1. Flowers In Your Hair - The Lumineers / 2. Halcyon - Ellie Goulding / 3. Enchanted - Katy Rose / 4. Fade Into You - Mazzy Star / 5. Between Two Lungs - Florence + the Machine / 6. Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You - Stevie Nicks / 7. Fix You Up - Tegan and Sara / 8. Songbird - Fleetwood Mac / 9. The Devil’s Tears - Angus & Julia Stone / 10. Crystal - Stevie Nicks
A shrill scream rang out through the swamp, causing a brief silence among the various waterfowl and wildlife, followed by the commotion of a platter hitting the ground.
Misty Day raised her head from the flowerbed she had been working in to see her usually courageous Supreme standing stock still with a mortified expression on her face. The ground under her feet was rapidly absorbing the squandered lemonade she had dropped moments ago.
“Hi, Cordelia! I see you met my friends.”
Cordelia turned an accusatory glare Misty’s way and the younger woman flinched. That look never meant anything good.
Cordelia had brought Misty back from the depths of Hell months ago in her first act as the new Supreme. Cordelia had begged Misty to be on her Council, reiterating repeatedly to Misty that she was a powerful witch despite her failure and that she couldn’t bear to run the Coven without her assistance. Misty agreed on the condition that she was permitted to return to her swamp.
She liked Zoe and Queenie well enough, but here among nature was where she belonged, not in that house with so many bad memories. Cordelia insisted that they could make new ones and that this was a new age for the witches, but Misty was confident that she did not want to be at the forefront of anything at all. She had packed up and retreated to her home. She went into the city once a week for the Council meetings, but much preferred the relaxed pace of her natural oasis to the hustle and bustle of the urban sprawl.
So it had come to this arrangement they had fallen into; Cordelia would spend her week at the house, where she was the vanguard of the Coven. Her weekends were spent with Misty at her new cottage by the water. Cordelia felt confident enough in the girls at the Academy to leave them for a few days at a time, having appointed Queenie and Zoe as co-headmistresses in her absence.
Cordelia began to regret this particular visit as she shifted her glare from the fledgling alligators milling about to the blonde witch who was approaching her with palms outstretched in a gesture of peace.
“Now, Dee, before you yell at me—”, she cringed as Cordelia cut her off.
“You better have a hell of an explanation for this, Misty Day. I don’t even need to ask if you had something to do with this sudden abundance of hatchling alligators in your garden.”
Cordelia’s face was flushed with anger, her arms firmly crossed over her chest. Misty fleetingly thought how endearing Cordelia looked when she was like this. She so rarely got cross and despite this time being directed at her, Misty still found it quite adorable.
Her reflection was cut short by Cordelia’s expectant look. Misty crossed her arms as well, attempting to project an air of firmness.
“I’ll tell you, but you gotta promise they can stay. There are bad men around, and these little ones and their momma…"she bit her lip as she trailed off; she regretted her statement as Cordelia’s eyebrows practically reached her hairline.
"Their ‘momma’? You mean there is an adult alligator in our midst? Do you know how dangerous that is?”
Misty gave Cordelia a sheepish smile, shaking her head slightly.
“You don’t need ta’ worry. Nora went out bout a half hour ago. Musta been hungry. I’m lucky this place is a stone’s throw from the water. I told her take care not to run into those poachers again. She should be back soon. She’s awfully nice for a gator; I reckon you’ll like her, Dee.”
Cordelia groaned, placing her head in her hands. She turned from Misty, muttering to herself as she took a seat on the wooden bench beside the door of the shack.
She then raised her eyes to Misty with a look of resignation on her face. “I suppose since you’re naming them now that you’ve prepared some sort of justification for this sudden alligator menagerie?”
This was, after all, Misty’s home. If she wanted to play daycare for large carnivorous reptiles, there was nothing Cordelia could do to persuade her otherwise. She scooted over to give the other woman some room as she joined Cordelia on the bench.
“Of course I do, Dee. See, after you left last weekend I went down to the water to gather some of my swamp mud and I heard such a commotion I had to go investigate. I know the sounds of the marshland and these noises didn’t fit the bill. Well, I come to find that there was a couple poachers harvesting gator eggs outta Nora’s nest. They were laughin’ and carryin’ on talking about how much money they were gonna make. About how they were gonna come back all the time cause this is 'prime gator country’. It made me so mad, Dee. I was just gonna give them a talking to until…they…” She looked up at Cordelia, tears gathering in her eyes. “…please don’t be mad at me, Dee…”
Misty fell silent, slipping one hand into Cordelia’s and the other into the baggy pocket of her smock. Cordelia could see her running her fingers along something within her clothing but could not see what it was. She squeezed Misty’s hand, feeling some remorse over her earlier fury. She knew how protective Misty was of all life. It one of the many qualities of the swamp witch she loved. Cordelia pulled the naïve girl’s hand into her lap, turning it over to lightly stroke circles on the inside of Misty’s wrist with her thumb. She heard Misty’s breath catch at her touch.
“I’m not going to be mad at you. I was just shocked earlier, that’s all. I’ve lived in the city all my life, Misty. I’m not used to having a welcoming committee of baby alligators. What happened? What did they do?”
Misty’s hand remained in Cordelia’s lap as she continued.
“They weren’t payin’ attention and Nora came back. Mama gators are real protective of their nests, and she was frantic coming back from her hunt to find those men digging up her eggs. She went for them and they…they shot her. Right in the head, they shot her. It was horrible, she was just tryin’ to protect her babies and she was dead and they were laughing about it.
I got so mad, I wanted to kill those sons of bitches, but I remembered you told me that’s not how we deal with things anymore. I was still just so angry that I bent the barrels of their guns with my mind. You shoulda seen their faces when I did that. Then I got in the head of the one that killed her and had him drop the satchel the eggs were in. I made him run for as long as I could. His buddy followed him after he wet his drawers. I think I scared 'em off for good. Then the babies started to hatch.”
Misty paused, her brow furrowed momentarily in distaste. She looked out to the cluster of juvenile gators spread across the small patch of land. Most were grouped together under the shade of low growing shrub. A few more adventurous souls were swimming around in the basin she had placed underneath the short oak near the garden.
“I knew that without their mama, other gators would eat them all. It was so unfair that they weren’t gonna get a chance at life cause of those bastards. So I…I brought them here where I can keep an eye on them. I drug Nora back with me too. I didn’t wanna run the risk of the poachers finding her body. She was awful crabby when I brought her back to life, tried to bite my arm off and everything. I think she knew once she saw her babies that I was tryin’ to help her. She comes and goes, but she never leaves for too long. I know she will once the kids grow up, but til then, she knows she’s welcome here.”
Misty concluded her story, shifting to face Cordelia who was now caressing the length of her inner arm, her fingertips grazing the soft skin there over and over, up and down. As Cordelia’s eyes were now on the young reptiles, Misty hoped that she didn’t notice the goose bumps that had appeared on her skin. It was certainly too warm to pretend they were from the weather and not the constant contact of Cordelia’s hands on her, however innocent the touch was.
“Well,” she cleared her throat, breaking Cordelia from her reverie, “what do you think?”
Cordelia did not remove her gaze from the babies, nor did she make any move to stop skimming Misty’s arm. “I think you are one of a kind, Misty Day.”
She finally turned to face Misty and the questioning look on the other woman’s face urged her to continue.
“I’m continually amazed by your courage; the value you put on all existence is admirable. I can’t think of anyone else that would defend life with such veracity. You are kind to the bone and your compassion knows no bounds,” She laughed then, reaching up to cup Misty’s cheek, “Not to mention I don’t know anyone else that would take in an entire gator family.”
Misty gave Cordelia a timid smile. She could feel a flush rise to her face at Cordelia’s praise as well as her touch. “You make me sound so…important.”
“You are important. To everyone, to me. I don’t think you know how much.”
Her thumb lightly grazed Misty’s bottom lip; Misty swallowed against the lump in her throat. These moments of thick anticipation had been occurring more frequently between them since her return from the afterlife. Every time she was left wanting, aching for something she was almost certain Cordelia wanted as well. These charged moments were often broken quickly by one thing or another, and Misty knew she had to act fast.
“Then show me, Dee,” she raised her hand to mirror Cordelia’s, running her thumb over Cordelia’s lips with a bit more pressure, down her cheek to her neck. She smiled when a gasp escaped the Supreme’s lips, “show me how much I mean to you.”
Something changed in Cordelia’s eyes then, her hand sliding from Misty’s cheek into her hair, her fingers burying themselves in the blonde’s unkempt curls. She pulled Misty towards her, their mouths crashing together at last.
She slid her tongue across the younger woman’s lips gently, almost timid in her request for entrance. Misty laughed internally, for however aggressively Cordelia had initiated this, she was still powerfully shy. She allowed the welcome intrusion of Cordelia’s adept tongue, allowing the older woman to take the dominant role if she wished. She gasped as one of Cordelia’s hands fell to her waist and slid across her hip, her fingers rhythmically running across the fabric of her top, back and forth. It was almost the same motion she had been doing to her arm not five minutes before. It was exhilarating.
Misty pulled Cordelia closer to her, wrapping her arms around the Supreme as she pulled her lips away. Cordelia’s sound of protest was stalled as she trailed kisses across her jaw line, causing the older woman to tip her head back with a heady sigh. She ran her tongue around the shell of Cordelia’s ear, grinning as the woman in her arms shivered with pleasure, quiet little gasps of delight escaping her lips. She paused then, momentarily denying Cordelia any contact at all, smirking when Cordelia tugged at Misty’s hips. She hovered with her lips against Cordelia’s ear, deciding it was now or never. “I’m so in love with you, Cordelia.”
She pulled back when she received no response from Cordelia, only to find the other witch’s eyes closed. She had a serene smile on her face, placating Misty’s fear that she had erred in her admission.
She opened her eyes, leaning forward and pressing her lips to the corner of Misty’s own. “I’ve been waiting to hear you say that for a long time.”
She then began to mirror Misty’s earlier administration, peppering light kisses along the strong line of Misty’s jaw.
“H-how long?” Misty was finding it more difficult to keep her composure as Cordelia’s ministrations neared her sensitive neck. Her arms were draped around Cordelia shoulders, her fingers lightly pulling at Cordelia’s soft hair.
The Supreme pretended to think for a moment, “Since the day I met you, I’ve been falling for you, Misty Day.” She just barely nibbled on Misty’s earlobe; the younger witch shuddered as her hands slid fully into Cordelia’s hair, holding the older woman to her, her words escaping in a breathy sigh. “Oh, Dee…”
Cordelia had often thought about how lovely it would be to have her lips on Misty’s lithe neck and she took this opportunity to do so.
She made her way down Misty’s neck, languidly alternating between kisses and bites, and soothing those gentle bites with her skillful tongue. Misty was melting at her touch, alternating soft moans with her whispered exhalations of Cordelia’s name. They grew louder the closer she got to Misty’s chest.
In fact, Misty was no longer moaning and she had her hands on Cordelia’s shoulders, pushing on them with more force than was necessary for their first casual make out session. She pulled away from Misty slowly, a confused look upon her face.
“Cordelia, don’t freak out…”
She looked up to see Misty’s gaze focused on some point behind her. She heard a low rumble, knitting her brows together. “What’s that noise? That can’t be your stomach…”
Misty’s eyes snapped back to hers. “I said don’t freak out, you gotta promise not to freak or you’ll spook Nora.”
Cordelia blanched, remembering suddenly that the little gators dotting the ground around the shack were not their only guests. She turned to see what must be eight feet of mother alligator not far from her feet.
The rumble was repeated, louder this time, followed by a series of chirps.
Cordelia remained motionless, whispering though the side of her mouth to Misty. “What is she doing? Is she going to eat me?”
“Nah, she won’t eat you. She’s just looking for this.”
Misty reached into her pocket and pulled her hand out; the mystery object from earlier was revealed to be a baby gator, smaller than the others. The runt chirruped at its mother as the larger gator opened her mouth. Cordelia’s eyes widened when Misty gingerly placed the baby into its mothers menacing maw without a moment’s hesitation.
She really was the most courageous woman Cordelia had ever met.
The other hatchlings had gathered near their mother and they too climbed into the surprisingly gentle jaws. They then headed towards the water, with Misty looking fondly after the impromptu additions to their family.
“Did you name him too?”
“It’s a her. They’re all girls on account of the nest being in the marshlands. Cooler temperatures mean a whole clutch of girls…but yeah, I named her. I keep her with me when Nora’s out. She seems awfully fond of me, always wants to be with me when I’m tendin’ to my garden. She’s good company.”
Cordelia grabbed Misty’s hand, leaning towards her. “Well what’s her name?”
Misty entwined their fingers, looking somberly at the Supreme with a glint in her eye.
How will I start, tomorrow without you here? Whose heart will guide me? All the answers disappear. Is it too late? Are you too far gone to stay? Best friends forever, should never have to go away.
What will I do? You know, I’m only half without you. How will I make it through? If only tears could bring you back to me, If only love could find a way… What I would do, what I would give if you, Return to me, someday, somehow, someway… If my tears could bring you back… To me.
[Misty/Cordelia, set immediately after Hank leaves in episode nine]
Misty stood awkwardly for a moment, torn between consoling Cordelia and saving her from the embarrassment of talking about it. She would wait, she decided and see what Cordelia wanted to do. “So you married that guy, huh?” she said. Patience had once been her strong suit - she had spent years waiting for a place to call home - but now that she was part of something, now that she was sharing magic with someone that she could teach and be taught from, patience was less forthcoming.
Cordelia pressed a hand against the table, looking at her with mismatched eyes. “Nobody’s perfect,” she said simply, taking a few deep breaths.
“Stevie might be,” Misty replied, suppressing a grin when Cordelia gave her a look somewhere between exasperation and endearment. “I mean, right. Nobody’s perfect.”
“I - I thought once that maybe Hank was. He loved me. We were going to start a family together. I could picture it so vividly,” Cordelia’s voice trembled and her features contorted, her new eyes welling up. She had been so strong standing up to Hank, Misty thought, and now she was broken in a way that Misty couldn’t fix. “I thought that maybe once, I could have something wonderful.”
Misty reached out a hand, placing it on Cordelia’s shoulders in support. Stevie played on in the background. Cordelia had been so happy before, showing her the power in unexpected places and things, and Misty had been so happy to learn. She’d never been happier with another living or recently-dead soul in her life. And now there was this, this pain, this anger and loss.
“Well, shit. You still can, Miss Cordelia,” she tried uncertainly. “You want to help me do some magic again? That makes you smile.”
Cordelia laughed a little bit and it was just enough to make Misty give her a small smile. Stevie sang still, about love and the kind of connection it creates between people, the way hearts and souls can come together in unexpected and moving ways.
Cordelia hugged her then, just for a moment. She wrapped her arms around Misty and brought her close and held her there and everything Misty thought Stevie had taught her about love was redefined.