Sometimes Love is Not Enough
Adding to the war efforts. Quite late, of course. If this were an actual war I’d be the last out of the tents, possibly with my uniform on backwards.
Sometimes Love is Not Enough
It isn’t the reunion he dreamt of.
There is no laughing girl on a hill, chestnut curls bouncing and warm in the sun, arms spread out to greet him. Instead there is a girl in his arms, cold and twitching, her hair matted. She cannot lift her arms to his; instead she’s clutching his knee with a weakened grip.
Her eyes are still the same color, though, and recognition is there and in the corner of her smile when she looks at him.
“You were — are — right. I love you. I’m a coward. I love you.” She smiles bright, her eyes shining with tears. She gives what he hopes is a happy sigh and blood gurgles from her mouth.
“I love you” he says again. He brushes the blood from her lips with his thumb and kisses her. The kiss is full of everything he’s wanted to tell her, decades worth of love and longing and regret. Her lips are cold where his are warm and he hopes — hopes — that it is enough to warm the rest of her.
He pours everything he has left of himself into the kiss. When her fingers twitch and he tastes the iron of her mouth he hold back a sob and cradles her head in his hands. He will not let her see him cry: he is broken and he feels as though part of him is dying but he won’t have their reunion marred by his inability to be strong and brave for her.
Instead he grabs her hand in his and pulls it to his chest there, feel, it’s beating for you, only for you and kisses her again.
If they were home — his real home — he would have swept her up in his arms and carried her to his tower. He would have poured potions and concoctions down her throat, magicked away her wounds. She would get better and soon chide him over how dusty he’s let the place get. She would put her hands on her hips and give him that look and laugh. “You’ve still not thrown out that cup, you silly man? You’re going to cut your lip one of these days.” And he’d be there, always, to catch her fall.
He would kiss her. He would set aside his power for her as he should have done long ago. He would kiss her and fall to her knees as the magic drains from him, clutching her and his face buried in her skirts. I love you I love you I’m sorry I love you.
She would laugh. She would kiss him. She would forgive him.
She would be alive and healthy and whole. He would be a broken man again, far less than she deserves, his body frail and human and hers. He would be more full of life than he’s ever felt.
Her belly would swell from their love. They would have a happy ending, the happiest of endings. They would grow old together as only two souls who have shared true love can do.
But they aren’t in his Dark Castle. They are in Maine, in Storybrooke. The only magic here is coursing through the air, cackling and pulling at their bodies, pinpricks of a teasing. It whispers to him, laughs in his ear: there are no happy endings here. True loves kiss is just a kiss, and the girl in his arms is now just a shell.