Micah had never seen the magic realm HQ like this. Golden-lined curtains, drink fountains, uncomfortable looking obnoxious sofas. Clearly all Morgyn’s doing, he thought as his eyes traversed the hall. He wondered how long he’d have to stay.
Having been frozen in time for decades now, years passing didn’t make much of a difference to the vampire anymore. But this time, New Year’s Eve felt different. For once, he’d actually be stepping into the new year with a clean slate.
He spotted Morgyn by one of the banquet tables. Let’s get this over with, Micah thought to himself.
“Where is your better half?” The sage asked instead of a greeting once he was close enough.
Micah scoffed. “Were you really expecting her to come to this thing? Even you can’t be that delusional.”
Morgyn’s eyes were searching. Micah didn’t like it. “Frankly, I was not even sure if you would show.” The sage replied, turning serious.
“I considered it.” Micah admitted. “But I thought this should be done in person.”
Morgyn’s eyes narrowed. “Ah. And what would ‘this’ be, exactly?”
They had to have some kind of inkling; Micah mused. Morgyn was not dumb, and things have been rocky for the last few years, to say the least. But clearly, the sage wasn’t planning on making this easy.
“Can we talk? In private?” Micah asked.
“Here is perfectly fine.” Morgyn’s lips formed a practiced grin.
Of course they’d insist on being frustrating and difficult. What else was new. “Whatever.” Micah huffed.
He considered what to say next for a moment. “You didn’t cast the spell on Cordelia, did you?”
“She didn’t want me to.” The sage shrugged.
“Oh, and you’re telling me that now is the time when you suddenly start caring about what other people want? It would have nothing to do with what you want, would it?”
“Are you saying you would have preferred for me to cast the spell on her against her will?” Morgyn’s tone was infuriating. Of course Micah was not saying that, and the sage had to know that, but they’d never miss an opportunity to go on this merry-go-round…
“Do I need to remind you it needs to be cast every year to remain effective?” Morgyn carried on. “I’m not sure what you expected me to do. Trap her into an endless loop of immortality that she doesn’t desire, didn’t ask for? Sounds an awful lot like what happened to you. The very condition you were so hell-bent on ‘curing’ when we first met.”
“Another front you never delivered on, thanks for reminding me.” Micah interjected. Perhaps Morgyn wouldn’t make things all that difficult after all. “I’m sick of you twisting everything I say. I’m sick of your false promises. I’m done.”
“Took you long enough to get to the real reason you came here.” The sage replied. “Had to work yourself up, list all the perceived times I failed you… If you are truly so done, then why is it so hard for you to walk away?”
Micah was worked up, sure, but wasn’t that precisely what Morgyn wanted? They’d always default to mind games eventually, wouldn’t they? Typical Morgyn. “It is not hard to walk away from this version of you. Nothing you just said is real.” The vampire pointed out.
“Is that so?” The sage raised an eyebrow. “I think you lie to yourself far more than I have ever lied to you.”
“Well maybe I’m done lying.” He felt more and more agitated by the minute. “Done fighting a stupid spell that never mattered in the first place.”
“And you and Cordelia will live happily ever after?” Morgyn asked, their tone mocking.
“You don’t know the first thing about what’s between her and me.”
Another of Morgyn’s stupid fake smiles. “Ah yes, you two have found each other.” The sage nodded. “Thanks to me. You’re welcome.”
“Thanks to you? That is rich. Thanks for casting a spell on us to make sure we can never tell what is and isn’t real. A spell that can’t be broken unless we die. And then you go and preach to me about casting spells against people’s will?”
Seemed like this was the first time tonight Micah actually managed to strike a nerve. “Not this again. How many times have we been through this? Dying doesn’t break a love spell. Willpower does. I know that for a fact. Maybe you chose not to break it, but that is a choice. Your choice.”
Bullshit, Micah wanted to say. Then again, every word that ever left Morgyn’s mouth was bullshit, wasn’t it? Sometimes bullshit with a thin coating of gold, but bullshit all the same.
“Once again, you’re full of it. You’re contradicting yourself, you know that?” Micah pointed out. “Claiming credit for us ‘finding each other,’ but saying we had a choice all along. So which is it?
Morgyn shook their head. “Why would those two things be mutually exclusive? I am pleased that at least you’re finally ‘done fighting the stupid spell,’ as you’ve put it, if you’re not going to break it. The approach you two have been taking so far is by far the most frustrating one you could have chosen.”
“Just shut up. What’s between her and me has nothing to do with you. You yourself claimed I had feelings for her even before the love spell. I bet that’s why you’ve cast it. To confuse us. To make it go away. But you know what, it’s been almost 20 years since the damn spell. The spell doesn’t matter. Because I know for a fact that what I feel for her is far more real than anything you and I ever had.”
Morgyn’s expression hardened. “Touching.”
“I pity you, Morgyn.” Micah concluded his speech while he was ahead, before Morgyn found more ways to use his own words against him. “So busy hiding behind your shiny hooks that you can’t even tell you’re living a lie. You may have forever, but your forever is empty.”
This was likely the point when Morgyn would try to convince him that what they were offering had any substance at all. Enough of falling for that trap. They’ve done this dance too many times.
“Quite the view you have there from that high horse of yours.” Morgyn said, their tone eerily calm. “Almost makes you forget that you hate yourself. You lecture me about lies? You and I aren’t that different.”
It was not quite what Micah had expected. High horse? Hardly. Morgyn couldn’t be more wrong.
“All you ever gave me was lies.” He said simply.
“Yes, you mentioned. Lies, shiny hooks and false promises, I’ve heard the list.” Morgyn replied with a brief nod. “Have you been listening to yourself, though? You’ve just made an impassioned speech about your feelings towards the woman you love. When you first met her, she was barely more than food to you. False promises? You wanted to regain your humanity. Do you feel you have not?”
Morgyn’s eyes were locked onto Micah’s. That look trying to remind him of all the times it seemed like the sage was the only person that could truly understand him. But that was just another part of Morgyn’s lies, Micah reminded himself.
Now was not the time to back down.
“Then I guess there’s nothing more I need from you.” He told Morgyn.
He did not linger. The cut was clean. He walked out of the hall without another word, or a single glance back.
Cordelia was reading when he walked in. Micah smiled to himself. So much for her being self-conscious about not being “well-read enough” for Morgyn. As if most of Morgyn’s supposed knowledge didn’t come straight out of their behind anyway.
“You’re home early.” She looked up from her book.
“You would have hated the thing.” He told her.
She frowned. “I know. That’s why I didn’t go.”
“Had the right idea all along,” Micah nodded. He had no clue how to approach this. “Listen, I… I’ll not be going to any more functions in the magic realm any time soon.”
Cordelia didn’t seem to be paying that much attention. “Oh?” She barely acknowledged him as she got up to put her book away. Clearly he had to be more explicit.
“I’m done. With Morgyn, I mean. We don’t need them do we?”
“We? What are you talking about, Micah?” Cordelia replied. “Listen, whatever is going on with you and Morgyn, don’t feel like you need to cut it off on my account.”
“On your account? No, I…” Micah paused. How could he explain himself, exactly? “I thought we’d be better off if we… If I…”
Cordelia’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t particularly need to hear any of this. You and Morgyn-“
“Fuck Morgyn. Are you not sick of pretending? I know I am. I thought if we ignore it for long enough, it would go away. I thought being on Morgyn’s good side was in our best interest. But I’m done with that. We don’t need Morgyn.”
“Micah, what are you talking about? Nothing’s changed.”
“Exactly. Almost 20 years, and nothing’s changed. Cordelia, why can’t we just be? Forget Morgyn, forget all of these Glimmerbrook assholes. Forget the love spell. Just you and me. I’m so tired of fighting this. And what was there to fight in the first place?”
Cordelia stared at him for a moment. “I don’t know what you want from me.”
He was making a mess of things. As per usual. “Tell me, if there was no love spell, where do you think you and I would be?”
“I don’t know. You’d still be at the ball, I assume.” Her tone was bitter.
“Cordelia, stop that. Maybe you wouldn’t have me, but you have to know I would love you either way. I know you think this is all made up. But it isn’t to me. Hasn’t been for a long time. Love spell, no love spell, why does that even matter anymore?”
“Micah, no. Like I said, nothing’s changed. I… I’ll always care for you, you know that. But I can never love you. Hell, I don’t know if I can ever love anyone again. But especially not you.”
Of course she couldn’t love him. Not really. Micah understood that. But the frustration over years of watching her waste her life away was stronger.
“Don’t say that. Of course you can still love someone. Maybe not me, but…”
“What is love, anyway? Tell me Micah, do you know anyone who’s been better off thanks to love?”
The answer to that was no, but it wasn’t a fair question. Before this life… there was no love among the members of the coven. And before that… He didn’t want to think about Carys. None of this was the point of this whole conversation. Cordelia needed to live. With him, without him, it didn’t matter.
“You have plenty of love in you. Love for Hawthorne. Love for Dandelion. You have so much to give. Cordelia, please. Don’t shut yourself off from the world. Watching you like this… you could have so much more. You could have everything. Please.”
“I don’t understand what you want, Micah. Whatever you want from me, I can’t give you it.” She caught him off. “You feel guilty, I get that. Don’t. Don’t feel guilty over me.”
“Cordelia…” He wanted to say he didn’t feel guilt, but she’d know that was a blatant lie. Of course he felt guilt. He woke up full of guilt, every night. No amount of plasma fruit would change that. But that was a different kind of guilt. Did he feel guilty over her as well? Yes. But that didn’t change the way he felt about her.
“Have the feelings… gone away?” he asked her finally.
She looked away. “That’s hardly the point. It’s not real, remember?”
Micah shook his head. “I know what’s real. I don’t care about the love spell. I love you.”
She looked like a statue, frozen in time. “I… I can’t give you what you want.” She repeated.
What did she think he wanted? Was there anything he could demand from her? Of course not. “Do you… when Hawthorne moved out… Do you still want me to stay?”
She looked into his eyes, but it didn’t feel like she really saw him. “Stay. Go. Do whatever you want. I’m going to bed.”