A short Barrayaran fanfic for Valentine's Day

by Paul Ciszek

"One lump or two?" Miles asked the stunning redhead.
"Lump? Do you mean sucrose? None for me, thank you" Lady Bennello replied. "You know, I really am amazed at this garden. I didn't think that such harmony could be achieved using only unaltered, natural species."
"Thank you, it is mostly my wife's art you are seeing here." In fact, Miles wondered if Ekaterin would be amused or annoyed to hear the Cetagandan ghem refer to her prize winning roses as a 'natural species'. "Please don't take this the wrong way, but when I cornered Dag Benin at that party and told him that we would be using genengineered insects to cleanse the soil around Vorkosigan Vashnoi, I was just tweaking him. I had no idea that he would feel obligated to send, uh, help."
"The Star Creche takes you very seriously these days, Lord Vorkosigan." She gave him a smirk that for a moment reminded him of the haut Pel. "You will have to show more discretion in your tweaking from now on. As for 'sent', I actually requested this assignment myself."
"Oh? Do you have an interest in reclamation, then?"
"Not specifically, though your Doctor Borgois' approach sounds fascinating, if inelegant. In truth, what brings me here is Barrayaran men."
Miles silently choked on his tea as his guest prattled on. "Like these roses, the men of Barrayar have a certain undesigned robustness, with an elegance all its own. And the chivalry, the sense of honor -- in the Empire we have forgotten such things, I fear."
Was that the sound of his grandfather spinning in his grave across the garden? No, two men were coming up the walk. His armsman's urgent the-lord-is-not-to-be-disturbed was overrun by his cousin's casual this-won't-take-but-a-moment. As Lady Bennello looked up at the intrusion, her face lit up. "IVAN, darling!" she cried. "We were just talking about you!"

© 2003 by Paul Ciszek (pciszek at pobox dot com)

Current version by Michael Bernardi, mike@dendarii.co.uk

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Last updated: March 10th 2003