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Indistinguishable From Magic

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Julia is sitting down at a table in Kady’s new apartment. She’s not sure what drew her here, but after everything that happened in Fillory with the Beast and everything before she couldn’t think of anyone else to turn to. Marina pointed her in the right direction after some light cajoling, there was no way in Hell Julia believed for a second Marina didn’t keep tabs on every single one of them. Marina was simple though and after you gave her something she wanted she would do the same for you and they were on much more polite terms anyways after what happened that night.

That’s how she found herself knocking on Kady’s door and impatiently shifting her foot while she waited for the other woman to open the door. When she finally did answer the door Kady only stood there looking dumbstruck before Julia collapsed into her arms. Despite the unexpectedness of the entire situation Kady had done an admirable job of holding up her weight and then wrapping her in a tight embrace as she led her inside. The apartment wasn’t particularly done up by any means but it was an adequate space with red brick walls and a wood paneled floor that made it feel homey. It reminded Julia a lot of her own apartment actually, not that she ever planned on going back there again.

Kady was over in the kitchen area doing something and Julia could hear various pans and utensils clinging and clanging but she didn’t have the energy to look and see what was going on. She wasn’t sure what she had expected when she asked the Beast to make a deal, in her endless naivety maybe she had actually thought it would be the end to all of her problems. As soon as they were separated from the others however he had cast some sort of spell that made her drop to the floor unconscious and taken the blade, at least that’s what she assumed because she sure as Hell didn’t have it, and somehow expelled her from Fillory where she woke up on the side of the highway and somehow managed to drag herself back to civilization.

She had fucked up, again, and this time even more of her friends could be dead because of it. Quentin and the others had been in a bad way before she and the Beast left and she could only imagine what he planned on doing now that he had a blade that could kill a god. Reynard was still out there and the only peace she found in that whole situation was that he hadn’t found Kady, she was still okay. She was going to hunt down and kill that bastard anyways, but if he even laid a finger on Kady he was going to regret every second of it tenfold. How exactly she was going to go about hunting down and killing him was a mystery especially now that the Beast had both the blade and her friends held captive in Fillory. She really was fucked.

Apparently she was supposed to go to Brakebills and study right alongside Quentin. Apparently the first 39 times Jane Chatwin had expected her to be a hero, maybe even this time too. Now she wasn’t sure what she was except a lost, broken soul who had essentially sold out her friends to have even a sliver of a chance at revenge. And now even that was gone and the chances of putting the millions of pieces her life was currently shattered into back together were getting slimmer and slimmer.

A whistling sound drew her attention towards the kitchen area but there was a wall between her and most of the room and she couldn’t bring herself to actually walk over there. Whatever Kady was doing sounded like it was almost done and Julia hoped that it wasn’t some hedge witch something or other that was supposed to make her feel better because she had had enough of that shit to last fifteen lifetimes.

As she sat there and continued to wait for Kady to make a reappearance she thought back to simpler times. She could vaguely remember the person she had been before everything happened. Richard and the small group of eclectic individuals that they had brought together to form the Free Traders had given her a family and sense of purpose that she hadn’t had in a long time. She had been happy, ridiculously so, for once in her life and now it had all gone to shit and she was left to try and pick up the pieces of her life again. She didn’t even know where to start.

“Watch yourself this is hot,” Kady’s voice drew her out of her reverie as the other woman sat down a bowl of something in front of her.

“I wasn’t sure what you liked, but I figured everyone likes chicken noodle soup,” Kady said as Julia moved her gaze to see that the bowl did in fact contain said soup. “Oh shit, I forgot the tea.”

As the other girl bounded back into the other room Julia resigned herself to having a staring contest with the bowl of soup until she got back. It wasn’t that she didn’t like chicken noodle soup, she liked it in fact, she just hadn’t had much of an appetite since everything happened.

“There you go,” Kady said from behind her as she sat a cup of what she assumed was tea down in front of her, so that’s what the whistling earlier had been.

“I thought it would be best if we didn’t break out the alcohol just yet,” Kady said as she moved to sit in the seat beside hers with her own cup.

After several more moments of staring contest Kady spoke up, “You don’t like it.”

“No,” Julia said quickly. “Thank you, I just haven’t felt that hungry since everything happened.”

“Yeah,” Kady said nervously. “That makes sense.”

“You need to eat though,” she continued after a pause. “Need to keep up your strength if we’re going to go after that bastard.”

“Who said we were going after him,” Julia said hiding a smile.

“Your face did,” Kady said. “And if you’re going after him then there’s no way I’m letting you face that shit alone.”

Julia reluctantly grabbed her spoon, “I don’t know.”

“You’re too tense,” Kady said after a few moments of just looking at her.

Before Julia could respond to that the other woman was behind her. Julia immediately tensed as she felt hands on her shoulders.

“Hey, hey,” Kady said in a comforting voice. “It’s just me.”

Kady began to rub slow circles into her shoulders and Julia slowly began to relax.

“You’ve been through so much recently without ever taking a moment for yourself,” Kady’s voice caressed her ear.

As the shoulder rubs continued to get more and more purposeful Julia felt herself let out the briefest sigh of pleasure before clamping down on her own reactions and tensing up again slightly.

Kady must have felt it as she said, “It’s okay, it’s just me, no judgement here, just relax.”

So she let herself relax and soon she was feeling more at peace than she had in a long time, maybe even since before getting rejected from Brakebills in the first place.

She became so lost in the whole thing that she barely registered Kady’s voice saying, “I know you think you have to be focused all of the time but you’re of no use to anyone dead.”

“Eat your soup,” Kady said still in that soft tone of voice Julia had never heard her use before and when she used that voice Julia was pretty sure she would never be able to say no.

So she raised the spoon to her mouth and began eating the soup. It was a little colder than it would have been if she had eaten it when it had been first made but it was still up to par. She drank the tea too, which was an even better treat that had a hint of berry flavor she couldn’t quite place. The entire time Kady kept up rubbing her shoulders and she wasn’t sure she had ever felt more content in her life.

When it was all said and done Kady just went back to her seat and said, “Now tell me what’s going on.”

So she did and while she didn’t feel like she had her life together again she was pretty sure she had a good idea of where to begin. Picking up the pieces of her life started with Kady and as far as she was concerned that was already going pretty successfully. Maybe they really could do this, figure out how to take down Reynard. Maybe they could even take down the Beast and get Quentin and the rest back too. Whatever happened Julia was sure of one thing, she wasn’t alone.