i thought i dreamt you.
You wake up, and you don’t know where you are.
The last thing you remember is the world fading away as your focus narrowed down on a single spindle, hidden deep in the darkness of the castle. And then nothing.
The haze of sleep fades away slowly as the darkness lightens. You open your eyes, wondering if this, too, is a dream, when you catch sight of her.
She looks different; black scales trail along her cheekbones, two small horns sprout from her forehead, her black hair is wild and messy, but her green eyes, bright with tears, are still the same. No matter what happens to the two of you, wherever in the world you end up, you know you’d recognize her anywhere.
Your sunshine, your magic, your beauty of the forest.
“Aurora,” she whispers, quickly wiping away a tear. “Oh, Aurora, you’re okay.”
She begins to lean away, moving out of your space. Something in your heart clenches and you reach up, cupping her jaw before she can pull away too far. Immediately, she comes back, a hand over yours, and you can’t help but say, “Angel.”
Just as with the other names you’ve given her, she flushes, cheeks filling with pretty pink as her lips curl ever so slightly into a happy smile. Still so beautiful, even when she’s suffered through so much for you. You know, of course, about the curse. You were warned and locked away when you went to the castle in the hopes of meeting the only family you have left. But the curse was too strong; its hold on you pulled you into eternal sleep. A sleep that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.
Who else could have saved you?
You love her, and you know she loves you too.
Since you messed up your first kiss by being in a cursed sleep, you decide to try again, and pull her in close to learn what her smile tastes like.
Prince Philip is a kind boy, chattering a mile a minute to a dragon, of all creatures, as you leave with your love to make your way back home. He’s gifted you his horse to help you through the forest, and the two of you promise to keep in touch and ally your kingdoms together when you both take the throne.
“I should let my father know I’m okay,” you say, remembering how overjoyed he was to see you, and how frightened he was that the curse still waited to prey on you. You know you should go back and let him know the curse has broken, but you want to be selfish for just a little longer.
You feel her arms tighten around your waist for a moment. “How far is the castle?” she asks. Already, her voice is quiet, defeated. Already, she has accepted the fact that you are to leave her behind.
“Far enough away that we won’t make it today,” you say. No matter what the future holds, you know you would fight tooth and nail to keep her close. “Let’s go home.”
She takes a moment to process your words, wait for the other shoe to drop, and then presses a gentle kiss on the back of your neck that sends pleasant shivers down your spine. “Let’s go,” she whispers into your ear, a spark of something mischievous lighting in your chest.
You take a moment to swear that you’re going to love her past death. You’re going to love her so much she drowns in it.
In the morning, when you’re both lying in bed, blinking in the brightness of the light, you run a finger down the scales that follow the curve of her spine. She sighs a pleasant sound, no longer afraid of what you think of her new inhuman appearance.
“Angel,” you say again, because she is. She’s your angel, waking you with true loves kiss from her mother’s curse, showing you love and kindness when she has never been given the same.
“Hmm?” she turns her head and opens one green eye, lazily peering at you with the light of something soft in eyes.
Your heart softens, melts. “I love you.”
Her lips curl into that slow smile you adore. She reaches out and places a hand against the back of your neck to pull you into a sweet kiss. “I love you too.”
The ride to the castle is spent telling her about what little you know about the king. You don’t know anything about being a princess, of ruling a kingdom, of having a family. But with her by your side, you feel like you can take on the whole world.
“Do I have to meet him?” she asks, timid.
“I think you have to. You did break the curse, after all.”
“I shouldn’t. He only knows me as my mother’s daughter.”
You frown, and turn back to face her. “And you saved my life. You protected me from those horrible men that tried to hurt me in my sleep, and woke me up. He’ll see how wonderful you are.”
“…I don’t even have a name to introduce myself with.”
“You can choose one for yourself.”
She doesn’t say anything more, already lost in her thoughts. You urge to horse to go a little faster, and the silhouette of the castle grows bigger against the horizon.
The castle is overrun with a flurry of movement. People rush around, spreading the news that the princess has returned, the curse has been broken. The guards at the gate tried to separate you and your angel, drawing their swords and the sight of her horns and scales, believing her to somehow be hurting you as she hid behind you. A few quick threats, and a stolen sword later, you were able to leave the horse outside and take your angel’s hand as you lead the way to the throne room.
No one else tries to separate the two of you; the sight of an angry princess with a sword seems to have deterred even the most determined of the guards.
“Your Majesty!” one of the guards calls, having run into the throne room before you. “Her Highness Princess Aurora has returned with a guest!”
When you enter the throne room, your father is already coming down the steps to meet you, hurried even in his old age.
“Aurora!” he cries, “You’ve come back! The curse has been broken!” He grabs your shoulders and looks you over for any injuries, then pulls you into a tight hug. You carefully hold one arm out to avoid accidentally stabbing your father, but you melt into his embrace and wonder what life would have been like if you got to grow up with him.
You would have a family, know the love of a father, know how to be a princess.
But you wouldn’t have met the love of your life.
“Dad,” you say, pushing at his arms to break the hug and introduce her to him.
He moves back, reluctantly, then catches sight of her. He gapes at her horns, her scales, the vivid, almost glowing, green of her eyes.
“Aurora get behind me! Maleficent, how dare you show your face to me!” He motions to the guards lining the walls of the throne room, who draw their swords.
She looks terrified. Her hands are shaking. You break away from your father and pull her close with a hand around her waist. You raise your stolen sword between you and your father.
“You killed Maleficent, but you saved her daughter. Her daughter who protected me while I was asleep, and broke the curse.” You narrow your eyes in a glare. “Don’t you dare treat her like a monster.”
“Nonsense! Only true love’s kiss could have broken the curse.”
“It did break the curse. She loves me and I love her. If she has no place in this kingdom, then neither do I.”
You know not how to be a princess. But you do know how to protect what you love. You tighten your grip on your sword, and wait, with your heartbeat thundering in your chest, for your father to pass judgement.
It had taken a few hours of explanations, but your father stands down. Though still wary, he remembers the helpless baby he spared when he killed Maleficent, and can’t bring himself to strike her now that she’s grown.
“And what is your name?” he asks.
She glances at you, fiddles with her hands, then says, “Angel. My name is Angel.”
For three days, you and Angel stay at the castle. She explores, coaxes crop out of stubborn soil when the cooks complain about how the vegetables are going bad too quickly, makes illusions for the maids’ children, and slowly proves that she is not her mother’s daughter.
For three days, you argue with your father. He wants you to stay, wants to hire tutors for etiquette, wants to marry you off to a prince you don’t know to convince the king that their kingdoms should be allies. You say you will be a princess, an heir to the throne, only if Angel can stay by your side. A dragon witch as powerful as her would make for a stronger kingdom. Who would dare mess with two queens who can shape the earth to their will?
You argue, and in the end, you leave.
Perhaps one day your father will understand.
Angel worries that she pushed you and your father apart.
You assure her that he’s only a father in blood; the bond was never there.
The fairies are waiting for you when you enter the cottage. It’s comforting to know that while your entire world has been rocked on its axis, this familiar place will remain the same.
They listen to your story, braid Angel’s wild hair out of her face, and leave to have some words with the king. Being all too familiar with what they consider ‘polite conversation’, you can only hope that he escapes the confrontation with minimal hexes.
“Aurora,” Angel says, settling into your lap to watch the stars with you.
“Angel,” you say, relishing in how the affectionate moniker is what she’s chosen to name herself with.
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay with your father? You’re a princess, you could have the kingdom. You could have anything in the world.”
You rest your chin on her shoulder and wrap your arms around her waist. “I know. But I also have you. Why would I need anything else?”
That night, you dream of a spindle, of a prick on your finger, of drowning in a drop of blood.
You wake up, and wonder if you’re still dreaming.
The curse is broken. You know this. But still, there are times when the world seems to shift under your feet, turn into something that isn’t real, something from a dream. There’s a constant panic curled around your heart as you wonder if you’re really awake.
The curse is broken, but you still feel like you haven’t woken up.
When you confess as much to Angel, she kisses you hard and promises to wake you up with true love’s kiss as many times as you need. She starts staying up late, writing messy notes, half crossed out by the time the page is full, and muttering under her breath with a look of concentration on her face.
Watching her use magic is thrilling; the way her eyes glow, strands of stray magic escaping her grasp to curl in the air, something beautiful and impossible all at once. It becomes less enchanting when she uses so much magic her nose begins to bleed and she stumbles under dizzy spells. After that, you keep a close eye on her, watching to see when she’s at her limit to gently pull her away from her magic, a wild, powerful thing, to let her rest.
You sometimes worry that Angel won’t wake up, but you remind yourself the curse was only on you. Angel will wake up.
Angel will wake up, even if you don’t.
The fairies come back and tell you that the king has agreed to leave you as the heir to the throne. You will only have to go back and live in the castle when he passes on the throne to you, and you can rule with Angel by your side.
You’re a little worried about what they did to him to get him to agree to such terms, but decide you’re better off not knowing.
You can rule the kingdom with Angel as your queen. It’s seems too good to be true.
It seems like something from a dream.
Your heart stops for a moment, freezing in a burst of sudden panic.
I’m awake, I’m awake, I’m awake. The curse is broken. The mantra does little to reassure you.
Angel takes hold of your hand, giving it a gentle squeeze, then kisses you. “You’re awake,” she whispers.
The fairies fly into a twitter, crowding around your head and sending spell after spell washing over you to check for any side effects the curse may have had. You’re not surprised when they find nothing.
You are surprised when Angel holds out a simple chain necklace, and asks the fairies to help her. “It’s to let Aurora know when she’s dreaming or ot. I added some protection spells, but I don’t know if it works.”
“Oh my!” the fairies chorus. The blue fairy ignores the necklace in favor of speaking to Angel. “Where did you learn how to use your magic?”
Angel glances at you, then looks back to the fairy with a blush on her cheeks. “In the tower, to protect Aurora. I remember she told me that maybe I hadn’t found my magic yet, and if she believed I had magic, I must be able to use it. So I just will things to happen and kind of throw my magic at it, and it works.”
“Inelegant, but impressive for someone who has never been taught to wield magic. But you did well. The magic will work.”
Sure enough, when you go to sleep, it comes easily and without worry, and when you wake up, it’s clear the curse has lost its hold on you.
Some nightmares still haunt you, but the magic lets you know you're safe. Come morning, Angel helps you through the worst of it and you think about how lucky you are to have her in your life.
And even when the world keeps changing, you will always have her as she will always have you: with matching gold bands on your fingers, crowns on your head, and a kingdom spread out before you.
(And you do, eventually, meet Prince Philip again when he’s King Philip and you are Queen Aurora. You ally your kingdoms; the kingdom of the dragon witch queen and the kingdom of the dragon friends. And everything ends happily ever after.)