It was one of the more boring society parties that I was attending when I first found my Doc. He was chatting pleasantly with one of the young ladies at the party, but his eyes were watching me. The man was young to my eyes, but graceful. I drifted towards him as I conversed with the dreadfully dull society limpets. "Ah, most beautiful Lady Chattern, it is a pleasure to see your face once more. Will you have another glass of wine with me?" I asked his companion. She giggled and I saw him roll his eyes. Not impressed by flattery, this one then.
"Lord Byron," she giggled at me, "I do believe I've had enough wine for tonight. Have you met Dr. Adams?"
"No, dear lady. A pleasure, Doctor."
"Benjamin Adams, m'lord," he said. His voice took my breath away. It was melodious and complex, hinting at secrets I'd never now. I'd die to hear that voice recite my poetry. His face was all planes and angles and a shade of white that women attempted to create, but can not. He was slender and conservatively dressed, as befitted a doctor.
"Have you been in town long, Doctor?" He gave me a half-smile.
"No, not long." I gave him my full attention. He was amused by something and I wanted to know what it was. I put an arm over his shoulder and he tensed for a moment. I didn't let go and he relaxed under my grip. He was still wary of me though. It was fascinating to court a cat.
"Come, let me introduce you." He cast a glance back at Lady Chattern who watched us with a tiny amused smile. She knows full well that I always get what I want. His minor resistance would be soon gone. We wended our way through the crowd. I laughed at his sarcasticly catty comments about the men and women who looked down their aristocratic noses at him. They were muttered in Latin and his eyes glittered gold with pleasure when he realized I understood him. My friends, as opposed to the social butterflies that flock to these parties, were genuinely pleased to find a new wit to torment. My leg had the unfortunate timing to cramp up and my new-found prey, instantly turned into a physician. His arm was strong along my back as he gestured impatiently for the closest member of the party to get up. He helped me to sit and cocked his head to the side.
"Shall I work to muscle out or leave you to suffer for appearances?" he asked seemingly assured that I would choose the latter.
"Oh, work it out," I said with a wave of a hand. Moments later, he folded himself to the floor in one graceful movement and massaged the muscles. His long fingers worked the knot out sending slivers of pain and waves of pleasure up my side. His dark hair obscured his eyes as he concentrated on the task. I made a leap. "This settles it, you must become my new physician. You will accompany on my tour." Startled eyes of hazel met my level gaze. I've been told that my eyes have bent many a man and woman to my will. But the gaze that met mine was not frightened into submission. He studied me for a long moment and I saw the conscious decision in those ages old eyes. He must have seen my intrigue in my eyes because the age disappeared and in front of me was the young, quiet doctor once again. It was too late, I was enraptured by the enigma that I saw hiding behind the young mask.
"As you wish, M'lord." He settled down on a chair next to me as soon as he was sure that I was well. He sprawled with liquid grace taking possession of the chair. My cohorts were congenially inebrieated and demanded a poem. I shut my eyes to think. I felt my mouth curl into a naughty smile. I opened my eyes and found that my cat was warily eyeing me, as if he'd guessed that it was to be about him. One of the young ladies currently attempting to win my favor was sitting with us. My smile widened. She too had dark hair and hazel eyes. Strange, but on her the combination just ended up looking mouse-like.
I began: "Thy cheek is pale with thought, but not from woe,/ And yet so lovely, that if Mirth could flush/ Its rose of whiteness with the brightest blush,/ My heart would wish away that ruder glow" It wasn't a full poem, but I can only write a few lines on demand and only with a new muse. The girl, whoever she was, assumed it was about her, but my new acquisition knew better. He gazed at me under lowered lashes. His modesty was more touching that the fakeness of the women.
We escaped the dreadful party an hour later. Of course, it was just the beginning of the party. It would be tame, in honor of our new guest. We retired to my current residence. My supplies of laudnum and opium were beginning to get low, so I sent one of the little hanger-ons after more. My dear doctor's eyes were wide and innocent, though his mouth was less so. His frown wasn't disapproving, but rather warning. He surveyed the faces of my followers and decided that there was no danger. I'd felt the sword and dagger in his cloak because I hadn't let go of him for long. Another layer to my young doctor. I wondered idly who he'd angered to be so worried. There were too many of us for him to be killed without someone noticing. Not now that I'd put my mark on him. He'd be the talk of the gossips in the morning. I wanted to make sure that'd he'd awaken in my chambers to see his reaction.
The night was slightly chilled so the fireplace was roaring. I settled into my favorite seat and kept a hand on my Doc's shoulder. He aquiessed and settled down on the cushions next to my couch. I saw the calculations going on in his head. I tightened my grip and a brief flash of calculating fear filled his eyes as he looked up at me. When he saw that I wasn't threatening him, he relaxed, which was the whole point of the exercise in my mind. He drank conservatively of the laudnum, but quite cheerfully entered the argument about education. He took Rousseau's part, which surprised me. Physicians are known for their conservative views. Perhaps it is merely their apprenticeship that wears all the fun out of them. After a few volleys he settled back. The laudnum was beginning to take effect and he was calm. His tolerance for the drug was good. I was more and more intrigued by him. We lost several of the party to stupor not too long after. Doc watched the threesome in the corner with an almost jaded eye. Not a watcher then. Perhaps a participant? I laid across the couch and started to whisper into his ear.
"Isn't she pretty. Her hair falling around her in waves. The blush rising into her cheeks. See how her breath catches in little pants as the stroke her. Her breasts shiver with each little breath." Doc's breath hitched as I stroked his hair away from his forehead, pulling him closer with the move. The lace on my sleeve gleamed against his hair. My chin rested on his shoulder and I could nearly hear his heartbeat. And he shivered as I continued to paint pictures. "The fabric sets off her dark hair, like raven wings don't you think? And the little nubs grow with each breath across them." He shifted uncomfortably, but my grip held him close. I could feel the heat rising from his skin. He drank the laudnum I offered greedily. His mouth must have been dry. The drug relaxed him further and his cheek rested against mine. His long fingers twitched in the firelight. "See how the shadows gather under her throat. See how her skin glistens in the light. What would she feel like beneath your fingers right now? Would she tremble? What would her skin taste like? Warm sweet wine? Would you like to drink of her?" Doc tore away from me and ran his fingers into his hair.
I frowned. I joined him on the floor. I gently turned his face to me. I saw more pain that I expected. I kissed his brow and pulled him to my shoulder. He seemed young and old at the same time. He was grieving for a lost beauty I supposed. "What happened?"
"She was murdered." My grip tightened. I could almost taste the words swirling in my mind. I gave him more to drink and let him lean on me. He drifted to sleep and I arranged him on the cushions. Then, I fetched paper, ink, and a pen. I let one hand settle on Doc's head and wrote with the other. Whenever he started to stir, I gentled him into sleep with a touch.
The morning found Doc in the same position I'd left him in. His eyes were open and he looked to be figuring out exactly where he was and what was happening. "M'lord?" he asked. He didn't seem to have a hang-over. "You're well?" I smiled at him. Trust a physician to think about someone else first. He sat up and stretched. "I'd best get home then."
"I'll have my man take you. First, come eat breakfast." He settled in the seat across from me and ran a hand through his hair glancing around the room. He relaxed as soon as he found his cloak hanging neatly on the hanger near the door. He poked at the eggs suspiciously. He raised a brow and looked up at me with glittering agate eyes. "If you don't like them, I'll have them make something else."
"No need. Did you really mean what you said last night?" Doc's voice was soft. I ran a hand through my hair.
"Of course. You will accompany me to the Continent. I have such things to show you." He got his little half-smile then. Oh, Doc, did you even realize you were seducing me then? Knowing you, probably not. You were so unaware of yourself. So absorbed in playing the retiring little doctor.
"Really?" he breathed. His eyes were light with mischief, miles away from the pain I'd seen last night. "When?"
"In one month's time. Until then, you will be my companion here, in town. You shall be famous, my young doctor."
"You are sure that I wish fame, then," he mocked without rancor.
"I am merely telling you the truth, Doc." I wagged a finger at him. "Don't try to resist it. Tell me about yourself."
"No." His voice was soft and sure, velvet covered steel. My cat was showing his claws. I smiled and took a bite of my breakfast. "This is a ridiculus time of the morning for such questions," he continued. He ate little that morning. I assumed it was due to the lingering effects of the drugs. I kept him with me the entire day and into the next night. "I truly must be getting home," he said, a little desperate. I tightened my grip on his arm and he blanched, trying to pull away from me. I steered him into my private rooms and locked the door behind us.
"Sit down, Benjamin." He frowned at me. His eyes followed the key as I put it above the door. He was angry. I could see the passion in his eyes.
"My Lord, what exactly are you doing? Kidnapping me is illegal."
"You haven't been kidnapped, merely detained. You are my physician. Your honor is still clean."
"It is not my honor, I'm worried about."
"Benjamin, I said sit down."
"Yes, m'lord," he said with icy formality. He looked up at me attentively. His eyes were carefully blank, and his lips formed into a little frown of concentration. He looked so terribly young that I paused.
"Stop that, Doc. You know I won't hurt you, at least not without permission." That caught him off guard and he questioned me.
"I am not your master or your better so stop giving me titles."
"I beg to differ, M'lord."
"If I were your master, I would not put up with your impertinence," I informed him. Humor danced in his eyes.
"I should think you'd enjoy the challenge. Now, M'lord, it is late and I must be getting home before my man decides to send out a search party for my body." He stood and I shoved him down. I noticed him tense and force himself to relax. Then, an instant later, he was up and moving. I just barely caught his wrist before he got to the door. He hissed on an inhaled breath.
"Sit down." He settled himself in front of the door. I held his wrist still. I held it over his head for a moment more and then sat in front of him, still holding his wrist as a tether. His eyes were dancing now and I saw my clever opponent searching my eyes for weakness. He did not find it and subsided, the restful cat before the pounce. "Listen to me, Doctor, I don't want to hurt you, but I always have my way."
"You should learn to handle disappointment then." I twisted his wrist sharply and he gasped. His dagger was at my throat almost instantly. "Release me." I let go of his wrist and the knife disappeared into the folds of his cloak. I rarely make the same mistake twice. Oh, my little cat, I do enjoy a challenge. He drew his knees up to rest his chin upon. Hazel eyes danced with glee as they studied me. I moved closer, invading his space as I had for the entire day. I wanted to see the fear in his eyes again. I only saw it when he was startled. I doubted I would frighten him again. I reached to trace his cheek. He tilted his head slightly toward my touch. A cat marking his territory, I suppose. A day is longer than I've ever taken to seduce one I've set my sights on. The women were a game, this was a challenge.
"I am going to kiss you," I informed him. His eyes grew large and he jerked away from me, and hit the door with the back of his head. The laughter was unexpected, but so young and musical that I could see a young god there. I joined in that laughter, worshiping this young god's humility. A doctor of all things. My muse was a doctor. When he had calmed himself, he looked up at me expectantly. I carefully brushed my lips across his and let him go. "Tomorrow we go shopping. If you are to accompany me, you must have the proper clothing." I got to my feet with the aid of my cane, cursing fate for my foot. My doctor's steady hands found my arm and held me stable, when my leg cramped.
"You should not sit on the floor, M'lord," he informed me with his secretive half-smile. Amused with the world my cat was and more than willing to unsheath his claws.
"Until tomorrow, Doctor."
"Good night, M'lord."
My doctor was not pleased at my fussing over him. "I am not particularly fond of ruffles," he stated.
"Unneeded then. My, you are prudish today. We'll fix that." A few swallows of laudnum later, he was more willing to allow me freedom in choosing his wardrobe. I was paying after all. My family would have fits. I'd have to introduce my doctor to them soon enough. But not right then. I wanted him all to myself. His eyes were large and almost pleading as we visited another tailor.
"It's more than enough. I don't need…"
"Hush." I put a finger to his lips. "I shall have what I want." The tailor smiled gently at him.
"It will be fine, young man," the old man said. He was hunched and fingers calloused, but my doctor seemed more calm with him than any other. It wasn't merely the drugs either. "I shall make you a fine cloak." He had a strange tattoo on the inside of his wrist and I recognized it as the same one Doc had exposed earlier. The measuring and material choice took nearly an hour. By the end of it, whatever patience my doctor had had for the proceedings was worn thin. One look at his pleading eyes and I relented. He cheered when I took him to the closest tavern for a beer and some dinner.
We discussed books and women over dinner. That evening was concluded by a chess match. He fell asleep in my chambers again. By this time my staff was quite used to him, and had contacted his man for his things. He didn't know that yet, of course. He awoke and looked around the room. "Bloody hell, I've done it again," he snorted to himself, quite sure that I was still asleep. He got to his feet, not even feeling the hangover he should have had from the amount of beer he'd had. I caught him and pulled him back to the bed before he could sneak away from me. "Unhand me, Sir," he demanded. He struggled mildly in my restraining hug.
"Not so quickly, Doc. Settle down. It's early yet. There's plenty of time for you to get home. Your things are on their way over as we speak."
"Sir!" He was outraged. My grip tightened and he actually began to fight in earnest. I merely held him. He was trying not to hurt me, but just to get away. I placed a kiss on the side of his neck and he went completely still. "Sir?" He seemed less sure of himself then. He was scared I realized.
"Hush, Benjamin. You are safe here. No one will dare harm you when I'm here." He laughed and shook his head.
"You don't understand me at all, M'lord." He tried to pry my hands from his arms, but I tightened my grip until I heard his quickly smothered gasp of pain. "Let go, m'lord."
"I don't think so. I will have what I want, Benjamin. You are a tease, Sir. Teases are punished." He struggled. His breath came in short little bursts.
"As you wish, milord," he said softly. He went nearly limp. He let me turn him, so that I could see his eyes. I had pushed the game a little too far. He wasn't in the room with me any longer. Someone had thoroughly broken him. That wasn't what I had been looking for. I hadn't thought my kitten so hurt. I soothed down the young doctor's hair and laid him back. The gentle tremble I felt beneath my hand kept me from doing anything more. I laid next to him and carefully placed an arm over his waist before cuddling him in.
He calmed himself with the iron control he always uses. "I should leave," he said softly. I wasn't sure if he was speaking to me or to himself. I tightened my grip. He turned until he could look into my eyes. "Please let go of me."
"I won't hurt you, Benjamin."
"I can't do this. You burn so deeply. I don't have that anymore." He touched my face. "I am not so young as you think me, my lord poet." I knew without a doubt that he was speaking of his soul for he looked younger than I. I ran a hand into his hair and pulled his mouth to mine. He shivered. "Byron, please," he begged.
"Show me where it hurts. Let me ease the pain." He laughed bitterly.
"There's nothing you can do."
"Let me try." A gentle kiss and he surrendered. I tasted his tears in his kiss. He hid his face in my shoulder as I stroked down his back. I held him until the tears disappeared. "Tell me where it hurts. Tell me who harmed you. Is it the one you search the faces in the crowd for?"
"Yes and no. I… I was an orphan, milord." My grip tightened. I knew what he was trying to tell me. His tolerance for the drugs, his jaded eyes. He wrapped his arms around me in a surprisingly strong grip. I tightened my grip in his hair, holding his head to my chest. Eventually, he relaxed and let me hold him and relaxed fully into my grip. I kissed him ever so lightly on the lips and he tilted his head up towards the kiss, silently asking for more. That night I worshipped him with kisses and he explored all of me. Even knowing his heritage, I could not help but use his talents. I felt a tear splash against my chest even in the thros of passion, his pain could not be abandoned. The next morning I awoke, neatly tucked into the bed. The only trace left of my dear doctor was a terse note: "Do not look for me."
I felt my soul scream in frustration and loss. My muse had fled, but left me one poem.