Hans' Story (II)
Sitting alone in the library, a studious, intelligent, hard-working, thirteen year old Hans attended to his schooling. The late queen usually tutored the royal princes, but ever since his mother 'passed away', Hans had insisted on tutoring himself instead of learning from a replacement tutor. He knew that he could push himself to be a far better student than what the tutors were capable of teaching, and he also did not wish to spend any extra amount of time with his brothers. Before, his mother would teach each son at different times, knowing and understanding their diverse levels of learning and that they did not exactly get along with one another. But now this new lazy tutor insisted on teaching the 4 eldest son that were under the age of 21 together, and teaching the remaining four youngest sons together. When Hans asked his father the reason for this new method of learning, the king simply said that it was a way to make the princes feel normal and it was a far more efficient way of learning, but deep down it was because the king did not want Hans receiving special treatment and praise because he knew that Hans was the most scholarly out of all his sons. He wanted to make Hans believe that he was nothing special, that he was just average. But Hans would not have it, so he withdrew himself from his 'proper' schooling which resulted in him teaching himself.
As Hans finished up his lessons for the day, he decided to head to the kitchen to grab some lunch. That was when spotted the twins, Kevin and Kendrick, coming his way. Kevin and Kendrick were both sixteen years old and their favorite pass time was physically and emotionally beating up their youngest brother in any way possible. Kendrick was the oldest of the two and always spoke first when they intended on physically hurting Hans, and Kevin usually spoke first if they intended on emotionally hurting him. Hans had started becoming numb to the emotional pain that they caused, it was the physical beatings that still hurt.
Hans turned around and tried to head back to the library, when he heard one of them yell at him, "Oh hey! Look who it is? It's our favorite baby brother, Hansey!" Kendrick was the first to speak.
Hans muttered a curse word under his breath as he turned to face them, "Don't call me 'Hansey'. I've told you that before, and it would be much appreciated if you would acquiesce to my request-"
Kevin shoved Hans against a wall and pinned his shoulders down, "You think you're so much better than us, huh? Trying to use all these big words to make us feel dumb! You can't belittle us Hansey! We're bigger than you..."
Kendrick finished his brother's sentence, "...And stronger than you."
Hans tried to squirm his way out of his brother's strong grip, "Let me go! What is wrong with you?!"
Kendrick taunted, "Aww...is poor little Hansey going to cry without his mommy here to protect him?"
Now Hans was more angry than scared, "Shut up! Do not bring our mother into this! She never did anything to you!"
Kendrick raised his voice, "Our mother was a daft woman! She was a disgrace to the throne and to our family!"
Kevin finished, "Just like you!"
Hans lost control of all his emotions, "How dare you speak about our mother that way when she isn't even here to defend herself! Our mother was the only good thing this family had! We should all strive to be as grand as a leader as she once was!"
Kendrick was the one who threw the first punch and instantly broke Hans's nose, drawing a large amount of blood. When Hans tried to fight back, Kevin grabbed both arms and twisted them behind his back, while Kendrick promptly kicked Hans in the stomach, bringing the young prince down on his knees, breathing heavily.
Kendrick knelt down and looked Hans in the eye, "She always did favor you over everyone else."
Hans spit blood onto Kendrick's face, "Go to hell."
This only made Kendrick grin wickedly, "Finish him off, Kevin."
Kevin happily obliged with a swift kick to the chest causing Hans to cough and wheeze helplessly on the floor, as the twins menacingly laughed and walked towards the kitchen. As Hans just laid there on the floor, he felt a gentle hand fall on his shoulder, "Prince Hans, are you okay?"
Hans looked up into the kind blue eyes of his only ally in the castle, "Annaliese? How much of that did you see?"
The servant girl's mouth twitched, "Um...all of it?"
Hans groaned loudly as Annaliese helped him up, "Come on...let's go get you cleaned up."
Hans was lucky to have Annaliese as his friend. She was the daughter of his mother's lady in waiting, and was also the same age as Hans. They never really hung out together but when his mother died, the king threaten to fire Annaliese and her mother, but Hans convinced his father to keep them on staff as regular servants. Ever since then, Annaliese had been extremely grateful to Hans for saving their jobs and the two had been best friends ever since.
Upon entering the prince's bedroom, Hans and Annaliese made their way to the bed and rested the injured prince down gently. As Annaliese left to go fetch some water and a clean cloth, Hans took off his shirt to assess the damage. Luckily, no broken ribs just some serious looking bruises. Annaliese came back in and closed the door behind her, "Why do you let them treat you like that? Why don't you ever fight back?"
Hans winced as she put the cold wet cloth on his broken nose, "It's just easier to let them go at it and tire themselves out, than to fight back. Besides, I was never much of a fighter."
Annaliese smiled, "I've noticed. But that's what I like about you. You have a kind heart, Hans. Something you must have gotten from your mother, no doubt. Because, beg my pardon, the King and the rest of your brothers? Nuh-uh, they have ice where their heart should be."
Hans gave a little smirk, "My mother always told me that I was more like her than anyone else. That's why she named me after her."
Annaliese started attending to the bruises on his stomach, "That makes sense, I've always wondered how you got that name. The name 'Hans' seemed different, but I like it. It suits you."
Hans gave her a curious look, "How so?"
Annaliese stopped what she was doing and looked straight into Hans's bright green eyes, "Well, the name 'Hans' means very handsome man who is smart and intelligent, also very funny, and easy to talk to. He can be passionate and silly but people with this name are usually very vulnerable."
For some strange reason, Hans couldn't take his eyes off hers, "That sounds about right." He glanced down and noticed that Annaliese had not moved her small hand that had been delicately resting on his chest. That's when he looked at her, really looked at her. Her beautiful sandy light brown and blonde hair was held back in a soft braid, and the way the loose strands delicately fell, perfectly framing her heart-shaped face. The way her gentle blue eyes held so much love, kindness, and concern for him, it made him realize that she was no longer just his childhood friend, but someone he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
Later that night, after supper, the king privately confronted Hans about his broken nose. When Hans finished explaining what had happened, his father simply told him that if he wanted respect and wanted his father to be proud of him, then he needed to man up, fight back and defend himself. "Nobody wants a wimp as a son," he said. And then promptly dismissed the young prince.
While walking back to his bedroom, Hans realized he didn't want respect from his brothers or his father to be proud of him. He didn't care about what they thought of him anymore. There was only one person in his life at the moment who's opinion matter more than anyone else. And that person was Annaliese. More than anything, he wanted love.