stefanie_bean: (anton smiling)
[personal profile] stefanie_bean
Chapter 1: The Sower and the Sown
Pairing: Anton/Original Female Character
Character(s): Anton the Giant, Leroy/Grumpy, Astrid/Nova, Original Male & Female Characters, Regina Mills
Rating: T
Length: 2035 words
Notes: Set in Season 2, in Storybrooke, Complete

Summary: Anton the Giant is growing a new crop of magic beans, but what he really needs is a happy ending.


Chapter 1: The Sower and the Sown

Anton the giant and six dwarves had just finished preparing the field at the edge of town for the sowing of magic beans.

While Anton wasn't giant-sized in this new world in which he found himself, he had been a giant in his own. Not much of one, though. A failure in every respect, when you came down to it. Deceived by Prince James and Jack, those lying human scum, who befriended him and then sacked his castle. Guilty for the deaths of his giant-brothers, at James' and the soldiers' poisoned hands. Then, with the castle overrun, he had to sow salt in the bean fields, to keep the humans' hands off the giants' greatest treasure.

Now he stood with the dwarves in a tired cluster, all of them rubbing their sore hands.

Leroy, the chief dwarf, turned to Anton. "Drop her in the hole, then."

From his vest pocket, Anton took a tiny glass vial, in which rested a glowing green sprout. Fading sunlight cast its last rays on the glass, making it glint red. "Not yet. I have to do the ritual."

"Don't you need a woman for that?" said one dwarf. "I've had no luck in this town for months. Believe me, I've tried."

"Speak for yourself," said another.

"Bugger off, pretty boy."

Leroy scoffed, "Ritual, schmitual."

"No," Anton repeated, stubborn. "It needs the ritual."

Maybe this bean field in this village of "Story-brook," in the kingdom the locals called "Main" might actually produce something. Maybe this one wouldn't end with death, carnage, and heaps of destroyed plants, of death-salt sown into the earth instead of life.

Leroy rolled his eyes. "Just stick her in the hole, Tiny, and be done. Then we can all go home."

When David Nolan pulled up to the side of the field in his pick-up truck and beeped the horn, Anton said, "You go on ahead without me, guys." So each of the dwarves punched Anton in the arm, their typical way of saying good-night. They piled into the truck, and were gone.

Anton waited until the truck rattled down the bumpy road, out of sight. He then started off towards the village, the cool night breeze ruffling his red robes.

When he got to the edge of town, he scraped his muddy boots onto the hard sidewalk, rubbing his sore arm for a moment. He was looking for the place where he'd eaten earlier that day, the ale-house they called "Granny's die-ner" (though there was no sign anybody had died there.) Tired as he was, his appetite rumbled through him.

The sun had fallen completely now, leaving the streets deep in shadow. The way to Granny's had seemed plain before, but he must have turned left when he should have gone right, or maybe it was the other way around. No matter, he couldn't find Granny's anywhere.

One particular street looked a little familiar even in the rapidly approaching dark, so he followed it for awhile. But it led to a strange neighborhood, one with shabby, crowded buildings with no welcoming gardens out front, and few trees. He forgot about the curb and almost tripped, then stopped, agape.

There was another "die-ner" on the corner. This one bore a front door of worn, unpainted wood, and its display window was far smaller than Granny's. Even so, a warm light glowed from within, scattering across the glass window. So much glass here in "Story-brook," everywhere. These people whose ranks he had joined this very morning must be rich as kings with all this glass. Where he came from, glass was as valuable as gold, and rarer. Not as precious as magic beans, though.

Better yet, from inside rolled the rich smell of spicy cooking, and the yeasty odor of hot bread. Anton's mouth watered. As he swung the door open, a small bell tinkled.

"We close in five," a woman called out from the kitchen. "I can give you something to go."

He didn't say anything, because he had no idea what she was talking about. The kitchen doors swung open and the woman herself emerged. When she saw him, the look of annoyance on her face changed to surprise. "Hey," she said.

"Hey yourself."

"I heard about you. Ruby Lucas came by earlier and told me all about it."

Ruby, the beautiful woman named after a gem, who had served him ale at Granny's. His laugh came out small and nervous. "I'm Anton, but the dwarves call me Tiny. Will you take gold for some grub?"

A wide smile brightened her face. Light sprinkles of silver dusted her brown hair, and a few wrinkles embroidered her eyes. The apron pulled tight against her generous breasts, as well as half-way across her wide bottom.

"Mom?" came another voice from the kitchen.

"Out here, Alexis."

A young woman appeared through the kitchen doors, blinking her wide doe eyes at Anton. "Wow. You're the one who made that big hole over on Dock Street."

"Yeah," he said in embarrassment. "That was me."

The woman gave Anton a long, warm look, as if she recognized something about him, and had made a decision. "Alex, take the station wagon home and make sure Bonnie and Bluebell get milked." The woman gave her daughter a kiss, then shooed her out the door.

She turned the sign hanging on the front door from "Open" to "Closed," and offered her hand to Anton. "I'm Brigid."

He stared at her hand for a heartbeat, then lifted his own, crusted with dirt from the field.

"Did you plant the beans yet?" Brigid asked. "Ruby said you were going to."

Her first glance had gone over him like a flood of warmth. This one, if possible, carried even more weight. She must have been working over the hearth before he arrived, because her skin glowed red, and a slight waft of heat rose from her cheek up to his. In a soft voice Anton said, "No, not yet."

She pulled back a little, a bit flustered and hesitant now. "I see." Then she took his hands in hers. "Well, you can't sit at my counter like that. Come on, the bathroom's over here."

"Bathroom?" he said, following her.

"You mean—" Brigid said, laughter in her voice. "You have to understand, I've never been to the Enchanted Land. I hear things are different there. But here in Storybrooke there are laws. Health codes."

She stepped into the unisex bathroom after him. Between the two of them, it was a tight squeeze. "Look, here's the soap.”

Amazingly, the silky blue liquid flew out of a silver box mounted on the wall. Water squirted in little jets from the porcelain fountain's silver handles. Anton turned the left one on all the way, stuck his dirt-covered hand under the stream, then yanked it out at once. "Ow!"

She added cold water to the hot. With a smile she filled her hands with soap and took his hands in her own. "It's OK. I had to show Alexis, too. Of course, she was a toddler then."

The brown mud washed away easily as she rubbed his hands and forearms, pulling aside his long embroidered sleeves. He didn't want it to be over, but soon it was. She wedged her way around his body, out the door. "You're going to have figure out the loo for yourself.”

Back at the counter, she had set out a steaming tureen of lentil-carrot chili and a hunk of wheat bread. "Butter?"

Anton shook his head. He felt suddenly unsure, out of his depth. "So, you don't have to get home to Alexis's father?"

"She doesn't have a father."

"Oh, I'm sorry. So he's, gone or something?"

In a soft, dreamy voice she said, "Can the wind ever be said to be gone?"

Anton's eyes grew wide. What luck, just like that he'd stumbled upon someone who not only knew the ancient ritual of the bean fields, but was willing to help him besides. He pulled the bread apart and sopped up the stew with it, watching her out of the corner of his eye as she scrubbed the counters. When he finished his stew, he gave her an appealing look, and she served him a second, then a third time.

He set two thick gold coins on the counter. "Is that enough?"

She took off her apron and stood very close to him. "It's on the house, Anton.”

He could smell her warm fresh scent. He didn't know what to say, fearing he'd get all tongue-tied or stammer, but it wasn't necessary to say anything at all.

Brigid put on her coat. "I'm glad you didn't plant it without me. Come on."

The night was cool, although the sea breeze had blown in a little warmth. Her truck was even older and more full of rattles than David's, but he didn't care.

When they walked across the newly-tilled field, he took her hand in his, not sure what to do next. A fattening moon hung overhead, dusting the dark earth with silver. Even though there was only one shoot to sow, the dwarves and Anton had cut deep furrows into the entire field.

As Brigid started to undress, he said, suddenly worried, "Aren't you going to be cold?"

"I'm never cold when I rest on my Mother. And you'll cover me."

At that, his cheeks flushed bright red in the moonlight. She reached up around his head and undid the string which bound his long curly hair. It fell all down around his shoulders and she fluffed it for a moment.

She showered kisses silver as moonlight onto his mouth, then piled her clothes and his carefully onto her coat on the ground. By that time he wasn't thinking of the moon any more, or the cool night breeze, or how the rich black earth supported her body when she stretched out into one of the furrows, arms open, legs spread wide. He leaned over her, ready, oh so ready.

She bore his weight and cried out to the stars.

After he had serenaded the heavens with his own wild cries, he rolled over and pulled her on top of him, first brushing the dirt off her back, then stroking, just stroking for the pleasure of it. She lay on his breast breathing heavily, both of them covered by a cold quilt of stars.

She was first to speak. "You sure aren't tiny. I think I'll just call you Anton."

He laughed, his body shaking under hers. Hope bubbled up inside him, something he hadn't felt in ever so long. "I guess it's time."

She squatted on her haunches, naked. He saw how she shivered, but didn't offer her his robe. This was the most critical time of all, when the stars needed to cover their skin, not fabric.

From the vial, he shook the tiny green shoot onto his broad palm. The bean sprout was just a baby, but in it rested a whole world. Stalks would weave together like green ropes, and would produce fruit which could join the worlds.

Anton's people had been tasked to guard the beans, to protect them as if they were the greatest treasure in the world. Even if he was the last of them, that was his task, too: to guard the last magic bean of its kind. But it would grow. It had to.

His body still glowed from the first part of the ritual. Now came the second part, equally critical. "Brigid, I can't do this alone," he said in almost a whisper. "Will you help me?"

For answer she put her hand on his, and together they poked a hole in the soft black earth. Together they rested the sprout in its new home, shoot-side up so that on the morrow it would point towards the sun. Together they patted down the dirt, but not too firmly.

Atop that last beanstalk high in the sky, Anton had once sown salt into the fields, mingled with his tears. Now, under this moon, he had sown life. Maybe, just maybe, tonight would be the start of something better.

(continued)


Cross-posted to [community profile] ouat here.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-03 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inlaterdays.livejournal.com
Oh, my, was this beautiful. Your prose is lyrical and luminous and perfect.

Also: squee. You are writing in this fandom. I love OUAT but it needs far, far more Tiny. Thank you for addressing that lack and for connecting him so beautifully with the rhythms of planting.

Lovely.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-05 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stefanie-bean.livejournal.com
Yay, you read it!

I think I am going to add more chapters to this, if I can figure out how to end it properly.

I love me some Storybrooke; it's a great sandbox.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-05 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inlaterdays.livejournal.com
Yesss more chapters please!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-05 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stefanie-bean.livejournal.com
LOL, if I can figure out how to end it.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-05 09:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] missfloraposte.livejournal.com
Goodness! I haven't heard from you in the longest time!

I'll save this fic for a treat this afternoon with tea and a madeleine :)

Lovely to 'see' you.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-05 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stefanie-bean.livejournal.com
Nice to hear from you, too!

I have been busy over at tumblr, and writing a looooong LOST novel as well as LOST and OUAT short fiction.

Yum, madeleines!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-13 01:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] earthspirits.livejournal.com
Anton is a favorite of mine ~ and I love your story. Saving the other chapters for a treat, when I have a little more spare time later this week. : )

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-13 02:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stefanie-bean.livejournal.com
Hi there: thanks for reading. Hopefully you will find the rest to be enjoyable as well.

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