Six-year old Elliot was splashing around in the cool brook with his mother and father.
"Look at the little tyke," his father chuckled to his wife. All three of them were of good health at the time, and happy.
"Mama, Papa, there are fish in the water!" exclaimed the boy.
"They're lovely," said his mother. "Just like you."
Any passerby could tell that this was a cheerful and loving family.
Six-year old Prince Charming was sitting inside at his solid mahogany desk.
"Look at the words, sir," said his frustrated tutor. Neither of them was happy with this arrangement.
"Tutor, everyone else is outside playing," said the boy.
The man wrinkled his nose in disdain. "Yes, the common folk. You're not like them. You're royalty."
The small boy sighed, disappointed.
Seven Years Later
"Don't take my papa away!" Elliot screamed, sobbing. He flung himself at the closed casket that his father was contained in as three men started to carry it away, but a large hand caught him in the chest.
"He's gone, boy," said a cool voice. "Nothing will bring him back. I am sorry."
"W-who are you?" The boy's clear, blue eyes peered into the depths of a tall man's black orbs.
"I am the king of this country." He said it as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "I'll be your father now."
"I don't want you to be my father!" Elliot wriggled out of the king's grasp and ran... straight into a small, wiry boy. He noticed that his eyes were the same shade of brown as his father's. That was what made him stop. Nobody, even the boy, knew it, but that was the day he fell in love.
"Father, can Elliot be my friend?" Charming asked once they were alone in his father's study.
"No," the King replied shortly. "He is a common boy, not someone with great money and power. He can be a servant."
"Can he be my servant?"
"What do you need another servant for? You have nearly a dozen! Really, your mother spoils you. Now, run along and do your studies."
The boy dipped his head sadly. "Yes, Father." The King didn't know it, but Charming hated his father so much from that day on.
There was a sharp knock at the door. Elliot looked up from the frayed carpet and said, "Come in."
"Elliot," said his new guardian. "Elliot, I am deeply saddened by the loss of your father. He used to be a good friend of mine."
'And you threw him away when you came into power,' he thought. "I'd rather not talk about it," Elliot said in a quiet tone.
"Of course. You are still not used to the fact that you are an orphan. I understand." What the King had probably meant to be comforting words instead hit Elliot like a ton of cinder blocks. But the man continued without even sparing the child a glance. "What would take your mind off of the grief would be good, hard work. I have decided that you will be a servant with special privileges. See, you have your own room and a bathroom with running water! All the other servants have to share rooms, and none of them get their own bathroom. There's no bathtub, but that doesn't matter. Right?"
"Yeah. Thank you." Elliot's voice was expressionless.
"There's one more thing: your... ettiquette. I understand that this is a difficult time for you, but that is no excuse to drop your manners. Since I am technically your master now, that is what you should call me."
"I thought you were my guardian?"
"...Sort of. You're too young to understand."
"If I'm old enough to have to call you 'Master,' I think I should be old enough to understand." The boy's voice was proud and defiant.
The king's 'understanding' demeanor was dropped and replaced by hostility. "Keep up that attitude and I will personally make sure that you get whipped," he all but growled.
Elliot wasn't swayed. "And who will you get to whip me?" he taunted. "Another servant?"
"Myself." And for the first time that day, Elliot got hit by something other than a snowball.
A/N: I have a couple things to say: First, this is NOT a Cinderella fanfic. Just to clear things up. Second, I apologize for the shortness of this chapter. They will get longer! Third, this is the only chapter that will be in third person. Also, this story does not have a beta. I apologize in advance for any grammar, spelling, mechanical, punctuation, paragraphing, et cetera errors that you may find.