Rating:  PG, you know, for fairy tale-ish stuff… oh, and insanity.  Lots of insanity.

Feedback:  I'd like that, thank you.

Distribution:  At the moment, here.  If someone wants it, I'd really appreciate it if you would ask me, please.  I would also be completely shocked.

Spoilers:  Not a single thing.

Disclaimer:  All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Dedication:  I'm dedicating this to all the people who first got to read this… and had to wait months and months between chapters, on occasion.

Author's Note:  This is the third in a series of fairytales from the Hellmouth.  There are ten chapters, and yes, they are all finished.  I'm just putting them up a few at a time.

Sleeping Loony

Chapter One

            Once upon a time, a long time ago, in the kingdom of Sunnydale, there lived a very happy king and queen -- not that the average royal couple would be happy ruling a land situated on the Hellmouth.

            "Hey, we bought the property for the castle dirt cheap!  Besides, nothing bad has happened yet."

            We're four sentences into the story; even I don't move that fast.  Anyway, the king was wandering around the garden one day, blending in perfectly with the tropical flowers due to his loud Hawaiian shirt, when the queen came running out of the castle, her red hair flying behind her, carrying an opened envelope.

            "She's arriving tonight!" the queen enthused as she started to jump up and down like someone had lit her shoes on fire.

            "Who?" asked the perpetually clueless king.

            The queen whipped her crown off and thwacked him upside the head.  "You doofus!  Our new adoptive daughter from England!  How could you possibly forget that you're going to become a father?"

            "I've been busy contemplating the expiration date of Twinkies," he explained. 

            The queen looked as though she were going to be angry, but then she realized that thinking about the expiration date of a Twinkie was almost the equivalent of trying to understand the concept of eternity, so she decided to let it go.

            Just after sunset, the Aurelius Adoption Agency dropped off a tiny bundle wrapped in pink blankets outside the castle's front door.  Oddly enough, they didn't come inside, muttering something about not having an invitation, then left abruptly.  The baby had masses of dark hair and large, luminous blue eyes. 

            "Aww, who's the prettiest little baby in the whole kingdom?"  the king said as he tickled her chin.  "Kitchee-koo!  Kitchee-kitchee-koo-OOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!"

            The infant, who had slipped into game-face, had promptly bitten his index finger and was trying to drain him with her itsy-bitsy fangs.

            "She's a vampire!" the king shrieked as he pulled his finger away from her sharp incisors.

            "Well, duh, kind of figured that out," the queen replied in a slightly annoyed voice.  "But she's also our daughter.  You go inside and start blacking out the nursery's windows, and I'll perform that soul-restoration spell of Miss Calendar's."

            The king, although he still looked rather sulky about having a vamp for a daughter, decided that he could find it in his heart to accept her as his child and went to carry out his wife's requests.

            "Um, excuse me, two things.  First off, just wanted to say thanks for the niceness in the last sentence.  Most writers don't seem to like me all that much."

            S'okay.  What's the other thing?

            "Why do I have to block out the windows myself? I mean, I am the king; don't we have servants or something?"

            Nope, not a servant to be seen.  You spent the money that would have gone for their wages this year on snack food at Mr. Bulky's.  Hence, no help.

            "Oh.  Okay."

            Back to our story.  The king and queen decided to invite all the people of the kingdom to a party to celebrate the arrival of their new princess.  However, there was a bit of a debate over the guest list.

            "I am not inviting your ex-girlfriend to the celebration!"

            "Come on, I know she's a pain, but she might turn out to be an even bigger pain if we snub her," the king said

            "Oh, you mean like the way she snubbed me all through high school?  Nothing doing.  I actually want to have a good time at this party, not just listen to her whine about how badly dressed everybody is!"

            "You've got a point.  Okay, we ax the wicked debutante from the guest list.  After all, what could she possibly do?  Threaten us with a spatula?"

            And thus they sealed their doom.

            One week later, the welcoming bash for the little, now permanently ensouled, vampire was held.  Each of the guests presented a gift to the child.

            "I decided to go the practical route," said their best friend, the Slayer.  "Here, open it!"

            "Aww, you shouldn't have," said the red-haired queen when she had unwrapped the gift.  "A certificate for a year's worth of therapy when she's eighteen!  How perfect!"

            The Slayer beamed.  After all, anybody who lived in Sunnydale for any length of time needed serious psychological help.

            "Oh, come on! Living here isn't that bad.  I keep most of the creepy crawlies at bay."

            Honey, this town would make Santa Claus turn into a paranoid schizo with a death wish.  Trust me, you gave the gift that keeps on giving.

            "Well, okay, but I still think I would have gotten her something cuddlier."

            Fine, you also gave her a pink plush stuffed pig just like yours; feel better?

            "Much!"

            Moving on, then.  Three of the guests stepped forward together to offer their presents to the little princess.  A hush fell over the assembled throng as they realized who they were:  the Three Good…

            "Please tell me the next word you type isn't going to be 'fairies,' cause I just can't take it."

            Okay, Mr. Sensitive, I'll just call you the Three Good Beings; feel better?

            "Much!"

            I aim to please.  The first of the beings - who was a tall, dark, handsome vampire - stepped forward to offer his gift to the child.

            "My present to the little princess is the ability to be cryptic, just like me."

            The queen and the king just stared at him.

            "I told you we should have uninvited Deadboy," the king muttered.

            "I heard that.  The princess will know all kinds of esoteric, strange things, even pieces of the future, and she'll always have a mysterious allure about her because she'll keep the info back until the last possible second," he explained as he gave the couple a pained look.  "Hey, we're supposed to give something that echoes our own personality.  It was either this or a penchant for turning evil and wearing leather."

            "Well, um, thanks.  That's a really… creative gift," the queen said as she hugged her old friend and shot her husband a dirty look

            The next being stepped forward and gave the baby a huge grin.  The child immediately started to wail in fear, probably because the guy was green and had horns.

            "No accounting for taste," the lounge singer pouted.  "Well, my gift is that the princess will always be surrounded by music.  She'll be able to find the inner harmonies of everything around her, from the beating of the human heart to the thin music of a star a million light years away."

            "Wow.  That's… deep," the king said in awe.

            "Yeah, isn't it?  She'll also have an insatiable desire to sing karaoke in a few years, but I wouldn't worry about that," he said as he stepped back and allowed the third being to come forward.

            "My gift…" he began, but he was interrupted by a blast of purple smoke and an ear splitting whine.

            "I didn't get invited!"  screamed the person who had erupted out of the floor. 

She was a very pretty, very well accessorized young woman with long brown hair.  As she raised her hand, the others caught sight of the most powerful weapon known to humankind.

"Look out!"  shouted the lounge lizard.  "She's packing a Gold Card!"

"That's right, honey.  So, the queen who got her wardrobe from Sears and the king of the dorks decided to blackball me, eh?  Well, I still get to give your daughter my gift.  Before the sun sets on her eighteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die," the fashion maven declared in ringing tones.  "Oh, and she'll also have really bizarre taste in clothes, which is a fate worse than death."

"Wait a minute; time out.  I'm a vampire, and I know perfectly well the only ways to kill us are a stake to the heart, beheading, or burning us to a crisp.  How does pricking her finger on a spinning wheel spindle kill her?"

Well, oh broody one, normally it wouldn't kill a human, either, but it's the major key point of the original story.  So, for the purposes of this parody, you can add "pricking finger on a spindle" to the list of ways to dust a vamp.

"Nobody folds, spindles, or mutilates my daughter," the king yelled in fury.  "Besides, you don't have any magic powers!"

"Oh yes, I do.  I accidentally de-ratted Amy when I spilled a bottle of Coca-Cola on her.  It was the anti-charm.  Who knew?  She was so grateful, she transferred all her powers to me."

"Yup, I did," Amy responded as she stepped out of the crowd for a brief cameo.  Then she walked out the front door of the castle, never to be seen again.

The brunette disappeared, laughing maniacally, in another explosion of violet smoke.  Everyone in the room was stunned.

"I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  major bitca," the queen said, breaking the silence.  Then she started to cry hysterically.

"Fear not, sweet hacker.  I have not yet given the child my gift," said the third being.

"Can you fix it, G-Man?" asked the king hopefully.

"Not completely, and please stop calling me that," he said in his British accent as he grabbed the bridge of his nose to ward off a rapidly approaching tension headache.  "I can, however, soften the spell.  Originally I was going to give her the gift of great intellect, but instead I declare that instead of dying, she will fall into a deep sleep and will be awakened by her true love's kiss."

Thunderous applause broke out from the assembled throng as they gave him a standing ovation.

"Applause?  For me?"

I always thought you were under appreciated in the Scooby gang.  Consider it payback.

"My, how very nice."

Don't mention it.  Unfortunately, there was still the big problem of how to keep the little princess safe until after sunset on her eighteenth birthday.  After all, the evil fashion consultant could try to off her sooner or maybe give her horrible breath so no one would want to kiss her, true love or not.  Since the king was goodhearted…

"Awww, thanks,"

…but basically an idiot…

"Spoke too soon, I see."

… and the queen, while highly intelligent, still had problems with her magic not going quite as planned…

"I tried to cast a protection spell on the Slayer last week and wound up dropping a llama on her.  It wasn't pretty."

… the royal couple were at their wits end about how to protect their daughter until the Three Good Beings stepped forward once again.

"It's my job to help the helpless.  We could spirit her away out to the woods and raise her as if she were our own.  Then, when she's eighteen, we'll send her home to you," suggested the dark haired vamp kindly.

"You want me to turn my daughter over to Deadboy, a geeky librarian, and a show tune spouting guy with horns who looks like he ate too much spinach?  Nothing doing!" shouted the king incoherently.

However, by this time the queen had already put her daughter into the arms of her old, brooding friend and kissed her tenderly on the forehead.

"You'll take good care of her, right?" she asked him in a quivering voice. 

"I'll guard her with my unlife," he swore solemnly.

With that, the Three Good Beings melted into the shadows of the night, taking the little princess with them.