A/N: So. Um. Yeah. I just recently watched this magnificent anime, and was immediately intrigued. Historical fiction is always appealing to me, and this sure did fit the bill. After reading every piece of fanfic I could find, a little bunny popped into mind. As I pop my anime/manga fanfic cherry, I find my writers' block for other fandoms eased. YAY!
d'Eon de Beaumont sat pale and exhausted in a shaded corner of the room. Listening to the noises of the street below, he mused on recent events. By some Act of God, or purely random event, the vengeful spirit of his dear sister, Lia, had possessed his body.
In the wee hours of the night, Lia had struggled – and apparently won – taking over his body once again. Whispers of Psalms still echoed in his mind as darkness claimed him. Lia had called on so much of his energy; whatever she had done last night drained him completely.
Gazing out at the sun-filled sky, d'Eon determined it was late in the morning. He scarcely remembered leaving his bed to sit at the window. Letting the cool breeze drift over his face, he dozed. Tomorrow they had to leave, and d'Eon was certain he could make his worn body obey.
A light knock at the door pulled him from his darkening thoughts. Without looking, he knew the wary, purposeful gait of Durand. His pace quickened with a slight gasp. "Are you trying to freeze to death?"
"Good morning, Durand," d'Eon said, a ghost of a smile playing on his lips.
"I'm glad you're finally awake." The knight closed the window with a huff, then sat on the bed facing his friend. Leaning forward, Durand bent to d'Eon's line of sight. "How do you feel?"
d'Eon was thankful of the chair's high back cradling his head. A spot elegance in an otherwise shabby room. "I'll be ready tomorrow. You needn't worry."
Smiling sadly, Durand rubbed his hands on his knees. "That's not what I asked."
Sighing, the other knight pulled his gaze from the open sky to face his new friend. "I'm – I will be fine."
"d'Eon, you haven't eaten in days, and you're nearly as white as these walls. I–"
Suddenly, d'Eon clutched his head; Lia was about to appear. "No, Lia. Not now," he pleaded. He was just too spent to deal with her at the moment.
Right before his eyes, Durand watched with fascination as d'Eon's pale lips tinted pink and eyes more blue than green. Every time the swordswoman appeared, it was during a fight.
"Durand," she replied. Her voice, d'Eon's face. It took some getting used to. "Please, you must help him. He won't listen to me."
Shifting under her gaze, Durand shrugged. "And what makes you think he'll listen to me?"
Shivering, Lia crossed her arms against the chill. "I realize the toll I have taken on d'Eon's body, yet I can't let go of him. Not yet." Closing her eyes, she smiled wistfully. "My dear brother is so much more able than I first thought. He's so resilient, so..."
Lia's smile became a soft chuckle. "Yes." She held out a hand for Durand to take. "Watch over him, and protect him. This will be come to an end soon."
Durand covered the icy hand with both of his, hoping to provide warmth and reassurance. "I certainly hope so, Lia. For your sake, and his." Standing, he pulled the captured hand gently.
Rising unsteadily, Lia wrapped her free hand around Durand's arm. "Thank you," she whispered. Then she was gone.
The knight found himself with an armful of de Beaumont, all long arms and longer hair. Scooping d'Eon up into his arms, Durand gasped at the lightness of his friend. He knew the other man was slim, but today, d'Eon felt like skin and bones. Unconsciously, Durand's arms tightened around the limp body.
Gently, he lay d'Eon on the bed, pulling the covers up to his chin. Grabbing a blanket from his own bed, Durand shook his head at himself. If d'Eon knew I was tucking him in... Quickly, he checked the other man for fever, smoothing back the long hair. Durand marveled at the knight's striking resemblance to his sister.
Snatching away his lingering hand, Durand promptly left the room.
Teillagory glanced away from his ponderings at the window. Durand had exited the bedroom in a hurry, yet quietly. He surmised the young knight, de Beaumont, may have been sleeping. Briefly, the old master had heard voices, and one did not sound like either men.
"How is he, Sir Durand?" Robin's clear, boyish voice broke the hushed silence.
The older man winced guiltily, moving with purpose toward a chair. "He's fine, Robin. Just very tired."
Robin followed him, his blue eyes wide and concerned. "Do we have to leave tomorrow?"
Teillagory turned back to the window, watching the street below. "As much as I would enjoy having another day of rest, our mission must stay on course."
"What can we do?"
Durand sat down heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose. A headache was coming, however, he was certain it wasn't as bad as d'Eon's aches. "Let him rest for now, Robin. Perhaps he'll rouse for supper."
Moving away from the window, Teillagory nodded solemnly. "Agreed, sir. Robin, please arrange for supper. I'm sure the innkeeper is anxious for something to do."
Glancing suspiciously between the two men, Robin made a mental list. When he reached his conclusion, he tipped his head, walking toward the door. "I'll return shortly."
Waiting for the door to close, Teillagory stood in front of the other knight. "Do you feel, the young lord's exhaustion is delaying our duty to the King?"
Durand's head came up in surprise. "That's not it at all, and you know it." Leaning back, he let his eyes wander the stained ceiling. Unbidden, an image of d'Eon unconscious in his arms sprang to mind. "Lia asked me to watch over him."
"Any sibling would, given the circumstances." The old knight sat down, studying Durand. "I'm sure she knows what this – possession – does to her brother, yet she also knows it can't be helped."
Frowning, Durand crossed his arms. "She told me as much. But if it weren't for her, d'Eon – hell, all of us – would either be servants of the Poets or dead."
"d'Eon de Beaumont well knows this," Teillagory replied firmly. "And he will do what he must to put Lia's soul to rest."
"At the price of his own life?"
The door opened, emitting a flushed Robin. "I'm back. The innkeeper sent up bread and cheese – What's wrong?"
The two men stared at each other, one thunderous, the other waiting.
"It's nothing, Robin." Durand rose, brushing past the young man. "I need some air."
By the time the sun began to dip, Durand returned. His thoughts had finally settled, yet a feeling of apprehension still lingered. What's wrong with me? he thought desperately. He couldn't get the image of d'Eon's pale face out of his head. The smooth hair that felt like cornsilk through his fingers...
d'Eon who is Lia who is d'Eon.
Startled from his thoughts, Durand hadn't realized he had walked back into the room. Taking a deep breath, Durand composed himself. "Is –"
The bedroom door creaked open, and a ghostly figure in white stepped cautiously outside. Clinging to a wall, d'Eon slowly made his way toward a chair. Without thinking, Durand took two long strides, intercepting the struggling man, and offered an arm. Hesitantly, d'Eon accepted the other man's assistance. Lightheadedness and walking were never proper dance partners.
Locking arms, they successfully gained a comfortable chair. d'Eon closed his eyes, taking several deep breaths, settling in the chair. When he opened them, he found Durand kneeling beside him, his face a riot of emotion.
"Robin, fetch a blanket," the knight murmured, searching d'Eon's face. "You should be resting."
"Don't look at me like that, Durand. I won't break." d'Eon said, nearly laughing at the spots of color that appeared on the other man's cheeks as he rose. "I don't want to lie around anymore like some weakling."
"You are by no means a weakling, young lord," Teillagory gruffed. "After supper you will rest until we leave in the morning."
Sighing, d'Eon gazed out the window at the orange sky. "I hear you, Master," frowning at the blanket thrown over his legs.
"Are you hungry?" Durand had taken up residence in a dark corner of the room. Catching Robin's attention, he tilted his chin toward the door.
Robin nodded once, making his way to the door. "I'll be back with supper."
Through the meal, they discussed tomorrow's plans, and strategies for fighting the Poets.
Durand clandestinely watched every bite d'Eon ate, frowning at the large portion of food still remaining on the plate. Buttering a slice of bread, he shoved it in d'Eon's direction. With relief, Durand watched the knight nibble and smile.
Before long, d'Eon's eyes began to droop. He was still exhausted, but he felt stronger, having a warm meal and friends to share it. The noisy scuff of a chair snapped him back to attention. Durand stood next to him, looking anxious.
"Can – I offer my assistance," he said stiffly.
Nodding, d'Eon wrapped long fingers around the other man's forearm. "Thank you." Unsteadily gaining his feet, he glanced at his other companions. "I thank all of you. Good night."
"Good night, Sir de Beaumont," Robin said as Teillagory nodded.
Once inside the room, d'Eon leaned heavily on his friend. Without thinking, Durand scooped him up again, carrying the thinner man across the room. Placing a slightly stunned d'Eon on the bed, Durand began unlacing boots.
With shaky hands, d'Eon loosed his collar, not sure what was about to happen, and too tired to care. Closing his eyes, he felt the other man pull off one boot then the other. The bed dipped to his left; Durand had sat down next to him. Through his lashes, he watched the riot of emotions play across the man's face.
Lia stirred briefly, then settled. d'Eon hadn't realized he was holding his breath until it came out in a gusty sigh.
"Are you all right?" Durand's expression was still as tangled as his hair.
"I'm tired, but I feel much better."
The furrow at Durand's brow deepened. Leaning forward slightly, he planted his left hand on the right side of d'Eon's prone body. With his right, he smoothed the other man's hair away from his face, letting it rest on a rapidly heating cheek.
Shaking his head, Durand ran a thumb across d'Eon's lips. "I don't understand any of this. The Psalms, the Poets, and especially what's happening with you. But know this," he said firmly, placing cool hands on either side of d'Eon's face. "I will be at your side."
With a final caress, Durand rose, pulling the crumpled covers over his friend.
d'Eon watched him leave, turning on his side. Curling under the warmth, he let the memory of Durand's quick caress follow him into sleep.
Thanks for letting me play in the bac à sable!