TITLE: Three Wishes
AUTHOR: Lord of Kavaka
TIMELINE: Set sometime during Season 2
STORY TYPE: Humor/Romance
SPOILERS: Nothing that I can think of.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own them, and I make no profit from this.
SUMMARY: Richard finds a leprechaun and is granted three wishes.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know it's a day late, but Happy St. Patrick's Day. Being of Irish heritage, I was listening to Irish/Celtic folk music and suddenly thought of this idea.
The camp was quiet and peaceful tonight. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Zedd had fallen to sleep mumbling about the lack of good spices for the stew they had quickly put together. Kahlan had tried to assure him that they would purchase a greater quantity at the next available village. Cara had simply rolled her eyes and tossed a glance towards Richard, which told him she thought they were silly to placate the wizard. The Mord'Sith offered to take first watch, but Richard declined her offer, wanting to stay up a little while more and ponder over what might be ahead of them in their search for the Stone of Tears.
Suddenly, off to the left of the clearing, a rustle came from a bush, as if by a rabbit. Richard stilled, his hand quickly going to the hilt of the Sword of Truth. At the ready, he slowly arched his neck to peer over in that direction. He quickly scanned the wooded area, but found nothing to indicate intruders. It was probably just a nocturnal animal.
Releasing a breath he did not know he had been holding in, Richard turned his gaze back to the sleeping forms on his companions. Unconsciously, his eyes drifted over to the Mother Confessor. His eyes softened and he just allowed himself to gaze upon the beauty that was Kahlan Amnell. The soft glowing embers cast by the small fire flickered across her relaxed and peaceful countenance, giving her creamy white skin a warm orange radiance that only accentuated her natural beauty.
He forced his eyes away and closed them. How he wished things could be different. That she was a normal woman, and he… he was an average man… that he wasn't the Seeker of Truth and didn't have to put everyone else before his own wants and needs. Was it so wrong that he loved her? And that he desperately wanted to be able to show her that?
A noise broke through his thoughts. Richard froze, his hand returning to the hilt of his sword. A bush shook slightly. The same one. More than before. His eyes darted across the clearing and he gazed long and hard at the offending shrub, wondering what it was. Deciding it was better to be safe than sorry, Richard jumped up and slowly crept over. Pausing, he held his breath and then reached in. His hand found something and he pulled back, holding up his discovery to get a look at it in the glow of the moonlight that filtered through the tops of the trees.
Richard could not believe his eyes. In his hand, kicking its tiny legs, was… was a person? He blinked, confused. He'd never seen someone… so… so small. The man had a scruffy orange beard, and emerald eyes, which were currently open wide in shock and horror. He was dressed normally, though his attire did seem to have a green hue to it. In fact, the entire outfit's motif was green, right down to the man's tiny shoes. If Richard had to guess, he'd say that little man was only eight inches tall.
"What… what are you?"
The little man stopped struggling, and a mischievous grin spread across his tiny face. "Let me go, and I'll tell you," his voice was surprisingly loud and clear, and didn't seem to fit his short stature.
Richard narrowed his eyes, uncertain. "What's to stop you from running away if I did?"
The little man crossed his arms and pouted. "All right, laddie… you're not as dumb as you look."
"Friendly, aren't you?" Richard inquired, raising an eyebrow.
"You're the one whose captured me, lad," the little man replied. "There's nothing that says I gotta be a cooperative prisoner."
"You're not a prisoner… though, I'm not putting you down until you answer some questions," Richard asserted.
The little man's eyebrows shot up. "Questions?"
"Yes," Richard nodded. "Like what were you doing in the bushes? Were you spying on us for the Keeper?"
The little man shook his head, quite vehemently at that. "Blimey! Oh, no… I don't serve him… none of us do," he declared.
"All of us?" Richard repeated with an arched eyebrow.
"Um… aye, yes… I did say that, didn't I?" the little man looked worried. "Look, lad, you've caught me. Good for you. Why don't you just wish your three wishes n' let me go, eh?"
"Wishes?" Richard frowned.
"Aye," the little man with carrot colored hair said. "For catching me, three wishes I grant you, but only three, n' no more. So… why don't you do both of us a favor n' ask them quickly."
Richard considered this for a moment. It seemed odd. How could this little man, no bigger than a common household cat, grant him wishes? "I don't understand? How can you grant me wishes?"
The little man rolled his eyes in exacerbation and sighed. "Blimey, seems I was right about you… you are a slow one!"
Frowning, Richard tightened his grip on the scruff of the man's little jacket, biting back the desire to shake him silly. He gritted his teeth, holding back a sharp retort. He was just about to ask another question when a noise behind him stopped him short.
"Richard? Is there a problem?"
Startled by her voice, Richard straightened and turned around just in time to see Kahlan appeared alongside him, her hair slightly tousled from sleeping on her bedroll. The little man made a high squeal of surprise and Richard looked down. Kahlan followed his gaze and immediately saw what he was holding in his hand.
"Spirits! Richard… you've captured a leprechaun!"
"I… what?" Richard furrowed his brow in confusion.
"Leprechaun," Kahlan sounded it out slowly, like she was instructing a young child.
Richard grounded his teeth. He always felt so awkward and embarrassed when he didn't know something that he felt like he should. Often, he'd suppress the feeling, but, for some reason, perhaps it was the stress and pressure of finding the Stone of Tears and saving the world from the Keeper made that feeling stronger tonight.
"Okay… I… I've never seen or heard of them, is all," he replied, a little too briskly. He bit his tongue, immediately regretting his sharp tone. He looked up at Kahlan with big apologetic eyes.
Kahlan gave him a tight smile, seeming to see how he felt. "It's all right, Richard," she said, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "I don't think any less of you for never having heard of them. It's quite understandable. In fact, this is the very first leprechaun I have ever seen in person. I've only read about them in books held in the libraries of the Confessor's Palace. It's rare to see one up close like this. They're usually good at hiding."
"Aye, we are at that," chirped up the little man, crossing his arms over his chest, and giving Richard a defiant look.
"Has he granted you any wishes yet?" Kahlan asked, her blue eyes sparkling. He thought she looked like an excited schoolgirl.
Richard raised his eyebrows and couldn't help but smile back. Her beaming smiles were always infectious. And she always looked so beautiful when she smiled at him like that, with a hint of mischief in her eyes.
"No," he answered her. "I… I was just questioning him on how he could even do that."
"Leprechauns are magical, Richard," Kahlan informed him. "Like fairies."
"No… ack… we ain't nothing like those blooming fairies, lassie!" the leprechaun scoffed, seemingly to be highly affronted by the comparison. Then his eyes widen in horror. "Er… pardons, Mother Confessor… I meant no offense."
Kahlan smiled down at the leprechaun. "None taken. What's your name?"
Kahlan nodded, and turned her head. "Richard, why don't you wish your three wishes, so Brian here can get back to doing what he was doing before you caught him."
Richard frowned and looked between Kahlan and Brian. "Yes! Speaking of that… what were you doing?"
Brian sighed and slumped his shoulder. "Waiting for you to fall asleep, lad."
Brian glanced up at Kahlan with apologetic eyes, before turning towards Richard to give his explanation. "Ye old wizard's got quite a hefty purse o' gold over there. Not to mention that stew smells awfully good. I thought I might take a wee bit n' try it for me-self, see if it truly requires more spices like the wizard suggested."
Richard harrumphed, having heard the first bit loud and clear. "You meant to steal it, didn't you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Brian feigned ignorance, trying to look innocent.
Richard huffed. "You're nothing but a common cutpurse?"
"Ack… I take exception to that! Them's fightin' words, they are!" Brian held up his arms, his hands in tiny little fists, as he began swinging wildly about in Richard's grasp.
Richard chuckled and shook his head. Brian grew tired of trying to punch him, since it was pointless anyways. He sighed and lowered his arms.
"Just wish your three wishes, laddie, so I can go," he huffed out with a defeated look.
"Three wishes, you say?"
"Aye, three… no more n' no less," Brian nodded.
Richard looked up at Kahlan and gazed into her eyes. He knew what he wanted. Her eyebrows moved, ever so slightly, and he knew that she could see what it was that he was thinking. She swallowed slightly and pursed her lips, looking a little nervous. Richard knitted his eyebrows together in thought. He wanted Kahlan, he truly did. But he didn't want to have her thanks to magic or trickery. Shaking his head, Richard turned back to Brian the Leprechuan.
"I have no need for your wishes, Brian, " Richard said, confident of his decision. "A wise man once told me that magic is not the answer to everything. It's a cheat, really. It can also be a dangerous thing, and can cost you more than it may appear. I don't like the idea of entrusting my hopes to magic. Finding my own way to them is far more rewarding and worthwhile."
And with that, Richard released his hold and Brian fell towards the ground, landing perfectly on his feet like a cat. The little leprechaun paused a moment and gazed up at Richard with a curious expression, running his little hands through his little scruffy orange beard.
"You don't want your three wishes?" he questioned, looking genuinely surprised.
"Correct," Richard replied with a slight grin, glancing over at Kahlan, who was smiling back at him, so proud. "I don't want them."
Brian cocked his head and stared at them for the longest time. He then shook his head, as if completely baffled. "You mortals… I've never understood you, probably never will… but if that's what you want… then fine by me." But before he could turn to leave, Richard reached out and grabbed his little arm. He was careful, though, to not grab too hard.
"Leave the purse alone, okay?"
Brian frowned, and tugged his arm away, rubbing it slightly as if Richard's grip had hurt him. "I have no idea what you're talking about, laddie," he feigned ignorance, and then promptly bounded away into the brush, leaving Richard and Kahlan grinning widely and shaking their heads.
"It's a good thing we don't have any wine or liquor with us, otherwise, he'd make off with those too," Kahlan said. She chuckled. "Either that, or he'd become so inebriated, we'd wake up to find him passed out by the campfire."
"Is that what they do?" Richard asked. "Leprechauns, I mean? Drink, eat, and steal things?"
"No… not always," Kahlan smiled slightly. "Some people call them tricksters. But they're harmless, really."
Richard gave a shrug. "Just the same, I think I'll check to see if Zedd still has that purse," he said.
Kahlan nodded. "Probably a good idea, yes."
"DEAR SPIRITS!" Zedd hooted, jumping up, completely alert.
Richard and Kahlan exchanged a quick look before rushing over to see what was the trouble.
The wizard was patting his robe and looking about the ground around his bedroll. "Bags… I can't find it," Zedd said, shaking his head, utterly confused.
"Can't find what, wizard?" grumbled Cara as she sat up from her bedroll, looking irritated at having been woke up before her turn to stand watch.
Zedd's bushy grey eyebrows pinched together and he looked conflicted. Richard frowned, hoping that that little thief hadn't stolen their money. They needed those coins to purchase supplies for their quest.
"Zedd… do you still have the coin purse?" Richard asked cautiously, his eyes darting back to the bush that he had found Brian hiding in.
"Egad… yes… thank the Good Spirits," Zedd said, smiling warily. He reached into his long looped sleeves and produced the little bundle.
"Then what are you looking for?" Kahlan asked, knitting her eyebrows together. Richard looked over at her and smirked, unable to keep the thought out of his mind that she looked adorable when her nose wrinkled like that. Kahlan glanced at him and blushed, seeming to recognize the look of adoration in his eyes.
Zedd took a breath and visibly turned pink with embarrassment. "My flask of Ambrosia Wine," he answered, having the decency to look shamefaced.
Cara snorted and plopped back down onto her bedroll, turning her back to the fire and going back to sleep. Richard and Kahlan shook their heads. Zedd cleared his throat and raised his eyebrows.
"Do you two know anything about this?" he asked.
"No… nothing whatsoever," Richard said with an amused grin.
Kahlan echoed his assertion and the wizard crossed his arms, gazing down at them like they were misbehaving schoolchildren. After some more talk, Zedd gave up with a huff, though still bemoaned the loss of his Ambrosia wine.
"It was of a very fine vintage, I'd have you know," Zedd proclaimed.
"I'm sure it was, Zedd," Kahlan said, appeasing the wizard with a sympathetic nod.
"Go back to sleep, Zedd," Richard told his grandfather. "You have the last watch, remember?"
Zedd shook his head and shuddered. "Fine, but don't expect anything good for breakfast!" And with that, the old wizard turned back to his bedroll and went back to sleep.
Kahlan joined Richard by the fire. They sat there for a while in silence, simply watching the crackling flames consume the recent log Richard had added. Richard basked in her nearness. Gently, he turned toward her and hooked his arm over her shoulders. Kahlan sighed and leaned into his side, resting her head on his shoulder. He tilted his head and kissed the top of her head, lingering long enough to breathe in her scent.
"Why?" she asked, breaking the silence.
"You know why," Richard answered, knowing what it was she was asking.
"But… you… you could have wished for us to be able to—"
"No… not that way," Richard asserted, gently stroking the side of her arm with his fingers. "When we find a way… and we will… it won't be because of magic. But because of my steadfast love for you… that's all I'll need."
Kahlan sighed and turned her head to look up at him, her eyes large and beautiful. "Really?"
"Yes," Richard asserted. "As much as I wish things were different… I wouldn't change a thing about you. I love you, Kahlan. You never—never—have to change for me. You're perfect. Just as you are."
"So are you," she replied with a slight smile.
Richard dipped his head down and lightly pressed a kiss to her lips. Kahlan opened her mouth to his and brought a hand up to his face to hold him there for a little while longer. Leaning back, she pressed her forehead to his, slowly chewing on her lower lip.
"Part of me wishes you'd accepted his offer," she admitted. "Though I understand why you didn't. And I'm proud of you for not taking the easy way, despite how tempting it was."
Richard chuckled. "Zedd once told me that nothing is ever easy, and he was right. If they were, the rewards would never be worth it."
Kahlan smiled. "Yes, I suppose that's true."
Richard tightened his hold on her and kissed her again, smiling as he pulled a soft moan from her throat. "And when we find a way to be together, it will be far more rewarding and satisfying, because we did it on our own terms."
Kahlan let out a soft sigh, and nodded, leaning against him as she turned to look back at the fire. Richard pressed his lips against her temple and hugged her close. His eyes turned and looked over to the bush, seeing Brian standing there, nodding in what seemed like approval, before holding up a flask and grinning widely. And then, in a flash the little man was gone. Richard grinned slightly and turned his eyes back to the flickering flames, feeling confident that he made the right decision in declining those three wishes.