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Title: Beautiful lies
Author: Devo79
Character: Xander
Rating: PG
A/N: Inspired by the beautiful movie The Fall

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“Tell me a story, Grandpa,” Maggie demanded and pulled her stuffed bunny against her chest. The small bedroom was littered with stuffed toys and the wallpaper had little ponies frolicking on green pastures.

“Um…okay,” Xander nodded and sat up straighter in the chair, grunting quietly when his back protested, “I… What kind of stories do you like?”

“I like unicorns and princesses and bunnies and evil people who’re de…def…defeated by the handsome prince.”

“Unicorns, huh?” he asked and the kid nodded eagerly, her brown hair flowing back and forth.

“Okay,” Xander said and got comfy in the chair, “So there was this unicorn…”

“That’s not how you start a story,” Maggie frowned, “You have to say…” she made her voice deeper, “Once upon a time.”

“Okay,” the old man agreed, “Once upon a time there was this unicorn.”

“Was it a magical unicorn?”

“You want a magical unicorn?” Xander asked and the little girl nodded, “Sure yeah, it was a very magical unicorn. And it had like,” he lifted his wrinkled hand and made a gesture that could be extremely rude or be a unicorn’s horn.

“A beautiful white horn,” Maggie finished for him.

“Right,” Xander shrugged, “Once upon a time there was this unicorn and it had a beautiful white horn. AND,” he said loudly when Maggie opened her mouth to speak, “The unicorn was very magical.”

“Uh huh,” Maggie looked expectantly at him.

“And it used its horn to poke the other unicorns in the butt,” Xander’s words were drowned out by Maggie’s high-pitched giggles.

“They don’t poke butts with their magical horns!”

“Sure they do,” the old man countered, “That’s why he was called Pokey.”

“Pokey the Magical Unicorn,” Xander heard from the doorway and he turned around to see Elisabeth standing there, leaning against the open door.

“Don’t tell me,” Xander held his hand up, “You want it to be Gerard the Emo Unicorn!”

”Make that Beelzebub the Head Banging Unicorn and you have a deal,” the teenager said and moved further into the room.

--------------------------------------------

“I want another story,” the munchkin demanded and put her small hands on her hips.

“You do? I thought you hated the story about Pokey,” Xander put down the newspaper and looked over at the little girl. She was wearing her My Little Pony pajama and the stuffed bunny was clenched in her hand.

“You don’t tell magic stories very well, Grandpa,” Maggie pointed the stuffed bunny at him.

“Well, I don’t know much about magic,” Xander said and couldn’t help but smile.

--------------------------------------------

“So the prince was allergic to flowers and when he leant over the beautiful princess…”

“With her long golden hair,” Maggie interrupted, “Can it be braided real pretty?”

“Yes, yes,” Xander exasperatedly said, “He leant over the beautiful princess and almost fell over her beautifully braided blond hair.”

“Well,” the kid huffed when Elisabeth laughed from her position on the floor next to the bed.

“And just when he was about to kiss her,” Xander paused and looked expectantly at Maggie.

“What?” she asked.

“Don’t you have anything to add?” Xander asked.

“About what?” she looked puzzled.

“I don’t know,” Xander sighed, “Maybe the color of her lipstick or how minty fresh her breath smelled or how plumb they were?”

“No,” Maggie scowled at him, “It’s good.”

“That’s a first,” Elisabeth mumbled and looked over at her grandfather.

“Certainly is,” Xander agreed, “So he is just about to kiss her when he sneezes, because of all those flowers the dwarfs had spread all over the place. And one small drop of snot landed right smack-dab in the middle of the princess’ forehead and uuuuhhhh,” he waved his hand around, “That was how the Sleeping Beauty was saved by a drop of green magical snot.”

“You really have no clue how to tell bedtime stories, do you?” Elisabeth asked.

----------------------------------------------

“I know that my bedtime stories haven’t been quite as successful as I’d hoped,” the old man said seriously a few nights later, “I had hoped for better reviews but…well.”

“I just tell it like it is,” Elisabeth said.

“So you do, my little head banging chipmunk, so you do,” Xander sat down in the chair next to Maggie’s bed and sighed, “And that’s why I’m going to tell you a story about a girl.”

“Was she beautiful?” Maggie asked and looked mildly interested.

“Oh, yes,” Xander swallowed and nodded, “She was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. But this girl was different from all the other girls. Very special.”

He looked at both his granddaughters and continued, “One of a kind. One in every generation…” his voice trailed off.

“Grandpa?” Elisabeth asked uncertainly.

“I’m okay,” he assured her, “It’s just…This story is important to me.”

“Was she a princess?” Maggie asked hopefully.

“Not really,” Xander answered, “But once…one time she thought she was a princess.”

“She thought she was?” Elisabeth frowned, “Was she crazy?”

Xander laughed, “No. An evil magician called Ethan put a spell on her.”

“Ethan,” Maggie said as if tasting the name, “That doesn’t sound evil.”

“It doesn’t?” Xander looked from Maggie to Elisabeth.

“Not really,” Elisabeth agreed.

“It’s a silly name for an evil magician,” Maggie slowly pronounced every letter in the last word.

“Okay,” Xander nodded, “Then let’s call him…Kyle.”

Elisabeth snorted and Maggie yelled, “That’s not evil!”

“Then you name him, little Miss Smartypants,” Xander offered.

“It oughta be something evil and dark…like something…um…” Maggie narrowed her eyes and chewed on her lower lip in deep thought.

“George?”

“No, Grandpa!” Maggie shrieked.

“Well, what about,” Elisabeth moved her lips soundlessly for a second and then continued, “Karabas?”

“Karabas?” Xander tried it out.

“Nooo, you gots to say it evil. Like this…Kaaarabaaas,” Maggie dragged the name out hissing the last s like a snake.

“Got it,” Xander smiled, “So the evil magician Karab,” he coughed, “Ass,” he continued and Elisabeth snorted, “Put a spell on a very special girl called…no…I’m not going to tell you her name.”

“You have to,” Maggie slapped her hands, palm down, against the bedcovers, “I can keep a secret, Molly at school told me her big brother sometimes smokes cigarettes and I haven’t told anyone.”

“Yes, well,” Xander rubbed his mouth with the back of his hand, trying to hide his smile, “You do seem to be very good at keeping secrets. Okay, I’ll tell you,” he leant forward and noticed Elisabeth leaning closer as well, “Her name was Buffy.”

--------------------------------------

“Did the special girl fall in love?” Maggie asked as her grandfather pulled the blanket over the little girl’s chest.

“What?” he asked, momentarily distracted by Elisabeth walking into the room.

“Buffy? Did she fall in love?” Maggie hummed happily and pulled the blanket all the way up to her little pointy chin. Her older sister just rolled her eyes and sat down on the floor, leaning her back against her little sister‘s bed.

“Yes,” Xander grabbed the chair in the corner of the room and moved it closer to the bed, “Yes, she did.”

“With a prince?”

“I wouldn’t go as far as to…well, he wasn’t a prince.”

“Maybe he was a peasant’s son,” Elisabeth offered from her position on the floor.

“Yes,” Maggie looked approvingly at her sister, “Sometimes in fairytales the princess falls in love with a peasant’s son.”

“All right we can say he was a peasant’s son,” Xander willingly agreed, “Who just happened to be a vampire.”

“What?” Elisabeth actually went a little cross-eyed.

“They don’t exist,” Maggie said but still shivered a little.

“No,” Xander looked down at his hands. They were so different now. Scarred and wrinkled. Old. “No,” he repeated, “They don’t. Not anymore.”

------------------------------------------------

“But I thought she loved Angel,” the anger was clear in the little girl’s voice.

“She did but…See, sometimes, no matter how much you love someone, it’s just not meant to be,” Xander explained slowly and folded his hands in his lap.

“So she stopped loving him?” Elisabeth said.

“No,” Xander looked out the window and blinked when the rays from the setting sun blinded him, “I don’t think she ever stopped loving him. But she moved on. People do that.”

“So she loved the poet instead?” Maggie inquired and rubbed her hands against her eyes.

“Hmmm?” Xander mumbled, still distracted by the setting sun.

“You said he was a poet,” she reminded the old man.

“He was,” Xander said, “But he was also a vampire.”

“What is up with Buffy and those vampires?” Elisabeth asked and hogged a little more of her sister’s blanket.

“You know,” Xander said and looked away from the window, “I always asked myself that too.”

-----------------------------------------------------

“But witches are evil!” Maggie crossed her arms.

“Some are, I guess, but not these two,” Xander wriggled a little and the little girl moved so he could sit on the edge of her bed.

“Did they have hairy warts on their noses?”

“No!” Xander laughed.

“Did they laugh like this,” Maggie cackled madly.

“No…okay, so Willow did. Once. But she was really drunk.”

“What about cats? Did they have big black mean cats?” Maggie asked sleepily and cuddled closer to her grandfather.

“Tara had a cat but it was grey. It was fat. She liked to sleep in the sun on the windowsill.”

“Tara?” Maggie asked confused.

“No, the cat.”

“They don’t sound very much like witches,” Maggie declared knowingly.

“Maybe not but they were. The best witches I ever met,” Xander whispered to the little girl as she fell asleep.

--------------------------------------------

“It doesn’t end well…does it?” Elisabeth asked one evening after Maggie had fallen asleep.

“What?” Xander looked away from the sleeping child. Elisabeth was sitting on the floor by the bed, her dark hair obscuring part of her face.

“The story about your friends,” Elisabeth continued, “It doesn’t end well.”

“You say that with such certainty,” Xander sighed.

“Those scars you have and…” the teenager pointed at his eye patch.

“It’s a bedtime story. A fairytale. They always end well,” the old man slowly stood up and walked past his granddaughter.

“But it isn’t a fairytale, is it?” Elisabeth followed him out of the bedroom and into the hallway, “It happened.”

“Why is it important?” Xander asked, his hand on the staircase railing.

“Because,” she searched for the words, “Because it’s important to you.”

Xander walked down a few steps then turned and looked up at the teenager, “Maybe one day…I’ll tell you the true ending. And you’re right,” he turned back and continued down the stairs, “It’s not a happy one.”

------------------------------------------------

The end

Date: 2010-07-09 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chaoskir.livejournal.com
Sad and funny at the same time! Thanks for sharing.

Date: 2010-07-11 10:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thanks for reading :)

Date: 2010-07-09 06:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bulisen.livejournal.com
I want the end to! Unfair she gets to hear it one day and I don't! *pouts*

Date: 2010-07-11 10:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Life is unfair *is evil*

Muwhahahahahahaha!

Date: 2010-07-09 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skargasm.livejournal.com
That was incredibly poignant. The voices of the children were very well done, and Xander *sigh* Xander kinda broke my heart a little.

Date: 2010-07-11 10:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you.

I'm a teacher so I'm surrounded by kids all the time :)

Date: 2010-07-09 07:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] buffyangellvr23.livejournal.com
What chaos said. *sniff* *chuckle*

Date: 2010-07-11 10:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Aw! Thanks.
*hugs*

Date: 2010-07-09 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whichclothes.livejournal.com
Oh, so sweet and funny and sad.

Date: 2010-07-11 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you.

Date: 2010-07-09 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragonyphoenix.livejournal.com
Awww, you brought tears to my eyes. Well done.

Date: 2010-07-11 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you.
*hugs*

Date: 2010-07-10 12:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sparrow2000.livejournal.com
Really nicely done.

Date: 2010-07-11 10:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you so much.
Edited Date: 2010-07-11 10:33 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-07-10 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kantarose.livejournal.com
Ooh I love this.

Date: 2010-07-11 10:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thanks.

It's been hanging around on my laptop for some time now.

Date: 2010-07-10 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lusciousxander.livejournal.com
Wow, that was one heartbreaking, adorable, wonderful story. I wanna know how that story ends, poor Xander.

Date: 2010-07-11 10:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you.

To begin with the story did have the ending in it. But it worked better this way.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2010-07-11 10:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Good! Very happy to hear that.

Date: 2010-07-14 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] samueljames
This made me cry. Lovely story.

Date: 2010-07-14 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thanks.

*hugs*

Date: 2010-07-14 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] etaureau.livejournal.com
Crying, hiccuping and crying. It's such a beautiful, but incredibly sad story.

Date: 2010-07-14 12:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Thank you.

*hugs*

Date: 2011-03-17 03:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mendenbar01.livejournal.com
Chocolate drops with amaretto filling.

Again, LJ has left me unknowing.

There aren't any more vampires? What happened to Angel and Spike? I don't care about other vampires, dust is too good for them.

Date: 2011-03-17 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devo79.livejournal.com
Nope. The vamps are gone. What happened to them? Well, that is up to you.

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