Apr 09, 2020 5:27 AM
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"But," she says, "not soon, and not easily."

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"Guess not."

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They pull up to Alice's house.

"Well," Bella says. Her voice is just a touch trembly. "Here we are."
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"Yep," says Alice.

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Bella gets out of the car.

Her legs are tired from the hike, still, but she walks up to the door anyway, and rings the bell.
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"Hiya!" says Hilary. "Muffins just came out of the oven; you want some?"

"Ooh, muffins," says Alice.
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"Can I take a few home?" Bella asks. "I'm not feeling well at the moment and that would be unjust to the muffins."

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"Sure!"

Hilary stands back to let Alice in; Alice reaches out to stop the door from swinging closed.
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Bella enters, too.

She really isn't feeling well.
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Alice can tell!

"Basement?" he suggests.
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He leads the way to the appropriate stairs, and then down them, shutting the door at the top.

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"Do we bother magicking you into the pillar, or just - sit anywhere?"

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"Basement's soundproof," he says.

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"Right."

Bella sits against a non-permeable pillar.

"Dry run," she says.

And makes a wish.
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"Dry run meaning...?"

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"Meaning don't run and fetch lye, I was just making sure that squares can do this," she says, peering at her phone for timing purposes.

She tilts her head. "This is interesting."

She drags her fingernails across her forearm. Hard.

"This is very interesting."
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...Alice watches. Alice is not sure he could stop watching.

"Yeah," he murmurs. "It sure is."
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Bella runs over the scratches - and harvests squares, invisibly - until suddenly a weird look passes over her face and she stops and squeezes her injured arm. "One minute," she says, "and twenty seconds."

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"That," says Alice, "was really hot."

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"Predictably so," Bella remarks dryly. "I'm not sure I know what lye is. You've - er - handled it before? Can you do the conjuring?"

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"It's an ingredient in soap," he says, digging a square out of his pocket. "And yeah, 'handled' is one way to put it."

He makes a wish. Result: a small white plastic jar which, when opened, contains a not particularly dangerous-looking white powder.
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"Huh." She swallows. "Well, that looks - perfectly innocuous, actually, although I don't think you would have suggested it if it wasn't likely to... work." She bites her lip and rolls up the left leg of her jeans, and takes off her shoe and sock.

"I'll wish on the count of three - and you'll probably have to hold my leg down," she says.
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"Yeah, good idea."

Alice sits down to her left and a little in front of her.
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"One. Two. Th -" Bella's face twists up in the way that indicates a square messing with her brain. "Wait," she blurts.

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