A Movie verse Joseph/Clarisse one-shot set before Princess Diaries 1.
A New Day.
Joseph Romero hurried down the wide corridors of the Genovian Royal Palace, with Charlotte hot on his heels, trying to keep up with her enraged head of security. The two gathered strange but knowing glances from the palace staff. They too had heard about the Opera House incident.
Charlotte looked at Joseph as they increased speed. His usually so calm and collected face was a mixture of emotions; anger, pain, concern, and most prominently; love. There was no doubt in Charlotte's mind that Joseph's current all-consuming concern came from his 'secret' love of his Queen.
"Charlotte, tell me what happened again. This time slowly."
Charlotte sighed and spoke up, trying her best to keep her voice slow as they hurtled down the corridors. It was Joseph's fault that he had not heard her fully the first time. He had heard the words 'Queen' and 'injured', and that was that.
"The Queen was on a tour of the new Opera House, when an anarchist protestor shot at her..."
He stopped suddenly, and whirled around to face her. His face was red from anger.
"Who was there guarding her?!"
"Shades?! Didn't he protect her?!"
"The shooting was sudden, no-one saw it coming!"
She soon regretted yelling, as he breathed in heavily, and then sighed; a shuddering release of breath that scared her. Joseph suddenly looked so old and weary. She apologised and Joseph accepted it with barely a nod.
"Did... Did the bullet..."
"Hit her? ...Yes..."
He gasped, as if in physical pain.
"...But only in the arm, and no-where near any major arteries. She'll make a full recovery Joseph."
Joseph took little comfort in this, and the pair continued their journey to the Queen's suite. They reached the door, and just as Joseph was about to enter, he hesitated. Charlotte looked at him curiously. He turned around to face her, and Charlotte felt a massive wave of sympathy wash over her, as she saw how terrible he truly looked. This was not the Joseph all knew and loved. He sighed painfully.
"How is she Charlotte? Mentally?"
She smiled at him softly.
"Tired... In shock... But she'll be better for seeing you, Joe."
A shy smiled crossed his lips.
"Do you think so?"
"Oh yes. Now, get in there. She needs you."
He smiled, this time more confidently, and Charlotte could see the usual Joe emerging. He put a hand to her cheek.
"Thank you Charlotte."
He dropped his hand and turned back to the door, Charlotte smiling softly. She knew now that everything would be alright after all, and palace life would resume its normality.
Joseph knocked on the door lightly, and was promptly admitted by a young maid who smiled in relief at the welcome sight of the Queen's confidante.
"She's in her bedroom, Sir Joseph."
He nodded his thanks.
"I'll leave you to it, Sir."
She curtsied and quickly left. Joseph crossed the room to the large oak bedroom door, and quickly knocked. Without receiving a response, he opened the door slightly and peered his head around the crack, to see the Queen sat up in bed, her back against piles of pillows; a vision in soft white.
She did not look up at he entered, and remained staring out of the window, her face bathed in sunlight. Joseph could barely restrain himself from taking her in his arms. His eyes fixed upon the sling holding her arm and frowned. He closed the door quietly and moved to her side, seating himself in a chair. He took her hand in his lightly and she jumped, and brushed her arm heavily on the heavy duvet covering her. She winced as a sharp pain ran through her injured arm. Joseph pushed her back down onto the pillows, and rubbed her hand with his thumb.
"Did I scare you?"
"A little... I didn't notice you'd entered."
"I saw that. You were preoccupied."
She shrugged, giving him a nonchalant smile.
"I was thinking."
She looked at him for a moment with a piercing gaze.
"You won't like it."
"I want to make up my will, Joseph."
He blinked in disbelief.
"Clarisse... surely you don't think you're going to die just yet!"
He searched her with his eyes and saw pure genuine fear shimmering in her blue eyes.
"Oh, Clarisse!" He took her gently in his arms, careful not to hurt her arm any further. He stroked her hair softly. She spoke after a moment; her breathing was uneven, and her speech stuttered.
"I could have died today Joseph, and I've realised how easily it could happen again! This time I may not be so lucky Joseph! Don't you see that!" She sobbed.
Joseph felt helpless as he cradled her in his arms. The woman he held was not the Queen of Genovia, but rather Clarisse Renaldi, a Clarisse he had never seen before. She was deadly afraid. He kissed her forehead, not caring that she was his ruler. She needed comfort and he was there to give it to her. He always had been, and in his heart he knew he always would.
After a few minutes of just holding each other, he pulled back from her and tenderly wiped away her tears. She sighed in contentment and rested her head on his shoulder. He spoke close to her ear.
"I can't lose you Clarisse. I'm not going to let anyone harm you again. They'll have to kill me first. I..."
He seemed to hesitate. Clarisse smiled and looked up at him. She traced his lips with her fingertip.
"I love you too."
He smiled at her lovingly and kissed her lips lightly. He entwined his right hand with her left one, and pulled her into his arms gently. He rested them both against the mass of pillows, and he kissed her hand lingeringly. She smiled softly and closed her eyes. Joseph gazed down upon her beautiful face in awe, and wondered whether it was time to inform her of his discovery.
She smiled lightly, her eyes still closed. She pressed her face into the crook of his neck. "Yes, darling?"
Joseph took a deep breath. "We've found her."
Slowly, Clarisse raised her face from his shoulder, and met his eyes. Joseph nodded as he cupped her face.
"It's her, Clarisse, I swear it."
Clarisse's face remained blank for a moment as she mulled over the information in her head. Joseph explained further.
"She lives in San Francisco, America, in a refurbished firehouse."
Joseph noticed the tears in her eyes before they fell, accompanied with a dazzling smile. She gazed up at him lovingly.
"You found my Granddaughter, Joseph! You found my Amelia!"
She pulled his face down to hers with her good arm and kissed him passionately, pouring her emotions into the embrace. Joseph soon pulled back for breath and smiled indulgently at the flush covering his love's face.
He spoke again. "I've scheduled the Genovia One Jet to fly to San Francisco... next week... if you're ready."
Uncertainty crossed Clarisse's face. Joseph lightly brushed her hand with his thumb and brought it to his lips. Clarisse smiled.
"San Francisco it is."
Authors note: I hope you enjoyed this little dabble into the Joe/Clarisse world; I certainly enjoyed writing it. Please review; it'd make my week.