Series. Laurie R. King's Holmes/Russell books
Pairing : Ali/Mahmoud resp. Alistair/Marsh
Code: Russell POV
Summary: While Marsh lays in fever he dreams
Note: This is dedicated to the novel Justice Hall. It's not a scene from the book, nevertheless something what may have taken place during Marsh' s illness and before Russell leave for France.
Sequel to: And only the desert will know and Arguments
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.
"Ali, love." The moan made me abandon the book I had read in and look again after my temporarily patient. He tossed restlessly in his bed, fever-triggered sweat gleaming onto his forehead. I whip it away, tenderly stroking over his damp hair. "Ali." Again he moaned the name of his beloved.
Beloved! Again I pondered some thoughts about William Maurice Hughenfort, called Marsh, the now seventh Duke of Beauville and new Master of Justice Hall, to me better known as Mahmoud, the Bedouin scribe and therefore spy for Mycroft Holmes, which whom I had wandered five years ago for several weeks through Palestine, or better I should say about his relationship to his "brother" Ali, in our current destination better known as Alistair Gordon St. John Hughenfort, the Master of Badger Old Place and Marsh's distant cousin.
"Ali", followed by some murmur in Arabic, which I translated as a plea for not let him alone.
As I first met them I just had fled England on the site of my then mentor and now husband Sherlock Holmes letting behind a momentarily unsolved case, which proofed to be a threat for our both lives and stumbling into a new one involving a plot against war-hero Allenby himself and the people who tried to build up some peace in the Holy Land. I had taken them for what they very much seemed to appear: two Arabic cut-throats. It was Holmes who pointed it out to me that the men accompanying us with more mistrust then anything else were neither Arabs nor brothers.
I don't know if he then already suspected the special way their relationship went but I suppose so. I for myself became suspicious the day their spy-master Joshua granted me quickly my own goat-hair tent as I insisted otherwise Holmes had to move in with them. I'm not overlie prude and I hadn't mind to pretend the whole time that I was a beardless male Arab youth but nevertheless I wanted some sort of privacy then. After all I only was a 19 year old girl, not involved in an private relationship with Holmes then. Obviously this was a prospect they didn't welcome after all. And I begun to silently questioning myself why - and later to which extend their relationship went.
"No. no." Marsh was trembling now. Again I whipped the sweat away. What had seemed to be unpleasant but minor injuries from the shot he had got during yesterday bird-hunt had now turned to a full fever. Not really live-threatening at the moment, but causing him some trouble and obvious nightmares. I wondered if he was dreaming from this torture, which brought him the scar on his face. We had caught his - and Holmes' - tormentor five years ago. Unfortunately this guy committed suicide. "Ali!", Marsh cried
I wondered if it had been a good idea to send Alistair to his own home. It had took Iris and myself a while to convince him that he needed some rest for himself. After all he had got some of the pellets as well. Of course he could have stayed at Justice Hall. But with Phillida's - Marsh 's sister - guests still all over the place Alistair was best cared for in Badger Old Place. I was sure the Algernon's would do their best for their master.
Naturally Marsh's wife Iris would have stayed with her husband all the night. Exhausted as she was after the straining last days she had committed herself finally to a hot, soothing bath and a brief rest while I was staying with Marsh for that time. Understandable none of us wished to involve others in the nursing duties. After all it was more then possible that the shot wasn't an accident. So none was to be trusted at the moment. Holmes had occupied himself meanwhile with reading through young Gabriel's diaries, surely not a more pleasant task then mine considering the boys tragedy.
Marsh was murmuring again in Arabic. Something about being strong and not telling about his shame as far as I understood. And words of love for his "brother."
How ironic, I thought, that two men, well breed and educated, could find their happiness in a simple life in the desert as they never would could at home. Although the bounds of morality had loosen over the war years, in a society like this Ali and Marsh were born in, some things just don' t be possible. Maybe the family could overlook to some degree that the younger brother Lionel had preferred the company of young men over women. Maybe one even wouldn't mind that Marsh and Iris - his lesbian, sham wife, lived apart - but never would it be tolerated when Alistair and Marsh lived together like a couple.
In Palestine they could travel together, hold hands in the open and greet each other with deep affection - and some kisses - as Arab males do. Sleeping in one tent far away from any other soul, which may be disturbed, anything seemed possible, even intimacy in any meanign of the word. Here in old England with all-seeing and -hearing servants all around and a not minder curious family it just was impossible.
I looked again on Marsh, a strong men, capable of killing without a second thought as I know from witness and yet probably as much tender as rough. I didn't know if he and Ali carried their relationship through to the sexual content but I assumed so. But their relationship - therefore I was sure - went much deeper then sheer desire of the body. They had been in such close rapport back than in Palestine, nearly as if they were acting out of one mind, speaking with one tongue, thinking with one brain. Probably the concept of soul mates was not that impossible after all.
"Ali, need you:" Marsh had ceased his tossing around. Somehow he seemed more calm now and his longing for his companion more. should I say of an intimate matter? At least he murmured something like 'touch me' in Arabic. He also spoke from assuring that he still was alive.
I just was about to bent down and giving him some re-assuring words in case he may hear me in his feverish state as a silent figure appeared at my site and startled me. "Ali", I sighed. He must have come over the hidden, narrow stairway Iris had showed me some days ago.
I was about to question why he had returned and then using this way but a quick glance in Alistair's face stopped the word on my tongue. He didn 't gave me a look as he brushed past me and said: "I take care of him now."
Of course I didn't argue with him. Ali ever had been nearly overprotective regarding Mahmoud. I suspected that he blamed himself that his "brother" had been taken captive and tortured once although I doubt that Ali could have done anything against it. And he rescued Mahmoud after all. If he now had felt it necessary to return to his beloved I surely wasn't the person to question his motives. Besides he wouldn't have let my after all.
Marsh seemed to perceive Alistair's presence. He stirred but did not awake. "Ali" this time the whisper was full of tenderness and love.
"I'm here, love, I'll never let you alone again," was the answer, equally tender spoken.
The last I saw before I went out to my own room was Alistair bending down and placing a tender kiss directly on Marsh's mouth.