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September 2014

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Happily maybe after Part 3

Yes, it's that time of year, it's arooza's birthday and to continue a nice little tradition, that means it's also short story time. And so, make an educated guess what's coming now.....

... Exactly! Part 3 of my little fairy tale parody. Wait, did I say 'part 3'? Yes, I did, and I do can count - well.... at least I can count to ten... because I have ten fingers...
But if you feel like there's something missing, then you might have not read the other parts - clever deduction skills, eh?!

Those are the other parts:
Part I: The Princess in the tower

Part II: The big bad Wolf


Warnings and Disclaimer: see 'The Princess in the Tower'




~The bully and the Gingerbread House~



“What the hell are you wearing?” Bran cried.
Finn stood by the window, his dark brown hair unbound, falling in soft waves around his shoulders. He was wearing a gorgeous riding habit (yes, he was wearing a dress again) made of dark green velvet. He looked every bit the princess he wasn’t.
“Why? Don’t you like the dress? Look, it’s especially made for riding horseback.”
“Yeah, I don’t like it being a dress. What happened to your trousers? The shirt? The coat?”
“Dirty. Until I get them back, freshly laundered, I had to put something else on, don’t you think? Or would you have preferred me naked?” Finn practically purred the last word. Pax, lying stretched out on the bed, hooted lewdly.
“Th-that… you…” Bran stammered, flushing red like a tomato. “Then why didn’t you pack another set of… you know, man clothes?”
Finn plopped down on the bed, stroking invisible crumbs off his skirt. “I don’t have any,” he pouted.
“You had those.”
“But only because Papa smuggled them into the tower.”
“Smuggled?”
“Mhmm. Mommy always had him and my brothers searched before they were allowed to visit me, so they couldn’t give me anything unladylike.”
Bran had to admit, it must have been pretty tough for Finn with that kind of mother, treating her youngest son like a girl, then locking him into a tower all alone and – Hold on a second. Did he just say…
“Finn,” Bran asked very slowly. “How often did you say your father and brothers came visit you?”
“Oh, one or the other would usually show up at least once a week.”
“And they could get into the tower?”
“Of course. But we spend most of the time outside anyways. You know, riding, going for a walk, playing tennis. Those kinds of things.”
Bran grew very still, his hands balled tightly into fists. “So, you could get in and out of the tower as you pleased?” he pressed through his clenched teeth.
“Sure, how else was cook supposed to come and bring me my meals?”
“Locked in the tower, my arse!” Bran burst out. “You’ve never been locked in up there!”
“I never said I was.”
“Finn,” Pax cried suddenly, sounding endlessly annoyed. “What is that obnoxious thing? Will you turn it off, for fuck’s sakes? I’m trying to sleep here.”
“Oh, and you, you stupid pixie! I know exactly that you remember me damn well, you only do this to annoy the hell out of me.”
“Oi! You ugly oaf, watch your mouth. Just because I’m small and have wings, it doesn’t mean you can just go around calling me…. Oh, wait, no, that’s actually right, I am a pixie. Yes, yes, you were perfectly right there…. So, what did you want to say?”
“ARGH!” Bran tore at his hair, stomped the floor and kicked his travelling pack in frustration. Those two were driving him mad.
Finn and Pax exchanged a worried glance. Neither of them had even the slightest idea what caused their friend so much distress – in fact, Pax didn’t even know who that angry young man was.
At last, Finn had an idea. He stood up, went to Bran, laid his hands on the man’s shoulders and looked Bran deep into his mud-brown eyes.
“I know, it’s frustrating,” he said softly. “When you look at me, you see this beautiful person and you would love to do nothing more than tear my clothes off and ravish me. But you still can’t get over the fact that I am a man. But it’s all right, Bran. Free yourself of those old, silly conventions, we can love each other, even if we’re both men.”
Bran stared motionlessly and soundlessly at Finn for a long, long time.
“What the hell are you talking about?” he said at last. Finn blinked like an owl and let go of his friend’s shoulders.
“Um, about your undying love for me?”
“Huh?!”
“You mean… you’re not terribly in love with me?”
“No.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes.”
“Really?”
“Yup.”
“Not even a tiny little bit?”
“Nope.”
“Really?”
“Stop it.”
“Okay.”
Finn sat down again, his godmother regarded him with big, sad eyes and patted his arm gently. “There, there, darling,” Pax cooed. “Young love is never easy. You’ll see, he’ll learn how to be a good husband.”
“I’m not his husband!”
Pax directed her luminous green eyes at Bran. With a deep sigh, she shook her head sadly.
Really, those two were driving him nuts.



Despite all his protest, Bran found himself leading Buttercup by the reins, while Finn – still in his dress – and this mutant-fly of a godmother skipped along in front of him like little girls, chasing colourful butterflies and weaving necklaces out of flowers. Bran was well aware they were only doing it to annoy him. He took a deep shuddering breath and let his head hang. He was doomed, that’s what he were. Doomed. What terrible things had he ever done to deserve such torture? Why him?
Positively melting from self-pity he didn’t even notice he’d stopped walking until a necklace of daisies fell around his neck. He looked up into Finn’s face, for once not smiling.
“What’s wrong? Are you tired? Shall we rest?” the young man asked, concerned.
“I’m fine,” Bran replied without much conviction. Finn held his gaze, his elegant eyebrows knitted together in a frown. Pax came to rest on his shoulder, curiously regarding what her godson seemed to be so interested in.
“Aww, are you lost, lad?” she asked Bran in a surprisingly motherly voice.
“No.”
“You’re sure? We can help you, you know.”
“Thanks, I’m fine, really.”
Pax looked from him to Finn and back again, a miniature frown forming on her tiny face.
All of a sudden, Finn’s face brightened, and he smiled delightedly.
“Oh! I know how to cheer you up,” he exclaimed, bouncing on his heels. “The Gingerbread House!”
“The what?” Bran asked, but the pixie jumped into the air and fluttered excitedly between the two young men.
“Yes! Yes, yes, yes! Let’s go!” And with the speed of a hawk in free fall, she was gone. Finn laughed, hooked his arm with Bran’s and dragged him on.
“Finn, what is that Gingerbread House?”
“You don’t know? It’s easily the best confectionary this side of the Seven Mountains. You’ll love it. Their chocolate strawberry roulade is heavenly.”
Bran shrugged inwardly. Cake actually did sound good and what should go wrong having a cup of tea and a piece of cake, right? Even with those two it should be fine – or shouldn’t it?



The Gingerbread House was bustling with customers. Almost every table inside and outside in the garden seemed occupied. The counter was filled with the most beautiful cakes, cookies, pies and cupcakes Bran had ever seen. The air was filled with the sweet smell of freshly baked goods and coffee.
“Welcome!” a plump young woman greeted them from behind the counter. She put a basket of fresh cookies down. Long auburn hair framed her friendly face, her rosy cheeks. Her blue eyes sparkled merrily. “Please, this table has just got free.” She led them to a small round table on the portico, overlooking the garden.
“Thank you,” Bran said, taking a seat.
“What a lovely wife you have,” the young woman remarked, watching Finn lowering himself elegantly onto his chair. Quite a few customers were staring openly at him.
“Oh thank you,” Finn purred.
“No, no, no. That’s not my wife, that’s not even a woman!”
“Pah, unimportant details,” Finn pouted.
If the young woman found this at all strange or disturbing, she didn’t show it. Instead she smiled.
“I’m Francine, you can call me Fran. I’m the owner of the Gingerbread House.”
“Nice to meet you, Fran. I’m Bran, this is Finn and that-“ Bran pointed at the pixie, trying to wrestle down a ladybug that had been unlucky enough to be walking across the table just now, “is Pax.” The fairy godmother, reacting maybe to the sound of her name, let off the bug at once, big, luminous eyes blinking up at Fran.
“Hello dear,” she chirped. “I’d like to have a huge mug of Bellblossom tea, one piece of Black Forest Gateau, one raspberry meringue, one strawberry short cake, one white and black chocolate cake and a plate of sugar cookies.” Pax stopped for a moment and took a breath before she added as an afterthought: “And a piece of rum pie.” And that was all then.
Fran dutifully jotted it all down on her notepad while Bran only stared open-mouthed at the pixie.
“Who the hell are you ordering for? A whole army of pixies?” he demanded at last.
“Please, a whole army - all the food they have here would not be enough to even get them started, they’re like locusts,” Pax remarked airily, waving a hand dismissively. Then she suddenly squinted at Bran, turned to Finn and whispered something – no question, asking Finn who that bloke at her table was. Bran’s suspicion proved true when he heard a whispered ‘It’s Bran’ from Finn’s side.
“Well,” Bran cleared his throat, “I’ll have a vanilla strawberry shake and the various petit fours plate.” Fran’s stencil scratched over the paper. Across from him, Bran noticed, Finn’s expression became affectionate, almost doting. His moss green eyes glowed warmly and a small smile lingered on his lips.
“Oh, Bran, I didn’t know you had such a sweet tooth,” he cooed, resting his elbow on the table, chin on his hand, looking for all the world like a young girl in love, making cow eyes at Bran.
“You got a problem with that?” Bran snapped, irritated.
“No, it’s just so cute.”
“Oi, don’t call me cute.”
“I’ll have the strawberry chocolate roulade and a Morning Dew,” Finn said, completely ignoring Bran. The young woman scribble it down, smiled brightly and hurried off.
While they waited for their order to arrive, a heavy silence fell over them. Finn and Pax seemed perfectly at ease, yet Bran was suddenly overcome by a fit of paranoia. He noticed others repeatedly throwing glances in their direction before putting their heads together, whispering animatedly. It didn’t help to lighten his mood at all.
However, when Fran arrived, pushing a cart filled with the most beautiful cakes and pies, all was well. The mugs of tea exuded a rich, flowery aroma that mingled in perfect harmony, pearls of clear cold water ran down the glass of light pink, creamy shake, decorated with a strawberry and a single sugar rose. But as lovely as it all looked, it was no comparison to how it tasted. Finn hadn’t exaggerated, it was heavenly. All at once the world was sunny and warm, filled with joy and laughter. Yes, it was even inconceivable anything bad could ever happen. Bran even felt a sudden strong affection for his companions.
Stuffed and happy, he leaned back in his chair and smiled, watching Pax and Finn simultaneously licking their fingers. Perhaps they weren’t that bad after all, perhaps they didn’t only make trouble.
And that was when, with a loud bang, the entire row of potted flowers to their left just exploded. People screamed, jumped to their feet and ran for safety from whatever unseen threat there was. Fran came running out from her kitchen, a look of great distress on her face, her eyes wide in fear. Shocked, Bran turned to his friends and was surprised – or maybe not – to see them sitting there calmly as if there was nothing that could ever faze them.
“No, not again,” Fran sobbed, tears rolling down her rosy cheek.
“What do you mean ‘again’? This has happened before?”
“Not… not like this… but…” she cried. Bran put an arm around her shoulders and led the young woman to their table. He couldn’t stand to see a woman cry, it always broke his heart. And worse, he had no idea how to console them. Luckily, Pax took over the second Fran had sat down and did a remarkably good job at calming the baker down.
“Can you tell us what happened, my dear?” Pax coaxed when Fran had finally stopped crying.
“It’s… it’s that boy,” Fran hiccoughed.
“Boy?”
“Yes. He and his sister – I don’t know what we ever did to them.”
“We?”
“M-my sister Gertrude. She was the former owner of the Gingerbread House, you know, when I was still an apprentice. She was very popular, a real beauty and everyone loved her because she was such a kind soul. Those kids started coming here and it was clear from the beginning that they meant trouble. The boy, Hansel, he could never get enough, stuffing his face with cakes and sweets all day long. But they never paid and when my sister finally asked for the money, the girl, Gretel, she just laughed and said she should be glad they even ate that crap she called cake. From then on, things got even worse. They came every day, bullying my sister. They broke things, threw food through the shop, bullied other customers. In the end no one wanted to come here anymore.” Fran stopped talking as a huge sob shook her whole body.
“Say, did no one help you?” Bran asked. The whole story made him furious and he couldn’t believe no one had helped.
“No.” Fran shook her head. “They are the Baronet’s children.”
“Pah, wannabe royals! Think they can do whatever they want,” Pax spat, disgustedly.
“Where is your sister now?”
“She… she is in a mental hospital,” Fran cried. “They tried to push her into the oven, can you believe that? She screamed and fought and at last they gave up, but they didn’t leave before setting the whole place on fire.”
“That’s horrible,” Bran growled. How much he would love to strangle those brats.
“I didn’t dare to do anything at first with this place but after waiting for three years… I thought things would be different now. I’ve only just re-opened three months ago. At first it was fine, but then, two weeks ago…” Overcome by tears Fran couldn’t go on. Pax was at her side at once.
Seething with fury, Bran looked across the table at Finn and saw his companion as angry as he was. Good. For once, this would actually count. This was no fight because of a tiny imitation of a dog or the pseudo-rescue mission of a drag-princess. This was real. Fran needed their help, desperately.
Finn seemed to have come to the same conclusion. He gave Bran a curt nod then turned to Fran. “Don’t worry. It won’t be like last time,” he said, determined. “You have us by your side now. We’ll help you.”



First things first, number one on their agenda was to get a picture of their enemy. And it turned out to be quite disappointing. Bran had imagined him to be tall and packed with muscles, the kind of man that would make you run away screaming with only a glance. Why he should have ever thought so, given what they had heard about the bloke so far, was beyond him. Wishful thinking perhaps, to finally have a real opponent. Anything, really, but this!
Reality was that the evil fiend was a boy of approximately 15 years, who was as wide as he was tall, which was quite an achievement. He waddled on his stumpy feet after a cat, which seemed to have a really good time making a fool out of him.
“What the hell is this?” Bran whined. How was he supposed to beat that boy up without feeling guilty about it? Seriously, chubby stood no chance against him.
“What do you mean?” Pax asked, bewildered. “That’s a human child, is it not? I’m really not sure, it could also be a mountain troll – a really small one.”
“That’s not it. I mean, look at him, wouldn’t you feel bad beating him up?”
“Bran,” Finn laid a hand on Bran’s shoulder, regarding his friend very seriously. “Don’t let his looks deceive you. Think about what you’ve heard, does that sound like a harmless, little fat boy to you?”
“No…but-“ Finn cut him off with a shake of his head. Perhaps he was right, Bran had seen for himself what the boy was capable of – only, that he hadn’t seen exactly who had blown up those poor, innocent potted plants.
All right, he thought, let’s beat the living daylights out of him. He was ready to barge into that garden and do what they had come here for, already setting one foot in front of the other, when Finn spoke again: “However, I don’t think using him as a punching ball will solve anything.
Bran deflated. Of course, it would probably make things only worse. “So, what now?” he asked.
“Now,” Finn assumed an air of command, while Pax lit on his shoulder, her tiny arms crossed in front of her tiny chest, nodding her tiny head to every single one of Finn’s words. “Now that we know the enemy, we go back to headquarters and lay out a battle plan. Let’s go!” He turned on his heels and strut off.
“Ha? Headquarters? Where’s that supposed to be? And what do you mean ‘we know the enemy’? How do we know anything about him? Oi! Wait, damn it!”



Back at headquarters (which turned out to be the Gingerbread House), however, a delicious three course dinner was waiting for them. And so, the issue had to wait while they were stuffing their faces with soup, roasted turkey, potatoes and chocolate cream. It wasn’t until they were leaning back in their chairs with happily full bellies, slurping espresso, that they returned to the bully problem.
“So, what do we do?” Bran asked.
“Well, we could just let him vanish,” Finn offered and took a sip from his delicate china cup.
“Let him vanish? As in kill him?” Bran was scandalised. “We can’t do that!”
“Why not? We make it look like an accident.”
“Yeah,” Pax piped in, “I can make it so no one will ever find him.”
“No! No killing!”
“Ahhaaaaa, you’re such a drag.” Pax crossed her arms in front of her chest and pouted.
They sat in silence for a long, long time, Pax glaring at Bran, Bran glaring at Finn, and Finn… Finn obviously didn’t give a damn. He continued sipping his espresso then put the small cup carefully down and stapled his hands, regarding the others with the air of an old, wise man talking to a bunch of buffoons.
“Fine,” he drawled. “We’ve eliminated the possibility of beating him to a pulp or offing him. Hence I suggest we all go into ourselves and think about a peaceful and permanent solution of this bully infestation.”
Bran didn’t care much for Finn’s belittling tone, and he was wondering about that so-called infestation, but he had to agree. So he closed his eyes, pinched the bridge of his nose and thought hard. After many, long minutes, however, he gave up. He sighed and opened his eyes again.
“Guys, I really- WAH!! What is that?”
“What is what?” Finn blinked at him, startled. Both he and Pax were stroking long white – and obviously fake – beards sprouting from their chins.
“B-b-b-beard,” Bran stuttered, gaping like a fish.
“Oh, you mean that Thinking Beard?”
“Thinking Beard?”
“Yeah, Thinking Beard,” Pax snapped, irritated. “Gee, who’s that ignorant fool? How the hell are you supposed to strike a pondering pose if you don’t have a Thinking Beard? Seriously. And now, shut up. I’m trying to remember what I was thinking about.”
Bran leaned forward until his forehead touched the tabletop. He admitted defeat, there was no way he could ever win against those two.
A hand on his shoulder let him look up again. Fran smiled gently. “Those two are really something, aren’t they?” she whispered.
“They are.” Glad to have found someone who understood him, Bran smiled back at her and put a hand over hers, still resting on his shoulder. They remained like this for the entire length of one heartbeat, till Bran became aware of the murderous glare that was directed at him from the opposite side of the table. Very slowly and very cautiously, Bran turned his head and nearly yelped when his eyes met Finn’s. The young man’s face was dark and angry, his eyes burning with fury, his whole being cried murder.
“Um… F-Finn?“ Bran asked in a tiny, squeaky voice. Finn stood up, his chair toppling over, falling with a clatter on the floor.
“I’m going to bed,” he hissed, lifted the hem of his long skirt, turned on his heels and stomped off, leaving Bran gaping after him.
Pax looked from Bran to where Finn had just been a moment before, her huge green eyes even bigger than usual. For once, it seemed the fairy godmother had as much of an idea what was going on as Bran did.
“Um… I’m off,” she said and was gone.
“What the hell…” They regarded each other and Bran saw his own confusion, shock and surprise mirrored in Fran’s face.
“Maybe he,” Fran tried to find an explanation, “misunderstood. Maybe he doesn’t like me being so close to you.”
“Eh? Why should he care?”
“Well, he is your bride.”
“Woah! Stop right there. He’s not my bride. He is a man!”
“B-but you… he… um…”
Bran shook his head emphatically.
After that, an uncomfortable silence spread over them until Fran finally excused herself for the night.
In the little room Fran had offered them to stay in, Bran found himself face to face with a pouting Finn. The anger seemed to have evaporated, yet that didn’t mean Bran was off the hook.
“What the hell took you so long?” Finn demanded. “You were supposed to come after me – at once! Not stay and flirt some more with chubby.”
“Oi! Careful. No need to get mean. And she’s not chubby. For your information, I have no obligation to go after you, nor did I flirt with Fran. And even if I did, it’s none of your business.”
Finn’s expression changed from scowling to hurt to haughty. He threw his head back, turned around and threw himself on the bed, leaving Bran to sleep on the floor.
“Fine,” he snapped. “See if I care.”
“Care? About what?” But Finn had already turned his back on Bran and didn’t say another word. Bran sighed and began to prepare his pallet. Luckily, Fran had given them so many blankets, it actually turned out quite comfortable. He lay down, one arm behind his head and stared at the ceiling. Slowly but surely he began wondering if Finn wasn’t only teasing him, but was serious. If so, how should he handle this without hurting his friend?
He hadn’t notice Pax until she was right in his face. Luminous green orbs stared at him through the darkness. Bran held his breath and lay motionless, thinking frantically about everything he knew about fairies. Did they curse people? Make them vanish? Pixies could do that, right? Pax had said so. Was the overgrown bug angry enough with him to… to do what? Jinx him? Turn his head into that of a donkey, exchange his feet…
“Who the hell are you?” Pax wondered at last.
“Huh?”
“You’re not my Finny.”
“N-no. He’s sleeping on the bed.”
“Oh, right. My mistake. Bye, bye.” Her wings fluttered, glittering whenever they caught the spare moonlight falling through the window, and carried her off to join Finn.
Bran exhaled, relieved. What a shock. He had really thought that was it. That the miniature ball of fury would finally descend on him, bringing nothing but torture and agony. Suddenly, he was impossibly grateful for Pax having the memory of a goldfish.



“Rise and shine, my pancake,” a voice trilled only seconds before someone dropped a boulder on him.
“Oomph.” Bran gasped. His eyes flew open in time to see Finn stopping with the door knob in his hand, reconsidering and coming back.
“Oh, I forgot something,” the prince said and stepped a second time on Bran. “Come on, sleepy head, we have lots to do today.” Bran sat up, rubbing his belly where the boulder had hit him twice now. “What are we doing?” he asked suspiciously.
“We’re going to solve that bully problem, of course,” Finn replied joyously and left. Had they come up with a plan last night? Bran couldn’t remember, his brain was sleep deprived. After that encounter with Pax, he had been too awake to fall asleep, lying there staring at the ceiling until, close to dawn, at last, his eyes had finally fallen shut and he had had a few precious hours of sleep. Until he had been woken so rudely.
Finn refused to tell them anything until he had finished breakfast. Pax, though, looked extremely smug. What was troubling Bran, however, was the fact that Pax didn’t eat even half of what she usually did.
“So, here’s the plan,” Finn announced at long last. “We will challenge that brat.”
“Challenge to what?”
“To an eating contest.”
“What? Finn, neither of us can eat so much to compete in an eating contest. And did you see that little fatty?”
“Of course. You’re right. But.” Finn stopped dramatically, a wicked grin on his handsome face. “But Pax can eat five of them under the table.” Pax beamed proudly and Finn smiled complacently. It was obvious they were extremely pleased with themselves.
“Okay,” Bran said. “But what if he doesn’t come? If he doesn’t accept the challenge?”
“Oh, he will, don’t worry, he will.”
Was it the way Finn spoke, the way he stretched the words, or his eyes, glittering with malevolence that made the hairs in Bran’s neck stand on end, he wasn’t sure. But he was certain about Pax’s evil cackle.



And so, a letter of challenge was written, the shop closed for the day and myriads of cupcakes, cakes, pies and cookies baked. And just in time with the last tray of colourfully frosted, butterfly shaped cookies being ready, the offender arrived at their doorstep.
The boy scowled fiercely, his little pigs’ eyes glittered menacingly. But when he opened his mouth and spoke, Bran was terribly taken aback – and he could tell the others were, too.
“Um… did… did you send me this?” Hansel asked timidly.
“We did,” Bran answered. Was this a trick?
“Um… so… if I lose, I… I won’t be allowed to come here again?”
“That’s right.”
The boy bit his lip and glared at his shoes as if they had somehow offended him. “And… and if I don’t accept the ch-challenge?”
“The same. But we could always still beat the living daylights out of you.”
“Finn!”
“What? It’s true.”
Hansel looked up and for a moment it seemed he was about to cry, but his expression became hard again and he nodded. “Okay, I accept. Who’s my opponent?” he asked with more bravado than he seemed to be having, seeing the way his hands clutched the legs of his trousers and he couldn’t look anyone in the eye.
“I am,” Pax piped. The boy’s eyes widened when he saw who had spoken. At first he gaped open-mouthed at her, then a variety of emotions flitted across his round face: confusion, scorn, disbelief, elation.
He has obviously never seen a pixie eat, Bran thought. He couldn’t help but feel a tiny spark of pity for the boy. But there was also something else, a small, nagging feeling that something wasn’t right about all of this.
While Fran laid the table for the first round, Bran took Finn by the arm and drew him aside.
“Hey, don’t you think it’s strange?” he asked quietly. “This boy, he looks mean but he doesn’t seem like a bully to me.”
“It’s alright, just let it run its course, you’ll see, everything will turn out fine.”
Surely Finn was right, and he seemed to know more than Bran. It made him miffed but he also knew there was no point asking the false princess about it now. He just had to watch and see how things would turn out. And so, with the first course – the cookies – began the contest.
As expected, the cookies were nothing to them, after even the last crumb had vanished, both contestants had just merely finished their warm-up.
After the cookies followed the cakes succeeded by a variety of puddings, which were followed by hundreds of pretty petit fours. When it was the pies’ turn, Pax still looked as if she had just eaten a tiny snack, Hansel, on the other hand, looked slightly green.
Just when they each started dismantling a huge Black Forest Gateau, the door flew open and a young woman strut in.
“Hold it right there! What the hell do you think you are doing?” she demanded harshly. Hansel winced and dropped the piece of gateau he had just wanted to bite into.
“What’s it look like?” Finn retorted. “And you are?”
“Gretel. I’m his sister,” she snapped, pointing a finger at the unfortunate boy. Gretel was the exact opposite of her brother. She was slim and beautiful, with the face of an angel. But whereas Hansel was timid and uncertain, she was fierce and hostile and mean. “I ask again: what, for fuck’s sakes, do you think you’re doing here?” This time it was clear the question was solely directed at her brother, she couldn’t care less about the rest of them.
“But… but they said… if I… if I don’t accept or lose, I won’t be allowed to come here any… anymore,” Hansel sobbed..
“Great! One problem less. Alright, you won’t be coming here anymore,” Gretel replied in a tone that told everyone: case closed.
“B-b-b-but –“
“No ‘buts’, you are on a diet anyway, in case you’ve forgotten. And this damn shop here is the reason for it, so let’s go.” She grabbed her brother’s arm and tried to pull him out of his chair, but he wouldn’t budge.
“Hold on,” Bran said, at last finding his voice again. It had taken him a moment to sort things out but now he… still didn’t understand what was going on. “It’s not that easy. The reason why we’re doing all this is because your brother is tyrannising Fran.”
“What? You’re kidding me, right? He is tyrannising her? Isn’t it rather the way around?”
“Huh?” Confused, Bran turned to the baker, who stood there motionless, staring wide-eyed at Gretel, a strange, unreadable expression on her face. Finn intervened.
“Please, do explain,” he bid the girl. Gretel sighed, exasperated, drew a chair up from a neighbouring table and sat down.
“Fine. As you can see, my brother’s love for sweet things has gone a bit over board.”
“Pfft, that’s an understatement,” Pax snorted, but Gretel ignored her.
“And it’s all because of her sister and this stupid cake shop,” she continued. “At first, Hansel didn’t even like sweet things, but he came here every day because he had a crush on that spinster. She kept pushing her cakes at him, forcing him to eat them, making false promises. Did you know, she was laughing about how stupid he was to believe he had any chance with her. But stupid as my brother is, he kept on eating those sweet things because of her and actually took a likening to them. Soon, he wasn’t coming just for that hag anymore and she seemed to love stuffing him. He became fatter and fatter and she kept stuffing him more and more. And then she actually had the audacity to suddenly demand money. I told her she wouldn’t see a single cent of it and then she lost it. Got all hysteric and started throwing food and other things around.”
Blinking like an owl, Bran looked from Gretel to Fran, who wrung her hands and licked her lips nervously. Wasn’t Gretel and her brother supposed to be the ones who threw things around?
“Th-that… Gertrude, she…” Fran stammered.
“Oh, did she tell you that Gertrude was an angel?” Gretel interjected, sneering. “Please, she might have pretended to be this innocent, sweet little thing but she is a mean little bitch who knows no scruple.”
“But you tried to push her into the oven and then burnt the house down, didn’t you?” Bran asked, trying to hold on to something Fran had told him. But he knew it wasn’t true even before Gretel answered. The girl goggled at him, then laughed harshly.
“I did what? Seriously? Is that what she told you? I had nothing to do with that. Gertrude is a real klutz, you know. She had worked herself into a real psycho state, yelling and screaming. I didn’t care, I was just here to collect my brother. We were almost out of the door when we heard this loud clattering noise. I turned around and saw how Gertrude was hopping through her kitchen, trying to regain her balance. And that’s when she fell face forward in the direction of the open oven door. Missed it by that much. We left after I made sure she’s still in one piece and mean as ever, and nothing was burning then.”
Silence. To be honest, Gretel’s version of the story made a lot more sense. The fact that they had never been punished for almost killing a woman and burning a house down, that no one was helping them, that the customers began to leave, that no one else had anything particularly to say about the siblings.
It was Fran who broke the silence first. She began to sob uncontrollably, buried her face in her hands and sank down on her knees, crying. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I just wanted to believe my sister, but… but…” she cried.
“So, you really thought that was what was happening?” Bran asked, relieved that the young woman had not consciously lied to them.
“Well, that’s what she told me,” Fran sobbed. “I wanted to believe her, I really did, we are sisters. But I know what she’s like. She really is a hysterical, selfish, clumsy screw.”
They had a hard time calming Fran down, it even took Gretel’s repeated reassurance that she wasn’t angry about the lies and that she knew what it was like to have siblings, so… In the end, however, there was still one question left unanswered.
“But, Hansel,” Bran asked, “why did you start bullying Fran now?”
“He didn’t mean to.” Again, it was Gretel who answered for her brother, Hansel only studied the table, looking thoroughly ashamed. “I told you, he’s on a diet. He only gets healthy food at home and no money so he can’t go and buy sweet things. But this glutton sneaks out and tries to scavenge whatever he can get his stubby fingers on.”
“The exploding flower pots?”
“He thought if people ran away from shock, they wouldn’t take their cakes with them, so he could nick them from the tables. He really didn’t mean to bully anyone, he’s just a stupid idiot.”




There hadn’t been anything else for them to do afterwards. Pax had finished the rest of the sweet delicacies all on her own and Gretel and Fran had agreed that if Hansel obediently followed his diet, he would be allowed one little treat form the Gingerbread House once a week. With the issue solved once and for all, things were peaceful once more in the little town and the Gingerbread House – though people were still somewhat confused about who had bullied whom.
Finally on the road again, Finn – still wearing a dress – put a hand on his friend’s arm.
“Sorry it turned out like this again.”
“Don’t be, it wouldn’t have counted with Pax doing all the work anyway. You knew what was really going on there, didn’t you?”
“I’ve met Fran’s sister once, she is horrible.”
“I see.”
They continued on their way rarely speaking. It was so calm with Pax sleeping curled up on Buttercup’s saddle. After having crammed every last morsel of sweets that she could get into her mouth for the last few days, Bran was surprised the pixie hadn’t just exploded. Now she was contentedly asleep, occasionally mumbling things like ‘ale’ or ‘roasted beef’.
Bran watched his false princess out of the corner of his eyes. Finn hadn’t said or done anything amorous in days, making Bran even more uncertain whether the young man was serious or just teasing him.
Now or never, Bran thought. After having admitted to himself that there was no way not to end up hurting Finn with this, he had decided it might be easier if he would get it over with sooner rather than later. So he stopped walking and took a deep breath, preparing himself mentally.
“Bran?” Finn asked.
“Listen, Finn. About… about you and me… I really do like you, but… well, we’re both men and – “ Finn, bursting out laughing so hard he had to bent over and hold his belly, cut him off.
“You… you didn’t take that serious, did you?” Finn laughed.
“What? Well… yeah, I did. You were all like… and then you were… and… and…” Bran snapped, irritated. He couldn’t believe how stupid he was, to fall for that drag-queen’s tricks again and again. “Fine, I won’t ever take anything you say serious ever again!”
“Oh, now, don’t pout.” Finn was still chuckling, which didn’t help to pacify Bran. He put an arm around his companion’s shoulders and leaned against him. “I’m sorry I teased you, alright? Or… or maybe you’re angry because you do want me as your bride?” Finn batted his eyes.
“Certainly not!” Bran retorted with emphasise, pushing the other away and stomped ahead.
“Aww, are you sure?” Finn drawled.
“Yes.”
“Really?”
“Shut up!” Bran growled annoyed, but a smile tucked at the corner of his lips. It was true, he couldn’t win against Finn, but at least, it was never boring with him and his mutant fly around.
~End of Part III~


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Comments

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LOL, I absolutely love this story! :D

What the hell, you're awake already? Or did you just not go to bed at all? *lol*

Awww *happy dance*

Damn you stupid gif, you will do as I say!!

DRRR

Three, that's better ;D

Edited at 2011-09-19 07:23 am (UTC)
Huhu! Diesmal leider etwas später, aber ich konnt's am Montag nicht ganz lesen. ;o)
Ich liebe diese Frotzeleien zwischen Bran und Finn. *lol*
Den Knüller fand ich den "Denkbart"! *rofl* Suuuuper! *Daumenhoch*
Danke mal wieder für die klasse Unterhaltung! :D
Kein Problem, hoff du hast dafür dann jetzt auch ein langes Wochenende ;)

Bitte gern geschehen, freut mich sehr, dass es dir immer noch gefällt :D
Ja also, ich bin der Meinung jeder sollte einen 'Denkbart' besitzen ;)
Finn und Bran haben sich halt einfach lieb - was Bran natürlich selbst unter Folter niemals zugeben würde ^^