Series. Laurie R. King's Holmes/Russell-books
Pairing: Alistair/Marsh resp. Ali/Mahmoud
Notes: prä Justice Hall
Summary: I scene which tries to explain why Alistair sought out Holmes' and Russell's help.
Sequel to: And only the desert knew
Disclaimer: This is only a little piece of fanfiction. I d do not intend to infringe the copyrights of the Conan Doyle estate or Mrs. King, I neither do own Sherlock Holmes, Mary Russel or the Hazr-brothers.
If you are under age, please stay away. If you have a problem with m/m- relationships, then look elsewhere for your entertainment. English is not my native language, so please be patient with my mistakes. Thanks to Lady Charena for the beta-reading. For all remaining errors, blame me.
"Don't ever call me with this name again!" Marsh stared furiously at his cousin, then turned away.
"Come back to Palestine with me." Alistair pleaded, his despair hardly hidden from his voice.
"I can't." Marsh remained standing with his back to his friend and staring out the window of his room at Justice Hall. The room he had already occupied as a youth. The room in which had later Gabriel. he flinched inwardly, then dismissed the thought of his late son immediately.
"This place will kill you," Alistair emphasized, stepping at Marsh's site.
"We all have to make sacrifices." A plain and unmoved statement.
"Damn! Are you really intending to give mask-balls and indulge yourself in small-talk for the reminder of your live?" Ali didn't bother to hide his anger. At the moment he was more like his other self - his real self in his opinion - the grimly-looking, tempered Arab he had been for over twenty years now and not the English gentlemen as which he had appeared over the last weeks.
"This is my families home. I have responsibilities. You from all people should understand this. After all it's your home, too," Marsh answered, still refusing to look at his distant cousin.
"But I can't understand suicide and that's exactly what are you doing with yourself right now." Alistair got the feeling he talked to a wall, nevertheless he tried further. "You don't belong here any more and you know this."
"Alistair, please, except whah is un-changeable."
He flinched at the using of his full name. Not Ali any more, he thought sadly and stepped behind Marsh, putting his hand on his shoulder, placing a tender kiss an his lover's neck "Mahmoud, please," he whispered.
"No!" Marsh jerked away from him. "No more of this!"
"So you just turn me down?" he asked sadly.
"We can't. not here." Marsh sighed. "It's too risky. You've to understand."
"Then come back with me." Back to our goat-hair-tend, to our simply but free life in the desert, to our love, he added silently.
"I can't but you should go back to Palestine." Marsh had to admit to himself that it wasn't sheer care for Alistair's well-being which let him made this suggestion. He merely selfishness feared he would loose his determination to stay with his responsibilities when he was further tempted by his lover's presence and suggestions of again gained freedom.
"Alone? Never!" Alistair emphasized. "Besides a man alone hardly would have a chance in the desert and in our. business."
"Joshua surely will find another companion for you."
"I don't want another companion, don't you understand this? I want you! Damn, can you really just put aside what we have shared for over twenty years?" He became desperate. "I thought you loved me?"
Marsh sighed. "I do not wish to hurt you." "Ali", he added after a brief hesitation. "But I can't change the inevitable. You don't need to stay here. You don't want to stay here. Go back and forget me. It's the best for you." And for me, he thought, ignoring the arching of his heart over the prospect of loosing Ali. Even if he could have him here only as a close friend not as the lover he had been for over twenty years it would be better then not seeing him any more, not speaking with him, not feeling his nearness.
"There is no other opportunity."
"You could turn over the dukedom the your brothers son," Alistair offered.
"You know as much as I that this boy hardly is Lionel's son."
"Why not? You had one, too." Ali clang to this small hope. If Thomas indeed was from Lionel anything would be fine and a heir found but as Marsh had said it was unlikely. After all in opposite to Marsh Lionel never had hidden his interest in men - therefore he had been the black sheep of the family.
"This was different."
"This is the true reason you want to stay, isn't it? You feel responsible to take over the place your son should have inherited? And you feel guilty." He could understand Marsh's grieve for his unacknowledged son. Nevertheless to punish himself now with this sort of self-denial was behind his acceptance and surely not something Gabriel had wanted. Alistair was determined to fight for his love - and for Marsh's life. Justice Hall and the title would kill him, that he was certain of.
"If I had been here I probably could have prevented it," Marsh said quietly.
"None could have prevented the war. And the boy would have enlisted no matter who he believed his father," Alistair answered.
Marsh turned around, finally facing his companion, sadness clearly shown in his eyes. "Alistair, there's something wrong about his death. I feel it. And my brother must have guessed it, too. Gabriel's last letter, the official death-announcement and the letter from the chaplain wrote - there is something wrong with them."
"What do you mean?" He asked puzzled.
"I think he was executed." Marsh closed his eyes and sighed.
"Allah." Alistair didn't know what to say. "Are you certain?" he finally asked.
Marsh opened his eyes again and shook his head. "No, I must find out what happened. He wouldn't have acted cowardice, no traitor I'm sure about that. There must be something wrong. And I must take over his place."
"Mah... Marsh, even if he would have known you as his father, he surely did not wish this self-sacrifice from you over his death. This will not bring him back to life." Alistair tried to approach Marsh again, intending to take him into his arms. "We'll find out together and then."
But Marsh backed away from him. "Go!" he ordered. "Let me alone."
Alistair of course stayed although he didn't try to touch his cousin again, instead he asked not without a certain amount of sarcasm in his voice: "What do you plan for the future? Iris probably is too old for another child. Besides I doubt that she wants one. Will you divorce her, marry a pretty, young maid and father a nice bunch of children in order to secure the line of succession or what?"
Marsh laughed dryly. "Are you aware that you would be next in line after me?"
"Thank you, I can dispense of that," Ali replied. "And I hope you don't expect me to marry now and produce a flock of children by my own."
"Of course not. Go! Live the life you wish to live. Be free." He tried again to push Alistair verbally away, hoping that when he did it often enough his friend finally would leave and let him alone to his destiny. But of course he know Alistair wasn't so easily pushed off. And in truth he didn't want him to go either.
"Not without you," he emphasized.
"I can not."
"Damn, if I can handle Badger over to my sister's son you can do the same with Justice. Phillida would be delighted." Alistair sighed deeply. He really was near to loose his temper now. Somehow he must haul Marsh back to his senses. But how? Obviously he wasn't going to hear on him.
"It's not the same. I can't break our family rules. And I don't want to either. I'm sorry," Marsh said his voice nearly shaken.
"So you rather abandon our love. I see" Now it was Alistair who just turned away. He walked to the door
"Alistair, please." seeing his companion leaving Marsh suddenly felt panic. "Where are you going?" he inquired more sharply then intended.
"To look for someone who can you bring back to your senses as I obviously can not," Alistair answered without turning around, opening the door and stepping outside.
"Ali, wait!" But the door already had closed. Marsh sighed and said quietly in Arabic. "I love you, my brother."
Continued in Brotherly Love.