A/N: Written for the kink meme. Hints of Mia/Regina, but only if you squint sideways.
A Star in the Sky
Mia loves the circus; the fact that she keeps returning is a definite indication of that. So every few weeks or so, she leaves her student at the office, telling him to read some of the books lining the shelves behind her desk. He only smiles at her, and asks if one day he can come to the circus too. She only tells him maybe, maybe once he's passed the bar, then dons her hat, gloves and coat to get ready to go to the Berry Big Circus.
It's for silly reasons that she doesn't want Phoenix accompanying her, she reflects, as she takes her seat in the stands, snow cone in her hands. She only bought it because there was no line. After all, who buys snow cones in the middle of winter? She's been here so many times she knows all the clown's jokes off by heart, but she knows that no-one comes here for the clowns, or even the acrobats.
Mia thinks that most of the people come here because of her. She is the Ringmaster's daughter, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Regina Berry. She's an animal tamer, and although Mia must have come to this circus fifteen times or more by now, Regina's routine is never exactly the same twice, but she does often does put her head in the lion's mouth every time now. Although Mia knows that Regina's a professional, it never fails to make her heart start beating a little bit faster.
Before she knows it, the show's over. Her snow cone is mostly uneaten, starting to melt from the body heat of her hands. She picks up her handbag and gets ready to leave; she never lingers after the show is over, after all, there's always next time, isn't there? She's a busy woman now, running her own law firm and overlooking her apprentice. Even when she's not busy, she dedicates every spare moment trying to discover what, exactly, happened to her mother.
So, she's not entirely sure what makes her stay that night. Maybe it's the thought of going back to her office only to find Phoenix asleep, head propped up on an open book (Would he ever become a proper defense attorney, at this rate?). Maybe it's the thought of going home to her own dingy apartment, dreaming of the look in her mother's eyes the last night she was in Kurain.
She's outside now, chilly wind nipping at her face as she tightens her muffler around the neck. Regina is leading the lion outside now, hands running softly over its mane. Mia resolves only to watch from a distance; the girl is as beautiful offstage as she is on it.
"Hi there!" The voice cuts through the winter night, and Mia is startled out of her silence, wondering where the interruption has come from. Are Regina and the lion coming closer, or is just her imagination?
No, it's certainly not her imagination. The girl really is leading the lion Mia's way, and she struggles to find anything to say and then she finds both girl and animal standing in front of her and Mia realises that at some stage, Regina has replaced her stage whip with a simple baton. She cannot help but feel a little nervous. She knows that Regina's a professional, but can she really control that lion without a whip?
If the girl senses Mia's apprehension, she doesn't comment upon it. "So, did you enjoy tonight's show?" she asks, bouncing on the balls of her feet.
The best answer to such a question, Mia knows, is the truth. "I sure did! I especially enjoyed your routine," she adds honestly, and Regina's eyes sparkle.
"Really?" she asks, standing on her tips of her toes, resting the baton underneath her chin. "I'm glad, Léon and I practiced really hard."
…Léon? Mia wonders, and then it comes to her. Ah, she must be speaking about the lion.. They fall silent then, Regina looking up at Mia expectantly, Mia struggling to find something to talk about. To hide her struggle, she takes a tentative nibble of her snow cone; the imminent brain-freeze is almost immediate, causing her to blurt out, "What it's like, being an animal trainer?"
Regina laughs and Mia wonders if she's asked a stupid question. Often novices ask her what it's like, being a lawyer, and Mia never knows how to give a succinct answer. Does she talk about the role of a defense attorney? Does she offer her opinions of justice? Of the legal system?
"I've been an animal trainer my entire life, Miss…" Regina answers happily, and Mia fills in the blanks for her.
"Fey. Mia Fey. Attorney at law." She holds out a hand, wondering if a handshake is indeed appropriate for the situation. At least she manages to resist the urge to unpin her badge from her lapel and show it off, like some rookies were wont to do.
She does not expect the lion to raise its paw to meet her hand, but it does, an almost baleful expression on its face. Mia tells herself it's just a lion; can lions even express that wide range of emotion? She draws her hand away carefully, unsure if any sudden movements will startle Léon.
Regina laughs again then; when she does so, her voice sounds like the tinkle of bells. "Léon's just being friendly, Mia. I think he likes you."
Mia pauses then. Does she want to befriend a lion? Regina looks thoughtfully off to the side for a moment, before turning back to Mia, her smile larger than ever. "So, what's it like being a lawyer?"
It's the question she dreads, but she can't ignore it, not when Regina's looking at her, eyes large and pleading. "I defend those who have no one else to turn to, in the hopes that they can have a fair trial in our justice system."
Regina ponders this, her hand returning to stroke Léon's mane again. "So, you're like a guardian angel to those in need, huh? Except, you're not dead."
Mia smiles then, but it's an awkward smile that doesn't sit on her features properly. Of course she's not dead; how else would she be standing here speaking with Regina? Spirit channelling her mind helpfully offers, but it's not like Regina knows that Mia can commune with the dead. Mia is, and will be until the time she dies, a defense lawyer.
"I know it sounds sort of weird," Regina continues, her face looking thoughtful again as she ponders the night sky, "but Dad always told me that Mom became my guardian angel so she can look out for me wherever she is. I dunno though, sometimes that just doesn't make sense. If she can always see me, then where she is hiding?" She looked down again, back into Mia's eyes. "I guess guardian angels can exist among the living though. Maybe Mommy's not really dead."
The conversation has become bizarre, even to Mia who is used to spirit channelling and brain-numbing legalese. She had known that Regina Berry was young, but it had turned out that she was even more innocent than she looked. Guardian angel? Mia wonders to herself. No-one should think of a defense attorney as such. At their worst, they were humans who were just looking out for their own interests. At their best, they were just humans trying their hardest to make a difference. She takes a much too blatant look at her watch, and exclaims, "Oh, look at the time! I have to go."
If Regina is offended, Mia doesn't notice. Instead, she just goes, "Well, it was nice meeting you, Mia Fey! I hope you come back to the circus someday. Do you want to pat Léon before you leave?"
Mia looks at the lion. The lion looks back at her. Carefully, she places her hand on its mane, but she is too afraid to move them. "I come here every few weeks," she admits.
"See you later, then!" Regina farewells, and before Mia knows what is happening, the girl has hugged her tightly and given her a quick peck on the cheek. Mia knows better than to see it as anything more than a friendly gesture. "I'll keep an eye out for you next time."
Guardian angel, huh? Mia wonders as she walks back to her office. It is the role of a defense attorney to look out for those in need, but she couldn't exactly claim to see what was going on no matter where she was. Or was that the part Regina had been implying was beside the point? Maybe she would ask Phoenix about it later, if she remembered. She's still holding the snow cone, and just remembers to throw it into the bin.
To her surprise, her student is still awake when she enters her office, despite the fact that she has returned late. Phoenix looks up as she approaches the desk, and Mia can see the bags under his eyes. "The exam's five months away, Chief, and I'm…" He looks down at the book spread open beneath him, unable to complete his sentence. Instead, he starts a new one. "I waited up for you to come back; I have a few questions to ask…"
Mia pulls up a chair, and sits next to her student. It seems that trips to the circus are over, for the next few months at the very least. Once he passes the bar, Mia resolves, she will take him to the circus: her treat.
Regina keeps an eye out, but she never sees the beautiful woman ever again. She can't help but feel a little disappointed, but she's starting to learn that sometimes people don't keep their promises, or sometimes, people play jokes which they think are funny, but they're actually not. She'd sneezed fifteen times today, thanks to Bat and his pepper, but luckily he knew not to play his tricks on her during a performance.
She scanned the crowd again that night, but no-one looks familiar. It's winter again, and Regina has to accept the fact that Mia Fey is not coming back. Then again, Mia has a busy job; being a guardian angel and all.
Regina hasn't spoken to her father yet about that, about how guardian angels can see everything. But surely it makes sense that the sky is the only place someone could see everything from, so next time Dad talks about her mother, she'll tell him that Mom is a star in the sky, always looking down on her.
Regina wonders if everyone who dies becomes someone's guardian angel; another star in the sky. However, when she looks at the night sky, Regina can't see Mia, even though she is right in front of her. After all, Mia Fey isn't dead, she's just a lawyer.
She doesn't know that on some days, if she had just looked a little closer, she would have seen Mia too. She doesn't know that Mia Fey, guardian angel for those in need, is now a star in the sky as well.
If Regina had known, then she wouldn't have needed to worry about Mia missing out on her circus performances. After all, a star in the sky can see everything.