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 If I Could Have It Back, Kai :: Nic
Gerda Ingrid Nordskov
 Posted: Aug 2 2017, 10:15 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (36)
  • The Snow Queen
  • Nordheim
  • “Oh how the hills were laughing. How the creeks they cried. How the grass would cheer on. As we passed them by.”
Skylark


IF I COULD HAVE IT BACK, ALL THAT TIME THAT WE WASTED, I'D ONLY WASTE IT AGAIN
YOU KNOW I'D LOVE TO WASTE IT AGAIN
Four years. It had been four years since then.

And now without warning, this business appears. Without warning, he returns.

Four years. Such a long time to wait, such a long time to idly grow. From nineteen to twenty-three, from standing on the verge of adulthood to falling headfirst into it, Gerda had blossomed.

She’d grown, stuck in this small village with the neighbours she knew. The ones who happily bought her healing tinctures despite the suspicion they still held of her. The druid girl whose secret they’d never spoken of in more than whispers. The girl with the painted hands and the bright red hair. Who busied away in the home she used to share with her aunt, peddling medicine from the back doorstep. Laying her healing hands on whoever needed it.

Aunt Tora had left Perouges, an older woman now. Travelled back to the refuge who’d taken a little girl named Ingrid in all those years ago, and given her a home, security in a new life and a guardian until she was grown. They’d raised her, they’d given a second chance to live again as Gerda Engström. It had been a bittersweet farewell. To lost the woman who had become everything; the woman who’d given up a decade of her life to raise a stranger. Tora who had gifted her a new name and a new life with it.

I’ll think about it. She had said to him. That girl on the verge of something wonderful, that girl who’d hesitated at the vital moment. Scared by the rattlings of terrors whispered in her heart.

That girl on the little rooftop garden, teetering between what she desired and what she feared.

The young woman runs her fingers delicately along the ornate objects. Vases and bowls and plates and sculptures. Glass. Every single one made by his hand. Fragile and beautiful just like his ice sculptures had been.

Her green gaze flickers up from the shelf as she rounds its end, eyes falling on the creator. He is looking her way too. A polite smile lifts on her lips as her hand falls gradually to her side. Their gazes part ways.

Gerda had never thought she’d see him again. Resigned to a quiet life, a safe life, of moving on from him and living forever with those horrible ‘what if’s. Kai. Her heart skipped at the sight of him...and easing her stranglehold on her magic, she could feel his jumping along with hers.

Say it. Just say his name.

“Kai.”

+Tag: @Nic
+Notes: Okays so I decided to throw this up bc they're cute and not (quite so) dumb and together *so much app rummaging*
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Kai Nordskov
 Posted: Aug 13 2017, 06:15 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (34)
  • Snow Queen
  • Nordheim
  • “I can't help this awful energy. Goddamn right, you should be scared of me. Who is in control?”
Nic


We were just children, with our eyes opened, and you were all that I could see. You came close enough to know my heartbeat, but still not close enough for me —
Four years. Four whole years in the dark, wandering this god-forsaken country with his younger sister in tow. Four years of carrying his demons, the guilt, the sorrow, the burden, the fear — that crippling fear that he wouldn’t be enough, that he couldn’t give his sister what she needed, what she deserved. Four years until he finds the strength to stand up and do something about that pain in his chest. Four years until his stepfather is out of his life and he feels the storm clear, until he can breathe again. Four years until he’s finally free to resign himself to a new life, a peaceful life.
Four years of believing in nothing.
Then she comes back in his life with her hands, her steady painted hands that marked her as a target. Hands that with one touch could calm his own shivering ones. Hands that, now, trailed delicately over his work. As delicately as it had once trailed over his own forehead when he had hit it trying to impress her. Hands that he had dreamt about holding again ever since that fateful day four years ago. It felt like a lifetime. But here she was and she was as radiant as he remembered. Her eyes find his and he convinces himself that she doesn’t recognize him. How much had he changed in those four years? Four years of running, four years burdened with death, four years speckled with necessary evils done in the name of survival, four years of festering hatred, sorrow, grief, and regret. Does she even remember him? Would she believe him if he said he never stopped... He tells himself to look away, to remember those words he whispered to his sister the night she tried desperately to understand how their father could do such a thing, how their mother could have said those last tragic words to them. “Love makes fools of us all,” Kai had told her. She believed him; he believed it too. How strongly they had both held onto that dogma for self-preservation. Love makes fools of us all. And maybe he was a fool, still, for her. For Gerda. For the girl with the red hair and the painted hands. For the girl who, without a word, could speak to his heart. For the girl who he had loved — still loved. “Kai,” she says and his hammering heart skips a beat.
He hasn’t been this happy in a long time.
“Gerda.” His lips spread into a smile he cannot even begin to hide. How happy he must look. Love makes fools of us all. And here he was again, a fool for her. He can’t even find the words to say. A tentative step towards her, then another, then another, until he can look into those green eyes and know for sure that there was some recognition in it, some happiness, some long kept hope that this day would come again. (And she would see it too, reflected back to her in his ice blue eyes.) He laughs softly at himself, struggling to find the words. He had dreamed of this moment for so long. Now that it was here, he didn’t know what to say. “It’s good to see you again.”
tag: @Skylark notes: * already deliriously happy for these two *
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Gerda Ingrid Nordskov
 Posted: Sep 1 2017, 07:15 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (36)
  • The Snow Queen
  • Nordheim
  • “Oh how the hills were laughing. How the creeks they cried. How the grass would cheer on. As we passed them by.”
Skylark


IF I COULD HAVE IT BACK, ALL THAT TIME THAT WE WASTED, I'D ONLY WASTE IT AGAIN
YOU KNOW I'D LOVE TO WASTE IT AGAIN
Kai. There, she’d done it. One second of brilliant courage. A barely audible sigh passes from her lips, a breath of relief from deep within her lungs to hear the sound of her name on his tongue once again. It still sounded the same, even after so long.

Four years and oh how easy it was to fall back in step with him.

The corners of her mouth pull back into an even wider smile, one which reaches right into the twinkle of joy in her green eyes. One she searches for in his own, one she finds. That simple but monumental pleasure of being here again, with the one soul which had always been effortlessly in step with her own.

She felt it, this shift; a turning. Like these past few years had truly been as stagnant as they seemed. Years of her future waiting to come, years in which her life was on hold in this tiny village in a ruined kingdom which fell an entire age before them. Her future had been there, just out of reach, waiting for just the right moment to begin turning again and show her the answer she truly always knew laid in her heart.

(Here it was. That future. She’d turned it down once, would she do so again? What would she do now? This girl of second chances.)

Gerda stands still as he closed the gap between them, her eyes following him. Her gentle laugh joinging the air with his as the sheer size of all that time and all that remained unsaid pressed between them. Where on this earth did one start again from here?

It’s good to see you again.

Well, that was one place…

Her smile tilts, rising into a smirk at their own expense. How odd to be so without words now. (Where had those two children gone? The ones who hadn’t fully realised what stood beside them.) “It is good to see you too.” Gerda echoed with a soft accompanying laugh, her tone one of gentle politeness. “How have you been? Have you been keeping well?”

She sees a whole other lifetime when she looks up into his face. A lifetime she had been rescued to live, one the universe spared her and only her for. Her second chance. Her best friend. The one who had offered to be so much more, turned down by the those terrified whispers of a little girl who’d once lost her entire world...only to be gifted another.

Her mind stretched back to that day on top of their childhood playhouse. On the rooftop garden in the pouring rain. Surrounded by the plants she tended so lovingly, stood on the hideaway he’d built so diligently for them both to share.

What were they doing, standing here exchanging pleasantries like two strangers?

“What are we doing?” Her words echoed her thoughts exactly. “Come here.” And without another word, or indeed waiting for his answer, Gerda’s arms are already wrapped around him. Much taller than her, her head rests against his shoulder as it always did in his embrace. Her eyes sink closed. “I missed you, Kai.” And they open again as she lets that confession free.

Her green eyes falling on the window which stood opposite. A pale reflection flickering into life within the panes of glass. The view looks down, upon the winding path which led out through the heart of the forest. The raindrops fall about her, bright red hair wafting into the corners of her view. Hands raise themselves up to the heavens...but there he is, that young man on the path. The one she had been waiting for. He slips, slips on his own ice and the picture in the glass tilts as the young woman rose and began running. Through the lush green of the flowering plants and-

And Gerda can’t help but smile at them. A small gesture, one so startlingly self-consciousness in just being there. As her eyes flicker back to Kai from the window she’d brought to life.

+Tag: @Nic
+Notes: *actually dying of happy rn*
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Kai Nordskov
 Posted: Nov 8 2017, 10:48 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (34)
  • Snow Queen
  • Nordheim
  • “I can't help this awful energy. Goddamn right, you should be scared of me. Who is in control?”
Nic


We were just children, with our eyes opened, and you were all that I could see. You came close enough to know my heartbeat, but still not close enough for me —
It’s been a long time. He’d lost so much. Family. Hope. Love. Time. They’d lost so much time, Gerda and he. So much time and so much of the bond that they once had. At least, that’s what Kai thought when he first spied her red hair enter his shop. But standing in front of her now, being this close to her again, looking into her eyes again, her smile again, her laugh again. Could they have really lost it all? Because everything Kai had given up on seemed to return so easily. “I am.” He nods, not able to hide his own smile, much too broad for such a simple question. We are,” he corrects. “I’ve just paid off the last of the land. Business is..." he hesitates then laughs a little, "not a total disaster. Isolde got a job as a seamstress.” He rambled. There was so much, so much more he needed to tell her. Wanted to tell her. It was the same way he always felt around Gerda. It was so much like those countless days spent in their tree house in their own little world. Gerda always was the first person Kai wanted to tell anything. But just as he was thinking, “What are we doing? Have we really become strangers? (How could they be when baring his heart to Gerda was as natural as breathing.)” Gerda had already spoken his very thoughts. She closes the gap between them and pulls him into an embrace. He hesitates for a moment. That once lost hope came back too. He loved her, still, and it hit him like a brick. The last time they had embraced, Kai had stripped his heart bare and confessed. But she didn’t return his affection. Maybe she still didn’t. (He didn’t know. He couldn’t allow himself to hope. Love makes fools of us all.) But in her arms, he is beyond moved. So long without a familiar face, so long without the face of his greatest and truest friend, so long without the comfort of the person he loved. He wraps his arms around her and holds her tight, afraid that she’ll slip away again -- afraid that she isn’t even real and this was just a vivid, cruel dream that will be taken away come the morning light. When she rests her head against him, he’s sure she can hear his heart beating (beating for her). “I’m sorry I disappeared... I’m sorry I disappeared without saying goodbye.” He hears his choked words, wracked with guilt and that age-old fear of whether he’d done right by the people he cared about. Done right by taking Isolde away from that wretched place. Done right by not seeing Gerda before that fateful night because if he had, he might have never left. He lifts his head (he didn’t know when it was exactly he’d rest it on her crown, breathed her in, lived in the moment when things were not as complicated as they were now) and sniffs, surprised at the tears brimming in his eyes. But it’s not tears of sadness. No. How can he be sad at a time like this? He brushes the tears away with a laugh. (It is the sound of wind chimes in winter. It hasn’t sounded like that in a long time.) And he looks at her, really looks at her. He feels so terribly happy that everything bad that had happened before became just a memory in the past — lost and irrelevant to what was happening now. This. This was what he had been waiting for, what he’d been working for, what he’d been struggling towards every day for. A chance to be happy and whole again. “I missed you too.” He notices the reflection in the window pane. A man with blonde hair and a woman with bright red hair. But they were much younger and they weren’t in a shop surrounded by figurines. No, they were in a forest; it was raining; their smiles then just as bright as their smiles in the present. He knows the scene all too well. (And everything else that came after.) “It’s only been four years but it feels so long ago.” He decides not to dredge up the pain of rejection and guilt of rejecting. And most of all, the delicate state they had left their friendship in. “Hey,” he dips his head to look her in the eyes; he gives her the same soft, playful look he always did when he used to catch her lost in memories long past. “What about you? What have you been up to?”
tag: @Skylark notes: why did we ever break them?!
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Gerda Ingrid Nordskov
 Posted: Jan 1 2018, 08:08 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (36)
  • The Snow Queen
  • Nordheim
  • “Oh how the hills were laughing. How the creeks they cried. How the grass would cheer on. As we passed them by.”
Skylark


IF I COULD HAVE IT BACK, ALL THAT TIME THAT WE WASTED, I'D ONLY WASTE IT AGAIN
YOU KNOW I'D LOVE TO WASTE IT AGAIN
Years stretched out between them and yet, stood right by him now, talking finally, it all came back so easily. All that time opening out before them both. As they passed this gentle back and forth between them, so unlike all those imagined conversations that younger Gerda had clung to. Years ago when her best friend had disappeared out of the blue without a word, of why, of if he’d ever be back. Of if she’d ever see him again. Years of part of her praying it had been nothing to do with her reluctance to return a love she knew she could no longer deny.

Years went by and she’d begun to think it hopeless. A more reasonable part of her took over and put those dreams away...and yet still she stayed right here, in this small village going nowhere fast. She grew older but still the same. And then here he was all over again, her best friend, the one who’d promised he loved her and disappeared into the night. Right back on her doorstep.

“I’m glad to hear business is doing well.” Gerda commented politely, saying all the right things as she knew to do. As she would with any other stranger, any other acquaintance, and not this man whose heart she knew so intimately. At the mention of his business, she can’t help casting her gaze quickly around his shop again. Eyes lingering on the delicately crafted glass pieces. A work that seemed to fit Kai so beautifully, she couldn’t help but smile at the sight.

“Oh, and I’ll have to speak with Isolde at some point then. I have a few old dresses that really needed replacing years ago.” She turned back to him with that brightness still in her eyes and more light conversation passes her lips. Her words, though true, were so painfully irrelevant compared to all she truly wished to say. Compared to how much she wished to drag him into an embrace here and now. “Money’s always a little tight. But there’s only so many times you can repair these things before you have to admit defeat with them entirely.” She smiles her way through more ramble about make do and mending. Tucking a strand of her red hair behind an ear.

It was too much to bear, standing there like strangers. When she still felt just the same about him as she had those years ago, no amount of time she felt would dissolve how close they’d once been. Gerda closed the gap between them and pulls him into an embrace she freely and lovingly gives. One she’s ever so glad to feel him returning. She’d always felt safe here, with him. Like the world was just a little more right and a little more certain with Kai. Her head rests against his chest and she breathed him in. This figure from a childhood not long dead and now clearly still breathing. A part of her thinks he smells just the same. The rest of her is too distracted by the steady rhythm of his heart behind his ribs.

She heard the choke in his voice and her heart bleeds with it. Gerda quickly grabbed her magic and forced it down, down into the deep part of heart where it wouldn’t ruin her thinking. She looked up at him, desperately wanting to say whatever it was that would ease his mind. “It’s alright. You’re here again now, that’s in the past.” Forgotten about, she means, but truly knows it never would be. Not how he left her without a single word, without a promise to return. The one thing that seemed to anchor her in this life she should never have had.

She needed to stop living so deeply in the past, Gerda had long ago learnt so. What harm would it do to focus on the present now? When the present saw Kai back with her again. What a miracle it had truly been, that she had chosen to wait here and stagnate for so very long…in the hope…

Her worried eyes watch as he wipes away tears yet to be shed, seeing what they were in the laugh which followed. Her own accompanying it just after, any attempt made to focus on the sheer relief her heart was beating with. And blink away the tears which would join his at the mere sight of Kai’s tears welling.

“I missed you too.” Gerda only holds him tighter. As if it were in her power to keep him from leaving her again. Just as everyone had, just as some part of her felt everyone was destined to.

“A lifetime...” Her voice doesn’t sound like her own, so far off, wistful. A lifetime and yet equally, it felt like no time at all now he was here. Like this was what she had been waiting all this time for, in this same old village, all that time which had passed seemed to disappear in a instant now. It felt like nothing at all. Four years of the same monotony of getting by and smiling through it. Praying thanks each day that she still had days to live.

Kai moved his head to look at her and her eyes immediately find his. Cut off now from the scene still dancing in the window panes by the sight of his expression once more, Gerda snapped from the memories.

The figures fade and slowly die in the reflection of the glass.

She laughed gently, not really at his question but at the so very dull answers she had to it. “Well, I’m still here. Four years in the same old Perouges. I’ve been getting by, like we always do here. Peddling tinctures out the back door like the whole village isn’t already in on my secret.” Her smile falters for a moment. Falls. “Aunt Tora, she left. Last year, she left to return to the commune. Once she was finished raising me, her job was done.” Gerda desperately tries to keep a stranglehold on the loss still raw in her heart but fails. It bled into her voice, as pained as the day she wished that dear woman goodbye. “I keep thinking maybe she’s out there somewhere else now, giving a second life to another lost little girl.”

Through Tora’s kindness, her sacrifice of a whole decade of her life, Ingrid had been given another chance as Gerda. A new home, a new family, and hopefully a new life with it where she would be safe from the poison in this rotted kingdom which would still see her dead.

She’d lost Kai’s love and then her best friend altogether. The woman who had become her only family had left not long later. For a while now, Gerda had been alone again. For the first time since that dreadful day, she’d been alone. In this village which sought her for her healing gifts but still kept her at arm’s length out of suspicion.

She’d been getting by, making enough money to live off and whiling away her hours with whatever she could to keep her hands from being too idle. Surviving. And for a soul such as she, a druid born and raised, a child of the earth, when times were hard, she knew just how to make a living from the gifts of the nature which still thrived on these islands whose governments had fallen centuries before them.

Gerda felt those tears pricking again and tried to drag her mind back to the present. To Kai. She rests her head on him again, her forehead pressed against his chest. Hiding her face as she says it. “I’ve been a fool, Kai.” Her voice breaks and Gerda heaved a breath that carried with it all the weight in her tired heart.

“And I’ve had years to realise just what a fool I was then.” Her lips speak of regret. And her heart weeps with relief that maybe, maybe now, it no longer mattered.

+Tag: @Nic
+Notes: Gerdaaa, whyyyy?
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Kai Nordskov
 Posted: Jan 31 2018, 10:46 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (34)
  • Snow Queen
  • Nordheim
  • “I can't help this awful energy. Goddamn right, you should be scared of me. Who is in control?”
Nic


We were just children, with our eyes opened, and you were all that I could see. You came close enough to know my heartbeat, but still not close enough for me —
“Most of the business comes through the back door.” He smiles knowing that Gerda understood just what that meant. “This is just for me.” He gestures at the shop full of intricately sculpted figurines, whether they were carved from ice or glass no one could truly tell. “And to anyone curious enough to look through the window.” His eyes flitted towards the window panes at the girl who peers inside; the curiosity in her eyes was plain to see, her courage to knock on his door steadily growing through the months but still not quite enough to actually do anything about it. The years stretched on between them as they exchanged pleasantries, filling the gaps of what the other had missed. It all sounded so mundane when Kai had recounted his, even if it meant the world that his and Isolde’s life had finally stabilized after years of violently drifting through one place to another, always one step ahead of the devils who hunted them in the flesh and in the mind. And even when Gerda speaks the old familiar name of their hometown, it sounds so ordinary. (Even when it was not. Even when that town carried so many memories -- more bad ones than good ones these days. So much so that he could not bring himself to go back. But would he have felt differently if he'd known that Gerda had been there all along? All this time?) The years were almost too unfathomable, too frightening, to face. Was she the same Gerda he knew in his childhood? Did she still raise her face to the heavens during spring showers? Did she speak to her flowers still? Were her hands still agents of the earth gifted with the infinite power to nurture life? Was she still the same Gerda he gave his heart to so long ago? One look, one smile, one touch and just like that the years and the distance melted away like ice on a hot summer’s day. In her embrace, he knows that all those questions had one answer. The answer he both hoped for and dreaded. Yes. (After all this time, his heart still belonged to her. A fool til the end.) Though he had made a good show of acting properly, he was overwhelmed with emotion. In his youth, it may have caused snowflakes to fall from the very solid, dry ceiling; or created tendrils and swirls of frozen imagery out of nowhere. But Kai had a better hold of his power now. (Partly from the years of expertly locking it away to ensure secrecy-- thus, survival.) His emotions did not spill out in waves but in the subtle sheen of the figurines twinkling around him; in the way the unshed tears pooled at the corner of his eyes and the laugh that formed on his lips. “A lifetime,” she breathes. “Nevertheless,” he begins, the steady cadence of her breathing lending its rhythm to his promise, “I’ll make it up to you somehow -- even if it takes another lifetime.” Gerda talks of Aunt Tora, the woman who raised her. Kai remembered her well. The knowing glint in her eye was especially seared into his mind’s eye. Aunt Tora seemed to always know things; she looked like she had it all figured out. Aunt Tora had been kind to Kai when his own parents were not -- could not be. She had been patient with him and stern with him when needed. But she never scolded him for causing snowflakes to fall from the sky, for tightening his cold, shaking fists until they turned blue, or, ultimately, for being himself. And though Kai had wished for his own Aunt Tora, and the older woman had always looked after him as best as she could, she was, as everyone knew, the neighbor who peddled tinctures from her backdoor. And Kai’s father never approved of such things, even if he did keep his mouth shut. “You didn’t go with her…” It was half statement, half question. Why? He didn’t get to ask because before he could conjure the courage to do so, Gerda had already rested her forehead against his chest, like she always did when she was too embarrassed to be vulnerable, but too vulnerable not to be. “I’ve been a fool, Kai.” “Don’t say that.” He wraps his arms around her instinctively, the urge to comfort her second nature to him. He doesn’t even know why she says it, doesn’t understand how she could think it, even for a second. “I’m the fool.” Love makes fools of us all. “...I still am.”
tag: @Skylark notes: rip me. gdi kai.

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Gerda Ingrid Nordskov
 Posted: Feb 10 2018, 11:45 AM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (36)
  • The Snow Queen
  • Nordheim
  • “Oh how the hills were laughing. How the creeks they cried. How the grass would cheer on. As we passed them by.”
Skylark


IF I COULD HAVE IT BACK, ALL THAT TIME THAT WE WASTED, I'D ONLY WASTE IT AGAIN
YOU KNOW I'D LOVE TO WASTE IT AGAIN
He gestured at the intricate handiwork, shelves and shelves of it, which surrounded them. Declared this figurines as for him and she smiles a knowing smile, understanding just what that meant. Just as her smile had lifted to reflect his own as Kai spoke of back door business; a life she’d lived since she was not long past twelve. Living in these small villages clinging to a civilisation long dead, surviving in a kingdom with no king, a country with leadership. These people with distrust programmed into their hearts as a means of survival, who would take their gifts but always look on them with suspicion burning in their eyes.

Gerda had seen that look for years. Ingrid had lived a short life surrounded by her own people, good, honest people of the earth like she...but Perouges had always been different. Hosting the last living remnants of a kingdom long ago fallen. Who took healing tinctures from an aunt and her niece with her painted hands, picked them up off the back door of their cottage without a smile, a polite whispered ‘thanks’ like they were too afraid to admit to this sin. Still existing in a nation that had once purged magic from within its borders like it was a plague on the world. A plague that was still festering; surviving just like everything else here.

Her eyes followed his to the window, at the girl peering so closely inside, her face a few centimetres from being pressed up against the frosted glass. “Looks like you might have some more custom soon.” Gerda joked in her gentle tone, voice barely above a whisper. Like she was trying to preserve the almost magical cadence of this moment. So fragile in her heart’s eye that a loud voice or wrong step might shatter it entirely. Leaving her alone once again.

She swore to him, in his embrace, that those four years had felt like a forever for her, admits to the lifetime in this stagnant life. Her heart spilling over despite how she tried so hard to prevent it doing so.

And in his arms, he swore back that he’d make it up to her. Somehow. And Gerda shook her on instinct. The girl forever doling out kindness who was too polite to accept it in return. Even now, perhaps, she still does not expect to see it returned. She laughed lightly, pleasantly, at the rest of his solemn promise, even if it takes another lifetime. “Be careful wishing your life away, Kai. You might end up stuck here too.” Her smile is one that is almost playful, Gerda tried so hard for it to be. But that is something stuck in her eyes that she could never mask. Not with this heart so desperate to borrow and share and feel that she had been gifted.

Tora, her ‘aunt’, she spoke of the woman who had done her fair share in raising her. As Gerda, as an Engstrom, in a life where she might be safe from harm. The woman who was that little girl’s only defence from the harm inside her memories that she could never escape from. Tora had given her the courage to speak again, her encouraged her heart to open once more to joys of this world, when it had once been frozen over in fear. She’d gotten her adoptive niece to accept a friendship she had been too afraid at first to desire, she’d looked after their friendship as best as she could. Tora had loved Gerda with a tolerant mind and open heart, a world away from those who had destroyed everything Ingrid held dear.

And Tora, in the end, had left. As everyone was destined to.

She tells him and he asks why she didn’t go too, a statement a little too afraid to be a question just yet. That boy and girl together again these years down the line. Gerda wished to tell him, explain the truth of why she’d been left alone in the village that had never quite felt like home. Less so now her own family had disappeared off too.

But looking up into Kai’s face, these years later, and something comes over her. For a minute, she couldn’t find the words and hid against his chest instead...a position so achingly familiar. She never liked to show a vulnerability, never liked to appear as anything but wholly together. It had been a masquerade from the start, but it was her. It’s how she’d always been. All at once broken, and desperate not to be.

She laughed at him, at them both, as he tells her not to say such things. But she was a fool, and only if he had her gift would he understand how painfully that was true. But Kai could not see inside her chest like she could his. “You don’t understand.” And it was not an accusation, not an insult, but a statement of the truth. Whether perhaps he was hiding it even from himself, his words suggested he hadn’t a clue. Gerda smiled against him, such a desperately self-conscious little gesture. Too afraid to even show itself.

Kai called himself the fool, lifting that title from her and placing it on his own shoulders like he’d always been quick to do. “Bless you, Kai, you still haven’t changed.” She whispered into him, loud enough for only the two of them. Gerda lifted her forehead from against him then, leaning into the weight of his arms about her as she leant away. To see his face once more. So her eyes could search that expression that was so wonderfully familiar. “Tora's place is at the refuge, looking after children like I used to be. She was always going to leave after she raised me and it was never my place to return with her, but it's her home. I just hope she's found another lost little girl to look after, or at least is enjoying a well-deserved retirement.”

She pauses a moment. Just watching him.

All her life she had adored security, to be surrounded by people to love and who loved her in return. Since the tender age of twelve, security had been all she yearned for. Some quiet corner of this world with a life free from the persecution that followed her people like a grim shadow. With people to love, even the one someone would be enough for her, a someone who loved her just as much in return. In their quiet corner where they could live and die in perfect ease.

Since the tender age of twelve, a fear had been struck into her valiantly still beating heart. A terror that she would forever been alone, just as she had been made alone that terrifying day. It was a fear that had once shut her heart up altogether, it was a terror that kept others’ at arm’s length. Around her smiles and kindness, but not quite close enough. Why should she let people close when they would eventually leave again? Why let herself love if they’d always leave her alone?

She was the fool. Or perhaps they both were...but maybe that too, wasn’t a bad thing? Maybe on this one occasion it was a relief to be foolish. To let her stranglehold on her heart slip entirely.

“I’m the fool for pretending I didn’t know.” The same girl who’d taken four years to think on it and left him with a kiss on the cheek and a promise to do just that, stood here and smiled warmly. The gesture for the first time since she’d seen him holding an utter confidence. “For thinking that I didn’t.” When she did. Oh, she did.

Reaching up from his chest, her hands find their way to cradling his face. “I’m sorry.” Her heart pounded with the apology, even with what came next. Gerda spared only a second before plunging towards what she’d denied them both. Lifting up onto her toes, and smiling as she let her lips press against his.

Her heart beats with that ecstatic mix of excitement, fear...and love. All the more one she denied herself. Her eyes have fluttered closed. A hand finds its way to the nape of Kai’s neck.

Four years since their rooftop garden. Four years since he disappeared indefinitely. Four years since she'd held him this close.

Her heart beats with it;
A fool. A fool. A fool.

+Tag: @Nic
+Notes: brb, dying over the wrecked ship rn <3
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SKIN MADE BY NIC EXCLUSIVELY FOR FIND THE RABBIT HOLE.