deeperwonderment: (Hearts In The Sand)
[personal profile] deeperwonderment
Title: Sky and Sea, Keep Harm From Me
Author: [personal profile] shadowcat
Fandom: The Secret Circle (Books)
Pairing/Characters: Cassie Blake, Faye Chamberlain
Prompt: Exile/Stranded
Rating/Category: PG
Summary: She expected someone to come looking for her, she just wasn't expecting the person that showed up.
Words: 1,636
Notes: For my [community profile] ladiesbingo Card.



It was remarkably easy for her to sneak out of town once she had set her mind to it. There had been so much pain and so much death that she needed to get away from it for a little while. She was only a teenager, but she just felt so damned old sometimes. She hadn’t even had time or the chance to grieve properly for everyone she and her friends had lost over the last few weeks and months.

She was afraid that she had lost herself in addition to everyone else. She wasn’t sure where she ended and all the cords or ribbons of connection to the others began.

She didn’t tell any of them that she was leaving. It was a cowardly way to leave, she admitted that, but she knew that they would try to talk her out of it – and all together they might succeed.

***


How she ended up in small Jupiter Beach. Florida, she didn’t know. She would have preferred a bigger town or city, but she was also pretty sure that the last place anyone would look for her would be in a small town like this. If or when they did look for her, they would probably look in bigger cities and think she must have headed west or north. She’d talked about taking trips like that often enough. She’d laid the groundwork for this even before she knew that she was going to leave.

***


Being an exile in southern Florida wasn’t all that bad. When winter came, she enjoyed walking alone on the beach and watching the storm clouds over the ocean turn the water gray. Her job at the resort helped since there was no way she wanted to delve too deep into her bank accounts to live. She had watched enough police dramas on tv to know that bank accounts could be traced, and she didn’t want that. So she opened a new account in a Florida bank to deposit her paychecks into.

***


“When you go to ground, you really go to ground,” Faye said to her three months later when Cassie returned home to find her sitting on the steps of her small house that was leased to her by her employers. (She wouldn’t deny that magic was involved if she was asked directly.)

Cassie stared at her in shock for a long moment. Of all of the scenes she had expected if the rest of the Circle tracked her down, finding Faye waiting for her had never been in any of those imaginings. Shaking her head, she sighed and led Faye into the house.

It was over dinner – spaghetti with homemade sauce – that Cassie finally asked Faye what was going on.

“How did you find me?”

“You certainly didn’t make it all that easy,” the other witch answered and Cassie could detect a hint of pride in her words. “Telling Adam that you were going away with Laurel for a few days and then telling Diana that you were going off with Melanie certainly didn’t do us any favors. By the time they returned from their different trips, your trail was getting cold.”

“My mom?”

“She wouldn’t tell us anything, though we knew you had told her what was going on. After almost losing her, you’re not selfish enough to run away on her.” Faye raised an eyebrow at her. “How did you convince her to let you go?”

“I told her that too much had happened and I just needed to get away from everything.” She looked at Faye. “I know you would probably think it was a hysterical reaction –“

“Actually, I don’t.” Faye’s response surprised Cassie into silence. “You haven’t been learning and investigating your history as long as the rest of have. You’d never even realized that there was that kind of evil that existed.” She shrugged as she reached for another breadstick and broke it in half. “Finding out that Black John was your father on top of the fact that he killed your grandmother and was responsible for so much evil? I’m surprised you didn’t cut and run long before you did.”

“You would never have run,” Cassie said, looking down at her plate. “You would have been your usual jungle cat self and dealt with everything head on.”

“Cassie, I know that you don’t always have the best impression of me, and I know that I didn't exactly make things easy on you. One thing you need to be clear on is that I don’t know how I would have handled a lot of things that you went through.” Faye’s tone was surprisingly gentle for Faye. "I honestly don't know how you managed to keep everything together as well as you did for as long as you did."

"But I didn't hold it together," Cassie protested. "You saw me outside of the principal's office that day! I was a mess."

"I wasn't very easy on you, either. I should have been more... compassionate."

"Why?" Cassie was really confused.

"Because whether or not we were friends and all of that, you were Circle. Circle means that we look after each other and we take care of each other. I was older and more powerful than you were at the time and rather than be someone you could count on, I used everything against you."

Cassie stared at her, not sure what to say to that. Of all of the things that Faye could have said to her, an apology was never something she expected. When she didn't respond, Faye gave her a small smirk.

"Eat your dinner before it gets even colder. I'm sleeping in your den."

***


They were sitting on the beach watching the tide hitting the sand when Cassie remembered that Faye had never answered her first question the night before.

"How did you find me?"

Faye was silent for a moment then looked at her. "I knew that you would be close to the beach. The water and sand are in your blood. They make you feel safe. No matter how far away from home you may have gone, I had the feeling you would want to be near the beach somewhere."

"What made you think that?"

"Sky and sea keep harm from me," Faye quoted. "Even before you were confident in your power and the fact that you're a witch, it was the spell you said the most times when you were feeling scared."

"I could have gone somewhere inland."

"You could have, but you didn't. You wouldn't. Even though you were leaving home, you couldn't stay far from the water." Faye looked back over the water. "Once I figured that out, I just had to do the right tracking spell. It wasn't easy, but I finally managed to pinpoint that your energy was in southern Florida. It didn't take a rocket scientist or Diana to realize that there was no way you would be in a big city. You wanted to hide and disappear from the radar. When I did a few more tracking spells, I found that you were here in Jupiter Beach. I knew that the name would have drawn you in. It has that hopeless romantic vibe to it."

Cassie laughed softly. "That was part of it, I admit. The other part was the fact that they hired me as soon as I showed them that I could do a lot of things with aromatherapy. They liked the idea of having someone that could make them more money in a way that would appeal to pagans and new age people."

"Sounds like the perfect gig for you."

"It pays the bills."

***


"Why you?" Cassie finally asked her a few days later. "I mean, I'm glad to see you and everything, but I never thought that you would be the one to come looking for me."

"We all set out to look for you, Cassie," Faye said with a strange note in her voice. "You're Circle. You're family."

Cassie looked at her. "You could have sent someone else."

"I did. I sent Diana to Canada."

"You did what?"

Faye laughed. "I told her that my tracking spells kept pulling me north. Last time I talked to her, she had arrived in Ontario."

"She's going to kill you when she finds out what happened."

"No she won't. She'll be too happy to see you to think about being mad at me."

Cassie swallowed and looked down at the ground. "I don't know if I can go back, yet, Faye."

"No one is going to force to go anywhere until you're ready, Cass," Faye said firmly. "I won't let them." She pushed a strand of hair back from her face. "But you have to come home at some point."

"So much has happened and I don't know how to process all of it going back. I'm not the same person that I was."

"I know that you're not, but you also have to accept that you're not alone."

"I just... with all of the talk about soulmates and connections and past lives..."

"I thought you loved Adam."

"I did... I do... I just..." She sighed heavily. "I want to be loved or even liked because of who I am and not because of cords or people saying it's from connections in the past." She bit her lip. "When everyone started talking about cords and connections, it was like the emotional part of everything was overwritten because something mystical says we're meant to be together."

"You got lost."

"I got lost," Cassie admitted.

"So make new connections," Faye advised her. "You already have me here."

"And when I finally do go back?"

"When you come home from your self-imposed exile, I'll be there and the rest can take it one step at a time."

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