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30 June 2013 @ 05:17 pm
Maurice fic - The Steps Before  
Title: The Steps Before
Rating: G
Fandom: Maurice by E.M. Forster
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Maurice/Alec, past Maurice/Clive
Theme: 40. Finality
Words: 644
Summary: Bookverse. A conversation in the boathouse before Maurice’s last confrontation with Clive.
Disclaimer: Not mine. No copyright infringement is intended.

The first thing Maurice said, once the shock had passed and he was certain it was real, Alec was there in the boathouse and against all odds maybe, just maybe, something had finally gone right, was “I love you.”

The second thing he said, after Alec had kissed him for a while, was “I have to tell Clive.”

What?” Alec stared at him, and the hand he had still on Maurice’s arm tightened painfully. “Tell Mr Durham, are you mad?”

“Probably,” Maurice said glibly. Seeing the look on Alec’s face he sobered. “I’m sorry, it’s only…I feel he ought to know, somehow. He won’t understand, I don’t think—”

“I should say he won’t.”

“But he would have, once. You know about him and me, you know I wouldn’t be here if not for him.”

Alec scowled. “And here I thought it was me you came for.”

“Oh, I don’t mean that,” Maurice said hastily, touching Alec’s cheek. “I mean I wouldn’t ever have met you if not for Clive. I wouldn’t ever have known what I am, really, without him.”

“Maurice…” Alec sighed, turned his head and pressed his mouth to Maurice’s palm, silent for a moment as though gathering his thoughts. “If you know he won’t understand, what’s the sense in telling him? He might have the police—”

“He wouldn’t,” Maurice said. “He’d never do that to me, not even now.”

“Not to you,” Alec said sharply, “but to me, and without a second thought. D’you remember what you said in London, about the police backing your sort against mine? Mr Durham’s your sort, only worse. I’d never stand a chance.”

Maurice opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again. It was true, of course; telling Clive was a risk. But he had taken so many risks already, would take many more just to remain with Alec, and it seemed to him this was the least of them. Finally he said, “You’re right. But I have to tell him, or else I’ll never feel like it’s finished. He won’t have the police—that would mean a scandal and I’m certain Clive doesn’t want that—and he won’t tell anyone else. I won’t tell him what we’re planning to do—”

“You can’t, anyway,” Alec interrupted. “We’ve not made any plans yet.” He still looked disapproving, but his grip on Maurice’s arm had slackened.

“Well, no. But we shall, and Clive shan’t be any part of them after tonight. It’s only just now that I need to speak to him, to make a clean break of it. I want to start with you without anything getting in between us.”

Alec gazed at him with eyes impossibly dark. “Do you still love him?” he asked suddenly.

“No,” Maurice said without thinking, and the force of his own response gave him pause. “Perhaps. Not like I did.”

“And if you go and see him—” Alec broke off, swallowing hard. “You will come back?”

“Oh,” Maurice said, understanding. “Yes. Of course I will.”

“Only if you don’t I’ve not got anywhere to go,” Alec said as though he hadn’t heard. “I can’t go home now, my family will be asking questions, wanting to know why I missed my boat—”

“Alec, Alec, I will come back. I swear it.” Maurice clutched him tightly. “Trust me, please trust me, I wouldn’t leave you now, not for Clive or anyone. Do you trust me?”

“I chucked everything for you,” Alec muttered. “I should think that’s trust enough.” He let go of Maurice. “Be off with you, then.”

Maurice kissed him again. “I won’t be long,” he promised. On the threshold of the boathouse he turned back, repeating “I won’t be long.” Alec waved a hand in acquiescence, and it was with a light heart that Maurice set off across the lawn to bid a final good-bye to the past.

.end.