Hi there! This is just some slow drabbley fluff. Slash, yes, but fluffy slash. (Like a big ah-dor-able gay bunny, wike the wuns you just wanna huuuuggg.)
Anyway, enjoy :3
The lily leaves sway in the summer-bright water like tiny green islands. Sitting at the edge of the pool, the young Prince is working over a piece of twine, his hands quick and golden-brown in the sunlight. Pink blossoms drift over the silent rippled water.
The yellow-haired boy edges his way through the dark overgrown ivy on the gate. "You called for me, Sire?"
The Prince glances up quickly. "Oh, yes, Louis." He fiddles with the twine. "I'm trying this new design for my boat, you see. Would a sail be better tied like this, or like this?"
At his side is a curved piece of bark, a stick, and a vibrant green leaf, which he clumsily attempts to rope together. His face is turned down towards the water and his shoulders are hunched.
Louis watches his brown fingers fumble with the twine. "Sire," he says slowly, "Shouldn't you be working on the postscript to Singapore in provision of your visit?" He almost dare not to make suggestions anymore. After all, this boy is the King of Siam. But he's also fifteen years old.
Chulalongkorn's dark eyes are shifting and shining. He tugs at the bark boat. "I needed a break from my duties."
"I needed a break," says the Prince with a sudden snap in his words like a cracking stick. "This country can live without their King for a little while, no? Is the King not allowed to make little boats by the pond?"
Louis hangs his head respectfully. Sunlight spreads through the garden like honey and he lets the warmth slide across his freckled arms. "I'm only suggesting that you-"
"Quiet," the Prince commands. "I should be able to make decisions on my own. After all, I am now an adult. I am King." His lips quirk into a sad smile.
"Your Majesty is unhappy with adult life?"
The Prince softly folds the bright leaf in his hands until the creases become small ragged tears. "Father was wrong," he murmurs. "I thought that once I became King I would know what there is to know. But I have so many ideas – think of if Siam were to have a locomotive system with a railroad track – or these concubines who are like slaves could go home –" He pauses and leans his head back, and Louis watches the sunlight glide down the Prince's throat. "I have these ideas, but nowhere to put them."
"You'll learn," says Louis.
"But you do not understand. I have to be a good King."
"You're a fine king," The English boy lays his hand on Chulalongkorn's red robe-clad shoulder. Not allowed - "Like your father," he says, says it as quietly as a falling feather. His hand moves back down to rest on the stones.
"I miss him," says the Prince, and his eyes reflect the wet blue sky. His hand is on the stones dangerously close to Louis's, and the English boy feels the ground sway under him as their fingers brush.
"Now you know how it feels," he manages to murmur. I mean- My father-
Wind rustles the pink-blossomed tree near them and petals fall gracefully into the water. As Louis looks into the water, he is suddenly aware of a dark figure's reflection between the lilies. Someone is watching? Cautiously, he edges away from Chulalongkorn with a "Sorry, Sire," but the golden prince doesn't seem to notice.
In the palace window, Louis's mother stands in a dark dress. She's not looking towards the boys; their stony bank is low and secret, hidden by golden-tinged trees and voluminous tangles of ivy vines.
Anna passes by the window, floating like a dark moth. In her reflection, her lips move with a silent melody; she's singing to herself. Then she's gone.
He's aware of Chulalongkorn watching him, and Louis opens his mouth to say something, anything.
"Sire, do you…" The sun's heat burns his cheeks. "Never mind."
"Say it," commands the Prince. "What you intended to say."
He looks back up at the window. "Well, do you think that, er, our mother and father were in love?"
Chulalongkorn's dark eyes bore into him. "In love?" he says slowly.
"Love… she loved him, he loved her."
"Is there a difference between in love and love?"
Louis runs his hand through his blond hair. "I guess love can also be between friends. 'In love' is… a place. Perhaps."
"So it would not be improper to say 'I love you' to a friend?"
"I suppose not, Sire."
"And I could say it to a friend… A friend like you?"
Louis forces himself to inhale. "I suppose, Sire." He tries to focus on way the water ripples instead of the way Chulalongkorn's long fingers play with the bark boat's twine. Waiting-
The Prince watches him, something sparking in his eyes. "And you think my father and your mother were – in love? Or was it 'love'?"
Suddenly Louis feels like his answer will be wrong, whatever it is. The Prince has that effect, that effect that sometimes ties Louis's tongue to his teeth, that strange feeling… The Prince looks a bit angry now, and it shakes the blond boy.
"I would say… in love?" he ventures.
After a stale moment, the Prince says, "I would say he was not. He hardly went to 'in love', or any place like that." His eyes have become bitter chocolate stones, and his fingers pinch the boat twine tightly. "He didn't love my mother, so why would he ever love yours?"
"Sire, I'm sorry-" The words come babbling out. "I didn't mean anything, I spoke rashly, I'm sorry-"
"No," says the Prince, still clutching the boat. "Don't apologize. You bring up interesting concepts, and your conversation is much intriguing, unlike the others… I will tell you when to apologize."
"Indeed, Sire, I, uh, I will-"
"You will tell me your thoughts on our prior subject," the Siamese boy says. "You see, I now have four wives and twice as many concubines. Should I love them?"
"That's not for me to say," Louis starts to say, but the Prince goes on.
"I do not think I love them. They give me pleasure, but I am not in love with any."
Ivy vines crawl up the brick wall; Louis trails them slowly with his eyes. The honey sunlight falls over the boys' skins, the Siam jungle heat makes sweat trickle down the small of Louis's back.
"So, you don't love anyone?"
The Prince pauses and stops fiddling with the boat. "I am not in love with any woman," he says simply.
He looks into Louis's eyes, black to blue, and holds eye contact for a long moment. Reflected in Chulalongkorn's dark eyes are flurries of falling petals. Louis has a deep wanting; to be swept away in the storm of flowers, to drop into the Prince's majesty, his crown and robes and honey skin. To let himself fall in-
They look away. Sunlight burns Louis's cheeks pink, but Chulalongkorn seems to be unfazed. He doesn't even move, just looks out at the water and waving lilies. His boat lies at his bare feet.
Louis takes a breath and tries- Tries to say- I-
But he can't. There's a wall that will not crumble, a border between East, West, and laws of society. He lets out his breath silently and holds in his heart, and he tries to remember that perfection is a flaw.
So he watches the sun descend from some heaven, and watches the wind spin spider-web light over this world. Gently reaching over, he takes the wood piece from the Prince. He ties the mast to the hollowed bark with ease; his fingers are thin and nimble. "Sire," he says softly. "Sire, I think this would be a better model for-"
The Prince glances over. "Ah, ah, yes. That looks fine, Louis. Put on the sail now."
The schoolteacher's son obeys. He reaches up and plucks a vibrant leaf from the tree above. As the branches quiver, more petals rain down and blanket the water's surface.
Once tied, he hands the finished boat to Chulalongkorn.
"Think she'll sail, Sire?"
"We'll see," says the Prince, and he crouches at the rocky bank. The boat sets off through the dense sea of pink petals. When the green leaf sail catches the breeze, it moves, and when it catches the sunlight, it glows.
The boat stripes the placid pond, leaving a dark line. In the thin strip of water, two shadows are reflected; boys on the shore, close but not touching. As the water licks gently at the beach's stones, the shadows ripple.
Louis sees these reflections between the petals and the lilies, and can only think- If only- If-
You like? I personally enjoy the awkward silences in this fic.
Please review. This fandom needs more love!