for Thorn; Mae, Jamie, some variation on the sentiment "if he dates you, he's dead"
"Nick asked me out," Mae says, as she lies down on the couch in the caravan, her head on her brother's lap. Her caravan, because now she's the leader of the Goblin Market, pearl hanging heavily between her breasts, friends and frenemies in the same place and a demon's mark to keep the nightmares away. The aftermath has not been easy; everyone did not fall into a happily ever after state right away. She can tell that Sin sometimes looks at Alan for a long time, just to make sure it's Alan, and not anyone else. She can tell that Nick has started displaying signs of cabin fever, free of the need to run away and hide that had followed him around his whole life (as a human boy). She can tell that Jamie sometimes looks at his wrist and expects a limb to be there when it's not.
But at least they all lived. And she's the leader of the Market. With her very own caravan, and her very own couch, which now hosts the first Crawford Siblings Weekly Reunion. Obviously, it's not a time to talk about magicians and war and injuried, but of boys.
"Wow, yeah, great idea," is Jamie's answer, as he picks at her hair. "Date the slightly psychotic boy with a passion for knives whose idea of a fun time probably involves skewering a bunny or something equally cuddly."
"I thought you liked Nick."
"Nick's so swell?" her brother says, and she grins up at him because his voice squeaked. "No, really. Really, Mae, he's like Grumpy the Care Bear. You know I love Grumpy."
"His colour matched practically anything. But, anyway - Nick, huh?"
"You sound surprised," she says, and pokes his side, kicking her legs up. She should paint her toenails; she's going to wear sandals at the next market assembly, and they should reflect the lanterns. Little things.
"I'm just...apprehensive," comes the answer from above, before Jamie tickles her nose with a strand of her hair. She swats him off. "I mean, it's Nick. What if his idea of a date does involve skewering up cuddly animals?"
"I'll wear a raincoat."
"Leadership has changed you." He sighs, and looks at her seriously - for a second; then he's smiling. "Should I give him the 'hurt my sister and I will end you' speach, d'you think?"
"Jamie," she starts, reaches up and pats his cheek. "You would be the cuddly animal in that scenario."
"I have magic. Also, I'm a fast runner now, remember?" he protests, and tickls her nose again before cocking his head. "So you and Nick, is that going to be an official thing?"
"I don't know. It might be," she answers, and pulls the necklace out of her shirt to look at the pearl. Maybe it will be a thing, now that her emotions are only her own. It's a lot to think about; she's made her mistakes in the past, anyway. "I think we'll take it slow." A pause, and she looks up. "So, you and Seb, huh?"
"Mae, don't kill him."
"I would never!"
"Please." She loves the way Jamie grins right now; carefree and Jamie - talking about boys with her, like they never went through what they went through. "I like him."
"That's a good thing, when you start dating someone," she points out, and clears her throat. "But if he hurts you at all, I will hide the body so well, they'll find him years in the future when it's a fossil."
"You know, for such a short girl, you pull out the most terrifying threats."
She grins. "Hey, I'm the leader now. I have to polish my intimidation skills."
"There's nothing left to polish there. They're so shiny they blind everyone into a state of terror."
"I think you have me confused with someone else, Jamie. I'm a ray of sunshine and innocence, didn't you hear?" In a display of maturity beyond her years, she sticks her tongue out at him. Because Jamie is a Crawford, born to be poised and elegant forever, he sticks it right back at her.
They share a laugh, and somewhere outside the caravan someone starts to play the flute. It's a lovely song. Mae reaches for his hand, squeezes it with all the love in the world, and turns her head to look out the window. "We'll be happy. We'll be really happy, you'll see."
Jamie says "Yeah.", and squeezes her hand back, and she hears the words they don't need to speak in order to understand them. As long as they're together, Mae and Jamie against the world, they'll be just fine.