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every single night

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Massachusetts, 1640

 

Little Agatha Harkness followed her mother around with a spring to her step. They were finally going into the woods! Her mom's grown-up friends would always, always go there and every time she asked Mother to go with them, she'd say no. Well, they were going now, weren't they? That's supposed to mean she's grown up! She giggled happily as they promenaded up the path. Evanora Harkness, though, was strangely silent.

 

Flowers of all kinds and shapes colored their way up the hill. The pine trees that seemed to loom over everyone and everything, in Agatha's imagination, were like brave warriors with their twigs as swords and hair as dark green leaves the elderly people loved to talk about in their legends. A small black and white bird flew by her quickly, eliciting another giggle from the little girl. Oh, how she loved the woods already-

"Agatha." A stern voice sounded from above her head. She looked up quickly, her childish face set in an anxious but exciting look. 

"Yes, Mother?" She tried not to bounce on her toes.

"Stop." The command was sharp and clear, like a bucket of cold water; like Mother always was. The little girl stopped her antics altogether, "We are here because I need, for it is my duty as your Mother, to explain something to you." The woman stepped closer, her pace firm and confident. She bent on one knee to be at eye-level with the raven-haired child. In a rare show of affection, she gently drew a strand of dark hair away from curious blue eyes, her thumb sweetly caressing her daughter's cheek. She sighed deeply before continuing.

"You're growing up so fast, darling… Surely you must have noticed that things are quite different when it comes to us, isn't that right?" She waited for Agatha to nod, which she excitedly did, "There is a reason for that, child… Nothing that ever happens in this world is without reason. You must always remember that, my daughter." 

Evanora grasped her only child's thin shoulders and encased her in a tight hug. The little girl got over the surprise as quickly as it came, leaning happily in her mother's embrace. Mom is even hugging me! She sighed contentedly.

"Destiny is unstoppable, dear child." The older woman pulled back slightly, her grey eyes resolute and gleaming with infinite wisdom, "Fate controls it with an iron grip and nothing, no one can escape it. Destiny is what made you be born from my womb and become my daughter; it's what made your eyes blue and your hair black. The strings of Fate bring every little thing, every detail, and every person together." 

The tall woman got up after pulling out from the embrace completely. Her dark hair fell in waves down her back, the wind that until then had been blowing gently suddenly picked up in its pace. The little girl gazed up at her mother's figure, mouth slightly agape and ocean pools glistening with undisclosed wonder. Evanora solemnly stared at her, tenderness rarely shown but intrinsically there .

“Love is everywhere, my heart. It hides behind every nook, shines in every look, and expresses itself in the minuscule of touches and the gentlest of words. It also comes in various forms: as a mother’s love,” She gently tapped a small button nose, “Nature’s love,” Blue tendrils of magic conjured two butterflies that playfully encircled each other, “And, most importantly, a soulmate’s love.” She paused to see the dumbfounded way her daughter gaped at her magic. She laughed warmly.

The little girl blinked. A beat passed. The rustling of leaves and the low buzz of insects throughout the forest were the only sign that life still carried on. An enormous grin spread across the girl's face and she bounced up and down on small feet as she clapped joyously.

"Mother, magic exists? That is marvelous !” Agatha liked using grown-up words, “When can you teach me? Why is it blue? Can you create other things too? Why-” She rushed through every word that fell out of her mouth, enthusiasm clear and vibrant. Her mother shushed her gently, which made her pause.

“Agatha, do you know what all of this implies?” The regal face of her Mother was set in a stoic scowl. A shiver ran down her spine, “Fate has predestined you to your soulmate’s love, in any way they can offer you, from the moment you were born .” She let the sentence sink in, watching as it rang around her child’s naive but intelligent mind, “No matter when or where you meet them, you will know their soul and their magic as your own , even if you don’t realize it at first.”

“You’re a witch, my darling Agatha. And as such, your magic will guide you towards the origin of all beings and creatures ever to exist: love .” The little one gasped soundly.  Agatha was 7 years old when her mother told her about soulbonds and witchcraft.

She was 20 years old when she killed her Mother and their coven.

She is 390 years old when she meets her. 

Her soulmate.

 

 

New Jersey, 2023

 

Well, this is interesting, Agatha thinks as she flies over the small town of Westview. Her magic twists and stretches inside her core as if searching for something or someone she couldn't quite discern yet. The sensation fills her entire being with warmth, however, its grasp gentle like petals of roses brushing against her fingertips. 

High enough in the air, Agatha notices the slight energy emanating from outside the town, as if there is some sort of dome housing the town itself. She hovers just above it. The pure, unbridled amount of power crackling on its surface makes her breath hitch. It calls for her, this magic. It wraps around her very being, vine-like and strong in its embrace.

Curiosity and a nondescript sense of longing are enough to break her out of her stupor. Agatha can't help herself.

She passes the barrier.



 —

 

A profound feeling of sadness and grief rattles her as the landscapes appear before her eyes. As if premeditated by whoever was in control of this place, Agatha has landed right in front of a two-story house, a simple but intricate wooden fence set around it. Suddenly aware of her surroundings, she takes notice of the black-and-white hue coloring the ambient. Exactly like… Old television? What? Deciding to approach her current situation with as much caution as she could, Agatha transformed her usual attire to something more fitting to this whole aesthetic — it felt like entering in a 50s cheesy sitcom, for Hecate’s sake. The dark purple robes clinging closely to her figure melted into the decade’s fashion trend, the cape draped behind her back billowing softly in the wind. With a sway to her hips, Agatha Harkness was a woman on a mission: to discover what the hell was going on in Westview and, hopefully, steal a bit of that power to herself.

Before knocking on the door, she conjured a big vase of flowers, their greyed petals lush and lively. Agatha still had some sense, mind you, to come up with a believable backstory for her presence in this inconspicuous neighborhood; one can never be completely sure of what they are going to find. The name chosen for her new persona would be… Agnes. It fits, right? With her back straight and her thoughts properly occluded, Agatha knocked thrice. The click-clack of heels approaching the entrance made her falter slightly. She had a feeling this was big. 

She was right.

A tall woman answered the door. Clad in a dress that reached just above her knees, the woman hesitantly smiled at her, a hand resting on the doorknob and the other, on her hips. Her features were soft and welcoming, despite wariness swirling dangerously beneath her gaze. The witch felt a pull on her heart, like a string being tugged inside her, as she examined the other woman. The light coming from inside the house made her red hair — How do I even know it’s red? — glow, each strand set perfectly into a bob. She doesn’t look a day past her late twenties. A sight for sore eyes, indeed. Agatha plastered on her face her best smile. Like the housewife that she was, she drawled out enthusiastically.

"Hello, dear! I'm Agnes, your neighbor to the right-" She went on as if she didn't need to breathe, "My right, not yours! Forgive me for not stopping by sooner to welcome you to the block; my mother-in-law was in town, so I wasn't!" She finished, giggling along with the ghost audience's laughter, her arms streaming out to lend the younger woman her gift. 

I'm literally inside a sitcom reality. In the middle of New Jersey. What the-

Something forced her to go on. "So, what's your name, where are you from, and, most importantly, how's your bridge game, hon?" She asked, the questions being fired swiftly. In the small amount of time it took for the mysterious woman to introduce herself, Agatha looked curiously around, taking in every small detail of the place. The magic, dark and enticing, seemed to permeate the very air of the living room she found herself in which made her insides flutter. She still couldn't make sense of what was calling for her, practically begging her to be seen. To be felt. 

A hand to her left shoulder snapped her out of her reverie.

"I'm Wanda." Extending her hand forward, she sent a good-natured grin her way.

"Wanda…" Electricity rushed through her arm as she shook it, "Charmed." She purred. In a bout of courage — or recklessness — her thumb gently ghosted the pale skin of the woman's knuckles before letting go. All at once, a warm feeling enveloped both women, like a comfortable wool blanket on a cold winter day. It felt… right, somehow. Sighing inwardly, Agatha put this new fact away in the back of her mind. She would examine it later when there wouldn’t be any beautiful, attractive women to distract her. Wanda gestured to the sofa, a guiding hand to the small of Agatha’s back. The wariness present in her clear eyes seemed to ease, giving room to curiousness. Their knees touched as they sat beside each other. Another rush swept through the older woman; she masked it behind a teasing grin.

“So tell me, sweetheart, what’s a single gal like you doing all alone in this big house? It must be so lonely!” She inquired, the easy grin not once vanishing from her face. 

"Oh, I'm not single." 

"Really? I don't see a ring." Suspicious. Agatha stirred closer, curiosity coming in waves as she leaned in, trying to get a glimpse of shiny, metal rings. Wanda didn't appear to mind the closeness.

"I'm married! To man," She chuckled nervously, discreetly conjuring a gold ring on her left hand. "A human one and tall!" Ghost laughter filled the room yet again. This was getting creepier by the second. Surprising herself, Agatha cradled slender fingers in her hands, rubbing her thumb softly against the golden material of the wedding ring. She pretended she hadn't noticed when it came seemingly out of nowhere. 

She was almost certain this Wanda girl was a witch, and a powerful one at that. Too powerful. Just as energy hummed and floated throughout the entire house, magic ran strong beneath the very skin she was now touching. Raw, undiluted power. A light squeeze made her look up. A grayscale gaze held hers. She swallowed thickly under its intensity.

"Lucky man, isn't he?" Pulling away, Agatha drew a small distance between them. The closeness overwhelmed her so, and just then, her brain became aware of the faint smell of vanilla and cinnamon coming from the young woman. She suddenly regretted moving away. "I don't mean to intrude, dear, but where is he? It's getting late and you know how dangerous ," Blues eyes turned grey flashed menacingly, "Everything is these days." 

She was trying to be her confident self, really. Not only was she feeling all those things and having all kinds of confusing, conflicting thoughts but she had to get all flustered and bright-eyed with some vintage, mysterious psycho? No, Agatha would have none of that. That's why her tongue curled as sweet, barely noticeable venom dripped from her words. Calculating. Cold. Unlike her heart, which thundered with each curl of Wanda's lips and fluttered each time those hands of hers touched her skin. 

Their fingers were still intertwined.

"He is at–" Wanda hesitated, her stance faltering slightly as doubt clouded her eyes, "At w-work! Yes, he's at work. He's a man of technology, you see, always rambling on and on about computers," Her voice had a raspy quality to it, all rough edges and honeyed timbre. Not that she would ever admit it but… It was like music to Agatha's ears. As such, like an admirer of finer pieces of art, she urged the younger woman on. 

"His name is Vision. We've arrived today, actually," Finally pulling her hand out of Agnes' grip, Wanda tensely smoothed out the non-existent creases of her silk dress. Its soft material brushing against her fingertips helped her mind to settle. Something about Agatha made her skin crawl in the most delicious way, which only served to frighten her more. Her mouth curled up into a strained smile.

"And how are you liking it so far?"

"It's wonderful! Westview is such a cozy little town, isn't it? Vision had discovered it first and he wanted to surprise me by buying this house… for us to grow old in" Her grin faded into a tender stretch of lips, her gaze moving towards the calendar behind the other woman. There it was. The heart on top of today's date. She sighed dreamily. Her Vision, always so thoughtful.

The lack of response, however, brought her attention back to Agnes. The smaller woman was staring into space, her eyes set on Wanda but vacant as if she wasn't there. The eerie feeling that screamed something was not right settled down in her chest. Her magic, however, slithered gently just beneath her skin, yearning to run its warm tendrils through dark hair. 

Wait, what?

Just as Wanda started to reach out, the phone rang, its shrill trim! trim! making both women jump. "My goodness! Who can it be?" With a flamboyant movement that elicited more disconnected laughter from the audience,  she made her way to the old-looking phone pinned to the wall. Right beside it was the calendar. She stopped to stare at it briefly as she answered the call.

"Vision's Residence!" She greeted whoever was at the other end of the call.

"Wanda?" Her husband's british accent reached her ears, "Thank God you're there. We have a huge problem, dear. Have you seen the heart on the calendar? It's referring to the meeting Mr. Hart scheduled for us. Today! Can you believe it?" His voice was frantic and he sounded slightly out of breath. Her heart squeezed in sympathy for her synthozoid husband, "He wants to talk about my promotion! He came to me earlier-" His rambling faded in the background as she felt the hairs at the nape of her neck stand up. Turning around slowly, she found Agnes' watching her as a hawk would to its prey. She was torn between giving in to her intuition or continuing her role as the sweet, 50s housewife.

A wink was enough of an answer for Wanda.

"I'm sorry- Could you repeat that for me?

 

 

"This is gonna be gas!" Agatha exclaimed as merrily as she could, her head dizzy and her sight blurred with exhaustion. She had to find shelter for tonight. She had to get the hell out of this house. Forcing herself to give a strained smile, she didn't wait for Wanda to show her way out. The looming presence, sweet as honey on the surface but dark and addictive beneath it, intimidated her. Enraptured her. And it scared her too.

Agatha was not a woman of fear. A witch of her age and experience, who has lived as much as she did and seen as much as she had, could not afford to be afraid of anything. Of anyone. She wasn't afraid when her mother taught her first lessons on witchcraft. She wasn't afraid when she saw the head of a goat, Baphomet written in intricate carvings under its iron frame, hanging on the wall of her coven's lair. 

She wasn't afraid when the Darkhold lured her in.

So why is she afraid now? Why is she acting so unlike herself to the point of daydreaming whether or not Wanda's lips tasted as good as they looked. Whether or not her hands would grip her waist, firm and hot like they gripped hers. Whether or not her magic matched the one inside of her. Gods , she sounded like a horny teenager.

That certainly wouldn't do.

And then, as if the heavens — hell would be more likely — themselves had decided to grant her a wish, a plain-looking house came into view. It was perfect for a hiding place. In the backyard there was a trapdoor, probably leading to the basement. The front yard, however, was bare of any kind of garden, the grass rough and unattractive. A low-profile abode, just as she liked. Feeling invigorated, she stalked towards the back of the house.

With a flick of her wrist, the chains unlocked themselves and she stepped down the stairs. The sound of the trapdoor closing was the only sign of Agatha's entrance. Her heels click-clacked against the humid pavement, her nose scrunching up as a foul smell hit her nostrils. She had some serious decorating to do. 

Fortunately, Agatha was patience personified. 

Purple magic started to slowly make its way across the room as she chanted, deep and rumbling on the back of her throat, incantations and spells, her belongings rearranging themselves around the expanse of the basement. The Darkhold, obscure and ominous like its name, settled itself in the shrine carved with different runes. At each side of the walls a rune could be also seen just above the stone pillars she built. Transfiguring her clothing into her violet robes, Agatha looked around. Finally, her heart felt at ease.

She smiled sinisterly. Blue orbs gleamed lilac as she watched her world change to color once again. 

 

Let's get this party started, shall we?