Fiction | Courting Ripples

Fiction | Courting Ripples

A dream of Iron Henri’s for his frog prince.

© suju

Henri descended the estate pond’s lower slope. Fireflies illuminated water lily blooms closed into tight, pointed buds. On one lily pad ahead, a lone frog chirruped a greeting. “HenRIi.”

It was only a frog, yet a feeling of recognition struck as a smooth stone skips across a pool’s surface. If only the stone settled into memory…

A man in the midst of a transformation had dropped into the water, perhaps to drown. Henri had rushed to save him, desperate to catch him — Prince René. Henri clutched at tightening bands on his chest.

Mama had transformed René into this lowly position. Had Henri forgotten? How could he forget his highness?

His heart ached to reach the prince. He wanted to step out to the lily pad, but a grown man would upset the floating leaf by jumping into the water.


Henri cried, “I can’t reach you.”

The frog prince stretched up. His body lightened, straightened, grew more alluring in its shape. Bulging sides realigned into human form. A naked, miniature René widened his arms as if inviting his partner to dance beneath the fireflies.

Henri leaped. The lily pad, the miniature prince, and the lights flashing across them grew to encompass the world. Garments evaporated into the night. Henri landed on the floating leaf clothed only in shadows.

René embraced him. Their cool bodies pressed together. Henri reached, sliding his arms up along the hairs of his lover’s chest to drape around the neck. René’s mouth blossomed against the bare skin at his shoulder.

Their tongues explored the warm spaces of each other’s mouths. René pressed in, down, spreading sensation through the miserable bands enslaving Henri’s expanding heart.

Henri grabbed the sides of the prince’s head and pushed back. He strained to break the bars searing his chest full of desire.

Yes, this feeling. He felt freedom to live. His lover was life. Henri had forgotten in the daylight since the bands squeezed his heart.

The prince moved against the hard band between his thighs. They moved together.

René stepped back. Separation was the worst torture. His gaze reconnected them as he moved down, around, changing the dance. Henri caressed the man, tracing shadowy curves until René, on his hands and knees, dipped his shoulders, opening the sweet dip between butt cheeks.

This yearning. The prince pulsed hot around him. Henri savored the dance of heartbeats, of the movement of flesh, of darkness warming to their heat. The night filled with colors, a celebration of passion.

They sank into the bed of lily. Henri ran a hand along the arm of royalty. Two clear pools reflected starlight back at him. Henri kissed the smooth face of a full moon.

Sweet René whispered, “Do you remember me outside your dreams, my duck?”

Henri bit his lip. He had forgotten. How had he forgotten?

René traced three finger-length bands of gray scars below Henri’s collarbone. Again. Again. Those bars… Mama’s spells imprisoned his love.

“Those won’t keep me away from you forever,” Henri promised. “I will find you.”

Originally published in P.S. I Love You.