chameron royal au
ahaha so.... this was meant to be only a drabble for @anderperryshit (thank you so much for inspiring this and sorry it took so long!!!) but um... one thing lead to another and now this is very long. sorry. i got wayyyy too into this.
tagging some people to bask in this monster with me :’): @maisietheweltoncow @neil-perry-is-alive @justarandompjofan @propaganda-for-poets @aedan-mills @duh-itsalampmeeks
just a heads up, this chapter has a l o t of swearing. please don’t ask why. i don’t know. oh! and background anderperry and noelbury because im weak.
The sky was blue, the sun was hot and Charlie Dalton hated dinner parties.
These we're all well known facts, indisputable by anyone who knew the jazz enthusiast. If Charlie had the choice, he'd never see another one of those hideous table cloths or hear bassoon song they play at these things, but because God wanted to punish him, here he was, bored and sweaty and alone.
Well, alone wasn't the right word exactly. He was here with his parents and he knew some of his friends were around here somewhere but these parties were just a chance for kingdoms to save face and be seen with their allies so he had a strict fifteen minute rule to speaking with people before they had to move on. His fifteen minutes with Neil had been used half an hour ago and he hadn't seen him since.
The life of royalty was much like chess, Charlie thought. It's all calculated steps and throwing everyone else away to save your king. Sometimes he wondered how easy it would be to just run away. He could board a boat and sail to wherever it took him. Lead his life as a pirate maybe.
He smiled a little at the thought but knew it was futile. Boys like Charlie had to learn their upper class etiquette and, eventually, become king, stuck to the thrown until death. Instead of adventures, he got house rules.
He was awoken from his thoughts by a firm hand on his shoulder. "Charles, I think you should go dance with the Cameron boy." A frown morphed on Charlie's face as he turned around to face his parents.
"Richard? No." He pouted. He saw his father sigh, exasperated.
"Don't you think it's time you two put this feud of yours behind you? The Camerons are the closest allies we have besides the Perrys. One day, when you take over the kingdom, you're going to need to work with Richard so you might as well get along now, especially because of the feud. You can’t let this kingdom fall." His mother said. Charlie scoffed, but the pressure still weighed heavy on his shoulders. He defected with theatrics.
"Work with Richard Cameron? Over my dead body." Sometimes he wished they weren't close with the Camerons so he wouldn't have to deal with their stuck up son. Or better yet, he wished they had at least another child, maybe one without a stick up their ass-
"Charles. I'm done arguing with you. Get over there and dance." His father said sternly. He looked over to his mother only to see her shrug and sip on her champagne. Traitor.
Still, he gave off one more groan, the last of his protests, swallowed his pride and stalked his way over to the three red-heads across the hall.
Mr Cameron looked sharp as a hawk as he watched all the people around the hall, no doubt planning his next move. Mrs Cameron was chatting idly with a blonde haired woman who he recognised as Chris' mother. And finally, the spawn of Satan himself, Richard Cameron, was standing a little bit in front of his parents, hands in the pockets of his dress pants so primly it made Charlie mad.
Richard was wearing a dark suit with a red vest underneath, complimenting his pale skin perfectly. He had this faraway look in his eyes Charlie was happy to disrupt.
"Oh, my dear Richie," he said dramatically, making Cameron jump a little, "would you give me the pleasure of this dance?" He held his hand out and put on the fakest sincere look he could muster (one only Richard would be able to spot).
Cameron's face twisted up. If they weren't in a room full of influential adults, he knew he would tell him to fuck off in that voice that made Charlie heat up (angrily, of course). But alas, here they were.
Before Cameron could say anything at all, his father coughed loudly behind him and he saw Richard take a deep breath (it was becoming an effort to hide his grin now). "Yes, Charles. I would love to." He said with a strained smile as he took Charlie's hand.
Charlie led him out to the dance floor and transitioned into a waltz with Cameron smoothly as if they were lovers.
"If you call me Richie again, I'm going to stab you." Cameron said in a cheery voice while smiling sweetly. If anyone was watching them right now, they wouldn't suspect a thing. Charlie laughed loudly, acting as if Cameron had just told the most hilarious joke in the world. That’s all these things were really, an act.
"If you call me Charles again, I'm going to stab you." He said, matching Cameron's cheer.
"Well, that's your name, isn't it?" Cameron was grinning so wide, it looked like it hurt. Naturally, Charlie 'accidentally' stepped on his foot causing Cameron to wince. "You fucker."
"You love me." Charlie winked. Cameron pretended to retch which made him snicker.
As they danced, Charlie looked over to his right to see Chris and Ginny dancing in a similar waltz although their foreheads were touching and they looked so in love.
A while ago, the Noels tried to force a marriage between Chet and Chris to form an inseparable alliance between their kingdoms. To everyone’s surprise, however, Chris ended up falling head over heels for Chet's younger sister, Ginny. Luckily for them, Ginny was still a Danbury so their family was happy with the arrangement and they now had a wedding planned for autumn.
It was bittersweet to Charlie. Chris and Ginny were a perfect match, even Charlie could see it and he was glad they could be open with their love and get married freely. Some people weren't so lucky.
Charlie caught Ginny's eye as they danced and she flashed him a stunning grin. Cameron? She mouthed to him and he gagged. Ginny just rolled her eyes and continued dancing with her fiancèe.
"You really hate me that much, huh?" Cameron was a little more perceptive than Charlie took him to be. The way Cameron was looking at him right now made him feel flushed. That scared him.
"Of course I do! The only reason any of us hang out with you is because of the stupid alliance." He blurted out without thinking. It sounded too harsh to pass as a playful jab, even Charlie knew that. The look that Cameron gave him immediately made a wave of guilt crash over him. Before he could say anything, Cameron's face hardened.
"Fuck you, Dalton." He spat out and tore himself away from Charlie. Cameron bolted across the ballroom and out the door, into the hallway.
"Cameron! Wait..." He said, but it was too late. He was gone. As he stood and felt helpless on the dance floor, a harsh voice whispered from behind him.
"Charles Dalton," he turned. It was his father looking red in the face. "what the hell have you done? Do you know how this looked right now? What will the board say about this! We need to be a united front with the Camer-"
"Jesus Christ, stop making this all about you!" He interrupted and dashed out the way Richard had, needing to get out of that fucking room.
The hallway was was cold and his steps echoed in the hollow room, reminding him of his mistake. He leaned up against a wall and put his face in his hands, the guilt now making a home in his heart.
Idiot. You fucking idiot.
Here's the thing, Charles Dalton didn't really hate Richard Cameron. In his house, love was treated as a weakness instead of a strength. He was constantly told he'd have to marry whoever would strengthen the kingdom, something he'd have seldom choice in.
Charlie feared love. He feared vulnerability. Loving someone meant giving over your heart to the other person completely and they were free to do what they choose with it. Charlie figured it was just easier to hold all his cards close to his chest.
But then there was Richard Cameron, the stunning enigma he was. Cameron with the fiery red hair and flaming hot temper. Cameron who was the only one who could match Charlie with his quick wit. Beautiful, handsome, alluring Cameron who set his heart on fire in a way that simultaneously frightened him and made him feel so, so alive.
A burst of realisation suddenly hit him; he had to go find Cameron.
Taking a deep breath, Charlie set of down the hall in search of the red-head.
After a while of walking, Charlie came across a door which had some noises coming out of it. Thinking it was Richard, Charlie pushed open the door. "Cameron?" His face soon scrunched in disgust.
Neil and Todd (who had been furiously making out against a wall two seconds ago) broke apart in shock at the door opening and looked over to Charlie.
"C-Charlie!" Todd stammered.
"What the fuck. A closet? Really?" He deadpanned. Neil massaged his brow, slightly less flustered than his blonde counterpart.
"This is all we have, Charlie. You know we can't be seen together." Charlie frowned.
"You could've at least locked the door. What if someone who wasn't me walked in and caught you guys? It would all be over." He said seriously.
"Don't act like you haven't had a secret make out session with anyone. I guess we just got carried away." Neil grinned and leaned towards Todd, making him giggle. Charlie didn't find it very funny knowing what could happen to them.
Neil and Todd were on opposite sides with the harshest stakes of a ruthless feud lead by Thomas Perry and Phillip Anderson. The Daltons, Danburys, Noels and Camerons were all sided with the Perrys, and the Meeks', Overstreets, Pitts' and Stickwells sided with the Andersons.
This feud stemmed from hatred and jealousy by their fathers who were ruthless and would stop at nothing to win. They bred malice and selfishness like a disease. Their sons, realizing the effect of their fathers’ actions and not sharing in their misguided views, did not. When Neil Perry and Todd Anderson met at a party much like this one six months ago, they clicked. It was love at first sight.
Charlie will never forget the way their eyes locked when they accidentally knocked into each other by the snack table or how Neil had gushed to him and Ginny over the past few months over how incredible Todd was once they'd started sneaking out to see each other.
They were perfect for each other in every way. If only everyone else could see that. Their love would either end the feud or get them disowned or, more frighteningly, killed.
"Uh, hello, I'm still here assholes." He waved his hands around to grab their attention. Neil sighed.
"What do you want?"
"Have you seen Cameron anywhere? We were dancing and then he ran off." Todd just shook his head.
"We've been in this closet for a while. Neither of us have seen him since the beginning of the party." Neil said before looking puzzled. "What do you want with Cameron? I thought you hated him." Charlie felt blush creep over his face and he looked at his shoes.
"I don't- it doesn't matter okay? I just need to find him."
"Well, we haven't seen him. Sorry, Charlie."
"It's okay. I'll just keep looking I guess."
"I hope you find him." Todd said gently. Charlie smiled at him.
"I will." He turned to leave the room but turned back at the last second. "Next time, just lock the door. Please?" Neil gave him a little salute.
"We will. Thanks, Charlie." Todd said, smiling and giving him a little wave.
Charlie closed and locked the door on his way out and was barely three steps away when he heard an elated 'Neil!' coming from behind the door. He just shook his head and muttered under his breath; "horny bastards"
After walking around the castle and checking countless rooms in hopes of finding Richard, Charlie came across a balcony looking over the kingdom with a familiar figure leaning on the railing with his forearms and looking at the view.
He didn't say anything, just stood next to the figure and copied his posture. If Cameron was surprised to see him, he certainly didn't show it.
"What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be back at the party doing damage control?" The part that shocked Charlie was that he didn't sound angry, just tired. Remorse stung sharp in his gut.
"Look, Cameron, I'm sorry. I didn't mean what I said-"
"Stop! Just stop it!" He expected anger, but this rage was more ferocious than he foresaw. Richard got mad at him a lot but he's never been this angry before. Cameron whirled around to face him, fuming. "You're not sorry! You don't care! The only reason you're here right now is because we're supposed to be allies!" He spat out the word allies like it was poison in his mouth.
Charlie was stunned still. All he could do was stare at the boy. Cameron, fed up with Charlie's bullshit moved to the door. "Just forget it."
"Cameron, wait." He grabbed Cameron's arm and spun him around. "Just wait, please." He said desperately.
"Why, Charlie? What can you possibly tell me?" His face was almost as red as his hair at this point and he was ready to explode.
"I didn't mean it. I'm just..." He trailed off, bouncing his foot and looking at the navy sky. He couldn't see Cam's face right now, he just couldn't.
"You just what? I know you don't like me, I know that and m-maybe you're right, y'know? Maybe I'm too fucking uptight to be around-" He stammered, the words coming out frantic and shaking with fury and insecurity.
"Stop. Cameron, stop!" He turned back to him now to see Cameron holding his arms around himself. "Cameron. You're- you're great okay?" He ran his fingers through his hair and began pacing. "I lied. We like having you around. I like having you around. I just said that because..."
"Because what?" Cameron's irritated voice raised the tension another peg. He stayed silent. The words glued themselves to his throat and refused to leave. "What, Charlie? Just fucking tell me because I'm so sick of this-"
"Because I'm into you, okay?" He yelled out, whirling around to see Cameron's shocked face. No one said anything for a moment. Feeling anxious, Charlie filled the space by rambling. "And that shit scares me, alright? You- you scare me because no one else has ever made me feel like this before and I'm so- so fucking terrified because all I want to do is kiss you but I'm of what that will mean or how the kingdoms will react or that I'll be a really shitty boyfriend and-"
In the heat of the moment, Charlie had squeezed his eyes shut and was surprised to feel a warm and on his chest. "Charlie." A voice said softly. His voice said softly. "Charlie, look at me." The hand moved to cup his face, it was warm and so full of life. Charlie felt his heart light up at the touch. "Please?"
He wearily opened his eyes to see Cameron looking at him intensely. He shivered under the gaze. "You promise you're not joking, right now? Or that this isn't some alliance shit?" He said, quietly. Charlie felt it too. It was almost as if talking too loud would shatter what they had right now.
"It's not. I promise you." He whispered, not daring to say much more. Cameron searched his eyes, looking one last time for any sign of a trick. Once he established Charlie was being genuine, he whispered:
"Charlie, can I kiss you?" Not trusting himself to speak, he only nodded.
Before he knew what happened, Cameron captures his lips in a kiss, other hand moving to hold his face. Charlie had kissed many, many times before but for some reason, this time he forgot. He was too preoccupied with the way his breath caught and how good Cameron’s hands on him were. Luckily, he was able to awaken from his spell and wind his arms around Cameron’s waist.
Despite the heated feelings and harsh words from earlier, the kiss was surprisingly gentle, like a cool summer wind. It was much like the waltz from earlier, after Charlie regained his head, they kissed smoothly and effortlessly, as though they had done it a thousand times before. His body however, his body was on fire, a roaring flame that threatened to overtake him. Cameron’s touch burned and he never wanted it to stop.
Cameron was his ride or die. Acting on romantic feelings wouldn’t stop Cameron from being uptight, or Charlie being reckless. It wouldn’t stop the prying eyes of the other kingdoms or their parents if they had other plans for their marriages down the line. They could either go down as a masterpiece or up in flames.
But the thing was, they wanted to take the chance.