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“Hey,” Lup says, close to her ear. Lucretia starts. Her peripheral vision is just one more loss she's learned not to think about, but when she was just the Madame Director, it didn't matter so much. No one tried to sneak up on her, then.


“Lup. Hello.” She says, and winces at her own tone, how cold she sounds. But she can't take it back. That's not how this works.


“Yeah, so...” Lup takes a deep breath. “Okay. Fuck.”


“I had to spend like, fifteen minutes convincing Barry to let me come up here alone, so like.... make it worth my time, okay, Luce? I don't – ” She takes a deep breath. “Taako's really fucking messed up.”


Lucretia almost chokes. It's something between a gut-punch and a laugh. She doesn't, she – she wouldn't do that to Lup, she doesn't have any right to laugh, but Lup says that like it's the morning headline. As if Lucretia didn't know. As if she has not spent most of the past decade worrying, even if she never acted, never checked on them because she was weak because she couldn't stand to be not-right because she was too selfish to even take care of her own fucking family, too busy lying in a lonely room three times bigger than her real bedroom, composing in her head the stories, the apologies she would not write down – As if she's never had that thought in her life


Lup's still talking, and Lucretia shoves down the tidal wave of regret. She's wasted enough time feeling sorry for herself.


“And Barry, he's – he's not even fucking dealing, and, fuck, I don't know how I feel. I never forgot them, but fuck, I was fucking trapped, and – that wasn't okay. And it will never be okay. And, none of this...”


Lup's breath hitches. She keeps going. “What you did to all of us, it was, it's unforgivable. Barry still can't sleep without me in the room, which, lemme tell you, is kind of a bitch with me being unable to sleep currently and all, but whatever, we make it work. And I guess. I guess I'm here for that, Luce, cause...”


She's crying, but she looks stubborn, angry, and Lucretia remembers that this was the face that they all knew meant “get out of the way, Lup's about to do something impossible.” She remembers the comic strips she made for Magnus once, decades back, little illustrations of their family. She hasn't looked at them, not since they forgot.


(And she remembers that Lup acts when she's sad. She doesn't let it force her into bed for days. She doesn't ignore everything but paperwork for weeks on end.)


“Cause fuck it, okay? Maybe it didn't... didn't matter, to you, but we were family for a hundred fucking years, okay, and that... I don't think. I don't think any of us can fucking. Pretend that didn't happen, or it didn't matter, or you're not still my sister.”


“I don't know if I can trust you ever again and fuck if I know if Taako will ever talk to you again and I definitely don't want you around Barry until you've well and truly fucking apologized but...”


“Ball's in your court, okay, Luce? I … don't fuck it up this time.”


Lup turns on her heel and prepares to cast featherfall, stepping towards the edge of the moon. Lucretia is frozen. She wants to crumble to the floor and never get back up. But whatever else she is, she's had to become the Madame Director of the Bureau of Balance, too. Her voice feels like an alien creature but she manages to say,




Lup pauses. She pauses, and Lucretia is abruptly so grateful for this small mercy that she feels like she might cry. It takes her a minute to find her voice again.


“Before you go, I have something for you, I – you remember Cycle 88? It was the one with the gigantic ferns and the extremely contagious wasting disease, and Barry did experiments to see if he could make us immune. I – I didn't know how to dispose of his materials without risking them getting into the wrong hands, so, ah, I have this vial of your blood, and I would love to see you in your body again, if you can swing it with Kravitz. Um. Here.”


Lup takes the vial with a scarlet mage hand. “I – fuck, thank you, Lucretia. I was wondering if we were gonna have to use Taako's DNA or whatever – which, I mean, not the worst thing ever, lucky I got the body-backup, but transition potions taste like ass and I've heard it's harder when you're an adult and it'd be just, really weird and – ”


She pauses. “You're not off the hook, y'know. All that shit I said still applies. But... thank you. It means... it means a lot.” She turns around and she's walking towards the edge again and Lucretia takes a deep breath, makes herself say one last thing.


“Lup. Thank you.”


Lup looks over her shoulder. Nods, looking angry and fucked up and strong and Lup. And then she's gone, and Lucretia wants a thousand impossible things, a hundred forsaken worlds, but she doesn't have that, she doesn't have them, so she makes herself tea instead, bitter and black and much, much too hot.