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Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Odette, Jul 8, 2012.
The love story of Ethan & Ivy.
“Here, just like this!” Ivy giggled. She fluttered her wings and suddenly she was flying upwards, the small, translucent half-hearts pulling her small form into the air.
The boy, who now appeared much smaller than her several feet below, looked incredulously up at her. “Uhh... I don't think I can do that.”
She grinned and planted herself back onto her feet. “Why not?” Now that she was on the ground once more, Ethan stood several inches taller than her, and she had to crane her neck to peer up at him. In the two summers they had spent together, he had sprouted like a bean stock.
“Why not?” she snickered.
Ethan rolled his eyes, “I told you already Ivy, I don't have those! I've never met anyone that did.”
She shrugged, “I know lots of people that have them.”
“You do?” he raised his brows.
Suddenly, the eight-year-old was shying away from him, tucking into herself and batting her eyelashes naively. “My daddy said not to talk to strangers outside of our boundary, and I think he would be mad if I brought you home.”
Ethan crossed his arms and shook his head, “that's not fair.”
Again, Ivy shrugged.
“Do you go to school?” he questioned curiously, plopping down on a rock as he stabbed the grass with a lone stick.
“No, my daddy home schools me.”
She nodded, fluttering to the ground before crossing her porcelain legs in a tight pretzel. “He teaches me everything I need at home.”
Ethan frowned, glancing up at the sun as it peaked through the canopy of trees. “I wish I could stay home. I hate my school.”
Her lashes curtained her bright green eyes, looking up at him curiously. “Why?”
“Because the kids are mean. And the classes are boring.”
She got up from her spot on the ground before sitting down on the empty space he left on the rock. “It must be fun, though. Being in the big city.”
Ethan shrugged. “I like spending summers here.”
Ivy paused, a tiny smile tugging at her lips. “I like it, too.”
After several seconds of silence, Ethan turned to grin at her mischievously. “Hey, do you wanna play hide and seek?”
She giggled, nodding her head. “Okay!”
“Flying isn’t allowed this time, though.”
Ivy stood to her feet, closing her eyes. “I’ll go first.”
“Count to fifty!” Ethan shouted, just as he began to dart behind a few bushes.
“1, 2, 3…”
After she had counted to fifty, Ivy went searching for him. At first she checked the usual spots he always hid – behind the biggest tree around, in the abandoned bear den, and underneath the field of long grass. She was surprised when twenty minutes had passed and the sun was setting; she still hadn't found him, not even a hint of where he could be.
As worry began to settle in the pit of her stomach, she heard a faint rustling from the bushes beyond. At first she had assumed it to be an animal, a squirrel or a bird. But when she heard a faint but distinct laugh from the treetops, she peered up through her lashes into the treetops above.
“I thought you couldn't fly?!” she called up into them, seeing Ethan's bright blue shirt in the trees many feet above.
“I can't,” he laughed, bouncing on the thick branch he had sneakily preached himself on. “I climbed.”
Ivy cocked her head to the side but fluttered up his level soon after, sitting on the branch beside him. It creaked underneath her weight, so she fluttered a bit to keep them up.
“That's not fair!” she grinned, hitting him playfully.
“After all the times you've flown up into the trees and hid? It's perfectly fair.”
Ivy laughed and rested her head on his shoulder, “see how pretty it is up here? That's why I love flying... you can see everything below and around you!”
“It is pretty up here,” Ethan agreed with a nod. They were at just the right height to see the hundreds of trees that consumed the land, the sun making its descent into the mountains, leaving a lavender touch in the sky.
“Yeah,” she whispered, her hair falling around his chest as she leaned on him. “When are you leaving?”
“Tomorrow,” he responded with a sad smile. It was a forty-five minute drive back home, back to the real world.
“When are you coming back?” she whispered.
Ethan frowned. “I think next summer, but my dad wants to move to Utah in a few months.”
“Utah?” her voice broke, pain welling in her words.
“Yeah,” he murmured. “I don’t want to go. I want to stay here, with you.”
She frowned, before lifting her head to look at him. “I want to give you something.”
He turned to look at her, arching an eyebrow curiously. “What is it?”
Unhooking a tiny, wooden charm bracelet around her wrist, she handed it to him. “This. Promise me no matter what, no matter how long, and no matter how far, you’ll come back for me some day.”
Ethan shivered, but accepted the bracelet nonetheless. “I promise.”
She nodded to herself contently, even if a sad smile still tinged at the corners of her lips.
“Don’t you need this though?”
She shook her head. “I have one at home.”
They two of them observed the trees for a long while until the evening was at the brink of slipping away, Ethan realizing his grandma would probably worry herself trying to find him. “I have to go.”
Ivy wiped away what looked like a small tear before nodding, her fingers resting on his. “Don’t forget.”
“I won’t,” he replied, never meaning anything as much as he did at that current moment. And then, glancing at her slightly quivering lips, he leaned in to press a sweet kiss to her cheek before retracting just as quickly.
Ethan shot up from his desk, glancing around at his plain white cubicle wildly. The dull white walls greeted him, his computer situated comfortably in front of him with a half-written document open in Microsoft Word. He wiped his jaw, letting out a tired sigh, before the tiny wooden charm bracelet caught his eye.
He hadn’t visited that property of land since his grandmother had died years back, and even then, pure fear had prevented him from revisiting that forest ever again. Guilt seldom left him, that promise branded in the back of his mind and forever taunting. Ethan wanted to blame it on insanity, but it was quite evident he hadn’t been delusional for the three long summers they had known each other. His father had postponed Utah for an entire year before they finally moved, and after living there for a good portion of his life, Ethan returned at eighteen years old for college.
“Fuller, how’s that article going?” His supervisor questioned upon leaning against his cubicle entrance. “On the upcoming 4th of July Parade?”
“It’s….It’s going,” Ethan responded, eyes tired. Honestly, he had been absolutely sick of these bullshit parade and recreational articles. He was more of the type of guy that enjoyed action – like murders, or kidnappings, but a long exposé on why Billy’s Burgers was a terrible food joint? Ethan absolutely despised it. Of course that came with being a rookie and all.
“Great, well finish up, alright? Your deadline is midnight.”
He nodded, finishing the rest of his now cold coffee. “Not a problem, sir.”
Ivy positioned the tiniest of blossoms in Lily's hair, clipping back a long tendril of her wild ruby locks. She had been the only one, out of eleven children, that had inherited their mother's beautiful main of striking red locks; her father had always enjoyed that, a small remainder of the wife he had once lived in harmony with.
Ella reached up and touched her sister's cheek, smiling broadly, “you're so pretty, Ivy,” the five-year-old giggled.
Ivy smirked at that and kissed the little girl's forehead. Considering their mother had died at her birth, Ivy had always served as the mother in Lily's life. “So are you, sweetheart. Now come on, we have to get you to Meryl's before she gets mad at me, again.”
Lily pouted playfully but grabbed her bag nonetheless and allowed her sister to guide to her tutor's home at the other end of the boundary.
After she had dropped the child off, Ivy returned to her work. She had been constructing dresses for only the finest of their land, beautiful structures made of fabric and delicately detailed with blossoms. It was hard labour and didn't pay fairly, but it was the only skill Ivy had, acquired by her mother. And with the incomes of her younger brothers, who had all taken up woodworking in the local centre, they were keeping afloat.
She seated herself at her wooden desk, staring at the fabrics and blossoms and vines that laid out in front of her. Sometimes, she wondered if there was more for her out there – a world waiting with more opportunities and wonders. But it was an idea she only ever toyed with, never pursuing. There were far too many dangers out in that world to leave this place; too many possibilities, people that could hurt her, creatures in the night.
After another late night, Ethan stopped on the way from work to pick up McDonalds, before driving through the clogged streets to his apartment. The fast food chain had been his source of food, amongst many other cheap take out places for the week, and surprisingly enough, it hadn’t offered too much of a toll on his body. Ethan figured it was mostly because he tried going to the gym as often as possible whenever he had a few hours to kill after early work days. Regardless, he tore into the burger and fries before watching a movie on the couch and retiring to bed.
The days ahead remained similar, Ethan repeatedly coming home dead tired, only having the energy to eat, watch television, and go straight to the bedroom. It wasn’t until he had a full week off for Independence Day, for his pattern to change, cell phone buzzing from his desk as he finished an article that wasn’t due until next week on hybrids and how to save gas using them.
The number was familiar, his father on the line. “Hey Ethan,” he greeted, his voice just as worn.
“The land by the house – y’know Carol, the woman who takes care of the house for us?”
“Yeah,” he replied with a nod, his tone uneasy. “What about her?”
“She passed away the other day; turns out the woman had a heart condition she wasn’t telling anyone about. Had a seizure in her house.”
Ethan’s eyes widened. “That’s terrible.”
“Yeah,” his father agreed. “Meaning, we have no one watch over the house.”
Ethan’s heart beat a little faster. “What are you trying to tell me?”
“Son, I’m all the way in Utah. You live forty five minutes away! Do you think you could watch over it for me? Just until we get a replacement.”
“Dad, I have a job.”
“You don’t have to go every day. Just check up on it once every two or so weeks. And aren’t you on vacation now? Couldn’t you spend a few days there ironing things out? And I’m in the process of finding another house keeper; shouldn’t take long, I swear.”
“You used to love that place when you were kid, what the hell happened?”
Ethan paused, a frown pulling at his features. “Anyways, you know what, I’ll do it.”
He could practically hear his father shaking his head in disbelief. “Great. How soon could you drive in? Tomorrow morning?”
Ivy's long days had left a toll on her body. Working long hours meant she had to be up later in the night taking care of the small cabin she and her siblings inhabited. Her body was slender, only slight curves remained from the ones that had so beautifully bloomed when she was a teenager. Her brothers, whenever they returned between weeks on the war front, always commented; never once did her father, but Ivy could see the concern in his eyes.
Bed was so wonderful when she flopped down for the night, knowing she'd be up again in another few hours, restarting her day.
At least the next day she was off from work, and had time to return to her favourite chore of all, one she had been tending to for almost fifteen years.
The house was old and crooked, but the woman that came up every other day was even more so. Lately, she had done little to tend to the place, and Ivy could see the sickness beginning to pull at the strings of her heart. So, without being noticed, the young woman would tend to the small house her childhood friend and his grandparents had once inhabited; Ethan had never returned for Ivy as promised, but she had always remembered him. Sometimes she wondered if that was why she returned to this house so often. It was as though, if the place wasn't here, she would have imagined it all to be a dream.
Every day at early dawn, Ivy weeded the gardens of the home, dusted the furniture, and cleaned the corners of cobwebs. She feared what the place would like without her care and considering its beauty, she didn't have the heart to allow to get that way. So when she knew that no one would visit (and in all these years it was only the housekeeper), she would return to tend to the home as though it were her own. Sometimes, she swore she could hear the old woman laughing or the man crumpling the local paper.
The back door was always unlocked – not like any being was out here to break in, anyways. Ivy had never witnessed anyone, human or vampire or werewolf or otherwise, and so she was never concerned about it. The place didn't have much to offer anyways, just memories.
Ivy crept inside, the morning light just beginning to spill in. The lighting had been cut off many years ago when the man died and the woman sent to a nursing home, and almost ritualistically, Ivy blew fire into a few small tea lights. Immediately the candles and the sunlight lit up the room, revealing cobwebs and dust on every surface.
“It's been awhile,” she smiled timidly.
The next morning, Ethan packed his car with a tiny duffel bag containing his clothes and other necessities before starting towards the forest land he hadn’t dare visit since he was ten. His father had contacted the office for utilities, able to turn on the water and lights for a month, so Ethan could be the utmost comfortable while staying there. On the long drive over, he couldn’t help but occasionally glance down at his bracelet, feeling the very emotions that had coursed through him the day he left her, whenever he looked at it. Ethan had no idea why he kept it on, mostly blaming it on being partially masochistic, but a small part of him still believed he kept it solely because it reminded him Ivy had been no dream.
Even though the camp had no internet, Ethan had already planned on tethering connection from his phone to get work done days in advance so his week back would be a relaxed one. He tried to remain on the bright side of this trip, dubbing it as a perfect opportunity to literally lock away the world so his creative juices would flow through his articles.
He got a brief bite to eat before driving the last fifteen minutes to the forest land, his childhood practically slipping over him like a glove as goosebumps prickled his skin at the sight. Ethan was slow to unpack his truck, throat nearly constricting at the sight of the familiar territory, the tiny brown house he had fervently enjoyed coming into view. He blinked several times, just staring at it for what felt like hours before carrying himself forward onto the porch.
His fingers twitched while reaching for the door knob, and he could’ve collapsed at the sight of the familiar living room scene. Ethan remembered hot summer days where his grandma would make home-made lemon bars while he watched cartoons before the television. His stomach lurched, the breakfast inside sloshing, as he placed his suit case on the ground.
Why had he agreed to this again?
Ethan waited at least five minutes to allow the initial shock to pass, before pushing open the door to his old room, and examining the worn bed adorned with action figures and a worn Marvel bed spread and feeling familiar nostalgia overwhelm him.
“Wow,” he whispered, his hands resting on the old nightstand. Surprisingly, not the slightest fleck of dust shrouded it, but Ethan wanted to believe their housekeeper had cleaned it not too long before she died.
The tulips in the front were blooming beautifully, and as Ivy picked at the weeds in the back, she smiled to herself. Sometimes when she daydreamed, she imagined living in this little house. Sometimes she was alone, but more often than not she had a small family of a husband and children. And of course, her family was always nearby; the house, after all, was unknowingly within the fairy boundary.
Plucking an array of colourful flowers from the ground, Ivy positioned them around her face and within the vines that wrapped around her slender limbs. She smiled at the colours, and watched as the tiniest of butterflies landed on the most fragrant of blossoms.
It wasn't until she heard the slamming of a door from within that Ivy was snapped from her europhic trans and the butterfly was startled into fluttering away. Ivy froze immediately, but after the initial shock wore off she fluttered at her wings, guiding them to take her around the house.
What stopped her from moving further to investigate was the presence of an unknown vehicle at the front of the driveway. It was very shiny, and unlike anything Ivy had ever seen before. The Fuller's and the old housekeeper both had old vehicles that sputtered to and from the location; Ivy was stricken by the beauty of this piece, its sparkled and glistened underneath the sunlight. Her father had told her the wonders of human technology, but never had Ivy ever seen something so magnificent. She wondered how it worked, and how it was so perfect and spotless – but more importantly, she wondered who had brought it here.
Someone had opened the front door, and left it hanging ajar. The hot morning air was pouring in, and the bugs were flocking inside.
Ivy bit her lip and tentatively moved forward. She could hear the presence from within, creaking against the floorboards. She knew she should leave, turn back to her home – but there was something so wonderfully familiar about the presence in the home, leading the young fairy to seek more. She could almost hear that distinct clack of her wooden charm bracelet, smell the scent of wood and musk in the air.
“Captain America,” Ethan said to himself with a tiny grin. Even at twenty four, he was still a loyal reader of comic books, keeping a collection back at his apartment. Nothing beat his old room though, and as expected, a treasure case full of the thin paper books stood at the front of his bed, probably holding at least a hundred.
His grandmother always helped him collect when he was younger, since his father and brother were never truly interested. Just thinking of the woman he considered a replacement for his long gone mother brought a pang to Ethan’s stomach. He hadn’t truly realized how much he missed her until he was submerged directly into his child hood, memories still resonating in the house. Ethan hadn’t the slightest idea how he’d get through the week half sane, when every corridor, every piece of furniture, was a fresh flash back.
Ethan now fully understood why he had stayed away from the house for so long.
After letting out a tiny sigh before setting down one of his old comic books, he paused when the air changed, making him wonder if he was alone. Who else could have been there? The house keeper was deceased and she had been the only besides his father authorized to enter into the house. Ethan felt his pulse quicken, as he straightened his body in case it was needed to defend himself, his feet carrying him out of the room and into the hallway.
He stopped dead in his tracks when a woman stood at the other end, her blonde hair long and wispy, green eyes brighter, and curves a whole lot more defined with womanhood thirteen years later. Ethan’s jaw dropped, the words leaving him as he resembled a fish out of water staring at her. At that very moment, he questioned whether he was dreaming or not, but the image before him had been to vivid, too defined to be a unconscious instance.
“I-Ivy,” he barely whispered, not intending it as a question.
Fairies had always been the most graceful creatures – save for angels, but those were few and far in between. But the moment that Ethan came into view at the other end of the foggy hallway, cheekbones defined and his jaw jutted but looking familiar nonetheless, she was stumbling backwards.
Her bottom hit the ground outside of the doorway fist, leaving the young woman stunned and shocked. She winced at the feeling, her wings ripping at the back as they dove against the harsh pavement. All the while, however, the feeling of all shock, dread and regret pulled at every fibre of her being. At first she was overwhelmed with happiness, seeing him after all these years... then disbelief... and finally anger settled in, or what anger a fairy was capable of portraying.
After all these years, why was he back?
Still on the ground, Ivy shook her head as though doing so would shake the image from her head. When Ethan's stunned form remained at the other end of the hallway, she felt tears leaping into her eyes. “N-no,” she whimpered. After all of these years...
“No?” he repeated in disbelief, “it's... it's me. Ethan.”
His voice was so much deeper than she had remembered; they again, he was a man now. Like she had, he had grown significantly in both shape and height. His body was chiseled, even visible underneath his t-shirt, and his form was so much more defined that she had recalled. He wasn't the chubby human boy she had so fondly recalled in her memories...
Ivy shook her head. And before she could respond she was trying to get to her feet. She knew her wings were damaged, unable to carry her. The pain and shock that rippled through her only had her gasping, fighting back the blue eyes that bore into her, as they always had.
Any shock Ethan had tried to push away at the time of arriving, had suddenly came back at the sight of Ivy. An array of emotions hit him all at once, nearly dizzying him with a flurry of pain and disbelief, until the words finally flitted past his lips. She looked mortified, and the slightest bit angry – an emotion that took Ethan aback, but he understood as well. After thirteen years, he had finally returned, and practically against his will. Seeing her would cause too many feelings to erupt, and that’s partially why he stayed away for so long.
“Let me help you,” he offered, walking over to her, albeit slowly, before extending a hand.
Ivy shook her head hastily, "I... I... I need to go."
“I’m sorry, Ivy,” Ethan apologized, feeling the need to kill this elephant in the room. It wasn’t exactly like he could just waltz back into her life and pretend everything was perfectly fine between them. “I…kept your bracelet.” He lifted his wrist with a sheepish smile, although he doubted it would mean much at this point.
She looked at him and then the bracelet incredulously, a mixture of fear and disbelief in her face. "How long?"
“Since the day you gave it to me,” Ethan explained. “Never took it off. Well, I mean, I got it resized, but besides that…”
"I.. I.. I need to leave.. I... this... no..."
Ethan bit his lip, unsure of what to do or say. He had never been a connoisseur when it came with words, and she knew that.
“I know we can’t pick up where we left off, but I just—I just want you to know, I had a good reason for staying away for so long.”
Ivy was now on her feet, in spite of her injured wings, trying to fight back the tears that wanted to fall.
She was suddenly looking downwards, "it doesn't even matter. I don't care what the reason was. You never came back, and you promised."
“And I feel horrible,” he responded, sincerity filling his tone. “I’ve felt horrible for thirteen years—”
“There is nothing you can say to fix things, Ethan!” she shouted. “I trusted you, and you never came back.” Tears rolled down her cheeks, her voice breaking.
She didn’t give him a chance to speak, only turning on her heel and darting through the door, her feet quickly carrying her across the field.
“Ivy!” Ethan shouted after her.
She disappeared into the forest.
Often Ivy was back deep in the forest, she perched herself on a hanging branch and wept. His presence in the home had both startled and warmed Ivy; she wanted to believe that after all these years he had returned for her as promised, but something more prominent said that this whole encounter was an accident. He had looked just as startled as she had, a clear indication he hadn't been expecting to see her.
She was surprised at the emotions his presence brought up once more. As kids as she had always felt protected and safe around him, as though any monster in the woods would never harm her. And of course, he had been cute at the time.
Ivy felt her eyes tracing every memory she had of his masculine, grown up form. He had blossomed into a wonderfully handsome man, tall and lanky but with defined muscles that Ivy had only ever seen on soldiers. She felt sour for thinking such thoughts of the human, but after all these years, it was easier to think about that then the intense loss she felt or the anger of his disappearance.
She returned home, but her heart and mind never left that little cabin on the road. Most of her siblings had ventured out for the day, leaving her to rest in household chores and solitude until the sun began to make its plummet.
It wasn't until the sun began to sunset that she returned to him and his childhood home.
“Ethan?” Ivy whispered, peering in through the open door. It had been left hanging open all day, allowing an exchange of the musty air inside.
Ethan immediately rose from the dining room chair, a small plate of food in front of him. The house smelled like burnt meat, and Ivy scrunched her nose at the foul animal odour. “Ivy!” He was immediately standing before her, at least a foot taller no less. In the dimming sunlight, his jaw was much more prominent and Ivy had to will herself not to look into those familiar sky blue eyes.
“Are you okay? You fell.. and your wings...”
Ivy gulped and nodded her head solemnly, “I'm fine. But I... I wanted to return. This place has changed, Ethan, and I know I'd have to warn you, if you want to stay.”
Ethan felt almost guilty for noticing how much Ivy had changed, from the length of her hair, a little longer, to the fullness of places he had never noticed until now. The eerie thought overwhelmed him that they would never be able to pick up where they left off, as best friends. Now, they felt like glorified strangers, at the very most. Ethan knew it was all his fault though – he had returned to Chicago five years ago, and yet, he never visited, his fear always getting the best of him. Like a coward. She didn’t deserve him; he didn’t deserve her trust, or forgiveness. And the tiny wooden bracelet he ritually wore would be his only token of their fervent friendship.
After attempting to cook and failing miserably on a meat (Ethan had brought his own stock of ingredients and foods for the day), he was left with a burnt piece of steak and vegetables he was almost certain were raw. He couldn’t waste any of his limited food supply though, forcing himself to stomach the plate of charred dinner, only to be interrupted by a soft voice behind him.
Ethan raised his brows in surprise at her warning. “How so?”
Ivy bit her lip, "it's dangerous."
Dangerous? His stomach lurched at the thought, wondering how the peaceful property could even hold such a threatening description. “Dangerous?” Ethan repeated, urging her to explain.
She smiled sadly, "there's a war, unlike anything you humans will ever know. And it's close, moving in on us like a storm. You have to be careful."
“Will you be okay?” he murmured, even though that hardly hid the shock that welled in his tone. A w-war? Ethan didn’t even want to fathom the thought.
"I'm warning you, Ethan. You should be worrying about yourself, especially if you plan to stay here."
“I care about you,” he responded, taking a chance to take a half step closer. More than me.
Ivy shook her head, as though in disbelief. "It's been many years, Ethan, and a lot of things have changed."
“Not my feelings,” he murmured, as if silently admitting it to himself.
She laughed, "what? Our feelings when we were kids? Fifteen years ago?"
“You make me feel crazy,” he admitted with a sardonic snicker, “but yeah. I’ve had these dreams about the forest, and the hide and seek games we shared, and the conversations, down to the details, at least one day, every week, since the day I left, thirteen years ago.”
Ivy leaned against the door frame, “I think you are crazy.”
"That hasn't changed since the last time we spoke," Ethan teased with a slight smile.
Looking away, Ivy turned to the small home. Before Ethan's grandparents had died, she had never been inside. But years later she had been cleaning every little spot, wanting to preserve the charm of the place as though the couple still inhabited it. Sometimes, she felt as though by cleaning it Ethan would be more likely to return.
She walked into the open living space, cut in half by the long sofa in the middle. It was worn in the spot where Mr. Fuller always used to sit, and the scent of corn chips and old magazines still lingered.
Ivy tried to stretch her torn wing but after a ripple of discomfort ran through her, she turned back to the man staring incredulously her way. “Why did you come back here? Because if it were for me, you would have come back a long time ago.” It had been years since his grandparents had died, and only a few unknown strangers and the housekeeper had ever come by. Ivy had consistently looked out for her childhood memory, but years later, her hope had died that he could ever return.
Ethan glanced at her wings with concern. "Can you get that...fixed?" Sorrow welled in his eyes though at the questions, failing to fully meet her eyes. "Our housekeeper died. And I'm her replacement, at least on and off for the month. But I just, I need you to understand Ivy... I-I was just scared. Scared of being disappointed that you may have left, or you were just some sweet fantasy my mind created."
She looked at him meaningfully, jingling the wooden bracelet that was on her wrist. It was almost identical to the one he wore, save for the extra charms she had acquired with experience and age.
“After everything, you thought I was fake?”
"Everyone I told did a hell of a job convincing me I was insane," Ethan responded. "Fairies aren't supposed to exist, and...absolutely no one believed me. Your charm bracelet was the only connection I had to you, but even then, I wanted to believe it wasn't true."
“Humans are so close-minded,” Ivy snickered lightly, hoping down from her perch on the sofa and pattering across the floor. She felt much heavier without the aid of her wings, and her footsteps made noise against the wood. “If only they knew the wonders that lay beyond their own cities. And the ones that get a glimpse? They either claim the ideas as their own for profit, or try to disprove it. Or at least, that's my father has always told me. He said you people were selfish and unkind, and I never believed him... until you left me, that is.”
Ethan followed behind her, glancing around at the old place. It truly did bring back memories of hot summer days cooped inside, before he went out into the forest. His grandparents had truly never known why he went, but he had a hunch his grandmother knew there was always something or someone in the woods waiting for him.
“I deserved that,” Ethan whispered, running a hand briefly through his hair. “But you know I’m not like everyone else, Ivy.”
“How am I supposed to know that? You're human, I don't know you at all."
“Of course you know me. It may have been a while, but you know me. We were best friends, Ivy.”
"I thought I knew you. I thought you cared about me, Ethan, and then you left. So clearly, I have no idea who you are."
Ethan glanced down at the floor, unsure of how to respond. He had been grasping at straws, hoping to earn her back, but clearly the task at hand was a lot harder than it seemed.
“What can I do to fix things?”
"Nothing," she whispered, "there's nothing."
Ethan would be completely lying if her answer hadn’t caused a pang of discomfort in his heart. To hear someone he had held so close for years basically say she didn’t want you in her life anymore definitely made him sick to the core.
“Thanks for giving me the heads up…on the war,” he murmured.
Ivy shrugged lightly to herself. "If you plan to stay out here, you should know about it."
Ethan nodded. "Thank you."
She could tell that he didn't understand the weight of the situation, how awful it felt to know that her older brothers and father were out there. She wasn't quite sure if human wars existed and if they were anything similar to their own magic arms race... she guessed not, considering how lightly Ethan had taken the news from her. He barely seemed phased, a reaction that was both surprising and frightening.
"Do you want me to leave?" she murmured half heartedly. Something told her that she no longer belonged in his life, and from his actions, she was sure that Ethan felt the same way.
"Of course I don't, Ivy. That's the last thing I want. I just thought you were...mad at me."
Ivy smiled and sadly looked down at her bare feet. “You left me, Ethan. And you promised you'd come back. And all this time I wondered if you were dead, or had gotten a mate, or just forgotten about me.” At first, she had assumed the former – but as the years stretched on, she had imagined he had simply left her behind as a close memory in his imagination. The thought had hurt her deeply, but as she had matured, the sadness faded into mild disappointment. Now, however, his presence reawakened all sorts of emotions.
"I'm so sorry, Ivy," he replied, trailing closer towards her. "I wish I could say something that would fix things, but...I don't know how."
She smiled sheepishly, “I forgive you. I understand that you humans... have... responsibilities, like I do, now. And you'll return to them, but I guess this”-she touched his hand, lifting it to reveal the charm bracelet-“will just be your reminder that I was never just a dream, and that I am always here. There is a lot out there than you people care to even imagine.”
Ethan looked down at their joined hands, matching charm bracelets, albeit tiny altercations, illuminated by the setting sun. “It’s funny – when we were kids we never thought about how different our worlds were, until now. But I suppose that’s the rosy lens of innocence.” When he was younger, as far as he was concerned, Ivy was a regular child like him, save for having wings. Not once did he consider she might have been a fairy, or a supernatural being, or how completely ridiculous his vivid stories of her seemed to other people. People who had never been given the chance to believe.
"Things are different now."
“I know,” Ethan murmured. “I just don’t want them to be. Maybe we could just, hang out or something – start over.” He was most likely asking for a lot, and there was no doubt all innocence had been completely sucked from their relationship, but he felt alive around her, like he was carrying a secret no one else knew.
Ivy laughed, "how do you know I'm not with a mate, Ethan? Or you, I don't know if you have moved along."
He tried to smile. “I guess we never really got a chance to talk about that, eh? We could start off as friends, if you want. I just miss…talking to you. And even if our conversations didn’t really amount to much back then, besides hide and go seek, or tag, I enjoyed being around you.”
Ivy smiled, "Ethan... where have you been all these years?"
“Utah, and then Chicago for college,” he replied, with a small chuckle. “How’s life down here? You never did show me where you lived.”
“Is that a hint?”
“If you want it to be.”
"I can't," she told him honestly, "things have changed between the races, but we have always remained hidden from you."
Ethan couldn’t help being extremely intrigued, raising his brows before leaning against the ledge of the couch. “Well you could describe it to me, as an alternative.”
His ruthless adoration for the supernatural wouldn’t be seizing anytime soon.
Ivy smiled to herself. Despite the change in his person and in age, Ethan hadn't changed all that much. He was still as curious as ever, and his eyes still widened at the thought of a world beyond his own. Ivy could still recall the day she had revealed her wings to him, just beginning to sprout from her back at the time. He had been so interested, so intrigued by things he had never seen before.
“Do you remember, when I told you it was pretty, when we were children?” She twiddled her small toes against the floorboards, recalling the many conversation they had had and the many details Ethan had tried to divulge from her. She had always been so secretive, especially when they had first met. Trust had blossomed with friendship, but there had always been boundaries Ivy had to respect.
Ethan smiled softly, "Yes."
“It was such an understatement, because why we were children, our vocabularies only held simple words like that. And I still can't accurately describe my world, but I'm a little better now,” Ivy admitted, looking past his face and into the dusty room, “everything kind of glitters, especially in the sunlight. And the flowers blossom year round, even in the snow. We live openly, in trees and homes made of natural wood. And because families don't typically stick together like you humans do, we are kind of like.. one big family.”
"It sounds nice," he admitted.
She nodded her head and smiled innocently, “I guess so. It's all I've ever known, like you've only known the human world.” Ivy had always wished to experience more, but with the weight of the war and her obligation to her family, she had never ventured out of her realm.
"Do you ever wonder what my world is like?"
Ivy grinned, “yes. But I've heard it's dangerous, and no place for us.”
He shrugged. "It's not that bad."
“But you guys live in little houses like this one. And for a fairy that enjoys stretching her wings, that doesn't sound too nice. I'm just going to stick to my forest... sure, maybe I could live in a werewolf's world or a sprite, but a human? Ew... no offense.”