Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


“How is it that you have found yourself in the middle of nowhere dangling your life on a string?” Frank asks, not even bothering to tell the four very curious looking knights around him how on earth he could possibly know this man.

“Technically it was a rope,” Gerard replies.

“Pardon my folly,” Frank says.

“We… got lost?” Gerard offers.

“Sure you did,” Frank nods, turning to look at Patrick who he feels is more trustworthy, and he probably is.

“That sounds about right, yeah,” Patrick says, “We just, uh, were chasing a bunny.”

“Yeah,” Gerard continues, “chased a bunny.”

“For twenty miles?” Frank asks.

“It was a damn cute bunny.”

“Who’s your friend?” Frank asks, looking at Pete, who feels very weird having the prince look at him. Pete had no idea what the prince looked like, he’s never heard anything about his appearance other than that the prince is good looking. He would not have guessed from any distance that this man could be a prince though. He would have thought that the prince would at least be a couple of inches taller than him. Pete is fairly sure that the prince is the same height as himself. The prince could literally pass as an elf.

“I’m the bunny,” Pete says, and Patrick hits him in the side.

“Pardon him, he’s a bit of an idiot,” Patrick says.

“I’m Pete,” Pete says. Frank nods to him in acknowledgement before turning back to Gerard.

“So what brings you here on this fine day to the middle of nowhere?” Gerard asks, trying to sound casual, and failing abysmally.

“Yeah,” Frank nods, not even bothering to answer him. “So where exactly are you trying to go?”

“Giantville,” Pete says, answering for Gerard, which pisses him off, because Gerard would have left that part out. His goal was to try to avoid Frank at all costs. It’s not working very well.

“For what purpose?” Frank asks.

“That much I can’t say,” Gerard replies, “Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be on our way.”

Gerard starts to walk around Frank, which entails walking through the complete strangers who just saved his life, but he avoids their eye contact firmly, only looking straight ahead. Gerard may not be good at avoiding the prince, but if there is one thing he is good at, it is making an idiot of himself.

“Not so fast,” Frank says, and when Gerard doesn’t stop walking he says, “Gerard, stop.”

Gerard groans, looks up at the sky as if to curse off a deity, and then turns back to look at Frank, waiting for his feet to unstick themselves from the spot where they are now glued.

“What is it?” Gerard asks.

“You can’t expect me to let you just walk away after you almost got yourself killed, can you?”

“I guess I got my hopes up.”

“Why are you going to Giantville?” Frank asks him.

“It’s not of your concern.”

“It is now that I know you’re willing to die for whatever task it is you’re trying to accomplish.”

“I’m looking for someone,” Gerard says.


“Just someone.”

“Why do you seek them?”

“I can’t tell you that.”

“Why not?”

Gerard shrugs, “I simply cannot.”

“He won’t tell us either,” Patrick says.

“I can’t,” Gerard says, wishing they would understand. He would tell them if he could, it’s not that he won’t tell them, he literally can’t.

“Well, you’re the same cryptic and yet oddly assertive man I met originally then, aren’t you?” Frank says, looking at least done with questioning Gerard for the time being. Gerard’s still stuck to the ground though.

“So can we be on our way?” Gerard asks.

“You’re not seriously suggesting that I leave you to go back into this forest by yourself are you?” Frank asks. “You did almost just die. Like five minutes ago. You were almost dead.”

“Fuck,” Gerard says decisively.

“Um, sir?” one of Frank’s knight asks, looking skeptical.

“Oh, shit, sorry,” Frank says, “introductions, sorry.”

“It’s fine, I don’t really care-” Gerard starts.

“Manners,” Patrick hisses at him.

“I care so much, please enthrall me,” Gerard corrects himself, dripping sarcasm.

Frank first introduces the girl, whom he calls Hayley, and honestly she looks the most intimidating of the lot of them, Gerard doesn’t want to piss her off in the slightest. Her hair is a bright red, almost an unnatural color which Gerard is fascinated by, and she’s definitely beautiful, but Gerard’s not sure why he doesn’t find himself very attracted to her.

Next is arguably the most attractive man Gerard has ever seen in his entire fucking life, and he almost forgets what Frank looks like because this guy is literally that pretty. Now, Gerard’s got somewhat of an emotional connection with Frank at this point, and destiny is being a prick and forcing them together, so Gerard wouldn’t necessarily say he prefers this man to Frank, but he’s a looker nonetheless. Frank calls him Travie, and he smiles at Gerard, the only expression beyond neutral on any of their faces.

The next two aren’t exactly similar looking but they’ve got the same hair which means that Gerard’s not going to have an easy time remembering their names so he’s going to avoid using them. One is called Alex, the other is Ryan, but only seconds after Gerard is told this information, he promptly forgets who is who.

“Why are we getting all chummy if I’m going to run away from you the second that I get the chance?” Gerard asks.

“Because I know where you’re going. I might as well escort you there, it’s only a half days ride out of the way.”

“We’ve still got a nearly three days ride to the castle,” Hayley reminds him.

“They can wait,” Frank shrugs.

“That’s so nice of you,” Pete says, “gosh, I don’t know where you get off calling him a dick, Gerard, he’s quite nice.” Gerard blushes a bright pink, burning the tips of his ears because he can feel everyone, even the strangers, looking at him. These are Frank’s fucking knights whose livelihoods revolve around protecting Frank and the kingdom. And now they know Gerard thinks Frank is a dick.

“We really can’t afford to waste any more time-” the knight who Gerard guesses is possibly Ryan starts.

“Nonsense, what’s going to happen in a day? The sky will fall?” Frank asks. “Gerard and I go way back, and he’s already almost gotten himself killed. It would be irresponsible of me, as a prince, to allow him to continue on without aid.”

“Oh, that’s how you’re going to spin it,” Gerard groans.

“Gerard, on foot, you will not be to Giantville until tomorrow evening at the earliest, even then you’d have to run most of the way. On horseback, I can have you there before morning.”

Gerard considers this, and he can’t deny that it’s tempting. The soles of his feet are already aching, and his bones are heavy with weariness. Even the mere thought of sitting down for a couple of minutes is tempting, but to think that Frank is offering him the chance to not have to walk any more at all?

“Would you offer passage to my friends as well?” Gerard asks, because if Pete and Patrick are left out, then he’s surely not going to do that.

“Of course,” Frank says.

“Ugh,” Gerard groans, “I wish you didn’t have to make this scenario sound so ideal so I could have the capacity to turn it down.”

“So is that a yes?”

“It’s a very reluctant fine, but I’m complaining the whole way.”

Frank grins, “I would expect nothing less.”

Frank then tells the one that Gerard decided was Ryan to help him move the stuff from the horse holding only baggage to make room.

“I’ve got it, sir,” he says.

“Nah, it’s fine,” Frank says, continuing to move it as the others stand awkwardly just sort of looking at their new company. Pete and Patrick are drifting closer together, like they want to make sure that if anyone tries to talk to them, the other will be there in case they make an idiot of themselves.

Sometime in the last few minutes, Gerard’s feet have unstuck from the ground, but that doesn’t mean he really had anywhere he was trying to go. Now he’s just standing there feeling awkward but at least he can move his feet.

The girl, Hayley, turns to the leftover that Gerard supposes is Alex and tries to make things less uncomfortable by talking to him while Gerard, standing lonely and awkward, just watches everyone else doing their things.

Gerard turns to look around him, at the devastated camp around him and the tree where he’d, barely a few minutes ago, thought he would surely die. It seems like everything has happened so fast. He doesn’t even know how Frank found them. He doesn’t think he could thank Frank enough, and he hasn’t even thanked him once yet.

When Gerard turns back, there’s a man standing right there, looking at him. It’s the pretty one, Gerard feels kind of intimidated being so close to him. He’s really hoping he doesn’t look as awful as he feels he does while standing next to this man.

“Hi, Gerard, right?” He says, “I’m Travie.”

“H-hi,” Gerard says, stuttering because he’s honestly at a loss for words, he’s never seen someone so gorgeous and it’s kind of unsettling.

“So how do you know the Prince?” he asks.

“We uh, I, he, uh… he got his f-foot stuck in an animal trap, I h-helped him out,” Gerard says.

“Oh, right, I heard about that. Well, I’ve heard nothing but that actually,” Travie nods, and then looks over and shouts, “hey Hayley, this the guy!”

Hayley turns, looking curious, walking over to them. Gerard feels unending nerve at the prospect of Hayley, mostly because Gerard’s really never met anyone as pretty as she is who’s his age. He should be attracted to her, and he knows he should. He should be tripping over his feet for her, gagging on his own adoration, completely smitten. He doesn’t know a thing about her, but that’s what he knows he should feel. He’s supposed to be attracted to a girl as pretty as she is. But for some unknown reason, Frank’s face keeps popping up, getting in the way of those thoughts.

“You’re the guy?” she asks, strolling over to them with such swagger, Gerard could drool.

“I am?”

“The prince has talked of nothing but you for… well, days,” Travie says.

“Nearly two weeks,” Hayley adds, sounding tired merely thinking of it.

“He has?” Gerard asks.

“It’s gotten quite annoying, in truth. I was starting to think you didn’t exist with the way he talks of you. He never told us your name so I figured you might just be a figment of his imagination.”

Gerard blushes furiously, he doesn’t know if what Frank has said is good or bad. “I do hope his words of me have not been negative.”

“Far from it,” Travie says, and he eyes Gerard like he knows something that Gerard doesn’t, and he probably does. Travie and Hayley share a look, like they’re having their own conversation with their eyes. Gerard doesn’t like it. He just wants to know what it is that everyone seems to know but him.

“I fear I cannot say the same. I have spoken nothing but ill of him, and I’m starting to question whether those words had any merit,” Gerard says, because honestly, Frank seems like a fucking peach. He seems to genuinely have a heart, care about others, and dedicated to correcting himself when he makes mistakes. It’s nauseatingly sweet.

“He’s a good man,” Travie says, “despite whatever it is he may be lacking in, whatever you see fit to hold against him, though I’m sure you have good reasons. There’s kindness in him, if not naiveté.”

“He sees something in you, I’m not sure you could ever understand, or reciprocate it, but he certainly sees something,” Hayley says. Gerard’s not sure why the two of them seem hell-bent on talking up the prince to Gerard, like they want Gerard to feel something for the guy.

In truth, they just want Gerard to feel a semblance of the way that Frank feels for him. Frank’s falling hard, it’s been getting stronger every day, even with the absence of Gerard, and now that Gerard’s here, Frank might be completely lost. Gerard might be headed for a cliff.

“I do not understand what warrants it,” Gerard responds honestly, “I don’t want it to be said that I believe myself inferior to him, because it would be untrue, I just don’t know that I understand why it is that he thinks of me as an equal. He is royalty, is he not? I thought this would entail a superiority complex.”

“He’s got one, don’t worry,” Hayley says with a small laugh, “he’s just kind despite it. He does try to treat people as equals, but often forgets that he is privileged. It’s not intentional.”

“For a prince, I would say he is down to earth. For a regular person-”

“He can be a snob,” Hayley finishes.

Gerard watches Frank as he loads some of the stuff from one horse and moves it to other horses, clearing enough space for someone to ride the horse. Gerard doesn’t understand how it is that eight people are going to ride six horses, because he may not be that good at math, but he does see the flaw in that.

“That’s not to say he is all bad. Everyone is made up of vices and strengths. Frank is nothing if not genuine. He really wants to make himself a better person, and he wants to leave a good mark on the kingdom.”

“He doesn’t know what he’s doing though,” Gerard sighs.

“Does anyone?” Travie says.

“You should give him an open mind,” Hayley says, “at least for a while. Try to get to know him, but without decisions already made about what it is you expect to see. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.”

“Maybe you’ll find it in yourself to amount half of the same feelings he has of you,” Travie says. “Though, it seems you might already by halfway there.”

“I don’t know why people keep assuming there’s more to how I feel for him than what is on the outside.”

“You just said it yourself,” Travie says.

“I said that I might not hate him. I never said that I in anyway liked him.”

“I assumed that it was implied,” Travie says.

“I don’t like him,” Gerard assures.

“If you want to keep telling yourself that,” Hayley shrugs.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s just that it’s really hard to hate Frank. He’s very kind, and very sincere. He genuinely wants to do what’s best, for the kingdom and for the people he meets. I think he deserves a second chance. I understand how you may feel of him, or his uncle. I’ve heard all about it. But you really opened his eyes when you met him,” Travie says, “I don’t think you can comprehend just how much, because none of us can.”

“I just don’t want to allow myself to get close to a man whose bred from hate.”

“But you see, that’s not Frank,” Travie says.

“Up until recently,” Hayley says, “it was illegal for women to hold positions as knights. Do you know who petitioned for that law to be repealed?”

Gerard supposes it was Frank. Frank is just fucking perfect apparently, and it pisses Gerard the fuck off.

“Frank’s father was a very kind man, a very good ruler. I knew him before his death, my own father was a knight, the king treated everyone with such respect. He gave the kingdom hope, a glimmer of brightness. That same light shines in Frank. His uncle may not be the best ruler, but Frank did not inherit that, he is not even close to him,” Travie says.

“Who is he close to?” Gerard asks, “he made it seem like he’s not close to anyone.”

“In a sense, he isn’t,” Travie sighs. “He can be detached, I don’t think he even knows it. There’s a very large part of him that wants nothing more than to have someone, someone close to him.”

“That may be what he sees in you,” Hayley says.

“He’s looking in the wrong place.”

“Is he?”

“I think we’re pretty much ready to go, if you’re ready,” Frank interrupts, turning to look at everybody. Gerard looks at Frank, then away when Frank’s looking directly back at him.

Travie and Hayley both give him a onceover, evaluating him, sizing him up. Gerard feels like they’re deciding whether he’s worthy of associating with Frank. He hopes he passed their test, because he likes the two of them.

“Good luck,” Travie says, walking away from him, and mounting a horse so flawlessly that Gerard is almost jealous. Hayley gives him a similar sentiment, before she too is making her way to a horse, and making it look easy. Gerard doesn’t know how the fuck he’s going to get up onto one of those horses but he knows that his attempt is going to render him embarrassed.

“Here, Gerard,” Frank says, when Gerard looks around, confused as to where to go.

“Uh, there’s eight of us, and only six horses,” Gerard says. “So, what should the three of us do?”

“Your friends are going to take Bill,” Frank says, pointing to a brown horse behind him that looks smaller than the others. Though really Pete and Patrick are so small that when you put them together they probably amount to one person.

“And where am I to go?”

“You can ride with me,” Frank says, matter-of-factly. Gerard gets a mild panic in his heart and doesn’t know what to say. He can’t have just heard what he thinks he just heard. There’s no way he’s actually going to ride the same horse as the fucking prince. Someone’s made a mistake.


“Willow is strong, she can hold us both,” Frank replies.

“You’re serious?” Gerard asks.

“Well where else would you go?” Frank asks. Gerard turns to look at Pete and Patrick who are deliberating on who’s going to sit in the front. They don’t seem too bothered, but that doesn’t mean Gerard isn’t. He’s not necessarily upset that he has to ride with someone else, he just wishes it weren’t Frank. Maybe Travie, Gerard likes him, he seems like a real person. Gerard’s still not entirely sure Frank exists.

“Okay so who’s in the front?” Gerard asks, when he thinks that he’s got enough control of himself not to waver his voice.

“Up to you,” Frank shrugs, “you ever ridden a horse?”

“No,” Gerard says.

“Then you might want to sit behind me,” Frank says, and Gerard thinks about it for a second. If he sits behind Frank, he will no doubt have to hold onto Frank not to fall off. Then his arms will be around Frank, and he’ll be really close to him.

“No, I think I’d rather sit in front,” Gerard says.

“Okay,” Frank shrugs. “It’s not too hard. I’ll help you out.”

“Where do I put my book?” Gerard asks, still holding Mikey in a death grip.

“I’ll put it with my stuff,” Frank says, holding out a hand, and Gerard is hesitant to let him take the book from him. He is very protective over Mikey, and doesn’t want to see him come to harm.

“It’s very fragile, and important,” Gerard warns Frank, before very cautiously handing over the book.

“I’ll keep it safe,” Frank says, grinning. He opens the satchel that his gleaming white horse is holding, and stows the book away with care. Gerard double and triple checks, and only nods when he’s sure that the book is secure.

“How do I-” Gerard starts but there’s a loud noise and when he turns, Pete is lying on his back on the ground, moaning. He fell off of the horse.

“Ow,” he says, as everyone tries not to laugh at him, except for Patrick, who is not trying at all not to laugh at him, he’s cackling.

“Not like that,” Frank says.

“I’m totally fine,” Pete says, “that only hurt a lot.”

“Well, there’s everything you need to know about Pete’s personality,” Gerard says, and he allows Frank, rather impishly, to show him how to get onto the horse, whom Gerard is told repeatedly is called Willow and enjoys carrots.

When Gerard finally finds himself perched on the horse, feeling very tall and important, he notices the gaping flaw in his logic.

He only realizes after getting on the horse that he did not think things through in the slightest. His arms aren’t around Frank, that is true, but Frank’s arms are around him. They’re around his waist, and Gerard can sense his face almost against his shoulder or his neck, it’s too close, too intimate. It makes him feel weird, kind of tingly in a way that he’s trying to convince himself is bad. It makes his stomach feel kind of weird too. He tells himself that he must be getting sick. Of course he’s getting sick. That’s got to be it. There’s no other reason for his stomach to feel weird with Frank’s arms around him. No other reason. Not one.
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It's been a rough week for the world, I hope that everyone is hanging in there. Please know that I care about every last one of you, even those who don't comment (which primarily just means that it's hard for me to know you're there), and I hope you're all doing well.​