Chapter 1: Our Heroes
A good once upon a time can belong to anyone, though this particular tale belongs to two very fine gentlemen, and is theirs alone. Despite that, a reader may be inclined to pore through a much-loved book of fairytales that’s been in their family for years and claim this tale is a mix of many well known classics, to which the teller of this tale might be inclined to say: who’s to say all those well known classics aren’t the children of this singular story?
So, now that the smug reader is left in a fit of vexation, the story may begin.
Once upon a time there was a son and his father, who lived in a stone cottage overlooking a beautiful meadow. The father was a much beloved toymaker who had a great skill for making mechanical devices. Perhaps he was a clockmaker if the story was told in another fashion, but for the purposes of this beginning, he made toys, the kind of which would delight any child and for his lonely son and the own loneliness in his heart after the death of his beloved wife, to see his son’s face alight at a new invention was more precious to him than anything.
Within a few years, the boy would learn his father’s trade and soon they would devise of much bigger creations, but the boy still had much growing up to do.
The boy had few friends during his adolescence and had no desire to join fellow boys in their play at being heroes, rescuing damsels in distress, and becoming very fine kings once they had married captured princesses. The father tried to encourage the boy but the boy would merely shut up in his room, retooling humble garments with the silks and fine threads they’d buy from traveling merchants. He was a boy much smaller than his peers until the beginnings of early manhood where he grew much like a magically-enhanced beanstalk, becoming rather tall and ever fair (not quite white as snow but rather in that spectrum of pale). His fine voice became well known as he sang with a fierceness that his father admired and feared (for what had struck that need in the boy to yearn so wildly?) and several local children formed a choir and invited him to accompany them.
There the boy made friends, of a curious lot, for indeed some of them would go to have their own adventures, but those were all stories for another time.
Alas, the boy had realized he was far more different from other lads and lasses, as he had desires that he thought ought to be unspoken. In one desperate attempt, for thinking this would please his father, he kissed a dear friend one fine Spring day on the meadow that spread yonder from the boy’s home and thus, would be easily visible to father, and once caught, he’d prove that was just as any other boy.
The plan was for naught as his father was in the cellar and missed the moment but the girl, Brittany, noticed that the boy was not truly tempted by her. She kindly asked him what was wrong, and here shall be the place that the boy’s name ought to be revealed, Kurt Hummel, for he was forced to be truthful and the readers ought to have the full truth of his identity. He admitted to Brittany that only other boys roused a fire in him that he knew was not ordinary, for they all grew up with stories, and it was boys who chased girls and never was a boy and a boy to be happily ever after.
He was fortunate in his confidant. She was a sweet girl and admitted she had a fondness for boys and girls, and that perhaps they were perfectly ordinary and everyone else was weird.
It would have comforted Kurt had she not proceeded to nibble on a blade of bitter grass.
Though Kurt thought that was merely the end of the conversation, a good fortnight later, when Kurt was tending to the rosebushes that bloomed around his stone cottage, Brittany appeared and told him of her grand luck in summoning a very considerate beggar woman with five magic beans. The first two she had fed to her cat in hopes of ridding him of his enchantment as he was truly a very magnificent Lord, hence why he always worn such fine boots.
The third she had given to one of their friends, Finn, in the hopes that he might return to his family in the sky, where all giants lived.
The fourth she had given to Santana as a special birthday present so that Santana might have anything she desired, besides Brittany, and at that, Brittany had winked to Kurt so that he was not lost on the romantic implications.
Ah, but the last. That she would give to him in the hopes of that Kurt could wish for whatever he wanted—even if he wanted to unmake how he was naturally made.
It seemed madness. But, as Kurt stood next to the roses that reminded him forever of his departed mother, and of how his father ought to have a son just like any other boy, he grasped the bean and made his wish, a touch of acid in his tone as he said it out loud, how he ought to be as awful as any other boy in the village, in fact he should never have to be afraid, he’d rather be feared.
The beast howled in anguish as its formerly finely tailored clothes ripped to shreds and the poor girl Brittany was much too shocked to give the terrified father any good answer why a monster stood in place of his beloved son.
Let us hurry along to another story, just for a moment. As everyone knows of Cooper Anderson, the dashing Thrice Enchanted Prince, it shall be simply a quick recounting.
His mother, having made the proper deal with a fellow whose name was his undoing, had married a fine king, and on a bed of spun gold that was once straw, was born our splendid prince.
His famous birth was often mistakenly counted as one of Prince Cooper’s enchantments but it was not until after his mother’s sudden passing and the hasty remarriage of his father to Cooper’s stepmother (not wicked, though it took many years for Cooper to understand she was merely a nice woman who happened to marry his father), that he was afflicted with his first enchantment.
It was his stepmother who realized the bird with the millstone around his neck was her stepson (most fortunate she realized this in time as the enchanted Cooper was wearied of his burden and moments away from dropping the heavy stone upon her head).
However it took Cooper’s younger brother, who grasped the bird in his hands and through the power of his innocent love, to free Cooper from his curse. Love always seemed to do the trick, if one paid attention to the stories.
From thenceforth, the child, Blaine, found himself a strong admirer of birds. He always kept one in his lonely rooms in high tower on the west wing of the castle. Eventually he would set the bird free once he thought the bird was in desire to seek new places and friends. It was a fair offer, he decided, for though he was often lonelier than he dared admit, he did not want to ever be the master of someone or something else, and as second-born son, was quite assured he would not ever have to assume such a position.
Yet a few more years passed before Prince Cooper fell under a second enchantment, and by that time, Cooper was a hero across nations, the prince who was not stolen by an evil troll thanks to his mother’s cleverness, who was saved from a transformation thanks to the love of his family. He was grown perhaps a bit too confident of his abilities and yet, he was ever so charming that no one could really complain that he was a touch arrogant for he had grown so handsome.
He might’ve escaped the second enchantment altogether had he not been so famished.
For when returning from a battle in which the army of the kingdom of Dalton had solidly thrashed some bitter enemies, Prince Cooper choose a different route from his compatriots and snuck into the lands of a wicked witch and ate of the fine (and enchanted) lettuces that grew there. He was soon turned into a donkey and for several months forced to endure a life as one of her enslaved transformed asses until Blaine, scarcely out of boyhood, tracked down his brother’s last whereabouts, when no one else could find him, as they dared not trespass into lands that were assumed to be governed by a most malicious witch.
Blaine suffered for a time as the witch’s servant, and after learning the witch’s secrets and tricking her into eating a salad of her own cursed lettuce, he then released his brother from that dreadful plight.
Unfortunately Cooper was still of an ass’s mind and allowed his brother up on his back as a ride and was not until they were roughly halfway back to their kingdom before his human senses took over and he set his brother down.
To this day, Blaine still privately calls a piggyback ride a donkeyback ride.
So thus recovered from such dire enchantments, Cooper, more handsome than ever before, was destined to become the beloved king of his wealthy country, though he privately felt that more adventure was still needed before he settled into the business of running a nation. Fortune came to him when his father died and left the country destitute as all their gold was immediately turned back into straw. (Those deceptive trolls! He’d bargained with the lady only to for a marriage to a king but never said the gold he’d make would last forever!)
Yes, Cooper was fortunate as he would be required to seek his fortune and perhaps find some enchanted princess with an enormous dowry that he would gratefully marry and bring back to their now poor nation. He’d be fine with gold and jewels as well, he declared to any who asked, though he was quite aware that the most memorable of heroes always found some damsel in distress.
And as a famous prince, he realized he couldn’t simply walk away and let his wicked stepmother (alas he had yet to learn his lesson that she had not a wicked spot in her kindly soul!) try to take over the kingdom while he was away.
Naturally he charmed a particularly infamous enchantress, better known as Sue the Sly, and brought her into the castle and asked that she ensure that the kingdom would be left in honest hands and no one would alter the kingdom while he was away.
This she promised, especially after Cooper gave her his autograph and a personal handwritten novella of his accounts.
Which was how Blaine became the only human not transformed into something else in the kingdom. At only fourteen years of age, it was Blaine who the curse decided would be true to his word, that only he would ensure that the kingdom remain in exactly the same condition as it ought to be for Cooper’s return.
That was her terrible curse, Sue sneered as she finished delivering the particulars of the enchantment, if he could figure out how to unmake the curse, then she was no better than a cave troll at her brand of magic. And love wasn’t the answer, she hastily added, seeing how his eyes brimmed so sweet and pretty, the perfect way to find some dashing hero in eager need of curse-breaking. She also announced he should tame the messy curls upon his head as she did not like the look of them and before she could curse his hairs to behave in a manner more pleasing to her eyes, Cooper said he’d give all his extra hair unguent to Blaine. After all, he would not have much need as he would sometimes be going to quite perilous places in search of his fortune and he might not even bother shaving some days. He said this was much satisfaction, petting a footstool that used to be one of his favorite dogs.
Thus assured that nothing would be made worse while he was away, did Cooper leave Dalton and begin his many adventures in search of a wealthy princess or, barring that, some gold or fine jewels to fill up his coffers.
As for the third enchantment? Well that takes place after young Prince Blaine encounters a particular Beast.
Chapter 2: The Enchanted Kingdom
Now a Beast, Kurt spent his days indoors assisting his father, Burt Hummel, with his more advanced “everyday useful” mechanical devices. They had invented a horseless carriage, and it was a stunning device, one that Burt planned to showcase at a far-off exhibition, a personal invite at the behest of Lord Motta, who enjoyed delighting his somewhat spoiled daughter with only the newest of creations.
Kurt’s nights were the only time he was free to roam the land without fear. Sometimes his friends appeared outside of the stone cottage and sang with him, though he forbade them to see him in any natural light, for his appearance was so changed. Only the eyes remain as they ever were, and while his voice ought to be a growl, he still spoke and sang as he always had in strict defiance of the strong urge to speak in a monstrous tone, remembering the boy he was that existed before his self-inflicted curse.
Then he would look down at the twisted paws that were now his hands and wondered who could ever love such a beast?
The days passed slowly until the week before the exhibition, where it seemed as though there was far too much to do and not enough hours to accomplish the finishing touches on their horseless carriage. It was important for Burt Hummel to personally appear along with his invention though he was much distressed at leaving his son behind. He petted the heavy fur at his son’s nape, and tried to promise his quick return, though Kurt could only despair. He could not follow where his father went for no one, save for Brittany and those few of his friends who had glimpsed enough of his form to guess, knew what had happened to the Hummel boy let alone that he was now an accursed monster.
(Brittany had decided Kurt was simply in a suit and despite her requests to shave off his monster costume, Kurt declined the offers.)
It was on the forest road to the lands of Lord Motta that a terrifying pain that shot through Burt Hummel’s chest. Fortunately, or else there would be no further story, his horse was a brave strong creature and took off in the direction of the only seeming habitable place within the horse’s range, crossing over a bridge that was quite unattended.
The castle upon the hill looked to be in fine condition and the horse could not know what exactly it had come across, the gates swinging open almost of their own accord, there had to be someone there to help its master and that was all that mattered.
There were few actual animals in the kingdom of Dalton—everything had become some animated inanimate object.
Only birds were frequent visitors, and Blaine currently favored a sweet bird he called Pavarotti. A live bird was a much fairer companion than any he could expect while his brother was off seeking fame and yet more fortune. He was often visited by other bids bearing news of his brother’s exploits. A fortnight ago a carrier pigeon had dropped off news that Cooper planned to seek a dragon as dragons often stole away princesses and there was always dragon treasure to be had as well. He’d also added a newly written ballad of his most current exploits to be celebrated as a source of national pride upon his return.
Blaine did distribute pieces of the ever expanding Ballad of Prince Cooper Anderson the Twice Enchanted when he had a mind to but he rather sought the songs that had nothing to do with his famous brother to sing for his own pleasure.
He sang a bit with the bird when he did not sing with the little fixed cuckoos coming out of the clocks in the castle, the poor trapped members of the kingdom’s much loved Warblers choir did try to stay in good spirits despite their predicament. Blaine was often tempted to join the choir after his voice had settled as he had a strong desire for song but his duties as second born prince prevented him from participating.
(He sang a bit with his mother when he was young and did not know better. Alas, her own transformation had made their duets far more bittersweet, though he found sometimes to sing with her was much less heartbreaking than mere speech.)
The particular morning when the horse and his rider came upon the castle, Blaine was quite out of sorts, unable to find the one mug in the kitchen that was not a former servant (or a servant’s child, he apologized to the teacup profusely as he set the small squawking child back with his mother, the teapot). He was not fond of drinking out of people, despite their current appearance being ideal for liquid storage.
All thoughts of taking his breakfast were quite ended at the horse’s high whinny as it clomped into the grand castle entrance. Before Blaine could scarcely come to understand the situation, he took in the man’s ashen face and knew that he must do something immediately to ensure the first living human person he had seen in quite some time did not immediately expire in his home.
Fortunately the court’s healer was still quite adept despite being turned into an apothecary cabinet.
Unfortunately, the healer was the granddaughter of a fairy, and therefore tended to use obscure magical cures and was not exceedingly powerful (hence the kingdom still suffering under the enchantress’s curse). She could only stave off the current pains of the poor man, who could speak a little now thanks to the healer’s meager abilities.
The clocks struck news of the turning of the hour and the Warblers choir sang of the time and Blaine knew for this man, Burt Hummel, his time was soon to run out.
The healer told Blaine he must make haste on Burt’s horse (rested in the stables by several enchanted stableman of various types of tack) and find the man’s stone cottage where roses bloomed under the eastern window and take the most beautiful rose of the lot, returning the flower back to the castle. Only then would the man be healed under the specifics of the spell.
It was a most arduous ride for poor Blaine, as he had not seen another living person in several years and could not bear to let the man down despite his poor riding skills, having so decayed as all the kingdom’s horses had been transformed into wooden rocking horses. The horse’s rest ought not to have been enough to stir the creature into a fast pace yet it pushed on with a frenzy that Blaine could only surmise was the great love for its master.
He had no assurance that he would make it in time or that he could easily find the stone cottage that overlooked a meadow, where the precious rose of life waited to be plucked and brought to save the dying man.
But in a day’s time as nightfall approached, when he knew there was scarcely a day left to keep Burt Hummel lingering in the living world, he found the stone cottage that stood next to the most beautiful meadow and at the eastern window, the roses did bloom.
The rose was snipped off the bush before he realized the shadow looming over him was indeed more than a mere shadow.
“What are you, thief, who rode on my father’s horse?” So came the deadly snarl, high and almost beautiful, and Blaine quavered as he turned around and did gasp at the shape of the not-man in front of him. It was something not like a lion or wolf at all, nor a bear, standing on two legs. It wore heavy cloak over its shoulders and exposed a most stunning and vibrant waistcoat, or rather several patched quite masterfully together but its paws were large and sharp. Something like a man at its core, but terrible and wild. Blaine dared not look away.
“I have come to rescue Burt Hummel’s life. He was struck ill, I know not how, and my healer has some magic—the good I assure you!” he was hasty to add at the Beast’s further growl and how it menaced as it drew towards him ever closer. “There is but a day’s time left before the magic is spent and if you call this man your father, then please let me save his life. That is all I aim to do, on the instructions of my healer.”
“Take me to him immediately,” the Beast demanded and Blaine was nearly set to jump back on to wearied horse before the Beast shook its mighty head. “On my back and hold tight. I am faster than any horse.”
Blaine settled on the back, struck with the memory of the first time he had jumped up on his brother’s back. The Beast either smelled of rosewater or Blaine had lost all his senses, which was quite possible, as he trusted this Beast not to take him to some dark place and make a very fine meal of him.
“How much time is there truly?” the Beast asked suddenly, his voice quite altered, or rather, perhaps more its natural tone. There was an edge of worry that the Beast had not troubled to disguise.
“There is less than a day—” but that was all Blaine could say before the Beast ran with a force Blaine had never known before, and he held tight and kept silent, not realizing that it was a bit rude not to reveal his kingdom’s particular enchantment to this poor accursed fellow.
It was the Beast who delivered the rose into the healer’s room, his stride far too powerful for Blaine’s human legs. There was a brief pause where the Beast stared at the lack of a person next to his ailing father and as Blaine decided it would be better to let the father and son reunion happen without him looming, he quickly explained that the healer was a cabinet, much to the Beast’s confusion.
“My kingdom is under an enchantment,” Blaine told the Beast and the Beast made a noise at that, which Blaine almost mistook for a laugh. “I will leave so that my healer may attend to your father in private.”
Some hours later the Beast emerged, the healer seemingly pushing him out. It had become a familiar sight of objects moving under their own volition but to see a dresser able to move a creature Blaine knew had quite immeasurable power was most bizarre. The healer said in a chiding but kindly tone, “Your father needs rest, Master Kurt.”
Blaine pretended not to hear the name as he ought to introduce himself first, as regent of his kingdom, such as it was.
“My name’s Blaine,” he said once the Beast was looking in his direction, though the Beast took little notice of him. He seemed to be more interested in forcing his way back into the room, his fine claws (that Blaine noticed were well-maintained and almost shone in the dawning light) resting against the closed door. “That is to say, I am Prince Blaine of Dalton. My brother is our kingdom’s true ruler, but I am to look after our lands in his stead.”
The Beast only stared, a heavy eyebrow raised, all the better for the bright color of his eyes to entrap Blaine in the unfathomable gaze and after a stilted pause, Blaine tried again.
“Cooper Anderson the Twice Accursed?” (For he had not yet been Thrice Accursed.) “Perhaps your lands are not familiar—”
“I know the ballad of Prince Cooper Anderson,” said the Beast.
“Yeah, Cooper’s the one who started singing it,” Blaine muttered under his breath but the Beast must have far better hearing for he snorted in amusement. “I’m sorry to have made such a poor introduction, but I hope you could perhaps spare me one that I do not deserve?”
The Beast hesitated, glancing to the door before he made his decision. “I’m Kurt Hummel. Or—I was, once. I am what you see now. A monster.”
“A guest of my kingdom,” Blaine said firmly. “I will call you Kurt if you will call me Blaine. I’d rather not the Prince part if you can spare it, as I’m not much of a prince.”
“Yes, I think a better prince would have long ago freed his people from a misguided attempt to protect them, for that is what you see here, the work of an enchantment meant to preserve our kingdom and yet, it is not so. Please let me make you my personal guest and your father as well, of course, as he recuperates. I’ve not had much conversation with people as of late, am I saying too much? I think I am saying too much.”
“You are saying far enough,” Kurt replied, astonished. “Have you not—you’re not blind are you?”
“You see me such as I am?”
“Well, I hope I am not being rude but I am assuming that you were not always so?” That seemed the kindest way to put Kurt’s appearance and Kurt nodded, his heavy mane shaking. “As long as you have no plans to destroy my people, and the best way to avoid that is to simply ask any objects if they’re people or not before using them, then I see you as you are. Another person.”
Kurt made a noise, one that Blaine did not understand and he hurried on to explain, “Believe me, I’ve sat upon a couple of servants by accident despite knowing better and they seemed quite out of sorts. You are most welcome here and please, feel free to explore at your leisure. Though I must request that you do not go into the west wing.”
“It is forbidden?” The voice seemed off somehow, as though Kurt pitched it lower to strike terror in Blaine’s heart. While Kurt could easily pick Blaine up and dash him against the stone walls, Blaine felt only sympathy. For Kurt obviously could only understand things being forbidden to him.
“No, it’s simply to spare another’s curse from being exposed without preparing her about the new guests to our castle,” Blaine said, a vague explanation but he had yet to mention to his mother that two people now had come into the kingdom. Yes, one of whom was perhaps not entirely human but obviously a young man quite worried for his father, but still, they had not had guests for a very long time. The sudden elation that he truly had people once more in Dalton, that he had assisted in preventing a man’s death caused him to continue to talk, optimism burning bright. “I hope I’m not overstepping, but I’ve helped break a curse or two, despite my failure to my own kingdom so I’ve learned a few tricks in rescuing others from their plight.”
It sounded like bragging to Blaine’s own ears but he was suddenly quite hopeful as though this would be the very day he could finally save someone after years of watching his people suffering under the enchantment.
Kurt was silent but gave no inclination that he did not want Blaine’s help.
“Did the sorcerer (or fairy, or enchantress, or strange fellow of the forest, or river folk, there are so many who could have caused such a transformation!) say there was an unmaking in your own enchantment?”
“This was my wish,” said Kurt with a terrifying ferocity and he turned away quite suddenly, galloping at a speed Blaine could not follow.
Blaine did not seek out Kurt until it was near dinner time and after he searched the most significant rooms on the first floor (his heart ached looking at the empty throne room where once all was decorated in braided ropes of spun gold and now was full of dusty straw) he went upstairs and found Kurt in the library. He was sitting on the floor, his paws delicately holding a particularly large tome of illustrated maps.
“These are exquisite,” Kurt said without turning around. “I always wanted to travel.”
“That book is a particular favorite of mine. I have heard many tales of many faraway places and in that, gotten to see the boundaries of such lands. I personally have only gone to a few neighboring kingdoms.”
“The life of a prince.” It was said mockingly but Blaine could hear the curiosity.
“In my journeys, I rarely traveled under my true title and one time, was very lucky to escape with not only my life but my brother’s as well.” He looked away, the memory of a witch boxing him about the ears for being such a clumsy servant one he’d rather forget. “That is a tale for another time. Would you like dinner?”
“I suppose if you could spare food, then yes, show me your kitchen—”
“Why would I do that?” Blaine asked, most puzzled. “You are my guest, so obviously you must be seated at my table. My table that is not a person,” he said hazarding a guess at why Kurt sat upon the floor when there were several fine carved chairs in the room. “Nor the chairs. Some of the serving dishes might be servants. There’s—a bit of a show. Sorry. We haven’t really seen people in a while and there has been some discussion of providing appropriate entertainment.”
“Is there singing?”
“Well if you don’t want us to sing—”
“You’ll be singing? A prince?”
Blaine blushed at the look in Kurt’s eyes, and he wondered if they were similar to his human eyes. They must be a bit enchanted for the color was quite stunning, and made Blaine feel as though he ought to remember this was both his guest and a man who chose a nonhuman form to survive in the world and therefore had little thoughts about the fluttery feelings of a young and sheltered prince.
“It’s not a terribly long song. I promise you that it will not be boring, our kingdom is quite proud to offer fine entertainment no matter the occasion.”
Kurt stood with a kind of grace that was unexpected such as he was. “Then I simply must witness this.”
Blaine grinned once Kurt walked past him as he had rehearsed this quite a bit and was hopeful he’d impress the man.
Kurt was utterly confused. Of course being in a land where there were no people, save for his recuperating father and the prince, reacting in that way was not entirely unexpected.
He had heard of Dalton before—only as the kingdom of the dashing and handsome Prince Cooper Anderson the Twice Enchanted—but not that it had fallen under a strange curse. Prince Cooper’s latest exploits in the Lands Across the Great Sea were all the rage as far as any of his friends best at gossiping were concerned about and no one had ever bothered to go visit Dalton in last two years since it lacked its most famous hero.
It was Blaine that was the chief source of Kurt’s confusion. This young temporary regent who Kurt had never heard of, who was so kind and didn’t even shudder when Kurt used his paw to split open one of the roast shanks at their dinner together, what sort of person could he be?
It was a question Kurt had yet to solve. As they dined, Blaine had marveled that Kurt was quite fortunate to favor his hands to partake of the meal as he often accidentally picked up a knife that was in reality a most affronted person and then found his appetite was no longer a priority.
Blaine also said he had some luck with breaking curses, but that comment Kurt tried to push far from his thoughts, for it would do no good.
Instead he spent time with his father when Burt Hummel was awake. The rose over his heart still bloomed thanks to the magic of the healer, a very most agreeable thing though she was still trapped in the guise of an apothecary cabinet. His father could talk a little when he was not completely exhausted, and commented that if he could make the kind of moving devices inhabited in the castle, they’d be quite wealthy.
Kurt could not quite explain to him about the enchantment, deciding it was Blaine’s tale to tell.
Which Blaine did in a rousing fashion once Burt was less inclined to doze off in the middle of a conversation. Blaine admitted he would be quite interested in mechanical devices that were not actually people.
Other times were spent in the library, or the gardens within the castle walls. Not a single person anywhere and as for animals, he only sighted distant birds in the sky, one in particular returning now and again to a window high in one of the towers of the west wing.
Perhaps Blaine was afflicted with a sort of madness that made him unnaturally polite to monsters.
It was in these thoughts that Blaine found him, in one of the hedge mazes. “I know a shortcut if you dare,” he said eagerly to Kurt, offering his arm as though he expected Kurt to link his arm through as though it was nothing. “It will only be a while and then you’ll be there. For after discussing things over, you’re invited to meet my mother. It is best if you sing, for the rhyme’s the thing.”
“Oh.” Blaine immediately dropped his arm and shrugged and then made a great show of shaking his head. His smile was quick and he ducked his head to hide it though it stirred something in Kurt’s heart that he refused to dwell upon. “I forget myself after speaking with my mother. I’m sorry for not speaking of her sooner but she is a bit private and unfortunately she had the most specific part of the enchantment laid upon her.”
“It involves rhyming?”
“Well,” Blaine said, thinking it over. “We try to do more singing because talking while rhyming can get annoying.”
“I hope she’s better than you at least. Over and mother as a rhyme? Really, Blaine? That’s quite a cheat.”
“I cannot claim to be good at it, it’s true,” Blaine allowed and he made another great demonstration of showing the way to the west wing, up steps that seemed to be missing some inlaid coils in the stone, Blaine apologizing for the look of things, long hallways bare of any carpets that Kurt would expect in a fine castle. He stopped to open the door leading into the place that was once his mother’s dressing room, removing a key that was strung about his neck to unlock it.
The mirror was one of the finest in the land; wrought silver all around and a clearer surface that could not be compared. And when Blaine entered, the faint outline of a woman took form in the reflection, the similarity enough for Kurt to understand this was Blaine’s mother.
At least for a moment as when Kurt stepped into view, for the first time in many years, he saw himself, such as he was no longer, perhaps a bit different as though despite his transformation the human side of him had done some fair growing up while stuck in his hideous form. He stepped out of the way before Blaine could see what was forever lost, suddenly ashamed.
“Sorry, you have to step just off to the side,” Blaine explained. “Holding her form is difficult as everyone save me was meant to be turned into objects and not look like a person at all.”
“Alas,” the voice said, beautiful and faintly echoing. “So many years lost to the time and here, my son brings the mocker of rhymes.”
Kurt peered at an angle to see the ghost shape once more and Blaine smiled at his mother a little sadly. It made Kurt realize with a jolt that this particular adventure of Cooper Anderson’s family would never be told, never remembered, as it was no brave tale fitting of Cooper’s supposed heroism.
“Mother, this is Kurt Hummel, the proof you can surely attest. His father convalesces in our castle and he is our guest. I believe he and his father are very fine inventors from what Sir Burt has told me—”
Kurt was quick to interrupt. “My father doesn’t have a title—”
But it was the Queen and her voice that rang out the loudest. “Tis true, the father, in time, will not, but the son shall never be forgot. I had hoped at least…for a son-in-law, not a beast.”
“Mother,” Blaine protested, high color upon his cheeks. “You are forgetting you are to think in present thought and not reflect, I mean, this prophecy speak, um, it is rather, that is to say, Kurt will think it cheek.”
“You are really bad at speaking rhymes,” Kurt marveled, attempting to ignore that Blaine’s mother suffered an affliction with a touch of prophecy and called him quite rightly a beast and that she expected Blaine to marry a man. That was something Kurt could not believe to be true, despite talking to a Queen in a mirror. “It is a pleasure, fair Queen, to speak with thee, for such as it seems, as you can see, though I am more beast than man, I shall repay your son’s great kindness, such as I can, though I still wonder if he suffers blindness, for he has not ordered me to the wild, perhaps he thinks me a beast most mild.”
There was a ripple in the mirror’s manifestation, as though the Queen was attempting to move around in the mirror to get a closer look. “Transfixed as a beast it is easy to speak wise yet the man suffers under his lies. Welcome to our unnatural blight for it is here perhaps that you end your plight.”
The faint reflection faded and Blaine stood more squarely in front of the mirror, humming a bit wordlessly and then waiting a moment before he explained, “I think she’s gone to rest. I don’t know why she insisted on speaking prophecy. My apologies.”
Kurt tilted his head there. “Are you trying to rhyme?”
Blaine smiled. “Certainly not. Come, I’m sure you want to see your father. And let me be clear, I only called your father Sir Burt as I plan to knight him in honor of his service once he recovers fully.”
“And what service is that?”
“It has been a long time since I have seen people and I had been quite lonely,” Blaine admitted, “for that alone, his arrival to Dalton is more than I can repay any man. I also spoke with him a bit more about his inventions. A horseless carriage that is not an enchanted person? That would be quite a wonder, I assure you. I figured I could convince him to build me one for my use, after he is well recovered naturally, if I offered a knighthood and a promise of friendship between our kingdom and the inventor from the stone cottage.”
“That is quite a sinister plot, seeking an alliance with my father,” Kurt said, though he was teasing and wondered a bit at how easy it was to fall into happy conversation with Blaine.
“I will be honest—we are a kingdom of two particular accomplishments: a severe enchantment and absolute destitution. Save for our lands, which are difficult to harvest as we—well, I—have no people to tend after them, there is nothing of value to Dalton. I fear you and your father will suffer to have friends of such little interest.”
“Except for all the talking objects, many of whom are accomplished performers despite not having real bodies.”
Blaine inclined his head, allowing that as though it was a small trifle. “I do suppose if my brother finds a wife or treasure, or both, considering how his luck runs, that we shall have that as our future prospects but that may be a long way off. He recently went to a kingdom afflicted with a hundred years of sleep. There may be a dragon most deadly that he will undoubtedly slay.”
“That’ll be quite the song if he manages it.” At seeing Blaine’s discomforted look, Kurt added, “Though while hearing of dragons is fascinating, I confess that I was quite intrigued by the new performance offered at yesterday’s dinner.”
“You didn’t mind me jumping on the table last night?”
“I thought it very becoming, even when you almost stepped in the pudding.”
Blaine’s laugh was pure joy and Kurt could not help joining it, almost feeling entirely, blissfully human. He said after they had quieted down, “I like that very much.”
“Not stepping into pudding?”
“No. Your laugh.”
Their conversation died at that and they took purposeful steps towards Burt’s chambers where they might see if Burt was up to joining them at dinner and hopefully dissipate the sudden awkwardness that had formed, Kurt pushing away the prophecy of a Queen in a mirror and the aching yearning in his heart—the vision of his true self in the mirror. What was worse was his private desire for Blaine to have caught a glimpse of it despite Kurt’s efforts to prevent such from happening.
Chapter 3: Out of the Woods
Alas, Burt had not been able to join them that night or even for a full week, despite Kurt inviting Burt every midday lunch, a meal he always took in private with his father.
Blaine’s dinner productions grew more elaborate, ending on the seventh night with the chandelier deigning to allow Blaine’s weight so that Blaine could attempt a particularly dangerous yet beautifully executed jump on the table, landing dangerously close in front of Kurt, that for one brief, chaotic moment Kurt was sure Blaine might land in Kurt’s arms.
That he would not have minded—that worried him deeply.
Kurt had risked it then, after it was over and Blaine’s face was still flushed with exertion: “When your brother returns, will you go off adventuring and charming your way across the world?”
“I had thoughts, once, about it,” Blaine said, a small frown vanishing as he looked at Kurt. “I think when all is restored, I could be happy, yes, but I cannot image going off on my own.”
“This soup is delicious,” Kurt said, quite uneasy at the expression of Blaine’s face (for there was no denying Blaine’s handsomeness, had not he been the younger brother of the most handsome prince in the world, perhaps Blaine would earned a minor ballad or two in his own right). Blaine’s face was geared for such honesty of expression that even Kurt who willed himself into only seeing the worst in people, in assuming that his form would only inspire disgust, could only see the plainness of Blaine’s admiration and he could not allow himself to dream further than that. “My father would like it.”
“I will have it sent straight away,” Blaine said and Kurt pretended to be very invested in the sight of a wheeled tray scurrying out of the dining hall of its own volition.
Burt was able to join them for dinner under his own power on the eighth day and despite Kurt’s hope that it would be a sufficient stalling tactic to cure the oddness that had settled between him and Blaine, his father had decided instead to relay every story that Kurt never needed Blaine to know about Kurt’s own insignificant adventures.
He told tales of when Kurt was once young and foolish enough to show off, how he would sing and dance about town when he was still just another human boy, his friends once memorably getting hit by dozens of loaves of bread after the baker was not amused by a song they performed in the town’s central fountain. Blaine drank every story in, requested details with such earnestness and cast the warmth of his gaze to Kurt so sweetly that Kurt almost forgot that the boy he once was would never again be known.
Finally, Kurt was forced to regale them with a bit of his own story of transformation, how he had mistakenly thought he’d made a wish of improvement but of course, one ought to be wary of magical beans, despite a well-intentioned friend, and this was the result.
“Maybe some other kind of enchanted food would restore you!” Blaine seemed awfully eager to break Kurt’s curse though it certainly didn’t seem to be because he was disgusted by the current look of Kurt. “My brother once ate the kind of lettuce that turned him into a donkey and there was another sort of leaf that turned him back that I discovered, as the witch sometimes turned her transformed donkeys back into people when there were high enough ransoms to be had. She would feed the poor folk forgetting draughts so they no longer remembered their time as her beasts of burden. There are always ways, and perhaps there is a bean of restoration.”
“I gotta say, Kurt, Blaine has a point. Maybe we can figure out how to break it for once and all.”
At that, Kurt stood, which he knew could be frightening, for he saw how big his shadow looked in the lights of the dining hall. “Your offer is kind, Blaine, but you have done much for my family, do not feel that you must do anything more. We must depart as soon as my father is well enough and for repayment, offer a horseless carriage as thanks.”
He hurried out as soon as Blaine nodded, pretending that was the end of it, though he caught the disappoint in his father’s face. There would be no stopping Burt Hummel. To the forest he would go tonight to better remember what he truly was.
The silence between Burt and Blaine was a weighty thing.
Burt Hummel was a man of few regrets. He missed his wife greatly, for while theirs might have been an unsung love, it had been quite powerful and it still ached in his bones. His deepest sadness was that he had failed his son by making Kurt believe he was unworthy and that his son would never be freed from his curse.
“You should tell my kid, you know.”
Blaine looked away, guilt clear across his face. “I wish I could play a pretense but it seems I’ve been obvious about it. I do not think Kurt would appreciate the sentiment, no matter how deeply felt.”
“A lot of words for saying you like a guy. That’s it, right? You like my son—in that way.” While Burt Hummel was not one to mince words, it was an odd thing to speak to a man who favored other men and found his son so favorable he longed to free Kurt from his curse. “It’s fine if you do. Not too surprising, I mean.”
“I do not think he—” Blaine stopped suddenly, looking down at his hands. “I have been very presumptive.”
“Don’t let the hair and fur fool you, kid,” Burt said, and he added with a wince, “your highness,” as he was speaking to a prince, despite how very young Blaine looked, drawn into himself. “We Hummels are pretty thick-headed but our hearts, well, you found me with moments left. They get bruised real easy. And love ain’t no easy thing.”
“Love,” Blaine breathed out, looking at Burt. “Yes, I do quite love him. I wish that was enough. If only.”
“I’ve had lots of if onlys. I’ll go see where Kurt is and talk to him. You’re a pretty all right prince, you know.”
Blaine blinked. “I don’t. I mean, thank you, but I don’t think I—”
“Well, you are.” Burt stood and clapped Blaine on the shoulder, and Blaine nodded, letting himself believe in that moment that things would be better, that indeed, all would be for the best.
The forest was quiet and foreboding and Kurt ought to get used to it. One day, when he was no longer able to hide out in the stone cottage, this would have to become his home, and the darkness his dearest friend. He knew he was moping and he had chosen to do it in style, wearing a dark cloak he had repurposed from an old wardrobe, a brooch at his throat that Blaine had given him, one handmade but a gift he could not refuse.
Kurt saw the poor bird caught in the thorns and pulled it free, a roll of paper falling from its leg as the string was much loosened. The bird seemed of better sorts once freed and quickly flew off, forgetting its package. Kurt unfurled the note and saw, with a date of a mere week ago a hastily written letter addressed to Blaine.
Had he perhaps not been out of sorts he would not read the message but he saw it began with Dearest Brother and was quite curious of what adventures Prince Cooper had experienced that he wrote in such a sloppy hand, ink spilling across the messy letters.
Brother, I am coming home. The dragon was no match for me and while the lady who cowered under the vicious creature was only the daughter of a minor Duke, the dragon’s hide was coated in jewels and I had my men roll up the hide and they shall be transporting it back to Dalton immediately. I myself am taking a minor excursion to settle a quarrel with an Old Fox who much deceived me about the princess, or rather lack thereof. Make sure my rooms are ready. All my best to my adoring subjects, if I have time, I will finish off the next part of my glorious ballad, which I hope will inspire them about my magnificence.—Cooper
Kurt felt a touch ashamed about reading such private words but as he remembered that the enchantment ought to end upon Cooper’s return he felt his heart sink deeper with inexplicable sadness that Blaine’s time in his enchanted world was soon to end. It was a selfish feeling, naturally, for once Blaine had actual people around him, perhaps then his eyes would be clear to see the horror he had treated as a person true, and with that, Kurt realized he must away with his father tomorrow night, all the better to protect himself from future pain.
He would leave some sort of message to Blaine expressing his gratitude but his time in the kingdom would be over as soon as all was returned and the restored people came to realize that they had allowed a Beast to stay among like as though he was their equal—and worse, that he had the favor of one of their princes.
With that conviction, Kurt set back on the path to the castle.
The Prince had learned many lessons in his adventuring, one of which was the necessary dramatic reveal. After he’d sent his manservant away with his horse, as he wanted to surprise his nation and he knew that the wooded path was a fine place to be in the dark, he practiced his smile that he would deploy to the beloved people. He had no fear of danger as he wore a fine fox fur, all golden red, and no weapon could harm him with such a skin about his person. For, as stated in the letter, he had settled his debt and now wore the fine pelt of the trickster fox.
Do not be alarmed; skinning the nasty fellow was the kindest thing Prince Cooper could do in his battle against the fox. He saved many from the ruinous plans that old crafty fellow had and he had raided the fox’s horde and found several delightful treasures that were nearly priceless for they were so rare, and by taking them back to his kingdom, would share with all the magnificence and wealth of such forgotten items.
He walked and the woods seemed to shiver in anticipation. The dawn was breaking slowly, bright and true. It would be a glorious day.
In an eager mood, he almost missed the shape in the dark, not a man or a kindly creature and the arrow was set on his bow before he allowed the Beast to snack upon its princely prey.
The arrow pierced through the layers (why would a beast wear clothes?) and sunk deep in Kurt’s back.
The howl had been loud as anticipated but what Cooper did not expect as he looked over the dying body was that it was dressed in fine—if curiously designed—clothes and that next to one of its paws was a letter the very shape of one he had sent Blaine a week ago. There was some hasty writing on the outside of it, a painfully neat scribbling that Cooper could barely make out in the early morning light.
He did catch at the end, a signature and he tried out the name. “Kurt?”
The Beast made a great moan in response and said in a voice under great pain, “You shot me.”
“You’re—you’re a—” he looked back down at the note, at quite a loss, and saw written your kind hospitality, Blaine, means more than I can express and said in quite alarm, “You’re my brother’s guest?”
Any kingly born knew better than to assault a personal guest of the royal family! Cooper had not been away that long or grown that wild (despite his rather fetching travel-grown beard) to forget such lessons. Alas, the Beast—Kurt—was far too large and clearly too heavy to wrangle to the castle but never mind that all, for at that very moment he crossed into the official boundary of his kingdom and the ground shook under his feet, welcoming him home.
Before the clever spell finally broke, in the castle, Blaine had endured quite a night.
Burt Hummel had offered further wisdom as he was most grateful for Blaine’s ardent offer to release Kurt from his enchantment, for Burt Hummel was the goodly kind of fellow that ought to be in more stories as there’d be less trouble and a good deal more kindness. While Blaine was greatly flattered that Burt thought his offer came from a generous place, that didn’t help him in feeling that he yet again overreached and now Blaine was quite convinced that his adoration of Kurt had lead him to suggest ways of breaking Kurt’s curse simply for his own selfish motivation so that he might gain Kurt’s favor.
Or rather his grandest purpose, to resurrect Kurt back into his true body and with such gratitude, Kurt would look fondly upon Blaine and allow Blaine to offer some small measure of courtship.
(He knew that many princes wound up married to their true love in more ridiculous fashions but Blaine hadn’t even the courage to ask Kurt if he liked him in such a way.)
Then he had gone off to speak (sing) with his mother who had quite a lot to say about Cooper’s exploits (not all of them particularly noble, for it was his manservant who had severed the dragon’s head before Cooper had pierced its heart but already there were ballads of Cooper’s bravery) and then revealed that Kurt would be the messenger of a note that would save the kingdom but break Blaine’s heart, which was exactly the wrong sort of thing to tell Blaine and he had not much desire to sing with his mother any longer and made hasty excuses to leave quite abruptly. He dared not venture out in the forest though he was quite sure that was the direction Kurt had went off to, there was nothing that he could say other than an outright love confession that would be stammering and desperate, no it would be better to figure out a more sincere method. Revising the speech in his mind lead to Blaine wandering the castle as the morning dawned, utterly restless and frayed on the single hope that he could perform the right grand gesture and maybe, just maybe Kurt would see his love was right and true.
He did not notice until the kitchen cabinet was suddenly brimming full of stunned people instead of enchanted mugs that Cooper had finally crossed into the border of Dalton.
“He’s home,” he said, and was swept into a large hug as so many of his people happily reacquainted themselves with moving in their true bodies. As soon as he managed to pry himself free from the happy jubilations, he wondered if Kurt had returned from his wherever and how soon he could reveal to Kurt his true feelings.
There was, if any cared to follow it, a remarkable scarlet stained trail from the boundary of the forest leading to the grand entrance of the castle, and follow it, some men did, gazing in horror and fascination at the heavy creature that their newly returned Prince Cooper had demanded be carried straight away inside the castle walls.
“We must be quick, men!” Cooper cried out, and it was quite easy for him say as the burden was carried by his people and his arms were free to point towards their final stop.
Blaine was forced to spend his morning rushing back and forth to help ready the way for Cooper’s return and assist any person still a bit confounded. His mother tried to show some support though she was still most displeased from her time spent as a mirror, and whenever there was a pause in the conversation of some freed person in high praise of their ability to dance a jig or simply scratch an itch they’d had for many a year behind their ear, she kept asking wherever that handsome young man had gone to, as he ought be here in the celebrations, and perhaps if Blaine had not been so exhausted he would’ve realized a mirror might’ve shown his mother the true reflection of Kurt.
Instead he wondered if Kurt delayed his return in fear of the reactions of his newly returned people and the thought unsettled him deeply, perhaps Kurt would not care to be in a place brimming of unenchanted folk, and this would be Blaine’s undoing, for a prince had duties and Kurt had no serious reason to be attached to him and all his obligations. His heart heavy, he pressed on, even running into Burt Hummel, and managing a whole minute before inquiring if Burt had yet seen his son. Alas news on that front was negative and before Burt could offer him any kind gesture, there was a great crash and rising noises issuing from the grand entrance.
Cooper swung through the castle doors with grand purpose, the great shape of Kurt’s form carried by several men as Cooper shouted for assistance.
Blaine felt the floor beneath him crumble as his mother gave a great shout and asked whatever had happened?
“Kurt,” Blaine said weakly, still fixed to the spot of his doom, and Burt Hummel rushed, much against the healer’s cry, to his son’s side.
His mother’s arms wrapped around him, strong and sure as she tried to keep Blaine from falling to the floor. He idly realized this was the first time he had experienced his mother’s hug in quite a long time and that she kept repeating the same words, “Don’t look. Don’t look.”
But he must, because it was Kurt and he did not mean to push her away or to take the unsteady steps towards Kurt and fall upon his knees once he was there, but that was exactly what happened.
There was an awful lot of blood on Kurt’s waistcoat. What had been both majestic and terrifying about him had turned weak and Kurt could take only shallow breaths that seemed to cause much agony. Vaguely he felt the healer try to lay her hands on his shoulders to move him away but Blaine shrugged her off. Burt held one of Kurt’s hands, that mighty paw barely able to hold on and Burt’s face was ashen.
“Kurt,” Blaine said and his voice was all panic, “please, speak to me.”
With great effort, Kurt looked upon him and let out a broken breath. “Blaine. If things were different. If I wasn’t dying—”
“Don’t say such a thing! Our healer has restored your father, perhaps you will be even easier.” The lie fell so desperate from Blaine’s lips, but he let himself believe it in that moment, that just as his kingdom was restored, this was a day meant for miracles.
“I dipped my arrows in the dragon’s blood,” Cooper said, too loudly, dropping to his knees. He did not expect Blaine to push his hand away when he placed it on Blaine’s yet he did not seemed surprised by it. His head was bowed. “It was a strong poison, brother. I don’t know how much time is left.”
“Be quiet.” Blaine touched Kurt’s face, the first time he had ever dared, the chill and morning dew that cling to the many shades of brown, all light and dark. He said, confident in a way he had never quite allowed himself to before, “I promise you that you will not die.”
Promises are made often to be broken. A prince swears his undying love but at the end of the story, he must die. A foolish lover swears forever and then mischief, curses, and heartbreak get in the way. All these things are true and in this ending, ought to be expected as just another grand gesture, one that will lead to the most inevitable of conclusions.
There was not much time left and though Kurt might have yearned to wish for more, he knew all the wishes turned to nightmares, could feel it in how his body almost felt like the one he had before he’d made an ill-fated wish, and the way blackness swam into his senses, dulling everything except for the faint touch of his father’s hand as Burt said his fondest nickname, and that of Blaine, the boy he could not and now would never have.
Kurt coughed and yet more blood spilled on the floor. “I would have loved you. I love you, despite what I am. Perhaps, if you—”
“Don’t say your goodbye, please.”
“I would never,” Kurt said, but despite that his eyes felt heavy and he longed to close them and rest. There was a comfort in the dark, no longer something he had made himself endure, but a welcome that there would be no pain and he was succumbing to its deadly offer.
Blaine pressed his face close and whispered, “I love you.”
Kurt felt something shatter within him, something that he had buried along ago, a hope that he had tried with all his might to smite but still it flickered in its prison but it was much too late, the poison did its work and he had said his goodbyes to his father and to Blaine. Yet, it burned within him, this last desperate need and he tried to but he could not finish it, scarcely whispering a word, “I—”
There was a terrible striking of the clock, as though the finality of some sort of magic had ceased.
All was quiet at first until a wrenching cry burst out of Blaine, tears spilling as he held Kurt, protesting that this was not how it was supposed to end, that he had lost Kurt to his brother’s foolishness, to his own inability to save him.
Had he not been in such complete despair, perhaps he would have noticed the sudden light issuing from Kurt, the kind of fire that is unburning, blue and white, and all that was good in the world. He might have indeed been consumed by it had not Burt and Cooper pulled him away, as it grew too bright for any human eyes to behold, the weighty, bloodied cloak shifting of its own volition to ensnare Kurt’s form, covering him completely. The crowd that amassed had been significant but now all was silent as they watched the most ancient and most powerful of magics take shape, and Kurt rose far above them, captured in the cloak.
There was a great shifting and a sudden movement, bursting bright and golden as the cloak tore open and a hand was freed, the first sign of the man.
The cloak fell to the ground without much fanfare and there was a gentle groan as a man pulled himself out of the wrecked cloth.
The young man was milk pale, swimming in the bloodied clothes that had inhabited his former self. As he rose to his knees the vest fell from his shoulders and he peeled it off, leaving him in an overly large white shirt, still bloodied in one spot but the tear of the cloth revealed a white, unmarked back. Chestnut-colored hair fell into his eyes until he flicked it away and then he stared at his hands and laughed, a beautiful noise. It was a long moment before he looked up and in that moment, Blaine gasped. The eyes were unchanged and as devastating as ever.
“There you are.”
Kurt smiled and Blaine had never seen it before but it was so familiar and so kind. It was an expression he longed always to be the deserving recipient of, for he could not help smiling back. “Have you been looking for me forever?”
“Whatever do you mean?” Blaine stood when Kurt did, surprised at first, at the sudden change, for Kurt was so different and though his fingers trembled as he dared to touch the curve of Kurt’s cheek, finding the skin warm, it was still Kurt and though they were surrounded by so many, Kurt was everything. “I saw you straight away.”
Kurt’s mouth trembled. “I never thought—”
“No, please, don’t, just, let me—” and it was clumsy words but not borne of a clumsy mouth, which Blaine proved as he moved up into the kiss, Kurt’s gasp a perfect welcome, for he was alive, so alive, Blaine could feel Kurt’s jaw against his fingers as Kurt deepened the kiss, pushing into it with want and urgency and it would have gone on much longer had not the crowd burst into sudden applause and Kurt had ducked his head away.
When Blaine was able to check Kurt’s expression, he was much surprised—Kurt blushed in such a fetching manner. Skin so smooth turned such a ruddy color in surprise yet his eyebrow, though quite different, arched in the same spectacular manner as he took in the large crowd.
He whispered in a conspiratorial manner, “This might turn into one of your brother’s ballads. The day he almost killed me and his handsome brother saved a poor inventor’s son.”
“The day I asked your hand in marriage and you said—”
“Yes!” Kurt’s hand flew to his mouth, eyes wide. “Unless you were just speculating.”
“Kurt. I would be honored, that is, if you really want to marry me—”
“Look I’ve returned my brother’s shape-shifting bridegroom and none worse for the adventure!” Cooper announced to everyone. “And we’re wealthy again!”
A large cheer engulfed the crowd, though the Queen and Burt Hummel did not look terribly amused at Cooper stealing the moment from the two reunited lovers, for that was what they were indeed, bound in the truest sense, and had not eyes for anyone else as they marveled in their agreed engagement.
And what an engagement it was! For Blaine, who had only seen the stone cottage under the most dire of circumstances, spent a longer visit there where upon he seemed agreeable to all of Kurt’s particular interests—they did indeed share singing as a start and now that Kurt felt far freer to sing, he found that Blaine was most happiest as a duet companion and that every love ballad seemed to simply be meant for them to sing together, even the sad ones, though Blaine sometimes tacked on a happy line at the end, as he had something of a trauma regarding lovers dying in their beloved’s arms.
But Kurt’s interest for the finer ways of dressing oneself, that too fascinated Blaine, who’d had some interest but mostly went with traditional styles and decided right then and there to promise Kurt a trip to some of the most fashionable courts so that Kurt could outshine them all in his fantastic creations. Kurt was mostly glad to be able to wear clothes that fit his human body, and he was most appreciative that he had gotten some very fine boots in Dalton, which Blaine was quick to admire as well, and that lead to admirations of Kurt’s other qualities that he found most attractive, ending with them a bit out of sorts and unbecoming for an unmarried couple and quickly stopped when Blaine paused to say that he hoped he did not offend Kurt for finding him so physically admirable.
Kurt only fondly laughed and hoped that Blaine didn’t mind how Blaine’s appealing face was often at the forefront of Kurt’s thoughts, and that had led to the men restarting their less than wholesome activities.
Kurt introduced Blaine to his friends, and Brittany had kissed Blaine’s forehead in excitement, saying she knew all along that someone would come around and figure out how to get Kurt out of that scary suit and then hoped that they would keep it as a fur on a ground was a wonderful thing, Santana had shown her all about it when they had a little vacation in a cabin with a roaring fireplace—at that Santana had stopped her, and Kurt had breathed a sigh of relief. But Kurt’s other friends were most happy of Kurt being free, let alone becoming the Prince’s Consort.
Blaine amended that Kurt would simply become another Prince, as was the custom, looking to Kurt and hoping he would not be disappointed that he would not get to be a king.
Kurt smiled warmly and said he was most grateful to be a man with love in his life.
It was a spectacular wedding when the day came. Fireworks the night before, on, and after the blessed day, and the throne room was restored to its new glory, the straw that was once gold had been removed and there was hung, to Kurt’s specifications, many exquisite and fine drapes of homespun tapestries, none of which had been furnished in gold threads. The wedding vows were notable in that neither groom had a dry eye once they finished theirs and the kiss was nearly indecent for a wedding, only tapering off for the grooms, now husbands, to catch their breath. Many birds flew over the kingdom on that day and it almost seemed as if the air sparkled as they flew across the sky, though only Kurt would have an answer as to how that was even possible. The horseless carriages were a particular sight as the wedded couple made their way into the streets.
Their honeymoon was spent traveling with the heavy book of maps, selecting a new land to explore at their whim, returning only after the Queen sent entreaties for them to return as Cooper had disappeared and she requested her son once again become regent, and his husband too, as she had a great fondness for her son-in-law. (That she was also personally looking forward to a little vacation and travel of her own could also attribute to this request but it was happily met by Blaine and Kurt.)
Ah yes, Prince Cooper and the infamous third enchantment. Well, that involves a very wicked witch who cursed fair Cooper and left him stuck in the form of a frog. It was not until the attentions of a Princess Sugar in the lands of Lord Motta that lead to the successful curse-breaking. But that story was rather well-known and a mere footnote in the far grander tale, this tale of Kurt and Blaine.
Do not doubt come what may or fear that dark days might cloud such happiness, for no matter the struggle that they might have to face, for ever and ever after did they live and love one another.