Aria stared down at her daughter with concern. They had been taking a walk to the kitchen, Uni talking animatedly about a new cartoon she had seen, when the child simply stopped, dead-still and staring off into space. The young girl's eyes, identical to her mother's, were suddenly blank and lifeless. Aria kneeled beside her daughter, rubbing the girl's cheeks soothingly. She knew Uni was seeing into the future, having done so herself many times before. This was Uni's first time. Her daughter wouldn't be hurt, but she couldn't help but hover over the four year old girl anxiously. There was no risk of physical harm, but she knew from experience.
These trips, they could ruin your mind.
Sometimes she wondered if it was cruel of her to bring this child into existence. To force another to live under the curse of the Sky Arcoboleno. In a way, it was, but she couldn't bring herself to regret the decision. Uni was simply too precious. Now that the girl was in her life, she couldn't imagine how she had managed without her.
"Mnn," Uni whined as though waking from a deep slumber and the light returned to her eyes. The girl looked over at her mother before her eyes rolled back in a fit of dizziness. Uni staggered backwards and just barely caught herself before she toppled over. Aria quickly steadied her with a warm hand to her back.
The woman plastered on a bright smile despite the worry eating away at her inside. If there was one thing that Luche had taught Aria, it was that smiles were infectious.
But Uni didn't smile. She didn't frown either. She clutched tightly at Aria's sleeves, tiny fingers curling into the red cotton. She looked at the floor, eyes wide and incomprehensible.
Aria stared at the girl, her smile faltering. There was a touch of fear in her quivering hands as she gently raised Uni's chin so that she could see her child clearly. Looking into Uni's eyes, she realized this wasn't the same girl who had been talking about Doraemon and cheering for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The bright light in her daughter's eyes had been replaced with something darker, more muted. The life was there, but it was traced with fear and disbelief. Lost innocence, replaced by knowledge of what the world really was.
Death, rape, starvation. Aria could recall all the things that she had seen in her years of clairvoyance with every gory detail. She had had nightmares of people she had never met, of people who were already dead. She had lived most of her life glancing at strangers on the street, wondering if she had seen their tragic end.
She wasn't ready to pass on that inheritance to her daughter.
Her lips still quirked in a weak smile, Aria cupped her child's face in what was supposed a comforting gesture, but tears began to drop one by one down the woman's cheeks. Uni, bewildered by her mother's tears, mirrored her mother's gesture and pulled their faces together for an Eskimo kiss. It was something Aria always did when Uni was upset.
As their noses rubbed together, the tears ran faster Aria's cheeks, and she choked back a sob. Because Goddammit! She wasn't ready to lose this, to lose her daughter to the world. Arcoboleno and the Trinisette be damned! They couldn't ruin her child like this! She couldn't ruin her child like this! And she couldn't hold it back any longer.
Aria pulled Uni in for bone-crushing hug. She needed the reassurance that her little girl was there. Her hand ran through her child's soft hair while the other gently rubbed her back, wrinkling the girl's green dress. The woman cried into her daughter's shoulder, muffling sobs into the cotton material that smelled of grass stains and grape juice. If her daughter wouldn't cry over her lost innocence, then she would.
Uni was confused. Her arm was pressed awkwardly into her stomach, and her mother was squeezing a little too tightly onto her shoulders, but she beared with it silently, feeling as though her mother desperately needed this. She nuzzled her nose into the crook of her mother's neck. She wasn't sure what she had seen. A scary man with white hair. A boy with flames coming out of his head. Sh-she h-had… s-saceraficed herself? Something like that.
But she didn't really understand. All she knew was that she had… died. The thought terrified her. This wasn't the ghost in the attic or the boogeyman under her bed. This was… real. She clutched tighter onto her mother.
But-but something good happened because she died. The world was better because she had died. She was kind of like a hero, like in her cartoons. Maybe her mother would be proud of her. Maybe her mother would stop crying and smile.
So Uni smiled as she pressed her cheek into her mother's collar, despite the fear that sat like a stone in her stomach, despite the tears soaking her shoulder.
Because she didn't understand her mother.
Nine years and ten months in the past, Aria was terrified of losing her daughter.
A/N: Huh... Plot Bunny bit me. Kind of surprised that I wrote this. It's a little rushed (written in an hour), un-betaed, not really thought out, basically an insult to the writing procedure, but eh, I felt like writing and I wrote. I actually do kind of like it but that's probably because I finished writing it about 4 minutes ago and I'm still getting off that writer's high. Ah well.
Yes, I do know how to spell sacrifice, but I don't think a four year old Uni knows how to say it.
This is posted on FF.net for those of you who care.