Two Prince Charming
s (one from "Snow White," and one from "Sleeping Beauty"). Also, an appearance by a black dog
A meeting between two princes leads to one of them feeling like he's not worthy of the love of his princess, and so, he does something rash.
"We are a couple of tools," said one Prince Charming to another.
"No, we're not," said the other. "We are awesome."
"What we are is drunk."
"So," the first repeated, as though he couldn't believe what he was hearing, and spilled ale onto an already sticky bar, from a shakily-held mug, "we are a couple of princes, whose sole purpose as far as history is concerned, was to give out the ultimate assist to two of history's most powerful queens. And now ... now, we're drunk in some random pub in the middle of nowhere, trying to reclaim some of our former glory. And you know what? It will never happen. We will always be a couple of schmucks."
am not a schmuck."
"Really? When was the last time you fought a dragon since she took over?"
"I haven't. The last time was ... well, it was when I went to rescue her."
"You see? We've become nothing more than arm candy for Sleeping Beauty and Snow White."
"So, what do you suggest? Maybe that I go to Aurora and tell her that I want more responsibilities, because her queendom has become a little too cushy for me?"
"No, I'm suggesting that you slay dragons again, my friend."
"You act like being in that
much danger is really something to be desired. We have it good ... really good ... far better than most. Our lives aren't anything to complain about. We are loved by powerful, beautiful, intelligent women, who give us everything we want, while running a country, and asking very little of us in return."
"And you aren't bored out of your mind? You don't want more excitement in your life?”
"Sure, sometimes. That's why I hang out with you. But I don't want it all
the time. Hell, that whole thing with the dragon wasn't exactly a summer stroll through the gardens. I was more terrified than I have ever been in my entire life, when I went through all that to get to Aurora. Sure, it was worth it, but I'm not too eager to be that scared again."
"I would give anything to have gone through something like that for White."
"You only say that because you've never been through anything like it. If you had, you wouldn't be so eager to jump head-first into something that could get you killed."
"So, you don't think Aurora was worth going through all that? Does she know that you think so little of her?"
"I didn't say that. I’m only trying to warn you against the romantic idea you seem to have about going into dangerous situations with no plan of how to get back out of them. If you really want to make some sort of grand gesture for White, that's fine, but at least have a plan."
"Thank you for your permission."
"That's not what I meant, and you know it."
Snow White's prince didn't speak for a moment. Instead, he stared into his ale, without really seeing it. When he finally started to speak again, his words were slow and full of self-pity.
"Do you know how I met White? My great deed to win her love? I came across her in the forest, apparently dead. Those miners she's so fond of had put her in a clear coffin so that they could continue to look upon her beauty. As soon as I saw her, even like that, I thought that she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. So, I talked them into letting me take her, coffin and all, back to the palace; I wanted to continue to look upon her, and do it whenever I felt like it. Somewhere along the way, the piece of poison apple that had been lodged in her throat got knocked loose, and she regained consciousness. After that, she agreed to marry me. I didn't even manage to save her from her step-mother's plots. She
was taken care of long before I came along."
"Do you really think that White needs someone to come along and rescue her from the whole world? She is completely capable of taking care of things on her own."
"And that's the problem, isn't it? She can take care of all this stuff on her own, so what does she need me for? She doesn't. She would do just as well without me around. In fact, I wonder if she would even notice if something happened to me ... probably not. I doubt that it would even register as an inconvenience for her. My departure wouldn’t even be a blip in her world. And it isn't as though there aren't loads of others who wouldn’t be thrilled to take my place as soon as I vacated the spot."
"That may be true, there may be plenty of people who would like to take your place, but you know what? That doesn't mean that White would actually trade you in for one of them. She picked you, and that should be good enough for you."
"It should be, and I wish that it was, but it's not. You may think that it's stupid, but I need to make that grand gesture. If not necessarily for her, than to feel like I did something to deserve her love. As it is, I feel ... inadequate."
"Sleep the drink off, friend, and you’ll feel better in the morning."
They went to their rooms shortly after that to, presumably, get some rest. Snow White's prince hadn’t agreed that sleeping off the ale would be helpful, but he hadn't disagreed with it either. After his confession of inadequacy, he hadn't said much of anything, and Sleeping Beauty's prince was lucky to even get a grunt out of him.
Snow White's prince knew that his friend was concerned about him, and it was probably rightfully so. But he couldn’t really bring himself to care that he probably sounded like he was going to do something stupid to hurt himself. It was only adding insult to injury that his friend had done the things that he wished that he had done, and that his friend didn't seem to care that his own inability to do them made him feel unworthy of love.
And as he lay there, pretending to sleep, he decided that the only thing left for him to do would be to do the grand gesture of love that proved to White that she hadn't made a mistake in choosing him. He needed to do it, needed to prove that he was worthy, and it didn’t matter if anyone else thought that he was crazy. What other people thought was not nearly as important as what White thought of him.
So, a few hours later, when he was sure that the rest of the inn was asleep, he snuck down the stairs and out the front door. He got his horse ready as quickly as possible, though the beast was none to pleased with him for being woken at such an hour. But the attitude it was giving him mattered very little, as long as it did what he wanted; and with a bit of provocation, it started on its way, with him on its back.
As they went on, putting distance between themselves and the inn, the prince wondered what sort of deeds might be adequate in accomplishing what he wished. Certainly a dragon would be a fantastical symbol, but there weren't many in existence anymore, and it would take time to locate one. It would also assuredly take him more time to locate one that looked like it wouldn't destroy him in two seconds flat. Yes, he wanted to do something that would make an impression, but he wasn't a complete moron. He'd like to be able to make his impression without killing himself in the process. Battle wounds wouldn't be too terribly bad, but getting killed in the process of getting them wouldn't do with getting all of the lovey-doviness that he would like to get from White. But whatever it was that he finally settled on, he was sure that he would succeed, and White would be pleased.****
Days passed without incident, and he was beginning to worry that he wasn't going to be able to find what it was that he needed. He was starting to get impatient, and wondered what he might be able to do to get something a little more quickly.
He lay on the ground, staring up at the stars, his coat under his head as a pillow, a small fire to his left, and his horse sleeping nearby. He wasn't entirely sure where he was, since he had been wondering rather aimlessly the past few days, but it didn't really matter to him where he was.
Wondering vaguely if he should've learned how to read the stars, and if they would've been able to tell him what he needed to know, he thought he heard a rustling of leaves. But since it only registered in the back of his mind, he wasn't pulled from his thoughts, and he didn't stir. Instead, he continued to stare up at the night's sky, the melancholy funk that he had had only days before giving way to frustration, tinged slightly with despair.
It wasn't until a twig snapped a few feet away from his head that he was pulled out of his thoughts. For a moment, he thought it might have just been his horse, shifting its weight in its sleep. But then, he remembered that his horse was farther away, and in a different direction than where he heard the noise.
Turning his head to where he thought the sound had come from, he saw two red eyes staring at him, and an outline of what looked as though it were some sort of wolf. His heart began to race as he realized that his sword was leaning against his saddle, and his saddle was resting on a log near his horse. There was no way that he would be able to get to it in time, before the beast leapt, but he would have to try.
Slowly, he began to get himself into a sitting position, never turning his head away from the wolf. And slowly, the wolf began to move toward him, becoming clearer in the low light of the fire.
As its form became sharper, he realized that what he saw wasn't a wolf. It was a dog; a giant, black dog. And as the dog leapt at him, its huge jaws open and ready to tear flesh from bone, he thought of White.