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Mar. 11th, 2009

Title: Infinity Spirals Out Creation
Author: poor_choices
Fandom: Arcadia
Pairing: Septimus Hodge/Thomasina Coverly
Rating: R.
Warnings: Tom Stoppard college AU. Underage. Teacher/student. Unfortunate tense changes. Inaccurate to Oxford University. You know, the usual.
Word Count: 871.
Summary: Septimus Hodge is a romantic, inevitably.
Notes: So, for Christmas, katiedanger asked for Thomasina/Septimus. And I didn't write it. Now her birthday is on the 15th, so I am writing it. And posting it early, because on the 15th I will totally not notice the date and be full of guilt. Sorry I suck, katiedanger. Title from Modest Mouse.
Disclaimer: This is Tom Stoppard's, and he is cooler than I will ever be.


"Nine years isn't that long," says Thomasina reasonably.

"It is if you're sixteen," says Septimus. "And I'm your teacher."

"I won't be sixteen forever. Nor will you be my teacher."

"Nor," he says, shaking his head. "No one talks like that anymore."

"I do," she says.

"Be that as it may," Septimus continues, "you are sixteen and my student today. It's important today."

"Very important," says Thomasina, taking off her shirt. "Would you like to stop?"

"No," Septimus grants. "No."

*

Thomasina began university when she was thirteen. Septimus was graduating at the end of the year.

At the time, he thought he was smart.

*

"Are you really the seventh son?" was the first thing she asked him. It was after their first class together; physics, in the spring term of her second year. He was a graduate student then, expected to do more teaching than the students wanted him to.

"I'm really Mr. Hodge to you," he said.

"I want to know about your lineage."

"How very noble of you," he said. "Is your father knighted?"

"My mother is Lady Croom," she said. "My father was below her station. How many brothers do you have?"

"Five," he said, "and a sister."

"And you are the youngest?"

"I am."

"Is your eldest brother Primus or Unus?"

"Primus."

"Who is your sister?"

"Violet."

"That hardly seems fair. My brother is Augustus. I'm glad to not be Secunda."

"It wouldn't suit you. Is there a point you're reaching for, Miss Coverly?"

"I have heard you're brilliant at Latin."

"With a name like Septimus, it seemed unavoidable."

"I need a tutor."

"I'm already teaching you physics, Miss Coverly."

"Professor Nightingale is teaching me physics, Mr. Hodge. You are assisting him. And I assume since you're already teaching me physics, the skills will transfer to other subjects."

"You're used to getting what you want, aren't you?"

"My mother is Lady Croom," she said. "What did you expect?"

She was fourteen then.

*

Septimus doesn't like younger women. He doesn't consider them to be a fetish or a kink. If anything, he likes older women; the one time he met Lady Croom at an event, he had her in the bathroom while her daughter was outside, mingling.

He was thinking about Thomasina at the time, but not sexually. He was thinking of the her love of doing her arithmetic long-hand, the delicate curves of her threes and nines, the way the ink smudged on her hand.

He thinks that's much worse.

*

"Do you believe in love, Septimus?" she asks.

"Is it something to believe in?"

"I think if one believes in fate, one must believe in love."

"Only if one is a romantic. Couldn't one be fated for heartbreak and disaster?"

"You're thinking of true love."

"I don't see why you'd bother believing in anything less."

"So you are a romantic," says Thomasina, as if his romanticism was in question and not hers. "I should have known."

*

"If I get this right, will you kiss me?"

Septimus barely glanced over. "That isn't very difficult, you wouldn't deserve it."

"I thought you might want to."

"You're fifteen."

"I'm exceptional."

"You are intelligent. You are not wise."

"I can't be both?"

"Not at fifteen. You can barely be one at fifteen."

"What if you're wrong?"

"I'm not," he said.

A week later, she gave him a handjob in the library.

A month later, he finally kissed her.

It was the only thing she wasn't willing to initiate.

*

"You aren't in love with me, are you?" he asks.

"What makes you say that?"

"You're naked in my bed and asking if I believe in love. It's the only logical conclusion."

"You're twenty-five," she says. "You're not ready for that kind of commitment."

"You're sixteen," he says.

"Yes," she agrees. "So it's a good thing I'm not in love with you."

*

Thomasina will graduate in June. Septimus will still be working on his PhD, will still be at Oxford.

Thomasina will be coming back, for the fall term. She could go anywhere; she's brilliant.

But she'll stay.

"Mr. Hodge," Lady Croom will say, breezing toward him. "I understand I have you to thank for my daughter's education."

"You have Oxford University to thank," he'll reply. "I am its humble servant."

"Nevertheless," she'll say. "Do you have a moment?"

The invitation will be unmistakable, and he will be tempted--anyone would be. But Thomasina is staying, and she'll be seventeen in August, and eighteen the August after that.

And that whole time, she will be Thomasina.

"I find myself," he will reply, "suddenly quite spoken for."

Lady Croom will her eyebrows. "I'm sorry to hear it."

"Inevitable, I'm afraid."

*

"Do you think," asks Thomasina, as she refastens her bra, "that there's an equation for soulmates?"

"Is alcohol a variable or a constant? For soulmates, I would think a constant."

"I'm being serious, Septimus. If there's an equation for every person's life, then shouldn't there be an equation that complements it perfectly? At the point when they meet, X is the same, and for every value after."

"I told you you were a romantic."

"Do you think there is?"

"If you're good enough at maths, perhaps."

"Am I?"

"Yes," he tells her. "You are."

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
beckaandzac
Mar. 12th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
I love this. <33
sadcypress
Mar. 12th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
HOLY. SHIT.

I NEED SEVENTEEN NOVELS OF THIS. EXCEPT THAT THIS IS PERFECT AS IS. I LOVE IT.
katiedanger
Mar. 12th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
LOVE LOVE LOVE. Everyone should have a modern-day Tomasina, brilliant at maths and professorial seduction, or be given one for their birthday forthwith. You make my midterms-hell week bright.
katiedanger
Dec. 14th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
By the way, I still LOVE this.
Katie
buddleia
Mar. 12th, 2009 09:11 am (UTC)
Was it serendipity that had me rereading Arcadia last night? Possibly. This is a thing of beauty.
tafadhali
Mar. 14th, 2009 10:16 am (UTC)
I was just thinking, "Should I do my thesis on Stoppard?" and this was like the universe saying, "C'mon, baby, you know you wanna."

By which I mean it was lovely. Thomasina and Septimus are my favorite; I wrote a whole paper that was like, "Here is why it's okay in Arcadia and not in The History Boys. Hint: THE ANSWER IS LOVE."
katiedanger
May. 4th, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)
Like I was saying, E., it really weirds me out when we collide in fandom. <3 Katie
katrinaswift
Mar. 18th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, brilliant. I love this sort of fic!
inmyredshoes
Jun. 1st, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, just found this!

Wonderful and beautiful! I'm going to see Arcadia (again) in London this week and will now be thinking of this.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )