Acceptance

It should have been the happiest day of Puck's life instead of the gloomiest.

High school was finally over. The endless torture of homework, tests, teachers who thought school was fun, all gone. He would never have to sit in a boring classroom all day long. He could stay at home and do whatever he wanted. That's what he wanted, wasn't it?

A year or so ago, he would have said yes for sure. How many times had he complained that he was already a genius and didn't need to waste his time learning? How many times had he wished that he could escape back to the woods and never enter the world of books again? His wish had finally come true.

He should have been shouting and celebrating instead of lying on his trampoline and throwing Kraven the Deceiver in the air over and over again.

The entire Grimm family was already asleep and the house would have been dead silent if not for Daphne's snoring. But it was a whole different story in Puck's head. No matter how hard he ordered his brain to shut up, it wouldn't. All it did was remind him of things he did not want to remember. One reason why thinking really was useless.

His brain didn't seem to like that comment very much. Maybe that was why Puck recalled what he did next.


Sabrina sat on the dining table, hunched over her papers, trying to study for her test. Emphasis on trying.

The fairy next to her kept distracting her. He just couldn't figure out why on earth somebody would want to spend their time pouring over useless facts when there were so many better things to be doing.

"Honestly Grimm, you've got me beat. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and what are you doing? Worrying your sorry butt off for school!" Puck exclaimed.

Sabina pushed her hair out of her eyes and huffed in annoyance. "It's not because I want to, stupid. I want to be outside and have fun just as much as anybody. But I can't. We have a test tomorrow, remember?"

"That old thing? Who cares? I don't need school and I sure as heck don't need to study."

He replied, waving his hand as if it was no big deal.

Sabrina didn't respond. Instead she flipped through pages in her textbook and jotted down notes. She was clearly trying to ignore him.

But Puck, being Puck, could not be ignored. He deserved to be in the spotlight every single second! Grimm could not, and would not deny him his rights. That ignorant little wrench should have been bowing down to him, acknowledging his brilliance, not pretending he wasn't there!

Smiling, he swiped the textbooks and papers off the table and held them high above his head. It also helped that he was floating ten feet above the ground.

Sabrina glared at him, trying to control her temper.

"Puck, give me my books back."

"You know what Grimm; I just don't feel like it. In fact I feel my hands slipping at this very moment."

They both looked down to what was right below Puck.

A big bowl of one of Granny's exceptional dishes, meant to serve as a special snack for Sabrina, sat untouched on the table. If Puck were to drop the books they would fall right into the gooey mess.

"Don't you dare-" Sabrina started to shout, just as the papers and books escaped Puck's grasp.

She stared in horror as everything fell, as if in slow motion, and landed in the bowl. Little bits of the dish flew into Sabrina's face and hair, but she didn't seem to notice. She just gazed at the soggy papers that she had been depending on to ace the test.

Even Puck could see that maybe, just maybe, he had gone too far this time. Carefully, he tried to sneak out of the room.

Instantly, Sabrina snapped out of her gaze and grabbed him by the shoulders.

"Are you crazy? Those were my notes! I needed them! Aargh! What is your problem?"

Puck tried to pry himself out of her steel like hold and said, "What's the big deal? It's just a test."

"It's not just a test! These marks will count for University! Not like you'll ever be going there! At the rate you're going, you won't even pass high school! What are you going to do then, huh? Sell hot dogs in the street?"

Ouch. Puck tried to pretend like that hadn't gotten to him, but the truth was…it had. He'd never really cared about getting good marks, he just went to school because he had to. But the way Grimm said it…it made going to University actually seem like something to be proud of.

"I'm the King of Faerie, remember? I have my ways. You don't know anything."

"I know that right now, it's Mustardseed that's doing all the work for Faerie, not you. Maybe you do help once in a while. But that's not enough. What happens when no one's around to cover up for you? What happens when everyone's busy with there own lives? Who's going to help you then? Face it. You're…you're just hopeless, okay? I want to go to University and I'm not letting someone like you get in my way. I know you're not going anywhere!"

Puck sputtered, trying to come up with a good retort. Fortunately, he was saved from having to when Granny Relda entered the room.

Apparently, she had heard all the shouting, because she took one look at her ruined dish and said calmly, yet firmly, "Sabina, go upstairs and get clean. I'm sure I can round up some extra studying materials for you. Puck, stay and help me clean up this mess. Now."

Puck groaned inwardly as he watched Sabrina linger but slowly make her way upstairs. He knew that she knew what was coming next. And boy, did he know.

He was going to get a lecture from the Old Lady as sure as the sun would rise tomorrow.

Same old talk about respecting Sabrina and being responsible.

While the old Lady went to get a towel, Puck lounged against the table but quickly sat up when he spotted a flash of red. Then just as suddenly the red was gone.

"Basil?" he called, grinning.

The little boy peered around the corner sheepishly.

"'Brina's mad. Sorry I didn't help you." Basil said, ashamed.

Puck's smile grew. The kid always listened to Puck and looked up to him as an older brother. For some reason, he always wanted to help Puck out even if it meant getting into trouble himself. Puck had taught him that life was fun, making sure that there was no scar left on the boy from Mirror, and that was something Basil would never forget.

"She's always mad. But you know what? If you really want to help me there is something you can do."

"What?"

"Uh…" Puck tried to think up of something that was mischievous but wouldn't get the little kid into too much trouble. He spotted the paper in Basil's hand and an idea formed. Basil loved drawing; Puck swore he'd be an artist one day. But for now…

"If you see any paper of Sabrina's, anything that looks like she'll need it for school, take it and draw on it."

Basil's eyes grew wide. "But won't she be angry?"

Puck ruffled his hair. "That's the point, kiddo. Now scat. The Old Lady's coming."

Basil obeyed and was out of sight faster than you could say Peter Pan, although why anybody would want to say that name was beyond Puck's understanding.

He smirked. If he went down at least Grimm would go down with him. Good old Basil...

He quickly started wiping the table and was just going to rinse the cloth when he heard the Old Lady sigh behind him.

Immediately, guilt overwhelmed him. He didn't try to make her upset. It just happened; he couldn't help the trouble he caused. Still, he felt bad that she was bothered by him.

"Puck-" She started to say, but Puck cut her off.

"I'm sorry, Old Lady. Honestly. I didn't mean to actually ruin her stuff; I just wanted to stop her doing all that studying."

"I know that Puck. I'm not really angry about that, but I wish you could control yourself more. All this chaos isn't necessary."

Puck stayed silent. He wasn't about to tell her that chaos was necessary. That would only get her into full lecture mode. And he was sure she wasn't done yet. What was she angry about?

"The reason I'm upset is because you don't seem to care about you're future at all. Sabrina was furious about her test and rightly so. School work isn't just a game anymore and you don't seem to understand that! You're practically an adult now! I don't want to pressure you, but perhaps the time has come for more drastic measures. If you don't take things seriously, I'm afraid that you'll never go to University."


The flashback ended but that last part echoed in Puck's mind. Never go to University. Never go to University. Never go to University.

That had been the last straw.

Sabrina and the Old Lady had doubted his ability to get good marks. They had challenged his ability to get good marks. And the Trickster King never gave up when challenged.

Ever since that day, he worked, actually worked at improving his grades. He didn't fool around as much and when Sabrina studied, Puck would be studying as well. Sure, it was difficult. Most of the time he felt like throwing the books and paper on the floor and going back to the care free life. But he couldn't. He knew he could prove them wrong and he would.

Besides, sometimes it actually intrigued him. The way people could just manipulate others with their words. The way the seemingly impossible could become possible with a little math. So many things, so many ideas that he had never known.

For a moment there, just for a moment, he had actually believed that he would get to University.

But now? All that hope he had once had, had deflated. Like a balloon. A very sad, very gloomy balloon, that even a clown would hate.

High school was over and done with. Maybe he hadn't got honor roles in everything, but his marks had been decent once he tried. Decent enough for University. Or so he thought.

He had applied for NYU, New York University. It was close enough so that he could go to Ferryport Landing easily and close to Faerie and the rest of his family. Plus, he liked the courses and programs they had there.

But he still hadn't got the acceptance letter saying he had been accepted. All the deadlines had already passed and it was way overdue. He supposed he could have just phoned and asked about it, but he was too nervous. What if they said no? What if he wasn't accepted? He didn't want to hear that after all the hard work he had done. No, it was better to stress over it and lose your sleep worrying.

And there was no doubt that Puck was doing just that.

He rolled over on his trampoline, trying to go to sleep. He rested his head on one side and then tried the other, but nothing worked. Try as he might, he couldn't sleep. And the fact that he had to wake up early in the morning only made things worse.

Why did he have to go to Faerie today of all days? He wanted to sleep and mope and do nothing! But, no. His mother had to call a family meeting which in turn meant that he had to hop on a train at 8:30 in the morning, among weird strangers that didn't deserve to sit in his presence!

Life was so not fair.

And with that happy thought, he fell asleep.

Something freezing and wet startled Puck out of his dreams.

He shivered and looked up to see the Old Lady standing by the trampoline with a bucket of ice cold water.

"Wake up! You'll be late for the train! And don't go back to sleep, I have plenty more where that came from!" Granny Relda shouted as if Puck couldn't hear her.

Which he really couldn't. The water had clogged his ears and he shook his head, trying to get rid of it.

No fair. Being woken up with ice water was the oldest trick in the book. He'd hoped that at least the Old Lady would be more original. Then again, she might have been too original. Better to wake up and not question good luck.

He shivered, but quickly got ready.

Time went by fast and before he knew it he was standing at the train station, waiting for his train. It was times like this he wished he had a car, but the Grimm family had "grounded" him from driving after a recent…accident you could say. And he hadn't bought his own because he was saving up for University.

Fat lot of good that did him now, he thought, as he boarded his train and found a seat. What use was the money if he wasn't even going?

Eh, at least he could still leave Ferryport Landing when he wanted to now. The Everafter War had been resolved when he was fifteen and the barrier had finally been taken down. The good thing was that he was no longer trapped in that little town. The bad thing was that he no longer had any excuse to give his mother when she wanted him to come over.

Puck watched the landscape zoom by until all that was left of Ferryport Landing was a little speck.


Mustardseed was waiting for him by the Hans Christian Anderson statue in Central Park.

He stood there, arms folded, back straight, with a regal and serious air around him. The only thing that gave his true mood away was the grin he reserved especially for his brother.

"You're early. I was expecting to wait at least another half hour while you gallivanted around the city."

"Hello to you too. Show some manners, jeez. I thought you were supposed to be the well behaved one? And the Old Lady made me wake up at 7:30! I'm almost too tired to walk right now."

Mustardseed shook his head at Puck. "I'm not supposed to be anything. I am who I am. Although right now, I'm the loving brother who greets you while you visit for the first time in almost a year. By the way, it's not that early. Didn't you get any sleep last night?"

Puck sat down on a nearby bench, his head lolling to one side as he tried to take a nap right then and there.

Mustardseed joined his brother. "I'll take that as a no."

Puck glared at him. "Get me a pillow."

"I don't think so, dear brother of mine."

"Then can you at least let me use you as a pillow? I know Mom made you come! And I know you didn't want to come, just like I didn't want to come. Dumb family meeting. What's it for in the first place?"

Mustardseed sighed, but let Puck use him as a pillow. "Fine, but you have to listen to me. I actually did come to you by my own free will, believe it or not. I had to warn you before she starts her lecture. Today's the day Dad passed away."

Puck sat up and looked at him. "It is? Oh, man. So she called us here to tell us how much we all miss him and should carry on his legacy or whatever? I woke up early for no reason!"

It was Mustardseed's turn to glare. "Show some respect. You know how she is; you have to at least pretend you care."

Puck looked down. "I do care. But what did he ever care about me? I was just the pranking idiot, remember? You were the one with the brains and responsibility. You'd make a better King then I ever would.

"And that's where you're wrong. He did care. And we, as in together, would make better rulers. C'mon, Mom's waiting."

The next hour passed in a blur for Puck.

He greeted a ton of people, ate a huge breakfast, pretended that he cared about political matters, and soon enough it was time for "the talk".

Mustardseed and Tatiana were already seated at the table when Puck walked in.

"Puck, I know you don't want to be here." Tatiana began with.

Puck glared at Mustardseed, but his brother mouthed, I'm innocent.

They both waited for their mom to continue.

"But I needed to talk to you. Today is a very important day."

The brothers exchanged a look. Here it comes.

"When your father left us…well, I don't want you to ever think he left us in vain. He cared about both of you more than you'll ever know."

Puck snorted. "True that. I'll never know how much he hated me."

Tatiana stared at Puck with the determination only a queen would have. "He didn't hate you, Puck. You have to know that. If only he could see you now..."

"And he would be what? He wouldn't be proud, mom. Who can be proud of a person who can't even get into University or college?"

Silence. The expressions on Mustardseed and Tatiana's faces were beyond shocked.

"You mean…you applied for University?" Mustardseed asked.

Before Puck could even answer, he was enveloped in a hug from his mother.

"Oh, Puck! I'm so proud of you!"

"What for? I didn't even get in!" he said, trying to escape Tatiana's loving grasp.

She released him. "It doesn't matter about that. What matters is that you actually tried! I still remember the day when you swore you would never learn anything unless it would get you candy or something equally as good in return!"

"Mom, I was five."

"What Mother means, Puck, is that it's a miracle you even considered that. You've changed so much, sometimes I feel like I wouldn't even be able to recognize you if you weren't always wearing that mischievous smirk. That's a good thing. New found responsibility and sense is something every King needs to know about."

"It's not like you aren't changing. I know you're growing up for the Marshmallow, don't deny it! And wait- what? King? I thought you were the King now." Puck wondered out loud.

"I am, Puck. But we've decided that it would benefit both Faerie and ourselves if we were to establish an alliance of brotherhood."

Puck cocked his head to one side. "Huh?"

"It would be better if we work together. The burden of running a kingdom would lessen if we did and we could both concentrate on other things we'd like to do. Like getting into University." Mustardseed said pointedly.

"But I didn't get in. They haven't sent me an acceptance letter or anything. NYC was the one closest to Ferryport and Faerie, and now I can't go. Maybe I wasn't meant to go. I don't even know if I want to anymore." Puck groaned.

"Never give up. You can try again or try another place. You can pretend you're dumb all you want. But I know better. I'm your brother, I grew up with you, and I know the mighty Trickster King has a lot more to offer the world."

And with that, Mustardseed stood up and left.

"No matter how much you think your father hated you, I know he would have wanted you to do what you wanted in this world as well. You never let anything stop you before, so don't let this either." Tatiana's hand lingered on his shoulder, but she too, soon left the room.

As Puck sat alone at the table, he surprised himself with his next thought. Maybe family meetings weren't so bad after all.

That evening, before he was due to leave on his train, Puck stopped by his father's grave.

Maybe they were right. Maybe his father really had cared. But what would he say now, if he was watching Puck? It'll be all right? I'm here for you?

Nah. Oberon would tell him to suck it up and get on with it. No son of mine is a quitter.

His voice was clear as day in Puck's head. And for once, Puck agreed with his father. He wasn't a quitter. Never had been and never would be.


It was dinnertime by the time Puck got off his train and arrived at the Grimm house.

He hesitated by the mailbox before knocking at the door.

What if, maybe, just maybe, it had come today after being lost in the mail?

Puck's hand lingered by the mailbox until he gathered up his courage and opened it.

His hand caught hold of an envelope and his hope soared. This could be it.

He brought it out and stared at the letter. It was an electricity bill. Whoopee.

"I'm checking it, calm down, Uncle Jake. I don't think the Trunk of Wonders came anyway. You just ordered it today!" Sabrina shouted inside the house as she opened the door and stepped outside.

She froze when she caught sight of Puck and vice versa.

"So." Sabrina was the first to speak. "You're back."

"Yeah, don't try to pretend that you're not dying from happiness inside." Puck replied, regaining his voice.

"You wish. I was hoping you'd stay there forever and do us all a favor. Any mail in there?" She asked, pointing at the mail box.

"No. Just this." He handed her the bill and tried not to sound as gloomy and depressed as he felt. Grimm had gotten into NYU, just like she'd wanted. But him? He'd tried everything, done everything, and he had failed. The truth hurt. The Trickster King had failed.

Sabrina didn't seem fooled. She looked up at him in concern and stared down at the letter, than at his face. Understanding dawned on her face, soon followed by a look of guilt.

She took a deep breath. "Puck? I'm sorry about what I said to you, about you not getting into University and being dumb."

Puck let out a humorless laugh. "You were right though, weren't you? I didn't get in. You did. Guess I really am that dumb."

"No, Puck. I take it back. Ugh, I've been feeling guilty all year. You changed so much and the way you pulled your marks up…I don't know why you didn't get in." She said, as if admitting a great secret.

"It's obvious isn't it? Just like you said, I wasn't good enough, it's hopeless." Puck felt like he was trying to convince himself. After all he had done, the disappointment was too much to bear.

Suddenly, Sabina dropped the letter and embraced him.

Puck froze as she put her arms around him and gave him a comforting hug. Then he relaxed and slowly brought his hands to rest on her back.

"You're so stupid, Puck. Can't you see that it's the University that's stupid if they don't want you? They just lost a potential student."

Puck was mesmerized by the way she was smiling at him. She hardly ever smiled at him like that. In the evening breeze, her hair was also flying about and Puck almost lost his train of thought while staring at her.

"Sabrina? It's time for dinner. Is Puck back yet?" Granny's voice interrupted them and they both sprang apart, looking sheepish.

"Yes! He just came." Sabrina called back, careful to avoid looking at Puck.

Granny Relda stuck her head out of the door. "Oh, liebling, you're back. How was it? Get washed and tell us all about it at dinner. Sabrina, call Basil down, he's still in his room."

"Sure, Granny." Sabrina responded and was about to make her way upstairs when Puck stopped her.

"I'm going upstairs anyway, I'll get him."

"Um, okay?" She replied, looking confused.

Puck grinned at her face as he bounded upstairs to Basil's room. It wasn't often that he offered to help her in any way. But after their recent conversation…Well, he didn't want her nice mood to disappear too soon.

He opened Basil's door and stuck his head in. "I'm back! I know you missed me! C'mon, it's time for dinner!"

The red head peered up from one of the many pictures he was drawing. A big smile formed on his face.

"Puck! Look at this."

Puck came into the room, careful not to step on any of the papers on the floor. The room was a war zone, there was paper and markers and crayons everywhere.

"Uh, Basil, as much as I admire this fine mess you've made here, don't you think this is a little too much paper?"

"No way! It's awesome! Look, I just drew Megatron on this! Do you think he could be an Everafter?"

Puck looked at the paper Basil was drawing on. "It looks great and who knows? Anything is possible when you're a Grimm. Wait a second; is that Sabrina's last exam paper? She nearly blew up my room looking for it!"

"Yep. I've been taking everything of Sabrina's that looks important and drawing on them, just like you said. It's fun." Basil said proudly, waiting for his praise.

"That's-I don't even know how to say this-but that's awesome! I can't believe you actually listened to me! I'm just so, so proud of you right now!" Puck exclaimed, if a little emotionally.

"Course I did. You're my role model. Hey, want to see my favorite one?" He asked grinning up at Puck.

"Sure." Puck answered, following Basil as he went underneath his bed and took out an envelope.

"This one looked really official and it has the University Sabrina's going to on it." Basil said, taking the paper out and pushing the paper in Puck's hand.

Puck stared at the paper. And stared. And stared. And stared.

His earlier words came back to haunt him.

If you see any paper of Sabrina's, anything that looks like she'll need it for school, take it and draw on it

Among the many scribbles and pictures, the paper said:

Robin Goodfellow has been accepted to New York University

Please register by…

The rest of the words had no impact on Puck. Just that one sentence.

Robin Goodfellow has been accepted. Has been accepted. Accepted.

Out of all the joy he felt, one thought stood out.

His plan had backfired.

Big time.