Characters/Pairings: Siwon/Han Geng
Warnings: mentions of death
Author's Note: I chose to write the story in the original ballet depiction of “The Swan Princess” instead of the animated version. I hope you like this version though, and that the SiHan is good enough for you! Happy Holidays!
“Prince Siwon! Prince Siwon! It is time to get up!” Someone bangs on his door and Siwon rolls onto his side, covering his face with his covers and digging his chin further into his pillow. He knows that it’s roughly three more seconds before such intruder comes in and throws his covers off his bed, but the sheets are so warm—and why does he have to get up so early, anyways?
The door swings open and hits the wall with a loud ‘thump!’ Siwon groans when the covers are pulled out of his grasp and he is hit with the cold of the February air.
“You guys are so mean,” he complains, wrapping his arms around himself in a vain attempt of getting warmer. Heechul scoffs and hits his chest—his fingers are even colder than the air and it makes the slap ten times more painful.
“If your highness would wake up earlier every morning, we wouldn’t need to ‘be so mean’ as you put it,” Heechul replies and grabs one of Siwon’s arms, lifting him up to a sitting position. He slaps Siwon’s face for good measure. “A bath has been set; just the way you like it and in an hour breakfast will be prepared. I presume you won’t need me to clean behind your ears, yes?”
Siwon shakes his head, slowly disrobing from his pajamas and stretching his arms above his head. “No, I do believe I’ll be fine.”
Heechul smiles and bows at Siwon before heading to the door. “Happy twenty-first birthday, Prince Siwon,” he says before leaving Siwon with a smirk on his lips.
His bathroom is connected to his bedroom and it takes him a few easy strides to get it. Like Heechul had said, there is warm water in the bathtub and when he dips his toe in, it’s just the right temperature. He slowly eases himself into the water and rests his head on the side. It’s a tad bit small for him, so his knees come just bit out of the surface of the water, like little volcanoes separating themselves from the ocean.
It was his twenty-first birthday. He was honestly surprised that he had lived so much of his life already. Unlike most other princes, he hadn’t killed a dragon, saved a princess, almost lost his life trying to battle an evil Queen. Instead, he had been hanging back with his best friends (and Heechul unfortunately) and spending hour-long baths every morning and evening. He had a good education (with Heechul, unfortunately) and a memory of his dead father but a good Queen that could control the country without much guidance.
He slides further into the bathtub, his toes poking through the surface, and lets the water take his hair and spread it out. He would cut it soon, he decides, it was getting far too long for a man.
Siwon smiles and kisses his mother’s cheek—she smiles back at him. He slides into his chair beside her at the end of the table. It’s the smaller table because it’s breakfast but Heechul is there, along with Kyuhyun his best friend and Changmin the snarky stable boy. In the corner is Ryeowook, one of Siwon’s favourite servants, who must have breakfast duty today because he gives him a glass of orange juice upon sitting down, and a small kiss on the cheek.
“Thank you everyone,” Siwon thanks, allowing everyone to start eating. There are conversations about the Grand Ball tomorrow night to celebrate his birthday, various relatives that will be coming, and what will be happening. Heechul reminds Siwon that he has French at two o’clock today and that Henry will be very angry if he doesn’t come on time again and Siwon smiles in response.
“And what are you going to be doing today, Siwon honey?” his mother asks and cocks her head to the side, threading her fingers today. Siwon shrugs.
“Probably the usual, hang out with Kyuhyun and Changmin until it’s time for classes, maybe do some archery,” Siwon explains nonchalantly. He wasn’t allowed to leave the property much because of the chance of evil-doers, so most of the time it was just a bit of archery and playing around with the lords and ladies inside the palace walls.
His mother smiles, “Well, if you are doing archery, then I must give you a present. Ryeowook, would you please fetch his present for me?” Ryeowook nods and shares a smile with Siwon before rushing through the servant doors. It takes him a few minutes to find the present, but when he comes back, Siwon is sure that the wait was worth it.
“Happy Birthday, your highness,” Ryeowook says and hands him the crossbow. Siwon takes it with cautious hands. There isn’t an arrow notched but this is much more complex than a bow and arrow than he has carried most of his life.
“You are allowed to go off and hunt in the woods today if you please,” his mother explains and Siwon reaches over and kisses her cheek once more.
“Thank you so much mother!” he screams, jumping up from the breakfast table and running out, followed by Changmin and Kyuhyun, who are also eager to test out the weapon.
Ryeowook shakes his head, “Giving a boy who cannot think a pen is never a good idea, madam.”
“I know, but I hope that he’ll become a man eventually,” she says, sipping on some water.
“My feet hurt!” Kyuhyun complains, kicking a rock and letting it tumble down the escarpment. Both Changmin and Siwon snarl at him to be quiet, but the lord’s son just complains even more, swinging his legs back and forth. “Seriously! We haven’t seen anything yet! Can’t we just go home?”
“Well maybe we’d see something if you weren’t scaring them off by talking so much!” Changmin counters, kicking his back so that Kyuhyun almost falls off the cliff. He shoots a look at Changmin who shrugs, turning back to Siwon.
Siwon stands up on a rock, surveying the lands. He has been standing there, like a statue, for almost an hour now as he waits for something to appear. On his back is a bag filled with arrows, ready to fire from his new crossbow. The crossbow sits in his hands, like a prized heirloom that he can never drop. He looks heroic, and if he didn’t have the crossbow in his hands, Changmin would expect him to have his hands on his hips.
“Do you think that we should retire, sir? It is almost dusk and the Queen must have a party planned for you upon your arrival home,” Changmin says, “And I don’t have the whole day off today, my father still wants me back to clean the horses at the end of the day.”
Siwon shakes his head, “I am fetching dinner for tonight.”
“Swans!” Kyuhyun jumps up and points to the sky, where a flock of white birds flew overhead. Siwon jumped down from his post to run up to where Kyuhyun was sitting. His eyes followed the birds until they disappeared past the trees.
“They’re headed for the lake! Come on men, let’s go get dinner!” Siwon started running down the escarpment, almost falling a few times. Changmin sighs, starting a jog and following him. Kyuhyun groans and ends up falling down, twisting his ankle but continuing to run after Siwon. It was a bit of a task of course; Siwon was a horse.
When they reached the lake, the sun was setting. Kyuhyun and Changmin panted, Kyuhyun clutching his twisted ankle and Changmin with his hands on his knees, looking up at Siwon, who was crouched in the bushes.
“That one,” Siwon said, nodding at the swan in the center, “Is mine. You can have the others.”
The swan was much different from the other swans. Its coat seemed whiter, smoother, less dirty and soiled. And upon its head is a crown. At first Siwon is sure that it’s a trick, a swan cannot wear a crown! But it is there when he looks back from Kyuhyun, who notches an arrow onto his bow, and maybe that’s why he has called it to himself. Maybe this is the King or Queen of the swans, if possible—and what a delicious bird it must be.
He reaches back and finds an arrow, sliding it into the crossbow. The night is drawing closer and so therefore he must do this quickly, or he’ll have a bad shot. Changmin hides behind them, drawing a small knife from his pocket.
“One,” Siwon breathes, waiting for the swan in question to swim closer. It ducks underneath the water and Siwon growls.
“Two.” The swan does a small circle, splashing the water around him. Another swan comes up and pokes its neck, and they do a small dance. Siwon waits until the other one is far enough out of view. The bird looks up to the moon, which slowly surfaces.
“Thre-“He begins, but stops when a flash of light blinds him and the trio are sent back. Siwon rubs his eyes and jumps back to his original spot. He ignores the screaming and the wailing from his patrons and watches as where the swan swam is now a man wearing the same crown.
“Oh my god,” Siwon says aloud, watching as the man slowly wades through the water. The other swans watch him and the way they move their necks makes it seem like they’re bowing down to the man. The man throws his head back laughing.
Siwon has honestly never seen such an interesting person before. He’s tall, maybe even close to the height of the Prince, with short, blonde hair that’s cut short and bangs dip into his eyes. He wears a white dress shirt like Siwon is accustomed to and tight, white jeans. He’s barefooted and his toes wiggle dry. His eyes grow small when he smiles and his laugh goes to the heavens when he laughs.
He sits down on the barren earth, his legs wet from the lake water but his toes splashing in the water. The swans stay in the water, but they honk and the man replies like he is having a conversation with them.
“Hello,” Siwon says, stepping out from the bushes. The man is too exquisite and he ignores Changmin and Kyuhyun’s complaints from behind him. The man looks up, his blonde hair glimmering underneath the moonlight. “I am Prince Siwon.” Their eyes lock and Siwon’s heart beats faster.
The man stands up and takes a step back when Siwon extends his hand. “I promise that I am not a bad person, I just want to meet you, to learn your name.”
The man takes a tentative step. “Prince Han Geng, the Swan Prince.” He takes Siwon’s hand and shakes it firmly.
Siwon turns around at Changmin and Kyuhyun, who are poking their heads out of the bushes, “You two may leave now. Do not kill anything on your way home, either. This forest is sacred now.” They nod and rush towards the castle, leaving the two Princes by themselves. Siwon smiles at Han Geng. “Can I dance with you tonight? It is my birthday.”
Han Geng shrugs, “Because it is your birthday I will.”
They settle down on the ground like Han Geng was before, Siwon’s hand on Han Geng’s. “Thank you.”
Han Geng laughs, and one of the swans honk. Siwon watches as the swan swims up just a tad, pokes one of Siwon’s shoes before scuttling away. It honks at the other swans and they move their arms up and down.
Han Geng chuckles. “They say that they like you, boy,” he translates, reaching out and petting one of the swan’s heads. Siwon’s heart hurts when he says ‘boy’—he’s twenty-one now! He opens his mouth to say something but Han Geng holds up his hand. “You must be a brave Prince though, to come to this lake, and at night at that.”
“And why is that?” Siwon asks, stretching his legs out so that his ankles touch the wet rocks.
“Nothing,” Han Geng says and he watches the moon rise further up into the sky, until it shows in the lake’s water, and Han Geng’s hair looks silver and beautiful.
“Why is someone as beautiful as you cursed? Why must someone like you be hidden away in the daytime?” Siwon asks, reaching over and resting his hand on Han Geng’s shoulder. Han Geng leans in and rests his hands in his lap. He smells like lavender and morning dew.
“He took me away,” Han Geng said slowly, “He stole me when I was young and I didn’t know what was going on. He said that if I didn’t love him, he would curse me. He was cruel and when I tried to escape, he turned me into a swan. I would be a swan by day and a man by night. Only a true love, one that would last as long as his love for me would break the spell and I could return home.”
“I will love you eternally, Han Geng-sshi, I will free you from this bond that he mercilessly ties you to,” Siwon promises, and he feels something surge from deep in his chest. This is the first time that he has ever made such a grave decision but he believes that he likes the feeling and lets it spread further in.
“Thank you,” Han Geng whispers, and Siwon can hear the sob that dares to leave his throat. Siwon shushes him.
“Will you come to my ball tomorrow? I will show you to my mother and we can be wed the night after,” Siwon asks, looking down into Han Geng’s dazzling springtime eyes. The February air doesn’t seem so cold now and the snow doesn’t seem that hard underneath his boots.
Han Geng smiles, “I would love to go.”
Siwon slides his hand into Han Geng’s and they sit there until the morning rises and Han Geng slips back into the water.
“Where is the special guest?” Kyuhyun asks and Siwon hits him. He’s been standing at the door, waiting for Han Geng, for over an hour now. He knows it’s his party and he should be inside but he wants to be the first person to greet Han Geng when he arrives out of the forest. He wants to be the first person to throw his arms around him and maybe even give him a welcome kiss. He had only spoken good things about Han Geng to his mother and now he wanted to prove them.
“He’ll be here, soon,” Siwon promises, looking around nervously. His mother had invited himself inside countless times, sometimes with girls with her asking if they wanted to dance, but Siwon wanted to be here, he didn’t want to be inside with someone else. Han Geng said that he would be here, so he would be here. And Siwon would just have to wait.
A face appears through the trees and Siwon smiles. It’s him. He is wearing a white suit with a black undershirt and white tie, and Siwon’s heart beats a tad bit faster. He looks just a tad bit different, like his legs are longer and his bangs are shorter, but it’s only for a second and the Han Geng that he met last night. He tries his best not to jump down the stairs to meet him and waits until he walks up the steps.
“Good evening,” Siwon says, extending his hand. Han Geng smiles and takes it, and lets Siwon pull him through the throng of people to his mother. His mother smiles as politely as possible and introduces herself.
“I have heard many things about you Han Geng,” she said and bowed. “I am happy that you were able to come, even if a tad bit late. I have some more people to see, but I promise to come back to you two later on in the night.”
With a smile, she went off to find some other people.
“You want to dance?” Siwon asked and Han Geng smiled.
Siwon pulls him out onto the dance floor, resting his hands on Han Geng’s sides and arms, smiling when Han Geng lets him lead. Dancing was a subject that he had also learned from Heechul, and he hoped that the teacher was watching with a smile. He wasn’t stepping on Han Geng’s feet!
“You’re still going to love me forever, right?” Han Geng asks, moving his hand on Siwon’s shoulder up and down. The tentativeness from last night has disappeared but Siwon brushes it off, it must be the excitement pounding in each other’s veins.
“Of course, I haven’t changed my opinion at all,” Siwon answers, reaching down to cup Han Geng’s face. But when his fingertips graze against the skin, the face changes and Siwon is looking down at something way different. A longer face, red devil hair, and sparkling eyes.
“Prince Han Geng! Prince Han Geng!” Siwon is hit with the branches of various trees as he speeds through the forest. He stops in front of the lake. Moonlight hits his lover’s soaked face and his bony fingers. Han Geng looks up and their eyes lock.
His pupils are diluted and his veins are black. Han Geng still has that eternal beauty but something has broken, something has snapped inside him and Siwon crumples in front of him. He cups his face and tries to kiss his lips but Han Geng turns away. His tears are as ebony as the sky and his body shakes like the trees.
“I am so sorry,” Siwon says into Han Geng’s hair.
“How could you? How could you not see the difference between me and him?” Han Geng grabs onto Siwon’s shirt and pulls his face into his neck. His shoulders shake and the swans behind them honk and flap their wings.
“I am so sorry. Can I still change it? Can I still make you free?” Siwon asks, patting Han Geng’s back and trying to make him stop crying. He knows what he did. He was supposed to be loyal to him forever but the redhead must have fooled him.
“No.” Han Geng pulls away, shaking his head. He looks away when Siwon looks into his eyes and tries getting up but Siwon grabs onto his hand.
“What can be done then?” Siwon asks. Han Geng looks back at the swans and they honk at him.
“We can die.”
A band of missing people return home that night, shaking their heads and blinking the tears away. The morning sun rises and so do the royals.
This entry was originally posted at http://sujuexchange.dreamwidth.org/1952