Pairings/Characters: Clark/Bruce, Alfred Pennyworth, Lucius Fox, Dick Grayson, Jim Gordon, Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor, Julian Luthor
Continuity: Batman Begins/Smallville
Genres: Angst, AU, Drama, Fairytale, Fluff, Romance
Summary: Once upon a time, a broken Prince met his true love at the Ball.
Date Of Completion: December 9, 2012
Date Of Posting: January 11, 2013
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1650
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Written for my 2012 LJ Sixth Anniversary Fic Request Meme for starsandsea. Pairing: Clark/Bruce. Prompt: Masks.
And the gems
Hides the heart
Of the broken.
But when the
The heart heals.
"The Four Hundred
And Other Poems"
Once upon a time, there was a Prince with a broken heart in a Kingdom-By-The-Sea. The King and Queen had been killed as they left the opera one night, their young son a witness to the brutal slayings. He spoke not since that night, and his loyal Chamberlain served as Regent until the boy came of age.
Upon the Prince’s eighteenth birthday, a grand ball was hosted in order for the Prince to choose a mate and be crowned King. The Chamberlain despaired that his young charge would ever care for anyone in a romantic way, but there could be no coronation until he wed. So all the eligible young maidens and lads of the Kingdom were invited and the castle glittered as light blazed from candles in chandeliers and the fountains outside splashed with rainbow colors.
The Chamberlain and the Royal Exchequer watched their charge flit among the guests. All were masked so no one but his mentors knew which one was the Prince. The young man wore black, the jet pearls and opals trimming a sequined shirt and breeches as the half-mask only allowed midnight-blue eyes and a sulky mouth to show. Black feathers swayed gently as the Prince swept through the bejeweled crowd, his black silk cape swirling out behind him.
The Chamberlain sighted. “Will he ever find a mate, my friend?”
The Exchequer replied, “He will have to, otherwise he will not become King.”
“He has little interest in ruling, preferring to shut himself up in his tower with only the bats for company while he reads and invents outrageous things.”
“Some have been quite practical,” the Exchequer said with a smile.
”He cannot be equal with the other sovereigns until he is crowned King,” fretted the Chamberlain.
The Prince’s young Squire, dressed in glittering red-green-and-yellow, had been standing close by during this conversation. He smiled and said, “The Prince will find his true love.”
The older men chuckled. The Squire adored the Prince and it was little surprise that he had made such a confident pronouncement.
And that was the moment they all saw him. A young man clad in sky-blue appeared at the ballroom entrance, the glitter of sapphires, rubies, and topazes serving as piping for his raiments as a gold chain anchored a ruby-red silk cloak. The half-mask and boots matched the cloak, yellow feathers swaying gently, attached to the mask by jewels as bright as the sun. The ensemble should have been ridiculously gaudy but somehow appeared dignified on this particular wearer.
The Prince saw the newcomer in the same moment. He immediately strode over to the beauty, took his hand, and bowed as his lips brushed over warm skin. The bright guest inclined his head and they danced, all eyes on the beautiful couple as the music swelled and their bodies gracefully traversed the polished parquet floor. When there was a pause in the music, they left the ballroom.
The Chamberlain and Exchequer smiled while the yellow feathers attached to his sequined mask bobbed as the Squire danced in delight.
The Prince and his companion danced in the gardens as the music from the Palace drifted out, the trees silvered in moonlight as lanterns swayed from the branches and the rainbow fountains splashed merrily. The Prince’s heart was full as they danced the night away, glittering and sparkling and falling in love.
“You are so beautiful,” said the newcomer. He cupped the Prince’s face. “I never dreamed that I would have found my heart’s desire tonight.”
The Prince gently kissed his companion, the other man’s arms sliding around the Prince’s back as an owl hooted. When they broke the kiss, the companion laughed with joy. The Prince joined in, slightly rusty but heartfelt.
The bright beauty cupped the Prince’s face as startling green eyes stared into his companion’s blue ones. They were filled with love and the Prince desperately wished that he could speak. Instead he took his companion’s hand…his Beauty’s hand…and brushed his lips over his fingers and kissed him again even more passionately the second time around.
The Palace clock began to chime midnight in its tower and the Beauty suddenly pulled away. “I must go,” he said nervously and with regret.
Startled, the Prince grabbed his arm, his eyes pleading with him to stay.
The Beauty’s voice was agonized. “I must go!” He turned and ran down the steps of the gardens and the Prince followed. The Beauty’s red cape fluttered behind him as he dashed toward a glittering golden coach, the footman helping him up and slamming the door shut as he jumped on the runner and the coachman directed the six white horses to dash off.
“Stop that coach!” the Prince shouted, his voice layered with rust.
The Royal Guard was shocked at the sound of his voice, losing precious seconds but they sprang into action. The Chamberlain, Exchequer and Squire ran out of the Palace, shock on all of their faces.
“Your Majesty, what has happened? Your voice!” exclaimed the Chamberlain.
The Prince bent down and retrieved a red boot. “I want every eligible lad in the kingdom to try this on. I will marry the one this boot fits.”
His young Squire took the boot and handled it with care.
The small party began its journey throughout the kingdom. The coachman handled the horses while the Captain of the Royal Guard escorted the Squire and Chamberlain, who stopped at every house, great and small, to try on the red boot with every eligible lad.
Each house produced frustration for the royal party as their Prince waited impatiently back at the Palace. After years of silence, he could not stop talking, much to the delight of his closest friends and advisors.
“I must find my Beauty!”
The coach rumbled to a halt at a once-proud farm, now rundown and in need of repair. The man of the house wore rags and complained about the previous tenants leaving him with a farm too big to handle and a shiftless child to raise after their deaths.
“Here are my two sons,” said the farmer, who already smelled of drink before mid-morning. His impressive mane of hair was matted and needed a good washing, and he carried a jug with a strong odor of ale.
His sons were slender, the eldest with a shock of red hair and the youngest with sandy brown. The eldest smirked as the Squire helped him put on the boot, but it did not fit.
“Not my color,” the eldest sniffed.
The youngest tried but despite grunting and groaning, the boot was far too big for him.
“Where is your stepson?” asked the Chamberlain.
The farmer shrugged. “Out in the fields.”
“Go and fetch him.” The Chamberlain silently ordered the Captain to go with the farmer’s eldest son. The Squire went, too, and they found the stepson in ragged blouse and breeches out in the fields as he struggled to harvest the hay. He wore a sorry pair of shoes that looked ready to fall apart.
The Squire ran over to the young man with a smile. “Sir, you are wanted back at the cottage.”
“I am?” The young man seemed amused at the young boy’s enthusiasm. He looked at his stepbrother, who shrugged.
The Captain observed that the young man was exceedingly beautiful despite his shabby clothes and unkempt hair. “Yes, you should come right away.”
Back at the cottage, the farmer and his two sons were barely able to conceal their impatience. The former took another swig from his jug, swaying slightly. The Captain kept his expression neutral when what he really wanted to do was curl his lip in disgust.
The Squire set out a chair for the ragged farmer and a pillow for the Chamberlain to set down one knee as he put the boot on the young man.
“A perfect fit!” declared the Chamberlain as he smiled up at the young farmer, who smiled back. The Squire performed a backflip, his cap bells jingling, and the Captain bowed.
The drunken farmer and his sons stared with mouths agape as the Chamberlain rose and declared that the shabbily-clothed young farmer should come with them to the Palace. The young man went into the cottage, packed a few momentoes he had of his parents, and bade farewell to his stepfather and stepbrothers as he disappeared into the royal coach. Once everyone was aboard, the coachman slapped the reins and the horses trotted away, leaving a stunned family behind.
The Prince waited anxiously on the marble steps of the Palace. He was clothed in blue velvet so dark that it looked black, a lighter blue cloak flowing gracefully to the steps. Jewels of topazes, sapphires, rubies and emeralds sparkled as the royal crest rested lightly on his chest in the form of a medallion encrusted with the gems. His raven hair shone even more brightly than the golden crown embedded with the same color of jewels he wore upon his head as midnight-blue eyes scanned the road beyond the gates. The Exchequer waited with him.
Finally the coach appeared and the Prince’s eyes lit up. As soon as the coach rumbled into the courtyard, the door opened and the young farmer leaped out, still wearing the red boot. The Prince ran down the steps and they embraced and kissed deeply as everyone in the courtyard cheered and threw their hats up in the air.
The Royal Wedding was the grandest that the Kingdom had ever seen, everyone feasting and dancing for three days. They celebrated again a month later as the Prince was crowned King and his husband became King Consort, and they lived happily ever after.