"see here, the lion hearted girl"

Genre: Romance
Rating: PG
Time Frame: Post-Novel
Characters: Jane/Rochester

Summary: "It is bad luck to see the bride before the wedding."

Notes: The forth in a series of uploads this evening, done for a Shuffle Challenge on another site. When writing flash fiction, how can one stay away from these two, I ask you? Aparently, my muse was caught before I had a say. And, that said, I do hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: Nothing is mind, but for the words.

"see here, the lion hearted girl"
by Mira_Jade

"It is bad fortune for the groom to see the bride before the wedding."

Jane said the words without thinking, the syllables spilling from her lips when she caught sight of him from her mirror; her hands stilling from where she was fixing her veil atop her head. Following her words, her wince was sharp upon her face, but he was blind to it - as he was blind to all about him now.

"It is indeed a great fortune, then, that I cannot see you," he responded in kind, taking her slip of tongue, and smiling at it. The expression was a jagged slash upon the craggy planes of his features. "For, surely, such ill omens are the last thing we need after the path we have taken to find ourselves here."

She felt her mouth turn up at his words, agreeing through her silence. He walked into her small room, following where he had first heard her voice from. His eyes were glazed over, the brilliant shade of them lost for a milky countenance – and still, the shade was bewitching to her. He bore scar tissue above the one eye – the eye that the doctor said he may never see from again, but the other was free of blemish. The physician had said that he may someday see shadow and shape from that orb again. She prayed for the swiftness of that day.

He stopped before where he thought her to be, his blind eyes searching even though they had no sight to give him. Still, his body acted out of memory, out of routine. The first time he reached for her hand, he missed, his remaining hand catching only air. Jane stepped forward to meet him, and he did not have to seek for her again. She was there, finding him halfway.

He was silent as he held her hand. His mouth worked as if he had something he would say, but was unsure how to word it. She tilted her head in return, waiting. For rare was it that he chose his words so; never having feared their weight or blow. She let him his moment, ever patient.

"I wish to know what you look like," he said then. "I remember you attired in bridal finery once, from before . . . but I wish not to draw from those memories. Please . . . as best you can," his voice faltered, his request was uttered, and yet he was unsure of his phrasing and her compliance. "I wish to know what to my eyes should have known when God gives you to me by both his law and man's."

She felt something deep inside her twist at his words. Gently, she rubbed her thumb over the back of his hand, knowing that he would not be able to see the sympathy in her eyes. The love and determination upon her face. Touch would have to be a tangible read of her emotions for now.

They would make this work, she decided in that moment, setting her mouth in a determined line – feeling her heart beat lion bold against the form that did so cage it. She had spent her tender years building up worlds in her mind. Her childhood had been nothing but castles behind her eyes – dreams and worlds unseen that she escaped to when the reality around her was quite different. In the year that followed, it was those worlds she strove to express through her paintings, her dreams, and her meager hopes for the future. Now she held her dream in her hands, and it was in her power to paint his vision with her own.

She breathed in deep. Upon her exhale, she said, "I am wearing white."

"So I would hope," he snorted, his fingers tracing playfully against her own. "For a moment I thought that you would wear that awful brown frock you know I do not care for . . ."

Jane rolled her eyes at his teasing, moved his hands so that he could feel the satin of her sleeves. "I wear white, so do not tempt me further to change," declared she. "My brown frock is quite comfortable, I'd have you know."

"Mischievous imp," accused he, his scarred face twisting fondly.

She did not counter him, instead continuing. "The shade is more ivory than white. I was able to talk the dressmaker from the jewels you insisted on, and there is ribbon and lace instead," she took his hand, and drew it along the front part of her bodice – letting him touch the simple stitching; the elegant fall of ribbon, the cool cast of pearls. She took her time, drawing his touch over her bridal finery, explaining the ruffled fabric that trailed behind her, and the veil that hung about her face. She explained the dark cast of her hair, how it twisted, how it turned. She explained her bouquet – let him touch the petals, trace the thorns.

In the end, he could only say, "You unearthly creature, how you must even outshine the moon adorned as you are now," and mean it down to the marrow of his bones. Jane felt the compliment rest behind her heart, the heat rising to her cheeks as she inclined her head. Simple, plain Jane, with such an attachment to behold. Such a love gifted to her. How the girl she had been would have laughed at the possibility of such a future, even with all of her fine hopes and dreams.

She held his hand still in hers, an anchor to the drifting wave of him. Always she was ready to be so.

"Jane," he whispered, her name falling from his lips like a prayer. "Jane, my Jane."

She stood on the tips of her toes, and brushed a kiss across his closed eyes. One, then the other. "Yours, always yours."