Francie borrowed a sweater from her a while back, and it had been one of Syd's favourite sweaters, too. It wasn't anything spectacular as garments go, but it had been something that Danny had picked out for her for her Christmas present a few years ago, and she'd fallen in love with it at first sight. She'd worn it all over campus, feeling that it was as good as an engagement ring, almost; no, better, really, 'cause she could wear it around work colleagues and not worry about them seeing. Dixon had liked it on her, funnily enough, so she'd taken to bringing it to informal work meets, where it wasn't likely to acquire bullet holes or assorted burns.
Of course, when Danny was - when Danny died, her use for that scrap of cloth changed again. She slept with it curled around her pillow, breathing his fading scent in: hospital disinfectant and canteen coffee, all that makes up a doctor.
"You need to stop, Syd," Francie said a couple of weeks later. She'd been trying to coax Sydney into accepting a hot beverage of some kind - a hot beverage of any kind, frankly - and had been met with blank looks. Syd sat on her bed, forest green peeking out from beneath the cream of her pillow.
"I don't," Syd said in reply and pushed the green out of sight with one finger.
"You don't know what you're talking about," she said, vaguely surprised to hear herself shouting. "Danny's dead, and I can't - you can't expect me to -"
Francie caught Syd's hands in hers, rubbing her thumbs into Syd's palms comfortingly. "I don't expect you to do anything, honey. Okay?" Nothing. She gripped harder. "Okay?"
Syd dipped her head a miniscule fraction in acquiescence and Francie breathed out. "I'm not asking you to get rid of it. I know it's important. But, would you lend it to me for a little while?"
Sydney pulled her hands free. She had her knees drawn up and her back pressed against the headboard, looking all of ten years old again. "I don't want to get rid of it," she said quietly.
"You won't be. I'll look after it for you." Reaching out again, Francie simply scooted up the bed to slide up beside her, tucking an arm around her shoulders. "I'll take good care of it for you, honey. I promise." She laced the fingers of one hand loosely through Syd's.
Sydney stared at their intertwined fingers, the odd position pushing both their pulses against her fingers; an echo in the room. "Promise," she said, sweet and tiny; then, "promise, Francie -"
"I will. I promise. Oh, sweetie, I promise." Making soft, comforting noises, Francie's arms tightened around her.
Promise, Syd thought dully, staring at her hands. Beside her lay an opened box with the salvaged remains of her life: half a photo, a charred figurine, brick-a-brac. And, hidden deep in a metal box Francie's closet and safe from Allison and the fire, a flash of forest green.