Shadows of the Tales

A/N: Aurelius and Rumpelstiltskin are from my old fairytale More Precious Than Gold, available in Fairytales Slashed, Volume One at LT3

Rumpelstiltskin returned to a room grown dark with the arrival of early evening. In a chair by the bookcases, Aurelius seemed completely oblivious to the fact that he was squinting at the words in order to be able to read them. Smiling faintly, Rumpelstiltskin focused on all the candles in the room and with only the slightest effort, lit them all.

Aurelius blinked at his book, then abruptly laughed. He looked up and smiled at Rumpelstiltskin. “Good evening. Thank you for lighting the candles.”

“Of course,” Rumpelstiltskin murmured. “Whatever has you so enthralled, my dear?”

Laughing, Aurelius closed the book he was reading and held it out. “I am ever amused at the way everyone tells my mother’s story completely wrong. Two little children called me for help today, while you were away. In thanks, the little girl gave me her favorite book. As a gift freely given must be accepted…” He shrugged, and smiled faintly. “It is quite an entertaining variation on my mother’s tale. Though I do not know yet if I should be amused or horrified that in the end, you are so enraged she guesses your name that you tear yourself in two and die.”

Quirking one brow, Rumpelstiltskin looked at the little book—it was cheap, clearly a child’s book, brown linen over thin wood, bound together with glue and string that was already fraying. The pages were torn, the words faded, but the painted title was still clear—The Girl Who Spun Straw Into Gold. Snorting, amused and exasperated all at once, Rumpelstiltskin tossed the book aside and shook his head. “I do not know why you read those silly things.”

Aurelius smiled, slow and sweet and fond. “I like to see all the little ways you appear in so many tales. No one else ever knows you’re there, the effect you have, but I can always spy you in the nooks and crannies, in the shadows of the tales recorded, even when details are changed.”

“The effects we have,” Rumpelstiltskin corrected softly. “You are at least as fine a mage as me, beloved, if not better.”

Laughing, Aurelius stood up and closed the space between, resting one hand lightly on Rumpelstiltskin’s chest. “I could never be finer than you. All the years that have passed, and should thrice as many more pass, I will never forget the first time I saw you.”

“Grabbing and threatening and snapping at you?” Rumpelstiltskin drawled, amused. He grasped the wrist of the hand on his chest, and tugged it up around his neck, pulling Aurelius closer still. “You are really quite ridiculous.” He used his free hand to comb through Aurelius’ golden curls, a color many of the tales Aurelius read liked to steal. Certainly he recalled no princes or princesses, lords or maidens of any sort that actually possessed the color given by magic and a broken promise.

“You have no room to talk,” Aurelius replied. “I remember thinking you were very dark.”

“Flattering,” Rumpelstiltskin said with a smile. “I remember thinking you looked very much like a spoiled prince. But, you were far from spoiled. I am glad I did not have the sense to leave as was my first instinct.” Aurelius said nothing, only leaned up to kiss him, his other arm reaching up to join the first, twined around Rumpelstiltskin’s neck. No matter the years that passed, Rumpelstiltskin never tired of the feel and taste of his lover. “You were the finest, if most aggravating, bargain that I ever struck,” he said eventually.

“Indeed,” Aurelius said, laughing, allowing Rumpelstiltskin to half guide, half push him across the room to their bed on the opposite side. The tower was one of Rumpelstiltskin’s favorite acquisitions, taken in trade from a woman whose hair he had enchanted.

He made short work of Aurelius’ clothes, then pushed his beautiful, golden lover down into the bedding. “Indeed, nothing. I wanted to wring your neck for making me help your mother a second time. I still do not know why I was mad enough to bargain with you.” Except that was not true—he had been enchanted by the stubborn, spitfire of a prince who would not back down, even in the face of Rumpelstiltskin’s outrageous terms.

“I’m just that pretty,” Aurelius replied, laughing—but it cut off sharply, and was replaced by a long moan, as Rumpelstiltskin sucked up a mark on his throat, then slowly moved down his body, putting mouth and teeth and tongue to work, hands holding Aurelius down.

“You are very pretty,” Rumpelstiltskin agreed, before finally dropping his mouth over Aurelius’ cock, and it was not long before Aurelius’ hands were fisted tightly in his hair and he was crying Rumpelstiltskin’s name in a way that no other ever had or ever would.

Standing up, Rumpelstiltskin stripped off his own clothes, then crawled back into bed and the eager, welcoming warmth of his lover’s arms. It took only moments to prepare Aurelius, and then Rumpelstiltskin was pushing into his body, the tight heat he never tired of feeling. He did not last long, the eagerness of seeing his lover after so many days apart too great for patience.

After, they lay tangled together in a warm heap, and drowsiness quickly pressed upon him, encouraged by the deep, soft warm bed, and the far greater warmth of Aurelius wrapped around him. “You were the only bargain I ever struck for myself, you know,” he said. “Even this tower, I took with the idea that I would use it somewhere else. Only after a couple of decades did I think to employ it myself.”

Aurelius pressed a soft kiss to his chest, and replied, “I was never sorry I gave up being King to be with you. I am eternally grateful you agreed to help a spoiled prince.”

“I do as the magic bids me,” Rumpelstiltskin replied, “Even when I am more than a little annoyed by what it requires of me. I am grateful to have you, not least of all because it means I will hopefully never have to spin straw into gold again.”

He grunted, then laughed, as Aurelius pinched him. “I am glad I could spare you that terrible fate,” Aurelius said dryly.

Rumpelstiltskin kissed him, then settled alongside him and closed his eyes. “As am I, though if I must spin all the straw in the world to have you, I would.” Aurelius said something in reply, but Rumpelstiltskin did not catch it, already taken by sleep.