A/N: Hello again, friends. As I told you, this chapter is a Blue-centric/RedFairy chapter. It will be a bit shorter than usual, and this chapter will reveal a MAJOR plot point. I mentioned on my tumblr that for any of you wondering why the first half of this story is a flashback, considering you start with the first chapter then jump back ten months in the second and build forward, there is a very specific reason why you needed to know the "future" ahead of time. And this chapter will reveal a portion of that.
I wrote this chapter to the soundtrack of "Fading From Memory," by Gothic Storm. I hope you all enjoy! XO-Chrmdpoet
Chapter Nineteen: A Sacrifice
Red paced the length of her royal bedchamber in the White Castle. Her heart played out a rhythm of sorrow and fear, clenching and crying. She could do naught but feel the pain of it, the pain of her worry.
Little more than an hour's time had passed since Red had stood upon the western path and watched her child disappear into the blazing sunset. The moment she could no longer see Emma's golden hair rippling in the wind created by her racing steed, Red's mind was enveloped by the silence of her child's absence. It was a silence that lasted not long, though, for within it grew a whirlwind of fear, of questioning, and of terror.
Red's mind was a tortured cavern of echoing thoughts as she sped the length of her chambers, back and forth, back and forth. The words of her lover, words of caution about the Desert of Mages, played on a loop, pounding in her ears as a heavy pulse—the trials that awaited her daughter were grand.
And it terrified her beyond words.
It was not only Emma at risk, either. It was Regina as well. Red could lose both her beloved daughters in a mere matter of moments, of hours, of days.
Tears leaked down Red's cheeks. When would the hardship finally pass? Must they suffer so deeply, so frequently?
"My, this seems familiar."
Red's feet continued to carry her back and forth, back and forth, though her pace tempered as the familiar and comforting lilt of her beloved's voice sank into her flesh and wrapped warmly around her heart.
"Sadly," Red muttered, "I am sure it does."
Blue sighed heavily as she leaned against the frame of the open doorway and watched the woman she had so grown to love splinter into fragments before her very eyes. "You must have faith, Red. Emma is strong, as is Regina. They will prevail."
"You can know this not for certain," Red raggedly argued, her watery eyes fixated on the floor as she continued to pace.
"I can," Blue countered, "if I believe."
"Is this the point at which you don your wings and wand, sprinkle the air with glitter, and speak fanciful language of the wonders of True Love?" Red bit out coldly. "Perhaps you might break into song about how much one can accomplish if one simply believes?"
"I have no wings or wand to don," Blue answered quietly, refusing to the rise to the bait of Red's anger. She knew her lover was simply searching for an outlet for her warring emotions. She would provide it not in petty arguments. She would, however, provide it in truth. "And in all fairness, darling, I never sang those silly songs. In fact, the only one of us known to do so was the Fae godmother of Cinderella, and as you know, she tragically passed."
"Furthermore, Red," the petite brunette continued, clucking her tongue, "even if I were partial to song, I would hardly waste an effort on one whose bitter temper would merely sour it."
"She is my child!" Red snapped, halting her pacing as she whirled to face her lover.
"And what do you believe she is to me?" Blue countered. "Is she not my dear friend? Is she not as a child to me as well? I have known her as long as you, Red. I watched over her when she was but an infant. I love her, as I love Regina, as I love Snow. Do you not believe I fear for her, for both of them, as you do?"
She took a step closer to Red. "You forget who I am," Blue told her. "You forget that I knew you as a child as well, Red. I knew Snow. I knew even Regina. I watched each of you grow into the women you became, into the people you are today. As a fairy, I may have been unable to feel love, but I am no longer Fae, and yet still I carry three centuries of memories inside me. As a human, those memories touch me now in ways they never could before, and thus my love is deep beyond your imagination. It is powerful. It is worthy of your respect."
They stared at one another for a tense moment, the heated passions of both women warming the air until it clawed and burned at their flesh. And then they moved.
With supernatural speed, Red shot across the remaining distance between them. Her hands sank into Blue's hair in a blur of motion as their lips crashed together, fueled by their stewing emotions, by their fear, by their rage, and by their grief. The slip of tongues, the both gentle and rough caress of fingertips against flesh, alleviated their pain and offered them an escape within one another.
Blue yelped as her feet jolted from the floor with ease, and that yelp evolved into laughter as the erstwhile fairy looked to down to find her lover carrying her easily with only a single arm tucked beneath her bottom. The other was already out and reaching as Red sped them to the door, slammed it closed, and then shot toward their shared bed.
They collapsed into luxurious sheets, fingers pulling at clothes, at laced corsets, at skin and muscle and bone; at static and moisture.
"You wish to bury your fear in my flesh," Blue husked as Red's lips attached to the pulse point near the base of her neck.
"All that I am," Red growled out as she gave in and used her strength to rip open her lover's dress, exposing a fair body she had learned as a prayer. "I wish to bury all that I am in you." She sank her teeth into the swell of a petite breast and sucked the skin purple. "I wish to drown in your flesh, love," she whispered against a straining nipple, "and I never wish to come up for air."
A rush of fluids sang through Blue's body upon hearing the words and she could hardly help the moan that escaped her as she gave her body over to sensations that at times still felt so wonderfully foreign and new.
They gave themselves over to one another again and again, hiding inside the salty flow of skin against skin, reveling in the escape it offered. And when their energy waned, they did fall as a tangle of limbs and laughter, short breath and whispered confessions of affection.
"I am sorry, Blue," Red whispered as she held tightly to her lover, gently pushing an errant strand of hair behind Blue's ear. "I know you share my fear. I allowed my emotions the better of me. I should have raised not my voice at you."
Blue smiled as she pressed a finger to Red's lips, silencing her. "All is well now," she told her.
"My fear still is great," Red admitted softly.
"Of course it is," Blue answered. "Mine is as well. A temporary escape erases not one's reality. But can you believe, Red? Can you have faith in our loved ones?"
Tears burned in Red's eyes as she let those words rumble through her soul. She stroked her hands down her lover's side, reveling in the fizzling pop of the static against her fingertips. "I can," she finally whispered.
Blue smiled as a gentle laugh escaped her. "See? I suppose I had no need to don a wand and wings after all."
Red rolled her eyes even as her cheeks flushed a soft pink. "No, you merely had to bare your body."
"Typical," Blue drawled, but then both she and Red burst into laughter.
Red rolled over on top of the former fairy and gazed down into the woman's soft brown eyes. "I love you, tiny person," she whispered, her eyes alight with the joy of that one moment amidst the trials that were ever mounting around them.
Blue sighed dramatically, though she failed horribly at her attempts to glare at the wolf. When Red only laughed at her, Blue gave in. She poked at her lover's sides as she grinned and said, "I love you as well…furry person."
"That is low," Red laughed out.
"And yet true," Blue countered, "at least once a month."
They laughed together as they pressed their lips over tender places and love bites, and they fought to forget their pain just a little while longer.
Blue slipped quietly out of bed, leaving a simple kiss on the bare shoulder of her slumbering love. She donned a new dress quickly and darted from their bedchamber. She thought she might check on Snow while Red was in slumber, as she knew the former White Queen struggled with each and every breath these recent days.
The raven-haired woman had been loath to temporarily reclaim the throne in her daughter's absence, only because she could hardly see beyond her pain, and Blue wished to offer her some modicum of support and comfort. She knew that Snow would welcome the company if only just to kill the silence that seemed to devour her in every moment.
The former fairy made her way along the corridor that led to the dining chambers, where she assumed Snow would be taking evening meal, but as she walked, a strange tingling sensation erupted on her flesh. Blue halted her travel as the sensation overwhelmed her, and one of her small hands shot up to press against her chest, just over her heart, as she felt a violent tug on the muscle.
Blue sucked in a breath as she continued to clutch at her heart, the tugging sensation only amplifying. Just as she cried out with the pain of it, a shimmering sheen enveloped her entire body, and then she was gone, leaving naught but a quiet corridor ripe with her absence.
A chill set down Blue's spine as she appeared only moments later in a place she knew nothing of. Her flesh still shimmered in the bright white that surrounded her from all sides. She could see no ground beneath her, though her feet seemed firmly planted. She could see no sky or ceiling above, no walls surrounding. There was only white, stretching in all directions as far as the eye could see.
Her heart set to racing as she whirled in circles, tears springing to her eyes, and then a chilling voice she had heard only once before echoed around her from an unseen source.
"Fear not, Blue, for you are safe here." Fate's booming voice settled on her flesh like ice water, painting her in the memory of years prior when she had received a haunting warning—a warning she had heeded not. "You are in the realm of light, where none but I exist."
"Why have I been summoned here?" Blue whispered timidly, her words as earthquakes between her teeth.
"Tell me, Blue, do you know of the dealings of Fate?" the booming voice asked.
Blue's entire body trembled as she nodded and stammered out her answer. "Y-yes," she said softly. "They are rare and exist as a fork in the road. When t-two truly life-altering destinies exist along the same course but for a single event or d-decision that determines one over the other, Fate may offer a deal."
"Now you know why you have been summoned here," Fate responded simply. "Two destinies, both with the power to alter not only a life but thousands of lives; the fork, as you say, to separate their paths is looming ever nearer."
Blue's heart was pounding so forcefully in her chest in that moment that she had absolutely no doubt Fate could hear it. She swallowed thickly before asking, "These destinies are my own?"
"They are not," Fate answered, and Blue's racing heart plummeted into her stomach. She had been summoned to be the defining factor in another's future. It positively terrified her.
"May I ask of whom you speak then?" Blue inquired respectfully.
"I believe you know."
Tears burned in Blue's eyes as she let out a shaky breath and whispered, "The White Queen."
"The White Queens," Fate corrected. "As I told you once before, Blue, their shared destiny is one that must come to pass; however, with the recent intervention of dark forces, this shared destiny has been split, and now two destinies exist for the White Queens."
There was no doubt in Blue's mind that Fate spoke of Regina's recent capture and Emma's mission to rescue her. It was most certainly an intervention of dark forces, and Blue's entire body ached with the knowledge that this event would be significant enough to alter the course of destiny.
"And what has this to do with me?" Blue muttered nervously.
"You shall be the key," Fate told her, and the tears that had been burning in the former fairy's eyes tipped over her lids and streamed down her cheeks. "I shall offer you a choice, and your decision will determine the destiny that awaits the White Queens."
"Why must this burden fall upon me?" Blue asked, her voice laced with desperation.
"The answer is simple," Fate responded. "In her darkest hour, the White Queen, Regina, will cry out a wish. As due payment for the neglect that paved her road to darkness and as reward for her redemption, I shall make this wish possible when it otherwise would have gone unheard. You, Blue, must decide whether or not to grant the White Queen's wish, and that decision will determine destiny."
"But I can grant no wishes," Blue denied, desperate for this weight to be removed from her shoulders where it had already begun to dig into her flesh. "I am no longer Fae."
"Ah, and that is why you have been chosen," Fate told her. "In order for the White Queen's wish to be granted, a sacrifice must be made. That sacrifice would be yours."
"What sacrifice?" Blue asked, though the coldness in her bones claimed she already knew the answer.
"Your banishment was a consequence," the booming voice hissed. "The removal of your immortality was to be a punishment, and yet you have adjusted. You have found joy in your human existence, love in the Moon Child known as Red. You have grown fond of this existence."
Blue whimpered as she whispered, "I have."
"That would be your sacrifice," Fate told her. "You would sacrifice your emotions, your life as human. You would be reverted to your former self, made Fae once more, and once you were Fae again, you would grant the White Queen's wish."
Blue chewed on her lip until she tasted copper, droplets of blood seeping onto her tongue. Tears carved tracks into her cheeks as the sting of Fate's words sizzled in her ears and in her soul. How could she ever sacrifice her life as human? Her love with Red?
"Why would I make such a sacrifice?" Blue asked through her tears.
"Should the White Queen's wish be not granted," Fate began, "the path chosen shall lead to a fierce war."
"War is a part of life," Blue argued. "It is a sacrifice made by a kingdom. Should a war be our destiny, then shall we not simply fight together? Shall we not find a way to prevail?"
"Prevail, you will," Fate told her, "but at a grand cost."
Blue sucked in a heavy breath as Fate then hissed, "I can show you."