Maggie had already said goodnight to her sisters but there was one more person she wanted to check on before going to bed.
She quietly made her way upstairs, focusing her hearing in an effort to determine whether Charity had already left. She’d been with Harry for the past half hour and frankly, the thought of her made her uneasy. She still hadn’t brought herself to fully trust Charity no matter how much she tried. And now that Harry was back from Tartarus—and knowing what he’d gone through—it made her feel a little overprotective of the Whitelighter.
There was silence, no words being spoken in the attic as she approached the door. She was a little hesitant at first, afraid she might interrupt a private conversation but ultimately she gave in to her curiosity. Pushing it open with one hand, she peaked inside, seeing Harry seated on the sofa alone.
He was lost in thought, not moving. Her expression saddened, accompanied by a tug in her stomach that made her feel sick. She hated seeing him like that, he was only a shadow of the Harry she was used to. Haunted by the memories that had been inflicted on him in hell’s prison. She knew all too well how painful they could be, and she could only imagine how much of a toll they’d taken on him. Considering, he’d been oblivious to all of them before then.
“Hey.” She said in a low voice.
His eyes flicked to the door, a look of concern on his face when he realized it was her. “Maggie. How are you doing?”
She stepped inside and shut the door behind her. For some reason, the conversation between them felt like something that should be kept in secret for the time being—even from her sisters.
“How am I doing? How are you doing, Harry?” She said, approaching him and taking a seat next to him on the sofa.
A ghost of smile appeared on his face. “I don’t really know.”
She grimaced. “I’m sorry. I wish there was something I could do. After what you did for me…”
He looked at her again. “You’re my charge, Maggie. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to you.”
“Well, thank you.” She smiled, placing her hand on his and gently brushing his wrist with her thumb. “It was very selfless of you and you have no idea how much that meant to me.”
He smiled a little bigger this time, and it made her happy. “You’re welcome.”
Maggie cocked her head, a sweet look on her face as her eyes trailed his features, gauging for a reaction as she spoke again.
“This was the first time you let me read your thoughts. I don’t think I would have been able to pull off that spell had it not been for your guidance. It was like something was triggered in me when you said those words, let love be your strength.”
Harry looked at her, almost begging her with his eyes not to ask what she was about to ask him. But Maggie did it anyway.
“It’s not the first time you’ve said those words to a witch, is it?”
He sighed taking a few beats before answering. “I think it’s time for us to get some rest.”
“Was it Fiona? Was she not able to…”
“Maggie. I’m afraid that’s a conversation for another time.” Harry pursed his lips. “Have a goodnight.” He said, patting her shoulder as he coaxed her to get up from the sofa and make her way out.
Maggie tossed and turned, the bedsheets wrapping around her legs, no position feeling right for longer than a minute. She huffed, looking over at the clock on her nightstand reading 2AM. It would be so easy to whip up a quick spell to make her fall asleep but after what had happened when she’d tried to rid herself of feelings, she was afraid it would misfire again.
She rolled over on her back, forcing her eyes shut, when she heard the distressed moans.
“Harry.” She muttered, quickly springing up from her bed. She didn’t even bother to put on her slippers, and only grabbed her robe off the back of the chair next to the door as she scurried into the hall.
When she reached the attic she whispered his name. “Harry.” With her hand on the doorknob, heart beating rapidly with uncertainty.
“Harry?” She said again, letting herself in.
The room was dark, aside from the little bit of light seeping through the window. Harry was curled on his side, trembling and muttering something indistinct in his sleep. Maggie suddenly felt like maybe she had done something wrong by walking in. But he kept moaning like he was in pain and she felt like she had to do something about it. She couldn’t just leave him.
She ran a hand through her hair, messing with her poorly tied bun. She paced closer to him. Harry was delirious and sweaty, his shirt was wet but he was shaking like he was freezing.
She touched his forehead—he didn’t feel like he had a fever. On the contrary, his skin felt cold. After moments of contemplation, she sat next to him on the sofa bed.
“Oh, Harry.” She bemoaned. Her hand ran over the side of his face, debating on whether to wake him up or not.
Maggie. She heard him say it but his mouth hadn’t moved. Her heart skipped a beat, feeling guilty for being privy to his inner thoughts while he was unconscious. She closed her eyes momentarily, responding to him without speaking. Harry, I’m right here. Wake up, you’re dreaming. But she couldn’t reach him.
No. It’s not real. It’s not true.
Maggie could feel his torment, the torturous pain that seeped through his being, like venom blistering in his veins. It made her eyes water, filling her with a profound sadness.
Maggie, you’ll never be alone. Don’t hurt her. More fake memories. Your son is alive.
Maggie released him then, flinching as if she’d been shocked by an electric current. She’d been right to feel guilty. Now she had knowledge of something that Harry was obviously not prepared to share with them. She inhaled deeply as she wiped away the tears, trying to collect her thoughts and regain her composure.
Harry started to turn, writhing in his sleep before his dreams jolted him awake. His eyes opened, a disoriented gaze swaying around the room.
“Maggie?” He tried to move, his body feeling paralyzed by the painful nightmares he’d been experiencing.
“Harry. I heard you and I got worried.” She explained. Her eyes fell softly on him, trailing over his chest and noticing his shirt was soaked.
When he’d woken up fully, he began to tremble again.
“I’ll get you another shirt.” She said, walking over to the small dresser by the window. “You need to change into something dry or you’ll never stop shivering.” She looked back at him as he sat up on the bed.
He didn’t say anything but started removing his shirt, obviously agreeing with her assessment. Maggie made an attempt to look away, her eyes wandering around the room but ultimately returning to him again as she pulled out a t-shirt and took her time closing the drawer.
Now she had yet another thing to add to the list of things she felt guilty about when it came to him. What kind of a creep sneaked glances while someone was changing? She felt like an idiot. Harry sat at the edge of the bed as she approached him with shirt in hand.
It wasn’t until then that she noticed the scar on the side of his ribcage. Harry, realizing she’d seen it, quickly took the shirt from her and threw it on. Maggie knew better than to pester him with questions—he would tell her when he was ready. Of course, there was also the possibility that he’d never share that part of his life with her.
“Will it get better?” She asked, sitting next to him again and placing her hands on her lap.
A smile flickered across his face. “It always does, Maggie.” He patted the back of her hand before resting his on top of it. Maggie stared at it for a moment, feeling comfort as she watched his fingers gently make themselves at home between hers.
“I can’t even imagine how painful it must be for you. To relive all those things.” She looked at him with sad eyes. “It breaks my heart to see you like this.” She chuckled as if embarrassed by her next admission. “I just want my old Har back.”
She managed to make him smile again. “It will take a bit of time but I promise you will have him back. Having you and your sisters around has been helping quite a bit.”
Of course. It wasn’t just about her, it was also about Mel and Macy. He was their Whitelighter too and they cared about him just as much as she did. Maggie was lost in this thought when he muttered the following words.
“But you, Maggie…”
Her eyes widened as she turned to him, a sudden rush making her heart pump faster for no apparent reason. Her lips lightly parted and her eyebrows raised as she wondered what he was getting at.
“You were down there. You know exactly what it was like. If anyone understands what I’m going through, it’s you.”
Her lower lip trembled as she struggled to get the words out. “My memories were only a fraction of all the pain you experienced.”
“And yet, you understand exactly what that means. Mel and Macy can’t possibly know what that was like. Not even Charity. Just you, Maggie.” He sighed. “Don’t get me wrong. I wish you hadn’t gone through any of it. But I want you to know that I appreciate having you here now.”
Maggie smiled, going in for a hug. “What you said to me…” She muttered, comfortably nestling herself in his embrace. “I hope you know that the same goes for you. You’ll never be alone, Harry. I would never let that happen.”
She didn’t know what had driven her to bring her hand up to his shoulder and subsequently to the back of his head but she did.
Her fingers gently caressed his disheveled hair as her head rested on his shoulder. She was almost afraid his hold on her would subside as a result of her touch, but Harry did no such thing, and that made her smile.
It was night three, past midnight, and Maggie was having a hard time sleeping again. There was a constant thought in her mind as she turned and twisted her body in awkward and random positions, seeking a comfort that seemed unattainable. Harry had made it very clear that her—and only her—understood what he was going through. And she hadn’t told him at the time, but the same rang true for him.
Only Harry knew the kind of torture she’d been subjected to. Granted, that now a few memories from a relationship that hadn’t even lasted four months seemed childish in comparison to his forgotten past. But the death of her mother had also been part of that trauma and that was something she couldn’t easily dismiss.
Maggie rolled over on the bed, sitting up and remaining still for a few minutes. Her mind was racing—she couldn’t possibly ask him for that. But the need to be tended to and be comforted was crippling her resolve. She remembered how nice it had felt to be wrapped in his hug, to feel the heat of his body enveloping her, that sense of ease that came over her when they held each other.
She knew she could easily ask her sisters to coddle her—she was their little sister after all. Mel would not hesitate to let her sleep in her bed like they used to do when they were little, and she was sure that Macy would do the same. She was too sweet and kind not to.
And yet, she didn’t want any of that. She didn’t want comfort from her sisters or to sleep next to just any warm body. Maggie wanted to feel the way Harry had made her feel a couple nights ago. It was an unexplained longing that vastly confused her but that she was certain was what she needed at the moment.
She locked her bedroom door, unarguable proof that what she was doing was probably wrong.
“Harry.” Maggie whispered with what she considered a sense of purpose, but the Whitelighter didn’t show up.
“Damn it.” She muttered, once again summoning him—this time a little louder. “Harry. Please.” She said, in an almost whiny and begging tone that even made her blush in shame.
She jumped, hearing his voice in the darkness. “Jesus.”
“Afraid not.” He replied, for the first time attempting to make a joke since he’d been back. “Are you okay? I heard you calling for me.”
A sheepish smile graced her face. “I’m fine.” She rubbed her wrist with one hand, the dark marks on her skin were a little faded but she could still feel them.
Harry looked puzzled. “Very well then, sorry to have disturbed you.”
“No.” She stopped him. “Stay.”
“I don’t understand.” He said, watching as she approached him.
Maggie hadn’t bothered to cover up this time—her pajamas more apt for the heat of a summer night than the dead of winter. He only looked at her once and then turned his gaze away, afraid that his actions would make her feel uncomfortable in any way.
“I’ve been having trouble sleeping ever since…” She admitted, pressing her lips into a line. “I know that’s none of your concern and that it’s not the type of problems you deal with but–”
“You called me because you can’t fall asleep?”
She nodded, a little embarrassed by the situation. It really didn’t seem like a big problem now that she thought about it.
He tried his best to be accommodating. “Would you like me to make you some tea?”
Maggie laughed. “Harry, no. That’s not why I called you. No.”
He wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing there. He wasn’t even sure if being there was okay, considering Mel and Macy were obviously unaware of their little late night run-ins. It didn’t feel right to some extent, even though they weren’t actually partaking in any devious deeds.
She bit her lower lip, unable to recall the last time she’d been that mortified. It almost felt like the equivalent of declaring your feelings to your crush only to be told you’ll never be more than friends.
Her bare feet shuffled quietly over the wooden floor of the bedroom, toes curling as she stood before him. Her hand reached for his arm, fingertips trailing over the dark marks that were still present on him. He’d endured more pain and had been imprisoned for what must have felt like endless days, surely his marks would take longer to disappear.
“I like the way I feel when I’m near you.” She admitted, her voice a quiet whisper. “I felt it the other night when we hugged and I can’t stop thinking about it.”
“Oh dear.” He muttered. “Maggie, I don’t know if this is… I think it might be a ripple effect from what happened to us. In which case, it will most likely pass. The marks from the venom will disappear, and so will this unexplained feeling you think you might have.”
Maggie couldn’t fully describe it but being near him was like coming too close to a magnetic field, she felt his pull beckoning to her. And she didn’t want to resist it.
“And until then?” She questioned.
“Until then, we’ll just have to deal with the strange side effects.” He glanced at her arm, wishing he could use his healing powers on her to make it all go away.
Maggie wasn’t sold on his answer, her sweet expression turned into a scowl, feet moving in the direction of the bed. She jumped on top of it, crossing her legs as she sat in the middle of the mattress. Harry could have easily gone away but he was kind of a sucker for that little pout of hers, especially when it made her look so sad.
He rolled his eyes, not at her, but at his weakness for her.
“Hey.” He allowed himself to take a seat at the edge of the bed. “If you want me to stay here until you fall asleep, I can do that.” The corner of his mouth formed a half smile. “After all, you did come and look after me the other night.”
She simpered. “I’d like that.”
The side of her head hit the pillow, her legs slightly bent as she made herself comfortable. She didn’t seem to care about her shirt rising up to reveal her lower back or her shorts riding up her thighs as she molded into the memory foam mattress.
Harry would have had to been blind not to notice. Again, looking away in search of a distraction but not quite finding one.
Her big brown eyes peered at him, lips parting into a smile. “You’re just gonna sit there and watch over me all creepy-like?”
His glances were chastising, not agreeing with her wording. “I said I would stay until you fell asleep. What else am I supposed to do?”
She hesitated to answer, knowing the kind of vibe she’d give off if she did. “You could lie next to me.”
“I won’t do anything, I swear.” She just needed to feel him close but she kept that fact to herself, or so she thought.
Harry agreed only after she made a big show of placing a small pillow between them. He lied next to her, facing her as she inched just a little bit closer to him.
“See, this isn’t so bad.” She said, her forehead making contact with his arm and her hand stealthily pressing against his chest. I just need to have you close.
He smiled and then silently answered. As you wish.
Maggie couldn’t help shutting her eyes, a tiny squeal escaping her as she covered her face sheepishly. She really hadn’t meant to share that with him but it had felt inevitable as soon as they touched.
“Goodnight, Maggie.” Harry said, taking the liberty to run his hand through her hair. It was as if he was returning the favor from a couple nights ago.
The overwhelming sensation of his touch and the sound of his quiet breathing lulled her to sleep before she even got a chance to answer.
Maggie came to later in the morning, first hearing the sound of the chirping birds outside her window and sensing the brightness of the morning sun on her back. And then she felt him, the weight of his arm around her waist, his smell encompassing her as she nuzzled her forehead into his chest. Feeling the rise and fall of his calm breathing. The pillow she had placed between them had somehow found its way to the foot of the bed.
Harry had fallen asleep too, for the first time sleeping through the night since they’d been back home. Maggie was afraid to move and wake him so she stayed that way for the next few minutes, listening to the beat of his heart, as his inner thoughts remained silent.
A little while later she felt him move, and she looked up at him, his voice reverberating through the stillness. “I’m sorry.” He groaned, noticing it was almost 9AM.
He got up quickly, almost in a panic. The way he was acting was reminiscent of failed nights and past wrongdoings. Of the way men apologized for having made a mistake when it came to her.
“Good morning to you too.” Maggie said almost annoyed. She knew it wasn’t his intention to make her feel like she’d done anything wrong but she couldn’t help it.
“Harry, you fell asleep. It’s not a big deal.” But there was a little feeling inside her that told her it was. It wasn’t a normal thing to let an older man cuddle up next to her all night and sleep in her bed.
He sensed her uneasiness and tried to appease her. “I just shouldn’t have allowed myself to do this. It feels like I’m taking advantage of your vulnerability and that’s wrong. I said I would only be here until you fell asleep…”
“Okay, I get it. But don’t make it sound like it’s this huge mistake that you regret making.”
Maggie didn’t know why it bothered her so much that he felt that way about what had transpired but she did know she was overreacting. She ran her fingers through her hair, now feeling a little guilty for getting mad at him.
There were footsteps outside the door and then a knock. Harry looked over, his eyes wide and then looked back at Maggie. He shook his head a few times and then orbed himself out of there just as the door opened.
“Hey.” Mel let herself in, noticing Maggie’s unkempt appearance. “I thought I heard you talking to someone.” She looked around the room.
Maggie grimaced. “Just had a bad dream. You know… Tartarus.”
“Oh.” Mel frowned. “You okay? I have a few things I need to take care of at the University but we can go grab breakfast before then. I think Harry might still be asleep. I haven’t heard any movement this morning.”
Maggie smiled nervously and then figured getting out of the house for a few hours wouldn’t kill her. Besides, it would give her time to figure out what to do about Harry and what she would tell him when she got back.
Maggie knocked a few times on the door, hearing him pacing inside as he responded. “Come in.”
She walked in, a playful little smile on her face as she presented him with a delectable gourmet cupcake.
“Peace offering?” Her sweet voice was pleasing.
“A pastry?” He asked.
“It’s a vegan strawberry cupcake, and it’s to die for.” She smiled but then kind of regretted saying the last part. “It’s amazing.” She quickly added.
Harry was appreciative, taking the cupcake in his hand. “You Americans and your love of sugar.” He mused, taking a bite out of it.
“We didn’t get to finish our conversation this morning. I wanted to apologize for reacting the way I did. I just felt a little unwanted. I don’t even know if that’s the right word to use.”
“Maggie.” He said, looking at her with soft eyes. “You’re quite the opposite of that.”
She felt her insides flip as she pulled a chair over and sat down, trailing her gaze over him and pleased to see him wearing something other than sweats and a t-shirt. They seemed to be making progress.
“You were right, this was delicious.” He said, finishing up the last of the cupcake. “Thank you.”
There was a quietude between them, their eyes connecting in mutual understanding. He walked closer, towering next to her. Maggie raised her chin, staring at him, getting a sense of contentment from his proximity. Feeling a tingle running down her neck that went straight to her spine. It was a strange pleasurable sensation that she couldn’t explain but it made her feel relaxed and euphoric at the same time.
“So, do we agree that secret sleepovers are not the best way to deal with this?” He asked, going straight to the point.
Maggie didn’t agree with that, actually. But she also didn’t want to argue about it. “I could conjure up something…”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea either.”
“Okay.” She said. “Then I guess I just won’t sleep until this mark completely goes away.”
“Maggie.” He sneered. “I think you just need to give it a little bit of time. I’m sure the desire for my company will fade soon enough.”
It was more a craving, really. She smiled. “To be fair, I’m always happy to be in your company not just because of this.” She showed him her arm, tracing the lines with the tip of her finger.
He nodded, producing a smile. “Likewise.”
Harry had only moved slightly away but she reached for his hand. This was becoming a habit for her.
“I haven’t been entirely honest with you.”
His eyebrows furrowed as he turned slowly to face her.
“The other night when I came to check on you, you were having some pretty bad nightmares and I tried to calm you. When I touched you… I felt what you were feeling and I heard…”
“What did you hear, Maggie?” He interrupted her before she could finish.
She got up from the chair then. And she took a deep breath, pacing back and forth before admitting to him that she was aware of what Charity had told him. “I know about your son.”
He looked surprised but she didn’t sense any disappointment or anger in his reaction. “Do your sisters know?”
“No.” She shook her head. “I would never share something so private about you unless you wanted them to know. I know I wasn’t meant to hear it either. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay, Maggie. It’s not your fault.” He walked over to the sofa and took a seat, resting his elbows on his knees and leaning his chin on his folded hands.
She spoke again. “I was thinking… being stuck at home just wallowing in painful memories can’t be good for either of us.”
Her words confused him. “What are you saying?” He looked up at her.
“I’m saying, you need a distraction and I need a distraction.” She paused, knowing that what she was going to propose might seem a bit outlandish. “If you want to find your son, I want to help you.”
He shook his head. “That would require traveling. I can’t leave Hilltowne, what if your sisters need me?”
“But he can be anywhere, Harry. It doesn’t hurt to try.”
Maggie went to a large chest on the other side of the room. She’d already been thinking this plan through. She popped it open, taking out a folded world map where she had marked with a red marker all the placed she wished to visit when she was a kid. It was old and wrinkled but she knew it would do the job.
“I can do a spell. To locate his whereabouts.” She smiled, “I was looking through the Book of Shadows and I found something that might be able to help. I will need a smidgen of your blood.” She paused, aware that she’d been rambling on and Harry hadn’t even agreed to anything yet.
“If you want, of course.”
He looked at her without answering for what seemed like endless minutes. After a while, he got up from the sofa and walked over to her. She could tell he was debating every possible scenario in his head but eventually, he gave in to her idea.
“You know this can get us in big trouble with the Elders if they find out.”
Maggie rolled her eyes. “And what are they gonna do? We’ve already been to hell and back.” She sneered.
Harry actually laughed at her dumb joke. Maggie’s eyes glistened with joy, proud that she’d elicited that reaction in him.
“What?” He asked, noticing her awed expression.
“Nothing.” She said.
But she knew. She knew it was the first time she’d heard him laugh since he’d been gone. And Maggie hadn’t realized until then just how much she’d missed it.
This story was started before 1x11. I plan to incorporate some canon aspects going forward but overall, there will be a divergence just because it was planned this way originally.
The compass twirled over the map, driven by an unseen force. The chain it was attached to was being pulled from one direction to another, as if it was drawing a path from the place where Harry’s son had been born to all the places he’d been to since. Maggie was almost afraid the spell wasn’t going to work. But after a few more minutes, the compass finally slowed down, circling over the midwestern states until it settled on a tiny town in the state of Minnesota.
She laughed. “That’s it? A nine-hour car drive?”
“That doesn’t make any sense.” Harry was doubtful. “Why would he be in there of all places?”
She shrugged. “You wanna find out?” A grin spread across her face.
“You mean right now?” He was clearly taken aback by her eagerness to pursue this quest. And part of him was unsure of the validity of the results, it wasn’t the first time an incantation had failed. “Don’t you have to be in class today?”
“Nope. Still on break. But you should know that, Mr. Head of the Women’s Studies Department.” She wiggled her eyebrows, trying to make him smile. Warm glances trailed over his frame as she waited for him to say something but he was quiet for far too long.
After a little while she moseyed over to him, one hand nonchalantly coming in contact with his. Harry was perfectly aware of her intentions, his mouth twisting before he asked.
“Are you trying to read my thoughts, Maggie?”
She giggled nervously. “No.” She didn’t even try to make her answer seem believable.
Harry cocked his head, his eyes narrowing as she slowly retreated her hand. “Look, if it’s really a nine hour drive then we can wait until tomorrow to leave. If we leave now, we’ll get there too late.”
Maggie felt three consecutive buzzes in her pocket. “Yeah, that works.” She said, checking her phone. Harry rolled his eyes, still not used to her attention being constantly toggled from one second to the next.
When she was done reading the text, she looked up at him with that mischievous sparkle in her eyes that told him she had something up her sleeve. “Karaoke at The Haunt tonight.”
Harry didn’t understand right away that she was asking him to come with her and the bewildered look on his face made that perfectly clear. He raised his eyebrows, unimpressed by her statement.
“You should come. It’ll be fun, plus the message is from Mel. I’m sure Macy will be there too. We can tell them about our weekend road trip. It’s perfect!”
“No.” He pointed at his neck, the black veins still prevalent.
“Yes. You can just wear a scarf or even better, I can do a small cloaking spell to hide them from sight.”
“I don’t know.” He did love karaoke but he was in no mood to belt out a song in front of drunk college kids on a Friday night. Especially knowing that they’d be embarking on an unforeseen journey the following day.
“Come on, Har! You need a distraction. I need a distraction. Remember? You were the one who suggested I do something fun and life affirming.” She grinned, not giving him a chance to answer. “Great! I’ll be ready at seven.”
By the time 7 o’clock came around, Maggie strutted into the room without even knocking. Her high heels clacking on the wooden floor of the attic as she adjusted the sleeves of her top.
Harry smiled when he saw her. “You look lovely.” He said, making note of what she was wearing. And for a moment he made Maggie forget what she was going to say.
She felt nervous for no reason, her stomach twisting anxiously.
“Hey, so… I know Macy had no problem taking you to that party at Galvin’s dressed like that but we are not going to a dive bar with you looking like my English Professor.”
“But I am a Professor.” He replied, seeing nothing wrong with his outfit.
“That’s not the point.”
She walked to the tiny closet and rummaged through the clothes hanging inside, then did the same with the dresser. All the while, Harry looked on, wondering why he was letting her go through his things like it wasn’t a total invasion of his privacy.
“Catch!” She said, throwing clothes at him until she gave him what she considered a good amount of choices.
Maggie stood there for a minute, awkwardly staring at him with a smile on her face until he finally stated the obvious. “Are you going to step out while I change or am I doing this in front of you?”
She laughed like he’d just said a really funny joke and then walked out of the room without saying anything else.
A while later the door opened, and Harry stepped out dressed in a pair of dark jeans and a gray long-sleeved shirt. No patterns, no cashmere sweater vest, no tie. Just a plain pair of jeans and a solid color shirt. Maggie sized him up, kind of hating the fact that he looked just as attractive—if not more—dressed in casual clothes.
“Wow.” She said under her breath, genuinely pleased by what she was seeing. “You look…” There were so many things she could’ve said, so many descriptive words that went through her mind to comment on how good he looked. But she pulled it together before she made a fool out of herself. “Like a typical guy I would run into at a bar.”
“Thank you.” Harry wasn’t sure what to make of her comment.
“Wait. One more little thing.” Maggie said, taking out what looked like fairy dust from a little draw string bag hidden inside her bra. She closed her eyes, snapping her fingers and clouding them in a blue glow for a few seconds.
She took a hold of his arm, pulling up one sleeve to check if the spell had worked. The moment was drawn out longer than necessary by the silent glances they shared as she examined his neck. Those spidery streaks and the ones on her arms were also gone.
“It’ll only last a few hours, so we just gotta make sure we’re back before anyone starts asking weird questions.”
The Haunt was pretty busy by the time they arrived. Maggie spotted Macy and Galvin fairly quickly as they waved to them from across the room.
“Aren’t you afraid you’re going to run into your beau here tonight?” Harry questioned, leaning into her to amplify his voice over the loud music.
“One, he’s not my beau and two, Mel made sure he’s no longer welcomed here so he’ll have a really hard time getting in if he does show up.”
Harry smiled, impressed by her cunning ability to plan two steps ahead.
“Hey, you guys.” Macy smiled, right away noticing Harry’s change in attire. “You look nice, Harry.” She complimented him.
“Thank you, Macy.” He looked at Galvin, still not entirely comfortable with the fact that he was now exposed to the sisters’ magical abilities. “Galvin,” he simply said, relinquishing a smile.
Mel came back from the bar with a round of drinks for everyone, setting them down on the table. “Look at you! Looking like a normal white man for once. Suits you well, Harry.” She winked, meaning it as a compliment.
The Whitelighter gave her an appreciative nod before grabbing a pint of beer off the table and taking a sip. He noticed that Mel looked especially on edge that evening, eyeing the crowd as if she was expecting someone.
It didn’t take long for everyone else to notice it too.
“It’s Niko.” She began, without them having to ask. “I saw her here a few nights ago, scribbling something on a notepad, taking photos when she thought I wasn’t looking.” There was a bit of worry in her tone. “I didn’t think I’d see her this soon after…”
Everyone nodded, except for Galvin, but Macy gave him a look. Surely, she’d explain everything to him at a later time.
“I’m trying to find out what she’s after.” She twisted her mouth, her eyes scanning the crowd. “But I don’t think she’s here tonight.”
“Macy and I are thinking of going to New Orleans this weekend to see if we can find out a little bit more about my family’s history.” Galvin chimed, seemingly trying to lighten the mood.
“New Orleans? That sounds fun! First official trip as a couple.” Maggie’s words were playful, her teasing gestures mortifying her older sister. “That actually works out perfectly for this weekend because Harry and I were thinking of going on a little road trip.”
“Why?” Mel asked, looking at them both to see who’d be the first to answer.
“It was Maggie’s idea.” Harry said.
Maggie elbowed him in the ribs right as he was about to drink from his beer. Way to throw me under the bus. She communicated silently, her eyes doing all the talking as she glared at him.
“With everything that’s happened, I think it’s a good idea to take some time away. Macy and Galvin will be gone. You just said you’re trying to figure out why your ex-girlfriend is stalking you. That leaves me and Harry…” After that poorly thought-out explanation, she chugged some of her drink, eyes peering over the glass’s rim.
“Okay.” Mel said, furrowing her brow. “I guess I’d want a break too if I had been literally tortured in hell.” She whispered.
There was a quietude between them amongst the buzz of the crowd around them. The howling sound of a mic causing them all to turn to the corner of the bar where a group of girls were doing karaoke. It was a wasted rendition of a Britney Spears song, complete with sloppy choreography and overtly sexual moves.
Maggie laughed, recognizing a couple of the girls from Kappa. “Work, bitch!” She hollered. Much to the dismay of Harry who almost choked on his beer when he heard her.
She looked at him. “What? That’s the name of the song.”
Macy laughed. “Harry, I thought you liked karaoke.” Her statement immediately sparking interest in Maggie.
She leaned over the table to get closer to him.
“Wait. You tried to get out of coming tonight even though you’re into all this? Why aren’t you over there singing right now?” She jumped off her chair and grabbed him by the arm, as he began to shake his head, trying to resist her pull.
He set his empty glass on the table. “I’m not really in the mood—”
“Come on. What’s your go-to song? And please don’t tell me it’s Don’t Stop Believin’.” It’s not that she didn’t like the song but it had become a tiresome cliche. “It’s some old 50’s song isn’t it? Like Frank Sinatra or something.” She continued guessing. “Is it Imagine by John Lennon? The Bee Gees?” She grimaced.
Harry smiled, enjoying how much she was struggling with figuring him out. Just based on that alone, he let his body relax, no longer resisting.
Maggie laughed when she realized he was heading to the DJ. After a brief exchange he was handed the mic, and she instantly felt her chest tighten at the sound of the first chord. She should’ve known. It was a classic. But not the kind of boring classic she imagined.
Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you. By now you should’ve somehow realized what you gotta do…
Maggie smiled as he continued to sing, her eyes glued to him, completely riveted by his magnetism. Inevitably, she began to mouth the words to the song at the same time as him. But the more she followed along and focused on the lyrics, the faster her heart began to beat. Until the smile on her face diminished and was replaced by a serene expression just from the realization that washed over her listening to him.
There are many things that I would like to say to you but I don’t know how…
There was a melancholy that accompanied the otherwise sweet tune, and she didn’t know if it was because she connected with the words due to what she was feeling, or because she wished that Harry felt that way about her. It was his go-to song, it obviously held a significance for him already. But Maggie had managed to attach a different meaning to it altogether.
I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me. You’re gonna be the one that saves me…
Her hands moved enthusiastically, clapping as the song ended and he handed the mic over to the next person who was waiting.
The compliments and the teasing both from the girls and Galvin started even before he took his seat back at the table. It continued for a short while until eventually, they all went back to their own mundane conversations and asked for another order of drinks.
But Maggie and Harry sat quietly, a mutual understanding when they looked at each other. Speaking without words, just smiles.
The night had ended shortly after the third round of beers and a light buzz. Maggie had called an Uber for her and Harry. Macy and Mel stuck around for a while longer, not suspecting a thing when their sister and their Whitelighter left together. After all, there was no reason to be wary of their relationship.
Harry was just getting into bed when he heard the quiet knocking and then the slow movement of the door as it opened.
“What are you doing?” He asked, watching Maggie’s silhouette make his way to him in the darkness.
“I don’t know.” She murmured, crawling into his bed like it was a natural thing.
Maggie didn’t want to explain it, mainly because she was still unsure of why she was doing it. But if she really thought about it, it was basic psychology. It had to be. The Hierarchy of Needs, her hunger for safety and intimacy. Her need to belong and for once in her life not be taken for granted by a man she trusted. Harry just seemed to be the one to check all the boxes.
The only thing that scared her was what would come of it. If her psychology classes had taught her anything, it was that having one need fulfilled only led to the emergence of other higher needs. It was an endless and vicious cycle of cravings and desires that seemed unreachable. What if she could never truly be satisfied?
It was this curiosity that had led her to seek him out once again. She knew her questions would never be answered if she didn’t test the boundaries of their already cemented bond.
“Harry.” She said, her hand gently touching his arm under the covers. The indentations of his marks like bumpy lines underneath her soft fingertips.
He looked at her, seeing that wanting expression on her face interlaced with the innocent glimmer in her eyes. Harry couldn’t possibly deny her, even if it only complicated matters more.
“You should go to sleep.” He replied, with one statement letting her know it was okay for her to stay.
Maggie pushed herself up on her elbow. “Can I ask you one thing?”
He gulped, somehow knowing that it was only going to add to the intricacy of their dilemma.
“Do you see me the same way you see Mel and Macy?” She muttered, terrified of hearing a reply other than the one she’d imagined.
Harry smiled. “Maggie.”
“I need to know.” Her voice was a pleading purr.
He turned his body slightly, his eyes shifting to her lips intermittently. He shook his head, no. His answer inciting her natural impulses and sparking heat deep in her belly.
Maggie had that look on her face that made him question everything.
She moved closer still, her small frame fitting perfectly into him, chin tilted upward as she looked at him in silence for a long moment. She gently licked her lips, reaching for his mouth a bit hesitantly, sure that he would pull away when he noticed the closing gap between them.
Maggie could feel his breathing quicken, eyes glazed like he was experiencing the best of highs. It only made her want him more.
“Harry.” She said softly, a mewling and crippling cry that made his body tense up.
Her brown eyes were needy, dreamy as if she were in a daze. Little by little she closed the distance in between, until their lips brushed up against each other. Their first kiss being a feathery and timid encounter.
She’d been dying to do it, not having completely registered it until then. Knowing now how good it felt, how exhilarating and arousing pressing her mouth against his was, made her wonder what other things she was missing out on. She was right, fulfilling one need only led to stronger desires.
Maggie looked at him like she was waiting to be reprimanded, her eyes almost apologetic and her plump lips gently parted. She was getting ready for the fallout, picturing him kicking her out of his bed and giving her a big speech about why what they were doing was wrong.
But Harry remained still. He didn’t seem to disapprove. Maggie, fueled with courage, kissed him once more. This time taking a hold of his upper lip, and allowing him to delve deeper in her taste.
One soft hand glided over his shoulder, fingers kneading the nape of his neck as he continued to kiss her. Harry knew he might as well had been signing his one-way ticket back to hell, but for that moment, it felt worth it.
He could feel himself giving in, unleashed from the prohibitions he’d placed upon himself. He grabbed her, hands cupping her delicate face as he crashed his mouth into hers with ravenous need.
Maggie’s breathing hitched, the taste of him instilled in her tongue as she bit down on his flesh. She let herself get carried away, hooking a leg over him to draw him into her. One hand gliding over his neck, fingers trailing along his arm and finding their way under the hem of his shirt. Her thighs pressed into him, her core aching as he turned and the weight of his body became familiar to her.
Her heart was beating so fast she could hear it drumming in her ears, a rush of heat invading her core as her body screamed from unquenched thirst.
Under his shirt her fingers came in contact with the scar below his ribs. It was then that Harry broke their kiss, hesitantly, but parting from her nonetheless. There was something about it that bothered him, like she’d suddenly touched a part of him that wasn’t meant for her.
“I’m sorry.” Maggie said, breathless. “But just to be clear, I’m not sorry that I kissed you.”
He smiled. “Good.” He simply stated, caressing the side of her warm face.
She wanted to ask, to dig deeper into the part of Harry’s life that she was in the dark about but she stayed quiet.
Slowly, she settled back into her space, taking the liberty to wrap one arm around him. Not ready to let go just yet.
After a long pause he said. “It happened a very long time ago.” He stared at her, and then closed his eyes to replay the memory. Maggie sighed, knowing he was granting her access to his thoughts.
She began to see everything slowly materialize in her mind. The robbery. The arrest. The scuffle in the jail. The stabbing.
When it was all over she was left with an overwhelming urge to hug him. “You went to jail for robbery?” She asked, curious. “You were in so much pain. I felt it. It wasn’t just physical.”
“There’s so much that you don’t know, Maggie.” He replied, tracing the fading patterns on her arm with his fingers.
“Will you tell me?” She peered at him from under the covers.
Harry murmured. “In due time.”
The open road was endless, desolate but peaceful as soon as they left the city behind. The landscape was covered in patches of hardened snow that had been left behind by the winter storms earlier that week. Above the powered covered shrubs and trees, a dark gray sky blanketed them for miles on end, no doubt signaling another threatening snow storm in the hours to come.
Maggie had her hands on the steering wheel, moving her head to the beat of the music coming through the car speakers. Harry smiled, leaning back on the seat and taking in the view—both the one outside and the spectacle happening right next to him.
The first half of the trip had gone by in a blur but both had been too afraid to talk about the obvious; the electric atmosphere that seemed to encompass them whenever they were together—especially when it was in a confined space. Even though the marks from Tartarus were fading day by day, the feelings that had arisen between them didn’t seem to be dissipating at the same rate.
Maggie shrieked with excitement, turning the volume up. “Classic road trip song!” She said, noticing his judging stares. She then began to sing along, quietly at first and then giving it her all. The lyrics familiar, about making up her mind and wasting no more time.
Harry couldn’t help smiling.
“Here I go again on my own! Going down the only road I’ve ever known!” She practically screamed the words, nudging his arm. “I know you know this song. Whitesnake’s from your side of the pond.”
Harry nodded, of course he knew it. He was certain everyone had heard that song at least once in their lifetime without even knowing the artist itself. He was more surprised that she’d known the name of the band, having been famous and seemingly forgotten before her time. He resisted her only for a short moment before joining in. Instantly forgetting about the troubles and the world they were leaving behind. Welcoming the gloominess of the open road and the radiant warmth she gave off from just a single smile.
Maggie had the type of wild spirit that reminded him of someone he once was very close to—and it scared him to some extent. She caught him in a moment of weakness, as his contemplating glances followed the movements of her body. She could almost feel them, lighting a blaze as they trailed over her.
Harry felt a bit of guilt for having let down his guard but Maggie didn’t have any kind of reproachable response. She held his gaze for a few seconds, smiling at him before looking back at the road.
Minutes later, just as they came over a hill she noticed the small stretch of static red lights in the distance. Cars were at a standstill, the road ahead of them past that point was completely empty.
“Are you kidding me?” She grumbled.
“Looks like they’re redirecting traffic.” Harry said, pointing to the flashing lights of the police cars that were blocking the way.
When they finally reached the officers in front of the barricade Maggie rolled down her window.
“Good afternoon, Ma’m.” One of them said, lowering his head so he could look into the passenger side.
Maggie was about to snap back at him, not quite liking the idea of being called ma’m when she wasn’t even twenty-one yet, but she digressed.
“I’m afraid the highway is closed for the next ten miles starting at the turnpike due to inclement weather.”
“How long is it closed for?” She asked.
“Can’t give you an exact time but it should reopen by tomorrow morning if the plower gets here on time.” He said, gesturing to another car to go around and continue moving past them.
“Tomorrow?” Maggie asked incredulous.
The officer looked apologetic, even though it was out of his control. “There’s a really nice bed and breakfast about three miles off this exit. If you get there soon you and your husband might still find a room.”
“No, I’m not—” Harry stuttered.
“He’s not my… husband.” Maggie’s eyes went wide just at the sound of the word. “Thank you, officer.” She said quickly, driving away carefully. Her heart was racing, her body a jittery mess at the thought.
The bed and breakfast had a typical country cottage feel to it. Nestled between the trees in front of a large lake, it was quaint and perfect for what they needed.
The man behind the counter smiled, his big round glasses sliding down the bridge of his nose as he typed away on the keyboard and clicked a few times with his mouse.
“Yeah, it’s the only room available.” He alternated glances between them. “It’s a king size bed but there is a couch in the room if that’s a problem.” Then he sized up Harry knowing there was no way he’d be sleeping comfortably in it.
“That’s fine. We’ll take it.” Maggie smiled, looking through her purse for a credit card. But before she found it, Harry had already slid his across the desk.
She was starving so they’d gone to eat at a small roadside diner before heading back to the room. By the time they arrived, the sun was already going down, the last glimpses of its golden rays shining over the still waters of the frozen lake. Soon enough, the snow covered trees were bathed in the encompassing darkness of the twilight, glowing blue underneath the glistening moonlight that had grown brighter in a matter of minutes.
They took in the view for a little while, just long enough to appreciate its beauty before it got too cold to continue standing outside.
When they got to the room, Maggie stood by the entrance, giving Harry an intrepid look before throwing her small luggage on the king size bed.
“Look at the bright side, I won’t have any trouble falling asleep tonight and neither will you.” Her voice chipper as she plopped herself on the side she was claiming.
Harry sighed, pulling his phone out of his pocket and reading a message that he’d just received.
“Something up?” Maggie was concerned her sisters might be in trouble.
“It’s just Macy letting me know her visit to Galvin’s family estate didn’t render much information but they did get a lead as to where his relatives might have settled when they arrived from Haiti.”
“Hm.” Maggie mused. “That doesn’t sound urgent.” She didn’t want to sound like she begrudged her sisters’ constant need for Harry’s attention but they had been given the heads up that his orbing was very limited due to his abilities still not being back to normal.
He shook his head. “They don’t need me. I’m sure she’s just trying to keep me up to date as to what’s happening back home.”
“Well, she didn’t bother to message me.” Her mouth twisted, absentmindedly scrolling through her social media feed without actually paying attention to the content.
“There’s no need to be jealous of me, your sisters would choose you in a second if it came down to it.” He said dryly, taking off his watch and setting it on the nightstand next to his side of the bed. He wasn’t even bothered by the idea.
Maggie looked up from her phone. She wasn’t jealous—was she?—No. Not of Harry. That was absurd. She kept her eyes on him as he removed his jacket. He seemed to be unaware that she was paying close attention to what he was doing. He took off his button-down long sleeve without thinking it twice, remaining in his undershirt as he undid his belt buckle.
For some odd reason he just let it hang there—not that she minded at all. It was nice to see him unkempt from time to time, it made him more human. She couldn’t help the thoughts that ran through her mind. Immediately wondering about him and what he had been like during the time he’d been alive. She completely lost track of everything else. Had he always been a protector? Had he always been chivalrous and proper? Or was there more to him than met the eye?
“Maggie?” He said loudly, shaking her from her daydream.
“Huh?” She looked at him in the eyes this time. Her cheeks feeling warm.
“I said, what time would you like to leave tomorrow?” He was repeating himself, and Maggie knew then that she’d allowed herself to get lost in thought a little too intensely.
She hadn’t even noticed when he had gone to brush his teeth.
“Early.” She replied, like it was an obvious and concrete answer.
He rinsed his mouth and dried it with a towel. “Early as in 8AM or early as in 5AM?”
“5AM? Harry, are you insane? I need to get my beauty sleep. 8AM is even pushing it but I will agree to that since we’re already a day behind schedule.” She said, hopping off of the bed and grabbing her pajamas out of her bag.
She walked past him on the way to the bathroom, brushing his arm as if the space in the room was minimal. Harry made his way to the bed, throwing the decorative pillows on the floor and pulling off the covers.
The corner of his mouth curled to form a half smile, watching her through the open bathroom door as she put her hair up in a bun and washed her face. She was spunky and unpredictable, something he thought he’d grown unfamiliar to with the passing of the years. But watching her flourish despite her young age only proved to him that she was stronger than any other charge he’d had before. Maybe even stronger than his previous one. She was a Charmed One after all.
He looked away for a moment when he noticed she had started peeling off her clothes. Wondering if she’d forgotten to shut the door or if she just didn’t care if he saw her or not. He cleared his throat as if to remind her that she wasn’t alone. When he looked back at her, Maggie was clearly aware of him, her big brown eyes making contact with his as she slipped off her jeans.
Harry sat frozen for a moment, losing his train of thought for just that split second before he looked away.
When she came out of the bathroom, he was already under the covers. He looked at her as she sat on the bed, her legs slipping underneath the sheets. Maggie’s chest began to flutter, a warmth stirring in her core as she took the liberty to snuggle up next to him. The bed was considerably big enough for there to be plenty of room between them but that’s not what she wanted.
Until only a few minutes ago, it had been unclear to her just how much of that pull and attraction was affecting Harry as well. But if his appreciative glances had been any indication, he too reveled in the same feelings—he just did a much better job at hiding it. That first kiss between them hadn’t occurred just on a whim.
He smiled, confirming their departure time. “8AM then?” An attempt by him to also break the tension that had been growing between them.
“Yup.” She said.
The room went pitch black for a few seconds after he turned off the lights, but her eyes slowly began adjusting to the darkness with the little bit of light that came in from outside. Maggie could tell he was still wide awake, his breathing for one was different, and if she focused long enough she could still see him blinking.
She had a hand on his chest, in tune to the rise and fall of his every breath. Maggie’s fingers began to move slowly over him, rousing his breathing and the rhythm of his heart. She trailed them over his neck, stopping for a bit on his pulse before caressing his jawline and turning his face to her.
Harry was quiet, his eyes admiring her, taking pleasure in her closeness and the time they had away from anything that reminded them of consequences. Her chin tilted upward, lips ghosting over his for a second before she pressed her mouth against his.
He returned the favor, kissing her slowly, familiarizing himself again with her sweet flavor and realizing it was an impossible task to give it up—he wasn’t sure why he’d even tried. Harry couldn’t imagine enjoying any other taste but hers. He loved it to the point of madness.
A little noise escaped her mouth, a rumbling in her chest that expressed her satisfaction. She felt the heat invade her body, her stomach twirling with excitement. Maggie couldn’t believe it was happening, she couldn’t believe Harry was letting himself be guided by blind desire again. She felt the grip of his hand on her hip, fingers moving underneath her shirt and along her side.
Her teeth grazed his lower lip before she sucked on it with more fervor. She pulled away for just a moment, a coy smile on her face as she climbed on top of him, straddling him on the bed. His green eyes trailed over her heavenly form, his hands settling on her waist as she bent over to kiss him once again. Her tongue invading his mouth this time, heavy breathing riling them both up.
She moaned, unabashed as she spoke. “Touch me, Har.” She placed both hands on his chest, looking down at him. “I know you want to, I can hear it in your thoughts.”
Taking one of his hands, she placed it on her chest, eager to feel his touch. Her hips began moving over him, pressing against his growing hardness. Reveling in the pleasure it brought to her core.
“Please.” She said, feeling the gentle movement of his fingers over her. A flirty laugh left her lips when she felt his other hand on her too.
Harry squeezed her breasts over her shirt, making her squirm with need. The padding was thin enough for her pebbled nipples to show through. After a few moments he focused his attention on her peaks, pinching them hard enough to produce moans in her and cause her hips to buck with more force.
You’re such a tease. She complained silently, even though she was thoroughly enjoying it.
“There’s so much more I want to do.” He admitted.
She kissed him again. “Show me.”
Harry pulled the straps of her tank top off her shoulders, gently stroking her soft skin. He looked at her, bad intentions written all over his face as he produced a tiny smile that made her body shiver with arousal. Slowly, he began to pull her shirt down over her beautiful breasts, revealing her perky dark nipples and allowing her mounds to succumb to gravity.
He was certain she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. “You’re ravishing.” He muttered.
She smiled. “And you’re a bad liar but thank you.” She whimpered as his fingers pulled on her little nubs, inflicting pleasure all through her body.
“I could never lie to you, Maggie.”
He hoisted himself up, taking a nipple in his mouth and pressing his tongue on it before flicking it. She couldn’t get enough, her body already felt like it was filled to the brim and he wasn’t even fucking her yet.
She dipped her hand between their bodies, reaching for his groin, trying to get a hold of his erection. Harry closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation of her fingers rubbing up against him. He peeled off her shirt in one swift motion and let her get him out of his.
“I’m usually not this desperate. I swear.” She said shyly, taking off her shorts and underwear as he got undressed as well.
Harry smiled. “You have nothing to apologize for.” His hand dipped between her legs, teasing her throbbing, wet center and loving the way the expression on her face reflected the gratification he was providing.
“Come here.” He said, having already decided that he wanted her on top.
He had a grasp on his cock, gliding it over her slit gently, teasing her entrance as she lowered herself into him. Maggie let out a loud moan, moving up and down his length, as he penetrated her deeper each time. Two hands pressed on his chest, her hips engaged in an enthralling dance that had both of them echoing noises of unbelievable pleasure.
Harry’s hands clasped her hips, for a few seconds taking control as he drove into her.
“Oh my God!” Maggie felt him jolting her deep in her core, getting really close to that sweet spot that would without a doubt unravel her in seconds.
He knew she was enjoying it way too much to let it end. The longer he continued, the more vocal she became, begging him not to stop until the last words died in her lips and they were replaced by euphoric whimpers. Her release ran down her walls, enveloping him in wet heat as her body relaxed on top of him.
The deep kiss he placed on her lips as he rolled them over on the bed still had her seeing stars. There was something so revering about the way he touched her and kissed her that she felt it consume her even through the lustful actions their bodies were engaged in.
Harry slipped inside her again, bucking his hips into her over and over for as long as he could go. His lips brushed every inch of body, his tongue sliding over the suppleness of her skin, and hands entangled in her now-messy hair as they gained comfort and pleasure in each other for minutes on end.
They’d planned on sleeping that night to be rested for the next day’s journey into the final stretch of their trip, but there was no way either of them were going to waste time in the unconscious realm when they were finally free of the restraints they’d placed upon themselves.
Turns out this story will be a little longer than just five chapters because I just can't quit them.
Turns out this won't be just five chapters! Surprise, surprise... It has maybe a couple more left.
Also, no... I won't stop writing these two just because the show is going in an entirely different direction. I always knew that canon would never give me Harry x Maggie. I just wish I'd get at least some scenes of them teaming up and working together but apparently I can't have that either. Okay, rant over...
Enjoy this chapter! Thank you to everyone who has continued to read this! You're such a motivating force. Really!
The little town of Stillwater looked like it had been stuck in time. The Victorian mansions and the red brick buildings comprised of small shops and bookstores, that lined the downtown shopping district were quite literally remnants from another era. Even the residents looked old-timey and were without a doubt fitting for its charm.
Driving down the hill toward the waterfront provided a jaw dropping panoramic view of the St. Croix River and the town’s historic steel lift bridge. The water was partly frozen, the bare trees and buildings having been recently powdered with snow. However, it was easy to imagine how colorful and breathtaking everything looked during other months of the year. Maggie was loving every minute of it.
It certainly looked more like a place for curious travelers and antiques collectors than your typical tourist, and it definitely didn’t look like a place someone would choose to reside in unless they were under some kind of witness protection order. Maggie’s brows perched up at the thought as she began questioning her own capabilities of performing an accurate locator spell. She really hoped she hadn’t gotten it wrong. Harry would be so disappointed, both in her abilities and a dead end trip.
“The navigation says we’re here but I don’t see anything resembling quite what you described.” Harry said, parking the car close to the curb and eyeballing the facade of the buildings.
Maggie had made Harry drive, intent on gaining more information that would point them in the right direction. Back home, she’d asked him for any personal items that held a lot of meaning to him and he’d provided her with a lapel pin that had belonged to him during his time in London. She’d been using it to try to gain some insight into his personal life.
“Were you like, a real life James Bond?” She asked, her eyes closed as she held the pin in her hands.
He groaned. “I think the point of psychometry is that you’re supposed to focus on the object and not allow your mind to wander… anyway, to answer your question, no. I was not a 007 agent like in the movies. That crest is used to identify members of the British Secret Service.”
“So you were a spy?” She opened her eyes then. “Wait. Were you serving the Royal Family at the time? Were you already a Whitelighter? Was one of the royals your charge?” Her speech gained speed the more questions she asked. “Were you MI5? MI6?”
Harry gave her a deadpan expression, exhausted from the endless questioning. “One of my binding agreements as your Whitelighter is that I’m not allowed to discuss any of my previous charges with you, unless they directly have an impact on you or your sisters’ well-being. And this is not the case.”
Harry sighed, then inquired again. “Are we in the right place or not?”
“Yeah. This is the place I saw when I did the locator spell back at the bed and breakfast. The images came in really quick flashes, not quite as descriptive, and the sign looked a little different… but I’m sure this is the spot.”
Harry took a look at the building then gave her the side eye before getting out of the car.
“What? It’s not my fault The Well is a bar.” She did however, look incredibly excited about it.
Both doors slammed shut at the same time, and she waited for him to come around the front before continuing to walk.
“It’s a pub.” Harry said, trying to make a point that they weren’t exactly the same thing, something that went right over her head as they went inside.
One and a half pints of Pale ale and a basket of fries later, the two were still having a hard time piecing together the whereabout of Harry’s elusive son. Maggie had even walked around the pub to see if anything about it jogged her memory but the various attempts to find a connection had been in vain.
“My empath powers work to listen to thoughts.” Maggie began talking, mainly to herself. “And psychometry works for reading objects.” She mused.
Harry took another big sip of his beer, savoring the taste every time he did. It’d been a while, since he got to sit back and relax in a place like that, not to mention it’d been years since he’d done it in the company of a beautiful woman. He blamed the fleeting thoughts on the alcohol, convincing himself that the warm glow of the light cast on Maggie’s face wasn’t making him think of things other than business.
“Did you learn that in Parapsychology 101?” He teased.
“Actually, Professor Greenwood, I did quite a bit of reading and studying on my own. During one of my sleepless nights. Thought maybe I could find something that would help me get through post-Tartarus rehab a little quicker.”
He was quiet for a moment. “And what did you learn during this all-nighter?”
“Well, I didn’t say it was an all-nighter but I did practice quite a bit. Mainly the psychometry stuff.” She threw a french fry into her mouth, quietly chewing before taking a gulp from her glass. “I know it’s usually used on objects but I was thinking it wouldn’t hurt to try it on a person?” She bit her lip, waiting for some kind of objection.
“You mean, try it on me.” He leaned in closer, like they were sharing a secret.
Maggie very much welcomed his proximity. “Mm hmm. I was thinking it could be like a twist on hypnosis or something like that.”
Her eyes flicked to his mouth, the beat of her heart intensifying. The amount of fluttery feelings that arose in her stomach were embarrassingly juvenile but she couldn’t help it. He was truly magnetic and all-consuming.
“We can’t do that here.”
“No, we can’t.” Maggie said, implying something entirely different. “We’ll need a more private space for something like that.”
“We told your sisters we’d only be gone for the weekend.”
If it were up to Maggie she’d happily spend the following weeks road-tripping with Harry across the U.S.. Being with him and away from Hilltowne had been one of the best decisions she’d ever made.
“Will one more night really be that big of a deal? I doubt Mel and Macy will care, especially if we tell them our delay is due to weather. Which isn’t technically a lie.” She muttered, giving him a smile. “We need enough time to dig up more information and to allow for a brief visit with your son once we find him.”
He sighed, shaking his sleeve as he raised his wrist to check his watch. “Then we should find a place to stay for the night. It’s late enough in the day that we shouldn’t have a problem checking in at this time.”
Harry got his wallet out of the pocket on the side of his jacket, pulling out a couple bills and partially placing them underneath the coaster on the counter. If there was one thing Maggie had been made more aware of, it was that he wasn’t one for wasting time. A funny concept, considering he of all people, had all the time in the world.
He picked up what was left of his beer, intent on chugging the rest. Maggie did the same with hers. He beat her of course, but only because he had significantly less left in his glass. The bar stool he’d been sitting on swung around as he stepped down and fixed his jacket.
“Hey, Harry?” She said, catching his attention as she set down her empty glass.
Her hands anchored around his neck, closing the gap between them without hesitation. She kissed him softly, breathing him in, loving the idea of being able to do something like that out in the open without worrying about being seen. When they parted from the kiss, she hopped onto the floor from her seat, smiling at him proudly.
Harry returned the gesture, taking a hold of her hand as they left the establishment. She wasn’t sure if what was happening between them had a name yet but she didn’t want to ask. All she knew was that she felt good about it, and it was obvious that Harry was more than happy to fulfill her needs. No label was okay with her for the time being.
Maggie had found a loft on Main Street, just a few minutes from the pub. They’d gotten lucky with the last minute booking on her app and after speaking with the host on the phone, she’d agreed to book them only one night. The place was more spacious and luxurious than what they needed but the price had been unbeatable.
She perused the living room, picking up a lavender cedarwood candle off one of the side tables.
“Perfect.” She said, taking a whiff of the lovely scent. “This should help set the mood. I hope.”
Harry looked through the drawers of the kitchen, finding a lighter stashed in the back of one of them. He lit the candle and placed it in the center of the coffee table.
“I found this the morning of our trip.” She took a second to scroll through her phone before bringing up a picture she’d taken of one of the pages from the Book of Shadows. It was a mind prying spell that she was hoping would grant her easier access to his hidden memories.
It wasn’t until then that Harry realized just how determined she had been to help him regain those lost gaps in his history. He smiled at her appreciatively, taking the liberty to stroke her chin with his fingers.
“Where exactly are we doing this hypno—psychometry of yours?”
Maggie grinned. “A hypnosis session, like any therapy session, can be done lying down or sitting. I guess it’s a matter of preference. Keep in mind I do have to put my hands on you for this to work.” She simpered, gently biting her lip as she twirled and walked away.
Harry nodded, raising his eyebrows before deciding to take a seat on the recliner chair in the living room.
Maggie walked around and turned off most of the lights, except for the ones over the dining table, which she dimmed instead. The sun was already setting, not having been visible from behind the thick clouds for most of the day until then. She took one long look at the scenery before closing the blinds all the way.
“Relax into your seat.” She turned to him, walking in his direction.
“Try performing deep inhales,” she did it with him, “And deep exhales.” Her hand came to rest on his shoulder. “You need to be very relaxed in order for your thoughts to flow more freely. What’s something that usually calms you down?”
Harry thought about it for a long minute. There were several things that had a calming effect on him: reading the newspaper while drinking a cup of authentic English tea, cooking his favorite recipes, morning yoga on the deck of the lake by the house, a long, hot bath at the end of the day. Her.
Sure, Maggie could make him feel like he was losing his mind every now and then but none of those other stress relieving rituals compared to the way she made him feel when they were in the midst of—Harry’s train of thought came to a screeching halt when he noticed her goading smile.
“Please, tell me more.” She said coyly, her fingers lightly caressing his arm.
He rolled his eyes. “Maggie.”
“I know, I know. Boundaries.” She replied, but her following actions made it seem like she hadn’t understood a damn thing.
“What are you doing?” He asked, letting her take off his jacket and undo a couple more buttons on his shirt before carelessly untucking it for him.
She didn’t say anything, just quietly smirked as she got comfortable too. She took off her sweater first, tousling her hair in such a manner that was almost mesmerizing to him. After she kicked off her shoes, she came to stand in front of him.
Widening the gap between her legs, she proceeded to sit astride him, carefully lowering herself onto his lap. Harry moved his hands over her waist before gliding them down the wide curves of her ass. Finding the perfect place in which to settle them.
“I just thought if I have to touch you, I might as well do something we will both enjoy.” She said, whispering close to his lips. “And you did just admit that I have a calming effect on you so…”
“Quite frankly, I’m the opposite of calm right now.” He said.
Maggie looked down between them, to the place where their bodies met. “Oh, I noticed.”
Harry cleared his throat, his eyes flicking to her lips and then back to her beautiful brown eyes. His head lightly tilted upwards as he pressed his mouth to hers. Fingers digging gently into her backside as he sucked on her full lips for a short but deliciously gratifying while.
Maggie took her time pulling away, smiling as her heart started beating faster and her entire body reveled in the sensation. There was no doubt that she wanted to keep going but there were more important things to take care of first.
“Are you ready?” Her voice was hushed and soft. She noticed his lost expression and laughed. “Are you ready for me to read you?” She then clarified.
Harry thought about it for a couple seconds and then gave her a single emphatic nod.
“Great. I need you to close your eyes now.” She brought the palm of her hands to his temples, her fingers lightly disheveling his hair. “Relax your breathing. Steady and calm inhales and exhales.”
She synched her breathing pattern to his, watching his micro expressions as he settled into a light trance.
“I want you to envision yourself in the last place you remember being when you were still mortal. Look around you. Think of the sounds, the smells, watch it materialize before you. Let your mind take you back to that place."
His eyes remained closed, his body relaxing with the sound of her sweet, hushed voice. Maggie could feel his breathing slowing down into a serene and peaceful pattern. She allowed him to immerse himself completely into that thought. Letting the seconds pass until they turned to minutes.
Then a purposeful incantation broke the stillness, not once interrupting Harry’s state.
“Aperire animo.” She murmured, feeling like a spark of electricity had suddenly streamed through her body and abandoned her fingertips. “Quod sit revelare abscondita.”
Maggie continued that same chant, two, three times. Each time with greater conviction. “Aperire animo…” Closing her own eyes, trying to catch a glimpse of what Harry was experiencing in his subconscious.
“…revelare abscondita. Aperire—“
Her voice unexpectedly and abruptly went silent.
It felt as if all the air had been sucked out of her lungs, her stomach turning and twisting violently, the way one feels when going down a very steep drop on a rollercoaster. Maggie felt lightheaded, she was going to pass out, but her body was no longer heeding her commands. She couldn’t bring herself to open her eyes, and she couldn’t force herself to put an end to what was happening.
Her mind was starting to race, a result of the panic of no longer being in control of the situation. The reaction only lasting a split second before everything went black.
“Maggie?” Harry’s voice pulled her out of that dark pit. “Maggie?”
When she finally managed to open her eyes, she found herself lying on the ground. Her upper body cradled in Harry’s arms as he looked down at her with a worrisome expression on his face.
“Harry? What happened?”
He carefully helped her up, keeping one arm around her to steady her balance.
They were standing in front of a chapel, a red telephone booth just a few feet away from them. The cars that swooshed by them were unlike anything she’d ever seen, except maybe in old movies.
“Are we in London?” She yelped, finding the strength to squeal. “Har, did you orb us here?”
He shook his head. “Not London. Manchester. And I don’t think we’re really here, Maggie.”
She gulped, uneasiness overtaking her in that moment.
They seemed to be standing on solid ground, and they both had a tangible appearance—she could feel his touch. It felt real. But Maggie soon discovered that every time she tried to grab something around her, her fingers went through it like she was made of fog. It was like they had both left the physical plane behind, no longer residing in reality but in a memory that had been locked away in Harry’s mind.
“Holy shit.” She said, another laugh—this time a nervous one—escaping her. “How is this possible?”
“You are asking me how any of this is possible?” His intrepid look making her smile.
The chime of the bells interrupted their exchange. People suddenly appeared around them, like they too were part of the guests waiting outside the steps of the chapel. Daylight beamed down on them, the atmosphere changing from dark and gloomy to a radiant, sunny glow. A blue sky adorned with feathery clouds stretched above them.
A minute later, a pair of newlyweds emerged from the chapel doors.
A man standing at the bottom of the steps yelled out, “Mr. and Mrs. Westwell!” And everybody cheered in unison. Maggie and Harry like unearthly specters, witnessing the whole thing.
“Harry.” Maggie muttered. “That’s you.”
They both watched in complete disbelief as the recently married couple made their way down the steps, showered in tiny pieces of paper confetti. Chants of James and Clara began materializing around them, becoming louder and louder until it was the only thing they could hear.
“James?” She looked at him. “Your real name is James?” Maggie laughed and shook her head. “James and Harry…of course.”
“Yes.” Harry said, remembering. “My name was James Westwell.”
Maggie looked on at the scene before them. Unable to ignore the woman who had been undeniable important to him and his past. “Your wife was beautiful.” She stated the obvious.
Harry looked at Maggie with glassy eyes and smiled. It was all coming back to him now. The details of that day becoming even clearer the longer they stood there. But he didn’t want to waste more time, and he certainly didn’t want Maggie having to reminisce with him on every little facet of his wedding day. That’s not why they were there.
“I just remembered something else.” As soon as he said that, everything around them began to shift slowly, like an etch-a-sketch board creating the next memory.
The sound of the crowd was replaced by the chatter of people and the beeps of machines coming from corners of the environment they not inhabited.
Maggie and Harry stood at the end of a hospital hallway, looking in the direction of the nursery where a proud James was peering through the giant glass window, eager to get a look at his newborn baby boy.
“He’s crying.” Harry said after a moment, narrating what his former self was seeing. “The nurse is tucking him in, trying to keep him as warm as possible. And I’m just standing there in complete awe, wondering what I ever did to deserve such a precious gift.”
Maggie listened intently, watching Harry the whole time. There was something so wholesome about him describing the scene. It made her heart ache with joy.
“Carter.” He recalled, his voice shaky. “We named him Carter.” His eyes got watery, teardrops abandoning them and rolling down his cheeks.
She hugged him in silence, allowing him to take in the moment and the memory, to really let himself relive that experience. Respecting the fact that her being witness to his past life didn’t mean she had permission to probe further into something so personal to him. Just being there was enough of a privilege, and Maggie was mindful of that.
“I think we found what we were looking for.” He muttered, wiping away his tears. “Thank you, Maggie. Thank you for helping me remember.”
Maggie didn’t say anything in return, just gave him another comforting hug. She should have been the one thanking him. Having the opportunity to experience all of that with him was truly unparalleled.
She nodded, beginning the incantation that would hopefully pull them out of that subconscious realm.
Maggie gasped loudly, her body like dead weight on Harry as she came to.
He quickly regained full consciousness, helping to stabilize her breathing as he calmed her down.
“You’re okay, Maggie. You’re safe. Breathe.” He got up from the sofa with her in his arms.
She gasped a few more times like she'd been trapped underwater, until she finally started breathing normally again.
“That’s it, sweetheart.” He said. “That’s it.” He hugged her, desperately pulling her toward him, nestling her into his chest. “Oh, Maggie.” He kissed the top of her head as she clung to him.
Harry made sure she had fully recovered before letting her wander off.
It wasn’t long after that before he was caving in to her request to visit the rooftop deck. He agreed only because they’d be leaving the next morning. Definitely not because she ran a finger from his chest down to his belt at the same time as she looked at him with those enchanting eyes that made him weak.
Even though darkness had fallen on the town and the air was dry and cold, Maggie did need to breathe in fresh oxygen and they needed to dissect what had occurred. Once they’d gotten to the roof, she set her laptop on the round patio table but walked away from it instead of taking a seat.
Harry joined her as she leaned over the railing, staring at the glistening lights of the bridge in the distance. “So we know that Carter was born in 1953 in Manchester.” She trembled involuntarily from the cold. “And we know your name was James and your wife’s was Clara. We also know how amazing my internet stalking skills are, so it shouldn’t take very long to figure out where he lives.”
“Is now a bad time to suggest that maybe the locator spell didn’t work out the way we had hoped?” He asked. “Perhaps we got a little carried away by going on this road trip so suddenly.”
Maggie didn’t want to admit it but there was a very good chance he was right. All the evidence was pointing to that. “Well, I enjoyed our time alone, a lot. That’s gotta be worth something, right?”
He smiled. “I never said I didn’t enjoy it.”
“Good.” She laughed. “Alright. Guess it’s time to put my Google skills to work now, huh?”
“Are you sure you want to do this here? It’s freezing.” He said, his breath swirling in front of his face.
“If it takes longer than 20 minutes, we can go back inside.” She took a seat at the table and opened the laptop.
After minutes of perusing various sites, including all the social media platforms she could think of, she was able to gather similar information from three different sources. One was a very old LinkedIn profile that hadn’t been updated in five years, the other a Facebook account that consisted of just four pictures, and one of them was a blurry photograph from a birthday party in which the Carter in question had cake on his face. He was surrounded by three other adults, a female and two males. Maggie didn’t want to assume but it was possible they were his children.
“This guy really loves his grandkids.” Maggie noted, clicking on a picture of two kids playing in a field wearing soccer—or as Harry would say, football—jerseys. “Cute.”
The third piece of information was the most convincing. It was an online record she’d found in an ancestry website where it stated his parents’ names and their places of birth, including the years. Harry confirmed that everything on record was a match. There was even a mention of James’s time in the British armed forces.
“Harry. You were right.” Maggie said. “According to all this, Carter is still living in Manchester.” She looked downcast. “I’m sorry. I guess my powers were still wonky from Tartarus when I did the locator spell.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about.” Harry replied. “I know more about my son now than I ever did and it was all because of you, Maggie. You made this possible for me.” He beamed. “Now, let’s go back inside and have a cup of hot tea. It is bloody cold out here.”
The intention had been to have a cup of tea. It really had been. But one thing led to another and eventually Harry found himself cornered between the fridge and the countertop, with Maggie’s mouth all over him, and her hands clutching his jacket as she brushed up against him.
Apparently she’d found a way better alternative to staying warm that didn’t require steeping and brewing.
“Perhaps we can resume what we started earlier…” Harry suggested, kissing her between words and breathless pauses. “Without the mind prodding…”
“Prodding? Is this your idea of dirty talk?” Maggie teased him.
He smiled, taking her by surprise when he orbed them to the recliner. She thought about teasing him some more and reminding him that he’d very clearly stated that using his abilities only weakened his healing but she forgot as soon as their mouths collided.
Their lips and tongues engaged in a heated dance, her legs on either side of him, center rhythmically moving into him as they dry humped like a couple of inexperienced teenagers. Maggie felt him getting harder, growing against her with every delicate rock of her body. She took off her jacket and then helped him out of his, turning her head and tipping it back as his lips pressed firmly on her neck.
Her little sighs were peppered with moans, his warm mouth kissing her pulse before his tongue glided over her skin, leaving wet trails along the way. His hands clasped her ass with desperate need, fingers kneading over the denim. She could sense his urgency and his longing, making it equally exhilarating and arousing for her.
It was a battle between wanting him inside her that instant and wanting to make the build up last, and she couldn’t decide which of the two she wanted more. He was doing all the right things at the moment, so she figured he could let him determine the pace. Every little touch and kiss making her quiver.
He pulled on her top and she helped by raising her arms so he could take it off. As soon as that was done, she briefly got off of him to remove her jeans. Harry took this time to dispose of his shirt and undo his belt and the button on his pants.
His eyes were trained on her the whole time. Her perfectly shaped silhouette climbing on top of him once again, her undergarments only a thin veil separating him from her complete nakedness. His hands trailed down the length of her back, her skin smooth and warm to the touch.
Harry brought his fingers to the band of her bra, taking her fleshy lips between his again as his fingers nimbly unclipped it. Maggie smiled at him, her forehead pressed against him, eyes out of focus and cold noses touching.
“Promise we’ll always have this.” She uttered with a breath of fear. “I don’t want to lose you, Har.”
His chest felt the magnitude of her words. The thought hadn’t been lost in him at all but something about Maggie expressing it with that sense of foreboding made him realize how real it all was for both of them.
“I promise.” He said as he kissed her. “You won’t lose me, Maggie. I would never leave you.”
She kissed him with more fervor than before. Her stomach fluttered, her insides consumed by a new feeling she didn’t dare try to define. Harry bucked his hips into her, one hand playing with the delicate trim of her underwear as the other gilded over one thigh.
Maggie decided she was done holding it together. “I want you. Now.”
Harry’s little grunt as he buried his face in her chest was barely audible before he transported them to the bedroom. And Maggie was pleasantly surprised when she felt his weight on top of her as her back landed on the bed. She welcomed the heat of his body, her legs wrapped around him as he rubbed himself on her. He stopped only for a second to reach over and fumble with the lamp’s switch until he turned it on.
“I want to see you.” He said, running his fingers over her neck and down her chest.
He tore the loose bra off of her, his mouth immediately drawn to her perky breasts, eager to suck on her hardening nipples. Maggie squirmed and arched her back as he encircled his tongue around them for a few seconds at a time.
Her hands tugged at his pants and underwear, pulling them down just halfway which was as far as she could reach. Harry managed to wiggle himself out of them. His cock springing out, velvety skin pressing against her clothed center. His tip dripping and staining the fabric of her underwear.
Maggie wanted to feel more of him, her hand reaching for it. Fingers enclosing around his engorged girth as she stroked him.
Harry followed through with his own ministrations. In seconds, he pulled the last piece of clothing off of her. His large hand wrapped around her mound, fingers delving between her wet folds until his index finger was gently pressing into her heat.
He kissed her again, getting lost in the pleasure her hand was providing. She knew how to work him just enough to make him lose sense of who he was in the moment. He responded by introducing one digit into her.
“Oh my god.” She muttered when he broke through her opening. Loving the way he touched her but dying to fully have him inside her.
His thumb moved over her clit with such precision and delicacy until she was squirming and writhing with need. Harry knew she was ready, her wetness coating his finger the deeper he went in.
Minutes later, he settled between her legs, his mouth scattering kisses on her stomach before he placed the tip of his cock between her folds. Teasingly gliding it up and down her slit for a moment, taking in the gorgeous sight of her wet and glistening cunt.
He placed his tip at her opening, gently prying her open. Maggie moaned as he pushed himself in further.
Harry slipped in and out of her, taking in new depths every time he slid back inside. The rhythm quickly picked up, his length burying itself inside her tight walls.
“You feel so good.” He muttered as he lifted up her leg with one hand and kissed her calf.
Maggie’s noises became louder, watching as he slammed into her, feeling how he made her insides drip. Before long she was urging him not to stop.
“Right there. Just like that.” She said, moaning and whimpering as his cock hit exactly the right spot.
She could feel the rush of unabashed pleasure coursing through her. A wave of heat encompassing her from head to toe as his actions quickened. Maggie couldn’t think of anything else but the feelings she was experiencing.
Moments later, she was coming, losing herself in the pleasure he was instilling in her. Her hands grasped his ass, and her mouth parted open as a cosmic explosion erupted behind her eyelids. Her mind becoming consumed by him and nothing else in its entirety.
Harry waited for it to pass, pleased with himself, and then moved both of her legs to one side, her waist twisting as he dove right into her again. He savored every second of it, knowing she felt way too good to last too much longer.
Still, he moved inside her, causing her to deliver those beautiful sounds he loved so much. One hand wrapped around her breast, playing with it as she took all of him in, over and over, pleading for him to go harder, faster.
He groaned, a satisfying cry leaving his lips as he pulled out and finished himself off with his hand. The bands of hot cum leaving white streaks on her thigh as he reached his peak. It was the loudest he’d ever been and it was without a doubt, the sexiest sound Maggie had ever heard.
Harry fell on the bed right next to her when he was done. “Sorry.” He said almost embarrassed.
Maggie laughed. “Seriously? That was the best sex I’ve ever had. Even better than the last time.”
He smiled. “I meant to last longer but you’re just so… so…” He was having a hard time coming up with the right word. His tone was soft as he said in earnest. “You’re everything I ever wanted.”
She felt her heart thump in her chest, for a moment having been left completely speechless. The declaration resonating within.
“Don't.” Harry said, “Don’t feel like you have to say anything back.”
He kissed her, letting her know that whatever they had was perfectly fine just the way it was for now.
The next morning, after having checked out, they made a stop at a little cafe for breakfast on the way out of town.
It was quiet and not busy at all. Probably because it was Monday morning. Maggie had just placed her order of oatmeal and fruit, and Harry had just asked for their version of Eggs Benedict, when the waitress decided to engage in small chat. She poured them each a cup of coffee as she inquired about their visit with the warmest of smiles.
“We kind of stumbled upon this place by mistake.” Maggie said. “We thought a relative still lived here but no luck.”
The waitress couldn't have been older than thirty but she still managed to make herself sound old. “Really? Well, Stillwater’s such a small town, everyone knows everyone around here. Do you mind me asking who the relative is?”
Maggie looked at Harry, unsure if he wanted to share.
“Carter Westwell.” He said. “But I think we were given the wrong information.”
“Hm.” The waitress perked up, like she knew more than she was letting on. “Can’t say I know of a Carter but I do know the Westwells.” She smiled. “James and Emma Westwell. They own the pub down on Main Street.”
Maggie almost spit out the sip of coffee she’d taken. “You mean, The Well? We were just there yesterday.”
“Yes. The Well. They’re lovely people. James is usually there during the day, I’m sure he’d be happy to chat with you.” She smiled. “Maybe your source just got the name wrong?”
They sat in silence for a few moments after the waitress had left. If her information was correct that meant that the locator spell hadn’t been entirely a fluke after all.
“His name is James Westwell. That can’t be a coincidence.” Maggie said quietly. “Harry this could mean that Carter’s son—your grandson—is living here. That’s why I saw a vision of the pub when I did the locator spell. It skipped a generation, but it still found someone in your bloodline.” She smiled. “And he’s named after you.”
The waitress returned with Maggie’s oatmeal and fruit. “Your food will be out very soon.” She informed Harry before dashing back into the kitchen.
Harry had an unreadable expression on his face. “I have to admit I was a little relieved to know that Carter wasn’t really here.” He said. “I know it’s strange because it contradicts everything I’ve been saying until now, about wanting to find him and wanting to know all about him.”
Maggie didn’t find it strange at all. It was natural to be scared of facing the truth, no matter how much he’d been in search of it.
“I guess I’m just afraid I won’t know what to say.” Harry added. “I can’t tell them the truth. My only option is to lie.”
She spoke then, trying her best to ease his worry. “We’ve come this far to find him but I understand your hesitation. And I would understand if you decide it’s best to leave it the way it is.” There was a pause when the waitress approached their table again with Harry’s plate in hand.
“You can also let me do the talking.” She half-laughed. “I’ll try not to embarrass myself or you.”
“No, you’re right. We’ve come this far already.” He picked up his fork. “I think we should see this thing through.”
He took a bite of his food, intent on making it last as long as possible. Hoping that’d be enough time to prepare and calm his nerves.
Harry looked at the pub’s sign. The Well. It really couldn’t have been clearer and yet both he and Maggie had missed the one clue that was obvious from the beginning. He took a deep breath and opened the door for her, letting her walk in first and following very close behind.
The bartender waved at them when he saw them, recognizing them from the day before. “Morning! Glad to see you again, hope you’ve been enjoying our little town.”
They both smiled.
“It’s been lovely.” Maggie said, feeling Harry’s hand on her shoulder as she took a seat on one of the chairs.
They sat at a table at the back of the establishment, below the second-floor deck. The lights in there were dimmed, making it appear like night time even though it was still early in the day.
"What if he doesn't come in today?" Harry asked quietly, fiddling with his fingers nervously.
Maggie placed a hand on top of his, her fingers wrapping around it as she brushed it with her thumb. “Relax, he’ll probably be here any minute. I know how freaking crazy this must all be for you and I can only imagine how you’re feeling." She smiled, knowing she could easily sense it if she wanted to. "But you're not alone, Har. I'll be right here. You can gain strength from me.” She winked, making him smile.
Harry’s voice was bold and spirited as he spoke to the bartender. “We were hoping Mr. Westwell would be here. We’re uh,” he paused, gathering himself for a moment, “I’m a distant relative of his grandfather.”
The bartender didn’t have a chance to answer before the heavy sound of footsteps materialized from the wooden stairs above them, along with a voice and an English accent.
“You’re related to my grandad?” He was a tall middle-aged man with dark brown hair and a pair of square-shaped glasses. Curiously eyeing them as he approached them. "I'm sorry, I don't believe we’ve ever met.”
Harry’s mouth went dry, his heart pounding in his chest. “You’re James Westwell?” He muttered, holding back the urge to hug him and tell him everything.
Maggie recognized him right away, the same man she’d seen in one of the pictures on Carter’s Facebook page. The one where he was celebrating his birthday.
The man smiled. “James Westwell II, actually.” He laughed heartily and shook Harry’s hand. “My dad named me after my grandad.” He narrowed his eyes, studying Harry, maybe even recognizing him from old photographs Carter might have possessed. Or perhaps it was just his blood calling to him, finding himself strangely drawn to Harry for some unknown reason.
“Harry. Greenwood.” Harry said, letting go of his hand. “My,” he looked at Maggie, “girlfriend and I tried one of those ancestry kits recently and long story short, we ended up here. We thought it would be nice to connect with relatives.” He was right, there was no other choice but to lie, and he felt awful about it.
James smiled, eyes wide with excitement. “That’s incredible! I just bought my dad a 23andMe kit for his birthday this year.” He sighed. “Strange, we didn’t get a match with you. Not that I can recall, anyway. Maybe the family tree wasn’t updated at the time.”
Maggie chimed in. “That happens a lot. The family tree takes a while to update sometimes.”
James smiled at her then. “I’m so sorry, where are my manners?” He shook her hand. “James Westwell.”
“Maggie Vera.” She introduced herself.
“Very nice to meet you both.” He signaled to the bartender and a few minutes later there were three pints of beer on their table.
“It’s five o’clock somewhere.” Maggie said, making James laugh as he took a seat.
“I’m sorry if I’m staring, you just resemble my grandad so much.” James said, looking at Harry. “My dad has just one photo of him, very old and faded,” he laughed with a bit of uneasiness caused by the uncanny qualities they shared. “Never mind. It’s just great to run into relatives, I find the tech advances in genealogy fascinating.”
“It is.” Harry agreed. “Fascinating.” He drank from his beer, the alcohol settling rather strongly in his stomach after having eaten only half his breakfast earlier that morning.
“So,” Maggie jumped in again. “Your family is from England. What made you relocate to Stillwater?”
James smiled. “My wife, actually. My family is originally from Manchester—as you probably already know.”
Harry smiled and nodded.
“I met my wife while she was on holiday almost twenty years ago.” He smiled, thinking back to it. “She and her girlfriends liked frequenting my family’s pub. I sometimes filled in as a barman when it was too busy.”
“Your wife’s American?” Maggie asked, genuinely curious.
“Yes, from Saint Paul. We hit it off right away. Kept in touch after she came back to the states and one thing led to another. Seems like we couldn’t quite stay away from each other for too long. She was still finishing up her studies at the university, so I took a leap of faith across the pond and couple years later we decided to settle down.”
“That’s lovely.” Harry said. “It’s funny how things work out sometimes.”
“It is. Very serendipitous.” James continued. “Soon after that, this business opportunity came about. I opened the pub as a form of tribute to the one my father owns back in Manchester. It’s kind of like having a little piece of home away from home. “
“Your father–” Harry sounded a little nervous as he spoke, afraid that James would somehow see right through his lies. “I understand his name is Carter?”
James nodded. “Yes. Carter Westwell. Truly the greatest man I’ve ever known. He’s gonna get a kick out of this story, by the way. He told me he wasn’t sure the ancestry kit was even real.” He laughed. “He was afraid the government was just going to store his data for nefarious reasons.”
Harry took another drink from his glass, listening to him talk about his son. A knot forming in his throat.
“He and my mum are looking to move into a retirement home sometime this year. They’re both very excited about it, knowing they’ll be practically living in a five star resort.” He chuckled. “They’re great people, I wish you could meet them.”
“They sound like they are.” Harry said softly, almost sadly. “I’m glad to hear they’re doing well.”
“Oh yes, they’re great! I couldn’t be happier. They’re healthy and always in good spirits.” James said. “If you two are ever in Manchester, I would love it if you visited the original Well pub.”
Maggie grinned, excitedly looking at Harry.
“You can have authentic fish and chips and drinks on the house!” James boasted. “And you could connect with my dad as well. Though maybe your striking resemblance to my grandad might startle him quite a bit.”
Harry chuckled nervously. “We’ll keep it in mind. I have not been to Manchester in many, many years.”
“Then the offer stands, if you’re ever so inclined.” The cellphone in his pocked buzzed then, and he took a second to check it.
Harry smiled at Maggie, squeezing her hand. She turned it over, intertwining her fingers with his and returning the gleeful gesture.
“I’m so sorry, I wish I could stay and chat longer but I promised my wife I’d take our kids to a matinee. I’m afraid I have to dash.”
Harry was gracious for their time together. “Don’t worry about it. We have to start our journey back home too. I appreciate you being so welcoming and open to talk.”
They all got up from the table. “Please extend my well wishes to your father. I hope he’s blessed with many more years of health and happiness.” Harry said, wholeheartedly.
He was going to shake James’s hand but the man went in for a hug instead. Maggie could tell how touched Harry was by it and she smiled.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you Harry, and you too Maggie. I hope you have a safe trip back home and that you come visit us again sometime. We’d love to have you back and have a longer chat next time. I’d love to learn more about you.” He dug into his back pocket. “Here. My business card, should you wish to keep in touch.”
Harry took the card in his hand. “Thank you, James. It means a lot.”
They watched him head back upstairs in a hurry, said he needed his jacket and scarf, but they didn’t wait for him to come back down. Harry gave Maggie just one look and she understood that it was time for them to depart.
“You’ve been quieter than usual.” Harry said, finding a new kind of beauty in the view that surrounded them. The trees lightly covered in flecks of snow, the highway deserted but tranquil.
“Just thinking.” She said, a little coy smile adorning her face as she wiggled in her seat. “And trying to be respectful of the fact that my boyfriend might want some silence to ponder all that information on his own.”
Harry looked over at her for a quick second, taking his eyes off the road and keeping only one hand on the steering wheel. His other hand reaching for her, coming to rest on her knee.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure what to say and it just felt right in the moment.” He said.
“Oh no, it’s totally fine. I’m not bothered by it. Just pleasantly surprised by it, that’s all.” Maggie assured him, her body turning toward him on the passenger seat. Her voice took a comforting tone. “I’m very happy for you. Harry, you got to meet your grandson. That’s a big freaking deal!”
“But I had to lie to him.” He replied.
“Sometimes there is no other choice, to protect those that we love.” She smiled. “I also know that even though you found some kind of comfort in connecting with James, it’s not the same as seeing Carter.”
“What are you saying, we should go to Manchester now?” He quipped.
“Yeah.” She replied in all seriousness. “I think that once you’re completely healed and your orbing is back to normal, we should very much consider that possibility. I’d also like to make a pit stop in London. Maybe even Paris.” She grinned.
Harry laughed. “Well, I think the only way I can make that trip is if you came with me. So if you’re absolutely sure…”
“Then we will talk about this again when the time comes.”
A second later and without warning she asked, “Hey! Can you take this next exit?”
“Just do it, okay? If Google is right, there should be a turnout with a scenic overlook in a couple miles.” She beamed.
A few minutes later they pulled off the road, right into a little nook that was the scenic turnout Maggie was referring to. The only sound once he cut the engine was the wind rushing through the trees, before them was just a precipice adorned with views of snow powdered pine trees and beautifully crafted stone cliffs.
They stepped out of the car, wrapping themselves in their jackets when the wind chill hit them.
“I wish this could last forever.” Maggie said, taking a seat on the car’s hood. The coziness of the heat comforting.
“Don’t you want to go home?” Harry asked, sitting next to her and putting an arm around her.
She leaned her head into his shoulder. “I do. I’m just a little scared of what comes next.”
Harry knew what she was afraid of, she’d voiced that concern previously. “I’m right here, Maggie. I’ll always be right here.”
Maggie looked up at him then, waiting for him to meet her halfway as their lips pressed together. “Harry.”
“Hm?” He said, caressing her cheek with his fingers.
“You said I was everything you ever wanted…” She said softly, a bit of fear in her voice before she spoke. “Did you mean that?”
Harry smiled, kissing her again. “I did, and I told you, you didn’t have to say anything–”
“I know.” Maggie interrupted. “And I know it’s only been one week since this began and a whole lot has happened since then, starting with his overwhelming pull we have toward one another.” She added softly. “You also said it would fade along with our marks.”
“Yes. I thought it a possibility.” Harry replied.
Maggie pursed her lips. “I think you’re wrong.”
She looked up at him, their eyes connecting.
“I don’t think this will fade. Every day that goes by, it’s like I can feel it rooting inside me, deeper still.” Her voice trembled. “It’s not going away, unlike this.” She showed him her arm, only dark shadows of the marks remained. Barely discernible by the naked eye.
“And you're healing up nicely too.” She said, tracing with her fingers the areas of his neck where the marks had been so prevalent—just faint bruises of them now. “Harry. You are also everything I ever wanted. Everything I never knew I needed.” She laughed. “God, it felt good to say that out loud!”
“And it felt good to hear it.” Harry smiled.
He took her face between his hands, looking at her with the most tender of eyes and then kissed her deeply.
It was true, everything felt like it was happening so fast, no one else knew what was going on between them, and maybe at first they’d just been confused about the intense attraction and feelings they were experiencing because of what they’d gone through. But Harry suspected that whatever scorpion venom had once ran through their veins, and whatever remaining memories of Tartarus still plagued their dreams from time to time, it was no longer the cause for the feelings they had for each other.
Still, they needed more time to know for sure.
Their lips parted slowly as he spoke. “We’ll figure it out together. I promise.”
Maggie nuzzled his neck, the warmth of his skin and the smell of him having become almost a luxury to her those past few days. Harry let her take her time, they enjoyed the view for a few more minutes until the cold began to feel unbearable.
“I think it’s time to go home.” Harry said, lovingly kissing the top of her head.
She smiled, sighing as she replied, “Okay.”
This fic does not want to let me go! Which means, you'll get another update from me, hopefully way sooner this time around. Thank you to those of you who have asked about updates, it's so gratifying and motivating! And I read and appreciate all your comments even if I don't reply for fear of adding to my comment count too much (but mostly because I don't know what to say!).