"HAH! I win, father. Now you have to take me with you to France the next time you go" A sixteen year old Lucien Blakeney said, his chest heaving as he looked down the blade of his saber to his father, who was pinned on the grassy lawn outside Blakeney manor.
"I let you win" Percy grumbled good-naturedly, motioning for Lucien to remove the sword from his neck. His son complied, holding out a hand for his father.
In the decade that had passed, Lucian had grown. He no longer resembled the sweet child of five that Percy tucked in all those years ago. After his sister left for France's dance school, the boy had closed off from his parents. Now, he was a handsome young man.
Percy frowned as his son walked away from their sparring session. Lucian had cried for a week straight when his beloved sister had skipped off for France. Now it seemed at every turn the boy was trying to find a way across the channel.
He remembered Marguerite coming to him one night, ashen faced. She urged him never to let Lucian go to France. Percy had followed her to Lucien's chamber, looking on in horror as Marguerite revealed the drawing she had accidentally found.
Looking at him smugly even from beyond the grave, Citizen Chauvelin's face glared up from the paper. An accurate likeness penned and signed by his own son meant one thing. Lucien Blakeney knew something he shouldn't. Unfortunately, when it came to acting and hiding things, Lucien was as good as, if not better than his father.
Percy ran a hand over his face. Things were headed for a storm, that much was for sure.
As he came in the door of the Blakeney mansion, Percy felt a smile creep onto his face in spite of himself. There in the foyer were his wife and son, Lucian swinging his mother around in a circle as if she weighed nothing. Lucian shook his blonde locks out of his eyes as he set his mother down, kissing her on each cheek.
It was remarkable that Lucien looked so much like himself and Marguerite, Percy thought as he watched the scene. Though not terribly handsome, Lucien's father had been different. Fortunately, the young man remained blissfully ignorant. Or so Percy hoped.
"Papa! Mama!" Came the cry from the foyer a week later. Percy and Marguerite rushed down the grand staircase.
"Mama!" Came Marie's cry again as she dropped her trunk and gracefully ran to her parents, embracing her mother. Marguerite was already crying.
"Papa" Marie said, disentangling herself from her mother and coming to kiss and hug her father. Percy's breath left him when he barely recognized the young woman hugging him.
When they pulled apart, Percy studied his daughter. Her likeness to Chauvalin was unmistakable. Her complexion had reversed; skin grown paler, hair darkened, and eyes lightened into a lethal shade of gold.
"Welcome home darling" Percy said affectionately. "Come, we'll find your brother" He let Marie fall back to take her mother's arm, instantly deep in conversation about whether her new dress was appropriate.
"But Mama!" Marie laughed, smoothing out the shorter skirt similar to her dancing dress. "It's the latest fashion, and I have to represent my trade!"
"Marie, your hair..." Marguerite fussed, pulling at Marie's loose curls. Percy laughed as they argued.
"Lucien?" He inquired at his son's study door. No answer, the boy must be in the fencing hall. That seemed to be where his boy spent most of his time.
"Forgive me, ladies. I must go find Lucien. Please retire to the sitting room while I search" He kissed his wife and daughter on the cheek, then took his leave, striding purposefully down the hall to the fencing hall.
Percy walked in the room just in time to duck as a foil went sailing into the door.
"You'll have to try harder than that!" He heard Lucien yel las he stopped to retrieve the weapon. "Behold, Pimpernel. I bring your ruin! Today you answer to Armand Chauvelin!"
The foil clattered to the floor as Percy stared open mouthed at his son. Lucien looked up at the noise, and for a moment, Percy saw Chauvelin himself. But no, that couldn't be possible. Chauvelin never had children. The vision faded, and Percy saw his cheerful son walking towards him.
"Sorry about that father" Lucien said, picking up the foil and returning it to a rack on the wall.
"Er- well, no harm done, Lucien" Percy replied, fidgeting nervously for a moment under his son's golden gaze. Suddenly, he remembered why he had come to the room in the first place.
"There's someone here to see you" Percy said, clearing his throat then turning to leave.
"Wait, father" Lucien said, still staring with those unnerving eyes so similar to his sister's.
"Come to the sitting room after you've cleaned up" Percy said without turning, afraid to see the look in his son's eyes.
Ten minutes later, Lucien swept into the sitting room, eyes instantly alighting on the girl perched next to Marguerite.
"Marie!" He cried.
"Lucien" Marie replied, running gracefully to her brother and hugging him tightly. Lucien ran his fingers through his sister's hair as they held close, a single tear slipping down his cheek to be lost in his sister's shoulder.
Marie was the one to break their embrace, and it was obvious Lucien could barely let go.
"Would you care to take a walk with me and tell of all your glorious adventures?" Lucien said smoothly, taking his sister's arm and gliding out the door before she could protest. Percy rose to stop them, then thought better of it.
"Percy?" Marguerite's voice was worried. For a moment, Percy warred with himself whether he should tell his wife what he had witnessed. He thought better of it, deciding to keep his illusions to himself.
"Nothing, dearest" Percy said, putting on his best smile and taking his wife's hands.