We Came Along This Road

x-posted @ my a03 account

Fandom: Rule of Rose
Pairing: Wendy/Jennifer
Summary: On December 20, 1930, tragedy struck the Rose Garden Orphanage, leaving only one known survivor, nine-year-old Jennifer Brown. Years after the hideous event, Jennifer seeks to reopen the orphanage. News travels fast, and quickly piques the interest of a long lost dead girl who never forgot the promise made to her by her old friend.
A/N: This story is part of a 14-part album fic challenge, in which each song from a single album will serve as inspiration for the story. The album I chose is “And No More Shall We Part” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

WENDY
It was late, and the weather was poor. I should have been at home, half-finished with my nightly rituals, preparing myself for bed. Really, I should have been in my favorite nightgown, perhaps even crawling beneath the heavy blanket, sinking into the warm embrace of my glorious bed. Under less unusual circumstances, I certainly would have been.

Alas. I’m tired, but well awake, and instead of surrendering myself to the luxury of my soft bed, I have instead submitted myself to the indignity of the stiff, torn fabric of a bench seat at the back of a dreary bus. Trundling along at this indecent hour, looking for a girl I haven’t seen since I’d lead the dogman on the death march to the orphanage door, in the tender years of my own girlhood.

Jennifer.

Even now, her name fills me with such terrible longing.

If only she hadn’t betrayed me… chosen that filthy creature over me. Humiliating me not once, but twice. Without even trying, I still plainly remember the feel of her palm across my face, the heat in my injured cheek. The poisonous swill coursing through me, spilling black and viscous from the cracks in my heart, as I laid pinned beneath her on the floor, like a butterfly.

The memories are automatic, and unstoppable. The anger in her voice and the furious tears in her eyes as she demanded that I “give her back her friend”, even though I had not been taken from her, at all.

No… if only she’d understood, as I had, as all of the others had, that nothing of value had been lost to her… that the only friend she truly needed – after the lengths I had gone to just to prove to her the immeasurable depths of my devotion – was there already… everything could have been so much different.

We could have been so happy. All of us.

Royalty.

A family.

Instead, she’d been selfish. Cruel. Unbearably cruel. And in the end, it was she who was taken away from me, a second time.

I won’t lose her a third time, however. This time, she will be mine, and no one else’s, ever again.

I have been so patient.

Through the dirty, discolored window, there wasn’t much to see. Trees, mostly. The tedious landscape stumbled past on an endless loop. Trees and bushes, bushes and trees. How putrid. I sighed and turned my head away from the glass; I’d never really been one for the supposed beauty of nature.

Finally, the bus shudders to a halt alongside a bench I recognize immediately.

Once upon a time, I’d found a Stray Dog sitting there, waiting for his son.

I do not pause to linger on those memories. They are worthless to me. I leave the bench behind me without a second glance, as I follow the worn, dirt path up to the Rose Garden Orphanage.

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Sorrow’s Child, chapter 2

Sorrow’s Child

Fandom: Rule of Rose

Summary: Game events from Clara’s point-of-view, probably. I actually have no idea where I’m going with this.

Chapter 2

Mr Hoffman bids us good morning. His voice crackles and breaks over the speakers.

I’m the last one awake; the others are already crowded around one of the long tables that crouch in the center of the dormitory, grinding crayons down to misshapen stubs as they hiss and giggle at each other.

The table is festooned with paper and colored sticks of wax. Scraps of paper lay scattered about, bearing the words “Boarding Pass” above a large fish. A scrawny mermaid lingers on a black slash of rock; an enormous pink pig idles in a sea of grass; a red bird strains for the empty sky, tethered to the wrist of a scraggly child, the words “Forever Land” carefully etched across the top of the page. Forever unreachable.

They go silent as I approach. Diana puts her crayon down and crosses her arms across her chest, and smiles at me with enough hostility to make me flinch and look away.

“We thought you were dead,” she says, sounding disappointed. Margaret presses her knuckles to her mouth and snickers, ever faithful to our tormentor.

They look at me across the table and wait for me to respond, but what can I can possibly say to diffuse their rage?

The door opens, and Jennifer slips in, her short, boyish hair still mussed with sleep as she tugs at the sleeves of her rumpled dress.

The door slams shut behind her. Diana and Margaret jump in their seats, startled by the noise. Their attention shifts, and takes their animosity with it.

Diana smiles again and unfolds her arms.

“Well, Jennifer,” she says, “you’re as late as ever. Won’t Mr Hoffman be impressed.”

With their focus on fresher prey, I sneak out of the dormitory, my relief a dull ache beneath the throbbing shame of my cowardice.

But she would have done the same, I think.

Only Margaret willingly submits herself to Diana’s cruelty. The rest of us scatter like mice and pray that we’re quick enough to avoid the claws at our backs.

* * *

Wendy is sitting up in bed by the time I bring her breakfast in. She offers me a tiny smile before erupting into a coughing fit that rattles her fragile body.

“Good morning, Clara,” she says when it subsides. She sets aside a stuffed bunny to make room on her lap for the food tray. She frowns slightly at the sight of her morning meal, but doesn’t waste energy complaining; Jennifer would sneak her sweets throughout the day, supplementing her diet with candy and chocolate and biscuits. Oatmeal was merely a formality as this point.

I poke my fingers through the wire bars of Peter’s cage while she fiddles with her utensils and lets the food grow cold. The rabbit huddles against the back of the cage, wide-eyed and shivering. He watches me with cold distrust.

The rejection embarrasses me. I pull my hand away from the cage, a tiny spark of anger flickering to life in the middle of my chest.

Stupid rabbit. It shouldn’t even be allowed inside, its hutch is out in the yard. Animals belong outside. Wendy’s frailty affords her special treatment, though.

Wendy smiles at me across her untouched oatmeal. “Thank you,” she says, gently pushing the tray away. “It was very good.”

Peter’s face twitches. Red eyes stare dumbly ahead at nothing.

Stupid, wretched thing.

* * *

The kids are playing Airship in the hallway.

I suppose that’s what the boarding passes were for.

They abandon their game and go still and quiet whenever I approach.

I make up reasons to excuse my presence – Mr Hoffman needs something from some room, Miss Martha needs something else from another.

They just look up at me impatiently, eager for my departure.

I go back to the sick room.

The sheets are rumpled. There’s a small wet patch near the middle. I rip them back from the mattress, my fingers curled as I claw at them.

The stains are waiting.

* * *

Wendy is lying down when I bring her her dinner.

Peter watches from the back of his cage, eyes wild with helpless stupidity.

I shove the cage roughly with my foot as I approach the bed, softly calling Wendy’s name in an attempt to rouse her.

Her eyelids slit open; her blue eyes are pale seas of pity. “I’m not hungry,” she moans.

Another coughing fit.

I gather up a small mountain of candy wrappers and stuff them into my pockets; Mr Hoffman will scold the both of us if he finds out she’s been gorging herself on sweets instead of “proper” food.

“You should eat something,” I try, knowing already that it’s useless. She moans again and presses her face into her pillow. “For me?”

Nothing.

I dump the mealy vegetables into Peter’s cage before leaving.

He’ll eat them, or he won’t. Either way, his cage is so filthy they’ll hardly be a noticeable problem, even if they’re left to rot. Most importantly, Mr Hoffman will be pleased to hear that “Wendy” ate something healthy for once.

* * *

It’s still dark out when something spoils my sleep. A door opening and closing. My stomach curdles as I draw my knees up, curling into a tight ball of clammy skin and pulsing blood. Lying beneath the thin, scratchy blanket, I wait for the hand on my shoulder, the silent, undeniable command to follow.

Seconds tick by, birthing minutes.

I can’t help but look.

Despite the late hour, the dormitory is empty.

There’s a boarding pass at the foot of my bed.