Her name, she said, was Fire and Brimstone, Smoke and Ash.
She was as human as they come, and as careful as a Senior. At first. She took no jest with the tales they told, iron on her flesh and silver at her throat. She kept her stare dead and straight, hands clenched tight until her blood became iron on her fingers, a ward against those she did not want.
She counted steps beneath her breath, muttered curses for those who could hear, and stared unabashed at those she saw. She had plenty of fear, but not enough to stop her. Not enough to control her.
They say whatever name you gave her reflected back what she truly was.
The girl called Fire had a hiss in her voice, a heat in her eyes. The flames licked at her feet, melted the plastic and seared the fabric. Touch her flesh and you’d burn, burn, burn with her, listen to her tales, to her poetry and writing, and even the letters could set humans and fae alight. A writing major The Gentry found honeyed and foul, a chemist with prettied words.
Call her Brim, and she was always on the edge, the blurred line between love and hate, truth and deceit. Barely, just barely, hanging onto the lip of the cliff. Call her Stone, and she was solid, strong. No hesitation in her voice, confidence in her actions. She won every bet, she beat every game, and she never wavered in her step.
The one of Smoke was quiet and faint, a brush of soft heat against your cheek, the feel of death in your lungs. Acrid and bitter, a voice like poison. There weren’t many who preferred this one, but those that did always found their way back home, following the scent of cigarettes and wildfires until they ended up at their dorm room’s door.
Ash was the preference of the Teachers and Staff and RA’s. Soft, gentle, pliable. Eager to learn, to teach, to speak. Speckled everywhere, a sign of something gone, but soon to be renewed. Lost in the wind, lost in the earth. Each time this name was said, harsh, loving, angry, bored, she flinched or turned, hair as grey as dust and sky twirling around. Like she was looking for someone else. Someone burnt away.
Those who spoke her full name, they never stayed around very long.
Because sometimes the pieces should never become whole.