Papa's Final Journey
The Kingdom of Paxus was a plentiful land, full of land ready for farming. The palace stood at the center of the lands. Just outside the small city that surrounded the palace was a small manor, which was bustling with servants and money. It was covered with blooming flowers, and held it's animals in the front of the house, while having vast orchards in the back.
However the excitement in the house, came mostly from a young boy who was being dressed by a servant.
“Oh Tara! It feels just like Christmas! I get a mother and sisters all in one day!” The boy bounced on his toes and looked around. He was a bearer, a male who could bare children and most bearers were raised demure and dainty. However in his youth he was unaware of his duties to the goddess, and his astounding ability. Just excited to have a whole family, the boy couldn't contain himself.
The servant dressing him smiled at the young boy's excitement. “Yes, it's going to be very exciting here,what with the Baroness and all.” And when Alex shot away to look in the mirror she huffed and walked around his rather large bed. “Oh, hold still!” she snapped and attempted to fix the decoration on his tunic. But the boy twirled happily.
“The master deserves some happiness after all this time;” spoke another servant who folded linens “...bringing up the child on his own. She must be lovely.” the woman shook her head and puttered about happily.
“I hope she likes me.” Mumbled the boy running his hands over his tunic attempting to smooth it out. But with every small bounce of his feet another one came up in the soft fabric.
“She'll love you.” spoke the servant with a smile, then poked him in the stomach. “Just be the little angel I know is in there somewhere.” she walked away and began to put odds and ends away. Cleaning in the excitement of a baroness coming to the manor.
“And don't chew on the bones at dinner and give yourself away.” laughed Tara as she began to fix the boy's tunic herself. But she didn't get far as a small thud was heard, and Alex was running about, crawling over a bed effectively wrinkling his tunic to get to the window. Tara hurried after his form and attempted to grab him, but the youth got tot he window before she could stop him. “Child, your father arrives any moment!” she scolded.
Alex looked out of the window and frowned. “Oz I told you! Not today!” he crossed his arms and glowered down at his friend.
“You look like a bearer!” Oz said, face scrunched in surprise. He was a short boy with a tousled head of red hair, and covered in dirt. He had never seen Alex dressed up in such a way, used to the boy in a dirty tunic playing out in the orchard with him.
“That's what I am, halfwit!” Alex yelled down and put his hands on the windowsill, and smirked down at his friend happily.
“Yeah! But today you look it!” Oz tossed his stones to the side and crossed his arms. Having fun making fun of his oldest friend.
“Bearer or not, I can still whip you!” Alex said leaning a little further out of the window.
“Hah!” Oz answered and took off running down the lane towards the back of the house.
Alex turned, and weaved through the servants. Who did there best to catch him, but soon he was running out of the side door and through the orchard to catch Oz.
Meanwhile, in the front of the building servants were running about, attempting to line up as the Master began to pull in through the gates. The head servant, Wesley walked to and fro in front of the line of servants a grim look upon his face. Though he was humming with joyful energy, at the thought that the master would soon be here and the young master would be even more happy.
“Look lively! It's the Master!” called out one of the servants, as the carriage pulled up with a regal looking man up front. He sat straight on his horse, and smiled broadly at Wesley as he hopped off his horse easily.
“Welcome home, Monsieur Le Seigneur!” called Wesley happily as he trotted up to the man happily. Wesley handed off the reins to a servant. “I see you have brought us a baroness.” Wesley grinned at the happy look upon his master's face.
“I have brought you an entire household, Wesley.” The master looked around pleasantly, and smiled. “But I seem to be missing a son.” He grinned happily again and stood back as the carriage pulled up further, and the door opened. The first to come out of the carriage was a small blonde, who looked around curiously, and then stepped out. The second was a slightly pudgy red head, who gazed around before stepping out. Then a hand appeared, and was taken by the driver then she stepped out. A tall slender woman with a sever face, her blonde hair hidden mostly by a white, silken hat.
“Oh... Auguste. It's absolutely charming, really.” The woman smiled lovingly at Auguste, before a shout of happiness broke the silence.
“Papa!” Alex ran up and was scooped up by his father easily. His tunic was covered with mud. Which made the two servants sigh and shake their heads. His father, kissing his cheek laughed.
“Oh, look at you, just as I left.” He grinned and swatted his sons butt and shook his head. “I'll wager your friend Oz is around here.” He laughed again.
Alex shook his head, and giggled. “No, sir! I slaughtered him!” He motioned over his father's shoulder just as Oz came around the corner covered completely in mud, and a defeated stance. Auguste knew the boy's mother would have a fit over the boy. But the woman also loved Alex, and so the anger would subside just as quickly.
“Well, so you did.” He laughs as Oz sighs and kicks a rock. Then he placed Alex back on his feet and looked the boy up and down. “I had hoped to present a fine gentleman.” he sighed and straightened the boy's tunic. “I suppose you'll have to do.” He turned him to look at the three assembled ladies. “Alexander, may I present the Baroness Anya de Ghent. And her daughters, Buffy and Willow.”
The Baroness smiled tightly, and looked the boy up and down in disdain, as he stood happily in the embrace of his father.. “Hello, Alexander, at last we meet.” Then she looked over her shoulder slightly. “Ladies, say hello to you new stepbrother.”
Both of the girls curtsied and smiled at the boy. “Monsieur”
Throughout the day Alex was redressed and began meeting his new family. At dinner he was mesmerized by the way his new family ate with such grace. But soon he found himself whisked off to bed with his father.
“Utopia.” Alex said looking at the book his father had handed him. He loved to read, but more Alex loved to listen to his father's voice.
“It means paradise.” His father said grabbing the book and flipping through the pages lazily, from where he lounged on the bed. “This may be a bit thick for an eight-year-old, but we could add it to our library.” Auguste smiled at his son, and was glad to have given the boy something he had longed for.
“Will you read some?” Alex sat up hopefully, he loved falling asleep to the sound of the father's voice. And the thought that he could have that the day he got a whole family made him smile.
Auguste shook his head and laughed at Alex's attempt of puppy eyes. “It's been a very long day.” The man sighed and looked at his son.
“And you're a husband now.” Alex chirped happily, making his father laugh. It was a deep rich sound that made Alex's heart soar.
“Yes,” laughed Auguste “I'm a husband.” he cupped his cheek and smiled. “But a father first and forever.” The man moved up on the bed to smile at his son. “We've been two peas in a pod, you and I, for a long time.” Resting his chin on his hand and sighed while looking around. “I suppose this will take some getting used to.” Then he half picked up Alex and smiled. “Come on , into bed.”
As Alex crawled across the sheets and got covered by his father he smiled wider. “Did you see the way they ate their supper? It was perfect!” Alex laughed and he was tucked in. “Like a dance.” He was amazed at the manners of his new family members. He just hoped that Anya would find room in her heart for him, but Tara and Faith had both assured him that she would.
“Do you like them?” Auguste asked, hoping that his son was as happy as he, himself was with his new wife and daughters.
“Very much.” Alex smiled as he nodded.
“Good, good. Because I have to go to Avignon in a fortnight.” He waited for the outburst the he knew was to come from his son.
“But you just got back!” Alex frowned, he didn't like the fact his father ceontinued to come and go.
“I know.” Auguste sighed and looked down.
“For how long?” Alex asked looking down at the blankets..
“Only three weeks.”
“T...” Auguste collapsed with a sigh “Two.” But Alex had sat up and had a firm face on. Both raised their hands and began a quick game of rock, paper, scissors. In the dim light Auguste hoped that he'd be able to win, knowing his son's mind was groggy from sleep and the excitement of the day. But he was unable to as his son grinned and won easily. With a resigned sigh Auguste nodded.
“All right, one.” Then he pulled to covers up more, all the way up to Alex's chin. “Come on, go to sleep.” And as Alex got snuggled down Auguste smiled again, just being in the presence of his son made him unearthly happy. “Kiss.” he said and kissed his son lightly before pulling away. “Sleep tight.”
The fortnight passed too quickly in Alex's opinion, and although he had begun to get to know his new sisters more he was dreading his father being gone. Anya had been moping about for the entire morning refusing to eat her egg, or even drink any water. His father had looked guilty at this and Alex knew that his new mother would miss his father just as much.
When it got time for Auguste to leave, the household was gathered outside and the family stood, all looking sad and depressed. As Auguste walked out, rubbing his left arm up and down he laughed at the slight.
“I've never seen so many gloomy faces around here.” Walking over to Anya he smiled lovingly at her. “I shall be back in a week.” He said a finger under Anya's chin.
Looking down Anya frowned. “Then go. The sooner you leave, the sooner we can celebrate your return.” She cupped his cheek lovingly. With a small peck on her cheek he moved to the three children. “Perhaps,” Auguste smiled as he brushed the cheeks of the two girls, and Alex. ";by then, the three of you will know each other better. Huh?” Auguste squatted down in front of the young boy who didn't meet his eyes. Turning his face up Auguste smiled. “I'm counting on you to teach them the ropes around here.” He smiled as Alex's confused look. “The Baroness isn't used to getting her hands dirty.”
When this was said the Baroness looked everywhere but at her new husband. She rubbed her hands together and then put her hands down, attempting to stop her fidgeting.
As Auguste got astride his horse his head seized up, and his reins dropped form his hand. He looked at his hand, flexing it in an attempt to get rid of the strange feeling. A Wesley picked up the reins to hand them to his master he smiled.
“Thank you, Wesley.” Auguste said happily taking the reins.
“Safe journey, Master.” Wesley said while patting the horse's neck. He looked up at Auguste who was lightly flexing his left hand. Then he spurred the horse into moving, as he moved away Anya clapped her hands.
“Come along, ladies. Back to your lessons.” She watched as the two girls moved away.
“Wait!” said Alex looking at his step-mother. “It's tradition. He always waves at the gate.” But with a disregarding look she walked into the house.
Rolling his eyes, Alex ran down the lane to better see his father wave goodbye. But as he watch his father doubled over in pain and feel from his horse. Alex's heart stopped, and raced at the same time and all he could do was scream.
“Papa!” And he took off running towards his fallen father.
From inside the house Anya had heard his scream, and had come to see what was wrong. As she ran, skirts lifted, servants came behind her following the young boy's steps. Alex reached the fallen man first and shook him.
“Papa! Papa!” He said before Anya came and flipped him over to his side.
“Auguste!” Anya sobbed at the state of her husband. As the man looked from her to his son she stared hopefully. But as he raised his hand and touched Alex's face she stared at the boy.
“I-I love you.” Auguste rasped, and Anya took a rasping gasp. “I love you.” he repeated staring at Alex's broken face. Before he stilled with a shutter.
“Auguste!” The Baroness yelled, sobbing openly. “You cannot leave me here. You cannot leave me here!” The woman stood and was enveloped in Wesley's arms as she sobbed for the loss of her husband.
Alex lay on the ground over his father's body begging his father to come back. And as Faith and Tara came to pick him up off his father's body he waved htem away. “Leave me, leave me.” He clung helplessly to the fallen form of his father. “Papa, please come back.”
It would be ten years before another man would enter his life. A man who was still a boy...in many, many ways.