I accidentally *ahem* watched a bit of the 4th Episode of North and South this afternoon, and this sprung to mind. It is by no means perfect, and it may be tweaked at some point, but I'm not sure. Hope you enjoy, please review. Although I wish I owned Mr Thornton, I do not. Nor do I own any other part of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel, or the BBC miniseries.

Standing there by the front door, the snow falling around him, Mr Thornton watched the woman he loved climbing into the carriage that was to take her away. Away from the North, never to return if her snobbish aunt were to have her way. He had told himself that he felt nothing for her any more, that any love he had towards her had been swiftly crushed after her refusal, but no, he had lied; to his mother, himself, even Margaret.

"Look back"

They had stood in the house, just minutes before, him looking down at her, trying to express so much through his eyes; stay, they said. Please, please stay. She had handed him her fathers Plato, carefully, lovingly.

"I thought you might like it" she had said quietly, and he had smiled, and assured her he would treasure it. There were so many things he wanted to say to her. He wanted to take her in his arms, and hold her close and tell her no one who she loved, or who loved her, would ever leave her again. But he could not, would not. As his gaze flitted between the Plato he now held, and the woman in front of him, he heard her aunt say to his mother that she must take Margaret away as soon as possible, and he heard his mother concur. If his mother feared that in this short time together he would fall in love with her again, she was wrong. He had never stopped loving her. Ever.

"Look back at me"

Oh, how he wanted her to look back, just once. He wanted her to stay there, with him. He had almost lost her once to the rioters, he didn't want to loose her again. Was there even a slight possibility she would return, to him? Could she love him?

Mr Thornton watched until the carriage was out of sight. As it turned the corner, he thought he saw her look back at him, but the carriage was too far away for him to really know.