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TITLE: There Is No Happily Ever After: Five Fairy Tales That Weren't
AUTHOR: Stoney321
RATING, PAIRING: PG-13 for some violence. No pairings: AtS female ensemble and Connor
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing. I make no money. I am a bum in a box. Also, a few lines from various eps of AtS were used - did I mention the no profit and ME could take my box away?
A/N: Massive thanks to lynnenne who whipped this into some semblance of order, and wouldn't take no for an answer and pushed me to not be mediocre (let's hope.) Thanks to crazydiamondsue for knowing what I was trying to say, and making me say it. Also, "2. Fred" was written especially for inlovewithnight for her birthday, and I'm woefully behind in posting this.

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There Is No Happily Ever After: Five Fairy Tales That Weren't

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1. Sunny

He had tasted clean and sugary. Soft, warm lips that didn't press much, didn't open. Hands that were afraid to touch her. He was sweet and innocent even though he was some kind of hard core Mexican street fighter, or something. He had taken on Tyke and his men like they were nothing. Normally all of the violence on the streets scared her, but something about how he was saving her, was fighting for her... And it wasn't like he killed any of those guys. He probably could have killed Little Cee with that knife, but he just stuck his hand with it instead. And she told him to not kill Tyke, and he stopped, just because she asked. No guy had ever done what she asked, which was why she tried to avoid most guys.

Sunny had adopted a certain stance to make it look like she knew all about pleasures of the flesh but was bored by it all. That way no one would ever know that she was a virgin. She was saving that knowledge up for when she really needed a score. She figured being saved like that from Tyke deserved something... special. Plus there was the whole distracting Tyke thing that made it possible for her to kife his money and junk. He had wanted to know all about her on their walk to the AM/PM for food and cokes.

"Don't you have a mother or father to live with?"

"Nah. My mom took off when I was born, and my dad got married again a few years ago. He died last year, and New Mom didn't want me hanging around, borrowing her clothes. Probably pissed that she wasn't hooking them young anymore."

"I'm sorry."

"Besides, feeding me wasn't cheap, and she was saving her money for a face-lift or whatever. What about you? Where's your mom and dad? Back in Mexico?"

"I don't have a mother. My father is back home, waiting for me to -- . He's not here. You've done well for yourself. Surviving like you have."

He listened to her talk about the different crazies she'd met while living on the streets. He looked at her, chin pointing ahead, the ghost of a smile on his lips, as if he didn't know how to grin. He gave her a curt nod and told her how admirable it was that she had survived on her own for as long as she had. It was the first time someone hadn't looked at her with pity.

He had gotten naked and changed into clothes they found in the motel room. He really deserved something special. So did she. Her hand kept slipping to her pocket to check on the small baggie. She just needed a little something to help her get the courage. He asked if he could have the last of the snack cakes, and broke off half to give her; she had finally found a Prince Charming. Laughing, she waved him off. She liked to get lit on a mostly empty stomach. He really had the sweetest eyes... She kissed him, he softly touched her arm, and the baggie crinkled in her pocket.

Sunny stood, licked the flecks of chocolate frosting off her bottom lip and told him she'd be right back. His kiss was sweet, but the needle's kiss was sweeter. She checked her reflection briefly in the filthy mirror, and only saw a young girl smiling back. She pushed her lank, dark hair back over her shoulder. The rusty metal needle stood in stark reflection against her creamy skin; her lips parted with her relieved exhale as she worked the plunger, pulling blood back into the chamber briefly. Her last thoughts as her eyes turned to glass and her heartbeat skipped and tripped to a complete stop were how his lips had been as red as a shiny apple.

2. Fred

"Once upon a time there was a mean lady. Well, mean's not the right word. That just makes it sound like she turned the sprinklers on the neighbor kids as they walked to school. She was bad. A bad lady of the worst sort, but the knight loved her. He hated her more, but he... loved her. And that made a baby grow inside her, and it shouldn't have. Bad ladies aren't supposed to have babies. And here's the thing about babies: they can make the meanest of the mean turn a leaf.

"And that horrible witch did change. Some. After she'd eaten a whole slew of children to feed her baby," Fred paused and tucked a loose strand of hair off Connor's forehead and behind his ear. He was still unconscious. "Maybe that's why you're the way you are. You were nourished on scared and abandoned kids. At least, I think they were abandoned, because why didn't their mommas fight the bad lady?

"But even though she was the worst sort of people, well, not really people, but anyway... She was the worst kind of lady that ever was, but something about having a little baby growing inside her made her want to do the right thing. So she killed herself. She turned to dust and mixed with the oil and slime on the asphalt and was washed away with the rain, leaving nothing but a pink baby in a dark alley. And your daddy loved you."

Fred stood, grabbed a second rope, and began binding Connor's arms behind him, the knots resting just at his wrists and elbows for the greatest amount of discomfort.

"Your daddy loved you so much he wouldn't even let us hold you. Well, not at first. He carried you all the time. You were just the cutest thing! All pudge and smiles and big eyes -- ."

Fred stopped, her voice breaking a bit, and smoothed down Connor's hair. She looped her arms around the boy's chest and rested her cheek on his head. "You had that sweet little baby smell - sunshine and lanolin. Whenever I got to hold you, I loved to smell your fuzzy little head. You liked it when I held you so you could see forward. You never really cried. Such a good, sweet baby."

Fred stood and shook herself, laughing a bit at her shiny wet cheeks. "And then when he took you, oh I thought I would start climbing the walls. Or write on them again. I couldn't imagine how awful, how hard for a little baby to go through -- .

"That must have done something to you. That must have done some real bad things to you, to make you do what you did. To turn you into what you are, now."

Fred looped a section of rope over Connor's neck, making sure it pressed against his Adam's apple, and affixed it to the knots at his wrists. If he tried to break free, he'd suffocate himself.

"We tried to find you. We tried, Connor. We loved you so much... He loved you so much. And you -- . We've wasted all summer trying to find him, and you lied to us. You lied to me!"

Fred picked up her Tazer and mindlessly wiped the tears off her face with the back of her hand. As she advanced on the unconscious boy, the Tazer arcing blue menace, a hand fell on her shoulder. "Fred."

"He has to pay for what he did. How could he do that to his dad? His dad? To us?"


"Fine. I'll take the one off his neck."

Gunn set his crossbow on the desk, crossed his arms, and sighed, "Fred."

"He deserves it!" She twisted the rope in her hand. "He's a wolf in sheep's clothing." Fred sliced the complicated knots in the back, and affixed Connor's arms to the arms of the chair with a new rope, and removed the noose. "He'll get out."

"Yeah, well Mowgli's gonna get the smack down if he does."

Fred set her weapon down, sat in a chair opposite Connor, and tried to find the baby hidden in the boy's face.

"And they lived happily ever after," she muttered.

3. Cordelia

Okay, the worst thing about being trapped in your own body while some evil hell bitch, Powers That Be, whatever took over the driving was that someone else was driving. Cordelia didn't even want to think about those godawful clothes the Thing made her wear.

All she wanted was to love and be loved. Just like that gross midget guy said in that movie with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. But no. She gets a mystical carrot dangled in front of her, and she gets to be a PTB, whoopie. And for what? So some Thing can hitch a ride and ruin everything for her? She could feel it seeping in like OPI nail polish into shag carpeting. It just wouldn't come out. Cordy had yelled and screamed, tried to shake Fred into noticing she wasn't there anymore, tried to whap Gunn upside his head for not sensing something wrong in her, but it was like her voice had been turned off and something else was talking over her, now. Oh, like when the little mermaid got her legs, but lost her voice!

What really sucked is that Cordy hated Ariel in that mermaid movie. Not that she talked out loud about that. But the evil octopus sea witch? She knew how to get a man. And, sure, Cordy was a bit prejudiced against sweet and innocent do-gooders with red-hair, yeah. But the evil octopus lady with the smoker's voice - who was totally hot as a person - and then busted out all fat and gross and massive when she got what she wanted? Are you listening, Thing that took over and made fat-n-evil Cordy? ARE YOU??

The Thing pushed Cordy down into the recesses of her body until she was curled up like a dust mote with no voice, and she watched Connor drag an innocent off to its death like a slow-motion funeral procession, and all she could do was wish she could take it all back and tell Skip, "No thanks," because why didn't she notice that Skip had a body made of skulls and what sort of benevolent being looked like that? There had been some serious fine print on that deal that she had neglected to look into.

As the Thing marched to her picnic blanket o'death and creepiness, Cordy knew if she could ever get her body back, ever get her voice back, Angel would never be able to look at her without seeing his son on her. Without seeing her body's deceit. Every step away from Angel was like walking on knives. There was a huge flash of light that came from her entire being. Her body was stretched beyond limit, the pains of labor washing over her in waves, and Cordy didn't exist anymore. Her voice was gone forever.

4. Darla

Darla hadn't witnessed her beautiful boy's birth into this world. The Darla that stood before Connor, now a young man and filled with so much sorrow, wasn't gifted with all the scenes from her child's past. She remembered the joy and hope that filled her as he grew inside her. She remembered loving the baby and the overwhelming need to protect it.

Years before she had dared to step aboard a ship to the New World, she had been a young girl gathering kindling in the forest for her mother. She heard a squalling noise under a brier, and upon investigation, found a sickly looking babe wrapped in a dank cloth. Horrified, she grabbed the newborn, and rushed back to their cottage. Her mother took the wrapping off the child's body and found a red weal on the infant's chest. Her mother knocked the babe out of Darla's arms and struck her daughter in the face.

"Dare ye to bring a faerie creature in my house? Take it back! Take it back, I say, and mind ye're not seen, or it'll be the death of you!"

Frightened, she grabbed at the weakly sobbing bundle and dashed as fast as she could back to the forest and flung the bundle under the brier. Her mother had beaten her sore when she returned, and educated her of the ways of the Old Folk, and how you must never leave a birthing unattended. How steel and water and fire were needed to protect the child and mother from deceit.

"Why did you leave me? Did you hate me that much?"

"Oh, baby, no."

The young victim cried out, scared.

"This isn't you, Connor."

"You've been gone a long time, Mom. How would you know?"

The Old One approached them and used her power over the boy to continue their task. Her baby, her beautiful boy was gone. Something else had taken his place, something filled up with lies and deceit, and willing to kill. The child that stood in place of her baby boy was bent and twisted inside, with no room for mercy, no ability to stand and survive on its own any longer.

Darla hung her head after seeing her son's face, immobile, impassive, while the young girl cried and begged for her mother. One last plea, and then The Old One severed her connection to her son. The Powers That Be granted her a brief glimpse of what was to come. She saw Connor, hollow, devoid of all feeling, looking into Angel's face and then a final flash as Angel drew his knife.

"Your father will finally put steel over your head, and our boy will be returned."

5. Jasmine

Funny how her father, a young man who himself had a powerful name, didn't realize the importance of hers.

The previous god of this earth had woven his magic deep in his time and for millennia after. Calling upon his name could bring peace and understanding. After he left his world to its own devices, too busy with others, his name took on a message of hate. Jasmine was here to remedy that. Calling upon her name would give strength. Calling upon her name would bring her very essence into whomever cried out, and comfort would be given.

But not her real name.

Jasmine knew that her father loved her. That he would do whatever was asked of him to preserve the majesty of the kingdom she was building. And if she needed him to kill his father and friends, he would make that sacrifice for her. For the good of the kingdom.

She invited her worshipers into her rooms where they would be changed into her sustenance, enabling her to spread her message of Love and Acceptance Forevermore. What Angel and the others needed to understand was that there was a price for everything. All gods required sacrifice. That was pretty much the rule.

It was a seemingly impossible task before her - bringing happiness and joy to all mankind; end poverty, hate, disease, and free will. And Connor would help her. What Jasmine didn't realize was that her father knew her true face. That he was willing to spin her lies into a kind of peace, in order to gain a little of his own in return.

Because she had Connor, she thought she had everything. What she didn't know was that someone had gone into the darkest recesses of her past and found her name. Her true name.

It was the final night before Jasmine would conquer this new kingdom, and all was going according to plan. Yet with one swift motion from a knife, her true name blew forth in a rush of wind and took away her beauty, her will, and her majesty, as well as taking Angel's son from him.

Jasmine fought for the kingdom that had been tricked away from her. She sensed her father behind her, and turned to plead for another chance. For another opportunity to right the wrongs of this world and turn the smoke and ash into golden sunshine.

With a single blow, he destroyed the lie. The one lie from a lifetime of falsehoods that could possibly have given him rest. The righteous boy that had been Steven was gone completely; the soul ripped from his body and leaving only the void that was Connor. An empty shell that looked into the face of his father. Connor had been a family name. How fitting that his family had wreaked death and destruction from its inception. Connor walked away from his dead child and his dead father and waited for the sickle to be thrust in, for the Reaper to come and take his name from the earth. In the end, he chose to destroy that name on his own.

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( 109 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 16th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC)

Speechless. And blind, too.

Except for the part where I wipe the tears out of my eyes long enough to tell you how magnificent these are. Different, new, so affecting and painful.

I could not pick one above the others, but I found the Fred piece particularly stunning. Amazing, consistent voices. You rock so hard!
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I wrote the Fred one first, promptly lost it on my computer, and then spent the last two weeks trying to re-create it. :)

I really appreciate your comment. *hugs hugs hugs*
Aug. 16th, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is just great, Stoney. My favorite one is either the Fred or Cordelia--Fred because it starts off innocently (well, as innocently as that messed-up bedtime story can be) but the darker tones of what's to come are still underneath. You have a great voice in the Cordy piece. She can be difficult to write without making her too over-the-top in bitchery/selfishness/ but you handled it very well.

The Jasmine one is the most beautifully written one because the emotional undercurrents are so strong--the pain and despair, the joy and longing. It all works together so well.

Wonderful job.
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Lee! The fact that you said that about the final one - the one I rewrote at least EIGHT TIMES trying to make it not suck? That means a lot, and WHEW.

You're so lovely to say that. *hugs and kisses*
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:02 pm (UTC)
What's particularly admirable about this fic is that you've captured five very distinct voices- and that's *never* easy.

My favourite was Fred. She has a certain rythym (which I think is quite hard to duplicate) and you maintained it well throughout. I also think you did a great job of making her very real grief over Connor's betrayal come alive.

I also liked Cordy.
why didn't she notice that Skip had a body made of skulls and what sort of benevolent being looked like that? There had been some serious fine print on that deal that she had neglected to look into.

There's a breathlessness to this section...and a certain self-centerdness that is totally Cordelia.

Interesting to focus on the women and Connor. (The Connor part doesn't surprise me, actually. *g*) But I think the fact that you do- adds an extra layer of meaning and ties it all together.

May I archive it at Five Things?
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
Me? Write Connor? Heaven forfend! :D Absolutely you can archive it, and thank you so much for that compliment!

The Fred piece was the first I wrote, the one that sparked the "bedtime story" feel, so I'm glad that worked. Oh, Cordelia. I miss her. Thanks so much, Chrislee for your comment. *smooch*
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I think I like that one the best, too.

is it clear that she's the wolf? Not Connor? Shutting up now. :)
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
Very good job and the Fred piece was especially well done and sad.
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! Fred's realization that Angel's baby had been taken through a portal is still one of those chest-clutching moments when I re-watch S3. *hugs Fred, and keeps on her good side*
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
Well done! You've captured some really great ideas and feelings about seasons 3 and 4. I like the first one the best, but that's just because I wanna make out with Connor. :P
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Mar!! And seriously: his LIPS. Yes, please! (Yay for someone liking Snow White! Poor Sunny. I still get sad about her when I re-watch S3.)
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
Oh my! These are just devastating! But, you know, in a good way. I don't think I could pick a favorite. They're all darkly beautiful and each one makes me ache for what could have been, if only...

Aug. 16th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC)
God, Connor makes me ache SO much. Such a Greek tragedy. Or Shakespearean. Or the second act of any Opera. Or... Heh.

Thank you very much for commenting. *hugs*
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
Oooh. This is really cool, Stoney. Nice perspectives on each of them, and the fairy-tale motif is fascinating. I think I need to read this a few times.

Aug. 16th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Sam! (And I'm so sorry that I lost the stupid thing in the first place. Um... this means it's still your birthday? Gah. Apologies!)
... - inlovewithnight - Aug. 16th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)
Oh.my. This is just so powerful. And the language for each piece is wonderfully unique, and yet they form a cohesive progression towards Connor's destruction (and rebirth).

I loved the Darla part, the old superstitions and the foundling echoing what Connor becomes--and how he wasn't protected.

And yes, I do believe that he truly loved Jasmine and that he had to have nothing left in order to kill her.

Good stuff. Thank you.
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
I still have this "Old Mother Hubbard" book of fairy tales from when I was a kid, and the story of The Changeling always scared the crap out of me. a2zmom and I were talking fairy tales a few weeks ago, and here we are.

Rom, thanks so much for your words - sometimes you try something unexpected and different, and you aren't sure if it works. I really appreciate your saying it did. And I agree with what you said about Jasmine. God, that poor boy. He just had no hope for happiness, ever.
... - romanyg - Aug. 16th, 2006 09:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
See, one of the things I agonized over 5 was how the fairy tale element wasn't coming through as strongly as it did in 1-4. (Have you guessed the fairy tale for 5?) I love folklore and fairy tales, too, and have been happily re-reading them over the past two weeks.

Connor just slays me - absolutely hopeless. (Do you remember the story of the one-legged tin soldier? I almost used that one.) Anne, you're always so supportive. Thank you so much, sweetheart.
(Deleted comment)
... - stoney321 - Aug. 16th, 2006 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)
Very, very well-written, darlin'. I especially admired the Fred piece. It sent shivers down my spine. I think most people forget how startling and cold Fred herself could be at times, in the wake of Amy Acker's brilliant performance as Illyria.

Aug. 16th, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
Well, THANK you! And Fred was a tough cookie. She survived Pylea for five years. I think about that machine she made to kill those giant bugs in one of her first real storylines on the show, and yeah - she could be brutal. Good point about Illyria vs. Fred. Amy Acker is a fantastic actress.
Aug. 16th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC)
Here via a rec from romanyg. Brava! Mind if I rec?
Aug. 16th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! And absolutely, for my name is Whore. I mean... oh, a rec? How lovely. :)
Aug. 16th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
These are so good.
Aug. 16th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)
You are LOVELY for saying so, thank you!
Aug. 16th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
I love these Stoney, I think you got the voices down in each one.

I particularly like how each of these is the moment of knowledge, when each character realizes that there will be no happy ending, that unlike a fairy tale, there will be no savior to right things.

I especially like Fred's in this regard because of her assertion that this is the fault of the prince who instead of staying noble and true, gave in to the corrupting influence of the witch and as a result, Connor is forever tainted.
Aug. 16th, 2006 05:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks for saying that, and re: your second paragraph. That's what I had the hardest time with #5. I couldn't get that one moment right, and struggled with it.

I didn't think of the Fred ficlet in those terms, but you're right. She has such a clear vision of nobility and what a hero is (in comes Angel on his white horse) and Connor devastates her. Just rips all she thought about him into pieces and laughs. Her pulling out that Tazer on the show was an "oooooh!" moment for me, yes indeedy.

*hugs you tightly*
Aug. 16th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
God, woman. These are...

Favorite lines:

Her last thoughts as her eyes turned to glass and her heartbeat skipped and tripped to a complete stop were how his lips had been as red as a shiny apple.

You're so good with the creepy. It's clear there's something wrong, because this is Jossverse, but we're so caught up in the thoughts of a junky who is so young, despite what she knows herself to -- and has no problem with it. She wants what every little girl wants, a knight to come save her and when she gets it, she twists it with the drugs -- and only realizes later that he's twisted it far far worse. God. So good.

Fred stood, grabbed a second rope, and began binding Connor's arms behind him, the knots resting just at his wrists and elbows for the greatest amount of discomfort.

Holy god. To go from Fred's tumbling, fumbling cadence telling a fairy tale to her tying Connor up -- that made me choke. And her anger at the end, how crazy she is with Gunn just watching... god. God, woman.

Without seeing her body's deceit.

So, so many layers to this one line. Beautiful. Your Cordy voice is excellent.

"Your father will finally put steel over your head, and our boy will be returned."

God, such a twisting of folklore and it works so well.

bringing happiness and joy to all mankind; end poverty, hate, disease, and free will

You do those subtle, incredibly frightening twists so, so well.

Connor walked away from his dead child and his dead father and waited for the sickle to be thrust in, for the Reaper to come and take his name from the earth. In the end, he chose to destroy that name on his own.

I really love the way you play on the names, the older mythologies and folklores, particularly here when naming is so incredibly important -- Angel/Angelus, Connor/Stephen, Jasmine/whatever her true name is. That's ancient and powerful and broken, and you bring all of that into this story. All these stories.

I'm so damned glad I watched whatever ep was on TNT this morning because it was the ep where they discover the need for Jasmine's true name. I watched it thinking god, how powerful and raw and different, and you trump all of that.

These sing.
Aug. 16th, 2006 05:23 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'm going to marry this feedback on a mountaintop and have its babies and YOU WILL BE INVITED. A guest of honor, in fact. Thank you SO MUCH for this. And about that Darla... I have a clear thought of her as Nordic, and there are so many creepy Changeling tales from that region.

And you know me and my name thing with Connor. (And with Angel[us]) They're not different people physically, but they're different people, Stephen and Connor, Angel and Angelus. That's ooooold magic.

You have absolutely made my day, possibly the month. Love you, kitten.
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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

Time Wot It Is

April 2017
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