(I) The Story
And this is where we bury our hearts,
between self-defeating personality disorders
and burnt bridges and midnight ramblings
embedding our memories in forsaken homes
like it is a conscious decision to shed
our wings (reptiles don't fly)
~*"Defeathered," by intricately-ordinary
. ❄ (i was the yesterday waiting for my tomorrow, and you were the future running from your today...)
"You're hiding in the library again too, huh?" He'd pat her head like a kitten's, with the flat base of his palm, doing what he did to all children without childhoods. "Don't cry,"―pat, pat―"do you wanna hear a story?"
The stories in question were redundant. Swashbucklers. Adventurers. Nobles. Rogues. Figureheads of freedom. Men made out of stardust.
"He could go anywhere he wanted to go; he could do anything that he wanted to do―"
―And for an eight year old who couldn't, it only made her think of walls with no windows and bedrooms with closed doors, parental guidance that advised her to, "never go anywhere until you've learned how to suffocate."
Yet Flynnigan Rider could go anywhere he wanted to go, he could do anything that he wanted to do. No right ― no wrong ― no rules for him; he was free. Her heart was a bird and her ribs were a cage, but the man with the smolder was born a phoenix. She projected her limitations onto the rogue made of ink, picturing how it would be to live inside paragraphs of unpunctuated independence; to be "un-sheltered" and self-governed; to see "what a party looks like" for the villagers beyond the wooden gates; to be―
"Just like him," the servant boy ejaculated, strung to his top note. "Someday, I'll be just like him ― straight out of all the fairytales. I'll have my own castle, with my own future, and live far, far away ― as close to the sun as possible! I'll rise like the break of dawn and catapult off cloud nine."
The girl paused, feeling her heart muscles twist like a key turning in a lock.
"The past will be in the past, and I'm never going back; I don't care what they're going to say. I'll test the limits and break through."
She wiped her tears off the illustration in his book, aware that she could never plagiarize the print or his lyrics. He, like the figureheads of freedom, possessed that peculiar, hormone-raging lust for escape, the confidence to shed his sheepskin and make life happen. But every wild boy had a shackled foot and a broken childhood that held them down. She saw the fragments when he looked away, smiling at the window like an earthbound star no one ever tried to name a god after.
"I want to hear the story behind your eyes..."
He looked straight at her. Closing in. Closing up ― like an oyster with a pearl broken in two parts. "I don't have a story."
She frowned. Making her hands into small fists on her knees. Something had clouded the constellations in his eyes; something she did not catch, but felt. Something stowed and hidden. A prologue to the things he'd experienced and the way he'd lived. Her own life had taught her that one's secrets were sometimes connected to a private shame.
(you wanted valuable treasure because you were nobody's treasure)
His body language grew timid and awkward; goosebumps breaking across his arms, knees knocking with the same please-don't-look-too-close that would lurk between all twenty-four teeth in her 24hr smiles.
Part of her wanted to laugh at the scenario ― a throaty, strained laugh with disbelief and understanding coughed up together. They were peasant and princess, but they stifled self-consciousness equably; masked weak self-esteems; could not tolerate any spotlight hitting the darkest, deepest parts of their most sensitive selves. A kindred secretiveness ― or mysterious layer guarding the past.
All she had was a three-lined script to perform a role her parents wrote for her; all he had were storybooks to patch up holes that had no happy endings.
(our inklines were smudged but we tried our best to not seep through the paper)
"Do you want to see Orion's Belt?" The boy looked at her upside down, never rightside up, just as he did all the world. "If I took you to the stars, would you make me a castle?"
She squeezed her knees, palmed her tears, and shook her head under the fingers that clutched it. "You'd catch a cold..."
He laughed. Loudly. Uncontrollably. Shakily. "Then how about an ice sculpture of myself?"
She smiled. Sadly. Shakily. Being raised on adventure tales with mermaids and beautiful enchantresses made him believe she was nothing short of Lady of the Lake herself ― forever holding onto a giddy affection for the first ice castle he ever saw her make in the ballroom with her sister, a day the orphanage-sent servant boy had gone poking his nose around the forbidden rooms of the royal dorms.
(but you and i weren't meant to be in the same plot)
"OOH! Or you could make another ice castle in the ballrooms again; you know, like when Princess Anna―"
"―Fitzherbert! Where'd you run off to, you no-good shoe-shiner?!"
He dropped his book in horror.
No no no no no no
no no no no no no
no no no no no no―
The sprigs of ice that had crystallized the wall behind her sparkled like distorted, evil trees. The boy who had dropped his storybook looked like a ghost in a shell.
Fear hijacked her body and she flew across the library, flailing and tripping behind shelves to melt between pages of parallel universes where melodramas like these ended with happily ever after in big, cursive letters. Two hours of sobbing against cold walls and there were no fairy godmothers to cry into; guards were stampeding the halls, shouting left and right, and she was folded up on the floor at the back of the Death & Tragedy aisle.
"H-Hey." Hushed, nervous laughter. "Don't hide in the books; you'll get papercuts..."
She could feel the nerves in the boy's hand as it trembled down on her head, pulsating with something greater than all the climaxes in his stories...
"Don't!" Her wail was like a firecracker. "Don't touch me!" His hand snapped back. "Pl-Please..." Sniffle. "...I'm..." A curse, (and you didn't have enough ink to rewrite that...)
His eyes were wide with fear. Pity. Empathy. The look of a boy who didn't know what was happening in his brain as he watched her convulse. She turned her face into the carpet, shaking with more trauma than her little body could take.
"...Don't cry..." He patted her head like a kitten's, with the flat base of his palm, and dropped a playful, yet shaky whisper a little ways by her ear―"Do you wanna hear a story―"
"―No." She clenched her teeth, eyelashes beating out the tears as she tried to muster the strength to jerk away, but she couldn't keep herself from dissolving into soft wails.
"You know..." He paused. "...I don't...got that much in me to like,"―he sounded afraid of his own voice, recognizing both the insanity and sadness in the situation―"but I like you."
An absurb plot twist.
An absurb moment of weakness and anger.
"...Because you're like the wizards in all those stories―"
(i was a plot hole in my own story)
"―yet you don't like yourself that much, either."
Ended by an absurb, nervous laugh.
Tears dropped off her cheeks one by one as she stared at him, and despite all his goosebumps and shaking hands, he stared at her with a smile that seemed to hurt his sniveled, turned, and laughed with her face against her palms. Quietly. Uncontrollably. Shakily. A throaty, strained laugh with disbelief and understanding coughed up together.
(i was not a fairytale)
. ❄ ❄ .
❄ (but i was the book you didn't put down...)
I'll make two pairs of cardboard wings,
one for you and one for me,
so that one day when we get old we can fly to the sun
and make sky castles to live in forever...
~*"Sky Castles," by intricately-ordinary
❆ Author's Note
Request. Challenge: 900-1000 word count. Biggest challenge: fluff.
It's weak and impulsively fast, but my brain is still recovering from a coma (I.E. I have no idea how to write anymore). That, or I need open heart surgery. It's actually amazing to me that she (the requester) is mature enough to understand writing like this, but the Crystal Children of this generation are a whole new breed.
The Quivering Pens was not something I wanted to recommend to her (if only for its ideologically sensitive content), so I detached (or decapitated) one of its predominant themes and gave it its own AU for her to enjoy. Albeit a very simplified, fluffy one that will never occur in The Quivering Pens for as long as it lives.
"Do you wanna hear a story?" juxtaposes, "Do you wanna build a snowman?" purposely. The setting was meant to be told like a memory being looked back on, and I believe "Bookstruck" was requested to be serial, but I never had that in mind. I'll most likely edit the living skittles out of this one-shot when I get a jumpstart on writing decent literature. So if it's quite trite, I'll go back in.
To clarify, even though I like it unlisted:
This takes place on the night of Anna's accident, in which the family has not issued a bedroom division between the sisters yet, though Elsa's contemplating the life she will be forced to lead as a result of the prophecy.
Nonetheless, she hadn't reached the stage where her powers were self-activating at random, so she knew no other "bigger" threat than the villagers murdering her in the future out of their fear and hatred for her, not her own fear of herself.
Works as the castle's "indentured" servant after being immigrated to Arendelle with other illegitimate orphans by Corona's ministry. It's a means for giving such title-less, low-born children a trade.
However, being the only additional child in the house, he knew what the princess could do with snowflakes before Anna's accident, so the barrier isn't there here; it's more or less similar to the dynamic she alllowed between herself and her parents. Emotionally distant, but physically accessible, due to the fact that they, and only they, knew what she was without prejudice.