A/N: GB here. This is a story I wrote almost directly after watching the film at the theatre. I warn you that I am my mind normally conjures up angsty, tragic, horrific thoughts more often then happy because I suffer a lot of nightmares and am easily depressed, so this will NOT be happy. If this isn't your cup of tea (oh, I love tea~ . ) I suggest clicking that arrow that goes "back". Don't worry, I do it all the time. :D
For those who stay, I hope you enjoy. :)
Warning: Rated T for Character Death.
Rewritten/revised as of: 7/7/13
"I refuse!" Blue eyes bore furiously into Elinor's own.
"Merida, this is what you've been taught to do! What we've spent every hour, day and night teaching you to be!" Elinor's face was aflame with anger and exasperation. Why was it so hard for Merida to just listen?
"This is what you want! Not what I want! You've never stopped to ask what I want!" Merida throws her hands up into the air, pacing, the dress her mother forced her into ripped and in tatters after the archery competition. Elinor had forcefully escorted Merida to her room after her rebellious stunt at the challenges, the ones held for her hand in marriage. Both continue to argue until Merida snaps from her boiling anger overflowing.
The defiant princess snatches up the hot poker within the fireplace and goes to stand in front of the tapestry. Their eyes meet for a moment as her mother realizes just what her daughter intends to do.
"No! Merida, don't you dare!"
Merida ignores her.
With a deft sweep of her arm, the tapestry displaying their family (minus the Triplets as they had yet to be born during that time) is sliced, seperating Elinor from Fergus and Merida. The queen's normally elegant countenance is broken, expression aghast at what her daughter did. It quickly turns to anger. She stomps up to Merida whose righteous expression becomes scared. Elinor forcibly removes the arrows from her before the bow. Once the thin wood is in her grasp she turns towards the fire.
"Mum, no! Stop! Please!"
Like Merida ignored her mother, Elinor ignored her daughter's pleas. The bow burned, its wood darkening and splintering once it was placed within the crackling flames.
Merida was horrified, struck with dread and anger. Tears welled up in her eyes before her face shifted into that of contempt. She turns away from her mother.
"Merida! Don't you walk away from me!"
The large, heavy door slams harshly, loudly, and shakes the frame. Elinor glares. Then her eyes widened and she quickly runs to the fire, attempting remove the bow from the hungry flames without singeing her hands. Once she succeeds the mother rests the bow on her lap, uncaring of the black smudges that stains her dress. Fingers trace the charred wood mournfully and her eyes engrave its damaged state into her mind.
Elinor recalls her daughter's horrified face and tear-filled eyes. Remorse latches onto her like a quilt that offers no reprieve from the cold.
"Merida. . . I'm so sorry."
"It's a peace offering! I made it myself, just for you."
Elinor looks sceptical for a moment before relenting, taking a small bite of the dessert. Her face scrunches up at the taste as she swallows, feeling strange.
"What did you put in this? Oh, I don't feel so good. . ."
Elinor is confused when she towers over her daughter and Merida scrambles away from her, terror plastered onto her face. The queen is startled at her daughter's cry and tries to speak, only for her voice to come out in garbled growls and grunts. Her eyes widen and she looks down.
Dark fur covers her body and long, black claws adorn her paws.
She stumbles backward in alarm and gropes for the dresser. The woman-turned-bear fumbles with the drawer. Once a handheld mirror is in her hands—paws, she gazed into it frantically. Then her short, furry legs buckle and she falls, frightened and confused by her reflection, and scoots back towards Merida.
They both looked at each other.
"Mum? You're a—you're a bear?" comes the incredulous statement that was voiced as a question.
Elinor could do naught but stare at her daughter helplessly.
She drapes the tapestry over her mother's bestial form and waits. They all do.
She prayed that it worked.
The bright beams emanating from the sun slide slowly down the stone pillars before making their way to the pair sitting on the grass. Warm brown meets her apprehensive blues, as if to say "it's okay", but the princess is sure it isn't. She is beginning to lose hope, faith, that her mum would turn back when the light grazes the cloth.
She does not turn back.
Why wasn't it working? Did she not mend it like the Witch said or was it all wrong? Did the Witch lie? So many questions, so many possibilities that she had done something wrong—but she already has, hasn't she? This was all her fault after all. If only she had listened.
Once she sees her mother's iris grow larger, the whites of her eyes gradually disappearing and her mother's brown orbs darkening, she latches onto the bear's fur in frustration and despair. The dark eyes reveal her mother's mind being overcome by the beast she was locked inside. Merida weeps, apologizing.
Her mother remains out of her reach even as the full warmth of the sunrise caresses the tapestry.
She does not return.
It was her own fault. All of it.
She split the tapestry in a fit of anger: to prove a point; to show how furious she was.
She didn't mean for this.
Why couldn't she choose her own fate? Why did her mum have to throw her bow—her precious, beloved bow—into the unforgiving flames?
Why couldn't she have listened, given her a chance?
Was she nothing more than a marionette? No, her mother was just doing what she thought best. Now, because of her own selfishness, she was nothing more than a puppet without strings.
Her mother was lost, her rational mind clouded by instinct, and in her place was this. . . beast.
Maybe her mother was still there? If only a faintly? But a fragment?
Her mother. . . the bear; it does not hurt her.
"I'll always be there for you."
She—it followed her everywhere. Almost seeming to protect her, even though they do not understand why. The residents and servants within the kingdom do not bother them. There was a certain. . . softness, in those dark animalistic orbs that she cannot not miss, and it made her chest throb in overwhelming guilt all the more.
The witch did this. She didn't warn her of the consequences.
But she got her wish.
Her fate was changed.
. . . Just not in the way she wanted it to be. Hoped it to be.
"I want you back. . . I love you. . ." her muffled cries do naught but cause her chest to throb even further, heaving from lack of breath and the sheer agony tormenting her heart. The raw emotion of sorrow plunges into her heart similar to blade and each sob sends another spasm dancing through her chest. Tears stain the bear's rich fur. The beast does nothing, could do nothing, would do nothing to help soothe her aching heart. It can not soothe her with words or comfort her. It cannot hug her and ease her sadness the way her mother could.
Soon, it leaves her, uncaring if she is still sobbing. But it always comes back, and that hurts all the more. It is a torture that she knows will break her, kill her, but it is also one that she is unsure if she could live without.
Merida knows there is no wound deeper than the ones no one can see. The ones with no origin but inside one's own heart, mind, and soul.
Her father cannot bear it. He gets sicker every day. He does not eat, his face is paler every time he lays eyes on them: the bears and her. Darkness lined his eyelids, a testament to how well he sleeps. He does not speak much anymore and no humour left his lips. Not like it use to.
Her brothers. . . they do not commit anymore pranks. And yet, those who had once been the victim of them can not help but lament. There is no mischief or deviousness behind those once bright blue orbs, those that had been so much like hers. Only instinct.
They follow the bear, which in turn follows her. They sometimes nibble on her fingers, gnaw at her dress, or pile up in her lap when she sits. She feeds them (the cubs and the bear) whatever the kitchen servants fix up, unable to endure the thought of them starving. She smiles, sometimes, when their eyes light up at the smell of sweets, even if it hurts.
Her heart longs for them, mourning her mistake. She missed her mother's scolding, picking on her brother's (or them picking on her) and joking with her father. Together, as a family. . .
She missed happiness.
Why was she still here? Why did she continue breathing even though it hurt so much?
Why couldn't Mor'du have killed her that day? Why could he not have taken her instead of her father's leg?
The fresh scar on her arm burns, as if the shallow, but painful wound her mum—the bear inflicted, had reappeared. She rubs her arm, half-expecting crimson to coat her fingers when she pulls her hand back. There is no blood, though. It continues to ache.
What is it trying to tell her?
A blue, etheral light lit up outside her window. Its glow illuminates whatever its ghostly essence touches in an ominous and forboding premonition.
The Will O' the Wisps lead her to the circle; the same place where she last saw her mother. Angus shuffles uneasily as her eyes roam. Fog clings to the grass and the slab of stone that claimed Mor'du still lays on the ground. The sun is obscured by clouds and makes it all the more eerie. She fixes her gaze onto the figure that she is certain wasn't there before.
The Witch is dressed in gaudier clothes, expensive and foreign. Her bird leers at her in a sickly manner and the Witch's hawk-like eyes look like they want to burn holes into her skull. Merida briefly wonders if she's angry about her house.
The crone narrows her gaze.
The Witch seems to consider the question before answering, "A lesson. I believe the saying goes: 'Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.' Am I right? I'm right." She sniffs obnoxiously and silence reigns for a brief moment.
"Change her back. Change them back. I'll do anythin', anythin' you want." demands Merida. She holds up a bag of coins. a jingling noise emanates from within the leather
The Witch stares at her, the raven perched on her shoulder and its avian face seeming to be placed in an odd smile. "Anything?" The crone dismisses the wealth and Merida raises her eyebrows. There is no explanation, but the Witch hints, "The price is far steeper than just gold this time, girl. It's different than simply reversing the effects. I'll have to completely remove the magic after it's been locked in place, and I will have you know that it is a very hard thing to do. So," the hag says. "Are you still willing to give anything? Hm?"
Blue eyes narrow, grim determination shining behind them. Merida ponders the tone in which the question was phrased and a chill crawls down her spine. A clump of ice forms in the pit of her stomach, but she claims anyway, "Yes; anythin'."
The Witch smiles, hobbling closer to her. Merida does not move, even though the Witch seems far more terrifying than her first encounter and she wants nothing more than to be free from her unsettling gaze. The woman's hands reach into a bag at her waist, pulling back to reveal a small, gnarled branch with a gem on the end. Merida's steed stamps the ground furiously to show his unease.
Muttering something before jabbing the gem at Merida's chest, the Witch watches as the princess's eyes go wide. A spark races from within the gem and into Merida's body. A second later she crumples to the ground and Angus whinnies loudly. The sound blurs and the princess is unsure if her eyes are open or closed, if she is floating or sinking or falling. The scar on her arm flares up with pain, but Merida feels far to numb to acknowledge it. She thinks she hears laughing, but it fades far too quickly to be sure.
But she does hear something. Her mum.
She sings softly and Merida smiles dazedly, happily. She hums along.
And then she is gone.
Fergus gazes blankly at her. The search party keeps its distance but at the same time crowds around, all wanting to take a peek and all wanting to see it with their own eyes. There are gazes of sympathy, of pity. Some are mournful and sad themselves. But that doesn't matter to him.
She is sleeping, he tells himself. She is, in a way. But it was the final rest from which she would never wake.
"Merida," he whispers, fingers brushing cold skin like one trying to ease someone out of slumber. No reply. "Merida." he calls louder, hoping to all Gods that she would awake, that she was just sleeping. His men turn their heads, unable to watch their king suffer as he breaks down, hugging his daughter's body and pulling it flush against himself.
Her scar is blood-red, oddly hot while the rest of her is cold. Red tresses are a fiery river, and eyelids were shut loosely, giving off an aura of peacefulness even as her father buried his face in her neck.
She does not wake up.
The bears are gone.
A mother shakes with unrestrained sobs, hands threading into scarlet locks and forehead pressing against her daughter's own, pleading for her to open her eyes, to wake up and grin cheekily at her.
The brothers are confused, scared and angry. Innocence still clouds their minds. Why wouldn't there big sister wake up? Why are they trying to put her in the white box? Their mum is crying, and their sister is just lying there as if she couldn't hear her. Why is their father acting like that? Why are they doing that to Merida?
The coffin is soon covered in rich soil, a weeping mother and the triplets restrained, tears streaking down their faces. A father could only stare, on his knees, at the newly placed gravestone, his daughter's name etched into the fine cut stone. Fergus' arms were limp and his eyes were clouded, unable to comprehend what was happening.
In an odd, twisted sort of way, Merida got her wish.
She changed her fate. She was free of the weight of being a princess.
She just wasn't able to control the way in which it would change
. . . But at what price?
Within the sleepy darkness, Merida thought she heard her Mother Elinor singing to her, but it was different.
It sounded so sad, filled with suffering. It makes Merida weep.
Somewhere, little Merida is singing with her mother softly as fire crackled merrily and displays their faces with warm glows.