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Title:A magician's education in love and war.
Pairing: MR Norrell/Childermass.
Rating: teen.




It was on a damp and brisk morning in early March that Mr Norrell and Childermass left the house in Hanover Square to board the ship that would take them to Lisbon and the war with Napoleon.

Before this in the months spanning the end of 1810 and into the chill new year of 1811 it had seemed that Mr Norrell's protestations that sending him to be Wellington's magical advisor would be successful. However, as February had progressed and news from the continent became evermore troubling Mr Norrell had received another letter from the Admiralty. It had been polite in the way that such official documents are wont to be, it was strongly worded nonetheless and it informed him that he would do as he was ordered or else he would find his services dispensed with immediately and in there entirety, and that they would then seek to employ Mr Strange in his stead as he appeared more amenable.

So it had been with great reluctance and not a little fear that Mr Norrell had found himself agreeing to their terms. The alternative, which was to been seen as a coward who turned his back on his own country in its hour of need was unthinkable. The thought of the lost of respect that such an action would bring gave him many sleepless nights, his mind filling itself with fears of the irrevocably damage it would have on peoples willingness to accept his methods.

Yet acquiescing came with its own perils. Mr's Lascelles and Drawlight had drawn back from their frequent visits as soon as they obtained the knowledge that he was to leave and instead turned their attentions towards Mr Strange, who was by turns both annoyed and a little flattered at their insistence that he was now of the great importance to British security. Despite their absence Childermass' demeanour and frequent disappearances into the city failed to improved, although none found they had the nerve to mention it.

This continued source of tension Mr Norrell found weighed as heavy on his as the idea of war, but he could not bring himself to leave Childermass behind to maintain his estate and Hurtfew or watch over his books in London. The idea of travelling foreign lands upset him greatly and to attempt it alone he was convinced would be would be utter folly. No, he had told himself, Childermass would have to come with him whether it pleased him to do so or not. [1]



Of the voyage from Dover to Lisbon there is little to be said. Mr Norrell was a poor a sailor as he had predicted he might be and had spent much of the time confined to his cabin in a miserable state of discomfort. Childermass had remained with him during this time and tried to offer what reassurances he could, although the effectiveness of such was rather diminished by the fact that he was suffering almost as greatly as his employer. [2]

It was late in the evening when the sun was turning the plaster and stone walls of the buildings that clustered densely on either side of the Tagus to a warm golden hue that the ship sailed into Lisbon. The docks were filled with the noise and bustle of both a working port and of a military camp. Dry goods, clothing, fish and other such necessities of life were unloaded to mingle with the soldiers and military equipment that were leaving both the ship that had bourn Mr Norrell and Childermass and two others that had recently docked.

Mr Norrell was one of the first passengers to disembark, eager to have solid ground under his feet once more, even if were not England. Looking rather drawn and uncertain of himself, he sat on a bale of sail cloth on the quayside while he waited for Childermass and their luggage.

He did not have to wait long as Childermass shortly joined him carrying the chest that contained the books that Mr Norrell had felt would be the most vital for his work aiding Wellington. Accompanying Childermass were two of the ships crew who carried the trunk containing Mr Norrell's belongings and an elderly canvas bag, such as that might have belonged to a seaman himself, which contained those of his servant.

The trunk was placed on the quay with rather less care than Mr Norrell thought was fitting, but such was his relief at being off the ship he decided not to call it to their attention. Childermass placed the chest of books down carefully beside it, and then said to Mr Norrell, "I shall secure us lodgings for the night. I have asked Pettiman," at this juncture he inclined his head towards the younger of the two seaman who had assisted in bringing out the luggage, "to remain with you incase you need anything while I am gone."

Norrell peered at the tanned and wind-burnt youth with suspicion, then without any thought to whether it would cause offence he said, "Is he to be trusted?"

"I have paid him," Childermass replied as if this should settle any argument. "And I have informed the bosun of what he is doing, and I believe he has greater fear of Mr Dobbs than any one on this Earth, including you or I."

Mr Norrell remained unconvinced that being left alone on the docks was in the best interest of either himself or his books. He looked warily at the slowly darkening and totally unfamiliar city that surrounded them. "How am I to find where you have gone?" he asked and then jumped at the sound of something being dropped further down the docks to splinter on the stones amidst the sound of animated shouting in what he decided must be Portuguese. More nervous than before he added, "I really think that we should remain together."

"If that is what you wish. I had not thought that you would want to be parted from your books," Childermass said choosing his words carefully to direct matters towards his preferred outcome. "If you trust Pettiman to care for them until our return then of course we shall search together."

"No, no," Mr Norrell said quickly. He left the bale of sailcloth to sit upon the edge of the chest of books, as if he somehow expected it to sprout legs and make its escape if he did not. "I shall stay with them. If they were to fall into foreign hands I can scarce imagine the consequences. No, I really must insist that I stay here."

"I shall return within the hour," Childermass said, and then with a smile at gaining his own way upon his lips he disappeared into the thronging masses on the quay and into the city itself.



Part three http://the-silver-sun.livejournal.com/251534.html



[1] Were the truth to be told accompanying Mr Norrell to Portugal was not something that Childermass wished to do, at least insofar as he didn't like the idea of either of them leaving England. His place however, and of this he was certain, was at Mr Norrell's side. So when he had been informed that his employer was of the same opinion he had made no complaint. Plans were another matter, Childermass always had a plan.



[2] He was a great deal more stoic about it, as shewing any form of weakness which might lead to him becoming the object of anyones pity was something Childermass found far more discomforting that any sickness he had yet to endure.


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