I own only the original characters, not those from any television series, and am not making any profit out of this fic.

Warning – some violence

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The young neko-jin boy crept silently round the street corner. Noticing the two drunkards behind him were catching up, he took a chance and ran out into the open street. It was a good choice- there was an open gateway that would have been hidden to anyone not right opposite it in the street, which just so happened to be where the boy had sped.

He darted through the gateway-

-And came face to face with a young man, dressed in a loose shirt, jodhpurs and tough boots. Obviously one of the houses' stable boys or grooms. Immediately, the man gave a yell. "What're you doing here? We don't like strangers hanging round."

The boy flinched – now he was caught on someone else's premises, the master of the house could do what he or she wanted to do to him. Mutely, he dropped down on one knee, imploring with his eyes not to be beaten, or worse, killed.

"I suppose you haven't done any harm… No! You trespassed, so now you must be punished!" The man's voice grew in volume until it echoed round the corridor, alerting all the other men in the stable that there was an intruder.

The boy stood up, terrified, but still, in the small area of his mind that had not been overwhelmed in fear, he knew he had to run, to hide, to get away from the men who were now glaring at him with such malice.

He spun, ready to run out the gate, but one of the other men had crept round some back way or another and was triumphantly slamming it shut.

The young boy let out a cry - he was trapped, just like he had been when the villagers beat him up and threw him out of the village. He had to escape!

Settling into a fighting stance, the boy prepared to fight his way out and round the man who had locked the gate.

That man threw himself on the boy, catching him off balance and causing his head to hit the wall.

The boy flipped the man off him, then staggered as the pain of his head hitting the wall became too much for him.

He shook his head, clearing his eyes of the dark mist that had been creeping over them, and kicked out with his left foot straight into the first grooms stomach. The man folded over without a sound.

Outraged at this, the rest of the men around the stable yard flew into an attack. Though, as the corridor was quite narrow, only two or three at a time could get to the boy.

However, after several minutes, one of them managed to get in a glancing blow to the boy's head, successfully knocking him out.

The first man produced a halter rope from somewhere, and tied the unconscious boy's wrists together behind his back. None too gently, he hauled the boy to his feet, then bent underneath the un-responding body to flip it over his shoulder in a fireman's lift.

"Geoffrey, I think I know why he came here – he weighs barely anything at all! He must be starving." As the man straightened, the young boy's shirt fell towards his head, revealing a muscled chest. However, those muscles were further shown off by the lack of solid flesh under the boys' skin.

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Geoffrey knocked on the back door of the great house that the stables were attached to, and a young, pretty maid answered. "Geoff!" She flushed – obviously they were lovers. "What's wrong?"

'Geoff' spoke quietly, smiling at her, then turning worriedly to look at the boy over the other mans shoulder.

Lariane (that was what Geoff called her) frowned. "Then we had better take him to see Master Voltaire, hadn't we?"

She welcomed Geoffrey and the other man, carrying the boy, inside the kitchen, which the door led to.

The two grooms took their boots off and left them by the front door. This meant that Geoff ended up carrying the boy. He frowned at the first man – "Actually, Dan, it would probably be best for me to see him on my own. You go; I'll tell you and the boys what happens when I get back.

Dan nodded and left the way he had come, leaving them alone. Lariane smiled gently and slipped her right hand into Geoffrey's free left one.

As they approached Master Voltaire's study, they pulled apart – the master did not approve of love between servants.

Lariane knocked on the great wooden door. A deep voice came from inside the room. "Come in".

The two servants did so, Lariane curtsying and Geoff bowing as well as he was able with the boy over his shoulder.

"Why have you disturbed me?" The voice boomed out from a leather armchair.

"A trespasser, Master. We overpowered him in the stables." Geoff explained.

Voltaire nodded. "Very well. He will enter my service. Tell him such when he awakes. He will join…the cleaners, I think."

"Yes, Master."

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All reviews gratefully received.