A/N: A response to Keeper of Tomes's story "Broken" with massive doses of inspiration from the poetry of Anne Michaels. I highly recommend Esthero's music. She's one of my favourite female vocalists.

Milk Chocolate for Life's Boo-Boos

"Blanket me in you, cover me in gold and blue.
Reason need not follow you. Blanket me in you.
... I can still smell you on me.
" (Esthero)

- - -

She dreams in desperation, in the sickening motion of one who is unaccustomed to being in the air too long and spills the contents of last night's buffet over the metal railings of the airship. Presses a damp fist into her stomach and discards the cold, searing pain in her bare feet as she forcefully touches the floor just to wake up.

I dreamt we were together.

A spider of desire flits up and down her spine; bites her lip with hypocrisy and silently cackles with the knowledge of what is still repressed. We destroy what emotions we have, what we think is beautiful. Like a dark mother watching her child grow into womanhood, her black peignoir ghosts the dust on the floor and beckons to the heiress of Cyclonia with long, slender arms. (Only you belong to me.)

I dreamt we lied down together.

She opens her mouth like cobwebs have been in there, sucks in so much cold air it burns the sensitive membrane of her esophagus; burns her lungs with a sharp chill only familiar to those who deny what they refuse to know. There are gaps in the armour. For metal is never natural, for rivets and steel plating has only one purpose for her - and what spaces there may be between sheets can be welded shut.

The clink of her cloak as she lets it fall to the floor, the crest of the Cyclonian smashes face-first while the heavy cloth that covers its master's lithe body fails to soften the blow. But that's how it always works, doesn't it? The pillows arrive with delay.

What she needs is warmth to dispel the seizure of new thoughts and emotions, similar to hot chocolate but not. Something of security - to encase her entirely but with an attitude not brave enough to scald. A voice to confide secrets in but never directed in a mocking laugh towards her. Laburnum, oh sweet flower, open up and tell her that everything will be all right. Tell her she will sleep again. Tell her -

-she will see her again. See her, touch her, smell her, love her.

Her mouth, a hand upon my mouth.

Depress the sinking hole in her core, and lift her up again. Higher, forgo Jacob's Ladder and carry her limp in her arms. A wild beating heart and a pursed, white-lipped mouth. Separate the world into its colours, but please don't mix the caramel with the marble. Don't make her think about the colour of the setting sun, the way it mingles with the sheets of darkening metal red, and don't remind her of the rusted screws that hold up her master's bed. Just don't. For once, in defiance of her wicked life, have mercy. Let her be alone. (Teach her to be alone.) But don't suffuse her with thoughts of Piper.