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[personal profile] dolevalan
Title: Spring
Fandom/original: Arthurian legend
Rating: G
A/N: Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] ladybedivere's response to a meme a while back. Just a small bit of fluff.


There was a knock. No one ever knocked at Laurel’s small solar, not that she could recall. Her husband, the few times he’d been there, simply barged in, and she had no other real visitors. The one serving girl she boasted came in when she did, and the castle’s servants were only there when she was at meals or had retired to bed.

Putting the tapestry in her lap (Laurel wondered, sometimes, how many tapestries she’d make in her life, and if anyone would ever really look at them), she said “Come in.”

She could think of few things more surprising that Sir Kay stepping in to the room with an infant in his arms. Her husband spontaneously composing her a ballad, perhaps. Marginally.

“Lady Laurel. Good day.” He was gruff as ever, but not in a temper; to be fair, she’d never seen his rages directed at a lady of any standing, though there had to be some who’d merit it. “I hope you’re not too very busy.”

“No more than tolerably, Sir Kay.” She rose to greet him. “But what occasions such a visit?”

The infant was not asleep, but was apparently fascinated by a lacing on Kay’s tunic, and a small hand reached for it as it swung with the knight’s movement. “I should think that it would be partially self-evident,” he said, a little sarcastically, but it was a mild tone. “Sir Bedivere brought back a child.”

“A child?” She frowned a little. She knew Bedivere, of course, but only slightly. He’d never been very close to her family, and those without ties to the Orkneys were unlikely to be much known to Laurel. “Is he…”

“She. An orphan,” Kay said, “from the last campaign.” His face was firm, if not unkind – clearly, if the child’s parents weren’t dead, he was going to brook no argument from any man or woman in court about it. And Laurel didn’t envy anyone who set himself up against Sir Kay’s stubbornness.

The child was quite fetching, bright-eyed and intelligent. She’d caught one of the lacings, and gave it a firm little tug, but the knot held.

“I know it is a great deal to ask,” he continued, “and I will not blame you if you say no. But I’ve told the idiot Welshman that I’d help him raise the creature. It occurred to me, though, that a girl raised by Sir Bedivere and myself might lack some of the… refinements a lady might come to want later on.”

Laurel was startled. “You’d like me to…”

He shook his head, expression already beginning to shift to resignation, as if he'd expected her to be outraged. “I shouldn’t have asked, I’m sorry.”

“No, wait.” She held out a hand, surprised at herself for speaking to him so boldly. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t, I was simply surprised. Why…”

“Well, you’ve some time, I thought, or will have until you have one of your own. And you’ve always seemed like a sensible lady, if you’ll allow me to say so.” His look was steady and more or less candid, even if there was more he did not say.

“I see.” She considered it for a moment. Agravain wouldn’t be thrilled, but as long as the child was never in his way, and didn’t interfere with her doing anything for him, he’d probably just grumble.

Wordlessly, she came and took the girl from Kay’s arms. She was light, probably a little underfed, if growing stronger. Laurel’s braid was clearly an improvement on Kay’s lacings, and the girl looked delighted. She was small and bright and beautiful.

Steadily, Laurel said, “She can’t sleep here, but I can take her in the daytime, when my husband is out on hunts. If that’s acceptable.”

Kay almost smiled, that strangely guarded but pleased expression he sometimes wore. Laurel thought it suggested satisfaction at having arranged something to his own specifications. “That will be fine, my lady. Shall I leave her with you for an hour or two now?”

“If you like,” she said. Kay nodded, and turned to go. “What… what are you calling her,” she asked softer, to stop him.

“Her name is Rose,” he said, pausing at the door to give her a slight bow before leaving Laurel and the little girl alone together in the bright, sun-filled room.

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Estelle

January 2012

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