Disclaimer: Ownership followed the Pied Piper over the hill, thus I own nothing.

Author's Note: Fairytale ficlet, what the heck? Eheheheh, so I needed a brain break, I'm allowed. Only very loosely based on the fairytale, this one, but it's not like Pied Piper was the most entertaining tale ever (but oh so very moral, I'm sure I'm a better person for it ;p). Anyhoo, hope you enjoy.


"Dearest," the Queen said as she walked into the Consort's study, "have you seen Ambrose? I wanted to ask him about any munchkin customs I'll have to look out for during our reintegration talks next week."

Ahamo glanced up gratefully from the hated paperwork currently scattering his desktop. "No, he hasn't been by to see me today. You wouldn't happen to know where Raw has gotten himself to, would you? I was hoping he'd be willing to sit in and give us a heads up if anything was going amiss."

His wife shook her head, "No, I haven't..."

"Oh, sorry," a blushing Jeb mumbled as his entrance interrupted the conversation, "didn't mean to intrude; I thought maybe my father would be in here."

The Consort glanced at the clock. "Actually, he was supposed to be here ten minutes ago..."

"Excuse me, Your Majesties," Tutor said as he joined them, "I tried asking Azkadellia first but I can't find her, has anyone seen DG?"

A sudden silence fell over the room.

"Ah," said Ahamo.

"Perhaps we ought to go look for them?" suggested the Queen, leading the way.

"Where are the footmen?" the Consort asked a few minutes later as he was allowed, for the first time since the Restoration, to open a door for himself.

"Never mind that," opined Jeb as they made their way down the silent hallway, "where are the guards?"

"I could have sworn I heard the maids discussing cleaning the Great Hall today," commented Tutor as they moved through it, not a soul in sight.

"No butler," pointed out the Queen.

"Now that's just spooky," muttered Jeb as Ahamo opened the door to a vacant courtyard.

"Did you hear that?" the Consort inquired, turning down the path towards the Lower Lawn.

"No, what did you...oh," the Queen uttered in surprise as they broke through the hedges and the palace grounds came into view.

"Forty-two blue, forty-two blue, hut, hut!" Princess Azkadellia yelled as she tossed a strange shaped ball back to the waiting Viewer. A line of footmen immediately tried to press forward only to be brought up short by a contingent of guards. Raw studied the field before him for a moment, where an assortment of kitchen hands, stable boys and scullery maids wove about in strange, intricate patterns. Making his decision, the Viewer let the ball fly. It was caught by Glitch who, in a rather interesting move, promptly tackled himself. Several courtiers, who stood grouped off to the side, started a bizarre dance and cheered while several gardeners sitting on the sidelines jeered and heckled.

"Fumble!" Princess DG cried out joyously, scooping up the ball and taking off down the field. The Tin Man was two steps ahead of her, clearing a path.

The Queen blinked in bemusement. "Well, I don't believe we need to ask who started this. Dearest, I think we should...Dearest?"

The Consort was already halfway down the hill and gaining speed, Jeb was right behind him. "I can be a quarterback," Ahamo yelled as he charged onto the field, "Jeb can run interference."

"No, no," Tutor exclaimed, moving forward, "he should be one of the ball catchers and the patterns are all wrong."

The Queen stared after them a moment in utter disbelief. Shaking her head with a sigh, she gave up on the hope of any work being accomplished that day and set out to bestow some order onto the chaos her youngest daughter had induced.