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Dorothy received her first fencing blade when she was six. It was nearly as long as she was tall, but she could hold it easily, the pommel fitting itself inside her palm. Her parents were already dead two years, but she was the apple of her grandfather’s eye, and so only felt their absence every other week or so, when he was away on business.

He gave it to her for the Solstice, wrapped in a magnificently deep and royal blue velvet ribbon. She kept the ribbon even after the blade became far too small for her, nothing more than a mounting on her wall amongst the trophies it had garnered her.


When Winner disarmed her, it was not the loss that left her empty and uncertain and cold. She had lost numerous times before. She’d fenced too long not to have. Grandfather had always reminded her that loss was insignificant, it was the actual fight, her attempt, her technique, which mattered.

No, loss was an aspect of fighting. Winner took her blade, his finger brushing warm over hers, and she hadn’t known how to hold on, despite never having let go before, not in ten almost eleven years. But he reached out and took the blade and she was left with just herself, nobody standing behind her, and no blade in between her and whatever threat might approach.

She felt small, despite standing nearly as tall as Winner, despite having the courage of her convictions. She felt powerless except for her hate, and even that was weak, nothing but anger and loss. She wanted to hold onto it as much as she wanted to hold onto her blade. She let both go.


It was Peacecraft who found Dorothy after the war. Not Milliardo, Relena. Dorothy had thought she was doing a decent job of hiding, for all she knew about hiding. Relena, though, showed up with Yuy as her shadow, mostly invisible. Dorothy’s palm itched, but she hadn’t owned a blade since Winner had taken that one, and she doubted it’d keep her all that safe anyhow. It wasn’t as though she could just run through the Queen of the World, or anything. It wasn’t as if the idea of running through an unarmed opponent held any appeal.

Peacecraft smiled, that sweet smile she had, the one that made Dorothy wonder if she was a few rooks short of a full chess set. “Dorothy.”

Dorothy kept her gaze on Relena despite her awareness of Yuy. She crossed her arms over her chest, clutching her hands to her arms, just so they’d have something to hold. “Something I can help you with?”


Dorothy blinked. “Sorry? This from the world’s foremost pacifist?”

“Quatre tells me there’s an art to it, a strategy.”

Reluctantly, Dorothy agreed. “Strategy is most of it, but if you have Winner—“

“Quatre has his own company to run,” Relena cut her off. “And—“

Dorothy waited, but Relena didn’t go on, instead looking uncertain if composed. “And?”

“Being a man in charge is different than being a woman. Quatre’s strategies don’t always take the difference into account.” Relena smiled then, a secret smile Dorothy had seen once or twice, but that before had always been reserved, a bit afraid. It was confident.

Dorothy found herself having to fight not to return it. “I suppose, I mean. I suppose I could teach you what I know.”

Relena nodded. “That’s all I ask.”

Dorothy said, “I’ll need a new blade.”

“Made just for you,” Relena promised.

Dorothy wondered if that was her price, and if so, if she was cheap. She didn’t feel like it. She felt like herself.

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile