Author: Amber Michelle
Challenge: 22 – mistake
Word Count: 500
Game: Radiant Dawn
Warnings: spoilers to the end of chapter 2.
Night fell on a day of victory, and Elincia sat on a white chair by the balcony rail with a length of Lucia's hair in one hand, bound at one end with ribbon, a straight, blue curve over her palm and across her lap. She twisted it around her hand. Stars winked in an indigo sky. Summer's heat lingered in the still night air; the walks down in the garden were drenched after the watering and smelled like mud and grass, and a nightingale's call echoed.
Lucia said the cut was a blessing in disguise, but all Elincia could remember before Lucia returned were the hours she'd spent combing it when they were girls, the times she washed it, oiled it, braided it. If Elincia had faltered one moment, just one, this handful of hair would be the only thing left of a loyal friend and the closest thing to a sister she'd ever known.
It was a lesson, she told Ike - one Elincia would never forget. She wondered if it would haunt Lucia's dreams. And what of the way Geoffrey forgot himself when the noose was looped over his sister's neck and grabbed her arm while she watched with her knees locked, wondering if she could just stand there and let it happen-- and if he would forgive her.
A knock sounded from inside. Elincia clenched her hand and called for whoever it was to enter.
Of course he would.
He said he did.
Yet, when she felt arms slide over her shoulders and recognized Lucia by the bruises around her wrists and the pattern of the veins over the back of her hand, Elincia dropped the lock of hair and grabbed her arm with both hands, eyes going hot and wet, threatening to blot their hands with tears and doubts.
Lucia's sigh stirred her hair. "I knew you'd dwell if I left you alone."
Elincia clenched her teeth until her temples throbbed, closed her eyes. Ten hours ago they'd stared at each other over the battlements, sure they'd never meet again. Lucia stood beside her again thanks to someone else's foresight.
"It's like that time you hit me with a broom, remember - almost took an eye out--"
"It's not remotely the same!" Her jaw ached, maybe in the same place Lucia's was colored black and blue. "Of course I felt bad about that."
Lucia's amusement faded. "You want to make up for it? Let me plant my fist in Ludveck's gut before he dies. I'd like to return that favor."
Elincia drew a deep breath and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Maybe."
Her next breath was shakier. "Later." Maybe they should draw lots for the privilege. "If we can find a suitable excuse." Lucia laughed, and Elincia leaned back into her arms.
Anything to hear her laugh - anything to make sure it never stopped.