I am so so sorry about how long of a break I've taken! I promise I'm going to be updating more often now! This includes my Beauty and the Beast story and Senior Year. After rereading through them I think I've regathered my muse. Hopefully all you readers are still there and eager! You guys are awesome!

The oranges and yellows of the sunset casted long shadows over the castle as the sun sunk lower and lower behind the hills in the distance. Tino was sat in Berwald's usual chair, puzzling over a book of fairy tales and fables. The room was growing too dark as the daylight disappeared and he let out a forlorn sigh, "... Berwald?"

The knight's head snapped up mid-snore from the corner of the room. "Nn.. wha'?" he questioned earnestly, despite having just being woken up.

The Finn stifled a laugh. He didn't want to point out how crooked Berwald's glasses were or how ruffled his hair was. "Have you ever read these?" he brandished the hard-backed book.

Berwald's eyes narrowed slightly as he attempted to focus on the curly script engraved on the front of the stories. "Fa'ry tales?"

"Yes. I found them on Mathias' desk. I never would've guessed he was a reader..." he admitted, sounding a bit embarrassed. Now that he thought about it, he probably should've asked the Dane if he could borrow them before just taking the book. In retrospect it definitely was smarter – but just where had Mathias been lately? He was a slight bit nervous to press the man on anything after that.. episode in the hall that had turned into a full blown fist fight.

"M'eith'r." Berwald replied with a shrug of his massive shoulders.

"So.. do you think the stories in here are really true?"the Finn spoke tentatively after a prolonged pause. He surveyed the man carefully with his violet eyes. "Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood.. all of it."

The knight seemed to be deliberating something mentally, but led no clues as to what it actually was. ".. Maybe." he finally answered carefully, crossing his arms.

"Maybe?" Tino raised his eyebrow curiously. "Why just maybe?"

"We'll nev'r know fer sure." was the grunted reply, but something in his icy gaze said differently.

The prince's brow furrowed and his rosy lips twisted into a pout. "You sure there's not.. any merit to them? An ounce of truth?"

Berwald didn't meet his eyes. "I don't know."

Tino let out a cooped up sigh. It didn't seem like Berwald was going to talk anytime soon. He'd have to press him on the matter later, though he really wasn't all that good at persuading people to do things for him. If only he had a puppy dog pout as good as Mathias'... "Heh.. I just wondered, you know? It's kind of fun to pretend fairy tales are real.. I know, I know, call me childish."

The knight quickly shook his head, "I d'n't think 's childish. S'metimes y'need s'mething to think 'bout other th'n real'ty."

"Yeah, I guess so." the prince let out a snort, "When I was little I used to have dreams that I was Rapunzel, and someone came to let me play outside of the castle. Ahaha.. kinda funny to think about now, me having hair that long."

Berwald cracked a smile and attempted to pat down his own flaxen locks, though it didn't do much to flatten the ruffled nest. "'d 'lways climb up th' tower t' save s'meone as beautiful as you."

Tino's cheeks abruptly flushed, turning the shade of ripe raspberries. He shyly glanced away and looked out the castle window, "Thanks, Berwald. I wish I could do something for you sometimes."

"Jus' bein' you 's good 'nough." the knight commented with a nonchalant shrug of his massive shoulders.

The prince couldn't fight the smile breaking across his lips, before a rogue thought surfaced in his mind. He tried to keep all nervous and jittery tones from creeping into his voice, "Oh! I was meaning to ask you... what all exactly did you hear when Mathias was um.. talking to me in the hallway?"

Berwald's neutral expression darkened ever so slightly at the mere mention of the Dane's name, "Jus' heard yellin'.. 'nd he w's m'streatin' y'."

"Well... here's the thing, actually.." Tino swallowed nervously, knowing he was sorta.. kinda breaking a pinky promise. But it's not like Berwald had anyone to tell! He just felt bad, because pinky promises were essentially the most sacred promises ever. "We were arguing about Sigurd."

The knight raised a thick eyebrow quizzically, silently pressing Tino to go on. Not that he would ever admit it, but the Finn sometimes took all the time in the world to get to the point.

"I think he um, has feelings for Prince Sigurd." Berwald managed to look slightly surprised despite his stoic expression. "I really, really wasn't trying to hurt his feelings or anything! I mean as a friend, I felt like I should at least warn him of the potential consequences, right? Besides.. have you seen how Sigurd acts? I don't think he'd ever appreciate a, err.. person like Mathias. Honestly, he gives me the creeps." Tino tried to explain the situation while still avoiding the tiny, minuscule detail that he was actually engaged to be married. How hard could that be to avoid, right?

The knight's brow furrowed as it often did when he thought things over. "M'thias 's an idiot." he said bluntly before adding thoughtfully, "'f he won't l'sten t' y' then it's his fault."

The Finn released his pent up breath, though the guilt from avoiding the real matter of the problem didn't take any moral weight from his shoulders. Darn it. "Yeah.. I guess you're right." he forced a smile and took Berwald's hand into his own. "Thanks." He silently made a promise to himself that he was most definitely going to tell the knight everything. This week. No take backs!

The throne room of the Norway Palace seemed to be gathering more and more dust, and a sense of foreboding darkness along with it. The King of Norway was being corrupted from the inside out, his stony heart not putting up much of a moral fight. The scantily clad demon sat perched on her place at his knee, a knowing gleam in her eyes. "My king..." she began in a slow drawl. "I have a suggestion to make..."

"Anything." he replied mechanically, one of his bejeweled hands tightening around Lilith's waist as her forked tail swung slowly from side to side.

"I think we should speed up our plans. After all, my sisters could use another kingdom to feed off of." Lilith smirked coyly, pressing her blood red lips briefly to the man's cheek. "And I desperately know just how much you love to conquer territory."

The king's brow creased ever so slightly as if he was trying to recall some past thought, but his face quickly smoothed back over into stone. "You're right."

"Let's send one of my sisters now then... hm?" she dragged a wickedly curved, ebony nail down his cheek. "We'll get rid of your son, and set it up under the pretense of murder. Of course the foolish Finnish kingdom will pretend they had nothing to do with it.. mm... but it will give us the excuse for war." Her red eyes gleamed dangerously, "Plus, I never pass up the chance for delicious revenge.. with the Savior of Sweden in our clasp as well, I'll finally find the soul I've been looking for to make me truly and utterly immortal. Plus, I simply can't forgive him for what he did to Huldra, even if the bitch did have it coming..."