AUTHOR: Nikki Harrington
FANDOM: Raffles The Amateur Cracksman
PAIRING: A. J. Raffles/Harry 'Bunny' Manders
SUB-GENRE: First Time
SUMMARY: Bunny has always believed he'd do anything for Raffles.
WORD COUNT: 1,310
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for birggitt 'E' - Earl Grey
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
I had always believed I would do anything Raffles asked me to do. After all, I always had. Over all the years we have known one another, I do not recall a time I said 'no' to him; at least not a time when I did not change my mind and submit to his will. If I could follow him into crime, surely I could follow him into anything?
We had in effect been together for the best part of thirty years, a relationship that had begun at school and had been resurrected on that fateful evening I had played cards in his rooms, losing money I had not got. And all those years later, we were still close and intimate friends, seeming over the years to need few if any others around us.
Sometimes I wondered if we would still be together in twenty years time and if so, would we still be making our living in the way we did? In truth neither of us needed to continue in that way any longer. Our finances were extremely healthy, even with the clubs to which we belonged, the evenings out at the theatre, the dinners we shared, I doubted we could ever spend what we had made, not even if we lived another forty years.
However, Raffles did seem to like to keep his hand in 'just in case' and of course he only had to look at me in his way and I went along with him, just as I always had done, just as I believed I always would do.
That belief was soon to be tested.
It was a cold December night; the snow was falling and had been falling all day. We had returned to Raffles's rooms at the Albany following one of our night-time excursions. Before we had ventured out, I had raised objections about the logic of going out in such bitterly cold weather, not only would we get cold, but surely we would leave an easy to follow trail?
However, Raffles had dismissed my concerns; indeed he'd seemed a little terse, angry even that I should consider objecting. Thus, dressed in muffler, gloves, a hat, my heavy over-coat with warm clothing beneath, I had accompanied him out of the Albany and arm-in-arm we made our way along the snow white streets. On more than one occasion I would have slipped over, were it not for Raffles's arm through mine, supporting me.
The job itself was a simple and relatively quick one for which I was thankful, as my part involved nothing more than remaining on watch. It took Raffles a mere twenty minutes to obtain the necklace he had set his heart on. However, by the time he returned to the outside world where I waited in the deep snow, I was shivering so much my teeth were chattering.
Luck was against us and it was impossible for Raffles to flag down a hansom cab. He had already added his muffler to mine, choosing instead to turn up the collar of his heavy coat. With his arm once more through mine, he led me at as fast a pace as he could back to his rooms.
Once there he stoked up the fire, made me a cup of Earl Grey tea, to which he added a very small splash of brandy and insisted on filling a bath for me. I tried to object to both the tea, insisting I'd rather just have the brandy, and to the need for a hot bath. However, he dismissed both of my objections, tucked a blanket around me and left me alone whilst he went to fill the bath.
Despite the warmth of his room from the now blazing fire, the blanket and the warming tea, I was still cold, so cold I could barely feel my fingers and my hands shook as I lifted the cup to my lips. My eyes felt heavy and I had to fight to keep the lids from staying closed. I was vaguely aware that falling asleep would not be a good thing, but it was getting harder and harder to fight my desire to simply sleep away the cold.
"Bunny!" Raffles's hand on my shoulder made me jump and my chilled fingers were unable to hold onto the cup and saucer; both fell to the floor, shattering as they landed. Raffles ignored the broken china and the fact the tea was seeping into the rug. Instead he crouched down in front of me, took my hands and began to rub them between his own. "Look at me, Bunny," he ordered.
I blinked several time, trying to focus on the handsome face I knew so well, but it seemed to swim in front of me. I blinked again, this time forcing myself to focus and I saw it: concern for me, a deep, deep concern I had never seen him show for anyone before; he seemed profoundly troubled.
Then he took one of his hands away from mine and instead put it on my cheek. "Oh, Bunny, my very own Bunny, I should never have insisted on us going out tonight. I never should have taken you with me."
His hand was warm, smooth; the calluses from his years spent bowling were virtually gone now. I gazed into his eyes; as well as showing concern, they were heavy with affection for me, an affection he never spoke of directly, but one through his deeds and actions I have always known existed. Maybe it was just the cold, but tonight I thought I saw something more.
I smiled, trying to reassure him. "It's all right, Raffles. I wouldn't have stayed here anyway. I wouldn't have let you go alone."
"Would you not?" he asked, one hand still cupping my cheek; the other now holding rather than rubbing my hand.
"No," I said and smiled again. "There's nothing I wouldn't do for you, Raffles."
He froze as I said the words and I watched as he swallowed hard before speaking. "Is there not, Bunny?" His voice seemed a little rough, as if his throat was dry or sore and as I stared at him, my gaze no longer unfocussed, I could see the pulse in his temple begin to throb.
I shook my head. "No, Raffles, nothing. Whatever you want from me, whatever you ask of me, I am your man."
I nodded. "Oh, yes. I always have been and I always will be. You name it and -" His lips on mine silenced me. The contact was brief; the pressure fleeting. However I did not fail to notice how warm, how soft yet firm his lips were.
He pulled away suddenly, dropped my hand, stood up and moved away from me, his fingers on his lips. His temporal pulse beat even faster; his eyes were wide as he stared at me. I stared back at him; he seemed nervous, uncertain, things I had never seen in my Raffles before. "Anything?" he finally managed, his voice nothing more than a whisper.
Using the arms of the chair to help me, I pushed myself to my feet, swaying only slightly. I took a step towards him, then a second, before my legs refused to hold me up and I staggered forward into his arms, which is where I wanted to be.
"Yes," I said, holding onto him as I tilted my head back slightly and offered him my lips again. "Anything, Raffles. Anything."
"God forgive me," I think I heard him whisper, before his mouth once more found mine. This time the contact was not brief; the pressure was not fleeting.
I had always believed I would do anything Raffles asked me to do. That night in his rooms when I truly became his I proved my belief to be correct.