Author's Note: Another fic, oh noez! Written for sherlockbbc_fic on LJ, again! This fic is a fusion between BBC Sherlock and Disney's Tangled—basically with Sherlock as Rapunzel and John as Flynn, and their ages have been changed to match that of their character. There'll be all sorts of spoilers for Tangled, so if you haven't seen the movie, you probably should. Not only is it amazing, it may make some of the things in this story make sense. I'll update once a week, scene by scene, so we don't catch up to where I'm writing too quickly. I'm sure we will, because I'm a slow writer. Yes, there will be some eventual Sherlock/John. And um...I think that's it. For now, you get the prologue. Reviews are love? :D
Warnings: This is not going to follow Tangled's storyline to the letter, although it will be close. Be prepared. Disclaimers are in the profile.
Once upon a—no, this isn't really one of those kind of stories, is it? No, not really, so…hmm. How to start? I could start at a couple different places, I guess, but that'd probably require a lot of backtracking and I'm not so keen on that. It might be best to say everything started before I ever came on the scene.
I can only tell you what I've heard, because I certainly wasn't around when everything got started, but popular legend mentions something about a flower. A flower born from a ray of blessed sunlight and laden with magic, that was meant to be a gift to the world.
Pure rubbish, of course. Flowers don't grow from sunlight alone, and the little magic the Kingdom has left resides at the Royal Court. The only magic I've ever seen is in those lanterns they send up once a year. And maybe one other thing, but we'll get to that.
Point being, the first person to come across this flower was an old woman. She's not really that vital to the story, but she is the one who set this chain of events in motion, so I'll tell you about her. Some people believe she was a person of magic herself, and recognized the value of the plant. Don't ask me how. I'm not much of a botanist. Maybe it was the colour—a brilliant reddish-gold reminiscent of fire. Maybe it was just one of those things you know, without a reason. I don't know. But the old woman saw the flower and recognized it for what it was—power. When she sang a certain song, the petals of the flower glowed and restored her youth.
Yeah, I know. Wonder how she figured that out. Trial and error, most likely.
But she was fearful that if anyone else found the flower, she would lose her provider of immortality. So she never shared her discovery with anyone, instead using it to keep herself young and alive for centuries. However, despite her silence, rumours of a wondrous plant spread throughout the Kingdom.
Things only go downhill for her from here. We'll get back to her in a moment.
As time passed, a powerful Kingdom established itself and its rulers became much beloved to their people.
Is that how you say it? 'Much beloved to'? Or 'unto'?
Anyway, the current rulers are the important ones here, and we poor folk didn't mind them so much. Then the royal family announced the Queen was with child and everyone thought that was brilliant, because the Kingdom would have an heir and round these parts we'll take any excuse to party.
But the Queen became ill, really ill, and the Royal Physician himself was worried she wouldn't recover, let alone carry her child to term. So the King sent the Royal Guard on a quest to find a legend—a magical flower the colour of fire.
See? Told you we'd get back to the old lady.
She was there when the guards found the plant, out of sight, and seconds too late to attempt hiding it. She knew there was no way to stop the guards at the moment, but she resolved to get it back. At that point the flower was keeping her alive, and she needed it the way some men need drink.
The old woman knew where they were going, so she stopped off at her house—well, it was more of a tower, really. You know the type: really tall, narrow, probably shouldn't be lived in. She had a little boy living there with her, about seven years old, so he could go to school. Her great-great-great-great grandson, or something like that. She told him she'd received a request from his father to act as a midwife, and she'd be gone for a while. He'd be fine as long as he didn't stray far and there was plenty of food. Then she left.
She was gone for four weeks, skulking around the City probably, and waiting for an opportunity to reclaim what she considered rightfully hers. The Queen was miraculously healed with a potion made from the flower, and gave birth to a healthy baby boy with the longest, most beautiful ginger hair anyone had ever seen on a new-born baby. The King was so happy we had to celebrate some more, and nobody objected.
No one knows how, but somehow the old woman got into the castle. And not just the castle, either, but the new heir's room. Some pretty shoddy security, if you ask me. First thing she did was sing and run her fingers through his hair, and wouldn't you know, it glowed the same way the flower used to. She probably thought she could just take a lock of his hair and carry it around for an eternity or two, but the moment she cut it, it died.
Well okay, not died died, but it stopped glowing as though a switch had been flipped. Right before her eyes, the red-gold colour faded to the darkest black, moving like ink from end to scalp.
Clearly, that plan was out.
If she couldn't take the hair, then she'd have to take the child, and she certainly wasn't above kidnapping. She took the heir and ran.
When the King and Queen realized what happened, they sent the Royal Guards to scour the Kingdom for their son. No one ever found him.
The old woman returned home and presented her however-many-greats grandson with the baby and told him it was his new brother. Said their mother had died giving birth and their father took his life in his grief. The boy cried for days, but he had no evidence to the contrary and eventually accepted her version of events.
The Kingdom went into mourning, and the King and Queen and everyone released lanterns into the sky, hoping maybe someday they would guide their prince home. Every year on the day of his disappearance, you'll see lanterns in the sky. They're magic lanterns, I'm pretty sure, because I don't know what else would send them up into the sky like that. Not the most reliable method of bringing someone home, but it's the thought that counts, I suppose.
So there was mourning for a lost son, mourning for lost parents, and generally a lot of mourning.
Nine years later, the old woman died. I've heard lots of different versions on how, some of them more gruesome than others. Some say she was requested as a midwife elsewhere, a real request this time, and was attacked on the return journey home. Others say she was caught in a storm, and wandered off the path through the forest and couldn't find her way out again. Maybe both are true, maybe neither. The only thing I know for sure is her then-sixteen year old great-to-the-nth-power grandson had to identify her body, so if anyone knows the truth, it'll be him.
He took over caring for the only family he had left, and if he was a little overprotective of the child, well, the boy was young and curious and had magical hair. In addition to raising a precocious nine-year-old alone, he probably had abandonment issues too, but that's another story. Don't tell him I said that. No really, don't. He won't like that. Sorry.
Well, you can fast-forward another…almost nine years now, because nothing interesting happens in between, mainly because I haven't arrived yet. I could tell you all about me—what I've been through, what I've seen, how many times I've nearly died—but you've probably figured out by now that this story isn't about me at all. Sad, I know.
This story is about Sherlock. It's always about Sherlock.