A/N: Really super late for the Kurtoberfest prompt 'fairies'.
Adam Crawford had a dream – one that he couldn't pursue in Essex. He had kept it mostly to himself, but as time passed, and he couldn't keep quiet about it anymore. He had dreamt most of his young life of becoming a star on the Broadway stage, and there was only one place in the world where he'd be able to do that.
New York City.
He applied to be a foreign exchange student, but being underage, he needed both his parents' permission, and that was where he got stuck.
Adam's mother wasn't thrilled about her son's dream of becoming an actor. She wanted Adam to attend Oxford. She had planned on it since the day she found out she was pregnant. Adam knew that. She didn't keep it a secret. He remembered, from a young age, her putting him to bed at night with tales of how he would graduate at the head of his class, and how accomplished he would be. Adam would do anything to make his mother proud, but Oxford wasn't his dream; it was hers. He didn't want to disappoint his mother, but he knew that if he didn't give Broadway a go, he'd regret it till his dying day.
He only had this one life, and he had to live it for himself. No one else.
As chance would have it, the stage had been his father's dream, too – long lost, mostly due to pressure from his parents to find a sensible career and start a family before they passed. But he didn't want that for his son. He didn't want Adam to settle into someone else's plan for what he should do, who he should become. He wanted Adam to dream big, live big, and be big. If he couldn't have his dream of stardom, he wanted Adam to pursue his. Adam's dad did research, and found a program that would suit Adam, but it was Adam's good grades, his charm, and his talent that got him accepted. Becoming a foreign exchange student and moving to America for his last two years of school before university seemed too good to be true, but when he found out he'd be able to go to the states earlier – right at the start of American "high school" – he was ecstatic.
Just as his mother's final plea for Adam to consider Oxford over Broadway died a painful death, Adam boarded a plane bound for the states.
Adrenaline had Adam buzzing the entire flight, keeping him awake the twelve plus hours it took to get from Southend Municipal Airport to Port Columbus, Ohio. But the second he felt his plane touch down on foreign soil, he began to panic.
He was alone, in an airport, at three thirty in the morning, thousands of miles away from everyone and everything he'd ever known. It was thrilling, but terrifying, too. He had a new life waiting for him outside the airport doors, and he didn't know where to begin.
His host family - the Fabrays – told him not to worry. They assured him that McKinley was a good school, with plenty of opportunities for him to become active in extracurriculars and make friends. They promised that they would do everything within their power to make him feel at home. The one piece of advice they seemed to enjoy repeating was, "Don't sweat the small stuff," followed cheerfully by the acknowledgement that everything was small stuff. It was even printed on a poster in the hallway, framed and hung between the living room and the downstairs bathroom.
Quinn Fabray, who promised to show him the ropes at McKinley, told Adam that he would have more friends by the end of day one than he could handle. Everyone would flock to him because he'd be the 'exotic new kid'. They'd adore his hair, his clothes, and everyone would think his accent was to die for.
And they did.
Which turned into an endless stream of people asking him to say stuff, just so they could hear his accent. It started on the bus on the way to school, and got annoying after an hour.
It took barely a week for the excitement of being an exchange student to wear thin. A big part of that had to do with the fact that he wasn't living in New York or L.A. like he had dreamed, but in the middle of Ohio, in some town called Lima. Adam had only ever associated the word 'lima' with sickly green beans, so off the bat, not a feel-good reference.
But beggars couldn't be choosers. Ohio was fine for now. It was still America, after all, and close enough to New York that he could save up his money and take the train there on special occasions. But nothing exciting ever happened in Lima. No sizzle. No magic. He didn't work hard to escape the boredom of one small town to end up in another boring small town. It seemed kind of cruel that he should end up here.
He was so close, yet so far away.
Adam's father, living vicariously through him, advised him to be patient, that he had time to get to Broadway, but Adam didn't like the "hurry up and wait" mentality. He had gotten to America. That was the first part of the plan completed. He wanted to be on stage now. Other teenagers in America were already making names for themselves on Broadway, while he was stuck joining some club called 4-H to fulfill an agriculture requirement he didn't know he needed. There were so many prime roles for young people his age that he was ready to tackle, musicals he would give his left leg to sing just chorus in – Newsies, Les Mis, Spring Awakening.
Maybe a little more off-putting was the fact that small towns like Lima came with small town mentalities, and because of that, he had little in common with anyone. Once the shine rubbed off from his being the new kid from England, he became rather lonely. There was one other exchange student attending McKinley, but she came from Taiwan and didn't speak English. They only saw each other once, at a 'Welcome to America' lunch the school district hosted. It was super awkward – just him and her, the student body president, the school counselor, a few of the teachers and administrators, and the superintendent. A reporter from the local newspaper stopped by, asked for the correct spelling of their names, and snapped a picture.
That was it.
He still got the odd, ridiculous question, like what was it like living in Narnia? Had he ever met the Queen? What was Ringo Starr like in person? (That one came from a teacher.) Since the performing arts program he had joined wasn't part of McKinley, but Dalton Academy in Westerville (nearly two hours away), Adam didn't spend a lot of time with the kids from school. McKinley had no theater program, and the musical theater kids from Westerville were…well, they were kind of full of themselves.
Quinn stopped by his room every so often to see how he was getting on. She was a sweet girl, easy to talk to, but she was also uber-popular – head cheerleader, dating the quarterback of the football team, president of her church's youth group, and a straight A student, poised to graduate early and go to Princeton, or Yale.
They didn't have much in common, either.
By the time he retired for the night, when practice was over and his homework done, he laid in bed and stared up at the ceiling, waiting to fall asleep so he could wake up in the morning and do it all over again. He didn't mind the exhaustion. It meant he worked hard, working toward his goal, and he had that to be proud of. He just wished he had someone he could share it with, someone who appreciated his passions and interests.
It was Tuesday night, when Quinn had youth group at her church and the Fabrays went along for Bible study, that Adam was lying in bed, perusing the theater kid blogs, searching for advanced notice of any cattle calls going on that weekend. He had the price of a round trip train ticket to New York saved up, and possibly enough to spend on one night in a questionable motel room. He ventured onto Google and did some daydreaming, looking at what it would cost for him to move to New York, rent an apartment, and go to the top three colleges of his choice.
Still way out of his price range, but as his father kept reminding him, he had time.
A miniscule light blew by from somewhere behind him, its reflection in Adam's computer screen blinking at him for a second, followed by a sudden flash, then a thud against his closed window.
"What the..." Adam turned around, expecting to see a dazed bird lying on his carpet. Since he'd been in Lima, that had happened to him twice. Quinn told him that some of the sparrows fly in on the colder nights, lured by the light, and become confused, so he started closing his window right before sunset.
Which he had.
This bird didn't try to get into his room and smack the glass from the outside.
It was already inside his room, and was trying to get out.
Adam approached the bird cautiously. He'd been nipped by three of these creatures already. He didn't want to get bitten again. But the closer he got to the animal, he realized it wasn't a bird at all.
What lay on his floor, shaking its head, was more fantastic than any bird.
"It can't be," Adam whispered, looking at the tiny boy lying face down on his carpet - a tiny boy with wings. Which could only mean one thing.
This boy, with wings that glittered like gold, throwing highlights off his sweep of chestnut hair and shimmers across his pale skin, had to be a fairy. If he wasn't three inches tall, Adam would say that the boy looked about his age – 13, maybe 14 years old.
Adam acted quick, picking the boy up in his cupped hands while he was still knocked silly, and holding him, pinching his wings carefully between his thumb and forefinger. His father had read him stories about fairies, and according to the tales and the legends, this was how you needed to capture one when you found it.
Supposedly, capturing a fairy brought the finder luck, and boy, could Adam use a bit of that right now.
The fairy started to come around, blinking blue eyes and staring into the human face peering at him over the edge of large hands. The fairy looked stunned for a second, then immediately irate when he realized he couldn't move his wings.
"I demand that you let me go this instant!" the fairy said, kicking his heel into the palm of Adam's hand.
"Oh. Okay," Adam said, startled by the fairy's forcefulness. Perhaps he hadn't thought this thru. He didn't want to stir up the fairy's ire and fall victim to his magic. He might end up with a second head, or changed into a toad. But right before he opened the window, it hit him.
"Wait a second" - Adam looked at the fairy trapped in his hands - "I caught you. That means you have to grant me one wish, or become my servant forever."
"Where in the world did you hear that tripe?" the fairy asked, turning up his nose, but Adam simply stared, smiling at the fairy boy in his tiny, tailored blue velvet jacket and matching pants. Where a fairy would even get such a suit, Adam didn't know. But on closer inspection, Adam discovered that the suit was not made of velvet, but of flower petals, expertly crafted to look like clothes. Adam became so fascinated, he almost didn't hear the fairy relent. "Oh, alright," the fairy said. "You caught me. I'll grant you one wish." The fairy crossed his arms over his chest, looking extraordinarily put off. "So what so you want? Money?"
"Money?" Adam quirked an eyebrow.
"Well, it's a pretty standard wish request," the fairy explained. "A lot of people wish for money."
"Oh, yes," Adam agreed, "I guess money would be a very good thing to wish for. Money would get me to New York, and to Broadway, and I could start living out my dream."
"Yup, I figured." The fairy stretched out his arms, wiggling his fingers, preparing to grant Adam's wish. "Now, just say the magic words."
"But…money seems like too common a thing to waste a fairy wish on," Adam considered thoughtfully.
The fairy looked at him and smiled, immediately impressed.
"Very good," the fairy said. "Yes, you could wish for money, but money's all around. You have a better chance of becoming a millionaire through regular means than you do of finding a fairy again, so…think very hard, and come up with something unique."
It didn't take Adam too long to come up with a better request.
"I'm not too sure you'd think it a much better wish, but I…I want a friend," Adam said sadly.
"A friend?" the fairy repeated with a curious tilt of his head.
"Yes," Adam said.
"But, don't you have friends at school?"
"No," Adam said. "Not really. There are people who talk to me, and they acted like they liked me when I first got here, I guess, but now, they don't seem…I don't know…real? I want a real friend. One who'll hang out with me, and take the time to get to know me. One who, maybe, understands what I'm going thru."
The fairy looked at Adam and nodded in sympathy. "And…you're sure that's what you want?"
"Yes," Adam said without hesitation. "That's what I wish."
"Alright. You've made your wish, now set me free."
Adam raised a skeptical eyebrow, but he was more sad than suspicious. He didn't know what to expect. Would he let the fairy go, and a friend would just appear? Or was this all a ploy to get Adam to set him free? A fairy wish couldn't conjure him a friend…could it?
"I'll work on it for you," the fairy promises. "Now, please, set me free."
"Alright." Adam opened his window, and let the fairy go, watching him fly into the dark night, with no hope of ever seeing the tiny creature again.
The following morning, it was business as usual for Adam. He didn't know what to believe about his encounter with the fairy last night. Was there even a fairy, or did his mind make it up as a way to cope with all the things that had been bothering him that he felt he couldn't talk about? He hadn't told his host family because he didn't want to seem ungrateful, and he dared not tell his parents because they're probably send for him straight away. So that had to be it, because fairies didn't actually exist, and if they did, he had a better chance of seeing one in Essex than he did in Lima.
He made his own lunch in the early morning. He wasn't too fond of school lunches, and Quinn's mom, when she made him his lunch, seemed to be under the impression that he favored something called olive loaf, even though she had never asked. He packed up his book bag and headed for the bus. He wasn't in the mood to be pestered over anything, so with every new kid that arrived, he took a step to the right, ensuring that, even though he was the first person at the bus stop, he was the last one on the bus when it arrived. He found a seat alone and took it, sitting towards the aisle in the hopes that no one would want to join him.
That didn't exactly work out as well as he planned.
Amidst the normal chatter of kids talking too loud for seven o'clock in the morning, Adam heard a voice break through.
"Excuse me, may I sit here?" a boy asked.
Adam didn't recognize the voice, but it sounded familiar, like something Adam heard once in a dream or something. It niggled at him, like a jingle he'd heard in the background while something else played, that he didn't know he knew until he started whistling the tune.
The boy said nothing else, but waited, standing by Adam's leg, determined to sit beside him, and as Adam wasn't in the mood to argue, he gave in. He was about to move over when the bus started driving prematurely, and the boy stumbled, grabbing on to Adam's shoulder for support.
"Oop! I'm sorry about that," the boy said. "You'd think he could wait another five seconds."
"Yeah." Adam looked up at the boy to agree, and to ask if he was all right, but he saw the face looking back at him, and chuckled in surprise. He might have had a hard time placing the voice at first, but the face he would know anywhere. The pale skin, the sweep of chestnut hair, the blue eyes, dressed in a blue velvet blazer and jeans. Take Adam's fairy from last night and turn him human, and there he was, standing in the aisle, waiting for Adam to scoot over.
"Uh…yeah," Adam said, putting his backpack in his lap and sliding across the seat. "You'd think."
"Thank you," the boy said, and suddenly the voice becomes clearer, unmistakable, smacking Adam like a nudge against the shoulder, shaking him into reality and telling him, "This is him! Without a shadow of a doubt! This is him!"
"Call me Kurt," the boy said, extending an arm. "And you are?"
"Adam," Adam said, realizing they hadn't exchanged names last night.
"Well, Adam," Kurt said, giving Adam a wink that sent butterflies loose in his stomach, "something tells me we're going to be the best of friends."