Word Count: 635
Summary: Being born to rule and being a natural leader are the not the same thing.
Notes: Alternate Universe (Royalty).
Additional Note: Written for this prompt on comment_fic.
“You do realize you were born to rule?”
John rolled his eyes at Rodney. “My brother was born to rule, I was only the spare.”
“Which makes you born to rule in the event your brother died which, unfortunately, he did.” He peaked an eyebrow at John; he added, “He can't rule from the afterlife. I do believe exemplum was set for that a long time ago,” as he moved between two consoles.
“Hey, my great-great-great-great...”
“You really don't have to do that. We all know how many generations are between you and His Highness King Janus.”
“Is that what you're going to call me when they stick me on the throne?”
“No, I'm going to call you something much more maligned. It'll probably get gasps from the Court.”
Good. John's hated those sycophants since the minute his mother died and their true colors had come out, shoving daughters and sisters at a man two or three times the lady's age. Like his father had needed another wife; ultimately, with one son who was nearly assassinated at least twice a week and the other son doing acrobatics in the Lantean Air Corps that bordered on suicidal, his father had elected to focus on grooming them both for their futures.
Rodney snapped his fingers in front of John's face. “Are you tracking or should I call for Carson?”
“Only if he's got ale or will allow me a hit of something far more enjoyable.”
“And we circle back around to things that aren't licent for Kings to do.”
“And we circle back to 'I'm not King until the coronation' and also, 'I am not going to be a King like my father because I'm the fucking spare'.” John smirked at him, slouching back into one of the fluffed chairs Rodney favored in his laboratorium.
A book knocked him in the chest. “Call yourself the spare again and you sleep on the stratum tonight.”
“Aw, Rodney, the King can't sleep on the stratum.”
“Now you're the King?” Another expression of amused-annoyance.
“When it comes to not being able to cuddle with my living furnace at night, yes, I am.”
“Living furnace?” Rodney shook his head. “Nevermind, I'm not letting you get me off track. You, King, coronation, all of that. Because you were born to rule.”
“David was born to rule. Elizabeth was born to rule,” his half-sister, Amelius bless her, who had spent her life in learning, and he hoped she wouldn't mind the fact that she would become his Regent in Diplomatic Matters because Prince John of the Sheppard Line was not a man who was good at politicking, “I was born to plana volavit and protect our empire.”
“Yes, yes, Lord Commander, General of Dekka Fleet, blah-blah-blah. Do you honestly think you would have been permitted to remain in the militum forever?”
Rodney singsonged, “Pipedream,” at him, and brought up a few more screens that he flicked through intently. “You would have been grounded and expected to marry and start breeding more royals. But that doesn't matter, because you are King now. Whether you like it or not. Vivat Rex.”
Vivat Rex, the phrase John would hear for the rest of his life, Long live the King.
He sighed. “Look, it's not about liking it or not.”
“Rodney, I am militus, not regium. I learned quam ut fuge, not etiquette or tact or leadership. He knew all the parts of being King, not me, and just being in the militum doesn't mean I'm a natural commander.”
The scientist had stopped his frenetic pacing of the room while John had talked, clearly understanding what was being said better than John could say it, and after his mouth closed, Rodney told him, “You learned to command before. You'll learn to do it as King.”