Life is Pain

"If you release me, anything you as for ransom, you'll get it! I promise you!"

"I'll always love you, Westley. More than anything else. I promise you." That certainly lasted long.

I laughed harshly, remembering that particular phrase quite well. "And what is that worth? The promise of a woman, you're very funny, Highness."

The ending of what I said was quite surprising to even myself. It just slipped out. No longer was she Buttercup, my Buttercup. No, she was Princess Buttercup. The prince's betrothed. Not my own. All she was, all she had been, was lost. Now she was simply a pompous, wealthy, high class princess, and would have far more than I could ever give her. No wonder she fell for him. No wonder she's marrying him.

"I was giving you a chance. It does not matter where you take me, there is no greater hunter than Prince Humperdinck." I cringed internally as she said that name. That name that had taken so much from me. That horrid, disgusting, retched name. Then, to add insult to injury, she continued, "He can track a falcon on a cloudy day, he can find you."

I couldn't stop myself. I was far too bitter. "You think your dearest love will save you?" I snapped, struggling to keep my features in control.

"I never said he was my dearest love!" she retorted angrily. That seemed to spark something within her. I wonder why. Surely she couldn't still care- no, of course she didn't. She'd never marry him if she still believed in us. "But he will save me," she continued, "that I know!"

"You admit to me that you do not love your fiancé?" I asked before I could stop myself, walking over and looking her in her eyes to be sure she wasn't lying.

"He knows I do not love him," she said, softer. She seemed almost taken aback by what I had said.

Once again, my harsh retort came out before I could stop it, "Are not capable of love, is what you mean." Only capable of lying, deceit, and seduction. Taking a small meaningless farm-boy, and giving him hope before sending it crashing down upon him when he finally thinks he's good enough.

She surprised me then, standing up and glaring at me with… hurt in her eyes. "I have loved more deeply than a killer like yourself could ever DREAM!" she shouted.

My hand did the unthinkable as a reflex. It was as if she had punched me in the gut. In a manner, she had. In fact, she had pretty much taken the dagger she had thrust in my back, and twisted it menacingly. I stopped it before it could do such a horrible, unbelievable thing, but I still heard the gasp and wince. I spoke quietly, so as to keep the quiver out of my voice. "That was a warning, Highness. The next time my hand flies on its own, for where I come from there are penalties when a woman lies."

I couldn't keep the venom out of it, however. How dare she? HOW DARE SHE? How dare she assume that she knows who I am? How dare she lie to my face, even if she knows nothing about how that impacts me? How dare she leave me for that prince? How dare she not wait for me, not listen to me? HOW DARE SHE? I loved her, but I couldn't show it. I loved her, but she couldn't know it.

I grabbed her arm and started running, praying to God that we didn't have to stop.

"I know who you are," she said on the very first stop, bringing my fears… and hopes… to fruition. Then have them crushed with her next words, "Your cruelty reveals everything. You're the Dread Pirate Roberts, admit it!"

I did a mock bow, and said, "With pride. What can I do for you?"

"You can die slowly, cut into a thousand pieces," she lashed venomously. Unknowingly, she would get her wish. I am dying slowly, my heart cut into a thousand pieces. And all from simply being in her presence… but she wasn't Buttercup anymore, and I had to get over it… get over her.

Sarcastic tone in place, I tutted and said, "Hardly complementary, Highness. Why loose your venom on me?"

"You killed my love," she accused angrily. That shook me for a second as hopeful thoughts graced my mind, but I swiftly shrugged it off.

"It's possible," I said, cocky tone fading for a moment, "I kill a lot of people."

I paused, wondering if I should continue. Did I want to know, to get my shriveled heart broken once again?

I had to risk it. "Who was this love of yours? Another prince like this one," venom openly seeped into my voice as I continued, "ugly, rich, and scabby?"

Her next few words impaled me through the heart, while at the same time picked up the pieces. "No! A farm boy! Poor!" My smirk slowly subsided as she went on, showing me in a light I had never heard of before. Because that was me. It would be inconceivable and unfair if it were anyone else. "Poor and perfect… with eyes like the sea after a storm."

She paused, tears coming to her eyes. I wanted to jump up then, rip my mask off, and kiss her. Tell her I was alright. That I was alive. That I had come back for her. But she had betrayed me, and that cooled off my rapidly beating heart. That calmed the waves of love and joy that came back. She was engaged to be married, betrothed. She hadn't… she didn't wait for me.

She continued angrily, remembering whom she was speaking with. "On the high seas, your ship attacked! And the Dread Pirate Roberts NEVER takes prisoners!"

I almost snickered at that. Lucky for me, Ryan kept one. So, I gave the excuse he gave when he told me to never reveal my true identity, to only keep someone alive if they seemed fit to keep their life. To only attack merchants and stuffy people, and to never kill anyone that didn't deserve what was coming to them, and make the others swear not to tell.

"I can't afford to make exceptions. I mean, once word leaks out that a pirate has gone soft, people begin to disobey you. Then it's nothing but work, work, work, all the time," I said sarcastically.

"YOU MOCK MY PAIN!" she growled.

My demeanor instantly changed. "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone that says differently is selling something." And it had proven so to me on countless occasions. This one, for example. I finally see my true love once again, only to find out that she's betrothed to a prince, and I have to save her whilst pretending to be my own murderer. How much more painful does it get?

I decided to prove so to her. The good old guilt trip, one might say. Also, a test. A test to see if she could possibly still care for me. No matter how unlikely it was, there was a little voice in the back of my mind shrieking to be heard. I took a gander, "I remember," am, "this farm boy of yours, I think. This would be what, five years ago?" I asked, looking down at her. She wasn't looking at me, so she couldn't see the tear slip down my face, the one thing that destroyed my cocky demeanor. "Does it bother you to hear?" I continued, letting my voice change slightly, almost consoling this time. Almost.

"Nothing you say will upset me," she replied softly, but she couldn't lie to me. I know her better than that.

"He died well, that should please you," I continued, remembering that stormy, life-altering occasion. The day that the farm-boy died, and the true Westley, the one I am now, came into being. "No bribe attempts or blubbering. He simply said please, please I need to live."

I shouldn't have. I should've sobbed and begged and prayed. But no, I had to be a fool and do something right. I could've saved myself all this torment, all this agony. I could've, but I didn't.

"It was the 'please' that caught my memory. I asked him what was so important for him here. True love, he replied." I looked at her and caught her tearful eyes. For a second, I thought I'd get lost in them. Then, I remembered why I had started this whole thing. I continued, "And then he spoke of a girl of surpassing beauty and faithfulness. I can only assume he meant you."

The next part slipped out before my mind processed it, a glare coming with it. "You should bless me for destroying him before he found out what you really are." And I had. Westley the farm-boy had died. He was gone. Lost. He died the moment he heard the news of Humperdinck's new bride. That's when I started truly being ruthless, and the messenger earned a gruesome fate indeed.

She looked startled and offended as she stood up and looked me square in the eye. "And what am I!" she asked furiously.

That's when it all spilled out, and it took all I had in me to say 'he' instead of 'I'. "YOUR FAITHFULNESS, MADAME, YOUR ENDURING FAITHFULNESS! Now tell me truly, when you found out he was gone, did you get engaged to your prince that same hour, or did you wait a whole week out of respect for the dead!"

I was almost 100% certain she'd have figured me out right then and there before she retorted, "YOU MOCKED ME ONCE, NEVER DO IT AGAIN! I DIED THAT DAY!"

What? I felt astonished as hope began to blossom from heart in waves I hadn't felt in half a decade, but I couldn't respond. I heard horses, and I made the mistake of looking instead of ripping off my mask and kissing her right then.

And, naturally, having been pushed over the edge by her true love's 'murderer', she did an admirable – in any other situation – thing.

She snarled, "And you can die to for all I CARE!" and pushed me down the hill.

And, I said what came naturally whenever she gave me an order.

"As you wish!"