"Isabelle…?" The blonde haired princess looked over to the brown haired boy, tilting her head as she buttoned her dress shirt up.
"Hm?" she hummed in acknowledgement, noting he looked incredibly nervous, which she mistook for nervousness about going to the ball.
"Can I talk to you?" Jack asked and Isabelle nodded.
"What is it Jack?" she questioned, looking slightly worried from the tone in the other's voice.
"I…" he paused and then shook his head, putting up the usual fake smile that she always bought. "Nothing, never mind." He said and she smiled back, nodding.
"Well then, come on, you need to get dressed, and I will not have my husband looking like a ratty old farmer." She said, not noticing her mistake as he flinched to those words.
"Y-yes…" he mumbled, frowning when she turned away from him, tears threatening to spill but he bit them back in fear of what she would think; of what she would say if she found out.
You see, Jack wasn't like what everyone thought. He wasn't like the fearless version of himself when taking on those giants, not like what everyone kept saying. But in truth, he was just a scared, lost, puppy looking for a home and a family, looking for someone to love and for someone to love him as who he was: just a regular, nineteen year old boy who constantly found himself scared of every little thing and who was also secretly gay as of nine months ago, when Isabelle began insulting him and expecting him to be who he wasn't.
He dressed up in the suit she gave him, forcing a smile when she turned to him once more before saying farewell and heading out with her friends to the ball.
He just nodded to the half-hearted goodbyes and sighed, sniffling as he wiped away the first few tears.
Isabelle, his wife of a year now, was not the sweet, cute, funny girl that he met at the play of Erik the Great and the giants, no she was a cruel, selfish, princess who regarded him like a ruined book and treated him like he was just another common dog, a man who cared nothing for feelings or for other people. And it hurt, hurt so much that he no longer felt any feelings for the beautiful princess and actually feared her more than anything, more than the giants he once fought.
"You alright kid?" Jack looked up suddenly, surprised to hear the familiar voice and then smiled brightly, his eyes wide with excitement.
"Elmont!" he shouted, before running over to the captain turned traveler.
Seven months ago, Elmont, the king's finest captain, had announced to the kingdom that he was going to become a traveler; no one knew why though and it saddened Jack to hear that since the man was the one who Jack actually trusted and felt safe near. You could even say that Jack developed a small crush on him.
Elmont chuckled as he caught the boy in a tight hug, hugging him back tighter. "You miss me that much huh?"
"Y-you were gone for over six months!" The boy whined and Elmont laughed at the childish whine.
"Sorry about that, you know, lots of places to explore, new people to meet, it takes a while to do." Elmont apologized before adding. "How's Isabelle? You surviving the marriage?" he joked but quieted his laughter as Jack buried his head in his chest. "Jack, what's wrong?" he asked, genuinely worried.
"I… she… I can't do this anymore." Jack whimpering, trying his hardest not to cry.
Elmont frowned down at the younger boy, wrapping his arms tighter around him. "What's wrong, Jack?" he repeated, more worried than before.
"I'm scared… Elmont…" he whimpered, before he wiped away his tears, backing away and turning from Elmont. "I-I'm sorry…" he added before shaking his head and sighing. "I… I have to be going, s-she… Isabelle will be upset if I… if I'm late… again." His voiced cracked in saying those last few words and Elmont sighed, shaking his head as well as the boy passed before placing a hand on his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks.
"Jack, if you ever need someone to talk to, I'll listen," he paused, smiling softly though the boy acted like he was ignoring him, "you're not alone." He finished, earning a small smile form the boy before he walked away, leaving Elmont to his own thoughts.
I've been gone so long, it wouldn't hurt to spend some time with Jack and Isabelle during the ball, would it? He smirked to himself before going to get ready for the ball he would attend.
Jack watched timidly as he saw Isabelle talking with her friends and took a deep breath before walking over to her, smiling as the ladies looked at him, giggling when they did and he was tempted to frown at that.
"Y-you look lovely, Isabelle." He complimented her and she snorted, unladylike.
"Of course I do, now go make yourself useful and get me and Jenny some punch." She said and Jack turned away, the frown intensifying. Does she… hate me…? He thought in slight dismay but he supposed that would be okay since he no longer likes her in that way anyhow.
He was only a few feet away when he heard the loud and obnoxious giggles and laughs and heard what the girl, Jenny said. "Your right! He's such a loser!" Jack lowered his head at that and sighed, going to get the punch before returning to the girls.
"Sorry, Isabelle…" he apologized and she sent him a confused look, tilting her head.
"Whatever for, Jack?" she asked, her tone of someone who didn't care a bit. He shook his head and walked away from them, wanting to get out of here before anything else happened that caused him to break.
"Excuse me, sir, would you like to dance with me?" He looked back to see a very pretty woman with a small smirk/smile on his face and he was tempted to say no but in the end nodded, saying yes.
Her smirk grew at this and she led the boy to the dance floor, starting to dance, him mimicking her actions. He really wasn't pleased to find that Isabelle was smirking at the two and he was about to leave when his eyes widened as her foot met with his leg and he tripped, wincing from the fall and also from the laughter that erupted around him, including from the lady and from Isabelle and her friends.
Great going jack, you're just making a bigger fool out of yourself. He turned away from them, from her, standing up and dusting his suit off before walking off towards the crowd and the doors, the people still laughing, that is, until he felt someone grab his arm and he was about to turn and tell them off until he heard a familiar voice.
"Mind telling me why the whole kingdom is laughing at you?" Jack turned with a frightened frown towards the man and shook his head, not wanting to speak in case his voice betrayed him and stole a glance at Isabelle who was still laughing at him.
"L-leave me alone… Elmont…" Jack stuttered, turning away from him and the others.
"Jack." Elmont said his name in a small commanding tone that made the boy freeze up.
"Please don't laugh or yell at me…" he whimpered. "Elmont, please don't you do it too…" Elmont gave a soft sigh and turned to glare at the others as they went back to the ball, his vision coming to Isabelle and her little group of 'friends'.
"Come on," he led the boy over to a few benches near the punch table which was vacant and sat him down, sitting next to him. "Jack, please… I want to help." He said in a softer tone than before.
Jack just shook his head and tried to prevent the tears from falling but failed. "I-I can't… y-you can't… you w-won't understand… no one u-understands…"
Elmont knew the kingdom, Isabelle, expected a lot from the boy, from Jack the Giant Slayer, but he knew all too well that they expected too much from him. That was one of the reason he left, so he wouldn't see the people treat him like someone he wasn't, another reason was that he just simple couldn't bear to watch Isabelle and Jack together anymore. It was sickening to him, especially when Jack pretended everything was perfect, but he knew… he knew everything wasn't, he knew it was all far from perfect.
"Jack, I used to be the one person that you entrusted everything to, what's so different about now? After seven months, why won't you talk to me?"
At that, Jack snapped. "Because you weren't there!" he yelled, Elmont's eyes going huge at the outburst and the people near them stopped what they were doing in favor of eavesdropping on them. "You were supposed to be there! But you weren't! Instead you were miles away in a place that I didn't know doing god knows what and I had no one to talk to, no one that understood me, no one that cared!" he accused and Elmont for the first time in his life, looked genuinely guilty.
"I'm sorry…" he said and Jack wiped away a few tears, shaking his head.
"I've lived in hell… all because people expect me to be who I'm not! I'm not a fearless adult who is scared of nothing, I'm not someone that likes the title of Giant Slayer. I'm just a kid who can't live up to anything, who was afraid of the giants and who is afraid of the princess and the expectations of the kingdom. I'm a kid that just wanted someone to talk to, to look up to… to love… but I couldn't because there was no one that I could… not in the seven months that you were gone." He admitted and sniffed, looking down and away, not caring anymore if Elmont wasn't the only one who was listening.
"But… I thought you loved Isabelle." Elmont stated, confused now and also somewhat thrilled that he was the person who Jack actually cared about and trusted more than anything in the world.
There was only one thing in the world that he never wanted to admit, not even to Elmont, and this was it, but he was far too gone to notice he said what he didn't want to. "Yeah, well I don't like Isabelle, I don't like the princess anymore! I don't even like girls!" he shouted, and before he could stop himself, he continued. "No, Elmont, do you know why? It's because for as long as I can remember, I've liked boys, and the only one who I've ever actually loved, Elmont, is you!" he confessed and then gasped, his eyes wide, and his hands over his mouth as he looked, scared to death as he stared at the person of his affection.
"J-jack… you…?" Elmont couldn't think of a single thing to say, not a single word that would reassure Jack that he was not going to hate him or laugh or yell at him and never talk to him again, but he just couldn't, because his mind had seemed frozen still at the boys confession.
"I-I'm sorry… I shouldn't h-have said that…" Jack backed away more before he ran away, pushing through the crowd of people who had gathered around them before he came across a pissed Isabelle, who looked ready to kill, in the middle of the ballroom floor. "I-Isabelle, I-I can explain…!" he started before she raised a hand and slapped him, the sharp noise echoing throughout the room and Jack flinched, a bright red hand mark printed on his cheek.
"Don't ever, ever, come near me again." She spat, and he frowned.
"I-I'm sorry…" he apologized before she turned on her heel and walked away from him and he stood there, watching her retreat. "I'm sorry… princess…" he added and she hmpfed.
The slap was what brought Elmont back to reality and he quickly stood up, just in time to see Jack standing there with a pissed off Isabelle in front of him. He narrowed his eyes at the sight and his fingers itched in anticipation but he held back, especially since it was part of the code to not hit a woman, especially the princess of all women.
He rushed over to the boy and winced at the sight of the red mark. "Jack." He said his name softly and the boy jumped, turning around to see him, flinching visibly, afraid. "Jack I'm not going to hurt you." He said truthfully, placing his hands on the boys shoulders.
"E-Elmont?" he asked timidly and the older man smiled softly at him, moving his hands from his shoulders to his waist, pulling Jack to him in a tight hug.
"I'm sorry I wasn't there… I just couldn't watch the two of you live happily ever after…" he admitted and Jack's eyes widened.
"W-what do you m-mean…?" jack inquired and Elmont chuckled.
"It's ironic, isn't it?" he answered with a question of his own, still not letting up on the hug. "You've loved me all along but I had no idea, and I liked you and left because you, Jack, were married to a woman and not to me. It's stupid now that I think about it."
"Y-you like me…?" Jack was thoroughly shocked to hear that and his lips twitched upward in a very small smile.
Elmont nodded, "As crazy as it sounds, I do." He said, pulling back from the hug to look into the boys eyes and smiled wider. "I really am sorry that I left… if I had only known, then I wouldn't have. And now that I do, I won't ever-" Jack cut him off, leaning on his tip toes and placing a small kiss on the others lips.
Elmont smirked at this, Jack pulling back hesitantly, smiling nervously. "Y-you talk a lot…" he whispered, shrugging his shoulders ever so slightly and Elmont laughed before pulling the boy to him for another kiss, this one neither hesitated a bit to participate.
Meanwhile, across the room, the king sat in his chair with a rare smirk playing at his lips as he watched the two in the middle of the room, chuckling to himself. "It's about time those two got together." He said and Isabelle huffed, crossing her arms to her chest as she stared disbelieving at her father. "About time indeed." He added just as the music started playing once more and the people began dancing around the former captain, Elmont, and Giant Slayer, Jack.