(Author's note: Of course Sora-chan's not going to die in the fic! I want them to be happy so much I wouldn't kill him off, unlike meanie CLAMP. *cries*) (Also, you should note that this part doesn't really happen in the Sleeping Beauty story or movie. I put it in here for character development).
The next day, waking up after too few hours of sleep, Arashi "cooked" breakfast. Yuzuriha and Kotori had gotten up two hours earlier, and now were in the city, hopefully to buy more food. Luckily, in the garden, they had enough vegatables Arashi could make herself a decent salad. Hinoto had gone to her job, as a fortune-teller in a nearby carnival.
"Ow.." she heard Sorata's voice behind her, and she froze up. After a moment, she turned around anyway. He was leaning heavily against the doorframe.
"What's wrong with you?" she asked, wincing at how harsh it seemed.
"I must have slept wrong on one of my injuries. Is it alright if I sit down?" he gestured to the table.
"Of course, have a seat." She occupied herself with making a salad for him as well. When she finished, she brought the bowls over to the table and set them down. "I normally would have something else, but we don't have any food at the moment. All Yuzuriha bought when she was in the city last time was ice cream."
Sorata laughed. "Ice cream? Well, salad is alright. As long as you made it." he smiled brightly at her, and she rolled her eyes.
"As soon as your sisters get home, I'll leave. It's bad manners to leave without saying goodbye." he said softly, almost to himself.
"I could tell them that you said goodbye." Arashi said absently, hoping to get him out of her hair.
"No, no. I have to tell them myself. Don't you want me to stay?" he gave her a hurt look. "...." she refrained from commenting, but stood up, placed her bowl of unfinished salad on the counter and went into her room.
"Wait, Miss!" behind her, she could hear him echoing her movement, though somewhat more clumsily. She closed her door, and sat down on her bed.
She didn't want him to stay. He was nice, it seemed, though she hadn't had very many conversations with him, but if what he said last night was true...Arashi shuddered. She didn't want the death of anyone on her shoulders. Not even if it was an annoying, but sweet Prince.
Outside her door, she heard a thump and then an "Ow!"
She rolled her eyes again, and went to investigate. Outside in the hall, Sorata had been going to Arashi's room, but had slipped on a throw rug and fallen hard on his back. His muscles sore from the previous day's happenings, he was in alot of pain as he struggled to stand up, not wanting to look like a fool in front of the woman he loved.
Arashi stood in her doorway for a while, watching him, before taking pity on the poor soul and went to help him stand.
"Thank you, Miss." he beamed, leaning against her. She decided against dropping him. Then, on an impulse, she said.
"Perhaps you'd better stay here for a while. If you try to leave with those injuries, even though they've been treated, they still cause you pain, and could even cause more injuries...It would be better for you if you stayed."
Sorata blinked, then grinned. "I knew you loved me, Miss!" Before she could stop him, he gave her a quick squeeze, then braced himself against the wall to stand up on his own.
Arashi glared at him, refusing to let a blush settle across her cheeks. She whirled around and went back into her room, slamming the door in his face. Sorata simply laughed.
"Oh?" Kotori asked Arashi later that night, as the two girls prepared dinner. "You invited him to stay until his wounds are healed? ...Why?"
Arashi rolled her eyes despite herself. "He slipped on a rug earlier, and could barely get up. I had to help him. If we sent him out, he'd probably end up killing himself." She cut herself off, remembering his words to her the night before.
Kotori considered Arashi's words. "Very good point. Well, I'm sure Yuzuriha and Hinoto wouldn't mind if we let him stay until his wounds healed, or at least until he can fall and get up on his power." She laughed, and set the table.
Arashi smiled, a rare thing. "We'll need to get some clothes for him. He had only one change in that bag of his he brought, and they were ruined when blood and water seeped through the bag."
Kotori finished setting the table and gave Arashi a strange look as the girl began to set out the food. "That's a good idea...actually, Yuzuriha and I did that today, so he'd have some traveling clothes. I'm surprised you thought of it." She smiled at her foster sister.
Arashi blinked and fought back the flush that threatened to overtake her face. "Of couse I thought of it. I don't want him walking around in only a robe for the entire time he's here. Who's is that anyways? Why was it Yuzuriha-san's room?" Kotori gave her a look and Arashi rethought her questions. "Wait. Don't answer that."
Yuzuriha and Hinoto came into the room. "Is dinner ready?" Yuzuriha asked. "Sorata-san said he didn't want to come out of his room. His leg's been hurting him."
"Arashi invited him to stay until his wounds healed," Kotori said, pulling out her chair.
"Really?" Yuzuriha could barely contain her glee.
//You know,// Hinoto thought to her sisters, as she floated near them. //Perhaps Sorata will be the one true love to awake her from her deep sleep...///
Kotori and Yuzuriha's eyes darkened. As they had been raising Arashi, they'd forgotten all about the curse...but Arashi's 17th birthday was in 6 months, and then the curse that had been given to her would take into play.
"Yuzuriha-san?" Arashi asked, worried at the look on her foster sister's face. "Kotori-san, Hinoto-san? Are you alright?"
//We're fine, Arashi. Let's eat.// Hinoto said.
The sisters ate.
For the next two weeks, Sorata stayed with them, mainly staying in his room because moving hurt alot. After the 2nd week, he got bored and would help them around the house or in the garden. Even Arashi had to admit his presence was helpful, even if he kept flirting with her, especially in front of her foster sisters.
"Will you quit that?" she asked one day, after the 16th time he called her beautiful while they were washing dishes.
Sorata pretended to look hurt. "Quit what?"
Arashi put down the plate she held(or she would have thrown it at him) and turned to face him. "You know exactly what I meant. Calling me beautiful, giving me other compliments, following my every word..." Actually, she liked that part. Usually, she was the one following her sister's orders. "Why are you doing it?"
Sorata smiled. "I told you. You are the woman I love."
She ignored him and went back to washing the dishes.
One month later, Arashi and Sorata walked through the forest, on their way back from the city, where they had gone to buy items. Yuzuriha had been ill, and Kotori was needed elsewhere. Hinoto still had her job to go to, so the only available to go was Arashi. She'd never been in the city before, and Sorata had volunteered to go, as a sort of bodyguard.
"Don't get any ideas," she said crossly to the man as he walked alongside her. "Just because we're alone doesn't mean I won't kick you if you try anything funny."
"Aw, Miss." Sorata said, pretending to be hurt. " I would never treat the lady I love like that." He shifted the many bags he was carrying. "And besides, if we save things, it will make our honeymoon all that much sweeter."
Arashi blushed, but didn't say anything, which Sorata noted with a grin. She was cracking.
Two and a half months later, Sorata was finally well enough for him to get on his way to his home land.
"Thank you, kind misses." He gave an over exagerating sweeping bow. "When I get home, would you like me to get you anything? It's the least I can do, in return for your kindess and hospitality."
Yuzuriha shook her head. "Oh, no. We're well off. Send us a letter every now and then, though!" she laughed.
Arashi stood in the doorway of the cottage, watching her foster sisters talk to the Prince. She didn't know why, but she felt... sad. When she realized that, she flushed. Okay, so his compliments and flattery had earned him a place in her heart, and she probably just going to be sad that her new friend was leaving. No, it wasn't that she loved him. Or even cared for him beyond friendship. No, she would deny anything other than that.
Sorata watched her in the doorway, then set his bag on the ground and strode over to her. "Miss Arashi." he said, softly.
"Goodbye, Sorata." she said, just as softly.
"You'll write, won't you?" he was doing anything to prolong the conversation.
"Of course, as long as you write back."
For once, Sorata was at a loss of words. He didn't really want to leave, but he had too...He bent his head to whisper into her ear. "Remember what I told you? I will die for the sake of the woman I love."
Arashi said nothing, and Sorata went back and retrieved his bag. "Goodbye!" he waved as he walked off into the forest.
Yuzuriha, Kotori, and Hinoto waited until he was out of earshot before they went to Arashi, still standing silently in the doorway.
///What did he say to you?/// Hinoto asked, noting the girl looked paler than usual.
"...Nothing." Arashi turned and went into her bedroom.
The fairies looked at each other and shrugged.
"Maybe you were right, Hinoto." Kotori said."Maybe Sorata is her one true love."
"...She doesn't even know about the curse, does she?" Yuzuriha asked.
The other two faires shook their heads. ///We should tell her.../// Hinoto said.
"We'll tell her before she turns 17. Let's let her have a while peace before she knows."
The next month or so Arashi didn't remember well. Without Sorata's constant cheery face or random compliments, the cottage seemed drabier, more silent. She didn't like that, as if it held some sense of foreboding that something bad was coming.
That was confirmed a week before her 17th birthday, when the fairies sat her down at the table.
"Arashi." Yuzuriha said nervously. "We have something to tell you."