Hello, people! This is just something I was writing for fun and then decided to upload. Hope you enjoy it. I'm tempted to say more, but at Bread Loaf we always had a "no disclaimer" rule, so here goes nothing, I guess.
The first time Jamison met the Prince, he was struck dumb – not by his legendary beauty, nor by his startlingly blue eyes, but rather by the isolation that he saw in them. There was a coldness in those eyes, a potential for malice, that hinted at loneliness, as if the soul behind them had been kept by itself for such a long time that now it chose its own seclusion just for safety. Behind that cold and calculating stare was an aggression, like a snake coiled sleeping but ready for the strike when opportunity called, and Jamison wondered why nobody else in the room was as terrified as he suddenly was. Then a kind handmaid jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow and he remembered who exactly it was who was frightening him so.
Immediately he fell to his knees, dropping his head down to look at the floor, hoping that his stance conveyed both his subservience and his sincere apology for being so disrespectful. His heart was already pounding anxiously as he wondered whether he'd earned himself a date with the gallows on his first day, in his first hour, in the castle, but it sped up even more when the Prince stepped forward and placed his slender hand on the side of Jamison's face.
Jamison was surprised at the gentleness of his touch, so different from the frigidity in his eyes. He raised his head as the Prince's hand guided him to do so and he found himself once again staring into those eyes.
He had heard of the feeling of being searched through one's eyes before, but this, what the Prince was doing to him now, felt more concrete than that. He could practically physically feel the Prince's cold blue eyes on his very soul, searching every inch of him for any trace of disloyalty or pride or Jamison didn't know what, but it wasn't at all a comfortable feeling and he wished the Prince would stop.
And then, finally, he did stop. For a moment, Jamison almost wished that he would start again, but he didn't, and Jamison shook the feeling off. The Prince guided him into a standing position, now directing his gaze over Jamison's shoulder. Apparently, this meant that he was dismissed because the handmaid, who had nudged him a moment before, quickly led him from the room. When they were at the other end of the hall, she must have deemed them safe for speech.
"He looked at you for a long time. I wonder if that's a good thing…"
"Thanks for helping me in there. I don't know what came over me."
"Not at all – it happens to everyone the first time they see him. He just does that to people, I suppose."
"What I don't understand is…well, I guess I don't really understand anything that just happened. He just looked at me, didn't ask me any questions, or tell me what my duties are – he just looked at me."
"Oh – has no one ever told you? The Prince doesn't speak."
The handmaid looked shocked. "He's mute."
Jamison's eyes widened. "Well, that explains why he didn't say anything, at least."
"Here, I'll bring you to his quarters. You're to be his new servant, right?"
"All right, come this way. I'll tell you about your chores and duties. My name's Anita, by the way. I'm sort of the maid who does everything that nobody else has time for. I had a feeling that it might fall to me to instruct you, so I waited for you."
"That was very kind of you. I'd would've been lost in there without you – and still lost now. I don't know the first thing about the treatment of princes."
"Well, the first thing is that you do what the Prince tells you to do – whatever he tells you."
"How can he 'tell' me anything if he can't speak?"
"The Prince has ways of communicating – mostly gestures, but as you saw in there, he won't hesitate to reach out and touch you get your attention or to tell you to do something. His silence may make him appear timid, but if there's one thing our Prince isn't, it's shy."
Anita stopped outside an ornate wooden door. "This is it," she said, and pulled a key from her belt to unlock the door. "Since I do mostly odd jobs, I have a key to most rooms in the castle." They stepped inside and the first thing Jamison saw was the massive bed against the opposite wall.
"It'll be your job to make sure that the Prince is up on time every morning. Wake him gently, but you can decide on your own approach. When he's out of bed, he'll go into this room over here to freshen up. While he's in there, you will make up the bed. By the time he's back in here, you must be finished because you'll have to attend him as he dresses for the day. His clothes are kept in this wardrobe, as I'm sure you guessed, but also in this trunk and cabinet. Oh, and before you come up here, you need to fetch the Prince's breakfast from the kitchens. I can show you where, if you'd like." Jamison nodded, trying to remember everything she'd said so far.
"So, that's the morning routine," Anita continued. "Of course, after he's dressed and has had his breakfast, you'll have to do whatever he tells you. Any questions so far?" Jamison shook his head, but it was more because he had so many questions that he didn't know where to begin, rather than having none at all.
"Okay, so for most of the day you basically just follow him around and do what he asks. Some basic servant rules to remember would be to never speak unless you're spoken to (which, in your case, counts as whatever communication the Prince uses – you are allowed to ask questions for clarification, but I wouldn't try to have conversation), always be at hand in case you're needed, but try to remain in the background, and always be quick, efficient, and tidy.
"He'll usually get lunch on his own. He likes to spend the midday hours outside – in the courtyard, or in the stables, or sometimes out in the woods. He may take you with him or he may not. Don't fight him on it: it's been my experience that his decisions are usually made in order to protect his servants from the king and queen. He sups with the king and queen, who have their own servants, of course, and there are also several who work in the dining room so you won't have to tend him during supper. That will be your chance to eat in your own chambers.
"At night, come back here whenever it seems fitting. Try to get here either at the same time as the Prince or before him. You must turn down the bed and be ready to undress him. He won't be angry if you're late, but it's best not to try his patience. He will dismiss you when he's ready.
"There's not so much to remember, really. You'll get the hang of it all soon enough, and he is rather more patient than it may seem at first. He has several rooms here in his quarters, but this is really the only one you need to know your way around. You may well find yourself inside some of the others, but if he wants something, he'll let you know. Do you have any questions?"
"Just one… What happened to the Prince's last servant?"
"Oh," Anita laughed. "He was let go for his own good, and given a job outside of the castle. He was completely enamored with the Prince, you see. Not that I can blame him. It happens to some people, though – they become infatuated and can no longer do their job properly. Some of us here in the castle often find ourselves staring, but we look out for each other, give each other nudges to knock us out of it. It's actually a rumor among us that the Prince has some sort of magical power that puts people in a trance, but of course, we avoid saying so around anyone who might tell the king and queen. The Prince himself might find it amusing, if he thought to find it anything at all, but the king and queen would probably have the head of anyone spreading such a rumor.
"Anyway, listen to me rambling on. You wanted to see the kitchens. It's just as well. The Prince will be dining with the Lord of Baldish and his wife tonight. You can stock up your room and get settled in. You will be expected in his quarters tomorrow morning with his breakfast. He's an early riser, so I suggest that you get up with the sun. It'll be best to become accustomed to getting to bed early.
"I should tell you, too, that there's a bedroll in the top of that cabinet I showed you. There will be nights when you make use of it, so don't be surprised if you're not actually dismissed at night. Sometimes he'll simply turn out the lights without a mention to you. When that happens, get out the bedroll and stay. Other nights, you might find it prudent to stay, even if he does dismiss you. You can request permission to stay. He may say yes, in which case you get out the bedroll, or he may shake his head – if that happens finish the routine and leave without another word – just don't mention it at all."
Anita continued to tell Jamison about the Prince and his duties all the way down to the kitchens, which were expansive, and all the way to his own chambers, which were bigger than he had expected. He had three rooms all to himself: a bedroom, a washroom, and a living space that was meant to be used for eating and relaxing. He stored the food he'd brought from the kitchens and escorted Anita to the door.
"I'm sure you'll be fine, but good luck, Jamison. I'm never in one place for long, but whenever you see me, don't hesitate to ask me any questions. The servants are very friendly, so you can ask them anything as well. Don't forget: bed early, rise with the sun. Will you remember how to get to the kitchens from here?" Jamison said he thought he would. "Excellent. Well, here's hoping that you last longer than the last one. He was only here for a month. But I think you'll do just fine."
Jamison thanked her for all the help and said good-bye, feeling grateful that he already had someone in the castle who was so willing to help him out. Then he spent some time looking around his new chambers. They made up a space that was about as big as his old house in the village from which he'd come, but he had it all to himself, rather than sharing with five brothers (two older and three younger). Finally, after taking some dinner, he remembered Anita's advise of getting up early and he decided that he'd better get some sleep. He was used to getting up early, at home he'd had to help with the farm duties, but he figured he should be well-rested for his first day of work as the Prince's personal servant. He closed his eyes and settled into his comfortable bed with a sigh. It beat the hay-strewn floor that he used to sleep on, that was for sure.
The next morning, Jamison woke up early, as instructed, and quickly washed and dressed. Then he set out for the kitchens, expecting to get at least a little bit lost before he made it there (he did). In the end, he found himself holding the Prince's breakfast on a tray, standing nervously outside the door that led to his quarters. He had been given a key in the kitchens, and he was trying to gather his courage to go inside. Finally, after several minutes of going to the door and walking away again, he figured he'd squandered all of the extra time that he'd gained by getting out of bed so early, and he entered the Prince's bedroom.
The Prince was still asleep, Jamison noted as he placed the tray of food on the small table near the foot of the bed. He walked over to him, knowing that it was his job to wake the Prince, but not knowing how to go about doing it. He suddenly wished that Anita had been much more specific about that little detail.
Looking down at the bed, Jamison realized that not only was the Prince not wearing a shirt (as was clearly evident by the fact that the sheets were draped low over his bare hips), but he wasn't wearing pants either. Jamison took a deep breath; Anita hadn't been kidding about his not being shy.
Tentatively, Jamison reached out and touched the Prince's soft-yet-angular shoulder. He thought about it, and then decided that one probably shouldn't shake a prince awake. He needed something…softer, sweeter than that. So he moved his hand from his shoulder to his hair, and gently brushed his fingers through it. The Prince's dark eyelashes fluttered slightly, and then those startling blue eyes were open and looking up at Jamison. For a moment, he was stuck, unable to move his eyes from the Prince's, unable to move his hand from the Prince's hair. Then he shook himself and took a step back.
He couldn't help but watch as the Prince sat up, rubbing drowsily at his sharp eyes, and the sheet slipped further down his hips. Then he stood, and Jamison saw that he'd been right about the Prince being clothes-less, and moved gracefully into the washroom next door.
Jamison blinked and remembered his duties. He quickly made up the bed and moved to the wardrobe, taking out clothing for the day. There was an outfit already chosen and hanging on the inside, about which Jamison was very glad, since he couldn't recall Anita telling him what to do about clothes. He figured it must have been someone else's job to choose the Prince's daily wardrobe.
A few minutes later, the Prince came back, still entirely naked, and stood, waiting, in the middle of the room. Jamison swallowed and moved forward with the clothes, not really knowing exactly what he should do. But the Prince was patient as he slowly got him into his clothing, all the while Jamison noticing that the Prince's whole body was exactly like that one shoulder: soft and yet mysteriously angular – all but his eyes, which had no degree of softness whatsoever.
When he was dressed, in a dark blue tunic that made his eyes and skin stand out even more and dark leather pants, he pointed at the tray that held his breakfast, then at Jamison, then made a gesture that Jamison should follow him. Jamison picked up the tray and followed as the Prince walked through the washroom and into a sitting room of sorts, which had a table, big enough for three or four people, in the middle of it. He pointed to the table, and Jamison placed the tray on it, standing back slightly awkwardly as the Prince sat down.
Watching the Prince eat his scone with clotted cream, Jamison was suddenly very aware that he hadn't eaten anything yet himself. He had been so excited and nervous about getting started with work that he'd forgotten to eat before leaving his chambers and heading down to the kitchens. Before he could even try to stop it, his stomach growled rather loudly. He winced, worried that the prince had heard and wondering what might happen to him for being too loud.
Evidently, the Prince had heard. He promptly broke off a piece of his scone and held it out to Jamison. Jamison shook his head, fighting off his hunger in favor of being polite and respectful, but the Prince didn't retract the offer, and Jamison soon gave in. As he nibbled his piece of scone, he watched the Prince raptly – he watched the details of his movement, rather than the movement itself, so he was surprised when the Prince stood up suddenly and began walking to the door.
"Should I get the plate?" Jamison blurted, surprised out of his trance, and the sound was strange after all the silence. The Prince turned and looked at him for a moment before shaking his head no. Jamison just nodded and followed him out through his bedroom and into the hall.
They spent the morning in the throne room, the Prince sitting beside his father as he heard audiences from various villages, and Jamison stood behind the Prince, available in case he needed anything. But the Prince didn't even look at him the entire morning. Then, after several hours, the royal family stood and went in different directions. Jamison followed the Prince down to the kitchens and gathered some food for himself, as the Prince was doing, when he gestured for him to do so.
They bundled their food and went outside from the kitchen door, which led right out to the royal stables. The Prince knew exactly where he was going, so Jamison just followed closely behind him. Soon they were both riding horses out of the stables and behind the castle to where they could slip out of the city relatively unseen. After that, it was just a short ride to the woods. They didn't go very deeply in before the Prince stopped at the side of a little stream and dismounted.
This time, as they sat by the stream and ate their lunch, it was the Prince who watched Jamison. Jamison watched the water and the trees, trying to pretend that he didn't feel the Prince's strange eyes on him. But every once in a while, he couldn't help but look back at the Prince and marvel at the way his eyes seemed to sparkle in the sunlight, and his pale skin glowed. For the first time since he'd met him, Jamison realized, the Prince looked truly comfortable.
They sat there for a few hours, watching each other, trying to figure out what the other was like, trying to decide whether or not they actually like one another's company.
And that was how the first few weeks went by. Jamison followed Anita's instructions and advice, asking her and the others servants questions whenever he thought of one. A couple times, he wasn't dismissed at night and he slept on the bedroll, although it never became clear to him why he was wanted to stay, and eventually he decided that there probably was no real reason, that the Prince had just forgotten to wave him away (his preferred method of servant-dismissal, as it turned out). Jamison still found himself often becoming transfixed with the Prince's merest movements, but he was snapping out of it more quickly, and he had the daily routine down perfectly.
One evening, about four weeks after he had begun his new job, Jamison entered the bedroom from the sitting room where he had just been putting away a small figurine of a beautiful young woman that the Prince had received from the king of a neighboring kingdom earlier that day (the Prince had spent the entire day with his parents and the king and queen who had given him the stunning sculpture). The Prince was already in bed, in his customary nakedness, but there was something the tiniest bit different from the scene. It took Jamison's eyes a moment to locate the small jar of oil on the Prince's bedside table.
When the Prince heard Jamison enter, he pushed himself up slightly (he was lying on his stomach, sheets low once again so that his back was exposed) and made eye contact, which probably slowed Jamison down from understanding his point, rather than speeding up the process. He pointed to the oil, then to Jamison, then he rubbed his own shoulder and grimaced. When he caught his breath, Jamison nodded.
He moved to the other side of the bed, where the oil was sitting innocently, and looked awkwardly down at the Prince before sitting on the edge of the bed; he wouldn't be able to reach him any other way. Taking a deep breath he took the cover off of the oil jar and dipped his fingers into the unnaturally warm liquid. Slowly, so slowly, he reached out and touched the Prince's shoulder blade. Then, he figured he had to start sometime, so he dipped the fingers of his other hand into the oil and placed both hands firmly on the Prince's back.
As he began to rub his shoulders, he realized two things: that the Prince was incredibly tense, and that he'd never before been so bothered by the fact that the Prince couldn't say anything, or make any sort of sound, to tell him if he was doing this right. But he didn't make a sign that Jamison should stop, so he kept going, pressing his thumbs in when he found a spot that seemed particularly tight. The Prince sighed peacefully and shifted slightly, which Jamison took to be a good sign.
He became more confident when the Prince leaned up into his touch, so he began to move further down his back. For several minutes, he did the best he could, but the angle was awkward and he knew that this was not the most efficient position from which to be doing this. Of course, he wasn't going to do anything about that, but when the Prince reached back, placing a hand on his thigh and practically dragging his leg toward him, Jamison had no choice but to straddle him.
Jamison tried to find a place to sit that would be the least awkward, and eventually he found himself on the Prince's upper thighs. Trying to control his now-uneven breathing, he leaned forward and replaced his hands on the Prince's soft skin. From the new, and admittedly much better, angle, Jamison was able to do his job more effectively. This time he started in the middle, and when he pressed down, the Prince gasped quietly and his back curved into Jamison's touch.
Swallowing hard, Jamison screwed his eyes shut. He was going to have a serious problem if he kept watching the Prince like this. He was here to do a job, he was an employee of the royal family, and while the Prince may not care one way or the other about his reaction to this situation, the king and queen would not be so nonchalant if they were ever to find out about it.
Trying to distract himself from the gentle breathing coming from the slowly relaxing form beneath him, Jamison thought about what could possibly have gotten the Prince so stressed that he needed…this. He had spent the entire day with his parents and the king and queen of that other kingdom. Jamison assumed that whatever was bothering him had to have something to do with that. The first thought that came to him was that maybe he'd just had a really uncomfortable chair, but of course that was ridiculous. For one thing, he was the Prince – he could have whatever chair he wanted. But try as he might, Jamison just couldn't come up with anything plausible, not that he blamed himself. It was really very hard to concentrate with that warmth underneath him and the knowledge of who it was emanating from.
Eventually, he just decided that the Prince must not like that king and queen very much, and so spending the entire day stuffed up in a room with them had stressed him out. And on top of that, he hadn't gotten to go outside at all. Anita had said he liked that, but Jamison was sure that that was about the biggest understatement he'd ever heard. Since he started working for the Prince, there hadn't been a single day when the Prince didn't go outside at all. He went out even when it was pouring rain. It was something he needed, as surely as he needed to breathe. Yes, certainly that was the problem.
Even through his forced thoughts, Jamison's brow furrowed as his hands moved even further down the Prince's back. His fingers brushed down the curve of his spine, and he continued working the muscles until he felt the pads of his thumbs hit the two angular dips that pointed toward the sheets that were blocking the rest of the Prince's body from view. Jamison suppressed a sigh of relief, ran his hands up and down the Prince's body a couple of time, just to make sure that he'd released all of the tension there. Then, when he was quite sure he was done, he said, "I think that's…" but he trailed off because he didn't know how to finish. The Prince just propped himself up on his elbows and nodded.
This time, Jamison let his sigh escape, and yet, relieved as he was to get out of this situation, he practically had to pry himself from where he sat on the Prince's thighs. Once contact was broken, he hurried into the washroom to wash his hands of the excess oil. But he supposed that no matter how much he scrubbed, the sweet scent of it would linger for days.
Sure enough, even after he scrubbed with some of the Prince's expensive soap, his fingers still smelled of the oil. Oh well, he thought as he walked back into the bedroom so that he could leave and go to sleep himself. But as he stepped over the threshold from the washroom, all thoughts of sleep were forgotten.
The Prince was now sitting up on the bed, entirely outside of the covers, his back against the headboard and his legs spread apart. Jamison had just enough time to see his fingers glisten in the light before they disappeared beneath him. Suddenly, the problem that he'd been able to keep manageable was no longer quite so manageable. He knew he stopped breathing for at least several seconds.
Then the Prince opened his penetrating eyes and they found Jamison standing there staring. Raising the hand that wasn't currently otherwise occupied, the Prince beckoned with oil-drenched fingers for Jamison to come closer. Forcing himself to breathe, Jamison reminded himself that he was legally bound to follow the Prince's orders. Slowly, he moved to the bed and sat down even more hesitantly than he had the first time. The Prince never moved his eyes from Jamison's.
From this closer position, Jamison could see what he had been pretty sure of before: that the Prince had his fingers inside himself and was moving them in and out leisurely. Once again his breath caught and he had to remind himself to breathe. He saw his hand reaching out before he even realized that he'd decided to do it. Right before he wrapped his hand around the Prince, the young royal grabbed his wrist. Jamison's eyes flicked up to find the Prince's, in fear of retribution, but the Prince only moved his hand further down, placing it beside his own.
Taking the hint, Jamison pressed one finger in beside the Prince's own. He watched his face, brow furrowed, as he added another. The Prince arched his back against the headboard, his eyes closed again, and let out a little sigh. Suddenly, it occurred to Jamison what was going on here: the Prince was just trying to relax further. Obviously, he was still stressed about the day's events. Knowing this, Jamison felt less guilty about what he was doing. He was helping, after all. That was it.
The Prince now had four fingers working him open and he seemed fairly lost – in a very composed, sophisticated kind of way. His lips were parted and he had one hand gripping the sheets beneath him, but he never lost himself to the frantic need that Jamison was familiar with, even when Jamison felt his finger brush against a small spot inside of him. When he did it again, though, the Prince squeezed his eyes shut and pushed down against their fingers. Jamison pressed against it harder, and knew that it would only take a moment more. After a few more thrusts of their fingers, the Prince bit his lip and came silently.
Jamison withdrew his fingers gently, the Prince doing the same right afterward. Then, with barely a moment to compose himself, the Prince waved his hand toward the door, in the gesture of dismissal that Jamison had come to recognize.
The next morning, the news was all over the castle. The Prince was to be married – to Princess Natalia, the daughter of the king and queen who had been visiting the day before. At least now Jamison knew what they had been here for. And why the Prince was so stressed. This second revelation was proven that morning, when the Prince was in the throne room hearing the audiences with the king and queen. Anytime Princess Natalia or the wedding was mentioned at all, he would tense up a little bit more. Jamison watched his shoulders rise little by little all day. Until finally, before bed that night, they ended the day the same way they had the night before.
And so they did every night after that. And every night, it took longer for the Prince to find his release. It got to the point where he stopped dismissing Jamison afterward because it was so late by the time they finished. At first, Jamison slept on the bedroll on the floor, but one night the Prince stopped him from getting up to get it. Jamison looked at him questioningly and the Prince reached up to hold his face in his hands. Gently, slowly, he guided Jamison down onto the bed next to him. Jamison knew that he was giving him the chance to pull away. He didn't.
From that night on, Jamison slept beside the Prince in his bed, wrapping his arms around him whenever he plucked up the courage. Some nights, long after they'd turned out the lights, Jamison would feel the Prince's body shake with silent sobs, and he would hold him tighter, his heart breaking every time he thought of tears spilling from those incredibly beautiful, terrifying eyes.
And then, finally, it was the day of the wedding. Jamison got the Prince dressed like he always did, only this time he dressed him in the outfit designed for this special occasion. And they went to the throne room like they always did, but the Prince (and Jamison, too, though he wasn't really paying attention to himself) was more somber than he'd ever been just going to the throne room – and he was a somber person, in general. They just stood there, waiting, until it was time to go through the double doors and into the ballroom. Jamison followed the Prince inside, never taking his eyes off of him.
Jamison stood behind the Prince at the front of the room. It seemed as if the entire city had shown up to watch the union of the two kingdoms. As the moment grew ever closer, Jamison felt the growing need to say something. He felt connected to the Prince, to his fate, somehow. As Princess Natalia began to make her way up the aisle, he grasped his last chance. Leaning toward the Prince, he laid a hand on his arm and whispered, "You'll be okay." He watched for a reaction but the Prince fixed his eyes unwaveringly on the window by the door, on a world where having a voice didn't require speech.
So, I hope you liked it. And I suppose it's only fair that I tell you that this story was inspired by a beautiful work of art called "Prince Tobin and Kirothius" by kir-tat on deviantArt. Also, if you're planning on leaving a comment (which would be truly lovely of you), I'd like for you to answer a question for me. See, while I was writing this, I was really trying to give a clear picture of the Prince's eyes, since in the picture I had to look at they were so striking. So I just wanted to know if, while you were reading, you could really see his eyes, if you got a good picture of them in your mind.
Thank you so much for reading!