Mark walks back into the dining room with Bim at his side.
They’re chatting and laughing about the time Mark ate thirteen habaneros for a
milestone video. “I’ve thought of growing some in the garden! Just to spice things up,” Bim says with a smile.
Dark is still seated at the table, pushing blueberries
around his plate with a fork. He’s draped across the chair like it’s a throne,
and he looks up through his eyelashes when they come in, raising a daring eyebrow
“Sit up, you drama queen,” Mark snorts, and Dark nearly
falls out of his chair. “Bim, you want honey on your toast?” Mark reaches for
his plate, hardly touched from earlier, and then goes into the kitchen to reheat
it. Bim follows him in pure awe.
“What did you call me?” Dark grumbles from the dining room.
“A drama queen,” Mark says, poking his head through the
window between the kitchen and the dining room. “Do you not know what that
means?” He smiles at the Edgelord and wiggles his eyebrows like Wilford. “Hey,
where’d Host go?”
Dark sits up in his chair, turning to look at Mark and
growling something to himself. “He left not long after you did along with
Bim glances at him, back at Mark, and then grabs his
leftovers. “Yeah, I like honey!”
They finish their lunch in the kitchen, still talking.
Apparently Bim will jump at the chance to tell anyone about his new job working
with Wilford on “Warfstache Tonight.” “We’ve got this really great idea for a
skit next week, and it’s going to be phenomenal.”
On their way out, Mark calls behind him, “Come on, Darky.
Let’s go find the others.”
Dark snarls at Mark, shell cracking ever so slightly. “Don’t
you dare call me that!”
Mark winks at him. “You really ought to be nicer, Darkipoo.
Nobody is going to believe your little ‘new leaf’ story, if you don’t at least
try to get along with everyone!” Bim’s jaw drops.
Dark gets up from his chair, letting it topple over
behind him and follows Mark and Bim down the hall and into the elevator. “It’s
not a story, it’s just… harder than I thought trying to get along with you
people,” Dark mutters.
Bim inches away from him a bit more as the other Ego fumes
visibly. “Mark, I’m not so sure that taking Dark to see the Host is the best
“Don’t worry,” Mark says with another smile. “I think I’ve
got this handled.” Honestly, this is taking all he has. He’s tired and being so
close to Dark makes his skin crawl, but he won’t let Dark win again. He’s going
to make him pay, and if he can’t kill him with a bullet, Mark Edward Fischbach
is going to make Dark suffer in a whole other way. He’s going to make him turn
over a new leaf, whether he likes it or not.
Host senses them coming before the elevator reaches his
floor. He, the Doctor, and Wilford have been arguing since the Host stormed out
of the dining room. “We can’t expect Mark to be able to murder someone in cold
blood,” the Doctor says for the eighteenth time, and then he notices the amused
expression on Host’s face. “What? Did I say something funny?”
Host shakes his head. “Something wicked this way comes.”
Wilford takes a step back, drawing his gun again. “I don’t
like it when you get cryptic, Hosty.”
“This is going to be entertaining,” Host says, gesturing
towards the elevator as Mark, Bim, and Dark step into the library in different
states of hysterics.
Wilford raises an eyebrow, watching them carefully. The Doctor
scratches his head, completely dumbfounded by what he’s seeing before him. He
can’t believe this is the same Mark he’d seen earlier today cowering at the
thought of Dark, let alone slapping him on the back and boisterously declaring,
“Ole Darky here has come to apologize to everyone. Go ahead, Dark. Tell them.”
Dark’s shell glitches slightly before he shrouds himself in
an apologetic mask. “Wilford, Doctor, I’m very sorry for my actions. I’m sorry
that I forced you into obeying me. That wasn’t fair. A leader should rule by
the consent of the governed, after all.” Then he turns to the Host, head
falling slightly. “Host, I know you can’t forgive me for all the things I’ve
done to you. I understand that, but please, can we put aside our past and try to work together for the best of everyone?”
Host runs his fingers through his hair, sending it in all
directions. “Don’t think you have any of us fooled, Dark. I’ll try to be
peaceable, but if you step one toe out of line…” Host’s voice slowly drifts away. What can he do? He can’t threaten Dark because there is nothing he can do to stop him…
Mark looks at Wilford, hand extended, asking his question without words. Wilford gives him a confused look but hands over his gun.
Mark takes the weapon and points it at
Dark. The Ego flinches, eyes wide with fright. “What Host means is, I might not
be able to shoot you now, but if you so much as touch Amy or one of the Egos
ever again, I won’t hesitate to put a bullet between those dramatic eyebrows of
yours.” Mark leans in with a very dark smile. “Am I clear?”
Dark swallows hard and stares daggers at Mark. “Crystal.”
Natasha Pitch ascended the platform and arranged her notes in front of her on the podium. The speech she had prepared was short—at the top of her graduating class, it was customary for her to deliver the Leaver’s Day oration to close out their last year as students of Watford School of Magicks.
She adjusted the cuffs of her dress and leveled a cool gaze at the audience. A quick cough sufficed to silence the buzzing crowd of young Mages and parents. She caught Malcom’s eye from the back of the auditorium before she opened her mouth and began to speak.
Natasha began with her signature air of quiet confidence, her voice echoing through the white chapel. “Beloved teachers, friends, and family. I greet you all for the last time as a student at Watford School of Magicks.” Her classmates murmured their acknowledgement.
“This day is a milestone not only for me, but for many other students and families as well. As we all embrace the changes and move forward, there is something I believe we should all keep in mind.”
“We can never,” a lump rose to Baz’s throat. He coughed quickly to clear it, and continued. “We can never be reminded too many times what a great gift has been entrusted to us: the gift of magick. It sets us apart from our fellow men and makes us unable to really feel a part of the Normal world. Because we are magickal, because we possess a power and a knowledge greater than any Normal could hope for, and with that power comes an unfathomable responsibility.”
Simon looked down at his lap and blinked quickly so Baz wouldn’t see his tears.
Baz paused and gazed compassionately at Simon. “No mage should ever take it for granted. Because magick is something we grow up with, something we possess from birth, we don’t often consider how privileged we are to have been given such a priceless gift. I challenge you all to keep this at the forefront of your memory as you continue down each of your life’s journeys. Consider it as you make every choice and round every bend in the road. A correct perspective will guard you and keep you from ruin.”
“I will miss this place,” Cherry sighed wistfully. Her shorn hair had grown a few inches over the past few years, and was tied in a neat bun at the back of her head. “Most of all, the sour cherry scones that are served at tea every day.” A laugh from the audience.
“I will also miss attending Elocution lessons every morning,” said Natasha, with a barely audible sigh. “As you can see, they’ve paid off considerably.
“The clover on the great lawn, the chatter with the other students in the dining hall, the drama club’s productions…” Unshed tears glistened in her eyes. “I will miss them all terribly. I am sorry to be leaving, but it’s the way life is ordered. One act must end so another can begin.”
“I extend a message of gratitude to all of my professors and instructors,” Baz nodded to several of his favorites. “I appreciate all you’ve done in helping me fine-tune my abilities and shaping me into the person I am today.
“Also, I am unspeakably grateful to my family for their continual support in my academic and recreational pursuits.” He nodded curtly at his father and stepmother, who were seated with Fiona quite close to the front.
“I also want to thank my classmates and friends who are graduating with me this year. You have all supported me and made my journey an enjoyable one.” Cherry narrowed her eyes pointedly at Donovan Bunce. He shifted in his seat, feeling the sarcasm seeping through her scripted lines.
Baz lowered his head and closed his eyes. “I have not much more to say,” she said, “than goodbye. Goodbye to Watford, goodbye to the golden, magickal years we have hitherto known, and goodbye to all of you. I extend my best wishes to all those who continue, and wish you to know that the memories we have made together shall continue in my heart and mind in all the decades and trials that lie ahead. Thank you.”
Natasha Pitch descended the stage amid roaring applause.
Cherry Snow-Pitch paused after the last line, shuffling her feet a little. “I also wanted to add something else.” She said nervously. “This isn’t in the speech, but I thought you should know it
“My Dad—the tall one,” She clarified, causing a laugh from the audience. “My Dad likes to tell me something, especially when I’m upset and feel ready to give up.
“‘Cherry,’ he’ll say, ‘Sometimes, when we don’t have the answers, and we feel like the situation can never be fixed, there’s only one thing we can do, and it’s the only thing that will do any good. We’ve got to carry on as we are.’ I just thought you all should hear that.”
Baz bit his lip and blinked back tears. His husband slipped a hand into his and squeezed it.