For a few seconds, just imagine - DarachCaitlin

The sky is pink, the teacup is broken, and the lady has summoned him to her chambers. Head half bowed he wonders how he might serve her today. She is a dainty figure reclining on her velvet couch, far more beautiful then the finery that surrounds her. Her lip pulls up slightly in recognition, fingers clasped, eyes pleading, entrancing.

"We will play Imagine today."

Carefully concealing his surprise he replies,"If that is what you wish my lady."

"We will play!" she snaps, voice sharp but lacking anger. Her eyes start to shine as they did when battling, bright like stars and fervent. "We will play."

She gestures, and he takes a seat on the couch. He holds himself stiffly, and the foot long distance between them seems to stretch and expand.

"Let us imagine a girl," Lady Caitlin begins. "Her name is simply Caitlin. She has no other title."

"Lady-" he entreats, but falters at her enraged look, fearing lest her content blue eyes storm. "Caitlin." The name, uttered so reverently sounds vulnerable in the imposing room without its two syllable prequel.

"Imagine a boy too, his name is Darach.. He has kind eyes that hide behind precise glasses, with nimble fingers and glossed back hair." He shifts uncomfortably. "The girl often wonders how he would appear with his hair natural and his clothes not formal. It does not matter. Still, the boy and the girl have known each other for many years and the boy always tries to protect the girl."

"I do not think this is proper," he murmurs, reaching up to straighten his bow tie, an old nervous habit.

She raises her slender hand and clasps his, placing it back in his lap. "We are just imagining," she assures him. "This boy takes care of the girl when she is sick, and worries when she grows tired and even battles for her because she is unwell. The boy always defends the girl, even when he needn't." Shame flashes through her eyes and she adds, "The boy is better then the girl." He opens his mouth to counter energetically, but is once again silenced by a fleeting motion of her head. "The girl is selfish and prideful but the boy cares about her despite her flaws. And so girl realizes she cares about the boy."

He looks at her then, look at his lady, a young woman who hides her heart behind practiced motions and her curtain of rippling hair. She sits there, still, and the pink bows in her hair make her seem all the vulnerable princess. So maybe he is the boy in the story after all, always trying to protect her, because it is he who repeats. "We are just imagining."

Sadness crosses her face and she nods stiffly. looking down, she brings her knees up against her chest. He watches in alarm as silent sobs shake her body and the fragile ornaments that line the room begin to shake.

"Caitlin," he whispers tentatively, tilting her chin up to meet his concerned eyes and catching her in an awkward but earnest embrace. In his arms, her walls tumble down leaving a girl made of both glass and steel, sharp but breakable.

The sky is the color of a fairy tale dreams and in those few brief seconds they both pretend that what they imagined were true.

Then the sun sets and reality returns and the valet closes the door.