A/N: Supremely underappreciated character, Quasi's mother. I love her, dunno anything about her, but the one I dream up in my head I love. I like to imagine that she had absolutely nothing but the most maternal, sweetest of feelings for her baby. I don't like to imagine that she's just another person who viewed him as a monster, that she left the world before he was abandoned.

Title: Rorasa Laughs.

Rating: PG, references to death.

Summary: They say that tragedy teaches us a lesson. Some people just never learn. Beloved Rorasa, when she crumpled in the dirty, snowy street, he didn't give much thought to the one-eyed, hunchbacked infant she left behind.

When he closed his eyes, it was her cool, calculating green eyes that came directly to him. The shadowy, black pupil; the dark gold-flecked velvet that surrounded; and the lighter, sparkling wilderness that made up the outer-most circles of her gaze. The way she could bring you to your knees with a simple glance came to him next.

His mind's eye would travel down those high cheekbones, sunken with hunger, but not yet to emaciation; down further to that small-lipped pout that was ever present on her mouth; across the olive skin that betrayed her Indian heritage; she was beautiful. Anyone would say so. Anyone except anyone that was anyone; and only then because she was what she was. A gypsy.

How could such a lovely creature, such a delicate and beautiful butterfly give birth to a monster? How could that gorgeous fortune-teller birth that one-eyed, hunchbacked animal? Clopin had wanted to tell her to drown it upon first glance; burn it, smother it. Do something to be rid of it. However, he had taken the child as if it were his own. He had loved it's mother, and so he tried to love the boy as well. Maybe he had failed at that, at feeling something other than utter repulsion at the beast, but Rorasa had never noticed. Blinded by her love for the infant, or just by her desire to believe that someone else loved and accepted him; she had somehow glanced over the truth.

Rorasa's soft voice had sang, songs from India, from the land of her birth; she had sang day and night. The child had cried less, felt lighter in his arms when her voice had echoed in his ears. He hadn't known what her words always meant, but he had lived for them all the same. Because they were her. That was probably what he remembered most easily and most often, her voice, soft and lyrical with the faintest traces of an accent.

Rasul had not been his child, that much was certain. The shock of red hair and pale skin had made that impossible. That one perfect, tawny eye might have been his trait, he thought numbly, but everything else was shared with the Scottish nobleman that had taken her virtue in the street, had left her for dead in the gutter with the other garbage. He hated the child for it's father; but it had become the light of her life immediately he knew, a treasure taken from disaster, a pearl left from the remains of a seagull pecked oyster. And so he tried, tried as hard as he could to love him.

Once the child had been born, something had changed, she had belonged to him. Maybe she always had and they had both been blind to it before, but he remembered that she'd been his completely afterwords. He remembered the way his fine brown hand had looked against her paler flesh; the way she had let his fingers brush up and down her neck, always pulling closer as if she could vanish into him somehow. He remembered the way he had held her as often as she allowed.

And yet...and yet it was the smell of her coppery blood, and the feel of her skin growing cold; it was the look of her lips as they lost their rose color and became the faint blue-white of snow under moonlight, that was the most vivid. He could still feel her limp against his chest; could still feel his fingers pressing against her wound as if he could force her blood back into her where it belonged. He could still hear plainly the whisper of trembling words, "Pl...please," she'd said, staring at him with a heartbreakingly terrified expression, "don't hate..me, mon ami." He smiled through tears and shook his head, his dark hair falling into his eyes to disguise the wavery shimmer he was seeing through, "I could never, mon amour'. I could never feel anything for you but love." She had smiled then, resigned and soft, no longer quite so afraid, he imagined that his words had warmed her against the winter chill, against death's hands closing around her heart.

"You will look after him, Clopin? Look after him for me?" It was without question that he would look after the demon child, still he could hardly bring himself to nod, half-heartedly. Some form of protest rose in his mouth, words to reassure her that she would live to watch Rasul grow, to watch him become a greater man than his father had been; he swallowed them dutifully, not having the strength or the heart to give her hopeless lies. He would never learn if she was satisfied by this, or if his nod had been enough of a promise, if he'd done well. At the very moment that his nod was final, Rorasa's eyes closed forever. Her fingers raised halfway to his face in a last attempt to touch him, fell. He'd lowered his face to her's, resting his forehead against her's, and whimpered, clutching her much more tightly than he ever would have while she lived.

Ah, yes, he was doomed to relive the memories again and again, day after day; he knew this was his punishment. This was his own, personal Hell, his own self-created damnation for failing her; for failling to look after the hunchbacked child of the woman he'd loved.