I'm linking up with Miss Melody's Quote Quest, where we write scenes based on quotes. This scene is one that may or not make it into Lady Dragon, Tela Du. In any case, it's a good introduction to the softer side of Petra, and a glimpse into her relationship with Laura, which is a bit of a big sisterly one at the moment due to the fact that Petra used to babysit her (during which time she went by "Alyce" for reasons I will not yet disclose), and the Laura in this portion of the book is pretty close to the beginning of her life, and isn't very sure of herself yet. And yes, they're in the Kastle at the moment, which would set this seen somewhere in part three, so, enjoy!
Petra stepped into the Heartroom to find Laura sitting on one of the stairs, legs hugged to her chest. The poor girl looked so forlorn, reminding Petra of a little, lost puppy.
Smiling slightly, Petra approached the girl and sat down next to her, wrapping an arm around her. "You okay, Alyce?"
Laura uncurled enough to lean into Petra. "Yeah, I think so."
"I'd suggest ice cream, but I'm not sure they have that here," Petra continued.
Laura shook her head. "No, they don't. But I wish they did. Ice cream sounds really good right now." She sighed. "That's one of the bad things about being the Doorkeeper. Every world is so very different."
Petra stood and tugged Laura up with her. "Come on, kid, you can't mope all day. Let's go to the kitchens and see if my title can conjure up any proper comfort foods."
Laura gripped Petra's hand tightly as they navigated the halls of the Kastle. The kitchens were found and soon the two secured some puddings that would have to do in lieu of ice cream, and they retreated to the empty ball room to enjoy the dessert.
"Better?" asked Petra, after Laura had consumed most of her bowl.
The girl nodded slightly. "As better as food can make it. Thank you, Petra." Then she let out a huge sigh.
"So, what's on your mind?" Petra prompted. "Talking makes it better, you know."
Laura shook her head. "I can't tell you. Maybe if you were older, but you're too young to understand. I wish you were older. I wish..." she trailed off with another huge sigh. "I've never met you so young before - and all the Lauras you've met - including the Alyce you used to babysit, were much older. We're like two strangers and yet ... best friends at the same time, and it hurts."
Petra swallowed. "Well ... every friendship has to start somewhere, you know."
"Yeah, I guess so. Still, I wish I could have normal friendships, where I get to know people in the normal way, where I don't have to worry about saying the wrong thing and messing everything up. As it is ... I have so many friends, in so many worlds - and she told me that I'd only make more - but I still feel so lonely at times."
"Well, myself. My older self, and I suppose she would know. I'm the Doorkeeper, destined to be known by everyone, yet no one."
"Alyce ... you don't mind if I still call you that? Laura just doesn't feel right, too old, and you're too young."
"I don't mind," said Laura with a shake of her head. "It's ... what I introduced myself to you as, I guess. And you always have called me by that name."
"Well, Alyce, I think everyone feels that way sometimes," Petra continued. "Especially people who are important. It's so easy to feel like no one knows you. I can't begin to count the times..."
"But you have Reuben," Laura pointed out.
"Reuben does not know me," said Petra, firmly. "He thinks he does, but he's just fooling himself."
"Someday may come, but we're not talking about him right now," said Petra firmly. "Everyone, especially people who are in any way important, feels lonely from time to time. And the more important you are, the more people expect of you without actually getting to know you, the lonelier you feel. Perhaps I have Reuben, and I do appreciate him, but that doesn't negate the fact that everyone - including you and Reuben - expect me to fight the Lady Dragon. No one consulted me on the issue, no one took into consideration what I would like to do, they just took one look at my face and decided that I'm the one to toss into the fire."
"But you..." Laura didn't finish the thought, instead glancing away self-consciously.
"Will win?" prompted Petra. "Come now, you're not supposed to be giving away the future, now aren't you."
"And I know you feel the same way," Petra continued. "You're still at the start of your life, and you're still not sure you actually want the role of Doorkeeper, and yet everyone you know - and people you barely know, but claim to know you - expect you to fill it. So, I guess it boils down to: are you going to fulfill the task set before you? Or are you going to run away at the first opportunity?"
"I don't think I can run - I tried. I ended up here." Laura stared thoughtfully at her bowl, then glanced back up at Petra. "What about you? Are you going to run?"
"I'd like to," said Petra. "But I suppose, like you, it won't matter what I do. If I'm destined to fight the Lady Dragon, then it's what I'm going to do, whether I run towards her or against her. And, just so you know - I'll always be your friend, or try to be."