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remember your priorities
run away!
bitty_gil wrote in pandoraheartsdr
There's a tiny version of Gilbert running through the halls. Between his hands is a tea tray, the fanciest teapot that he could find sitting between two very delicate, ornate china cups on matching saucers. They rattle as the runs, but he manages to hurry down the long hallway without spilling a single drop. His face is bright, flushed from his jog, but it glows with happiness.

If you follow him, you'll notice two very important things. One, he's running straight for a hallway without any rooms in it - just a blank expanse of space that seems to hold no purpose, save for the many paintings and plants decorating it. And two, there's a small, but very obvious red burn on one of his hands from where he grabbed the burning kettle at the wrong angle in his haste.

But he doesn't seem to notice either of these things as he runs to the far end of the hallway, places the tray on a table, hops up into a large, comfortable armchair next to it and starts to pour the tea, speaking to the person sitting across from him.

"I made it just the way you like, Master Jack! I promise it's perfect!"

...Except, his master isn't sitting across from him. What sits on the other side of the table is a large potted plant. Not the person that he's seeing at all.

It seems that the mansion has chosen to play a rather cruel prank on the tiniest resident on the beginning of All Fools' Day.

[ooc - mmmyup. Prose or action, I'll follow you!]

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Bitty!Gil runs right by Liam as he's making his way down the hallway. He does a double-take because he's never seen this particular one, but he remembers Barma talking about his charges.

Then he sees the situation, and visibly winces. If this is that young Gilbert, Liam rather hopes that Barma does not come across this scene, since he knows that the loss of Jack has hit him hard.


Ah! A new face that he hasn't seen before! (How he's gone this long without meeting a Liam is really very strange, but.)

"Yes?" he calls out, curiously. The teapot is set back down on the table and he sits up a little straighter, trying to appear like the proper, obedient servant that he's supposed to be while his master is watching.

"Can I help you, sir?"

That's right; this child likely wouldn't know him.

"I'm Liam. I serve Lord Barma. He mentioned you..."

He sees the burn on his hand, and decides to use this as an excuse. "I should treat that for you. There are bandages and salve in my room. That looks rather painful."

Liam is not entirely sure how to approach this situation.

"Hm?" he mumbles as he glances down at his hand. Nope, it still doesn't hurt, so he'll just ignore that concern and shrug. Especially since what he's said is far more interesting.

"You're Mister Rufus' attendant? Ah - I've been taking good care of him while you've been gone! I promise! Isn't that right, Master Jack?"

The plant doesn't comment.

Liam winces slightly at the fact that the boy is attempting to address the plant. He's just floating--which isn't a bad prank so far as All Fools' Day pranks go--but this? This is cruel.

"I've been injured, so he has unfortunately had to attend to me."

He decides that it might be best to draw the boy away from this hallucination by pretending he believes it. Once he gets the boy away from it maybe he can break the news gently.

"... Master Jack, his burn looks rather serious. Surely you don't mind if I attend to it?"

You might think that one would notice the floating right away, but not Gilbert. At least, not right now. It's been months since Master Jack disappeared, and now that he has him back, the ground could open up in front of them and swallow half of the mansion and it wouldn't matter, as long as he and Jack had been on the other side of it.

But Liam's method works. Gilbert glances up to where the man's face should be, listening intently.

"No, I'm really fine, master! It's no big deal at all! I can clean it later!"

Clearly, 'Jack' agrees with Liam.

Liam's heart goes out to him--he can only imagine how he would feel if the mansion had done this to him with Xerxes--but it would be crueler to let him attend a plant and discover the cruel joke later than to get him away and explain.

"Come along, Gilbert. It's best not to make him worry."

"But..." he mutters, glancing back up to his master. This time, Jack has a longer explanation for him, and he sits enraptured by his voice, as he always does. Every word is clung to, and finally, he nods and slings his legs over the side of the chair to stand up.

"Okay, but I'll be back soon, I promise!"

Liam carefully schools his face and holds his good hand out to the boy, prepared to lead him away.

He has the distinct impression that this is not going to go well.

He offers his good hand, looking down at the burn in question. It's not horrible, but if he thinks about it, it does hurt a good deal. But mostly, he looks embarrassed, not pained or uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry that you have to waste time to take care of me, Mister Liam."

And he still hasn't noticed the floating.

Liam suddenly understands why Barma wanted him to socialize this boy. It's one thing to be a servant, and quite another for it to be one's entire identity.

"It's no trouble, and certainly not a waste of time."

He manages to smile at the boy, floating down the hall next to him, but really this is a little heartbreaking.

"We must take care of ourselves to serve effectively. Physically and emotionally."

"Yes it is. You should be worrying about your master, not a person like me," he insists, stressing the words 'like me' as though they taste bad. Even though his master has spent the last year and a half teaching him self worth, falling back into that idea of only being measured against the people that he serves is easy. Too easy.

"Mister Rufus says that too. Did you learn that from him?"

"Now, now," Liam scolds gently. "Master Jack and Master Rufus care very much about a person like you. You should believe in their assessment of you, and see yourself as important."

He's definitely going to have to have another talk with Barma about this. The Gilbert he knows isn't this bad.

"Partly. A friend also taught me that."

They get to his room and he leads the way in, letting go of Gil's hand to shut the door. While he's going to the bathroom for bandages he asks seemingly-idly,

"Do you know what today is, Gilbert?"

He walks alongside Liam in silence, thinking over his words while still glancing back over his shoulder, as though he's looking out for his master to be following after him. Because...Master Jack should be concerned, right? He should want to make sure that his servant is okay, like he always does.

Maybe he just has other things to do...

He walks into the room and waits obediently, his uninjured hand grasping the opposite wrist.

"Today? No. Is today special?"

He isn't sure the boy listened, but he hopes so. He gets bandages and a bit of salve from the bathroom and returns.

"It's All Fools' Day. As you can see," he gestures to his feet, "the mansion played a bit of a trick on me."

Liam is going to try to ease the boy into it.

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