Fairly Cracked Tales by Kerensa

Fairly Cracked Tales - Kerensa

Sentinel in Bedding

“Sandburg! Would you get me the hell down from here?!”

Blair glanced up, way up, to where Jim Ellison was currently trapped. He sighed. “You would think that a Sentinel, with super-sensitive hearing, would be a little quieter,” he complained while he rubbed his right ear, which was still ringing from the detective’s bellow.

“I heard that, Sandburg!” Ellison yelled.

“Yeah, no kidding.” The grad student rolled his eyes, still talking in a quiet voice out of deference to his friend’s hearing. “Jim,” he said in a louder tone so that the people standing around wouldn’t think he was crazy; Jim they had no doubt about, “We’re working on it.”

The detective had chased a suspect up and across a series of rafters and beams in the large warehouse. Jim had been gaining on the perp when the drug dealer had suddenly turned on the Sentinel and lunged. His move had surprised the detective and the shove that toppled Jim off of the beam had been even more of a shock. Blair’s heart had stopped for a beat or two until Jim had landed safely on a large stack of mattresses. After the Guide’s heart had restarted, he called up to make sure that Jim was alright. Naturally, the cop was chagrinned that he had been caught off guard by a skinny, strung out drug dealer; Ellison just knew that he was going to hear about this at the station for years.

“They’re having trouble finding a ladder that is tall enough.”

Ellison’s grumbling, though not as loud as his yelling had been, could be heard allllll the way down on the ground. Several people were smiling (mostly cops) and even Blair had a small grin on his face, one that he quickly wiped off.

Of course, no one really knew why there was a stack of mattresses, twenty high. Seemed like a safety hazard to Blair, not to mention that it was impractical, because how had they planned on getting them down to sell? However, with one cranky, and vertically challenged (heh, wasn’t that fun to think about Jim for a change) Sentinel, Blair decided not to worry about it.

!!!!!

Two hours later

!!!!!

Jim was finally down!

Blair paused to silently thank several deities, not because he’d been worried about Jim—no, the mattresses had seemed strangely steady, because of the BF*—therefore, Sandburg could ignore it. You know, like how we were all supposed to pretend that Jim could jump from an overpass onto a speeding bus and not be hurt like hell.

Jim was grumbling, for several reasons. He was extremely pissed off at the drug dealer who’d gotten the drop on him and then gotten away! Ellison was ticked off that he’d been stuck on top of those mattresses for so long. And…he’d dropped his gun somewhere!

Again, Blair fought the urge to laugh, because Jim losing his gun was, like, a daily occurrence. Sometimes, multiple times daily.

“I would have thought that you would have been comfortable up there, Big Guy,” Blair stated, interrupting Jim in mid-rant. He tilted his head back and looked waaaay up. Personally, you wouldn’t get Blair up there on a bet, but then, he was afraid of heights and Jim wasn’t. “It looks like it would be nice and comfy.”

“Yeah, you’d think so, wouldn’t you?” Ellison shook his head. “I don’t know what it was, but it felt like I was sitting on a boulder.” Jim shrugged and looked at Blair for answers.

Blair didn’t have any answers. Shoot, he didn’t even know the questions. “Huh. No telling what caused that.” Thinking quickly, Blair offered, “Hey, why don’t we go eat at Wonderburger?”

“Really?” Jim realized that he’d squealed like a girl seeing her first rock star, so he schooled his features into a more neutral look. “Sounds good, Sandburg. Maybe you’ll eat something more than rabbit food this time.”

Blair rolled his eyes. “And maybe you won’t just scarf down a pound of fat laden meat and greasy fries?” he countered. Although, the grad student was hungry enough that he planned on his own burger and fries.

The two men walked off, Jim successfully rescued from his perch and Blair having distracted Jim from his lack of knowledge about every single thing that could affect a Sentinel. All in all, a good ending to the day.

!!!!!

A week later

!!!!!

The management of the warehouse company heard about the incident with Jim, because the television stations had talked about it for days—reallllly slow news days—and decided to do something about the possible safety hazard in their facility.

They moved the mattresses.

A strange thing occurred when they moved the next to last piece of bedding. In between the mattresses, right about where Jim had been sitting, only up higher, was found a fairly small, hard green vegetable. Why it was there was a mystery. Why it didn’t get squashed flatter than a fritter by the weight of all of those mattresses, not to mention Jim’s not inconsiderable muscle mass, was a physical mystery worthy of Stephen Hawking himself.

Maybe not.

The End.

*BF-the Bullshit Factor: a phenomenon seen in fairy tales, the occasional fanfic story and badly made movies where you are expected to suspend your belief in matters of gravity and people’s ability to fight for hours at a time without collapsing.

A Deep Crimson

“Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood,” a deep, gravelly voice called out, in a seductive tone of voice.

Blair stopped in the middle of the path and turned to glare at the bush the person was standing beside; then he looked at the tall, swarthy and sexy man. “Hey, man, don’t be prejudicial! First of all, I’m not that little. I am a nicely compact height of 5’8”, which is an average height, thank you very much. And, do you see me riding anything? Huh?”

“Not yet,” tall, dark and very scruffy growled.

“What was that?” Blair asked, narrowing his cerulean eyes in irritation.

“Why nothing, good sir,” Wolfie replied, giving the younger man a smile that wouldn’t melt butter, if you ignored the hint of fangs peeking out from between his lips.

“Uh huh,” Blair just reeked with disbelief. He continued his rant, er, lecture. “And, for the record, this is a hoodie, not a cloak and it is a deep crimson.” Blair crossed his arms and nodded his head as if to say, “Na na na na na.” Not that he’d do anything so crass, at least not where anyone might see him.

“Sooooo,” the hirsute man-wolf drawled out. “You are wearing a red, hooded garment.”

Blair opened his mouth to complain and then he pulled the edge of his hoodie out to examine it and gave an I give up shrug. “I guess you’ve got me there,” he admitted.

“Promises, promises,” Wolfie muttered.

“Uh, yeah.” The curly haired man gave his new companion an uneasy glance. “So, what do you want, anyway?”

“Well…” the wolf walked, or it might be better to say, he prowled, towards the curly haired man; Blair started to look a little bit nervous.

“Freeze, scum bag!” a voice boomed out. Both Blair and the wolf guy decided to play Freeze Tag. “Put your paws in the air!”

Not having any paws, per se, Blair ignored the second order. He watched in wide eyed amazement as three large men came running up. One of the men threw the wolf up against a tree and began to frisk him, while the other two men held their guns on him. One of the gun toting men continued speaking. “William R. Wolfman, you are under arrest.”

“But I haven’t done anything wrong!” the handcuffed man whined, which just sounded so wrong, coming from somebody that dangerous looking.

“Yeah, yeah, tell it to the judge,” one of the cops, the bald, dark skinned one with the frighteningly wild shirt said. He and one of his companions, one that looked like he should have been gracing the cover of Hot Hunks Quarterly, took the wolf away; he was still protesting his innocence, as everyone in a five town radius could attest to.

Blair blinked in a sort of stunned amazement; the whole incident, from how fast it happened to how he had gone from being alone to surrounded, to just one other person, left the smaller man shell shocked. Blair looked up, and then up even higher, into the pale blue eyes of his ‘rescuer’. He then looked the man up and down and then back up again; liking what he saw, Blair gave the older officer a bright grin.

“Sir, you shouldn’t be walking alone in these woods…uh, there are all sorts of ruffians hereabouts.” Jim stuttered to a stop in the middle of his speech, because the appreciative look on Blair’s face, and that dazzling smile, had literally taken his breath away.

Sandburg shrugged. “I know this isn’t the best neighborhood, but my grandmother lives just a little ways down the lane, that way.” Blair pointed down the path to the right.

“I see.” Ellison had turned to see the way the younger man was pointing. “May I walk with you, good sir? To make certain that you arrive at your destination unmolested.”

“Sure, sounds great.” Under his breath he added, “although, you don’t have to be too diligent about that second part.”

Jim, who was a Sentinel with exceptional hearing (not to mention standing right beside the other man), heard what Blair said. He gave the curly haired young man a closer look and decided that maybe unmolested wasn’t going to be in Blair’s future.

“So, what is your name, kind sir?” the younger man asked, even managing to make that simple query sound sexy.

“James Ellison, sir. Constable at Arms.”

“Ooooh, sounds officious.” Blair held out his hand, which Jim eagerly took in his own. “My name is Blair Sandburg.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you,” Jim admitted. It took him a couple of minutes to realize that he had never let go of Blair’s hand, not that the curly haired man seemed to mind. Releasing Blair’s warm, surprisingly large, hand, the two men turned to continue on their way.

“So, why are you going to your grandmother’s house? For a visit?” Jim asked after a few moments, just to break the silence.

“Nah.” Blair shook his head. “Well, not just for that. She needs some medicine.” The smaller man patted the pocket of his deep crimson hoodie.

Jim glanced down, following Blair’s hand, and stayed down to eye the younger man’s trousers, where his jacket didn’t cover; the view was definitely worth staying for. As soon as it dawned on the Sentinel that he was ogling the younger man, he snapped his gaze up to meet an amused pair of heavenly blue eyes.

“That’s very considerate of you,” Jim said with a smile.

“Thanks.” Blair gave him another stunning smile. Ellison felt himself puff up with pride when Blair’s gaze fell below Jim’s gun belt—and he definitely seemed to appreciate the view, as well.

“You must really love your grandmother.”

“Yeah.” If Jim noticed the lack of enthusiasm, he didn’t comment on it. “Here we are.” Blair waved a hand at the small, nondescript cottage sitting to the right of the path. If the younger man hadn’t pointed the dwelling out, Jim would most probably have missed it completely. “Why don’t you come on in?” Blair offered, one hand on Jim’s arm and the other outstretched towards the cottage.

“If you’re sure that your grandmother won’t mind,” Jim replied abstractedly, because most of his attention was centered on the heat he could feel from Blair’s hand.

“It won’t be any problem, I assure you,” Blair said in a deep, sexy, purring voice.

“Okay. Great.” Blair’s voice was soothing to the Sentinel, calming nerves frayed by too much input from the world around him, so he walked behind Blair, into the little house in somewhat of a daze.

“Uh, kid?” Jim looked around the room. Since it was a cottage, and a rather small one at that, it didn’t take him very long. It was also easy to see that the dwelling didn’t have a dweller.

It was empty. And dusty. Jim sneezed. Again and again and again, just for emphasis.

“Bless you, Jim.”

“Have you got the wrong place?” That didn’t seem likely to Jim, what with Blair going to his grandmother’s home, but he wasn’t sure what else to think.

“No,” Blair replied. “This was my grandmother’s home…a while back. She died, you know.”

Ellison pivoted so that he was facing the sweet looking young man in the deep crimson hoodie. “Then why are we here?”

Blair grinned and he had a mouthful of teeth that would make a dentist clap his hands for joy; Jim just felt his gut tighten and his eyes growing wider.

“Because Jim, most people can’t be lured to my warehouse apartment like they can for an innocent young man going to his Gran Gran’s house.” His lips were stretched wide over Blair’s newly revealed canines.

“My, what big teeth you have,” Jim said in a breathless whisper, because, God help him, the teeth were a turn on.

“The better to eat you with, my Sentinel.”

The End.

A/N: I leave it up to you to decide just exactly how and where Blair eats Jim.

A Close Shave

“Not by the hair of our chinny, chin chins,” the duo sang out from inside of the house. The two little pigs were obviously hiding in separate sections of the house, so their call gave off a stereo like effect. (Not that they had stereos back in the Early Ages, but that’s beside the point. Ignore the anachronism.)

“Yeah, whatever,” Jimwolf muttered, rubbing his head with one furry paw. He turned to walk off. “Go get a shave already!” he yelled back at the brothers in the brick house. “If you didn’t want me around, why the hell did you invite me?!” Jimwolf added.

“Invited?” he heard one of the pigs ask with a squeal. “I did not invite him. Did you, brother?”

“No,” the smaller one, the idiot who thought straw was going to keep the rain out, let alone predators.

“Certainly not,” added the snooty one, the brainiac who thought twigs were so superior than his brothers.

“Jim!” a soothing voice called out. The manwolf stopped and turned to face the caller, grateful for the soft, melodic voice, which was so much better than the high pitched tones his brother conveyed. “Where are you going, my furry friend?” Blair Porcine asked as he hurried down the path.

“Away from your brothers,” Jimwolf Ellison informed him; he waved a clawed hand back at the house behind him.

Blair glanced over and two pinkly rounded faces were peering out of the windows. The curly haired man sighed tiredly and rolled his eyes. “Oh, great…company,” he muttered under his breath. “What did they do now?” he asked as he caught up with his friend and patted Jimwolf on the arm.

“Well, first of all, I wasn’t sure which home was yours, so I stopped at the first one on the path to ask directions.”

“Let me guess, the golden one?” Blair stated with a pained smirk on his face.

“Yep, the one made of straw.” Ellison rolled his eyes at the mere thought of using such a flimsy material for a housing project. “I knocked at the door…” At Blair’s raised eyebrows, he amended, “Well, I knocked on the tree beside where the door was, because that pile of grass wouldn’t have stood up to a light tap, let alone a knock.”

The younger shrugged one shoulder. “Yeah, what can I say, he’s an idiot.”

Jimwolf smirked and the mood on the path lightened considerably. The birds started singing again, a rabbit hopped by…chased by a little blond haired girl (but that’s another story).

“Yeah, well, anyway. He didn’t answer, even though I could hear your brother inside the…house.”

“Did you hear his heartbeat, his breathing?” Blair asked, always thrilled to hear about Jimwolf’s enhanced senses.

“No,” Ellison answered, shaking his head. He hated to disappoint the curly haired man, but… “He was squealing.”

“Oh.” Again, Blair sighed. “Then what happened?”

“I, uh,” Jimwolf ran a paw over his head and looked at Blair wolfishly. (What? You expected a manly, he wolf like Jim to look sheepish?) “I accidentally destroyed his house.”

Blair raised an extravagant eyebrow and glanced back at his home, even as he was wondering how you accidentally destroy a home. “Oh-kay,” he drawled out. “What happened after that?”

“I couldn’t get your brother to come out of the wreckage—I just wanted to check and see if he was alright—so, I continued on down the path, to…”

“Let me guess, my brother Walter’s house?”

“Is that the one made of kindling?” Jimwolf asked.

Blair bit his lips so as to keep from laughing out loud over Jim’s description. “Uhm, yes, his house is the one made of twigs.”

“Err,” Jimwolf ducked his head wolfishly. “It was made of twigs.”

“I see. Let me guess, you accidentally destroyed it as well.”

Blair’s added emphasis on accidental made Jimwolf cross his arms defensively. At the younger man’s pointed look, Ellison shrugged, with his arms still crossed. “I…yes,” he admitted.

“So, what happened then?” the russet haired man looked over at his still intact structure.

“I came to your house…” Blair figured that the process of elimination led Jim to believe that the last home on the lane had to be his. “…and I tried to talk to your id…uh, brothers, but they wouldn’t let me in.” Ellison glared at the house and growled at the two oinkers that he saw framed in the windows. A pair of less than manly squeals could be heard as they ducked out of sight.

“Sqwak!” could be heard from a nearby pond, as a flock of ducks protested that characterization, vehemently.

A pair of less than manly squeals could be heard as they…pigged out of sight. (Being PC is a pain in the hinnie.)

“I’m glad to see that my place is still intact. Thanks for that,” Blair smiled as he sidled closer to his furry friend.

“Well, I…”

“He blew our houses down,” Walter piped, and popped, up long enough to say. He chickened, uh, no, he ducked, oh, oops, oh, the heck with it, he quickly dropped back down out of sight. Their other brother was too much of a…coward to even speak up.

“Blew them down?” their brother queried. If Jimwolf had that good of lung capacity…Blair’s cerulean blue eyes glazed over with the possibilities.

“It wasn’t on purpose,” the wolf defended himself. “It’s these darn allergies.”

As if on cue, Jimwolf, huffed and puffed, and seemed to settle, and then he huffed and puffed, again, and…

ACHOOOOOO!!!!!!

A small tree across the clearing was knocked clean out of the ground. It lay to one side of the path, its roots still quivering from the impact.

“Damn, Jimwolf!” Blair looked over at the older…beast, in admiration. “Wow, we need to do some testing, right now!”

“Awww, not testing,” Jim whined. No, not whined, complained, because big, studly manwolves do not whine, thank you very much.

“It won’t be too bad, Jimwolf. You didn’t mind the testing for…the other allergies, did you?” Blair licked his full lips and gave a significant glance downward.

Ellison grinned, showing an exorbitant amount of very sharp teeth as he did. “Indeed not. It is nice to know which…slippery things, don’t bother me.”

“So, let’s get cracking,” Jimwolf agreed. “Do you want to do the testing in your home?” he asked, eyeing the nicely built, and sturdy, structure with some misgiving, because it had…

“Not by the hair of our chinny, chin chins,” the duo inside repeated.

Blair rolled his eyes. It wasn’t like the house was his or that he, say, had the keys to the front door. However, for Jim’s sake, he wouldn’t expose the Sentinelwolf to his brothers.

Before he could answer, Ellison turned to the curly haired man and asked, “What is it with them and their chins?”

Blair leaned forward and confided, “Well, they have always been self conscious about their weight issues and…” he glanced over his shoulder and whispered the rest, “they have those extra bristles on their chins. But, we’re not supposed to talk about that.” Blair shook his head.

“Uh huh,” Jim commented. He looked over at his companion and eyed his slender frame and hairy face and back at the windows of the house. “So, how is it that you…and they…?”

“Naomi, my mom, well, let’s just say that she has an eclectic taste in boyfriends and leave it at that. Okay?”

Ellison nodded, thought a moment, winced and then seemed to shake himself all over. Blair greatly appreciated the latter movement.

“So, back inside?” Jimwolf asked with a grimace.

“No, I have a room at the school where I teach. A nice, private room,” Blair said with a seductive smile.

“Wonderful. Let’s go do some huffing and puffing.”

The End

Sleeping Blair

(Soft music, full of violins and guitars playing in the background)

Once upon a time, In a land far, far away

(Screech, as the needle is drug across the record. Yes, a record, have you ever tried to do something like that on a CD? Right.)

Alright, once again.

A few years ago, In a place…not that far away (Cascade, WA someone whispers) lived a king and queen (I know we don’t have royalty. But this is my story, so shut up.) The king and queen were totally happy, in every way but one. (which sort of negates the whole ‘totally’ bit, but anyway). They had been happily married for many years and had yet to have a child.

The Queen’s chambermaid told her of a witch who lived out in the middle of the swamp. (a swamp in Washington?!) The witch was foretold to be able to make children quicken in the most barren of wombs. Being desperate, the Queen (who isn’t given a name, because really, who cares about her or the king) stealthily proceeded to the witch’s house. (Yes, stealthily—she and her entourage of about a dozen soldiers and attendants)

The witch agreed to make a potion to help the Queen conceive (swords pointed at you tend to make a person agree pretty quickly) with one proviso. When the Queen’s child was to be christened, the witch, whose name was Naomi, (hey, she’s a witch and therefore gets a name, I’m not going to call her unimportant!) made the Queen promise to invite her to the ceremony. Naturally, the Queen, who wanted a baby, agreed.

~~~~

Nine months later and, you guessed it, the Queen had a baby boy. She and the King, named the beautiful babe, Blair. (Gasp! I know, I was surprised too.) The child had just a hint of dark brown hair and the brightest blue eyes ever seen in the kingdom.

On the day of the christening, people in the kingdom were happy, from the blacksmith to the King. The blacksmith was ecstatic because he had a lot of extra work. (What? Why should he give a crap about another royal brat?) The King was thrilled that he finally had an heir. The Queen had done as she had promised lo all those months ago and had made certain that an invitation was sent to Naomi.

However. (Don’t you just hate that word? You just know something crappy is going to happen when it is used.)

However, the King, who was very rich and very snooty (although a little on the dim side), didn’t want a smelly old witch marring the perfection of his son’s christening, so he had made sure that the invitation was destroyed.

(Dun dun dun. Yes, the record is back and the tubas have been added.)

So, the christening was going along swimmingly. (No, they weren’t underwater. It’s a saying.) There was plenty of food, and even more liquor, so everybody was happy, even the baby, who gave his nanny a nice poop to clean up. (She wasn’t quite as thrilled.)

Wham!

The door to the dining hall flew open. It slammed back shut again. (That pesky an object in motion law.) The door opened again, a little more sedately this time. And there she stood, the witch.

The King sat up a little straighter on his throne. The smelly old witch was actually a buxom young woman, with a tiny waist, long, curly red hair and beautiful skin. She did smell, of roses and mint. If the King had been aware of what Naomi looked like, that invitation wouldn’t have been lost and this would have been a really short, boring story.

“I have been betrayed!” the witch announced to the room.

Quite a few of the women looked to their husbands accusingly, many of whom scooted down in their chairs hoping to avoid the wrath of either the witch, or worse, their wives. Fortunately, none of the men that Naomi had been ‘familiar’ with were the one who had betrayed her.

“Betrayed?” the King asked innocently.

“Betrayed?” the Queen asked sincerely. Her innocence was real, because she had, in all good faith, sent an invitation to the woman who helped her to conceive her beautiful son.

“Yes, I helped you with your problem and all I asked in return was an invitation to this joyous occasion, but that has been denied me.”

“But…” the Queen tried to interrupt. (Not a good idea with anybody, let alone a p.o.’d witch.)

Naomi wasn’t interested in excuses or in finding out whose fault the lack of invitation was. She had picked out her party dress, (Not an easy feat, because, let’s face it, it’s not like there’s a mall on every corner in the Early Ages—waaay before the Middle Ages, dontchaknow.) washed and combed her hair (a real bitch to do with curly hair and before conditioner) and waited patiently for the invitation to come. Of course, this being the Early Ages, with no phone, computer or reliable mail service, she had to do the primping several times before she admitted that that darn invitation just wasn’t coming.

The witch threw her arms into the air and a loud crack of thunder shook the room, the crowd shut up real quick in the face of such power. (Hey, this is Cascade. You know, land of the criminals and home of the rainstorm.) Naomi was startled herself, but she quickly recovered and decided to use the coincidence with the weather to her advantage.

“I curse you…” her hand lowered and a single index finger pointed around the room, to point to… “you unfaithful king.” Several people gasped—probably because the wind from the impending storm had picked up and was blowing smoke from the torches around. “And, in extension, your child.”

The king stood quickly. “How dare you?!” he thundered.

“Shut up, you foul toad, before I make you one,” Naomi said. The king sat back down abruptly, unused to anyone actually answering back. “Your faithlessness has led me to one conclusion; you do not deserve an heir.”

“No!” the queen screamed.

Naomi glanced over at the woman and hesitated. She knew that the queen had been sincere in her want of a child and that she had seemed truly shocked to hear that Naomi hadn’t received her invitation. So, the witchy woman altered what she’d been about to say…slightly.

“When your son reaches his majority, (21, in case you didn’t know) a heavy book will drop on his foot, making him stumble and hit his head. (What? You think Blair’s gonna be around a spindle?) He will fall into a deep sleep (that’s called a coma, in case you are medically disinclined) and will remain that way until his One True Love awakens him with a kiss.”

Several people look stunned at this (and that’s just the readers), but who can really blame them? Not many people are destined to be felled by…a book.

There was a flash of light and a puff of smoke and with a nasty cackle, Naomi disappeared. Everyone gasped in surprise! They knew that the witch was powerful, but being able to disappear like that had them all stunned.

The queen grabbed her chest fearfully. The king glared around the room, trying to find someone to take his frustration out on. Several ladies fainted into their husband’s arms. And then…a horrible stench filled the air.

Baby Blair, who admittedly was a little young to realize his terrible destiny…had filled his diaper again.

~~~~

The very next day, the king sent out word all through his kingdom. All books, of any size, were to be brought to the castle where they would be locked in a room in one of the highest towers in a faraway spire of the castle.

Now, most people, after having such a dire end foretold for their child, would have burned the tomes, so as not to tempt fate. However, (there goes that word again) as was pointed out earlier, the king was an idiot, and a vain one at that. He thought that he could protect his son, and not have to destroy all of those valuable books—witch be damned!

Books began to arrive. Some were very large, with intricate calligraphy and artwork. It was easy to tell that many a monk and scholar had worked for a long time, toiling ceaselessly to create these magnificent works of art. (Right. Some poor schleb was stuck in an airless room, copying the same crap over and over again.) Other volumes were not as grandiose and still others were downright tiny and drab.

But, (also a bad word) they were gathered up, one and all and stuffed in the very large room, which had only one key. The king hung that key on the side of his throne as a reminder to himself not to judge people (i.e. the “smelly old witch”). Of course, he didn’t really need a constant reminder, because his good wife, the queen, glared at him and refused to join him in the royal bedchambers thereafter, which was reminder enough. And surprisingly, that didn’t improve his mood at all.

~~~~

Blair grew up to be a beautiful boy with a sweet disposition. His auburn tresses grew out into long curly locks. The prince’s eyes defied conventional wisdom and stayed the baby blue that they were when he was an infant. His mother doted on him and his father allowed his heir anything that his heart desired. In most children, this would have resulted in a vain and spoiled child, but not Prince Blair, because even though his parents loved him, they had affairs of the kingdom (in more ways than one) to deal with and so Blair was raised by the servants, who were also very busy. So, after all was said and done, Blair mostly raised himself.

The boy was a curious child. He loved to explore the gardens surrounding the castle and, of course, the castle itself. There weren’t very many places that his curious nature didn’t lead him. There was one actually. That room waaaaaaay up in a far tower that he found one day. He’d asked his friend, Bryan, about it, but the boy didn’t know why it was locked. Blair asked the cook, Mary, but she just shook her head and looked away furtively. Of course, that only made the prince even more curious.

Finally, out of sheer desperation, he asked his mother. The poor queen burst into tears, glared at her husband and ran out of the room. The king looked guiltily at the key before following his wife.

Now, anyone with children will tell you that if you give them a puzzle, give them clues and then tell them that they can’t ever ever try to figure it out, they are going to go hunting. And Blair had the biggest clue of all in that big, shiny, brass key.

So, being a naturally curious, and extremely bored, child, Prince Blair went exploring. His bright blue eyes widened in wonder when the door to the Forbidden Room finally creaked open. Inside were stacks upon stacks of books. The room, after being closed up for so many years, smelled of dusty, close air and leather.

Young Blair, who was still an adolescent and small for his age at that, walked into the room and began to walk around the towering stacks of books, some of which would have been too heavy for him to lift. The people who had filled the room with the tomes had never imagined that the prince they were so desperately trying to save would one day find his way into the Forbidden Room, so they had laid the books willy nilly around the room.

Thus, (see, this proves we are in olden times, because I’m using old words that people rarely use any more) it came to pass that Prince Blair, who had been unknowingly living under a curse since he was seven days old…started hanging out in what was basically the library.

What a rebel.

The young man knew how to read, because while books were forbidden, letters, notes, that sort of thing were not. Verily, (hee hee) it ended up that the prince spent a great many hours a day, for the next several years, reading and then re-reading every book in the room. He was not found out because the king, whom we have established is about as bright as a sack of rocks, never had anyone check to make certain that the room was still securely locked. (Classic bad guy mistake. Haven’t any of these people ever watched a James Bond movie? Oh, maybe not.)

~~~~

Years passed

Things were going along as usual. The king chased the young maidens (it’s good to be the king), the queen still wept and glared (not little Miss Sunshine here), the servants…served and Prince Blair grew up, if not happily, at least content.

“Good morning, my good mother,” Blair greeted the older, but still beautiful queen with a kiss on her cheek. “Good morrow, father.” The prince nodded in his direction.

“Hello, my sweet son,” Queen Anne greeted her son with a tremulous smile. She gave her husband a glare, which he ignored.

“Uh,” King Mel grunted at his son, more interested in eating than anything else. (And yes, I lied. I did give them names after all.*)

“Tonight is the big night,” Anne said with a smile. “Your…birthday party.” The woman burst into tears and buried her face in her napkin.

Blair, who was used to his mothers histrionics and being ignored by his father, just smiled at them. The young man had grown up nicely in the preceding years. He was still on the short side, but tall enough that it didn’t matter, at least to Blair. His auburn hair was now a mixture of several shades of browns and golds and hung well down his back in long rivulets.

Under normal circumstances, the prince’s bright smile and happy nature would have ensured that he would have a plethora of admirers, even if he hadn’t been the heir to the throne. But of course, these weren’t normal circumstances (they were abnormal). The whole kingdom, minus the prince, knew that he was doomed (doomed, I say) and since none of the men in the surrounding areas wanted to pledge their daughter’s hand to someone who was going to sleep a really, really long time, Blair had yet to have a date.

Not being cognizant of his own looming fate, Prince Blair simply thought that he was unattractive. (Mirrors were obviously banished too.) Resigned to his fate of being ugly and unwanted, Blair wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of a party.

“Perhaps we could postpone it,” Blair suggested gingerly. Or cancel it altogether, he amended silently.

“Nonsense!” the king expostulated, slamming his mug of ale down onto the table with a thump. “It is not every day that a young man reaches his majority.”

Queen Anne shrieked out loud, startling Blair, who was used to his mother crying a lot. Her sobs rose higher and higher until they reached a crescendo. The older woman raced out of the room, followed by her maid.

Blair heard, “Doomed, doomed,” being echoed down the hallway.

Wide eyed, Blair watched his mother exit the dining room and then looked over to his father. King Mel took another hearty swallow of his ale. “We’ll have a really fun time,” the monarch said; Blair wasn’t sure who he was trying to convince.

“Um, yes father.” Losing what little appetite he had, Blair stood up. “Good day to you,” he stated before hurrying out of the room.

As he passed through several corridors, Blair saw people either preparing for the birthday celebration…or crying. Sometimes they were doing both at the same time. (Which made for soggy decorations.) He smiled, as was his wont, which only made people cry harder. Giving it up for a bad job, the prince got away from people, as fast as he could.

~~~~

Prince Blair decided to treat the day just like any other. So, as quickly as he could, the curly haired man headed to his sanctuary, the library. But this wasn’t a day just like any other; this was the day that fate (and a nasty curse from a witch) was to run smack dab into his face.

Actually, it was the wooden desk that Blair usually sat at to read that smacked him in the face.

The king, despite being soused at such an early hour, knew good and well what day it was, so he sent one of his manservants to follow Blair. The servant was a good man, but lousy at following people—he lost Blair in the first minute. Not wanting to disappoint his king (and lose his job, abruptly followed by his head) the good fellow wandered up and down the corridors. He searched high and low (although why he thought the prince would be on the ceiling is beyond me).

Finally, he went into (you guessed it) a room in one of the highest towers in a faraway spire of the castle. (That was a surprise, wasn’t it?) There, in among all of those dangerous books, sat the young prince. The manservant did what any decent person would when someone was in danger…he ran down the corridor. Whimpering.

Of course, he ran down the stairs and then more corridors and through some doorways… (you know where I’m going with this).

“Your Majesty, Your Majesty!” the manservant screamed out as he ran into the king’s withdrawing room.

The king, who was (you guessed it, again) drinking, jumped up from his chair with a yelp. His cup flew out of his hand, splattering red wine across the floor in a lovely mosaic pattern.

“What is it?!” King Mel shrieked back. (No, he spoke in a manly, controlled manner, just very, very loudly.)

“It is the prince, sire!” the manservent was still yelling, even though he was right beside the king.

The older man frowned, because his ears were beginning to hurt from the loud noise. Then his eyes widened dramatically. (Now, really. How else would someone’s eyes widen? Hmmm? Majestically?)

“Blair! What’s wrong with him? Speak man,” the king ordered. The poor manservant couldn’t speak though, because King Mel had grabbed him by the shoulders and was shaking the servant so badly that his teeth were clanking together. Luckily, the king’s hands slipped off of the other man’s shoulders. After a few nerve-racking moments (Can’t you just feel the tension? It’s oozing out like a bottle of jelly left on its side.) the servant was finally able to speak.

“Prince Blair is in The Room! Oom. Om. om.” The word echoed around, well, the other room, not The Room.

Mel gasped and clutched his chest in horror. Without another look at his faithful servant, the king ran out of the room and down the corridor. (And down the hall, up the stairs…oh hell, you know where this is going.) Finally, he slid to a stop outside of The Room. (Oom. Om. om.)

“Blair!” the king screamed. (After he got his breath back, naturally.)

Blair jumped to his feet, startled by his father’s sudden appearance. (Apparently, the prince had a hearing problem, because, really he should have heard all that running and panting.) The chair the prince had been sitting on crashed to the floor behind him, putting a further strain on the younger man’s nerves. He hurried towards his father, afraid that something terrible had come to pass, when it happened. Prince Blair bumped into the table and a heavy book (one of those really big suckers) fell off and landed on the curly haired man’s boot, which happened to contain his foot.

“Ouch!” Blair called out. He began to hop on one foot while clutching at the sore one.

Dun, dun, dun, dun. (The orchestra is back.)

CRACK!

Blair was not the most agile of princes and his gyrations were definitely not the safest. He tripped over the offending book and fell forward, cracking his head on the edge of the table.

And that was all she wrote.

~~~~

(Okay, not really, because I’m still writing. See.)

The kingdom was in mourning, despite the fact that Prince Blair wasn’t really dead. But everyone knew that a witch’s curse was a witch’s curse (maybe that should be embroidered on a sampler somewhere) and that meant that their prince was doomed.

Queen Anne was inconsolable, weeping into her handkerchief day and night. Of course, she had been crying like a fountain for years, so no one really noticed a difference. The king was upset, drinking (what a surprise) and glaring at everyone. He was heard on several different occasions, cursing the witch, Naomi, for doing this to his son, despite the fact that really, it was his own darn fault for startling the young man. (Like the king is going to admit he’s at fault.)

Blair was laid out on his bed, on top of the covers, dressed in his best clothes. This finery consisted of a burgundy velvet doublet, a ruched and ruffled shirt, dark stockings and a satin sash around his waist. (Hey, this is the Early Ages; that’s the way people dressed. It’s not my fault that he sounds like a bad extra from Romeo and Juliet: The Porn Movie.) His hair had been brushed and was spread out on the pillow, fanning out around his head like a halo.

The only thing that marred the perfect picture (other than Blair being comatose) was the red mark that went diagonally across the younger man’s forehead. The longer his family and friends watched the bruise that went with the mark spread out until it went across his forehead and down both eyes, giving the curly haired man a mask-like appearance.

“What shall we do, my liege?” one of King Mel’s soldiers asked the older king nervously.

“I…don’t know,” the regent admitted, for once, his natural bluster failing him. “We can only…hope and pray that his true love finds him.”

~~~~

Far, far away (okay, a couple of miles into the woods), Naomi the witch was watching the proceedings in a bowl of water. (No, she wasn’t insane, it is a scrying technique used by, you know, witches.)

“Hope and pray,” she sneered as she mocked the king, her lip turned up in a nasty curl. “Fools,” Naomi spat. (No, really, she spit into the bowl, which was totally disgusting and ruined the picture, kind of like twisting the ears on your television rabbit.) The witch quickly wiped the snarl off of her face, because she didn’t want to cause any more, uhm, any lines to appear on her face. (Hey, it has been 21 years, after all. Nobody stays young and pretty forever, especially without plastic surgery.)

Turning away from the table where the bowl sat, the witch walked from one side of the room to the other. In truth, she didn’t really want Blair to die. (Hey, she helped to create the hot, um, sweet young man.) And since it appeared that the king was going to trust fate to save his son and the queen did nothing but bemoan the situation, it was up to Naomi to come to the rescue. (Of course, she’s the one who cursed him in the first place, but…)

“First of all, to make sure that he doesn’t die from lack of drink or food.” Naomi waved her hand and cast a spell over the young man.

In the far off castle, Prince Blair’s stomach stopped grumbling.

“And I want him to look nice when his lover comes calling.” A flash of her hand and a wave of light swept out of the window.

Soooo, the stubble that was beginning to grace Blair’s face (Oh, who are we kidding, he was getting downright furry. Let’s face it, the boy has five o’clock shadow at ten in the morning.) melted away, leaving him clean shaven. Another light and he was sweet smelling. (Because, you know, not everything stopped working. Eww.)

On to more pleasant (and less smelly) topics.

~~~~

Time passed and the legend of the sleeping prince grew.

Some people said that he was an enchanted fairy who had bewitched his whole kingdom and that they had all fallen under a sleep spell. Since the queen still blubbered and the king drank like a dehydrated fish and all of the other, you know, unimportant little people kept doing silly things like growing crops, cleaning, etc., they obviously weren’t sleeping all that much.

Other people said that the prince wasn’t really sleeping at all, but had run off to join the circus. (Did they even have circus’ back then? Inquiring minds want to know.) And that he was living it up as a juggler and had a lover named Griselda, who was a sword swallower. (Imagine that coming through in your… Ouch!)

Most people, however, told the truth. Prince Blair had been cursed because his idiot father pissed off a witch and the young man was sleeping, awaiting his true love’s kiss.

~~~~

James, soldier and part time warrior for hire, had heard the legend. He decided to check it out. That was partly due to curiosity and partly because he liked to kiss (and other things) young men. The tall man did prefer his companions to be awake when they kissed, but he figured they would work that part out later.

So, the soldier left his home and began to travel north. (Why is it always north? Why not south east or something like that?) He went through many villages, asking a few questions here and there. James didn’t stay in one place for very long, despite the numerous offers from many a young maiden and lass. He had one goal in mind, find the sleeping prince.

He looked in bigger cities. Why, one of them was so grandiose that they had almost a thousand souls living there. (People too. I mean, it wasn’t a town of ghosts or anything.) Some hamlets only had a couple dozen people living in them. But, no matter their size, they all knew the legend of the prince and everyone had advice for the soldier.

“Go down this road for a few miles, then take the road to the left, just past the live oak tree, (as opposed to the dead oak tree).” one helpful fellow directed him. That way ended up at a dried up pond.

“The castle is two towns that way,” one elderly woman pointed, her finger shaking from age. “You can’t miss it.” Yes, he could, because it wasn’t there.

For a while, James traveled around the countryside, wandering aimlessly in one direction and then another as he followed this advice. Finally, he had enough. James decided to go to an expert.

“Please help me, oh wise one,” James asked the old woman reverently. He was always polite to really old and supposedly powerful people.

The woman glared at him, because, really, does any woman like to be called old? She looked back down at her bowl. The bowl was filled with all kinds of things: chicken bones, bits of meat, rocks and what looked suspiciously like a couple of eyeballs. James decided not to look too closely, because he really didn’t want to know what all was in there.

The seer (which is just a fancy name for a witch, at least in my story) stirred the contents with a small knife, making really nasty looking swirls in the muck. The soldier discretely covered his nose and mouth with one large hand and tried to breathe through his mouth.

“Ah, yes. I see it now.”

“What? What do you see?” Despite his resolve, James leaned forward and looked into the bowl. He regretted that immediately as the noxious smell made him want to empty his stomach. (Which is what the stuff in the bowl looked like, stomach contents.)

“The sleeping prince whom you so desperately seek is nearby,” the older woman intoned solemnly.

“He is? Great? Where? How do I find him? You would not believe the run around that I have been getting the last few months…” James trailed off when his helper gave him the stink eye. (Or maybe that was just the crap in the basin.)

“As I was saying,” she said emphatically, and James knew he had better not interrupt her again, “the prince is close by. You need to go to the village that is to the west (Ha! Not north.). Once there, follow the road as it curves past the forest. At the apex of the curve there is another path, but be diligent, it is a much smaller path, so you will have to look very closely for it. You will need to follow the path for quite some time. There will be a great many obstacles in your way, so go prepared! At the end of your journey, you will find the castle. Go into the front door, ignore any people you see, wander the halls until you come to a room in one of the highest towers in a faraway spire of the castle. There you will find the sleeping prince. You see, it will not be too complicated.”

The soldier just blinked at her. He thought over the simple instructions and wondered if he should have brought a piece of parchment with him to write them down. He also was beginning to wonder if he really wanted to kiss this mysterious prince, after all.

“Ri-ight,” he drawled out. “I’ll just…go prepare myself.” After James had thanked the old woman profusely (and paid her a helluva lot of money) he left, heading for the next village.

The old woman waved her hand around. A bright swirl of light surrounded her for a few seconds (sounds familiar) and when it was gone…Naomi was standing where the seer had stood just a moment before! (Gasp! Yes, I was shocked too.) Gone were the wrinkles (well, most of them, anyway) and the gray hair. Instead there stood a handsome woman who still had an excellent figure and was attractive. She ran a hand over her skirts, straightening them.

“Geez, it’s hard to be the good girl,” Naomi expostulated with an explosive sigh. (Girl.)

~~~~

So, James went to the next village, which entailed more than a day’s worth of walking. He wasn’t sure what trials and tribulations he should expect, so preparing himself wasn’t all that easy. He bought extra rations of food, in case the trek took longer than he hoped, and he purchased two more water skins and hoped they would be enough. The soldier in him wondered what sort of ruffians might be living in the woods, so he made sure that his sword was cleaned and sharpened, his halberd was nice and curvy. He bought a machete and a shovel. (Hey, he was only human and he’d need to bury any…anything that he might leave behind.)

Finally, after another day wasted in preparing himself for his quest, James set off down the path. His departure was met with a lot of good wishes and fanfare. It might have been because he was on a noble quest, or it could have been because he’d spent so much money in the village, but either way, they were sad to see him go.

He missed the smaller path. Several times, in fact. James traversed the road, back and forth, a few times before he finally found the right path. Path was a misnomer. Dirt rut would have been a better description. The soldier had misgivings about following the slight tracings of a path into a dark and dense looking wood, but he was determined to find his prince! (And not look like a quitter.)

Hours later, James was damned sorry he’d ever started out on this adventure. The machete had been useful, because there were bushes with thorns, vines with leaves the size of his head. Plants that made him itch and plants that he swore were moving. (Although that might have been the effects of some of those funny shaped plants he got a little too close to.)

It was a good thing that the woods were relatively free from predators, because the vegetation grew so close to the sides of the path that he couldn’t have swung his sword to save his life. James looked in vain for a clear space to camp for the night. Finally, he gave up and just stopped in the middle of the path. The savior slept (mostly) the night away, leaning against some reddish bushes, because there wasn’t any room to even sit all the way down.

~~~~

Unbeknownst to James (but knownst to us), what he thought was the next morning was actually several days. The witch, Naomi, had done more than give him directions.

But, as I say, James didn’t realize how long he’d been asleep, at least that time.

~~~~

The next morning, (No, it isn’t.) James was wishing that he’d looked a little further, because those bushes had left nasty red whelps all along his backside.

And on he went.

He scratched at his butt, swung the machete, slapped at the bugs, which were huge and apparently liked his butt as well. He was so busy hacking, scratching and slapping that when he finally came to a clear spot in the woods it was so much of a surprise that he literally fell flat onto his face.

Being horizontal was such a novelty that James lay there on the soft grass for a while, like a big, blue eyed bit of flotsam that the forest had decided to spit out. The soldier was extremely tired, but he managed to eat a piece of hardtack, a bit of jerky and drink some of his stale water. (Yummy.) He then laid down to take a nap.

He woke up three months later.

Even James, tired as he still was and distracted with all consuming thoughts of that pending kiss, couldn’t help but notice how long his beard was. Or the fact that a squirrel was building a nest in it!

“Yahhhhhh!” he shrieked. The tall man jumped up and was dancing around the clearing. The squirrel shrieked as well and was running around and dancing on James’ shoulders. This went on for several seconds before the furry animal decided to find a quieter place to raise her family and jumped off of the soldier.

It took the hysterical man, (uhm, I mean the magnificent, manly soldier) several more minutes of screaming, “Get off! Get off!” to realize that his newest furry friend had already run, far, far away. He immediately did what any red blooded man would do—he plopped down in the grass and burst into tears.

After looking around furtively for several seconds to make sure that his outburst hadn’t been seen (By who? The birds? Tippi Hedren?) by anyone, James tried to compose himself. He pulled out one of his knives and began to carefully shave off the almost squirrel’s nest.

Right. What actually happened was that he yanked out his machete and scraped the beard, and several patches of skin, off as quickly as possible. (Doesn’t sound as collected, does it?) James went on his merry way, or rather, grumpy way, keeping a wary eye out for rabid squirrels.

~~~~

After the squirrel incident, which is how James preferred to think of it, (You have to admit that sounds better than running around in a circle, screaming like a loon, incident.) it was harder for the taller man to let himself fall asleep. It was obvious to the soldier that something otherworldly was happening, because he was sleeping far longer than one night at a time.

James wondered if the sleeping longer phenomenon was due to the fact that he was getting closer to the castle of the sleeping prince. (Or maybe it was just Naomi messing with his head.) No matter the cause, James was naturally reluctant to lay his head down on the ground. (Wouldn’t you be? I mean, squirrel poo on your face. Ewww.) Unfortunately for him, the human body (no matter how fit, muscled and hot) can only take so much stress and strain before it needs a break.

~~~~

Two years Later

~~~~

James didn’t wake up with a squirrel nesting on him this time. No, he woke up beside a sleeping bear. (Which is soooo much better.)

The last time James laid down to sleep, the soldier had found a smaller, cave like depression in the side of a hill. He thought he was being so clever by not sleeping out in the open. Apparently, the bear thought so, as well. James didn’t think that the opening was deep enough to attract animals, but it appeared that he was wrong.

The soldier didn’t move. He didn’t breathe. (Which surprisingly, didn’t work for very long.) Nothing. For as long as he could, James didn’t even blink.

Beyond his ursine sleeping companion, all that James could see was white. The ground was covered in pure, white snow, not a leaf or blade of grass could be seen peeking through the pale ground covering. To the soldier’s sleepy mind, it took a little while for him to realize that it had to be the dead of winter. Not wanting to wake the bear, (and risk being eaten) James laid his head back down to rest a few moments.

I shall rest for a while, until I am more awake, and will do my best to creep out past the very large brown bear, James reasoned to himself. It would not do to come this far in my quest only to be bested by an overly large sleeping companion.

Besides which, it was cold and his newest friend was furry and warm. James’ plan to rest for a while didn’t work out as he had planned. He slid back into a deep sleep, and in his sleep, James snuggled up closer to the bear, who really seemed to like it.

~~~~

James the fearless emerged from the forest with a mighty cleave of his machete. Stepping into the sunlight, he sighed happily.

The brave warrior was triumphant!

Squaring his shoulders, James marched resolutely up to the castle. The sun was shining down on the top of his…shiny hair. The buckles on his beautifully made armor sparkled in the sunlight. With a smile on his face, James opened the castle door…

Skreech! (that record is pretty much shot by now.)

(Right. Get real. You have been reading the story, right? Does anybody really think that’s how it is going to go? Me neither. Let’s try again.)

~~~~

Whomp!

Once again, James plopped, face down, on the ground. Only this time it was a manicured lawn instead of the forest floor. (Manicured. Does that mean they paint the tips of the blades of grass in pretty colors?) He laid there, nose in the mulch, for several minutes. Luckily for him, no one was around to see his less than heroic face plant.

“Ugh,” was the soldier’s stellar comment as he pushed himself up onto his knees and then turned around and sat down. He was still on the ground, but he could breathe now, which was such an improvement. Glancing around, it took James a few moments for his eyes to focus on….

…a castle!

He gasped. “I-I did it!” he exclaimed. “I’ve finally made it!” (Unless, of course, it was the wrong castle. But that was too horrible a thought to contemplate, so he uncontemplated it.)

James crawled over to a nearby tree (as opposed to the ones a few miles away) and pulled himself upright. He slogged across the lawn, his feet literally dragging, especially the right one, which had been hurting since he fell in that gopher hole a while back.

Buckles, schmuckles. Any fasteners that he once had were either lost or so caked with mud as to be unrecognizable.

The sun was gone; hidden behind so many rain clouds that James couldn’t tell what time of day it really was. (And at this point, he didn’t give a steaming pile of poopy doo.) Rain was pouring down on the top of James’ receding, but still nice looking, hair.

He reached the castle door and hesitated for a moment, gathering his strength. With a resigned sigh, James opened the door and went inside, guessing that he probably was going to face something like a fire-breathing dragon, or a pack of rampaging chipmunks (don’t ask) or something equally nasty like that.

~~~~

Blair’s mind began to slowly rise up through his sleeping brain, on the way to consciousness for the first time in several years. The first thing he noticed was the warm, soft pressure on his lips. It felt wonderful, the most amazing thing he’d ever felt in his short life. The next thing he was aware of was a slight pressure on the side of his face, almost as if someone were holding his face in their hands. The last thing he noticed was…

Prince Blair’s eyes flew open as he gasped. James was startled by the prince’s sudden awakening and jerked back.

“What in heaven’s name is that smell?!” were Blair’s first words.

James frowned, looked down at himself and got a sheepish look on his handsome face. He looked back up and saw the prince fanning a hand in front of his face, as if to clear the air. The soldier felt himself redden in embarrassment and being James, there was only one thing he could do. (No, not drop his gun…er, sword.)

“Well, that’s a fine thank you!” he yelled, losing his temper and taking it out on the only person around…Blair.

~~~~

Blair looked at his true love and frowned. The hero was stomping around the room, whining and complaining. Shouldn’t he be comforting Blair, who, after all, had been in a coma for…a while. Although, the prince had to admit, telling your savior that he stunk wasn’t the most auspicious beginning to their happily ever after.

“…the thorns were horrendous and the smell…” James curled up his nose in a rather prissy manner, not at all what you would expect from a warrior and the fine figure of a man that he obviously was somewhere under all the mud and the muck.

“Thorns?” the prince asked softly, hoping to stop the soldier’s tirade, because he still had a headache, thank you very much.

“Yes!” the soldier from the wild stated loudly. He waved his arms around and nodded vigorously, obviously thinking that Blair was agreeing with him and not asking a question, which he was. (Everybody confused now? Good.) Some dried mud flew off of the end of his hands.

“What thorns would those be?” Blair asked, sitting up on the side of the bed. He raised one hand to his aching head and rubbed gently. The prince wrinkled his nose slightly when he touched something gooey on the side of his face. He pulled his hand away and saw mud.

“From the rose briars,” James explained, none too patiently. He eyed Blair and was silently wondering if the whack on the head hadn’t diminished some of the prince’s mental capacity.

Or maybe he’s just naturally feeble minded, the soldier thought in dismay. James liked his lovers to be handsome, which Blair certainly was, but he would prefer not to trade the looks for the lack of intelligence.

“Rose br…” The prince glanced at James, an inquiring look on his face. “You mean my mother’s rose bushes?!” At James’ guilty look, Blair continued, “Some of those roses have been here for centuries.”

Trying to salvage the situation (and go back to being the hero), the warrior crossed his arms; the right sleeve tore off with a slight brrrping sound. He felt slightly less ridiculous now, because he lost the other sleeve long ago, and at least he wasn’t mismatched, now. “Well, they have gotten out of control. What with the insects that were flying everywhere and the huge beast that I had to tame, it is a wonder that I made it to the castle at all.”

Blair, who had stood up by this point, albeit a bit wobbly (Hey, he has been asleep for quite some time, cut the guy some slack, will you.) and had walked over to stand by the window.

Maybe I have been asleep long enough that the plants have been allowed to run amuck. (Amuck, amuck, amuck.#)

“Uh, why didn’t you just come in the back way?” Blair asked gently.

“Back way? What back way?” tall, hot and studly replied. “There was a back way? Where?”

“Well, at the back of the castle,” the prince informed him.

The son of Ellis walked over to where Blair was standing by the window. He looked through the opening (I know they wouldn’t have had glass, but just ignore that. Hey, this is a fairy tale.). The prince managed not to flinch away from the smell. The window faced the rear of the castle. (Its butt. Hee Hee.) Sure enough, the landscape was free of overgrown plants. There was a gentle incline towards…a road. An actual road.

James sighed and leaned against the window casing. Blair looked at the man, who had, after all, woken him from his curse. With a kiss. Which he totally missed, what with being unconscious and all. Blair decided to remedy that immediately and realized that he was actually getting used to James’ odor and appearance.

“I’m certain you were very brave and valiant,” Prince Blair reassured his warrior in his best soothing, yet hopefully, arousing tone of voice. If the way James stood up straighter and seemed to perk up was any indication, the younger man was doing something right. “Perhaps we could sit and talk; get to know one another better,” Blair offered.

James nodded for a moment before following Blair to the bed; they both perched on the edge of it. (Blair had to hop, literally, to get up on the bed, what with it being so tall and him being not so tall.)

“Soooo,” Blair drawled out, obviously stalling for time so he could think of something to say. (Because, really, what do you say? Hi, where did you come from before you decided to kiss me and wake me from a curse? Kinda awkward.) “Where do you hail from?” There, that was innocuous enough.

“The Land of Sentinels.”

“Oh, that’s…”

“But, do you really care about that?”

Prince Blair looked startled, not only at the constant interruptions, but also at the rather abrupt question. “Well…at the moment. No, not really,” he admitted.

“Good. Let’s kiss.”

Blair’s mouth fell open. He was stunned that the somewhat taciturn man was being so open and honest. Blair figured that he would have to do something crazy, like live with the guy for years and follow him around while he worked before they would actually talk. (Crazy idea, huh.)

“Okay,” Blair agreed. (Hey, he had a hot, studly guy who wanted to kiss; he wasn’t that much of a virgin.) “That sounds chilly to me.” (Cool is such a 60’s saying. 1960’s to be precise, not 0060.)

“Chilly?” James muttered under his breath, then he shrugged. (If you were sitting on a bed with someone who looked like Blair, would you care about his odd sayings? Nope.)

The warrior started to reach out his hands, took a look at them, and then rubbed them semi-clean on the sides of his dirty tunic. (Uh huh, that helped.) James put one hand on the side of Blair’s face while one wrapped around his waist. He leaned forward, while Blair leaned forward, and their lips met. The earth didn’t move and neither did they see fireworks, but it was very, very nice. James tightened his grip on the prince’s waist and slid him closer. Blair’s arms surrounded James. He ignored any smells, squishes and the bit of leaf mold that was stuck in James’ hair. They were both really getting into the kissing thing when…

Queen Anne, who made a daily pilgrimage to watch her cursed son sleep and had for years and years…and years (not too creepy), found that, not only was he awake, but he was making out with some strange man who looked like he cleaned chamber pots for a living. She let out a piercing scream and burst into tears.

Everything was back to normal.

And they lived happily ever after.

Until, you know, James wouldn’t talk about his feelings, or Blair wouldn’t stay in the chariot, or some red headed bimbo criminal came along and wagged her tail feathers in James’ face. (But that’s another story.)

The End.

*I named the king and queen Mel and Anne after Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. The line ‘it’s good to be the king’ was in one of Mel’s movies.
#I just love Hocus Pocus.

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Authors note: This is a silly story in a silly series, not to be taken seriously. This is certainly not a reflection on any fairy tale.

Authors note2: Thank you to Bobbie for all of the wonderful, and speedy, beta work that you do. Also, thank you to Banbury for the wonderful pictures that you created to illustrate my stories.