3-22-2002

Title: An Ordinary Tale 4/?
Author: Ume
Pairing: 1+2/2+1
Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing. Please don't sue.
Notes: This is a GW/Cinderella fusion.
Previous chapters can be found at the following sites:
http://kikotei_fic.tripod.com/
http://duowolf.crosswinds.net/fanfic/ume/ume.html

 

An Ordinary Tale
Chapter 4
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“Duo!” laughed the girl as the boy spun her around. “Put me down. Duo, I mean it. I’m going to be sick if you don’t. Duo! Put me down!”

Finally obliging her commands, the boy released the girl from his enthusiastic welcome, planted a friendly kiss on her cheek, and grinned warmly at her dazed face. “How are you, Hilde? How did you know I was here? And you’re back early, I wasn’t expecting you for another three months.”

“I’m fine, Duo. We’ve just arrived this morning. Mama couldn’t stand the heat anymore, saying the idea of wearing full gowns during summer in the middle of the desert again was already giving her heat exhaustion, so Papa agreed to depart the Nilian court earlier than expected. As for finding you, I asked your mother where was her missing imp and she said ‘either preying on another innocent soul or taking a break from mischief and relaxing at his lake’, so here I am.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re back, it’s been almost three years since I last saw you. Oh, how I’ve missed you, my dear, dear Hilde--terrorizing everyone wasn’t as fun without you by my side to bask in their outrage, to gloat in their face, and to take part of the blame when fingers started pointing.”

Punching the boy in the arm none too gently, the girl snorted, “You sure know how to make a girl feel wanted, you jerk.”

Shrugging, the boy grinned his answer, “I’m a loud-mouth, not a charmer. I leave the sweet-talking to the professionals, namely you and your fellow courtiers.”

Shaking her head, she sighed bemusedly, “Duo, Duo, Duo, whatever am I going to do with you?”

“I don’t know. Maybe put up with me?”

The boy received another punch for that suggestion.

As the boy and girl continued with their playful bickering, neither noticed the silent prince observing their reunion with intense scrutiny. From where he stood amongst the trees, Odin watched them, studying the girl in particular.

He should not--he even knew his animosity towards her was uncalled for--but he could not help but think darkly of the girl. He did not know her, had never met her, had never heard of her before until that day, yet he disliked her. In fact, he felt threatened by her, feared losing Duo to her and wanted to strike out at her before she could take the boy away.

Not liking the path his thoughts were leading him, the prince shook his head, trying to dispel them.

As minutes passed and the conversing couple updated each other on how they had been, the boy finally remembered why he was at the lake. “Oh Hilde, you have to meet my friend Heero. He should be here any minute now. You will like him. He's a little antisocial at first, but once you get to know him, he’s great.”

Taking that as his cue, somewhat relieved that the boy had not forgotten about him, the prince stepped out of the woods and approached the pair.

Upon seeing his friend, the boy waved cheerfully and shouted, “Hi Heero, great timing.” Once the prince was with them, the boy made introductions. “Heero, I would like you to meet my childhood playmate and friend, Hilde, from the house of Lardio. Hilde, I would like you to meet my good friend, Heero, from the house of Yuy.”

Not sure what to make of the “childhood playmate and friend”, but glad it was just that and not more, the prince’s unease lessened a little and he nodded to the girl in acknowledgement and greeting.

The girl, on the other hand, was a lot more animated and lively in her greeting. “Hi Heero. Have I met you before? You look familiar, but I’m so bad with names and faces, maybe you just remind me of someone. Have you ever been to the Nilian court? Or the Bartian perhaps? Maybe the Dragclanic?”

The prince blinked at the energetic girl, stunned by her possibly damning questions. Hoping the girl was as forgetful as she claimed, the prince said, “I can’t say that I have.” Wanting to change the subject, the prince moved the conversation away from himself, “You are quite the traveler.“

“Somewhat,” nodded the girl in agreement. “It’s not too surprising with Papa as the ambassador for the kingdom of Flora to the southern continents, and Mama refuses to be left behind while Papa gallivanted through kingdoms, so she often joins him in his duties and where Mama goes, I follow. It’s been three years since I had last set foot on Flora and over six since I’d been in the Floraen court. But enough about me for now, how about you, Heero, tell me a little about yourself.”

A tremendous fear seized the prince when the girl mentioned his court and was relieved, slightly, when she informed him of her last attendance there. Once again hoping her memory was as bad as she claimed, the prince answered as vaguely as possible. “My life story does not seem to be as grand as yours, I’m afraid. My parents are members of the Floraen court,” the prince paused, deciding how best to proceed, and continued, “but the life of a courtier does not suit me.”

Waiting for the prince to elaborate, but no more words forthcoming, the girl pried a little. “Really? Why is that?”

“Too much formalities, protocols, and flattering for my liking,” said the prince, praying the girl will drop the subject soon.

“Yes, that is the life of a courtier,” nodded the girl in agreement, “but how about the dances, they are rather fun?”

“I tend to avoid as many court functions as I can get away with, usually at the displeasure of my parents,” informed the prince, panicking slightly when he realized she would probably be attending the upcoming gala.

“Oh, that’s too bad, I’m rather fond of dances myself. But if you don’t see yourself as a courtier, what do you see yourself as?”

“I had been trained to be a knight,” said the prince, hoping the answer would appease the girl.

“So you’re more into battles, duels, and making challenges then?”

Grabbing onto the change of subject, the prince replied, “I enjoy a good challenge, but I do not covet war,” smirking a little, the prince aimed for some humor, “excluding the ones I wage against Duo, of course.”

“Yes, Duo can be a worthy adversary at times, and a pain in the neck the rest.”

“Oh Hilde, you have wounded me,” exclaimed the boy, hands over his heart and staggering backwards.

Tilting her head towards the boy, the girl remarked, “See what I mean?”

Trying not to smile, the prince agreed with the girl. “Yes. I had had the pleasure of experiencing Duo’s playful… enactments and exaggerations before.”

Chuckling, the girl shook her head, “Duo enjoys being the fool; I have yet to meet another with his sense of humor and wit though. I’m not sure if that is a shame or a blessing.”

Reluctantly finding the girl somewhat amusing, the prince said, “Maybe both. Duo is quite unique.”

“True, true. So, besides being a courtly knight and a playmate of our friend, Duo, here, is there anything else about yourself you think worth mentioning?”

Panicking once again, fearing she realized who he was, the prince searched her face for any clues to her thoughts. Finding simple curiosity, the prince reasoned she was still clueless to his personage. “I don’t know what else to say, I don’t think there is much more to me than that.”

“Modesty from you, Heero?” Duo teased. “I’m rather surprised, considering you were the one who tackled me and tickled me to death until I’d admitted you were the better of the two of us.”

“I was only answering your challenge to tag and paying you back for an earlier incident.”

Shrugging in answer, the boy simply grinned at the prince.

Somehow, as the day dragged on, the prince managed to keep his secret intact. At one point, the girl nearly gave him a heart attack. She was talking excitedly about the upcoming gala, extracting promises from Duo to let her pick out his attire, before she focused her attention on the prince. “So, Prince Odin…” she paused, leaving the prince to worry his memory, wondering how she found out and what gave him away, when she continued, “what is he like?”

Almost sagging with relief, he gave her the same answer he gave Duo regarding Prince Odin--that he was the last person to tell either how the prince was like. Like Duo, the girl wanted more of an answer than the one he gave. Eventually, the girl got him to admit that some courtiers had said Prince Odin was handsome, while he thought nothing much of his looks himself; that some considered Prince Odin regal and strong, which he reasoned that those characteristics were expected of a prince and therefore what the prince should expect from himself; and that a few complained Prince Odin of being rude at times, which he argued that there was no real polite way for anyone to tell others that he was tired of and annoyed by their company.

Satisfied with the information the prince was willing to give up, the girl moved onto a different subject, much to his great relief.

As late afternoon gave way to twilight, the three departed to their respective dinner engagements. After saying their farewells, the prince watched the boy and the girl rode into the sunset. Once they were gone from his sight, the prince sagged in his saddle and stirred Wing back to the palace.

 

TBC...

So, what do you think?