The Ties That Bind: A Brave Fanfiction

Disclaimer: All characters are copy write to Pixar and Disney. Only the idea and some of the first names are mine.

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Kenna was having a really bad day! It started off with waking up before dawn to help Maudie, Nessa, and a few other women get the meals prepared for clans during the next day of competition. That wasn't anything new, though. Kenna was used to waking early to do work around Castle DunBroch, but usually she had her cousin, Nessa, to keep her company and protected. Not that Kenna was weak or frightened of much, it was just that Nessa was more…assertive, then she when it came to unwanted attention.

This morning, however, Maudie had stolen Nessa away to help her prepare the royal family's meal and awaken them. Because of that, it left Kenna all alone during the morning meal while serving the clans in the main hall. Well, she wasn't serving alone, it was just she didn't have Nessa to fall back on if something went awry. And of course, without Nessa there, something did go wrong.

Kenna was serving the clan Macintosh, when one of the warriors at the long table made a pass at her.

"Well, now! Aren't ye a bonnie wee thing! Would ye be given a man a kiss for good luck in the games today?"

Kenna smiled sweetly, but shook her head,

"I'm sorry sir, but that isn't a service that I provide."

She then turned to go about finishing her job. The clansman became angry and grabbed her arm.

"Now wait just a second, lass! The king has demanded that all of his guests needs are taken care of. And I'm in dire need of some attention, right now." The man's voice dropped low and quiet. Kenna's brow furrowed in worry and she looked around for help. None of the clansmen seemed to really care what he was doing to her and her own kinsman were tending to the other warriors and guests. Kenna wasn't sure how to proceed without making the man angry, or angrier.

Out of reflex, she jerked her arm back, but the man didn't loosen his grip. This only seemed to make him angrier. He sneered into her face and moved in to force a kiss on her. Out of panic, she dropped the tray she carried in the other hand and pushed on his chest,

"STOP!" she screamed.

The whole room stopped, and Kenna was sure she would be in trouble now.

"What is going on over here?" came a strong masculine voice from behind them. Much to Kenna's dismay, or relief, she wasn't sure which; the young Lord Macintosh was making his way over to them.

"I donnae know what you are doing over here, Cyrus, but I suggest you let go of this young woman's arm. NOW." Lord Macintosh warned to his kinsman.

The man, known as Cyrus dropped her arm immediately. The young lord turned to Kenna and looked down at her,

"Are you alright?" he asked concerned.

She nodded up at him as she rubbed her arm where the man had grabbed her. Duncan Macintosh looked down and saw the bruise forming on her forearm. He turned on his heel to face Cyrus.

"Cyrus, this kind of behavior isn't what is expected from my father's warriors!" He grabbed the kilt draping and loop on the man's shoulder and pulled him to his face. He spoke coldly and precise.

"You leave this young woman alone, do you understand?"

Cyrus looked between the two and smiled condescendingly at his lord and the girl.

"Of course, m'lord. I hadn't realized that you'd already claimed this whore yourself."

Kenna was distraught that he had said that. She didn't even stay to hear what else was said. She took off at that moment and shot through the castle halls, running as fast as she could, as far as she could. She didn't stop until she got to the gaming fields. She didn't even remember running outside!

Kenna found a stack of barrels behind an armory tent and she climbed to the top. All she really wanted to do was cry, but knew that if Nessa found her that way then Nessa would risk going back in and castrating that man for what he had called her. And the fact that it was the young Lord Macintosh that had helped her in the end didn't make her feel any better either. Sure he was handsome, but she assumed that he was a playboy and had more women in tow then oxen has plow. Cyrus confirmed that with his little comment. The more she thought about the scenario, the more helpless she felt and her eyes began to tear up.

"KENNA! KENNA!? Where are YOU!?" called the familiar voice of Nessa. Kenna wiped her eyes quickly. There was no sense in worrying her cousin over something so stupid.

"Over here, Nessa!" she called back.

Nessa turned round a corner,

"Kenna," looking up she spotted her, "Oh, there you are! You'll never guess what I….wait…what happened?" Nessa stopped short when she saw the fresh tears in her cousin's eyes. She raced up the barrels to sit beside her. Nessa took Kenna's hands in hers.

"Whats wrong, fair one?"

Kenna let out a little mocking laugh,

"I wish you wouldn't call me that..."

"Why not? It's what your name means right?" Nessa joked, then wrapped her arm around Kenna's shoulders. Pulling her tight to her side she whispered,

"Now, tell me what's wrong."

Kenna waved her off,

"It's nothing important…." She turned to her cousin, "Now what do you hear?"

Nessa eyed her suspiciously,

"Donnae try to change the subject! Oh, well…I can always find out from the other servants what happened later."

Again Kenna let out a blast of mocking laughter,

"Ha! Like any of them truly give a damn about me…."

Nessa raised a brow and Kenna caught her eye and smiled softly at her,

"Present company excluded. But you have to…you're family."

Nessa pulled her close again, squeezing her to her side,

"That is why my news can wait...Now, tell me what happened."

Kenna sighed and recanted all that had transpired for her since Maudie had whisked Nessa way earlier that morning, By the end of the story Nessa was about ready to go and kill a Macintosh warrior, but Kenna stopped her.

"Donnae even think it, Nessa!" Kenna warned, "Besides I have a feeling that the Macintosh clan will do something about it."

Nessa rolled her eyes,

"Well, I seriously doubt it! You should tell King Fergus and Queen Elinor! That would put a stop to that….maybe…"

Kenna rolled her eyes now,

"Enough about my problems." she patted Nessa's knee affectionately.

"Now, tell me this news that you so desperately want to share." Kenna smiled up at her cousin.

Nessa's eyes lit up,

"You are never going to believe this…."

As Nessa shared the news of Princess Merida and the young Lord Shae MacGuffin with Kenna, another duo was traipsing around the castle grounds looking for the young woman who had run away.

"I still donnae know why you wanted my help to look for her!" Colin Dingwall griped, as he walked lazily behind Duncan.

"You've done nothin' but bother me since the games began, and the one time I ask for some help you are on my case from the start! I wish you would make up your mind on how to treat people, Colin."
Colin, who was only half paying attention anyway, shrugged.

"Tormenting others is slowly becoming my new favorite pastime." Colin smirked at him.

Duncan rolled his eyes at his companion and they walked on. Turning a corner, Colin could hear whispering and stopped. Duncan stopped short as well and turned to look at him,

"What are you…?" Duncan began.

"Shhh! We have mice." Colin whispered and he pointed around the corner. There, sitting on top of the barrels, was Kenna and Nessa, talking away and not paying attention.

"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" Colin said teasingly, as they both walked around the corner, into the girl's line of sight.

Both girls jumped from their seats to attention of the young lords, but being on top of the barrels, they couldn't hold their balance well. Kenna started to fall forward but Duncan reached out and caught her by the waist. Unfortunately, Nessa was not so lucky. Her balance shifted and she fell to her right, off to the side. No one saw how, but somehow Colin moved swiftly to the side to catch her from the fall, but being only 5'11'' and not extremely strong wasn't much help. He did provide her a softer landing spot, though.

"Ooffhh!" grunted Colin as Nessa landed on top of him. Kenna jumped quickly from Duncan's hold and rushed to her cousin's side.

"Are you alright, Nessa?"

"Aye, I'm fine. Only my pride is hurt."

"Well, I think you broke my back!" Colin teased, still underneath her. "Although, I must say, I will endure the pain if I can keep the view." He wriggled his eyebrows up at Nessa. Her face flushed and she quickly jumped up.

"Forgive me my lord." She bowed trying to ignore the heat in her cheeks.

"Just Colin, please." He said pushing himself up.

Colin stood and dusted himself off, he grinned as he turned to Duncan.

"Now I know how you feel, Duncan, with girls falling all over you. Only mine was literal…does that mean I win?"

Nessa's embarrassed demeanor changed at the cockiness of his attitude. She crossed her arms in a huff,

"I didnnae ask you to jump to my rescue!"

"Oh, so she's a feisty one, eh" Colin egged her on.

Nessa was just about to let loose on him when Kenna piped up. She bowed to Duncan and Colin lowly.

"Forgive us, young lords. We didnnae know you were close by. We're sorry if we disrupted your training."

Colin scoffed,

"We weren't training…"

Duncan nodded and added,

"He's right. Besides, we startled you, so it's our fault if either of you hurt yourselves." He smiled at Kenna and laughed nervously. Their eyes met and they both stared at each other.

Colin watched the exchange with a lifted brow, curious as to the whole exchange. Nessa, on the other hand, didn't look amused at all by it.

Duncan Macintosh wasn't sure what was wrong with him in that moment. He was usually suave and calm around women. Well, except for the princess, but that was different. This young woman was different though, too. She had intrigued him the moment they had met and he wasn't sure why. She didn't throw herself at him like most other women did around him, but she wasn't cold to him either. Her small frame, timidity, and good-hearted nature seemed to draw him to her, like a moth to a flame. Kenna and Duncan seemed lost to the world, until Nessa pulled them from their thoughts.

"Ahem. Well…if you'll excuse us m'lords, we do have quite a bit of chores to take care of today." Nessa said sharply.

She grabbed Kenna's shoulder forcefully and spoke through her teeth,

"Don't we, cousin?"

This statement caught Colin's attention,

"You two are cousins?"

Nessa crossed her arms and cocked her head to the side,

"Not that it's any of your business, but yes, we are!"

Kenna nodded,

"Aye, it's true. Though we were brought up more like sisters. Our mothers were sisters and very close so we grew up together like sisters ourselves."

Duncan was still staring at Kenna, not really listening too much to their conversation. Kenna glance back over at him, but Nessa squeezed hard on Kenna's hand.

"Come on Kenna. We. Need. To. GO!" Nessa tried to urge.

However, Colin had other plans and stopped her,

"Wait! Donnae I get a reward for saving you from your fall?"

Nessa looked at him with an un-amused facial expression,

"It wasn't that far of a fall and I didn't ask you to! So why should I give you a reward?"

Now it was Kenna's turn to squeeze Nessa's hand a little tight,

"Nessa…." She warned.

Nessa rolled her eyes, and sighed,

"Fine. " she muttered.

She turned to Colin with annoyed look on her face,

"And just what do you suppose you should get for your 'heroic actions'?"

Colin cocked his head to the side and tapped his chin with his forefinger, as if he was thinking hard about it. Duncan shook his head. He assumed that Colin would ask for a kiss, but was surprised by Colin's actual request.

"Tell me what you were whispering about before we surprised you." Colin requested.

Puzzled, Nessa looked at him sharply,

"What? That's it?"

He smiled smugly at her,

"Aye."

She eyed him warily and looks over at Kenna, who shrugs at her.

"It's just castle gossip. You've probably heard it already, anyway."

Colin just continued to smile at her,

"Just tell me what you are talking about."

Nessa sighed, but complied.

"It's about the young lord Shae MacGuffin and the Princess Merida. Apparently, neither of them ever came back to the castle last night."

"What!?" Shouted Duncan in unbelief.

"Hmm…" Colin listened thoughtfully; his demeanor had changed again,

"And I assume that there were some pretty heavy conclusions made because of it."

Nessa nodded and continued,

"Aye, but nothing is confirmed. Queen Elinor wants us, "she points to herself and Kenna, " to make sure that the rumors donnae get out of hand. I'm afraid though, it will be past the point of no return by the time we try to stop the rumors."

Kenna looked over at Duncan,

"What do you think about it Lord Macintosh?"

"Well, I…" Duncan hesitated in his answer. Part of him was still in shock over the news. Another part of him was livid that Shae MacGuffin would even think about going off with the princess. Still, another part of him was strangely calm about the whole situation. Before he could speak again, Colin spoke up,

"I donnae think it's true." Colin stated matter-of-factly.

Nessa raised a brow up at him,

"And what makes m'lord so confident, eh?"

He shrugged at her,

"Just call it a hunch."

Kenna couldn't help herself though and she sighed lightly,

"Still, it is a romantic thought."

Nessa crossed her arms,

"That's not the reaction the royal family had."

Kenna smiled sheepishly at her cousin,

"I'm sure, but still…"

Duncan was watching the group's reactions and comments with an air of confusion. Finally, he couldn't keep his mouth shut any longer.

"What is wrong with all of you?!" he shouted.

Everyone in the circle jumped a little at his outburst.

"What is your problem?" Colin asked as he rubbed his ear to stop the ringing.

"My problem? What about you all? The princess is out there, facing who knows what kind of dangers. And possibly out with a man, whose mental stability is, at the very least, questionable…."

"Look who's talking…" Colin muttered.

Duncan ignored him and continued,

"…And you act as if it's not big deal!"

Colin put his hands up in defense,

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, calm down, Duncan. The princess is a big girl, plus she can handle a bow like a master. I donnae think she's in any real danger. "

Duncan cast a hard gaze at him,

"And how do you know MacGuffin won't try anything?"

Colin laughed out loud at the absurdity of the thought,

"Shae MacGuffin?"

Duncan snapped back at him,

"No, the other heir to the MacGuffin clan!"

Colin just continued to laugh. Nessa raised a brow at Colin's behavior,

"It seems the young princes' had the same reaction as you are."

Colin stifled his laughter and looked Duncan in the eye,

"Look, you donnae have anything to worry about. Your princess fair will return and you can continue to try to win her attention. You can also continue to fail miserably."

Kenna straightened up at Colin's statement and her expression turned to one of worry and hurt. She reached out and grabbed Nessa's hand and bowed to the young lords. Nessa was puzzled but followed her cousin's lead.

"Nessa was right m'lords. We do have many chores today, so if you'll excuse us…" she stated and then tugged on her cousin's hand. They started off together to the castle, but Colin called after them.

"Hey Nessa, if you have some free time come by the caber fields today!"

She stopped immediately and turned on her heel. She eyed him up and down, bewildered.

"YOU, are competing in the caber toss?"

Colin smirked at her, a coy look in his eyes,

"Heaven's NO! I just like to sit and call names at the competitors as they compete. It helps me pass the time and you wouldn't believe how a well place call can throw off a competitor."

Nessa looked at him with an un-amused look, shook her head and turned to walk away. A ghost of a smirk turned up at the corners of her mouth, but she tried not to let him see.

"If you smiled at that, then I get a kiss later!" he called again.

Duncan watched him, puzzled.

"What are you doing?"

Colin was staring at the girls as they walked away, not really paying attention to Duncan.

"Flirting." He stated matter-of-factly.

Duncan looked at him in shock.

"With a servant girl?"

Colin shrugged and looked up at him, the girls out of sight.

"And why not? She's pretty, smart, and quick witted. Plus, I can tell she's a bit sarcastic too, all great combinations. And her other 'assets' don't hurt either."

Duncan rolled his eyes at the other young lord. Colin saw it and crossed his arms. He eyed Duncan with a smirk on his face,

" And what about you with that Kenna girl? Weren't you actually looking for her anyway? And you cannae tell me that the little staring competition you two had didn't mean anything either."

"I have no idea what you're talking about." Duncan said indignantly.

"Yeah, sure, what ever you say, Lord McIntosh. Besides" he flicked his head in the direction that the two women went. "I think I blew it for you with my description of your wanton passion for the fair Princess Merida."

"Blew what?" Duncan looked at him lost to the conversation.

Colin smacked his face with his palm.

" Ugh! And you are supposed to be a ladies man? How blind are these women?"

Colin sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose,

"You know what Duncan, never mind. If you are too dense to see the beautiful forest for the giant tree that is your pride, then maybe you donnae deserve either woman."

With that, Colin turned and walked off and left Duncan Macintosh to ponder his words in silence.

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Okay this wasn't all that I wanted to post but I decided that I will NOT make you all wait any longer for this. If I don't post this now it won't get posted for another 3 weeks.

So that means…there is still another portion of this 'day,' in the story, that I still need to post. Don't look for it anytime real soon. I'm on vacation from work, but my best friend is flying in and I haven't seen her in a year so I am going incognito for the next week and a half while we both take vacation time.

I apologize for the wait. I know this one is shorter too so I am ashamed of myself I've always tried to at least post 10 pages worth of story for my lovely reader, but for times sake I wanted to go ahead an post it.

I hope I don't get killed by the readers for this, but it's a little bit more of an insight with the side story characters and getting to play around with Dingwall is awesome!

I know it's not much, but I hope you still enjoy!

Peace and Blessings Upon You,

PS. Monday was my 26th birthday! (I'm old :( )