Eda was skilled at many things. She was once the most powerful witch on the boiling isles, she could con, cheat, steal, lie and flirt her way out of almost any situation. Comforting someone, however, wasn't something she had much experience in. Comforting a child, even less so. If she was being honest with herself, admitting that she loved her human was a fairly big step for her. Years of building walls will do that, however now was not about her. She was given her second chance at freedom, but at the cost of Luz's. She had told the kid to leave for that very reason, she had made her mistakes and she had made peace with them. She stared into the living room, her sister sitting on the couch. This wasn't what she had prepared for that day, and although she was grateful for her breath. She knew what this path would mean.
The owl house was always noisy, one of its many residents, and even more the house itself, were often loud and snarky. Yet today, it was silent. Eda bit her lip, as she made her way upstairs. She stared ahead at the door to Luz's room. She felt her nerves rising in her throat. Was this the right thing to do? Should she give her space? She clenched her fist, why was she being such a coward? Dammit her kid needs her.
The door opened with a slight creak, and Eda felt her ears twitch at the noise before glancing at her apprentice. Luz was asleep, however her face was scrunched up. Her chest moved with uneven breaths, tears leaked from her closed eyes. "Mami" the child called in her sleep. The witch fell to her knees, shaky hands gently ran through the sleeping child's hair. Luz's face softened and Eda let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. This kid is going to be the death of me. She smiled weakly at the thought.
"I'm sorry." An all too familiar voice said.
Eda didn't even turn around as she felt her emotions bubble to her chest. A silent war displayed on her face. She fixed her gaze on the sleeping girl, this child, who was currently dealing with some of the worst emotions of her life. Eda stood, her back to her sister, head still bowed over the child. "Do you have any idea of what you did?" She said softly, she felt her sister shrink in on herself. Eda turned, gold and silver eyes burned with fire. Owls were predatory birds and Eda's gaze would have scared off any beast that even glanced at it.
"I...I was scared, I was a child myself. I didn't know the curse would lead....to this. He told me he could save you. I...just wanted to fix my mistakes-" Lilith silenced as Eda raised her hand, barely meeting her gaze.
"You used a child to lure me to you. You used a child as a shield. You almost killed my kid." Eda glared, her voice never reaching much above a whisper as she glanced briefly at the sleeping human.
Eda was loud when she was angry, Lilith was more than accustomed to her sister screaming at her. This however, this quiet rage. This scared her more than she would ever admit, "I didn't think you would hurt-"
"You're damn right. You didn't think at all. What if I had run out of magic before you were throwing her into spikes? What if I couldn't turn away in time? She could have died, Lilith. This fourteen year old child could have died because of you. And now, she's trapped here for Titan knows how long."
"I.....I...." the older witch sagged as the words hit like knives, she sank to the floor, pulling her knees up. "You're right. I did it again. I focused so much on what I needed, what I thought would fix everything. That I didn't care about anything else." Sobs escaped her throat before she even realized. "Edalyn- Eda. You deserved better, the hu- Luz deserved better. I know that I can't make up for what I've done to you or your child." Lilith rose to her feet, her ears dropped. She turned away from her sister and walked towards the stairs.
"What are you doing now Lily?"
"I- I just figured that you'd want me gone."
"Admitting and apologizing for everything you've done, doesn't undo all the hurt you've caused." Eda said, fire finally feeding her words.
Lilith just nodded, turning back around, knowing her sister made the right choice.
"It is a start...."
Her sister's words caused the older Witch to turn, the quiet storm, the blazing fire she had seen on her sister's face was gone. Instead was a face she'd never thought she'd see again. Eda, despite her curse and how much she aged, looked hurt, sad, scared, but there was a pleading. Lilith just stared at her sister, frozen in time.
"Lily, I'm tired. I'm tired of hating you, of hurting each other. I don't even know if we can even fix our relationship. But you can help me find a way to get Luz home. You can help me protect her from Belos and maybe we can fix our mess too. I just....I'm out of magic. I can learn from Luz but that doesn't keep her safe in the meantime." Eda let out a humorless laugh, "please, just help me keep the kid safe."
"You really love this child." Lilith smiled melancholy.
"That stupid kid" Eda laughed through a sniffle, "Titan, if dying meant I could get that kid home safe....I'd have swallowed the poison happily. She's my kid. And ya know, I always knew in the back of my mind that she would leave eventually. I just didn't think knowing that she was staying would hurt just as much. I can't stand seeing her in pain like this."
"I promise, I'll do everything I can to help her." Lilith continued, the sisters finally meeting each other's gaze. The hurt and guilt was still in their eyes, but there was also warmth and even a bit of mirth. Lilith gently prodded her sister in the ribs, "Honestly Eda, when were you going to tell me I was an aunt."
Eda laughed despite all the hurt, "Oh fuck off."
Despite their tears, the sisters shared an honest laugh. They leaned slightly against each other, sitting on the floor outside of Luz's room. Their wounds were still fresh, but the bleeding had stopped. It was a start.
"EDA" Luz yelled in her sleep and the witch moved without question.
"Kid, kid, I'm here." She said quickly, immediately cradling the girl in her arms.
"Eda, eda please don't go." The child begged, her eyes still closed.
"I'm here. Luz, kid, it's gonna be alright." Eda rubbed small circles on her back with one hand, the other cradled her neck.
Brown eyes opened with a start, looking up at the witch. Eda felt like she was looking at a shattered star. Two tiny arms wrapped around her tightly, holding her as if she would disappear if she let go. The owl lady found herself returning the grip if not more so, before wiping away tears with her thumb.
"Eda, I dreamt that you were dead. I-"
"Shhh, it's okay kid. I'm not going anywhere. We're safe. It's going to be alright."
"What about Belos? And the emperor's coven-"
"Meh, not a problem we can solve right now. Look, the only competent one was Lily and she still never actually caught me. We'll lay low for a bit but I doubt they'll come here directly any time soon. In the meantime, let's focus on what we can do now. Are you okay? Are you hurt?"
Luz wiggled out of her mentor's arms, letting out a deep groan as the events of yesterday caught up with her. She felt sore, her whole body ached, exhaustion clear in her eyes. She flopped back on her bed, "I'm in a little pain, mostly I'm just tired."
"I'll get you a healing potion and some water-" Eda blinked as she felt the girl grab her dress.
"I'll be fine. J-just don't leave me...."
Eda bit her lip, before letting out a sigh, "just a bit longer. But you're getting some water and healing potions miss Missy. " She grumbled half heartedly as Luz snuggled up to her.
"Any time kid" She smiled softly but it didn't meet her eyes, "Sorry you got into this mess, you didn't deserve this."
"I couldn't let them hurt you." Luz mumbled into Eda's side.
She felt a retort, but let it die on her tongue. What about you Luz? What about your safety? The witch's thoughts screamed. She let out a sigh, pulling the kid closer to her. "Love you kid."
"Love you too Eda" She yawned, falling back to sleep.
The witch didn't know how long she sat there, it almost didn't seem to matter. She only looked up when she heard the sound of paws.
"How is she?" The demon asked, timidly.
"Not great. I didn't feel any broken bones but she's definitely in pain. Can you get a healing potion and a glass of water?"
"Sure thing." King nodded, but before he left he hugged Eda's side. "I'm glad you're okay."
"Yes, yes I'm fine. If you can't reach something, yell for Lily." Eda sighed.
King let out a happy squeak before dashing off.
Eda felt a worried smile form on her face as she ran her fingers through the girl's hair. This stupid selfless idiot, if anything happens to you I'm going to fucking kill myself. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of King's voice.
"That's right peasant, carry the tray for me."
"I'm carrying the tray because you almost dropped it." Lilith corrected.
"Quiet you two, you'll wake Luz-" Eda chided before feeling the weight next to her shift.
"I'm awake. It's fine." Luz's voice was horse with sleep. Brown eyes scanned her surroundings, her brain clearing not fully on yet. However she flinched slightly at the sight of Lilith, who's ears drooped in response.
"I'm sorry Luz, I know that what I did was selfish and inconsiderate. I know that words don't change everything that happened but....I will do all I can to help you get home and to make up for what I did." The older witch crouched down, setting the tray down, "I got the potion and the water you asked for, as well as some bone broth. Since she hasn't eaten."
"Thanks" Luz mumbled quietly, although her uneasiness was still clear.
Eda gave her sister a sympathetic look.
"I'll be downstairs then." Lilith continued, as she left the room.
Eda uncorked the bottle, a heavy medicinal smell wafted from the source.
"God, is this why the healing track classrooms always smell so bad?" Luz exclaimed, wrinkling her nose.
"What is medicine in the human realm really that much better?" Eda asked, quirking up her eyebrow.
Luz hummed to herself as her mind flashed back to all the liquid medicines she had in her short life, "Not really."
"The taste isn't as bad as it smells." Eda reassured.
Luz's eyes narrowed slightly as she thought of all the gross things she'd seen her mentor eat willingly, "I'm not getting out of drinking this am I?"
Luz sighed, taking the small bottle from the witch. She'd played many video games and smiled slightly upon seeing the red color of the potion. The pungent smell burned her nostrils as she tilted the bottle back, the potion had the consistency of warm jello and the taste was bitter and floral. She swallowed quickly, not even trying to hide the disgusted look on her face.
"And here is your chaser." Eda smiled softly, handing her the glass of water.
Luz drank it greedily, eager to get the taste of the healing potion out of her mouth. "Somehow I still think I have had worse human medicine."
Eda chuckled, "well, that's one point for us. Now eat some of the broth. Lily's actually a decent cook and plus you're going to want something in your stomach after that."
Luz nodded, picking up the oversized mug and taking a sip. The broth was warm and rich, and almost tasted like pork. There was a comforting feeling that came, like the soup had warmed up her aching bones. However it didn't stop the melancholy that followed. "Eda, do you think I'll ever be able to go back?" She said, barely above a whisper.
"Well clearly the magic exists to make it. I don't know how hard it will be to replicate. It's certainly not going to be easy" Eda sighed, wrapping her arms around the kid, and she felt King snuggle closer to them in his sleep. "It was thought impossible for humans to do magic, yet you proved that wrong. Facing Belos was thought to be a death sentence. Kid you've done the impossible time and time again. This is at least possible." She ruffled the kid's hair affectionately. "We'll figure it out."
"Thanks Eda." Luz smiled, hugging her teacher tightly.
"You're welcome Luz."