note #1: pandora hearts © jun mochizuki.
note #2: first edited 08/26/11. second edit 05/14/16.

Sharon is never growing up.

She is like Peter Pan, frozen in her own brittle youth which cuts like the jagged edge of broken glass. Has a million dresses, Sharon does, and she wears them like a queen and a lady and sometimes she still thinks when I grow up I will

Except not really. Because how could she forget? Sharon is nevernevernever growing up —will stay small and narrow-hipped forever—, and so one day her heart will stop and she will watch God's face (there must be a God, she thinks, because without a God, without a final peace, what is out there? Why do we bother? She talks to him,

to God,

thank you for today it was very funny, and sometimes pleasepleaseplease just a bit but it's like he can't hear her or—) she will keep wearing the same dresses and she will never have wrinkles in the corner of her eyes, she will never get laugh lines, she will never get married and she will never be a mother and she will never, ever be a woman. She is just going to be Sharon—

—Sharon, who drinks tea at any hour and says "Welcome back" when Break jumps through the window and smiles kindly at everyone and talks with Emily and helps Alice and comforts Oz and listens to Liam—the one who stays unfalteringly steady when everything else gleams with heavy tired sadness. She doesn't regret her decision because a woman has to make a choice once in a while and then walk with it, head high, chin proud, the click of her shoes like gunshot. And Break says she's a woman even though she can't wear a woman's dress and she is never going to be a mother, she is never going to tell a little girl or a little boy do you want some tea, darling? and—

Sharon is not regretting. She is not. It's just, sometimes, Break—

(it's break's second life. with another name and another heartbeat and another memory and another eyes but it's his second life, and sharon knows and isn't it time already for a family and warm sheets and she doesn't—it's not what she was hoping for—is this body that doesn't grow, doesn't change—)

She doesn't regret her choice, but she wishes she could make Break happy. Happier. Instead she drinks tea, fixes Break every day. She waits for time, but it smiles—softly, sadly—and doesn't touch her. (Such a beautiful child, it says, but Sharon has the bones of an old woman.) And Break kisses her, only a kiss, nothing more, and it's clumsy lips and a hot tongue and such caring hands—

I'm a woman. It doesn't look so, because—because of power and shadows, but she is—she is. In her heart there are burning embers. In her mouth there are knives. Sharon's skin retains its porcelain glow and Break's posture is terrible with the weight of years but it works, somehow, delicate and precious, and she never says anything she never asks anything and he always comes back. A woman's charm, her mother calls it.

(Sharon knows God is listening.)