Work Header


Chapter Text

The clearing looks wrong, in the pale moonlight.

Things that should be there but aren’t: blood, viscera, gore, weapons strewn about, screws and nails and pipes and saws and all of the other things she doesn’t want to think about but knows she has to if she truly intends to repent.

Things that shouldn’t be there but are: a ghost, pale and translucent, staring directly at her.

Padraic had entered alongside his two regular companions, two other companions of similar attractiveness. Then, close behind but distinctly not together, Maggie Holt, the girl with the checkered scarf. She was a teenager, making her slightly younger than the Briar Girl, and her eyebrows made her look perpetually angry, helped by a swift, graceless manner of walking. Around her shoulders, beady eyes darting between the crowd, was the cleanest raccoon I’d ever seen - coat clean and shiny, claws short and well-trimmed. Her familiar, presumably.

She sat to my right, across the aisle. Padraic and his group sat at the other end of the same pew, instantly and automatically settling into comfortable seating positions that could have doubled for poses.

“Padraic. Not the last to arrive, for once,” Laird said. “We can begin a little early tonight. Please, Mr. Thorburn.” I dragged my attention away from Molly, unsure why she seemed to catch it in the first place. “You’re at the center of attention. Would you please step up to the front and introduce yourself?”

“...then,” Sandra Duchamp said, “Thorburn’s offer remains open, I will know who accepts it, if anyone does. Let’s set that matter aside so we’re free to move on. Any progress with regards to the girl?”

Laird began to respond, still seated, but a new voice cut across his, ringing through the church. “Say my name.”

In an unfamiliar context, already stressed and distracted, I didn’t place the voice immediately beyond basic recognition, and an instinct that it shouldn’t be here. 

All the heads in the room whipped around, to the bench where Maggie Holt sat on her own. She hadn’t been the one to speak, though - she was slouched back over the pew, mouth pressed into a thin line, equal parts tired and nervous. Her familiar, though, was staring directly at Laird, fury evident in its posture.

“Say. My. Name,” the voice repeated, and it was clear now that it was the raccoon who was speaking. Then it was gone, and a spectral figure hovered in its place.

“Or have you forgotten it?” Molly Walker demanded.

I blinked, but the scene remained the same as a chorus of shocked whispers ran through the room.

"Molly?" I whispered. 

It was more to myself than to Rose, but she responded all the same. “What?!” I lifted the mirror so she could see, and I heard her hiss slightly.

“Maggie’s familiar?” she asked me, and I nodded in response before realising she couldn’t see me.

“She’s with Maggie, but... can you even do that? I thought a familiar had to be an Other.”

“You can,” Rose answered distractedly. “But…”

She didn’t get to finish the thought, as Laird finally spoke up. “Miss Walker,” he said, doing an excellent job of sounding unperturbed. “I have to say, this is quite the surprise.”

“Oh?” Molly laughed. “Not used to having to deal with the consequences of your actions, Sheriff?

“We don’t have to-” Sandra Duchamp began, but Molly cut her off.

“If you don’t want to think about the people you’ve murdered, try not murdering people.” The Molly I’d known had been quiet, timid, and there was an element of that in the way she trembled, but the sheer venom in her voice was new. 

“Miss Holt,” Laird said, “I suggest you control your… familiar.”

Maggie shrugged one shoulder. “She’s her own person.”

“One that you murdered,” Molly added. I would’ve said she was laying it on a bit thick, but considering the circumstances I couldn’t say I blamed her.

“Be careful, Miss Walker,” Laird said. He was calm, and it irritated me, somehow. That he could be caught off-guard like this and still maintain his aura of smug control. “Neither you or Miss Holt have many friends here. We may have just called for an execution, but believe me when I say we won’t hesitate to call another if you make it necessary.”

“Necessary?” There was that sharp, cold laugh again, the one with a hint of the grave to it. “What’s necessary? I don’t have access to the books you’re all so afraid of, I don’t have the ability to practise, I’m dead. Is talking about the execution you ordered so dangerous now, that you’d kill a teenager to prevent it?” She paused deliberately. “Oh, I’m sorry. Kill another teenager.”

“I have to say,” Johannes remarked from the back of the room, “I’m enjoying this meeting much more than usual.”

Laird shot him a look. “Miss Holt. For the second time, control your familiar.” His tone made it clear that the third repetition would have consequences - what they’d be in this situation, though, I wasn’t sure. Would Laird’s third attempt hold more sway, somehow? Or would the implication of Maggie being unable or unwilling to control Molly become a little more real, changing or damaging their relationship?

“Then I’ll say it for the second time as well,” Maggie replied. “She’s her own person. This ain’t that kind of relationship.” 

From the way that Laird reacted, there was some kind of threat implicit in that as well. Freeing a vengeful ghost, giving her power and agency? If so, it seemed like a bad idea - but then again, I wasn’t one to talk.

“Molly,” I said, the word slipping out before I’d had a chance to think about the ones that would follow it.

She looked at me, then did a double-take, seeming to actually notice my presence for the first time.

"Blake," Molly said. Her voice was- it was Molly, but harder, colder. Given what she'd been through, I guess it wasn't that surprising.

“Hey, Mol,” I said. “I’m- it’s really good to see you.”

She didn’t seem to know how to respond to that.

“Next order of business,” Laird said, taking advantage of Molly being derailed to take back control. “Unfortunate timing, but we’re obligated to call a vote.”

“Flagrant use of one’s practice in public,” Sandra took over, “acting against the local powers. Maggie Holt.”

More than half the hands in the room went up.

Chapter Text

Maggie shot to her feet, hand reaching to her side and stopping just above the dagger belted to her waist. “You’re- frigging kidding me.”

Both hid it well, but I was fairly certain neither Sandra nor Laird had been expecting this result. “The motion passes,” Sandra said calmly. “Those in favour of a stay of execution, pending approval of this council?”

Again, a majority of the hands went up, a decent number of them the same that had voted the first time around. I stuck my hand up, obviously, as did Sandra and Laird. Padraic also raised his with a smirk, and after a moment, the other fae did as well.

“Motion passes,” Laird said. “Ms. Holt, as per the bylaws, you will be informed should the council choose to remove the stay. Appealing the original motion will require another majority vote.” His tone, combined with words like ‘bylaws’, almost made it feel like the world’s most fucked-up PTA meeting. 

Then again, Aunt Irene was on the Jacob’s Bell PTA. So maybe the second-most fucked-up. 

“Good,” Sandra said. She did seem genuinely pleased, which would have been nice if she hadn’t also called the execution in the first place. “Turning to more mundane matters, now…”

The discussion continued, along the same lines. Outside players, minor internal disputes over who was doing what, and all of the other details that went into maintaining the balance of power.

“…And with that, the meeting is called to order,” Laird Behaim said. He’d taken over again when Sandra’s voice had started to give out. He opened his pocket watch. “Seven fifty-eight.”

My eyes went straight to Maggie’s as I stood, and found her waiting expectantly. Molly, if that was Molly, was back in her raccoon form, perched on her shoulders, form half-hidden by the mass of unruly auburn hair.

Maggie jerked her head slightly, indicating the side door, and I nodded in acknowledgement. 

“Your plan-” Rose started to say.

“We can talk about it back at the house,” I interrupted her, weaving between the pews. “I want to sort out this business with Maggie while we still have the truce.”

“Talking to yourself, Mr. Thorburn?”

I turned to see Johannes, the North End Sorcerer, hands in pockets. I hadn’t heard him approach. 

“In a way,” I said. Not technically a lie - I just happened to also be talking to Rose. 

“Yes, you are,” he replied, sounding amused. “You seem to be a quick study, Mr. Thorburn. I hope it serves you well, for whatever it’s worth.”

I acknowledged his words with a little polite smile. “Are you here to take my deal, then?”

“Oh, no,” he laughed. “Behaim wants us to take the deal, remember? Makes things much easier for him and Sandra. No, I just wanted to… introduce myself, I suppose. Get a sense of you. But,” he gestured towards the side door, the same one Maggie had disappeared through, “I won’t hold you from your meeting. I’m sure we’ll see each other around, besides.”

Coming from a practitioner, that felt a lot more ominous a turn of phrase than it normally did. Then again, all he’d really said was that he believed it, not that it would actually happen. Was that enough, to dodge the consequences? Hypotheticals and hedging?

I didn’t have enough of a grasp on it yet to take that risk myself, so I just gave him a small nod before turning to leave, opening the door and stepping through.

“So,” I said. “I think an explanation is in order.”

Maggie turned to face me, pushing herself off the wall she’d been leaning against. 

“Yeah,” Maggie said quietly, hands in pockets. “I think that’s fair.”

I stepped fully outside, closing the door behind me and leaning against it. It wouldn’t stop any eavesdroppers, but I didn’t really think I had the ability to stop anyone who wanted to listen in from doing so if they really wanted to.

“I meant what I said earlier,” I said to Molly, curled up around Maggie’s neck in raccoon form. “I’m… really happy to see you. Even if…”

“Even if I’m dead?” I was close enough now to see that her mouth didn’t move when she spoke in this form. Her face moved to some degree, but I wasn’t exactly an expert on raccoon facial expressions. “I’d say it’s good to see you too, Blake, but considering everything…”

I breathed out. “Yeah. I kinda wish we weren’t here either.”

At ‘we’, both of them glanced down at the mirror hanging around my neck. 

“Can’t say I fully agree,” Rose said. “Seeing as I wouldn’t exist.”

I guess we’re sharing, then. “Maggie, Molly, this is Rose.”

“Charmed,” Maggie said slowly.

“Why do you look like a Thorburn?” Molly asked, eschewing the greeting.

“Because-” Rose and I spoke at the same time. “You go,” I told her.

“Because I am one, kind of. Grandma set up… something, and when you died, I popped into being. As far as we’ve been able to tell, I’m Blake if he’d been a girl.”

Maggie raised an eyebrow at that. “I was wondering how the new heir was a dude. Kinda figured you were just trans, t’be honest. Spirits don’t tend to be great about that. Makes sense, though, fr’m what I saw of her.”

“Yeah, that’s Grandma Rose for you,” Molly muttered. “Always a new game.”

“I think we’ve danced around the point long enough,” Rose cut in. “Maggie, why and how do you have the ghost of our murdered cousin as your familiar?

"I…" Maggie sighed, tugging at her scarf. "Total honesty?"

"I was under the impression that was the default,” I said.

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean you can't deceive. I'm not, though, right now." A breath. "I was the one who killed Molly."

I felt like I’d been slapped.

Pardon?” Rose asked icily.

“Oh, technically, she didn’t do it herself.” If Molly’s voice had been tinged with the grave before, now it was nothing but. “She just set her goblins on me, and stood and watched as they killed me, as they tore me to pieces, as they took their corkscrews and needles and hammers and nails and used them to-”

“Stop.” I almost thought I’d spoken for a second, the voice vibrating through my chest, until I realised it had been Rose, the mirror resting against my collarbones. I’d been about to speak - Maggie had grown paler as Molly continued to speak, beginning to shake slightly.

Why was it, that when we’d been so opposed to each other, this little bit of synchronicity with Rose made me feel worse instead of better?

Maggie was beginning to regain some colour, but she still looked shaken. I almost asked if she was joking, before I remembered that she couldn’t. “It was… it’s a long story. It doesn’t excuse what I did, but-”

“-Laird is just as responsible,” Molly finished viciously. 

"So this is, what?” Rose asked. “Repentance?"

Maggie nodded. "...yeah, pretty much. Make amends."

I turned to Molly. "And you? The familiar bond is a pretty big deal, I'm given to understand. And you willingly made it with your murderer?"

She took a second to answer. “...I did.” It wasn’t hesitance, though, that delayed the answer - closer to consideration than anything else. Molly had always been one to choose her words carefully; not in the same way Paige did, where she was constructing arguments and ideas, but more in the sense of someone testing their steps out onto thin ice. 

“...alright then.” I checked my watch, remembering the truce, and made an impulse decision. “It sounds like we have a lot to talk about-”

Blake,” Rose hissed.

“-so maybe we should continue this back at Hillsglade House?”

I could practically hear Rose’s teeth grinding.

Maggie looked at Molly, who nodded. “Lead the way.”

Chapter Text

“This is a mistake.”

I’d fallen behind Maggie and Molly as we walked, intentionally so. She was aware of it, I was sure, but hadn’t commented or objected. She had a slouched, tense way of walking, hands in pockets, that felt almost stereotypically teenaged, but the weight of an entire raccoon around her neck probably contributed to that.

“Which part?” I asked Rose. I was holding the mirror in one cupped hand, glancing down as often as I could while still keeping an eye on our surroundings. 

“Take your pick.” Her arms were crossed, expression sour. It reminded me of Paige, when she’d been younger, and I had to suppress a smirk. 

“It’s Molly, Rose. I know you didn’t get along with her, but she’s family.”

Thorburn family. Do I really need to remind you why that’s not necessarily a good thing?”

I ran a hand through my hair. “I could say the same thing about you.”

That shut her up. I felt a spike of vicious satisfaction at that, and then immediately ashamed.

“We need allies, Rose. If that’s really Molly, and I’m pretty sure it is, then she survived here on her own for almost four months, without turning to diabolism. Isn’t that exactly what we want to do?”

Rose sighed. “And if it’s not Molly?”

I glanced up. Maggie was chatting quietly, voice relaxed. Molly didn’t seem to be replying, but didn’t seem tense either, as far as I could guess based on her raccoon body language.

“If it’s not her… well, it’ll suck, for one, but it’s still a foot in the door with Maggie.”

“Allying with the local pariah,” Rose scoffed. “Always goes well.”

“One, she’s not the local pariah, we are. And two, who else is going to even consider working with the evil Thorburn diabolists? She needs us as well - if we can’t trust her, we can at least trust that.”

Rose was quiet for a few seconds. 

“You sound like them,” she said at last. 

I didn’t have to ask who she meant. 

“Look,” I said, running a hand through my hair again, “I’m sorry for not consulting with you beforehand. That wasn’t cool of me.”

She scoffed but didn’t reply.

“I know I haven’t been handling this well,” I continued, lowering my voice slightly. “Haven’t been treating you well. I could blame it on the situation, I guess, but that feels a bit too much like- the sort of thing they’d say.”

It wasn’t easy to say. There was a part of me that still instinctively recoiled from any comparison to my parents - our parents, I guess. But the worst part was that Rose hadn’t been wrong, when she’d compared me to them. The petty, rat-bastard kind of paranoia that had dominated my childhood was turning out to be eerily suited to our current situation. 

Maybe Grandma Rose had even intended it that way; setting her children against one another like a pit fight, so whoever came out the other side would be enough of a vicious little shit to survive the mess that the Thorburns had made of themselves in Jacob’s Bell. It seemed like something she’d do, at least - the old bitch had always been fond of her games.

Rose folded her arms, but didn’t say anything. Guess that’s the closest I’ll get to ‘apology accepted’. 

“You two done back there?” Maggie called over her shoulder. “Hey, ow.” That last part didn’t seem to be directed at us, and a second later, the raccoon around her neck disappeared, replaced with Molly’s spectral form.

I hadn’t noticed before, my mind occupied with more important things, but Molly was dressed… normally. Not torn and bloodied clothes like me, or Rose Sr’s wardrobe like Rose, or even the grungy, ragged layers that I honestly wasn’t sure weren’t an intentional choice on Maggie’s part - normal, clean clothes, jeans and a green sweatshirt, red beanie pulled down over loose hair. It made sense - if I’d thought about it for more than half a second, I’d have realised that she had actually known she was coming and had time to pack her things and move in. She hadn’t been woken in the middle of the night by her doppelganger, chased out of her apartment to nearly die of exposure-

-and she died anyway, Blake. No point in getting jealous. 

Molly said something to Maggie. I intentionally didn’t listen in, but her tone sounded harsh, almost scolding. I’d heard her use the same tone with Christoff more than once, which felt like it raised more questions than it answered in terms of their relationship. 

I quickened my pace, bringing us up alongside the two of them as Molly finished speaking. 

“What were you saying, Maggie?”

Maggie sighed, rolling her eyes in Molly’s direction. “Never mind.”

Okay then. It seemed Maggie really hadn’t been kidding about not being the one in charge in their relationship. 

For lack of a better distraction, I inspected the patches scattered across Maggie’s coat. Most of them seemed as old and worn as the jacket itself - symbols and logos I didn’t recognise for the most part, although I was fairly certain I’d heard of the bar on one of them. The only one that appeared to be recent was on the collar, a knife painted in blue, red and purple, next to a faded pink triangle. Both seemed familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite place why. 

“Cool jacket,” I said.

Maggie glanced over at me. “Thanks. Used to be my dad’s.”

I waited for a second, but there didn’t seem to be anything else forthcoming. 

“I know a guy who had so many patches that he ran out of space on the jacket. He ended up sowing a bunch of flaps and layers on, but now it just looks really weird.”


Teenagers. I gave up, and we spent the rest of the walk back to the house in silence. 

I ducked ahead as we reached the gates, opening it just wide enough to slip through so-

Maggie caught the closing gate with her foot, pushing it open again as she entered behind me.

“Gee,” she said sarcastically, “what a gentleman.”

Right, Laird had come all the way up to the front door. 

We stopped on the front steps, and I brought the mirror up as I turned to face the others.

“Rose,” I murmured. “Can you-”

She nodded, lips pursed. “Only so I know it’s being done properly. I still think this is a mistake, for the record.”


She tilted her head slightly, and I turned the mirror to face the others. 

“Do you agree to do us and our property no harm?”

“We do,” Molly said.

“Do you speak for the both of you?”

“I do,” Molly said.

“She does,” Maggie said at the same time.

“You enter with no ill will in your heart?”

Maggie winced slightly at that one, but Molly seemed unperturbed. 

“Towards either of you? No.”

“You’ll take nothing of ours unless you have express permission, and take nothing you learn inside these walls to our enemies?”

“We will not.” She smirked, and added, “If you’ve learned something I didn’t already know, I’ll be very surprised.”

“You accept that this invitation is this one time only?”

“I could fight your claim, you know,” Molly said mildly. “I was the heir for much longer than you’ve been, and I still have power and a voice.”

“Is that a threat?”

Molly shrugged. “An observation. We accept that this invitation is one time only.”

I glanced at Rose, who nodded. 

“Then… come on in, I guess.”

Molly returned to her position around Maggie’s neck as we entered - whether there was a reason for it or not, I had no idea. As soon as they left, my first priority was going to be getting through Familius - or at the very least, getting Rose to give me the run-down.

“Can I get you anything?” I asked Maggie, only just remembering in time to not say ‘you two’. If Molly was anything like Rose, she probably didn’t appreciate reminders of her situation. 

“Depends,” Maggie said. “You gonna spike it or something, or do some diabolist bullshit to it?”

Molly rolled her eyes, but didn’t speak.

Rose sighed. “We offer you this food and drink, free of obligation or malice, in the spirit of our role as hosts.”

“What she said,” I added, just in case my voice had suddenly started mattering to the spirits since the last time we’d checked.

“We accept your offer in the spirit it was given,” Maggie said. “Now could I please get some water.”

While I was fetching Maggie a glass and filling it from the tap, Molly floated over to me. 

“You shouldn’t say things like that,” she said quietly. 

“Things like…”

“‘What she said’. Euphemisms, metaphors, any sort of language with wiggle room or possibility for misinterpretation.”

I turned to shoot her a brief look. “...right, yeah. I mean, I knew that already, but…”

She laughed, a little bitter. “But it’s hard to internalise, yeah. I lost three nights of sleep to Padraic my first month here, and I got off lucky.”

I winced in sympathy. 

"Lost as in didn't get to sleep, or…?"

She shook her head. 

"Lost. Gone. I definitely wasn't asleep, but I have no idea what happened during that time. On the third morning, I was standing at the door, about to open it."

I winced sympathetically. “Yeah, we already had our own run-in with the resident fae. Think we got off a bit lighter than that, but who knows.” The fact that there was a ‘we’ was probably the main factor in that, if I was being honest. Without Rose there, I had no doubt I might’ve blundered badly enough to end up dead right there and then. Or, given what I’d seen of the Fae, something worse than dead.

Molly didn’t miss the implications of what I’d said.

“She’s really you?” she asked quietly. “A little girl-Blake?”

“As far as we can tell. She was a contingency Grandma set up, we think - she showed up at my apartment in the middle of the night, pretty much-”

“-when I died.”

“...yeah. She has memories, but is pretty sure she didn’t exist before that moment.”

“How’d that play out?” she asked, sounding genuinely curious. “In her memories, I mean. Brad and Linda having an actual shot at the house seems like it’d make a pretty big difference.”

I opened my mouth to reply, but stopped. “I… don’t think I should be talking about it behind her back like this. If you want to know, ask her; they’re her memories, after all.”

She seemed to accept that without much rankor, following me out of the kitchen.

I’d moved the full-length mirror into the living room again, and Rose was currently visible on the other side, reclining in the mirror version of the armchair Maggie had nested herself into. I took a seat adjacent to both of them, adjusting it so that I was facing slightly more towards Maggie than Rose, and Molly floated over to behind Maggie, clasping her hands behind her back in a pose that was oddly formal when contrasted with her casual appearance. It made her seem a bit more like Rose, actually - highlighting the similarities in the cast of their faces, and I supposed mine by extension. 

I didn’t think I’d be sharing that thought with Rose either.

The others looked expectantly as I sat. Apparently, I’d fallen into the role of moderator by default - which, when you considered the options, made sense.

“I guess my first question,” I started, “would be how we get from ‘murderer and victim’ to ‘practitioner and familiar’.”

“Startin’ us off with a softball, huh?” Maggie grumbled under her breath. “Look, it’s a whole story so maybe I should just start from the beginning? Just get it over with?”

“Actually,” Rose cut in, “I think there are other issues we should settle first.”
“Such as?” Molly asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Such as, how do we know that you’re actually Molly?” Rose challenged. “Maggie’s supposed to be associated with the local Fae contingent - how do we know this isn’t some glamour?”

Molly glared at her. “That’s rich, coming from you.”

“Whoa, hey,” I cut in, holding up my hands. “Molly, it’s a reasonable question.”

“May I?” 

All our gazes turned to Maggie. She was glancing up at Molly, who nodded. 

Maggie thought for a moment. 

“This is the ghost of Molly Walker,” she said slowly, “bound to me as my familiar by oath and by deed, without compunction or coercion.” 

At a guess, I’d say she was picking her words carefully - it was a great deal more eloquent than anything I’d seen from the girl so far. 

“To the best of my knowledge, she is as she was in life, not corrupted or influenced beyond the natural consequences of- of her death.”

I glanced at Rose. “Good enough?”

She folded her arms in front of her. 

To the best of her knowledge. It just means that she believes it.”

Maggie spread her arms half-heartedly, then let them drop. “I don’t know what else I can say.”

An idea struck me. 

“Molly,” I asked, “can you verify what Maggie said? I’m sorry,” I added, seeing her face shift, “but you have to understand what this looks like from our perspective.”

She grimaced, but acquiesced. 

“I am Molly Walker,” she said flatly, “born to Irene and Markus Walker, former heir to the Thorburn estate.”

Rose folded her arms. “Fine. Next question: what are you?”

“Pardon me?”

“Ghosts are just echoes,” Rose said. “Imprints and images burned into the fabric of reality by a passing. But you’re more than that, aren’t you?”

Molly acknowledged the point with a little tilt of her head. 

“I think so. Some of it might be the familiar bond, but… I feel like me, for whatever that’s worth. Hollowed out and torn up, but still me.”

I felt a sudden and unexpected pang of sympathy in my gut for my cousin.

“She was like this before the bond too,” Maggie offered. “A little less, uh, focused? But definitely a person, not just the little loops and echoes you get with ghosts.”

“Your soul didn’t pass on,” Rose mused. “I wonder why? Something about Jacob’s Bell?”

Maggie shook her head. 

“Trust me, we’ve got plenty of th’ regular kind around here.”

Rose’s gaze turned to Molly. 

“So it was something about you, then, some reason a psychopomp couldn’t or wouldn’t usher you through the veil.”

She’d been busy while I’d slept, it seemed - I had no idea what she was talking about. Wasn’t about to admit as much in front of company, though. 

“Quid pro quo, Clarice,” Molly said.

Rose blinked. “Pardon me?” she said, a little icy.

“She’s asking what you are,” I explained. “As- quid pro quo. It’s a movie thing.”

“I don’t see how that’s relevant, then.”

“Aww, come on,” Maggie said. “We’re in your house, sharing what we know for free. Give back a little, yeah?”

“If that’s what you wanted, you should’ve made us agree to it before you started sharing.”

The two of them glared at each other, while Molly and I shared a quick glance, the same tone and tenor that we’d learnt early on at family gatherings, before we’d been too tightly embroiled in them for that kind of solidarity.

“Rose,” I said quietly, leaning over, “they’re clearly acting in good faith. I think we can afford to do the same.”

“Oh, yes. Because that worked out so well for you with Laird.”

“You know we’re both right here,” Maggie said.

“We are both here acting purely in good faith and with no hostile intent towards either of you,” Molly said wearily. “I was asking out of genuine curiousity.”

Rose folded her arms, but that seemed to have undercut her pretty neatly. “Short answer is, we don’t know. Long answer, we don’t know.”

"Blake said you have memories of me," Molly said to her.

"Did he, now."

I winced a little. Dammit, Molly. Really, though, I did deserve that one. 

"Yes," Rose continued coolly, "I do. We weren’t close.”

“Could have figured that one out for myself, yeah. And you’re what, trapped in a mirror?”

“...mirrors, plural.”

“Hm.” Molly rubbed her chin. “Try… Eine Seele Erschaffen, Wolfgang Viebert. I think I saw something in there about mirrors, might be a place to start.”

“How generous of you.”

Molly met her cool gaze with her own. “Consider it a matter of personal interest on my part, if believing in basic human decency is so hard for you.”

“Okay!” I cut in, before things could devolve any further. “Rose, did you have anything else you wanted to check?”

She shook her head, lips pressed together.

“Okay.” I turned to Maggie, who slowly set down her glass of water. “Start from the beginning, then.”