p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "They came together."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Fine clicking of spoon against porcelain was all that filled the air, as to let her words settle in, Cordelia kept stirring her tea— sugar sunken at the very bottom —as they spoke, safe in the pristine white walls of her office, devoid of any worry, devoid of any care./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Bubbles McGee blinked in surprise, bringing her own cup of tea to her lips before sipping, rather loudly, for a woman of her manners./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Well, that's odd" she asserted, "For two teenagers to bargain in that way, all alone. Unless they happened to be related."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Cordelia had seen many cases of witches (and in this case, warlocks) gone astray, left on their own devices, sometimes with siblings, sometimes alone, wandering off until they wound up at her door. Asking to be guided, asking to be helped. But this was not the case of Michael and Mallory, no, this was different. And she couldn't put her finger on it, so was hinted as her gaze glued itself to the door of her office, not really fixed onto anything. Just thinking./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "No, they're not related." the blonde woman sighed, and put her steaming cup down, "But she wouldn't leave his side, nor would he. It was touching, almost…"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The elder raised her eyebrows in interest, her satin outfit matching the walls just perfectly, it appeared to be the only hint of color, real color, in that room were Cordelia's dress and Bubbles' lips./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Was it, now?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "…Yes", she continued, still trying to find an explanation to something inexplicable "When they first walked through those doors I was certain I had never seen a pair so conflicted. The girl, Mallory, she seemed to be very certain of where she had to go, and what she had to do to get them both any help. I was unable to refuse, of course, partly because they're our own kind and partly because I saw in them something I longed. Something I had been yearning for a long time now."/small/p
hr style="color: #000000; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;" /
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory uttered a muffled scream the second her windshield came to crash, she couldn't believe she had done it. For a second she didn't move, she couldn't, she just sat deep into the seat of the car she had stolen listening to her own heartbeat echoing painfully inside her ears. Her hands were shaking, her brow was beaded with sweat, and a deep sickening feeling fastened itself within her stomach. The coven was all she had in mind, Cordelia's bloodied outline, Madison's beheaded frame limp on the floor and all of the carnage she had witnessed years priors that painted the pure lily-white halls and walls of her beloved academy in a slick shade of emred./em/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Yes, she was doing this for her coven./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The material of her lacy gloves was suddenly all too itchy, her veins were squirming underneath her skin as to warn her something, and Mallory couldn't bring herself to even open her eyes./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small It was the soft sound of cries and groans what brought her back to reality. A painful, awful reality. Mallory could hear it coming from behind the car, and her hand ghosted over thinking of shifting gears and ending what she had started— seeing she didn't kill him right off the bat —yet something strange and overpowering took over her before she could do so. It was Cordelia the reason why she was there, in more than one way, in was Cordelia who she owed something to and by owing something to her she owed something to the world itself. Mallory knew what was to come, Mallory knew what he would become. The Antichrist, ruling over a dead world under a rain of devilish fire, a relentless killer devoid of any empathy, or emotion, driven solely by his feral purposes. A beast, he was./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"smallem Yes, but I'm no beast/em she thought. This felt rushed, this felt wrong, this felt like a lousy end to a promising beginning; this story wasn't hers, and these sudden actions altogether, were not hers./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The faint cries continued, and it lowered her to the littlest level of scum to feel them so alike a child's, so helpless and so wounded. Cursing herself with her lowest breath, Mallory stepped out the car, her vision blurred under the broad daylight and her legs absurdly shaky. What she came to see made her feel even worse./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small All she had seen before running Michael over was a blurry outline of haloed blonde hair and a baby yellow shirt, she had blinked once and she had blinked twice but the scene before her eyes was so gorey and so unbecoming it felt like Satan's himself work, as much as his work as Michael was./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Flashbacks came flooding back, and she felt herself going back to the Outpost 3 with every tiny step she took, those that echoed ever so loudly and made her feel like she was trapped in some slow-motion madness. She could feel the luminosity dropping down by the second and her surroundings being covered by lightly lit candles, the soft roaring of a fire dimmed down to white sound as the loud clicking of riding boots against the floors she had scrubbed herself made him become noticed. She could see him, brushing right past her with his gaze fixed on Wilhelmina Venable, she could see the way his gelid eyes shone through the half-light and fixed on hers for half a second when she interrupted him. Namely, she could see him kneeling before her as to pray, touching her face so softly saying she was afraid. And she had been afraid./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Those ringed fingers that had caressed her skin were now twitching and flinching against the frying pan hot cement, splattered with his own blood. emInnocent blood./em Blood Mallory herself hadem shed./em His clothes were torn up, his leg was horribly broken, she brought herself not to look like the coward she was, and the look on his face depicted sorrow and terror, confusion, far from the sultry intimidating tyrant who brought the end upon his broad shoulders, the Michael before her looked nothing, but like a child. Her heart could shatter right there./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "H-Help me. Pleas-se help me." he croaked./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Had he not seen it was Mallory who ran him over? The woman who tried to kill him, was he not aware? Or was he still as innocent as one could be to reach out for the closest hand at his reach hoping to find some saving grace? His voice was so sweet and unalloyed, so wounded, Mallory tried and failed to bit back a sob, tears rushing to her eyes as they spilled bitterly. The same way he had lowered himself to be at her same height, in days not to come, she knelt by him minding little the harsh surface scratching her knees in the Californian heat. Her hand slipped under his head, and she ultimately placed it upon her knees, all she could do was cry at this point. She felt so disgusting./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Oh, God…" the mere mention caused him to hiss quietly through the pain, she made a gesture with her hands as to hover over his entire body still too shocked to even touch him "I-I'm so sorry!"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Like a deer in the headlights, Michael continued to look at her, her hand came up to brush a side of his face. Michael blinked nervously and flinched as though he was expecting her to hurt him any further and it broke her down to pieces, this was just a child! A child! Why hadn't Cordelia asked her to kill him when she was being interviewed? Or when he first came to the Outpost? Right before the Apocalypse, why now? He was so frail and defenseless. Mallory herself had hidden because their encounter would have been bloody and unfair, with no means of defense or survival. Now she was worse than him./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Help…" he whispered, his wavering strengths hanging from a thinning thread./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small This was now or never. She could either let him die in her arms and call herself a hero, or follow her instincts and be completely and utterly disobedient. It was Saint Michael or Lucifer, the one she would come to be, depending solely on what she did next. Mallory swallowed hard, blinking away the heavy tears as she finally made her decision./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small em "Shh, it's okay. It's okay…" /emshe hushed him carefully, stroking the side of his face, "I will help you Michael, I promise. I will help you. I am so, so very sorry."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small He raised his head slightly, as much as his weakness allowed him to./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Y-You know-w my name?" he asked in childish disbelief, a sprinkle of hope filling his eyes./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory nodded nervously and hushed him once again, prompting him to stay still and quiet./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Calm down, Michael, let me help you."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small She had saved Coco, she had saved a deer, she had placed her hands upon every harmed, helpless thing that came across her and she had saved them all. Nobody ever questioned her, they marvelled at her actions like a coming of a second Christ, they saw her turn flames into a man and gave her the title of Supreme. A Supreme was not driven by her own selfish desires, nor was she able to kill in cold blood a poor helpless being that also happened to be defenseless. For a moment she questioned what took over her that made her do that; maybe it was pain, maybe it was anger. But it was all long gone now. She had drawn the line between accepting what she couldn't change, and changing what she couldn't accept./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Perhaps the word of the Lord would harm him, burn him, but she had to cast out the strengths from somewhere, even if it was just a hollowed pit inside her heart. Mallory closed her eyes, cheeks salty and heavy with her own spilled tears, and placed her hands on him. It was awful, for once she felt a strange connection that stirred her to the core and made her shiver in pain, she couldn't utter a word, but every ailing that affected him came through her, she saw the abandonment, the pain, the fear buried deep inside his voice. A dusty hallway filled with smirking ghosts and questions unanswered, his soul was a Murder House of his own, but she was about to draw the curtains./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Come on, Michael" she wept, "Please."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Slowly she felt the tissues coming together, the blood pouring in, the bones mending, and the color returning to the skin of his face where his lips had grown blue and his eyes lifeless. She only opened her eyes once she heard him gasp, finding his wide baby blues looking up at the sky, breathing fast and heavy, trying to reconnect with reality and process what just happened. For a moment she feared he would jump into conclusions and (rightfully so) rip her throat open for hurting him./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "C-Can you hear me? Michael?" she whispered, his eyes came to meet hers, "Are you alright?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small He was startled, his gaze shifting from one side of her face to the other, probably not knowing who she was or what she had done. His mouth was gaped open as he struggled to breathe, Mallory had stopped crying, but the knot in her throat has still as tight./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "What happened?" he questioned, hurt and confused. He sounded so… emso innocent./em/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I hurt you," she confessed with a strangled sob "And I am so sorry about it, so sorry."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small As tears came flooding back, he looked at her trying to figure out what she meant. Why she was so distraught, why she was so hurt. A weeping angel over him, with hands wrapped in lace and big woeful eyes spilling tears like a furious autumn rain. Worst time to note it, far too subtle for her to take it in, but Michael's gaze shifted from shock to amazement, as his head was still on her knees and her hand was still cupping his It was so soft, /emhe thought, so gentle./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small He knew little of girls, never had he ever spoken to a real one in his life. But he was sure, he was certain, that he had never seen one so pretty./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I don't think I can move." Michael said suddenly, making Mallory grow worried./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small She rushed to place him down as he tried to stand up, "Don't" his legs and arms had shifted, however, so the damage had been undone, to say the least "Just rest, Michael, you need it."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The blonde boy sighed and blinked heavily, yet he stubbornly kept his eyes open "I'm tired!"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I know, I know, Michael" Mallory stroked his cheek again, to soothe him "Just sleep."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Obedient as he rarely was, Michael let his head flop back on her knees, closing his eyes as he let out harsh, short breaths. These became longer and smoother with time, she had started caressing his hair, bringing him some ease as he slowly began to drift off. There was no heat and no sunlight anymore, just an inner peace that definitely had to be borrowed, for his soul had never owned it./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "That's it," she whispered, unaware of the figure approaching her "You just sleep."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael fell asleep on her knees, lips parted and cheeks plump and heavy, one of his hands folded under his face and his chest lastly relaxing under her touch. He wouldn't feel any pain anymore, she would make sure of it. But her relief was short-lasting, as shoes in gravel made her look up, and an elder woman she came to recognize as his grandmother looked down at her, at Michael, at the bloodied mess on the road and the shattered windshield, trying to connect the dots./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Would she scream at her? Cuss her away, try to kill Michael herself? Mallory's hands protectively covered him in a swift movement, and the witch held her breath, waiting for the scold./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small However, she didn't get any. She didn't even get a threat, all she got was a knowing warning./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "If you think you've done some good to the world by saving this mewling piece of scum, child, I fear I will have to tell you you're wrong" she spat out, voice laced with pain and disdain, "You should have done the whole job and let him to die and rot right there; is what he deserves."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory's face scrunched and trembled through her own words, "He's your grandson, Constance."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The woman didn't like the recognition, yet she didn't question it. All she did was shifting awkwardly, her beautiful face contracted in a pain only she could understand. Mallory had no business judging her, that much was true./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "That thing is not my grandson, my grandson died the night this stranger took over his bed and tried to pose and claim it as his own. All you're cradling now, missy, is a monster. You've not seen what he's done." she roared in unbridled rage./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I have." she assured her, cutting her off, "Trust me, I have."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "And still you help him?" she asked, haughtily, "What kind of idiot are you?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory didn't really know what to say, she truly was acting like an idiot. But it had been an act of idiocity to try to kill the Antichrist with a Range Rover, to begin with, she shrugged her shoulders as a sign of surrender, Constance's gaze was harsh and undying, but Mallory's was not haltering. The blonde woman saw through her protective hands, down at her sleeping grandson and his ripped clothes, blood still fresh on his skin, and her eyes narrowed in knowing and suspicion./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "The kind of idiot that belongs to the same hell pit, it seems"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "You'll never see him again, Constance, he won't hurt you anymore" she promised, ignoring the foul comment of hers./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Constance raised a brow, from where she was standing she could see frustration striking her features and maybe even pain rushing and watering her hazel eyes, the eyes of a woman who knew well of toils and terrors "And you're gonna promise me that, emlittle witch?/em"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory nodded, daring and unafraid "Yes."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I buy" the woman trailed off, bringing herself to turn away from the two of them "none of it."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"smallem It's okay, I don't need you to buy it. I just need to get out of here alive, and do my best to keep him alive as well. /emWords were superfluous but her thoughts were agitated tidal waves, thinking of it all and all she could possibly do keep them both safe now they were stuck in a uncertain tomorrow./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Constance was gone, and Michael was still fast asleep on her lap, she could tell he was tired and now, much to their inconvenience, he had nowhere else to go. What could they possibly do? There was no way now for neither of them to come back, the present she had been facing was filled with brimming hatred and carnage, the blue skies above however warm however cold, turned to toxic air. This was not the Michael waiting for her on the other side of the narrative, perhaps he could get to be, but only if she wasn't careful enough. It startled her how her healing allowed her to see so far into his soul, how its and bits of his life coming crashing down on her making his pain so alike her own, now more than ever she was responsible for it, she couldn't leave him this way. And by how peaceful he looked, how thankful and restless, she knew she didn't want to leave him, either./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Now, what am I gonna do with you?" she sighed, more to herself than to him./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small An idea came from between the fog in her mind, just a flash of light she caught in her hand before it disappeared, like picturing a mythical creature at the precise moment it showed itself in its entirety. Mallory knew as well as she knew who she was, that there was no way Cordelia (or the others) could tell what was happening, even if she stopped right there the future wouldn't be the one she left behind when she swam in the dark waters of the tub. She remembered what she was doing that fall, when her powers began to show themselves, she knew that she would most likely go missing as her present self was in fact someone from the future; her family most likely forgot her due to the warp in time she had caused, so Mallory herself had no place to go./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"emsmall "You were floating over your bed" her mother had shrieked, holding a knife against her throat./small/em/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"emsmall And she had wept in response "I told you I didn't do it on purpose!"/small/em/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"emsmall "You must be some Devil worshipper, Mallory, some sort of monster"/small/em/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"emsmall "Mother, please, I swear I didn't do anything. I am no monster, mom, I promise!"/small/em/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The ugly memory came with a beautiful solution, one that came in the form of a certain interview she had seen on air, of a honey-eyed woman with a voice and face just as sweet, assuring her audience that there was a place in the world where they were accepted and expected. Perhaps in had came in handy for them to have an ache in common, now out of sudden, she knew what to do. She knew where to go. By now that was enough./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory wiped her tears with the back of her hand, uncomfortably scratching her face with her gloves, looking up at the clear blue sky and down at the sleeping boy on her knees. Her hand curiously brushed a strand of blonde hair aside, and she could recognize every feature of his face, the one she had first seen a few feet underground. He looked pretty much the same, only younger, and devoid of hate. At least in his sleep, he was. emNo turning back, now,/em she thought, a rush of cool breeze soothing her heat and distress. They were a team on this now./small/p
hr style="color: #000000; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;" /
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The Hotel Cortez was an awful place to stay, unless you happened to have the right company./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory was pretty much aware of the awful doings that took place within those walls, but if there was someone powerful enough to walk in and out of them, it was Michael. It brought her heart to ache to even think of Queenie getting trapped again, and she promised to herself to be on the lookout in case she happened to be one of those unlucky ones waiting for their room keys at the lobby./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Their room was small and their stay was unquestioned, the weeping souls from within the rooms brought Michael to gaze over his shoulder every so often, Mallory hated herself for putting him through such unnecessary turmoil, but she needed shelter and she needed time before they made their way back to Louisiana. They were outcasts at this point, left stranded and to their own devices in this wicked world, but at least they had each other./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small It was so very strange to see the way he was behaving, in his mind he was nothing but a toddler, but Michael was intelligent and caring beyond any human recognition. Mallory took their time together to find out just how much he knew of the world and himself, to somewhat excuse his actions aside from him being the spawn of Satan. He was soft and he was sweet, he had grown faithful and obedient towards her, even if at times he refused to eat his greens and wanted to play a little longer before bed. Everything she did amazed him, as she came to learn when she showed him how she could make flames appear out of the nothingness with a simply flick of her hand. With open palms and widened eyes they both sat indian style on her bed making little flames appear, although this was not such a good idea when Michael accident burned the lamp by playing a little too rough with the flame; not to mention he burned Mallory's forearm and his own hand in the process./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small She was convinced there was good in him, and every day he only proved that further. He was a child, after all, in the desperate need of guidance even if he at times was so smart and so stubborn she found him hard to control; his bratty fits were rare but they were present, his curiosity was unmatched and it often resulted in Mallory dragging him out of some shady room by the collar; such as the one where James March played cards, all alone, much to her surprise she had come to find them both playing poker, the ghost's face looked even more deprived of life when Mallory came in, almost like he was fearful of Michael, but they continued to play and Mallory had no more choice but to stay and watch./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I hope you know you can't force us to stay in here" she had told him firmly once Michael had gone back to their room, probably to get himself some cookies to eat in between games./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "O', dear, I can assure I would never try to do such thing" James answered, something wavering inside of him visibly enough to show the way he shivered. Even in death, he was fearful of something./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The skin of James was so pale it looked waxy, in stark contrast with his jet black hair and dark blue tuxedo, she had come to learn he was a gentleman despite it all. And it made her miss Queenie even more so by just thinking of those comical stories the witch would share back on their Robichaux days./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Those that were never to come./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "And I hope I never get to hear you call him a monster, either, March"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory looked from behind her cards./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Wouldn't care, wouldn't dare." he assured her, they conversation growing stale by the sound of footsteps approaching./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael chimed in, holding a package of jam filled cookies in his hand, a gleeful smile plasttered on his angelic face, Mallory smiled at the sight./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I brought you cookies, Mallie!" he cooed./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Thank you, Michael" she said, shooting a fleeting glance at March, who looked down at his cards./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small It had taken them some time, but in a few weeks time they were ready to head to their actual destination, so Mallory packed about as little as they carried while Michael sat on his own bed deep in thought. She knew he was smart enough to understand that, in a way, they were on the run. Michael knew of his killings, he knew of his outbursts, and these wouldn't stop any time soon, she was afraid. But she held onto his hand and asked him what was wrong, at this point he trusted her deeply, as much as a child would to whatever authority figure he had near him, he kept asking her in broken words if she thought of him as a monster, and she assured him she would never, ever see him as such. So they went their way, once again, with no certainty of what would follow, if anything would follow./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Cordelia had been puzzled by the sight of them, looking like they had gone through Hell, Mallory's purse filled mostly with discarded wrappers of snacks Michael had eaten along the way, when he hadn't fallen asleep on her shoulder or pointed out the window for her to see a certain something on the train, no incidents had ensued. Thankfully. But Mallory still had another detail to take care of./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small She had to keep him far and away from the warlocks./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "You know, Mallory…" Cordelia had suggested carefully in her office, as a lazy cricket jumped from her hand to the desk, distracting the Supreme for just a second "…There is a certain place, in California, where they could help a boy such as Michael."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The hair on the back of her neck raised, and Mallory swallowed thick./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Please, Miss Cordelia, don't send Michael away" she begged, bringing herself forward to grasp at her hands. The older woman looked down at her, mildly surprised "I made a promise not to ever part from him, not to ever leave him in California. Trust me, he won't be any better in any place but this."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small It was so hard not to just burst out the truth to Delia as she had done so many times in the past (future, perhaps, present, in a way) but she had the hopes she would see it through her eyes. Seeping in a desperate plea./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Okay, Mallory" she caved in, at last "Michael can stay with us"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory looked over her shoulder through the half-opened door, finding Michael fiddling with a small ornament from one of Cordelia's tables. The boy looked up at Mallory with those blue soulful eyes and smiled, a rush of relief washed over her./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small em "Thank you"/em she whispered back, and thankful she was. br /small/p
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p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Winds would change as would her mind, and ever as slowly the days went by. Everything she came to know and love of her coven, with the exception of Myrtle, was still there. It ached her so to know the reality of certain things, to be aware and wary of anything that might have posed a threat, it took her long enough to feel at peace at her own home; but in the end, it had all been /small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small To turn the corner and find Zoe giving a lecture, all her students paying close attention to her words, it had been a blessing. A couple of days after settling in, Mallory herself had the pleasure of reviving a scene in particular she had treasured dearly; to turn roses into butterflies, it was. The blue petals came to life, floating lazily in the air with every flop of their wings, of course this time they were not alone, beside her sat Michael, whose deep purplish petals had turned into fireflies, those who danced with her own creations in some funny, little dance, before they all fell into Cordelia's hands in the shape of white, untainted petals. The only thing brighter than Cordelia's smile, had been Michael's eyes, who took all her validation and praising with an amount of pride that could hardly be contained in his chest. In no time he had become the little sibling of the coven, the amount of cheek pinches and bear hugs and sweets sent his way wouldn't really make up for all those years of pain and confusion, but they could certainly start somewhere./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small For the most time, their little clique consisted of Michael, Mallory, Zoe and Queenie. Sharing stories, doing tricks, mostly playing around and about making a pleasure out of their passing days ignoring the fact that, in another reality, they had died by the hands of the other, in one way or another. Mallory kept an undying gaze over Michael, ever so vigilant of his actions, ever so caring of him; when they first arrived people would whisper wondering just why some random nanny would walk in with her kid under her arm, refusing all around to be taken away from him, it was clear and notorious that they weren't linked by family ties, even if there was something motherly about the way she treated him. At the end they were all satisfied with knowing taking care of him as her promise./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Time wouldn't falter their intentions, nor would it make Michael forget who saved him, in a way. Eventually he came to know who and what he was, even everything that his shadow self had caused the coven. It had been painful, that's for sure, but that hadn't made him change his mind about changing his ways; in spite of how hard it had been to hide his true nature from the coven and from himself. However he did float away from her a bit, each day focusing more on being on his own rather than spending time with his tedious little friend and her other witchy friends. He was still their Michael, just Michael. But he was growing, and there was nothing she could do to stop it./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Why of course she had grown attached to him as who raises a wolf as though it was a puppy. Might look the same, might be as affectionate as one, but that wouldn't erase the fact that it was a wolf lying underneath all that soft fur. If only Cordelia would accept him just the way he was, she had seen enough of his humanity to prove that in spite of his heritage, Michael was as human as her./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small And his growth had been a blatant display of magnificence of some sort, when he walked through the doors of Miss Robichaux's Academy he looked not older than fourteen, fifteen years old. With the mind and soul of a child, something that was easy to tell just by listening to his voice. Yet, somehow, by the time her dearest Coco made an act of appearance, things had changed, drastically./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory had woken up earlier to saunter down the hallway before making her way to the kitchen when Michael walked out his own room, rubbing his sleepy eyes. She had to bit back a scream as she first didn't recognize him./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small em"Michael, for fuck's sake!"/em she shrieked, covering her mouth with her hands, trying to recover from the shock./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Mhm?" he hummed sleepily, like he had no idea where that response was about./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small She had known him tall, a tad shorter when she saved him, but he was finally back to the height she had grown accustomed to while living in the Outpost. Towering over her, with a narrow waist and broad shoulders to match. His hair had grown a couple inches and his face was covered in a faint dark layer of facial hair, an unexpected stumble proper of an eighteen, nineteen year old./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Each day, each day he looked more to the Michael she had come to dread./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Morning" he mumbled, making his way down the hall to the bathroom without saying another word. Leaving her all alone trying to collect her thoughts, and wonder just how she'd explain that./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small At first she felt guilty for seeing him with brand new eyes, but in a way it had been predictable. From that day in the burning asphalt they had been linked by else than a dread in common. He had always admired her, he had always seen her when she wasn't looking taking in little details like the shape of her lashes or how she shrinked her nose when she ate something sour. The bones of her wrists and the gradient of her hair. Back in those nights when they were alone in that forsaken hotel back in California, he would beg her to let him push their beds closer together just so he could make a bridge out of their held hands, only because he felt safer. He had grown, in time, and to hold her hand like a lost little boy was not much of an option, even if he wanted to, so badly./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael thought she would never see him as anything but the wounded monster by the sidewalk, an insect that came crashing on her windshield, although the smile on her face and the hope in her eyes everytime he did something good suggested otherwise. The pain inside his chest was clearer than never, the weight of his actions and what could have been was still as sharp and as loud as a movie playing inside his head; he remembered it, when she stroked his cheek and made him see it, all the images came flashing back and he could see himself. Amongst those flashes of death and terror he caught a glimpse of a very different-looking Mallory seated in front of him, he looked older himself, he was touching her cheek telling her she had to accept who she truly was, and she gave out an answer in a manner so automatic and sincere he wondered if he compelled her to do so. His eyes, his walk, his voice, it was all so different. Michael saw himself morphing into that man every single day, when he looked in the mirror, but he didn't wish to cause any harm, no matter how dreadful this world of theirs seemed to be. For himself, for her, he promised not to ever be that man./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small It was hard to do so, anyway, when someone like Cordelia Goode was taking care of him. Joking with him, hugging him, wiping off a bit of smeared frosting from the corner of his mouth. Saying good morning, saying goodnight. Ever so truthful, ever so welcoming./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small At times his joy was such, he couldn't help but to cry out of relief and happiness. A demon so blessed, go figure, life worked in mysterious ways. He wasn't one to complain./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small emAnd his Mallory had so, so much to do with it./em/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Her selflessness, her courage, her will to pick him up from the floor and pushing him back onto the backseat of her Rover willing to take them both far away, somewhere they could both be safe, she had been so selfless when she left behind all she knew, and her initial orders. Just to redeem him./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small If only he knew just how requited his sentiments truly were. How hard Mallory had to keep herself from throwing a fit whenever the newest students chimed in to see him, quietly fighting over who will be sitting next to him in class, doing favors he didn't need just so he could acknowledge them. She saw him, becoming a slightest bit conceited, rolling his eyes at jokes, replying to Queenie's one-liners with a deep voice that also came overnight, giving those hearty laughs so alike music. He had gone back to black, and the color suited him, it made him look older, more like himself, although it made her come undone./small/p
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p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small em "How long?" /emshe asked in a whisper./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small His eyes fixed on her, and she was suddenly devoid of worries, as though she was floating, as though nothing could really touch them. For a moment, for now, all that existed was them "How long what?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory chuckled, feeling their eyelashes brushing "How long have you been hiding?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I've never been hiding," he retorted, a self-sufficient yet kind smile curling his lips, his breath so sweet and warm was brushing her own, mingling, tilting his head in such a slow torturous way "Not from you, anyway. I couldn't."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Yeah, I know…" Mallory smiled, feeling happy in her little imprisonment./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small There she was, so indecorous, pressed carelessly against a wall at the second floor sitting room, Michael's chest pressed flush to hers. He was supported on his arm, which was to a side of her head, her own arm holding onto his forearm tightly as she feared he would escape, but he had no desires to do so. The lights were out, everyone was fast asleep, having enjoyed their dinner all too much to care, partly thanks to a certain mixture of herbs Michael had ever so kindly mixed with their mashed potatoes, causing them to drift off sooner than usual. People had been betting over how long it would take them to admit their longings, but this had reached a whole new level of… Well… A whole new level of Michael. So much for a man to search for a little bit of privacy. It seemed to be time had made him kinder but by no means any less mischievous. It was torture to have him so close, yet so far, he was a tease and would only utter unfinished truths without granting her with any relief, any real answers, just plant more questions inside her sorry head. It only made her want him the more, he was pretty aware of it./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Still, there they were, huddled up by the side of one of the previous supreme's portraits, who looked at them with a hint of disapproval, the portrait across from them even fixed her gaze on them with a snicker frozen in time. Their little stooge./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Their noses were brushing, their breaths were clashing, and their eyes were clouded by something as sinful as it was human, something they had long since tried to ignore but couldn't run from any longer. Michael brushed his lips to her cheek, and she breathed in a sharp hiss./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "But you're not being entirely honest with me, now, are you?" she complained./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Then ask and you'll be answered, my angel…" was his simple, casual reply./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small As if the term of endearment wasn't enough of a reason for her to burst into flames./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small She grew shy before the question, but there was no turning back, "Do you love me?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small He smiled./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Do I?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory looked up at him with wide eyes, the way he stared at her lips nearly made them twitch, so bare and so close to him it was impossible for her to hide anything. She was walking the rope now./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I think you do."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small And with that, he let go./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I emknow/em I do." his lips capturing hers in a deep, yet short-lived osculation that lingered on fleeting glances and mixed breaths, not an inch of space between them, he shook his head as he spoke, as to prove the certainty of his words and how unchangeable they would ever be "From the very first moment I saw you."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Atlas was no longer carrying the world on his shoulders, nor was Mallory dragging her ball and chain. Beaming with happiness, her hands came to caress the sides of his face, unable to contain so much excitement in a body that, for years, had done nothing but aching./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I love you more than you will ever know." she swore, "Believe me."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small His own eyes mirrored something so kind and unaffected, they became so clear and glassy behind a faint hint of tears that were threatening with spilling. Happy tears, she had realized, the only ones he would spill from that day forward. "Do you?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Once again he was a kid under her hands, leaving himself defenseless for her to decide his fate, he was still as innocent, even if he had been made into something evil, even if he was meant to define destruction and not creation. It was a miracle right in front of her, and for that she was thankful./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory kissed him again pressing herself closer against him, feeling his heartbeat against her ribs, under her fingertips, breaking apart just to run her fingers through his hair lovingly./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "A million times I do," another futile kiss, another needy tug from him, "A million times I will…"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"emsmall And a million times she did./small/em/p
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p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Was it, now?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "…Yes", she continued, still trying to find an explanation to something inexplicable "When they first walked through those doors I was certain I had never seen a pair so conflicted. The girl, Mallory, she seemed to be very certain of where she had to go, and what she had to do to get them both any help. I was unable to refuse, of course, partly because they're our own kind and partly because I saw in them something I longed. Something I had been yearning for a long time now."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Bubbles leaned forward, turned all thoughts and anticipation./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Well, Cordelia…" she carefully patted her way in "What is that?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The Supreme smiled, recalling all those moments she had shared with the pair, amongst them all. From Mallory's fervent desires to keep her friend close to her at all times, seeing them both grow under her unbiased guidance, taking care of them like no one had before. Those two had something special about them, something wicked as well, but in a world filled with shadows there had to be a light for them to be born, to begin with. She was just starting to decode them, but she was certain it would be an ongoing process for quite some time./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Rest assured she had only known Bubbles McGee in all her silver screen, silver haired glory for a short time. But such thing was no secret, not to her, not to anyone in that house. It was the night of Halloween of 2021, and six years after having made an entrance, there was only one term to attach them. The only fitting one./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small em "My own family."/em/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small She watched as the older woman smiled, and both of them were wreathed in rosy sunshine, out of the sudden the room didn't look as white. Happiness, as she came to find, spread faster than any atomic fumes that could have taken over the soil of their beloved planet. Where their lovers were, where their families would grow, where their friends would endure./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small A soft knock brought her back to reality, and it only caused her smile to widen./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Cordelia?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small There was a man by the door, lean and tall, with gilded long hair tied in a low ponytail. He came dressed in a dark blue dress shirt, the first two buttons open hinting his soft pale skin underneath; his hands were folded behind his back, looking prim and proper in spite of having a couple strands of hair framing his face suggesting he had been involved in some hefty manual labor right before he made an act of appearance. The man looked at Cordelia respectfully, yet full of affection, an easy smile stretching his pursed lips./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Michael. Hi." she greeted, looking down at her hands for a moment "All good?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Magnificent, I dare say. We already hung up the lights in the backyard, although I take it Zoe and Queenie had a mild disagreement over the pumpkin carving"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "How so?" she strained a chuckle in amusement./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael shrugged, "Creative differences" he explained as to mind it little, "Zoe wanted the stuffing back in a plastic bag and Queenie thought it'd look funnier on top of her head. They later decided it would look better all over the porch."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Bubbles choked on her tea./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Oh, bother…" Cordelia burst into laughter, waving her hand dismissively towards him in between cackles "Then tell them to stop! We're expecting company later, jeez!"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael joined the choir and laughed along, uttering a sound so heavenly Bubbles raised her brows and turned to look at him out of curiosity alone, her jaw dropped a little just by looking at him./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Oh, right", Cordelia snapped back "Michael, this is Bubbles McGee, acclaimed motion picture actress—" the woman blushed before the sincere compliment in front of such gallant gentleman "—dear friend of mine. Bubbles, this is Michael. He is one of our teachers here at the Academy."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The young man ventured further into the room and stretched his hand out to shake the woman's, kindly, earning an earnest smile from such. She was enchanted, to say the least./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "And what is that you teach, Michael?" she desired to know./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Demonology!" he rushed to say, the shifted his weight from one foot to the other rather awkwardly, but enchanting still "Amongst other things. Pretty much anything that needs to be taught. It's a shifting subject, really."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Wow, a prodigy now, isn't he?" she praised, more to Cordelia than to Michael himself./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Thanks, I appreciate that" he noted with an honest smile./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Marie Laveau—" a new voice bargained in and stopped out of sudden./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small A young woman, probably in her twenties, was at the door. And she had happened to walk right into Michael. They had a little awkward exchange of giggles and apologies, as they shifted from their spots so she could approach Cordelia properly. It took less than a genius to realize the girl was a doll, with those big hazel eyes and her honeyed hair framing her face so delicately in an elaborate bun. Her thin frame adorned by knee-length floral dress in pale lilac that made her look nothing short of angelical. The girl tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, Bubbles couldn't help but notice Michael's wandering eyes hovering over her features as though he witnessed something holy, alas, discretion got the best of him./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "—Marie Laveau is in the foyer, she is here to see you" she announced, hands with fingers interlocked in front of her, the ghost of a smile teasing her peach pink lips, suddenly her smile turned into a faint grimace, as to warn her something "Although she's a bit upset right now, I'm afraid she tripped at the entrance over… Pumpkin seeds… or something."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Cordelia sighed loudly, whereas Michael and Bubbles bit back a laugh./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Thank you, Mallory" she sighed with her eyes shut tight, as though she was trying to come up with her plan for damage control on the spot, "I will be right down with her. Have you seen Coco?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory nodded "She's filling the trick or treating buckets with candy."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "You're looking lovely, Mal" Cordelia noted with grace, the girl muttered her thanks with a faint blush covering her cheeks "Although I was fearing the girls would force you into some ridiculous costume, as per usual."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory and Michael exchanged a little knowing look and chuckled soundly./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "No, this year I got away with it. Although Misty had this crazy idea of dressing me up in black velvet and leather, put some red eyeshadow on me and calling me a poor attempt of Dorian Gray."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Now that's a bit too much" Cordelia agreed, mirroring the gesture, the mention of the swamp witch bringing her heart to skip a beat before she asked further "Is Misty ready to go, then?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Yes!" she rushed to say, excitedly "She's with Marie now, tending to her ankle hoping it isn't sprained." Cordelia's face wrinkled in confusion, bringing Mallory to explain further "It was Misty she tripped over on the porch, besides the pumpkin seeds and such."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Cordelia groaned now "We can thank Queenie and Zoe for that."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Alright, guys, I will finish up my tea here with Bubbles and we'll be right down to fix that mess you made downstairs" she encouraged, both of the young folk in the room bidding their goodbyes and making their way down the stairs./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The Supreme was left to deal with Bubbles' amused grin, who was drumming her ringed fingers on the brim of her teacup, there was no need to voice it, it had been clear they had made a decent first impression, for Bubbles couldn't help but looking over her shoulder again and again./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Well, now, that's an exceptional young lady and a fair-looking chap right there!"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Adorable, aren't they?" she grinned with a shrunken nose, putting down her tea cup at last. Somewhere in her office a cricket was jumping from one spot to another, she hadn't been able to get rid of it since Mallory came, she didn't mind it much by now, Bubbles nodded in agreement "It baffles me to think they are the same clueless kids that came here, with a purse filled of candy wrappers and a couple dog-eared books."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Well!" Bubbles exclaimed "They've grown quite a bit! And they're both so charming, Delia, so polite"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Her smile widened, if that was even possible "That they are, it was them the ones who insisted upon staying here even after finishing their studies, now they're well into their way to become my right hand men alongside Zoe, if they aren't already. Michael himself made the decision, he has never been interested in visiting the Hawthorne Academy, or even letting them know a warlock is at our midst"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The elder shrugged "As dear Myrtle would say," she quoted "I, too, would choose you over the company of any man, any day." this made Cordelia grow nostalgic./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I would love to have them over at the set on Christmas, Cordelia, we're planning on a special feast this year to celebrate yet another decade in my acting career, it is bound to be superb."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "It definitely sounds like something they would both enjoy" she mused./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small So Madame McGee leaned forward, looking for a last bit of information before they finally decided to call it a day and saunter downstairs into the impending Halloween festivities, "And who should I address the invitations to, if I may ask?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Cordelia smiled, each of her hands gently placed to a side of the desk./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Michael and Mallory Goode" she said./small/p
hr style="color: #000000; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;" /
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Had you ever held something as precious in your hand? Ever treasure it as dearly? It brought them both to wonder, wonder every so often, how much was real and how much was fantasy. In the dead of autumn, something had made a beam of light filter through dry leaves and thick clouds. What other name could it have but sacred? Only something sacred, they came to know, would cause even dead flowers to blossom./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The celebrations had long since died, buckets of candy half-emptied in every surface of the house and hanging lights threaded the trees above them. A man and a woman walked lazily across the yard, hand in hand, as it should be. Perhaps it was a little too late to meander around and about so carefreely, but none of them was cold. Focused on the other, instead, just enjoying the muffled silence and the rumbling from the floating leaves carrying themselves to some destination unknown. Some would float on the water, some would mush by a drain, some would get somewhere far away./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory toyed with an apple on her hand, examining it carefully. How foolish of her, everyone else had an apple before her, none of them had. Well. None of them had perished before they got to even finish it. One could never be too careful, perhaps./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I know what I said" she sighed, for the hundredth time./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "And still you insist" Michael groaned, but it was not her he was angry with./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I'm just saying…" she began, "…If only she knew what we're doing there, if only she could see, Michael, what I've seen, she would gladly welcome you. I promise you, hey" Mallory brought him to look at her under that bluey moonlight, meeting his saddened gaze, and she spoke softly "it was your idea, after all."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael wanted to squirm himself away, but he couldn't "My crazy daydream, rather" he complained, letting his arms drop to his sides "An awful, selfish idea. Something that's not meant to happen." Mallory exhaled, trying to comprehend how it had all turned to this./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small In this life of hers, she had learned sometimes in was better not to look for any answers./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "What part of freeing your family is selfish?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small He turned his gaze away from her, rather tore it away, but she could see what was coming. And just like she had seen six years prior, the blue in his eyes was glazed over by tears. They ached her as much as they ached him, which brought her to wiped them away the second they spilled. Hushing him softly, still he spoke, stubborn as usual./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "What if they think I'm only trying to prove something?" a question oh-so quiet./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory shrugged "Then we will have to prove them wrong."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "You make it sound so simple" he chuckled wiping his cheek off with his free hand, the other holding hers, "Perhaps they'll never take me as one of their own."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "At least we have taken you as one of us" she mused, "Cordelia, Coco, Zoe, Queenie. I bet even Myrtle would have done so, had she be present here" anything to encourage him, she almost prayed./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael seemed so great yet so small, something that never failed to amaze her "They were flawed, terrible human beings" he commenced, "They're the reason why I'm alive, and I don't know whether to thank them or…"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small The witch gave him a 'don't you go there again' look./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I just don't know. These things didn't come with some instruction manual"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Again, Mallory limited herself to nod, never losing her hope, never losing her poise./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Then write the manual yourself"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Blue eyes once again glued onto her, and in a way it all felt alright. Uncertain as they were, damned as they came, it looked like there was hope for both of them. A risen demon, a fallen angel, either magical or human, dead or alive, here, there, now, then. It all had turned into a same thing./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael kissed her face, and kissed her sweetly, a short one and still didn't fail to make her breathless. The rumbling around them increased, and their peaceful state of mind was such they minded little if the felt a few pair of eyes peeking from behind the curtains back in the house, watching their exchange curiously. "My angel…" he breathed./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "At times I swear I can't believe what I've done to deserve this…" the disbelief in his voice was tangible, but so was his thankfulness, his happiness. Mallory had feared happiness wouldn't suit his complexion, it simply wasn't his color. Thankfully, she was mistaken "…I swear you will never understand just how easily you've brought light to every room, every corner in my life."/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I listened to a plea" she confessed./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael looked at her startled, wondering if his agony had been strong enough to faze her beyond recognition. Pity wasn't a place he had ever searched for love, not that he was aware of, but he never knew when it came to his Mallory. The way her mind worked, the way she found hope in everything, she had a blacklight about her that brought other people's light from their hiding places./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Mine?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small She had forgotten when was the last time she cried, for a legitimate reason, that was. To look into his eyes knowing of all the pain and the uncertainty, to know how little choice and control he ever had in his life, to feel the pain and desolation of a world turned to dust, and feel it all rushed back like a tidal wave. Michael hadn't understood it yet, he had failed to see it. But she would make sure he would. Hopefully next time he found himself at a crossroad, he wouldn't turn to any father before he turned to her, maybe they were just preparing themselves for the worst, maybe they were finally save./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Quite frankly, she would never know./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small But it minded so little now./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Once upon time in the grim and dim of a certain outpost, exactly that day yet so many days ago, a man knelt before her and caused her (her real self) to scratch her way to the surface. A man that had done many awful things, but a man that no longer existed. And hopefully would never exist./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "My own" she smiled, somehow, that helped him understand./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Her lover cupped her face gently is his hands, and ran his fingers down her jawline like he had done, once upon a forgotten time. It almost felt like a memory, yet ever so present. She smiled in return, and he had never felt so relieved in his troubled, tumultuous life./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Then you suggest I go there, and free my family from their restraints?" she nodded, "Even if they end up hating me for it? Even if they simply limit themselves to run away somewhere, with my brother and sister?" again, she nodded, Michael chuckled "Why?"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Because by freeing them, you'll be freeing yourself"/small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Michael swallowed thick, showing in a heartbeat a flash of that kid she used to know./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "I'm afraid of it" he confessed, something he rarely did anymore./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small Mallory brought her hand to brush a strand of hair aside, in her eyes nothing the most unaffected kind of devotions. One she had only kept safe and under lock for nothing but her perfect opposite. Her shadow self, not so shadowy anymore. Her lost boy, never to be again./small/p
p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"small "Don't be afraid, Michael…" she whispered, "…I'm offering you a chance tostrongem live./em/strong" /small/p