|Son of the Builder
Author: Diary PM
Andrew has been planning to place him on the throne for longer than he's even known him. Complete. Edited.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Family - Words: 2,476 - Published: 08-08-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7266418
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Kings.
"Why do you hate Shepherd so much?"
Seth has learned never to refer to the king as such in his cousin's presence.
Andrew is contemplative for a long moment. "My father's money created this kingdom. Jonathon was his nephew, and Michelle gave her right to the throne away. All the power, all the riches, all the titles, none of that belongs to David Shepherd. This kingdom isn't his."
That did, in a way, make sense. However-
"I have no blood connection to your father."
"You are the child of the man my father granted the kingdom to." Rubbing his eyes, Andrew says, "When the time is come, Shepherd will be disposed of. I don't care what happens to Cousin Michelle. And the kingdom will be given to its rightful heir."
For as long as Seth has known his cousin, Andrew has called him the rightful heir, ignoring his mother's protests. She doesn't want anything to happen to Silas's daughter, his half-sister.
Sometimes, Seth wonders why she allows them to spend time together. He's never asked, a fact he feels guilty for. However, he can't bear the thought of never seeing Andrew. And so, he never asks, hopefully so that he'll never have to make a decision between the two.
"But as Uncle William's son, shouldn't you inherit the kingdom he created?"
Andrew looks at him as if that's the most ridiculous thing he's ever heard.
"No," he finally answers.
Seth's memory of David Shepherd is almost non-existent.
He sees him on TV all the time, listens to Andrew read articles about him, and he once did a report for a class project.
"Will you turn my son into a murderer," his mother had once asked, sharply, when she thought Seth wasn't around.
"No," Andrew had answered. "When the time comes, I'll be the one to kill Shepherd. What he chooses to do with his half-sister will be his choice alone."
There's a sinking feeling every time he hears the name.
Sometimes, he has to wonder what his cousin really is: A victim reclaiming his status as a survivor, or a monster intent on destroying an innocent man.
Either way, Seth knows he'd choose his cousin over the king if faced with the choice.
Once, when he was still young and weak, his mother asked Andrew to take him to the city. She wanted him to go ice-skating, wonder around other people besides those found in the hospital and school, see sights other than the country. When he asked her why she didn't come, too, she shook her head, tears forming. "Memories," she said. "There are too many painful memories for me. I want you to make happy ones."
Andrew had taken him ice-skating, bought him hot chocolate with marshmallows, and had even taken him to the movies.
However, after all that, before the day ended, he'd carried Seth through a cemetery, setting him down in front of a simple grave with no flowers.
It read, Joseph Lasile.
Doing the math in his head, Seth determined from his birth and death date that the man died when he was between 25 and 26.
Suicide, the cause of death read.
"Who was he," Seth asked, leaning against Andrew's legs.
"A victim of Aunt Rose," Andrew answers, examining his hands. "She killed him."
"Oh," Seth said, looking at the cause of death. "Why?"
"It doesn't matter," Andrew answered.
Seth started to protest. A man was dead, killed by the mother of his half-siblings, by his cousin's aunt, and that was unsettling enough for his mind. Not knowing, however, was intolerable.
"Tell me," he demanded, trying to blink away his tears.
Kneeling down, Andrew played with one of his curls. "He loved Prince Jack, and she was afraid he was going to get her son to do things she didn't want him to do."
That didn't make much sense to Seth, but Andrew said, "You need to know what our family has done. Lasile shouldn't have died, but he's not the first or the last."
Seth insisted they find some flowers to put on the ground.
The rest of the trip was pleasant, but some part of him wondered about the dead man. What did he want Jonathon Benjamin to do that the queen objected to so strongly? Why didn't she just throw him in prison or exile him? She'd exiled Andrew once, though Seth would neither understand why what Andrew did was so bad.
As he grew older, he began to wonder why he never heard a single mention of Lasile, anywhere. He scoured through news reports, articles, and searched the internet high and low.
It seemed as though he and Andrew were the only ones who knew anything about the man.
Whoever he was, whatever he had done, it seemed Queen Rose had made him disappear without a single trace.
"What happened to Prince Jack and his fiancée?"
Andrew lets out a strange sound.
"He's dead. Lucinda Wolfsen has fled the country; she was never his intended."
"He didn't want to marry her?"
"No," Andrew answers, sounding somewhat angry.
He starts folding papers, a sign Seth has long since recognized as his cousin thinking very deeply about whether he should hand out information or keep it to himself.
"Tell me," Seth coaxes. "Tell me about the one who was supposed to inherit Uncle William's kingdom."
"Silas accused of him of treason, and he tried to have his son raped."
The words are cool and harsh.
Seth knows that men can be raped, but for some reason, he'd never thought a prince could.
"Silas locked Miss Wolfsen and his son together in a room. They weren't to be freed until an heir was delivered."
"Would he have really freed them if they'd done so?"
"I don't know," Andrew replies.
"Your half-brother is dead," is the plain answer. "While they were removing his body, she managed to slip through. I know for a fact she made it out of Gilboa. Whether she still lives or not is unknown."
Suicide, flashes through Seth's mind.
"Did he commit suicide?"
Curiously, Andrew looks at him. "Why do you ask questions you've already worked out the answers to?"
Feeling a shiver go through him, Seth hugs his cousin tightly, ignoring the squirming.
If Silas and Rose could kill an innocent man and try to rape their child, what is Michelle Benjamin-Shepherd capable of?
She survived, after all. Out of all of her family but he and Andrew, she's still standing.
Prince Jonathon Benjamin's death was ruled accidental.
Seth watched a recording of his funeral when he was younger. It was dignified. A soldier's funeral. A funeral fit for a fallen prince.
Michelle was stoic. Shepherd cried.
A statement was released that he had been cleared of all charges levied by King Silas.
He's buried in a cemetery for fallen soldiers, his grave constantly maintained.
"Why did Queen Rose suddenly switch to Michelle's side?"
It's been puzzling him.
From everything he's heard and learned, Queen Rose put everything into seeing her son take the throne.
"Cousin Michelle was pregnant. The doctors believed her to be sterile due to the sickness, but she proved them wrong. More than that, she provided an heir, a grandchild, that her brother hadn't."
That's what Seth has been told, too, that he won't ever have children. "And they covered up the pregnancy?"
"They tried to. In the end, it didn't matter."
Shepherd and Michelle have no children.
Suddenly, Seth feels a shiver go through him.
Andrew has been planning to place him on the throne for longer than he's even known him, and Michelle's child could've posed serious complications to that plan.
He starts to ask, but he's already worked out the answer for himself.
If his cousin can help it, no child of David Shepherd's will ever be born.
When he's fifteen, he comes home from school to find his mother sipping tea with palace guards. "Sit down, sweetie," she says, standing and kissing him.
"Ma'am, we have orders to-"
She hugs him protectively, and he prays to God to keep her safe. "You have no right to talk to a minor without their guardian," she says, polite but firm. "We have nothing to hide, but I will not leave you alone with my son."
The fear in his voice is very real.
"Sit down, sweetheart. These officers just need to ask us a few questions."
They ask their questions, all safe, non-leading questions, and they leave.
That night, he sneaks out and wonders around until he finds Andrew. "They're gone," he says. Sitting down, he reaches over and takes his cousin's cold coffee. "I understand now," he says, quietly.
Andrew looks up from the silverware he's polishing. "Oh?"
"Not everything, obviously," Seth says, smiling sardonically. "But I realize now that my mother will never be safe as long as I'm alive. As King, I have a much better chance at protecting her."
Looking genuinely pleased, Andrew nods. "It'll take time," he warns. "We must be patient. This won't come to pass for years."
"As long as you help me protect her," Seth says.
He doesn't know how he was going to protect his cousin- he's a bigger threat than his mother would ever be to the crown- but he'll try his best.
"What did you think of my father?"
It's a dangerous question, he knows.
He's asked his mother, and she always says, "He lost his way, but because he gave me you, I'll always love him. In my heart, I believe he's in heaven." She tells him stories of how they fell in love, of Silas's joy at his birth, so great that he cried, and reminds him of all the times he came to visit.
Seth remembers strong hands rocking him, holding him. He remembers his daddy tucking him in, reading him stories, and blowing raspberries on his stomach. He remembers wishing his daddy was around all the time, how when he was lying painfully in a hospital bed he wished more than anything that his daddy would come to him and Mommy. He remembers a sick man, hugging him, telling him, "I am the King."
He still deeply mourns that man, but he can't reconcile the memories with the man who disowned one son, trying to have that son raped, and did who else knew what else. There has to be more, more that the public doesn't have access to.
When it comes down to it, Seth loves his father, mourns for his death, and would do almost anything to have him back. At the same time, he despises King Silas and is glad he's dead.
"He was too religious for my taste," Andrew answers.
Some part of him had expected an anticlimactic answer, but he still feels the relief as he lets out his breath. It's quickly followed by a spark of irritation.
"Tell me what bad things he did," he demands.
Andrew cocks his head.
"Monarchs have to do things commoners don't understand," Andrew says, matter-of-factly. "The word evil becomes meaningless. I don't like what was done to Prince Jack, but your father was a good king. He served his people well, even when it meant doing things that others would condemn. But he lost his crown due to his stupid religious ideals, and now, that crown rests on Shepherd's head. Silas didn't want it there, my father didn't want it there, and I don't want it there."
Seth wonders if William Cross wanted it on his son's head.
Older now, he understands what his cousin long ago grasped.
Andrew Cross has strange physical tics, a bizarre aura to him, and no social skills. Quite frankly, he creeps people out.
Silas was commanding, full of humor. Jack was commanding and full of pain that others wanted to soothe. David only occasionally comes across as commanding, an aura surrounding him that makes people believe he's full of goodness, and thus, he deserves to be followed.
"I love you."
Andrew looks as uneasy as he always does when he hears those words.
Seth simply hugs him, kissing his hair.
That night, he slips out of bed to find his mother sitting tearfully in the kitchen.
"Isn't this enough?"
"You know I don't have dreams of kingship, Mama," he says, patiently. "I promise you, everything will be alright."
She turns from him, crying, refusing to acknowledge the painful burn in his stomach, the dullness throbbing through his head. Leaning down, he kisses her, saying, "I love you."
Ignoring her loud sobs, hoping the sleeping medicine he mixed in Andrew's drink will hold, he takes the bag he's packed and leaves the home he's lived in for twenty-two years.
It's easy to break into the castle, and he waits in David Shepherd's office.
"Do you remember me," he inquires.
The king jumps, and recognition fills his eyes.
"I don't really remember you," Seth says, aware he's somehow channeling Andrew's creepiness. He looks at the knife David Shepherd holds without fear.
"Hello, Seth," Shepherd says, softly.
"I don't know if God exists or not," Seth says, making no move. "But I know that William Cross's money built this kingdom, and I know he didn't want you to wear the crown that rules it. I don't think he'd want me, either."
That visibly surprises the older man.
"My cousin, Andrew Cross, doesn't see people as human," Seth continues. "But he also hates losing." Standing, Seth says, "He wants to put me on the throne."
"And that's why you're here."
"No," Seth answers. "I'm here because William Cross built this kingdom, and his son might be a sociopath but he'll die before he lets Gilboa fall. He'll give whatever order he has to keep it standing. By right of blood and moral character, the crown you wear and the throne you sit on belongs to Andrew Cross. That's why I'm here."
Author's Notes: 'When the time is come,' is very awkward, but that phrasing just seems to fit Andrew so perfectly.