So @bifacialler and I were talking and I brought up the fact that Walter Strickler must, on a daily/nightly/weekly basis feel the need to fence his step-child. It could be about anything.
He rolls his eyes? DUEL ME!
His mother raised his allowance? FIGHT ME, RIGHT NOW!
He left plates in the sink? COME AT ME, BITCH!
Barbara needs to find ways to, instead of screaming, calmly reason with her blade happy husband to ensure that her son lives out the rest of his high school career with every limb still attached to his body.
Most conversations go somewhat like;
Walt: I WILL DUEL HIM TO THE DEATH!
Barbara: No, Walt.
Walt: I WILL DUEL HIM TO THE MAME!
Barbara: Walt. No.
Walt: I WILL DUEL HIM TO THE STAIRS!
Barbara: Sure. Fine. That’s okay.
Walt: HAHA! I HAVE THE APPROVAL OF THE MATRIARCH! JIM! COME FIGHT ME RIGHT NOW! FROM THE BACK DOOR TO THE STAIRS! THAT’LL TEACH YOU TO LEAVE THE CEREAL OUT!
And don’t even talk about dinner time.
Remember that scene? With Barbara in the kitchen while the two of them went at it like a pair of frat boys with too much adrenaline and knives?
Well, now that the secret is out, it could happen at any fucking time.
Jim could say that the steak he cooked was too dry. Could comment on how the history homework was boring. Or god forbid he forgot something Walter taught him in a history paper.
Strickler picks up a knife and pushes back his chair, Jim following suit. And Barbara, who really is just trying to have a nice family dinner, just sort of presses her head into her hands and groans.
Jim lunges across the plates. Strickler stabs a decent sized chunk out of their table. They fence their way through the living room. Something drops and shatters after Jim finds an opening to jump on the man’s back. There’s a shock of blue and green, and now there’s suddenly a Changeling and a Trollhunter running around the kitchen shouting at one another.
In the end, Barbara just has to pour herself a cup of tea and sit there, watching the two idiots circle the table like fucking sharks. “If one of you hits me,” she comments dryly, “I’d like to remind you now that I can legally obtain poison. Just putting it out there.”
“THE ONLY POISON HERE IS THE ONE YOUR SON SPAT OUT WHEN HE FORGOT MY LESSONS!”
“Because your teaching style was boring-”
“And your history jokes sucked!”
“I’LL SEE YOUR HEAD ON A PLATTER!”
Barbara sometimes needs to remind herself that she did, in a strange, awful, secretive way, sign up for this bullshit.
Her boys are idiots. But they’re her idiots.
[also, Strickler looks so fucking attractive striking a fencers pose like that and she’ll let him know as soon as she’s dragged the defeated idiot off to bed.]
Walter Strickler: AKA A Number on Jim’s Speed Dial
AKA: Strickler’s hatred for human technology is quickly rectified by the amazing advances that the cell phone has brought him.
AKA: Family group chat.
So sue me. I want to see Walter Strickler called when Jim is stuck. When he’s in the world of the trolls with no help or aid. When he’s bleeding, trapped, sick. And he knows calling his mother would be no help.
So sue me. I want to know how that call would go.
So sue me. I want to see Jim collapsing at home, because he was cut by a creature with poisonous barbs and never thought to tell his mother. Because Strickler actually knows how to help him. Because even after he’s doing better, Strickler insists they all stay up together, and they sit on the cold bathroom floor playing monopoly to pass the time, waiting to see if the poison has set or if Jim will be better by the morning (he will be. but god the lectures might kill him again).
So sue me, I want to see Walt calling Jim with technilogical questions because how does this thing work, your friends make it look so easy!
So sue me. I want to see Jim giving Strickler his number because he trusts him, even if he might not say it out loud.
So sue me. I want to see Jim edit Strickler’s phone number and retype “dad” into the vacant box.
So sue me. I want to see Strickler texting one Jim throughout the day. Good luck on the test. I packed your favorite for lunch. Don’t tell your mother, but I replaced the fridge. What does LOL mean?
So sue me. I want Strickler to learn what emoticons are. And I want him to use ones that are completely inappropriate for the situation at hand.
So sue me if I want them to have a family group chat where they actively nag each other with odd nicknames and funny jokes. Where these nerds are broken and dysfunctional, but god, they’re so happy.
So sue me. I want Strickler, the Changeling, to have a happy family. One that he invaded. But one that is all his.
Jim: Hey, just checking in!
Jim: The big exhibit was today! Mom and I are coming to the opening tonight.
Strickler: You remembered that, and yet you can’t remember the simple facts I gave you in my class.
Jim: Of course.
Jim: Those were boring.
Barbara: Can’t wait for tonight!
Strickler: Wear that new dress. You look edible in it.
Jim: Ew. Stop. You guys are gross.
Strickler: And you’re weak willed.
Jim: Teachers looking. Gotta run.
Barbara: Bye sweetie. See you tonight.
Jim: Bye mom.
Jim: bye dad.
Strickler: [has signed off]
(he had to sit in his office and breathe into a paper bag for about ten minutes to regain his sense of self. it didn’t work. he’s still flustered and pleased as hell.)
Stab Dad, Dr. Mom, and Glow Son are all part of one dysfunctional family full of hunters, invaders, and medical practitioners.
In the end, it’s Strickler, lost in a world of halfling, impure, thrown out, stepped on, pushed away, hatred, betrayal, completely and totally longing of a place to call mine, who holds them together best he can. This is his family. He invaded it. And he’s going to take care of it, damn it all.
The Changeling Rules usually call for the monster to “take care of” the family they’ve been assigned.
But… he’d assigned them to himself, in a way. And doesn’t his care count as “taking care of”?
There will be days where he’ll make dinner before Jim gets home because he knows the boy had a test that day and was studying all night.
There will be days where he’ll pack lunches.
Despite his Changeling roots, he’s a Brit by nature, and his tea is by far the best brewed in the house. So a cup left on Jim’s desk while the boy has his nose up against the pages of his newest algebra assignment isn’t left without a mumbled thank you and a quick sweep against his shoulders with a larger hand. A brief, “best of luck, Young Atlas” on the way out, before he’s shutting the door.
There will be days where Jim will forget something he needs in his room, and by then Strickler knows their (their) house well enough to go in and find what the boy has left on his desk or in a drawer.
One notable occasion where a concert had been planned two months in advance. Claire and Toby raving about it. Jim talking nonstop at the dinner table. His mother had promised he could take the car, clearing up her schedule and going over the rules. Their strange dysfunctional family had been at peace for a whole week without a thrown knife or a spare punch. But the night of the concert-
“I’m sorry, hon,” Barbara will say, adjusting her scrubs. “I just… there was an emergency and they need extra hands-” To her credit, she did look horribly guilty. Strickler watched over the counter in the kitchen sipping his tea. He’d lived thousands of years. He knew how the teenage boy was meant to act-
“It’s fine, mom!”
… not like that.
“Don’t worry about it.” Jim handed her a lunch sack, smiling through the obvious disappointment dwindling around his face. And god, if he’d been changed right then, Strickler would have smelled his distress. All emotions had their stenches, and this one was always more of an oaky one. Like hops and ale and something from a pine forest. And a sour note that had always abused his poor senses. “I’ll… I’ll do something here. They have other rides. I already checked-”
“You can go with them-”
“Not enough room,” he cut her off. She fiddled with her keys. “They need you, mom. I’ll just… do something here! There’s that new superhero movie on-”
“You will not” Strickler said into his cup, “be watching that. My documentary starts in ten minutes.”
Jim gave him a look. Strickler shot him a fresher one.
“Maybe I can get someone to cover.” Barbara is fiddling with her keys again. Trying to work out her schedule in her head. But Jim just shook his head.
“Have a good shift, mom.”
“What would I do without you, kiddo.”
The pair says their goodbyes. Jim shuts the door. “So… documentary? Or am I gonna fight you for world domination or something…”
But there is another pair of keys pressed into Jim’s hand before he can turn around. And by the time he does, Strickler is already poised on their couch, turning on the history channel. “The parking break is sticky,” says the teacher, leaning back, barely looking at his (not) son. “Have it back by midnight.”
And honestly… he does a really fucking good job.
Jim will need to do more, at the end, to prove that he does appreciate what Strickler does for him and his mother. And I’m already crying about the fact that @bifacialler and I have actively discussed the moment he calls Mr. Strickler dad and it kills me every time.
i had to help my professional dancer friend smash an ancient pagan idol that he touched by accident that made his legs disappear.
then we got kidnapped by his evil dad and forced to watch endless spongebob reruns while eating half melted ice cream with chopsticks. i ended up stabbing the dad with the chopsticks.
Strickler’s familiar is a thing, everyone. Don’t forget that. This familiar exists in the world of the Goblin’s, and because of him, Strickler is given access to the human’s world. Usually, the parents or loved ones are meant to figure out that their human has been taken, and in turn find a way to give the Changeling back and see their beloved returned to them.
Barbara never really thought about it. But everyone else did.
If someone, a troll (Blinky, Aaaargh, Vendal, any number of them) wanting nothing more than to banish the Impure back from whence he came, it would be as easy as finding his Familiar in the Darklands and dragging him back.
Which means that there could be a day where Barbara’s husband vanishes from sight, and someone new appears. Someone who is all human and doesn’t know her. The same as Strickler, without the memories. No more glowing eyes. No more knives for collars. No more insane fights at the table between him and his son. He says that he’s meant to love her. That he’ll learn, in time. If that’s what she wants.
Just a man who is brought to replace the one who others had labeled Impure.
And Stricklander, accepting his fate, would agree. This is what’s best. For Barbara. For Jim. Stuck in his troll form, away from where he could hurt them again, as he had so many times.
This magic place, however, receives children almost every day and sends out a Changeling in their place. There have been others -human, troll- who have found the forge and taken back their child. Who had brought back the Changeling and made a fair trade. Who were brave, and made it through the Darklands to reclaim their own.
There has never been a return of a human, however.
But there she stands. At the foot of the forge. Her hair mussed. Shovel in her hand. Breathing hard after running away from god knows what monsters she’d beaned over the head with her gardening tool. Strickler looks up from his cell and has to remember what breathing is. His familiar stands behind the woman, meekly following her about.
“I’m here to make a return,” the fierce woman will bellow, fiery hair whisping about. “Give me back my husband. Now.”
Strickler was put into the world to be unwanted.
And now he grips the bars of his cell and feels his heart swell to impossible sizes. Trying not to call out her name as the guards examine her offering and rumble something about you want a Changeling!? You know that’s not how this works-
He’s wanted. Wanted. And when she stands in front of his cell with the guard given key and the smile he’s memorized, he has to try and remember, for future reference, how it felt do be so desperately loved.
dad kogane: alright I should probably make sure my kid will survive before I leave forever, but what would be easy and quick to teach a five year old…
dad kogane: and thats how you use a can opener to open the can of yum yums, now do you remember what to do if the government comes
toddler keith:(swipes knife once) stab!
dad kogane: good boy! now go read those adult level books I got you on pretty much every suject ever that I think will bennifit you Im going to go out and get more canned food, heres some emrgency money I’ll be back (fingers crossed behind back)
toddler keith:(giggles happily) ok daddy
(even later, somewhere in space)
dad kogane :(whistling, enjoying life)
Keith: (runs past in full armor pidge under his arm, completely missing the fact he ran past his dad, galra shooting at him from behind)
dad kogane:….was that-
red lion:(right behind him, growling and totally noticing dad kogane and recognizing him from the time red saw keiths mind scape)
As far as I could tell, Hook didn’t realize that the guy he stabbed was Charming’s dad? Is that right? I’m basing this on how he seemed to be fine with passing along the pages until he took a look at them.
I wouldn’t call it character assassination per se; Hook keeps saying he was a pirate for hundreds of years, so he’s bound to have done shitty things.
But I would call it a cheap twist for drama’s sake. Much like Snowing babysnatch drama. Which basically negates the emotional weight of the whole episode.
This was in the past, he regrets it, and he’ll probably come clean at some point. Meh.
Changeling kids with their Changeling stab-dad. I just love this trend that Stricklander adopts more and more young (OC) Changelings and most of them are fighting over his attention. xD
Jean may tend to bicker with Nix from time to time, but I guess she would actually go along with him most of the time, taking him by the hand and be protective over him. (Like when Gumaz ( @scoundrel‘s Changeling OC) bullies Nix at first. Later he and Jean would surely fight over the right to be the protector of Nix (just letting my mind wander, sorry guys if I make up things about your OCs that doesn’t fit. xD))
@hoardoftrash hadn’t colors for Nix yet and so I tried something out from their description and I’m happy they like it. :3 Totally adore the way they draw Stricklander btw, the ponytail is such a blessing and canon for my redemption-story now. <3