Warning: angst.

(Insert witty disclaimer here)

The room is quiet. She likes it like that. She's alone there, in the fading light, staring at her mirror.

She doesn't know why she hates the thing. She doesn't even understand that it isn't the mirror she hates. She simply stands there before it, hands shaking, heart aching, while deep inside she breaks.

Her fawning self is gone. What is an elf? "A lady," she says to her reflection. "A fair princess."

Her clothes are the (false) garb of a true elven lady; she tears at them. Her eyes (seem) are tilted and wise; she smears black lines around them, like she's seen human women do. Her hair is soft and long; she ties it back in the fashion of human men, using a leather strip. Leather! Yes, that suits her. Leather, because deep inside she's human, not perfect or pure like other elves are (should be). She's tried. Oh, she knows she's tried, and tried, and died, all for the sake of wanting to be perfect and untouchable and (not an elf) different.

And it hurts. Oh, how ironic, that in her quest to become untouchable, she is wounded!

She sinks to the floor, laughter tumbling from her. She's not perfect, just her skin is. And, oh, oh, it hurts. She just wishes it would stop so that she could (leave) rest.

She's so beautiful that she's ugly all over, and she hates it.

Tears trickling, she looks up, but it's her own faultless (ugly) features she sees. She hates the mirror. Her slender fingers trace patterns on her unblemished skin as she thinks. She wants – yes, yes – just one thing to show. Just one thing to mark her body as hers; as imperfect. She stumbles upright and grabs from the table her solace; her sharpness (blades). She glances back and sees herself in the mirror – completely bare, clothes torn to shreds on the floor, her thin body shaking. She's (exposed) bare, and she's loving it, because she's sick of looking strong when she knows that's dead wrong. Counterclockwise; the world has it backwards. Where to mark? There? Somewhere everyone can see.

Carefully, she slides the blade down across her cheek. A line of blood traces after it and drips down.

She sinks to the floor again. The door to her room opens. Arya, someone's calling. Inside, again, she's breaking. What was all of it meaning? She wants to wake – just open her eyes, and find that she's been dreaming.

Nasuada kneels by her side, lips moving with frightened questions, honey-gold eyes wide with concern. Arya looks up, the black eye-paint smudged, green eyes nothing like emeralds as she cries.