By: Johnnyjosh aka Zoicyte Maxwell
Fandom: Saint Seiya.
Pairings: Ikki/?, ?/Shun.
Warnings: Yaoi, lemon, lime, language.
Notes: Parody, fusion, AU, OOC, TWT, PWP, general weirdness. Again, another of JJ’s fabulously fractured fairy tales. *chuckles* Just when you thought it was safe to start reading fanfiction again.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Saint Seiya, or the tale of Rapunzel.
Archived: Aff.net, MM.org, geocities.com/johnnyjosh/index.html. All others, ask first, and no MST’ing.
Summary: I’m sure you’re all familiar with the tale by now, aren’t you? Rapunzel, locked away in the tower by the wicked witch? Who will save our dear Rapunzel? (Better yet, who did I, in my infinite weirdness, cast as Rapunzel?) Read, and find out, if you dare...
~~oOo~~ Change of scene or POV.
Once upon a time, long ago, in a land far away, lived a woodcutter and his wife who, although they were content together, were never truly happy. For their fondest wish, to have a child, had never been granted.
Finally, after several years of longing for a child of their own, their wish was granted, and the couple couldn’t have been happier, or more excited. They busily prepared for their new arrival, the months seeming to speed by. They were so busy with their preparations, they didn’t even give a moment’s thought to the wicked sorceress, whose castle sat just off in the distance.
Their cottage sat just outside the border of Saori’s lands, which were surrounded by a high fence, which was constantly overrun with climbing weeds and thick bramble. The only glimpse to be had past that fence was from the upper floor of the cottage, in the second bedroom, now set up for their new baby. From this window, one could look out and see into the beautiful garden the sorceress kept, its enchanted beauty and succulent vegetables were for her enjoyment alone.
The wife would while away the hours of her days knitting and sewing clothes for her baby, and then take them up to the nursery. Every time she did, the woman would turn and look out her window, sighing as she gazed longingly at the vegetable garden. She was especially interested in the lush bed of rampion, which looked so green, and so fresh, the wife wished she could have some for herself. This began to happen more frequently, until the wife began to spend more and more time staring out the window, longing for the vegetables, but knowing better than to send her husband to try and beg some from the sorceress, for the woman was notoriously selfish, vain, and cruel, never sharing anything she had with anyone else. Saddened by this, the wife began to pine away, refusing to eat anything, merely desiring the rampion she observed from the window, for several days.
Finally, in desperation, the woodcutter slipped out of the house, under cover of night, climbed the fence, and took some of the rampion from Saori’s garden. He presented it to his wife, and she was so happy, the color returned to her face, as did her smile, as she quickly made a salad with it, and finally ate, much to her husband’s relief.
But the man’s relief was to be short-lived, for after her meal of ill-gotten vegetables from Saori’s garden, the wife only desired it twice as badly, and once again the woman refused to eat anything else. The next night, the poor man was forced to once again slip out, under cover of darkness, and scale the fence to sneak into the sorceress’ garden. This time, however, the man wasn’t so lucky, just as he’d filled a small basket with rampion and turned to escape over the wall, there, before him, stood three figures. One was the sorceress Saori, in a dress of shimmering white, which all but glowed in the moonlight as it moved with the gentle breeze blowing through the garden. Her henchman, Tatsumi, a tall, bald man with beady eyes and a dour expression stood beside her, and on the sorceress’ other side stood a young boy she’d taken as one of her reputed magical warriors, named Jabu. The boy was surly, and even at his tender age, wore an arrogant smirk.
“What is the meaning of this?” Saori’s voice was soft, little more than a whisper.
Tatsumi smirked, while Jabu punched one fist into his palm. But it wasn’t either of them the husband feared. No, it was Saori herself, who stood calm and still as the wind made her long, violet hair billow around her, that frightened him. Her expression was serene, almost benign, but the man wasn’t fooled by it, not one bit. He knew that the sorceress could be at her most cruel when her expression was the most sweet.
“Please, Saori,” he begged, dropping the basket and sinking to his knees, bowing down in front of the woman. “I am sorry I took from your garden without asking your permission...” He went on to tell her about his wife, and how she longed for the rampion that only grew in Saori’s garden, and how she had refused to eat anything else for days, even though she was with child. “In order to ensure her and our babe’s health, I had to take the rampion, so my wife would finally eat something.” He kept his head down, shoulders hunched as silence greeted his tale, the only sounds in the garden those of the wind rustling through the nearby bushes, and his own heavy breathing. “Please, I am sorry. Have mercy, Saori. I promise we will never trouble you again, and...we’ll pay you for the rampion any way we can.”
After a few moments, a smile curled Saori’s lips, and even Tatsumi and Jabu shied away from her at the sight of it. The husband looked up, and gasped in fright, his face paling at the almost joyous expression on the woman’s face.
“Oh, you will pay, of that you can be certain,” Saori’s indigo eyes narrowed as she spoke. “I should kill you where you stand for daring to steal from me as you have,” she murmured, stepping forward, a faint, golden glow surrounding her slender body, as the sorceress placed one long finger under the man’s chin and tilted his head up, forcing him to look at her. “But I will not. Instead, your wife may have as much rampion from my garden as she likes.”
The husband’s brown eyes widened in fear, for he knew the woman was up to something, and it must be very dire indeed, if she was making such a generous offer. “You...would allow this?” His voice came out little more than a squeak.
“Yes, certainly I will. In return, when her child is born, I will come and claim it, seeing as it was my rampion, and my magic that went into cultivating it, that keeps both mother and child healthy.” She chuckled as the man’s expression turned to one of shock. “Yes, I knew before tonight about your wife’s frail health. My magic will see to it that all goes well. Therefore, in a way, I will be as much the child’s mother as she is.”
“But-” the husband spoke, but was cut off as Jabu stepped forward, and fisted one hand in the man’s hair.
“Saori’s offer is more than fair! You’re a fool to question her!” The youth raised his other fist, meaning to strike the poor man, but one slender, graceful hand over his fist stopped him.
“Jabu, you’re annoying,” Saori said softly. “Lower your voice. We wouldn’t want to disturb his sleeping wife, would we?”
“No, of course not. I am sorry.” Jabu bowed deeply, stepping back and allowing her to speak.
“My servant is correct. My offer is very fair. I will ensure that nothing goes wrong for your wife during both pregnancy, and delivery, and she may have all of not just the rampion, but any vegetables she likes from my garden,” Saori said quietly. “I will have Jabu bring an assortment every three days for both of you. When the child is born, I will come to claim it, then our business will be finished, and any future children will be your own, so long as you never try to steal from me again.”
“My wife...she would never allow such a thing. I cannot agree to it,” the husband said, tears in his eyes.
“You have a choice to make then. Either you agree to this, and I allow you to leave, or you refuse my generous offer, and you will not leave here alive,” the sorceress snapped, eyes flashing with anger.
The husband, in his distress, realized the choice he must make, for he knew if Saori killed him his wife would surely not survive on her own, with a child to raise by herself. The woman’s health was rather frail, and they were already worried about how she would fare during childbirth. “I...very well,” he sighed, letting his head fall forward as his tears fell.
“Then the bargain is struck, tomorrow there will be vegetables on your doorstep, and your wife will be blessed with the best health possible through the rest of her pregnancy. I will personally oversee the delivery,” Saori said, before she vanished in a flash of golden light, leaving her henchmen to escort the husband back to the cottage.
Once inside, the poor man sat down at the kitchen table and wept bitter tears, knowing he’d have to tell his wife the horrible news, first thing in the morning.
From that day on there was no joy in the woodcutter’s cabin, only a deep sense of sadness, and foreboding, as the day of their baby’s arrival drew near. True to her word, Saori had sent her henchman, Jabu, every three days to their doorstep with a large basket, laden with fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly the rampion the wife loved so much. And though the woman had sworn she would eat nothing that came from the sorceress, she found herself compelled to consume all the rampion, and half of the other fruits and vegetables in the basket, the other half she always left for her husband. Both the husband and wife realized the poor woman was indeed being forced to eat, no doubt by some spell of Saori’s, in order to keep them in her debt, and further urge them to keep their part of the bargain. Also, just as Saori had promised, the wife was in perfect health all through her pregnancy. She seemed to radiate a sense of well being, even though her eyes were pained, and her expression was sad.
Finally, the time had come for their child to be born. This day was horribly frightening for the woodcutter and his wife, for Tatsumi and Jabu forced open the door to their cabin, and pulled the husband from the home, as Saori slowly stepped inside, her smile wide, and full of terrible promise. The hapless woodcutter fought valiantly against Tatsumi and Jabu, wanting to get back into the house to see what the sorceress was doing to his wife, for after an initial cry of pain from the woman, there had been no further sounds from inside. All sorts of disturbing images came to the husband’s mind, each more frightening and horrifying than the last.
After what seemed like hours, there came a thin, reedy cry from inside the cabin. The baby was born. After a few moments, Saori appeared in the doorway, a small bundle cradled in her arms. “The boy is mine,” she said softly, glancing up at the woodcutter with a neutral expression. “Our bargain is fulfilled. Your wife will be able to carry children from now on without worrying so about her health.” A wicked smirk settled on her lips, as Saori’s gaze fell back to the babe in her arms. “Of course, should she have need of my garden again, don’t hesitate to ask, my terms will be the same.”
A horrible thought struck the woodcutter then, as Jabu and Tatsumi escorted the sorceress back to her castle. *She...it was her, she planted the desire in my wife for that rampion, cursed her so that she wouldn’t eat anything else. This was all just... Just some kind of wicked plot, to garner herself a child!* He raced inside, charging up the stairs to find his wife curled up on the soiled sheets, head turned down as she wept bitterly. He gently helped her to the bath, and left her to clean herself up, as helpless anger filled the woodcutter, and he began to remove or destroy any traces of the once joyous event from their home. He also boarded over the windows that had afforded the view of the wicked sorceress’ garden, in the hopes that nothing like this would ever happen again.
Saori named the boy Rapunzel, which of course meant rampion, a fitting, and ironic name, considering how she had planned to acquire herself a new warrior and servant. He was a healthy, happy baby, with ebony hair, and piercing blue eyes, but even as a small child, Rapunzel had a rather nasty temper, seeming to take an instant dislike to the sorceress and her minions, particularly Tatsumi.
Several months later, the woodcutter and his wife found themselves with another child on the way. Terrified that their earlier tragedy would recur, the husband took his wife away to stay with her sister and brother-in-law for the duration of her pregnancy. He refused to allow Saori to get her hands on any of his children, ever again. When their second son was born, this one much fairer and more delicate than their first child, they were still afraid to return to their home with him, for fear that Saori might try to find some way to enchant them, or the boy and take him from them, as well. So, despite the wife’s pleas to be able to keep him, the woodcutter left their son to live with his aunt and uncle for the time being, until some way could be found to rescue their firstborn son from the sorceress’ clutches.
Though the couple was devastated at having to return to an empty home, once again childless, they took some comfort in the fact that they could go and visit their second child whenever they liked, and the knowledge that the boy was being raised in a loving home, rather than being manipulated by the evil sorceress.
The woodcutter and his wife were never troubled by the sorceress in the years following the birth of their children, but every so often, despite the risks, the man would make his way past the fence, and skulk around the grounds, incurring Saori’s wrath as he knew all-too-well, just for the occasional glimpse of his son. He would bring back to his wife the news that their son was already growing tall, and strong, with his father’s features, but his mother’s thick, jet-black hair, and light eyes. He had a fierce countenance whenever Saori or her servants were nearby, yet he was still capable of mustering up a handsome smile when left alone to roam the grounds and enjoy their beauty and tranquility as he pleased.
He saw some of the harsh training the boy was put through, as Saori’s henchmen and even the sorceress herself taught him to fight, and made him learn strange fire magic that frightened the woodcutter terribly. The man watched in awe during one of the training sessions as his son conjured a huge firebird and sent it hurtling toward his opponent, the apparition leaving a huge, scorched crater in its wake.
One day, the woodcutter left a present for his young son on the bench, beneath a huge willow tree just at the edge of a thick forest. He knew the boy often went there to sit and reflect, and that Saori and her henchmen wouldn’t bother him there, so his gift wouldn’t be found and confiscated. He knew this would have to be his last visit for a while, because Jabu had nearly caught him the last time. It seemed Saori was aware of his visits, and he was afraid to incur her wrath again, lest she take it out on his son.
He set a small, silver locket on the bench. Inside it was a tiny picture of the woodcutter, his wife, and their second son, and on the other side, engraved in tiny letters, was the name that Rapunzel was supposed to have been given when he was born, as well as a short message:
*Ikki, we will bring you home.*
The man didn’t dare stay to talk to his son just yet, for he knew that if he did, he wouldn’t be able to leave without bringing the boy with him. He wanted to find some way to ward off the sorceress, keep her from trying to come after his family when he did take his son back and flee.
Rapunzel wandered out of the woods a short time later to find the locket glinting in the sun. He picked it up and studied it with a skeptical expression, certain that Saori was trying to bribe her way into his private place. She had allowed Rapunzel this place to be alone when he felt the need for quite some time now, because the boy would throw terrible fits of rage, utilizing the powers bestowed on him to wreak havoc if the sorceress and her henchmen didn’t give him time to himself.
“What is this, and why would you think some little trinket would be enough to buy your way into my sanctuary?” Rapunzel scowled fiercely, closing his fist around the locket as if to crush it.
“Ah, Rapunzel, there you are,” Saori called, standing off to the boy’s left, well back from the line of flowers planted around the area, a kind of unspoken border that neither Saori or her servants crossed if they could help it. Her blue eyes narrowed slightly as she saw the chain hanging from his hand. She was well aware that the boy’s father had come and left that here, and she had no intention of letting him try to lure what promised to be her finest warrior away. “Hm, I see you found that chintzy little thing. Why don’t you give it to me, and I’ll get rid of it. Such a thing doesn’t suit one such as you. I shall find something much more fitting,” she said quietly, holding out one slender, graceful hand as a faint golden aura surrounded her body.
Rapunzel felt a tug on the chain, and looked over at the woman, one eyebrow raised. *She’s trying to take it away. From the look on her face, I don’t think this was from her at all. But, if not her, then...* He grasped the chain securely, quickly opening the locket. He heard the angry sound that came from the sorceress, but paid it no heed as the picture inside the locket was seared into his memory, of a man, a woman, and a small boy with emerald hair and huge, teal-colored eyes. There was also a message on the other side, and he just barely read it, before the locket was torn from his grasp by Saori’s magic, hurtling across the clearing and into her palm, where it erupted into brilliant blue flames, and was reduced to ash.
“What is the meaning of this? Who are they, and why does it say ‘Ikki’?” he demanded, brandishing a fist and glaring at the sorceress. “You told me my parents were dead, and you took me in. Yet, I see the people in that picture--they are my family, aren’t they? What did you do, steal me from them? Is that why it says they will bring me home? My name isn’t even Rapunzel, is it?!”
“You little fool, if you would have just given it to me, none of this would have happened,” Saori sighed, closing her eyes for a moment. “Now I can see that I won’t be able to use you at all. You are much too headstrong to suit my purposes.” She turned away from the boy then, arms folded, expression thoughtful. “Yet, because of the bargain, I cannot just let you go,” a nasty smile settled on pale pink lips as the sorceress turned to regard Rapunzel with narrowed eyes. “Very well then, I’ll just have to keep you confined for the rest of your days. You still belong to me, regardless of whether I can actually use you or not.”
Rapunzel’s shoulders hunched, the boy falling into a defensive stance, but he was unprepared for the blast of golden light that shot from Saori’s hands, knocking him unconscious.
When Rapunzel awoke, several hours later, he was surprised to find himself in a large, circular room, furnished with everything that had been contained in his old room, inside Saori’s palace. All his books, the instruments she’d tried to teach him to play when he was younger, his clothing, the bed, even his two pets were here with him. The raven he’d rescued after it broke a wing, the poor bird still couldn’t fly long distances, therefore it had chosen to stay with him, and the scruffy, tail-less cat he’d rescued from Jabu’s cruel treatment. “Where...where am I?” He groaned, sitting up and rubbing the back of his head.
“This is your new home, Rapunzel, or would you prefer I call you Ikki? You are such a stubborn boy. I know now if I leave you to your own devices, you’ll just try to escape, so now this will be where you spend the rest of your days.” Saori stepped out of the shadows, her expression grim. “You are at the top of the south tower, and there are no doors to escape from.”
Ikki looked around quickly, eyes widening as he realized she was right. “But...if there are no doors, what do you intend to do? I’ll die without food or water, you can’t just lock me up like this!”
“Oh, don’t worry, Tatsumi will be sent to climb the tower when needed, with enough food for several days at a time. I’ll see to anything else you need that he can’t carry up,” Saori said, striding over and looking out the window, down to the ground far below.
Ikki growled as he stepped up beside her, still a full head shorter than Saori, therefore he had to climb up a bit to look out the window. “That idiot’s going to manage to climb all the way up here? How will he do it? There’s no ladder, not even decent hand or foot-holds!”
Saori merely gave the boy a patient smile, reaching out and setting one hand on the top of his head. “Yes, I already thought of that, hence, with a little magic, you will provide the ladder for him to climb.” As she spoke, her hand began to glow, and Ikki reached up to scratch frantically at his scalp, which had begun to tingle.
“What are you doing!” The boy bellowed, blue eyes widening as he felt his normally close-cropped hair was already down past his shoulders, and growing longer every second.
“As I said, Ikki, you’ll be providing Tatsumi with the ladder with which to climb up here, and deliver your food and water.” Saori smiled, taking a step back, her still-glowing hand held up in front of her as Ikki’s hair began to pool on the floor at their feet.
Ikki looked down and gave a horrified shriek as he saw the mass of hair accumulating on the floor, spreading further as his ebony locks continued to grow. “What the hell are you doing?! I’m not a girl, you can’t do this to me!” The boy tugged on his hair, casting about frantically for something sharp with which to cut it off.
“Don’t think of cutting it off, Ikki,” Saori warned him. “For Tatsumi will be your only source of food. If he can’t reach you, you will die.”
The boy growled fiercely, and ran at Saori, intent on attacking her, but, unfortunately, he forgot to mind his hair, and ended up sprawled at her feet after tripping on it.
“You will use this,” she pointed to a long length of wood jutting out from one side of the window frame. “Wrap your hair around this when you toss it out, that way it won’t cause you so much pain when he climbs up. Oh, and if you had thoughts of escaping using your own hair, don’t. The window is enchanted so that others may come and go, but you may not leave. Only this length of hair will be permitted outside the tower. ” The sorceress’ expression turned almost sad then, as she reached down and patted Ikki’s head, the gesture making the rapid hair growth cease. “It’s really too bad you had to find out about things like that, you can blame your father and his stubbornness, his refusal to let you go, for your pitiful fate. Now, because of him, you can’t have your freedom. But I’ll make sure the rest of your days are as comfortable as possible,” she murmured, before disappearing in a flash of golden light.
Ikki struggled to his feet, leaning out the window, tears of rage and frustration in his eyes as he shouted; “Saori, you bitch, you’ll pay for this!”
After raging, crying, and screaming himself hoarse, the boy finally slumped onto his bed, taking little comfort from the scruffy cat that jumped up next to him, nuzzling his cheek as it meowed mournfully, then curled up beside him.
As promised, later that day Tatsumi came to stand at the bottom of the tower, calling for Ikki to throw down his hair so the man could climb up, but in his anger, the boy refused. For three days he shouted curses and insults down at the man every time he came to the tower, until finally, weak from hunger and thirst, he relented, deciding perhaps it was best to keep his strength up, and try to find a way out.
Five long, lonely years passed, years which saw Ikki grow into a tall, handsome lad of thirteen, with broad shoulders, and steely blue eyes that had learned to observe the world around him keenly, like the raven he sent out daily to bring back interesting things from the outside world. He’d taken to braiding his extraordinarily long hair, finding it easier to manage if it was kept bound, rather than trailing loose around the large, circular room. He would only undo it when it was time for one of Saori’s henchmen to deliver his supplies. True to her word, the sorceress had provided food and water, books, writing materials and other things to keep his mind occupied. She also gave him clothing, and a large, claw-footed tub that would fill at regular intervals with hot water and bubbles for him to bathe in, then be drained and clean moments after he was finished.
Those years were just as lonely for the woodcutter and his wife, for the man had taken to slipping through the fences, and onto Saori’s lands once again, to check on his son. But, no matter how hard he searched, he couldn’t find any trace of the boy. Even the bench at the edge of the woods where Ikki used to come to find quiet and solitude had been broken, and nearly buried under the weeds that had taken over the once-beautiful little garden.
The only conclusion they could draw was that Saori must have sent their son off for training, in a far away land, as she had with her other warriors. The woodcutter and his wife were greatly saddened by this, yet they refused to give up hope that someday they would get their firstborn son back.
That summer, despite the woodcutter’s apprehension, their second son, Shun, came to stay with them. He had grown into a fair, gentle lad, with flowing, emerald hair that fell past his slender shoulders, and sparkling teal-green eyes that danced with love and laughter.
Shun was curious about his parents, and why he had never before been allowed to come home to live with them. He argued that at twelve, he had the right to know the truth, and so, with more than a little trepidation, the woodcutter and his wife told him the truth, about Ikki, and the incident with the rampion, and Saori’s evil influence on their lives.
When they were finished, the boy was nearly shaking with anger. “Papa, Mama, you just...left him there? With her? Why didn’t you go and take him back?” he demanded, banging one small fist on the table.
“My son, it’s not that simple,” the woodcutter sighed softly. “Saori is a powerful sorceress, and her henchmen are trained warriors, it’s not so simple as just walking in there and taking him back. We would need magic, and a warrior on our side as well, to fend them off.”
“Not to mention,” Shun’s mother broke in gently, “we would need to have a plan for getting away before she can come after us. Her wrath would be great, for I’m sure she sees Ikki as hers, and anyone who tries to take something from her pays a very heavy price, as you already know...”
Shun sighed and nodded slowly. “I see. Well, I’m not going to rest until my brother is home,” he said, eyes narrowed in determination. “I will see him freed from Saori’s grasp.”
The woodcutter and his wife shared a worried look, both determined to keep their younger son from doing something foolish.
To Be Continued...
Well, what did you think of my choices for cast? Sorry to all the Saori fans out there, but I saw nobody else that would work quite so well in the role.
Let me know how you liked!