stefanie_bean: (anton smiling)
[personal profile] stefanie_bean
Chapter 6: The Grower and the Grown
Pairing: Anton/Original Female Character
Characters: Anton the Giant, Leroy/Grumpy, Astrid/Nova, Original Male & Female Characters, Regina Mills
Rating: T
Length: 2112 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 6: The Grower and the Grown

The next evening, while the Grey Sisters and Brigid milked their goats on their own farmsteads, Anton leaned on his hoe, gazing out over the newly-turned bean field. Around him, the dwarves tied up the last of a long lattice-work of trellis for the long vines that were to come.

Leroy scraped dirt off his boots with a hoe, and looked crosswise at Anton. “We're behind schedule. Would've gotten more done if we hadn't spent half a day yesterday at Granny's.”

“Who had to get into an arm-wrestling match?” Anton replied in a mild voice.

The rest kept cleaning their own shoes as they watched Anton and Leroy out of the corners of their eyes. Ignoring Anton's remark, Leroy said, “Sunrise tomorrow, right? Chop-chop.”

“I don't think so,” said Anton. “Got a few things to do early in the morning.”

Now the dwarves stood motionless, openly staring. The moment was broken by the crunch of tires on gravel.

Anton looked up, heart racing in expectation. But it was just David Nolan, pulling his pickup truck over onto the shoulder, come to give the dwarves a lift home.

“OK, brothers,” Leroy said. “Heigh-ho and homeward bound.”

When Anton didn't move, Leroy looked over his shoulder, openly scowling now. “Tiny, you need a special invitation?”

Evening spread over the piney-wood hills like a purple shawl over dark-green shoulders. The smell of the newly-turned earth filled Anton's head like a dizzying perfume. There, in the very center of the field where Anton and Brigid had lain two nights before, a small sprinkle of faint green had already broken through the black ground. Anton knew what would come next, even if the dwarves didn't. The green shoots would spread out over a quarter-acre or so, each new plant growing out of the one he and Brigid had so carefully sown.

Anton shook his head. “I think I'll just stay here for a little while.”

David Nolan beeped the Ford's horn, three insistent little toots.

“Long walk back to town,” Happy remarked as he picked up his tools. “Want me to take that hoe for you?”

“Sure,” Anton said. “Thanks a lot. Leave the hammer, though.”

Leroy, still scowling, herded the rest of the dwarves through the shimmering protective barrier which shielded the bean field from casual observers. With a sinking heart, Anton watched the dwarves go. Brigid could drive right by and not see the field. Nor see him, either.

It was good the dwarves were gone, though. Anton had never bound the wights of the field before, and didn't want to shame himself if he made a mistake. As he untied his hair, a mischievous breeze lifted the long curly locks as if it wanted to play with them.

With four stakes Anton formed the corners of a square around the field's perimeter. From his pocket he took a ball of thick sisal cordage and fastened the string to the stakes. At each corner he had to tie special knots, to lure the good spirits in and fend off the bad ones. His fingers fumbled with the thick cord, and he wished he'd paid more attention when his brothers had sown in years past. He wasn't sure he got all the knots right, but it was too late now. What he'd done so far would have to do. Anton was so intent on finishing up the last twists that he didn't even look up when a truck door slammed.

Probably one of the dwarves had forgotten something. Or Leroy just wanted to deliver a final salvo.

Instead, it was Brigid, walking through the enchanted barrier as if it wasn't even there. “Hey, Anton.”

In surprise Anton let the twine fall to earth. “You saw me? From the road?”

“Sure. I wouldn't have stopped otherwise.”

So much for the Blue Fairy's cloaking spell. Anton stood waiting, not wanting to come too close to Brigid for fear of seeming rude, but inside he sang with gladness. Now it was all up to her. Or would have been, had he been back home. But maybe men and women did things differently here in “Main” than giants and giantesses had done in the Enchanted Land. So all he said was, “I was waiting for you to come by. To see them.”

To his relief she came over quite close to where he stood rooted in earth as if planted there, and pointed to the dusting of green against black. “That's fast work.”

“Back home,” he said in a tone which implied that this place wasn't, “they would have been up to here by now.”

“Ankle-high in a few nights?”

“They send out these runners, like grass. And grow really fast at first.”

She stood close enough that he could smell her fresh scent of hay and barn dust, and her voice came out soft and low. “I didn't stop by just to see the crop.”

Now their faces almost touched. “I was waiting for you all afternoon. I thought you'd come after you closed the restaurant.”
“Today was my day off. But I hung around all day, doing the books. On the hope that you'd come by.”

He had no idea what “doing the books” meant, so he just swept his great arm towards the field, the richly-embroidered sleeve billowing out like a sail in the evening wind. “Those dwarves, they really work.”

“Sundays too, eh?”

“You work on Sunday. That's supposed to be the special day around here, right?”

“For some.” Before he knew it, she had slipped under his outstretched arm and pulled herself in quite close. “So where's Leroy and company, then?”

“Gone home.”

“But not you.”

What was she doing now? He flushed as she laced her arms around his waist, pressing herself up against his belly. Over her head, over the sunset-purple trees, one green star shone low in the west, the first one of the evening. Silently, Anton made a wish. Some things are the same in all worlds.

Finally Anton said, “I wanted to stick around.” Then he frowned, so that his furry brows joined over his nose. “The dwarves, they think all they need to do is dig and hoe, hoe and dig. They don't get it, about the beans. It's hard to describe. The crop wants company, too, and for someone to be there with them some of the time. Not to just scrape the ground once or twice and then go.”

He let his words hang in the air, waiting for her to pick up on his meaning. He had gone as far as he dared.

She knew at once what he meant. Instead of saying anything, she lifted her face towards his and pulled him down to her, so that they met in mid-air for one slow, drawn-out kiss. It went on a long time. Her tongue rolled around softly inside his mouth, back and forth in soft exploration. Then she rested her head on his chest, and his heart pounded like a huge clock set to run twice as fast as it should. He nuzzled her brow and her cheeks, breathing in her sweet-scented hair and skin.

Eventually she moved out of the embrace, her face warm and open. “I don't want a quick go of it either, Anton. I'm past that.”

Anton thought he knew what she meant, but wanted to be certain. “So in the fields, it wasn't just...” His voice trailed off, suddenly unsure.

“I didn't know how you'd feel in the cold light of day. But for me, I can say this. Whatever you feel, whatever you decide, that was my last night in the green fields.”

“What does that mean?” he asked, the sense of insecurity growing.

“That I'm to serve the Lady in a different way. An ordinary way, as Alex's mom. And as a lover.” She drew in a long, deep breath, and all at once Anton saw how hard this was for her. What would have been nothing for a giantess, for her took enormous effort. Finally Brigid said, “Your lover, if you want.”

Relief crashed down on him. She must have misunderstood his unspeaking stare, though, because at once she started to stammer. “But of course, you just got here, things are so confusing, it's too much all at once, and what am I thinking? What am I doing, you must think I'm—”

Anton cut off the stream of words with another kiss, a light one this time, right on her busy mouth. Then it was her turn to stare, for he said, simply, “I like you, Brigid. A lot. But I've got nothing to offer you: no castle, no land, no brothers to work it with.”

Relief spread through her own face as well. “That's all right. I don't have much, either. And I don't know how it goes with giant-folk, but I have to tell you this, full disclosure and all. I'm not a hundred percent sure at this point, but I don't think there will be any children. Just Alex. I guess her boyfriend Carl, too, because the two of them kind of come as a package deal.”

“Not everyone at home had giant-lings, either.”

“It's just that there are a lot of women way younger than me, Anton. And you turn heads.”

In answer, he drew her in for another kiss. If the first one had carried passion, and the second one tenderness, this one bore nothing but acceptance. They both shivered in the rapidly darkening evening. He was wrapped in his thick robes, but she had only a thin covering of some woven stuff. “You're cold,” he said.

“I've got a jacket in the truck.”

She didn't move, though, and she probably didn't want to let go any more than he did. He loosened his robe and wrapped it around her, drawing her in. More confident than he'd ever been, he was ready to risk all in boldness. “Brigid, Granny makes this wonderful stuff called 'hot chocolate.' Have you ever had it? Because we could, you know, get some.”

“I've had it. But like love, it's one of those pleasures you want to repeat.” Then her face fell a bit. “Thing is, I've got to be up early tomorrow for the breakfast crowd, right at five.”

Oh, no, I should have never tried that—

Then she gave him a wide smile. “Look, why don't we take a raincheck till tomorrow evening? I'll get Astrid to cover for me.”

He shook his head, baffled. Raincheck? What did it mean to “cover for someone?”

She laughed a little, but not in a mean way. “Sorry, Anton. What I meant to say was, I'll pick you up here in the field tomorrow at sunset, then we'll get hot chocolate and more at Granny's.”

He drew her close against his body, sheltering her from the night breezes, almost too happy to speak. Then something occurred to him. “How'd you see me from the road?”

She pulled back, face tight and alert now, as the soft edges of her expression hardened. “You mean, that spell I could see right through? Maybe it only works on people who were cursed. You weren't.”

“But I couldn't see through it, either.”

Brigid frowned and said, “Well, maybe it's because you're from the Enchanted Land, and I'm not. But frankly, Anton, if either Cora or Regina want in that bean field, Mother Superior can no more keep them out than the dwarves can get Ruby to give them more than a passing glance.”

A large guffaw of laughter burst out of Anton. “You heard about that, what happened yesterday morning?”

“I have a teenage daughter. Nothing in this town escapes her eyes or ears.”

“Poor Happy. Ruby shot him down right in front of everybody. Then when Happy came back to the table with his tail between his legs, Leroy made some weird remark. Something like how Leroy's eggs had gotten fairy dust on them but Happy's hadn't, so that Leroy could have a chance at love but Happy couldn't. I dunno what that was about, because I was looking right at the four fried eggs on Leroy's plate, and they looked fine to me.”

Brigid laughed, hard, and Anton reveled in it, even if he didn't get the joke. No matter, he was on a roll now and didn't want to stop. “Then Happy said that just because Ruby didn't want him, that didn't mean no one else did. Leroy snapped back, 'That's not love, you dumbo,' so Happy challenged Leroy to arm-wrestle, to get his honor back. They were a pretty even match, but then the table broke. So I had to kind of sit on Happy till he calmed down.”

“Sweet Mary Magdalene with a hand grenade.”

“That was nothing, Brigid. You should have seen my brothers and me when we really got going.”

“I bet your furniture wasn't a cheap imitation of Mid-Century Modern, either. It was probably more sturdy.”

It didn't matter that he hadn't a clue what she was talking about. The hard expression had left her face, and she was smiling, which was all that counted. Still, he mused, “What was that thing about Leroy's eggs, though?”

Brigid rolled her eyes. “Maybe you need to ask Leroy, Anton. Meanwhile, how about a lift home?”

There was nothing Anton wanted more.

(continued)


(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-12 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inlaterdays.livejournal.com
Hooray! A new chapter. And hooray! Brigid and Anton are back together. I've been waiting for that to happen.

Loved your description of sunset. And the conversation flowed wonderfully well.

Poor Happy. He must not feel very much like his name at the moment. (Loved the Nova/Grumpy shoutout though.)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-13 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stefanie-bean.livejournal.com
Well, at least Happy keeps trying ... :D

Thanks so much for your comments. Glad you liked the dialogue, especially.

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