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chapter 51


Warnings: Coarse language, a teeny bit of magic violence





chapter 51
Bad things happen to good people. It's the one thing he was sure of in life.


chapter 51
But how could he tell her that? She didn't deserve this. Her boy didn't deserve it. It was simple enough to say suck it up and deal with the cards life hands you. It wasn't fair, but that's the way the world is, and maybe this is all just part of the greater scheme of things.

Who said it had to be?


chapter 51
The thing about fate is you never know when it decides to make an unexpected turn.  Maybe that was the reason why he was here.


chapter 51
In any case, it was time for him to check out. He's lingered here way too long.


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No one saw him leave.







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chapter 51
There were several directions that Willow could have taken to make it to her house in the woods. It was far from the main roads, and any man-made paths had been overgrown a long time ago. 


chapter 51
The day had gone by in a blur. She had thought she was happy rejoining civilization, if only for a little while. But everything went quickly wrong. Why was everything always going wrong?

The morning had ended in spectacular failure. The accident was clearly her fault but no one knew that. Except maybe Jasmine...



chapter 51
Adrian: He's okay. He isn't hurt too much.


chapter 51
Jasmine: That just could have ended up a lot worse than it was.
Adrian: It was just an accident.  It happens.
Jasmine: Uh huh.
Adrian: Is there anything else going on?
Jasmine: No. I mean, I don't know, I should find Willow.

chapter 51
Adrian: Jasmine, Cecilia's pretty upset. Maybe you should talk to her first...
Jasmine: Crap... she's just being overdramatic as usual. She'll be okay. 
Adrian: You think maybe after everything that's happened lately, she has good reason to be "overdramatic"?

But Jasmine was already walking in the opposite direction.



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Jasmine: I'll only be a few minutes.


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Jasmine: Tell me that you had nothing to do with that accident. I just need to hear it from you.
Willow: Well I guess I can't tell you what you want to hear.



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Jasmine: Willow... all this magic stuff. Do you even know what you're doing anymore?
Willow: Of course I know what I'm doing. I helped. Someone had to.


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Jasmine: I don't know how making someone drive into a light post helped.
Willow: Well no one got hurt.
Jasmine: Not this time. Willow, honestly, what's going on with you?
Willow: Maybe it is better if I just stayed away from everything and everyone. 


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Jasmine: Right, because that is obviously the most sane thing to do.
Willow: It'll just be easier for everyone involved.

Jasmine sighed and watched her best friend go.




chapter 51
Adrian looked towards Cecilia uncertainly. He hardly knew her and here he was suddenly feeling responsible for her.

She was playing with the cat before it ran out into the street in front of that car. For a while, she was hysterical. She blamed herself for the whole thing.


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Cecilia: Where's Jasmine?
Adrian: She'll be a minute.


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Cecilia: A minute? She took off with Willow didn't she?
Adrian: No... they're just talking...
Cecilia: Talking. Like it's no big deal to just ditch me and send her boyfriend to babysit me?  I'm only her sister.


chapter 51
Adrian: She didn't ditch you. It isn't like that...
Cecilia: Don't make any excuses for her.


chapter 51
Cecilia: I'm obviously not as important as Willow. If Jasmine asks, you could tell her to go to hell.






chapter 51
Willow drifted around campus, trying to regain any kind of sense of familiarity and comfort from being in the halls. It didn't help, and everytime she saw someone she knew, she'd walk away before being noticed.

Jasmine was no where to be found. Willow looked for her a little while but decided she should stick to her earlier words. She should just leave.


chapter 51
She wasn't used to walking this far anymore. It was much easier to teleport around if she needed to get anywhere. It didn't seem to be doing much harm.

But today, she felt weak and tired. She tried to summon magic, but it wouldn't come to her.  She felt like she had used everything she had steering that car away from the cat.

No one was hurt, she tried to tell herself again. No one was killed. 

"Not this time."


chapter 51
Willow: Jasmine?!

She spun around wondering how Jasmine managed to follow her. She thought it was her voice she heard, but now she was thinking that maybe she imagined it.  

A chill crawled up her spine. She suddenly didn't feel alone.  Was this one of Clara's tricks? 


chapter 51
She couldn't help but feel vulnerable.

Willow: You're being ridiculous. There's no one there. Malcolm is dealing with Clara. ..

Clara wasn't a threat to her anymore. Malcolm reassured her of that. But how could she trust him? What if this whole thing was just another one of Clara's elaborate illusions?


chapter 51
She forced herself to stop thinking about it. This wasn't an illusion. This was real. Clara can't hurt her anymore...



chapter 51
It didn't stop the eerie feeling she was getting that she wasn't alone. She quickened her pace up the hill.


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But her feet caught up in the dry underbrush and suddenly she found herself falling.


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chapter 51
She had half-slid and half rolled down the hill ungracefully.  She was more embarassed than hurt, even though no one was around to see her fall.  Testing her leg, she winced, realizing that she hurt it a little badly.

Maybe magic could fix that...

chapter 51
Even now, the spells she needed still weren't coming to her. She was getting frustrated. Magic seemed to come to her randomly, and not necessarily when she wanted it to. Healing shouldn't take too much, she thought. And she really needed to get up and get out of here quickly. It was late afternoon, and it would soon be getting dark.


chapter 51
Cautiously, she stood up, using the tree to support her. Slowly she took  a step. Her leg hurt, but it didn't seem serious. Probably just a bad bruise.  Nothing twisted, nothing broken.


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It still hurt. She knew that she wasn't too far away from home, at least. 


chapter 51
She thought she heard something. The sounds echoed throughout the woods. She wasn't sure where it was coming from.


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chapter 51
There was silence. And then the distinct rustling of dead leaves and breaking twigs. Someone was here.


chapter 51
What if it was Clara? What if there were other witches out there putting her in danger? What if it was the undead? And she was out here by herself with a hurt leg...

She could see a dark figure moving in the trees, hidden by the branches. Panic seized her.


chapter 51



chapter 51
The magic came to her now, along with the spell she needed to defend herself. Before she realized exactly what she was doing, it fired.


chapter 51
She heard the zap of the energy as it struck something. It was followed by a dull thud as a body hit the hard packed earth.


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She hesitated a moment before she ran to the intruder...


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... as she approached, she recognized who it was.  She cried out in horror.

"Rowan!!!"


chapter 51
She panicked for entirely different reasons now. Who she thought was an intruder was just her brother. But what was he doing out in the woods?

He was still alive. Whatever spell she used had only knocked him out.


chapter 51
Willow: Rowan? Rowan! I'm sorry, oh god, I'm sorry! Someone? Help!

She looked around, knowing there was probably no one there to help her. He wasn't bleeding. He didn't seem to have hit his head when he fell.  His breath was shallow and his skin was cold.  But at least he was alive.


chapter 51
She hoped he wasn't any internal damage as she tried to move him. The spell only knocked him out, but it shouldn't have damaged him. She hoped.

He moaned, and it sounded more annoyed than pained. That was a good sign.

Right now, it wasn't helping that he was so heavy.






chapter 51
Meadow didn't want to sleep, no matter how tired she was. Sleep had become a strange enemy. She was afraid of falling asleep and leaving Sage to the waking world by himself. She finally had to take something to calm her nerves.

The pills knocked her right now. But it wasn't rest. Maybe, if only for a while, she could be in Sage's world.


chapter 51
It wasn't dark. That was reassuring.

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At least in sleep, there are dreams.


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The toy sat discarded below the window.


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She recognized it. It might have belonged to Sage, she wasn't sure.


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Quietly, she stooped to pick it up. Movement from outside caught her eye.


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chapter 51
Sage?


chapter 51
Sage was outside, crawling across the cracked and dirty driveway. Meadow pounded against the glass, calling his name, telling him to come back to the hospital. 


chapter 51
It was futile. He couldn't hear her from where he was. She watched terrified as he crossed the driveway to the park next door.

There he waited.

chapter 51
At the edge of the park, a shadow began to take form. Something Meadow imagined when Otto was telling his story. She walked swiftly towards Sage.

chapter 51

chapter 51
With him in her arms, she walked away.

Meadow could have broken the glass the way she was hitting it. Frantically, she screamed her son's name.

chapter 51


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chapter 51
"Sage?"



----------------------------



chapter 51
It seemed to take way too long to drag Rowan's dead weight through the woods. Finally as the sun started setting, she made it to her house.

She'd stop every so often to try a spell to wake him, but again the magic died on her. It was sure and potent when she was trying to hurt someone, she thought to herself sadly.   


chapter 51
Willow: I'm so sorry, Rowan.

She had been apologizing to him over and over all this time. She took out her wand and once again tried to cast a spell that would wake him. She could see the words she needed in her head. She spoke the spell... but again the magic fizzled out. No energy came to her. Nothing to help Rowan with.


chapter 51
Rowan: What the..?!

She shrieked as Rowan snapped up, eyes wide and awake.
Willow: Rowan!
Rowan: Willow? Where the hell... what happened?



chapter 51
Rowan: Why do I feel I've been hit by a train?
Willow: I'm so sorry! I didn't know it was you...
Rowan: Didn't know it was me...? What did you do to me?
Willow: I thought you were an intruder...


chapter 51
Rowan: Wait... Did you fucking blast me?
Willow: I didn't mean to!
Rowan: You did. You fucking used magic and knocked me out. What the fuck Willow?! Everytime we hang out now you're either whisking me away or trying to kill me.


chapter 51
Willow: I wasn't trying to kill anyone! And technically you were an intruder. I thought you were stalking me!
Rowan: So you're first instinct was to fry me?
Willow: How was I supposed to know you were here at all? If you were someone dangerous, that spell would have saved my life.

chapter 51
Rowan: You never heard of looking where and what you're shooting? Fuck.
Willow: You shouldn't have been sneaking around.
Rowan:  I wasn't sneaking!  And if you didn't have freaky powers, this wouldn't have happened.


chapter 51
Willow: You can't keep blaming me for being a witch, Rowan. I never asked for any of this. It's not like I could stop... I think.
Rowan: But you never bothered trying. You let it right in.
Willow: Why are you here anyway?


chapter 51
Rowan: This time? I'm here because you're a witch.
Willow: What?
Rowan: Sage. Yeah, yeah big shocking life altering news. I know about Sage. I know he's my kid. But there's something wrong.


chapter 51
Willow: Sage is in trouble??? You should have...
Rowan: Should have what?


chapter 51
Rowan: Dropped everything and come out personally to try to find you because you don't have a goddam phone? Risk my life while I'm at it, too?
Willow: I said I was sorry.
Rowan: You could make it up to me. Fix Sage.
Willow: I don't even know what's wrong with him...
Rowan: You could heal. I've seen you do it.. or at least you've tried.


chapter 51
Willow:  If it takes magic to make him better, I'll do my best... but Rowan, you'll have to trust me.
Rowan: You make him better, I don't care how. I won't say a word.

------------------------

chapter 51
She woke in the hospital lounge where she had fallen asleep. She didn't remember coming here and it took a moment for her to understand where she was.


chapter 51

chapter 51
She was dazed and disoriented, her dream about Sage still clinging to her mind. If Sage was outside in the cold, she had to save him


chapter 51

chapter 51

chapter 51
She finally reached the park. The cold air was sobering. Piece by piece, the world started making sense again. Of course Sage wouldn't be here... he was still asleep in his room. But the dream seemed so vivid...


chapter 51
Suddenly, the light appeared...


chapter 51

chapter 51
This was impossible. Right before her eyes, two people appeared in the beam of light.


chapter 51
And one of them was Rowan.


chapter 51
Willow looked up and gasped when she saw Meadow.

There was always the possibility of teleporting somewhere where someone would see her. But she never expected Meadow to be here.



chapter 51
She turned around, hearing Rowan groan.

She was tired too and her head began to hurt but it must have been worse for Rowan.

Willow: Rowan, are you okay?
Rowan: Just shut up for a minute.


chapter 51
Meadow: Rowan???
Rowan: Meadow? Aww fuck...


chapter 51
She rushed towards him, crouching to help.

Meadow: How did you get here?!


chapter 51
He struggled to get to his feet, waving her off. He didn't look well.

Meadow: What's wrong with him???
Willow: It's the spell. It made him sick.


chapter 51
Meadow: A spell?! As in magic.
Willow: Yes. Magic.
Meadow: You did this?
Willow: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you...


chapter 51
Meadow: I don't know what that means...I'm still dreaming aren't I?
Willow: No you're not. Meadow, where's Sage?

chapter 51
Rowan:  Willow is here to help him.
Willow: I can try.
Rowan: You better fucking do more than "try".
Willow: I can't promise anything.


chapter 51
Willow: Are you coming?
Rowan: In a bit. I still feel like shit and I don't really want to be around for that heeby stuff you do.


chapter 51
Rowan: Just make him better, Willow.



chapter 51
Meadow looked back at Rowan, confused. He nodded to reassure her, and finally she went away with Willow.


chapter 51



chapter 51
The teleporting made him sick. His head felt like it was in a vice and being squeezed slowly. His stomach churned. He had to fight an overwhelming urge to crawl up in a corner of the park and sleep it off.

The back of his neck prickled... that feeling of being watched.

chapter 51
He was right.  There was a weird old man watching from across the park. How much did he see?


chapter 51
He was just standing there watching. He didn't seem to be reacting at all. Rowan took a step toward him, but nausea took over.


chapter 51
 


chapter 51
The first thing he thought of was to run up onto the fountain and empty his stomach into it. The old man was quickly forgotten.


------------------------------

chapter 51
Meadow: Can you really help him?
Willow: I don't know. You have to believe me, I want to.



chapter 51
If the magic would let her help him.


chapter 51
Meadow: The doctors have been doing everything they could.
Willow: No. Not everything.


chapter 51
Willow: But that's why I'm here.


chapter 51
He was so small and so helpless. She looked down at him, thinking through every spell that she knew. She noted his symptoms and tried to tell herself if the sim doctors weren't able to find out what's wrong with him, then something else was happening.

If this was a curse or a spell, Willow would see it. Like the spell she saw on Clive.  She couldn't sense anything. Not until she touched him.


chapter 51
Instantly, they were connected.



chapter 51
The magic was resisting, but she felt all of her energy flow through her body and into Sage. She was frightened at how much energy was passing through her, but she didn't pull away.


chapter 51
Finally he opened his eyes.


chapter 51
Meadow: Willow! He's awake!!!

chapter 51
Sage: Mommy?
Meadow: I'm here sweetie. I'm here... thank you, thank you, thank you...


chapter 51
Willow tried to smile, but everything suddenly started to go dark. She could hear Meadow calling her name. She could hear Sage crying... it was so sweet, but all the lights began to go out...



chapter 51
And now everyone was calling for her. The voices were sounding more hollow and further away.


chapter 51
Only one tiny voice echoed  before she succumbed to darkness.

"Wi-wwo!!!"



---------------------


chapter 51
Yep.


chapter 51
It was good a time as any to leave.


chapter 51
There was only one stop that he needed to make downtown.


chapter 51
It would be the most ostentatious building he could find to house his surface operations. Where he could act the vainglorious business tycoon. Be the big sim.

He was never difficult to find.


chapter 51
He made hiding in plain sight an artform.

chapter 51
Otto: Working late, your Lordship?


chapter 51
Malcolm looked up, startled. He hadn't heard nor sensed anyone come in. His hands clenched when he saw who was standing there. 

Malcolm: You...
Otto: That's right. Me.


chapter 51
Otto: I got your letter. All nice and formal, just the way you like.

He flung the envelope towards Malcolm.


chapter 51
Malcolm:   Makoto St. Julien.  Sir.


chapter 51
Otto: You know damned well I don't go by that name anymore.
Malcolm: You'll have to forgive me, I didn't exactly expect your visit so soon.
Otto: You were expecting me at all then?


chapter 51
Malcolm: I was sure you'd come. After all, there is that matter of your daughter... Clara.

He didn't take his chances. He stood up suddenly and reached for his wand.


chapter 51
The other spell was cast with simply a breath. With surprising speed, Malcolm was disarmed.


chapter 51
The old man just cocked an eyebrow and grinned.


chapter 51
Otto: Now take it easy, son. Have a seat and relax. There's gonna be some words...


chapter 51
Malcolm: What Clara did was indefensible in any court, Makoto. She needs to pay for her crimes, and there's nothing you nor I can do about it.
Otto: You think I'm here about Clara? Well let's get it straight then.  There ain't anything I'm doing about that. She dug her grave.

Malcolm was stunned.


chapter 51
Otto: Maybe she had it coming to her. Maybe not. She isn't sitting in her little cell right now without good reason, I imagine. But that "precious little daughter" of mine chose to disown me a long time ago. So what she's getting from me? Big fat zilch.
Malcolm: Then why are you here? You could have just had the summons delivered back...


chapter 51
Otto: Malcolm, my boy. Do me one favour and treat me with the respect I'm owed as the former Head Warlock of this Coven. This isn't about Clara.



chapter 51
Otto: I'm here because of a little boy named Sage. I need you to make a decree. You and the Coven will leave him and his mother alone. I'm not asking politely.

Malcolm stepped back and exhaled slowly.

Otto: Remember when I made the Sim Tower disappear? Imagine what I'll do to this place.





-------------------------------------------
Notes:
* I'm sorry this chapter took so long. Life and various other excuses.
* I did some last minute reordering of certain scenes. Some scenes I teased about earlier have been deleted. Others got moved. We're still on track though.
* Otto, aka Makoto, was introduced in Chapter 43.
* thank you for being patient with me and thank you for reading


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