All of a sudden, Fabio’s world became very, very lonely.
Due to the success of the Winter Center, Florian was given even more work. When disputes between the needs of the country and the wants of the people could not be settled, they were handed over to him. He now had a new job, and slowly forgot that he already had one to begin with, one that was significantly more important.
Fabio did not feel important. He just felt sad. And of course, he felt upset at the fact that Florian had promised he would spend more time with him. They’d even signed up for fencing classes that they NEVER actually went to! He’d so wanted to learn fencing. It looked like so much fun. And yet Florian wouldn’t give him the time of day, and Metallic Blue had other, more important things to do and other friends…
Fabio figured he should stop dwelling on the fencing. He had more important things to think about, too... Like if Florian was actually eating, or getting his exercise or sleeping well! The other very rarely answered his questions, and most of the time his answers simply consisted of “I’m busy, go away.” Fabio sometimes did. He went into town. He drove pretty far off into the countryside. He always came back, even though he knew that things would not go back to the way they had been. Florian would work and work forever. It would not stop until he retired. It felt like being in that room, alone again. It kept him up at night with tears in his eyes, it haunted his dreams… So he was exhausted on top of being grumpy and lonely and sad.
Fabio was pretty sure it couldn’t get much worse. He sat on the couch and read a book he’d read a thousand times, but his eyes were too blurry to understand it, so he set it down.
“Maybe I should take those fencing lessons. But by myself,” he said to no one in particular. Maybe he was talking to the sticky frog. At least it had the decency to stick around. From where he sat, he could just reach the telephone. He moved to grab it, but stopped. He could call Eufemia, but he risked waking her up. He’d rather not; she was pretty grumpy when she was woken up. Maybe he could call his mother? Yes, as a queen, she was always really busy, but he was pretty sure she loved him. He had talked to her few times since he’d left, and the last time was when the plans for the Winter Center had been made.
But she was a queen, and she was busy! So… He could call Masaru, but… He’d have to go bother Florian for her number and look on his cell phone to know what time it was and-
The phone rang. Fabio waited for a few seconds, and it stopped ringing. Huh. I wanted to use that, the prince thought, annoyed. He sat up and was about to go wait outside Florian’s door (so that he could hear when the other was done his conversation and use the phone, ) but the other’s voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Fabio, pick up the phone!” he was told. But something in that tone of voice hurt. Fabio turned slowly, unsure of whether he wanted to or not. But he was just being silly and over-sensitive, or something. Probably sleep deprived. He picked up the phone and cheerfully answered.
He gripped the phone tightly. Held it too painfully close to his ear, because he must be hearing wrong… Or maybe he didn’t understand his own language anymore.
It was not wrong. He was not wrong. The prince’s throat felt like it was closing. His eyes burned and his body hurt, even though nothing and no one was physically hurting him. The voice on the line called his name a few times, even using his full name, but he had no voice to respond with.
The only noise that he could make was a whining squeak, and he dropped the phone. Fabio’s knees gave out, so he ended up dropping too, and curling into himself.
His mother had been poisoned. The queen had been found not even an hour earlier, and was…
She was dead. But why? Who would want to kill his mother? It didn’t feel like it was true. It couldn’t be, right? There was absolutely no reason to kill Veniko. She was nice! The man on the other line was a fake! He was lying! Fabio tried to convince himself of this, but to no avail. He recognized the voice, had heard it very often. It was the advisor’s. At least they had gotten someone important to tell him of this. This realization released his tears and he cried. The Prince cried and cried, curled up on the floor next to a beeping phone and a very concerned dog, none of which he noticed. When he could shed no more tears, he picked himself up in frustration.
Alzurians did not converse casually, nor did they cry. To not lose the respect of the only person he still had, he had to stop doing at least one of those things. Florian would be repulsed, and it was not like he had anywhere else to go. Florian had lost his parents, both of them at the same time for a noble cause. He’d suffered more and, Fabio assumed, had been strong enough not to shed a tear as a child. Fabio was 18, he was hardly a child. He would not cry, he wasn’t pathetic like that.
So instead of being angry at his situation or angry at the killer, Fabio was angry at himself. He berated himself for sobbing pathetically. He was a Prince, not a cry baby. Tears were just a waste of time. They hadn’t brought his father back, they would not bring his mother back. What a waste of time…
And speaking of time, he needed to make supper for a man who wouldn’t notice or care that he did.