The return

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Hans returned to the bedchamber he had left several months before with the weariness of a man much older than himself. At the time of his departure, he had been the youngest prince of the Southern Isles – 13th in line for a throne he would never ascend. That despicable title of being the royal family's 'Benjamin', belonged to him still – but how could it, after all he had done to be free of it?
All he had done, and all he had failed to do.
He now stood on his balcony, facing a kingdom that did not belong to him from a modest estate that luckily did belong to him. These walls, this chamber, the acres upon acres that surrounded him – not quite a kingdom, but enough to please any man less ambitious than he was – had always been his safe haven. His armor. Yet for as long as he could remember, there had been one chink in it.
He faced that chink in his armor now, a man just waking up to Hans' homecoming in the bed they had shared since they were seventeen. Hans said with great trepidation, great shame: "I have failed you, Sercher. I did not manage to usurp Elsa ... nor wed Anna and take the crown of Arendelle."
"I know", answered the man, Sercher, quietly.
He had angelic blonde curls the color of summer sunshine and a round, yet chiseled face. A grown-up, masculine cherub, was Hans' loving description of him. Sercher cast his eyes downward to hide the disappointment caused by the proclamation behind long, dark lashes.
No. Hans wouldn't have any of that. A righteous anger coursed through his veins, making his heart pump harder at the sight of his forbidden lover for reasons unrelated to affection or lust. Clenching his fists at his side, he fought the red spots clouding his vision.
Turning away, lest Sercher see him seething, he gritted his teeth and stared at the horizon through the open balcony shutters, until the line where land and sunrise met, began to blur.
"I will try again. I will not rest until I am king – somewhere, anywhere – and you my king consort. Then we'll have the power to change the laws that label our love as forbidden. We won't have to hide anymore, isn't that what you want me to do? To bring lawful light to our shadows?"
Sercher however, seemed resigned to their fate, shadowed thought it may be: "You don't have to, Hans. Not on my behalf. You tried – that's more than enough."
Very quickly and very suddenly, Hans turned to face Sercher once more. Grabbing his beautiful dimpled cheeks in both of his own hands, he gazed at his beloved with a fierce determination: "There will be a crown resting on your head once I'm done."
Sercher stroked Hans' chin with his thumb: "Call me old-fashioned, but I am more concerned with you still having a head at all, rather than there being a crown atop of it."
He dutifully kissed the youngest prince's cheek. Sercher, in truth, did not care for crowns and thrones and kingdoms. The realm he had built around himself based on their forbidden relationship, was more than enough for the humble servant's boy that grew up in the palace, and as such grew up to be not only Hans' confidant, but his partner in all things amorous too.
He would have to speak to that love they shared, that deep and true bond, to change his mind. To keep him close. But what did he have to offer his prince? Using his blue angel eyes will have to suffice: "I am weary of your travels, my love. Stay here, with me. We don't need crowns, nor rings. I love you. You love me. That is enough."
"I can't."
"Let it go, Hans", Sercher pleaded.
"Then let me go."
Sercher left the bed, left the royal bedchamber, left Hans standing there, alone and vulnerable. He sagged onto the satin sheets, to which Sercher's scent still clung.
Had his thirst for power, but for righteousness too, driven his true love away from him? Tears stung in his eyes and once again the anger that had become all too familiar to Hans took over: he hated feeling powerless, feeling like a boy, when all of his older brothers were deemed men.
But let the laws go unchanged? Let crowns be taken, inherited, claimed by other rulers, much less right for the job than he was?
Let it go?
Hans steeled his spine. No. That was something he would never do.
He was never letting go.

(The end)

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