the snow king || kim taehyung (m)
cursed to freeze anything he touches, prince taehyung built a castle of ice to keep everyone else out. what he didn’t plan on? you getting in
:: a oneshot inspired by disney’s “frozen” and hans christian andersen’s “the snow queen” ::
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❄️ pairing: princess!reader x ice prince!tae
❄️ genre: fantasy, fluff, smut, angst
❄️ word count: 25k
❄️ warnings: fingering, oral (f), virginity loss, unprotected sex, creampie, taehyung seems mean at first but he’s really a softie, deals with some themes of loss and abandonment, but i promise y’all this one has a happy ending :’)
❄️ a/n: it’s finally here!! i hope you guys enjoy the very long-awaited new installment in my twisted tales series!! this was so fun to write so i hope y’all enjoy reading it!! x (p.s. thank you to @syinisuga for the lovely banner!!! <3)
|| PART OF MY TWISTED TALES SERIES ||
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Duty. Honor. Loyalty.
These were the virtues that had been instilled in you from a young age as the sole princess of a noble kingdom. From birth, you were expected to steadfastly uphold these values, to always put your people first, and to do whatever it takes to protect your country—no matter the cost. Even if that cost was your own freedom.
Your fate had been sealed long ago; when you were born, your father’s kingdom had been war-torn and desperate. In their greatest hour of need, a neighboring king had sent his troops to your aid, and helped to restore balance and stability across the nation. In exchange for this salvation, the neighboring king asked only one favor in return; the future hand in marriage of you, the newborn princess, for his young son, the Crown Prince Taehyung.
Eager to repay his debts, and pleased with such a strategic match for you, your father graciously complied with the neighboring king’s request. And so it was that before you had even learned to walk, you were engaged to a far-away prince you had never met—a sterile, political alliance.
Since you were only children at the time of your betrothal, it was decided you would marry once you both were of age—after your 18th birthday and the Prince’s 20th—and until that time, your royal families were to remain in good relations and allow you to meet often. When you were young, you remembered traveling to the palace of the Prince’s family frequently, a mountainous country called Aspenia, or likewise, the young king-to-be and his entourage of guards and servants would be sent to visit you at your own estate in your quaint seaside nation, Aurelia.
He was a happy child from what you could remember; always smiling that wide, boxy smile of his, with his peculiar snow-white hair and mesmerizing eyes of sapphire, and a laugh that was warm and infectious. None of his servants ever commented on his unusual looks, but as you lived in a land where magic was common, you’d heard many whispers theorizing that the boy had been blessed by the Fae—an ancient race of wise and powerful spellweavers.
It wasn’t such an outlandish theory—after all, you had been touched by the Fae yourself. It had been a bedtime story told to you as a child; When you were a baby, you had been born weak and sickly. Even the best doctors in the kingdom could find no cure for your illness, nothing that could heal you. At a loss, and fearing they might lose their only daughter, your mother and father, the king and queen, had resorted to desperate measures. They brought your infant self before several of the most renowned Fae healers, begging that they use their magic to save you, whatever the cost.
Moved by your parent’s sincerity, the Fae had agreed to help, and took your swaddled body from mother’s arms, laying you down before an enormous crackling fire and beginning to chant over you. As the incantations took root, your skin began to glow a faint yellow-orange, as if the very essence of the fire itself was seeping into your being, and at last, you opened your eyes and let out a strong cry for the first time.
As time went on, your mystic healing from the Fae didn’t seem to leave any deeply profound effects on you, other than the fact your skin always seemed warmer than average to the touch no matter the weather, but regardless, you’d grown up a relatively normal and happy child. Well, as normal as a budding princess engaged to a strange prince could be, that is.
That wasn’t to say that Prince Taehyung was inherently strange—actually, the two of you had grown to be quite close as children. You’d spent many winter days playing happily in the snow together, many summers laughing and running about, and you’d even considered him as one of your closest friends back then. But things soon began to change as the two of you grew older.
For seemingly no reason at all, your visits with the Prince became fewer and far between, and on the rare occasions that you did see him he was quieter—moodier—and much colder than the lively little boy you’d known in the days of your youth. By the time your long-awaited 18th birthday came around, you hadn’t seen Prince Taehyung in nearly two years, despite the fact that you were slated to be married soon.
One day, while you were reading in the royal study as you often did, a messenger burst in with a surprising announcement for you. The King of Aspenia was in declining health and he was personally requesting for your immediate relocation to his son Prince Taehyung’s private estate—a fortress infamously nicknamed by the commoners as Icestone Castle—to make hasty preparations for your upcoming wedding.
It seemed that in these years spent out of one another’s lives, Prince Taehyung had built for himself a menacing palace on the edge of his kingdom’s territory to live in solitary, deep in the snowy mountains, and isolated from the bustling capitol. And now, practically on his deathbed, the ailing King was asking you to make the long journey and join your estranged betrothed there, so you two could finally wed.
The thought undeniably unnerved you. You’d be hundreds of miles from your home—not only that, but from any civilization at all—and stuck living with a man who had become a stranger to you, but would soon become your husband. It was a lot for any person to process, but having been raised your entire life to fulfill your duty as princess and to uphold both your family’s and your kingdom’s beat interests, you knew that it was a fate you simply could not deny.
Duty. Honor. Loyalty.
These hallowed words were etched into your being like carvings on stone. And so, after packing your dearest belongings and saying your tearful goodbyes to your parents and your brother, the Crown Prince Hoseok—who was in line to inherit your own kingdom, Aurelia—you set off for the infamous Icestone Castle.
The journey took several days; the terrain was rough and treacherous, and the skies above churned with snow storms as your stomach did with nerves. You hadn’t seen the Prince in years and quite honestly had no idea what to expect. Your last few meetings hadn’t been particularly genial, and you couldn’t help but let your mind race with fears and worries. What if the Prince had grown cruel in your time apart? What kind of husband would he be? What if he neglected you? Or worse... what if he would mistreat you?
You shivered at the mere thought.
When at last the towering, frozen walls of Icestone Castle came into view, your body was practically shaking with trepidation. The manor was vast and intimidating; imposing towers and turrets were sculpted by intricate architecture of what appeared to be crystal clear ice, and the entire structure sat carved into the side of a snowy mountaintop, surrounded by thick rows of tall, frost-dusted pine trees. It was beautiful in a tragic way; its features delicate and ornate, but something about it felt undeniably lonely.
You now understood why so many gossiped about the reserved young Prince who lived here in isolation—why many even feared him—and you couldn’t help but to grow the smallest bit fearful yourself as you began to wonder what kind of person could stay in such a place.
Snowflakes glittered down from the sky and dusted your hair and lashes when you finally stepped out of your carriage to be met by a stiff lineup of Prince Taehyung’s stony-faced maids and servants. They didn’t look particularly harsh or unkind, it was just as though their faces didn’t portray anything—or rather, as if they had been commanded not to do so.
Regardless, they received you politely, and escorted you into the grand entrance hall of the estate, where a well-dressed gentleman with dark hair and a refined face was waiting for you. He smiled warmly when you came into his view, greeting you with a deep bow and introducing himself as Jimin, the head of affairs at Icestone Castle. He seemed much friendlier and more responsive than the stoic servants you’d met outside, and his liveliness put you more at ease as he showed you around your new dwelling.
“We are so pleased to have you join us here at last, Princess Y/N,” he excitedly assured you with a bright smile. “We’ve all been waiting anxiously for your arrival. I hope the welcoming reception was sufficient?” he asked you as the two of you walked through the vast and echoing halls together. You felt slightly on edge being in an unfamiliar kingdom, and even more, in the palace of an unfamiliar monarch, but Jimin’s bright disposition helped soothe your anxieties.
“Yes, thank you,” you courteously replied to the dark-haired man, dropping your head in a soft nod of thanks. “I appreciate you showing me around the castle, Sir Jimin.” You offered him a small smile of gratitude. It was a relief that at least one person here seemed to regard you kindly, and you hoped that others would too.
“Of course, Your Highness,” he respectfully nodded to you. “This is to be your palace too, so you should become well-acquainted with it,” he reminded you, reinforcing the fact you had tried to forget—that this change in residence would be permanent. This wasn’t just some short, formal diplomatic visit; you were to be married to Prince Taehyung soon, and this castle would become your forever home.
It was hard to wrap your head around the fact that you, a Princess from a humble kingdom, would soon be the lady of a castle, and wife to a powerful ruler, but you tried your best to remain open to the other potential brighter sides of the situation. After all, there was nothing you could do or say to change the way things were, and Icestone was admittedly a beautiful estate.
The walls were tall and glossy like marble, the furnishings all in shades of blue and white, and frosted fixtures lined the walls, while delicate, crystalline chandeliers hung gracefully from the high ceilings. The whole palace was quite cold, as if cut from ice itself, and the snowy decor only seemed to support that theory. You quietly wondered to yourself if it would always be this frigid around here, and you suppressed a shiver as Jimin showed you to yet another room.
“These will be your private chambers, dearest Princess,” he informed you as he pushed open the heavy doors, leading you forward into a large, spacious room which was lined with tall windows overlooking the arctic landscape.
The space was as exquisitely decorated as the rest of the castle, with soft-looking bedclothes and billowy drapes of crisp white, and elegant furnishings to match. It was adorned with the same strange crystals that seemed to fill the whole castle, and you studied their intricate designs curiously. Could they actually be made of ice? The idea seemed silly, but the more you looked at them, the harder it was to deny.
“Of course, once you marry the Prince, you will formally move into your shared quarters with him, but you are welcome to keep this room as well if you like,” Jimin explained with an air of formality, watching as you wandered about the space and tried to familiarize yourself with it. “If anything is uncomfortable or you wish to make any changes, Your Highness, please let me know and the servants and I will be happy to adjust it to your liking,” he told you, his eyes sympathetic as he noticed your obvious uncertainty, “I am sure Prince Taehyung will consider any request made by his betrothed.”
“When will I see him?” you asked before you could stop yourself, your impatience getting the better of your manners. “Prince Taehyung… my betrothed,” you clarified, looking back to Jimin.
“Soon, rest assured.” He smiled at you in understanding. “His Majesty is quite busy today taking care of some official matters, but I am certain that he will call for you when he has a moment.” His tone was reassuring, but you were admittedly disappointed that you wouldn’t be seeing the Prince today. You were nervous about meeting him again, and you would much rather get it over with as soon as possible.
Noting your uneasy expression, Jimin quickly spoke up again. “You must be famished from your days’ journey,” he offered, his voice even and comforting. “Why don’t I have the cooks prepare dinner for you, Your Highness?” he suggested, your stomach grumbling at the mere mention of food after your long voyage.
“That would be lovely, thank you.” You nodded in thanks, graciously accepting Jimin’s offer. Even if everything else was a bit frightening here, at least Jimin seemed to be someone you could trust, and you deeply appreciated that.
“Anything for our new princess,” he chipperly replied. “The servants and I shall make sure you want for nothing, so please feel at ease here,” he encouraged you, his hand gently brushing your arm. “After all, this is your home now too.”
Home. The word felt strange and foreign when referring to the bone-chilling walls of your new dwelling, but you attempted to quiet your many reservations for the moment. This was your life now, and you had to try to make the most of it. Faintly smiling back at Jimin, you followed him further into the depths of the wintery castle.
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The next morning, you were awakened by a gaggle of maids quietly shuffling into the room.
Gently nudging your arm, they tentatively urged you into consciousness, your eyes fluttering open to meet the curious eyes of your new attendants. The group was composed of three women; two of them lively and young, seeming not much older than yourself, and the third with a kind but mature face that reminded you of your beloved grandmother. The former two young ladies chipperly introduced themselves as Bae and Kai, and the latter was called Gerda.
“It’s a pleasure to serve you, Princess Y/N,” Bae poisedly curtsied to you, Kai following suit.
“We’ve come to prepare you for the day, Your Highness,” Gerda told you in her sonorous aged voice. “We have orders to bring you before his majesty, the Prince, posthaste,” she explained, the words sending a chill down your spine.
You were to meet your husband-to-be today for the first time in years. You had no idea what to expect of him, or what he would be expecting from you in turn, and the uncertainty of it all filled you with a deep sense of dread. However, you quickly swallowed these feelings back down and grinned politely to your maids.
“Yes, of course,” you nodded, schooling your features into a cordial smile as you had been trained to do by years at palace court. You had spent the majority of your young life being told to sit still, to only speak when spoken to, and to look pleasant in the presence of company, and by now you were something of an expert at it.
The three women helped you up from bed, bathing you from a bowl of warm water before they began to comb through your hair, pulling it back from your face into an innocent style that showed your ears and framed you well. To your surprise, they then brought out a number of fine dresses for you to choose from; a variety of luxurious fabrics and styles, each in a different captivating shade of blue, just like the castle.
You chose a soft powder blue one, lined with delicate white lace, and Bae and Kai eagerly helped you into it, hastening to lace up your corset for you. Slightly stunned, you realized as the gown was slipped over your shoulders that it seemed to fit you perfectly, and you studied your reflection in the mirror, deeply puzzled.
“Prince Taehyung sent ahead to inquire about your measurements and had these made for you prior to your arrival,” Kai explained with a bright grin when she noticed your wide eyes. “Do they suit your taste, Your Highness?” she asked, reaching down to smooth out your skirts for you. “His majesty has an affinity for blue.”
“They're lovely.” You couldn’t help but smile as you took in the sight of yourself wearing the beautiful garment in the reflection of the mirror. “I’ll have to thank the Prince myself when I see him,” you reminded yourself aloud, somewhat surprised by this unexpected generous gesture.
You hadn’t anticipated that Prince Taehyung would prepare something so thoughtful for your arrival like this, and it began to give you just the slightest glimmer of hope inside that maybe the kind-hearted young Prince you knew long ago was still the man you were intended to marry. Although, this still didn’t completely quiet your mind of the rumors you’d heard of his coldness.
“Try not to be too off-put when you meet the Prince, dear Princess,” Gerda chimed in with a good-natured warning, as if reading your mind. “His Majesty may seem harsh at times... but he is good at heart,” she tried her best to reassure you, her years of wisdom coloring her tone in a motherly way that felt so comforting to you.
“Thank you… I’ll keep that in mind.” You quietly took note of Gerda’s warning, trying to mentally prepare yourself for whatever reception would be awaiting you in the Prince’s private study.
She and Kai departed with friendly salutations upon completing their duties to help ready you, while Bae elected to stay and accompany you to the room where you’d been summoned to meet the Prince. She led you through the brisk, winding halls of the palace, the only sound the measured click of both your shoes, until finally you arrived at a large wooden door, and Bae stepped forward to push it open before you.
Following the young maid into the room, you were instantly captivated by the sheer number of books filling the space. Tall wooden shelves lined the walls from the floor to the ceiling, and in the middle of it, stood a large desk, at which a man sat reading with his back to you both.
Hesitantly stepping forward, Bae cleared her throat. “Your Majesty, Princess Y/N is here to see you,” she announced, drawing the attention of the focused man. He immediately stilled, his shoulders stiffening, and you watched as he slowly set down his book, rose from his chair, and turned around to face the two of you.
You nearly gasped when you at last saw his face. He looked the same as you remembered; still handsome in that unearthly way, but older now, more refined, and his features seemed harder. Those familiar, brilliant azure eyes from years ago—now much colder than they’d ever looked to you— immediately locked onto yours, and you couldn’t bring yourself to look away.
Strangely, you noticed that he wore long, white gloves like he was attending some kind of regal affair, despite the fact that he was just here reading, which puzzled you, and you couldn’t help but stare at the bizarre hand coverings.
The Prince studied you for a moment, almost calculatingly, before he finally addressed Bae. “Thank you,” he evenly replied to her without an ounce of interest. “You may leave us,” he said, lazily dismissing her with a wave of his hand.
Bae wordlessly bowed her head and slipped out of the room, leaving you alone with the Prince. Your heart rate picked up now that it was just the two of you, your palms growing clammy, and you gripped at your skirts to steel your nerves, forcing yourself to look at the Prince with as warm a smile as you could muster.
“It’s… nice to see you again, Your Majesty,” you politely curtsied to him, bowing your head. As crown prince, Taehyung was higher ranking than you, and with his father the King’s poor health as of late, he was likely to ascend the throne sooner than expected, so you made sure you addressed him with the utmost respect.
“I disdain such trivial formalities” the indifferent prince disinterestedly replied to you, not even bothering to acknowledge your greeting. “If you must call me something, simply refer to me by name,” he loathsomely sighed, staring back at you through glassy eyes. “Taehyung suffices.”
“Yes, Your Maje—I mean… yes, Taehyung,” you nearly slipped up again, but caught yourself, swallowing hard as you tried to remain calm before the prying eyes of the stoic prince.
It was unexpected for someone of such high status as Taehyung to refuse his titles, but not wanting to cause any conflict on your first day, you complied with his request nonetheless. The Prince struck you as rather unusual though. He studied you far too closely, his gaze harsh and scrutinizing, almost as if he were appraising you, until finally he spoke up once again.
“You’ve grown into a woman since I last saw you,” he coolly observed, simply stating the fact aloud. “Blue suits you,” he commented with a nod of approval, but he almost seemed to be complimenting the dress he had gifted you rather than your appearance in the garment.
“Thank you,” you cordially responded to him nonetheless, trying your best to seem gracious of his lack-luster reception. He was your fiancé, after all, and you wanted to at least try to keep things pleasant between you. “And thank you for the dresses, by the way... they’re beautiful,” you sincerely thanked him, remembering your pleasant surprise when you awoke to find the unexpected wardrobe he’d had sewn for you.
“You needn’t thank me for such things,” he frigidly dismissed you. “You’re to be my wife, you should get accustomed to the trappings which accompany that.” He spoke about your marriage as if it were nothing more than an economic transaction—and maybe it truly wasn’t—but part of you deep down hoped it could become something more than that, for the sake of both your future happiness.
“I will try,” you quietly nodded, uncomfortably shifting your weight under the Prince’s intense gaze. Something about him unnerved you; he looked like the familiar boy you once knew, but something about him had changed—something deep inside of him—and you couldn’t help but to wonder what had happened to the happy, carefree boy you knew in your days of youth.
Noticing you’d gotten lost in your thoughts, Taehyung continued to speak, drawing your attention out of your sentimental memories. “We’ll be married in one month’s time at the request of my father,” he bluntly stated, like ripping off a bandage. “The plans have been set but you may look them over and let me know if you wish to make any changes,” he said, his deep, even voice completely void of emotion.
“We’ll be married in a month?” you questioned, slightly stunned by the hasty wedding date. You had known with the King being in dire straits as he was that your wedding was to be pushed up, but you never expected it would be so soon, and the thought made your blood run cold.
“I know, it’s sudden… but I think with his recent illness and these border skirmishes continuing, my father is eager for us to solidify the alliance between our two kingdoms,” he explained with a troubled expression—the most animation you had seen from him since arriving. “Anyway, unfortunately I am quite busy today so I don’t have the time to speak with you further, but I shall join you for dinner tonight,” he informed you, collecting a stack of papers from his desk and shuffling them together in a bored manner.
There was a polite aloofness to the Prince; he wasn’t overtly rude or unkind to you, he was simply formal to an uptight point—he didn’t show any kind of emotion—and honestly, he seemed to lack empathy. If he felt any sort of way about your arrival or your impending union, it didn’t show on his face or in his words, and it left you feeling defeated and unwelcome here. But still, you refused to give up on your quest of refamiliarizing with your estranged betrothed.
“Oh… I was really hoping we might get to spend some time together today to catch up with one another?” you suggested, somewhat hopefully, offering a friendly smile in an attempt to get the icy prince to warm up to you just the tiniest bit.
“I don’t think that will be necessary,” he quickly shut down your proposal, crushing any hope you held for getting reacquainted with him. “I will see you at dinner, Princess Y/N,” he curtly nodded to you, breezing past you, and leaving you alone in his study with only your thoughts.
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It was quite late by the time the Prince joined you at dinner that night, seated opposite you at the end of the long table, and eating his food without so much as a glance in your direction.
He wore the same white gloves he had earlier, even as he ate, and you began to wonder if maybe he was wearing them to cover up some kind of secret. Had he burned his hands in a fire? Scarred them in battle? Or did he simply just have an affinity for formal wear? None of these explanations seemed to quite fit, but you pushed the thought to the back of your mind for now, reminding yourself to revisit it later.
You ate dejectedly, pushing your food around your plate with your fork, and losing yourself in your thoughts. You had hoped meeting with the prince would have gone much differently than it had—you had hoped the Prince would have been much different than he had been—and the disappointing reality left you feeling somewhat hopeless about your impending marriage.
How could you marry a man who had barely even acknowledged you since you’d arrived? The thought that he could treat you like this even after he became your husband made your heart sink, but still, you couldn’t help but think of the kind boy he had once been—the one who snuck his way into your heart all those years ago—and you secretly hoped that maybe, just maybe, that boy was still in there somewhere.
Perhaps he would warm up to you eventually? You optimistically thought to yourself as you watched your silent betrothed stiffly eating his supper at the far end of the dining table.
It didn’t seem likely that he would after how abysmally your first meeting had gone, but you were determined not to give up hope. Even if he was cold to you, you resolved to be kind and inviting to him until he opened up to you. You knew that would be a difficult task, but the alternative was living with a husband who was ambivalent about you, and you couldn’t let that happen. No—you would just have to keep trying with Taehyung... however long it would take.
After dinner, you both retired to your separate chambers. Your three lady’s maids returned and dressed you in a simple nightgown, tucking you into your plush bed, and bidding you goodnight. However, despite the many lavish comforts that your new home offered, you couldn’t seem to fall asleep. Maybe the environment was just too unfamiliar, or maybe you were just too curious about what lay beyond the walls of your room, but you were having trouble emptying your mind enough to drift off into unconsciousness.
When you couldn’t stand the unrest anymore, you threw back the thick covers and tiptoed out of bed, deciding you would sate your curiosity by doing a bit of wandering around the castle. Jimin had given you an extensive tour the day before, so you had a relative idea about the estate’s layout, and you took a small candle along for some light as you set off exploring.
You passed by many grand halls, a ballroom, a library, even an observatory, and you curiously peeked into each one, careful not to disturb anything, lest someone hear you. You padded quietly with your bare feet across the cold floor and intricate rugs which lined them, venturing deep into the castle. However, you had let your thirst for knowledge get the better of you, and before you knew it, you had gotten yourself lost amid the winding halls, which admittedly, all seemed to look the same to you.
Trying to retrace your steps, you backtracked, but ended up in a completely new part of the castle. The passages were dark, unfamiliar to you, and you soon found yourself at the mouth of a long hall. Tentatively advancing down the dim, looming corridor, something glittered and caught your gaze near the end of it, and you couldn’t help but be drawn to the sight. Moving closer to the object without even thinking, you approached it until you were close enough to make out what it was; a tall, opulent mirror.
Hesitantly, you drew nearer to it, your fingers coming up to lightly trace over the delicate molding which lined its frame, and finding that it was cold to the touch. Was it pure ice? The texture certainly seemed so, but the plausibility of that seemed dubious… unless it was some sort of enchanted object. Curiously, you also noticed that the grand mirror seemed out of place in the otherwise ordinary hallway, and it led you to wonder why it was placed here at all unless it was truly of some import to the Prince.
Unfortunately, you had no time to ponder this possibility further, as while you were studying the mirror, a shadow behind your reflection caught your eye in your peripheral vision. Fixing your eyes to it, you realized the figure was the Prince himself, standing just feet behind you, and you whipped around to face him in shock.
“Your Majesty—err, Taehyung, you startled me,” you breathlessly laughed, your knees almost shaking from how nervous you felt under his watch. But he didn’t laugh with you; he simply stared you down in the darkness, looming just meters from where you stood.
“What are you doing roaming about the castle so late at night?” The Prince pointedly asked you without even bothering to respond to your statement. His body was cloaked in shadows, so much so that you could barely even see him, but his piercing blue eyes were as clear as day.
“I was just taking a look around… but I ended up a bit lost,” you quietly admitted, awkwardly shuffling your naked feet. “My apologies if I disturbed you,” you lowered your head in regret, hoping that he wouldn’t be upset with you for poking around his home without permission.
“You didn’t,” he simply replied, his tone even and emotionless. “But you shouldn’t wander the halls alone. If there is somewhere you wish to go, ask Sir Jimin or one of your servants to escort you,” he firmly chastised you, seeming only mildly vexed rather than truly angry at you.
“Could you escort me sometime?” you dared to ask him, your curious eyes peering into his steely irises through the shrouding darkness.
“I am very busy, Princess,” he chided, his words biting. “I do not have time for such frivolous things.” He squinted at you for a long moment, as if trying to make sense of you, before finally, he said; “I will show you back to your room.”
He motioned you forward, and you noticed in the dim glow of your small candle that for the first time since you’d arrived, Taehyung was not wearing gloves. No, his hands were bare, and even more fascinating, they were perfect which ruled out your best theories as to why he wore them. If he wasn’t hiding anything, then why was he so habitual about wearing the gloves?
You didn’t realize how long you’d been staring at him, lost deep in thought, until he cleared his throat and spoke again in his deep, baritone voice, bringing your mind back to the present. “Come along, Princess,” he urged, beckoning you forward to him with a sigh of annoyance.
You blinked, your gaze refocusing on the brusque but undeniably handsome prince before you, and you offered him a sheepish half-smile. “Thank you.” You murmured. He didn’t seem to be ecstatic about escorting you to your room, but it was kind of him to offer to do so, so you tried to remain cordial to him.
The two of you walked side by side through the empty, melancholy halls, Taehyung making sure to keep a respectful distance between you, and never once letting his eyes wander over your scarcely clad figure. You had nearly forgotten that you had been wandering about in just your thin nightclothes, but if the Prince had any improper thoughts at all, his face didn’t show it.
When you finally arrived at the somewhat familiar doors of your quarters, Taehyung came to a stop just before them, turning to face you.
“Try to get some rest, Princess,” he said, almost authoritatively, as if he were giving you orders rather than expressing concern. “I know that this is likely not the kind of lifestyle you were hoping for, but I hope that in time you will come to think of my home as yours,” he told you, the formality of his words giving way to just the slightest hint of sympathy beneath them. Even if he only said it to be polite, he seemed to truly mean it, and you appreciated that. “And I shall try my best to be a fair husband to you,” he quietly added, his crystal eyes meeting yours.
You simply nodded in response, unsure of what to say. You appreciated the sentiment of his words, but part of you feared he was only saying them as a courtesy to you, and the thought made your spirit deflate. You hoped that one day things wouldn’t be so sterile between you and your future husband, but you supposed that was just going to take time.
He gave you one last long look, as if he wanted to say something more, but decided against it, and finally turned to leave you. However, as he began to walk away, you noticed something fall from his pocket. Curious, you reached down to pick it up and realized it was one of the strange white gloves you had seen him wearing earlier.
Making haste to stop him before he left, you followed after him and called out, reaching your hand out to grip at his arm in an attempt to get his attention so that you could return the item to him. However, the second that your hand made contact with the skin of his forearm he wrenched it from your touch, whirling around to glare at you with a startlingly severe expression.
“What are you doing?!” he interrogated you, his sudden anger frightening you. You stared back up at him in wide-eyed silence, too stunned to even speak, and he huffed in irritation. “You are never to touch me. Ever. Have I made myself clear, Princess?” he barked at you, the intensity of his tone striking fear into your heart, but there was something else hidden beneath it too… was it panic you saw behind his glare?
“I… you dropped this,” you managed to get out, your voice shaky from your nervousness. “I was only trying to return it to you,” you sheepishly explained to him, holding the small garment out for him to take, and casting your eyes down.
Had you been looking up, you might have caught the conflicted look that crossed the Prince’s face as he took in your crestfallen expression, but he quickly masked his features again with the same vacant look he’d worn before, and reached out to take the glove from you. Too embarrassed to look back up at him after being scolded, you only saw the glinting of his finely polished shoes in your candlelight as he said something that surprised you—a quietly mumbled “Thank you.”—before he disappeared into the night, and left you alone in the hallway.
· ───────── ·𖥸· ───────── ·
The next week or so at Icestone Castle passed relatively uneventfully for you.
Your maids got you up and ready each morning, you’d have breakfast alone in the great dining room—the Prince always took breakfast in his study, separately from you—and you’d spend the rest of the day trying to find ways to fill your time. You had a few hobbies from back home that you still enjoyed; reading, sewing, painting, and so forth, but such activities only kept you occupied for a few days before you quickly grew tired of them, and you began to seek out more meaningful ways to occupy your days.
Jimin was always eager to tell you about the palace’s many amenities, offering to escort you to visit the hall of portraits, to the royal stables, or whatever other activity piqued your interest, but it was not the castle itself that you longed to know more about—it was its ruler. You rarely saw Prince Taehyung at all during the day; most of the time he would just show up to join you at dinner, finish his meal, and retire back to his chambers without so much as a word to you.
It was admittedly disheartening to be ignored by your own betrothed this way. You had seen many noble women trapped in formal, loveless marriages and you hated the thought that your own circumstances could turn into something of that nature. No, you refused to let your own circumstances turn into something like that.
Even if you and the Prince would never have any love between you, you simply couldn’t let things remain as they were. You were more determined than ever to at least get the chance to know the Prince, and as you watched him silently eating across the table from you, you silently vowed to yourself to do whatever it would take to make that happen. He was going to be your husband—that much you couldn’t change—but maybe you could at least make things more pleasant between the two of you.
You decided to start by questioning the maids and servants about the Prince. What kind of music did he enjoy? What was his favorite sweet? What pastimes did he partake in? But all of their answers seemed to disappoint you; despite having served him for most of his life, the Prince’s staff seemed to know relatively nothing about him. It deeply frustrated you.
“What does the Prince take pleasure in doing?” You finally asked Jimin one day while he was showing you around the palace observatory.
He seemed caught off guard by your question, his eyebrows lifting in surprise and confusion. “Take pleasure in?” Jimin repeated your words. “I’m afraid His Majesty doesn’t seem to take pleasure in anything, Your Highness,” the dark-haired man bitterly chuckled, shaking his head in amusement at your innocent inquiry.
”How can that be?” you quipped back, your face sinking in solemnity from his disappointing answer. “Certainly there has to be something he enjoys,” you reasoned, begging Jimin for the barest scrap of information that could help you better understand your rather unsociable husband-to-be. “A hobby? Or an activity?” The look on your face seemed to grow almost desperate as you implored him for any kind of hope about the Prince—any sign of humanity.
Jimin frowned at your expression, regarding you with pity, before finally, he let out a sigh. “Well… he does walk in the garden often,” he let slip, glancing absentmindedly out the window.
“What garden?” you questioned, tilting your head in confusion. Since you had arrived, you had yet to see an inch of the castle that wasn’t covered in snow and ice, so the prospect of a ‘garden’ here seemed quite outlandish to you.
Your question seemed to make him realize something, and he paled for a moment, before quickly replying; “I’ve already said too much… I do not want to get us both into trouble.” His demeanor seemed suddenly nervous, so you decided not to push the matter any further for the time being, and temporarily dropped it.
“Right, forget I asked anything of you,” you bowed your head in apology. “I suppose I am simply… searching for a way to find some common ground with my betrothed.” You sighed, joining Sir Jimin by the window and gazing out across the miles of endless white.
“You seem so melancholy, dearest Princess,” Jimin’s tone was empathetic and full of genuine concern for you. “Are you unhappy here?” he softly asked, studying you with worried eyes.
“No, no, it isn’t that...” You shook your head to yourself, feeling childish for reacting so strongly to Taehyung’s lack of attentiveness toward you. “I just wish the Prince could spare a little more time for us to get to know one another, that’s all,” you glumly admitted, frowning to yourself.
“Well, why not just ask him?” Jimin suggested, taking you by surprise with his directness.
That thought had never actually occurred to you. You had been far too afraid of bothering the Prince to try approaching him on your own, but maybe that was just the kind of step you needed to take to get him to take notice of you. Taking Jimin’s words to heart, you decided to try speaking directly to the Prince the next day.
Insisting to your maids that you could escort yourself, you departed from your room after being dressed by them, and made your way through the castle halls to Prince Taehyung’s private study, where he usually was at this time of day. Approaching the large, imposing doors, you tentatively rapped on them twice with your knuckles, and waited until you heard his clear, deep voice respond—“Come in.”—before you opened them at last, and entered the room.
You stepped into the cluttered study, and your eyes immediately found Taehyung in his usual reading spot, his eyes glued steadfastly to the worn leather book in his hands. Hesitantly, you dared to take a few steps closer, clearing your throat and drawing his attention up to you.
He finally looked up from the heavy tome in his hands, his eyes lazily flicking up towards you, but they froze on your face when he realized precisely who you were. It was clear from his taken aback expression that he was expecting a maid or a servant to be approaching him with some droll piece of news, but he was surprised to instead find you standing there, watching him with those insatiably curious eyes of yours.
“Princess,” he greeted you, seeming seeming puzzled by your unannounced appearance. “To what do I owe this unexpected visit from my betrothed?” he asked, raising a curious brow at you. “Is there something you need?” He was quick to question you, as if attempting to finish with this exchange as quickly as possible.
“No, no!” you rushed out, not wanting him to think you ungrateful after all his staff had done to make you comfortable here. “Well… actually yes, I suppose,” you admitted with a nervous laugh, suddenly feeling self-conscious beneath the scrutiny of his gaze. What were you doing?
“You seem flustered,” he analytically noted. “My deepest apologies if I frightened you that first night. I have a… unique condition that is worsened by physical contact,” he explained, a conflicted expression crossing his face for a brief moment before he quickly suppressed it.
“Is that why you wear the gloves?” you boldly questioned, unable to suppress your burning thirst for answers as your stare shifted down.
“Hm?” he hummed, his eyes following your gaze to the white gloves which adorned his hands. “Oh… yes, that’s right,” he nodded, but he seemed a bit out of it as he stared down at his covered hands in silence for a moment.
“I apologize, I was not informed,” you bowed your head in shame, feeling guilty for possibly having caused the Prince any discomfort. You now understood why he’d reacted so strongly to your mere touch; you were unaware that he even had such an illness, but now that you knew better, you would be certain not to make that mistake again. “I won’t try to touch you again without permission,” you solemnly swore to him, intently studying the rug pattern.
“Do I make you uncomfortable, Princess?” the Prince suddenly asked you, drawing your eyes back up to his attractive face in surprise. When you did, you were intrigued to find him quirking his head to the side as he studied you with a look of what almost seemed like… curiousity?
“What makes you think so?” you hesitantly asked him, shifting your weight uncertainly beneath the scrutiny of his unyielding gaze.
“You cast your eyes down as if you are beneath me,” he observed, studying you as if you were a piece of art he were interpreting. “You are to be my wife… would that not make you my equal?” he quizzed, shocking you with his directness.
“I suppose so,” you slowly nodded, perplexed by the Prince’s sudden interest in you.
“Then look at me in the eyes and hold your head high when you speak,” he commanded you, but there was a gentleness to his tone that wasn’t usually there. You did as he said without question and lifted your head. Something about the way he was speaking to you made you want to heed him, and he gazed at you with piqued interest when your eyes met his at last. “Why did you come to me today, Princess?” he asked.
“I… I’d like to spend more time with you,” you finally managed to admit. “That was what I wanted to say to you.” You swallowed hard, your knees practically knocking together in anxiety, but you willed yourself to do as the Prince said, and kept your head up high, holding his stare.
The Prince’s perfect lips unexpectedly twitched up into a subtle almost-smile at your request, seeming impressed by your forwardness. In all the time since you had arrived, you had never seen him so expressive, and you were shocked to find that he looked intrigued by your words.
“Very well,” he abruptly nodded, closing his book and setting it down on his desk. “I’ll clear my schedule tomorrow so we can spend the day together,” he nonchalantly informed you, your eyes growing wide at his unexpected turn.
“R-really?” You cursed yourself for stuttering, but you couldn’t help being dumbfounded by the Prince’s sudden agreement to your petition.
“I’ll call on you tomorrow morning,” he said, seeming completely unphased. “Be ready.”
· ───────── ·𖥸· ───────── ·
You could hardly sleep at all that night, tossing and turning in anticipation of whatever the Prince had in mind for tomorrow. You honestly hadn’t expected him to hear you out the way he had when you barged into his study demanding to spend time with him, but he had seemed almost refreshed by your shameless candor, and you didn’t know what to make of that.
Nothing since you had arrived had been like you thought it would; not the castle, the kingdom, or even the Prince. But just when you thought you were beginning to understand even him and his closed-off nature, he’d surprised you, and now you weren’t quite sure what to expect.
You didn’t notice when exactly you drifted off to sleep, but eventually you felt the first peeks of morning light streaming through the window and landing upon your closed eyelids, rousing you from your dreams. Hushed voices filled the room as your always talkative maids fluttered in and flocked to you, seeming to be in a tizzy.
“Is it true the Prince really cleared his schedule today just for Princess Y/N?” Kai whispered excitedly to her fellow maids, not realizing that you were already awake. You thought about opening your eyes, but you wanted to hear what they had to say first, so you feigned sleep.
“Don’t you know it’s a sin to gossip, child?” Gerda firmly but fairly scolded the young girl in a way that only a loving martiarch could. “You shouldn’t meddle in others’ private affairs.”
“I heard he plans to spend the whole day with her,” Bae giddily chirped, the two young girls giggling madly while Gerda only sighed.
“Be that as it may, it’s none of our business,” she rebuffed, refusing to engage in their revelry. “But, if Her Highness plans to meet His Majesty on time, she had best not pretend to be asleep any longer,” Gerda said loud enough for you to hear, her voice sounding from just above you.
Knowing you had been caught, you gingerly opened your eyes, peering up at the gaggle of maids from beneath your covers. “I’m sorry,” you sheepishly apologized for eavesdropping, your ears burning with embarrassment.
“No matter,” Gerda shook her head, quickly putting to rest both you and the young maid’s childish behavior. “Let’s get you dressed.” She offered you a kind smile, holding out her arm toward you to help you up and out of bed.
The three maids made quick work fussing with your hair and fitting you into your underclothes, outfitting you in another of the beautiful gowns Taehyung had commissioned for you. This one was a crisp blue, like a mountain lake on a clear day, and the puffed sleeves it had were girlish yet elegant. When the maids had finished with you, you caught a glimpse of your reflection and were surprised by your own beauty. You had never been one for vanity, but you couldn’t deny that in this dress, you looked wonderful.
“The Prince won’t be able to take his eyes off of you, Princess” Kai cheerfully murmured over your shoulder, and you met her sweet, doll-like eyes in the mirror, breaking into a shy smile.
“We had better make haste,” Bae spoke up, breaking you from your thoughts. “His majesty wanted us to bring you to him by ten o’clock and that’s hardly a few minutes from now.”
Your eyes widened at this information, and you glanced at the wall clock, seeing that Bae was indeed correct about your impending tardiness. You quickly nodded and let the three ladies escort you through the palace to the great hall, where Prince Taehyung was said to be waiting.
You began to descend the grand staircase lined with an extravagant blue and silver carpet, your attendants following just behind you until you heard a small gasp from the two young maids, and you looked ahead to find the source of their surprise. There, at the bottom of the stairway, stood the Prince himself, looking handsome as ever in a fine blue suit adorned with his royal insignia, and he was staring right at you.
Your steps faltered for a moment when you noticed him, but you quickly got yourself under control, continuing to make your way down to the Prince as he watched you with a look on his face you couldn’t recognize. He looked… almost enchanted by you as you approached him.
When you finally reached him, he had masked his expression back into his regular one of polite contempt, but offered you a small smirk as he greeted you. “Good morning, Princess.”
You smiled back and lightly dipped down into a curtsy. “Good morning,” you replied, hoping that he couldn’t tell just how nervous you were.
“You may leave us,” Taehyung called over your shoulder to your lingering maids, the younger of whom were staring at you both like you were the leads of a romance novel. They quickly nodded and departed at the Prince’s dismissal, hastening back up the stairs and leaving the two of you alone in the great hall. “Did you sleep well, Princess?” he asked once the click of your maids’ shoes finally faded away to silence.
“Y/N.” You blurted out the word before you could stop yourself, causing the Prince’s dark, refined brows to knit together in confusion.
“I beg your pardon?” he replied, taken aback.
“You asked me to call you by your name,” you explained, trying your best to sound confident. “I’d like for you to do the same. Call me Y/N.”
“I see,” he remarked, eyeing you with a look of intrigue. “Very well then. How would you like to accompany me for the day, Y/N?” he asked you, making a show of using your name as you said.
The Prince seemed to be in much better spirits than usual today. You weren’t sure why or what had caused this change in him, but you weren’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth, and you decided you were just going to make the most of his seemingly good mood while it lasted.
“I’d be delighted,” you grinned warmly at him. You noticed, as usual, that the Prince’s hands were cloaked by his snow-white gloves, and you couldn’t help but stare at them. Even though he had somewhat explained the reason behind why he wore them, they still perplexed you.
“I cannot offer you my hand, because of my… condition,” the Prince awkwardly mumbled, shifting a bit as he spoke. “But here,” he said, extending his arm out for you to hold onto.
You tried not to let on how shocked you were as you reached out and laced your arm in his, the feeling foreign but strangely comfortable, and you allowed him to lead you onward, out of the great hall, and into deeper parts of the castle.
“This is the hall of portraits,” Taehyung said at last when you reached the mouth of a long, grand corridor. It was wide, with high ceilings and velvety blue carpet that ran underfoot, while tall antique-looking frames filled with images of distinguished-looking people lined the walls in meticulously organized rows. “Portraits of all the prominent members of the royal family dating back generations can be found here,” he casually explained to you.
“They’re lovely,” you admired as you studied them, your eyes landing on one particularly captivating oil-on-canvas painting of a lady. She was beautiful, with hair as white as snow and eyes as blue as the sea. Beside her, stood a man clad in full regalia proudly hovering above.
“She was quite beautiful, wasn't she?” the Prince suddenly said, startling you with his sentimental tone. Your head snapped to the side in surprise and found Taehyung looking up at the same portrait as you with a much softer look than you were used to seeing from him.
“Yes,” you smiled in agreement as you gazed up at the ethereal woman in wonder before looking back to the Prince with curiosity. “Who is she?”
“My mother,” he bittersweetly replied, his lips creasing into a firm line. “This portrait is all I’ve ever known of her. She died giving birth to me.” He somberly recounted, staring up at the well-aged piece of artwork as if lost deep in thought.
“Oh... I’m so sorry…” you quietly murmured, bowing your head in condolence. You hadn’t meant to pry into such private, painful matters and you instantly felt regret for having asked.
“It’s all right,” he assured you with a gentle wave of his gloved hand. “It happened long ago.” You were relieved that he didn’t seem too upset by the matter, but something about that made you strangely even sadder for him. It felt almost as if he weren’t allowing himself to be sad about it, but you chose to let it go for now.
You gazed between the lady in the portrait and the Prince, studying them both closely, and the thought that formed in your head fell from your lips almost instantly. “You resemble her,” you commented, smiling up at the woman’s strong but elegant features that felt so familiar to you. Those same striking features were present in the face of the boy you had known those years ago—of the man who stood before you now.
“You think so?” he questioned, lightly raising his thick brows. “I do in many ways, I suppose,” he thoughtfully concluded, his mind seeming miles away as he wistfully regarded the portrait.
“Hm?” you called back in confusion at his strange statement.
“It’s nothing.” He half-smiled, dropping the subject completely. “This room is quite boring, isn’t it?” he bluntly asked, his expression having grown disinterested as he flicked his eyes down the expansive hallway. “Would you like to see somewhere… more exciting?” he asked with an uncharacteristically daring twinkle in his eye.
“More exciting?” you repeated back to him, your forehead lightly creasing in thought.
“Come with me.” He wryly smirked, reaching out and gently winding your arm in his again.
You had seen many of the different rooms and halls when Sir Jimin showed you around, as well as that time you’d gone exploring on your own, but Taehyung seemed to be taking you into a section of the castle that you had never seen before, and you couldn’t help but question this.
“Where are you taking me?” you asked him, your arm tucked steadfastly into the crook of Taehyung’s elbow as he continued to press on.
“Somewhere different,” he cryptically replied to you, revealing no further information to your disappointment. You frowned to yourself, but decided to trust him, allowing him to lead you to the unknown location. Besides, you had to admit that you didn’t quite mind the proximity to the dashing Prince as the two of you walked.
Finally, after what felt like far too many turns and towering stairs, you came to a sturdy, well-worn door. The Prince wasted no time pushing it open, holding it ajar for you to pass through, and following through it right behind you.
The windchill hit you before anything else, and it took only seconds for you to realize you were now outside. It seemed the Prince had led you out onto some kind of balcony, extending from the tallest spire of the castle, and overlooking the breathtaking landscape below. Immediately entranced by the sights, you ran ahead to look over the railing at the daunting height, taking in the beautiful view of the snowy mountainside.
You heard a quiet chuckle over your shoulder as the Prince caught up to you, coming to stand beside you at the edge of the stone railing. “It is quite a sight, isn’t it?” Taehyung questioned, taking a deep breath of the crisp alpine air.
“It’s beautiful,” you mused, looking between the valley and the Prince in awe. Since the day you had arrived, Icestone had always seemed so stiff and tragical to you, but seeing it from the angle, it was impossible to deny its charm.
“I thought you might like it,” Taehyung proudly remarked, seeming pleased by your reaction. “The castle can get a bit stuffy, so I come out here to catch my breath sometimes.” He turned to look at you closely, his expression growing more somber. “You seemed to need the same… You don’t enjoy living here, do you?” he asked.
“No, that’s not it,” you hurriedly assured him, not wanting to seem ungrateful after how well you had been treated here. You knew better; far worse might have happened to you if you had been promised to a Prince not even half as benevolent as Taehyung. “Everyone has been so lovely to me since I arrived,” you insisted.
“Then why don’t you seem happy?” he pried, his tone uncharacteristically emotional. “Ever since my father sent you here, I have tried to make sure that you had everything you could ever want, but still, Jimin tells me every day how you seem so sad. Why?” he demanded of you, but it wasn’t anger behind his words; it was frustration, confusion, and… concern.
You hadn't even realized that all this time while Prince Taehyung claimed to be too busy to see you, he had been keeping an eye on you. You thought back to the many gifts you’d received since you came here, the beautiful room, the dresses, and everything else. You’d believed back then that they were just a formality on the Prince’s part to honor your kingdom, but only now did you realize it was Taehyung’s way of trying to make you happy. All this time you’d been so melancholy over the way he seemed to ignore you, that you’d completely missed the fact that he hadn’t been ignoring you at all.
“I do appreciate everything you have done for me, Taehyung…” you trailed off, quietly staring down at the falling snow below, “but none of that was what I truly wanted.” You didn’t know how to say exactly what you were thinking, but this was the longest conversation you’d had with your fiancé in years, and you wanted to try to be open about your feelings with him.
“And what’s that?” he intensely questioned, raising his sculpted eyebrows at you.
“To see you,” you told him with a soft smile, gazing up at him earnestly. “I missed you,” you admitted, knowing you were making yourself vulnerable by saying so, but you simply had to.
“How could you have missed me?” he quizzed, not seeming to believe your tender admission. “We’re practically strangers.” he brushed you off, his cold demeanor returning at last.
“We weren’t always,” you gently reminded him, a sad, sentimental look crossing your face as childhood memories replayed like an old music box in your mind. “We used to be friends.”
Taehyung stared at you for a long time as you spoke, your gaze fixed on the mountain peaks. He looked like he was trying to understand you, as if he looked at you for long enough he could figure out what was going on inside your head. A strange emotion shined in his eyes, like there was something he wanted to say, but just as quickly as it appeared, he extinguished it.
“That was a long time ago,” he muttered to himself, shaking his head as if to clear his own thoughts. “Things are more complicated now.”
“They don’t have to be,” you insisted, a hopeful twinkle in your eye despite the Prince’s rebuffs. Part of you still believed that the Taehyung from your youth was still a part of the man he had grown into, just as the girl you once were was a part of you too. But maybe such fantasies were too good to be true. You sighed. “Never mind.”
“I suppose I missed you too,” Taehyung abruptly admitted, taking you completely by surprise. His expression remained unchanged, his gaze unfocused as he stared out over the hills, but his words held great meaning to you.
“You did?” you nearly stuttered, taken aback by his unexpected confession.
“I used to look forward to your visits when I was young,” he said, a far-away look in his cerulean eyes. “As the crown prince, I was never allowed to play with any other children. I was always in lessons, or sitting in on royal proceedings, or being scolded.” His fine features contorted into a deep frown. “The only time I was ever allowed to be a child was when you would come to visit. I guess you could say you were my only friend… until I was forced to stop seeing even you.”
“Why weren’t you allowed to see me anymore?” you inquired, finally voicing aloud the question that had been weighing on your mind for years.
“I became… sick. My father locked me away in the palace to keep me apart from other people. For my sake and theirs.” He grimaced, gripping at the stone railing with his gloved hands, and you were sure that if you could see them, his knuckles would have been pale white. He was clearly uncomfortable talking about this, but he finally seemed to be opening up to you, so you felt that it was the right time to ask him more.
“Because of your... condition, you mean? With your hands?” you asked, nodding toward them.
“Yes, my hands,” he ruefully sighed, glaring down at the offending appendages in disgust, “cursed things.” He slowly reached for the tip of one glove, pulling it off, and revealing his bare hand to you for the first time since that night you ran into him while roaming the halls. He stared down at it, delicate snow flurries landing against the skin of his palm, and you wondered what exactly was wrong with them that made him glower at himself with such hatred.
“They look perfect to me,” you said, drawing his intense focus back up to your soft gaze. His lips twitched up at the corner in the barest hint of a smile at your words, but it didn’t reach his eyes.
“Sometimes broken things don’t appear broken from the outside. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t still broken,” he cryptically remarked, a profound somberness behind his words.
“Like you,” you absentmindedly murmured.
“What do you mean?” Taehyung asked you, making you realize only then that you had actually spoken your thought aloud.
It was too late to take it back now that it’d been said, you supposed. You decided to fully speak your mind for the first time since you’d arrived.
“You act as if you’re fine living way out here by yourself, but...” you explained, gathering up the might to look up into his sharp cobalt irises. “I think that deep down inside, you’re lonely here.” You knew you were making a bold assumption, but there was something in the ever-present sadness that always lingered behind his gaze that made you believe that you were right.
“Says the woman who smiles even though she is miserable,” he scoffed. “Aren’t we a pair?”
You chuckled, shuffling closer to lean against the railing. But as you did so, you misplaced your foot, the heel of your shoe getting wedged between two of the paving stones, and causing you to stumble backwards. You squeezed your eyes shut, bracing yourself for contact with the cold, hard ground, but it never came.
Your eyelids snapped back open, immediately locking gazes with the man who had stopped you from falling—the Prince—staring down at you with his hand wrapped firmly around your wrist. He pulled you forward, returning you to an upright position, but before you could even open your mouth to thank him, his stare locked on the place where his bare hand clutched your skin, his eyes growing wide as he suddenly let go and recoiled back against the rail in shock.
“I am so sorry,” you hurriedly apologized to him, “I’ve never been a very graceful Princess.” You awkwardly laughed, but the Prince said nothing and remained stiffly frozen in place. “Are you all right?” you asked, concern filling your voice as you took a step towards the startled prince.
“Don’t come any closer!” he barked at you, his voice suddenly more severe and commanding, stopping you dead in your tracks. But as strong and intimidating as his words were, his face portrayed a different emotion entirely: Fear.
You hadn’t meant to cause the Prince such distress, and you hurriedly spoke up once more in an attempt to set things right. “My apologies, Taehyung, I didn’t mean to startle you so—”
“Get away from me,” he seethed, cutting you off before you could even utter another word. His back was pressed hard against the carved railing, his hands gripping it like a vice, and the look in his eyes was more serious than you had ever seen from him. “Now,” he growled at you.
You shivered where you stood, swallowing hard as your gaze trailed down from the Prince’s dark expression to where his hands gripped the balcony. There, as if out of thin air, a veil of pure ice began to spread from the place Taehyung had touched, tendrils of glassy frost wrapping around the entire bannister like creeping vines. You couldn’t believe your eyes, you didn’t know how to make sense of what you were seeing.
“I said go!” Taehyung shouted at you, more desperately than ever before. There was something in his voice—a silent plea that moved your heart and told you this was not the time to ask questions—and you decided it was best to heed the Prince’s warning for now.
You dared to take one last look at his stormy, tortured eyes before you did the only thing you could think to do in that moment; you ran away. Holding up your skirt and trying not to trip over your own feet, you pounded down the staircase and through the palace corridors as fast as your legs could carry you, not stopping until you had reached your room. You flung open the heavy doors, shutting them tightly behind you, and collapsing back against them, your back sliding down until you hit the floor and brought your knees up to your chest, your breathing ragged.
You had no idea what had just happened. There were no words to explain what you had seen. The stone had frozen right under Taehyung’s hands… but that couldn’t be possible, could it? These troubling thoughts ran amuck in your head and plagued you until you slipped into unconsciousness that night, the last thing on your mind before you drifted away being that unforgettable look of fear in the Prince’s eyes.
· ───────── ·𖥸· ───────── ·
For the next few days, Taehyung avoided you like the plague. He didn’t join you for dinner anymore, he didn’t call for you or visit you, and whenever you entered a room you thought he might be in, he always seemed to have just left.
You wanted to believe that it was all in your head, but after what you had seen that day on the balcony, you knew it was something much deeper than that. Taehyung seemed to have an ability you had only read about in books. Of course, you knew about the Fae and their mysterious magic—that very magic had saved your life when you were born—but never had you witnessed anything of the sort with your own two eyes. Until now, that is.
You couldn’t erase the scene from your head; Taehyung’s hands clutching at the railing, the ice spreading like ivy from his touch, and the look of utter helplessness in his eyes. The latter was the hardest for you to forget. You wished that he would give you the chance to talk to him, for him to explain himself, or for him to say anything to you at all, but days continued to pass with only silence filling the halls, and it was becoming too much for you to bear.
You had to see him today. The thought had galvanized in your mind like the icy stone of the castle walls, and there was no way anyone was going to stop you now. You were determined to get an explanation, an excuse—anything—from your fiancé about what you had seen, if only for the sake of getting over this game of cat and mouse that was impeding your pre-wedding preparations. How were you expected to marry this man in mere weeks if he wouldn’t even face you? You wouldn’t stand for it.
Your resolve burned like a fire inside you that could have melted the glacial palace to the ground as you dismissed your servants and trudged towards Taehyung’s private chambers unaccompanied. You knew it wasn’t customary or polite to barge in on someone unannounced, but you knew that if the Prince heard you were coming he would simply try to avoid you again, and you’d had enough of that already.
Flinging open the heavy oak doors, you strode into the Prince’s quarters with confidence, your eyes scanning the room until you found him. He was sat in a comfortable chair by the window, reading as usual, but he looked up at the sound of the doors being breached, and his face paled when he saw it was you there staring at him.
“Princess,” he addressed you, surprise clearly written across his stunned, handsome face.
“Y/N,” you promptly corrected him, deciding it was your turn to be short with him.
“Hm?” he confusedly questioned, his smooth forehead creasing.
“You asked me to call you by your name, and I respected your request,” you explained, trying your best to stand your ground. “Does the same courtesy not extend to my wishes?” you asked him, folding your arms firmly across your chest. You could tell that he was trying to revert back to formalities with you, but his clear attempt to distance your relationship wasn’t going to work—you simply wouldn’t let it.
“My apologies… Y/N,” he quickly amended, seeming caught off guard by your directness. “I wasn’t expecting you to drop by like this,” he remarked, uncomfortably clearing his throat.
“I’d think not since you’ve been avoiding me,” you replied, your words sharp as icicles. You had no idea where this confidence was coming from within yourself, but you willed it to remain as you pointedly stared down the Prince.
“Why would I be avoiding you?” he asked with an air of aloofness, playing coy with you. But you saw right through his act; you weren’t going to allow yourself to be dismissed.
“Because of what I saw on the balcony,” you boldly confronted him. “What you did.”
The prince immediately stiffened at your statement, sitting up straight in his chair, and his features contorted into a frigid, vacant stare. “I do not know what you are referring to.”
“Taehyung.” You sighed in frustration, tired of this childish game of hide and seek. “Despite the circumstances, I have tried my best to be patient and understanding of you from the first moment I arrived here,” you told him, your tone softening as you looked deep into his guarded eyes, pleading with him in earnest. “Couldn’t you please at least be honest with me?”
He stared back at you, studying your face as if deciding if he could truly trust you before finally his expression softened, and he let out a heavy breath. “Fine,” he coalesced. “But not here—let’s go and talk somewhere more private.”
You wordlessly nodded, grateful he was finally speaking to you at all, and you followed after him as he led you from his chambers and down the crisp castle hallway. You weren’t sure where he was taking you at first, but soon you reached the familiar steep staircase, and you climbed up with him to the secret balcony where the very incident had occurred just days earlier.
You stepped out into the brisk afternoon, the clouds downcast and full of precipitation as ever, and your eyes followed Taehyung’s back as he stepped towards the railing before finally turning around to look back at you at last.
“You understand what you saw, don’t you?” he directly asked you, gathering from the way you had barged into his room that you weren’t one to play ignorant about such matters.
“I understand.” You stoically nodded. “I am familiar with Fae magic… but what puzzles me is how Aspenia’s Crown Prince came to wield it?” You quirked a questioning brow his way.
“My mother was like me,” Taehyung explained, your eyes widening at the shocking admission. “She was born of the Fae, but she fell in love with a human—my father—and gave up her magic so that she could marry him.” You were perplexed. The Fae often tried to keep their distance from human affairs; you had never heard of any falling for one, but nonetheless, Taehyung’s parents’ story touched your heart.
“That’s rather romantic.” You softly replied. Giving up so much of yourself for the person you loved more than anything sounded like a worthwhile sacrifice to you, and the thought of it appealed to the hopeless romantic in you.
“I suppose it was.” he shrugged, not seeming quite as moved by the tale. “Until I was born…” Taehyung muttered, his expression going cold.
“What happened?” you tentatively asked him, hoping you weren’t overstepping too much.
“It’s not common for humans and the Fae to have children. They had no way of knowing… what I would become.” He grimaced, wringing his gloved hands out of discomfort over the sensitive topic. “The pregnancy was so hard on my mother that it nearly killed her… giving birth to me took all she had left. At first, I seemed like any other child, but as I grew older, I began to develop… abilities,” he somberly explained.
“Your magic…” you murmured, understanding registering across your face.
“I... was a child with unimaginable power. If I became too upset, or threw a tantrum like other children, things began to freeze around me, icicle shards shot out at anyone nearby, objects turned to ice in my hands, and I couldn’t control any of it.” He looked vulnerable as he told you this—more so than you had ever seen him—and your heart ached at the way his voice seemed to be filled with so much hurt. “My own father… he thought I was a monster. He blamed me for my mother’s death and locked me up to keep me from other people so I couldn’t hurt anyone. I wasn’t allowed any visitors—not even you.”
“How could he do that to you?” you demanded, incredulously, anger swelling up inside you. The thought of that sweet little boy you had once known sitting all alone in his room split your heart in two. “You were only a child… it wasn’t your fault.” You looked to him with empathy, gently placing your hand against his forearm.
“It’s nice to hear someone say that for once,” he softly smiled, gazing down at the place your hand touched him, but all too quickly it slipped away again. “But you’re about ten years too late.” He clenched and unclenched his jaw. “I grew up quickly. I learned to suppress my own emotions in order to control my powers, and I had these enchanted gloves made to help me.”
“That’s why you’re always wearing them,” you concluded to yourself aloud, the pieces finally coming together in your mind at last.
He wordlessly nodded, looking away from you to watch the snowdrifts on the mountainside. “If you wish to call off our engagement in light of this, I’ll take responsibility for everything,” he abruptly said, making your heart drop. “I’ll tell my father it was me who declined the match, and make certain that your reputation remains unsullied so that you can find a more suitable husband.” His words were empty and formal—practiced—and you realized now that the Prince must have been preparing these last few days to make such an offer to you. He had been preparing for you to reject him—to leave him.
“I won’t call off our engagement,” you firmly replied, not even having to think over your response. You had already made up your mind. You wouldn’t lose Taehyung—not again.
“You won’t?” he questioned, his expression a picture of disbelief as he turned back to study your face. He looked caught off guard by your unexpected answer, but you could have sworn that he also looked just the tiniest bit relieved.
“No.” You decisively shook your head. “My kingdom owes yours a great debt, remember? This is my duty to fulfill,” you reminded him, straightening your spine with dignity. “And also… I trust that you will be a fair husband and king when the time comes. So no, I won’t run from this… or from you.” Your promise rang out clear against the gentle swirl of the wind over the frosted hilltops, and you meant every word.
“You’ll marry me even after knowing I’m… that I’m cursed?” he quietly asked you, his glacial eyes focused intently on yours.
“Marriage vows typically stipulate ‘in sickness and in health’, do they not?” You playfully smirked up at him. “I think this applies.”
“I suppose we’ll find out at the altar,” he jested back, surprising you with his good humor. It was the first real laugh he’d shared with you in years, and you smiled warmly at the thought.
A gust of wind swept over the lonely mountain, blowing your way and sending a chill through you that made you shiver. Noticing it, Taehyung watched you closely, asking; “Are you cold?”
“Yes…” you reluctantly admitted, folding your arms over your chest in an attempt to retain warmth. “Speaking candidly, I don’t think I’ve been warm since I arrived here at Icestone,” you mirthlessly chuckled, feeling defeated by the wintery climate you still had yet to adjust to.
“I think I may know how to fix that,” Taehyung concluded, his mysterious offer intriguing you.
“How?” You raised an eyebrow in question.
“Do you trust me?” he asked you rather than answering, his intense irises piercing into you.
“Yes...” you hesitantly replied, mesmerized by the way he was gazing at you right now. You had no idea what he was thinking, but when he looked at you in such a way, you had no mind to begrudge him anything he could ask of you.
“Then come along.” His lips curved into a sweet smile that made your heart flutter. “There’s something I want to show you.” He held out his arm towards you like he had the day he’d shown you around the castle, and you gingerly reached out and accepted it, not even having time to think about if you were ready for whatever he had in mind before he was whisking you away.
He led you much deeper into the castle than you had ever gone before—or rather, as you had been only that night when you dared to explore on your own and ended up lost. Holding you securely by the arm, he brought you to a hall that felt vaguely familiar to you, and when you neared the end of it, you realized why. There, at the end of the hall, stood the beautiful, glassy mirror you had discovered that first night.
You approached the elegant object where it rested against the wall, and Taehyung turned to look at you as you stood before it. “Now hold onto me,” he directed you, as if preparing you for something. “And don’t let go, all right?”
You had no inkling what was about to happen next, but you knew that you trusted Taehyung, and so, willingly, you told him; “I won’t.”
You gripped tightly onto him, your manicured nails slightly digging into his jacket as he let out a deep breath and strided forward, stepping directly into the mirror. But, to your shock, the two of you never made contact with the glass. No—rather, you stepped through the mirror, and out into a beautiful garden, flower petals and butterflies fluttering by on the breeze, and trees in full blossom hanging overhead.
You jumped forward in awe, breaking away from Taehyung, and whirling in a circle to get a full view of the breathtaking arboretum around you. It was more beautiful than anything you could ever have imagined, as if it had been plucked right out of the pages of a storybook.
“What is this place?” you called out in wonder, beaming with excitement as a little bumblebee lazily buzzed right past your head and landed amongst a patch of vibrant yellow daisies.
“This is the garden of eternal summer…” Taehyung finally introduced his secret oasis, proudly surveying the landscape from a few paces behind you. “Some Fae friends of my mother’s created this place for me out of pity when she passed. It’s warm here year-round, and… it’s the one place in the world where I can’t freeze anything.” He explained, slowly removing his gloves and tucking them into his pocket, before reaching down to pluck a small pink wildflower from the grass by his feet.
Taehyung stepped towards you, getting close enough that you could smell his sweet scent of mint and vanilla, and he reached up towards your face, gently tucking the brightly colored blossom behind your ear, but being careful not to graze your skin. “The spell only applies to things from the garden, so it’s best to still be cautious,” he softly murmured, your proximity allowing you to feel the heat of his breath.
You gazed at one another for a moment, your eyes locked in a dreamy haze with neither of you having the courage to move away first, before finally Taehyung awkwardly cleared his throat and took a step back from you, ending your brief moment of intense connection.
“Anyway, since we are to be married, what is mine is also yours,” Taehyung said, gesturing broadly to the paradise around you. “You are welcome to come here whenever you like, Y/N.”
“This is incredible,” you giggled in absolute delight, your eyes eagerly drinking in all of the vibrant sights. “I could stay here for hours.” You turned back to the Prince, offering him a gentle smile of gratitude. “Thank you, Taehyung.”
“It’s nothing.” He nonchalantly shrugged, growing bashful. The more you spoke to Taehyung, the more you began to notice little glimpses of the kind-hearted boy you once knew, and it made you feel warm inside.
You wandered a few paces further, coming to stand beneath the shade of a beautiful cherry blossom tree, and you sat down on the soft grass. You glanced back at the Prince, patting the spot beside you with an inviting grin.
“Will you sit with me for a while?”
He studied you for a few moments, weighing the idea, before he finally caved and smiled back. “I suppose I could stay for a short time.”
He came to meet you where you sat, crouching down beside you on the lush green, and leaning his back against the sturdy tree trunk. You smiled to yourself, glancing up above you to see the small fluttering blossoms float by while bright, fluffy clouds moved across the sky.
“Do you remember when we used to lay in the grass and watch the clouds?” you abruptly asked the Prince, fond memories of your long past summer days dancing through your head.
“I remember,” he subtly grinned to himself, as if thinking the same. “We would lay out together all afternoon until the sun went down.”
“Come here,” you suddenly beckoned him, lying down on your back and reaching out to tug at the Prince’s sleeve and pull him down beside you. He made a sound of surprise, but didn’t protest, and the two of you laid side-by-side in the field, staring up at the brilliant blue sky.
“That one looks like a rabbit!” You excitedly exclaimed, pointing up at a particularly fluffy cloud. “Oh and that one is a shoe!” You giggled like a child at another peculiarly shaped one.
“This one’s a kite,” you unexpectedly heard the Prince’s deep voice from beside you, glancing over to see him gesturing with his large hand to a squarish cloud with a thin tail behind it. It made you happy that he was willing to play this game with you again, as silly as it was, and it gave you hope for your future together.
“They’re pretty, aren’t they?” you grinned, marveling up at the tufts of puffy white chiffon.
“Yes,” the Prince agreed, smiling shyly to himself. “Beautiful.” If only you had been paying close enough attention to realize he wasn’t looking at the clouds anymore, but at you.
· ───────── ·𖥸· ───────── ·
Little did you know, but that first day in the garden together would permanently change things between you and the Prince. It started up naturally; an unspoken agreement that the two of you would meet in your secret paradise every afternoon after Taehyung had finished with his work and stay long into the evening.
Each day you would wait for him, lounging beneath the outspread boughs of a tree while the breeze gently rustled through your hair, and the balmy temperature warmed your skin. And then suddenly, he would be there; his hair the color of sweet cream and his eyes like sapphires glittering in the reflection of a clear pool. He’d always look so formal and uptight in his regalia, but you couldn’t help but notice how he’d relax the moment his eyes found yours, and make his way over to you with the subtlest of smiles.
The two of you would easily while away the hours together talking, laughing, and lying on your backs in the plush green grass while the magical sunlight kissed your cheeks. While your relationship had become so strained and formal over all these years you had spent apart, it now seemed to retreat back to the simpler days of your past childhood, when the two of you were content to just share one another’s company.
The change didn’t happen all at once, but slowly. As days turned into weeks, more and more you witnessed brief moments of the happy, smiling boy you had grown to love in your youth returning to the face of the lonely Prince, like ice slowly melting away, and a new love entirely had begun to take root. What had started out as simply an attempt to rekindle your childhood friendship had blossomed into so much more, and you couldn’t help but feel that you were beginning to fall for the Prince.
While at first you had struggled to understand his reserved ways, you had now learned to see through the stony facade he put up for others, clear through to the man he was inside; a man who was thoughtful, kind, and seemed to care for you deeply. He rarely came right out and said what he was thinking or feeling, but in time you had become an expert at reading that through the things he did. Little gestures every day told you how he felt for you, and it was just as you were beginning to feel for him in turn.
On one peaceful day while the two of you were lounging about in the flowery garden as usual, you noticed a strangely conflicted expression come to cross Taehyung’s attractive features.
“What’s troubling you so?” you questioned the focused Prince, sitting up on your elbows in the grass to gaze at him while he lay on his back.
“The wedding is only a few days away now,” he said, his gaze fixed on the clouds above. “Soon we will be husband and wife.” Something about that statement seemed to be bothering him. Was he getting cold feet about the wedding? You couldn’t help but think back to how worried you had been when all of this began, and you tried to imagine how Taehyung must be feeling.
“You once gave me the chance to call off our engagement… but I’ve only now realized that I never gave you the same choice.” Your brow furrowed in deep thought. “How do you feel about all of this… the wedding?” you asked him.
“I don’t have any doubts,” he replied without hesitation, rolling his head to the side on the lush grass so that he could look into your eyes. There was a seriousness to his words, but they were filled with a soft fondness too that made your heart swell. “I won’t abandon you, Y/N. Not ever again,” he swore to you, “I promise.”
“Neither will I,” you vowed in return, a shy smile finding its way to your lips. “Snow or shine.” It was a big promise you were making, and you knew that, but you had fallen in love with the man who lay beside you, and you wanted to be by his side always—no matter what it entailed.
“That’s a sweet sentiment,” he murmured, smiling gently at you. “But our marriage isn’t going to be easy,” he solemnly reminded you. “Are you sure you want a husband who may never be able to hold you?” He cast his eyes down to his bare hands which rested by his sides, and looked deeply troubled, as if he felt that he was disappointing you with what he perceived as his own inadequacies.
“Maybe you could?” You tried to remain optimistic about your situation, sitting up to face Taehyung directly. “When was the last time you tried to touch a person?” you asked.
“Too long ago to even remember,” he shrugged, rising to mirror your seated position. “Well, until that day when I accidentally grabbed your wrist, but I must have pulled away fast enough to not have harmed you.” He nodded in conclusion.
“Or maybe your magic had no effect on me?” you suggested, the theory beginning to take shape in your head. It was the only reason you could think of to explain why his touch hadn’t frozen you on contact that day, and the more you thought about it, the more it made sense.
“How could that be?” Taehyung questioned, not seeming to follow your stretch of logic.
“When I was sick as a child, Fae healers used magic to save my life,” you explained, realizing that your connection to Fae magic may have resulted in your unusual resistance. “Maybe because of that… I’m immune to your curse?”
“That seems unlikely…” He seemed dubious. “But I suppose it’s not impossible,” Taehyung allowed, beginning to seriously consider your far-reaching idea. “Although I don’t know how we’d ever find that out.” He sighed in defeat.
“We could test it?” you proposed, your face suddenly lighting up with the idea. “Here, touch me,” you excitedly encouraged him, holding your arm out towards the skeptical prince.
“No,” he firmly rejected your attempt, swatting your arm away without making skin contact. “I will not risk hurting you.” His words were filled with a solemnity as solid as the ice of his castle walls, and you appreciated his will to protect you, but still, a part of you wished he would be a little more reckless with you—just this once.
“Won’t you please just try it?” you begged him, imploring him to give your theory a chance.
“It is too dangerous, Y/N,” the prince chastised you, softly shaking his head. “Besides, there are plenty of things in life we can do without ever touching hands,” he pointed out, trying to steer you away from the admittedly risky experiment.
“Like what?” you prodded, gazing up at him through your childish doe-like eyes.
“Well…” he began, his sentence slowly dropping off as he lost himself staring into your deep, trusting irises. No one else had ever looked at Taehyung like this—no one but you—and you smiled at him now just as you did years ago, making his heart flutter the way it had then too.
Without even thinking, he began to lean in towards you, your breath hitching in your throat as his face came within just centimeters of your own. You could feel his warm breath against your flushing cheeks, your eyes not daring to break away from his for even a second until the very moment that his lips met yours at last, and your eyelids finally fell shut in silent bliss.
It was a simple kiss, his mouth softly caressing yours while your noses intimately brushed against one another’s, but in that moment it felt more magical than any Fae enchantment.
You were under Prince Taehyung’s spell, your heart had become irrevocably and irreversibly his, and you didn’t mind. You wanted to be his and his alone—the boy you had once adored was now the man you loved more deeply than any other, and likewise, the girl you had once been had grown into the woman who longed to be with him. You wished that you could have stayed that way forever, but eventually the two of you were forced to part for air, and when you did, you breathlessly stared at one another with heated cheeks and longing eyes.
However, before either of you could say a word about what had just transpired between you, the sound of another entering your secret garden startled you both, and your heads snapped up in tandem to see Jimin standing just feet away with a troubling expression. He looked slightly out of breath, as if he had rushed here, and his uncharacteristically somber demeanor made your stomach plummet. Something was seriously wrong.
“I am sorry to interrupt, your highnesses, but I come bearing very grave news,” Jimin solemnly announced, lightly bowing his head in regret. “His majesty, the King, has… passed on.” The words made your blood feel like lead in your veins. The bad news you had been dreading all this time had finally come to pass, and you instantly looked to Taehyung with worry.
His expression was withdrawn, as calm and collected as he was the day you had first come to Icestone, and that you worried you more than anything. It was the times that Taehyung showed the least emotion that you knew he was in the most pain, and you desperately wracked your brain for any words that might comfort him, but found yourself at an utter loss.
“Taehyung…” you quietly murmured, reaching out for him, but the Prince simply held up a stiff hand to halt your movements.
“Thank you, Sir Jimin,” he vacantly replied, his tone more befitting of a political meeting and not of such heartbreaking news. “Now if you would both excuse me, I have some important matters to attend to.” Taehyung rose up from the ground without so much as a glance in your direction, hastening towards the mirror portal, and crossing back through while all you could do was helplessly watch his retreating back.
“Princess,” Jimin addressed you, a sympathetic look in his eyes. “Why don’t you allow me to—”
Unfortunately, Jimin didn’t get the chance to finish his sentence as you abruptly jumped up from the grass and took off towards the garden gateway, chasing after Taehyung in a rather unbecoming fashion. You didn’t care if it was embarrassing or improper; Taehyung needed you right now—you could sense it—and you simply couldn’t waste another second.
You traversed back through the mirror and into the cold halls of Icestone, your heels clicking furiously against the hard floor as you chased after Taehyung. You just barely caught sight of his coattails as he turned the corner ahead of you, and you blindly followed him, the only thought in your mind being concern for him.
“Taehyung!” you called out to him, but either he didn’t hear you in his grief, or he was choosing not to. You elected not to let either deter you, continuing to pursue him until you both ended up somewhere familiar—the tower balcony.
Taehyung was already standing in the center of the platform when you finally made your way to the top of the stairs. With his back to you, you could see that his hands were trembling and ungloved, as he had neglected to put them back on before storming out of the garden.
“Taehyung…” you tried to reach out to him, your voice much softer and more tentative this time.
“What?” He abruptly whirled around at the sound, his hand flying up, and you barely had time to duck before a shard of ice flew over your head and smashed against the doorway right where you’d been standing moments earlier. Remaining calm, you simply stood back upright again, raising your head high and looking Taehyung right in the face.
His eyes were red and puffy, glossy with unshed tears, and his expression was a mix of anger and horror when he realized it was you that he had almost struck with his frosty outburst.
“I told you not to follow me,” he snapped at you, seeming more worried for your safety than truly angry at you. “You need to go, I’m not in control right now and I might hurt you.” He choked out, his voice as unstable as his shaking legs were.
You said nothing in response to his warning, simply ignoring his words, and taking a step forward, moving closer toward the Prince.
“What are you doing?” he exclaimed, trying to back away from you in fear. “I told you, I’m too dangerous.” He shouted at you, the very ground beneath your feet beginning to ice over like a frozen pond. The clouds overhead turned a dark grey, and sharp pieces of hail began to rain down from the sky—all Taehyung’s involuntary doing—but you ignored the sting battering your skin and continued to advance toward him. The entire balcony around you was slowly becoming encased in ice, snow, and sleet, the onslaught tumultuous and unyielding, and at the center of it stood the young Prince with pain in his eyes. “Why won’t you run from me?” he begged you, your body now less than a foot from his own.
“I can’t, Taehyung,” you told him, a bittersweet smile reaching your lips as tears pricked at the corners of your own eyes. “I told you, I won’t ever run from you.” You closed the small gap that remained between you two and threw your arms around his waist, his body tensing at first under your hold, but after a moment he relaxed.
As if finally allowing himself to break down, Taehyung leaned into you, his body practically collapsing into yours from the weight of it all, and you felt him bury his face in the crook of your neck, warm tears falling against your skin.
“Is it pathetic of me to weep for the father who hated me?” he humorlessly chuckled amid his crying, his voice husky with emotion.
“He was still your father,” you comforted him, your tone gentle and understanding. “You loved him.” You knew what Prince Taehyung had been through and you couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like growing up entirely alone, but as you held him now you promised to yourself you’d never let him feel alone again.
“Please don’t go,” he whispered against your skin like a desperate prayer. “Everyone I’ve ever loved has left me, I don’t think I could bear it if I lost you too.” His voice was anguished, pleading with you, and all you could think to do in that moment was to clutch onto him even tighter.
“I’m here, Taehyung,” you assured him, rubbing your hand soothingly over his back. “I’ll stay right here.” Your promise was a sincere one.
The two of you remained in that position for a long time; you weren’t sure exactly how long, but when you both had grown too cold to stand being outside any longer, you turned to find that the tundra around you had now melted. Taehyung’s frozen world—the ice which had surrounded his heart for so long—had been thawed by your warmth and cleared away, and side-by-side you retreated back inside together.
· ───────── ·𖥸· ───────── ·
Days later, Taehyung had returned from his father’s funeral at the capitol. You had offered to accompany him, but he’d insisted that he would rather face this somber occasion on his own, so you respected his decision, and waited anxiously for his return as he set off for the main palace with his attendants. After what felt like days of your pacing and worrying, he had finally made it back home to Icestone yesterday evening—just days to spare before the next big affair that was to come: your wedding day.
Since Taehyung’s father had now passed, the nobles had come together and decided that your wedding day would also serve as both of your coronations; the two of you would become husband and wife, Taehyung would become king, and you, his queen. And at last, the long-awaited morning had finally arrived—the day you and Taehyung were to be married.
You could hardly sleep at all the night before the wedding, both from nerves and excitement, as your mind ran through hundreds of scenarios of what the day might be like. You had seen the prince after his return from the capitol, and he was thankfully in better spirits, so you didn’t have to worry about that, but that left room for your countless other more frivolous worries.
How would Taehyung look when he saw you tomorrow? Would he be happy at the sight of you coming down the aisle? Or would he get cold feet and run away? And of course, the one thought you tried, unsuccessfully, to push from your mind stuck out above all else. What would your wedding night with the Prince be like?
You knew the basics of what went on from reading romance novels and eavesdropping on the gossip of palace maids, but you had never experienced anything of that nature, and you weren’t quite sure what to expect. The idea of it in general unnerved you a bit, but you couldn’t help but think that if it was Taehyung you’d be going through it with, it wouldn’t be so bad.
As you laid in bed that morning, awakened by your own body long before your maids had come to get you up, you thought back to the kiss you’d shared in the garden just days ago. You reached up, lightly brushing your fingers against your lips, and you could almost feel the heat of Taehyung’s mouth against your own as you closed your eyes and relived the moment.
Taehyung was your first friend, your first kiss, your first love, and you were ready for him to be so much more. You were ready to marry him, and you hoped he felt the same way about you.
Before long your maids had come in to rouse you, finding you already laying awake in bed, and they greeted you with smiles of excitement that mirrored your own as they began special preparations to ready you for your big day.
You didn’t often wear makeup, not being one for drawing attention to yourself, but today you allowed the maids to dust your cheeks with a light rouge, lining your eyes with thin black feathered lines that accentuated your lashes, and painting your lips a soft rosy shade. They styled your hair in an elegant updo, with snow-white blossoms tucked between each carefully arranged lock, and secured your silver tiara and heavenly white veil at the crown of your head. Your dress, which you had seen only at fittings, was now fully complete, with intricate beading along the bodice, a billowing skirt, and a long, regal train that flowed behind you when you walked, and the delicate lace neckline flattered your shape and exposed your collarbones.
When the maids had finished the last of the ties up your back, they all stood back to gaze at you in wonder, seeming practically in awe of you. Curious, you brought your eyes up to the mirror, catching sight of yourself for the first time that morning, and you suddenly realized why all of your attendants were so speechless. You looked absolutely breathtaking—ethereal—and you felt more effortlessly beautiful than you ever had in your life. You couldn’t help but grin to yourself, wondering if the Prince would think the same.
“You look like an angel, your highness,” Bae dreamily complimented you, fawning at you in wonder as Kai vigorously nodded in agreement.
“Like a queen,” Gerda warmly smiled at you, pride swelling in her gracefully aged eyes.
You smiled back at them all, heat rising to your cheeks from their kind words until a light knock at the door interrupted your brief enchantment, and you called out a “Come in.” to whoever was on the other side. The door cracked open and you watched as Jimin came into view, beaming at you the moment you were within his sight.
“You are a vision, your highness,” he praised you, coming to stand just beside you at the mirror. “His majesty is the luckiest man on earth,” he leaned in to jovially whisper to you, dropping his right eyelid into a sly wink.
You giggled at his flattery, hoping he couldn’t tell how flushed you became from just the mere mention of your fiancé’s name, and you smiled pleasantly at him. “Thank you, Sir Jimin.”
“If you are ready, your highness, I have come to escort you to the throne room to commence with the ceremonies,” Jimin explained, politely offering his arm to you. “Shall we?” He smirked.
You nodded and grinned brightly at him as you reached out to take his arm, your maids sharing words of good luck to you as Jimin led you from the room and down to the grand throne room.
From just the mouth of the entrance hall, you could see that the high-ceiling, cathedral-like room was packed to the brim with duchesses, dukes, lords, ladies, and other high-ranking nobles. A long, white carpet stretched all the way from the massive entryway to the end of the aisle, which was obscured from your view at this angle. You could hear chatter, but as you approached, the royal guards took note of you and signaled to a small brass band who began to play a regal fanfare, announcing your arrival.
All at once, a hush fell over the room, and every set of eyes landed squarely on you. Suddenly nervous, you gripped tighter onto Sir Jimin’s arm, but he smiled at you in reassurance, and you instantly felt better. The parade of flower-petal toting young girls and beautiful maidens dressed in soft blue gowns commenced their procession ahead of you, and the band started up a romantic melody as you began your ascent up the aisle. It was hard to see with your wispy veil over your eyes, but even so, when the altar at last came into view, you could easily see him.
There, waiting for you just meters ahead, was the Prince; he was dressed in a stunning white suit with formal gloves to match, distinguished medals, ribbons, and regalia adorning his chest and shoulders, and his eyes seemed to light up the moment that they met yours at last, a grin breaking out across his perfect lips. It was a reaction you had only dreamed about, and to see him gazing at you this way in real life, on your wedding day, filled you with so much joy that you thought your heart might burst.
You hoped he could see how widely you were grinning back at him beneath your veil when you finally reached the Prince at last, and Sir Jimin ceremoniously released your arm, bowing to you, and going to stand with the other palace officials. You faced Taehyung, and he reached out towards you to gingerly lift your veil away from your face, laying it behind your head, and offering you a small, secret smile that seemed only for you. The clergyman who was waiting there at the altar bowed in respect to the two of you, addressing the crowd gathered before you, and beginning the wedding proceedings.
However, you could barely pay attention to a word the man was saying; your eyes saw only Taehyung, and his, only you, and for practically the entire ceremony you remained locked in a wordless gaze of enchantment, only speaking when directed to—as if you two alone existed.
Taehyung’s coronation came first; he knelt before the congregation and was handed the royal scepter, vowing before god and his people to uphold his duty as king from this day forth until his death. He looked so poised as they placed the intricate crown of blue and silver upon his head—like a born leader—and you couldn’t help but revere him with pride as you moved onto the wedding portion of the affair.
Your heart was pounding in your chest as the clergyman presided over the two of you, going over the traditional rites you’d heard countless times at other weddings, but they sounded entirely new and exciting now that they were being said for you and Taehyung. At long last, you reached the highly-anticipated vows.
“Do you, Taehyung, King of Aspenia, take Y/N, Princess of Aurelia, to be your wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as you both shall live?” the man asked Taehyung, and you swallowed hard as you awaited his answer.
He looked deeply into your eyes, his warm gaze telling you without any words at all that he intended to keep every last one of the above promises and more, and his expression calm and even as he spoke out the words; “I do.”
You at last released the breath you hadn’t meant to be holding in for so long, relief and delight flooding through you at Taehyung’s positive affirmation, but now it was your turn.
“And do you, Y/N, Princess of Aurelia, take Taehyung, King of Aspenia, to be your husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as you both shall live?” the elderly officiant now looked to you, asking you the same powerful words in measured meter.
You looked at the man before you, the man you loved—the man you had always loved deep down inside—and you knew there was only one answer you could possibly give him. “I do.”
A group of formally dressed men approached you, bowing before you, and reaching up to remove your small Princess tiara from your head, replacing it with a much grander crown of glittering sapphires that was more befitting of the queen you now were. They had you recite the same vows as Taehyung, and you gladly did, prepared to do your best to serve Taehyung’s country as you had your own. When you finally completed the process, the clergyman looked between you and Taehyung, speaking again.
“By the divine power vested in me, I now pronounce you both husband and wife, King and Queen of Aspenia,” the mature minister proudly proclaimed, raising his hands up. “You may now kiss your bride,” he declared, smiling warmly at Taehyung and gesturing towards you.
Your pulse was racing, your hands practically shaking as your new husband leaned into you and captured your lips in a sweet, chaste kiss. It wasn’t as intense or passionate as the kiss you had shared in the garden, but it was perfect in its own way—special—and you beamed at one another as the two of you parted once again, joining arms, and practically floating down the aisle en route to the ensuing after festivities.
Your wedding reception was a joyous affair; the wine was flowing, a string band played a lively and spritely tune while scads of finely dressed people waltzed across the dancefloor, garlands of brightly colored flowers were hanging from the ceilings, and tables filled with delicious-smelling dishes and sweets lined the walls. Taehyung had clearly spared no expense for the occasion, and you appreciated every intricate detail as you took in the sights before you.
“Is it how you pictured?” A deep voice suddenly sounded from beside you, causing you to whip your head to the side in surprise. When you did, you found Taehyung standing at your side, looking down at you with a curious smirk.
“It’s even more lovely than I ever could have imagined.” You sighed in content, your lips and cheeks almost sore from smiling so much this evening. “Thank you,” you earnestly told him.
“Instead of your thanks... could the King of Aspenia trouble his bride for a dance?” He held out his gloved hand to you, a lighthearted look shining upon his normally more serious face.
“The Queen of Aspenia accepts.” You giggled, dipping down into curtsy before accepting his hand, and allowing Taehyung to lead you out on the crowded, bustling ballroom dancefloor.
You swore, the two of you must have danced the entire night; your hand in his, his covered palm resting against the small of your back, and your bodies pressed tightly together as you spun around again and again until the rest of the world seemed to disappear, save for you two. You could have stayed like that for eternity, content to remain forever in your bliss together, but eventually the party had begun to draw to a close, and you and Taehyung were separated as your maids whisked you away to ready you for what was to come next—your wedding night.
Hushed whispers and fussing hands met you in the candlelight of your private chambers as your attendants made haste to undress you from your intricate wedding gown. Your maids had drawn you a warm bath, and they gently scrubbed at your skin, dousing you in sweet smelling perfumes and oils before dressing you in a simple white nightgown, the material so scant that you could practically see through it.
You could barely focus as some of the older maids tried to warn you what to expect, your mind thinking only of Taehyung and nothing else, and before you knew it you were being shuffled down the hallway. You were practically shoved through the doors of his chambers, the maids quickly departing so as to give the two of you privacy, and you awkwardly crossed your arms over your starkly covered chest, taking a glance around the dimly lit bedroom.
It was then that you spotted him, the Prince—no, the King—standing by the window and looking out into the night. When he heard the shuffling of your arrival, he turned over his shoulder, and your eyes instantly met. You weren’t sure what to do or say, nervousness suddenly getting the better of you, and you quietly fluttered over to the bed, sitting down on it and staring intently down at the carpeting. How were you meant to initiate this?
You had no idea where to begin, but hesitantly, you reached for the ties on your nightgown, thinking this would be the best place to start, your hands shaking as you fumbled with the delicate fabric. Trembling with trepidation, you could feel Taehyung’s eyes on you, burning into your very skin, but before you could undress any further, his deep voice called out to you.
“You don’t have to do that,” he said, breaking the tense silence between you two. You froze, your eyes daring to wander up and meet his once again. “You seem so scared.” He frowned, his tone gentle but with an underlying sadness to it. “I won’t touch you, so please don’t worry.”
You blinked at him, your eyebrows knitting together in surprise as you processed his words. “You won’t?” you timidly questioned, staring at him from the bed with wide eyes. “But I thought that…” your voice trailed off, unable to speak aloud the fears that had taken root in your mind about your wedding night.
“That I would do whatever I pleased with you regardless of your feelings?” he questioned, his expression unreadable. “Do you truly think so little of your husband?” His tone was laced with unmistakable hurt as he stared at you with that intense gaze of his, and you realized how your words must have seemed to him. You knew that Taehyung wouldn’t hurt you; you trusted him.
“No… it isn’t that, I…” you fumbled for words, trying to find the words to express your inner thoughts. “Don’t we need to... consummate the marriage?” you meekly asked him, nervously fiddling with your skirt. If there was one thing you knew about, it was regal matters, and to your knowledge, all royal marriages must be consummated the wedding night lest they be rendered invalid, and land you both in trouble.
“You’re shaking like a leaf,” Taehyung quietly observed, his gaze dropping to your unsteady hands. “I would never force you to do anything you are not ready for, Y/N,” he firmly stated, keeping his distance as he remained across the room from you. “I will not lay a hand on you, I swear it. You don’t have to be afraid—not of me,” he promised you, his eyes much softer and kinder than you had ever witnessed. He made a move towards the door as if to leave you, but right as he tried to step past you, you reached out and caught his wrist with your small hand.
Taken aback by your touch, he snapped around to face you, his eyes trained intently on yours as he searched for an explanation in your stare.
“I’m not afraid,” you calmly said to him, still maintaining your light grip on his wrist to keep him close. Your words held the same sincerity that your eyes did as you gazed up at him, and Taehyung was nearly rendered speechless by it.
“What?” He finally managed to say, his face a mixture of both confusion and incredulity.
“I said I’m not afraid of you, Taehyung,” you repeated once more, willing your voice to sound strong and confident in spite of the way your heart was pounding wildly within your chest.
Taehyung’s collected expression, which had briefly faltered with the shock of your words, quickly became hard once more, as if he were closing up again to protect you from himself, and he carefully pried his arm from your hold.
“You have every reason to be,” he humorlessly scoffed, glancing down at his now exposed hands. “Everything I touch... turns to ice,” he said, his pained eyes as he studied his palms betraying his calm exterior. “I could hurt you... or worse,” he told you with deadly seriousness, as if to make it sound like a warning, but you could see that beneath it was pure worry.
“But your curse had no effect on me when you touched me before—we both saw it,” you argued, reminding him of the events you had both witnessed that day on the balcony. He had made full contact with your skin and nothing had happened to you then. “And besides that... I know that you would never hurt me,” you said with the utmost certainty, looking up at him with eyes full of love. “I trust you, Taehyung.”
He looked shocked by your confession, his face lighting up for just the briefest moment before it gave way to a look of frustration. “Why?” he asked, his thick brows furrowing in disbelief. “How could you be willing to risk everything for a monster like me?” he practically demanded of you, his ocean-like eyes stormy with anguish.
“Because I love you,” you said to him, your eyes soft and so full of all those fond memories of the sweet boy from your youth. You knew he was still in there—you had caught glimpses of him over the course of your time here—and you believed in him. “You’re not a monster. And you can’t keep pushing everyone away... aren’t you lonely, Taehyung?” you asked him, sorrow filling your own voice as you thought about how hard these years of isolation must have been on him.
“These hands haven’t touched another living soul in a long time,” he said, swallowing hard as if he were nervous. “I’m... not certain that I even remember how it feels,” he admitted to you, the loneliness behind his sad words unmistakable.
“Touch me,” you told him without hesitation, going against all of your better judgements.
“Do you know what you are asking for?” he hesitantly questioned you, his cobalt eyes piercing into yours. “We can’t be certain that you are immune to my curse… you could turn to ice in my arms,” he cautioned, reminding you of the deadly consequences of his cursed touch.
“I know,” you quietly replied, but you had never been more certain of anything in your entire life. “Touch me, Taehyung,” you repeated the words, gazing up at the new King with blazing determination, “I wish to be with my husband.”
Taehyung instinctively stepped forward at your words, unable to keep himself from you any longer, his much larger body looming over you, and you held your breath as he reached out a shaking hand toward you. Tentatively, the cold skin of his palm made contact with your warm cheek, and you both braced yourselves for a chill which never came. No—just as you had suspected, Taehyung’s curse seemed to have no effect on you, and you saw his lips curve up into the widest smile of relief as he looked down at you, caressing your face with his large hand.
You smiled back at him, and it was as if the spark between you two was suddenly ignited. Taehyung wasted no time reaching down to pull you up from the bed by your shoulders and into his waiting arms, his mouth finding your own almost immediately. His lips were soft against yours, but frantic too, his desperation for you clear in the way he held you so tightly to him as he kissed you. He had been waiting longer than you could imagine to hold you like this, and it was quite literally a dream come true for him.
His hands cupped either side of your flushed face, the roughness of his palms serving as a foil to your soft cheeks, and he was almost in awe of the sensation of your skin against his own. He was touching you, truly touching you, and you weren’t freezing in the slightest. Better yet, you were warm—tantalizingly so—and he was eager to touch even more of your body.
He slipped his hands beneath the thin fabric of your nightgown as his tongue dove deeper into your mouth, his hungry touch trailing up your bare legs, and behind your shaking thighs until he reached the curve of your backside. His large hands lightly squeezed at your untouched flesh, gently kneading it and drawing a deep, wanton sound from you that you’d never uttered before.
“Taehyung,” you whimpered, clutching tightly onto his shoulders as his hands explored your body beneath the thin material of your slip.
He grinned, adoring the sound of his name falling from your lips in such a way, and he was determined to hear it even more. He leaned in and captured your mouth in a sweet kiss, your noses softly brushing together as he pushed his tongue past your lips again and again, relishing in the taste of you. You were warm and sweet, like hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day, and you let him drink in your warmth with every brush of his lips against yours. You could practically feel the ice encasing him dissolving away, until only the beautiful man held behind it remained.
His wide palms took hold of your thighs from behind, and you gasped in surprise against his mouth at the sensation, his hands slowly prying your legs wider apart so that he could press himself between them as he kissed you deeply.
“I love you too,” he cooed against your lips in response to your earlier declaration, tenderly stroking your face with the pad of his thumb. “My sweet wife… the only creature on this earth that does not freeze under my touch,” the King affectionately addressed you, looking deeply into your eyes. “Surely, you alone were made to be mine,” he declared, taking your dainty hand in his own and lifting it to his lips to be kissed. “You belong to me now, and I to you.”
The look in his eyes was quite intense, but there was a tenderness to it too; Taehyung was now your husband—your king—and you, his queen, and although it was on the surface simply an arranged marriage of political convenience, you couldn’t deny that you had grown to carry true feelings for him, just as he had in turn for you.
“Yes, my king.” You nodded, willing your voice to remain calm despite the way you were in tremors in his tight hold. You knew Taehyung loathed formalities, but the words seemed to roll off your tongue, and he seemed to like it.
“Your king?” His lips twisted into a subtle smirk at your endearing use of his formal title, his grip tightening protectively around you. “Would my queen forgive her king if he breaks his promise not to touch her on this night?” he asked you, his lust-clouded gaze raking hungrily over your thin nightgown. Every word Taehyung said was driving you mad for him, and you were certain he could sense the way you yearned for him.
“Such a betrayal is not beyond forgiveness,” you shyly replied, your heartbeat thundering loudly in your ears. Flustered hearing Taehyung speak such desirous things to you, you forced yourself to look down, your cheeks heating furiously, but his fingers gently gripped your chin and lifted your face back up again.
“You need never hide your face from me, my angel. Look into my eyes and see only your adoring husband,” he beckoned you, your timid eyes traveling up to find his piercing slate ones. They burned with such passion, such need for you, and you were practically mesmerized by the emotion in them. Never in all the time you’d known Taehyung had his eyes looked so warm to you—well, not since the two of you were both children—and the mere sight made your heart swell. “If you wish it, I shall make you mine.”
“Will you be gentle?” you asked him, your wide, innocent eyes peering timidly up at him.
“Of course. I would never harm my most precious gift.” His lips lifted into a small smile, his fingers gingerly brushing your hair back from your face in an affectionate gesture.
Taehyung leaned forward and nuzzled his nose against your own, kissing you passionately, and entangling his tongue with yours once more. He pressed more firmly into you, easing your body down until your back fell against the pure, white sheets, and you collapsed against the plush bed. Hovering just above you, your soft thighs peeking out where your nightgown had ridden up, you looked absolutely ravishing beneath him, and Taehyung eagerly descended on you.
He pressed his lips to the delicate skin of your collarbone, sucking at it through his teeth and marking you over and over as his own, while his hands slid up your thighs until they reached the delicate hemline of your nightdress. Tugging at the thin ties of fabric, he pulled until it finally fell away, and he cast it off from your body, leaving you fully naked beneath his clothed frame.
You suddenly felt vulnerable, the only thing shielding you from Taehyung’s unyielding gaze now stripped away, and you squirmed beneath him, your hands fluttering to cover yourself. But Taehyung easily caught your wrists in his much larger hands, halting you, and pressing delicate kisses to each of your palms in an attempt to calm you. He looked down at you, taking in the full sight of your body for the very first time, and a fond smile came to grace his pink lips.
“You are beautiful, my queen,” he murmured in complete and utter adoration, his declaration and the mesmerized way he was gazing at you immediately helping you to feel more relaxed.
You managed to smile back at him, hesitantly pulling your hands from his light grip so that you could run your fingers along the fabric of his nightshirt. You wanted to see him the way he was seeing you right now, and following your gaze, he understood, reaching down to grip at the fabric of his shirt and pull it over his head.
Immediately your eyes were transfixed by the sight of his smooth, bare chest before you, and you couldn’t help but reach out to touch him, your tentative fingers curiously brushing along the warm skin of his abdomen. Taehyung’s eyes fell shut as you did this, a deep-reaching sigh of content leaving his lips at the raw sensation of being touched after years of living in isolation.
When he opened his eyes again, there was something new in them, a desire—a hunger— that threatened to consume you, and for some reason, you wanted it to. His hands found their way to your naked waist, wrapping his fingers around you possessively, and holding you in place as he leaned down to kiss you more and more, while you laid on your back beneath him.
His tongue painted a portrait of your mouth, his heavy body pressing yours down into the bed, but in a way that felt so safe and secure. You trailed your touch up his arms and down his back as he kissed you, earning a shudder of pleasure from him, and he suddenly rolled his hips against yours. You felt something hard and dense there—a foreign sensation, but you knew what it meant—and the moment that it made contact with your naked center, it sent a spike of white-hot heat through your lower body.
“Ahh—“ you unexpectedly moaned into Taehyung’s mouth, caught off guard by the wonderful feeling. He grinned against your lips at this, relishing in your sweet sounds, and his determination to wring them from you grew with every soft sigh that left your lips.
He ground his concealed erection against you at a tentatively slow pace, getting you used to the unfamiliar but enticing feeling, before he decided to push things further, trailing a hand up your bare thighs until his touch was ghosting your center. You were breathing heavy, wound up by his proximity to your most secret place, and you shivered in anticipation as he ran his fingers along the chasm of your damp folds.
Ever so gently, he plunged one of his long digits inside you, your whole body going rigid at the foreign intrusion, but it felt strangely good too. He watched your face with excitement as he began to move within you, pumping his finger in and out and flexing it between your walls.
“Please, Taehyung,” you whimpered, gripping tightly to his upper arms for some kind of stability. You had never experienced anything like this before, and even though it scared you, you trusted Taehyung to take care of you.
“It’s all right, dearest one,” he cooed soothingly to you, stroking your cheek with his free hand. “I promise you’ll like this,” he explained, trying to reassure you with his soft words and gentle touches. “I just want to make you feel good.”
You nodded in understanding, giving him the approval he desired to continue, which he gladly did. He kissed you once more, his lips meeting the skin of your cheeks, your neck, and your chest until finally his head came down to join his hand at your burning heat. He pressed a gentle kiss to your lower belly, flicking his eyes up to yours and holding contact with you as he brought his lips to your glistening lower ones.
His mouth enveloped your folds, his tongue gently poking out and dipping into you, and you whined at the feeling, reaching down to grip onto Taehyung’s hair for security. You had never experienced anything of this nature before, and you couldn’t believe how incredible it felt. He focused his attention on your tiny bud down there, experimentally rolling over the spot with his hot muscle as if testing out the motion, and you instantly felt tendrils of delicious heat spreading throughout your entire body, making you moan out shamelessly loudly for him.
He seemed to be trying to time each suckling movement of his lips and tongue with each push of his fingers into you, balancing the immense pleasure with the uncomfortable stretch so that it wouldn’t hurt. “Does it feel all right?” he paused his efforts to ask, looking up at you with tender eyes and lightly glazed lips.
You could only nod, so overwhelmed by the symphony of new sensations that were hitting you all at once, and he smiled in satisfaction.
“I’ve never actually done this before, so this is all new for me too… but tell me if anything feels wrong,” he candidly admitted, the fact that he was just as inexperienced as you were setting you more at ease. “I only want to please you.” He shyly smiled at you, his expression earnest.
“Kiss me,” you murmured to him, your voice like a siren to a lonely sailor on the harbor. When you summoned him so sweetly he had no will to deny you, and he quickly bobbed his head back up to meet your soft lips, the taste of his mouth strange from your juices but not unpleasant.
His tongue delved into your mouth, tasting every last inch of you, while his hands briefly abandoned your core to slide up your thighs, slowly rising until they stopped just beneath your breasts. It was clear that he wanted to touch them but was waiting for your approval, and so, gathering your courage and reaching down, you rested your small hands over his much larger ones and placed them over the swell of your chest. He instantly reacted, gently squeezing down on your tender flesh, and ghosting over your pert nipples with the pads of his fingers. He pressed kisses to each one, like offerings to a goddess, and you writhed in bliss.
No one had ever touched you like this, and after Taehyung had, you vowed to yourself that he would be the only one who ever would. He was your one and only true love—the other half of your soul—and you wanted the two of you to become one. You involuntarily rubbed your thighs together as he teased your breasts, the sensation making warm wetness pool between your legs, and this didn’t go unnoticed by your husband. He could sense that you wanted more from him, your hands pulling at his chest as if pleading with him, and he received your signals.
He briefly removed his hands from your body, reaching for the waist of his thin trousers before pushing them down, and stripping them off, exposing his fullness to you for the first time. You had never seen a man in such a way, and your eyes slightly widened when you realized how large he was, wondering how such a thing was expected to fit inside your small opening.
As if reading your thoughts, Taehyung quickly spoke up. “We’ll go slowly,” he assured you, reaching down to comfortingly cup your cheek.
You nodded in relief, and he pressed his body down against yours once more, reconnecting your lips. With his hardness now exposed, you could feel how stiff it was against you, and it wedged between your legs as you kissed, lightly rubbing along your folds. The friction it created was entirely addicting, and feeling emboldened, you tried rolling your hips down against him.
Taehyung hissed in pleasure, breaking your kiss to bury his face instead in the side of your neck, his teeth lightly raking over your flesh. Taking your advance as an invitation, he began to grind more forcefully into you, his hard length slotting perfectly along your dripping folds and making you both pant in pleasure. This was what it felt like to desire someone, to want someone to be a part of you more than anything in the world—you understood now—and you were ready for it.
“Take me now,” you suddenly told him, making the decision before your rational brain could catch up to your body’s desires. You wanted him to possess every part of you before you lost your confidence again; you wanted to become entirely his. “I’m ready,” you insisted, staring fearlessly into his mesmerizing oceanic eyes.
“It may hurt a bit, my darling wife,” Taehyung whispered somewhat worriedly to you, his voice gentle as his hand softly coddled your face. He wanted to make sure that you were fully aware of what you were getting into before you agreed to this. “Are you certain that you want this?” he asked you, peering deeply into your wild eyes for any sign of hesitation. “That you want me?”
“Yes.” You nodded certainly, your voice breathy and full of need. “Make me yours, Taehyung.”
He needed no further confirmation than your inviting words, reaching a hand down to wrap around his member and line the tip of it up with your center. He let out a satisfied groan as he pushed into you at last, his large hand gripping onto the headboard above you for stability and you felt a sudden rush of cool air across your forehead as he did this, glancing up to find that a small area of the wooden bedframe had now began to ice over right where he’d touched it.
You remembered Taehyung’s words about how unpredictable his powers could be when he was experiencing intense emotion, and it made you happy to see that he was feeling every bit as passionate for you right now as you were for him. However the reality of your bodies colliding interrupted your thoughts, your hands gripping at the sheets to brace yourself as Taehyung’s hard member fully entered you. Your walls were unaccustomed to such a stretch, and you felt a tightness in your lower body so intense that you thought you might snap in two as you cried out.
“I’m so sorry, my love,” Taehyung regretfully tutted, pressing soothing kisses to the side of your face. “If you want me to stop, say so at any time,” he reminded you, concern in his tone.
“No,” you quickly replied to him. Despite your discomfort, you decisively shook your head no, not wanting to give up a moment of your time together. You wanted to be with the man you loved more than anything, and there was just about nothing you weren’t willing to endure.
He gave you a few moments to recover from the initial shock, and sooner than you expected, the slight sting began to dull, and you became antsy for him to move again. You wiggled your legs and Taehyung chuckled at your adorable impatience, sweetly kissing the tip of your nose. Responding to your needs, he began to slowly rut in and out of you, each time pulling himself a little further out so that when he pushed back in he had the momentum to reach spots deeper inside you—the stretch intense, but gradual.
You mewled at the excitingly foreign feeling of him sliding between your walls, encouraging him to pick up his pace and thrust into your with more force. You had no experience with any of this, but you knew that you liked it, and you wanted Taehyung to keep going. This time he pulled out nearly to the tip, his hips colliding with yours as he rammed back into you, and his member filled you up to the brim, completely sheathing him within your tantalizing warmth.
“God, Y/N,” he groaned out, his mouth sucking down on your collarbone and contributing to the abstract portrait of blooming red, pink, and purple marks already there. “My darling Y/N,” he murmured against your skin, wanting to own every last part of you. He ground into your body harder in his insatiable lust for you, teetering on the edge of losing control from how beyond this world it felt to be moving within you at last.
He reached out and gripped onto the bedside table for support as he pounded into you, the wood becoming encased in frost, as ice spread from Taehyung’s touch all the way down the table legs and onto the floor, spreading through the room, but neither of you seemed to care. You were entirely too focused on one another, on the love you were feeling, and the beautiful moment your entwined bodies were sharing.
You could sense there was something building inside you; a pressure in your lower body that only seemed to be growing more intense by the minute, and you had no idea what the feeling meant, but you could tell you were close to its apex. Taehyung seemed to be right with you as well, if his ragged breathing and glistening forehead were any indicators. His thrusts were growing more reckless, less measured, and that strange feeling in your belly was becoming harder and harder to suppress by the minute.
“Taehyung, I…” your weak voice trailed off as you tried to speak but failed, interrupted by each hastening snap of his hips into yours. You didn’t have the words to express what was happening to you, but Taehyung seemed to understand you nonetheless, and he brought his mouth up to kiss you sloppily, no longer able to hide his primal, burning need for you.
“Let go with me,” he murmured to you between kisses, uttering the most beautiful sinful words, and cupping your face in his hands. “We’ll come undone together,” he rasped to you, using every ounce of his willpower to hold on longer for you.
You nodded in understanding, his words being the final absolution you needed to uncork the pressure mounting within you. Your body went limp under him, your toes curling as everything seemed to hit you all at once. Your vision came in flashes; Taehyung’s flushed face above you, the ceiling over your head, your bodies colliding in perfect harmony. You could sense Taehyung struggling, gripping onto you like he never wanted to let go, and his thrusts devolved into disorganized strokes, decreasing in rhythm until he shuddered against you, and you felt hot ribbons of liquid releasing inside of you.
The two of you shared heavy breaths like you were of only one body—not two—everything about you both so perfectly in tune with one another in this moment, and you laid together as a comfortably tangled mess amid the sheets.
“I love you,” Taehyung whispered against the shell of your ear, pressing a delicate kiss there. “I love you so much,” he told you again as if he simply couldn’t get enough of saying the words to you, repeating them again and again, and leaving a trail of reverent kisses behind him.
“Taehyung!” You giggled in delight, playfully pushing at his shoulders. You felt something flutter down from above you both and land against your nose, and curiously, you looked up to find its source, smiling broadly to yourself. “Taehyung, look!” you exclaimed, and he lifted his head to follow your line of sight all the way up to the air above you, where a seemingly impossible fluffy cloud had formed, delicate snowflakes floating down from it and lightly dusting the two of you in your blissful afterglow. “You made it snow!” You beamed up at him.
“It’s because of you,” he fondly smirked, gazing at you in adoration. “You make me happier than I’ve ever been—this is just my magic’s way of expressing that.” He grinned proudly down at you, smoothing your hair back from your face.
“Let’s see if we can make some more,” you giddily proposed, pressing your body up against Taehyung’s and pulling him down for a greedy kiss. He chuckled against your lips, your cute and admittedly forward actions amusing him.
“As you wish, my queen,” he playfully smirked at you, taking ahold of your hips and rolling the two of you over so that you were straddling his waist from above. “Let’s try again.” He grinned.
· ───────── ·𖥸· ───────── ·
It was no secret around Icestone palace that the newlywed king and queen were hopelessly infatuated with one another; from your wedding night on, hushed giggles and quiet gasps were heard drifting down the halls from your shared chambers long into the night and early into the morning hours, filling the castle with whispers.
You and Taehyung had become practically inseparable now, eating every meal together, spending hours lying in the secret garden, and playing out in the snow like any ordinary couple on Taehyung’s days off from official business. There was scarcely a moment that you weren’t by one another’s side. Which is why it struck you as odd on one particular day—only a few months after you’d been married—when you could not seem to find your husband anywhere.
It wasn’t like him to disappear without notice with even his servants having no idea where he had disappeared to, and you searched high and low for him in every corner of the palace. You checked his study, your chambers, even your special secret garden, but all turned up no sign of your beloved or any clue to his whereabouts. Feeling disheartened, you were just about to give up the search and start becoming seriously worried for him when you remembered there was one last place you hadn’t checked yet.
Hastening up the stairs as fast as you could manage, you practically burst out onto the tower balcony, finding just the man you were searching for standing nonchalantly against the railing, the sight of his broad shoulders from behind instantly filling you with relief.
“You nearly gave me a heart attack,” you called out to your oblivious lover, but he didn’t seem startled at all by the sound of your voice, as if he’d been expecting you. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been looking for you?” you asked him, striding towards him in playful annoyance.
He turned to look at you from over his shoulder, smirking in self-satisfaction like this had been part of his plan all along. “I knew you would find me up here,” he chuckled, a twinkle of mischief in his brilliant blue eyes. “You always have.”
You rolled your eyes but came to stand beside him nonetheless, leaning casually against his firm shoulder, and he quickly made room for you, guiding you to stand in front of him along the railing so that he could wrap both arms around you from behind as you gazed out at the crisp new snow atop the mountain peaks.
“What are you doing way up here, hm?” you lightly interrogated, inclining your head to the side so you could catch a glimpse of his profile. “Is there something on your mind?” you gently questioned him. He’d told you once that this was where he came to think when things got too overwhelming, and you began to worry that something must have been troubling him.
“My mind hasn’t been at peace since the day I met you, dearest,” he lovingly teased, pressing his lips affectionately to your temple while you scoffed and gently shoved at him in jest. “But actually… I came up here because I wanted to show you something.” He carefully chose his words, intriguing you with their vagueness.
Turning in his hold so that you could face him directly, you looked into his eyes with curiosity ablaze in your own. “Show me what?” you said, your creased brows making that small indent in your forehead he found absolutely adorable.
Without a word, he suddenly backed away from you, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small leather-bound book, holding the object up as if showing it off to you. You cocked your head to the side as you studied the old tome, but nothing seemed particularly extraordinary about it to you. It was—by all accounts—just an ordinary book, and you lightly frowned at your husband in confusion. “A book?” you quizzed.
“The book isn’t the surprise,” he hinted with a knowing smirk, waiting for you to catch onto his little surprise. Sensing you were lost, he wiggled his bare fingers against the book cover, and your face suddenly lit up in realization.
“It’s not freezing!” You yelled to him in surprise. “You’re holding it without your gloves and it isn’t freezing!” You repeated as if saying it out loud would make it make sense to you. “But how…?” you stuttered in question, wondering how this object seemed to defy his curse.
“Well... I realized that I only seemed to freeze things whenever I was emotional. Fear was the catalyst, and the more scared I was, the more out of control I became.” He explained to you, studying the mundane book and running his hands over it. “But since we’ve been together, I’ve finally figured out the antidote. The way to control my powers is the opposite of fear,” he said, looking up and raising a sly brow at you.
“The opposite?” you pried, mulling over his words. “What is it?” You had no earthly idea what could possibly be powerful enough to undo his curse, but you were eager to find out.
“Love.” He grinned at you, his smile as bright and as beautiful as it had been the first time you’d met him all those years ago as a child. “The answer was love—it was always you, Y/N.” There was undeniable love in his voice when he spoke, a love more powerful than you had ever thought you’d experience, and Taehyung’s eyes regarded you like you were the most precious treasure on this earth—and to him, you were.
As you stared back at him, tears of joy forming at the corners of your eyes and threatening to spill, you couldn’t hold yourself back any longer. You ran forward and leapt into Taehyung’s arms, and he was more than ready to catch you, spinning you around and lifting you up with his sturdy forearms. He looked up at you with all of the stars in his eyes, and you were certain you must have been looking at him just the same as he brought you down to meet his lips in an intimate kiss. It was a moment of pure bliss.
“In all my life, I have never loved another as I love you,” he sweetly murmured to you, holding you securely in his warm embrace. “Will you stay by my side forever?” he asked, surprising you with the fact he even had to ask you this after how deeply and strongly you felt for him.
“Of course I will,” you laughed, squeezing him tightly and nuzzling your nose against his. “I love you, Taehyung. I’ll always love you,” you promised him, meaning it with every fiber of your being. You glanced down at your slightly swollen stomach, placing your hand over it and gently caressing it as you looked deeply into Taehyung’s eyes. “We both will,” you told him, hoping that he would pick up on the news you’d been waiting to for the right time to tell him.
“No…” he gasped in surprise looking down at your very newly pregnant stomach. “You are?” he excitedly asked, holding both your hands and gawking at you with an adorable smile.
“I am.” You proudly grinned back. “We’re going to be a family,” you happily announced, and he pulled you tenderly into his arms once again.
“I don not know how you did it, but you have officially melted the Snow King,” he quietly chuckled, stroking his hand through your hair. “I swear, I will spend every day for the rest of our lives repaying you for the warmth you’ve brought to my heart,” he swore to you, the two of you embracing one another as a gentle snow began to sprinkle down from the skies above—a sweet testament to your everlasting happiness.
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