Luck, love and romance novels

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Warnings/notes: Henry/Tony, ooc, shortie, slightly weird, some instances of 'historical romance'.

Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Victory Nelson: Investigator (Otherworldly Crimes A Specialty) was created by Tanya Huff.

written at 29th november 2004, by Misura, for Beccadg, who replied to my 'Comment and I'll drabble you something for an interest of yours'-post on livejournal. (Interest-Henry Fitzroy)

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Edward dipped his pen into the inkwell, writing the header of the letter to Lady Alys in a clear and careful handwriting. After that, he halted, contemplating how best to continue. The complexitiy and depth of his feelings seemed impossible to put into words.

He'd thought he could do this. He'd written hundreds of letters after all, more than that toad of a Sir Robert ever would. He'd written both in english and in french, about subjects that ranged from the offering of a treaty to a declaration of war, and everything in between.

Yet it wasn't enough. Sir Robert was favored with an invitation for tea, while Edward was still nothing more to her than a friend of her brother's, a guest to be put up with. She treated him civil enough, but in her eyes he could read the truth.

Her lovely blue eyes. Edward sighed. It was undoubtedly -

Henry's sensitive ears caught the sound of someone approaching the door to his 'office', the place where he wrote and received his editor whenever she dropped by in person. It was furnished to present the image people expected of a romance-writer; a bit messy, but cozy. Not possessed of overly much style or taste, yet with a few reproductions of good art on the wall.

And books, of course. Lots of books, some of them literature with a capital 'l', others gifts from his publisher, successful romance-novels from which he might learn a few new tricks of the trade. His non-fiction books mainly consisted of 'research'-material; books on the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century.

Most of them he never used. His own memory was capable of painting a better picture of the life in those days than any scientific book, written hundreds of years later. Again, they were there to maintain the illusion that he was normal.

- foolish to think a letter from his hand would be able to convey the depth of his feelings where the words from his mouth had failed. A letter was just a piece of paper after all. Perhaps he simply ought to abandon this whole plan.

Sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night to write and deliver a love-letter was hardly an act worthy of a nobleman. His father would undoubtedly call it another sign of how his years abroad had corrupted his sense of good manners.

The door was opened softly. Not in the way of someone who wishes to enter unnoticed, but rather in the way of someone who doesn't want to intrude or disturb. Henry smiled, knowing without needing to turn around who was hovering in the doorway now.

Just as he has decided to return to his room and forget about his plan, Edward heard the sound of someone opening the door to the library. He froze, wondering who might be coming here at an hour like this, and what they'd have to say about his presence here.

A thousand excuses and explanations fluttered through his mind, none of them the least bit convincing. Yet to confess the truth was not an option either; at best, he'd make a fool of himself, and at worst, he'd ruin his every chance at ever winning Alys' favor.

He made no sign of hearing the soft footsteps that came closer and closer, remaining in his place as if he was unable to move.

"Am I interrupting you at something important?" Tony asked.

Henry allowed his gaze to wander for a moment, to glance at the small digital clock that stood on the left side of his desk. He was surprised to see that two full hours had passed since Tony's arrival.Because he'd had an upcoming deadline to meet, Henry had installed him in front of his TV with a drink and some food, promising that he wouldn't be long, that he just needed a few minutes to wrap up the seventh chapter.

Currently, he was well into the eleventh.

"I'm writing," he replied, in a tone that was half-apologetic and half-absent. The biggest part of his mind was still focused on the novel that was taking shape on his screen, instead of the visitor who had sauntered forward and was standing close enough to read what he was typing now.

"Am I interrupting you at something important, Sir Edward?" Alys' soft voice seemed to break his paralysation, causing him to rise and spin around so wildly that his chair fell to the floor. Alys blinked, and Edward cursed himself for a fool.

He had to be looking like he was suffering from a guilty conscience, like he had been doing something dishonorable and nefarious that couldn't bear the daylight.

"Hey, she's using -my- line!" Tony sounded indignant.

"Actually, I, as the author, am using your line," Henry pointed out.

"Hmm. Well, I guess that's okay," Tony said magnanimously. "But only because it's you." Henry could practically hear the grin.

"Thank you," Henry replied, meaning more than just Tony's granted 'permission'. Deciding he'd done enough for tonight, not to mention that he'd let Tony wait far beyond the time he'd promised to require, Henry saved what he had for chapter eleven.

"What's going to happen next?" Tony asked curiously. "In the story, I mean," he clarified as Henry raised one eyebrow.

"Well, likely she'll misinterpret his actions, at which -he- will get all miserable. Perhaps enough so that he'll challenge the odious Sir Robert to a duel, which, under the circumstances, is a lose-lose situation for him. I haven't quite made up my mind yet," Henry mused. "But they'll end up happy and together in the end, naturally. It's a romance-novel after all."

Tony snorted. "In that case, I'm glad I'm real, and not a character in some book."

Henry took a few seconds to ponder this.

"I think I should be glad most people don't seem to share your opinion then. Otherwise, I'm rather sure nobody would be buying my novels."

"Most people are stupid." Tony shrugged. "Or maybe," he added pensively, "they just haven't been as lucky as I have been."

Henry used the time it took him to shut down his computer to think about -that- suggestion.

-the end-