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As soon as Seraphina mentioned the words Leon and empath so casually your sleep deprived brain decided it just about had enough. Yet you still had enough energy to cycle through a thousand thoughts per second. All of those thoughts being about one singular person. The woman who ruined your life, as well as your father’s.

You can’t bring yourself to look at him because you’re scared of what you might see. Seraphina finally manages to look back at you from across the room. You watch as her face subtly changes from uncomfortable to guilty. She doesn’t have to use her powers to know what you’re thinking about.

Fate has been nothing but cruel even before you were conceived. With shiny eyes you try to process if these are even your tears. They had to be. You didn’t struggle to learn and understand compulsion ever since the incidents with Secretary Monroe or even Reyna. By design you are a keeper. You should be stronger now to withstand an empath of all things.

Your body feels numb when your father comes to mind. You don’t want to end up like him. You don’t want to repeat the cycle.

The similarities are laughable. How Leon asked you out for the first time as if you were a novelty. The Nephilim raised human was a new shiny toy to play with. Was that how Roxana viewed your father? He was just a simple human born into a family of Nephilim. He was different and unlike the rest. Just like you.

But unlike Roxana, Leon changed. While still arrogant and stuck up at times, he treats you with kindness and love. He looks at you as if you are a star; gleaming and glittering in the night sky. These changes were noticeable to practically everyone. From the way he put a smiley face on your waffles during your spring break with the twins. To how he looked at you across the kitchen table in your own house during Thanksgiving. Aunt Dru had the time of her life poking fun at both Leon and Henrik that night. That still didn’t deter the way he looked at you or held your hand.

He loves you. Roxana was never known to love.

Leon is not Roxana.

You are not your father.

Leon is Leon.

You are you.

It was difficult, but you manage to pull yourself back to reality as you hear Leon speak again. He sounds broken. You still can’t bring yourself to look at him, and you can feel how much it hurts him. Leon doesn’t know about the Constellation Project or your mother’s role in everything. Yet he knows of her and what she did to your family. You’re both terrified.

“Asteria,” Leon says, horrified, and you know he’s still looking at you. “You probably don’t even love me.” He finally breaks down.

That’s when you bring yourself to look at him, and part of you regrets it. She’s there looking at you through his frightened, yet beautiful, blue eyes. It takes all of your strength to not pull back as Leon struggles to decide if he wants to reach out to you. He doesn’t want to hurt you, but she’s still there. She’s mocking you like she always does in your nightmares.

She mocks you by standing near Leon’s bed in the dark. No matter what you can never will your body to move in those dreams. All you can do is watch in fear and scream silently into the night. Afraid that she is going to hurt him again.

Roxana Castella is a dead woman and yet she continues to inflict pain on everyone you care about.

Forcefully shoving the fear out of your body, you grab Leon to ground yourself. “No. No, Leon that’s not true.”

You love him. You truly want to believe that you love him. You can only hope he loves you back.

Seraphina leaves the room and you lose him. Leon breaks away from your arms with some struggle. You don’t want to lose him.

The next couple of minutes are a whirlpool of emotions. Leon cuts into himself in an attempt to prove himself guilty. To reveal himself as a murderous monster. His mother dies before your very eyes. It’s not his fault though. None of this was his fault. You’re regrettably more at fault than he’ll ever be.

It takes time, but you manage to catch Leon again and guide him to the common room couch. You hold his face gently in your hands as you wipe away his tears. His hands are balled into fists in his lap as he ignores the fact that his hand is still bleeding red. Your mouth feels dry like sandpaper, but you still try to counsel him. His mother’s death was not his fault at all. This was all because of Anetha.

This was all probably because of Roxana too, but he doesn’t need to know that right now.

Leon laughs faintly as he leans into your palm. “Guess we’ll never know given that, according to nymphy, my magic makes people love me. Asteria, you shouldn’t trust me at all.”

Leon’s horror isn’t masked at all by his usually charming lopsided grin, entirely at odds with the terror in his wide blue eyes. You can’t help but to feel some kind of relief that you can only see yourself reflected off of them. He can’t stop fidgeting in your hold, as if your gaze is the only thing keeping him from flying out the window and never looking back.

“Oh, Leon. . .,” you sigh. “I. . . I know this is a lot to take in. But we’ll get through this.”

Leon would never walk away from you on purpose, so that is at least a start.

He laughs painfully, as if laughing is his only option other than screaming. “If I don’t kill you with my powers before then.”

“A lot of people have tried that already,” you assure him. “Somehow, I don’t think you’re going to be the one to succeed.”

The nagging part of your brain tries to make you think about what would you do if you ever found yourself in that kind of situation with him. Dying is not an option. Killing Reyna was proof of that. There was no guilt then, but with Leon? You shove those thoughts back into the dark for now.

Instead you rub soothing circles on his back, and the two of you stay like that for a long time.