nsync in black and white

Fiction by Pen . . . . . not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

An Amphibian Fairy Tale

written in haste, for the MTYG testing—which could have been done a lot faster without writing actual fic, but was more fun this way
also, it appears I have a frog Thing

Did it have to rain? Did it have to rain every day?

Justin sighed as he stared out into the streaming curtain, rapid and relentless and unremitting. It splashed onto the rocks around the mouth of the cave, and splattered in the muddy entrance, and pattered on the surface of the lake.

The rain was so loud, he couldn't even hear the frogs today.

Justin was quite fond of the frogs. Their little froggy throats were capable of surprisingly cool noises, some of them deep and booming, others piping in high octaves he couldn't even reach in falsetto. He joined their evening chorus, at times, supplying the percussive noises their melodious croaking lacked.

Heck, it was lonely in the cave. He'd been here so long. Well, okay, not that long, it wasn't quite a week yet and he had plenty of Golden Crunch Blobs left in the little store in back. He certainly wasn't pining to go home. Definitely. He wasn't lonely at all, not with the frogs here. Courtiers made lousy conversation anyway, when you were the Crown Prince—it was all, You're so cool, You're so good, You're so talented, Everybody loves you. Which was... okay, it was nice, but kinda boring, sometimes. Sometimes he thought about the time before he was Crown Prince, the traveling days, when he had friends, not courtiers...

But those days were over. He wasn't one of the crowd any more, he was the Crown Prince, and he was supposed to be on a Quest to find his One True Love, except it was raining, so he was stuck here in this stupid cave. Justin did not mind getting wet, of course he didn't, he was used to it. He looked good wet—everyone said so. But he only had one pair of shoes with him right now, and there was no way he was going out into that deluge.

So. Nothing to do. Not even a frog chorus to join in with. This was not cool at all.



There was a small, shiny, golden frog next to Justin's knee. "Croak," it repeated.

Justin eyed it doubtfully. Frogs were, he thought, all very well in their place, but their place was outside, in the reeds by the lake, not in here, not in his cave, with him.

On the other hand, a frog was marginally more interesting than nothing at all, so he smiled at the tiny amphibian. "Hey, froggie."

The frog bounded joyously into the air.

"Wow, good jump," said Justin. "Can you go higher?"

The frog leaped again.

"Very good! Do it again!" Justin commanded, imperiously.

The frog obliged, bouncing merrily around the cave, and croaking mightily. As frogs went, Justin thought, this one was quite cool. Eventually, however, it stopped bouncing and settled next to his knee, looking up at him with expectant froggy eyes, and croaking in an interrogative tone.

"You wanna sing a duet?" said Crown Prince Justin. Well, it was very dull, being trapped in a cave. So he and the little golden frog made happy, musical noises, until it was time for Justin to eat his cereal.

When he turned around to offer the frog a crunchy blob, the frog was gone.

It was surprisingly disappointing.

* * *

When the little golden frog turned up again the next day, Crown Prince Justin was pleased to have the company.

* * *

Over the next few days the golden frog, which he named Frog (Prince Justin was of a very literal turn of mind), became a constant companion, leaving only when it was time for Justin's evening meal. Frogs must eat too, he supposed, and he was quite glad that the little creature did not seem to want to share his cereal. There were only four boxes left, and he didn't have a clue how much longer he'd be in this cave before the rain let up.

"Oh, Frog," Justin said one day, gazing despondently down at his amphibian friend, who had ceased to jump and was gazing upwards in helpless adoration. "I wish... you know, I'm supposed to be out searching for my One True Love. But it won't stop raining, and these are top-of-the-range Converse, you know?"

Frog gave an extra loud croak, and leaped onto Justin's knee.

"Ack!" Justin shrieked, and flailed at the slimy little creature. But it adroitly avoided his hand, and after a moment he realised that it was not, in fact, wet and slimy like he'd thought it would be.

"Okay," he said, "so you wanna sit on my knee. Fine. You wanna sing something? How about that number we were working on yesterday?"

Frog's little head tilted reproachfully, and it tipped its broad mouth upwards, but with wide lips pursed (as well as a frog could purse its lips, anyway), and hopped onto the Crown Prince's hand. Justin was taken aback, but heck, Frog was okay. He pulled it closer, and examined it, squinting a little. Frog stared back, wide and glassy.

"See," said Justin, "this is where I kiss you and you turn into a beautiful girl, right? My One True Love?" Something about this seemed off, but he thought about it for a bit. Maybe he was onto something. Maybe the Good Fairy had put him in this cave because... because this was where he was going to find his One True Love.

"Ah, what the hell," he said, and kissed the frog.

Then pulled back and wiped his lips frantically with the hem of his T-shirt. Ew, seriously! Ew!

"So," said a voice, "what do you think?"

Justin stared. His Frog was, indeed, transformed.

"Aren't you a little short for a Throne Suitor?"

The guy rolled his eyes. "Is that the best you can do? Man, I kept you company all this time, and finally you get around to kissing me, and now you complain I'm short?"

"Well," said Justin. "You are kinda... I mean, you only come up to my..."

"Saves time," said the guy. He was blond and had cheekbones that were distressingly more chiselled than Justin's own, and bright blue eyes which Justin thought might, possibly, be at least as bright as Justin's. Hmm. Not bad, actually.

"So. You wanna make out? Or sing something? Not that hip hop stuff, though, seriously. You should use your voice for good, otherwise what's the point?"

"You know who I am, right? The Crown Prince!"

"Yeah, so?"

"Yeah, so! Damn right!"

"Ah, whatever," said the guy. "I got some of that going on for myself. Name's Brian, by the way."

"Oh." Justin wasn't quite sure whether to be confused or pleased. If the guy—Brian—was aristocracy too, that was all right, wasn't it? And there wasn't actually any law to say his One True Love had to be a girl, was there? He was pretty sure his momma would have told him, if there was. "Well, okay then."

"Okay what?"

"We could, you know."

"Sing? Or make out?" Brian grinned, and Justin stared, dazzled. He hadn't noticed that Brian was, actually, um. Hot. "Maybe we should start with singing."

So, after a brief squabble, they settled on something gospel, and began tentatively to make music. Not twenty seconds later, the first echoes from the lake began, the chorus of frogs supplying multi-part harmony. There were, Justin reckoned carefully, eight frogs out there.

Sounded good!

It was getting dark by the time they stopped.

"You notice anything different?" said Brian.

"I, uh, what?"

"It stopped raining."

"Oh!" Justin stared out of the cave mouth. In the gentle light of the setting sun, drops sparkled like diamonds on the broad leaves around the lake. The frogs had stopped bouncing, and were sitting as two distinct quartets between cave and lake. They had sung well, Justin thought, and told them so.

A thought struck him. "Do I, uh, do I have to kiss all the frogs?" he wondered.

"Nah," said Brian. "Just me."

Turned out it didn't really matter that Brian was short, because he climbed Justin like a tree until they could fasten their lips together.

Eventually, they heard a flappy chorus of frogs clapping.

So they hopped out of the cave and down to the pool to catch some flies, and lived happily ever after.



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