I remember this starkly because when I first laid eyes on them in person, it was in that very room. The walls were painted startlingly crimson, there were Asian antiques all around. It reminded me a lot of– it reminded me a lot of–

“When I end up being proven right about this, you owe me three crates of champagne!” I called down the stairs. I felt comforted by that. Finally, something coming out of my mouth that was more believably me.
Arkady was not amused. “That’s what I’m fucking talking about!” I heard him snap back from the kitchen.

“Yeah, I decided that it may be time for you to go home when you suddenly seemed way too fascinated with the owner’s description of the air duct system,” Cotton told me. “He was telling us how he had to install some new vents and you were like ‘Wow! Are you kidding me?'”
“I don’t even remember anything about the air duct system,” I laughed. “No, I’ve just had a really stressful couple of weeks. See, after [April] and I broke up, I joined Tinder.”

Names of the fallen did flash on the telly. It was static, with that sensory hell of hissing that went along with it, warping as if text itself couldn’t handle the truth of it all. Everyone was gone. Everyone.

That, containing a heavy reference to suicide, caused my mind to fold over in on itself and open up some dark neural pathways that led to only poor decisions. I screenshot this and sent this to Aberle, so that the trauma-induced panic could now bombard the system through two sources,
Aberle, then, out of the worry of his bleeding-heart Cancer Moon, did precisely what I told him we must not do.
He told Ash that March was abusive.

“My hand!” he wailed. “I really hurt it. Look at it. I see bone!” That last sentence seemed to echo mournfully throughout the street.
Ash paused. I could see on their face that they had to shoot down about four responses to settle on a suitably gentle one. “It– It’s just a scrape, [March.]”

“Xanthe, what infuriates me the most about what happened is that [Arkady] only seemed to want you once he and [Ash] convinced themselves you were magic. That you could validate and cheer on everything they would say to raise themselves above the human race. And why? Because anything they do to you once you’re convicted of ‘being human’, doesn’t count. They condemned you for showing signs of mental illness because if your world was a result of mental illness, it meant that theirs is too.”

I was about to fade… Until I saw the hypocrisy. Until I saw the modified explanations of events and motives. Until a fucking self-proclaimed Unseelie Fae King stood in front of my bedroom door and called me delusional.