Character/Pairing: Rose (Mari), Lou
Summary: Rose's first night in Venice.
Disclaimer: Alas, no.
a/n: As part of the Unemployment Project, adriana_is gave me the following prompt: A Mysterious Ways outtake. Rose's tattoos, a night in Venice. You got it. :) Takes place towards the end of part six of Mysterious Ways.
Previous parts of Mysterious Ways and the rest of the Sonnetsverse found here.
Thanks for reading!
Lou Cassini knows tattoos. She had brought home the boy with the full sleeves in high school – much to her parents’ chagrin (and leading her to vow that she would never bring another boy home until she had an engagement ring on her finger). She even had a couple herself: the ivy vines on her lower back that her sisters had laughingly deemed her ‘tramp stamp’, despite the fact that no one would ever have even considered calling her a tramp, and a word in Greek lettering on her inner ankle. So while she isn’t an expert, she feels that she knows something about the matter.
Which is why when she sees Mari standing out there on that hidden balcony on her first night in Venice, she’s taken aback for a moment. She cocks her head to the side and stares at the young woman staring out over the canal. For the briefest moment, Lou is convinced that Mari is covered in tattoos, her arms and upper back full of swirling curlicues and odd hexagonal patterns. She would swear that they were drawn free hand; that free-flowing script could not have been inked over a pre-planned stencil. Lou’s not sure why this is the thought that comes to mind, but she can’t think of any other way to describe them.
In her mind’s eye, just for a moment, she imagines a mysterious hand pushing Mari’s dark hair out of the way, stroking fingertips over the back of her neck, and then following up with the buzzing pen that pushes the ink below the first layer of skin. She shakes her head, banishing the image. “Mari?” she calls out.
Mari turns her way and smiles, and Lou shakes her head again. What she thought were tattoos must have been only shadows, patches of grey and black on skin turned silver by moonlight. ‘Too much wine,’ she thinks. “Can’t sleep?” she asks, knowing how much jet lag could screw up the body’s clock.
“Just thinking,” Mari replies, leaning back on the railing. “There was something you mentioned earlier – you called the city ‘La Serenissima?”
Lou leaned on the railing herself, taking a moment to soak in the sight of the canal before her. When she was little she had thought that Venice was magic, a place that straddled the real world with the fantastic lands in the books she had liked to lose herself in. Now as an adult, she could see that the city was decaying, struggling to stay afloat in a land where tourists swarmed constantly and there was a constant battle with the forces of nature to keep the sea at bay. Still, the citizens fight, trying to keep their city alive, and she is immensely proud of that. “Yeah, I did.” She shrugs. “It’s just an old name for the city. You know, back when it was a republic instead of just another town. The most serene republic of Venice.” She looks over at Mari. “I told you this earlier.”
Mari nods. “I know, but it just keeps running through my head. I remember someone mentioning it to me a long, long time ago.” She smiles slightly, tipping her head back to stare up at the moon. “Maybe it was a sign that I was always meant to come here.”
“Venice does have a strange pull,” Lou admits. “When the city calls, you have to listen and follow.” She yawns widely, feeling the exhaustion of the day get to her. She’d only gotten up for some water, only to walk past Mari’s room and find that the door was wide open and that she was missing. She had to make sure that all was well before she could get back to sleep. Now that she knows that all is right in the world, at least for now, her body is demanding rest. “Okay, time for bed for me.” She pushes herself off the railing and moves to the doorway. “You going to be all right?”
“I’m fine,” Mari smiles, following Lou out through the utility closet that hides the balcony away from the masses and up the stairs to the second floor. “Good night, and thanks,” she says, right before heading into her room.
“Anytime,” Lou replies, and heads back to her own bedroom. She’s asleep the moment her head hits the pillow, lost in a dream world full of swirling scripts.