"One on a dark winter's day when the yellow fog hung so think and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking girl sat in a cab with her father."

Wesley reads himself hoarse. His voice aches, but he doesn't want to stop. Beside him, Fred has fallen into an uneasy sleep, her skin flushed and her breathing shallow.

Wesley's chest tightens with the unfairness of it. They've only just found each other, and now he's about to lose her. He leans down and presses a kiss to her clammy forehead.

"I love you Fred," he says. "I always have."

Fred's breath eases and deepens, as if she's heard him.

Wesley glances down at the book in his hands. It is obviously much-loved. The cover is battered and the spine creased. Inside the cover Winnifred Burkle is written large in a sloppy, childish hand.

"It's you, you know," Wesley says to Fred. "You're the princess. Only instead of being rescued, you rescued me. Don't leave me, Fred. I need you."

The room is quiet, peaceful.

Wesley knows it's the calm before the storm.


Quote taken from A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Which happens to still be my favorite book in the universe.