Fallen Embers

Primary Characters: Joley, Soames
Rating: MA
Spoilers: Yes
Warning: m/m sex, non-con sex, sex with minor
Description: Joley is still friends with Soames, but a traumatic experience tear the two cousins and friends apart forever.

Once, many years ago, the cousins Jolyon ‘Joley’ and Soames were inseparable. While Soames had been raised to value money above anything else, there was a small part of his cool, calculating soul that admired beauty and aesthetics. Joley’s artistic talents at once attracted and repelled Soames. After all, he knew well what his father James treasured, and most of all, what was expected of him.

At that time, however, there were few who could resist Joley’s powers of attraction. Each and everyone was spellbound by him. Certainly Jolyon senior had been handsome as a young man, but he had not greatly stood apart from his brothers.

Despite the fact that his upbringing had been fairly strict, though by no means as rigid as the other Forsyte brothers had raised their sons, Joley had grown up to be an affectionate and docile youth.

One day, when they were running around the backyard, tossing a ball between them, Joley fell and hurt his knee. Soames, who did not want to see anyone suffer, particularly not someone whom he admired and was attracted to, ran off to find someone, perhaps his sisters’ governess or even his mother, who might be able to help Joley tend to the gash.

It looked rather dreadful, though it wasn’t all that deep. Joley made a face, but bit his lip. After all, he was seventeen and really ought to put on a show of stoicism before Soames. Come autumn, he would be going up to university, so for all intents and purposes he was a grown man, or should be.

While he focused on not crying – for truth to tell, tears were threatening to brim over, a shadow fell across him.

It was his uncle Timothy, who rarely made an appearance outside his own house. Joley studied him with astonishment, as if he’d seen a wraith. Unlike Joley’s own father, who, despite everything, could be spoken to, Timothy was stern and distant.

Today, however, turned out to be an exception. Timothy looked quite amiable and held out his hand to Joley.

“That looks nasty, my boy. Shall we have a look at it?”

He supported Joley, as he limped across to a bench at the back of the gardener’s shed. James did not feel the need for a gardener, but his wife claimed it would be diverting for the girls to learn flower arrangements, which was a proper pastime for young ladies.

Indeed, Timothy concurred. Especially if they did so, far removed from the male sphere. Timothy was weary of having womenfolk gadding around him. A son would have been quite a different thing, and of considerably greater value than any sisters or daughters, devoted or not.

Behind the shed, it was dark, and there was an unplesant smell. Joley wrinkled his pretty nose and suddenly, a chill came over him. Although they had not walked many paces, it felt as if he was far away from the other people in his uncle James’ household.

However, the gash appeared to have stopped bleeding and the pain had lost its first intensity.

“Thank you, uncle. I’m feeling much better now. I think I can walk on my own.”

For no reason Joley could explain, he had an urge to get away from this place. There was something that made him feel ill at ease.

“Nonsense. You must take great care. A nasty cut like that could easily cause a poisoning of the blood.”

Joley regarded his uncle, a look of surprise on his face. His own mother and occasionally his father, were in the habit of telling him such things, but Timothy had frequently raised his voice to his sisters, about their ‘mollycoddling’ of his nieces and nephews.

It wasn’t becoming for a man to whine and complain about minor cuts and bruises. Joley himself had heard him say so once, and Soames and George had told him about it as well. In addition, he had heard his aunts, Juley and Hester both, discussing this very behaviour of his uncle’s, with his mother.

“Let me look at it.”

Timothy pulled out a handkerchief, and rubbed it against the cut. It had almost ceased to bleed, but it stung and Joley winced, but his uncle did not seem to pay him any heed. On the contrary, he began to examine the gash thoroughly. Somehow, he seemed to be altogether too interested and again the unsettling feeling came over Joley. Where was Soames? Would he not return soon?

What Joley did not know was that his cousin was having trouble finding anyone willing to lend assistance. The governess had taken the girls out for a walk, and Soames’ mother was away as well. The servants were unusually busy and not at all willing to tend to the cuts and scratches of big boys, or rather young men. Soames’ own father – Joley’s uncle James – the boy did not dare to disturb, while he was busy perusing his newspapers.

Should Timothy not be finished with his examination of the cut? Since it had now stopped bleeding Joley did not feel it was worth the fuss. He squirmed restlessly.

“Thanks, uncle. It was kind of you to help me. I feel much better now. I don’t need any more help.”

But Timothy wasn’t listening. He’d begun to fondle the thigh above the knee, an action for which there did not seem to be any reasonable cause.

Suddenly, Joley recalled his first week at school. An older boy had been extremely, not to say excessively friendly to him. He had in quite a similar way had difficulty keeping his hands off the new boy. Fortunately, Joley had made the acquaintance of two or three other chaps, with whom he was able to spend all his spare time, effectively keeping the other boy from imposing on him. Joley had been unable to tell his father, nor his mother or any teacher about the matter. It had been too mortifying.

Suddenly, Joley realized what was about to happen. It shouldn’t have taken him so long, but this was his uncle. His father’s own brother. It couldn’t be possible. Yet it was. He was fully aware of that. Protesting no longer, Joley instead tried to rise from his seat.

To his horror, Timothy bent over him and used his superior weight to press the youth down onto the bench. Joley panicked and drew breath to scream – humiliating or not – but Timothy swiftly clamped a hand down on his mouth, making Joley black out momentarily.

Far worse, Timothy’s other hand was making its way underneath Joley’s trousers. Joley began to squirm desperately, trying to evade Timothy’s grasp. However, the grown man was stronger and heavier.

Joley had never been very active on the cricket field or in other games. The only reason he played at all – he and Soames – was the fact that Soames so desired it. His father did not to any greater extent encourage such pursuits.

For this reason, despite the age difference, the boys were about evenly matched. That was not to be wondered at, but it did render Joley utterly helpless against the grown man. Momentarily, his sight dimmed, but when it cleared, he was looking straight into Soames’ eyes.

Soames had returned on his own, not even bringing a parlourmaid. Not finding his cousin anywhere, he had wondered at his absence and set to searching for him. The scene he came upon behind the shed, made him freeze to the spot. He could not believe his eyes. It was impossible. At first he did not even understand, but from where he was standing it was not possible to long remain in the dark.

Despite his sheltered life, he had heard other schoolboys talk – about girls and suchlike – and in addition happened upon a footman and a maid in the passage outside his room. They had not seen him, and thus he had been able to remain and watch. He was no more than twelve at the time, but the spectacle had filled him with unfamiliar feelings. This was altogether different, yet he instinctively guessed what was going on.

Tempestuous emotions stirred his mind. Revulsion. Shock. Distress. Jealousy. However, the question was – what was he to do?

Joley looked distraught. Tears were flowing down his cheeks and nasal mucus and blood mixed on his exquisite face. The look in his eyes was filled with desperation, despair and a mute plea for help. Soames’ initial impulse was to rush forward and heedless of the consquences, grab his uncle by the shoulder. Next followed an urge to shout. To let someone else, someone grown up, help Joley.

But who would stand up to uncle Timothy? His mother? She was not even at home. One of the servants? His father? No, the only one who might have been able to help was uncle Jolyon or one of the other uncles.

And if he did call out, if he tried to interfere – he would be forced to openly admit what his uncle was doing. Something no man should be capable of doing to a boy. Something so shameful and forbidden Soames felt sick inside when his thoughts touched upon it.

Still – There was something inside him that aroused him. Not the violence. The fact that two men might –

But to tell his father about this –

His father was the only person Soames loved unconditionally. He lived for any little sign of affection from the man. Those were few and far between. He felt constantly inadequate and he did not wish to be. If he could be granted any wish, it would be for his father to wholly approve of him, to see his father smile at him. No, he could not find the words to express what was going on.

And though it pained him, Soames backed away from the appalling scene.

At first, Joley could not credit it. His best friend, even counting the lads in school, was simply walking away. For a while, Joley tried to tell himself that Soames was getting help. However, before long, he was forced to admit to himself that it was not so. He had always known that Soames was a coward, but he had never blamed him for it. Was Joley not himself rather timid and easily frightened?

But this – The pain alone was the worst he had ever experienced. But it did not end there. The shock, the humiliation, the feeling of being tainted – it all descended on him, like a dark cloud. Worst of all – Soames had let him down. He would never be able to forgive him.

It never occurred to Joley to wonder what the younger boy might have been able to do to ward off a grown man, not for years to come. Even regardless of that, Soames had chosen not to even make the attempt. Joley could not forget, the few times he allowed himself to remember the harrowing afternoon. Such a betrayal. Their friendship was over for good.

When at last Timothy pulled back and rose, Joley tried to get up. He felt as weak as a newborn foal, he’d once seen in the school’s stables. Vaguely, he noted that his uncle walked over to the garden pump and turned on the water. Joley could not bring himself to look at the man who had done this – unspeakable thing to him. After a while, Timothy returned and stood watching him pensively.

Without a word, Timothy reached for Joley, who frantically tried to get evade his touch. But the relentless hands dug painfully into his shoulders and yanked him to his feet. Being pressed against the man was vile, but Timothy took no notice of the boy’s reluctance to come along. He merely dragged him towards the pump and cleaned him up. That done, he let go of Joley, who fell like a bunch of sticks.

“Joley – I want you to listen carefully to me. You had a bad fall and hurt your legs. Your thighs. Do you hear me? You cut yourself rather badly on the back of your thighs and it’s bleeding profusely, but I found you and helped you. Do you understand? If you tell anyone what happened, I will tell your father I caught you and the gardener in the act. I’m sure you realize how your parents would feel about such a scandal, not to mention your aunts and uncles. Do you understand? Answer me, Joley!”

Joley would have promised anything, if it would only make Timothy go away. He wanted to go home. To his mother and father. Away from here. He would never again be able to visit James’ house. He did not wish to see Soames ever again. In his mind, Soames’ and Timothy’s betrayal merged into one.

He never knew how he was able to hide the incident not only from his parents, but also the servants who washed his clothes. How long did it take for the bleeding to stop? He did not know. The time until he left for university passed like a fever dream. Confused snatches of memories whirled around his mind, but greater part of those weeks was just a blur.

As soon as he had his degree, he set to work finding a wife. Even during his days at college, he had grown a reputation as a ladies’ man. He worshipped women but stayed aloof from the other young men, thus failing to make useful connections that might have availed him later in life. That did not weigh greatly on his mind.

Marriage was to save him. And so he found himself married with a small daughter while he was still a young man. But his feelings for his wife faded fast. He had merely chosen her, when the lady of his choice had refused him. And so he eloped with Helene.

He could not admit to himself, and even less to his father, that he no longer felt comfortable at home. Though his father had come to have a reputation as a somewhat excentric Forsyte, there were still dinner parties. And while James, his wife, Soames and his daughters were seldom seen guests at Jolyon’s house, they were at times seen socially. If Joley had refused to attend, someone might have wondered and that he would not have.

And so he and Helene made their home elsewhere and raised their children on far less than Joley had been used to expect. His father, not surprisingly, cut him off, but neither circumstances or reputation could deter Joley. Though he did not know it, he was still running from the monster he had met one pleasant summer afternoon, in the shadows behind the gardener’s shed.


© Tonica

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>