Title: Clean Sheets
Prompt: 61. Turnbull/the Queen - she visits Chicago and the Queen's Bedroom actually gets some use.
Pairing: oh, now, i wouldn't want to spoil it for you.
Renfield Turnbull (whose parents were not familiar with Bram Stoker, but knew a good name when they heard one) is on the whole both challenged and fulfilled by his current position. His life is varied, busy and often exciting - perhaps a little less so when Constable Fraser is not present, but this absence itself brings new challenges. Only yesterday, the aforementioned Constable having left on leave, Turnbull was personally responsible for ordering new Consulate stationery, responding to three requests for information on Canadian citizenship, returning two more (one on the grounds that it was unlikely that an application on behalf of a pet squirrel would be accepted, and the other as it had apparently been misdirected by the Chicago postal service; he had returned it with a letter suggesting that the Russian Embassy could perhaps forward the enquiry to the relevant authorities in "Soviet Canuckistan", wherever that might be) and ensuring that the banisters and dado rails were dusted regularly.
Indeed, cleaning was more than a duty for Turnbull - he counted it among his hobbies. Approached properly it could match drawing, cooking, even knitting as an utterly absorbing activity that kept a man fully occupied both physically and mentally. Dusting in the consulate, for example, was more of a physical challenge than one might expect. As a result of the demands of work and leisure, it was a rare night that Turnbull did not fall asleep almost as soon as he had set the knitting needles and partially completed fisherman's sweater on the side table (Turnbull was a regular contributor to the Newfoundland Association for Derelict Seamen's clothing fund, despite his concerns about their acronym) and turned out the light. This week, however, was different. This week, he was finding his sleep was disturbed and even his favourite activities were less than absorbing, constantly distracted as he was by the quivering eels of anticipation that had taken up residence in the pit of his stomach on Tuesday afternoon when news had reached the Chicago Consulate of the impending visit of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of England, and by extension the Constitutional Monarch of Canada.
He had consulted the book on etiquette repeatedly, so he was quite certain that he knew precisely what to do and say in any and all eventualities that might arise. For example, should he wish to present Her Majesty with a beaver -
an act for which Turnbull knows there is a clear precedent, since in May of 1990
- he is entirely prepared.
When Her Majesty steps through the door of the Consulate on Friday morning - "Welcome to Canada, Your Royal Highness." says Inspector Thatcher, her voice admirably level and the sweat beading on her upper lip barely visible - the careful use of the breathing techniques he has been studying pays off, and he doesn't even faint, though the room swims and purples alarmingly.
His hand shakes only a smidgen as he serves the tea and scones. The spillage is minimal. Her Majesty is wonderfully gracious, as he had always imagined she would be. When the knife slides from the side plate he is clearing away onto a silver tray (the tarnish was almost invisible and easily removed; the shame of having had to borrow it from the Australian Consulate on
This is the last thing Renfield Turnbull registers before his senses are quite overwhelmed and the purple returns in force.
When Turnbull wakes up on Constable Fraser's cot it's cool and quiet. It appears that he has been - incapacitated - for quite some time. The consulate is empty, and it feels like early morning. Nonetheless, he peels the dry facecloth from his forehead, refastens his uniform and returns to the scene of what he fears has been his greatest humiliation (excluding the time his lanyard became entangled in the tentacles of a Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus at the Vancouver Aquarium). The absence of security confirms his suspicion that it is indeed Saturday morning. Her Majesty will have been up at dawn and left before 8am after breakfasting on just porridge, tea, specially prepared and deboned kippers and toast with apricot jam. Turnbull has studied her punishing schedule in some detail.
The room, now properly deserving of the title of Queen's Bedroom, is tidy. The bed is only slightly disordered. Turnbull moves towards it, intending to straighten the coverlet. What happens next is quite accidental.
He leans forward, inhaling slowly. The scent of perfume - lavender. A hint of rose-scented hand cream. Exquisite. He allows a tremor to run through his body, and inhales again. Bliss. This was where Her Majesty had slept. In this very room, she must have disrobed. She lay here, clad in nothing but the royal night gown, her person caressed by these very sheets. Sheets he would have the honour of laundering himself. He allows himself another deep breath, holds it and then --
He snaps to attention at once, mortification colouring his face.
"Inspector Thatcher! Sir! I can explain! I was merely-"
Thatcher holds up a hand, stopping him.
"I understand, Constable. Power. History. Nobility. It is a heady mixture. I have myself dreamed-- Well. Anyway. You must be feeling delicate after your turn yesterday. You are excused."
"Yes sir." Turnbull was grateful for the opportunity to recover himself in private, but he had to admit he was also curious. And a better understanding of one's superior officers could only be advantageous to a young man's personal development. He stiffened - Constable Fraser was not the only man who understood the importance of good posture and its place in the internal discipline of the soul - and spoke again. "I was wondering, sir. Your dream. I don't mean to be impertinent, but while my, my inclination is to serve, I had thought perhaps that yours was more to-- to lead. Imposing order and discipline, ensuring the proper disposition of your men, inspiring loyalty and-" his voice sped up as he warmed to his theme, only to be interrupted again.
"Turnbull! That will be enough. As I said, you can go now." A sudden thought seemed to strike her. "No wait, you can stay. Stay. You really think I have... that I might have a certain air about me? An air of command?" Thatcher raised a hand, fingers brushing her collar bone. Her neck held unnaturally straight, she glanced at her profile where it was reflected in the mirror above the fireplace.
"Why, certainly sir. You strike me as a - a - a woman of exceptional-"
"Exceptional force. Sir."
"Oh. That will be all, Turnbull. And take the portrait back to my office, please." She indicated the Queen's portrait where it hung, temporarily, above the Chinese lacquer sideboard, and swept out of the room. A minute later her heels clicked across the parquet of the hallway and the front door slammed. Turnbull swallowed. Conversations with Inspector Thatcher tended to leave him a little disorientated. He turned to the portrait, fully intending to carry out his orders.
Intention in the absence of discipline is not always enough.
Turnbull carefully balanced the portrait against the headboard of the bed. Respect. It was all about respect. Carefully moving back to the far end of the queen-sized mattress he finally allowed his thoughts to flow as they wished. Slowly he unfastened his dress pants, slipped a hand inside and freed his now partially erect member. He fixed his eyes upon her Majesty's noble visage, and began to stroke, slowly at first then, as that regal gaze seemed to fall upon his naked need, faster and faster. Falling back upon the covers, eyes fluttering closed as he sped his hand, Renfield Turnbull thought only of
"Constable Turnbull. Did you just... whimper? Constable? Constable! I order you to wake up!"
Turnbull opened his eyes, blinking in confusion, and observed with detached interest the ceiling of the Queen's Bedroom. The cornices were of course dust-free, but he frowned as he noted a small spider's web in the shadow of the second chandelier. He would have to ask Constable Fraser to write him a reprimand. A sharp blow to his cheek made him start. He focused on the weight across his midriff. Inspector Thatcher leant forwards, her face looking rather strange from this new angle.
"Ah. You're awake. I was about to begin CPR. Not that your life is of great concern to me. Her Majesty is apparently leaving at once for her next engagement. And I had hoped - I mean, this room was created for one purpose, and to have that purpose denied! Snatched away, on the whim of some jumped up security officer! Well. It's upsetting. I am upset, constable!"
"I- sir?" Turnbull was once again experiencing some disorientation.
"Did you suffer a head injury when you fainted, Turnbull? The Queen has gone. Left. For
Turnbull considered this briefly. "Well, sir. Cheese is a very popular-- but pardon me sir. What time is it?"
Thatcher glared impatiently at him. "It is approximately twenty minutes since you nearly crushed the person of Queen Elizabeth II beneath your insensible body. Her security personnel were not impressed. They insisted I stay here and administer first aid."
Turnbull processed this new and surprising information. "Do you mean to say it isn't Saturday, sir?"
Thatcher frowned down at him, apparently unaware that she was still straddling his hips. She was wearing perfume. She smelt a little of lavender and roses. Her pantyhose were beige.
"Constable? Is something wrong?"
"Certainly not, sir. I was just observing. Has anyone ever told you that you have a somewhat regal mien?"
The sheets required laundering after all.