Aurora feels her eyes close and her muscles relax. The fact that she did not sleep much the night before, too giddy about what she thought would be a grand birthday, surely did not help.
When her eyes close, the last thing that she sees is the spinning wheel's spindle. There should be pain, she knows. The tip of her finger is red after all.
However, all she feels is the gentle call of sleep, and she has no power to stop it.
Sometimes, she dreams that she truly is a princess. What had been a childish game, nothing but a little girl's fantasy, becomes real behind her eyes.
Aurora wears the most beautiful of dresses, made of velvet and silk and the softest of cottons. Servants bring her tea in pure white china cups, and she wears jewelry that glow and shine as if though there is a light and power inside of them.
Wherever she turns, there are beautiful castle walls and fine paintings depicting happy women. She can ask for anything in the world and it will be hers.
Sometimes, when she is not looking at peasants who see her with pure admiration, or she is being served food on a bright silver platter, she hears words of a prince.
Even as a child, she had never dreamed of princesses. In the stories that her aunties had told her, there was so much more to the royal maiden than a prince.
When she hears of princes, she closes her dream eyes. What can a prince do for her?
And somewhere in the back of her mind, she dreams of someone else. Someone tall and strong, yet graceful and truly kind, and that person is surely not a prince.
Sometimes she is a fairy herself. Most of the time she is small, using flowers as umbrellas when rain falls and living in small holes in trees. Her food is made by her own hand - small, sweet cakes made with only a single grain of sugar, and small nuts and berries that fill her quickly.
The sky is bright blue and welcoming, and she allows herself into the air. On wings as light as spider silk and the color of roses, she carries herself into the air. Wind blows through her blond hair, and only a few flaps of her wings keeps her high above the ground.
Other times, she is the size of a human, or even larger. Her wings are not the size of a butterfly's, but larger and longer than even herself. Other fairies look up to her with wide, hopeful eyes.
Sometimes she flies with them, letting them lead her through forests and swamps filled with magic. When she looks down at clear lakes and ponds, she sees herself reflected back.
Sometimes she fights with the fae creatures, throwing mud and letting her laughter rip through the air.
A man will come along sometimes as well and play with her. He will throw mud at her, and she will throw mud back, and they will laugh together. He is no prince, and he does not try to be one. Princes, after all, surely do not turn into ravens and take to the sky.
And though she will laugh and fly, letting freedom rush over her, the emptiness in her chest will not go away. As she flies, she looks to the ground below for the person that she can never find.
Sometimes she is an explored, so much braver than everyone expects her to be. Nowhere is too far away for her.
She makes friend's in far away places, and sees the world far beyond her small cottage by the forest. Delicious new foods are always on her plate, and new discoveries are always in her reach. Whole journals fill with her sketches and writing, describing those she has befriended, animals she has encountered, and plants that could never grow back home.
The world is always in front of her; all she has to do is open her eyes and look.
And still, no matter how far she goes, she cannot find the one person that she desires so much. No matter how many people she meets, none compare to that of the one that she so desperately needs. There is no way to replace her.
Still, Aurora goes further and further into the world, sure that if she is not at the last place then she must be at the next.
Sometimes, she feels only half asleep. A most seems to hang over her, but there is no way to move her arms.
Noises surround her, voices that is sure she has heard before.
One voice is deep, like that of a raven's caw. His voice is desperate and sad, and Aurora knows that she cannot bring him comfort.
The other voice, however, is even sadder. Aurora listens, though it is hard to make out the words. Her heart hammers in her chest, and images float through her mind as she tries to put the voice to a name.
This is the woman; Aurora is sure of it.
Her eyes, however, remain closed, and she never sees her.
Sometimes she dreams not of herself, but of another. She sees love and betrayal and pain - so much pain. The pain of the other runs through her, and together they cry in Aurora's nightmare.
When she feels a kiss to her lips, strength runs through her. With a burst of energy, she sits up and sees the world clearly.
The light is strong, and she has to squint to make out anything. The smell inside is strong; the scent of polished wood fills her nose, along with that of fire burning.
Beneath her, she feels soft, warm blankets and pillows, things perfectly fitting for someone asleep.
Her eyes, however, go to the floor. She needs to feel the solid ground beneath her feet once more and change out of her nightgown.
"I told you," a familiar voice says, "all you had to do was kiss her."
Aurora looks around, meeting her eyes with two achingly familiar faces. A smile crosses her lips, the first in what feels like tends of hundreds of thousands of years.
As she pulls the woman - Maleficent, she realizes (and what a beautiful name it is) - to her and embraces her, the dreams melt away. They were nice while they lasted, but surely not real.
Maleficent's arms are too warm and her lips too soft for this to be a dream. Never were Aurora's dreams, no matter how magical or exciting, ever this vivid to all of her senses.
Cold, salty tears cover her cheeks.
"Beastie, why are you crying?" Concern is laced through her voice, and Maleficent hugs her tighter.
"I'm just so happy," she replies, letting the tears fall, "to have found you."