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Something Wicked (went that way and came this way)

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She knew the boy from before. He didn’t seem like he’d stopped forgetting though, so she kept her distance.

She thought the boy’s mother might have sensed something…off about her but the Carnival was the only thing keeping mother and son from starving and the mother let her be.

She didn’t tell the others when she saw what was to come. She knew the boy had to fry for him to understand what was coming years, decades from now.

Sometimes she cried and sobbed and cursed Mother for making her see and feel and do nothing. She hated when she had foresight, hated knowing what, why and when; hated even more that he would have to suffer for years before she could calm him.

But she prepared. She prepared and wondered if Mother would let her remember the suffering would end.

***

There was another boy at that travelling carnival (and really there were many, so many but only two that mattered) with an aura of tragedy about him and when she’d asked the cards about him she’d cried and cried and howled to the moon at the guilt she’d seen and the injustice of it all. She wasn’t sure what she’d do if their paths would cross again.

***

Almost a century later while she curled with her mate and fought against the wish to stay wolf, she thought Mother might have blessed her with letting her forget.

***

A week after that the boy, Jem (no, Stiles, Stiles) dreams about that Carnival, recognizes her and remembers his mother’s apprehension and wonders. He wonders how many times she’s run into him, how many times she’s kept her distance and let him be. He thinks about how many times they’ve been friends, siblings, lovers (suffering the separation in silence), best enemies maybe.

But most of all, he wonders how long has she lived as many and when did she say no, I will not forget when you claim me.

***

The younger kids were laughing while they ran around all the people setting up for the night. The village they’d stopped at wasn’t big by any standards but there was a fair amount of travellers and young couples who might be interested in a little intrigue or a bit of magic.

Of course what no-one had known of the village was that the local priest was a zealot of the worst sort.

It had started with some of the village men telling them to get out of there or they’d bring the wrath of God on their homes. MacKenzie, the Master of Ceremony, had told the men in his indisputably calm way that they were all God’s children and there was no need for violence, that they’d be gone by morning if that was the village’s will.

The men had come back with torches setting everything on fire.

The tents were all burning, their carriages, their home. Jeremiah was trying to lead some of the smaller kids out but the fire was everywhere. He’d already seen his mother get trapped in a burning carriage trying to get Vicky’s baby out. He’d seen too much in just the small amount of time it had taken for the villagers to light up everything. And now they were screaming something about burning the heathens and destroying the demons in God’s name.

The tears in his eyes never got to fall down, the heat from the flames evaporating them almost before they formed and Jeremiah was screaming, screaming for someone, anyone to help.

And little Caroline was still in his arms and he collapsed on his knees, the other kids huddling closer to him, some of them whimpering in pain from the heat.

And he was choking and coughing and that had to be ash down his throat and...

...he wondered...

His Mother...

She’d never liked Maria

Where was she?