2 February 2006 & 13 September 2006

Flower and Thorn by Bela Luna

Disclaimer: I do not own No Rest for the Wicked ( w w w . f o r t h e w i c k e d . n e t). That lovely comic is by Andrea L. Peterson, an Icarus Falls Production.

WARNING: Femslash and crap title. This is a part of a fic that I was writing that I am going to twist and give a femslashy ending. I don't support this pairing, but I have a hard time backing down from a challenge.

sSsSs

November had been staying out late for the past couple of nights, and Red sat in their shared room, aware of, through the dead silence, Perrault's nervous pacing and November's obvious absence. Red would not show it, but she, too, like the insufferable cat, was agitated-borderline-frightened for November's safety. She sighed soundlessly and pulled her ebony hair out of its usual braid. She ran her calloused, slender fingers through her abused hair. Over the course of this time it had grown just a mere three-fingers' width above her shoulder blades.

She picked up her axe, rolling it between her strong palms. She lift it to her hair, then set it down. Maybe, it would be okay to grow it out again, just this once. Red coiled a lock of hair around her index finger, watching it spring off her finger out of the corner of her eye.

How long ago was it that she had decided to keep her hair this short, manageable, under her control? Too long. After her mother had died... She shook her head, her hair falling in front to shield her eyes from the rest of the cold world.

Perrault had stopped pacing.

November was back.

Red stepped quietly to the door, opening it before November could. November lifted her startled green eyes to Red's brown ones. Red stepped aside to grant November passage to the other bed on the opposite wall of Red's, even though they both knew that November could not sleep.

November removed her dress, replacing it quickly with a sleeping gown. Red moved to her own bed, willing to stay up tonight with her sleepless companion. She met November's fleeting glances with an even gaze.

"What?"

November flushed. "N-Nothing. It's just that... you look pretty with your hair down like that."

Red was taken aback by the compliment, unaccustomed to such attention. It had been a long time since someone had said that she was even close to being pretty.

Probably the younger, more polite one of her had bubbled to the surface, for she found herself mumbling, "Thank you," and ducked her head in embarrassment.

She looked up in surprise when she felt November seat herself next to her, her hand raised in what could have been considered a defensive pose.

"M-May I?" November asked, finger twitching.

Red looked at her quizzically, unsure as to what November wanted, but nodded anyway.

November smiled shyly and raised her hand just a little higher and touched Red's hair. Red was shocked by the sudden contact. She sat frozen as November gently combed her fingers through a stubborn knot. She picked a new brush that she had purchased more recently and gently, hesitantly, raked it through Red's unruly hair. They both sat silent as November worked her way from Red's right side and to the back.

"Do you want me to continue?" November asked, stopping suddenly.

Red bowed her head and nodded, uncomfortable with all of the attention that she was receiving, but found herself liking it.

"You don't have to stay up with me," November said softly.

"I know," Red replied, the corners of her mouth twitching upward.

November's face held a small smile. "I'm glad that you do. It can get lonely at times."

"I know."

"Yes, I suppose you would," she murmured.

She continued brushing Red's hair in silence, though that it was apparent that there was something on her mind. Both sat silent, wondering whom would start talking first.

Finally, after some time, November set down the wooden brush. She sighed and pushed Red's fringe out of her guarded eyes.

"I wish I had a mirror, so that you could see..." November trailed off, then cleared her throat. "See how pretty you look right now."

Red looked at her in surprise. No one had told her that, not since the wolf had swallowed her. She looked away, thanking november softly. November smiled gently and, seemingly on impulse, embraced her companion.

She pulled away, but almost recoiled. Red looked at her strangely, and picked up her own hand in hers. November could feel the calluses and her chilling breath. She sat right on the edge of the bed with both feet on the ground. She could run off then, but could not find it within herself to move.

Red pressed her lips to November's knuckle, but the latter yanked her hand away as if burnt.

November stood up quickly, visibly shaking.

"G-Good night," she managed to say, before getting in her own bed with her back to Red.

Red stood up and walked to the door, her hand resting on the doorknob. She felt her eyes wishing to wander to glance at November, but she forcefully opened the door and walked out of the inn to sit outside in the night air.

There certainly was no rest for the wicked.

sSsSs

That was... weird. But realistic. Well, as realistic as Red/November can be. This was hard for me to write because I had never written slash or femslash, and I needed to stretch my writing skills. Although, that is a bad sign if this story was difficult.

The last line is about the time period and how the church viewed same-gender relationships. Because they are women and the church, whether they realise it or not, has great influence, and they cannot be together because of it.

I do not support this pairing. And I write too many author notes.