Disclaimer: I don't own Wicked Lovely.
Walking carefully down the street, I counted the steps. Today had been a good one, no invisible hands had been grabbing at me. It was a beautiful, glorious, spring morning. The sun was shining, and it felt warm on my skin.
I stopped myself mid-step before I entered the park. Keenan had found me there too easily. Far too easily. I thought of his green eyes, and a cold shadow of foreboding swept through me. There was something desperate in the way he watched me, something that terrified me. Library, then. No park for me. Not today. Maybe if he couldn't find me, he would just give up?
It was easier to think clearly once I had gotten home, and was away from his overwhelming presence. He was the type of boy it would be all too easy to lose my head over. The thought of never seeing him again made me cold inside, but it was for the best. I was still young, I had the rest of my life to chase after beautiful boys who were no good for me, but Keenan wouldn't, couldn't, be one of them.
Against my will, I stopped in my tracks. Why was it so hard to say no to him?
"Keenan," I greeted, doing my best to hide my shakiness. It was all for naught.
"What's wrong?" He asked immediately.
Shrugging his arm off my shoulder (when had it gotten there?), I said "Nothing."
Keenan frowned, and I felt my heart break. "If you don't tell me what's wrong," He explained slowly, as if speaking to a child, "I can't make it better."
The caressing tone was what gave me the strength I needed to try to stop this now, before it went too far. "It's not your job to fix it, so buzz off." And with that, I all but ran away from him as fast as my legs could carry me.
"Sera!" Keenan caught up to me all too easily. "What's all this about?"
"I want you to go away!" I stopped and shouted in his face. "Leave me alone!"
His face darkened. "Look, if this is about Donia-"
"Who?" I broke in, confused.
"She didn't?" Keenan trailed off.
"I don't want to know," I reaffirmed. "I want you to leave me alone."
Keenan pulled my hands into his soft, warm ones, and stared into my eyes intently. "Sera," he whispered. "Tell me what this is all about."
It would be all too easy to lean in and press my lips against his, to simply close my eyes and bask in his warmth, and let the world fall away. "That," I clarified, closing my eyes and trying to pull away. "You need to stop doing that."
"I don't know what-"
"You know damn well what I mean," I cut him off. "Stop it."
The warmth fell away, and Keenan let me pull away. I wrapped my arms tightly around my torso and leaned back against the cool brick wall.
"How did you know?" Keenan's voice broke a long silence between us.
"How did I know that you were trying to take away my freewill? No idea."
"Sera," He started, and trailed off a bit, before trying again. "It's not like that."
I opened my eyes. "It's exactly like that," I corrected, "And you pretending otherwise is insulting to my intelligence."
"It's not about intelligence," Keenan corrected. "No one can ever tell. No one ever has."
"Guess I'm just extraordinarily stubborn, then," I said.
"You're special," Keenan corrected me again, seemingly on autopilot, and then seemed to realize what he had said. "You're special," he whispered again, almost in a trance.
"I don't like that tone," I told him.
"How could I have not realized?" Keenan spoke to himself. He drew closer me, and I tried to back further into my wall.
I planted my hands firmly on his chest and pushed back. "What we've established is that you have personal space issues."
"Sera, I-" This time, he cut himself off. "Please let me walk you home."
"You've tried that line before," I reminded him.
"It's not safe," Keenan pleaded. "Please."
"You don't seem to grasp that I don't care," I told him before he had a chance to try to cloud my mind again. This time, I really did run away, faster than I had ever run before. Anything to get away from him. My heart was pounding when I got home, and I locked the door behind me.
When I went outside the next day, I was thrilled to not see Keenan waiting for me.
"Hello Sera," A tall girl with long, dark hair greeted me. The air seemed to shimmer around her, like crystals catching the light. The air seemed cooler as I approached her, and I made a wild guess. This must be the girl Keenan had mentioned, seemingly by accident, yesterday.
"Donia," I greeted her coolly, and she flinched. "You are Donia, aren't you?"
"I am," she confirmed. "I need to talk to you."
"I'm sure you can understand simple phrases better than Keenan. I want to be left alone."
"That's not an option anymore," Donia told me.
"Three days ago I had never met any of you and I was perfectly content. It needs to be an option," I told her. "I want my life back. I want to forget the past few days, and go back to how things were before. And don't you dare trying to use any of 'HIS' tricks on me."
"If it makes you feel better, I'm not too fond of his 'tricks' either," Donia said.
"That's still mostly unhelpful," I said.
"I do want to help you, Sera," Donia said. "Will you let me?"
I considered her words for a minute. "Can you make all of this go away?"
"No," she answered honestly. "But I can tell you your options."
"Which are?" I prompted when she didn't elaborate.
There was a pause as Donia examined me closely, from head to toe. Her eyes seemed to see into my very soul. "No matter what happens now, you're already stuck with him," Donia confided.
"That's not fair," I said.
"Has life ever been fair?" Donia mused, examining the sky. "Not for me. Nor for you, I'd wager."
"You said I had options," I pleaded, desperately. This couldn't be the end. It couldn't be.
"You can either be with him on his terms, or yours," Donia said.
"I don't understand," I said, frustrated. "That sounds like the same thing."
"It's not," Donia said with a sad smile. "Not by a long shot."
"Which are you?" I hazarded a guess that Donia might have been in my shoes once.
"Keenan chose me once, just like he's chosen you," she confided softly. "I loved him, and tried to prove it to him by risking my life for his." She glanced down at herself. "It didn't end the way I hoped."
"I won't die for him, not ever," I said confidently.
"You feel that way now," Donia said. "He has a few more weeks to change your mind."
"I still don't understand what's going on," I confessed, exhausted.
"You won't until it's over," she said.
"Don't I have any other options?" I asked Donia. "Please, Donia. Help me."
"A few years ago, there was another girl like," Donia shared, reluctantly. "She didn't want this, didn't want him. She did what she had to to get away."
"How?" Hope sprung up in my chest. Donia looked away. "How did she get away?"
"She died," Donia supplied.
I slumped to the ground, and pulled my knees up to my chest. Hopeless. Completely and utterly hopeless. No way out. "Thank you for your honesty, Donia," I said, tears beginning to slip down my cheeks. I felt frozen inside.
"Sera," Donia tried, "Being with him, it's not so bad."
"That other girl died rather than be stuck with him. It must be that bad."
"You're stronger than her," Donia told me. "It's been a long time since anyone told Keenan no. Maybe there's hope for you, yet."
"He's just like a black hole," I chuckled humorlessly. "Once you're chosen, you're doomed, and there's no getting away. Just like an event horizon. No escape."
"If you run, he'll find you," Donia seemed to anticipate where my thoughts were going.
"Then I'll find another way to escape," I promised Donia softly.
I walked away from Donia in a blank daze, not seeing the ground in front of my feet. The world was blurry, and I was a mess. Everything had gone wrong, and so quickly. Could I do it? Could I die, just to spite Keenan?
No, I couldn't. I wouldn't be weak.
My terms, or his, Donia had said. If this was my reality, how I could spin it for me? How could I sour his victory so thoroughly that he lost?
My feet wandered to the park on their own, and I found my favorite place inside the circle of standing stones just as the sun was setting. Keenan was sitting in the center, just as I had somehow known he would be.
"I just want you to know," I said. "I'm going to hate you forever."
"You won't," Keenan corrected, sadly. "You won't be able to."
"But you'll know," I corrected him. "No matter what I become, you'll always know that I didn't want this. Even if I beg you, every touch, every kiss, will be against my will, for forever. You're going to take away my ability to choose, and that's what makes you a monster."
Keenan didn't correct me.
"Beauty learned to love the Beast," he offered.
"Beauty had a choice in the matter," I said.
"Have you made your choice, then?" Keenan asked as a formality.
I stepped closer to him, and he stood up to face me. Inches between us I gazed into his wild, bright green eyes and made my choice.
"Forever, then," I said, taking his hand. "Go ahead and kill me for your empty eternity."
"I wish that I could have learned to love you, Sera," Keenan said.
"I suppose that's just not how my story was meant to end."
So, bet this was unexpected.
Wrote out this long, heartfelt message about how everyone who reviewed was a wonderful person, and then the browser crashed, and all of it was gone.
Official word count for the chapter is One thousand, seven hundred, and seventy three (1,773) words.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and believed in me over the long years that this has been an in-progress story. I've gone through a lot of crap in my life, and I let things get away from me.
Earlier tonight I got a review on this story, and it horrified me that I wouldn't remember what it was about. So, I reread it, realized I had left things in a terrible place, and decided to fix it. This might not be the ending you wanted, or hoped for, but as long we stay in canon, it's the only ending we can have.
This chapter is dedicated to M.C. Denalde, who made all this possible by reviewing and reminding me to finally finish this thing.
Lot's of love,
Dustfinger's Cheering Section
P.s. Please don't hate me for taking so long.