disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to Emma, Jacob, and time-travel in a peculiar world.
notes: something I should have written a long time ago, I guess.

title: acid annie
summary: He says he loves her, and she can't believe him. — Mary/Winston.

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Princess Mary Antonia Hart stared at herself in the mirror.

The girl in the mirror was not a beautiful one. She had carrot-ginger hair, an ugly smattering of freckles, heavy-lidded eyes, and thin lips. She was pallid and wan, hallowed cheeks too thin with a knobby nose set between washed-out blue-grey eyes.

The girl in the mirror was not a beautiful girl.

She'd known it her entire life, right from when she was very small and her mother had sighed over her lack of coordination; lack of everything, really. Mary had always been the runt of the gaggle of court children. Had always been the smallest, the weakest.

But she was the Princess, and so she made up for her lack of royal bearing in other ways.

She was loud and vulgar, wore her dress necklines too low and colours too bright; she was mean when she wanted to be. She was mean a lot of the time. She didn't have to be nice. She never had to be nice. Not if she didn't want to be.

It was just hard sometimes.

When the boys danced with the other girls—with the Duchess and her golden hair, with the Countess and her dark eyes and slow smile, with anyone but Mary—it was just hard not to scream OFF WITH THEIR HEADS. Because there was no justice in the world, and Mary was trapped in it, trapped in the doldrums of never being the first choice.

It wasn't fair.

She glared at the girl in the mirror for another minutes before she whirled, hair flying behind her in a mess of perfume and ugly orange. She wasn't beautiful, no, but she was dangerous. And later, in the light of candles and under the heavy influence of too much wine and too many good feelings, she would be wanted.

Mary passed the evening with girls lovelier than she and boys duller than rocks. She danced and drank and laughed and flirted, but it never went anywhere. And she tumbled through it with her skirts too short, and worse, he found her on the comedown, trembling outside on the balcony.

"Hello Mary," he said.

"Go away, Winston," she ordered, even though she didn't really want to be alone right then.

"I saw Matthias with the Duchess," he said, slowly.

Mary's fists clenched.

"I'm sorry," he said again.

She shook her head. "It's… it doesn't matter. He's just one person. Off with his head, for all I care."

He moved beside her, eyes shining with concern. "But Mary, I—"

"Don't say it, Winston. Don't. We've been over this so many times—"

"I love you."

"I said don't!" she nearly shrieked, spitting the words out. They hurt, those words; to hear them from someone who was not her father or her mother, it hurt. Because how could he love her? She was ugly and vulgar and horrible and ugly.

Ugly things were not meant to be loved.

Mary whirled and stomped away. In the glass of the window, she caught sight of her reflection.

An ugly thing stared back.

Mary absolutely hated herself.

The girl in the mirror was not a beautiful one.

fin.