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I'm With You

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Scylla hadn't dared to hope that she'd ever see Raelle again. She didn't see how she could, considering everything that stood between them. With the war, the lies, and the fact that Raelle wished they'd never met, the chances of a reunion seemed slim to none.

But then the Army opened up a testing center for young witches, and the two managed to find themselves at it's grand opening.

Scylla was eternally grateful that Raelle, even from her vantage point on the stage, didn't notice her amongst the crowd. As much as she wanted to think that they could reconcile if she made herself known, she knew how unlikely it was. There was a much higher chance that Raelle would alert Alder to her presence, and she couldn't have that now.

That didn't make it any easier, though. With Raelle so close, Scylla's impulsive heart was screaming at her to abandon the mission, to make eye contact and let her girl know she was there. She wanted to rush onto the stage and throw herself into those familiar arms, to beg for forgiveness and say everything she should have said when she'd had the chance. But she still had some sense in her, so instead she hid.

She ducked behind people and signs, doing everything she could to stay out of Raelle's sight without making it obvious to the people around her that she was using them as shields. She sincerely hoped that she wouldn't have to do this for long, but it seemed that luck was not on her side today.

She spent hours waiting for something to happen, wishing that The Camarilla would just make their move so she could focus on literally anything other than her ex-girlfriend.

It was after dark when she began to notice a shift in the atmosphere. The crowd around her seemed angrier now, pushing closer to the side. Concerned, she followed the flow of movement, weaving through protestors that were jeering and shouting at something she couldn't see.

Once she got to a section of the crowd that wasn't moving, she peered over a man's shoulder and just about jumped out of her skin. Approximately three feet in front of her was Raelle, desperately trying to calm the protestors. Scylla ducked behind the man, glad that his attention was on Raelle and not the girl pressed up against his back.

She couldn't hear exactly what Raelle was saying, but she got the gist of it. Basically just a load of bullshit about how great the Army was and how the witches recruited today would be taken care of. Frustration welled in Scylla's chest at the thought of Raelle really believing that.

I wish I'd gotten you out of there before they convinced you that was true, she lamented. I would have if I'd known you'd be safe.

"Someone once told me," Raelle called into the crowd. "That I had to let the Army make me strong."

Scylla froze. Was Raelle talking about her?

"And she was right."

I was right?

Scylla's heart lifted a bit. Raelle still valued what had been said on their first night together. Maybe she still valued what they'd felt for each other, and all the time they'd spent together. Maybe she didn't hate her.

Scylla didn't have much time to ponder it, though. The crowd moved again, toward Raelle, and she had to duck behind someone else as her shield stepped away from her. Briefly, she considered stepping up in Raelle's defense, but she couldn't afford to blow her cover.

Reluctantly, she retreated farther into the sea of people, unconsciously slipping her hand into her pocket to clutch the picture she'd swiped from Willa. Somewhere ahead of her, she could just barely hear someone screaming Raelle's name.

Before she could even register what was happening, Scylla was suddenly thrown off her feet, vaguely aware of the same happening to everyone around her. She landed on a stranger's legs, and another stranger promptly landed on top of her. For about twenty seconds, they all lay in a stunned heap, trying to work out what the hell had just happened.

A sound bomb, Scylla realized. That had been The Camarilla's move; to attack the rally in a way that, until recently, only a witch could. To frame the Army, or maybe the Spree, and push the idea that witches were Public Enemy Number One.

As soon as the stranger who'd landed on her rolled away, Scylla scrambled to her feet to survey the damage. Most of the people were starting to rise as well, though some remained half-dazed on the ground. Automatically, she began to search for Raelle.

The other witch hadn't been blown far; only about ten feet away. At this distance, and with fewer people to hide her, Scylla was in plain sight, but she couldn't bring herself to move. She'd come here thinking that Raelle would never want anything more to do with her, but after that speech, she wasn't sure anymore. She wanted to know how Raelle would react to seeing her, even if just for a second.

She stood there, frozen, as Raelle rose and dusted herself off. For a moment, she considered running, but her feet were still planted firmly to the ground. Slowly, Raelle turned in her direction, her gaze flicking through the crowd as if looking for something.

Scylla's breath caught in her throat as their eyes locked. She wasn't sure if she'd been expecting anger, relief, or something else entirely, but she knew it wasn't there. All she saw in Raelle's expression was a kind of numb shock, which was admittedly one of the better reactions she could have gotten.

As Raelle stepped toward her, Scylla slipped the picture out of her pocket, gently playing with the edges. She couldn't stay longer than a few seconds, no matter how much she might want to, but she could at least leave something behind. That way, Raelle would know her eyes hadn't been playing tricks on her. With a final glance at the young, happy face of the girl she loved, Scylla let go of the picture and let it fall to the ground.

When she looked back up, she realized that Raelle's head was turned in another direction; a perfect chance to slip away.

I love you, she thought as she turned and vanished into the crowd. I hope I'll see you again soon.