A/N: This 'story' is very irregular... and it's not really a story. So here's the last part. Yeah. I told you at the beginning it was a chopped up one-shot!
Although Gregory doesn't have any noble blood, I'd say his estate in this is big enough for a Butler. And I really wanted to give him a modern day Butler!
And thank you, and please enjoy.
An eighteen year old Gregory sits on the steps outside his house. He watches as his love leaves him. They're heading on separate paths. They would never work. It still hurts too much to feel like the correct decision though, but it's too late. He vows in those seconds that once separating is enough, that if fate were to put them together again, parting would kill him.
He knows that he's not going to trust fate to do the job. He'll find the boy again when he's ready.
He doesn't know he'll lose him again.
"Goodbye, Tophe," he whispers.
Gregory was at the bar, turned sideways on his stool, leaning forwards towards his mark. He knew the best way to hold his body. He knew how to charm someone.
"Hello," he whispered seductively. "Looking for some company?" He was whispering into a man's ear, approximately in his thirties. He had brown hair, a very strong build and dark eyes. He looked like a body guard. He looked completely straight. However as always he melted at Gregory's words. They always did.
Elsewhere Christophe was at the poker table not having the same luck. The man he was opposite had somehow figured them out. He must have gained information before the night because Christophe and Gregory were playing their roles perfectly, and had been for the past year.
"I know what you're up to."
Christophe drummed his fingers on the table, throwing down his hand - which would have won him a lot of money if he'd been able to collect his winnings. "Oh?"
"Blondie distracts and tries to get information out of our man over there while you do the same over here." The man took a sip from his drink. "And you thought that was going to work?"
"Eet's never failed before," muttered Christophe leaning back in his chair. "Merde."
"He's just helping you though. This one was all yours and you messed it up?" The man smirked. "Shame you had to get him involved."
He wasn't the only person at the table - there were plenty of his associates, completely outnumbering Christophe and Gregory. Perhaps he had taken on more than he could handle. He grunted.
"To make this interesting I'm going to give you a day's head start."
"And zen what?"
"I'm going to kill you." The man smirked and flicked his eyes over to Gregory, leeringly. "And anyone who happens to be with you." He watched the way Gregory was leaning over flirting. He ran his eyes over Gregory's backside. "Well, after I've had my fun."
Christophe shot up and slammed his fist down on the table. Thankfully, Gregory was not watching him. "You weel stay away from 'im or you weel regret eet."
"But he looks so fun to play with. The things I will do to him... I will rip him apart. I will destroy him. And it will be all your fault."
Christophe threw his fist into the man's face before anyone could stop him. In that moment he began his life on the run.
Gregory sat on the bottom floor in his home library, leather-bound Dickens in one hand, glass of scotch in the other. He looked out of the grand window, over his vast acres in the Cheshire countryside - immaculately mowed lawns and multi-coloured trees, every shade of browns, oranges and reds. Autumn, moving towards cold, bitter winter, and then drowning the snow in the spring where it refused to stop raining. Summer would come promising to be sunny, but disappointing at the last minute, and then it would move straight back into everything dying in autumn. Time had made Gregory cynical - ten years to hate himself but blame someone else for it.
He'd moved back to England almost ten years ago, not long after Christophe left. The French bastard disappeared one day without a trace, and Gregory swore that he was done; he was not wasting his life waiting (though in hindsight that's exactly what he'd done). Alone and heartbroken, he had to leave America, get away from the land that only brought him misery.
For ten years he hadn't seen Christophe. So what he did to try and forget about him was make his fortune and get a wife. Neither of these things helped in the slightest. Now he was just a very rich man, in a loveless marriage, with two ungrateful step-children he hardly saw or had any interest in. His wife never asked or cared how he got his money, just that he had it. It could have been illegally obtained for all she cared.
It was in fact illegally obtained, through so many dodgy deals, grifting, and blackmail. The police were getting wise; Gregory was hearing underground rumours that he was finally going to get what 'he deserved.' Things always had a way of catching up in the end. He hoped that if he went down, his bitch of a wife would too.
Maybe it was time for a new start, a different country, a chance to make his life again. He just worried that he wasn't as young and good-looking as he once was, he couldn't bend people to his will in quite the same way, and he didn't have the time to meet a new partner. Besides - he couldn't leave his wife and step-children just like that, could he?
The possible answer to all his problems rang the front door. The bell chimed three times and the snobbish butler - whom Gregory also hated but needed - answered.
He really hoped it wasn't anyone important at the door; he just wanted to be left alone. Perhaps it was a spoilt friend of his step-daughter wanting to ride horses, or one of the ridiculous ladies from the social club who wore the ugliest dresses and bored him to death with their talk about flowers and the scandal in the church (the vicar's a crook? Oh what a surprise. Please tell me more). Well, it was only him home so they would all just have to go away.
The butler entered the library with a name that certainly was not either of those, a name which Gregory never thought he would hear again but whispered silently every night.
"A Mr Christophe DeLorne is here to see you, sir, and Mrs Thorne is on the phone. She says it's urgent."
Gregory's heart missed a beat, and he immediately stood up, dropping Great Expectations on the chair. He clenched his free fist by his side. Turning around to face out of the window, he took a deep breath. "Tell Emily I'll call her back very soon," he growled. "...And send him in."
"Very good, sir."
Gregory's knuckle grew white as he waited for his guest's arrival. His eyes were fixed on a point on the lawn - a rouge leaf that had not been raked up by the Gardner. That leaf had a way of slipping through every crack, always coming back in the end, whatever he did. And it was impossibly still green.
He heard a cough behind him as the butler re-entered. "Your guest, sir."
Gregory didn't turn around. His voice was cold and harsh. "Thank you, Mason. That will be all. You can leave us now... and do not on any account disturb us."
The Butler dipped his head as he left the room.
Gregory spun around, eyes livid with fury. He saw the face that had haunted him for the last ten years, the same crinkle around his green eyes, the same surprisingly small mouth, soft lips. It was almost taunting him with how real it was.
He finally snapped, and with a flick of his wrist and full force of his arm, threw his scotch glass across the 's mercenary reflexes kicked in, he ducked, and the glass shattered against the library door.
The butler heard the smash of glass and rushed into the room again, staring in shock at his fuming master. Gregory glared furiously at him. "I said leave us, and do not come back in! Do I not make myself clear?!" He was shouting. He was red in the face. He was angry.
"Crystal, sir," replied the butler calmly, closing the doors again, much too accustomed to Gregory's hot temper. He'd have to clear that up later, again, God he could use a break.
"Well zat wasn't very nice." Christophe flicked a small shard of glass off his shoulder. "Why so angry?"
Gregory screamed and lunged towards Christophe, knocking him to the floor with a hard and brutal punch. "You made me angry. You who abandoned me." His words were screamed with only the anger you get from heartbreak, pain that he'd masked for so many years pouring into his voice. "And you have the fucking nerve to turn up after ten years?" He grabbed Christophe's shoulders, shaking him hard, sending his head banging against the floor. "Saying 'hello'?!"
Christophe growled and fought back, pushing the blond off him. "I 'av a good reason for what I did." He only wanted to defend, not to attack, but Gregory's head hit his mahogany coffee table with a loud thump.
Gregory glared and threw the coffee table away, sending it tumbling to the floor, over Christophe, who threw his arms up to catch it. "Oh, I can't fucking wait to hear that," scorned Gregory, stumbling up and over to one of his many bookcases in an unthinking haze. He pulled them at random off the shelves, aiming them hard at Christophe's head. He wanted anything that would cause pain; all he wanted in that moment was to see the other man hurt.
The near priceless books flew through the air at great speed, pages fluttering before they dropped down on the hard floor - pages bending, spines breaking, utterly ruined.
The Frenchman ducked and swerved, avoiding every classic title that was thrown his way. The books hit the bookcase behind Christophe hard, causing more to thud off the shelves. With a dizzying smack The Count of Monte Cristo flew straight into his head, corner drawing blood.
"You beetch," he growled. Caught up in the moment of anger, he ran over to the bookcase opposite Gregory and started throwing books as well, perfectly aiming at the man he loved.
Gregory let out a gasp as Jane Eyre, made brutal contact with his chest; it was a particularly heavy book. "That's more like it," he panted, fury taking over all his other senses. "But I know you can fight dirtier, motherfucker." He threw one final book, before hurtling across the room to grab Christophe's neck - the unleashed animal in him wanting to rip everything apart.
"I don't want to fight dirty!" Christophe was prepared for Gregory's assault this time, sticking his foot out and sending the blond falling to the floor.
Gregory bit his lip and felt the copper taste of blood fill his mouth. He swung his leg up and through the air, hitting the back of Christophe's knees. The Frenchman buckled and fell on top of him. "You love fighting dirty," gasped Gregory, feeling extremely winded. He coughed, flinching at the pain in his chest and the blood dripping down his chin.
Christophe gripped the blond's wrist tightly, pinning them down to the floor and pressing his body down to trap him. "Not like zis. Now stop eet."
Gregory thrashed his body from side to side in a helpless attempt to free himself.
"Stop eet, NOW!"
He gave up trying to fight Christophe off, his body going limp. "You can't just come back into my life and expect everything to be fine! You abandoned me, what other reaction am I meant to have!"
"I couldn't stay away, knowing you were here."
Ten years was a long time, and eight of those were spent trying to hunt down Gregory, once the death threats were no longer there, or rather the people making the death threats were dead. Someone had never been so hard to find as Gregory, every trace of him having ever been in America had vanished; Christophe didn't know where to start looking. He travelled to England, hopelessly searching the different counties. He never gave up though. Then one day, sitting in a small tea shop in a town in Cheshire, he heard the mention of Gregory's name, how he'd come to gain a large country house there. It was very simple to find the right one after that.
"You should never have left in the first place, and then there would be no problem!"
"I 'ad to, zey were going to keel you." Christophe choked back a tear. "Zey wanted to 'urt you. Zey were going to do terrible things and I 'ad to protect you."
"Who did? What a load of-" Gregory gasped, stopping himself, realising. "Those people you got involved with in Vegas!?" He remembered it all too well. For the first time, Christophe had got in deeper than he could handle, deeper than he could dig.
"Oui, zat's why as soon as I got you to somewhere remote, our leetle childhood Mountain town, I ran. I thought zat eef I was on my own, zey could no longer trace you and zey may no longer think zat you were important to me. I thought zat eef we parted, zey'd try and find something else to 'urt me wiz." Christophe stroked Gregory's face delicately. "And once I'd killed zem all, I tried to find you. Zat's what I've spent my life doing."
Gregory slowly moved his hand to meet with Christophe's, holding it tenderly. He could tell every word was true, and it made him both sad and happy to hear those words. Involuntary tears started falling from his eyes. It was an overwhelming moment, everything he believed, turned upside down, twisting and spinning in his head. The one time Christophe saved him and he didn't even know it.
"I thought you'd had enough of me, Tophe. And it killed so much because even though I hated you, and I've spent the past ten years in anger, I never stopped loving you."
Christophe wiped the tears away from Gregory's eyes, a few running down his own face. "Never, you're ze only thing I think about. Leaving you, eet was worse zan dying." His voice cracked. "Je t'aime tellement, putain bien."
"We could have stayed together?"
"Non. You were my weakness. We would 'av both died."
Gregory coughed again, his breath weak and chest tight. His racing heart did not help reduce the excruciating pain that was entering his chest, and his head was going dizzy with confusion.
Christophe's eyes widened with regret. He gently undid the buttons of the blond's shirt, noticing again the scar above his hip bone, and a large red mark forming on his chest. "Désolé," he whispered, kissing the mark tenderly. "I am so sorry to 'av done zat."
Gregory shook his head. "I-It's my fault for thr-throwing so many..." he coughed weakly again. "...books at you, I'm sorry. I-I I-" His eyelids fluttered closed as the spinning in his head became unbearable and he passed out with Christophe still sitting on top of him.
Christophe stroked Gregory's face again - always so perfectly beautiful. He was his wonderful Prince, who would once again feel loved and proud to be himself, because in Christophe's eyes, Gregory deserved to be arrogant. He climbed off the blond, doing up his shirt. After reaching in his own top pocket for a cigarette and lighting it up, keeping it in his mouth, he scooped Gregory up in his arms. "Mazon!" he called and waited as the Butler arrived. He did, looking at the Frenchman cautiously. "Kindly escort me to Monsieur Gregory's room. He's 'aving a nap."
The Butler looked like he was about to argue, but decided against it, not really caring that his master was hurt, or how, or why, or who was carrying him. "Right this way, sir."
"Don't call me sir, faggot. I 'ate eet."
"Oh well, you're just as charming as Mr Thorne, aren't you?" mumbled Mason under his breath.
Christophe took a long drag on his cigarette as he lay down next to the sleeping Gregory on his at least King sized bed. The aromas of detergent mixed with wintergreen bath oils floated around him. Since he saw no trace of a female sharing the room, they must have been Gregory's. This thought made him smile and he wrapped an arm around his companion. He kept stroking the blond's forehead lightly, never wanting to let go of his precious gem again. He wouldn't, he couldn't, and he shouldn't have to.
Christophe heard a faint cough beside him. It had been an hour, one he'd spent with his eyes glued to Gregory, observing all the ways the blond had stayed the same and all the ways he'd changed. Slight wrinkles were forming on his forehead - frown lines, and he'd lost all traces of youth from his face. But apart from that he was exactly the same, still breathtaking, still surrounded by an untouchable glow; Christophe would always see him like that.
"You're awake," whispered Christophe, gracing his fingers over Gregory's cheek.
Gregory's light blue eyes opened in disbelief and a wide smile spread across his face as he stared up - an action he had not done in a number of years. "Y-you're really here. It wasn't a dream, you're... here."
Christophe took Gregory's hand, holding it to his lips and kissing the knuckles. "I'm really 'ere."
"Good God, Tophe." Gregory reached out a hand and stroked Christophe's face.
"Ha, we certainly showed zat faggot zat he couldn't keep us apart." The Frenchman bent his head down to tenderly kiss the Brit's lips. His heart jumped and a warm, comforting feeling spread through his whole body, as the happiness overcame him. The kiss flooded memories into his brain. His lips reacted easily, molding as if they belonged there, fitting back together like a shovel base and handle; you needed both for it to work properly. Without one, the other would never serve its true purpose, it would be broken. "Gregory Thorne," he whispered almost breathlessly, "mon amour, ma vie."
Gregory's long broken heart of ten years, bonded as strong as ever. The warm feeling and fast beating overriding the pain from earlier. "You soppy git."
Christophe chuckled and undid Gregory's shirt slowly, not wanting his fingers to press into the blond's chest in any harmful way. He drew breath when he saw how the bruises had developed. Gregory was like a peach - his skin so delicate, absorbing every imprint. Christophe pressed his lips with a feather-like delicacy against the bruises. The warmth from his lips spread through Gregory, causing the pain to simply melt away. He sighed.
They lay in the tender comfort of each other's company, kissing and caressing with a new found gentleness, until a knock came on the door. Christophe moved from the bed to a nearby chair and Gregory called for the person to enter.
It was of course Mason the Butler holding a phone. "Your wife, she says it's really urgent." Mason ignored the fact Gregory was shirtless. His eyes trailed over the bruises but didn't linger. He'd learnt not to linger, just like he'd learnt not to ask questions.
Gregory took the phone, placing a hand over it, so his wife couldn't hear. "Mason, when was the last time I gave you a holiday? Gosh, it's been a while hasn't it? I tell you what, why don't I give you the rest of the week off... and next week too?"
The butler's face filled with surprise. "Sir!"
Gregory laughed. "Don't look so shocked, I can be nice you know. In fact, how would you like to use the holiday home in the Lake District? The one that overlooks... Lake Windermere is it?"
Mason looked in awe. "That would be awfully kind of you."
"It's not much, and the second bathroom is desperately in need of renovation, but it has a fantastic view from the main sitting room."
"It sounds amazing."
"So you'll take it?"
"Yes. Thank you!"
"Terrific, now get out of my sight. You know where the keys are. I expect you gone and relaxing by tomorrow." The butler nodded and hurried out of the room, before Gregory changed his mind. "Hello, I'm here," called Gregory's eloquent voice through the phone. He beckoned for Christophe to join him again.
"Gregory, darling, I've been trying to reach you!"
"Mmm, I've been a little busy." He snaked his hand through Christophe's and leant his head back against his chest.
"Doing what? Mason seemed to suggest you'd passed out in the library... something about a book falling off the shelf."
He mentally thanked Mason for not mentioning Christophe. "Yes, that book fell with rather a lot of force." Gregory closed his eyes as Christophe trailed a hand up his chest to caress the bruise again, whispering apologies into his ear.
"Well do try to be careful, darling. You mustn't end up in hospital; they're far too overcrowded these days."
Gregory inwardly rolled his eyes. "I'll tell Charlotte Bronté not to write such heavy novels shall I?"
"Oh dear, do you have concussion? Charlotte Bronté is dead."
Gregory stopped his wife in exasperation, wit was utterly wasted. "What was so urgent?"
"Oh, yes, of course. I'm afraid I'm going to have to extent my stay here in New York another week. Cynthia says there's a play starting next week that I simply can't miss. So I'll be away at least two more weeks. Will that be a problem?"
Gregory stifled a moan as Christophe continued tracing across his chest. "N-No, no problem, dear. Just have a nice time." He thought as much would happen when he'd given Mason the following week off.
"Thank you, darling. I've got to go shopping now."
Spending all of Gregory's money. "Have a fabulous time."
"Talk to you soon, dear."
No. "Goodbye, Emily." Gregory hung up and tossed the phone onto the bed.
"'Ow ees eet zat you 'av a wife. You're so gay," Christophe commented.
"Either she didn't notice my obvious homosexuality or she looked past it to the money. It was such a marriage of convenience. The only reason I ever married her was because it was easier to engage in underworld activities that way, less focus solely on me. I made sure I picked a wife who was away a lot."
Christophe dropped his hands lower, caressing Gregory's hip bones. "Leave 'er. We'll get a nice little place in ze Dordogne, not get mixed up in ze underworld zis time, just live our lives togezer, ze life I should 'av always geeven you."
Gregory sighed in bliss at the physical contact. "I can't go to France and run off with you, I have a bitch wife and step-children."
"Eef your wife's a beetch zen why do you want to stay wiz 'er? Why waste ze rest of your life?"
"It would be awfully irresponsible of me to run away with you now," Gregory cast his eyes down, "I want to so fucking much though."
"Zen ze answer ees simple. I 'aven't spent zis long trying to find you, to let you go again. And I'm not just going to be your 'meestress.'" Christophe kissed Gregory's shoulder, sucking delicately at the pale skin.
Gregory groaned. It was extremely tempting. "And what about Oscar and Elizabeth?"
"'Ow often do you see zem?" mumbled Christophe into his neck.
"Do you like zem?"
"Not particularly. Oscar wants everything handed to him on a gold rimmed plate, and Elizabeth is turning into a bigger bitch than her mother." Gregory paused, "can I call my step-daughter a bitch? God, I really am a terrible person."
"Zen zey're probably better off wizout you."
Gregory grinned at the blunt truth in that statement. "Yes, I agree." He shot up and yanked Christophe up too, his decision made. Though perhaps on some level, his decision had been made the second he heard Christophe's name again.
Christophe scowled. "What's ze 'urry, beetch?"
"Let's do it. Let's run away. I love you. Fucking hell, Christophe, it couldn't be simpler."
"Would you like me to book two tickets to France?"
"One way, business class." Gregory saw that Christophe looked sceptical. "Look around you, Tophe, you're in a country estate, I'm loaded."
Christophe shook his head. "Zat's not what I'm worried about. Are you sure zat I am what you want for ze rest of your life?"
Gregory took Christophe's hands in his, gazing intently into his eyes with tears in his own. "I need you to save me."
Those words held a lifetime of meaning.
Christophe wrapped an arm around Gregory, pulling him close and holding him tight. "Oui, I can do zat." He brushed a strand of hair out of the beautiful blond's eyes. "But we do 'av a couple of weeks before your wife ees due back."
Gregory smiled seductively. "And I intend to use that time to introduce you to every room in this house."