windhover: (vocaloid ❧ deep sea girl)
[personal profile] windhover
wow has it really been a whole dang year since I last updated this thing LET'S FIX THAT

uh yeah so. I started writing this thing as a character study? and then it ran away from me .-.a hm. aaand then I feel like it also kind of fell apart at the end, but ahaha well. it hasn't been super closely proofread or edited just yet, but right now I'm open to any suggestions or feedback on improving it, and then maybe I'll post it to my writing journal when I feel it's up to scratch.

Title: Deconstructed
Word count: 1,472
Warnings: talk of blood and very mildly graphic violence
Summary: Sophia Byrne has made a phenomenal mistake.
Notes: concerns characters from the Grand Grimoire original verse!

For as long as she could remember, Sophia had always known that her mother’s husband was not her true father.

If she ever thought about it, she could never be fully certain exactly how she knew. The man was admirably shrewd, in both his decision to marry into the Byrne family and his own separate business ventures, but there was little else that marked him in any unique way. Sophia did not consider herself particularly unique, either, not in any special way, but she found it immensely difficult to believe that her mother—a witch widely known for her capriciousness and many trysts—would ever give herself unto such a dispassionate man unless it was absolutely necessary.

Such was the narrative she had carefully constructed in her mind, at least, a narrative she had built and built ever since she was a little girl. Her mother had fallen in love, deeply and passionately in love, with a man she could not marry, and so their consummation could only remain physical. The man’s identity changed from time to time—sometimes a wandering warlock, others a man with no means but a heart of pure gold, and most recently a handsome jazz musician fresh from one of the river cities—but the identity was never what truly mattered. It was the mystery that kept it all fresh, perhaps even romantic.

Perhaps it was only ever wishful thinking, but it was the only wishful thinking that Sophia would often allow herself. Wishful thinking for the future would gain her nothing without hard work and willpower to match, but what harm ever lay in wishful thinking of the past?

What harm was ever there? The words echo in her mind, her senses numb to the commotion in the house that surrounds her.

Any other girl of her sensibility might have long ago put away such fantasies, for that’s all they ever were: fantasies. But she could not, for she could never accept the man as her father. There were other, more concrete signs of it than merely her own conjecture, after all: his utter disinterest in her affairs; his distance from her at even her earliest age; the fact that the shape and shade of her eyes were not his own, nor were they her mother’s.

Of course, there were other signs as well, signs that could do nothing but poke holes in her carefully constructed narrative. The fact of her mother’s capriciousness and many trysts was one, her scoffing manner at the very idea of romantic love another, and so too was her refusal to acknowledge even the thought that another man could be Sophia’s father.

But Sophia would never allow such signs to cloud her mind. For all her fantasy and wishful thought, her identity as a Byrne was all that truly mattered to her. Only at times of darkness and doubt, only at those rare moments when her faith in her identity faltered, would she allow herself to turn back to them—only when she needed to believe that she was in fact the product of love, not of a purely strategic union.

Never once, however, did she truly expect to discover the truth. Never once did she expect that the truth would be neither.

She stares down at her hands, cupped together in her lap. Dried blood still lingers in the cracks and creases of her open palms. She feels that, perhaps, they’ll never be the same.

There were a few things she had known about the man called Elijah Morgan. He was well renowned in this part of the country for his skill with fey and the construction of warding and trapping magicks. She knew her mother had the fortune of working with him personally in the days when she partnered with the esteemed Dahlia MacGuffin, and that with him they formed a highly profitable business of marketing magicks. She knew from her mother’s gossiping tongue that Dahlia lusted greatly after Morgan, for he was quite the young and strapping man in those days, and that it was Dahlia’s unwelcome advances that drove him off to explore the world. She knew from Francesca quite a bit more, if Francesca could be believed: that he was a man born of illegitimacy in the uncivilized wilds of Vandalia; that he was a sodomite, and only fled to Europe for the sake of sating his ill desires; and, above all, that his grimoire was truly that of the famed Hutchinson coven. It was only the last of these that marked him in any way worthy of Sophia’s attention, for a grimoire of such legend and power would secure even greater legend and power for any witch who could flay and claim it—even Sophia herself.

She knows a little more of him now. She knows the feel of his magic, its heat and thrum, as it spilled through her hands, slipping through her stained and bloodied fingers no matter how much she tried to hold it back.

It was Francesca who bade such a task of her. It was Francesca who was responsible for this. It was Francesca who was cruel enough to set her to this in the first place. But who was it, then, that put blade to flesh?

Perhaps she had known more of him all this time. The truth was so simple it had stared right in her face, all this time. Perhaps it had always been too simple for her to accept as reality, particularly when her fantasies were so much more attractive.

Still she stares down at her hands. The weight of the boline, the sight of its blade’s wicked curve wet and gleaming with blood, how easily its handle slid out of her grip—all of it still remains fresh in her mind. The hour that’s passed since feels only like seconds.

She’d made a mistake. Her inexperience had cost her; she’d sliced straight through the edge of his grimoire, not around it. She’d made a mistake that could cost a man his life and sanity, rather than just his magicks. But that was hardly the only mistake she’d made, wasn’t it?

Perhaps everything she had ever done in service to Francesca was a mistake. But Sophia can’t blame everything on her, no. She’s been making mistakes for far longer than that, hasn’t she? Perhaps her biggest mistake of all was ever once indulging herself in the fantasies of her creation.

After all, without even knowing it, she’d set upon herself an impossible desire—a father who would truly love and cherish her, whose lineage she could call her own—and then destroyed it by plunging a knife into his back.

All she can think as she stares at her bloodied hands is that her entire life is little more than a mistake itself. This can only prove it.


Wolfe’s is the only voice that cuts through the fog of her thoughts. She snaps to attention at once, almost startled to see him seated beside her. But of course he would be here. He always is.

“Gregory.” Her voice isn’t as even as she’d like, but merely saying his name helps to ground her, even if only a little. There’s no use in thinking about mistakes at a time like this, what’s done is done, she can only move forward, she has to move forward, just as always, just as she’s always . . .

She looks down again, waits for his response, but none comes. She can feel his eyes on her, perhaps waiting for some indication to do or say as he will, just as he always does. But she doesn’t know what to do or say herself.

Such is the way they’ve always been, herself and Wolfe. But how selfish is that? He’s gone through no small amount of strife himself as of late, has he not? She shouldn’t have to count on him for her personal troubles, not when he has his own to face. He shouldn’t have to put her before himself, not for something like this.

But in the time it takes her to even begin to articulate these thoughts, Wolfe startles her once again by drawing her into a tight embrace.

She knows, at least in her rational mind, that she shouldn’t allow this. Even so, his is the only company she can bear at a time like this.

“He’s my father.”

She has to say it. It’s the only way she can begin to accept it.

“I know.”

If he had known, how obvious must it have been? How could she have taken so long to realize it herself?

She hasn’t cried since she was a child. She’s never allowed it of herself. But in Gregory’s arms, she can do nothing else.

For all the silliness of her wishful thinking and all the fantasies Sophia had constructed about herself, she’d never once anticipated that losing them could ever be this painful.
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