Will could only watch in awe, landing as Irma and Hay Lin joined hands, forming a ball of their raw energies and throwing the wind and water against the giant billboard, knocking it over the Mudslug. Hay Lin shrugged to Irma and said something, but Will's eyes were darting over to Caleb, who was no longer pursued by the slug, then to Cornelia where here eyes fixed and she breathed the only word to describe what she saw.. "Wow.."

She glanced as Caleb walked towards her but he too was marveling Cornelia's state: ten feet in the air she seemed to float rather than fly, with her blonde hair spreading in a breeze Will couldn't feel. It almost felt a bit like she was being kicked in the ankles though, as Cornelia stretched her arms out; suddenly the ambrosial structure of beauty and power - the Earth literally moving for her. "O, óchi.. Gamóto.."

She'd always wondered what it'd take to impress Caleb - just a mild question lingering in the back of her mind, but here was her answer. Caleb looked impressed now as the Mudslug writhed against Cornelia's power to no end; it flew into the portal with immense force, and Will clutched her slim fingers around the Heart, suddenly a little less dazzled that tidying up after Cornelia was done was her power; all for her own. She wondered how Caleb had ever managed to convince her it might be a privilege.. She was their janitor. She locked up after closing time. Cornelia began to drop to the ground and Will was startled out of her thoughts as Caleb leapt forward to catch her in his arms; his knees giving and Will found herself looking away out of embarrassment as Cornelia's wide eyes stared up at him dazedly. It wasn't Will's place to evade their privacy. No, Will thought, pulling out a dimly glowing pendant from her jacket. It was her job to tidy up. There was a reason they gave the power to Will and not to 'Gaea'. Pretty girls didn't tidy up. They were busy sucking face with prince charming.

Will closed the portal and transformed them back into human-form, a slight hope itching that the dim green light wake Caleb from him blank-looking stupor as Cornelia and he stood up; Cornelia instantly latching onto his arm. She thought it'd be a long walk home, but Caleb shrugged Cornelia off, calling out for Blunk, who crept out of hiding in a slug' hole. "Blunk!"

...

Cornelia watched as Caleb picked up the smelly toad that was Blunk, and gave him an appreciative smile as he took to walking ahead with the girls. Will started walking too then, but Cornelia placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. She had to fix things.. And there's never a time quite like the present so she smiled kindly as Will's big, brown eyes looked questioningly to her. It saddened Cornelia, that she almost saw Will retreating, without Cornelia even speaking. "I didn't mean to take over there, Will I just-"

"Yeah," Will i her lip and looked down at her feet, which shuffled nervously in the situation. "I know.."

"I get jealous that you're the leader sometimes." Cornelia's eyes flashed up as soon as Will's did, only having clamped her teeth together seconds too late after the words had slipped out. But there was a faint glimmer of something in Will's shy browns, that Cornelia could not deny as fairly brassily resembling hope. Hope for their friendship. "I'm really sorry Will."

"I'm sorry about Elyon.." Will's voice was small, but her words emmense, giving Cornelia an awkward urge to wrap her arms around Will and cry for all she was worth. But Cornelia was tired. Exhausted. She didn't even have the energy to cry and if she hugged Will she would, so she only pat her hand on the scruffy redhead's shoulder and let the night lull her into a sense of calm as the walked the streets behind Caleb and the animatedly talking Irma, Hay Lin and Taranee. Caleb's steps still had a slight stutter, but she knew from experience that it wouldn't last and she suddenly remembered Will's concern.

"He'll be alright.. Caleb. He'll be fine Will, it's just adrenaline, it'll wear off.." But Will was looking at her, dazed; the glazed look telling Cornelia it had probably been a long day for Will and the girls, and Will probably didn't even remember her moment of worry. "..It doesn't matter.. It's good to be back."

...

Will didn't know if it was a good sign, but she felt comfortable as she and Cornelia walked on, until the turning where Cornelia's home became on a different route to her and the girls. It was Will's turning next, and she'd expected to walk the ten minutes alone in the silence, but when she'd waved a farewell to Cornelia, she turned around to find Caleb's tall form leaning against a lamppost a few feet away; waiting for her to catch up. Waiting for her. "Arketá Will.."

"Ah-keta yourself, Caleb." Will found herself mimicking the small wry smile on Caleb's lips, for once unoffended as he gazed at her with a tired look. He was still shaking, and a part of her wanted to just grab that head of his to check for a concussion, just in case.. She'd never forgive herself if he collapsed again, and although he didn't look ill, the completely serene outlook he seemed to be viewing her with made her feel a little uncomfortable, if only because she was stood in front of him, yet he showed no sign of even contemplating movement. "Are we going or what?"

"No." Will didn't like the cold that crept over her skin as she looked into startling green eyes that refused to release her from their grasp. "Why were you so mad at me Will? Was it because I took her to-"

"No." Will's interruption was only to stop him from saying it, but Will forced herself to close her eyes and hide the truth of his actions' consequences. But she wasn't mad about that anymore. She'd only been mad at what Drake had said. "You told me I was a good leader Caleb. You told me I had made a perfect decision. You made me think-"

Will's eyes flashed open as she found something pressed against her lips. His index stopped her in her tracks and Caleb seemed somber now. "I know I did Will.. I really did think.. You're really great, and I swear I mean that. A great leader."

"But-" Will dropped her argument before she'd made it as he almost glared at her, but not quite. It was softer than that; just a silent way of quieting her.

"Do you know how long it took me Will? Years, Will; years." Will's eyes widened as Caleb frowned slightly, pressing his fingers and thumb over his tired eyes. It might've been the first time Caleb had gone out of his way to tell her something about himself and Will tried to shake any sleep out of her as she wanted to remember this. "It took me two and a half years to get where I am with the rebellion today, Will, and in three months you've out grown me. Arketá Will, you really are something."

Something. She was something. It didn't occur to her how small she'd have to have been for his words to mean as much as they did to her. She bit her lips to hide a beaming smile that was forming as Caleb avoided her gaze, his ears growing red at the tips.

...

Caleb's face grew hot to match his ears, but he tried to ignore it, remembering how fast she'd withdrawn last time when he hadn't known what to do, but he let his arms wrap carefully around her slim shoulders; finding himself beaming when he'd completed the hug. He'd done it. And the only thing that could ruin it now would be when he had to let go, because it was nice. Brilliant. He'd once or twice hugged Aldarn, but it was nothing like this, total comfort as he relaxed his still shaking body around hers and closed his eyes to listen only to the distant sounds of ambiance paired with Will's deep, calming breaths. "Thank you."

And then Caleb shot back, out of the hug. She'd sounded like.. She hadn't sounded like Will and he knew it was stupid but he couldn't help but shy away as he tried desperately not to think of how this was so similar to his dreams. He found himself again pressing his fingers against his eyelids, not wanting to look at her for the shame of his own thoughts.. "Will.. I'm sorry, I- ah.. Gotta go.. It's getting late."

"Okay.. I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Ah.. Yeah, if you want." Caleb smiled uneasily as Will's brown eyes glittered in the street-light and she smiled happily at him, before wiggling her fingers in a silent farewell. "Tomorrow then, arketá Will."


Sorry Tessa, changed my mind and went for one longish bit of fluff.. I'm not fond of the end of this one :)

UP NEXT - MY W.I.T.C.H. 23: Ghosts of Elyon