Chapter 9: A Fairy Tale Ending
A soft tapping on her door caused Raven to look up from the small piece of jewelry she had been admiring; a dazzling diamond set on a small band of glass. The glass itself had previously been several pieces of glass, but after skillful work it had been fixed into the shape of a perfect circle.
"Come in," she called, recognizing the knock as Starfire's. Opening the door, Starfire happily bounced in.
"Today is the day!" she exclaimed, eyes shining. Raven laughed lightly.
"Yes, it is. Now calm down, I'm starting to think that you're even more excited than I am."
"I am simply happy for you," Starfire laughed, walking over to her friend. "Now stand up and let me examine your dress."
Raven stood up from her spot on her bed, and allowed Starfire to look her over. She wore a long, white dress. Glass beads had been sewn across the bodice of the dress in swirling patterns, like silver-black tendrils of magic. The full skirt remained beadless, but Raven loved it in its simplicity. Finally, on her hands she wore silver gloves, thin enough that her sparkling ring had easily been slid over top.
"You look most beautiful," Starfire squealed, smiling at her friend. "But something is missing."
Silently, the Tamaranean pulled a piece of dark blue material from behind her back.
"Is that-?" Raven stopped, breathlessly looking at the familiar cloak. She smiled as memories washed over her. Nodding, Starfire walked over to her friend and clasped the cloak around her shoulders. "But, how did you get it? I thought you said that when your magic was taken away, you were banned from everything in the fairy lands."
Starfire's face darkened at the memory, and Raven immediately regretted her bluntness. When Starfire had explained what had happened to her magic, Raven had seen tears threatening to spill from her eyes. She should have remembered to tread lightly around the painful subject. She quickly began to apologize, but Starfire shook her head.
"It is fine, friend Raven," she insisted, smiling reassuringly. "You are correct. I should not have been able to retrieve this from my former home in Tamaran. However, Blackfire has been denounced from her position of power.
"My good friend, Galfore, has become the fairy king and he requested my presence the other day. He told me that my punishment was much too severe, and offered me the return of my powers and immortality."
"That's amazing," Raven replied. She felt strangely disappointed. As happy as she was that Starfire was going to get her magic back- it was obviously quite important to her-, Raven couldn't help thinking that if her friend was a fairy again, they might grow apart. Fairies were known for often growing tired of short living mortals.
Starfire seemed to realize what Raven was thinking of, and she smiled.
"I asked for him to return to me my powers, but I no longer wished to be immortal," she said. "I enjoy life much more when I am around friends who will not take life for granted."
Smiling, Raven nodded, and looked at the cloak.
"So, how did you know I wanted this?"
"I did not, really," Starfire admitted. "I simply chose it because it was blue."
"Blue?" Raven repeated, raising an eyebrow. Starfire nodded.
"Yes. In Tamaran, we believe that there are certain things a bride must have for a happy celebration of matrimony, much like your superstition of not seeing each other before the wedding. We have a saying. I believe in English it would be: something that is old, something that is new, something that is borrowed and something that is blue," Starfire explained. Raven nodded in understanding.
"Do not thank me yet," Starfire replied, smiling. "I have not yet given you the other three.
"For something that is borrowed, I will allow you to hold in your possession-until the end of the wedding-, my Centauri Moon necklace."
The giddy half-fairy pulled a bright green stone on a chain out of her pocket and handed it to Raven.
"It is green, and it will clash with the gems on your cloak, but perhaps you would like to tuck it into your dress?" she suggested. Raven smiled lightly and clasped the necklace around her neck, tucking it in her dress. The chain was long enough that the bright green stone was easily hidden in the bodice of her dress. Next, Starfire handed her a white silk handkerchief.
"I was not sure what you would like, so this is your 'something new'," Starfire said, as Raven examined the pretty piece of fabric. Lace lined the edges of it, and her and Gar's initials had been stitched in pink thread. It was much too girly for Raven's taste, but she smiled and thanked Starfire none the less, tucking it into one of her gloves as flat as possible.
"Your last gift is possibly the most important, and I do hope you will like it," Starfire said hopefully. "I would have given it- and all your other gifts- to you earlier, but magic was most definitely required for this one."
Raven quirked an eyebrow curiously. Smiling excitedly, the red-haired girl reached behind her back, and with a small green flash, handed Raven the last gift. It was a black, leather bound book with gold scripture gleaming on the cover.
Raven looked at it in shock for a few seconds before reaching for it, hands shaking. Starfire handed it over happily, and watched with interest as Raven looked at the small book.
She could feel tears forming in her eyes, but as she looked up at her friend, she didn't care. Smiling, she opened her arms and pulled her new friend into an embrace.
"Thank you, Starfire," Raven spoke, warbling slightly. "Thank you so much. How did you do this?"
"I simply returned to the kitchen in Melinda's house and restored the book from the ashes," Starfire explained, allowing her shorter friend to lean her head on her orange shoulder. They stayed in a hug for a few minutes, before pulling apart.
Smiling, Starfire looked at Raven fondly. "I believe I shall allow you some time alone. I will be waiting in the hallway when you are ready."
Nodding, Raven watched as her friend walked out, softly closing the door behind her. Privacy restored, Raven looked at the book still clutched in her gloved hands.
"My Raven," she read aloud to herself, smiling sadly. "I can read the last story now. The one with the prince."
She almost laughed as she opened the book and flipped to the back. Finding the page, she cleared her throat and began to read to her empty room.
Many paths can be chosen on the road to happiness, because happiness is different for everyone.
My dear Raven, I know you were expecting a story, but that is not what you will find here. Instead, I have written a few words of wisdom, if you will have them.
I have watched you grow with loving eyes, and I always knew that someday you would grow into a beautiful young woman. Until then, I shall cherish every moment I spend with you, for who is to know how many more moments we shall have. Remember that, and take it to heart. Make sure every moment you live, is lived like your last.
Your last story was supposed to be about the prince, who would sweep you off your feet, for I have no doubt that someday someone will fall in love with you. He will be your prince, whether rich or poor, and those feelings will undoubtedly be reciprocated, for who could not love you? Perhaps, I am slightly biased, as you loving father, but I do not doubt my assessment in the least. I can only hope that you never doubt the power of love. It is the strongest emotion one can possess, and while it can hurt at times, more often it heals.
The final story is yours to write. Good luck with your life, my Raven. I love you.
Raven closed the book, blinking away tears. Taking a deep breath, she straightened. At some point while she was reading she had sat down next to the fireplace, out of habit. Standing up, she examined her dress and found that, to her satisfaction, it was not covered in soot.
She looked around for a place to put her book. She knew that Starfire intended for her to carry it down the aisle, but she had no pockets. Lifting up her arms, she looked inside the cloak, and was only slightly surprised when she saw a seamless pocket on the inside of the rich blue material.
Placing the book in the pocket, she took a final deep breath, and walked out of her room. True to her word, Starfire was waiting outside, examining a tapestry hanging on the wall.
The fairy girl looked over when Raven stepped out, and her face lit up excitedly.
"Come, we must go. The ceremony is taking place in fifteen minutes!" Starfire said, pointing out the window. Outside the window was a clear view of a giant clock.
Sure enough, the clock read that it was five minutes after eleven.
Clasping Raven's hand in her own, Starfire quickly began to walk down the halls towards the garden.
As they stepped outside, Raven smiled. Lights had been set up in the entrance to the large hedge maze, and sound drifted out from the center, where an entire wedding had been set up. The castle's workers had been given two and a half weeks time to widen the small area in the middle of the maze, and complete all other preparations for the wedding. Many had scoffed, saying they could easily finish it all in three days. And they probably could have.
Walking through the maze, Raven felt nervousness building up inside her. So many people would be waiting to see her, people she didn't even know. Naturally, all the nobility in the Kingdom (except Melinda, Victoria and Tavia, of course) had been invited to witness the union of the Prince, and Trigon's rich daughter. Of course, the story had been passed along and altered a few times (apparently, she had had help from a bunch of singing mice and tame birds, and her 'evil' stepmother had locked her in her room when everyone came to try the shoe on), but that wasn't important.
What would everyone think? Would they approve of Gar's choice? What if she wasn't good enough?
They came to a stop at the last corner. In less than five steps, Raven would be standing on the red velvet carpet that marked the aisle, in plain view of everyone. She instinctively pulled her hood up. Taking one last look at Starfire, Raven nodded, allowing them both to proceed. Starfire stepped around the corner first, cueing the music. Raven could hear the slight shuffling sound of people turning around to watch as Raven turned the corner.
Taking a deep breath, she joined Starfire on the carpet. At first, the sheer number of unfamiliar eyes looking at her overwhelmed her, but after only a split second, her eyes drifted straight down the aisle, stopping on Gar. From that moment on, she couldn't remove her violet eyes for his gentle green ones. She tried a few times, to try and gage the crowd's reaction, but each time they snapped back, as if magnetized to the man at the end of the aisle.
After what seemed like an eternity, the two girls reached the end of the aisle. Starfire, who had at some point linked their arms without Raven noticing, disentangled herself and moved to the side.
Slowly, Raven stepped so that she was standing in front of Garfield. He gently took her hands, and without breaking eye contact, motioned for the ceremony to commence.
The beautiful words spoken during the ceremony, and the sparkling lights and decorations were mere background noise and ambiance to Raven, as she looked at Gar. A few times, he mouthed words to her, telling her how much he loved her, at which times she would smile and silently reply.
After they exchanged vows, Raven's heart began to speed up, as she realized what was coming up next.
"You may now kiss the bride."
Gently, Garfield pulled off the hood still concealing her face from everyone else. Cupping her face in his hands, he pulled her into a kiss, sealing the deal.
There were several 'Aww's. As they pulled apart, both smiling happily, everyone looked up at the towering clock, still visible from the maze. The ceremony had ended right on time, as the big hand slowly joined the little hand at the top of the clock.
As the clock chimed, Gar turned to Raven, smiling happily.
"I hope you're going to stay this time," he joked, holding her hands. Raven smiled.
"I don't think I'll ever want to leave."
Years from that day, Raven would look back on that special night. Then she would look at her wonderful life, and she would still agree with her statement. She would still feel wonderfully jittery- ecstatic, even- every time she was around her loving husband and she would smile as she read her most precious book to her beautiful children, always ending the stories with six wonderful words.
And they lived happily ever after.
Ah, the last chapter. I'm satisfied with it. It's too bad it's over, but oh well. It was fun while it lasted, eh?
I'd like to thank everyone that's reviewed for this story. When I started writing it, I really wasn't expecting to get anywhere near two hundred reviews, but I'm looking at it right now, and I have 208! I didn't even realize I had that many until a minute ago. So, big thanks to everyone. You all rock. :D