Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


Gerard likes to think of himself as a good friend. He doesn’t have any friends other than Patrick, but he’s loyal to him, and to him alone. Aside from any threat of actual death, Gerard’s pretty sure he’d move the world for Patrick. Given a situation where death is at hand he doesn’t know what he’d do and would really rather avoid finding out. He’s not really big on the whole near death experience thing. Thus, he avoids anything that might kill him at all costs.

That does not mean that he is not the most belligerent friend a guy could have. He may agree to go to the event that Patrick is dragging him to, but he will not pretend to be happy about it. No, instead, he will mope, keep his head down, and sulk like the loner he really is.

Patrick wants to be near the front. Gerard wants to be near the back. When they get there, they don’t have the choice to be in the front, so Patrick gets them as close as he can, and that is where they stand as the whole town, and people from some towns over, start to file into the small paddock. Gerard isn’t big on large sums of people, and he’s not big on loud talking either. Basically, if not for Patrick he would be on the ground screaming and crying about too many people.

“How many people here do you think actually care about the Prince’s politics?”

“Seven. Maybe eight,” Patrick replies, “I’m pretty sure his fan club is here. They must have an agreement to rally here.”

“They’re going to try to steal his clothes I just know it,” Gerard replies.

“Let’s hope not,” Patrick says, “the first impression I get of the Prince, I don’t want to be of him undressed, partially or completely so.”

Gerard shrugs. He doesn’t have to comment, so he doesn’t. He doesn’t know what he’d say.

“What are you going to do if he recognizes you?” Patrick asks. “I mean, if you ever met him of course, which you haven’t.”

“I’d burst into flames,” Gerard says.

“Really? Then maybe I do want him to see you. I really do. Could be exciting.”

“You would let me die just to see a bonfire?”

“Depends on the nature of the fire, if it’s a spontaneous one, that sounds amazing, if not, then maybe we can miss out. I’ve lit enough fires myself, they’re not the most interesting things to start up, so trying to light you on fire would just be too arduous.”

“I’m glad you care more about the time it would take than you care about my life.”

“Anytime,” Patrick replies.

“How long is this going to take? Like will I have enough time to sneak into my old room and steal Hattie’s diary or am I going to have to wait until tomorrow? I really need the juicy details as to how she adores the Prince so. She’s a real poet you know, she knows at least fifty whole words.”

“Your hate of your sister is all that gets me through the day you know. Well that and the prospect of leaving this place as soon as I can. Maybe you can use your in with the Prince to get me a job in the castle.”

“Yeah he and I are real tight. He gave me a rock and everything.”

Patrick rolls his eyes, “Nothing sounds more amazing than washing the Prince’s dirty dishes. What a life.”

“Please tell me that was sarcasm and you don’t have an obscene dish fetish,” Gerard says.

“You’re so smart.”

“You’re a bitch,” Gerard responds.

“Oh I’ve spotted them,” Patrick says, and he points to somewhere behind Gerard. He turns to see Hattie and Olive wearing two of the most stunningly awful dresses that he has ever seen. He knows that they’re meant to be fancy and look better than ordinary dresses, but they come across as gaudy.

Gerard doesn’t know all that much about the Prince, but you would seriously have to be blind to find either of them attractive. Mostly the problem is that they’re both wearing more makeup than a clown.

“Oh my,” Gerard says, “Is the travelling circus in town?”

“There’s more of them!” Patrick says pointing to even more girls, all dressed as pompously as the other two. They’re making his stomach sick just to look at. The poor Prince.

“Well... at least the guy is a dick,” Gerard says, “because otherwise that would be sad.”

“You don’t even think that,” Patrick says, “you like him.”

“No I don’t.”

“Not like that,” Patrick says, “well, a little bit like that but, I just mean that I know you don’t hate him as much as you’re trying to convince yourself you do.”

“Don’t lecture me on how I feel, my feelings are for my head.”

“Whatever,” Patrick says. The two of them bicker for another ten minutes or so, until the place starts to burst with too many people all talking way too loud, and scaring all the animals away. It’s not that Gerard really wants everyone around him to be attacked by birds or anything, but he really wishes there weren’t so many people around them. You know there’s too many people when all the birds get scared away by the noise.

“Well he certainly isn’t punctual,” Gerard says. He’s just annoyed that he has to be here at all, and the fact that the Prince isn’t here is what’s pissing him off.

“You’re so harsh,” Patrick replies, “what is it about him that’s got you insisting he’s the devil?”

“His lineage.”

“Okay correct me if I’m wrong, but his father was one of the best Kings we ever had. He was an amazing man. It’s his Uncle you don’t like, Gerard. You can’t reflect your opinion of Frank on a man who didn’t even raise him. That makes no sense.”

“When have I ever made sense? Let me blindly hate him, alright!”

“You and your hatred,” Patrick says, “I don’t know how you manage to keep your head above water with how much you hate everything.”

“Well see, the difference between you and me is that I am not made out of maple syrup, nor do I melt away in the rain,” Gerard says.

“Are you trying to insult me by saying I’m too nice?” Patrick asks.

“Did it work?”

“It depends on what the intended outcome was.”

“Well-” Gerard starts before Patrick silences him quickly with a hiss, because there’s the fucking Prince standing up on the stage where normally you can find an ongoing puppet show. Gerard finds it amusing that the guy is now standing on a stage where most people who stand there are ones with hands up their ass.

“Oh wow,” Patrick whispers, “I understand now why everyone fawns all over him.”

“Give it up,” Gerard groans, ducking his head down. He doesn’t want to look at the Prince. He doesn’t want the Prince to see him. He just wants to not hear the guy at all, or acknowledge his existence. What Gerard wouldn’t give to be anywhere else but here.

“No, seriously,” Patrick says. “I understand your sisters now.”

“I don’t.”

“Okay, maybe not fundamentally, but I do understand this.”

“You’re-” Gerard doesn’t get a chance to tell him what he is because Patrick interrupts him before he gets to. The Prince is speaking apparently, and it’s too important to miss.

“Uh, hi?” is the Prince’s long-awaited epic opening.

“Not the most gifted wordsmith,” Gerard notes, and Patrick elbows him.

“So I’m Frank,” he says, and what follows is what can only be described like a banshee like noise as several girls in the audience react the way Gerard would normally associate with oncoming death. There’s screaming, crying, and one girl surely must be slowly dying, there’s no other reason to make that awful noise.

“Kill me now.”

“I, uh, don’t know how to do this,” Frank says.

“Idiot,” Gerard whispers to himself.

“Why are you screaming?” Frank asks, and he is answered with more screaming.

“Please don’t,” Frank says in response, “I’m too young to be deaf.”

Gerard grins, because that is exactly how he feels about the manner too. He can actually pinpoint the screams of his sisters. He’s known them for about a month and yet he’s already familiarized himself with what it sounds like enough to be able to place their individual screams in a crowd of several. His life has been pretty miserable since they moved in, and he is substantially harder of hearing than he had been a year ago.

“Alright, so it’s come to my attention very recently that I’m not well liked by some people,” Frank says, and Gerard actually blushes as he stares down at his shoes. Frank’s talking about him. Or at least, he probably is.

Frank’s devoted audience of girls boos at his words. Frank has to strain his voice just to be heard over the sound of them.

“Honestly, don’t, it’s fine. I mean, I kind of get it. And so, I’ll be honest, I don’t know anything about politics. There’s a dozen people who could do a better job at this ruling thing than me, but there’s this blood thing, and I don’t know. I guess I’m starting to open my eyes a little bit to the fact that I can’t just hide from this stuff. I’ve got to step up, and I don’t know how to do that, but I know that there are some problems that have been cropping up as of late that I’ve been hiding from, and that’s not what makes a good leader.”

“Boy, you really got to him,” Patrick whispers, and Gerard blushes even more, competing with his neck to keep his head down instead of looking up.

“A good leader knows what’s going on and doesn’t run away from that responsibility like I have been doing, and I don’t know. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if I’m mature enough to be a real leader yet, and I’m not sure that I know enough about my own kingdom. I’m still pretty much a kid in most ways.”

The girls in Frank’s fan club all simultaneously say ‘aww’ and it makes Gerard gag to himself.

“Yeah, whatever,” Frank says, and Gerard can almost hear him rolling his eyes, “So, okay, so I met this guy recently who was... well he was a character, I’ll give him that.”

“Oh my,” Patrick says, because apparently he’s part psychic and already knows what the Prince is about to say.

“And so he kind of just called me a jerk to my face in as many variations that language allows.”

“Oh my,” Patrick repeats, glancing over at Gerard who’s about the color of a tomato right now. Gerard can actually hear his own stepsisters booing. Him. They’re booing him. They’re booing Frank’s words, which can only be about him.

“That’s not my point, I don’t think he was a bad guy, that’s not at all what I’m trying to say. I think he was, uh, well I can’t say he didn’t speak his mind.”

“Fuck,” Gerard murmurs.

“You really did meet the Prince,” Patrick whispers, astounded.

“I know.”

“Why I’m saying this is that I’m starting to figure out that I’ve ignored everything I’m supposed to be in charge of for my entire life, and that has left me clueless in the face of actually having to deal with it. I don’t think I could ever be good at any of this if I don’t know what’s going on. Mostly, I’ve been under the illusion until recently that everything was alright and that there was nothing to complain of, and I’m starting to see that’s not the case. I know that I cannot begin to consider myself a good leader until I hear out the people whose lives I’m going to be shaping for good or for ill, and I direly hope it’s not for ill. I don’t know what kind of people my family before me have been, and I’m disappointed to say that, but I don’t. I’m so flagrantly uninformed and I’m going to rectify that. So, the reason this ties into this guy I met is that... well I think I’ve known for a while that I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ve never felt more ashamed of myself as I had been before I met him. I actually think that’s a good thing.”

“You make quite the impression,” Patrick remarks, and Gerard might actually burst into flames like he said he would.

“I sound like such an awful stuck up guy when I say all of this, I know. I get the inequality. I’m not an idiot to everything, I know that my life is better than other peoples, because to put it simply, I have more money, a better upbringing, assurance that I’m never going to have any real struggles, and that’s not fair. I know it’s not fair, I understand that and I wish I could get rid of this huge divide between me and you, which is why I’m here now, doing this touring thing. I don’t want people to feel like they don’t have a voice. I don’t want that guy calling me an idiot to be something I ignore.”

“He loves you,” Patrick jokes, and Gerard steps on his foot.

“Shut up.”

“You can’t silence me, the Prince wouldn’t like that,” Patrick teases, and Gerard steps on his foot again, harder this time.

Frank takes a deep breath before continuing, “I just want people not to think I’m a jerk, and if I achieve that much than maybe I won’t be who some of you think I am. A specific person in particular.”

“Oh my god,” Gerard says, shrinking even further, more terrified than ever of what will happen if he were to look up.

“You still think he’s a major jerk?”

“No one can change me,” Gerard responds, and he’s doing his best not to acknowledge that he’s the one being a jerk right now. Gerard is rather stubborn, however, and will in general do anything to admit to being wrong. If blindly hating the Prince is what needs to be done for the sake of his pride, well then he will do his best.

“Alright, what I want is to not turn away at what you think. I want to be... well, a good King. I want to be the best. I don’t know how to do that quite yet, but I am willing to learn. I need to know what policies and issues I should be looking at though, which is why I’m here to ask you to please tell me what it is that you want me to do. I have to hear you so that I can start to move in the right direction. I plea with you just to allow me enough of an open mind to give me the opportunity to be what the kingdom we all live in needs. If I live up to be the person I was told I am, I really do deserve to be called a jerk.”

“He always will be,” Gerard says to himself.

“I don’t say any of this because I think it will help your image of me, I want people to like me, of course I do, but if I don’t earn that from you than I won’t demand it. Well-liked or not, what matters to me is that I know I’ve done the best for my people that I am capable of providing, and if that’s not enough than it’s my fault I couldn’t do better,” Frank sighs, and Gerard can’t help himself anymore. He hates being the only person here who hasn’t even glanced once at the Prince.

Gerard, against his better judgment, looks up. He sees the Prince, and he definitely understands why so many girls are in love with him, though he wouldn’t ever admit it. There’s something about him. It might be partially because the sun is starting to come up from behind the clouds and it quite conveniently shines over Frank like he’s some sort of angel, or it might just be that he’s got these eyes that, even from a distance, could make a person melt. Whatever it is, Gerard hates it inordinately. Except not really.

It’s not a huge crowd who are gathered here to see the Prince, it’s really not, but it’s large enough that the fact that Frank meets Gerard’s eyes only seconds after he looks up throws him off to an extreme. There’s at least a few hundred people around here now and the guy just so happens to look straight at him?

The Prince’s face, which a moment before had been sterile and serious, now breaks into a huge grin that causes Patrick to audibly snort out laughter right next to Gerard. From the sheer embarrassment, mixed with the swift beating of Gerard’s heart, and some other emotion that Gerard’s not quite familiar with, all come together to give Gerard the impression that he is never going to be able to fall asleep again. Also, he is going to murder Patrick the second he gets the chance.
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Sexy end screen authors note.