Summary: Luke and Lorelai tell Alice, Joey, Emma and Mike a bedtime story...

Hugs to Elise for the beta!

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Alice, Joey, Emma and Mike are mine... all other characters are ASP's. Don't sue. Thanks!

Fractured Fairytale

It wasn't often that Lorelai and Luke had small children in their home for an extended period of time.

And so when Dean had a builder's association meeting, Lindsay was sick with the flu, Jess had a press junket in Malibu, Rory had a press conference overseas in France, and Lane and Dave had to play a festival in New York, Lorelai had jumped at the chance to take care of Mike, Emma, Joey and Alice. Luke had not been so forth-coming with the offer of providing care, but with Lorelai, he really didn't get much of a say.

Nor did he get a say in where they slept. Lorelai had taken it upon herself to set up Luke's old tent in the living room.

And so there she was, sitting in the tent in her sheep print pajamas, the lights off around her, all but the single flashlight she held up to her face. The kids sat around her in sleeping bags, listening to her tales of horror intently.

"... And when she came back from college, her parents were so happy to see her... they rushed out to meet her, and when she turned from the cab... She had the very same knife in her hand..."

Emma huddled closer to Alice, who was grinning madly.

Lorelai went on. "'What are you doing with that big knife?' her father asked. 'Oh... nothing, Daddy,' she replied. 'Nothing at all.' And then... she held up the knife..." Lorelai reached behind her back. "And..." She pulled a knife from behind her back. "SHE KILLED THEM!"

Emma and Joey screamed loudly, and Alice laughed. Mike merely rolled his eyes.

Lorelai grinned. "The... end." She put the knife down.

All of the sudden, the lights in the living room came on. "What the hell was that?" Luke's tired voice asked, as he pulled open the tent and looked in.

Lorelai hid the knife behind her back. "Nothing, honey."

Luke rolled his eyes. "Right..."

"Gramma was just telling us a ghost story," Alice said excitedly.

"Aw, Jeez," Luke complained. He looked to his girlfriend. "They'll never get to sleep... can't you tell them a fairytale or something?"

"Why don't you tell us one, Luke?" Emma asked.

"Yeah," Joey agreed. "Come on, Luke! Tell us a cool story!"

"Yeah!" Alice nodded. "With knights!"

"And princesses!" Emma added.

Mike rolled his eyes again and turned over. "Lame."

"Can there be ninjas?" Joey asked.

"Fairytales don't have ninjas," Emma told him. "Don't be stupid."

"I'm not stupid!" Joey argued. "I like ninjas!"

Luke still stood frozen in the doorway of the tent.

"Come on, Luke," Lorelai grinned. "The kids wanna hear a story."

Luke glared and stepped into the tent, giving Lorelai a nudge. She slid over a little and he settled in next to her with a sigh. "I just want you to know that I don't like kids... and I don't like telling stories. I don't like telling stories to kids, either, because they always butt in and never let you finish."

"You're so grouchy, Uncle Luke," Alice giggled.

Luke rolled his eyes. "Once upon a time..." he began, glancing at the kids around him. "There was an inn-keeper."

Lorelai raised an eyebrow at him and sat back. "Was there?"

"I'm telling a story here," Luke snapped. "So keep your mouth shut."

"Was this inn-keeper pretty?" Lorelai asked. "Was she the prettiest woman in the land?"

"No, the inn-keeper was a haggard old woman," Luke smirked. "With warts, and skin so sickly it was almost green. Her daughter, however, was the prettiest girl in the land."

"Somebody's sleeping on the front lawn tonight," Lorelai grumbled.

"What was her name?" Emma asked. "Was it Emma?"

"No," Luke smirked. "It was Mary."

"What kind of a name is Mary?" Alice asked, wrinkling her nose.

"A name I picked out," Luke replied. "Don't interrupt me."

Alice nodded.

Luke sighed. "So Mary, the inn-keeper's daughter, was the prettiest girl in all the land. And the whole town loved her very much, because not only was she very pretty, she was kind as well. And very smart. Everyday she would come into the town pub with her ugly mother, and order the strongest brew they had. She would keep the inn-keeper from driving the barkeep crazy all day. One day-"

"One day," Lorelai cut in. "The haggard old inn-keeper turned into Xena, hot, busty Warrior Princess, and beat the tar out of the grumpy old barkeep. She beat him up so badly, that he died!"

Luke stared at Lorelai in shock.

"That's right!" she cried. "You heard me!"

The kids snickered and giggled.

Luke sighed. "The town was heartbroken by the brutal death of the barkeep. The inn-keeper, or... Xena... had disappeared. Mary cried for days on the shoulder of her boyfriend, The White Knight. He was good and pure... he... saved puppies... you get the picture."

The kids giggled, and Lorelai gave him a tilted glance and he smirked.

"People came from far and wide for the barkeeper's funeral," Luke went on. "Including the wicked-but misunderstood- Black Knight, who was the barkeeper's nephew. The Black Knight, like Mary and The White Knight, was very young, and his mother had not been able to keep his wild spirit tamed."

Lorelai laughed loudly.

"What?" Luke growled.

"'Wild spirit tamed'?" Lorelai laughed louder.

Luke rolled his eyes and sighed. "Anyways, when The Black Knight went home from the funeral, he found that his mother had changed all the locks on her castle door to keep her wild son out. He was forced to go back to the town where his uncle had died. When he arrived, he found that Xena the inn- keeper had been found, and forced to bring the barkeep back to life with her magical powers."

"Hey!" Lorelai cried.

"Hey? What hey?" Luke asked.

"You can't do that!"

"It's my story!" Luke snapped. "I'll do whatever the hell I want..." He sighed and turned back to his audience. "So The Black Knight lived with his uncle, and helped out in the bar. On his first day of being a barkeep in training, he saw Mary and her mother, now stripped of her powers-"

Lorelai glared.

"But not of her immense beauty," Luke went on quickly. "The Black Knight took one look at Mary and fell deeply in love... not that he'd ever admit that. He was a troubled and misunderstood man, and Mary found him to be mean, and a trickster. He stole her books and played pranks on the town. The White Knight liked him even less than Mary, and they dueled often."

The kids in front of him sat elated, waiting for more, and Luke sighed again.

"One day, as Mary watched the two knights duel, she realized that her hatred for The Black Knight had turned into love, and she ran over and broke up their duel. She told The White Knight that she no longer loved him, and he rode off into the sunset, leaving Mary and The Black Knight to live happily ever after. The end."

Lorelai and the kids stared at him. Even Mike was sitting up now.

"What?" Luke asked. "The end!"

"That was the lamest ending ever," Lorelai commented.

"Hey!"

"She's right," Mike nodded. "That sucked."

"There's more to the story than that," Lorelai scoffed.

Luke groaned. "Fine. You tell it."

Lorelai smiled. "Let's rewind a little, here. That duel...Mary didn't realize her love for The Black Knight right away... only when The White Knight had struck him down did it finally hit her. She rushed forward and threw herself on the ground in front of The Black Knight, begging her lover not to take his life."

"Lover?" Luke asked, wrinkling his nose.

She smacked him lightly in the arm. "The White Knight dropped his sword with the realization that his Mary no longer loved him. He called her a slut and a wench, and stormed away, leaving Mary to help the stricken Black Knight to his feet and to his home, where she tended to his wounds. They were together from that point on."

"The end?" Emma asked.

"No, not yet," Lorelai smiled. "Everyone hated The Black Knight. They thought he was a hooligan, and a trouble-maker, and they made sure that Mary knew what they thought. Even Mary's mother, Xena, had her doubts about The Black Knight. And one day, they believed that they were proven right, when he disappeared without a trace, or a goodbye to the barkeep or Mary. She was so heartbroken that she stayed in bed for days."

Luke rolled his eyes.

"But the truth was that The Black Knight had not run away at all, oh no," Lorelai went on. "His father, whom he'd never met, had come to see him very briefly, and then left without a word... what The Black Knight didn't know was that his father was an evil wizard who had but a spell on him before he left. In a trance, the Black Knight packed what he could, hopped onto his horse, and rode off after his father."

"Then what happened?" Joey asked, obviously intrigued by this turn of events.

Lorelai sighed. "Well, eventually, the barkeep figured out what had gone on, and told Mary that her Black Knight was under an evil spell and had followed his father in a trance. Well, she didn't know what to do, so she went to her mother, the beautiful and skilled Xena for advice. Xena trained her daughter to be a warrior, and as time passed, Mary was ready to save her beloved from the clutches of the wizard."

Even Luke was interested in what would happen next. "And then?"

"She followed him to the end of the earth, facing many monsters... and ninjas along the way."

Joey smiled. "Ninjas!"

Mike rolled his eyes.

"When Mary reached the end of the earth, she found that the evil wizard had brainwashed The Black Knight to be his top henchman, and she was forced to fight him. They fought for days, neither giving up. Finally, the barkeep showed up, weary from his long journey, and killed the evil wizard, breaking the Black Knight's trance."

"Yay!" Alice smiled.

"Oh, but it was too late," Lorelai said shamefully. "Just as the curse was broken, Mary ran her love through with her sword. With his last breath, The Black Knight told Mary he loved her for the very first time, and then died in her arms."

Again, the kids sat silently.

Emma sniffled. "T-the end?"

"Nope," Luke cut in. "You see, when Xena had been stripped of her powers, the barkeep had taken them, and he rushed over to his dead nephew faster than the speed of light, and smacked him upside the head. A moment later, The Black Knight's eyes opened. He was alive. A week later, he and Mary got hitched, started their own newspaper and lived happily ever after. The Barkeep and Xena moved in together, and they lived happily ever after, and The White Knight found himself a beautiful princess in another land, and they, too lived happily ever after. The end. Goodnight. Go to sleep."

Lorelai snickered and got up with the knife.

"What's that?" Luke asked nervously.

"What?" Lorelai asked. "Oh!" She looked down at the knife and hid it behind her back again with a smile. "Nothing."

Luke shook his head as they exited the tent.