The sound of Cordelia and Dandelion’s chatter grew louder as Micah made his way downstairs. The vampire smiled to himself. He was glad those two were spending Harvestfest together, seemed like both of them needed that.
Ever since Morgyn told him about Dandy’s age, Micah looked at Cordelia’s relationship with the elf differently. It was definitely a good thing she didn’t believe him when he told her about Dandelion’s feelings; what good would have come of that? Still, it made some memories of his own resurface, long-forgotten mortal memories that had almost slipped his mind. A boy’s first crush…
Of course, this being Micah’s life, a smile would never stay on his face for long…
His body froze at the sight of the gnome in front of him. The glowing eyes, the scythe. It was all too familiar. It was odd how quickly his mind transported to his last day with the coven, him and Delphine staring at Verena, his decision solidifying… in some ways, it felt like a whole other life, but at the same time, he still remembered exactly how he felt back then. Cold. Dead inside.
Was Verena back to claim him? And why on earth where Dandelion and Cordelia completely at ease?
“You two better get out of here right now!” He yelled into the kitchen.
“What? Why?” Cordelia called over her shoulder. “The turkey’s in the oven, we can’t exactly up and leave…”
“The gnome- gnomes?” Micah corrected himself as he spotted another gnome on the kitchen counter, and yet another at Cordelia’s feet.
“Wait, you of all people are afraid of a few Harvestfest gnomes?” Cordelia giggled.
“Harvestfest gnomes?” Micah repeated, looking around the kitchen uncertainly.
“You weren’t too sure about them when you first saw them last year either, Cordie.” Dandelion turned from the cooking hobs, giving Micah an encouraging grin.
“I wasn’t scared of them.” Cordelia retorted. The egg she was holding slipped from her hand, falling right into the batter mixture with a loud crack. “Rats!”
“The gnomes come visit Sylvan Glade every Harvestfest.” Dandelion explained. “Seems they’ve ventured out a bit further this time.”
“Right.” Micah glanced back at the gnome with the glowing eyes. Didn’t seem to be changing or taking on a vampire form. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, then. After all, surely Verena would be back to her former appearance by now.
“Are you joining us for dinner tonight? There’s way too much food for just Cordie and me,” Dandelion said brightly. “Though I guess you wouldn’t be eating. I mean, I can run to Sylvan Glade quickly and pick up-“
“Sorry, I already have plans.” Micah interrupted the elf.
Naturally, Cordelia’s posture and expression changed in an instant. Micah felt a surge of guilt seeing her face fall like that.
“Micah is seeing Morgyn tonight, Dandy.” She said quietly.
“Oh. Right.” The elf looked at her uncertainly, his own smile wavering for a brief moment. “Do you… would you rather go with Micah and spend Harvestfest with Morgyn too, Cordie? I can stay on my own, I mean, the gnomes are here, so…”
“Oh god, Dandy, no.” Cordelia looked as if she wanted to disappear, but of course, Dandelion was oblivious to the cue, his grin returning.
“I best go.” Micah cleared his throat.
He hated this. All of it. Especially now, the more he got to know Cordelia. Best get out of her sight, stop the reminders. Hopefully, Dandelion would cheer her up, distract her.
The vampire sighed as he headed out, but he couldn’t help but glance back before leaving the house. It wasn’t the gnome his eyes lingered on now, though.
“I remember this place.” Micah noted as they sat down, looking around the Windenburg ruins. He still felt on edge, Cordelia’s face haunting him. He tried to turn his focus back to the date. “You took me here for Love Day.”
“That I did,” Morgyn nodded. “And this time, you won’t go hungry, what an upgrade… what exactly is the meal you brought? Some kind of fruit?” The sage dug into their own meal.
“The working name is plasma fruit,” Micah said evasively. “It’s… experimental.”
Micah still hadn’t shared any of the secrets of Dandelion’s Sylvan Glade gift with Morgyn, or anyone for that matter. He had assumed the sage would be curious how he’d tamed his thirst after all this time, but if they were, they never let it known.
“Hm.” As expected, Morgyn didn’t fish for any further detail. Perhaps this was their way of trying to get Micah to tell them more how he sustained himself. But perhaps not.
It was so hard to tell if Morgyn cared at all. This wasn’t one of Morgyn’s switched on, mesmerising moments like the one back at the magic realm cemetery. The sage seemed distracted, their mind clearly only halfway here. Or maybe it was him who was not present, still on edge from earlier. Micah wasn’t sure. He just knew he had to say something.
“How much longer is this going to go on?” The words escaped Micah’s lips before he could stop them.
“I beg your pardon?” Morgyn stopped mid-bite.
“Don’t play coy with me.” Micah wasn’t in the mood for one of the sage’s games. “You know what I’m talking about. This whole mess – you, me, Cordelia… it’s been going on for too long.”
“I thought one of the few virtues of a vampire was patience.” The spellcaster said calmly.
“I thought by now you know me better than that.” Micah snapped back.
Morgyn sighed, putting their knife and fork aside. They looked directly into Micah’s eyes. “What is it you want, Micah?”
“I want you to choose. We can’t go on like this. I can’t go on like this. So choose, her or me.”
Micah hadn’t intended to be quite so blunt, but it all seemed to be pouring out now. No going back. No more poker face. No more games.
It was freeing in a sense. However the sage might respond, surely it would be easier to deal with than the current situation.
“Fine. I choose you.” Morgyn replied without hesitation.
The vampire blinked, incredulous. Felt like it took him longer to process the response than how long Morgyn took to make up their mind.
“You choose me?” He repeated. “Just like that? But…“
The sage frowned. “Micah, why is it so impossibly hard to make you happy?”
Their words eerily reminded him of Verena. Micah, always so miserable. Always the martyr. And all I do is try to make you happy… Her words rung in his head as if she was here. Was it just the earlier brush with the past he had before leaving the house?
He wondered what came of his former mistress. It shocked him how much seeing the gnomes shook him, how much she still made his skin crawl, even though she wasn’t anywhere near here. And the idea that his lover was anything like her in any way made Micah incredibly uncomfortable.
Why would Morgyn question his reaction? After all these months, he had a right to feel disillusioned if the sage could make their choice this easily. If that was the case, why string them both along in the first place?
“Cordelia’s going to devastated.” He realised.
“You let me deal with Cordelia.” Morgyn said. “We still have the whole night ahead of us. So… to us, I suppose.”
The sage raised their glass.
He was supposed to feel relieved, Micah thought. It was what he asked for, and the response tipped in his favour. So why did even the plasma fruit suddenly lose all appeal?
He still didn’t feel quite right when he rose from his coffin the next night. But there was no time to assess the situation. Cordelia was sat on the floor in his bedroom, motionless.
For a moment, neither of them said anything. The look in her eyes told him all he needed to know.
“You spoke to Morgyn.” Micah said finally, although he knew how pointless his statement was.
“I want the house.” Her voice was dull, distant.
Micah wasn’t sure how he expected her to react. But it wasn’t this. He thought back on the time she cried in his lap in that cave, back when Morgyn was gone. That girl wasn’t here tonight.
“Cordelia, I didn’t want this.” He told her.
“Funny.” She said flatly. “Seems like all these things that you don’t want just keep happening to you. Through no involvement of your own. So how is it that you somehow always end up with everything?”
Micah opened his mouth, and then promptly closed it. There was nothing he could say in response.
“I want the house.” She repeated. “You already have it all. Go live with Morgyn in the magic realm or whatever. I don’t care. But this place is mine. Let me keep my home.”
Micah didn’t understand why she’d want to stay there. All the memories of the two of them living there, his paintings on almost every wall… But if the house was what she wanted, she could have it. She wasn’t wrong, he’d already taken too much from her.
“Ok. It’s yours. I’ll pack as soon as I’ve… fed.” Definitely not the time to get into his fruit arrangement with Dandelion, he thought.
“No. You don’t need to pack. You already have everything.” She reiterated her earlier words, her voice trembling slightly. “Just get out of here. Please.”
Hopefully Dandelion would let him borrow some clothes, even though it would be a tight fit, Micah thought.
He half-looked over his shoulder on his way out, but he didn’t dare turn around fully, or say anything else. She was right. He did this to her.
Didn’t matter that all he’d wanted was to make things right.