No matter how you love someone, not matter how you believe and how you pray and sacrifice; you are never guaranteed a happy ending. This is perhaps the most crushing truth she's learned. The story books, for all their wisdom, for all they meant down here- they still couldn't alter that fact. Not even dreams could sway the laws which governed the highest of the golden emotions.

But you didn't love any less. You didn't love any less deeply, truly, earnestly, and yes, desperately. All that remained. Only rather than relish in the glow of it you had to accept the chill truth; it wasn't meant to be.

The woman scowled, fingers curling round a globe. Snow globes were ridiculously popular in the Kingdoms. There was never anything in them except glitter and bits of confetti, and they had no bases. They were simply gentle spheres floating above some surface.

The woman (called Queen now) shook the globe and watched its contents whirl.

She still loved the Prince. She still loved the pipers son. Yet she hadn't either. It wasn't for lack of trying in either case, or belief or...well any of the things previously listed. It simply hadn't worked, for one reason or another.

Of course she was sure the books told it differently. Something romantic, something out of their hands. Not bad choices. Not responsibility or simple human callousness. No, she was sure her losses were reduced, somehow. Made accessible.

Her grip tightened and her heart trembled.

It was such a weak, horrible thing. Always thinking of them. With every beat- Prince, pipers son, Prince, pipers son, Prince, pipers son...

She was so tired of it. She was so tired of wanting. Wanting without respite. There were prospects, of course. There always were. But she grew so bored, so quickly. Felt each hopeful spark die beneath her bitter scrutiny.

She had been a dreamer, once, or so she's told- but always negative. Always doubting. The Prince and the pipers son both stood strong under her cynical eye, were as good or better than they initially appeared.

And yet.

Here she was, in one of her lonely rooms, surrounded by beautiful magical things...and yet.

She knew she'd trade it all for a love that would work, a love that would last. One she wouldn't miss for all her life. There was weakness in that that she couldn't stand.

With considerable composure, the Queen set down her globe and tread regally from the room. The door to the High King's chamber closed behind her. She was irritated by the things existence; she hadn't request they rebuild his chamber.

But there was another set of rooms she hadn't wanted rebuilt to attend to, this one could wait.