Bringing Back the Smile

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Prince Taryn's clothes were pasted against his body from the thunderstorm raging outside. He was soaked to the bone, but he was laughing out loud when he ran through the door of the castle. His valet was - as always, at his heels. The guards and the servants crossing them starred at the young men. For years, they hadn't seen Prince Taryn carefree and happy. For years, they hadn't seen his face without the mask. Some of the younger maids had never seen the scars before. They had never seen a smile or heard a laugh from Prince Taryn either. It was new and unknown, but it made the entire castle less sad.
Tiernan ushered the wet Prince to his rooms. He ordered for a hot bath to be prepared at once and two servants scurried to oblige. The valet chased the Prince up the stairs where they promptly ran into the Queen. At first, she wasn't amused, but then she saw her son.

"Taryn," she whispered in awe and lifted a hand to touch his face. "Beautiful Taryn," she breathed, choking on her tears. Overcome with joy to see a smile on her son's face she pulled him into a fierce embrace. She kissed his face and ran her hands through his hair before she pushed him away. She scolded him for being soaking wet and ordered a hot bath and dry clothes. Fresh broth and bread would be sent to his room as well as tea, and she told her son to go to bed at once. The Prince nodded his head and nudged his valet's foot with his own. A mischievous grin was on his face when he kissed his mother's forehead and announced a race to his bedroom. Tiernan shrugged his shoulders in an apologetic gesture and ran after the Prince. He heard the Queen's laughter echoing behind him.

The Queen joined the King in his office. A smile was still on her lips. When the King asked what had caused it, his wife explained that the smile and the laughter were back in their son's life. And she knew exactly who had put it there. Tiernan.

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