NB: I do not own Wicked Lovely or any of the characters. Melissa Marr owns the neighbourhood, I'm just playing in the metaphorical back garden. Enjoy!

P.S. Try reading the last section while listening to Dominant by Emilie Autumn. But have some Kleenex handy.

-x-

I look at him.

I keep looking.

No.

Oh my God, no.

This is some kind of cruel trick.

It must be.

NO! I won't do this!

He won't make me.

He can't.

I won't let him.

Oh, I'm scared, I'm scared.

I'm only 17.

My baby.

I can't do this.

God, help me! Someone!

I'm scared.

I replay his words in my mind, wondering if I missed something, wondering if maybe everything will be ok after all.

Summer Queen.
Mine.
Court Fey.
Eternity.
Bound.
Choice.
Danger.
Need.
Your Fey.
Please.
For me.
Your baby too.
It'll be alright.

That last one is the one. The straw that breaks the camel's back. The bubble bursts.

'It'll be alright?' I scream, hysterical, panicked, my voice shrill enough to break windows. 'It'll be ALRIGHT? How is any of this even remotely alright?! You never asked me if I wanted this! And now I have to go and be some kind of QUEEN? For the Fey? For you of all people?! I won't! You'll never make me!'

I collapse back onto the bed, sobbing without tears, rough, hacking sobs from the bottom of my stomach. My mind spins in panicked circles like a Catherine wheel come loose from its fencepost. That's how I feel: Adrift in a world too big, too scary, too much for me. No moorings or directions. Panic, fear, every way I look. I feel an arm around my shoulders.

'Moira, don't be scared. You were born to do this. You'll be perfect. The best Queen the Summer Court ever had. I'm here for you. You'll be amazing.'

I throw his arm off. I'm furious now, brimful of icy rage. I can feel the flames burning in my own eyes where I never could before. A mark of what he's done to me. Bastard. I can't believe I almost liked him. Can't believe I trusted him, laughed with him, while he was doing this to me. Stealing my mortality away with every second that passed. Leaving me with his changeling – the eternity I don't want, won't accept.

I straighten, suddenly glacier-calm and still.

'I'll think about it,' I say archly. My voice rings oddly, wrongly in my ears. It's not mine, not me, some strange, manufactured faery Queen Moira. Not me. She's taking my identity, just like he did. I'll never be the girl next door again. He took that from me. Everything that separated me from my sworn enemies – mortality, humanity, impermanence, compassion – all gone.

It's all sinking in now.

'I'll talk to you soon,' I say. The words appear in my head and a stranger thought springs into being in my mind: Maybe this other Moira, the faery Queen, the me-but-not-me doesn't want this either. Maybe she doesn't want to have to exist by taking this from me. I can feel her in my head, feeding me the words to say, the way to act to escape. 'I'll tell you what I've decided.'

Relief. He looks relieved. He thought he could just get away with this?! That almost pushes me over the edge again. For a split second, I want nothing more than to lash out with fists, arms, teeth, nails – anything for some way, any way, to hurt him. But the me-but-not-me holds me in check. Sshh, remember, she chides. Calm down if you want to escape. You can't hurt him like that.

'Now, please leave,' I say with the regal dignity of the me-but-not-me. Mine-but-not-mine. Hers. I know without asking that if I don't escape, I'll just fade until it's only her left, a changeling in an empty shell. But she'll help me get out. I know she will. After all, she's me and I'm her.

Something – maybe Keenan hears her in my voice and realises he can't argue – makes him turn and leave. I wait impatiently for the latch to click shut, my tension heightening my senses. Or maybe it's her. I don't know or care. All I can feel is the corrosive, purple-black hatred casting a shadow over every facet of my life.

All I know is that I have only one choice. I feel the pain starting to build as he walks away, but I'm strong enough to control it now. It won't – he won't – beat me again. I know I have to do the only thing I can do – I'll have to last word on my freedom. I'm making one last grand gesture. It won't be forgotten. Coolly, methodically, I start to think. First and foremost: My baby. A few short weeks – nothing at all on a forced eternity and she'll be born. More than anything, I wish I could get to know her as she grows up. That will be the only tragedy. It seems suddenly wonderful to me; this new person. Half me, half someone else. I wonder for a fleeting moment if my half of her will be all me or if some of the me-but-not-me will be there as well. I shake my head; I don't have time for this. If I can hold Keenan – the worthless bastard, I hate him more than I ever did – off until then, I'm free. I'll have won my freedom.

I settle down to wait. Not long left.

It is some time later. I have had my baby, my beautiful Aislynn. The daughter I will never know. The waiting has been unbearable. I can't stay here. I've always been wrong for this world. Making me even more certain of my decision is me-but-not-me. She's grown inside me like Ash did. She's strong enough to control me, change my path if she wanted to, but this is my body. She respects that. She won't act against me to save herself. I thank her for that. She accepts her fate as I accept mine.

I'm ready.

I've been getting ready for this. I am perfectly calm as I walk through the woods, back to the spot where I met Keenan on Midsummer's.

It seems right. I want him to know it was his fault.

I've left Ash with my mother. I've said my goodbyes.

I've chosen my path from this world. It doesn't matter to me what I use to get my freedom. It's just another way to cut the laces of life. Me-but-not-me is sad and scared, but trying not to show it. She'll let me die if I want to, but she wants to live. She'd make a good queen. I wish I could give her that.

I kneel, pulling out the gun.

Just for a minute, sadness ghosts over my soul. Mourning for a life I might have known. All the world I'll never see, poisoned by him. I want to live, but I can't. I want to be freed into whatever comes after this world, but this isn't my choice.

I see a world coloured by hatred and entrapment. I can't live here. Not while he walks the earth. Hatred. Me and him, bound together for eternity by hate. That eclipses everything else. He lied to me like he lied to all the others. He changed me. He made me what I never wanted to be. I suppose I should always have known I could never truly live with or without the Fey. Which leaves me here.

I shake my head. If I don't do this now, I never will.

I lift up the gun.

This is the end.

-x-

This is the last chapter of Moira's story – that's the sad thing about a story with an inevitable ending. I'll be sorry to have finished, I really came to like Moira as a character. I'll miss her. She had such a distinctive voice in my head, she as good as wrote herself. Maybe I'll write something else for her after this. Perhaps a songfic with Misery Loves Company by Emilie Autumn. Suggestions welcome!

And this wouldn't be complete without a thankyou. Thanks to everyone who read, reviewed and encouraged me to finish this. Really, it wouldn't be here without you.