It was a dream, almost a memory. She knew that it was a dream...but once it had almost been real.
There were two chairs. One where Powder’s name was written, one with Jinx’s. It should have been an easy choice. There was only one of her. But she didn’t want to choose. There had not been a moment when Powder really would have disappeared. She was still a part of her. But she had also changed. Powder was something innocent that Jinx couldn’t never understand. Powder was someone she wanted to be again. Jinx was someone she was scared to become. Something rotten, irreparably broken. Accepting Jinx was like an accepting defeat.
She wasn’t Powder anymore but she really hadn’t ever wanted to become Jinx. But there were chairs and she needed to choose.
Behind the Jinx’s chair stood Silco looking at her proudly. Smiling at Jinx like she mattered. She had missed him. She would give a world if she could get Silco back.
Behind Powder’s chair stood her sister. Powder loved her so much. She still loved her so much.
She left you and that made a little Pow-Pow change, didn’t it?”Mylo’s voice was taunting and he was too close. She felt his heavy breathing against her skin. She needed to silence him. Scream the voice to the silence. So she screamed, loudly and angrily. She had her gun and she knew how to shoot the ghost to the silence. And she showed Mylo how Pow-Pow had really changed. The voice fell silent and for a moment she felt powerful.
When she turned again Vi looked at her like she was something crazy. And she knew she was. She had just hoped that Vi would chase her monsters away.
“Vi loves her perfect little Powder. You haven’t been worthy of her love for a long time. You know that, Jinx. Just admit it.” Lies. Those were only lies. Or really cruel truths.
“She will never choose one like you.”Beside Vi had Caitlyn. Beautiful rightful Caitlyn who was perfect. Even more perfect than Powder had ever been and stronger than Jinx ever could become. Vi was smiling at Caitlyn. She wanted Vi to smile at her but Mylo was right. Vi would smile only to the perfect ones.
“Don’t listen to that voice. You are perfect as you are, Jinx.” It hurt to look at Silco. Because the truth was that she truly loved him. The blood didn’t matter, Silco was her father. And Silco loved her Jinx. For someone she had once been perfect. But Jinx remembered what happened. She raised her gun and then there was blood, so much blood.
She had known how this dream would end and it still hurt like hell. Because after that she started to laugh. Laughing was so much easier than crying. And there was so much to laugh about. She could laugh how a man he had loved as his father was laying bloody in the ground murdered by her. She laughed because Vi looked at her like she finally understood that Vi didn’t have a sister anymore. She laughed because she was all alone and nobody loved her. Clagger and Mylo took her by her hands and dragged her to sit down on her throne. And she laughed because of course she was Jinx. She had always been and would always be Jinx. She would fill this world with color, chaos, laughter. She would show the world what meant to be jinxed.
Then Jinx woke up still laughing. She didn’t know where she was but at least she knew that she was Jinx. Lost cause who laughed. Everywhere were whispers. Mylo, Clagger, Silco, Vi, Caintlyn, so many voices. Overpowering those all was her own laughter. After some time she started to recognize her surroundings. She was in the bed, soft one. And there were hands caressing at her hair. Laughter died because that wasn't part of the play. She had killed only one who really loved her. This one only pretended to care. This one deserved to die.
Jinx still laughed when she attacked. Quick movements and surely the other was on the ground. Such a huge eyes she had for a moment. Jinx had surprised her. Caitlyn’s eyes, her figure. Was she real? Did it matter? She hated Jinx.
Maybe she was here to mock her. Tell her how much more Vi loved Caitlyn. Maybe she wanted to tell her how much more they would love little Powder? But Jinx could mock her too, with her guns.
“Cute little kitty cat, came to play with me?” She giggled hysterically and lowered herself to look at her eyes closely.
“Did sister dear ask you to look for Pow-Pow?” She was looking for fear but not finding it. The shock she had seen at first was also gone. Now there was only sadness. But she didn’t need pity. After her death Jinx would draw a smile on her lips. Jinx could feel how Mylo gave her a familiar gun.
“I found you a Pow-Pow.” She laughed. She didn’t want to think how sad this would make Vi so she laughed. Raised her hand and aimed at Caitlyn’s head. But there was no gun. Only her hand emoting as one.
“Pow.” But it was only the sound on her lips, movement of her fingers. Jinx looked at her hand shocked. Where had the gun gone? Her laugh sounded so empty, almost sad.
But the fight was still on and Caitlyn grabbed Jinx's form. Jinx tried to dodge. But Caitlyn fought weirdly. She wrapped her arms around her shoulders and pushed Jinx against her chest. Jinx waited for Caitlyn to try to change their position, to wrestle to the top of Jinx. It was always easier to kill one at the bottom. But Caitlyn didn't do that. She started to talk and Jinx didn’t laugh anymore. There was no option to not hear her.
“You are safe, honey. Look at this room, Powder.” She was not Powder. Maybe there had been days when she could accept the name but not today. She had chosen the Jinx’s chair. She started screaming, yelling how Powder was dead. But Caitlyn’s hands were strong and the wall was where she could see.
There were drawings that Jinx recognized. Those were made with her colors. Bright against darkness. There were things he recognized. Monkeys and smiling faces. Just lines that surrounded her world when everything was too much. But there was something more. Huge shelves filled with her projects. She adores this room. On one wall was a picture made with a stable hand and clear mind. She saw a picture of herself smiling happily. Not manically but truly happy. She was an adult, not Powder anymore. And Vi kissing Jinx’s temple while Caitlyn hugged her smiling warmly. In the background were pictures of Silco and Vander smiling calmly. Clagger and Mylo too but not angry or hateful. Jinx had forgotten that they could also look peaceful.
All her powers just disappeared while she looked at the wall. It wasn’t a good drawing but it was her making, she knew that. Remembered painting it, every single line. She had wanted to remember that there would be good moments. While drawing she had felt good. For once her head hadn’t been a chaotic mess. At that time she had not been Jinx. But neither Powder. Someone between those. Jinx didn’t know her name when she felt like that. Or maybe she had been a part of Jinx that was not angry all the time. Could Jinx even be Jinx if she had been that happy and calm?
She felt Caitlyn’s hand caressing her hair while the woman was whispering something.
“You are safe, honey. It is you. I don’t care if you call yourself Jinx or Powder, I really care about you. Do you want me to call you Jinx? It doesn't change anything. It is still you.” How Caitlyn knew what she was thinking about? It was almost scary. But that kind of thought was beautiful. Jinx was a name to call her, so was Powder. But the name didn’t define her. Weird thought. She should think about it sometimes. But now Caitlyn had asked her a question and slowly she nodded. She could call her Jinx.
But the painting was beautiful. She wanted to be part of it. Someone everyone loved. She didn’t know what was scarier: that Caitlyn had lied and she could not be happy while being Jinx or that she was telling the truth and she could be happy.
“Who is she?” It was a test for Caitlyn. Would she say that it was Powder? But her voice sounded weak. Jinx should laugh. It would sound so much stronger.
“It is you, Jinx. The name doesn’t matter. It is still you. Do you remember where we are?” She hadn't thought about it. All had gone so quickly. She remembered when she painted that picture. Vi had almost cried when Jinx had told her that she had wanted to draw her family.
This place was one where Jinx was safe. It didn’t matter if she was crazy here. Vi had promised that she still loved her. She was still Vi’s sister. Even Caitlyn liked her here.
“This is my home...our home.” Why wasn't Vi here? The panic rose quickly without asking permission. Vi had left her again. She had not been good enough. She was not her Powder. But Caitlyn was here. Could Vi really leave her too? Caitlyn was perfect. She didn’t deserve to be left alone. Maybe Jinx had jinxed this also.
Her breathing had gotten quicker. Lines surrounded her and Mylo was smiling gleefully.
“You ruined this from her too. You really are a jinx.” Tears had started to fall. She wanted those to stop. She tried to laugh. Laughing was better than crying. Jinx wanted Milo to shut the hell up. She was ready to scream but Caintlyn spoke before she started.
“Yes Jinx, this is our home. Your sister is in the next room. Do you remember that she snores?” Vi was in the next room? Was that a truth?
“She didn’t leave?” Caitlyn’s chuckle sounded weird. It didn’t sound mean. Or was she laughing at her?
“Of course not, Jinx. She wouldn't leave us behind. Let’s go look at her. But Jinx, we need to be silent. She is very tired.”
She got up and Caintlyn followed. Jinx could be silent for Vi. She remembered Vi’s tired eyes at the dinner. Vi needed her sleep. Somewhere Mylo and Clogger were whispering. Telling her that Caitlyn had been and would always be an enemy. She could strangle her and after that it would only be Vi and Jinx. Almost like it had been before. But Caitlyn had said that she cared about her. And Jinx remembered days in this house. Beginning when Caitlyn had hated her. Now her eyes were tender. And she always kept saying that her name didn’t matter. That she loved her while she was Jinx, Powder or anyone else. Vi had said many times that Caitlyn was a terrible actor so if it looked like Caitlyn cared, she really cared. Jinx was so tempted to believe so she just hushed silently the voices. She wouldn’t hurt Caitlyn.
And it was a miracle but Vi was there. Sleeping, even though not snoring. She hadn’t left. The tears were back. But those were silent. If she would laugh, Vi would wake up. She needed sleep. But Jinx couldn’t leave. If she wouldn’t see Vi and Caitlyn those would stop being real. Jinx would be all alone. No Silco, Vi or Caitlyn. Her only company would be the voices laughing at her. Colors and laughter in the darkness. She couldn’t leave.
Caitlyn went to bed next to Vi and she was so jealous. Anger, frustration, name didn’t matter, she was always the same. Rotten and evil and so very jealous. Why Caitlyn didn't need to live in a dark room with madness. Why could she stay here where everything was real? She should have strangled her.
“Hop on, honey.” Caitlyn whispered and raised the blanket a little bit. For a moment Jinx was shocked. She could feel how all the anger, all the dark and rotten melted away. But it didn’t matter. She could still be Jinx. She was always the same, name didn’t matter. Jinx took careful steps at the bedside.
The bed was huge and she knew that there would be room for her. This was not the first time they all had slept at the same bed but every single time it was a miracle. She couldn’t always do this. Usually she didn’t even want to. At least nights were her own time. That room that was tonight evil was usually her kingdom. Her projects were there. And usually she had her music and colors and it was just the perfect place to be. Caitlyn and Vi were in a relationship and it was normal that they slept together. Jinx was only Vi’s little sister. This was not normal. But Caitlyn had said that it was alright. They didn’t need to be normal. They could still be family.
At this moment she felt so small. Innocent like Powder had once been. Still Jinx. Name didn’t matter. She didn’t remember when she had last felt so happy and safe. Between Caitlyn’s and Vi’s bodies it was so easy to fall asleep.
Caitlyn always wondered how easily Jinx could fall asleep after her nightmares. How little the girl needed to feel safe. These kinds of nights happened regularly but not as frequently as before. They still had a really long way to travel before she really would be fine. Maybe that day would never come but it didn’t mean that they hadn’t already walked a long way.
“You are a wonder, Cupcake.” Vi’s voice was tired but happy. Caitlyn raised her gaze and saw Vi’s tired smile.
“How long have you been awake?” Caitlyn had made so much work to give Vi a little bit more time to sleep and all that work for nothing. Vi always made Jinx to calm down twice as fast than Caitlyn ever could. Caitlyn wanted to give her opinion about faking the sleep but she didn’t want to wake Jinx.
“Oh sweetie, if my sister starts to laugh like that, I will always wake up. But you just...Cupcake, you really are too good to be true.” Vi looked at her sister warmly.
At first it had been so difficult to accept that even though Vi loved her, Jinx was her whole world. Caitlyn had always known that the only way to be with Vi had also to accept that the sisters were a baggage deal. Jinx would always be a huge part of Vi’s life, now also Caitlyn’s.
“Did you know that she calls me kitty cat when she tries to be threatening?” This had been the first time. What it was with the sisters and weird nicknames? Vi started to chuckle so hard that Caitlyn was sure that Jinx would wake up. But after those nightmares she usually was dead to the world.
“Oh my God, that is precious. I’m starting to use that also.”
“Don’t you dare.”
At some point Caitlyn had thought that she maybe could learn to accept Jinx. It didn’t matter what name she used, the same mad maniac she was anyway. Or that way Caitlyn had once thought. She had never even imagined that she would learn to love her. Now the name didn’t matter because it was still their Powder, Jinx, honey. Caitlyn learned to adore how on her good days she was such a sweet girl. Almost like a child mentally but such a brilliant artist. Her engineering was brilliant and when she focused her art was gorgeous. Some days she was like a smart young woman. Most of the time she was reckless, temperamental, lively, loud and always ready for chaos. Caitlyn loved every single one of those traits.
Jinx hadn’t changed, she was still the Jinx from the battlefield, but at the same time she wasn’t exactly the same. Sometimes Caitlyn dared to hope that the change was happiness. And when Jinx had a bad day it felt good that Caitlyn could help.
“Has she been worse?” Caitlyn had noticed that Vi was really tired and she had no clue why.
“Yeah, third nightmare this week. And she has been very reckless during the daytime. I actually tried to fight with her. Calmed both of us very well, but fuck, Pow really fights dirty.” Vi laughed lazily. Caitlyn didn’t even want to imagine how many bruises had been changed.
“If it is a hard week, you should inform me. I can change my work schedule.”
“I know, cupcake.” But she never asked.
Both Vi and Jinx were officially dead. She was still an officer. Caitlyn was not always here, not as much as Vi but enough that Jinx had started to call this their home. Enough that she had started to accept Caitlyn to be someone anchoring herself when she really didn’t feel well. This was a privilege Caitlyn had not believed that she would even want but what she would never give up again.
“Do you have any clue what bothers her?”
“No, she won’t tell me. I’m pretty sure that it is some kind of anniversary. I always forget those.”
After the war it had been a miracle that this kind of agreement had been possible. She shouldn’t be here talking about a war criminal who slept between them. But Vi had fought for it, made it clear that she didn’t agree to a compromise. Denial was never an option for her.
"You're asking for the impossible, Vi."
“I didn’t ask for anything. And I'm not negotiating anything.
God, how she had been angry at Vi then.
Caitlyn had known then as well as she knew now that this is an illegal, morally questionable situation. But Vi didn’t listen to her reasoning at that time. And she had a valid opinion of her own.
“I hope that you realize Jinx has killed hundreds, maybe thousands. She is a manic murderer who must be held accountable for her actions. She deserves death. ”
“I know she made a lot of mistakes, but have you talked to her? She is angry, betrayed and she craves someone to love her. She needs a home where she can be accepted even when she is the worst version of herself. She needs help and love, Caitlyn, and I can give those to her.”
Caitlyn had been against everything. She had been ready for the death sentence. Thank goodness Vi had been so persistent. It had been difficult to find this house. To find money to get it. But she was a war hero and that made everything a little bit easier. The house was deep in the forest. Not many had ever seen it. It was suitable right now but she and Vi both hoped that one day they could leave. That Jinx would be so stable that they could go maybe back to Zaun. Nobody would care there if Jinx was a war criminal. Or maybe they would move to some place where nobody knew their name. A new start. But for now this was all right.
“Hey Cupcake, can you ask her tomorrow if everything is alright? Maybe she will talk to you.”
“Of course, Vi. But usually I’m not the one she reveals her secrets.” Vi snorted at that.
For a long time this had not been a home, only a prison. They had been so clueless what Jinx really needed. Vi had only been a prison guard and Jinx had really tried to be the most terrifying version of herself. She had fought with words and fists. She had stolen different kinds of objects and built weapons. At first they had tried to stop it but building was actually something that calmed her. Also using her creations was part of fun. This forest had seen a lot of damage but thankfully Jinx had not tried to kill them, not really. But that didn’t mean that it had been easy. It was almost funny how difficult one teenager even could be. Now when she was laying in the bed looking like an innocent child it felt almost surreal. Caitlyn raised her hand and caressed blue hair gently.
“I love you, Cupcake” There was something in Vi's voice that made Caitlyn raise her gaze. Vi looked at her so gently. After all this time it made her blush. After all this time she could only stutter those words back.
“Love you too, Vi.”
Jinx turned around looking for warmness. It was so easy to hold her. Spoil a little bit a girl who had never been really spoiled. Vi did the same and Caitlyn felt her hand against her own. She never would have believed that this would work.
“Sleep Vi, everything is alright.” Tomorrow would be a new day. Maybe difficult, maybe a good one. They needed sleep.
“Good night, Cupcake.”
“Good night, Violet.”