Of Fireflies in Jars
Karen had been ignoring her brother for days, even going so far as not going out to sell his elixir... or... whatever it was he was telling the people was in the bottles. On the evening of the first day while he was out doing god knew what, she'd been stupid and she knew it, getting drunk and not quite living up to his expectations. Had it been because she was so angry with him? She had never ignored Pony, but she was feeling trapped and smothered and he made her feel like he wasn't listening to her. He always just assumed what she wanted, never asked, like a strict parent. It didn't just anger her, it made her sad, though not even a good cry made it feel any better.

She was currently curled up beneath the blanket, her stomach knotted up so bad that she didn't even touch the food she had asked for. It sat on the tray, goopy and cold, and she had her back to it. She had gone to market the day prior and found herself staring at the face of the man who she was feeling all kinds of mixed feelings about because he reminded her of Pony in the fact that he was a womanizer; a fact she was aware of simply by observation, but he was also completely different in that he made her happy just to even get to speak to him.

But if Pony ever found out, there would be hell to pay and lots of "I told you so" moments, and that depressed her even more. She sat up and pulled on her wrapper, moving toward the window and pressing her forehead to the glass.
Pony was angry, he had tried to talk to her but she gave him the cold shoulder. It seemed that she had made her say and that was that. He gave up and let her be as he went into the room and began to dig into her things. He glanced slightly at her leaning against the window.

"If your not going to be a part of the business, you could get a job in town and do something. You can't live here for free after I leave you know." He wasn't warm to her, she had treated him like a monster when all he wanted was to protect her. The fact she fell in love with this miserable town on their first day instead of see all of the red flags proved to him she hadn't learned a thing in their travels. He wanted to help her, but she wouldn't listen. The harder he tried, the more it pushed her away.
"I know," she said, finally breaking her silence. She pulled the blanket away from her face and she looked terrible, pale and a little gaunt. "I am sorreh I disappointed ye," she said, her accent thicker than it had been in some time, for she wasn't thinking about it. She heaved a long sigh and her eyes started to droop closed. "And now ye hate me fer what ye don't understand." She smiled a humorless smile and then seemed as if she drifted off again, but she hadn't.
Pony stopped and stared at her. He frowned and moved to her to look at her closely. "What has happened to ya? I told you this town is terrible. It's made you sick. You need to take it easy, I'll put a bit of water on your head." He sighed and turned away to pour some water into a bowl.
"Maybe you need something better in your food. You not eating?" He said quickly and shook his head. "I do understand now. You want your own life. You want to stay here and get married to some louse of the town. I don't like it but its your life." He hated it and hoped to change her mind if she would listen, but first he had to help her get better.
"Not hungry," she murmured. Life sparked in her eyes when at first he sounded like he actually did understand, but then he still put her thoughts down and she sighed, "The town didn't make me sick and ye know it. Just... forget ever'thin I said then, why don't ye? I'll do yer books in the mornin', will that make ye feel better? Tis what ye want, right? Fer me ta be yer shadow."
Pony narrowed his eyes. "Shut it. I said you don't have to anymore. I'm taking Jenny's key from you and you aren't part of the business anymore. " He tsked and looked around. "Maybe it's stress. You let this eat you up. I never chained you down, you know. I don't want you killing yourself over this." He paced for a moment before he went back and put the damp cloth on her head.

"What do you feel? Just under the weather? I swear, having a doctor for a dad isn't totally useless you know." He was going to do what he could to help her.
She glared at him, but it was barely effective. "Stop bossin me around, rotten brother mine." She was actually trying to make a quip even if she didn't feel well. "You said ye needed me, Pony. I did it for ye. But I'll admit that I feel as if the weight of the world is off my shoulders to hear ye let me go." She moved to sit up and threw her arms around him, hugging him as tight as her arms would let her. "I'm just tired is all. I think I feel like this because I was afraid to let ye down by tellin' ye I don't want te do this anymore. But I can't keep holdin' it back." She rested her head on his shoulder. "And I am sorreh fer ignorin ye. I thought ye would never hear me."
Pony sighed and let her hug him, gently hugging her back. "I did need ya. I liked having someone I could trust and depend on by my side and I thought you were happy and enjoying the adventure. When you complained, it mostly seemed you just wanted me to stop. I did hear you and I told you it was fine. You live your life. I think this place is awful and really wish you would listen to be about some other place. How.. how about a port? You can see the sea, it would be beautiful and so much fresh air. Lots of different types of men there. I'm certain one would be good for you. "

He sighed and patted her head once more then laid her lay back. "You've been mostly in bed for days. I'll let you rest now that you know I listened. But you will be up on your feet in two days ok? You need fresh air and moving if you can. It's good for you to circulate."
She took in a deep breath and let it go, then said, "I have never felt like I belonged anywhere until now. My heart is here. I know what I want ta do now. I want ta be a nurse, I think it is fittin' because of our da. And I think ye should find where ye belong and ye should do what makes ye happiest. I wont be tellin ya to stop sellin' yer elixir, but I will tell ya that yer more talented than ye think ye are when it comes to healin' people the real way. And I'll be just fine. I promise to come to ye when I need ye and give ye a reason to fuss like the older brother ye are, does that sound fair? And I don't want ye to leave, I have slept enough."
Pony stared at her as if she had grown a third eye. "What? You want to be like our father? You admire him? I have hated that man almost my entire life. He was not there for us, Karen. He spent every day at work and thought we would be magically raised ta be good citizens. When I acted out, he sent me away! Do ye know what they do ta boys there, Karen? Do ye know what I went through in that dark place? No, ye don't know how awful it was because ya were a meek little mouse that father thought would turn out ta be a good wife. I saved ya from that! And now he is what ya strive ta be. " 

He shook his head and jerked his finger in the general direction outside. "I might be a con man, Karen. But my stuff doesn't kill people. Doctors are the real monsters. They do horrible things and call it medicine. I might 'ave learned a little basic stuff to help, but I would never ever throw my life away in such a miserable position. You don't know what yer gett'n into. And by the time ye figure it out, I won't be here."
She blinked and then scowled, "Now ye know good and damned well that I've hated pa just as much as ye. I ain't becomin' a nurse to be like him, I have somethin' called compassion. See, this is what I am talkin about, damn it! I am tryin' ta do somethin' with my life and you make it out to be somethin' bad because it doesn't suit ye or make ye happy!" She sat up and then closed her eyes as the room tilted. He talked about being gone like he didn't care and that smarted. "BAD doctors kill people, you would not. I try to show ye I have faith in ye and ye turn on me. Nothin' I do will ever be good enough, will it? Just like with pa." Her voice cracked a little. "But ye aren't pa, are ye? Yer my brother, yer all that I have and I love ye even if ye are a big ass."
Pony shook his head. "Yer the one twisting words. Ye said ye want to be a nurse and it's fitting like ya think yer doing it cause of our father. It is a terrible idea. And I already told ya to do what ye want but ye seem intent on doing things that I would dislike most! Like yer trying ta get back at me. Even 'good' doctors kill people, don't fool yerself!"

He gestured at himself. "I am livin' my life how I want! When father lost his money and we were in a basic prison of a home, I grew angry. Like an animal in a cage! Look how happy I am! We were both happy for a while! I do believe you can do good things. But i think you're rushing because you're too desperate for finding yourself that you're going to make mistakes!"  He tried to calm but his voice broke as his true accent flickered in and out." And i told ya I am not staying here. There are a million places better than this town. Why are ye trying ta make me stay in a place I despise so? If ye want to live here that is me letting ya live yer life but ye can't make me live it too! I would have released ya long ago if I knew ye felt this strongly, but I am not one to keep my opinions quiet!"
"Just because I said it was fittin' doesn't mean I admire someone. I just meant that it is in our blood and we have a chance to turn it inta somethin he couldn't do! Somethin GOOD." She was so tired and frustrated again. She hadn't wanted another fight, but it seems like that's all they have been doing as of late. "And, might I add, ye never asked me if I was happy, ye only just assumed. I was happy, but fer the last several months, I've not been because every day is just like the next. I want better fer both of us, ye stubborn ass. If yer happy selling sugar water, then by all means, ye sell yer sugar water, but don't ye dare insinuate that I am doin this for da. Ye say ye were like a caged animal... then ye should know how I feel! I feel like a firefly in a mason jar. Yer so worried about my choices, but if I don't make mistakes, I won't learn."
"You can think what you like. You can do what you like, though I wish for a moment you wouldn't do things I hated so. But it's your choice.." Pony's voice lowered as he was getting close to yelling at her and his voice had already risen more than once.

"I thought you were happy! You complained about MY choices, not saying you wanted something else for yourself, I'm not a mind reader. You don't know what's best for me. I'm doing something I like and that I'm good at. I get to travel and make money so that maybe.. one day I can retire and don't have to live in a tiny hovel or have kids I don't have time for."

He folded his arms and looked at her , trying hard to not blow up at her just because she was so stubborn and blind to the truth. "It ain't the same! Mistakes that happen when you're a woman are different! You should know that! You can ruin your life and be labelled in a small town like this and never know a day of happiness again unless you leave. You have some wishful dream that just ain't true when things go wrong. I don't want that for you though you seem to be steaming right for it as hard as you can!"
"THERE!" she cried out, "Ye just said exactly as I was sayin, man. Ye wish I wouldn't do things YE don't like! Ye just said I don't know whats best for ye, yet you think YE know what's best for ME! Well, ye don't!!! Ye say yer not a mind reader, well I did try ta tell ye several times I was unhappy but ye never really paid mind! So I gave up. Wouldn't ye? I thought if I made ye happy, I could be happy, but it doesn't work like that." She lowered her voice too. "Ye have no faith in me at all if yer tellin' me that ye don't want me to make my own choices because I am a woman and it might ruin me. How can I do any of that when ye insist on bein' at my elbow when yer not out actin like some prized rooster? Ye want me to need ye. Tell me I am wrong."

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