Pandora's Box

Summary: Every rose has its thorns, every bud must wither – but the seed of hope is one that refuses to be trampled, and will survive the harshest of winters. The pitch-black rose will set into bloom once more. Semi-Faithshipping, mostly Psychicshipping

Rating: T

Notes: Just a short ficlet trying to get alchemy references out of my head before they drive me mad. Written while I'm supposed to be doing French homework. No excuses.

Aki dreams in colour, and chaos.

Her face is composed behind the familiar weight of the mask, while stems of virginal roses – untainted petals barely peeking past protective green – clutch at her arm and draw blood. She feels herself smile. The pain is beautiful, and around her the world is white and pure.

Ahead is the face of the Martyr; behind, the lyrical crooning of a Dragon, temptation fuelling his song-speech. Don't think, he is telling her. Just feel. His voice curls into her mind and frees her from inhibition.

Lifting her right hand, the stems curl closer. The Martyr calls out, shocked into motion. Too late. She peels her mask away, reveals her true face, as the Dragon's song swells behind her: Do what you feel is right, my Jeanne d'Arc. My Lady of Roses.

The Martyr screams as thorns gouge into his flesh – oh, oh, such rapture! a smile spreads across her face, vague and hazy. The stems around her arm shiver, and blood stains her pale robe, first pink, deepening to a luscious red. And now the rosebuds surrounding her advance into full magnificent bloom, their once-white petals throated with a luminous blush. They, too, deepen to red.

The Martyr reaches out to her, his cold blue eyes burning. Unnatural. Foolish. As he reaches out, the thorns dig deeper, ever deeper, and he kills himself with his struggles. Her robes continue to darken to a deep, hellish red bordering on black. The Lady's smile drives mortals mad for love of her, and her beauty only grows. Never diminished, never tarnished; she is the rose, the flower and the thorns, virtue and vice, mark of the Murderer. A bird once killed itself upon her thorns, and tainted her with its blood for eternity. Now another bright bird is impaled. The Martyr. Fudo Yuusei. Stardust cannot save him now.

It is done. The Martyr is dead. The Lady turns to face her Dragon. His eyes are bright and golden—his power is at its zenith. He extends a hand to her.

And she will take it, and they shall descend to hell.

And they leave a world burning in their wake.

Reality is rendered in greyscale. Only in dreams can she see the colour, but that's alright. Because it's in dreams that the Dragon waits for her.

And he will call to her, be the ray of warmth that pierces through the winter in her heart. He shall coax the pitch-black rose into bloom.

Because he is—

—the Dragon is…