The Top Button Rating: PG

Nine year old Jagged Fel wishes he could be somewhere besides here. Anywhere but here. Currently, he would even take being reprimanded by Admiral Parck over standing in this diplomatic receiving line. Yet as the son of Imperial Baron, General Soontir Fel, of the Empire of the Hand, he has responsibilities.

And much to his unending disappointment, those responsibilities include standing in this line, with the stupid grin on his face.

Jag glances to his left, to see his older brother Davin, standing there. Jag frowns as the older boy is not exactly slouching, but is not standing quite at the parade ground attention that is appropriate for a son of the General. He gives his head an almost imperceptible shake, and then turns back to the next dignitary in line.

He looks over the man, twisted and hunched, and an odd twitch which occasionally sends tremors through the man's body, yet there is a smile that light up his eyes. Jag searches his memory and a name is supplied, Pter Thanas, the prime minister's husband. Jag smiles once more, and quickly shakes the man's hand.

Then Thanas moves on, slowly heading down the receiving line, and the final person steps up. Of course in the backwards way of Bakura, the final person is the most important, and Jag finally glances at the prime minister of Bakura. She is a human, on the short side, with golden brown hair. Wrapped in a braid once around her head, and then hanging loose over her right shoulder. She is wearing a cream colored dress, fitted tightly on top, and turning into a mass of flowing cloth immediately underneath a purple sash tied around her waist.

Yet what shocks Jag the most, what stirs in him a wistfulness that he does not, cannot comprehend at nine years old, is her eyes. One is as green as the seas of Nirauan and one as grey as the ice fields of Csilla. They harbor an intelligence and a serenity that he has never seen in eyes before.

She smiles at him, and for the first time this evening, her smiles a real smile. As he happily shakes her hand.

And then she is gone, walking down the receiving line and pressing her hand against Davin, a smile for him. As Jag surreptitiously watches, he tries to remember her name. Gaberiel. Galathal. Gaerial. He gives another imperceptible nod of his head, as he remembers her name. Gaerial Captison.

Finally she reaches the end of the line, and the reception has officially begun, and Jag cannot help but grin, and allow his formal at ready stance drop into as close to a slouch as a son of the General should ever be in.

Two hours later, Jag walks out to the balcony, unbuttoning the top button on his tunic, loosening his collar slightly. He gives a quick glance to the left and right, ensuring there is no one around to see the General's son in such a state. Sighing in relief, he steps around the corner, and sees her sitting there.

She turns and looks over her shoulder, smiling at him. "Hello there."

Jag, starts to blush, and begins trying to fasten the button at his neck. Gaerial laughs. "You know it is all right for you to not fasten that button."

Finally getting the button fastened, he snaps to a more formal stance. "The General would not approve, milady."

She stands up in a smooth motion, and walks over to him, laying her hand on his shoulder. "There are many people who would not approve of things we do. That has no bearing on if we should do them or not. Remember, we need to maintain balance in what we ask of others, ourselves, and what we allow to be asked of us. Do you understand?"

Jag does not. To his way of thinking, to what is right for him, is the infallible sense of propriety which flows with a chain of command, with the authority of superiors over their subordinates. To not listen to an order, or to not do what is expected of him, is an utterly alien concept to Jag.

Yet he doesn't want her to know this. "I think so."

She smiles at him. Her hand flicks in under his chin, lightning fast, and then brushes away the wrinkles that have gathered on the shoulder of his tunic. "What I'm saying is that you have a long life ahead of you young Master Fel. There is no need to spend all that time with your tunic buttoned to your chin." Then she leans in conspiratorially, and whispers in his ear. "I bet even the General, unfastens his on occasion."

Jag jerks away, his eyes widening slightly as he stares into Gaerial's mismatched ones. She smiles once more at him, and then disappears back into the reception. Jag turns and watches as she walks to her husband and whispers something into the man's ear. Then together they walk away, deeper into the reception.

Jag frowns at her words. The utter anarchy and rebellion inherit in them, entice him and repels him simultaneously. His eyes harden, as he considers the things she has said, and the things that he has learned during his training. Giving his head a shake, he decides that he likes the life he is leading, the regiment, the structure, the schedule, there is something comforting and reliable about it.

He sighs, and decides that if he ever does find a girl who he wants to marry, then she will not be one of these wild women, who lack the proper regard for the chain of command. No, he decides that he will find a nice, proper Chiss. Someone who he can understand. Someone who understand the value of structure and regiment.

Still lost in thoughts about his future, he reaches up, his fingers touching the exposed skin from his top button being undone.

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