In the Shadow of Stanton

Disclaimer: I didn't come up with these characters (although you all already know that so I really shouldn't have to say it)

This story is slash. 'Nuff said.

***

Part Seven: Departure

The next day, Jen Evans went out to collect any bills that might have come in the morning's post. To her surprise, she found a letter postmarked from Buckinghamshire. I wonder what they'll be wanting, then, she thought. She wasn't quite sure what to think of this family, friends of that strange old man, who had suddenly thrust their son into her care. Not that it was a hassle at all, mind you, but she did think it was a bit odd.

She brought the letter into the kitchen and leaned against the counter as she opened it.

Dear Mrs. Evans,

We want to thank you so much again for taking care of Simon. I really do hope it was not an imposition on you, but he needed to get away from here and we simply couldn't think of anyone else.

I hope that everyone is well there. Simon has told us in his letters that he is feeling much better, and I'm sure much thanks for that goes to you and your cooking, which has received much praise from him.

I am writing because we have decided to take a family holiday in two weeks to Spain, and figured that with Simon feeling better he would probably like to come with us. Assuming that he does, I have enclosed a return ticket for the train that leaves on Tuesday the 14th to come back home. Please ask Simon to write back as soon as possible to confirm that he will be coming.

Thank you once again for your hospitality,

Mary Drew

***

Simon would be leaving in the morning. Bran reflected that his emotions on knowing this were considerably different from those he had felt when he learned that the boy would be coming. I thought he was an arrogant Brit and that I would have to think up inane things to keep him occupied while he recovered from his sickness. He had since found out that Simon was no more arrogant than he himself, and that he had mistaken the boy's quiet contemplation for supercilious disdain. And in the last few days especially, there had been no need for Bran to think up things to keep Simon occupied. They occupied each other well enough as it was.

Bran sat on the edge of Simon's bed in the Evans' house, watching the English boy pack his suitcase. Had he been so dense as to not recognize how beautiful Simon was, before he had kissed him? The Welsh boy silently thanked God that Simon had had the audacity to make such a daring move, because he himself never would have done it. Or would he? Given enough time, might even he have had the wool removed from over his eyes? Whatever the case, he was glad he could see clearly now.

He stared intently as Simon moved around the room, watching how his shirt fit to his form as he moved, how the light shone on his dark hair from different angles and lit up the planes of his face. Something in him must have known he thought, from the first day they had met.

***

Simon tried not to meet Bran's gaze as he moved around the room, gathering his belongings to take back home. If he did, he was afraid he might not be able to break it. They had finally come together, just in time for him to have to leave. But they were together. None of this would have happened if Will had been here, he thought. It just wouldn't have come about. He liked the boy just fine, but his memories of that summer were full of questions and dark corners. It was as if we were al so focused on something, some goal, that there was never time to actually notice the other people… to notice Bran.

He made his way over to the bed to collect the last of his belongings, the alarm clock set on the bedside table, and was startled when the silence was suddenly broken by Bran's beautifully Welsh accented voice.

"I'd think twice before packing that away. Your mother was daft enough to book for a train that leaves at five in the morning, and it's no short drive to the station." Simon realized he was right, and replaced the clock while lowering himself onto the bed next to the other boy.

"You're right, as usual," he sighed, smiling. He reached out for Bran, encircling him tightly in his arms and burying his head on the boy's shoulder. He ran his hand through the silvery white hair, and repositioned their heads so that their mouths came together in comfort and reassurance.

When he pulled away, Simon was grinning like a puppy. "I think we'll have to get together some time again soon," he said, "What do you think?"

"I say it's a jolly good idea mate," responded Bran, in a puffed up British accent. Simon looked at him intently, with a tenderness that he had never felt at any time in his life before.

"Alright," he said, "but let's make sure it's not too long… cariad."

***

Fin.