When Madison came back from her retail hell, she hadn't expected everything in the real world to change as drastically as it had, especially Zoe, who was more sharp around the edges and outspoken than she was before she died for the 3rd time. Along with the change of her former lover, there were many new witches in attendance at the academy, which made the blonde a mix of nervousness and frustration. Madison had always hated change but something about the change the world had gone through while she was down below bothered her immensely, and it was beginning to reflect on the way she treated her fellow witches. She was currently in the academy's library, looking over scriptures Cordelia assigned to her to get caught back up with her coursework, and in the midst of reading a paragraph about pyrokinesis, the brunette decided to make an appearance. She nearly choked on the gum she had been chewing on for the past couple hours, and the signs of distress from her caught Zoe's attention, who merely looked at her but did nothing to see if she was alright at the very least.
"I'm fine you bitch, thanks for showing concern." She spit out at the brunette, who pretended as if she wasn't even in the same room as her, and she wanted to scream out in frustration or maybe pain, but the blockage in the back of her throat wouldn't allow her such a luxury, so she sat there coughing what felt like a lung up as Zoe finished in the library and exited without another glance in her direction and once she had left her alone, whatever was blocking her airway finally made its way out of her mouth and into the palm of her hand, where she had it cupped over her mouth in anticipation. When Madison pulled her hand away from her mouth, she was expecting the piece of gum to be trapped in her palm, but what stared back at her was anything but. Instead of the mint green colored gum, a small white flower petal laid delicately there, a stark contrast to her mildly tanned skin.
"Fuck." The blonde breathed, panic overtaking her as she continued to stare down at the saliva coated petal, almost hearing a mocking laugh over her shoulder, as if she deserved this for all the bad shit she had done before she was rescued from hell. Madison shot up from her chair and rushed undetected to her room, which was about as messy as a teenage boy's at the moment, where she discarded the small petal and settled down in front of her desktop computer, a sinking feeling erupting at the very pits of her stomach.
After hours and hours of research, Madison had finally located the problem she was having, which did a lot more harm than good to her already hurting heart. From her readings, she discovered that she was suffering from Hanahaki Disease, which was in simpler terms, a disease that stems from unrequited love. She knew Zoe's feelings were waning but she never knew the extent of how much they had gone away, and she cried out the pent up frustrations and pain before taking the information and running with it, the way everyone knew Madison to do. She was lost in who she could speak to about this, until she very vaguely remembered that this had happened to one of their own, none other than their supreme Cordelia, who almost drove herself mad at the possibility of Misty Day, the swamp witch, not returning the deep feelings she had harbored for her since the day of their very first interaction. So after coughing up a few more petals from her lungs, she logged out of her computer and ventured in search of their supreme, who was getting older and wiser and as a result, also very weak as one of the prodigy witches continued to grow by the day, which made a lodge of sadness stick in the blonde's throat(or maybe it was just another flower petal or two). Madison ran into a few of the novice witches and gave them small smiles before continuing on her mission, which landed her in the sitting room, where the supreme was in an intense conversation with none other than Zoe, who didn't even glance up at her entrance.
"Cordy? I need a word." Madison tried to make her voice sound strong but the tickle in the back of her throat was making it hard to achieve that goal, which made her voice come out as shaky and unclear instead. The blonde internally cursed at her stupidity as Cordelia gave a simple nod and rose to her feet, grabbing the black cane she normally used whenever she was having a bad day or when she ached so badly she had no other choice to. She kept a steady hand on Cordelia's arm as they walked down the long corridor and into her room, which was as plain as the blonde had expected it to be. Once they were inside, she used her powers to close and lock the door behind them, and then she sat on the edge of the bed, awaiting her supreme to get comfortable before she voiced what she needed to say.
"Is something wrong Madison? You look sickly." Cordelia murmured, reaching out a hand to brush against her forehead, which had her shrinking away from the touch and straightening up, brushing off the contact with a sweep of her hand, which made the older witch frown.
"I don't know what's wrong, that's why I need your... help." She said through gritted teeth, hating how vulnerable she sounded in the moment and wishing she could cure the problem at hand on her own. Madison had always been an independent and confident person, which made it difficult to ask anyone for help without mentally beating herself up for it, but she was desperate for what felt like the millionth time since she was resurrected, and she was afraid of that feeling.
"Is it your powers? Are they starting to weaken?" Cordelia said in a strange tone, worry encasing her weathered features, and the blonde quickly shook her head, reassuring her supreme that her powers were as strong as they had been when she had been brought back by Mallory, who had departed after her return with her best friend and fellow witch Coco in tow, though she suspected there was more than friendship going on between the two.
"It's actually um not related to my powers Cordy. It's uh.. Something medically wrong with me, I think, something that can't be fixed by any medicine or magical powers..." Madison trailed off as she began to toy with the fabric of her dress, and realization bloomed on Cordelia's face as she offered the young girl a small and sad smile.
"I know exactly what you mean, Madison. Hanahaki Disease, one of the worst things to find yourself suffering with.." Cordelia's eyes looked sad as she focused on the wall in front of her, and Madison couldn't help the tightness that erupted inside of her chest, making it harder for her to breathe without the flowers damn near blocking her airway.
"I know what it is, but I don't know why I'm showing symptoms right now... I've been back from hell for months but nothing like this has happened before... I don't know if Zoe-" Madison closed her mouth as the brunette's name tumbled from her lips, and she braced herself for the words she was sure would spill from the older blonde's mouth, but all she got was a small touch to the hand paired with another sad smile.
"You don't have to hide anything from me Madison, I've known that you've had feelings for Zoe since before you even knew you had them yourself. I'm not going to shame you for caring about her, but Zoe has went through quite a bit since you died and then came back from Hell. With Kyle being burned at the stake and the death of her parents, she's been emotionally detached for quite some time now." Cordelia spoke about the brunette in a tone that conveyed the deepest form of sadness, and she felt her chest tightening at the realization that she wasn't the only person that went through something horrific in the situation, the girl she loved had been through things worse than her, and Madison couldn't stop the lone tear that leaked from her green eye and down her cheekbone, which was hollowed just like her chest.
"How do I make this go away without hurting myself more?" She asked in a small voice, her eyes locked on her knees, and she heard the supreme audibly sigh from next to her. Madison was afraid to look at Cordelia, but the longer time passed without an answer to ease her mind, she had no other choice but to look over and face the older witch, whose face confirmed exactly what she had been thinking.
"There's no way to make this go away is there?" Cordelia looked her in the eyes, and they held a deep rooted pain, and for once, she saw the vulnerability the older woman tried so desperately to hide, and Madison felt indebted to her for all she had done to make sure she was safe, so she threw her arms around her and squeezed her tight, and as the two sat silently embracing one another on the bed, Madison's chest tightened a tad more at what it would cost her to make sure that she didn't become that person that was only a ghost in the minds of the people that she would do anything in the universe for.
Madison's symptoms worsened as the weeks ticked by, and she was coughing up a whole handful of white flower petals daily. The blonde tried in desperation to rebuild a relationship with the brunette council member, but her attempts always proved to be in vain, and so she suffered in silence, finding it hard to even get out of her bed some days. She was laying on her bed one afternoon when she felt that familiar tickle at the back of her throat, and she paused the movie she was watching on her laptop with one hand while she grabbed the wastebasket by her bed with the other, and sure enough, a handful of petals appeared on her palm, but something was different about them this time, and it was a difference that had her face pale and her forehead begin to bead sweat. The petals were still small and were still white, but along with the white, splatters of blood decorated the faces too, and fear gripped her heart with an iron fist.
"Fuck fuck fuck." She murmured as she lifted the petals closer to her face to inspect them closer when the door to her room swung open to reveal the brunette, who made an odd face at the way Madison nearly tumbled off of her bed at the invasion. She discarded the petals quickly and set the trashcan back on the floor, finally looking over at Zoe who looked puzzled in the doorway to her room.
"What do you need bitch?" She tried to make her voice as cold as possible, but the brunette paid no attention to her tone, she just entered the room and shut the door behind her, walking over to the spare bed that had once belonged to her, a look of wistfulness painting her face. Madison watched her silently run her hands over the bedspread and she silently watched the pain that crossed briefly across her features, but all she could do was sit idly in place as she observed the girl she loved with every bit of her heart silently falling apart across from her.
"He's dead because of you. Kyle died because of you." Zoe's voice was small, but her words were like a knife to the center of her chest, which was already incredibly tight as it was. Madison looked at the brunette in disbelief, wondering how she could blame her for such a thing when she wasn't even around when it finally dawned on her.
"He died because he killed me, didn't he?" She addressed the brunette, who refused to look at her, and all she got in response was a fleeting glare, hate so prevalent in her eyes that it made Madison shrink away, her heart burning ferociously. She went to open her mouth to speak, but she found that getting words out was a lot harder than she thought, and before she knew it, she was falling to the ground, not enough energy in her body to keep her upright anymore. She felt her airway being blocked and she writhed on the floor, blood filling up in her lungs as she felt Zoe's hands on her face and the panicked screams that escaped her mouth in two seconds intervals. The last thing Madison Montgomery saw before she blacked out was the tear streaked face of Zoe, and she couldn't help but to think that this was the best way that she could die.
Madison came to in a hospital bed, a tube in her nostrils and an IV in her arm. She winced as she struggled to look around the white room around her, but the light was burning her corneas so she shut her eyes and laid back down, praying for the pain all over her body to take her already, anything to make the burning in her lungs, chest, and throat dissipate, but whatever was guarding the universe laughed in her face and left her to suffer all alone, karma for all the bad shit she had done before she got another attempt at life, which she regretted immensely as she laid in the hospital bed, tears pouring down her face and pooling underneath her chin.
"Madison?" She heard the sleepy voice come from next to her, and the blonde nearly bit her tongue in half as she opened her eyes and looked to the left of her, seeing the one person she didn't expect to be in the room with her. Madison felt the tears coming faster at the sight of Zoe, who looked completely and utterly exhausted.
"Why are you here? It hurts so much more when you're around." Madison cried out, gasping for breath as she leaned up to vomit blood stained flower petals into the bedpan left in front of her, on the tray where food was normally left for patients. Zoe felt tears begin to pool in her eyes as she watched the blonde collapse back against the pillows with blood stained lips and blood shot eyes, a shell of the once confident woman she encountered when she first transferred to the academy.
"It's okay, it's okay." Madison felt Zoe's soft fingertips running back and forth against the crown of her head, and she found solace in the touch of the girl who loved her no longer, and she was fully convinced that this was the closest version of peace she could ever achieve before her life was completely spent, the last choice she would be allowed to make before she had to say goodbye for what she knew would certainly be the last time.
"I love you Madison, please. I love you." She heard Zoe cry as her eyes began to droop, and it was as if the whole world paused, and Madison felt nothing but freedom as she looked over at the brunette who was clutching her hand so tightly that she was afraid that the bones in her hand would snap from the force, but nothing mattered but the feeling of her hand securely in her own.
"I love you too Zoe, I never stopped loving you." Madison said softly, squeezing Zoe's hand with just as much force as she was squeezing hers, and nothing but need enveloped her as their lips met again for what felt like the very first time, the taste of copper and strawberries mingling together to make a sickly sweet combination, but she loved every moment of it. They separated and pressed their foreheads tightly together, the feeling of peace becoming an almost impossible reality for her as she clung to the girl she loved more than anything in the world and the universe combined, and the girl who loved her with the same intensity and passion in return.