#1 Look Over Here

For once, Guy was off duty. Well, as off-duty as he ever got, if the shouts and crashes and protesting maids that could be heard even from the garden were any indication. He sighed where he knelt in front of a large lily, just-pulled weeds hanging limply from his fingers.

Unlike a lot of nobles', Guy's hands were calloused hands. Like a lot of nobles, Guy lived in a mansion, but unlike most of them, this mansion wasn't his, and his status and true identity were unknown to all but one resident and that was just how Guy liked it.

His charge really was a hellion, the blonde boy thought to himself, considering the merits of setting aside his help to Pere in favor of going back inside and reining in Luke, who was double the menace he normally was whenever he wasn't with Guy.

The changes that had come over the boy after his kidnapping were stark and unavoidable; he'd never been anywhere near as clingy to Guy before the event and it was disconcerting. Even more so was the fact that Guy didn't dislike it. Luke had always been a relatively detached and aloof child (emulating his dear father the Duke no doubt) and had never appeared to give Guy any sort of indication of affection. This new (and dare Guy say improved in a few areas) Luke was all too affectionate in many ways improper to his status and Guy's, but the older boy couldn't deny that he encouraged it. It wasn't like Duke Fabre could be relied upon for warmth towards his only son and the Duchess was often ill. It certainly wasn't like Guy held any sort of real attachment for the boy, at least, that was what he told himself when he couldn't drown out the accusations in his head.

Guy's thoughts were drawn away by the sensation of a small hand curling into his sleeve and tugging.

"Guy, Guy, look!"

Blue eyes glanced down and Guy found himself presented with a haphazard bouquet of the Lady's prize-winning tulips, stems still trailing roots and soil and tied together with a shoelace. Guy might have groaned if not for the beaming, proud look on Luke's face, and he accepted the flowers with a smile that was instantly returned.

"Are you being awful to the maids again, Luke?" Guy chided and the twelve year old pouted, furrowing his brows ad folding his arms. "You know they're only doing their jobs."

"They keep tryin' to make me take manners," Luke said in the sort of tone that implied that the word tasted bad, "It's boring. Even pulling weeds is better."

"Or pulling up your mother's flowers," Guy commented dryly, glancing to the flowers that he still held. "You ought to go back in and apologize. I have to do what I'm told, you have to do what you're told –at least I wish that you would-, and they have to do as they're told." Luke scowled and scuffed his shoe on the ground, covering the expensive leather in a layer of dust.

"I do what I'm told. I do what you say, don't I? …Sometimes."

Guy just barely managed to resist rolling his eyes skyward, wondering just what had happened in the universe that led to him being the lone and altogether cockamamie control on the boy's behavior.

"And I think that you should go back and apologize, if you're going to listen to what I say," he said lightly, reaching out a hand to ruffle Luke's red hair. If he'd tried that pre-kidnapping (not that he would have), Guy was sure that he'd get his hand slapped away. Luke leaned into the contact, reaching up and gripping his servant's hand in his.

"Fiiiiiine," Luke said reluctantly.

"Don't make me have to ask around to make sure you did it," Guy warned, only half-kidding and Luke knew it. "Go now, before they get worried. I'm sure I'll see you after your lessons."

He didn't know why he did it. He certainly hadn't planned on it, not that he would have gone through with it even if he had. But without thinking about it, Guy gave Luke's hair another ruffle before leaning in to drop a light kiss to the top of his head. However, while the older boy was struck with panic and a brief sense of the world turning upside-down, Luke was entirely nonchalant as if Guy did it all the time, a smile on his face as he jogged back to the manor, his hand waving in the air.

Guy rocked back on his heels, bemused for a moment and then the panic was back as he caught sight of Pere peering at him over one of the rose bushes. The boy bit his lower lip, entirely expecting a lecture or even a disappointed stare. Neither came. Instead, the older man's eyes softened and he turned back to trimming the bushes, this time with the edges of his lips tilting up.