Legend of Emeralds

AN: I'm (finally) putting this up, because my friends told me to. Thanks for the character of Philip go to my dearest Nadia, who originally created him and didn't even complain too much when I stole him. It is the first story I have submitted to public notice since... gosh, ages. It is the first original fic I've written that I haven't hated. Reviews are welcomed and adored, constructive criticism is wonderful, flames are stupid and pointless. If you don't like the story, review and tell me why or don't bother at all, shouting at me won't help anything.

NOTES ON THE STORY: It is a regency romance, set in the 18th century. As it starts, the characters are both eighteen, and going to Oxford University (thus the chapter title). My only knowledge of regency comes from Georgette Heyer, so I hope I'm not glaringly inaccurate. The chapters are just sections of their lives, the more interesting sections - while they are in chronological order, they don't necessarily follow straight on from each other.

WARNINGS: This story is SLASH and contains HOMOSEXUAL CONTENT from the very beginning. If you don't like that, nobody is forcing you to read it. It also contains references to physical and emotional abuse, suicide, and rape, as well as unhealthy amounts of angst.

I know the first chapter is dementedly short, and I apologise; they won't all be this brief.

Chapter 1: Oxford

He pushed the door open, and began to walk into the room when he paused, eyebrows rising in quizzical surprise as he surveyed the two youths on the sofa. One of them - the stranger - looked up at the sound of the door opening, and gasped a horrified expletive, blue eyes wide as he stared at the newcomer. His redheaded companion appeared too involved with kissing the boy's neck to be distracted.

After a brief moment, the young man broke eye contact with the blond, blue eyed, and furiously blushing boy he had so startled, and walked casually past him and the redhead, selecting and removing a book off one of the shelves.

On his way back to the door, he hesitated for a moment. "You do have a bedroom, you know," He commented, shooting his roommate a pointed look.

The redhead shrugged. "Thought you'd appreciate the free show," he explained flippantly, voice slightly muffled against the blond's chest, before he finally lifted his bright green eyes, shooting the invader a wicked look. "Care to join us, my dear?"

"I have work to do, Philip." His voice sounded neither revolted nor wistful, and his silver eyes betrayed nothing. He turned away, leaving the room and closing the door quietly behind him.

"You're no fun at all, David." Philip murmured to the closed door, before returning to his task, stoppering any modest objections with a kiss.

And behind closed doors, David was trembling...

It was a while later when Philip, looking clean and decently attired - although with shocking casualness, in just a shirt and breeches and his vivid hair barely brushed - walked calmly into David's bedroom.

The latter, who was looking perfectly at his ease, reclining on the bed and reading the book that he had earlier taken from the study, glanced up only briefly, an eyebrow raised as he surveyed his visitor. "There's no rule against knocking, you know." He remarked as he returned to his book.

Philip shrugged, not at all put out by this cool reception, and made himself comfortable in a chair. "But my dear boy, you walked in on me earlier," he countered.

David looked up, silver-grey eyes rolling to the heavens as if imploring God for patience. "You were in the middle of the study." He protested. "I could hardly have avoided it. Honestly, Philip, we do have our own bedrooms for a reason!"

His roommate did not reply, fingers pulling absently at a button on his shirt before he realised this and stilled the fretting gesture. "You weren't shocked?" His voice was quiet; a serious query among all the friendly banter.

"A trifle surprised to walk in on you," David explained himself mildly. "But neither shocked nor surprised at your choice of companion."

"And why not?" Philip's tone was light, but the enquiry was not.

He shrugged, brushing long black hair from his face. "When we went with all the other gentlemen to the theatre," David explained, "They were all ogling - with quite a distressing lack of subtlety - all the dancing girls. Whereas you kept your eyes on the actors, particularly the male ones." Aristocratic fingers flicked dismissively. "Besides, your preferences are hardly unheard of. I know a few others like yourself, and recognized the signs."

His friend considered this a moment, before the serious look in his eyes and the slight tenseness in his frame evaporated, and he smirked at the young man on the bed. "And you yourself?" He asked mischievously. "Where do your 'preferences' lie, my dear David?"

"I am afraid, my Lord Philip," David responded, voice dry. "That I fail to see where that is your business."