disclaimer: I - obviously - don't own anything you recognize.
a/n: thanks so much for clicking on the link to read my story! I
really hope you like it. c:
"Don't be sad, signore."
Amongst his solitary daydreams, the husky, Italian-accented voice startled him and he looked around before figuring out that it was a canvas set up across the path in the grassy middle of the park that said it. Well, maybe not the canvas itself, but it came from behind it. His thoughts were confirmed when a girl that appeared in her mid-twenties peeked around the edge of a canvas so large it was a wonder that the easel didn't fall over. Her hair was black with a glossy sheen and it fell in loose curls to about her mid-back and she flicked her head as strands kept falling in front of her eyes.
Jason glanced up from his hands quickly to see the girl leaning with her cheek against her canvas and a smudge of blue paint across her collarbone and a similar stripe of green along her cheek. She had appeared out of virtually no where about half an hour after Jason had taken residence up on the bench with the backing unintentionally made out of the stone wall that ran the perimeter of the walkway looking over the Seine and had been painting ever since. "I… what?" Jason asked.
"You're sad," The girl said simply, still analyzing him. "Don't be."
"You don't get it." His tone was the harsh, cold monotone that he'd learned early on as Jason Bourne.
"Of course I don't," She said, not unkindly just calmly and pointedly. "I only will if you want me to."
Jason didn't answer right away. He toyed with the idea of not answering at all. The silence hung between them for a long, but not entirely uncomfortable, moment before the girl took his silence as an answer in itself.
"Well, just look on the bright side." She instructed mysteriously.
Jason took the bait. "And what, pray tell, would that be?"
She gave him an incredulous look that smoothed into a warm smile. "If you hadn't come to Paris, you never would've met me."
Jason ran his tongue along the inside of his mouth before letting out a short and bitter, almost mocking, laugh. "A lot of stuff wouldn't have happened if I hadn't come to Paris."
"And you have to make amendments for this stuff, sì?" She asked, coming out from behind the canvas fully and walking across the park to sit next to him on the bench. She gave him plenty of room, in fact, just the right amount, and it made Jason wonder if this was her second job – talking to strangers.
Jason didn't even consider answering that time. He simply ignored the question, knowing that the girl would pick up his side of the conversation as well.
"And you don't think you can. Your type is getting more and more common these days. It must be something in the water. Global warming and all that." She made a vague motion with her hand.
"My type?" Jason asked slowly. He had come to Paris for closure. To find where he had gone wrong and what he should have done instead. He hadn't mentioned his departure to anyone – he was dead for god's sake – and he had barley thought of his doubts within his own head.
She nodded, looking at him with curious eyes. "Your type. The ones that come and sit in the middle of my landscapes and take the once vibrant hues and turn them into dull parodies with their negative auras. The ones who think they can't outrun their pasts."
Jason leaned back on the bench, letting his head fall back against the cool stone and he closed his eyes against the bright sunlight. "And you've taken it upon yourself to make them feel better?"
She shook her head. "You're the only one I've ever talked to." She glanced back down to her hands and began picking at some of the dried paint that caked them. "Most of the time I leave them alone to their thoughts. They seemed unattached to the world. They were unpredictable."
Jason smiled, eyes still closed and his head still back. "And you don't think I'm unpredictable?"
"No, I think you are. I think you're just unpredictable enough to change it. Unpredictable enough to fix yourself."
Jason looked down at his own hands silently, unsure of what to say. "Why?"
"Because I know what it's like," She started in a soft voice. "I went through it and I know what people need to have to start over… What they need to be willing to give in order to get what they want." She stood and began walking towards her canvas. "Why else would I be in Paris?" She chirped over her shoulder, her voice noticeably more light hearted.
"And you got a new life?"
"I didn't get a new life. My past is still very much there. But I got a bright future." She said as she reached up to unscrew the clasp that held her canvas in place, sending him a smirk as she did so.
"You think, no matter what happened in the past, all people can do that?" Jason questioned slowly, halfway between wondering what had happened to the girl and halfway between thinking about his own problems.
"You can do anything you want to," And with that, she spun the canvas around to face him.
The canvas was a panorama view of the harbor with the stone wall and path in the foreground. The colors on the very edges of the painting were bright and beautiful and gorgeous, and as if it had been the girl's words about stolen hues and vibrancy coming to life, as they moved closer and closer to the center of the picture, the colors seemed to dull and it seemed as if the brush strokes had become more hesitant. All until it centered in on a figure sitting on a bench, done in the same vibrant colors that made the outer edges so beautiful.
"It's the beauty of living."