Disclaimer:

Original characters and story history - events and such, I cannot claim. They are the property of all those associated with the movie. The idea behind this story I do claim (with pride)… Situations within are mine. However, any therapy needed or depression caused by the story and ending is of no fault of mine. Read at your own discretion… ENJOY!


She was cursed, and she knew it.

Damned for all eternity, beneath the warm sunshine and cool breeze. Upon a carpet of flowers and a shelter of leaves she knew only desolation and never-ending cold.

Arms wrapped lovingly around her, his heartbeat matching itself to hers, his breath a feathery caress upon her ear. The arms offered no warmth now, the heartbeat just a reminder of monotony, and his breath reminded her of another.

He should have been her other half… he should have completed her.

Two sides to one complete being…

But she was far from complete. So far…

Everything had its mate. Every darkness had its light. There was always a counter balance to every force in nature. Always… It was the basic way of the universe. It had been that way since time began and would continue so until the world faded from existence.

So why was she an exception?

She loved him. Truly. She knew she did. There could be no doubt of her feelings for him. She loved the way he smiled and kissed her so softly. His innocence and his way with nature made her heart somersault, especially on days like this one, when the world was so perfect. There was the way that he never quite fit into the role of king, never adjusted to the ways of court; they were all so precious to her. She loved his heart and the arms that he used to enfold her. He was everything she had dreamed of, everything she had ever wanted.

Yet it was no longer enough… perhaps it never had been…

She had been so innocent once. So naïve…

Now…

Now, she was no longer a two sided being that sought the other half of herself, seeking to make her complete, but rather a three sided figure that lacked that final third to make her complete.

She would never be complete without it.

"Beneath the skin, we are already one."

How those words continued to haunt her.

Even now, with Jack so close by, holding her so tight, she was plagued by Darkness. In the face of Jack's purest light, there was always something dark within her. She would always know Darkness, feel it… secretly reveling in its embrace.

"What is Light with out Dark?" his voice whispered across her mind.

Nothing.

Light without Dark, was nothing. It needed the dark to make it Light, to make it shine and shimmer and give it the semblance of warmth, because without the contrast, there was nothing spectacular about light. Light was nothing without it and so was she…

She needed it… wanted it… and she hated herself for it. Hated her weakness and the evil that must course through her soul if she could actually desire such a being. What type of woman falls for the devil? Dreams of his heated glances and dark promises?

What type of woman was she to want another's arms even as she lay in her husband's embrace?

Pulling gently away from Jack's warm she stood and looked back down at her prince. He stirred slightly in sleep, shifting into the vacancy she had left behind and she wondered if he found any warmth from her remaining.

Did she even have any warmth left to offer?

She always felt so cold now a days that she couldn't imagine any warmth remaining in her skin and yet he always held her so close to him as though she was everything. Could he truly embrace such a cold creature in that way? Was there still hope for her after all?

In the darkness of her thoughts she knew that no hope remained and what little remained of her that could, wept at the stark truth of the realization.

He sighed contentedly and she tried to smile down at him, wanted to so badly… wanted to let herself feel joy once more in something so simple, but her lips remained bowed down as they always were when no one watched her. Smiling was exhausting and false… it was always fake and she had to fight to maintain it around others.

It was a lie…

He had taught her to lie… to lie outright and with the purpose of deception.

He had given her so many things… promised so many more.

He had offered her love… and all the exotic and dark wonders that could only come from the hands of the Devil.

Knowledge was a dangerous thing and curiosity ran hand in hand with it.

She had wanted to know what he could show her, what he could give her. She wanted to know what else there was to life…what else there could be in this world that wasn't simple…

That wasn't pure…

She was the woman Eve from that silly Christian legend of creation. Perhaps it wasn't so silly after all.. Perhaps the priests and their condescending views on women were correct… Maybe something inside of her simply called to the darkness, wanted it, and would have sought it out at any cost. Was her weakness simply an inherent flaw in the feminine of the species?

If the Snake had promised even half of what Darkness' eyes had when they'd burned into her own, she could completely sympathize with the woman's weakness of will. She herself might have bowed down to the temptation the Apple offered. It would have been so easy.

So why was she here? Locked in arms that cradled and soothed but never captured or possessed.

Because it was the way the story went. Always. Light had won, love prevailed, and the world sparkled and continued to turn in magic and routine. Sunrise, sunset; winter to spring and summer to fall, rain and shine, wind and snow - it would ever play out the eternal beat that thrummed through all creation. No danger or risk in the pale monotony of the life that she had found.

Cursing her caprice and wickedness that wanted the danger and the darkness, longed for it, she widened the space between her and Jack. It didn't seem right to press so close to something so pure when she was so tainted. How did he look at her everyday with that open and trusting gaze? How did he never see the evil that had seeped into her soul? How long could she continue on with this charade?

"God forgive me…", she whispered, turning away and towards the deeper woods.

The sunlight simply saw too much. She needed the solace of the shadows…

"And the Dark of the Night…"

A shiver ran down her arms, invisible hands caressing their length and she held herself against both the whisper and touch. He was gone and yet she could still feel him, still hear him, and every time she felt herself sink further into the comforting embrace of the Dark. It was becoming harder and harder to cling to the Light… to remember Jacks smile…

She shouldn't want the beast. She had seen him. He was an animal.

"We are all animals, My Lady."

The title had had nothing to do with propriety when he said it. It was primal, powerful, and absolutely possessive. When he said 'my' he had meant precisely that and what really scared her was that he may have been right.

Perhaps she was his…

Something warm slid over her skin and she felt herself flush, thankful for the deepening shadows.

"Animal, indeed," she cursed, flushing hotter. She could almost imagine the tilt of his lips had he known the effect thoughts of him had on her.

But why did it effect her?

'Animal' didn't apply in the same context with her as it did with him. Physically he was the epitome, the ultimate union of man and animal. Hoofed legs balanced his body on limbs corded with muscle and covered with hair, flashing glimpses from beneath the dark fabric draped over them. She had seen such combinations on both Pagan and Christian images, the odd angles and awkward images were pathetic depictions to what she found before her then. Rich material had covered his waist, but little had been left to the imagination, and above that the human half had exploded in some kind of forbidden glory - in the color she imagined freshly spilt blood would possess.

Horns had topped his frame, more imposing than any crown could ever had been. Deadly they might have been and beneath that rich ebony had been a face sculpted of lines so harsh and strong that it had been made almost inhuman… But it had been completely male. Primal…

The combination was as intense as it was imposing. She could see it even now…

Cruel and alluring…

She stopped and looked out around her, the forest spread out below her and the lake glittered beneath the rocky ledge where she found herself. It was the same place she had sat with Jack that day everything had changed - where she had tossed the ring into the water then clung to the edge as he had dived after it… chasing not just the ring, but her heart.

He was so dear to her then. He still was wasn't he?

Closing her eyes, she let her toes of her slippers press over the edge, standing on the precipice of the fall. Should she fall it might not kill her - it hadn't him - but the chance that it could was so delicious a thought. After all, the end could be only a slight breeze away. A tip in balance, a moment of carelessness, and she could find herself forever wrapped in darkness and darkness was kind and welcoming.

Everything was just so much more complicated than it was suppose to be, letting go would be so much simpler.

The air seemed to press in around her, the silence of the forest fed her sense of loneliness. She was alone wasn't she? No one could understand the feelings that burned within her, the questions and the desires…

"I value your thoughts…"

The voice echoed strong and clear in her mind, the roll of the words caressing her soul with forbidden promises.

She listened and let herself remember that night.

The only person at harm was herself and she was already damned.

The air should have been stifling and hot beneath the dense canopy, but it wasn't. It was cool and pleasantly tangible. Eyes closed, she lifted her arms out to embrace the air, feeling the lightest of breezes against her bare skin. She was here, between solid ground and insanity, and though not whole she was alive. Vibrantly alive. And the air… the air was embracing her back.

He was there with her…

"I am a part of you all…"

The air had become arms in her mind, arms that banded about her waist and skimmed hands upward to tease her hair - familiar and not completely substantial, but there and welcome. Hands skimming up and over her body, claws raking faint lines and powerful sensations against her skin.

She knew how it would be…

Powerful. Painful. Raw.

Erotic and sinful.

Shadows deepened, stretching towards her with grasping fingers - strong, nimble fingers. She welcomed them gratefully. They were a part of him.

Opening her eyes she took in the beauty the shadows had created. Darkness cloaked everything, caressing each and every shape with care and precision. The golden lights that had danced their patterns on the forest floor no longer entertained. They were gone, their frivolous glow unable to last against the richness of the dark.

Light touched… Darkness possessed…

It was a difference that she longed for.

Light, for all its warmth and brilliance, was stark and harsh. It blinded and burned if not handled with care and caution. But darkness, darkness soothed and protected. It could be warm or cool, and with in its arms was security… privacy… and insanity.

If too long in the dark, one lost their sense of self. Reality lost its meaning and substance, but was that so very bad? It would seem that to lose oneself would be a horrible fate, but was it really? The loss of reality would prompt the lose of reality's structures would it not? The importance of self would no longer be of any consequence wouldn't it?

What was 'self' really? The 'self' one is at birth is not the 'self' one is upon their 10th birthday… Neither is that 'self' the same at the eve of their 20th year. People change, time changes, and nothing remains the same.

She certainly didn't…

The girl that once looked out upon this forest and basked in the sunlight and youth of her world was so very different from the one that balance on the edge and gloried in the shadows. The shadows had never touched her then the way they touched her now. She had been so innocent then, so pure…

There was little left of that girl and the darkness was so alluring.

With each passing moment she felt herself tip further towards the openness, gradually pressing towards insanity.

Further…

Further…

He was waiting…

Light flooded back into her world. Heat scorched up both her arms. A voice rang out into her head, fear and urgency ripping through it. Hands held her in a vise-like grip, pulling her frantically from the edge, turning her around to meet the fearful eyes of the man that had rescued her so long ago.

Even now he looked brilliant. Eyes wide and frightened, searching her face for something that she knew shouldn't be that hard to find. Glory had never looked more bright than it did right then, reflected in the drawn line of his face - a face slightly white from the panic she'd caused.

Relief flooded his face and she felt small once again. He saw something in her that wasn't there… wasn't true… and it made her feel like a lie. That's all she was in the end… a mask of virtue shoddily covering a multitude of sins.

He didn't say anything, just smiled down at her, his hand caressing her hair… but in her head she heard his voice repeating the past.

''You risk your immortal soul talking like that"

"Too late…" she whispered, stepping back from him.

"Lily!" He moved towards her as she neared the edge and she smiled up at him as his fingers and her foot touched air.

"Ever the hero," she grinned and welcomed the emptiness. It was the first time in a long time that she had been able to look at him and smile openly and without force. She wanted to remember this… him - her Hero.

It didn't matter than he was never able to save her - not then and not now. What did matter was that he had tried, that he had been the knight in shining armor she had wanted…

He was the Light she needed, would have welcomed… had she not been touched by Darkness - had her soul not responded so completely.

The Light was simply not wanted, but the Darkness…

She closed her eyes, feeling the air pass over her as she fell. The light dimmed and the cry that had followed her over the cliff - that had echoed somewhere in the back of her mind - faded away with it.

There was only the shadows and the fall…

The sweet descent into insanity…

She'd been falling for so long.

Arms stretched out to welcome the Darkness.

And Darkness finally laid claim…

"I've found my true Mate…"


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