“I have you.” he said to himself. Surely, to himself. Surely not to the broken thing he cradled. She didn’t hear him, however. She was unresponsive to his crooning. She was the one leaving him to pick up the pieces.
She had told him it would be alright.
She had cradled him once like this, he remembered. When she had picked him up, a bundle of ragged black that was weak and dying in the snow.
There were good fairy tales, he knew. He breathed in deeply of her scent, lesser now. He remembered her hands, smoothing down his feathers. He remembered the scent of her flesh, the scent of her spices and oils. So much was denied him, now.
I can heal you. She said. We will go together, and you will be a Prince, again.
He saw that she had been mad, now. Eccentric and mad and… lovely. She had been lovely. She was lovely.
But she was dead now. He had pulled her from the water into which they leapt… but she was gone and he was alone there. He stared up, up the cliff from which they had plunged, and into the deep pale sky he would never touch again.
And after a moment he looked down and began to eat.