A/N: So this is now a series of short stories. Some may take a few chapters, some may just be a short poem, but most will be one-shots.
by Fiyero Oberon
I feel the fear run through my body as I realize what is about to happen. Already the light of the sun dances merrily on the crystalline waves of the ocean. The dark sky has begun to lighten; the horizon has turned a lovely shade of pink. I close my eyes and breath deeply in, letting the salty scent of the sea linger in my nostrils. I wet my lips and kiss the wind.
Inside, the raven-haired prince lies on his wedding bed, his naked body entwined with the sheets, his strong arms enclosed tightly around the princess, his lover, the maiden he has longed to be with all this time. All this time. I tricked myself into believing that he was in love with me. What a fool I am. Why would he ever love me when he could have the beautiful princess he believed to have saved him from the storm? Indeed, I heard him say that very thing just before the wedding this previous eve. He said to his parents, 'My lord and lady, it is true, I do love the mute girl. We all do. But I confess that although she is beautiful as she dances, my heart feels no tug toward her. I love her, yes, but as my sister. Many have come to believe that I have a quiet love affair with her, but no word of such a love has ever passed between us, neither from my lips nor from her gestures. I love this princess. I have loved her since she saved me from death. I do not want the mute girl. I want her.'
I remember how my heart had sunk as I listened to the prince's words, how the lump in my throat had hardened, how the hot tears had formed and burned my eyes. And for a fleeting moment, I felt true hate - I know not for whom though. The prince, perhaps, or the princess. Or the sea-witch, or my sisters for telling me of the sea-witch's spells, or myself. Myself. I hated myself in that moment, for loving him, for saving him, for begging the sea-witch to split my fin, for daring to believe my prince loved me in return. Listen to me. 'My prince.' I dare to call him 'my prince.' I am pathetic.
I looked down at the knife I hold in my hand. The silver blade gleams as the rosy sun makes her ascent. I suddenly feel an urge to run back into that bedroom, to thrust the knife into the prince's chest . . . over . . . and over . . . and over . . . and then to draw patterns on his leg, on his back, on his shoulders and arms, drawn with the knife so blood seeps through . . . and I want to tie her up and force her eyes open, make her watch him die in front of her. Then I would kill her too, though perhaps not as morbidly as him. Of course, it was not her fault.
But I can't do that. It wouldn't be worth it.
I reenter the bedroom and walk softly over to the bed where he lies on his stomach. I touch him gently. Leaning down, I kiss his bare neck. He groans in his sleep and rolls over onto his back. I run my hands down his naked chest and stomach and hips, and I kiss his mouth. For a moment, he is my lover. I brush his dark hair out of his eyes and I kiss him firmly on the mouth again and I realize that he is kissing back, though he is still asleep. I step over to the other side of the bed, and I stroke the princess's golden hair and kiss her forehead and I speak. My voice is low and rough from being unused for several months. 'You are so lucky to have him,' I murmur. 'Never let him go.'
I touch my prince one last time. 'Good-bye,' I whisper.
I leave the bedroom and go out to the balcony. My feet are still wrapped in the ballet slippers I danced in at the prince's wedding and they are still soaked in the blood that spilled from the pain inflicted by the sea-witch's spell.
And now I dance. My feet carry me and all thoughts leave me as I throw myself about the marble balcony floor. I know what I'm dancing: my life story. I twirl and step and spin and glide and I know somehow that this is a dance for him, though he will never see it. If he did see me, he would know the truth; I love him and I saved him from the storm, not her. The golden princess is a fraud.
The sun is nearly up now.
I stop dancing. My feet ache and I sit on the balcony edge. My feet slip silently into the water and the blood washes off, twirling about in patterns with the water. I untie the ribbons of my slippers; I watch them fall off with a quiet splash and float away.
The sun is moments away from being fully risen. Standing on the balcony edge, I tear my clothes off and fling them into the ocean. And suddenly I feel a white pain blaze in my feet. I let out a scream as the pain slowly makes its way up through my legs, my chest, my arms, and my head. I try to walk, but I stumble, my knees give in, and I fall in a heap on the marble floor. The agony tears me and I seize the knife and plunge it into my breast; fresh, warm blood spills out and down my body, mingling into the seawater. I scream and hot tears roll down my cheeks. I roll into the sea and with one last scream, I am gone forever.
The princess wakes with a start, swearing she heard someone screaming just outside. Standing, the princess wraps a cloak around herself for modesty's sake and slips out into the dewy morning. The sun has risen above the horizon entirely, orange and bright and still casting colorful streaks through the sky. Her eyes drift to the sea and a small smile flickers across her face.
Her prince comes out now, a cloak resting on his shoulders as well. He slips his arms around his bride's waist and leaves a trail of kisses down her neck and shoulder. She gives a sigh of content. 'Look at the foam,' she says, 'see how it dances with the water? It looks so peaceful . . . I have never stopped to notice such beauty . . . .'
He smiles. 'Yes. It is rather pretty, isn't it?'
She cups his chin in her hand and kisses him softly; and for some strange reason, his lips are salty.