Dream Waltz: Reflection of True Love
A Kingdom Hearts fanwork: Hundred Words of Impossible Love challenge by HawkRider, written by Raberba girl
Terra/Cinderella Day, 12 October 2013
Summary: In her final moments as a single woman, Cinderella wonders if the man she's about to marry is the man she truly loves. Post-canon.
Part 1 - Mirror (theme 94)
"Are you nervous?" Jasmine asked, reaching to adjust the veil.
"A little," Cinderella admitted, "but everyone's a bit nervous on their wedding day, right?"
"I was nervous at first," Aurora remembered, "but everything went beautifully. And, honestly - even if the cathedral had come down on our heads, I would have hardly noticed, I was so happy to finally be marrying Phillip after all those delays."
"It's going to be a dream come true for you," Belle reassured Cinderella, fluffing out her skirts so they weren't bunched up by her shoes. Snow White broke out into a spontaneous song about true love, and the other princesses smiled indulgently.
"True love," Cinderella murmured. "That's one of the things I'm worried about: the mirror."
"The one that shows the true love of the bride and groom?"
"You think that Prince Charming isn't your true love?" Snow White gasped, looking scandalized.
A look of distress crossed Cinderella's face. "It's just...the night of the ball was so magical, from the moment my fairy godmother appeared to even long afterward, when each memory made me feel like dancing on clouds. But...when I finally did see the prince again...in daylight, wearing my ordinary clothes, without the music and the sparkling lights and Fairy Godmother's magic..." She shrugged helplessly. "How do you know whether someone really is your true love when you've only spent about a week's time with him?"
"He's your prince!" Snow White insisted. "He came for you during the Heartless attack! He danced with you and he wants to marry you and make you his queen, to live happily ever after in his castle forever! My dear prince is just like him."
"Snow," Belle said gently, "how many times have you actually seen your prince?"
"Five times," Snow White said proudly.
Jasmine frowned. "Wait, haven't you been engaged for months? I know that Aqua advised you to wait to marry until you were older and wouldn't be violating her world's 'statutory rape laws,' whatever those are, but aren't you two at least taking the chance to get to know each other in the meantime?"
"Oh, there's no need for that. My dear prince says that I already have everything I need to be his wife, and nothing else matters."
"...I think we might have to get the boys to have a little talk with your prince," Jasmine said grimly.
"In the meantime," Aurora said, "this is your day, Ella dear. Do you think it's just wedding day jitters, or are you...really having second thoughts?"
"...I just...I just wonder," Cinderella said slowly. "Soulmates, two people who were made for each other...is that real? Or is it...possible to...to love two people? At the...same time," she trailed off, flushed with shame.
Aurora and Belle looked at each other with wide eyes. "Two?"
"It's possible," Jasmine murmured, a little dreamily.
Jasmine grinned. "Oh, it wasn't too difficult ot choose - Aladdin truly is the other half of my heart. I just-" She shrugged. "-don't think I would have been miserable with the other one, either."
"What other one?!"
"It's a secret!"
"This is Ella's day, remember?"
Yet Cinderella was lost in thought. "Another man...one who makes me happy, and smiles as if he treasures me...?"
"Who is it?" her friends asked breathlessly.
Cinderella straightened her shoulders and met their eyes again. "Well, if it really is the prince I'll see in the mirror, then it won't matter, will it?"
"But what's wrong with Prince Charming?" Snow White said in bewilderment.
"Oh, nothing, of course, nothing! He's just...not very big, is he?"
"Small men can still be manly," Jasmine pouted.
"Ella wasn't insulting Aladdin," Belle laughed. "She's just picturing someone in particular."
"Are you?" Aurora questioned Cinderella, her eyes sparkling.
"No! Well, yes...but it's not how he looks, you know! Even though the two of them...do look quite different..."
"Let's get the mirror," Jasmine said suddenly.
"Why not? It would be better to find out now, in private, rather than during the ceremony when everyone's watching."
"Ohhh," Cinderella wailed, covering her face.
"Let's do it!"
Aurora, Belle, and Jasmine came out of the dressing room, caught between marching resolutely and sneaking guiltily. They made their way into the cathedral, where seating had already begun. "We certainly could have had better timing," Belle murmured uneasily.
"I've been talking to Nani a lot about her world's courtship rituals," Aurora said quietly. "The three of us seem to have been fortunate, but the more I find out, the more I start to question the way we princesses find husbands..."
"Let's make sure that Ella doesn't make a huge mistake," Jasmine said.
The mirror was in an anteroom near the head of the sanctuary, but now the three young women had a problem.
"It looks so heavy!" Belle exclaimed in dismay. "Even if the three of us carried it together, do you think we could get it all the way to the dressing room?"
Aurora, who was smiling at her husband's image in the glass, didn't answer; Jasmine unhappily surveyed their three sets of slender, delicate arms. "A man would come in handy right about now."
"Aha! I knew I saw you guys come in here."
The princesses jumped, and turned to find Ventus watching them from the doorway.
"Ven," Aurora said happily.
"Oh, Ven dear, would you please be very, very sweet and help us with something?"
"Sure! Did something happen to Cinderella?"
"No, not at all! We were just, er, talking about the mirror, and we...well, we need to get it to the bride's dressing room."
"The bride's dressing room?"
"It would be so very helpful," Belle said.
Ven, beset on all sides by Princess Puppy Eyes, offered no resistance. "Well, sure, but...it's kinda heavy, huh? Maybe I can call up a wind and blow it along..."
"It might break," Belle said unhappily. "We need a more stable method of transportation."
"I wonder if Terra could carry it," Ven said thoughtfully. "I bet he could, he's strong. Want me to go get him?"
"Oh, yes! Thank you so much, Ven dear."
"But you sang a duet together!" Snow White remembered. "Surely that's proof enough?"
"Well...Ariel and Sora sang together as well...do you think that Sora is Ariel's true love?"
Snow White gasped in surprise, then burst into giggles. "Oh, certainly not!"
"I don't think that singing is proof, then," Cinderella said, resting her chin in her hands.
The dressing room door opened. Cinderella saw the reflection in the vanity mirrors of her friends returning, then when she saw the fourth figure struggling to enter after them with a heavy load, she gasped and whirled around.
"We got the mirror!" Belle said eagerly.
Cinderella felt pinned in place, frozen with delight and apprehension. "Terra," she whispered. He looked even more gorgeous than she remembered.
"Yaaargh!" Terra gave one last heave, managing to get the mirror leaning upright against the wall. He turned to face them, and the friendly smile on his face dissolved into awe when he beheld Cinderella in her wedding gown.
There was a long moment of silence.
Belle finally leaned over and whispered to Jasmine, "It's Terra, isn't it."
"The way they're looking at each other... It can't be anyone else," Jasmine whispered back.
"He is bigger than Prince Charming," Aurora added quietly, and all three fought to stifle a burst of giggles.
"Cinderella," Terra said breathlessly. "You look-" He cleared his throat. "You look absolutely beautiful. Charming is a...a lucky guy."
"Thank you," she whispered. "You look fine, too."
"Well, I tried to dres nice for the wedding and all," he said, blushing cutely. "Thanks for inviting me."
"I...wanted you to be here."
There was another long pause, then Terra abruptly cleared his throat again and said, "Um, well, I'd better be, better be going..."
"No," Belle said quickly, "stay - we'll, er, need you to carry the mirror back again when we're finished."
"Yes, yes," Aurora said eagerly. "Please take a seat, Terra."
After a while, Cinderella realized that everyone was staring at her expectantly. She gasped, gave a nervous laugh, then stepped up to stand before the mirror.
It was Terra reflected there, just as she had feared and hoped he would be. As she watched, the reflections of Phillip, Adam, and Aladdin drew close and put their arms around Terra like brothers - well, sisters; it was really her fellow princesses embracing her. "I knew we should have checked the mirror before the ceremony," the image of Aladdin chuckled in Jasmine's voice.
Snow White had come up beside them and was staring in astonishment. "Why, that's not Prince Charming, that's- Aaahh!" There was a collective wince at her high-pitched shriek. "Where is my prince?! Where is my prince?! All I see is me!"
"Oh, Snow darling," Aurora said, transferring her embrace to the younger girl, "it seems like you haven't found your ture love yet, dearest."
"But...but the prince! I don't understand."
"I've been thinking, Snow," said Jasmine. "We'll talk to Nani and see if we can set you up on some 'dates' with nice boys a bit closer to your age."
"Dates? What are...?"
"Oh, Nani told me all about it, it sounds quite fun."
As Aurora continued to try to soothe Snow White, Cinderella turned slowly to face Terra, who was watching them with a puzzled frown. "What's wrong, Cinderella?"
"...Terra," she said quietly, "this is a magic mirror. Anyone who looks into it will see the face of their true love, the one they most want to marry and spend the rest of their life with. I...when I looked into the mirror just now, I saw the one I love...and the man I saw was not the same man who's preparing to marry me today."
Terra's eyes widened. "Then who...who was it?"
"Who do you hope it was?" she whispered through dry lips.
He flushed red and looked away.
"Cinderella asked you a question," Jasmine said sternly.
"You'll all laugh at me if I answer truthfully," Terra muttered.
"Why don't you come look in the mirror yourself, then?" Belle challenged.
Terra gave a helpless little chuckle. "Isn't it the same?" Yet he got up and went over and looked in the mirror, and as he and Cinderella gazed at the reflections of her and himself, their hands shifted and clasped.
"What on earth am I going to do?" Cinderella said helplessly. "I'm supposed to marry the wrong man in about fifteen minutes."
"Not if we have anything to say about it," Jasmine said.
Prince Charming turned out to be surprisingly understanding, especially when he glanced at the mirror out of curiosity and only saw himself. "Guess I don't even have a true love at all," he said sheepishly.
"I'm so sorry..."
"It's all right, Cinderella, I'd hate to stand in the way of a good person's Happily Ever After. I'm not even ready to settle down, anyway - I only agreed to all this because Father was so insistent, and you were the first woman who didn't jump at me like a beast trying to sink its teeth into a juicy hunk of meat."
"I was so happy to simply be at the ball, I wasn't even thinking of doing more than catching a glimpse of the prince..."
"Well, I do appreciate it, Cinderella," he said warmly, "and I wish you happiness."
"Thank you so much," she said gratefully, gripping Terr'as hand tight.
"All I'm worried about," Charming continued, "is how Father's going to get grandchildren now. He's really had his heart set on it for a long time, and he's not in the best of health; I'm not sure how much longer he can wait..."
"Maybe you can marry Snow instead," Jasmine said dryly.
"What are we going to do about the wedding, though?" Terra said nervously. "There are so many people here, and it looks like so much munny about to go to waste..."
The prince frowned thoughtfully, rubbing his chin. "If we can figure out a good way to stall, I think I can work something out."
"Really?" Belle said in delight.
Jasmine smiled and raised her hand. "I'll take care of the diversion." She raised her voice and called, "Genie! I need you!"
And so, the wedding guests were treated to / suffered through a very lively performance by Genie, Aladdin, Abu, Carpet, and Iago, as Prince Charming and Phillip good-naturedly explained the situation to Charming's father and nursed him through the subsequent tantrum; Belle explained the change in plans to the priest and a few others; Adam's servants and Cinderella's animal friends feverishly worked to put together a wedding suit for Terra, groomsman suits for Ven and Charming, and a bridesmaid gown for Aqua to match those of the rest of the wedding party; and Ven was given a crash course in how to be a best man.
At last, the organ music started, and the delayed ceremony began. There was a confused rustling as Terra and Ven came down the aisle, then again, behind the usual awed tittering, when the bride made her entrance on the arm of Prince Charming. Everyone who glanced up at the king to see his reaction seemed half-soothed when they saw him watching in a very sulky pose, but with no sign of surprise or alarm.
The music came to a close, and the priest began speaking. After the introduction, he asked, "Who gives this woman away in marriage to this man?"
"I do," Charming said, loudly and clearly. He and Cinderella shared a smile, then he kissed her cheek and gave her hand to Terra before taking his place by the other groomsmen. The crowd was quickly shushed by an obnoxiously indignant Genie, and the ceremony continued. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today..."
The crowd and even the king seemed to soften when it came time for the bride and groom to behold themselves in the magic mirror, and it was each other they saw, looking radiant with happiness. "True love," the priest declared happily. "There is no force on earth more powerful than love. I pronounce this man and this woman, who are united in their hearts, to also be unified as husband and wife. You may kiss your bride!"
Even if Terra and Cinderella hadn't had Genie whooping and setting off fireworks around them as they shared their first kiss, the effect would have been the same.
Part 2 - Leave (theme 26)
It was a rather awkward wedding reception, with everyone and their mothers hounding the bride and groom about the bizarre switch. Cinderella weathered it with her usual good grace, and Terra suffered through it with a smile, feeling like it was penance for stealing another man's almost-wife. He was still getting off incredibly easy. "Charming...I know I've told you this fifty times already, but you are an awesome guy and I owe you big time."
"Don't worry, Terra," the prince said with a wink, "I'll be calling in that favor eventually."
"Feel free. Seriously. Any time." Terra paused, then blushed a little. "That is...any time after the honeymoon..."
Charming laughed. Then he moved over to where Cinderella was talking to Belle. She turned to meet him with a smile, and he took her hands, murmuring, "I hope you don't mind, Cinderella, but the cost of wedding itself will have to count as my wedding gift to you. The royal treasurer has already had heated words with me about it..."
"Of course, of course! I'm afraid th-there's no way I could reimburse you otherwise, and we do still want to at least pay for some of it-"
"Don't fret about it, dear."
"No, please, I insist!"
Cinderella was extremely grateful for the people who were openly supportive, particularly her friends, the other princesses who clustered around her and defended her with polite, dangerous smiles. Whenever anyone didn't take the hint and continued to be relentless with their nosy questions or criticism, Genie would come swooping in to rescue her with his outrageous theatrics.
"Really, Cinderella," Aqua pouted playfully at one point, "all that work to get you and the prince back together again, and you end up jilting him for my best friend..."
"Do you really mind, Aqua?" Cinderella said anxiously.
Aqua smiled and hugged her. "When you're practically my sister now? Of course not."
The one who made Cinderella's heart hurt most was probably the king. "My dear," Charming's father said with heavy resignation, cradling her hand in both of his, "I was very much looking forward to having you as a daughter."
"I'm so sorry, Your Majesty," she said, her heart aching as she kissed the top of his head. "I know that I've behaved most abominably, but...I couldn't...I just wish I'd known sooner-"
"There's no arguing with true love," he said softly.
"Do you...do you think we could at least be friends, Your Majesty? Or do you never wnat to see me again after tonight? I wouldn't blame you in the least."
"My dear, you are welcome in this castle any time."
He thought wistfully that her bright smile was, in itself, reward enough for such a declaration.
Cinderella's real father-in-law, or at least the closest thing she had to one, was a bit more intimidating than the one she thought she would have. Master Eraqus surveyed her with a thoughtful frown. "Hmm...never wielded a weapon in your life before, I suppose."
"Not unless you count a broomstick, sir," she said good naturedly.
"And can I assume you would be unwilling to learn?"
"Me?" she said in surprise. "Learn to fight?"
"You're a Princess of Heart. It would be a great advantage if you were able to defend yourself, rather than relying on others to do it for you."
Cinderella still keenly remembered what it had been like to be a prisoner of darkness. She straightened up and smiled. "If you are willing to teach a woman how to fight, sir, then I would like to learn."
"Very well. You'll be more interested in your honeymoon, I suppose, but as soon as you return, we shall begin."
"Yes, sir!" She was still smiling despite her blush.
Ven glomped her as soon as Eraqus had walked off. "Ellaaaa! You're really gonna train with us?"
"It looks that way," she laughed.
"Yes! I'm so happy you're one of us now, Ella! I really like you."
"I'm quite fond of you, too, Ven dear," she said, kissing him and trying not to comb her fingers through his enticingly untidy hair.
"I can call you Ella, right?"
"Of course, love."
Just before it was time for the bride and groom to leave, the other princesses came to embrace Cinderella and bid her farewell.
"Oh, Ella, I'm so happy for you," Jasmine said, squeezing her in a tight hug.
"Thank you so much, Jasmine, Rose, Belle, Snow, all of you," Cinderella said warmly, hugging them each in turn. "I feel so incredibly happy...if it weren't for you girls, I would have..."
"We just wanted to make sure you had the best Happily Ever After you could get," Belle said, kissing her cheek.
"Go on, Ella - your real prince charming is waiting for you."
Just as Cinderella was turning away, Aurora caught her arm and whispered in her ear, "It might take a few tries, but once you get the hang of it, sex is the most wonderful thing."
"You found out what sex is?!" Cinderella whispered back eagerly.
Aurora gave a sly grin and shoved her toward where the groom was waiting.
Terra helped Cinderella onto the Keyblade Glider first, laughing when her skirts got tangled and she impatiently kicked her shoes off. Then he mounted, and they took off amidst cheers and a shower of flower petals. Cinderella tossed her bouquet, which landed directly in Ariel's outstretched hands like a bird coming to rest. As Ariel squealed in excitement and the other princes laughingly clapped Eric on the back, two people stooped down at the same time to retrieve the delicate footwear Cinderella had left behind.
"She lost her slipper again," Charming murmured with an affectionate smile. "Both of them, this time."
"I don't understand," Snow White murmured, gazing at the shoe in her hand. "You weren't her true love after all...?"
"I think she'll be more happy with him than she would have been with me," Charming said thoughtfully. "It's too bad - I wouldn't have minded being married to her."
"Maybe I have a different true love, too," Snow White said cautiously, as if testing out the idea. "Maybe I can wait a little longer."
"You've got your whole life left to live, princess, and handsome princes are only a part of it.
He laughed. "Come with me the next time I go traveling. There's so much to see and do just in one world, much less all the ones there are to explore now. It amazes me every time, all the people there are to meet, all the food to try, all the art to see, all the stories to hear - it makes me restless whenver I'm home, as if I'm missing things. I love to travel, and it's fun to have a companion to share with."
Snow White smiled. "I think I would like that."
Author's Notes: Thank you SO MUCH, Kiryn - I am never gonna be able to ship Prince/Snow again. XD Creepy necrophiliac pedo stalker...
When Cinderella told Terra he looked "fine," it was in the older sense of the word, "choice, excellent, or admirable." Nowadays, the meaning has shifted a bit in everyday conversation. ^^;
Prince Charming may not have much personality in the original Cinderella movie, but he's actually a pretty great guy in the sequels. I'd still prefer that Cindy end up with Terra, but I don't dislike Charming the way I now really dislike Snow White's prince. ^^;
Most weddings are DANG EXPENSIVE. I started thinking about that every time I see some chick flick where either the bride or the groom runs out in the middle of the ceremony. It's such a huge waste of money, all in the name of unrealistic Hollywood dramatics. *sweatdrop* Charming really is being insanely generous with his wedding gift in this fic even if Terra & Cindy manage to pay for some of it, especially since the budget had been for a royal wedding. ^^;;;
In the third Cinderella movie, Charming's father reveals himself to be a sap for true love. XD
Although I do understand and support the idea that some characters' gifts and talents lie in their strength of heart or something similar, and that characters, especially females, shouldn't be required to be skilled in combat in order to be valued by readers/viewers - I also do think that people with the capability of physically defending themselves should learn how to, at least at a basic level. :/ I didn't mean to imply that Cinderella will be a better person if she becomes some sort of bad-a warrior, and she's not going to be a real warrior even in this story/universe. But I figured that Eraqus would place some value on combat skills and would prefer his sort-of-daughter-in-law to learn, and that Cinderella wouldn't be adverse to the idea, particularly since she is a potential target and it would be helpful if she gained even some rudimentary skill at fighting. Her focus will always still be on what she does best, but I don't think it could hurt if she knew some self-defense on the side.
I got the impression from the original movie that Prince Charming isn't home very often, and I assume that means he's more interested in traveling than in settling down with a family? Anyway, I don't even know if I'm shipping Charming/Snow or not, I just thought their interaction was interesting. ^^;
It's been a little over a year since I updated this series... ._. Wow. Sorry, guys.
For a while, my Terrella writing inspiration had died (they're still my favorite romance couple in KH and I still like drawing them, it's just that I adore platonic love so much more than romance), and I thought I'd have to give up on the challenge. HawkRider did say I could use other pairings, such as Vanitas/Xion in my Stepsiblings series (since Xion will never see him as anything other than her cousin ^^;) or Demyx\Larxene or Axel\Larxene, and that helps. Luckily, while I was on vacation this summer, I started hand-writing some drabbles for this challenge in my notebook, and found that my Terrella inspiration seems to be back. ^^ Since the two Terrella drabbles I finished during summer 2013 were so closely connected, I decided to combine them into a two-part one-shot and post it for Terrella Day. I still don't know if I can do all 100 themes for Terrella, but I do want to finish the challenge in some way, even if it takes me a really long time.