Strangely Ever After:

... except that Janet wasn't really dead, after all.

The truth was that Janet was a Sluagh who had yet to enter Chrysalis, and she was kidnapped by a traveling Motley of Unseelie Fae. The group came slinking into town a few nights before she was last seen and, seeing her, recognized her for what she was. And as one of the group was rather taken with her, it was decided that they would take her from her dull, mortal life and bring her into theirs wholly and completely.

The best way to achieve this would be to control the circumstances of her Chrysalis, and give her no mortal life to return to. So a suitable victim was found and Chimerically altered, and then kept waiting until that one, special night when they could get Janet all alone. And when it came around, they snatched Janet up on her way home and killed the other girl in the park, leaving her body for the police to find.

The illusions they'd worked on the victim lasted until just after the body was in the ground, thus fooling everyone involved in the investigation. And as the mundane authorities were closing the book on poor, "dead" Janet, she underwent her Chrysalis into a Sluagh at the hands of the Unseelies.

The gang did their best to bring her around to their way of thinking, but try as they might they couldn't shift her over to the Unseelie Court. Some strange piece of hope and joy still remained in her heart - a mote of decency that proved impervious to their cynicism and scorn. No matter what they did, what they said or what they showed her, something held her back from the brink.

Eventually her abductors grew tired of her "weak shit," and abandoned her outside of Boston.There, she stumbled right across the path of Jeremy Rustovich and Stuart Fingenbaum - a pair of traveling musicians known both to the mundane world and to the Dreaming.

Jeremy was a fellow Sluagh - the renowned and redoubtable Peter Longfingers - and Stuart was his Enchanted aide and pupil. They had been hitchhiking from Freehold to Freehold in New England, plying their trade for barter and bed. They were on their way to Boston when they came across her, lying in a ditch, and their attempt to aid her only worsened her nervous breakdown.

In time, Peter managed to calm Janet, but getting anything out of her was an uphill battle, given what she'd suffered at the hands of the Unseelie Motley. Eventually, he was able to piece together what had happened, and took great pains to explain the Dreaming to her in much more gentle way than her kidnappers had. But bringing her back from the point of emotional collapse would take some doing - indeed, it was several weeks before she was willing to look at another Sluagh other than Peter, much less another changeling of any Kith.

Under the circumstances, Peter decided not to try and push her to remember her true name, or who she might have been before. Obviously, something strange had happened here in more ways that one, and perhaps it would be best to let the truth of the matter come out when it was ready, rather than on demand. And he figured it would be better if she joined them in their travels - especially as she was a musician, herself - and saw a much kinder side of the world than what she'd seen thus far.

Months passed, and then turned into a full year amongst the Dreaming. Janet took the name of Janice Porrohman, and joined her mentor and his aide on stage, playing the oboe once more. She wasn't any better at that instrument than she'd been before, and having to look at so many people was often frightening, but being forced to play before an audience made her more assured of herself. By degrees, she became confident enough to stop fussing with the oboe, and to develop her voice instead - a talent the change had brought about.

By that time she had gathered herself together enough to remember Larry as more than a hazy thumbprint in her mind, and knew what he meant to her. She asked to go back to Providence, but Peter cautioned her against it: the Unseelie Motley had done far too great a feat in making her appear dead, and if she returned it would cause a stir.

That did not convince her, for she was certain she could hide from any mundane eyes she cared to. But then Peter asked what she would do when she found Larry. Time had gone on, and he had most likely grieved for her, gotten over his loss and moved away from their time together. If she went back to him now, then perhaps there would be happiness, but what if there wasn't? What if she destroyed his life all over again?

Faced with that consequence, Janet listened, though her heart told her that her mentor was wrong. And one day - after she'd been dead for two years, and had become confident enough to "sing" things of her own devising, she was proven to be correct. In a stark, dingy bar in Salem, as she whispered the poem she'd written to say goodbye to Larry, she looked up and saw him standing before her, trying very hard not to cry.

But he couldn't have cried, anyway, even if he'd have wanted to. And that was because, unlike Janet - who had only ever been believed to have died - he actually had.

Bone Dance