Till Then, Sleeping Beauty, Sleep On
Magnus opened his golden eyes and imiediatly shut them when a bright ray of sun hit him straight in the face. He groaned. Then he looked down.
His husband was lying in his arms, head buried in his neck. He still had one arm around Magnus, and the other one under his cheek, smiling slightly in his sleep. For some reason Magnus was nearly happy he had an excuse to execute him the next morning, and not this one. He could have stayed in bed all day but he was a King and a king had duties so he slipped out from under the furs, grabbed some clean clothes and left the chambers and the sleeping Alec. He didn’t see him for most of the day. Magnus replied to all the letters and attended two different meetings, one about war and the other one about raising the taxes. He ate dinner alone, as usual. Around five Magnus found he had nothing left to do. From that time onwards he usually looked for a new husband, got married by nine and done with the do by midnight. He sighed and started walking around his palace, trying to find something to do. He was surprised when he entered the grand royal gardens and found Alec sitting by a tree, a book in his lap. He raised his blue eyes to Magnus when he heard his approach.
‘Good evening, you majesty.’ Alec said, eyes shifting back to the book. Magnus sat down next to him.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Studying the history of our country.’ Alec said simply. ‘It is quite interesting, you majesty.’
‘Previous kings’ Magnus waved his hand dismissively. ‘They’re all dead anyway. Funny you’re so interested in them. Do you like to run after kings?’
‘Not particularly, your majesty.’ Alec closed his book and closed his eyes, letting the cool evening breeze ruffle his hair.
‘So what did you want to do before you became my bride?’ Magnus asked casually when really all he wanted to hear was ‘I won’t cheat on you’. But that was impossible – of course he would cheat. They all did.
‘Hmmm. I was actually debating on joining the silent brothers.’ Alec said truthfully. Magnus blinked in surprise.
‘You wanted to dedicate yourself to a life of prayers and silence? You didn’t ever want to fall in love, or have children or anything?’ Magnus asked. Alec smiled and shrugged.
‘I didn’t really think about that.’ They sat in silence for a while. Eventually Magnus got bored of the quiet.
‘Why don’t you continue the story?’ he asked. ‘About Clary and the warlocks and the strange little people?’
Jace yawned discreetly as another pair of ladies was introduced to him. He nodded politely. This was the last one, thank God. Now everyone would devote themselves to dancing and he could take a breather.
‘How’s it going, little brother?’ Sebastian asked, clapping Jace on the shoulder as he came behind him. Jace rolled his eyes.
‘I might as well become a nun. This is impossible! They’re all the same; pretty, perfect, boring…’
‘Mmmm. The fine makings of a queen’ Sebastian grinned, raising and clinking glasses with Jace. He downed the alcohol but Jace stared at the golden liquid in his glass with a sour expression before setting it down.
‘Cheer up, brother! Enjoy yourself. It’s your party, after all’ Sebastian said but his gaze had already been entranced by a pretty girl in a red dress. ‘Excuse me’ he said, walking away. Jace rubbed his temples. Everything was so loud. The band playing, the people talking… the clack of the shoes on the dance floor, the clatter of plates, the ticking of the clock. Laugher, smiles, fake charm. It was all too much. And then everything went silent and Jace turned around, to look at what everyone else was looking at.
The doors had been opened for a new comer. The girl took Jace’s breath away and he stared in awe. She had fiery hair and a beautiful smile. Jace thought that if he had to marry someone, it would be her. The girl made her way down to the dance floor and everyone slowly returned to their conversations and movements, stealing glances at the girl once in a while. Jace made his way confidently through the crowd to the girl, who was heading towards the refreshments table.
Clary eyed the food with a smile. Food first, then maybe she’d find a decent dance partner. But before she could even touch the delicacies she felt someone’s firm hand clamp on her wrist. Shit, did mother dearest find me already? Clary thought, panicking. But the food! However when she turned around the eyes that met hers weren’t the cool ones of her step mother but the twinkling golden eyes of the prince. Clary felt herself freeze as the prince smiled at her and drew her towards him.
‘May I have this dance, my lady?’
No, no, no! I’m only here for the food! Clary’s brain screamed at her but she knew that refusing the prince would be bad manners so she simply nodded and let him draw her towards the dancing couples. The prince put his hand on her waist and took her hand in his free one. Clary thought he looked incredibly handsome with the red and gold uniform.
‘May I ask what your name is, my lady?’ The prince broke the silence.
Clary felt herself panic inside but outside she was the definition of calm.
‘Clarissa Velasquez, you majesty’ she said as he twirled her round gently and pulled her closer than before. ‘And you are…?’
‘Jace’ the prince said. ‘I’d prefer if you didn’t call me ‘your majesty’. I get enough of that.’
Clary laughed and soon enough she was talking with Jace like with an old friend. Clary missed that. She talked to her boys, of course, and a lot too but they were always contradicting each other or her, and their favourite hobby seemed to be arguing. Jace had his brother but he ran after girls a lot, so talking to Clary was a dream. They liked the same thing, shared the same sense of humour… before they knew it they had already danced many dances and ate a lot of food. Jace proposed a walk in the gardens but as he was leading her to the doors a high pitched shriek cut through the air.
‘Clary! Is that you! Oh, now you’ve done it.’
‘Bloody hell’ Clary said with a strained smile, gaining a few gasps from the people around her. Maureen appeared in front of her, Maia and Jessamine in toll. Maia was busy eating an éclair and Jessamine seemed bored to death. But Maureen was fuming.
‘How dare…how could…’ she seemed at a loss of words. ‘Where did you get the dress? You stole it, didn’t you, you filthy wretch!?’ People turned around to see what the commotion was about. The band stopped playing.
‘No, I didn’t steal it’ Clary said, glaring at her mother.
‘After all we’ve done for you, you disobey me like this? You stupid, stupid girl. You are a disgrace!’ Maureen screamed. ‘You’re just a servant! Just a servant!’ The guests around gasped. Jace loosened his grip on Clary’s wrist from shock. A servant?
All around Clary people burst into whispers.
‘So she stole the dress’
‘How dare she even touch the prince?’
‘She’s probably diseased’
Clary wanted to scream at the guests to shut up, but her eyes caught the sight of the clock. Ten to three. Time to go.
‘Wow.’ Clary said, looking around. ‘Look at you. You’re so shallow that it’s no wonder the prince can’t find a bloody wife among the high borns’ the ladies gasped. Someone fainted. Clary ran.
Out of the doors, ignoring the yells of the guests, screams of the guards, screech of Maureen, the single ‘CLARISSA!’ from Jace. Everything. She ran and it felt like the single, biggest, most awesome act of defiance ever. Clary sped down the long stairs. If she had kept the black heels she would have lost one, but she had her checked trainers and they stayed intact on her feet. Simon grabbed the doors of the golden carriage and opened them very quickly, letting Clary hop in. Then they were off.
The gates were ordered to slam shut but that didn’t stop the golden carriage and neither did the hordes of guards riding behind it. Time did.
There was a single curse from Ragnor and suddenly Clary was sitting on the floor in her ugly, plain brown dress. Her hair tumbled down on her shoulders and everything went back to normal. She was now sitting in the middle of the road with a pumpkin, and a handful of tiny boys.
‘Hide’ Clary hissed at them as the guards stopped their horses, seized her up, and sped back towards the castle. Her glamorous escape was for nought. But instead of taking her to the king or to the cells, the guards led her up loads of stairs, to a silver door. They opened it and shoved her inside. Jace turned around, relief washing over his features at the sight of Clary. He didn’t even acknowledge the peasant outfit, he just hugged her tightly.
‘I thought they wouldn’t catch you’ he whispered. Clary pushed him away.
‘What is wrong with you? You know me one day and you decide to send a pursuit after me?’ Clary asked angrily. Jace blinked and bit his lip, before looking her straight in the eye.
‘I want to marry you.’
‘My names not Clarissa Velasquez’ Clary snapped. ‘My name is Clary Fray. And I will not be queen and rule those idiots and sit on a throne and look pretty.’
‘Then let’s run away.’
‘Let’s take a carriage, get away from here. Live together, be happy. Be free.’ Jace took Clary’s hand and kissed it gently. Clary smiled.
‘This is the single best idea I have heard all day, your majesty.’ Clary grinned. The next day they were sitting in a carriage. Jace wore normal clothes; Clary wore a normal, middle class dress. They both had a suitcase each. Jace went to talk with the driver one last time, and make sure he would keep it a secret where and why the two ran away. Clary discreetly opened her suitcase and her boys peered up at her. They gave her a quick wave before closing the suitcase, so they wouldn’t be discovered. Clary rolled her dress up slightly to smile absently at the checked trainers she got from Magnus and Catarina before Jace’s golden hair popped from around the doors of the carriage.
‘The driver is asking where we would like to go.’
Clary thought for a second, but only for a second.
‘I hear Peru is nice at this time of the year.’
‘And they lived happily ever after.’
‘Did you like the story?’ Alec asked. Magnus nodded.
‘So they decided to run away?’
‘Yes. To follow their dreams.’
‘What happened to them later?’
Alec shrugged. ‘I don’t know. But I like to think they were as happy and free as they wanted to be.’ Magnus sighed in content.
‘Me too’ He ran the story over in his head. ‘Oh, it’s dark already. Let’s go get dinner.’ Magnus got up and brushed off his trousers before extending his hand towards Alec. Alec put his small hand in his and let Magnus pull him up. But the king didn’t let go of his hand, all the way until they reached the dining hall.
It wasn’t until hours later that Alec and Magnus got back to their bedroom. But Magnus was relentless and couldn’t stop thinking about the story Alec told him. He couldn’t help but want to hear more so he requested for Alec to tell him another on.
‘Okay’ Alec said with a smile, lying down on the bed. Magnus lay next to him and they stared at the ceiling. And the Alec started telling his story.
Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away, in a land of roses and rivers, there lived a queen and a king. The king and queen wanted to have a child so much but they couldn’t. When they thought they would never have one however, the queen became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She was a very beautiful girl and the royal couple rejoiced, inviting everyone from the kingdom for the christening party. Three warlocks, the princess’s fairy godparents, came too, to give the baby gifts.
‘Little Clarissa’ Catarina said, smiling at the wide-eyed child. ‘I give you the gift of art, so you may brighten up anyone’s day with a lovely painting.’ She clicked her fingers and the charm was done.
‘Clarissa’ Ragnor stepped forward and took the baby from Catarina. ‘I give you the gift of love, so you may always find in friends and family.’ He kissed the top of the baby’s head and the charm was done. He passed the princess to the final warlock carefully.
‘Clary!’ Magnus cried happily. ‘I can call her Clary, right? Clarissa is a very long name. Hello, little Clary. Aren’t you a pretty one?’ Magnus laughed when Clary patted his cheek with her tiny hand. ‘What gift shall we give you, hmmm?’ Magnus pretended to think. ‘Ah! I know! I’ll give you…’
But in that moment all the lights blew out and the doors were thrown open. The most evil witch in the land entered. She was so beautiful not one guard drew a sword on her and she sent them a charming smile, fluffing up her perfect blonde curls.
‘Your majesties!’ She cried, throwing her arms wide. ‘I do not know if the invitation got lost in the mail or if you simply forgot to invite me.’ She smiled, seeing the terror of the king and queen. ‘Ah, yes. Thought it was the second one. You know, that is actually very rude.’ Her eyes turned to princess Clary.
‘Ah, our little baby’ the witch smiled, reaching out to her. Magnus took an angry step back, clutching the baby to him.
‘Leave, Camille. Now’ He snapped.
‘So unpleasant, Magnus’ Camille smiled again. ‘I only want to give the baby her gift.’
With a snap the baby flew from Magnus’s arms and into Camille’s. The warlocks all stepped forward to retrieve the baby but found themselves unable to move.
‘Little Clary, little Clary’ Camille laughed. ‘Such a ridiculous name. Such ridiculous gifts, too.’ She shook her head. ‘Don’t worry. Mine’s better. I give you the gift of death. When you turn seventeen you will prick your finger on a needle and die.’ Camille touched Clary’s face and the charm was done. She tossed the baby back at Magnus as the queen burst into tears.
‘Enjoy your daughter while you can. Ta!’ The doors slammed shut behind Camille.
‘Magnus!’ The queen cried.
‘I know. I know’ Magnus looked at the baby in his arms. ‘I’m sorry, your majesties, I can’t take the curse off. That damn Camille is too strong. I’ll alter it as much as I can though.’ Magnus took a deep breath and concentrated. ‘When you turn sixteen and prick your finger you will not die but fall asleep. Not for a hundred days but until your true love kisses you.’ Magnus clicked his fingers and blue sparks exploded around his fingers and the charm was done. Magnus smiled as Clary laughed at the blue sparks.
‘You like that, huh?’ he whispered, hugging her. ‘You’ll be fine, little princess.’
Magnus waited impatiently for Alec to continue but Alec fell silent. Magnus realised that Alec was dozing off. He grabbed him roughly by the shoulders and shook him awake.
‘Alec, come one! Was the princess fine then?’ He asked frantically.
‘Make it up, your majesty’ Alec mumbled, touching Magnus’s hand gently to stop the shaking.
‘No! Tell me!’ Magnus snapped. Alec put a hand to his cheek, calming him down. ‘In the morning, your majesty. Promise’ and he fell asleep. Magnus groaned and rubbed his temples. He blew the candles out and gathered Alec in his arms, hugging him to his body before letting his eyes drift shut.