Disclaimer: I suppose I should be thankful I don't own it, since Frank Wedekind and Duncan Shiek did a much better job than I would have done.

Notes: A last minute somewhat-Thanksgiving themed fluff fic. Well, not all fluff… random onedrabbles set throughout the musical in a random order. Kind of like "Hip Preteens Out in Their Jeans" by ragtime tune, a fantastic fic that I encourage everyone to read/review after this. Oh, and happy Thanksgiving/Black Friday everyone- sorry it's a day late.

Sure, when it's autumn, everything changes.

They're not on Melchi Gabor's porch, their constantly transforming pirate ship. A stray bandana now hangs around a scarecrow's neck in the dying garden, but their plank has been kindly tucked away under the safety of the porch, waiting for the spring rebellion.

They're not in the tree house at Otto's, where empty tea cups sit from their last session of house, as if in a still-life. One of them is chipped from someone's careless handling. The rest of their junk has fallen towards the edges: a ribbon, some anemones, a wooden sword, a copy of Faust, and so on.

And the wigwam is empty, save for her, the wanderer. The roof has nearly fallen in- but only nearly. Seeking shelter from the relentless wind, she barely squeezes herself in. Her hand scrapes against the crumbling dirt, and in the midst of the dry pebbles, she touches something soft- a feather, fallen from the sky or torn from some innocent bird.

Somehow, it's stuck in the ground. Idly, she begins digging with her hand and mind.

***

Melchior always hated fall.

Everything's red, and the sun begins to die younger and younger. It always looks down on you, even in the night, with a masked face. They had always indicated the sky as heaven- perhaps they were right, as it certainly conformed to society.

God, he hated fall.

***

"If you could see your hair, Martha!"

"Goodness, has it come undone again?"

"You're the goddess of autumn! The tree-nymphs will dance around you and shower you with their bounty!"

"Oh dear, where have the ribbons gone?"

"Leave it, Martha! You're beautiful…"

Child, you're a beauty…How wonderful it must be to envy beauty. She glances at Wendla, throwing the leaves in the air like a fire of confetti, playing a tree nymph. She wishes she could play; she wishes she could tell. Instead, she plays her own game of Pretend.

"It's awfully nice of your father to rake up these leaf piles for us, Wendla…"

***

The blue dress feels refreshing against his legs. He doesn't know what girls found constricting about them- he feels freer than ever, without the tight pants wrapping around his legs. He wonders what Hanschen would think- he always wonders what Hanschen would think.

Perhaps some light lipstick will go well with the collar…

"ERNST!"

Ernst jolts up, falling, falling…

He finds himself on the floor, staring up at his father, who glares back with seething eyes. "This isn't what it looks like," Ernst whimpers.

"Ernst, this is so unlike you!" his father fumes.

"Father, there's a lot I have to tell you."

"Well, it'll have to wait," his father orders with an exasperated sigh, a major understatement compared to the situation at hand. "Get dressed into something respectable."

"Dresses are respectable," Ernst counters, gathering his strength while sweats gathers on his brow and in his palms. Think Hanschen. Think Hanschen.

His father stares back at him, confusion crossing his face. "What?... Ernst, quit joking around. You're going to be late to school."

***

"Coming, Moritz?"

He takes one last glance at the tree house, at everyone's junk- the ribbons, the anemones, the swords- all left behind for winter to find. Everyone leaves a piece of themselves here, but they don't realize they've left it until winter passes, after it's gotten all dusty and ruined, irretrievable.

And they never realize what they're losing. Moritz can't leave his childhood behind like that; instead, he drops Faust- cursed book of nightmares- kicking it far in the back corner, beside the anemones, which droop over it like a grave.

He wishes he could leave it so easily behind.

Melchior's forgotten all about him by now as the girls approach, giggling continually at his rebellious remarks.

"Coming," he mumbles to no one, slowly descending the ladder for the last time.

***

Fall, where days grow cold as everything heats up. Fall, where the nights grow longer and their nights grow shorter. Fall, where something ends as winter begins. Fall, where everything begins to… f

a

l

l

a p a r t. . .

Where the leaves begin to d

r

i

f

t

a w a y. . .

"Hanschen, what happens when the grapes are no longer young and in bloom?"

"I suppose they'll last a lifetime, fermenting in some wine. Honestly, Ernst, you're such a sentimentalist!"

But Ernst knows that wine, while lusted for, is addicting and detrimental to one's judgment: drink too much, and disaster strikes. To make wine, the grapes first had to be crushed.

***

The fairy queen, lady pirate, mild princess, and quiet ghost gather around the hayloft.

"Have you heard? Frau Robel is handing out dental care brochures."

"Again?"

"Boo!"

"I swore I saw Hanschen Rillow heading by Frau Knuppeldick's place with a dozen eggs."

"Martha, stop it!"

"Melchior Gabor is going as God- I swear it upon my uncle's life."

"That's not me. I'm over here."

"Your uncle's dead."

"Ilse! I saw that!"

"Well, have you seen Moritz Stiefel? He's as pale as Martha in that cute little pumpkin costume his mother sewed."

"Hurry up, Thea! My crown's falling off!"

"Just watch me!" comes Thea's voice from inside the hayloft. "I'm coming! I mean," she clears her throat, preparing her dramatic entrance. "I'm calling, I'm calling!" The door swings open to reveal a scruffy girl-boy garbed in over-sized trousers, a white button-up shirt with rolled up sleeves, and sagging suspenders.

"And one day all will know!" Thea declares to the gawking girls from inside her costume. She waves a diary around in the air with a scandalous grin.

"Thea! If anyone sees you in those…"

"Are they… real?"

"Entirely authentic."

"Thea!"

Flipping the diary open, she clears her throat, beginning dramatically, "Dear Diary: Today I brooded with my diary, and it was exhilarating! I watched Herr Sunscortch's eyes flicker severely across the schoolyard and found he spent more time on the left than the right- how discriminatory! I think I'm going to dash off in some random patch of woods in attempts to accidentally-on-purpose run into my dearly beloved…"

"Oh, stop it!" Wendla blushes, reaching for the oddly evasive book.

"What? You don't care to hear our romantic adventures?" Thea teases, shutting the book and pressing it against her chest. Her left suspender strap had fallen from her shoulder.

Wendla sputters as Thea's laughs uncontrollably. "Relax, the diary's fake- though I daresay, he has written a number of interesting concepts in the margins of Faust…"

"What if anyone sees you?" Anna questions, excited and anxious at the same time.

"Oh, this is nothing!" Thea scoffs. "You should see what he's doing with my clothes."

***

"Quick, quick!"

"What's in here?"

"God, could you trip over that stool any more?"

"Porcini- what's porcini?"

"Strawberries! What are you looking at? I can snack on a few, if I want to."

"The Bohemians have got stoves, haven't they?"

"There's no way you're getting me to drag the stove out of the kitchen."

"I think I dropped the key."

"No, no, that shadow's mine!- I see you, with the rolling pin!"

"Sorry."

"That was my foot!"

"Hanschen, they're coming!"

"Quick, quick!"

"I forgot the porcini."

"Where's the key?"

"Hanschen, what are you doing by the door?"

"Now, that shadow's not mine!"

"WE'RE GONNA DIE!"

"Where'd you put that freaking rolling pin?!"

"Our Father, who art in heaven…"

"I got him- damn it, it's a her…"

"That didn't sound good."

"I told you, quit tripping over the stool!"

"Where are we going to put all this food? The adults will surely catch us if we keep it, and we can't just leave it in the street…"

"Don't sweat it- I'll deliver it to them tonight."

"I love you, Hanschen!"

"And so you should, Moritz."

***

Melchior had always wondered how it felt to donate to the poor, and this was his chance. All week, she had nagged him about attending:

"It's a chance to help someone worse off than you."

"It'll be fun!"

"I'll be there."

"Me too!" he declares at last. "Er, I love helping others, I think- it'll be fun!"

He insists they hold hands- but only when Mama isn't looking, she compromises. Mama doesn't seem to much like Melchior, though Wendla couldn't imagine why.

"You be careful with that boy, Wendla," Mama warns, eyeing him suspiciously. "That boy looks like he fancies you just a bit too much."

"Oh, Mama!" Wendla declares. "You needn't worry- Melchior doesn't believe there is a such thing as love."

Oddly, Mama's watchful eye only grows larger.

"It's odd how few starving vagrants there actually are," Melchior comments, his face practically hidden behind the pile of boxes Wendla keeps handing to him. "I swear, Herr Gunther has gone through the line three times, and his barber business is one of the most lucrative in town."

"The fewer starving people, the better. It means we're doing our job- Melchi, where are you taking those? We're supposed to bring them to-"

"The poor patrons of town," he finishes, pushing open a door at the back of the church. He steps into the backwater alley and vanishes from sight.

"Melchi?" she questions, hesitating before hurrying after him. "Melchior?"

"Over here!" he calls, but she can't see him from between all of the arms that came out of nowhere, reaching for the boxes with renewed vigor. Painfully thin arms, the arms of children on men in their prime, the arms of infants on children.

"I guess patron wasn't the right word to use," Melchior comments, setting the boxes down for the beggars to dive upon. Wendla shrinks away from the scene, bumping into a girl so small, yet surely as old as her. Upon closer examination, Wendla begins to see beyond the dirt, and into those mesmerizing eyes…

"Ilse?" she whispers.

The girl, garbed in a loose sheet, winces. "You must be mistaken," she states coolly.

"Ilse, what…?"

"My name's not Ilse," the girl grits, and without warning, she ducks behind a beefy man, dragging a rack of secondhand coats with him.

"Ilse!" Wendla calls, certain that it's her. "Ilse, wait!"

The girl vanishes from sight, lost among the countless thin arms.

"So," Melchior's voice comes from behind her, "this is how it feels."

***

Digging deeper and deeper, her hands catch onto the long grass and the acorns- the string and the beads. In her mind, the pictures form: the thick corn and the bales of hay; the stray arrows and the boots; the Indians and the soldiers; the children in the grass, dancing around the fire, lining up for battle, hooting war calls; the children who vowed never to forget.

And they hadn't.

But she's the only one who remembers.

Her hands bring up the Tomahawk, buried years ago by a certain rebellious young soldier who had gone on to betray his fellow soldiers in a professed love for an innocent Indian maiden. Who would have guessed that their games would have told their stories as such? Moritz, a young comrade fallen in battle and long buried. Wendla, the Indian maid who contracted small pox from her precious soldier, who has since disappeared, imprisoned for his mutiny while his lover perished alone. Hanschen and Ernst, the two soldiers near the back who had disappeared after battle, for better or for worse, with empty graves marked behind the church.

And she, the homeless vagabond, floating from role to role. Disconnected from the young women of society; all too connected to the old men.

Those games had brought out who they were, or perhaps their roles had created them. In the end, the games, like the Tomahawk, were buried, but sometime in their lives, they are bound to uncover them.

The blue wind dies down, and she knows it's time to go. The place is a grave of sorts; finding it fitting, she reburies her used Tomahawk before venturing out into the setting sun. Before she entered the wigwam, she could still see the grass and a strip of light on the horizon. It's gotten dark now. She knows she won't come here- come home- again now.

It's so dark, but she's still got miles to go, and all those lessons unlearned by experience.

Winter's coming.


If reviews are good, winter will indeed be coming- and maybe even spring and summer… What will be coming is my real Thanksgiving fic that I started last minute. In a perfect world, it would be posted late tomorrow night. Sadly, as this fic shows, the world is far from perfect- but you can help perfect it by leaving reviews!