TITLE: Beauty Sleep – part 2 of 2

AUTHOR: KateKane

FANDOMS: Sleeping Beauty, Tomb Raider

PAIRING: Sleeping Beauty / Lara Croft (femslash)

RATING: PG13

DISCLAIMER: Anyone is entitled to reinterpret a fairytale, in accordance with the old oral tradition. Lara Croft, however, belongs to some media conglomerate – and I hereby beg them not to sue me for borrowing her.

SPOILERS: None… Unless you never read fairytales.

SUMMARY: The true story about the 13th fairy and why she wasn't invited to the celebration of Sleeping Beauty's birth – and about the ultimate kiss of love.

Beauty Sleep – part 2

"Where the hell am I," she mumbles in upper-class English, biting her full lower lip. Her title – not princess, but Lady – has had no apparent influence on her choice of wardrobe; rather, it meets the practical demands of an archaeologist and adventurer: A grey tank-top and obscenely skimpy shorts – the only bearable outfit in this tropical heat. Fingerless gloves, great for rock-climbing, cover her hands, the long, dark hair is braided. Two enormous pistols are fastened to her belt, just in case. At the moment she is carefully examining a compass and an old hand-drawn map.

It is of the utmost importance to Lara Croft that she finds the legendary castle before Alex West, her archrival. It is a matter of not just life or death. Something far worse is at stake: Her honour and reputation as a skilled treasure hunter.

The mountains around her are so overgrown with thorny bushes that they would appear like one undifferentiated green surface to most people, but Lara's trained eye apparently finds what it seeks. In any case, she folds the map and put it and the compass in her back-pack with a content look on her face, before continuing straight ahead.

Her sense of directions has not failed her: Soon a castle appears in the middle of all the thorns, so suddenly it seems magic had something to do with it. Ivy and the hands of time have been hard on its facades and in a way made the castle merge with its wild surroundings, but its marvellous past is still obvious to anyone. In Lara's opinion, the withered bridge and large roof tiles blocking the front gate in fact make the castle more appealing, since they surely mean that she is the first person in centuries to enter it.

And to Lara, being number one is essential.

She hesitates in the oval courtyard. A priceless treasure is hidden somewhere in these ruins, according to a legend she herself translated from Sanskrit and accidentally told Alex, that jerk, about. But so far there is no trace of him, so hopefully it won't pose a problem. Right now all she has to worry about is figuring out where in this huge domicile the treasure is hidden.

"Where would I myself hide it…?" she mumbles, scanning her surroundings.

Well. Cellar window. Main entrance. Tower. A smile widens across her face. The tower. Where else!

There are four towers, but Lara picks the eastern tower, because it is the tallest one. It has its own entance, a locked iron gate, and of course Lara has picked far more complicated locks than the ones produced in the 17th century. But since she is already wearing her gloves and brought all the equipment along, she decides to climb the tower on the outside, heading for a small window at the very top. It might be a little dangerous, but it is also much more fun and offers better suspense before she reaches the climax of her journey.

The treasure. It belongs to her the moment she crosses the windowsill enters the tower through the window and lands on a dusty, but surprisingly intact marble floor. She has entered feet first with her back to the room itself, but even before turning around she can sense that something is out of order.

She is not alone. There is the scent of another human being, the breath of another person, very close by. Most people would not have noticed, but Lara has spent decades sharpening her senses, and now the disappointment hits her like a wave.

"Alex," she whispers. Then louder, turning to face the room: "Alex, I know you're in here, so just give it up, you slimy weasel."

Lara was right – she is not alone. On a round four-poster bed, of carved rose tree from what she can tell, a person is resting, swept in silk sheets. But it is most definitely not Alex.

The fabric clings so closely to the unmistakably feminine form and really doesn't leave much to the imagination, but Lara pulls it aside anyway. Science requires thorough observation, she tells herself, fully aware that science is not the driving force behind her actions right now. Her true motive becomes even more obvious when the sheets fall to the floor, revealing a young woman wearing only a completely transparent plastic dress, extremely misplaced in these rustic surroundings.

It is, however, not the dress that forces Lara to swallow. The chest beneath it moves regularly (and she is not observing it for medical reasons either), a calm pulse visible through the skin on the women's neck. Pale skin, but the cheeks are gradually regaining colour, as Lara watches her. There's a slight shudder under the woman's eyelids. The hair is one big unruly pillow under her head. She is absolutely alive and irresistible.

Something in between a word and a sigh escapes the woman's slightly parted lips in that instance, and finally Lara can no longer control herself. She kisses them.

2