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Inspired by BPAL's Oisin.

Title: Like A Beating Heart
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Princess Bride
Pairing: Westley/Buttercup
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Waiting hurts, and may take more than a season.
Notes: Set early in the narrative



He holds Buttercup's face in his hands and revels in her smile.

If he considers her objectively, he knows she isn't so beautiful. Lovely enough, he supposes, but the oceans are wide and navigable. Surely there is a more beautiful woman somewhere.

But then, she whispers his name, turns her face to place a kiss against his palm.

Then, he remembers she's the most beautiful woman in the world.

*


The way she speaks his name fascinates him. First hesitant, then proud, then breathless. Their entire relationship, in the arc of a gasp.

She lives solely in the present, his Buttercup. It's why she can never quite apologize for the way she treated him, before. She doesn't see how it matters, if she loves him now.

Westley, on the other hand, can't help but cast his thoughts about. He doesn't dwell on that endless waiting, but instead plots out the future. What she will need, what they will need together.

The country is restless, he knows. At the market, goods are becoming scarce and expensive. The butcher is sending his finest wares to the palace, and there is no silk to be had at any price.

He tries to tell Buttercup about this, because he thinks their farm might come to penury if the trend continues as he predicts.

But she shakes her head, because they have food to eat, clothes to wear, beds to sleep in.

He frowns at her dismissal, so she draws him to her, upon the grass.

And he forgets to think of anything but now.

*


Buttercup braids flowers into her hair. Twists of white and yellow and green, entangled in gold and caramel.

"I will have to leave," he whispers against her neck. "Seek my fortune elsewhere."

She pouts, clutches his hands to her. "We have everything we need."

"Need, yes." He extricates his fingers from her embrace, plucks petals from her hair. "But you deserve more."

"Westley," she pleads, and as always, he shivers at the use of his name. "Westley," she says again, and then against his lips.

Afterwards, he runs a hand up her side, down her shoulder.

He wants her to drape her in lace and silk and diamonds, and show the world how she improves them.

She looks at him with sadness in her eyes, and asks him to promise not to die.

*


The weeks pass, and he finds passage on a ship. He stands on the deck, stares back at land, instead of into the horizon.

The ocean rocks unsteadily under his feet, and he wills his body to learn the rhythm. The sky is gray and the water is black, and he misses the vibrant green of the farm's meadows.

He closes his eyes, and thinks of Buttercup's smile.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Rachel Wetzsteon's Chasing Spring:

In a certain sense, it was just what he wanted. The green
of her leaves, the healthy roughness of her bark,
the smell of her sap—sweet enough to die for—
meant it was spring. But it also meant she was gone.
Rushing out to meet her altered the weather
but took away a spirit that went with her.

Far below, she chewed on a pomegranate.
The bitter taste reminded her of him,
and how he would growl and sputter when the time
for seeing others came; the half-a-year respite
kept her young cheeks rosy, although sometimes
resentment got in the way of the fun she had.

Making changes in the house too early
caused a minor series of disasters:
the flowerboxes vanished in the frost
and birds, confused by snowflakes in the birdseed,
circled the house with jilted eyes. But when
cold stays, how violent is the urge to say

to the snow, you are frozen as the gate of my soul,
to the hills, you are dead, you are distant and empty, but look!
On the other side of the brook (and here the lies start)
a yellow flower nods in your direction,
in the depths of the lake you thought was hard as granite
a face with a stupid grin is getting bigger.

So much, then, for the habit of chasing spring,
willing the ice to thaw before it wants to.
The eye that sees a bonfire in a tundra
cannot know a false flame from a true one;
the brave, dumb oaf who'd rather swallow poison
than praise its fancy bottle, endures the glacier.

Waiting hurts, and may take more than a season,
but how much better the sudden leaping geyser
than the panting organ, posing as a scorcher;
how revived the mind feels, rounding the bend
to discover there, like a beating heart in the snow,
giving off its own heat, the shock of the crocus.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
sarkastic
Oct. 10th, 2005 01:39 am (UTC)
*sigh* Beautiful. I've always wanted to see more of what went on before Westley left. I really think you got how Westley sees things perfectly. Great fic, as always. :)
voleuse
Oct. 10th, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
vic_ramsey
Oct. 10th, 2005 03:10 pm (UTC)
Quite possibly one of the most perfect things I've ever read. Very lovely. Thank you.
voleuse
Oct. 10th, 2005 04:32 pm (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you!

Your icon is ver pretty.
elvinborn
Oct. 10th, 2005 03:48 pm (UTC)
*sigh*
lovely. you don't see much Fic for this story/pairing, and it's a real shame. I love seeing things through Westley's eyes like this.
voleuse
Oct. 10th, 2005 04:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
afterknowledge
Oct. 11th, 2005 04:15 pm (UTC)
This is lovely. It captures that elusive, faraway look that Westley has. Wonderful.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 12:14 am (UTC)
Thank you!
anr
Oct. 12th, 2005 03:37 pm (UTC)
Lovely. I especially enjoyed the characterisations in the second section.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 12:15 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
protoainsley
Nov. 1st, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC)
This is amazing and beautiful. I love those characters so much, but him in particular. You did him well.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 12:16 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! And your icon is beautiful.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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