Chapter 2: Learning Together
Summary: A year has passed since you met him.
He looks much better already, now he even could start taking classes with you.
"Hold up, what about the money in the side cashbox? I forgot what it is for!"
You muttered while resting your head on your hand, trying not to sound desperate although it's difficult to follow at times. Jumin spoke so quickly with impressive focus, you've never seen such a straightforward person in your life. This slighty detached way he used when interacting with people, even with you. He's allowed to stay true to himself when being around your parents as well, there's only a handful of clerks in the castle that were given this opportunity. But Jumin really didn't have to change at all, considering he's this naturally polite individual. You looked down at these messy notes you took while trying to follow. The man with black hair pointed back to the blackboard where he wrote way too many things on.
"It's the insurance for immigrants, or for foreign businesses with which the castle's involved."
"I– What.? I don't understand anything! And I bet neither does Saeran!"
Jumin raised an eyebrow, not paying much attention to the statement as he continued to write down other weird numbers. You let your head fall down onto the wodden table, stare wandering over to the boy beside you. Saeran didn't say much, as always, he just wrote down everything in the notebook you gifted him one week after arriving. His bright eyes taking in the class with concentration, at least he's not that disgustingly thin anymore. You'd been right back then, when being healthy, he's very pretty. You're forever grateful that your parents gave him the premission to stay and even be your friend. His skin's still pale, the wounds slowly fading away but remaining as scars either way.
By now you even forgot how the burn mark on his upper arm looked like, he always wore these long sleeve shirts that covered most of his body. He especially liked the black jacket you gave him for the half year anniversary that he's living in the caslte. You couldn't help yourself, although he always tried to decline and refuse your gifts, you wanted him to have everything his heart desired. He deserved it, after all, by how many horrible things he'd gone through. It seemed only fair. Mother and Father somehow even understood your feelings, they accepted them and above all, what touched your heart the most, they helped you with everything regarding Saeran. It's like winning the lottery once they gave into such bewildered wishes of yours.
"The percentages are only momentary, aren't they?"
His voice's firm ever since he began to speak. Not that it's much more, on the contrary, Saeran's the most silent person you'd ever met. Unsure why, you wondered here and there, yet he never explained. Maybe he'd been scared to say the wrong thing, might be due to bad memories connected to his words. Jumin nodded by the question, his suit always gave you royal vibes for some reason, considering he's also having an assistant of his own. Jaehee's the best, you didn't like how the man with black hair often buried her in work. But V insisted that he's actually a goodhearted person, therefore, you tried to believe it and listen to him.
"Correct. The percentages are related to the income of citizens, which doesn't have consistency."
"Due to illness? Or just in general?"
"Employers have the freedom to trade with prices, so they are never constant."
You sighed, how could Saeran be so invested in these lame classes? How come he didn't enjoy the once you cherished? Like acting with Zen, these hours were so fun. But the redhead's not fond of pretending whatsoever. Cooking with the chef's also much fun by how good it tasted, yet Saeran never really touched the food you cooked for lessons. Instead he philosophized with Jumin about the financial structures of the kingdom or solved math with Jaehee like it's some lame pastime. At least you both found joy in the healthcare lessons and plants of the garden when learning with V, one of the few different subjects both of you agreed's fun. You hit the pen repeatedly onto the table while spacing out. You wanted sweets.
"Princess, are you paying attention?"
Jumin's voice pulled you back to reality, couldn't help but flinch in the chair as the red color rushed over your cheeks due to shame. You opened your mouth, however, no sound escaped. The young business man shook his head at your behavior.
"I understand that it's boring to you, not everyone's interested in finances. But be aware one day, when you're Queen, you will have to know all this."
"Ugh! I don't wanna! Can't someone else do it for me instead?"
You asked, pushing your feet against the legs of the table in frustration. Thanks to Mother and Father to squeeze you into such complicate lessons and even expecting you're mastering them. V once told you in secret that with your seven years, it's only logical you couldn't understand a single word Jumin's preaching. Sadly you're unable to bite back with that fact as it's been a secret the turquoise haired man trusted you with. Jumin huffed almost amused.
"What if people would use your ignorance for their own benefits? It's your responsibility, Princess."
Okay, maybe that's making sense. You rolled your eyes either way. From the corner you're able to see Saeran write down even more of that crap. One day, you swore to yourself, you're going to throw a pen at his head and yell at him to defend the boredom you're currently bearing. After chewing on your lower lip for a moment, you couldn't help but let the slight frustration flow into your voice.
"Just why do I have to assume everyone wants to betray me? This is stupid!"
Silence followed your words, of course it did. No one ever wished to speak the words they silently burned into your head. Trust nobody with anything personal nor fincinal. In conclusion, don't trust a single soul on the planet with literally everything. When thinking about it, you realized that's very depressing. Jumin placed down the ruler he used to point at the blackboard with, as he took steps to kneel down in front of the small table, the air stayed stuck in the back of your throat for a good moment. His dark eyes searched yours, it's quite confusing by how soft they appeared for once.
"I understand your frustration, Princess. It's an unpleasant thought to assume such cruelty. But we have to consider it. There are more bad people out there than you expect."
Somehow his low, comforting voice brought you to the edge of tears. You quickly lowered your head to stare into your lap instead. Unfair. You knew he's correct, if anyone knew the world's greed then it's Jumin all the way. How often people already tried to mess with him, or use him for their own goals. Sometimes you overheard these old stories, or Jaehee told them when you asked. Just what's making so many people bad? What's their reason for hatred and anger? It's stupid, it didn't make sense to you. Jumin took the pen from the table to write down one of the formulas you forgot taking notes of.
"I don't have the power to change it. I'm sorry, Princess."
That's it, the apology made you sob. Just what the hell's wrong with this world, really. None of it appeared fair, none of it felt right. Jumin stood back up, probably about to leave and get someone else to comfort you, as he's not very talented in offering compassion. Perhaps this was something you had to accept, even if it's painful. Your eyes widened by the sudden wamrth around your body, the smell of nature already rose into your nose. The arms holding you close felt familiar in a good way. Saeran placed one hand onto the back of your head to hide your face in his chest. That's better, his touch's magic since it managed to reduce the tears that rolled over your cheeks.
"It's okay, you'll get it soon. You're not alone."
The grip in his shirt's tight as you didn't want to let go anymore. He's the only one that didn't constantly reminded you of the bad things you're supposed to be cautious of. He never said anything about bad intentions nor that a particular action might be done in order to be used against you later on. Saeran's aware how draining it was, even if he didn't point it out. At least he's here with you, what else could you possibly want. Especially as he's hiding you away from the rest of the world. Finally, you're able to breath through.
"Sorry.. I'm s-so annoying..!"
You cursed yourself when letting the silent sobs die in his shirt. Saeran hushed you immediately, rubbing comfortable circles over your back. Somewhere in the background you heard the door to the room and some adult voices, was it Father? You didn't care all that much because you wished to be alone with Saeran.
"Don't say that, it's not true. You're very kind."
A smile crept over your lips after he whispered the compliment into your hair. You knew he's being nice to calm you, yet there's something sincere about these words. Might be since Saeran knew your intentions the best, or at least very well. You nodded, sniffing away the rest sadness as someone stroked over your head with a big hand. It's indeed Father as he looked down to you with concern. That alone created a suffocating guilt deep down in your stomach, he's so busy with the castle and all these duties, yet he came over regardless.
"I heard my darling's frustrated? Do you need a break? I take you to the garden if you like."
"No.. it's fine. Saeran helped me, I can do it."
Father sighed heavily to let out the worry as he returned the smile you offered. The redhead's right, you weren't alone. One day you could handle even the subject you sucked at, as long as everyone's having patience with you. And you're aware, they would, because there were people that you could trust without hesitation. Father took you from the chair, hearing you giggle by the sudden shift of weight before holding you in his arms. What you didn't see, he gave the younger boy the hand. Who, at first unsure if he's allowed to react, took it. No comment on the strength he used unintentionally.
"Thank you, Saeran. You really help us a lot."
He chuckled, referring to the girl on his arm who's too busy to listen as she continued to chat with Jumin over the shoulder of the King. Now the smile's back on your face. Saeran looked back at you for a moment before nodding stiff, taking his hand away as it's shaking slightly. He's not used to your parents aura whatsoever, he still admired it that they're giving him kudos for the basic comfort he's showing you as the only one.
"Um.. N-No need.. She's my friend, I don't want to see her sad."
He tore his head away to avoid the King's eyes, somehow it's making him too nervous. Your father chuckled slightly before ruffling the red hair of the young boy. The touch scared him, he's not used to someone's hand on his head. At least it didn't hurt. On the contrary, Saeran's aware nobody living in this place's trying to inflict pain upon him. Therefore, he let the King mess up the chaos on his head.
"Haha, I feel the same. You're a good boy Saeran, keep that close to heart."
"I-I try.. Thank you, I truly appreciate it."
Costumes + Once Upon A Time
Regina Mills’ black & silver outfit in Season 03, Episode 12, 13 & 14.
@ribbedxgloves plotted with me!
It was an adorable stray cat on its own. Tahirah picked it up and brought it back to her castle because she wanted to make sure it had a good home. Arlyn and Nuriel at least insisted on making sure it didn’t have any illness or fleas ort he like, but the cat was healthy - in need of some food and getting dirt off its fur but otherwise healthy.
She thought the cat would be a cute companion and wanted to keep it. No one had come forward to claim it, and the Countess figured that having a pet companion would be nice. She hadn’t made a collar for the cat yet, but she did already get a little cat bed prepared for it in her room and fed it typical cat food before going to get dinner for herself.
When she came back to her room, just after the sun set for the evening, she walked in and saw - a person? A man? The Countess stood in the doorway, staring at him.
“Wh-who are you? And where’s my cat?”
Enchante - Tay Tawan - Official MV of PINING
TAY SINGING THE ENCHANTÉ SONG??? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???? FUCK YES!!!
Tay Tawan for Enchanté 😍
spoiler without spoiler?
There are two wolves inside me.
One is Joey Batey’s singing, settling in an abandoned library being reclaimed by nature, dancing to a thunder storm after making hot chocolate and jumping in the puddles, and curling up for a midday nap with my cat (preferably dressed dressed up like batman).
The other is Madeleine Hyland’s singing and laugh, hopping onto a mysterious bus that goes to nowhere, collecting rocks, bones, skulls, and shiny things, running through a forest while it’s raining and trying not to fall, sitting by a lake and wondering if I could actually swim across, and standing ominously in fog.
Man, one thing I REALLY appreciate about my DM is how much he commits to the roles of his NPCs! He really captures their voices and phrasing in a way that makes them come alive.
Like, tonight we had a lonely ghost NPC named Leopold who had been locked in a room for hundreds of years. He thought he was still alive and waiting for help and the party couldn’t convince him of the truth or help him out of his predicament, so in order to help him pass on and rest, we went to his room and showed him a locket that proved that his sweetheart felt the same way about him that he did about her and I swear to GOD I got really, genuinely emotional about this background NPC
RIP LEOPOLD YOU DESERVE THE ENTIRE WORLD
Well, these two clearly know how things work around here.
May McAvoy and Richard Barthelmess in The Enchanted Cottage (1924)
Actually, just before I go:
CHECK THEM OUT.....