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In Which Camila Becomes a Mother of Six

Chapter Text

The day had started fairly normal, all things considered. Camila had dropped Vee off at school in Luz’s place, went to work, and stopped by the store before making dinner. She’d found out that the demon couldn’t stomach some of her world’s food, so she made something simple. A nice soup, something gentle on her stomach. When a knock on the door sounded, she wasn’t sure what she was expecting. 

It certainly wasn’t her daughter and four other children that she didn’t recognize, trembling and shell-shocked in the rain. 

“Hey Mom. I’m back.” Luz said, her voice wavering and her eyes full of tears. Camila barely registered the second after, darting forward to hug her child as hard as she could. Luz was trembling under her touch, and her fingers dug into Camila’s sweater so hard she heard a rip. But she didn’t care about her sweater. Her girl was home. “C-Can we come inside?” Luz didn’t sound like Luz. She sounded like she was on the verge of sobbing, her voice tight and her shoulders tense. 

“Yes, yes, all of you, inside.” Camila said, not letting go of Luz as Vee gestured for all of them to come in. She loosened her hold just enough to be able to step inside and close the door, the rain-soaked state of her daughter concerning her less than the tears that she saw streaming down her face. “Oh. Oh, Luz, what-?”

“Not now. Please, not now, Mami.” Luz whispered. Her watery eyes darted around, looking behind Camila at what she assumed was at the other children. “Can my f-friends stay?” She asked, a small stutter entering her speech. “They don’t have anywhere else.”

“Oh, baby. Of course, they can.” Camila kissed the top of Luz’s hair before finally untangling herself from her daughter, still holding her hand. She turned to the others, finally registering their pointed ears. She didn’t know what they had just been through, but she could recognize their expressions. The girl with glasses was blinking frantically like she was trying to hold back tears, her fists clenched tightly. The other girl, the one with purple hair, was giving her a blank stare, her hands folded in front of her like she was standing in front of an authority figure. The one that looked like the youngest of them all was shivering, his arms curled around himself as tears streamed down his face, and the oldest boy had an arm resting on the younger’s opposite shoulder, holding him protectively against him like an older brother. His chest was rising and falling too quickly for Camila’s liking, and small shudders wracked his whole body. All five of them had injuries decorating their bodies, their hair askew and their clothing slightly tattered. “You’re all welcome to stay as long as you need. But right now, you all look hurt. Will you let me help you?”

The youngest boy whimpered, and the other boy held him tighter, his throat moving like he wanted to speak, but nothing came out. He seemed nearly frozen. The girl with the glasses nodded, and the purple-haired girl finally spoke. “I’m-We’re sorry for the intrusion, ma’am.” Her voice was delicate, like it was going to break at any moment.

Luz sniffled, letting go of Camila’s hand to take the purple-haired girl’s. Camila took a deep breath to calm herself down before saying, “Don’t be sorry. Please, come with me to the living room, I can help you all better there.”

Luz pulled on the purple-haired girl’s hand and put her free hand on the blond boy’s back, guiding them into the TV room. Camila pretended not to notice the boy flinch minutely under her touch as she grabbed her first-aid kit from the kitchen counter. She was suddenly very glad she had had the hindsight to buy the thing after finding out where Luz really was. 

In the living room, Luz seemed to be having a hard time convincing the others to sit down. Camila’s heart ached as she saw the tears building in her daughter’s eyes, and the way the smallest boy nudged his protector, shakily holding up four fingers. Vee stood off to the side, seemingly unsure what to do.

“Please sit, everyone.” She said, making her voice as soft and gentle as she could. “Does anyone have any immediately concerning injuries?” They all shook their heads, speech seemingly not coming very easy at the moment. Luz sat down, which seemed to reassure the others a little as the girls slowly followed her lead. The boys remained standing, though looking at them, she wasn’t sure if it was on purpose or if they were just that shocked. She put the box on the table and opened it up, “Vee, could you get everyone some dry clothes? Warm, if you can find them.” Vee nodded and took off. “Okay. Okay, why don’t you tell me your names, and I’ll fix you up?” She said softly, looking at the…elves? Children, at the very least.

The purple-haired girl spoke first. “I’m Amity Blight.”

“A-And I’m W-Willow.” The girl with the glasses sniffled, wiping her eyes as she gripped Luz’s other hand tightly.

“Gus.” The small boy said, glancing up at the blond one. “And this is-this is Hunter.”

“Oh, you all have such lovely names.” Camila pulled out a bottle of disinfectant and a roll of bandages and plasters. “Luz? Where are you hurt, sweetie?”

Luz swallowed, shaking her head. “Do the others first. Please.”

Camila would have argued, had the children not looked a strong breeze from a breakdown. “Okay. Okay, Gus, was it? Why don’t we do you first?” He was obviously the youngest, assuming their ages looked about the same as human ones.

Gus chewed on his lip, looking up at Hunter. “Okay.” He whispered, glancing at Willow. She stood up, nearly tripping with what looked like a painful ache in her feet but crossed the floor to Gus’s side. “Hunter, you need to let go of me.” Gus said, fresh tears pouring out of his eyes even as he looked like he was doing his very best to hide them. Hunter didn’t seem to hear him, his blank gaze unwavering. 

That was until Gus tried to pull away and Hunter immediately started breathing faster again, tears filling his own eyes as he held Gus’s shoulder tightly. “No, no, no…” he repeated quickly, “No, no, no…”

Camila stood slowly, “Willow, try to give him some space.” 

Hunter flinched at those words, and Gus reached up to his hand to squeeze it. “It’s okay, Hunter.” He said, keeping his voice remarkably steady, “Just breathe, remember what I taught you? Breathe, one, two, three, f-four…”

Hunter’s knees suddenly gave out, and Gus lowered him to the floor. “He’s on me, he’s on me.” Hunter whispered, his free hand roaming over his body like he was searching for something to rip away. “He-he’s-I can’t-nghh…” He pulled his legs up to his chest as Gus and Willow both counted, Amity and Luz both watching with a blank and worried expression respectively. 

“Luz. Go get some ice from the freezer.” Camila said calmly, glad when Luz immediately followed her instructions. Amity followed her, and the two were back in a flash with a whole ice try. Camila thanked them before popping one of the cubes out of the tray with a crack that made Amity jump. “Hunter, listen to me. You need to put one of these in your mouth, okay?”

Gus frowned, but held out his hand for the ice cube. Camila let him have the tray, and he popped two of them out. “Hunter. Hunter, hey. Luz’s mom has another trick. Let’s try it, okay?” Gus put one in his own mouth before setting the other in Hunter’s gloved hand. 

Hunter whimpered, but a gentle nudge from Willow had him follow Gus’s lead. As soon as his lips closed around it, he seemed to reset, blinking back the tears that threatened to spill over his lashes. “Oh.”

“Are you okay?” Camila asked.

Hunter nodded, finally letting Gus go. Gus hesitated to leave his side, but Camila didn’t like the idea of treating them right next to each other, so she waited until he finally slipped towards her, trembling like a leaf.

She began to clean his wounds, letting the sounds of the rain wash over them. Amity curled up slightly towards her daughter, and Luz held her against her chest like she was the most precious thing in the world. Willow stayed by Hunter’s side, rubbing his shoulder and whispering things Camila couldn’t hear into his damaged ear. Gus winced each time she cleaned a new cut or scrape, but he never complained. 

Eventually, Vee came back with a pile of towels and clothing straight from the dryer, dumping it on the couch next to Luz. She looked worried, and Camila told her to help her start cleaning the other children’s scrapes, so everyone could relax faster. Vee took care of Willow and Amity, and Gus insisted on helping Hunter after he had everything fixed up. That left Luz, and Camila pulled her into another hug before beginning again.



Camila ended up picking out warm clothes from the pile for everyone to wear and brought down all the blankets in the house for them. Luz had quietly pulled her to the side and told her not to ask anything about what had happened. Tomorrow, she promised she would fill her in, but tonight was too hard. Camila had just given her another hug and told her to take all the time she needed. Now, the kids were all curled up in a big pile, no longer crying or panicking but looking positively exhausted

“Unless you guys are hungry now, I’ll go shopping in the morning for a big breakfast.” Camila said as she put away the last of the first-aid things. “Are any of you allergic to anything?” She paused, “Or…I suppose if none of you are human, you might not know. Hm. Well, I’ll make breakfast and if something disagrees with you, I’ll make something else.”

Luz shifted a little, resting her head on Amity’s shoulder. “Mami?”

“Yes, baby?”

“I missed you.” 

Camila scooted closer and cupped her face, “I miss you too. So much.” She looked at the others. Amity was watching her and smiled slightly when they met eyes. Gus had already fallen asleep with his head in Hunter’s lap, and Hunter had his still-gloved hand resting on the boy’s shoulder.

Willow rubbed her eyes, “Thank you for all of this, Miss Noceda.”

“Anything for the friends of my daughter.” Camila said, “Everyone try to get some sleep. You can come and get me for anything, no matter how small.”

Chapter Text

Camila had heard children scream before, that was nothing new. She’d heard it on the playground when they would fight, she’d heard it in grocery stores when they would throw a fit. But never like this. This was a heart-wrenching cry of pure terror, and Camila was stumbling out of bed before she was even fully awake. 

She ran down the short hallway and skidded into the living room, flicking the light on with the full intent of attacking whatever was in the room with the kids. To her relief, there was nothing, but her eyes were immediately drawn to the side of the couch, where the youngest child was panting, his eyes blown wide and tearful. Next to Gus, Hunter was stirring, blinking his eyes open and reaching out for the other boy. Gus whimpered, turning around and burying his face in Hunter’s shoulder, clutching him tight. 

Hunter met Camila’s eyes as he hugged Gus close, a weary look on his face. He swallowed, hesitantly bringing his hand to Gus’s head and thumbing the back of it. Camila knelt down next to the two of them, her voice low as she said, “Gus? Hey, do you need anything?”

Gus shook his head, sniffing. “Just had a bad dream.” He said, his voice muffled by Hunter’s sweater. Willow stirred, her eyes fluttering open slowly. 

“Oh, sweetie.” Camila reached out to put her hand on his back, and she again noticed Hunter’s minute jerk away from her hand as it landed on Gus. “I can make both of you some tea to calm your nerves. I made it for Luz when she had nightmares as a little girl.”

Gus turned his head so that he could look at her, “You don’t have to do that.”

Willow moved closer to the boys, taking one of Gus’s hands in her own. She smiled at the boys, but it looked incredibly forced. Camila nodded, her heart aching for a boy that she’d known for less than twelve hours. “I know. But I’d like to. I’ll make enough for everyone, but you don’t have to drink it.” She moved to stand up, “Would you like to help me make it?”

Gus’s eyes widened, and he wiped them as he nodded. “I don’t think I’d know how, but I’d love to learn.” He said quietly, finally pulling away from Hunter completely. Hunter let him go, and Camila gave him what she hoped was an assuring smile as Gus stepped carefully over the two girls on the ground and took Camila’s hand.

He was so young .

She led him to the kitchen, “I’m not sure what you do and don’t have in your world, so I’m going to explain everything, and if you know something, just tell me and I’ll skip over it.”

Gus nodded, “Okay.”

She squeezed his hand before going to her cupboard and pulling out a box of sleepy time tea. It was half empty, since Vee drank it after nightmares, but there was enough for the kids for tonight. “So, the bags are full of dried leaves and herbs. I’m…not entirely sure what herbs exactly, but they’re on the back of the box if you want to know.” She pulled some cups down from their rack and set a pot of water on the stove, clicking it on. 

Gus looked fascinated, “How does that work?”

“The stove?” Camila frowned, “Well, it’s a gas stove. Flammable gasses are put out, then it’s lit with a spark.”

“What happens if it fills the house with gas?”

“If it’s working properly, it won’t.” Camila said, “And we make sure it’s not broken a few times a year, just to make sure. But there is a smell it puts out that warns you too, so if you smell something sharp and chemical-y, don’t strike any matches and get out of the house.”

“Ohh.” Gus took a step forward and watched the flames dance under the pot. “Wow. It’s incredible what humans can do without magic.”

“That’s right. You have magic, don’t you?” Camila opened the teabags and put them each in a cup. “What can you do?”

“Well, it depends on what track and coven you…” Gus trailed off, his expression morphing into something sad as he touched his wrist. “It used to-it’s complicated, now.” he finally said, his voice losing its excited quality, “But I do illusions, mostly.” As an example, he twitched his fingers and a little bird appeared in his hand. 

“Oh, that’s wonderful.” Camila said, slowly reaching out. Her hand went through the bird, wavering the spell for a moment. “And you learn to do that?”

“Well, it depends on what you study. I studied illusions, so…” He waved the bird away, and it poofed into non-existence. “Willow does plant magic, but she knows a little abomination magic too. She’s way better at plants though. Amity does abomination magic, and it’s crazy strong. Willow’s strong too, they’re both super good.”

“What does Hunter do?” 

“Uh…” Gus suddenly looked slightly uncomfortable. “He doesn’t really…do magic. But he’s crazy talented in other ways! Like fighting. He took on two guards at once and won while he was living in my school.”

Living in his school? Camila filed that away to be concerned about later, “And…did Luz ever learn any magic?”

“Well, since Luz is human, she doesn’t have the magic bile sack that witches do.” Gus gestured to his chest, “But she figured out a way to create magic from these glyphs she draws, so she does all kinds of magic with them. She’s super cool too. All my friends are.” He glanced back at the living room. “And my other friends are still on the Boiling Isles. I hope they’re okay…”

Sensing the sudden shift in his attitude, Camila gently distracted him again. “Well, you’ll all have to show me what you’re capable of sometime, when you feel better. For now, do you like honey in your tea?”



Gus helped Camila hand out the mugs of tea to the other children, each of them softly thanking her. Luz held it against her chest for a moment, sighing as she leaned against the couch. Hunter inspected it before taking a tentative sip and Willow asked to see the box to see if she could grow the plants that made the tea up. Amity was fast asleep, so Camila put her tea on the coffee table for later. 

Gus drank his tea curled up with his back pressed against Hunter’s shoulder, “Thank you for talking to me, Ms. Noceda.” 

“Any time.” She replied, pulling the blankets up around Amity’s shoulders. “When you’re all done, you can put the mugs on the coffee table. It’s glass, so it won’t stain.” 

Hunter put his mug down immediately, the thing completely empty. She almost commented on how fast he’d finished it, but decided that the risk of offending the kid was too great, so she ignored it. Hunter put his arm around Gus again as Willow yawned.

Camila put on a fake smile as she worried over what to do with all of them. 

Chapter Text

Over the next few days, Camila noticed something that she never expected from children from another dimension; they were children. Of course, she knew they were children from the start, but all she’d ever had as a frame of reference for children from the Boiling Isles was Vee, and Vee wasn’t exactly the standard template, from what she’d heard. But they all acted just like she knew children and teens did, squabbling over things that didn’t really matter, the boy’s voices cracking and the high emotions that ran through all of them.

They were children, and that made it so much harder when she was told what exactly they’d been through. It made it harder too, when realized that Amity never questioned her, never told her own opinion, and never spoke up. Hunter acted similarly, offering to do far more than his share of chores and standing stiffly when Camila would enter the room. Almost like the two of them were soldiers, and she was their commander.

She’d pulled Luz aside and quietly asked if it was a normal Boiling Isles thing, and the sad look her daughter had given her was more than enough confirmation that it was, thankfully, not. She hadn’t gotten much more out of her, but she knew that Luz was just respecting her friend’s privacy. But that left her with the gaping problem of how to make the two obviously traumatized children more comfortable around her. Maybe they could learn to trust her too, if she could just think of how to bring it about. 

She began with Amity before Hunter, and it was because of the little bomb that Luz decided to drop on her a few days after that first night. Luz had come into the kitchen, asking if she could talk to Camila, and, of course, Camila had agreed. 

Now she stood before her daughter and Amity, who was staring at her with a rigid spine and a painfully stone smile on her face. Luz reached over to take Amity’s hand, and Camila knew what was coming before she said it. 

“Mom.” Luz said slowly, “I know that in the grand scheme of stuff that’s going on right now, dating and things like that probably aren’t considered super important, but…” She took a deep breath, “But it is to me, because I found the most special person in the universe in that…um…universe.” She smiled, “And Amity is that person. We’ve been dating for a little bit now, and…and I love her. Very much.”

Camila had pretty much had that figured out since the day they got there, and the two girls had been clutching each other like koalas as they fell asleep, but the verbal confirmation was something she appreciated. She looked at Amity, who somehow straightened further, her un-held hand behind her back. “Welcome to the Noceda family, Amity.”

Amity blinked, “Thank you, ma’am.”

“You may call me Camila.” Camila reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. She was tense. “And I believe that anyone that my daughter has fallen in love with is a truly special person.”

“I hope I can live up to that expectation.” Amity nodded, squeezing Luz’s hand tightly.

“I don’t doubt for a moment that you will.” 

 

 

Amity had been sitting on the front porch for an hour now, and Camila kept seeing her groan in frustration and get up to pace frequently through the window. She wouldn’t be too concerned about it, except that the weather outside was cold and drizzling rain, and she worried that the girl would catch her death of cold. They hadn’t had the time to go out and buy new clothes for the children yet, as Camila had been working every day and couldn’t call out with a case of children-from-another-dimension-dropped-on-her-porch, so she was in nothing but a thin sweater and leggings, borrowed from Luz’s closet.

Camila opened the door, her motherly side getting the best of her. “Amity dear, you’re going to get sick if you stay out there.”

Amity jumped to her feet. “I’m sorry, Ms. Camila. I didn’t mean to worry you.”

“It’s no trouble. I just don’t want you catching a cold.” Camila stepped onto the porch, and Amity stiffened further. “I’m not going to hurt you. You can relax, I promise it’s okay.”

Amity flushed, “I-I’m relaxed! Perfectly relaxed!” She leaned on the handrail leading down the steps, “See, perfectly-” Camila didn’t have time to warn her before the handrail creaked and snapped, sending the girl tumbling into the mud below.

“Amity!” Camila hurried down the steps and into the mud, where the girl was sitting up and blinking the splash of mud out of her eyes. “Oh dear, that’s not good.”

“I’m sorry!” Amity gasped as her eyes fell on the broken handrail. “I didn’t mean to do that!”

“I know, dear, I know.” Camila hushed her, gently taking her muddy hand. “It’s alright. I should have warned you before now, that handrail isn’t very sturdy. The wood was rotting, and I kept meaning to have someone look at it, but I never got around to it. It wasn’t your fault.”

Amity shook her head, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I-” She sniffled, wiping her other hand across her face, leaving a trail of dirt behind. “I-”

“Breathe. Breathe, Amity, it’s alright.” Camila slowly reached out and cupped the girl’s cheek. “It’s alright. I promise. You’re not in trouble.”

“I don’t care if I’m in trouble or not!” Amity cried, “You’ve already done so much for all of us, and-and I know you might not have enough snails to take care of us all and we’re a burden and I can’t help because of my ears and-and-now I’ve broken your-” She groaned, “I just want to help, I can’t-”

Camila surged forward, hoping that this was the right thing to do as she circled her arms around Amity in a gentle hug. Amity stopped speaking, her chest heaving like she’d run a marathon. “It’s alright. It’s alright, you don’t have to worry.” Camila assured her, rubbing her back.

Amity sniffled, “Wh-What?”

“You’re children. You’re not responsible for what I choose to take on. Okay?” Camila pulled back, wiping some mud off of Amity’s face. “I am. I chose to take you all in, and I won’t regret it. I don’t now, and I very seriously doubt I will later.”

“But-”

“You’re all very helpful around the house, and you have no idea what that means to me.” Camila smiled softly, “it gives me time to make the extra food and work a  overtime for a little more money to support everyone. I never even had to ask for your help, you just all got up and did more than your part.”

Amity finally met her eyes, and Camila could see her searching for something. Maybe a lie, maybe anger, maybe something else. But she evidently couldn’t find it, and eventually sagged a little bit. “I’m sorry.” She whispered again, seemingly just because she didn’t know what else to say.

“Don’t be.” Camila lifted her chin, “You’re incredible, and I’ve only known you for a few days. I hope you know that.”

This time, it was Amity that threw her arms around Camila. Camila didn’t hesitate to reciprocate the hug, rubbing her muddy back. “Thank you, Ms. Camila.” Amity whispered, her voice trembling ever so slightly.

Camila hugged her tightly before she pulled away, brushing the girl’s hair behind her ears. “Let's go inside. You take a shower, and I’ll make some hot chocolate, yeah?”

Amity finally smiled. It was a small, hesitant thing, but a smile nonetheless. “That sounds good.” Camila held out her hand, and Amity took it. As they ascended the stairs to go inside again, Camila knew that Luz had picked a good one. 

She hoped that Amity knew it too.

Chapter Text

Thrift stores were a godsend and Camila would stand by that opinion to the end of time. She’d managed to fish a few hats, scarves and headbands out of the darkest corner of her closet so that the kids could hide their ears and thankfully it was cold outside, so no one really batted an eye. 

“Hello, Ms. Nodeca, Luz.” The young man working the cash register said, waving at her. He was a polite boy, always memorizing the customers' names to address them properly. “You’ve got quite the gaggle of kids there.”

Camila laughed, “Hello Jackson. Yes, they’re going to be staying with me for a while, so you’ll see more of them.”

“Family?”

“Yes, very, very extended family.” She nodded.

“What are your names?” Jackson asked, addressing the kids. 

“I’m Gus!” Gus leapt at the chance to introduce himself to a human, sticking his hand out. Jackson laughed and shook it, “It’s very nice to meet you, sir!”

“Oh please, Sir is my dads.” Jackson snorted, “Call me Jack.”

“Okay, Jack!” Gus looked delighted. 

Each child introduced themself in turn, and soon Camila was bringing them to the middle of the store. She lowered her voice as they crowded around her, “Okay, pick a few things each, and then we’ll sort through it all before we buy them to make sure they’re appropriate for this realm.” She said, gesturing around, “I can’t afford too much, but you should each be able to get at least a few outfits. Make sure you get some warm things too; I don’t want anyone to freeze. I’ll say we have about forty five minutes here before we should meet up.”

Everyone agreed and took off in separate directions, Luz and Amity going to look at pants as Hunter visibly hesitated to go, before Gus grabbed his hand and pulled him to the t-shirts. Camila wondered if she had imagined the quickly covered look of pain on Hunter’s face or not. 

“Ms. Noceda?” Willow spoke, “May I stay with you?”

“Of course, Willow.” Camila nodded, “We can go look at sweaters, if you’d like.”

Willow looked excited at the prospect, so Camila showed her to the corner of the store where a rack of jackets and sweaters were. She began sorting through them, “So this is where humans get their clothes?”

“Some of us. There are all kinds of stores for clothes, but a lot of them are far more expensive than these.” Camila nodded to them, “But these are more interesting than those name-brand stores anyways, you never know what you're going to find. You just need to make sure you wash them really well, because most of the stuff here has been worn before.”

“Ohh, that’s really smart.” Willow nodded, “We have hand-me-down places on the Boiling Isles, but most of the clothes in them are pretty ragged, either from the rain or spells.”

“How does the rain wreck clothing?” Camila asked, picking out a yellow sweater that looked like it might fit Hunter. 

“Oh, that’s right.” Willow picked up a sweater from the ground and put it back on the rack, “Rain doesn’t boil here.”

Camila blinked, “It rains…boiling water?”

“Yep.” Willow shrugged, “It sounds worse than it is. There are shelters all over the isles just in case you get stuck out in it, and the plants are usually okay. It doesn’t rain often enough for it to be a crazy problem either, and everyone is taught a basic shielding spell regardless of what track you chose to take, just in case.”

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around another dimension existing, hearing about it like that…wow.” Camila shook her head, “It’s crazy.”

“Yeah, it was a crazy place. It’s home, though.” Willow paused, looking sad. “I hope we find a way back.”

Camila put a hand on her shoulder, “I’m sure you will. None of us will give up.”

“Yeah…” Willow sighed, “Less sad subject; what was Luz like growing up? She was always so excited about the Isles she never really told us about her childhood.”

“Oh, goodness.” Camila hummed, “She was always a troublemaker. She didn’t mean to, she was just…well, a little bit different. That was never a bad thing, just…” She trailed off. She had considered it a bad thing. That was how this whole mess had started. “She was just different.” She finished lamely. “But always good. Always kind.”

“That matches up with our Luz.” Willow chuckled, pulling out a light green jacket. “Can I get this?”

“Of course, you can.” Camila nodded, “Was she very different on the Isles too?”

“I mean, she was the only human in the whole place, so yeah. But not different in a bad way. Just different. Spirited. She got our school to be better and helped a lot of people. You raised a good person.”

Camila smiled, “I certainly hope so.”

“You did.” Willow grinned back at her.

“Did she have someone to look after her?” 

“Oh definitely. She had me and Gus and Amity to show her the ropes, but Eda the Owl Lady was who she lived with. Her, and this little demon named King and another demon named Hooty, who was really her house.” Willow followed Camila to another row, this time full of pants, “And kind of Raine. But we only met them later on, when things were getting crazy.”

“Eda the Owl Lady. Was she…safe? Caring?” 

“Definitely caring. A lot.” Willow nodded, “Safe…well, she was safe. But she’s also a little freaky, she had this curse on her and stuff, but Luz was never in danger. That I know of, at least. And Luz tells us everything.”

That relieved Camila a little bit, though the thing about the curse sounded interesting, at the very least. But she dropped it for now - these were probably questions to ask Luz when the time came. 

After a while, they all congregated at the far wall of the store where the changing rooms were. “Okay.” Camila said, looking at the cart that Luz had gotten. “Change into the outfits you chose, and we’ll see what we’re working with. Hunter, I found a sweater you might want.” She held out the yellow thing. 

Hunter took it, “Oh. Thank you, Ma’am.”

“Call me Camila, Hunter.” She turned to the rest of the kids, “You can all call me that, if you’d like.”

“Thank you, Camila!” Willow gave her a hug, and Camila squeezed her back. 

They were good kids.

 

Chapter Text

Now that the kids had proper clothes and well-fitted hats to wear, they could finally start walking around town together. Luz had been excited to show everyone around, so Camila had agreed to bring them all to the middle of town where all the interesting places were. Though in their town, interesting just meant the ice cream parlor or the library or the park, which is where they were now.

Camila had never paid too much attention to the statue of the two founders of the town, having passed by them so many times that they just became an object to walk around. Honestly, she probably would have done the same as she had so many other times, ignoring it completely, if it hadn’t been for Hunter stopping dead in his tracks and nearly tripping her.  She stumbled to a stop to avoid slamming into him, but he didn’t seem to notice, his attention drawn to the statues. Camila followed his gaze to the familiar faces, unsure what was wrong. They looked the same as they always did, the little plaque beneath their feat reading Philip and Caleb Wittebane. It was a little worn, but still perfectly decipherable. When she looked back at him to ask what was wrong, Camila’s heart sank. 

Hunter’s face had gone three shades paler, his eyes blown wide. His gloved hands were clenched tightly into fists, and she could hear his breathing beginning to pick up pace. Gus noticed too, stopping and turning around, “Hunter?”

The girls were too far ahead to notice, Luz excitedly pointing at the sky as she spoke to them. Hunter took a small step back, like he was balancing himself. Camila wanted to reach out and put her hand on his shoulder, but from what she’d seen, he probably wouldn’t appreciate it. Gus, on the other hand, seemed to have no qualms as he took Hunter’s hand, “Hunter, hey. You okay?”

Hunter didn’t respond, and Camila slowly stepped into his field of vision, blocking the statue somewhat. “Hunter, you need to breathe.” She said, holding out her hands. He flinched, and her heart squeezed, “Hunter, I’m not going to hurt you. You’re okay. What’s going on?”

Gus looked up at the statue, and gasped. “Oh.”

“Oh? What’s Oh?” Camila asked, glancing up. The statues looked the same as they always had. “Do you know who they are?”

“Maybe.” Gus squeezed Hunter’s hand. “Hey, listen to me. Breathe, Hunter, you’re okay. They’re just statues.”

“It’s him.” Hunter whispered.

“I know.” Gus rubbed his fingers over Hunter’s knuckles. Hunter winced, pulling his hand away. Gus’s expression was hard to read, but there was definite concern in it. “He can’t hurt you anymore.” Gus said, alarming Camila more. “He’s gone. You know that. You saw it.”

Camila desperately wanted to help, but she had no idea what either of them were talking about. How would witches from the Boiling Isles know about her town’s founders anyways? They were human. Hunter’s breathing hitched, “Not Belos.”

“Not…oh.” Dawning realization on Gus’s face made Camila even more curious, but now wasn’t the time to ask questions. “Oh. Hey, it’s okay. Count with me, okay?” Gus held up his fingers the way he did the night they all came, slowly counting down from four and up again. Hunter shakily inhaled, following Gus’s instructions. Camila looked up at the statue again, frowning. One of the men looked awfully familiar. She looked back at Hunter, realizing with a start that the two of them looked like they could be related, all the way down to the untamable sprig of hair peeking out from under Hunter’s hat.

“Hunter, can you walk with us, mijo ?” Camila asked, determined to take him away from the statue if that was what was hurting him. Hunter swallowed, blinked, and nodded, letting Camila put a hand on his back and guide him away. Gus stayed close to him as they caught up with the girls, who had all realized by now that they were alone, and standing at the edge of the grass. 

“What happened?” Willow asked, obviously noticing how pale and shaken Hunter looked.

 Camila looked at Hunter, giving him time to say whatever he wanted. When he said nothing, Gus filled in for him. “We were looking at the statues over there.” He said flippantly, gesturing vaguely in the direction they had come from. “Nearly had a scare with the ears, someone was walking by when Hunter was fixing his hat.”

Camila pressed her lips together. She didn’t like the lie, but she would let it slide for now, since Hunter looked like he was able to breathe again, and she didn’t want him to relapse if his friends decided to bombard him with questions. “Why don’t we all get some ice cream?” She said, diverting the attention onto herself, “And then we should get going home, I need to start dinner.”

Vee was staring at Hunter oddly as she said, “I like ice cream.”

“Ice cream!” Luz smiled, “It’s so good, I’ll tell you guys which flavors are the best.”

Hunter didn’t get any.



The kitchen was quiet, the only sounds coming from the rolling pin when it squeaked slightly as Camila showed Hunter how to roll out the dough for dinner. The boy looked exhausted, but like every other night, he’d insisted on coming into the kitchen to at least help with the cleanup, if not dinner itself. Camila decided that if that was what he needed to do to feel better, then she would show him how. 

“Like…this?” Hunter asked, rolling out the dough from the center as Camila had instructed him to do. 

“Perfect. When you’re done, I’ll show you how to fold them over the filling.”

He nodded, focusing hard on the task. Camila had to turn around so he didn’t see her smile. He took everything so seriously . It was endearing, in a way. It also made her a bit sad, the way he would berate himself if he got anything wrong. 

She stirred the filling, “Oh, can you get the beef out of the refrigerator and open it for me? The scissors are in that drawer there.” She gestured with her unoccupied hand.

He gave the dough one last roll before following her instructions. He put the meat in a bowl, “And wash these, right?” He held up the scissors. She nodded, and he went to the sink to scrub them. After a little longer, Camila realized that he hadn’t turned the water off, so she turned to see if something was being stubborn on the scissors. But no, Hunter was just looking at them, seemingly forgetting that the water was on. It was like the scissors had put him under a spell, his eyes unblinking as he turned them over in his hands. He had a new pair of gloves on - he always wore them when he was helping her cook, and then cleaned them right afterwards, not touching them until he was in the kitchen again. 

“Hunter?” She asked softly.

He startled, nearly dropping the scissors. “Sorry, sorry.” He mumbled, turning the water off. “Um…I’ll finish rolling the dough.”



Hunter had been on edge all night, and the final straw for Camila was when he put his dish in the sink and left without bothering to offer his help. She didn’t need his help, and she wasn’t angry at him for not offering, she knew the boy did more than his share of the work, but it worried her. He usually jumped at the chance to help out, at the chance to show how useful he was. She hated that way of thinking, but Hunter hadn’t even let her talk to him about it.

But she let him have his privacy, for a while. She cleaned up after dinner with Vee and Willow’s help, and convinced Willow to let her do the dishes, telling the girls to go relax with their friends. It was soothing, the rhythm of scraping food off of the dishes, and it gave her time to think. Something was bothering Hunter, something to do with the statue from before. She had spent all night thinking about it, and she still had yet to come up with an answer as to why he had reacted the way he had. She knew she could probably ask Gus, because the boy seemed to understand it, but she was almost positive he wouldn’t tell her out of respect for Hunter’s privacy, and she herself didn’t want to invade that.

She sighed, drying off and putting away the final cup. She heard a cheer from the living room and peaked inside, a smile spreading across her face as she watched everyone hoot and holler at some game they were playing. 

Her smile faded as she realized that Hunter wasn’t with them. Something gnawed at her gut, instinct telling her that something wasn’t right. She left the room and went upstairs, her suspicions confirmed when she nearly slammed into a red cardinal. Flapjack managed to dodge her in his frantic flying, but as soon as his eyes landed on her, he was tugging on her hair, pulling her towards the bathroom. 

She didn’t know much about the palismen in the house - they tended to keep close to their owners, rather slow and sluggish from what Amity had guessed was a lack of magic. But Flapjack wasn’t slow, his frantic tugging getting almost painful as he tweeted at her. She knew that Hunter could understand him, but she had no idea what the little bird was doing. Considering who was bonded with him, however, it wasn’t hard to guess that something was amiss.

The bathroom door was shut, and shadows under the door confirmed Hunter’s presence. Flapjack tweeted at her, releasing her hair as he flew around the door frame. She could see little marks on the wood where it looked like the palisman had pecked at it. She raised her fist over the door, intent on knocking, but a noise made her stop.

It was a quiet, muffled thing, like Hunter was trying very desperately not to cry. From the sound of things, he was failing miserably. Camila glanced at Flapjack, who was pecking at the door handle. “Hunter?” She called, keeping her voice as soft as he could manage.

The crying stopped, but the sniffles didn’t. “Yes?” Hunter’s voice cracked, and Camila sighed.

“May I come in?” She knocked softly against the wood. 

“I-I’m not-” Hunter’s shadow was frozen, like he wasn’t moving. 

“Flapjack is worried.” She said, testing the waters.

“He a-always worries. It’s his nature. I’m okay.” 

That was definitely a lie. She could hear the tightness of his throat and the way he sounded like he had a mild cold. “I’m sorry, Hunter. I can’t believe that.” She said, holding out her hand as Flapjack began to fly lower in the air, the little spurt of energy positively exhausting him. He landed in her palm and gently pecked at her fingers. “Please let me in? I promise, I’m not going to do anything you don’t want me to.”

“...I don’t want you to come in.” 

He had her there. “You don’t have to, then. But we’re worried. I’m sure the others will be missing you soon, what do I tell them?”

There was a shuffling noise from inside, and the lock clicked. Hunter opened the door a peak, and she could see his red-rimmed eyes. “Please…don’t.”

“Don’t what, Hunter?” Camila asked.

“Don’t tell them. I’ll-I’ll come out. I just need to…” He trailed off, seemingly uncertain as to what he was going to say. 

“You don’t have to come out if you don’t want to.” Camila said honestly. “I’d just like to know what’s wrong. If I don’t, I can’t help you.”

“You don’t need to help me.” Hunter mumbled.

“I know I don’t have to.” Camila held Flapjack out to the crack in the door as the bird jumped in her palm anxiously. “But I want to. You’re a sweet boy, Hunter. I don’t like seeing you hurting. I don’t think this little guy does either.”

Hunter hesitated, “Just…don’t laugh, okay?”

That wasn’t at all what she had expected him to say. “I promise.” Camila nodded, crossing her heart in a motion that she hoped translated well enough to whatever they did in the Boiling Isles.

Hunter swallowed, then the door creaked open a little further, enough for Camila to enter. She did, slowly, and the sight that met her was…confusing, more than anything. Hunter had taken off his sweater, leaving him in a thin t-shirt. He had tear tracks on his face and his eyebags were more pronounced, but the stark difference was his hair. His untamable strand was gone, and the rest of his hair was chopped up like a toddler had taken a pair of shears to it. The sink and floor were littered with scraps of hair, and he was holding the scissors from dinner in trembling hands. 

“Oh, Hunter…” Camila whispered, stomping on her immediate reaction to grab him in a hug and never let go. Instead, she reached down to his hand and took it, gently extracting the scissors from his grip. She placed them on the table as Flapjack left her hand to settle on Hunter’s shoulder, gently pecking at his ear. “What brought this on?”

He refused to meet her eyes as more tears unwillingly spilled from his own. “I-I was…I don’t know.” His breathing hitched, and Flapjack nudged him with his head. 

“Are you sure?” Camila put a hand on his shoulder, slowly enough that he didn’t flinch like she thought he might. She gently wiped the tears off of his cheek with her other hand, surprised when he leaned into the touch. “I mean, I’m always up for trying out new things, but this…doesn’t feel like that.”

Hunter ducked his head, his ears pinking slightly. He looked like he was debating something in his head before Flapjack nudged him again, tweeting something that he seemed to understand. “...I look too much like him.” He murmured finally, his fists clenched and his eyes averted.

“Like who?” 

Hunter’s breathing stuttered again, “The-the statue. The…C-Caleb. Whittebane. That guy.”

Camila had noticed the resemblance, of course, but something inside of her had just brushed it off as an odd coincidence. Hunter was trembling again, hard enough for her to feel it under her palm. “I see.” Camila brushed some loose hair off of his shoulder. “And that’s not good.”

He shook his head, “It-it’s really, really complicated.”

“You don’t have to tell me.” She said, “I promise, I won’t make you. But I’ll listen if you want to.” She waited for a moment, and when he shook his head, she nodded. “Okay. That’s fine.”

Hunter nodded, but his trembling didn’t cease. “I don’t want to-to look like him.” More tears escaped his eyes, this time accompanied by a small whimper. He flushed afterwards, looking mortified, but she didn’t acknowledge either reaction. Flapjack flew up and perched on his partner’s head, tweeting softly.

“Do you want me to fix your hair?” Camila asked, hoping she was going in the right direction. “I can make it wholly different. Wholly Hunter. Actually, it would probably end up looking a bit like Luz’s. I’ve only ever cut her hair.”

He wrapped one arm around himself, “I…I wouldn’t mind looking like Luz.”

Camila smiled, “I don’t think she would mind looking like you, either.” She took the scissors and slipped them into her pocket, “Let me get my good scissors.” She said, pulling away and opening her drawer.

When she turned around with the silver things in her hand, Hunter’s chest was rising and falling too fast. He looked like he was going to break down sobbing at any second, and Camila immediately put the scissors down and said, “Breathe, Mijo . Please, just take a moment to breathe, you’re working yourself into a panic.”

He nodded, but he seemed to be having some difficulty actually following through with the suggestion. She took his gloved hands, weary of the sensitivity that he seemed to have there, and just held them for a moment. “Follow my breathing.” 

 

 

He managed to calm fairly quickly after that, sitting down on the closed toilet lid and burying his face in his hands. Camila gently rubbed his back, murmuring assurances to him. He finally wiped his eyes and straightened after a few minutes, “Sorry.” he mumbled.

“It’s alright.” Camila brushed his hair back, “I’m just glad you’re okay.” 

“...right.” Hunter wrapped his arms around himself. “I’m sorry I used your scissors without asking.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it.” Camila crouched down in front of him, “I don’t mind.”

Hunter didn’t seem to know what to say to that, so he lapsed into silence. Flapjack tweeted something, tugging on a tuft of uneven hair and Hunter huffed. “Yeah, well, I didn’t like you pulling on it either.”

“Hm?” 

“Oh. Um…Flapjack says he’s going to miss pulling on my…” He gestured to the floor, where a familiar lock of hair lay. “That.” He flushed slightly, “Oh. I’ll um…I’ll make sure I clean it up.”

Camila chuckled, “I’ll help you.”

“I made the mess, I-”

“That’s fine. You clean up enough of our messes.” Camila had the urge to reach out and cup his face in her hand, if only to give him some reassurance, but she wasn’t sure that they were quite there yet. Instead, she put her hand on his shoulder again, “But first, let’s fix up your hair.”

 

Everyone was watching TV now, so no one batted an eye when Camila brought a stool upstairs from the kitchen. A towel was placed over Hunter’s shoulders, and she made sure he was facing the mirror when he sat down, so he could see the scissors. 

Snip. Snip. Snip.

Slowly, cut by cut, Camila managed to shape the rat's nest he had created into a decent cut. He stayed quiet for most of it, Flapjack distracting him when he would stare at the sharp tools in her hand for too long. She told him to tell her if he wanted her to stop, if he was uncomfortable, but he never did. 

She pulled away once, when hair brushed his nose and he sneezed, but soon enough his hair was looking a little more shaped. It was far shorter than before, but Hunter didn’t seem to mind. He was fiddling with it in the mirror after helping Camila bag the hair up and throw it away. “Thank you.” He murmured, an odd expression on his face. Flapjack flew to his head and perched there, tugging on some of the errant strands, tweeting. “No more noodle.” He huffed, reaching up to scratch the bird's head.

“It looks good.” Camila brushed some hair off of his shirt. “Very Hunter.”

“Yeah. It’s…it’s good.” His lips quirked slightly, and Camila was struck by the realization that it was the first genuine smile she’d seen from him. “I love it.”

Camila put the scissors in the drawer, “I’m glad. It’ll be interesting to see everyone’s reaction.”

Hunter's eyes widened. “Oh no.”

Chapter Text

Hunter took a while to get up the nerve to head downstairs and show everyone, but eventually Flapjack and Camila managed to convince him to wander into the living room. Everyone had their eyes glued to the screen as fingers flew over the game buttons, and Amity was the first to notice, her eyes flicking to the two people entering the room.

“Wow. Someone got fancy.” She snorted, gaining everyone else’s attention. 

Luz paused the game, jumping to her feet. “Oh my gosh! You look so good!” 

Hunter flushed as everyone crowded around him, Camila backing away to let everyone see. He was smiling, so she wasn’t too concerned about them crowding him, especially since Vee seemed to want to give him space. “Th-thanks.” He said, rubbing the back of his head.

“Dude, you’ve got the Luz haircut!” Gus laughed, “It looks good, man!”

“Rebel.” Amity crossed her arms, obviously trying to hide a snicker.

“You can’t talk, miss-purple-hair.” Luz ruffled her girlfriend’s hair, making her blush. 

Willow nudged his arm, “It’s super cute, Hunter. Did you cut it yourself?”

Hunter shook his head, still flushed from all the attention. “Um…Ms. Camila did.”

Gus stood on his tiptoes, and Hunter leaned down slightly to let him ruffle the new haircut. “No more hair noodle.” Gus said, clutching his heart dramatically, “This is the greatest loss we’ve sustained so far.”

“Yeah…no more.” Hunter ran his fingers through it. He looked Camila’s way, and she gave him what she hoped was an encouraging smile. He fiddled with his fingers, “Flapjack’s going to need to find a different way to get my attention.”

Flapjack twittered indignantly as Willow chuckled, “I’ll brainstorm with him.”

“Betrayal.” Hunter pushed her slightly.

Luz grinned, “Speaking of betrayal, do you want to come play with us? I’m teaching everyone how to play Mario Kart.”

“...do I even want to know what that is?” 

“Yes! You do!” Gus exclaimed, his expression morphing into one of excitement. “It’s super fun, c’mon! We can ogle over your hair later!”

Amity snorted, and Willow hooked her arm through his. “I’ll teach you how to wallop their butts.” She stage-whispered. 

“I can do that in real life, I’m not sure I need to through the TV.” Hunter said, a sudden playful edge to his tone.

Gus gasped, “Oh, you’re going to eat those words!”

“Are you sure? I’m pretty sure I can beat you all in basic hand-eye coordination.”

Willow pushed his back slightly, “Then get over there and prove it, buster!”



Camila didn’t know just how much she missed hearing children act like children until they were all nearly shattering the windows with their screams of triumph and silly video game induced anger. Hunter was positively terrible , but he didn’t seem to be taking it too seriously, his friends all teasing him for his earlier bravado as he fumbled with the buttons. Somehow Willow was beating all of them, her eyes trained on the screen and her fingers flying over the buttons so fast it looked like it was her life’s mission to beat them all. Vee sat off to the side, watching as Luz shrieked, “How are you so good at this!? We’ve only started playing today! You didn’t even know what a videogame was until then!”

“What can I say?” Willow said, stretching out and taking up as much space as possible, “I’m just a natural.”

“You’ve got to be cheating. There’s no way!” Gus groaned, leaning dramatically against Hunter, who shoved him playfully.

“Nope! Just plain old talent.” Willow flipped one of her braids over her shoulder, then giggled, “And two of my opponents are too busy staring at each other to pay attention to the game anyways.”

Amity blushed, “Hey, we aren’t that bad!”

Gus and Willow exchanged a look, and Amity groaned. Luz reached over and kissed her cheek, “Yep! Totally distracted.”

“Your mom is right there , man.” Gus said.

Camila laughed, “I see nothing.”

“Okay, okay. Let’s do the rainbow one again, I’ll win this time.” Gus said, sitting up straighter, “I can feel it in my bones.”

“Good luck.” Willow said as Luz picked the track.

Hunter set down his controller, “I think I’m done.”

“Aww man, you just started!” Gus complained, “You can’t give up on us now, we need all of us to beat Willow!”

Hunter laughed, “I don’t think we can make a dent in whatever spell she’s using on us.”

“Why’re you tapping out so early?” Luz asked.

“Um…I’m just tired. It’ll still be fun to watch you guys.” He said, rubbing his knuckles vaguely. Camila looked at his hands, wondering if she was imagining the slight tremors running through them. She looked away before he could catch her staring.

“Yeah, okay.” Willow reached over and punched his shoulder softly, “We’ll have our rematch at some point.”

“Some point.” Hunter agreed, “Um…Vee, do you want mine?”

Vee startled, like she wasn’t expecting him to talk to her. She shook her head mutely and went to sit down next to Camila. Camila frowned, “You should play with them.”

“Not now, Mami.” Vee mumbled. “Maybe some other time.”

Camila patted her head, “Okay. You can go against me.”

“Rainbow bridge, it’s time to kick Willow’s butt!” Luz exclaimed, punching her fist into the air, “Once and for all!”  Willow giggled as the other players held their controllers in death grips, looks of pure concentration on their faces as Luz pressed the go button. Hunter leaned back into the couch, his hands in his lap as the Palismen all gathered around their respective partners, watching the chaos on the screen unfold.

Camila was glad they could just be kids for a while.

Chapter Text

Camila flipped through her book, enjoying a little bit of downtime before it was time for her to go to work. The kids were all outside, enjoying the rare sunny weather. Willow had offered to help Camila start a garden and they were all pitching in, digging in the dirt and planting seeds for Willow to grow. It would certainly help with the grocery budget. 

A loud squelching sound from outside made her laugh, wondering if they had gotten into some kind of trouble with the mud. She hoped they would come in caked with it the way Luz used to. The way they should be all able to. 

“I’m glad we can still make things like this.” Amity’s voice came in through the open window, “I was worried we wouldn’t have magic in the human realm.”

“I wonder why glyphs don’t work, even though our magic does?” Willow said, the squelching noises becoming more prominent. 

“Bile sacs, probably.” Gus’s voice said, “Luz doesn’t have one, so she probably drew magic from the titan himself.”

“I guess that makes sense. Abomination, dig.” Amity said in a commanding tone.

A moan from outside made her pause and look up, surprised to see a dark shadow against the window. It was far too big to be human or witch, so she got up and looked outside to confirm that it was nothing to worry about.

She was wrong. A giant purple creature of goop and muck with glowing green eyes was looming over Luz, who was standing completely still in shock. Camila gasped, grabbing the broom leaning against the wall before dashing outside, “Move, Luz!” She yelled, seemingly shocking her out of her trance, the girl flinching slightly before getting out of the way. She gripped the handle of the broom and pointed the solid end at the monster, “Get away from my kids!”

“Ms. Camila, it’s okay!” Willow cried, waving her hands to get Camila’s attention. 

Camila barely heard her, completely focused on protecting the children. She raised her makeshift weapon and took a swat at the creature, easily cutting through the muck. It reshaped itself with a strangled noise. “Everyone -” The monster melted away. Camila looked around, waiting for it to pop up somewhere else, but it never did. She frowned, “What was that?” She asked as she looked around. “Is everyone okay?”

Hunter and Luz both nodded, and Willow said, “Yeah, we’re all fine.”

“That wasn’t going to hurt us!” Gus said, a big grin on his face. "That was Amity’s Abomination!”

“Amity’s…?” Camila finally took the broom out of the air, turning to the girl. “Abomination?”

Amity’s eyes were wide, darting everywhere but Camila as she kicked the ground, “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to freak you out, I just-I just thought it might help us plant the seeds quicker, so we could be finished by the time you have to make dinner. I’m sorry.”

“Oh…oh, no, it’s okay.” Camila felt the cold stone of regret fall into her stomach, “You made that?” A nod. “I’m sorry, Amity. I didn’t know what it was, I thought it might be dangerous.”

“I should have realized you might.” Amity rubbed her arm, “I’ll…I’m…um…”

Willow rubbed the girl’s shoulder, “You were just helping! It’s alright!”

“Yeah…yeah, just helping.” Amity mumbled.

“It’s all good!” Luz said, a very strained smile on her face, “Look, I’m fine! Amity was just doing this!” She pointed to her head, where a crown of flowers had been placed.

Amity’s face went bright red.



After dinner, Camila went to the porch. She knew she would find Amity there - she always went to the porch when she was upset. As the door creaked open, Amity’s eyes flicked to her and back out to the darkness. “Do you mind if I sit with you?” Camila asked softly. Amity shook her head, so she sat next to her, leaving a little bit of space. “Thank you for helping with the garden.” 

Amity refused to meet her eyes, staring down at her feet. “I didn’t. I just freaked you out.”

“I overreacted.” Camila said, “I should have known you guys have powers I don’t know about yet.”

“I made a monster in your garden.”

“Not a monster. A…what did you call it? Abomination?” Amity nodded. “Gus mentioned your abomination magic. He said you were very good at it, but I wasn’t sure what that meant. I guess I do now.” Amity sniffled, and Camila was shocked to see tears falling down her face. “Oh, Amity, baby.” Camila slowly reached out and cupped her face, “It’s okay. It’s okay, I promise.”

Amity pressed her fist to her eye, “I don’t…I don’t know why I’m reacting like this.”

Camila shrugged, “I don’t know why my reaction was to swing a broom at the first thing I didn’t understand.”

“Abominations do look like monsters though. I should have at least told you before I did it.” Amity mumbled, kicking at the dust on the steps. “Titan, why am I so stupid?”

“Amity…you’re not stupid.” Amity just shrugged in response, and Camila put her hand on her shoulder, “Really. I know Luz wouldn’t be so infatuated with you if you were.”

Amity’s cheeks turned pink, and a small smile crept onto her face. “She’s amazing.”

“So are you.” Camila looked out at the garden, where plants encouraged by Willow’s magic were popping out of the ground, “You had a good idea, too. The extra hands would have been helpful. I’m just a little on edge, I suppose.”

“...yeah. It can’t be easy, what you’re doing for us.”

“It’s not.” Camila agreed, “But I wouldn’t dream of ever doing otherwise. You’re all amazing kids. Though it is strange having more than one child in the house.”

Amity wiped her eyes and chuckled slightly, “I’ve never been alone in the house, so it’s pretty normal to me.”

“You have siblings?”

“Two. They’re twins, both older than me.” Her smile turned slightly wistful, “Emera and Edric. They’re chaotic enough that it feels about the same as home.”

Camila smiled, “Oh?”

“Yeah. They were always in trouble. Whether that be with our parents or…y’know, the government.” 

“Good for them. Young rebels.”

That got an actual laugh out of the girl, and it softened the concern Camila felt for her. “I was the ‘good kid’ of the family.” She snorted, “And as soon as I wasn’t, my life got a lot better. It’s weird, I always thought that being the good kid was my only option.”

“And you’re glad you decided not to follow the rules anymore?”

“As soon as I stopped taking things so seriously, and stopped listening to my Mom, everything got better. I became friends with Willow again, I stopped being a jerk, my siblings and I got along better…and of course, I got the best girlfriend in the universe.” She sighed, “I even started talking to my dad more. Or he started talking to me.”

Camila had wondered about Amity’s family life, considering how she acted around her sometimes, and the confirmation didn’t relieve her in any way. “Your parents are…complicated, weren’t they?”

Amity looked up at her, hesitating. “I mean…my dad’s a pretty cool guy. I really love him, and I think he really loved us too, he just…he was always distracted. Busy. I don’t know if it was because of my Mom or because he just didn’t have the time for us, but…it doesn’t matter now. He tried hard at the end. And…and now I don’t even know if he-if he’s…” Tears filled her eyes again, and she furiously wiped them away. “And I hate it because the last time I saw my Mom we fought, and-and I don’t know how I feel about her anymore because-” Her mouth snapped shut, and she flushed again. “I’m…I’m sorry, I shouldn’t put this on you.”

Camila let the quiet overtake them as she thought of what to say. In the end, she decided on; “Can I hug you?”

Amity blinked in suprise and slowly nodded. “Okay.”

“Tell me if you want me to stop.” Camila scooted closer, wrapping Amity in a gentle hug. Amity didn’t take long before hugging her back, and Camila whispered, “You can tell me anything. I promise, I’ll never look down on you for it. If anything, it’ll just make me want to whoop your parent’s behinds.”

Amity let out a wet giggle, “I’d love to see that.”

“They’ve both got a Chancla coming to them.” Camila ruffled the girl’s hair as she broke the hug.

“Maybe…maybe just my Mom.” Amity said, her conflicted emotions obvious as they crossed her face. “My dad’s really a good guy, I think.”

“Hm…okay, but if you ever need it -” Camila mimed a throwing motion, “Bam bam.”

“I’ll remember that.” Amity leaned against her, slowly putting her head on Camila’s shoulder. Camila rubbed her back, letting her have a moment to just sit. If Amity wanted to tell her more, she would, but for now, she was content to just be a solid rock in her chaotic life.