SUMMARY: Snow White as you never imagined it.
POSTED: 13 Oct 2003
CATEGORY: Challenge FIC / Fluff / AU
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES: Dedicated to Scorchy and Kimi
Once upon a time, in a Kingdom far far away there lived a lawyer and her name was Lilah, she was the most feared lawyer in all the land for she was also an evil and powerful enchantress. Those who dared to oppose her, disappeared and were never seen or heard from again.
Lilah married the King of the land, after which he was seldom seen by his people. Now the King had a daughter, a simple and beautiful young Princess named Cordelia. Cordelia was not only beautiful to behold with sparkling hazel eyes, hair of warmest chestnut cascading down her slender back, and skin kissed by the sun, but she was also kind of heart and sensitive to the troubles of others. Perfect she was not, a sharp tongue was possessed by our fair princess, however she never used it on the undeserving.
Now Lilah hated Cordelia with a passion, for she also feared her, and so Lilah forced Cordelia out of the castle to make her own way in the world. One night Cordelia was making her way home to the small hovel she called an apartment when she noticed that she was being followed. Cordelia began to walk faster, hoping to reach the safety of her apartment before whoever was following her could catch up. She was a matter of metres from her door and beginning to feel relieved when something grabbed her by the arm and swung her around, pushing her against a nearby wall.
Looking up Cordelia saw the leering yellow eyes of a vampire as he leaned in towards her neck. Acting on instinct Cordelia raised her knee between his legs and when he fell to the ground she ran. Unfortunately, due to her terror she ran the wrong way. The vampire was soon on his feet, and enraged at her escape began to chase her. Cordelia screamed as she ran, hoping against hope that someone, anyone, would hear her.
As she ran past an alleyway Cordelia’s prayers were answered. A tall handsome man stepped out of the alley as Cordelia ran past. He turned to face the vampire and in the blink of an eye, staked the vampire, turning him to dust.
Cordelia had stopped running when the stranger stepped forward and she was now leaning against the lamp post catching her breath. Straightening up, she turned and looked into the deepest most soulful eyes she had ever seen. Her entire body tingled as a current of intense connection passed between them.
“Thank you.” Cordelia walked slowly towards her saviour. “I owe you my life.”
“The pleasure is all mine.” He smiled, a small quirk of his lips indicating his sincerity. “May I walk you home?” He held out his arm.
Cordelia sent a warm smile his way as she took his arm and allowed him to escort her to her door.
Each and every day after a full schedule of perpetrating evil and having her way with all who dared to cross her path, Lilah retired to her inner sanctuary to consult her magic mirror. How Lilah came to own such a wondrous possession does not enter this tale; it is enough to know that possess it she did. The magic mirror held the power to see all that was and all that was yet to be. Standing before the mirror Lilah uttered the words that she uttered each and every day.
“Slave in the magic mirror,
Come from the furthest space,
Through wind and darkness I summon thee
Speak; let me see thy face.”
The mirror which at first appeared to be black in colour, became wreathed in flames of green and blue, through which a face appeared.
“What wouldst thou know my Queen?” The mirror spoke.
“Magic Mirror on the wall,
Who is the most powerful of them all?”
Lilah asked the same question she asked every night and waited gleefully for the same answer she received every night. However, tonight was not to be the same as every other night.
“Famed is thy beauty Majesty,
But hold; a lovely maid I see.
Rags cannot hide her gentle face,
Alas she is more powerful than thee.”
Lilah’s face was a study in fury. She had to wait a full minute before she was calm enough to speak.
“Reveal her name.” She demanded through clenched teeth.
“Eyes sparkling as a stream,
Hair as deep as night
A soul pure as a child’s dream.”
“Cordelia Chase.” Lilah’s mind immediately jumped to the correct conclusion as she swept from the room.
Lilah had long feared this day. She had received a dream years ago, that foretold the coming of a great power for good that would foreshadow her downfall. The dream had been enigmatic in nature and Lilah had had the greatest scholars in the land work for years to glean more information and to correctly interpret every aspect. Finally it had been revealed that the threat to Lilah would come from Cordelia.
From the moment she learnt the truth, Lilah had set out to ruin Cordelia’s life. She opened a Hellmouth under Cordelia’s high school when that didn’t work she exiled her from the castle, hoping that Cordelia would suffer and starve. Lilah found that she now had no option left but to kill Cordelia. She sent for her hit man.
“Merle,” Lilah began when he entered. “take her far into the forest, find some secluded glade where she can pick wild flowers and there my faithful huntsman you will kill her.”
“But your Majesty; kill the princess?” Merle whined.
“You know the penalty if you fail.” Lilah glowered at Merle.
“Yes your Majesty.” Merle cowered in terror.
“But to make doubly sure that you do not fail, bring back her heart in this.” Lilah handed Merle a small wooden box.
Taking the box fearfully, Merle left the room to find Cordelia.
“Come on Cordelia, just over this little hill there’s a perfect spot for a picnic.” Merle was leading a reluctant Cordelia through the forest.
“Um, hullo Merle. You said that about the last 5 hills and still I’ve received no picnic-y goodness. And whilst these shoes may look comfortable, they’re not. It’s an illusion created by evil shoe sales people world wide and I’m not going any further.” Cordelia sat determinedly down on a nearby rock.
“Look, Princess, there’s no picnic for you if you stop. You think this is my idea of fun? Well it’s not. I have allergies you know.”
“Why exactly are we here again? And by the way, you’d better bring that picnic over here or you’ll have to carry me home after I pass out from hunger.”
“You’re not going home so that’s not…..oops.” realising his blunder Merle covered his mouth with his hand.
“What did you mean I’m not going home?” Cordelia stood and stalked menacingly towards Merle.
Merle opened the picnic basket and pulled out a gun.
“Look, I’m really sorry about this, but I don’t have a choice.” Merle waved the gun threateningly in Cordelia’s direction to stop her advance.
“You liar. You do so have a choice. Don’t make me come over there and hurt you.” Cordelia was furious; she had been certain that the basket was full of picnic-y goodness and she was hungry.
“Don’t you threaten me.” Merle yelled his hands on his hips. “I have the gun.”
“Big deal. You weaselly little demon, I’m in a very bad mood and now I’m hungry. You put that gun away right now.”
Suddenly Cordelia rushed over, grabbed the gun and smacked Merle across the back of the head with her hand.
“Ow, what was that for?”
“You retard. Attempted murder ring any bells for you?”
“Look, I’m really sorry about that, honest. It wasn’t my choice. You can’t ever go back. It’s the Queen, she’s mad, jealous, she’ll stop at nothing. Run, hide, never come back.”
Picking up on the terror and panic in Merle’s voice, Cordelia dropped the gun and began to run. She ran wildly through the forest, branches catching at her clothes, it grew darker the further in she ran and Cordelia began to imagine monsters behind every bush. She lost a shoe and twisting her ankle on a rock, fell, tumbling down a steep slope. Hitting her head on a rock at the bottom of the slope, Cordelia lay unconscious and completely alone.
Coming to, Cordelia sat up with a groan. Slowly opening her eyes she caught sight of animals surrounding her. She let out a scream of surprise and they darted away into the underbrush.
“Oh, hey little animals. I’m sorry, come on back.” She called out softly, some company was better than no company at least to her frightened mind.
Slowly the animals re-emerged until they surrounded Cordelia once again. There were deers, rabbits, squirrels, tortoises and birds of all description.
“Hey there.” One small, fluffy bunny hopped up and perched it’s forepaws on Cordelia’s knee. “Oh what a cute little fluffy bunny you are.” She cooed.
“Thanks baby; how’s about picking me up for some fine bunny lovin’.”
“Eeeww. You dirty old man bunny. And what freaky dream is this; bunnies don’t talk. Oh my god, I’ve finally gone insane, I always suspected I might but didn’t think it would happen for years and certainly not until I was rich enough to be considered eccentric. And….”
“Oh my god, do you never shut up? We all talk. Nothing here in this crappy forest is as it seems. That evil Queen banished us and made us into fricking forest creatures. Do you know who I am?”
“Um, hmmm, well you look kind of like Thumper.” Cordelia guessed.
“Are you blonde? I’m bloody Rupert Murdoch, and when I get out of this forest I’m going to make that woman sorry she was ever born.”
“So you’re all um actually people?”
There was a chorus of agreement from all present.
“Mmm bummer for you. So where do you think I could sleep tonight?” Cordelia asked.
“Yeah, it’s good to see you’re not dwelling on our poor pathetic existences but moving right on to what’s really important here.” Rupert growled.
“Look obnoxious bunny, it’s going to be dark soon and I’m scared and hungry and I lost one of my shoes.” Cordelia was feeling dangerously close to tears.
One of the birds gave a knowing look at another bird and receiving a nod in reply he spoke up.
“I know of a house. Follow me.”
The bird flew off and Cordelia and the other animals followed. Reaching a small clearing, Cordelia found a gorgeous little cottage. She knocked on the door but received no answer, so finding it unlocked she entered.
“What a cute little house, everything is so tiny, children must live here, dirty dirty children. I don’t think they’ve ever swept the floor. Oh poor little things. I know, why don’t we clean up and then they might let me stay?” Cordelia turned eagerly to the animals.
“You know what? Why don’t you clean up if you want to stay here, there’s nothing in it for me.” Rupert replied.
“Look bunny, how ‘bout you help me and I don’t turn you into a pie, how’s that for a deal?”
Suddenly deciding that a little cleaning wasn’t beneath them the animals got to and helped Cordelia clean the house. When they finished Cordelia was exhausted, so she made her way upstairs and found 7 little beds.
“Oh what adorable little beds, and look they have names on them. Doc, Happy, Scaredy, Snotty, Snarky, Grumpy and Dopey. What funny names. I hope they don’t mind if I just lie down for a minute.” Cordelia lay down on the bed and was soon fast asleep. The creatures left her to her rest and made their way from the home.
Meanwhile, in a diamond mine, not so far way, seven dwarves were hard at work. As the sun began to set in the sky, they packed up their tools and made their way home. Reaching the clearing near their house, they were startled to discover the front door wide open.
“Mark my words, there’s trouble a-brewing! Felt it comin’ all day. Corns hurt!” Grumpy remarked upon seeing the open door.
“Be careful men. Search every cook and nanny, hook and granny, crook and…uh, Search everywhere.” Doc nervously ordered the other dwarves.
Soon the dwarves discovered that the house was spotless. Realising that no one was downstairs they decided to look upstairs, so creeping quietly up, they peeked through the open bedroom door and were surprised to see Cordelia sleeping on the bed.
“Aww, she’s beautiful, like an angel.” Happy murmured.
“Pigs eye, she’s evil and don’t you be forgetting it, we should kill her before she wakes up.” Grumpy asserted.
The seven of them stood staring at Cordelia, undecided as to a course of action, which was the sight that greeted Cordelia upon awakening moments later.
“Oh, hello.” She murmured politely. “How do you do?”
“How do you do what?” Grumpy asked crossly.
“Oh, you must be Grumpy.” Cordelia guessed.
“My name is Gunn, two ‘n’s, ignore the bed.” He replied.
“So that would make you doc?” Cordelia said to the only dwarf wearing glasses.
“Technically yes I guess so, although my real name is Wesley.”
“You must be Happy.” She spoke to a widely smiling dwarf.
“Oh yeah, all the time, you can also call me Lorne.”
“Um let me see, that would make you Scaredy.” Cordelia pointed at one of the dwarves who was hiding behind Doc.
“Fred.” The dwarf whispered back.
“Hmm, are you Snotty?” She pointed at one of the dwarves who was looking down at her ragged clothing.
“Lindsay if you don’t mind.”
“If you don’t mind…” mimicked one of the other dwarves.
“Ahh, Snarky, that would be you.”
“Call me Spike.” He offered raising his eyebrows suggestively.
“And that leaves Dopey.” Cordelia smiled at the last dwarf.
“His name is Groo, but he doesn’t talk much.” Doc offered.
“We know who we are. Ask her who she is! What she’s been doing here.” Grumpy demanded. “This is our crib and she can’t just break and enter.”
Obediently, Doc turned to Cordelia and asked. “What are you and who are you doing?”
“Oh I’m sorry, how rude of me.”
“It is rather.” Snotty contributed.
“I’m Cordelia.” Her pronouncement was met by as gasp of surprise as they realised that she was the princess.
“If the Queen finds her here, she’ll swoop down and wreak her vengeance on us. This is not good, tell her to go.” Grumpy spoke up.
“No, we have to help her, she’s pretty, let’s keep her.” Happy insisted.
“Please don’t make me leave, the Queen will kill me. If you let me stay I’ll wash and sew and sweep and cook.” Cordelia offered desperately.
“Can you make apple dumplings?” Snarky spoke up.
“Um, yes no reason why not.” Cordelia replied.
“She stays, no two ways about it.” Snarky informed Grumpy.
“Thank you.” Cordelia was relieved to be safe, even if it meant living with seven strange little people.
Back in the castle, Lilah was holding the box given to her by Merle containing the heart of Cordelia. She stood before her magic mirror, confident in the answer she was expecting to hear.
“Magic mirror on the wall,
Who is the most powerful of them all?”
“Over the seven jeweled hills,
Beyond the seventh fall,
In the cottage of the seven dwarves
Dwells Cordelia, most powerful of all.”
The mirror tactlessly replied.
Lilah couldn’t believe her ears. She was absolutely certain the mirror could not be correct.
“Cordelia lies dead in the forest. The huntsman has brought me proof. Behold, her heart.”
“Cordelia still lives.
The strongest in the land.
It is the heart of a pig you hold in your hand.”
Realising that she had been tricked Lilah flew into a cold rage and threw the box to the ground, shattering it and sending the heart flying across the ground where it came to rest against the mirror. Flying from the room, Lilah made her way to her secret laboratory in the dungeons.
“If you want something done right, you just have to do it yourself.” She muttered to herself whilst flipping through a book of spells. “Ahh the perfect one.”
Lilah came to rest on the page reading: Poison Apple. Sleeping Death. One taste of the Poisoned Apple and the victim’s eyes will close forever in the Sleeping Death.
“This will do nicely. Now, to disguise myself so she will never recognise me. Ah a peddlers disguise, ideal Mummy dust to make me old. To shroud my clothes, the black of night. To age my voice, an old hag’s cackle. To whiten my hair, a scream of fright. A blast of wind to fan my hate. A thunderbolt to mix it well. Now begin thy magic spell.”
Lilah combined all the ingredients into a potion which she drank. Immediately after drinking the boiling potion, a colourful whirlpool spun around her as she grabbed her throat. Blue and yellow bubbles rose up and a bolt of lightning struck – the transformations began. Her hair turned white, her hands turned gnarly and ugly, and her voice became a hag’s cackle.
“Delightful, delightful.” She cackled to herself as she prepared the apple for Cordelia.
“Let the Sleeping Death seep through.
Look on the skin, the symbol of what lies within. (The liquid coating the skin of the apple briefly formed the shape of a skull.)
Now turn red to tempt the sprite,
To make her hunger for a bite…
When she breaks the tender peel
To taste the apple from my hand
Her breath will still, her blood congeal
Then I’ll be most powerful in the land.
But wait! There may be an antidote. Nothing must be overlooked. Oh, here it is. The Victim of the Sleeping Death can be revived only by Love’s First Kiss. Love’s First Kiss. No fear of that. The dwarfs will think she’s dead. She’ll be buried alive. Ha, ha, ha…” Lilah continued to cackle to herself as she prepared the apple and placed it in a basket with other apples.
After their evening meal, the dwarves entertained Cordelia with stories of how they had come to be cursed by Lilah.
“Oh, well you know, I um interpreted a prophecy the teensiest bit incorrectly, that woman has absolutely no compassion and very little tolerance. As it turned out I was a mere hour out on my calculations, but she wouldn’t be reasoned with. I suppose I should be glad I’m not an animal.” Doc informed her.
“Poor Doc. What about you Happy?”
“Oh pixiecat, it was such a pity. I was leading the perfect life, I had my own little bar serving drinks and advice to all comers when one day, I gave one drink too many to the hairdresser to the Queen and oh you had to see it to believe it. That hairdresser gave her such an imaginative hair cut but received nary a thank you. And the Queen stormed into my little corner of the world and next thing you know, here I am, chafing my hands in that mine. But still, I can’t complain, those diamonds are gorgeous and I’ve got such a little stockpile for when I get to be me again, I’m going to start a little jewellery business.”
“Good for you, I can’t wait to see your designs. How ‘bout you Scaredy, what happened to you?”
“I, um, I wasn’t doing anything. I worked in the library and I really liked it, I love books, they are so quiet and peaceful and make such a lot of sense. But that’s it, I was just there, reading a book and suddenly I wasn’t so much there as I was here, where there are no books.” Scaredy whispered.
“Oh poor Scaredy. I tell you what, tomorrow, I’ll start writing a book for you to read, I’ll write all about the most divine Prince I met just last night, he has the best eyes ever and he was such a gentleman and…” Cordelia’s eyes took on a far away look as she remembered the meeting with her Prince.
“Yeah and that’s all well and boring, but what about me? Don’t you want to hear about me now?” Snarky spoke up.
“Sorry Snarky, of course I want to hear about you.”
“Well there I was minding me own business, when a little blonde piece of nothing took it into her head to begin a campaign of harassment against me. Innocent of all wrong doing I was, but still I was forced to leave my comfy home and move to this crappy Kingdom. Once there, I accidentally stole the Queen’s car and what a fuss it caused. I totally meant to bring it back, but before I could, here I was. I was framed.”
“Mm I can see the innocence. Why did you uh borrow the car?”
“My legs were tired.”
“Oh. OK. So Snotty how about you?”
“I opposed the Queen on a legal matter. In fact, I was defending Dopey on charges of indecent exposure; he was new to the country and kept parading around naked. Next thing I knew we were both here.”
“And that leaves Grumpy. What happened to you Grumpy?” Cordelia asked.
“Man’s got a right to defend his hood is all I’m saying.” Grumpy replied briefly before getting up and leaving the room. He didn’t want to get too close to the Princess, that way led to badness, in this land there was only pain.
With Grumpy’s departure, everyone realised how late it was. Insisting that Cordelia take their beds, the dwarves settled down for the night wherever they could find comfort.
The next morning after the dwarves had left for work, Cordelia decided to cook them some delicious pies for dinner that night. The only hitch in her plan being that she was unable to cook.
“Hey Rupert Bunny?” Cordelia yelled from the open kitchen window.
“What.” He replied appearing from the forest.
“Do you know how to make pie?”
“Do you know who might know?” Cordelia was nothing if not persistent.
“Jamie Oliver would know I guess.”
“Oh my god, Jamie Oliver is here. Where?”
“Here I am. I can show you how to make a lovely pie.” A small squirrel scurried up to sit on the window frame.
Soon with the assistance of the Jamie Squirrel, Cordelia was busy making pies. Suddenly a shadow appeared in the window. Looking up Cordelia spotted an old lady standing there holding a basket of apples.
“All alone, my pet?” The old lady asked.
“Why yes, yes I am, but…” Cordelia answered.
“The, the little men are not here?” The old lady interrupted.
“No, they’re not.”
“Uh. Mmmm. (smelling) Makin’ pies?”
“Yes, gooseberry pie.”
“It’s apple pies that make the men folks’ mouths water. Pies made from apples like these.” The old lady held a shiny red apple up to the light.
“Oh, they do look delicious. And Snarky did want apple dumplings. Won’t you please come in.” Cordelia invited the old lady into the house.
As the lady entered the home, Jamie realised who she was and he scampered out the window to notify the other animals. Immediately the animals ran for the mine to fetch the dwarves.
“Thank you my dear, and because you’ve been so good to poor old granny, I’ll share a secret with you. This is no ordinary apple. It’s a magic wishing apple.”
“A wishing apple?”
“Yes! One bite and all your dreams will come true”
“Yes, girlie. Now, make a wish and take a bite.”
Cordelia closed her eyes for a moment whilst she made a wish, then took a bite from the apple.
“Oh, I feel strange, oh, oh…” Cordelia fell unconscious to the ground, her outstretched hand dropping the bitten apple which rolled across the floor.
“Her breath will still. Her blood congeal.” The old lady rubbed her hands gleefully together whilst cackling maniacally. “Now I’ll be the most powerful in the land.”
Still laughing to herself, Lilah left the cottage. The dwarves arrived back at the cottage in time to see Lilah leaving, they began to chase her. Lilah in her old lady form has no powers of her own and is forced to flee before the angry dwarves.
Lilah climbed a mountain, realising too late that she had trapped herself with no where to go and very little strength to fight. Seizing a stick, she attempted to dislodge a stone and send it crashing down upon the dwarves who were climbing ever closer.
Amidst lightning and thunder bolts, Lilah struggled with the stone. Suddenly lightning struck the crag Lilah is perched on and it gave way. Screaming Lilah fell to her death against the jagged rocks below. With her death, the dwarves were immediately restored to their former bodies as were all the animals.
The seven former dwarves rush back to their cottage, hoping that Cordelia has been restored to life with the death of Lilah, but it has not happened. She is still lying upon the floor, not breathing, her hand outstretched as if reaching for the apple.
The dwarves could not bear to bury Cordelia, so they crafted a casket for her from crystal and laid her upon it. Lorne decorated it with the finest diamonds in his collection. And Fred planted beautiful flowers all around it.
Each day at sunset the dwarves gathered at the casket to pay their respects to the Princess they knew so briefly, yet who touched their hearts so deeply. A year passed and still the dwarves remained faithful, visiting each and every day.
One day as they were standing by the casket, a handsome Prince rode up on a white horse. Seeing the Princess lying as if dead, he leapt from the horse, tears pouring from his eyes.
“This long year I have searched for her, my own true love. This cannot be true.”
Prince Angel opened the casket, and bestowed upon Cordelia’s lips, true loves first kiss. Drawing back, the Prince gazed in wonder as she awoke and smiled up at him. Scooping her up in his arms the prince spun her around in joy. The dwarves let out a cry of joy and danced around the clearing.
Prince Angel set Cordelia back down on the ground and leaning down, kissed her with all the love in his heart.
And they all lived happily ever after.