Written For: cpt_azelas with love, prompt: dance for me
Type: food for thought
A/N: ok this proves why i shouldn't write fic at 3am, i get longwinded and philosophical. wtf.
"You seem tense."
Fran's head jerked to the side - no change of expression passed her face, so it was difficult to tell what she thought of the sudden intrusion on her privacy.
Penelo kept her distance, taking a seat close to but not exactly next to the viera, tucking her legs up under her. "I'm sorry. I couldn't help but notice; and I'd hate for something to be bothering you. If there's something I can do about it, I mean."
Fran smiled, touched at the genuine concern in the young hume's voice. "You care; that is help enough."
"Is it?" The young blond frowned, her eyes looking troubled. "...My mother always said - she told us that when something's bothering us, we shouldn't keep it inside us, or it will grow and fester and sour, even the best emotions."
"Your mother was wise," Fran murmured, though her face betrayed nothing of her thoughts.
"...Yeah," she breathed out, the concern in her eyes fading to a melancholy sadness. "...I wonder what she would think of all this... if she were here."
"I believe she would be proud." Fran's words held little truth in them, though, for they were simply distant words - as if platitudes could keep the truth away.
"It's hard to know how the dead would feel, about the choices one makes." Lost in her own thoughts, Penelo stirred the grass under their feet, missing the tiny moment in which Fran's eyes widened and her ears flicked, a sudden glimpse of emotion.
"...And if you had the chance to find out..." these words, suddenly, there was truth to them. "...Would you take it?"
"Yes," Penelo said, unhesitating. "Even if they didn't approve... I mean, I can understand if they didn't. They'd never left Rabanastre; not seen half the things I've seen in such a short time. They wouldn't understand. But still... that's part of life, isn't it?"
And suddenly... Fran was faced with a question she did not know the answer to. "...Is it?"
"Yes..." Penelo suddenly stood, then twirled about in a circle on one foot, her body curved in a graceful arc. "...It's part of growing up, I think. Everyone reaches a point in life where they can't just do what their family tells them is right... they have to go out into the world and find that meaning for themselves."
Fran blinked, looking down at her long hands, feeling the familiar play of magicks against her skin as the forest shifted around her - but her ears were dull and silent, stubbornly keeping the sing of the wood from her. But... if she listened closely, she could hear other things - the familiar pulse of Balthier's sleeping heart, the eerie keen of the dawn shard, echoes of the sky and the Strahl and the ocean...
And suddenly, a velveteen susurrus, caressing her ears, capturing her attention so fully it was a wonder she'd ever heard anything else. Her senses opened - the smell of Golmore and moonlight and Penelo, and another smell, intoxicating, a smell of movement and unconscious beauty, and of innocence.
She knew what her eyes would show her when she opened them, and that was how she liked it - her other senses first, though they had dulled over time and overexposure to a reliance on light.
The dancer moved, unaware of her audience, thinking Fran lost in her own thoughts - which was partially true, but those thoughts had come to a startling focus.
Innocence, Fran thought, and for the first time in many, many years, she thought of herself, and not a lack of it.
"And then..." Penelo's voice broke her train of thought, as surely as if she'd reached out a finger and poked her in the forehead. "...You go back."
"..." Fran said nothing, did nothing, but she knew that Penelo would hear the inherent questioning in her silence.
"You go back to the ones you've left behind... With everything you've learned. And you give back." The girl was still moving, but slower, now, swaying to an unheard melody than Fran's heart suddenly yearned for. "One day, we'll go back to Rabanastre, and I'll teach everyone all the things I've learned... Kytes, and Filo, and everyone..."
Innocence, Fran thought, but this time full of a wry affection. Such fairy tales are the idle thoughts of the young and naive.
But as she watched Penelo move over the steel paths, she could see three young viera girls, dancing to the music of the forest, unheeding of the time or their place in the cosmos or pirates or nethicite or wars.
Innocence. She took in in the scent of the dance, and breathed out the breath of the young and uncertain. For surely, if she was old as they say, she would have all the answers.
Better to be innocent, with no need for questions, let alone answers.
"I'm sorry. Are you okay?"
"...I'm fine. Thank you."
"Thank you? For what?"
"Oh? You were watching?"
"..." Fran smiled. "It was beautiful."
In time, most of us lose it.
But I'm hoping, just the same,
You'll shine and learn how to use it.
My hands hold you and you adore,
Blue eyes turn my direction.
Surprise in everything and your
Body moves in perfection.
Smile to me, like the very first smile.
You are magnificent when you're innocent.
Laugh to me, like the very first laugh.
You are from heaven sent when you're innocent.