Summery: Not long after The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel, Sir Percy becomes cornered with questions about the scar on his arm. What explanation will he come up with? Knowing Percy, it should be interesting…
A/N: A big hello to any Pimpernel fans that find this : ) I know this is really short, but I got attacked by a rabid plot bunny, and well…here are the results. If you have the time, I'd REALLY appreciate any comments you have: criticizing or otherwise—I would LOVE some feedback!
Spoilers: Yup, and it'll be a tad difficult to understand if you haven't read The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel, but if you're feeling daring today, go ahead (Sir Percy'll still manage to make you laugh ; )!
A/N: Oh, and I just want to assure all my "LotR friends" that I haven't given up on the sequel to The Wrong One (g) I just don't want anyone to think I'm abandoning Lord of the Rings. LOL, just little ol' me taking a short detour into one of my myriad of fandoms… I'm hard at work on my LotR stories, this is just something I'd finished a while ago and decided to post ; )
A huge thanks to Eleniel Ithil for the amazing job she did betaing this. And also to Imbecamiel for being the great sister she is, and helping me out plot-wise and with keeping characters in line : )
The ball was at its height.
Dazzlingly bedecked lords and ladies alike were picked up in the colorful current that glided with infinite monotony around two figures. These two figures, wearing the most exquisite and extraordinary clothing of all, were graciously speaking to each person as they were presented to them.
Tonight, at Blakeney Manor's ball, the turbulent cloud of loudly chattering aristocrats was even more turbulent and loud than usual. An interesting rumor had been spread. No one knew for sure who had started it, but nearly everyone was willing to participate in its continuation—especially as it concerned Sir Percival and Lady Blakeney.
"Oh, Sir Percy," cried one old countess as she took a dramatic breath though her unusually long nose. "I can hardly believe that bloodbath is over—I thought it would never end!"
"Ah, but m'dear Countess," Sir Percy raised one eyebrow and began to drawl lazily, but not without an air of expertise. "It was only a matter of time before those Frenchies ran out of heads to chop off."
"Really?" the countess continued in her nasal voice, "You thought that from the start?"
"Yes… Demmed excitable, the French, but it had to end soon, or they would have annihilated themselves; or at least made themselves rather scarce, what?"
"You are a genius Sir Percy!" squealed the fawning daughter of the countess in a painfully high-pitched tone of voice, "A genius!" she repeated, openly gawking at him with enraptured admiration.
"But of course!" Sir Percy bowed gallantly to the small crowd that was gathered around him and his wife, as if acknowledging his mental prowess.
As he lifted his right arm in a intricate flourish, the light Michelin lace that trailed generously from his sleeve fluttered aside to reveal the edge of a scar. It was only a tiny edge that was revealed, and only for a brief second, before Sir Percy lowered his arm. Still, it was quite enough for the countess, who had been looking for just such an opportunity to confirm the rumors.
"Sir Percy!" she exclaimed in counterfeit shock as her daughter, quite literally, pounced upon him and lifted his arm.
Deftly, the young countess pulled back the sleeve to expose his arm for the general public's inspection. There was an audible gasp of horror at what was uncovered. On his forearm there was a burn seared into his arm in the shape of the letter "M", and still looking slightly sore.
"Oh Sir Percy!" the young countess moaned in sympathy as she gingerly brushed the skin next to 'the ghastly wound'. "Whatever has happened to your arm?"
Not completely succeeding in brushing aside a look of chagrin, Sir Percy's eyes sought those of Lady Blakeney.
Marguerite, virtually silent in the conversation up till now, decided it was time to intercede in her husband's behalf.
"That," she shot a glance at Sir Percy, "is a very long story."
"Oh, but stories from Sir Percy are only better if they're long," piped up a 'charming' lady from somewhere in the crowd.
Marguerite opened her mouth, then promptly shut it again, raising her eyebrows and looking sidelong at her husband. She folded her arms as a smile tugged at the corners of her lips.
"Yes, Sir Percy, your stories are always so interesting…"
Repressing a glare, Sir Percy turned with a polite smile to the people, who were now hanging on his every word. Taking his arm forcefully—yet as politely as possible—away from the young countess and re-covering the sight that had provoked so much intrigue, he mentally assessed his situation and set to work.
"Well…" he allowed an inane mask to descend over his handsome face, and a placid look to settle in his blue eyes. "it's rather embarrassing, and not a little boring."
"Come on, Sir Percy!"
"On with it!"
The numerous voices around him refused to let him back down so easily.
"As you will," he inclined his head in defeat. "It all happened on a routine visit up to my estate in the North. The fellow next-door asked my opinion on a horse of his, and I said that I'd be glad to look the beast over. So, the next morning, there I was in the barn, having a look at it. Then along came this other fellow and…" he paused dramatically and sighed, as if recalling a painful memory.
More voices pressed him eagerly.
"Well I'll be demmed if the idiot didn't mistake me for the horses rear-end and brand my arm instead!" he said flippantly.
This casual description of something so 'ghastly' elicited many cries of: "Poor Sir Percy!" from the ladies, and a few calls of: "The blasted idiot!" from the men, as well as a collective gasp from many others.
"…And so here I am," he sighed long-sufferingly, recollecting his martyrdom, "forever to bear this brand like some buccaneer pirate or common thief!"
More sighs of sympathy.
Lady Marguerite, on the other hand, was not so impressed with his oratory.
"But Percy, you told me a—" she paused, "—a rather different story."
"Oh?" Sir Percy smiled and chivalrously offered her his arm. "And what was that, m'dear?"
She took his arm, returning the smile, and lifting her sparkling eyes to meet his lazy blue ones.
"Why, you told me that you were the Scarlet Pimpernel, and received the wound on your last trip to France!"
This statement received the most visible reaction of the evening. Ah, the wit of Lady Blakeney! The mere thought of trying to find any parallel between Sir Percy and that elusive hero was nearly enough to send most of them into hysterics.
They were alone.
The last of the noisy, chattering guests had left, the maids were busy elsewhere in the house, and they stood there: alone at last.
Marguerite looked lovingly into her husband's face. Percy, without a trace of his former foppishness, smiled. Holding out his hands to her, he raised an eyebrow.
"Ah, the wit of Lady Blakeney…"
Gliding forward with a musical laugh, Marguerite let his long, slender hands overwhelm her own.
"I'm glad those horrible days of death and blood-shed are over," she said, a note of melancholy entering her voice. "I wonder if France will ever be the same…" she sighed wearily, "Well, at least it's all over, now." She lifted his sleeve and tenderly ran her fingers over the red scar. "But your poor arm…"
"Have you already forgotten what I told you?" he gently pulled her fingers away from the scar. "I shall always love that scar, for the exciting time it recalls and because it happens to be the initial of your dear name."
Marguerite sighed again, this time with contentment, "Oh Percy, how did I ever deserve you?"
He smiled, and a mischievous light entered his eyes, "Lud, m'dear, I haven't the faintest idea."
Well there you have it! Please leave a review? I'd really like to know if anyone's found this, so go ahead, raise my self-esteem (or, if you think my character is in the need of a little "tweaking", lower it with a little criticism, LOL)