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Oct 18, 2019 6:56 AM
Faith and Scott in Sunnydale
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"You said this was a youth group. They were going to plan a barbecue, read the Bible. You promised snacks. You dragged me here because of the cute girl whose church picnic you interrupted. This is not a youth group." 

The crowd is mostly adults, with yellowing skin and haggard, weary eyes. 

"How did you even hear about this?" 

There's no sign, of course, but anyone with a speck of magic in their past can see the invisible message above the refreshments: "Witches Anonymous". 

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"I can't believe I got the date wrong! We'll have to stick around, you know I can't drive after I take my meds." 

He scowls as he passes various filled chairs, until finding an open one.

"I don't want to take a seat from someone who needs it, so I'll be outside."

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"In your car, listening to music." 

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"Yeah, sue me. I'll be there when you're done."

He shuffles out. 

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Scott finds a seat near the back. 

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A small group of people are arguing as they come in. The boy, tall and fluffy-haired, has his arms crossed and is talking very patiently.

"It's just something to do while I'm here," he's saying, in the tone of someone being very reasonable with a very unreasonable person. "I really do need to talk with the deacon. Just sit in the back, okay."

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The tiny girl has to crane her neck up to glare at him. "That does not say 'Leviathan to Unicorns,'" she snaps, pointing at the illusory sign. (The other two look where she's pointing, mildly puzzled, and then back at her.)

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"Sit. Or so help me. Do not make a fucking scene, okay." The last is also the tallest of the three, and she's dressed conspicuously -- a skirt so short it barely merits the name, tights with a skeleton printed on them, sparkly high heels, an absurdly gaudy sequined top with an oversized scarf in clashing colors wound several times around her neck.

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"No. No! You know why I do stuff and you're literally no one to talk, okay!"

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"Please. C'mon, Faith ... I'll worry less if you'll just this once, please..."

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"If they get all zero-tolerance shit on you you can walk out, okay."

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She looks around like she's hoping to make a dash for one of the exits, then huffs and sighs. "Fine. But I'm still mad at you."

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"That's okay. I still love you," he answers, almost painfully sincere, before hugging her and leaving.

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The other girl makes an I'll-be-watching-you-gesture before traipsing out as well.

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And the tiny girl mutters indistinctly under her breath and huffs into the seat next to Scott.

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Scott glances at them, barely. He is listening, though.

(The permanent spell that enhanced his hearing makes it hard not to, sometimes. Better to pick a thread and stick to it.)

He turns back to face the front, where a smiling woman, hair well-coiffed and sundress spotless, begins to speak.

"I know for many of you, this is your first time, so I'd like to begin by telling you the twelves steps to becoming spell free. First, you must admit that magic has taken your power, not given it to you. You have lost control of your life. Step two is allowing yourself to have faith in a true God, not the false gods and goddesses of Wicca. Third, we must turn over our lives to the service of our Lord..."

 

 

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Scott mumbles something under his breath.

The woman continues, "...allow God to remove all of our flaws..." as her hair begins to turn blue.

He smiles.

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Faith sulks until the woman starts speaking, stretches and yawns melodramatically during the first sentence, and looks increasingly outraged as she goes on.

When the woman's hair starts to change color, she has to cover a giggle with a cough (unsuccessfully), and glances at Scott with unconcealed delight. She nudges him with her elbow to get his attention, grins broader and makes a heart shape with her hands.

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He attempts to smile? It probably doesn't have the desired effect.

He tilts his head towards the door, and stands up.

Whistling, he walks away in the middle of "praying only for knowledge of His will".

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Faith glances at a stack of hymnals next to her. One of them flips open; the pages ruffle and one neatly detaches itself from the binding, folds into some kind of cross between an origami dragon and a paper airplane, and zooms across the room into Scott's hands, where it gives a tiny snort of smoke before unfolding itself.

Overlaid on the printed text, there's a crude drawing of a church in what looks like thick lines of purple crayon. Two stick figures are inside, the smaller one with a ponytail attached to its circular head; outside, another long-haired figure brandishes an oversized club, dotted lines stretching from her eyes to the door. An arrow traces a path from the hairless stick figure, up into the sketched bell tower, out a window, and hopping in arcs down the opposite side of the church.

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Scott returns to his seat.

He holds his hand over her lap, cautiously.

It turns invisible.

He pulls his once again visible hand back.

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Faith grins at him again, but shakes her head, and puts her hand in his lap, palm up. Writing in a round, primary-school hand scrawls itself across her skin. Enchanted her eyes for her years ago.

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He purses his lips thoughtfully, then heads for the refreshments table.

He's not the first to pick at it; the more nervous attendees went there before the meeting started.

Scott makes a show of deciding, but his ultimate goal seems to be the door to the cemetery out back.

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Faith trails after. She does, in fact, help herself to a plate of goodies before following Scott out.

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A few people notice them leaving, but don't make a fuss. Of course teenagers are fickle enough to attend and then change their minds.

Onice outside, Scott sits on the ground next to a gravestone, panting slightly. 

"My name's Scott," he says quietly. 

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"Faith. You okay?"

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