A/N: If you're on Tumblr, you may know about Klaine AU Fridays, where each weekend during a lengthy hiatus, the Klaine fandom dedicates works (fanart, gifs, fanfic, etc.) to a certain theme. This Friday's theme, in honor of the Halloween season, is supernatural. Though my fic probably fits better with the fairy tale theme that happened over the summer, this is what I came up with.
It started as a quick drabble, but as most things go with me, it turned into something much more massive. Over 6,000 words. And this is only half of the story.
Unicorn!Kurt and knight!Blaine's story will continue in Part II (and potentially Part III if I need to expand even further).
There aren't really any warnings for this fic. The opening scene is a fight sequence, but it's pretty tame. Oh, and there's not going to be any smut or bestiality, in case you were wondering. LOL.
Blood pounded loudly in his ears, mixing with the sound of the dragon's ferocious roar. In a surge of panic, Blaine dropped his shield and wisely decided to abandon the bulky metal in favor of diving behind the nearest rock large enough to hide him, just in time to avoid another jet of flame from the beast's throat. He threw his head back against the shale, gazing up with at the cave ceiling with wide, desperate eyes, willing the gods to hear his silent prayers for safety.
He'd been at this game of cat and mouse for nearly fifteen minutes, and Sir Anderson, former knight of the king's guard, was no closer to slaying the dragon than he had been when he'd first stepped into the monster's lair, fresh and fully armored for battle.
Since then, he'd lost the majority of his courage, along with his shield and several plates of armor, the metal now strewn about the cave along with bones and piles of gold and other glittering objects. The massive dark green dragon had been incredibly angry at Blaine's initial disturbance, and the sight of the sword had only angered it further. Blaine knew he was no match, but he had no choice but to continue fighting. He would bring back the creature's head or he would die trying.
The latter option, unfortunately, was beginning to seem more like the probable end to his mission.
Taking a deep breath, Blaine pushed himself away from the rock and back into the fray, yelling a battle cry as he charged forward, blade held aloft. The dragon growled fiercely, swiping its spiked tail toward the approaching knight. Though Blaine managed to dodge most of it, the tip clipped his legs and sent him toppling to the ground. He rolled to avoid another burst of fire and finally managed to stab his sword into the creature's hind leg. The beast roared in pain and fury, kicking Blaine away with terrifying ease.
Though he had finally inflicted damage, Blaine knew the wound was minor for a dragon as large as the one he faced. While the creature was still energized, Blaine was growing weary. It was only a matter of time before he dodged a pillar of flame too slowly. If the fire didn't get him, then the claws, fangs, or tail of the monster would.
The dragon roared again, its jaws opening wide. The knight scrambled to his feet once more, made sluggish by the weight of his armor. A massive paw streaked through the air. Though Blaine braced for the impact, he was still unprepared for the magnitude of the power that struck him. He hit the cave wall with a loud crash of metal. Heavily, Blaine collapsed to the cave floor and his dented helmet slid from his sweat-matted curls, rolling down the slope of pointed rocks.
Blaine stared up at the dragon, too weak to get up. The world was blurring in at the edges. He closed his eyes, hoping to lose consciousness before the fire consumed him. A shrill sound echoed through the cave. The dragon roared. Galloping hooves pounded loudly against the dark rocks. Blaine fell into blackness…
Though his eyes were closed, Blaine could see light. It made everything in his sight a constant hue of muted red, shining through the blood in the veins of his lids like a thin veil. If he had eyes, then he must have a body. Was this the afterlife? Blaine was almost afraid to find out.
Anxiously, the knight opened his eyes, squinting until they adjusted. The first thing he noticed was the soiled armor, streaked with burn marks, still covering his legs which were splayed out in front of him. He was alive then. But this was definitely not the dragon's lair. There were no bones or rocks or stolen treasures. The ground was covered in leaves and soft moss. Trees surrounded him; he was propped up against the trunk of one of them.
How had he ended up in the forest?
Blaine glanced around quickly, looking for the sign of his rescuer. Perhaps they hadn't wanted to be found, and as soon as they'd made sure the knight was breathing, had bid a hasty retreat. Blaine was preparing to call out to anyone within earshot when the white creature finally caught his attention out of the corner of his eye.
He turned his head to look, and the air caught in his throat, his lungs going dead still in mid-breath as shock stormed his brain.
There, not five body lengths away, was a unicorn.
A real, living, breathing, blindingly white unicorn.
For a moment, Blaine nearly reconsidered his deduction that he had not died, because things like this didn't happen in the real world. He stared in awe, eyes raking across the animal's body as if Blaine was afraid the creature would fade into a sheen of mist and disappear.
The unicorn was a male, certainly, for the horn jutting from his head was long and straight as an arrow, as opposed to the slight curves found in the horns of females. It seemed as if its horn had been streaked with brushes of gold amongst the pearl-colored ivory. Though they were some distance apart, Blaine could still see the way the golden flecks glinted in the light streaming down through the canopy of trees above them.
It was said that those who were lucky enough to look upon one of these magnificent creatures would be blessed with an immeasurable amount of good fortune. The occurrence was exceedingly rare however, unicorns being so mistrustful of humankind. And who could blame them, Blaine supposed. When the world had still been new, when all the different creatures had trusted one another in their infancy, the first unicorns had all but been decimated completely due to the greed of humans, ever lusting after their magical horns, illustrious manes and tails, and hides that would keep children warm even through the harshest winter storm.
In an effort to preserve the angelic creatures, the gods had blessed the remaining unicorns, and their offspring after them, with an exceedingly long lifespan—some men claimed they were even immortal, only able to die by wounds of the flesh. All the same, scattered throughout the land, there remained entire battalions of villagers and soldiers of the king who hunted unicorns down to hack them apart for more gold than any man could ever spend. Who could blame the creatures then, that the foals of the first ancestors often fled at the slightest whiff of a human's scent?
All this knowledge swirled in Blaine's mind as he lay still against the trunk of the tree. The unicorn stood at the opposite edge of the clearing, his hindquarters hidden in brush behind him.
"Why don't you run?" Blaine asked quietly, more to himself than the beast. Of course, the unicorn did not reply. They were still animals, no matter how magical.
"Why did you save me?" he asked, pondering. "You must have saved me… There's no other way I could have escaped the dragon."
The unicorn stood still and silent as the sculptures in the courtyard of the king's castle.
Wincing at the ache in his bruised, battle-weary muscles, Blaine pushed himself up from where he'd been laying, rolling onto his hands and knees before gripping the bark of the tree and hauling himself to his feet. Behind him, the stallion whickered, not unlike a horse, though the sound was infinitely more beautiful. Blaine turned to the creature and tentatively took a step forward, holding his breath as he waited to see the stallion bolt. It didn't.
"I won't hurt you," Blaine swore quietly. "I don't know the words of the old language…" If he did, Blaine would speak them, and the magic in the language of the gods would bind him to his words. He'd be incapable of doing anything but what he'd said, and the unicorn would know on instinct that the man was not here to harm him. "But I never break my promises. I won't hurt you," Blaine said again. The stallion let out a breath through his nostrils, not in an angry manner. The idea was preposterous, but it almost seemed as if he was saying he understood.
With nothing more to say, Blaine fell silent, taking a few slow steps. The closer he got, the harder his heart hammered in his chest. At its full height, the unicorn was at least a head taller than the knight, even in his armor. The stallion's horn loomed dangerously above him. As beautiful as it was, Blaine knew it would be all too easy for the creature to gore him, straight though the silver chainmail and into his body. No one would find him here. He would bleed out and die on the forest floor—carrion for the wolves.
Yet he couldn't turn away. When again would the gods grant him such an opportunity, to be so close to the most magnificent of all creatures? When a mere four steps separated them, Blaine raised his right arm, hand shaking. He held it out, palm up and fingers turned toward the sky. The unicorn took a single, slow step forward, its hooves scraping over the leaves, and Blaine froze as the creature closed the distance between them and slowly, slowly pressed its muzzle against the skin of the man's hand.
A palpable sensation shivered through Blaine's body, and he gasped at the unfamiliarity, though it wasn't painful.
So this must be how the connection feels, Blaine thought, I saw the human shiver. That is the sign, is it not?
The human looks frightened. Can he understand, I wonder?
Blaine let out an embarrassingly startled yelp, staggering backward, one hand flying up to his temple in alarm. Those weren't his own thoughts, he realized with a bit of fascination and terror. The unicorn had spoken inside his head.
Ah, yes, he does understand. The thought came with a hint of amusement, and Blaine felt his mouth threatening to twitch into a grin. He shook his head, squeezing his eyes shut. He was even feeling the stallion's emotions.
"I can hear you," Blaine breathed in awe, "I can h-hear your thoughts?"
Do not be afraid.
"H-How did you—? I... What happ—?
Do not be afraid, the stallion said again. Just as you promised me no harm, I make the same vow to you. When you placed your hand on me, without evil intentions to wound and kill and butcher, our minds became tethered. Such is the way our ancestors once spoke to one another.
"This used to h-happen all the time?" Blaine couldn't believe it. The stallion inclined its head in what seemed to be a nod.
All creatures were once able to communicate with one another, in a language that was familiar to all. But your kind became destructive and cruel, seeking power and dominance that you did not deserve. Blaine shrank back at the quiet, swirling anger—a calm reminder that the stallion could just as easily kill him as speak to him. Most of the creatures fled and withdrew, speaking only to their families. Though it is rarely employed, the ability remains with my kind and yours, human.
"My name's Blaine," he said suddenly. "I mean, I usually go by Sir Anderson. I am—well, I was—a knight in the king's guard, but you can call me Blaine."
Blaine. The knight felt a chill run from the top of the man's head all the way to his toes. The unicorn continued, My true name is one that your kind cannot easily pronounce. It is in the old language, the stallion explained.
"Then what can I call a creature as magnificent as you?" Pleased warmth flickered in Blaine's mind. The unicorn was flattered.
I suppose you may call me… Kurt, he replied.
"Kurt." Blaine smiled. "That's a wonderful name." The pleased warmth flickered in Blaine's mind again. Blaine took a step forward, his hand lifting up, but then he paused, thinking it best not to assume he had permission to touch. He cleared his throat. "Kurt, I… I've never, um, met a unicorn before."
Clearly. Blaine rolled his eyes in amusement, wholly uncertain whether it was his own action or Kurt's.
"Would you mind if I pet you for a while?"
The stallion snorted, something akin to a wordless scoff, though the voice in Blaine's mind wasn't harsh. You do not pet a unicorn, Blaine Anderson. We are not lowly creatures like yapping dogs, yearning for human affection and empty praise.
"I apologize. I didn't mean to offend you."
It's alright. Yes, Blaine, you may put your hands on me.
Blaine nodded in thanks and strode forward, only hesitating a moment before placing his hand on Kurt's neck. Beneath his startlingly white hide, Blaine could feel the stallion's hard muscles, thicker and stronger than the best fighters in the village. Kurt's hide itself was incredible. It seemed similar to velvet, but somehow seemed softer than silk. Though the thought of slaughtering any creature this angelic was abhorrent, Blaine could see why people coveted the material gains of such an act. Kurt acknowledged the thought with disgust, his muscles twitching beneath Blaine's hand.
"It's much more beautiful on you than it would ever be on any human," Blaine assured, reaffirming that he was not here to cause any damage. Kurt relaxed. Slowly, Blaine let his hand stroke down Kurt's neck, much like he did with his own mount after a hard ride or exhausting battle. He moved, trailing his hand over Kurt's shoulder and reaching up to run it along Kurt's back. The stallion nickered quietly.
After a minute or two, Blaine walked back up to Kurt's head, facing him with a smile. "You really are the most glorious creature I've ever seen," he concluded.
Yes, I can tell how you regard me by your thoughts, Sir Anderson. Though you're in despair that I'm so tall and you cannot properly see my eyes.
Blaine blushed. "They say eyes are the window to the soul," he explained.
Really? I have not heard such an expression... but look upon them if you must. Kurt dipped his muzzle forward, his neck muscles rippling until his head was on level with Blaine. Turning a bit to the side to properly see him, the stallion stared at Blaine with the eye on the left side of his face. Blaine swallowed, feeling captivated. The unicorn's eyes were a cool, ice blue. Brighter than sapphires, gleaming like a crystal clear pond. Blaine could practically see the countless years of the unicorn's life reflected in its depths. Somehow, Blaine could tell he was in the presence of a wise, kind, and peaceful being. The knight wondered how anyone could ever wish malice on someone—for Kurt was definitely someone, not a something—so spectacular.
Do you see my soul, Blaine? Kurt asked with genuine curiosity.
"I don't know," Blaine admitted softly.
I think I can see yours.
"What does it look like?"
True. Full of goodness and heart. I have never met another human before, but I believe you must be the best of your kind.
"Thank you." Blaine felt honored to hear such a fulfilling judgment.
Come with me, Kurt told him quietly, I know a lake not too far from here. You could take off your metal and cleanse yourself. You look dreadfully dirty, if I may be honest with you.
Blaine laughed. "I suppose I must. There's no clean way to fight a dragon."
For the first time, Kurt stepped fully into the clearing, his hindquarters emerging from the brush. Blaine's heart caught in his throat. Along his left flank, a gash marred the creature's chiseled body, dried blood smearing his white hide.
"You're hurt," Blaine observed with horror. "The dragon maimed you. Why didn't you tell me?"
I could not reveal this weakness to you until I was sure you could be trusted, Sir Anderson. A lesser man may have tried to take advantage of my wound.
"Surely you could have fought them off?"
Of course. Even wounded, I'm stronger than any single man. But you see, Blaine, though I would defend myself to any end, I would rather it not come to loss of life.
Blaine nodded. He knew that feeling well.
What of it? What do you know of that feeling? Tell me as we walk. Kurt strode forward with purpose. Blaine followed at his side, surprised to see how smoothly the stallion moved with his injury.
"Oh... Well, the reason I elected to slay the dragon—or try to—" Blaine shrugged, "was to regain my honor in the king's guard."
What would a noble man such as yourself ever be capable of doing that would strip you of it in the first place? Kurt seemed astounded.
"I refused to take lives," Blaine said solemnly. "Prisoners of war. They were due to be executed, and I was due to bring the sword down and see that the justice of my liege was done... but I couldn't bring myself to it. I threw down my blade and walked away. The men still died at another's hand, but I had shamed my king."
What strange qualities your kind values, Kurt mused. Killing is what they believe makes one noble?
"It doesn't make any sense."
Kurt snorted in agreement, remaining silent. Blaine walked along with him, dodging overgrown branches in his wake. Next to Kurt's nearly silent movements, Blaine's clanking armor sounded more like an entire army than a single knight.
You're awfully loud, Kurt remarked a moment later, Frightening away all the birds. He whinnied in an unmistakable laugh, and the sound seemed to peal like bells. Blaine laughed with him, retorting, "You try wearing a suit of armor made for battle with a dragon and walking silent as a ghost."
I would still be quieter than you, scrawny human, Kurt teased. Blaine could only laugh and nod, knowing it was true. We're nearly there now.
When they reached their destination, Blaine had to wonder if Kurt's magic could somehow play a trick on his eyes. Out of the dense forest, the vegetation thinned completely, and before he knew it, he was standing in small clearing, surrounded on all sides by trees. The secluded oasis was home to a well-sized lake of clear water, fed by a tiny stream that trickled in from a steady slope on the far side where the trees began to climb up toward the mountains Blaine could see from his watch station on the battlements of the castle at home.
"Wow," he breathed.
It's quite lovely, isn't it? I come here rather frequently. I never bring strangers with me, though, and I certainly never let them bathe in my waters. You are definitely special, Blaine.
The knight smiled. "Thank you, Kurt."
Go on and get clean. You smell like dirt and singed hair. The stallion lifted his head as if to avoid the smell, leaving Blaine chuckling as he headed toward the water's edge.
He removed what remained of his armor slowly, tired muscles working at a calm pace to unbuckle and untie the various secure straps one by one. His sword, greaves, chest plate, gauntlets, and heavy mail were all set aside. Though Blaine would have to reimburse the smithy for the armor he had lost, he couldn't bring himself to feel upset that the added weight was gone. Finally, he was left clad in a sweat-stained tunic that had been white when he'd put it on this morning, and a pair of long pants that clung to his leg from too many hours stuffed behind metal plates. Blaine pulled them both off without giving much thought to his inevitable nudity, and stepped into the water.
It was surprisingly warm and incredibly soothing. Blaine waded out from the shallows until he was at the very center. At its deepest level the lake reached his chest, deep enough that he could lay back and float on the surface; the weightless feeling was heavenly. After a few minutes of relaxation, Blaine sank his feet back to the bottom and buried his toes in the soft mud, leaning down to wet his matted curls. When he pulled his head up again, he caught sight of Kurt resting at the edge of the lake, clearly watching the proceedings.
I've never seen a human bathe before, the stallion said in Blaine's mind, anticipating his question. I find your anatomy quite interesting.
Blaine blushed, even though the revelation was entirely innocent. Though Kurt couldn't see his red cheeks from where he sat, Blaine was sure the unicorn could feel it in his thoughts. A thread of amusement swirling through his consciousness confirmed his suspicions and Blaine rolled his eyes, turning his back to the creature on the bank.
When he'd finished thoroughly scrubbing himself down, Blaine swam back to where his clothes lay on the grass, dunking them in the water and doing his best to wash them off before slipping them on. The wet cloth clung to his skin as he walked over to Kurt. On his way over, Blaine grabbed the hem of his tunic and tore a strip of the fabric away, kneeling down to gently press it to Kurt's wound. The stallion winced, his leg giving a slight twitch from where it rest beneath his torso.
You don't need to do that.
"I want to." Blaine wasn't a healer. Though he was sure the proper foliage was out in this forest, he didn't know which plants would help prevent infection or help knit Kurt's skin back together at a faster pace. If he tried to choose, he'd probably find the only one that proved to be poisonous, so he did what he could, simply cleaning away the blood. "Will you be alright, Kurt?" he asked.
I will be fine, dear Blaine. The knight's heart gave a surprising jolt at the affection in Kurt's tone. I have sustained injuries far worse than the one on my flank, and as you can see, I am no worse for wear. You have no reason to worry. Blaine was relieved. He tossed the soiled cloth aside, giving Kurt's side a gentle pat. Come sit by me.
Blaine shuffled closer to Kurt's head and reached out to run his hand along Kurt's neck. "Why did you save me?" he asked. "You had no obligation. You knew it was dangerous, yet you did it anyway. I don't understand why you'd risk your life for a scrawny human."
Kurt seemed to consider the question for a moment. Blaine could feel his thoughts churning in their conjoined consciousness. I don't entirely know how to answer you, Blaine. I asked myself the same question while you were not yet awake, wondering why I stood watch over you even then…
I suppose I was meant to, Kurt surmised. I was meant to be passing the dragon's lair at the precise time when you needed me.
We cannot answer that question. That is only for the gods to know.
Blaine sighed, staring out at the water. His fingers traced lazy patterns against Kurt's hide. "Whatever the gods' reasoning, I'm glad they brought you to me, Kurt."
I am glad as well.
The next few hours passed at a calm pace. Blaine lay back against the grass and rested for some time while his clothes dried against his skin. Kurt watched him sleep with curiosity, catching glimpses of the man's dreaming through the connection in their minds. The images of Blaine's day-to-day human life were both interesting and disheartening. How sad for such a wonderful human to be subjected to such toils: warfare, absolute submission to his ruler, and a lingering despair that clung to so many of his memories.
The dreams only seemed to become more painful as they went on, and though Blaine appeared to be sleeping peacefully, Kurt grew weary of the torment. The stallion leaned over to nudge at Blaine's face, letting out a gentle nicker. The knight's eyes fluttered open, and he smiled, lifting his hand to stroke down Kurt's muzzle.
Your dreams are very sad, Blaine.
The man's face fell. His eyes darted away. "Yes," was all he said.
And they are all merely memories. Not even phantoms invented by your mind.
You carry sadness with you, Blaine Anderson. It pains me to know that. Even when you are with the young woman who smiles at you so tenderly, you are not happy. Not even when you hold her.
Blaine sighed heavily and sat up, staring out but hardly seeing. "We're to be married," he said, "but I do not love her."
Sorrow swirled in their collective consciousness. That is indeed a shame. Can you not decide to revoke the plan?
Blaine shook his head. "It was arranged by our parents. A few summers past, my mother and father fell victim to an enemy raid in our village. It would be a dishonor to their memory if I defied their wishes now... And the girl has had affections for me for many years already, before I knew we were to become husband and wife. It would break her heart if I rejected her."
Would it not be more sorrowful for her if you wed and she discovered that her husband did not truly love her?
"I would be shamed by entire village if I turned her away. I've already lost honor with my liege, and without the head of the dragon, I won't be able earn it back. I can't defeat that creature. If not for you, I'd be dead in its belly at this very moment… I cannot afford to lose anything else, Kurt. If Rachel and I don't wed, I won't receive her parents' dowry. I will have nothing left to my name." Blaine's voice was suddenly weak, as if he was realizing the true direness of his situation for the first time.
Kurt hesitantly responded, Perhaps your troubles are a sign that your life should be on a different path.
"I'm not good enough for anything else, Kurt. I'm not young or skilled enough to learn another trade. I cannot be happy in any marriage that would be allowed in my village; I do not love any of the women. The gods must have created me incorrectly," Blaine said quietly.
The gods don't make mistakes, Blaine. Kurt leaned his head down to meet Blaine's eyes, his icy blue orbs staring imploringly at him. You are exactly as they intended you to be.
You have a good heart. A good soul.
"A good soul is not enough to live in my world," Blaine said bitterly.
There was a silent moment.
It is enough in mine.
Blaine paused, "I'm not meant for your world."
What if you are? The knight's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. You say the gods made you incorrectly. What if you were simply placed in the wrong womb at your birth?
"I… You—You're suggesting that I'm not meant to be among my kind?"
It was merely a thought, dear Blaine, Kurt told him gently. I am not suggesting anything. Your path is for you to seek out; only you can determine what is best for you.
"It's just so difficult."
I know. Kurt's head moved closer, briefly nuzzling the side of Blaine's head. I know.
They fell into silence, and the silence stretched on for quite a long time. Blaine leaned into Kurt's side and considered how quickly he'd seemed to have formed a bond with the stallion. Blaine wasn't an inherently unfriendly person, but he wasn't exactly the best at making friends back home. Maybe it had been easy with Kurt because Blaine didn't have to explain everything, and he had no way to hide his thoughts. Their connection made communicating easier, and Blaine didn't have to worry about not saying enough.
When he finally spoke again, Blaine's voice sounded loud in the clearing. "I'll have to be returning the village soon. If I don't make it back before too long, the king will send guards to see if my corpse is salvageable. I can't let anyone else get close to that dragon."
Blaine got to his feet with a groan, stiff muscles protesting as he walked a few yards and began to don his armor once more. Kurt rose gracefully and tossed his head, his mane billowing out in silver waves. He approached Blaine and stood nearby until the knight had finally strapped on his sword.
If I take you to the edge of the forest, will you be able to find the way to your village?
Blaine nodded. "It's not too far. If we start now, I can make it back before nightfall."
I will get you there before sundown, Kurt told him. Climb on my back.
The knight's eyes widened in disbelief, "What?"
Climb on my back, dear Blaine. I won't make you walk all the way back on your two scrawny legs. You make far too much noise, not to mention that I must dreadfully slow my pace to keep with you. Blaine couldn't be offended.
"But my armor," he said, "I have no saddle. My armor might cut you."
Kurt scoffed, snorting. Saddles are for horses. Their hide is too thin. It will not harm me; we are not travelling that far.
"Your wound," Blaine glanced at Kurt's flank warily.
I would not invite you upon my back if I did not believe myself capable of carrying you. Trust me, Blaine. I am perfectly fine, Kurt assured.
"Alright." Still feeling hesitant, Blaine placed his hands on Kurt's back, helplessly standing at his side. He would never take stirrups for granted again. "Um, Kurt?"
Oh! Your small stature, how could I forget? The stallion's amusement flickered through Blaine's mind, and he knew Kurt had not forgotten. Kurt lowered himself back down to the ground, and before he could talk himself out of it, Blaine swung his leg over the unicorn's back and settled his weight onto the mass of muscle beneath him.
When Kurt rose to his full height, Blaine wobbled dangerously, feeling a bit dizzy. Kurt was much taller than his usual mount back in the king's stables. Even the massive chargers that the commanders rode were not as tall as the unicorn.
Hold on, dear Blaine, and I will show you how fast I can run. Excitement thrummed through Kurt's body, swimming in Blaine's mind until he too felt eager and energetic to fly. Leaning forward, Blaine wrapped his arms around the stallion's neck, lightly scratching the short, soft hairs there. Kurt tossed his head with a beautiful whinny and bolted forward, headlong toward the tree line.
Blaine couldn't help but close his eyes as the brush approached. Kurt was at a gallop almost immediately, and though Blaine didn't doubt Kurt's ability to navigate his homeland with ease, it was still terrifying to see the very solid trunks move toward them so quickly. He braced for an impact that never came, and when Blaine again opened his eyes, he saw branches and leaves soar past him in a constant green blur. Kurt's mane billowed out like a thousand silver streamers, and Blaine had to squint to keep the rush of air from burning his eyes.
I love to run, Kurt's mind seemed to shout with joy. I love to run as quickly as I can. The gods made me for this!
The stallion's ecstasy seeped into Blaine's bones, and in the moment of Kurt's pure bliss, the knight found himself laughing in a carefree way that he never had before. The wind tore through his hair, howling in his ears, and he laughed harder. Kurt neighed in a jovial response, kicking up his heels, and Blaine stroked his neck, wishing he could always feel this free—wishing he could run like Kurt, so that they could run together. They would never have to stop, never look back.
Kurt sped through the forest, never slowing even when he began to pant heavily for breath. When he finally did began to pull up, Blaine felt his heart sinking. They would be nearing the edge of the trees soon.
A mere minute later Blaine could see the break in the foliage up ahead. Kurt slowed to a trot and paused just before the trees parted into the plain that Blaine would cross to return to his village. The stallion lowered himself to the ground, and the knight slid from his back. Just as Kurt predicted, his hide was as pristine as ever, though a few leaves were tangled in his mane. Blaine reached up to pluck them out, taking his time to get every last piece. When he'd finished, the two stood facing one another, both at a loss for the proper words.
"I wish I didn't have to leave," Blaine admitted.
We will see each other again, Kurt told him.
"How do you know?"
The gods brought us together, Blaine. We were meant to have this connection. We will meet again. If not in this life, then in another. I must believe it.
Blaine longed to have to have the same blind faith. "Thank you for saving my life, Kurt. Thank you for trusting me."
Kurt bowed his neck and Blaine placed his hands on the stallion's wide cheeks without hesitation, pressing their heads together for a moment. Blaine couldn't explain why this felt so much like home. His heart ached at the thought of parting. He felt Kurt's similar sorrow echoing in his mind.
Suddenly, an idea struck Blaine. He dropped his hands from Kurt's head and dug down beneath his armored chest plate until his fingers found the cord around his neck. Giving it a few tugs, the knight was finally able to hoist it up from where it had lain against his skin, pulling the treasure up over his head. A necklace dangled in his hand, a small, circular wood carving hanging at the end. The smooth wooden disc bore the image of a bird taking off from a bed of flames.
"My father carved this when I was a child. My mother fastened it onto a strip of leather so I could wear it with me wherever I traveled," he explained, a fond smile on his face. "I've had to change the cord through the years, but it's still the same to me." He looked up into Kurt's blue eyes. "I want you to have it."
I cannot take something that it so precious to you, Blaine. This is from your mother and father. I don't want you to carry regret.
"Please," Blaine said quietly. "Please keep it. And when we meet again, you can return it to me. I want you to have it, Kurt."
If you must part with it to ease your heart, I will graciously accept your gift. Wrap it around my horn. It won't fit about my neck, and I'd be worried I would lose it if it was tied into my mane or tail.
Blaine nodded, and Kurt inclined his head, keeping very still to let Blaine work. The knight slipped the loop around the pointed tip of the stallion's horn, circling it around and looping the cord over the tip several more times before lowering it to the base. There he spun it until the cord grew short, slipped the carving through the cord in a makeshift knot, and finally let it settle against the unicorn's forehead. When Blaine was finished, Kurt gave his head an energetic toss. The necklace stayed in place.
I will cherish it, Kurt swore. Just as I've come to cherish you. Blaine rubbed at his eye, feeling them beginning to sting. With a bit of shock, the knight realized the sting was being caused by tears. He gave Kurt a watery smile. I am glad I found you, Blaine Anderson.
"I am too," Blaine replied, adding in a softer voice, "Do you… Do you know if our connection will remain when we're apart?"
I do not know. It may. It may not. Only time and distance will tell.
Blaine reached up and placed his palm against Kurt's muzzle. "Until we meet again."
Farewell, my dear Blaine. Stay true to your soul, brave knight. The gods will not lead you astray.
With one final gaze up at the white stallion Blaine dropped his hand and turned away, heading through the last of the underbrush and out onto the plain. In the distance, he could see smoke billowing from the cook fires burning in his village, the gray ash fading into the orange red glow of the setting sun.
Part II coming soon...