A/N: For lark!
Characters/pairing: Black/Lyra, Black/White
Genre: Angst/romance
Summary: This isn't a love triangle. White doesn't let her. — LyraBlackWhite
Rating: T

Sometimes, she dresses a little sharper, pushes her feet harder into the ground so that the heels really snap; sometimes, it's not chapstick but full-fledged lipstick on her lips, shocking red drawing attention away from the frustration in her eyes. In those days, Lyra plays her cards like it's an all-in: she never folds. She gets asked to dance five, six, eleven times, and she refuses twenty before they stop asking. It's satisfying to know that she's a magnet for love affairs, but what is it worth? Even though she tries to pull his eyes onto her deck, Black doesn't raise the stakes, because he doesn't care for the prize.

So they're at this giving-award-dinner, something only the top of the top can attend to, and she has an unfortunate meeting in the bathrooms.

The real battle rolls out: in the midst of powdering their noses—because that's all female trainers know how to do, they learn how to look good in front of a camera—White downs her glass like a sailor and bares her teeth at Lyra in a flimsy cover for a smile. She isn't wearing make-up. She doesn't need to, Lyra realises with a turn of her stomach. They exchange pleasantries in bored tones, and soon after that White's glass is, somehow, full again. It isn't champagne.

Lyra walks out with something heavy in her chest, and it's only when she meets Black once more—charming, sweet, perfect Black—that she realises she forgot to fix her makeup. Her lipstick is all over the edge of her glass, not on his cheek; it takes her a while to accept that it won't ever be there.

White bumps into her and apologizes with a smile, takes his arm into hers and steals him into the dance floor. Black says goodbye with an ecstatic wave and promises to return soon, but Lyra knows he'll lose himself in White's languid curves. The classical music drowns out the staccato when she walks, and Lyra has to trust her poker face when someone asks her if she's fine.

She doesn't know.