morvith (morvith) wrote,
morvith
morvith

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Three golden fishes (2/2) - J2 AU

Title: Three golden fishes

Author: Morvith 

Genre: Romance/Supernatural

Summary: Once upon a time there was a poor harpist with a big dream... J2 retelling of a Russian fairytale.

Main Characters: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles.

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Nothing in this fiction belongs to me, not even the basic plot. 

Warnings: English is not my native tongue. Please let me know if you catch any mistakes.


Part I





So it was that the poor harpist became the richest man in Gorburg. He settled his father’s debts and bought back his family’s ancestral home. 

***************

The sound of restless pacing in the main hall abruptly startled him from his memories of dark eyes and bright smiles.

It must be time to go… he thought as went to peer out of the door.

Royse was standing before the mirror, adjusting her coif.

Jensen took a moment to watch her unseen, proudly taking in the elegant cut of her woollen dress, the fine embroidery on her shawl, the warm shoes on her feet and, best of all, the rosy, healthier glow of her skin: no more pale, hollow cheeks, no more coughing – the simple miracle of good food and a warm house.

Royse scowled, her hands nervously smoothing down nonexistent creases on her skirt, then made a nasty face at the mirror. 

Frowning, Jensen stepped into the hall – the sound of the door closing behind him made Royse jump visibly.

“Oh, Jensen, it’s you! You gave me such a fright!”

“Since when you’re such a scaredy cat?” He teased gently. “There’s only us and the servants – and you know they make no noise.”

“Don’t remind me,” she muttered, looking away.

Jensen moved closer, frowning again. “Royse? Is there something that matter?”

“No, no, nothing. Nothing at all.”

“Royse…” he said softly. “You know you can tell me everything. Come on, what is it?”
“I’m just…just trying to get used to it,” she replied, fidgeting with her sleeves.

“Get used to what?”

“This!” she gestured widely. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate all you’ve done for us, but… our old house was the only home I ever remember. Now I have a room of my own and lots of dresses and servants and…sometimes I feel like I’m just a child playing dress up and I’ll be found out.” She swallowed hard. “Are you angry now? Please don’t be angry, I don’t…”

“No, it’s all right,” he interrupted, pulling her into a hug. “I didn’t know you felt like that…”

“I just…I think I just need time. Please don’t think me ungrateful, it just happened so suddenly…”

“You know you can have all the time you need. I promise you it will get better.”

She nodded and smiled as she stepped away from him. “I shouldn’t complain so much, not when I can finally marry Misha.”

There was something not quite of this world in her smile – a sliver of infinite happiness. Just for a second, Jensen felt his heart clench and burn as if it had been prickled by tiny ice needles.

However, before he could think of what it might mean, Mrs. Ackles came down the stairs: both her children hurriedly grabbed their cloaks, then the whole family set out for church.

It was such a beautiful day it was impossible to stay upset. As he walked across the great square with two beautiful, elegant women, Jensen felt ten feet tall: he could have climbed the highest mountain, crossed the deepest river, run from one end of the Plains to the other, there was nothing he could not do. 

Royse held on to his arm as they climbed up the cathedral stairs. Jensen smiled at her encouragingly, but before they could step across the threshold, the priest stopped them. “The ladies can come in,” he said sternly “But not you.”

Royse’s grip on his arm tightened.

“Why not?” Jensen replied challengingly. “I have received all the sacraments.”

“You gained your wealth through gambling and trickery.”

“Did I?” Jensen snorted. “Funny, I don’t recall anyone holding a knife to their neck when the esteemed merchants of Gorburg accepted the bet! I won, fair and square.”

“You consorted with the devil! No man alone could have captured three fishes!”

“No man save my son!” Mrs Ackles said angrily. “You have no right to deny him entrance to the house of the Lord!”

The priest pursed his lips. “He is not welcome here!”

“Well, then neither am I,” the matron replied.

“Nor I!” Royse quickly added.

“Mother, Royse, you don’t...” Jensen tried, but Mrs. Ackles didn’t let him finish: “No, Jensen. You are my son and I won’t allow anyone to treat you like this. Good day, father.”

With a cold nod, she turned on her heel and walked away, gently taking her children with her.

“We’ll go to our old parish,” she said firmly once they were out of earshot. “Considering all the toasts father Eric drank to your health at our celebration, I don’t think he’ll turn us away. If not for that, then for all the donations for his roof fund,” she added shrewdly.  

“Mother!” Royse cried, a little shocked.

“Oh, don’t look like that, dear. We are rich, influential people again, whether the other merchants like it or not.”

“They could make our life difficult, though...” Jensen remarked gloomily. “Perhaps...”

Again he was interrupted, this time by a tall, dark haired man who came running after them, shouting his name. “Jensen!”

“Misha! I thought you were still at Mass!”

“After the way you were treated? I don’t think so!” the other man replied, stopping near them. “Mrs. Ackles, good morning. Miss Royse.”

“Hi Mi...er,  hello, Master Collins.”

“We shall attend Mass at our old church,” Mrs. Ackles said, a knowing smile on her lips. “Why don’t you join us?”

“Gladly. But first I must tell you: my family will stand by you. We may not be as rich as the Benedicts or... well, you,” he added with a smile. “But all our resources at your disposal.”

“Just like in the old times, mmm?” Mrs. Ackles’ eyes shone.

“Better. Many were glad to see the great families brought down a peg or two – especially among the smaller merchant families. Old Cassidy is with us and so are the Beavers and the Morgans.”

“Good. Very good.” Jensen nodded. “They won’t know what hit them.”

“That’s the spirit!” Mrs. Ackles laughed.

Jensen smiled a little tightly. So it begins...

***************

...and for years and years he worked as a merchant and grew even wealthier.

The people of Gorburg – especially the merchants who lost the bet – said he had the luck of the devil, for his ships never sunk or lost course.

***************

“...so the next shipment should – are you listening to me?”

Abruptly forced out of his thoughts, Jensen had at least the decency to look embarrassed. “Sorry, Misha. I didn’t mean to.”

“It’s fine, it can wait,” Misha replied, setting his papers aside. “It’s not a good time, I know... I miss her as well.”

Jensen nodded and looked away. “I know. Mother always thought of you as one of the family even before you married my sister. That was the happiest day of her life.”   

Misha smiled. “Second happiest. She did get to meet our Auda.”

“True. How’s Royse holding up?”

“Better than last year. Do you want to take a break?” Misha suggested gently.

“Maybe we shouldn’t...”

“It’s fine, really. As I said, it can wait...and, Jensen, if I may? You have been working way too much.”

“In the last two years?”

“In the last six. You are allowed to take it easier now, you know?”

Before he could reply, Misha left, closing the door behind him.

Jensen sighed and wearily rubbed his forehead. When his mother had suddenly passed away, they had all been heartbroken, but now... Now it was getting better – and Jensen wasn’t so sure it was a good thing.

Misha had unwittingly hit the real problem: the other reason why Jensen had wanted to become a rich merchant.

This is ridiculous, I haven’t thought about travelling in years...And why should I do it? I have everything I need here. A vision of dark eyes flashed for a moment before him. Well, almost everything.

Even through the closed window, Jensen could hear the distant cry of the seagulls – he could hear it echo in heart, flowing in his veins stronger than any siren song.

One year. Just one more year for Royse, then I’ll go. 

***************


And one day, he called his faithful friend and handed all his affairs over to him...

***************

“Are you sure about this?” Misha couldn’t quite mask the worry in his voice. 

“Believe me, Misha,” Jensen smiled, suddenly looking ten years younger. “I have done nothing but think about this. Even if you weren’t my brother and my best friend, there’s no other I’d trust as much.”

“Oh, shut up. Flattery will get you nowhere,” Misha replied, chuckling.

“What about you, little sister? I imagine you hardly approve...”

For a moment, Jensen remembered the scared girl she had been long ago, when they first moved in. Shy, apprehensive Royse had grown into a composed, sensible and, most important of all, happy woman. He couldn’t have been prouder. 

Royse smiled sadly at him and reached for his hand. “You have done more than your duty to me, Jensen.” She pulled him into a hug. “Remember when I was young and used to get sick all the time and you’d tell me all those wonderful stories about the faraway places we’d visit?” 

Jensen nodded, his words a tangled lump in his throat.

“You always looked so happy when you told me those stories,” Royse whispered. “I haven’t seen you happy in a long time.”

“Royse...”

She took a step back, out of his arms, so she could look straight at him. “Go with my blessing, brother mine.”

Jensen’s eyes were full of tears, but his smile was full of joy. “Thank you, Royse. I’ll send news as often as possible.”

“Good. Don’t forget or I’ll have my husband teach you a lesson.” She hugged him again, this time even more tightly. “And you must promise me you’ll come back someday.”  

“I promise.”

***************

The harpist boarded a ship and left for the distant lands across the sea. For many years he travelled, visiting many place and seeing many wondrous sights. But after so much travelling, he started longing for his native city.

***************

There was sand under his feet and the sound of water – the Caran lake – gently lapping against the shore. Nothing else, the world was submerged in night.

Jensen...

Then there was a voice calling his name, soft as a spring breeze.

Jensen...

He knew that voice. He had heard it before, though he couldn’t say where or how – in that dark place, it was the only real thing, the only thing that mattered and he couldn’t move, couldn’t follow.

Jensen...  

When he woke up, it was still ringing in his ears, a summon that couldn’t be ignored.  

***************

So he decided to return to Gorburg.

He travelled for miles and miles, across the land and sea, until he reached the mouth of the Caran river, where he bought passage on a ship. After several weeks, they were sailing on familiar waters and Gorburg stood just across the lake.

But right in the middle of their journey, their ship suddenly stopped moving as all the other ships sailed on.  

One of the old sailors realized it was the Sea King who held them back and wouldn’t let them go until one of them agreed to go stay in his kingdom, at the bottom of the lake. They decided to draw lots to see who would have to stay.

***************

Brock Kelly looked down at his straw and all the colour drained from his face. His hands started shaking.

A couple of feet away, Jensen’s heart skipped a beat. Oh, god, no. Not Brock...

Brock was only the last on a long list of people of both sexes and various social conditions he had befriended in his travels, yet he was also the one who had impressed him the most – a young ship’s boy, the oldest of six children who had been working since he was eight years old, it had been impossible for Jensen not to see himself in him.

As two sailors started advancing on him, a weird look passed between the captain and the first mate – the same look they had shared before they started preparing the lots to be drawn.

Realization hit like a lightning bolt. They rigged it!

After that, Jensen didn’t stop to think. “Wait, captain. I believe there has been a mistake,” he called loudly enough to be heard all over the deck as he stepped forward, holding his hastily broken piece of straw. “I believe I have the shortest one.”

All eyes were on him, he could feel them – but this time, he knew how to use it. You can’t contest it before everybody else, now, can you?

Brock was looking at him, too, torn between relief and horror. “Mr. Ackles...”

“It’s fine. I know my duty.” I’ve always known. “Walk with me a second, Brock,” he said, already heading for the railing.

“Mr. Ackles...” the young boy tried again, but Jensen doesn’t let him finish.

“I have a favour to ask you. I want you to take my things to my sister, Mrs. Collins.”

“I will, Mr. Ackles. I swear I will,” Brock said, unsuccessfully trying to hide the tremble in his voice.

“Thank you, Brock. You’re a good man.” He smiled. “There’s a leather pouch with three fishes painted on in my trunk – a little trifle I picked up in the East and I have no use for. Tell my sister I said you can have it.” That and all the money it holds, but you wouldn’t accept it if you knew. “Tell her I send my love and I’m sorry I couldn’t keep my promise.”

With a quick movement, he climbed on the railing and jumped overboard.

***************

The moment he disappeared beneath the water, the ship sprang forward.

But the harpist remained in the Sea King’s realm.

***************

It was strange to wake up again and find himself sprawled on a large, soft bed, breathing water in and out as easily as though he had always done so.

He was in a room unlike any other he’d ever seen and he was not alone: there was a man sitting on the edge of the bed.

Jensen’s lips slowly stretched into a smile. “Am I dreaming?”

“Why should you be?” a voice he hadn’t heard in years murmured gently.

“You’re here. It must be a dream. Or is this Heaven?” He asked, reaching up to touch the man’s cheek. “Jared...”

The sea prince swallowed hard, but leaned into his touch. “You remember me...”

“Of course I do. How could I forget you, after everything you did for me?”

At those words, Jared shivered, abruptly moving away. “Perhaps you’ll wish you never met me...Jensen, I...it’s because of me you’re here.”

nstead of yelling or demanding explanations, Jensen simply nodded. “I know.”

“You do?”

“Give me a little credit here, I figured it out.” He reached out and gently laid a hand on his shoulder. “It’s good to see you again. You haven’t changed at all.”

“Neither have you.”

Jensen couldn’t hold back a chuckle. “I have. It’s been ten years.”

“No, you haven’t.” He smiled. “I found your harp – I’ve been looking after it all this time. I couldn’t wait to give it back to you...I’ve missed hearing you. You stopped singing after you caught the fishes.”

“I stopped singing after you left,” Jensen corrected gently. “I wasn’t...inspired.”

“Oh...” Jared looked away, shame colouring his cheeks. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Jensen replied, closing the distance between them and kissing him.

It was definitely not the shy peck on the lips Jared had been expecting. 

“So...you’re not angry with me?” he asked as soon as he could bear to stop kissing Jensen – i.e. a good while later.

“Should I be?” Jensen replied, kissing and licking his way down Jared’s neck.

“W-well, I...you’re stuck here for eternity. You can’t go back to the surface, ever and...” He swallowed hard as Jensen sucked on his earlobe. “Shutting up now,” he moaned and allowed himself to be dragged on the bed. “Who taught you to kiss like that?”

“I’m not sure I should tell you...”

“What? Why not?”

“Because you sound like you’d like to hunt down each and every person I’ve ever kissed and kill them.” Jensen replied, looking straight at him with serious eyes. “Go on, tell me I’m wrong.”

Jared had to look away, blushing and muttering unintelligible curses under his breath.

“You disappeared for ten years and didn’t tell me it would happen when we made our deal,” Jensen said, then softened his words placing a light kiss on Jared’s shoulder. “You don’t get to complain.”

“You’re right,” Jared reluctantly conceded before pushing his lover down on the bed and straddling him. “But now you’re here and you’re mine. Forever.”

“Forever;” Jensen assured, pulling him down for another kiss.

***************

The harpist became the sea prince’s consort and they both lived together in the Sea King’s realm, at the bottom of the sea.

And in every port of the Great Plains, sailors speak of quiet nights, when the water is calm and a good wind fills the sails, of the soft notes of a harp and a voice singing from the deep.

Then they know it’s the harpist of Gorburg singing for his beloved and his songs are so beautiful that even the Sea King himself will stop and listen and cause passing ships no harm.




Tags: au, j2, pg, russian fairytale, three golden fishes
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