A/N: On one of the tumblrs I run, Twinings and I offered ourselves up for one full week of filling fic prompts for our readers, varying in length from a hundred to a thousand-plus words. The project has been dubbed the Free For All Fic For All—or FFAFFA for short. This is one of those stories—and this is the boilerplate author's note you'll see on all of 'em.
Prompt: Jonathan Crane, one happy childhood memory. This went about as well as you can expect.
She came to see him once. Just once. He was very young, too young to realize that she had snuck away for the day just to see him, and too young to know not to go places with strangers after school.
She touched his hair and told him he had nice eyes and bought him ice cream. Vanilla.
He liked that.
She said she was his mother but he didn't really pay that much attention because his ice cream was melting.
When the second scoop fell in the dirt, he flinched away from her, but she didn't slap him, just touched his cheek and said it was okay and bought another cone.
Her hair was auburn in the sunlight.
His mother told him she was so very sorry as she hugged him on the dirt road in front of the Keeny Farm, and that she hoped he would understand someday. He said it was okay, even though he didn't know why she was sorry, or what she meant, and told her not to cry.
She smelled like something he'd never smelled before, a crisp, clean perfume that reminded him of apples, and his shoulder was damp when she pulled away.
Granny told him often that he had dreamed it all. That he was remembering wrong. That his mother never loved him, and she would never come to visit him. Told him that glorious spring day was all the fancy of a child who wanted to be loved, but was unlovable.
She told him often enough that he believed it.
And if the woman who birthed him smelled like apples when he wrung the life from her throat years later, Jonathan did not notice.