the passionate past that is fled
A short, light spell of drizzle had ended and luckily, the sun had come out. He rolled his sleeves and opened the front buttons, knowing how hot it would become once he got moving, and got to work. Hearing footsteps, he turned around. He blinked. Words were caught in his throat. “My lord,” he said with a nod, cigarette hanging from his lips, and removing his hat from his head out of politeness and leaning on the rake casually.

A loud neigh came from one of the stalls and he directed his attention there, as if suddenly enthralled with the horse. “Anything I could help you with?” And would you like some tea and biscuits with that? He thought.
He was about to shout for someone to bring Chartreuse about for a brush before he rode her out. Because riding was dignified and he enjoyed the jodhpurs or whatever one calls the things on the sides of the trousers like King Henry's.

But as he turned his head to order about the stable boy, it was not Roger. Roger was too old to be called a boy and had an unsightly moustache, grown too long on either side. (René could barely grow one at all, but that was no excuse for unsightliness.)

It was He Who We Ought Not Discuss. René transformed his eyes to saucers and began backing away.
Had he said the tea and biscuits thing out loud? He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, now staring at the youth before him. “Something the matter, my lord?” he said as politely as he could. The boy was like a frightened rabbit, the adorable part included, but he decided to stand firmly where he was to give no other reason to cause fear. Hamish’s own heart was racing.

He took the cigarette from his mouth, and threw it upon the floor before stomping on it. He opened his mouth and then closed it. Sighing, he set the rake against the wall. “You wanted something, my lord?” He probably wanted his body this time…
"Ah...yes. Cotterill. I didn' are here. Again?" He searched the scenery for anything to look at but him, straightening his already straight coat, cheeks aflame like a babe's rashy behind. "I was not informed." No one told him anything around here. Not that he normally kept tabs on who was serving here or not anyway...

"I....get my horse!" Suddenly firm, balling his hands into fists and walking toward Chartreuse's stall. "Brush her and saddle her. I am to go riding."
Hamish tried very hard to keep his walk from looking stiff as he headed in the direction of the stall as well. On the way, he claimed one of the brushes hanging on the wall with all the other instruments needed for tending to horses. Once at the stall, he began to brush the horse tenderly and carefully.

What was he to say now? ‘Oh you know! Getting work in London was difficult’? It wasn’t like the little princess would understand. “And yea, here I am again, my lord.” He shrugged as if indifferent. “Eh, folk in charge likely figured I wasn’t of enough importance to make my company known. Probably right too. Boys like me? Easily replaceable,” His tone was self-deprecating, intentions were good-natured but he realised he had said too much. He cleared his throat. “Good day to be riding.”

He had to suppress the thought of the boy bouncing upwards and down while riding, thoughts such as that… well, they inspired a certain type of image.
He folded his arms, and frowned. "I think not. Why are you so foolish and cruel to yourself?" It was rare that he even had a mind to notice someone else's state of esteem. But his anger coursed through him in a different way than it used to; Hamish made him transfigured. "I'm amazed you took this job again...." Truly, he must have left on René's account. He had violated his person. It must have been the only job he could get. Poor thing, desperation must have drawn him back, he thought.

Now he was feeling sorry for him. It hurt his brain a bit to empathize. It was too new.
He had caught the boy’s frown, made him smile even. Hamish shrugged, once again, as if indifferent but he let out an amused chuckle. “I’m amazed I took it too…,” he said, voice wandering, thoughts wandering also. He brushed along the mare’s neck, moving to her back.

“But it’s not just the pay, you know… it puts food in a man’s belly but it’s not the only thing that feeds a man. Place’s got nice scenery…” There was also something else above the admiration of the beautiful gardens and handsome horses, though Hamish wouldn’t mention that part. “I’m surprised you recognised me, my lord. I was a lot scruffier back then.” He turned from his work and gazed at the youth.
He found his head to be tilting as he watched him groom, hands falling to his sides, enjoying the sound of his voice, after being certain that he'd never hear it again, at least until he died and met it haunting him at the gates of Hell.

"You look very...." Handsome? "Cleaner. Better for your reputation."
He halted in his in brushing. “Uh,” he managed to only say for a while. “I suppose, though you’d know.” Noticing how that must have sounded… “I only meant that being a lord and all, you would know.” He frowned. “I hope I didn’t scare you earlier?”
"N-no. I just...did not expect you back. Ever." He hid behind the horse. "But now that you've returned. It is...good. You are. Good. Good at...brushing the horses." A pause, before he straightened and looked over Chartreuse's back at him. "Be quick about it, will you?!"
“Yes, my lord,” Hamish replied simply, he began brushing the horse once again and this time hurriedly. “I don’t know if I’m good, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to brush a horse.” He turned to the younger man, offering a warm smile but then quickly stopped when he felt it was too familiar of him to do so.

“All you do is brush it like the way you…” he looked at the boy, he seemed innocent and it would be unbecoming of a stable boy to speak in such a manner to a presumptive heir. “Er, ever tried it before? Not too hard. The horses like it, my lord. Come on, I’ll show you, if you’re willing.”
"Oh!" He was a bit too thrilled at the idea. That and it was a little outrageous. Scandalous. He, brush his own horse? Hopefully no one important was around to see...

"...Alright then." René moved around the back of the horse to stand next to Hamish. Trying not to show himself swell with excitement just at being near him.
He waited until the boy was near him before he spoke again. “It’s rather simple… how you do it, I mean,” he said, scratching his nose lazily with his free hand, his tone sounded serious. He probably smelled like cigarettes but in light of how the stables usually smelled, it could have been worse. “Here,” he handed the brush to René, feeling butterfly sensations already but he tried to ignore them. “You just hold it out and you brush as you would a woman’s hair,” and then he added for politeness’ sake, “my lord.”
René wrinkled his nose, staring at the brush in his hand. "I suppose I have done that. Sometime as a child. My sister's hair maybe." Then raised it to graze against the side of Chartreuse's neck. "Like this?" But he pushed too hard, and she moved, disgruntled. "Oh, damn..." Not worried about swearing in front of him. He was but the help, after all. And yet, it felt more like...freedom. A release, rather than an exploitation of a 'lesser' man's company.
Hamish chuckled to himself, shaking his head in amusement. Stepping closer behind the youth, Hamish reached forward and placed his hand on René’s as to hold the brush along with him, his grasp was firm but not tight. “You have to do it more… gently,” he said calmly, beginning to move the brush slowly. He had to keep himself from turning and looking at him, his eyes were bolted on the horse’s neck. “Like that. Simple…” He shrugged casually. “So, you’ve only ever brushed your sister’s hair? Never like…”

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