His hands fidgeted for the umpteenth time as he adjusted the collar of his tunic, watching his reflection in the mirror as the auburn haired, green-eyed, lean-built Crown Prince of Norway tried to preoccupy himself with anything that would distract him from what was currently going on outside.
Hamish Haddock, son of King Stoick would rather have been anywhere else at that specific moment. It was no secret amongst his immediate family that gatherings like this made him nervous. It was one thing when the attention was on the collective Royal Family; it was another when it was all on him.
Such was the life of the first-born and only son of Norway's ruling monarch. It had felt like he'd had eyes watching him his entire life... And to an extent that was true. There were those who watched over him with concern, and those who watched over him with interest... It was the result of Hamish being the first in line to the throne after his Father, and being born into this world prematurely.
There had been those in the family, the government and in the press who had speculated that the young Crown Prince wouldn't survive the week, a claim that the King had wanted to strenuously denounce publically, but had relented on request of the Queen.
He had been small and weak, but he'd continued to live and to grow, and now that he'd reached his twentieth year, he was ready to choose someone to spend the rest of his life with.
And that was part of the problem, Hamish's choices were few, and an even smaller number of them were likely in attendance that evening.
His Father's words echoed in his mind: “The person you choose this evening should be one you have a good understanding of, and they of you. Someone you can trust and support, and who will do that in return… and will show you when you’re wrong. Your Mother and I are proud of you, and we want you to be happy.”
The conversation had been regretfully short, but the Crown Prince knew that his Father had intended the words as encouragement and support, a means of trying to put as many of his son's worries to rest as possible. Traditionally the King and Queen would be absent from this function, so for tonight, aside from the familiar faces amongst the palace staff, he would be on his own.
Acknowledging the inevitable with a sigh, the auburn-haired Crown Prince stepped away from the mirror and made his way to greet his guests.
“Presenting his Royal Highness, Crown Prince Hamish the Third.”
The double doors parted, granting his vermilion eyes a view of the Great Hall and the assembled attendees within.
The ballroom spanned two floors of the palace, and was dressed in white with gold detailing. The longer walls of the Ballroom featured square columns, whilst the shorter walls featured pillars that were round. Gilt mirrors on one of the longest walls reflected the windows on the opposite, and additional light was provided by a selection of small chandeliers hung between the columns, and larger, more elaborate Electroliers which were suspended from a decorative criss-crossed ceiling.
The understated colour scheme of the Ballroom created a contrast with the richer and more varied assortment of the guests in attendance: the familiar selection of women in stunning gowns and men in immaculate suits. Amongst the menagerie were members of various Scandinavian and European parliaments, and even a few choice members of monarchies from those aforementioned regions.
Hamish applied a warm smile as he entered the room and began the process of conversing with his guests. As the evening unfolded, he would announce his choice in front of the gathering, before eventually transferring to the Banqueting Hall for the 'feast'.
As the night progressed, he'd started to wonder if he was seeing things. Dozens of people were milling about in his peripheral, creating a swarm of colours which danced around his vision. He'd started noticing a particular blob floating around at one point or another, and it was distracting him. Every time he thought he'd found that particular smudge of white hair, it turned out to be a man from the Legislature, or an elderly woman who was part of a delegation from Denmark.
He had to get a grip, it couldn't possibly be him.
It was in that moment that a phantom blot of familiar white hair was replaced by a familiar fleck of blonde.
The Crown Prince felt his lips tug in a spontaneous smile of happiness; it'd been some time since he'd last seen Astrid Hofferson...
And she’s as beautiful as ever.
She was dressed in a flowing blue gown that hugged her figure, whilst her hair was styled in a fancier braid than usual, a choice for the formal occasion.
He had the threatening urge to give her a bear hug, however etiquette overruled him on that desire, instead he greeted her cordially.
“Miss Hofferson. It's a pleasure to see you here tonight.”
“Your Royal Highness.” she curtsied.
“I'm glad you were able to attend, most of the other guests are people I don't know all that well... And I think there are a few I don't know at all.” she laughed politely at his remark. “You're a welcome sight, m'lady. Is Emil here with you?”
“He wanted to come, but he was called away to an emergency surgery in Kristiansand, one of the Tigers at their Zoo had a ruptured Spleen, and you know how much animals mean to him.”
A recollecting smile crossed his face as he cast his mind back; he remembered Emil Eretson's passion very well. “I hope he doesn't think I'll be stealing you away from him this evening. Please pass on my well wishes to him when you next see him.”
“I will.” she nodded.
He was reluctant to break away from the conversation so soon, but he had to finish his greetings before he could indulge in more significant conversation.
“There are more guests I need to meet before I'm free to chat at my leisure, once I've got that out of the way I'll be back in a little bit. I want to do some more catching up with you.”
“I sure you would.” she added playfully. “I’m looking forward to that talk.”
With his departure, Hamish returned to his slow waltz of the room as he made pleasantries and thanked those who were present. Seeing Astrid had helped put him a little more at ease, and his thoughts lingered on their friendship over the years. He'd be lying if he hadn't had some romantic feelings for her in the past, but their circumstances had eventually changed... And as he knew that her heart belonged to another, he'd never dare do anything that would hurt that relationship.
Just when he thought he'd banished the specter of snowy hair from his mind, he was greeted upon turning from a member of one of Norway's wealthiest families by the sight of a tall, athletic man with white hair and pair of icy blue eyes.
He was dressed in a black suit, but buttoned beneath the jacket was a rich sapphire waistcoat.
His skin was pale; it had been ever since before they'd first met.
The owner of the ivory mane hesitated awkwardly; he'd spent enough time with the young Crown Prince to know not to speak before spoken to at formal functions... Even though he really, really wanted to.
“Mr... Mr. Overland. It's good to see you.”
“Your Royal Highness. It's good to see you as well.” he bowed.
A nervous air hung between the two, one that fortunately went unnoticed by the other guests.
“Are you here with someone?”
Jack smiled amiably in response, before he extracted something from his jacket.
“I'm not actually a plus one tonight, I was formally invited.” he passed the invitation across, which the Crown Prince removed from an envelope and read:
The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by Their Majesties King Stoick I & Queen Valka to invite MR. JACKSON OVERLAND to the feast of affiance at the Royal Palace on Thursday, 29th October 2015 at 7:30 o'clock, p.m.
Hamish returned the invitation to its recipient, and allowed himself a chuckle.
“Looks like I have my Mother to thank for this.”
“She probably thought you could use a few friendly faces.” Jack shrugged.
“It's appreciated. Have you spoken with Astrid, yet?”
“I'm not sure that would work out well for us.” he teased and Hamish nodded in amusement.
“Probably not.” the Crown Prince conceded. “We will need to catch up some more in a little bit. I have a few more guests I need to see first however.”
“I know how it is...” Jack replied with an exaggerated expression of disappointment, which quickly fell to reveal the casual air that Hamish had grown so used to with the cobalt-eyed young man. “Until then...” he added, and the auburn-haired man knew that his friend was struggling not to refer to the Crown Prince by his first name. Jack was not well-known for following the rules, so to put so much effort into maintaining the proper protocol... It warmed the Crown Prince's heart.
As Hamish walked away, his mind journeyed to other times and places, to summers in Bergen, to a friendship that had started when he was a boy.
It was the pale skin and white hair that had first drawn the young Crown Prince's attention to Jackson Overland. Back then, Jack had been one of the children in Bergen that Hamish had encountered when they’d spent their summers at the royal retreat... But as time had passed, they'd by circumstance become close friends, especially when they'd met again at Bergen University College - Hamish had been studying Engineering, Jack had been in the Health and Social Sciences course studying to become a nurse.
It was at University where they'd become even closer friends than before... and eventually they'd crossed the line of becoming something more.
They'd been good together, and they'd made a lot of fond memories with each other... But keeping things low in order to avoid attention from the press, to have privacy, it had taken its toll on their relationship, and they'd eventually parted ways.
They’d remained in contact in the following years, including after Hamish had returned from Afghanistan… Even more so after what’d happened during his tour out there.
Despite all the time that had passed, Hamish still regretted how their relationship had ended. He wished he'd been stronger... braver… that he’d been public about his relationship. Norway was a progressive country, it had enacted legislation to legalise same-sex marriage six years previously... Surely they could accept a Crown Prince who happened to be bisexual?
Astrid's profile appeared in his vision and he made his way to her. Judging by her body language it appeared that he would be saving her from a conversation she was eager to leave.
“Gentlemen, Miss, I hope you're enjoying yourselves.” the Crown Prince greeted.
“Your Royal Highness, we are.” the bearded man from Finland replied.
“I was wondering if I could borrow Miss Hofferson for a moment, there's a matter of state business I'd like her opinion on.”
The two men did their best to hide their disappointment at the departure of their female companion; Astrid on the other hand barely contained her gratitude.
“I thought I'd better step in. Would you like them sent home early with their dinners in paper bags? I can have that done.”
She just resisted the urge to hit his arm.
“Please don't, but thanks. They'd nearly talked me ear off.” she gave him a smile of her appreciation. “What did you want to talk about? I hope it wasn't really about state business.”
“Nah. I figured we should do some more catching up.”
“I bet I'm not the only one you've been doing that with tonight.” she noted.
“Jack was always hard to miss. I think my Mother made sure to invite him to tonight.”
Astrid raised a brow at the observation. “I don't want to second guess your Mother; she always had a flair for the dramatic... In her own way. But do you think there might be more to her inviting him than just to provide some extra moral support?”
The Crown Prince seemed a little uneasy at the possibility she was raising. What could his Mother be planning?
At his continued silence, Astrid carried on with her line of thought. “Maybe she's trying to give you a hint of what she thinks is best for you. Can I tell you something?”
“I've never stopped you before. Not that I could.” he subconsciously rubbed the imaginary sore spot on his arm.
“Well... I know that I've not always gotten along with Jack, but I'd be a pretty poor friend if I hadn't seen just how strongly you used to feel for him. I also know that despite what we both said you held yourself responsible for ending things.”
His attempt to hide the resurfacing glimmer of sadness was admirable, but she recognised it none-the-less. “Had things gone differently back at University, had there not been people from the Palace security keeping a watchful eye over everything we did... Had I not been so scared of our relationship ending up on every front page and the evening news... I think I'd have chosen Jack to marry me years ago. But we went our separate ways... There’s no point even considering him when as far as I know, he's probably found someone else.”
She frowned at his response. “You're making quite a few assumptions. You should probably talk to him... He deserves that much at least, especially when he didn't do anything wrong to you.” she hesitated as she considered whether to reveal something about the ivory-haired subject of their discussion. “Would it change things if I told you he was single?”
“I'd have a hard time believing someone as attractive and good natured as Jack was single.” he smirked.
“I have it on good authority that Jack Overland at this very moment is an eligible bachelor.”
He raised an auburn brow in skepticism. “How good of an authority are we talking here?”
He let that news sink in. “I thought you two could barely spend ten minutes in the same room without killing each other?”
“We've both already been here a three quarters of an hour...” she chided. “...and he told me whilst we were catching up when we met for a meal last week.”
He cast his glance around the room for a moment, before he finally spotted the blue-eyed man, currently engrossed in a conversation with a woman in military dress.
“Did he mention you?” he wanted to say 'yes' to her question, but his mouth proved reluctant to cooperate. Fortunately she was able to read him despite the sudden case of being tongue tied. “We both shared old stories about you, and when he spoke of you there was a lot of fondness in his voice. Some could even say it was actually 'love'.”
A silence settled between the two of them as he digested this new information.
“We also briefly talked about Afghanistan...”
“Bound to happen.” he supposed, and then added: “I wish they’d let you guys visit me.”
“Don’t we all. At least we got to talk to you over the phone.“
“Did I ever thank either of you for that? It helped keep me sane.”
“You did… and for the record it helped us as well. It meant a lot, getting to hear you and the sass you have to keep private.”
He quietly laughed. It was true, he didn’t get to exercise his sarcasm nearly enough these days.
“Getting back on topic, if I may ask a question, is there anyone here tonight who you would want to propose to?"
“That depends on if we're talking about those I haven't ended a relationship with, or if we're talking about everyone." he then shook his head and looked away for a moment. “Aside from you and Jack, there's nobody else in this room I've grown that close to." he lowered his voice to a whisper “If you were in my shoes, what would you do?”
“That's not my decision to make.” she responded sympathetically. “But... Speaking from a historical perspective, it's a good thing that monarchs these days no longer have to marry for political or power reasons. I'm sure Prince William of the United Kingdom is glad that he could marry the woman he loved... Rather than whoever happened to conveniently benefit the kingdom.” she added pointedly with a wink.
The Crown Prince mused on what she'd said. Eventually he nodded his head briefly and gave her a smile. “Thank you for your advice, Miss. Hofferson. I've done some silly and stupid things in my past... The last thing I should be doing is something crazy.”
“Indeed, Your Royal Highness. The last thing anyone would expect you to do would be something crazy.”
He turned to leave, but paused for a moment. “Thank you, Astrid.”
“You're welcome.” she smiled back, and watched as he walked away toward the far end of the room.
Jack had finished his conversation with the member of the military, a member of Hamish’s former unit, and was now enjoying a sip of Akvavit.
“Your Royal Highness, this brings back memories.” he greeted as he held up the glass of yellow-hued liquid. The Crown Prince wasn't completely certain which memories his friend was referring to, as there were a few that came to mind with that particular beverage.
“I hope you've been enjoying the evening despite my absence, I'm sorry I haven't been catching up with you as much as I said we would.”
“I know you're distracted.” Jack observed, his voice revealing his empathy. “I don't think I could look as calm as you if I were you.”
“I've had plenty of practice.” Hamish smiled thinly.
“I hope they know how lucky they are, whoever you've chosen.”
“I think they do.” the Crown Prince cast his eyes over the guests in the Ballroom, mindful that if he stayed with the turquoise-eyed man for much longer, he'd either risk losing his nerve, or telling him everything. He reaffixed a smile to his face and turned, holding out his hand to his former lover. “Mr. Overland... It has been a genuine pleasure seeing you again, and whatever happens, I'm glad you came, and that my Mother invited you.”
“Same here.” Jack replied, and shook the Crown Prince's offered hand. After a moment they broke contact and Hamish walked away. He would be commencing the ceremonial part of the evening shortly, and in that moment his heart was racing beneath his ribcage.
The moment that they'd gathered for had now arrived, and an announcer made his presence clear as he spoke to the guests gathered in the Great Hall.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests and dignitaries: Their Majesties King Stoick and Queen Valka have invited you to attend as His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Hamish the Third announces the person he has chosen to be his fiancé.”
Hamish, the announcer and a footman with a brown leather box were stood on a balcony flanked by candelabras overlooking the Great Hall, allowing the gathered guests the chance to get as good a view of the proceedings as possible.
“Your Royal Highness, have you chosen they who shall serve as your companion, counsel and confidante?”
Hamish swallowed. “I have.”
“Are they present among us?”
“Please state the name of your choice so that those present can bear witness.”
A trickle of sweat rolled down the Crown Prince's spine.
“I, Hamish Haddock the Third, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Norway, with clear heart; soul and conscious, have chosen... Jackson Overland.”
Had the guests not already been in a respectful silence, the green-eyed man suspected they would've been left a little stunned by his declaration. Even in their silence, there were more than a few glances between those stood below.
To his eternal gratitude and relief, the footman and the announcer didn't show any sign of surprise or a negative reaction.
“Jackson Overland!” the announcer called out into the room. After a few moments the crowd shifted and Jack stepped forward. Had he not been working so hard to maintain his composure, Hamish suspected that the snow-haired man's mouth would've been wide open in a disbelieving 'O'.
Jackson was escorted up to the balcony where he approached the Crown Prince and knelt before him. Beside them, the footman unclasped the leather box and lifted the lid. Inside, resting on a bed of felt was a satin sash. The sash was predominantly red, with a pair of thin white stripes running along the edge. Settled within the white strip was a thinner blue stripe, completing the symbolic representation of the national flag of Norway. Hamish removed the sash from the box and held it over Jack.
“Jackson Overland, will you accept my hand in marriage?”
The white-haired man looked upward, and nodded.
“Your Royal Highness, I do.”
Hamish smiled, and he placed the sash upon the man he had chosen... The only man, the only person he could ever have chosen. The sash draped over Jack's right shoulder, and hugged the left hip of his suit jacket.
“You may rise.” the announcer decreed, and Jack rose to his feet. “The Crown Prince has chosen his fiancé.”
There was a quiet moment, before the crowd started clapping. Hamish was certain that Astrid, who was close to the front of the crowd, had been the first to applaud.
As dictated by tradition, the Crown Prince and his fiancé were led from the Hall to one of the anterooms leading to the Royal Apartments; so they could have a private moment before sitting down for the meal of the evening.
Ten minutes of silence had passed, and neither man had spoken a word to the other. Hamish wondered if his white-haired friend was dealing with the conflicting emotions resulting from the proposal, or if the blue-eyed man had actually been left speechless.
That observation caused an absurd thought to enter his mind: after fifteen years he’d finally managed to stun Jackson Overland into silence.
He would’ve finally broken the stillness, had Jack not beaten him to the punch.
“You had better have a fantastic explanation for what just happened out there, because I really can’t wrap my head around what’s going on. I’m hopping between being pissed off and worried here, Hamish, because that stunt you just pulled? That isn’t like you… I mean, we both know that I might pull something like that if I had the right motivation… but you’re going to be the King, you’re supposed to be responsible.”
The auburn-haired man swallowed to clear his throat. “I know how crazy it must look, but I promise… it wasn’t a stunt.”
“I hope so.”
“There’s a lot I need to put into words here, so please bear with me as I explain.” he took a deep breath to try sooth his nerves before he continued. “Several things came together tonight that reminded me of a few things I’d realised when we used to be together, and some things I’ve only just realised now.”
“Okay… so, what were these things that came together tonight?”
“You being here tonight, that you’d been given an official invitation… and something Astrid said. We both know that despite him knowing how fond I was of you, I doubt my Father would’ve sent the invitation unless my Mother had asked him to… so we probably have her to thank for you being here tonight… and although she might’ve invited you so that there’d be another friendly face here who would give me moral support… which is why Astrid and Emil were invited… You have to wonder if my Mother had another idea in mind.”
“You think your Mother was trying to set us up?”
“Maybe, I’ll be asking her the first chance I get when I see her tomorrow.” Hamish mused.
“And how does Astrid fit into this?”
“She was the first person to suggest my Mother might’ve invited you for a specific purpose. She also told me about her recent meeting with you.”
Jack shifted uncomfortably. “What did she tell you?”
“She said that when you guys had talked about me, you’d done it with ‘fondness’.” he paused, considering whether to mention the next part. “She also told me that you guys talked a little bit about Afghanistan.”
The blue-eyed man uttered an irritated sigh.
“She shouldn’t have said anything. I know the news that you’d been wounded screwed me up, but telling you that wouldn’t have fixed anything back then or now…”
Jack blinked in sudden realisation. “She… she say didn’t anything about that, did she?”
Hamish shook his head.
“Shit.” he rubbed his palms over his forehead.
“I wish you’d told me how bad it really was.”
“You had enough to deal with. What I was dealing with was silly and irrational.”
“It wasn’t silly.” the Crown Prince took his hand and gave it a comforting squeeze. “I wasn’t killed, but I could’ve been… that’s a legitimate thing to get scared by, not like me chickening out on us when I thought things got too much to handle.”
His friend’s blue eyes widened in clarity as the dots connected.
“Is that what this has been all about? Are you still blaming yourself for us breaking up?”
Hamish didn’t give a verbal response to the question, but his silence was enough of an answer to Jack.
“Look, we need to get a few things straightened out here. One: you’re many things, Hamish, a little arrogant, a bit emotional… but you’re not a chicken. Cowards don’t serve their country in a warzone; cowards don’t push themselves through months of physical therapy so they can wear a prosthetic and not have to rely on a wheelchair. Two: we made the decision together to break up. Sure, you were worried about the attention of the reporters and what they’d say if they found out about us, but it didn’t really help things either how your Dad’s men in suits with radios cramped our style.” Jack studied Hamish’s face for a moment. “I’ve never understood why you kept blaming yourself for this.”
“Astrid said the same thing, several times.”
“And she was right. And after we’re done here I need to have a word with her.”
“Go easy on her, she was just trying to help.”
“And eager for us to get back together.” he let out a dry chuckle.
“There were other things as well that made me feel at the time that this was the right thing to do… I was reminded of how much I loved you back then, and that back then… and even now there were only two people I’d met who I’d ever consider marrying.”
“Astrid.” the snowy mane man observed, and Hamish nodded.
“And you. I wish I’d realised it sooner. Maybe I could’ve put the brakes on things, and maybe slowed things down even if I couldn’t… or didn’t want to stop them. At least then I could’ve talked to you, found out if you were even interested in giving it another try… or if you were even single.”
“I wish you had as well. You should’ve thought a bit more about how I’d feel about all this… That you’d have spared some thought for your parents, for mine… You should’ve considered how this’ll affect my Sis. In this plan of yours, she’d become your Sister-in-Law… Sister-in-Law to the future King!” he halted when he saw the look of horror dawn on the other man’s face.
“...and now she’ll be pestered by photographers and reporters. Gods, the mess I’ve made.”
Jack rose from the chair and approached the Crown Prince, placing a hand on each of the auburn-haired man’s shoulders.
“I’m sorry, Jack.”
“I know.” he sighed, letting his frustration vent harmlessly once more. “It’s a problem we’ll sort out when it happens. And you know Olivia, she’s got plenty of attitude for her age.”
“Hah. She does.” the Crown Prince chuckled, despite the issues at hand. “She’d make an amazing princess.”
Jack raised a brow in amusement. “That’s not how it works, you should know that.”
“I do... But tell me she wouldn't.”
Jack quietly laughed, giving in. “Alright, she would.”
A short period of silence passed between the two, during which Jack removed his hands from his former-lover’s shoulders, conscious of how close they currently were.
“It’ll sound corny… But I’ve missed seeing that smile of yours.” Hamish admitted.
“And I’d forgotten how much of a hopeless romantic you are… were you this bad back in University?”
“I can’t remember, that might have something to do with all the Akvavit.”
Jack not only laughed at the memory, he even beamed now, and Hamish was once again enthralled by that amazing smile, the smile that had won over the Crown Prince the first time around. “Remember the competitions we used to have, the film debates… And that time in the campus library?”
The jade-eyed man chuckled as his cheeks flushed. “You might have to narrow it down; I remember more than a few there. Remember the card games?”
“Wow. Yes.” the icy-eyed man responded, a little awed at the memory. His mind shifted away from the fond memories, and his expression morphed to curiosity. “There really wasn’t anyone else you clicked with other than Astrid and me?”
“No. You were the most meaningful relationship I ever had…” he mulled as a thought came to mind. “I guess I was a little scared I wouldn’t find another relationship like that.”
“You don’t give yourself enough credit, Hiccup.”
The use of the nickname had his complete attention; Jack hadn’t called him that since we were children.
“I’ll just have to try harder, then.”
“Good.” the ivory-haired man nodded.
“Gods.” the Crown Prince ran a hand though his hair, looking a little weary from the emotional and verbal exchange. “I’ll speak with the Lord Chamberlain and the royal historians in the morning and see if there’s a way to free you from this bind I’ve put you in.”
“Hey… I’m glad you’re thinking about me in all this now, and I appreciate the thought and effort you’d go to… But I’ve got a bit more to say here.” He hesitated, and then swallowed. In that moment Hamish noticed that tears had welled up beneath his cobalt eyes. “Hel, I’m about to cry like a baby.” He wiped a hand across his eyes, cleared his throat and gave himself a quick shake-down to steady his nerves. “You might not have gone about it in the way I would’ve… But between that pretty public display and talking to you now, it’s pretty damn obvious how you feel about us. You made a huge gamble out there.”
Hamish shrugged. “To Hel with what the media says.”
Jack smiled. “Yeah, Hel with what they say.” he reached down and grasped the auburn-haired man’s gloved hand. “It’s not the proposal I’d have planned, and it’s not the show of love I’d have expected from you… but I would be a world class idiot if I said ‘no’.”
Hamish’s pulse began to sprint as a smile threatened to spread across his face.
“Your Royal Highness, I accept your apology and forgive your mindlessness… And after some consideration… I’ve chosen to accept your proposal, unorthodox and all.”
The Crown Prince was beaming now; he gripped Jack in a fierce hug before sharing a brief, familiar kiss with him.
Jack laughed against his once and future lover’s lips, a smile in his voice. “How long have you been wanting to do that?”
“Gods, just shut up and enjoy it.”
More silent minutes eased their way past as the two men reconnected. “And for the record, m’lord, you’d make a pretty kick-ass prince yourself: with that huge heart of yours, your equally big capacity to love… That’s what makes you so good with kids and gives you that infectious enthusiasm.”
“You don’t need to compliment me anymore, you’ve already won me over!” the snow-haired man laughed. “You’re making me sound like a Disney prince.”
“Sorry.” he responded with a lop-sided smirk.
“There’s the Crown Prince I remember.” he gave the man stood before him a playful swat on the arm.
“Much as I’d like to stay here kissing you… I think they’re probably getting really hungry out there.”
“Food, yes! See, you still know me so well.”
The Crown Prince cupped his fiancé’s face briefly, before letting his hand drop so he could lace his fingers with his lover’s. Holding each other’s hand, they walked back towards the door, and the guests who’d been patiently waiting for the Feast of Affiance.
“You know, thinking back on what my Father said to me earlier tonight, I have to wonder if he was in on this too with my Mother…”
The guests had retired to the Banqueting Hall after the Crown Prince and his future husband had returned to the gathering. The feast had proven to be a hit, and with a quiet word to one of the staff of the Royal Household, Hamish had ensured that Astrid was seated within eye shot of both himself and Jack. Whenever she looked over at them, it was with a broad smile on her face.
“She'll be wanting to have one of the kids named after her. You know that, right?” the white-haired man whispered into his future husband's ear.
Hamish smirked. “We can start with an invitation to the wedding, and see where things go from there.”
“Yeah, good thing we've got the engagement to work things out... Get caught up where we broke things off.”
“Definitely. Thank you, Jack.”
The snowy-haired young man smiled. “You're welcome. Hamish.”
"...In the past 34 years Norway has often shown itself to be a progressive beacon for LGBT rights. In 1981 it was the first country in the world to enact legislation to prevent discrimination against people who were gay, and more recently in 2009 legislative bills allowing same-sex marriage and adoption became law in the country.
Once again it has reached another milestone in the progress of civil rights with the announcement that Crown Prince Hamish the Third is engaged to wed Jackson Overland, a friend of the Crown Prince since childhood. A date hasn't yet been chosen for the royal wedding, however the occasion is expected to be even more significant as the Crown Prince and his fiancé will become the first legally wed same-sex royal couple in history. That concludes the international news, now it’s time for Talksport…"