Author: Idonquixote PM
Once upon a time, there was a she, and a he, and many more important hes and shes. A series of drabbles, short and long, set before, during, and after the series, with a healthy dose of what-ifs sprinkled in between.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,418 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 04-15-12 - Published: 04-10-12 - id: 8010247
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So what to say about this one? Well, this is one of the AU scenarios. I won't give too much away.
Disclaimer: I don't own The 10th Kingdom.
The year is 300 BC
She was a doctor's only daughter, named after Psyche, wife of Eros, the god of love, and the one woman whose beauty transcended Aphrodite's. Indeed, this young woman was fit for her name- beautiful, wild, almost tragically innocent.
She was her father's joy, his only love. And he was hers. She loved her father- she loved his craft, how skillful he was; his medical prowess bordered on magic, and that only made her eyes light up all the more. Such beautiful, adoring eyes!
Psyche was happy. The world was bright with its tales of gods and nymphs, filled with bright temples, running with art, brimming with writing, wrapped in music, and uncovered with science. Her father was rich and she- she was happy.
And woe! The poor girl, so creamy and sweet.
She fell in love.
Love. The one thing that causes the fall of so many pretty young things.
He was a poet, handsome, clean, eloquent. A young aristocrat, so tempting in his robes, soft in his speech, warm in his eyes. She wanted him, like mad, she wanted him. And he her.
And they were happy, two youths under the trees, hot and soft kisses, smooth caresses. She loved him. And he loved her.
The gods envied the happy, she knew. And for what other reason could it have occurred?
The doctor, mad, poisoned by a scheming mistress, sought his daughter out- sought her suitor out. And it was by the same grove, under the same shining temple that he ran a dagger through her lover's form.
And such lovely tears she shed, for everything turned grey. No more kisses, no more words, no more of him, no more. And with rage, she shed her father's blood, wept over both men, and buried them with stained hands.
And cursed was Psyche's existence, wretched and ragged she became. But she knew her father's craft- a little potion, the right animals, the right prayers, the right drawings, and there- that knowledge bordering magic-
She was given the chance to start again, a new life, a new time. Oh, blessed Persephone, she so kind to grant her wish!
The year is 1110
She sits in her tower, she waits, waits for him to come. How long has the curse lasted? Her whole life spent in that tower, weaving, weaving, staring above at the city of Camelot, their bright colors and masses of people.
The Lady of Shalott waits, Psyche, the lady waits. Clop, clop, clop, above the glass island.
He smiles, eyes shining, unruly hair flowing by, silver armor glinting in the sun.
"I love you," she mutters, sighs.
But Sir Lancelot has only eyes for Lady Guinevere. And yet he stops, and looks down. He smiles, valiant, beautiful. Almost as she remembers.
"Rescue me," she mouths.
And like an arrow to his heart, Lancelot quickens- he sees her, knows her.
"I will. I shall return."
But she cannot wait; to have heard him talk, to have seen him see her, it was too much. Her heart beats too hard and she leaves the tower- the mirror is broken and the curse awaits. She runs, climbs, but all in vain.
The waters come, take her away, and in her last breath, she cries "I love you."
As Lancelot mourns, the Lady of Shalott finds her soul adrift- foolish, was she, and so torn with love. Her lover again out of reach.
Persephone takes pity, she kisses the dead girl, gives her one more chance. And the shards of mirror shift and split.
The year is 1475
"Constantinople," he said, eyeing her with disdain, "that is where I hail from, peasant."
She trembled in his arms, finally rescued. And the flurry of arrows missed. He kicked the horse and they rode away, the turban covering his black locks, his skin tanner than before, his face a bit harsher.
He was different. But not enough.
"I have no home," she muttered, softly, quietly.
"I do not see how that concerns me."
She sobbed and clung to him. Almost nervously, he looped an arm around her. Yes, it was him again.
And she would have been his, should have been his. He was an officer, high ranking, and she would have been his first wife.
She last saw his body pierced, impaled with a large wooden spear. The forest of the impaled, they called it, a forest of blood and death, corpses with eyes unblinking and each spear the exact same length.
And she crumpled by the large stake, his blood running down, pooling around her hair, mingling with her vomit and tears. She lost him again. The Romanian soldiers stood over her.
And again Persephone took pity- she took the young woman's mutilated body in her arms and again shone the broken shards.
The year is 1613
She met him at the gallows, and her brows furrowed in surprise. The clean poet she had gone through it all for- here he was, the same body, the same face, the same eyes, and yet dirty, covered in tatters and shouting profanities.
"What did he do?" she ventured to ask.
"Rotten thief!" the crowd shouted. And he hissed. She shivered- no, not again, she couldn't see him die again.
And so she used a shard of mirror- temporary, lasting- with the help of her goddess. And they were all gone.
He stared at her, bewildered, wide-eyed, almost as she remembered. "Y- you're a witch..."
"But I'm not a thief."
The remnants of her Turk were still there. But this man was no noble officer- she soon discovered- he had bad hygiene, was coarse with his language, and the most ungentlemanly peasant she had ever encountered.
Why was he changing so much?
They ran away together, a hut in the French forest. He was a dirty hunter, a dedicated farmer, and at night, she watched him sleep- her Lancelot, her Turkish soldier, her beautiful Greek.
And in a secluded church, rural and dusty, they married. Because yet again, she had fallen for him.
This time, she lost him to disease, lost him to a cough- he died, cold and stiff in her arms, on their bed of hay. And she wept again.
Another shard, another look of pity from the goddess below.
The year is 1768
She was born to an Austrian noble, one out of three daughters. "You're as beautiful as Helen of Troy," an aunt would joke. "I'd prefer Psyche," she would say, long lashes looking away, shy and cheerful.
The Lady passed her time with reading books and admiring buildings, marveling at how far time had come. It was exhilerating to know.
And there he was again, poetic and wild, this time with a sinister gleam in his eyes. No, that gleam was not there before.
"I am Count Wolfgang," he announced, bowing flamboyantly and sneaking a grin at all three siblings.
It had started out as a party, a large gathering of aristocracy. The count stole glances at all the maidens and turned them into fools with his coy charm. Psyche didn't understand; never before had her lover been so ostentatious, so lecherous, so untame.
"You dropped this, milady," he once said with a slight tilt of his head and a crooked grin.
She took the handkerchief and smiled, courteous and modest.
Little incidents brought them together, a handkerchief, someone tripping, a surplus of flowers, piano concerts, missing books. She loved Mozart for he loved Mozart, she loved poetry for he loved poetry, she loved nature for he loved nature, she loved lavish spending for he loved lavish spending, and she loved him for he was he and he loved her and she was she.
"Take me, my count."
He was not the wary Turk or the shy poet or the chivalrous knight. He was the remnants of an unscrupulous thief, and a wild, wolfish noble.
"Yes, yes, yes."
Tangled in his sheets, pulling at his hair, and hot kisses on her neck. Passion melted and kindled, boiled, flamed. And that would be their downfall.
In an incident of deja vu, her new father had charged in, a sword in hand, too angry to speak. And her lover had bolted up, angered at the interruption. It was a battle of pride on both their names. The duel happened at midnight.
"Come!" Wolfgang shouted, unsheathing his blade.
"Damn lecher! Soiler!" her father cried.
It was a tie. A tragic tie that soiled both their names and she bore the brunt of it all- for again Pysche wept over her father's body and kissed her dead lover's lips, this time both dead from arrogance.
"Pysche, come- let us try again," Persephone beckoned. The mirror was missing half its shards.
The year is 1865
She was not a noble, this time. She was not an enchanted wanderer or a damsel; she was but the oldest daughter of a middle-classed clerk. Psyche spent most of her days reading and listening to the sound of passing carriages. London's smog was on the rise and the streets were piled with dirty houses and dirty people.
Life was a mess, and yet a wonderful mess. New lamps, new books, strange inventions abounded.
He came into her house on a dreary winter's day, covered in soot from head to toe, perhaps the dirtiest he had ever been.
"I'm th'chimney sweep," he said. The same crooked grin.
He was more awkward than before- he laughed at impromptu times, asked strange questions ("isn't your hemline too short?" "wot's your name?"), and walked with a slouch. He was as wild as before and still had the habit of breaking into unneccesary verbage, though his vocabulary was far shorter now.
"Here." She wiped his face with a towel on a dry winter's day. And the same eyes stared up at her, the clean stubbled face of her Frenchman.
This time no tragedy befell him. Her father bitterly opposed his courtship and she offered to elope.
"That's a bit unladylike."
"I'm not a lady, not this time."
"We shouldn't." He didn't give her a chance to speak. One last and first kiss on her mouth. "I love you- ya can do better than me."
And he left. She lost him to class; she moaned and cried herself to sleep. How many years had gone by? How many lives? Just so he could abandon her yet again. Persephone now had her doubts about the two- she used one more shard.
The year is 1939
"Name's Warren, Warren Wolfson," he said, grinning wryly and leaning on a shovel.
"Psyche." She buttoned her worn jacket, eyeing the sweat on his muscles and his unkempt, dirty hair. The dust storm was coming.
"You're really something, ya know that?" he commented, almost ready to whistle. She rolled her eyes and smiled.
He was a coal miner from Oklahoma and she was an orphan of the Great Depression; it had started out as a bargain- they would go west together. The "rich folks" might be more willing to hire a married man than a single one and it wasn't safe for a young woman to be traveling alone.
He was everything she did not wish to see this time around- dirty, unapologetic, hard, coarse, rough. But he was him. She beckoned him one night and again lost herself in their passion. He proposed in his sleep and she said yes.
She lost him to pure chance.
An explosion at the coal mines. Ten corpses, his body bloody and dark. She cradled the head in her lap, sobbing over his chest.
"Warren! Warren!" she wailed. "Persephone!"
The year is 1945
"It is not meant to be, child." The godess said the words softly.
And Psyche would not listen. "Then let this time be a lesson."
He was a German bank accountant, polite and tame, but still as awkward as her chimney sweep. They met over coffee and she was sure things would finally fall into place.
And again it was not meant to be.
It was as obvious as the yellow star on his clothing, sewn on his jacket all the way down to his undershirt. As obvious as the sirens and alarms, the planes fyling overhead, the sound of gunshots, and corpses lining the world's streets.
"Do you know now, child?"
He never showed up again for coffee. He was not at his house. He was not at the closed bank.
"Please," she begged, the tears streaming, "just once more."
"Just once more." There were two shards left.
The year is 2000
The mirror's frame had fallen apart from overuse- its magic seeped out and thus became the first magic mirror. The magic was duplicated and repeated, until the worlds were linked. Psyche lost track of the years or where she was.
Her last chance could not take place on her "plane." Their frame did not count the years.
She was a fairy noble, humbly invited to the coronation of Prince Wendell White. And there her lover was again, serving drinks, in a coat that resembled her Austrian Count so very much. His face was the same, that of the coal miner, the chimney sweep, the count, the poet, the general, the thief, the knight, the banker. He had that same wry charm, the same incurable awkwardness, the same wild demeanor.
She summoned Persephone when she saw the bulge of a tail.
"Why?" she demanded. "Why is he- why!"
The tears were running.
"Hush, love, hush."
"No, no! All that- he's not him anymore, is he? He's not even human anymore!"
"Each incarnation will always be a bit different."
"But this different? He was so clean, so noble! And now this? A wolf? Not even fully human!"
Persephone wrapped her arms around the sobbing girl. "Dear Psyche, for each shard we used, I used a shard of his being. It is deteriorating. He is almost a complete other now."
"There's one more-"
"No, the gods can meddle no more."
"What do I do now?" She felt childish and stupid, so so stupid.
"Accept him- you did this, child."
She didn't answer. The party continued behind the walls.
"And promise me that you'll do no more." No. No. No.
"Can't you see, child? You're breaking him."
And she broke.
When all had been said and done, after the poison, after the wicked Queen's death, after the two-day intermission, after it all, she could not think. At the prince's official ceremony, she was ready to accept the wolf.
Perhaps this time they really would live happily ever after. He was not wounded, not ill, not arrested, not overtly sacrificing.
She lost him to the one thing she never thought possible: another woman.
Her name was Virginia Lewis and the wolf had declared her his mate. There was no mistake about it- the tender eyes that had once been for her, the soft kisses, the wild declarations of love- they all belonged to Lewis.
The final straw. They were not meant to be.
She turned her eyes away. No, she wouldn't beg the gods to meddle again- she had done enough. This time, she wanted him to be happy. For how many of their lives has she ruined already?
"Child," the godess said, her last message, "it is not the end. This will be your last round- choose to be happy."
And she turned around. Prince Wendell turned away, the red tint of a blush on his ears. She wiped the tears and smiled.
Fooled you! Virginia is just Virginia; our leading lady was an OC. All that just for a Wendell/OC scene. Haha.
Feel free to review.