Hold It To The Flame.

Suu sleeps but doesn't dream: her sleep is empty and vague and there is only her in the world, and when she opens her mouth there are no words. She's the only person alive and there is nothing else, there is nothing and no-one and she thinks she would cry if she knew how.

But her Rabbit and Cat, her Dog and Birds do not know how to shed tears so she doesn't either, and Suu sings to her birds with words no one will ever understand.

Oruha's laugh is soft and real and warm. Suu wonders if she could somehow spun it and make it real because she thinks that sunlight should feel like that. So instead she curls on her bed and she listens to Oruha tell her about her day and about life and about a zillion of thins that Suu will never know.

She has always craved, since the days when she wasn't a CLOVER and she was just a little girl. She wanted her mother to hold her and she wanted her mother to be happy and then she didn't know what she wanted and it didn't matter. Suu was put away like a broken doll and so she waited for her to be fixed, like mother's old music box, the one with the doves inside. When no one came to fix her, Suu built herself again and she gave herself wings and she wondered of nothing, for nothing existed for her.

She could feel the three Three Leaves, and she could feel how the four Two Leaves died one after the other until there was only one, and she could feel the One Leaf and she felt about her as much as she could because she was the one that never felt like they did, never felt as if pieces were missing inside of them.

"A penny for your thoughts," Oruha offers, and Suu wants to tell her that she would give Oruha her thoughts for free every time with no doubts and no hesitation at all.

But she can't give her this, not even if she wanted too, so instead she shakes her head, even though Oruha can't see her, and asks her to sing.

The first time she remembers her dreams, it's in shades of green. Suu doesn't know what to do and so she doesn't move, and then she hears angels singing – no, not plural, just one and when she wakes up, her heart is racing inside her chest and her face is tacky with dried out tears and Suu wonders,

Is this like happiness at all?

Oruha tells her fairytales, sometimes, when Kazuhiko can't go and see her act. When it's late at night, Suu closes her eyes and she hears Oruha's smooth, velvet voice whisper about princesses and knights and dragons, breaking free of castles up high in mountains, of a prince who had given his heart to a bird, of a bird who gave her heart for a rose.

Suu thinks that Oruha must be a princess, then, and Kazuhiko is her knight, and she would love to be the little bird that sang with the princess, and she would love to stay with them away from castles and evil lords, and she thinks she would love them so, so much if she could.

In her dreams, Suu feels a hand taking hers; it's soft and careful, and although she tries to turn around to see who's there, she can't. There's only a voice (love, the most wonderful feeling) and there's warmth and her eyes sting a little.

Together she dances and flies with this person and she treads their fingers together. Oruha sings and her world is full of music and scents that she doesn't know, and sometimes Suu turns around to see and too smile--

-- and she wakes up in her bed.

"I love you!" Suu screams and sobs, and it feels as if she was breaking, too. "Oruha, I love you!"

She doesn't know what kind of love it is and she doesn't know anything about it. She just knows that it's there, like wings inside her chest and Suu closes her eyes, presses her forehead against the window and she wishes--

please don't die please don't die please don't die, I love you, I love you, I love you, please, please don't die I'll do anything I'll give anything please please please...

In the story, when the prince swore her love for the princess, the spell was broken: she breathed in again and then they kissed and lived happily ever after. Happily ever after meant blue skies and no cages and for Suu it meant going to Fairy Park with Oruha and Oruha's boyfriend, Kazuhiko, and it's the same wish Oruha has, so why can't she give it to her, why can't she--


Suu cries and it feels as if she had been the one shot, she can feel it, in her chest: shards of the thing that flied inside her now broken, tearing at her, cutting her, over and over and over; she wonders what kind of ending she'll have now, since happily ever after is no more.