I’ve Read this Tale, there’s Wedding then BetrayalTitle: Living as Lenore
Author: Luna (aka Luna_del_Cielo on lj)
Fandom: Supernatural/Buffy the Vampire Slayer/
Cast of Characters: Tara/Lenore McLeod, Fergus McLeod/Crowley, Loki/Gabriel, Anya, Castiel, Eli, Dean, Sam, Scoobies
Summary: Willow tried to bring Tara back from the dead…and she did. Unfortunately, it happened to be in a body 340 years in the past.
This story will explore Lenore’s life as a Prophetess, as a vampire, and finally as a woman struggling to figure out who – or rather, what – she is as her life turns full circle when she meets the Scoobies again.
Pairing(s): Undecided at this time…
Spoilers: This chapter will use a ‘Supernatural’ character from Season 5 (although not in their known persona at the moment) and this story, overall, will reference two more characters from Season 4 & 5 of SPN (Sorry, forgot to mention that in chappie 1).
Author Notes: So it’s been interesting writing this story and getting into Tara/Lenore’s head. Now, since Lenore had a completely different upbringing than Tara, her actions will be different. (Lenore was the youngest child who was often doted on and had a strong support network growing up, unlike Tara who lost her mother at the age of seventeen, had grown up in a patriarchal society that made her feel worthless and she seemed to have no one, but her mother, who showed her love.) When the time comes, though, her personalities will merge.
…I just wanted to clarify in case any readers are worried because they do not see stereotypical ‘Tara’ in this fic (essentially, Lenore’s personality is one that I think Tara would have had if she had grown up in a supportive home, more or less).
Also, credit goes to AllenPitt for feeding me floppy eared plot bunnies; leading me to use a BTVS character in the next chapter that absolutely despises such hippity-hoppity creatures :)
PS: I STILL don't know if this lj cut thing is working - it looks the same to me...blah. Sorry devryl if it's not!
March 22, 1694
Lenore pressed her father’s newly sewn clothes with lackluster movements, her thoughts far and away. Standing, bent over the table in the tailor shop’s back room, she was fully alone with her thoughts. Much had happened over the last week and she felt feverish with the direction that her life was heading in.
“A shilling for your thoughts?” came an amused voice from the doorway. So surprised by Fergus’ silent arrival, she gasped and dropped her iron; wincing as it clattered to the floor and spilled boiling hot water.
“Fergus! Goodness, you move like a cat,” she exclaimed in annoyance as she picked her iron back up and continued pressing the grey button-up shirt.
“‘Tis not my fault if you are so engrossed in your thoughts that you cannot notice my arrival,” he smirked as he walked to stand across the table from her.
She said nothing and just continued ironing.
“Hey,” he said softly as he placed a gentle hand on her arm. “What is it, sister? You look as if Death is staring you in the face.”
Lenore fought to stay strong and to not reveal her turmoil. “I’m fine,” she stated, but her voice cracked slightly at the end.
Fergus frowned and went around the table to take the steaming iron from her hands and grab each of her hands with his own. “Lenore, you’ve been acting distant all week, ever since dinner with Minister O’Neil. I suspect I know what it is, but please tell me. I hate to see you suffer.”
She laughed harshly at her thirty-two year old brother. “Fergus, you never care about the suffering of others. You beat your son for the smallest of infractions and I would not be surprised if your dear Molly suffers from similar abuse.”
In the last five years Lenore had become skilled in her craft, although she was still only an apprentice to her cousin Elspeth. However, she was keenly in tune with auras and the one surrounding her brother spoke of wickedness, and had for the past six months. There was no doubt in her mind that her brother had managed to find a way to summon his demon – for what she did not know – because there would be no other reason why his aura would be awash in a blood-red color of evil.
Since then their estrangement had begun, although there was a part of her that still desperately loved her brother. He was still her most beloved sibling, regardless of his actions – it pained her that she loved her brother unconditionally; it hurt too much to see him travel down such a dark road and not be able to do anything about it.
However, she had never been brave enough to say anything to him…until now. Stress and worry had taken hold of her emotions and loosened her tongue in the process.
Fergus’ expression darkened and his hands gripped hers so tightly that she gasped in pain. “How dare you judge me, sister,” he stated in a low, dark tone. “You have no idea of the stresses of my life. That child of mine is supposed to be my legacy and he is an idiot not deserving of my name. I suspect sometimes that he is not even mine – that Molly whored herself out at some point fourteen years ago, like a common tart.” Anger bled into his voice, yet his tone was tight and controlled.
That was Fergus – he lived off controlling others and maneuvering them into positions that benefited him, unfortunately.
“Let go, you’re hurting me,” she pleaded as she tugged, with fruitless results, away from him.
Fergus blinked and she saw his eyes flash with painful surprise. Immediately he let go of her and held up his hands in a show of surrender. “Dear god…Lenore, I’m sorry.”
She bit her lip and looked away – it was too painful to look at him right now. “Are you? After all, why should I be any different from anyone else that you supposedly love?”
“Dammit, Len,” he hissed between clenched teeth. “Stop being so difficult. You’re my sister, I love you, and I would never intentionally hurt you. I came here to ask how you were doing, not to get lectured about things you don’t understand.”
She looked at him again and felt her heart clench painfully at the sight of his forlorn expression. In his way, he truly did love her. She just wished it was enough to turn him away from his dark path. He still did not know that she was a practicing witch, besides which, he no longer practiced magic with Elspeth. However, Elspeth had discovered that it was no longer possible to save Fergus from the darkness that cast his aura in shadows of evil and death – the cards had told her that his soul had already been claimed.
Perhaps if Lenore had been feeling stronger she would have confronted her brother further about his dark choices but at the moment her energy was spent. So much effort had gone into struggling to figure a way out of her situation that was just too tired to fight with Fergus.
“Fine then, brother,” she stated with a resigned sigh. Looking up, she saw the tension leave his shoulders. “We shan’t speak of it any further today.”
Fergus regarded her for a moment and nodded – that discussion about his morals and behavior was effectively over. “Now, would you like to tell me about why you have been acting like the walking dead this week?”
Her lips quirked at his description of her. “I don’t want to be married to Minister O’Neil,” she informed him after deciding to cut to the meat of the matter.
“I figured as much,” Fergus shrugged. “However, you are far past the age of marriage – if it hadn’t been for the lack of men in the village and Elspeth’s effective techniques at helping you to avoid suitors, you would have been married long ago.”
“I am twenty-one years old – that is not old!” she muttered irritably. Well, actually it was and she knew it, but there was a part of her that thought that was wrong – that women shouldn’t be forced to be sold into marriage like traded cattle. The world thought women to be weak, but she knew different. Sometimes she dreamed of a world where women were strong and powerful – they were magistrates, doctors, and even leaders of armies and countries.
A silly idea, she knew. Something like that would never happen. Men ruled over women; that was the way it had always been and always would be.
However, that did not mean that she had to like it!
“Lenore,” Fergus rolled his eyes. “Minister O’Neil is only ten years older then you – he is not so terrible. Besides, you will become a minister’s wife! That is a position of prominence and it will benefit the entire family for you to hold it!” Her brother’s eyes gleamed with interest; she had no doubts in her mind that he was already thinking of how her position could benefit him.
“But I do not want to be a minister’s wife,” she admitted. Truth be told, she was unsure if it was right for her to hold such a position of spiritual significance in the community. Her views on religion and God conflicted greatly. On one hand, she practiced magic and prayed to various deities, like Hecate, to aid her. Yet on the other she attended church weekly and still loved her Lord, who she thought of as the true God. Of course, how these differing perspectives were able to exist simultaneously in her mind was quite confusing and Lenore currently had no idea what was right or wrong when it came to religion.
“In addition,” she added in an annoyed tone, “I do not want to marry that man. He is wicked. He takes church funds to live a lavish lifestyle and I have heard many accounts of him seducing young girls to bed and explaining it away as him needing to test their morality. They all fail, of course,” she snorted.
Fergus started to say something and Lenore interrupted. “Not to mention, he’s fatter than a sow in the heat of summer!”
Fergus chuckled at her remark; no one could deny that Minister Connor O’Neil was the largest man they had ever met.
“True, he is rather unattractive. God knows I could never imagine having sex with him,” he shuddered with a smirk in her direction.
“Fergus!” she exclaimed in shock, in part because her brother had mentioned sex and in part because he made a joke about having sex with a man.
“What?” he asked with wide-eyed innocence. “It is true, after all.”
“Do you imagine having sex with many men, King William?” she teased in a wry voice, a part of her taking refuge in such a moment of normalcy with her favorite brother – one where she didn’t have to think about him being in league with darkness or a cruel person to others. In this moment he was simply her eldest, loving brother.
“Occasionally,” he shrugged casually as his eyes practically glowed with mischief.
Lenore choked on air. “Fergus!” she exclaimed in a hushed whisper. “That is such a sinful thing to say!”
Fergus began laughing and shaking his head. “So says you.”
Instantly she was on guard. “What do you mean?”
One critical eyebrow rose high on his forehead. “You left your sketchbook out once, Len, and I decided to take a peek.”
“Fergus!” she gasped in a scandalized tone. “How could you?”
“Len,” he sighed heavily as he gave her an exasperated look. “It is not a big deal. I was just curious as to what you were always drawing during your alone moments in Cousin Elspeth’s herb garden as you sat underneath her willow tree.”
Lenore shifted uncomfortably at the realization that her brother had managed to discover a secret that even Elspeth did not know.
“Who is she, by the way? The woman with the green eyes and blazing locks of hair?” he asked curiously. “Is she a lover of yours? I assume so since several sketches were of her nude form. After all, that would make sense why you are not interested in any men here.”
“I-I am interested in men,” she protested. Well, that was mostly true. Some had caught her eye but no one made her feel like the woman that she often dreamed about. At this point, Lenore could only surmise that this woman was from her past – the past that Elspeth’s tarot card reading had hinted at. “A-and I’ve actually never met the woman, I just dream about her.”
Fergus just hummed in response as his eyes searched hers for the truth. “How often do you dream of her?”
“Often enough,” she told him truthfully.
“That’s interesting,” he mused in a distracted manner.
“Yes, well, please don’t tell anyone. I don’t want them to think me nutters, after all,” she asked nervously while she toyed with the sleeve of her dress.
Fergus sighed heavily again. “Len, I just told you that I would never intentionally hurt you. Do not fret, I shan’t tell a soul.”
Lenore let out a relieved sigh. “Thank you. Now, if there was only a way you could get me out of my wedding, then I would be set,” she joked weakly.
Fondly mussing up her hair, he gave her a sad smile. “I wish I could, Len. I wish I could.”
June 13, 1699
God was punishing her. That was the only explanation.
Five years into her marriage to Reverend Connor O’Neil and three children (Alexander, Elizabeth, and Dawn, ages four, three, and one) later, Lenore’s heart was dark with grief.
Connor was as horrible as she had thought prior to their marriage and Lenore regretted that neither she nor Elspeth could do anything to get her out of her marriage. Father had insisted that she get married and with no other available suitors, the minister was her last resort. Of course, she was sure that Father enjoyed the surplus of business that he received from being the father-in-law to the well-thought-of village minister as well.
With so much of her time dedicated to wifely duties as a minister’s wife and mother to three young children, she had little time to spend practicing her craft. Furthermore, Connor greatly disliked Elspeth, likely due to the (true) rumors that floated around about her cousin’s mystical pastimes, and he forbade Lenore from spending too much time there.
Unable to spend much time connecting to her magic, Lenore often felt lost in the world. However, her new immersion into the work of the church gave her new perspectives on God and she wondered if this was His grand plan for her – that by forcing her to marry this horrible man she would suffer punishment for her sinful hobby and become a better Christian in the meantime.
The theory had a solid foundation and her realization of such an idea did stop her from practicing her craft as often. Lately she only practiced divination or did spells perhaps twice a month.
However, the lack of doing so always left an hollow place in her heart.
Of course, the children were a great source of her distraction as well. Lenore had never thought about what it would be like to be a mother and she was surprised at just how much it sparked her passion. Of course, she supposed she wasn’t terribly surprised. Every now and again she dreamed of comforting a teenage girl with wide blue eyes and light brown waist-length hair (who, of all the strangest things, wore trousers like a man). Even now, as she watched her daughter Elizabeth play with a rag doll, she wondered if perhaps she had dreamed of one of her daughters in the future. Both had blue eyes, although she supposed they may darken as they age – the eyes of babes often did so over time.
“Mama! Mama! Unka Fergie is here!” Alexander gleefully declared as he raced awakwardly from the window to where she sat cradling Dawn in her beloved rocking chair.
Careful not to jostle Dawn from her peaceful sleep, Lenore gently laid her youngest daughter in her crib and went to the door. Fergus had said he would be dropping off some food that Molly had cooked for Elizabeth’s third birthday party tonight and she supposed it was almost time for the small family gathering.
Opening the door, she greeted her brother with a hug. Several years ago she had a vision of Fergus engulfed flames from the pits of hell and it was then that she got over her anger at him for toying with the black arts and instead took pity on him. Never had he revealed the true story to either her or Elspeth but they had assumed, thanks to tarot card and aura readings, that Fergus had sold his soul to a crossroads demon and was thus a damned soul. That shocking revelation of his fate and then ‘seeing’ his soul being tortured made her realize that Lenore needed to make each moment with him on earth count – she knew that she could not change his fate but at least she could provide him with good memories to cling on to in the afterlife.
Of course, he had never known why her attitude around him had changed, he had simply accepted it and moved on. Fergus was rather unflappable in that way.
“Afternoon, brother. Is that haggis I smell?” she asked with interest.
“Molly’s mother’s personal recipe,” Fergus smiled charmingly as he held up a blackened pot. “Shall I place it in the over to stay warm?
“Yes, please,” she answered as she shut the door.
“Unka Fergie! Unka Fergie!” Alexander whooped as he toddled over towards his favorite uncle. Since Fergus was still Lenore’s favorite brother (Edgar and Ennis only visited monthly at most and a letter three years ago informed them of Blane’s death from a poorly outmatched tavern fight) and Connor was an only child, that made Fergus the favorite uncle of her children.
“Fug, fug!” Elizabeth giggled wildly as she meandered towards the waiting arms of her uncle after he set the haggis away. She had taken to calling Uncle Fergus ‘Fug’ sometime back and wouldn’t call him anything else, no matter how much he begged her to at least call him Fergie – which was a name that he also greatly disliked.
Lenore thought that was quite appropriate since he had been calling her by that dreadful nickname ‘Len’ for so many years.
“Hullo there, you little monsters,” Fergus grinned as he pick up a child in each arm and spun in a circle, much to their screaming pleasure. It always amazed Lenore that Fergus could be so gentle with her children. After the poor way that he had raised Gavin (both father and son actually despised the other, which always led to uncomfortable clan moments), she had just assumed that Fergus hated children. However, he was wonderful with her brood and she wondered if maybe Fergus did hate Gavin because he didn’t consider him his son due to a suspicion that Molly had been unfaithful, as he had once stated years ago.
Oh well. Fergus could be a right bastard to most folks when he wanted to, but as long as he kept her children happy she wouldn’t worry about it. Life was short after all.
Or was it? As she went about setting up for the party while Fergus entertained Alexander and Elizabeth, her mind wandered to the notion that she had a past life (or perhaps more than one, for all she knew). If that was true, then perhaps life wasn’t as short as they thought. Rather, it was like a neverending circle of creation and death.
Bollocks, this was frustrating. Eleven years of not only practicing magic but also praying to God, and she still could not see past the veil and into her past life. Twice Elspeth had performed a tarot card reading for her and each time Lenore had been dealt the same cards. Clearly nothing of significance had changed in her life that would result in a decision that would affect her much debated future and she was becoming tired of the suspense. One would think that at the age of twenty-seven she would be able to figure this out. As of now, all she had were dreams of the red-haired woman and occassionally other people, but the images were ghostly and momentary – never did they talk to her or do anything of significance. All she ever saw was herself hugging the teenage girl, being treated like a servant from a father-type character, walking in a cemetary with a bubbly blond, and engagng in, um, unseemly activities with the redhead.
Unforunately, none of those visions had given her an epiphany.
She was almost at the point of wondering if Elspeth’s readings were wrong and that there was nothing abnormal about her.
…Well, that was not quite true. Although she hid it from everyone but Elspeth and three other coven members, her skills as a witch had drastically improved. Things like levitation, aura-reading, divination, and many difficult spells came easy to her now.
Lenore sighed. Unfortunately her witchcraft was not helpful when it came to dealing with her dreaful husband who was dull when he wasn’t being cruel, which was not much of a trade-off. Elspeth had suggested cursing him but Lenore forbade it. Although he was wicked (she had come to verify that he did indeed steal from the church rather than use the money for the chuch ministries and she suspected that he had slept with several village girls and women since they had wedded), he was still a man of God and it was not within their rights to punish him – that was for the Lord to do.
She just hoped he did so sooner rather than later.
January 1, 1700
Bitter winds pierced through their skin like daggers coated in ice overseeing the village was the best place to perform the spell and Lenore would do anything she had to in order to see it succeed.
“Brigid, Goddess of Fire,
We seek you now when all is dire.
Embers of hope are all we face;
The hope that you will lend your grace.
We beesech you to help Dawn heal,
From Death that looks upon her with zeal.
Brigid, hear our plea,
Give Dawn your Blessed Be.”
Lenore, Elspeth, and the other members of their coven – Shannon Montgomery, Ellsie Buchanan, and Kensie Boyd – finished their chant around the fire and Lenore reached into her bad to throw out the offering of sand taken from the northernmost Scottish beach. Once the offering was made, the spell would be complete and hopefully Dawn would be healed before death overtook her. She had been ill for the past two weeks and few doubted that the baby would live another week.
“I knew it!” a furious male voice echoed over the hill. Each of the women’s eyes looked up to see Lenore’s husband of almost six years, Reverend Connor O’Neil, stride towards them furiously with three of his most trusted goons (otherwise known as the church elders).
Lenore frantically tried to fling the sand into the fire but James Sheppard threw a wool blanket over the fire, thus destroying their last chance to save her daughter from certain death. “NO!” she cried out in horror as her own father, Angus McLeod grabbed her arms roughly.
“I warned you to avoid Elspeth and look what has happened,” Connor spat in rage; spittle flew into the air due to the force of his words. “I had suspected Elspeth of witchcraft and then today Ellsie’s husband confessed that he overheard that his wife ‘and four other witches’ would be here today doing a spell – and it is true!”
Ellsie’s jaw dropped in shock and her jade eyes shone with tears. “William told you?” she gasped. “He betrayed me?”
“The only betrayal is the one committed by you against your Lord and Savior,” Connor cooly replied. “Besides which…James may have encouraged him,” he smirked.
“Why, Eleanor?” her father asked her sadly. “Why did you have to follow down this road to hell and engage in the black arts? Why?’
“These arts are not black, Father! I am not that kind of witch. In fact, this spell was to save Dawn!” she pleaded with him, noting out of the corner of her eye that the other women were being rounded up and that her husband was approaching her.
“You were making a compact with the Devil to save Dawn?” Connor asked scornfully. His black hair was tied back but the fierce wind threatened to undo it. His iceicy blue eyes surveyed her coldly and she only saw contempt in them – it was then she knew that her husband would not show her even the smallest bit of kindness, no matter if she was the mother of his child or not. For the past few months he had been inspired by the witchhunts in neighboring villages and was admant that he would discover the witches who dared to practice in ‘his’ town. Now that he had succeeded in his task, she only saw a fiery death in her future.
Which meant that her children would grow up without her. Instead, everything of the world they would learn from their indifferent and distant father who spewed fire and brimstone during church services but spoke coldly at the dinner table.
Not to mention, without the proper spells it was inevitable that little Dawnie would succumb quickly to the infection that resided in her lungs.
“No, not the Devil!” Lenore then refuted angrily; ablazed with anger that he would even suggest that she would consort with a being of hell. “Don’t you understand? Without me finishing this spell our daughter shall surely die!”
A meaty hand landed across her face and Lenore felt her jaw crack under the weight of it. “You despicable whore! It is because of your dealings with Satan that our daughter is dying! God is punishing you for your foolish decisions!” he declared pompously and angrily as his index finger was jabbed in her direction.
“If anyone has betrayed God, it is you. Thief of the ministry and adulterer!” she screamed – for the first time in her life uttering those words to her husband. Fear of retaliation had prevented her beforehand but now she was furious with his hypocrisy.
Another meaty hand was swung at her, but this time he hit her lower abdomen. The air rushed out of her lungs and she fell, choking, to the ground. Pain blossomed over the area and with a rush of grave insight Lenore knew that this injury had just killed her unborn child.
Worst of it, she had just told Connor last week that her midwife, Elspeth, had informed her that she was two months pregnant.
Sorrow soaked into her very bones and her limbs felt weighted with lead. A sob erupted from between her split lips and she turned glassy, grief-stricken eyes towards her husband. A brief smirk played over his lips and a cold satisfaction entered his eyes – he knew what he had done.
And he was proud of it.
The realization of what extreme wickedness actually lay within her husband sent a flood of sharp pains stabbing within her chest. She contemplated cursing him with something dark, but a booted foot kicked against her head and soon Lenore was contemplating nothing at all.
So I finished National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this morning at 5am. I am just pleased as punch *grins* Nothing like last minute pressure! ;)
Also, thanks to everyone who’s been reviewing. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in this fic, but after writing 16,000 words for it in 36 hours I have to say it’s my new pet favorite :D
Also, am I just a crazed fangirl or is the idea of Crowley playing with little kids just the funnest image? heehee.
***The title of this chapter comes from a line that Anya sings during the musical episode. I found it very fitting for this chapter and the next *grins*
***“A shilling for your thoughts?” --- historically at this time Scotland used the currency of England, which included the ‘shilling. Hence, my bastardization of the saying ‘a penny for your thoughts’
***It was rumored that King William II had a penchant for men, who to me sounds like a man after Fergus/Crowley's own heart. Of course, the Scots hated King William, but that's a different story. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Willi
***Clan - This was the word used interchangeably with 'family' until the 19th century.
***Brigid is a Celtic triple-goddess and is the goddess of healing, fire, childbirth, etc
***There is some historical foundation for witchcraft trials in Scotland at this time. Between 1560 – 1707 perhaps 4,000 women were murdered (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Berw