Author: Flaming Trails PM
Forgotten Vows Verse: Part One. Victor thought life was going to be simple again once Emily was set free. Unfortunately, he thought wrong. The rest of the series will be set in the crossover section, under American McGee's Alice. Updated Blu-Ray edition!Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Victor V. & Victoria E. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 18,832 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 04-12-13 - Published: 06-12-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8212401
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Corpse Bride Fanfiction
By Flaming Trails
January 27th, 1875
Gradually, the last of the butterflies that had once been the corpse bride vanished from view, swallowed up by the velvet night sky. Victor and Victoria remained where they were for a long moment, gazing up at the moon in silence. Finally, Victor whispered, "Goodbye Emily."
Victoria looked at him, to the bouquet still held in her hands, then back at the moon. "Goodbye Emily," she echoed. "And thank you."
There was a dry cough from behind them. The couple turned to find Elder Gutknecht standing there, clutching the Wine of Ages and the goblet. "Well, my boy," he said, "it appears you have a few years left in this world yet."
Victor smiled and nodded. "Yes, it appears I do." Then the smile faded, replaced by his more customary worried look. "Is she – I mean, what just happened – I want to be sure–"
"She's happy," Elder Gutknecht told him. "A full explanation would take more time than I have, and I'm not sure it was ever meant for mortal ears. But she's free now – she's seen her murder avenged, and, more importantly, she's learned that love truly does exist. The poor girl has had her doubts over the years."
"I'm sure she has," Victoria said, frowning in sympathy. "Poor Emily. . .the look on her face when she saw Lord Barkis. . . . What will happen to him, by the way?"
Elder Gutknecht was a skeleton, and thus couldn't actually change his facial expression. Yet Victor was sure the Elder's permanent grin became, just for a moment, more of a smirk. "He's not going to enjoy his afterlife as much as we have, I can assure you of that."
Victor nodded, scowling. It wasn't in his nature to hate, but the revelation of what Barkis had done – along with his gut feeling that what had happened to Emily was undoubtedly what had been going to happen to Victoria – made him go against the grain. "Good."
"Yes," Victoria said, eyes narrowing. "I hope he has a lot of time to think about how he's hurt others. As unladylike as that may sound," she amended, turning pink with embarrassment.
Elder Gutknecht chuckled. "I won't tell anyone." He nodded at them. "I wish you both all the best."
"Thank you kindly, Elder Gutknecht," Victor said, smiling at the old skeleton. He'd become oddly fond of the fellow during his time in the afterlife. He'd become fond of all of the dead, really – everyone was just so friendly and welcoming. He was rather sorry to see them go, to be honest. "May we all meet again someday."
"You can be sure of that. Enjoy your life, Victor." He nodded again to Victoria, who dropped a polite curtsy. Then he turned and hobbled his way to the door at the back of the church. Green light spilled out as he opened it, and Victor fancied he could hear the others still chasing the unfortunate Lord Barkis. Then it all vanished as Gutknecht shut the door behind him. Deep in his gut, Victor knew that was it – that if he tried to follow the Elder, all he'd find was Pastor Galswells's personal quarters. This world and the next were separate once again.
Victoria stared at the door. "It doesn't feel real, does it?" she said suddenly. "I feel like any moment now I'm going to wake up and it'll all have been a fantastic dream."
Victor knew exactly how she felt. Part of him had been wondering the same thing all throughout his adventure. "I'm half-expecting to turn around and suddenly find myself on the floor of my bedroom because I rolled out of bed," he agreed with a chuckle.
The few remaining people in the pews were filing past them now, apparently ready to leave all this strangeness behind and get on with their normal lives. The last one out was Victoria's maid Hildegarde. "Miss Victoria, we must get home," she said, wringing her hands as she approached them. "Your parents must be in a frightful state."
"Yes, that's true," Victoria said, grimacing. "They did not take seeing Great-Grandfather Everglot well at all. I have to go home and let them know everything's back to normal."
"May I accompany you?" Victor asked, not ready to see her leave just yet. After all, he'd spent most of the day convinced he'd lost her forever to another man. "Surely it isn't right to let two women go out walking alone at this time of night."
Victoria smiled up at him. "I'd like that. And besides, you need to tell me everything that happened. How you met Emily, and why you decided to marry her."
"We'll need to walk slow, then," Victor said, offering his arm. Victoria took it, and extended her own arm for Hildegarde to lean on. "It's quite the tale. . . ."
He told them the whole story as they made their way back to the Everglot mansion, from feeling humiliated on the bridge after the disastrous rehearsal to deciding to give Emily the wedding she'd always dreamed of. The two women listened to him intently as he spoke. Almost too intently, Victor thought – he rather wished Victoria would say something when he talked about receiving Scraps, or watching Emily dance in the moonlight, or the piano duet. Her expression during those moments was hard to read. Not angry, he could tell that much, but very thoughtful. Which was almost worse. "And then – w-well, you were there to see us start to exchange our vows. . .and then Barkis arrived, and you know everything from that point," he finished, his free hand playing with his tie.
Victoria nodded, pressing her lips together as she contemplated his words. "You cared for her quite a bit, didn't you?" she asked. "When she dragged you out of my bedroom into the night, I was half-convinced you'd been captured by a demon – but it wasn't like that at all, was it?"
"No," Victor confirmed. "That mess was all my fault. I should have told her about you, about the arranged marriage, from the start. But first I was too much in shock, just trying to figure out what was going on. . .and then, after hearing what happened to her, I – I wanted to find a way to explain things to her that wouldn't completely break her heart. Which I ended up doing anyway. . . ." He sighed, feeling another stab of guilt for the way things had gone in Victoria's bedroom and Elder Gutknecht's tower. How could he have been so callous, so cruel? Especially after all Emily had already suffered? He was beyond lucky she had been willing to forgive him. "But yes, I did care for her. She really was a nice person, Victoria. I – I rather wish you had gotten to know her better. Under different circumstances, I think you might have liked her."
"So do I," Victoria agreed softly. "I feel guilty about thinking her evil now. From what I saw in the church, she was a truly lovely person. Who didn't deserve what happened to her in the slightest." She looked up at the moon. "I hope she's at peace."
"Elder Gutknecht seemed to think she is," Victor said. "And I'd trust him on these matters. He knows much more than we do about how it all works."
"I'm sure he does." Victoria patted his arm. "And I'm sure it's all worked out for the best."
Victor smiled at her. "Me too."
Victoria smiled back – then noticed they were standing in front of the doors to her house. "Oh dear," she sighed, playing with a loose rose petal. "I am not looking forward to this."
"Should I come in?" Victor asked, not sure if he wanted Victoria to say yes or not. On the one hand, he'd have more time with Victoria. On the other – he'd have to face her parents. "Try to explain myself?"
Hildegarde shook her head. "I don't think that would be a good idea, Master Van Dort. They're not exactly fond of you at the moment."
"I have to agree – Father would probably just call for his musket and not listen to a word you say," Victoria said, grimacing. "Let me have the night to calm them down, then tomorrow you can come over and we can all talk about this like civilized people."
"All right," Victor said, quietly relieved he did not have to see the disapproving glares of the Everglots again. "I suppose this is where we part, then."
Victoria nodded, slipping her arm out of his. "I'll see you in the morning," she said. "Hopefully things will be better by then."
Victor nodded back. "I wish you luck in talking to your parents." You're probably going to need it.
"Thank you – I'll need as much as I can get," Victoria replied, echoing his thought. "Sleep well." She gave him a warm smile. "We'll be together again very soon."
That was just what he needed to hear. Victor smiled back. "A good night to you, Victoria. And you too, Miss Hildegarde."
"Thank you, Master Van Dort," Hildegarde said, patting his arm. "Good night."
"Good night," Victoria said, giving his hand a final squeeze. Then she turned, took a deep breath, pulled open the door, and marched inside, obviously wanting to get her talk with her parents over with as soon as possible. Hildegarde followed her, giving Victor one last smile before closing the door behind her.
Victor lingered on the doorstep a moment, assuring himself that Victoria was safe inside and that she was no longer in danger from Bluebeard-like monsters. Then all the exhaustion and hunger and other unpleasant emotions he'd been doing his best to keep at bay finally caught up with him. Suddenly, the only things in the world he wanted were something to fill his belly and someplace to sleep, not necessarily in that order. Covering a loud yawn with his hand, he dragged himself across the square to his own house and opened the door.
It was dark and quiet inside the front hall. Victor fumbled around until he managed to light the candle kept by the door. Now where were his parents? The servants' absence he could excuse – they were probably still in a tizzy from what had just happened. But his mother and father seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth. What could have happened to them? The only thing he was certain of was that they were not dead – otherwise, he would have seen them Below. I should have asked Mayhew when I had the chance.
Right now, though, he was far too exhausted to ponder the question for long. Guided by the flickering flame of the candle, he forced himself up the stairs to his room. He took a moment to soak in the calming familiarity of it all – the pictures on the walls, the desk in front of the window, the metal-framed bed taking up much of the floor. Then he set the candle on his nightstand, took off his shoes, and flopped over onto his bed without even undressing. Within moments, he'd fallen asleep.