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The Marmite Alphabetacy 30- Lord What Fools These Mortals Be


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The Marmite Alphabetacy 30- Lord What Fools These Mortals Be

  1. 1. Just to refresh your memory, when he left off, Xander had just crashed the engagement party and had disappeared with Heffalump. Devastated, Demetri also ran off closely followed by Helena who is in love with him. I hope you enjoy it despite the length!<br />
  2. 2. “...and then Heffalump ran off with this Xander dude!”<br />“She did WHAT?”<br />“I know! So we’re all standing there feeling shocked and whatnot, and then Demetri runs off and Helena goes after him!” <br />“...”<br />“...”<br />“Well bugger me” <br />“Exactly” <br />“Iris, why does it sound like you’re sloshing around in a lake?”<br />
  3. 3. “Because I am. It’s the only place that I can get a signal. There better not be any eels.”<br />“Wait, just take me through this again...”<br />“What’s going on Maia?”<br />“It sounds like Lumpy’s run off with some random guy who crashed the engagement party.”<br />“You’re kidding!”<br />“Nope. It’s not surprising though, Demetri and Heffalump were a total mismatch.”<br />“Not that!”<br />
  4. 4. “What then?”<br />“They had an engagement party and didn’t invite any of us?! We’re the freakin’ simselves!”<br />
  5. 5. “How could Heffalump just run off like that?” said Horatio. “I would never have imagined her being so cruel!”<br />“Oh as if it’s that simple!” snarled Hermione. “You have no idea what’s going on with her do you?”<br />“Yeah I do, she’s broken Dem’s heart and run off with some other guy!”<br />“You are COMPLETELY oblivious aren’t you?! She’ll feel guilty for leaving Dem, but glad that she finally gets to be with Xander, but she’ll feel bad for feeling glad about that, and she’ll feel like she’s let everyone down, and she’ll feel be regretting putting it off this long and that it had to happen this way but she’ll still be glad that she managed to stop herself and Demetri from making a huge mistake and she’ll be sad that she’s upset Helena too and-”<br />“Oh as if one person could feel ALL of that!”<br />
  6. 6. “Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have!”<br />As he often did, Hamlet left them to their squabbling. He stared east, back in the direction of campus, the direction that Heffalump and Xander had fled, and wondered what they planned to do next. He then turned his gaze in the opposite direction, into the cluster of trees by the lakeside that Demetri had disappeared into, followed swiftly by Helena. <br />
  7. 7. It was as if Helena’s boots had frozen to the ground. This was unlikely, as it was a warm midsummer’s night, but it certainly felt as if she had been standing there listening to her pounding heart for long enough for the seasons to change. She wondered if she could still slip away without him noticing-she simply couldn’t bring herself to move any closer regardless of how much she ached to. <br />Demetri’s hunched frame began to tremble and a small sob escaped before he could stifle it. The pitiful sound was more than Helena could bear, she wrenched her feet free and stumbled forward towards him. <br />“Oh Dem,” she whispered. She moved to put her arm around him, but her courage failed and she faltered. <br />
  8. 8. “I just-” He sat up, turning to face her and, despite herself, Helena couldn’t help but feel a shiver of excitement as his eyes met hers. His face was wet with tears which glistened in the moonlight. “I can’t-” He looked away and said no more.<br />“I don’t understand either.” she whispered. <br />“No, I think I’m beginning to understand.” he said quietly. “She’s special. So unique. She can light up a room with one smile y’know?”<br />A further jab of pain shot through Helena. “Yes, I know.” she forced herself to reply. “She’s always been so-” her voice cracked “so special” she swallowed hard as she finished, turning away to wipe away the tears that she could no longer hold back. <br />“I’ve never deserved her.”<br />
  9. 9. “That’s not true!” The force of her words surprised both Helena and Demetri.<br />“You don’t have to say that Helena” he said. “I don’t know why I ever thought that she could ever- that she could ever love me.”<br />This was more than Helena could bear. <br />“She’s never deserved you Dem!” The words were tumbling out before she could stop them now. “You’re so kind, and patient and romantic and thoughtful-<br />and you’ve always been so good to her even when she treated you badly.”<br />“She’s never-”<br />“Yes she has! Ever since you were teens she’s been keeping you waiting, just expecting you to hang around, whilst she expects everything to be centred on her and does whatever she wants and doesn’t bother to tell you where she is or how long she’ll be because she knows that you’ll be there waiting for her... And you’ve tried to take an interest in stuff she likes but she never asks you about your interests or how your day was or... Or-” she had long since given up on trying to disguise her tears and then emotion in her voice. “You deserve better than that Dem. Someone you can really- someone who really- who really loves you.”<br />
  10. 10. “Look, you really don’t have to say all that and act like you’re all worked up about it. It’s nice of you, but I might as well face the truth.”<br />“That was the truth Dem!” <br />“No. The truth is that I was kidding myself by pretending that someone like Heffalump- that anyone could ever love someone as worthless as me.”<br />Helena looked up and once again their eyes met and the jolt this always sent through Helena’s system gave her the courage to speak, although her voice shook.<br />“I love you.”<br />
  11. 11. “Look, I don’t need your pity Helena.” he said, standing up “I know you’re trying to make me feel better but that kind of crap is just going to make me feel worse.” <br />“No,” Helena stood up too and her voice was stronger now, “But I really do Dem. I love you- I have for...for so long- and it’s been killing me! Having to watch the two of you for years- and not saying anything because I wanted you to be happy-I wanted both of you to be happy. And I felt... I felt so ill, so sick- I felt like I was dying. <br />And I knew it made me a terrible sister and a terrible friend- and I loathed myself for it... And I’d pray that I’d wake up one morning and I wouldn’t love you anymore- or that I just wouldn't wake up- but it just wouldn’t go away. It won’t go away... And I-” the passionate flow of communication trickled to an end and Helena became very aware of all she had just said. “ And I love you.”<br />Demetri stared at her in silence for a few viscous moments. His pale face was frozen in his sheer incomprehension. Helena stared back at him and watched in alarm as a shadow of something close to panic passed over his face. <br />“What- I-” His voice grew more forceful, although it still quivered noticeably. <br />
  12. 12. “What the hell Helena!? What are you trying to-” He began to back away and Helena felt her insides writhe.<br />“No- I just- I” she moved closer to him, but Demetri flinched away. <br />“Leave me alone Helena.” Fresh tears fell down his cheeks as he spoke.<br />“Demetri, no-don’t-”<br />But he had already begun to walk away. She watched him leave, crying silently until he vanished into the trees. Helena sank to her knees on the cold earth and let out a moan of pain to the empty night. <br />
  13. 13. Heffalump was trying to remember whether she’d packed her glow in the dark legwarmers when her sister arrived at the dorm. Helena’s face was dry and her eye makeup was flawless, but Heffalump knew she had been crying. Heffalump always knew when her twin had been crying- and this time, she even thought she knew why. <br />“So you’re leaving then?” asked Helena in a low voice. <br />“Yeah,” said Heffalump, her voice lacked its usual melodic quality. “Just for a while... Just until things... Blow over a bit. It wouldn’t be fair on...” She still couldn’t bring herself to say his name. She didn’t feel that she had the right to after what she had done. <br />
  14. 14. “Where- Where are you going to go?” Helena asked.<br />“A friend of mine has a place on the other side of the Buckland Forest. We can stay with him for a while.” answered Xander. If Helena had known Xander as her twin did, she would have noticed that his voice too showed the strain of the evening’s events and was subdued by a feeling of guilt. “It’s pretty secluded so it’ll be perfect for waiting...for things to cool off.” <br />“We’re gonna leave tonight, as soon as I’m changed, and cut through the forest from its west side by the old Uni music hall.” added Heffalump “We should get there before the morning.” <br />
  15. 15. “So, that’s it?” said Helena. “You’re just... just leaving Demetri like this?”<br />Heffalump felt a fresh stab of guilt at her sister’s words. She looked at the ground as she spoke. <br />“I’ve never wanted to hurt him Helena. Never.”<br />“Well you have haven’t you!” Helena shrieked. Heffalump’s head jerked upwards in surprise. <br />“You’ve trampled all over him! And now you’re just running away! Like you’ve always run away from any kind of responsibility, or anything difficult. Dancing through life without a care in the world- but life isn’t one big playground for everyone Heffalump! And he doesn’t deserve this!”<br />“I know,” said Heffalump quietly. “He deserves better.” <br />
  16. 16. “Yes he does!”<br />Scowled Helena.<br />“He deserves you” <br />The anger quickly vanished from Helena’s face. Heffalump smiled. Her twin’s outburst had surprised her simply because it was so out of character- but she had long since guessed Helena’s hidden feelings. She knew her twin too well. <br />“What... What do-” Helena stumbled. <br />“I know Helena. How could I not? And it makes so much sense! You and Dem... You’re perfect for each other. <br /> And I wanted Dem to realise that more than anything. Because I knew I didn’t love him, that I never really had. But I didn’t have the guts to break up with him and it would have been so much easier on him if he’d just... Just woken up and seen that you two were made for each other. So I kept trying to leave you alone together, going out all night because I knew you two had those long conversations about all the stuff you have in common... Dem and I have nothing in common. I don’t think we’ve ever had even one talk like that.”<br />“You stayed out that late so that we could talk for longer?” Helena said in pained disbelief. <br />“Yeah, so you could get closer. And I hoped that he’d get fed up of me treating him so horribly.”<br />“He didn’t.” said Helena dejectedly. <br />
  17. 17. “Then one night I met Xander.” <br />“Our eyes met across the collapsed form of a dehydrated cyber goth...” sighed Xander.<br />“And things got even more complicated... I ended up treating both guys like dirt because I was trying to stop Dem loving me and I wouldn’t let myself admit that I was in love with Xander... And I was just so confused the whole time and.. And now I’ve made a huge mess of things.” She looked at her twin with teary eyes. “I’m so sorry for all this Helena. But maybe now things can finally be as they aught to be.” she added hopefully. “And maybe you’ll be so happy together that you’ll be able to forgive me.”<br />“I don’t think that will happen.” said Helena miserably and Heffalump’s face fell. “He loves you Lumpy. Now more than ever.”<br />“No, he just thinks he loves me.” Heffalump insisted. “He’s confused and once you tell him-”<br />“I already have. I practically vomited my feelings all over him- and he- he-” Heffalump’s insides writhed in pain as she watched her sister begin to sob again. “He hates me Lumpy. He was... Disgusted. And then he left me there!” Helena broke down into floods of tears and Heffalump yanked her into a vice like hug. She held her twin until the sobs and shaking subsided, stroking her hair and letting her own tears fall onto Helena’s back. <br />
  18. 18. “I don’t think you should give up so easily.” she whispered, pulling out of their embrace and drying her damp eyes. “He’s scared and confused. He shouldn’t be on his own tonight and I would bet everything that I own that he’ll realise that he loves you before long.”<br />“But I-”<br />“I might not have ever loved Demetri,” said Heffalump. “But I do know him pretty damn well Helena. And I know that he’s gonna snap out of this. I know that he loves you. I think that he might just be acting like this because he’s known how he really feels for a while but still thinks that he should be in love with me. He won’t let himself- He’ll be so confused right now. He needs you Helena.” <br />
  19. 19. “I’m telling you Ando, this is our moment!”<br />“Hmmm,” said Ando “Are you sure the world is really ready for the stage adaptation of ‘The Surprising Adventures of Captain Algernon Drooble the ninja pirate’?”<br />“How could it not be?” grinned Hiro, eyes wide with excitement. <br />Ando grinned back.<br />“Well let’s get on with it then!”<br />“Great!”<br />“So, tell me again why we’re practising here?”<br />“Because it’s safe from the prying ears of drama and literature majors who would naturally want to plagiarise our masterpiece.”<br />“Oh yeah, nice thinking Hiro!” he paused. “Can ears pry?”<br />
  20. 20. “Are you sure that this is the right place?” The faerie glanced skywards nervously as a brusque gust of wind disturbed the trees. The leaves hissed in irritation; things weren’t right here. <br />
  21. 21. “Of course we’re sure.” her companion replied exasperatedly, rolling her eyes in her sharp face. “Relax Peaseblossom.” The second faerie’s voice had a vibrato quality, a buzzing like an insect’s wings. <br /> “She’ll be here. It might take her a while if the co-op are still running that deal on 12 packs of lager, but she’ll be alright. Isn’t that right Mustardseed?”<br />
  22. 22. “Hmm?” said the third faerie, their unelected leader, distractedly. “What was that Moth?” She too had been scanning their surroundings, but not nervously like Peaseblossom- more as if she were searching for a target. Moth repeated herself. “Oh yeah, she’ll be here soon enough.” <br />“She approaches.” whispered a fourth voice that hung in the night air like a creeping mist.<br />
  23. 23. “Bloody hell Cobweb! I wish you wouldn’t just appear like that!” Mustardseed cried, leaping down from the bank. <br />“Sorry,” said Cobweb, gazing around the clearing as if watching things that the others could not see- which irritated the others slightly because, considering that they too were beings of not inconsiderable power, they liked to consider themselves pretty in tune with workings of their forest. <br />“She is near,” continued Cobweb. “But I am not sure that we should stay.”<br />“Whaddya mean?!”Mustardseed yelled. <br />“What she means,” a new, bright voice said confidently. “Is that it would be better if you left.”<br />
  24. 24. The four faeries turned in the direction of the voice quicker than human eyes (if there had been any there to watch) would have been able to see, staring upwards at its owner who reclined casually near the top of a steep bank. <br />“You aren’t wanted here tonight.” <br />“Puck.” Mustardseed growled. “You hairy bastard.” <br />“Always a pleasure Mustard,” he grinned, leaping down to stand with them. <br />“Where are your manners?” cried Puck. “Won’t you introduce me to your two friends who have not had the pleasure of meeting me?”<br />“Peaseblossom, Moth,” she scowled “This is Puck. You might have heard him called ‘Robin Goodfellow’ ,“she sneered. “or ‘Hob’. He spends his time abusing mortals.”<br />
  25. 25. “Well someone’s got to keep them in their place.” said Puck. “They’re briefly amusing playthings- you lot would do well to remember that.” He looked them up and down, smirking as he did so. “Look at you, dressed in those mortal rags. I’m amazed that you haven’t tried to snap off your wings.”<br />“These rags,” growled Mustardseed “Have many useful applications. These boots for example,” she pointed to her New Rocks “are perfect for kicking goat-boy arse.”<br />Puck laughed and grinned at Mustardseed. “What’s happened to you Mustard? You used to enjoy a bit of mortal baiting almost as much as me.”<br />“And I still do,” she replied defiantly “but this new world has wonders that we’d never even dreamt of back in Fae. Like denim and breathable cotton.”<br />“And fabric softner.” added Peaseblossom.<br />“Indeed,” agreed Mustardseed. “And I fail to see why we shouldn’t take advantage of that.”<br />“But that’s not all is it?” said Puck “You’ve actually made friends with a mortal haven’t you?”<br />They made no response.<br />“And now you follow her around... As if she’s your queen or something!”<br />
  26. 26. “We’ve had worse Queens.” spat Moth. “I thought you’d remember that goat-boy. I hear you fled from Fae at the first chance just like us.”<br />“That,” Puck was no longer grinning. “Is irrelevant Butterfly.”<br />“My name is MOTH.”<br />“Sure it is Butterfly,” he turned so he was once more facing all of them. “But the point is, you aren’t welcome here tonight.”<br />“Why?” asked Cobweb. “Why tonight in particular?”<br />
  27. 27. “Oh,” Mustardseed smiled and her eyes glinted mischievously. “He must be coming here tonight. Puck’s master.”<br />“He is not my master.” glared Puck.<br />“Well you act like he is. Following him around all the time like a tame mongrel. Well it just so happens that our Lady will also be here soon. So I’d suggest that you get out of here goat-boy; there’s sure to be fireworks when they meet. What was your plan? To scare us off and then slip away too once we’d left; to look like a tough guy? ”<br />Puck glared at her for a moment. “You will not be welcome here tonight. Leave.”<br />
  28. 28. “Or what?!” cried Mustardseed, grinning broadly. “Or face the wrath of your half-wit master?” <br />Puck opened his mouth to correct her but didn’t get the chance.<br />“What will be do?!” wailed Mustardseed in mockery. “However will we survive?!”<br />Puck glanced up at the frosted moon; they would be here soon, he didn’t have much time. <br />“Leave.” he snarled.<br />
  29. 29. “Make us.” grinned Mustardseed. <br />“Toodles goat-boy,” smiled Peaseblossom.<br />Moth’s eyes were glittering as she crouched as if to pounce; her lepidopteron wings buzzed menacingly and she wore an eager goblin like grin. <br />“Goodbye Puck.” whispered Cobweb icily. <br />With a bitter look and a final glance at the moon, Puck vanished into the trees. <br />
  30. 30. Mustardseed chuckled to herself as she watched him go. She and Puck went way back, further back than she cared to remember. But she had left this encounter as the victor and would maintain that title with satisfaction until their next inevitable skirmish. Moth’s worried voice drew her from her reminiscence.<br />“Uh, Mustardseed? We are going to leave though aren’t we?”<br />“Obviously Moth.” she sighed. “This isn’t a scene that we want to be a part of. She’ll tell us all about it anyway- and maybe they’ll finally sort things out this time.” She paused, looking around at the forest. “But we couldn’t let Puck think he’d scared us off could we?”<br />The others laughed and followed Mustardseed as she walked out of the clearing and into the darkness beneath the cover of the trees.<br />
  31. 31. It was fortunate that the faeries had not lingered any longer, for just a few moments after they left, a figure strode into the clearing. His long knotted hair was a brilliant orange and fell down to his tattooed shoulders and torso. He wore only jeans, no shirt, no shoes and his exposed skin was vibrant blue even when lit only by moonlight. He stared around him, as if he were expecting something or someone to appear and then started as a voice spoke from behind him. <br />“Ill met by moonlight ya daft spavie Rob.”<br />He span round as a woman walked purposefully out of the trees. She also had red hair that fell past her shoulders and her tattoos featured the same patterns as Rob’s, identifying them as members of the same Nac Mac Feegle clan, specifically as the Kelda (the clan’s leader) and the Big Man (her husband). <br />“Ach Fion,” growled Rob. “yehcannae sneak up on me ligh’ that!”<br />
  32. 32. “I didnaedoo any sneakin’,” she replied flatly. “Yeh’re just loosin’ yehtoouch.”<br />“Blethers!” Rob waved his hand dismissively. “Yeh’ve bin learnin’ strange new hiddlins from yeh faerie friends! It’s not righ’ Fion. A Feegle shouldnae be assoociatin’ with theh stuck up southern shites! It’s eldritch yeh ken! Jus’ plain unnatural!” <br />“Oh aye?” said Fion, raising an eyebrow and folding her arms. “An’ what about that Puck that yerh’ve bin hangin’ aroound with?”<br />“Crivens Fion!” cried Rob. “Tha’sa different matter altogether-like. He ain’t one o’them pretty boy pixies!”<br />“Well I dinnae think he’s a pictise Rob! An’ he ain’t no bigjob!” <br />“HOOVES Fion. Hooves and HORNS. Tha’s manly! None o’thisdrinkin’ o’the dewdrops an’ the flutterin’ throoughthe forest oonthe shimmery flitterers! HOOVES and HORNS!”<br />Fion glared at him.<br />“I cannae see the harm in havin’ some different frens Rob, yeh massive hypocrite!”<br />“OH!” yelled Rob, waving his arms. “Here come the fancy words!” <br />“HYPOCRITE!”<br />“FANCY WORDS!”<br />“HYPOCRITE!”<br />“FANCY WORDS!”<br />
  33. 33. After a while, they fell silent and glared at each other whilst the echoes of their shouts reverberated around the organic amphitheatre created by the surrounding trees. The resonances died away and suddenly, Rob sighed. His stare softened and became sad as he reached forward to caress Fion’s cheek. She did not resist and made no attempt to conceal a slight smile at his touch.<br />“I dinnaewanna fight Fion,” he said quietly. <br />“I ken Rob, I ken. I dinnae want to either.”<br />“So yehwillnae be seein’ the flutteries anymore?”<br />
  34. 34. Fion shoved his hand away and glared at her husband with flaming eyes. <br />“ Crivens Rob! I could give you sich a kickin’ sometimes!”<br />There was silence for a few moments as they both stood, arms folded, stewing in their mutual certainty that the other was being completely unreasonable. After a while, Rob spoke.<br />“So you willnae be backing doown, and I willnae be backing doown?”<br />“Aye.” she said bluntly.<br />After a long pause, Rob broke the quiet. “Well tha’s fine with me!”<br />“Well I’ll be offski then yeh useless scunner!”<br />“FINE.”<br />
  35. 35. Fion stomped angrily out of the clearing. Rob watched her leave, fuming with anger, but, as she vanished from sight, his ire faded and he let out a melancholy, although exasperated, sigh. <br />“Waily, waily, waily.” he said quietly. He looked up at the sky, thought for a moment and then drew a deep breath.<br />“PUCK!” he bellowed. <br />Before long, he heard the clip-clop of approaching hooves. <br />“Rob!” cried Puck gregariously, throwing open his arms. <br />“Puck!” <br />They shared what was secure in their minds as a manly hug, in the style of footballers and suchlike, gripping the other’s forearm and slapping his back. <br />“How are things with the missus?”<br />
  36. 36. “Ach,” sighed Rob. “I cannae understand her. She’s bein’ so stubbarn!” <br />“You can’t let this go on Rob.” said puck firmly.<br />“Aye, I ken. I think I’m gonna jus’ lett’er win this one. Apologise, yeh ken?”<br />“No!” cried Puck. “You can’t give in!”<br />“I cannae?” asked Rob, confused.<br />“Of course not! You’ve got to teach her a lesson Rob!”<br />“I do?”<br />“Yes! She has to understand how lucky she is to have such a violent, loutish feegle as her husband!”<br />“Aye...” he said cautiously. “But Fion is the kelda, an’ I don’ realleh want to carrehoonwith tha fighting an’-”<br />“No Rob! She is the kelda yes, but you’re the Big Man aren’t you?”<br />Rob thought for a moment. “Aye, but-”<br />“And that makes you just as important as Fion doesn’t it?”<br />“Well, no’ reallehyeh ken. The Kelda-”<br />Puck would clearly need to try a different approach. <br />
  37. 37. “Ok...” Puck thought for a moment. “Right, as kelda, Fion’s the clan’s chief right?”<br />“Aye.”<br />“Sooooo,” said Puck “Really, it has to be her decision to stop this fighting. And we just need her to prompt her to make that decision.”<br />“Oh aye? An’ I suppose ye ken jus’ how to do tha’?”<br />“I have a plan, yes.”<br />“Puck,” said Rob frowning “This plan o’yours...”<br />Puck read his mind. <br />“Rob! You insult me. Fion will be fine. Better than fine. She’ll remember how much she loves you and all this arguing will stop. It’s foolproof, I swear.”<br />“Hmm,” said Rob. “Weeeelll... Les’ hear it then!”<br />
  38. 38. “Okay,” said Puck eagerly. “ My friend Magnus is a rather infamous warlock- the Shadowhunters are constantly looking for him. He’s very powerful, I reckon there’s some elf in his blood somewhere. But anyway, if you know where to find him- which I do- and how to persuade him- which I do- he can knock up a phial of a very powerful substance called Love Juice.”<br />Rob regarded him thoughtfully. <br />“Aye, go on.”<br />“Right, so this stuff is made from all sorts of incredibly rare ingredients. He’s the only one who actually knows what’s in it but I know for certain that in includes Ashwinder eggs, moonstone, some of Albus Dumbledore’s tears and, perhaps most importantly, the petals from a flower that, according to legend, was struck by one of cupid’s arrows. And a shed load of hallucinogens of course. And this Love Juice, when it’s applied to a person’s eyes whilst they are sleeping, will cause them to fall wildly and woefully in love with the first creature they see when they wake.” <br />“Aye, but hoow-?”<br />“I’m getting there.”<br />“So my plan is, we use it on Fion and she’ll wake up and fall for... A squirrel or a fox or something.”<br />
  39. 39. “Fion all googly forr’a squirrel!” Rob laughed. <br />“Right! So firstly, that will be hilarious to watch. But also, the squirrel or pigeon or whatever obviously isn’t going to return this affection is it? So, before long, it will be agonising for her not to mention humiliating. With any luck, her little troupe of faeries will abandon her out of sheer embarrassment, but even if they don’t, Fion will still be desperate for some release from the agony of that love. So you turn up and, after she begs you, make everything better, reminding her of how lucky she is to have you as her husband. The fighting’s over, you two are like newlyweds, her faeries are proved useless and we’ve had a good old laugh.”<br />“Aye!” panted Rob, recovering from fits of laughter “Aye! Le’s do it Puck!”<br />Puck grinned mischievously. “I’ll go and visit Magnus.”<br />
  40. 40. Rob was left alone in the clearing once more, this time feeling much better about his romantic situation, convinced that the plan would work splendidly. His happy thoughts of marital harmony (well, by Feegle standards) were interrupted by the sound of approaching voices- mortal voices.<br />Deciding to overhear what sounded like a highly entertaining piece of bigjob drama, he concealed himself in the undergrowth invisible to mortal eyes- Fion was not the only one who could learn tricks from her friends. <br />A young man forced his way through the trees, shoving branches angrily away from his face. Close behind him followed a young woman, scarcely more than a girl, tearstained and exhausted. <br />
  41. 41. “Demetri come back!”<br />“Go home Helena.”<br />“Not until you come with me.”<br />“I don’t want you here. And I’m not going back without Heffalump. If you didn’t want me to follow her you shouldn’t have told me where she was going.”<br />“I didn’t mean to,” she said quietly “It just slipped out. You were so upset.”<br />Demetri stopped and let out a sigh.<br />“Well I still am, and you’re just making it worse by being here.” his voice became angry again. “Why won’t you just go home Helena?”<br />“I can’t just leave you.” she said in a shaking voice. <br />“Why?!”<br />“Because I love you.”<br />
  42. 42. He turned to face her, with a harsh response prepared. But when he saw the sorrow and despair on her face, a mirror of his own emotional turmoil, he couldn’t help but soften his words slightly. <br />“But I don’t love you.”<br />Helena closed her eyes and bit her lip at his words, as if trying desperately to withstand the agony they caused her. But he carried on.<br />“I love Heffalump. And if I can just find her-”<br />“But she doesn’t love you Demetri!” Helena almost screamed the words. “She loves Xander... And they’re perfect together.”<br />Demetri winced. <br />“No, no they’re-”<br />“They are. They’re made for each other. Just like-” she faltered. Demetri stood with his eyes closed. “Just like you- you and-”<br />Demetri opened his eyes and spoke flatly. “Good bye Helena.” <br />Helena watched him as he quickly left the clearing and passed out of her sight. She let out a quiet moan and screwed up her dark hair in her hands. Then suddenly, she set off in the direction that he had left in, calling his name to the empty night air. <br />
  43. 43. Once she had left, Rob wandered back into the open with troubled thoughts just as Puck returned. <br />“Here we go,” smiled Puck, satisfied with his own success. “One phial of finest Lurrrrve Juice.” Rob gave no reply; he was still staring into the trees. <br />Puck tried again.<br />“It’s not easy to come by, but I managed to get us more than enough.” There was still no response. “Powerful stuff Love Juice. Just a little sprinkle on sleeping eyes and BANG. When they wake they’ll be utterly besotted with the first thing they see. AGONISINGLY so.” He tapped a hoof impatiently. <br />
  44. 44. “Rob? Rob, are you listening?”<br />“Hmm?” Rob finally turned around. “Oh, aye Puck. Good job.”<br />He turned back towards the trees that the humans had vanished into. The girl had felt strangely familiar, as if he knew her somehow. One of Fion’s relatives he supposed. He had a dim memory of birthday party... Twin girls... Cake... But all he really remembered was the plentiful supply of booze, as weak as it had been. Still, he felt a connection to this girl and, in his present situation, was feeling highly sympathetic to romantic plights.<br />Rob had a thought- this unnerved him. It was the Kelda's job to the thinking for the entire clan. But still, he had an idea and he thought it just might be a good one too. <br />“Puck, a coupla’ bigjobs just passed through.” said Rob “A sweet lass- too much eye makeup- who’s all googly forr’arigh’ tosser of a boy. After we’ve dun the sprinklin’ o’the stuff on Fion, use tha juice o’yours to sort the spavie out.”<br />“Awww!” moaned Puck “More work?” <br />Rob shot him a dangerous look. “<br />“Fiiine,”Puck acquiesced with a groan. “But let’s do Fion first.”<br />Rob’s face fell. “I dunnae ken where she’ll be.”<br />“Don’t worry,” grinned Puck “I do.”<br />
  45. 45. “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine”<br />However, when they eventually found Fion, her location was rather different. When Rob commented on this, pointing to the scattered liquor bottles, Puck cited poetic license. <br />Fion lay sprawled amidst the flowers in the perfect tranquillity of the utterly hammered. <br />
  46. 46. Rob bent down, pushing Fion’s hair from her face and supporting her back with his hand as he raised her sleeping form slightly. Completely rat-arsed, she didn’t stir- which was good because if she were to wake up at that moment Rob would have some very tricky questions to answer. <br />He gently slid back her eyelids and let a single sparkling drop from the phial fall into each eye. <br />“What thou seest when thou dost wake,<br />Do it for thy true-love take,<br />Love and languish for his sake:<br />Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,<br />Pard, or boar with bristled hair,<br />In thy eye that shall appear<br />When thou wakest, it is thy dear:<br />Wake when some vile thing is near.”<br />“Puck!” Hissed Rob “Cut tha’blathers out!”<br />“Sorry Rob,”<br />Carefully, he lowered her back to the floor. “Nigh, nigh” he whispered, smiling as he and Puck walked away.<br />
  47. 47. “This kinda looks familiar...” said Xander.<br />“That’s because we’ve been here before,” Heffalump sighed. “We’re going in circles. Look! There’s that bush that looks like Shirley Bassey. We might as well admit that we’re lost Xander.”<br />“Maybe if we head east now...”<br />“Oh yeah? And which way’s east then?” she grinned.<br />“Uh...”<br />“Yeah, I thought so.”<br />“Oh God, we are lost.” he moaned. “I’m sorry Lumpy.” <br />
  48. 48. Heffalump tried to stifle a yawn- and failed. <br />“Sweet zombie Jesus I’m tired. Why don’t we just sleep here tonight? Thing’s will look different in the morning.”<br />“Well... If you’re sure.” he replied, looking around. “I’m really sorry Lumpy.”<br />“Never mind.” she said, settling down on the grass. “Just find a nice soft piece of ground and try to sleep the best you can.” Xander smiled and walked over to her, ready to lie down. “But make sure your spot is over there.” said Heffalump, gesturing with her hand. “You snore like hell Xan.”<br />
  49. 49. Obediently, Xander settled down a few metres away from Heffalump. She drifted off almost instantly.<br />She must be exhausted. <br />He sighed, wishing that he had thought to bring a map and a compass or that they had decided against cutting through the forest. Short cuts make for long delays. He had read that somewhere... He shrugged and lay back, falling asleep almost as quickly as Heffalump. <br />After a few minutes had passed, Puck, who had been roaming the forest in search of Rob’s blessed mortals for some time, stumbled across Xander’s sleeping form. <br />He made no effort to be quiet- mortals only heard and saw what they wanted to. <br />
  50. 50. “Well this must be the guy,” he said, nudging one of the shiny trousered legs with a hoof, to no one in particular- or rather, to himself which was as good as a large crowd in his opinion. He looked at the sleeping mortal disdainfully. “Definitely a student.”<br />He looked around.<br />“Aha, and there’s the girl.” he said “Complete with excessive eye makeup. And look, he’s taken a nice mossy place to sleep and made her sleep over here on the dirt.”<br />
  51. 51. “Right then,” <br />Puck crouched next to the boy and let a drop from the phial fall into each eye. <br />“I am on FIRE tonight.” smiled Puck, allowing himself a small victory dance. <br />A twig snapped somewhere nearby. Frozen, Puck listened and detected the sound of approaching footsteps. Grinning at the sleeping figures for one final time, he disappeared into the forest. <br />
  52. 52. Helena stumbled through the trees. She had long since run out of tears, but now had a collection of bruises and large tears in her tights instead. She didn’t know how long she had been wandering any inkling of where she was going. Her thoughts were providing plentiful distraction from such matters. As she dragged herself onwards, she caught sight of something bright in the corner of her eye. Helena found herself making her way towards it, and as she grew closer realisation swept achingly over her. <br />“Xander?” she groaned. Just what she needed. “Xander?” <br />He mumbled something indistinct and pushed himself up from the ground into a sitting position.<br />
  53. 53. “Xander what are you doing here?” she asked as he rubbed his tightly closed eyes. “Where’s Heffalump?”<br />As if hearing her for the first time, he turned to face her, opening his eyes. <br />“Xander?” she said nervously. His bright hair framed wide eyes and a goofy smile. His expression had the mystified vacancy of a drunken toddler. He was staring at her. <br />“Xander?” she asked again, unnerved. “Where’s Heffalump?”<br />“Who?” he said finally.<br />“Heffalump! What do you mean who?”<br />“Looking at you wipes everything else from my head... But you’ve been crying! What’s wrong?!”<br />
  54. 54. “Oh,” she said quietly. The renewed presence of her anguish distracted her from her present confusion. “It’s Demetri, he-”<br />“The bastard!” cried Xander, making Helena jump. “I’d like to smash his pretty face in.”<br />“Xander! How can you say something like that? Heffalump loves you, be content with that.”<br />“Be content with Heffalump?” he whined. “I regret every second I’ve ever spent with her.” <br />“They were seconds I should have spent with you.” Staring at her with misty eyes and the same goofily mesmerized expression, he raised a hand to stroke her cheek. Appalled, Helena slapped his hand away. <br />“What the hell Xander?” she said disgustedly. “Where’s Heffalump?” <br />
  55. 55. “Who cares!” he said, still smiling vacantly. “I will never bother to think of her again. I will spend every moment thinking of you.”<br />“Why are you doing this?” sighed Helena. “It isn’t funny you know!”<br />“Oh Helena,” he giggled. “I would never joke about my feelings for you! Let me show you-”<br />He attempted to pull her close to him and Helena flailed disgustedly as she pushed herself away from his lips which were puckered expectantly. <br />“Get off me!” she yelled, furiously shoving him away from her. <br />
  56. 56. “What the hell is wrong with you?!” She hurried away from Xander, only to have him pop out from behind a tree in front of her. <br />“How can I be responsible for the way I act under the control of the feelings you have inspired?” he smiled. “Why are you being so cruel?”<br />“Why am I being so cruel?” she repeated in disbelief. Xander just stared at her, still smiling the same infuriating smile. “Look, I’ve had a crap enough night without you making fun of me, so just leave me alone!” With that, she hurried away, her fresh distress spurring a new burst of wholly uniformed motion. <br />To her dismay, it wasn’t long before she became aware of Xander’s pursuit. Wiping away tears, she picked up speed, cursing love and the agony it caused. <br />
  57. 57. Heffalump awoke from a deep slumber, scattered with strange dreams. She rubbed her eyes and looked up at the dark canopy of the trees. She shivered and wondered how long she had been asleep for as she rubbed her arms, trying to coax some warmth into her flesh. It couldn’t have been long, but the night was so much colder now and there was a marked change in the atmosphere. The forest felt stern and unwelcoming now, the leaves rustled disdainfully in a suspicious breeze. <br />Unsettled, she shivered again and stood up quickly, deciding to wake up Xander; one smile from him was enough to make her feel safe. As she edged nervously through the claustrophobic proximity of the trees, she became very aware of her pounding heartbeat. Heffalump increased her pace, pushing malevolent branches out of her face that caught her with bitter scratches. <br />She couldn’t hear Xander’s snoring. <br />She moved even faster, tearing her way through the foliage. It was a short distance and yet she felt that she had been walking for hours. Finally, she emerged into the small clearing that the reluctant trees had yielded in which Xander had settled down for the night. <br />
  58. 58. But he wasn’t there.<br />“Xander?” Heffalump’s ordinarily blithe and cheery voice trembled with the unfamiliar sensations of fear and unease. “Xander?” she tried again, louder this time and the tremble grew more pronounced. A whispering laughter arose as a disdainful breeze rustled the leaves that watched as Heffalump wrapped her arms around herself and stared anxiously out into the unsettling gloom of the forest. <br />
  59. 59. “And now, prepare to meet your DOOM!”<br />“No! No! Please have mercy! Noooooooo!”<br />“Aaaaaannnd, that’s the end of that scene!” smiled Hiro “Great work Ando. Now what do we still have to go through?...” He produced a clipboard and began to search through the attached sheets. <br />“Right... So we’ve done the hover bike chase, the submarine scene and the moon base...”<br />Although the duo weren’t aware of it, they already had an audience member- and he was certainly enjoying the performance. <br />
  60. 60. “Are they serious?” Puck guffawed “They’re actually going to perform this?”<br />As he often did, Puck had an idea.<br /> It danced temptingly in his mind.<br />“Oh I shouldn’t...”<br />He bit his lip as the thought performed an impressive arabesque. <br />“But I will.”<br />He raised his hand and watched as a pulsing sphere of green light grew there. He grinned to himself and with a flick of his wrist sent the orb flying towards one of the mortals. <br />
  61. 61. “And if we’ve already run through the scene with the shark tank... Then next we should probably have a go at scene 8, y’know, with the possessed goat?” He lowered the clipboard to his side, “Are you ready Ando?” he said, turning to face his friend. <br />
  62. 62. “Suuuure am!”<br />Hiro walked towards his friend, staring at him.<br />“Amazing llama mask Ando, but there aren’t any llamas in the story are there?”<br />“What mask?”<br />“Oh yeah, very funny. Hey, how are you getting it to move when you speak and blink and stuff?”<br />“What are you talking about?”<br />“It’s so life like...” breathed Hiro, impressed. He raised a hand cautiously to touch a furry cheek.<br />“That really is incredible, maybe we should add some llamas so we can use it. Can I try it on?” He seized the ears and began to tug and pull, trying to lift if off.<br />“OW! Hiro stop it!” yelled Ando, “What the hell?!”<br />Hiro stopped and had an impossible thought. <br />
  63. 63. He pushed the hairy chin upwards, searching Ando’s neck for the edge of the mask.<br />He didn’t find it.<br />He stared at Ando in incredulous silence. <br />No way...<br />“ What’s going on Hiro?”<br />As Ando spoke, the mouth opened to reveal a very real llama tongue, a set of undisputable yellow llama teeth and a stench that was undeniably llama breath. <br />
  64. 64. “Hiro?”<br />Hiro stared at him, eyes wide and mouth hanging open.<br />“Hiro? What’s the matter?” Ando took a step forward.<br />“AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!”<br />“Hiro?!”<br />Ando watched as his friend vanished into the gloom of the forest, utterly bewildered. <br />
  65. 65. After wandering aimlessly in the forest for some time, Ando frowned and crossed his arms, coming to a halt. “He must be playing another one of his hilarious practical jokes.” he scowled. “Trying to scare me... But I’ll show him... I’m not afraid.”<br />A bird cried somewhere in the shadows of the trees and Ando flinched despite himself. He began to sing to himself to stiffen his resolve. <br />He reached the end of his song and once more felt the oppressive quiet of the forest closing in around him. <br />“Crivens, tha’was like the sound o’the finest gonnagle! Ach, bigjob. Sing again!”<br />Ando forced himself to turn, very slowly, in the direction of the voice.<br />
  66. 66. The voice belonged to a woman as far as he could tell. A beautiful woman. A beautiful woman who was walking towards him. <br />“I cannae believe that yer looks ar’as attractive as yer voice.” she breathed, smiling bewitchingly as she got closer. <br />“Err,” said Ando nervously, looking around. “Are you talking to me?”<br />She laughed, leaning forward and looking deep into his eyes. “Ther’ar no other gorgeous bigjobs with gonaggle voices are there? Aye, there cannae be anyone else ligh’ you in theh world.” She paused. “But I dunnae know the name o’thebigjobthah I love!”<br />
  67. 67. “Er, my name’s Ando. But wait, I’m sorry,” he spluttered. “You’re saying that you love me?”<br />“More thannabottle’o Granny Aching’s Special Sheep linament, the blood’a my enemies an’an open bar.” she grinned, her eyes didn’t seem to be quite in focus. “So how’a bout it?” <br />Ando found himself in quandary. A breathtakingly beautiful, if rather brusque, woman seemed quite insistent that she was in love with him. But, aside from the absurdity of the situation, there was something dangerous about her, something frightening. <br />“Er,” he said, cursing his total lack of charisma “I’ve got to go I’m afraid. Not that it isn’t a very flattering- I mean- I’d love-But I have to-”<br />A fire sprang up behind the woman’s eyes. <br />“NO.” <br />“No?” Ando asked weakly.<br />“You cannae be offski!” she said firmly, her eyes still burning. <br />“I can’t?” he squeaked as she seemed to grow taller before him. <br />
  68. 68. “No,” she whispered and Ando breathed a sigh of relief as she appeared to shrink to her original size, her eyes returning to their former shade of grey. “I willnae’ be lettin’ you do that.” she smiled, taking his hand. “Come, with me.” <br />“Er,” said Ando hesitantly. The fires instantly rekindled. “Ok!” he squeaked hurriedly. <br />A few moments later, Ando became aware that the woman was carrying him with ease as she strolled through the forest. <br />Well, is she isdangerous, it’ll be best not to argue with her. And you don’t get an opportunity like this everyday after all. <br />
  69. 69. After a short walk, during which Ando didn’t quite manage to muster the courage to ask the woman her name, he was released rather abruptly and found himself in a glade of dazzling beauty carpeted by leaves of vermillion, gold, cerise and amber. Intriguing lanterns hung from the exquisite canopy of jewel like leaves and delicate blossoms. The gentle, organic glow that they emitted bathed the scene in ethereal light unlike any that Ando had seen before; it seemed to him that they had grown out of the trees. <br />
  70. 70. He was still gazing in silent awe at the dreamlike setting in which he found himself when Fion yanked him roughly from the floor. <br />“Now,” she smiled, pulling him close to her “ my fluttery lasses will tak’ care o’youforra while,”<br />Ando nodded abstractedly.<br />“FLUTTERIES!”<br />Ando did not hear anyone approach but suddenly found himself surrounded by four peculiar women. Somewhere in the midst of the illusory fog that had engulfed his mind, a part of him dimly registered that they had wings. <br />
  71. 71. “Cobweb,”<br />“Moth,”<br />“And Mustardseed.”<br />“Peaseblossom,”<br />
  72. 72. “An’ this is Ando,” she smiled, gesturing that he should sit on the ground. “Give ‘im whatever he wants.”<br />Fion had walked away and the four flutteries had closed in around him.<br />“How can we serve you mortal?” said Cobweb, grinning at Mustardseed.<br />“Er....” said Ando. He no longer felt at all uneasy. The hazy blissful state in which he found himself assured him that his present situation was perfectly natural. “Now that you mention it,” he said, laying back on the ground with a contented sigh; it felt comfier than any bed he’d ever slept in. “I could really go for a carrot actually, or maybe some hay.”<br />
  73. 73. “... So this Ando guy that I gave a llama head, stumbles through the forest and ends up right next to where Fion is sleeping!”<br />“You cannae be serious!” grinned Rob, eyes wide with enjoyment. <br />“Oh but I am!” Puck said gleefully, eyes shining. “And of course these mortals make such a racket... And she woke up!”<br />“And she-”<br />“She fell head over heels for him!” Puck squealed, bursting into a torrent of laughter. Rob instantly followed suit. <br />
  74. 74. “Fion... all googly... for a bigjob... wi’tha llama heid!” he wheezed between guffaws. “Brillant Puck! Jus’ brillant!”<br />At exactly the same moment, both Rob and Puck’s laughter died. They jerked their heads in the same direction, listening intently. <br />“It’s those bigjobsagein.” smiled Rob “Les’ see how happy they are oonaccount of’oourgenerosimity.” he said smugly. <br />I can use fancy words too. <br />
  75. 75. Heffalump stormed into view, closely followed by a distraught Demetri.<br />“Heffalump wait!”<br />She halted suddenly, wheeled around and slapped him hard across the face.<br />Demetri’s pale cheek flared a painful red. He held a hand to it, staring at her in shock. <br />“The only reason I didn’t punch you is because it’d probably kill you!” she spat “and then you’d never be able to tell me what you’ve done with Xander!”<br />“I haven’t done ANYTHING to him.” he scowled. <br />“You seriously expect me to believe that?!” she roared. “I know that this has been a rough day for you but this is just pathetic!”<br />
  76. 76. “Heffalump, I swear I haven’t done anything! I haven’t even seen him!”<br />“Oh yeah?” she shouted “Well, why should I believe that?”<br />“Look, out of the two of us I think it’s pretty clear that I’M the more honest one!” Heffalump’s glare intensified. Demetri sighed, giving up on anger. “Heffalump, let’s just go home. This is ridiculous.”<br />“I’m not going anywhere with you.” she said defiantly. “Now tell me what you’ve done with him!” <br />“I haven’t done ANYTHING!” he said yet again “Don’t you see what this proves? You can’t rely on him Heffalump. You can’t trust him. He’s just left you! How can you expect to have a happy future with a guy like that?”<br />
  77. 77. “Oh so that’s your plan is it?” she shrieked, her eyes wild “To drag of Xander and then make me think he’d abandoned me so that you’d look all dependable? Why don’t you understand Demetri? I. DO. NOT. LOVE. YOU.”<br />
  78. 78. Demetri watched her leave, finally sinking into aching resignation. <br />He hadn’t accepted what had happened. But he had accepted that it had happened. He was in a slightly different place now emotionally. And it hurt. <br />He let his weary body tumble on to the ground and sat with his head in his hands. After a few moments he became aware that he was starting to drift off. With a final glance after Heffalump, he settled sorrowfully on the earth and was soon relieved of his woes by the blissful nothingness of a dreamless sleep. <br />
  79. 79. Rob was staring at Puck with a glower of such intensity that it was generally reserved for the midst of a bloody battle, or drunken brawl at the very least. Indeed, it was rarely seen at all. Generally, one would hear the infamous Feegle battle cry of “They can tak’ oour lives but they cannaetak’ oourtroousers!”, see a flash of blue and orange and then, if they were lucky, would wake up some time later with several injuries and an empty wallet. <br />“Yeh’ve sprinkled the wroongbigjobyehspavie!”<br />“Hehe,” said Puck nervously, not meeting Rob’s gaze. “Yeah, I... Um... Well I didn’t think that there was more than...Yeah, I’ve screwed this up.”<br />
  80. 80. Rob strode over to where Demetri lay, muttering to himself angrily. “Bloody mudlin.” He crouched down, unstopping the phial. “Righ’ then,” he growled, turning back to face Puck. “I’ll sort this bigjoboout an’ yoou can be offskita’find the lass an’ lead her this way.” he paused. “The RIGHT lass ye ken?”<br />“Right,” said Puck “Will do,” <br />Rob’s work did not take him long. Once he was finished, he repositioned the boy, then concealed himself and waited for Puck’s return. <br />He did not have to wait long. Puck skipped into view and behind him came the sounds of two mortal voices. <br />“Here she comes,” he grinned, winking at Rob and then hiding beside him. “ And that other boy is coming too! This should be quite entertaining actually,” he whispered. <br />“It isnae a play Puck,” hissed Rob.<br />“Sorry Rob,” Puck whispered, trying not to grin. “Popcorn?”<br />“Where-SSSSSHHH! She’s coming.”<br />
  81. 81. “Why won’t you believe me Helena?” moaned Xander as he hurried after her. “This isn’t a joke! What kind of a joke makes the person telling it cry?”<br />“Will you PLEASE stop spewing this crap!” she cried, stopping suddenly and spinning around to face him and whilst her eyes brimmed with tears, it was her rage that made those tears glisten.<br />“Go back to Heffalump NOW.” she said forcefully. “Just go, if you leave now I won’t tell her about any of this.”<br />“Go back to her?” Xander looked as if he was struggling to process the concept. “Why would I do that when I could be with you? I’d rather be abused by you than worshipped by her. And why would I ever want to keep the way I feel about you a secret?”<br />
  82. 82. “What are you doing Xander?” she cried desperately. “Are you not thinking about Heffalump at all? It’s not just me that you’re hurting with this.”<br />“Heffalump has Demetri,” he said dismissively. “He loves her as he doesn’t love you. Accept that Helena and be with someone who adores you.” he held his arms out expectantly. <br />Helena closed her eyes and stood in silence for a few brief moments. Xander kept his arms hopefully raised. <br />Helena opened her eyes. “Leave. Me. Alone.” she said in a low voice. Xander opened his mouth to speak and stepped forward. “NO.” she raised a hand and began to back slowly away, her voice growing louder. <br />
  83. 83. “I mean this Xander.” she was moving backwards slowly.<br />“But-”<br />“LEAVE. ME. ALONE!” <br />She kicked something as she stepped backwards. Puzzled, he drew her foot back and was about to turn around when she heard a familiar voice. <br />“Helena?”<br />Whether her voice or her boot was to blame, Helena turned around to see Demetri, having woken from his sleep and pulled himself into a seated position, gazing up at her wearing the same awe-struck, misty eyed goofy expression as Xander. <br />“Oh Helena I’m so glad that you’re here!” he cried, leaping up. <br />
  84. 84. He was immediately at her side, staring at her wide eyed. “Let’s never be apart again! I couldn’t bare it.” <br />Helena was too stunned to make any response. She watched as if from far away as he caressed her cheek and, upon seizing her hand, covered it in kisses. <br />“I love you so much Helena...”<br />
  85. 85. Helena’s out of body experience came to an abrupt end. As she suddenly regained control of her being, she yanked her hand away from Demetri.<br />“So you’re in on this too?” she cried mournfully. “I suppose you both think this is hilarious don’t you?!”<br />Demetri and Xander stared at her, still wearing their infuriating slap happy expressions, and then, after a pause, both began to spew further declarations of their affection at once. <br />“ENOUGH!” she screamed. <br />
  86. 86. Xander and Demetri fell silent. Somewhere nearby, an owl hooted reproachfully. <br />“Look, I don’t understand why you’re doing this,” sobbed Helena “but you’ve had your fun okay? Now just drop it!”<br />There was silence again, but it didn’t last long.<br />“Yeah Demetri,” said Xander angrily, “Drop it. You’ve upset poor Helena.”<br />“No,” Demetri scowled “You’ve upset Helena.”<br />“No YOU have!”<br />“NO! You-”<br />“Xander?” the squabbling stopped at the sound of the new voice. Helena, Demetri and Xander all turned in surprise.<br />
  87. 87. “Xander?” said Heffalump quietly. “What happened? Where did you go? I was so worried.”<br />“Ugh,” groaned Xander, irritated by her arrival. “What are you doing here?”<br />Deeply confused, Heffalump moved closer.<br />“I...I was looking for you of course. Why did you leave?”<br />“Because I came to my senses!” he laughed. “And I needed to be with the person I love; beautiful, intelligent, amazing Helena.” he finished dreamily.<br />“Wha-” Heffalump stumbled. “What do you mean...”<br />“Just go away Heffalump.” he said disgustedly. <br />
  88. 88. “Helena,” said Heffalump, struggling to comprehend what was happening and turning to her sister for reassurance “What’s going on?” <br />“Oh you’re asking me what’s going on?” sobbed Helena “That’s rich!”<br />“What do you mean?”<br />“The three of you ganging up on me like this! Let’s all make fun of pathetic old Helena! That’ll be a laugh! How could you do this Heffalump?” <br />
  89. 89. “I haven’t done anything!” shouted Heffalump, roaring in indignation. “I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here. And it seems that you’re mocking me not the other way around!” <br />“Oh well of course it would be wouldn’t it?!” Helena was hysterical now.<br />“Because it’s always about you isn’t it? Even now, your vicious little plot still has to be all about you. Well don’t worry, I’ll leave you alone with your little fan club... Your conspirators and you can be the centre of attention and have a good old laugh at me. <br />Yet more tears streaming down her face, Helena fled into the trees, leaving the others gawping after her. <br />
  90. 90. “Helena!” cried Demetri. “I’ll go after her!” But he was pulled back by Xander.<br />“You?” he scoffed. “I’ll go after her.”<br />“Oh, yeah,” growled Demetri “Because I’m gonna let that happen.”<br />They glared menacingly at each other, practically snarling. <br />“Oh Xander let’s just leave!” Heffalump wailed, tugging on his arm.<br />“Get away from me!” Xander shouted, shaking her off. “Why won’t you just leave me alone!”<br />“But Xander-”<br />“GO AWAY!”<br />He turned back to Demetri, fists raised- but Demetri having, seized the opportunity whilst Xander was distracted, had sprinted off in pursuit of Helena and was gone. <br />“Demetri,” he snarled and dashed away into the trees. <br />Heffalump, stared after him, then as if suddenly realising what had happened, she ran after him and vanished into the gloom. <br />
  91. 91. Puck and Rob emerged from their hiding place. Rob walked over to a sturdy oak and began to rhythmically bang his head against the trunk. Puck meanwhile, was incapacitated by fits of laughter. <br />“That..was...HILARIOUS!” he spluttered when he managed to catch his breath. <br />“PU-UUUCK!”<br />“Did you see the look on the pink haired one’s face?” he howled, wiping away a tear.<br />“PUCK!” yelled Rob, reducing Puck’s laughter to silent giggles. “We cannae’ leave this midden like it is.” Puck nodded silently, still fighting to control his amusement. “Make sure tha’ they dinnae bump into each other agein. They’ll already be pished so it willnae be difficult to send ‘emta sleep.”<br />
  92. 92. “Demetri?” Xander bellowed, staring around him as he walked for any sign of his rival. “Demetri?” He heard a noise behind him and span around. Just a bird. He felt himself sway slightly as he stood. “Woah,” he said drowsily. “I didn’t realise how tired I am...” He sat down on the ground. “Just a quick rest,” he told himself...<br />
  93. 93. “Well, that was easy,” Puck smirked. “One down, four to go.”<br />“Helena?” Demetri called. He had been sure that he had heard a voice in the night, and then the sound of footsteps. But after he had followed them for a minute or so, the sound had vanished. <br />“Helena?” He continued walking, purely because to stop would be to give up- and he couldn’t let himself do that. <br />
  94. 94. He felt his boot become caught just a split second too late. He hit the ground with a thud.<br />“Ow.” he said miserably, his voice muffled by the ground’s harsh embrace. A tree root. he presumed.<br />He sat up and stared up at the scattered stars visible through a gap in the forest’s canopy. He surprised himself by yawning and this unexpected event brought about a sudden realisation of just how exhausted he was. <br />I‘ll just get my strength back... <br />
  95. 95. It did not take Puck long to ensure that Helena and Heffalump were also lost in a deep slumber. <br />“Waily, waily, waily,” said Rob tiredly, appearing at Puck’s side. “Le’s sort this oout then.”<br />
  96. 96. “You have tha’verra most magnificent ears I’ve ever seen Ando,” the woman sighed happily.<br />Ando had never really thought about his ears being all that out of the ordinary and was therefore rather confused by this compliment, but he was flattered none the less and his current fuzzy state of mind didn’t pay confusion much attention. <br />Laughing, they fell back onto the leaves, cuddling close to each other. <br />
  97. 97. “I dunnae think I can watch any more o’this ye ken.” said Rob as he watched the unlikely couple roll playfully in the leaves from a position of safety- not that Fion would be likely to notice him in her current intoxication. His voice was a rich blend of revulsion, embarrassment, horror and, most prominently, shame.<br />“Yeah,” said Puck in a peculiar voice, “I thought that this would be hilarious but it’s more... Disturbing.”<br />Fion and began to nuzzle their noses together as if they were courting squirrels.<br />“I cannaetak’ it!” yelled Rob. “Make it stop! Put ‘emta’sleepquieck!”<br />
  98. 98. Just before dawn, as Fion began to stir, Rob moved himself into what he hoped to be a position of intense nonchalance. He had no idea how much she would remember about the events of the last few hours now that she was no longer under the influence of the Love Juice. <br />Fion sat up slowly, rubbed her eyes and then moved her head quickly as if trying to shake off the remnants of sleep. It was during this movement that she noticed Rob’s presence for the first time. She sprang to her feet, glaring furiously at him in her outrage. <br />
  99. 99. “What’s gooin’ on?” she demanded. “Where am I? What’re yooudooin’ here?”<br />“Fion,” he began.<br />“What?” she narrowed her eyes. “Why’reyoousmilin’?”<br />“Fion,” he said again, “I’m sorry.”<br />Fion stared at him incredulously. Then she glanced wildly at her surroundings as if she were expecting an ambush. <br />“I dunnae want to figh’.” Rob continued. “I didnae realise how daft I was bein’, But I do now. Yeh’wer right. An’ I’m sorry.” He watched nervously for her reaction. <br />She smiled and took his hands. <br />“I’m sorry too Rob, yehol’spavie.” He breathed a sigh of relief, and as he let his guard down, Fion leapt at him laughing wildly as they fell in a crumpled heap among the daisies. <br />
  100. 100. “Yoou, knoow Rob,” <br />“Mmm?”<br />“I had a right oodd dream.”<br />“...Oh aye?” He said, praying that she wouldn’t notice the squeak in his voice or feel the rapid increase in his heart rate.<br />“I dreamt I was all googly for’ra... What was it? I cannae remember noow... A doonkeymaybeh...”<br />“A llama?” <br />“Aye! How’d ye ken that?” she asked in amazement.<br />“Errr,” said Rob, “I...I jus’ know you soo well?” he suggested hopefully.<br />“Hmmm,” said Fion, “lucky guess I reckon”<br />
  101. 101. The sleepy fingers of dawn bathed the forest in a pale golden light. <br />“They have to be around here somewhere,” said Iris as they walked alongside the edge of the forest, largely to break the silence; she knew Hamlet would be worrying.<br />“Are you sure?” <br />“Yeah,” said Iris casually, “Xander’s friend started worrying when he and Heffalump didn’t turn up last night and according to him they were planning to cut through the forest. A short cut, through a forest, at night.” She sighed. “Like that was ever going to work out.”<br />The trees bulged outwards just ahead, and as they rounded the corner, Iris stopped and let out a relieved laugh. <br />
  102. 102. “Godric! Hermione! We’ve found them!” <br />
  103. 103. Heffalump, Helena, Demetri and Xander lay at the foot of the trees at the very edge of the forest, sleeping peacefully. <br />“Well that was actually a lot easier than I anticipated.” smiled Hamlet.<br />“Yeah, but don’t you think it’s odd that they’re all here together?” said Iris “I mean they weren’t exactly getting on well when they-”<br />Godric and Hermione sprinted into view, panting heavily and by the time they arrived the sleepers were already stirring; pulling themselves wearily from the ground and staring around wearing expressions of deep confusion. <br />
  104. 104. “What happened to you lot last night?” laughed Hermione.<br />“Erm,” said Xander, who was patting himself as if checking that he really was there.<br />“I-” began Helena in a dazed sort of voice “I don’t actually remember.”<br />“A heavy night eh?” grinned Godric, winking at her.<br />“No,” she said “I just...”<br />“I know what you mean.” said Heffalump “I just can’t quite... It just keeps slipping away whenever I think I have it.”<br />“It all a dream almost” said Helena “so fuzzy.”<br />“Yeah,” agreed Demetri “And yet I feel like I’m seeing things clearly for the first time now.”<br />
  105. 105. He stood quickly, and, taking Helena’s hand, helped her up.<br />“I have no idea what happened last night,” he began earnestly “But I..” he stopped as he struggled to find the right words “I just...” he sighed. “I’ve been such an idiot Helena. And I don’t know why I couldn’t see- But I do know- and I think that maybe I always-” he stopped again, frustrated with himself and then let his words rush out in a passion of communication “Helena I’ve been such an idiot but I love you and I think that I’ve known that for a while but for some reason I can only see what a prat I’ve been now and I wouldn’t be surprised if you never talked to me again but if you could bring yourself to forgive me I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make up for it.”<br />
  106. 106. His words tumbled to a close and he watched her nervously, as did the others. <br />But they needn’t of worried. Helena smiled and as she did so the watchers realised just how long it had been since they had last seen her do so. Her eyes were glistening, but with tears of a kind that was quite unfamiliar to them. She laughed and squeezed Demetri close to her. <br />“I’m so sorry Helena” he murmured into her ear.<br />“I know I should be angry.” she smiled as they pulled out of the embrace. “But I just- I feel like I just couldn’t be angry, or upset, or anything today.” Helena laughed and it was a noise that her family had not heard in a long time. “I’m so happy.” <br />
  107. 107. “Demetri,” said Heffalump, walking towards the couple. “I just wanted to say-to apologise. I’ve treated you awfully, even when I was trying to help you. And I really am sorry.”<br />Demetri smiled.<br />“I’m sorry too. I wouldn’t let myself see what you were trying to show me. And I‘ve behaved like a right git, to you too Xander.” <br />Xander grinned and waved his hand dismissively.<br />“Forget about it.”<br />Heffalump let out a loud, tinkling laugh and pulled Demetri into a bear hug before bounding over to Helena and doing the same to her. <br />
  108. 108. “Well,” beamed Godric as he watched his daughters, smiling and laughing wildly in the arms of the men they loved “this is fantastic isn’t it?” <br />“Yeah,” smiled Hermione but being a highly logical creature, she wasn’t willing to let the mystery rest. “But it still makes no sense.” she insisted “What the hell happened last night?”<br />Godric spoke again, in a quieter voice so that only Iris could hear “Do you think that they must have er...”<br />“Oh yeah,” she nodded “tripping off their heads, the whole lot of them.” <br />
  109. 109. Ando felt as if someone had filled his head with barbed wire. Thoughts hurt.<br />I’m in a forest.<br /> Why am I in a forest?<br />He had been practising with Hiro... And then what? <br />After a few minutes of searching, he retrieved a few blurry images from his memory. Crimson and gold... Lights growing out of the trees... A strange woman...<br />Some bizarre dream... But a good dream nonetheless. <br />Giving up on the mystery of the night’s events, he heaved himself to his feet and busied himself with the more pressing matter of how he was getting home.<br />
  110. 110. 2 weeks later...<br />Anyone could perform at the Gotham Performing Arts Arena- for a small fee that is. <br />And today, the ones paying that fee were Hiro and Ando who were performing ‘The Surprising Adventures of Captain Algernon Drooble the ninja pirate’.<br />And gathered to support them was a crowd of family and simselves, tactically arranged to give the illusion of a larger audience. <br />“Go Hiro go!” cheered Iris “Do whatever it is that your character does!”<br />
  111. 111. CULTURE<br />The cheerful chatter of the crowd fell to a hush as Hiro and Ando took their positions, ready to start. <br />
  112. 112. “Mr Spock! Something’s hacking into our systems! We have no control of the ship!”<br />“This is clearly the work of Dr. R. H Poker.”<br />“The notorious space fiend?” <br />“Indeed.”<br />“Should I try to reboot the systems?”<br />“No. That would be, illogical. We cannot regain control of them now. Only one man can save us now...”<br />
  113. 113.
  114. 114. “Curse you... Algernon Drooble...”<br />*dies* <br />There was thunderous applause from the audience- well, considering how many of them there was anyway. All over the arena, people turned to their neighbour and asked “Did you have any idea what was going on?” and received the reply “Not a clue- but it was fun though!”<br />Hiro and Ando took their bows and Hiro bounded off to receive the congratulations of his parents. Ando, unsure of what to do with himself, bent down to wipe some dust off the boots he had borrowed from Xander. When he straightened up, Liu was standing in front of him. <br />“Hi Liu!”<br />“Ando that was AMAZING!”<br />
  115. 115. “Aww, thanks,” he said, blushing, “But you don’t have to say that.”<br />“No I mean it!” she said earnestly “It was so... Exciting! And you managed to have so many characters even though there were only two of you!”<br />“Yeah, that was difficult but fun. I think I must have played about...”<br />“39!” <br />Ando looked at her, impressed. <br />“I suppose you tend notice numbers when you’re a robot.”<br />“No- I mean yes, but.” She looked down and if she could have she would have been blushing. “With you I was counting.”<br />Ando began to feel a warm, tingling sensation spreading through him.<br />“Liu,”<br />“Yes?” she said eagerly.<br />“I don’t suppose that you’d- I mean, I understand if you don’t- but I... Would you like to get out of here and grab a bite to eat?”<br />“Well, I don’t actually eat.” she laughed.<br />“Okaaaay,” said Ando smiling “Would you like to come and watch me eat?”<br />“I’d love to.”<br />
  116. 116. 4 MONTHS LATER...<br />
  117. 117.
  118. 118. “Oh Ando,” Liu smiled “I love you more than the moon and the stars and the- POETIC IMAGE #37 NOT FOUND.”<br />“I love you too.”<br />
  119. 119. “That’s a shame,” said Farnsworth “Because I overheard Ando’s cousin Maria- the pretty blonde over by the cake- asking Gail who that handsome robot in the tux was, and her father owns the Gotham racetrack.”<br />“Really?” he looked around until he saw her. “Yowza! Thanks.”<br />“But I thought you said-”she smiled<br />“Bite my shiny metal ass meatbag.”<br />“It’s not that shiny” Farnsworth said sceptically.<br />“Shinier than yours meatbag.”<br />Farnsworth watched Liu smiling and laughing as she joined the crowd of slap dancing guests. “Ah, to be young again,” she sighed “...and also a robot.” <br />Boom was not as pleased as his creator that Liu and Ando had fallen in love. <br />“Humans dating robots is sick!” he argued, “You wonder why I’m still single? It’s because all the fine robot sisters are dating humans!”<br />
  120. 120. “Hey Demetri- Oh my holy camel! Is that-?”<br />“Yup, Hermione and Horatio finally sorted themselves out.”<br />“It’s about time! But how the hell did that happen?”<br />“I’m not sure. I expect Hamlet played a significant part. But they were long past still being angry with each other anyway.”<br />“I guess there’s something in the air at the moment eh?”<br />
  121. 121. “So Hiro,” Godric had to shout to be heard over the music “Now that you’re all graduated, are you up for this trip to the far east?”<br />“hell yeah! But what about the heirship?”<br />“Lauren will sort that out eventually. You have to give her time on these things. She can be a little...”<br />“Incompetent?”<br />“Yeah.”<br />
  122. 122. Soooooo, that’s it. <br />I’m sorry it was so long. Believe me, it hurts me more than it does you. <br />But I really hope you’ve enjoyed it. The MILLIONS of trees made it awkward to shoot but at least I didn’t have to do particularly difficult poses. Believe it or not, I will STILL have ANOTHER chapter before the end of this generation because I have some Hiro stuff planned. Nothing major, but he hasn’t really had equal representation. I think I’m going to get the heir poll up soon and leave it running for until after the next chapter with vote changing enabled. But I’m off school so I do have more time now! Oh, and just so you know, I’m not planning on turning this into a Shakespeare legacy even if it seems that way! Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are my favourites and it just worked out that I did them close together. I apologize for the Feegle speak, but if you know anything about them you’ll know it was necessary. <br />If we shadows have offended, think but this; and all is mended that you have but slumbered here while these visions did appear and this weak and idle theme no more yielding but a dream.<br />