DISCLAIMER: The Village and its canon characters are the property of M. Night Shyamalan; no copyright infringement is intended.

Ivy Walker was sitting on the floor, huddled against the side of Lucius's bed. She'd intended that when he woke and stirred, she'd feel the first vibration. But she'd drifted off to sleep herself, and only came awake, with a start, as he stroked her hair.

"Lucius?" She sat up straight, reaching for the hand he'd hastily drawn away. "H-how are you feeling? Did you have a good rest? Are you in pain?"

He took her hand and clasped it tightly. "Feeling much better, Ivy. No pain." He sounded tired, but his voice was firmer than it had been the previous night.

Assuming this is morning, she thought.

She still found it hard to believe her trek through the forest had really happened. Now, while she was trying to orient herself, Lucius said, "Ivy? I seem to remember...my mother telling me a strange story. I think she said you had gone through the forest and brought back medicine that saved my life. Is that real, or did I dream it?"

Ivy swallowed hard. "It's real," she acknowledged. "I'll tell you more about that when you're stronger." When I've had time to decide how much of the truth to share.

"All right." His easy agreement was out of character; it showed he was too weak to ply her with questions.

But not, it seemed, too weak to talk at all. "I love you," he murmured. "I always will. I'm glad you already knew that, so you can be sure what I'm feeling is love and not just gratitude."

Ivy smiled, recalling that she'd known he loved her long before he admitted it. "I love you too, Lucius. But..." She hesitated, then forged ahead. "There is something I need to tell you now. I don't know what it means, but you should know about something I...experienced."

"In the forest?" he asked sharply.

"No, no. Here in the village. Others experienced it as well." She paused to organize her thoughts. "First, I want to ask you about the bad color. Why do you think it's bad?"

"You mean, aside from its attracting"--his voice sank to a haunted whisper--"those we don't speak of?" After a beat, he seemingly forced himself to go on. "The reason it attracts them, perhaps? I've always assumed it's because it's the color of blood. They're meat-eaters."

Ivy nodded. "That's what I've always believed too. We hide any trace of blood. We seek not only to conceal the color, but also to mask its vile odor."


"When I was a child," she went on, "before I lost my sight, I saw rainbows. I noticed the colors always appeared in the same order. When I asked my father, he explained about the spectrum.

"Lucius, I've teased you about the color I perceive when I'm with you. But we both know you really haven't wanted me to tell you what it is. Now I think I must. It used to be deep blue. I admired that color because I'd been told it symbolizes loyalty."

"And now?" he asked, sounding chagrined. "Has my color changed?"

"Yes. But not recently," she assured him, "and not in a bad way. As you became a thoughtful adult, your color shifted from blue to violet, like the flower. I think that must be the best color of all, because in the spectrum, it's the farthest removed from the bad one."

"I can't complain about that." She knew he was smiling.

"Nor can I," she continued, with a smile of her own. "But this is what's strange." The memory sobered her at once. "I was the one who found you after you were stabbed, Lucius. There was so much blood...when others burst in, I wailed that I couldn't 'see' your color at all.

"I couldn't 'see' it. But later, everyone agreed that in that blood-soaked room, there was no odor of blood. Only the scent of...violets!"
(The End)