A/N: If it wasn't clear from the summary, this story contains incest. Don't like, don't read.
Everything Misty has ever wanted has been there, right at her fingertips. She thinks nothing of it, however: she has trained every day for the last twenty years, honing her spiritual powers. She has been brought up to be the Master of the Kurain Channelling Technique—nothing else. Her mother is frail and sickly now, but whenever Misty sits by her bedside, Mother tells her how proud she is. Misty's even provided the family with a daughter—Mia is three months old and beautiful. She will grow up to inherit the Tradition.
Morgan is twenty-one and she is getting married tomorrow. She's been warned that the marriage will not last long—Misty's husband's already left her behind. He hadn't wanted a daughter. None of the men who risk marrying into Kurain ever do. She knows that there is little point in comparing her powers to Misty's, but that cannot stop her from dreaming.
Misty stands behind her sister as Morgan leans her head back into the basin of water; Misty will make her sister look beautiful for tomorrow's wedding. She threads her fingers through Morgan's long hair, her hands covered in lather from the shampoo. "You're leaving your hair down, aren't you?" Morgan nods so subtly that Misty would have missed it, if she hadn't been paying attention while she massaged Morgan's scalp.
The truth is Morgan doesn't even like Mr. Hawthorne. She knows she is nothing special; her lack of powers have never been a well-kept secret. She knows what sort of man he is; she knows that he is only interested in the village, not her. In a way, everything about him disgusts her: his greed, his leering gaze, the feel of his fingers on her skin. She has never liked to be touched and especially not the way he touches her—there is only one person in the world who she feels comfortably letting that close, and that person is currently washing her hair. All in all, Morgan is not looking forward to tomorrow, but she knows it is inevitable. It is her duty as a woman to have a family and it is her duty as a Fey to bear daughters—although every time she looks at Mia she is reminded of what she'll never have, the hope cannot be extinguished.
Misty rinses Morgan's hair underneath the tap and then tells her to sit up as she starts to brush her hair. She's silent for a moment, not sure about how to broach the subject. Morgan's her older sister—if she wasn't, everything would be much simpler. Most of the time, however, Misty feels like the older one—Morgan's so naïve she doesn't know what being a Fey truly means. Being a Fey means never being able to be free, it means that death is not the end, but most importantly, it means that one can never love their sisters.
Morgan's heard the story as often as Misty has: Mother had a twin sister and they were both channelling prodigies, competing with each other for their mother's attention. Somewhere along the way, Mother didn't have a twin sister anymore—but the details of that particular matter were always vague, but the implications were clear to both Misty and Morgan.
Misty is glad that she's never had to compete with Morgan for Mother's affection—to Mother, Morgan may as well not exist: she is Mother's failure. While Mother still has the good grace to say that she is not attending Morgan's wedding service because of her ailing health, Misty knows that Mother wouldn't go even if she were perfectly able to. Misty is glad that she is the only one who Morgan relies on, the only one who Morgan loves. It's only because Morgan has no powers that Misty is able to love her sister in return: if Misty had believed there was any sort of chance of Morgan inheriting the Tradition, then history may very well have repeated itself. She knows Morgan is no threat; Morgan is her sister, and she needs to protect her. She knows what men are like, and she doesn't trust Mr. Hawthorne at all. "Are you sure?" Misty asks her sister, and although the question is vague, she knows Morgan will understand the implications.
Morgan breathes in deeply, her eyes snapping open as she does so. "It is but a necessity, Mystic Misty." She gathers her hair and flips it over her shoulder, her fingers briefly skimming over Misty's as she does so.
It's enough incentive for Misty to draw Morgan's hands into her own, and Morgan turns so she is facing her sister, straddling the back of the chair she has been sitting on. "You understand," Misty starts, "that he will never love you the same way I do."
"It is different, with men," Morgan answers, purposefully evading Misty's question—Misty speaks of love often, of how they, as sisters, love each other. Sometimes Morgan wonders if Misty's delusional—if she's unaware of the power of trust that she holds over Morgan. Misty, if she so desired, could make powerful men and women take notice of her as the inheritor of the Tradition. Morgan has no-one else to turn to: her own mother has rejected her and the only other person who listens to her when she speaks is Mr. Hawthorne; he is obliged to listen, and she is obliged to marry. However, the only other alternative is that Misty knows exactly what she is doing when she draws her face in closer, only an inch away from Morgan's now.
Misty presses her lips against Morgan's—softly, tentatively, her fingers threading through her sister's hair again. She waits for Morgan to recoil, but she never does. Misty wonders about that, sometimes—wonders if it's right to love Morgan the way she does, and why Morgan never says anything one way or the other. "Was that different?" Misty asks.
Morgan turns her head, cheeks burning in shame. Her sister is the only one who she lets close, but Morgan hates her too. She hates Misty for everything that she has, she hates that she pretends to love her because it makes it so much easier to keep dreaming that one day, everything will be better. If she thinks too much about it, she already knows the truth—she is her family's curse. "It was indeed." Not because it was a woman, but because it was Misty.
Misty knows then that Morgan will be loyal to her, and only to her—but that's perfectly natural, they're sisters, aren't they? One did not choose their family and that was made the bond of love closer. Unbreakable. After Misty extracts herself from the embrace she towel dries Morgan's hair, letting her free hand linger on her sister's face for more than is truly necessary. "It's late. The ceremony starts early tomorrow." Misty smiles then, clapping her hands together and resting them underneath her chin. "I'll wake you up at dawn."
It had been easy to forget how frightened she was of her upcoming marriage when Misty had been around. Now, as she remains sitting, watching her sister's retreating back, she is terrified again. She knows that no matter how perfectly the marriage goes, or how many daughters she births, the matter is already decided: Misty is to become the Master. For the briefest of moments, Morgan allows herself to imagine a world where Misty's spiritual powers are weak as well—perhaps, in such a world, she would be able to love her sister back. However, in this world, in this village, Morgan will forever be in her sister's shadow, and by extension, Mia's shadow as well. Even though it seems like a good idea, Morgan cannot leave the village herself, not while Misty is still pulling her strings. But one day—one day when Misty isn't looking, Morgan will get her revenge.
Misty wakes her sister up early the next morning, zips up her dress and puts the flowers in her hair. They stand side by side looking into the mirror. "You're beautiful." The compliment rolls of her tongue flawlessly. "No matter what happens after tonight, I will be here for you as your sister as always."
Even though she's getting married, Morgan still cannot escape her sister. Misty rests her head on Morgan's shoulder, humming pleasantly. Although Morgan may hate her sister, she is still the one—the only one— who could do such a thing without Morgan feeling awfully uncomfortable. She wishes she really knew what Misty's ulterior motive was. It would be so much easier to hate her if she did. For now, she strokes her sister's hair—Misty's hair is shorter, she doesn't have the time to take care of it the way Morgan does hers.
Misty places a careless kiss to Morgan's chin. "Good luck," Misty whispers.
It's so hard for Morgan to hate Misty when she's the only one who pretends to care.
Three years later, Morgan is six months pregnant when her mother dies. She doesn't sit by her mother's deathbed with Misty; instead, she stands waiting outside their door. Misty comes out with a smile on her face that makes Morgan's stomach turn. In her hands Misty's holding the Kurain Master's talisman: Morgan would recognise that anywhere. Misty holds the talisman out, dangling it in front of Morgan. The faint stirring of hope only needs the mildest of provocation. Was Misty giving her the…
Misty's just received the talisman from her mother. It's official now; she is the new Master of Kurain. She and Mia are the main family, Morgan and her unborn children will only ever be part of the branch family. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"
Morgan has to admit that it has some sort of gleam in the morning light. Her hands reach out to grab it—everything she has hoped and dreamed of for the last twenty-four years.
"Help me put it on," Misty instructs and if she notices her sister's hands tremble, she doesn't comment on it. "It's the branch family's role to serve those of the main family, Morgan," Misty remarks as Morgan tightens the talisman's string around her neck. "It will be like our childhoods—I know you're only loyal to me. We won't be like Mother and her sister; we love each other and you'll work for me, just like always."
All along had Misty been planning on making Morgan her servant? If she was a more reckless person, she would choke her sister with the necklace she was tying around her neck. Morgan has never hated her sister more than she did in that moment. The yearning hope she had dealt with for everyday of her life was gone now; her dreams would be forever unfulfilled. She would never be the Master and Misty's love had always been a lie.