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We're All The Same

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Angela said it’s important that I write down my feelings, since I know how to write. I think it’s stupid, but if she says it’ll help, then I’ll try it.

I don’t know what I’m feeling, I just know that it’s wrong.

I used to watch Angela when she came into town, to fix things. I used to follow her around, and I wanted to be like her. She got to do what she wanted, and she met spirits and talked to animals and could do magic.

I want her to fix what’s going in with me too, although I know that’s different to her just fixing our dried up well. Hopefully she can help me…


“Lena, we’ve something important to tell you.” Lena’s parents had sat her down at the table. Her mother and their housekeeper had been cooking almost all day, and there was a feast before them. Despite desperately wanting to, Lena knew that she’d be scolded if she reached over and took anything from the tempting looking spread that filled the table in front of her.

“What is it?” Lena questioned, brow furrowing. It wasn’t her birthday. Her parents were surely too old to provide her with a sibling now. Her grandparents had long since passed, and Lena could see that her parents looked happy , so it was unlikely it was a death somewhere in the village. Perhaps there had been a boon and they’d earned a large sum of money? Perhaps her Father had been named a lord, somehow?

“We’ve been searching for a husband for you, and we’ve finally found someone to accept.” Lena knew that her mother was continuing to talk, but she couldn’t hear a word of it. Married? A husband ? Lena hadn’t ever expected for her parents to suggest such a thing. They’d accepted her rejection of skirts and allowed her to run around in britches, like the village boys. Although her Mother had almost wept, they’d even allowed her to shear her hair short after she kept getting it tangled and full of mud. With all of those things, Lena had expected her parents to simply forget about marrying her off and allow her to live her life as she pleased.

“-They’ll be coming for supper with us tonight.” Lena returned to the room just in time to hear her Father. Tonight. Lena had no time.

“May I be excused?” Lena squeaked the words out, hoping that her parents read her fear as excitement. It seemed to work, as her Father smiled kindly.

“Just be back before sundown. Your Mother has picked you out a nice dress for dinner.” Lena nodded distractedly and took off. Through all of Lena’s panic, came one plan. The Witch. She lived at the edge of the wood, with a black cat. The villagers occasionally went to see her for their ailments, and every so often she was summoned to the village to fix something seemingly unfixable. This was something seemingly unfixable, perhaps the Witch could help.

Her shoes unlaced and loose, and her clothes still splattered with mud from helping out in the fields, Lena took off towards the woods. She knew the path well, having ran it many a times to try and sneak a peak at the Witch’s life. Lena had been convinced, when she was younger, that she was going to be a Witch too. She liked to pretend that she had magic and one day she’d live with the Witch and her cat, and help fix things.

The comfortable looking cottage seemed to rise out of nowhere and Lena hopped the fence, losing a shoe as she did, before banging on the door. Her heart was thundering against her chest, and now that she wasn’t running, she couldn’t blame her tears on the wind. The door creaked open, and there stood the Witch, in all her glory.

For as long as Lena had known her, the Witch hadn’t aged. Although her hair had been green for a while, it was naturally blonde and secured behind her with some twine. Although she wore only ‘official’ garb to the village, before Lena now, the Witch was wearing a simple white dress, that was almost unnaturaly clean. Especially for someone who owned a black cat. And her face crinkled somewhat into an expression of worry.

“Oh, my dear whatever is the matter? Is someone ill?” Lena shook her head at the questions, fighting to catch her breath. In between the running and her tears, Lena couldn’t quite draw in enough breath.
“Come in, come in.” The Witch’s voice was gentle as she rested a hand on Lena’s shoulder and encouraging her inside.

The cottage was small, but homely. A fire crackled away merrily in the fireplace, and a copper kettle was suspended above the flames, just beginning to whistle. The stone floors were covered in varying patchwork rugs, trapping the heat. The Witch led Lena to a small table, pulling her out a chair.

“I’ll make us some tea, and then you can tell me what’s brought you to my door like a woman posessed.” Without fear of the flames, the Witch lifted the whistling copper kettle, and filled up two cups. Lena momentarily wondered why there had been two cups in the first place, if the Witch was the only one here. Perhaps, Lena considered, the Witch had known she was coming.
“Here. Let it cool for a moment, and then drink up. You’ll feel better.” The Witch slid one of the cups over to Lena, and then sat opposite. As if it had been waiting for that, the Black Cat appeared out of nowhere and hopped up onto the Witch’s lap, purring as the Witch scratched behind an ear.

Lena, having never been one to wait for anything long, began to sip her tea almost instantly. She barely noticed the heat of the liquid as she drank, still working on calming herself. But it seemed the more she drank, the calmer she felt. The fleeting thought fluttered through Lena’s head that perhaps the Witch had spelled the tea, to help her calm. But that left with another sip.

“There now.” The Witch set down her own cup, fingers of her other hand still smoothing through the cat’s fur. “Now that you’ve calmed some, perhaps you can tell me what put you in such a state.” There was a pause. “It is Lena, isn’t it? Lena Oxton?”

Lena nodded, wiping her face clean and sucking in a deep breath. It didn’t surprise her that the Witch knew her name. Her family were the richest in the Village, which didn’t mean much when the Village was quite so small. Everyone knew everyone’s name, but especially hers. Although, Lena quickly realised, she didn’t actually know the Witch’s name. But it didn’t feel like the right time to ask.

“My parents want me to marry.” The words were small, and Lena felt small too. Now that she was speaking aloud, the problem seemed small and silly. After all, all girls must marry some day, it’s the way of the world. “And I… don’t want to. I know it’s nothing like a dried well, but you fix problems, so I was hoping…” Lena trailed off, feelings her cheeks heat up at her own stupidity.

“You were hoping I could intervene? Change your parents mind? Save you from having to spend your life tethered to some gentle brute, bearing children and passing on, like everyone else in your home village?” The Witch questioned. Lena felt she was being mocked, and looked up to find a twinkle in the Witch’s eye. The cat let out a ‘mew’, and the Witch hummed. “Hush you, unless you plan on speaking properly.” A disgruntled miaow was the answer the Witch recieved from the Cat, who hopped up on the table and sat, staring at Lena intently.

“Well… yes.” Lena admitted, deflating slightly. She’d been stupid to come here with such a problem. She should just accept her fate.

“I had such thoughts once too.” The Witch admitted. “Back when I was mortal, my own parents wanted me to marry. He was a kind man, he was a good man. But he was a man .” Lena listened intently, bottom lip caught between her teeth. “I had found myself rather enamoured with a local girl.” The Witch let out a dreamy sigh, momentarily lost in her memories, before she came back to herself. “It did not end well. You should marry this man your parents have chosen.”

“No!” Lena hadn’t meant to speak out of turn, but she’d come to the Witch for help, and being told to just marry the man was not the help she’d been hoping for. “No, I don’t want to. You fix things don’t you? Why can’t you fix this!” Lena had thought her outburst might shock the Witch, or startle the cat. But both continued to look at her, the Witch’s lips turning upwards just slightly, into a smile.

“My dear… such things…” The Witch herself trailed off, before standing and offering her hand down to Lena. The change of angles made her kind smile look slightly sinister. “I will help you. You shall stay here with me, in return. You may be my errand girl. Do you agree?” The outstretched hand suddenly made a lot more sense. Lena licked her lips, eyeing the hand. Staying here would mean that she wouldn’t have to marry. And she had always dreamed of staying with the Witch and her cat and helping to fix things.

“I agree.” Lena said, amazed that her voice wasn’t shaking, as she reached out and grasped the Witch’s hand. It felt like she’d been struck by lightening, but just on the palm of her hand. Pulling away, Lena looked down to find a blue mark spreading across her palm, glowing brightly before settling into a soft blue, in the shape of wings.

“Angela!” The new voice startled Lena, who whipped around to find herself face to face with a very irate looking and distinctly naked woman. “You’ve marked her now, what were you thinking?” The new woman continued to scold, and it took Lena a moment to realise why the woman looked so familiar, despite there being no-one that looked liked her anywhere nearby. The eyes. This woman had the same eyes as the cat. And the cat was gone.

The Witch, apparently named Angela, simply shrugged. She lifted a blanket from the back of her chair and wrapped it around the other woman’s shoulders, pressing a soft kiss to the black third eye that marked the other woman’s cheek.

“Relax, Fareeha. You’ll frighten our new friend. Especially if you don’t hurry and dress. She may faint.” Fareeha seemed to realise her own nudity then, and fashion the blanket into a makeshift toga, covering all that desperately needed to be covered. She continued to glare at Angela, huffing and tossing her head to move her hair from her face.

“You know Moira won’t be happy about this.” Fareeha pointed out, motioning to Lena. “I thought we agreed that we wouldn’t take anyone from the village. You were happy here, why ruin that?” Angela shrugged again, turning away from Fareeha and taking her seat across from Lena once more.

“Don’t mind her.” Angela waved a dismissive hand towards Fareeha, who scoffed. “Fareeha likes to think of herself as my conscience. She forgets that I can make my own decisions.”

“Terrible decisions.” Fareeha pointed out, now moving to put the kettle back onto the fire. She also seemed entirey unfazed by the heat that the fire was producing.

“The mark is nothing to worry about. It’s just to denote that you willingly made a deal with me, and have to uphold your end.” Angela explained. Lena felt a little shell-shocked, unsure where to look or what to say. Things had been going relatively normal, for a conversation with a Witch, and then there was a naked woman and a set of blue wings on her palm that apparently bound her to her word to help the Witch out.

Another cup of tea appeared before Lena, this time offered by Fareeha, who had softened somewhat, but still looked intimadating.

“Drink this, and don’t think about it too hard.” Fareeha encouraged. “It’s a culture shock, but I promise you’ll get used to it.” She smiled, and it looked almost kind, before she turned away. Lena glanced at Angela, who was sipping her first tea again, looking as innocent as she ever had.

“I did once tell you that some Witches can shape shift.” Angela reminded Lena softly. “When you were little, and I came to make the village fields green again.” Lena thought back, and remembered the conversation. She’d been about eight, and had eagerly soaked up any information that anyone had on Witches. And when she’d asked if Witches could shapeshift, Angela had replied that some could, but she chose not to.

“I remember…” Lena nodded. “I wanted to be a Witch then, and I thought that if I learned everything about you, I might be able to become one.” Fareeha snorted, and Angela’s lips curled into a delighted smile.

“Childhood dreams are always so sweet.” Angela pointed out, hiding her amusement within her cup. As if remembering she’d been given another one, Lena snatched up her own cup and began to drink. The calm she’d felt the first time didn’t return, but the simple act of drinking something warm did seem to help her calm down some.

“I wanted to grow up and be a Sphinx.” Fareeha admitted, taking one of the other chairs and getting comfortable. “Spirits, these chairs are uncomfortable like this.” There was a pause, and a flash of dark blue around the chair, and Fareeha hummed. “Better.”

“And you chastise me.” Angela pointed out, shaking her head at Fareeha’s casual use of magic. “I just wanted to fall in love.”

“Well you certainly managed that.” Fareeha pointed out, dissolving back into her snorting laugh. Angela rolled her eyes and lashed out, although she was smiling too.

“I did, didn’t I? And you’re a cat, that’s almost a Sphinx.”

“What is a Sphinx?” Lena asked quietly, brow furrowed. The two Witches turned their attentions on her, and Lena felt very small and stupid.

“They’re creatures from my home country.” Fareeha explained. “They have the body of a lion, that’s a big cat, and the head of a woman. They speak in riddles and test travellers.” Despite it being explained to her, Lena surprisingly didn’t feel talked down to. She nodded, sipping her tea again.

“I have a Riddle.” Lena admitted. “My housekeeper told it to me when I was young, to try and make me be quiet for five minutes.” Lena set the cup down and tried to call it up from memory. “Uhmm… Ah! Tall I am young, short I am old, the breath of pixies brings me life.” Silence reigned for a minute, as the two Witches seemed to think it over.

“A candle.” Fareeha said finally, grinning widely. “You people think Pixies breathe fire. Am I right?” Lena nodded.

“It took me three days to figure it out.”

“Were you quiet while trying?” Angela asked, clearly amused by the mortal before her. Fareeha knew they’d have to seriously talk about it later, once Lena was asleep.

“Not at all. I kept just repeating the riddle over and over, as if that might help me solve it.” Lena admitted. “I think she regretted it, and that’s why she didn’t tell me any more.” They all laughed this time, and Lena realised that she hadn’t had a conversation this easy in a long time.

They continued to talk, exchanging stories and jokes. Lena learned that Fareeha was from a far away country called Egypt, and Angela from somewhere called Switzerland, so both of them spoke languages other than English. They drank more tea, and Angela admitted that she had spelled the first cup that Lena had drank, not that Lena minded. She had needed the feeling of calm.

The only issue came as the sun dipped behind the treetops and the cottage dimmed as twilight settled over the world. Lena’s stomach twisted with guilt as she thought of her mother, and wondered how long it would be until they came to find her, and if Angela would really be able to keep her word. Lena really hoped so.

Chapter Text

Angela’s Sleeping Potion:

2 sprigs of Lavender, ground.
A pinch of Magnolia Bark.
Fur from a hibernating Squirrel.
1 pot of water

Combine the ingredients over a flame and stir until boiling. Speak the spell of Calmness (Page 3) over the mixture, and drink. Sleep will arrive quickly and be deep and true.
Can be kept up to two weeks. Do not drink after two weeks, as it will cause nightmares and possibly eternal sleep.


 

“So why are you really doing this?” The question didn’t much surprise Angela. Lena lay curled up in a nest of furs, nearby to the fire. Angela glanced over to her, before flopping backwards onto the bed that she was sharing with Fareeha.

“You can’t see it?” Angela questioned, rolling to face Fareeha, putting her back to Lena and the rest of the cottage.

“Not my gift.” Fareeha reminded Angela flatly, poking her forehead. Angela rolled her eyes and sighed, tugging one of the furs up to cover herself. Winter would be creeping in soon enough, and Angela really did hate to be cold.

“And yet you’ve got the third eye.” Angela pointed out with a grin, before becoming serious again. “She’s one of us, Fareeha. When she exploded at me, I saw it. Clear as day.”

“Her mark is blue. That’s what happens to Mortals.”

“That’s what happened to me, initially. It blackens.” Angela pointed out. “We just need to… coax her gift out of her.”

“You sound like Moira.”

“Don’t insult me.” Angela scoffed, shoving at Fareeha playfully. Fareeha laughed, easily wrapping Angela in a hug that she had no hope of escaping from. They lay in silence for a few minutes, listening to the occasional soft ‘pop’ from the smouldering embers in the fireplace.

“Are you really sure?” Fareeha finally asked. Angela felt the words, Fareeha’s lips resting against her forehead.

“Yes. It was the same as Hana. And Zarya. There’s no real way to mistake it.” Fareeha was the one to let out the sigh this time. She pressed a kiss to Angela’s forehead and closed her eyes, trying to block out the worry that was bubbling within her.

“On your own head may it be, then. I’ll help you support her. But you can explain it to the others.” Angela hummed, curling in closer and wrapping an leg around Fareeha.

“I will. Try and remember clothes when you change though. I don’t really want her passing out.” Fareeha scoffed, but nodded regardless.

“She’ll see worse before we’re finished with her.” Fareeha pointed out, hand slipping beneath Angela’s dress to rub her back. Angela hummed, but didn’t answer. She’d taken her sleeping potion before getting into bed, and that, combined with Fareeha rubbing her back, was sending Angela right off to sleep.

Morning arrived slowly, it seemed. Lena was used to being awoken abruptly by the housekeeper, and getting straight to work. So being allowed to wake slowly, at her own pace, felt foreign. But strangely nice. Lena knew, without opening her eyes, that someone else in the cottage was awake. But she wasn’t quite ready to face the day yet. She didn’t know what the Witch, Angela, would want her to do. As excited as Lena was, she was also endlessly nervous. And she couldn’t stop the creeping feeling like she’d sold her soul to the devil, or some other such dark presence.

“Come along, time to wake up.” The words weren’t addressed to Lena, but she opened her eyes anyway, focusing in on Fareeha, bent over the bed in the corner. A quiet mumble came from the lump of furs that Lena could see, and Fareeha chuckled. “I don’t care, Angela. You need to get up.” Fareeha bent, and Lena heard the sound of kissing. It took her a moment to recognise it, but when she did, Lena felt her cheeks burning a bright red and she quickly slammed her eyes shut again. She had suspected, apparently correctly, that there was something more than companionship between Angela and Fareeha. But to have it confirmed made Lena feel… strange.

“I’m awake, I’m awake.” Angela sounded groggy, but at least the kissing noises had stopped. Lena was cautious, this time only cracking open one eye to take in the scene before her. Fareeha had moved away from the bed and out of Lena’s line of sight, but Angela was sat up, blonde hair spilling around her shoulders, making her look remarkably young.
“Morning, Lena.” Angela had noticed her looking, and smiled as she sat herself up, stretching out slowly. Lena couldn’t speak, transfixed by the care-free way Angela extended herself. Although her parents hadn’t been as strict as some, Lena had still been raised to be ashamed of her physical form.

“Oh great, another early bird.” Fareeha grumbled from nearby. Her voice shocked Lena’s brain back into her head, and she sat up, allowing the furs to fall and instantly missing the warmth they’d given her.

“Just because you want to get up early and chase the larks, that doesn’t mean everyone does.” Angela pointed out, slipping out of the bed and locating the twine to tie her hair back away from her face. “Did you sleep well, Lena?”

“Uh, yeah. Thanks.” Lena nodded, finally getting to her feet and rubbing at her eyes. This wasn’t the first time that Lena had slept in the same clothes she’d spent the day in, and she was almost certain it wouldn’t be her last.

“Hungry?” Fareeha asked, making Lena turn to see Fareeha sat at the table, eating a bowl of… something.

“A little.” Lena admitted, chewing her lip and gathering up the furs. Without thinking, she moved to set them on the bed, and take a seat at the table.

“Fitting right in.” Angela pointed out, setting a second bowl of something, that Lena could now see as porridge, in front of Lena, and sitting herself with a cup of tea. With the food before her, Lena realised quite how famished she was, and began to eat with a fervour that would have caused her Mother to strike out at her with a spoon. However, no one here seemed perturbed. Fareeha continued to eat at her own pace, and Angela simply drank her tea.

“Do they not feed you?” Fareeha questioned, setting a second bowl before Lena after hearing the hollow sound of spoon scraping the bottom of the bowl. Lena shrugged, trying to take this one slower.

“I’ve always eaten a lot. Father said it’s because I’m going to be tall. I think I’m too old to grow anymore, though.” Angela gave Fareeha a knowing look, which Fareeha ignored.

“Well you’ll never be hungry here. We might not always have the fanciest of food, but we always have food.”

“Magic helps stretch what we have.” Angela added on, and this time she was the one ignoring a look from her partner. Lena nodded, her mouth full of food. It made sense, of course.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Fareeha tensed up, and Lena watched in amazement as the black eye that marked Fareeha’s cheek flashed gold and shimmered for a moment, before settling back against her skin.

“Lena, come with me.” Fareeha was on her feet without blinking, her hand extended down to Lena. “And don’t ask questions.” She added on quickly, seeing Lena open her mouth. Not wanting to incur a Witch’s wrath, Lena accepted Fareeha’s hand and allowed herself to be pulled to the back of the cottage. Fareeha kicked aside a rug, and pulled open a trap door that lay below. “Down the stairs. Stay quiet.” Fareeha instructed, and Lena did as she was bid, wondering what on earth was happening. With a wave of Fareeha’s hand, a candle on the wall lit to reveal a small cellar, with a few boxes pressed against the walls. A resounding ‘thunk’ shut out the rest of the light, and left Lena alone with her candle.

While Fareeha had been secreting Lena away, Angela had remained at the table. While her own gift was the ability to see, to truly see, people, Fareeha’s was glimpses into the future. So Angela trusted that if there was something that she needed to be doing, Fareeha would have informed her. Light as a feather, Fareeha hopped up onto the table in front of Angela and motioned to the bowls.

“Are we going to be searched?” Angela asked, lifting the two bowls and setting them in the bucket of water that sat next to the fire. Fareeha miaowed in the positive, and Angela sighed.
“It’s hardly like a child, I don’t see why they must get so bent out of shape.” A wave of Angela’s hand made the cellar door unknowable to mortals. A simple trick that sadly Angela couldn’t apply to Lena herself. It didn’t always work with living beings.

Sitting back at the table, and refilling her tea-cup with dancing fingers, Angela waited. If Fareeha had hurried Lena that much, it was likely the threat, whatever it was, would be here soon. Angela suspected at least Lena’s parents. If not the entire village. It was a small settlement, and Lena was important. Of course, they’d never find her. This was what Fareeha had been worried about, and Angela refused to look at her, aware of the reproachful stare that she’d be on the receiving end of. Not for the first time, of course.

The silence seemed to drag, but quickly enough there was an angry sounding knock at the door. Angela rose from her seat, and opened it, keeping her usual helpful smile in place. She was met by half the village, and none of them seemed please to see her.

“Do you need my help?” Angela questioned. “There’s normally not so many of you, is it something serious?”

“Where is she?” The man at the front asked. He was holding a shoe, and Angela suddenly remembered that Lena had been only wearing one when she’d first arrived. Cursing internally, Angela kept her calm facade in place.

“Lena? She stopped by for some tea yesterday, she was very distraught.” The best lies, Angela knew, had nuggets of truth within them. Moira had taught her that, so long ago that Angela couldn’t remember the number of years. “I gave her a calming spell, and I sent her home. I take it she did not arrive?”

“She’s lying!” Angela recognised the voice at the back. One of the townsmen who’d always been suspicious of Angela, no matter how much good she’d done for their village.

“I assure you, I’m doing no such thing. When Lena left here yesterday, she was calm, ready to go home to her parents, and wearing both of her shoes.” Angela motioned to the one Lena’s father was holding. “I haven’t seen her since.”

“Then you won’t mind if we take a look inside.” Before Angela could protest, Lena’s Father elbowed past her and into her home. Unhappy with the invasion, even if she had known it was coming, Fareeha hissed from the table and dove out of the window. She’d come back later, once the idiots had left.

With how small the cottage was, it took Lena’s Father only a few minutes to realise that there was no evidence of Lena still being there, other than the shoe that they’d found by the Witch’s fence. She must have been telling the truth after all.

Storming off, without bothering to apologise, Lena’s Father led the mob away from Angela’s cottage and back towards the village. Sighing, Angela closed the door behind them, rolling her eyes.

Sterbliche.” Angela scoffed, before moving to the trap-door and pulling it open. “You can come out now, Lena dear.” Angela encouraged, holding down her hand to help Lena back into the cottage. “That should give us a few days of peace.”

“Were they looking for me?” Lena asked, looking slightly guilty, and feeling it too. Angela nodded, closing the cellar door behind Lena.

“Yes. But I can’t manipulate people’s thoughts. I know someone who can, but I don’t know how long it will be until she’s home.” Angela sighed. “Until she returns, we’ll just keep you hidden here. Thankfully, Fareeha is an excellent early warning system.

“I heard that.” Again, it seemed that Fareeha had appeared out of nowhere. In actuality, having watched the mob leave from a comfortable tree nearby, Fareeha had happily jumped back in the window and transformed.

“You were meant to, dear.” Angela pointed out, leading Lena back to the table and summoning up a quill and paper. “Here. Write things down, Lena. I know you know how. We won’t read them, unless you want us to. But writing down what you’re feeling might help you cope.” Angela explained. Lena bit her lip, and lifted the quill.

“You haven’t given me any ink.” Lena pointed out.

“It’s a magical quill, it produces its own. Just start writing and you’ll see.” With that said, Angela left Lena alone at the table, heading out to see what damage the mob had done to her vegetable garden.

Chapter Text

Specimin 132 - Male Mortal

Day 1 - I slipped the potion into the Mortal’s drink at a Tavern and should begin to see results within the next few days.
Day 2 - Mortal seems to have a fever. But is still conscious and alert.
Day 3 - Fever has worsened. Mortal is glassy eyed, but conscious. Is complaining of back pain.
Day 4 - Growths found on shoulder blades. Fever has broken.
Day 5 - Growths burst forth. Wings tiny and unable to sustain human flight. Mortal doctor removed them.

Conclusions - I need to increase the strength of the potion enough to create larger wings, without increasing the fever that brings risk of death. Will tweak recipe again.


Moira had been gone for a few months. She’d been experimenting on Mortals in varying villages around the country, testing to see if her newer potions were safe for consumption. Of course, she’d never let her dear Angela or Fareeha see what she’d been working on. Both of them had a sickening fondness for Mortals, and would likely be horrified by her curiosity.

Approaching the cottage, Moira couldn’t help the swell of joy that came from coming home. While she was too much of a free spirit to stay in one place like Angela did, Moira did find some comfort in being able to return to a place and know there were those there who she cared for.

Easily flying through the open window, Moira was human again before her feet hit the floor. Without the need for words, she was greeted by Fareeha’s firm lips against hers. Allowing herself to indulge for a moment, Moira pulled the Egyptian Witch closer, sharp teeth easily breaking the soft skin of Fareeha’s lower lip.

Fareeha didn’t complain as they parted, although she did roll her eyes slightly. She expected nothing less of Moira. As much as she loved the other Witch, some of her hobbies were rather tiresome. As her overly sharp teeth.

“Is no one else home?” Moira questioned, accepting Angela’s hug. Fareeha didn’t answer, and Angela let out that delightful little hum that Moira had always found so endearing. The one that felt like it vibrated through the entire world and made everything just that little bit brighter.

“They’re all still off on their travels.” Angela explained, leaning up on tiptoes for her own kiss. Moira had no problem biting her as well, and Angela chuckled as she pulled away. “With the way you like to make me bleed, I do have to question if you’re actually an enemy.” She teased, kissing Moira’s cheek and leaving behind a slightly red kiss mark.

“There’s a thin line.” Moira pointed out, folding herself into one of their chairs and summoning herself an ale.

“So I managed to find most of these things bu-” The new voice cut short, and Moira looked up to find a scrawny girl, barely out of childhood by the look of her, stood in the doorway, baring a basket and dressed like a boy.

“And who might this be?” Moira didn’t direct her question to the obvious Mortal before her, but to Angela, who’d sat herself across from Moira at the table. Fareeha had settled herself, comfortably purring, atop Moira’s bony lap, so was unavailable to answer questions.

“Moira, this is Lena. She made a deal with me, and now she’s my Errand girl.” Angela explained, before turning to the Mortal. “Set the basket by the sink and put the kettle on for us please, Lena.”

“Did you know about this?” Moira asked Fareeha, raising an eyebrow down at the cat, who was conviniently pretending to be asleep. Fareeha had meant it when she said she was leaving the explanation to Angela. She wanted no part in any possible arguments.

“It was my decision. I saw… potential in her.” Angela stressed the word, certain that Moira would pick up on her meaning. It took a moment, but it seemed to sink in, and Moira let out a low groan.

“Angela! You sweet and reckless child, whatever shall I do with you?” Angela only smiled in response and blew a kiss over the table towards Moira.

“Uh… I’m, uh, sorry to interrupt but… how many for tea?” Lena asked, chewing her lip uncomfortably and looking between the two human witches.

“I think just you and I, Lena dear.” Angela looked away from Moira to smile at her pet project, aware that Fareeha liked to rebond with any of their girls by simply curling up on them and sleeping. Angela preferred far more physical reconnections, even if it was simply laying together and sleeping, but she respected Fareeha’s preference. Lena nodded and turned herself back to the fire. The new woman, probably another Witch, made Lena uncomfortable just on instinct. There was something… wicked about her that was missing from Fareeha and Angela. She reminded Lena of the Witch’s she’d been warned about in the stories her Housekeeper would tell her. Who secreted children away in sacks and ate them.

“So how was your trip?” Angela asked Moira, chin resting on her hands and a soft smile curling her lips. Moira hummed, long fingers playing with Fareeha’s ears.

“Interesting enough. I have enough information, and have sated my wanderlust enough that I’ll be staying for a little while.” Angela’s smile brightened at the information, and she reached over the table to take Moira’s other hand. While this effectively stopped Moira from enjoying her ale, she didn’t complain for now. Angela had always been tactile, having been touch-starved while still Mortal. In fact, when Angela had first joined her, Moira was unsure whether the younger Witch had cast a spell to bind them together, since she so rarely released Moira from physical touch entirely.

“It’ll be nice, having you home with us. Have you had any news of the others?”

“Others?” Lena squeaked the interruption, setting two steaming cups of tea on the table and taking the remaining seat.

“Nothing really. I saw Hana a few weeks ago while I was passing by here. It seemed like she was on her way back, but I could be wrong as we didn’t speak.” Angela nodded, trying not to show how upset she was. She liked it best, of course, when they were all together. Even if the bickering could sometimes lead to spell throwing. Of course, they were rarely all together. It was normally just herself and Fareeha, with the others simply popping in whenever they liked. Angela didn’t mind, it was just that she missed the other Witches terribly.

“There’s quite a few of us, Lena.” Angela explained, turning her attention back to Lena. “Although Fareeha and I are the only ones who stay here all the time. Moira goes off to research new spells, and both Hana and Amélie simply like to travel. There’s Zarya, who lives in another country, a little way away from here. And there are plenty of other Witches all around the world, although we don’t often get visits from them. They don’t much enjoy the English climate.”

“Satya has always been rather picky.” Moira agreed, managing to wrangle her hand free of Angela’s grip for long enough to finish her drink.

“She’s not the only one.” Angela teased, before glancing back at Lena again. “Are you quite alright, dear? You look rather pale.”

“Are you all… I mean, d-do you all-?” Lena couldn’t form the question, both pale and flushed all at once, trying to ask if they were all romantically linked. After all, she knew about Fareeha and Angela, and if the soft eyes that Angela gave to Moira were any indication, apparently there was something there too. And Fareeha didn’t sit on anyone bar Angela, so perhaps…? Lena’s head hurt.

“Mortals.” Moira scoffed, rolling her eyes. “You’re all so prudish. Yes, little child, we do all enjoy each others company the way man and wife are supposed to.”

“Moira!” Angela was using the scolding tone, and Lena was certain she was about to black out. The magic she could handle, and she was even coming to terms with the thought of two women kissing (although she still refused to think about the feelings that seeing Angela and Fareeha kiss brought about), but Moira’s frankly blunt and crass take on what was happening simply felt like too much for her.

“Don’t blame me for you picking such weak pet projects, Angela darling.” Moira countered with a smirk, not at all chastised by Angela’s attempt. Angela rolled her eyes and scoffed, turning herself to face Lena and cupping her face carefully.

“Lena, you need to breathe.” Angela pointed out, thumb stroking softly over Lena’s cheekbone, thinking nothing of the affection. “Come along, dear. Take a deep breath in for me.” She encouraged.

It seemed to take a moment for the message to travel from Lena’s brain down to her lungs, but then she quickly sucked in a gulp of air, and released it in a whoosh. Angela’s smile almost ruined Lena’s progress, but she managed to breathe in another gust of air, and then give it back to the room.

“There we go, that’s better.” Angela praised, thumb still smoothing over Lena’s cheek. “But you are going to have to get used to the fact, Lena. It’s the way of our life.” Lena nodded weakly, still working on regaining composure.

“You don’t expect me-?” Lena asked, feeling her panic spike again. She might not want to get married to a man, but surely no one thought that she… they couldn’t think that of her, could they? Had she really gone and sold her soul to the devil?

“Not at all.” Angela said quickly, shaking her head. “I never expect anything like that from anyone. You’re a dear friend, and my indebted errand girl. That’s all.” Lena heard a soft ‘mrr’ from Fareeha.

“You said it.” Moira mumbled, and Lena watched Angela’s eye twitch for a moment, before her face settled back into the picture of calmness.

“Do you feel better now?” Lena nodded weakly, grateful when Angela released her face. Lena couldn’t stop the thought that she rather disliked this Moira. Both Fareeha and Angela were their own versions of kind, and they’d settled into quite a nice little routine. But the appearance of the tall Witch was likely going to change that, and Lena wasn’t looking forward to it. The one consolation that Lena could see was that Moira would likely leave again at some point, and her strange new life could return to normal.

Chapter Text

Dear Zarya,

I hope this letter finds you well. Things here have gone a little off kilter, as Angela has taken in another stray. She insists that this girl has magic, but I’m yet to see any evidence of that. The villagers already suspect her of kidnapping the girl, I fear we may be chased from this home before long.
Moira has finally returned to us, but even she cannot talk sense into Angela.

How are things with you and Mei? Please give her our thanks for the warmth spell, it served us wonderfully well during the snows last winter.

All my love,
Fareeha


 

“What are you doing?” Fareeha could see that Angela was focusing on something, and felt the wave of concern wash over her.

“Trying to figure out what Lena’s gift is.” Angela looked away for a moment and smiled at Fareeha. “If I can figure it out, I might be able to trigger it without ever having to tell her.”

“That worked with you.” Moira pointed out, fingers tracing along the back of Angela’s neck as she passed, planning on heading into the surrounding woods to collect ingredients. Fareeha fought not to roll her eyes. She’d held out the hope that Moira would be able to talk sense into Angela. She seemed the only one that Angela would listen to, if telling her no. But apparently her hope had been in vain as Moira seemed rather gleeful in her encouragement of Angela’s behaviour.

“I remember.” Angela smiled, catching Moira’s hand and kissing the back of it. “Although I don’t plan on terrifying it out of her like you did.”

“It’s much more fun that way, but fine. Enjoy your boring way.” Moira pressed a kiss to Angela’s head, and winked at Fareeha, before she was gone in a flutter of feathers, flying off towards the trees. Fareeha turned her gaze back to Lena, who was tending to the herb garden at Angela’s request. She almost felt sorry for her. Once Angela got her wish, Lena could never go home again, never see her family. She was different to all the others that Angela had ‘rescued’. They had no family’s to run away from, but Lena still had people that cared about her.

“You’re going to get wrinkles.” Angela wasn’t even looking at Fareeha, but she could practically hear her worrying.

“A physical impossibility.” Fareeha pointed out, summoning a chair and settling next to Angela. She took the other Witch’s hand in her own, carefully playing with the pale fingers.

“If anyone could manage it.” Angela looked away from Lena again to smile at Fareeha, leaning over to kiss her softly. “Stop worrying so much, liebling. She wasn’t happy there, and she never would have been. She’s one of us, this is where she belongs.” Fareeha sighed, resting her forehead against Angela’s.

“I know. But she still has people, Angela. It’s not fair to take them from her or her from them.” This time it was Angela who sighed, shaking her head and pulling away slightly.

“She was never theirs, Fareeha. She was always ours.”

“Are you talking about me?” Lena had sat back on her knees, her face slightly smeared with dirt from where she’d attempted to wipe off her sweat. Angela couldn’t stop the slight smile. So very endearing.

“Yes.” Angela answered simply, sitting back in her chair properly. “Discussing how we’re going to sacrifice you.”

“What!?” Lena jolted, seeming to hurry to get to her feet. Fareeha scoffed, shaking her head.

“Don’t listen to her Lena. Angela’s being ridiculous, we’re not going to sacrifice you.” Lena began to relax, and Fareeha had to press her advantage, lips curling into a smirk. “We’re going to eat you.”

“What!?!” Lena asked again, sounding even more panicked this time. Angela couldn’t help herself dissolving into laughter, and Fareeha chuckled a little, before shaking her head at Lena.

“You’re very gullible, aren’t you?”

“You’re both teasing me? Damnit.” Lena cursed, shaking her head and standing, bringing the basket of herbs over and gratefully collapsing into the chair that Angela had managed to summon, in between her giggles.

“You do make it so very easy.” Angela pointed out, locating a rag and beginning to wipe down Lena’s face, occasionally still hiccuping out a slight laugh. As Fareeha watched, she bit back yet another sigh. There was no getting out of this, no matter her own feelings about Lena’s birth family. Angela had bonded with her. Fareeha only wondered if Lena would start wandering like the others, or if she would remain with them full time.

“A girl’s gonna get really jealous, coming home and seeing this.” The new voice made Lena jump, although thankfully Angela had gotten most of the dirt off.

“Moira said she’d seen you. Good to know you’ve not completely forgotten us.” Lena’s head whipped round as Angela addressed whoever was behind her. This girl, whoever she was, looked like nothing Lena had ever seen before. Except, perhaps, in the books in her parents library. One of the exotic girls from the land of spices. Although she wisely kept her mouth shut and didn’t say this. Her face was marked, triangles across her cheeks, the same dark black as Fareeha’s third eye.

“Like I could ever.” The new girl winked, playfully blowing a kiss over to Angela and Fareeha, before turning her attention to Lena and raising an eyebrow. “Who are you, stealing my Angela’s affection?”

“I uh… umm…” Lena completely forgot every word in the English Language, and looked to Angela and Fareeha for help. But they seemed rather amused at her suffering, so Lena was left to try and compose herself enough to speak. “Lena. I’m Lena. Made a deal.” She held up her palm, showing the new girl the blue wings.

“Ah you too?” The girl tapped her face, and Lena frowned slightly in confusion. Hers was blue.

“How long are you staying, Bunny?” Fareeha had stood, and swooped the new girl up into a hug, seeming not to mind as she wrapped thin legs around her to hold herself up.

“A while.” The girl looked to Lena. “I’m Hana, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you.” Lena managed to almost squeak out. It seemed that Hana was in on it too, whatever strange relationship that these women seemed to engage in. Lena jumped as Angela’s hand found her back, but the soft rubbing did help her relax.

“Come inside with me.” Angela encouraged gently. “I’ll explain what the herbs you’ve been growing actually do. If you’re going to help me, you need to learn.” Lena was quick to scoop up her basket and follow Angela inside.

“Are anymore people going to show up?” Lena had to ask, watching as Angela began to sort through the herbs, setting them into matching piles.

“I don’t know.” Angela answered honestly, swatting at Lena’s hands to try and encourage her to do a little of the work. “Like I’ve already told you, it’s common for the others to come and go as they please. The only one who’s likely to be by anytime soon is Amélie.” Angela reached out and squeezed Lena’s shoulder. “I know this is different to what you’re used to in your village, but all this is is love. In a different form.”

“It’s just... “

“I know.” Angela nodded, still squeezing Lena’s shoulder comfortingly. “It was hardly easy for me either. When I was a Mortal Girl, even Spinsters were looked down upon. Someone living like I do right now would be shunned and treated as if there was something greatly wrong with her. So the thought of loving another woman was very foreign to me as well.”

“But now…?”

“After years of getting used to it. And Moira calming my fears and assuring me that the rules are different once you leave the mortal realm. No one here is going to judge you for struggling to come to terms with it.”

“Really?”

“Really. As far as I know, only Moira and Amélie were okay with it right from the start. Moira because I don’t think she’s ever been bothered by anything in her life, and Amélie because she’s French.” Angela was smiling that kind smile, and Lena felt butterflies settle in her stomach.

“Thanks, Angela.” Lena nodded, allowing herself to get pulled into a warm and tight hug, relaxing and breathing in. Angela smelled sweet, and Lena found herself in a place of calm until Angela pulled away.

“Right, back to work. We need to finish sorting these herbs and then I’ll teach you what each of them do.”

~~~

“Hey.” Lena jumped, before relaxing when she realised it was only Hana. The other girl settled in the chair Fareeha had left behind and offered Lena out a tea, the two of them turned their attention back to the sunset that was turning the sky orange.

“Don’t you want to spend time with the others?” Lena had to ask, staring down at the blue mark on her palm for a moment, before looking back up at the sky.

“I’ve already spent time with Fareeha. And Angela is brewing. If you interrupt her when she’s doing that, she might throw things at your head.”

“I know.” Lena smiled slightly. “I made that mistake on my third day here. Fareeha had to heal the cut above my eye that came from the wooden spoon.” Hana snorted out a laugh, and Lena glanced at her for a moment. “What about Moira?”

“Still out. She’s probably examining the effects of some poison mushroom on a cat or something.”

“That’s horrifying.”

“It’s been helpful in making new potions.” Hana admitted with a shrug. “And she does her best to keep it away from the rest of us, because she loves us and knows we love animals and don’t want to know about her poisoning them.”

“That’s… sweet?” Lena tried. She still found Moira unnerving, but after her talk with Angela that morning, she was doing her best to be more open minded towards the other Witches.

“She has her ways.” Hana agreed, and they lapsed into silence for a few minutes. “You know, I used to be like you once.”

“What?” Lena turned to look at Hana, who then held her hand up, showing Lena the faded scarring of wings that matched Lena’s exactly.

“I was a Mortal who Angela found. She saw magic in me, so took me in.” Hana was smiling slightly, although Lena was beginning to worry. “When my Magic unlocked, her mark faded into this, and mine came in.” Hana tapped the black triangles on her face.

“That won’t happen to me.” Lena insisted, shaking her head. “I went to Angela first, I asked for her help. She didn’t pick me, I picked her!”

“Are you sure?” Hana asked, taking Lena’s hand without asking and tracing the blue wings carefully. Lena almost wanted to pull away, but she kept herself still, chewing her bottom lip.

“Yes?”

“Hmm, well you’re a lot better at denial than I ever was.” Hana released Lena’s hand and reclined into the chair a little. “But you’ll get there. I know Angela, she wouldn’t help just anyone like this. There’s something special about you, I can guarantee it.”