Flesh and Fur

His skin, warm and smooth, felt strange beneath her fingers. They expected (itched for, needed) to feel soft fur with solid muscle underneath, not this pale, fleshy limb. The beast was considered handsome now (not the beast, not her beast), but he no longer was hers. His days were spent hunting and fishing and looking through her as if she were merely furniture. He doesn't look at her like he used to (like he would devour her alive) and she can't get used to that, or the way he's so gentle and careful when he touches her. Like she could break, or maybe was already broken. She doesn't understand why she misses the feel of claws against her skin, or of all that strength that he could barely keep controlled. He's a handsome prince now, and isn't that what everyone wants? But she could barely stand to be around this new, softer version of the man she had loved. She knew she had loved him because the spell broke, so why did she wish he wouldn't touch her with his callous but gentle hands? She's ashamed to admit that part of her wished he'd remained the beast she had loved, the only love she'd ever had. And she thinks maybe she'll leave one day, leave this place with his laughter and happiness and lack of anything left of the beast she loved, but she knows she won't. Even this pathetic, human, mockery of her beast is better than being alone.