There is something achingly beautiful in the curve of Tamaki’s cheeks when he smiles; in the crinkle at the corner of his eyes; the upward turn of his mouth. It is something that seems to reach out to you, mouthing words like hey and you and I and you don’t understand. You are a drowning man, your vision blurred and ears blocked and water is a terrible conductor of sound, because Tamaki’s voice sounds so garbled and wrong.
Once upon a time, your glasses glints as you turn away. Once upon a time, there was a Prince who fell in love with a Princess. But the Princess was locked away in a tower of rags, guarded by dragons named Duty and Propriety, and an evil wizard who only wanted the Prince for himself. Tamaki is a Prince through and through, with hair of spun gold and gentle violet eyes that look as if they had been plucked straight from the night sky. His Princess is a beautiful woman, with large luminous eyes that see through everything, and a laugh that is as contagious as a plague.
You cannot bring yourself to hate her; she makes him so happy – you can see it, clear as day.
Sometimes you think you might reach out and grab him, but your hand always falls back to your side halfway through. You have forgotten how to speak this language, because you have given it up for books and numbers and an approving glint in your father’s eyes. You have forgotten how to smile without smirking. There is no kindness in your world, no compassion, only the cold words of ambition and lukewarm praise.
The evil wizard was trapped as well, locked in his castle of obsidian in the forest of darkness. There was no light; what little light that pierced through the trees are swallowed up greedily by the wizard’s eyes, hard and dark as coal. The wizard built himself a throne on a castle turret, and believed himself to be King.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, the wizard spied the Prince and the Princess, walking barefoot through the grass of their palace. The evil wizard smiled, and fell, and fell, and fell.
All the King’s Horses, and all the King’s Men, you thought to yourself wryly, your lips twisted into something that is in disguise, upside down.
Your heart is empty: you had drained it and sold the insides like a pretty trinket to your father, in hopes for getting a nod and a step up the ladder. Your heart is empty and ever so fragile, for there is nothing inside to support the gauze-thin glass. You had given it to him the day you ripped off your Princely mask and became the evil wizard, and he, ever the gentleman, held it carefully in his hands like it is a jewel, priceless.
You had known; you had always known. You know that he will meet his Princess one day – no Prince will ever choose the evil wizard, after all. You knew, yet- yet you had given him your heart, because, well.
If you did not give it to him, who else could you have given it to?
Your heart is missing, emptied and fragile in his hand. You had given your voice away for the icy fingers of numbers and books cradling your hands. You had not given up – it is not possible to give up when one had not made the first step in the first place – and you had already decided that it is impossible.
One day, the Prince and his Princess visited the forest. They tripped over the tree roots, ran from the snakes and the beasts, and fought against the darkness with the brightness of their eyes and their hope. Their hands were linked together, warm enough to fight the icy chill of the forest at night. They walked and walked for days, or perhaps years, before they finally reached the obsidian castle where the evil wizard lived (was trapped in).
The Prince reached out his hands, and the Princess smiled. There was something in the light in their eyes, the wizard realized, something that enchanted others more than his spells ever did or would. The Princess curved her fingers and from the trees jumped down two black cats, with eyes of honey. They shook themselves, and their fur shone, gleaming like polished bronze. The Prince smiled, and a large black dog rose from his feet, a dormouse hidden in its long coat.
There was light.
Tamaki has not thrown his heart away; has not crushed it. He places it close to his chest, next to his own heart, and fills the empty, frail glass with love with every smile he gives you and every word he speaks. He holds you close, holds you dear, and this time his smile is like sunlight breaking through the water. You are still drowning, still gasping for breath, but there is a hand.
You reach out yours.
The Prince held out his hand for the fallen wizard. The wizard’s eyes squeezed shut as the forest suddenly filled with bright sunlight, chasing all the darkness away. Animals and plants shook themselves, darkness and sorrow melting away like snow in spring.
The Prince’s eyes were brilliant violet, like twin suns. It almost hurt the wizard, so used to darkness, to look at the Prince, but he had to, for the Prince had taken his hand.
“You’re not alone,” the Prince spoke, and he smiled.
The wizard (not longer evil, for his robes had turned a beautiful purple like the sky before dawn) took the Prince’s hand and stood up. He took a step, then another.
Behind him, the castle of obsidian fell.
Tamaki returns your heart to you with a hand on your cheek and a small smile. You slide a hand into spun gold, your bodies pressing close together and his warmth permeates every inch of you, chasing the cold away.
The curve of Tamaki’s cheeks says I miss you; the warmth and light in his eyes say I love you; the hand in yours says I want to be with you. It is a moment of startling recognition, and you can only ask – how could you have been so blind? Just like before, you had given up before you had even taken the first step; just like before, it is Tamaki who pulled you through. He leans in to kiss you, but misjudges the distance and ends up kissing your nose.
For the first time in your life, you can breathe.