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Things were good. Great even. Which would be perfect if it wasn't for the constant nagging in the wayfinder's stomach that told her something was wrong. Ophelia wasn't the superstitious type but being a human embodiment of space and time with a certain set of blessing and curses that made her a real life walking and talking time machine was enough to have her worried when the pit of her stomach started to lurch. The wayfinder, curled up a and restlessly sleeping in her room in the castle pulled the covers closer as though they might ward off whatever it was that was causing her such unease but as her lips started to murmur the word 'no' over and over again as she slipped from the dream to what she knew was a vision.
Everything was blurry, she couldn't see, like someone had thrown dirt into her eyes and her eyes were streaming with tears. Ophelia couldn't make out the shadows fully but she saw as one of them fell to their knees screaming in pain before falling silent, the vision moved, the lights were brighter once more though she couldn't see anything, relying on sound she listened to the steady beeps of what was certainly a life support machine and then she heard the doors open and her heart sank in her chest as she heard the voice ring out clearly over all of the scrambling "What happened" he spoke desperately unable to mask the emotion in his voice as he did so. Ophelia blinked once again as his face came into view, distraught. She opened her mouth to say something before realizing there was nothing she could say, for she wasn't really here.
Ripped from the moment violently she found herself in utter darkness, staring forward into the void as a voice echoed around her head, menacing and chilling "This is only the beginning" it filled her head as though it was bouncing off some invisible walls and return in waves around to her ears. And then the wayfinder started awake a scream of terror escaping as she desperately reached for the light to turn on and several deep and panicked breaths came from her lips.
Panic struck the very moment she gathered her bearings, remembering with clear detail everything she had just see. A celestial's vision was typically only triggered by physical touch. Pushing to her feet she made her way into the bathroom pushing her hair back over her face when her eyes fell upon the necklace that Mikael had given her for Christmas a gasp left her lips as she realized what she had just seen. With shaky hands she fumbled her way through the room searching for the burner phone that she had agreed with Mikael to only use in emergencies and dialed his number. Her hands were trembled as she begged down the receiver "Please pick up" she repeated it a few times as each ring came through and faded out without an answer.
Ophelia could tell that something awful was going to happen and whatever it was, Mikael was at the center of all of it. The celestial did her best to slow her heartbeat and calm herself as she returned back to her bed and attempted to get control over her breathing. She knew that she must have woken half the castle up with her scream and the last thing she needed right now was for them to figure out what she had been hiding from them for so many months. When someone did come to check on her, the wayfinder looked over at them tiredly, doing her best to keep composure and playing it all off as a bad dream. After a few moments of assurance she found herself alone again and once more the desperation set in.
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It was difficult to not let his emotions get the best of him. Heightened emotions was a drawback of being an angel-child, and despite the many years Mikael had spent channelling his thoughts and controlling his feelings, at times like these, when he was vulnerable, he had little grip over his emotions. But, having the Wayfinder by his side was a relief, since her mere presence seemed to encourage him to hold it together, knowing that whatever it is, he would get through it, they would get through it.
The words repeated at the back of his mind as his fingers curled into fists, listening to what the doctor had to say. He nodded with every statement, clenching and unclenching his fists in an effort to stay grounded, not give into the internal battle that raged inside him. When he was escorted to the reception, Mikael closed his eyes momentarily, mentally sorting through the various auras that filled the room, until he found the one of his sister, similar to his own, but different from usual. He waited for the receptionist to place all the papers in front of him, while he surveyed the emptiness that had replaced Marianna's usually cheery aura.
Ophelia's words about her vision haunted him, a suspicion boiling deep down inside of him, as rage slowly began to seep through the cracks in his facade. He quickly signed the documents and made his way back to the brunette, wanting nothing more than to know what else she knew about the situation. Her protest was not as surprising as he thought it would have been, a part of him knowing the answer all along but too stubborn to admit it to himself.
Taking a deep breath, he urged her to continue and once she explained her inhibitions, Mikael looked down momentarily, swallowing back the intense desire to march into the Ailward Mansion and hold the man responsible for this at the other end of his sword. A part of him still held onto the hope that it wasn't Aureus that had caused his sister to almost die, but maybe someone else with a vengeance, but that thought quickly disappeared when he remembered the male's threat. And then, a fear swept across his features, realising that if that were the case, then he must have found out about the two of them.
Snapping back into reality, the male nodded his head, "I believe you." His words were brief, yet unsurity laced in his tone, not knowing what he should do next. This changed things for both of them and Mikael feared that Marianna was paying a price he should have. "I'll ask for her to be taken to my apartment instead." Swallowing back as she confirmed his suspicions, Mikael then ran his fingers through his hair, heaving a deep breath, his emotions too volatile for him to delve into at that moment. "You should head out there first, use the back door." Looking around to ensure no one was prying on them, he then reached out to gently caress her hand, fingers brushing against each other momentarily as he slipped his keys in her hand, "It's not safe for us to be seen together outside."
With that the male stepped back, biting his lip, letting his brain guide him rather than his emotions in fear that they would overwhelm him, "I'll see you there." He turned on his heels with a last quick glance, every shred of emotion pushed away as he mechanically walked to where they were prepping his sister for the transfer.
Ophelia had seen some of Mikael’s emotional tendencies before but she had never seen him like this, seeming lost in the world, not sure which direction to go or what to say or do. The wayfinder could understand how he was feeling, she had lost a lot of people she let in over the years and that fear you felt when you were powerless to change the future was almost paralyzing.
Ophelia didn’t have the courage to put into words what she suspected, because putting it into words meant making it real, it meant admitting that Aureus likely knew about her and Mikael’s sneaking around and she knew that truth would force her to make decisions neither of them would like. Phe had always been selfless, whether in the name of her people or those she cared for, she would always put others first, even when it meant causing pain for herself.
She knew she was asking a lot of him and a lot of herself. She had fooled herself that they were wrapped up in a bubble where others couldn’t reach them, blinded by her own happiness and dizzying way that the Nephilim guard made her feel. She felt relief when he confirmed he believed her, the last thing Ophelia had ever wanted was to be the cause of another person getting hurt, after the fall of Skye and losing so many of her people over the years, she wasn’t sure how much more her guilt could withstand.
Regardless she knew this wasn’t the time to be having that conversation. The brunette could quite literally see the way Mikael was burying everything to stop the whole world from falling apart around him and she suspected there was only so long he could do so. Her eyes eyes moved upwards to meet his, concern and a little fear showing in her expression as she felt his fingertips brush hers. Naturally she curled her fingers into his, taking the keys in her palm and nodding softly, they had a fair bit of practice in this not being seen together thing now. “Okay” she agreed as she let her hand fall to her side tucking the keys into her pocket. She wanted to reach up and caress his face, tell him that everything was going to be okay and they would figure this out but instead she smiled sadly “She’s a fighter, you have to keep believing that” and with that she ducked her head turning away and made her way back through the maze of the hospital corridors.
She eventually found her way out of the large sterile building and into her car. She meant to drive off but instead she sat for a few moments just staring at her reflection in the side view mirror. The wayfinder still couldn’t shake all the feelings that had stayed with her since the vision, they filled her with dread and panic and her mind felt twisted, fighting between what she should do and what she wanted.
Shaking her head she turned the key in the ignition and started the engine before driving off in the familiar direction of Mikael’s apartment. The place had somewhat become a hideaway for them, the only place where they could really be themselves instead of the faces they painted for the outside world. As the pulled up around the back of the building dimming the lights as she found a place to park however, she couldn’t help but feel like even this place was tainted by Aureus’ reach now.
Despite her concerns she still got out of the car and walked the familiar route to the back of the apartment where she used the keys he had given her to open it. Flipping on the lights the wayfinder took off her shoes and set them down on the side before turning on the coffee pot, doing her best to distract herself from getting lost in her own mind. All she really did was worry about Mikael and Marianna though, trying to figure out what could have happened and therefore how they could reverse the effects and save the younger nephilim. A tear escaped which she quickly wiped away and rolled back her shoulders, now wasn’t the time to fall apart, now was the time to be strong.
'She's a fighter.' Her words echoed in his mind as Mikael walked away, in a desperate attempt to convince himself that Marianna would get through this. They would get through this. Every step he took however, seemed to be harder than he had anticipated, emotions weighing him down with every breath he took. He wasn't sure how long he could keep it together, but for the sake of his sister, he needed to. The thought of Aureus finding out about Mikael and Ophelia and then making Marianna pay for their actions threatened to tear him apart and as one of the doctors informed that the younger d'Amecourt was not yet ready for transfer, Mikael almost growled out his frustrations at the male, but clenched his fists instead and waited, and waited.
It was almost an hour later when Mikael found himself sitting in the back of the ambulance, his lean figure hovering over his sister protectively. His gaze didn't leave her features, though his mind wandered off to the depths of hell he had repressed all those centuries ago. The night of him finding his entire family slaughtered, haunted him. The sight of Marianna unconscious looked so familiar to his mother's face as she took her final breath, that Mikael felt his skin crawl with guilt and disgust at himself.
That night he had vowed to protect his young sibling, and tonight he had failed. The feeling that Aureus was behind this was strong but the Guard tried his best to dismiss the idea, purely because it meant that to save Marianna, he would have to let go of someone else he cared deeply for. To protect one, he would have to give up another, what a game, Aureus Ailward.
As the ambulance came to a halt in front of his apartment building, Mikael watched the workers transport Marianna to a wheelchair. He followed them as they all huddled together inside the lift before finally rolling her out on his floor. Mikael quickly opened the door for them with the spare key under the flower pot, a brief reminder that Ophelia was inside strangely calming him as he waited for them to take her to the spare room he always had ready.
From the corner of his eyes he had caught a glimpse of Ophelia's dark hair, before scanning her sharp features and as he faced her he smiled weakly, a smile that never reached his icy hues before walking inside the room with his arms folded across his chest. He leaned against the banister, watching the workers set Marianna up with monitors and fluids, her unconscious body lying on the bed as if in deep slumber, though her aura devoid of any emotions. It pained him to see her like this, and what hurt him more was knowing that he was behind the pain both Marianna and Ophelia were going through. "I was supposed to protect her." He whispered with a slight shake of his head, guilt tearing apart every bit of him. "I failed."
She tried to keep her mind busy but the longer she waited the more on edge she felt, the wayfinder wasn’t a stranger to being alone, in fact most of the time she enjoyed having time to herself considering she lived with an entire colony of stars. Tonight however, being alone felt all levels of wrong and she felt restless, fighting off the urge to pace she picked up a book from the bookshelf and settled herself down, curling her legs under herself and opened it to the first page.
She wasn’t really taking in the words or the story but it was a good distraction from her mind, letting the words on the page take her full attention. The wayfinder cursed the way her hands shook a little as she reached to turn each pace but she swallowed it down each time and slowed her breathing. Her attention was however taken when she heard soft voices outside the door. Naturally she moved out of the clear vision of the ambulance workers by taking the familiar route out onto the balcony. Her dark eyes however were fixed on Mikael, just looking at him she could see the pain he was going through and it made her heart ache.
The smile he gave her was forced and she returned it equally unconvincingly, her head was spinning with different emotions, none of them positive. The truth was she didn’t know how to make this better, she felt powerless and she knew that he did too. How did you combat an illness that didn’t exist? She didn’t have an answer for that, or at least not one she was ready to traverse. The last time she had played with powerful diviners she had gotten severely burned.
The wayfinder purposely kept the door open so that she could hear what was happening, she heard the confused mutters from the doctors who were setting up Marianna’s room, they had no idea what was going on. And she heard the soft words that came from Mikael’s lips that threatened to break her heart in two. Whoever had done this was cruel beyond words, toying with people’s lives as though they were chess pieces they moved into position as they saw fit.
Once the crew were done, she watched as the went to leave before she moved back into the room, her eyes not leaving the nephilim warrior. Without a word she moved up behind him and slipped her hand into his, her fingers lacing through his and she squeezed his palm gently. “Take it from someone who knows, guilt is a wasted emotion” that didn’t stop her from feeling it every day but feeling guilty didn’t change the results and it didn’t better anyone’s lives.
When he didn’t seem to take in the words she said the brunette circled around him before meeting his ocean gaze with her own “Hey” she spoke as if to pull him from the pit of despair he seemed to be falling into. The wayfinder reached up her hand to gently cup his cheek “She wouldn’t want you to blame yourself, especially not when there’s still every hope we can reverse this” he just needed to find his fight, she knew he had a lot of it, she had seen it herself “We’ll figure this out” perhaps she didn’t know how yet but she would do everything she could and then some. Ophelia already got the feeling that all of this was a message, one she would no doubts have to answer sooner or later.
The heightened emotions were slipping through the cracks of his calm facade, his brows furrowed slightly as Mikael watched the doctors set Marianna up. With arms outstretched and every bit of his strength at play, the warrior Guard was trying to force back the tidal wave of emotions that was gathering in the deepest pits of his being and threatening to spill out. He could keep it together, Mikael told himself again and again, yet with every repetition, the words grew less and less convincing.
Catching sight of Ophelia's doe eyes, the Angel-child swallowed harshly, questions about their future arising in his mind. He didn't know what this meant for them but he was certain that the bubble the two had been living in, hiding away from the harsh realities of their situation had finally burst. Her smile was as devoid of mirth as his own and for a brief moment Mikael cursed himself for ever dragging her into this.
Once the doctors escorted themselves out, Mikael ran his fingers through his unkempt locks, unable to make himself move when he felt the familiar touch of the wayfinder. His free digits wrapped loosely around her own, curling together with the little strength he had left as he listened to her, though they both knew he wasn't taking them in. There was nothing in this world that could convince him that this wasn't his fault. He had made a vow to his mother, to Marianna, and he had failed.
"I failed her." He spoke in a broken whisper, turning around with a shake of his head as he stepped out of the room. However as Ophelia rounded him, her hand delicately cupping his face, Mikael couldn't take it anymore. Though their gazes met, he could only see her silhouette through the tears that clouded his vision. "I failed her." He repeated, and with that his emotions broke loose, spilling out in the form of tears that rolled down his cheek in waves. His knees gave way as Mikael slumped onto the floor, muttering again and again how he had failed.
As Ophelia watched him she could see him desperately trying to hold onto anything that he could grasp, anything that would stop the world falling apart around him. She knew the feeling well because it was the exact same look she had on her face the night she had failed to save Raven and time had literally crumbled around her. She wanted so badly to run to him but the invisible barrier that always kept them just a little further apart was still there.
He had to be asking himself the same questions too, what did this mean for the two of them? What if this really was Aureus’ doing. She didn’t want to say it because somehow she felt like saying it out loud would make it real and Ophelia like him was still clinging to whatever she could. She wasn’t ready to think about this and she knew it was the last thing Mikael needed to be worrying about right now on top of Marianna.
She felt grounded to him as their fingers interlocked, she didn’t want to pull away because it was the only thing stopping her from wanting to scream into the void about how unfair life was or how cruel the world could be. Part of her blamed herself, she had foreseen this because of the necklace she was wearing which meant she was tied to this in some way she wasn’t sure of yet, though she had a suspicion.
“No” she responded shaking her head, though she knew there wasn’t anything she could say at that point as she watched the walls he put up slowly crumble. The moment that he started to fall the wayfinder swooped downwards wrapping her arms around him and pulled him in close against her shoulder “Hey, it’s okay” she soothed as she closed her eyes, holding him tightly as if she could hold both of them up for a little while. She could be strong for him the way he always was for her. “It’s okay” she continued to whisper softly as she ran her hand through his hair behind his head, her palm resting there for a moment.
He was completely, utterly broken. All the emotions Mikael had been holding back ever since he got the phone call about his sister, now came rushing to the surface, slowly overwhelming him with fear, anxiety, guilt and hopelessness. He didn't know what to do, where to go. The only words ringing in his mind were his own, on how he had failed his sister.
He sank to his knees, shaking, feeling the familiar pair of the Wayfinder's arms curling around him, anchoring the broken Guard to her. But he was so lost in the ocean of despair, waves of emotions crashing and drowning him. He didn't realise how loud his sobs were until his throat felt dry, and yet tears kept streaming down his face, barely being able to come up for air.
"What have we done?" The male sobbed, "What have I done? How could I do this to her?" His words came out in broken gasps, clutching onto the back of her top, his tears soaking the fabric. "What am I gonna do now?" He asked, raising his head from her shoulder, his lips quivering, "What if she never wakes up?" He covered his face with both his hands, crying into his palms, "What am I gonna do, Ophelia?"
Ophelia remained steady, holding onto him for dear life with her whole self. Her eyes closed as she felt her own emotions running through her, she hurt for him, she hurt for him so badly that she felt like her own heart was going to burst in her chest. All she wanted to do was take his pain from him and make things better for him. She knew in that moment that she would trade near anything for it, she knew how much Marianna meant to him, she was all he talked about most days and as he completely lost himself in despair she completely lost herself in her feelings for him.
Ophelia was in love with Mikael, the kind of crazy, unexplainable, painful, extraordinary love that she had promised herself she would never fall into. But as she held him there, tethering him to reality, she knew it as a fact in her mind. She knew she would do anything for him if he asked her to, she would go to the ends of the earth to make sure Marianna was brought back to him if she had to. But there was one nagging feeling in the back of her mind that she knew meant she couldn’t tell him this and that was what made the realization harder for her.
She could feel him shaking as his grief and guilt worked its way through his mind and he started to question every choice he had ever made and every word he ever spoke. The word we however spread a cold feeling over wayfinder’s body, because she wasn’t sure for how much longer there could be a we. Ophelia knew it in her heart of hearts, the feeling had been with her since the moment the vision hit her, that this came down to her relationship with Mikael, that her loving him was the cause of Marianna’s current state. Ophelia couldn’t bring herself to say it though, she wasn’t ready to let go of him just yet.
And so she allowed her wayfinder side to take over, pushing aside the emotions that wanted to scream and to cry away and replacing it with the rational, level headed leader who she knew he needed right now. She felt his desperate grasp against her clothing that made her heart want to crack in two but instead she took a long, deep breath. “The first thing you’re going to do is breathe” she spoke softly, her hands rubbing gently against his back as she spoke “You’re going to breathe until you can see clearly again okay” she hated seeing him like this and she hated more that she was the cause of it “And then you’re going to push aside those fatalist thoughts because she’s going to wake up and you’re going to be there when she does” she raven haired female reached down to press her hands against his hands.
Ophelia would do whatever she had to do to make this right and she knew she would shatter her own world in the process but that was the kind of person she was, the kind who put others before herself always, whether it be her people or the man she was completely over her head for. Her whole body felt like it was going to tremble under the weight of everything she was internalizing but someone she managed to hold herself steady, waiting for him to react to her words.
Distraught was an understatement for what Mikael was feeling. He wasn't sure of his own emotions. It had started with shock, moving quickly to fear and hopelessness before the guilt settled. Every time he closed his eyes he could see Marianna and someone taking her away from him. It made his heart shatter and his teeth clench. He felt himself losing to all the tidal wave of emotions, slowly undoing him bit by bit. And so he screamed, an unadulterated cry of brokenness that reverberated through the walls before being replaced by loud sobs.
The Guard's eyes felt heavy, his head buzzing from all the tears that he had been shedding. At one point he heard Ophelia's voice call out to him, drag him out of the darkness he had pushed himself into. He looked up from her shoulder, though his vision blurry as tears continued to stream down his face. He heard her but couldn't quite listen over the ringing in his own head until she asked him to breathe a second time.
Mikael gasped for air, "She has to wake up." He whispered, his voice completely broken from the screaming and crying. With the rush of oxygen, a new emotion welcomed him: anger. Anger at whoever did this. "I'm going to go to the ends of the world to get a cure for this." He stated, though his voice far from the determination he truly felt. "I'm going to-" He paused, a new set of tears rolling down his face once again as he reached out to hold her hand, "I'm going to make sure whoever did this pays for it." He felt weak, his body slowly givin g up as he leaned forward to rest his head on her chest, "She's going to wake up."
Her heart broke for him but it also broke for herself, unable to even fathom how she could stand in that moment, her whole universe felt like it was falling apart and yet she couldn’t say a word about it, her gaze was much stronger than she felt on the inside but it faltered as she heard the scream escape his lips, she had never heard anything quite so raw and soul shattering, so much so that a shudder rolled through her. Instead of saying anything she just pulled him in closer, closing her eyes and holding him tight, she couldn’t take this from him, she knew that, but she would do everything she could to lessen his pain.
The words that came from her lips almost felt foreign to her, it was always this way, like there was a part of herself that she didn’t fully control, she was the one that knew the right things to say and how to act in a crisis, she made the decisions when Ophelia found herself caught up in her feelings and drowning, she was the best part of Ophelia and also the worst, the one who reminded her of what she should do even when her heart was aching to do the opposite.
She felt the breath as it flowed through him, giving him a grip on reality once more. His voice was quiet but it was there, she sensed a new determination in him that she knew he needed, he couldn’t just fall into despair over this, he needed to fight, she needed to fight, though she knew he wouldn’t like what she knew she would have to do. “That’s right, you’re going to fight because that’s what she deserves” she bolstered the words he was saying as she moved back slowly from him. ‘Just one more night’ the other side of her cried out as she felt his hand in hers. Part of her was conflicted, knowing that it would be only be harder if she stayed and yet she found herself pulling him in again. His soft brown hair tickling her chin as he rested against her chest.
“That’s right, she’s going to wake up” she assured him as she allowed herself to wrap her arms around him once more. Just one more night and then she would do the right thing, even though she knew it would take everything she had. She reached up to wipe away the single tear that rolled down her cheek and closed her eyes.