Disclaimer: I don't own any character, name, place or anything related to the original show. Everything belongs to ©Cartoon Network, Frederator Studios and Pendleton Ward.
x+x+x+x+x Introduction x+x+x+x+x
The alternate Farmworld reality caught my interest deeply. I have fallen in love with it. Because of that and the lack of a Farmworld Flame Princess in the original show, I decided to write this fanfic. It's my take on the events of the show's Farmworld AU, involving the troublesome life stories of Finn Mertens & Flanna Hacksworth (my Farmworld version of Flame Princess), their adventures, hardships, and the slow incursion into the blossoming romance between them.
The story begins a couple of years before the Crown Incident, so Finn is a bit younger and he doesn't have a bionic arm yet.
The artwork on the cover belongs to Rumay-Chian. I received direct permission from her to use it, and I encourage you to check out her beautiful art on her Deviantart profile.
Here's hoping you enjoy the story!
Tales of the Alternate Universe
I: The Destiny Gang
Chapter One: Finn Mertens
Mrs. Mertens hummed a soft song while she pulled the well's rope down; her brow furrowed when she noticed that the bucket wasn't as heavy as it should. When she had finally brought it up, her blue eyes glanced at the pail's interior and then drifted to the ground in sadness. They were running out of water, she wouldn't be able to wash their clothes or clean the dishes, much less bath.
The blonde woman knew that they were living on hard times, but in any case, she raised her arm to wipe her forehead's sweat and smile at the clear skies. She had to stand strong for the sake of her son and his unborn sibling. Perhaps her husband would come back with some good news; perhaps Finn had a good day at school, perhaps Bruce would lend them his TV tonight. There were still many reasons to keep her spirit up.
She walked inside the house, holding the half-filled bucket in her hands, at least something good came out of the lack of water; it helped her carry the bucket's weight without worrying about her baby, or about dropping it without being able to pick it up. Mrs. Mertens stared at the old clock on the wall and sighed.
"Finn must be making his way home by now…"
Miss Bonnibel stepped outside with a warm smile on her face, she had already rung the school's bell and soon a swarm of excited kids would come out running and yelling good-bye at her.
"Bye Miss Bonnie!" "See ya tomorrow Miss!" her children shouted as they slowed their pace to wave at her.
"Don't forget to do your homework!" the gleeful teacher replied, waving back at them.
Once the kids had disappeared from her sight, Miss Bonnibel walked back into the small and old building that served her as a school. It was a pleasure for her to work there; the school was built near the farming fields just a little further from the town.
When Bonnibel left the city after acquiring her certificate in education, she never thought that she would find happiness in that humble and simple village, faraway from the luxury and wealth that used to surround her back in her hometown.
Her parents didn't approve her decision of course, but she never gave it importance. She quickly grew fond of the hardworking people of that poor town; they eagerly built her a place to stay and fixed the abandoned school after she promised them a bright future for their children. She knew they deserved it.
Bonnibel didn't care if some of the farmers couldn't pay her for the education of their kids, sharing her vast knowledge and helping them achieve a higher level in society was enough payment for her. Teaching was her pride and her joy; her students would always make her feel special. They we are all honest, kind and well mannered.
Well, most of them… Bonnibel strode into the classroom and sent a glare to the two troublemakers that were supposed to be standing in opposites corners, thinking about their actions instead of insulting each other...again.
"Finn Mertens! Flanna Hacksworth!" the teacher called firmly "I was expecting more of you! Didn't I say a couple of minutes ago that boys and girls should treat each other with care and respect?"
"It ain't my fault Miss!" Finn Mertens answered. He was a twelve-year old boy with a white bear hat, tattered blue pants and a long sleeved-cyan shirt. A brown sash buttoned onto his pants helped him to keep them in their place. "Flanna's always mocking me!"
"That's because you always treat me like a piece of garbage!" Flanna Hacksworth cried in response. She was the same age as Finn; she was wearing an orange T-shirt and a brown vest. Her blue jeans were ripped on her left leg, letting her scraped and dirty knee uncovered, and her bright red hair was tied into a long braid at the level of her waist.
"That's not true! I don't even like to talk to her!" the blond boy replied.
"You see Miss? He just said that he doesn't like me!" the green-eyed girl yelled back.
"Enough!" Miss Bonnibel said. She grabbed their hands and forced them to stare at each other, the two kids frowned and stuck out their tongues in disgust. "Kids… you can't keep living like this. You're both classmates and you are gonna keep seeing each other everyday, wouldn't it be nicer if you treated each other as friends instead of enemies?"
"Well, it would…" Finn sighed, causing his teacher to smile "If Flanna wasn't so nosy!"
"And if you weren't so stupid!" the girl yelled, lunging her body over him to punch his nose.
"Finn! Flanna! No!" Bonnibel cried in exasperation.
Both kids rolled on the floor, pulling each other's hair and scratching their faces. Finn used his knee to push Flanna away, but she somehow managed to grab one of his arms and bit it with all her strength while their distressed teacher fought to pull them apart.
"Boys are not supposed to hurt girls!" Miss Bonnibel yelled, struggling to hold Finn's fist away from Flanna's face "And girls are not supposed to attack boys!"
The red-haired girl pushed herself angrily towards Finn, making him hit his head against Bonnibel's desk. All her items fell over them, including a wooden ruler and a black pen. Flanna grabbed the ruler without hesitation and used it to smack Finn's hands.
"Auw! You pesky freckly!" the boy grunted after blowing his aching knuckles. His blue eyes spotted the black pen and he quickly snatched it to use it against her "Let me make your face uglier!"
Finn was so enraged, that didn't even care to think on the consequences of his following act. He sprung towards Flanna and stretched his arm to stab her right cheek with the pen's tip. The green-eyed girl shrieked in pain as she stepped backwards, covering her hurt cheek with her hand.
Flanna shuddered a little and glanced at her hand, she flinched at the sight of her own blood and glared back at Finn with watery eyes "You're a freak and I hate you!" she cried.
"Flanna!" Miss Bonnibel shouted, running towards her, but the girl simply reeled herself back and hopped through an open window "Flanna, come back here!"
Finn lay on the floor, sticking his tongue out at the already gone girl. However, a saddened sigh from his teacher made him change his facial expression. Bonnibel looked back at him with disappointment. He didn't like to see her like that. Miss Bonnibel was a beautiful woman with blonde curled hair and pink cheekbones; she was known for being always nice and kind to everybody.
Every kid was happy around her and he, well, he once thought he had a crush on her. Finn loved how easy it was to make his teacher smile and how hard it was to make her angry, but this was the first time he had ever seen her sad, and he didn't like it.
"Finn…" the teacher whispered, crouching down by his side "Your mother must have raised you better than this…"
Her words stung him deeply.
"It's hard to believe that a kind-hearted boy like you could have hurt a girl…" Bonnibel moved closer to him "You could have pocked out her eye with that pen!"
"But…! Miss…! Flanna hurt me first!" Finn eagerly rebuked.
"I'm aware of what she did and believe me, her father will know about this." The teacher stated in an almost harsh manner "But you shouldn't have hurt her back, you should've tried to calm her down…! I-I… I don't understand what's wrong with the two of you…! Why do you hate each other so much?"
Finn turned his face away and frowned.
"Won't you tell me, Finn?"
"I don't like her, that's all!" the boy yelled, facing his teacher again "I've tried to be good with her, but she keeps bothering me all the time! Maybe she's evil or something…" he muttered the last part.
"Evil?" Miss Bonnibel tilted her head in confusion. The idea of the Hacksworth girl being evil was just absurd "Finn she is not evil! Have you ever tried to ask her why she's so bothered around you?"
"No…" the boy whispered.
"You see? Finn, you should try to seek what's her problem with you and work it out." The teacher smiled "Give her a chance…!"
"Mmmm…" Finn crossed his arms and stared at the ground "I don't think so!"
"No, miss! I don't wanna! I hate her!" he shouted, getting on his feet "I'm going home, now!"
Bonnibel grasped his shoulder "Of course you're going home!" she sentenced "With me. Your mother and I have a lot to talk about!"
Finn flinched, not his mother. He could take his teacher's look of disappointment, but not his mother's; she worked hard the whole day, expecting him to return home and brighten up her day. She didn't need to hear any of this. It would make her sad…
"Miss Bonnibel please, I beg you…"
"I'm sorry Finn, not this time."
Finn rested on his bed while his blue eyes pierced the ceiling. His mother had grounded him after asking him to search for the Hacksworth girl and apologize to her.
"Why should I apologize to her?! Everything's her fault mom!"
"Finn…! What are you saying?!
"I'm sick of this! I'm sick of everything in this town! My whole life sucks!"
"I've heard enough! Go to your room Finn!" … "I'm sorry your father and I can't give you the life you think you deserve…!"
The look in her eyes… Finn just couldn't shake it off. It hurt him badly to know that his mother believed that he wasn't being grateful enough, he hadn't mean it. It was all Flanna's fault.
"Bleh…" Finn hated everything about that girl "I won't go look for her! She ruined my day, she's the one who should apologize…"
He turned and trashed on his bed angrily. Some seconds after his silent tantrum, Finn decided to lay, facing his bedroom's window. The trees were being slowly covered with the warm colors of autumn. A large old oak had always stood outside, giving him some sort of company. He enjoyed the sound of the wind shaking its leaves, bright red-colored leaves…just like Flanna's hair.
"Bleh…!" Finn rolled down trying not to vomit and yelled to himself in disgust "What the heck Finn?!"
His arms pulled him up of the floor and helped him to lean on the window's frame. Now everything around him was becoming red, just like his embarrassed cheeks. What else could go wrong?
"Yes dear, I understand…" his mother's voice echoed from downstairs. His father must have arrived. "These months of drought have been hard, but autumn's coming, the rain will cover your crops soon…!"
"Oh…right…then the winter will blow all your work away…"
"More bad news…" the boy whispered "I don't need to hear anymore of this…I'd better check on Cecile…"
Finn jumped through the window and embraced the old oak to stop his fall and descend skillfully from it. Once his feet had reached the cold grass, he tiptoed towards the barn and sneaked inside it, right under his parent's noses.
The hay felt warm under his bare feet, his father's work horses neighed softly at him and Finn patted their backs tenderly. Some of his happiness had finally returned. In the barn he was completely surrounded by his four-legged friends…
"Cluck!" a chicken passed by his feet.
"Hey Lorraine!" Finn smiled, crouching down to pet her with his finger.
…And some other non-human two-legged ones, but you get the point.
A loud bray called Finn's attention and he immediately rushed to its source. Cecile was his father's mule, she had been with the Mertens family since he was four-years-old, and the greatest thing about her was that she was pregnant. Finn was very excited about this because his father had promised him that he would take care of the calf, and he was planning to make him his best friend.
The boy sat down and stroke Cecile's mane softly "How are you doing, huh? Is Bartram okay?"
Yes, Bartram was the name that he had chosen for the baby. The funny thing was that Finn was more excited about Cecile's pregnancy than about his mother's "You care more about that old mule than about me!" his mother would joke "Who brought you to this world? Cecile?"
The truth was that Mrs. Mertens was a good mother, even though the farm work and Finn's issues could make her a little grumpy some times, but that's just the way mothers are.
"You're gonna be a good mother, right Cecile?" Finn asked as his hand caressed the mule's fur. "Try not to be too much like mo-…"
A rustle made the animal's ear twitch and this didn't go unnoticed by Finn.
"What's that? Who's there?" the blonde boy asked sternly "Stay here, Cecile. I'm gonna check outside…"
Finn peeked through the barn's gate nervously, it was getting late and dark, someone could be hiding in the bushes. It could be a thief or something worse.
"Hello?" Finn stepped outside this time "Y-you'd better get away from my…my house…!" Something flashed in the corner of his eye; Finn quickly turned around to see it and noticed a short chubby shadow on the barn's wall "Get back here, coward!"
He chased the shadow, but when he reached the borderline with his father's cornfields the strange figure had already disappeared.
"Weird…" Finn whispered "I swear I saw something…it-it had a hat on it's head and junk!" Another rustle cracked in his ears "Aha! I got ya…!"
The blonde boy dove into the bushes, but to his surprise, he didn't land on a person like he had thought. It was something furry, small and fat. "What the?" Finn groaned.
Finn's eyes widened in amazement "A puppy…!" he picked the dog from the ground and stared at him with an excited grin. His fur was golden and his ears were somewhat short "You're a bulldog puppy! That's the best kind of pup you know, man?"
"Bark!" the puppy licked the human's face.
"Eww..! Hehe, I've got the perfect name for you!" Finn embraced the small dog and carried him stealthy into his home, climbing the oak tree in front of his window.
"Listen…" Finn whispered "Mom's not in a very good mood today, I don't think she's gonna let you stay…"
"Houw…" the puppy moaned as if he had just understood what Finn said.
"Don't worry, I'll keep you hidden until she gets back to normal…" the boy laid his head on his pillow and pulled the dog close to his chest "Maybe inside my backpack… hmmm… But I don't remember where's that old thing…"
Finn covered the puppy with his blanket and scratched his head "I promise I'll look for it tomorrow…" he yawned "From now on, you and I will be friends…Jake…"
2/06/13 Update: Grammar mistakes corrected.