That girl was damaged. She had been walked on and trampled and stabbed in the back by countless people in her life. And yet, she stood steadily, not falling no matter what iron chains constricted around her heart and made it bleed. It was strength that shone in her smile, an understated steadiness just behind the hazel of her eyes. She was gentleness, strength, and love, no matter who failed her. But she'd lost faith in people long ago, whether she loved them or not, because the ones that failed her seemed to out-number the stars in that dark sky.

Yet, she'd come to trust him more than she did any single person in this world, and he held a vague understanding of that. He could shape her world with his fingers, mold her mood, shape her smile - whether he was aware of it or not. She had relaxed in his presence, become comfortable with that voice. He was safety and love and protection and a rock when she was shaken. Slowly, her wall had fallen into innocent little shards around her feet. And that boy wouldn't hurt her for the world.

Her trust was not misplaced. He would do anything to not end up on her lovely little list of people who had scarred her heart - her list of those whom she'd let close enough to hurt her, both intentionally and unintentionally. He would do what he could to protect her from those people, to protect her from anything. To etch that smile so deeply into her pretty face that she'd always have it. He loved that scarred, faithless girl. To hurt her would be to do the one thing he'd sworn to himself that he'd never do.

But people are people - people make mistakes. And maybe that pretty, tired girl was right - maybe people are designed to hurt others, at no blame of their own. Maybe it's twined amongst their strands of DNA.

He, despite his intentions, could not avoid the fact that he was 'people.'

His words had been sharp, his promises broken. It was over a petty little matter. The words that rolled off of his tongue were not the worst that had been hurled her way, nor were they expected to cause much harm, and the promises were not the most important ones shattered. But that wall that had fallen for him had left a tender heart, and pebbles, thrown from his hands, hit her like stones. Her guard had been let down and the blow had not been anticipated, and the harshness was so unexpected that it left her reeling.

Sometimes, apologies aren't instant band-aids.

He hadn't understood the impact of what he'd done, not fully. But here, now, he did. She was standing in front of him, seemingly a picture of perfection. Her hair was fixed and her makeup in place. There were no bruises under her eyes. At first glance, she was fine and strong.

It was her eyes that gave her away, at least to he who knew what he was looking for. Her emotions were wild, flitting back and forth, evident in her normally well-masked eyes. They were hard, but filled with tears; wide and confused, panic darting behind their irises. Hurt warred with anger, forgiveness with fury, want with retreat, hazel with red.

But the accusation in them never faded.

Guilt flooded every bone in his body, regret in every corner of his mind. He reached for her, and she flinched - for both, it felt like a slap. Though she said she was unbreakable, really, she was just a glass figurine. What had he done to his fragile angel?

His lips parted to speak, but for some reason his eyes drifted downwards. His heart constricted tighter than it had been already.

Her porceline skin was marred, angry welts reflecting the red in her eyes, the skin on her wrist puckered and swollen. And when he swallowed hard and returned his gaze to hers, the accusation mingled with her tears.

His fault his fault his fault.

This time, she allowed herself to be pulled into his arms. This time, her muscles did not tense. He was forgiven. But as he kissed her forehead and felt her wracking sobs, he realized that she would never forget.

Well, that was depressing. My apologies if it's a bit scattered and, well, crap. I've been battling writers block, and I finally had the emotional...inspiration to spit this piece out. It's quite terrible, really. :) Also, I apologize if the format of this turns out terribly. Fictionpress is giving me a hard time.