AN: Inspired both by a long conversation I had with one of my good friends over the logistics of species transformation and the fact that on their myspace pages, it tells us that Shrek is one-hundred and eighty-two while Fiona is only twenty-eight. Hope you enjoy it! :)
Disclaimer:I do not own Shrek. Dreamworks Pictures does.
Ogres lived longer than humans.
For many, this was a simple fact of life that had nothing to do with them. For those that were well versed in the fairy tale lore, it was common knowledge that a single oger could, and would, in most cases, cause trouble for a single family for generations if its demands were not met, provided it didn't find itself on the end of some kind knight's sword first. And despite their very day-by-day based lives, entire weeks could pass without the ogre's notice, time only becoming apparent to them once again as the seasons drew to an end and the leaves began to change for the next set of living conditions they would soon be experiencing. Even then, with the constant reminder of time all around, it was normal for an ogre to find themselves three feet in snow when they could have sworn spring had just begun.
Yes, for most ogers, time was something they could afford to waste without a second thought.
Shrek had been one of those ogers for most of his life. Until today.
Glancing up towards the sky, watching as the blinding sun beat down upon him, Shrek couldn't help but wonder if the gods were playing a cruel trick upon him, tugging at the woven threads that made up his tangled mess of a life just to mess with him. He had always read within the story books that took up much of the space on his shelves that, when something like this happened, the skies would open themselves up to reflect upon the world the strongest emotions that they could find, nondiscriminatory of whether they were sunny days or hurricanes just waiting to happen.
If it were up to him, the sun would have never risen again, leaving the world trapped in a never ending darkness that threatened to consume his soul.
It was never meant to be like this. Even Shrek, the most cynical of fairy tale creatures, had always believed, in the deepest layer of his being, that the stories their way of life revolved around held some sort of truth within them, that the reason the books always said that the prince and his true love lived happily ever after was because they always did. It had been, of course, a foolish belief, for his day-to-day experience had proven it wrong in almost every way possible. The dashing knight was just as likely to be eaten by the dragon as he was to slay it, and the princess occasionally chose a different path to that laid out before her in the tales she had been raised on. Sometime, she even turned around and fled from it, choosing to fight her way through the muck and grime until she came to a clearing that she could call home. None of it was 'fairy tale regulation,' as was to be expected, but even with this knowledge that things not always turned out as they were supposed to, he had still held tight to the idea that true love, the most cliched, overused, pathetic excuse in the book, could still prevail over all else.
If this had been true, he wouldn't have been standing there, trying to explain to his still young children why their mother wasn't coming home as her funeral pyre burned behind them.
Magic always came with a cost. It was a lesson he had learned long ago, one that had been drilled into his head time and again as he watched his various friends and foes fall victim to it. Sometimes, the spell turned against the one who had cast it, taking whatever evil reasonings were behind it to punish them in a round-about and wholly satisfying way. However, it was even more likely that the one who was having the spell cast upon them would be the one to pay the piper, taking something, or in this case, leaving it, just as much as it gave.
For them, it had been far too late to change when they had discovered that, although Fiona had been very much an ogre in spirit in mind, she had been far, far too human at heart.
Humans, in contrast to ogers, didn't live long. Normally lacking their own form of magic, which was present even in ogers, though the ability to use it had long since been lost, they usually perished after a handful of decades, a century at the most. Their bodies, provided they avoided getting eaten or stabbed, were just unable to take the stress that life put upon them. Combined with the fact of growing old, it had never shocked Shrek to find out that one human or another had passed on to the other world, someplace he was unable to follow them to. Aye, it was sad at times, but for the most part, the magical creatures that only found themselves dead with their homes being plundered by humans had agreed that it was probably for the best.
None of them had realized, had even thought, to think that their own rules wouldn't necessarily apply to one who had chosen to become one of them by her own free will.
It had been, in fact, her heart that had given out, the organ, according to the fairies that he had called for help after refusing to believe that she could actually be gone, exhausted only seventy short years after they had first met. 'Too small,' they had told him sadly, as if knowing the reason for his wife's departure would make him feel better. 'Too small and too weak,' they had explained, 'a truly human heart that had beat too fast for the ogre body it had lived in. It had run itself to pieces to keep her alive, and so had finally done the only thing it had left to do: given up.' At that he had thrown them bodily from his home, refusing to believe that their words were true and that his beloved Fiona was really gone.
It hadn't been until Dragon, her own heart sore from the loss of Donkey a few years beforehand, had shone up to watch the children that he had finally realized that Fiona wasn't going to be able to come home.
Turning to watch as the flames that had been provided Dragon grew higher, licking away at the few clouds that tried to block the sun, a sense of irony fell over Shrek as the pyre began to turn to ash. It had been an ogre tradition for as long as any of them could remember to burn what was normally left of a body, if anything could found after the battle was done. It released the last of their stench into the world and turned the water the ashes would be dumped into unusable and toxic for years, a final reminder to humanity that they were ogers, the most feared fairy tale creature in the world. But Fiona had never been a terror, had never wanted to harm those who meant her nothing more then good will, and so even this, the oldest of their traditions, seemed to insult her memory.
Standing there, the heat of the flames biting his face as the warmth of the sun beat against his back, Shrek knew, once and for all, that he hated fairy tales, for despite everything that they said, in reality, happily ever after was temporary at best, and at worse never even existed at all.
AN: Just in case you had a bit of trouble following, here's the thinking that went behind this: when Fiona turned into an ogre, she was only a few years younger then Shrek. However, she was only twenty-eight while Shrek was one-hundred and eighty plus. Thus, A) obviously, ogers live much longer than humans, and B) Fiona aged according to a human lifespan, not an ogers. So, if this is how the creators did it, it makes sense that Fiona would continue doing exactly what she's been doing for her entire life and would continue to age as a human, thus significantly shortening her lifespan. This would result, sadly for Shrek, in her dying at a relatively young oger age. And thus the story.