How long have I been here?
Does it even matter anymore?
I laid my head against warm stone, tracing the cracks in the wall- wising to just slip through one of them, to just fall out of the tower to my death.
I begin the story, quietly, my fingers still gently touching the wall, for it was my only companion.
"There once was a prince who lived in a castle…"
It's getting cold out. I can feel it, the wind from the North blowing into my tiny hole in the wall, chilling me.
I trip over in my ridiculously long dress, and sit next to it.
I pick up the brush, like a proper little princess –though I'm really a prince- and start.
Suddenly, there is a noise below.
Who comes to my tower up high?
I lean out, my hands supporting my weight as I crane my neck.
There is a boy, outside.
Hair, golden, like the leaves in the garden… Except his is constant, gently ruffled in the cold wind.
I shiver, though my dress is warm.
"And he was the fairest prince in all the land. But misfortune was soon to befall our fair prince…"
I've tacked my blanket over the window to keep the cold out, but it hasn't worked. I've resorted to wrapping my hair around myself, rubbing my hands against my sides.
I bet, below, they're feasting, with warm ale and mead, and roasted pork and mutton-
I must stop. I am not allowed down there.
No one must see a princess until his marriage.
"See, this castle had a problem. The King's brother and his wife died, leaving him with a nephew, who he received graciously, as the King had no sons of his own and his own wife had passed away a few months earlier. And one day, news came to the palace of war with the Southernlands. The only way to break the curse was to give him the fairest in the land. His two daughters were beauties fair, but his nephew was even greater to behold. So until his marriage could be formalized, the prince must be locked into the highest tower, to prevent anyone else from looking at him. And he is still there."
I laugh, holding myself tighter.
That boy is back.
For some reason I spend all my time looking at him, watching him work in the mud and rain, smelling the new growth.
I believe he's a gardener's apprentice.
He kneels, bareback, in the dirt, and from here I can see the droplets of sweat on his back, glistening like diamonds.
I blink, and watch as he turns, and for the first time I see his face… his eyes are blue.
For a second I though I was looking into the sky.
He smiles, a flash of white in a sea of tan, and for a moment I fancy it is for me… but it can't be. I'm too high up, both in status and in position.
A pauper can never be a prince.
All those fairy tales, they lie. The prince always throws aside the poor girl.
I should know; I have been thrown aside, scraps for the dogs of the Southernlands to lap up.
He is still smiling.
For once, I will indulge myself.
I smile back.
It has been a year.
The gardener is still there.
He smiles at my tower, every day. He's an odd one.
My hair has grown; when I braid it and throw it out the tower, it hangs halfway down.
I have nothing else to do with my time, so I write. I must get a new dress soon, this one is deplorable. Ink stains everywhere.
I hold out my latest piece; a poem.
For some reason, the gardeners are working outside my tower today.
That beast is there, the King, and for a moment I feel my temper flare.
He is a man as well. He feels remorse and sadness, just like you do. Maybe, one day, we can be reconciled.
Just not today.
He is gone now, so I lean out my window, papers clutched in hand.
Only the blonde is there now. The others have gone to lunch.
He seems to have been waiting for me; as soon as my head pokes out the window, he smiles.
I smile back.
Quietly, almost subconsciously, I begin reading my writings.
"I hold you deep in my heart
Though we have never spoken
A gentle touch
For me, would suffice.
I am locked here, in stone and cold,
Awaiting a fate worse than my loneliness.
I don't know why you smile at me,
But it makes my winters seem like summer,
My cold seem like warmth,
And my demise all that farther away."
I open my eyes-when had I closed them? - and saw you smile.
Then you clapped, loudly, and smiled more.
I smiled. I didn't think you could hear me.
The leaves are flying again.
It is now really a year since I first saw you.
I am smiling now, with no rhyme or reason, just smiling.
There is a knock on my door.
I immediately start up, and arrange myself.
Hinata walks in, eyes darting around, nervous.
I still resent her. She can marry whomever she chooses. I am marrying someone I have never seen nor met because of her. To save her.
I am nothing but the pig, roasted and sliced up at her table.
She holds out something; a parcel, wrapped in cloth.
I take it from her, bowing my head in thanks.
"F-from Naruto… the gardener. He said it would smile for you when he wasn't there."
She immediately turns and runs out of the room, slamming the door shut behind her.
I unwrap the parcel. It is a necklace, a choker of silver with a sky blue tear drop crystal swinging heavily from it. I slide it around my neck, and stand, moving to the window.
The crystal catches the last dying rays of the sun, and suddenly the room is filled with little pinpricks of blue- little stars, laughing and dancing, as stars are often known to do.
I lean out the window, the stars moving with me.
Naruto? now stood below, wrenching his hands and looking up at my window worriedly. When he saw me leaning out, looking down at him, he smiled.
I was about to smile back when the King stormed out, and made a beeline for Naruto.
I was quick to step back into my room.
Hiashi has banished Naruto.
He entered my tower to scold me for looking at another.
I did not fight back.
They own me.
I sigh, my head against the stone again.
I decided to continue my story, maybe I can use it to entertain Southernland children; all children love stories, no matter what nationality.
I hadn't eaten for days, so when my voice came out, it was lighter, and softer.
"Our prince had made a fatal mistake. Now his one and only friend had been taken away. He had looked at another."
I closed my eyes.
"He had fallen in love."
I have never touched this boy, nor talked to him.
All I have done is smiled. Smiled, using it to communicate; I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm indifferent.
I have let this boy see me, my inner workings.
Madness. This is all complete and utter madness.
"Princes always seem to fall for peasants, after all."
It is back.
The flowers are growing, the earth is wet.
Yet Naruto is not there.
Hinata came into my room today to tell me the Southernland tribe has arrived; my marriage is in a week.
I held my crystal and for the first time in years, I cried.
I wept for the Southernlander, entering into an unemotional marriage with someone he has only ever heard about. Maybe he has his own gardener at the bottom of his tower, though his gardener can never smile like mine.
I wept for me.
But most of all, I wept for Naruto. I felt as though I were betraying him, and it hurt.
Today it is nothing but a raw, aching pain, deep down in my chest.
Tomorrow it will not be any better.
I am getting married in four hours. The King has allowed me to prepare myself.
I smooth out my dress and insert flowers into my braid. It coils on the floor in thick, dark ropes.
It now reaches five feet off the ground outside.
I give up after the first ten feet; it is a tedious task, and I believe the King may make me cut it anyway.
I gently touch the crystal at my neck; for him I have selected a sky blue dress with yellow trim.
I slide a circlet of gold onto my forehead; another crystal; this one blue also (Hinata picked it out) rests coolly against my forehead.
Though it is only spring, I am sweltering.
I move over to the window.
Below is a mop of golden hair, and a smile.
He cups his hands around his mouth.
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!"
Shocked, I do as I am told.
There is a tug, and immeasurable pain, as Naruto grips my hair and hauls himself up. I help, getting up and trying to walk to my door, at the other end of the room. I'm pretty sure Naruto has removed a good chunk of hair.
When he climbs over the windowsill, I see that he has. He smiles.
I smile back.
He produces a rope ladder, and there are no words.
Swiftly, I rip my dress, enough for me to climb down swiftly.
Soon we will be away from this place.
Naruto looks back at me, and smiles. The blue stars on his face dull in comparison to the twin blue suns.
I smile back.
Wrote this in 2 hours really late at night. Was watching a Disney movie and this came to mind.
Do you want a continuation? Or is it a stand alone piece?
Please review and tell me what you think?
~Hugs and fishes,