Once Upon a 747

Author: Danii <debrabantknight[at]yahoo.com>

Summary: Sequel to "Happily Never After". Xander has to pick up another Fable on stopover to NYC. Post-"Chosen"

Crossover: Fables, a Vertigo comic. Fables is an ongoing monthly comic book series; its story concerns the lives and adventures of well-known characters from fairy tales and folklore who've been driven out of their magical homelands by a mysterious conqueror known only as the Adversary and have fled to our mundane world, where they live in the heart of New York City, in the secret exile community they call Fabletown.

Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one. Nothing.

Distribution: Anyone who wants it…just let me know where it is.

Dedication: Once more to Grossclout and Whitewerewolf. Because they deserve it twice.

Notes: Yes, I like him. Sorry if you don't.

Chapter 1

Xander bent his head back, closed his eyes, and tried to block out the talking.

There were reasons he's always avoided this particular Fable. Through the centuries, however, the little weasel had managed to follow both he and Willow since they'd been the only child Fables who had been able to stand him for even a little while. Pinocchio, already rather easy to set off, had given The Boy Who Cried Wolf more then a few knocks when they were all still in an escapee camp all together.

They'd thought they had managed to shake him for a while, when they'd made the decision to finally grow up. It had been a simple plan: go to the Hellmouth, let it negate their immortal stasis for a while, and then leave. They'd found homes (luckily, two families relatively nearby had been seeking to adopt that year), and had started their journey to adulthood, only to see the annoying little bastard a couple of years later "transferred in" to their class. He's pretty sure that he cried on that day out of sheer aggravation.

And now that Woodland was being attacked by the Adversary, now that they were finally heading back to New York City to help defend against the Puppets, Willow had guilted him into stopping and getting the little pissant.

"After all," she'd told him, "Every pair of hands can help, and it's his fight too. As annoying as he is, he lost his home just like we did."

Somehow, that didn't make the incessant chatter any better.

"—and at least when we get there, Bigby won't be there. I mean, he's been a great sheriff for everyone and all, but he still scares the living bejezzus out of me every time I see him. I mean, I know he's reformed and there's the amnesty and all, but the memory of it can still make me want to quiver like Klingon blood in zero gravity and—"

"Andrew…could you please shut up?"

The blonde man, complete in his Watcher's suit and tie, gave him a look that spoke of just how long he'd spent as a child.

"Why? I mean, it isn't often that I get to chat with you about this kind of stuff, and it's been ages since I could talk about all this business with someone. The house was nice and all, but the five million and a half Slayers made any sort of privacy difficult. It was pretty hard not to slip seeing you all the time again, you know. There were at least, like, twelve times where I almost called you Han-"

"I know. I was there."

"But you don't sound excited. I mean, we get to see everybody again. We haven't been back in ages."

"Again, I know. You do, of course, realize that the whole reason we're going back is because they're under -attack-?"

Andrew was practically vibrating with excitement and missed the point.

"Who do you want to see again when you get there?"

There was a pause, and then Xander let out his breath in a long deep sigh. "I'm hoping to see Pinocchio, Muffet, Mowgli, and I'm worried sick about Blue since last I heard, he was in the hospital."

"What about—"

"Snow?" Xander let out with something that would have been a laugh had he not been as tired and depressed as he was, "That was a schoolboy crush, Andrew, same as Willow had on me way back. Doesn't mean anything now, and anyway, I hear she's sweet on the Sheriff."

"On Bigby Wolf?" Andrew's eyes got impossibly large, "That…she's smarter than that!" And then his brain caught up on everything that Xander had said. "And I've been meaning to ask you about that for a while…you know, the Willow thing. Aren't you two…"

"Sister and brother?" he answered. Then he let out a small chuckle. "Only by marriage. She was Father's and I was Mother's. There's no actual blood between us, if you get my meaning, and since our parents died before making it out, it's not that big of a deal. Well, less of a deal for her then it was for me. S'part of why I didn't notice it for a while, I guess. She'd been my 'sister' for so long, and we were always thought of as a pair, but I guess growing up does weird things to your brain or something."

Andrew was quiet for a moment, and his next question was so far afield that it shocked Xander into actually listening.

"Do you ever wish we were still kids again? I mean, as much as Pinocchio complains and all…"

Xander allowed his head to fall forward before leaning it back again, his eye fluttering in thought. It took him a while to actually answer though.

"Well," he said finally, "I guess it was simpler. We were what we were and that was nice considering all the changes we'd had to face because of the Adversary…but there comes a time, I think, when you have to go past the Fable and into being you. Being what we are… we're partially defined by this world. We're told what we are by the way people think of us, it's how we live. But we made a decision. I…wanted to grow up, and so did Willow. We knew our roots, we knew who we were, we knew who people thought we were, and not all of that was about being a Fable. We decided to stop following the breadcrumbs and start heading out on our own path a bit.

"I mean, it's not that I don't love what Snow's done and all, because the Homeland is important, but it means different things for different people, and for us, it meant making a new Home. And for that, we needed new 'us'es. We couldn't be just Hansel and Gretel anymore. So now that's not all we are anymore. We're also Xander and Willow, and we make a difference in the whole world, not just Fabletown."

Xander chuckled.

"Okay, that whole 'help the Slayer, fight evil, and nearly die every other Tuesday' wasn't originally our plan, but when it came up, we didn't back down."

Andrew looked at him, eyes huge and wondering as he worked through everything Xander had said, but then confusion flittered across his face.

"Then why are you two headed back to New York? Why are you fighting for Woodland and Fabletown if you don't care about it anymore?"

Xander shook his head and rolled his eye. "No, Andrew, you're not getting it. What I said was that we aren't -just- Hansel and Gretel anymore, not that we'd thrown those identities away. They're still a part of us, still the heart of us, and we couldn't be who we are without them. Part of being Hansel and Gretel is a longing for home, a need and a love of coming home. And no matter what we make here, Fabletown and the people there, were our first and our most important home here. And I refuse to let that bastard take it and hurt the people I care about without standing and fighting with them."


There was silence for a second, and then Xander turned to Andrew, his feelings a little more benevolent than they had been earlier.

"I'd still avoid Pinocchio if I were you, dude. And Muffet."

"Duly noted."

The End

And if you're wondering why Pinocchio can't come to the Hellmouth to grow up, it's because part of his base character is that he's a "real BOY". As he states, that dizzy fairy that made him flesh set it up that way, and he can't change it. Unlike Andrew, Xander, and Willow, it's a basic part of his character that can't change. And I do love Bigby ::keeps thinking of ways to get the wolf in there::