1. quality or state of being innocent; freedom from sin or moral wrong.

2. from legal or specific wrong; guiltlessness: The prisoner proved his innocence.

There was rain pressed against her clothes, her skin, her beautiful dark hair. Aria Montgomery hurried along the sidewalk from the cinema, cursing herself for not watching the weather channel and bringing an umbrella, and even more so for making her mother leave her there so she could walk home.


She balanced precariously on her heels, running along grey slate as the rain pattered around her angrily. Her hair, wet and dark, was plastered against her forehead as she hurried along. A grey Impala passed by her, slowing to a lurching halt as it drove by her. Aria stopped, froze, an irrational thought running through her mind. ('A'? Should I…?)

The irrational thought was dashed away by Ezra Fitz's handsome face, and the opened passenger door of a grey Impala.

Aria Montgomery was a very mature person. She had seen much. She'd been involved in her own affair of the heart, of the soul. She had to keep her own relationship secret. (She's like her own father in that aspect, and the thought makes Aria's stomach drop to her feet and her heart freeze and her blood boil with a slight anger.)

She tries to swallow Ezra's rather… odd cooking without making a face, and they talk about poetry and literature and the introspection of innocence and maturity. (And the symbolism of mockingbirds and the strange implication of sin.)

He smiles, and acts as if what they're doing is not wrong at all.

Aria presses a kiss to his lips and it is so soft, so loving.

Aria presses a kiss to Noel's lips, and she thinks of her English Teacher and the fact that he has… dropped off the face of the planet.

She glares at Byron Montgomery and tries not to realize the fact that they really are a lot alike. Her father smiles and talks to her, acting as if she hasn't seen him shoving his tongue down another woman's throat. They really are too much alike.

They're both in illicit relationships.

And they're both sure of what they want.

This thing they have, is so wrong. But Aria loves Mr. Fitz. She loves him more than she could ever hope to love Noel. They've got the same love for music, the same passion for literature.

(For mockingbirds and that sliver of innocence pressed between the pages of her novel.)

Noel knows something, realizes something's up, when he walks in the doorway of the classroom. The way he stares at Mr. Fitz makes Aria's skin crawl with something she cannot place, and the way Ezra stares back reminds her of an angered, provoked tiger. Those dark eyes hardening with a sheer coldness she couldn't have expected out of him.

"Do you want to ask me something?" His voice is dark too, like sin, the absence of innocence and Noel retreats with Aria hot on his heels.

She spins the Carnivale wheel, staring at the back of Ezra's head as the teacher passes an overjoyed blond a giant, goofy Teddy Bear, shooting the excited teen a rare smile that Aria hasn't seen since he confronted her with A's messages.

It's an innocent smile.

(And yet, what they are doing, what they have been doing, is the exact opposite of innocent.)

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