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Cordelia reclines against the upright pillows on her bed, flips the thin, yellowed page of Philosophy of Natural Magic. There are books splayed open and scattered across the bed, and Misty is reading one of her own, about light magic and the healing effects. Misty is lying on her stomach, her elbows sunken into the comforter, head propped up with her hands. She looks uncomfortable, not in position but in disposition, and Cordelia reaches over on the nightstand for the still warm mug of passionflower tea. She takes the string between her thumb and forefinger, using the tea bag to stir the dregs. Cordelia holds the mug out to Misty, and Misty glances up from her place in the book, offers Cordelia a soft smile.

 

“You’re letting it get to you,” she says evenly, watches Misty sit up and take a sip of the tea. Misty sighs as she cradles the mug in her hands, shrugging her shoulders lightly. “Relax.”

 

“I don’t wanna be immortal,” Misty voices quietly. Cordelia blames a significant portion of Misty’s unease on Myrtle. After being stuck in a magical coma for three weeks, the first thing Myrtle shouldn’t have said to Misty was that she’s “achieved life and death” and that she is the “definition of a hero and something else entirely.” Those things could have probably waited a few more days, Cordelia thinks. Misty is still recovering mentally, spiritually, and now her stress levels are maxed out, gnawing and crawling under her skin. She doesn’t know who she is now, she’d told Cordelia. She doesn’t know how to be okay with everlasting life. “Are you scared of me now?” Misty asks, her face pulling into a nervous frown, eyes filling with a sad darkness.

 

Cordelia’s own eyes soften as the sorrow in the question crashes into her.

 

“Of course not,” she breathes gently. Cordelia shifts and sits up, taking the warm mug from Misty’s hands and placing it on the nightstand. “Of course I’m not scared of you.” Cordelia doesn’t think that’s possible, not in this world or any other, no matter how many of Satan’s sons Misty is capable of obliterating. She doesn’t think she has ever been anything other than wholly enlightened by Misty’s existence. She doesn’t think she has ever felt quite so safe and understood. This pull she feels deep inside is not a place that hosts fear.

 

“Madison said she’d help me test it out, see if I can really die or not,” Misty tells her anxiously, tries to pass it off as a joke with an awkward chuckle, but Cordelia knows Misty would do anything if it meant finding clarity within. If it meant she could further discover herself and her magic and her purpose. Misty has been cursed with the obsession of finding her place in life, never fitting in and always trying time and time again, trying for a place that fits and provides comfort and peace of mind.

 

“That’s…probably…not the best idea,” Cordelia says dryly. In truth, Madison most likely believes she is helping, but Cordelia will gently remind her tomorrow that Misty’s well-being is not some sort of game, that Misty is not some form of target practice.

 

Misty slams her book shut and pushes it across the bed, throwing herself back down onto the comforter and burying her face in plush fabric.

 

“I just wanna know,” Misty complains, her voice muffled, and Cordelia feels a slight grin tug at her lips, amused not by Misty’s distress, but by her desire to learn every single answer to the existential questions of the universe. It’s inspiring, heart-warming, that Misty cares so much about who she is, that she is so invested in the intent of her powers. Cordelia is glad that Misty is interested. Cordelia is interested, too. That’s why she lugged all these thick books in here in the first place, in hopes to calm Misty’s nerves. It’s not exactly working.

 

“Here.” Cordelia closes her book and tosses it to the floor. She gathers up the ones within her reach and does the same, kicking the few remaining texts at the end of the bed off with her foot. Misty picks her head up and looks up at Cordelia, and Cordelia reaches out to gingerly push messy curls behind Misty’s ear. “We can call it a night.”

 

“Maybe it was nothing.” Misty sighs, leaning into Cordelia’s touch as Cordelia’s hand grazes her cheek. “Why does it have to be some…new power? Maybe I was just stronger than him.”

 

A frown casts over Cordelia’s face, and she drops her hand, memories that aren’t her own flickering through her mind. She hadn’t seen it firsthand, but Misty had lived it, and Cordelia had learned of it. Cordelia had touched Misty’s hand for the first time after they returned her unconscious form to Robichaux’s, and she’d known then. Whatever happened at that outpost wasn’t “nothing.” Michael couldn’t even touch Misty.

 

“You haven’t accepted your extraordinary abilities since you stepped foot into this house,” Cordelia says, remembering Misty’s denial of the supremacy, her lack of response to it all. “There’s a very large possibility that you have a certain immunity. You’re special.”

 

“Everyone else in this damn house is special, Cordelia, we’re witches.”

 

“Everyone else,” Cordelia says, voice rough around the edges, “didn’t defeat the antichrist and restore the natural order to the world.”

 

Misty laughs softly in rebuttal, hanging her head. Like she is disagreeing with the heroic act she performed. Like she didn’t heal the world and save seven billion people. “This is a touchy subject for you, isn’t it?” Misty asks. “People and all their potential.”

 

“Because I’ve been there.” Cordelia thinks of cowering in the shadows, where she’d spent the majority of her life. Steering clear of Fiona’s path and her limitless power; Misty may not have wanted to be the Supreme all those years ago, but Cordelia wanted it even less. Cordelia had seen the true power, and she had convinced herself it wasn’t power at all. It was weakness, and she wanted nothing to do with it. But that naivety ended up costing her Misty’s life, forcing all of them to complete a test that shouldn’t exist in the first place. “I won’t let anyone else in this coven make the same mistake of doubting themselves or their strength. This is important, Misty. You’re important.”

 

“I know,” Misty says with a shrug, yielding to the gravity of the situation. “I know it’s important. Just wish I could understand.”

 

Cordelia is starting to understand it. She’s read about it from every perspective, and she’s yet to deduce the mystery of it all, but she is starting to wrap her head around certain parts of it. Misty was born with her gift of resurgence. It’s a part of her, not something she’s ever had to hone or practice. When she brings something back to life, she’s giving her energy over to a soul in need. Cordelia thinks Misty must have been the soul in need at the outpost. She drew it from the chain around her neck and took it, all of it, and then she turned life over on its back and exposed death. And she took that, too. This is no myth. It’s nothing like the tales she’s stumbled upon in her readings, force fields, stretching the fabric of reality. Misty’s ability to shield herself comes from within. It’s contained internally, and it lives and breathes in every cell in her body. Preservation. The very essence of healing.

 

Misty is so curious about it. She wants to know everything right away, right now. Cordelia sees the wonder in her eyes when she talks about it, like she’s mesmerized by this idea of knowledge and discovery. She imagines Misty sharing this admiration with others, out in the greenhouse surrounded by a small group of students as she answers their questions the same way she wishes someone would answer hers.

 

Cordelia hums softly to herself, a fond smile finding its way to her face.

 

“You should consider teaching here,” she says, and Misty laughs loudly this time, so amused that it makes Cordelia laugh, too.

 

“What?” Misty shakes her head, sliding further up the bed to curl up next to Cordelia. She wraps an arm around Misty and holds her close. “Why?”

 

“You’re always searching for something,” Cordelia says, her voice kind and soft, a hidden wistfulness to it. “You like helping people.” She lifts her shoulders lightly, causing Misty to stir with the movement. “You’d be good at it.”

 

Misty is quiet for a moment, and Cordelia believes she may be contemplating the plausibility. There’s nothing to ponder, though. She knows Misty would be a wonderful teacher, nurturing and encouraging. Most of the girls already know of her and have heard talk of her talents. Even if they haven’t, they are bound to know by now, after this most recent display of her magic. She’s done something of historic value, something that only exists in folklore and fantasy. Cordelia thinks Misty has a lot to offer this coven beyond her powers. She could open them up to a whole new world of nature and healing.

 

“I’m not exactly scholarly,” Misty finally decides with a sigh, “They’d call me Miss, and I’d stand up there at the front of the room, act like I’ve got any idea what I’m talking about.” She snorts as if the concept of her guiding the education of others is a ridiculous one, and if Misty’s not comfortable with it, then Cordelia won’t push. But she still thinks it would be nice. “I don’t know. Someday, maybe.”

 

They live in the veil of somedays, Cordelia thinks, between great, wide possibilities. There’s a freedom in it. There would be, at least, if she was not still living on borrowed time. But Misty returned them all to a period of vitality, and Cordelia doesn’t worry for the future of the coven. It doesn’t keep her up at night anymore. Mallory can say she’s not ready, but the speed at which Cordelia’s power continues to drain itself like a bath gone cold suggests otherwise. Cordelia knows there’s nothing left to do but wait. Sometimes, selfishly, she dreams of following in Fiona’s footsteps, dreams of escaping and hiding out in some far-off city, state, or country. She dreams of wilting peacefully, in the privacy of a tiny cottage tucked away in the mountains, where no one can fuss over her. Or maybe even Misty’s shack in the swamp, flanked by greenery on all sides and a thick, damp air. But Cordelia prides herself on learning from Fiona’s mistakes and bettering herself. She won’t abandon this coven to protect her ego. She’ll steel her composure, put on a brave face, and revel in the fact that she’s done more here than her mother ever even attempted.

 

“What are you thinking?” Misty asks distantly, as if she is thinking something, too, and Cordelia would much rather focus on that.

 

“Nothing important,” she answers calmly, closing her eyes, but she thinks Misty knows her all too well by now. She hears Misty release a steady, leveled breath.

 

“I still feel it,” Misty tells her in a low voice, like it hurts her to say it as much as it hurts Cordelia to live it. She feels Misty’s hand creep over her hip, her stomach, then it lands at her side, and she skims her fingertips over the mutilated flesh, over the silk of Cordelia’s nightgown. Cordelia’s eyes fly open, and she inhales sharply. Her immediate reaction is to slink away from this, to push Misty’s hand back and tell her that she’s fine. That would be lying. That would be breaching one of her own personal rules she’s set for herself when it comes to Misty. Cordelia is not fine. Cordelia is dying, and it settles deeper into her bones every day. It stings, and she weakens more and more as time goes on. Her body is turning against her, turning her into the frail memory of a person. “Can I see it?”

 

She knows what this means, knows that once she allows Misty access to this diseased part of herself that Misty will want to do what she does: she will want to heal. Because this is what happened last time, and the pleading tone of Misty’s voice, the longing in her eyes, is still something that haunts her. It’s another burden to carry. She’s not afraid to die. She hadn’t been before, and she’s not now. But she fears the loss of Misty worse than a child fears the darkness. She knows now, how that pain is an unbearable one. She knows it would be so incredibly wrong to put Misty in the same position.

 

So, she nods, bracing herself, preparing to expose her weakness and offer herself up to Misty like some sickly patient at a doctor’s office. She exhales slowly in an effort to placate her rattling nerves, and she begins to lift the hem of her gown. Misty snakes a hand around Cordelia’s, then shifts to straddle her lap and looks entirely focused, entirely in her element. Cordelia’s hands fall away to her sides, and she lets Misty slide the thin fabric up, lets it bunch up just below her breasts, and it does nothing for her nerves. Absolutely nothing, except maybe it worsens them. Her pulse thunders as she watches Misty, but Misty isn’t watching her. Misty is working right now, Cordelia thinks. Misty is concentrating. Misty is feeling out all of the dark energy, figuring out how she is going to tackle it. She studies the wound, and Cordelia holds her already stalling breath.

 

“It’s worse now,” Misty mumbles, her brows pulled together in a moment of total immersion. Cordelia wants to smooth the planes of Misty’s face with the tips of her fingers, the pads of her thumbs. She wants to distract Misty from the harsh, rigid flesh at her side. She feels guilty here, feels guilty for allowing this, because she has no idea what will become of the next Supreme or any after if Misty succeeds.

 

“This won’t hurt Mallory, will it?” she asks, but Misty knows how to manipulate her magic now, would never willingly jeopardize the safety of anyone in this house. But if it’s worse now, then that means Mallory’s powers are still growing, that she is still rising, and Cordelia won’t take that away from her.

 

“Healin’ you won’t hurt her,” Misty says quietly, a hand hovering over the decay, and Cordelia wonders if her hands ever hover elsewhere. It seems like they never do. “It’ll just heal you.”

 

She’s being presented with something of a win-win situation when she is typically so accustomed to only receiving two equally dreadful options. It doesn’t seem possible. The ruling Supreme gives her life force over to the rising Supreme. A balance of power in the universe. A balance that Misty negated when she returned the world from its darkness, and now she harnesses more light energy than she knows what to do with. Misty is wealthy with the possibility to heal even the most grievous of wounds, the highest, most advanced form of her magic.

 

Misty moves to take Cordelia’s face in her hands, sets her gaze on Cordelia’s eyes instead of her wound, and Cordelia is suddenly lost at sea, lost in a perfect storm of smoky blue.

 

“It got deeper, so it might sting a little,” Misty warns her in a voice that is barely above a whisper. “Are you ready?”

 

Cordelia nods slowly, decides that being here, alive, with Misty outweighs nobility and pride. She decides that she is human, too, and the road to this new beginning will be paved with trust and loyalty. She is no longer the sacrificial lamb. Peace is well-deserved, they’ve earned it, and it’s something she gets to have with Misty. She’s ready to be rid of the final inklings of death that still lurk even after the war, ready to shed harmful tendencies, ready to accept help, ready to accept the gift that Misty is offering. And she hopes it does sting a little; all real things should.

 

Misty keeps her eyes trained on Cordelia’s, keeps her hands pressed to her face, gauging her reaction in time with the magic that begins to bleed from her soul. Cordelia hadn’t been awake to feel it before, had only felt the spike of air in her lungs as she rose from the floor of the outpost bathroom. She hadn’t consciously felt Misty’s magic. She hadn’t felt anything other than heartbreak as she found Misty’s lifeless form in a heap inches away from her. Cordelia isn’t prepared for the emotion, and she should be, because all of it is connected. But it is one thing to know and another entirely to experience. Tears fill her eyes on their own, without her permission.

 

Healing and resurrection were things Cordelia never quite perfectly mastered. She excels in every other branch of magic, so much so that she developed her own gift of divination to the point of total omniscience, when she chooses. But she could never fully reach that place between life and death that Misty seems to dwell permanently in. It seems like such a beautiful place. Misty makes it feel so beautiful.

 

Cordelia feels a spasm at her side, a pinch, and she winces as the skin there begins to twist and warp, as Misty begins to pull from it. It doesn’t sting like a burn. It aches like a craving. Cordelia aches, somewhere unknown, somewhere deep within, at the touch of Misty’s magic on her soul. It fills her senses, and her heart races in the silence at the feeling of being enclosed so completely in such light energy. She feels the surge of her powers growing with each modicum of death Misty steals from her. She feels a tear fall from the corner of her eye and roll, soaking into the skin of Misty’s hand.

 

Misty feels this, and the frown on her face deepens, but her palms remain planted on Cordelia’s cheeks, her fingers stroking over the damp streaks Cordelia’s tears are leaving behind.

 

“Are you okay?” Misty asks. “Am I hurting you? I need to know. If this isn’t working, I need to know.”

 

Intensity is not hurt, Cordelia thinks. Love is not hurt. Salvation is not hurt. And Misty could never hurt her. Misty’s magic mingling with her own is one of the heaviest, headiest things she’s ever felt, one of the most potent. Misty has to feel it, too, because her pupils are blown wide as she watches on, some sort of combination between apprehension and ardor. Instead of answering, Cordelia reaches her hands out to Misty’s neck, tugging her down, bringing Misty’s face to hers and letting her fingers bury and tangle in Misty’s hair.

 

When their lips meet, there’s a sudden, startling vibration under her skin where the rot is turning whole again, and she gasps into Misty’s mouth. One of Misty’s hands drops to her other side, the one that is not afflicted, her thumb smoothing over bare skin. The other remains on Cordelia’s face, tightly cupping her jaw, never severing the connection. Misty is still healing her, even as her lips part for Cordelia and even as their tongues brush, and if anything, Misty’s powers have been enhanced, spurred by this action. But Cordelia didn’t do it so Misty could heal her more efficiently or more quickly. She did it because of the tautness of her heartstrings and because being touched and loved and healed and saved by Misty is too much. Misty’s magic infiltrating her system and commanding the attention of the wound, commanding a reaction, is too much. She could turn away from this. There are still a few places left to hide. Cordelia practices repression almost as fiercely and frequently as she practices witchcraft, but this is worth all of the conflict and all of the trauma. She would do every single horrible thing all over again if it meant she could be right here, lost in this moment and reeling under the weight of Misty and remaining blissfully unhidden.

 

Cordelia feels her flesh stitch back together, weaving the last broken parts of her skin, and when the death is all dried up and the full extent of her power comes rushing back to her, her teeth catch on Misty’s bottom lip as she pulls away to breathe. Misty stares down at her, chest heaving, panting out soft breaths against Cordelia’s face, her lips still hovering inches away. Cordelia drags a hand down from where it clutches Misty’s hair to her own stomach, feeling for deep, ghastly markings and finding nothing. Nothing except the softly puckered ridge of a single, light, pink-grey scar that feels like the edge of a cloud.

 

“Sorry,” Misty breathes sheepishly, trailing a finger over the glossy, silver scar. Misty has saved her life—again—and is apologizing for a bit of minimal scarring. Faint remnants of tissue damage. Amazing. “I can make some mud for that.”

 

While Cordelia is touched that Misty is so committed to helping her erase even the slightest memory of death and decay, Cordelia is going to keep it. She’s keeping it because it won’t remind her of that. It’s a testament to this moment, to the time she felt the full, unhinged power of Misty’s love.

 

“How did you do that?” she whispers, the cadence in her voice heavy with awe. “I tried everything, I gave up, how did—” Cordelia’s words are cut short by the hitch in her breath, and she shakes her head. She should know better by now. She should know better than to ask questions as if she is surprised. She should know that if Misty can heal Michael’s damage, Misty can also heal the fatal flaw of supremacy.

 

“You said you’d never let go of me.” Misty lifts her shoulders in a self-conscious shrug. Her fingers tap in unhurried, randomized rhythms across Cordelia’s stomach, making the muscles there twitch and contract, sending a shiver down the length of her spine. She thinks it might be scary, how quickly she is ready to make a habit of this, being tucked safely beneath Misty with her fingertips tracing patterns all the way to her sides. “I’m just helping you.”

 

Cordelia remembers. She’d spoken a sworn commitment that she knew she wouldn’t have the ability to uphold, one way or the other. She’d given Misty false hope, simply because Misty had asked for it. But also, maybe Cordelia had wanted to believe in them so strongly that she even managed to lie to herself. So much had already kept them apart, and she still wanted to hang on. Cordelia is ready to be much more sincere with her promises.

 

She thinks of the night in the swamp where she’d unearthed her best-kept secret, where she’d broken Misty’s heart for neither the first nor last time. Misty has always respected the boundaries Cordelia has built around herself, and Cordelia doesn’t think those boundaries have been very fair to either of them. She’d constructed them to protect Misty, to keep her out and away from all the havoc. It has never worked, and Cordelia could ask Misty how long. How long she’s hidden parts of herself away. How long she’s waited. Her answer would probably be the same as Cordelia’s: too long, she thinks, and she’s grown tired of talking. Knowing would be pouring salt in the wound, and they have suffered through enough of that without perpetuating it any further. They won’t entertain their misery anymore.

 

Misty flattens her palms against Cordelia’s stomach, using the heels of her hands to gently massage circles across her abdomen, then lower, at her hips. “Help me more,” Cordelia tells her, arching up into the touch. Misty smiles impishly, baring her weight down and pushing her pelvis against Cordelia’s to keep her there. Cordelia bites her lip as Misty’s thumbs tease and prod at the lacy waistband of her panties. She sits upright then, keeps Misty in her lap as she lifts the edges of her nightgown, sheds it and tosses it beside them, baring herself from the waist up. Cordelia takes Misty’s face in her hands, running her thumbs along her cheekbones, just below her eyes, and she watches Misty’s throat tense around a swallow. She is hers, and this is theirs, and Cordelia’s body is alive and humming, coursing with newfound power. She brings Misty’s face to hers, crushes her lips to hers and sighs. She takes Misty’s hand, places it over her breast, over her heart, and when Misty kneads gently, once, she drops her head to Misty’s shoulder with a soft whimper.

 

She’d thought the most intense form of contact had been soul to soul, and this is that, too, on some level, someway, but it’s something else, skin to skin. It’s liberating to expose the deepest parts of her heart, she thinks, and this is just an extension of that, one that has nothing to do with fire and death and healing. It is simply meant to be enjoyed for what it is rather than what it could be. They don’t have to dream anymore. Her hands grip Misty’s thighs, her lips suck at the pulse that throbs beneath the skin of Misty’s neck, and for once, her reality is better than her dreams. She will never again have to long for something so out of her reach, because it’s in her arms now.

 

Misty angles her wrist, making rolling motions with her thumb over Cordelia’s nipple. Cordelia’s breath starts coming in short, sharp waves, little rushes of pleasure coursing through her and crashing into her lungs. When Misty takes her nipple between her thumb and forefinger and tweaks it, Cordelia sinks her teeth into the smooth expanse of flesh where Misty’s neck meets her shoulder, causes Misty to groan and cant her hips down and forward. Cordelia grabs Misty’s face, pulls it to her, and their lips meet in a messy, desperate kiss. Cordelia has tasted the tip of Misty’s tongue and the skin of her throat, but that is not enough, and since they’re free now, she would like to experience for herself just how far this freedom stretches. She hopes it’s infinite, like a horizon line or a mass of stars.

 

She uses her grip on Misty’s thighs to flip them, hovers over Misty, sucks Misty’s bottom lip into her mouth, tugs it with her teeth then soothes it with her tongue. Misty’s hands fall to her lower back, urging her to move above her, and she presses the leg she has between Misty’s thighs further. Misty arches and lifts her hips, silently begging for pressure, friction, release. Cordelia gives it to her, grinding her knee at the apex of Misty’s thighs. She gives it to herself as well when she grinds down onto Misty’s bare thigh. Misty’s dress has ridden up, and Cordelia’s flimsy, lace panties remain as the only barrier, and she hopes Misty feels the wet heat that gathers there with every movement of her hips, hopes Misty knows that she is not the only one who has ached for this.

 

Cordelia pushes Misty’s dress up further, and Misty lifts her arms so Cordelia can rid her of it. “You are so perfect,” she breathes in astonishment, taking in pale skin and smooth muscle. She slides her hands down Misty’s shoulders, over her collarbones, then covers Misty’s breasts with her hands, nipples grazing her open palms as she continues to rock against Misty’s thigh. She feels her muscles clench and bites her lip through a moan. Misty’s hands fly to her hips, stopping her motions.

 

“No, wait, don’t,” Misty pants, her breath harsh, and she shudders when Cordelia drags the tip of her finger over her nipple. “I wanna touch you.”

 

Cordelia releases a breathless laugh, high on arousal and teetering on the edge, but she relents, moves her hands to Misty’s sides and drops her head to her chest. She has waited this long, and she can wait longer at Misty’s request, because Cordelia is going to touch her first. She presses her lips to Misty’s sternum, drags them along the skin over to her breast, then skims her teeth at the swell, nipping and teasing while Misty writhes beneath her. Cordelia’s lips latch on, and she sucks lightly, then less so, coaxing a bruise into bloom merely for her own pleasure. She moves down, slides the flat of her tongue over Misty’s nipple, feels Misty’s hands smooth through her hair, then close into fists and tangle as she sucks it into her mouth. Misty’s hips jolt, and a soft sigh of a whimper escapes her lips. The mewling sends a wave of heat to the pit of Cordelia’s stomach as she fantasizes about what other sounds she can wrench from Misty. She wonders if she can inspire anything that goes beyond the low volume of a whine.

 

Her mouth releases Misty’s nipple with a soft pop, and she forges ahead, trembling with want and uncertain of how much longer the both of them can endure. Cordelia has been especially patient, but she feels herself breaking each time Misty’s nails scratch bitingly at her scalp, each time she tugs on a handful of Cordelia’s hair. They have the rest of their lives to take their time. Misty has given them forever, so Cordelia will give them right now. She will indulge these eager desires, she thinks, as she drags her nose down the length of Misty’s torso, pressing her lips to the skin above Misty’s navel, then beneath it, then lower still. She reaches Misty’s simple, cotton panties, drops a kiss to the top of them and glances up at Misty.

 

Misty meets her eyes and exhales shakily. Cordelia sees everything in this moment. There’s the heartache of falling in love in a war zone, there’s a hopefulness that not even the mightiest adversary could crack, there’s betrayal stemming from hidden truths and cruelties. They have made a lot of mistakes together. They have made a lot of mistakes for each other and at the expense of the other. They have been handed failures and rendered powerless as they accepted them, because what else could they do? When the entire world seems determined to stack its forces against them, what could they do? Become one of those forces, Cordelia thinks, just as Misty had done. Become the very thing that destroys so as to tip the scales. Become the very thing that destroys and then don’t destroy, heal instead.

 

Cordelia swallows thickly as Misty’s hands come to rest at her hips, then she hooks her thumbs under the fabric and slides the panties down her legs. Cordelia takes over, stripping them the rest of the way off. She thinks she could have waited another five years, been stabbed through the heart five more times over, lost herself even deeper to this battle, and it would still not be enough preparation for this. All the carefully crafted dreams in the world cannot compare to actually having her head between Misty’s legs. She is immediately overtaken with the desire to bury her face in aching warmth, but she starts at Misty’s inner thigh, leaving open-mouthed kisses in her wake as she moves higher. She sucks on the skin at the junction of Misty’s thigh, another bit of flesh that she has claimed and mottled with her mouth. Misty tenses, the muscles in her legs tightening and releasing as she sighs, arcs forward and spreads her legs further like an offering.

 

Misty mumbles her name like a plea, the word rolling off her tongue and dripping with arousal, not unlike herself. Cordelia presses her lips just above Misty’s clit in a show of mercy, then strokes her tongue over her once. Misty’s moan is a guttural thing that claws its way from her throat, and Cordelia has to lift one of Misty’s legs over her shoulder and use her other arm to hold her hips solid against the bed. She slowly drags her tongue through the abundant wetness she finds, dipping into her entrance and sliding up to her clit, swirling her tongue.

 

“Cordelia,” Misty breathes, her voice cracking and faltering as she chokes on a low groan, Cordelia’s tongue teasing inside her. Then she takes Misty’s clit between her lips, pulls it into her mouth and suckles gently, the tip of her nose nudging against her pubic bone. Cordelia hums her response, sending resonating vibrations and causing Misty to toss her head back and moan. Misty’s fists abandon the bedsheets and root themselves in Cordelia’s hair, guiding her with every flick of her tongue. When she glances up to meet Misty’s gaze, Misty’s eyes are dark and frenzied, her chest heaving greatly, silently begging.

 

Misty is craving a different sort of wreckage that is not post-apocalyptic. She is begging for a fire that only pleasantly burns. Cordelia wants to give that to her. She releases Misty’s clit, watches Misty pull her bottom lip into her mouth as Cordelia brings her fingers up to roll over her clit, and Misty stirs. Cordelia sinks a finger into her, and she emits a moan that makes Cordelia feel lightheaded. She leans back in to wrap her lips around Misty’s clit once more drawing her fingers out, and when she goes to slide back in, she adds another. She works her tongue around the soft, sensitive flesh in her mouth, scraping with her teeth, feather-light, once, then twice. Cordelia keeps her pace slow and unhurried, pressing the tips of her fingers to the slick, raw swell of flesh just inside. Misty keens with pleasure, moving her hands to Cordelia’s shoulders and gripping tightly, leaving short, crescent indents on her skin. Cordelia feels Misty tense and clench around her fingers, and with one last tilt of her wrist and one final lap at her clit, Misty is crying out, her muscles fluttering and spasming against Cordelia’s fingers. Cordelia presses a kiss to Misty’s clit and feels Misty’s body twitch and tremble with it, and she keeps her fingers right where they are, working slowly and gently, helping Misty find solid ground again.

 

When Misty’s hand grabs Cordelia’s wrist, stopping her motions, Cordelia carefully removes her fingers. Misty takes them, brings them up to her lips and sucks the taste of herself off of them. “Jesus,” Cordelia whimpers breathlessly, feels the throb of her clit and the soak through her panties. She retracts her fingers, draws them out of Misty’s mouth and works quickly to remove the final stitch of clothing between them. “Touch me,” she breathes, watches the heavy rise and fall of Misty’s chest. “Touch me. Now.”

 

A smug grin tugs at Misty’s lips, and Cordelia feels no shame in needing Misty as badly as what she does. Technically, it is Misty’s fault. Technically, she could have gotten herself off several minutes ago and spent the rest of the night between Misty’s thighs. But Misty needs this, too, so Cordelia surrenders. “Come here,” Misty tells her, the hands on Cordelia’s hips pulling her forward, and Cordelia leans down, her lips colliding with Misty’s in sloppy, reckless passion, tongues stroking and teeth knocking together from a building impatience. Cordelia feels one of Misty’s hands trail around her waist, brushing against her lower abdomen, grazing her fingertips over the flesh and raising goosebumps. When she brings her hand lower, hovering just above the heat at Cordelia’s center, Cordelia sinks her teeth into Misty’s bottom lip, an implied request. Misty cottons onto it and dips her fingers between Cordelia’s legs, gliding them through smooth, wet warmth, dragging her thumb over Cordelia’s clit once.

 

Cordelia’s body shudders with a tremor, and she pulls away from Misty’s lips with a ragged breath, rests her forehead against Misty’s. She reaches for Misty’s hand and lines her fingers up, never severing eye contact, never breaking this loaded gaze even as she sinks down and accommodates Misty’s fingers. Cordelia removes her own hand and lets Misty take this lead, places each hand on either side of Misty’s head to keep herself up. She rocks her hips down, watches the smirk tease at Misty’s lips as she drags her fingers across rigid, sensitive flesh on every withdrawal, as Cordelia exhales a series of sublime moans.

 

“Misty…” Cordelia breathes, then trails off into a throaty groan. “You…”

 

She can’t maneuver her brain around the words she needs, can only shake her head in frustration and tilt her hips a bit, seeking added friction as she continues to ride Misty’s fingers.

 

“What?” Misty asks with feigned innocence, fluttering her lashes, but she knows because there is a breathless smile on her face, and her eyes are filled with mirth. She shifts her wrist, thumbs over Cordelia’s clit and keeps the rhythm of her fingers steady as she adds delicious pressure. Cordelia’s head falls to the crook of Misty’s neck, and she whines, feels her muscles contract around the fingers inside her. “Good?” Misty asks teasingly, and yes, yes, good, but not good enough, not yet.

 

“Hard—” she breaks off into a high-pitched moan, muffled into Misty’s neck as the pad of Misty’s thumb flattens and rolls over the throbbing flesh, exhales harshly through her nose. But Misty must understand, because she curls her fingers with new ambition. Cordelia wants to feel her so deeply and with every part of her, wants to forget there was a time when they weren’t together and doing this. She wants to forget that they’ve died and been reborn just to be here. She only wants to remember how this feels. When Misty drives deeper, pressing and tweaking at her clit with more force, Cordelia feels the pleasure within her ripple and shudder, the arousal coiled tightly in her stomach slowly beginning to unfurl, cries and curses spilling from her lips. The movement of her hips stutters to a stop as her orgasm washes over her, starting from within and spreading throughout, down her spine, weakening her legs and making her arms shake. She lets herself collapse fully on top of Misty. Misty goes to withdraw her fingers, but Cordelia shakes her head and drops a hand, keeping her there as the aftershocks thrum through her veins.

 

“Stay, just…” she whispers, “just stay like that for a minute.”

 

Misty laughs airily, but concedes, uses her other hand to stroke up and down Cordelia’s back. “Okay,” Misty says quietly.

 

 

 

 

 

Cordelia is wrapped in warmth, a thick comforter pulled around her shoulders as her head nestles deeper into her pillow. She smiles before she even opens her eyes, delights in the knowledge that Misty will be there when she does. She’d slept so peacefully last night, no longer ailing, abandoning her sickly state and not bothering to say goodbye to it in the rearview mirror. Because of Misty, she can breathe without her ribs feeling as though they are splitting apart and breaking. Because of Misty, she can lounge comfortably, and she can sleep in late without feeling shame. She doesn’t need the rest because she’s weak or tired now; she needs it because her body has been rejuvenated, in more ways than one. She feels her power again like a person greeting an old friend, softly but spiritedly. She scoots over to the right side of the bed, hoping to bump into Misty’s still-sleeping form and wrap an arm around her, but she finds emptiness.

 

She blinks her eyes open, squints at the filtering sunlight that assaults her senses. She glances around for Misty, but the room is unoccupied, and she is the only one in this bed in the stillness of the late morning. Misty has probably decided to wake up early and sneak away for breakfast. Cordelia sits up, bringing the bedsheet around her otherwise exposed self. She rubs her eyes with the backs of her hands and tries to stifle a yawn. Just as she is about to toss the covers aside and rise, to begin the search for Misty, the bedroom door opens, and Misty smiles brightly at her as she shuts it back behind her.

 

“Hey,” Misty says, donning one of Cordelia’s silk robes, sash tied at the waist. She’s carrying a mug in each hand, lifts one in the air as a gesture to Cordelia as she makes her way back over to the bed. Cordelia takes it and smiles her appreciation, carefully sipping the scalding dark roast. “Figured you could use the energy,” Misty tells her suggestively, and Cordelia just nudges her gently, her bare arm brushing against the silky robe, and—

 

“Did you go out there in that?” Cordelia asks, her heart thumping anxiously, and she watches a blush creep up Misty’s neck, spreading across her face. They hadn’t gotten the chance to talk about it, about some sort of establishment and disclosure. Misty had been too busy crooking her fingers at all the right angles, and Cordelia had been too busy letting her, and now Misty has stepped outside of Cordelia’s bedroom before noon to fetch two mugs of coffee on a crowded, bustling Monday. And she is wearing her robe. The very definition of suspicious.

 

“Should I not have done that?” Misty asks quietly, afraid she’s already done something wrong when they’ve only just begun. Cordelia softens, thinks back to a few months ago when she would have given everything to be where they are now, and she wouldn’t have taken anyone else’s opinion into consideration. It’s so easy to be blinded by daily routines, so easy to fall into traps. Cordelia has been freed from her last one, and she’s through with taking outsiders into account when it comes to her personal life. Nothing else matters, nothing, and she hopes everyone in this house saw Misty wearing her robe like a trophy.

 

Cordelia holds her steaming mug with one hand and drops her head into the other, sliding it down her face as giddy humor bubbles in her chest. It rises to her throat, and she snickers, shakes her head to gain composure, but ends up spiraling further, until her shoulders are jumping with every laugh. She’s spent her entire life fretting over perception, but not anymore, and not with Misty. Never with Misty. She will gladly tell the world, and she will dare them all to question her. Misty asked her once if she ever gets scared, and at the time, she had been honest with her answer. But she’s not scared anymore.

 

“It’s—sorry, I just…I just realized.” Cordelia shrugs and bites her lip around a grin. “Why did we torture ourselves for so long over this if we’re not going to show it off?” she asks, reaching her hand out to graze her knuckles over Misty’s cheek. Misty watches her, eyes glinting with exuberance as a small smile twitches at her lips. Cordelia slides her hand down to the satin collar, bunching it in her fist and gently tugging Misty closer, pressing her lips to hers in a heady rush of emotion. She feels Misty smiling against her lips, and she pulls away, plants a kiss on Misty’s cheek and smooths a hand through her messy bedhead.

 

“Well…” Misty says slowly, her eyebrows pulling together as her face contorts into a frown, “somethin’ weird didhappen.” Cordelia’s expression matches hers, and she turns, angles in to face her with curiosity. “Zoe said some bigwig left you a voicemail, wanted to reach out to the witches who saved the world, or something, I don’t know, she said you’d have to listen to the message.” Cordelia stares blankly for a few moments of silence, the gears in her head twisting and turning and churning. She hadn’t come forward with any public statement about what happened. As far as the rest of the world knows, they woke up one day with their lives back. It had been that simple, and the news outlets have been buzzing about it for weeks, but she thought the excitement had died down; stories come and go in the media, and humans are fickle creatures who crave routine and ignorance. “But she said she wants to meet us. She said she’d fly us out and everything.”

 

Cordelia meets Misty’s gaze again, blinking away her stupor, and asks, “where? Fly us out where?”

 

Misty shrugs her shoulders, raising her eyebrows, equally as lost, but holding more pieces of the puzzle in her hands than Cordelia.

 

“Las Vegas,” Misty says.