A/N - thank you for being so patient, I've been so busy with work recently and have struggled with writers block. I haven't forgotten this story, i'm just having trouble navigating where it goes from here. I haven't done any writing in a while, so apologies if this isn't as good as the previous chapters

I'm never gonna meet what could've been, what would've been, what should've been you.

The longevity what lay ahead lay heavy on her heart. How many more years would she feel like this? How long could she endure it? The nursery was silent, Isabela and Julieta sat on the floor cradling Mirabel as she was quietly sobbed. Casita gently shut the door behind them.

"I don't think I can ever accept it." Mirabel murmured. It wasn't just a thought, she knew it with certainty. This was pain was everlasting, she would always feel that distance from her family. Truthfully, she felt that Encanto had ensured this. Making a spectacle of her in front of everyone, and never fixing it. If it was simply never meant to be, why force her through that humiliation. Why? The Encanto can do everything except let someone know ahead of time that there is no cause for celebration, that there is no gift to bestow.

'Cause its all over, its not meant to be.

If it weren't for her mother and Isabela acting as anchors, Mirabel would have surely slipped away. The hems of her sleeves were damp from tears, her cheeks redder than usual, and eyes stinging. She had been sobbing, that was why they hadn't said anything, leaving her space for her feelings.

"I tried so hard." Mirabel spoke again, all those nights pacing the staircase had led to nothing, screaming at the skies left her with nothing but a sore throat and pretending that she had ever been okay with any of this had led to this moment. Showcasing your deepest vulnerability in the form of wretched sobs in a small room that you somehow still haven't left. "I thought I could prove myself useful, the Encanto just doesn't see me, at all."

"You don't need to prove anything to anyone" Julieta assured. "And if you did, you would have proven yourself a thousand times over by now"

"Or maybe I'm just doing the wrong thing" Mirabel choked.

"No, never" Isabela shook her head, giving a sad smile. "What happened that night wasn't your fault."

"It wasn't?" Mirabel sounded a little bewildered. How could it not have been? Everything had been in working order until she reached the door. The Encanto had waited for her. It waited for little Mirabel to reach out, ready to receive her gift just as her elder and wiser relatives had before shutting it down. It's showcase of darkness had almost felt like it wanted to build notoriety, it was difficult for Mirabel to ever feel differently from the Encanto having done this to her, rather than something that happened around her. No, the Encanto celebrated Antonio, it was most definitely choosing against her., isolating her. She used to be so confused as to why it singled her out, but looking at her now, Encanto must've had the foresight to know that Mirabel was not deserving of a miracle.

"How could it have been?" Julieta asked.

"Well, it worked for Antonio - that just leaves me." Mirabel shrugged. There was a solemn silence.

"I know for certain it's not your fault, Mira." Julieta shook her head. "I won't let you think that, not for a second."

"What else am I supposed to believe?"

"That you are the miracle, my miracle. That you are a light in each and every one of our lives." Julieta said warmly, raising Mirabel's chin gently. "Not you or Encanto can tell me otherwise."

"We keep saying it, Mirabel - that you are perfect as you are - because it's the truth." Isabela said assertively, she untangled herself from Julieta and Mirabel, and looked Mirabel in the eye. "You don't need to change." A sharp intake of breath from Julieta, a split second pause, Isabela glanced to her mother and back to Mirabel. "You don't need to keep.."

"Isabela can I have a moment with Mirabel, alone." Julieta's head bowed just ever so slightly. "Please?" Her eyes met Isabela's. Her face stark with sadness.

"Uhm, yeah sure." Isabela stumbled up from the ground, something in Julieta's eyes screamed urgency. So - rather ungraciously - Isabela hurried out the room.

The room became instantly heavy. It was such a small relocation, but the change from Julieta's embrace to have her mother now sitting across from her, holding her hands tightly sent panic into her.


She waited quietly for her to continue. This silence wasn't comfortable. She could see the gears turning opposite her, the furrowed brows and chewed lips etched concern.

"Why didn't you come to me?" Se=he asked sadly.

There was simply not enough air in the room, Mirabel inhaled deeply. "About what?" She knew damn well, what. Don't say it.

Julieta moved slowly, until her hand was holding Mirabel's scarred arm gently. Somehow, this was so much worse than saying it aloud. "This". She hated watching her mother work so hard to remain composed, she could see how badly she was hurting.

"I just, uhm." Mirabel bit her lip, averting her gaze to the floor. "It was -"

She hated that her mother was being so attentive, hanging onto every word that she muttered out. She hated that of all people it would be the person she loved most cross examining her about this. She hated it was about this. That this was no longer a secret she'd take to the grave.

"It looks recent" Julieta sniffed. She was faltering. Mirabel nodded, confirming her mothers thoughts.

"Do you think..." Julieta started, clearing her throat. "That we could talk about it?" There was silence. Mirabel shook her head. "I think we need to." Julieta nodded, giving Mirabel's hands a squeeze. She began to think over what this conversation may entail. This was new to the both of them. "Even if it's not today." Julieta's eyes scanned her daughter. These days, especially now, Mirabel looked so much smaller than the confident girl who used to run around the halls. "We've talked a lot already I'm sure it's overwhelming." Julieta pursed her lips tightly in a bid to keep herself from crying. Mirabel had pulled her knees up to her chest, and buried her head. She was crying, and Julieta couldn't help but feel responsible.

She glanced around the room, searching for the offending object. They didn't have to talk today, but this needed to be done now. She hesitated, as if to ask Mirabel and then thought better of it. Casita discreetly passed the razor to Julieta. "Thank you" Julieta mouthed to the room.

"Oh my sweet girl"

Mirabel hadn't stopped crying. Julieta could do nothing except encompass her into a hug again, rocking her back and forth in the middle of the room, trying to soothe her. Much like she did the day the door went dark. "I'm going to make this better."