This is for the Unite the Lorax Fandom! gift exchange on Tumblr, specifically for azaeziel (formerly the-ler-ler) who was my buddy. I tired to capture some of the original fandom from a few months ago when it was just the Once-ler and Greed-ler and made this a monster AU for a darker retelling of the transformation.

Anyway it's being posted here because I can't get the text to submit on Tumblr but I can get a link to.

The Lorax is not mine, I just write stories about the characters.

Once-ler groaned half-collapsed against the bathroom sink not quite awake enough to wash the sticky feel of cold sweat dried to his skin. He remembered growing up and how terrified he was of the monsters he believed were under his bed, and then he remembered how his mother would mock him coldly for being so afraid. Then he began to learn where the real monsters lived, they were not under the bed or inside the closet. No, he had learned quickly that the real monsters were inside your body. That everyone was capable of becoming a monster and some people embraced it fully, such as his mother did not long after his father's disappearance, while others fought it tooth and nail, such as himself.

Only now, it was starting to take a toll on him, his mother's demand to increase production of thneeds and his promise to the Lorax tearing him in two. A blur of what was right and what was wrong, a blur of what he should do and what he believed in. He had putting off answering his mother for weeks now, caught between finding a way to either tell her no or a way to get around his promise of not cutting down any more trees. It was too much for him mind to handle and even his body was starting to show signs of stress.

He looked at his reflection, noticing how tired he looked, how pale his skin was becoming. How long had it been since he had been outside? How long had it been since he had seen the sun bright against a clear blue sky. Far too long, it seemed, he felt a hollow emptiness in his chest something he had not taken notice of before. Much like he had not noticed until now that, his blue eyes were starting to take on an eerie green hue.

So it was starting, his transformation into what he really was, something he had been dreading for years. The only other thing he had put his heart into, the only other thing he actually cared about, not having to turn into a monster to make his dreams a reality. Only now, he was too tired to fight it, the emptiness he felt beginning to take over his life. He knew that this was the only way he could fill it, for a moment he wondered if his mother would be proud of him then.

If she would no longer look at his baby blue eyes in disgust. Or if her talons would no longer dig into his skin when she pulled him into a hug. Maybe her shrill bird-like laugh would actually sound genuine instead of harsh and judgmental.

Then he suddenly wondered what he would look like once he let the monster inside take over, if he would look like a harpy, which was his mother's true appearance. Perhaps he would end up an ogre like his aunt or a dwarf such as his uncle had. It was hard to say, not even family factored into what type of monster a person could become. Once his father had explained that, some people simply gave into whatever creature lived inside them in order to survive how cruel the world was and that it was rare to find someone with true heart. Later his mother had always lectured that not having the capability to give into your true nature was seen as a weakness and that those who were better off dead typically his mother would whisper like your father as left him feeling cold and unloved. Always craving for something more than what he had.

A sharp pain erupted from his chest causing him to gasp, a hand going up to press against his chest, but instead of feeling skin and bones, he felt nothing. He unbuttoned his pajama top, eyes going wide as he watched his skin and tissue turn black and melt away creating a hole where his heart should have been. Shaking fingers sunk into the black, feeling nothing but cold ooze, he pulled his hand back out quickly, unsure if he could cause any harm to himself by reaching into the gaping space. Watching with morbid fascination as the black tar like substance dripped from his hand spreading out like wildfire over his hands. And anywhere else it seemed to hit tendrils blossomed from the drop spreading out like a spider web growing and claiming anything it touched, never quite satisfied and always wanting more.

Tendrils began to spread out from the hole in his chest, he quickly tore off his shirt and grinned as the black veins made their way down and around his arms connecting with the ones that had started at his fingertips. His nails slowly filled with black, growing longer and more claw-like. He swallowed thickly, suddenly unable to breathe the pain in his chest growing, in desperation he began to claw at the hole chunks of the tar like substance splattering onto the floor. He began to become dizzy, voices flooding his mind.

"More. More. MORE. MORE!" All the voices chanted at once, over whelming in their volume and demand. He needed more. More money. More fame. He NEEDED it. ALL of IT, EVERY LAST DROP.

The pain seemed to stop in that moment fading out to only a dull ache, he straightened himself shaken to the core of his being. He needed more, he needed to fill the hole that had now become part of him, and he knew just how to fill it.

He looked at his reflection, obscured slightly by the spread of black veins that refused to stop growing, claiming all that they could and still wanting more. However, they only seemed to run down his arms, nothing that gloves could not cover, maybe a new suit while he was at it and he might as well get a new hat as well. Perhaps his new attire should be green to match the new color of his eyes. A deep green of instead of his baby blues, the exact color of money, the exact color of greed.

A grin broke across his face at the word, greed, it sounded so fitting. If his mother could not be proud of the Once-ler, then maybe, she would be proud of the Greed-ler and if not then she would learn to fear him. In fact everyone would, he could have all of their attention, their affection, and anything else he wanted from them. He could have it all, he needed to, even just the thought seemed to ease the dull ache in his chest something that would be forgotten as long as the world belonged to him.