Title: A Love of Little Pigs
Fandoms: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Charlotte's Web
Disclaimer: I do not own either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charlotte's Web.
A/N: This was supposed to be a Fic-for-All response, except I got a little confused about the characters since I haven't seen Charlotte's Web in forever. So instead of Charlotte, I used Fern and just let the story flow.
She was browsing the stalls at the Farmer's Market. She already had a wicker basket filled with produce and now she was looking at the handmade goods before she went home.
Fern ran her hand across the hand-stitching on a a green and blue quilt, but she already had so many quilts at home that it wasn't worth it. She wandered to the next stall, offering the older woman behind the table a smile. The lady looked tired yet cheerful, her gray hair coming out of its stern looking bun.
There were all kinds of hand-sewn stuffed animals, from dogs and cats to fantastical creatures like unicorns and gryphons. They were all well-made and very charming looking.
She sighed heavily. Seeing toys and dolls and everything to do with children always made her feel a little depressed. A little bit as though she'd failed at her life.
When she was a child she had thought she was going to grow up, marry Henry Fussy and have ten or twelve children. They were going to live in a big farmhouse and everything was going to be perfect for them. And once she had a place of her own, Wilbur would come and live with them and have dozen upon dozen little piglets.
Life never seems to go the way it's supposed to, she thought, fingering the stuffed animals. Her hand froze on a pink pig.
She lifted it from the pile on the table, squeezing the little body in her hand. It made her think of days gone by. Of everything that should have been, and never would be.
"Are you looking to buy that, missy?" She glanced up at the woman behind the table, startled by her voice. "It's only that I'm about to close up and it'll be pitch dark by the time I get home if I don't pack this stuff all away soon."
Fern drew in a shaky breath, glancing back down at the pig. She bit her lip a moment, knowing she probably shouldn't. It was just going to bring up all the sadness and memories. "How much is he?" she asked.
"Ah, that little pig's five dollars," the woman said.
Fern fumbled in her jean pocket and passed over a crumpled five dollar bill. "Thank you," she said, tucking the little pig in her basket and walking away.
She needed to get home and start on dinner herself. And she wasn't going to think about the stuffed pig--or the little pig it reminded her of, or all of the dreams that had been broken forever.
Henry was waiting for her when she got home. He was stirring a pot on the stove--smelled like stew--and sipping from a cup of coffee. "Hey honey," he said.
She couldn't help smiling at him. He was her prince charming, the boy she had always known she was going to marry. "I see you started dinner without me," she said. "I'm sorry. I didn't know I was going to be gone so late."
"It's all right. It's not like I was doing anything else," Henry said. He set the ladle on the little holder and wandered over to the table where she'd put down the basket. "What'd you get? Anything good?"
"Just some squash, carrots, and the most perfect rutabagas I've ever seen," she said.
He poked at the basket. "But what's this?" he asked, pulling out the stuffed pig.
She flushed a little, almost snatching it out of his hands. "I... I don't know what I was thinking. I'm way too old for stuffed animals."
Henry gave her a sad look that was almost too understanding. He
laid his cup down on the table and walked around behind her to wrap his arms around her waist, nuzzling against the top of her head. "You're not old. We were kids just yesterday."
She bit her lip, twisting the pig in her hands. "You know I'm... I'm sorry, right?"
"There's no reason for you to be sorry," he said.
"But it's my fault," she said, her voice cracking a little.
"Sh, sh," he turned her in his arms. "Nothing is your fault. It's... it's just the way things are and I love you more than anything and that's all that matters."
She blinked tears from her eyes and looked up at him through her lashes. "But I'm the one that can't have babies," she cried. "No babies ever. No babies..."
He hugged her tightly. "It's okay, it's okay," he murmured.
She rested her head against his chest, listening to his heartbeat. He'd held her just like this after the doctor told them she was infertile, that they were never going to have babies of their own, that it was always going to be just them.
She would never forget that day in that cold doctor's office, hearing those final words. She had never thought anything would ever hurt as bad as the day Wilbur died, not until that moment. When her dreams were taken away and all her babies died before they were even born.
Fern drew in a deep breath and pushed back a little. She wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her flannel shirt. "I was thinking I would send this little guy to your niece," she said. "Her birthday's coming up, isn't it?"
His eyes were dark with worry, but he nodded his head. "Yeah, she's going to be three in a couple of weeks. And I think she would really like to have a little pig of her own."
She looked down at the stuffed pig, at his black glossy eyes and his stitched on smile. "I almost want to name him Wilbur Jr, but really... he looks more like a Mr. Gordo, doesn't he?" She offered him a watery smile.
"Yeah. Mr. Gordo. You should write that name on the card for her," Henry said.
"And maybe we should go visit Homer and his family," she said. "We haven't gone and seen them in awhile, have we?" Not since that doctor's visit. She just hadn't been able to bear the thought of seeing her brother and his wife... and their four children.
"Maybe I could help you make some of your famous pecan sandies and some chocolate chip cookies," Henry said. "I'm sure they'd appreciate them a lot."
Fern nodded. "Yeah."
It had taken nearly a year, but she thought maybe they were getting a little better. It still hurt so bad every time she thought about babies, but it wasn't that crippling pain it used to be.
She loved Henry and he loved her and that would be enough for a little while. And looking down at the little pig, she thought that maybe someday it wouldn't be so bad to seriously consider adopting a child. When the pain of not having any of her own wasn't so raw and broken.
"I think Buffy's going to love this little guy," she said.
"Well, a love of little pigs does run in the family," he said.
She hugged him again, glad that he was there. That he had always been there.