A/N: For anyone who found his or her way here without knowing what the plot of musical Marie Antoinette is about... what you need to know for this story is that the "he" is a prince who hates Marie Antoinette and has concocted an elaborate plot against her involving dressing up a lookalike in identical clothes to Marie and sneaking her into a ball. The "she" is the lookalike, Margrid, a generally urchin-looking revolutionary.
The prince's eyes moved over her, assessing her coldly as if she were a pig for sale... but it still was better than most eyes, which moved over her as if she weren't even worth assessing.
But when he spoke, it was to his men. “Strip her and scrub her down.”
He arched eyebrows at her. “You may not notice how you look and smell, but I assure you the rest of the guests will,” he said. “You are filthy.”
“Believe me I know it,” she snarled, too angry to feel any shame. “But I can bathe myself, I don't need these-, these men to watch.”
“What, modesty now?” His laugh was not kind. “Shall I guess how much you charge to warm a stranger's bed? I know you, my dear.”
“You don't know anything.” He was right – and wrong. She'd lain with men for money all right, but only when she had no choice. “And I'd warm a hundred beds before I let one of these scented pigs put his hands on me.”
“Scented pigs.” He nodded slowly, still smiling. “Very well: they'll leave.” He sent them away with a gesture... but then, instead of following them, sat down and steepled his hands under his chin. “There. Now bathe yourself.”
She was too hot with anger to care about his gaze now. She stripped off her clothes and threw them all over his nice fancy furniture – grinning when he winced about it. She stepped naked into the steaming tub, and the heat was so shocking and delicious that her body was wracked with a shudder.
She shook her head and sat down. “No, it's perfect.”
“That's a lot of dirt. I can call for fresh water when you need it.”
She ignored him and went to work.
“Don't forget those collarbones – your dress will show them off, and people will look.”
She didn't respond to that either – but made sure to scrub her chest carefully.
“Marie's bosom is a little fuller,” he mused into the silence.
That stung a little. "It's her fancy underthings that make it look that way," she pointed out. “And besides, it's hard to have a full bosom when you're starving to death." She splashed, wishing she could splash him. “Why are you watching me?”
“No reason. Do you think she is shy about men watching her bathe?”
She snorted. “She probably invites them in to bathe next to her.” She took a quick look, and saw that he wasn't watching her like livestock anymore. He was watching her like men watch women... and in a way that was worse. “I'm not a slut, you know.”
“Mm. But you're going to play one very convincingly at the ball.” He rose from the chair and came close to the tub. He pulled a footstool close and sat down, close enough to breathe on her. “Let me help you with your back. Or am I another scented pig who isn't permitted to touch the royal person?”
Unlike the floral-scented footman, the prince actually smelled good. And he was right about the back; the dress dipped low. “Go ahead,” she said, and pulled her hair forward over her shoulder. She hunched to give him access.
He rolled his sleeves up, then put his fingertips – dots of ice – between her shoulderblades. “Bend. More.”
She did as the pressure directed, and held still while a sponge made warm circles.
“You have a little more muscle than Marie,” he said, sketching a line beside her spine. “But not enough to be noticed, I think.”
She squirmed away – it was tickling – and commented: “You're pretty familiar with the wench's body.”
“Mm. Well she spends enough time flaunting it at me.” The circles grew a little harsher. “Rancid bitch.”
She giggled. “Give that to Jacques, he can probably make a song of it.” A growl was the only answer, and she had the idea that he was scrubbing her in temper rather than to help her wash. “Am I clean yet?”
“Oh-. Yes. Do your hair.” He dropped the sponge back into the tub and moved away. “I'll have the dress made ready.”
The creepy Margrid/Orleans relationship is fun to write, but I don't imagine it going anywhere, so I think this is it. (If you have any ideas though, let me know and I'll be happy to write it!)
Also, please let me know what you thought of this. Lurking in small fandoms is no fair!!