Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


“Hey, Mikey,” Gerard whispers, peering around him in the dark, afraid that there might be someone else. Their camp is only a few yards off, and he’s snuck away from a snoozing Frank, past a watchful Travie who gives him a weird eye when Gerard says he’s just using the bathroom, because apparently taking a large heavy book with him to pee is kind of weird. Gerard never said he wasn’t weird, though.

“Hey, listen buddy, we’ve got to come up with some sort of routine so that I don’t have to be in the same room with you when you get down and dirty,” Mikey says, as an opening greeting, because he has his priorities in order.

“Fuck,” Gerard says, turning white as a sheet. He hadn’t even realized Mikey had been sitting on the other bed this morning when he and Frank were doing not so appropriate things with each other, and now he’s regretting every decision he’s ever made. Mikey. His brother. And Frank and him. Doing things only married people should be doing.

“Yeah, that was messed up,” Mikey says, “I mean, I get that I’m a book, but I’m eternally traumatized. I had to distract myself with watching Ray, who was washing the dishes and also dancing a little bit, and honestly that was almost equally as traumatizing.”

“Mikey, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were like conscious or anything, I’m not completely sure how the whole book thing works, so I just like…”

“Just make sure it doesn’t happen again, okay? If you’re going to do all that shit, put me in another room, or kill me, or something.”

Gerard feels his insides gnawing at themselves because he’s never been so embarrassed or mortified by anything in his entire life. He can’t believe he forgot Mikey was there. He can’t believe it didn’t even occur to him until now. He’s the worst brother ever. Mikey deserves way better.

“Anyway, bro, what’d you want to talk about?” Mikey asks, interrupting Gerard’s crisis. He’s got so many ongoing crises. A life ruining curse, a slippery fairy, Mikey in a book, being kind of in love with the Prince, not knowing what he wants to do with his life, fear that he’s going to get one of his friends killed, fear he won’t ever be able to find Brendon, his entire future, and now this. Gerard just can’t catch a break.

“I…” he starts, but then drifts off, because he’s forgotten. He can’t get his head out of the fact that Mikey was there. How do you move on from that point?

“Is it the whole being in love with the Prince thing again, because that’s getting kind of old? Blah blah blah, he’s so pretty. Blah blah blah, I wish I hated him. Blah blah blah, but boys. For once can you complain about the weather?”

“What?” Gerard asks, and forces himself to be pulled from his own imagination and back into the present. “Oh, uh, I guess it is about him.”

Mikey’s eyes roll, and he puffs, but nevertheless says, “What wisdom do you need from me today?”

“I don’t know,” Gerard shrugs. “I guess I’m just worried about what comes next. Like what happens when I get rid of the curse? If I get rid of the curse, I should say. Where do I go from there?”

“Probably the castle to live the good life.”

“You think?”

“I’m sure your little boyfriend would be more than happy to allow you to come visit him in his castle and live in his room and do lots of gross stuff that I don’t want to think or hear about. Or be in the same room for.”

“Mikey, I’m not the one who said it, you are,” Gerard says scolding, because Mikey is his little brother, and in his mind, Mikey is still a six-year-old little boy who thinks coodies are real, and Gerard is not fully comprehensive of the fact that his little brother is a whole evolved person who knows things. It’s weird having missed out on the entirety of Mikey’s childhood but that’s a panic attack and depressive spiral for another day.

“Hey, so do you think if you become like King of the Kingdom, that makes me some kind of prince or something?” Mikey asks, filling Gerard’s haze of thought with ramblings he doesn’t bother listening to. “Because like, I could totally dig that. A crown, a nice throne, servants, a bed made out of goose feathers, I could really see myself being happy there.”

“I can’t be a King. I don’t even think it’s legal, Mikey,” Gerard replies.

“Well, no one ever made it a written rule that a Prince couldn’t marry another guy, and if the Prince becomes the King and you’re married to the King, you know what that makes you, my friend?”

“Mikey,” Gerard groans, only he smiles the tiniest bit at the thought of it. It would be amazing. Living in the castle is whatever, and to be the ruler of a Kingdom is alright, but to be married to Frank. He can’t even imagine. Obviously, it’s ridiculous, and it’ll never come to that, because no one will ever let that happen, but what if it did?

Gerard would be so fucking good at being a King. He’d be a voice of freedom, and of choice. Gone would be Elven labor laws, the oppression of Giants, the cruelty towards Ogres. He’d bring reforms to the education system, make it more tangible to everyone, remove the bias. He’d help people, all types of people, all races. Gerard would make it so that no one ever had to be told what to do. No one ever had to be stuck with what their given.

Upward mobility in this world, it just doesn’t happen. Either you’re born into the aristocracy or you’re not, there is literally no climbing. Aside from marriage, which is completely unlikely because you’re not really supposed to marry above your status. There’s no money with which to attempt climbing, because the rich of the Kingdom sit on it. Gerard would make a change. He doesn’t want Frell to be some poor farming town that circulates the same currency around in circles. He wants to invigorate every person, make life a little fairer. But for everyone, not just for the already well-off.

“-and I’d obviously have a horse, a big black horse so I can ride it at night all over the Kingdom and no one will even be able to see me, and I’d call him Shadow or something mysterious like that. And I might even try to be a Knight, I think, because that’d be cool as shit, getting your own sword and beating the shit out of people. Oh, or I could start a business, be my own boss, ‘cause it’d get pretty boring if I just did nothing, I could design like, a clothing line for people above the neck, like for those late night magic mirror sessions you have with your sweetheart, so basically like you if Frank ever goes off to fight some battle or something-”

“Have you been talking this whole time?” Gerard asks.

“What? You mean you haven’t been listening? Dude you missed all the highlights! I’m going to have a top floor room with a balcony so I can look down at all the peasants like they’re ants, and-”

“You never shut up do you?” Gerard asks in a loving way, though it probably doesn’t seem like it.

“Well, you get stuck in a book for a decade and tell me how chatty you get, alright? The only people I’ve talked to are you and Ray. Ray’s so domestic, all he ever talks about are town rumors and chores, ugh, mercy me, I’d rather die. And then there’s you, all caught up in this whole ‘I’m in love with the Prince’ business. I’m stuck here inside a book, so yeah, I want to talk sometimes.”

Gerard frowns. It comes and goes in waves how much it must suck to be Mikey. Gerard is such a hypocrite for complaining about a lack of freedom while his brother is stuck in a book. He’s not free to do anything at all apart from talk to Gerard or spy on people.

“I’m sorry, Mikes,” Gerard says, looking sympathetic. “As soon as I’m free from this curse, what I’m going to do is find you a cure, or a spell or whatever. There’s gotta be something.”

“Ray’s already tried. He’s gone across the Kingdom and back looking for a way to reverse it.”

“Has he?”

“Yeah, whenever he was ‘visiting me at school’ we went out and tried to find fairies who might be able to help. Obviously, the problem is that the spell can only be reversed by the person who cast it, and considering how shit Ray is at magic, it’s no surprise I’m still here. He’s asked around though, and no one has figured away to bring me back yet.”

“Well how did it happen in the first place?”

Mikey’s head makes a gesture that is like a shrug, but he doesn’t have shoulders so his head just bobs in place and it’s a freaky thing to look at, but so is seeing a face in a book.

“He just fucked up while he was practicing. He was practicing a transformative spell, he always used to do that back then, he’d practice all the time, because he wanted to get better. Ray’s a bad fairy, no one is denying that, and he wanted to get better. Long story short, I got caught in the crossfire at the wrong moment and I’ve been your friendly neighborhood almanac ever since.”

“No fairy knows how to help?” Gerard asks.

“Well, they’ve got some vague ideas, but like what happened to me isn’t an actual spell or anything. It was just a big mistake. So, there’s no written cure or anything. But if Ray messes up a counter spell, it could be very damaging. Like deathly damaging. And I’m too beautiful to die, Gerard.”

“You’re annoying, that’s what you are.”

“Meh, it’s a matter of opinion.”

Gerard laughs at him and is about to continue the conversation when he hears Travie’s voice calling tentatively for him from a little way away. He grimaces, realizing he’s been away for probably about ten or fifteen minutes. He needs to get back or someone will think he’s dead.

“Gotta go, Mikey,” Gerard says hurriedly, and Mikey looks slightly offended but resigns quickly. Gerard levels Mikey under his arm and begins walking back to the campsite. Travie is looking into the trees where he emerges and a look of relief is evident on his face when he appears.

“I thought you went and got eaten by an Ogre,” Travie says to him. He’s standing next to the small fire that supplies little light but gives them some amount of warmth in the brisk night air. Travie’s face is only barely illuminated by it, but he looks very attractive in the dimness of it. His face looks different from normal, but in a nice way.

“Just thinking,” Gerard says.

“About the Prince?”

“That’s not important.”

Travie winks at him, but then shoos him away to go get some sleep. Frank and Gerard took the first shift watching camp so Gerard should’ve been asleep hours ago, but here he is, still painfully awake, and he might be for a while if he can’t shut his brain up. He always has an overactive brain which prevents him from sleep. It’s been worse lately since he has so much to think about.

Gerard lowers himself down and climbs into the tent he shares with Frank. He doesn’t know how he was able to convince himself he didn’t want to be exactly here the other night. He can’t remember how Frank convinced him in the first place.

He thinks part of the reason that he’s falling so fast is because he’s never fallen before. Gerard’s never liked anyone. And he’s never considered a boy. He never considered it an option. But now that he knows that it is, it’s very easy to just collapse. To accept it.

And he also didn’t know how nice it was. To just be loved by someone and to love them back, even if he can’t say the latter. Being held, that’s the best shit there is. Gerard might’ve guessed it, but he had no idea just how amazing it was. Being held is fucking awesome. Especially when it’s Frank, because Frank likes him. Gerard isn’t going to deny that he’s selfish, but it’s a really great feeling to be loved. It does wonders for his ego, which he wasn’t aware he had, because until Frank, the only person who’d ever given him the time of day was Patrick. Frank looks at him in a way no one has looked at him before, and that feels really good.

Frank makes him feel really good.

With the tiny bit of light peaking in from the slit in the tent, Gerard looks at Frank’s sleeping face. They’re resting place isn’t very comfortable. The grass is firm and uncomfortable, with tree roots veining around the entire campsite. It smells nicer than where Gerard grew up, but he grew up in a farm town. It smells like the earth out here, and Gerard loves how fresh it all feels. Even if he is sleeping on the ground.

When he’s asleep, Frank doesn’t look like a prince. He doesn’t look like royalty at all. He’s just a regular person. Face totally void of emotion, soft eyelids, and a sprawling position on the ground that Gerard envies. He’s so innocent and young. How could this man have once scared him? Why does the idea of him still scare him a little bit?

It’s not Frank he fears. It’s everything that comes with Frank.

Gerard sighs, and crawls the little space over to him, lying down tentatively, so as not to wake him. Gerard angles himself to face Frank. Frank’s breathing is steady and soft. It’s too dark to see him now, with no light piercing the enclosure but for the slightest color of the tent that the fire outside illuminates. He feels Frank’s modest breath on his face, and it feels nice. Gerard likes just to know he’s beside him. Gerard can’t believe he actually has someone. Not in a possessive way, but he never thought anyone would want to be so close to him, but Frank wants him around. He wants him close. He wants him in ways Gerard had never thought about.

Thinking about this morning, Gerard blushes. He’s never done anything like that. Frank has said he loves him. So many times. He damn well should after what happened. You shouldn’t do that with someone you don’t love. Gerard had quite liked it though. He’d never thought about it before.

Gerard would not consider himself a very sexual person. Like at all. He only vaguely knows the basics. He has no fucking clue how anything works with two boys involved, but he supposes this morning is a particular stepping stone. But seriously, did Gerard, little tiny Gerard from fucking Frell, almost have sex with the future King? Was that real? How does that even happen? Gerard is a literal peasant. A man whose worth doesn’t even equal the worth of Frank’s toenails. Maybe Gerard doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Or at least he’s trying to convince himself of that. Gerard’s not very knowledgeable on the subject, but he does know that he’s kidding himself.

And he’d be kidding himself even more if he said he didn’t want to do it again. Or more. Because it felt really good. Like really good. Like near the end, which were arguably the best twenty seconds of his life.

And for Christ’s sake, Mikey had been there. Gerard gets a prickly feeling just thinking about it. Mikey might have tuned them out, but he was still there. Gerard’s never living that down.

But god is Frank pretty. His eyes adjust to the darkness just enough to make out Frank’s profile, and Gerard is mystified how this man, the Prince, could look twice at him. But he’s here. He’s sharing a tent with Gerard. On an adventure to help Gerard find a fairy when he doesn’t even know why Gerard’s looking. Just to keep him safe. Or at least, that was his original intent. Now, Gerard thinks it might just be to keep him close. And Gerard doesn’t mind the excuse to be close to him.

However, breaking the curse is more important to him. As much as he likes Frank, the curse is far more important. Gerard could never really be with Frank if he’s still got this curse. He can’t be with anyone at all. He’d be putting himself in a really dangerous situation. Ray is the only person who knows aside from Mikey, and Gerard can’t tell anyone else about the curse because he was ordered not to. The only way Gerard sees for anyone to find out is if Ray told them, and Gerard doesn’t trust a soul alive with that secret. The only person he really trusts is Ray. Mikey’s in a book, he’s not worried about him. Ray is his only real parent though. Ray would never betray him. Not for anything in the world.

Gerard doesn’t care how good a person is, his curse is a precarious one. If the wrong person were to find out? What would he be forced to do? “Kill that person, Gerard!” His life could be ruined at any moment. He’s surprised he’s made it this long without that being the case. He can’t put himself or anyone else in that danger.

As much as Gerard believes Frank is a good person, or that Patrick, Pete, are good people, he doesn’t trust them enough to put his will into their hands. And as much as Gerard loves Frank, he wants his freedom more. He wants to really be himself before he can think about anything else, even something as tantalizing as Frank.

“Frank,” Gerard whispers to him. Frank is lifeless apart from his chest rising, falling, rising falling. He’s sound asleep. “I love you, Frank.” He doesn’t move a muscle, but Gerard smiles, something that’s not quite content filling him. One day he’ll be able to say it.
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It's been a while, thanks for having me.