“Have you seen your brother around here?” The majordomo had his someone’s-getting-in-trouble face on and his face twisted in a scowl. Caleb gave him an innocent smile. “Simeon? No. I haven’t seen him all day.”
“Hrmph. If you see him, tell him to come find me. Your lordship.”
The ‘lordship’ was brusque, cursory, and entirely insincere, but Caleb didn’t mind. He nodded at the man, and let him storm on his way out.
Caleb wouldn’t be in his brother’s shoes for anything – either of his brothers. Their mother was constantly on Simeon to do better in school, to be nicer to the young Ladies he met on her whim, to clean up and look nicer all around. And Cye…
“Is he gone?”
Both Caleb’s brothers were half-brothers. Simeon shared a mother with Caleb and a father with their sister Marianne. Caleb, on the other hand, shared a father with Cye, whose mother was the head cook.
“He’s gone. I’d ask what you did this time, but he was looking for Simeon.” Cye had only been serving above-stairs for a couple weeks, but some things didn’t take long at all to learn.
“Her Ladyship is on a ramp… I mean, she seems like she’s in a bad mood.” Cye tugged on his slave collar uncomfortably; like Caleb, he was going through a growth spurt, and nothing fit. “Seems like it runs in the family. When I saw Lord Simeon earlier, he was pretty cranky, too.” He eyed Caleb carefully. “Everyone but you.”
“Well, someone has to be in a good mood,” Caleb shrugged. “Besides, shit flows downstream, and by the time it reaches me…” It was divert it or let it hit Cye and the other slaves. But saying that would just make Cye uncomfortable. He shrugged. “Not so much left, since it’s all over Marianne and Simeon.”
“Must be nice, being the youngest,” Cye murmured. He was still getting the feel for what his half-brother-slash-Master would put up with, and Caleb was still getting a feel for how much he could let his new responsibility get away with, so when the younger boy flopped across the bed, they both eyed each other uncertainly.
“It has its advantages,” Caleb allowed. “Mostly invisibility.”
“Doesn’t sound that different from being a slave.” He sat up, cross-legged, clearly uncertain about the lack of reprimand.
Caleb shrugged. “There are advantages,” he repeated. As long as he kept his nose clean, he could look after those beneath him… like Cye. It wasn’t much of an advantage, but it was something. It was almost a purpose in life.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/174553.html. You can comment here or there.