When Guy had heard loud knocking on his door at four thirty in the morning, he should have known who was behind it.
But considering what time it was, and the fact that he'd still been half-awake, it made him jump and seriously wonder if his cover had been blown and the Duke had sent someone for his head —which, to be quite honest, would have been the ultimate irony, considering he'd already given up on his ideas of vengeance and murder—.
When he didn't, however, find a group of blood-seeking guards at the other side of the door, but an overly energetic thirteen-year-old, he breathed a sigh of both relief and resignation. He really should have known.
"Guy, Guy, Guy!"
The servant quickly stepped out into the hallway and shut the door behind him.
"Shh, Luke. You'll wake up Pere." And the whole household for that matter.
The redhead didn't seem too worried about the warning, but he did lower his voice. But it didn't change the fact that he looked about ready to burst from barely concealed excitement to tell him something. Guy had to wonder how long the boy had forced himself to wait before coming here —after countless "no, we can't play hide and seek at two in the morning, Luke" conversations, maybe there was hope for him after all—.
A tug on his sleeve brought him back to the present, and he knelt down so he could be on the young noble's level —since he wouldn't lift him up as often anymore, he found himself doing this a lot as of late—.
"Teach me how to cook."
"E-Excuse me?" Maybe he'd heard him wrong. Out of all the things he had imagined this could be about, having Luke ask him to teach him how to do something that he had always considered a chore was a bit mind-boggling.
The tiniest of frowns was on Luke's face, clearly not amused at having to repeat himself, but he did. "I want you to teach me how to cook."
Guy couldn't help pointing out the obvious. "Last time I tried to teach you how to make yourself a sandwich, you called it a useless chore, and you said and I quote 'Can't the maids just do it for me?'."
He couldn't be too sure because it was still dark outside and one of the lanterns near his room needed to be fixed, but he could have sworn Luke's face went a shade of red close to that of his hair. "S-Shut up. That wasn't today, and today I want to learn how to cook."
Something about his obvious embarrassment and the way he had crossed his arms over his chest in an obvious sign of chagrin ended up winning Guy over. An awkward silence followed in which Luke tried not to shift nervously from foot to foot too much while waiting for Guy's answer, and in which Guy tried to convince himself that giving in to the boy's demands so easily every now and then wasn't a sign of weakness on his part.
Letting out a resigned sigh —so much for his restful night of sleep—, the blonde ran a hand through his hair in a half-attempt to fix it. "Alright, alright. Let's go before the guards see us."
The half-shouted, half-muffled "Yay!" —the redhead only remembered halfway through it that they were supposed to be being quiet— and the beaming smile he got in return almost made it all worth it.
They reached the kitchen with relative ease — Guy had to give the boy that. Even if he was still a little clumsy on his feet and tended to trip more often than not —even when there was nothing but air to trip on—, he still managed to sneak past the guards like he was a natural at it. He didn't know if that spoke well of Luke or poorly of the manor's security.
"So," The blonde finally spoke up again, considering it safe now that they'd reached their destination and all doors had been closed. He was currently trying and failing to light a new candle on the main counter, figuring it'd be less noticeable than lighting up the whole kitchen, "What is it that you want me to teach you how to cook?" Maybe if he taught him to make himself a sandwich he wouldn't get visits in the middle of the night again about wanting a snack...
"I want to make a cake."
Guy almost burned himself with the match he was holding, seeing as his eyes were instantly drawn away from what he was doing to stare at the redhead. Forcing them back down to his task —ah, there you go, finally—, he tossed the used match aside and tried to think of how to word what he wanted to ask. "A cake, Luke? Don't you want to start with something a little simpler? How about I teach you how to make a sand—."
"No, no, no! It has to be a cake."
Was it his mother's birthday anytime soon? It was too early in the morning to remember. Maybe he wanted to cook her breakfast, or maybe make her something for mother's day. She had caught a bad cold last week... But she was doing better now, wasn't she? Oh man. Sure, Guy had a basic knowledge of how to go about doing this —not to mention access to the cook's personal cookbook—, but this was surely too complicated for a boy who'd only just learned to count past a thousand a year ago.
Luke must have heard the hesitance in his voice. He switched tactics.
He sighed. "Let's make a cake."
This time he didn't bother shushing Luke when his loud "Yay!" resonated throughout the otherwise empty kitchen. Better to start looking for that cookbook if he wanted them to be done before he'd have to report for his morning duties.
It was a week later, and Guy had only just woken up after a —luckily— restful night with no interruptions. He thought he'd heard the faint sound of a door closing, but Pere was still asleep on the bed next to his when he checked —which was surprising, seeing as the old gardener was usually always up before him—, so he didn't question it, taking a moment to enjoy the quiet as he stretched languidly on his bed, closing his eyes again to better enjoy the moment.
It was pleasant, but kind of surprising. Ever since that night when Luke had showed up in his room, he'd been expecting the redhead to come ask him for help again. After all, they'd eaten the first one by themselves — after cleaning up the mess they'd left in the kitchen, that is. Luke had been very focused during the whole process, but he was still clumsy and more eggs had ended up on the floor rather than in their cake, that was for sure. The same could be said about the flour. He'd even had to give the boy a bath after they were done. But it had been a while already and he hadn't even brought it up during their daytime study sessions.
Oh well. That just meant more sleep for him anyway, so who was he to complain?
The faint sound of approaching footsteps made him open his eyes, and he sat up as a soft "thud!" as well as the same rapidly retreating footsteps echoed in the hallway. Rubbing his eyes to rub the sleep out of them, Guy made his way to the door quickly, opening it just as a hint of red hair disappeared behind the door that led to the main hallway. But something else caught his attention, and made him stop just as he was about to step out and follow the redhead.
A trail of flour that he suspected started way beyond where the door blocked his view led all the way down to his doorstep.
He blinked, then looked up at the place where his charge had disappeared again, his eyes shifting back and forth, seemingly unsure of what to focus on.
At his feet, there was a messily decorated cake. It wasn't a perfectly circular one, that was for sure, but it was close enough and on top of it the words "hAppy birthdaY Guy" had been written in a messy yet sure handwriting he knew far too well.
The sound of Pere shifting in bed and sitting up finally made him turn around, still not past the initial surprise the unexpected gift had caused. For the first time, he noticed that the older man was already dressed. He frowned. Why had he been sleeping in his...?
Wait a second.
The gardener gave him an innocent smile, and he just knew.
"It was you. You helped him."
"Happy birthday, Master Gailardia."
Rolling his eyes at his own former caretaker's words, Guy shook his head and turned back around to kneel by the cake so he could lift it, simply staring at the messy scribbles for a moment as he tried to hold back a fond smile.
"Thank you, Pere."
When he closed the door and walked back into their shared room, a thought came to him. There was a grimace forming on his face, "I'm going to have to clean the floor and give him a bath now, won't I?"
"I thought you'd want to start your birthday with something pleasant."
He'd have thrown a cushion at him if his hands hadn't been otherwise occupied.