Yasu's first kiss hadn't been perfect- and it hadn't been at all what Yasu had expected.
She'd always expected her first kiss to be with Battler.
A naïve dream.
A fantasy she'd long given up on.
Jessica had been crying- her cheeks wet, leaving moisture on Yasu's fingertips as she cupped Jessica's chin. Yasu had moved slowly, nervously; afraid to touch Jessica even though their lips were pressed together- because what if it was another dream?
Yasu knew the kiss would surely hurt her. Reaching out for Jessica so selfishly with all that love in her heart and confusion in her mind would only result in pain.
Yasu was terrified of being hurt.
But she was even more terrified of feeling nothing.
Yasu had half-expected Jessica's body to fragment under her fingertips. She'd half-expected to blink- gasp- and open her eyes wide; and realize she'd been daydreaming again (she really did have an incredibly over-active imagination).
But... that didn't happen.
None of that happened.
Jessica didn't disappear.
Jessica's skin was warm and soft and undeniably real under Yasu's fingers; and Jessica's cheeks were still wet, her blonde hair brushing against the side of Yasu's face, and Yasu could smell the soft scent of Jessica's shampoo.
Jessica was real.
Jessica wasn't flimsy or built on promises- and the feeling of lips against lips in a soft kiss wasn't based a brief exchange of words between two smiling children almost three years ago.
Promises were light as air. They were easy to forget; and sometimes they slipped from your mind altogether, as a clumsy maid might drop a delicate teacup from between her fingers.
Promises were just words and feelings.
It perhaps just a little bit foolish they meant as much as they did to wide-eyed, innocent girls dreaming of 'happily ever after's- because promises weren't concrete or set in stone.
You couldn't cling onto a promise.
You couldn't stop a promise from leaving you.
But, when it came to people...
You could do that.
You could dig your fingertips against their shoulders- or run your hands through their hair- or press your lips against theirs (soft and shy and nervous, but kisses all the same)-
And you could make sure that people didn't leave you.
So Yasu clung onto Jessica even tighter-
Whilst the rest of her life seemed to break away from under her feet.
Shannon couldn't... keep anymore promises.
Shannon was simply too broken.
There was a hole in her chest where her heart should have been; raw and oozing and completely empty. Shannon's body had been consumed by a bitter, biting, love that stripped skin from bone and made Shannon cry into her pillow every night.
Yasu was going to keep her promise.
But Shannon couldn't.
It would break her.
It would break her even more completely than she already was; until she wouldn't even be able to stand.
"It's alright," said the white-haired witch, blinking at Shannon's slumped form from the top of her teacup. "You've suffered enough. I'll... take your pain upon my own shoulders."
"R-really?" Shannon asked; and it was a wonder she could speak at all when her eyes look so dead and limbs so stiff, her fingers held at her chest and her whole body trembling. "Y-you'd... You'd do that...?"
"Of course. You deserve to have a rest. You need to heal."
"H-heal?" Shannon eyes widened- her fingertips curling, unbidden, against the material of her shirt. "B-but... I-it hurts... It hurts so much..."
"That may be so- but you're healing already. Don't worry." Beatrice smiled; set her teacup down on its saucer with a light clink of china against china. "Nobody will hurt you again."
As Yasu stood in Jessica's room, her arms round Jessica's shoulders, her lips pressed against Jessica's own, she felt herself slipping away; her own emotions breaking up like waves on the shore.
It was strange, thought Yasu, that so many feelings could be born from pain.
And yet, with all that pain, came love as well; and whilst love would always, inevitably, spawn more pain, love could give birth to other emotions, too.
The witch of Rokkenjima's night with her white dress and white hair slowly began to change; her hair becoming golden (just like the butterflies that flitted through the tranquil universe where she drank her tea with other demons), her smile becoming more sinister, and her eyes becoming bright, bright blue- just like the ocean.
Love meant change.
And, whilst change could be daunting-
"Shannon," said Beatrice, idly coiling one strand of golden hair round her finger, "how would you feel about having a younger brother?"
-it could be wonderful, too.
Painful and beautiful; a contradiction- and an inevitability.
"Yes. He'd be somebody to keep you company. You won't have to be lonely anymore."
Life was born of good things and bad things; comprised of happiness and misery.
"And I think we can call him 'Kanon'. Is that a suitable name?"
You just had to mix them together.
And keep on moving forwards.
"Take a look at it. All of it. What do you see?"
Kanon frowned (or maybe, thought Jessica, he wasn't 'frowning' at all; because Kanon's default facial expression seemed to lie somewhere between 'apathetic' and 'disappointed'), looking out past Jessica's pointing hand.
Staring out across the sea.
His voice was monotone when he answered. "It's black."
Jessica sighed- pouted, folded her arms.
"No, you dummy," she chastised him, rolling his eyes. "It might be black to you. But when I look at it..." Jessica smiled. "It's bright blue."
"You sound just like my sister."
Jessica couldn't help but smile at that comment. If Shannon thought the ocean was blue, too- if Shannon could see, really see, just how beautiful the world around her was- then maybe Shannon had realized- finally- that she was a human, too.
Maybe- just maybe- Jessica had managed to save her.
Shannon wasn't 'furniture'.
Once upon a time Shannon had been broken; like a doll missing its eyes, a few fingers broken off- and her heart had been cold; closed to everything, and containing only a few faint memories of happier times and broken promises.
But Shannon wasn't blind anymore.
Shannon's eyes had been opened wide.
And she could see the sea was blue.
Jessica pressed her fingers against her lips, remembering that strange, tearful kiss from two years ago. Jessica had never discussed it with Shannon before, even though they were friends- because it was strange and awkward. Both girls had tried to push it from their minds; keeping it locked in a closed room to one side of their brain because it would have complicated things.
It would have complicated everything.
But Jessica didn't regret it.
Somehow, she was sure- though she didn't know how- that kiss had changed something.
Shannon was different now.
During that kiss Shannon had wanted something for herself; and maybe, just maybe, she'd become human.
Jessica liked fixing things.
She liked helping people.
And now she was going to help Kanon.
Because nobody deserved to live their life thinking the sea was black and the sky was grey- when there was so much beauty surrounding them, in almost everything.
Nobody deserved to be melancholic forever.
Shannon couldn't keep the promise she'd made with Jessica.
Shannon was too broken. Too fragile. And Shannon needed somebody like George- a gentleman who, like her, had been bent and broken by the weight of his own future, by the hands of his mother as she tried to mould him into something perfect (but no humans were perfect)- because he could fix her.
George made Shannon want things for herself.
And Shannon made George a better person; because Shannon's love (after all these years she still knew how to love; it was something she'd never forgotten) healed his wounds and made him realize he didn't have to be perfect after all.
He could be himself.
And that was enough for Shannon.
Shannon couldn't keep her promise- and she couldn't stay by Jessica's side forever.
But Yasu could.
Yasu could split her personality up again and again and again until hardly anything left of her remained- giving bits and pieces, and then huge chunks, to different people because she loved so much; and she couldn't focus her attention on just one.
She wanted to fix everyone.
She wanted everybody to be happy.
But real life didn't work like that.
It came with the good...
And the bad.
And you had to accept them both.
And keep going f
Yasu could only sit there, wrapped in the heavy dress that had once been Beatrice's, as she waited.
Waited for somebody to find her; the real her- not Shannon, nor Kanon, nor the witch of Rokkenjima's night.
Yasu waited for a brave person- a handsome knight- to uncover the lost, lonely girl at the center of all that love; who kept giving and giving until there was nothing of her left.
And Yasu waited...
For her prince to give her something back in return.
To take some of that love she'd pushed into the hearts of others- splintered off her body and placed in the beating hearts of incomplete people (dolls)- and give it back to her.
Everybody took from Yasu.
Nobody gave Yasu anything.
They took her away from her parents when she was a baby.
They took her family name.
They took her past- her present- and even her future.
And Battler, Jessica, George- all of them- took her love, too.
But Yasu was only human- and she was selfish- and she wanted something in return.
Yasu waited for her prince to accept every part of her, no matter how small it was, and gather the fragments of Yasu up in his hands; to give back what Yasu had thrown away so easily, and piece her heart back together again.
Yasu wanted her prince to look upon the broken, twisted, confused, conflicting, imperfect mess that was her straight in the eye-
And love her for who she really was.
The girl under the mask.
The girl behind the witch of the forest and the clumsy maid and the apathetic furniture.
Couldn't somebody appear who loved them all…?
Until that day came Yasu would wait, in that heavy dress and intricate hairstyle, for somebody to come and save her.
For somebody to save all of her.
Before she drowned under the weight of all the love she possessed, and all the promises she tried- so desperately- to keep clinging on to.
Because she knew she was going to collapse under the weight of her own melancholy.
a/n: Yay. I finished something else :D Rejoice?
Yeah, I just made Yasu female. I know Yasu's gender is ambiguous, but... Well... I didn't really want to call Yasu an 'it', and I didn't want to screw around with pronouns too much ._. I'm sorry if that bothers anybody XD
Anyway, a big thank you for all the people who read & reviewed, as long as a few people enjoyed it I suppose it was worth writing, and I hope you enjoyed it ^_^;;