Title: mother, child
Czeslaw/Ennis, implied Firo/Ennis

When Ennis takes his hand, Czeslaw gives it without putting up a fight. He lets Ennis help him into his clothes, lets her put his cap on his head and steady him as he steps into his shoes. If he falls and clumsily knocks his teeth against her collarbone, make no mistake. It is no accident.

They walk together in the streets of New York, hand in hand, brother and sister from different fathers, mother and child in another lifetime. Ennis is more liberal with her smiles, now. Czeslaw returns them with meekness, the kind fashionable for a young, smitten admirer.

He does not think of Ennis in all purity and perfection, not like a child would. He thinks of Ennis as Firo thinks of her, Ennis with her bony shoulders, the hollow of her white throat. He wants to do more than smile into her skin with what little innocence he can feign, wants to let his teeth scrape past the line of her jaw, the curve of her ear. His tongue curls in his mouth, involuntarily.

It is impossible in this body. Czeslaw can feel the disparity in their height all too keenly. Their minds, too, perhaps, but he is a better fit for her, better than Firo, who is still young, still fresh-faced, still bold.

Ennis buys him gelato from the Italian ristorante, and Czeslaw strokes her knuckles with his thumb, lingers until his arms tire too quickly. Ennis smiles on.

He must content himself with this.