Usually, after she channels someone, Maya is perfectly fine. If anything, it’s like blinking.
But not this last time.
The first thing Maya notices as she blinks her way into consciousness is how exhausted she is. She’s tired, hungry, and thirsty.
Then she notices the lights, almost too bright, and then suddenly she can make out the faint outline of the courtroom. Then she realizes everyone’s eyes are on her, and then she finally notices two comforting figures standing at the defense’s bench.
And then Maya can’t notice anything anymore, as she feels herself hit the floor of the courtroom.
Maya finds herself staring at bright lights again. Had it all been a nightmare...? But then there’s a hand at her side, a touch that felt both comforted and frightened her.
“I’m glad you’re alright.” Mia smiles down at her, “You’ve been through quite the ordeal.”
“Mia!” Maya wraps her arms around Mia’s torso, well aware that it really isn’t her body she’s clutching onto so tight.
“Oh Maya…” Mia uses the arms she’s borrowing to hug her back, letting Maya bury her face into the robes. “You’re safe now, Maya… Well, mostly.”
Maya finally pulls back. “Mostly...?”
Mia takes a deep breath, an unnatural action for someone who died almost three years ago. “They believe you actually killed the victim.”
Maya closes her eyes and lays back down. She’s so tired, too tired to even stand, probably.
“I know you’re exhausted, but… how much do you know about this case?”
“I was attacked. By Ms. Deauxnim, but she was channeling that woman… Dahlia Hawthorne, right?” Mia nodded, so she continued, “but then… I saw… I think… it had to be Godot, even though that sounds crazy, he wasn't even there that night, come up behind her, then I was splashed by something warm… it has to have been blood. Um…” Her head hurts, and the light of the infirmary isn’t helping one bit, “Then I lost consciousness. After that, I asked for your advice and… and…”
“Maya…” Mia says, and she’s using that voice. The one she always used whenever she had to deliver bad news to her. “Do you… know anything about Ms. Deauxnim?”
“She… she’s the victim, right?” Mia nods. “Um... She seemed really nice when I met her, and she’s Pearly’s favorite author! But…” Slowly, she starts putting things together, bringing a hand to her chin. Just what was she doing there? “She acted weird toward me…” Why did she push me away or flat out ignore me, while dotting on Pearl? “...and the fact that she was able to channel someone…” There weren’t many people who could do that outside of our family… Maya's face crumbles. “Who was she?”
Mia gives her another sad, tired smile. “I think you’ve already figured it out.”
Maya closes her eyes. “...So Mom’s…?”
Mia only nods.
“Oh,” is all Maya can say right now. She’d always felt… conflicted in regards to her mother. She left when Maya was only two, so she didn’t know anything about her really, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t want her to come home again and magically make things better. Maya was so sure that one day, Misty Fey would swoop in and Maya could push becoming the next master out of her mind, she wouldn’t have to force herself through intense training, she’d have a family again.
Mia sits on the edge of the bed with her, probably expecting something--Maya to cry, Maya to hug her again, ask her if there was some kind of mistake, anything--but Maya doesn’t. She only sits there, hands clutching white sheets.
“...Why did our mom channel… why did she try to kill me?”
“To protect you. And Pearl.”
Mia turns away, almost like she’s ashamed of something. “That woman--Dahlia Hawthorne. She wanted revenge on me. She killed three people, and attempted to take the life of a fourth a long time ago, but I caught her.” Mia takes a deep, steadying breath. “Maya. She’s our cousin--and Pearl’s sister.”
“What!? I don’t remember a cousin--”
"Because Morgan’s twin daughters were taken from her.” Twin? Sister Iris? “Aunt Morgan met Dahlia in prison and… they decided to conspire together--Dahlia to get revenge on me, and Morgan so Pearl would be next in line to become the master.
"But somehow… Misty and Godot, if what you said about him being there is true, found out about it. My guess, Misty’s plan was to keep an eye on Pearl, but lost her when Pearl left to channel Dahlia. So our… mother channeled her instead, to… to stop her. Then… he killed her.”
“Oh…” Maya keeps finding herself at a complete loss for words.
Mia pulls her into another hug, running her (Pearl’s, Maya reminds herself,) hands through her hair, like she used to whenever Maya was upset. “...I know it’s a lot to take in, and you’re tired, and you’re scared, and probably still confused, but… the trial has to end now. Today. You need to testify, Maya.”
“But… Mr. Godot…”
“I know Maya. I know.” Mia says quietly. Mia pulls back again, but this time she moves a hand from her hair to her face. She laughs, almost on the verge of tears. “Look at how much you’ve grown." With a choked up laugh, she brushed her bangs away. If Maya wasn't so exhausted right now, she would've started crying. "I am so so sorry I had to miss most of it.” Mia rests her forehead against Maya’s, and closes her eyes. “I’m proud of you, Maya. You can’t even imagine. You are brave, and smart, and resourceful, and so, so clever. Whatever happens from now on, I know you’re going to be amazing.” Mia plants a kiss to Maya’s forehead, and before Maya can say anything, can get her voice to work again, Mia stands up again, it looks as though she was wiping away tears.
And then Mia Fey walks out the door.