The White Kitten
This is a fic for Fablespinner's sap contest. I've never entered a contest before, here goes nothing.
Warnings: 3x4, Yaoi, weirdness, sap. I don't own Gundam. On with the show.
Once upon a time, in a Kingdom not very far away, there lived a King who found it hard to make decisions. He was so bad, in fact, that one might wonder how he had become King at all. Of course, being King solved his name crisis, since everyone was obliged to call him 'Your Majesty.' His friends didn't know whether to call him Milliardo Peacecraft or Zechs Marquise. His sons just called him Dad.
The time came for his Majesty to hand the Kingdom over to one of his sons. Because he hadn't decided to stop having children after his first son was born, now he had to decide which of his three sons should inherit his crown. His eldest, Trowa, was the obvious choice, though he was too quiet and probably wouldn't marry. Wufei, the second-born, was too volatile, he'd probably sentence the entire population to death a week after the coronation. And the youngest, Duo, was too scatterbrained and couldn't take anything seriously. Nevertheless, the King couldn't make the decision. So he called his sons together and proposed a contest.
" Whoever brings me the best carpet gets the crown."
" Why a carpet?"
" We need one for the parlour."
The two younger Princes were delighted with this arrangement. Duo could shop for the Olympics and Wufei could bully someone into getting him a good quality carpet. Poor Trowa, however, was at a loss. He hated shopping, the idea of getting rammed into a bunch of strangers while haggling over the price of a piece of material just didn't appeal to him. While his brothers set out to complete the task, Trowa went into the forest to wallow in his misery.
Near the creek, the Prince heard a commotion of frenzied yapping, accompanied by a banshee-like wail. Approaching the scene of the noise, he found a group of dogs barking at a miserable-looking kitten stuck in the highest branches of an old oak tree. Grateful for the distraction, and because he liked animals, Trowa chased the dogs away, then hoisted himself into the branches of the tree. The kitten happily leapt into his arms and allowed him to carry the little animal down to earth.
With it's feet planted firmly on the ground, the kitten started to wash its spotless white fur, then turned enormous blue eyes and its perpetual kitten smile to its rescuer. Trowa briefly smiled back and then went back to being miserable. Seeing that the Prince was unhappy, the kitten climbed onto his lap and licked his hand , but failed to cheer the young man up. With a soft sigh, the kitten opened its mouth and spoke.
" Why do you look so unhappy?"
Trowa's one visible green eye widened as he struggled to find words.
" Y..y..you can TALK?"
" Yes. Didn't you hear me talk just now?"
" B..but you're a cat!"
" I happen to be an enchanted cat. Are you going to answer my question?"
" This is getting boring. Will you answer my question or not?"
" Um, what was it again?"
" Why do you look so unhappy?"
Feeling a little foolish, Trowa told the white kitten about his carpet problem. It listened with rapt attention, though occasionally got distracted by Trowa's long auburn bangs waving in the wind. When he finished his story, the little animal patted his hand affectionately.
" I think I may be able to help you."
" Because I like you. Do I need another reason?"
" I guess not, it's just unusual."
" More or less unusual than rescuing a talking cat from a bunch of rabid mongrels? Take it as a reward for helping me."
" All right then. Thank you, cat."
" That's my name, Quatre. What's yours?"
" That's a nice name. Do you think I could sit on your shoulder on the way to my home? My legs are tired from running away from those dogs."
Quatre directed the Prince through half a dozen turns and forks in the forest until they finally stopped at a small cave with ivy across the entrance. Trowa was grateful to get the kitten off of his shoulders. His face was covered with little scratches from when Quatre had 'attacked' his bangs. The kitten motioned for him to come inside with his tail. Trowa pulled back the heavy curtain and his jaw dropped almost immediately.
The cave was HUGE on the inside, furnished with all sorts of strange furniture, chairs and beds carved out of trees that grew inside the cave, chandeliers of multicoloured feathers hanging from stalactites, thick cobwebs being used as shelves. And the entire room was covered with cats! About forty cats all looked up when Trowa came in with the kitten, and started hissing and spitting at him. Quatre put their minds at ease by telling them that he was friendly, but they still gave him a wide berth. The largest cat, easily the size of a bulldog, picked Quatre up by the scruff of his neck and carried him into the next room. Trowa followed gingerly, trying not to step on any tails.
The bigger cat, a Russian Blue, placed Quatre gently in front of a cupboard door, then sat in a corner to keep an eye on them. Feeling increasingly bemused, the Prince watched the kitten dive into the cupboard, crash about in the dark for a few minutes, and then emerged dragging a wooden box behind him. Smiling, Quatre motioned to the Prince to open it.
Inside the box was an enormous rug, made of soft fur in every colour known to man, and a few extra ones. Trowa was still staring at it in wonder when he felt the kitten climb up onto his shoulder and mew into his ear.
" Do you think your Father will like it?"
" Yes, he certainly would. But I can't accept this."
" Why not?"
" It's too good! All I did was fish you out of a tree!"
" Oh, that. If you want, you can make it up to me later.."
" I will, I promise."
" Good. Now get going, your Kingdom awaits!"
That night, Trowa proudly presented the carpet to his Father. His Majesty was delighted, and immediately declared Trowa to be his successor. The other two Princes hadn't done so well. Duo had gone on a huge shopping spree, but while buying out the businesses of nearly all the cloth merchants in town, he'd forgotten to get the carpet. On a lighter note, he had a snappy new wardrobe. Wufei had ordered a servant to find him a suitable carpet, but the servant returned with a small white dog. Apparently he thought that the Prince had asked for a Shar-pei. The poor fellow was to be executed the next day.
As pleased as his Majesty was with the carpet, he allowed his two youngest sons to convince him that Trowa wouldn't be a suitable King. Still unable to decide on his successor, he proposed another contest.
" I want you all to bring me back a bird. The one that pleases me most wins."
" Why a bird?"
" Don't ask questions, go find me a bird!"
Both Duo and Wufei ran off to the nearest pet shop, while Trowa decided to catch a bird in the forest. After a few hours with no fowl in sight, he was ready to give up and go home. Then he heard a pitiful mewing just off of the trail, inside a deep well. He recognized the high-pitched wailing.
" Trowa? Oh, how are you? What brings you out to this neck of the woods?"
For someone stuck in a well, the kitten sounded very chipper.
" How did you get down there?"
" Why do you always answer a question with a question? I was chasing a feather and it landed in here!"
" So you just went in after it?"
" (sigh) Yes. It's all soggy now, no good to play with. Can you get me out?"
Trowa removed his belt and lowered it into the well, then tugged it out, along with the bedraggled kitten clinging to it. Quatre enthusiastically jumped onto his shoulder and gave his neck a thorough cleaning. Trowa gently removed his long claws from his shirt and tickled the kitten under the chin affectionately.
" So what are you doing here, Trowa?"
" My Father wants a bird now."
" A bird? What's he gonna do with a bird?"
" I don't know. Keep it as a pet, I guess."
" What's the use of having a bird if you can't do anything with it? Whatever, I think I can help you."
" No, you don't have to."
" Are you always this contrary? I want to help you! Besides, you're carrying me home again."
In the end, Trowa walked to the cave with the kitten clawing at his auburn bangs. All forty cats looked up when they entered, briefly he heard them talking.
" Master Quatre's brought home another stray."
" No, that's the stray from yesterday."
" You sure?"
" There's no mistaking that hair."
Trowa tiptoed over various furry bodies until they reached the back of the cave. Quatre disappeared into a miniature canopy of trees, and the Prince heard the kitten and something much larger rustle about for a few minutes. He emerged at last, sitting on the back of the biggest bird Trowa had ever seen. It had a long neck and long legs, and a thick body covered in black and white feathers. It looked like a very big goose, except that it's face had a distinctly evil look to it.
" What the heck is that?"
" It's an ostrich."
" A what?"
" An ostrich. We picked one up on our travels. It can run as fast as a horse, and lays eggs the size of your head."
" Impressive, eh? You should go now, it's nearly dark."
" How do I get home? I won't be able to see the trail."
" Ride the ostrich home."
The Prince left on the bird. Sure enough, it ran like the wind and he was home in no time. As with the carpet, his Majesty was delighted with the ostrich. He named it Tallgeese, because it looked like a very large goose. He wasn't so impressed with Duo's peacock, which spent more time preening than Duo himself. And Wufei had wrung his parrot's neck when he thought it called him a woman. (Actually, Duo had taught it to say Wu-man.)
At this point, Trowa's ascension to the throne seemed a sure thing. But no, his Majesty let his two younger sons convince him that Trowa would be an unsuitable King. Why? Because he'd never marry! Every Kingdom required two rulers bonded by marriage (his Majesty's partner had died a little while ago, which was why he needed a successor.) Duo was a babe magnet (at least in his own mind) and Wufei, despite his hostile nature, would marry out of duty. Trowa, however, was antisocial, and it seemed very unlikely that he'd find a partner. So his Majesty issued another challenge, whoever brought back the best partner would get the throne.
While Duo went to get his latest girlfriend, and Wufei went to bully someone into a partnership, Trowa went to find Quatre to cheer him up. He found the kitten staring at a ray of light in the forest as though it were the most fascinating thing he had ever seen. Smiling, Trowa picked him up and sat him on his lap.
" Hi, Trowa! What brings you here?"
" Another challenge."
" What is it this time?"
" I have to bring back a partner to rule the kingdom with me."
" I can help!"
" What? Do you have an eligible human in the back of your cupboard?"
" Maybe. You don't know what you'd find in my cupboard. Let's go."
When they reached the cave, Quatre trotted over to a small box in the corner of the room and told Trowa to open it. He thought it seemed awfully small to have a human inside, but when he opened it there was a long, sharp sword inside. Trowa looked questioningly at the kitten.
" You'll get what you want if you do exactly as I say. Understand?"
" Cut off my head, feet and tail and throw them into the fire."
The expression of horror on Trowa's face was matched by the other cats in the room. Why would Quatre ask him to do such a thing? He couldn't bear the thought of hurting the sweet little animal he'd grown so attached to.
" What's the matter, Trowa? If you do as I say, you will be King!"
" I don't want to be King if it means I have to kill you!"
" Please, Trowa. You won't regret it, I swear."
He just couldn't say no. Swallowing back the lump in his throat and closing his eyes against the tears, Trowa clutched the sword in his violently shaking hands and brought it down six times on the tiny body. He grabbed the severed limbs quickly and cast them into the fireplace, then turned around…
… and came face to face with the most beautiful creature he had ever seen!
The blonde boy in front of him giggled, shut Trowa's gaping mouth and spoke in the kitten's voice.
" What do you think, Trowa? Is this better than my other body or worse?"
" In the flesh! Told you I was enchanted, didn't I?"
" All right, I guess I owe you an explanation. About two years ago, a wizard fell in love with me and asked for permission to marry me. But my Dad said that no son of his was getting married to another guy, so the wizard turned ME into a cat! It would have been smarter to turn my Dad into a cat, but there was no talking to this guy. And just for the heck of it he turned my servants into cats as well!"
Quatre gestured behind him towards forty middle-aged men celebrating their freedom with alcohol that seemed to come from nowhere.
" Anyway, the spell could only be broken if someone who cared about me would kill me if I asked them to. Pretty twisted, huh? The wizard wasn't able to do it. But you've broken the spell, and now you can complete your Father's challenge!"
The boy's big blue eyes sparkled shyly.
" That is, if you'll have me."
Having now gotten over his initial shock, Trowa smiled and captured the blonde's lips with his own as an answer.
At noon, Trowa and his kitten-turned-human set off for the palace on foot, after Trowa flatly refused to carry Quatre on his shoulders. They reached the palace at eight, and proceeded immediately to the throne room for Trowa to present his partner. Duo and Wufei were there, with their partners. Duo's was a young girl called Hilde, who frankly looked more manly than Duo. Wufei was betrothed to an older man named Treize, attractive enough but he seemed like a rather smooth character.
His Majesty was having a decision crisis. Trowa's partner won full marks in the looks category, but Duo's girl could bear children. And Treize seemed like the kind of person better able to run a country. Finally he decided on something.
" See that hoop over there?"
" Whoever has a partner that can jump through that hoop and land on his or her feet gets the throne."
" That's so stupid! What if they all make it? Or none of them?"
" Then we're in trouble. Just give it a try."
Hilde went first. She started off well enough, but then realized that the members of court were staring up her skirt. In trying to conceal herself, she landed flat on her butt. Wufei and Treize smirked, but unfortunately Treize fared little better. Being such a slick customer, he slipped while taking a run at the hoop and got tangled up in his cape. All seemed clear when it was Quatre's turn. But he refused to jump through the hoop!
" For the last two years, I have lived like a cat. I am human now, I am not a performing poodle!"
Trowa had to think fast. Suddenly, he spotted one of Tallgeese's feathers. He blew it into the air and through the hoop, and just as he had hoped, Quatre jumped through after it, and landed safely on his feet.
The wedding took place the same day as the coronation. Both ceremonies went by smoothly, except for a brief episode in the church when Quatre had been distracted by the rope of the church bells and spent fifteen minutes swinging out of them. Finally, it was the wedding night. Ignoring the traditions of wedding night, Trowa looked forward to a good night's sleep. Quatre was already in bed, playing with one of the pillows that had tassels. Trowa smiled. He hoped that Quatre would keep some of his kittenish mannerisms. It would make life with him more interesting, anyway. He settled into bed and blew out the candle.
A couple of seconds later, he could feel Quatre's small white hand, with skin as soft as fur, creeping down into his pyjamas.
" Quatre, what are you…"
"(giggle) I found something more interesting than tassels to play with."