Wow... It actually took me over two months to finish this little story... Bad me.
Warnings: Slight cursing from Matthias and a -duumduum duum- kiss.
So, here's the last chapter!
It was a week from the ball. Berwald sat at the breakfast table, staring at the meal in front of him. He had no appetite. The king sat opposite him, watching him when he thought Berwald wouldn't notice. But he noticed. He always did. At least when he had his glasses on.
The king seemed to have been so happy with Berwald after the ball. His joyful look had faded when he had seen Berwald's expression. It had taken the whole night to dig up what bothered him.
'Why had him have to go?' It was maybe the millionth time this week that Berwald thought about the ball event. They had talked about many things, but still he hadn't asked for his name.
The king sighed sadly; Berwald knew that his father was old. He wanted to leave ruling of the kingdom for Berwald, but he didn't want him to do it alone. He wanted someone else to be company for his son than servants and politics.
Berwald looked down to his lap. A lone glass shoe lay over his legs. His shoe. He rolled it around his hands, unable to think anything else than the mysterious man who had suddenly vanished from his hands. Where was he now? Would he think of Berwald the way he thought of him? The shoe was ridiculously small. Not every man had this small of a leg, Berwald chuckled.
Not every man...
Berwald stopped. Of course! Why hadn't he thought it earlier?
"I want every young man in this kingdom to match up to this shoe", he said. The king looked to him, his cutlers stopped on mid air. His expression told him that he didn't approve of his son's idea at all.
"Berwald, listen to me. I think that you are overreacting. Why don't you just send a letter to everyone from the party and then the real person will show?"
"I've told you many times, I didn't have my glasses on. I don't really know what he looks like," Berwald said. He shot his hand up and moved it over to the other earpiece. Now, he cursed himself being so stupid.
"And besides, many would come here and say that they were he", Berwald muttered. And even if they wouldn't; his step-father wouldn't let him go, he added in his mind.
The king nodded, knowing it would be true. Some people would do anything to get fame and power.
Soon, Berwald found himself walking door to door searching his future spouse. He had the Grand Duke and several lackeys with him. It took awhile to be in one house, because the people there were very hospitable. They tried to stuff him with cakes and tea.
Toward evening he still hadn't found his mystery guest. It was harder than he expected.
"I think that we should continue searching tomorrow, m'lord", Grand Duke said.
"After this house," Berwald said and looked up. Above him there was a huge, beautiful manor with large grounds. He sighed. Would he ever find him?
They passed iron gates and walked along the garden walk. As they got closer, Berwald saw something stir at the window. A heavy red curtain was swinging slightly as if someone had just moved it. He ignored this and raised his hand to knock the door.
There were muffled voices behind the door, and then silence. The door swung open and a tall man stood on the door frame. The man was wearing black, and he had a sour look on his face. The voice he spoke with was oily.
"What bring you here, m'lord?" he asked and bowed a little. Berwald tried to keep his voice factual in front of this disgusting man.
"There was a party last week, and I met a man there. Unfortunately he had to leave, and now I'm trying to find him."
Something on man's face changed. Ill-concealed lust shone in his face like the rising sun. His voice even more smarmy (was it possible?) as the man opened his mouth again.
"Then you're lucky. I have two sons over here! Come in."
Berwald followed him inside of the manor with his lackeys, looking around the hall.
"My name is – Tremaine, by the way", the man said when they were on their way to the sitting room. 'Odd, Berwald thought. 'I must have heard that name before'. The scene opened to Berwald in front of his eyes; two similar looking boys sat on sofas and armchairs, their muscles tensed like they were excited. Both of them kept looking upstairs.
"Here are my sons, Drike and Alexander." Both boys greeted him.
"How are you going to make sure who was with you in the party?" Tremaine asked.
Berwald was sure that neither one of them wasn't the man he was looking for, but he couldn't just leave without testing them. Or maybe he could. After all he was the prince. Maybe he was just too kind.
"He left his shoe behind. I got it here." He nodded to the Grand Duke. There was a silver platter on his hand. On top of it was small glass shoe.
Tremaine eyed platter with a weary expression; he seemed to have noticed that the shoe wouldn't fit neither of his boys. However, he put a smile on his face that never reached his eyes.
"Okay, let's start then." It sounded more like a command than a suggestion. Berwald ignored Tremaine, who sat on the sofa beside Alexander, and turned around to shove the Grand Duke so he could match the shoe to these smug looking boys.
"Alexander, you'll be first", Tremaine said, and the boy on the sofa nodded.
The Grand Duke kneeled beside him, and Berwald moved closer to watch the event. Then Tremaine made a weird squeak and whacked his own thigh. Everyone shot him a questioning look. He also seemed to realize his actions, because he threw his nose up in the air.
"I thought that I felt something."
Berwald nodded and advised the Grand Duke to continue. Before the Duke had put the shoe on his leg, Alexander Tremaine turned to Berwald, wearing wide grin on his face.
"We danced at the ball together, remember? And why do have you glasses? You looked better without them." There were many things in that one sentence, but at the same moment Berwald remembered the dance at the ball which he had shared with this man. But he hadn't has his glasses on, so he didn't recognise him immediately. Then, he also remembered the conversation he had had with the man he was searching now.
'But he thought that I'm not good enough for anyone, and it's better that I'm home... That boy there earlier was my brother, and if he saw me I'm in trouble...' His heart leaked; he was at the right place! But why wasn't he there with them?
"It's not fitting," the Grand Duke said. The glass shoe was hanging from his too-big toes. Tremaine looked venomous.
"Well, at least I have another son. Apparently," he shot a nasty look in Alexander's direction, "It wasn't you."
Now completely ignoring Alexander, Tremaine leaned closer to Drike, whispering something into his ear. Despite his quiet speaking, Berwald could catch something like 'or else' through the words.
"Is there anyone else here?" the prince asked. The atmosphere in the room changed dramatically with his words. Both boys froze in their places and Tremaine looked even more like a man who had swallowed a whole basket of lemons.
"No. Everyone who lives here is in this room. There is no one else," Tremaine said, his expression not wavering.
Tino sat on the kitchen floor, staring down at his shoe. A pot on the stove began to smoke, but he didn't notice it. He also didn't notice movement there, or heard squeaking when someone tried to catch his attention.
"Tino, Tino! You are burning lunch!"
He woke up when something small hit his head. It turned out to be a mouse.
"Matthias, what are you doing?" Tino asked, still out of world around him. Matthias rolled his eyes, and then jumped to floor. Tino looked up and saw Lukas, who tried desperately to turn stove off.
"What happened? Let me help, why didn't you say anything?" He stood up on his feet and took the pot out of stove. It smelled burnt and dark dumplings welled up on the surface of soup, where their meal had been.
"Perkele..." he cursed under his breath. He knew that Tremaine would punish him for burning the meal; his nerves had been tight with Tino. Tino was sure that he had guessed that he had been at the ball, but because he didn't have evidence, Tremaine settled on being mean to Tino.
And top of that, Tremaine had a reason to be mad at Tino. His thoughts were always about Berwald, and he made lots of ridiculous mistakes. This was third time at this week he burned something, and yesterday, he forgot to dry the hall's floor and Drike slipped. He sighed and looked down to the ruined meal.
What was Berwald doing? Did he think about Tino? Of course he did. They had a nice time together. 'I didn't even tell him my name' Tino thought as he tried to save the last, small amount of soup. However, dumplings weren't very cooperative. He gave up and threw the poor excuse for food in the trash bin while the mice shot him worried glances.
The cuckoo clock on the wall told him that it was time for lunch.
"You could feed them with last week's residues. Maybe it give them a stomach ache", Matthias suggested. Tino actually laughed. Lukas sighed, 'Breathe, count to ten. It's not his fault, he fell on his head when he was cub...'
"Or maybe I just go to upstairs and get yelled at", Tino said, still smiling. He was used to it, it wasn't anything special.
On his way to his stepfather's office he saw Drike peering through curtains. It was rather odd, because through the window you could only see their own yard, and there wasn't anything even slightly interesting.
He was halfway up the main staircase when he heard a yell behind his back.
"It's the prince! The prince is coming here!" and then Drike ran past Tino. Tino was stunned; this was first time when he had seen him run. Like, really run.
He turned around, not really believing Drike's words. It wouldn't be first time when he saw things which later turned out to be something else.
But it turned out to be true. There was a crowd under the royal flag. And in front of them was walking...
"Berwald..." Tino muttered. But why was Berwald there? Berwald... Prince... Prince Berwald..! Tino smacked his fist against his forehead. How thick was his head? His face grew red when he thought about how he acted with Berwald, he was the prince and Tino had splashed him with water.
He heard steps behind him, and soon Tremaine pushed him roughly away from the window. He paled. Tremaine turned around to face Tino. For a moment, his eyes told that he was worried, but soon a sly shining replaced it. It wasn't good.
"Tino, will you please come and help me with something I need from upstairs?" he asked. Before Tino answered anything, he was already climbing up. Tino followed him suspiciously. If he had watched one corner, he would have seen two mice waving at him to stop.
Tremaine walked quietly, and did not speak until they were at his office's door.
"Here, inside, will you? It's in the corner behind my desk."
Tino went inside, walking towards the back wall. There was nothing else other than papers and books.
"What I was supposed to-" the last thing he saw was Tremaine's lustful look and wide grin before the door closed. Understanding sunk in along with a quiet click when the key rolled in the keyhole. With three quick steps, he reached for the door and banged it desperately.
"Let me out! Please, let me out!" his small fists made contact with the door over and over again, but he only heard Tremaine's voice through the thick wood.
"One squawk, even one squawk, and you won't see daylight anymore."
Tino gave himself permission to slip down against the door. He put his arms around his knees and listened when Tremaine's steps zoomed out.
What would he do? He pushed himself up from the floor and walked to the window. It was at the second floor, and if he jumped, he would be sure that he would break both his legs. He paced around the office like a caged animal (which, he sadly noted, he was).
"Tino, Tino!" he heard Lukas' hushed words through the door. He kneeled down to hear him better.
"How are you going to get out of there?"
"I don't know, Tremaine locked the door," Tino said. He felt something thick in his throat, and speaking only made it worse. "Berwald is down there and I'm stuck in here!"
"Berwald? What does Berwald have to do with anything?"
Tino had told his friends everything that had happened at the ball, but they didn't know Berwald's real identity.
"Berwald is the prince! I didn't know it until now!"
"Oh, Tino," he heard Lukas whispering. Silent fell between them. Tino fought against his tears; now wasn't the right time to lose control. Then, he heard Lukas speak again.
"You said that Tremaine locked the door. That means that he had the key, am I right?"
Tino nodded and then realized that the mice couldn't see him. "Yes."
They were silent again.
"Matthias and I will go and get that key before they leave."
Tino was about to refuse; it was too dangerous. What if Tremaine caught them? Or Germouser? But he didn't make it in time, because the mice's paws were already pattering on the carpet, running down and Matthias hollered;
"Wait there, we'll be back soon!" So he sat down and pressed his face against his hands, waiting for them to come back.
Matthias caught his friend just before the staircase. They both stopped to watch around. Suppressed talking was heard, but otherwise, it was quiet. They knew better. Germouser was hunting. He was in some shadowed corner, waiting for some unsuspecting creature to go by there. That sneaky son of a-
"Earth to Matthias, Earth to Matthias. Are you still with me?" Lukas asked, waving his little paw beside his face.
"I don't see that cat anywhere, we should go now."
"Who are they?" Lukas asked, referring to the crowd downstairs.
"I don't know, but I don't envy that bloke there putting that shoe on Alexander's feet. They smell horrible."
Lukas raised his brow (can mice do that?) "How do you know that?"
Matthias didn't answer, but focused to room in front of him.
"You know, we could use Emil as bait and then catch the key", he proposed. Lukas didn't like it and smacked his head.
"We don't use my brother as a bait!"
"It was only a suggestion, don't rip your pants."
"At first: your suggestions sucks, and second: I'm a mouse, I don't use pants."
"I know that you love me."
That earned him another smack by Lukas, but it didn't seem to hinder him. With a wide grin, he followed Lukas to the room. They stopped behind a table, and Lukas pointed to Tremaine's pocket. Something silver peeped from there.
"It's the key," Matthias whispered. Lukas rolled his eyes.
"I'll go get the key and you keep an eye on me," Lukas said, and without waiting for Matthias to answer, he spurted forward. He saw how smaller mouse climbed up the fabric of the sofa, and then slowly reached at Tremaine's pocket. Silently he opened his mouth and took the key shank in it. The key's movement, however, didn't go unnoticed. To their luck, Tremaine only screamed and hit his thigh.
"I thought I felt something."
Lukas, who was plastered against the sofa, continued on his way back. Matthias realized that he had been holding his breath the whole time and let the oxygen out of his lungs.
"Are you okay?" he asked Lukas. He didn't answer because his mouth was full of key, but nodded towards upstairs.
The trip back went more slowly than the trip to the bottom, and by the time they reached the top floor, they heard the Grand Duke's low voice from downstairs.
"They will leave soon, we have to hurry!" Matthias whispered. Then long shadow leaned over them.
It was Germouser. For all the times he could appear it had to be now. Matthias started to run; the wall with the mouse hole was near. He dove in, but Lukas wasn't as lucky as he was. The key was too heavy for him. Matthias felt his heart rose to his throat when Lukas fell down.
"No! Paws off him, you stupid cat!" he reached something on the floor, which in this case was a rubber mouse, and threw it at the cat. Germouser turned his yellow eyes to Matthias and hissed loudly.
'Oh, great, now it's after me', he thought. Something glittered on the fool, halfway him and Germouser. It was a needle. He gulped loudly and saw how Lukas had curled up around the key. This would be the end of both of them if he doesn't act now. So, at the same moment when Germouser prepared to jump over him, Matthias spurted forward.
'Only a half meter left'. He saw how the cat tore his paw from the ground and flew towards him. The needle was there; he caught it! And at the next moment he noticed how it stuck out at Germouser's nose. The cat let out surprised 'meow' and ran off, not looking back where Matthias stood panting.
"Um... Thank you for- um- saving me and stuff," Lukas said quietly.
"Nah, piece of cake," he said rather complacently. His inner self screamed in shock and apparently lost his mind.
"This is going to be hard," Lukas stated, looking up the door. Matthias jumped up and down beside him.
"Tino, are you still there?" he shouted. Lukas rolled his eyes.
"Yes, did you get the key?" A small voice was heard through the door.
"Yeah, we'll get you out of there in no time!" Matthias answered. They heard a relieved sigh from Tino.
"But how we are going to get up there? We aren't tall enough."
"Let's do this: one of us climbs up along the door frame, and the second throw the key."
Now Lukas found himself watching up to where Matthias climbed. He dared to breathe only when Matthias was sitting safely in the door handle on shaking legs.
"Wow, great scenery here!"
"Shut up and take the key!"
The door swung open and revealed relieved Tino.
Berwald stood in the room, feeling slightly annoyed. Having recovered from the first shock of Tremaine's words after he had started to get frustrated. Had his new friend lied to him? It sounded unlikely. But then again, why he wasn't here? Maybe he had said those things to get him to dance with him.
'But he didn't know that I'm a prince', he reminded himself.
Tremaine's boys tried desperately to get his attention, and he was relieved when the shoe didn't fit on Drike's leg.
"Well, I think that we have to go now", he said, and wasn't at all sorry about it.
"Okay then, I'll lead you to front door, m'lord", Tremaine said, eyeing his sons disapprovingly.
Berwald agreed with that, and Grand Duke put the shoe back on the silver platter and followed them to hallway.
With one last glance at the house, Berwald let out a tired sigh, but he promised to himself that he would find him. He was almost outside when he heard a familiar shout behind him.
"No, wait Berwald, I'm here!"
He was even more beautiful than Berwald had imagined him. He stepped closer, but before he managed to say anything, he heard Tremaine cry:
"How did you get out?!"
The smaller boy seemed scared when he looked Tremaine. Berwald felt angry.
"Get out of where?" he asked softly.
Tremaine realized his mistake too late.
"It's none of you business, please get out here!"
Berwald didn't move, and the Grand Duke looked appalled of Tremaine's rudeness.
"No! He's not going to match that shoe!" Tremaine led out rather animalistic sound and grapped the glass shoe. Before no one could say anything shoe fell to ground along loud CRASH! Tremaine stood at the center of the room, panting like after running a marathon.
The whole room was quiet, until...
"I- I got another shoe in the kitchen", the blonde said with small voice. Everybody turned their gazes to him, and he looked rather surprised by that he had actually opened his mouth. "I can go and get it."
Tremaine was about to move to prevent him to go to kitchen, but one of Berwald's servants, the one with lots of muscles, moved in front of him, his arms crossed on his chest.
The boy returned from downstairs in no time, and he handed the identical shoe to Berwald's hands.
"Sit down, will you?"
Berwald kneeled down, despite the Grand Duke's protests. He took the boy's bare leg into his hand and the shoe slithered in place. Their faces broke into grins, which widened even more when they heard squawks behind. Alexander's, Drike's, and Tremaine's hands were changed. Vulture nails had appeared in place of their fingers. They all screamed when an unfamiliar voice speech from nowhere.
"Don't ever mess with my godson!"
"You know that I could tell without the shoe that it was you," Berwald said, feeling blush coming on. "So, do you want to come live with me?" He asked. The other nodded shyly. Berwald hadn't ever felt so happy in his life. He was about to take him in his arms when he remembered something important.
"What's your name?" It was the moment when he finally would hear his lover's name, to be able to call him that.
"Hmm. That's cute," Berwald whispered softly, and leaned forward to kiss his lips.
And they lived happily ever after.
A/N: So, this is end of this story. Thank you for all the readers, reviewers, favoritingers (is that even a word?) and followers. And thank you for i-swear-we-were-sufinite, I just want you to know how clad I am when you accept to beta this story. You are wonderful.
Just noticed that I forgot to beg for reviews, so here we go:
Please review. Really, I love reviews, and I am going to read each and every one, even though for years to come.
If you spotted errors, I appeal that this is a fairy-tale. Some of you might say that mice doesn't have thumps so they can't hold objects. But this is Fairy-tale. Boom.
Off you go now, to spend your life how ever you do it.