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I own Jonty and Orlando (well Charlie does but she lends them out to me) but I don't own the people the Stewarts might or might not have met. (If you need a clue, see tag)

The door to the Stewarts’s drawing room flew open, allowing two dishevelled figures to stagger in and fling themselves on the sofa.

“Pour us both a drink, Jonty, there’s a good boy.” Mr. Stewart’s voice sounded unusually out of breath. “A large one for your mother. It’s been a bit of an afternoon.”

“What on earth have you two been up to?” Jonty carefully poured a sweet sherry and a scotch, looked at the volume of alcoholic beverage, looked at his parents’ unusually tousled state and added another half inch to each glass.

“Mrs. Stewart, let me take those.” Orlando didn’t worry that he’d have to leave their chess game while on the brink of a brilliant victory, even if it risked someone moving the pieces while no-one was looking. This was the time for action. Even though it wasn’t his role, he took his almost-mother-in-law’s hat and gloves, placing them neatly on a table by the door.

“We were accosted, dear.” Mrs. Stewart seemed to have regained her voice. “In broad daylight, in that little mews that leads down to the square where the Milners live.” She shivered. “Nasty looking man, like Paget’s depiction of Holmes, but with a desperately unhealthy complexion. Sallow. He tried to kidnap your father.”

“I’d hardly call it kidnap, Helena.” Mr. Stewart’s eyes were bright.

Mrs. Stewart snorted. “The man was clearly unstable. He kept calling you Captain and insisting you return to the ship. It was awful, Orlando.” She appealed to the only person in the room who regularly took her part. “And there was this dreadful female…”

“That’s hardly fair. She was evidently a lady of breeding and intelligence.” It was obvious Mr. Stewart had enjoyed his adventure even if his wife had not. He mouthed the words ‘handsome with it’ while she wasn’t looking.

“No lady would wear quite such an emphatic hat. And she called herself a doctor. A doctor!” Mrs. Stewart downed her sherry in one and held out her glass to be refilled.

“How extraordinary.” Jonty fulfilled his butlering duties. “You must have seen her off, Mama. I can’t believe anything less of you.”

“Your mother was magnificent.” Mr. Stewart’s voice was tinged with something which might have been regret. “This lady kept saying that there had been a malfunction in the…what was it, Helena?”

“Hollow Deck, dear. Or something like that.”

“Ah, yes. In the Hollow Deck. And that this really was Edwardian England—although where else they thought it was puzzles me—and that I had to return to this ship and let her treat me for Sighburr something or other.” He shook his head. “I kept explaining how it must be a case of mistaken identity as I’d never been a naval officer, but they wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

“Did you summon the police?” Orlando was cross now, baying for the blood of those who’d upset his adopted family.

“I was about to and then they disappeared. By which I don’t mean they ran away, I mean they went all shimmery and just,” Mrs. Stewart spread her hands eloquently, “vanished into thin air.” She took another swig of sherry and sat looking mortally offended.


“What do you think really happened? To your parents, I mean.” Orlando curled in his bed in his warmest pyjamas, ready for a little pre-sleep snuggle with the man he’d inveigled into keeping him company. “I’ve never known your mother to be quite so perturbed.”

“I shan’t tell you what I think as you’ll only deride me.” Jonty carefully cleaned his spectacles, partly to rile his lover as he knew it got Orlando excited and there’d be no chance to put that excitement into action tonight. Mama and Papa were still pottering about, too unsettled to sleep.

“What if I promise?” Orlando made an elaborate charade of crossing his heart and raising his hand. He also produced an offering of a small glass of port, glittering like a ruby in its elegant crystal goblet.

Neither the assurance nor the libation worked. “I’ll tell you only if you give me your theory first.” Jonty turned the glass in his hand.

“Lunatics. A great Colney Hatch outing.” Orlando’s port sat untouched on the bedside table. Funny how they always ended up in his room when at the Stewarts’s London home. The guest clearly got preferential lodgings compared to the youngest son.

“Lunatics might accost you but they can’t disappear into thin air. Neither of my parents is daft enough to fall for an elaborate magic trick and no amount of slight of hand could produce that shimmering effect Mama described to us over tea. And Papa was…” Jonty searched for the right word, “almost aglow. Something special must have happened for him to be so powerfully affected.”

“And you have a theory.” Orlando recognised all the usual signs.

“I think they were accosted by beings from the future. Time travellers. Oh, stop it.” Jonty laid down his port, concerned that in his mounting excitement he’d snap the delicate stem of the glass. “Listen to the evidence before you argue the case. They disappeared, didn’t they? And they spoke about this really being Edwardian England, as if that was a surprise to them and they weren’t where they intended to be. I bet they had a time machine, a great big one, and that’s what the ship they referred to was.”

Orlando seemed to be engaged in a fight between his better nature and the part of him which wanted to laugh his lover to scorn. “Have you been reading HG Wells again?” He almost snorted then stopped himself. Helena Stewart didn’t approve of any noises which resembled a horse.

“What if I have? It’s no worse than playing around with Dr. Panesar’s machines.” Jonty’s incipient anger suddenly dissolved into laughter. “What a pair we make. I read about fictional time machines and you pooh-pooh the idea. Then you poke about with what are reputed to be real ones—except I notice they don’t show any signs of actually working—and I rib you for it.”

They both smiled, content in their daft, illogical, deeply affectionate relationship. “If you had the chance, would you fly through time?”

“Of course I would.” Jonty’s eyes shone. “Think of it, Orlando. The chance to fly through the ages, to see who Shakespeare’s Dark Lady and lovely boy were. To see what really happened at Agincourt, or, in your case, to find out what Newton was working on before his dog set fire to his papers. Wouldn’t you want to do it if you could?”

“Maybe.” Orlando was reluctant to admit to such outlandishly romantic notions. “Although I’d have to keep you on a tight rein. Such scrapes you’d get yourself into.” He kissed Jonty affectionately.

“No hanky panky tonight I think, dear—they’re still on the prowl. I’m sure I can hear Papa pacing about, like he was when Clarence’s boy had the measles and the old man insisted on keeping the midnight watch.” Jonty ran his hand along his lover’s jaw. “If I had a time machine I would use it to keep revisiting you these last few years. Finding you forever young.”

Orlando smiled, kissing the hand which caressed his face. “I don’t need a time machine for you. You’re always my lovely boy…”


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC)
Awww!!! That's lovely. I like them in pyjamas.

And now I know what Mr Stewart looks like! *snort* Obviously a throw back... or forward....
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
Yep, he looks just like that. When these books are world famous and Jonty and Orlando are household names (LOL) I'm going to sell a bespoke range of pyjamas as a 'tie-in'.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
I haven't met Jonty or Orlando before but they seem lovely. Mrs S seems rather highly strung though! :)
Mar. 3rd, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
I should have explained - Jonty and Orlando are characters from my published work. Or, I should say, my alter ego's published work.

Mrs S has to put up with both Jonty and his father - it explains a lot!
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, very sweet!

You can put me down for a set of those pyjamas... ;D
Mar. 3rd, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

Am opening my order book - are you a size 10?
Mar. 4th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
are you a size 10?
Hah! In my dreams...

You can put me down for an XXXXXXL... >(
Mar. 4th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
Ah, that'll be the Mrs. Stewart deluxe size. As opposed to the Ariadne Peters skinny-as-a-rake special.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
I loved this. It was great with Jonty's parents getting some of the 'action' and I'm going to think Picard everytime I think of Mr Stewart now.

I'd love to see Jonty and Orlando meet some of the Enterprise crew.
Mar. 4th, 2010 11:03 am (UTC)
I always think of the wonderful Patrick Stewart when I write Mr Stewart (although the names are coincidental).

If J/O and Star Trek ever crossed paths, Jonty would spend all the time playing on the transporter while Orlando was shown around the engines. He'd love old Scotty.
Mar. 6th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)

Awww, I love Mr Stewart looking like Picard! LOL

Mar. 6th, 2010 11:44 am (UTC)
That's just how I see him. Same voice, too.

Mar. 7th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
How lovely! Sorry that Jonty and Orlando couldn't do "it" but they wouldn't want the Stewarts to regret inviting them and putting them in the same room!
Mar. 8th, 2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
Of course they wouldn't. Such a thing as propriety, you know.
Mar. 8th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
I do indeed know!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )