A/N: been on an Eclipse kick. I said it was more boring than New Moon. I take it back. This one's more infuriating than New Moon ever thought of being. Oh ho, but I've got Breaking Dawn to do as well. I'm sure I'm going to be so cheerful doing that mess.
I have World War Z and it's awesome.
Aashiyana helped Arthur get into her room and helped him sit down on the bed with only a minimal amount of his stumbling. When he was set on the bed well enough, she then left him to go to her vanity where she began to take off her jewels. Arthur watched her a long moment appreciatively of the sight before him. Her long, black hair was pulled into a braid that was generally pulled over her shoulder. Her saari was especially rich in its embroidery. She was a sight, even if all she was doing was taking off jewelry.
"I'm sorry I was so cruel before," he said softly, lying back on the bed.
"For scaring you," said Arthur, "For acting like a jealous wanker."
Aashiyana chuckled a little and turned back to her vanity. When she spoke, her voice was very soft. "I'm still afraid of you," she said in Hindi. Arthur watched her reflection, her face going from the gentle smile she carried oftentimes to one of fear. Then, she shook her head and smiled again. "No," she said in English, "Not afraid of Arthur. I'm afraid of the Empire." She sighed and took her earrings off so he wouldn't see her face in the mirror. "The East India Trading Company was harsh enough. Being under your control completely…it's a very frightening prospect."
Arthur watched her with a gentle gaze as she continued to take off her earrings and then her elaborate necklace, setting them down on the vanity. He smiled just a little at her as he said, "I think Her Majesty has it out to demolish Alfred… or, to be more exact, wouldn't mind if America did fall and become a part of the Empire again. Maybe not even that. She's not fool enough to try to do anything outwardly to hurt America."
"He would not be brought down so easily," said Aashiyana with a small smile.
"That's why I said she isn't fool enough to do that," said Arthur, "Alfred is… very strong willed." As he spoke, Aashiyana shrugged out of her saari, her lovely back revealed to him and almost making him stop talking to appreciate it. "He doesn't lose his temper easily. When he finally does lose his temper he is at his hardest to reason with much less stop."
Most of Aashiyana's weight had been gained back, though she was still a lot thinner than he would have liked. Unfortunately, he could also see that the corset that he gave her bruised her ribs. He could see the faint dark marks on her skin. She ran her hands over her sides and rubbed the sore spots on her body with a faint look of pain on her face.
"Come over here," said Arthur, "Please." She looked over her shoulder at him; her arm hid the swell of her breast from his gaze. She was an alluring sight no matter what she did. However, for the moment, he just wanted to make her comfortable and not be interested in the beauty of her body. She walked over, still in her petticoat, and sat down on the bed beside him. Arthur sat up slowly and kissed the sore places gingerly; his cheeks heating up just a little as he kissed one bruise after another. He brought one of his hands up and rubbed her back with a softness he didn't use often. He sat up entirely and trailed his fingers over her sides as he nuzzled into her back and kissed her at the nape of her neck.
Aashiyana was biting her lip and looked in pain whenever he touched the bruising. He sighed and wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed her shoulder. "I know the corset must hurt you. You do not have to wear it."
"I do if I am to go out with you in society," said Aashiyana softly. The very memory of Victoria giving Aashiyana that directive made him wince. Aashiyana noticed. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," said Arthur, sighing, "You are right. If you are to go out in society with me you have to wear the corset and gowns."
"Then, why wince?" asked Aashiyana.
"I don't like the idea of you in pain," he said softly. Her cheeks flushed faintly at his concern for her. When she looked away from him, he rubbed her back and shoulders to ease some of her tension. Her muscles were like rock after her ordeal and worsened by the corset. Every now and then he would kiss the back of her neck. She slowly loosened up and moaned softly; slowly she began to arch at his touch like a great big cat. He nuzzled into her hair; his fingers glided over her spine. She writhed a little at his touches. She arched and breathed just a little heavier at the gentle kisses he pressed to her neck. She was being rather unusually submissive and responsive to him.
"Rani," he whispered into her ear. She made a small, breathy noise that made his heart thump quicker in his chest. Her cheeks were flushed, her skin was growing warm under his fingers; she was beautiful beyond all else. He leaned into her ear and nuzzled into her neck and cheek. She chuckled a little, wiggling a bit from him; a bit ticklish. He smiled a little and kissed her ear. Again, she made that small, breathy noise. That was right; she liked her ears kissed a great deal. Taking advantage of this knowledge, he gently kissed her ear and just under it. She turned at that and kissed him slowly, softly, as though not to injure his head further as she wound her arms around his neck and pressed herself a bit closer to him.
He wrapped his arms around her and held her closer against him, her fingers curling in his wild hair. When she pulled back, she breathed warm breath on his lips. He gazed at her a long moment with hot, green eyes. "Make love to me, Arthur," she said softly. He kissed her again, opening her mouth to him and groaning low into her mouth as he ran his tongue against hers languidly. He lay back with her on top of him, his injured head on a pillow to keep from hurting himself more, and ran his fingers over her sides to her hips. Slowly, softly, the barest suggestion of movement, she moved her hips against him. He rolled his hips into her in response and elicited a small smile upon her lips.
Aashiyana pulled Arthur close to her and then rolled until he was on top of her. He carefully positioned himself so he wouldn't hurt her ribs and watched as that smile of hers grew, her black and green eyes growing warmer and warmer with each touch they shared. He pressed gentle kisses to her ear, her neck, and her collar bones to her shoulder. He kept moving down as she soft, approving sighs at his ministrations until he reached her breasts where he nuzzled against the soft skin and teased one of her nipples with his mouth. She moaned then, a soft noise that made Arthur's blood warm that much more. Her fingers curled into his hair again as she arched her back to press her breast further against his mouth. He suckled at the peak and flicked his tongue at it while he rubbed and teased the other breast with his hand so as to not leave either unattended. He switched breasts and pushed his now freed hand under her where he rubbed her spine in little circles, though the noise he got from her was a small chuckle.
He nuzzled into her stomach gently and spoke in Hindi, the sounds rolling off that tongue of his in almost a purr. "I am amusing you, I see, my Rani."
"Not amusing," said Aashiyana, "It is so rare that I see you being so careful with me like this."
Arthur lifted himself up onto his elbows and gazed at her warmly. "I do only as Aashiyana bids me to." What he said seemed to surprise her. She went silent and that smile faded as her black and green eyes widened slightly. She had not expected him to say such a thing at all. Then, slowly, her gaze grew warmer and loving; her cheeks darkened considerably. Arthur moved up her body and then kissed her forehead. "If she bids me to be harder, faster, for her enjoyment, then I will do as she asks me to. If she demands I be gentle and soft, then I will be as equally accommodating for her pleasure." She put her fingers to his lips a moment and he kissed them gently as he watched her with that heated gaze of his. "Ilove seeing you happy."
Her fingers moved to his cheek. He kissed her palm and then pressed her hand to his hot cheek as he closed his eyes, pain registering in his face. "When you left," he said in English, "I was beside myself. I was also landed with a guilty conscience to where I was willing to let you do anything you wanted, even if it was another man entirely, even Alfred, so long as you were safe from harm."
"The offer still stands, Raja," said Aashiyana and then she added in Hindi, "Ask me to be yours."
Arthur's heart thumped hard in his chest as he looked at her longingly. "Be mine alone, my Rani." Then, he leaned down and kissed her soundly.
"Yes, Arthur," said Aashiyana in English, "I will." She returned his kisses with equal pressure, equal passion as his flared to life. He kissed her slowly, his tongue moving against her with every ounce of passion he could put into just that activity alone while still remaining as gentle as he could. He didn't want to bruise her, but he didn't want to be distant from her either. Aashiyana, not to be outdone, gave as much passion as he did, perhaps even more than him. He rolled his hips into hers and was gratified to hear a low moan from her as he suckled at her earlobe and nipped the sensitive skin beneath it. She arched and writhed for him, her hips moving up to meet his. When his movements became too quick and hard for her, when he felt her wince and heard her cry out in pain from the stress he was putting on her ribs, he stopped quickly and lifted himself away from her a little to make certain she was all right.
"I'm sorry," he said softly.
Aashiyana moved herself up against the pillows and looked at him with just a hint of amusement. "For what?"
"I am attempting to not irritate your ribs further," said Arthur, eyeing her smile with some annoyance, "I don't seem to be accomplishing that very well."
"Well," said Aashiyana, her fingers running over his chest slowly, unbuttoning his shirt and pushing it away from his hot skin, "What is your goal?"
"To make love to you," said Arthur, keeping his gaze locked on hers.
"Then, do that," said Aashiyana, smiling a little at him, "I am not made of glass."
Arthur leaned closer to her until his lips brushed against hers. When he opened his eyes, they were looking into her intensely. "Sometimes, I worry that you are." He smirked, then, almost grinning like the pirate she knew lurked beneath that gentlemanly surface. "But then, I remember you are most definitely not made of glass."
He kissed her again and settled into her as she pulled him down to her. He slid his fingers into her hair and rubbed his thumb against her ear slowly. She moaned again and cursed inwardly that he took advantage of such a sensitive spot on her. He chuckled at her. "I find a weakness, I exploit it," he said, "I am a pirate after all." Then, he nuzzled into her throat and nipped her skin.
She chuckled softly. "You wicked man."
He continued down her body, nuzzling, nipping, swirling his tongue on her skin while she relieved him of his shirt. He tossed the shirt when it got in the way and nuzzled and licked his way further over her stomach to her hip as he pulled her petticoat off of her. Gracefully, as though she really weren't actually real, she moved out of the petticoat and smiled at him as he kissed her knee and her inner thigh. He felt her fingers in his hair as he suckled at the sensitive skin there and reveled in the loud moan as he pumped her with his fingers. She was hot and gripping him already.
Arthur grinned at her against her thigh and moved down until he was using his tongue to please her. She moaned loudly and arched, she writhed and gripped his hair; she reveled in everything he gave her. "Arthur—ah—what about you?" she gasped.
He moved his mouth from her and kissed her stomach slowly with a low noise from his throat. He pushed his suspenders off and then his trousers, his undershorts and stockings soon with them and ran his tongue up between her breasts as he moved up her body. She moved down further on the bed to lay on her back as he moved over her and settled between her legs. Slowly, he entered her, his lips finding hers and his tongue teasing hers in a slow rhythm he reflected in his hips as he slowly thrust into her. She rolled her hips up to meet his motions, moaning softly with each movement. Arthur, to his credit, kept his movements as smooth as possible so he would not irritate her ribs or any other bruising she had.
He quickened his pace slowly and suckled at her neck, bringing up little marks on her lovely skin that was a much deeper tone than his. His tongue swirled against the veins in her throat, eliciting a moan from her that sent shivers down Arthur's spine. "Is it to… your satisfaction…my Rani?" he asked, panting softly against her ear. She gasped and let her head lean back, smiling. Then, she nodded to him, lost for words as little shivers ran down her spine. Arthur could feel it in her, the pleasure he gave her. In a way, he was certain there could be no possible way that two people could be more intimate than he and Aashiyana.
He thrust quicker into her as he closed his eyes and reveled in the feelings they brought up between one another. He looked down at her, the grin spreading across her face, her black and green eyes molten. "Do you… enjoy me, Arthur?" she asked, panting heavily as she held his face in her hands. She was enjoying the overwhelmed look upon his face, the look of contentment etched into his features, the beautiful look of arousal in his green eyes.
Arthur leaned down and kissed her more fervently than before, growling low in his throat. "You… you know the answer already," he gasped.
Aashiyana moaned loudly and arched against him. "Please, I want… to hear it," she said in Hindi. It took Arthur a long moment to even remember enough Hindi to figure out what she said.
He thrust quicker into her, his breathing quick and heavy, as he held her tight against him with his arms securely around her. Every single thing muddled inside his head better than the best scotch. "I love you!" he gasped. He felt her stiffen slightly in surprise, saw her wince a little at how tight he held her and had to force himself away from her to keep from hurting her further. However, Aashiyana had other things in mind and pulled him back down on top of her again.
"My ribs be damned," she whispered quickly in his ear, "I want more of you!"
Arthur kissed her, growling softly into her mouth as he increased the pace of his hips. She clutched at him, nails digging into his back. He felt her arch and writhe against him until she cried out loudly, her body gripping and convulsing around him quickly. She trembled beneath him gently as she held herself tightly against him as he let out a shout and spilled himself inside her. Slowly, so slowly, they eased together into the bed; the euphoria was wonderful, more wonderful than the other times he had been abed with her. Perhaps it was because he had let his feelings be known to her. Perhaps it was because he opened himself more to what she felt as well to increase that wonderful intimacy. Either way, they held each other in the bed as their bodies slowly cooled and their breathing began to slow.
"I love you," she whispered, smiling. The ring of green was more vibrant than it was before. Arthur's cheeks flushed a bit more, then he smiled very slowly at her. Gently, he kissed her, his thick eyebrows furrowing.
"I love you, as well, Aashiyana," he whispered. Aashiyana made a small noise of discomfort and he moved a bit away from her to look. She rubbed her ribs slowly and sighed. "I'm sorry," he said as he touched her ribs gingerly as well. Aashiyana chuckled a little and pushed him away from her onto his side and then curled against him to keep warm. He wrapped his arms around her and held her as he kissed the top of her head. His own head was pounding a bit as the afterglow began to wear off and it made him drowsy.
"Sleep," she said softly.
Arthur smiled a little and nuzzled against her, speaking softly, "If you command me to do so…"
Arthur woke slowly. He rolled his eyes to the window slowly and noticed it was open and a stiff breeze brought in cold air into his room. He looked around, thinking perhaps Aashiyana would be there, at the vanity, putting on her khol around her eyes or perhaps dressing her hair, but he found no one. He found nothing in his room except himself lying in bed. How many days was it? How long had it been since little Anne had to be buried away from the city? How many days was it since he had come up and found her there in his bathroom in a tub filled with her blood? Why had Jack picked him for such an "honor"?
Because Arthur wasn't a constable. Arthur wasn't a detective or even a reporter. Arthur was the Queen's man and, more importantly, he was England itself. He was unusual in the sea of usual. He was worthy of notice and, with a man who clearly was above the intelligence of the average murderer or pick pocket, worthy of watching to see just what he did. Perhaps Jack only thought him to be a collector, which was not unusual among the upper class. Perhaps Jack only thought him the Queen's man and nothing else. Yes, that seemed more likely. It was difficult to get most people understand the almost impossible to understand anyway, so it was more likely that Jack the Ripper had no idea just exactly what was living inside that house.
Arthur found everything in order when he came down finally from his room. Bernard had taken it upon himself to make certain that there were no family members of Anne's to come looking for her. The poor girl had been alone, it seemed. Arthur found that to be a blessing. That meant there would be no people coming to find out where she had disappeared to or blame him. The other maids had no idea what had happened and took the lie that Anne had gone away to the north where Arthur knew of a nice fellow that would take care of her. The stable hands didn't seem to find anything out of the ordinary in the carriage.
Arthur jumped slightly when he heard a knock at the door and started to go back up the stairs to find something to calm him down. Bernard came out and answered the door quickly without looking to Arthur. At the door was Abberline, his bowler hat cocked slightly on his head. He had a cigarette in his mouth and took it out to blow smoke from his nostrils slowly. "Sir Arthur lives here, yes?" he asked.
"Yes, sir, this is Master Kirkland's residence," said Bernard. "And you are?"
"Inspector Frederick Abberline," said Abberline as he crushed his cigarette on the sole of his shoe. "May I come in?"
"Certainly, sir," said Bernard as he stepped aside. "Shall I take your hat and coat, then?"
"Thank you," said Abberline. He handed Bernard his coat and hat and then looked immediately around the room until his eyes landed on Arthur. "Sir Arthur, I see you're looking a little better."
Bernard put the hat and coat on a hat stand and went about his duties, though kept relatively near and out of sight. Arthur nodded and walked down the rest of the way to the floor, walking over to Abberline as he looked around the room. Abberline reached up and touched the butt of the revolutionary war musket he kept on the wall as decoration. "You keep antiques?"
"Yes, it's a bit of a hobby of mine," said Arthur, "My mother did similar." Abberline nodded and backed away from the musket, sticking his hands into his pockets. Arthur eyed him a long moment before he spoke again. "Is there a reason you're here, Inspector Abberline?"
"Have you been missing a servant?" he asked. "A driver, perhaps?"
"Mr. Farrow, yes. We couldn't find him at his house when we went to look for him." Arthur eyed Abberline as Abberline looked off at the antiques once more. He toyed with the idea of telling Abberline of Mr. Ross, but kept it to himself. He would decide later if he should give that information to Abberline or not. No—No, it was a far better idea to tell him of Mr. Ross so he would know why they were looking for Mr. Farrow, but he had to leave out the details of Anne.
"And why was it you had been looking for him?" asked Abberline.
"I had a replacement driver," said Arthur, "By the name of Mr. Ross who drove me about, only he left me in the East End instead of taking me to the palace where I could meet with Her Majesty like I was supposed to do. I didn't know why he left me out in the East End, but I drove the carriage back by myself and found my room ransacked and Mr. Ross had disappeared entirely. Even my butler had thought Mr. Farrow had been my driver."
Abberline eyed him for a long moment before he spoke. "Ransacked, you say?"
"As if looking for something important about me, who I am or what my profession is," said Arthur.
"Remember when we speculated that he had fixated on me in particular because I wasn't one of the inspectors or reporters or even part of the Vigilance Committee?" asked Arthur.
"What would he find out about you?" asked Abberline.
"I am the Queen's man," said Arthur, "I work very closely with her and parliament. I'm silent in everything and vocal of what I see. I can't explain much more than that as you wouldn't believe me if I said so, but there is no doubt he will have found that out from my own room. I don't throw anything away."
"As I can see," said Abberline as he motioned toward the antiques.
"You haven't seen what I inherited from my mother, I bet," said Arthur, "Most of it is in a museum where it can be better taken care of."
"Prominent woman, was she?" asked Abberline as he sat down in the sitting room, noting the toy soldiers out on display. "I mean your mother."
"Yes, she was," said Arthur, "Though I barely remember her at all. My brothers could give you a better detailing of her. She died while I was still young and I was raised by my brothers mostly." And one very annoying French boy, though Inspector Abberline didn't need to know that.
"I have one that lives in Wales, one that lives in Ireland and one that lives in Scotland. The one in Scotland is the oldest, the one in Ireland is the second oldest, and the one in Wales is the third oldest," said Arthur.
Abberline nodded. "And why have I never heard of Mrs. Kirkland?"
"Because she chose to not be known," said Arthur, "Just as I choose to not be known as do my brothers. We're all very private individuals and prefer keeping to ourselves and avoiding the limelight."
"Such a secret life is bound to look suspicious to someone interested in you," said Abberline. Arthur watched him a long moment, noting how Abberline seemed to keep his feelings as neutral as possible. Abberline clearly felt the precaution of keeping himself steady in Arthur's presence was necessary to keep Arthur from picking up on anything in particular. Smart man indeed.
Arthur fiddled with the gold bangle he began to keep on him for good luck inside his pocket. Abberline raised a dark eyebrow at him with a questioning look on his face until Arthur pulled it out to show him. "Indian?" he asked.
"It belongs to someone else," said Arthur, "Though she is thankfully not here." Arthur avoided the imagery of Aashiyana being violated and ripped apart by Jack inside his mind as much as he possibly could. Even still her smile still came to him and he shoved the bangle back in his pocket to dull the pain it brought up.
"Someone close, I take it," asked Abberline.
Arthur laughed a little. "My private life is not for your ears, sir, and I will thank you for not prying into it." His tone came out much more sharply than he had intended, but the effect was achieved. Abberline nodded and retreated from questioning further into it. For a moment, the pain in his heart, the ache of Aashiyana's absence, subsided and he returned to relative normality in his behavior.
"Inspector Abberline," Arthur asked when things grew silent, "What has happened to Mr. Farrow? You came to inquire into that and I will assume that you have found him, for I can't feel anything from you at this moment."
"We found Mr. Farrow not far from here with his throat cut," said Abberline in a very unemotional tone, "He had been dead several days before he was dumped there and we asked his wife about his employer and look who should be his employer but Mr. Mysterious himself." Abberline leaned back in his chair and eyed Arthur. "If he's fixated on you, then you should probably pull out of this and hide away."
"Her Majesty's orders are quite clear," said Arthur, "I am to assist you at whatever cost to make sure this brigand is brought to justice. Unfortunately, I think she may think my particular talents are miraculous rather than minimal."
"Hmm." Abberline stood up after a moment of thinking and put his hands back in his pockets. "I think you should stay here and don't go out unless you absolutely need to. Keep close to home until we find this madman."
"He already knows where I live, I should think that if I stay in one place he can better observe me rather than going to great efforts as he has been to follow me and search me out," Arthur snapped.
"Pardon my rudeness, then," said Abberline.
Arthur walked with Abberline to the door silently and watched as the man walked off down the drive to the gate where he walked away from the house entirely. Arthur closed the door and leaned his head on it, sighing softly. This was not going easily and the Queen was expecting results quickly. How could they catch him when they couldn't even find a clue as to who he was? Arthur couldn't have given a description of Mr. Ross, because Mr. Ross's face was almost totally obscured from his vision by that damnable hat he wore. The only feature he could find any prominence in were those eerie eyes that so resembled Arthur's own eyes.
With that, Arthur went back up to his room and attempted to calm his nerves with some absinthe and his door locked.