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Mirror Image

By Hafren
Page 1 of 1

She turned in front of the mirror, making the dress move with her. Its heavy velvet, weighted at the hem, was deep blue, a splash of ocean. She ran her hands down it, fingers burrowing into the pile.

"Matches your eyes," Gan said.

"Yes." She glanced at the big man's reflection beside hers. He had found a long sleeveless coat, dark green brocade with gold clasps. She reached out and touched the embossed patterning. "It makes you look like a king."

He blushed. But it was true. The figure that could sometimes be awkward and lumpy acquired dignity in the dramatic, floor-length styles he favoured.

Jenna didn't think clothes were trivial. They said a lot about you; they could reflect your mood or change it, and if you could snatch a little sensual pleasure in the middle of war, so much the better. She loved the Liberator's clothes room with its dazzle of colours and textures. The woollen shawls, fine as lace, like spiders' webs. The hessian that felt like kissing an unshaven man. Red velvet... among the pirates she had run with, that was slang for sex.

Her eye was caught by something else on the rail. She lifted it out: a kaftan-style dress in the thinnest of gauze that floated on the air. The palest mother-of-pearl shimmered in it, more an iridescence than a colour. She held it against her, guessing how it would cling and drape, peeling away from your skin with a crackle of electricity. Then she saw Gan, beside her in the mirror, eyeing the unequivocally feminine garment with longing.

"Go on," she said gently. "No-one else is going to know." She helped him undress, defter than him with fastenings, and dropped the translucent cloud over his head - it was like handling a butterfly's wing. His eyes were on the ground. "Look," she said. She coaxed him to stand straight, letting the folds fall as they should, and look at himself. The figure in the mirror should have been ludicrous, the tall, broad-shouldered man in that delicate tissue of colour, but it wasn't, at least not to her. There is a dress of the soul as well as of the body, and a part of Gan's soul found no expression outside this room.

In the mirror, her reflection smiled at his.

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