She flopped backwards onto the plush comforter that covered her bed, tears already rimming her eyes. Pathetic, they had said. 

Idiotic little failure.

No use to anyone.

Just another mistake.

The sound she made was a strangled, choked-off sob as she put a hand over her mouth and tried to keep it in. Her chest ached, her throat constricted with the effort of keeping her sobs in, and her head throbbed. Her whole body hurt, and she wanted nothing more than for the ground to open up and swallow her whole. 

Such a waste of space.

Like anyone thinks you’re worth anything anyway.

Ugly little accident.

She rolled onto her side and curled in on herself, letting the tears come quietly and silently, the way she had learned how when she was little and didn’t want to be reprimanded for crying. She shook and shivered, and wished the world would all just melt away.

 Pathetic little lump.

What a complete disappointment.

Useless piece of garbage.

She was being held in warm, strong arms before she really even noticed that she had moved, a shoulder catching her tears and long fingers rubbing her back as a quiet voice spoke to her softly.

“Forget them, little one. Don’t let them talk to you like that.” He always knew what to say- the man with a heart of gold and a voice like thunder. “You’re worth so much more than you’ll ever know, so don’t believe them for a second.” A kiss landed on the top of her head as she finally gave in and sobbed, the noise filling her bedroom and bouncing back at her from the walls. “I’ll break them, if you want me to. I’ll tear the world asunder if you would just give the word.” He chuckled, the sound soft and soothing to her turbulent mind. “Or maybe I should tell them all the things you can do- all the little miracles you’ve made happen. Should I do that instead? Impress them to the point of silence with how completely amazing you are?”

She shook harder, the faith he placed in her almost painful when she felt like she did right now.

“Shh, shh, don’t cry, little one.” He rocked her gently, holding her close. “Don’t be afraid.” He started to hum, the melody one she recognized from when she was little, but that had faded almost completely from her memory. “We’re right here for you… Every last one of us.” She felt the smile on his lips as he kissed her temple. “But especially me.”

She laughed at that, an almost painful sound to hear as it was intermingled with another sob. She shifted closer to him, holding on for dear life as he continued to rub a hand along her back and rock her back into a relative calm. She shifted so that one of her arms was around his waist, the other resting against his chest. Through the soft cotton of his shirt she could feel the outline of the locket he wore, and she smiled when she realized it was the same shape as her own.

“Especially you, huh?”

He shifted as well, the hand not against her back shifting to land atop the one on his chest, taking it gently and squeezing it tight. “Especially me. Here to hold you when you need me to, and haunt you the rest of the time. I will never leave you, and I will never let them hurt you again. Not if I can help it.” 

Such a useless little dreamer.

“No one can help.” She mumbled, tears threatening to fall yet again.

“That’s what they say…” He nodded, pressing another kiss to her temple and smiling. “But we break the rules all the time, don’t we? Just give us a chance, little one- we’ll prove them all wrong yet.”


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