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Fanfic: Fairytale, Chapter 4

spuffy becoming
Title: Fairytale
Author: drizzlydaze
Pairings: Barney/Robin, Ted/Victoria (not one of those Victoria fans, but it fit the story), Marshall/Lily
Summary: AU in a fairytale universe. It was a kingdom run by a dying king. Luckily, he had a son. They always do.
Rating: G
Notes: It's been a while, hasn't it? This chapter has a lot more frustrating mysteries to untangle, and very few resolved. -evil smile- And less action than the last chapter, I expect, so prepare yourself. If the format's weird, it's because LJ is being weird. I'm trying to fix it now. If it's not weird, it means I've succeeded and it's fixed!

(Chapter One)

(Chapter Two)

(Chapter Three)

Chapter Four: Mysteries Abound


The wedding ends.

No—the wedding doesn’t just end; it crashes around them in spectacular destruction, leaving behind a string of hearts, and mystery curling into the air like smoke.

At least that’s how Barney sees it. Marshall is heartbroken, Ted hopeless, and wishes abound. Word has spread faster than light—meaning, of course, with the speed of gossip—of the runaway bride, and everyone’s distraught and spouting words like ‘minx’ and ‘traitorous’, because that’s what you do when the king is left at the altar, or so he told Ted. Everything is being cleaned up and washed out, guests leaving in dismay, and Marshall… well, Ted can deal with Marshall. Ted knows Marshall; Barney doesn’t. The problem is, Ted can’t shake the feelings he has for Victoria—love, not just feelings, but love—as he did with Robin. And that’s a problem because Marshall needs more help so Ted doesn’t have the time to deal with his own feelings, and being in love with a fairy isn’t helpful in the old king’s wish for Ted to be wed to a proper ol’ queen.


So he stands at the edge of the fray, thinking. He’ll let Ted continue trying to shake Marshall out of his dumb stupor, let Ted comfort him as best friends do. Then when someone else can take over the job, Barney can deal with Ted properly. But now? Now he has to concentrate on those wishes.

And the wish?

Same as yours.

Then the clock had struck midnight and Shannon disappeared. The moment her form dematerialized, havoc had spread through the ballroom—the bride’s gone, run away, Lily Aldrin!—and the agitated crowd separated him and Robin.

How could Robin have made the same wish as him? But Barney knows it’s possible, considering the both of them. It would be the same wish, the same phrasing, just that Robin took a bit of an artistic license to it. But the two wishes would differ in meaning.
His thoughts jump to Ted again, but he shakes his head. Ted comes later. First, the wish, and that means Robin. So he tiptoes and cranes his neck, trying to catch a glimpse of a feminine boy with cropped hair and a white suit. “Robin…” he mutters. “…Come on…”

Then he sees her.

She’s losing herself in the crowd, snapping her head back every now and then—warily searching for her dad? He moves to catch her when she emerges from the sea of people.

“Well, I’ve found out your wish.”

“And she said it was the same as yours. You told me you didn’t make a wish.”

“I said I didn’t ask her for one. Not the same thing.”

“Right. Anyway, mine hasn’t been granted yet,” Robin informs him lightly.

He frowns. “It has. The effects just need a bit of time to kick in. I hope you’re happy with what you’ve done, because you’ve basically ruined a wedding and gotten Ted’s heart broken, and even got Shannon to come here and get me entangled in all this, all to get what you want.”

“I didn’t get what I want,” She says, ignoring the point.

“You will. It’s happened. But you know what? You won’t be happy. And I’m not just saying that because you’ll always have a guilty conscience on what happened because of your wish. The reason is that wishes are never what they seem. There’s a reason for all those tales and cautions—they’re all true. Fairies will twist your words, make the worst out of them, and no one gets what they really want in the end.”

She doesn’t answer, and avoids his gaze.

“You’ll be getting your dad back, alright. But not in the way you think.”

Two people, two wishes, but they were one and the same.

There is a king, and his name is Robin Charles Scherbatsky Sr. He is not a good father. He is not a good man. But he wasn’t always that way.

There once was a king, and his name was Robin Charles Scherbatsky Sr. He was as good a king as could be, fair and just, guiding Danca with the strict hand needed to turn it to success. He was stern but kind, the type of king that was respected and vaguely loved.
He did his best to rule, and he succeeded at much of what he did. There was just one thing—an heir. He wished for a son to carry on his legacy and lead the kingdom when he would be no longer able. But alas, his wife failed to bear a child of any kind through the years. When at last, she did, he was joyful beyond compare at their turn of fortune, making preparations for the birth of their long-awaited son.

There was just one catch.

He got a daughter.

He was shocked, bitterly disappointed, but his rage never extended so far as it would in the future. When the girl was still a child, he showed at most agitation and annoyance. He raised her perhaps not as lovingly as he should have, but well and with care. Still, he kept her gender a secret from the kingdom, as a precaution should his wife fail to bear him a son in future. Robin Sr. taught her to hunt and run, to fight, to win, and she took his lessons with enthusiasm. Then his wife bore a second child after much labour—a second daughter. His thinning patience snapped—anything less than perfect, less than what he wished, was an abomination. His wife left with Katie, breaking off their already fragile marriage. He never sought another queen, and now he turned sterner and less understanding, showing less concern to what he convinced himself was his son. But as Robin Jr. grew, her body was that of a comely woman’s, even with her cropped her and angular face, and it was harder and harder to pretend.

Those were the years he reigned with tyranny. The years after his wife departed because of his growing obsession and rising frustrations, the years he showed less and less rationality or warmth, the years he grew hard and cold, sometimes worse with rage. The years when his teenage daughter knew how things should be and once were, when she looked at her father and saw nothing of her kin.

Some years pass, but those are not the years that did. The king is not a good father. He is not a good man. But Robin wishes he were again. 

I wish my father would return.

 “And you?” She tilts her head aggressively. “You made a wish too.”

“You tell me.”

“You wished for your father back. Did it… did it work?”

He remembers the day. “Yes,” Barney says shortly. Robin waits. “Yeah, it worked. Consequences still going on, left, right and centre.”

“But it worked. You got what you wanted.”

“No! Have you been listening? You never get what you want, never what you intended—”

“—But your wish came true, you got your father back—”

“—In a packed box, yeah, that’s great!”

There is a frozen moment in time that horror seems to fill the space around them, that Barney’s breathing heavily in remembrance, that Robin’s stark white with shock.

“God,” she manages. “God, I’m sorry. I didn’t…”

So the secret’s out. Maybe she’ll be more careful now. Damage has been done for the both of them, no helping it, nothing to do about it…

They stand there for a long time.

Deceiver, dissembler/Your trousers are alight/From what pole or gallows/Shall they dangle in the night?

Where is she going? Away.

That’s the basic outline of her insane plan, if one would consider it a plan. Not that it was ever pre-meditated. But all Lily knows now is that she’s running. If she stops now, looks back, thinks back, she’d run all the way back to Marshall.

She can’t. She has to discover—something. Has to know…

She needs to know who she is, beyond Marshall.

But hasn’t she already? She’s spent the years before Marshall wandering the lands; shouldn’t she have figured it out? But she hadn’t, and she doesn’t. What Marshall is… He has a role: the King. And only with him is she the queen, Lily reasons, so she just needs to find her place beyond that.

Stupid. Stupid reason, excuse, whatever, she’s run and gone.

Her feet beat upon the uneven ground. This can’t be her. This can’t be her. She can’t be the one who runs away, who succumbs to fear, and the funny part is, Lily’s on a quest to find herself, and this is her. What she does under circumstances like these, the big things that matter—that’s when someone’s true nature comes out, and this is hers.

Running away.

And all sorts of things lie in wait out here in the dark. Things that go bump in that night. And who knows what sort of creatures she’d meet? Werewolves, elves, witches, vampires, demons… She clutches at her pouch, fingering the weapons inside. A dagger, a couple of stakes, and a silver knife stand between her and certain death.

This is crazy. She’s crazy, and why is she doing this again? Her mind spins in endless circles, never quite reaching the axis that her thoughts are revolving around. It nags at her even as her turmoil of emotions whirl ever quicker, something she ought to know, to figure out…

And in the same dark night, a lithe blonde figure watches, a light smile upon her shadowed face as she takes in the effects of the granted wish-spell.

Lily finally stops at the mouth of a cave. Good for shelter, bad for… potential bugaboos. She did have a few weapons, and has fought out of more than a scrape or two, but there are night monsters she’d rather not face. Best not to linger—

But before she can step out of the way, a rough hand grabs her and jerks her into the darkness.

And she left nothing behind, not even her love.

Marshall clutches the letter tightly in his hands, unable to move, to read, to think, to live. His eyes stare blankly at the crisp parchment, forever entranced by the last line of the text—With all my love, Lily.

He doesn’t sense Ted stepping up to his shoulder, probing his vacant expression with concern, then sweeping his gaze down to read the letter. “Come on,” Ted urges gently. “Let’s go to your dressing room, before the guests swarm out.” Numbly, Marshall follows Ted down a deserted route back to the holding room, where no one else may enter to harass him. He sinks silently into the velvet chair.

“Now,” Ted begins again. “What we’re going to do is look for… her. Send out a Watch—they haven’t done so, not without your instruction—and tell them she’s not to be harmed or punished in any way, just to be escorted back here…”

There was no sign that Marshall heard him.

“Okay?” Ted prompts.

“Why?” the other questions, most surprisingly.

“Well, it’s really dangerous out here at night, for one. Or do you mean—”

“—No. Don’t send a Watch for her. Or—yeah, we should, definitely. And…” Marshall trails off.

“It’s going to be alright. Just… hang on,” Ted assures. It is, truly. Everything’s going to be fine, and you have the snowflake show, and I’m not making any sense, am I? But Marshall is the priority here.

“No! No, it’s not going to be alright. She’s gone. Lily’s—gone. Don’t know if she’s even coming back, or why the hell she left, but I’m here, and she’s not, and all I’ve got is this stupid piece of paper!”

Anger. That’s a good sign, right? At least he’s not moping, or blaming himself. “I can’t believe she’d do that,” Ted agreed.

“And she couldn’t have; it couldn’t have been her. Not Lily. No way.”

Denial now. That’s expected. “No, it was her. You have to accept that, Marshall, or you’ll never…”

Never what? Move on? Get her back?

“I love her, she loves me, so it doesn’t add up—she can’t have left.”

“Then who?”

“I don’t know! A spell, or blackmail, or a doppelganger, even.” He paced round the room agitatedly. “Didn’t you say—a fairy was here? Maybe it was a wish, something happened!”

“Don’t blame it on magic. That’s the easy way out.”

But, though neither of them knew it, both of them were right.

“So what will you do?”

“Send a Watch out… but just… don’t bring her back here unless she asks. Just make sure she gets through the night.” And Marshall breaks down weeping. Ted’s surprised he’s made it this far without a good cry, but now there’s tears, and he comforts Marshall as best he can. “No—go—notify the Watch,” the king bids. “And… that fairy you were talking about… Victoria… find her too. And bring her here.” His tone is icy cold.

“She had nothing to do with this; she was here for Robin,” Ted couldn’t help but protest.

“I know wishes, Ted, and they have consequences.” Ted is reminded eerily of Barney’s own assertions as Marshall speaks. “And even—even if she’s had nothing to do with… Lily, we still have to… look into it.”

“Fine. But you have to go with me.” Marshall can’t just mope about, Ted reasons. He needs something to do, some purpose to fulfil.

Marshall hesitates for a fraction of a second, then nods slightly. “Let’s go, then.” He shoves his tears to the back of his mind, concentrating on the mission at hand.

They march out of the dressing room, calling to guards and messengers. Ted spots Barney with Robin at the edge of the hall. They look unusually serious, sombre even. “Hey,” he calls out, as Marshall continues to handle the guards. “Have you heard?” Stupid question. Of course they heard.

Both of them jerk their heads up, as if woken from a reverie. “Yeah,” Robin finally answers. “Of course. What’s going to happen now?”

“Cancelling the wedding, fabricating a story—no need for things to get blown out of proportion,” Ted blabbers. In other words, lie outright to preserve both Marshall’s and Lily’s dignity. “We’re sending a Watch to find Lily. Just make sure she’s safe.”

“Bringing her back to the castle?”

“No,” Marshall says, after he’s dismissed the guards. “No, she ran to get away from here.”

And unspoken, the words away from me echo painfully.

Everything just seems so raw. Everything’s right there, lay out in the open, and no time to deal with it. He mustn’t have time to deal with it, to think about it, or he’ll shatter. So he takes Ted by the arm and moves on from Barney and Robin, keeping busy, always busy, or he’ll be achingly aware that the world’s fallen away from his feet.

Things that go bump in the night.

She doesn’t scream, just immediately bites down on the skin of her kidnapper’s palm. It’s icy cold, and she suddenly knows what has captured her. Not a human, as she first thought. A vampire.

Crap.

She stretches her fingers to lightly brush the stake fixed at her side, but the vampire’s grip is so steely that she can’t stretch enough to quite grab it. Now she scream, furiously so, and struggles as much as she can. He has to let go of her sometime, and when that moment comes, she can scoop up the stake and stab him right in the heart.

Right. Because she’s just that brave. She won’t freeze up. Definitely not. She can do this.

But why would he let her go? He could just lean down and bite her throat, within easy reach. Perhaps the action would loosen his grip, just enough that she can kill him. Vampires, she reflects in the throes of stifling fear, are remarkably easy to dispatch. You have to damage a human, disable his organs, but with vampires, sunlight can reduce them to some dust. A stake to the heart achieves the same result. Though that would kill a human as well, so maybe not a valid point.

The rocking motion of the vampire’s steps stop abruptly, and Lily finds herself in the depths of the cave she so unwisely stepped in front of. She extends her fingers, ready to grab her stake. As she predicted, the vampire leans down to her neck, the pulsing blood rushing through her veins, and his grip shifts. Just enough.

In one swift movement, she gets a tenuous hold of the wooden stake and stabs it into the body.

Into the… stomach?

Whoops.

But the vampire reels back in unexpected pain anyway, loosening his hold on her even more, and she slides free. She fumbles with the catch of her pouch, finally yanking a stake from its recesses, poised to fight. The glint of the moonlight allows her some view of the vampire.

It’s a man, as she had surmised. He has silvery hair, balding when he was human, and a slightly stocky frame. Not exactly vampire material. But he is a vampire, and he’s strong. Lily knows she doesn’t stand a chance. Just prolonging the one-sided fight, she thinks, as he pulls the stake from his stomach.

Her heart beats ever faster as the vampire grins in anticipation, fangs clearly protruding from his gums. And then—voices. Definitely human, and she’s fairly certain she can hear Langston among them, the main guard from Newen.
The vampire’s heard them too, long before she had, Lily realizes. That’s why he had hesitated in actually attacking her. A search party would be fully equipped in all manners of decapitation and otherwise, maybe a few vampire hunters among them. Capable of handling just one vampire.

He snarls, an ugly feral rip of sound, and, having apparently decided to go for his victim, leaps at Lily. She is jerked into action in her terror, holding her stake pointy end out, hoping against hope that it might pierce his heart when he grabs her. It gets his shoulder instead, but it ensures at least some temporary distance between predator and prey. Now he’s leaning heavily against the stake, about to truly seize her now, but his weight causes her to fall backward.

And into a hole.

The vampire is far too big to join her in this abyss, so she falls through alone, down and down and down and down.

And down and down and down and down.

Barney hears the Watch’s message: Lily Aldrin was attacked by a vampire. And then she fell down a Hole. They’re trying to get her back, but no one can help her out of a Hole, as is commonly known, only herself. The vampire has been captured and submitted for questioning.

Fat load of help that’ll do, Barney thinks to himself. The Hole was a twist of fate, nothing to do with the vampire. They aren’t exactly big on planning.

Then he hears something else.

“And the vampire? Who is he?”

“Jerome Whitaker, sir.”

And now he knows that the vampire isn’t a coincidence. And it will escape.

And then Barney Stinson will die.

Simple, neat, full circle. An exemplary wish. Robin interrupts his train of thought. “I thought you said your father died.” Now he turns to stare at her, startled. “Yeah, I know his name,” Robin says. “Jerome Whitaker. You told me he died. And now the Watch guy is saying he’s a vampire.” She hesitates. “Which, I guess, supports your story that he died. Half-truths and all.”

There’s something about their exchanges that are so raw, so callous. Always cutting to the truth, and yet, always dancing around it. Matter-of-fact, when it should have been unfamiliar and careful. When they speak, it’s like they’ve known each other their whole lives, and to put up a pretence is laughable.

“How do you know his name?”

There’s another staring match. These seem to be becoming more and more prevalent.

But the answer comes up behind Barney, and Robin looks up at it. Hopeful. Desperate. “Father?”

“How astute of you,” Robin Sr. remarks dryly, surveying his ‘son’ with cold blue eyes. “Time to go.”

And in that instant, Robin and Barney know that nothing has changed. Robin stares back up at her father, and Barney stares at Robin. Impossible. A wish always follows through. And an immediate wish like Robin’s should have been fulfilled… well, immediately. When the clock struck twelve and all that.

Robin’s silence causes her father to turn to Barney. “And you are Barney Stinson.”

“Yes.”

“The bastard son.”

“Yes,” Barney says unflinchingly.  

“Good to meet you,” Robin Sr. says unexpectedly, but he’s always been like that.

“Isn’t it always.”

“I knew your father.”

“Really.”

“He’s in the other room.”

“Not anymore.”

There’s a confused pause.

The aged man waits for an explanation, but Barney’s attention is focused on Robin. After a few moments, he reluctantly turns away from her. “He’s not in the other room because he’s escaped, you see.”

Odd ramblings from an odd man. Robin Sr. is impatient. “Then where is he?” He has never liked being kept in the dark.

“Here,” Barney says impassively, and his dead father comes up behind him at superhuman speed.

And in the heavens, two fairies stare down at the scene. One savours the destruction of the failed wish, and the other ponders the loss of her shoe. And then, much to their surprise, they come crashing down to earth.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
idioticonion
Aug. 29th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
There's something strange happened to your formatting? Livejournal does this to me too. Try unclicking the "autoformat" checkbox on the HTML view?
drizzlydaze
Aug. 29th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
Kind of afraid to edit and save it again in case it gets all wonky. I'll try that next time, though, so thanks.
idioticonion
Aug. 30th, 2011 11:37 am (UTC)
It's okay - it's worked fine.

But Oh my GOD! So is Robin's father not ACTUALLY her father? It's the only explanation I can think of for him not being "back". But wishes make my head spin.

And poor Lily! I hope she manages to survive the fall into the Hole.
drizzlydaze
Aug. 31st, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
TWIST! That wish-not-granted mystery will be resolved in the next chapter.
drizzlydaze
Aug. 29th, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
Okay, just tried it on a sample entry... Didn't work. I'm using Firefox, so I thought it might be NoScript, but the same thing happens for Safari. Guess I have to settle for manually spacing the paragraphs, and refraining from further editing.
yogurtpo3
Aug. 30th, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
The format works on my computer... so I'm guessing you succeeded in fixing it? :D
Anyway, YAY!! An update! I had almost forgotten about this bizarre and wonderful fic! :)
Ooo... mysteries abound! What is Jerome gonna do to them??
And what's up with Robin's wish not being true, but then it's supposed to be?
And how is Lily going to get out of that hole?

:D

This is beautifully written... I can evem see them all in those cartoonish disney attire... hahhaa...
drizzlydaze
Aug. 31st, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
Almost forgot? Oh no, we can't have that. -bumbles off to plot the next chapter-
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )