i don't own pocahontas. this is taking place AU, obviously, so she never left with john rolfe or anything.

Once, when she was young, her father had took her by the hand and told her that "time heals all wounds". He said that, although it stung now, by this time tomorrow the sting would no longer be as bad.

"With each passing day, the pain will fade until one day, it will no longer hurt."

As Pocahontas sat there, however, she realized that he was wrong. Every single day she woke up, every single day she pulled herself from her bed, the pain hit her all over again. The pain never eased, and it felt like she was losing him every day. Maybe her father was speaking of small pains, pains of physical hurt or pains of losing a precious item. Losing ihim/i though, no – it would never fade, never be easier for her. She could barely go to certain places of the woods, of their land, afraid of the memories.

It had been five years, and sometimes it still hurt to wake up.

She sat on the edge of the rock outcropping the waterfall, her legs dangling over. The wind blew in large gusts, sending her hair in wild waves, and forcing her to reach up to gather it.

Five years and every breath was still hard to catch.

"Pocahontas!"

Nakoma approached slowly, sensing that she was intruding, "Pocahontas?" she called, this time softer.

The young woman turned slowly, her eyes still distant, somewhat oblivious to her friend standing there. These times when she was alone, it was the only time that she could truly be herself. The only time when she could succumb to the pain, let it take her over like a wave. She could not let her people see her pain; if they saw her in pain, they would be afraid, nervous, anxious, and they would know that she was no fit to be a leader.

"Yes, Nakoma?" She finally asked, her eyes focusing on her friend, "What is it?"

"Your father – he is looking for you. I am sorry; I did not realize you were thinking. Would you like me to tell your –"

Pocahontas shook her head, letting out a quiet breath. She stood up slowly, turning to glance back at the water, the horizon that he had left on so many years ago. Had it only been five? It felt like more, and yet it felt like he had just left yesterday. She hadn't seen him in so long. She could remember what he had said, when he left – "iNo matter what happens to me, I'll always be with you. Forever./i" The very thought made her stumble, and Nakoma jumped forward to grab her arm, brow furrowed with confusion, "Pocahontas…"

She shook her head as she straightened herself, "I am fine, Nakoma. Come, we must get back to the village."

The two walked side by side, and with every stride, Nakoma watched as Pocahontas built herself up. She no longer slouched, her eyes no longer looked dazed and confused. She stood tall and confident, making Nakoma wonder if she really had been stumbling and pained just moments ago. There was no doubt in her step, not a single falter. Pocahontas was too strong for her own good, Nakoma thought; she was too good at hiding her own pain. Even when John Smith had been tried for murder, she could remember the way she had hidden her pain when they approached the guards. Everything about her was confident, even in the times when she was most afraid.

As soon as they walked into the Tribe Grounds, Powhatan approached with a smile on his face. "Wingapo, Daughter."

"Wingapo, Father," she responded easily, "Nakoma said you were asking for me?"

"Come, Pocahontas," he nodded at Nakoma in thanks before grasping his daughters arm, leading her towards their small home, "I am worried about you, Daughter. You have not been the same since… since he left."

She turned her face away from him, shaking her head, "I am fine, Father, please. I am… fine."

"Remember what I said, Pocahontas; time heals all –"

"No, Father, do not say it. It is not true." A small cry escaped her, and she covered her mouth with one hand, turning away, "It has been five years, Father, and every day hurts worse than the last. I wake up every morning, and I can barely breathe. I wake up, and my chest aches, and it feels like my very heart is iburning/i! How can you, how can you tell me everything is going to be alright?"

Pocahontas leaned on the table by her side, her body shaking with pain. The tears had finally fought their way forward, and she watched as they dripped from her eyes onto the wood of the table. Their house was suddenly silent, the leather walls seeming to block out every sound. Powhatan simply stood there, watching as his daughter was doubled over in grief. What could he do? She was alone in her fight, and he knew nothing he said could help her. He still believed that time could heal her pain; enough time had simply not passed.

After what seemed like hours but was probably only a few moments, she pushed herself back up and wiped away a few stray tears. Her face was hardened, expression blank. Powhatan did not seem to understand the things he had done to her daughter; he didn't understand that, with every comment he made about her needing to be strong for their people, for her needing to hide her pain and her grief, it was turning her into a different woman. Pocahontas was no longer the gentle, sweet girl he knew. She was angry and stricken with more pain that she could understand. With all the talk of Destiny, Pocahontas had expected more than this. She had expected something happy, something true. She was not content with the hand that she had been dealt.

"You will see, Pocahontas," Powhatan finally said, resting a hand on her arm. She jerked away quickly, turning her face from him, "One day the pain will fade, and you will be happy again."