Title: Black Roses
Beta: openedlocket - Thanks for all your great comments, sweetie! I hope you enjoyed your request!
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings, nor of any characters, locations, and elephants contained within. All rights of the Queen's Thief series belong exclusively to Megan Whalen Turner and her respective publishers.
Spoilers: Books 1, 2, and 3.
Rating: PG/K+ - For some very mild swearing.
Word Count: 1,500 (approximate) - Excluding author's notes.
Summary: A set of ten Gen-centric song prompts chosen at a relatively random order. It's a writing challenge thing.
Author's Notes: Title is taken from lyrics that appear in Black Roses Red by Alana Grace.
That little number indicating my favorites count has been getting racked up as of late, and I just want to thank everyone for being so supportive. I really enjoy writing these, and I'm glad to hear that people enjoy reading them. So here's to all my regular readers. You guys are awesome.
Black Roses Red - Alana Grace
You work too much. He said, sauntering into her chambers as if he had full right to interrupt her without knocking. He supposed he did. She never objected.
And you've formulated this opinion based on what evidence, might I ask? She didn't set her pen down.
He hung his shoulders in exasperation and tilted his head back towards the ceiling. I come in, you're writing. I leave, you're still writing. I come back in. And what are you doing?
Writing? She failed to hide the smirk in her voice.
Working. That's what you're doing. He looked back at her over his shoulder as he found a cushion to sit on. If she ever wonder why he insisted upon sitting by her feet like a sleepy cat, she never asked.
He tugged at the hem of her sleeve. Take a break. Talk to me. Or else I might get lonely and strike up a conversation with the furniture.
She finally set her pen down, rubbing her forehead. I'm afraid the furniture may be more entertaining than myself tonight. Those new reports from the coast have me... She paused. Concerned.
That your way of saying scared?
If a queen could be scared... She closed her eyes and leaned back from her desk. Maybe it would be.
Well, I'm the king, and I have no problem admitting I'm completely terrified. What does that say about me?
She half-rolled her eyes. Many things, my lord. None of them flattering.
He laughed at that. Well, if I tell the whole world I'm scared, you won't have to. Will that do for you, Your Majesty?
He finally got a genuine smile. It just might, my king. It just might.
No Fear - The Rasmus
Four stories up. A hundred feet across. The wind billowing the sleeves of his jacket. Nothing but the night, the stars, him, and a yawning pit.
How do you stomach it? Ornon had once asked.
Well... He mused for a moment before offering a shrugged response.
Don't think about it too much?
The look on Ornon's face was priceless.
Ice Queen - Within Temptation
Money laundering, treason, extortion, attempted regicide...
He flipped through the books the magus had sent him, wondering if he had enough paper to write a complete list without leveling part of the Irkes Forest. She amazed him.
Despite all of it, she wasn't moved. Wasn't shaken. She always stood her ground. Not like stone. No. Nor like mountains or any such piles of dirt. Those could be toppled by acts of violence–earthquakes, explosions, hammers.
She was the ice queen, after all. He figured all it would take to shake her was a little bit of warmth.
We Never Change - Coldplay
What was it I saw on your boots this morning? Only his wife could swirl a wine chalice threateningly.
He shrugged, innocently pushing the hair out of his eyes.
Dust. He offered, uninterested. The laziness of your servants has been revealed.
Ours. She snapped. Our servants.
Well, I'm not going to monitor their sweeping duties. Have Costis do that.
She sighed, setting her cup down. You are never going to change, are you?
Do you want me to? The question was obsolete.
God's Child (Balia Conmigo) - Selena
Why do you do it?
He glanced at his cousin curiously. Do what?
Why earrings? Your grandfather preferred fibula pins. You prefer earrings. Who decides what you steal?
Despite his usual rush to get as far away from temple service as possible, Eugenides stopped in his tracks.
Gen? She stopped too. Her voice floating along the edge of concern.
I'm sorry. Lost track of myself. What were you saying? All smirks and carless swagger.
Nothing, Gen. She never brought it up again.
It wasn't her place.
Intuition - Jewel
He'd once told Costis something along the lines that half of his political savvy was good guesses. It wasn't true.
More like three-quarters.
Rock This World - Hilary Duff
Steal Hamiathese Gift. Steal peace. Steal a man. Steal a queen. Steal kingdoms. Honestly, Gen... Do you seriously believe anything is impossible for you anymore?
Don't say that. I may feel the need to top my previous performances.
They could only hope.
Rusted Pipe - Suzanne Vega
Only after he heard his handhold creak did he realize what he'd grabbed. A few choice words came out of his mouth before he tried to swing and catch the jutting bricks on the wall across from him. The drainpipe groaned once again, warning him not to be so stupid. As if he needed something to tell him he was stupid. He tightened his grip, remembering his grandfather's casual advice to never, ever look down.
Death by rusty pipe. That's a new one. He'd survived Sounis's dungeons, he'd survived Attolia's "hospitality", he'd even survived his father's gods damn riding lessons. He would not die, because he forgot to check his handhold before he jumped. Would be the story of his life, though.
He felt the pipe shift again. Now or never. He let go, flinging himself forward almost cracking his head against the wall as he scrambled for purchase with both hands. He heard the drain pipe fall to the ground behind him.
It might not be elegant. It might not be the quickest way. It might not even be the way he would normally choose, but he could find his way out in a pinch.
After all, didn't he always?
The One I Love - The Rasmus
They used to say she was such a sweet girl. Fair complexion. Willowy frame. Elegant hands with long fingers. Her nurse maids must have cooed over her hair as they brushed and plaited it. She was merely Attolia's princess back then. Small. Ignorable. Soon to be married to the monarch of a distant land.
He toyed with the cuff on his wrist.
Just because no one remembered didn't mean it never was. Her people may have forgotten, her barons may choose to not recall, and her servants may not realize the halls they swept and dusted were once the haunts of a lonely little girl. Now, a lonelier woman.
He set his pen down and sighed, tired of his practice.
Somewhere in this thick head of his, he must know why these thoughts haunted him. Particularly on the rainy nights of winter, when all he could hear was the drip of candle wax, the patter of rainwater on glass, and the roar of fear that blended so well with his fireplace.
Whoever said silence was peaceful?
He played with the weights on his desk, glancing at his turned down bed.
The funny thing about sleep was that it often resulted in quiet, which was, unfortunately, a nesting ground for all sorts of unpleasant thoughts and memories he'd much rather ignore.
He picked his pen back up and sighed.
A few months ago, this would have been his witching hour. He would do backflips along the southern parapets, scale the walls of the courtyard, or simply sneak around the palace looking for trouble.
He used to like this time of night. It used to be his. Then again, he used to be a Thief too.
Anything could be lost.
There was a time when he didn't hate the silence. Never before had he cursed the quiet of rest. It wasn't like him to create needless noise to fill the space.
He chewed the tip of his pen.
And never before was he so terrified to admit the truth. Even to himself.
The Queen and the Soldier - Suzanne Vega
Did you want to execute him? He liked dropping in late at night. It was easier to get genuine responses when a soul was exposed to the chill of dark. The shadows were something only he thrived in.
She hadn't been sleeping. Is that what you think of me now?
Not sure. You tell me. She hissed unflattering and got out of bed, slipping on her robe. The night was a cold one.
Teleus has been loyal since his appointment. You think I'd execute him on a whim?
He shrugged. No.
There was but a little moonlight mixed with the orange glow of the fire to see her by, yet he knew the fight in her was as waned as the flames.
Why are you here? She wouldn't look at him.
You already said that. She turned, moving closer to the window.
I don't like people dying because of me. Even people I'm not fond of. Not when there are other options. And certainly not when they don't deserve it. He leaned against one of the bedposts, not quite sure what to do with himself.
When she spoke again, her voice was very quiet. It's my fault.
He raised his eyebrows. That could mean many things.
You didn't say that before.
Maybe I should have.
Perhaps. His voice was light. Words were never that important when it came to the two of them.
Can I ask you something? She turned back to face him.
Do you want to go home?
He winced. Honestly?
No. She smiled.
Thank you for reading,