It had been nearly three months since Agrabah had been destroyed in a fiery apocalypse that had left everyone in the kingdom, with the exception of Princess Jasmine and Aladdin, dead. The Genie had managed to spare the two of them from such a fate, though at this cost of his own life, that is if genies could be considered alive. Regardless of the technical term for it, he no longer existed, all the magic he possessed was spent in protecting the princess and her fiancée from the unparalleled destruction.
Fortunately for Jasmine and Aladdin, the magic carpet had been with them at the time, and was also spared from the fate of the rest of the Agrabah. Nothing else in the city had escaped destruction. Even the animals were burned to a crisp, including every horse in the city. Without the carpet they would have had no mode of transportation besides walking, and they would not make it very far through the desert on foot.
The scenes of destruction were devastating, and at first Jasmine wondered if she would ever be able to recover from seeing her beloved kingdom, the land she and Aladdin would have one day ruled, reduced to ashes. Everything she had ever known had been utterly destroyed.
When Jasmine and Aladdin had left Agrabah, she had hoped that the rest of the world had been spared from such a terrible fate. Yet every kingdom in Arabia had been completely destroyed. Despite weeks of searching they found not a single survivor.
Despite the hopelessness of it all, Jasmine had insisted that they keep searching. Certainly somewhere in the world must have escaped this calamity. They headed first toward the countries surrounding the Mediterranean and then continued into Europe.
Jasmine had always thought it would be interesting to visit the land of Europe and see the white skinned, golden haired people rumored to live there. Of course she was a little late to find anyone still living there. The once majestic cities of this continent were just as ruined as Agrabah and the rest of the formerly glorious Arabic kingdoms.
Aladdin frowned as they soared over the scorched remains of what had once been a mighty kingdom. “Perhaps we should try somewhere else…”
“Like where? I doubt anywhere else on the planet is in any better shape.” Jasmine sighed heavily. She was hoping there would be some survivors somewhere on the planet but as of yet they had found none.
“Well we haven’t tried Asia yet. Perhaps we’ll have more luck there.” Aladdin did not sound like he really believed that, however.
“Well, we aren’t quite finished exploring Europe. We should look just a little longer.” Jasmine stared down at uninhabited countryside, still hoping that she might glimpse some sign of life. “Besides, it’s not like we have anywhere else to be.”
They were silent again. There was not much to talk about anymore. They had exhausted most topics of conversation months ago and now the only thing they really had to keep them going was the hope that they would come across more survivors. As each day passed they knew that the odds of finding anyone still alive were diminished.
They flew for another hour or so, until the sun began to hang low in the sky. The red glow of the sunset made the desolate landscape appear even more foreboding.
“I suppose we should find somewhere to set up camp for the night,” Aladdin said, breaking the silence.
Jasmine nodded. She yawned and stretched her arms over her head. Spending all day sitting on the flying carpet left her muscles achy and stiff.
As Jasmine lowered her arms back to her sides she noticed Aladdin staring at her with a sly grin. “Need a massage?” He smirked. “I’d be more than happy to give you one after we land…”
Jasmine sighed. “Really, Aladdin? Is that all you think about?”
“Well, it’s not like there’s much else to do.”
Jasmine had to concede that point to him. There really was not much else to do besides… that… and looking for survivors. However even the things Aladdin had in mind were starting to get a little old.
As Aladdin surveyed the landscape in search of a good place to spend the night Jasmine noticed a castle just on the horizon. It was a strange place, nearly covered in vines. The vines made it even to the highest spires. Jasmine knew that they could not have managed to cover the castle in just the last few months since the destruction. This castle had been lost to time long before that. It piqued her curiosity and she wanted to explore it further. If nothing else it might prove to be an interesting distraction in her otherwise bleak existence.
Aladdin did not seem as interested in exploring the ancient castle, but he saw no reason to argue with Jasmine about it. They used the carpet to fly up to the top window of the highest spire. What they found inside was shocking.
A young woman with long golden hair lay sleeping on an ornate bed. At least Jasmine assumed she was sleeping, though she was so motionless she almost looked as if she could be dead. However nothing in her appearance suggested death, she looked almost flawless.
“Wow,” Aladdin said. “I didn’t think we would ever find another survivor.”
Jasmine nodded. “She must really be asleep though, she hasn’t moved a bit.”
Jasmine and Aladdin walked cautiously toward the young woman, not wanting to startle her. However by the time they had made it to the bed the girl was still not awake.
“Do you think she’s…” Aladdin let his voice trail off, not really wanting to voice the last word of his question.
“I don’t know,” Jasmine said. She sat down gingerly on the edge of the bed. “She doesn’t look dead. Maybe she is in some sort of coma.” Jasmine placed her hand over the other woman’s hand and shook it a little, hoping for a response. The sleeping woman’s hand felt cold, but soft and still alive.
Aladdin surveyed the room while Jasmine tried to awaken the woman. It did not take him long to notice something very strange about this room. “Jasmine, do you noticed something?” he asked, staring at his surroundings in awe.
Jasmine looked up at him. “What do you mean? This looks like the sort of room I would expect for a castle.”
“But look at it,” Aladdin said emphatically. “Everything is perfect. Not a thing has been touched, not even the slightest scorch mark on anything.”
A quick glance around the room confirmed Aladdin’s assessment. Jasmine furrowed her brow. How could this one room have escaped the destruction? Unless it had survived the same way she and Aladdin did… by magic!
“Do you think she’s under some sort of spell?” Jasmine asked.
“Perhaps. Magic seems to be the only explanation for what’s happening here.”
“Hmmm,” Jasmine muttered, thinking about what that meant. If it were true then this golden haired young woman was under some sort of spell, and the only way to awaken her was to break the spell. Jasmine tried to think of how to undo this spell when she remembered a story she had heard as a child. It was told to her by a merchant who had traveled to faraway lands and returned with strange and mysterious gifts for her father, the sultan. The merchant had talked of a beautiful princess who fell under the power of dark magic, and could only be awakened by the kiss of her prince.
Jasmine had thought it nothing more than a fable, even as a child she had not been prone to much fantasy. However as an adult she had seen things that had shattered her view of the world. Flying carpets and sorcerers and genies were only the beginning. Then there was the terrible destruction, the cataclysms foretold by prophets of old, that had left the world in ruins. Perhaps then this merchant’s tale could be true as well.
“I think you need to kiss her,” Jasmine said simply.
Aladdin was silent for a moment. “What?” he said finally, with a note of disbelief in his tone.
“I heard a story once, of a princess under a spell who had to be kissed by a prince in order to wake up.”
“Oh yeah, that makes sense!” Aladdin muttered, rolling his eyes.
“About as much sense as a poor boy from the streets finding a magic lamp in a cave of wonders…” Jasmine retorted.
“Hey!” Aladdin shouted, sounding somewhat offended. “Well…. Fine! Whatever. I’ll do it. I guess it couldn’t hurt.” He walked over to the bed reluctantly and stood over the young woman.
“Well, here we go…” he said uncertainly, just before leaning over and kissing her softly on the lips. He watched the woman for several moments, waiting for something to happen, but he saw absolutely no change. “Guess that idea was a bust, huh?”
Jasmine frowned a little as she thought about it. “Well… maybe it’s because you’re not really a prince. I mean, you and I aren’t married yet, so technically…” She let her voice trail off when she noticed the dark look on Aladdin’s face.
“Well fine then, your royal highness! Why don’t you kiss her and wake her up?” Aladdin exclaimed. He scowled and folded his arms across his chest.
Jasmine shrugged. “Well, it’s worth a try.”
Aladdin’s jaw dropped. “What?!”
“Well there’s no one else around here, and she’s the only alive… ish… person we’ve encountered so far. I might as well give it a shot.”
“Hmph.” Aladdin scoffed. “And if it doesn’t work?”
“I guess we just leave her here and move on. Maybe we’ll find a prince somewhere else and we can bring him back here,” she said.
Jasmine sat down on the edge of the bed again. She studied the young woman for a moment. She was certainly stunning with her porcelain skin, golden hair and bright red lips. At least the idea of kissing her was not repulsive, in fact Jasmine found it rather intriguing. Jasmine tried not to think of the absurdity of this situation as she leaned over and pressed her lips gently against the lips of this mysterious sleeping woman.
* * *
Aurora knew she was sleeping. She was not sure how long she had known this. Immediately after pricking her finger on that accursed spinning wheel she had fallen into a deep sleep. She had dreamed, perhaps for years, and like anyone who was dreaming she believed that everything happening to her was real. Her dreams were a mixture of fantasy and real life, of childhood memories and tales told to her by her godmothers. Over time, however, she came to sort the fantasy from the reality.
Her godmothers had told her stories when she was growing up. Stories about a beautiful princess who was cursed to fall under a spell that could only be broken by “true love’s first kiss.” The evil witch who cast the spell had originally intended for the girl to die but thankfully some good faeries had intervened and lessened to spell so that the princess “would not die, but only sleep.”
Those stories had been about her. They had been trying to warn her. If only she would have known, perhaps she could have escaped such a fate. But instead she was cursed to forever sleep, alternating between dreams and occasional states of near lucidity. Even people who are asleep are still sometimes vaguely aware of the world around them. Aurora could occasionally hear noise around her, or sense a sudden change in temperature, yet she was powerless to do anything about it and would quickly sink back into a dream after one of these moments.
Then one day the dreams stopped, replaced by an unnerving quiet. She was alone. She had been alone for a while now. The world around her was quiet and still. This was worse than the dreaming, she reasoned. It seems as if the rest of the world had vanished into a void, and she alone was left behind stuck in some sort of limbo she would never be able to escape. The thought tormented her and she longed just to slip into a dreamless sleep, to be done with her existence forever.
After what seemed like an interminably long time she finally heard something. Noise. Voices. The first things she had heard in a very long time. Had she been sleeping a normal sleep it would have been enough to awaken her. However she was asleep because of a spell, and the only way to wake up was for the spell to be broken. Her mind was a torrent of emotion. She wanted to scream, to yell at whoever this was to do something. Yet she could not manage to move her body even slightly. The best she could do was to keep herself from slipping back into reality obstructing dreams.
Aurora could sense the closeness of another person. Perhaps he would be the one to finally awaken her from this spell. Several minutes went by and nothing happened, much to Aurora’s dismay. Then she felt that closeness again. And this time she woke up.
She opened her eyes slowly and at first everything around her was blurry. There were no distinct images, simply indistinguishable blobs of color. Within moments, however, she had managed to get her eyes to focus on the person sitting next to her on her bed, the person who had saved her from this terrible curse.
This was certainly not the person Aurora expected to see when she woke up from Maleficent’s curse. For one thing she had definitely expected the person who finally awakened her to be a man. Merryweather’s blessing had specifically stated that she was to be awakened by “true love’s first kiss” and Aurora was fairly convinced that women did not fall in love with other women.
Besides that this woman was unlike anyone Aurora had ever seen, not that she really had come across that many people growing up in an isolated cabin the forest. Still Aurora immediately realized this woman was not from her kingdom, or any nearby kingdom for that matter. Her dark skin and silky black hair was unlike anything Aurora had ever seen before. She looked stunning, especially her deep brown eyes set behind thick black lashes.
Another thing Aurora could not help but notice was the woman’s strange manner of dress. No lady of Aurora’s kingdom would ever wear such clothing. Not even a lady of the night would dare show so much skin. The effect of the woman’s exotic looks and scandalous attire was quite profound. Aurora could not help but stare. She was fascinated. She wondered for a moment if she were really awake or if this was just some very bizarre dream.
“Do you think she’s okay?” The voice was masculine. It did not come from the strange woman standing over her bed. Aurora turned her head. She had not realized there was someone else in the room.
She couldn’t help but blush when she saw the young man. He must have been from the same foreign land as the woman. He had the same dark features and he wore no covering over his chest besides an open vest. Aurora quickly turned her head in embarrassment. She had never seen a man’s bare chest before.
The woman giggled. “She looks a little embarrassed by you Aladdin.”
Aladdin. That’s a strange name, Aurora thought.
“What? What’s wrong with me?” Aladdin sounded offended.
“I’m not certain but I think it’s your clothes… or rather, lack thereof. I think the people of this kingdom wear far more clothes than we’re accustomed to.”
“Well you try wearing more clothes in a desert…” Aladdin muttered.
The woman shook her head at her companion. Then she smiled and turned her attention toward Aurora. “I’m Jasmine,” she said sweetly, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. “This is my fiancée, Aladdin.” She motioned to him, but Aurora did not turn to look. Her gaze was fixated on Jasmine.
“I’m…” Aurora hesitated. Should she introduce herself as Briar Rose, the name she had gone by most of her life, or as Aurora, her actual name?
“It’s okay,” Jasmine said, sensing her hesitation. “Take your time. I’m sure you’ve been asleep… for a while…”
Aurora nodded. She had no idea how long she had been under this spell, but she was sure it had been a long time. Her throat seemed impossibly dry. She tried to sit up but she found it rather difficult. Her muscles felt stiff and sore, not really surprising considering the fact that she had not moved even slightly for countless years.
“Let me help,” Jasmine offered, assisting Aurora to sit up.
“Thank you,” Aurora said softly. She took a minute to steady herself. “I’m… Princess Aurora.”
“Well, nice to meet you Princess Aurora.” Jasmine smiled brightly. “Who would have thought I’d meet another Princess?”
Aurora looked at her in surprise. “You’re a princess too?”
“Of course she is! Everyone is royalty. Everyone except me…”Aladdin started pacing impatiently. “Don’t you think it’s time to get going Jasmine? It’s getting dark and we need our rest so we can look for more sur…”
“Aladdin!” Jasmine snapped, cutting him off before he could finish. She gave him a stern look. “Try to be a bit more careful of… what you talk about.”
“Oh. Yeah.” Aladdin looked down at the floor. “I guess she doesn’t know about that.”
“Know about what?” Aurora asked curiously.
Jasmine sighed. “Aladdin…” She folded her arms across her chest, looking exasperated.
“Sorry,” he said sheepishly.
“It’s okay,” Aurora said. “I know something bad happened. I… I could tell…”
Jasmine’s eyes grew wide. “How? You’ve been asleep for so long.”
“Well, do you know how sometimes even though you’re asleep you still kind of know what’s happening around you?” Aurora hoped she made sense.
Jasmine nodded. “I understand.”
“Well it’s been very… quiet. For a while. And before that it was very… I can’t explain it. But I knew something was happening that was terrible. Something violent and fiery and…” Aurora stopped talking. She could not find the words to explain herself, and besides that these two already knew what happened.
Jasmine placed her hand lightly on Aurora’s arm and tried to give her a reassuring smile. Aurora was mesmerized by the Jasmine’s smooth dark skin. She found herself staring at Jasmine’s hand. Finally Aurora looked up at Jasmine’s face and tried to read her expression. “How… how bad is it?” Aurora asked softly.
Jasmine’s muscles tensed and she pulled her hand away. She swallowed hard and looked down at the floor. “You’re the first survivor we’ve found.”
Aurora was speechless for a moment. Certainly the three people gathered in this chamber could not be the only people left alive in the world. She wondered how many places Aladdin and Jasmine had searched so far. “How long have you been looking? How many places have you been?”
“All over Arabia,” Aladdin said. “And then into the Mediterranean and finally into Europe.”
“Arabia?” Aurora asked curiously. “So that is where you are from?” Aurora had heard stories of the mysterious land known as Arabia. Some told by travelers who would pass through the woods. Occasionally one would happen by the small cottage and her godmothers would offer them dinner and a place to stay for the night. In exchange the travelers would entertain them with stories of their adventures in far off, exotic lands. It was one of the few ways that Aurora had ever had a glimpse of the world beyond her cottage.
“Yeah, we are. Heard of it?” Aladdin said.
“I’ve heard stories,” Aurora answered. “So how is it you two have survived and no one else?”
“Magic,” Jasmine answered. “A genie used all of his magic to protect us.”
Aurora was not certain what a genie was, but she assumed that it was something similar to a faerie. “Then it was magic that protected me as well. The spell… it was… that I would not die but only sleep…” Aurora was amazed. Merryweather’s magic was apparently much stronger than she had given herself credit for.
“Well the spell certainly worked then,” Aladdin quipped. “You slept straight through the apocalypse.”
“I suppose I did,” Aurora replied as she stared out of the window at the evening sky. “It is almost nightfall. You two must be tired from your travels.”
“We are,” Jasmine said. “But what about you?”
“Well I don’t really need sleep, but at least I know now that if I fall asleep I will wake back up. Besides, I do not want to deprive you two of your rest.”
Jasmine nodded and smiled at her. “That is considerate.” She looked around the room that had magically escaped destruction. It was full of thick curtains, soft pillows and other pleasant furnishings, much like the palace she had lived in for most of her life. “You would not mind if we stay here would you? This room is far more comfortable than anywhere else we have slept lately.”
“Of course you may spend the night here. I would be honored.” Not only would she be honored, but Aurora also did not want either of them to leave her sight. Aurora knew absolutely nothing about how to survive on her own, but clearly these two did. Her only chance to make it in this world was to stick with Aladdin and Jasmine.
Aurora watched silently as Jasmine and Aladdin prepared for the night. After constructing a makeshift bed for themselves, they quickly settled into it and fell asleep. Aurora did not sleep however. She had certainly had enough of that for quite some time.
She stared at the pair as they slept, though it was difficult to see them in the dim moonlight. She wondered again how Jasmine had awakened her. Could this exotic princess really be her true love? It hardly made sense, though little in her life had ever made sense when she stopped to think about it. Besides that, it would not be too terrible if it were true. Jasmine was beautiful and kind and more intriguing than anyone Aurora had ever known.
Aurora yawned and stretched her arms over her head. She could not imagine why she was tired. Perhaps it was due to the fact that it had been so long since she had done anything that even this little bit of activity exhausted her. Whatever the case, she leaned back into the soft pillows of her bed and allowed herself to drift off to sleep. There was really nothing else for her to do until morning anyway.
* * *
All three of them awakened early, when the first light of morning had just barely illuminated the sky. Aurora knew the other two were eager to continue their search for survivors.
Aurora had planned on taking the stairs to the bottom of the tower, but Aladdin had insisted on leaving the same way he had entered- by flying on a magic carpet. Aurora had been more than a little apprehensive about this. However after Jasmine demonstrated it on a quick flight around the room Aurora reluctantly decided she would give it a try. It had brought these two all the way from Arabia apparently, so feasibly it should be able to hold her as well.
The flight from the tower window to the ground below should have been straightforward, but Aladdin had wanted to show off. Aurora shut her eyes tight and clung to the carpet as if her life depended on it. She must have looked thoroughly terrified because Jasmine chided Aladdin to calm down.
After Aurora had a chance to steady herself she slowly opened her eyes and took a look at the world below her. Beyond the perimeter of the castle everything lay in ruin. There was no doubt that whatever had happened had been terrible.
The carpet landed near the entrance of the village that once surrounded the castle. As terrifying as the scene was, Aurora had to know what had happened. Cautiously she walked into what was left of the town, followed closely by Jasmine and Aladdin.
Today would be the first time Aurora would see the scorched remains of the kingdom that she would have one day ruled over. It was beyond shocking. The village surrounding the castle was reduced to ashes, with the skeletal remains of its former inhabitants strewn unceremoniously about the town.
“Oh… oh God…” Aurora muttered as she surveyed the damage. She felt the blood drain from her face. She knew that it was going to be bad, but somehow seeing it with her eyes made it more real.
Jasmine placed her hand lightly on Aurora’s shoulder. “I think this is all you need to see. We should leave now.”
Aurora nodded dumbly. She had seen enough to confirm her worst fears. She turned and walked to the outskirts of town as she wiped tears from her eyes. The group was silent until they reached a small clearing in the woods. They were far enough away now that they could no longer see the remains of the town, or smell the aroma of ashes that still lingered in the air around the castle.
“Should we take the carpet away from here?” Jasmine asked Aladdin.
“Well, maybe we should find some food first. I’m starving and Aurora here hasn’t eaten in years.”
Jasmine giggled a little at his answer. “True. Well why don’t I stay with Aurora while you go hunting? I thought I saw some animals around here when we were flying over.”
Aladdin nodded. “I hope so. I’m tired of eating plants, I need some meat.” He grabbed a bow and some arrows from the small amount of possessions he carried with him. “You two princesses have fun,” he said as he headed off into the woods in search of some dinner.
Aurora and Jasmine both sat on the ground as they waited for Aladdin to return. The grass was green and soft, and the air was pleasantly warm. It seemed so oddly serene compared to the scenes of destruction they had encountered just a few minutes earlier.
“So tell me about yourself,” Jasmine said conversationally after several minutes of silence.
“Okay. What is it you want to know?” Aurora asked uncertainly. She was not sure the story of her life was very interesting. Well the first sixteen years of it, anyway.
“I dunno. Anything. You’re the first person other than Aladdin that I’ve spoken to in months. Tell me how you ended up under that spell.”
“I pricked my finger on a spinning wheel.” Aurora said. It seemed like so long ago, yet it also seemed like just yesterday.
“I see,” Jasmine said, though she really didn’t. “So was the spinning wheel cursed?”
“No. I was the one who was cursed. A witch cursed me on the day I was born that before my sixteenth birthday I would prick my finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die.”
Jasmine raised an eyebrow. “What could she possibly have against a baby?”
“She was angry at my parents. Mostly though, I think she was just crazy and evil.”
“Really? Sounds a lot like Jafar,” Jasmine mused.
“Who’s Jafar?” Aurora asked.
“An evil sorcerer who tried to kill Aladdin and… well… I don’t really want to think about what he was trying to do to me…”
Aurora felt a little uncomfortable. She knew that she was somewhat naïve but she had a pretty good idea what Jasmine meant. She picked a small pink flower growing nearby and studied it. So delicate and frail, yet it had sprung up amongst such destruction.
“So how did you end up pricking your finger? If you knew about the curse…”
“I didn’t know about it,” Aurora interrupted. “I was taken away from the palace as a baby and raised in the woods. I never knew I was a princess. My godmothers told me stories about a princess, but I never knew it was me.”
“I see. Well it looks like you almost made it. You look sixteen to me.”
“It was my birthday. The curse ended at sundown.” Aurora answered.
“They couldn’t have kept you in the woods one day longer?” Jasmine joked.
“Apparently not. I had to return to the palace so I could get married. I was supposed to marry some prince that I was betrothed to as an infant,” Aurora explained. She twirled the flower absentmindedly as she spoke. “Can you imagine? Being told who you’re supposed to marry?”
“Oh I can imagine alright,” Jasmine said. She smiled bitterly. “I spent my entire life being propositioned by men who cared only about my royal status, not about who I was.”
Aurora tilted her head and looked at her new companion curiously. “So you were not betrothed? All the princesses in my kingdom are promised to someone as soon as they are born.”
“It might have been easier that way. At least then I would not have been fought over like some sort of prize at a carnival.” Jasmine sighed and lay down on her back, staring up at the cloudless blue sky. It seemed so peaceful and calm, such a contrast to the fiery heavens she had seen just a few short months ago. “I guess none of that matters now, huh?”
Aurora did not respond. She was intrigued by the curve of Jasmine’s trim waist as she lay on the ground.
Aurora could not help but be fascinated by the woman who had awoken her from her spell. Jasmine was so carefree, not at all like the ladies of Aurora’s kingdom. Jasmine looked comfortable in the soft grass, her knees bent and her arms stretched out above her head. Her outfit revealed the smooth skin of her abdomen. It was so captivating, the way she showed so much of her body yet was completely unashamed about it.
“Aurora?” Jasmine said after several minutes of silence. She turned her head and noticed that the other princess was studying her with a curious gaze.
Aurora blushed when she realized Jasmine had caught her staring. “I… I was just thinking…” she stammered nervously. She looked down at the flower in her hand, hoping Jasmine didn’t notice how flustered she looked.
Jasmine laughed. “Thinking… I do a lot of that these days. There’s not much else to do.”
“Well you have Aladdin don’t you? I mean, you’re not completely alone, you have your fiancée.” Aurora felt a flash of jealousy when she thought of Aladdin’s engagement to Jasmine. It was strange. Shouldn’t she be jealous of Jasmine not Aladdin?
Jasmine nodded. “He adores me.”
“That is an odd thing to say,” Aurora said as she absentmindedly plucked a petal from her flower and let it fall to the ground. “Don’t you adore him as well?”
“I… I do. I mean, I thought I did…” Jasmine sat up now. She folded her arms around her waist and stared down at the ground.
Aurora frowned slightly. “I’m sorry. I did not mean to upset you.”
Jasmine shook her head. “It’s okay. It’s not your fault. I’ve never been completely certain about Aladdin. I mean, he’s definitely different than any other man I’ve met. I know he loves me. Yet I can’t help but…” Jasmine’s voice trailed off as she continued staring blankly at the ground.
Aurora did not want to prod but she was also curious. “You can’t help but what?” she asked after a few moments of silence.
Jasmine sighed. “He lied when he first met me. He lied a couple of times. He pretended to be someone he was not.” Jasmine stopped and took a deep breath. “I shouldn’t hold it against him. He was in a difficult situation. But it makes me wonder if he would do it again…”
Aurora nodded. “I can understand that feeling,” she said. “I was lied to my entire life. Led to believe I was someone else. I know they only did it to protect me…”
“Stop.” Jasmine said, pinching the bridge of her nose. She looked as if she had developed a sudden headache.
Aurora stared at Jasmine for a moment. “What’s wrong?” she asked softly, wondering if she had offended her newfound companion.
“I was told so many times that everything that was forced on me was ‘for my protection.’ As if I were just some weak, helpless flower with no ability to defend myself.”
Aurora could hear the bitterness in Jasmine’s voice. Well perhaps Jasmine was not some weak, helpless flower, but Aurora was not sure she could say the same for herself. She had been called “Rose” most of her life and probably for good reason. It certainly had not taken much for Maleficent to beat her.
“Sorry to interrupt your story,” Jasmine said after a moment. Her voice was no longer bitter and harsh. “Please, keep talking. What happened next?”
“It all happened so fast. One day I was just told I was a princess and that I was going to be sent off to marry some man I had never even met. It didn’t matter what I wanted, it was my duty. I… I didn’t even have time to think about it…” Aurora words became unintelligible as she tried to choke back sobs.
Jasmine frowned. She could understand the pain of being forced into marriage, but she at least had grown up with the knowledge of what awaited her when she turned sixteen. Poor Aurora had lived blissfully unaware for almost her entire life before having the truth forced upon her like that.
Jasmine moved close to Aurora and wrapped her arms around her fellow princess. She stroked her hair soothingly. “It’s okay. I know it’s upsetting, and you never really had time to think about it before you fell under this spell.”
Aurora nodded. “I never had time to think about anything. If I had, I probably would have run away.”
“Well in that case, it’s better that you didn’t have time to think,” Jasmine said as she continued smoothing Aurora's hair.
Aurora brushed tears from her eyes and looked up at Jasmine. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means you’d be dead now if you would have run away. The only thing that saved you was being under that spell.”
“Oh,” Aurora replied. Jasmine had a good point.
“And if you had not been under that spell, I never would have met you,” Jasmine added with a much softer tone. She moved closer to Aurora as she said that. Aurora looked up and felt her heart race as she looked into Jasmine’s deep brown eyes, which were now only inches from her own.
Aurora smiled nervously. “I am really glad for the spell then. I am glad I met you. You’re not like anyone else I’ve ever met.”
Jasmine grinned. “You have no idea.” Suddenly she grabbed Aurora and pulled her close, pressing her lips onto the other princess’ mouth.
Aurora was stunned. She felt her muscles immediately become tense from the surprise yet she did not try to pull away. She was fascinated by the kiss. Jasmine’s lips were full and soft and inviting. After a moment Aurora managed to relax, and even leaned into Jasmine, reciprocating the kiss.
Aurora reached out cautiously to touch Jasmine’s hair as they continued to kiss. It was a silky and smooth as she had imagined and she ran her fingers through it contentedly. Jasmine reached out to touch Aurora’s hair as well, twining her fingers through the golden locks.
They pressed their bodies closer together and the kiss deepened as Jasmine slipped her tongue into Aurora’s mouth. Aurora felt a strange rush of excitement that she had never experienced before, not even with the boy she had met in the woods. Aurora also got the impression that Jasmine knew what she was doing, which was probably fortunate considering her own inexperience in this area.
When the kiss ended they both were silent for a moment. They were breathing hard, their faces only inches apart. Jasmine could see that Aurora’s usually pale cheeks were flushed a bright shade of pink. She reached up and brushed a stray strand of hair out of Aurora’s face.
Aurora stared at Jasmine for a moment, as if she were mesmerized. “That…” Aurora paused for a second, not quite sure what to say. “That was nice.”
Jasmine smiled brightly. “It was, wasn’t it?”
“But… isn’t it… wrong?” Aurora was not certain what to think. It certainly hadn’t felt wrong, but everything she had ever been told seemed to indicate that sort of interaction was only supposed to be between a man and a woman.
“It’s a whole new world,” Jasmine said wistfully as she fell back onto the soft grass again and stared up at the sky. “Things are different now. Besides, who is there to tell us that we’re wrong?”
“Aladdin?” Aurora suggested, quite certain they he would not be happy with this situation.
Jasmine giggled. “He’ll get over it. It’s not like he really has a choice anyway.”
“I guess so,” Aurora said uncertainly.
“And it’s not like we’re going to send him away. He can stay with us. He’s still… useful…”
Aurora raised an eyebrow. “Useful?”
Jasmine turned her head and grinned at Aurora. “I’ll leave it up to you to decide what that means,” she replied with a wink.
Aurora knew the remark had left her blushing. She heard Aladdin approaching and she turned quickly, hoping he wouldn’t notice her embarrassment.
“You two have fun while I was gone hunting?” he asked. Aurora turned to look when she heard a soft thump. Aladdin had dropped a small buck on the ground a few feet away. She cringed a little when she saw it. She had never done very well with the sight of blood. It was probably for the best that she had managed to sleep through the apocalypse, or there was no telling what it would have done to her mind.
“Oh we had tons of fun,” Jasmine answered smoothly, seemingly unaffected by the sight of the dead animal.
“More fun than I’ve had in years,” Aurora added with a smirk. She and Jasmine exchanged knowing smiles while Aladdin obliviously worked on starting a fire for cooking the deer he had killed.
Aurora stared into the flames as the fire quickly grew. This was quite a strange world she had woken up to. She wondered if this were somehow just another bizarre dream. Then she looked up at Jasmine and decided that if she really was still dreaming she hoped that she never woke up.