He loved her.

Horatio watched her. She slept in his bed. Except that the bed would never have been his if he hadn't married her. It galled him to know that he was nothing without her. One of her hands lay trustingly against his chest. It rose and fell with each breath he took.

He loved her.

He loved her humor, her soft dark eyes. He loved the way she smiled, so widely and freely. She had been untouched by any of the horror of life. She was his opposite, soft where he was hard, sweet where he was bitter, innocent where he knew with a knowledge that damned him.

He loved her.

He would never have gained so much if it hadn't been for her father. Marriage to her gave him the wealth and power he had dreamed of attaining as a starving child on the streets competing with rats dinner.

He would lie on the ground and gaze upward at the heavens and pray for deliverance. Then one day he saw in the sparkle of her eyes the echo of the stars and knew that she was his answer from above. He smiled, introduced himself, kissed her hand. Her hands were soft; they had never seen a day's work. Her smile was guiless, she knew nothing of the evil of mankind. She was perfect.

He was her husband now. She belonged to him. She trusted him, and loved him. It did pang his conscience a little every now and then, how he had deceived her. But had she known that he was only there for the money she would never have married him. She had no one else to turn to. He had made sure of that.

He loved her. It didn't matter that he wasn't a good man, for her he would change. He would make his deception up to her. He would be a goodhearted as she was.

He didn't know that goodness wasn't something that you could learn. She started taking long walks alone. Concerned for her welfare he followed her one day. He saw her leap straight into the arms of a young man. He left before he heard her greet him as cousin.

He wanted to tear his hair out. He cursed himself for following her, for trusting her. Innocent, she wasn't. She was a lying whore. She had taken his trust and made a cuckold out of him. He, Horatio Dunn. He who had once been a Lord of the streets. Another boy had once tried to steal a lump of bread from him while he was fast asleep under a bridge. He had woken up long enough to cut the bread along with the boy's hand from his arm. He had gone comfortably back to sleep leaving the bread uneaten on the ground beside him. No one else was brave enough to try and steal from him again.

He had been a legend before he met Marion and he had given it all up first for her money and then for love of the woman. She had repaid him by making a fool of him. His hurt hardened into anger.

Never try to outmaneuver a thief. Never try a game of wits with someone who had once had only those wits to survive.

Even as he laid his plans the pathetically soft side of him that had almost taken over whispered to remind him that he loved her. Love would not stop him now though. No, love would not stop him.

He had already spread the news of her infidelity when he discovered she was pregnant. He altered the plan slightly that he might take the child with him. At least the whore would be good for something. She might give him an heir.

Many months and many moons passed before he thawed. The child Patrick, he couldn't' believe it was his son. Patrick was such a flower, he had not an once of man fiber in him. Horatio could not look at him without disgust. He grew to hate him when he realized that the boy must have been a by blow of someone else's. Even after all he had done to her Marion still managed to exact her revenge, his son wasn't even his.

It was one day when Patrick suddenly beamed up at him with Marion's smile that he remembered that he loved her. He loved her and he had damned himself; because of him she was gone forever.

He loved her.


thanks to vaurienne - horatio is the bad guy and he had a reason for what he did but still even if he hadn't thought that marion cheated on him he would have still done the unthinkable because it was in his nature to do so. That was part of his wonder of Marion, that she really had no evil in her like him.