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The very first thing Milla realizes is that she’s naked.

Her eyes blearily crack open to the sight of her own bare chest, the pinkish-brown of her nipples commanding her immediate attention as her forehead rests against curled knees—and she snaps into awareness instantly. Her body straightens up, her legs flail wildly in her surprise, and it’s at this point that Milla realizes that she feels no gravity, no resistance at all. She’s essentially floating in space, and before she even has the time to fully process the strangeness of that fact, Milla glances up and finds herself face to face with an equally naked, equally wide-eyed, nearly perfect likeness of herself.

…This is one hell of a dream.

That must be what this is, because the last thing Milla remembers is tucking herself into the bed in Ludger’s guest room, lying beneath the sheets and feeling distinctly uncomfortable with sleeping in the home of the very man who just earlier that day not only killed her sister, but apparently destroyed her entire dimension. That all seems so far away now, though, because she can feel herself here, disconnected from her physical, unconscious body. Milla has never had a lucid dream before, but she’s read about them, and she imagines this must be what they’re like.

So, satisfied with that conclusion, Milla curiously stares at the mirror image that floats before her. Perhaps her reflection, she thinks, and lifts her arm experimentally, but furrows her brow when the other doesn’t do the same. Milla steps forward—strange, that in this formless black space surrounding her on all sides, her feet can still feel as if they are walking upon solid ground—and her likeness’s eyes follow her movements intently. Now that Milla looks closer, the person staring back at her isn’t exactly the same: the features are identical, but somehow, this one’s eyes hold a steelier gaze, and a rather unusual strand of green hair pops out from the side of its head.

Milla bites her lip, uncomprehending.

“What are you…?” she murmurs, more to herself than anything. But the lookalike crinkles its nose and opens its mouth in response, and Milla doesn’t so much hear as she does perceive the words in her head.

“I am the Lord of Spirits,” the mirror says, in a voice much deeper, much more measured than Milla’s own. “Milla Maxwell.”

And before Milla can even think to ask anything else, her vision rapidly fades.

(Milla opens her eyes to sunlight coming through a window into a room that’s not her own, and as she remembers that she’s in the apartment of the man who destroyed everything and everyone she knew in one feel swoop, she rubs her eyes, gets out of bed, and writes off the vividly weird dream as just the result of stress and shock.)

Unfortunately, Milla can’t really write it off as shock when the dream recurs the very next night.

In the aftermath of going to bed, here she is yet again: floating in starless space, butt-naked, and staring herself straight in the eyes. But this time, an icicle of trepidation forms in Milla’s throat, because one weird dream could just be her shaken-up mind deciding to go haywire for a night, but another of the exact same dream is the start of an unsettling pattern. And after all the shit she’s already gone through in the last two days, Milla really doesn’t need any more reasons to be unsettled.

“You’re back,” the mirror notes, crossing her arms and glancing down in thought. “Interesting.”

Milla swallows hard, staring blankly until eventually, her befuddled mind settles on something to say. “What the hell is going on here?”

“You are dreaming, it would seem,” the lookalike states. “As am I, actually, so in essence, we appear to be sharing this dream.”

Milla narrows her eyes. “And who are you exactly?”

“As I said last time. I am Milla Maxwell, the Lord of Spirits.” The mirror glances back up, recapturing Milla’s gaze. “I am originally from the dimension that you reside in now.”

…Ah, their Milla. The one Jude and the others keep whispering about to themselves when they either think Milla can’t hear them or just don’t care that she can. Perhaps Milla shouldn’t be so quick to believe those words, but after all she’s been forced into realizing about the nature of fractured dimensions in these last two days, she can’t really bring herself to be skeptical of anything anymore.

“So if I’m in your dimension, where are you?” Milla pauses as a thought occurs to her. “…Wait, actually, how do you even know where I am?”

“My physical body is currently suspended in what is called the dimensional abyss, where I have been forced into a coma in order to stay alive.” Milla Maxwell takes a step forward, and then another, and Milla freezes up, watching her movements carefully. “In the past two days, what I’ve been able to gather on the situation is this: I am asleep, and without the energy or means to awaken. When you are awake, I have dreams where I experience everything you do through your own senses. When you are asleep, you appear before me like this.”

Milla Maxwell stops a mere few feet in front of her, and Milla bites her lip. Her head is spinning at a million miles an hour, and her stomach is twisting into so many knots just trying to make sense of any of this—spirits, this is all just way too much weirdness at once.

“I…I really don’t need this right now,” Milla mutters, glancing frantically about the surrounding void. “Let me out of here.”

Milla Maxwell shakes her head. “I cannot control this dream any more than you.”

“W-well, I still want out!”

Milla’s not quite sure what drives her to do what she does next, but somehow, as her mind swims with thoughts, it occurs to her that maybe she could disrupt the dream by busting out. It’s a long shot, but she has to at least try something, so Milla focuses on activating her mana lobe, trying to enact some arte, any arte. But instead of the magic that should race through her blood upon commanding the spirits’ power, Milla instead finds some sort of …synapse in her head.

Before she can even realize it, much less stop it, she’s offering her mana to it directly.

And Milla Maxwell abruptly spasms, thrusting her hips, throwing her head back as a moan bursts from her lips that sounds almost like…

Oh. Oh, god.

Milla instantly backs out of whatever the hell she just did, her cheeks flushing with heat as she remembers what Muzét, her Muzét, taught her about direct-tethering back when…well, back when Muzét cared enough to tell her anything.

…Is that what she just did? Milla wouldn’t actually know, she’s never done it before—but now her mirror self is gazing at her curiously, cheeks red not with anger, but with what looks to be a strange exhilaration.

Spirits, did Milla actually just watch an alternate version of herself…get off?

“S-Sorry!” Milla stammers out instantly. “Sorry, shit, that was an accident!”

But now Milla Maxwell is approaching, closing what’s left of the distance between them, and Milla can’t even back away, can only hold still with bated breath and watch. When she’s near enough, Milla Maxwell reaches out with her hand, and Milla startles lightly at her touch—she hadn’t been sure they’d actually be able to feel each other here. Yet, those are definitely fingers curling around her own, a thumb gently brushing over her knuckles, and Milla swallows hard as she stares down at their joined hands, then glances back up into a face that is both hers but not, those red eyes steely yet warm.

“What…what are you doing?”

“You seemed interested in what just happened.” Milla Maxwell shrugs. “Are you?”

Milla gulps, quickly yanking her hand out of the other’s grasp as her whole body surges with a confusing, terrifying heat. “A-all I’m interested in is getting out of here!”

Milla Maxwell stares for a moment more before she nods and steps back. She gives Milla her space, but she doesn’t stop looking at her, and despite herself, Milla locks onto that gaze, unable to tear her eyes away.

She doesn’t stop staring until everything goes dark.

(When Milla wakes up, she glances at her hand, remembers how Milla Maxwell grasped it in her dream, and rubs it furiously against the bedsheets until the phantom memory of her touch no longer lingers on her skin.)

Milla is already sick of this dream by the third time.

At this point, she’s not stupid enough to even theorize that this is coincidence, or just her head playing tricks on her. Dreams aren’t supposed to repeat nearly this much, but clearly Milla’s trapped in some sort of pattern, because the gods of this entire fucked up world apparently just love messing with her. Hell, she even tried to avoid this by not sleeping tonight, but, well, that really was a futile battle from the start.

Exhaustion won, as it always does.

“Ah, you’re finally here,” Milla Maxwell chimes, mere seconds after Milla herself comes to awareness. “Excellent, I’ve been waiting to ask you. Could you repeat what you did last time?”

“…Excuse me, repeat it?” Milla echoes, her voice actually cracking at the end. “We…we direct-tethered.”

“We did,” Milla Maxwell affirms, and despite the blasé attitude, Milla can actually see a slight pink to her cheeks, proof that she knows exactly what it means for a spirit to do that with a human. “But nonetheless, I would be interested in doing it again.”

Milla gapes for a good minute before she finally finds it in herself to speak. “You’re a freak.”

Milla Maxwell simply takes that in stride, smiling goodnaturedly. “Well, I’m curious as to the nature of our connection. Until you somehow awaken, we both remain here, and neither of us holds any control over this space. If we experiment, perhaps we can find a way to gain some.” She glances to the side. “Perhaps I may even find a clue as to how to return to my dimension.”

Milla cocks her head. “Yeah, why haven’t you come back anyway?”

“I am unable to do so.” Milla Maxwell furrows her brow. “I am unclear as to the reason, but I tried many times before I was forced into my current comatose state. Perhaps Chronos has somehow made it so, seeing as he was the one who threw me into the abyss in the first place.”

“Yeah, well, at least you have a dimension to go back to,” Milla mumbles under her breath, and pure spite should really be enough to keep her from even considering the outlandish request. But as she looks at Milla Maxwell, at the tension in her face that seems imploring, almost desperate…god, Milla wishes she were a worse person, but she can’t in good conscience just ignore someone asking for help.

“Fine,” Milla says before she can stop it, her mouth not even under her control. “Fine, but just…just for a bit.”

Milla Maxwell lights up, nodding eagerly, and Milla bites her lip. This is just a dream, she tells herself. It may be weird and persistent and part of some fucked up game of the gods, but it’s still all just in her head, and there’s no reason to feel weird about things that happen just in her head. So Milla activates her mana lobe, and from there, it’s all too easy to form the necessary attachment.

Milla Maxwell reacts instantly, her head tilting back, her eyes squeezing shut, her mouth parting into an ‘o’ as her whole body shudders. Milla has no idea what she’s doing, really, but her mana keeps flowing and it must be doing something amazing, if the way Milla Maxwell actually whimpers is any indication. Milla doesn’t even realize how long she’s been staring until finally, Milla Maxwell jerks her hips forward in several, rapid thrusts and gasps out, “Enough!”

Milla immediately severs the connection, the flush returning to her cheeks with a vengeance as she snaps out of her trance and her brain catches up.

Holy fuck, she can’t believe she just did that.

Once Milla Maxwell recovers, she gazes back at her steadily, and Milla swallows hard. “Did…did that really help with anything?”

Milla Maxwell bites her lip. “I don’t know. Perhaps not.” She approaches, and Milla doesn’t back away, not even when foreign fingers brush over her hip. “But at the very least, it was…pleasurable.”

Milla can’t even think of a response. She can only stare, enraptured by those piercing eyes, motionless, not even breathing.

“Are you interested?” Milla Maxwell asks again, in repeat of the night before, and Milla realizes right then that whatever crazy telepathic voodoo nonsense this is, she can’t lie to her other self.

Her legs open up in silent permission.

Milla can’t explain why, but right now, every bit of her feels abuzz with something warm, exciting, intoxicating. She must be losing her mind because she actually wants this—after watching another version of herself reach some sort of climax, Milla is aching, and Milla is hot, and Milla wants this. The other’s hand slides in, gentle and exploring, and Milla spreads her legs wider until she’s practically begging for it, rocking her hips in response to the pressure on her clit, crying out into the void, until ohhhh, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck—!

(Milla wakes up with a jolt, her eyes snapping open, her whole body flushed and hot and sweating in all the most embarrassing places. Nerves still tingle between her legs, flesh still burns where her thighs slide against each other with distinct, slimy stickiness—and even if that was all just a dream, she feels a lot like she’s done something she shouldn’t have.)

“I don’t like you.”

Milla makes sure to tell her counterpart that first thing on the fourth night. Even as she says it, she knows it’s a halfhearted protest, really—a statement blurted out hastily, defensively, when Milla Maxwell inched a hand towards her crotch. But it is true, Milla doesn’t like this Milla Maxwell, this alternate version of herself that is apparently so much better than her, because every facet of this whole new dimension sings of Milla Maxwell while at the same to whispering to Milla, you don’t belong here at all.

“I understand,” Milla Maxwell says, and with the way she meets Milla’s gaze steadily, she’s actually inclined to believe her. “But you don’t have to. Not for this.”

Milla wants to argue, she really does, but already a hand is thumbing at her inner thigh and suddenly, she doesn’t have it in her. No matter how she agonized over the embarrassment during the day, once actually faced with those gorgeous eyes and disarming smile, all sense and all shame simply fly out the window. No matter how much she tries to convince herself she shouldn’t, Milla wants this, so instead of resisting any further, she shuts up, parts her legs, and lets it happen.

Night, after night, after night.

It’s nothing like touching herself (or, well, in a weird way, Milla supposes she kinda is touching herself, but now she has to set the paradoxical duality of their existence aside before she gets a headache), and before, Milla hadn’t truly known the sheer mindblowing ecstasy that someone else could give her. Maybe it’s a side effect of not being truly there in body, but oh, Milla is all there in nerves, and of course Milla Maxwell knows exactly how to play her body—their body—like an instrument, skillfully plucking at all the right strings until symphonies roar in Milla’s head.

You’re so fucked up, Milla wants to tell the other, the words dancing on the tip of her tongue—but ultimately, they never do get past her lips. It’s not like she’s one to talk, because Milla is willingly giving up her own mana to provide Milla Maxwell with a similar pleasure, and she’s probably going insane because not only is she letting this happen, she’s being an active participant.

Yet when Milla feels the lips on her neck, and the hand squeezing around her breast, and the fingers pushing down on her clit her in warm, soft pressure, her every worry, every stress, every bit of baggage that she’s acquired from being in this new dimension simply falls away. All the shit that Ludger and the others put her through, that she has to carry around with her every day—at night, it all seems to just whoosh out of her, like pulling the plug from the drain. Milla Maxwell knows exactly how to make her go wild, fill her to the brim with euphoria, make peaks of pleasure crash over her in merciless waves until Milla no longer knows what’s right and what’s wrong.

All Milla knows is that this feels good, this feels like something, when almost nothing else does.

(After four more straight mornings of Milla waking up to find her panties completely soaked through, she stops bothering to wear clean underwear to bed.)

Pleasuring each other becomes something of a habit.

It’s not like there’s anything better to do, when they’re both stuck in this dream world together. They could talk, sure, but Milla would rather they not, because most talk inevitably ends up being about the fractured dimensions, and she gets more than enough of that in her waking hours, thank you very much. Besides, it’s not as if she has any better means of satiating these particular urges, and as utterly fucked up as Milla knows it is to be having sex with another version of herself in her head, at the very least, it’s not actually hurting anyone.

That’s more than she can say for Ludger’s day job.

So Milla lets her alternate self touch her while pumping her full of mana in return, and as she’s swept up in a typhoon of heat and their own mutual gain, she does her best to just forget. Milla does her best to forget the way Jude and Elize like to commentate on the style of Milla’s dress, and the way Alvin and Rowen sometimes look expectantly at her when she’s casting artes, and the way Leia always smiles at her with such sheer force and twitching lips that Milla’s sure she’s trying way too hard.

“They’re all so obsessed with you,” Milla mumbles once, in the midst of being fingered, when her mind is perhaps more preoccupied than it should be with the very thoughts she wishes to vanish. She doesn’t mean to say it out loud, doesn’t even fully realize she has said it aloud until Milla Maxwell pauses in her thrust and shoots her a small, sad smile.

“I’m sorry about them,” she says.

Milla scoffs, because why would little miss perfect be sorry for anything? “Yeah, right.”

Milla Maxwell doesn’t seem like she wants to argue, and Milla takes that as a mercy. In a way, she can’t even blame the other’s friends for always comparing them, because that unbelievable strength they always talk about is the same one Milla sees reflected in rose-colored eyes, and sometimes, she can’t help comparing them herself. Milla Maxwell really is so much more than Milla is, in almost every possible way.

“You should be with them,” Milla murmurs, the words escaping her before she can even realize they’ve formed on her tongue. “Where you belong. Not me.”

“I do yearn to return to them,” Milla Maxwell says, and Milla doesn’t miss the longing in her voice.“Yet even as Maxwell, there exist forces beyond my understanding and control. Chronos, for one. This dreamscape, for another.” She reaches up, cups Milla’s cheek in her palm, looks her straight in the eye and smiles softly. “For now, we can only make the best of our situation.”

Milla just stares back, mesmerized. It’s crazy, how such an effortlessly seductive expression can exist on a face that looks so much like her own, when Milla is sure that she herself could never pull it off.

“…God,” Milla gasps in self-scorn, “what are you doing to me?”

“Whatever you want me to do,” Milla Maxwell answers simply. “So what is it that you want?”

Milla closes her eyes and remembers how the weight of so many fractured dimensions pressed down on her with every step during the day, how casually thrown comments from her new companions locked around her ankles like shackles. Then she remembers how it felt for lips to suckle at her neck, for a talented hand to roam all over her body in search of sweet spots, and Milla silently moans into the void, her heart soaring in her chest like a bird freed from it’s cage.

For the sake of her own already fragile sanity, Milla needs this, so she abandons all reservation to arch greedily into the other’s hand.

“Keep touching me,” Milla pleads, and Milla Maxwell does exactly that.

(“Do you want to meet the other Milla?” Ludger asks at the dried up lake, and Milla pauses at the question. An oddly pleasant tingle races down her spine as she remembers what it’s like to have her own mind attached to another’s, and to thrust mana directly into Milla Maxwell, all while a skilled hand works between her legs in return.

But Ludger doesn’t need to know about all that.

“I suppose I do,” Milla says, and despite herself, she can’t help smiling.

But then she sees the fractured Rollo disappear, and at last, she understands.)

“Fuck you.”

Milla mutters that spitefully the moment she next comes to awareness in the dream, and she doesn’t even let her prime counterpart get a word in before she’s forming the connection, pumping mana straight in. It has been a hell of a day running around the Epsilla Ruins, and at the end of it, Milla felt her heart sink to the lowest, emptiest pit of her stomach as she realized the truth.

The two of them were never meant to truly coexist, and if Milla Maxwell were to return to her dimension, Milla herself would disappear

So tonight, Milla is going to take out all her frustrations on the very person who created them.

When Milla direct-tethers this time, it’s rough and harsh and angry, Milla mercilessly forcing mana into the connection until she can see the other her wracking with sensations. Milla Maxwell instantly gives a strangled yell, her body jerking about in response until she’s thrashing, and Milla doesn’t stop because all she can think is Fuck you, fuck you, writhe, bitch, writhe!

And Milla Maxwell does. She writhes until Milla grows sick of making her writhe, because that face looks so much like her own and after a while, watching it strain from exertion starts to make her stomach churn. The Lord of Spirits looks utterly pathetic, and that doesn’t give Milla nearly as much satisfaction as she thought it would because that’s her too—Milla Maxwell right now looks exactly how Milla Not-Maxwell feels, and that just doubles her own sense of crushing weakness, piles back onto her in a miserable backfire.

Milla abruptly stops, and Milla Maxwell takes a minute to gather herself again. When she recovers and gazes back at her fractured self, there is no anger, no resentment, no intention of revenge in her face. There is only sorrow and condolence as she reaches forward and embraces Milla, arms coiling around Milla’s waist as Milla startles at the surprising gentleness.

“I’m sorry,” Milla Maxwell murmurs into her ear, and her voice is so soft that Milla can almost believe that she means it, that she understands. But she can’t; how could someone who turned out so different—so perfect—possibly understand how Milla feels, how empty and sad and infuriating it is to not belong?

To be rejected by the whole universe as someone false, a piece of fractured garbage who should have been disposed of long ago.

But Milla doesn’t say this, the words clogging up in her throat as the prime bends down, slow enough to let Milla pull away if she wants to. Milla doesn’t, and the prime trails her hands down to Milla’s hips as she herself bends down on her knees, hovering her face near Milla’s crotch. The phantom pressure that then slides straight between Milla’s legs is wet and rough and scraping—it’s tongue and lips and teeth that seek out all the same delicate spots that fingers usually do, and Milla puts her hand to her mouth and whimpers quietly because ohhhh Gods, she’s never done that before.

Milla Maxwell kisses her entrance and tongues at her clit and pleasures her like an apology, like once she’s senseless with ecstasy, everything will be okay.

…But it’s not okay, and there is nothing that can make it better, and now, Milla’s eyes are so hot that the heat everywhere else doesn’t matter.

(Milla wakes up to an urgent shaking at her shoulders, and as she gasps wildly for air like a sailor struggling not to drown, Elle yanks back with wide eyes.

“…Milla? Are you okay?” Elle eventually whispers, her voice confused and concerned and something close to scared. “You were moaning a lot in your sleep; it woke me up. Are…are you hurt or something?”

Milla swallows hard to keep down the bile in her throat, and wipes away the wetness she can feel pooling in her eyes, dripping down her cheeks. She quickly glances down at the sheets, makes sure they don’t visibly show the other wetness she feels between her legs, and forces herself to smile.

“I’m fine,” Milla lies through her teeth.

Elle does not look like she believes her one bit.)

They don’t stop.

Milla doesn’t even have it in her to try stopping, because no matter how much she tries to build up her hatred during the day, every night when they meet, it all just melts out of her. Milla Maxwell really is incredible, so provocative without even really trying, and utterly shameless about it to boot, and yet somehow, still so hard to hate. In the end, all Milla can do is succumb to temptation, let herself be ravished by the only person who could know her own body as well as she does.

Milla is trapped inside her own mind, and either she’s just going insane by having elaborate fantasies of fucking herself, or the very source of all her grievances is the only one who can ease them. Funny, how things work out sometimes, because inside this dream, Milla Maxwell is her solace, but outside it, she’s the impetus by which her friends will eventually have to bring about Milla’s doom.

“They’ll have to kill me,” Milla mumbles thoughtlessly one night, after they’ve both reached their respective climaxes but the dream still has not yet ended. It is a truth that had gone unsaid until now but that they had both known for days now. Milla’s dimension is gone, and the prime dimension cannot hold them both.

And Milla Maxwell doesn’t pull punches when she responds, “That appears to be the case.”

Milla laughs, empty and humorless. “Yeah, great for you, isn’t it? Just get me out of the way and then you’re all set to return home. Just fucking peachy, right?”

Milla Maxwell sighs. “You’re free to resent me all you wish. I cannot tell you I have a better solution.”

The prime looks offended by all this too, actually. Her lips are curled with distaste, her brow furrowed in what might be frustration. Maybe she too believes that this situation is unfair—but she’s not the one who’s doomed for destruction, she’s the one who was chosen to live. Her, out of countless others, the only true and real Milla Maxwell.

God, Milla wants to puke.

“I never should have come to your dimension. I never wanted to.” Milla grits her teeth and swallows hard. “I should have died back there in the first place, when Ludger intended.”

Milla Maxwell frowns. “Do you want to die?”

Not really, Milla thinks. But better to die than to keep living in a world where you can’t even feel alive. So she grabs Milla Maxwell around both sides of her face, gazes straight into her eyes, and gasps, “I have to die.”

With that, she yanks her counterpart in to kiss her hard.

Milla Maxwell is surprised for only a brief moment. Quickly, she grows pliant, receptive to Milla’s lips, and reaches her hand up to cup her face in turn. Milla Maxwell thumbs at her cheek as she teases her tongue over Milla’s lips, and Milla opens up to let her plunge in, exploring in a way that sends sparks jolting up Milla’s spine. They meld into each other until Milla is digging her nails into the other’s shoulders, giving soft sobs against that eager mouth, until Milla can think of nothing but chest against chest, skin over skin, lips upon lips.

That kiss is their first.

That kiss is their last.

(Milla hears that Milla Maxwell is blocking the route to the final Waymarker, and for a brief moment, she wonders if the other her is doing it on purpose. Perhaps some part of her would like to believe that her prime self wouldn’t do that, but she can’t just instantly fall asleep and ask, so instead, Milla dashes frantically out the room. Her feet carry her to the pier where she heaves for breath, bends over and tightly hugs her arms around herself as her heartbeat rings in her ears like the clamor of funeral drums.

“I’m going to die,” she mutters beneath the din of the ocean’s waves, and maybe she should be terrified, but oddly enough, she’s not. It all just feels so numb, so worthless now. “I’m going to die and it’s all because of you.”

There is no response, of course. Milla wasn’t expecting one, because that’s not how this works, not when she’s awake. Milla Maxwell can always tell what Milla’s doing, but Milla can only talk to her other self in her dreams.

“…I don’t like you,” Milla tells the one who she can’t perceive but who she knows is listening. “I knew I wouldn’t like you.”

But even as she says it, she knows her words hold no bite, because she hasn’t said hate, she can’t say hate. She knows she wouldn’t mean it.

And as Elle’s voice comes from behind, calling for her to wait up, Milla can only brace herself for when she must face the music.)

Milla’s tired of being sad and mad by the time she actually meets her counterpart outside their dream (or hell, maybe this is a dream, she can’t even tell for sure anymore). So she merely watches, desensitized as Milla Maxwell nods at her with solemn respect, that same respect she’d always give before trailing her fingers down Milla’s spine, or groping at her breasts, or slipping a hand between her legs…

Gods, Milla does not need this to be her last thought.

“I knew I wouldn’t like you,” Milla repeats, just in case the other didn’t hear it on the pier. For good riddance, she finds the familiar connection in her mind, grabs onto Milla Maxwell’s presence and prods at it with her mana lobe. Just one last time, in what should be spite, what starts as spite, but then ends up being something Milla herself can’t even identify anymore.

She hears the prime take in a slight gasp of shock in response, and perhaps if Milla looked up, she could see that body spasm with sensations as it rose. But Milla doesn’t, and Milla can’t, because she’s falling too fast and the void is already taking her.

…Yet, in the moments before Milla fades away, a voice rings her mind:

“Thank you. I won’t forget you.”

(“You know about the other Milla who was with us?” Ludger asks, solemn and longing, and prime Milla recalls the way her fractured counterpart would part open her mouth as Milla fingered her to finish, the adorable way her eyes would glass over as she bucked her hips and rode out her climax. She remembers how the other Milla would brush against her consciousness in kind, reach directly into her soul and fill it with mana, until she herself shuddered and moaned in sheer euphoria—and she wishes that things could have turned out differently.

“I do,” Milla Maxwell murmurs. “I saw everything.”

That “everything” is so much more than she will ever let them know.)