Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


After another hour or so of Frank constantly being walked up to and asked increasingly personal questions from what feels like half of the people of Giantville, they all decide to turn in for the night. They’ve a long few days ahead of them, and they need to rest in order to make it through them.

Frank stays close to Gerard as they walk through the streets, the city dark, but alive, unlike Frell which usually goes to sleep before the sun even goes down. The Giants and humans of Giantville are all far livelier than the people of Frell. People there are born tired. People here are alive and vibrant, which is refreshing.

They all pile into the small little inn, with Billie looking surprised by the sudden intrusion, but he looks down quickly when he lays eyes on Frank.

Gerard keeps forgetting that Frank is royalty. He knows that Frank is royal, of course he’s royal, but he just doesn’t act like it. He doesn’t look down on people, or if he does he’s good about making amends for it. Frank is the kindest royalty the earth has ever seen, probably, and the most down to earth without a doubt. It kind of makes Gerard like him more than he already does which is saying something.

“Okay, so how are we going to divvy up the rooms?”

“Well there’s only four rooms,” Patrick says. “And there’s eight of us.”

“That’s not nearly enough,” Frank says, scowling slightly.

“All the rooms have two beds… sire,” Billie says, looking wary about interrupting their conversation, probably because Frank is the Prince.

“Right,” Frank nods, “Well then, Ryan, Alex and Travie, you’ll have to share. Pete and Patrick, you two will have to share as well. Hayley gets her own room, and then me and Gerard will take the last one.”

Hayley shrugs, “Travie can bunk with me, I don’t mind.”

“Okay,” Frank nods. It makes more sense that way, he knows, but Hayley’s the only girl, so he doesn’t want to be presumptuous. “We need to be awake early, I want to be off just past sunrise, and allow the daylight to guide us home, so we need to be awake before dawn. Tomorrow we ride all day, so prepare for the journey, all of you.”

The knights all nod courteously at Frank, and then two of them, Ryan and Travie, branch off towards the stairs. Frank follows them, so Gerard does too, and then their party is all making their way up the stairs.

Gerard follows Frank into the room that he’d been in earlier, and sees that someone has already moved all of their stuff, he doesn’t know how Travie and Ryan were so quick, but it could only have been them, because only Frank and Gerard’s things remain in the room. Mikey’s book is still lying on the bedspread where he’d set him down earlier, and he looks at it, smiling lightly when he remembers Mikey.

“We should get rest,” Frank says, “though I am not tired.”

“Nor am I,” Gerard replies, shrugging.

Frank nods, and he looks around, spotting his things and then digging through one of his bags quickly. Gerard watches him, he doesn’t even know why he does, he just can’t look away. Frank pulls a shirt from his bag, and then Gerard is turning the color of a strawberry, because Frank’s pulling his tunic off over his head.

Gerard looks away, because he’s a fucking idiot, but Frank’s back is turned so he doesn’t even know what a wimp Gerard is. Gerard can’t himself though, so he peaks over, with the intent to only look for a second, but then he sees that Frank’s got some black ink running up along his back which hypnotizes Gerard more than he would care to admit.

Gerard hasn’t met anyone with a tattoo before, besides the man who used to own the bank in Frell. He died a few years ago, but he was the only person Gerard ever knew who was rich enough to afford it. Gerard doesn’t have enough time or a good enough angle to figure out what exactly Frank has inked on him, but he knows that whatever it is, it must suit him. Come to think of it, Frank’s personality suits a tattoo or two. It would be weird if he didn’t have one.

Gerard doesn’t say anything, he just awkwardly stares at Frank until he pulls the shirt he’d grabbed over his head, and he turns around.

“What?” Frank asks, when he turns to see Gerard looking at him.

“Nothing,” Gerard says, though his word is unintelligible because of the wicked dry mouth Frank just gave him.

“Do you want to come over here?” Frank asks, “and talk, I mean? Just until we get tired?”

Gerard nods, and he steps over to the spot next to Frank on the bed. Gerard sees Frank pulling his shoes off, and decides he should do the same. When he’s done, he looks back up to see Frank looking at him.

“Now you’re looking at me,” Gerard says.

“Sorry,” Frank says, “you’re just, really, really beautiful.”

Gerard turns pink again, somehow only now realizing he’s alone with Frank. He can do anything in here, anything and no one is there to look at them. No one is there to judge him.

So, if Gerard were to kiss Frank, no one would be there to judge him for it. Gerard does just that, kissing him softly, before pulling away and smiling.

“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Frank says, out of nowhere, and Gerard is alarmed by his words. He doesn’t know what to do with that information.

“Me?” Gerard asks.

“Yes, you,” Frank says, “who else?”

“I don’t know. It’s just, no one’s ever said anything like that to me before.”

“No one?” Frank ask. “You’re amazing, Gerard, surely everyone who meets you must see that.”

“No. People don’t tend to like me very much. I kind of just, I don’t know, people find me unsettling.”

“Why is that?”

“I don’t know. I wish I could control how people see me though, because I know it’s not good. People don’t like me that much, and I’m used to it. It’s just kind of who I am, so I expect it, but it gets to be saddening after a certain extent.”

“Anyone who doesn’t see your brilliance is an idiot.”

“I wish other people thought that.”

Frank shakes his head, “I’m glad I’ve never met the people who think that of you, because I swear I would cut out their tongues for even thinking anything so negative of you.”

“The whole Kingdom would be mute.”

“So be it.”

“I wouldn’t ask you to do that. Like I said, I’m used to it. But still, it pains me. It’s just that… my entire life, I have been second rate. I’ve been pushed aside, walked over, used and thrown away, and I just, I am sick of it. I am sick of always being the leftover, the black sheep, the one that nobody else wants. Because no one wants me. No one does. My own goddamn father doesn’t want me. I am just this guy who no one remembers, no one gives more than a second thought about, they just sort of forget about me. People see me, and people use my name in infamy, but no one really cares. No one actually knows me, no one cares to learn, no one bothers. I’m just here, sort of existing and no one notices enough to pay any attention.”

“Gerard, you are noticed. You are important, people care a lot about you. I care.”

“But you don’t know, Frank. You’ve known me a few days. You don’t even really know who I am. You don’t see the way people treat me. You don’t see the way everybody avoids eye contact with me, because no one wants to associate with me. It’s not even really because I’ve done anything to them, or because of my personality, it’s just because I’m so unlikeable that it doesn’t register in their brains that I exist. They don’t seem to remember to use common courtesy, I’m just blah.”

“You’re not blah, Gerard, I don’t know what you’re getting at.”

“What I’m getting at is that if I were to die tomorrow, no one would really care. Sure, people might shed a few tears, I might get a few mourners, but they’ll move on and forget in a few days. No one actually cares about me, and it’s not something I’m saying because I’m down, or because I want reassurance, it’s something that I know to be true. I am so little to other people. I’m barely a dot, barely worthy of a memory. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to get people to see that I am here, that I want to contribute, want to be someone, because they just look over me.”

“Gerard, if anyone looks over you it’s because you gave them the opportunity,” Frank says.

“No,” Gerard shakes his head.

“Yes. It’s because you didn’t say anything. You didn’t make conversation, didn’t bother to get them to actually know you. If you don’t put an effort into other people, they won’t put the effort into you.”


“Who do you talk to, Gerard?” Frank asks, “who do you open conversations with, talk to even when you don’t have to, talk to just because you want to talk, make small talk, anything. Who do you talk to instead of just shrugging at?”

“Mostly just Ray and Patrick, and you now,” Gerard says.

“Well then why would you expect other people to notice you? Gerard, if you remain quiet, stay in the shadows, don’t initiate conversation and don’t pick it up when it’s offered to you, then why should anyone notice you? If you’re not going to actually be a person in their life than it’s not their fault if they don’t care.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“Sometimes, it is. In this case, I think you’ll find that it is. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I get it too, Gerard. I don’t talk to a lot of people, I don’t really want to hang out with people, or talk to them all the time, and yet I feel completely alone. It’s my own fault, and I know it is, but I still feel like people don’t care about me. It’s because I haven’t given them a reason to care. I’m still the prince, people do still have to be nice to me, but no one really wants to get to know me, and it’s because I’m unapproachable, I don’t give people the opportunity to actually get to know me. People who don’t know me, of course they don’t care.”

“Frank, just because I don’t talk to people doesn’t mean I’m not trying,” Gerard says. “I can’t… I don’t have the same options as other people.”

“Gerard, you and I, we both have a lot to prove to the world. Even though what I do is more public, it doesn’t make it any more than who you are. We’re… we’re fucking pathetic, man. We’re great people, hell, you’re the most amazing guy I’ve ever met, I’m fucking crazy about out, and for some reason, no one seems to give a shit about either of us? Like, that’s crazy, right? We’re great! We don’t talk to anyone though, I mean come on, who are we to blame the world when it’s our own damn fault.”

“I’m afraid of people,” Gerard replies, quietly. He doesn’t know how to put it in any other way. Frank has a point, he does, but Frank also doesn’t have the same boundaries that Gerard has. Gerard has to be wary of every single person he meets. He has to be cautious at every twist and turn, because he’s got a curse that could be life destroying if he’s not careful about it. Gerard has everything to lose at every curve, and every person has a stake in that.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that people are not always decent. They can hurt me in ways that you couldn’t understand. I’m vulnerable, and I don’t say that to make myself sound bad, I say it because I know it to be true. There’s something you don’t know about me, Frank. Something no one knows about me. And I want with everything in my heart to tell you, to make you understand, but I can’t. I’m just scared. I’m scared of everyone, including you Frank, including every single person I’ve ever met, because one wrong move and a whole lot of hell could be unleashed and I won’t be able to stop it.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Frank shakes his head, “people aren’t bad. Not all bad at least. Some people, don’t get me wrong, some people are awful, the definition of shitty, but people as a whole are not bad. People are good.”

“People are good until you view them the way I’m forced to,” Gerard says.

“I believe that people are basically good.”

“My brother said almost the same thing,” Gerard says, smiling a little bit. Frank reminds him of Mikey a little bit. It’s this very discreet, subtle similarity, but they’ve got similar mannerisms. Frank tells a story the way Mikey does.

Frank stops, looking confused, “you have a brother?”

“What?” Gerard stops for a moment to realize that he never told Frank about Mikey. He doesn’t know what he can say about him either. He can’t tell Frank that Mikey is a book, because Mikey would be mad, but he also can’t tell him he doesn’t have a brother because he just said he did. Mikey’s only a few feet away and yet Gerard can’t introduce the two of them.

“I, yeah, I have a brother. Kind of. I mean, I haven’t seen him in years,” Gerard says, deciding on telling Frank the truth, or the truth that he knew only a few days ago. “He was, is, I don’t know, he’s the most important person in the world to me.”

“So what happened? Where is he?”

“I don’t know really. He was sent off to a school and I haven’t seen him since. You’d like him, I think. He’s very clever. I think he’d like you too.”

“What’s his name?” Frank asks.


“Mikey,” Frank says, trying it out on his tongue. “I like that. I hope I get to meet him someday.”

“Me too,” Gerard says, smiling. “What about you?”

“I don’t have any siblings.”

“No, I know. But what was your dad like? King Jerrold? He was a great man.”

“So everyone tells me,” Frank says, sounding agitated, but he smiles lightly. “I don’t know, he was… I barely have any memory of him, honestly. From what I do remember, he was always, he was very supportive. He believed in me, more than anyone ever has, certainly more than my Uncle. I’ve told you about how I struggle with reading, well my father was the only person who didn’t judge me for that. He didn’t think I was a failure, or anything, he wanted me to just feel normal, even though I was different in all ways conceivable to other kids my age.”

“He sounds nice,” Gerard says.

“He could also be very brash though. He was quick to anger, quick to blame. He was by no means a perfect man, but he was a good one, I think. I would give anything to have him back, but I don’t know if I’d like him as much as my memories of him.”

“I wish I could have my mom back too,” Gerard says. “She would love you. My, she would adore you. She’d probably adopt you as her son, because you don’t have any parents and that’s just the way she was.”

“Yeah?” Frank says, grinning widely. “I’d love to have met her. If she raised you, she must have been an angel.”

“She was,” Gerard nods.

Frank smiles faintly, and looks at Gerard next to him. He couldn’t put it into words, but he gets a sudden urge to lean over and kiss him. He doesn’t even think about it, he just leans over, puts a hand on Gerard’s neck and kisses him. It’s the first time Frank’s ever initiated it, but Gerard doesn’t push him away, he makes a soft, contented sound, and lets Frank kiss him for a couple of minutes, neither of them caring at all, because they’re alone and it feels nice.

Frank thinks about Gerard, and about all the things that he means to him, and it almost makes him cry, because Gerard means so much it’s not even possible to quantify it. Gerard just means everything and more, he’s a life that Frank never thought he could have, never even thought he’d live to see, and now Gerard is here. He’s here, and Frank can’t believe it’s allowed by earth to feel this happy, but with Gerard, he just is.

“I really need this right now,” Frank says, unintentionally sounding a little broken when he says it.

“What?” Gerard asks, concerned. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Frank says, trying to shake it off, “Don’t worry about it.”

“Please,” Gerard asks, looking pleading, and Frank just about melts when Gerard bats his eyelashes a few times, and he probably doesn’t even know the way that it affects Frank, doesn’t have any clue that it drives him insane.

“It’s complicated, Gerard, I don’t want to worry you or bore you or anything.”

“You couldn’t bore me,” Gerard says. “I’m not able to be bored by you.”

“I don’t know how to say it though,” Frank shrugs. “I just, I have a lot of trouble living I guess.”


“Continuing on?” Frank offers.

“I don’t think I like the sound of that.”

“I don’t want to be here, Gerard,” Frank says, “not like here in particular, I just don’t want to be here at all.”

“What do you mean?” Gerard asks, not liking the way it sounds. He doesn’t think he wants to know what demons lurk in Frank mind. He wants to make Frank feel better about them, wants to completely eradicate them if he can, but he’s concerned that knowing what torments Frank will make him sick. He thinks that he could actually vomit at the mere prospect of Frank being unhappy.

Gerard’s never felt so strongly about a single sole in the world. Sure, he hates it when Ray or Patrick is upset, but he doesn’t feel like he’s going to be physically sick when they are down. He just wishes that things could be better for them. With Frank, it’s like he wants to hurt anyone who has ever even thought about harming him.

“It’s not something I can put into words. It’s just that… well, all the things of which I know I stand for are things that others don’t. I stand for love, and innocence, and… tolerance. Above all else, I think, I believe in tolerance. These things, my people do not agree with. A King should be brave, noble, stern, resilient, strong, and logical. I am none of these things. I am sensitive, far too much so. I’m emotional. I’m… I’m in love with a man, which is just… to many people, even to you, it’s just seen as wrong. I am a person who was never meant to be, never meant to live, not even to mention a King, and here I am, and no one wants that. No one wants me for who I am, because of what it is that makes me who I am.”

“What?” Gerard asks, not sure Frank said what he thinks he just said.

“Oh, damn it all, Gerard. I do not expect you to love me back, but I cannot say that I don’t. I love you, Gerard, it’s not even a secret, I’ve just been neglecting to tell you because I haven’t the right poetic way to say it. But I can’t exactly hide it, so I don’t care how unglamorous it may sound. I love you. I’ll shout it out the window if you need me to, but I digress. That’s not the problem though, not really at least. Because, I love you, very much so, but in the end, even if you do end up loving me back, this Kingdom, it does not respect that.”

“You said that it wasn’t illegal-”

“It’s not. It’s not a written rule anywhere, but, you saw the way people looked at us today! Those were my people. They looked at me like you would look at a dead rat, and I am their Prince. I will someday rule them and yet they’ve the nerve to look at me like a piece of garbage for doing nothing more than kissing the person I’m in love with.”

“But you are the King,” Gerard says, he’s choosing to move past the fact that Frank said he loved him for now, because he’s really concerned with Frank’s words. Frank’s safety comes first, before anything else, then he’ll focus on the fact that he said he loves him. “Why should it affect you, what they think? You have the power of the law in your hands, or you will someday. Why should it matter how they think?”

“I’ve got feelings, Gerard. I know I don’t show it often, but it pains me quite a bit. Knowing that people look down on my discretions like that. I try so hard to be the best that I can be, and people throw that away just because of… you. And I’m not blaming you, because it’s not you they dislike, it’s the fact that I like you that they can’t handle.”

“Not everyone feels that way,” Gerard says. “Everyone who knows us, who really knows us, they don’t feel that way. Other people are sure to follow.”

“That doesn’t make me feel any better though,” Frank says. “I’m just so sick of not being good enough. Like, it was a crude reminder meeting you, because I thought that the one thing I had right was my politics. My image I knew that would fade, knew that once people found out, they would think poorly of me. But I thought that what I could do for the kingdom could make up for that, or at least, dampen it. And then I realized I had everything wrong. I mean, my Uncle, he mustn’t know to what extent all of his policies have hurt people, because if he does, well then, he’s an enormous piece of garbage. I just thought I had at least one thing right. Now I see that I never did have a thing right to begin with.”

“You are so good,” Gerard says, “I am sorry that I offended or hurt you in this way, but I hope you know that people correcting you, or debating with you isn’t an insult. It’s advice that you, as a future King, need to take to heart.”

“I know, and I get it. It’s just that… life is hard, okay? And I know I’m not supposed to say that because I’m rich and royalty, and only people in poor situations are allowed to say that, but fuck it, life is fucking hard. It’s absolutely killing me.”

“You’re allowed to be in pain,” Gerard says. “But I want you to know that I’m here for you. You can tell me anything that you need to, if you think it will help.”

“I know, and I trust you, Gerard. I trust you a lot. I just don’t know how to describe it. I’m just sad. Like all of the time. Like my life is just this one big never ending, I don’t know, clump? It’s a big clump of not knowing what to do, who to be. It just leaves me feeling hollowed out, and drowned, and broken, and so many other things that I hate and can’t put up with anymore.”

“Why are you sad, is it because of… of the fact that you like boys?”

“That’s a part of it, yes. Mostly it’s that I have everything planned for me, there’s such an obvious path, and I don’t get to go against it, and you’d think that would provide me with clarity, give me something to hold onto, but I just feel like I’m walking down an endless road that leads to nowhere. I can’t stop being sad. There’s nothing I can do. But when I’m with you, you distract me from the fact that I feel like dying every second I keep breathing, but in the end, I always go to sleep and it’s, like, why? What am I doing? I’m just surviving at this point, I’m not doing anything to make my own life worth anything, I’m just prolonging the inevitable.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that every single time I wake, I’m sad that I did. Every time I have to pull myself into action, actually do something, it’s like I’m fighting an uphill battle that I know I’ll never win. Life is so hard, it keeps on dragging, like my feet are stuck in mucky water that’s trying to keep me down, sink me, like an anchor. I don’t know why I keep on doing this, day in and day out, when I don’t even want to. I don’t want to be here, Gerard, and I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life where I ever have.”

“Not even for your people?” Gerard asks. “Not even for the betterment of the Kingdom?”

“You can’t understand, Gerard. I’ve never wanted to be King. Not a single day in my entire life have I ever envied my Uncle, or my father before him. Never have I had the desire to be in charge, to be the one and only power over all of this land. I don’t want it. I don’t want this, I don’t want to be alive, I don’t want anything. I just kind of am. I’m not like a real person anymore, I’m just a vessel that keeps walking around because that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

“You can’t say you’d rather be dead,” Gerard shakes his head.

“And why not?”

“Because you can’t,” Gerard says, thinking that’s enough of an answer.

“That’s my point exactly. It’s not okay to rather be dead than to be alive, and yet I feel it in every single step I take, but I just have to hold it in, because that’s not acceptable. I am not acceptable. I am mediocre. If I were to just die now, no one would ever forgive me. And that’s probably the only thing that keeps me alive at this point. The fact that, if I were to die, I would be a coward, a pathetic dead coward. No one would ever forget my name, but I would not live on in a good manner, I would live on as the nothing that I know myself to be. I would live on in infamy, and I think I’d rather live unhappily than die in that fashion.”

“You are not nothing,” Gerard says, “you could never be nothing. You are possibly the only ever royalty that this kingdom will ever see who is real, and honest, and good. You are… the greatest man I’ve ever met, Frank. I say this not because I think it’s what you want to hear, but because I know it to be true. I know many great people, many good people too. I have never met one so much of both as you.”


“Is life not worth living when I’m around?” Gerard asks, “because I’ve noticed a similar pattern. Life is tough, and no one ever thinks highly of you, no matter who you are or what you do. It sucks, and there’s no way to avoid it. But being with you these past few days, knowing you, letting you in, it’s made me feel alive. For the very first time in my life, it’s like I’m doing something with my existence, and it’s not that I wasn’t alive before, it’s just that, I didn’t know how good life could be until you were in it.”

Frank smiles, briefly, and then looks at Gerard, “Gerard, you are an idiot if you think you don’t make me happy. It’s true that I haven’t been in pain as much since knowing you. I don’t think you can ever truly erase this weight in me, but you have made it feel less.”

“Frank,” Gerard says weakly, unable to form any words that can express what he’s feeling right now. He just wants to protect this guy. He wants to give him warmth, hold him when the days feel long, kiss the pain away.

Gerard leans closer to him and wraps his arms around him, because there’s nothing he wants more than just to show Frank that he’s here. And that he’s not going anywhere. Gerard doesn’t know how to describe the feeling he has. He just feels so proprietary over this man, and he knows it’s an illusion, he doesn’t own Frank, or have any real claim to him, but he wants to protect him, keep him safe, as if he did. He wants Frank to just get the most out of this world that a person can get.

Gerard buries his head into Frank’s neck, closing his eyes. He just stays there for a few minutes, doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t feel that he needs to. He just wants to keep Frank here with him.

“I’m sorry that life hurts,” Gerard says, “but when I’m with you, it’s not so bad.”

Gerard can feel Frank smiling at his words, and he pulls him even tighter to him. With him here like this, he can take Frank in in an entirely new way. Frank smells so very much like Frank. If Gerard could label the smell, it would be just that, Frank. He smells rustic, and homey. He reminds Gerard of firewood. His warmth is incomparable, like nothing Gerard can imagine. Holding Frank is like warming your hands at a fire.

Gerard’s not thought about romance a lot in his life, but the one thing that he has always, for his entire life wanted, was someone to hold. He’s wanted someone who was warm, someone who curves perfectly against him, someone who just fits right and can give Gerard this feeling in his stomach like home. That’s the only thing he’s ever envied other people for. He’s never desired someone else’s wealth, or their home, or their family. What he gets jealous of is when people have someone to hold every night. That’s the only thing in this world that Gerard has ever wanted that other people have, aside from a life without his curse.

With Frank, here and now, he feels like all the puzzle pieces are starting to come together. He finally has this one thing that’s going right. Frank is the only person in the world who he can imagine to be the person he holds. There’s no one else. No one else could compare to Frank. Frank is who he wants to fall asleep with, to wake up in the mornings next to.

Frank manages to put what Gerard feels into words when he says, “Don’t ever let go. Not ever.”

Gerard smiles fondly, and squeezes him tighter, and says, “I won’t.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Todays comment prompt: recommend me an album that you think I haven't heard, and your favorite song on that album.

My own album recommendation is Echoes by Young Guns, and the song is Mercury in Retrograde.