A Beetlejuice fanfic by Lady Norbert
Author's Notes: I know what some of my followers are wondering: Where the heck is the next chapter of Chronology? Don't fear, I haven't abandoned the prospect of time-traveling Elric children. The chapter is in progress. Unfortunately, I've had a really nasty case of writer's block, induced partially by working retail during the Christmas season, and the chapter stagnated.
And then this happened.
I was a young teenager when the Beetlejuice cartoon was being aired (1989-1991), and it was easily in my top five shows for the entirety of its run. It's honestly responsible for more than its fair share of my sense of humor, what with all the terrible puns and one-liners. I love it. Recently I happened upon a site where I could watch all the episodes for free, and I binged relentlessly. Strangely enough, this broke the block.
Fans of the show may recognize references to certain episodes. In case anyone's concerned about it, Lydia is very much eighteen in this story. I don't ship them while she's underage; once she's a legal adult, though, all bets are off. And if it's not glaringly obvious from the title, this is something of a spin on the Cinderella fairy tale. Actually, it's probably best described as a mash-up of Beetlejuice, Cinderella, The Godfather, and my own peculiar sense of humor. The chapter titles are quotes (or twisted versions thereof) from Disney's animated Cinderella, and there are several quotes from the various Godfather movies sprinkled throughout.
Special thanks are extended to Tumblr's "bcctlejuice," who inspired me with regards to a couple details, and to AddatheRipper here on FFN, creator of a wonderful Beetlejuice webcomic called Cobweb & Stripes. Both of these lovelies offered me lots of encouragement, as did my friend Katie.
The cover art comes courtesy of my friend Lais, "trashmudquinn" on Tumblr; the picture is herself and her boyfriend, cosplaying as Lydia and Beetlejuice - they are actually acting out a scene from this story in the photo! She very graciously gave me her permission to use it as the poster.
I also want to thank my friend Kourie, who tried really hard to keep me from letting this eat my brain. She failed, but her attempts were commendable; when she couldn't stop me, she signed on as a beta reader. And as usual, my self-appointed bodyguard Andrea used the Poking Stick of Doom (tm) to get me to write this in the first place.
Chapter One: The Ball Is Announced
"Sorry I'm late," Lydia told her friends as she reached their usual table in the cafeteria. "We had a quick yearbook meeting after last period." She flashed them a smile. "It's a bigger project than doing the yearbook at Miss Shannon's ever was. I don't envy the editor."
"They're lucky to have you taking pictures, though," said Bertha.
"Thanks! I can't wait to study photography in college. I've still got so much to learn, but I'm looking forward to it. So... what are we talking about?" She started unpacking her lunch.
"Prom's almost here!" Prudence chirped. "Senior prom! What do you think it'll be like?"
"I can't wait to find out," said Bertha, tearing into a package of chips. "What about you, Lydia? You are coming this year, aren't you?"
"Oh, I don't know."
"But it's our senior year!" Prudence protested. "You have to go! Er, don't you?" She glanced at Bertha for corroboration, and the taller girl nodded emphatically.
Lydia unwrapped her sandwich, trying to answer the question for herself. Usually, she quite enjoyed going to the school dances; as chief photographer for the yearbook, attending in that capacity was a lot of fun - taking pictures of her schoolmates, with Beetlejuice disguised as her purse or a piece of camera equipment. Sometimes they'd slip away to a side room, just the two of them, where no one could see that their feet didn't always touch the floor or that Lydia's dance partner didn't look entirely... human.
Senior prom was a bigger deal. Fancier. Flashier. More intimidating - to say nothing of providing her mother with countless more opportunities to embarrass her. And then there was the whole matter of going with someone; that would make bringing BJ next to impossible, for one thing, and she doubted he would like that too much. Taking all these points into consideration, she had made it a point to miss the junior prom. But confronted with the idea, she had to concede that for whatever reason, she really wanted to go this time.
Before she could articulate a response, however, a new voice barged into the conversation. "Like, I'm so sure! Who'd want to attend the senior prom with the Corpse Bride?" Claire almost collapsed sideways laughing at her own joke.
"And I suppose you already have a date?" Lydia wished her response was a bit more cutting, but it would have to do.
"My only problem is deciding whose invitation to accept," Claire replied, straightening. "There are so many options available, it's hard to choose. Sort of like colleges, but better-looking." She smirked. "You three, on the other hand, will probably be scraping the bottom of the barrel."
"There's plenty of guys in this school," Bertha protested. "And they can't all go with you, Claire. There's bound to be someone."
"For you two... maybe," Claire replied loftily. She gestured grandly at Prudence and Bertha, like a fairy godmother bestowing stray gifts. "You at least look lifelike. Lydia looks more like she just got out of her coffin."
You say that like it's an insult, she thought. To her profound horror, however, the words which jumped out of her mouth were very different.
"Don't worry about me, Claire, I've got a date."
Claire snorted. "Oh, right, sure you do. Where've you been hiding this mystery man, then?"
"He doesn't live around here."
"Convenient! But you're going to dig him up for the prom, huh? That's totally the biggest lie I've ever heard!"
"Well, I'll have to talk to him and make sure he can get into town for the prom - but if he can, you'll meet him." Lydia was scowling. "Now can I please eat my lunch without feeling sick?"
"If you can, I'm impressed; I'd be sick every day if I had to be you. Can't wait to meet your Prince Charming." Claire cackled as she walked away. Hastily, Lydia stuffed a corner of her sandwich into her mouth as Prudence and Bertha rounded on her.
"You've got a boyfriend, Lydia? And you never told us?"
"Where does he live? What's he like?"
She chewed slowly, stalling for time. Unbidden, an image rose in her mind - the grinning, ghoulish countenance of the closest thing she had, or had ever had, to such a thing. No, there was no way she could even begin to go there. That would be entirely too difficult to explain.
(More than that, it was sacred ground. If she were honest with herself, they'd been dancing on the edge of that knife for at least a year now; in some ways, probably even longer. But actually taking the plunge was an incredible risk.)
"He's hard to describe," she said finally. "I don't really think he's going to be able to get here for the prom, though... I'll talk to him and see."
The rest of the day drifted by in something of a confused haze. Lydia only vaguely remembered riding her bike home from school; she offered her father a half-hearted greeting and went to her room, flopping on the bed. She couldn't remember feeling so tired in ages.
How long she lay there, she wasn't entirely sure. Her face was pressed into the pillows, her stomach sunk lightly into the coverlet. She missed Percy; he'd passed on not long after her eighth grade graduation from Miss Shannon's School for Girls, and it would have been comforting to have him curl up next to her head just now. (Beetlejuice kept checking for signs of him in the Neitherworld, but she didn't expect him to surface. He had hated that place so much; he never was quite the same after the witches' ball.)
All was silent save for the persistent ticking of the clock in the hall. Maybe an hour passed; maybe two; maybe just ten minutes. It was all the same in her present mindset.
Lydia shifted her face just enough to flick her gaze to the mirror. The reflection wasn't her own, though she'd have been startled if it were. "Hi, Beej."
"Wow. You look like something the cat dragged in... after being run over by a train," he mused. "Bad day?"
"What's wrong, Babes?" His tone shifted subtly, but she could always catch it; he had stopped the joking and was worried about her. She sighed, rolling onto her side so she could face the mirror properly.
"Remember when I found your yearbook, and you told me about how you were named prom king at your high school?"
"I've tried to forget about that, but yes."
"Remember how you built your date using a toaster and an answering machine?"
"...get to the point."
Lydia grumbled. "I kind of did the same thing."
"Really?" He peered around the room. "No kidding? What kind of toaster did you use?"
In spite of herself, she smiled. "Not like that." She sighed. "Prom's coming up, and we were talking about it, and Claire started getting on my case about how nobody would want to go with me. She called me the Corpse Bride."
"Wow." His eyes widened. "She complimented you? That Emily was a babe and a half!"
"I don't think she meant it as a compliment, BJ. Anyway, I got so mad that I started telling her that I do have a date. So now she and Bertha and Prudence all think I've got some mystery boyfriend who lives out of town and he may or may not be able to get here in time to go with me."
"Ah." He scratched the back of his head.
"I know, I know," she said, as though he'd admonished her. Like Beetlejuice would ever get on my case for lying. "I shouldn't have done it. But after all these years, Claire just knows how to get under my skin. I thought with all of us in the public high school, she'd have other people to bother, but I guess I'm still her favorite. And I don't know what to do - I guess I'll have to tell them he can't make it."
He was quiet for a moment, which she idly thought was unlike him. "You know," he said, "you did say you'd have been proud to go to the prom with me."
"I thought about that. And I meant it, I would."
"So how about I take you? You know I love to cut a rug!" He held up a length of carpet and a pair of shears.
"I know." She half smiled. "It'd be fun to go with you, Beej. But prom's a different deal in my world than it was when you went. You'd have to be... clean. Dressed up. No eating bugs. And you'd have to be polite to everybody, you know."
"Babes, you're killin' me - and I'm already dead."
"And you wouldn't be able to juice anybody," she added. "No matter what they did, no matter what they said - not even Claire. Can you honestly tell me you'd have that kind of self-control?"
"I've met your willpower, don't forget. I know the answer."
"Right." He heaved a sigh. "Sorry, Lyds. Well, Burp and Prune like you too much to hold it against you, and who cares what Claire thinks anyway? Tell you what - you give 'em the brush-off, and we'll find something really fun to do that night. Something scary and gross and freaky. Anything my girl wants. Okay?"