AN: Hello, this is Elles, after such a terrible absence. I want to continue my second story, I truly do…but I'm losing the person who inspired the piece. I can't touch that story until I'm able to cope emotionally with that. But, since I know some of you out there liked it…I thought it might be a good idea to introduce a different concept and a new story while I gather myself. This is only the prologue to something I've mulled over, and I await your thoughts eagerly. I apologize for the brevity, but I like how it turned out.

Disclaimer: In this transient world, we don't even own ourselves…hmm, that's kind of deep in an annoying way…

Well, hello. I wasn't quite expecting company on a day like this. It's getting chilly outside and dark clouds have been forming since this morning. I'd say it's likely to either hail or snow terribly any time now.

Do come in, won't you? If you could please close the door behind you…yes, I'd rather not have a draft in here. Not on a winter's day like today. I'm sorry I haven't been a very diligent housekeeper today. I've had too much on my mind, and haven't so much as made up a fire.

But come into the study with me. I'll make one up in there, have you warm as toast in no time. I've already made some of that peppermint tea you're so very keen on and I don't mind sharing with you. Yes, yes, right through there. Please make yourself at home—there's that old stuffed chair you're fond of, sit right there while I get the fire going.

What? Of course you're not imposing. No more of this polite rubbish between us, yes? It is cold and it would be inhuman of me to make you leave, so the least I can do is make us both comfortable while we are in one another's company.

Ah, thank you for pouring the tea. Just leave my cup by the stand next to my chair and I'll be along. My back isn't what it used to be, and it takes me a little time to stand back up.

There we are. Fire, tea, and fine company. My evening has improved greatly, I'm in great spirits.

Hmm? You came for a story, I suppose? Well it's not too hard a task to wheedle one from me on a night like this. Shall I tell you a historical account of the crusades or of the Battle at Hastings of 1066?

Now don't make that face, I was only teasing. Very well, then. You've heard fables and Grimms and Aesops and even mystic tales from far away—the Rose and the Nightingale is a favorite of yours, shall I tell it again?

Something new then? I have had a story in mind for quite some time…perhaps now is just the time to tell it. It is a history, indeed it is, but I guarantee it will not bore. How could it, when I have always kept it close in my heart, as have all who have heard it? For better or worse, those who hear the tale never forget it. Would you like to hear it still?

All right, just let me take another sip of tea and we shall begin, for it is a rather long story. Mm, still warm and slightly bittersweet. Now where was I?

Oh, yes…I think I shall proceed at the beginning and end at the end…with a man. No, not quite a man yet…There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy. They say he wandered very far, very far, over land and sea….A little shy and sad of eye--but very wise was he…

And then one day, a magic day, he passed my way…and while we spoke of many things—fools and kings—this he said to me:

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return"

Do you want to hear the rest, curious creature?

AN: Thank you for reading, even though I've been away so long. It means a great deal.

PS- the song here should be familiar to most...much love to David Bowie (it's his version in my head, from MR)