|posted on 8-Feb-2003 8:23:59 PM by talena|
Title: Once Upon A Dream
Authors: CrashdownGurlie (Pheebs) & talena (Jen)
Disclaimers: Roswell and characters do not belong to us, neither does the concept of the Cinderella story, or Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. This story is not meant for anything but entertainment. Please don’t sue.
Summary: You’ve heard of Cinderella and her Prince Charming, but you’ve never heard of the forgotten Lady Elizabeth and her Alien Prince Maxwell. This is their story; the untold fairy tale of a love that was destined to be.
Category: AU M/L and some CCs and UCs.
Rating/Genre: Up to R | Romance/Drama
Dedications: Amy, Erin, Mollie, Elena, Jess, Kat (HERO!), Davie, Bri, and last but certainly not least, ALY!!
Author Notes: This is the first time Pheebs and I are going to work together. Please tell us what you think. Oh! Before I forget! The song, I Hope You Dance belongs to Lee Ann Womack.
Prologue: Between the Clearings
The sun was setting over Hollow Creek, but that didn't seem to matter to the brown haired child hiding under the willow tree in the middle of the forest. The single most serene place in all of her small town, and easily the best hiding spot for hide and seek. Fortunately, the little girl's mother hadn't yet figured that out. It was funny because the tree was separated by a small clearing, as if it were significant for some reason, and when you positioned yourself just right, you could watch the sun setting over the creek from behind the long branches. That was exactly what the girl was doing when she heard a rustling from the nearby trees. It could only mean one thing, her mother had finally caught on. A few more seconds and the girl would be found. She watched the leaves anxiously, heart soaring, waiting for a glimpse of the one person she was closer to than anyone else in the whole world. Longed for the sight of her curly brown hair, her warm loving eyes, and her brilliant smile. Prayed to hear her mother's beautiful voice, because somehow she knew exactly what it would say. "Boo! I found you, Lizzie!" But the voice never came. And in waiting for it, Liz Parker had lost endless amounts of time. But today she had simply missed the sunset.
Gazing up the night sky, she watched the inky blackness fill up with streaks of light as the stars came out from their hiding place. Around her, the world began to change as the daily transition from light to dark took place. Replacing the singing birds of the morning, the soft coos of the ancient owl, a creature of the night, could be heard in the distance. The air around her began to cool considerably, and she was already missing the warmth and soothing presence of the sun. Her eyes lingered slightly on one particular star, the brightest star of them all as another memory surfaced.
A little girl, who could have been no more than five lunar seasons, jumped brightly, exclaiming to her amused mother, "Look at the dots Mama! There's so many of them!"
The petite brunette smiled softly at her daughter's excitement, and stooped down to pick her up before turning her attention back to the heavenly sky, "They're not dots sweetie..."
As always, she was interrupted before she could finish her explanation, "Then what are they Mama?"
"They're stars." Upon seeing her daughter's wrinkled nose and confused expression, she elaborated softly, "Do you remember your Nana sweetie?" At Liz's nod, she continued in that same gentle tone, a slight wistfulness underlining her voice, "Well your Nana used to tell me that the stars were our connection to the Goddess Destiny, ruler of our fates. Your Nana said that Destiny, herself, wrote the paths our lives would take, and only a select few, those with the purest of hearts and truest of souls can decipher the stars and their destiny."
Liz watched her mother as a longing look entered her mother's eyes. "The stars also indicate the person you are destined to hold onto forever, the one who will love and protect you through eternity, your soulmate. The other half of your soul. Not many who read the stars can decipher that part of their destinies, and many end up never finding their other half, never truly complete..."
She startled suddenly and for the first time she noted that she was crying. How could she have not noticed? Her daughter gently wiped away her tears, her voice trembling as she spoke softly, "Did you find him mama? Did you find your solmat?"
Smiling at her daughter's pronunciation of the word, she knew she couldn't hide what her heart was trying to show her the past two years of her life and she replied honestly, "I thought I had honey, I thought I had."
The soft rustling of leaves snapped Liz out of her daze, as her eyes darted around, carefully scanning her surroundings. Had she imagined it? Perhaps. She was, after all, constantly daydreaming, something her father and stepmother did not approve greatly of. Glancing at the sky, she noticed the moon was shining brightly. She would have to return soon, back to that place, once a haven now her only hell. Yes, she would have to return to the place she lived. She would not say home, home was where her heart was, and her heart was definitely not in that manor. Rather, it was right here, beneath this willow, where her mother had been buried nearly ten lunar seasons prior.
She gazed at the headstone now, tears pricking her eyes as she fingered the only thing left she had of her mother, besides the memories of course. She played absently with the amber tear-shaped stone that dangled around her neck. It had been her mother's necklace, and before her mother, her Nana's necklace. Ever so softly, she began to sing a lullaby, the very same one her mother sang to her all those years ago when she had been afraid of the storms. Singing softly, she couldn't help but think that she was now alone, facing the brewing storms by herself, and her heart ached for the companionship of her deceased mother and estranged older brother.
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted...
Liz couldn't stop the tears from flowing down her face when she remembered the lullaby. Her mother had always sung it to her, every night when they sat together on the porch and watched the stars that would one day take Liz to her destiny. The memories haunted Liz, and the worst part of it all was that she had no one to share them with. It used to be that her brother was always with her, and it was okay then. Michael could always make her feel better, remind her how their mother loved them and how no matter what she would always live on in their hearts. But now that Lady Madeline had married Father, Michael was sent to school far off in Cedar Hill, and Liz was completely alone. Even Father had left her, he despised his new wife with a passion, and had married her simply for her money. Her new 'family' appointed her their newest servant; she lived like a slave rotting away in a prison cell when she wasn't scrubbing the kitchen floors. It was a miracle she could escape to this place as often as she did. It was almost as if living were a distant recollection that she earned to feel one more time. The sobs racked her body as she clung tight to her knees, wishing the pain of the thoughts would go away, but all too suddenly she felt a presence beside her, and her crying stopped abruptly.
As Liz turned to take in the person beside her, her heart knew who she wanted it to be, but her head knew better. Still and yet she was startled to find a handsome man kneeling next to her. "Who are you?" She whispered, suddenly embarrassed to be there, crying for what must have seemed like no reason.
Prince Maxwell had been strolling through the woods, coming back from visiting his horse, Coal, when he had chanced upon a young girl sitting under the willow tree. The sight had intrigued him, seeing as the girl seemed so caught up in her own world. He watched her from a distance wondering if she could possibly feel as trapped in her home as he felt in his, and that's why she came to the woods. To find solace in the loving branches of the trees. It had startled him to see her breakdown suddenly and erupt in tears of sorrow, and it was then he knew he had been right about her wanting to escape from something. At first he was cautious about approaching her, the last thing he needed was someone who recognized him. He didn't need to be told he didn't belong in the woods, that he was 'far too good for that.' But he couldn't resist trying to calm her when he could practically feel the distress emanating from her.
Maxwell couldn't help but smile a bit when the girl asked who he was. Obviously she had no clue he was a prince, and he thanked the Goddess of Light for that. "It's not important who I am." He answered. "I just wanted to make sure you were all right."
"Well, I…" Liz struggled with words, she wasn't quite sure how to respond to him. It wasn't as if she had really needed help, and he had just intruded on a very private moment, but it seemed only natural to thank him. And it wouldn't hurt to make a friend. "Thank you." She finished.
He smiled again at the sound of her voice. The clarity and sweet innocence of it reminded him of an angel's chime. How very sincere her gratitude sounded, nothing like the forced respect and politeness he usually received from most people of the kingdom. It was refreshing, enchanting, and he wanted to hear more of it. "That was a lovely song you were singing."
Liz couldn't help but blush at his words. Somehow he seemed different than anyone she had met before. Something about him just seemed peculiar. "Yes, it was my mother's." She informed him politely. It felt only right to be humble around him.
His smile faltered slightly at the humble tone of her voice. Did she...perhaps she did recognize him after all? The thought troubled him and he felt his heart sink. He had thought she would be the one. The first person to see him as a man and not as a Prince to be treated any differently. Perhaps he had been wrong. Perhaps he wished for the impossible. To have someone love him for him and not his title. For someone to cherish him because they loved him and not because it was mandatory. Perhaps his heart had been wrong to yearn for it. After all, there is no such thing as love in a Prince's destiny.
"I'm sorry, did I upset you?" Liz questioned, noticing that he wasn't looking at her any longer. Maybe her instincts had led her astray. "Did you want me to sing for you?" She asked, hoping at least for a smile.
Again he was taken aback by the female in kneeling in front of him. She was gazing up at him now, a beautiful and teasing smile on her face, her hands stretched out as if in invitation. Even before his mind could process anything, he was already reaching for her hand with his own. As their hands touched, he felt a jolt up his spine, and he looked down at her quickly, seeing that she had felt it too by the wonder that lay deep within her liquid brown eyes. Already he felt himself falling, and in his mind he heard the sound of laughter, drifting through the air and towards him. He saw himself walking forward, and he saw her smiling at him, holding a little girl in her arms. The little girl held both of their features, his amber eyes and her mother's silky curtain of dark hair. She was reaching out to him, and he eagerly ran to her.
The sudden shift of delicate silk brought him out of his reverie and he saw that the female was now looking at him wide-eyed, blushing, and he quickly colored himself. Clearing his throat, he sat down next to her, drawn to her presence like a moth to a flame. He wondered briefly if he had stumbled upon a wood nymph sent to lure him into her trap. If so, she had completed her task for he was utterly enchanted with her. Realizing he had not answered her question, he nodded his head briefly, never letting go of her hand as he requested softly, "Please do. You have an enthralling voice."
Liz couldn't seem to keep the color from entering her face, he had an odd sort of hold over her. It almost reminded her of Alex, and how they clicked whenever they were together. Which, sadly, wasn't often. But she made a point of quickly forgetting the solemn thoughts, and smiled up at the man who was holding her hand. Holding her hand…something she had never grown accustomed to. The only person who had ever held her hand was her mother, and now that she was gone, well. The man had a look of restlessness on his face and she realized he was waiting for her to sing. But before the words could come out, her eyes somehow reached his, and locked there. They sat gazing at each other for long moments, and to Liz it felt like she was seeing something much deeper than she was, which made it all the more difficult to close her eyes and sing. But she did, and the second it happened, the hand in hers became her mother's and the memories came rushing back to her. From there, the song came naturally.
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance...I hope you dance…
Liz's eyes stayed closed until she felt him squeezing her hand, until she realized that once again, her mother had left her. And that she was all alone.
Silence filled the air around them, save for her soft sobs, and his soft breathing. He had long ago let go of her hand, now holding her to him, comforting her. It could not be helped, this fierce emotion inside of him, this fierce surge of protectiveness as he listened to her cries. It was all wrong, everything about the situation. She was not meant to weep so. However, he did nothing, could do nothing but hold her and lend her strength. How could he feel so deeply about a woman? Much less a woman who was practically a stranger to him, but his heart protested ardently. He may have known her physically for a few short hours, but inside and in spirit, he felt as if he had known her for long before eternity began. Minutes passed, then moments, and eventually hours passed, but it did not affect them. Here, now between this clearing, time had stopped for the two.
Soon she stilled in his arms, and he let go, almost reluctantly, keeping his hands on her shoulder, unable to not touch her, even for the slightest moment. She looked up at him, embarrassed for having broken down in front of a complete stranger, while at the same time her heart whispered that he was no stranger.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what got over me.” She looked at his shirt regretfully as she saw it soaked with her tears, “It seems that I have ruined your shirt. I am truly sorry.”
He stopped her apologies and stilled her movements when his hand gently cupped her cheek, thumb gently wiping away the remainder of her tears. “There’s no need to be sorry. I’m not. So please stop apologizing.”
She nodded, unable to form coherent thoughts or words. He was so gentle, so caring. She had never felt so cherished than she was feeling at that moment. Not since her mother had died and her brother had been sent away from her. She lost herself in his dark eyes, mesmerized by the golden amber swirls. So fallen was she, that she did not hear his next words. Blinking softly, she shifted away, his proximity wreaking havoc on her. She was confused, so very confused at the way her heart was beating so wildly. “I beg your pardon?”
He smiled at her again, and she felt herself melt against the tree. “I asked if there was more to the song? It’s very touching.”
Liz nodded and whispered quietly, “There’s more, but I haven’t sung the song in so long. I don’t believe I can recall it now.”
She said it almost regretfully, Maxwell noted as he observed her downcast eyes. He decided not to push, and instead, cupped her chin and pushed it up so that he could stare into her eyes. “I hope you will remember it some time, I would love to hear the rest of it milady.”
Her heart was hammering loudly in her chest as their faces began to drift closer and closer together. She was unconscious now of what they were doing, unable and unwilling to control her body’s movement as her eyes drifted shut, lips pursed waiting for something she didn’t know. It was perfect, the sun rising in the distance, the warmth flooding the land.
He is perfect.
She is perfect.
Their minds whispered as they surrendered themselves to the forces stronger then them.
Suddenly a bird’s loud chirping interrupted their dazed mind and they pulled apart to see that dawn had awakened from her slumber to greet them with a dazzling display of light. Liz’s eyes grew wide as she suddenly scrambled up. She had to get back to the manor.
“I’m terribly sorry,” She began to mumble hastily, even as she gathered her belongings, “It was nice meeting you, but I must make haste. My family will be expecting me soon. Farewell!”
Before he could stop her, she was already running away, leaving him staring after her, dumbstruck. He watched until she disappeared into the distance before standing up and whistling softly. Coal came galloping to his master who mounted him and swiftly headed back to the palace, lest he was found out and placed under constant surveillance.
As he rode away, Prince Maxwell could not help but think that he had not even learned her name.
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Feb-2003 8:57:05 PM ]