She lies in bed and watches the wind lazily toss the ends of the curtains around. A gentle iridescent sway of moonlight peaks whenever they are lifted by the breeze.
She groans, tossing to her side once again, managing to tangle her legs in the sheets. With a flailing struggle, she frees her legs from their self-inflicted confines and grumpily flattens herself against the mattress once more with a huff.
She lies there.
Flips onto her stomach.
Rolls onto her side.
Her pillow's too hot, so she flips it.
Rolls onto her back.
Covers her face in her hands with a frustrated cry.
She's tired. She's painfully, painfully tired, but she can't sleep. And something is niggling in the back of her mind, as if there was something that needs to be done right this second, but she knows not of what it is.
Until another person weight settles onto her mattress.
Her body slides toward it, and she gasps but keeps her first response quiet because there's always the slightest chance that…
"Sparks," he nods softly.
She loses words briefly. "Oh," she says softly. "You."
He doesn't laugh at her, for once. This should have been the first warning sign.
He lies by her side, leaning over her body.
A dream, she convinces herself. Just another dream he sent her.
She raises herself onto her elbows, reaching for his lips with her own. He draws away after the lightest press of a kiss, stroking a thumb over her cheek.
"Sometimes I don't know what to do with you," he murmurs glancing at her quivering throat as she sucks in a shaky breath. His eyes are soft and admiring, and she feels gazed upon in the wrong kind of regard.
"You never seem to have that self-doubt when you're here," she points out flatly. Her face immediately hardens into nobility's mask. She's being very careful. So is he. She doesn't know why.
"But now…" she shakes her head, "Now you come to me for something different."
He can never have her. He can never be with her. He can never be good enough for her. She's quick to dismiss it, always, but they can't deny the differences for much longer. With rumors of engagement spreading, they feel the threads connecting them stretch thin.
She'd picked up on it. His change of heart. That's he'd been doting on her. Worshipping her. It aches in her chest that he's treating her as his better, something he's never done before. He deflowered his queen, for god's sake, something that he blatantly did and thought about often before he did it. He though himself equal to her. Her better, on many occasions. And she needed it. Didn't always like it, but needed it all the same.
She could be merely human to him.
She loved that, maybe a bit more than she loved him. She wasn't sure she loved him. There was a certain pull in her chest that certainly something very much like love, but it would ebb away when she'd wake up and find out it was all something he planned for her to see.
"Your wedding night's sooner than we think. Just wanted to…I don't know. Send you off, I guess."
She snorts. "Yes, my time to select a husband, as if that's going to stop you."
He regards her gravely, chewing his lower lip.
"I think it's best… if I keep away, after it's all official."
She stirs, or grows still. Somehow she does both, her body freezing into place in a way that visibly shows. The mirth leaves her eyes.
"Thanks for making the decision for me. I'm glad I don't get a say in this." Her head jerks to look straight ahead of her, not offering him her full attention.
"No, Bitterblue, it's not like I can do this when you have a husband lying beside you every night. We knew this day would come."
"When's the last time we've been together during the day?" she jokes humorlessly.
He closes his eyes. "I'm sorry."
"No, I don't think you are."
She's so, so cold. Did being queen make her like that? Already, with a hurtful truth wrapped in gentle words, she has recoiled into something hard and stone.
A dream, she tells herself again. You can wake up from this. He's sent you something, and in the morning it will be over.
Her head remains held high as she meets his gaze with a ferocity he can't quite return. It feels wrong to push back. He accepts her dominance. This makes it much worse.
She shakes her head, rolling her eyes to the ceiling. "I'm just in shock you had the nerve to show up and end things. Honestly. I thought you'd just keep away forever, teasing me…" she glances at him with clouded eyes, "Am I going to wake up soon?"
He looks at her hollowly and shakes his head.
"I'd never make you dream of this…" he says softly, brushing his fingers along her shoulder. She shakes her head jerkily.
"I'm here," he offers weakly, pressing his lips to her temple. She accepts the kiss, but only rigidly, staying perfectly still and clenching her jaw.
"You should go, before I wake up and realize that you lied."
He shakes his head sadly.
"You deserved a proper goodbye." He stands and walks towards the window, pushing it open again. "We deserved a proper goodbye. The best we could have hoped for with this is a proper goodbye, in the end."
He gives her a small adoring smile, not as a queen but as a girl. Something that she is no longer. But he still gives her a smile meant for a young, beautifully naive girl.
"Goodbye," she says softly.
She realizes hopes she never knew she had are now crushed around her, broken shards under her sheets and pressed against her body. She watches his body lower itself down the wall and vanish into the night.
She either falls asleep or stays asleep the rest of the evening.
But the window is still open when she wakes.