Disclaimer: I own nothing!
A/N: Simply written for the love of the game. Dark Prince, they may make you out to be the ultimate evil, but really, you're just a spiteful twelve year old kid/mother hen who brings the Prince poisened chicken noodle soup when he's sick, sulks when he doesn't get his way, and every time he sees a girl shrieks 'COOTIES!'
The walls are warm in Babylon, even after the sun has set. The stone is smooth and the floor beneath him has been padded into a nest made up of tapestries and silk. He's tired but he's been tired for seven years now, another sleepless night won't do him harm. At least he can be comfortable. Around him there's noise, because in a city there is always noise, but in his head everything is silent. Down the corridor there's the soft buzz of traps, snick-snicking first right then left down the hall and outside someone is screaming, yet all of that is lost in his own still, sulking quiet. The Prince waits for it to break until he can't take it anymore.
"So, what is your favorite color, then?" He thinks.
The thing in his head stirs at the question, and he feels its moodiness like a storm. It isn't pleased with him, and he can almost envision it – a pouting youth, something like himself but decidedly not. "Come now, you sounded so proud, that it was different than mine. What is it?"
Oh shut up. The reply burbles up in his mind, grumpy and out of place. If you are bent on spouting inane questions, you should have saved them for your precious woman friend.
He rolls his eyes. "It is not about the questions, but to whom they are asked. What is your favorite color?"
Why do you ask, Prince? There is no real sound to the presence's voice, but he imagines he can hear it snap, crackling with irritation. You have not rested in days and it makes you weak. A pathetic death, to fall at the hands of a sand beast your weary eyes had failed to see. Sleep now, you can be as stupid as you wish in the morning.
"Indeed? So tomorrow is the Vizier's 'Let the Prince Be' day? I think I heard some creatures talking about that. 'Why yes,' they said, 'we'll be disabling all the traps and troops tomorrow, for we hear that the Prince will have gotten sleep and we wouldn't want to ruin his early breakfast.' --- Look. I cannot rest now, for there are guards about, but I need this small break. If you would prefer to spend it moping than in conversation, you merely need say so.
I do not mope. The tone is sharp and affronted.
"You have been moping since we last saw Farah. Why don't you like her, anyway?"
He has the strange sensation of a breathy sigh, rolling through his head like steam and claps of thunder. Because she distracts you from your purpose, Prince. Every second you think on her, you pine on her, you long for her is another where you are forgetting the injuries of the Vizier. He has stolen your lands, and your people. He has killed countless innocents! And you would throw that away for this woman. Hah. I do not dislike her so much as I dislike what she makes you.
"We will not have this conversation now." He is stern, even as the words plant doubts in him.
But I thought you wanted to talk.
"Not on serious things! I have my life for that." He breaks, then is momentarily inspired. "…It is as Farah said; I hardly know you! All I wish is for conversation."
Farah, Farah, Farah. I think I'm going to be sick. Besides, I have said. You and I are one. There is nothing in me that you cannot find in yourself.
"I have been thinking on that, and I don't believe it to be true." He pulls a drape, stolen from the palace throne room, snug about his shoulders and looks intently at his hands. "We have different favorite colors."
Time stretches, and the presence does not speak. Then at last it begins to laugh, fills him with laughter so that it is an effort not to have the sound break past his own lips and dangerously into the air.
Your ignorance is nearly charming, Prince. Let us hope it does not kill you.
Exactly. A pause. ...If you must know so badly, then, it is orange.
"….I hate orange."
Of course you do. You're into periwinkles. There is nearly a smug edge to the voice's deprecating, and the Prince smiles at that. It is in a good mood now, he can tell from the way it settles, smirk-like, into the back of his head.
"And you love sunsets?"
I love Babylon.
The vizier is dead and they rebuild the city, stone for stone and house for house as if there have been no horrors. It is only when everything else is perfect, and when the citizens begin to forget, that the King of Persia orders the remaking of the final place, where he fought both himself and a God. His wife stands beside him when that, too, is completed, and wonders at the small, domed room.
"King," Farah says at last and with a shake of her head and a helpless grin in her eyes, "Was it your intention to create a place where your councilors could not seek out and harass you? For if it was, I believe you have succeeded. It is…terrifically ugly."
"No." He replies, a wince in his voice. "Though perhaps I shall endeavor upon that next."
"Than what?" She pulls him to a window, so they can relieve their sight by looking outward. "It was more beautiful as a ruin. There is enough orange here to have painted every sunset in the world." She smiles nonetheless, and leans into his shoulder.
"It is not for sunsets." He says, and pulls her close. The arm around her is smooth and free of golden tracing. "It is a memorial." For a friend. Enemy. Ally. Myself. "He told me he that loved this city."
And she doesn't ask on that, though she is curious. He has his secrets, as she has hers, and it is the keeping of both which makes them individuals.
When they leave, she closes the door and wonders who it was that orange reminded of Babylon.