Categories > Books > Tamora Pierce > Far Too Curious

Those You Know Best

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 - 1515 words

Part Three

-Those You Know Best-

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

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

-Eugene O'Neill

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

Raoul could not believe his ill luck. How could everything possibly go so terribly, outrageously wrong? The Gods were against him, he was sure. Faithful (true to his name) continued to howl, ripping the flesh up his leg with impossibly sharp claws. The large knight stood frozen, half bent in pain, both fists crammed tight into his mouth, as he watched the world around him tumble down. Gareth tugged on the cat's tail, dismally trying to dislodge it, curses flying from his tongue like arrows.

The banging and clanging of Jonathans' return grew louder and louder, the Prince drawing nearer with each passing moment.

"We've got to hide him!" Gary whispered, abandoning his aid of Raoul's leg to point at the fallen Squire.

Raoul nodded his agreement, also ignoring the cat whose attack seemed never to lessen.

"Squire? Alan... are you there?"

Jonathan's voice rang out loud and deep, sounding their doom as the door knob adjoining his room to Alan's crunched downwards.

"Quick!" Raoul whispered frantically, and without ever thinking of what he was about to do he jumped clean into the air, diving with amazing speed onto Alan's still form, and grabbing onto the small Squire he rolled them both under the bed - cat still lodged firmly to his limb. Gareth, with a loud THUMP, arrived next to them a second later.

Silence. Then...

"Alan? What are you up to in there?"

And the door swung open, inviting the two older knights capture with a creak of prolonged delight. Gary and Raoul remained completely unmoving, their breath stopped, their hearts racing, peering under the bed at their Princes shiny, looming boots. Even Faithful left off his attack for the time, sensing the situations need for utter stillness.

"Alan?" Jonathan's boots took two steps forward. "Where are you?"

Nothing. Dead, eerie quiet.

"Are you hiding?" Jonathan asked incredulously to the apparently empty room.

His boots took another step. And another. And another, moving slowly towards the old oak closet. Raoul craned his neck around Gareth's big head and watched, horrified -for he realised then that Jonathan would proceed to search the room until he found them- as the Prince swung the closet door open with a whoop of triumph.

"Uhuh! Oh... Alan? I'm really not much in the mood for this," the Prince whined and again Raoul guessed, from long experience with Jonathan, that his friend was pouting. "Come out! I don't care what you're doing, it's just me - it's not as if I haven't seen you bare now, hmm?"

Gareth gagged and turned his face to Raouls', both eyebrows raised, and mouthed words over the top of Alan's bright hair, whom lay face first in the dusty floorboards perched between them. 'This. Is. Useless.'

Raoul groaned, loudly, and let his neck release the weight of his skull to send it plonking hard on the floor. All his hopes of escape evaporated then and there. He gave up, knowing it a lost cause to carry on.

Jonathan jumped. Faithful sneezed, having swallowed a dust ball.

"Who is that? Alan!" Jonathan's boots hurried away from the bed. "Beware, I have a sword and I know how to use it!"

"No, you don't you daft bugger," Gary's voice barked back. "It was the first thing you dropped upon your return! Obviously too much of a heavy inconvenience for our dainty little monarch."

"Gary? What the..."

"Hold on," Gary answered, and rolled out from under the bed. Trying (and failing) to regain a little dignity he pompously stood and brushed the dust from his trousers, as if hiding under others beds was a usual occurrence.

"What, in the Mothers name, are you /doing/?" Jonathan demanded to know, quite indignant to Gareth's earlier teasing.

"Wait," Gary merely stated in reply, and bent down to pull Alan out from the bed by his boot.

"What?..." Jonathan spluttered, staring down at his -/he couldn't be dead? Squire/- growing angrier still.

Gary just sighed, and added simply, "there's more."

Raoul, taking this as his cue, cuddled Faithful to his chest and became the last to surface, rolling from under the bed and colliding with an "oof" next to Alan's comatose body.

"I want an explanation. Now."

"I," Gareth replied, "want a bath."

"And I," Raoul groaned, grudgingly aware that Gary would blame him entirely, "want a brandy."

"What's wrong with Alan?" Jonathan asked, looking mildly worried as he gently prodding his Squire with a booted foot. "What have you done to him?"

"Oh, he's fine," Gary reassured him with a wave of his arm. "Only Raoul here is convinced that your Squire is a woman, so we drugged him to remove his shirt and examine the chestal arena... if you catch my drift."

"You /what/?"

"Let me explain!" Raoul cried and he sat up from the floor, Faithful still cradled in his arms. His fail-proof plan may not prove to be exactly fruitless yet. "It actually makes perfect sense, you see - "

"No!" Jonathan interrupted, slightly panicked. "It's not true! I know for fact that Alan is male."

"You're positive?" Raoul asked, franticly hoping that Jonathan may be mistaken and that he would not look such a fool. "You're incontestabley, absolutely, definitely, clearly certain?"

Gareth rolled his eyes.

"Explicitly," the Prince nodded. "Why, I have seen him bare on many occasions, and mark my words there is no question."

"Many?" Gary snorted, again holding his eyebrows high. "Why, I have never seen the lad even half bare once, and nor for that matter has anyone else! What, may I ask, makes you so privy to Alan's physique?"

"Well," Jon answered tartly, "obviously you are not trusted with such a sight."

"Not trusted?" Gary repeated, his face growing hot. "But please, pray tell, why is it that Alan is so selective in his audience?"

"That is not for me to tell."

"Oh yes, but you will tell, wont you - "

"Or we will make you - "

"Well," Jonathan began again slowly, caught in indecision. Fear blossomed in his chest, and he felt too pressured not to give some sort of semi answer. "That's because... because...," he paused, and a smile grew on his lips as a plausible reply formed. "Alan has Gayonellous disease, he's very insecure about it - doesn't inform anyone - you know how shy he is - "

"Gayonellous? What? - "

"I've never heard of it - "

"Retarded hair growth, pusstulous bulges, purple rashes, often in consequence he suffers from awful diarrhoea. Ever wonder why his eyes are such a deathly peculiar colour? It's rather unpleasant for him, see, he keeps it a complete secret - "

"I don't believe it," Raoul shook his head. "Gayonellous disease... I suppose that could make sense. Kind of."

"Unquestionably," Jonathan agreed, and he could make no effort in hiding exactly how relieved he was that they appeared to believe him. "Once I knew - oh, it fits entirely - always thought there was something a little odd about our Alan, right? Oh!" Jonathan paused, frowning, "But you mustn't tell anyone! No - Alan would be most upset - I gave him my word that I'd keep my mouth shut, see - "

"Alright, alright," Gary interrupted. "We wont tell. I promise."

Jonathan looked breathlessly at Raoul, who quickly nodded back. "Oh good."

"Yes, well," Gary smiled, for once unusually lost for words. His eyes flicked from Alan's frothing mouth, to Jonathan's sweat soaked forehead, to Raoul's bloody, shredded trouser leg, and swiftly came to the conclusion that is was well past time to depart. "Raoul and I were off to visit George," he informed Jonathan, predicting the answer to his unasked question before he voiced it. "Would you care to join us?"

"Uh," the Prince cleared his throat, shuffling his feet. "No. No... I think I should stay here with Alan, in case he wakes up."

"Oh, yes. Right. Of course."

"Well," Raoul grinned, unable to think of anything remotely challenging to say. He had never been planted in such an uncouth, uncomfortable position. "Well," he began again, "we'll see you later then, I suppose."

The large knight handed a squirming Faithful to Jonathan, they bid polite, breathless farewells and exited the still unconscious Squire's suite as fast as they could.

"You didn't really buy that codswallop, did you?"

Raoul sighed. "No, definitely not. Though I do congratulate Jonathan on his ability to make a story like so in such little time, with evidently no preparation."

"Gayonellous disease," Gareth scoffed, holding out his hand palm up. "You owe me twenty. And to think, after all that, they were homosexual all along."

"Yes," Raoul replied, though he didn't think he quite agreed.

But the mystery of Squire Alan of Trebond, which he had previously been all for solving, no longer came with much interest. He was through with his prying and meddling. And Raoul thought, when the day was done and gone, he could wait till the end to find out, and he would wait, patiently, till Alan was ready to tell him. Days, months, years... time was of little matter to fate.
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