[current; takes place in Toronto, where Karl is filming]
"I'd say that he's here to represent both my parents, but the fact is that my mum just doesn't care to travel," Dougray explains, stepping behind Karl as the uniformed doorman of the Four Seasons pulls open the door for them. "So we might not be getting her view at all," he says, looking up at the soaring ceiling as they step into the hotel's luxe foyer.
"Which is good or bad for us?" Karl asks, touching the small of Dougray's back. He's nervous but not overly so. God knows he's dealt with enough parental judgement in his lifetime.
"It's... less than good," Dougray admits on a sigh. He's grateful for Karl's steadying presence, his willingness to make casual contact even in public. "I don't expect either of them to be particularly accepting, but my mother is more likely to be tolerant. My father is too deeply ingrained with tradition."
"Does that mean he's gonna ask me what my intentions are?" Karl teases.
Dougray laughs and rubs a hand over his face. "Wouldn't that be refreshing?" he replies, smiling at the sparkle in Karl's eye. "I think..." he trails off, and turns in the hall to take both of Karl's hands in his. "He's here to see if I have the balls to actually produce someone. But he's telling himself that I'll be alone."
"Then he's in for a huge fucking surprise, isn't he?" Karl says, giving Dougray's hands a squeeze. He smiles. "Come on. Let's go meet him. It's not going to get any easier."
Waiting in the solarium, Dougray's father rises to his feet when he sees his son approaching. And his eyes widen. Dougray gives him a nod and a smile, then holds out his hand to Karl. "Sir, this is one of my partners, Karl Urban," he says, managing not to choke. "Karl this is my father, Lord Scott."
Karl holds out his hand. "Pleased to meet you, sir."
Automatic courtesy has Lord Scott shaking Karl's hand, and Dougray hopes that ingrained politeness might carry them through this entire awkward meeting. Of course, there's also that bone-deep sense of entitlement to deal with... Dougray takes his seat once his father does, aligning himself with Karl on the opposite side of the table. "You're well, I hope?"
Blue eyes snap to glare at Dougray, but Lord Scott nods. "Of course," he says gruffly. "And... the two of you, I trust. There's a third, somewhere?"
"Yes, sir," Karl nods. "Harry. Harry Sinclair. He had a meeting with some television executives in L.A. He asked that I pass on his regrets for not being here."
"Ah, I see. It's probably for the best," Lord Scott murmurs, and frowns at the look that fetches him from his son. He takes a deep breath, obviously mustering up effort before he begins, "Karl, you are... or the three of you, rather, you're...?" Abruptly he drops the pretense and glares hard at Dougray. "I don't understand you. You've told us that you live with two - two! - other men. Did you think one wouldn't be sufficient? I don't know what you want from us, Dougray!"
"I just want you to accept it, Dad," Dougray answers, meeting his father's harsh whisper. "That's all I'm asking. Don't judge, don't approve or disapprove. Just accept."
"It doesn't change who he is," Karl says quietly, simply. "He's still your son and he wants to be able to include you in his life."
Lord Scott looks at Karl and shakes his head. "This is not--" he drops Karl from his attention and turns on Dougray. "This is not what we planned for you, none of it. And you!" he glares at Karl again. "You do not fit in the plans at all, nor Mr. Sinclair."
"There is no need to be rude, Sir," Dougray bites out, each word calm but edged. "Karl is both my partner and my guest. I ask you to behave with indifference, at the least."
"Maybe you should ask your son what his plans are," Karl says, too many years of dealing with his father leaving him completely unintimidated. "It doesn't sound like they match yours and I'm fairly certain that both Harry and I are a huge part of them."
"This is preposterous." Lord Scott knocks back a large swallow of scotch, then rubs his forehead. "We can hardly set two extra places at the Christmas dinner table," he scoffs, "although there's still a spot for Isobel, and you--"
"Don't mention her," Dougray cuts in, his jaw rigid. He meets his father's eyes and speaks more softly. "She's not coming back. I have a very different life now, and I'm very happy. And if you feel you can't invite all three of us, then we'll simply skip Christmas dinner. I can accept that."
"And there'll always be room at ours if you decide to join us," Karl says, wanting to make sure, suddenly, more than anything that Dougray keeps all the doors open. Because Lord Scott isn't like his dad. He's not some abusive asshole who should've never had a family in the first place. He's merely an old man stuck in his ways and used to having control over everything. And everyone.
Dougray looks at Karl in surprise. His father had escalated the situation, Dougray had been preparing to walk out, and Karl... offered peace?
His father seems just as stunned. "With you, eh? And just what do poofters do at their Christmas table?"
Sucking in a breath through his teeth, Dougray snatches at his self-control before quietly answering, "We eat ham, Dad. Sometimes pudding." He drops his hand to brush against Karl's knuckles, grateful for his lover's steady calm.
Karl smiles over at Dougray then looks back at Lord Scott. "The thing is, sir, you're either going to accept your son as he is and for who he loves, or you're going to lose him. And maybe you think you can live with that, and if you show enough disapproval and hold out long enough, he'll come back or he'll change, but he won't, because if you can't accept this part of him, you can't accept him," he says, pausing for a moment before adding, "Believe me, I know what I'm talking about."
I love you. Given their surroundings, it's good that the words stay only in Dougray's mind. But the meaning is clear in his eyes as he looks at his lover in amazement.
Across the small table, Lord Scott shifts uncomfortably in his armchair. Silence stretches as he searches for an objection that will somehow overcome Karl's passionate words. Finally, he looks at Karl and asks weakly, "But, don't you want children?"
Fuck. "No, actually I don't," Karl says after taking a good long moment to think about his answer. "I didn't have a good role model for a father and I have some pretty strong doubts about the kind of dad I'd make, but if your son wanted children," Christ. He can't believe he's saying this even though he means every bloody word. "I'm sure we'd find a way to make that happen." He smiles over at Dougray. "So far, it's not something he's ever talked about."
"He does," Lord Scott cuts in, clinging to a last rational hope.
"Did," Dougray says firmly, meeting his father's eyes. "I've let that go. And Marcus has already provided you with more heirs than you need. The title will stay with our family."
"It's not just about the title, Dougray!" Lord Scott frowns, unable to pin down the exact source of his distress but still too uncomfortable overall to just let it go. "It's about continuity."
Dougray bites down hard on his lower lip before quietly repeating, "I'm happy, Dad. Let it be enough."
Karl doesn't say anything more. He's already said his piece and now it's up to Lord Scott whether he listens to his son or digs his feet in. He smiles over at Dougray, touching his fingers against the back of his lover's hand.
Lord Scott's eyes snap to that unobtrusive motion, a discreet caress. He inhales slowly, then breathes out with that same measured calm. When he looks at his son, his gaze is troubled. But he nods slightly. "I... I'll have to speak with your mother, of course."
"Of course." Dougray nods back. "I understand, Sir." He rises as he watches his father get to his feet.
"If you'll both excuse me, now," Lord Scott says, a slight tremble in his voice. Hesitantly, he reaches out and lays his hand lightly on Dougray's shoulder for a moment. "Son," he says gruffly. He nods at Karl and then turns away.
Karl waits until the man's well out of range before turning to Dougray. "Sorry I touched you," he says, not really sure how badly he fucked up or if he did but still... "I didn't think he'd even notice."
Dougray looks at him quizzically, then reaches up and lays his palms on Karl's cheeks, stepping close to kiss him thoroughly. "I'm glad you touched me," he whispers, ignoring the sudden shocked glances they're now getting. "Thank you for everything you said."
"I didn't say too much?" Karl asks, still thinking it might have gone better if Harry had been here. Harry, who always knows what to say, how to deal with people, how to bring them around to his way of thinking.
"Sir, you were perfect," Dougray whispers against Karl's lips. "You made me fall madly in love with you all over again." He winks.
Karl grins. "Okay. Good," he says, giving Dougray another kiss, trying not to look too pleased with himself.
God, you're cute. Dougray can't help thinking it, but he does manage not to say it. "So, ahh..." he says, looking around at the polished silver, cut crystal, and soaring flowering arrangements filling the room surrounding them. "Want to get the hell out of here?"