Blah, blah, need to get off my ass and actually write this damned thing festering in my head, so here goes. Nice and public so it can mock me. Anyhoo, nothing connected to the story yet, just two of the main characters 'mirroring' each other so I can figure them out.

---


Maggie's Memories

Maggie knows that Ed was the one that found her and she knows that she should remember this. It only seems polite. All she can recall is the scream of tortured metal all around her and a drowning heat that threatened to submerge her soul. She likes to think she can remember a flicker of crimson light off those red goggles Ed always has perched on his head. In truth, all she can remember past metallic screams and suffocating heat is the bitter thought of being awake while she burned to death.

Her first true memory of Ed is that of a scruffy boy perched at the end of her bed, rusty brown eyes regarding her with a very adult intensity. She learns later he wasn't far from her age of seventeen, but the first impression of a fledgling hawk remains. He's covered from head to foot with only the skin from his chin to eyes visible and Maggie doesn't know why at first she finds this odd. Scruffy black hair hangs down in his eyes over that red headband and trails down his neck, tied back in a rough ponytail. She can see the patchwork edge of dark scar along one cheek before it's covered, a stark gray brown compared to the dusky tan of the rest of his face.

A bright crimson scarf, tattered about the edges, is wrapped around his forehead and down around his neck to flutter out behind him like loose tail feathers. He wears a thick, sleeveless vest that looks almost like flexible armor over a long sleeve shirt that might once have been white. Then dark pants that are too neatly patched to be called tattered even if they appear to be more thread than fabric. She sees heavy gloves and the dull gleam of ceramic plates across the back of his hands and over the base of his fingers. It looks too heavy to be worn so casually by such a small person.

Maggie knows that Ed moved and spoke and tried to shake her back awake after that first glimpse. She can't remember that, however, so she tells herself it doesn't count as a complete first memory. That comes much later after weeks of seeing him dart around the edge of her vision, quick and fast and curious. He becomes more of a feckless tomcat kitten than a hawk, staring her down and then fleeing before she can offer her hand. She learns that he's quick in the fashion of someone with no destination other than to be where they aren't. She hears the clatter of a plate on the table and feels his awkward, twitching presence for a moment before he rushes off yet again.

His voice is light and raspy when he finally speaks, words full of smoke and pebbles that she knows will ring deep with fire and boulders when he is older. He makes up for weeks of silences with days of questions and Maggie is surprised to find in herself an eagerness to answer each and every one. Yes, she fell from the sky. Yes, the wandering star was a ship. Yes and yes and a hundred times yes to every question. Maggie knows he already has each answer and is only seeking confirmation. She doesn't care until his last question, one with an answer that is so much heavier than one single syllable could ever hope to carry.

No.

She didn't know the way to Providence.

---


Ed's Riddle

It takes Ed a very long time to puzzle out just why he follows Maggie around so much after she first wakes up. He knows that part of it is simple fascination and relief at seeing an unfamiliar face after so many months. He lingers long after the novelty should have worn off and he knows that it is more than the fact that she fell from the sky. Such an odd sort of contradictions and questions behind her mere presence, but Ed knows it's more than that that keeps him peeking around corners after her and skulking in shadows.

So he follows her and he learns about her and it doesn't take him very long to realize he doesn't know anything at all.

She's graceful in tight quarters, turning and twisting in a manner that makes the other young men blush whenever their around her. She'll stop herself with a single hand and push off with her foot, pirouetting almost on her toes to face the opposite direction without loosing a moment's momentum. Or a smooth undulation of her spine and hips as she climbs the stairs up to her small room. In tight spaces she is a dancer. But Ed has seen her trip over nothing at all while walking in the middle of a hallway or cling to a chair while standing in the middle of the large dining room. She is graceful while she has something to ground herself on, but her long limbs and slender frame turn awkward and gangly when she does not.

He remembers watching her sleep while she recovered and thinking she had such a plain face for someone with so strange an origin. Surely an ethereal goddess, pale and resplendent, would have been more appropriate to drag out of the burning wreckage. Instead she has a mouth that is a bit too wide and a nose a bit too pert and a scattering of freckles like stars across her face. She is pale, of that there is no dispute, pale and almost translucent, skin untouched by the sun and almost as white as fine porcelain. She burns after the first few days in the sun, but at least some of that translucency is lost after the red fades and Ed can tell she's oddly proud of that.

When she smiles, however... Ed knows that no matter how pale her skin or how tall and gangly she might appear at times or how plan her face, when she smiles she is beautiful. It's nothing so simple as the upward curve of her lips. Maggie smiles with her entire body. Blue eyes light up and she'll extend her hands in greeting or triumph. A blush will dust her cheeks or she'll inspire one across the face of another. Or even rarer, that soft, sad smile that makes Ed's heart clench tight in his chest and makes him look away.

Ed tries to tell himself he only asks her questions and he only makes demands of the distant Providence to satisfy his own selfish guilt. He tells himself he bullies her into hiring him as a bodyguard because it's the only way to guarantee they'll make it to a place that neither of them know the location of. That's easier than admitting he doesn't want to see another one of those sad smiles on her face ever again.
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