Warning for child abuse and neglect and everything Umineko.

Prologue – The Dreams of Beatrice

Her mama was the black witch today. Angry and simmering, she was packing at a furious speed. Her fingers trembled over clothes, fumbled with the clasp of her suitcase. Maria, sensing something oncoming like a storm, carefully did it herself.

Her mama jumped at the sound, eyes mad, terrified and furious. Then, at the sight of her, they softened. "Maria..."

"Mama," she replied, trying not to smile, trying not to chant that happy spell that her mama had suddenly stopped loving to hear. It maybe wasn't a good spell of happiness for her mama anymore. She would have to think of a new one. Maybe it was something like, make paychecks better! Orrr… teach Maria to cook faster and better food! Uu, that didn't seem like it was much good either. "Does Maria need to find anything else?"

The terror and fear retreated further and Maria prayed with her hands behind her back that she could make it go away forever if she tried. "No, no, this is good enough. Mama will only be gone for a couple of days anyway."

"U-Mm." She changed at the last minute and the hackles went down. "Will it be okay for me to watch the house by myself?"

Mama nodded and she smiled and Maria hoped she truly meant it. "I think so, you are a big girl now, after all."

"Uh. You're right. Maria is a big girl who is still learning and growing." She pumped her fists, trying to be brave, trying to be strong. "And Grandfather won't be mad?"

"I doubt it," her mother replied gently. "He's very busy putting his last will and testament together."

Maria nodded at this. That was true. Though grandfather worked so hard to be a mage, he was also very old. His human body was starting to give, or had given long ago. Hopefully, when it finally released his soul, he would be able to practice magic with Beatrice properly and the incarnations would be proud and Beatrice would get what she wanted. "I hope he has a good Halloween… he really loves it." It was better, easier, in the long run, to say something like that.

Impatience prickled the corner of her mother's eyes but she smiled anyway as if she had only remembered something. "That's true. He's always loved playing tricks on children on Halloween." She frowned as if recalling something very sad and painful. "He did it to me too, once..."

"Ooh..." Maria bobbed her head. "Mama! Would you tell me about it when you get back? And have slept a lot?"

Her mother hesitated, just for a moment. But then she hugged Maria tight to her chest, and Maria was certain that she would remember that hug for the rest of her life, "Of course!" She laughed. "You can use them on your classmates this year!"

Maria smiled a little and cheered on the inside. That was practically a promise and a promise couldn't be broken that easily. "Okay! Then Mama should go go go!" Maria paused but did not pull away. "And… Mari- I saw the weather said there's going to be a lot of storms today. Please be careful, okay Mama?"

Because sometimes magic needed more than intent. Sometimes magic needed the actualization spoken. It depended on the strength of the spell or the desire and intention. Maria knew this because sometimes her darker curses worked better than her happy blessings. She sometimes meant them a little more than she should.

Surprise sent the black witch skittering away from her mother like the shadows over the clock and her mama squeezed her so tight Maria could swear her bones creaked. "I will Maria, don't you worry about me. You just be good, okay?"

Maria nodded happily. She would be good and she would wait. That was what good girls do.

The storm outside raged. It raged like the black witch, full of promise, full of wrath. It spoke of real things, things that magic could not fix or change no matter what you did or how hard you tried. It spoke of the inevitability of all things, whispered the words Maria tried to ignore.

Death is permanent no matter how hard you try. There is only one of a person in this world. Even the golden hand could not recreate the unique.

Maria, in desperation perhaps, to counter the darkness of the outside world, filled the living room with light. Even though she was meant to keep her games to her room and to the floor, she filled the house with them, danced with them. Each stuffed animal was given their place and a cup of tea.

As always, a chair was left for Sakutaro Because Beatrice knew much, had taught her everything. There was no chance to create a new one from zero. But Maria was the Witch of Origins, and perhaps one day, the zero could turn again into one so long as she loved him hard enough and believed in him.

The black witch had said that Sakutaro was dead now. Now was not always forever. She knew this for certain, like her mama's temper, like her papa's inability to return. That was all right though. Maria did not need a father. She was the Mother Mary and if Jesus Christ hadn't needed one to perform miracles, then neither would she.

That was that.

She put the television on its highest sounds, its brightest shows. She found the Halloween sweets she had hidden, meant to tuck into people's hands and beg for in exchange for no tricks.

Maria loved Halloween. It didn't scare her. There were monsters in it true, monsters and ghosts and violent things, but if you respected them properly if you gave them their due and treated them as you ought to treat any creature, like the fae, you were left as you began. She had tried to explain this to her mother when she left protective charms and the like all over the house (though even she had to admit the forms of some were excessive. There had to be better) and the rage was something to behold. Maria couldn't blame it on the black witch that time. She could only blame herself.

So even when the storm raged on and sometimes tried to peek its way inside, Maria ignored it. She talked to her friends and thought the house full of people. The next day, yes, she would clean up, but until then she would enjoy the never-ending party.

If only every one of the family were here too. Then it would be honest to goodness perfect.

A/N: Hello! A long fic for Umineko? Say it ain't so! I say long to a point. This one will be about 65-75 chapters I think, surrounding the surviving Ushiromiya family and the potential of magic with Eva, Ange, and Maria, and the difficulties of trauma. Prepare for a lot of thinking and talking.

Challenges: CoM Diversity 13, Higurashi/Umineko Epic Masterclass 3. song time challenge for Take Your Way