I will write you a more sane one, Rue. When I'm not feeling all stuffy from my cold.
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom. It was bright, happy and shiny, and its people lived in peace and relative prosperity. The king was an aged old fool called Banda, and his late wife Ryuuzaki was so because of Banda himself. She couldn't take his moronic smiling.
Shortly after Ryuuzaki's death, the king married again. Her name was Hanamura, and she didn't care for the king, nor his money, nor his land, nor his followers.
She just wanted the beauty services that came with the title of queen.
Our tale unfolds as Banda sits by the window, senilely mumbling to himself, and Hanamura preens in front of her mirror. The mirror, as you would have it, is magic. A wizard had sealed a little sprite in the mirror a long time ago because the sprite had upset one of the wizard's bright green potions [not that it was a bad thing, but the wizard wasn't to be convinced otherwise].
"Mirror, mirror on the wall," says Hanamura now. "Who is the fairest in this land?"
The mirror glowed slightly, and a face appeared. "Why, Hanamura-sama," drawled the sprite in a bored tone. "Of course it's you." And really, he wasn't lying. The people of the kingdom, I conveniently forgot to mention, were happy, peaceful and rich, but they were hideous. Lots of intermarriages had to happen because nobody would come marry them off to other lands.
"Good boy." Hanamura preened some more. Kirihara rolled his eyes and wished Yanagi-senpai would come rescue him. But Yanagi-senpai was too busy fighting a certain viper for the affections of the very wizard who had sealed Kirihara into the mirror in the first place. Traitor Yanagi-senpai.
However, this bliss was not to last. Five minutes after Kirihara affirmed that it was, indeed, Hanamura who was the fairest in the land, a boy from a faraway land stepped past the borders into the land. He was not the prettiest of them all, but he was certainly much more pleasing to the eye than the average citizen.
As it happens, Hanamura is a very insecure woman. So, ten minutes of primping later, she asked, "Kirihara-kun, tell me, who is the fairest in this land?"
Kirihara opened his mouth to drawl his usual answer, but a little niggling thought in the back of his mind prevented him from doing so. Frowning, he searched, using his magical sprite-type powers [people commonly called these powers 7-Up], and blinked at this new person stepping tentatively around a rather large and rather smelly cow patty.
"I regret to say, Hanamura-sama, that it is no longer you." And though he would get shrieked at, Kirihara couldn't lie. It wasn't right to lie. The lying he left to his Niou-senpai and Yagyuu-senpai.
Hanamura froze. "What," she began slowly, "did you say?"
"I said it isn't you," Kirihara confirmed. "Look." A picture shimmered into being, obscuring Kirihara's face [and that was good for him too, because he was trying very hard not to laugh].
The boy in the picture had sidestepped the cow dung successfully, right into the cow itself, and was currently running like hell from the cow. Hanamura stared at the boy and wondered if the kingdom was really that lacking in looks [it was] for this stranger to be considered the fairest of them all.
As she pondered this, the boy himself was fleeing from the big bad cow. Suddenly, he stopped short, and wondered just why he bothered running. He could just knock the cow out and continue on his merry way.
So he did just that.
The boy's name was Hiyoshi Wakashi, but due to his hairstyle and skin tone, he was often called Shroom White. He was from a land far far away, where its citizens were unbearably beautiful and run by a king called Sakaki. Hiyoshi had gotten sick of being one of the less pretty ones and had wandered the earth searching for... well, something else.
"Excuse me," he called out to a girl hanging out the laundry. "Do you know where I may find a job?"
The girl turned around, and Hiyoshi used all his willpower not to wince. "Um... try the castle? I heard they always need help."
"Thank you," he said politely, though he really wanted to tell the poor girl to get plastic surgery. Lots of it.
Hiyoshi got a job as a cleaner in the castle, and soon got used to the stares he got from people. He wasn't the best-looking person in the world, he knew, but he wasn't the worst, and his exotically tilted eyes and unusual hair colour certainly added to his charm. People in the castle soon got happier, knowing that there was beauty in this world after all. Hiyoshi often got people asking if they could have a lock of his hair. He always said no.
Hanamura, on the other hand, wasn't happy. She was queen, for crying out loud! How dare some foreigner, with his orange hair and pretty eyes, come barging into her lands and snatching her position of fairest-of-all away?!
Hiyoshi tended to stay outdoors to clean. Nobody knew why, but since nobody liked the sun much, they were quite happy to let him clean the courtyard instead. Hiyoshi didn't sing while he worked, nor did he whistle or do anything quite as pretentious, but he did talk to the various animals that wandered by. Like the huge ugly pigeon that once nearly beheaded him by mistake [it was trying to peck out his hair--Hiyoshi was getting annoyed at the way everyone had something for his hair], and the rabbit that liked the grass beside the stone steps that led up to the castle gates.
Unbeknownst to Hiyoshi, there was someone else in the castle besides the servants and the royal couple. In a brief moment of truce with Ryuuzaki, Banda had sired a son with hair the colour of the summer sun and eyes like the winter sky. The prince's name was Kevin.
Kevin didn't like to draw his curtains. The cheery sunshine was irritating. The birds chirping were irritating. Everything was irritating, really, except that one boy called Ryoma, but that was a long time ago and Kevin didn't like bringing it up. However, one day, for some unexplainable reason called fate, Kevin pulled his curtains back.
A flash of orange caught his eye. There was a boy knelt on the cobbled courtyard, scrubbing the flagstones. Kevin stared. Everyone in the kingdom either had dark brown or black hair [except his father, but time had turned Banda's hair slate grey], so this hair colour was like a breath of fresh air. Kevin continued staring until the boy turned around, frowning.
Hiyoshi whipped his head around. There was someone staring at him. He was used to staring, but this was... different. Yet, he could see nothing except the usual swish of curtains in a window and the sway of tree branches in the wind.
Strange. Hiyoshi shrugged it off and went back to work.
Meanwhile, Hanamura decided to get rid of Hiyoshi.
Kabaji lumbered up to Hiyoshi, axe in hand. He wordlessly handed Hiyoshi a note.
This is Kabaji. He wille showe you the woodes. Signed, the Lady in charge of the Servantes.
Hiyoshi followed Kabaji into the woods, which were cool from the shade of the trees. Kabaji occasionally pointed out things like edible mushrooms--"good"--and poisonous berries--"bad", but mostly they walked in silence. Hiyoshi didn't mind. He didn't like talking, anyway.
Suddenly, Kabaji stopped. Hiyoshi paused as well.
Kabaji brought his axe up, above Hiyoshi.
The axe came down heavily, right into a tree behind Hiyoshi.
"I can't," Kabaji said. "Run."
Hiyoshi counted to ten and waited for his heart to start again, then asked Kabaji, "Were you sent to kill me?"
Hiyoshi considered that for three seconds, then decided to smile slightly at Kabaji and run before the latter could change his mind about killing him.
The woods weren't as nice at night, Hiyoshi realised, shivering and stumbling over roots as gnarled branches tore at his clothes. Yet he didn't have a choice. He would miss the rabbit from the steps, though.
Day broke, and with it came a flurry of birds and squirrels and rabbits. Hiyoshi patted a particularly friendly rabbit and blinked sleep out of his eyes. The rabbit hopped off to the side a little and looked at him, as if wanting him to follow. Hiyoshi decided that there was no harm in following a rabbit, silly as it seemed, and walked along behind the animal.
The woods ended abruptly about fifty paces ahead, and Hiyoshi stepped out into a large clearing with a stream through it. Nothing surprising there, really. Clearings and streams were part of the woods. What was strange, however, was the cottage that sat quietly right at the bend of the stream.
"This is weird," he mumbled to the rabbit, and decided to walk forward. A few mushrooms weren't exactly substantial food, though Kabaji really had pointed out the edible ones correctly. He was thankful for that much. Anyway, Hiyoshi needed food. Maybe the people in this cottage had food. Cottages usually meant food, right?
Hiyoshi shook his head. The mushrooms hadn't poisoned him, but he was suspecting a kind of narcotic in them.
Nobody answered the door when he knocked. Throwing manners to the breeze that made the windchimes in the window tinkle, Hiyoshi pushed the door open and stepped in. The ceiling was exceptionally low, he noted, and everything seemed a little... small.
"Is there anyone here?"
Nobody answered. Hiyoshi ventured further into the house, where dirty dishes were stacked in the sink and clothes were strewn all over the sofa and chairs. Hiyoshi had been brought up to be neat, and seeing all this was just too much. Since he was going to be asking for food, he decided to do something in return, and began cleaning up.
An hour and a half later, the clothes were hanging outside to dry, the dishes were sitting neatly in a cupboard and the dust monsters were all gone. Hiyoshi wiped perspiration from his forehead and walked up the creaky stairs to see what there was to do upstairs.
There was only one room, but it looked like it used to be a few rooms with their walls knocked down. There were seven beds in the room, lined up against the walls in pairs except for the last one, which seemed a little more ornately carved than the rest. The name on the foot of that one read 'Haughty'. Hiyoshi was amused, and read the rest of the names.
"Ditzy and Sleepy. Grumpy and Bashful. Bendy and... Glinty? What kind of names are these?"
"They're not our real names."
Hiyoshi was brought up well, and therefore didn't jump with a yell. Jumping in this room would mean a nasty knock on the head anyway.
As it was, he froze and turned around slowly.
And looked down.
The person stood only as high as Hiyoshi's elbow, but somehow didn't seem quite that short. He had hair so black it was blue, and had on a pair of round glasses that would have looked ridiculous on anyone else but him. "My name's Oshitari."
"Yeah, and he found it amusing to give us all nicknames," piped up a redhead, who sprung up from behind Oshitari. "I'm Mukahi Gakuto.
I'm Bendy. Yuushi here is Glinty."
Hiyoshi found himself completely speechless. Oshitari continued talking.
"I assume you were the one to do our chores for us?"
Hiyoshi nodded dumbly.
"Aa. Well, thank you. We're all hopeless at cleaning, except for Ohtori-kun, and he doesn't like doing chores for all of us."
"You shouldn't make him, anyway!" a newcomer snapped, walking around Oshitari and Mukahi to dump a bag on the bed marked Grumpy. "Who are you?" he asked Hiyoshi.
"I'm Hiyoshi Wakashi."
"That's a nice name." Hiyoshi turned to look at the owner of the new voice, and the dwarf's [for that's what these little people were] face turned pink. Bashful, Hiyoshi guessed.
"Maybe we should all introduce ourselves," someone said with a yawn. Sleepy.
Oshitari nodded. "Well, as you know, I'm Oshitari Yuushi, and this is Mukahi Gakuto. Shishido Ryou's the one with the brown hair, and Ohtori Choutarou is the blushing one. This guy falling asleep on his feet is Akutagawa Jirou. Atobe Keigo is downstairs, he's Haughty, and Taki Haginosuke is the airhead." Oshitari adjusted his glasses. "That's all."
Hiyoshi nodded slowly. "Nice to meet you." Something clicked in the back of his mind. "Are you from Hyotei?"
"We got banished," a new voice drawled. Hiyoshi decided this had to be Atobe. Atobe... why was that name so familiar? "Ore-sama was too pretty for Sakaki to handle. So he reduced us to chibi form. But ore-sama is still cute."
Everyone in the room twitched as one.
Hiyoshi soon got settled in at the dwarves' cottage, and paid rent by doing half their chores for them. Shishido, surprisingly, was a very good cook, and never missed a chance to fling something [usually a ladle or spoon] at Atobe. Oshitari did most of the woodwork, occasionally helped by Atobe and Jirou, and Ohtori helped with the dishes and laundry. Taki and Gakuto flat out refused to do anything resembling work, but nobody really cared. They would have been useless anyway. Their catfights made for good entertainment, though.
However, all good things must come to an end. Back in the castle, Hanamura found out through her trusty mirror that Hiyoshi was still alive, and ranted at a silent Kabaji for an hour straight before deciding to do something on her own.
She picked up the phone [for they had phones, or at least some communication device similar to phones] and called Inui Sadaharu.
"And this is Inui Juice Special Deluxe Extraordinary version Beta," Inui introduced with a flourish. It would have been impressive had he not introduced all twenty-seven of his previous juices the same way. "Guaranteed to knock a full-grown bull elephant out in two point two three seconds."
Hanamura shook her head. "Look, Inui-san, all I want is something to get rid of a certain thorn in my side. Surely you have heard of the boy with the orange hair?"
Inui considered that. "I have heard of him, yes. And why didn't you just tell me what you wanted?" He reached into his bag and pulled out a tiny vial, barely a mouthful. "May I present... Aozu."
Hanamura took the vial from him, watching the light play through the transparent blue liquid. "This will get rid of him?"
"It knocked Fuji Syuusuke out," Inui shrugged. "Surely that's proof."
Hanamura had heard of Fuji Syuusuke. She didn't like to think of Fuji Syuusuke. It made her break out. "Very well. I'll take this one."
"Apples... anyone want an apple... this is stupid. Why am I the one to give out apples. I already did this in the anime, now I'm reduced to doing it again in a fanfic. And it's not even a fic about me, it's about Hiyoshi and Kevin, and the blonde has only been mentioned once so far even though he's supposed to be the star of the fic. Besides Hiyoshi, of course, because Hiyoshi is Shroom White and therefore has to be the star... at least he's prettier than Ryuuzaki... I had nightmares for a week after filming that episode. Apples..."
The hooded figure walked on.
"I told you--"
"But I don't know why you wouldn't want to buy apples. Everyone needs an apple. An apple a day keeps the doctor away and all that. After all, apples are good for you."
"Apples are full of nutritional goodness, and look at this one, it's all shiny and red. Buy an apple, sir, apples are good for you. Plus, I'm pretty enough, can't I charm you into buying one?"
Hiyoshi resisted the urge to smack his hand against his forehead. "Fine, fine, I'll buy a damn apple already."
"Thank you, sir, that will be twenty pence."
Hiyoshi handed over the coins and took the apple. It was quite shiny. The mumbling apple seller had made his way off into the distance, leaving a trail of staring dwarfs in his wake.
"Interesting fellow," Oshitari commented, pushing his glasses up his nose. "Are you going to eat that?"
Hiyoshi tossed Oshitari the apple. "You can have it if you want."
Oshitari thanked him and bit into the fruit. A few chews and a gulp later, the blue-haired dwarf was flat on the floor in a dead faint.
"YUUSHI!" Gakuto leapt over and began shaking Oshitari. "Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up..."
"Oh, that's going to help," Shishido muttered, coming over with a pail of water. "Stand aside, Mukahi." He dumped the contents of the pail on Oshitari, who didn't wake up.
Hiyoshi stared. It was all his fault...
The chattering, worried dwarfs were silenced by the sudden blue glow that settled over Oshitari's prone form, obscuring the dwarf from view. As they watched, the glow intensified, grew and then faded to leave a much larger person lying on the grass.
A much larger, completely naked person.
Hiyoshi's eyes widened as the man sat up, blinking. "What are you staring at?"
"Yuu-- Yuushi-- You-- YUUSHI!" Gakuto cried and launched his chibi self into Oshitari's now-manly arms. Oshitari looked down at himself and noted [rather redundantly], "I'm human. And I'm wet."
Jirou had picked up the apple as well. "I want to be human again too," he told Hiyoshi, who stared at him even as he took a bite of the apple as well.
Three minutes later, a very human, very naked Akutagawa Jirou was curled up on the front steps, asleep.
One by one, the dwarfs ate the apple, and Hiyoshi was shocked to find himself surrounded by a lot of naked, attractive men. It wasn't fair, he grumbled to himself.
Ohtori, who had gone into the house to eat his bite of the apple, emerged with a bedsheet around his waist. "It worked," he said, wonder in his eyes. "What was in that apple?"
Atobe hadn't bothered with modesty and was soaking up as much sun as he could. "Whatever it was, I think Hiyoshi has to be thanked for buying the apple."
Hiyoshi had gone back into the house as well, and walked out with an armful of bedsheets. "I bought the apple to shut the seller up," he said. "What was Jirou talking about? Being human again?"
Oshitari, who had a lapful of contented redhead, explained. The dwarves were actually humans from the Hyotei kingdom, but had gotten on the wrong side of King Sakaki and were then transformed into their chibi selves until someone or something broke the spell.
"The thing is, he never did tell us how to reverse the spell. Whatever was in that apple must have done it," Oshitari concluded. "There's just one problem, though."
"What is it?"
"We're never going to fit into our beds."
Hanamura tapped the frame of her mirror. "Kirihara-kun..."
"Who's the fairest in this land?"
"You aren't, Hanamura-sama... by the way, has anyone told you, Hanamura-sama is a real tongue-twister?"
Hanamura wasn't listening. "What do you mean, I'm not? I thought I got rid of Hiyoshi! Show me where he is!"
The mirror clouded over and then a picture of Hiyoshi materialised. He was surrounded by half-naked, very attractive men.
"It's hard deciding which is the prettiest, you see," Kirihara's disembodied voice explained. "So I made it easier for myself by simply telling you that you're not."
Hanamura threw a stiletto at the mirror.
Meanwhile, Kevin was wondering where the servant boy with the orange hair had disappeared to. He had nothing better to do, so he decided to go on a quest to look for the servant boy.
He didn't know why he bothered. After all, he was the crown prince of the land. He didn't need to look for anyone, much less a servant boy.
Kevin saddled his horse and rode off into the sunset.
Hiyoshi decided to go for a stroll in the woods. Too many pretty boys at a go wasn't good for one's health, he decided. And when said pretty boys decided to make the most of their un-chibi-fied forms and start making out with each other...
Hiyoshi had barely gone ten paces when a huge white tornado barrelled into him, knocking him out.
Kevin felt the impact and was on the ground before realising what had happened. Sprawled out on the grass beside him, unconscious, was the very boy Kevin had been looking for.
"Hiyoshi-kun... where are... huh?"
Kevin looked up to see a tall, silver-haired man dressed in only a sheet walking up to them, and closed his eyes. The gods were making fun of him, he was sure, to send one beautiful male after another at him.
"Hello. Who are you? And why is Hiyoshi-kun unconscious?"
Kevin stood up. "My name is Kevin, and I'm the crown prince of this land. I seem to have rode right into your Hiyoshi-kun, unfortunately."
Silver hair bobbed at its owner nodded. "Well, come to our house for a bit. Your horse looks a little shocked."
Kevin wasn't quite sure how he ended up having dinner with Hiyoshi and seven other rowdy, half-dressed men, but he certainly wasn't complaining. The constant making out was getting on his nerves, though. Didn't the redhead and the one with the glasses have any control?
"So, Kevin, what are you doing here in our lonely little corner of the woods, aa?" Atobe asked.
"I was looking for someone."
"Oh... who?" Ohtori enquired.
"...I found him."
The table went silent as they all looked from Kevin to Hiyoshi and back to Kevin again.
"Why're you looking for Yoshi?" Jirou yawned. "Did he run away?"
Kevin didn't answer. Hiyoshi stared. Oshitari and Gakuto continued their noisy session by the fireplace.
"Aa, he did, then," Jirou nodded. "Well, Yoshi, you should go back. Running away isn't good, you know. Kevin obviously missed you."
Hiyoshi stared some more, and wondered what he did in a past life to deserve this. Why had he left Hyotei in the first place...?
"Atobe. I remember now. I was sent to look for you," Hiyoshi recalled. "And I'm supposed to beat you."
There was a pause.
"In tennis, of course."
Kevin won as well.
Hiyoshi managed to win Taki and Shishido, who would have flown into a huge temper had Ohtori not put a hand on his shoulder.
Oshitari and Gakuto didn't bother getting married; why ruin the sex?
They all went back to Hyotei.
Atobe became king.
And they all lived happily ever after.
"That is the dumbest story ever."
Oshitari pushed his glasses up to peer at Shishido. "Why don't you try to top that, then?"
Shishido glared at him. "Fine. Give me the people involved and the plot."
Oshitari smirked languidly and Shishido suddenly wondered if he should have asked.
"Here you go," Oshitari said at length. "Tezuka, the whole of Rokakku, Mizuki and that first year from Seigaku with the green shirt. Use these characters to rewrite..."
He paused, letting the words sink in first before delivering the final blow.
"The three little pigs."
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