Once upon a time in the land of Florin, there lived a fair maiden. Caroline was her name. Gold was her hair, framing her delicate face like the halo of an archangel, her smiles were radiant and she brought joy into the lives of everyone she knew.
Well, except for the stable boy, Niklaus.
Caroline’s first memory of him was meeting a small scruffy looking 6-year-old boy - a year older than herself - they told her parents that his family was poor and had given him and his siblings away in order to give them a better life. He hardly spoke, in fact, the entire time she spent hidden behind her mother’s skirts on the day of his arrival at the farm, his face remained in a sullen scowl and he only nodded or shook his head when required.
That is, until the small boy spotted Caroline peering at him. Then the next most prominent memory she had of him was the mischievous dimpled grin that broke out on his little face. And she remembered not being able to resist smiling back.
Klaus used to be her playmate, even back then he didn’t say much, but she was the only one he reserved his words for when he was in the mood to speak. They’d tell each other secrets, had little hiding places around the farm where they would steal an apple or a handful of rolled oats from the kitchen and eat them in secret together. Caroline remembers being happy at that time around him.
These days, she does her best to make his life a living hell. She doesn’t quite remember what he’s supposed to have done to upset her, most likely something like pulling her pigtails or dirtying her favourite frock, but she makes it her business to find all sorts of meaningless tasks for him to do, along with the various duties he is already responsible for as her family’s farm hand.
The queer thing is, he never once objects. He is always compliant, and never so much as mumbles when she makes one of her demands.
She’s never said please nor called him by his name. Only farmboy.