Will sat outside on a small stool someone had brought out a long time ago for a smoke break. In the cool clear night air, Will's cheek felt all the more hot as it burned from the blood rushing to it from the smack he had taken earlier.
An almost sad look grew onto his face, before he pushed it away with a grin, tilting his head down. He pushed the ice pack firmer to his cheek, mumbling, “He never hit me when I was his son.”
“Will!” came Irene's voice a moment later. Will turned his head up and looked over his shoulder to see her come out of the kitchen, several feet away. “Some creep was asking for you a minute ago. Do you know him?”
That's out of the blue. “What'd he want?”
Irene shrugged, crossing her arms. “He didn't say, and I didn't ask.” She waved her arms a bit with another shrug, then she walked closer to him to see his face in the dim light. “Did you get hit again?”
Not really wanting to answer, Will gave a small nod, and looked away as he heard Irene start the usual scolding. “Why do you do things that'll make him mad?”
Irene waited for the answer. Will just gave a slight shrug, slumping his shoulders a bit.
Because I'm his son.
“You have to stop! You aren't his son anymore!” With this Irene raised her voice. “You're just a stupid servant now, so get it through your head! If you keep this up” and her voice began to raise into a shout, “Then it won't be Lady Mia that curses you! It'll be Adell! If you want to stay here then you have to be a good servant to him and his new family! You can't just be constantly pressuring him that you're his son! He doesn't want it, let alone believe it! If you keep this up, he'll kick you out!”
Will smiled a bit, turning to look at her. Even though he was smiling, there was sadness in his eyes. Irene stopped her rant, her anger pausing when she saw the ocean in his eyes filled with sorrow. The depressed look in his eyes was so prominent it made her gasp a bit, jumping with a start.
“It's all I can do.” Will answered her, his smile never wavering.
“... Alexander called for you.” Irene replied, looking down. Shame filled her for having just yelled at Will.
“Right.” Will smiled and stood up. As he walked past her back into the kitchen, he patted her shoulder reassuringly.
Irene looked after him, staring at his back. “Somehow, you look so lonely... Even with us all around you. You should really share that sadness with us.”
Will put the ice pack back into the freezer as he heard Irene speak. He took a smooth deep breath, letting it out through his nose as he turned and headed out of the kitchen. Anyone else might need to recompose themselves, or swallow a lump in their throat, but not Will.
The pain that the sadness will cause me is not worth feeling, so why should I even bring that to anyone else? That's a rotten thing to share.
Walking up the dim servant's stairways toward his old bedroom, Will took the time to clear his mind of any lingering thoughts he might have. It was these meditation periods that had caused him to become well practiced in pushing his emotions down so far that he couldn't feel any emotion. All of his tears, along with all of his laughs, had been suppressed for so many years that he couldn't even recall what it felt like to have them. However, even though Will couldn't feel those emotions, he was able to give the appearance of smiles and other emotions, but it just left the impression of the empty facade he had.
Truly, I am worth nothing. Will thought as he stood in front of his old bedroom's door. He lifted his eyes to the center of the door and felt a surge of energy briefly. But I can't just stop, for Alexander's sake.
Will knocked on the door, opening it quietly. “Alexander?” he asked quietly into the darkened room. “Did you call for me?”
“Will!” came Alexander's soft voice from inside.
With a comforting smile, Will let himself in, and closed the door. He walked over to the bedside, seeing Alexander awake and playing with some of his stuffed animals in the dark. A candled nightlight by the door was offering a warm flickering glow to the room.
“Aw, you aren't even in your pj's yet.” Will said, as he started to pick up a few of the plushies.
Will didn't need to say anything more. Alexander got up and was changing into a lightweight nightgown as Will was putting the stuffed animals back into a toy chest at the foot of the bed.
“Which one do you want tonight?”
“The blue bunny.” Alexander's answered, smiling as he climbed back into bed.
Will nodded, picking the small stuffed animal from the foot of the bed and closed the toy chest. “Here you are~” He smiled, handing the plushie to Alexander. The little boy happily took it and started to hug it.
It took a few moments for Will to get Alexander to move enough for him to get the comforter down and get the little boy under it and all tucked in.
“Mm-hmm!” Alexander nodded, his blue eyes brimming with happiness.
Will patted his bangs, stroking his hair a bit. Then he stood up and started for the door. “Good night.”
“Will.” He stopped and turned back to look at the boy. “Play me a lullaby?”
Will had a surprised look briefly on his face. Then he smiled and walked back over to the bedside. He reached over to the nightstand and lifted up a lyre with eight cords made out of a turtle shell.
It was an old item that had belonged to his mother. After her passing, Will took the instrument and kept it in his room. He only knew how to play one lullaby on it, the same his mother had played for him as he grew up. But after he had been sent to the servant's ward, Will had decided to leave the lyre in his room. It had probably never left his room during his whole lifetime. He couldn't picture the image of his mother walking out of the room with the lyre once.
“You have to go to sleep after this, okay?” Will asked, eyeing Alexander's eager face. The little boy nodded and snuggled in to get comfortable.
After Alexander stopped fidgeting, Will began to pluck the strings and play the lullaby. The song itself was simple, lasting only around twenty seconds, with periods of quiet between the notes. A middle note was struck first, being lead into by high-to-low notes with a swing of his fingers. Then again the middle note, then a high note, and then a higher note, then a pause, another higher, and one more higher, before going back to the first higher and then the high note. Then, once more a pause. Then, again Will ran his fingers across a few cords like before to hit the middle note, then he paused, hit the note again, one more lower, and then a few higher notes. Another pause, and he finished the cycle with three more strokes leading high, with the last note being one below the middle-note. Then, with a pause, he began the song again.
Will played through the lullaby several times, closing his eyes as he strummed. He imagined his mother strumming to him as a child, the notes echoing into something further than just his ears. The song was slow and soothing, a perfect melody to put someone to sleep with.
After a few minutes, Will stopped playing and slowly opened his eyes as the last note echoed into the silence.
“Are you sad?”
Will looked down at Alexander, a bit surprised he had stayed awake through the melody. Usually he'd just fall to sleep. “Hm... Not really.” He looked down at the lyre, letting his memories fade from the forefront of his mind. “Why?” He asked as he put the instrument back onto its spot on the nightstand, a violet velvet square.
“It sounded sad.”
Will smiled at him as reassuringly as he possibly could. “Sorry. I guess I was thinking about something else.”
Will sat back down on the edge of the bed, adjusting the blankets some. “Just someone I miss.” He looked back to Alexander's curious face and patted his hair again. “Go to sleep, okay?”
“All right.” And Alexander rolled over, pulling the cover up to his cheek and closed his eyes.
Will stroked his fingers through the blond hair briefly before he stood up and headed to the door. Closing it quietly, Will whispered into the room a “good night”.
After closing the door, Will started back toward the ballroom. It was faster to take the main staircase, so he did. I better get back to serving the hors d'oeurves and drinks. He thought, knowing that the king's arrival would fuel Adell's want for more beer as they enjoyed each other's laughing company long after the other guests would leave.
At the base of the staircase, Will spotted the strange young man he had danced with earlier. “Can I help you with something?” Will asked as he came to the bottom of the steps.
The young man straightened up with a start, since he had been leaning with a grumbling troubled faced against the wall. “Oh! Uhm, not … really.” He smiled, waving a hand. “I was just wondering whatever happened to Adell's son.”
“Alexander? He just went to sleep.” Will answered, without missing a beat.
“No.” His smile widened, but not with a sinister intent. He was amused some. “The older son. He was about my age last I knew.”
Will's face contorted into a soft glare as it hardened on this stranger. “You're mistaken.” He spat out the expected response. “The Grand Duke only has one son, and that is Alexander.”
“Really?” His smile continued, tilting his head to the side. “Cause I could've sworn the one I'm thinking about was around my age.”
Will closed his eyes and started past him toward the ballroom. “You must be thinking of someone else.”
“You sure it's not you?” he asked after Will passed him.
Will's legs froze. The question made his entire being stop working. His mind, his legs. All of it just stopped working. Part of him wanted to answer truthfully, the other part wanted to shout and scream, and another wanted to curse this young man, while another wanted to interrogate him. With all the possible responses spinning in his head, Will couldn't think of anything to say. In fact, he couldn't think at all.
After a few seconds of this speedtrain going crazy, a few words burbled out of his throat, tripping on his tongue as they came. “Y-You are mistaken.” He said it with a firm tone, even though the words themselves shook.
Without hearing a reply, Will went to take a step forward, when his left knee collapsed inward on itself. His knees had locked up, and his legs had gone numb. Overwhelmed by the thoughts and the lack of blood to his brain, Will fainted forward, hitting his head on the floor when he landed.
In dumbfounded-shock, the young man stared at Will's collapsed form. “Well. Uh... Not quite what I had in mind.” He looked around quickly in case any of the other servants had seen, then he quickly gathered Will up into his arms and hurried out of the building. “Geeze, he's heavier than he looks!” he complained as he sprinted outside down the pathway entrance.
Almost 35 yards away, he finally ran into the blond and the black haired man from earlier in the night.
The blond stood up with a shout, pointing at the fainted Will. “What the hell! This wasn't part of the plan! … Who is it?”
“It's the target's son.” he answered, shifting Will so he could carry him easier. “We better go now.”
“He won't be happy.” the young man with black hair stated matter-of-factly.
“Yeah, well I doubt Adell will come really easily. Sides, wouldn't having the son make for just as valuable research?”
“Bias.” the man with black hair answered.
The blond laughed, “Akiio's right, Crow. We're gonna be in trouble without Adell.”
“We'll just come back and get the old fart later.” he answered, starting to walk away. “Let's go already.”
The man with black hair, Akiio, looked to the blond blankly. The blond let out an exasperated sigh, hanging his shoulders into a slump. “But his punishments are really bad, Cro~ow.”
“We'll be fine. Now hurry it up!” Crow called over his shoulder. “This guy isn't exactly a featherweight.”