I do not own The Elephant Princess, but having recently discovered it on Hulu, I must admit that I've fallen a bit in love with it. If you catch any mistakes(and there will be quite a few, I'm sure), feel free to alert me to them. Enjoy!
The Princess slept, and Kuru found himself entranced. Her appearance in his room no longer surprised him, though it was still distinctly uncomfortable. The first time had been after she'd turned herself into a frog, and late at night, long after their uncomfortable (and, Kuru would almost admit dishonest) discussion of how he had freed her.
Like a whirlwind, she'd walked through his door, and flounced onto his bed. Despite his pointed remarks of the importance of a solid eight hours of rest before school, she'd stayed, asking him questions, both about magic and Manjipoor, and himself. As the conversation flowed, she'd kicked off her shoes, and settled her head into his pillows, while watching him sitting cross-legged on the floor. While Kuru would not say that he knew what was going through The Princess' head, he might have bet that she was debating asking him to come closer. Thankfully, she did not request that, for Kuru could not, would not, break all the rules of propriety like that. When she'd finally fallen asleep, he'd covered her carefully with a blanket, and gone to sleep on the floor, purposefully facing away from her so that he could not gaze upon her face.
The next day she'd yelled at him for letting her steal his bed, and he'd nodded, and told her that he would do as she wished, meaning no such thing. What, after all, could he do? Kick her out of bed? Join her?
And then, she started to appear almost regularly. Something would occur to upset The Princess, and she'd enter his room, following the pattern established on the first night. Talking, so much talking, before The Princess finally dozed off, and Kuru covered her with a blanket, careful not to touch her, or awaken her. In the mornings, she would berate him for sleeping on the floor, and he would humor her. The habit almost seemed safe. Kuru had allowed himself not to report to Omar on it, and tried to convince himself that if The Princess wanted to sleep in his room it wasn't wrong.
That line of reasoning had worked, up until tonight.
This night, Kuru was not seated on the floor, was not facing away from The Princess, and was not following any of the rules. This night, Kuru held The Princess in his arms. Perhaps, if he failed to think of her as The Princess, and as Alex instead, it would be easier. Kuru shook his head, slowly, careful not to move enough to jostle The Princess.
He'd known she would appear that night. After the morning she'd had, after the way she'd chewed him out, after this tradition of 'Mother's Day', The Princess would want to talk. She might even want to apologize for putting him into his proper place that morning. He would listen, respectfully, but would ignore it. The Princess must learn not to apologize for behaving correctly, he reminded himself, while he cleaned his room half-heartedly.
True to form, close to eleven, The Princess had appeared at his door, throwing it open, and then knocking. Kuru would have smiled at the apparent paradox, but he'd noticed her tears before his smile even had a chance to reach his face. Her tears, the way she bit her lower lip, how her eyes had studied his face, the entire image had been seared into his memory, and Kuru could have turned The Princess away no more than he could have refused a royal command. In retrospect, he was not entirely sure why those two scenarios weren't one and the same.
He'd opened his arms, knowing, somehow, the signal she wanted, and Alex(he could not think of the girl who cried her eyes out in his arms as The Princess), buried herself in his arms, mumbling words too fast, and too soft for him to understand. Kuru didn't ask for her to repeat herself, assuming that he, a lowly servant didn't need to understand. After a while of holding her, and making listening noises every few minutes, he'd though she might be more comfortable sitting, and moved her towards the bed she seemed so fond of. She'd refused to let go of him, so he'd sat down as well.
Other than that small change, things had progressed in a similar fashion as always. Alex continued speaking, and Kuru listened, forcing himself to ignore the pressure on his side where she cuddled next to him, the way her eyes caught the little light available in his room, or the way her eyes shined, or the way she smelled. Kuru made himself into a man of stone, letting no part of himself reflect the feelings that The Princess always stirred in him.
And, again, true to form, Alex eventually drifted off to sleep, leaving Kuru gazing longingly at the floor space next to his bed. If he could move Alex enough to slip away, reclaim the proper space for a man of his stature, then he could continue to believe that these evening meant nothing, and were not worth reporting. If he couldn't escape, if he spent the night with The Princess in his arms, then, then- Kuru ignored the trail of thought. He just needed to remove himself, get The Princess off his lap, her hand off his arm, and safely away from him.
Kuru shifted experimentally, and Alex growled softly. He would have cursed, or laughed, but either way, he might awaken The Princess, and then what would he do? With a soft moan to himself, Kuru leaned back again the wall, and closed his eyes. The Princess could not be moved, at least, not just yet, and he could not magic himself out of his predicament. Ignoring the voice that whispered Kuru's efforts so far had been lackluster, and that he might try harder, Kuru opened his eyes, reached up with his free hand to brush the hair off of Alex's face.
Perhaps this was just a dream, Kuru told himself. Perhaps the punishment of spending the night holding The Princess was worth it. Perhaps, after the way she'd spoken to him in front of Omar, she would want to send him away, and wanted just one last night with him listening.
Kuru made a decision, and closed his eyes once more. He would deal with all of this in the morning, but for now, he would just soak up his time with The Princess.
He drifted off to sleep with Omar's words echoing through his head.
"You won't always be her servant."
If you'd like to see a morning after scene, let me know. I haven't written one, but I wouldn't be adverse to it.
~The Dreamer Lady