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Fair Princess, Shall We Dance?

by hikari-aozora

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Young Princess, you know so very little, and yet that does not stop you. You embrace life anyway, take it all in anyway, fall into his arms anyway, and let him carry you away. He insisted, afterall. Yes, blame it on him, sweet princess; he was the one who swept you off your feet, and you fell, fell, fell into his loving, strong arms that he wrapped around you so, so delicately, and yet so tightly, as if he would never let go.

No, no, he would never let you go, not after all you had been through together; but which one was he?

And so the light that has engulfed you dims for a moment, and lo and behold, there are two. Two knights in shining armor riding to your rescue, as in the storybooks your grandmother would read to you before bed. Two knights kneeling at your feet and kissing your hand so tenderly. Two knights that have already pledged their souls to you before you had even asked.

But no, no, this will not do. Two knights for one princess cannot be so. Two knights will quarrel and fight and sooner or later, one will surely fall, fall, fall.

So who will you choose? Who will be your prince to stand by your side, and who will forever be the lonesome knight?

Ah, but you are still young, and there is plenty of time in the future for making important decisions. Best not to trouble a child's mind.

Yes, best, but who's opinion is that?

.oOo.

Pretty, pretty Princess, years older, years wiser, with still two knights by your side, parading you across the threshold of your youth into a knew, brighter world of beauty, love, promises ... and, most of all, deception.

You still haven't chosen, still haven't put thought into your decision, and everyone is anxious for the verdict, but you pay them no mind. You're enjoying these years while they last, enjoying just being with them again, your two almost-princes, after the three of you had been seperated for so long. You love them both and they know it, give them equal attention and they are grateful, and they smile and laugh while they are with you. But when your back is turned they glare at each other and snarl and snap and think you don't see, and they hex each other with silent curses and think you don't hear. You are not ignorant, and you are definitely not stupid, and so therefore you are not oblivious to the tension between them.

But you know they are best friends, always have been, and always will be, and they would never, never, never hurt each other intentionally.

And that's why you can't have either of them. You just can't.

Or, at least, not yet.

.oOo.

Fair Princess, you have held out for so, so long, and they are growing weary of your trials. Yes, they know you've been testing them, watching them intently, scrutenizing them, waiting for one to slip and make his descent, therefore relieving you of the weight of this burden upon your shoulders. But no, no, neither has faltered, and your arms are like lead, pulling you down, down, down, and you don't know how much longer you can hold out.

You knew it would be hard, but never, never could you ever have predicted that it would be this hard.

You love them both so very much, and they are both so very different, so how are you to choose?

The first, the older, is stronger, wiser, more handsome, sure, and any other girl would choose him in a heartbeat. He could protect you and would never fail, that you are sure of. He is focused, so focused, and seems to know everything. You would be content with him, have everything you could ever need in a man, and you know, without a doubt, that he could provide for you with ease. But he is just so very, very serious, and sometimes you wish that he would pull back his hair that is silver like moonbeams so that you could see his eyes that are green with a hint of blue like the fan-shaped leaves of the paopu tree. But most of all, you wish he would just, for once, smile.

You love the moon. You love that tree.

But it is the smile of the younger one, the one with unruly spikes of chocolate-brown hair atop his head, that really takes your breath away. He smiles at you with such sincerity that you are awe-stricken, and his sky-blue eyes sparkle like the sun. He is so carefree, so relaxed, so laid-back that you find yourself green with envy, but one smile of his and that all melts away. He motions you over and you sit beside him with your toes in the sand, your knees pulled up to your chest, leaning back on your hands, just watching in amazement as the sun sinks into the sea. But as you watch the sunset, he watches you, and you can see out of the corner of your eye that he is still smiling.

And you find yourself admiring him, his compassion, how loving and lovely he is, and how absolutely wonderful he makes you feel.

You are brought out of your trance by the sound of your name on his tongue, and you turn to face him. Your gazes meet and lock immediately, and you can tell that he has something to say. You tuck a strand of cherry-red hair behind your ear and nod your head once, only once, and he knows you're listening.

And with that, he takes your hands in his, looking deep into your violet eyes, and tells you he knows what's been troubling you these past few days.

You can feel your pulse quicken -nowwhatwillido- but you sigh when you realize you've known it all along. It was no secret. It couldn't have been; everyone in your kingdom knows of your delimma, that's for sure, and so you avert your eyes in shame. But when he tells you to look at him with such a gentle, gentle order, you oblige, knowing that he was not finished.

You hold your breath.

In a soothing tone he tells you again that he knows ... they both do ... and that whatever happens, happens. It is your decision to make, he says, and because he cares for you more than you will ever know, he will respect whatever that decision may be. You nod again, still saying nothing, feeling slightly uncomfortable now, with his eyes still upon you. Yet you cannot tear your eyes away from him this time, for his mouth says one thing, but his eyes say something completely different.

And all of the sudden you feel faint, and your world starts to spin, and you know the end of the ordeal is growing closer, closer. Your eyes droop closed, and with your mind you can picture yourself with both of them, happy and smiling. Two pictures, two lives, but which one will you choose to live? You want to shake your head, clear it of these visions, but you are paralyzed. You are paralyzed, yet you are dancing a dangerous dance back and forth between the possibilities. Light on your feet, you dance, and you see yourself in a beautiful, flowing gown and a crown adorned with jewels, just dancing, dancing, back and forth, back and forth, happy and smiling, happy and smiling.

But in which portrait is the smile a false one?

The first is all you could ever need, and the second is all you could ever want. The first would give you the world, and the second means the world to you.

And despite all circumstances, you find yourself loving the second so much more.

Your eyes flutter open as tears roll down your cheek, and his hand flies to your rescue, wiping your troubles away. He caresses your cheek and chin, with hands so soft, so soft, and that gentle touch is all it takes to send you over the edge.

You can't take it anymore.

So you give in to temtation and fall, fall, fall into his arms, into his warm embrace, and let him shower you with affection, let his kisses splatter like raindrops against your cheek, your chin, your forehead ... your lips ... and there they stay, kissing away the pain again, and again, and again. And when you are tired and weary from kisses, he holds you close to him, his head burried in the crook of your neck, his arms wrapped tightly around your waist, and whispers into your ear declarations of his love for you over and over and over again. And as your head rests against his chest, you can hear the steady beating of his heart, a soothing rhythm, and you answer his calls.

I love you, too.

You are exhausted, but you have never been happier.

You've made your decision, and you pray to your god that it was the right one.

But not quite so far away as you think stands a lonely knight, his expression vacant, his long and rain-dampened hair blowing in this young storm's winds. He watches you from a not-so-great distance, watches you fall fast into the arms of your prince, and knows that he, too, is falling, falling. He knows, and he understands, and he cannot undo what has been done.

The thunder crashes, and he is gone.

.oOo.

Young Princess, you are a child still, and you hope to last.

Pretty, pretty Princess, your path is shining bright amid the night.

Oh, fair Princess, what have you done?

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A/N: And with this, oh terrible Writer's Block, I banish the to the depths of the abyss!

The first two statements after Princess at the end are from this song we're singing for our winter choir concert called Newborn Snow.

I'd really like to know what you guys thought about this, if it's not too much trouble ...