Just a little story I started a while ago, wondering what it would be like if Ian had a pet as a child... Enjoy. More to come hopefully

I Said No

"I said no…" Kenneth Irons sneered softly as he looked down at the young boy in front of him. Anyone else would not have been able to resist the big brown eyes and the pouty expression the young boy was giving the tall man he called father.

"…But sir… he needs help…" Ian Christian Nottingham blinked up at Kenneth Irons. In his little hands he held a black bird, tenderly wrapped up in his handkerchief with the embroidered I.N over the little bird's head. He had taken great care and gentleness to wrap the little fledging as any mother might her new born.

"It's not our job to go around helping everyone. Least of all creatures' that are destined to perish of natural causes, Ian." Kenneth sighed impatiently, his icy eyes steeling over a bit as he tried to keep himself from rolling them, a habit he had just broken young Nottingham of.

For a moment the young child seemed to process what was being told to him and he tipped his head to the side, his brows arching as he spoke in a very hushed tone of voice. The last thing he wanted to do was anger his care taker more, but he had a thought and he wanted to know if it was right, "But, if it was destined to die, sir, then I wouldn't have happened to have found him… Would I? And I wouldn't have tried to help him… Sir…"

Kenneth arched a brow his head tipping to the side as he listened to his young charge trying to argue the topic of fate with him. For an instant he was amused and it showed in his eyes, their icy countenance melting. But he quickly caught himself and straightened up. Lately Ian had been showing signs of questioning him, even trying to challenge the things he was trying to teach him. And that simply wouldn't do.

"Ian, listen to me. Sometimes things happen that fate did not intend…" Irons sighed softly as he leaned down a bit to look Ian in the eyes, his brows arching as he tried to convey what he wanted the young child to understand.

Ian sighed and frowned as he listened and he pulled the little black bird closer to his body, trying to quiet him, as he grew upset. Mr. Irons was frightening his new friend.

"…So there for it…" Kenneth arched a silvery brow and pulled his head back slightly. It appeared young Ian wasn't paying any attention. In fact the young child had pulled the bird to his chest and was cradling it and if Irons wasn't mistaken, young Nottingham was speaking quietly to the bird in Latin. "Ian… are you listening to me?"

"…Yes sir…" Ian nodded, but kept his head down. He actually hadn't really been listening, but he had learned that sometimes it was better to pretend. He was usually good at figuring out what Mr. Irons had been speaking about

"You are not. I heard you speaking to that bird. In Latin…" Kenneth sighed as he pulled back all the way, a brow still arched and his lips pursed as he studied the young child.

"Sir, if fate is the force that predetermines the outcome of everything… how can something happen that fate… didn't plan…?" Ian spoke softly, his eyes big as he held his new friend, Leopold. He'd picked that name because he liked how it sounded and it sounded like something Mr. Irons would like.

Kenneth took a deep breath, his eyes closing as he brought a hand up to the bridge of his nose and held it, trying to center himself. "Ian, if you had been paying attention you would have heard the lesson. But since you weren't listening… "He opened an eye, then both slowly and gestured with his walking cane to the yard, "Put him, IT back where you found it…"

Ian blinked, his eyes going big as he listened to Irons and he took a few steps forward, a scared and startled look on his face, "But Sir! Leopold will die!"

"Leopold?" Kenneth tipped his head to the side, his cane lowering to the ground. So not only had young Nottingham adopted the bird, spoken to it in Latin, wrapped it in his good silk handkerchief, the one he'd gotten for Christmas, but he'd also named it. Leopold… were on earth did he get that name from…

Irons arched a brow, something in his face changing as he looked down at Ian. Leopold was a name he hadn't heard in a very long time.

"Yes sir… I thought you'd like his name… I heard you speaking about a Leopold once… you seemed to like him…" Ian smiled a bit, but dipped his head down and looked to the bird in his hands. He was starting to wiggle around a bit again, his little clawed feet kicking and pushing at the handkerchief.

"When did you hear me speaking about… Leopold?" Irons voice was uncharacteristically soft and a slight frown furrowed his brows as he knelt down to be on Ian's level with him.

Little Nottingham stirred the ground with the toe of his shoe, worried he'd done something else wrong in Irons' eyes, "…Last winter… sir… When Cathain gave birth to her first litter… You were talking about a puppy she'd lost…"

Kenneth frowned softly as he thought back to last winter. One of his Irish wolfhounds had given birth to a litter of 10, an unusual amount of puppies. But one had been different, a little male. He'd been so dark gray he had almost looked black, but he'd been weak and had died within a week.

"Kenneth! Get in here and take care of that puppy! I won't tell you again! Goddamn boy would run off an' lose his head if it weren't attached…"

Irons jumped softly, his icy blue eyes unfocused as he heard a distant voice from his past and he mouthed the words softly as he heard them being played in his mind, like a record player on an old 45.

"Will you lay off the boy? He's young and doing his best. That puppy's lucky to be alive, an' you know it. Kenneth's done a fine job raisin' that puppy up right,what with its mother dying an' all…"

Ian blinked softly as he watched Mr. Irons, his head tipping softly from one side to the other. He only ever saw him like this when he was listening to The Blade. But why he'd get that look on his face when he was thinking about puppies, he didn't know.

After a moment of being lost in remembrance, Irons stood up, taking a deep breath. Cathain's pup had looked like one he had raised when he had been a child. He had found the mother and her litter out on his parent's farmland. She had been killed, and all the puppies with her, save for one. A small dark gray male he had named Leopold. So when his prize bitch had given birth to one that looked exactly like the one from his past, he hadn't been able to avoid being sucked into sentiments he had forgotten he had.

"If you take that bird home, you're responsible for it. I don't want to see it flapping all over the manor, nor do I want to hear it at all hours of the night… Take it to Immo, have him see if he can do anything for it, if it's in need of medical attention. And if Immo can't care for it… Then have him call a wild life rescue…" Irons spoke in his clipped soft British accent, his gaze never once wavering towards the boy and his bird while he spoke. Only after he was done lecturing did he slightly turn his head to look at Ian and Leopold.

Little Ian had stopped listening right after Mr. Irons had said he could take the bird home and he smiled widely, holding the creature close and cooing softly to it. But he nodded at the appropriate breaks in his lecture, then looked up at him when he knew he was finished speaking, "Thank you, sir. I promise I'll look after him…"

Irons regarded the little child for a moment longer before he nodded once, then gestured with his cane for the manor, "Come along, we're late for lunch as it is… when you get him settled, I want you to wash your hands and go straight to the dinning room…"

"Yes, Sir…" Ian smiled softly, nodding as he finally looked back up towards Irons, cradling the bird like a precious treasure. He was going to do his best to look after the little guy, make Irons proud of him and prove he could handle the responsibility.