"Here is there, and high is low; all may be undone. What is true, no two men know; what is gone is gone." Fairy tales are harder to live through than you'd think.
— The story's summary.
Written by CrossoverQueen (aka Sharysa), this is a character study of Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson from Glee. Like many Klaine-centric fanfics, Hunting the Unicorn takes place before and during Kurt's time at Dalton Academy. Unlike many fanfics, it is influenced by The Last Unicorn and written in a similar style.The author originally planned it as a short piece that addressed Kurt's characterization switch from the beginning of the show to the episode "Sexy," but she discovered that the Dalton Arc and the novel's plot and themes matched up very well in her head, and the story quickly became a Deconstruction Fic of Kurt and Blaine's relationship. It draws parallels between the Glee characters and those of The Last Unicorn, though with the current length, they are becoming much looser.Excerpts and poetry from the novel set each chapter's tone, and several scenes are inspired by parts of the book. While it is certainly not a happy story, there are lighter moments that keep it from being too depressing.Read it on FanFiction.Net, Livejournal's Gleefic community, or on the unrelated Gleefic Archive (link is now broken), where it gained status as a Featured Story. It is also on Archive of Our Ownhere.After a Schedule Slip of nearly two years, it has been updated.
Tropes in this work:
Adults Are Useless: Averted with the Dalton staff, although Blaine's parents aren't too useful.
All Love Is Unrequited: Blaine comes damn close. Two guys were his unrequited love interests, his father's emotionally negligent, and two more guys had to deal with Blaine's own Selective Obliviousness. Five people, one successful relationship. And Alex makes it six.
The Bet: "Kurt and Blaine will hook up within the next decade, it's just a matter of what will finally do it."
Becoming the Mask / Love Redeems: Blaine's good manners used to be just a habit. Then poor, miserable Kurt came along, and Blaine liked making him happy.
Berserk Button: You hurt Kurt, and his boyfriend will take you on even if you're twice his size. You hurt Blaine, and twenty-one guys will want to rip your kneecaps out. Also, don't joke about gay marriage with Blaine.
Kyle threatened to burn the guy Blaine slept with alive in his own house.
Kurt's not taking Blaine's abduction very well.
Big Fancy House: The Andersons' mansion. Has a voice-activated gate, a huge driveway (that Wes implies to be on the small side), a pool, and two theaters. Blaine's theater has movies from the 1920s, and at first Kurt thought it was just a really big room until Blaine started opening a bunch of secret compartments.
Depressingly lampshaded by Kurt in The Harpy when he tells his mom he has to remind Blaine that "he is in fact his boyfriend and not his liege lord" to which Blaine always gives him confused Puppy-Dog Eyes. So yeah, Kurt sees the Courtly in Courtly Love in-universe apparently.
Diegetic Music: Regina Spektor's "Samson" makes another appearance in The Castle as both a ringtone in an abandoned hotel and a song on Wes' car radio.
But Not Too Foreign: Blaine and Wes are half-Filipino. It turns out relevant to Blaine's character.
But Not Too Gay: An indirect result of Blaine and Kurt's various issues. Heavily lampshaded by the Warblers.
Desire. There's "what you want vs. what you say you want," "what you want vs. what someone else wants," and even "what you want vs. what else you want." Implicitly, "what you want vs. what's right" is there if you squint.
Klaine's annoying chastity is torn apart. Unlike most fanfics where Kurt is the wibbly, terrified Uke, Blaine seems to project that image on him because Blaine tried to invoke Sex Equals Love out of loneliness and naivete. Not only did that fail hard, he was pretty clearly unprepared for his siblings going crazy and is now carrying lots of emotional baggage. Their Sickeningly Sweet portrayal is an extension of this.
Chekhov's Habit: David writes everything down. It comes in handy when you're keeping track of a stalker.
Code Name: After the Warblers clear up a mistake involving another student getting welded into a closet, Wes and David hear the dean call up someone named Jerry. He then gives his own name as "Tom."
Continuity Lockout: Averted. You don't need to read The Last Unicorn to enjoy the story, although it helps with shout-outs. It would be difficult to find someone who hasn't been exposed to fairy tales, after all.
Contrived Coincidence: Averted in The Cat. A concussed Blaine, who is in his stalker's basement instead of a hospital, calls his dad and finally calls him out on his neglect. ...Except he's talking to Greg.
Cool Big SisandBrother: Blaine's siblings Kyle and Lydia are respectively a photographer and an art student studying in California, and have a much better relationship with Blaine than their parents do. Then again, it doesn't do much good since they're not home very often.
Courtly Love: A depressing take on Kurt and Blaine's But Not Too Gay portrayal. Kurt's not too enthusiastic on the matter of sex, but Blaine takes it really far. And he has a reason.
Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Averted. Wes and David are tied to chairs. After they're released, neither can walk properly and they suffer pins and needles, which tips the police officer off that they've been like that for much longer than they think. That means Blaine's been wandering the city in a blind panic for two hours.
Dark Fic: The fic starts with Kurt being miserable, exposes Blaine's Broken Ace status very thoroughly, and the author's notes on Livejournal warns people that there might be assault (physical or sexual) later on.
Blaine's chivalrous nature makes him a good person, but he's also insecure, fragile, and naive. The Warblers poke fun at how painfully romantic and chaste he is, while his decision to let Kurt go back to McKinley is derided as being Kurt's bitch. On the other hand, the Warblers, Greg, and Blaine's siblings are so protective of him that he doesn't tell them things because he's afraid they'll overreact.
The Power of Love changes both Kurt and Blaine for the better, but it can't help with Kurt's insecurities, it makes Blaine's Paralyzing Fear of Sexualityworse, and it's pretty clear that Blaine never expected Kurt to stay at Dalton anyway. This sets the readers and the Warblers up for an I (Would) Choose To Stay situation... until Kurt really does say he wouldn't, because he's not that kind of person.
The work is Troperiffic, but trying to invoke a trope in-story will often end badly.
Distressed Dudes: Blaine, Wes, and David get locked in Alex's basement. It got worse when Finn got locked in the Navigator's trunk and lost track of Kurt and Blaine, who are no doubt being pursued by Alex.
Meta-examples: Though "I Am Unicorn" is campy and lighthearted, this is probably why it makes the story feel worse. Similarly, "The First Time" is adorable, romantic, and what fic!Blaine really wanted his first time to be like.
Blaine is the perfect boyfriend because the rest of his life is miserable. Which he refuses to complain about because his parents taught him to be chivalrous.
Averted in Nikos, which gets worse in The Cat. Blaine gets a concussion from a moderate fall, regains consciousness with no memory of the past half-hour (David and Wes say that he was rambling incoherently during it), and after calling home he mistakes his Parental Substitute Greg for his dad.
Played for Drama even more starkly in The Castle, where Blaine and Kurt are hiding in an abandoned hotel and Blaine switches between doing harmless but irrational things, and being terrified that he's going to wake up somewhere else he doesn't know.
Exact Words: Fans of the novel may have noticed that in The Hunters, the quotes that the author uses are from the beginning of TLU. The story will end "when she runs out of quotes"—she never said anything about chronological order.
Blaine's "never been anyone's boyfriend." He just really, really wanted to be.
The fic itself could be seen as this, seeing as Klaine is a fairy-tale romance and the story was inspired by theDeconstruction of a Fairy Tale.
On the positive side, the Warblers are a perfect example of Phileo and the Eros with Kurt is mutually genuine. Blaine's siblings and Greg are also an example of Storge, even if two-thirds of them aren't there to show it.
Kurt mentions back in the second chapter that Blaine's incorrigibly sheltered. By now, it's pretty obvious that he is.
Freudian Slip / Accidental Innuendo: A serious example at the end of The Princess—Blaine is thinking of what to say to Kurt, and it starts running together into "I want you."
From Bad to Worse: Blaine's life. He has an estranged father—depressing, but logical. Then we see just how much Kurt leaving affects him, because Blaine had his heart broken before. And in The Hunters, we find out that despite everyone's assumptions, Blaine's not a virgin. He clearly isn't happy about it, and did we mention that Blaine is seventeen? He needs a fucking hug.
Turns out Blaine was sixteen when he tried to invoke Sex Equals Love, and had a horrible breakup because the dude didn't seem very inclined to take responsibility for him. No wonder he got so upset in "Sexy."
And that's not getting into the plot, which involves Blaine's stalker kidnapping him, Wes, and David. Meanwhile, Blaine got a concussion that leaves him barely aware of things.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Played With. Blaine considers Kurt to be this, but it seems more due to the pedestal he's put Kurt on. Blaine himself is a much better example, given all the shit he's gone through.
I Will Wait for You: In a familial sense, Blaine's been waiting for his father to accept him for the past two years. And there are signs that he's done this romantically without success. Confirmed in The Princess.
Love Hurts: For Blaine, romantically and otherwise.
You make me better. You make me better, and now you're going to leave, and I have this—stupid feeling that you won't come back. Because no one ever comes back to me, Kurt, especially not someone like you.
Love Martyr: Blaine for his father and Kurt. His father is neglectful as opposed to a stereotypical homophobe, and Kurt genuinely cares about him, but the Love Hurts quote has some ugly implications. Especially since Blaine's not a virgin.
Blaine is now a full member of Love Martyrdom, what with making excuses for his Parental Neglect and sleeping with someone to try and feel closer to him.
May-September Romance: Besides Kurt, at least two of Blaine's past love interests are older. Jeremiah's older, Terry works for UPS while Blaine's still in school, and the guy in The Princess is implied to be older since Kyle puts so much emphasis on Blaine being sixteen. Alex is older, too.
Or if they're getting therapy and facing particularly hard mistakes.
Or if they're locked in a basement with no memory of the past half-hour and desperately calling their neglectful dad for help.
Mood Whiplash: Nikos is equal parts absurd, terrifying, and heartwarming. One reviewer couldn't stop laughing.
Mundane Utility: Wes can re-route an entire school's worth of security cameras (or at least a significant portion of them), and he uses it to secretly record Kurt and Blaine. He also has a near-100% success rate in betting pools, about anything, and uses it for solving Warbler drama.
My Beloved Smother: Blaine's mother disapproves of Blaine's singing, though it's not as clear-cut as most examples: She's Filipino, grew up poor, and doesn't want Blaine to end up a Starving Artist. Wes calls her traditional despite his own mother being Filipino.
Played With in The Princess—after Kurt talks about how crazy Burt would go in Blaine's situation, Blaine's mother doesn't take Blaine losing his virginity very seriously.
Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Obviously Kurt, but David reveals that Blaine has "chivalrous panic attacks" about pushing Kurt too much. Both are (un)motivated by a host of insecurities, played for dramedy. And we've found out that Blaine's not a virgin, which makes all of the jokes sound horrible now.
Later, we see Blaine get uncomfortable listening to "Touch Me". He also takes lots of cold showers to deal with his feelings, and he can barely talk about it to anyone.
Refuge in Audacity: Secretly taping your friends for months? Creepy. Secretly taping your friends for months because you've got a $200 betting pool on them? Readers go, "Lol, those Warblers and their stalking!"
David, Nick, Trent, and Wes drag Blaine to counseling. Literally.
Nikos starts with Kurt and Blaine saying "I love you," abruptly cuts to Blaine, Wes, and David getting kidnapped, and ends with the Warblers freaking out via text-message.
Secret Keeper: Wes promised he wouldn't tell anyone that Blaine stays up looking at family photos. Wes and David won't show anyone the accidental recording of Kurt and Blaine. Several of the Warblers know about Blaine's first relationship.
By default, Sarah is this.
Everyone is keeping some kind of secret from each other. Except Kurt and Blaine.
Seme / Uke: Played With. Blaine looks like a standard seme, but is unbelievably trusting and naive. Meanwhile, Kurt looks like a standard uke but is far more assertive and confident than Blaine.
David: We need to subtly change his goal from transferring back there to staying with Blaine. (beat) At Dalton.
Ship Tease: Jeff and Nick. They're almost always together, there's a reference to Jeff and Nick being the subject of Warbler bets, and considering Nick got hauled into counseling and won't tell anyone why...
The banner uses parts of "The Hunt of the Unicorn." The metaphor of hunting a unicorn refers to an impossible task, the quest for perfection, or both. However, only virgins can actually catch it, which is a huge subconscious conflict for Blaine. Because Kurt is the unicorn, but Blaine's not a virgin.
Unicorns are frequently thought of as sweet, helpless, and pure, and this is why Blaine's dreams involve Kurt turning into one or vice versa. But the author compares Kurt to the medieval unicorn, which is a symbol of pure wildness.
Skewed Priorities: Nick was more worried about getting caught smoking weed than of potentially drowning. And the Warblers value their bets over the fuzzy legality of tampering with security cameras, although they do have lines they won't cross regarding Kurt and Blaine's privacy.
The Warblers are actually somewhat calm in Nikos, considering three of their members got kidnapped. It's only when Kurt finds out that the Mass "Oh, Crap!" is unleashed.
Theme Naming: Kyle, Blaine, and Lydia. Their father is Luke.
There Are No Therapists: Blaine avoids dealing with his issues because "they're not that bad" compared to Kurt's. They certainly aren't, but they're still pretty serious.
Nobody wants to see a therapist. Kurt doesn't want therapy because he might get pitied. Blaine and Kurt both rely on Wes and David for emotional support; the latter is studying to be a psychologist, yet doesn't even think that maybe they should talk to an actual counselor instead of their friends. Which is pretty much how real teens act.
Three Scenes, Two Dialogues:The Princess jumps between three different scenes (denoted by then, now, and later) and two dialogues. The first scene is what happened to Blaine a year earlier, while the second and third scenes are about Blaine telling Sarah and Kurt about it.
True Companions: The New Directions. The Warblers are also close-knit and care a lot about Kurt and Blaine's relationship. When Blaine implies that his situation with Kurt has happened before (with even worse consequences), they're rightly pissed.
Nick: We need to find that bastard and rip his fucking kneecaps out!
They also set up a buddy system to keep track of Blaine once David realizes Blaine is getting stalked.
Wes and David force Alex to kidnap them because they won't leave Blaine alone. The other Warblers are helping the police look for them.
Unreliable Narrator: It's realistic unreliability (they're teenagers, after all), but there's a lot of misconceptions going around. On a technical note, the narration is third-person limited rather than omniscient, which skews a lot of things towards whoever is the narrator at the moment.
Alex is very unreliable. His sugary introduction in The Creatures of Night contrasts sharply with what he actually does in Nikos.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Only the freshmen at Dalton care that four Warblers are hauling Blaine around like a sack of potatoes. Apparently, they do this for at least one of their number every year.
Ms. Bradford bumps into Nick and Jeff, who are both soaking wet, and Nick is acting strangely (because he's high, but she doesn't know this). She immediately "gives the nurse a head's up."
Wham Episode: The Clock,The Princess, and the second half of The Butterfly.
Wham Line: After all the Warblers' mostly-affectionate jokes at Blaine's lacking sex drive, "I'm not a virgin" hits really hard.
"Having a rough patch, Tom?" Said to the dean by Greg.
What You Are in the Dark: Played With during The Clock for Kurt and Blaine; they're having a heartfelt talk about Kurt's transfer, and don't know they're being taped by the Warblers. Which leads to a subversion of The Power of Love—Blaine really has changed for the better and they're both head-over-heels for each other, but Kurt is too independent to be content with staying at Dalton.
David and Wes don't know they're being recorded either. When they need to decide between calling 911 or running, which would risk Blaine getting run over, they Take a Third Option by forcing Alex to kidnap all three of them.
Wrong Genre Savvy: The Warblers think Kurt and Blaine are a fairy tale couple and desperately want them to live happily ever after. Unfortunately, this story is based on two deconstructions of that very thing.