Warnings: blood, sex, violence
Fairies had been feared by mortals, once. Not that they even had to do anything to be feared; humans were ready to blame magic for everything from the tangles in their hair to bad parenting, whether it had anything to with it or not. The line between magic and mundane had been much thicker then, and the fair folk had owed mortals nothing but cold mischief.
But as the centuries went by stories were bound to intertwine, and learning the Other’s story was a slippery slope towards empathy and other buzzkills.
As the world evolved, it became common practice for magic only to be used on deserving humans to teach them some sort of lesson. The babystealers became the babysitters, as it were.
This still left plenty of room for mischief. Spoiled princes became frogs and beasts, castles were put to sleep for hundreds of years due to misplaced baby shower invitations...
It was easy to take magic punishment too far.
There was also something to be said for positive reinforcement: magical rewards for the pure and humble of heart.
Typically “heart pureness” was judged by some sort of morality test.
Creativity was encouraged, but sometimes it was just easier to fall back on the classics. The “starving beggar” and “wounded animal” methods were both surefire ways of gauging whether someone was worthy of their heart’s desire.
Yet even benevolent charms came with their unintended side effects.
Magic had a way of spreading far, far beyond the original target.
Curses and blessings alike could become pathogens.
And of course, for as long as humans and fairies had coexisted...
…magic had been seeping its way into the mortal bloodline as well.
Or perhaps it was mortality seeping into the magic bloodline.
At first they saw a little more color in the world as a beautiful thing to be celebrated. The normal humans would surely be oppressed by their more powerful brethren, but it was assumed that everyone would intermingle and mundanity would die out within the next few centuries anyway.
Normality was much more resilient than the oracles could have foreseen. Frail though they were, humans as a whole were less prone to specific exploitable weaknesses such as garlic, sunlight, silver...
Even fairies could be bound by cold iron.
But humanity’s true power came from a mischief stronger and more pervasive than any kind of magic...
A mischief of the mind.
Fairies were discouraged from using magic on mortals nowadays, whether for good or ill. The focus had shifted to a more psychological approach; an invisible hand gently guiding them toward solving their own problems.
But damned if Titania didn’t occasionally get the urge to turn someone into a frog.
“You and your date will be attending my cousin Jennicor’s exclusive ball. Coincidentally, Nina and her vampire beau will be there as well.”
“And does she meet my criteria?”
“And then some, my love.” Titania chuckled. “My reading of you shows a clear attraction to shyness and neatness; someone who will clean up your messes and listen to you jabber. Appropriately enough, the woman I have chosen for you happens to be a rather quiet maid.”
It was obvious she had him at the word “maid”, but he took one last chance to play hard to get. “Normally, I wouldn’t go into this blind... but I guess she doesn’t show up on film, does she?”
“I happen to be in possession of her last known photograph, if you’d like to make sure the bone structure is up to your standards?”
“She’s woohooable. You’ve got yourself a deal, Tity!”
Right on schedule, his exit cued the entrance of another player. “Blondie, long time no see!”
“I’m sorry, you must have me mistaken for someone else. I’ve never seen your greasy mop before in my life.” She brushed past him, directing her attention only at Titania, and without greeting or introduction cut directly to the chase. “Mortimer Goth is my future husband?”
“He’s the richest man in the city; why aren’t you ecstatic?”
“But what about Bella?”
“There may very well be a universe where you marry her too,” Titania said, if only to see the look on her face in response. “What’s wrong, my love? Have you not always coveted their lifestyle?”
“Yes, but not literally! I wanted them to be a model for a perfect life, but they can’t be that if I break them up!”
“Then don’t.” Titania shrugged. “As I said, the future is still in the making, dear. You don’t have to marry him or anyone at all; I’m just saying it’s on the metaphysical table.”
“Well now it’s off.” She was cooling down but managed to muster up one last spurt of flame. “And you tricked me again!”
“You tricked yourself. You create these expectations in your head and then get mad at me when reality fails to meet them. Your choices are your most precious possession -- your one smidgen of control over the universe -- and yet you give them up to me so easily.”
“I’ve been having nightmares about this, thanks to you. With Bella and Mortimer and Ocean and...” she didn’t finish the sentence. “When I was going towards that statue, wondering who was going to be there waiting for me, there was someone who came to mind more than anyone else. Someone who I know would make me happy, even though he’s not what I thought would make me happy. As opposed to the guy who was everything that I thought would make me happy.”
Titania sighed and rolled her eyes. “Well, I hope you’re not coming to me for approval, because I have said all I have to say to you about matters of fortune and romance.”
“Good! Because I’m not gonna trust a word you say anymore.”
Donald was waiting for her as she left the shop. “So, I guess you’re still mad about the maid thing.”
“I’m still mad about everything, Donald.” She didn’t even look at him.
“High school? Come on, baby, I was a stupid kid with raging hormones, momentarily confused because you two have the same delicious minty flavor!”
He lowered his voice. “--and I put up with four years of pregnancy jokes for you two; that’s gotta be worth something.”
“Oh you poor poor thing, I can’t even imagine the horrors you put up with just to get into my sister’s pants. Such a martyr!”
“I know, right?”
“You’d have been bullied anyway, nerd.”
“What do I have to do, wear a sackcloth and ashes? Nina’s forgiven me and she had a lot more to forgive!”
“She may have forgiven you, but she doesn’t trust you, and whatever little ‘understanding’ you had is over. She’s got a real boyfriend now; someone she can trust.”
He scoffed. “You really think that’s gonna last? I give it another week before this whole vampire thing loses its sparkle.”
“She’s not dating him because he’s a vampire.”
“Yeah, I’m sure she’s dating the brooding rich pretty boy for his dazzling personality.”
Her scowl melted into a hint of a smile. “Donald, if he was rich I’d be dating him. Reserve your judgements until you actually meet him. Even learning his name might give you a little better perspective.”
“Why? Do I know him?” There was a flash of panic in his eyes. “It’s Abjheet isn’t it? He’s a vampire now?!”
“I said reserve your judgements, and no, it’s not Abjheet, whoever that is.” At this point she had restrain herself from outright grinning. “I guarantee you he’s not whatever you’re picturing in your head. He’s considerate, kind, respectful, attentive, and...cleanly.”
“So what does she see in him?”
She stopped and turned to look him in the eye. “You know what’s most important to my sister.”
Don snickered. “Sex?”
“Exactly.” She allowed herself the grin. “I swear, if Nina didn’t have to sleep at night, no one in our entire building would. The landlord would have kicked us out fives time over by now if he wasn’t terrified of both of them. Especially her.”
“Now you’re just trying to make me jealous.”
“She also takes comfort in the fact that he will never get her pregnant.” Though Dina secretly hoped for a day when Nina would stop hating kids and adopt some nieces and nephews for her to shop for.
“Vampires aren’t infertile; I did a five page essay on how that affects the reproductive system.”
“Nerd!” Dina didn’t think of that as something negative, but she knew he did.
He gritted his teeth. “Whatever. She’ll get bored eventually. There ain’t no man that’s man enough for Nina Caliente!”
“You just say that because you weren’t.”
She’d cut deep enough, but couldn’t help but take the finishing blow. “Face it, Donald. Nina’s in love and she doesn’t need you anymore.”
“We’ll see,” he said. “Nice talking to you, Blondie, but I gotta go save lives and stuff.”
“And for what it’s worth, I really am sorry. For everything.”
“That man is a mass of conflicting impulses. It’s very hard to read.”
“Nothing to read, honey. He’s a picture book.” She had to take a second look at the girl she was speaking to. “Wow, somebody’s had a growth spurt. I almost didn’t recognize you!”
“It’s the natural way of things, Aunt Dina.”
Dina blushed. “Did your parents have any luck finding Kane?”
“Of course not. My mother’s an apothecary, not a medium. Her sixth sense is barely better than yours. I could find him in two seconds if I could get my hands on a crystal ball, but...somebody still thinks I’m too young to learn magic.”
“That’s too bad, sweetie.” She was reluctant to criticize Bella, but wary of getting on this one’s bad side. “So now that you’re all grown up, have you considered trying a more grown up hairstyle?”
“My pigtails help me channel my psychic energies.”
“Of course.” She could tell this was a losing battle. “Shouldn’t you be in school, honey?”
“It’s a half day.”
“For the public schools too?”
She understood Dina’s question better than Dina did. “No, but he should be getting out in another hour.”
“I have a question for ya, Mr. B!”
“Yes?” he said, trying not to sound startled. He was pretty sure the room had just been empty...unless she’d been hiding somewhere for the sole purpose of sneaking up on him.
“Is Bella Goth really your sister?”
“I don’t see what that has to do with the lesson.” He didn’t have any pictures of Bella or Mortimer up for a reason. This limited the photos he could put up around his workspace to his niece and his cat.
“We were studying genetics in bio today and we learned all about how witchcraft is genetic and that it’s a common misconception that it’s more common in women, because men are less likely to pursue what’s perceived as a ‘feminine’ craft. So that just made me think of the rumor going around that you’re closely related to an infamous witch who never changes her clothes.”
Mike blinked. “That doesn’t have anything to do with math, Circe.”
“I know my mother would have choice words for the school board if there was a warlock in the faculty.”
“...are you threatening me?”
“Why would I threaten you, Mr. B? I have nothing to gain from it. My grades are perfect, I have no reason to dislike you, and I know perfectly well that my mother’s ideology is idiotic.”
“I’m not a warlock, and you should probably go now.”
She didn’t seem to hear him. “But then again who needs a reason? Have a nice day, Mr. B.”
It was like descending into the underworld.
She should have seen it coming.
“Um, excuse me? No offense, but you can’t shower with us. Not after what happened to Ivy Copur.”
“Ivy got knocked up by her boyfriend.”
“Whatever, we don’t want your ‘pollen’ getting on us. You can use that one.”
“Teacher, a llama ate my homework.”
“Dina!” The surprise of seeing her there was somewhat muddled by the relief that she was not Circe sneaking on him with an axe. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry to bother you at work, but I wanted to see you as soon as possible.” She held out a plastic bag. “Here, I brought back the shirt that I stole. I accidentally took it to Strangetown with me.”
“Don’t worry about it.” He searched for something non-awkward to say. “How was your trip?”
“Great.” She paused for a second. “I talked to Ocean.”
“Oh, wow! Is he still…?”
“Yeah.” There was an edge to her voice. “But he’s fine. So happy he’s not coming back.”
“That’s great,” he said, and quickly added, “I mean, that he’s okay and everything. How did you, uh, contact him? If you don’t mind me asking?”
She opened her mouth to answer but instead took a few deep breaths before starting. “My friend’s husband is an alien.” She paused, eyes wide, appraising his reaction before continuing. (It was ‘neutral’ overlayed with ‘interested’.) “And he got ahold of him for me through a little flying saucer hologram machine.”
“Yeah, I guess it was in hindsight.” She breathed again, smiling, but her eyes were still a little fearful. “Mike, I also wanted to apologize for freaking out on you the last time we talked.”
“That was my fault. I made you uncomfortable.”
“Well I feel bad about it, and I wanted you to know that...” she took his hand. “That I didn’t mean what I said, when I told you to let me go.”
He didn’t know what to say.
“Because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that you're the one I want to hold me.”
“No public displays of affection!”
“It’s not PDA if it’s not public!” he called after his colleague.
“Oh no, did I get you in trouble?”
“Nah, I’ve caught her doing worse.” He was breathless and grinning. There were so many things he could have said but he felt the best was be to diffuse the awkwardness. “But there are better places for this. Can I buy you dinner?”
“No,” she said, “I’ll buy you dinner.”
“Yeah. I’m good. I robbed a museum this week.”
“Are you doing anything this Saturday night?”
“Just dressing up Nina and Servo for the Tricou Ball. They’re like my own life-sized Barbie and Ken.”
“You’re not going?”
“Nina offered to let me go as his plus one instead, but that just didn’t feel right. I know he’d rather go with her.” She bit her lip. “And it’s not like I really like parties and pretty dresses and rich people or anything.”
“Would you like to be my plus one?”
“You have an invite?”
“They’re my wacky neighbors; I couldn’t miss it if I tried.”
“That sounds like a perfect night,” she breathed.
“WOOOO get it Mistah B!”
“Hey guys! Look! There’s a robot down there macking on some hot redhead.”
“Is the staring is bothering you?”
“It’s pissing me off.”
“I’m sorry. In all honesty, I’d probably be staring too.”
Apologizing was like a verbal tic for him; she’d given up on trying to rein it in. “Thank you for coming out here with me. I know it’s difficult for you.”
“At least they’re not forming an angry mob,” he said. “Probably because they think you’re with me ironically.”
“Well then, let’s give ‘em something to get angry about.”
“You can’t kiss me out here.”
“You know I don’t care what any of these people think. If somebody has a problem with it I’ll slug ‘em.”
“I mean that your tongue will freeze to my face.”
“I can think of a few ways to warm you up,” she whispered.
Dina must have put in some quick and easy simlish hair extensions, uh, maybe to match her princess hair from the dream? (Okay, those were the only two styles that fit under her hat. ^_~)
Cut-text is from Rilo Kiley's "Portions for Foxes", and just to be clear that that is supposed to be a red fox not a cat. (Though it's a cat sim)
I used simcerly’s Morganna (witch), Vicki (Snow White), Todd (apothecary), Drew (peasant man), and Faerie Queen Mara (perky fairy) for the opening, as well as simsinthecity’s self-sim turned into a girl (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty.)
Dina and Mike are the same height, but Dina often looks taller because of her poofy hair. My favorite part of the kiss is that in the wide shot you can see he is standing on his toes. I didn't even notice while I was shooting!