Hannah’s dead, oh god Hannah’s dead.
Julia barely processes her last words to run, two failed healing spells before she does. How could she have forgotten how ruthless Marina is- or how did she ignore it? Because she knew, will never forget their first meeting, Marina watching her rip open a corpse to keep them alive.
Julia runs out of the warehouse, is immediately slammed up against the wall next to the door.
“Running quick for a dead girl,” Marina quips lightly, one hand laced with magic pinning her neck to the wall and the other toying with her hair.
Julia snarls, trying and failing to push her away. “You killed her, you bitch!”
Marina tilts her head to the side, has the audacity to appear confused. Terrible comprehension dawns over her features, lips quirking up. “It was a weak curse. It wouldn’t have killed you honey. Lemme guess, you were working with… Hannah? She always did try to do magic bigger than she was.”
“Fuck you,” Julia growls, goes to slap her, and Marina catches her wrist in midair, slams it against the wall.
“Naughty, naughty Julia. It’s like you want me angry.”
Rage clouds her vision, how dare Marina say that right after she- Julia lurches forwards, teeth sinking into her lower lip. Blood soaks her mouth, smears over her lips, and she’s vindictively pleased. Swallowing she can feel her magic reacting, pleasant sparks down her throat and warming her belly.
Marina backs away suddenly, and Julia can’t recognize the expression on her face.
“You have any idea what you just did Wicker?”
She doesn’t, but with that kind of reaction, it must be good.
“I need fucking coffee for this,” Marina says, turning away and leaving.
Julia would like to pretend it was a moral quandary on whether to simply leave or murder Marina while her back was turned. That she didn’t just watch one of Marina’s curses kill her accomplice, and then decide to follow her at the barest hint because surely there would be more magic in that future. Julia would like to pretend she isn’t that greedy, that selfish and detached.
Marina is on her second espresso before she deigns to explain what happened. It’s weird enough that they’re at a regular coffee shop- no wards, no other magicians. Even weirder that Marina was able to switch her emotions so quickly, acting like they’re regular college roommates out to lunch.
“You caused a sympathetic bond. They’re rare as hell, useful too. There’s very few hedges that have similar magic and potential power levels, it amplifies. Our magic combined will be immense. No more worrying about Brakebills brats, or anyone.”
Julia swallows, can still taste the echo of her blood. “What else does the bond do?”
Marina grins, “Caught that, did you? We’ll always know where the other is.”
Marina laughs, “That isn’t enough for you? Sympathetic bonds aren’t well documented, I’ll make a library request. They’re unheard of with formal magicians- they splinter their disciplines too finely for matching.”
“Alright,” Julia says, trying to wrap her mind around everything. Guilt seeps up her throat, Hannah died and here she is-
“It’s funny,” Marina says. “At your next star we would have tested you with all our hedges for a bond.”
And she hates herself for asking, but the question still slips out. “You’ll be teaching me magic then?”
Bright red lips curl up cruelly, “Be happy Julia, you got your wish. You’re going to know as much magic as you can handle.”
She should leave. She should walk away from it all, go back to fucking Yale and be normal.
Marina brings her back to her apartment, and Julia tries to keep an impressed expression off her face. (Judging by her smirk, she doesn’t succeed.)
“Until you’re not a walking liability, this is your new home. These wards can keep even the Dean out, not to mention your petty not-friends. Got it?”
“Whatever, are we doing magic or not?”
“Eager,” Marina teases, sitting down on the living room’s rug and patting a spot in front of her.
Julia sits, and Marina holds her hands. Magic trickles between them, and Julia bites her tongue, remembers how Hannah died.
“Tester spell first, easy- no hand movements. Just hold on and repeat ‘sensum magis’ with me.”
Julia nods, and Marina begins, Julia joining in on the second iteration.
It’s nothing like casting was before. She can feel the magic bouncing between their hands, growing larger and larger with the chant. Like a pulse it beats against her bones. Her awareness has narrowed down to their hands, and the ever growing magic.
Marina squeezes her hands, and meeting her eyes she knows, simultaneously going silent. The magic is a tidal wave that crashes over them both, every nerve alight. Julia can see everything, can count the dust particles on the ceiling. Her hearing is absurd, can hear the pigeon that just landed on the roof however many floors up. For smell, there’s only Marina’s rose perfume, complex enough that it smells like a garden. And touch… her hands burn where Marina’s are, her thumb sliding over Marina’s wrist without permission.
“I daresay it worked,” Marina says, and her voice washes over her. It feels like home, and Julia can’t care about anything outside of this very moment. (Her memory fights the magic, but it’s easy to push away, a problem for her future self.)
Marina drops her hands, and she misses the contact instantly, but then she’s cupping her face and gods, nothing has ever felt this good in her entire life. Julia leans forward, crushes their lips together, positively moans at the sensation. Bliss overtakes everything, clothes lost quickly, and orgasms coming even quicker.
It’s hours before they’re worn out, before the spell fades. They’re sitting on the couch by then, legs stretched out and Marina’s arms around her.
She can feel the second the spell drops, her rational brain returning to her, a fresh blush on her cheeks.
Marina snorts, “Don’t play coy with me now.”
Julia sits up, “Did you know that would happen?”
Marina’s nails trail down her side, a distracting shiver following. “Did I know we’d have epic magic induced sex? Of course not, we would have been in my bedroom. I’m too old for this floor and couch bullshit.”
Her traitorous lips smile, and Julia says, “It won’t be like that with every spell… right?”
“I dunno, probably not. Wanna find out?”
Julia groans at the mere thought of another orgasm, laying back. “I don’t wanna move for at least a day.”
She can feel Marina’s smile, how her magic purrs in response. Almost like- no, Julia can think on it later, for now, she’s exhausted.
(It’s the best she’s ever slept.)