Disclaimer: I don't own Tomb Raider, Lara Croft, Kurtis Trent, Winston, or any other characters and settings used in this story.
Summary: Winston's thoughts on Lara's relationship with Kurtis. My first fanfic, so please be kind. R&R, but please only constructive criticism. Also, if anyone knows the proper name of Winston's wife, please tell me (I had to guess). One-shot.
There is nothing so strange as seeing your child fall in love. Of course, she's not my child – not biologically anyway, or in the eyes of the law. But in my heart I know she is. I've been working for the family since long before the time she was born, my wife and I were the ones charged with raising her, and it was us who were there for all the important moments in her life. Not the formal ones, of course – her real parents took over temporarily for the grand parties and the viewing of schools, the interviewing of tutors and, later, the introduction of suitors she would never agree to marry. But it was Jane and I – my poor Jane, who never even lived to see the girl graduate from her last school – who did all the real parenting. We sat up with her when she cried in the night – very rarely, she was strong even in her first years – and eventually I was the one who followed her when her parents disowned her.
As I was saying, it was strange to watch her finally find love. When I was young, a twenty-nine-year-old who was unmarried was considered a spinster, but then I was young so long ago. And she never really needed much love – she insists on that, even now. Love is, she says, just a pleasant hobby. She won't ever admit how much she prefers this to her life before she met him. At least not to me.
I was a little apprehensive when she first arrived home with him, just after they released him from the hospital in Prague. That was, I was apprehensive for the five or six seconds between her entering the kitchen and him following. I took one look at him and understood. Lord help us all, they even look alike. Not in the sense of sharing genetic traits – his hair is of a darker shade than hers, and his eyes are blue instead of brown – but in their faces you see the same set of determination and mistrust of the world in general. But not of each other. That was the really odd thing. Even then, they trusted each other completely.
I've mostly found it agreeable having him as a second employer (and, I suppose, in emotional terms he would be my son-in-law). For one thing, her fondness for running the assault course half a dozen or more times in the morning got rather tiring. I hated dressing in the padded body suit and army helmet, holding a tray with a target painted on it in front of my face, despite the fact that, as she often pointed out, they were only blanks in the guns. But he is more than enthusiastic to do so, as long as she will do the same for him. If it were anyone but them I would find it worrying. Since it is them, I find it sweet. Bless both of their hearts, they are not used to the desire to please someone else. They're getting used to it, but it will take them a while yet.
She is worried at the moment. At least, she is pretending to be. Perhaps she even believes she is. He has been living here for nearly two months now. Her mother and father – who, due to certain goings-on earlier this year, were inclined to forgive her for the insults they imagine she committed on the family heritage – have invited her to their New Years' Eve dinner. This invitation begrudgingly extends to him, too. She pretends to be frantic with panic at the thought of being around her extended family again, and annoyed by the fact that she will be surrounded by the men whom her parents tried to sell her off to. I don't know if she is aware that she is lying, but she is. She really wants to go. Not to see her parents again – something tells me that she couldn't really care one way or the other about staying overnight on their estate for the first time in eight years. No – what she really wants to do is show him off. She is incredibly proud of him. I know that she wants to introduce him to all the Lords and Ladies and Dukes and Duchesses there and let her eyes do all the speaking for her: He is not British and he is not nobility and when I met him he only had one hundred dollars to his name but we love each other and our relationship is working and all those things I know you said about me behind my back when I left aren't true – I have found happiness and I'm fairly certain that deep down I'm much better off than you have ever been.
She can be vindictive like that sometimes, but in this case I think she deserves to be able to. They really did talk about her behind her back when she left. I heard them – a career was not a good choice for a woman of her class; she'd be much happier marrying and starting a family; watch her come crawling back to her parents in a couple of years when things don't work out. But she didn't crawl back; she had no need to. She was in her element travelling the world and now they are both in their element travelling the world together.
Speaking of which, they are due to leave for Egypt on January 5th. There will always be something to keep two adventurers such as them occupied for a few months in Egypt. I will not be accompanying them – the weather over there is too intense for a man of my age, the risk of disease too high. Besides, they wouldn't want me there. It will be, after all, a sort of common-law honeymoon, although returning to the place of her traumatic ordeal earlier this year may seem like an odd choice of destination. However, I feel it will be good for her – cleansing. For her, the best way to put the past firmly where it belongs is to face it head on.
They are outside on the assault course right now. He has yet to match her best time – his record is point-nine of a second slower than hers. However, they are enjoying themselves as much as always and at least I'm not the one in the padded suit. My eyes aren't as sharp as they used to be, and the bedroom is too high up to allow me to hear what they're saying; but I know that they are laughing. I hadn't heard her laugh in so long, and I doubt that he had ever done so before. As I said, they're getting used to this arrangement.
To return to my original statement, it is strange to see your child fall in love. But it is also good to see them fall in love with a kindred spirit. I would use the term 'soul mate', were it not for the fact that it is over-romanticised and completely fictional and besides they would probably kill me for applying any such term to them.
Oh, what the devil, they'll never find out.
It is good to see your child fall in love with their soul mate.
There, I said it.
Oh, damn. Here I am lost in my thoughts and the bed still isn't made. I've been in here for at least ten minutes and I haven't got a single thing done. They always tell me that there is no need to make the bed, that in the morning it will be just as untidy as I found it the previous day – which, of course, is unfailingly true. But I am a butler, as were my father and grandfather before me, and therefore it is genetic. I must make the bed. I must ensure that everything is perfectly neat and that their discarded garments are ironed and put away in the closet. I must do this because, intelligent and meticulous at their work as they both are, they would never have the initiative to do it themselves. It is just something that would not occur to them.
Yes, I must make the bed. I must not become so enthralled by a meaningless train of thought that I forget I am still a paid member of staff and there are duties to attend to. I must not think of the girl whom I saw for the first time when she was just four hours old, now in her prime and enjoying a morning spent with her lover as much as if it were the first one they had ever shared. Now with her life finally perfected to suit her.
I will not think of these things, although I will always be aware that they are going on. I will make the bed, tidy up their clothes and then inquire as to whether they intend to eat out this evening or whether I shall need to start planning dinner.
I will not think of anything more personal than that.
I will not think of Jane.
I will not think of how proud she would have been to see our girl now.
Our Lara was only twenty years old when Jane died.
It took me the five or six seconds between Lara's entering the kitchen and Kurtis's following her to realise that their relationship was something profoundly deep.
Something tells me Jane wouldn't have taken that long.