A/N: Yes, I'm quite shocked myself that I was actually able to write a non-Pirates of the Caribbean story! lol But I still love Sparrabeth MOST, so don't worry ;) I just finally watched Atonement, and I also started reading the book, and felt like writing something in this fandom :)

Disclaimer: I don't own Atonement.

Flare

The flowers looked wrong. The chaos of the arrangement was not sufficiently natural, and she was not happy looking at both the flowers and the vase. There was no connection and no matter how many times she tried to create it, everything always ended up going awry leaving her with the incomplete reflection of the image she had in her mind.

The flowers needed water, and she would go get it, if only-

She grabbed the vase and whirled around, pursing her lips at her sharp reflection in the mirror. Her hair looked wrong. Or the mirror was wrong, as always. There was also too much light in the room, the colors were too bright, and she refused to feel cheerful.

She was not happy. Slightly dizzy, that was all. It was the sun and the hurry, and a thousand confusing thoughts running through her head.

She would just walk past him. As she did so many times.

Pushing the door open, she emerged from the house walking too fast, running across the conveniently familiar scenery, the perfection of which, however, terrified her. It was unfamiliar, that feeling of lightness, of brightness, of sunlight everywhere.

His silhouette made her stop running, and she took a deep breath before deciding to speak.

A meaningfully meaningless words flew, and of course neither said anything right. It was so difficult to speak. All sentences seemed clumsy, and she wondered if he felt the same way...

Surely not.

And then the vase.

Water was not as cold as she expected and for a moment she wanted to stay under the surface to avoid his stare. He was most certainly going to laugh. How entirely inappropriate.

Much more inappropriate than stripping off her clothes in front of him. Of course.

No. She was not a coward.

The sleeves were wet as soon as they touched her skin, and she was not sure why she even bothered dressing.

There he was, looking away. Of course.

Of course.

And he almost apologized. Almost.

Well, she did not give him a chance to apologize. That would make her feel even more ridiculous. He really should know better than-

She felt a sudden urge to turn around and run back... or at least see if he was looking at her retreating figure... as if he did not see enough of her already.

She snorted humorlessly under her breath, and then, almost outrunning her own thoughts, risked a glance over her shoulder.

He was not looking at her, but leaning over the fountain instead.

She frowned in puzzlement, certain there were no more shards in the fountain left.

Turning toward the house, she decided to see if she would be able to fix the vase with the broken pieces she had collected. If there were any other pieces, he would surely bring them back to her. After all, it was his fault that the vase was broken.

It was all his fault.

She sat the vase on the table and looked at the shards in her hands. His fault. All of it.

The vase was broken, and something within her was breaking as well; something she might not be able to fix.

The thought was dreadful, new, fascinating... She wished she knew what it meant.

As she fitted the broken piece against the vase she did not even realize there was a smile hovering over her lips, the rays of sunlight wrapping themselves around her fingers...

There was too much light in the room, the colors were too bright, and she could not help feeling utterly cheerful.