Title: Serenade
Author: homesweethomicide13
Rating: T
Pairing: BardaLindal
Warning: None
Disclaimer: I wish. I don't own the song, either.
Summary: Lindal is strolling through the palace when she hears the most beautiful sound in the world...

Serenade

Lindal walked the hallways of the palace, with no distinct direction in mind. It had been a few weeks since the four Sisters had been destroyed, and already the land was starting to heal itself. She guessed it would soon be time for her to return to Broome, but if she was honest she didn't want to leave. Not yet. There was something keeping her here, in Del, in the palace. She sighed.

Someone, actually.

Not that it mattered. They were of two complete different backgrounds – she, a fierce warrior whose ancestors were savages, and he, a palace-born soldier whose ancestors had lived in luxury their whole lives. He would no doubt marry a fragile woman who needed his protection, just like he had been brought up to do, especially now that there were no great troubles to fight against. It would be best for her to leave, and be done with it.

Yet still she remained at the palace. She'd already thought up a long list of excuses in case anyone asked why she hadn't gone home. None of those excuses mentioned him. Not a chance. She turned as someone called her name, and smiled at Lief as he walked over.

"Ah, Lindal! I have been searching for you." He beamed at her. "I thought that maybe you had left, but then I told myself you would not have gone without saying goodbye, so I asked around, and Gers said he had seen you up here." He straightened out his jacket, and his hands briefly touched the Belt around his waist before falling to his sides. "I was wondering if you were attending the dance tonight? The rest of us will be there, so it would be wonderful if you would join us."

"I think I shall, yes." Lindal told him with a smile.

"Excellent!" Lief grinned. "It is supposed to be formal dress, so make sure to look smart. Mother is attempting to coax Jasmine into a dress, but I think she may fail." Lindal laughed.

"Quite possibly, yes."

"Well, I shall see you tonight, if not before then." Lief said to her. "The dance starts at nightfall, so be sure to come down to the dance hall around that time." She nodded. "I had better get back to my office. Lots of work to be done."

"I shall see you later, Lief." She watched as he ran off back to his office, and smiled. Normally she wouldn't have gone to a dance, but she knew he would be there. Any excuse to spend time with him that wouldn't look suspicious. She resumed her aimless walking, wondering to herself if she had anything vaguely smart for the dance.

*

She eventually ended up strolling through the gardens, having walked around the entire palace – it felt like – and still been restless. Gardeners were still arranging a memorial garden in one corner, with small markers with the names of Deltora's lost scattered among the flowers. It was going to be a very sad place once it was finished – all that life surrounded by reminders of the dead.

She glanced up at the sky and noticed that it was beginning to get dark – how long had she been walking around? She made her way back to the palace and up to her temporary bedchamber to prepare for the dance. On her way to the south staircase, which was closest to her room, she stopped suddenly, hearing a new noise amongst the now-familiar sounds of the palace. Turning in its direction, she listened for a moment, before walking towards it. She soon realized she was standing outside the dance hall, and the sound was a beautiful melody being played on what could only be a piano.

She pushed open the door a little and peered into the hall. The piano was at the far end, and there was someone sat at it, playing that beautiful melody. It was unlike anything she had ever heard – she doubted they even had a piano in Broome – and she stepped into the room completely, drawn in by the music. And then, just when she thought she couldn't hear anything more beautiful, whoever it was began to sing.

"Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company."

The voice was soft and musical, but also deep and very masculine. She hadn't heard the song before, and presumed it was a traditional Del song. She walked a little closer, not wanting to disturb the singer.

"Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Your vows you've broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity."

She was still walking forwards, now curious as to who could have such a melodic voice. It sounded somewhat familiar, but where could she have possibly heard this wondrous voice?

"Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves."

She could now make out the general appearance of the man sat at the piano. He was dressed in smart black trousers, a crimson shirt, and a black waistcoat. There was what looked like a glass of wine – half empty – sat atop the piano, next to which was a bottle. The man's head was bowed, so all she could see was long dark hair.

"If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me."

She was walking so carefully now, worried that the man might look up at any moment and spot her, and cease the beautiful singing and the beautiful playing. She had definitely heard that voice before, but where?! It was starting to frustrate her, and she was determined to know.

"Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me."

The voice became softer, the melody quieter, and she was close enough now to see the clever fingers which danced over the piano keys. There was a delicious scent in the air, and she could also smell the wine, just about.

"Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me."

And now the man lifted his head. Lindal's breath caught in her throat as she took in the facial features. She knew this man! Knew him so well, and would love to know him further still. His eyes were closed, but if they had been open, she knew they would be the deepest blue she had ever seen.

"Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves."

The melody played for a moment later, but the singing stopped, and then he opened his eyes. He reached for the wine glass and lifted it to his lips, and then realized he had an audience. He fixed those deep blue eyes on Lindal, and two sleek dark eyebrows raised in surprise.

"Oh, uh… hello." He looked very surprised to see her standing there, and also rather embarrassed. She wet her suddenly dry lips and willed herself to speak, before the silence became tense and awkward.

"I did not know you could play the piano, Barda." She said with a faint smile. Barda felt himself blush, and so hid behind the act of taking a sip of his wine, and then staring down at the piano keys, willing the blush to fade.

"I learnt it as a boy." He told her without looking up. "My mother loved to hear me play." Lindal walked closer.

"Well, you are very good." She climbed up onto the small platform where the piano was situated. "What was that song? I have not heard it before." Barda looked up, confident his blush was gone.

"Oh, it is called Greensleeves." He smiled. "One of the first songs I learnt to play, actually, and it has remained a favourite." Lindal sat down on the bench beside him.

"I did not know you could sing, either." He ducked his head again, pretending to inspect a mark on one leg of his trousers. She sensed his uneasiness on that subject, and so looked for anything to divert the conversation away from it. She focused on the wine bottle, and realised most of it was gone. "Starting early?"

"What?" He saw what she was looking at and smiled. "Oh, yes. I suppose." He drained the rest of the wine in his glass. "I had nothing to do, so I got ready early and came down here. I saw the piano and could not resist a little practice." He shrugged. "And you cannot play the piano without at least having wine nearby. They go hand in hand, at least that is how I remember it."

"It was a very beautiful song." Lindal commented, watching him. He smiled again, and gently ran his fingers over the keys.

"It is supposed to be." He said quietly. "It was originally written as a serenade." He began to play the chords softly, and Lindal smiled as his eyes slipped closed. She watched his fingers sweep across the keys without fault, and wondered just how many times he had played this song. He paused and then lowered his hands, looking at her almost shyly. "Not a very masculine hobby, I guess, but I cannot help but love it. It is so… relaxing."

"I think it is wonderful." She looked away quickly after she had spoken. "I have never played a piano in my life."

"Would you like me to teach you?" She turned back to him, surprised. He smiled. "I taught one of my friends how to play one song once. It is really easy once you get the hang of it." He placed one hand on the keys. "Just, watch what I do, and try and copy it." He pressed a few of the keys in a sequence, and then shifted slightly so she could copy it. She had to lean across him a little to reach the same keys, and he leant back to give her more room. She attempted to copy the sequence, and found to her surprise that she managed to do it. "See?" He played another sequence, and she copied it. He repeated the process a few more times, and once she had copied each bit, he turned to her and grinned. "You just played the introduction to Greensleeves, just… a bit slower."

"Wow. I cannot really remember each bit now, though. I do not understand how you can remember a whole song."

"Practice." He ran his hand along the top of the piano, smiling softly. "I did miss playing when the invasion happened. Hard to find and play a piano when you are pretending to be a beggar on the streets." He sighed. "I should have taken it up again the moment I got back here, but I suppose I had other things on my mind." He stared down at his hands. "I am actually a little rusty, need to get back to my usual standard of playing."

"I thought you were pretty good." Barda turned to grin at her.

"Perhaps, but I used to be amazing." He shrugged. "So I was told, anyhow. And it was my mother who told me, so I suppose she could have been overly biased…"

"I am sure she spoke the truth." They stared at each other for a moment, before Barda quickly turned away.

"Others shall be arriving soon. I should step away from the piano, or I may be forced to play all night."

"I need to go and change, in any case." He stood up as she did, and he closed the lid of the piano. She watched him for a moment as he straightened out his waistcoat and fiddled with the collar of his shirt, and noticed just how handsome he looked in that outfit. Usually, she only saw him in his uniform – which of course, he looked very dashing in – so this was a nice change. Red was a good colour for him. "I shall see you later, Barda."

"Mm." Barda was pouring more wine into his glass. She smiled and walked off back through the dance hall, heading up to her bedchamber. Barda watched her go and sighed sadly. He was never going to have the courage to tell her…

*

The dance was in full swing, couples were moving to the music on the dance floor, and the companions and their friends were sat at the opposite end of the hall to the band, glasses in hands, enjoying some light conversation. Barda was glance at the piano every now and then, and at the person currently sat at it. He couldn't help but wonder if he could still play some of the songs the current pianist was playing. Lindal hadn't reappeared, which was a disappointment. He had hoped she would be joining them. Doom sat down in the chair beside him, dressed in almost exactly the same way as he, but with a green shirt instead of red, and his mind was distracted as he engaged Doom in a conversation.

Lindal paced outside the dance hall. She wanted to go in, but she wasn't sure if she should go and change again before doing so. She had searched everywhere – even asking around in the palace – for the outfit she'd had in mind. It wasn't a dress – no way – but she had wanted something specific. She wanted to drop subtle hints tonight, and hope that Barda picked up on them. Finally, she sucked up the courage and went inside, instantly locating her friends at the end of the hall. Jasmine was – to her surprise – in a dark blue dress, although Lindal suspected that she was wearing trousers underneath it. She seemed the type. Lief was smartly dressed in a suit and light blue shirt, the Belt gleaming around his waist. Sharn was in a beautiful violet dress, and Marilen in a lilac one. Ranesh was also in a suit, with matching lilac shirt, which Lindal found amusing. Her eyes landed on Doom and Barda, wearing almost matching outfits with different coloured shirts. They appeared to be deep in conversation, and so far none of them had noticed her entrance. She walked over, and was greeted by all of them except Doom and Barda.

Barda turned away from Doom to drink some wine, and his eyes landed on Lindal. She had come, after all! It took him a moment to realise what she was wearing, but when he did, he smiled. Her clothes were smart, but less masculine than usual. And she was wearing a top with green sleeves. Doom turned to see what he was looking at, and grinned.

"Ah, Lindal, you made it." He said to her, and she walked over. Barda smiled up at her, and then offered her a glass of wine. She took it and pulled up a chair beside them.

"Have I missed much?"

"Not really. None of us have really done any dancing yet." Doom told her with a smile. "Although I think Lief may encourage Jasmine onto the dance floor soon."

"I am still amazed she agreed to wear a dress." Barda murmured with a grin.

"I think we all are." Doom laughed. "So, are you going to do any dancing, Barda?"

"Are you offering, Doom?" Barda asked, raising an eyebrow. Lindal laughed.

"I think you should. You would certainly turn heads." Doom rolled his eyes.

"No, I was not offering." He said to Barda, who smirked. "Just… never mind." Barda laughed.

"Perhaps, if the mood takes me." He shrugged. "I am rather happy to just sit here."

"I bet you would rather be up there playing that piano, though, am I right?" Sharn asked, surprising them. She had walked over without them noticing. Barda turned and smiled at her.

"Ah, I had quite forgotten you knew my love for the piano." He said with a slight laugh. "Yes, I suppose I would. Perhaps they would let me play a song or two?"

"You can always ask." Doom suggested with a smile. "Never took you for a piano-player, Barda."

"And I never took you for a romance novel reader, Doom, yet I often see you in the back of the library with one, thinking you are quite hidden in the shadows." Barda smirked at the look of sheer horror on Doom's face at being caught out. "Anyhow, I shall go and ask them."

"Do you have a song in particular you would like to play, Barda?" Sharn asked him, putting a hand on Doom's shoulder. Barda glanced quickly at Lindal and smiled.

"Yes, actually." And then he set his wine down, and disappeared into the crowd of people. Lindal turned to Doom.

"So… romance novels?" Doom turned almost the exact shade of Barda's shirt.

*

The music came to a stop, and a young man stepped up onto the stage and announced that they would have a solo performance next, and that the man performing had chosen this song for a certain someone. The companions and friends gathered around and watched as Barda took his position behind the piano. Lindal couldn't help but smile when she heard the opening chords of 'Greensleeves' begin to echo around the room. She had hoped he would play this. What she wasn't expecting, was for him to start singing.

The whole room fell silent as he sang, all of them completely mesmerised by his voice and the song. When the song came to an end, everyone applauded and even cheered, and Barda took a bow, seeming a little shy, as though he hadn't been expecting such a response. He walked back up the middle of the dance floor to his friends, a smile on his face.

"A beautiful song, Barda!" Marilen grinned. "But who was the special someone you were playing it for?"

"Someone with green sleeves, no doubt." Ranesh commented. Everyone instantly looked around, and their eyes landed on Lindal – and Doom.

"So, which one is it Barda?" Lief laughed, attempting to tease his friend. Barda shrugged.

"I will dance with either of them. I do not mind." Doom instantly stood up and backed away, hiding behind Sharn. Barda laughed and extended his hand out to Lindal. "My lady greensleeves, would you care to accompany me to the dance floor?" She smiled as she slipped her hand into his.

"I certainly will." He led her down onto the dance floor and pulled her in close, sliding an arm around her waist. Surprised, she stared at him, and he smiled back at her.

"What? Did you really think I was trying to serenade Doom?" She laughed, and he grinned.

"Well…" She left the end of her sentence hanging, but put her hand on his hip and leant into him slightly. "You picked up on the hint, then?"

"Actually, I thought you had picked up on my hint." He told her with a smirk. They were silent for a moment as they danced, and then Barda cleared his throat. "I was wondering…"

"Hm?"

"Do they have pianos in Broome?"


Author's Note: One of my many 'How Barda Went To Broome' ideas that has been going round and round in my head for ages. It merged with my idea of Barda being able to play the piano, and this was the end result. Can you imagine Barda attempting to serenade Lindal? So, tell me what you think!

~homesweethomicide13