Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Many thanks to Not Done Baking for her incredible beta services.
This story is set during Eclipse.
Her delicate hand hovered over the bowl of fruit. She knew which one she wanted. But still she hesitated. Each choice had its own appeal. The color, texture and taste of each were distinctive and pleasant to her. Yet her mind was made up. Her fingers traced the curve of the apple, because none of the others enticed her the way this one did. A smile tugged at her lips as she plucked it up.
Cradling it carefully in her hands, she turned to the sink. With a soft squeak from the faucet, cool water showered down on the fruit, splashing against its surface. The gentle stream seemed to enhance its color, making it vibrant and all the more tempting. Pulling away, she allowed the water to run through her fingers, the apple now clean and wet. The crimson orb sparkled slightly as it caught the dull rays of the fluorescent lights above. Holding it aloft, she spun it slowly on its stem, marveling at its ordinary perfection.
This tantalizing fruit could have been Snow White's treat, so ripe and fair it looked! Surely Hera's golden apples of eternal life could not have been more desirable. And even Mother Eve would have gladly taken a bite of this one, no matter the consequences!
She lowered the apple, inspecting it closely. Even whole, its light fragrance drew her. She already knew something of its sweetness, and yearned to experience it anew. Her lips parted in anticipation of taking that first bite, longing for the familiar crunch when her teeth would sink into its flesh.
Her thoughts were interrupted when two strong arms snaked around her waist from behind, and frigid lips kissed her neck. Her breath caught in her throat and her heartbeat stuttered. Though welcome and familiar, the sensations were immobilizing. Involuntarily her eyes closed as she leaned into his marble chest.
The apple was forgotten; slipping from her palms, it began careening into the silver basin below. Instantly his ghostly hand flashed out, halting the bruising fall. The long, white fingers encased the wet fruit, protecting, preserving it.
A soft chuckle vibrated in his throat. Her reaction to his presence always delighted him. Tenderly, he placed the apple back into her distracted hands, cupping his fingers around hers. Predictably, blood rushed to her cheeks, matching the blushing fruit she held. So lovely a color, he mused and inhaled deeply, feasting on her intoxicating fragrance.
Reluctantly, he leaned away from her softness, and reached for a small towel. Then, with his chin resting on her shoulder, they slowly dried the delicate fruit together, their fingers entwining. His icy hands burned at the warmth of hers, while her heart beat erratically at his touch.
The moment was ripe. It was time. With deliberate slowness, he brought forth a simple knife. Its blade caught the light, flashing before her eyes. She swallowed unconsciously. So common a tool, yet deadly, she shivered.
He studied the instrument, perfectly balanced in his capable hands, seeing only the harm it could do. Slicing, destroying, consuming. And dangerously easy to use. Glancing at the perfect fruit in her hands, he wavered. It couldn't ever be undone.
Sensing the purpose behind his pause, she lifted her eyes to his. Her smile of confidence steadied his will. It's what she wants, he reminded himself. His lips pressed into a thin line of determination.
Gently lifting the apple from her, he positioned it on the board. Taking an unneeded breath, his fingers wrapped around the blade's handle. Trembling slightly, she laid her hand on his, encouraging him. Together they took the knife, hovering above the fated fruit. Her breath stilled and her heart pounded.
With practiced precision, tinged with relief and regret, the knife sliced through the rosy skin.