Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


So maybe Patrick is chumming it up with the fucking Prince, and maybe Gerard is obscenely jealous at their ease of conversation. Maybe that’s true. Maybe Gerard is mapping out scenarios in his head where he and Frank have to be really close together like they were when Frank toppled into him. Maybe Gerard is thinking about what it would be like to stare into Frank’s eyes for minutes on end, getting lost in there. Maybe Gerard is wondering what Frank’s hand would feel like in his. Maybe some of those things are true.

One thing that is definitely true is that Gerard is fuming about it. Gerard is angry with Frank’s face, and how Patrick can talk to him easily, and how Hattie is in love with the guy when Gerard finds him sweet and sincere, and... charming.

Gerard almost snorts out loud at his own thought, because that’s so cliché. Gerard was told the story of Prince Charming so many times as a kid, he can’t actually be thinking this about the actual Prince right now. The Prince is just this nitwitted child who’s been dealt and unfair hand. Gerard is pretty hypocritical thinking of him as a child when there’s less than a three year age difference between them, but he’s angry, and brooding so specificity doesn’t seem important to him right now.

He just knows that he wants to get away from town because everyone is staring at him. Gerard’s life is on display on a good day, but that’s nothing to what it’s like right now. Frank’s fan club are nowhere to be seen, which means that, as they walk through town, no one is flocking up to them and screaming, but that doesn’t mean they’re not staring. Patrick and he will be the talk of the town for months after this, Gerard’s sure of it. Frank is also going to diminish in popularity amongst the minds of several of these people, because he can’t seriously be talking to the town fools. That is so unheard of. No one aside from immediately required people talk to Gerard or Patrick. Their own teacher barely looks their way for fear of catching the loner bug.

It’s kind of ridiculous living in a town where everyone knows your name, and yet all of them think ill of it.

“You two are quick friends,” Gerard mumbles as he speeds away from the owner of the apothecary, probably plotting what herbs he’d best slip into the Prince’s tea to head him on the straight and narrow.

“Well, unlike some people I know, I don’t hold grudges against people I’ve never met,” Patrick replies.

“I had met him though,” Gerard says.

“Yeah, yesterday,” Patrick argues.

“It was a very deep discussion,” Frank says.

“But he went into it already having formed an opinion of you,” Patrick reminds him.

“Not exactly,” Frank says, “he didn’t know who I was when we met.”

“And I hated you when we first met and I didn’t know who you were, so that proves it.”

“You didn’t actually hate me. Surely you thought me a fool, but to say that your loathing runs that deep I think is farfetched to say the least.”

“I was always destined to hate you I suppose.”

“You admitted, you do not believe in destiny,” Frank points out.

“Maybe I do when it comes to this.”

“It seems like your cheap way out of admitting that you were wrong,” Patrick notes.

“You seemed quite taken with me at first,” Frank smiles.

“That must mean something different where you are from,” Gerard says, hurrying his feet when he can see fields ahead which means they’re on the outer brim of town. He doesn’t know when Frank is going to have to leave, but he hopes it will be soon.

“I’ve got to head home,” Patrick says.

“What?” Gerard asks in a panic, “Surely you don’t need to be home so soon.”

“I’ve spent a lot of my day on my feet,” Patrick says, “I think if I were to go with you and have to come all the way back, I might just find my feet to have fallen off.”

“It’s really not that far,” Gerard tries to insist, but the battle is already lost. Patrick has made his mind up. Patrick wants the two of them alone together.

“It’s been nice meeting you, uh, your highness?”

“That’s not my name, that would be Gerard,” Frank says.

Patrick raises an eyebrow at Gerard, who just shakes his head to tell him to forget about it.

“Okay, well, whoever you are then, I hope you get Gerard to admit that he likes you.”

“Nice sentiment,” Frank says as Patrick starts to walk off, and Gerard just curses him quietly. He’s going to be giving Patrick so much shit for that later.

“Don’t you need to be leaving too?” Gerard asks, “Hopefully.”

“Not quite. I have some time,” Frank smiles at him, “that is, if you don’t mind.”

“I do mind,” Gerard says.

“Do you want me to leave you here?” Frank asks, “I mean, I could, but I’d... well, it’s just, I’m probably never going to be seeing you again. What’s the harm in talking just until you get home? What kind of Prince would I be if I let you walk all that way alone?”

“The kind I’d like better?” Gerard says, doubting his own words before he makes an exasperated scoffing sound and growls, “fine.”

“Excellent,” Frank grins.

“I wouldn’t get too happy just yet. I still have to complain about your shitty kingdom to you, you’re simply offering me more time to do so.”

“Go ahead. I’m all ears.”

“What, really?”

“Absolutely! You’re a marvelous insight to me and my future. I could learn a lot from you,” Frank replies.

“Well, for starters then,” Gerard starts, and goes on to explain how flawed the trading system is between neighboring kingdoms, and he goes at it for at least ten minutes of the near thirty minute walk.

“I know I have nothing abnormally shaped to offer you, but do you think I could maybe earn myself some more information about you?” Frank asks eventually.

“I enjoy sunsets,” Gerard says.

“That’s true of everyone,” Frank groans.

“You did not specify any further than just ‘information’,” Gerard responds.

“Well, it was implied that I wanted something more in depth than that.”

“Ugh, fine,” Gerard groans, “What is it you wish to hear instead?”

“Well, I was wondering what it was you wanted. From life, I mean. Like, what do you see yourself doing?”

“I...” Gerard pauses, considering, because he’s not sure that he himself knows the answer to that question. “I don’t know.”

“Well, maybe don’t get specific, but what do you want if you had the means?”

“I, well I guess I want to leave Frell. I don’t want to be near people who think of me so infamously. I don’t want to move away from people I love, but I don’t want to stay in a town that suffocates me either.”

“And what would you do elsewhere? What career do you aspire to have?” Frank asks, “I know if it weren’t predetermined for me, I would have a whole set of goals for myself. How about you?”

“I don’t know. How about you tell me. What would you want if you didn’t have to be King?”

“I would wish simply to be, well, in a sense, average. Normal. Little responsibility on my back, aside from the narrow. A kingdom, it’s far too broad, far too huge a responsibility. I would want something smaller, simpler maybe not, but smaller nevertheless.”

“Like what?”

Frank shakes his head and looks at his feet, “you’d think me stupid.”

“No! What is it?”

Frank shrugs, and avoids looking at Gerard, “simply father. Husband.”

“And what keeps you from that? It’s not out of reach. There’s thousands of girls in this kingdom alone who would say yes in an instant. My sisters for one.”

“There is a world of things preventing me,” Frank frowns, “you wouldn’t understand.”

“Is it a royalty thing?” Gerard asks, mocking.

“Not exactly,” Frank says, “it’s more a perspective issue.”

“Whose perspective?”

“Many people’s perspectives,” Frank responds.

“That does not clear things up any.”

Frank merely shrugs again.

“Well, is there someone you like?” Gerard asks, not sure why he wants to know. Well, it’s the Prince. The dirty details of his life seem more interesting than anyone else’s in town. Or at least he thinks that’s why he wants to know.

“There’s... someone, I suppose,” Frank says.

Gerard does not feel jealous. He does not. That is not at all what this feeling is inside him like he wants to punch this someone in the face, and tear out their hair. That’s not jealousy. That’s just a strange coincidence.

“Does she know?”

“Definitely not,” Frank says, “I think it would be far clearer to me if they knew.”

“Is there chemistry at least?”

“There is no shortage. If only a closed mind didn’t fester itself so.”

“So what’s stopping you then?” Gerard asks, not sure why he’s giving this dude relationship advice. He wouldn’t even call it advice, it’s more just a discussion in which Gerard’s fists are clenched so tightly that they’re white as snow.

“Pure stupidity, and I promise you it’s not on my end. I don’t doubt that there’s some amount of reciprocation if only they weren’t so fucking blind as not to see it.”

“You’re the Prince though. Whoever this girl is, she’s probably completely incapable of believing someone so powerful could ever like her in anyway. Does she work in the castle then?”

“No,” Frank says.

“Where did you meet her?” Gerard asks. He’s seriously starting to get a little nosy, but this is the Prince. This is some juicy information that he can hang over Hattie and Olive’s heads for all of eternity. Yeah, that must be why he wants this information. It will infuriate his sisters. That’s why he wants to know. There’s no ulterior reason for it.

“We actually met very recently,” Frank says.

“Was it love at first sight?”

“For me at least,” Frank shrugs. “I made an idiot of myself upon first impression, I do not think there was any glimmer of love in that moment aside from in my head.”

“So you make an idiot of yourself when meeting people a lot,” Gerard notes, “When I met you, you had your foot stuck in a trap.”

“Yeah,” Frank says, “freaky coincidence I guess. What about you then?”

“What about me?”

“Well, you got to know far too many details about my love life, do I not get to hear a little about yours. Is there anyone?”

“Not a soul. Not a damn soul.”

“Really?” Frank asks, and Gerard is way too dumb to notice Frank grinning wildly at that.

“I’m not really too popular around here in case you hadn’t noticed.”

“So you and Patrick are just friends?” Frank asks.

“What? I mean, we’re not related or anything?” Gerard responds, seriously misunderstanding the question.

“Okay good,” Frank says.

“Why is that good?”

“What? No, it’s not. Sorry, I don’t know why I said that.”

“You royals make no sense to me,” Gerard shakes his head, and Frank rolls his eyes. Whoever looks after him has quite a bit of explaining to do with him that has been desperately overlooked. Either that or Gerard is just super oblivious, because Frank would need an extremely large banner to get across that hey, yeah, he’s flirting. Very conspicuously. It’s not even a secret. Gerard is just so thick that he can’t comprehend that anyone would do that, especially royalty, and even more especially, not a girl. Literally everyone else can see it, Patrick can and so can Ray who’s never even seen the Prince. Gerard is an enormous dumbass.

“So you have the whole kingdom to command someday,” Gerard states, “what do you want to do with it?”

“Ideally I’d just leave it off better than when I started reigning. That’ll be enough for me, and someone can go on someday to make it better than me before and so on.”


“There may be some lineage troubles along the line, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, just assume that whoever next has the kingdom will be fit enough to better it.”

“Can you...” Gerard pauses, wondering if he’ll sound stupid, but sighing and just continuing on with it anyway, “just entertain me for a moment. Can you tell me what it’s like living in a castle?”

Frank thinks about that for a moment before saying, “It’s simple, I suppose. For me I mean, I don’t question that for others it may be quite difficult, but it’s a considerable amount of pampering. It’s unneeded. It’s exhausting after a while, there is very little to actually do. You would think it a busy life, always doing this or that, but it’s not. Being waited on is presumably something many wish for, but it’s very uninteresting after so many years to be treated in such a way. It’s like I’m a different species to the staff. They treat me like, well, like royalty, and I know it’s to be expected, but it just makes me feel different. I don’t enjoy being the guy who walks through a hall or a town that was abuzz a moment earlier and knowing that it quiets down only because of my presence. It sounds cynical to say it’s stifling, but in a sense, it is. You would think being a Prince offers freedom, but what it really gives is alienation.”

“I understand this feeling quite well,” Gerard replies, “in this town, I am the one who makes people quiet down. It feels like needles on your neck, knowing that everyone is talking about you as you pass through. It’s not quite hostility, and yet it’s still antagonistic in a way. It makes you feel dirty, like you need a wash.”

“You do understand,” Frank says, smiling, and blushing when he looks at Gerard.

“Who’s your best friend in the castle?” Gerard asks.

“I don’t have any.”

“None?” Gerard asks. “No one?”

“No,” Frank shakes his head, “the servants, they’re all wary of my power over them, the cooks all seem indifferent, the knights are few and loyal like no others, but personable they are not. The castle is a cold place that is kept well maintained, but it is only stone and mortar if there’s no one within its halls who I have any ties to.”

“What about your Uncle?” Gerard questions.

“I know how poorly you think of him, but it would be untrue to say that I know much more about him than you. I know of him, I know him on the outside, but to say that I know him is inaccurate. He’s nothing more of a shadow of a man whom I have coexisted with for many years.”

“Your father died many years ago though, who is, or I mean to say, who took the position of father to you?” Gerard asks, thinking someone must have. Gerard, who actually has a father, still wouldn’t consider him a paternal figure. It’s no doubt that Ray is the only one who could ever be considered to be in that place.

“I don’t know, really,” Frank shrugs, “I was ten when he passed. I’ve been distant from most people in general since then.

“You don’t seem particularly distant with me. In fact, I’d say you’re very clingy.”

Frank laughs softly, and looks above him at the sky like he’s thinking, “you’re different to anyone I’ve ever met. I know many people, though not deeply so, and I know several my own age, aristocratic brats if you ask me, but you are unlike anyone I know, least of all anyone as young as we are.”

Gerard doesn’t blush. He’s just getting kind of cold as they day grows older and his cheeks warm up because of that. It’s not blush.

“I think it’s because you seem very wise. On all points I may not agree with you, but you are still very wise. Smarts are a different story to wisdom, they’re come to in different ways. One can be learned, one is observed, and I do not know how much intelligence you possess, but wisdom you have a surplus of. Maybe it’s because I seldom speak with people of your financial status. I live in the castle, a town surrounded by the wealthy. Poor is a very different word where I am from. In this town, poor has new meanings of which I am still trying to grasp. It gives you more of a story, more interaction with life itself than people I am used to. You have a gleam to you, Gerard, that I do not know how to describe, and it’s very refreshing.”

“You have romanticized my way of life, I believe.”

“It’s not a romantic gleam about you that makes me so fascinated, it’s not even fascination quite, it’s admiration if that makes any sense.”

“It’s ill placed whatever it is.”

“I think differently,” Frank replies.

“I can’t change your mind,” Gerard says.

“Our time is dwindling,” Frank says, recognizing the hill that will soon show Gerard’s house not far off, and he feels desperate for more time. All he wants is just to know more, understand everything there is about Gerard. It’s agonizing to know that he doesn’t have forever. He doesn’t even have another hour. He’s got about five minutes and he’s crazy for wanting the world from Gerard when he barely knows the guy, but he’s so stunning in Frank’s eyes. Like no one else he’s ever met; pure, genuine, fair, and kind, even when he’s trying to be spiteful, he’s still so kind of heart.

“All the better for me,” Gerard says, not sure if he really means it. Actually, he’s quite sure that he doesn’t mean it.

“Well this will just be a weird little story to tell your grandchildren then,” Frank shrugs. “That time you met the Prince and he was a total idiot with great hair.”

“I think ‘great’ would be overselling the quality of your hair.”

Frank frowns, “I doubt you know anyone with cooler hair though.”

“Ah that’s right, you haven’t met Ray. You wouldn’t be saying that if you’d seen that guy’s hair. I mean, I was raised by a lion, but it’s still a beautiful mane.”

Frank doesn’t know what to say because he’s only got a hundred feet left to go and then it’s goodbye. There’s very little chance that they’ll ever see each other again, and that stabs Frank sharply. He doesn’t know why he’s so bothered by it, but he is. It’s a good thing he barely knows Gerard because if he feels this depressed about leaving a guy he’s talked to for less than two hours in total, then he doesn’t want to imagine how hard it would be if he really knew him.

“This is goodbye I guess,” Frank says finally.

“Yeah,” Gerard says.

“It’s been... eye opening getting to know you.”

“I’m taking that as a compliment.”

“That’s how I intended it,” Frank responds, “I hope you’re able to get your sisters off your back.”

“And I hope you don’t run into them and have your hair pulled out by your freakily obsessive fan club.”

“That’s unfortunately a very kind sentiment. I hope to see you again someday, your highness,” Frank says.

“And I hope you don’t fuck up the kingdom,” Gerard says as Frank stops and watches Gerard walk the short way up the path to his front door. Gerard doesn’t look back, because he totally doesn’t have an emotional attachment to that pretty idiot out there at all. No strings are being cut between them, Gerard doesn’t have any attachment at all. That is what his brain tries to convince him at least.

Frank wonders at what point in the next few days it is going to dawn on Gerard that Frank liked him, and how he’s going to react to the realization when it does finally happen. Frank will not be there to see it however, and that only further saddens him.

Frank is no oracle, nor does he have any blood in him from anyone who was, but still he has this deep feeling inside him he can’t deter that he will someday see Gerard again.

Little does he know of how soon that someday will be.
♠ ♠ ♠
I asked my fiancée what to write in the authors note today and all she had to say was "fuck wasps." So there you go then, fuck wasps.