PSOH Band Ficlets, Round II "Queen'

Chris's favorite occupation was drawing, pretty much hands'-down. It was what he did when he was bored, when it was raining, when he couldn't play baseball, when he couldn't express – even in his own head – his thoughts.

And his favorite subject was the Count. Big Bro' was his second favorite…or rather, his old stand-by, because he'd been drawing pictures of his older brother for years and years, as far back as he could remember.

Tetsu was his third favorite subject, followed by Pon-chan, of course, but they hardly ever stayed still long enough for him to sketch them, even in crayon.

But the Count – he was different. He was perfectly fine with staying still; he wore great clothes (unlike Big Bro', who never wore nice clothes); and he was as pretty as a girl – prettier even than those naked ladies on Big Bro's bedroom wall in his messy apartment.

Chris liked to draw stories…pictures that supported the ideas racing around his head, like the ones of the 'winning moment' or 'final finish'. He had a couple of favorites that he always came back to, including the one where he was Tarzan (Tetsu was his gorilla buddy, Pon-chan was Jane), the one where he was Sherlock Holmes (Tetsu was Watson and either Pon-chan or the Count was the beautiful girl he rescued from the Hounds) and then the one where he was a bonafide prince, with a crown and everything – and real parents, ones he could remember, ones he knew - the King and Queen.

Now the King was always Big Bro' and, rather naturally, the Queen was always the Count. This gave Chris the chance to dress his slovenly brother up a little, at least in crayon colors, and add lots of pretty, ornate jewelry and robes of ermine to his favorite, the Count.

The Count looked good as the Queen, at least in Chris's humble opinion. Tetsu always laughed whenever Chris did another drawing of the Count in a crown, though, and he really giggled out loud when he saw Leon decked out as the Queen's consort—with a cape, and a sword, and a white horse. Pon-chan giggled till she was breathless and teased Big Bro' something awful about his 'Queen' and his steed with the unusual horn Chris had drawn into the picture. She told Chris that the horse was a unicorn and she didn't really think it would ever let Big Bro' ride it. Maybe the Count, though.

But Chris liked the concept. Well, the whole thing: King and Queen and Prince and a world full of magic. Lots, actually, 'cause it seemed to suit them, the Count and his brother. The two of them kinda went together in his head, like bread-and-butter, toast-and-tea, King-and-Queen. And the Count was really just like a Queen in the way he acted, 'cause he gave orders and made everybody do stuff (even Big Bro'), and everybody always wanted to make him happy and give him nice stuff. Especially Big Bro', who was always bringing the Count good stuff: cakes or candy or even flowers.

And even Tetsu couldn't argue with that. Pon-chan laughed at him again, but then she'd just patted his head and said he was 'wise beyond his years', whatever that meant. Chris figured it meant she agreed.

The best thing about it, though, was the fact that he was the Prince. He was their son, and that made him royal, just like in the Red Book of Fairies and the Lilac and all the other books the Count read him at bedtime. And this was absolutely the best thing about that story, 'cause it meant he would always be their son, no matter what happened, 'cause there would always be a Kingdom and a King and Queen to go with it.

And if something bad happened to the King – a battle or a war, or something – then the Queen would be there to take care of the Prince and all the subjects. And if something happened to the Queen (not that Chris was able to imagine him allowing anything to happen, but maybe if he got lost or stolen away, like those princesses did all the time), then the King would be there. And Chris, the Prince, would always be necessary to them, and everybody else, too, 'cause he was the one who was going to take over the Kingdom some day and run it, when the King and Queen retired off to a little rose-covered cottage somewhere.

When he explained this idea to Tetsu, having shown him the umpteenth drawing of the Royal Family (Tetsu was a Knight and Pon-chan a Duchess), Tetsu had only sighed and looked kinda funny-sick for a second, like his stomach hurt or maybe his head. But he ruffled Chris's hair almost immediately and smiled a toothy grin and said he thought it looked pretty good, Chris's picture, especially the orange-and-purple flowers the Count/Queen was holding and the enormous out-size crown tipping down over Big Bro'/King's left eye.

And the Count liked Chris's pictures, too. There were dozens of them all over his fridge in the kitchen. Big Bro' had a couple, too, which he also kept on his fridge. He'd even taken one to work with him and kept it near his desk. Chris figured that was really, really good, cause then everybody could look at them all the time, not like back East, when he'd stayed with his aunt and uncle, where he'd had to fight his cousins for the space on the fridge.

So it was good all around, and it made him happy, and it made the Count smile and even Big Bro' – well, he shook his head at them and looked funny, too, just like Tetsu had, but he still had one of Chris's pictures taped to his wall over his desk at the station, right next the Burger King gold crown the Count had presented him with ('as a joke between adults' the Count had said, and told him not to worry about Big Bro's yelling too much, because his brother really would think it was funny later).

And as he got older, living back East with his Aunt and Uncle, Chris still continued to draw them, his Royal Family, just as they'd been back in the old Kingdom, and Tetsu and Pon-chan, too, though he didn't ask for fridge space or expect people to look at his drawings all the time. These new pictures were done with ink or pastels, watercolors or even oils or acrylics, and he kept them in his big art portfolio, all to himself, mostly. His cousins were allowed to look at them sometimes, when they talked about 'old times' and the weird stuff kids did when they were little, and his art teachers said his work was good, and he should think about a career drawing pictures, but he was the one who treasured the old ones done in smudged crayon on ratty notepaper, for his Kingdom still existed somewhere out there—he just knew it—and he….he was the Prince.