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 Sticks & Stones, Mikul || Barrie
Gretel Morgenstern
 Posted: Jun 24 2017, 08:42 PM
Quote
  • Pauper (36)
  • Hansel & Gretel
  • Nomadic
  • “Swallow your heart and swallow your pride, you gotta be tough if you want to survive. They'll chew you up and eat you alive.”
Skylark


we all fight in our own ways
but nothing ever changes
They wouldn’t be gone long. She’d promised him.

It was a quick job, they’d be back in no time at all.

Thinking back on those promises now, Gretel couldn’t help but laugh bitterly at her own naivety. She’d jinxed this entire job swearing things like that, she should have known not to make promises she wasn’t completely sure she would be able to keep.

Though, in truth, the job had only taken the short time Gretel had predicted...it had been all that had happened afterwards that had kept them so long. The ambush that had come out of nowhere, the near army she and Hansel had almost escaped from, and the absolute shitstorm that had unfolded after. Gretel had tried to keep it together through everything, in some vain attempt to not bring even more heartache to Hansel and Robin. It wouldn’t have done either of them any good to have her breaking down on them too.

So, she’d remained strong, hiding the terror that such a close shave with death had instilled in her. Even for one who knew death so very well, Gretel could not have beared the thought of leaving all those she loved and cared for on this earth. She could not bear for Hansel to have lost his other half, nor for Robin to be broken so completely by her demise.

Perhaps it was luck, or sheer force of will, or else King Arthur’s surgeons, regardless Gretel had made it. She’d pulled through and survived and yet there was such a long way to go in her recovery, even she wouldn’t lie to herself about that. She still moved about with a great limp in her step, barely able to make it a few steps without support. They’d managed to sort her a crutch so she wasn’t entirely left immobile, something that had already been beginning to drive the witch hunter round the absolute bend.

But a wound like the one she survived, the bruising covering her body, the broken bones in her arm, they would all take time as well as gentle care to heal. And some would not heal entirely, Gretel knew that. She could hardly avoid that when a sword had been driven through her leg, but scars were nothing new to a witch hunter of her age and calibre. No, it was scars of the mind and of the heart which worried her more. Especially those not of herself, but of her loved ones.

Robin, in more his generous and paranoid way, had accompanied the twins on their journey from Nottingham back through Far, Far Away to the war camp in Carpathia they had left from. And after a bittersweet farewell, Gretel had sent him away and turned to face their next step. What was now to be a purely advisory role in this upcoming war, experts on all things witch as Hansel and Gretel were. With a leg that could hardly bear weight, a broken arm, and still looking like absolute shit, she could little even consider active battle at the moment in time. As much as it pained Gretel to do so, for now was a matter of waiting and watching from the sidelines. Until her body was about ready for her to pick up her sword again.

Mikul had barely left her mind since they had arrived at camp, and after a quick talk with both the Prince and Princess, including a lengthy rehashing of the entire saga of their much longer than previously predicted absence, Gretel immediately set about trying to track her friend down. Concerned as ever now as she had been when they left, even more so now that they had left him alone for quite so long, unintentional and unavoidable as it had been.

What had Mikul thought? Had he really thought she’d break her promise if she hadn’t been forced to? Did he think they’d just abandoned him? Or did Mikul realise they must have been in dire trouble to have not returned as they said?

Had he seen anything? Did he already know what had happened?

The witch hunter stood near the camp’s centre at that moment, leaning heavily against the crutch under her arm as she discussed both her absence and her injuries with a small group of soldiers. Asking of them then whether they knew where to find the seer boy from Snow’s party. Desperately hoping he was still here and had kept to his end of their bargain, even if Gretel had been forced to break her own.

+Tag: @J.M. Barrie
+Notes: Hope this works! <3
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Mikul "Magic Mirror" Crystal
 Posted: Jul 4 2017, 10:06 AM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (17)
  • Snow White
  • Carpathia
  • “He will never be satisfied. I will never be satisfied.”
J.M. Barrie



Mikul had a lot on his mind. It had been a few weeks since he was freed from the mirror and while he’d like to say his mental state had improved greatly...the truth was, it was a work in progress. Having not slept or properly unleashed any emotions for almost a year had made the actual emotions he experienced, unstable to say the least. So, while he was not suicidal anymore, he still suffered. His visions often caused him anxiety, especially those related to Snow. Choices had been made, choices that broke him. He had said things to hurt Snow, as he was hurting. Things were tough. Visions still revolved around Snow, despite the fact she had chosen Tristan and they had no future. Hell, he didn’t even know his place. Still, many of these visions revolved around the war and the constantly changing outcomes.

Being so close to so many people in the camp, people preparing for war, meant that he was constantly experiencing vivid visions of people he didn’t even know. He was experiencing triumphs and tribulations. He was experiencing visions of death, but also victory. Mikul didn’t know what to make of it, so he didn’t speak of it. He was sure those in nearby tents probably heard his nightmares, but he would not speak of them. He said he was fine when asked. He smiled. He went about his day. It was all a facade that only his hollow, broken eyes would reveal the truth of. He was hurting.

Even so, the balancing act was taking a toll on him. Hansel and Gretel were off doing what they always did and he missed them. Gretel could always make him laugh and Hansel always gave him a hard dose of reality, a pep talk he needed right now. Mikul felt alone. He knew no one else in the camp, aside from Snow and her faery friend, Caitir. He didn’t wish to see or speak to Snow after their last conversation. So, Mikul was left on his own.

He trained when he could, simply to keep his mind occupied. He watched the knights training and followed their movements. He ran, trying to build endurance. He lifted sacks to build muscle. He might have dark circles under his eyes and scars on his wrists that hadn’t been there prior to the mirror...but he was more muscular and stronger than before. He wasn’t quite so easy to push around and when he managed to get a knight or guard to spar with him, he sometimes managed to win the sparring session. He was growing and healing, slowly. His physical strength was helping him to build confidence, to mentally withstand more.

Yet, no amount of endurance could ever help Mikul when Snow was spending time alone with her fiancee. The ever present reminder of the choice and the ache in his heart that no training would erase. He knew that compared to the prince, he had nothing to offer her. He had no title. He had no money. He had no land. He had nothing but his heart, a heart he had given freely and now felt broken within his chest. He had been hurt and angry with her over her choice. How could he not be? But he stayed because despite the pain he loved her and wanted to ensure she survived. After that, he knew he could not stay. He could not stay and watch her with the prince while his heart broke more and more. Even someone as kindhearted as Mikul could not stop jealousy. Mikul was alone, with acquaintances he had met within the last few weeks. He was training and trying to make himself useful. He knew when Hansel and Gretel returned, he would be asking to join them again even if just to consult with his power and to keep camp while they worked. At least then he would be with those who wanted him and who he knew would love him regardless.

Mikul did not doubt Snow’s love. No. He loved her more than life itself and he knew she loved him as well. After all, she had gotten him out of the mirror and she had held him and remained at his side when his wrists bled and she thought he was dying. She loved him too. He knew that. How he longed for that one solid future where they would be together, that one vision that he had since they met. However, that future was shattered. She’d made her choice. He’d seen the future she chose. As long as she survived, she would be happy. He just didn’t know where he’d be now. He had no clue where he belonged.

Mikul was sparring with a dummy, a dummy made of a sack and hay on a stick. He wore nothing but a simple pair of breeches, his shirt discarded as he sweat through his workout. He was so completely engrossed in his workout that he didn’t notice someone approaching until he heard their steps nearby. He stopped his sparring and turned, seeing one of the knights he had become acquainted with standing there. “There is someone here looking for you, a witch hunter, I believe.” That was all Mikul needed. He put away the weapon he had been practicing with, and then ran, still shirtless, toward the center of camp where he saw Gretel speaking to a group of soldiers. He didn’t realize how much he missed her and needed her until now. Now, he threw his arms around her like a child would a parent or sibling, not even taking in her injuries yet, simply glad to see her. “Gretel…”


@Skylark
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Gretel Morgenstern
 Posted: Aug 2 2017, 09:47 PM
Quote
  • Pauper (36)
  • Hansel & Gretel
  • Nomadic
  • “Swallow your heart and swallow your pride, you gotta be tough if you want to survive. They'll chew you up and eat you alive.”
Skylark


we all fight in our own ways
but nothing ever changes
“Looks like you two ran into a little trouble out there.”

Gretel laughs lightly, moving her arm to indicate her crutch. “What this? Oh, this is nothing. We’ve had far worse.” There is no strain in her voice, nor in the bright laughter that leaves her. Joining that of the small gathering of soldiers she speaks with. Despite knowing just how close a shave the Morgensterns just faced, just how close to death she had come this time.

But here she was, still standing, still laughing. A gaping wound in her leg, a crutch under one arm, but for all who didn’t know better, entirely fine.

“You’ve been gone quite a while though.”

“What, were you missing me, Johann?” She flashed a smile in the young soldier’s direction and his cheeks immediately turned bright red. There’s a chorus of laughter from the older soldiers, one of whom places an arm around Gretel’s shoulders. “We’re just glad to see your smiling faces back here. And that seer kid’s still here.” He speaks with genuine care, looking over their shoulders then in an attempt to answer Gretel’s original reason for getting caught in this reunion in the first place; Mikul. “Somewhere...”

“Last I saw, he was off training again.” Another soldier chimed in, pointing off in the general, and rather unhelpful, direction of the trees which surrounded the camp on all sides. Gretel turned regardless to look where he gestured too, squinting at the distance as if that might make her friend appear. “Hold up, isn’t that the kid now?” Her eyes relaxed again, just as her chest eased a little when she saw that indeed it was Mikul. Emerging from within the trees, and soon enough already breaking out into a run over to where she stood. “It is him! Thanks.”

She didn’t move herself to close the distance...well, it wasn’t exactly like she was in any position to do more than hobbling right now, but she waited eagerly as Mikul approached. Wishing so much to talk to him, even more so to explain. “Mikul, thank god-” As he reached within earshot, Gretel began her relieved greeting but was soon silenced by the young man immediately reaching his arms around her and hugging her tightly.

Not quite expecting such a reaction, he unsteadied her already precarious balance, as Gretel lost her footing and began to fall backwards. Only to be caught and remain standing thanks to the soldier who had his arm around her. “Nothing, was it, Gretel?” She smiled innocently at him, thanking the soldier before regaining her balance herself and immediately wrapping her free arm around Mikul’s back.

“Careful, kid, nearly sent me flying there.” She teased in a soft voice, mind busy already with all that had been left unsaid and all that she wished to ask of him. An apology first, or perhaps and explanation. Or even just ask him how he’s been. But rather than that a laugh desperate to disguise its own nervousness leaves her lips, followed by something so far from covering any of it. “A little bird’s reliably informed me that you’ve been training, Mikul.”

+Tag: @J.M. Barrie
+Notes: <3
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Mikul "Magic Mirror" Crystal
 Posted: Aug 8 2017, 11:35 AM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (17)
  • Snow White
  • Carpathia
  • “He will never be satisfied. I will never be satisfied.”
J.M. Barrie



Mikul knew that he was physically stronger than he had ever been before. When he’d met Gretel he was a lanky teenager trapped in a mirror. Then, he had come out, looking like the same teenager but quickly weakening due to blood loss. Now, he had recovered. More than that, he had begun training as a way to occupy his mind and grow stronger. He no longer looked like the boy Gretel had left behind, the boy from the mirror. No, he was beginning to look like the young man he was. That was something he was proud of, despite his broken emotional state. If he couldn’t fix his broken heart, he could at least fix himself up physically, make himself a harder target and make himself feel useful.

Mikul, despite beginning to look like a young man, still had some growing up to do. He had been living without parents for years now and as such, he had no real guidance. Add to that the state of his broken heart and Mikul was broken. At least he felt broken, emotionally. He felt like a child. His reaction to Gretel’s arrival was also that of a child, a child whose family had returned and who had been teary-eyed as he missed them. He ran excitedly, ignoring what anyone else said. The soldiers he had bonded with liked him and they had done their best to help him and care for him. Still, they were no Hansel or Gretel. The twins were family. The closest he had, knowing his parents were likely dead.

Mikul ran toward Gretel quickly, and he smiled a genuine smile as he heard her call out to him. He had stayed alive for her. He had worked hard to heal to make her and Hansel proud. He might not be able to fix himself completely, but he didn’t want to disappoint them. He wanted this to matter. So, he would make it matter.

Mikul had to chuckle at bit, as he almost knocked Gretel over and the soldier nearby, whose name escaped him, steadied her. He nodded a thank you to the man. He’d been kind to Mikul, helping him to train on numerous occasions, mentoring him.

“The Gretel I remember wouldn’t be so easily knocked over...not by me.” Of course, Mikul was much smaller, more boyish then. He couldn’t have knocked Gretel over then if he tried. He’d never tried. Even now, however, he wasn’t trying. He was just hugging her because he really had missed her. He still didn’t even realize she had a crutch or that she clearly had been injured. He was too happy to see her.

When she spoke next, Mikul looked up at her, for she was still taller than him and smiled. “I have been training. Isn’t it obvious? I want to make myself useful.” Mikul did not want to stop hugging her to show off his muscles, but he was still shirtless and he liked to think that training had left a very physical mark upon him, prompting very physical changes.

This, however, was the happiest he had been. The soldiers surrounding them had helped train him and watched him, yet they’d also seen the sadness in his eyes and witnessed his sagging shoulders or heard the screams from his seer visions...or nightmares as he preferred to call them lately. This, his smiling, was new to them and yet even Mikul knew once the excitement of the twins return died down so too would his smiling.

“Where’s Hansel? What took you guys so long? I’ve been waiting and….well...I missed you guys. I’ve just….a lot changed, clearly and I...I just wanted you guys here and I want this to be over so we can….go.” He didn’t want to offend the soldiers around them, but being here and having to watch Snow with her fiancee hurt him. He wanted the war to be over, to see everything through and to leave with the twins, because he didn’t really know what else to do. Plus, he really hated how vivid and violent his visions were. He feared for everyone around him.
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Gretel Morgenstern
 Posted: Sep 20 2017, 08:17 PM
Quote
  • Pauper (36)
  • Hansel & Gretel
  • Nomadic
  • “Swallow your heart and swallow your pride, you gotta be tough if you want to survive. They'll chew you up and eat you alive.”
Skylark


we all fight in our own ways
but nothing ever changes
Gretel held him there, steadied once more on her one good leg and the tight grip she had on her crutch, as Mikul hugged her. Both seer and hunter overjoyed to see one another again. Gretel knowing that she had one hell of a story to tell him, like she’d already hinted at to the group of soldiers stood about them. And the various people she’d inquired after Mikul to, ones who couldn’t help but notice her heavy limp and reliance on a crutch, the bruising spread across her face still, and the bandages tied around her arm. You’ve been in the wars, some joked and Gretel laughed along with them, safe enough now to ignore, but never forget, the true terror of the ambush which had nearly been the end of both the Morgensterns and the Merry Men.

She had told them all milder versions of the truth, played it down as a particularly tough job. Joked even that she’d taken her eye of the ball and look what happened! But Mikul, the kid deserved the truth.

“Ah, well, we ran into a little trouble.” She replied, her tone still as carefree as ever, not wanting to hint at the dire state that circumstances had been in. Not just yet, not whilst they had such an audience surrounding them. In a silent explanation, Gretel loosened her hold on him for a minute, gesturing with the crutch tucked under her arm. “My god, have I got some battle scars to show you, kid.” Gretel laughed, pulling Mikul into their hug again, knowing that could wait until later, when they were alone and Gretel felt less of a desperate need to play down the hellhole she and her brother had only just climbed out of alive.

The hunter looked down at him, looking into that face of a child teetering on the edge of becoming a man. A sense of pride swelled in her to hear him speak of his training, something he was clearly proud of himself. She had noticed, how could she not? The kid wasn’t wearing a shirt and with her hand across his bare back, Gretel could tell he was no longer the scrawny child who’d been pulled from that mirror. He’d grown, physically, and Gretel hoped he’d begun to heal just a little emotionally as well.

“I’m glad to hear it, Mikul. We’ll make a witch hunter out of you yet, Mikul,” she joked lightly, reaching her free hand up to ruffle his hair in a gesture made to contradict her whole point of him growing up. It had been such a short time in reality, but Mikul had clearly been keeping himself busy. Which was good, Gretel was glad to see so, sometimes the mind need something to focus on to distract it from far greater pain. Hard work was a remedy for a whole lot of ills from Gretel’s own experience. “You’ll be towering over me in no time, just you watch.”

She looked over to the gathered group of soldier about them and shot them a smile. “I hope you lot have been making yourself useful and helping out.” The soldier whose arm was around her, Siegfried, she remembered, grinned back. “He’s been working hard at it.” He gave a nod to Mikul and her smile tugged wider to know that someone here at least had seemed to be looking out for him, when they were gone away on that Nottingham job...and all that had followed.

“Hansel’s just back there. Sorting the wagon out, horses need a good feed. He’ll be back soon.” Gretel began to answer the first of his inevitable questions, one of the easiest by far. Glancing over her shoulder as she did, in the exact direction into the woods that she knew her brother would be. “I’m so sorry we were gone so long, kid, we didn’t know we would be, believe us.” Her short laugh is laced with a bitter irony now at just how ridiculous those promises she’d made to him had been now they were looking back. “Trust me, we wanted to get back here too, we just...some things came up. Things we couldn’t get out of, not quickly.” Gretel stumbled over her own vague explanations, knowing just what Mikul meant when he asked not-so-subtly about them all leaving here.

Gretel loosened her arm around his back, letting it drop from him, her hand coming to rest on her hip. She frowned a moment, trying to decide on something. “It’s- It’s, er, complicated. Look, why don’t we go find somewhere to sit down and I can tell you everything? My leg could do with a rest.” She suggested with a warm smile. “To be honest, the whole of me could.” With a mirthless laugh, she added those words, then holding out her arm with a smile so Mikul could take it and they could find somewhere a little more private. And that involved a little less standing.

+Tag: @J.M. Barrie
+Notes: <3
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Mikul "Magic Mirror" Crystal
 Posted: Sep 22 2017, 10:51 AM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (17)
  • Snow White
  • Carpathia
  • “He will never be satisfied. I will never be satisfied.”
J.M. Barrie



Mikul didn’t believe for a second that the bruises and visible injuries Gretel had were from a “little trouble.” He knew her better than that. She was a witch hunter, after all. She’d fought the worst witches and come out with less injuries. Yet, here she was returning late and with very clear injuries. Mikul wasn’t pressing in front of the soldiers and knights, but he did not believe her and he was sure she’d be able to tell by the look in his eyes as he assessed her injuries.

He kept hugging her, as well, when she pulled him back into the hug and he rested his head against her shoulder. “What if I don’t wanna be a witch hunter?” Mikul’s tone was actually jesting. He was trying to show Gretel that he was working hard on healing, even if he was still angry and hurt. She at least gave him hope. He smiled. He’d help them anyway he could once they got him out of here. He needed to get out of here. That was what it came down to.

Mikul nodded as Siegfried commented that he’d been working hard. He had been the most helpful to Mikul, giving him tips and looking out for him in the twins absence. Mikul actually considered the man a friend, which was huge since Mikul didn’t consider many friends right now.

As Gretel released him and requested somewhere more private, Mikul nodded. “My tent should be open. Everyone is out and training, so we should have privacy and you can sit down on my cot.” Mikul stated, offering Gretel his arm as he led the way to his tent. He wanted the truth and he wanted it now.


@Skylark
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Gretel Morgenstern
 Posted: Nov 18 2017, 10:04 PM
Quote
  • Pauper (36)
  • Hansel & Gretel
  • Nomadic
  • “Swallow your heart and swallow your pride, you gotta be tough if you want to survive. They'll chew you up and eat you alive.”
Skylark


we all fight in our own ways
but nothing ever changes
Gretel gasped loudly in mock offence at his question. “Then you’re looking to the wrong friends here, kid.” She joked back easily to his own humour, a smile firmly on her lips to see him willingly joking of his own accord now. Smiling to the see the difference that some time and a lot of elbow grease had made, just as she had promised him back then. Gretel then flung an arm out, cautiously however, still very conscious of the injuries which riddled her body. “There’s only one occupation with the Morgensterns, Mikul.” She threw him a playful smirk. “I hope you’re ready.”

It was all in teasing really though, Gretel was well aware just how young Mikul still was. And though, like they had been, he wasn’t from the highest of stations, that he hadn’t had the best start in life, Gretel was one soul who knew personally just where a whole heap of hard work could get you. Focus and determination; blood, sweat, and tears, in her experience could get you where you wanted to be. And Mikul wasn’t alone in this, he had Hansel and Gretel to back him up. To help and support him in steering his life in any feasible direction...the very moment the kid could see it that way.

She made the suggestion that they go somewhere more private, the severity of the entire circumstances they’d found themselves in weighing down on Gretel suddenly as she realised she’d have to put this entire fiasco into words. To someone who really didn’t need anymore weighing down than Mikul was already experiencing. But it had showed already, in her change of tone, in her unsure words. Her humour and her surety had slipped a moment, and she was sure Mikul hadn’t noticed.

But the precious young man was already there for her, offering up his own tent as somewhere private for them to finally sit down and talk. “That sounds perfect.” Gretel nodded along to his idea, taking Mikul’s offered arm. Her other still grasping her crutch, Gretel managing to keep herself upright between the two supports. A few metres from the gathered group of soldiers and the witch hunter turned her head and broke one hand free from her crutch to give a little wave. “Ta ra, boys!” She called back to them before steadying herself against Mikul’s kind support once more and continuing on the long limp to his tent.

Once inside, Gretel released herself from Mikul’s aid and hobbled the last few steps over to his bed, not hesitating on taking up his earlier offer to sit down and take the weight of her wounded leg. Resting her crutch beside her, propped up against the bed edge, Gretel heaved a deep and shaking breath out. Both her hands coming to comb through her blonde hair as she dropped her head into her calloused and worn hands.

For a moment, the witch hunter gave up on all the pretence. The long-played act of humour and grins and playful comments, to distract everyone around her away from what had almost happened to her, on what a state she was still in. For a moment now, she let the exhaustion and pain riddling her body take precedence in her mind. To take a breath, before pushing that all away again.

For Mikul’s sake, just like Robin’s and just like her brother’s, who couldn’t bear to see her broken nor breaking, but healing. Healing and smiling and her usual self.

She lifted her head from her hands finally, her eyes finding Mikul’s face. Searching it for just a moment, wondering what on earth he was currently thinking. “To be honest with you, I don’t even know where to start with this.” Her hands both move from her hair to wrap around the back of her neck, supporting the base of skull. “I mean, I could tell you that the job we had in Nottingham went very well indeed.” She laughed at that one, not her usual one full of warmth but a darker sound. Embittered, hinting at a rage within her heart. The likes of which Mikul had never truly seen from her.

+Tag: @J.M. Barrie
+Notes: <3
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Mikul "Magic Mirror" Crystal
 Posted: Nov 19 2017, 10:14 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (17)
  • Snow White
  • Carpathia
  • “He will never be satisfied. I will never be satisfied.”
J.M. Barrie



Mikul was trying hard to be okay with the course life was taking. He wasn’t. Not even close. However, he didn’t want to show that to Gretel. He was broken. He was trying to make himself stronger, to fix what he COULD fix...which was the physical element of himself, who he was on the outside. He couldn’t magically heal his broken heart or stop himself from feeling the desperate emotions he was feeling. He had a life that was going nowhere. Everything he’d given up for Snow, was now for nothing. He had no idea what he was going to do when the war was over and his presence here was no longer needed. All he knew was he couldn’t stay here and that the twins were the closest to family he had now. So, as depressed as he’d been feeling, Gretel’s presence made him genuinely smile and feel a bit less broken. He could fake happy for her, hell...it wasn’t all fake either.

Mikul shook his head. “Oh come on...you guys don’t need a lookout or servant? I mean...I’m not really made to kill.” He was too kind-hearted for that. He supposed if his life was threatened or that of the twins, he’d have to fight and possibly kill, but Mikul had a big heart, one that was currently broken, but a big heart just the same. He was not made to kill and he doubted he’d make a good witch hunter, despite the muscles that training had given him.

“Honestly...I’m not really sure what I’m ready for…” There was more signs of the child underneath the newly toned muscles and training. He was insecure. He had no idea where he was going from here. He’d given up everything for the chance of life with Snow and now...well, now he had no plan, no home to return to...he was alone. At least, he was until now. Now, he at least had Hansel and Gretel again. He had some type of family, even if he wasn’t sure what his role would be with them or how he fit. Still, they cared, Gretel’s presence now showed him that much. They hadn’t abandoned him, even if they took longer than anticipated to return.

Mikul didn’t hesitate before offering Gretel support. His tent was a private place for them to talk. There’d be no listening ears there. At least, not to his knowledge. They could speak openly and catch up on what they’d each missed. By the looks of it and Gretel’s state, Mikul knew he’d missed a lot somehow.

When they got into his tent, Mikul watched as she hobbled over to his bed, sitting down on it heavily. He watched her run a hand through her hair and then rest her head in her hands. He could read between the lines. He could see that whatever happened was far from good and it clearly weighed heavily on her. All the earlier jesting seemed to be a way to cope, something everyone seemed to have their own method of doing. For Mikul, he’d learned to use training to cope. He could keep his mind occupied with thoughts of hitting the target or the ache in his muscles, rather than face the reality. For Gretel, it seemed smiling and jesting were her coping mechanisms. Still, Mikul could tell in this moment, even if just for a second, she was vulnerable. So, he moved to the bedside table and poured Gretel a glass of water, holding it out to her when she lifted her head.

“Well, you can start by taking some water. You don’t have to act like it’s all okay, you know? I’m….I’m a big boy, I can handle the truth.” But could he? Mikul didn’t know. He was faking his own emotional state right now, trying to show her that he was doing okay when inside he wasn’t doing okay. Still, she had been there for him at his worst and he wanted her to know that he’d be here for her too.

Her laugh caused Mikul to shiver. Still, he stood tall and nodded. “You could tell me that, but I would know that was a blatant lie.” Mikul stated, honest. He knew her better than that at this point. Plus, all he had to do was touch her and he was sure that he’d have a vision. He didn’t want to do that though. He wanted to know the truth from her own lips.


@Skylark
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Gretel Morgenstern
 Posted: Dec 31 2017, 09:13 AM
Quote
  • Pauper (36)
  • Hansel & Gretel
  • Nomadic
  • “Swallow your heart and swallow your pride, you gotta be tough if you want to survive. They'll chew you up and eat you alive.”
Skylark


we all fight in our own ways
but nothing ever changes
Gretel held him close to her with her one free arm. This boy who was almost a man; looking so big and yet in parts acting so young at the same time. So it was, to be on the brink of adulthood, as your body and mind left childhood behind. Her own childhood had been one cut so woefully short, she and Hansel forced to grow up and look after themselves years before their time.

“I’m only teasing with you, Mikul, you don’t have to be ready for anything just yet.” The witch hunter spoke softly to him. Whatever it was his life was heading into, the twins would be here for him until he figured that out and after. Mikul had long become a dear friend of theirs, and if there was one thing the Morgensterns were good at, it was looking after their own. “Maybe killing isn’t what you were made for but that’s fine, most people wouldn’t want to live the lives me and Hansel do. But you’re like family, Mikul, and we’re here for you no matter what.” Her smile is wide, and so very genuine. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.”

They moved away from the prying eyes and open conversation before the soldiers of Veroma and Carpathia alike, moved to somewhere they could talk more privately. Where Gretel to tell Mikul all she wished to say without having to relay the entire sorry tale to every man who wanted to listen in to the trials forced on the infamous Morgenstern siblings.

Once there, Gretel near collapses onto Mikul’s bed. Heaving a heavy sigh and cradling her head in her hands. Every inch of her still ached, but it was her leg whose pain screamed above the rest. She’d promised so many to be gentle with herself, maybe she’d have to be even more careful then she was currently being. She heard Mikul moving off and returning, and she took the offered water without a protest. Letting the cool liquid soothe her throat and hopefully clear her head just a little from its incessant throbbing.

“Thank you.” It is nearly a whisper, but full of genuine gratitude. She sat the glass back on the ground. As she bluntly spat a joke in a bitter tone so unlike her usual, she shook her head sadly rather than angrily at Mikul’s response. “In all honesty, Mikul, the actual job we had lined up in Nottingham went down with hardly a scratch on either of us.” In her words, she did speak the truth. It was all that came after that had left the Morgensterns so irreparably shaken.

“Sit down.” She offered, nodding to the spot next to her on his bed. Not wanting the kid to be standing for what she already knew might take some time. With that, she tried to ease out her leg, shifting it forwards across the ground and grimacing at the stabbing pains sent shooting through her skin. Gretel immediately stopped trying to move it, gripping onto her thigh instead with two hands, waiting for the now familiar pain to dissipate.

“I promised Robin I’d be careful with myself, maybe I ought to try a little harder at that.” She tried to laugh at herself but even she could hear how false it sounded on her tongue.

Robin. Now, they got onto what this was all about. Who this had all been for, a small voice reminds her. Mikul had been with them when she had first met Nottingham’s most infamous outlaw. Though still trapped within the mirror back then, he’d heard her stories of him. God, he probably even managed to read between the lines before she ever did. She’d fallen in love with someone, for better or worse, and as much as it terrified her, she and Robin had admitted that to each other now. There was no coming back from this, this wasn’t another of her short-lived flings. The Queen of all non-commitment had committed herself.

Just be out with it. Quick and fast, it was kindest way to tell him.

“We were heading back to the wagon in Sherwood, ready to get back to camp.” Her head hung now. Eyes not able to stop themselves staring at her leg. To where her hands held her skin just around that gaping hole that had nearly taken her life. It had felt fire being driven right through her flesh, as the blade dug through her leg. “We were ambushed, by some of King John’s men. You can probably work out the fucking rest of it.” Gretel dared a glance across at him, not able to lift even a smile this time.

It didn’t take a genius now to connect up the picture. Here she was, more physically broken than she’d even been, following a run in with her lover’s number one enemy. The men of the tyrant King who’d love more than anything else to see him shattered and broken and at long last, dead. The thought still left a sour taste in her mouth, how close Robin had been to falling right into King John’s hands. Despite how she’d pleaded with him, begged him to promise her that he’d stay safe and think of his men and not fruitless vengeance for her if the worst did happen...but he hadn’t been able to give her even that.

“He was using me to get to Robin.” The witch hunter leant into her friend, resting her weary head on his shoulder and forcing through the words that still pained them all to acknowledge. “They wanted me dead, Mikul. So I could tear out Robin’s heart all over again. They were trying to push him to do some reckless, make him lose all his sense in grief.”

+Tag: @J.M. Barrie
+Notes: <3
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Mikul "Magic Mirror" Crystal
 Posted: Feb 8 2018, 08:19 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (17)
  • Snow White
  • Carpathia
  • “He will never be satisfied. I will never be satisfied.”
J.M. Barrie



Mikul nodded at Gretel’s words. “I just don’t really know what I’m ready for...or made for. I thought that this was to be my life...and yet, Snow chose him and I’m training to protect someone who broke my heart….not where I thought I’d be….” Hell, he was sore about it in some ways. Yet, training kept his mind busy. Training kept his heart from aching. It gave him a purpose. He needed that. He just didn’t know what his purpose would be when this was done. Bitterness was already creeping under his skin and he knew he’d have to leave this place as soon as he could and forget about Snow if he hoped to even want to keep living and to move on. Right now, it all seemed like some nightmare. Yet, here he was living it.

Still, he took in Gretel’s words with a nod and watched as she sipped the water he offered. He didn’t like the crutch she bore or how she couldn’t actually remain standing. He knew her to be strong. To see her so weak left a bad taste in his mouth. Especially because he hadn’t recalled seeing a future where she ended up injured. Yet, maybe he was too occupied with his own plight and future that he’d neglected to worry for the only two people he seemed to have left in this world. The thought made a frown form on his face. He promised himself he’d be more careful in the future and he’d tell them if he saw anything bad.

For now, he sat down beside Gretel, taking in her words. “If everything went unhitched...what happened?” Why did she need to assure Robin she’d be more careful? What had gone wrong? He had not seen the situation in Nottingham going wrong, so he was genuinely curious and also a bit worried about what had happened to land Gretel in the state she was currently in.

Mikul frowned. “King John is ruthless, from what I have heard. I don’t think he can be worse than the queen Snow will be fighting...but he is still a ruthless man. I….I don’t think I’d want to cross him and I hate what he’s done to you.” He’d almost lost Gretel without even knowing it. He had no vision to warn him of this. Yet, it had happened and as he watched her now, Mikul couldn’t help but wrap his arms around her and pull her close, holding her as a brother would his sister. She wasn’t gone and he wanted her to know he was glad, that the thought scared him. However, he didn’t want to sound childish. So, he decided on nonverbal communication. He decided on a hug.

Mikul kept his arm around Gretel as she leaned into him. He wasn’t letting go for he needed the comfort too, the assurance she was here and wasn’t going to leave him or hurt him as Snow had. He needed to know he had SOMEONE to keep him going, who cared about his future. “He would have too….wouldn’t he?” Mikul didn’t doubt that the prince of thieves would have been reckless in his grief. He may not have had a vision of this ambush, but he did have visions of Robin and Gretel. He’d never met the outlaw, but he felt he knew him through the visions. He knew he loved Gretel. He knew if all went well, they WOULD be together, unlike he and Snow. Multiple futures showed them together. Gretel could get her happy ending. If King John didn’t somehow mess it up. “I don’t understand why I didn’t see this coming….I could have warned you….” It bothered him that he was so clueless.


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Gretel Morgenstern
 Posted: Mar 10 2018, 11:46 PM
Quote
  • Pauper (36)
  • Hansel & Gretel
  • Nomadic
  • “Swallow your heart and swallow your pride, you gotta be tough if you want to survive. They'll chew you up and eat you alive.”
Skylark


we all fight in our own ways
but nothing ever changes
She understood both his concern and his confusion completely. They’d left him here without them, to go out on what was meant to be a simple job in Nottingham, a job she insisted had gone smoothly...and yet here she was sat on his bed. Exhausted from standing, her eyebrows drawn together in pain. Physically broken, and perhaps not being as gentle with herself as she should be.

Nottingham’s management in the end is what happened to them. She sees the frown grow on her friend’s expression as she mentions her King.

“Ruthless,” she gives a short laugh. “You can tell me that again. I am going out with his number one enemy, Mikul, I get enough of that from Robin as it is.” She goes on in that tired tone, trying to faintly inject some humour into her words as she always did. Humour that fell flat now.

“I hate what he’s done to me too...” She choked out, in a way so unlike Gretel Morgenstern. To sound so tired, so defeated. So done in. But she stood still standing, still breathing. And they had the kindness of Camelot’s King to thank for that.

As his arms come to wrap around her, in a way a brother would a sister, Gretel can’t help but share a slight smile with him. One that spread across her lips with her usual warmth. She leant against Mikul, resting her head against him. Despite being much older, she felt almost like a younger sibling in his embrace now. Knowing in the way Gretel always could, that this was providing as much comfort to him as it was to her. In this moment where they came to terms with the almost that hung so heavily over her.

“He would have too...wouldn’t he?” Gretel had spoken of King John’s motivations, of his merciless manhunt for Robin Hood. Which now culminated in her being targeted individually, a plan which should have left her dead. Which would have, if not for the quick aid they gained from Nottingham’s feuding neighbour. Nottingham’s King had wanted to see Robin broken, destroyed with grief, like he had been once before; upn the murder of Marian and his unborn child.

Gretel hated thinking she could ever be that for him again. That she would ever be used as a weapon to crush the man she loved like that every again. She was thankful everyday that she had pulled through it all, that Robin hadn’t been sent down a path of avenging her which even Mikul seemed to know was inevitable.

The witch hunter nods slowly, defeatedly, against his chest as Mikul’s question. “He would have.” Her words ring with all the pain it caused her to admit. That her death would have been his ultimate downfall. “If I’d died in this, he would have been lost to all of us too.” She takes her arms from her legs and wraps them around Mikul in return, letting herself collapse into his embrace.

“I tried to get him to promise. Swear to me that he wouldn’t risk his life, or his men’s lives, or everything he’s built up, just for the sake of my loss...but he wouldn’t say it, Mikul.” Gretel admits then, something she had told no one else of. The conversation which had passed privately between her and Robin, just before the blood loss and her concussion taken her again. Where she’d fallen into that oblivion, not knowing if she would ever awake, not knowing if he would keep safe... “He couldn’t give me that, even as I lay there dying, he wouldn’t give me that.” Her heart bled into her words. Her overwhelming worry for a man on the run, a man hunted by a nation, a man so reckless he wouldn’t even sell her a lie on her deathbed.

She holds him tighter as Mikul fretted over not being able to help. “Don’t beat yourself up over this, kid.” Gretel offered a signature warm smile. “Listen to me when I say you had no part in this. No blame could ever fall on you for not knowing.” She would never know what it was like, to have the future at your fingertips, but she wanted Mikul to understand that at least.

“We made it out alive. Me and Hansel, Robin and his men. That’s what matters.” Regardless of how close she’d come. “Broken but not gone just yet.”

+Tag: @J.M. Barrie
+Notes: Running with the Gretel muse <3
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Mikul "Magic Mirror" Crystal
 Posted: Apr 3 2018, 11:43 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (17)
  • Snow White
  • Carpathia
  • “He will never be satisfied. I will never be satisfied.”
J.M. Barrie



Mikul didn’t like seeing Gretel looking so weak. That was unusual. In his eyes, the twins were larger than life. They were stronger than most and bold too. He admired them and looked up to them. They’d helped him through one of the worst times of his life and at this point, they were all he had. Seeing either of them hurting and weak was off-putting, especially because Mikul was struggling himself, but had worked hard to ensure when they returned he could prove he was strong and that he wouldn’t disappoint them. Now, however, it was Gretel who was weak and Mikul couldn’t help but frown as he looked at her.

“Can I do anything to help you?” He didn’t want to repeat himself, but it was clear that Gretel was in pain and that she was weaker. Her tone of voice was something he’d never heard before, yet he knew this experience had made an impact. She had nearly died, based on what she said, and Robin would have followed. That said a lot about the importance of the prince of thieves in Gretel’s life. He understood that. Hell, he had thought he had a similar love with Snow, but he’d been wrong. Still, this was not about him. This was about Gretel and he would do whatever she needed him to do to help her.

“He loves you and you love him. I think that has to mean something. Plus, love makes you do crazy things.” Mikul knew this well. Despite the ache in his chest, he’d been training to go out and fight, to keep Snow safe. She’d hurt him, yet still he trained and still he intended to fight for her, to keep her safe. Love made people do crazy things and his crazy was going to be fighting in a war that had nothing to do with him and that he should have no role in. Fighting for the girl he loved but who did not love him. It seemed bizarre but he suspected that was love.

“I just wish I saw it, if I did….I could have warned you. I’ve just been distracted….” With so many people around him, his seer abilities were in overdrive. He was constantly being onslaught with images of the battles to come and there was no real escape. He struggled to sleep and instead trained. There was a reason he had buffed up quite a bit.

“Well, I’m glad you’re both alive and keeping your promise to come back for me….though, I intend to fight before we go anywhere….” He also didn’t really care what happened to him, but he wasn’t going to tell Gretel that. He knew she would not approve and he didn’t really want to be reasoned with. “I guess that’s my love crazy story, i’m gonna fight for the woman who doesn’t love me anymore….stupid but no one said I was smart.”



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Gretel Morgenstern
 Posted: Apr 25 2018, 09:00 PM
Quote
  • Pauper (36)
  • Hansel & Gretel
  • Nomadic
  • “Swallow your heart and swallow your pride, you gotta be tough if you want to survive. They'll chew you up and eat you alive.”
Skylark


we all fight in our own ways
but nothing ever changes
Everything that had happened had taken its toll on her. Perhaps far deeper than she was ever letting on. For she always had that same smile on her lips, the warmth in her tone, like the world couldn’t hurt her because she’d never let it.

But here she was, undeniably weakened by this. Hobbling about on crutches, refusing any relief or rest for the pain which she determinedly thought she could just overcome by sheer force of will. That obstinate determination had gotten Gretel through most things in her life, and it wasn’t about to fail her now.

She worked hard instead, at that comforting smile so those who cared about her weren’t made to worry any more than they already were.

“Can I do anything to help you?” Despite the pain written into the contortion of her features, Gretel pulls that same warm smile back from where she always kept it. Close to her heart. “I’ll be fine, kid.” She says, forcing a strength back into her voice. It wasn’t broken anymore, she wasn’t choking on her own words. I hate what they’ve done to me. How her heart longed for a revenge she knew she’d never get. Not without an unreasonable amount of risk, of throwing herself right back into danger’s way.

No, she was safe now. She had to focus on her recovery, remember. They could think about where to act from there.

“That he was willing to run head first into what would have been his death over my loss?” She questions Mikul’s comments, that sweet and youthful idea of love. Something which had already bruised him at such a young age...well, he had time, a whole life of it unlike some. Gretel, who had sworn herself off the notion of ever being in love, already knew just what a wreck it made of people. “I know he loves me, but to do something so outright stupid? No, pointless. That’s what it would have been. To abandon his men and his cause, everything they’ve worked towards in Nottingham, all over me?” The witch hunter shook her head slowly, committing herself to never understanding that one part of him.

The part which didn’t quite love her enough to promise her he’d keep on living without her.

A smile returns to her lips the moment Mikul begins lamenting not being able to foresee these events, and save his friends from what they’d unknowingly fallen into. An expression teetering somewhere between sad and encouraging. “Right, stop that right now, Mikul. I don’t want to hear another word from you about not being able to prevent this.” The smile grows wider as Gretel brings a playful tone back into the conversation which had grown so heavy. She gently nudges his shoulder with her own. “I’m not letting you beat yourself up over this. It’s been and gone, there’s no use for that anymore.” Mikul finding blame where none lay wouldn’t heal her any more than it would reverse time…

“Mikul-” Her words fall away at his mention of his plan to partake in this war. A boy making himself a soldier...Gretel should have realised something was up with Mikul clearily having thrown himself so avidly into training. Something once upon a time, she’d promised she would help him with.

Gretel wished for nothing more in the world than the ability now to be encouraging, to support his choice because it was just that, his. But after all she and Hansel, Robin and his Merry Men, had just been forced to face, the mere thought of loss worried her immensely. It showed in the frown settled on her brow, a look of disapproval born simply of concern for him.

“Nothing I can say will change your mind about this, will it?” She asks, more rhetorically than anything. She’d already seen the look of sheer determination in Mikul’s eyes as he declared his one final act of love for the princess whose hand had been forced into loving another.

“Me and Hansel were going to help fight too but...well, Hansel didn’t come out unscathed from this either. We're both out for the count for some time to come.” Her gaze falls away from him, settles on some dull spot on the ground that was easier to look at. “We won’t be there for you, we can’t be. I don’t think I’m even strong enough right now to hold you back, kid.” She lets out a short laugh, one absent of any real humour, as she brings up just how incapacitated she’d been made.

“I want to be supportive of this, Mikul, of you. But-” Gretel looks to him a moment. Pauses to take him in. Everything about this boy who was so quickly becoming a man. “Promise me you’ll come back?”

She changes her angle, her whole stance, with a strained smile. Painfully aware of the irony of asking him for just the same promise she’d made to him earlier, right before she went out on a job that had very nearly cost her life.

+Tag: @J.M. Barrie
+Notes: *sobs quietly* <33
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Mikul "Magic Mirror" Crystal
 Posted: Apr 27 2018, 09:24 PM
Quote
  • Magical Beings (17)
  • Snow White
  • Carpathia
  • “He will never be satisfied. I will never be satisfied.”
J.M. Barrie



Mikul sighed as she insisted she’d be okay. He’d gotten to know both twins in his time with them. In the mirror, all he’d been able to do was observe and so he’d had time to observe them and to work with them. He knew that Gretel wasn’t yet as okay as she was saying she was. Still, he knew she wouldn’t admit it and arguing was pointless. So, he gave up on it and just sighed. “Okay...but if you need anything let me know. I’m not trapped in a mirror anymore. I CAN help you.” Mikul told her, watching her and standing up beside her, crossing his arms across his chest and showing off the muscles he’d been training and building. He really was growing up in more ways than one, developing from boy to man and working to develop skills he’d never had in Danthor. Skills he’d never needed before, like fighting and strength. Skills he figured were useful, even if he didn’t even care to use them when all was said and done.

“Love makes people foolish, Gretel. I know that…” He knew better than most. His heart had been broken now and yet here he was training to fight for her, to protect her despite the pain he felt just thinking of her and the prince, thinking of that one future he’d hoped for and based his thoughts of the future on. He didn’t know what purpose he’d have when it was done. Still, he was intent on being there. He was intent on protecting her and dying for her if he had to, though he wouldn’t say that to Gretel. He also wouldn’t tell her Snow had forbidden his actions. He was going to defy her and Edgar was helping, knowing his intention was the same as Edgar’s own, to protect her. “If he sees his future with you, maybe he didn’t care the cost if it meant you wouldn’t be there.” Again, his words were from his own thoughts, his own experience. He could relate to Robin via his own situation, though they were very different.

“Fine...but if I see anything in the future I’ll tell you. Right now, I can just see you’re happy and I can safely assume that it has to do with Robin.” Mikul’s visions were so numerous lately due to being surrounded by people, that they were not as specific as he’d like. Right now, he just knew that whatever had happened, he saw Gretel happy, she was somewhere safe and happy. She’d be okay after this war. She’d be safe. That was important to Mikul.

As Gretel took in his words and seemed unhappy, Mikul sighed and shook his head. No. Nothing she said would change his mind. He intended to fight for Snow, because hurt or not he still loved her. He still would fight and die for her, because HE had not hurt her. She had hurt him. That made a huge difference. “No. I’ve been training for this. I’ve had her guard, Edgar’s help. He got me a uniform. I will be there to protect her because….because I love her and am still willing to make sure she’s safe...even if she doesn’t care. I….I have to do this.” He needed closure and in a way, this would be that closure. This would be his final act of love. He just wasn’t going to tell anyone how willing to die he was, because he wasn’t willing to disappoint Gretel and Hansel especially by revealing he didn’t see a future for himself. He knew they would not take it well and he didn’t want to fight them over this. Not now. Not ever.

Mikul nods. “I don’t need you guys there. I can do this. I’ve been training. It’s okay.” Mikul told her. He spoke firmly. He hated that everyone seemed to think they needed to be there to help him. He knew he’d been a kid, a genuine kid, when Gretel had left. In many ways, he still was. However, he didn’t want to feel helpless anymore and like most kids, teenagers especially, he was being stubborn. He didn’t really think about the fact she wanted to protect him but was in no state to. He hadn’t really had anyone to protect him in a long time, he was still adjusting to that.

“If it’s my life for hers, I won’t be able to keep that promise….” Mikul said, trailing off. He would make the promise, but he wanted Gretel to understand that there was one situation where the promise would be broken. “Plus, you almost broke your promise!” There was a playful tone in the latter statement, he understood the irony of her words and he was pointing it out, though in a playful way.


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Gretel Morgenstern
 Posted: May 1 2018, 07:48 PM
Quote
  • Pauper (36)
  • Hansel & Gretel
  • Nomadic
  • “Swallow your heart and swallow your pride, you gotta be tough if you want to survive. They'll chew you up and eat you alive.”
Skylark


we all fight in our own ways
but nothing ever changes
She waved his concern away, like she had a habit of doing to everyone lately. It’s not that she didn’t appreciate the worry, of course she did, it’s just Gretel hated seeing those she loved hurting purely because she was. Even inches from death, and despite how futile her attempts had been, still, she tried to allay their fears. Keep the humour up she always had done even when her head had felt like it was swimming.

But at that little sigh, and the offer which came after, Gretel offered a warm smile in return. “I’ll make sure to let you know if I do.” She relinquished that much, placing a gentle hand on his arm. “Really, I appreciate the thought, Mikul. But I’ve got this, you don’t have to worry about me.” He hadn’t been there to witness the attack and the injuries which had almost been her end, and she was loathe to bring that up now. It was obvious enough in what marks were still visible on her skin. So she wore a bright smile and let that soften the blow.

His outlook on love brings a soft laugh from her lips. “If love makes us fools, then he’s the biggest fool of all of us.” Gretel jokes, in a quiet voice unlike her own. So conscious of her own words now she spoke of him, and thought back to the anger which she knew had been welling in his heart. Don’t do anything stupid, she’d made him promise. And prayed to everything that mattered that at the very least for her sake, he’d keep to that.

“I’m not worth all that.” She shook her head, hardly a beat between Mikul’s suggestion and her certain response. She wasn’t worth it, not sacrificing what small progress Robin had made in Nottingham. Not if her life would drag his and all his men’s with it. “What worries me is that Robin would never see it that way.”

He was a man driven by his emotions and not his head when it came down to it. That seemed to make their love for each other worth everything.

She was relieved to hear Mikul accept her attempt to get him to drop the blame for anything that had happened, even if he still spoke of the future. Nothing to do with corrupt kings and near death experiences though, but about her and Robin instead. “Don’t you worry about our future, kid,” she threw him a look, and immediately began laughing. “I think we know where we’re heading.”

They’d confessed it to each other now. There was no going back from that, not for either of them.

Mikul confirms what she already knew, no amount of trying to dissuade him from heading off with little training into a war would work. He had help. He even had a uniform, he tells her. She can hear the pride in his voice, but more so the love. The hurt which was born of it which bled through every word. Her smile falters a little, for this young man who was willing to sacrifice everything for a young woman unable to sacrifice anything for him in return.

She watches him declare with such certainty that he didn’t need them anymore. He could do this alone. That smile still hovered precariously on her lips. Halfway between sadness and pride. For just how far he’d come, and in recognition of just how much he was willing to sacrifice now. “You know what, maybe you don’t anymore.” Gretel looked over at him from their seat on the bed. Letting him have that small moment of courage, not bringing up that it was they who wanted to be there for him perhaps more than the other way around.

It wouldn’t be an option now, the Morgensterns’ role stripped back to advising and no more. Neither of them were in a fit shape to go fighting anything right now. Not even their friend who seemed determined to prove something.

“If it’s my life for hers, I won’t be able to keep that promise...” Her gaze falls from him a moment. A silence, a achingly long pause. But then she’d nodding, as much as she could voice her understanding. There was nothing she could do even if she tried, it was far too set in Mikul’s head already...perhaps if they’d never left things would be different? She didn’t have the gift of knowing that, so all they could do now was sit on the sidelines and wait. Watch and wait and hope beyond hope he returned in one piece.

“I guess I deserve that one, don’t I?” Gretel is laughing again now, gesturing broadly to the whole of her. Head to toe still showing signs of the battering she suffered at the hands of Nottingham’s men. ‘I almost died’ didn’t even really cover it. No one but those who were there, Robin and Hansel, the Merry Men and Arthur’s physicians, truly knew just what a thread she had been clinging to.

She didn’t need to push that point. She didn’t want Mikul to have to think about it again. It was over. Done. Just like she’d said before.

Gretel paused then. “But I kept that promise in the end.” The meaning of the words were obvious. She looked to him, this young man who she didn’t think she’d ever stop calling ‘kid’, and lets those words rest heavily between them.

+Tag:@J.M. Barrie
+Notes: <33
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