Coral was up all night painting, so Nico gets his son ready for the day before he has to run off to work at the warehouse. Not a day goes back that Nico doesn’t regret letting Danika blackmail him for so long, but if anything had to come from it at least he has Gem now, right?
“I don’t hate you.” Nico whispers, setting Gem down on the ground. “I hope Coral isn’t telling you otherwise.”
A part of him knows he should spend more time with his son, but he honestly just doesn’t want to. What kind of a dad would he be anyway? It’s not like he had anyone to look up to, even Walt was very clearly an uncle, not a dad.
It takes a bit of an investment, but Jade very quickly makes the old barn in the back into her alchemy studio. Even if she hates Markus’ explanation she has to admit he was right. It’s like she was born to do this. Elixers are so easy to make, and they almost make her feel alive...
Markus call and offers to show her around town since she’s still so new. She agrees and they meet up at a park with a strange glowing building in the middle.
“The fairy gardens are a nice place to just relax and read or study.” He explains. “But if you see a real fairy I suggest you stay away. I would have thought you were like them seeing as your aura is so like theirs, but I actually feel comfortable spending time with you without fearing for the safety of my pants.”
Jade looks at him oddly for a moment. “Do I... want to know?”
“It’s nothing like that!” He laughs. “I got on the bad side of one of the Goodwill fairies a while back and I when I blinked my clothes were gone and I was walking home in my underpants.”
She laughs at that. “I wouldn’t have minded seeing that.”
“I must admit, my local fan mail tripled after that.” He says with a smile. “Still, not something I’d like to repeat.”
The sky in Moonlight Falls is clear every night, making star watching a common past time. Jade remembers her parents spent a lot of time star gazing together, but the light pollution back home was pretty bad so it was rare to actually see anything.
“I grew up in a place called Avalon.” He tells her, leaning back for a better view. “We had stars but there the moon was always full so we couldn’t always see them. When I moved here to become a writer the first thing that made me fall in love with this town were the stars. They’re amazing.”
“The only thing that’s making me fall in love with this town is you.” Jade smiles, placing her hand on top of his.
Markus matches her smile, putting her worries of rejection to rest. “I’m glad. Moonlight Falls is a hard place to love if you didn’t come here by choice. Maybe I can change your mind about it.”
He scoots closer, wrapping an arm around her waist as she leans against him. While she watches the stars his own eyes wander over to the moon. “I think tomorrow’s the full moon.”
“So?” She asks.
“Once the sun’s gone down make sure you keep the doors and windows locked.” He instructs. “There’s a lot of danger here, and I don’t want anything to happen to you. Most of us can control our gifts in the day, but the moon brings something out in the weakest and makes them lose control. And that’s just mentioning the creatures with brains.”
Jade thinks he might be exaggerating but she promises to do as he says anyway.
Markus sends her home with a few elixer recipes he found in his books. One of them seems to be a kind of sunscreen for vampires so Jade sees if she can make it for Nico’s next day off.
Nico tries to play nice whenever he’s around Coral. He even fakes a smile when he sees her practicing her guitar. It’s a skill she just recently started to practice.
He tries to compliment her. “You’re really getting the hang of that, you know. What song is that?”
“The song is shut-up-and-leave-me-alone. If I wanted your opinion I’d ask for it.”
Nico’s jaw sets into a grim frown but he doesn’t say anything else to her. He just walks past her and into his son’s room. If she’s not ready to play nice than he’ll give her what she wants and just ignore her.
He spends more time with Gem, not even looking up to say hello whenever Coral enters the same room.
“He’s making me look bad.” Coral whines while she and Jade are eating dinner together. The full moon gives everything an eerie glow, but neither girl really notices.
Jade rolls her eyes. “He doesn’t need to, Coral. You’re doing a great job of that yourself.”
“Oh whatever. He started it by sleeping with that slut in the first place.”
“He was being blackmailed-”
“Doesn’t matter. He gave her what she wanted anyway as long as it was just woo-hoo. But when she was actually blackmailing him he just sent her on her way and let me take the fall. I’ll forgive him once he’s gone through what I had to.”
Jade just shuts up. She knows she’s never going to win this.
But she still tells Nico about her talk with Coral. He just shrugs. “She just doesn’t get it, does she? If I’d known Danika were planning on telling everyone about me and Coral of course I would have done as she said. But you remember how furious your parents were with me, they told me if I kept seeing Danika they’d kick me out so I told her we were done. I know I could of paid her off, but there were other, more legal ways to get my son. I didn’t want her next con to claim I’d kidnapped him or something.”
“Then why didn’t you comfort Coral after Danika went to the press?”
It’s hit biggest regret, but he knows if he went back he’d do the same thing all over again. “Because she’d already told me she never wanted to see me again. Who was I to argue?”
The night of the full moon passes without incident, and the next day is Nico’s first full day off. He was hoping to spend it with Gem but when he gets there, Coral’s already monopolizing him.
“Too late~” She teases, kissing Gem on the forehead. “He’s mine today. I was going to take him to the park.”
“I was going to take him to the park!” Nico insists. “He’s my son, not yours.”
“You’d burn to a crisp!” Coral points out.
“Jade made me sunblock. I’m good to go. And I made plans first so there. He’s MY son.”
“But he likes ME better.”
They come to an agreement before the screaming starts (a first, actually). They’ll both take Gem to the park, and he can decide who he wants to play with.
Once at the park, Coral goes off on her own to sit at the swings. Gem will whine and cry for her soon enough, and then she can sit back and smile as Nico throws a fit in public.
Gem seems wary, recognizing Nico but still not being too comfortable around him. But as soon as Nico puts him down on the rocket bouncer, Gem’s in love.
Coral sighs and walks up to them. “You really shouldn’t have done that, y’know.”
“Nonsense!” Nico laughs. “Look at him! He’s having so much fun.”
“Exactly. He’s never going to let you take him off it.”
Ten minutes later, it’s clear Coral was right.
“NO!” Gem screams. It isn’t the only word he knows, but right now it gets the point across. “NO OFF!”
Coral wonders if she should step in before Nico blows up.
Instead, he pleasantly surprises her.
“Come on, Gem. If we don’t go home now we won’t have time to pick up ice cream on the way home. And I bet Auntie Coral would like to cuddle a bit with you before bed. Do you really want to miss ice cream and cuddles?”
Gem decides that no, he would not like to miss ice cream and cuddles. But he still blames Nico for taking him off the rocket bouncer.
Coral isn’t quite sure what to think. She’d assumed age would have made Nico more like his family than ever before, but he seems no different now than when they were kids. Than when she’d fallen in love with him. But this can’t be right. She still remembers how heartless he’d been the night she come home in tears.
Nico doesn’t notice Coral’s look of surprise. He’s too focused on his little boy. With every passing day its getting easier to forget Danika, and being away from Autumn Falls is helping him forget all the messes he’d made. “I love you kiddo.” He says honestly, smiling at Gem’s adorable glare.
He finally notices Coral’s strange look, smiling at her and feeling a faint bit of hope. This is the first time in ages that they’ve managed to spend time together without fighting or arguing. Might she finally be ready to forgive him?
He tries his luck when they’re home, once Coral has had her time with Gem and the baby is back in his crib for the night.
It seems to go well. She doesn’t throw the flowers back in his face this time.
“You don’t have to do that.” She explains, face dropping when she sees the hope in his eyes. “Whatever we had between us is gone, you know that. You made it very clear I meant nothing to you.”
“I know I fucked up, Coral. But if I’d known Danika was going to tell everyone that you and I were together you know full well I never would have stopped paying her off.” He sighs, struggling with having to think about the night she came home in tears. “But its not like you ever gave me the chance to apologize. You flat out slapped me! You told me you never wanted to see me again before you went out, what else was I supposed to do when you got home? I did as you asked and left you alone.”
Coral slips back into a glare. “You’re still such a moron. I said those things in anger! When I came home, when I needed you you just looked at me and walked off! That’s what hurt more than anything! You weren’t just my boyfriend, you were my best friend, and to be left alone like that was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. I loved you and you broke my heart.”
Nico’s temper snaps. “Oh shove it, Coral! You broke my heart too! Everything I did with that bitch was to try and protect you! What, you think I liked being with her? All Danika’s ever done is make me miserable, if not for YOU convincing me not to kill her she’d have been dead long before Gem were ever born! But no, and then when everything fails just like we both knew it would you go and blame ME? Fuck you, Coral.”
“At least I have a fucking heart!” She yells back, both of them ignore Gem’s crying from the other room. He must’ve be startled away by the yelling. “Let’s be honest, all you ever cared about was yourself! You were only ever nice to me to keep your own guilt down after the kidnapping, you only kissed me because you didn’t want me to leave you and be happy with someone else. You’re a selfish ASS! And you NEVER loved me!”
They both know that's a flat out lie, but Nico doesn't fight for the win. Tonight, it just isn't worth it.
Still dunno what I'm going to do with these two. A couple, or stay two singles. I was planning on keeping them miserable, but then at the park Coral rolled a wish to kiss Nico for the first time (These guys are clones of the originals, not actually the originals. So in this save game, Nico and Coral were never actually together).
Jade and Markus are adorable. And the Alchemist career is actually pretty awesome! The sidebar photo and rolls will be updated once I can get a photo of all three of these guys together.