artyartie: (general-royalnavy)
[personal profile] artyartie
So, there's a comment fic (and non comment ficathon ) going on here to celebrate female fictional characters. My comment fic, not surprisingly, was a little bit longer. I think this may spark a flurry of Persuasion fic, as it is my favorite Austen novel, and it's so wonderfully naval! Even when I should be writing and reading about all things naval in a more academic way.

Title: Strung 'Round the Moon
Series: Persuasion
Rating: PG
Spoilers: For key plot points, yes, so if you haven't read the book/seen the movies, probably not a good thing to read, besides the fact it won't make any sense.
Characters: Anne, Wentworth, misc. cameos
Summary: The prompt was the following:
I am far away from where you lay
Awake the day while you fall to sleep
An ocean and a rock away




ETA: Weird formatting fixed!
"Where will you live, when he has frittered away the last of his prize money? In Portsmouth, my dear? Can you not see how improper that should be?"

Lady Russel's admonitions rolled upon Anne's hearing like the waves before a storm, or the manner she believed such waves must be - dark and terrifying if only bearing a fraction of the menace they would soon unleash upon the unsuspecting land. Anne clenched her hands together, looked out the frost-rimmed glass to the hoary meadows and bare trees, beyond them to where the sea must inevitably be, brilliant and cold as sapphires.

"I will be with him, or wait for him," Anne said, her quiet resolve sounding ever more like desperation. "Either way, I shall learn to live upon the sea."

***

Winter has yielded to spring, springtime to summer, the the waves, to her eyes, are a lush, verdant green, even if in her heart they are still blue, yet more often grey. Her heart is little given to sunshine and merriment, since Frederick - no, Lieutenant Wentworth - departed Kellynch and her wavering. The sea should seem a paragon of stability, she imagines, compared to her inconstancy.

Her hands now have something besides each other to cling to, though she imagines the delicate muslin hankerchief in their grasp should tear should she hold it any tighter. It was one of his few gifts, one she did not show even Lady Russel for fear she would further condemn it as proof of his insuitability.

Sailors may be a poor lot, but at least we do return home fraught with love and presents, he had told her, pressing the cloth into her hand. Told her of how the women in Santo Domingo made a great crown of hankerchiefs to wear upon their heads, of the sweet-smelling breezes that told of the island long before it could even be seen, of the cannons thundering and flashing enough for Guy Fawkes.

What joy, such a victory, she had replied, breathless at his exploits and his modesty in recounting them yet anxious for the prospect of future triumphs. But there is scarce anything left of Napoleon's navy - do you not worry the chance for glory may grow scarce?

I think I could learn to content myself with a different sort of glory, he had answered, and Anne blushed, for she knew he did not speak of battles at all.

She thought upon these words, these exchanges, rather than their last, though she knows she has wasted too much time upon this windowsill, lingering on a sight only she can see.

"Anne! Really, you think someone had died!" Elizabeth's boisterous voice interrupted her reverie, and Anne turned, clutching the hankerchief to her chest. "And besides, it was you that rejected him - and he's a sailor! He's scarcely worth this mooning about."

Elizabeth clasped her hands, pulled her up, and Anne yeilded, if only because she did not wish to be thought a burden. For she could scarcely leave the hall to her father and sister, whose extravagent dress was one Anne had not yet seen, and was therefore likely another expense they could scarcely afford.

"We shall find you a more proper match - an army officer! They've much finer uniforms than that blue drab stuff, and they're far better dancers and it is so much more sensible for them to have money and then a commission then a commission and possibly no money at all...."

Wentworth had a very uncertain prospect of further fortune, and nearly leaden feet, but he had one thing, painfully unknown, that no man should likely thereafter have.

Her heart, surely as if it had taken the King's shilling and left her, forlorn upon the quay, watching as it vanished away into nothingness.

***

Anne has learned to live upon the sea, but not in the manner she quite suspected.

It is an easy enough task, in some respects, and while her father loses yet another hand of whist and Elizabeth begs Mary to play something more lively and Mary complains that her hands ache something dreaful Anne can cast aside her familial burden in the Navy List, a wistful smile upon her lips as she sees his name creep yet higher. Lady Russell enquires politely why she should subject herself to such useless torment, but if Anne could not give him the happiness of marriage, she desires him to have at least the comfort that rank and reputation should provide.

Other lanes of enquiry are more troublesome, and it is only the generosity of Sir Sidney Gillespie, a patriotic neighbor who subscribes to the Naval Chronicles and doesn't chide her overmuch for reading his Gentleman's Magazine, that her mind can be loosed upon the oceans. It drifts upon the Mediterranean, hovers over the chill of the Baltic, even around the Cape and into the East Indies. She cannot say where Wentworth and her forsaken heart may be, but in her dreams she can fix them surer than any Admiralty Chart.

But another winter passes, and then another, and these imaginings grow more painful to bear. Wentworth was made first of the Bellerephon some months back, and she can leave him there, fixed, and she must find a way to think of him no longer, or think upon him less. He will make captain, and then post, whether she should be mindful or not, and no matter where on the globe he may be, she knows his course shall one day lead him home, to England, and to a woman who shall return his affections and any offers that may result without hesitation.

The only comfort she can find, Anne thinks, as she closes her biography of Nelson, for they can no longer even afford the subscription library, is that this course will never come near her, nor Kellnych, again.

***

How limited her mind was, that could not envisage such a deep blue, nearly the color of wine. She pulled her brim down, grateful for the awning Frederick had rigged on the quarterdeck for her benefit. His was a fine ship, a trim little frigate, the Calliope, on the Mediterranean Squadron, under a firm yet kindly admiral who looked askance at wives, even if his generosity was less enthusiastic when it came to sweethearts.

"I can scarce put such beauty into words - how is it that your logbook should not be pure poetry?" Wentworth smiles at her question, his sun-tinted visage one of pure mirth and delight.

"I doubt the Admiralty should delight in my verses, and despite your confidence, I am a poor poet," he replies, utterly at ease amidst the the bustle of the dog watch. There is a packet, just over the horizon, and his reports - and their letters to friends and family at Kellynch and Bath - have joined an ever growing collection of such correspondence, waiting to be borne home. "But if ever I should have to serve without you, I shall try to make up for my lack."

They touch hands, if only for a moment, and Anne delights in the contact that is a rare delight in the day, and another sort of delight altogether on those calm nights the frigate can be entrusted to his capable and affable officers. "I should wait every day for your letters - and send you more than you should ever wish to read," she says, inclining her head. "I imagine it must be lonely, to be without one's family."

"Amidst 180 souls? Oh, my dear," Wentworth says, in such a tone that Anne knows he should kiss her were it not for the impropriety of doing so on the sancrosanct quarterdeck, "lonely is perhaps not quite the term, but we do miss you, greatly. Even without letters..."

He pauses, and Anne is unsure if he will continue with his thought, but after a moment's gaze upon the water, he turns to her. "Even after the first proposal, I could not help, at times, but think upon you, and no matter our heading, I knew precisely what course I should take that would bring me back to you, as if the heart needed no compass or chronometer to know where it should be. And should we be parted now, I know my love, written or unwritten, should traverse any ocean to find you."

Anne nods, emotion nearly rendering her mute, but she can at least murmur "As would mine," quiet yet as heartfelt as Wentworth's declaration, wind and water carrying them both, together, into whatever may be.

Date: 2010-06-26 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aoife-hime.livejournal.com
That was quite lovely. Your writing perfectly suits the genre and Anne's longing and love shine beautifully. It's always nice to read a good Persuasion fic :)

Date: 2010-06-27 12:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] artyartie.livejournal.com
Thank you! I swear, thanks to both my academic and fandom life (curse you, Alexander Hamilton!) I can slip into 18th century prose scary-easy. But Persuasion is such a wonderful story - the only one yet that's made me cry reading it - it deserves more love. Then again, this also means it doesn't have a hundred crappily written 'sequels' for sale at Barnes and Noble.

Date: 2010-06-29 02:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] otahyoni.livejournal.com
I love it when you write. This is yummy. :)

Date: 2010-06-29 05:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] artyartie.livejournal.com
Thank you my dear! And yummy is such a wonderful compliment (besides the fact that Ciaran!Wentworth is the definition of the word) - for some reason this year everything good in my mind merits the title of delicious.

Date: 2013-01-04 03:29 am (UTC)
alltoseek: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alltoseek
So lovely! <3 <3 <3

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