FanFic - Other
"Sexual Temptations"
Part 11
by Jez
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing (but if I did, I wouldn't share Michael =0P)
Summary: In the mid 1800's, Father Maxwell Evans arrives in America...
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Based Nehal's Sexual Temptations Challenge
"This is unacceptable, Kyle!"

My father paces around the parlor, knocking over carefully prepared vases of goldenrod and heather. A young servant girl dashes between my father's strides, picking fallen objects from his path. "We have lost three slaves from the plantation. There have been seven runaways from Ravensport in this last month alone! There must be an alternative to beating the bastards past the point of value!"

My father throws a basket full of stationary onto the floor. When the girl does not move from his well-worn track quick enough, my father kicks her away with the toe of his heavy boot. He knocks over a small clock as the servant girl scampers away from his reach. "At this point, I have decided to trade slaves." I pick up a crumpled piece of goldenrod, twirling it around my fingers.

"But Father, we will need all the hands we can get to bring in the fields. It is bad enough that an illness has spread throughout the work hands. A slave trade will set the harvest back by weeks." He sits down on a chair across from me, throwing an embroidered pillow on the floor.

"I already know this, Kyle. We will make due. I plan to send a man with twenty slaves to the Carolinas." I run the broken flower along the lines of my palms.

"So, I suppose that in light of these new circumstances, my marriage should be postponed -- " The crevices leading from my father's nostrils to the corners of his mouth deepens with annoyance. I have learned from experience that this is never a good sign.

"Kyle, no. We have had this conversation before. Marrying Maria will be the best thing for you. She has everything you need in a wife." I sit up on the sofa.

"But what about love, Father. I could never love Maria. She's impossible."

"She's wealthy."

"She's exhausting."

"She's well-bred."

"She's -- "

My father raises his hand to silence me. "Kyle, stop this nonsense. Maria comes from a rich and influential family. In marrying a Deluca, you ensure the success of our lineage for years to come."

"The power our name holds is more than enough to ensure the success of our family. The wealth that our plantation provides guarantees that I will live better than almost any other man on the east coast. I do not need these things from a wife. Any addition to our success should come from my prosperity, not from my marriage." My father grumbles.

"This is not up for debate, Kyle. There is not a worthier woman to take as a wife in all of Virginia. I do not wish to hear another word about it." Fergus Nelson walks into the parlor, clearing his throat to gain Father's attention.

"Sir, we have found the runaway from Mr. Deluca's Vineyard." My father hoots in victory.

"Well, where was he found, man?"

"In Father Whitman's cell at St. Patrick's Cathedral."


I run towards the rapidly expanding crowd on the churchyard, Isabel, Tess, and the children following close behind me. Judge Valenti stands behind a makeshift podium made from an overturned wagon. Alexander stands to the side -- proud and courageous despite his dire situation -- a rope thrown over the branch of a strong oak and looped around his neck. Fergus sits on a brown mare nearby, the end of the rope tied around his saddle. One of the workers at the saw mill stands in front of the judge.

" -- found the run away in Father Whitman's cell." Judge Valenti turns to face my unfortunate friend.

"Father, do you have anything to say on your behalf?" Alexander takes a step towards the crowd.

"I am certain that every soul standing here today has heard me preach of the humane treatment of the slave population. I will not question your intelligence by trying to prove otherwise. But I will say that I am innocent of the charges."

"Can you prove that to the court, Father?" Alexander looks at the judge briefly and hangs his head low.

"No, I cannot." Judge Valenti strikes his gavel on the side of the wagon.

"Then I have no choice but to sentence you. Father Alexander Whitman, by the power of the court, I sentence you to death. You will hang by the neck until you are dead. May God have mercy on your soul."

"NO!" Finola pushes her way through the crowd. "It isn't so! Father Whitman is innocent." I make my way towards her and grab her arm.

"Finola, what are you doing, girl? Stand back." Judge Valenti motions for me to release her arm.

"Let her speak." Finola approaches the podium.

"Father Whitman did not help the man. It was I." A collective gasp spread throughout the crowd.

"No, your honor, my daughter does not know what she is talking about." I reach for her arm again, but Finola pulls away angrily.

"I do not lie! There is a door -- a hidden door -- on the south side of the church. This door leads to a stairway which opens to the Father's cell. I took the man to this door and showed him where to hide!" A man stands forward from the group of bystanders.

"It is true! There is a door hidden behind the hedge." The judge motions for the release of Alexander and turns to face my daughter.

"Child, in light of your confession, I must sentence you as I would any other. And that sentence is death." I hear Tess and Isabel cry out as Finola is taken to the noose, and it is more than I can bear. I kneel before Judge Valenti.

"Sir, my daughter lies! The truth is that it was me. I am the one who committed these crimes!" The judge leans over and places his hand on my head.

"Mr. Guerin, it is in the nature of any good father to protect the lives of their children. The law requires that I punish the wicked swiftly and justly. I am sorry." Two men wrap their arms around me and hold me to the ground. Struggling to free myself, I look into Finola's wide, frightened eyes. With a curt nod from the judge, Fergus rides the horse forward, dragging Finola up into the air.

"NOOO!" I throw the men off of me and run towards my daughter. Three more men tackle me and hold me down. I can only watch as Isabel, Alexander, and Tess are also restrained. I can only watch as Thomas and Rhiannon run towards their struggling sister, trying to lift her body so that she might breathe. Finola's blue eyes bulge out of their sockets as she claws at the rope binding her throat. A low gurgle escapes from her mouth, and the sound of her wordless cry fills me with inhuman strength..

I buck wildly, freeing myself from the grasp of the men. Reaching my daughter, I lift her flailing legs so that she sits on my shoulder. Before she can loosen the rope, Fergus rides the horse forward again. Finola reaches the limb of the oak with a resounding crack. In a last desperate attempt, Alexander fights his way forward and cuts the rope free. My daughter falls rapidly into my waiting arms.

I lay Finola gingerly on my lap as Isabel, Tess, and Alexander gather around. Taking the knife from Alexander's hands, I carefully cut through the noose. Finola's head falls limply from my hands, angry red marks wrapped around her neck. Her glassy eyes stare at me blankly as my own fill with tears. Thomas tries to look over my shoulder. I push him away.

"Stay back, boy." I move Finola to the ground, trying to ignore the awkward angle of her neck. I run my hand gently across her face, smoothing down her eyelids. Wiping away my tears, I glare at Judge Valenti. "She was a child." He walks past us indifferently.

"She was a criminal." Tess rushes to him, beating her small fists across his chest and shoulders.

"You brute! You MONSTER! How could you? How COULD you? She was innocent!" Judge Valenti pushes her roughly to the ground.

"If you do not restrain yourself, you will meet her fate." The judge mounts his horse and rides away, apathetic to the mindless slaughter of my child. I swear that if God did not look down on murder, he would be pushing up daisies in a heartbeat. I feel a shaky hand place itself on my shoulder. I look up into Alexander's tear-filled eyes.

"Let's bring her into the church."


"Michael?" Michael sits hunched over the cold grave, his bloodshot eyes unresponsive to my approach. "Michael, it is the middle of the night. What are you doing out here?" My friend laughs bitterly.

"I am looking out for my daughter. What does it look like, Lizzie? It isn't safe for a pretty thing like Finola to be out unattended after dark." I sit down beside him and take note of the half empty bottle cradled in his hands.

"Michael, have you been drinking?" I reach out to brush back his tangled hair, but he pulls away.

"Maybe a little. Just a wee bit of brandy." He laughs again, and the sound of it sends shivers up my spine.

"It was not your fault, Michael." Michael turns to face me, nearly falling into my lap in the process.

"Of course it was my fault! I was her father! It was my job to protect her!" Michael chokes back another round of sobs. Reaching out again, I rub his back softly.

"You did everything that you could." Michael buries his head in my shoulder.

"It was not enough. I could have done more. I could have turned myself in before she did. I could have sacrificed myself." I place a kiss along his hairline.

"Michael, I know that you do not want to hear this, but God has a plan. It was in His plan for Finola to join Him so early in life. She knew that it was her time. And she was not afraid." Michael pulls away from me savagely.

"Of course she was afraid! She was only a child! And I failed her." He tilts his head back and glares angrily at the stars. "I was not even going to take her. If I had only taken Rhiannon and Thomas as planned, she would be alive. But the girl kept talking about how Finola took care of the babe of a mother who died on board. Rhiannon reminded me so much of my Maria -- all sparkles and light -- I had to see Finola for myself. If I had just let her alone. . "

I watch as Michael tries uselessly to fight tears of guilt and wish that I knew the words to take away his pain.

Part 10 | Index | Part 12
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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