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05 December 2013 @ 12:59 am
Wishing Well  
Title: Wishing Well
Word Count: 1,718
Summary: As a gift Isolde is granted a simple wish.

Once upon a time she didn’t believe in wishes. Wishes were a fool’s request that fell on the deaf ears of non-existent gods. Her father once gave her a coin to toss into a fountain in London for a wish. She watched the silver glint of it sink to the bottom to nestle amongst the others, forgotten and unfulfilled. It seemed a good waste of six-pence.

She knows now that none of that is true. She knows the power of a wish and that the price it exacts is far more than a shiny half-shilling.

“What’s this?”

“The payment is unequal,” the woman told her as she handed over the parcel. A carefully folded bundle of silk with a large coin nestled in the middle rested on top of it. She smiled and there was something mischievous but good natured about it. “So I added two gifts.”

Isolde bowed her head in respect after she accepted the items. “I’ll make sure they are delivered safely.”

The Kitsune laughed. “You misunderstand me. The gifts are for you.”

Isolde lifted her head, eyes wide in surprise. “Me?”

“The Lady of Green from the west may have rented out your services to me yet it was you who did the hard work. You went beyond my expectations and it is hardly fair for me to reward the Lady for something you did.”

Isolde stared down at the silk and the coin curiously, unsure of what to say. “I… thank you.”

“The kimono is simply a kimono I’m afraid,” the Kitsune explained, tucking silken strands of blue-black hair behind her ear. “I felt the grey would match your lovely tarnished eyes. I would appreciate it if you would give me the honour of seeing you dressed in it before you leave.”

Isolde flushed a little but managed to nod her head. The Kitsune smiled mischievously again before allowing her dark eyes to fall on the gold coloured medallion.

“The coin is more than just a coin. In the west I believe there is a superstition of tossing coins into a fountain in exchange for a wish,” she said, growing a little more solemn. “You saved someone I loved when you didn’t have to. I know a little of your story from your spirit friend and though I cannot grant you the wish that no doubt lies in your heart… I want you to toss the coin into a pool of water and to make the wish anyways.”

“That seems like a waste of a good coin.”

“It can only buy you one thing.”

“A wish that will never come to pass?”

“Sometimes wishes are answered in unexpected ways.”

Isolde pursed her lips together firmly before exhaling through her nose. “I’ll take your word of it.”

The fox laughed. “You need to believe a little more Isolde-chan… now then, let’s get you all dolled up before you go. You will be a sight for sore eyes.”


Isolde sighed deeply and looked down at the gold coin—or was it a medallion—in her hand. She passed her thumb over the engraved surface of the coin contemplatively. Though the finish appeared dull with age the edges were as sharp as something newly pressed. It was far from as large as her palm and yet it was big enough to be far more than an ordinary piece of money.

“This is silly,” she muttered to herself as she looked down over the side of the curved wooden bridge. Below her the water was still and brightly coloured koi fish swam in lazy but preternaturally elegant paths. Cherry blossom petals laid scattered over the surface from the heavy branches that swooped down to kiss their reflections. Her own reflection stared back balefully, a pale and hollow cast of the girl she had once been.

“I want him,” She said, shifting the coin to balance on her thumb. “I want to see his face. I want to see him smile. I want his love. I just want him. Just for a night. Just for an hour.”

With a flick of her thumb the coin arced over the water, spinning around it’s axis with a ringing hum. It seemed almost suspended for a moment as it bridged over the water. Yet, inevitably, gravity won and it hit the surface of the pond with a satisfying ‘plop’.

And the water turned to dark glass with a dim iridescent flash. The world it contained was not the one it should reflect. Golden will-o-wisps flickered and danced through the impossibly giant flora of what seemed like a forest of faintly glowing blue mushrooms and deciduous trees so tall she could not even fathom the heights they reached. Their invisible canopy blocked the sky entirely, encasing the world contained in the koi pond with darkness.

Movement at the edge of the pond drew her eye as a figure moved into view, the movements slow and cautious. His hair was brassy—curiously the same colour as the coin she had just tossed—and his skin seemed pale in the glow of the bizarrely giant mushroom he stood under. And his eyes… Isolde felt her heart twist painfully as she saw their saturated hue.

“Jack…”

Her feet seemed to move before her brain had even begun to consider her conclusion valid. Her chest seemed closer to bursting the closer she got to his reflection, the image filling in the faded lines of her memory. How could she have forgotten the curve of his jaw, the way his brow wrinkled in confusion or the way his eyes widened in surprise… and joy.

He collapsed to his knees before her, a pilgrim before his goddess. Though her own legs felt like jelly Isolde managed to kneel far more gracefully, tucking the silks of the gifted kimono under her. Jack’s lips moved soundlessly beneath the water surface as he leaned forward with hands reaching and disappearing as he grasped at what he could not have. A brief flicker of anguish crossed his face as his hand came back into view, dripping wet. She smiled back in reply, the edge of it bittersweet and apologetic.

As she stared back at her husband Isolde wondered if he was the same man she married over a decade ago. She was hardly the same woman… was it logical to love someone you barely knew anymore? Perhaps it wasn’t.

Love, however, was hardly logical.

Without hesitation she brought three fingers to her lips and then lowered them to his reflection, gently tapping the water’s impossibly still surface where his lips were reflected. It took hardly a second for the tears that had been steadily welling up in his eyes to drip down his face in response and Jack hastily mimicked the action with great reverence. She wished she could kiss away those tears and then his lips, stroke his hair and let him hide from the world in her arms.

So many unattainable wishes.

Jack’s hand then pressed flat against the surface of the water. Isolde stared at it for a moment before reaching out and placing her hand against the surface above it, as though she could reach through and touch him.

“I’ll come back to you,” she promised, meeting his eyes. She couldn’t remember if Jack could read lips. Did it even matter? His lips moved again, short and simple, in reply. She didn’t need to know how to read lips to understand.

I love you.

Her lips twisted into a half grin. “I know.”

Jack pouted in response and Isolde couldn’t stop the amused chuckle from escaping her. How surreal was this moment? It felt so natural and yet they were worlds apart.

“I love you too, idiot,” she told his reflection and the smile that split his face was beautiful.

How could she have forgotten what it was like to fall in love with him everyday?

“I love you so much,” she told him again, this time her voice breaking and her grin falling away. She didn’t cry but it was close enough that she might as well have. It felt like she was choking on her own heart. A decade of loneliness and heartache crashed down around her. The fingers of Jack's free hand brushed the surface of the water worriedly.

Then his reflection wavered and his eyes widened, realizing something she didn’t. His lips moved deliberately.

Be safe. Be careful.

Isolde nodded wordlessly.

I miss you.

She didn’t trust her voice but Isolde voicelessly whispered the words back in reply. Jack’s eyes seemed to soften and then just as suddenly as the otherworldly reflection appeared it vanished, replaced once again by the orange glow of a setting sun and pink cherry trees.

For a while Isolde knelt before the pond, eyes lingering on her own face which had replaced his. The woman looking back at her was still a baleful cast of the girl she had once been yet she seemed a little less hollow than before. Some of the steel she had lost glimmered in her eyes.


Jack keeled over onto his back, eyes staring unblinking at the unseen canopy above, lights dancing in the distance. A war of emotions cavorted about in his head and his heart. He wanted to cry, he wanted to laugh, he wanted to dance and sing and scream. She had been so beautiful, her hair pulled back in an oriental chignon and dressed in silver and indigo. A sight for his sore eyes and aching heart.

She had been aching too, he could tell, but she was strong. Stronger than him. His Isolde… his beautiful, strong, loyal, wonderful Isolde…

Jack covered his face with his hands, unsure if he was crying from sorrow or happiness.

“Jack?”

Wiping his face furiously and quickly he raised his eyes to meet those of William’s, who hovered over him with a bundle of sticks and wood in his arms. Tarnished silver eyes glimmered with worry.

“What happened… are you ok?” Will asked carefully, casting a cursory glance around them.

Jack felt a smile bloom on his lips and knew despite his sadness that something truly magical—a true and rare gift—had occurred tonight.

“She’s safe Will. Our Isolde is safe.”
 
 
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Nostalchique: im the cat that lives nine livesnostalchique on December 5th, 2013 06:43 pm (UTC)
*incoherent babbling and seal noises*