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who could stay?

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She was tired. God, she was tired. 

She had walked to the owl house slowly, her mind drifting off to somewhere far away after her mother had yelled at her and she stormed out of the house. 

A solid hour. Amity had timed it. 

She walked through the woods thinking about all the things she had done wrong in her life and wondered how they were so bad that she deserved this treatment. 

Luz had always told her that her mom was too hard on her, but maybe she was wrong. Maybe she was just that bad. 

She had knocked on the door, flinching as the tap of her knuckles broke the silence of the night. Thankfully Hooty, had been out with Lilith, Luz told her later. She couldn’t have handled him in that moment. 

Luz opened the door and started to say something, then closed it as she saw the state Amity was in. 

She wordlessly gestured to the living room and they sat down. Luz looked her up and down for injuries. Blood stained the blue fabric of her pajama shirt, she had scraped her elbow on some tree branches. Luz didn’t speak. She didn’t have to. They had gotten good at understanding each other’s every move without speaking a word. Instead, Amity let herself fall into Luz’s arms. 

She still didn’t make a sound, but tears escaped, wetting Luz’s shirt as she clung to it. Luz ran her fingers through Amity’s newly purple hair and hummed a tune that she recognized as a human song that she had shown her last week. 

She sniffled pathetically and wiped her eyes as she sat up again. 

She felt guilty. She was making luz pity her for something that was her fault. She should’ve studied more, then none of this would have happened. Her mom would still be happy, and they’d still be in the delicate balance of peace between them. 

Wishful thinking, of course, nothing she did was ever enough.

She put her head in her hands. She didn’t know where she belonged. 

She wanted Luz but didn’t want to feel like a burden. She wanted her mom, but they were too far gone for Amity to ever admit that. 

She wanted… 

She didn’t even know, but she knew that Luz continuing to stroke her hair felt nice.  She leaned into the touch. She thought she started crying again. She wasn't sure. 

She was vaguely aware of someone talking. She assumed it was Luz, but it felt staticky. Like she was trying to listen underwater. 

She mentioned something about there being dirt in her hair. She stood up, Amity closed her eyes, focusing on the sound of her footsteps down the hall, then the sound of the bath running. 

Time was in such a warp that she didn’t know if it was a few seconds or hours until Luz got back, carrying a fluffy soft towel and a change of clothes. 

Luz crouched down to her level and said something softly. she asked if she wanted to take a bath and get some rest. 

She did and got to her feet, all of a sudden getting dizzy. She grasped luz’s arms with her torn-up hands. 

How had they gotten that torn up? She vaguely remembered punching a wall. 

She swayed and Luz put her hands on her waist to steady her. She leaned in, pressing her body against Luz’s. It felt nice. 

What was she supposed to be doing again? 

Oh yeah, walking. 

She felt stuck, too scared to let go of the human. She still couldn’t talk to communicate this. 

But Luz understood. She scooped her up just like the day she broke her leg. The parallel was ridiculous. Broken leg. Broken mind. both times the pain had been all-encompassing. Both times the only thing that mattered was her Luz. 

She didn’t even feel embarrassed about the nickname anymore. 

Luz carried her to the bathroom and asked if she felt okay walking again. She nodded and Luz set her on her feet again.

She wanted to feel clean so badly. She hadn’t slept in days. Her new hair was streaked with dirt from the forest and grease from not showering in a week. She felt disgusting, but Luz didn’t recoil like she expected her to. Luz didn’t hesitate. Luz didn’t leave. 

She didn’t want Luz to leave. So, as she turned to leave and give her some privacy, Amity grabbed her hand. 

Luz turned back and looked at her and then the bath.  She asked if she wanted to sleep instead and bathe in the morning.  Amity shook her head, squeezing her hand. She wanted to be clean.

She didn’t know what solution she wanted, but she knew she didn’t want Luz out of her sight. If she lost sight of Luz, she would lose the little grip on reality she had. Luz understood. She helped Amity strip of her outerwear and get into the tub. She should have been embarrassed, but there was nothing but innocence surrounding it. She trusted Luz enough that she was okay with being so vulnerable, physically and emotionally.

Her arms and legs shook as she lowered herself into the hot water. When was the last time she had eaten? 

She lost herself again as she felt the hot water. She wasn’t Amity anymore. She wasn’t even in her body. She just existed, not feeling real. Her own personhood was untethered from its rightful post. She didn’t feel anything. 

She leaned her head unconsciously into Luz’s touch again, taking a deep breath as she felt Luz’s calloused yet soft hands ever so gently pour warm water onto her head, lightly touching the back of her neck. She continued to hum the tune.

The water splashed down her body, she focused on the sensory input that she knew for a fact was real, trying to learn to be Amity yet again. 

Luz somehow picked up on her disconnection from reality and started to talk to help ground her. She couldn’t exactly tell what about, but her voice was soft and gentle. Musical and calm. 

She brought herself back to the present ever so slightly, letting herself enjoy the sensation of shampoo being rubbed into her hair. She had always liked the way Luz smelled, and she now recognized part of the scent as the shampoo. 

She pulled herself into reality enough to hear the tail end of a story about her mom. Camila Noceda seemed like an amazing person. It was no wonder Luz had turned out so kind and gentle. 

Luz dumped another cup of water onto her head, brushing her fingers against her forehead to avoid getting the soap in her eyes. 

And just like that, she was clean. She felt more like herself physically and spiritually. 

Luz turned and picked up the towel and began to wipe her face with it. She gently rubbed it into Amity’s hair, soaking up the water dripping down her body. She held out her hand to help her up out of the bath, which she took. The cold air a welcome sensation against the steam coming off the hot water.

She gestured to the clothes on the counter, again gently asking if she needed privacy. 

Amity just looked down at the floor. In another world, she would feel ashamed. But in the world she was currently in, the notion of dressing herself felt as unattainable as the moon.  

Luz didn’t falter. she didn’t judge. she didn’t ridicule. The polar opposite of her mom. 

She helped her slip a soft sweater over her arms and put Amity’s hands on her neck to support her as she pulled her legs into the shorts provided. 

Luz got out a comb and slowly ran it through her hair. Amity’s hands hadn’t moved from the back of her neck. She listened to Luz’s breathing and tried her best to sync it with hers. 

She finished and untangled herself from Amity’s grasp, who made a pathetic whining sound at the lack of contact. Luz smiled warmly and muttered reassurance as she wrapped her arm against her from the side, so she could be close to her but also had the option to walk.

She felt more alive now. She felt solid. Foggy, but here and real

She didn’t know where they were going until Luz brought her to her room. She released Amity and gestured to the bed. letting her sit down by herself but watching closely so she would be ready to catch her if she fell. 

She told her to wait right there, and Amity nodded. 

She returned shortly, carrying a piece of bread, a bowl of soup, and a glass of water in her hands. 

She put the dishes on the nightstand and handed Amity the bowl of soup. 

She watched as amity brought the bowl to her lips and took a sip. Her mouth watered. She didn’t remember the last time she had eaten, lately, all of her days just blurred together.  

She was ravenous. Her mother had always taught her that eating in front of others was something to be done as a performance with perfect posture and manners, but she sat cross-legged on the bed and inhaled the bowl of vegetable soup, then grabbing the bread and ripping it into smaller pieces to chew. 

Luz looked at her and smiled her perfect smile again, happy that she was eating. 

She put the now empty bowl back on the nightstand and took a sip of water. Her throat was raw from yelling and crying earlier so she welcomed the cool hydration from the glass. 

She finished it in a few gulps and set the cup down as well. She was still just so tired. 

Luz, always anticipating what she needed before she even needed it, crossed the room, and pointed to the light. Amity nodded and she switched the light off. 

Luz didn’t even have to ask if Amity wanted her to stay, sparing her the humiliation of having to ask, and the fear of rejection if she said no. 

She knew the answer and was proved correct when as soon as she laid down next to her, Amity tangled herself onto her, leg swung over her torso, arm wrapped around her chest, face buried in her neck. 

Luz made a stupid joke. She laughed for the first time in what felt like years. 

Everything was okay for just a minute and deep down she knew that everything would be okay for the rest of the night. She felt... Safe