The Soul's Mirror
« on: July 24, 2020, 03:34:45 PM »

The woods crackled around them. The snow was like a fine powder, dust that turned to mist when they walked through it. Vanishing into the seams of their boots and melting against the thick soles. It was the ice that weighed heavy on the boughs. Trees groaning softly as they froze.

Kirsi looked up at the spiderweb of branches reaching toward the slate sky. Not a single cloud. But no sunlight either. It was eerie. But the sky was not what chaffed. Her hands working beneath the silver bangles at her wrists. First one and then the other. The metal would part with the press of a clever button, but could she do it? Kirsi wasn't sure. Attention drawn by the pressure of eyes on her.

Wide blue eyes, so much like her own. She looked down into them. It was this gaze she worried about. What these eyes would see. What this boy would think. Kirsi smiled at him, kneeling until the snow melted into the dirty knees of her trousers. But now they were at a level together. "Don't be afraid." She asked him, careful to keep the begging from her voice.

Solemnly, more solemn than any boy his age should be, Rias nodded. Kirsi's heart ached. Turning away, she broke the seal on the bracelets. Inside the hollow silver bands, the web broke. And with it, the illusion that shadowed her features fell away.

The changes were subtle. Most unseen. The true horror of scaring still hidden safely beneath her clothing. Drawing her hair behind her ears, Kirsi let him look as she drew the strands of spidersilk free of the bracelets. She could refashion them into something to help them all. There was still power from her Red imbued in each strand. She watched him while she did it. Eyeing him from beneath the fringe of her lashes.

He was looking at her. The thin slash of his mouth twisting. His bottom lip was his father's. Not at all like her own, which was bisected by a scar. Testament to the tender place it had split; too many times to count. His eyes traced her features. Focused on the scar that broke the curve of her right eyebrow. He could have fit his finger in the space. Or gone fishing with the silver hook that swept across her eyelid.

Spidersilk clenched in her fingers, Kirsi met his gaze. Their eyes were mirrors. And so were their souls. In him, Kirsi felt something more than kindred. "Is he dead?" The boy asked, a darkness in his serious gaze and a hardness in jaw. Kirsi understood the question without thought. The black widow in her understood the warlord prince in him. Blinking, she smiled.

"Yes." She whispered. She never had admitted it out loud. And even now, she didn't say it all. But they knew. "He is."

"Good." Good, he whispered back, sharing in the secret. His hug full of fierceness as he flung his too skinny arms around her neck and hung on tight. "Good."