doted dress

Breathtaking In Black

A/N : This one-shot is a birthday gift for the lovely @foofoocuddlypoopsgavesokkaapples .  Hope your birthday is pawsitively wonderful.  In the spirit of Marichat May, this is a marichat one-shot and it is filled to the brim with fluff!  Sorry it is so extremely long, but I couldn’t help myself! I really hope you enjoy it Nav!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY :)

P.S. I will most likely write a second part to this in the near future!

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The Halloween Ball at Collège Françoise Dupont was only three days away.  Marinette had been working on her costume ever since the ball was announced in Early September.  A simple short black dress with gold embroidery along the sweat heart neckline.  A single gold bell sewn in the center.  Black ribbon wrapped around the waist and hung down in the back to mimic a tail.  A headband with a pair of black cat ears sewn to it sat beside her sewing machine.  Marinette knew she wouldn’t be the only Chat Noir at the ball that night, but she was determined to stand out.  All she had left to finish was the gold embroidery on her matching mask and she would be ready.                                                                                                                        

Wearing matching ladybug and chat noir costumes was Alya’s idea of course.  Marinette was more than happy to dress as her partner rather than risk recognition so she didn’t dream of objecting when Alya called dibs on Ladybug.  Of course, matching costumes meant twice the work on Marinette’s part.  Across the room, hanging on her closet door was a high-low red dress with small black spots dotted along the matching sweat heart neckline.  Black spots covered the skirt and faded as they traveled down from the waist line.  A red mask with five black spots sewn on it lay on a nearby desk with a pair of red fingerless gloves.  Both costumes would be finished by the end of the night, completely on schedule.    

“You’ve really out done yourself Marinette” Tikki praised as she floated past the young designer.

“Thanks Tikki! I just really hope Alya likes her dress.  I know it will look spectacular on her.”  Marinette turned to examine the bright red dress hanging on her closet door.  Alya had always looked good in red.  Marinette was sure that the polka doted dress would compliment her best friend very well.  She just hoped that she wouldn’t look too plain in comparison.  She was very proud of her work on the Chat Noir dress, but she still wasn’t sure if she could pull it off.  She didn’t exactly have Alya’s confidence.  However, she was determined to impress at the dance.  She didn’t want to impress just anyone of course.  A school dance meant male classmates, and male classmates meant Adrien.    

“Marinette stop looking so hesitant.  You’re going to look amazing! I promise” Tikki sang as she did a small flip mid air.  Marinette smiled at her Kwami.  Tikki always knew exactly what Marinette needed to hear.  The teen took a deep breath, nodded at her tiny companion and sat down to begin the intricate embroidery on her mask.

Two minutes into her careful threading, Marinette heard a strange thump on her roof.  That could only mean one thing.  Chat Noir.  Her heart dropped to her stomach.  The hero had visited her quite a few times when on patrol and she had managed to become good friends with him without her mask.  But if he saw her dress, she would never hear the end of it.  She could already hear him teasing her over and over about her creation.

“Tikki help me hide everything! I can’t let him in with these dresses out in the open!”  Tikki grabbed the red mask and gloves off of the desk and flew into the closet.  Marinette followed after her with both dresses in hand.  She quickly hung them both up in the back of her closet and shut the door before spinning around to look up at her trap door.  Sure enough, a familiar knock came from the door and she began climbing up the steps to her loft.  Marinette opened the door to reveal a young blonde boy in a black cat suit grinning back at her through the darkness.

“Why good evening Princess” he said with a slight bow.  "I was on a nice patrol around the city when I realized that it had been quite some time since I paid a visit to my favorite civilian.  Hope you haven’t missed me too terribly.“  Marinette laughed at his theatric greeting.

"Don’t worry kitten, I missed you just the right amount I assure you.  Come on in.”  He thanked her and walked down the steps into her room.  Marinette followed after him and the two sat down on her chaise.  The two often sat there and talked for hours about their lives and their hobbies.  Marinette was comfortable with him around and she didn’t think this visit would be any different from the others.  That was until she spotted a small piece of black fabric with unfinished gold embroidery sitting out on her table.  Before she could act, chat had already spotted the mask and was on his feat.

“This mask is beautiful Marinette,” he marveled as he carefully picked it up to examine it closer.  "Do you have a special occasion coming up or is this for a Halloween party purrhaps?“  Marinette stared at him blankly.  Not only had she left the mask out, but sitting on the table beside it was her open sketch book with several drawings of the two dresses and the accessories spread across the page.  She had been using it as a reference.  Chat stared at her with curiosity when she hadn’t answered his question, but all his confusion was replaced with pure interest as he followed her gaze to the open sketchbook next to him.  

"No wait Chat!” she called as she stood up, but it was too late.

“Princess… are you designing a chat noir themed dress for Halloween?”  His grin grew wickedly wide as he spoke.  His eyes flickered from her designs to catch her gaze.   How could she have missed the sketch book?  "My dear I knew you were a big fan, but I never knew you were this infatuated with me?“  Marinette rolled her eyes and sighed before reaching for the book.  Chat held it up high in the air.  "Oh no, You are not getting this back until I hear more about this dress.”  

“Alright fine!” she gave in.  "If you must know, my school is having a Halloween Ball in a few days and my bestfriend Alya wanted us to wear matching ladybug and chat noir themed dresses.  I know how much she idolizes ladybug so I chose to go as you.  Now give it back!“  she stomped on his foot and jumped up to grab the book as he flinched in pain.

she smiled at her victory but stopped smiling immediately when she realized he hadn’t reacted to her swiping of the book at all.  He was just blankly staring at her.  Then his face lit up and the wicked grin spread across his face once again.  Marinette did not like that look.  She knew it all too well.

"So if the dance is only a few days away…” he hinted before turning quickly to face her closet.  "That means the dresses must be mostly if not completely finished and are most likely hidden in there.“  Her eyes widened and Chat took a step towards the closet.

"Wait!” she called out as she crossed the room and put herself between him and the door.  "I’ll show you the damn dresses, but you are not snooping through my closet" she demanded.

“Okay it’s a deal.”

“Not so fast.  There is one more thing.  I worked really hard on both of them.  And honestly I’m still really nervous about showing up to a dance in a dress I made myself so if you could at least try to control your urge to tease me I’d really appreciate it. ”

Chat dropped his goofy smile and placed his hand over his chest.  "On my honor I purromise that I will not tease my princess for her beautiful creations even if it may be tempting!“  Somehow she wasn’t convinced, but Marinette knew he would never leave without seeing both dresses.

"Alright, ladybug first” she said hesitantly before disappearing into her closet.  Chat went to sit patiently on her chaise as she went to the back of her closet to grab the hanger holding the high-low red dress she had designed for Alya.  Marinette backed out of the closet and slowly spun around to face him.  Chat’s eyes went wide as her examined the spotted dress held out before him.  

“Wow,” he breathed before slowly reaching out towards the garment.  "May I?“ he asked before Marinette moved closer to him.

"Sure.  Just watch the claws okay?”  He nodded in silence and smiled at her before lightly taking both sides of the waistline between his gloved fingers.

“You really have outdone yourself Mari” he praised.  "Honestly.  You captured M'lady’s aesthetic quite stunningly.“  He observed the spots that spread from the waistline and faded as they reached the ends of the skirt.  He knew designer quality clothing when he saw it and this dress easily surpassed many of the different designs he’d seen over the years.  "I knew you were talented Mari, but this really is beautiful work.  May I see the back?”  Marinette nodded with a light blush coating her cheeks.  She really wasn’t expecting him to give so many honest compliments.  She delicately spun the dress around so that he could admire the length of the skirt in the back and the black bow that would sit at the center of Alya’s lower back.

“This color will look fantastic on Alya.  I wish M'lady were here to see this!  She would love it I assure you,” he said with a sweet smile.  He looked up from the dress and his glowing green eyes met her sparkling blue ones.  He noticed the stunned look in her eyes and the light blush across her cheeks.  

Pink really was her color.  

He wanted to playfully tease her so badly in that moment, but he had promised.

“Thank you chat” she breathed almost silently.  Adrien was a little hurt to see her so surprised by his ability to praise her.  However getting to see her blush like that made it all worth the pain in his chest.   “Alright,” she said more to herself than to him.  "Now you can see the chat dress.  But do me a favor and close your eyes for me?“

Chat was intrigued to say the least.  "I think I can manage that,” he said with a nod of his head.  His eyes slipped shut and he released his delicate hold on her ladybug dress.  he listened to the faint sounds of her footsteps fading as she walked into the closet once again.  He heard the slight thud of her closet door closing behind her.  Adrien took in a deep breath and tried to calm his excitement.  He had meant every word he had said about her first dress.  It was obvious that she had put passion into every small detail of her work.  

The amount of dedication he had seen from her only made waiting more difficult.  She had been rummaging in her closet for several minutes, and he was beginning to believe she was just testing his patience.  Finally, his cat ears perked up as he heard the sound of a door knob turning and the door creaking open just a crack.

“Your eyes are still closed right?” she asked hesitantly.

“Of course they are.  Princess I never break a promise,” he assured her as he heard the sound of her foot steps slowly approaching him.  Her breath sounded shaky and her steps were very uncertain.  chat smiled lightly and whispered “Marinette you don’t have to be afraid.  I promised I wouldn’t tease or mock you.  You are an amazing designer and I am pawsitive that I will be blown away by your dress.”

Marinette took in a deep breath and smiled down at him.  He had been her partner fro two years now.  She knew he’d never lie to her.  "Okay kitty" she said as she took a step back from him.  "You can open your eyes.“  Chat’s eyes flew open as soon as he was given permission to look.  A few feet in front of him stood his dark haired classmate not holding, but wearing the most beautiful chat noir costume he had ever seen.  The gold embroidery on the neckline was extremely intricate and lead the eye directly to the small bell at the center of her chest.  He pulled his eyes away from her neckline with a light blush of his own before examining the satin ribbon tied around her waist.

Chat stood up and took a step towards her.  "Mari this is honestly the most beautiful piece I’ve ever seen you finish.”  His eyes traveled down to the ends of her skirt before flickering up to read her expression.  

Marinette was glowing.   Her blush had grown from a light rose to a bright magenta.  She had no idea why she felt this way.  Was it the honesty in his voice?  Was it the way his eyes had lingered at the center of her chest before slowly traveling down her body?  Her short trance was broken when Adrien reached out and gently took her hand  in his.  "Can you do me a small favor princess?“ he asked with his face now dangerously close to hers.  He held her hand up over her head and took a small step back to give her room.  "Do you mind spinning around for me?  Please.”  The low rasp in his voice was almost too much for her to handle.

Get a grip Marinette  she demanded in her head as she nodded and let out a hushed “Yeah, sure.”  She spun around one time slowly, holding his hand the entire time.  As she turned to face him she saw an expression she had only ever seen on his face when she had the mask on.

Pure admiration.

Their eyes met once again and the sweetest smile he had ever given her spread across his lips.

“You know I used to think pink was your color Marinette.  However it seems I was mistaken.  You look absolutely breathtaking in black.”

He took a step closer to her and their faces were dangerously close once more.  He was still holding her right hand in his left and he slowly brought it to his lips to place a tender kiss atop her knuckles.

Marinette was at a loss for words.  Normally she would playfully push him away with a sassy remark.  However, her mind had gone blank the moment he touched her hand.  She had never seen this side of chat when in her civilian form, but she was sure he had flirted with her many times as ladybug.  So why?  Why was this time any different?

While Marinette was silently self destructing, Adrien could not pull his eyes away from her.  Her growing blush was absolutely adorable.  He had never been able to get such a reaction out of her before.

And he liked it.  He liked it a bit too much.

“Can I ask one last favor before I leave?” he whispered, pressing his forehead against hers.  She blinked and forced herself to focus.

“Don’t you think I’ve complied with enough of your small requests for the night chat?” she managed to tease.

“I promise I will leave you in peace to finish your work if you promise me one last tiny favor.”

At this point Marinette would do anything to get a few moments to herself so she could clear her head.  she nodded and let a small smile grace her lips.  "Alright if it means I can have peace and quiet to finish the mask.  What’s your price kitty?“

"Save me a dance on Friday night?” he asked.

Marinette’s head spun out of control.  Chat was going to the ball?  He wanted to dance with her while in his civilian form!?  Only school students with invitations from the school would be allowed in.  A million puzzle pieces were flying around in her head as she desperately tried to piece them together.

“Well princess what do you say?”  His nose was practically touching hers at this point and she could feel his breath on her lips.  Come on Marinette just speak damn it she thought silently.  The puzzle pieces continued spinning around in her head as she blinked and attempted to form a sentence.

“T-that would be alright with m-me,” she managed to mumble.  Why was she stuttering!?  "The only problem is you need to be a student in order to be allowed in chat.“  She was sure this would cause his expression to change from playful to disappointed instantly.  However his smile only grew more devious.

"Oh I assure that won’t be a problem in the slightest.”  He took a large step back from her, breaking all physical contact instantly.  "I’ll be there so don’t you worry your pretty little head about it alright?  Besides, I want to see the finished mask.“  Marinette had lost all ability to speak as he chuckled under his breath and turned towards her door.  "What do you say Mari?  Is it a promise?”  He turned his head to look at her and she knew he was not leaving without an answer.  she took in a sharp breath and tried desperately to piece the words together in her head.

“Yeah.  It’s a promise kitty.  I will save you one dance,” she managed.  Chat appeared very pleased with her answer.

“I can’t wait princess,” he whispered with the same low rasp that had left her speechless only moments ago.  "Until then, I bid you farewell.  Even the most lovely of maidens needs her rest.“  He turned his head once more and headed up her steps.  Before Marinette could so much as blink Chat was gone and she was alone.  She barely noticed when Tikki emerged from her closet to sit on her shoulder.

"Marinette do you really think this is a wise idea?” Tikki asked, but Mari could only barely hear her over the sound of her heart beating in her ears.  Tikki sighed and flew over to her stash of cookies Marinette had left for her at her bedside.

Chat’s words repeated on loop in her mind as she slowly began changing out of her dress.

You know I used to think pink was your color Marinette.  However it seems I was mistaken. You look absolutely breathtaking in black.”

The next three days were sure to be the longest hours of her life.    

Part 2

guggi04  asked:

Can I be a greedy little GaFou shipper and ask for 8, 11, 22, 27 & 45 😅😄

Yes yes yes!!

8. How many children do they want/have?

Lefou always looks at Dick’s family and tells Gaston he’d like that- just one baby girl, to spoil and dote on and dress up and generally just love forever. Gaston likes that idea. In reality, they have six strapping children and their home is anarchy. The only time they can ever get away for a nice vacation or a night to themselves to actually have sex once in a while is if they cart their asses up through the forest for a day to pawn them off on Adam and Belle (those two don’t mind, their daughter loves the company of other children) Belle fucking revels in the exhaustion etched in Gaston’s features whenever they come by- this is retribution. 

11. What are their parenting styles?

Lefou is definitely the worrier. He worries if one of their kids goes out to town for some jam, he worries when their kids start learning how to ride horses, he worries when Gaston teaches their eldest boy how to fix shingles on the roof (”What if he falls off and dies, Gaston, did you think of that???”) So he’s the kind of overprotective one in everyday life. Now, Gaston is very laid back when it comes to rules (”Papa, can I ride your horse?” “Sure.” “Papa, can I go with Jaqueline on a picnic in the woods?” “Bring a coat.” “Papa, can I borrow your chopping axe?” “Hold it blade side up.”) 

But once their three girls are grown enough to start wearing pretty dresses, (and they have the prettiest, most fashionable ones in town, Gaston won’t settle for any less for his children) and they begin to get courted by village boys? Hoo boy. Gaston is the father from hell, and Lefou finds this so ironic.(”Don’t you remember when you were that age? You courted every woman in this village!” “Yes, but that was me, Lefou, there’s a difference here.”)

 Like picture this: a nice, shy boy from the other side of Villeneuve comes to take Ana into the square for a night of dancing. He opens the door, and finds Gaston in his armchair by the fire, loading his crossbow. 

“Ah, Henri! You’re just on time.” He aims the bow, and fires it at the target on the wall, making Henri jump a mile. 

Lefou just buries his face in his hands, going up to help their daughter get ready. 

22.  Who starts the hand holding? Who grabs the other’s butt? Who slides their arm around their waist? Who likes to put their fingers in the belt loops?

Lefou initiates the hand holding, since Gaston is too busy greeting people in town and being his extraverted to even think of the gesture. He also 100% grabs Gaston’s ass all the time- it just looks so good in the tight pants his hunter always wears. It turns Gaston on beyond belief that his husband is so taken by his backside, and it always ends with him turning around and hooking his fingers through Lefou’s belt loops, dragging him in for the dirtiest kiss imaginable. So basically, if Lefou wants to get laid, all he has to do is grab Gaston’s butt tbh and it works like a charm.

27. Who’d give their child sweets behind the other’s back?

G A S T O N. Lefou has a strict not that strict, he literally never enforces it policy that they only get like two sweets a day, but Gaston gives no fucks about house rules and gives them candy when Lefou’s not looking. Seriously, they’re really good at being cute when they ask, as they know Gaston’s heart is easily melted (”How could I say no to those eyes, hm Marie?!”) Also, ever since the children caught him stealing cookies from the cookie jar behind Lefou’s back one night, they tell him it’d be hypocritical if he didn’t. 

45. Who pays at dates?

Also Gaston. He absolutely insists. Lefou tries to pay him back in creative ways, like hiding money in his jacket or his shoe or something, but Gaston is all the wiser now, and hides Lefou’s coin purse before they go out. 

“Erik is dead“

But she lived.


….


She never regretted her choice.

Not through those winters that seemed to last forever – were they really that long in my childhood? – nor through the following summers that were too short, too heavy with rain, and the roof of their little cottage too full of holes.

She did feel sorry, though, watching Raoul struggle to learn a new language, listening to him battle with that rolling «r» that never came out the way it should, and those vowels that remained too nasal.

His voice would always sound like lofty salons and cinnamon and the streets of Paris in May.

But then they’d laugh about it and tease eachother, because her pronounciation had always been a bit off too, hadn’t it? And they’d call eachother misfits, because they were, and they loved eachother the more for it.

And their roof needed thatching, but neither of them ever had to contend themselves with a cellar.


No, Christine Daaè never regretted her choice.

Neither of them did.

Though, sometimes she would think about an angel dying alone underground, and she’d cry, and Raoul would hold her, because he knew.

And sometimes he’d talk about Philippe, how he used to carry him on his shoulders and pretend to fall, just to end up a tangled, laughing mess of limbs on the floor. He’d talk about his sisters who doted on him, dressing him up and putting pink ribbons in his hair when he was too young to protest.

Raoul would chuckle then, a soft breeze that resembled crying. Sometimes it was.  And Christine would hold him, amazed that she could be the strong one, – just has she’s been amazed, once, when she had kissed a phantom on the forhead and undone his world.

She realized that kindness holds a power stronger than iron. And she clinged to that.


They had five children Scandinavian winters are cold, and their love was so warm four of whom survived their first year.  And perhaps Christine did regret her choice then, when she watched that little coffin being lowered into the ground. But it was only for a second, and then she regretted her regret.

She told her remaining children about the Angel of Music. He never came to visit either of them,  –  of course not. He’s buried five feet underground, with a gold ring on his finger –  but they were happy, finding angels of their own, so Christine was happy too. And Raoul would carry them on his shoulders and pretend he’d fall, just too end up a tangled, laughing mess of limbs on the floor.


Then came the war, when two sons volunteered for a battle that they did not have to fight. One came back with half his face missing, one never came back at all. The one who did come back said jokingly – or not – that he’d have to wear a mask to spare people from the sight of him. And Christine’s heart ached for too many reasons to count. For a world that would send young men to be slaughtered, without shame, but still recoiled from a mangled face. And because there were too many coffins in the world, and one can never, truly, grow used to eternity.


But eternity is long and our lives are so very short.


She prayed that Raoul would outlive her, yet was thankful when he died first. Even as his hair grew white and his gait was that of any old, Nordic peasant, he was still cinnamon and Paris in May. In his adopted country, she had been his home, and he would have been lost without her. And she felt so weak, but strong enough to handle this too. She would see him again soon.

And somehow, things started becoming a blur. But flowers still smelt good, and the sun was still warm on her face in those short summer months , and her grandchildren would hug her – but how can I have grandchildren? Are my children grown already? –   music was bliss – is that Papa playing?– , and her red scarf was safety in a swirling ocean, though she could not for the life of her remember why she loved it so much.

Until that night when, suddenly, she heard the Angel of Music playing again, and she remembered that boy from the seaside, running dripping wet with her scarf, and at once everything was so clear, and she knew that, no

no, she didn’t regret her choi

goldstar-goldfish-deactivated20  asked:

talk to me about Trans enjolras

STRAP IN the-devils-dandy BECAUSE I HAVE MUCH TO SAY

Okay so canonically I believe he is trans because:

  • How Hugo describes him physically.  He describes him having “an exceedingly youthful look, as fresh as a young girl’s.”  That “his twenty-two years appeared as seventeen.”  A great image of him is when Hugo describe Enjolras executing the idiot who decided to murder a citizen.  “Pale, his neck bare, his hair flying, Enjolras, with hiswoman’s face, had at that moment some inexpressible quality of ancient Themis (Titaness of law).” 
  • He fights for a Republic.  He wants equality for all.  Back then those ideas were considered radical (“what?  equality for those different than us???”).  I am assuming it is because he knows he, as a transman, would not be treated with equality in his France. 
  • It never says he isn’t trans, so I’m just using textual clues. 

So let’s talk about my headcanons for (canon era, because I only have so much time) Enjolras: 

  • He was an only child of extremely wealthy parents (canon), and they would dress him in these ridiculous dresses.  Doting over his hair and forcing him to learn singing, sewing, poetry, and the like. 
  • Of course Enjolras hates this.  He is “bold like fire,” and they are trying to tame him simply because he is a girl?  He doesn’t feel right.
  • He would sneak into his father’s library at night and read all sorts of philosophical and political texts.  This is how he came to understand he and his parents had very different ideas of government. 
  • He began dressing in men’s clothes publicly at age 15 - many were confused because he had such a feminine face, but surely the strange, slim boy couldn’t be a woman that wouldn’t make sense.
  • This caused a huge problem with his parents.  They demanded he stop his “uncouth tom foolery and act like a proper lady.”  This is when he told them he wasn’t a lady.  They didn’t understand, but, as members of high society, they couldn’t just disown their only child and heir.  
  • So they bought him an apartment and told him to live there, he’d be given a monthly allowance, and allowed to return home once he “got it out of his system.”  
  • Of course Enjolras didn’t.  He used his parents’ money for law school, and, once they found out he was spouting Republican rhetoric at rallies dressed as a man they cut him off.  
  • He moved out of the lavish apartment to a more affordable one with Combeferre.  
  • His friends don’t find out until the night before they all die.  Joly remembers reading about people like Enjolras in a medical text.  It makes Enjolras relieved to know he isn’t the only person to experience this.  

I just find it so important to recognize possible trans characters and like Enjolras is not a hard sell.  In modern times I have so many (like SO MANY) headcanons about him and how others found out and how he deals with not really physically “passing.”  However this is really long so, if you would like to talk the talk some more then by all means message me, I’ve taken up enough of your time with this post.   

eri-stuff-animes-blog  asked:

If I was ur new lil sister, what hold u guys do? ((a sis with 8 years old for be kawaii))

Shu: He would nap with her, play her music and teach her how to play an instruments.

Reiji: Teach her science of course, and how to be a proper lady.

Laito: He would dote her, buy dresses and keep her away from boys.

Ayato: Teach her basketball, like Laito he would dote her.

Kanato: He would play with her, do tea parties and style her hair.

Subaru: Help her grow roses in the garden, braid her hair and but flowers in and he would try to keep her safe all the time.

So I wrote a Phanfic

..or a drabble, rather. Leroux-based. Musings about Christine and Raoul’s life after they fled from France at the end of PotO.

—–


She never regretted her choice.
Not through those dark winters that seemed to last forever – were they really that long in her childhood? – nor through the following springs that were too short, with too heavy rain, and the roof of their little cottage having too many holes.
She did feel sorry, though, watching Raoul struggle to learn a new language; listening to him battle with that rolling r that never came out the way it should, and those vowels that remained too nasal.
His voice would always sound like lofty salons and nostalgia and the streets of Paris in May.
But then they’d laugh about it and tease eachother, for her pronounciation had always been a bit strange too, hadn’t it? And they’d call eachother misfits, because they were, and they loved eachother the more for it.

And their roof needed thatching, but they would never have to contend themselves with a cellar.

No, Christine never regretted her choice.
Neither of them did.
But sometimes she would think about an angel dying alone underground, and she’d cry, and Raoul would hold her, because he knew.
And sometimes he’d talk about Philippe, how he used to carry his little brother on his shoulders and pretend he’d fall, just to end up a tangled, laughing mess of limbs on the floor. He’d talk about his sisters who doted on him, dressing him up and putting pink ribbons in his hair when he was too young to protest.
Raoul would chuckle then, a soft breeze that resembled crying.              Sometimes it was.                                                                                               And Christine would hold him, amazed that she could be the strong one, – just as she had been amazed, once, when she had kissed a phantom on the forhead and undone his world.

She realized that kindness holds a power stronger than iron. And she clinged to that.

They had five children – Scandinavian winters are cold, and their love was so warm – four of whom lived past infancy. And perhaps Christine did regret her choice that one time, when she watched that little coffin being lowered into the ground. But it was only for a second, and then she regretted her regret.

She told her remaining children about the Angel of Music. He never came to visit either of them,   –  of course not. He’s buried five floors underground, with a single gold ring on his finger –  but they were happy, finding angels of their own, so Christine was happy too. And Raoul would carry them on his shoulders and pretend he’d fall, just to end up a tangled, laughing mess of limbs on the floor.

Then came the war when two sons volunteered for a battle they did not have to fight. One came home with half his face missing, one never came home at all. The one who did come back said jokingly – or not – that he’d have to wear a mask not to scare people away. And Christine’s heart ached for too many reasons to count. For a world that would send young men to be slaughtered, without shame, but still recoiled from a mangled face. And because there were too many coffins in the world, and one can never, ever, grow used to eternity.

But eternity is long and our lives are so very short.

She prayed that Raoul would outlive her, yet was thankful when he died first. He had never felt truly at home in his adopted country. Even as his hair grew white and his gait became that of any old, Nordic peasant, his voice still sounded like Paris in May. She had been his home, and he would have been lost without her. And she felt so weak, but strong enough to handle this too. She would see him again soon.

And somehow, things started becoming a blur. But flowers still smelled nice and the sun was still warm on her face in those short summer months, and her grandchildren would hug her and carry eachother on their shoulders (though, how could she have grandchildren? Were her children grown already?). Music was wonderful (is that papa playing?), and she remembered singing (the stage lights are so bright…!).

And her red scarf was so very warm, but she could not for the life of her recollect why she loved it so much.

Until that night when she suddenly heard the Angel of Music again, and she remembered that boy from the seaside, running dripping wet with her scarf in his hands, and she knew, she didn’t regret her choi –