Aug 25, 2019 12:32 AM
A Margaret in Fabulous
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Ding! The doors slide open much too slowly. The swarm can get in before she can, but only a handful of bugs, pretty easy to step on or smush into walls in a confined space. They keep flowing in even after she's pushed the door-close button, though.

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Now would be a great time for elevator doors to start working the way they do in movies, where they slide shut super-fast and crush anything in the way into a pulp.

The doors do not start to work that way. But better to fight part of a swarm than the whole thing.

She tap-dances on the crawling ones and swings one wing through the air as fast as she can, trying to sweep a bunch out of the air at once.

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She is able to defeat the elevator contents, but not without getting a little chewed up in a few places.

Outside the elevator she can hear magic noises and girls calling to each other.

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Oh thank goodness. She hits the button for the ground floor.

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Down she goes. She can feel the swarm dying as the response team hits it.

A girl meets her when she comes out of the elevator. "There you are! You okay?"

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No longer being viscerally aware of how much danger she's in feels good. "I'm alright, I hid in the elevator--sorry I wasn't any help, I don't have any weapons yet--um--"

Aaaand there's the adrenaline crash. Her muscles are aching and she's covered in death and some of the bugs got pointy bits between her scales ow. Leaning on the wall time.

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The girl supports her at the less injured of her elbows. "Bess has a healing spell, let's get you to her, okay? You don't have to be helpful with these things, I know it's tempting but if it's not your job you can leave it to us."

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"Okay, healing, yes." She lets the other girl lead her along, swaps her wings out and back in to get the gross off, stumbles at the change in center of mass but keeps walking.

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"Hey, you're gonna be okay, you did good. I'm Jennifer, what's your name?" The girl who met her has scales, too, though hers are gold and she still has hair. There's also Bess, the healer, who has very conservative physical changes - she's just supernaturally beautiful and her green hair defies gravity and anything else she's got is hiding; she dresses like a runway model displaying somebody's blue period; and there's one who introduces herself as Nora, has black angel wings, and is doing the pants thing in leather with extremely elaborate tooling on the material and very aggressive accessorizing on the theme of copper Celtic knots. Bess needs to touch each of Margaret's injuries to fix them, and it takes a while per, even though she changes up her shoes into something less practical and adds a long trailing cape first.

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"I'm Margaret. I'm alright, or I will be soon at least."

"Thank you!" she says to Bess as the pain fades from one minor wound after another. "And thank you all for getting here so fast, it's good that there are people who do this."

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"It's good you were here to notice it," says Nora. "If those things get out of hand they're much harder to stop."

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"Huh. Yeah, I guess it's for the best that I came this way. And I've already got some dart guns in the mail, so hopefully if this ever happens again I'll be in less trouble than I was this time. I hope it doesn't happen again very soon, though."

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"We cover the whole county eight hours a day and we get called out about three, four times a day," says Jennifer.

"Sometimes that's a false alarm though," clarifies Nora.

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That's definitely enough information to do some math about, but she'll do it when she has pencil and paper and steadier hands.

"Alright. Thanks again you guys, I guess I should go home now. Good luck with the rest of your shift!"

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"Thanks, Margaret!" says Jennifer. Bess offers her an application form with a wink. Jennifer and Bess board motorcycles; Nora jogs up to the roof.

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Margaret takes the application form with a little smile and heads home on foot. By the time she gets home she's able to outline the series of events to her parents in a calm enough voice that they don't lose their minds over it. She resolves to go out jogging again tomorrow in the exact same area; she is not letting one bad experience give her a phobia.

She doesn't fill out the form, but it goes in her desk drawer where she'll be able to find it again easily.

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The next morning at school is pretty normal. She isn't in classes with any of the other magical girls - Mariposa and Larissa are older than her, Sumiko and Aaliyah are younger, and Josephine and Hattie don't go to the same school. And their club only meets once a week.

Larissa and Sumiko have the same lunch period, though, and they sit with her.

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"Hi Larissa, hi Sumiko! So, you'll never guess what happened yesterday."

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"What was it?" asks Sumiko.

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"So I was out for a jog and I sensed a swarm starting in a parking garage! I went in there, found out where it was, called 911 and then booked it back out, but I had to kill some to get out and got bit a few times. It was pretty scary. I got to meet the local emergency squad afterward though, they were super nice and patched me up really well." 

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"Ooh, which squad, there's four," says Larissa. "For round the clock and holiday coverage."

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"The one with Bess and Nora and Jennifer, I dunno if they have squad names or anything."

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"I think they're called Team 44 and don't have a real name," says Sumiko.

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"Huh. I'd've thought having a cool team name would be one of the perks of the job. I guess if you have enough of them trying to keep all the names straight and find new unique ones would get kind of impossible."

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"Yeah. It's the same problem with code names, the good ones are all taken. There are probably dozens of Mariposas but our Mariposa doesn't like her real name," says Sumiko.

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