A/N: Thanks to Sifu Kristina (dailymantra on tumblr) for the inspiration!

"You used to have such beautiful hair, Elicia."

"Uh-huh." The teenaged girl looked up from the floor, where she was tugging on a pair of boots, to find her mother staring with glassy eyes at a picture of a little girl in a ribbony yellow dress and perky pigtails. "Mom," she groaned, "I'm not a kid. I can't believe we're having the conversation."

Gracia crossed over to her daughter and stroked her choppy, black hair between two fingers. "Elicia..."

"Mom, stop!" She swatted her mother's hand away irritably. Noticing her pained expression, she stood up from the floor and placed a hand on Gracia's shoulder. "Mom, it's okay. There's nothing you can do."

Tears sprung from Gracia's eyes. "I know. I just ... I just miss him."

"Oh, is that what you're thinking? That I didn't have a father figure in my life and that's why I look like this now?"


"I bet you think if he were still here I wouldn't be dating Victor either, don't you?"

"Your father adored you! He still would! But-"

"If only he could see me now, huh? If only he could see sweet little Elicia grown up and dating boys off the streets with ragged hair and black boots, right? I can see this all clearly through your eyes, Mom. Where did you go wrong? I was raised so well after Dad died, so where did you stray? I bet you blame yourself, don't you? What about me? Can you imagine me, being out with these guys, walking the alleys, driving fast with the windows down? Do you know why I do it? I can almost feel him, his disapproval nearly palpable in the air as we speed in the night. Maybe it's because I'm young, maybe it's that invincible thrill. But I never felt that with Dave, I never felt that on dinner dates. I don't do it in spite of you, I do it in search of him."

Her eyes were stony and cold and definite. She did look invincible, and Gracia tried to understand the kind of feeling her daughter described – infinite, fearless rebellion.

Elicia was not there in the room with her mother, she was somewhere in concrete space, somewhere where things was certain and harsh. It was a place tombstones gathered and people dressed in black, it was a place where little girls cried in confusion, it was a place of no answers and too much closure, and all that bound her there were here immovable feet and the thin thread of defiance that linked herself to the man who knew too much for his own good.