Categories > Books > Tamora Pierce > Far Too Curious


by razz 2 reviews

Newly knighted, Gary and Raoul sit late one evening discussing mistresses and moustaches, their friend Squire Alan's uncanny lack of both, when a catastrophic realisation hits...

Category: Tamora Pierce - Rating: PG - Genres: Humor - Published: 2006-05-20 - Updated: 2006-05-21 - 1046 words

Part Two

-Guilt Only When All Is Too Late-

... ... ... ... ...

I loathe that low vice curiosity.

-Lord Byron

... ... ... ... ...

It had been a hard enough task in itself to get Alan alone, and only harder to make Gary agree to accompany him. But alas, Raoul no longer had any choice in the matter; finding out whether or not Alan was female had become an obsession. One that, as Gary had said to him quite fiercely, had no basis nor ingenuity.

Reflecting on it later, Raoul only wished he had stopped then to listen.

Finally, a long sleepless fortnight from their initial celebration, Alan had arrived back from his errand for Sir Myles of Olau, and Raoul's plan was able to be put forth into motion.

"It's the only way," Raoul had reasoned with the other large knight. "If Alan never knows of our little examination then all for the better! And what other way is there to be completely certain of ones sex than to actually closely view that ones anatomy?"

Yes, the plan was perfect. Fail-proof.

...drug their friend, remove his shirt... when Alan awoke, they would claim that he had had another fainting spell, of which he was quite prone to anyhow...

It would work and they would then know for sure. If Gary was proven right, none would ever need to be wiser. And if Raoul was right... well, they would deal with that when they came to it.

Gary had specifically requested of his own Squire to call Jonathan away, so as the pair approached the Royal suite they side-stepped down the corridor and knocked straight on Alan's door.

The red haired Squire did not call out in reply, but cautiously opened the door from inside.

"We came to see if you wanted to go down to the Dancing Dove with us and visit George," Gary said in a rather rehearsed sing-song voice. "How about it?"

Of course, they could not really care less about seeing George, but entry into Alan's rooms was the ideal place to trap him.

Alan's face lit up then, and he beckoned them forward into his personal quarters.


"Sure, I'd like to go," Alan replied, moving to his bed to retrieve a set of worn leather boots.

It was as the Squire stood that Raoul's attention was drawn to the other side of the room, a flicker of movement catching his eye. "Great Mithros, a cat!" Raoul took a step away from the feline, his distaste clearly evident. "What are you doing with one of those? It probably has fleas."

"Fleas? Of course not!" Gareth rolled his eyes, picking up the small black cat that had wound its way around his legs. "A new pet, Alan?"

"Yes, I found him while I was away," Alan smiled, crossing his arms over his chest. "Or rather, he found me."

"Then a toast is in order," Gareth smirked, handing the cat over to its master. "As is only fit to welcome the newest, fluffiest, and clearly the most intelligent member of our circle!" Neither knight had noticed the colour of said cat's eyes, nor the silent exchange that had passed between animal and Squire.

Raoul turned to the drinks cabinet, the small glass tube of sleeping potion hid within his big hands. The plan was going better than he could have ever hoped for so quickly. And far better sooner than later, for dawdling could be disastrous if Alan were to become even slightly suspicious.

As if hearing this, Alan's voice broke through his thoughts. "Should we not wait till we get into the city?"

There was an awkward silence.

"Well..." Gary struggled, raising his eyebrows. "Is it ever too early to start drinking? I think not! Let us celebrate now, and then again in Georges' company later."

Raoul laughed loudly, Alan gave a small smile, and the query of waiting was dealt with.

Quickly, Raoul sloppily poured out three glasses of wine, his back shielding the view from his two friends, and waited for Gareth to cause the distraction they had planned -showcasting his most resent accomplishment, the acquirement of Lady Delia's favourite handkerchief- before he added the final mixture to the last drink.

All was done. It was now or never. There could be no going back.

And it was then that all resolve left him, leaving Raoul to feel empty and hollow.

How could he do this to a friend? How would he live with himself afterwards?

But Alan would never know. No-one would, save himself and Gareth. It was an invasion of privacy, yes, but surely no harm would come of it... He definitely meant no harm, he just needed to know... he had to know...

Not thinking of what he did Raoul picked up two glasses, careful to note which contained what, and handed one each to Alan and Gareth, his palms sweaty and shaking.

Had this been such a great idea, really? Could he honestly say that he really, beyond all reasonable doubt, suspected that Alan were female? And, if by some insane chance that he -or she- was, did it actually change anything? What could possibly come of it all, except the inevitable guilt and embarrassment?

But it was too late.

Gary had turned to Alan, an eager smile on his lips, and words tipping easily out of his mouth. "What will you name him? Is it a him?"

Alan nodded, a small frown creasing his forehead. "I rather like 'Faithful'," he admitted.

"Then to Faithful it is," Gary raised his glass high into the air, the other two automatically following suite. "And let the Gods do his name justice, with many a great and exciting adventures to come, and all his nine lives to be well spent."

"Hear hear," Raoul heard himself saying, the glass reaching, leaning, draining past his lips.

And he watched, awe-struck and terrified, as Alan slowly drained his own glass, the scarlet liquid too soon finished.

Raoul exchanged a look with Gareth, who was equally as pale and anxious, as several things happened in quick concession; Alan fell to a heap on the floor, the cat Faithful unleashed sharp claws on Raoul's leg while violently hissing, and the unmistakable noises of Jonathan's return sounded from the room next door.
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