A/N: A bit shorter than I originally intended but I'm happy with the outcome anyways. Thanks to everyone who enjoyed the story and if you have any ideas for another story, don't be afraid to drop a PM or anything.
Marilyn stretched as she stumbled over to the nearest window. The bright rays of the sun were beginning to peek through the ruined blinds and spread its light throughout the small room. Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she opened the stiff window and leaned outside. The window sill wobbled underneath her hands and she had to be careful not to lean too far out or risk falling. Morally she felt horrible for sleeping in the room that had once served as a sanctuary to a dead person but physically they needed the sleep and stable houses were a rarity to come across. She had pulled back inside and got ready to slip her tactical vest back on before looking up at the sound of laughter outside. Who else was up at this hour?
Grabbing her things instead, she headed out into the hallway and dressed as she trotted through the house. By the time she got to the front door she was dressed with everything except her light covering of armor. She tossed the door open and stepped out into the fresh morning of a new day. The morning dew was still present on some yards.
"You so cheated."
"I did not."
She looked up at the conversation and spotted two figures seated on a porch swing across the street from her.
"Not only are you a cheater, you're a liar too."
"Why don't you just add those labels right next to 'Witch'."
Marilyn shook her head before strolling across the street to where she spotted the two. The driveway was half crumbled under her feet and the porch stairs squeaked horribly under pressure, signaling a slight safety danger. The two were just sitting there, lightly swinging back on the hanging seat. Both of them had small glass mugs in hand with a dark liquid, most likely coffee, half filled inside. She stood there for a moment eyeing the two before being noticed by the blonde-haired Commander.
"Oh hey Marilyn didn't even see you there," Maxwell spoke, as he shifted the mug to his other hand before taking a drink from it. "You sleep well?"
"Yeah, better than any night before," she answered. "When did you get back last night?"
"Uh..." he started, seeming to think about it for awhile."I don't know, probably around midnight or so. Wasn't really keeping time."
"Well, where did you run off to?"
"Alicia and I had to go check out some areas. We thought there might've still been some Geists sneaking around," Maxwell answered smoothly. "Turns out it was just the wind really."
She nodded before readjusting her worn-out leather gloves. "Alright, well just wanted to make sure it wasn't like a safety concern or anything. It's not a good sign when the Commander takes off running out of nowhere and no one's really around to follow after him."
"Didn't mean to startle you with it," Maxwell apologized. "It just seemed like something that needed immediate attention and didn't really have time to gather up the rest of the team. By the way, are the rest of the guys up?"
"Nah, they're enjoying their sleeping time," Marilyn chuckled. "I think it would take a bulldozer to get Butch out of that bed."
"Or just you baby."
She physically shuddered before turning to see Butch hanging onto the nearby banister. "Don't make me puke."
"Well nice to see we have time to enjoy a little get together," Jackson remarked as he stepped out of the house next door. Stretching he picked his vest up from the door side and slipped it on before pulling his hair back into a ponytail. "Any idea on when we should be heading out?"
"Not right now," Maxwell answered. "I'm thinking maybe a day or two of extra rest. I think we deserve it for kicking Geist ass all month."
"Sounds good to me," Butch nodded. "Hey Jackson, wanna go explore the town a bit today? See if we can't find anything to salvage for these folks here."
"Gives me something to do."
"Well this gives me a whole day to try and fix the circuits around here," Marilyn spoke, watching as the two men went inside the building next door to finish dressing. "And salvage some of the generators as well. If things go well then I can finish hooking up the electricity and get phone lines running. They won't be able to phone far but maybe set up safety points around the city."
"Yeah, we can help them put up some guard lines in case the Geist come back," Maxwell agreed. "I'll get started on that sometime today." he watched as Marilyn nodded before setting off to start her day with some of the nearest generators. Sighing, he went back to his cup of coffee. It was lukewarm by now, but at least it actually tasted like coffee. "Anyways, back to our argument before, you cheated."
"Did not," Alicia stated.
"Did too." he insisted.
"Then how?" she questioned. "How did I 'cheat'?"
"One word," Maxwell started. "Willpower."
She chuckled lightly and sipped at her coffee. "Maybe so."
"Well at least you admitted it." he remarked, looking over in time to see Jackson and Butch run off to explore the town. "Man, I'm thinking of going back to bed for a morning nap."
"You just woke up," Alicia reminded.
"Well I really didn't sleep," Maxwell started. "I mean after all we did last night, we really didn't get back till after midnight and even then I didn't really sleep."
"I could hear you snoring from the other room," Alicia replied.
"Maybe so...but that's not the point I'm trying to make."
Alicia shook her head and leaned back against the swing. She looked over the damaged neighborhood that she had once known so well. Things didn't look the same...but then again after so much time passing by, nothing ever really did. She just hoped what was left of it would remain. That was all she wanted. With stable checkpoints they were finally making progress only once imagined. They were finally getting somewhere now. She looked down at the cold mug in hand. "You know Maxwell I think I'm finally ready to move on. This whole time I just kept holding myself back because...I was afraid of losing myself. I was afraid that by letting go and becoming more...human, I would lose control of my magic...I would lose control of Darkness. But now, I think I'm ready. I think I can become stronger this way. Stronger as a witch...and as a human."
There was a moment of silence as she waited for his remark.
"Huh- ugh...I wasn't asleep," Maxwell muttered; rubbing his eyes suddenly. "I was just...resting that's all. Did you say something?"
She stared at him for a few moments, almost in hidden disbelief before just shaking it off. "No. I didn't say anything. Just that maybe we should start working with those checkpoints and showing the civilians how to prepare themselves in case the Geist return."
"Sounds like a good idea." he nodded as he started to get to his feet. "Come on, we can start that right now."
Getting to her feet, she smoothed out her overskirt for a moment before heading inside the house. It didn't matter who heard it anyways...as long as she could trust herself in believing it. Pouring out the rest of the cold coffee into the sink, she ran some water through it several times before setting it back into the cabinet. It seemed like as soon as her arms left her side, another pair found themselves in the empty space.
"I'll be with you every step of the way." he whispered.
She smiled lightly as he rested his forehead against her shoulder. "Willpower." she carefully reminded.
"Put me on the moon sweetheart."