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30 January 2008 @ 07:49 pm
[ficlet] Freedom (PG)  
Title: Freedom
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG for dirty, nasty Boston Harbor
Summary: Anachronistic, historically inaccurate AU #2. Matthew is a man with justice on his mind. Mohinder is the operative of a certain Company. They are both looking for something.

When he was arrested, Matthew knew exactly what it was for. He had been told to expect it, and he had been told precisely what to say. He did not fear the panel, nor the consequences. But all of this failed to prepare him for the shock of the coldness in those eyes. He knew, of course, that Mohinder Suresh was no longer the boy with whom he'd walked down the cobblestone streets in London, hands joined, talking of their dreams. Nor was he the animated student meeting Matthew in a secret room in his mother's attic to teach him all that he'd gleaned from his higher education. The Mohinder Suresh that sat at the plaintiff's bench before the row of magistrates was nobility. His face was the meaning of India and empire and enterprise to a nation. And his eyes were frigid, unmoving, as the magistrate began to speak.

"Matthew Park, you are hereby accused of aiding and abetting lawlessness, destruction of private property, and conspiracy in the matter of the raid on the East India Company's ship in Boston Harbor last month."

"Huh?" Matthew feigned ignorance. "Wasn't that some bunch of savages that did all that?"

"It is well known that the so-called Sons of Liberty are behind this fiasco," huffed one of the magistrates, a stern-faced man with a tall, powdered wig and glasses. He shook a fist. "You and your little band of terrorists will pay for your insult to the crown, you lout-- I'll have you strung from your ears and--"

"Lord Bishop, please."

All heads turned. Mohinder himself looked a little surprised that he'd stepped forward. He stared at his own outstretched hand.

"Prince?" It had thrown Matthew every time he heard the word spoken in reference to his friend. Mohinder was his soulmate, his kindred spirit, his boyhood chum. He could not imagine that the boy was really an Indian prince, brought north to Britain, along with his older sister to be the public faces of the East India Company. Of course he held no true power at the corporation, but to her credit, Shanti had been a shrewd businesswoman, and before the disease had claimed her faculties (and then her life) completely, she'd arranged for her baby brother to live a charmed life.

"Yes." For the first time, those eyes glanced his way, and Matthew felt a surge of heat. Mohinder did remember him, after all. And with some fondness. He didn't dare hope. "I believe I'd like to speak with this man in my office. Will you allow me a brief audience with him before the trial proceeds?"

The panel agreed, much to Lord Bishop's chagrin, and Matthew was shackled and taken to a room in the upper floor of the courthouse. It was a sunny, bright chamber with a view of the Charles, which glittered with golden sunlight.

"Matthew." Mohinder entered the room, hanging up his jacket. Matthew turned toward the window defiantly. He came up behind him and, with deft hands, removed the shackles. Matthew swallowed hard at the feeling of Mohinder's breath on his neck. They hadn't been this close since the night before Matthew left for the colonies. When he closed his eyes, he felt like he was still in that cramped attic room, the lantern burning a clear yellow sheen on Mohinder's skin, a more mysterious light flashing in his smile.

"Mohinder," he croaked. He opened his eyes again, and the sunlight on the water blinded him as though he were emerging from that dim attic. "You look a perfect fool in all those jewels."

"You look equally foolish in shackles," Matthew turned to face him and was greeted with a bittersweet smile. "How could you have done this, Matthew? Such an abysmally stupid thing."

"You seem to be the one cursed with stupidity," Matthew spat back. "Have you gone so far native, then, that you forgot there was a time you swore you'd use your status for justice? Don't you remember the dreams you used to share with me of freedom?"

"They were fine dreams," Mohinder said smoothly. "But I've learned in the years since you left. Some people are destined to be special, Matthew. They have responsibilities not bestowed on the common man. I have those obligations, my friend." There was a ghost of pain in his voice, one he probably didn't even recognize. The cry of a prisoner trapped within his own mind.

"And I am the common man you speak of," Matthew said.

"It isn't meant as a slight," Mohinder began.

"It's not taken as one," insisted Matthew. "I am the common man, Mohinder. That's just it. We all are just that, common men. We have certain things that are common to all of us. Our skin may be different, our stations may be different. But under all those jewels I know you and I have all the same parts. Need I remind you?"


"Here's what I've learned from the Sons of Liberty, Mohinder." He strode toward him. "I've learned that no man is a king but in his own heart. And that when men join together and determine to be free of tyranny, no false king-- or false prince-- can stop them. Don't you remember, once, thinking the same?" he demanded.

"We were children," Mohinder protested, trying and failing to sound angered. Matthew knew he was remembering then-- the secret wishes he'd harbored to cast off his status and journey across the ocean along with his dearest friend, to find adventure and a new life in the New World that stretched so far beyond what had yet been charted of it. But Matthew had not been around to keep those dreams alive, and they'd suffocated in the months that followed his departure. "Now I am a man and I have a duty to this Company and a duty to those who have kept me alive and safe. Don't you have the same duty? Don't you think that without the protection of the crown your foolish colonial cities would fall? Or is that what you are after? Are you trying to engineer your own destruction?"

"Why would I want to live in a land I cannot protect with my own two hands?" Matthew demanded. "Where our good men cannot provide for their families because we are paying for the wasteful foolishness of the East India Company?"

"The Company's aim is the greater good," Mohinder said stiffly. "They are here to protect you."

"They are here for profit! If your Company were so great, why would it not sacrifice some of its own copious resources for our protection rather than forcing us to pay its share of taxes as well as our own?"

Mohinder's eyes quivered with water and fire. "What would you have us do, then?" he whispered. "Go bankrupt?" His heart was not in the words.

Matthew sighed. "Mohinder," he said gently. "Do you remember what you used to tell me all the time?"

"That... you could read my mind." His features were drooping, defeated.

"Do you doubt that now?" Mohinder shook his head. "What if I were to tell you that I can see your mind is troubled now?" Silence. Matthew reached out and touched the sad face. Mohinder leaned into his palm. "Do you know why?"

Mohinder shook his head. "I just keep remembering that last night," he said. "When I realized I couldn't go with you after all, and I pleaded with you to stay with me instead. I wanted you to stay so desperately." His eyes searched Matthew's. "I wanted to lock you in that attic and never let you out. I still feel that way, Matthew," he confessed. "I still want you for my own."

"No, you don't," Matthew touched his forehead to the prince's, held both his hands. "I've been yours since I first met you. That's never changed and it's not going to change."

"Then what is it that I want so badly?" His voice was a wail of anguish. "Read my mind now, Matthew, and tell me why I'm hurting. I beg of you."

In answer, Matt kissed him. A deep, sighing kiss, like the ones they'd shared when they'd bid goodbye to their boyhood foolishness and known that what they felt could never, never be what they lived. Mohinder struggled, tried to get away, but the hands that held his were powerful. His sadness and desperation were climbing inside him to a peak, and he feared he'd fall off the edge of the world if he couldn't escape.

And then there was a snap, a breaking point. Mohinder cried out a little and threw his arms around Matthew, leaning into the kiss, reveling in all of the joy that the world would deny him if it only knew how elated he was in the arms of this outlaw. And throughout it all, the sadness was pervasive, but the yearning was bright and sharp. What is it? he begged silently. What do I want so badly?

Matthew pulled back, his face aglow, and whispered, "You want to be free."
JLB: for srs john adamsbaehj2915 on January 31st, 2008 01:39 am (UTC)
OMG!!! Revolutionary America AU!!!!

*dies favorite time period death*

~love from WI
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on January 31st, 2008 01:49 am (UTC)
I thought you might appreciate it. :D tee-hee.
ilsaluvsrickilsaluvsrick on January 31st, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
Aw, this was so freaking tragic.

*Imagines M&M running off to the territories and having hot log cabin sex. Feels better.*

Anymore AUs in the works? Or is it all Legacy all the time?
Tiptoe39: drowning exceltiptoe39 on January 31st, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
I can't get into Legacies tonight. I have to expand a part of Chapter 1, but it's not happening. So i could maybe drabble a bit. I enjoyed writing these.

Mmmm, they can be log cabin republicans. lolz.
I had fun once and it was awfulvisiblemarket on January 31st, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
Hee at "log cabin republicans" But that of course would be Lincoln and his...special friend</i>

And wow! at this. Very good stuff.
Samanthor: OMG Sendhil is so hotkleenexcow on January 31st, 2008 02:20 am (UTC)
Oh, man. East India Company? 1700sroyalty!Mohinder? Good god, that's hot. And seriously, woman? Get out of my brain! This isn't too terribly far off from a little Mohinder fantasy that's been lingering in the corners of my brain ever since I spent a serious amount of time thinking about why Madras and its affiliated princes remained loyal to the Brits in the mid-1800s.

Well, now that I consider it, you and your telepathy should stay in my brain because now that little fantasy has been satisfied without any effort on my part. :D:D Sweet!

A deep, sighing kiss, like the ones they'd shared when they'd bid goodbye to their boyhood foolishness and known that what they felt could never, never be what they lived.
What a bittersweet line. So beautiful, and so sad.

And the ending was lovely. I love you.

(Oh erm. Maybe I'm being dumb. Ignore what used to be in this space. How about with a serious meta reference to powers, serious enough that I could mistake it for actual power use? Whatever. It was still cool. I liked the way you played it.)

Edited at 2008-01-31 02:28 am (UTC)
Tiptoe39: xellostiptoe39 on January 31st, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
it was supposed to be ambiguous. :D
Renéerogueslayer452 on January 31st, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Gorgeous writing, sweetie. I need to brush up on my history a little though, but overall I quite liked it. The theme of freedom and the relationship between them, and the ending was very bittersweet.

I don't know what else to say other than I enjoyed this. :D
crystal_mkcrystal_mk on January 31st, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Woo hoo historical fics!

I'm a psychology gal so unless you want to know about Fechner or Hollingworth I know nothing of history, which might explain why I enjoy these so much. I so wouldn't be amiss if you wanted to do more! :D
00smut on January 31st, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
You make me and my history degree happy. And hot under the collar <3
Ally, at your service!animegirl07 on January 31st, 2008 08:50 am (UTC)

He's obnoxious and disliked, that cannot be denied! *sings*
carma_baby: fandomcarma_baby on January 31st, 2008 06:03 am (UTC)
The history minor in me has fallen in love with you. A lot. I love how you manage to bring them together in these different times, almost as if they are being reincarnated throughout history... As if their love is too strong to not exist in more than one time...

{Please excuse the extreme cheesiness that just issued from my keyboard. I couldn't help it.}

You rock.
boudecia7boudecia7 on January 31st, 2008 06:54 am (UTC)
Awesomeness! These were fantastic; I think you've given me a whole new appreciation for AU. :)
Ally, at your service!animegirl07 on January 31st, 2008 08:53 am (UTC)
<3! Good god... Mohinder... *steals* And you do beautifully, as always. (Which includes making all of us have to fan ourselves to get air and lower our temperatures again.)

And, as others have said, best line:

In answer, Matt kissed him. A deep, sighing kiss, like the ones they'd shared when they'd bid goodbye to their boyhood foolishness and known that what they felt could never, never be what they lived.

So beautiful and touching and amazing. *eternal love*
imeru on January 31st, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
Prince Mohinder and poor-common-man Matt's one of the best things in the world. It suit them so much, and the references to the series were very good and well written, I loved this!
Sarah: mohinder hotnesssaharafic on February 5th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
I think these comms are conspiring to kill me. Historical AU is like crack for me. No...like Baileys ice cream, or...like Lofthouse cookies. Yeah....

And PS: I doubt I will post it, but I want to tell you that EIC Mohinder triggered a plot bunny the size of a Fed Ex Pigeon. (LOLS FedEx Pigeon/Claude)