Disclaimer: I do not own Sleepy Beauty. It belongs to Disney and the Brothers Grimm

Teaser: Aurora sometimes misses the woods

Spoilers: the movie, obviously

Farewell to the Child

There were days when Aurora woke up with the feeling that when her vision adjusted she wouldn't see the elaborate walls of her royal bedroom. Instead, it would be the simple, brown wooden walls of her forest bedroom.

Sometimes Aurora missed the woods.

She missed the musky smell of it, the pure sunlight streaming into her open windows. She missed the sounds of the birds and forest inhabitants going about their morning business. It was pure and simple.

With a small wave of her pale hand—as if she was trying to dispel the urge for the woods with the simple, elegant flick of her wrist—Aurora got to her feet and waited for the maid to come into the room to dress her.

Aurora remembered dressing herself and she remembered the simple pleasure it brought. That small feeling of independence.

When she was dressed, Aurora brushed her hair by herself. The maid had intended to do that but on her first morning in the palace of the father she had never knew she had Aurora explained that that was something she would do by herself.

It seemed odd to watch her small, pale hand brush her golden locks. There hadn't been many mirrors in the cottage and before Aurora had never thought to worry about her appearance. But she was a princess now and every move she made, every tilt of her head or quirk of her lips reflected on her parents.

When she walked down the hallways to the dinning room servants bowed to her. Her, Princess Aurora, heir to the kingdom. She knew that they would not bow if she was still Briar Rose, peasant girl in the forest.

She ate a soup she hated for breakfast. She didn't have the heart to tell her parents that she hated soup. That in the cottage they had always had plain cheese and bread. She couldn't imagine her parents ever eating something as plain and poor as cheese and bread.

Her parents. It still gave her a jolt. It felt surreal, like she had accidentally been mistaken for someone else and at any moment someone would yell oops and she would be spirited away to her forest cottage, like nothing had ever happened.

But there was no denying who she was. She had the color of her mother's hair and the eyes of her father. Her skin was smooth like her mouths and her lips were shaped like her father's. There was no escaping who she was related to.

No. No. She didn't want to escape… did she? This was her family. Her mother and her father. Her real family. The people that had conceived her, the mother that had birthed her, the father that had raised her.

Unbidden, a memory rose in her mind. Flora's gentle chastising after Aurora scraped her knee on a rock, Fawna's soft voice singing Aurora to sleep during the torrent of a thunderstorm, Merryweather's snapping gazing melting into humor as she romped with Aurora on the floor.

That was the problem. She already had a family, she already had a life. She had three mothers and though they hadn't given birth to her… they had named her.

Briar Rose.

What had Briar Rose been? A shell that had been used to hid the true Aurora underneath? Or was Aurora simply the mask used to hide the country coarse Briar Rose?

Her mothers had disappeared among the ornate halls of her palace. Sometimes she would doubt they had ever been real, but then she would see the flash of Flora's red and the soft words of Fawna and Merryweather's tut-tutting. Then she remembered it was all real and it made the pain in her stomach that much worse.

Sometimes it always seemed that Briar Rose's life was never really hers. That Briar Rose was some other person she had been a mind connection with, nothing more. Briar Rose had faded on the day Aurora had been named heir apparent.

But Briar Rose wasn't dead. Aurora saw her every morning in her mirror, mocking her. Reminding her everything she had given up, the family and the happiness, because she had been foolish enough to believe there was something more out there.

Aurora touched her cheek. Briar Rose had touched the same cheek once as well. But they were two different people. Briar Rose happy and outgoing, Aurora was quiet and obedient.

"Excuse me, Your Highnesses," a servant said as he came into their royal dinning hall and bowed. "But Prince Phillip has arrived a day earlier than expected."

"Again?" the queen questioned with a raised eyebrow, looking over at Aurora as if she would know something about it.

"May I be excused?" Aurora asked.

"Of course," her father answered and watched with amusement as his newly restored daughter left them.

She walked to the garden and it was almost as each stepped became lighter. Phillip… Phillip… Phillip… her whole body sang. It was in her hair and on her skin and in her blood. His name. Phillip. She took it apart and dissected and bisected it until it was just fractions of fractions of syllables.

It was Phillip who was part of both worlds. Briar Rose had fallen in love with Phillip's laughing eyes and gentle smile and that love burned harder in Aurora's chest than it had before. It was the bridge between the two worlds, the palace and the forest. It kept Briar Rose connected to Aurora.

The gardens were in full bloom, but the beauty was lost on Aurora. Briar Rose might have stopped to smell the roses, but Aurora only saw him. Prince Phillip standing at the edge of the garden, wearing his riding tunic and breeches, resting against the gray flank that was Samson.

She flew down the stone path to him, almost laughing, almost crying. Phillip's face broke out into a wide grin as he held out his arms for her to fly in.

That was the difference between Briar Rose and Aurora. Briar Rose was a child, Aurora was a woman. Briar Rose smelled flowers and talked to animals and dreamed of a man to love and dance with. Aurora looked at flowers and talked to people and knew what love really was and had a name to the man who had her heart.

"I've missed you," she said softly as he held in his arms. "Oh, I've missed you."

Phillip pulled away slightly, far enough to stroke her smooth cheek with his thumb. "What's wrong?" he asked. His still smiled. Smiled for her because he knew that she needed it.

She kissed him without answering. Kissed him because she loved him so much. She had given up the cottage, the forest, her innocence, her Briar Rose. All for him.

"I just don't know what I'm doing," she muttered.

"Don't worry. You're doing fine. You've missed sixteen years of those boring lessons." Phillip slid her small hand into his.

The smile that bloomed across her lips surprised her. She was happy. She realized. She was happy with Phillip because he made her remember why she had given up everything she had had before.

The girl that had once been Briar Rose was a child. And at one point, all children had to grow up. Briar Rose had to grow up and be Aurora.

No matter how sad that was, no matter how much she missed it, Aurora could not ignore that fact.

And because she couldn't, Aurora squeezed Phillip's hand. "Let's go. Let's go in." He leaned in and kissed her again, nodding. Aurora leaned against him and they walked from the garden, from the flowers.

Briar Rose would have looked back. She would have glanced over her shoulder at the forest and felt the tug to go back. Back into the wilderness because that was where Briar Rose belonged.

But Aurora didn't look back because, she realized, Aurora was right where she belonged.

With Phillip, walking towards the future.


Time: twenty-five minutes

Beta: none

Couples: Aurora(Briar Rose)/Philip

Genre: romance/angst

Status: one-shot (complete)

Author: Lizzy Rebel

Characters/Style: Aurora angst

Notes: Probably my favourite Disney princess ever. I don't know why. I guess because we all want to wake up to a handsome prince who's just fought a dragon for us, no? I do anyway.