Title: Thorns in Her Flesh
Completed: March 2009
Summary: how Rosethorn became both Rosie and thorny
A/N: This was based off of the LJ community, 1sentence. You have 50 theme words and can dedicate one sentence to each. This is from the Alpha theme-set.
The farmer casually puts his arm around his daughter, bragging to the rest of the village: "Niva has always been my good luck; as long as she's on my land, life will be easy."
Niva's mother gives her a quick peck and long embrace, reminding her that there will be greater things to learn – beyond farming and gardening – at the temple city.
She spends her afternoons on the lawn in front of her dormitory, lying back in the grass and scolding the blades that dare to tickle her.
"Very good, Isas," the dedicate praises, while Niva shrinks lower in her seat; she had not known that answer.
"How do you know I kissed Lady Melina here?" Isas asks Niva as they pull up tubers; he has to choke back a laugh when she shrugs and replies: "they told me – they have eyes, you know."
Niva sits with Isas, listening to the raindrops fall with great splats on the hostis leaves, when he takes her hand and whispers "I like you more, though."
"They have more elaborate meals here at Lightsbridge," Isas says smugly, seeming more in his element as he sips the rich, decadent drink that had always been too expensive for Niva.
She smirks to herself, seeing the cross expression on Isas's face and hearing everyone wish him better luck the next time around.
"There's something – someone – powerful in the Mire; I can feel it – like here a sound that's far away, distant," Niklaren confides upon her return to Winding Circle.
"The Air dormitory wanted to know… if you could supply them with corn," Isas scowls, aware that she's thinking of his miserable attempts to plant crops.
"Crane?" Niva asks with a laugh; she'd always had a love of birds.
"Call me Lark," the willowy girl says with a dark, secretive smile; when she holds her hand out, there is a strange sensation rippling through Niva's stomach.
"What kind of name is Rosethorn for Niva? It's so—"
"Perfect," Lark fiercely interrupts Dedicate Initiate Crane.
They use Rosethorn's green habit as a blanket when they make love in her garden the first time, and the plants wrap their tendrils around Lark's ankles, enjoying the pleasure that they, too, receive.
While untangling the vines from Lark's limbs, she blushes and caresses the darker, more muscular leg.
"They don't grow properly—"
"Because they're in your garden, you prissy, meddling, full-of-yourself bag!"
The letter in her hand shakes and her voice trembles as she tells Lark, "there's no need to send tomatoes home anymore."
Her mind learns to become the Willow Queen and she can feel herself taking root, flashing through the ground in a quest for water- for life.
"Air controls the weather, weather determines the plants' success – so becoming an Air dedicate made more sense to me than Earth," Crane whispers into her hair, answering her long-wondered question.
"Your heart should not feel torn," Dedicate Moonstream begins, "it should feel blessed for being able to find in two people what most cannot find in one."
With time, her days and weeks take on patterns: mornings in prayer, evenings in bed – the only variation seems to be whose bed, and how many prickly conversations fall between meditation and sex.
"It's a ridiculous glass monstrosity," Rosethorn scowls as she gazes up at the glass ceiling; she rolls over so she is on top, and can look down at him instead
Lark takes her fingers in her own, wrapping a satin ribbon around them both and knotting it playfully with a coquettish, "now you are mine."
Rosethorn can taste the honey on Lark's tongue as their mouths meet and they explore one another, always finding something new in the familiar.
"Love isn't a word that comes quickly to my lips—"
"I know, Rosie," Lark says, winding her arms around her lover.
"Dedicate Moonstream would like me to move into Discipline Cottage, and I would like you to move in with me, Lark."
"Of all the – who ever heard of a plant mage cutting his flesh on briars?" Lark asks impatiently, wrapping a home-made bandage around Crane's hand as Rosethorn snickers nearby.
"I need all the bandages you have," Rosethorn tells Lark, "because I've decided to take some salve and supplies to Urda's House – it's the least I can do to thank them for saving you those years ago."
As she drives the cart into the city, she hears a songbird twittering in a branch above; her heart beats faster as she thinks of Lark.
It is Longnight – her birthday – when she and Crane stand gazing at the heavens and she tells him that she's devoting herself to Lark.
His response is bitter and acidic, but there's a regret and a promise in his voice: she would always have a place in his heart.
And she knows that he will always occupy a place in hers, so she shoves him away with her barbed tongue and her impatience.
"There's no need to be apprehensive," Niko reminds her, "because change comes with every breath - and I have a feeling there will be so many changes in the near future."
She swears by the Green Man and Mila of the Grain that she's never met someone as prickly as this copper-haired girl with layers of stone built up around her heart, but then she catches a glimpse of her own surly face in the mirror and knows the truth.
When the boy appears later with tear-tracks running down his otherwise grimy face, Rosethorn knows that obtaining the shakkan – by any means necessary – was the right thing to do.
"If they're going to brawl about something, I'd rather see them defending the weak – or each other – than have them showing off their magic," Rosethorn sighs, recalling the arguments of her own youth.
"Trapping energy in crystals is an affront to the philosophy of magic, and I'm astonished the Honored Huath would have even considered it for a second!" she exclaims, thankful – for the briefest of moments – that he took such arrogance and stupidity to the grave.
She says she won't help Tris with the bird, but Rosethorn can't help checking in on the fellow and loves the familiar cheeps he seems to give only to her.
She gazes outside, where the children are feeding Shriek, and can't help – now that they're all healthy and pirate-free – grinning at the make-shift family they have become.
The boy's eyes are wide and he insists that he had nothing to do with the altercation, so she takes his side and berates Crane – she doesn't need to know the truth to defend her student from him of all people!
Showing Polyam how to apply the salve, she can't help but feel a surge of pride in Daja's work – and her kind heart.
She knows where the children are – up on the rood, gazing at the approaching rainstorm – so she doesn't even glance up when calling out: "Briar, the rain won't fall for another half hour, and this garden doesn't weed itself!"
After what seems like a lifetime in Urda's House, Rosethorn feels the sun's warmth on her skin and looks up to find sparrows darting overhead, under a span of the brightest blue.
In every imaginable place weeds are popping out of the dirt and the bushes and flowers are overgrown, so Rosethorn slips off her shoes and wages into the fray with a basket in one hand and pruning shears in the other; this garden will be a life-long project.
She opens her mouth to thank and chastise Briar but a strangled choke is all that come out, and she feels panic and dread overwhelm her.
It takes patient baby-steps to get through the front door while leaning on Lark and Sandry, but the light on her face is the sweetest reward.
They walk arm in arm around the temple wall, enjoying the cooler air and the low light from the moon hanging low over the harbor – and Rosethorn knows without words that Lark clings because she's remembering that she could have lost precious moments like these.
"We haven't had many moments like this for a long time, but I suppose it's easier to love something when you're reminded that it's fleeting," Crane whispers, stroking her cheek in the same rhythm as the ocean that crashes against the rocks beneath them.
"You have so much love to spread around, Rosie," Lark begins with a smile as her lover tugs on her short curls, "that I could hardly feel jealous because part of you cares for him, too – no matter how much you protest."
Her body spasm in sheer delight at the combined sensation of fingers and tongue, and a small moan escapes her lips while her eyes clench shut – yet a million stars are visible to her, and the bursting of fireworks are a visual representation in her mind's eye of all the physical and emotional joy she feels.