The Blonde and the Beauty

Slightly AU. Gemma's point of view. Reentering the realms,years after the fateful day, an older Gemma thinks back to a traumatic event that brings back memories of those she loved and lost when she hears realm creatures gossip about it. She is reminded of the tragedy that became of her dearest friends. Felicity/Pippa

Disclaimer: I don't own these lovely characters for that quality can only be produced by the wonderful Libba Bray, but I do own these three awesome books and lovely fat dog.

Walking through the white door I'm met with the sight of realms creatures going about their way, not even bothering to take notice of someone who once held the title of something so desperately desired. Lady Hope, they would call me, though at that time a simple 'Gemma' would have more than sufficed. I address my attention to a couple of realms creatures that are huddled together in such a way that screams the intention of being discrete. They all murmur and whisper that tells anyone around them that they think they know something no one else does. The close countered 'secrets' shared amongst what they think is themselves is even more of a pathetic joke than the different stories they believe are true. They all paste looks of concern and sadness on their faces but their voices are laced with excitement and a sick sense of pleasure to have been able to talk about it once more. To be able to change the 'story' of what happened that day because what they heard this time was what really happened because it's that day again. Because today 17 years ago it happened. If anything, the date is the only that managed to stay intact all these years. The talk never did die down completely but it was seen as impolite and disrespectful to gossip about them when it wasn't The Day. They were always the center of attention. Even now. The Blonde and the Beauty, capturing attention everywhere.

I decide to keep walking through the gardens and it astounds me how they have managed to stay just as beautiful as they were that first night I laid eyes on them. That night of mischief urged on by the girls that would prove to be my dearest friends. I can still recall the adrenaline and excitement perfectly outlining Felicity's harsh but ever handsome features and the fear and subtle worry in Pippa's fair skin and flawless complexion and even in Ann's young, round and tender face.

We were young and reckless. Naive. Adventurous. In all the wrong ways, but we were warriors of sorts. Acclaimed Ladies of these parts: Lady Hope, Lady Strength, Lady Beauty, and Lady Song. We grew in ways proper ladies our age should never have had to. In ways we weren't even allowed to, but it made us stronger.

Today marks the day when I witnessed the truest magic that will ever come to exist. The day when love and loss were too much for two souls that had grown frail from distance and the work of corrupted magic. The day when strength came in the form of pure unadulterated love and vulnerability.

They say the Blonde was one of the greatest warriors that ever walked the realms. That she was fierce and merciless both in appearance and performance and her strength was both admirable and feared throughout all the realms. They say her charm and enticingly sharp features turned heads for not only was she one of a kind warrior but she was beautiful. Her pale blonde hair hung stoically down the length of her back, her body curvy in the right places, her grey eyes shone with that spark only she could have and drew the attention of anyone who fell under their spell. And they were right. But more than that, the Blonde was passionate and vulnerable, but she was ruthlessly determined. She loved as hard as she fought. And it soon became what ended her, death brought upon by her own sword. Really it was her heart that sealed her inevitable fate.

The Beauty they say was just that, beautiful. Her skin fair and perfect and smooth, her long deep brown hair that fell in waves down her back that was of the kind you only encounter in a dream. Her captivating violate eyes screaming to be set free of the prison she had been caged in. They call her fortunate to have been so stunningly breathtaking, but I knew she wished for something else. The Beauty was nothing but unfortunate for her greatest attribute subjected her to her biggest fear. She was but property to all those who wanted her. She never had control of herself, always owned by something else. By her beauty. Then by the magic, becoming too much. She lost sight of everything that mattered to her.

The Beauty was gone long before the Blonde was ripped along with her. But the Beauty was gone in more ways than one. The worst part was there was nothing that could be done to bring her back. Even before the magic began to corrupt her. They say the Blonde was entirely and irrevocably heartbroken. They say she would try to cover it up, like her heart wasn't crushed and buried along with the one who held it when the castle walls came down. They say it took only minutes for the Blonde's life and every inkling of hope she had hidden away in the depths of her heart to literally come crashing down and in those minutes the Blonde was lost as well.

The Beauty hadn't been the same since she had eaten the berries, they say. Than when she died the first time, to be cursed into staying in the realms for all eternity, but the longer she stayed and ate the berries, the longer the real Beauty began to wither away with the corpse she had left behind in the real world to rot ten feet under the cold, wet ground.

They call her brave, for doing what she did. And the Blonde was brave indeed, but it wasn't bravery that drove her to her end. They say it was love. They say it was magic. Some even say she herself had gone mad when the walls came down on her Beauty. They say it was tragic enough to send tears raining down anyone's face. But they don't know. They didn't know. No one but I and the few others who were there know. Because we truly knew the Blonde and the Beauty. I remember that day so clearly.

Felicity's blonde hair breaks loose from the pins' hold as Bessie half drags her to where Pip is standing. "Felicity!" I shout as I seem to find my voice at last.

Felicity grabs Pippa's hands and looks deep into the white orbs that once were so violate and says "If I eat the berries, if I stay with you,will you...will you let them go?"

A look of recognition flashes on Pip's face, as if she's remembering her favorite dream. She leans down and places a loving kiss on Fee's forehead. And I can see hope glimmer in Fee's eyes as she looks up to the only thing that has found its way into her heart and latched on, and part of me hopes Pip says yes. Not for me, but for Fee. She could have found the old Pip again. The smile that threatens to break her face in half with love when she would meet Pippa's eyes and she would give her what seemed to be the world's most dazzling smile in return would once again etch its way onto Felicity's lovely face. The sparkle only Pippa's secret glances could give Felicity's powerful grey eyes would return and replace the dull grey that seems to have invaded since Pippa ate the berries. But another part of me knows Pippa is gone and taken along with her any chance Felicity could have had at happiness, never to return again.

"No." Pip replies harshly.

"Pip, you don't understand," Fee begs "They'll hurt you. Pip pl-"

"Oh, my sweet Felicity, I'm not scared. For I am the way! I am the chosen! Bessie we need another sacrifice!" Pip shrieks with a sickly deranged grin, eyes flashing. I'm roughly pulled in front of Pip by an over eager Bessie.

"Eat. For I am the way." Pip demands as she places a berry in the center of my palm. I'm instantly repulsed by the feel of the berry dripping onto my hand. I feel the magic rage inside me and it's so strong I feel it pulsing through my veins. I soon find my arms entangled with Pippa's in a battle for dominance and I feel all she feels. The anger, the longing, the fear, the loneliness, the desire, the devoted love she's tried to bury deep within her and it is then that I find the key to Pippa's control; to her everything: Felicity.

A look of sadness covers Felicity's face as she knows that she could very well be what ends Pip. Pip knows I've found it, and her magic is let loose and it blows me into the wall. I unleash my magic and Pippa falls to the floor. She isn't thrilled at my magic over powering hers so she lets her's soar once more stronger this time and I find myself against the wall vines beginning to encompass my hands and feet.

"Pip! Stop it right now!" Felicity shouts with false conviction and I see a look of jealousy in Pip's eyes as her power grows stronger and stronger and the vines' grip on my hands and feet tightens and I can feel my pulse in my wrists from the pressure, beginning to numb my limbs. Before I can fully assess what's happening Felicity swings the dull edge of the sword she had been carrying against Pip.

"Fee!" Pip cries out, her voice affronted but her face crumbling for a split second before she shouts "I am the one!"

As the blood trickles down Pip's arm in streams, I take a look at Felicity and I see that she is slumped against herself clutching the sword so tightly that her knuckles have turned an eerie white, her eyes telling me what she's really feeling before she screws them shut in effort to keep the tears threatening to spill out at bay, to no avail as they break free and pour down her face.

Her eyes once such an alluring and lively grey now are dull and, gloomy. Lifeless. Her face, though still beautiful, doesn't glow like it usually does. She looks as if she's taken the hit herself.

And it hits me that she has.

She sliced through her own heart as soon as she aimed that edge at Pippa, and then again when it pierced her porcelain skin. Arranging my line of sight towards Pippa I see her looking at Fee like nothing else in the world matters, but what's just happened. Like there's no greater scheme and the only person she's ever trusted has just betrayed everything they stood for. Everything they lived looks lost and alone, abandoned.

Pip's bravado faltered and gone, she is crestfallen and it is all over her face, crumbling her normally graceful features. I see one single tear make its way down her right cheek and a glimpse of the old Pip is seen before she directs her eyes away from the one person who has ever loved her the way she should have been loved and towards the crumbling ceiling and yells "I am the way! The chosen!"

The walls tumble and vines are suddenly wrapping themselves around Pip, dragging her to the floor and keeping her held there. I distantly hear Fee's screams that mostly consist of Pippa's name and her sobs until the whole castle begins to cave in. Fee, Ann, and I along with the few others barely get out alive. Before I can register, Felicity is up and running toward the still rumbling castle.

"Pip! Pip! I'm coming!" she manages to get out within her sobs.

Somehow I catch up to her and tackle her to the ground before she can run into her death.

"Fee, no! You can't! She's gone, Fee! I'm sorry." I grunt as I try to keep her pinned to the ground, but she's strong. Far stronger than I.

"Gemma, stop! Stop it right now! I have to help Pip! I'm coming Pip! I'm coming!" she yells into the darkening sky.

"Felicity, that creature isn't Pip," it pains me to say it but she needs to hear it "our Pip is gone! Dead, Fee! Dead! Look at me! She's! Gone!"

Felicity stops fighting me, and she's stops crying for the first time since she began, but I know Fee and she can't be done just yet. With one fierce shove I fly backwards off of her and she stands before me, her face hard as stone and with a glare as sharp as a thousand knives.

"OUR PIP! Our! You didn't KNOW her like me! Nobody did! She and I knew one another like no one before us! You know that, Gemma! I know you saw it! You felt it! I loved her more than anyone! I loved her best! More than you or Ann or her parents or her suitors! Anyone! No one cared for the girl behind the beauty! She was just property to them, just another beautiful girl with a sparkling reputation! But she was more to me! She was everything Gemma!" the tears falling freely now and her face falling with every word she spoke. " And I was hers! She loved me! More than anyone! Ever! I wasn't rude, rebellious, disgraceful Felicity, the Admiral's shame of a daughter, the pitiful daughter of an escort! I was just Felicity! And Pippa was just Pip to me. Her undeniable beauty aside, I saw her and loved her for her! And now? Who will love her Gemma? Who will love her the way I do? The way I have! Who would love me so passionately like she did?" she seems tired, exhausted even. No light or playful mischief written all over her face, the life sucked out even more of her eyes and her smile. She signs. "Gemma, I have to go to her. Wherever she is, is my fate."

I stand up at this and grab her arm, getting her attention. "No, Felicity! You can't do this! You'd surely die! Yo-"

Felicity met my gaze and she seemed almost at peace with how calmly she interrupted me. As if she was talking to a child who simply did not understand something. "Gemma, don't be daft. I died the same night Pippa did. Don't you understand? There is nothing in my life anymore worth living. Pippa was my life and she is gone. I can't stay here. You can do this without me. You can. You'll have to, because I won't be there." she lifted the sword off the ground and the calm look changed to a challenging but still tired look.

I knew her mind was made up and there was nothing I could do.

I saw the strength in her eyes as she dared me to prove her wrong and the confidence in knowing I wouldn't. She gave me a small ghost of smile and began to march towards the fallen castle. I stood there and simply watched as my feet refused to move. I can see Fee's body working beyond it's limits to uncover her treasure that lies somewhere at the bottom of the debris and hear Pip's name being called repeatedly. I find myself saying it over in my head as well and just before my feet decide to move I feel Ann finally walk beside me and join my standing stupor and Fee's voice takes a gleeful panic tone and she starts to scramble.

She's found her, she's found Pip.

And I know because I feel her before I see her. Fee is holding her, sobbing into the elegant curve of her neck until Pip's magic hits hard against Fee's body and sends her and the sword soaring through the sky.

"Fee! You came for me!" Pip chants almost smugly as she saunters over to where Felicity lays as if she hadn't been the one to hurt her.

They are only a couple of steps away from Ann and myself now. Pip's eyes are a ghastly white, her teeth sharp and her smile murderous as she turns to look at me. I'm more concerned about Felicity than the dangerous glint in Pippa's eyes and decide to voice my concerns, "Fee! Are you alright! Fee!" as I go to step forward Pip stops me with a blast of her magic. It's stronger than I ever imagined, and darker than I ever fathomed it could be.

"Why, whatever is the matter, Gemma? You surely don't look terribly thrilled to see me." she hisses at me and turns to Ann with a with a tone more condescending than the intended fake hurt, " And Ann. Darling Ann. Why, you haven't even said a word. "

I interrupt her and shout "Of course I'm not bloody thrilled, look at Fee! She's hurt! Look at what you've done! I'm going to end this for the last time!" out of the corner if my eye I see Felicity beginning to stir and it's then I notice the gashes on her arms and scratches on her legs that are bleeding. Pippa sees this as well and takes Fee in her arms, her white eyes sullenly glowing.

"Oh, Fee, I'm so sorry." she mutters as the rest of her words are muffled once her lips meet Fee's. They share a passionate kiss, one I can't shake the goodbye feeling from. Whether it's the way they are both desperately holding onto each other or the silent tears they are shedding, I can't help but sense that this is the end. They pull away from each other and stare hopelessly in each other's eyes searching for the answer to the unspoken question that hangs heavily in the air. Fee's eyes are filled to the brim with tears she is willing so hard not to fall and she is the first one to speak while stroking Pip's left cheek with her bloodied fingers.

"Pip, my darling, it's over now. I'm here now. We're here. Together. And I am not going anywhere. We have to end this." it's not what Pip wanted to hear, Fee anticipated this and wraps her right arm around Pip's neck and in one swift movement lodges the sword in Pippa's heart with her left. As Pippa's body slumps onto Felicity's their foreheads touch. Fee relentlessly whispers "I love you" through her tears over and over, placing small tender kisses all over Pippa's face.

She turns her tear stained face at me as if realizing for the first time I had yet to move and says " Gemma you have to go now. Go!" her face regaining the ferocity it held once upon a time, and for once I want to comply.

I can feel Pip's dark magic begin to radiate off of her in thick waves. And I know what Felicity is going to do. She knows once the magic breaks free from Pip's body it will tear apart and devour anything in its way. Fee is going to let it get to her, giving us time to get away. I am broken from my thoughts as Fee begins to move. She takes the sword out of Pippa's dying body and rolls over, lying her gently on the ground before lying next to her take her in her own arms and placing a gentle kiss on her temple. When she finally looks up, I realize I have yet to have moved and am quickly scolded for it.

"Gem-what the bloody hell are you all still here for! Go!" I nod and give her a sad smile when I hear the fight in her voice.

"Thank you Fee. I love you. Goodbye, Lady Strength." I finish with a teasing smile. Luckily she returns it with a faded playful and mischievous smirk despite the pain etched on her face.

"Goodbye, Lady Hope, and good luck. You'll need it without me. I love you. The both of you. Now go!" and with one last smile and a nod Ann and I take off.

It isn't until a few minutes later I feel Pip's magic has broken lose and soon enough I feel Fee's energy being sucked away. She was now gone too. But they are gone together.

Till this day, how we restored the magic without her is still a mystery. It wasn't easy, but she was there in spirit, her will and determination fueling us the whole way. Fee was strong in so many ways and so was Pip. The Blonde and the Beauty, as they're known now, were the result of the power of love and magic that wasn't meant to be contained. Their love was much too great and that was real magic, but it was also too strong for this world to handle.

So now that it's been 17 years since that day, I hear the stories being whispered, sad that they will never know the girls behind the titles, because they were so much more. So much more than the Blonde and the Beauty, so much more than Lady Strength and Lady Beauty who helped restore the magic of the realms. They were my dearest friends, and they were one of the greatest things to happen in the realms.

Their story lives on in love, in hope and in the strength of lovers who fight for their chance to love. And in me. They taught me to love and to be strong. I will forever keep the Blonde and the Beauty dear in my heart, for through their love I've learned and grown. As will their story. No matter how much it changes over time, I will always know what really happened to the Blonde and the Beauty: they fell in love.

AN: This is my first story ever and I really love these books so I hope I did the characters justice. I hoped you enjoyed it. Feel free to let me know what you think and press that tempting little "review" button. It's okay, indulge a little. If it sucked, I'd like to know. If it was okay, I wouldn't exactly hate hearing it. Tell me your favourite parts, things you think would have gone better. Whatever you'd like. I'm not too picky. :) thanks for reading and have a great day. :)