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01 February 2008 @ 12:51 am
Fic: Cinderella in Gold  
This should arrive a bit early for some of you, but since for me it's already the 1st of February, I guess it's fine I should post it. :) Happy gift-giving, everyone! :) Also, allow me to create my own 'label' for the fic, I don't think there was a 'stated' one.

Title: Cinderella in Gold
Author: belledewinter
Gift for: fairybones (I hope you like it! ♥)
Characters/Paring: Marisa Coulter, Marisa/Asriel
Rating: PG-13/soft R
Warning: Spoilers for the books, but I guess that's a given.
Prompt: 2. A fairytale, an epic, a myth, or some other piece of folklore which our world and Lyra's have (at least roughly) in common. If you can weave some kind of connection between it and the trilogy's storyline or characters, I'd be thrilled.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Phillip Pullman. ♥


Once upon a time there was a girl.

It always starts like that, she thinks. With just a girl. A girl pure as the clear summer sky, with glimmering skin pale as snow, hair black as coal, lips red as blood. Sometimes the girl’s hair cascades in golden waves around her features, but the story’s just the same. They are faithful, kind, loving like their daemons – snow rabbits, loyal dogs, a dove if the girl has some witch blood in her veins.

Marisa could have been one of those girls, just as beautiful, as kind, as long as nobody looked long enough to scrape past the surface of her act.



She never waited. For anyone.

All of those notions of being saved by a charming, loving, handsome prince sounded like a servant-girl’s fantasy, and the wish of one who was neither physically nor mentally strong to stand on their own two feet. She had little pity for the weak, if any at all. She didn’t need to be among their ranks.

Coulter was a name she’d never paid much attention to, until by chance she was sat beside him at a dinner table that back then seemed lush to her and poor to him. He seemed kind enough, gentle, rich. He was everything the girls in tales would have wished for, and just the kind of man Marisa needed. Influencing. Malleable under her soft, pale, fingertips that held him down as if made of steel.

She never fooled herself into thinking she’d married out of love. She wasn’t dumb like that, and she’d never been one to fool herself with delusions of the romantic kind, or of any other.

But those girls in the tales, they hadn’t married out of love either, had they? Not when they had a floor to clean with their bare hands until they were raw, not when they could leave a life of capture, authority and asleep defencelessness behind. Not when in their place they could get rich dinners, golden silk that clung softly to their delicate, glowing skin, slippers that glittered as if made of glass.

Love was for the idle. Or the poor.



When she first heard of it, the Dust had seemed like magic. Like something the Witches had discarded, lost or maybe never wanted to hear about. She loved the dust and what it meant, the danger it could be, the glory of its smothering appearance that generated change so deep within a person’s soul that they could never go back. Transformation, like that of tattered rags into a pristine, silver-white satin dress.

She hated and loved it at the same time, and made it hers. At times she almost felt it embrace her, warmly, tenderly like a sheath of golden, inerasable sin.

And with the Dust came Asriel. She couldn’t help but think that they were one and the same.



Up North things were colder, harsher, much more true. The Dust was perceptible in every flock of snow. The followed Asriel’s footsteps as he dug deeper into the mystery, not in his shadow, but a step away from his side. The air between them felt thick and dust, golden hot. She wanted to touch sin right from his skin.

He wasn’t tender, or good – he was ruthless, aggressive, harsh and she couldn’t imagine those fragile, good-willed maidens falling in love with a man as comfortable in the cold as Asriel was.

But she wasn’t that princess, so he fit as her prince.



The light is soft; their eyes, anything but that.

Her feet float airily above the room, almost fly atop the decorated marble in her golden shoes, the skirts of her dress trailing behind her slender shape. The skin of her neck and shoulders is exposed, inciting, shimmering under the room’s fire-lit glow. She doesn’t know where she is. She doesn’t care.

Asriel’s eyes keep her chained to him, cold fire, and that is everything she needs. The music doesn’t carry on for long, and they don’t notice it has really haltered until she feels a hand, deathly cold on her shoulder and the drawling voice she’s come to be dismayed at follows.

‘Thank you for entertaining my wife, Lord Asriel,’ Coulter hisses. ‘But it’s past midnight and the night’s enchantment is over.’

‘With such a woman, that’s difficult to believe,’ Asriel mutters in response, and Stelmaria arches her back slightly as the golden monkey climbs up Marisa’s arms and is embraced, Stelmaria’s soft warmth still present on his fur.

‘Oh, Lord Asriel,’ Coulter says, and his eyes shine like shards of broken glass, ‘Don’t you think I would forget.’



They make love that night, fierce and slowly, safe in Asriel’s bed. She kisses him with feverish lips. His hands dig bruises into her hips, she scrapes her nails along his back and leaves a red hot trail behind. Marisa feels his touch like an enchantment, a change she can’t explain. He is a thorn on her side, sharp, venomous, but she cherishes the wound.

‘It can’t go on forever,’ she says at the light of dawn, when she feels the magic leave her like the last light of the pale moon. ‘This will have to be enough.’

‘It never is.’ A part of her wishes she’d cut her feet, bled, to never walk away. But she does.



True love’s kiss is a stupid concept. It’s not soft and sweet under the moon’s glinting light, in front of a sparkling fountain in a magnificent garden, in Eden.

It’s hard and rough, with lips frozen by the artic cold, hands reaching out to steal each other’s warmth as their mouths press together to keep each other in one piece.

‘Come with me,’ he says. But she is blinded by the light that shines on the snow, as if turtledoves had ripped her eyes off, or his. She can’t stay. Midnight’s come again.

I love you, she thinks. And she looks back as the dust steals him away and takes him somewhere else, fluid and glistening, just like he came to her.



The fall is endless, and after all she’s done she briefly welcomes the pain. Asriel’s blood stains her clothes and his cold hand is close enough to touch.

This is the end, then, she thinks. Not perfect, not happy, but hers. Asriel’s hand reaches out to her, and she tangles her fingers in his. His eyes seem reassuring as they close for the last time. She’ll be safe. Lyra’ll be safe. I’m with you.

She can’t think of a better ending, anyway.



Once upon a time there was a girl.

A sweet, orphaned, loving girl, with bright blue eyes and golden curls atop her head, brave and bright like fire itself. She turns the compass in her hands, watches the symbols as the needles spin, spin, spin and bring her nothing but the truth.

And the tale starts again.
 
 
 
Belle de Winter : Princess of a Parallel World: Sleeping Princessbelledewinter on February 2nd, 2008 09:07 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! :D