Gundam Wing AU (Dorothy/Quatre/Trowa)
Duke Dermail looked up at the perfunctory knock and his granddaughter entered. She met his eye and smiled at him, arrogant to the last. He couldn’t stop the little bit of pride at her spirit. Her mother’s family had been a bending, groveling, group of court suck ups, but Dorothy took after her father. The loss of his son had been a hard blow, but Chilias had left behind a good heir.
“Good day, Grandfather. Sh’ten,” Dorothy sneered the name, “informed me that you had requested my presence.”
“Yes,” Dermail was annoyed to see that the man in question had placed himself on the inside of the door, instead of in the hall. “He says you have taken a male slave to your rooms.”
“That is true,” Dorothy said, “but I do not see how that is any of his business.”
“As your bodyguard, I’m sure he had your best interest in mind.” The Duke had to clear his throat to get the last bit out. It was obvious there was little love lost between the two.
“Yes, I’m sure that’s it.” Dorothy agreed with false sweetness.
“Be that as it may. Dorothy, you can’t keep a male slave in your rooms.”
“He is in no condition to live with the other slaves.”
Dermail sighed, “Dorothy-”
She cut him off “Grandfather.” Coming close to the desk she placed her hands on the surface and leaned close. All emotion drained out of her eyes. Her voice was low so only he could hear. “He has been tortured.”
Duke Dermail swallowed hard.
His heart hurt seeing the empty and hollow look in her eyes. He hated that someone had taught her how to die inside. It was his fault and he could never repair the failure. If healing this boy would somehow help her to heal, then the boy could sleep in her bed if she wanted. That she might have an interest in bedding a male would have been welcome news. She needed to save this boy, that much was clear.
She would have her slave.
“I see,” Dermail said. “I’m sure you know what you are doing. Good luck.”
“Thank you, Grandfather.” Dorothy returned to her arrogant self. “Now, about Sh’ten. I don’t feel he is satisfied with serving as my bodyguard. It would be better for us both if he were moved to another position, where perhaps he would have more activites to absorb his time.”
“Perhaps,” He glanced at the soldier in question. The man’s face was flushed and his fists clenched. The duke pressed his lips together. A man who could not control his temper better than that had no place around Dorothy. “I will see to his reassignment.”
“As you think is best.” Dorothy picked up a pen and scribbled a name across a sheet of paper. “I have a couple recommendations of personnel who have proven helpful in the past.”
“I will take it under consideration.” He clasped his granddaughter’s hand. It was as close to a hug as either of them could come. “Have a good evening, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Dorothy nodded. She gave his hand a squeeze before withdrawing. Sh’ten did not open the door as she approached. He seethed in impotent rage. Dorothy glided by him as if he weren’t there.
After Sh’ten departed with his new orders Duke Dermail sat back and relived his regret.
Dorothy had been twelve when her father Chilias had died in the war. Her mother had always been a fragile thing and soon followed her husband into the grave. That left Duke Dermail the only surviving member of her family. He hadn’t had time to deal with a little girl. What did he know of daughters? So he had allowed the close friend of his son to care for her. They knew her better than he did and they lived on the adjoining estate. She was even betrothed to their only son. It had seemed like the easiest arrangement. He tried to visit occasionally, but his duties were elsewhere.
So sloppy of him. He never looked in to the family, never bothered to get to know them. Anymore than he tried to get to know his granddaughter.
She went missing just before her fourteenth birthday. No one contacted him; no one thought he cared. When would they have told him if he hadn’t stopped by to see her on her birthday? She had been gone for two weeks. Even he had been surprised by his emotion. The last piece of his son might be dead and no one was looking for her. He tore the countryside apart. No one was spared, including the fostering family. At the time he had only vaguely wondered at their resistance.
When they finally found Dorothy’s bloody body, he understood. It was an underground room just feet from the house. A torture chamber.
Their son. The boy had been torturing Dorothy for weeks. If their only male heir had been in the room when Dermail arrived, he would have died.
When Dermail did see the boy, he was surrounded by his Father and sisters. All begging for his life. They promised that they would cure him; he would never do something like that again. He let the boy live, but the family would suffer for it. They were ostracized from society and were forced into seclusion on their estate. Dorothy and he never spoke of it and he did his best to erase them from everyone’s memory.
Dermail would never forget that his neglect had caused Dorothy’s fate. The shattered child he brought home physically recovered. It took much longer for the mind to come back. Once it did; how proud he was of her. She was so like him. Strong, brave, arrogant, intelligent, crafty and manipulative. Perhaps he spoiled her, but she usually used her boons to further the Romefeller cause. He could honestly say to himself that the broken slave was the first truly selfish thing she had ever asked for.
May the gods give her whatever she sought in that poor bit of humanity.
Dorothy spent the afternoon taking care of Lion. The tub was removed; a pallet was brought up; the tailor came & went. She even spoon fed him herself.
Lion had not reacted to anything she did. If he hadn’t washed himself, she might have wondered if he could do anything on his own. That act showed that he was not completely broken.
After Dorothy had her new slave put to bed on a straw pallet she sat and watched him.
Why had she really purchased him? She questioned herself. There had been other hurt and scarred slaves over the years. What was it about him she couldn’t resist?
Perhaps it was his eyes. Somewhere buried under all that pain was a piece of himself he had saved. Maybe she wanted to give another the chance she had been given. A chance to heal, recover. As a slave no one would worry or care about his state of mind. Then again, why did she? Why help a possession? If he were a wild animal for sale, would she have bought him?
It made her feel better to realize, yes. She would have bought the poor animal and try to rehabilitate it. Her actions were not so unusual. Many ladies take in wounded birds. That they were too cowardly to attempt it with a lion was no fault of hers.
Having justified her actions satisfactorily to herself, she slept easy that night.