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Eleventh Hour

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eleventh hour:

(noun) (idiomatic) A point in time which is nearly too late; the last minute.

The enchanted dagger has never felt heavier as Mer puts it in its box atop the nightstand. Tomorrow is the wedding, and tomorrow night is when he'll need to end Charming's life. He reminds himself that it's unavoidable, that this is the only way for him to stay alive, but his chest tightens all the same. He groans, running his hand over his face. If only she was like other nobles--self-absorbed, apathetic, greedy--then this would be so much easier.

When Charming had convinced Lunar Kingdom to save Water Kingdom from the dragons, Mer felt the stirrings in his chest, but was confident he could continue his mission as planned. Then Charming learned about his cursed voice and looked at him with such pain and compassion, rather than the fear and loathing he'd grown accustomed to, that the last of his walls crumbled. Her kindness, her sense of duty, her willingness to toss aside 'tradition' for the greater good--it had all captured his heart. And her touch--gods, he hadn't realized how much he missed being touched by someone. Mer runs his finger across his lips as he remembers their kiss--her warmth melding with his, her arms around him, his hands in her hair and on her back as their kiss deepened--

No. He can't get distracted; his life is at stake, and no amount of love can prevent this botched spell from taking it. It's not quite you she loves, anyway. It hurts to tell himself that, but it's the truth. Charming would have never met the original him, never mind given him a chance.

Besides, he needs to consider the plight of Water and Lunar Kingdoms' poor. Charming, for all her compassion and dutifulness, has no idea just how horrible poverty is, how deadly it can be. But he does, and has spent the past seven years devising strategies to reduce it--strategies much more feasible with control of her magic and both their nations.

Still, it had been nice to talk about their 'future', of bearing or adopting an heir, of going through their kingdoms to find problems to solve, of simply being together. It had been nice to be accommodated and loved for once. It will be the last time anyone does that. Sighing, Mer slips into bed.

After all, tomorrow…tomorrow will be a very long day.