“What’s the matter, my boy?”
The prince peeked out from between his fingers before the rest of his hand slid down and dropped into his lap. Stifling a groan, he briefly debated over whether he should discuss his troubles or not when he shrugged. If he couldn’t say it to his grandfather, who could he trust? Surely not Julius. He’d simply tease. Alexei? No, of course not. He’d never let him live it down. Alexei was definitely not an option, no matter how long they had been friends for. He might be a good man, but he was a tease in his own right, and given a certain portion of their history…
“Did your grandmother say something about Fromage again?”
“No, sire. She’s…actually quite taken to him.”
“Ah, well, that is only to be expected. He is such a charming little pet. Quite like that princess of yours.”
The young man couldn’t help but flush in agreement. His grandfather quietly laughed to himself.
“Then what pray tell is so worrying you so?”
Upon the prompt, he hesitated. “It’s…” He paused for a moment and let color completely overtake his face before speaking. “My – my wife and I made an attempt to consummate our marriage a fortnight past.”
“Ah, yes, so I’ve heard. Interesting how fast news of that sort can travel so fast while not a word is spoken in relation to the treaty we signed last month.” The elderly man grumbled – while he was good-natured, there were times when even he felt pricks of irritation. Leaning back in his chair, he clasped his hands together as he intently watched his grandson. “And so? What prevented you from completing the consummation? Your nerves, perhaps?”
He nearly buried his face in his hands again as His Majesty spoke with a candidness totally unbecoming of his divinity.
“How familiar are you, Lelouch, with the female form? Surely it was not your first time laying your eyes upon a naked specimen.”
“I-” The prince began to stammer. “I’ve studied the female form before, yes, but with artistic intentions only. But I’ve never so much as looked at a lady in a licentious manner, I… I couldn’t. It would have been extremely inappropriate and-”
“I understand, I understand, there’s no need to speak so defensively. You’re very good to be so proper and respectful, my boy, but let me ask you this: do her womanly charms succeed on you?”
His face steaming, he nodded. His grandfather thoughtfully drummed his fingers on the arms of his chair. “Yes… Quite the conundrum, isn’t it? Seeing as how you’re without any defect in performing your duty, given the little tryst you’ve had as a boy… And I presume she’s very well-prepared to assist you… So what could possibly be preventing such union? Have you any ideas as to why this is?”
“What’s that?” The King squinted his eyes as he leaned forward. “You’re going to have to speak up, boy. It seems I’m determined to outlive my hearing.”
With a miserable frown, the young man sunk low as he confessed. “It…was all my fault, Grandfather. I couldn’t bring myself to. She didn’t say anything about it, but it looked as if it was hurting her, and… I only wished to give her pleasure. I…I have heard,” his voice was now a whisper as if he was a child speaking of some dirty secret – which, as the King looked upon the prince, he could see wasn’t all too far from the truth – “that a woman may also feel pleasure of unbounded intensity if her partner employs the correct method, but I know not of the method nor of how to rectify this issue. There’s nothing written or spoken in this nation to enlighten me. I have scoured the land for it. Nor are there any experts to consult on the matter. Grandfather, I… I don’t know what to do.”
The young man felt his cheeks burn as he thought back on that night. It had all just…happened so fast, he hadn’t really had time to register anything except for the nervousness and perhaps even a dash of excitement – he remembered feeling something he had never experienced before; a sort of primal hunger? – until her beautiful face had twisted in pain, at which point he had immediately stopped because as he had told his grandfather, there was nothing more he hated than to give her pain. She had apologized, as had he, but the act had remained uncompleted with awkwardness ample between the two. He hadn’t yet made an attempt during the past two weeks, no matter the Queen Consort’s audible displeasure at the news. Just damn all this fuss about an heir. How could he be expected to force a burden like that on her without her even so much as deriving any pleasure from the act? To the Prince it had seemed all too strange that so many men would be willing to fixate upon his own needs when it was the lady who was stuck with the child all their lives.
“Ah, then I may be able to be of some assistance.”
Surprised, he looked up. His grandfather? An expert? How? When?
“Many, many years ago – too many years for my liking – I too was in a similar position as you. My wife also seemed to find no pleasure in my first few attempts of fulfilling my responsibilities, so I sought for some aid all the way from the other side of the world. It was secretly imported, of course. Translated and sent with the help of a good friend of mine, it is an ancient text which I found to be quite helpful. Your grandmother liked me for the first month anyway until she began to understand what it means to be a mother. Perhaps it will be of some assistance to you too.”
“Where can I find this text?”
“Would you like it now?”
The King smiled, amused by his eager reply. Ah, well. What patience would any man have when he was on the cusp of experiencing one of the world’s finest sensations?
“Then we shall make our way to the east wing. After, of course, we make a small detour to the kitchens. Did you happen to save any éclairs for me? I’ve been looking forward to trying one ever since your wife described them to me.”
“Excellent. And that, my boy, was your lesson on foreign trade.”
Lelouch would be sure to remember it well. It had, after all, been a lesson of personal loss and gain, yes?
. . .
Drowsy, Lelouch pleasantly smiled as he felt the soft even breathing on his collarbone. Beneath the bedding their legs were tangled together, and above Fromage was nowhere to be found, having been gently and delicately ousted from his usual spot by their feet. Not that she had minded – he had made sure of that at a speed that had quite frankly surprised him. He could still see her expression the first time she had gasped his name, and when she had – when she had spoken his birth name with a sort of desperation and lust he hadn’t known he had wanted from her – the rest just seemed to happen naturally, with or without studying the scandalous transcript.
Ah… So this was what all of the fuss was about. So this was what had caused for even the greatest of men to collapse into total complete asses. Not for God, glory, or gold, but this pleasure, that incredible, indescribable sensation…
Maybe the lesson wouldn’t stick quite as well as his grandfather hoped. Oh, well. Best not to dwell too much on matters of that nature for now. For once, he’d let it go, and for once, no one could blame him.