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Your Heart is Written on My Skin

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There was a funny thing that happened when witches got their palisman; the magic would place words upon their skin, promising the moment love realised.

 

Willow herself, since she was a young girl, knew this to be partly fiction, as only witches with a natural affinity for magic could actually get this to happen. So it was seldom heard of, and even more rarely were both witches given the mark.

 

So late blooming half-a-witch Willow, well, there was really no chance for her to get those sorts of words marked upon her skin.

 

Until she actually got a palisman of her own and felt the warm tingle of magic dance across her arm. It couldn't be. And she had no reason to immediately check: much more important things were happening, she couldn't take a chance to mistake her imagination for reality. Not when she's gotten her palisman, when Clover is buzzing in her ear with excitement, when she feels a sense of understanding when she announces her goals and is immediately met with a like minded soul. 

 

It's not until later into the night, long after she's given Clover a little space in her room, "I'm sure that being with the Bat Queen all these years has made you comfortable to walk around, so, here's a place to relax," and has finally settled from the excitement of the day. Changing out from her clothes into her pajamas, she notices a peculiar marking on her arm, looking like written word, and she can't imagine where it's come from, Boscha couldn't have done it… until it hits her. When she met Clover, there was that strange feeling right there on her arm. 

 

It was a soulmate verse. 

 

The words after love realised, the marking of a soulmate, only appearing with powerful magic, it actually happened! To her, to late blooming, half-a-witch Willow. She stared at the faded black words, the distinct writing of her soulmate, trying to decipher it. Disbelieving that she was even seeing it. 

 

She sits on her bed, pulling her arm close to her, trying to look as closely as she can to the messy words, to figure out what was written in the messy scrawl of her soulmate's hand. The dim lighting of the room doing nothing to help her in her quest. 

 

"How cordial," she finally reads aloud, with goosebumps raised along her skin. 

 

Whoever they were, they would realise they loved her while thinking of her warmly. It made her feel giddy, a little too light, too full of excitement. 

 

Imagine. Her, a witch who's been thought to not have any magic worth talking about, with this of all things. She glances over at Clover, expecting the bee to be sound asleep, but finding her staring back with anticipation. She quietly buzzes, and Willow's smile starts to hurt her cheeks, "thanks," she says, much too loudly to be a whisper. 

 

 

 

When Hunter reluctantly accepts the palisman's staff form, he doesn't expect to immediately feel a sting of magic flash across his chest. He pulls his collar aside and peers down to see what had happened and gawks in complete shock. And maybe fear.

 

There was a soulmate verse decorating his skin. He thought them to be old Hag's tales, pure wild magic, only to be seen on witches and demons who could create powerful magic, and so it was something seldom heard of, let alone seen. 

 

And here he was, magicless, with the mark. How? He pulls the palisman staff up to his face, peering at the wooden cardinal, wondering if maybe this branch had more magic in it than was normal. How else could this happen, especially with how the markings were associated with wild magic — oh Titan, his uncle could never learn of this. He would be such a disappointment… decorated with wild magic such as this, when it's already caused their family such strife.

 

But. He's very curious. Wondering what the supposed other half of his soul would have to say to him, just after they realised they loved him. He pulls off his shirt and walks up to his little mirror, and discovers that marked around his scars, in a dull black but polite handwriting, are the words "I'm glad we're friends," and he thinks back to earlier in the day when he let the human have the palismen after she said she considered them to be friends. 

 

He thinks about how utterly alone he is, how some random human made him weaken his resolve to help his uncle, his only family, just because she said they were, that they could be friends. And he holds the Palisman staff close, his grip tightening. 

 

He wonders how this will affect his future.

 

 

 

 

If Willow has learned anything from meeting Luz, it's to be more open minded and courageous. Where she would once shy away, she would now come out full force, and unapologetically be herself.

 

And so when she sees The Golden Guard ticketing a witch for a small crime of really no consequence, she stands up to him. Luz and Amity, Eda, all say he's not so scary, and maybe that's why she gets the gall. Maybe she's been unhappy with the Emperor's Coven since Eda's Petrification and how the Emperor himself saved face by saying it was all according to plan, using Eda's curse to control the masses.

 

"Hey," she calls out, cutting through the crowd to stand before him, "this witch has done nothing wrong." 

 

He barely moves his head to look at her, and she momentarily loses her nerve with his bored reaction to her. 

 

"This witch has been defacing public property," he states matter of factly, gesturing to the statue of Emperor Belos behind them, his stoney likeness covered in colourful graffiti.

 

"No reason for an arrest, and besides, it's much nicer now, brightens the square."

 

She swears she can hear him roll his eyes, "of course the witch who rallied the crowd against the Emperor's decree would say that. I can have you arrested too, you know."

 

"For what?"

 

"For talking back to the leader of the coven. Here —"

 

He moves to pull out some cuffs, and if Willow has learned anything from meeting Eda the Owl Lady, it's how to get out of trouble. 

 

"Not if I do this," Willow smirks, drawing a magic circle and summoning a vine to pull his hood over his mask with enough force to trip him. She grabs the witch's arm, and drags them after her, summoning Clover to ride back to the Owl House as fast as she can. She looks back once, to find the Golden Guard standing still, his mask pointed towards her, as if he's simply watching her go.

 

Eda exclaims with excitement after Willow explains why she's brought this random witch back to the Owl House. "Wildflower, you're so feisty, I love it," she hollers from the couch, throwing back her head and kicking her feet with glee. 

 

After they sort out a safe passage for the witch to return to their home, Eda pulls her aside, "Willow, you're strong, I can tell, but that golden brat, he's something else entirely. Be sure to be on your toes ok, Luz wouldn't forgive me if I encouraged her best friend on the boiling isles to become a wanted criminal."

 

 

 

If there's anything good that's come from having a palisman, Hunter decides it's the opportunity for him to experience life a little differently. Magic was needed to survive, and his magic was handcrafted for him by his uncle in the form of an unmistakable staff. But with this cardinal, well, he could explore the isles without worry of his identity being recognized.

 

So he decides to hit up the Bonesburrough public library, on a day he knew the youngest Blight wouldn't be there, lest she catch him and throw him to the Owl Lady's mercy. To the human's mercy. His actions have probably hurt her, which he knows isn't something friends tend to do to each other. 

 

He thought it was a pretty good plan, waiting for a day she had off, and taking all the books he wanted to read into the darkest, most lifeless place in the library to avoid anyone who could have the potential to recognize him. That was until that plant witch appeared out of thin air, reaching for the same book as he was. 

 

Their hands touched, and he pulls his away as quick as if he had been touching fire. Her hand remains hovering over the book's spine, and she blinks in astonishment at the likelihood of someone wanting to read How to Tend to Common Household Weeds: Volume I at the very same time she did. 

 

She finally pulls her hand back and gestures with it to the book, "oh you can take it, I've already read it fifty times now."

 

Hunter nods, wary of her, she's a member of the Owl Lady's unofficial wild magic coven, "I've read it fifty one times," he says, pulling the book from its place. 

 

This sparks intrigue in her eyes, and he can tell because they seem to dazzle behind her big round glasses, "impressive," she smiles, "it's a very dry read." 

 

He nods, "very," as he tosses it onto the trolley cart he's decided to commandeer to easily bring piles of books back to his reading spot.

 

She looks at the mountain of books he's stacked up, "will you be able to read all that before closing?"

 

"Yes, I'm a speed reader." he replies curtly, mildly uncomfortable with her attention. Last time she had her attention on him, she made him look like a fool. And while he knew he couldn't blow his cover just to deliver her a swift justice for her actions that day, he knew he should stay away. 

 

She hums, looking over the titles he's accumulated, "quite a few of these are about plant magic, are you a plant witch?"

 

Hunter takes a moment to think before answering, "a… friend, let's say, once showed me that the applications of plant magic are more than what they seem to be." 

 

She seems very pleased by his answer, "then you should read The Guide to Wildflowers," pointing to a book behind him, "very educational, I've read that one over a hundred times."

 

He quirks a brow, and pulls it from the shelf, flipping it open randomly to find a section on insect feathers, a plant that makes potions more potent, and are nearly impossible to grow domestically. The section lists everything from common locations, to every detail needed to properly identify a specimen in the field. Interesting to say the least, and he adds it to his pile. 

 

He looks back to the plant witch to thank her, but finds she's walked off, further down the aisle, looking intently at the books lining the shelves. He decides against calling out to her, being in a library and returns to browsing. He glances back towards her, to see her walk away, round the corner and disappear from sight. 

 

He wonders if he could create a friendship with her, as he is now, some random witch reading a ton of books in one sitting. Someone vastly removed from the politics of their home, who couldn't have considered arresting her for talking back to him. He thinks it could be interesting. But knows that he shouldn't. His palisman shifts and flutters to his shoulder, nudging his cheek. 

 

"No, it's way too risky," he utters too loudly and too frantically for the quiet of his surroundings. 

 

 

 

The next time Willow comes across the Golden Guard, it's in the middle of the woods and he's picking flowers. Ironically, the exact flowers she had intended to pick.

 

She tries to leave, quietly creep away just as she had appeared, because meeting the Golden Guard like this, far, far away from the security of an audience, wasn't good. 

 

"I know you're there, plant witch," she hears him say, seeming to sigh before he teleports behind her, pinning her arms behind her. 

 

"Were you spying on me? Gathering intel for the Owl Lady? To overthrow the Emperor with wild magic?" he demands. 

 

"What?" she doesn't understand how he's come to that conclusion of all things, "No! I'm here to collect samples for a school project! I didn't know you were here!"

 

He's quiet for a moment, weighing her words, separating the truth from lies, and then he quietly lets her go. 

 

She jumps away from him, and looks at his mask and tries to imagine the sort of emotion he's conveying beneath it. 

 

"Ah, education is important. I'll let you go this time. But if the next time I find you're actually up to no good, well, let's just say we'll be spending a lot more time together."

 

And then he's gone in a flash. She's left to dwell on his words, the weird threat, how easy it was for him to subdue her. She furrows her brows and grits her teeth. Clover shifts, buzzing with worry, and Willow shakes her head, "I gotta get stronger so creeps like him can't hurt my friends."

 

 

 

 

The next time Hunter crosses paths with the plant witch, he's spent a week regretting his word choice, 'if it were up to me, we'd be spending a lot more time together,' gah, what an embarrassing thing to say. 

 

She appears randomly, as seems to be her prerogative around him. He's hiding away behind a pile of books, in the darkest dimest corner in the Bonesburrough library, but she comes across him nonetheless. She's got a warm, friendly smile, and is carrying a stack of books of her own. What surprises him is that she places the books on his study table.

 

He gives her a disbelieving look, raising an eyebrow while scowling, and she giggles, "some more recommendations. You probably won't read them," she nods at the towers of books surrounding him, "but if you're interested in plant magic, these are the best references." 

 

"Dully noted," he says, still positive he wants to stay as far away from her as possible. She continues to smile despite his attitude and sits down across from him, "I'm kind of an expert with plant magic, if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them." And then she opens a book he didn't notice she was still holding and starts to read. 

 

Soulmate Confessions: Understanding Them, he reads, and narrows his eyes. How peculiar for a plant witch to be reading about soulmate marks while opening discussion to plant magic.

 

"What's so interesting about those old hag tales?" he asks, "they're born from wild magic, that's against the Emperor's law."

 

The girl's smile doesn't leave her lips, but her brows furrow slightly, "it's the legendary aspect of it. How it's so rare to come by, it might not even exist at all."

 

And Hunter knows this not to be true; the idea that they mightn't be real; he's got a verse hidden underneath his clothes. He's got no natural affinity to magic, and yet here he is, visibly connected to someone by wild magic. It's too powerful, to see past space and time to correctly see the future and mark him for it with unwavering certainty.

 

He doesn't think he likes it much.

 

The plant witch across from him doesn't notice his mood. Or if she has, she elects to ignore it. She shrugs, "besides, they want us to write a report on Hag's Tales, this one seems interesting enough."

 

Hunter nods, and decides he no longer wants to talk about it, "So about the carnivorous Venus Witchtrap..."

 

"What about them?" her head bounces up and she's got his full attention now.

 

And Hunter suddenly has a feeling he's already failed staying away from her, that from this moment onwards, they're going to be fast friends — well, his version of himself. He hopes that in the event they become friends, she never discovers that he's the Golden Guard.

 

"Wait, before we get into that, you should know my name. It's Hunter."

 

And Hunter already knows her name. He's known it for a while now, but to hear her smile, "Well Hunter, you should know my name too. I'm Willow Park," well, it makes him feel funny. 

 

 

 

For the next few months, Willow takes to meeting Hunter at the library once a week to discuss plant magic, and whatever else tickles his fancy. She's come to enjoy hearing him tell her about the things he's learned. 

 

They've also had their palismen meet, and funnily enough, they seem to be old friends from their time under the Bat Queen's care. 

 

"I remember seeing yours before, when Bat Queen brought some palismen for Hexcide students to adopt… but you're not a Hexcide student."

 

The boy startles, "no, I'm not."

 

Willow nods, "it'd be weird if you were, I've never seen you at school. Are you a Glandis student?"

 

"I'm homeschooled."

 

"Oh."

 

She doesn't ask anything else about it, because it's clear he would rather talk about anything else. And he would. 

 

But she's sad to see him clam up after a moment of talking about whatever interests him, feeling bad that he's talking at her about topics she probably doesn't even enjoy. But Willow shakes her head, assuring him she's having fun listening to him, that his voice is lovely to listen to. 

 

Which does something funny to him, he smiles, but he tries to hold it back, but it's way too big to contain, "you know, you have a very expressive face, I can tell what you're thinking." She teases. 

 

He rolls his eyes and scoffs, "well, being mean to me won't get you free educational rants."

 

"Oh no, whatever will I do, never getting to hear you rant about the boiling sea mollusks. I couldn't go another day without hearing your voice," she dramatically sighs, giggling, and loving the way his face contorts trying to hide his smile. 

 

She decides that this random boy she's met is perhaps one of her favourite people she's ever met. That every day she gets to meet him, her world gets a little brighter thanks to their friendship. She loves that she's met him, and so she loves him.

 

There's something about him, with the way he talks, he carries himself, that she can clearly imagine him saying the words written along her arm. She feels foolish, a little silly for hoping that he will one day say those words to her.

 

She has slowly migrated their reading nook towards a window over the course of the last few months, and watching him sit in the sunlight as he quietly reads, his face reacting with each word he reads, it sets her heart on fire, and she smiles too fondly, "I'm glad we're friends."

 

His reaction is slow: he blinks, as if he was too immersed in the world of construction coven methods to be in the world with her. 

 

"I," he starts, scratching his chest, "I am too."

 

 

When the sun begins to set, Hunter and Willow leave the library, they say their goodbyes, share promises to meet up again next week, and depart feeling way too elated for a day spent in a library. 

 

Hunter has been feeling airy since Willow set off the mark earlier, as if he didn't ground himself he would float away. He knows he can't return her feelings just yet, that would be much too dangerous, but Titan, he can feel it. His feelings are ready to burst out. But he really shouldn't let himself get so swept up in it. She's just nice, she probably says that to all her friends, he's not special just because of this stupid mark. If he never got a palisman, it wouldn't make it special, and he shouldn't have a palisman. He shouldn't have a mark and he never should have met the plant witch, Willow Park. 

 

His palisman shifts and the bird lands on his head, twittering. 

 

"I can't be in love with her," Hunter states, "it's too dangerous."

 

By moonlight, he climbs into his room through his window, and he tears off his clothes and falls onto his bed, tired and weary for his future. He glances around his room, notices his mirror, and decides to sit up and get a proper look at his soulmate mark. The words are now a vibrant deep green, and he's seen enough of Willow's writing to laugh in hindsight, of course, why hadn't he noticed before. 

 

He traces the way the script moves along his skin, and smiles, furrowing his brows, feeling foolish. 

 

 

 

It's not even a full week after that moment in the library when Willow meets the Golden Guard once again. Hunter hates it, because he hasn't stopped thinking about it, about her, and meeting her like this, well it's no good for his heart.

 

This time they fight a little. He says they fight, but in reality, it's more of a chase on his part, and a clever trap on hers. 

 

He even forgets what exactly set it off, or how they got there, but she has him cornered on the cliff's edge, his staff, the one Belos had made him, is tangled up in her vines, and his Palisman he's commanded to stay hidden away under her eyes. 

 

She's got him in a bit of a jam, he must admit. And the ground beneath his feet doesn't feel very stable, so he supposes that will give way any moment now too. 

 

So he decides to talk. He's good at that. Maybe talking will save him, buy him some time, distract her. He doesn't know. 

 

But he ends up apologising for his actions at Eclipse Lake. He's been feeling bad, that he's ruined the human's way back home to her family. He knows how much family means. 

 

He doesn't exactly expect Willow to drop her fighting stance, but she does, her eyes softening, "you should tell that to Luz yourself. Go on," she unbinds his staff and gestures to it, "you should leave now so that you get that chance."

 

Hunter stares at her from behind the mask. She's so lovely, so amazing, and she's so so so strong, physically and in belief, she's dangerous. He admires her so much, but in this moment, where she's giving the version of him that she hates a sort of second chance, he can't help but actually admit to himself that he's developed feelings for her. That he's in love with her. 

 

But in that same moment, the ground beneath him finally gives way. And he falls. 

 

But before he can go anywhere, he finds himself caught. He looks up and finds that Willow herself has caught him in her own hands. His heartbeat goes faster.

 

 

"How cordial," the golden guard says.

 

In the shock of hearing those words, she almost drops him. The words on her arm come to life with a jolt of electricity, it dances across the skin and she knows the words are now in colour, probably a golden yellow just to spite her. She throws her other hand around his wrists, desperate to not let him fall just because her arm has grown tired.

 

"Pardon?" she manages to ask.

 

"I've been kind of a jerk to you, didn't think you'd be kind to me. Considering the whole different opinions on things and such matters." 

 

Willow considers letting him go. 

 

"I can tell what you're thinking, you know. You have easily read expressions."

 

She thinks something's familiar about that, those words, but shakes her head, "you could be helping me pull you up instead of talking, you've got both my hands, I can't do magic," she says instead.

 

"Ah, right," and then he's shifting his weight, kicking his feet against the cliff, and using her hold on him to pull himself up, by jumping.

 

Of course, he pulls her along with him, laws of motion, and they fall into a pile, him atop her. 

 

And it takes him a moment to recognize their position. But Willow, Willow is wildly aware of it; the soulmate mark is still tingling and it's making her all too aware, "get off of me!" she shouts, vines coming forth and pulling him up. 

 

"Uh," he says, when he notices he's now hovering off the ground, suspended by plants, "I am off you, by a mile now. Could you let me down."

 

Willow hastily ends the spell, and he falls into a heap. She apologizes for her rashness, but he waves her off, groaning, "no, no, I probably deserved it."

 

He pulls himself up, and stands at full height, close enough to Willow that she wonders if he's always been taller than her. And close enough that she feels very uncomfortable.

 

He shifts, whistling to diffuse the air, "well, nice letting me go like that Miss Park, I'll be sure to personally apologize to the human." He grabs his staff and jumps on, saluting her before saying goodbye and disappearing.

 

The moment he's gone, she collapses to her knees, breathing heavily. 

 

Her mark was set off by the words spoken to her by the Golden Guard. She thinks back to the boy at the library, the one she's supposed to meet tomorrow, and buries her head in her hands. 

 

When she pulls herself home, it's well after the moon has risen, and she waves off her fathers' worries, and says she's too tired. The first thing she does is pull off her dress to see what's become of her mark. And she laughs sadly, it's a golden yellow, further proving it was the leader of the emperor's coven. 

 

She stares at the two simple words, compares her silly fantasies of Hunter saying it, to how she actually heard it. She expected Hunter to tease her over something, not the Golden Guard to comment on her saving his life. 

 

She has a restless sleep, feeling worse in the morning. She decides to not go to school. 

 

 

 

Willow Park is late. Hunter tries not to worry. But she's hardly ever late, and if she is, it's only a few minutes, and it's always with a reasonable explanation. But it's now been thirty minutes, and he can't help but to wonder about worst case scenarios. 

 

Did the youngest Blight catch them, and tell her the truth, that he's the Golden Guard and now she despises him? Did she not return home safely last night? Did she just decide she didn't want to be his friend anymore?

 

An hour into his spiral, she appears and sits across from him. She smiles and softly apologizes for being so late, but her eyes look exhausted and her mood isn't quite the same. 

 

He thinks back to yesterday, witnessing her power, with her eyes glowing green and her plant magic going wild under her emotion, their fight previous to that, and he can't help but blame himself for how she appears today.

 

"Up all night, doing late night cramming for a big test?" he asks. 

 

She quietly laughs, shakes her head, "no, nothing like that."

 

She looks at him, a genuine smile on her face, before something clicks and she looks away. 

 

"What's wrong?" he asks. He doesn't like seeing her so uncomfortable. 

 

"Something big happened yesterday, and well, it's a little too much for my plate."

 

Hunter frowns. It was because of him after all. "Well," he says, "go back home, rest up. It looks like you could use a nap."

 

Willow shakes her head, "I promised I'd answer any questions you had on plant magic."

 

Hunter snorts, "hah, I can just write down everything that comes to mind and ask you next week. Sound like a plan?"

 

Willow's eyes soften, her smile looks like it would shatter, but she agrees, "thank you. I'll see you next week. Promise I won't be late."

 

 

Willow heads straight to the Owl House. If anyone could help her, it'd be the expert on Wild Magic herself; Eda. 

 

She starts off with showing Eda what's happened. 

 

The woman whistles, "that's powerful magic Willow, and it's already coloured in, you've met them I suppose, so I don't understand what your problem is."

 

"It was the Golden Guard."

 

Eda pats her shoulder, "and you're now a criminal, hanging out here. What a romance story, eh kid."

 

Willow doesn't laugh.

 

"Well, have you seen him without his mask?"

 

Willow shakes her head. 

 

"I think I can help with that — Hey Luz!"

 

Luz appears in a flash, "what's up Eda — Oh Willow! I didn't know you were coming over today, you weren't at school today, and you usually have plans don't you?"

 

"Luz, can you draw a picture of the Golden Guard for Willow?"

 

"Huh? Oh sure," Luz says, pulling out her notepad and sketching out a picture for her. 

 

"Ta-da!" Luz says as she presents her sketch to Willow, "I might have made him look more edgy than he is, artistic liberty and all, I can't believe I didn't show you yet."

 

Willow stares at it. She doesn't believe it. 

 

"This is him?" she asks.

 

"Yep, can confirm," Eda nods, "though in my experience he's much more scowly."

 

It's Hunter. 

 

"Why'd you want to see this all of a sudden anyway?" Luz asks. 

 

The Golden Guard is Hunter. 

 

"I. I know him," she says. 

 

"What?" Eda and Luz ask.

 

"He's, he's my friend, we met at the library. I, he's the reason I don't always hang out after school," Willow clutches the pad, her hands trembling, "you're sure, you're absolutely sure this is the Golden Guard?"

 

"Yeah," Luz says, worried now, "that's Hunter."

 

 

 

Hunter doesn't expect Willow to come back. But he's glad she has, it's kinda boring without her. 

 

"Can we talk?" she asks, and his brows furrow in concern, but he nods, "come with me, I… don't want to talk here." 

 

She leads him out of the library, and then takes out her staff, "you have your palisman, right?"

 

He nods, and the cardinal flies out from his cowl and shifts into a staff. 

 

They take to the sky. 

 

She brings them to a meadow, and finds a fallen tree to sit on. 

 

"I have a soulmate verse," she begins, "like in the old hag's tale."

 

Hunter nods, not expecting that she also had the mark, since having the two witches both being marked was extremely rare, but something he should have expected of her.

 

"Yesterday, I met someone and the mark was activated. It was uncomfortable, because everytime I met them, it wasn't a good interaction."

 

He stares in horror, "Boscha?" 

 

Willow's eyes widen at his remark, and she shakes her head furiously, "no! no! If it was her, I think I'd be handling it better than I am! She's just… mean," she sighs.

 

"It was the Golden Guard who set it off."

 

And Hunter freezes. His eyes are wide, and he's frozen to the spot. 

 

"His words were 'How cordial,' which is honestly something I could easily hear you say, so imagine my shock when it was him instead of you."

 

Hunter doesn't know what to say. He's stupidly excited that she actually likes him, but he doesn't like where this could be going. He remembers saying it so clearly, it's been on repeat in his mind almost all day. 

 

"And imagine my shock when I went to Eda's to get some advice just now, only to learn what face was hidden behind his mask."

 

Hunter stops. His brain stops working, his lungs stop working, his heart stops beating. She found out. 

 

He starts to laugh, "shit, I didn't, I didn't think,"

 

"No, no didn't, did you. You read so much, you're so smart, and here we are." Willow shakes her head, "what did you think would happen?"

 

"I. Well I couldn't imagine. I didn't think it was very possible, I guess."

 

Willow quirks an eyebrow, "when Luz, Eda and Amity have seen your face?"

 

He laughs awkwardly.

 

"Oh Hunter."

 

It's quiet between them, but it's not uncomfortable in any way he finds.

 

"Oh yeah, you should see mine."

 

She stares at him incredulously, "see your what?"

 

"My verse," and he tears off his shirt and ignores how her cheeks go red and how she turns her head away, "see, look."

 

She slowly peaks her head back, and her eyes widen at the sight, "it's already coloured."

 

"Yeah, that happened last week, remember? I know I haven't forgotten."

 

Willow nods. She remembers telling him that, but she didn't think it was… 

 

He pulls his shirt back on, "see, after that, I sorta clued in on my own feelings, but I didn't want to admit them even to myself. Golden Guard, double life, been lying to you, didn't seem like a good idea. But then… you had me, the Golden Guard, cornered, and yet you allowed me mercy, a second chance. And I couldn't deny it anymore."

 

Willow bites her cheek, trying not to smile. 

 

"Willow, I'm sorry I've been lying to you. But you understand, why, right? This, this connection is dangerous."

 

Willow looks back at him, "if there's anything I've learned about myself, it's that I actually sorta like danger. It's the rush."

 

He's got nothing to say to that, besides a head shake, "it's wild and freeing huh."

 

"Exciting, isn't it."