Author's Notes: This was supposed to be a drabble. Er. It isn't.

Title: Garsiv's Third Nipple, or, Never Mock A Man's Headwear

Author: ohladybegood

Rating: R for language, LOL GARSIV YOU POTTY MOUTH.

Summary: Set when the boys are twelve or so. Garsiv's helmet does not look like a nipple, and the next person who says it does gets stabbed.

He found it in the armory. There were other, shinier options, but something about this particular helmet reminded Garsiv of himself. It was a fine helmet, distinct and battle-worn. This was the helmet of a man who could seriously fuck some shit up.

"Brother," Tus says carefully the first time he sees it, his expression painfully neutral, "are you absolutely sure that's the one you want?"

Garsiv points over Tus's shoulder at a passing sand dervish outside. "Look, Tus! There goes your sense of fun. Quick, go catch it before it disappears."

Tus thinks that just because he's allowed into their father's banquets and has people calling him Crown Prince Tus all the time, he's somehow been put in charge of their little trio. He forgets that Garsiv doesn't care if he's the Crown Prince of Heaven itself; as long as Garsiv can still put his older brother in a headlock and beat him in boxing, Tus has the authority of a horse.

His older brother raises his hand in surrender. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

He's considering the many ways he could prove this to his older brother when Dastan drops out of the ceiling like the inhuman monkey he is and says cheerfully, "Oh, it is a helmet. From above I thought it was your third nipple."

Garsiv yanks Dastan's leg until he falls to their level. "Clearly you've never seen a nipple, little brother," he snaps. "This is an excellent helmet. This is a man's helmet. This is the helmet of a great warrior."

"One who makes his enemies laugh themselves to death," Dastan adds, cheerfully skipping away from Garsiv's practice sword. "Quick, Tus, tell Father that we've got a new battle strategy: we'll scare off our enemies with Garsiv's huge white nipple!" Then he pauses and does a double-take. "Wait a minute, you've seen a nipple?"

"Of course I've seen a nipple," Garsiv scoffs. (He is lying.) "They don't look anything like this helmet. They look like . . . uh . . . " he flounders and casts around for something before finishing definitively, ". . . apples."

Tus diplomatically covers his laugh with a cough, rubbing a hand over his first four strands of facial hair. Garsiv stomps hard on his foot. It's not like Tus has been seeing any nipples, either. Tus wouldn't know a nipple if it bit him on the nose.

A nipple couldn't bite Garsiv on the nose, thanks to his spectacular helmet. Not that it would, but he's just saying. In the worst case scenario, Garsiv is protected.

He's pretty sure that nipples don't bite. It would be an excellent lie to give Dastan nightmares with, however.

His little brother is frowning contemplatively. "Apples?" he repeats, cocking his head to the side. "Do nipples have stems?"

"And teeth," Garsiv tells him pleasantly. "So clearly, my helmet does not look like a nipple, and the next person who says it does gets stabbed."

"You can't stab him," Tus interjects, laying a hand on Garsiv's arm. "We need him to steal desserts from the kitchens after Father's locked the doors." After some consideration, he adds, "And Father would disapprove. Strongly."

"Wait wait wait, guys," Dastan interjects, looking worried. "Can we go back to the teeth thing? What do you mean, nipples have teeth?"

Garsiv rolls his eyes. "If we weren't brothers, I'd use your skull as my wine goblet, stupid," he sighs. "Nipples don't bite, okay? As long as you speak sweetly to them, nipples are very docile."

Tus pinches the bridge of his nose with his fingers. It's something he picked up from Uncle Nizam. "Can please we stop talking about nipples?" he asks in a pained voice.

"Little brother started it," Garsiv mutters sullenly. "Also his haircut is stupid and he looks like a girl."

Dastan beams at him in that gooey way he does whenever anyone calls him brother or son. "I look like a girl? You're wearing a nipple-hat!" he cries. "What's with the nose thing? How many times do you think people are going to stab you in the nose during battle?"

"How many times do you think I'm going to stab you in the nose before dinner?" Garsiv snarls back.

Dastan laughs, and Tus dutifully tries not to. Garsiv seriously considers stabbing them both before deciding that it's not worth killing Tus if it means he has to be king, and without Dastan he'll have no one to pull tricks on the foreign dignitaries with. More importantly, he won't have anyone to pin it on.

Tus puts a hand on each brother's shoulder. "Now, gentlemen, come on. Let us agree to disagree on the hat issue."

Dastan crosses his arms over his chest sullenly. "He said my hair made me look like a girl," he pouts. "I feel like my honor has been insulted. I feel like we should fight to the death about it."

"Your hair does look like a girl," Garsiv says. "So maybe you know what a nipple looks like, after all. Maybe you're secretly a woman charading as a really girl man."

"Maybe you have a nipple on your head," Dastan shoots back.

"That's it!" Tus shouts, giving them both a shake. "The next person who says the word 'nipple' gets thrown in the manure pile."

There's a long silence. Then Dastan murmurs, "Nipple."

"Nipple," Garsiv repeats.

"Nipple nipple nipple—"

"Nipply nip nip nipple nip—"

"Okay," Tus says, and throws his practice sword down. "Who's first?"

They take off running.