A Thorny Situation is owned by the user, Nyx. Please do not edit, vandalize or modify anything without her permission unless you are an admin! Thank you for your cooperation!

Author's Note: Several years ago, I wrote a bunch of small fics in my notes app to amuse people on the Skype group chat. Today, you can see the fruits of those labors.

If you've ever cared about Connor, this is the fic for you. If you want to know why he exists, this is the fic for you. If you like old fics, this is-

Don't expect this to be canon, though. It's just here for the historical aspects.

Part 1

All her life, Briar had been told how utterly selfish she was to be afraid of her destiny.

"Every princess undergoes hardship, Briar. You shouldn't be afraid of thorns. Why, it only shows that you're fearful of your responsibilities!" Her father lectured over and over again, oblivious to her discomfort.

In the end, Briar stopped talking about her fate altogether. She was tired of being constantly labeled as cowardly and self absorbed for possessing a mere inkling of self preservation. Other girls would kill for her destiny, and Briar would gladly give it to them, for who in their right mind would want to lose everyone for the sake of a stupid curse and prince?

With that mindset, Briar continually threw herself into pursuing the newest thrill, the next adrenaline rush. She lived for the feeling that made her heart soar. She quested for the merest taste of adventure. In her mind, cramming years of experience into whatever time she had allotted would leave her more fulfilled than waiting patiently for a guy who wasn't even born yet.

It was better that way, she told herself, even as the others babbled on about their wonderful futures, even as her blood boiled with jealousy for the lives she would never get to interact with after her finger kissed the spindle. It was better that way.

"Oh, Briar, have you heard?" Apple exclaimed brightly as she greeted her at the stairwell.

"Heard what?" Briar felt a little perplexed, but not too put out. Apple was closer to Blondie after all, and Briar hardly ever listened to gossip to begin with. It was certainly interesting, but wasn't very important to her in the long run.

"A new prince transferred here for Legacy Year!" Apple gushed.

That's not very surprising... Briar thought, but didn't want to hurt her feelings by vocalizing this. "That's great! Is he cute?" She teased lightly.

"Very." Apple affirmed with the expression of someone smitten. "And rumor has it that he's your prince! Isn't that amazing?"

With only a few words, Briar's carefully constructed world began to fall apart around her. Surely, it had to be a mistake. Her prince was supposed to be born many, many years from now. That's what she had been told since forever. What kind of selfish prank or ignorant error was going on here?!?

"No." She said bluntly, shifting away from Apple pointedly. "It's not."

Apple stared at her oddly, unused to Briar's no-nonsense deadpan. "Why not? Are you feeling alright? I thought you'd be bouncing off the walls with joy! You finally get to know your prince like you always wanted."

"Well, you thought wrong." Briar snapped bitterly. "Why would I be happy about something like that? It's just another fucking reminder that I'll fall into a deep slumber for longer than anyone else in the world!"

"Language, Briar!" Apple gasped. "And don't you want to know his name at least?" She continued desperately.

"Sure, what is it?" Briar's voice took on a chipper quality.

"Connor, I think." Apple searched her memory. It was a little hard to tell because of Blondie's high pitched squeals at that time.

"Well!" Briar began brightly. "You can tell this Connor to go fuck himself. Because I don't want to know anything about him, that asshole!"

Deaf to Apple's indignation, Briar marched off, fighting back tears. She felt like she was going to hurl. You're such an idiot. She thought to herself, struggling to reconcile her past with her awful present. No one can escape destiny. Why did you even try?

"I don't know." She said aloud in reply as she ducked into a thankfully empty bathroom stall and curled up on top of the toilet seat, resolving to cry without making any sound. "I guess I just wanted to be a little hopeful for once. Is that so wrong?"

As much as Briar would have liked one, there was no answer.

Part 2

"New kid! Hey!" Connor whirled around to greet yet another stranger, already annoyed by how the day was going.

First, he had gotten accosted by a girl who would probably wear a bear kigurumi for seven years if it'd give her access to juicy gossip.

Then, a guy had gotten the drop on him and aggressively explained that Connor's new place in the pecking order was far below him. Or maybe it was advanced flirtation tactics? Connor wasn't entirely sure if there was really a difference.

No matter what the guy may have intended, Connor pecked the dude on the cheek, fluttered his eyelashes mockingly, and brightly thanked him for the excellent introduction to the school's politics. Flustered, he had shoved the new prince straight out of the closet, refusing to come out even as Connor implored him to with a sickly sweet voice.

Eventually, Connor decided it was prudent to not press the issue, especially since he didn't really want to intimidate the poor boy more than necessary. He had walked off, fervently wishing for some peace and quiet now.

As per usual, Connor was disappointed.

He wasn't sure why he had such bad luck when it came to this school. In the process of transferring, his paperwork had been destroyed three times and misplaced an additional seven more. His luggage had nearly been devoured by a hungry dragon. And, despite being someone who wasn't usually viewed as traditionally attractive by his peers, girls and boys alike were harassing him. Quite simply, Connor wasn't used to it yet. And he didn't want to be used to it either.

"Who are you?" He stared, perplexed by this newcomer. He had never seen such light hair before. After all, he lived with ogres. He was so fixated by the color that he initially was blind to everything else.

And then Daring smiled, and Connor realized there was more than one way to be blinded by this prince.

"Ow, shit!" Connor hissed, pressing the palms of his hand over his closed eyes, rubbing in circles in an attempt to alleviate the sharp pain. "What the hell, dude?"

"Oh, did I hurt you?" He didn't sound very bothered by the notion. "I apologize, newbie."

"That's not my name." Connor snapped, registering for the first time that he had two companions with similar appearances with him. "It's Connor."

"Then, it is good to meet you, Connor!" He exclaimed. "My name is Daring. Daring Charming." He winked. "And you're about to enter a whole new world!"

"... Is this your way of asking me out? Because I'm not interested." Connor stared at him blankly.

Immediately, the brunette and another blonde started to snicker at their brother's expense. "N-NO!" Daring shouted, flustered. "That's not what I'm doing at all!"

"Then, what are you doing?" Connor smirked. It was funny, now that he thought about it, how easily these people denied their affections for others. Cute, really.

"I wanted to know what story you belong to." Daring sniffed, pride wounded. "And I figured being friendly was the best way to figure it out."

"Oh? You should have just asked right off the bat, then. It's Sleeping Beauty." Connor said nonchalantly, but it was clear this answer was unexpected.

"That can't be right!" Dexter exclaimed, pushing up his glasses.

"Who are you?" Connor deadpanned, exasperated by these Charming siblings and their inability to handle social situations properly by introducing themselves in a timely manner.

"Dexter Charming." He extended his hand. As Connor shook it, tingles passed through his system. It was weird, Connor later reflected, how cute people at this school could be even when he didn't give a damn about them.

"And, a-as I was saying," he licked his lips nervously, the gesture not going unnoticed by the likes of Connor, "that doesn't sound right at all. Briar's attending school right now! You shouldn't have been born yet!"

"Briar?" Connor mulled over the new name, testing it in his mouth.

"Yes, Briar Beauty." The girl spoke up at last. Unlike Dexter, she had platinum blonde hair, much like her brother with the dangerous smile. She seemed to possess a greater poise than the other two, having merely giggled while Dexter chortled at Daring's embarrassment. Something in her look, however, told Connor that her innocent princess act was not to be trusted. "And I do apologize for not introducing myself earlier. My name is Darling."

"Darling Charming?" Connor swallowed a laugh. Surely that would be viewed as exhibiting unwarranted rudeness.

"It's not amusing in the slightest." Despite this slight rebuke, her eyes lit up with momentary mirth. It seemed that she too found her rhyming name to be ironic.

"I apologize then." Connor bowed briefly before straightening up again. "Do you all know where I could possibly meet this Briar Beauty?"

"That's hard to say." Dexter mused. "She's always all over the place, you know? I think your best bet might be Apple White. They're best friends after all."

"Okay, thank you!" He vaguely remembered an Apple White in the midst of the commotion with that deplorable Blondie Lockes.

"No problem!" Daring said, admiring himself in the mirror. "Glad to be of service. Looking good, Daring, looking good." He blew himself a kiss before putting the mirror away.

"Goodbye for now!" Connor grinned rakishly, putting his sharper-than-normal teeth on display, knowing full well they glittered in the light. The three Charming siblings blanched at this terrifying new expression, unable to properly react before he wandered off in search of their adventurous friend.

Connor wasn't sure what he would do when he found this Briar Beauty, but the ogre within him was demanding injury and for once, he wanted to listen to his inner beast.

Part 3

"Briar?" Apple's soft voice echoed slightly in the small bathroom. The other princess didn't answer.

"Briar." Apple sounded more urgent now, but she didn't want to reply. Waves of nausea crashed within her. Briar was certain that speaking would cause her to throw up.

"Listen to me, Briar!" Apple shrieked. "If you don't come out this instant, I'll-"

Briar kicked open the stall door. "You'll what, Apple?" She hissed. "Continue lying to me about the existence of my prince? It was never funny!"

"I wasn't lying!" Apple snapped back, irritation present on her face. "And I'm offended you'd think I'd do that to you." She huffed, expression softening. "I just... thought telling you would make you happy. But- Oh, Briar, have you been crying?"

The horror in Apple's voice drained away Briar's anger, leaving nothing but sorrow behind. "Yes." She murmured helplessly.

"I am so, so sorry!" Apple wailed, dragging Briar into a tight hug. "I should have come sooner! I didn't know you'd be this upset over him."

"It's okay, Apple." Briar patted her on the back, a little resentful that Apple was seeking comfort when she was the wounded party here, but still grateful for any sort of contact with a sympathetic person. "I'll get over it eventually. I just need time to meet him on my own terms."

Instantly, Apple stiffened in her arms. "Is that so?" Apple laughed weakly.

Briar withdrew from the embrace. "Apple, what did you do?"

"Well, you see, I ran into Connor on the way here (and might I say that he grows more attractive by the minute!). He wanted to talk with you, so..." Apple trailed off, twiddling her thumbs. "I told him to follow me while I looked for you. He's waiting outside."

"Apple!" Briar felt the nausea return in full force. "Why would you do that? I told you to tell him that he could go fuck off! He's ruining everything, and you know that."

"One: I would never do that, Briar! A princess is never coarse with strangers. And two: what on earth is he ruining anyway? Why is it so imperative to avoid this guy? You're going to have to talk to him eventually!" Apple scolded her maternally.

"Because, Apple," Briar started her spiel, "he's not meant to exist yet! The prince has to be born while my slumber is almost up! It doesn't matter if he's related to ogres or anything like that! What matters is the fact that he's here and I'm here at the same time! That's not right at all!"

"Related to ogres?" Apple exclaimed, voice wavering. "How could anyone that attractive be related to ogres?"

"Have you ever even read my story at all, Apple?" Briar sighed. "The prince is beautiful to every beholder and his mother is an ogre. Ergo, the princes always come from ogre backgrounds. It's tradition."

"Oh." Apple blinked, absorbing this new knowledge. "So, I suppose he wouldn't have any ogre-ish tendencies, right?"

"Probably. Depends on how strong the ogre line is within him." Briar noted, gazing apprehensively at the doorway. She was fixing to skewer him with thorns, but she didn't want to pick a fight with an ogre-blooded prince of all people. That would be suicide.

"That's good to know." Apple sighed, relieved. "I'd hate to see a brute living in such a pretty package."

"That's pretty superficial, Apple."

"Hey, I tell it like I see it!" Apple huffed. "There's no need to call me names for that. Worse vices exist!"

"Yeah, yeah, Apple." She rolled her eyes. "I hear you."

"Don't be so, so..." Apple fumed, searching for the right word. "Condescending! You're going to have to meet your prince, you know! You really have no choice."

Briar's eyes darkened. "I'm well aware of that, Apple. And I'm not afraid anymore. I'm going to give that conniving asshole a piece of my mind. How dare he claim he's part of my story!"

"Briar, I don't think-" Apple tried to convince her to reconsider this, but she was roughly bumped out of the way. "Wow, rude!"

Briar didn't react, having come face to face with Connor as she marched out of the bathroom, which was quickly feeling cramped. She blanched, shrinking back. Apple's words were true after all.

Briar had known from the start that her prince was intended to be attractive, but she hadn't expected such a sharp allure. It dulled the senses, made you vulnerable. No wonder her great-great-great-great grand aunt Talia had fallen for her assaulter. How could one resist their advances when they were so criminally perfect?

"Are you Briar?" He spoke, breaking the spell. His voice was completely and utterly normal, a sharp contrast that served to put Briar back in control.

"Yes. Are you Connor?" She quirked an eyebrow at him.

"Yes." His words had a sense of finality to them.

She sized him up warily. Any Beauty worth their salt could recognize a hint of ogre blood and the signs for him were more pronounced than she would have liked. For all intent and purposes, he seemed to fit the bill of Sleeping Beauty's prince, even though he had to be an imposter. And Briar was not going to take the insult lying down.

It took her a few moments, but Briar eventually worked up the courage to address him directly. What she said would change the course of their lives forevermore.

"Why are you pretending to be a part of my story?"

Part 4

"What?" Connor bared his teeth at her. "That's absurd! You're the one pretending!"

"Excuse me?" Briar put her hands on her hips, glaring back with equal fervor. "I'm a Beauty, you arrogant little savage. Of course I'm not pretending! I'm here on virtue of bloodline!"

"And so am I!" Connor poked her chest with every word, punctuating the point. "You're not even meant to be up yet!"

"And, you're not meant to be alive!" Briar pushed him backwards. "Quit avoiding the subject! You're stealing my story!"

"Please, you're the thief here!" Connor hissed. "Do you think I've worked so hard for this long to deal with some princess with a sleeping problem and a superiority complex?"

Behind them, Apple gasped before shuffling away to give them some space. Briar, for her part, whistled lowly. That was a diss she could be impressed by, even if it was directed at her.

"As if it's any better to be a royal raised by monsters who's playing dress up with the very idea of belonging to a prestigious role when you really should just stay in the trash with the other riffraff you call family." Briar sneered, dishing out as much sass as he gave.

Connor recoiled, hurt appearing for the first time in his gaze before it was swallowed by pure hatred. "Do you even listen to yourself when you speak? You have no idea as to what you're talking about."

"Well, then, enlighten me." Briar leered. "Because right now, as I see it, you're just a pretty little liar with monstrous roots."

"My parents," Connor leaned towards her, anger rolling off of him in waves, "are legitimate royalty. And, no matter what you think, we've been that way for a long while." He relished the surprised look on her face. It was almost as satisfying as picturing pummeling her face in with his bare hands. Somewhere within him, his inner ogre roared with approval.


"So, as I see it, you're faking your prestigious lineage to try and steal my story from me! Everyone knows there's only one Beauty left!" Connor threw up his hands with exasperation. The people here were impossible!

"... What did you just say?" Briar whispered softly, her brain struggling to process this new piece of information.

"I said," Connor gritted his teeth, "that the Beauties aren't around anymore where I come from. It's not rocket science. The curse doesn't work for anyone except for the Beauty itself anymore. Not that you are one." He said scornfully.

A terrible notion began to occur to Briar, even with the news that her curse was more unstable than her family had feared. "What year is it where you come from?"

Connor eyed her, confused. "2117. Why?"

Briar's eyes widened with shock. "Look, Connor," she said sheepishly, "I don't know how to tell you this, but-"

"But what?" Connor interrupted, impatient.

"The year here is 2017."

Connor felt all of the color drain from his face. "What?"

"It's 2017." Briar repeated. "Not 2117. 2017."

"T-That can't be right!" Connor stammered anxiously. "That's not something fun to joke about ever! You can't tell me that my parents haven't even been born yet!"

"Connor, how did you get here?" Briar asked pointedly.

"Through a portal." Connor answered without much thought. "Long distance travel is hard, so they arranged for me to arrive that way."

"Then, I'm sorry to say this, but I think you might have been the subject of a temporal experiment." She told him softly in an attempt to soften the blow. "Because you really shouldn't be here."

Connor took in a shaky breath. It was startling, having to go from fiercely hating this girl to learning that someone had sent him through time all for the sake of testing it. He felt used, violated. And he wanted to go home.

"How can I get back?" He looked at her, wild eyed and trembling. "There has to be a way, right?"

Briar shook her head. "I'm sorry, but no. There isn't. The instant you came here, that changed the timeline. Like it or not, Connor, but you're stuck here. Your family no longer exists."

To his credit, Connor didn't cry. Yes, his heart was being wrenched in two by a girl who he didn't even like. Yes, he would never see his mother's beaming smile again. But that wasn't a reason to break down sobbing in a high school corridor. He would have to remain strong in honor of their memory.

"Then," his look became more menacing than before, "someone here has a lot to answer for."

Part 5

"You're not going to hurt anyone, are you?" Apple returned to stand by them, tutting disapprovingly. "Because that's very uncouth and not the way to solve things like this."

"What? No, of course not." Connor blinked, the haze of anger clearing from his mind. "I just want to yell at the person for a bit. It's pretty inconsiderate to do something like this."

"Are you sure it'll end that way?" Briar said knowingly. "You may have good intentions, but I don't think it'll stop short at mere yelling."

"What are you implying?" He narrowed his eyes at her.

"I'm not implying anything. I'm merely stating that you could lose control once you start expressing your aggression. And then you'll be out of a way to get home, if you even have one left." She noted shrewdly.

"Don't try manipulating me." Connor pursued his lips. "But I see your point."

"Good." Briar said firmly. "So let me do the talking."

"Nuh uh!" Apple interrupted, wagging her finger. "Neither of you will be handling this."

"What?" They exclaimed in unison. "Why?"

"Isn't it obvious? You both have beef with this mysterious person and you both can mess someone up pretty badly if angered sufficiently. Briar with your thorns and Connor with your... general ogre-ish bloodlust. I don't think it's wise for either of you to be the diplomatic party here."

"And what would you suggest instead?" Briar resisted the urge to scream. Apple was only trying to help and her words were quite reasonable.

"Let me handle it, duh!" Apple preened. "I'm not personally invested in this matter in any way. After all, Briar, don't you want to know more about how exactly the curse is falling apart? I'm sure you don't want to risk your family. And Connor clearly wants to get back home, so you both have stock in resolving this in your favor. I, on the other hand, don't. If there is a decent reason for all of this, perhaps we should listen."

"Okay." Connor sighed deeply. "But that doesn't mean I'll like it."

"No one's saying you two have to be okay with it. But it's not prudent to jump the gun and beat it out of them either. Do you really want an injury on your conscience?"

"No." Briar averted her gaze, Connor following suit.

"Then let me handle it." Apple said soothingly. "It'll be interesting, at the very least, finding out who this time mage is."

"I guess so." Connor said reluctantly.

"I'm glad we all agree then!" Apple smiled brightly. "But, first, we need some breakfast in our bellies, don't we?"

"Oh, yeah!" Connor ran over the memories of his day so far in his head. He hadn't eaten since the night before going through the portal. Man, was he starving...

"What are we waiting for them?" Briar summoned up some false bravado. "Let's go!"

Breakfast was a more awkward affair than the newly assembled trio had anticipated. As good as it tasted, bacon didn't help alleviate discomfort from the unapologetic staring everyone was partaking in. A fresh face was always something surprising, especially one that was aesthetically pleasing.

"So, what's your name?" Ashlynn shifted closer towards Connor, evidently fascinated by him.

"Connor." His expression, voice and body language gave off a pointed air of neutrality.

"Connor? That's a nice name. Are you a prince, Connor?"

"Yes, the one from Sleeping Beauty."

"Oh!" Ashlynn put her hand to her lips. "I was worried for a second there that you were mine!" She giggled, the sound hollow. "But you shouldn't be alive, right?"

The reminder stung, although she meant well. "I'm from 2117." Connor said bluntly in reply, turning away to continue picking at his eggs. I don't even like green eggs and ham. He thought bitterly.

"Is he okay?" Ashlynn whispered in Apple's ear. "Do you think I've upset him? And what did he mean by 2117?"

"It's nothing personal, Ash." Apple patted her on the shoulder to comfort her. "He's just hurting right now. He needs some space." She thought it wise to not address the last question.

"Oh, okay." Ashlynn conceded. "But do you think he'd want some new shoes? I know he's not my prince, but everyone likes new shoes."

"Ask him another day." Apple advised, as though she was 100 percent certain that Connor would still be here in a week's time. She expected this whole affair to be sorted out as quickly as possible. "He'll probably be in the mood to talk then."

"Got it!" Ashlynn brandished a thumbs up, beaming. "I'll ask him later on then. Thanks!"

"No problem."

Apple methodically nibbled at her toast, mind swirling with agitated thoughts. Strictly speaking, Connor was a time traveler. And, no matter how hard Apple hid it, she knew her science fiction novels.

Time traveling never ended well. Because, with time travel, came another sort of unwelcome visitor.

A paradox.

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