028. Prologue – ‘Garden’

Title: Garden
Genre: Undefined
Characters: Antonius Veta, Abigail Alexander
Story Origin: Prologue to Knock it Down, Wings of Steel
Prompt: 028. Garden
Word Count: 1,311
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Abigail makes an offer.
Warnings: None.

He approached her without hesitation, his boots sounding loudly against the wet stones as he moved towards her. The sun was up, but blocked by the thick clouds that showered the earth with flakes of white. It was cool and getting colder with every minute. Everything was silent, aside from the constant sputtering of the fountain next to them, its chilly water splashing out and against the stones now and again.

“Antony,” Abigail said, her arms over her chest. Her cheeks were tinged with red, and while the dress she wore was layered, she still needed a coat. He was denied any further acknowledgment, the hurt she felt from his fervent need to avoid still forefront in her mind.

“Your face has healed,” he offered, taking a step forward. She didn’t move away.

“It has,” she agreed, unable to look angry even when she was. Her pink lips quirked into an awkward smile as she added, “no thanks to you. Why have you avoided me?”

“It was not intentional. Libitina felt it necessary to keep me otherwise occupied,” he paused, wondering for a moment if she’d understand what he meant by that. Likely not. He continued, “It was for the best, Abigail. Your bruises have healed, she won’t hurt you so long as we are not near.”

Abigail’s smile was gone, as if erased from her face that very instant. She shook her head, blonde hair threatening to fall from its confines, “A servant’s first lesson in life is that their body will heal. Do not think me weak and pitiful! I do not require protection. If I am fool enough to continue to seek you out despite the beatings, do you truly think your slights will change that? I will do as I please, Antony. Libitina can keep me captive, but she cannot control my heart or my will.”

“In that, you and Eckhard are lucky,” Antonius said, though he truly hadn’t meant to. He watched as recognition washed over Abigail’s face. She looked sheepish, trying to distract from it by stretching and pretending to be chilled. “You must understand, Abigail… not all of us are equals here. You both pretend to know so much when you know so very little. Do not draw assumptions. Libitina will allow you to see what she wishes, but it is never the whole truth.”

She looked at him a moment, “Then tell me the truth so that I know it.”

“I cannot,” he shook his head, “If you are endangered now–”

“A danger I put myself willfully in!” She interrupted, angry now, her cheeks red and warm with rage. “Why won’t you let me help you, Antony?”

“Help me? You wish to help me?” He turned away from her and for a moment, she was frightened. But then she heard him laugh, a rare and pleasant sound. “All I wish from you is to keep your face and your body intact. It is one of the few things in this bleary place that isn’t tainted by her.”

Wordlessly, Abigail’s small hand moved to her face. She’d been cut up several times, her lips, nose, cheeks. Libitina had almost even broken her nose once, but Abigail had refused to allow it. She repelled her back with such a force the Demon Queen went absolutely livid. Fortunately for Abigail, she was so enraged she wasn’t thinking and she was able to escape.

Lost in her thoughts, she failed to notice that Antonius was walking away. She called after him, hand still at her face, “Where are you going?”

“I told you to come, but you did not listen. I assumed you wished to remain.”

Abigail ran after him, towards the wall and over the hard, frozen ground. She watched as he waited for her and when she approached, she gave him an incredulous look.

“We cannot go for she’s locked all the doors–we are but caged animals.”

“You may well be,” Antonius replied, taking her hand into his and pulling her towards the hedge and wall. “As for me, there is no cage that can ever hope to hold me.”

She squeaked out in surprised as she felt herself move over the wall, the world blurring around her in one sudden instant. They hit the ground hard, his arms around her holding firm. How he had jumped while holding her, she could scarcely bear to think or voice. She simply regained her balance and allowed herself to be pulled into the awaiting woods.

Antonius knew that going to her had been a mistake, and he even realized that dragging her out with him had been an even bigger one. Every moment she spent in his company threatened her life and yet he could scarcely stop himself. The warmth she radiated was such that no cold nor frost could ever hope to chill him. Instead of fighting it, he welcomed its comfort and he found that his body relaxed. No longer did the change threaten to take him. His awareness of her was still heightened in a way that troubled him, but that was something he could not hope to control.

He watched her move through the snow, her heavy skirts moving through the lightly dusted grass and making little swirls. Large flakes caught in her hair and quickly melted. Her eyes seemed to be alight with something he could not identify, but there was no question as to how deeply they shone against the white backdrop of snow and trees.

There was no wind nor sound, yet the whispers in the back of his mind were constant. He focused on her, on the way she smiled, on those eyes that offered so much more than this. That smile was his, whether Abigail was acutely aware of it or not. It was only around when he was and it left as quickly as his figure disappeared into the darkness. It was enough, it pushed the darkness back and pelted it with unrepentant light.

Did she know how freely she offered herself? How openly obvious she made her intent? It was all most too much. She was close to him again, stopped and staring at him, still smiling, her eyes never leaving his. Snow continued to fall, but it seemed as if for that moment, time stood still.

Antonius pulled back, releasing her tiny, cold fingers from his own. His other hand moved slowly, hesitantly, down the sleeve of her dress, catching on the intricate embroidery. Its texture beneath his skin caused him to stir from within. He had to move back, away from her. That trusting smile, those eyes, he could scarcely stand to meet them now.

“Antony?”

He didn’t respond, too lost in thought, too busy reprimanding himself. What Libitina had said came into his mind, a creeping tendril of darkness that slithered through his thoughts. The further he pulled away from Abigail, the stronger it got. Control. It was all about control.

As if sensing the change, Abigail took Antonius’ larger hand into her own, squeezing it. He felt it as surely as their skin touched–the warmth that crept up his arm and once again into his mind. The sneaking tendril recoiled and he was once again able to think clearly. Abigail spoke to him, but her lips did not move. Her violet eyes stared directly into his own and her voice made itself known from within his own mind.

“Let me help you”

Instinctively, he tried to pull away, to banish her influence. He could not. She gripped his hand with a strength he hadn’t been aware of and her mind held him just as firmly.

“I can save you, Antony.”

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4 Responses to “028. Prologue – ‘Garden’”

  1. JMW says:

    Egad! How perfect is this bit? I mean, really! The snow falling over all the beautiful green, the stunning Abigail with her beautiful eyes and smile, Antonius and his internal struggle. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I LOVE the way the scene is set up, with the scenery, and with the characters. They compliment each other, and add fuel to the fire, so to speak. Ugh, I can never seem to put to words how I feel when I look at your caps and read the story that goes with them. You plunge me into each story, and that’s as much as I can attempt to express. <3 I can say that I worship you, but that sounds really creepy. (But oh so true! LOL)

    Aww, thank you, JMW! It means a lot, really. I am always so worried when I do these pieces, especially with Antony and Abigail. I’m no good at this romance stuff, I mean, writing it or whatever. It’s in my head and it’s beautiful, but I don’t have the means to express it properly. Still, I’m glad you enjoyed it. :)

  2. Chari says:

    I finished reading with a soft sigh and a good dash of …. “How romantic.” This piece appeals to that part of me that is lost in fairyland.

    Such a touching scene between these two – both of them proving they can rebel against Libitina’s influence, even if only for a little while.

    Antonious still resists Abigail but just barely.

    A beautiful collection of shots, very soft and romantic.

    Thanks, Chari! I’m not so sure it is a fairytale land, but they were certainly off in their own little world for a bit. Antonius still isn’t buying into it, though. He may care about Abigail, but not nearly as much as she does him yet. I’m glad you liked the pictures!

  3. goodbye_sun says:

    This was the perfect way to show Abigail, the naivety and kindness in her set off with the garden and snow.

    Antonius may be able to get past the walls Libitina puts up, but he is definitly trapped. No matter which one he picks, there will be something to pay.

    Thanks, goodbye_sun! You’re very right about Abigail, but she means well. Thankfully, the price Antony pays is definitely worth it. He gets to be with Abigail forever. :)

  4. ruby says:

    Abigail has always been lovely but i dont think she’s ever looked more beautiful than in these shots.

    I agree. I really love these shots…

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