Title: He Said/She Said (#5: Rumour)

Author: Lady Blackmour

Fandom: Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo

Pairing: Edmond (the Count)/Haydee

Rating: PG/PG-13

Warnings: Minor (?)—Haydee is 16 in this story.

Disclaimer: The Count of Monte Cristo is the intellectual property of the late, great Alexandre Dumas. Gankutsuou specifically is the intellectual property of Mahiro Maeda (also great, but not late). I do not claim ownership, and am making no profit on this, other than the supreme satisfaction of giving the Count a slightly happier ending than Maeda-san gave him.

Author's Note/Dedication: this, as will likely be true with all 7 snogs, is slightly alternate universe, under the assumption that the anime ended rather more like the book, and Edmond and Haydee left France together, to have many babies and live happily ever after. XD

This piece is dedicated to those who read my fiction and support me, to the Earthdragonette for always being there for me, even when she's all the way in Japan, and to Mr. Jamieson Price, the extremely talented man with the deep and soulful voice who brought Edmond Dantes to me in English and made me fall in love with him forever.

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"Have you heard? That girl that's always with him is his fiancée."

"I thought she was his daughter?"

"Don't be ridiculous! Not the way she looks at him."

"Well, you know, that doesn't always stop them…I heard that Viscount Heberdee…"

Haydee sighed as she took her seat in their private box. She was more than used to being the center of gossip. It followed her Count wherever he went. But of all the places they had been in the two years since they left France forever, she was certain that England was the worst. The aristocracy in this country must have been even more bored than most, for nothing seemed to interest them more than the actions of their neighbors, their neighbors' neighbors, and especially their neighbors' fallen sisters. She wondered how long they would have to endure this before the rumour-mongers grew bored.

Her grim thoughts were chased away by the entrance of her companion.

"Forgive me, my dear," the Count of Monte Cristo himself gave her his best winning smile as he sat in the seat next to her. "I met the Baroness Brownling in the foyer, and she is very difficult to get away from." He took her hand in his own, pressing a kiss to the back. "Cherie, your smile seems a bit strained. Has something happened?"

Haydee shook her head, her smile becoming more genuine at his concern. "Just idle gossip, Edmond. Seems they cannot decide what we are to each other, and they are not very skilled at keeping their voices down. I suppose I'm simply a little weary of being the center of attention in this way."

His gentle smile became a full-fledged wicked grin, complete with fang. He leaned toward her, nuzzling the sensitive skin behind her ear. "Is that all?" his warm breath made her giggle. "I can fix that easily. Come." He pulled her to her feet, leading her to the railing of their box. Below them and across the theater, the masses of London were gathered, everyone who was of note, and some who only wished to be. The flash of light from the jewels around her neck caught the eye of one of the men on the floor, and the murmur quickly spread across the theatre. Soon every face was turned toward them; the low buzz of their voices reached Haydee as she looked to her companion, wondering what it was he had planned.

Once all eyes were on them, he flashed that grin again, giving the room one last look out of the corner of his eye before he lifted his free hand to her cheek…

And kissed her. Deeply. For a long time. Haydee's eyes widened, then closed as his lips moved over hers. When he finally pulled away, her legs felt weak and rubbery. His eyes were gleaming. "There you are, darling, just what you wanted."

Haydee blinked, confused, until she realized what she was hearing.

Nothing. The theatre was silent.

Of course, it only lasted for a moment before it erupted into sound, as every single person discussed the events which had just occurred, not even pretending to whisper behind their fans and gloves.

"Yes, you've given me what I wanted, Edmond, but only for an instant," she pointed out as he led her back into the dark recesses of their box.

"True, but now that there is no longer any mystery, they will tire of us soon. By tomorrow night, I'd wager. In fact, perhaps we should retire to our flat and miss the entire spectacle. I find I am suddenly not nearly so interested in an evening at the theatre than I am in an evening of…other entertainments?" There was a glint of red and gold as he glanced at her in the darkness. "Are you amenable?"

Haydee smiled. "Extremely. Besides, we will never be able to hear the lines now."

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For those who may be wondering, yes, I have finished the new chapter of Falling Into Grace, and it's in beta now. I should have it up tonight or tomorrow!