written for mittens (i'm mittens), my better half.
i love you, darling, like the stars in the sky. :)
hope you enjoy.

p.s. no caps is on purpose

it's always darkest before the dawn

we all have stories to tell.

this is hers.


she strives for perfection - her body, her dance, it's all got to be just right.

she feels like a robot, with the thoughts that echo over and over again in her head-

thin enough, good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, repeat.

but see, she can't stop (won't stop)-she needs this.

she needs to be perfect.

but perfection is hard to achieve and she hates herself because she hasn't attained it yet, so she becomes a bitch to other people when she wants nothing more than someone to be a bitch to her (she deserves it, right?) and then when that's not enough, and when she's still not perfect, she stops eating.

food will just hold her back, the way friends would - she doesn't need anything or anyone, anyway.

too bad no one realizes she's dying a little more inside with every meal she passes up and every insult she hands out.


so in all the fairytales, the girl gets a prince and a happily ever after.

abigail always though of those stories as misleading garbage. she's never needed a man to define herself, to make her happy, and she looks down on those like tara webster who do. boys are just silly little creatures she sees no point in wasting her time over.

(don't want to compromise your training, darling)


here's a secret - sammy is different, in a sweet, naive way, and she kind of likes that about him. but shh, don't tell a soul; wouldn't want it to get out that -gasp- abigail actually has a heart, even if it is protected by fences and moats and a thousand men on horses, ready to shoot any intruders.

(love is just another unwanted distraction)

but still, even though he asks her if she's been eating ("yes." no) and makes her promise to go easy on her workouts ("fine" never), there has to be some ulterior motive, a secret reason why he cares so much.

maybe he's just helping her to hurt her later. maybe he just wants to mess with her mind, make her crazy.

maybe he actually car-

she banishes the thought before she's finished thinking it.


they dance together one day in the studio she booked to practice their lift, and suddenly it's like all of that not eating and excessive training has caught up to her and she forgets how to move her feet. the world spins around her and where's the floor? where's the ground?

darkness takes over.


"she hasn't been eating," "should we take her to a doctor" and "i'm worried," are the only parts she hears of a whole conversation.

when she comes to, three people are standing over her. the harsh florescent lights nearly blind her and block her from seeing their faces, and when she tries to sit up, a set of calloused hands touch her shoulders gently.


she wants to ask what happened, but it'd be pointless.

they all know what happened.

"eat this," tara murmurs, shoving a sandwich at abigail. she wants to tell her no, that bread is fattening, there's too much mustard, is that ham? i can't have ham. that she needs to be perfect, but she looks down at her with a fire in her eyes abigail has never seen before.

(does she actually care?)

she doesn't argue.

she eats the whole sandwich with the three sets of eyes watching her. by the time she's choked down the last of the crust she's nearly in tears because, what kind of fucked up person can't even finish a small sandwich?

she's a mess, and it's no longer her secret.

everyone knows.

(or maybe they always knew).


it doesn't occur to her until later, after she's thrown up that sandwich and gone for a long run down the beach, that maybe she's not trying to protect herself. maybe this is all to protect sammy.

because sammy is sweet and innocent; sammy is good, abigail is bad.

good and bad shouldn't mix, because while it may be true that good triumphs evil, evil always scars good.

she doesn't want to scar him - doesn't want to hurt him.

sammy is... he's sammy, and for a second she finds herself wishing she was tara or kat. she'd never admit it later, but if she was one of them, then she'd deserve him.

she runs harder and harder, until the burn is so painful she can think nothing else.

she doesn't want to think of sammy anymore.


they're in the studio again, dancing.

they've both improved and it feels a bit more natural.

he doesn't ask her if she's been eating, but she knows he wants to.


later, after she's eaten dinner (two bites of a small salad, no dressing, and ice water) and is heading back to her dorm, sammy follows her. she pretends she doesn't notice, but he stops her, grabs her elbow and makes her turn to look at him.

"you're not okay."

"i know."

she's too tired to deny it, and away, finally someone has notice. she should be happy, should be jumping for joy that someone actually cares, but it's sammy and this wasn't how things were suppose to end up.

she's just standing there, her arms hanging limply at her sides, with his left hand gripping her right arm above her shoulder gently; her eyes trained on the ground.


that's the perfect adjective to describe abigail.

she decides this just as she looks up at sammy again. he's looking at her, really looking at her, the way she's never been looked at before, and god, she should turn around, should call him an idiot and shove him away, should put her mask back in place, but she can't.

she can't move, can't breath - she's frozen in this exact spot, at this exact date and time, with sammy, who's suddenly kissing her. later she'll repay this moment in her mind over and over again; she'll dream of it, she'll wake up sweating because of it.

right now, though, she wants to kiss back, but she doesn't want to kiss back.

she wants to pull him closer. she wants to shove him away.

she doesn't do anything. she stands frozen and lets him kiss her.

when he pulls away, she slips into her room and goes straight to her bed, where she spends the whole night crying.

in the morning, tara looks at her, but doesn't say anything, because really, there's nothing to say.


TWO MISSED CALLS and a second later-



she throws her phone at the wall without answering the third call, because she went and did something so stupid and un-abigail like.

she fell in love.


he shows up at her dorm two days and ten unanswered phone calls later. she's missed all of her classes, hasn't stepped foot out of bed, hasn't eaten a parcel of food.

her official diagnose is the flu - because that explains the aches in her stomach, the urge to throw the nonexistent food in her stomach up, the reason everything hurts.

he knocks on the door, and knocks and knocks, but she doesn't answer. doesn't dare move. she holds her breath and hides under her covers, and there's silence, and she thinks maybe he left. disappointment fills her to the brim, but then the lock clicks and a few seconds later the mattress is sinking down beside her.

he wraps his arms around her and holds her, and she cries and he stays quiet - doesn't tell her lies, doesn't tell her it's going to be okay, doesn't tell her anything, besides "i've got you, now. i've got you."

thin enough, good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, repeat.

but she doesn't want to repeat anymore. she wants to stop. she wants to breathe.

before she was floating, before she was underwater.

her vision was hazy and she didn't have time to stop, to look around: to breathe.

but now her feet are suddenly firmly on the ground and her face has broke the surface and she's gulping in air, gasping and spluttering, but alive.

she's alive, and he's holding her, and she's not okay yet, but she will be.


he doesn't save her, he makes her realize she's worthy of being saved.

(he knows her well enough to know she can save herself).


fireworks explode over the ocean, and his hand finds hers, tugging her closer to his side, and when he kisses her, it's like everything in the world just aligns, and a real smile tugs at the corner of her lips.

around her is his friends, and she thinks maybe now they might be her friends too. she thinks maybe she's finally found somewhere she belongs - that she could have found this earlier, if she had just stopped with the perfection.

and suddenly, she doesn't feel so broken anymore.

she feels whole.

a/n: please don't favourite without a review :')