Title: The Boy and the Prince
Category: Fluff/Romance (could also be Friendship)
Summary: Ryeowook remembers when he met Jongwoon. Meanwhile said person decides to intrude upon his musings.
How long had it been since he had met Yehsung? Hmm, it had been warm… Oh, now he remembered the day. Not that he could forget.
He had been 12 years old at the time, so he didn’t have many tasks to do around the Western Palace, other than tailing after the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, of which his mother was part. He disliked it very much; the ladies did nothing much but talk over floral tea, and inquire about things he found unimportant (like this one’s new jade bracelet or necklace of the most lovely agate).
The only talk of theirs he found interesting was when they would whisper amongst themselves about the Emperor and the Queen’s youngest son, who was rarely brought out into plain sight. But they never talked about him much, so he was left bored most of the time. When they weren’t gossiping, they were embroidering, and even then, they seemed to find endless topics to discuss.
So one afternoon, when he had gotten tired of watching his mother and the other ladies-in-waiting sewing, he crept out of their leisure chambers and ran off to the only place in the palace he knew would not be filled with unending chatter: The garden.
Being raised in the palace had its perks; he knew the hidden paths and spaces he could use to escape somewhere without getting caught by the palace guards. It was always troublesome to run into the security, especially since they would just escort him back to the ladies’ chambers, where he would have to endure meaningless twittering.
Ryeowook felt his breath escape his lungs in a relaxed sigh. The gardens were his favourite place to be, other than the stables where the horses were kept. The stable hands often paid no mind to his visits, and didn’t rat him out so long as he didn’t interfere with their work or cause mischief.
He let himself fall on his back onto a patch of soft grass shaded overhead by a plum flower tree with widespread branches. The faint chirping of the songbirds was enough sound for him to still be able to bask in the pleasant overall quietness, his eyes slowly closing.
Well, until something landed on him suddenly. Rather, somebody landed on him.
He shot up, clutching his stomach as a rather loud “Ugh!” escaped from his mouth. His eyes opened quickly, irritation at being disturbed after he had just been able to relax after escaping flickering back and forth between his chocolate orbs.
Surprise almost instantly took place of that irritation once he saw who it was that had interrupted him.
A young boy with raven hair and a complexion that reminded him of ivory stuck into a hearth for a few short moments. He didn’t look that much older than him, and was a bit chubby in the face. The majority of his arms were lost in the billowy layers of thin coloured silk that were his sleeves, and the rest of him was clothed in equally voluminous trousers and an over-garment made of expensive looking silk brocade with patterns doled out in swirls and flowers of gold thread, all in the vibrant colours of the summer.
A thin circlet of braided gold sat on top of his disheveled jet hair, a little crooked from his fall.
Ryeowook only remembered seeing this boy once, or twice before, and only from far away, but there was no doubt.
It was the youngest prince.
Ryeowook made to bow, but the boy, recovering from his fall, grabbed his arm, dragging him behind the thick trunk of the plum flower tree. He was startled out of his courtesy and was about to protest, but even that act was stopped sorely in its tracks, as the prince clamped a hand over his mouth.
“Please, be quiet! I don’t want the guards to catch me!” he whispered urgently, almost begging. Surprised again, Ryeowook kept quiet, and sure enough, a trio of palace guards intruded into the gardens, scanning the place once. They probed the place further, and the prince clutched at his hand tightly, pulling him close to the ground and crawling behind a large bush of peony flowers. He followed suit, peering through the branches and leaves at the guards.
After several moments, the guards finally left the gardens, and Ryeowook let out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding, as did the boy next to him. His attention then turned back to the other, as they both crawled out of the space behind the bushes and into the open once more.
“Why is his highness hiding from the palace sentries?” he asked, as politely as he could possibly be. The other boy looked at him at the question, a deep frown suddenly coming to his face.
“Who are you to be asking me this?” he answered in a sharp snap of a tone, a complete turnaround from the boy who had begged him to be quiet just several minutes ago. Ryeowook scowled, ignoring his manners for the moment.
“His highness should be more mannerly, especially if he does not wish for me to report his presence here to the guards.” He replied, a strange pleased feeling coming to him when the young prince’s face was suddenly overcome with an expression of panic.
“Please, don’t! I don’t want to go back to my room!” he said, his voice rather desperate. Ryeowook raised an eyebrow.
“Why’s that?” he asked. The other boy chewed on his bottom lip nervously as he looked around, and from the corner of his eye, Ryeowook could see the tips of his fingers fiddling with the fabric of his sleeves.
“Mother doesn’t let me out of my room…and she won’t let me talk to anyone…so I escaped from my room.”
Ryeowook’s lips thinned as he continued to stare at the prince. He felt bad for him; at least he was able to wander around. The other boy couldn’t even leave his chambers.
“Is that why you were up in the plum tree?”Ryeowook asked suddenly, startling the other. He recovered from his surprise quickly, though embarrassment soon took its place on his face, colouring his cheeks ruby.
“..Yes…” he replied soon enough. “I apologise…for..landing on you.”
Ryeowook unconsciously rubbed his side at that. It didn’t hurt as much as before, but he was sure there would at least be a fair amount of bruising where the other’s elbow had jabbed. His eyes wandered down to the other’s robes, which looked more like an magnificent mass of silk layers than anything.
“You climbed a tree…in that?” The other didn’t seem to hear his question, and looked up at him a second later, question on his face. Ryeowook shook his head.
“Never mind. What is your name anyway? Pardon, I mean, what is his highness’s name?” he asked, correcting himself. The other didn’t seem happy at that though, and he raised an eyebrow.
“What is the matter?” The prince’s frown grew deeper.
“Don’t call me with those honorifics.” Ryeowook’s brow hitched up another notch at that. He sat back down on the grass underneath the tree.
“Then what shall I call you?”
The tentative expression from before came back to the other boy’s face, his fingers tugging on his sleeves again.
“Jongwoon. You may call me Jongwoon.” He said, after some time.
Ryeowook smiled brightly, the gesture startling the prince it seemed. He held out his hand, inviting the other boy to sit down in the grass next to him.
“And you can call me Ryeowook. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jongwoon-sshi.”
His smile grew an inch brighter when Jongwoon took his hand.
A young man was sleeping underneath an old plum flower tree. His short brown hair tickled his prominent cheekbones in the gentle sun-warmed breeze, and his nose wrinkled as a leaf landed on his face. He was garbed in an off-white shirt and loose trousers, worn under a sleeveless silk brocade garment decorated in embroidery the colours of burnished gold and sage.
Of course, it was a bit difficult to appreciate the embroidery, when the double panels in the front were messily laid out over and in between the young man’s legs, hinting that he had probably fallen down onto the grass careless of his clothes.
Another young man entered the gardens, this one dressed noticeably more outstandingly, in an outfit consisting of many layers of transparent silk in a myriad of summer citruses, and a sleeveless silk brocade garment much like the other boy in the gardens, only it was a pattern of flowers. A gold circlet sat on top of his untidy raven hair, and he walked on the garden’s petal-strewn stepping stones carefully, only the soft rustle of his trailing silk garments heard.
The sleeping male still lay unsuspecting underneath the old plum flower tree, and he clamped a hand over his mouth to stifle the snicker that threatened to arise. He took a few more steps until he was close enough, and then without warning, he pounced on the other young man, laughing freely when he made a loud noise of protest and flailed his limbs about to defend himself from his attacker.
When he finally realized who had so unceremoniously ambushed him, he made a face of irritation.
“Agh, Jongwoon-hyung! I was having a nice nap there!”
The prince snickered, not even trying to hold back his impish expression. Ryeowook tackled him, his hand ruffling and messing up Jongwoon’s already untidy hair, his other arm locking the other in a chokehold.
Jongwoon kept laughing, although his arms flailed about in vain attempts to get his friend to stop mussing his hair and strangling him. Ryeowook just grinned, already knowing he was the victor here now. He took the prince’s circlet as a trophy, mischievous smirk on his face as he let go of Jongwoon.
“Yah, give that back! How dare you rob me of my crown, you jerk!” He ran after Ryeowook in circles before he finally caught the other by the sleeve, but not before his foot caught itself in the endless layers of his robes. He ended up dragging Ryeowook down with him though, so there was some satisfaction in his eyes, even as Ryeowook landed on top of him.
His hands groped for his circlet, fingers curling around the cool hammered metal as a grin reigned triumphant on his face. As if to wipe that grin of his face, Ryeowook jabbed him in his side with his elbow as he got up with over-exaggerated movements.
“Ouch!” He shoved Ryeowook off him, the other now sporting a wide grin of his own. He made an attempt at an angry face, one that Ryeowook just grinned wider at. After some more scuffling, the two finally settled down under the shade of the plum flower tree, both of them with their hair and robes in comfortable disarray and Jongwoon’s circlet glinting on top of Ryeowook’s hair.
Jongwoon looked up from where his head was resting on Ryeowook’s legs, fingers playing with a tassel attached to Ryeowook’s clothes. The other’s fingers were running through his black hair languidly, as if distracted.
“Ne…Ryeo-ah.” He poked the younger male’s side. Ryeowook tugged lightly on his hair in retaliation, a faint smile on his lips.
“What is it, Woonie?” he asked, still playing with Jongwoon’s hair. The prince’s fingers continued to occupy themselves with the pretty tassel as a smile began to grown onto his face as well.
“What made you smile so happily before?”
The question threw Ryeowook off a little as his fingers stopped stroking the older male’s hair. He peered down slightly to see Jongwoon looking up at him expectantly, before his hands began to pick up their useless task once more.
“Well?” The prince’s tone of kidding impatience made his smile warm as he remembered just exactly what he had made him look so blissful earlier.
“The day we first met, of course.”
Jongwoon’s cheeks coloured faintly in embarrassment. “Oh… that.”
Ryeowook knew the prince was thinking about how he had fallen out of the very plum flower tree they were now relaxing underneath. He had to stifle a laugh.
“You know, I think I still have some pains in my side from that day…” He joked. Jongwoon yanked on the decorative tassel in obvious annoyance, making his stifled peals of laughter erupt upward and out of his mouth.
“Brat~” He teased further, Jongwoon jabbing his side in answer.
Ryeowook’s mischievous grin suddenly softened to a gentle smile. “But you know, that really was what I was thinking of. I am happy that we met, Jongwoon.”
It took awhile for the other to reply, his surprise at the younger male saying that so openly, and with that kind of expression, making his words temporarily die on his lips.
The young man’s smile warmed, his brown eyes soft as he leaned down. His lips pressed softly on the prince’s forehead, Jongwoon’s dark eyes fluttering closed as they brushed tenderly on his skin.