Briars and Roses

In Scarlet Town, where I was born,

There was a fair maid dwellin'

Made every youth cry well-a-day

Her name was Barbara Allen.

Toronto, Canada was one of those places where you never really seem to find a beautiful woman around. At least, that was the case with the humans. With the animals, the cats especially, many of their women were considered beautiful (by their standards of course). Although one stood out among the rest of them all. Her name was Aeris Cole, a pink cat that was considered by many to be a lovely sight to behold. Although, there was one other cat who was lucky enough to be her roommate, he was Leo Leonardo the Third. He loved her more then any of those who ogled at her when she walked down the street, but he never told her, in fear of her wrath. Instead, he masked it over a veil of stupidity and bad jokes.

All in the merry month of May

When green buds they were swellin',

Young William Grove on his deathbed lay

For love of Barbara Allen.

Eventually though, his love for her became so strong, he no longer wanted her, he needed her in order to keep going. He never told her of his feelings however, as he knew she didn't love him back. This only weakened his will to live, and he eventually became love sick in the most literal sense of the term. He became so sick in fact that he had to go to the hospital, but it did him little good. Aeris never came to visit him, as she figured that he would get better soon and just come back to his full annoying force again soon. He didn't.

He sent his man unto her then,

To the town where she was dwellin'.

"You must come to my master dear,

If your name be Barbara Allen,

Pantsman walked through the door of his dying friend's hospital room door and immediately knew that he was going to die in the near future. His eyes had become dull, his ears were drooping, and his fur had become disheveled. Leo looked at Pantsman with a half smile as Pantsman walked over to him. Leo had a sad tone of voice as he said, "Hey Scott. What's up?"

Pantsman had grown a little hard-hearted after numerous visits with his friend so instead of something more sympathetic, he said, "Leo, the doctors told me that your probably going to die soon."

Leo looked out the window, "Yeah, I know. It's been like this for a long time Scott, it just hasn't been this bad."

Pantsman was confused, "What do you mean?"

Leo shook his head, "Nothing, it isn't important.", his tone changed, "Hey Scott?", Pantsman grunted an acknowledgment, "Would you mind getting Aeris for me? She hasn't come to see me at all and I wanted to tell her something."

"What?", Pantsman asked.

Leo became more forceful, "Something private, now please go get her."

Pantsman nodded and opened the window Leo was looking through so that he could fly out of it. Luckily their apartment wasn't that far away from the hospital so it only took him about a minute to get to Aeris. When he got there she was playing some JRPG of some sort, but he wasn't paying attention. When greetings were exchanged he said, "Hey Aeris, I was over visiting Leo, and he asked me if I could tell you to come over."

For death is printed on his face

And o'er his heart is stealin'.

Then haste away to comfort him,

O lovely Barbara Allen."

"He's been sick a long time Aeris, all he want's is to see you again.", he sighed, "Look, I spoke with the doctors today and they said that he has a pretty good chance of dying very soon. Just come over and say hi to him before he goes, I think that he'll appreciate it. Who knows, maybe he'll even get better."

"Though death be printed on his face

And o'er his heart be stealin',

Yet little better shall he be

For bonny Barbara Allen."

She scoffed, "Scott, I highly doubt that Leo will get any better if I go to see him. I just know that he'll get better soon and that I'll have to put up with him again. But I guess if he want's to see me, I guess I'll go visit him."

So slowly, slowly, she came up

And slowly she came nigh him,

And all she said when there she came,

"Young man, I think you're dyin'."

"Yeah, well no shit Aeris.", Leo said sarcastically. She had finally come to see him, and for the first time since he got sick, he felt slightly better. It was time for him to get everything off of his chest. He took a deep breath.

He turned his face unto her straight

With deadly sorrow sighin'.

"O lovely maid, come pity me;

I'm on my deathbed lyin'."

"Aeris, I don't exactly know how to tell you this, and I don't know what your reaction to this will be, so here goes. I love you Aeris. I've loved you for I don't know long. I know it may sound stupid, but its true. All I want is to be with you Aeris. I mean, just say that you'll love me, just once. I'm love sick for you Aeris, I think just you saying you'll love me will cure me.

"If on your deathbed you do lie

What needs the tale you're tellin'?

I cannot keep you from your death.

Farewell," said Barbara Allen.

She shook her head and sighed, "Leo, that is one of the stupidest things I ever heard in my life. You can't die from 'love sickness', it's just some stupid cliché. I mean come on, you really think that me just saying I love you will save you from death? That's idiotic, even for you. I'm not gonna be able to stop you from dying Leo, I hope you realize that.", and with those words, she left.

He turned his face unto the wall

As deadly pangs he fell in.

"Adieu! Adieu! Adieu to you all!

Adieu to Barbara Allen!"

Leo Leonardo the Third died three hours later of his broken heart. Not one moment of his time left on Earth was not spent on anything else but Aeris Cole, and that only sped up his death. He was surrounded by his family and friends as he left this world for the next, the sounds of his parent's tears for their only son who would never outlive them filled his ears. All of his friends had bowed their heads in sympathy. Well, all of them except one, who was not present at the time.

As she was walking o'er the fields

She heard the bell a-knellin'

And every stroke did seem to say,

"Unworthy Barbara Allen."

A funeral was held a week later at a small church, where his body was to be laid to rest. Aeris was invited, despite her rather harsh actions to Leo earlier that day. She arrived there last and was the last one to enter the church. As she did, she could've sworn that the tolling bells were saying something that sounded a lot like, "Unworthy Aeris Cole."

She turned her body 'round about

And spied the corpse a-comin'.

"Lay down, lay down the corpse," she said,

"That I may look upon him."

It was an open casket funeral. Leo looked as though he were asleep as Aeris went to pay her respects to her dead friend. At first she was rather sad that he was gone from her life.

With scornful eye she looked down,

Her cheek with laughter swellin',

That all her friends cried out amaine,

"Unworthy Barbara Allen."

At first. Then she realized what his death fully entailed. She had a whole apartment to herself, she could watch or read her vampire related things in piece, she wouldn't have to worry about him spending money on worthless things, etc. She was so happy about this newly discovered fact that she felt like she could laugh. And she did. This shocked all those who were there and immediately, they kicked her out of the church, Mrs. Leonardo crying from the whole spectacle, and Leo the Second shouting, "Leave here! You were unworthy to even know my son!"

When he was dead and laid in grave

Her heart was struck with sorrow.

"O mother, mother, make my bed

For I shall die tomorrow.

It didn't take long for the guilt to set in. As soon as she entered the apartment that they had once shared did she truly know what she did. Laughing in front of the corpse of who's memory that you were supposed to be honoring was a definite no-no. After the guilt came the sorrow. After the sorrow came the what-ifs. What if Leo told her about his love for her before he became sick? What if what Leo said was true? What if she told him that she loved him? After a few days of stewing in these emotions, she began to feel sick, like her heart and soul were being ripped out of her. She knew immediately that she was dying of what killed Leo, and that she had no chance of beating it. Her love was dead. She called up her mother, "Mom, I'm going to the hospital. I'm going to die soon."

Hard-hearted creature, him to slight

Who loved me so dearly,

O that I had been more kind to him,

When he was live and near me!"

After the call, she was on the way to the hospital that had taken Leo in. On her way, her thoughts were racing. How could I have done that to him? Why didn't I tell him that I love him, I didn't have anything to lose from it. Is it at all possible that he and I could've become... lovers?

She on her deathbed, as she lay,

Begged to be buried by him

And sore repented of the day

That she did e'er deny him.

Her thoughts continued all the way to her death. Every few seconds she would voice out loud a question about what might have been. When her parents came, she told them what happened and asked as her last wish to be buried next to Leo.

"Farewell," she said, "ye virgins all,

And shun the fault I fell in.

Henceforth take warning by the fall

Of cruel Barbara Allen."

Aeris Cole died the exact same time that Leo Leonardo the Third died. It was a quiet and peaceful Sunday, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. As she closed her eyes for the last time, she could swear she heard a familiar and welcomed voice say, "I love you Aeris."

They buried her in the old churchyard

Sweet William's grave was nigh her

And from his heart grew a red red rose

And from her heart a briar

Aeris's wish was granted, and she was buried next to Leo's final resting spot, the both of them right next to a wall. A few days after the burial, a small bud was growing out of the areas above the bodies. Eventually when they buds grew up, they were revealed to be a rose from Leo's grave, and from Aeris's a brair.

They grew and grew in the old churchyard

Till they could grow no higher

At the end they formed a true lovers' knot

And the rose grew round the briar

Pantsman still came to visit occasionally. He felt a little obligated, after all they were the only two people he could call his friends. Every time he came back, he saw the flowers growing larger and larger, and he was pretty sure now that they had stopped growing. He was right. When he arrived at the graves, he was surprised to see that the flowers had wrapped around each other, and that an odd air of love seemed to emanate from the area. He left with a smile on his face. He was pretty sure that they were doing just fine.

I know, I'm mean aren't I? I know this sort of deviates from my norm, but in my book, bittersweet qualifies as happy. They died yes, but they died because they loved each other, albeit a little too much, but they still loved each other. For those of you wondering, the song is a Scottish folk song, and for some reason when I heard it, I could not get this idea out of my head. Anyway, I hope that this will tide you guys over until I get new Feral chapters up. Also, look out for new chapters of No Longer Alone, of which I am now a co-writer, along with LuxUmbra2012. Oh, before I forget, this is not part of the Feral timeline, this is a oneshot. You could probably already tell that from how it was worded, but if you couldn't figure it out, I just don't want anyone thinking that this is cannon with other stories. With that being said, I hope you enjoyed this, and see you soon.