My magic still hadn’t returned by the time the hospital discharged me. They’d kept me a day longer than the doctor initially estimated. Boone visited me in the evenings. Before I left, he told me to take the week off to recuperate. I wondered if the DPI would still want me if I never regained my powers. I didn’t know what use I’d be without them. My entire life revolved around magic. If I wasn’t a witch anymore, what was I?
Flynn picked me up and brought me back to their apartment. Lugh hadn’t found any helpful information yet, but he’d insisted I come over as soon as the hospital released me. I didn’t argue, partially because my exhaustion hadn’t abated and partially because I didn’t want to be home alone yet. I didn’t notice how slowly I’d been moving until Flynn slowed down for me on our way through their building’s lobby. The pity in his eyes almost made me change my mind about going home.
“You’re here!” Lugh said. He stopped grinding herbs and came to hug me. I relaxed into his arms and sighed. “I’ve got a few things I want you to try.”
“All right,” I agreed as he dragged me behind him into the kitchen. Flynn hovered behind me as if he thought I might collapse. Did I really look that fragile?
“I thought we could start simple. This one is just a general restorative potion,” Lugh said. He handed me a small bottle with a purple-tinged liquid in it.
“Are you sure we should be experimenting without knowing what’s going on?” I asked.
“We don’t have to if you don’t want,” he offered. I considered it and decided anything was better than waiting for things to fix themselves.
“Screw it,” I said, pulled the cork, and swallowed the first potion. It tingled on its way down. My magic didn’t come rushing back as I secretly hoped it would. But I felt a bit less tired.
“How do you feel?” Lugh asked.
“Like my coffee just kicked in,” I answered.
“Okay. Set a thirty-minute timer, babe,” he told Flynn.
“Got it,” Flynn said, holding up his phone.
I spent thirty minutes catching them up on everything that had happened since I last saw them. Lugh busied himself in the kitchen while I spoke. Flynn and I sat on the bar stools at the kitchen island, occasionally handing him ingredients. Neither of them pressed me with questions as I told them about my final confrontation with Noah Smith and the demon. I must have gone past Flynn’s timer, but he didn’t stop me.
“So it’s definitely over?” Lugh asked when I finished the story. I didn’t answer immediately. Instead, considering everything I knew.
“Almost,” I said. I didn’t think there’d be another murder with the demon trapped and Noah Smith dead. But I realized I needed to talk to Smith one more time before putting it all behind me.
“We’ll figure out our magic,” Lugh encouraged me.
“It’s not that. You made me think about where Noah learned to summon demons. As far as I could tell, he was an ordinary man until he figured that out. Well, he might have always been crazy enough to summon demons. But he didn’t have his own power,” I clarified.
“And if someone else gets their hands on that information, it could all start back up,” Flynn finished my thought.
“Exactly,” I confirmed.
“So, you need to talk to Cal,” Lugh said.
“I think that’s the fastest way,” I agreed.
“We’re coming with you,” Lugh said.
“Cal won’t hurt me,” I said.
“You’re not chasing dangerous spirits without backup,” Flynn argued.
“Especially while you’re still recovering,” Lugh added.
“Okay, I surrender,” I joked, holding my hands up in defeat.
“Good, now drink this,” Lugh said, giving me another potion. This time, a scarlet red fluid sat in the bottle. I downed it, and the world brightened. The apartment warmed with the heat I associated with Lugh’s magic. “Something happened?”
“I think it worked,” I said. Flynn’s wolf spirit came into focus as soon as I looked for it. I cast a levitation spell on the herbs in front of me, but nothing happened. “Or not.”
“That one repairs and sharpens the senses,” Lugh said.
“I’m seeing and feeling magic again, but still can’t even cast a levitation spell,” I said.
“That’s progress!” Flynn cheered.
“Set a timer for three hours,” Lugh instructed. “The heightening portion wears off at that time. We should ensure it actually repaired things before we try anything else.”
“Okay,” I agreed.
It scared me to think that the potion would wear off. Still, I found it easier to fear that than hope I’d gotten a piece of myself back. I imagined a life of daily potions just to feel a fraction of my former self. Would that even work, or would the concoctions lose potency after repeated use? I wished I could muster excitement to match Flynn’s or even Lugh’s cautious optimism. Instead, I just felt tired. Lugh’s first potion hadn’t lasted long, and that disheartened me.
“You should call Cal now. He might need some time to prepare,” Lugh suggested.
“Right,” I said, glad for a distraction. I stepped onto the balcony and tapped Cal’s contact on my phone.
“How’s my favorite demon slayer?” Cal asked after the second ring.
“I’m surviving,” I said.
“That doesn’t sound good. I’d have thought you’d be flying high. People can’t stop talking about you,” he said.
“I need a favor,” I said. I’d forgotten about the rumors about me circulating at the Lyndale Market. How would I pay the Bentons back if my powers didn’t return?
“Sure thing. What’s up?” Cal asked.
“I need to get in touch with Noah Smith,” I answered.
“How would I… Oh, you killed him?”
“Technically, Boone did,” I corrected him.
“Oh, wow. I never thought I’d admire one of your agent friends,” he said.
“Can you do it?” I asked, ignoring his last comment.
“Yeah, I’ll see if Johnny knows where the body ended up,” he confirmed.
“Thanks. Let me know when and I’ll meet you wherever you need,” I said.
“Will do,” he said. “Any particular reason we’re bringing the bastard back?”
“I’ll explain when I see you if that’s okay,” I said.
“All right,” he agreed. “I’ll text you.”
My magical senses slowly dimmed over the three hours. But when Flynn’s timer went off, the world hadn’t faded entirely back to the humdrum of when I first woke up. That gave me more hope than I expected. We didn’t try another potion. But once things leveled off, I still felt the warmth of Lugh’s magic. When I laid down for a nap, I found that my earlier fears had faded.