Title: The Closer You Get to the Light (The Greater Your Shadow Becomes)
Word Counts: 3228
Side Pairing(s): N/A
Warning(s): arranged marriage; mentions of battles, war, and death; slight violence; age change (Baekhyun, Chanyeol, and Jongdae are all 18 (couldn’t resist keeping the beagle line somewhat together still), but Yifan and Junmyeon would be around 36 or 37 since they’re Chanyeol’s father / Baekhyun’s father in this)
Disclaimer: The celebrities' names/images are merely borrowed and do not represent who the celebrities are in real life. No offense is intended towards them, their families or friends. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this fictional work. No copyright infringement is intended.
In a Kingdom at war, Prince Chanyeol only searches for peace. He never thought he’d find it by marrying the opposing king’s son.
I was so excited about this prompt and to be a part of this fest (It was only my second one so I was SUPER spastic that I could be a part of one that I had seen literally everywhere that mentioned or posted fanfics.) It was also my first time writing a prince/historical/kind of medieval!AU so I had a LOT of fun with that (and struggles remembering to keep contractions out of the dialogue lol ). I ended up starting a job and struggling with school throughout the writing period so it turned out shorter than expected, so I’ll more than likely do a little mini sequel (and get to the NC-17 like it was originally supposed to be rated) so I feel like I’ve ACTUALLY completed this when I’m not ready to rip my hair out! Thanks for reading and letting me be here and all. I hope this lives up to the prompter’s expectations. Again thanks!!!
“Father! Enough is enough! Truly!” Chanyeol shouted from where he was standing in the nearly empty throne room. It was only their guards, him, and his father, the king. Said man was pacing before his sacred seat and trying to think of new battle strategies or something of the sort the prince had figured. Chanyeol was in all honesty pleased that he would never be able to find out what went through that twisted man’s head anytime soon. He was not about to waste his time chasing him down through his pacing either. He’d let the madman do as he pleased anytime as long as it made him be out of the line of fire.
His father, Yifan, actually paused and looked him over before shaking his head and going back to his pacing. “Father, no please listen to me for once in your life just hear my opinion! Why are we even in this war?! It is but pointless! I am far too tired of opening the door to my balcony and hearing the echo of nothing but sword clashes and screams. I can no longer step out onto the balcony without feeling such guilt at the sight of our people’s blood and an old ally’s staining the fields red in the distance. You said before that it was honor, but what true honor is there in starting a war over a hell damned wedding?! I do not care if she was betrothed to me! She was in love. She would have never loved me! She was older than I. It was bound to happen that she found someone she cared for before I came of age!”
Yifan shot his now eighteen year old son a glare that held the heat of at least three suns behind it. It was all true. Chanyeol’s betrothal had been all for naught. He couldn’t complain in all honesty either. As a matter of fact, he was happy for the woman he’d never even laid eyes on and wished for her to have a happy life, but of course his father just HAD to be strict with honor and policies and all that. “You will remain silent about this issue immediately!” the king barked, his voice echoing in the large room.
Chanyeol sighed as his face lowered and his gaze met the floor. “Yes, my lord,” he answered respectfully before glancing up to add one last statement. “Just know, Father, that I would do anything I could to have our kingdoms at peace once more.” With that, Chanyeol bowed lowly out of respect and made his way out of the room before Yifan could chew him up one side and down the other. He was just making his way to his chambers but paused just outside the main hall when he heard the palace’s herald call out that they were bringing in prisoners from their most recent victorious battle. Last he’d heard, that was last night. He felt awful knowing that quite a few must have been through a lot. He might even attempt to sneak some doctors down to the dungeons later.
However, Chanyeol’s curiosity was officially piqued, so he headed back to the entryway to see what these so called enemies were truly like. He knew they’d all be unarmed so there would truly be no problem especially not with the guards there. He heard the familiar changing of armor and metal against the floors then peered around the corner as a group of five men surrounded by his kingdom’s guards entered the hall. One of the men seemed to have noticed him and had a somewhat bold tongue for someone that had just been captured after his squadron was more than likely slaughtered. “Who’s the elf eared rat spying on us?”
The guard closest to the prisoner looked up and recognized Chanyeol with a sharp gasp. He stood at attention to probably impress the prince further before turning and swatting the prisoner on the helmet hard enough to make even Chanyeol’s ears ring from the loud clang of metal on metal. “You will hold your tongue in front of his highness.” The lad had to only be his age if not younger considering his height compared to the others. Well, one other was that height, but the two couldn’t be more than the ripe age of adulthood as well.
Chanyeol crept his way closer since the prisoner’s hands were tied and continued to listen to the conversation. Even though he was an arm’s length away from the bold prisoner, the height difference and the shadows the lifted face guard cast on the male made it to where Chanyeol couldn’t discern his facial features to tell his age or anything of the sort. “So this is the prince,” the male stated in a rather smug voice. “This is the one that hides behind his father’s robes and does naught but chase after his chambermaid’s skirts all day long.”
Suddenly Chanyeol was reeling back with a disgusted grunt. The man had spat on his face and Chanyeol could only gape in shock as one of the guards used a handkerchief to wipe the prince’s face. Almost as soon as it had happened, Yifan had walked in ordering that the man lose his head. One of the guards yanked off the prisoner’s helm and gave him a swift punch to the face earning the small male a busted lip on his already dirty face. Also, just as quickly the prisoners rallied together to defend the man and pulled him in between all of them. The one that had to be his and Chanyeol’s age spoke up loud and clear.
“You cannot! He is prince Baekhyun of the Northern Kingdom!” The prisoner with a busted lip gave a whispered hiss of protest in attempt to silence the other but it was too late for King Yifan had already heard. Said man had stomped over and peered closer to inspect the male’s face.
Recognition clicked on the king’s face as he recalled the male from his summer visit last year to make sure that plans were still going as called for, for his son and their ally’s daughter’s wedding. Of course, it’s already known as to where those plans vanished off to. Yifan personally yanked off the one that had spoken’s helm. “Jongdae. His personal servant are you not?”
Jongdae could only nod and let his gaze fall to the floor. “Yes, your majesty.”
A smirk began to bloom on the king’s face. “Take Prince Baekhyun to my son’s chambers. Make sure he is cleaned and well taken care of. The others will be taken to the dungeons. My son you are to come with me for a discussion.”
Chanyeol could only gulp as the prisoner’s were dragged off. He heard Baekhyun’s cries for Jongdae as he struggled against the guards to get freed and to stay with his servant (they must have had a close friendship for the two to stay together during the war like that after all). The tall prince then followed after his father in a rush since his father was walking as swift as he possibly before ordering the guards out of the throne room.
“It looks like you have gotten what you have wished for, Chanyeol,” Yifan announced the second the doors shut behind their men.
“W-what?” Chanyeol stuttered clearly still in bewilderment from all that had happened in a matter of moments, now his father was going with some plan once again. “What are you talking about, Father?” he asked in a hesitant voice as he eyed his father with clear suspicion.
“You are to marry Prince Baekhyun to unite our kingdoms instead of his sister. Just marry the brat and the war will be over. It will cause his father to give in and we shall call a truce once the man knows we have his son.”
“Seven hells…” the prince couldn’t help but mutter the curse in a quiet whisper under his breath. Great. Here he was in another unwanted marriage AGAIN. One thing he most definitely should have done before was held his tongue since he HAD agreed he would do anything to help stop the war and attempt to correct everything that had happened between the kingdoms. Chanyeol obviously never expected this. He hadn’t even known the Northern Kingdom had a prince!
Nevertheless, with a sigh, Chanyeol responded. “If it is for the good of the Kingdom, I will do just that, Father. I still wish to end this war and if my actions can do that, so be it.”
The words felt like a hot iron was burning down his throat, but that could have also been the tears he was holding back. He had just given his life and the one chance he had for love away. He signed away his happiness with a bargain for the kingdom in a matter of seconds, but Chanyeol hated that he didn’t even know this man, this Baekhyun. So, with that, he found his momentary escape in order to avoid his now obviously pleased father who was already heading out to re-open the doors so he could gather some men to send out the official news to begin drawing his troops back along with word of the official engagement.
“If you will excuse me then, Father, I wish to get to know my fiance now,” he said with a polite bow. Yifan never spared him a glance. The king had merely made a shooing motion with his hand and Chanyeol did just that, scurrying off and up the stairs before anyone could change their mind.
When he entered his chambers, it was far too quiet for comfort considering it was supposed to be housing his fiance. Thus why when he heard the clang of metal hitting the wall just beside him just after he shut the door, he managed to catch the candelabrum being swung at him in just the nick of time. Baekhyun looked like a frightened madman. All Chanyeol could see were the fear and anger in his eyes. “I am not going to harm you. I should hope the same from you,” he answered with a smooth voice as he gently tried to tug away the other’s weapon of sorts. Baekhyun thankfully relinquished his hold on it with a displeased glare.
“I could swing a sword in battle, yet I could not use a blasted candelabrum over your head to end this,” he hissed beneath his breath before making his way over to the bed and plopping down hard enough to make him bounce on the mattress ever so slightly. “Maybe I should have listened though. My father told me to not to go out into battle. He wished I would stay home much like you had. I wanted to help my people myself though. I could not just sit around eating or dawdling. I just… could not. I guess that is why I ended up here.” Baekhyun let out a sigh and rested his chin in his hands. “Why am I in your chambers anyways? Why am I not in the dungeon with my men? That is where I would much rather be at this rate in all honesty.”
Chanyeol heaved a sigh and cautiously took a seat next to the male checking his hands or around his legs for any other objects he could have held or hidden. Lord knows he would have hated a pen knife to the eye at that very moment. “I… you see…” the taller prince started to explain but apparently he didn’t really have to.
“Your father wishes us to be wed. Am I correct?” Baekhyun muttered with his eyes downcast and focusing on the details on the carpet as if it were the most interesting thing in the world at that very moment. “I am to become your bride.” It truly began to sink in for the both of them then how strange this was and how they didn’t even know nor love each other, yet they shared a love for their homes, their kingdoms.
“The engagement will be announced any day now. I apologize that this has to be done… until then, is there anything you would like? Food? A walk in the garden tomorrow? I… hope we can get to know each other and accept each other at least. Would that be fine?” Chanyeol asked trying to remain polite and formal.
“I… do have one request,” Baekhyun confessed glancing up finally. “My men, I would like them out of the dungeons. Most were guards back at my palace. If you would employ them that would be appreciated, but… even if you have to say it is a wedding present, I would like Jongdae to be back in my service. He is my best friend and my most trusted friend at that. I would like him to stay my personal servant. Please?” With that, the smaller brunette gave him some rather cute puppy dog eyes and Chanyeol was unable to resist the pull and their urging plea. He had always had a weakness for cute things after all and his new fiance seemed to be the definition of cute at that very moment.
Chanyeol had to look away and clear his throat so he could compose himself. “I shall see what I can do. At the very least the men will more than likely end up in the stables or kitchens at least, but Jongdae as your personal servant again… I will insist on that for you. I swear it so long as it makes you the slightest bit happier. My only request is that you join me for dinner every evening and participate in at least one activity with me earlier in the day. Within the week things should calm and our wedding plans will be made. Well then, would you like to walk with me for now until they call for dinner? It would be much appreciated to make your acquaintance, really.” The lanky male got up and held out his hand in invitation while brightening up with a rather reassuring smile that may have even gotten his father to return with a smile of his own. That was… if he even smiled anymore. Chanyeol honestly couldn’t recall the last time Yifan genuinely smiled at him.
Baekhyun did indeed return a smile and took his hand with his own before standing. He then looped his arm with Chanyeol’s so everyone they passed knew the taller prince was escorting him in a formal manner. There wasn’t that many out in the castle at the moment, considering most were in the kitchens preparing for the large meal that was brought up daily, but those that did see were surprised to find their prince with someone new considering they had seen the prince alone most of the time with the exception of servants or guards of course. They hadn’t received the news just yet, then the gossip finally began to spread like fire. First it was the castle, then by evening and after their walk and Chanyeol showing off their grand library, at least half the town knew.
With dinner came discussions over the wedding, a surprisingly compliant Baekhyun, and an agreement that Jongdae would be returned to Baekhyun’s service whilst the others were freed for jobs throughout the kingdom. Yifan was even kind enough to order the servant bathed the moment of the request after Chanyeol had stated it would be a wedding present. After all, after merely hours in the dungeons, Jongdae more than likely didn’t have the most pleasant of smells surrounding him. They had probably soaked into his clothes by now as well so it was common sense for him to be supplied with new ones.
It wasn’t until after dinner and in Chanyeol’s chambers that Baekhyun was reunited with the male. Chanyeol strolled out onto his balcony to give them a slight amount of privacy. He was still able to hear the muffled laughter and banter between the two friends and a smile of his own had drifted onto his face. Jongdae prepared the bed for the pair since Yifan commanded they stay together to bond since there were guards outside. There wouldn’t have been any sexual relations anyways. The king trusted his son would keep his hands to himself after all. Finally, it was off to bed for them after a rough day.
When Baekhyun turned his back to him that night, Chanyeol couldn’t help but sigh as he stared at the bright mop of hair for just a few moments. He’d be seeing it every night for the rest of his life now. He just hoped things truly would get better with that.
Thankfully, over time things seemed to do just that. With discussions and walks in the garden, the pair grew rather close with each other. Baekhyun would speak of all his adventures from when he ran away during the war and Chanyeol would listen longingly and add in what rumors he had heard and question what was true and what was just added banter to make the world even more dramatic than it already was. For the most part it seemed Baekhyun’s answers were logical, and the ones that weren’t were merely made up to crack the two of them up or even Jongdae who usually followed along behind them during their strolls. It wasn’t long before Chanyeol came to find him as an easygoing acquaintance of sorts as well.
It seemed to be an even shorter time before the wedding plans were being made and Chanyeol had an arm looped through Baekhyun’s as they stood in the banquet room and Yifan announced their marriage along with the call for a truce that Baekhyun’s father had agreed to in order to spare his son. A month from that day was when the date was set. For the couple, with all the arrangements, the outfits, the choices over the food, music, right down to the silverware and flowers made their lives hectic even more so. It came to be that at night they were each other’s forms of comfort as whispers and chuckles were exchanged over how stupid it all seemed to be.
Before they knew it, the fated day came and that night, they’d be sharing a bed for an entirely new reason.
Baekhyun was whisked away from Chanyeol early that morning to prepare for the event the entire kingdom would be watching. The prince was fairly sure he’d never been so pampered and dolled up in his entire life and that was coming from a fellow prince!
Their outfits were white enough that the doves themselves were probably jealous and the sword that swung at Chanyeol’s side shined as much as the fresh cut diamonds in their rings waiting on a pillow just behind him at the end of the aisle. That was when the music started and everyone in the seats rose to get a look at his soon to be husband.
Chanyeol had of course known Baekhyun was perfect, but that fact genuinely sank in once the smaller male made his way towards him in time with the organ humming away. Their hands were held. Their vows were said. Their kiss sealed the fate of their kingdoms… and their lives.