Title: The Difference
Rating: PG13 for angry Ciri, mild violence, implied greater violence and a necromancer.
Summary: Ciri may be scared of everything, but she isn't a coward.
Word Count: 448
Notes: Edited version. Full version will be found at my journal when I get a chance to post it. Written last night on the last leg of a flight to Florida. Ciri's accent gets a lot thicker when she's tired, doesn't it? For BTTIS.
"I don't understand," John Doe said, almost weakly. "I thought you were a coward."
Ciri bit her lip and looked at him. Her eyes hurt. She decided to relieve him of some ignorance; after all, he'd have plenty left. "They," she started. No, that wasn't what she wanted to say, was it? Oh, she was tired... "You knew I was scared
. S'right? So you... assumed... I was a coward. Scared 'n coward aren't the same things."
Suddenly, she was angry. She wound her hand back and slapped him, very hard, hard enough -- Ciri blinked in mild astonishment -- to draw blood. He spat some of it out by her foot and just looked at her. She glared back, shaking.
"Do you have any idea
," she near shouted, "any idea
what it's like to live with the kind of fear I do? When even opening your eyes in the morning or leaving the room or, or talking
to someone is fright'ning enough to make your heart stop? Do you?
Doe stared at Ciri, partly because there wasn't really anything else to look at, partly because it had been a while since he had seen rage this incandescent.
"And you think me a coward because I live with that fear, fake a halfway normal existence despite that fear? Normal people... they're so stupid
. They're oblivious, totally and utterly oblivious. They don't know enough to be afraid. I do.
And I live anyway. That's not cowardice, not by a long shot. If bravery is doing what y'have to even if you're afraid, maybe I'm the bravest person in the world... or something," she added, winding down somewhat, suddenly herself and as quiet and unsure as ever. "I don't know. But tha's your answer."
She made for the door. His eyes followed her almost desperately; he didn't want to be left alone in the dark. The candle Ciri carried flickered and guttered, which alarmed him as much as the prospect of her leaving him alone with the Dreamspinners' nightmares.
"There's people an' want to talk t' you," Ciri said, for all the world as an unimportant afterthought. "Quite a lot. Maybe not jus' talk. They don' like
necromancy here, I find. Um. Well. It was nice talking to you, I guess, except when it wasn't. Maybe. Er... I hope they don't. Um. Hurt you much. 'Cause whatever they do I'm pretty sure they're going to kill you."
She had reached the door by then, but couldn't stop herself from adding: "'s no less 'n you deserve. Maybe more. 'Bye, John Doe."
And life went on without him.