Con-trar-y - Con-tra-ry.
Disclaimer: I do not own Wuthering Heights.
Summary: "But as his aching jaw lingered over time, he'd finally realised what it was actually from. Smiling. He smiled all the time now, smiled at Joseph's disgruntled murmurs as Cathy reprimanded him for trailing mud into the finally scrubbed clean kitchen." A Team Hareton fanfiction.
A/N: This has been a long time in the writing, but I remember xCharlie-Groupiex saying she'd one day like to see a happy Cathy/Hareton fic. This was the best I could do, as no matter where in the story, Wuthering Heights will always have some angst. And I stick by the way I've presented these characters. This is how I interpreted them from the books, and it always will be. So I hope you enjoy! :)
"Con-trar-y!" Cathy's voice rang out behind him in mock fury, and Hareton grinned as he heard the teasing glint in her words as she continued. "That for the third time, you dunce! I'm not going to tell you again. Recollect, or I'll pull your hair!"
Not that he would mind feeling her silken fingers clutch at his hair in that playful manner of hers, but he humoured her anyway, looking over his shoulder to his teacher.
"Con-trar-y, then. And now, kiss me for minding so well."
He watched her smile winningly, shaking her head at his request and he almost groaned until she answered.
"No, read it over first correctly without making a single mistake."
He could have done better. If it had not been for the promise of a kiss in reward he would probably have read it through perfectly, but such a distraction as her pearly white hand resting on his shoulder, slapping him on the cheek when his attention wavered, was too much for him to ignore.
Finally he stammered out the last lines, and span in his seat awaiting an undeserved kiss and he happily returned the five kisses she planted on his lips.
"Take a walk?" He managed to finally say as they parted and Cathy nodded eagerly, waiting for him to stand up before she let him take her hand in his as they walked out into the sunset, making a quick agreement to head out onto the moors.
"Ellen said that there is a Scottish fortune teller down in the village." Cathy told him after a few minutes of silence as they walked over the brush hand in hand.
"I wonder what they're doing in Yorkshire?" Hareton wondered.
"Especially if you could stay in Scotland!" Cathy agreed, squeezing his hand tighter, almost unconsciously, and he felt his heart leap, even at the now so familiar gesture.
"One day I'll take you to Scotland. To Edinburgh and Glasgow." He vowed, seeing the spark in her eyes as she spoke of travelling. "I'll take you to wherever you wan' t' go."
Cathy giggled, an impish grin growing on her face as she moved closer to him, her lips only a breath space from his.
"When you can read and spell them, then we'll see." She teased, pulling back with a giggle, and Hareton groaned as her face withdrew from his and she began to skip away joyfully. Not a second later he leapt at her, grabbing her around the waist and spinning her around as she shrieked delightedly.
They laughed as they span for a few moments, stopping only when dizziness overtook them and they collapsed to the ground, Cathy giggling delightedly as she spread out her arms sideways and looked up to the blue sky breathless.
Hareton looked sideways as he caught his breath, and couldn't keep the unwilling grin off his face as he admired the beautiful creature next to him. He watched her sigh contentedly, raising a hand to shield her eyes from the bright sunset, and as his smile grew he rubbed a hand over his aching jaw.
Months ago, when he'd first noticed the pain in his jaw, Cathy had just teased him. It was because he wasn't used to "opening his mouth and enunciating like a proper young gentleman" she'd said in that blunt way of hers, but with her tongue just poking through the gap in her delicate teeth to show that her words were only in jest. He'd agreed. It had been hard work as he'd learnt to read aloud. His voice now, although still deep, was so much softer, his words so much neater. His voice now sounded educated, and he smiled as he heard his voice become more and more beautiful everyday. Like Cathy's.
But as his aching jaw lingered over time, he'd finally realised what it was actually from.
He smiled all the time now, smiled at Joseph's disgruntled murmurs as Cathy, with her sharp tongue, reprimanded him for trailing mud into the finally scrubbed clean kitchen. He smiled at Cathy's tantrums that would start over the silliest of things, lasting overnight until she came downstairs in the morning, embarrassed and contrite, begging for a hug to lessen her guilt.
And then he began to laugh. Not cruel cackles or smirked chuckles, but big gravelly humour-filled laughs. He smiled fondly as he remembered how he'd misread a word from a book Cathy was teaching him with. Misread it as such a inappropriate word that Cathy had flushed scarlet, her long hidden innocence revealed as she averted her eyes mortified and he'd laughed aloud.
It had been hoarse and gravelly, and for a minute he'd wondered what the sound was until he'd spied a hint of a smile growing on Cathy's lips and he'd felt the laughter grow.
He now viewed the pain as a welcome ache, and he pushed it aside without complaint as Cathy rolled onto her side and leant forward, pressing a sweet kiss to his pained jaw as he smiled softly.
They took a moment to just look at each other, letting their feelings flow between them without words. They had no need for them. But, as always, the intense moment was cut short as Cathy's cheeks darkened shyly at his admiring gaze and she bit her lip, looking down to the ground.
After everything she'd gone through, it was sometimes a shock for him to remember that she was still so innocent. Although it had meant nothing, he'd been with women before. It had been expected, growing up with Heathcliff as the closest thing he had to a father. But he knew that whilst he had a little experience, Cathy had only ever shared kisses with Linton. Somehow it had never occurred to Heathcliff that Linton hadn't actually made their marriage official.
He remembered her wedding night, how he'd been laying unable to sleep in his room and had listened to Linton enter the room next door to meet his new wife. He'd heard her cry and scream, throwing things around the room as she refused to get into bed, something that Linton only managed to contend with for five minutes before he'd stormed from their room, moaning at how her crying vexed him so, the noise giving him a headache so he was unable to sleep.
He'd known that Linton had not forced her into anything that night, his tantrum had indicated that he'd only wished to sleep, obviously exhausted as he ailed more every day. But Hareton remembered how he'd made a decision in the space of a second, quickly making his way from his room and quietly moving to the next bedroom. The old key had sat in the lock and he'd reached out carefully, hearing a creaking judder as he let the key turn locking her inside, before he pocketed it.
He couldn't do anything else for her, but he could keep her safe and alone in her room that night.
"We should be heading back soon." Cathy said quietly from beside him, drawing him from the painful memories of the past year, and bringing him back to the present where the sun had gradually set and darkness began to creep in around them.
He watched as she sat up and he followed immediately, reaching a rough, weathered hand to cup her soft cheek, letting his fingers rub tenderly on her chin until she looked at him, her eyes showing the deep depth of insecurity she hid so well behind her cheeky grins and saucy tongue.
He felt the guilt hit him hard.
Her insecurity only served as a reminder of the sharp slap he'd delivered to her mouth all those months ago, and he swallowed hard as he caressed her long healed lip gently.
"'m sorry for 'itting you." He said suddenly, his uneducated accent slipping through slightly as the apology slipped from his lips.
Cathy just smiled.
"I deserved that." She said softly, "I'm sorry I was so cruel."
Her words did nothing to lessen the guilt he could feel burning through his chest, and he spoke again desperately, "I'll never do it again. I'll never treat you like your less than me, I'll never force you into anything you're not-" he watched her flush again, and he knew they'd reached dangerous territory. The way her hands twisted in her lap as she looked down to them, avoiding his eyes, told him he'd reached the root of her worries.
The wedding night.
"I'm scared." She blurted desperately before he could even think of a gentle way to address the situation. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears and his natural instinct to protect her from pain jumped in, and he moved forward to kiss her forehead gently and pull her into his embrace.
Of course she was scared. The only love she'd ever experienced was the love of a father. She'd loved Linton who'd treated her as property and she'd been locked up in a house by a jailor who was mad for love of a woman he could never have.
As he stroked her hair gently, he opened his mouth to speak, only to close it again instantly. He wasn't good with words, he never had been, and no matter how many books she taught him to read, he knew he never would be. But as he finally spoke, stumbling over the words his heart wished to speak, he managed to vow, "I'll never do anything to hurt you."
And that was all she needed to move back from his embrace, and let a small smile grace her lips as the insecurity vanished from her eyes.
"Will you let me help manage the Grange," she asked, "when we are married?"
He laughed at her shy yet excited tone, feeling the ever present sting of his jaw as he pulled himself up to his feet and reached down to pull her up too.
" 'Course." He said smiling, before frowning and trying again. "Of course." He perfected and Cathy beamed at him, pleased with his progress as they entwined fingers and head for the Heights letting their eyes adjust to their rapidly darkening surroundings.
The moon was up by the time they returned and, before they head into the house, Hareton stopped, taking a moment to stare at the beauty before him in the full light of the moon. Cathy turned to him and smiled softly.
"And all will be quite con-tra-ry." He murmured, only for him to receive a hit on the arm.
"It's Con-trar-y! How many times you dunce?"
A/N: Thank you for reading! Please review. I'd love to hear your thoughts. And constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated.
And for any A Level students out there studying the book; this fic is based on an events mentioned in Chapter 32 and Chapter 34.
Cathy and Linton's wedding night was inspired by Linton's line; "I can't stay with her. I'll not stay by myself. She cried so I can't bear it. And she won't give over, though I say I'll call my father. I did call him once, and he threatened to strangle her, if she was not quiet; but she began again the instant he left the room, moaning and grieving all night long, though I screamed for vexation that I couldn't sleep." – Chapter 28