James stood at the window, staring in horror at all of the women who had come to the ball to try and marry him. Why him? Why did he have to be born with a face that women loved? Why?! He sat down on his bed, running his fingers through his hair, combing it back from his face. Women were nice and all, but they could be disgustingly fake. Always talking about the things they had or wanted. Some were nice, but most of them weren't royalty. He glanced nervously at the storm clouds brewing behind the castle in the distance. He prayed it wouldn't rain soon, but the look of those clouds told him otherwise. James lay back on his bed, stretching his arms up high above his head. He had been up late last night to help get ready for the ball. His eyes drifted gently shut as dreams welcomed him with sweet, strong arms.

"Big brother, the ball is starting, please get up." James awoke to his younger brother Christopher gently shaking him awake. Christopher looked almost identical to him, except he was shorter. James sat up, stretching. He climbed off of his bed, pushing aside the cream colored curtains to stand.

"Sorry about that little brother, Mother must have yelled at you to come get me." James ruffled his brother's hair. Christopher smiled shyly at him. The only difference between the two brothers was the fact that Christopher was painfully shy. Girls made his brother want to pass out. Because of that, he was often teased by the boys and avoided by the girls even though he was sweet and kind. "Maybe you'll meet a girl you like at the ball hmm?" Christopher shook his head, handing James his tunic.

"Girls don't like me." Christopher murmured gently "They like you more big brother." James smiled, stepping behind his curtain to get changed. "Hopefully you'll find someone you like." James snorted, adjusting his belt. He smoothed out his blue tunic, shaking his head at the gold trim.

"Of course, another stuck-up girl, who is all about money, being a princess, etcetera etcetera." He smiled, swooping out from behind the curtain. He grabbed his brother's hands and spun him around, pushing him out the door "Go dance with some girls, maybe kiss one. I'm sick of you being lonely." Christopher smiled as his brother walked down the hall with him. When they were intercepted by their mother, James felt the need to run away.

"Oh thank goodness you're here! Are you dressed, clean, nothing out of place?" She demanded, obviously annoyed. Her normally perfect hair was frizzled, as if she had been running her fingers over it, a bad habit of hers. She was fidgeting with her dress, rumbling the black fabric. She wore black to supposedly mourn their father, whom had already passed. As if everyone didn't know she was fooling around with other men whenever she had the opportunity.

"Yes mother, perfect cattle for your marriage auction." James said. She bristled, eyes narrowing.

"Very funny young man, now get out there and meet your future bride." She scolded. James bowed to her, before stepping out to the announcer crying.

"Their royal highnesses, Prince James and Prince Christopher!" James managed to pull off a perfect smile, despite his heart cracking in two in his chest. All of these swooning, giggling girls were here to meet him. Christopher patted his arm as a sort of comfort, and he smiled again, this time not as perfect. The two brothers split, Christopher heading for the comfort and safety of speaking to his teacher, James heading straight into the needle crowd of women. He was dreading this. More than anyone would ever know.

~3 hours later~

His feet ached from dancing, his hands were sore from too many girls crushing his fingers, and his head ached from all the giggles and shrieks. He had taken a break, getting himself a drink. When he glanced to his brother, he was dancing with a beautiful girl on the balcony. James froze sneaking closer. His brother never spoke to girls, never ever, and he especially didn't dance with them. They were speaking softly, noses brushing. James looked the girl over, smiling to himself. Christopher was lucky. James froze, staring at the girl's feet. She wore glass slippers, what an odd thing. It was drizzling lightly, but the two of them looked so in tune with one another he didn't want to interrupt. Thunders suddenly crashed and James jumped, squeezing his glass so hard it shattered in his hand. Shards of glass littered on the floor and he clutched his bloody hand to his chest, heart hammering with fear. Lightning flashed and he backed away from the wide windows and the awestruck pair. Turning heel he ran up the stairs, trying to shut out the boom of thunder and the flash of lightning. He was heading for a place he knew well, a place he went to whenever storms occurred. Hopefully a pair of sweet strong arms awaited him there.

When he threw open the door to the closet, it was empty. Thunder crashed onto him and he threw himself within, sobbing softly. Where are you? He thought. Why aren't you here? Thunder crashed and he covered his ears, squeezing his eyes shut. James had been afraid of storms since he was young. Most young children had parent's who comforted them, but not him. He was told that Prince's didn't cry, man up, what sort of King cried during a storm? He sobbed as thunder boomed again, curling himself up into a ball. The door was thrown open again, this time someone tall carved a shadow into the bright light from the ball downstairs. Then the door was shut and a pair of strong arms wrapped themselves around him, holding him tight to a muscular chest.

"I'm here, sorry I'm so late James." A soft gentle voice whispered in his ear. He sobbed louder, fisting handfuls of the sweet, strong person's shirt. "It's ok I'll be here as long as you need me."
"Gregory," James hiccuped "Thank G-god you-you're here!" He trembled in Gregory's arms, and Gregory responded by rocking him gently in his arms, murmuring sweet promises and stroking his hair. Within a few minutes he had calmed enough to lift his head to Gregory's shoulder. He ran his fingers through Gregory's red locks, despite the darkness. James knew the way they fell about Gregory's shoulder's well.

"What do you think of the ball?" Gregory said softly. James leaned his head back on Gregory's chest; comforted by the warmth. Gregory was humming a lullaby gently under his breath, and his sword, normally carried at his waist was gone. As a palace guard, he could manage to sneak time with James when he was stationed near his room, but other than that at night or during storms like these were the only times they could be together.

"I hate it." James whispered. "I just want to be with you." Thunder boomed again and he cried out, covering his ears. Suddenly the door was thrown open and his mother stood there, eyes wide with rage. Greg tightened his grip on James desperately. They both knew that nothing good would come of this.

"What do you think you're doing?!" She shrieked. "Forcing yourself on the prince?! Guards!" James stood in front of Gregory, shaking his head.

"No! Mother stop it!" He sobbed, tears still staining his face. The guards dragged Gregory away from him and he threw himself at them. "Let him go!" Another guard pulled him back, and the commotion was caught by the guests in the ballroom below.

"For this, I'll have you beheaded Gregory!" His mother screamed. James' heart snapped in half in his chest and he struggled against the guard who held him back as they dragged away his only love.

"No! If you hurt him, I'll kill myself!" James screamed. The entire ballroom fell silent at once. His mother turned to look at him slowly. "I swear it! If you harm him in any way I will!"

"Fine then." She said softly. "He is banished, and James will marry a girl of my choosing. Take him away. And take the prince to his chambers." Christopher walked up the stairs slowly, watching as they dragged James, sobbing and screaming for Gregory, down the hallway.

James threw himself at his door again, hysterical. He had to see Gregory before they forced him to leave! He had to. But all his struggling was doing was giving him bloodied fists and a sore throat. He lay on the bed, sobbing into his bloody hands. Why? Why was he born into this cursed life? Why couldn't he have been a quiet hardworking peasant? Then he could have been with Gregory. Royal family members didn't care for what the peasants did, they only didn't allow the princes and princesses to be homosexual. He curled in on himself when Christopher slid into his room.

"James? Are you alright?" He asked softly. James shook his head, wrapping his arms around himself. "Don't worry. I'll help you." Christopher's voice was soft, but steely. James sat up and looked at his younger brother, watching him shake with anger. It was so rare to see Christopher this way. "Mother will not break you. I want to see you happy big brother." James stared at him in awe. Christopher was defying Mother? Something was different about his brother now, it was unsettling.

"How?" James asked "What will we do? The only way to get out of Mother's grasp is to die." Christopher turned to him, pulling a silver dagger from beneath his shirt. James' eyes widened as his brother lunged towards him.

"Exactly." He whispered softly. "You have to die." As the dagger plunged through the air, James lifted his hands. And then blood shocked the once white sheets in waves of red.