Beverly Katz sat on the wooden floor, legs crossed and hands resting on her knees. Her breathing was slow and even and her mind cleared of everything but the words she needed. It had been a while since she’d tried to work this particular spell, but it came easy to her mind like a well walked path under bare feet during a hot summer day.
She closed her eyes and behind her eyelids the scenes started to unfold.
Will, standing on the deck of an impressive boat, more a yacht, really. He looked content, face relaxed, scars healed and posture at ease. Not a small feat considering there was a Wendigo on that exact boat, but Beverly had long accepted that this was the life Will had chosen. She wasn’t angry with him. He had warned her to stay away from Hannibal Lecter, so she couldn’t really blame him when she didn’t listen and got herself killed.
The next one she checked on was Jack. He’d become a lonely man without his wife and any close friends or colleagues. They hadn’t fired him, but he wasn’t the head of the BAU anymore. He was a simple teacher and instructor, training recruits and now and then giving insights into cases, but on a tight leash. He wasn’t exactly happy, but with the stress off his shoulders he’d become mellow. Not that he showed that to his recruits who thought he was brought into this world by the devil to make their life hell on earth. Which might not be that far off actually.
Brian and Jimmy were still working in the lab, bickering, arguing and terrorizing whoever the FBI tried to put on their team to fill the empty spot she left behind after “dying”. Right now, Brian was in a supermarket, his shopping cart full of essentials for the football match tonight. Jimmy was walking down some street, humming a song and reading a scientific article on bees on his phone. Beverly missed them a lot and her heart ached. Maybe one day she would return to them and they could share a laugh about those crazy times when a Wendigo and an FBI Agent fell in love and brought chaos over Baltimore.
A loud banging noise from downstairs disturbed her concentration and with a sigh, she opened her eyes and looked around. The attic was her favourite place in this house. It smelled like wood and dust and age and to her it felt as if every floor board, every old piece of furniture up here had its own story, whispering while she meditated in the center of it, sitting on the ground between her candles and runes.
She blew them out and got up after taking a deep breath to smell the smoke to make her way down the steep ladder. Her hands glided across the smooth surface of a huge desk in goodbye, thanking the house spirits for lending her the space.
“What’s the noise down here?” she shouted through the upper corridor once she set foot safely onto soft carpet.
“Sorry, Aunt Bev!”
The young voice came out of the library and Beverly sighed. That girl better not have damaged any of the books.
She pushed the door open and stopped in her tracks.
“What the hell?”
“Please don’t be angry?”
Beverly deflated at Abigail Hobbs’ small voice even though she never knew if it was genuine or part of Abigail’s amazing talent for manipulation. Her eyes were wide and her face was...blue? Her face wasn’t the only colourful thing in the room. The carpet had turned a spectacular purple and the arm chairs now sparkled in lush pink tones of expensive lipstick.
“What did you try to do, kiddo?” Beverly sighed and entered the library, carefully closing the door behind her, hoping the house dragon was too distracted to notice anything off.
“I was supposed to study colour theory because I need it for a lot of spells and brews and… I thought I could make myself some easy hands on … examples…”
“Gosh, that’s really impressive, I must say. It took me months before I had my first big accident… and to be honest, mine were never that pretty.” Beverly smiled and a moment later she couldn’t stop herself anymore and broke out into laughter.
Abigail pouted for a moment, but she looked around at the colourful mess and the blue table with her now green lemonade and started to grin. It looked as if a rainbow had exploded or a unicorn had farted on everything.
It took Beverly at least five minutes before she calmed down enough to get some much needed air into her lungs and think about the counter spell. They really needed to repair this before a certain ~someone found it and grounded them for eternity.
“Let me see the spell you used, little witch.”
Abigail stepped aside. “It’s still weird to be called a witch. To be a witch. To study witchcraft. I should write a book about how I was hunting with my cannibal father, helping him murder girls, then killed a man, had the FBI on my heels, then faked my death to hide in the house of a Wendigo as a wedding gift for an FBI agent, then died for real, returned from the dead to be taken into a witch coven and started to learn magic.”
“That would be one hell of a fantasy novel,” Beverly smiled a sad smile. “I’m sorry your life is such a mess. You should have had a normal youth and life. You deserve it. You’re a good kid,”
Abigail stared at her, eyes so old and weary. “Not everyone would say that. Too many of these things I did on my own.”
“If you hadn’t, you would still be dead. Bedelia DuMaurier loves to take in special cases. She wouldn’t have cared if you’d been just another boring victim.” Beverly’s grin turned sharp. “And I bet you like it here enough to be okay with everything that has happened in your life, because all of that needed to happen so you could be right here in this room now. With me. And a blue face.”
Abigail gasped. “No way!”
Beverly cackled before she hummed a few clipped notes and words and with a small poof and a swoosh everything was back to normal.
“All good. Now back to your studies and this time keep it theoretical, okay? I’ll go looking for the big bad boss because I’m shocked she isn’t standing here right now and lecturing us on the use of magic in the house.”
“Okay, okay. I will.”
She was already back with her nose in the old tome of a book before Beverly shut the door behind her. Abigail was eager and studious and soaked up everything like a sponge. Combined with her sheer talent, she had the potential to become a great witch.
Now Beverly needed to find the other great witch in the house. Usually she’d be on their throats for any kind of noise or disorder. Bedelia loved neatness and cleanness and her quiet above anything else. It was weird that she wasn’t to be seen.
Her study was empty and cold, the fireplace just a heap of ash. The kitchen just contained an empty wine glass from last night and the wine cellar was dark.
Beverly frowned. Bedelia DuMaurier was nothing but predictable in her daily routine and at this hour she should be at home and working in her study.
There wasn’t any reason to be concerned, yet, but Beverly couldn’t help the tight knot forming in her stomach. They’d been through a lot these past months and with a Wendigo and his pet with a grudge out there, one could never be sure what the day brings.
She resisted the urge to use a tracking spell. Bedelia would sneer at her if she’d know she’d even considered it. That woman is centuries old and had survived things she couldn’t even imagine and thinking she’d be in danger would offend her immensely.
The doorbell pulled her out of her thoughts.
“What the fuck,” she asked the empty corridor.
This house had a perception filter placed upon. Nobody who didn’t know them and their whereabouts should be able to simply walk on the grounds and ring that doorbell. And nobody knew.
Abigail had poked her head out of the library, eyes big.
“You stay in there, I check,” she commanded and waved her back into the room while drawing her wand.
Then she decided against it and summoned her gun which smacked into her open palm a moment later. Then she drew her wand again. A weapon in each hand she walked towards the door. A shadowy figure was to be seen through the milky glass.
With a soft word, the door swung open.
Behind a huge armful of bags, packages and parcels peeked one of Bedelia’s trademark hats.
“Yes, of course, who else is it supposed to be? Now if you could just take some of those before I just drop them all right here, that would be appreciated.”
“Why would you even carry them. Did you lose your magic or some shit?” Beverly put gun and wand away and grabbed some of the bags.
“Don’t be daft. These are things that should not be touched by magic before they are needed. What are you, a novice?”
She scoffed. “No, but you usually do these runs with me on full moon sundays, so excuse me for not being psychic. You should be in your study, like always.”
Bedelia rolled her eyes and made her way to the kitchen. With a fond shake of her head, Beverly followed her.
The woman had already left the kitchen again before Beverly even made it there, boxes on the counter, open wine bottle next to them. Beverly put the ones she carried next to them and began looking through the bags for something interesting.
Between the countless bouquets of dried and fresh herbs, collections of vials, candles, trinkets and various magical items, she found a small package wrapped in red paper with a silver bow on top. A present?
But for who? Bedelia DuMaurier didn’t give presents. Ever. She knew that woman for at least 200 years now and she’s never given her a present. Abigail? She barely ever was in a room with her for longer than to give her a new task. She abhorred youth and the carelessness that came with it.
There was nobody else.
Maybe a present for Bedelia? Who would be insane enough to give her one?
Beverly knew she should let it rest and see what happens, but also knew that she couldn’t. The knowledge of its existence and the mystery behind it would eat her alive.
She weighed the gift in her hand. Size and form looked as if it could be some sort of jewellery. It reminded her of those cute ring boxes for marriage proposals, just a bit too big.
Beverly pursed her lips and, decision made, poured herself a glass of wine and went to find Bedelia to solve the mystery. At least she hoped Delia wasn’t in such a bad mood that she turned Beverly into a frog for a day or two.
She found her in her study, sitting in front of the cleaned and lit up fireplace.
Beverly sat down in the chair next to her. As usual she wondered why such comfy looking chairs could be as hard as they were and why Bedelia insisted on keeping them.
Before she could even think of how to start the conversation, Bedelia spoke.
“I made the mistake of mentioning to the clerk that it was a present and she insisted on gift wrapping it.” Her voice dripped with disdain and Beverly hid her smile behind her glass.
“How awful. Such terrible service.”
“Stop being annoying and open it, before I change my mind.”
Beverly stared at her.
“It’s for me?”
Bedelia threw her a look saying she’s an idiot, but Beverly could only grin. Her heart was doing a dance in her chest. Bedelia rarely showed affection or care, too hardened by the world and her long life to show any sort of vulnerability and maybe even unable to find any sort of care in her old soul.
Beverly carefully unwrapped the small box bit by bit, fully enjoying the moment of receiving a gift from Bedelia -the evil witch in all fairy tales- DuMaurier.
Once she finally put the paper away and opened the lid, she could only stare.
It was a brooch.
Not just a brooch. It was her brooch.
The tears welling up in her eyes were instant and unstoppable. She had lost it years ago in the middle of the korean war, when things had gone from bad to worse sooner than expected and everything had been a mess. She’d barely made it out of there on time and Bedelia had been so furious with her and she hadn’t been allowed out of her sight for more than a few days ever since until you learn to read political events correctly.
The green sapphire was still as radiant as ever, the silver shiny and polished. Beverly turned it around and with shaking hands she opened the hidden compartment. It was still there. The little braided strands of hair from her mother and her little brother, kept together by a little drop of red dyed beeswax.
Her chest was tight with emotion and she had trouble getting a full breath of air into her lungs for a moment.
She closed the brooch with a soft click and pressed it against her chest. Bedelia stared at her, eyes unreadable and face blank.
“I saw it in the shop and thought it looked familiar. You were carrying that thing around everywhere and the magical properties of such an heirloom are priceless. It will improve your work significantly.”
Beverly smiled through her tears and got up.
She positioned herself right in front of the armchair, their knees almost touching, looking down at her with a smile.
“Bedelia Du Maurier. You are so terrible at this, but I thank you with all my heart. You have no idea how much this means to me.”
And with that she bent down and pressed the most gentle kiss to soft lips. Just a moment, nothing more than the barest of touches, but her heart raced in her chest with overwhelmed feelings.
Beverly Katz straightened up and with a blush on her face she turned around and walked towards the door with wobbly legs and weak knees.
“Sentimental fool,” she heard whispered behind her, barely audible over the fire, but it made her smile. She really loved this woman.