And I couldn’t be sure, I had a feeling so peculiar
That this pain would be for evermore
Lilith never expected to see Zelda Spellman cry.
She herself has unwittingly revealed her most vulnerable parts to the witch. She has begged, has sought aid, has looked into Zelda’s eyes as fear reflected in her own. Zelda’s hands had squeezed hers as Adam came into this world, and she turned the corner as Lilith held the spear to her chest, so certain it was time to end it all.
Lilith remembers how the steel tip felt cool against her skin, poised against her breast. She had wished that chill would pierce through her heart, take over her entire body, until there was nothing. Anything to escape the living hell she put herself into.
Lilith is relieved to be here, grateful to be alive. But damn, does surviving hurt.
She sees that same pain reflected in Zelda’s eyes, glinting in her tears as she eulogizes her niece. It’s all Lilith can do to clench her fists in her coat pockets, to try not to think of the bright teenager who should be annoying her, ruining her plans, being a nuisance.
Being a big sister.
She would have been a good one, Lilith thinks. Once the world settled, she would have spoiled Adam. Loved him. But would she have ever understood why Lilith now stood here alone? Could she have ever forgiven her?
The answers lay beneath the ground. One body but two coffins, two headstones. Adam won’t be as lucky. No memorial, no mark left in this realm. No one will show up to mourn him, to share the memory of his too-brief life. No one even knows, yet, what Lilith has done.
The crown, magicked to fit in her pocket, in the palm of her hand to ground her, still feels so heavy. It also feels right - it was meant to be hers, all along, all this time - but, heavy.
Does Zelda feel that weight, too?
Inside the family home, the colorful characters of Sabrina’s vibrant life trade stories with misty eyes. Lilith has plenty to share herself, but she keeps them close to her chest. The tales don’t do either of them favors, and Lilith wonders how to even define her relationship with Sabrina Spellman. They’ve been adversaries at times, allies at others. Lilith has tried to teach her as many times as she’s tried to deceive her, even kill her.
Does she even deserve to be at this funeral?
Just as she decides it’s time to leave, warm arms are pulling her into a hug. Her back bends as she leans into Hilda’s embrace, faint sniffling muffled by her own shoulder.
“Thank you for coming,” Hilda hiccups, trying and failing to keep it together. This isn’t how Hilda Spellman is supposed to be. Hilda is meant to smile, to bubble, the same way Zelda is meant to lead, level-headed and strong-willed. This is wrong.
All Lilith can do is nod, and squeeze the woman’s hands. Meeting her eyes is painful, but she knows the empath can still feel the grief through the warmth of her palms.
“Baby Adam,” Hilda says quietly, realizing just from the touch. “Oh, Lilith. I’m so sorry.”
That’s when Zelda catches her eye from across the kitchen, curiosity brimming beneath her sorrow. And Lilith feels it, deep down, that their spirits are more kindred than either has admitted.
When she reaches Zelda, she’s beckoned out of the kitchen, to a more quiet corner of the home. The ever-faithful beagle follows, his nose brushing against Lilith’s jacket, wanting attention. She crouches down to scratch behind his soft ear, giving Zelda a moment to gather herself.
“Your room is still here, should you need it.”
Lilith looks up in surprise; it’s not the greeting she expected. She hasn’t returned to the room in over a week - magicking away the blood wasn’t enough to scrub the room clean of it’s memories. She’d simply filed that in the back of her mind, alongside the other images she no longer wanted in her head.
“Sabrina would have wanted you to be safe.”
Zelda’s words hang between them, heavy and painful. Lilith has to close her eyes, and she knows the woman beside her is weeping once more. She’s at a loss; Zelda was always the matriarch, always keeping everyone together. Lilith doesn’t know how to handle this woman, broken and hurting.
But they have so much in common, now.
“Adam is gone.”
She hadn’t planned the words before they left her mouth, and they’re followed by a rising sob in her chest. She clamps a hand over her mouth; she can’t, physically can’t , break down in front of Zelda Spellman again .
There’s no more to say, no comfort to offer. Zelda nods, her own tears still flowing, accepting the added heartbreak over everything else.
Lilith feels guilty; she shouldn’t have told her. Not now. Bearing the loss of both lives is already threatening to break her apart from the inside; Zelda shouldn’t have to crack under that same burden.
“I’m sorry,” Lilith tells her, before she lets the flames of hell lick her skin and return her to her kingdom.
With the infernal kings vanquished and Caliban disposed of in the void, Hell had been hers for the taking. Any lesser demons not accepting of their new queen are easily overrun by her own armies, and Lilith takes great pleasure in their screams. She burns buildings to the ground, looks her demonic creations in the eye as she runs her sword through their insides.
The ash cools, and she still feels hollow.
Not even a week since the funeral has passed, when Lilith receives a message. It’s simple and concise, written in loopy lettering by a shaky hand.
Dear Lilith , the unexpected letter read. Zelda and I are here should your thoughts ever get too loud.
They’re loud every day. So loud that the hordes, the hellhounds, even the cries of the damned can’t drown them out. All she does is try to escape those thoughts. All she feels is the whisper of soft skin under her thumb, the blood that will forever stain her hands, the sting of magical steel against her sternum.
It’s merely moments before she teleports to the Spellman house, desperate for something other than fire and death.
Zelda opens the door, having the grace to look startled at her presence rather than repulsed.
“Lilith? Is everything alright?”
There are still deep, purple bags underneath Zelda’s red rimmed eyes. A shame, Lilith decides, on such a pretty face.
Hilda and husband are away on a walk, so Zelda brews a pot of tea before she and Lilith settle in front of the fire. They drink in silence, the ceramic in their palms going cold before either speaks.
“You know, when Sabrina was a baby, it was awful getting her to sleep. Such a night owl.”
Lilith stays quiet as Zelda pauses, inhaling deeply to find her strength.
“I would sit up with her, right here in front of the fire. I could have magicked her to sleep, but what good does that do a growing child? She had to learn.”
Adam had been the same, on those few precious nights. Awake in Lilith’s arms, staring, taking in the world around him. Clenching and unclenching those tiny fists, fidgeting in her tight hold. So full of life.
“She was always clever, so very clever. Too much for her own good.”
“Adam would have been, too.”
Lilith doesn’t miss her sharp inhale.
“So, he’s really...” Zelda asks gently, voice low through the thick of tears. Lilith continues staring into the flames, unblinking. It’s her last effort to keep her own eyes dry.
“Did you ever wish, with Sabrina, that you could simply swallow her whole to keep her safe?”
The air is tense as Zelda sits up taller, more certain.
Zelda’s vigor breaks something deep in Lilith, and she lets it consume her body until every limb is trembling and she can’t catch her breath.
Zelda’s hand rubs circles on her back, soft and slow. Not another word is spoken. She never asks about Adam’s death again.
Lilith is not entirely sure when her maternal instincts took over.
The baby had been a plan, a last ditch attempt to cling to life. If she was alive, the crown could always be in reach. Getting from one day to the next unscathed was all she could hope for. Until, one day, those priorities had changed.
There had been a life growing inside her, like a strange parasite, sharing the blood of a man she hated with her entire being. And yet, upon seeing that face, Lilith knew she would move mountains for him. How could she not?
She would have proudly let him wear the crown in her stead.
Now, every once in a while, his soul calls from the doll on her mantle. Every coo breaks her down, crushes her to pieces, then builds her back up.
He’s forgiven her, she’s sure. She can feel it when he calls her Mama. But it still doesn’t take away the pain.
“Lucifer is gone.”
They’ve been sitting, quietly, nursing glasses of bourbon before the fire. It’s a habit, now; once Lilith needs peace, she finds herself at the Spellman house.
Zelda rarely asks anything, Lilith rarely answers. But there’s comfort in the shared silence, in the words that are too difficult for them to say.
Sometimes Hilda sits nearby, knitting and sniffling to herself. Sometimes Dr. Cee tinkers with the piano, filling the room with melancholy melodies. But mainly it's this -- sitting by the fire, thinking about all of it and speaking of none. Knowing the redhead staring into her drink understands without saying a word.
Lilith raises her head to see surprised green eyes.
“I haven’t given Hell much thought,” Zelda answers, voice full of curiosity. “He has fallen?”
The muscles in Lilith’s face ache as a wicked smile crosses her lips.
“He is mortal, doomed to wander.” She whispers an incantation quietly, hissing as her finger is pricked by thin air. A drop of blood, black as sin, drips from the open cut. Zelda looks on in wonder, her features nearly reverent as it dawns on her.
With another muttered spell, Lilith heals the wound and waits.
“Faustus is in pieces, strewn all over the earth.”
Lilith’s smile widens.
“Should we be praying to you?”
The question startles Lilith.
It’s snowing this evening, and they’ve settled on the porch to watch. The first snow of the year, with the solstice fast approaching. They watch while Vinegar Tom explores the snow, chasing after flakes as they blow in the wind. Zelda puffs on her cigarette, her ever-wet eyes twinkling in the moonlight.
Lilith hasn’t seen Zelda with dry eyes for weeks.
“I’m sorry, do you not still worship Hecate?”
Zelda glares at the burial ground in the distance, her demeanor still as stone.
“She continues to grant us our power, yet Sabrina is still…”
Snowflakes catch at Zelda’s cheeks, sticking to her silent tears. Lilith watches them melt against alabaster skin.
“No deity is perfect.” Lilith knows she, herself, certainly isn’t. Zelda simply huffs in her haughty way, spitefully breathing smoke into the cool winter air.
“It would seem so.”
From the woods, Lilith hears the call of a distant owl, haunting and mournful.
“I prayed to Hecate when I wished to die. I asked her for strength... and then you walked through the door.”
Lilith hears Zelda’s prayer later that evening, hushed and full of sorrow. The low voice seeps into her bones, bringing a warmth she’s been craving even in Hell’s heat. She prays for Sabrina’s soul, for Hilda to heal, for Ambrose to find strength. She prays for baby Adam.
His voice trickles out the doll, as if answering.
Lilith had only wandered to the burial ground to pay her respects to Sabrina, before convening with Zelda inside.
What she sees alongside the twin headstones knocks the wind out of her.
Adam , the tablet reads. Beloved son .
She doesn’t hear Zelda’s footsteps in the snow, approaching from behind.
“He needs to be remembered, too,” she says.
Lilith falls to her knees.
They sit once again, in front of the fire. The bottle of brandy sits on the table, unopened. They sit in their comfortable silence.
Zelda’s fingers entwine with Lilith’s, her grip strong and assuring. Lilith squeezes back.
And I couldn’t be sure, I had a feeling so peculiar
This pain wouldn’t be for evermore