A Father's Pride

If there was one thing that Guy had not expected, it was this. As he stared at the young boy before him—and how old was he, really? Ten? Eleven? Guy had lost count—there was something boiling in his heart that he had been struggling to deny ever since the kidnapping.

Luke, so innocent and naïve, stared up at his caregiver with tears forming in his eyes. "Pwease," he whimpered in a broken, childish English, "I don't unduh-staaaand...!"

Guy wished so badly, right then and there, that he had both the courage and the means to kill the Duke Fabre. His fingers dug into his hands, through his leather gloves, and his shoulders were brittle with anger. The Duke had never been this way with the dutiful, obedient Luke prior to the kidnapping. He'd never been so heartless, so merciless with his own kin. Had he been strict and quick to anger? Yes, and he still was; but he'd never once thrown his son to the side like this.

Luke was only a child. Not only that, but he'd suffered so much while he was in Malkuth—enough to make him completely forget everything, even basic functions—before he'd even come close to hitting puberty. His father should have been cherishing him much more than this, rather than dismissing him as mere rubbish beneath his feet!

But Luke seemed to sense the wrath, the war raging within Guy, and he quickly burst into sobs. These were unlike most of Luke's tantrums, when Luke simply whined while water flowed from his eyes with practiced ease because something wasn't going the way he wanted. This was far more genuine, far more heartbreaking, and the tears seemed to be echoing one word, Luke's absolute favorite:

"Why?"

When Luke finally said it aloud, Guy breathed out a small sigh and reluctantly locked the anger away. The anger could wait for when he faced the Duke himself; for now, he had to comfort the child before him.

He pulled Luke into his arms—for they were in Guy's room, and no one but loyal Père would see them, should he even enter—and he struggled to find the words. Luke wrapped his own small, thin arms around him in turn, and sobbed into his shoulder.

"Well," Guy began slowly and unsurely, for he did not know if he had the answer that Luke was searching for, "sometimes, parents get frustrated, and... when they get frustrated, they say things that they don't mean. They do things that they don't mean. It has nothing to do with you."

Oh, but it did, and Guy hated the fact that he was lying to the poor boy, but there was nothing more that he could do. The Duke knew what he said and meant it well, and telling his son otherwise was bound to have negative repercussions. But Guy didn't know what else to say. Hopefully, though, it would calm Luke, it would be just enough to prevent any more tears...

"B-but!" No, it hadn't worked; Luke was still sobbing incessantly, his mind still a fog. "M-mommy nevuh says mean s-stuff!"

That was true. Madame Fabre had been ever so sympathetic, ever so kind and gentle with her son. She'd been so careful to never get angry with him. It was amazing, to Guy, how someone as soft and warm-hearted as her could be attracted to someone as... as despicable and monstrous as the Duke.

"Your mother tries really hard not to," Guy settled on saying, for that was the truth. "But your dad is... He can't control himself like she can."

Luke shook his head, unable to comprehend. Guy's heart ached as he tried to find some word or phrase to comfort him, and nothing worked. There was absolutely nothing left that Guy could use to ease the boy's worries.

Instead, he simply held the boy as he cried out all of his emotions, silently. Luke did seem to find some comfort in his worn, worked arms, which were so much bigger and stronger than the boy was. They stayed like this for what seemed to Guy hours, hours of sharing in Luke's agonizing pain and rejection, until Luke finally pulled away. He wiped the last of his tears on the sleeve of his silk shirt, and then he grinned at Guy.

"Dun' care anymoh," he announced boldly, startling Guy. "Can you be my daddy, in-tead?"

Guy froze. Luke's sentence was hindered only slightly by his impaired speech, leaving the message clear and unmistakable. Could this be what he really wanted? Did Luke really want something like this...?

After a moment of stunned silence, Guy cleared his throat. No, there was no way that Luke truly wanted that. Guy was barely older than him, after all—only by three or four years! "Sorry," he said with as much apology as he could. "Can you say that again?"

"I said!" Luke let out a delighted giggle, not at all aware of the conflict that was now affecting his friend and mentor. "Can you be my daddy, Guy? My real daddy's a big jerk-face, an' he says mean stuff all the times. But you're so much better! Weally!"

Guy was taken aback. How odd; the child he had once been so determined to hate was now reducing him to awe. "But Luke," he finally replied, "I can't be your father."

The tears were quick to resurface; this time at will, it seemed, as Luke let out an all-too familiar whine. "W-why?" He demanded between hiccups. "'S not fair!"

Guy winced at the display of emotion. Damn it. He was so used to telling the boy 'no' despite his sobs, but now it was so hard. He couldn't allow it, though; what would his own parents, rest their souls, think if they saw him acting so fondly with the enemy? "You only get one dad, Luke." He spoke very slowly and articulately, as if that might persuade the both of them. "Besides, what would your mother say if she found out?" Never mind the Duke, who would undoubtedly rage at the discovery of such a breach of courtesy.

"Oh!" Luke's eyes lit up, and the tears were gone once more as quickly as they had reappeared. "It'll be a secwet, then! A secwet! No one'll evuh know, just us!"

Guy watched Luke's enthusiasm for a moment, analyzing it carefully. If Luke truly thought of him more highly than his own father, then... would it not be an absolute disrespect to reject those feelings? He let out a small sigh of surrender.

"Oh, all right. But this stays between the two of us, you hear me?"

Luke shot him a smirk, as if he had just caught him in the midst of a lie, and held out his little finger. "You gots to pinkie-promise. Or else you might go off and tell someone!"

Never mind the fact that it was Guy who had intended to keep their new relationship on the down-low. The teen let out a chuckle, shook his head, and joined their pinkies together. "I pinkie promise." Gah, he was such a goof. "You can't tell anyone either, got it?"

"Got it!" Luke's laugh rang throughout the room; it was so full of joy and pure, raw emotion, that Guy found it incredibly hard to hate the poor boy at that moment.

Luke was supposed to be a central component of Guy's revenge, one of the gears that would begin the systematic descent of Duke Fabre into hell. Guy had tried so very, very hard to hate him, to despise the kin of the man who had destroyed everything he loved and held dear. Yet he had failed rather spectacularly, and it had been a snowball effect ever since the young child had been rescued. It was as if he had become another person, a separate entity from the stoic and work-driven individual he had been before.

The child would have been much, much more than simply collateral damage, should Guy have chosen to exact his revenge in the exact way he and Père had planned it. His death would have broken Guy's own heart, the one he had spent so much time building a stone wall to surround, and now it seemed so fragile. Luke had made it around the wall somehow, climbed it despite the odds and the obstacles, and reached in with ease, with so little effort that it was almost scary—and yet, it made Guy proud that Luke had completed such a feat. It was a strange pride, one that made Guy fearful of what Luke was capable of, but also excited him. Both the Duke and Madame Fabre spent the majority of their days away from Luke, due to either illness (the latter) or duty (the former), and as such Luke was mostly influenced by the only other person he had grown to trust. Guy. If Guy had been the influence that gave Luke this wondrous ability...

In that moment, though Guy would take many months to admit it, he gave up all ideas of vengeance. Though he still loathed the Duke with his entire being, revenge was not worth the blood of innocents, the blood of those he had grown to and would grow to care for.

That night, as Guy drifted into sleep, he dreamed of his parents. This time it was not a gut-wrenching nightmare of their deaths, but a pleasant and heartwarming dream of their smiles, their pride as they washed him in their blessing. For they could finally rest in peace, knowing that their son was no longer living in the past.

When Guy awoke the next morning he would only remember the pure feeling of the dream, but also a phrase that sounded rather curiously like the strong, deep voice of his father's:

"Yes, I do think my son will raise him well."

And Guy would smile fondly at the memory, though he would not know why, before he stood up, dressed for the day, and went to awake his charge.

~Fin~

Elsa's Notes: Because I believe that every father, biological or not, should feel a certain sense of pride when they gaze upon their children. I loathe parental favoritism more than most everyday misdeeds, and the fact that the Duke Fabre prefers what Luke was before—Asch—to the son he has now is absolutely unforgivable.

Guy is a bit different in that regard, because while he does prefer the Luke now, he did not father Asch. People will argue with me and say that Guy is more of a brother, but if you look closely throughout the game, Guy behaves more as a second father to him than anything else. The way he indulges him, scolds him, plays with him, and does so much to help him is much more fatherly than brotherly. Not to mention all that he's done for him prior to the start of the game.

I hope you enjoyed this drabble, considering it was mostly meant to allow me a moment to geek out over Guy and Luke's unromantic relationship and hate on Duke Fabre by disguising my opinions as Guy's. OTL I hope he was in character!

All feedback is appreciated! If you read this, I love you regardless of what you think of it!