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Lords of Swords

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linden_jay @ 04:20 am: Harry, Marton and Karl. My son?

"Please, Karl- rise? Or at least come up here with me? We both want things we cannot have- please- can I not have that?"

Karl looked up, than carefully claimed onto the bed. He moved as close as he dared to Harry, his hand on his face. "You may have what is mine to give."

Harry looked up at Marton, his eyes pleading. "You too. Please?"

"I do not know if the bed is wide enough." Marton moved closer.

Harry closed his eyes and shifted onto his side, groaning, facing Karl, making room for Marton.
"Please- I need to feel both of you- just know you are both here. That we are all here."

"Harry, you shouldn't be moving." Marton murmured. He moved to lie behind him, hand lightly at his side.

"It will be worth it. Just to know for real that I have you both."

"You do. You always will."

"I need this- to remember..." Harry let out a breath, fading into a sigh as he fell asleep, sagging against Karl.

Karl looked at Harry. "Remember? Why does he say it like that?"

Marton muttered curses softly under his breath, reaching up and touching Harry's hair. "He does not expect this to last."

"How do we...I have tried again and-" Karl took a deep breath. "Will nothing convince him?"

"Over twenty-five years of conditioning, Karl. Of not fighting back, of doing as he was told. He argues with them, offers his opinion, but he never refuses. Never. He is only here because we took him. He would not have come voluntarily while under their orders to stay. They never realized it, but they never needed the bars and locks. He would have stayed there the same whether it was locked or not."

"How can we keep him then? How do we keep him from going when they next snap their fingers?"

"We keep him out of their reach. That is all I can think of. And we convince him not to seek them out. The only thing keeping him here right now is his love for us, and the knowledge of what Corin did to you."

"Is there no way to get him away from them? Permanently?

"Marriage." Marton growled the word.

"Marriage." Karl closed his eyes, his head laying back down as he moved closer to Harry.

"I cannot think what else would do it- what there is that they would respect or obey. He loves us, but he feels bound to them."

"And any marriage they would accept is one he would hate."

"Of course. They want heirs- they would not allow a union with another man."

"Then there is no hope." Karl's voice was barely audible.

"We can keep him here. Away from them- hidden. And pray that Corin does not find us."

"And if he does? What than? Watch him being led away?"

Marton closed his eyes, feeling powerless. "They have lost control- before they saw him as an asset- took care to keep his marks light, hidden. Explainable. Not so this time- look at him. His refusals have finally sunk in. They know that he means no. He goes back to them - he will die in that room."

"And we can't stop it." Karl's eyes were dead as he opened them. "We lose him without ever getting to fight for him."

"I will leave before I let that happen. But he will not abandon the king- damn! Why did I have to teach you about honour and the ideals of the knighthood?" Marton cursed, stroking Orlando's cheek again.

"Nothing we can do." Karl laughed a bit hysterically. "Funny, Steele will get his goal better if he leaves him to live than if he kills him."

Harry whimpered a little at Steele's name, curling in on himself.

"Shhh, safe Harry. Safe." But he's not really

"Safe?" he murmured, wincing from a remembered blow. "I am sorry- please?"

"No need to be sorry, Harry. Safe. No more hitting, no more fearing. Safe with us."

"Us. You." Harry smiled. "No more."

"No more." Karl forced himself to stay in control.

"Love...both," he whispered.

"Love, both." Karl whispered back, lightly kissing Harry. "Both."

"My Harry," Marton murmured, stroking his cheek, then Karl's. "We will find a way. I swear it."

Karl looked at him. "Don't make promises you can't keep, Marton."

"I don't," Marton said, looking straight into Karl's eyes.

"Please don't."

"They are not getting Harry back- even if I have to dress you in a skirt and pass you off as my
daughter and marry you off to him to do it!" Marton insisted.

Karl stared at Marton, a bark of laughter escaping him before he slapped his hand over his mouth. He tried to still his body from shaking with laughter.

"Shh- outside!" Marton ordered, starting to laugh himself, slipping out from behind Harry and standing, grabbing Karl by the arm and hauling him up off the bed, rushing them out of the cabin before dissolving in laughter.

Karl fell to the ground, holding his sides as he laughed. "Your....oh gods."

Marton leaned against the side of the cabin, laughing until tears poured down his cheeks. "You are very pretty," he sporfled.

"Daddy." Karl made a show of blowing a kiss at Marton, than laughed again, rolling onto his other side.

Marton tried to compose himself, growling at Karl. "Behave, child- or I'll have you over my knee," he choked out.

Karl looked in mock horror at Marton. "Daddy? You wouldn't?" he wailed.

"That depends on whether you will marry young Sinclair or not." Marton feigned looking stern.

"But...but Daddy.." Karl brought his arm up over his eyes. "I hardly know him. What if I don't love him?"

"You will learn to love him in time," Marton waved his hand. "I want him as my son and heir and-“ he cut off, staring at Karl, his mouth hanging open.

Karl frowned. "Marton? What's the matter?" He stood up, walking over to him.

"Son and heir," he breathed. "It is too easy- how can they have not thought of that- is it why they had me sent away? Did they fear this?"

"Marton, make sense. What are you talking about?

"I am not married- I have no child, but I have my lands and title back. Legally, I am in a position to adopt an heir to inherit it from me. To become of my house, take my name. Become my son."

"But can you do that? When they have such hold on him? Won't they fight it?"

"I will have to see the king in order to have my vindication bestowed on me. I will ask him then. If Harry agrees- they will have no say. They will hate it- they will attempt to fight it. And we will always be at risk from reprisal from them. But he will be free."

"But will he agree? Can he break away from them?" Karl bit his lip. "Can we keep him?"

"There is nothing dishonorable about a third son- fourth child taking a place as the heir of another man- he stands to inherit nothing, even if he was not reviled. That may give him enough of an excuse."

"Marton, you know him. Can this..is there a chance of this succeeding? Is it possible he will say yes to you?"

Marton paused, wanting to be certain before he answered, then slowly nodded, his eyes filling with hope. "I think so. I pray so."

Karl closed his eyes in relief, his hands up to his face. "So we must get to court, without being seen by them. And somehow get to see him, getting past that bastard Lenoloc.

"And we must get him well before we think of putting him on a horse again. I will not risk a repeat of what happened after the journey here."

Karl shuddered. "No, we must get him well. Do we tell him of this? Or wait?"

"We wait. Can you do that? If we tell him now- he'll either argue with us, or be out of the house, his lady saddled and ready before we could slow him." Marton sighed.

"I will wait. It will not be easy, but I will wait."

"And we will get him better. See him grow strong and get angry with us for coddling him."

Karl smiled. "That we will. We should be returning, lay down all together, for when he awakes."

"We should. Come, my child," Marton grinned, pulling Karl to him and kissing him hard. "We must go back."

"Yes, Daddy." Karl was almost breathless from the kiss. "As you say."

Marton gave him a sharp swat to the ass. "Back to bed with you."

Karl yelped. "Yes Daddy." He hurried back to the house, looking back over his shoulder at Marton.

Harry was frowning deeply, his hand reaching out, almost at the very edge of the bed.

Karl rushed to the bed, carefully pulling him back and laying next to him. He kissed his mouth.

"Mmm," he murmured, inhaling deeply. "Karl."

"Yes, Karl." Karl pressed as much as he dared against Harry, running his hand down his face. "Karl."

"Karl," Harry repeated, sighing happily. "Marton?" he asked, his brow furrowed.

"I am here, my Harry," he whispered, moving around the other side of the bed and squeezing in behind him, sliding his arm over them both, his hand resting against Karl.

Karl looked at Marton. "Keeping him, right?" He mouthed to him.

Marton nodded at Karl, running his hand over Harry's arm.

Karl smiled, than kissed Harry. "Sleep now."

"Not tired," Harry mumbled, burrowing closer against Karl, then pressing back against Marton, uncertain which way to go.

Karl moved back against the wall as much as he could. "Closer Harry." He motioned to Marton to move more too.

Harry moved up as close to Karl as he could, sighing happily, despite a hiss of pain as Marton pressed up against him, relaxing and drifting off again, a pleased smile on his face.

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