First off: blame (and thank) Leoanda Taylor for this! It was because of her story, A Year of Drabbles, that I actually stuck around in the +C: Sword and Cornett universe. And that prompted me to do a challenge, fanfic100, for it... partly because I liked the series, but mostly because there just isn't enough fanfiction for it.

Though I don't know what order or I can tell you a few things about this project: romance will be sparse, AUs I'll fit in where I can, and expect character-centric chapters. You'll get most of the genres, excepting romance. Why? Because I can't write it, and I'm not going to write the m/m romance the manga hints at. It'll be friendship at most. If I do any romance, it's most likely going to be Hector/Shingetsu. But most of my stories will be gen. Also, I like Belca. He's my favorite character. Second place is Eco. So many of my drabbles will be focusing on them. (But I do take requests! If any of you want to see a character/universe/theme, I'll try to fit it in.)

I'm skipping around the fanfic100 list. This will also on my livejournal, if any of you would prefer to read it there (the link is in my profile).

One-time disclaimer: I do not own anything pertaining to +C: Sword and Cornett, except my imagination.

Okay. Thanks for reading! Enjoy!

A Hundred Tunes

Fandom: +C: Sword and Cornett
Characters: King of Noctircus (Belca's father), Belca
Prompt: #27 - Parents
Word Count: 839
Rating: K
Summary: The king reflects on his son.
Author's Notes: Yes, I realize it's AU. Some of my drabbles will be. I haven't read through the manga for a while, so anything you don't recognize, it's AU and mine.

When he accepts the dancer's beckon and follows her to a private room, he does not consider the possible consequences once. Like so many men who have fallen into seduction's trap, he lets his emotions and feelings drive his actions. He is a king; but tonight, he is just a man. He does not think of his wife. He does not think of his family. And he does not think of what might happen. So when she becomes pregnant, he blames his thoughtlessness, his impulsiveness, and this curse of women, their allure—her allure, that led him to do it. Most of all, he blames himself.

The child is born, and it is a burden. A reminder of his one lapse in judgment, one mistake. Black hair, just like its mother's; a shade too reminiscent of a woman who danced like fire.

The child grows up, a repulsive sight among his fair-headed Hector and Orcelito, and later, Musca. Constantly the black sheep, constantly the odd one out. Inevitably, the boy notices. He scowls more often than he smiles, flings himself into swordplay and other methods of fighting, pushes away his siblings and becomes even more distant. Everywhere he goes, he is surrounded by gossip of isn't that the dancer's child? and his black hair stands out so much and the bastard child!

And is that his fault?

The king doesn't know. The boy has been, has always been, a trouble child. If he does not create trouble, he attracts it. Someone tells him, only half-jokingly, that the greatest heroes are always like this. But he does not want to think of the boy as a hero. The boy is only a boy, and will never be more than a cast-off. He cannot be a hero.

So when the boy escapes the palace, flees with a lowly bard, comes back a man and shakes the foundations of Noctircus, words cannot express the king's shock. The boy he has so long thought of as a nuisance, a black mark on the royal family, has outshone his siblings by far. A hero? Some people call him that. But people call him a great deal of different names—usurper, savior, criminal, traitor, and so many more.

What does his father think?

Again, he's not sure. It is hard for him to change his mind after being so determinately against this particular child of his. A disgrace to the royal family has become a blessing to Noctircus. Who would have thought? Certainly not the king.

But he thinks about it. It is so terribly ironic that a boy shunned by people around him, disregarded and thrown to the side, has come back to—dare he say it?—save his country. Just like a hero. Why, why did people reject him? Why did his own father reject him? Hector, Orcelito, those two were part of the few who saw the boy for who he was, even when the boy himself did not.

And everyone else?

Prejudice, the king thinks bitterly. A vice I, too, have succumbed to. Had—he amends immediately. And thinks again.

Had he really let go of that? Really? And not simply because everyone else now saw him as the hero of Noctircus. Because the boy—Belca—was a hero.

He sees it. He sees it now. And wonders why he was so blind before. He was wrong—that is a hard thing to admit, especially for a king. But the boy. Belca is so much more. No one could have predicted that this bastard child would rise above so many others. If he was a brat before, he is now a true prince—an actual candidate for king. A supernova. Confident, charismatic, mature, gentle, all of the things he lacked he has become.

His father knows that he probably does not deserve to say this, but he is proud. Proud of his son, Belca. Proud of what he has accomplished. Proud of how he overcame every negative word, every slight against him. Proud of what he has become.

So he tells him. Pulls him aside one night, at some party, out to the balcony, and faces him. Belca, he says. I'm proud of you. Very, very proud. That's it. That's all he says, because he sees that he doesn't need to say any more.

Thank you, father, Belca replies softly, his voice hoarse, like he's about to cry. Thank you.

He pats his son on the back, then pulls him into a fierce hug.

Later, he sits by the fire and watches the flames dance, just like a dancer he used to know. Rhythically, but without pattern; dangerously beautiful, entrancing, captivating. Like people, heroes—he supposes—are not set in stone. Brilliance comes from many places. And the mistake he regretted for so long—well, it was still a mistake. But it turned out alright. It turned out alright. The boy has become a man. The king has become a father—a real one.

And this, he will never regret.