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Key Limes


Author’s Notes: Modification of my own prompt for Jily Royalty Fest: “Modern era. Prince James and Princess Lily are shipped hardcore by the internet. They’ve never met. The strength of the internet fandom brings them together.” I realized how hard it was for both of them to be royalty in the modern era without having met, so I’ve made Lily royalty of a different kind.

For Todd and Lindsey: thanks for putting up with my whining about my other royalty fest piece. Someday I’ll figure out how to fix that one enough to post it.

Somehow this thing got past 20,000 words. Don’t ask me how.


Key Limes

Lily banged at her flat’s door with her foot, her arms stretched around two bags of shopping. It wasn’t good for the door or for her new, stupidly expensive splurge shoes, but there was no concierge past the main entrance to let her in.

“Who’s there?” came Mary’s voice.

“The pizza delivery man who’s got a big sausage,” Lily called. “Who d’you think? Hurry up, I’m about to drop your favorite biscuits.”

Through the door Lily could hear the muffled thudding of socked feet on their wood floor growing nearer, ending with the door flying open in front of her.

Mary propped the door open with her hip, holding a mug of steaming water in one hand. While Lily had found her skin appeared jaundiced in the gold light that flooded their flats in the morning, Mary’s brown skin seemed to revel in it, looking smooth and faintly gilded, like she belonged on a model shoot despite her threadbare dressing gown. 

“Don’t joke about my biscuits,” Mary said, craning her neck to peer into the plastic bags. “Joke about pornography all you like, but you leave my biscuits out of it.”

Lily hurried inside, one of the bags starting to slip from her fingers, and barely managed to make it to the kitchen table in time. She set the bags down next to Mary’s laptop and crumb-dusted breakfast plate. Mary had burned her toast again, if the smell was anything to go by.

“I can’t believe I let you stay behind,” Lily said, “after you gave me that massive list.”

“It’s because you love me.” Mary mopped up a few spilled water drops with her sock on her way back to the narrow strip of kitchen. “Also because I kept Michael Bay from getting his claws into you.”

“It couldn’t have been that bad, could it? At least I could’ve had a stunt woman and not had to carry heavy groceries.” Lily began unloading vegetables onto the table while Mary brushed by on her way to the box of tea bags sitting on the counter. “Honestly, though, I know you’ve missed England, but this is—what’s this?”

Still holding a bundle of broccoli in one hand, Lily reached out to tilt Mary’s laptop screen back—was that her face on a website?—but she barely go a glance in before Mary whirled around to slam the screen shut.

“Nothing!” Mary said, her voice an octave higher than usual.

“Is it a bad review?” Lily asked. “You know I can take it—”

“No, it’s, a, er, dating site. I’m dating again.”

“A dating website. That has my face on it.”

Mary’s mouth opened to reply, but she hesitated, and then said, “Erm….”

Lily took the baguette poking out of one of the grocery bags and jabbed it at Mary’s stomach. “Is this awful enough that I really don’t want to see?”

“Wellll,” said Mary, bending around Lily’s makeshift sword and placing her mug of water on the table.

“Mary,” Lily warned.

“It’s creepy.” Mary snatched the baguette out of Lily’s hand and broke off the end. “I prefer to keep you innocent of the creepiness of the internet.”

“I am also capable of going online, you know. Can it be any worse than when people Photoshop my head onto things like oranges?”

Mary munched on her piece of bread and pondered this. “I need butter,” she said.

“That’s the most inelegant subject change you’ve ever attempted.”

Mary shook her head and turned back to the sideboard, where she’d left out her toast-making materials. “Not changing the subject – I really do need butter. That toast was rubbish.”

Lily swung open the fridge door and started transferring groceries inside. “I told you five was a high enough setting on the toaster.”

“I don’t know why your two days of experience with the toaster is any more trustworthy than mine,” Mary said, slathering on a thick layer of butter. “I swear that seven was perfect yesterday.”

“Mary. The point. Get to it?”

Bread in hand, Mary leaned back against the worktop, her ankles crossed in front of her. “It’s like this. You know shippers?”

“Unfortunately.” Lily bent over to organize the top shelf of the fridge. “What’ve they done now?”

“They—usually they stick to fictional characters, right? Well. Sometimes they, er, branch out.”

“Branch out?”

“Sometimes they ship, ah, real people, you see.”

Lily stood up straight, holding the milk bottle she’d been rearranging. “They’re shipping me,” she said, pointing the bottle toward herself. “Lily Evans, not Elaine or whatever.”


Lily took an absent step backwards to sink into one of the kitchen chairs, setting the milk on the table. She stared at Mary’s closed laptop, the orange battery light in blinking in the corner.

“That’s…peculiar,” Lily said.

“I know. I thought you’d be creeped out.”

Lily absently scratched at the side of the milk bottle with her fingernail. She’d encountered all sorts of fanworks in the past couple of years. Most of the time it was in person, though – it wasn’t uncommon for a fan to bring a piece of art they’d made to one of her appearances. Lily would fawn over it—sometimes half-heartedly because not everyone was cut out to be an artist—sign the piece, and the fan would move on.

Even if she hadn’t been warned about fanfiction by Mary and her other friends, the talk and radio show hosts made sure she saw the worst of it. That sort of attention was simply part of the job.

But this…this was new. People shipping her roles had always been a bit beyond comprehension for Lily, but at least she could understand the general idea of it: liking something enough that you wanted to keep it going, or to see things turn out differently.

This was about her life, and the men that strangers wanted her to end up with.

Then again, it wasn’t like she was beyond fantasies of her own life. Although she wasn’t sure it would be better or worse if the fantasies of strangers lined up with her own.

“Well…who are they shipping me with?” she said. “Anyone good?”

“There’s not a lot of it going on, to be honest.” Mary picked up the milk. “A bit of a side-branch of fandom. But there’s one popular option.”


“It’s a bit ridiculous, really,” Mary said, sliding the milk back into the fridge. “They ship you with Prince James.”

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Snow White twist where Snow White is played by a dark-skinned woman with snow white hair

  • another twist: the story focuses on beauty in the context of racial prejudice 
  • the stepmother is white and known as the ‘fairest of them all’ but then this girl with dark skin grows to be more beautiful than her and she doesn’t understand and she doesn’t like it and she is threatened by it
  • you can see where this is going

i’m all for racial diversity in media representation

but in the brothers grimm recollection shes called snow white because of how fair her skin is…

skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, hair as black as ebony

i’m aware of that thanks….. this is a re-imagined version of that with better representation and also saying nope to idea that fair = more beautiful

"ur idea is kewl but let’s white people tho"

I love you so much, and I’m so proud of you for being so strong through all of this. I’m sorry you felt so alone, and so weird and wrong, for so long. Know that you are loved and supported, dearheart.

ilyilyilyilyily i’m hugging you really really tightly right now but you can’t feel it because i’m down here and you’re up there and also you don’t like to be touched either and i respect that (most of the time). did i mention i love you?

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