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Pieces of Tinder until the Warmth of Flames

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Aurora has always been inquisitive in nature and the touch she gifted others was similar in that trait. Her curiosity encouraged her to befriend an array of creatures, all charmed by her guileless innocence and infinite kindness. She was something untarnished by the wars and conflicting customs between the folk of man and fae. Aurora thrived among these beings of lore and was loved by those that would shun all else. She flourished with Maleficent and even without her protector she would never have experienced sadness, the emotion prevented by the christening wish.


The gift of never appearing sadness had an odd way of enacting itself. A pixie’s careless blessing turned to curse, forever forbidding Aurora from displays of grief. The magic prevented her from reaching any lower emotional depths than mere discomfort, it was as if a gate slammed shut before any great sadness could cling onto her consciousness. Though since she was missing some understanding it made certain situations hard to decipher. It should be defined as anguish, this feeling in her chest whenever she sees her people suffer. For the injustices that she cannot quite correct just yet, not with her bare minimum understanding of the bureaucracy required for running a kingdom. Though the most painful feeling was the jolts and bumps each time she thought of her far away godmother. The keening sensation befuddles her and makes her decisions falter before she can continue. It would be heartbreak if she had the vocabulary to describe the yearning ache. She was so alone in the human world that functioned beyond bizarre compared to the life she had before. While her fairy god aunts had attempted to provide her a human childhood they were hardly properly educated. The trio were doting yet they also lacked in every aspect of common sense.

The human world demanded certain gives, conducted within invisible but understood rules. There was no equality in a realm divided by gold. Wealth built lines between people of same flesh and kind. There were expectations on how one was to conduct themselves when regarding those of certain status. The distance and boundaries erected between people were filled with judgement and disdain. Formalities among fae were not as stark as the unspoken decrees of the human world. Comfort and touch were never shamed. For how could the caress of one creature take away from another’s worth? Would that not mean the initiator would have to be sullied at the start for them to sully others? No, that was not their way; physical contact was commonplace and shared in the same manner as they did the land of their birth and the air in their realm. Leaf faeries joined hands and streamed through the tangled expanse of branching trees while water faeries mirrored the danced within the waters, a vivid flickering of stars in the clear flow of rivers. Colourful assortment of beings all tumble together for intimacy and friendship. To the fae that would exist till the seasons ceased their rotation, they saw nothing against the pleasures of flesh and the warmth infused by love and closeness.


Though for Maleficent, she would never again allow herself to indulge in such boundless faith even among her own kin. For a woman that had loved with such unfathomable depths, she was also one unable to allow the steps towards another plunge. The heights the emotion could take her and the inevitable fall would only hollow out the husk she had finally begun to refill. No, she would rather have her feet figuratively on the ground in terms of relationships and only trust her wings to carry her physically high. Though she would admit Aurora had a method with coaxing her into welcoming more physical affections. Considering how severe her wounds had been she has always been far too indulgent around the human babe. Her little beastie wore her down from a tender age. From when the child could barely stumble after Maleficent’s towering shadow, Aurora had already been too assuming in the way she grabs the flowing robes and bumped into moving legs.


Maleficent stretched out her wings and stood, letting them unfurl and then settle back, she would’ve thought she could control such forms of pacing but her wings have just returned and were in no mood to contain themselves after such a long incarceration. Looking back on them she knew that she could not gamble with fate again. How could she offer up the faith her Aurora has instilled. The love she has for her self-appointed charge is chaste and safe. These feelings could be maternal, for the child she never sired herself but held Stefan’s characteristics all the same. Aurora was the offspring and would always have blood to link back to the monstrous traitor. Nevertheless, for her beastie she held nothing but adoration, the sins of the father would not taint their interactions.


The reaching stalks of grass wavered behind her, emitting a rustle to announce Aurora’s presence, “godmother, there you are, I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”


“I am aware.” Maleficent replies as she glances over her shoulder, a quirk in her eyebrow and the corner of her luscious red lips. Aurora’s colouring has always been pale but confined within the castle’s stone and metal she’s waned even more. She’s as slices of freshly cut apple, unblemished yet but delicate still; surely her charge would be ever more delectable, ever sweeter than a mere fruit. These considerations make her heart shudder and for twin aches to pierce right below the joint of her wings. There shouldn’t be tangible physical pain since magic fused her wings seamlessly and without scar. She’s still too weak for prolonged flights but she has the ability at least and it’s invigorating and brings in as much life as experiencing young Aurora’s growing years. Yet she still feels the need to contract the muscles of her wings closer around her form, to settle her initiate motion to fluff up her feathers when she had instinctively mimicked a greater, more formidable size to ward off approaching harm. She turns from the blessing of beauty, refusing the distraction of skin that glistened with ethereal light.


Was it not she herself who had infused that mortal being with magic from her own timeless stores?


She will not allow Aurora’s closeness to affect her; she tells herself that she’s far too jaded to let her love see the anxiousness that frets through her wings. She wouldn’t want to worry the youngling; no… her lady would soon marry to become a queen of even man’s world.


“I’ve missed you dearly.” Aurora announces with a voice sweet and the very opposite of the vitriol that leeched in each of Stefan’s parting words. She paces forward but Maleficent shifts from her spot to move further away still. Lately her godmother has been distant and more of a shadow than her childhood memories could account for.


Even with Aurora paused and waiting Maleficent takes a step then another until she was at the very edge where she had caught little Aurora’s first expedition into the world, the youngling had been mesmerized by the fluttering translucent wings of a painted butterfly and almost plummeted to a short end. She has to remind herself that Aurora is young but determined, easily blinded by her desires for instant gratification. Maleficent blinks at where she has taken herself, even in the seclusion of her thoughts she had only brought herself towards a memory of Aurora’s childhood.


Clearly some distance was required; she shouldn’t need to remind herself, constant detachment would still whatever attempts to progress between them.


She smiles reassuringly back at the shorter woman and with a nod she allows herself to drop from the sheer face of the cliff platform. She lets herself freefall without opening her eyes, cherishing the rush of wind that flashes pass her. This was her world, the space she reigns with the utmost aptitude, as she scents the upcoming moss and dust she flings open her wings and soars back into the sky with breathtaking speed. She crests with a dazzling grin pass where she first took her flight. Her hands raised above her to reach for the ever present skies. She banks hard just before entering the mist of gelid clouds and slips down closer to Aurora. Her wings have magnificent span and the sheer power she’s able to utilize as she thrust herself into such joyous heights has Aurora grinning along with her. It’s dizzying to sense the sky, once more her domain, once more her safety. Her motions become more difficult for her companion to follow, the acrobatic turns and spirals are majestic and she’s sure a path a rare few would ever be able to accomplish. Maleficent vaguely aware that she’s performing the ritual; displaying her prowess before the one she desires with fervent and perilous fondness. With that jarring ideal she halts mid spin, wings spread wide but body stilled in motion as the summer breeze whispers praise through her locks of flowing hair and sleek feathers.


When she returns to where she first fell, her amber irises are burning and her smile cannot be faltered. Though with each mincing step she retains on the cool grass she reins herself back. When she’s close enough to elegantly dip and kiss the back of Aurora’s hand she’s in control, her feelings painstakingly shuffled in check.


She watches though; it’s not something she’ll deny herself. She would not speak her egotistical and dangerously self-destructive wants but she will try to burn the image of Aurora into her mind. This may be the last time she will witness the girl before she was to be married and made another’s.


Aurora draws back her hand, holds it between her breasts as a bittersweet smile settles on her lips. “You look at me as if you were saying that you missed me as well but would you not allow me the pleasure of hearing it?”


Bewilderment strives to appear on her features but instead Maleficent tilts her head slightly, her charge already knew and yet would want more, would want to embarrass her further by giving form to the emotions that frothed and seethed. That is the greed that festers in all men’s hearts and even in her blameless human’s. Stefan wanted keepsakes and returned with the heart of a fae when he was only a boy. That should have forewarned the man he would become. A character willing to utilize every cunning to reach a goal, discarding the meager iron ring he had stolen in trade for the favour of a faery. He had lain with her before his betrayal and while he had taken already more than he deserved he craved for greater possessions still. He could not settle for less. The hunger in his chest made his actions vicious and dulled his fickle morals. To him she was just a trinket, a ring of old and with that in comparison he reaped her wings as a token to win the king’s favour and promise. 


During the odd moment when both she and he were sane but unfortunate enough to clash into one another, words of hatred unspoken but the essence of it poisoning the air around them. He had told her that he should never have spared her life. He likened his thievery and pillage of her body merely petty, for he was gallant enough to allow an unhuman thing like her live.


It was pride that seeped from his stance as they stared coldly upon one another. ‘I cared for you far too much and now it’s cursed my only heir, have I not paid high enough a price.’ He was sentencing a demand but she was not under his creed.


He had sought to take her life even as the word had barely passed his lips.


She’s a foolish one, set on repeating her mistakes time and now time again. Her trust and love, her endless pining was what did her in and as a mindless insect to the flickering promise of fire she was willing to be engulfed by it once again. Her love would never allow her to resent Aurora’s gentle torture. These emotions made her a willing participant for the pilgrimage of Aurora’s happiness. Whatever her beastie wished from her, she would comply.

“You appeared in such distress and I would never want to be the cause of it, do you think I would not notice how you begin in earnest to return my enthusiasm but then pull back just a moment after, does my presences wear so heavily on your patience?”


Maleficent finds herself surprised by the sudden change in dynamic. Of course her beastie was not a true beast, the one she desired was pure and honest, Aurora meant her no harm and was in turn distressed because of perceived wrongs. She’s so quick to take the blame onto herself, too willing to believe in the good in others and humble enough to seek amend to her short comings.


“Please,” Aurora’s voice shakes and tears pearl down her blushed cheeks, “you’ve rarely referred to me as my given name but have not stopped doing just that since Phillip has returned to visit my kingdom with treaties and proposals.” The princess delicately rubs her eyes in defeat, no longer able to ignore the wetness that stained her cheeks; though no matter her actions the yawning chasm of sadness gives her no reprieve. A girl that has never experienced a day of melancholy was overwhelmed with it as she considered the misdeeds she may have done onto Maleficent.


True love can break any curse and evidently applied to all magic. Was it not those that blessings and curses befall the ones that deemed it good or evil? The wish that had preventing sorrow from creeping into Aurora’s heart had been broken, and now she grieved heavily for the discord between her and Maleficent.


“Child, you’ve done me no wrong.” Maleficent cannot hold herself back from caring and her fingertips stroke away the tears that do not cease. “Shhhh, now now.”


“Godmother, I’ve done something horrible, have I not?” Aurora holds the hand Maleficent has place against her face and she tilts into it, enchanted by the scent of the fae’s skin, her mouth pouts against the flesh, pushing a gentle kiss onto the inside of Maleficent’s wrist.


This touch was good, it was wholesome and familial. It was what Maleficent repeats again and again in her mind. She’s too afraid to hope for it to be more and dreading if it was less.


Aurora whimpers in relief and embraces Maleficent when the fae does not create their now accustomed distance. She clings as if Maleficent were the only thing that could stop her from drowning. She does not understand what has caused her Godmother such anguish but she wants to take it away, she wants to provide the same serenity that has always been so freely given.


The princess draws closer, lips against the corner of Maleficent’s mouth. She closes her eyes tightly and tucks into the pounding beat in the taller woman’s neck.


“Please,” It’s beseeching and wounded, a plead in word alone, “Whatever I can do to atone for my father’s sins, please hate me no longer.”


“Aurora.” The name whispered as an encouragement or a rebuke, Maleficent could not make up her own mind, she only finds herself paused under the younger woman’s soft exploratory touch. Aurora reaches so delicately, the pads of her thumbs dusk over the sharp contours of Maleficent’s face, mapping the soft skin into memory.


When her fingertips are just over the fae’s plush open lips, Maleficent has to back away least she nibbled on those pretty digits.


“Godmother, what troubles you so?” Aurora is blushing, her emotions barely concealed behind her pallid skin tone, and she worries the lacing at the front of her dress but forces herself to stop. She’s been placed into tutelage under an instructor of decorum and her teacher would be so disappointed in her behaving with such blatant emotional disregard.


“Allay your fears, I hold nothing against you and you’ve not angered me in anyway,” Maleficent curls her wings around the both of them, holding Aurora’s trembling hands in her own, “I am not troubled.”


Aurora’s brows crease together but she presses her lips together to forbid her curious tongue. She wants to know what was bothering the person she loves most in her worlds and could not help but feel it originated with her own actions.


“But were it not because of my…” she stumbles over the relations she has with the man that hurt one of her own, “fa-” A proper lady does not stutter but Aurora finds herself short with breath at the thought of their connection, “if it were not for him you would not have had to suffer for so long.”


“I have always known you were from Stefan, my animosity towards him was what cursed you into such a close encounter with death, it’s not hate I feel for you now,” she’s unmeasurably fond of Aurora, she has trouble admitting it out loud and the fearless finds her heart full of reservations, “the very opposite is true.”


“Then why do you draw away from me even now?” Aurora trembles; she’s frightened Maleficent would abscond for she was unable to keep up if her godmother was intent in evading. Though her clasp on her fae’s hands do not tighten for she would never want to cruelly contain Maleficent as her forefather’s had attempt to do.


“Are my wings not around you; am I not in your hold now?” There is a throb under the joints of her wings yet again, a phantom worry that increases with their shared proximity.


“Never,” Aurora shakes her head, eyes closed and breath quickened by her pledge, “I would never bind you in anyway.”


Ah, what her charge did not know. Maleficent was bound already, so deeply entrenched by love for this mortal woman. She’s afraid still, even with Aurora’s tentative touches, with her promises of freedom when in relations with another. It was not in a fae’s nature to keep for their own since what they have is shared without competition. Why was it so easy for these human’s to glamor Maleficent from realizing until it was too late that her heart had become another’s possession once again.


They remain silent, content in each other’s presence though their minds are toiled under worries neither can overcome alone. Diaval has flown to a nearby tree, watching as his mistress and hatchling stumble along the path towards love, it should not be so hard.


“I need your counsel now,” Aurora starts, aware that this conversation was straining for her godmother and she had already caused enough trouble, she opts to bring about another subject. One a tad further from the feelings she had so doggedly inquired after, “Phillip has purposed and I am under the impression that he had awoken me with True Love’s kiss and it is expected that I reply with a confirmation but I… I cannot stand it.”


Maleficent stays silent, allowing Aurora to continue without interruption.


“I cannot stand being near him as I can you or the other fae, is it because he is human? Is it because I am not mature enough? How can I be expected to produce an heir for my kingdom when his kiss brings me no joy?” It’s a rush of words that do not stop. The princess of the human world has been bottling up every one of her worries and shared them with her aunts and councilmen but have been shushed and consoled into making a ‘right’ decision. Aurora moves forward, seeking support and sighs in gratitude when Maleficent meets her halfway, enveloped even closer by the umber feathers. “He touches me so softy after I asked him to but should I really have to ask it to begin with? Perhaps I just do not hold his ardent zeal or… I feel as if I am failing my kingdom by rejecting this potential treaty.”


“Hush,” Maleficent cups the shorter woman’s cherubic face in her palm, “if you do not feel he is the right one then there is no need in your kingdom so pressing that should cost you your happiness.”


“Godmother, he is my true love, should I not be as enthused as he is for me?”


“Would it assuage your worries to know that it was not he that broke my curse?”


“But auntie Knotgrass had informed me….” Aurora lets her sentence fall short; her decorum teacher would be having a fit with her right now with her repeated failures. She snuggles closer, the new information a surprise but she knew it to be true for Maleficent has never spoken a lie to her; the only falsehoods were ones by omission. “Then who was it.”


Maleficent straightens for a second but then curls back into the shorter woman. Aurora’s hands are just below her shoulder blades but the ache is less prevalent and the serenity instilled by their embrace it hard for her to leave. The trust between them holds her as molasses and she’s seized in wanting.


“There was no one else in the room but Diaval and… you.” Aurora’s eyes flash up, sparking in enlightenment and hope.


“There’s many kinds of love, child, ours is one of friendship and it is something I believed in,” She tries to nip Aurora’s excitement or at least contain it into parameters she deems safe. 


“Oh, it is friendship only?” There’s disappoint evident in her voice but Aurora has no prior knowledge to guide her assessments. Maleficent was her closest friend and also her only competent caretaker along with Diaval. A princess who has just recently returned to the human world had barely enough time to adjust into daily reigning least of all to build friendships. There were no moments to truly befriend someone nor did she feel she’ll ever be as secure as she was whilst around Maleficent.


So this between them now had to be friendship since Maleficent named it as such but still Aurora cannot contain her inquisitive nature, especially towards someone so dear to her, “I know that you are mostly likely right but you’ve held so many of my firsts I was wondering if you would humor me,” Aurora blinks up, insistent hope in her wide gaze when they dip to focus on Maleficent’s lips, “that perhaps…”


Maleficent waits patiently but Aurora can’t bring herself to request more from her godmother.


“Ask and it shall be given, my Queen.”


It’s a solemn promise and the weight of it combined with her title makes Aurora swallow her childish cravings. “Your friendship is the most precious gift, thank you for trusting me so.”


Diaval shakes his head and caws in agitation as he takes flight; soaring above the pair he cares most for in this world. He continues his cry, sounding out for their anguish and folly as he disappears deep into the Moors.