[RO] Mirror, Mirror
WC: 219

"Dad, just - just stop okay?"

Luka's face - so, so similar to the man she was addressing - scrunched with contempt. Arlen leaned against his cane, graying hands quivering a little bit with his own weight. His deep sea green eyes were tired now where they were once so lively. Ever since the death of Rumpa Nightshade and his subsequent demotion, Arlen had not been the same man. He lacked that all-consuming fire that his daughter had so clearly inherited. In some ways, hers would spark his back up but in many others it threatened to extinguish his entirely. He was too fatigued to put up with his spitfire child. Erik was so much easier.

"I'm almost a year old already, okay? I'm not some stupid kid anymore. I know what I'm doing."

"Yes, but -"

"No! No buts. I'm doing it whether you like it or not." Her crooked smile was like looking in a mirror. "Besides, it's not like you can stop me anyway."

Her wine-red curls bounced behind her in her high ponytail as she trotted away. That was all it took to escape the world-weary man anymore. He'd sacrificed his youth and vigor for a bandage. There wasn't a single day that passed where he didn't regret his childhood choices that affected him even now.

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