the whole universe has been rearranged, except for this: gryffin davis still exists, in maine, thinking that molly patton is his sister and not his mother. of everything, it would have been so easy to fix.

it wasn’t--what a cruel thing.

or maybe, as molly stands in the driveway, it had been for the best. to wake up with gryffin -- as teddy -- could have been worse. to have all the trauma remembered and everything perfect could have broken her more. still having to come here, to figure out what to do, there was still choice. she could still make her own way, make her own decision here.

she breathes, places her hand on her stomach. there’s the beginnings of a swell there. it calms her, as she thinks. it was pretty goddamn reckless to take off, to tell adam the barest. the magic at least had made things easy--traveling in a few moments to maine was easier than summoning a beast from hell to destroy boston. all that was needed after that was some telepathy to get a rental car, to carry the things she’d brought with her, and maybe… maybe gryffin if everything went right.

the wind picks up; her hair lifts in the wind. gooseflesh breaks out on her arms.

she takes three, steadying breaths, shoulders the purse, and walks up the driveway. her powers reach out already; making sure to mask the fangs that won’t go away, altering the color of one of her eyes just to be safe.

and then she knocks on the door, and waits.

it’s almost a full minute before the door opens to a young boy. all dark messy hair and freckles and a distrustful expression that quickly goes sheet white and wide eyed. his mouth opens and shuts and opens again. “molly?” the word is squeaked out. “you are molly, right?”

nothing has prepared her for this. nothing ever could, not even karen’s memories can match the utter reality of seeing her son in front of her. that dark messy hair, the freckles on his face, even the shock is so beautiful, so real. molly has to choke down the tears that are rushing up,

“y-yes,” she nods eagerly. “yes, i’m molly. are you-- are you gryffin?”

“yeah.” he looks her over, brows tugged together and his mouth pulling into a frown. “are you here because of karen? because i already knows she’s in a coma.” the words are bitter and spiteful, and quickly accompanied by an angry sneer. “you didn’t have to bother coming out all this way.”

she lets his anger slide off of her, keeping her expression kind. “no, i’m not here about her. i’m-- i’m just here to talk to you. are your parents home, at all?” molly knows the answer already, heart pounding in her chest.

the suspicion on his face grows even more as he shakes his head. “but why do you want to talk to me now? not like you cared before.”

“i-- i didn’t know everything until before karen went into a coma,” molly shifts, glancing inside. “can i come in? or- or would you be better sitting out here?” she stumbles out the compromise, shifting on the porch. “it’s really-- really important that i talk to you. just you, if i can.”

his eyes narrow and he leans a little farther from the door, as if about to shut it. but then he steps back fully and opens it wide and moves out of the way for her. “no funny business.” it’s clear he’s trying to seem serious and grown up, pitching his voice a little lower and holding his head higher.

it doesn’t work; not the way he means. if anything it makes him look more childish to her as she steps inside of the house, into the cold, immaculate space that she’d only seen in karen’s memories. that they had seen; madelyne is fully attentive in the back of her head as molly walks inside.

pointedly, she makes her way to the living room, towards the couch that has plastic stretched over it, relishing in her shoes sinking into the carpet, hoping to stain them. “thank you--and i promise there won't be anything funny. there’s not a lot to laugh about, between us.” she sets down the bag, trying not to gawk at things, or seem too suspicious. gryffin waits until she’s fully settled into the room before he sits down in the armchair next to the couch, pulling his feet up to sit cross-legged, looking painfully out of place in the near sterile environment.

she falters, not knowing what to start with -- the fact that she was gryffin’s mother, that she could dip into his thoughts at any moment, that karen had lied to his face over and over and over.

madelyne is the one who takes over for a moment to say, “i didn’t come here to make karen happy. i came here for you--it’s not fair for me not to know you when i do.”

“good,” he snaps, “because she’s a bitch, and i wouldn’t want you here if it was for her.” he folds his arms over tightly his chest and gives her another once over. “i already know you know about me. and you don’t keep your facebook very private. nobody does.”

anger wells up not at gryffin -- but at the situation, at karen. molly shakes her head. “no, i don’t. she wasn’t telling the truth about me or you. even when she had every way--” her nostrils flare, and that surge of power wells up. she flexes her fingers, forcing herself to take a deep breath. because it’s not just molly angry, it’s madelyne too, still blending together over and over. there’s just so much to detangle, and so much to clean up after karen.

the power flares up again, itching to release her rage. “what karen told you--what she said about me wasn’t the truth. and i can prove it to you--if you let me.”

gryffin glances at her tensed hands and leans farther back into the chair--away from her. “how are you supposed to prove that? how do i know you’re not just lying? you could be. karen lied a lot, i lie a lot. you could lie a lot too.”

god, this kid.

molly opens the bag, and she pulls the battered, old envelope that she’d found months ago in julia’s old cabin. it’s one of the best things julia could have left her, these old developed photos. “you were born december tenth. and you weren’t born in a hospital,” she opens it, pulling out a photo of herself, young and with her hair already midway down her back, very obviously pregnant. she is standing next to karen--both of their expressions are stiff, uncomfortable. the date, in stark yellow, is in the corner: 10.17.2005

she offers it to gryffin.

he takes it--snatches it, really--and holds it close to his chest before he even bothers looking at it, like she might change her mind and try to take it back from him. he looks at the photo for several seconds before the realization sets in to his expression, his eyes going wide. he holds the picture even closer to his face, his eyes darting over the image to take in every last detail. “what? wha- what the hell?” he can’t even look up at her for more than a split second before he’s staring at the photo again. “what the actual hell?!”

everything in her--in molly, in madelyne--wants to pull him into a hug, then and there. “she lied to you. to me,” molly offers another photo, in julia’s kitchen, weeks later. her hair is pulled up, still visibly pregnant, shoving a muffin into her mouth. “i was the one who was pregnant-- sixteen, i was sixteen.” there’s a struggle for a moment, trying to keep herself in control as she picks up another picture to show gryffin that he grabs at immediately, of herself in august, shooting the camera an annoyed look, hand over her swollen middle. “mom-- my mom, karen sh-- she sent me away. she sent me away and i didn’t want to go. i didn’t--”

hot tears spill over her cheeks. her words are trapped in her throat, too large to spit out.

gryffin finally looks up at her properly, his eyes bright and intense, his expression inscrutable. “karen’s not my mom. you’re my mom. you’re…” he shakes his head and pulls his knees up to his chest. “holy shit,” he murmurs.

they’re both crying--or about to cry. molly rubs at her eyes, unable to stop now that she’s begun. “you’re my son-- you’ve always been my son. she took-- she took advantage of me. of you,” her hand shake, and she can’t conceal the way her powers are making the stack float in her hands. “i was young, and she lied to me--she knew i wanted you, gryffin. i have always, always wanted you.”

molly swallows thickly, trying to get some semblance of control as gryffin can only stare at her, open mouthed. madelyne isn’t much help here, her voice shaking, “i didn’t know the truth until recently. i’ve been searching for you ever since. i know what karen said, i know what she did to you-- to us, and-- i want to be your mother again.”

“but if- but if you’re my mom-” his voice breaks on the word, and he has to duck his head against his shoulder to scrub at his cheek. “how could you have lost me? you’re my mother! that can’t just happen!”

it stings. dives right into her chest. that’s the worst part of it; having to admit everything that happened, feeling the need to atone for something that hadn’t been her fault. having to fucking clean up after her mother’s mess. “it-- it did. karen planned this, from the beginning.” she can almost taste the bitter, acrid anger in her tone. “i didn’t know anything about it until-- until it was too late. i swear, if i had known, i’d have taken you and run on my own.”

gryffin pushes himself to his feet and tugs on his hair, photos still in hand. “planned what? didn’t know about what? you’re not making any sense!” he throws his hands in the air, exasperated and frustrated in equal measure. “what did karen do? how could you not have known? send you away to where? you sound- all of this sounds insane!”

he plants himself in front of mol and starts ticking off his fingers. “first my mom is some bitchy old lady, who goes ahead and acts like i’m the dog shit on the bottom of her shoe. then she winds up in a coma. a friggin’ coma, cause i guess i’m in some kind of soap opera or whatever. then, my supposed sister--who i’ve been facebook stalking because how the hell am i supposed to want to reach out to you guys when karen’s such a piece of work--shows up at my house and is like surprise i’m your mom now and you were stolen from me by your ex-mom and i love you! that’s- that’s not what happens to people! this-” he gestures wildly between the two of them, “doesn’t just happen! especially because you won’t even explain what this thing that happened is.

usually, the person who leaps up first to do anything this drastic is madelyne. ever since the goblyn force, however, it’s been molly who’s decided to make a move. she’s the one who stands up, fingers cool, pressing on either side of gryffin’s confused face.

in her own head, she’s had this conversation, versions of this conversation, has fantasized about how it could go. and in reality, sometimes, words are cheap. these powers could unravel karen in an instant. and they could at least help her explain things to gryffin, her fingers heating up as her eyes glowed. “it’s better if i show you.”