2: Enough

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Light and dark, two sides of the same coin and all Fitz could see when he opened his eyes yet again, still adjusting to a life of being half-blind. His balance and depth perception were off, as evidenced by his miserable performance in the training session he insisted a few days after the siege, leading to Fitz and his father's decision for Fitz to take it easy for a while in order to adjust to his new impairment. It left him feeling helpless and lost, even though he tried to fill that void by tending to Sophie.

Tiredly, he lifted his head up to see Sophie staring back at him blankly, their eyes level, her expression empty. With a slow inhale,  Fitz sat up and stretched, smiling down at his cognate, who was laying in the bed. He spent most nights there, sitting in the chair next to Sophie's bed, talking to her until he fell asleep, hoping she'd respond. Sophie hadn't spoken since she'd woken up after the siege, and even then, she hadn't said any words, only screamed. A scream which she fainted after, granting Elwin the perfect opportunity to fix the stitches she ripped. Fitz couldn't bear to look as Elwin worked, but held Sophie's hand, though he was unsure of whether it was to comfort Sophie or himself.

"So, Soph, what are we going to do today?" he asked hopefully, but she just looked at him with her void brown eyes. Fitz waited patiently for a few seconds for a response, but when it was clear she wouldn't, he shrugged, "See where the day takes us? Okay, sounds good to me."

He tried to keep things normal for her, so most days, they ate breakfast in the dining room -- which sometimes turned into brunch, spent the morning in his study with a tea tray, sat with Biana in the parlor for the afternoon for lunch, went back to his study in the evening to do some reading, and joined everyone in the dining room for dinner before heading to bed early. The only rule Fitz made for them was that they couldn't go near the areas of the palace that were under construction, and they couldn't go near the throne room. The last time they walked past the throne room, Sophie froze, tears in her eyes, her chin trembling as the rest of her body was paralyzed, her eyes trained on the throne room doors. Fitz tried to pick her up in haste, but his arm missed her legs a couple times before he could grab them securely, slowing him down. He then carried her to her room, and they stayed there for the rest of the evening.

Some days, little things would set her off like the throne room, particularly when she looked in a mirror and saw her face. Over time, Fitz developed different tricks to minimize Sophie's interaction with the things that gorgonized her, the most significant being Sophie wearing a scarf every day to cover the bottom half of her face. After finding her staring into her mirror after getting dressed, in the mirror in the hallway, in the reflection of her spoon, looking pale and sickened by her own reflection, Fitz understood that he couldn't protect her from every mirroring surface, and decided to discuss his dilemma with his sister.

He and Biana decided that make-up was too risky because it could rub off, but a sort of scarf to cover the lower half of her face would be practical if it could be held up by hairpins. That day, Biana and Fitz experimented scarf-pinning methods with Sophie's help, trying to figure out the best way to situate the scarf, constantly asking Sophie if it was comfortable and if it made her feel better. They tried different materials and pins and pinning methods, eventually deciding on a silk scarf and Biana's pearl hair pins, the middle of the scarf crossing over Sophie's nose and the ends going back behind her, the scarf being pinned to the underlayer of her hair above her ears before being gathered behind her and being used to tie her hair back into a ponytail. It was simple, practical, and seemed to make Sophie more comfortable with herself. It allowed her to look into mirrors without crying and to hold her head up higher when people outside of her close circle of friends could see her. It helped her live with herself, and for Fitz, that was enough for the time being. That was progress.

"I'll step out for you to get dressed," he stated, knowing she didn't trust a maid to see her vulnerable. "I'll knock in a few minutes and I'll help you with your scarf."

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