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A story set in modern times, about something that’s so much older

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I can’t believe you actually-- okay, okay, move over, this is going to take room.

Once upon a time -- hush, my story, my delivery, and anyway, it totally happened this way -- once upon a time, there was a handsome prince named-- how real do you want this to be? okay -- a prince named Blaine who lived in an ivory tower.

He wasn’t alone, because he was surrounded by at least two hundred other princes living in awkward dormitory situations, but he was lonely. Unlike all the other princes, who just did homework and played table tennis a lot, Blaine was under a terrible spell. By day -- and night, and all the time, basically; it was a pretty hefty spell -- by day Blaine was the perfect prince, with the perfect uniform and the perfect-though-overstyled hair. He even said perfect things, and nobody ever realized that he was cursed at all.

But whenever Blaine heard any music, even a single note or, let’s be honest, an appropriately timed cough, the spell would release him from its grip. And during those precious moments, Blaine stopped being the perfect prince, and became what he really was: a rock star.

Believe me. Total truth.

But being a rock star was a tough life, lots of bad hair choices and crowds of strangers who didn’t like his sound, so one day he got himself locked in that tower and cast the spell on himself, thinking that being a perfect prince was better than being a king of rock. Blaine was very young, so we can excuse him this lapse in judgment. Also the state of his closet, which had really strange primary-color cardigans in it for no discernible reason.

One day, when Blaine had nearly forgotten that he’d ever been a rock star, and the spell was this close to making him a prince forever, a-- oh, I don’t know, what am I?

Wood nymph? Really? Really?

--one day an incredibly talented young man appeared in the tower. He wasn’t a spy, exactly, but since that’s better than a nymph we’ll go with that. This young man was named Kurt, and he was spying on the young princes to see if he wanted to be a prince too.

We can probably skip ahead through lots of will-he-won’t-he narrative here and focus on the big detail: Kurt did join the princes in their tower. And he fell in love with Blaine. No real connection between the two, but it could seem that way in retrospect, so I’m trying to make it clear here. If Kurt’s old school was, like, Mordor, then the tower was Hogwarts, except without evil and death and stuff. Drafty corridors, yes, but more importantly, in the tower, Kurt learned magic.

Oh yes. I am totally a wizard.

Blaine had used the tower’s magic to make himself plain and perfect, but he wasn’t very good at it -- Kurt, however, learned how to see when spells were being used, and how to unravel them. He also learned how to tie a perfect Windsor just by snapping his fingers, but that’s neither here nor there.

Naturally, when Kurt learned how to do this -- after seeing Blaine’s rock star issues in action, unfortunately, which is a hilarious and heartwarming story for another night -- he assumed that Blaine was cursed by some evil witch or cheerleading coach or something. Which I guess follows the Hogwarts theme more than I meant, but skip that, move on, my point is that Kurt assumed that Blaine was trapped. And so Kurt went about lifting the curse.

Here’s where the story gets complicated. You might want to hold on to something.

Kurt the talented wizard spy was... none of those things. What he was was a kid in love with another kid, and that other kid said they were friends but didn’t want to become more than friends. Which is totally awkward, in case you’re wondering. But it’s also life, which is just like a fairy tale provided you remember that it’s actually not like that at all. So yes, it hurt a lot. And it was disappointing, and it seemed really unfair. That’s what we call the “hero’s journey.” I think. Whatever, at that time of my life I just wanted things to make sense somehow, and I wasn’t above stealing narrative theory to get it.

But. Getting back to the important things. Magic. It’s pretty cool, all things considered. Wave your wand, and you turn an ash-covered girl into a fabulous princess. Bibbety-bobbity-- you fill in the rest. Kurt had a very straightforward plan for how to lift the curse from Prince Blaine. First, he had to explain to Kurt why he decided to do this really stupid thing this one time. Second, Blaine had to talk to the other princes instead of just singing at them. And, because things in fairy tales come in threes: third and finally, Kurt asked Blaine to think really, really hard, and decide whether he liked him.

Hint: That probably only ever works, like, once in a lifetime. Pretty sure. Usually it’s an immediate cue for the other person to give the “I care about you very, very much, but” speech, which is awkward and also the subject of a story for another night. And no one really likes to be told that they’re emotionally stunted, even thought that’s exactly what Kurt did. But because this is a bedtime story, and maybe also because magic was involved, the Perfect Prince told the story of his idiocy, and he talked to his friends, and finally, because Kurt asked him to, he thought really, really hard...

And broke into a million pieces.

Spells are complicated. You have to build them out of bits of yourself to make them work at all. Kurt could do magic because he loved making extra bits, forming them out of the air around him and then giving them out as he sang.

Blaine could only manage the one spell, and it took everything he had.

This is an appropriate place to start crying.

...Or not. That’s fine, too.

You’re just cheating because you know the ending.

Fine, fine. It’s getting late, anyway. The pieces of Blaine that the spell had left behind drifted far beyond where Kurt could see, and Kurt was worried that the boy he loved was gone forever. But, and this is the important part: The perfect prince couldn’t really do magic -- the rock star could.

Blaine the rock star pulled all the little pieces of himself together, and what was left was somehow bigger than the perfect prince. Big enough to fill a library, certainly, and that’s where Kurt found Blaine. Kurt, naturally, was terrified by all that had occurred. Maybe Blaine had wanted to be a prince, had wanted to leave the music behind -- maybe he’d hate Kurt for pushing him away from perfection.

What he didn’t realize was that Blaine was the only one who could’ve broken the spell, and only because he wanted to. That’s another secret about magic. You should take notes.

Anyway. Turns out Kurt’s fears were easy enough to dispel: Blaine the rock star loved Kurt the talented wizard spy. Blaine the prince could never say it -- love isn’t perfect, so it wasn’t part of his M.O. Rock and roll is all heart and soul, though, and that’s what Blaine and Kurt promised each other right then and there. They didn’t have the words for it yet, but they had plenty of music. The end.

… And that’s how your father and I got together. Now go to bed -- you have to sleep for a while before the morning comes. Good night.