Jasmine sat on a balcony railing, staring out at the midnight sea. Her eyes perceived the ocean's beauty and yet she couldn't see it. She knew the salt in the wind as it blew through her hair and prickled her skin, but she could neither smell nor feel its presence. Still young, but no longer youthful, the Queen was often lost to the world around her. Since the night of her resurrection Jasmine had returned a changed woman. She remembered her husband's joy, how he held and kissed her upon her return, but try as she might she couldn't recall her emotions. Everything since then felt… blank somehow.
Jasmine hated the idea that she had grown so numb. It was a selfish reaction and owning it made her feel weak. Her mind always went back to the speech she gave Aladdin that awful night so long ago, when she lectured him on their responsibility to remain strong for their people. Jasmine tried to do just that, every day she tried. But what fed into this growing emptiness was the reasoning behind it. He had told her to live, and live well, and she was trying, for him. And so with every effort to move on she was reminded of the very thing she need to leave behind. But he always stayed with her, and always would. That's the only thing she felt anymore. And she knew in her heart she couldn't let it go.
In what could be called Jasmine's absence, the weight of ruling fell entirely on Aladdin. This, as it turned out, was a blessing in disguise. Without his wife to fall back on, Aladdin quickly learned how to assume responsibility for his people. In fact, the more Jasmine stood on the sidelines, the better a ruler Aladdin became. In the few years since the attack, Agrabah had transformed itself. Now twice the size it was before, the people took strength from the remains of their city and built upon its face a kingdom that could rival any in the eastern world. Their culture flourished, founded by the inspiration of their leaders: the sultan whose humble origins and strength in battle fueled their power to build and conquer, the sultana whose miraculous return inspired a new wave of faith that bonded their people like never before. And so as Agrabah grew stronger, Jasmine found the pressure to rule gently slipping off her shoulders.
Most of her days were spent by the sea, in a winter palace her father had built back when she was still just a little girl. Aladdin often came with her on these trips, but he would only stay for a day or two, always returning to their kingdom and leaving her in the peace of solitude. Here, alone in this place, she didn't have to pretend anymore. Jasmine could simply rest and try to figure out the endless mystery of how to enjoy life, when the one person she needed was no longer in it.
This night, like many others, was spent in silent contemplation. It was just her, and the wind, and the sea, and the stars.
Amid the familiar stillness, something suddenly changed. Jasmine blinked and, realizing she was no longer alone, the young Queen turned. Her eyes beheld a peculiar sight. A woman was standing on the balcony with her, her head crowned with a mighty helm and in her hands a shield and a spear was carried. The moment Jasmine beheld her, however, she knew this person meant her no harm. It was a queer thing to observe, most notably the unearthly light that surrounded her unusual form.
Still trapped in her signature daze, Jasmine merely blinked, her eyes moving over the stranger. To her surprise, the woman smiled. It was a brilliant smile that shone with the light of kindness and wisdom.
"Oh c'mon now, Jasmine. You can't give up this easily." Her tone was lighthearted and brimming with mirth. "After everything I've done to help you get there, you still won't take the last few steps."
"Who are you?" Jasmine asked, her expression finally changing.
"You know who I am, just not by name," The Goddess replied. She waited, looking knowingly at the confused Queen. To help her, the glowing woman raised her arm and looked to the sky. Jasmine looked, and from the darkness she noticed movement from one of the stars. Its light drew closer and closer until Jasmine realized that it was not a star at all but a bird, a great white bird, descending form the heavens and soring over the white-capped waves of the sea. The owl swooped down over the couple and flapping its mighty wings perched on the arm of the beautiful warrior. For the first time in years, a light ignited in Jasmine's eyes.
"Hello again." the Queen said sweetly, the corners of her mouth daring to smile. The Goddess stroked the feathers of the spectral bird.
"This is Athene and I am her master, Athena. We've been watching over you for quite some time, little Queen. But I can't say that these last two years have left me feeling very appreciated." The Goddess Athena arched an elegant brow, watching for Jasmine's reaction.
"I'm afraid I don't know what you mean." The young woman said, a troubled look clouding over her.
"You've been a little lost since your return, haven't you?" Athena asked.
Jasmine's face fell. "Yes," she said.
"What is it you've been looking for?" The woman asked, but her tone held no trace of sincerity. It was the sort of voice one uses when speaking to a child, and Jasmine had to admit, she would be lying if she said it didn't bother her. Still she thought on the question and when she did two answers came to her mind. Happiness? She thought. How to live well like he told me? But the word she chose to use instead was different, and yet it meant the same .
"Jafar?" She responded, unable to keep the question out of her voice. To her surprise the Goddess smiled and shook her head.
"Almost," she said, "but not quite."
"I don't know then." Jasmine said solemnly and turned away from the perfect woman and her lighthearted tone. As she braced her hands on the railing and gazed again at the stars, Jasmine felt an unfamiliar touch of honest affection. Athena tilted Jasmine's chin with the crook of her finger, gently guiding her gaze toward her.
"Maybe this will help." She said and reaching into her robes she pulled something out for Jasmine to see. The Queen gasped, her hands flying to cover her mouth as all at once the wall within her was broken. Emotion surged back into her heart as her eyes beheld the genie's lamp. Still shimmering with her laughing light, Athena placed the lamp on the railing and embraced the mortal queen
"It's ok, Jasmine," she said rubbing her back, "You can relax now, it's all alright." When her hands fell to reveal her face, Jasmine was smiling. Whether she was laughing or crying she couldn't tell. She was simply overwhelmed to feel something again.
"I'm sorry," she said, wiping the tears from her eyes, "I'm ok, I'm good." The two women laughed, surrounded in the emotion of the moment.
"So…" Jasmine started, her eyes locked on the lamp, "What does this mean? I get a second chance?"
"You have one wish left," Athena said calmly, "It's entirely up to you how to use it."
"The third wish," Jasmine whispered. She took a deep breath and let it go. She was giddy with feeling again, electrified by her sudden reawakening. But at the same time she felt the sudden pressure of the request she was about to make. Looking at Athena she gave the Goddess a sheepish smile.
"I don't suppose you could tell me what to say?"
"Ha!" laughed the warrior, "Do you know how many rules I've already broken for you?! This time you're on your own. And I've got a lot riding on this, you know, so you better get it right." She winked at Jasmine then, placing a kind hand on her shoulder. "Besides, you already have the words in your heart. All you have to do is give them a voice."
Jasmine smiled at Athena. She nodded and the woman stepped away to grant her space. Carefully, Jasmine took the lamp in her hands, holding the precious object close to her heart. Once more she looked to the vastness of the sea. Jasmine smiled, seeing for the first time just how beautiful it truly was. She brought the lamp to her lips and whispered two magic words,
A/N: Wow. I want to thank each and every one of you who have faved, followed, and commented on this story. I wasn't sure I was going to finish it but now that I have I feel immensely grateful for all that your support contributed. I seriously couldn't have finished it without you.
I hope you like the ending, but even if you don't, please leave me a review to let me know why. I'd love to know what you think, the good and the bad.
I had a lot of fun writing this, it was a (very) long journey and so for those of you who have stuck with it till the end, I send you all my love and affection. There's nothing better than you.
I am STOKED to read your reviews and reactions so please send 'em my way! Thanks again guys! From the bottom of my heart
~Piper (Olivia) Cleaveland