[identity profile] mollivanders.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] prefer_my_life
Title: turn from patience sufferance to a candid world
Fandom: Turn AMC
Rating: G
Characters: Anna/Selah
Author's Note: Word Count – 1,571. I kept the timeline roughly in line with the show (it's hard to tell exactly how old everyone is supposed to be) but I kept Selah and Anna's relative ages the same as the historical characters (so Selah is still three years older than Anna). Colonial revolutionaries are my jam and if AMC isn't going to give me the backstory for these two, I'll have to invent it myself.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to AMC.

His love for Anna is not love at first sight.

(No, he thinks. It’s much stronger than that.)

+

It’s a Sunday morning, bright and dewy after a fresh snowfall, that he hears her arguing with Magistrate Woodhull about the Boston trials. Word of the verdict – of the soldiers’ release and branding – had only just reached Long Island the Friday before.

“Justice, magistrate, is what is important here. Justice for those killed and those who might be killed if this offense is to go unpunished.” Her voice, strong and clipped, carries easily through the crisp air.

“Miss Smith,” the magistrate replied, clearly exasperated, “the men were branded, and only for doing their duty of peacekeeping. I have considered your request for a town meeting and do not think it is wise at this time.”

Anna opened her mouth to reply, and as much as Selah found himself piqued, Woodhull raised his hand in protest. “No more, Miss Smith. Sunday is a time for family. You should return to yours.”

The remark seemed to sting Anna more than the debate had, and she stopped in the path down from the church, watching the magistrate bustle away with the rest of the town. Her breath fogged around her, sharp pants that betrayed her emotion, and Selah stepped to her side.

“Miss Smith,” he ventured, “may I escort you back to town?” When she raised her eyes to meet him, somewhat lost, he ducked his head in a conspiratorial fashion. “I would also be most interested,” he said, “in hearing your thoughts on the trial’s outcome.”

He carries the small quirk of her smile back with him, and thinks on it more than he should for a Sunday’s walk.

+

It is several years later – both of them a few years older – when he catches her fervently reading the newspaper, hardly noting where she walks. “Miss Smith!” he exclaims, catching her before she runs into him, “what news has you so enraptured?”

The hard line of her mouth is almost angry, though not with him.

“It is hardly news,” she says. “More like the editorializing of His Majesty’s best generals on the recent battle.”

He nods, understanding. Lexington and Concord was a victory to be celebrated, though the citizens of Setauket hardly saw it that way. All the more reason for caution, and yet, he did not want to discourage her – not with his pending plans to the continental congress.

“Perhaps it is best left with other rubbish,” he says instead, and she lets him fold the paper up to be disposed later. “Quite,” she agrees forcibly, and bids him good day, head raised high as if in defiant celebration of the colonial victory.

He is struck then by the realization that perhaps he is not so outnumbered in Setauket as he had thought. Perhaps, he thinks ruefully, even this revolution is not.

+

From then on, it seems, he runs into Anna more often than before. It is not for her seeking him out but – and perhaps this is only his fancy – for their noticing each other more than before. He is often busy with tavern business, but this includes errands to the butcher and baker and soap maker, and Anna, busy with her father’s household, crosses paths with him more than once.

“Mr. Strong,” she says when she sees him, cutting a short curtsy on his behalf. “You look well for a man whose tavern is billeted with His Majesty’s soldiers.” Her tone is plain, but her eyes are quite the opposite. “Yes, Miss Smith,” he replies, perusing the bread on display. “It seems nobody but His Majesty’s soldiers have reason to call upon my services.”

Her eyebrows shoot up at that, and for a breath he thinks he has overstepped his bounds. A moment later, however, her lips twist into that smile that he thinks she saves just for him.

“Which reminds me,” she adds, her tone full of casual propriety, “my father would like you to come to dinner tomorrow evening.” Her eyes flash up to his with secret meaning. “It will likely consist of dull politics. Perhaps you will not be interested?”

His heart pounds and he clenches his hands behind his back to hide his nerves. “On the contrary, Miss Smith. I would be honored to accept your father’s invitation.”

As he leaves, he can feel her eyes boring into his back.

+

He spends far too much time picking out the shirt and waistcoat for that evening, considering he only has three of the latter to his name.

+

“I understand you are familiar with members of the New York continental congress,” Mr. Smith says about halfway through dinner, and Selah inclines his head into a nod. He can feel Anna’s eyes on him, and he meets her in his response. “I am one of them, sir,” he replies, “and I understand you are acquainted with some true patriots as well.” There is little to betray Mr. Smith’s full thoughts, and he pushes on. “I understand you are organizing for a town meeting on the recent battles?”

“Actually,” the other man replies, “it is my daughter’s plan more than my own. But,” he continues, “I cannot deny that her plan is to my liking. If more were possible –”’

“There is no need to censor yourself, good sir,” Selah replies, all gravity. “Not among friends. We both know what the magistrate is like.”

A smile escapes the elder man, akin to his daughter’s, though perhaps with a touch more bitterness. “If only he were better known,” Mr. Smith says, “we might perhaps actually win some battles here.”

Before he leaves that night, as Anna helps him with his cloak, he asks for a moment more of her time. “Miss Smith,” he begins, forcing his gaze to remain steady, “I know that it is an uncertain time, but I am a man of certainty. I would be most honored if you would permit me to call on you, tomorrow evening?”

She is as steely as always as she returns his gaze. “Yes, Mr. Strong,” she says in a kind, steady voice. “You may call on me. We can discuss politics,” she adds with a flit of a smile, “or anything else that we choose.”

+

At first, he calls on her at home, but with time, they venture outdoors. There is not far to wander in Setauket, and they are never without a chaperone, but Anna prefers walking to staying at home, and Selah wonders more and more if she is of his mind, not just for the future of their country, but for their own. He waits, however, not wishing to press her for an answer she is not ready to give. Whispers of war have given rise to shouts, and she and her father both know where he goes when he leaves town on matters of so-called business. When he gets word of the next meeting of the New York congress, however, he decides he must break with her, one way or the other.

(When she accepts his proposal, a full smile blossoms across her face, echoed by his own. Those, of course, do not survive the kiss that follows, but give fruit to something even sweeter.)

+

On his trip, his mind is full of politics and continental business, but even still, her words linger in his mind, fresh as when she spoke them, her hands clutching his own.

“It would be an honor to marry you, Selah Strong,” she had said. “But I do not marry you for honor, or for the cause, but for more than that together.”

When he spies the pink dress in the New York City window shop, he cannot stop himself. He spends two months savings on it and has the clerk wrap it with their finest ribbon, to present to Anna on his return. He can already see her in it, young and shining, as he has always known her to be.

“Would the gentleman like to add a note to the package?” the clerk asks, and Selah pulls himself away from his imaginings. “Yes, of course,” he says. “From your husband, with love.”

+

She lifts the dress out of the box slowly, careful not to crease the dress. It is beyond beautiful; silk with pink roses and scented with lavender. The champagne pink accents her skin in soft tones and is smooth to the touch. It is the most beautiful dress she has ever worn, let alone seen.

Selah is silent, waiting her response, and she catches the nervous shifting of his weight before he stills. “Thank you,” she whispers, and then hugs the dress to herself. “Thank you. It is the most beautiful dress I could imagine.” The smile he wears is reward enough, and she carefully replaces the dress in its box before kissing him on the cheek. Her father watches with an amused look on his face, and she blushes just the slightest shade. “I saw it and thought of you,” Selah says. She leads him to the settee, and passes him a cup of tea as they settle in with her father. “And the rest of your business?” she asks. “How did that fare?”

“I have high hopes for our future,” he says, and she relaxes with the promise. So does she.

(They are both of them, she thinks, people of certainty.)

Finis

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