Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was a girl. A very unconventional girl from a family with power and wealth aplenty. And though no-one ever locked her in a tall, windowless tower, she locked herself away. She shut her mouth and locked herself away, far beneath the protective stone walls of her mind. She locked her heart shut, and a vicious dragon ate the key without being aware. For surely, not even the most vile creature would condone to swallow the key to her locked up heart.

She worried little of material wealth, and only searched for happiness, though she feared to let herself feel it. She feared that she would just merely taste the sweetness of its flesh and have it snatched from her, leaving her in the dark eternity craving the flavour and all other feelings turning to ash. She did not dare deceive herself, for people like her did not deserve happiness. They did not even always deserve the breath within their lungs, but sometimes she forgot to breathe.

Many young men tried to coax her from behind the stone walls of her protective haven, but she dared not go. She told herself she would wait, for the perfect person that she could be happy with for a day, or for life. The bachelors would try to bribe her with sweets, with talks of false love, but she listened with deaf ears and empty eyes. With a stitched on smile set upon her lips. All alone in her self-inflicted world of silence.

He often times tells himself he is no Prince Charming. His nose is too big, his eyes and hair are an ordinary shade of an ordinary colour. His parents fight often, and loud, and many days he just leaves. He gets on his steel horse, guns the throttle and disappears towards the horizon. The visor puts the world in a tinted shade, showing lies of people scorned and truths of people who truly believed themselves. He is neither. For to be scorned, you must have been loved, and to truly believe in yourself you must first know yourself. He has never known either.

The park is a sullen place. The swings empty and hanging rejected from their chains. Park benches cradle fallen leaves, and nothing else. Dropped leaves, slowly turning brown from the edges in, drag along the stone paths. As always, once the cold reach of November wraps around the city, he is the only being possible of logical thought in the park. He sits on the nearly frozen boards of a bench's seat, his hands dangling listlessly between his parted knees.

When the cold finally begins to get to him, he stands. His joints ache with the cold, and they groan as he moves. He swings his leg over and straddles the bike, the black paint cold through his jeans. Sighing, he settles the full-faced helmet on his skull and turns the ignition. He turns the throttle forward, and shoves off and forward. The bike responds to every slight turn, the wind tugging at him. He slows as he comes upon the girl.

She walks slowly down the road. Her hands hidden deep in the pockets of her over-sized jacket. Her eyes scanning the asphalt, and her heart aches. She ignores the soft rumble of the engine, tries to ignore the black motorcycle that stops a bit before her. She tilts her head up and looks at the black helmet, the visor looking back at her like a dark eye.

The helmet comes off, and she knows his face. Dark eyes question her and she looks back at him blankly. She's already thinking of lies to tell him, but he shrugs. "Need a ride?" She cocks her head slightly to the side and stares at him. His eyes are soft, somewhat blank, much like hers. The word is on the tip of her tongue, but she bites down on the rogue muscle and the taste of copper floods her mouth, pushing the word back into her throat. She nods very slowly and creeps towards him, his body presses closer to the front and giving her plenty of room to mount the bike.

Swinging a leg over the steel body, she shifts until she presses against him lightly. He hands her the spare helmet and she slides it over her head. He revs the throttle a bit and she slides her arms around his waist, she can feel the sleek muscles there. She rests her head against the slight curve of his back, feeling safe for the first time in a while.

It feels right, her body pressed against his, her arms wrapped around his waist. He can feel her helmet rest against his back, between his shoulder blades. He doesn't want to go home, he knows she doesn't want to either, so he lets off the throttle and they cruise down the lane. He turns down roads he's never been down before, and allows himself to be lost in the feel of her arms, the purr of the bike, and the soft lure of the country.

He passes his house, not caring that his best friend is there. They don't really care anyway. The highway exit comes up and he pulls to the side slightly. The bike slides down the ramp and he guns the throttle. Her arms tighten around him and her body presses closer as the wind strengthens its attempts to pull them off. He knows they can just disappear together, never come back.

With a heavy heart, he pulls off into a rest station. Amid the mini-vans and SUVs filled with little kids and dogs and luggage, with happy people ready for Thanksgiving. He turns off the ignition and feels her move from behind him, she pulls the helmet off and sets it on her seat. He smiles behind the visor and follows suit. His cell phone is ringing, he ignores it. She comes back with a couple of sodas and some snacks.

She takes over a picnic table, and takes a small sip of her coke. He sits across from her, sucking on an M&M. She gives a ghost of a laugh and he looks up. His eyes are uncertain and she waits for the questions. "God, I hate this." He hides his face in his folded arms, and she blinks quizzically. This, she was not expecting. She goes and sits by him, almost touching but not quite.

"I hate this town, I hate these people, I hate our school." She rests a hand on his folded elbow. His dark eyes peer up at her from over his jacket. "I understand why you don't talk. If you don't talk, you don't really have to listen. You can turn everything deaf and just live." She smiles and drops her head against his shoulder. She wants to tell him that he doesn't mean it, that she stopped talking because nobody ever listened. She knows he would understand.

His phone rings again, screaming from within the confines of his jacket pocket. He sighs and yanks it out, growls "What" into the mouth piece. She leans back, giving him some privacy and steals an M&M. It's red, shiny…like fresh blood and she tugs her sleeves down. Names are carved there, up and down her wrists, of people she thought she loved. All but one have lines scratched through their name, his.

He closes his phone and shoves it back into his pocket. "We gotta go. I'll, uh, I'll take you home." He takes her hand and gently pulls her towards the bike, leaving their snacks there on the table. He carefully seats the helmet on her skull, then yanks his on as well. He straddles the bike and helps her on, drags her closer and pulls her arms around his waist. Sighing, he revs the throttle and kicks away.

The world rushes away, becoming a darkening blur, and he presses the throttle more. He checks the odometer, and slows down a bit, before veering off and onto their exit ramp. He slows even more and follows the road towards her house, her body clinging to his. Her house is coming up, he nearly passes it. At the last moment, he turns into her driveway and lets the engine idle as she gets off. She hands him the spare helmet.

Her smile is soft, natural and it makes his heart flutter. He flicks the visor up and smiles back at her. The front door opens and her father walks out, she waves. He waves back but glares. A little freaked out, he is ready to get out of there. "Take care of yourself and I guess I'll see you at school." She nods slowly, and makes her way towards the house. He waits until the front door closes before backing the bike up and going home.

Her father gives her a look, but she ignores it. She always ignores it, she's used to them now. They scream of agony, and wonder. Of wanting to know why. She just goes to her room and closes the door. The darkness isn't complete, it's a shade above dark grey. All the pictures with faces crossed out still leer at her. Mock her silence. Even the dragon leers from his wall, grinning with sharp teeth hidden behind soft lips. Though his eyes are cut out, and his face scratched up, he still knows she's there. His name is still on her wrist.

She touches the lamp beside her bed, and blinks away the bright dots at sudden light. Her knees pop as she sits on the floor. She pulls off her shirt, and her skin breaks out in goose-bumps as the tank-top does nothing to keep the cold at bay. The bandages are still there, same as always. Wrapping from scarred hands to elbow. She looks at the hearts on her hand; the back of her left, a heart with angel wings, little hearts floating around it. On the back of her right, a cracked heart with torn up wings, surrounded by hearts crossed out.

The bandages come away, they no longer stick to skin, for the blood has long since dried. The names still stand out, like glistening bone in the shadows of death. The smooth white skin in a slightly tan environment. She touches each one of the fifteen thoughts of love. Fifteen have been documented on both wrists, fourteen have been crossed out. She touches his name, the last of them all and just before the bend of her elbow. "Maybe Happily-Ever-After can come true."