A/N: The Room of Waking is said to be in Castle Oblivion. Fic based on that theory.
Once upon a time there was a doll.
Such a very delicate porcelain doll. She had smooth skin, blonde hair and a pair of the bluest eyes you'll ever see. This doll found herself waking up at an odd castle. Empty, bleak, situated in the middle of nowhere. White halls, white rooms, white doors. There was no one else around, no other living being, no other person to tell her what she was or how she should act. As consequence, the doll remained blank and nameless, spending her days walking along the halls like a ghost, haunting the corridors with the sounds of her footsteps.
She didn't feel anything, she couldn't remember anything. In fact, she didn't even knew she was existing. Her body wandered by itself, wherever she may step, until she stumbled upon a door unlike others.
Deep, down, at the basement of the castle. The door was large, impossible to open, unlike the others. She stopped in front of it, blue eyes looking until she had to crane her neck to see. And suddenly, she discovered a feeling quite similar to how Pandora felt when she was presented with the box. She didn't knew what curiosity was, but she did knew that she wanted to know what was beyond the door.
Her smooth hands pressed against the door, gently pushing like she did with the other doors.
The door granted her passage. She was a being without hostile intention, no darkness in her. Empty of anything right now except curiosity. It opened without effort, revealing to her a wide, circular room. Glowing lights like chains traveled from the ceiling to the floor, leading to a spot of light in the center. This was definitely different than the other rooms, and if her curiousity didn't occupy her, she would have noticed a figure in the corner.
For you see, she was not alone in this castle. In this castle, there was a toy soldier. A broken, toy soldier. A long time ago he had been broken, and all the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put him back together again. He was not completely broken, but no one knew that. And so he was left and forgotten in the basement, like most toys are when they are used and unwanted.
The soldier stood up shakily, armor reflecting the light traveling around the room and making it seem to glow as if it was new. He had not moved in a long time. He was trapped here for so long, half insane, sometimes wishing death would take him. But how much more broken could he be? He couldn't break himself. Slowly, he approached the doll, not wanting to scare her.
The girl looked at him, and for the briefest moment, her eyes had a spark of fear in them, before it returned to the empty listless state they were in. He wondered what made her so, and approached her still. He had been alone all this time. He wanted to have one more use, before he wasted away completely. Perhaps, he could bring life to this doll. But how?
And like a far off memory, what little memories he had came into his ghost mind. A castle, like this. Lights, almost similar. There was no music, no pumpkin carriages, no talking mice, no fairy godmothers. But there was a girl. And a prince. If he could remember more, he would have laughed. He was not a prince. Just a broken being right now.
But nevertheless, he got down on one knee in front of her and offered his hand. As a spirit, a ghost entity, he couldn't speak. But the gesture was what he remembered it to be.
Dance with me...
Light started to spark into the doll's eyes, and slowly, her hand reached out to take his. Equally slow, he stood back up, letting her get used to the sensation of cold metal against her fingers. Her eyes looked up at him, but what eyes she was almost expecting was blocked by the visor. His other hand guided her arm as the hand that was holding hers intertwined their fingers. Her hand was placed on his shoulder, and he slipped his arm around her waist, gentle, careful not to break her.
And slowly, they moved.
There was no grand orchestra, just silence that was their music. For a minute, she didn't respond, her eyes studying his armored feet as the metal made motions she couldn't understand. And then, understanding filtered in, and she slowly swayed with him, light blue sandals making efforts to copy the motions. When she had gotten the gist of it, he gave her an experimental twirl, and she allowed him to lead. By their fifth twirl, there was something like triumph in her face, for she wasn't moving awkwardly now, and she could twirl gracefully.
They danced, two lonely figures in a giant, empty castle. There was nothing else in her world except him, a knight in armor without a face who was holding her and making her feel odd. And there was nothing more left for him to do but give one last dance, to help this girl find her light.
Hours ticked by. She got tired, and sensing this, he carefully scooped her up, cradling her gently against his cold, metal body. She didn't seem to mind as her eyes fluttered close, her head against his chest. But he didn't stop the movements. He still swayed, lulling her into sleep.
This carried on for a few days, the girl waking up to find herself in a room with a bed each morning. She would go back down to the basement, and be invited to dance again. It became her routine, and she looked forward to the meetings with the mysterious knight. It felt nice to be held and swayed.
One night, she woke up earlier than usual, well into almost midnight. Her companion had seated himself back in the corner, a silent protector. She found herself wrapped in his cape, pressed against him. Tilting her head at him, the visor moved to look at her, assuring he was still there.
...that was the first time she smiled.
The doll stood up and faced him, before extending out her hand like he did before.
Dance with me.
He took it, and pulled himself up. This time, she didn't hesitate placing both of her hands on his shoulders. She felt the cold metal hands along her waist, and still slightly drowsy, leaned her head against his chest, swaying slowly. As for the soldier...
Was it possible for a ghost to be nervous? Maybe yes. Maybe no. As time slipped by and midnight approached, his anticipation grew. This was what she was missing out when she fell asleep the other nights. He remembered that midnight was when it would all be over. But that was for Cinderella. For him, it was the complete reverse.
As midnight tolled, the girl felt as if the armor had grown fuller. As if it wasn't empty. She stopped, looking up, and faintly heard breathing noises from under the visor.
And once again, curiosity took her, and her fingers slid up to remove the helmet.
Blue eyes stared back at her, blond hair fell across his forehead, and for a moment, they just stared at each other directly. There weren't any words needed, just the silence like they always had. Her fingers moved again, dropping the helmet and instead pressing against his face. She felt cold, almost dead skin, and she gasped. He made a move to move away but she kept her hold, studying his face. Precious seconds slipped by, and the soldier finally moved, stealing a split second to press his lips against hers momentarily.
That was the first feeling of warmth she had felt. It traveled from her lips to her cheeks, down her body, making her tingle all over. And as he pulled away, the helmet rematerialized on him, hiding his face from view again.
That was the first time she blushed and laughed.
Once upon a time, there was a doll.
She had awoken on a white bed in a white room, almost camouflaged by the ashen colors all around. As she made for the door to go to the basement again, her path was blocked by dark, hooded figures, and she felt terrified. She wanted to go back. She wanted to dance again. She didn't like these figures calling her 'witch'. She wanted to see his face again.
But they told her it was a dream. That none of it was real. That even if she went down there now, she wouldn't find anything. She didn't understand, and kept insisting. Until they finally took her there.
The room was dark. There were no more lights.
And scattered on the floor were the ruins of an armor, brutally ripped apart.
That was the first time she cried.