her.
She stood by a chair in the corner of the room, looking at the floor, but glancing up at his face anxiously every few seconds. She took a few tiny steps away from him, and it made his heart clench. Had he really been so horrid towards her that she felt uncomfortable by his approach?
Yes, yes he had.
"Miss. Hale, I offer you my condolences; I was very sorry to hear the news. I know she loved you greatly." he tried to pour every emotion in to the small speech, knowing it would most likely be the last time they spoke civilly to each other. He took a chance and raised his eyes from the chair he was staring at, to her face. He almost sighed aloud with despair at being unable to comfort her himself. Dixon had told him that she was bearing up 'better than likely', but he did not thing that statement was completely accurate. Her entire demeanor was somewhat dimmed, her eyes were re-rimmed tired with many hours of patient caring for her father. Still she did not meet his gaze. As he spoke, he saw her carefully school her expression to remain emotionless, but she could not stop the tears the filled her eyes. She turned her head away from him, and as she did so, he saw a tear running down the side of her face. He could not stay by her any longer. He turned to go back towards her father, and she sat back down in the chair and resumed her work.
His heart was pounding in his chest as he sat next to Mr. Hale, did everything he could to ignore Margaret's presence. He did everything to keep his concentration on what his friend was speaking of, but he was so distracted by Margaret, and his own racing heart that he could do little but focus on breathing and keeping his expression calm. In that moment he completely forgot about Outwood Lane, and wished that he could simply go to Margaret and speak with her as he was speaking with her father. But it was not to be, for Dixon came to the door and said,
"Miss Hale, you are needed." out of the corner of his eye he saw Margaret rise gracefully and leave the room.
Several minutes passed, then an hour, and John wondered why Margaret did not return. At more than one point, he had made a motion to leave, but Mr. Hale pleaded with him to stay longer. He was slightly ashamed to say that he was also waiting for a change of seeing Margaret once more, and perhaps even speaking with her.
Still she did not return, and when it seemed they had exhausted every topic, John rose to leave, and this time Mr. Hale did not stop him. He rose with him, but John quickly said, "No, Mr. Hale, I can see myself out; please don't trouble yourself." Mr. Hale smile warmly at him, and said,
"Until next time then." He nodded, and bid him good bye.
John took his time walking across the landing towards the staircase, again hoping he might see Margaret once more. He went down the first set of stairs listening carefully for any sound of Margaret, but heard nothing but Dixon bustling about in the kitchen. He was just passing the doorway to Mr. Hale's study when something caught his eye.
He was frozen in place for what could have been eternity, staring at Margaret's body on the floor of Mr. Hale's study. Suddenly he rushed forwards, heart practically leaping out of his chest and knelt by her side.
"Margaret," he said clearly, ignoring propriety and patting her lightly on the side of her face in an attempt to wake her. She did not stir. He stood up quickly and rushed to the kitchen.
"Dixon!," he called loudly before he even reached the room. "Dixon! Come quickly, Miss Hale is unconscious in her father's study." Dixon dropped the jar she was holding, which shattered on the floor, and followed him to the study. She took one look at Margaret and said,
"I must go for the Master!" and she bounded up the stairs.
"I will take her to her bed." he called after her before carefully scooping Margaret off the floor and heading back up the stairs. It was hauntingly familiar to the day of the riot, when he carried into his own home, and placed her on the sofa. He met Mr. Hale and Dixon on the landing of the second floor.
"Oh, my Margaret!" Mr. Hale cried stricken with grief. "Here, John take her to her room. I will go for the doctor, and Dixon can help care for her till I return." John nodded, and then Mr. Hale was gone, and Dixon was leading him through the door to Margaret's room. John set her gently down on the bed absently brushed away the hair in her face that had come loose from the comb. Dixon's eyebrows shot up her forehead, but she made no comment for he immediately seemed to understand what he had done, and she noticed a faint blush creeping up his face.
Fortunately, John didn't have to worry about his public display of affection for very long because Dixon immediately left to fetch some water and a cloth, and John could hear the footsteps of the Dr. Donaldson and Mr. Hale. Sure enough, they came bustling in to the room a few minutes later, and John quietly excused himself. He set about pacing in the foyer, his mind reeling with thoughts and emotions when he heard a knock at the door. Not wanting to disturb Dixon or Mr. Hale, he decided to answer it himself. He was quite shocked to find himself looking at George Watson- the Police Inspector he had recommended a few weeks beforehand.
"Mr. Thornton!" He exclaimed in surprise. "I was not expecting to see you here!"
"I might say the same to you," he replied politely, curious as to why he would be at Mr. Hale's doorstep. "What are you doing here?"
"Well, come to think of it, I would like to talk to you about that, if you have a moment."
Mr. Thornton nodded, and walked to the same room that Watson had been speaking to Margaret in only a few hours earlier.
"So," he said in his most business-like and professional manner. "What can I do for you?"
A/N: So no this isn't a one shot, and I will update as soon as I can =) tell me what you think about it; it's my first North and South fic =D