According to the clock on the bedside table, it was only a little past noon. 12:14 pm. The clock was lowered, face down, so the numbers would no longer taunt her. She had been aware of how late it was getting. She had no care. The lavender and green floral comforter was supposed to be light and airy but felt so heavy. The energy it would take just to roll over was too much.
Most of all, the sunlight was what mocked her.
A creature of darkness, she had once been. Now, perhaps in a way, she still was.
The soft, joking murmur of “Candygram” was heard just as there was a soft knock on the bedroom door. She could only groan in response.
She didn’t move, but looked up when the blanket was nudged away from her face.
“You’re not looking too hot, Madge,”
“Again with the nicknames,”
He laughed. “Well, you’ve got the energy to sass me so there’s that,”
Magica childishly stuck her tongue out, trying to pull the blanket back—but to no avail. She frowned and gave up, letting it drop.
“What do you want, Gladstone?” she grumbled.
She grimaced when his fingertips traced her jawline. The affection would make her melt in any other moment; this time, she felt disgusted and confused. He could pick that up instantly, and let out a heavy sigh.
“Another bad day, huh?”
She ignored him. She looked away, her bright eyes sliding to the side, to the other side of the bed—
—where he figured he could just lay there. And invade her space and wallowing.
How dare he.
“What are you doing?” Her tone of voice was low, almost-but-not-quite a growl. She hesitated, running her tongue over the little extra-spiky teeth she had, the fangs, another countless sign of her corruption. She wanted to recoil when Gladstone kept so gently tracing her face.
Magica frowned when a neon green feather fell onto the fitted sheet.
“I just figured you could use some company,” he said softly.
“Well, maybe I don’t want company,” she groused.
His finely groomed eyebrows arching up was a silent response. Maybe you need company, his expression told her, while his lips did not say a word.
They did, however, so sweetly kiss her temple.
She wanted to accept it. To melt into it and smile like she had on other mornings.
But other mornings were easier. This one, for some reason, was so incredibly frustrating.
“You gonna let your hair grow out?” Gladstone asked, fiddling with frizzy, fraying ebony strands that could use a brush taken to them. He saw Magica’s pathetic shrug and went on, “Trust me, boo, I know the best hair care. How else do you think I keep my curls in such fabulous shape?”
“You wear rollers,” she said, with a snort.
He blushed a bit. “Well, yeah, but I do more than just that,” But his embarrassment was brief. “Now there’s a smile,”
It existed for a fleeting moment, disappearing as soon as he pointed it out.
She went back to pouting. Scowling. Grimacing. All those sorts of things at once, somehow.
Everytime Magica shifted on the bed, just the slightest move, she felt heavy. Like she was being smothered, like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. And maybe it wasn’t the world, but it certainly was close enough. Memories and pain and darkness. Lots of darkness. Deals she shouldn’t have made and ideas she shouldn’t have gone through with.
There was selfishness and then there was madness.
She felt even worse knowing it took her this long to learn that.
She wasn’t sure how or when but she found herself holding his hand, fingers lazily intertwined. Not tight but just enough.
“You doing okay?” He stopped. “That’s a dumb question, isn’t it?”
“Yes, yes, it is,” she replied. But the way she squeezed his hand assured him she was being slightly playful.
Gladstone sighed. “You want me to do anything for you?” He scooted a little closer, his hesitance before he wrapped an arm around her being a silent plead, and she gave in to him. He held her, his face slightly buried in her neck. He ignored the feathers that ruffled off of her.
He listened to her hesitant breaths. Her slow heartbeat.
Magica let out a pathetic little noise.
“Okay,” he murmured. “I’m gonna go make you that weird tea you like. The hazel kind,”
She rolled her eyes at his constant inability to remember the names of things, but admired his knowledge of what she liked.
And he adjusted the comforter. Keeping her warm in a physical sense, and in a heart-swelling sense.
“And where do you keep the non-cursed candles?” he asked.
“Back of the pantry,” she said. “Don’t light the black ones, though,”
Gladstone frowned. “Why?”
“If you want to host a seance right now, be my guest,” Magica huffed—grinning at how Gladstone’s golden-white feathers quite literally ruffled.
He sat up and slid off the bed, shaking his head a bit. “You are so weird,”
She hugged the comforter closer to her bed but managed a shaky smile and a reply; “Thank you,”
And they both knew she wasn’t thanking him for the weird comment. He smiled at her and left the bedroom. Gladstone knew of her actions, but he’d never quite know why she did them or the multitude of feelings she had regarding them.
But another thing he knew was that the best thing to do was simply… be there.
And even if Magica never said how much it meant to her, he saw it in her soft, tender expression. With that hesitant smile, the dull glow of those yellow-almost-amber eyes and her rare vulnerability.
What irony his luck led him to a love that was so complex.