Sins of a Princess

By: Kitty Invictus

Disclaimer: Well if it's on fan fiction, it's pretty obvious that most of it belongs to someone else. But a girl can always dream.

(From the book)

"More than the rains and gray mist plagued them. The land itself under, under the pall of bad weather, was almost completely lifeless, dreary as a landscape of stones and bones and spiderwebs. In dim afternoon on their seventh day out of Stanshire, Simon and Miriamele rounded a bend in the river road and saw…"

a small cabin with no lights or smoke coming from inside. The closer they got to Erkynland the colder it seemed to get. Simon rubbed his fingers hoping to relieve the numbness. "That looks like a good place to stop." He spoke without thinking.

"It may be too out in the open." Miriamele responded.

"It's better than spending another night in the rain." His tone was sharper than he would have liked.

"Fine" she gave up.

They rode to the cabin and checked to make sure no one was about. When they found it as empty as most other places, they went in and started a fire for warmth. Luckily the previous owners of the cabin had left without taking all of their firewood.

Late in the evening after a small meal they both retired to bed without much talk. Miriamele mentioned shortly that they would most likely reach Falshire in the next day or so. Despite their fire and cloaks they both shivered as they drifted off to sleep.

Simon was climbing a tree, a white tree. Could it be the great waterfall of Urmsheim where he had faced the ice drake, Igjarjuk. No… this was a tower, or… was it a tree. He continued to climb and climb, yet still he could not reach the top. An angel looked down on him.

"Do not go up, you must look deeper". The angels voice seemed so familiar. The great tree/tower began to shake and Simon lost his grip.

Down he plunged down passed the ground deep into the earth spinning faster and faster. The darkness surrounded him and voices whispered to him. He scrambled over to a pool of water. But as he gazed in, he saw the antlered head of the dreadful storm king.

Simon woke with a gasp. Wishing to keep his mind on something other than the disturbing dream, he stared across the embers of their fire at Miriamele. She had her cloak wrapped as closely around her as she could and still he could see her shivering. Her breath made clouds in the air above her face. He got up quietly hoping not to wake the sleeping princess. He fed the dying fire and took off his own cloak gasping at the cold. Without a thought for himself he kneeled down beside her and carefully laid his cloak over her for some extra warmth.

"Simon?" she sat up slowly letting his cloak fall but still clutching her own tightly. "What are you doing?"

He looked down at his hands guiltily like a child caught with his hand in the cooking jar. "You looked so cold."

"But now you'll freeze." She glared at him but he wouldn't look at her. How dare he be so selfless. Her mind weighed the options as the uncomfortable silence continued. She was cold yes… but she could not take Simon's cloak. She sighed. "Go get your bedroll."

Simon looked up at her and a silent agreement passed between their eyes. They needed to share warmth. They stayed transfixed for a moment. Miriamele could see the dim firelight reflected in his eyes. He got up and pulled his bedroll over to hers. As he laid down beside her, she handed him his cloak. She was falling for him, but fear kept her back. Were all men like the cruel Earl of Drina and Eadne. Surely her Simon was not as such.

He made sure that his cloak overlapped hers a little even if it meant his back might get cold. He wrapped his arm around Miriamele's waist. She shuddered and he felt a pang of guilt he didn't understand it but every time he showed her any kind of affection, she got sad, angry or just pushed him away.

"I'm sorry." He said quietly and started to pull his arm back. She put a hand over his and meshed their fingers.

"No Simon it's okay." Now it was her who felt guilty. For a moment she had felt Aspitis' arm and she had hurt Simon's feelings. That was all she seemed to do lately. She started to cry silently, but she couldn't hold back her sobs. Simon felt her body tremble.

"Miri. What's wrong?" in response to his question she pulled his arm further around her and pushed herself back into his embrace.

"I'm sorry Simon, I've been so horrible to you." Now she could feel his breath on the back of her neck. "Why do you care for me so much?"

She really didn't expect what came next. As he replied to her question, his warm breath blew across her ear, and his voice was husky with emotion. She couldn't concentrate on what he was saying. She only heard a few words hear and there, "Your strong…smart…not like other girls." Usires stop talking Simon your driving me crazy as if he had heard her mental plea he stopped for a second. "I guess Miri… Well I love you."

Her heart stopped. Had he just said he loved her? Her mind flashed vividly back to when he had kissed her just a week ago. He had been so gentle. He had held her then, like a child. He was always so good to her. How had she not seen it? Did she love him? What would he do if she told him? Surely now she had to.

"So you don't love me because I'm a princess?" she stalled.

She felt and heard him laugh. "That's a stupid question."

"What?" she was tempted to turn around and smack him over the head for making fun of her. But then he would be even closer to her. She couldn't look at him without wanting to kiss him. She had to tell him… but how?

"Couldn't you tell… I loved you long before I knew you were a princess." He seemed amused by the prospect.

"Oh" was all she could think to say.

"I'm sorry. I've made you uncomfortable again."

"It's not you Simon." She sighed. "It's…" she couldn't tell him, could she?

"It's ok you don't have to tell me. I know that it causes you pain." Every time he spoke Miriamele lost a little more sanity. How can he be so nice? She could tell despite his words that he wanted to know. He's already done so much for me. Then again, he didn't know what she had done. What would he think when she told him how she really was.

"No Simon, you have to know." She berated herself. How could she tell him? He would reject her for sure. She breathed deeply. "Cadrach and I stowed away on a ship… we were found out. The Earl who owned the ship, Aspitis Preves, he was so nice to us. It didn't seem right, he…" She swallowed and a tear rolled down her cheek, " I felt so lost, I just wanted to go home. I…He…" she started crying. She rolled over to face Simon." I let him do things." She stared at him shamefully. She could tell he understood. "I-" Her voice broke and she sobbed.

Simon pulled Miriamele to his chest wrapping his powerful arms around her.

"It's ok." He said gently. "You don't need to say any more… Shhh," He soothed as he held her. "S'Bloody tree, Miri don't be so hard on yourself." He let her cry in his arms then. That was what she needed right now, just to cry.

She woke up a while later. She was curled up on his chest like a cat and he still had his arms around her. He had arranged their cloaks as best he could to keep them warm. As he breathed she felt herself rise and fall with his chest. She snuggled closer and turned her head to watch him. He had grown so much since they had first met. He looked so handsome with his newly cut hair. Hair that she had cut.

The Simon she remembered watching back at the Hayholt seemed a complete stranger now. This Simon was brave and selfless, strong and comforting. No longer a mooncalf scullion. He was a knight but still she could see hints of his old self just below the surface. He was still innocent, caring, and sometimes he could be so naïve.

She matched her breathing to his, and started to drift off to sleep. She saw the difference now between him and Aspitis. The Earl would not have held her and comforted her so, even when he was pretending to like her for her. The man holding her now was honest and kind. With those thoughts floating in her mind she drifted off to sleep.

The end, or TBC if you want. Review. Tell me what you think. It's really all about you the reader.

-Kitty