Author: Regala Electra
Warnings: Suggestive references to swords and horseback riding. It could not be helped.
Word Count: 1,946
Summary: How the story is shaped is up to the teller and the audience.
Author's Notes: Written for the Tumblr Weekly AU challenge: Fairytale!Klaine. Naturally, hot off of rereading Anansi Boys, I take a slightly diffrent route. Thanks to icedwhitemochas for the beta.
Start with once upon a time, or before there was time, start singing a tune without words and that’ll be how it begins. There was a before and there is a now and once there were two boys. The boy on the staircase, stopping to ask a question that’ll bring a splash of color (blue and red, oh if anyone’s asking the specifics, well, a good uniform regulation navy trimmed in red) into a dark time (because all good stories have dark times).
A boy with time in his hand waiting for a moment that’ll arise much later in the story—don’t let the narrator get ahead of itself, these stories got to be sung slow and purposeful-like, don’t say there’s misdirections and tricksy traps waylaying the inevitable, this is all how it’s supposed to be, don’t question it, simply let the boy put his watch away and offer up a name.
(Mind the rules; giving away a name is a precious thing, polite thing to do is offer your own in kind, as the boy on the staircase does.)
That’s one once upon a time that’ll do well.
The beginning’s always asked about in eagerness, ‘cause that’s what people care most about: the making of the story. Everyone’s got their own retelling, one that’ll reshape and remold and smooth over the bumps or maybe dramatize them—ask about a disastrous party in a basement and hear the gentle ribbing of a drunken kiss and the confusion thereafter, maybe they’ll skip over the way they learned they could dig into each other’s weaknesses.
That’s always forgotten in the stories; the two lovers must live happily ever after.
Don’t say that they won’t have it, all that and more, skip ahead a few years to picture them searching for that rare body of water in a maze of concrete, the sewer alligators can serve as their fearsome dragons they must fight, don’t mind that they are only fighting a weekend subway schedule with track changes and service delays, and it’ll be too late to find their peaceful kingdom that can only exist in a dream anyway. (A dream of hardwood floors and a working fireplace and a remodeled kitchen is just as powerful as a castle carved out of a dewy mountain simply waiting for the right two princes to accept a two year lease.)
Instead they’ll emerge from their luxurious battered subway carriage and walk into the bright unforgiving midday sun so that they can gratefully dive into cool waters and forget their troubles.
If they say hello to any mermaids, they keep it quiet-like, for it’s not like mermaids to say a polite hello back.
A year apart, someone comments, some eager person hungry for a new story, or a new retelling of it, and they must ask again, perhaps three times for that is the oldest of rules, however did you survive?
They’re asking for the fairytale, see, so they speak of yearning and how the distance led them to depend on whatever communication they had available, instead of sending courier pigeons, there’s always twitter, and oh, how good Skype has replaced magic mirrors, which are more trouble than they are worth, beautiful things always connected to some evil source. All that Fair Kurt had to contend with was the evil of Time Warner, a most villainous character, deciding to offer shitty service right when Sweet Blaine was in the midst of a most thoughtful removal of clothes to conclude their nightly chats.
Depending on the audience, they might say instead: when Blaine was thoughtfully being a romantic and offering Kurt the most appropriate song so Kurt’s heart may be filled with reminders that every day that passes shall bring Blaine closer to uniting with his beloved.
Yes in their tellings, they might slip in a beloved or a my true love but thankfully neither will sing someday my prince will come as Blaine thoroughly ruined that in the midst of what would have otherwise been a rather satisfying and welcome climax in other activities that ought to happen in a mutual bedchamber but in reality happened in a friend’s kitchen. That is a tale that is sworn to secrecy, do not ask for more.
(Three tequila shots offered in succession are as good as any finely made magical key if a person is in great need of getting a secret from Blaine, He of the Lightweight Yet Highly Spirited Drunks.)
It’s quite easy to transform any element of their story into whatever suits the audience. Tell a child (and before this child is named, for as noted, names are the most powerful kind of magic, let it be the Every Child who yearns to be told great tales) that the courtship was sweet, of noble carriages in the form of dark and sleek Navigators or a borrowed Volvo (a most majestic creature, if the child asks for further details, leave it at that) that offered security for the blossoming young couple to hold hands and yes, perhaps sneak a kiss, mind nothing more than that, of course they would have avid declarations and yes, there would be singing, for that is how it all began, with a sweet song.
When the child asks if their particular favorite was one of the songs sung by the fairytale lovers, of course, it must be agreed that it is very true that was exactly the song chosen, and for nearly a month, the child would be left in the certain opinion of Kurt the Brave and Blaine the Dashing (such as the child has determined their names to be) sang of teddy bear picnics as they walked into the wicked McKinley court and if the child added an army of graham cracker teddy bears behind the two heroes, well, that’s the child’s take on the story and no one ought to diminish it.
Sometimes the story will be seized by those who do not fully realize the power of stories and are eager to grasp it and shake it until it forms something else altogether. A handsome though superficial gentleman, destined if only by appearance to feature in the sweet tales of many a besotted lad and lady, shall speak of how he single-handedly reunited the two cross-state lovers, all thanks to booking a ticket and traveling via the sky to the multi-story cottage that poor yet noble Kurt was forced to reside in until he did earn his fortune, quite unlike the handsome gentleman who earned a princely fee merely by offering his blindingly perfect smile to the correct magical device and thus broadcast his image now across the entire nation.
(Please recall the tequila shots. Only one will get an irritated comment about how Cooper did not play matchmaker with me and Kurt. We were already dating! I don’t know why every media outlet picked up on that story: How Cooper Anderson Got His Gay Brother Engaged. That’s just. Inappropriate journalism.)
In the authorized unauthorized autobiography, Lady Rachel asserts her kiss has the ability to assert the sexuality of a dear friend. It’s not exactly turning a toad into a prince, but if she’s to believe in the power of her kisses, who’s to say that there wasn’t a little magic there?
Kurt, were he in charge of the story at that moment, would raise his hand in protest. After all, the real magic is still in the song. Which one? All of them. When Blaine is quick to supply one of his more questionable selections, Kurt will amend, except for that one.
For a more mature audience, the type that knows not every story is sweet and full of bright things, perhaps they’ll get the bitter things that are oft so eagerly forgot. They’ll be reminded that sometimes the monsters can almost win the whole way and that princes seem destined to forever be snatched up by eager villains, unless there is a brave fight.
That is the purpose of telling the story: to reveal mastery over assured gloom and doom.
This brings to mind the opinion of whoever has the bigger sword wins, or perhaps merely the sharper tongue, or the greatest thrust of righteousness.
(Shot two will bring the affirmation that there is an immense thrust and it is extremely right. Then a seemingly unconnected declaration about the benefits of horseback riding shall begin, with the final supporting comment that even if there’s not a fine steed to ride at whatever whim Blaine might have, his talents in that particular area are happily applied most regularly.)
Of course these tales are pure and sweet—ignore any remembrance of the harrowing struggles. Hear only a lovely lilt of voice, and picture the sweet gaze of first love burnished into the heated promises of forever—only the right backdrop will suffice in elevating this sure and definitive tale.
Once upon a time there was a staircase. There was a boy and a boy. There was a coffee shop and the end of a year fraught with heartbreaks and near losses yet bliss shone over these many hurts until all the boy could see was pure adoration and that he was loved and did love in return.
It goes on forever, the shape of this story, it grows over and twists every way, for however else can the tale take shape, every bump a missed note in a song that yields and somehow lends itself to be perfect despite the bold truth that it is often less than ideal—that is where it becomes real and all that was wanted was the fairytale.
So there was a boy and a boy, once upon a time. They were in love. They did not agree about the best recipe to make the most perfect pancake in all of existence. If they came across a witch, it was more likely on a Broadway stage, and they sympathized with her plight. They did not accept beans from strangers, instead buying them from farmers markets and rarely took ferries from silent men who sought to trick them out of dear possessions.
They took a ferry to see a very large statue once. Blaine wore a very awful looking hat, but that is a tale for another time.
There was little fear of dragons and no pretense that there weren’t bigger, more insubstantial monsters to face, but that was perfectly fine.
This being a story of the heroes winning and the absolute certainty that they were cast as the two most handsome, noble, and gracious figures ever told gives them both a great satisfaction, especially to their most captive (and utterly precious) audience.
Their daughter explained that they won simply because had a good teddy bear army at their command, although she was now really fond of goldfish crackers, so why can’t they all secretly be mer-people? It’s summer now and she really wants to go swimming, she’s a big girl now and barely needs to wear her arm floaties unless the water’s really deep and can they secretly be princes (and her a princess, naturally) from the ocean, pretty please?
Her fathers laugh, kindly of course, because this is her telling now, and they start a new story, their story, all over again, a trail of goldfish crackers making a very fine path.
(Paths are rather important, even if they don’t go where they ought to, it’s simply the rules of the story, which is when the ending happens, there’s no surprise, why simply turn around and see that there’s a new trail, look hard enough and there it is, right past—
Tell me your story.