But Love Is What Matters
Author's note: I was inspired by my relationship with my girlfriend. I also thought that gays didn't get enough... Show full author's note »
Chapter OneOnce upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived a beautiful, young princess who loved diamonds and pearls and rubies and emeralds and all kinds of nice things. Her name was Princess Snowdrop. Princes from all over came to give her the finest goods. They offered her rides on their white steads. They said they’d take her to see the whole world and promised her brilliant things, but she never accepted. She just sat on her throne and read and wrote. She was very smart, you see. And she had dreams much bigger than traveling the world with a handsome prince.
Then one day, an ogre came into the palace. He was a very, very ugly ogre. He had green, wart covered skin, and he was slimy with crust around his eyes and in his belly button. He smelled like he hadn’t bathed in more than a month, and flies followed him around. But you see, this ogre was magical, and he wanted this princess for himself, so he enchanted her eyes to see the most handsome man in the world with green eyes and sparkly white teeth that smelled like peppermints and flowing, soft brown hair and muscular arms and everything else every woman wants. Snowdrop fell for him the moment their eyes met. Nothing could break his spell.
Snowdrop followed him around and gave him her love, and the ogre played with her emotions like she was a toy. He didn’t care about her; he just valued her beauty that was matched by none other. He’d walk around the land, and everyone would wonder why Snowdrop was following him. She could do so much better. But no one knew of the spell. Even Snowdrop didn’t know she was under an enchantment.
One day, as they were walking through town, Snowdrop and this ugly ogre, Snowdrop glanced over to the side and saw the most beautiful horse she’d ever seen. It was silver. Not white. Silver. And sparkling. With a mane so long it almost touched the ground. It was streaked with colors. Beautiful, shining colors. The tail was the same. Its eyes shone golden. It was dazzling. Snowdrop was drawn to it, and she couldn’t help but walk over to it to pat its head. On the way, she bought an apple to feed it. As she got closer, the pull got stronger. And stronger. And stronger. “Almost like, magic,” Snowdrop whispered under her breath.
When Snowdrop got right up to the horse, a woman popped out from behind the shop. “He won’t eat apples.”
The voice drew Snowdrop’s attention away from the horse. “Excuse me?”
“He won’t eat apples. He’s covered in fairy magic,” she replied.
“Magic?” Snowdrop asked.
“Mhmm. Magic. He’s nearly invincible. It’s because he lives on fairy dust. Not food. Just the sparkling dust, and it’s bloody hard to get; thank the Lord he doesn’t need much to survive,” the woman said.
“Where’d you get him?”
“Ah, I don’t remember. I’ve had him since I was a girl. Always been by my side. Anyway, I better get along now. I’ve got places to be. Good day.” She jumped up on her horse and rode away, but as she was leaving, a pouch fell off her belt. Snowdrop picked it up, and sure enough, it was filled with the very fairy dust that the magic horse needed to live.
“Wait!” Snowdrop called, but the woman was already too far away to hear, and Snowdrop knew not her or the horse’s name.
“Snowdrop! Where are you?” the booming voice of the ogre shouted through town.
“Coming, dear!” Snowdrop replied as closed the pouch and stuffed it into her dress. Something inside told her not to show the ogre. And something inside told her she had to find that woman and her horse.
“Snowdrop! Wake up!” Morgana poked her friend’s face. “Come on now! Don’t make me throw this water in your face!”
“I’m up. I’m up,” the princess replied groggily. “but tell me, why am I up? It’s 7:30 in the morning!”
“Today. Don’t you remember what today is?”
“No. Should I?”
“We have to go watch the knights! Our favorite day of the year,” she did a few karate moves and continued, “full of blood and guts and violence and very attractive men.”
Snowdrop jumped up. “That’s today!?”
“Your head has been filled with muck lately. You know that?” Morgana replied.
“I’ve had… things on my mind,” Snowdrop told her thinking of that beautiful woman on that beautiful horse. And that pull.
“Well, today is the day to put them off! We’ve got to go have fun! Oh! Can we get some of those giant turkey legs? And are we going to go see the dragons? I love when the knights fight!” Morgana said with sheer joy in her voice.
Snowdrop only nodded absentmindedly. Her brain had drifted to that day in the market.
Down at the arena, the ogre waited for Snowdrop.
“Do we really have to sit with IT?” Morgana asked.
“I love HIM, so yes, yes we do,” Snowdrop replied.
Morgana rolled her eyes and followed Snowdrop to her seat. The ogre was absolutely no fun. “I’m going to get a giant turkey leg.”
Morgana walked off, and Snowdrop sat down beside her ogre to watch the matches.
Round one, a knight got killed. No double elimination for him.
Round two, the knight who won round one took a stab wound to the stomach, and he was down.
Round three. Round three. Snowdrop’s world stopped for a moment. There she was. On her magic horse. He wasn’t as sparkly as before. She glanced toward the palace where the fairy dust was hidden. She had to give it back.
‘Wait,’ Snowdrop thought, ‘why is she dressed in the knight’s armor? She can’t be here to compete. What if she gets hurt? No. She can’t.’ But sure enough, she rode into the arena to face her competitor.
Snowdrop’s hands tightened around her dress. She was frightened for the woman. ‘I hardly know her. I can’t possibly care this much,’ she thought. But she knew she did. Even if she didn’t know why.
Swords were clanging. Horses rearing. Slash here. Cut there. Blood on the ground. Dust floating in the air made it hard to see what was happening. Snowdrop didn’t know if she wanted to. The ogre looked over and saw her clinching her fists tighter around her dress with every swing of a sword and every clang of metal. He didn’t like it. She hadn’t done that with any of the matches before this.
Finally, the dust settled, and the metal stopped clanging, and the swords stop swinging. Both knights were off their horses, and both had their helmets on, so it was impossible to tell who had won. One lay on the ground in a pool of blood from a slash to their side. The other stood upright. They jammed their sword into the ground, and took their helmet off. As soon as they did, Snowdrop’s hands relaxed. The woman and her magical horse had won. If the rest of the day continued like this, Snowdrop’s nerves would be shot by the time she went to bed.
And the rest of the day did continue like this. The woman against her competitor. It was always a close match. And longer than most. She fought like a true warrior, and the other knights weren’t giving up. There was bloodshed on both sides. Once the day was over, the woman had her fair share of cuts and bruises, but she hadn’t lost. She was the champion. And she would be joining the royal family for dinner that night.
Snowdrop ran around her room. “Morgana, what in the world do I wear? All these dresses are worn out!”
“Snow, they’re all beautiful. Why are you so stressed out anyway? I mean, it’s just another dinner,” Morgana replied.
“You’re already dressed. You don’t understand,” Snowdrop told her friend who was wearing a black, lacy dress that showed off her assets very nicely.
Snowdrop pulled out a silver dress and held it up to her body. “What about this?”
“Only if you add this,” Morgana said, holding up a belt of rainbow colored jewels. “Around the waist. To add color. It’ll look beautiful.”
Snowdrop walked into the ball, and everything stopped, and everyone looked at her. She was stunning. Her ivory skin was flawless. Her long auburn hair was in ringlets that cascaded down her back with pearls and diamonds woven in. Her silver dress clung to her body in all the right areas, showing off her beautiful figure. And the rainbow belt Morgana suggested, it added just the right amount of color. Her jewels proved she was royalty. There was no denying her grace or beauty or power.
Snowdrop’s eyes crossed the ogre’s, but they traveled right past his to the woman in the back. The winner. They caught each other’s eyes, and the woman waved at Snowdrop. The woman was still dressed in her armor, and it suited her well. Snowdrop thought she looked magnificent. Then, the woman caught Snowdrop still staring causing her to blush and quickly look away. ‘I shouldn’t be like this. Why am I like this?’ Snowdrop thought as she walked down to take her seat by the ogre. Morgana rushed and slid in beside her. Across the table, by the king and queen, the champion sat. Secretly, through the whole dinner, Snowdrop wished that she was sitting closer to this woman who had captured her attention with one short conversation and a magic horse.
After dinner, Snowdrop excused herself to her room. She had to get that fairy dust from underneath her floorboard, so she could give it back to its owner. She rushed up the stairs not looking at where she was going.
Running up the stairs was a bad idea. Snowdrop tripped and fell backward. But someone caught her. As she looked up, Snowdrop’s eyes met the woman’s from the market, and for that moment, everything was still. Everything was as it should be.
“You should be careful. No one wants to see a beautiful lady get hurt,” she told Snowdrop.
Snowdrop blushed again. She was doing that a lot lately. “Oh, uh. Yeah. I guess I should be.”
The woman stood Snowdrop upright. “Next time, I may not be there to catch you,” she said and turned to walk away.
“Wait,” Snowdrop told her. “I’ve got your fairy dust. It fell off your belt in the market that day. I tried to call you back, but you were too far gone.”
The woman turned around, “That’s where it went. Falada was losing her magic, and it’s a long journey to get more of that when the fairies aren’t in town.”
“Falada?” Snowdrop asked.
“After the horse in the old fairytale, ‘The Goose-Girl’. I figured they’re both magic, so why not name one after the other? He’ll be in great debt to you, as will I.”
“It’s no trouble. Just follow me. It’s under my floorboards. I didn’t think my love would take it very well. My heart told me to hide it.”
“Your love?” the woman asked as she followed Snowdrop back to her room. “The nasty ogre you were sitting by? I thought he was a house pet or something.”
“He’s not a house pet. Or an ogre. He’s a handsome, young man.”
“I think you need some new glasses,” the woman told her.
They got to the door, and Snowdrop turned to face the woman. “Before we go in, what’s your name?”
“Kat. My name is Kat.”
“Well,” Snow opened her door, “welcome to my castle, Kat.”
They walked into a giant bedroom with a closet and bathroom just as large.
“Snow, if you don’t mind, could I wash up a bit in your bathroom?” Kat asked her.
“Of course not. I’ll fish the fairy dust out while you’re doing that.”
Snowdrop went to pry up the floorboard while Kat went to take her armor off and wash off her hands and face. “Here it is!” Snowdrop exclaimed as she walked into the bathroom with the pouch of fairy dust.
When she walked in, she saw Kat in the clothes she had on under her armor. They were ripped and torn from the battles. Covered in dust. “Can’t I lend you something more comfortable to wear? The armor has to be heavy.”
“That would be truly amazing,” Kat told her. “It’s not only heavy; it’s burning up in there.”
“Here,” Snowdrop said as she dug through her drawers and threw out a baggy top and pants. “I think these should be fine. They’re very comfortable. I wear them about the palace all the time. And I wear them under my riding clothes.”
“Thank you. You’ve been more than kind.”
As Kat prepared to put them on, Snowdrop spotted a giant gash on Kat’s shoulder. She rushed over, “Kat. That’s a horrible cut. Is that from today?”
“It’s nothing,” Kat reassured her. “I’ve been hurt much worse. It’ll heal. It’ll leave of heck of a scar, but it’ll heal.”
“No, let me take care of it for you. It needs cleaned out. It’ll get infected. It’ll only make it worse if you don’t let me.”
“You’re telling me you know first aid, too?”
“Yes ma’am. Here. I’ll be right back. Go sit on my bed, and leave that shoulder bare.”
Kat sat on her bed, and Snow rushed into her bathroom to get everything she needed. “You really don’t need to do this,” Kat said. “I’ll be fine, and I’ve caused you so much trouble already.”
“No. You’ve been no trouble at all. I don’t mind a bit.” Snowdrop sat down on the bed beside Kat and started tending to her wound. “I’m sorry if this stings.”
“It’s fine,” Kat said. “I’ve dealt with worse.”
“Ok. All done,” Snowdrop said and tilted her head up a bit to look at Kat. Their faces were so close. Maybe two inches. It would be so easy to just, lift up and kiss her. One little kiss.
Snow tore her gaze away and walked to the window. Kat put on the shirt that had been given to her. “Thank you for your kindness. I suppose I’ll be on my way.” Kat turned to leave.
“Wait,” Snowdrop said.
“You say wait a lot. Do you know that?” Kat told her.
Snowdrop blushed. “Sorry.”
“No. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a fact.”
“I just wanted to ask if you wanted to go riding with me. I mean, I’d love to see Falada again, and I don’t have a riding partner ever since Morgana decided she didn’t like horses, and I was just thinking that you own a horse, and I own a horse, and well, yeah,” Snow spilled out.
“I’d love to go riding with you. Tomorrow?” Kat asked.
“Tomorrow. Two o’clock. Right after lunch. Meet me by the castle gates with Falada. I’ll bring Cherry Blossom, my horse.”
“I don’t want you going out today!” the ogre yelled at Snowdrop.
“You do not own me!” she yelled right back.
“Since when have you rebelled against me?” he asked her.
“Since now. I told you, you do not own me, and I will go where I please,” Snow told him.
“You’ll do what I say,” he said and pushed her into her mirror, walked out of the room and locked the door.
Snowdrop sunk to the floor and cried. Her arm was cut by the glass. Her mirror was broke. She was locked in her room. Kat would think she forgot her.
She picked the piece of glass out of her arm and threw it at the wall and watched it shatter.
Snowdrop looked at the clock on the wall. 1:45. Kat would be at the gates any minute. She walked to the window, and sat in the window seat. There she was. Beautiful as ever. And there was Falada right behind her.
She would’ve opened her window and yelled, but it took two arms to open her window, and she couldn’t move the one that was cut from the shoulder to the elbow. If she hadn’t been able to stop the bleeding, she very well could’ve died.
“How could he do this to me?” Snowdrop asked the air. “How?”
A rock hit her window, and she looked down. Four stories below, Kat was throwing rocks up at her window. A silly smile spread across Snow’s face. She waved down at Kat to see if she would wave back. When she did, she made the motion for her to come up, and she saw Kat disappear into the castle.
A minute or two later, there was a knock on the door. “Snowdrop, it’s locked.”
“I know. I can’t unlock it from in here. My dear has the key. The man you called an ogre. He locked me in here so I couldn’t see you. He didn’t want me to ride. I’m hurt, Kat,” Snowdrop replied.
“He shoved me into a mirror. My arm is cut. It’s not bleeding anymore, but I’m dizzy, and I can’t move it.”
“Hang on. I’ll be right back,” Kat said.
Before she knew it, an axe was at the door, and then, Kat’s face became visible. “Sorry about that. I couldn’t find the key, so I figured you could get a new door, but you can’t really get a new life.”
Snowdrop laughed. “That’s true.”
“Hold out your arm,” Kat told her.
Snowdrop lifted her arm as much as she could, and Kat took her hand and forearm. “We need to get you down to the nurse.”
“I don’t think that I can walk that far,” Snowdrop told Kat.
“Come on. I’ll help you. Wrap your good arm around my neck, and try to walk. When you can’t anymore, I’ll pick you up, but you have to show me where the nurse is,” Kat told her.
Snowdrop stood up slowly with the help of Kat, and they made their way to the nurse.
“One step at a time, sweetheart,” Kat said.
‘Sweetheart,’ Snowdrop thought. ‘Sweetheart.’
“No more falling into mirrors like that, little missy,” the nurse lectured Snowdrop.
“Falling?” Kat started to protest, but Snowdrop stopped her.
“Yes. Falling. Remember that’s what I told you?”
From her stern look, Kat knew she should just agree, “Oh yeah. My brain must be elsewhere today.”
When her arm was all bandaged up, Kat helped Snowdrop back to her room the same way they’d got to the nurse. “You’re tired, Princess. I can see it.”
“Maybe a little,” Snowdrop agreed.
Kat laid Snowdrop in her bed and pulled the covers up over her. “I’ll come back and check on you tomorrow if you want.”
“I would love that,” Snowdrop said.
“I guess I’ll be going then,” Kat said and started walking away.
“Wait,” Snowdrop said.
“Again with the waiting,” Kat chuckled. “What is it?”
“Stay here with me. Please? When he comes home, he won’t be happy, and…” Snowdrop was drifting off to sleep as she was speaking, “and… you… stay…”
Kat walked over to Snowdrop’s sleeping body and smoothed her hair out of her face and kissed her cheek, and then climbed in bed beside her. “I’ll stay here until you feel safe again.”
Snowdrop woke up in the morning with arms around her waist. When she looked over her shoulder, there she was. Kat. Holding her. She stayed. All night. Just to make Snowdrop feel safe. “Thank you,” Snowdrop said.
It woke Kat up, and she looked through tired eyes at Snowdrop, “Huh?”
“Thank you. For everything. For helping yesterday. For staying all night. For making me feel safe,” Snowdrop told her protector.
“My pleasure,” Kat told her. “You smell delicious. Has anyone ever told you that?”
“I don’t believe so, but thank you for that, too,” Snow said.
“You say thanks way too much. Do you know that?” Kat smiled. “It’s cute.”
Once again, their faces were so close together. Kat’s last words hung in the air. ‘Sweetheart,’ Snow thought. ‘I shouldn’t. I really, really shouldn’t, but she’s there. Right there. And I want to kiss her. And I’m so close to kissing her. But I really shouldn’t’
Before Snowdrop was allowed to think anymore, Kat lifted Snow’s chin toward her and placed a soft kiss on her lips. And with that kiss, the enchantment was broken.
When they pulled away, Snow sighed, and Kat looked at her, “I’m sorry. That was… I shouldn’t’ve.”
“No. Don’t apologize. Just, what do I do now?” Snowdrop asked her.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I wanted that kiss. I did. Since I first met you in the market. There’s something about you. Something that draws me to you. Something at attracts me to you. And I can’t fight it. But this, this isn’t what everyone expects of me.”
“Do you think they expect you to marry an ogre?” Kat asked.
“Why do you keep calling him an-“ Snowdrop’s sentence ended suddenly.
Kat turned around and saw the ogre standing there in the doorway. “That is why I keep calling him an ogre,” she told Snowdrop.
“Get away from Snowdrop,” the ogre growled.
“Take a bath,” Kat said.
“Kat, just do what he says. He’ll hurt you!” Snowdrop said.
“He might hurt me, but he’s not going to hurt you,” Kat told her and grabbed the sword that was on the floor in her belt.
The ogre laughed. “You’re going to fight me?”
“No. I’m going to defeat you,” Kat told him, and made a slash for his legs.
The ogre jumped back. “You’ll never win against me.”
The two circled each other. The ogre taking swipes, and Kat jabbing her sword. Each one of them got a couple good blows, but then, the ogre swiped Kat’s sword away from her and held it to her throat. “I told you that you could never win.”
“No, but I can,” Snowdrop said under her breath and grabbed the knife that was under her bed. She threw it (She was top of the class in archery because of her amazing aim.) at his head. And it hit. And it went it. And blood poured out of the wound. And he fell to the ground. “Is he dead?” she asked Kat.
She walked over and wrapped Snowdrop in her arms, “He’s dead.” She turned Snowdrop to face her, and then she kissed her. “Thank you. You saved my life. Now I owe you mine.”
“I couldn’t let you die. Not when…” Snowdrop’s voice led off into mumbles.
“What, sweetheart?” Kat asked.
“I think I could maybe, possibly love you,” her voice faded as the sentence went on.
“I think I could maybe, possibly love you, too,” Kat told Snowdrop and kissed her again.
“But people won’t want this for me,” Snowdrop protested.
“But love is what matters,” Kat corrected her.
“But a princess, in love with a woman…” Snowdrop said.
“But love is what matters,” Kat took her hands.
“Love is what matters,” Snowdrop agreed and kissed the woman she loved.
Months later, a royal marriage was held, and Kat and Snowdrop were married. And, I bet you can guess what happens next. They all live happily ever after. At least for a while.