Author's Notes: This is a fusion with the book: So Worthy My Love by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. While there will be no text reproduced here, the story line will follow the book's almost exactly, any changes made not too drastic.
Category: Yaoi, AU, Gundam Wing, fusion with a book
Pairings: will be 1x2, vague hints at 3x4
Email: arigatoumina (a) hotmail . com
Website: www . geocities . com / arigatomina
Bonds of Love
Wind swept through the grass, lifting the blades and making the small boy giggle as he raised his hands. His long, golden brown hair whipped around him and his happy laughter made the man's heart heavier as he stared down at his son.
Not much more than two years old, the child had no idea the loss he'd suffered and the man knew he only remembered the happiness he'd had in the place. He was no doubt waiting for a smiling woman with shining eyes to come and lift him into the air.
Gazing at the soft clouds that moved across the sky, Ramsey hid his sigh as he thought of her, his eyes burning suddenly. He'd come to the place for the sake of his boy since he knew there would be no happiness found in their home. It was empty without her and while he couldn't fight his grief, he wanted to keep it from the sweet boy.
His eyes closed as he saw her in his mind, and tears trailed down his cheeks to be caught by his thick mustache and beard. She was so young he'd never thought such a thing would be possible, yet now she was gone and his life was empty.
The feel of a small hand on his thigh made him blink suddenly, and he was caught by large violet eyes. On his knees, the boy stared up at him, his expression so solemn as his small fingers brushed the wetness on the man's face. Staring at his son, he knew he'd been mistaken, his life wasn't empty at all. Neither moved as the moment seemed to stretch, timeless as their eyes held and in that moment a bond was formed between them.
When the boy blinked, he took him into his arms, holding him close as he knew they would keep each other whole despite their loss. Somehow they would overcome the part of them that was now missing and their bond would hold, stretching over any distance as it was woven with love.
- - -
Nov 7, 1585
The large manor was filled with festivities as minstrels played a lively tune, the guests talking amongst themselves. And there was much to talk about as the wedding had actually taken place earlier that day. Relena Dorlain was finally married and it was a brave man who had risked being her suitor.
It was not just rumors, but facts that all of her previous suitors had met with untimely ends and the lovely girl was said to be cursed. In fact, the last suitor to whom she'd been engaged had not only died but had been branded a traitor to the crown. While no one dared to speak of him, many remembered him since it was his house they were gathered in.
It hadn't been more than a month since the man's death, yet no one felt that the bride was wrong to forget him so soon. After all, he'd attempted to assassinate the queen and only the girl's father had prevented his evil schemes from coming to fruition.
Edward Dorlain had taken a great risk, telling the queen that one of her most favored men had betrayed her. Had it not been for a witness who'd found one of the man's gloves on the scene, he would have gained much trouble. As it was, the queen had been forced to accept the betrayal and she'd stripped Heero Yuy of both his title and his properties.
Justice was served and few saw anything amiss when Edward was given the man's properties, especially since he'd also been betrayed. Had he not found out the man, he might have lost his only daughter to a murderer and a traitor.
The people remembered this, as they mingled in the large hall of what had once been the Yuy manor, but they were comforted with the knowledge that the man had met with justice. Although his scheduled hanging had not occurred, he had been dispatched. Shot during an attempted escape from his prison, he'd fallen into the ocean and thereby ended the curse that had followed Relena for so long.
It was obvious that the bride and groom were happy to be free of this string of luck, as they conversed with their guests and celebrated the joyous occasion with the party Relena's father had thrown for them.
Watching the large multitude that filled his home, Edward was again reminded of the benefits to being a hospitable and generous man. It may have pained him to see so much money spent on the greedy lot enjoying his kindness, but he was well aware that he would be rewarded. With her new husband, his daughter had made a splendid match and he knew the effort would not go unrewarded. He wasn't wrong often, and when he was forced to act as a benefactor, he made certain the rewards were great. It was such thinking that had led him to taking in the child of his foster sister, despite the fact that he was also taking a risk to his own safety.
His eyes moved to where the longhaired figure glided along the walls, gesturing to servants and making certain his goods were not wasted. Yes, he had taken a risk letting the boy hide in his home, but with the guise he was in, there was little chance of anyone recognizing him. Since his father had disappeared, the boy had been forced to flee his home and Edward had welcomed him with open arms.
It was the least he could do since the boy was the only one who might know the whereabouts of the treasure his father had hidden. That was the reason he'd needed a place to hide, and since the boy's features were feminine, Edward had devised an excellent plan to keep him hidden. It was true he would be ostracized if anyone found out who the young servant girl really was, but again, his gain was greater than any loss he would suffer.
The boy looked perfectly female in the clothing he wore and Edward was satisfied with the way he took care of the estate. While he hadn't intended to give charity to the boy, he'd been relieved of the necessity of telling him that as Duo had informed him upon his arrival that he would pay for his own lodgings.
Renting a wing in the manor, he also worked to make certain the servants were obedient, a job that Edward had been completely unable to do. Of course, the fact that they were loyal to the late Heero Yuy explained why they hated the man who'd turned their lord in, but they were still his employees and he expected obedience from them. With Duo, he was ensured that and the boy had proven very useful indeed.
Taking lady-like steps in the dark dress he wore, Duo's eyes moved around the room. He was avoiding the groom's best man and checking on the servants gave him a chance to do so without being rude.
It wasn't easy to maintain control over the people, but Duo had spent years getting used to it as he'd been the head of his own home before his flight. Until his father had disappeared, he'd been in charge of seeing to the household and he'd done so with swift and reasonable control. Servants were hired to do a job and it wasn't unreasonable to expect them to do that task without complaints. And for him, they had, willingly going about their duties. But it was different in his uncle's home, much different.
When the queen had given the manor to Edward, the servants had come with it and as tight-fisted as the man was with his money, he had been unwilling to hire new help. This was the reason Duo's work was hard, because the men and women despised their new lord. But the boy understood their loyalty to a point and when he'd first arrived, he'd tried to be lenient with them. Now he no longer tried, after he'd learned what sort of person they were loyal to. A murderer was not someone who deserved such respect and Duo had no patience for the servants any longer. Instead, he often grew angry with them and he longed to drop his disguise that he might better intimidate them into obeying.
It wasn't that he was cruel or domineering, but they tended to ignore threats given by a woman and as that was what they thought him to be, they often ignored him.
Glancing around again, his eyes caught on a man who was leaning over one of the barrels of ale that had yet to be brought to the guests. He wasn't surprised that the man would take the risk of imbibing in his lord's property, but he moved to stop the action. As often as such a thing happened, he still grew angry and he wondered if it was one of the servants he'd caught doing the exact act before. They often repeated their liberties without regard to his warnings since they knew Edward wouldn't dream of firing them. Then he'd have to replace them and he'd never spend his money on such a thing.
As he grew closer to the man, Duo frowned a bit at the brown cloak that covered the figure's head and face, and he was surprised to note that he didn't recognize him. He had all of the trouble-makers pegged, so he came to the conclusion that this must be one of the temporary people brought in for the party. Still, that was no excuse for theft.
His back straightened as he came to stand behind the man, his eyes boring into that bent back.
"Is the wine to your liking?" asked Duo, his voice light and curious.
Turning slowly, the man's eyes glinted from the covering of his hood, part of the cloth held so it hid half of his face and kept the other half shadowed.
"That it be," the man nodded, his voice thick. "I been told to make sure it be to the master's stand'rds and it is, all right."
"And who told you to sample it?" Duo asked, folding his arms over his chest as he eyed the man. He hadn't heard anything about such an order and he seriously doubted the man was speaking the truth.
"Don't know 'is name, but I did just like he told me." The man nodded again, his movements exaggerated by the cloth over his head and he turned back to the barrel.
Certain he had just been dismissed, Duo's back straightened in anger and his violet eyes narrowed.
"I am still talking to you," he said scathingly, determined to be given proper respect. "Unless you can name this person, I will not believe you. There will be no stealing in this household and you would do well to learn that now."
"Well, no need to get in a huff, lil' lady. If'n there's somethin' else you want me to do, I'd be right happy to. I just follow the orders I'm given. 'Tho I have to say, the orders were much nicer when Lord Yuy was here instead of that fellow."
"Oh, not that again." Rolling his eyes, Duo shook his head. "I cannot understand why you people are so determined to proclaim that man a saint. Have you forgotten that the Queen herself marked him as a traitor? She chose the better man when she named Lord Dorlain the master of this estate."
"You don't say," the man said, his voice not hiding his humor as he faced the boy. "Well, you might think a bit diff'rntly if you'd actually known 'im."
"And what makes you think I never met him?" Duo asked, raising an eyebrow. "How would you know?"
"Well, I guess I wouldn't, but I don't think you have or you wouldn't be nam'in 'im as a trait'r." The man's eyes sparked from beneath the hood and he nodded suddenly.
"Actually, I haven't met him," Duo admitted, "but that doesn't bother me at all as I have no wish to be acquainted with a murderer."
The man didn't move and Duo suddenly realized he was having an argument with the hired help. He reminded himself why he'd come over to the man and his eyes narrowed as he looked at the barrel standing next to the wall. "None of that matters now, there is plenty of work to be done and that does not include sampling the wine."
"Like I said, I'll do whate'va you tell me to, I don't have no problem followin me orders." He nodded yet again and glanced around. "What'cha be wantin me to do?"
Gesturing to where servants were carrying out more food, Duo's eyes glinted. "Help them, of course. You are here to serve the guests, do so."
"Right, I'll do that."
The man turned toward the kitchen and Duo frowned as he stared at the cloak.
"Why do you wear that?" he asked, not realizing it didn't matter until the question was already out.
"Had me an accident when I was a babe," the man's voice said as he moved toward the kitchen. "It ain't somethin' a lady wants to see."
Duo winced as his creative mind gave pictures of what could be wrong with the man and he suddenly felt bad for having treated him with disdain. Yet, there hadn't been an alternative since any leniency he'd shown in the house had only resulted in the servants acting even more unruly than before.
He stood still as his eyes followed the man, making certain he entered the kitchen. Sighing once the man was soon gone, Duo was about to turn back to the room when an arm was moved around his waist and he stiffened.
"How precious...sweet violet," a low voice said softly, warm breath touching the boy's ear, "Would that I might pluck you and carry you away from here."
Duo's eyes widened in fury and his hands curled into fists as he jerked away. He turned on the man, fully expecting to find the man who'd harassed him earlier. Whether it would be ladylike or not, he had every intention of punching the man. But it didn't happen as his wrists were caught and his blazing eyes met upon a familiar and laughing face.
"Treize?" asked Duo. "What are you doing here?"
His brown eyes glinted, and the man inclined his head as he brought Duo's hand up to his lips and brushed a kiss over it. "At the moment, dear cousin, I'm enjoying the view. I must say, you look positively radiant in a dress. I almost didn't recognize you."
With a warm flush, Duo glared for a moment before shaking his head. "Yeah, well, it's not like I have a choice. Edward said if I'm going to take refuge here then he doesn't want anyone knowing it's me."
"I see. Duo, why--" Treize stopped suddenly and his split eyebrows dropped as he frowned at the long-haired boy. "What name are you going by?"
It was obvious that the boy wasn't very happy with his alias, and Treize smirked, tilting his head to the side as he eyed the boy's dress. "You don't look much like a Diane, but it'll do. As I was saying, I am sorry you were driven out of my house. I assure you, I had no idea my family would seek you out there or I never would have left."
Glancing away from the man, Duo wasn't sure if he should tell him what had happened before he'd decided to go. He'd spent the last year in his father's home, but when his father had disappeared, his uncle's wife had moved herself and her sons in with him. Treize and he had gotten along well until the man had decided to get his own place, but Duo had despised his other kin since the first time they met.
Obsessed with the treasure his father was supposed to have hidden, they had spent their time plaguing Duo and generally tormenting him. They seemed certain that he knew where the treasure was hidden and they'd been determined to get the location from him. As it was, Duo had no idea where the treasure was and he wasn't even sure if it existed since his father had never spoken of such a thing. It had been their presence that had driven him from his own home and he'd been grateful when Treize had taken him in.
He'd been content living with his cousin. Since Duo's uncle had died, Treize had fallen out with his mother and brothers and he'd been only too happy to have the boy stay with him. But the first time he'd had to go away to attend to his affairs, his family had shown up on his doorstep and they'd taken over the house. He'd tried to wait until Treize returned, but Duo had become worried for his very life and he'd had no choice but to seek refuge elsewhere.
Looking up at his tall cousin, Duo sighed. He knew he couldn't tell the man the things his brothers had done. While Treize wasn't as close to them as he might have been, they were still his brothers and Duo didn't want to hurt him with his accusations.
"It's not your fault," Duo said finally, shrugging as if it didn't matter. "They were just so...tenacious. I couldn't stay there."
"Well, you could have at least let me know where you were going," the man smiled, running a hand through his thick reddish-brown hair as he glanced around. "If it hadn't been for Relena's finally getting married, I might never have found you. Although," his eyes glinted as they moved over the boy again, "It's worth it to see you decked out like this."
With a laugh, Duo fought the urge to shove the man. "You would make fun, but it isn't so bad, not really. I'm doing all right."
He glanced around the room and his eyes caught on his uncle Edward's frown. "So you came to see Relena's new husband. It's quite a spectacle, people have come from all around to see it."
"I may have come for her," said Treize, "but the hope that I might find you was also on my mind. I was lost without your lovely presence gracing my home."
Duo smirked, but didn't pay the man's compliments much attention as his eyes again moved to his uncle. He gritted his teeth when the man gestured to him. "I'd better go, Edward's getting anxious and you know he'll be furious that you're here. He still doesn't approve of you."
"Of any of my family," Treize smirked, but he nodded. "That's all right. I think I'll go pay my compliments to the bride."
Leaving the man, Duo threaded his way through the people as he made his way to where his uncle sat against the wall. He could tell from the way the man's brows were lowered that he wasn't happy, but it didn't faze him since the man was rarely happy. When he was standing before the man, he folded his hands in front of him and gave a light smile.
"Did you need something?" asked Duo.
"Why on earth do you waste your time conversing with that no-account?" Edward demanded, frowning as he stared at the boy. "He'll never make anything of himself, and besides, don't you realize people are going to wonder who you are if they see you talking to him? I thought you wanted to hide from your cousins."
"Not from Treize," Duo said slowly.
It was hard not to take offense at the way the man spoke of his friend, but he knew nothing he might say would change Edward. He was too set in his ways.
"It's Une and her other sons that I'm hiding from," said Duo. The man had already been told this, but it seemed he needed constant reminding.
"Well, don't you think Une will find out when her son tells her where you are? Really, Diane, you're so simple sometimes." Edward scowled as he could see the boy's left eyelid twitching and he knew anger was eminent, but he didn't care.
"If I'm going to hide you here," said Edward, "you must hold to your act. As Relena's attendant, your job here is to serve her and...when she isn't requiring your help, to take care of the servants. You have no place to be speaking with riff-raff like that Treize."
"Yes, well, I'm sure Treize has no intention of telling his mother where I am," said Duo, his voice strained as he kept a patient smile on his face. "And as for my 'earning my keep', I'll ask you to remember that I'm paying you for my room and board. The rest of the work you've given me as part of my 'role', is done merely as an added benefit to you. I therefore see no reason for you to be angry that I might take time out to speak with my cousin. As I told you, he is not the one I'm hiding from."
"Treize aside," the man said, his eyes narrowing at the boy's manner, "There are other people who would be glad to find out where you are. I am taking a great risk by sheltering you here."
Duo stared at him for a minute before he was calm enough to speak rationally, but his cold tone gave evidence to his anger.
"I can go elsewhere," he said slowly, "if my presence is a bother to you. I have the money my father gave to me and there are other places I could hide that would be much less obvious."
"Now, now," Edward said quickly, "there's no need to talk like that. You know you're welcome here. I simply worry that you'll give yourself away, that's all. And as for your associating with Treize, well, it's your own good that I fear for. You realize that man has quite a reputation with the ladies."
The boy's violet eyes narrowed, but Edward nodded firmly. "Yes he does. In fact, I hear he makes the rounds quite often. I worry that you might be taking a fancy to him and I fear you don't realize his interest is only in your money."
"Put away such fears," Duo murmured, his words heavy with sarcastic sweetness, "Treize is my cousin and my friend and that is all. As for his wanting my money, well, there's no truth to that as I can tell you, he has plenty of money of his own. There's no reason he'd need mine."
His patience had been sorely strained, and he decided the discussion had gone on for long enough. "I believe the guests need more ale, I had better see to it that the servants are doing their job, now hadn't I."
Giving the man a quick and flat smile, he took his leave.
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