I do not own either Buffy the Vampire Slayer
or Once Upon a Time
. I also do not own any of the Disney films mentioned, although copies of a few of them might still float around the house somewhere.Pairings:
None, unless you require a fluff warning.Spoilers:
All of Buffy
is fair game. Spoilers up to and including for 1x20 'The Stranger' of Once Upon a Time
.A New World
“I can’t do this,” Buffy murmured, bouncing Emma in her arms in an effort to get the babe to stop screaming. “God, I can’t do this.”
She was dry, she was fed, she was burped, she slept most of the day, and still the child would not stop. Buffy wanted to scream and shout herself, even as she began to recall some high school lessons and Willow’s muttering, about babies recognising voice from within the womb.
“I don’t sound like her, do I?” Buffy realised as she cradled Emma’s head close to her heart, wondering if the beat might help. “No one sounds familiar. Maybe we even all smell wrong. Who knows what babies from enchanted forests can tell about their parents.” She sighed, smoothing the baby’s red, wrinkled face. “Help me out here, Emma, I don’t know how to help.”
For a baby called premature by the doctors, she certainly had a healthy pair of lungs.
“Try singing,” a small voice said from the doorway.
Pinocchio looked up at her with intense blue eyes. “Try singing. My papa would sing me to sleep, sometimes. It was nice.”
Buffy’s jaw fell open. Sing to her. Lullabies.
“Why did I not think of that?” she muttered. “I’m a horrible mother.”
“No!” Pinocchio protested, launching himself across the room to attach himself to her leg. “You’re a good mother. A really good one!”
“Thanks, little one,” Buffy said, feeling her heart warm through. “That – that means a lot.”
The problem, of course, was that most of Buffy’s musical knowledge is from ten or more years in the future. There was not a lot that she could sing from her new era.
Then her eyes fell on the videos by the TV, some made deliberately well-loved and used, others new over the last couple of day, and she smiled. Some songs would stick in your head for years and years, and she realised that there were a few she still knew enough of the words from to sing Emma into silence.
“A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you’re fast asleep…
Buffy had no illusions about the quality of her voice. It was passable, capable of carrying a tune without sounding like a knife against a whetstone, but that was about it. Nevertheless, she could not help but be amazed as Emma’s wails began to dissolve into sobs, and then into an ever-blessed silence. She smiled, smoothed down a tuft of Emma’s hair, and gently placed the baby into the cot she kept in the living-come-dining-room-come-kitchen that makes up the living space of their apartment. Waiting with bated breath, she smiled again as she realised Emma was not going to protest her sleeping place.
“Whew,” she murmured, then grinned at the redheaded boy sat on the sofa, “good call, Pinocchio.”
He ducked his head, smiling.
“You sounded nice,” he told her. “I’ve never heard that song before.”
“Well, it’s from a Disney movie. You remember what I said about Disney? How he told a lot of fairy tales which are a bit like the stories and people from your home?” Pinocchio murmured. “Well, that one’s from the story of Cinderella.”
He blinked at her, then shook his head. “I don’t know any Cinderella.”
“Well then, perhaps that’s a good one to get started on,” Buffy told him. Pinocchio had been fascinated by the picture books and was clearly destined for an A-plus in woodshop one day, but she knew that he needed to embrace the ordinary elements of childhood. Every kid knew about Disney, and while she didn’t think he would be much enamoured of the more sentimental ones, she was willing to bet he’d enjoy Fantasia
, Robin Hood
, and Peter Pan
. Still, Cinderella
had very little to frighten a child, especially one from so different a world, and if he didn’t know the story, so much the better. She would be keeping him away from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
) for a very long time.
She showed him how to work the VCR and remote and settled him on the couch while she poured them both drinks. Provided Emma gave them the time, a little mother-son bonding would definitely not go amiss.
Buffy genuinely liked Pinocchio. The kid was smart, conscientious, and kind. Despite his discomfort with the lies about his existence, Buffy had sold it to him on the basis that since she was essentially his adopted (and only) mother, pretending she was his real one was no real stretch. They built in elements of his real father, Gepetto’s, character into his fictional father’s – the name Joseph was the English version of Gepetto, he excelled in woodshop and carved several mementos before Pinocchio was born, he used to do puppet shows as a kid – while contrasting it with the more realistic elements of his being a soldier who survived Vietnam, remaining in the service while he pursued a degree and then killed during an unspecified ‘training routine’ that had made Buffy wonder if it was her mind or Willow’s that was playing on old memories of the Initiative and the idea that the military was untrustworthy. It was funny, how she remembered nights of a too-familiar stranger waking up beside her, sweating as he silently stumbled into the bathroom or to the window, never saying a word of his experiences.
Buffy did not share those details with her new son. She didn’t think he needed to know yet that his ‘parents’ had married six months before he was born or that his ‘father’ had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and what that meant. For now, he could imagine whoever he wanted to and it could be hushed away with nervous smiles and bitten lips as the fancies of a child and a mother who dared not disillusion him.
Pinocchio would learn about the horrors of this world soon enough. Buffy would not burden him with them before that if she could help it.
It soon became clear that Pinocchio liked Cinderella
, enjoying the songs and the talking animals and, especially, the fairy godmother.
“She’s like the Blue Fairy,” he murmured in awe. “The one who made me a real boy.”
Buffy filed that away for future knowledge, wondering if there was a risk of Pinocchio turning back into wood. And with no magic left in this world, what it would mean for him.
“Well, you’ll always be my real boy,” Buffy said, ruffling his hair. “Now, what do you want for dinner?”
Apparently, she had been endowed with rather overly-sympathetic neighbours and oddly-familiar friends who had brought prepared dish after prepared casserole to tide her through the ‘adjustment period.’ Coupled with a lot of cooing over Emma and praise for ‘Nick’ as such a good, brave boy (how they all knew the story of his being in the car as his ‘aunt’ made her way through premature labour, she had no idea), Buffy reflected that it could have been a lot worse.
Even her boss had given her compassionate leave while she settled in with the new addition to the family and grieved her sister. There was, after all, no one else. Buffy’s memories told her that Dawn’s husband, Hal, had died on the job during a vicious fire less than a month before Emma’s birth, something which had stressed Dawn’s body. And she still didn’t know what she had been doing, driving her sister across Maine – in her memories, Dawn was insistent, but never told her why.
It took an aspirin to get her head to stop aching from all her new memories.
But despite that, all the pain and confusion, the duplicated lives and their twists and turns, she would not change it. She had her fresh start, and it was as something far more important than being the Slayer. She was a mom.
And when Emma woke and fussed only as long as it took her to be fed and burped and then fell asleep in a quietly awed Pinocchio’s arms, Buffy smiled and thought that perhaps she could do this after all.
I genuinely believe that given a more gentle introduction to the 'real' world (barring the sight of a dead woman on the backseat of the car), Pinocchio would have settled in quite well, especially with someone to latch onto. I also think he would have liked Disney films. I wasn't sure which people he would know, or their stories, from the Enchanted Forest, but I figured that he probably wouldn't have heard Ella and Thomas's story (or if he had, not connected it with 'Cinderella'), while he would be familiar with Snow White - and probably complain about the wrong bits. I still haven't watched 'The Stranger' (I need to catch up on it), so I will make any amendments as possible.
I did consider Buffy offering Dumbo
, but then I remembered the pink elephants on parade. That terrified me as a kid, and would not be a good introduction to our world. As it was, Disney's Pinocchio
also freaked me out - particularly the turning into donkeys thing.
This is here for a little bit of fluff and Buffy-Pinocchio(Nick) bonding.
I think I've more or less worked out Emma's story, bringing Henry into the world, and how he came to be adopted. Any suggestions for characterisations would be appreciated.
Next up - Buffy meets her true love, and he may be more fitting into this family than she first realised... OC based on a folktale/fairy tale character - feel free to guess until I post!