Beauty and the Beast HSM Style

Chapter 22

Everything was completely silent now. The three enchanted objects watched as their and everyone else's last chance for freedom slipped away. The final petal from the rose floated down to the table from its stem ever so slowly. But it fell nonetheless. It was too late to do anything now. There was no need to say anything because there was nothing anyone could say or do to fix this. It was all over.

Zeke held in a sigh as he turned away from the rose. He rubbed one of his candle holders against his arm and looked at the ground. He slowly picked up his head to look at his comrades. Jason had his hands behind his back and softly kicking a small pebble away from him as a sign of disappointment. Gabriella's face looked even more down than theirs. It was easy to tell that the girl was heartbroken, and it couldn't have been just because of the spell. What probably killed her the most was that what could have been a perfect fairy tale ending has come crashing down. Now a happy ending would have been so nice to see; but Zeke was beginning to think that this fate for all of them was inevitable. But what made it even worse now was that their master was gone and they had no one to rule over the castle. To say they had nothing left now would be an understatement.

The rain was falling softly outside now, only to be just a smidgen heavier than a drizzle. But it might as well have been as stormy as it was before, because that's how bad it felt right now. This was all anyone was going to see for the rest of their lives: just a bleak, dripping, dark, watery sky. Even for those of the enchanted objects who knew nothing about what was going on, they could feel as though the worst had happened. They didn't need to go see for themselves. Even if they didn't know why they suddenly felt so down now, the weather outside would surely give it away. And if only Troy and Kelsi knew what was going on then they would realize why everything had gotten so quiet and why they were suddenly feeling so down. Jimmie could feel it himself; he had put his head down and just sat where he was, tucking his legs in under his body. And that was something he never did. Donny had long ago journeyed into the castle to see what was up. His usual naive outlook had been brought down just by looking at everyone. With nothing else to do, all he really could do was follow Boi upstairs and see how his sister was coping.

Taylor hadn't even dared to pick up her head once from the Beast's motionless body. She kept playing the events over and over again in her head. That was all she had left now, where the memories. But even if she tried to remember the good times it wouldn't be enough. She needed more than just the memories. what she needed was for the Beast to wake up. But even that was possible. It was never going to happen. It was over and that was all there was to it.

Or was it?

Rain continued to fall but in the midst of the water droplets, something else began to fall as well. At first it was just a small faint light. Almost like a tiny shooting star. But when it hit the floor of the balcony it vanished into thin air, only leaving a few particles left over. The light itself had disappeared as fast as it came while the rain was falling at normal speed. But it didn't stop there. Another light shortly followed. It was much brighter, almost looking like a pastel color. Normally such a light color up against such a dark setting would be a sure sign that things were changing. But then that light hit the ground and disappeared, too. But it left more remains and the ground almost looked like it was glowing with confetti. And then a few more lights came down. It started with a few more, one at a time, and then it came down in pairs, then triple, and so on.

But there was something strange about these lights. They weren't just coincidentally falling from out of nowhere and landing on the balcony. They were going where they were for a reason. They were all landing in the same place. To be more precise, when they landed they were surrounding where Taylor and the Beast were. The bright confetti now laying on the ground was almost a shadow of them, or more like a shadow of the Beast. They continued to fall and surround him until almost the entire balcony was covered in the bright ashes. And it came to be that not only were the light almost blending in with the rain so it looked like it was raining mini shooting stars, but the rain itself was almost fading entirely. The lights grew brighter as they continued to fall, and soon enough confetti-shaped remains themselves were falling onto the balcony.

Though her eyes were still shut, Taylor could feel a disturbance, as though she were being blinded. That's how bright everything was. Yet she was still trying to find it in herself to open her eyes. If she did, then she'd remember why she shut them in the first place. But surely enough she did open them and attempted to follow the falling lights. This could not be logical. There was no way that something like this were possible. Either she was dreaming or...well really, that was the only decent explanation she could think of at this point. But after everything else that has happened, this sight shouldn't have come at a surprise to her. And yet it did.

Feeling something move under her, Taylor looked down in hopes that it was the Beast waking up. He was moving but he wasn't waking up. This could not be right. But something was happening to him. She saw him move up a bit and remained where she was in pure shock, wishing she knew what the heck was going on and if this really was happening or if it all was a figment of her imagination. But something didn't feel right. The Beast's whole body wasn't just moving...it was floating. It was floating upwards. Taylor let a faint gasp escape her as she backed away a little as she watched the body slowly move a few feet above her into the air. A faint light was now exiting from the sky and falling on the Beast as the shooting lights themselves continued to fall.

Zeke, Jason, and Gabriella willed themselves to look out into the balcony. They saw themselves what was going on and were in pure disbelief. Their mouths dropped open and they watched in silence. As much as they wanted to believe what was going on, they just couldn't. So many questions were running through their heads right now. But they had no time to ask nor were they intending to. All they were doing was just taking in the sight before them and watching, yes indeed, what they had been hoping for, for so long.

Taylor backed away a few more steps as her eyes widened at the sight. She slowly pulled herself up to her feet. The Beast was still hanging in midair, the light all around him. The falling lights had now completely faded in with the rain and it merely looked like it was raining again. And although the rain was visible, she didn't feel any water touch her skin. It was almost like it was going right through her. The faint light that seemed to be coming from nowhere was still surrounding the Beast and the wind blew his cape a little so it looked like it was surrounding his whole body. But it didn't last that way for long. Its grip around him was loose. It was hard to tell if the Beast was moving his arm out of his somehow own free will or if something else was controlling him, but somehow he lifted his arm up and out from under his cape.

There seemed to be a small light emitting from his arm. It seeped up to his hand and began escaping through his fingers. A few pieces of fur fell from his hand, almost looking like he was shedding. But with the light that was escaping, the fur that he lost on his hand nearly seemed to vanish all on its own. His paws easily disappeared and his claws seeped into his hands as nails. The light shone brightly and his fur continued to slowly vanish.

A faint hint of smoke began to surround his hind legs which were slowly shifting into human legs, where the knees and ankles were clearly defined. The light began emitting from there as well and soon his paws had become flat feet and the fur continued to vanish. Much like it was now doing with his hands, the light was overpowering his body and seeping through his fingers and toes. The pants that were once just his size were now shredding to fit his no longer deformed body and grasped tightly onto his legs.

His cape almost looked as though it were going to fall of, becoming much to big for him. His shirt was now fitting much more loosely as the same light started making it way up his body and into his face. He didn't shred any fur because there was no need to. In the blink of an eye, the same light rose through his shirt and circles him and in a split second all that was able to be seen was the faint form of a human face and the cape covering the rest of his body. All that was known for sure was that there was no tail hanging out from behind. His head draped backwards and his arms drooped in the air as he hung for a few more seconds before slowly sinking back down to the ground. One arm seemed to be coming out from the cape and hanging in the air, which had to be some kind of sign of what happened. There didn't appear to be any fur but it had not gotten any lighter in shade. It wasn't a large, muscular monster arm but almost appeared more human-like. But there wasn't enough time to decipher because as soon as he lay down on the ground his arm was tucked back almost entirely under the cape and out of view.

As much as Taylor would have liked to know the reason for this strange occurrence, she had no idea what it was or why it was happening. Suddenly the Beast wasn't laying in front of her anymore but what almost looked like a boy. Or a man? But he wasn't motionless; his chest moved up and down ever so slightly so it was easy enough to tell that he was breathing. The smoke that surrounded him from what appeared to be some kind of transformation was vanishing. Assuming it was safe now, Taylor took a step or two closer to find out what was going on. She was just about to stretch her arm out to him, not even bending down, when suddenly he shifted a little. Caught off guard by this, Taylor jumped back and watched as one of his arms bent out, almost looking like he was about to stand up. He then used that arm and his legs to get up to his feet. The over sized cape that had been surrounding his body fell off the instant that he moved. But his back was still facing Taylor. All she could see of him were his ripped clothes, his skin tone, about how tall her was, and his hair. His skin was about the same shade as hers, maybe a tiny bit lighter. His hair was darker in color, what looked like a dark brown, and it was curly. Its curliness was almost identical to that of the Beast's. She watched cautiously as the man lifted his arms and looked at them, with from the looks of it to her, seemed like he was in disbelief about something. She noticed this because his head had looked at one of his hands and then shifted to the other and even wiggled his fingers a little.

Then all of a sudden, he turned to face her and stepped into the light. The rain was now a soft drizzle and it almost looked like the skies were clearing. Taylor could now make out all of his features perfectly. He was taller than her, maybe about by four or five inches at an estimate. He was definitely muscular; she could tell by his physique. His curly hair had multiple bangs hanging in his face, but just enough to stray away from his eyes. Taylor couldn't tell the exact shade of them; but from what she could assume, they weren't blue or green of sorts because they didn't pop out with his hair or skin tone. But whatever shade they were, they were looking right at her. At first Taylor had no idea how to react. Where did he come from? What did he do with the Beast? Who was he? Why did he look so familiar?

He looked down at his body once more, putting his hands to his chest like he was still in disbelief. But the look he got in his eyes soon after, by about a few seconds, showed that he understood something. Almost like he'd come to a sudden realization and knew exactly what was going on.

"Taylor...it's me."

She couldn't even find the right words to describe his voice as he stepped closer into the light and reached out for her hand. It was just so...wow. And the smile he got on his face was just so warm and inviting. If she were a normal girl - in most cases, at least - then she'd be judging from looks alone that he was a winner. But that was virtually the last thing on her mind right now. What she was sure of was that she's seen him before. She just couldn't put her finger on it. Taylor raised an eyebrow at him, not sure of what to do at first. But surely enough, she slowly placed her hand into his. She felt him hold onto it; his grip was loose yet it felt like he'd never let go. There was still a faint familiarity to it. At first she didn't respond. She just stared at him, trying to remember where she's seen him before. What about him seemed so familiar? Taylor wasn't entirely sure why, but something in her was just telling her to make a guess of who it was. It was a long shot, but it could be possible. Had she been wrong yet?

"Beast?"

There was a hint of confusion in her voice, just a small hint. She wasn't entirely sure of herself still, but it was a guess. Taylor wasn't even sure why she thought that. There was no way it could be him. Could it?

A faint, gentle chuckle escaped him and a warm smile came across his face. He looked right at her. He didn't give any inkling on whether she was right or not. There was no yes or nod or anything. He only answered in the same welcoming voice that he had been speaking in, which most likely because it wasn't as deep as the Beast's, had her highly doubting that it was him.

"Call me Chad."

Taylor didn't seem completely convinced. She could easily tell now the fine line between a story and real life. This certainly wasn't one of her stories. It was all real. Either that, or just plain too good to be true. But that didn't change the facts. Something about his voice just drew her in. Using her free hand she slowly lifted it up towards his hair. She hesitated for a moment, almost as though she were silently making sure it was alright. With no opposition from this Chad, she gently ran her fingers through his curls. She mentally compared them to the Beast's fur. They were similar in color. They were most definitely curly. But the Beast's were tighter and, mostly when he was angry, fierce looking. These curls were much softer and...and they felt so nice. She liked this feel of her fingers in his hair. She kept them near the edges of his hair, but they were still in his hair nonetheless. Now she was almost getting lost in them. There was still something familiar about them. Where had she seen this type of hair before?

Then she moved her head, taking her eyes off of his locks and looking right into his. Their eyes met and she could see the exact shade of them. They were this wonderful shade of brown. They almost blended in with him completely. But to Taylor, they stuck out like a sore thumb. She remembered those eyes now. The first thing that came to her mind was the portrait, the one of the man she had seen when she first went into the West Wing. She recalled the portrait and the image flashed into her mind. It was a painting. It was of a man. Who happened to look exactly like Chad. Sure, there were tears in the picture and a huge diagonal slash in the middle, and granted she had never gotten the chance to in a manner of speaking put the puzzle pieces together, but she still knew it was him. It was the same hair and the same eyes. It was those eyes that drew her into the painting. But that wasn't the only place she'd seen them. Taylor knew who else those eyes belonged to. Her eyes widened at the realization but then she smiled. And she had a dang good reason to.

"It is you..."

Her voice was so in disbelief, but Taylor knew that it was true. She moved her hand from his hair onto his cheek. His hand then gently stroked her hair and Taylor sighed contently at how nice it felt. Her hand slowly slid down onto his chest and his now rested on her cheek. Their other hands slowly slipped out of each others' grasp and Taylor put hers against his chest as well while Chad wrapped his now free hand around her. Their faces slowly inched closer together. There was a brief, almost dramatic pause like someone would be saying 'just kiss already'. And surely enough, that's exactly what happened. Their lips met and shared a soft kiss and something ultimately sparked. If it wasn't their time together that did it, then this did. Or at least gave the sign that it was most definitely right. Both then went to wrap their arms around each other and hold each other close, almost feeling like that wouldn't let go.

From that one kiss meant the end of everything...for the better. Fireworks began going off in the night sky and lightened it up in an instant. But when the remains of the fireworks departed they ended up falling and completely covering the light rain. The water stopped falling from the sky at an instant and night turned to day. The dark sky that had once covered the castle for so long was now gone and everyone could see the sun shining again. But that wasn't all that became light again. The dark colored castle was hit by the fireworks' ashes as well. Almost like they were water washing away wet paint, the black from the castle walls faded and bright white colorings of sorts were revealed underneath it. The once fierce gargoyle-esque statues had become bright angels like the ones on the ceiling of the ballroom and the roof went from pitch black to a bright, inviting shade of red.

And yet the spell's work was not complete yet. Overjoyed at the sight, Zeke, Jason and Gabriella ran onto the roof to join Chad and Taylor who were now breaking away from their truly magical kiss and just standing there in each others' arms. Zeke had gotten out to them first. He had almost gotten lifted into the air as he was surrounded by a small light. The next thing he knew, he was almost as tall as Chad instead of a short and skinny candelabra. And his human form looked so much different than his enchanted form. His skin was a dark shade and his short hair was black, though the bangs almost resembled the bit of wax that had hung from his top candle in his enchanted form. He looked fairly muscular himself and his eyes were a deep brownish color. He had a light jacket on, one of about the same color he was as a candelabra or so, but it was buttoned up and underneath it was a midnight blue shirt. His pants matched that shade and he was wearing a comfortable pair of sneakers.

Chad's eyes widened as he looked at Zeke. He'd almost forgotten what he looked like as a dude.

"Zeke!" he gasped.

Zeke chuckled and smiled, almost like he wasn't surprised at all anymore.

"In the flesh."

Then, right next to Chad, popped up Jason out of his clock form and back to a human. His hair was the same color his wood had been, but it was a bit messier and his eyes were a much lighter brown. He had on what either looked like a very nice green jacket, or maybe something more like a very casual sports jacket, over a mint green shirt and a very handsome pair of jeans.

Chad turned to Jason with the same look on his face from when he saw Zeke.

"Jason!"

"Where?" Jason gasped, shocked himself at the response and looking all around. Then when he looked back at the gang, he chuckled and realized what Chad was talking about. "Oh...that's me!"

And last but not least - at least for the moment - Gabriella practically jumped up in her human form again, almost losing her balance. Her hair was a either a dark brown or a very light black...or maybe a combination of the two...and her bangs which came off to just one of her sides and held with a heart-shaped barete were identical to what the top of her cover looked like as a teapot. Her eyes were bright and vivid and she had a very nice figure, dressed in a simple white dress and flats, and her smile was just as bright as the rest of their's knowing what had just happened. There was clearly so much she wanted to do right now, especially now that she had hands again, but she was too busy just trying to contain her excitement.

"Gabriella..." Chad added. Boy she looked a lot shorter than he remembered! But that didn't even matter. what mattered was that they were human again. Oh snap, they were human again! "Do you guys see us!" he exclaimed, practically embracing them all in a hug. That's how overjoyed he was.

A part of Jason was still trying to get used to this again. "Quick...what do people do when they're turned to human again for the first time in forever?"

Gabriella was the first to answer that, not just eager to use her hands, but eager to not have to hop everywhere she went. She had legs again! Oh man, the things she could do!

"They hug their best friend and say thank you a million times for saving them!" Gabriella answered as she ran over to Taylor and the two of them hugged.

Jason laughed and jumped into the hug with them, which left Gabriella and Taylor looking at him in a very confused manner.

"Jason...I think she was just talking about me," Taylor stated after a minute.

"Oh..." Jason replied slowly. Boy this was awkward. He slowly pulled away from them and took a few steps back. "Carry on then."

But the girls couldn't help but just laugh over it.

"Gabi! Gabi!"

Gabriella turned to see Donny entering the balcony on Boi, both still in enchanted form. But in a few mere seconds, they had joined the group of being normal again. Boi had become a very small dog with brown and black fur, along with pointy ears that would almost make someone think of a cat. His tail was minuscule in size and he didn't have a ton of fur, but he didn't have so much that it would cover his eyes either. Donny on the other hand...well he turned out to be much bigger than a little tea cup. Turning into a human again, he almost fell over on his back trying not to accidentally crush Boi. Sitting up as Gabriella ran over to him to bring him to his feet, Donny was a bit tall for his age, definitely a preteen or an early teenager. His skin was darker than Gabriella's but not as dark as Chad's was. Donny's hair was black and there wasn't a ton of it, but that's what really brought out his eye and showed their resemblance to Gabriella's. And of course being a younger member of the castle he was allowed to wear almost anything he wanted. So he was now in a red shirt with an eagle printed on it, a pair of jeans, and regular sneakers. He was fortunate enough not to fall on Boi, but it didn't matter because the lapdog just jumped forward and looked around at everyone eagerly as he wagged his tail.

Gabriella squealed as she wrapped her arms around her brother and hugged him tight.

"I can't believe this Donny!"

"I know, how awesome is this!" he exclaimed.

"No, not that!" her eyes widened as she let go of him. "You know better than to run off like that. You said you were trying on clothes!"

"Oh, that..." he said slowly. "Um...will 'I'm sorry' help?"

"No," Gabriella shook her head.

Donny shrugged and smiled and walked over to Taylor in a casual yet smooth mode, like he was attempting to make a move on her.

"Well in that case, will a date be better?" he asked Taylor, trying to be cool and move some hair out of his face.

Gabriella gasped and pulled him away from her friend. Yeah, like she was going to let Donny make a move on her best friend and who happened to be Chad's girl. There was such a thing as happy endings. Just not the way her brother pictured them.

"You didn't let me finish," she said quickly. "It won't help, but it's a start."

"Nice try, kid," Jason muttered to Donny and Zeke chuckled at them.

From up on their corner of the roof, Sharpay and Ryan were looking down at the sight and watching what had happened. They were slightly in disbelief but they didn't seem in as much shock as the others were. Ryan looked a bit more confused than Sharpay did. He kept looking back and forth between them and his sister. What he kept noticing was Sharpay's look and how down she seemed. He raised an eyebrow and finally decided to see what was up.

"Why the long face Shar?"

Sharpay shook her head and faced Ryan.

"Can you believe this, Ryan?" she replied. "After everything we went through look what we're left with. We're stuck on the roof of the stupid castle we never wanted to come near again."

"Don't you mean that you never wanted to come near again?" he inquired.

"Not the point," Sharpay shook her head right away. "My arch nemesis gets the guy and gets the happy ending. Those weird object thingies that were attacking before get to be humans. And they're all having the time of their lives down there. And what do we get? Nothing."

Ryan waited a moment before deciding to speak again.

"That's not entirely true. I got a date with Kelsi," he admitted.

"Oh goody for you," Sharpay rolled her eyes. But something was still bothering her just a bit. "Why did you come at that Beast with a sword before anyway?"

Ryan shrugged his shoulders.

"You're my sister. You were in trouble and I was worried about you. I really thought he was gonna bite your head off."

"So you would've slashed his head off?" Sharpay wondered.

"Well, not really." Ryan confessed. "But I would try to scare him away from you."

Sharpay couldn't help but giggle. She knew that there was no way Ryan could scare anyone or anything. Weapon or no weapon. But at least he tried and he cared. That's what's important. And right now Sharpay was just glad she still had someone by her side. And she was even more glad that that someone was her twin brother.

"Thanks Ry."

They exchanged a smile and then hugged. Sharpay broke out of the hug first and stood up.

"Come on. Let's get down from here."

But Ryan didn't seem so sure.

"Sharpay I really don't think you should be standing on the edge like that. It doesn't look sturdy enough."

"Oh relax Ryan. I can handle myself. I'm not gonna fall off the roof," Sharpay giggled and rolled her eyes at his naivety.

But the next thing she knew there was a faint cracking sound. Sharpay looked down and saw there was a small crack forming on the area of the roof she was standing on. Then seconds later she was falling down. But no, it wasn't to the ground she was falling. Because just as she had fallen off the roof, and was coincidentally falling towards the balcony, Zeke had a big smile on his face and his arms out side, showing how excited for all of this he was - yet he had no idea that there was someone falling in his direction.

"This is the happiest day of my life! Can this get any better?"

And that's exactly when Sharpay suddenly fell into his arms. Zeke's eyes widened as he caught her without even realizing it and that he was now standing with a girl in his arms. Oh, and a very pretty girl at that.

"Oh mon Dou, it has gotten better!" he gasped.

Sharpay's eyes widened now realizing that she was not only in the arms of a guy and had her arms wrapped around his neck, but a really cute looking guy...who had also happened to save her from going splat. She was almost flustered by this. And Sharpay does not get flustered - at least not that easily.

"Um...good catch..." she breathed, surprised at her loss for words.

Jason's eyes widened as well as he saw this.

"Oh man, now women are falling from the sky?" he gasped. "My turn, my turn!" He ran out further onto the balcony, ironically right under where Ryan was on the other part of the roof, and had his arms out wide and his eyes closed, expecting a girl to fall into his arms. But that wasn't the case. That was when Ryan suddenly lost his balance on the roof and - no, he didn't fall into Jason's arms - but he did fall onto Jason. Jason gasped as he fell to the floor with Ryan on top of him, both on their bellies and their arms spread out.

Ryan sighed with relief, knowing that it could have been a nasty fall...even if it wasn't from that high up.

"Thanks for the save."

But Jason only sighed with disappointment. No women falling from the sky for him.

"It's not that day."

Boi just wagged his tail and barked happily as he watched this. Zeke chuckled as he watched the hyper little dog.

"It looks like this story's wrapping up nicely for everyone."

Gabriella smiled and nodded. She put an arm around her brother, never thinking that everyone could look this happy again. Gabriella then switched her gaze to Chad and Taylor, who looked like they couldn't agree more. Chad was so happy he lifted Taylor in his arms and spun her around. Gabriella tried to keep herself calm, but it didn't work for long, because she automatically started squealing with delight again and trying to keep herself still. Everyone was so thrilled and lively and she was just overjoyed by all of this and couldn't be happier that this was a happy ending after all.

"It's a miracle!"


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