Micah sat down, taking in his surroundings. The illuminated ruins to their side, the candles surrounding them, the flowers, the champagne… it was a lot, even for Love Day.
“You didn’t have to go all out like this for crummy old me.” He told Morgyn from across the table. “I’m fairly low key, you know.”
“I’m not.” The sage replied with a nonchalant grin. “Going all out is my signature style…”
That did not surprise Micah. “Thought as much. The food and drink’s all yours though. I’ve… eaten.”
Morgyn pulled a face. “Not even the wine?”
Micah gaze travelled from the bowl of ceviche to the empty glass before him. “I mean, I can eat and drink, if it makes you feel more comfortable.” He shrugged. “Just won’t feel all too great afterwards.”
“That won’t be necessary.” The spellcaster helped themselves to some wine.
“I’ve got to say though, out of everyone I’ve ever dated, you are definitely the most difficult to wine and dine.” Morgyn added teasingly.
Micah smirked. “Not at all. I’m pretty easy. You can just let me drink a bit more of your blood and consider me dined.”
The sage’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so.”
Not that Micah expected a different response. He didn’t imagine Morgyn would care to repeat the experience from the duelling grounds any time soon. Perhaps someday.
Until then, he’d have to settle for whatever knowledge he could get them to share directly. Something told him that wouldn’t be a whole lot either. Morgyn wasn’t foolish enough to reveal all of their cards at once. No, Micah was fully aware the sage would only offer the bare minimum to keep him interested. Might as well play along. It wasn’t like a candle-lit date was unpleasant.
“Worth a shot.” He said, smiling impishly.
“Fortune favours the bold.” Morgyn agreed. “That’s why I like you. You know what you want.”
The vampire snickered. He may have had the odd bold moment, but definitely hadn’t encountered a lot of fortune coming his way.
“I’m an open book, clearly.” He looked into Morgyn’s eyes. “Unlike you.”
“You say that, and yet, I’ve been more open with you than I have been with anyone.” The spellcaster revealed. “At least, anyone in a long time.”
Micah studied their face. The last remark intrigued him, but he decided not to prod. It was unlikely Morgyn would reveal more on the matter, and in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t important.
What did matter was that the sage was as honest as they were willing to get with any other person at this point in time, apparently. And that was something Micah could use to his advantage, to get the information he so desperately yearned for. The vampire was of course not oblivious to the fact that even this level of so-called honesty wasn’t fully by the spellcaster’s choice. Not that he was going to point that out. Even if Morgyn hadn’t repeated the words power and control several times in the botanical gardens, it didn’t take a genius to realise they wanted to feel in charge.
“Do you find it hard to get vulnerable with people?” Micah asked instead.
“Hard?” Morgyn frowned. “It’s not difficult to overshare. It’s just unwise.”
“That would make sense for someone like me – when you’re a vampire and your only company is a bunch of other vampires who have centuries on you, oversharing is the last thing you’d want to do.” Micah offered his take on the matter. “But as a mortal, especially one that’s already in a position of power… it just sounds exhausting. Everyone needs to relax sometimes.”
“You don’t get to become and stay the sage of the untamed by being relaxed.” Morgyn said. “And as you assessed yourself when we first met, I’m not exactly mortal.”
“You’re not exactly immortal, either, though.” Micah retorted back.
“Same difference.” The sage’s tone was almost defiant. “As long as I keep casting the Rejuvenate spell on myself every year, I won’t age another day.”
Now there was some of that knowledge. Not tremendously useful to Micah, but he was on the right track.
And then he stopped himself. It seemed almost too easy to push Morgyn’s buttons now that he’d learned a bit about the sage. Perhaps it was the edge he’d gained by drinking the sage’s blood. Or perhaps it was because he’d seen Verena do it. Did he unwittingly become more like her over the last decade than he had thought?
That thought alone repulsed him. Sure, he was just doing what he had to in order to regain his humanity… but if the path to that meant he would need to turn into his former vampire mistress, then what was even the point?
“I… guess that’s true.” His voice wavered. “You know what’s best for you. All I meant to say is that constantly putting on a front must be tiring and lonely… scratch that, I know it’s tiring and lonely. Because that’s been my life these last 13 years.” He added, completely abandoning all strategy.
He was not like Verena. He was just someone who desperately wanted to feel alive. But maybe Morgyn wasn’t that dissimilar to him.
For a moment, the sage didn’t say anything. Then they stood up and walked over to Micah.
“That could be different now, though.” Morgyn whispered, drawing closer. “You don’t have to be lonely…”
“And we’ll live happily ever after?” The vampire let out a dry laugh.
The sage hesitated. “Committed relationships aren’t a particular strong suit of mine.” They looked directly at him. “I’m not exactly making any promises here.”
“Neither am I.” Micah noticed how hoarse his own voice sounded. He pulled Morgyn towards him. “Only mortals can promise forever.”
The spellcaster leaned in closer. “Would you like to spend the night in the magic realm with me?”
Micah decided no words were necessary in response, opting for closing the last bit of distance between them instead.
The dawn was almost about to start creeping in by the time Micah exited the portal from the magic realm. Luckily, he didn’t have far to go.
He felt strangely giddy. It had been years since he’d done anything like this, and he hadn’t expected to ever be able to, not since he became a vampire. The whole experience reminded him of a time long lost. Sneaking in and out of a lover’s room to prevent alerting the rest of their household. Discovering each other’s bodies for the first time.
And now doing the walk of shame, or whatever this was. He almost felt alive again. Which was what Morgyn had promised, hadn’t they?
As he approached the house, he spotted Cordelia emerging from within the tree opening. He hadn’t seen her around ever since that evening she burst into his room.
She didn’t say anything to him, but their eyes met. Micah’s mood immediately shifted, an awkwardness overcoming him, He didn’t know that much about her relationship with Morgyn, but he gathered enough to be aware she would not be happy about what just went down between him and the sage.
He reminded himself that she had no way of knowing where he was returning from. For all she knew, he could be coming back from a perfectly innocent moonlit stroll. As if any stroll involving vampires was innocent…
“I need to get inside,” he motioned towards the house. She followed along.
She looked nervous. Of course she was. She had every right to be terrified of him.
“Come for another house viewing?” He asked non-committally.
“Actually, I was thinking of moving in.” She didn’t sound particularly certain. “If that’s ok with you, I mean.”
“Wasn’t this your home first?” Micah pointed out. “You don’t need to ask for my permission.”
“I guess not.” She looked like she wanted to say something else.
Micah glanced towards the window. It was getting brighter. He needed to get himself away… But he felt he should try to say something to reassure her about this living arrangement, as ridiculous as the whole situation was.
“I meant what I said the other day. You don’t have to worry about me nibbling at your throat while you sleep. I’ll source my… sustenance elsewhere.” He hoped she wouldn’t dwell on him pausing to avoid the word blood.
She gave him the strangest look. He could tell she was still scared of him but she almost seemed… curious? She was such a peculiar mortal.
“Do you believe in fate, Micah?” Cordelia asked just as he was about to head up.
“What?” Fate. She had to be kidding.
“Morgyn followed you to Forgotten Hollow. And I followed them… ended up in your house… and now we’re sharing a house again. Was that always meant to happen?”
Did she think he had some profound life truths to offer because he was a vampire? She was probably just trying to make sense of everything that happened, Micah thought. But he had nothing to offer in that department.
“No.” He said firmly. “Life is messed up. Yours – probably messed up. Mine – definitely messed up. Saying it was always supposed to be that way is just cruel. Now, I really need to get to my coffin…”
He didn’t wait for her to respond and sped up the stairs. He had no time to waste on nonsense like fate. And if Cordelia had any sense, she should realise that neither did she.