Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


So maybe it’s like, a retribution thing because Gerard did sort of laugh at Pete when he was hanging upside down from that tree. Not in a mean way, more in a, that guy’s hanging upside down in a tree, that’s a pretty amusing sight, sort of way.

Maybe that is why Gerard finds himself hanging from a tree, though luckily, not upside down. The ogre’s, of which there are four, had fought for some time about who they were going to eat first, and Gerard drew the short straw. Actually, he drew the tall straw. They’re killing him first because the other two are smaller than he is. It makes sense, Gerard’s not going to say the ogre’s are dumb or anything, especially not when his life is held in the palms of their hands, but that doesn’t mean Gerard wants to be an entrée. He doesn’t want to be an appetizer or dessert either, but thank god he’s not a palate cleanser.

They tied Patrick and Pete to a tree, leaving Mikey’s book lying precariously on the dirt at the base of the roots of the tree. Gerard doesn’t know what exactly is going to happen to Mikey. If all three of them are gone, what happens to Mikey? Does Mikey just lie on the ground for the rest of eternity, with no company, nothing to do, just sitting there? Maybe someone will find him someday, but if so, how long from now? He could be there for years, and Gerard doesn’t have any idea how miserable and lonely that would be.

Or maybe the ogre’s will take Mikey with them. Then what? Will Mikey pop up? Will he just hide and pretend to be an ordinary book with no words printed on his pages? Will he talk to them and spook them? What if the ogres decide he’s of no use and decide to burn him as kindling? What happens to Mikey if his book is burned? Does he die with it?

There’s so many questions that Gerard has for the fate of himself, and the people he cares most about, and unfortunately, apart from Ray who’s dozens of miles away, all the people who he cares about are right here. There’s only four people he actually gives a damn about, and three of them have their lives on the line right now, and it’s all Gerard’s fault.

He knew he should never have done this. He put this off for so long because he knew this exact thing might happen. He knew this was a danger. He was aware that this could happen even while he was safe in his own home, why did he willingly walk out in the open, practically baiting ogres with a sign that says ‘come eat me’? How could Gerard be so stupid?

Gerard’s going to die here. He’s going to be bones and nothing else, just lying in the dirt, waiting to decay as the sunlight turns him to dust. He’s just going to be a memory in the minds of too many people who will remember him as a failure, and in some cases, a murderer. What will Patrick’s family think? What will Ray think of him? Will Ray just shake his head and move on with his life without Gerard? What will he tell Gerard’s father? Will he even care?

Gerard can’t fathom all of the questions running through his mind right now, he doesn’t know what he wants right now. He doesn’t know if he’d rather escape right now or die and be put out of his misery. He can’t believe that this is actually happening though. He’s actually going to die, and he’s going to die being responsible for the deaths of at least two other people, not accounting for the unknown fate of Mikey. They’re all just going to be ogre food and that’ll be it. That will be the only impact they’ve left on this planet.

Gerard looks down at the fire being started below him, and it makes his heart seize up. He doesn’t want to die like this. Honestly, he would have preferred it if his death came about forty years after this, maybe more. He doesn’t want to die young, and he surely doesn’t want to die as a main course, there’s nothing more demeaning and ugly as that.

Gerard thinks that he might puke. He might just throw up his internal organs and die like that. He wretches a little at the thought, but it’s not helping. He’ll only die in a more demeaning way if he were to puke. He can’t figure out what he wants ideally right now.

Probably, he’d just like to die quickly and painlessly, but that’s not going to happen. He’s going to get burned the fuck alive and it’s going to hurt a fuck ton, but there’s nothing he can do. He’s just dangling from a tree, mute, and really depressed.

This isn’t how he had envisioned his day going. Ideally, they’d be a little over half way to Giantville by the end of today. Maybe he and Pete would have found some common ground. Maybe Gerard would randomly walk into Brendon in the middle of nowhere. He doesn’t know, anything should have happened today. Anything at all in the entire world. Anything but this.

“I don’t know about you, but like, I could really go for a knight in shining armor right around now,” Pete says to Patrick.

“Shut Up,” one of the orcs says. The one who had originally confronted them, they have discovered, is called Nish, and he’s sort of the ring leader of the group. He’s the most brutish, the fattest, ugliest, and the largest. That doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re all huge though.

“But really,” Pete says, “I thought they were more common than this, my childhood had led me to believe that knights in shining armor grew on trees. Like, what if I get kidnapped by a dragon? Is the world trying to tell me that they just won’t come? They’re rare? What’s a guy gotta do to apply for one of them in his life?”

“First of all, dragons aren’t real, and second, you need to be a damsel in distress to get a knight to come rescue you,” Patrick replies.

“Oh,” Pete says, “Well maybe my knight is open to negotiation.”

“Pete, I’d be your knight if I weren’t tied to a tree,” Patrick says.

“Aw, you’d do that for me?” Pete says.

“I can say I would, doesn’t mean I really would cause I’ll never have to prove it,” Patrick shrugs.

“That’s so sweet,” Pete says, before frowning again when he remembers that he’s going to die. He can flirt with Patrick all he wants; he’s still going to die soon.

Gerard, still feeling sick, looks at the ogres who are arguing with each other about something. It’s something that Gerard’s sure would piss him off right now if he could hear it. Probably something about what seasoning to use while eating him. It’s very rude, whatever it is. So is killing him, though, to be fair.

Gerard’s heart has given up pretty much all hope he had had a few hours ago. A few days ago, he was miserable, never left the comfort of what he knew, always struck petrified at the mere thought of his curse. He could barely muster up the energy to face other people, knowing that any one of them could demand this or that from him.

Yesterday, Gerard maybe started to feel hopeful. He’s not entirely sure. He’s not really sure what hope feels like. He thinks that was the only thing that gave him the courage to do so much as step out his front door. He was so afraid, he is still so afraid, now for a better reason. But he had hope. He had a semblance of something that might be considered an actual life for all of a day.

Now he’s going to die though. He’s going to die having really lived only a day in his life.

Except maybe some of the other moments were his life too.

Meeting Patrick for the first time, that was life. Laughing with Ray over something stupid, feeling careless because Ray would never do anything to hurt him, that was life. Gossiping with Patrick about all their annoying classmates, that was life. Meeting Frank, not actually hating him, that was life.

Maybe Gerard has done a little more living than he gives himself credit for. Except now, he’s done living. Now he’s going to die. That’s just how life is sometimes, he supposes. Sometimes it just ends and you don’t get a say in it.

Gerard is actually close to making peace with his death, almost on the verge of being close to sort of, kind of making a little tiny bit of peace. He’s almost there when his thoughts are interrupted by an enormous clattering noise from below him.

Gerard’s not entirely sure what happens in the five seconds that time seems to have stopped in, but he does know that in those five seconds he went from being suspended from a tree above a fire, to being strewn across the ground with an aching in his back like he just, well, like he just fell from a large height onto his back. And even more surprising, he’s not on fire, which means that he didn’t fall into the fire pit, which is ideal when falling from a tree.

“Now that’s what I call a knight in shining armor,” Pete says loudly from somewhere in a direction that Gerard cannot pinpoint since his head is trying to find any amount of stability to stop his vision from blurring. It takes a several moments for his eyes to focus, and he knows he’s going to have a headache later. Though, a headache is better than death.

Gerard is aware of the fact that there is someone who’s practically on top of him, trying to find their own balance while Gerard tries to push them off. He doesn’t want anyone climbing around on top of him, no one at all. Well, maybe one person.

He’s not positive what just happened but he hears fighting and yelling and ogres speaking in a language Gerard’s never heard. Then he hears something he hadn’t been expecting.

“You okay?” a familiar voice asks, and when Gerard looks up he cannot actually believe what he’s seeing. He cannot believe this is happening again, honestly. Once, alright, twice, a little odd, but three times? Three? Three goddamn times? No one just runs into royalty three times on accident.

This man may or may not be the one person that Gerard wouldn’t mind having climb on top of him.

Frank’s arrival is met with a chorus of bells in Gerard’s head, because Frank’s presence means that he just might survive this. He might actually come out of this without any blood on his hands, and if that ends up being the case, then he is going to have a lot of trouble trying to hate Frank.

Gerard wants to say something, but he actually can’t. He still can’t talk. He just looks at Frank with huge doe eyes that are making Frank melt. It’s really anyone’s guess who’s more surprised to see the other. Frank’s very much surprised but he’s not complaining. Gerard’s agog with shock, and the fact that he’s not upset or angry about it, but rather a little excited, that’s what makes him nervous. He’d much rather be brimming with hate for this man right now than in his current state of something verging on glee.

“Tell me if you’re okay,” he says, and Gerard is usually angry at an order but for that he just might kiss this man. He won’t, but he’s grateful nevertheless.

“What the fuck!” Gerard says loudly, not fully aware of what’s going on around him. When he looks up, he sees that Frank has some actual, real knights with him. Gerard’s kind of digging the idea of meeting knights if he’s being honest. He has no dexterity whatsoever, and could never actually be a knight, but who’s he kidding, knights are fucking cool.

“Save the formalities for when you’re not in mortal peril,” Frank says, grinning as he stands up and pulls out a knife from his pocket which he then uses to free Gerard from the ropes around his arms. “Find your friends, and try to stay safe.”

Gerard, again, doesn’t find the order too hard to deal with because those were his thoughts exactly. He runs to the tree where Pete and Patrick had been tied to, which they have presumably been set loose from, because they are now hiding behind it. When he sees them hiding, looking terrified, amazed, and grateful, he sprints to join them, eager to get away from the action. He grabs the book that the ogres had thrown at the roots of the tree, and holds it in a death grip, not allowing anything to hurt it. Mikey will not get hurt while Gerard has something to say about it.

“Thank god,” Patrick says when he sees Gerard, embracing him quickly before pulling Gerard behind their tree, which he supposes is their shield. Gerard evaluates him and Pete for a moment to make sure they’re alright and he notices that Patrick is a bright pink. That could be from adrenaline but he’s not so sure. He’s sure he missed something and he has to try to remember to figure out what it is. Upon further inspection, he notices Pete’s looking a little pink too.

Gerard counts four knights, not including Frank, and they’re pretty much terrorizing the camp that the ogres had set up. They’ve got their swords which they don’t seem to be using as weapons so much as they’re using them to try to intimidate the ogres, who, by all means, are intimidated. There’s six horses as well, though their riders are all on the ground. One horse seems only to be holding luggage, and one is a majestic, kingly white horse that Gerard would bet big money is the one Frank rides. He bets Frank probably looks like the royalty he is when riding that horse, it’s almost too glamorous.

The action of the clearing is nearly too quick to take in. Less than a minute ago, Gerard was hanging from a tree facing sure death, now he’s watching Frank, the fucking prince, driving off the ogres who were trying to kill him. Frank is saving his life. This fucking ass that Gerard has insulted so much that he can’t even comprehend it, is saving his life. If their roles were reversed, Gerard’s not sure he’d save Frank with all the shit that he’s said to the man. It’s a real testament to Frank’s character.

Gerard can’t believe he’s run into Frank again, it may not be a huge kingdom, but it’s bigger than this. No one just runs into the prince. No one runs into the prince twice. Three times is starting to get eerie. Gerard’s trying to rationalize with himself that it has to be a coincidence, because he does not want to allow himself to believe that its fate.

Gerard’s not an idiot though, it’s got to be fate. No one runs into the prince this much, you barely run into commoners this much without intent to do so, but all three times have been accidents and that just doesn’t happen. Some other hand has a role in this and as much as Gerard would like to deny it, that doesn’t change the facts.

The question then becomes why it’s fate. Why is Gerard fated to run into Frank? What is it that destiny wants them to do, and why does destiny require them to be together for whatever it is that needs to be done?

As Gerard watches, he notices anything and everything about Frank. He can’t seem to take his eyes off of him, barely even registering the knights. Frank looks much the same, wearing fancy clothes that cost about the same amount as Gerard’s house, and he’s obnoxiously attractive like usual. Not that Gerard is thinking about him in that way, even though he most definitely is, but he’ll deny it anyway. Frank looks like a real hero, a man worthy to be a prince with his stance right now, sword high, look of determination on his face, and hair askew, sticking to his forehead from perspiration. You wouldn’t think it would look all that mighty, but there’s something about Frank that just mesmerizes others.

Nish, the head ogre, watches as his friends or whatever the hell they are to him, Gerard’s not sure, flee. He watches them run, not looking back to see if he’s alright. They bumble with wobbles and a lack of balance, but they’re fast. Nish is the only one who remains, looking at the five men who have driven away his company like it was nothing.

One of Frank’s men, Gerard can’t tell what he looks like because his back is to him, raises his sword above Nish, preparing to strike, and that’s when Gerard knows he can’t stand back to allow something that he knows is wrong.

“Stop!” Gerard hollers, at the top of his voice, running out from behind the tree. The man raising his sword, pauses and turns to look at Gerard.

“You haven’t a reason to hurt him, he’s defenseless,” Gerard says. The knight doesn’t put down his sword quite yet, but Gerard’s death glare could intimidate even the ogre he’s defending.

“Gerard,” Frank interjects, “he did just try to kill you.”

“Forgive me for not being so petty,” Gerard says, and he glares at the man with the sword long enough for him to put it away, back into the sheath. He’s a somewhat tall man, not unattractive, but not the most dazzling of the group if Frank happens to be standing right next to him. Though in all fairness, Gerard is biased even though he’s trying as hard as he can to hate the damn man.

Gerard turns to the ogre, part of him wanting to see him dead, but most of him remembering just how much he empathizes with him. Gerard’s a black sheep, he’s an outcast. He doesn’t fit in with the society that he’s trapped in, and he’s a slave to it, just like Nish is.

“Go,” Gerard says to him, the ogre looks mad and angry, but he stands without protest. “Just run. I don’t ask for anything from you, just that you consider the fact that I could have let you die. Do with that knowledge what you will.”

Nish looks skeptical but he starts skulking away hesitantly until he decides that he’s safe to start running and catch up with the other ogres. After a few moments of his eyes following the ogre, Frank looks back at Gerard and has a heart clenching feeling of adoration just by looking at him.

Gerard looks at some of the faces of the knights now that he can see them, and notices now that one is actually a girl, which surprises him. According to the law, women can’t actually be knights, which makes Gerard question some of the things he’d thought about Frank, because he suspects that Frank had something to do with it. She’s actually quite pretty if you’re into all that, which Gerard, though he hasn’t come to terms with it yet, is not. Nor is Frank.

Then Gerard’s eyes fall upon Frank, who is staring straight back at him, right into his eyes like he’s trying to see through to Gerard’s soul, and it makes his stomach feel kind of weird, the way Frank’s looking at him. Not bad weird, just weird.

“Nice to see you again, your highness,” Frank says with a shit-eating grin and now Gerard’s the one who turns pink.
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I know it's a day early, but I just want to say, happy Dan Howell's birthday. Also, since I last updated, I have actually met Dan and Phil so my life goal is complete. Please leave a comment!