Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


It’s a cold day in comparison to the weather of the last few. Frank feels his bones a little more tired than they usually are and he’s accounting it to the weather, which has made his fingers just the slightest bit numb.

The last few days spent almost exclusively on horseback have left his legs feeling sore and tired. He longs for his castle, the only home he’s ever known, which he’s been away from for several months now. Frank has loved seeing the kingdom. He’s learned a lot of things about the place he’s going to rule soon, things he thinks he should have known a lot earlier than he did. It would be a lie to say the best thing about this whole endeavor isn’t Gerard. There are so many magical things about Gerard alone. His brain, his voice, his laugh, his humor, his fucking face. He’s perfect. In every way.

Gerard’s head is lolling back against Frank’s chest, asleep for the last hour or so. Frank holds him tighter, to keep him safe and secure on the horse. Frank likes holding Gerard like this. He’s so soft, with his face completely empty, his breath calm and steady. Everything Frank has ever wanted.

He has hopes that he’s starting to melt Gerard a little bit. At first, Gerard wouldn’t look twice at him, in fact he told Frank repeatedly that he hated him. Then there was the pure ignorance. He wouldn’t accept Frank liking him, wouldn’t accept himself liking Frank. How did Frank ever get him to kiss him? All that matters is that he did. That he used to be afraid of thinking about Frank, and a few days ago he kissed Frank in front of all of Giantville.

Gerard is so soft. Frank could hold him for the rest of his life. This is what he’s wanted this whole time, someone soft to hold.

Frank looks around him at the rolling hills, the breeze full of the smell of trees. He wonders if his Kingdom has always been so beautiful. Trees that look painted in the distance. Grass of perfect green, and rivers as blue as the sky. There are yellow and orange flowers dotting the ground and he wants to get a bouquet of them to tell Gerard they’re not as beautiful as he is.

A few meters away he sees his Knights, who are so stoic and perfect compared to him. Frank feels small, tiny, weighed down. Next to Travie, he’s ridiculous. Strong, beautiful, courageous, wonderful. He doesn’t look like a future King. He doesn’t look like much of anything. He looks like he could be found living above one of the stores in Gerard’s town. He looks over at Pete and Patrick, who have managed to figure out how to not fall off of their horse after about two days of not knowing how to do that. Except for his clothes, Frank could be Patrick’s neighbor. There’s nothing special about him.

Except Gerard seems to like him. Not like he’s the only one, but he’s the only one who matters. The truth is that there are a thousand girls who would marry Frank tomorrow if they had the chance, even Gerard’s own stepsisters. Only one Gerard though.

How lucky he was to have gotten his foot stuck in a fox trap. Frell is such a tiny place in a huge Kingdom, but there were so many people living there. Yet, only one person who mattered the most, and he was lucky enough that Gerard walked past. Frank doesn’t believe in fate, or destiny. He thought he didn’t at least.

Very suddenly, Frank looks around him to realize he recognizes the area around him. In the distance, just over the crest of a hill, he locks his eyes on the most familiar sight of them all.

Frank nudges Gerard awake, which is something he isn’t keen on doing, because Gerard looks really cute when he’s all sleepy. It’s also incredibly hard to piss Gerard off while he’s asleep, and Frank knows that Gerard doesn’t really hate him that way anymore, but if he did, it would be easier to hide from while he’s sleeping.

Gerard’s groggy when he wakes up, but as soon as he blinks his eyes a few times he understands why he’s been woken up.

“Whoa,” Gerard says when he sees the castle, which is still quite a ways across a field against a bright yellow sun, but it’s bigger, grander than anything Gerard’s known before, even from a distance. The castle isn’t even the most daunting part, though it is definitely huge. Gerard can tell it’s big from this far away, so he doesn’t even know what he’ll think when they get closer. The really stunning thing is the sprawling town around the castle. Gerard doesn’t see the small farms and tiny houses he’s used to in Frell. Instead what he sees are proper looking houses, upright and sturdy, built to last, rather than built out of necessity.

The house Gerard grew up in was one bad storm away from falling over. Everything about it was decayed and felt unplanned. There didn’t used to be a third floor, but at some point someone decided it might be a good idea, so they tacked it on right at the top. Gerard’s sure one day it’ll come crashing in, and he just hopes he’s not in the house when it happens.

These houses aren’t perfect in anyway, they have chipped paint, some are looking a bit droopy, but they’ll stay together for a long while. It’s an entirely different brand of beauty than Pete’s village, which really was pristine. Pete’s town had been almost creepy in its own perfection. Flawless paint and perfect gardens. Frell is a depressing, downtrodden piece of nowhere, with boring, hurried architecture that was never built for beauty. Even Giantville, which was possibly only impressive because of its size was beautiful in its own way. This is something else entirely. It’s regal, and it makes sense. The castle, even from such a distance, it’s like a heart in this place, which seems more alive than anywhere Gerard’s ever seen.

The colors of the castle aren’t clear, but he suspects, as with the rest of the houses he’s able to see, that it’s a gleaming white. There are a few pale grey houses, and some light blue ones, but the majority are white. It feels almost soulless without the pops of color that Pete’s village most certainly had, and even Frell used a flare of.

“You grew up here?” Gerard asks.

“Yeah,” Frank nods, “it’s not so exciting when you’ve lived here all your life.”

“You saw my house, right? Like a strong wind and it’s going down.”

“I liked your house, from what little I saw of it. It looked like a home and not a statement.”

Gerard just shakes his head, “man, I wish I grew up so rich that I could see my poor ass town and think it’s quaint.” He thinks about how unimpressed Hattie and Olive had been by his home. They grew up in this place, though, so now he doesn’t have to wonder why. He honestly can’t blame them for hating his house, though he’s still going to. If it had been him who grew up here, he doesn’t know if he’d ever have been able to leave it.

“I’ll show you around the town when I can,” Frank says, delicately running a hand through Gerard’s hair, which he hopes Gerard won’t stop. He doesn’t, instead Gerard makes a small humming sound. “There’s a garden on the east side of town I want to show you. It has pretty much every flower in the Kingdom. And maybe someday you’ll be able to show me Frell, from your perspective.”

“My first stop is going to be to that hall of records. I don’t know how long I’m even going to be staying.”

Frank’s heart sinks a little bit. It’s not like he forgot, but he had tried to push down the knowledge that Gerard’s not visiting just to be with him. He’s here to find his fairy. He’ll leave as soon as he knows where he’s going. Will he come back with him? And if he does, for how long? Frank has only one thought on how to make him stay, but he must speak with his Uncle first.

“I hope you’ll let me come with you?”

“Of course,” Gerard responds almost immediately. “I mean, please. I want you to come with, you’re going to keep me safe remember?”

“Your safety is my primary concern,” Frank replies. His knights know that for sure. On the very first night he’d told them to protect Gerard first and him second. What kind of a King would he be if he put himself before the people he serves anyway? Or at least that’s what he told his knights, but they see right through him.

Travie and Hayley, who are probably the closest Frank’s ever had to friends knew from the get go, probably the second he first mentioned he met someone in town. He feels detached from them as friends, mostly because it’s their duty to protect him to begin with, which is a little invalidating when you just want people to be friends with you because they like you.

“I’ve never been so far from home.” Gerard sighs and looks at the castle. It’s so grand. It’s everything he isn’t. Perfect, rich, regal.

“Hopefully I can make my home feel something like yours,” Frank says, “or at least, it’ll be bearable with your friends here.”

“Do you consider yourself my friend?” Gerard asks, because he’s curious how Frank would define the two of them. Frank almost scoffs, because it’s a ridiculous question. Gerard’s the only friend that likes him for who he is.

“I see you as my friend,” he says, and Gerard smiles, but he’s too mesmerized looking at the city as it inches nearer to actually look at Frank. “I hope we’re more than just that, though.”

Gerard almost doesn’t say anything in response but realizes it would be rude if he didn’t, so he says, “we are.”

Frank bites his lip. How can Gerard be everything he wants? How is this a real man? How has he been lucky enough to have gotten Gerard to like him?

Neither of them knows what else to say on the matter for quite some time so Frank brings up something else entirely to fill the quiet. It’s not really quiet with the wind rushing around them and nature chiming out, but it’s become quiet in the days they’ve spent doing the same thing.

“I don’t want to take you to the hall of records until tomorrow at the earliest. You haven’t slept in a real bed for quite some time, so I’m not going to give you the opportunity to leave as soon as you get there.”

“Fine,” Gerard says. “I guess that’s fair. But you will take me tomorrow, right? I want to find him and get to him as quickly as I can. He already escaped me once in Giantville, I can’t let him keep doing that.”

“As soon as you know where he is, I’ll be ready to take you there,” Frank says. His Uncle won’t be too pleased with that, but it doesn’t bother him what his Uncle thinks that much. He’s never been a father figure and he’s not going to start letting the King order him around now when he’s about to take that particular role away from him.

Frank’s supposed to have his coronation soon. Like really soon. He hasn’t been home in a while, but before he left, he was told it’d be basically right after he got back. And he’s getting back now. Which means he’s going to be King of the Kingdom soon. It’s been very easy to picture it as something he’ll do someday off in the distance. In a few years, when he feels like a real adult. But it’s not off in the distance anymore and he’s been denying himself that reality for a few weeks now. When he gets back he’s got a matter of months, weeks possibly, before he is King of this entire place.

Soon after that he’ll be expected to get married. What will everyone think?

He hasn’t even told Gerard, because he’s afraid of saying it. Gerard knows he’ll be King someday, but he doesn’t know how soon. What if it changes things? Maybe Gerard won’t want to kiss him anymore when he’s the King. It could be intimidating. It would wreck Frank beyond repair, but it’s a possibility.

Gerard finds Frank hand, which is on the reins of the horse, and he holds it there. He studies their two hands together. “I don’t know if I’ve ever really said thank you for all of this. Like you saved my life, you helped me get to Giantville, and you’re helping me find Brendon even though you don’t even know why I need to find him, and you’ve just been so willing to do it. Without questions. You’ve been so kind to me when I haven’t deserved any of it from you.”

“Anything for you, your highness,” Frank says, in a playful tone. Gerard laughs and then hits Frank’s leg, the easiest thing he can access to indicate to Frank that he was being serious. “You know I love you, Gerard. You know I’d do anything for you.”

Gerard doesn’t ask him what anything means, because he doesn’t want Frank to spread himself too thin on someone like him who’s still so unsure of what he wants from life.

“I actually was going to ask you something, Gerard. You can feel free to say no of course, but I mean, if you wanted I just was hoping… well, so the castle is really big but it’s sort of lonely and I was wondering if you’d want to be with me tonight my room when we get there? Not like… just like how we’ve been the past few nights anyway. It’s really, it’s up to you, I could get you your own room, or two or three if you need them, but if you wanted, you know that’s always an option too,” Frank feels his insides turn to liquids just asking the question, because he feels stupid, asking Gerard if he wants to stay with him when the castle has a hundred unoccupied rooms. But he’s gotten so used to having someone warm beside him, and the thought that it might not happen tonight is depressing.

Gerard’s response is not immediate. Frank feels every second of it passing like an eternity, waiting for his voice, terrified of what Gerard will say. He shouldn’t have asked. It’s stupid. He’s stupid. All of this is stupid. Except it’s Gerard. This is the man he’s very much in love with. He didn’t mean the question in any life altering way, it’s just that even as much as having Gerard pressed against him makes his life meaningful. To have him to sleep besides, is what he wants most right now. He can’t fathom Gerard staying in that big old castle a dozen rooms away. Not after these last few nights with Gerard only a breath from him.

“I’ll think about it,” Gerard says. Frank’s not sure if that’s a good answer or not. Because it’s not really any sort of answer at all. It’s just filler words. Words to tell him that he doesn’t have words yet. Frank does prefer the vague maybe to an absolute no, but he’d really like to know now, so that he can either rejoice or feel stupid.

It’s not quite uncomfortable between the two of them, but there’s quiet for a little while. Gerard doesn’t know whether Frank is expecting an answer immediately or not, but he doesn’t think he can give one, so he asks Frank a whole variety of questions about the castle. Does he have any favorite memories from growing up here? Are the people in town different from in Frell? Other questions he’s actually interested in, but they do little to erase the question in the air. Will he, won’t he?

After a few minutes they grow closer to the heart of the city. The castle is growing ever larger and more daunting. It’s not a dark, spooky castle like Ray told him stories about when he was a kid. It’s gorgeous stone and sparkling white. It’s grand and wonderful and completely devoid of personality.

Gerard is actually excited to get there, not just because of how close he is to finding Brendon, but he also is dying to see the castle. He wants to see how the other half live. He wants to see the place where Frank grew up. Even if he decides not to stay in Frank’s room, he can’t wait to see that. He’s excited to be out of Frell.

“Hey Gerard, there’s something else I’ve been meaning to ask or rather tell you.”

“What is that?”

“Well, since you’re a guest at the castle, and, well, because you mean a lot to me, it’s very likely and almost a guarantee I guess that Edgar is going to want to meet you.”

“Yeah,” Gerard says, “I kind of figured that was inevitable.”

“And like, so he’s got kind of a short temper. And I know you dislike him, and I sure as hell am going to need to talk to him about his politics because I don’t like what I’ve heard about him, but like, it’d be great if you didn’t like, say all those mean things to his face as you did to me. You really have to actually be nice to him.” Gerard grits his teeth at the order because there is nothing Gerard would rather do than chew out the guy who is ruining the Kingdom. “And like, you gotta understand that it’s because he’s not like me. Like if you insult him, it won’t roll off his back, and he won’t really listen to you. He’s got the power to imprison you if he hears you say that stuff. It’s kind of like, almost verging on treason.”

“Even though I’m right.”

“Well, right now, like I don’t know how much of what you say is true. Not to say I don’t believe you, but like, I want to hear about it firsthand from my Uncle. His side of the story. Though I do trust you and believe a lot of what you’ve told me. But like, for the time being, I need to be on both sides of the fence. And when I’m King, I need you to know that things will change, but that won’t be for a little while. Just keep it between us how much you dislike him. Act like a little less rash or judgmental. Not to say I don’t like it when you do that, I promise, I think it’s kinda cute when you get all passionate, but just know I’m really looking out for you when I ask this of you.”

Gerard wants to tell him that he’s not asking, he’s ordering him around, but he can’t. It kills him. But he’s kind of got an in with the future King so he does have a lot of hope that he’ll be able to convince Frank to better the Kingdom; stop the enslavement of elves, give the Giants their freedom back, and all the other things that have made this a terrible place to live.

The houses they pass are growing in both size and in elegance. The lines, paint, and décor are all pristine, and they are all different hues of white and grey. Gerard almost longs for the dusty browns of Frell.

“You look amazed.”

“Every single town I’ve ever been to is so different from the last. I just feel lucky to have seen so many.”

“I literally love you to death.” Frank kisses the nape of his neck, and he feels Frank’s arms around him pulling a little tighter, like he can’t fathom ever letting Gerard go.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Gerard is just as attached to Frank as Frank is to him. The thoughts he had so recently about how he might go back to Frell, about how he might live his life away from Frank, all seem so idiotic.

How has he come so far? A month ago, he couldn’t even think about a boy being cute. A month ago, he had never met royalty. A month ago, no boy could ever kiss another boy. A month ago, he was still in Frell, miserable, fending off his stepsisters and Buggy.

Two weeks ago, he had never been kissed. Two weeks ago, he could never have shared a bed with anyone. Two weeks ago, he was no one at all.

But here he is in the capitol city of the Kingdom, about to see the Castle for the first time with the Prince by his side. He’s kissed the Prince. Many times. Gerard is the Prince’s… lover? He’s fucking happy for the first time in forever. Just wait until Ray sees him. He’s met Ogre’s, Giants, Elves, and he’s well on his way to changing everything.

Little old Gerard of Frell. In love with Frank, the future King. On his way to vanquish his curse.

He’s so close to everything he ever wanted, and everything he never knew he wanted. Maybe he’ll finally find peace.