Prompt: Thousands of roses


Elissa stared at the old, dried rose, her fingertips touching the wrinkled petals.

"What are you looking at, my love?" Alistair's cheerful voice came over her shoulder. "Oh."

She managed a smile. "We were so very young, weren't we?"

Alistair pulled her against him, kissing the top of her head. "It wasn't that long ago."

"And yet..." Elissa stood straight, out of safety of his arms, and walked toward the shut door to the room they never used and never spoke of.

"Elissa—"

"Yet it has been a very. Long. Time." She opened the door to the royal nursery. Dust motes swirled in the air; sheets covered the cradle, the rocking chair, a small table. New—never used; never needed, but always wanted.

Alistair came up behind her, rubbing his hands on her arms and shoulders. He pressed a gentle kiss to the side of her neck. "It is alright my love—"

"No. It isn't," she said softly. "This room is... empty. Forgive me, I... need some fresh air." She whirled away form him, skirts rustling against the stone floor, leaving her husband and the empty nursery behind.

#

The next day, Elissa laughed as Alistair gently tied a scarf around her eyes and pulled her to standing. "What are you doing?"

"Hush. You'll see."

Bursting with curiosity, but willing to let Alistair go through with whatever he was doing, she allowed him to lead her to the palace. She could tell he was trying to be a little sneaky, leading her through a few unnecessary turns, doubling back a couple of times, but she still knew where they were and stiffened.

"No, Alistair, please. I opened it earlier this week—I have no desire to see it again, ever."

She felt his fingers reach up to cup the side of her face, his thumbs rubbing against her cheeks.

"Do you trust me?"

She swallowed, nodding against his hands.

"Then, open your eyes." He untied the scarf around her head.

She inhaled a shuddering breath, expecting the familiar, hollow scent of the dusty, unused nursery. But to her surprise, she smelled—

She opened her eyes. The nursery had been... changed. Where before was darkness and cobwebs, now lay warm, inviting sunlight over freshly whitewashed walls whose bright cleanness only accentuated what must be thousands of roses of every different color. They covered every surface, spilling out of the chest of drawers, laying on the table like a thick blanket. Someone had even spread their petals underfoot. And, in the cradle, lined with fresh blankets, was a single red rose, much like the one he'd given her so long ago.

"Alistair..." She couldn't say anything else.

He leaned toward her, resting his forehead against hers. "I need no one else but you, dearest Elissa. You are and will always be, my rare and wonderful thing in the middle of the darkness of life."