a/n: Originally written for SMACKDOWN 2011, on Fief Goldenlake.
Verse I: Tris
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This looks familiar/Vaguely familiar...
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She misses Summersea.
She misses her family.
But at the same time, Lightsbridge is... well... the library dwarfs even the duke's, even the small section of Berenene's that she's seen.
Rosethorn hated the place, but Tris's magic is tied to living things only through Briar, and the flicker of green beneath her eyelids when she thinks of him. The absence of the familiar doesn't itch at the back of her head, like it must have for Rosethorn; she cannot ever be fully separated from both earth and air, and Lightsbridge tries neither. She discovers this on her very first day of exploring.
She finds the wind on the roof. Breezes race along the lines of her braids, the sleeves and skirts Sandry made with such patience, and presented to her, with a sniffle, back in Summersea. Tris hates touching others, but Sandry had felt so sad that she let the future Duchess spring on her and give her a hug.
She searches a bit harder to find softly rumbling earth, in the basements - former prisons, actually - of Lightsbridge. The long line of stairs are irritating, but it's worth the effort. A line of cold iron bars line the corridors, and the metal ores, far, far beneath the basement, sing as they melt slowly into the mantle. She remembers Daja's gift: a charm to help disguise her abilities, her reserved, calm smile, in perfect counterpoint to Sandry.
No. Despite all she misses, despite all that isn't there, for Tris, Lightsbridge has its moments of nostalgic familiarity.
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Almost unreal yet/It's too soon to feel yet...
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When Tris was ten years old, she dared not imagine going to Lightsbridge. It hurt too much to know all the expectations she failed to fill, and she refused to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her tears.
It's difficult, despite her months of planning and preparation, to believe she now attends classes there.
The expectations of her two families, she finds, are shockingly different. She doesn't know for certain, of course, what her blood family would think, but she imagines they'd be pleased she attends Lightsbridge's hallowed halls. She wouldn't have hesitated to announce her decision to them.
But Sandry, Daja, Briar... they were shocked, when she told them, in Narmon. She now has enough distance to appreciate it's because they were outraged, on her behalf, for her need to work to be normal. They were outraged at the implication that she wasn't perfectly fine as the irritable, unjoking person she projected.
What feels most unreal to Tris (though Sandry just shakes her head in exasperation when she expresses this sentiment) is not just their sentiment, but that, despite it, they still help her prepare to blend in. She can't help the faintest, barely-there smile at her new clothes, her metal charm, or the shakkan in the sunlit corner of her room.
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"You should try and make friends."
It is, Tris thinks, far too easy for Sandry to say this; she would not be nearly as eager, if others responded to her like they do to Tris.
It's her first night at Lightsbridge. Tris is in her dormitory, legs crossed and attempting to meditate. The other girls are still at dinner, attempting to socialize; she has the room to herself. Everything would be so much more productive if her foster-siblings would stop squabbling. Finally, she snaps, "Why should I give them the chance to say no?"
There is abrupt silence on the other end of the connection. Sandry is shocked; Daja is reserved.
Finally, Briar says practically, Why'd you change your name then?
Tris, Daja says, No one knows who you are.
(She did not expect Daja and Briar to interfere with her business, but apparently Sandry is very convincing.)
Didn't you want to be normal? Sandry presses.
And she has the chance to now. Incredible to believe, but she'd almost forgotten to shrug off Trisana Chandler's personality.
But the truth is, though it's too soon to feel yet... she enjoys Lightsbridge's roofs and basements. Maybe she won't mind the people who populate it either - as long as it's not in too large a dose.
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Close to my soul/And yet so far away...
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Her first night at Lightsbridge, Tris dreams of Summersea, and the family she left there.
They're working. Sandry sits in the center of the dining room, a circle of red cotton thread enclosing her in a magical bubble at which Chime scratches ineffectually. Fabric forms beneath her fingers, and hints of gold and silver shimmer in the weave.
Briar has brought his plants there as well (though Tris is pleased to see that, per her snapped instructions, he's spread a cloth to keep falling dirt off the table) and is busy grooming his miniature trees.
They're speaking, smiling and bantering, and laughing as Daja's wry comments float into the room from the direction of the forge.
She cannot stop the wave of affection from rising at the sounds of their voices, the sight of their faces, because this is a dream. In dreams, you're allowed to show affection without embarrassment turning your cheeks red, and the unpleasant distance separating them is forgotten.
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This looks familiar
Almost unreal yet
It's too soon to feel yet
Close to my soul
And yet so far away
I'm going to go back there someday
- "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday" (Verse 1), The Muppet Movie
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Everything changes when she wakes up.
The morning after her first night at Lightsbridge, and after a vivid dream about the family that's not there with her, she's ready to feel her distance from Summersea. She was too distracted before, but now...
From beneath the neckline of her nightgown, she fishes out the charm that Daja made for her. Well, she says Daja made it, but in truth, the entire thing was a collaborative effort from before leaving Summersea.
Now, she feels a pang, looking at the woven pouch that holds the small medallion, and the string that keeps it around her neck. Briar grew the flax for the pouch, the cotton for the necklace-string; they'd all gathered briefly to see Sandry finish weaving them into a pattern that would keep the magic of the charm from being detected.
Then Daja had brought out the medallion, living metal on copper, and one of the finest pieces Tris has ever seen. Tris and Daja had worked on that together.
Looking at the charm, Tris feels their support, but now she also feels, just as keenly, that the people who made it for her are so far away.
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