Aurora lay sleepless on her bed. She tossed and turned until her blankets were twisted and uncomfortable. The hour was late, and Philip was away again. So many nights recently he'd been gone away. Such were the duties of a king, she knew this. Maleficent kept her company, but she had not seen her godmother in the last two days, and the castle was becoming increasingly lonely.
She made her way to the balcony and looked out and beyond to the moors. Her thoughts drifted to Diaval. It had been at least a week since he perched his raven self on her balcony, and a longing had festered in her heart. She found she longed to sleep on the moors once more. To feel soft moss under her skin. Perhaps that's all she needed. She collected her cloak and fetched her horse. She rode with haste to her former home.
The moors were quiet, but not silent. All around her were sounds. The sounds of the crickets. The sounds of waterfalls. Other sounds she couldn't identify, but had come to know so well. The stars were shining and the moon was full as she pulled her horse to a stop. Fireflies danced around her and suddenly she realized she wasn't alone.
The familiar sound of Diaval's voice was like a soothing balm. He approached from a tree branch were he'd been sitting.
She hopped down from her horse and let him graze.
"Is everything all right?" Diaval asked. Concern painted his dark eyes.
"Yes, I'm fine. I couldn't sleep. I was dreaming of...home,"
Diaval nodded his understanding. There was a strange magic in the air. Diaval's pulse had been racing since he caught sight of her golden head riding closer. Any other time he could silence the beast inside. The true nature of himself. But tonight, he wasn't sure.
"Where is my godmother?"
"She's gone flying,"
Diaval leaned against the tree he'd climbed down from. Aurora came closer and sat at his feet. He sunk down beside her.
"Where is Philip?"
"He's away to a peace summit," she answered quietly.
Diaval studied her face carefully. For such a long time he'd loved her. Wanted her. It wasn't right, he knew. She was a human, and a queen. He was...less than human. He didn't know what he was. Sometimes a raven. Sometimes a man. It was the man who gave him difficulties. These...feelings for Aurora.
He watched in sadness for himself, but happiness for her as she wed Prince Philip last year. He hoped that their union would dispel the feelings. However, in fact they grew stronger. The way Aurora was looking at him right now did nothing help.
"Diaval," she started.
Her eyes fluttered to his chest. His shirt lay open and unbuttoned. She could see his scars. Not for the first time. She'd seen his scars many times before, but tonight she reached out her hand and caressed them gently. Diaval growled low. A barely audible and involuntary sound.
She looked longingly at him. Her friend, her protector. She used to admire him. In the silly way teenage girls admire boys sometimes. An infatuation that she didn't understand, and was therefore afraid to explore. She loved Philip, or maybe everyone told her she did. Whatever she felt for her husband was different entirely from her feelings towards Diaval.
At his growl she almost pulled her hand away from his bare chest, but Diaval caught her fingers in his. She brought them back towards his skin. His hand went to her shoulder. He held a silky golden tendril and let it slip through his fingers. Aurora's heart skipped a beat. Something had changed. Some strange magic seemed to be guiding her.
Diaval leaned his face close to hers. A strand of black hair fell into his eyes, and his brogue was thick as he asked, "Are you lonely, Aurora?"
The way he said her name. The way he'd always said her name...
"I do love him," she whispered of Philip.
Diaval paused. It was all or nothing now. He'd come too far. "And I love you, Aurora."
"I know," she confessed.
It all happened so fast, but in slow motion. She fell into his embrace. Into his safe, strong embrace. His lips ghosted over hers before capturing her mouth fully in a kiss unlike anything she'd ever felt. She felt her eyes water, and hot tears stung her eyes. Diaval pulled back quickly.
"I'm so sorry, Aurora."
He raked a hand through his jet black hair and leaned back against the trunk of the tree. He hated himself.
Aurora touched her lips with a shaking hand. All was quiet for a moment as the realization of what they'd done hung in the air. Then, like lightning, Aurora's lips crashed against his once more. With a force that he didn't expect. Whatever self control he had, she broke it. Whatever beast was inside, she awakened it.
He slid the shoulder of her dress aside and placed his lips on her skin there. The sounds she was making were driving him crazy, and soon his lips were replaced by his teeth. He nibbled on her neck. Teasing her as her fingers pulled on his hair.
"How long since you've been cherished?" he ground out against her skin.
"I can't rightly say," she whispered breathlessly.
And she did. Somewhere in the night the raven and the princess made love. They poured themselves into each other over and over. Diaval showered her with kisses, and words of affection. She clung to him like a flower clings to a vine. Higher and higher...
Some time later they lay under the tree together.
"Diaval, tell me something..."
"Hmm?" he grunted.
Aurora turned her icy gaze on him, "Who broke the curse?"
"What?" Diaval was struck by the question. Never had she asked in the past six years how her curse had been broken. But, then again that was like her. She went through life with ease.
"You heard me. Who broke the curse? Was it Philip?"
Aurora's breath caught in her throat. "Was it you?"
Diaval chuckled darkly, "No, princess it wasn't me. It was your godmother."
Aurora smiled. "I've always wondered."
They lay in silence. Aurora leaned her head over onto Diaval's shoulder, and he gently brought her closer. And there they stayed until the morning mist was settling around them. Aurora opened her eyes without ever realizing she'd been asleep. Her arm was snaked around Diaval's stomach, and her head lay comfortably on his chest. She realized just then that she had a major problem.
She didn't want to move. She couldn't imagine ever being separated from Diaval ever again, and that scared her. She felt his breathing change. He was waking up.
"Yes," he said sleepily.
"I love you."