|Category: Gundam Wing, AU, fairy tale (The Golden Goose), Yaoi
Warnings: shonen ai, humor, sap
Pairings: 3+4, hints of 1+2, D+R, 13+6+5
Website/Complete Archive: http://www.geocities.com/arigatomina
The Horrid Goose
In a land far away, there lived a young prince who never smiled. Quatre was a kind and gentle soul, but he was consumed by a melancholy so deep it was as if a curse had been laid upon him. The lovely boy rarely spoke, and while he did spend hours listening to the many people his father brought to cheer him up, he lived most of his life in a single room. At the top of a tower on the right side of the castle lay the only solace from his deep sadness, and the strains of an infinitely pained song would lilt throughout the night.
It was on his fifteenth birthday, that his father slowly admitted defeat, and the many court jesters were dismissed. Nothing made the boy give so much as the tiniest of smiles, and the sound of his sweet laughter had not been heard for more than eight years. In a desperate attempt, the king decided to raise the stakes, promising the boy's hand in marriage to any person who made him smile. And even then, those sad eyes remained constant and steady, unwavering.
* * *
There was nothing remarkable about the path, and the traveler's steps were quick and long, his scuffed boots stirring up a light dust. The small sack he held slung over one shoulder was his only baggage, and his green eyes were aimed at the dirt beneath him. As a result, he never even saw the small figure that suddenly ran out in front of him, and he found himself on the ground. Shoving himself up, he pushed back a long fall of reddish brown bangs as he looked around, searching for what had tripped him. Then he saw the figure.
In truth, she looked young, but not enough so as to not realize how dangerous it was to accost strangers. Yet the girl had hopped lightly to her feet, and she glared at him, graceful fingers running through shoulder-length red hair. "Well that was not nice. You could have landed on me. Why weren't you watching where you were going?"
Trowa blinked, expressionless for a moment, then he slowly gained his feet and adjusted his sack. He could have argued with the girl, saying that she'd been the one to run in front of him, but there didn't seem to be a point, and he turned away from her. He'd walked all of three steps when the girl was suddenly in front of him again, her bright red dress flaring as she threw her arms out as if to block his path. "What?"
"You aren't very polite, but then, I guess I knew that. Still, if you won't apologize for knocking me down, the least you could do is make it up to me." The girl smiled as Trowa's eyes narrowed, and she shook her head. "I won't ask for much."
"I don't have anything," Trowa said coldly. It was obvious that the girl was a beggar who preyed off generous people. And as he'd said, he had nothing to give her, even if he had felt guilty. "And you ran in front of me." He stepped around her, and continued on his way.
"Where are you headed?" the girl asked, walking along side of him as if they'd known each other for years. "Not many people come through this way. Are you going to the castle?"
"Castle? No. I'm not going anywhere specific." Trowa blinked, wondering why he'd answered her, but she was smiling again, and he quickly averted his gaze.
"Do you have any food? I haven't eaten in a long time." The boy rounded sharply, and she gave him a forlorn look. "I'm really very hungry."
"If I give you my food, you'll leave me alone?" The girl nodded sharply, and Trowa let out a silent sigh as he pulled the small sack off his shoulder. For a moment, he stood still as he stared at what little he had, then he closed the sack and handed it to her. "There."
"You're so generous."
Trowa raised an eyebrow as the girl dropped to the ground suddenly, her eyes warm when she opened the sack. She was soon eating rapidly, and he had to admit she did seem hungry. He almost wished he'd had more to offer, but then his empty hand reminded him that he'd just given her everything he had. "You're welcome," he said, his voice monotone without any sarcasm slipping out. Still, the girl looked up and smirked.
"You just gave all your food to a stranger, that's a really nice thing to do. I'll do something for you in return." The boy stared at her, unmoved by her words, and she stood quickly, the now-empty bag clasped in her hand. Without another word, she disappeared into the forest and returned almost immediately. "Here!"
His arms moved without his orders, and he found himself clasping a large white goose that curved its neck to look at him. "A goose? You're giving me a goose. If you had this, then why would you need food?"
"You can't *eat* him!" the girl cried, her expression incredulous. Trowa flinched as he was abruptly slapped upside the head, and he frowned down at the girl. "He's a magic goose, you goose. He lays golden eggs."
"Gold. They *why* did you have to get food from me?" Trowa ducked as the girl's hand was again swung at his head, and he was surprised that he didn't drop the large goose in the process.
"Stop asking so many questions. Haven't you ever heard of magical gifts before? You're so stubborn, just take him to the king. I'm sure he'd reward you for it."
"The king? Why-" Trowa closed his mouth quickly when the girl's hand raised yet again. It didn't take much to realize she was crazy, and he quickly decided to play along with her until he had put some distance between them. He wasn't afraid of her, but she seemed harmless, and he didn't want to hurt her feelings...or anger her any further. "Thank you. I'll take it to the king."
"See? That wasn't so hard. Maybe you're not completely hopeless. Well, good luck, Trowa." She winked when the boy stared at her in shock, then she disappeared into the forest, the edge of her skirt flickering for a second.
"How..." The goose in his arms made an awful honk, and Trowa glared at the creature. Then he released it suddenly, his eyes narrowed as he waited to see it fall. It didn't move. Actually, it was his hands that remained motionless, and he blinked at them in rising confusion. Shaking the creature, it took a few minutes, and some loud honks, before he realized he couldn't drop the thing. In fact, he couldn't seem to let go of it at all. "What witchery is this?"
The goose jabbed its blunt bill at him, and he glared at those black eyes, wanting to hurt the thing. It wasn't until he took a step forward that the creature calmed and before long, he was carrying his burden down the path, every pause resulting in another horrible honk.
By the time Trowa reached the village curled at the base of the castle, he was reconciled to his fate. The goose really wasn't heavy, and it had long since ceased those loud honks. There were a number of villagers roaming about the square, visiting the men and women who had carts of fruits and vegetables to sell. No one spoke to him as he made his way down the center of the square, intent on the castle he could see looming ahead. But just as he was reaching the populated path that led through the little houses and up to the castle, the goose decided to stop being passive.
The feathered creature tensed in his hands, and Trowa stared as that pale golden bill tilted back with a positively deafening honk. He was very aware of people turning their heads to look at him, but when he lifted a foot to continue walking, he found his heel touching down on something hard and mostly round. He nearly tipped over as the large golden egg rolled in the dirt. A low honking sigh coincided with the goose relaxing, that dark eyed bird's neck curved as it looked down at the egg. It really was golden. Unfortunately, with both of his hands magically sealed to the fluffy bird, he couldn't pick it up.
He was walking past the little glittery egg, regardless of the goose's annoyed honk, but Trowa glanced back. One of the people he'd seen looking at him darted toward the lost treasure, and Trowa sighed at the boy's wide violet eyes. At least someone could use the golden egg. Sure enough, the boy snatched up the dusted egg, a long braid of hair flicking against his back as he turned to look after Trowa. With a silent sigh, Trowa nodded and turned away, intent on getting to the king and ridding himself of his unwilling burden.
"Hey! You dropped this!" Holding out the odd egg, Duo hurried after the tall youth. He blinked and hesitated when Trowa didn't look back, then he moved again, his left hand falling onto Trowa's right shoulder. "You dropped your egg," he said quickly. Green eyes blinked at him, and he smiled, holding the egg in his right palm. "Here you go."
The boy's smile reminded him of the strange girl he'd met before, and Trowa didn't bother to explain that he couldn't move his hands. "That's all right," he said quickly, nodding at the boy. "You keep it."
"I couldn't," Duo said, pulling away from the boy in surprise. At least, he'd meant to pull away. Oddly enough his feet went back but his left hand remained tight against Trowa's shoulder, pulling the tall boy along with him. "Hey..." His eyes widened as he tugged on his hand again, making Trowa's shoulder twitch toward him. "Let go."
"I'm not holding you," Trowa frowned. His head turned as he looked at his shoulder, and his eyes widened slowly. He couldn't let go of the goose, and now... "Oh, no..."
"What do you mean, oh no?" Duo muttered, jerking harder on his hand, "I can't get loose! This isn't funny." The boy was merely scowling at the large goose in his arms, and Duo shuffled, dropping the egg so he could shove against Trowa's right arm in order to pry his frozen hand away from the youth's shoulder. A minute later he found that hand locked into place as well. "What is this?!"
Trowa didn't know what to tell the boy. The longhaired youth was jerking furiously on him, and he tightened his muscles to keep from being pulled over. He could just imagine what would happen if he fell on the boy and had more than just hands locked on him. "Calm down," he said quietly. His eyebrow twitched when the boy promptly yelled at him.
"I don't know how you're doing this, but you let me go right now! I mean it!" His captor's calmly annoyed expression made him panic even worse, and Duo found himself on the borderline of freaking out completely. "Let go!"
Trowa opened his mouth to explain that he couldn't let go, but a sound made him turn his head to blink at another boy who'd cleared his throat. Dark scowling blue eyes met his and Trowa took in the youth's folded arms with a sinking feeling. This couldn't look good.
Duo leaned harder on Trowa's arm, his relieved eyes flying to the dark-haired boy standing in front of his captor. "Heero, I'm stuck..."
"I'm not holding him," Trowa explained calmly. "As you can see," he lifted the goose, "my hands are occupied."
Heero blinked looking at the stranger's hands. They were holding onto a rather large white goose. His eyes moved to Duo, and his scowl darkened when he saw that the boy was, in fact, holding onto Trowa, not the other way around. Stalking to the longhaired boy, he glared. "Stop accosting strangers," he muttered, frowning darker when the boy gave him a hurt and petulant look.
"But I'm not!" Duo cried, jerking on his trapped hands. "I can't let go! I was just going to give him this egg thing he dropped, and then I couldn't let go-" His words were bitten off, and he let out a sharp cry when Heero jerked on his braid. "Hey!"
"Stop fooling around," Heero said sharply, jerking on that long braid. "Duo-"
"I told you," Duo glared, looking over his shoulder at Heero, "I *can't* let go. I'm not the one doing it."
Heero frowned and reached his left hand to grasp Duo's wrist near the tall boy's shoulder. He tugged on that hand, but it didn't move one inch off of Trowa's dark shoulder. Blinking in surprise, he started to move and pull on Duo's other arm. He quickly realized that he couldn't remove his hand from either Duo's wrist, or the boy's braid. His eyebrow twitched and he glared when Duo shot him a wide smirk.
"You can't let go either, now," Duo taunted, "can you? See! I told you it wasn't me-"
"What is this?" Heero asked, his question directed to the strange goose-carrying boy. Trowa arched his neck and looked back at him with a suffering expression.
"I don't know," Trowa admitted, sighing when Duo tugged on him again. "It must be this goose. A strange girl gave it to me and told me to bring it to the king. I haven't been able to let go of it since then."
A long moment passed in silence as the two boys stared at each other, then Heero gave a slow nod. "I see. That explains it."
"What explains *what*?!" Duo cried, glaring first at Trowa, then back at Heero. "That doesn't make any kind of sense!"
"You have to take it to the king," Heero continued, looking at Trowa. "It seems we must accompany you."
"It certainly looks that way," Trowa commented. Hefting the troublesome goose, he took a step forward, the two boys pulled along with him. A sharp cry broke through the crowd of people who had gathered to stare at the strange scene, and Trowa blinked, glancing back just as Heero and Duo gave identical groans. A girl was running through the crowd, pushing people out of her way and stumbling over carts and children. Her face kept turning to look behind her, but when she glanced forward Trowa was certain she was calling out for one of the two boys.
"Heero! Heero!" Relena nearly tripped over a little kid, but she managed to keep her speed. Within two seconds, she'd latched hold of Heero's shoulders and was shaking him frantically. "Oh, Heero, you have to save me! Please, Heero, help me."
Trowa blinked in surprise at the girl, taking in her pale sandy blonde hair and the way her pleading voice somehow came out as a whiny order. Her shaking hold on Heero's shoulders made him and Duo rock as well, and he was about to tell her to stop when she shrieked suddenly. The girl was staring behind her, looking at another girl who calmly stepped out of the crowd. This one also had long hair, but it was a more whitish blonde, and she was smiling, smirking at the quivering girl. In fact, if he hadn't known better, he'd have thought the blonde was some sort of feline about to pounce on a pathetic rodent. And sure enough, the blonde grinned and glomped onto Relena.
"Ah! No! Heero!" Jerking against Heero's shoulders, Relena tried desperately to get away, thinking to put the boy between her and the psychopath squeezing her waist. Her panicked mind flipped when she found that she couldn't seem to loosen her hold on Heero, and she fell into unintelligible whimpers.
Shaking long pale blonde hair off one shoulder, Dorothy nodded to the three boys looking back at her. Her arms tightened around Relena's waist as she gave Heero a knowing smile. "Hello, Heero," she said cheerfully. "Do you know? I've been trying to catch her all morning and now..." She let out a little laugh, glancing at the sandy blonde hair pressed to her chest. "I can't seem to let go of her. I must thank you for that."
Heero shook his head, sending a dark glare at the girl plastered against his back. Relena had broken down into little hysterical noises, only making occasional jerked attempts to get away. Dorothy was smiling at him from over Relena's shoulder and he sighed, nodding toward Trowa. "You have him to thank for it, not me."
"Oh, man, Heero, she's all *over* you now!" Duo's face was a twisted grimace as he looked over Heero's shoulder to where Relena was hiding her face. "That's so gross. If you weren't already stuck to me, I'd make you scrub yourself before coming near me again."
One eyebrow twitching, Heero shot the boy a warning look. "Shut up."
"This goose is to blame," Trowa said, the words aimed at the cheerful Dorothy. "But I think if I take it to the king, whatever magic is making us stick together will dissolve."
"It better," Duo muttered, shoving a bit on Trowa's arm, "because you can bet she won't be quiet for long." His head tilted toward the blubbering Relena with a sage nod.
"Let's go," Heero said sharply, nodding at Trowa over Duo's shoulder. "Now. I want her off my back as soon as possible."
Sniffling, Relena blinked where her forehead was stuck on Heero's back, and she scowled over her seemingly horrified expression. "Heero, that's such a mean thing to say about your future wife. I don't approve at all." She didn't seem to notice how the dark-haired boy stiffened, not being in any position to see the green tinting his face. The girl behind her shifted a bit and she wailed suddenly, forgetting her anger. "Stop that! Dorothy! Heero! Make her stop pinching me?!"
Duo burst into laughter, shaking both Trowa and Heero. A sharp tug on his braid ended the bout, but he continued to snicker softly as Trowa led the odd troop further along the path.
They'd managed to get about halfway up the hill without anything more than a few muffled cries from the back, but Trowa's face was a vague reddish shade. People were following them, staring at them, and he had never felt so embarrassed in his entire life. It didn't help any that Duo kept snickering every time Relena let out a wail. Whimpers had ruled for the last twenty minutes, and he was just entertaining the hope that he'd make it to the king when a scream broke through the air. He didn't have to look back to know who it was. The tension as Relena stopped walking jerked him, Duo, and Heero to an abrupt halt a mere yard from the entrance to the castle courtyard.
A face was buried against her neck, and Relena shook Heero's shoulders in a mixture of fury and horror. "She's *kissing* me! Make her stop-make her *stop*! Heero! Someone-anyone-help me! She's kissing me, *Heero*!"
A muffled giggle reached Trowa, and his already red flush darkened a bit as he recognized it as Dorothy's. Duo's head was bowed, his shoulders shaking with muffled laughter, but Heero met his look with a calm scowl. "We really should get her to be quiet," Trowa commented, raising his voice a little. "You're really making things worse." The blonde girl plastered to Relena's back wriggled a bit, her lips obviously stuck to some part of Relena's neck, and Trowa's lips twitched, just a bit.
Grinning merrily, Duo glanced back at Heero. "Shutting her up's about as impossible as making Dorothy stop. That would be like telling Relena she can't chase Heero anymore."
"But she's attracting attention," Trowa said softly, his eyes widening when he spotted a uniform pushing its way through the crowd. A young man with black hair pulled into a small but tight tail behind his head was scowling as he made his way to them.
Eyebrow twitching furiously from Relena's repeated cries that the girl was kissing her, Wufei came to a stop just behind them. His black eyes glared at Dorothy and he cleared his throat. "I order you to cease harassing that girl," he said sharply. A muffled giggle and renewed wail answered him and he scowled, grabbing Dorothy's hips and jerking back on them. "I said stop that," he growled, disgust marring his face. "How can you commit such a crime right before the castle?!"
"Uh-oh," Duo murmured, blinking wide violet eyes back at the black-haired Wufei. Trowa and Heero both looked at him for a second, sharing his wince.
The goose, who had been absolutely silent for the most part let out an odd little honk that Trowa could have sworn was a laugh. Frowning down at the thing, he was *sure* it had been a laugh. The goose's neck was turned, bright black eyes aimed at him as the odd sound came again. There was nothing funny about it, though. It was only a matter of seconds before the guard realized he was now stuck to them as well.
It actually took about twelve seconds before Wufei realized, but when he did he made certain they all knew about his upset. "Let go of me, woman!"
Duo cackled for a second at the loud cry, but he bit down on it before Heero could tug his braid again. Still, it was great to hear a male scream louder than Relena had. The crowd was thickening around them now, and Duo felt a twinge of worry added to his mirth when he spotted more uniforms edging toward them. "Oh," he whispered to himself, "this should get interesting." A tall white-haired man stalked toward them, his dark scowl warning of trouble.
"Exactly *what* are you doing?" Zechs asked, one pale eyebrow arching when Wufei froze. The black-haired boy slowly turned his head to look back at him, and Zechs scowled at the angry blush covering the boy's face. "Well?"
"It's not what you think!" Wufei spat quickly, shaking his burning face as he pulled desperately on Dorothy's hips. The girl shook, as did the other three, but his hands did not come free. "I'm *trying* to let go, I am. I just can't seem to-"
"Don't be ridiculous," Zechs interrupted, catching onto Wufei's waist and jerking the boy free. Well, he jerked, but Wufei didn't exactly come free. Instead, the black-haired boy ended up pressed close to him, with the other four people nearly falling on top of them. "What the-"
"Be careful," Heero growled, his lower arm now stuck to Duo's back. "You'll make things worse."
"What are you talking about?" Zechs frowned, moving fitfully when he found that he couldn't seem to get Wufei off of him. The black-haired boy was rocking back and forward now sandwiched between Dorothy and Zechs. Wufei's mouth was closed, but an odd sound was rising from his throat, a strange mixture of growl and moan. The longhaired boy ahead of them let out a loud complaint about feeling seasick, and Zechs held Wufei, stopping that odd swaying motion. The whining sound rose before breaking into an ear-splitting shout.
"Get off me *now*!" Wufei's eyes were clenched shut, his head tilted back so the shout rang over the staring people. He didn't know why an abrupt silence passed over the square, and he peeked around suddenly, his face a dark, dark red. Someone in the audience laughed and his head whipped to the side, glaring at the familiar guard who slowly moved to them. "This is *not* funny!"
"What on earth are all of you doing?" Treize inquired, brown eyes glittering over the odd group of people who seemed to be playing some unique game for the spectators' entertainment. "Really Zechs, Wufei, playing games when you're on duty. Come now."
Trowa's mouth opened when the tall brown-haired man reached for Zechs' arm, but he didn't get the warning out in time. It didn't take a second for Treize to realize his mistake. Glaring when the goose let out another laughing honk, Trowa hung his head.
Staring angrily at his frozen hand, Treize pulled for a moment before looking at Zechs. The white-haired man was leaning on Wufei's back, or the boy was leaning on him, and suddenly Treize looked ahead, noting Dorothy, Relena, and Heero's proximity to each other. "What is this?" he demanded.
With an exasperated sigh, Duo tilted his head back to try and see the man over everyone's heads. "We've already asked that before, it's magic."
"Nonsense," Treize said, scowling at the boy. "As the king's guard, I order all of you to release us and disperse."
"Order all you want," Duo smirked, glad he couldn't see the man. "It won't do you any good."
The rest of the guards had reached them by then, and Treize glared when Rashid promptly scowled at him and demanded an explanation. "They won't let us go," he growled, nodding toward the odd youths. The tall guard nodded and the other men abruptly surrounded the group. Treize gritted his teeth as he was grasped from different angles, his body tugged in one direction after another by multiple hands. The other guards were making similar efforts all along the group.
It wasn't until four men were frozen against him that Trowa finally let out a loud growl, his head snapping back to glare at the confused guards. "Everyone who touches us is going to be stuck!" he said loudly, the sound of his voice surprising him for a second. "I have to take this goose to the king before this spell will end. All you're doing is making it worse."
Duo's eyes had widened at the seemingly calm boy's outburst, and he blinked, frowning at the men who had holds on his arm, his shoulders, his waist, and various parts of Heero's anatomy as well. "You already said that," he muttered, his voice soft.
After a great deal of tugging and mutters, not to mention Wufei and Relena's upset cries, a grudging consensus was reached. Trowa's dull eyes fell to the ground as he led the shuffling path to the castle's tall doors. They made it to the courtyard after the many guards explained their predicament, and Trowa sighed as he waited for the king to answer the odd summons. Everyone seemed to be talking at once, the grumbling of the guards nearly overriding Relena's sobs. He didn't hear the king's approach, but Trowa let out a relieved sigh when he spotted the man in the doorway. The man's confused expression didn't make him seem very kingly, but Trowa's eyes locked on the crown he wore. With an almost pleading expression, Trowa held out the goose. "Please," he said quickly, his green eyes shining in desperation, "take it."
A loud honk sounded over the general murmuring complaints, and Trowa groaned when the goose poked its bill at him. His eyes closed and he gave up, his legs folding beneath him until he sat on the ground. Duo let out a surprised cry as he was pulled down half onto Trowa's back, Heero following after. The chain reaction left all of them in a mangled overlapping sprawl. Relena's muffled cries turned into loud shrieks as Dorothy was pulled down on top of her, Wufei and Zechs following along. Everyone seemed to be yelling at the same time and Trowa was about to bury his head against the horrid goose's back when he heard something. A light sound was playing over the loud clamoring, and Trowa blinked as the people lying around and on him slowly quieted.
The sweet, soft laughter bubbled over the crowd, pulling his eyes upward, and Trowa stared at the tower window facing the courtyard. A young blonde boy was leaning out, lovely eyes sparkling down on the scene. Trowa found his gaze frozen on the boy's pretty smile, barely noting the violin he held as the boy laughed at them. The goose let out a loud honk, and Trowa dropped his eyes, blinking in shock when the creature waddled out of his hands. The guards were oddly silent, their eyes wide and locked on the boy above, and Trowa moved away from the jumble of bodies as he stood slowly. The quiet laughter softened and he was about to glance upward again when two men caught his arms.
Convince he was about to be punished for the odd scene, Trowa didn't fight the two guards. They drew him to the steps of the castle and he bowed his head before the king, not seeing the man's expression. The next thing he knew he was being crushed in a warm and shocking hug that left him wondering if he'd hit his head in the earlier pile-up. The king had hugged him, and the man's smile was very wide, his brown eyes shockingly moist.
The king stared at the tall boy's wide green eyes for a moment before clasping Trowa's hand. "Stranger, for your gift to our kingdom, you will receive the greatest reward. I give you my son's hand in marriage."
Trowa's eyebrow twitched, and he stared at the man for a long moment. A dull beak pecked his ankle, breaking his disbelieving paralysis and he sent a scowl down at the honking goose before looking back up to the smiling blonde boy. The lovely prince was smiling at him and Trowa shook his head, a long sigh passing over his lips. After the day he'd had, he couldn't find the strength to be surprised for long. "Whatever you say."
* * *
Trowa stood as still as he could, doing his best not to tug at the collar of the odd suit he'd been dressed in. He felt completely out of place, and he still didn't know what was going on. The blonde boy finally appeared to make his walk down the aisle, and Trowa shuffled nervously. A honk reprimanded the movement, and he glared down at the goose that was standing to the right of him, his 'best man.' The thing's dull beak poked at his ankle and Trowa's eyebrow twitched a bit at the goose's seeming glare. But a soft giggle caught his ear and he sighed as he watched Quatre stifle quiet laughter behind one hand. Hearing the sweet sound, he couldn't feel angry at all.
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