A/N: And now for something completely different. Came up with this with the help of chill13, whom I thank very much. The Mikado simply needs more love on FF.
DISCLAIMER: All characters mentioned in this fic, as well as the operetta which they come from, belong to Gilbert & Sullivan. I do not profit from writing fanfiction in any way, shape, or form.
Ko-Ko sighed in resignation as he sipped at his green tea. Katisha had insisted on making it for him, even though Ko-Ko himself hadn't necessarily been in the mood for it. When he'd said this to Katisha, she had rebuffed him with, "Don't talk nonsense! This is the sort of thing that married couples do for each other, is it not?" And so, not being in an argumentative state of mind (as well as being terrified of disappointing his overbearing wife), Ko-Ko now sat with his legs crossed beneath the kotatsu, occasionally glancing outside at the clear, bright morning, and drinking the green tea as enjoyably as he could.
He and Katisha had been married for a little less than a year now, and their marriage was indeed a happy one, most things considered. Katisha's fits of temper were still something to be feared, but Ko-Ko had rather become something of a morality chain to her, and could usually calm her down whenever she flew into a rage (provided he wasn't too brave about it). And at least Katisha had Yum-Yum's two younger sisters to boss around, so she wasn't perpetually on Ko-Ko's case. He had been, for a few weeks now, attempting to teach the girls the tailor's trade, which, in truth, he wasn't making much progress with. Peep-Bo was surprisingly diligent with her practicing, but, being the young girl that she was, was more interested in the colour-and-pattern part of the business rather than the sewing-and-hemming part, the latter of which Ko-Ko's lessons were geared towards. Pitti-Sing, of course, refused to pay any attention to the lessons at all. In other news, Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum would occasionally visit to see how Ko-Ko, Katisha, and the sisters were keeping. In short, all was well. Well, almost.
The problem was Yum-Yum's two sisters, Peep-Bo and Pitti-Sing. While their older sister had obviously left Ko-Ko's estate once she and Nanki-Poo were married, the two younger girls were still single, even though they were both beginning to approach the age that Yum-Yum was when she got married. Of course, they couldn't live under the care of Ko-Ko forever, and so he was now pondering, as he sat and drank, how to find suitable husbands for the pair of them.
Meanwhile, in the girls' bedroom, the two little maids sat in front of their mirror, with Yum-Yum's youngest sister, Pitti-Sing, reluctantly helping the middle sister, Peep-Bo, braid and fix her hair for the day. Pitti-Sing hated sitting in one place for more than two minutes at a time (which had made her days at school particularly excruciating), and was in a hurry to get Peep-Bo's hair out of the way as fast as possible. Naturally, this led to a rather rushed and haphazard way of hair-fixing on Pitti-Sing's part, and so Peep-Bo kept scolding her about doing it wrong, and that she had to do it all over again, which led to Pitti-Sing getting even more irritated and rushing even more with her sister's hair, thus repeating the cycle.
"Ow! Not so tight!" cried Peep-Bo, raising her hands in protection to the right side of her head, whose hair her sister was pulling into a small bun that was far too tight. "Pitti-Sing, you are doing it wrong!" the older girl complained for what must have been the seventeenth time that morning.
"Oh, hush," muttered Pitti-Sing. "Just leave off complaining and it won't hurt as much." She gave another powerful yank on the sheer black tresses, eliciting a little cry of pain from Peep-Bo. "And anyway, must you always insist on wearing your hair in such a peculiar way, with the bun on each side and the braid in back? Why can't you just wear it in a simple top bun, like me?"
"Absolutely not; such a plain little style would never suit me," Peep-Bo, who was by now more than a bit annoyed with the younger girl, responded. Pitti-Sing rolled her eyes.
Just then, the sliding door of the little maids' bedroom slid wide open with a bang. No knock, no asking permission to enter—just the sound of the door loudly sliding out of the way for the imposing visitor with a crash and a shudder at the end.
"Good morning, Lady Katisha," the sisters said in unison, knowing without looking who stood in the doorway.
"Good morning, girls," Katisha said back. She probably didn't mean there to be any hostility or intimidation in her voice, but it was there all the same. She looked down at them. Peep-Bo's hair was tied into two small, cockeyed buns with a twisted, messy braid in the back. Behind her, Pitti-Sing was kneeling up impatiently with her hands clutching at several long hair ribbons as well as two combs and a brush. Katisha raised an eyebrow inquisitively. "Having hair trouble?" she inquired.
Both sisters shook their heads with vigour. "No, no! No! No, we're perfectly fine, thank you very much!" they cried anxiously. They still remembered what had happened the last time Katisha had helped them to fix their hair. Until then, neither girl had known that human fingernails could be so unbearably sharp.
"Nonsense," Katisha chided. "You are very obviously having trouble with Peep-Bo's hair, and I shall help you with it right now." She stepped into the room and kneeled gracefully behind Peep-Bo, but not before shoving Pitti-Sing out of the way. "I used to be quite good with this sort of thing when I was young," she informed the two.
"With emphasis on 'used to,'" Peep-Bo said quietly. Katisha made no sign that she heard the rude remark. Indeed, Katisha hardly listened to anybody, which snarky little Peep-Bo had come to appreciate over the months.
"Now, hold still, dear," the elderly lady commanded, "and don't thrash about as much as last time. If you keep still, it won't hurt as badly, you understand?"
"Y-yes," the older sister replied, her heart thumping about wildly at the prospect of the impending doom. With a deep breath of resolve, Peep-Bo steeled herself for the attack on her hair.
Five extremely traumatic minutes later, a triumphant Katisha emerged from the bedroom, closely followed by a slightly amused Pitti-Sing and a shell-shocked Peep-Bo. Her hair was now in two taut, perfect side buns with a flawlessly tight braid in the back. Not a single follicle was out of place, but from the look of her face, one would think that she had just come in from a hurricane. Or an explosion. Or perhaps a combination of both.
"Well, she did do a splendid job, didn't she, sister dear?" giggled Pitti-Sing. "I daresay your hair won't come loose any time soon while it's like that! Not until at least next week, anyhow!"
In her catatonic state, Peep-Bo made no reply.
Ko-Ko, who still hadn't finished his tea, was now pacing up and down, circling the kotatsu and stewing over his predicament as loudly as you please. "Oh, I just don't know how I'm going to go about this!" he said to nobody in particular. "My two wards are still under my roof, yet they really ought to have husbands by now, both of them! And now it's up to me to find two gentlemen of substance in this town who will keep them well! But who can I trust with such a thing? Ah, what to do, what to do—"
His thoughts were interrupted by his wife and the two girls entering the dining room.
"And what's more, I am once again prohibited by circumstance to soliloquize!" he declared. "Why did I expect anything different?"
"Do come off it," Katisha chided him. "I am not prepared to tolerate you being overdramatic this early in the morning, do you hear?"
Ko-Ko immediately backed off with an embarrassed chuckle. "Forgive me, my darling," he said sheepishly. To Peep-Bo and Pitti-Sing, he said, "Good morning, girls."
"Good morning, Ko-Ko," Pitti-Sing replied cheerily. "Lovely day!"
Peep-Bo only nodded.
"Finished your tea, then?" Katisha said to her husband, removing the tea bowl which was still a quarter full with a single swift motion.
"Apparently so," Ko-Ko muttered.
Katisha hadn't noticed the remark, she had already left the room. Indeed, her style of home life was what the Japanese refer to as "mai-peisu" (an accented pronunciation of the English words "my pace", ergo denoting the sort of person who does what he likes).
"Anyhow...what were…you soliloquizing about…just there?" asked Peep-Bo, who seemed to be slowly coming out of her Katisha-induced catatonia.
Ko-Ko hesitated, not exactly sure how to break this to his two (relatively) innocent wards. "Well, ehm, you see, that is…" after a couple more seconds of hemming and hawing, he gave in. "Come now, surely you girls know that you'll have to be married sooner or later, isn't that right?"
"Yes, we know," Pitti-Sing said calmly.
"Indeed, we know this," Peep-Bo said, equally as calmly.
Their guardian relaxed a bit. "Oh, good. So, you'll be able to understand when I say that I've been working out in my head how to find acceptable husbands for you two."
"Oh, most definitely, we understand," they replied.
"Once again, I am relieved," Ko-Ko said, and indeed he was. "My only problem is where to begin."
"Well, for starters, they'll have to be gentlemen of socially acceptable habits," Peep-Bo offered.
"Of course, but I'm afraid that much is obvious," responded Ko-Ko.
Pitti-Sing cocked her head in consideration. "Hmm…they ought to be well-educated, also, or at least literate."
"Certainly," Ko-Ko agreed. He was back to pacing once again, but this time his manner of pacing was more thoughtful than upset. "It shall never do for me to engage you to the uneducated sort of person."
"Should they be wealthy as well?" Peep-Bo wanted to know.
"Absolutely," replied Ko-Ko. "I wouldn't abide anything else, financial class-wise."
"Oh, and they probably should be gentlemen that all three of us are familiar with," interjected Pitti-Sing.
"Yes, I'd imagine that would considerably speed up the whole getting-to-know-them business," Ko-Ko said, stilling his feet mid-pace. "But the question is, exactly whom shall I—"
He was cut off just then by a loud "O-jama-shi-masu!" (Japanese for "pardon the intrusion!") from outside the front door. The owner of the voice who said this, the imposing fellow that he was, certainly didn't mean what he'd said, but he wasn't so stupid as to overlook the fact that it was only good manners to call, "o-jama-shi-masu!—pardon the intrusion!" before entering the house of an acquaintance, colleague, or friend.
"O-hai-ri-na-sai!—Do come in!" Ko-Ko called back, recognizing the voice of Pooh-Bah, Lord High Everything Else.
And so he did come in, with Pish-Tush, the herald of Titipu, close behind him.
"Pardon me just a minute," Ko-Ko said to the girls, and went to the front hall to receive his guests. "Good morning," he said to them. "Is something the matter?" he asked, for both of them looked rather serious, even stone-faced Pish-Tush.
"No more than usual," Pooh-Bah replied. "But we do need you at the town hall today. Shall we go there at once?"
Ko-Ko was about to nod once in agreement, but just then, and idea struck him. Socially acceptable habits, well-educated, considerably wealthy, and the girls are already familiar with them both—these are the gentlemen they shall be married to! He was elated by this sudden revelation, but for now, he kept himself composed. "Of course, we shall," he replied. "But I wonder if I might ask a favour of you, please?"
Pish-Tush gave a shrug. "Alright, then."
"Would you gentlemen mind very much if we brought a few people with us?" the Lord High Executioner asked tentatively.
"No, not very much," said Pooh-Bah. "After all, the more the merrier."
"Listen to who's talking," muttered Pish-Tush. His colleague shot him a disdainful glance. "No, it shouldn't be too much of a problem to bring a couple others…as long as they don't cause any trouble," the herald said to Ko-Ko, who smiled gratefully and bowed.
"Much obliged to you, gentlemen." He turned to face the sitting-room. "Girls," he called to his wards.
Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush shared a confused expression with one another. "Girls?"
"Yes, Ko-Ko?" said Pitti-Sing, approaching the front hall with Peep-Bo.
Their guardian grinned at them with a contemplative twinkle in his eye. "Girls, you remember Pish-Tush and Pooh-Bah, don't you?"
The sisters' eyes widened in shock and they exchanged a worried look. Neither of them wanted to believe it, but they both knew all too well that these two were the ones Ko-Ko was planning to marry them off to.
"He's up to something," whispered Pooh-Bah to Pish-Tush who, with a grave nod, said, "Most definitely."
-END OF CHAPTER 1-
A/N: I'm planning to upload Ch. 2 later on. Thank you for reading, please review!