She moves 'spell can create non-extinct species' up her priority list. Someday, when it's safe, there can be more sphinxes.
She tells the owner of the Avalon magic shop that she's testing some experimental new healing spells and to let her know if anyone is interested. She pretends to be violently protective of "her spell" and insists on secrecy in spell casting, and only accepts those whom medicine could not otherwise help. 'Cancer curing spell' is less suspicious than 'spell nearly exactly duplicating sphinx magic' anyway. And she lets Isabella heal them, carefully, one at a time.
Vivian and Gianna continue to see each other. Gianna continues to be sweet and funny and fiercely, protectively loyal and just generally adorable, and Vivian is crazy about her. Work starts 'coincidentally' sending Gianna to San Francisco more often. When Isabella notices how much time Vivian and Gianna spend together, Vivian uses her questions as an opportunity to explain a few things. Isabella's reaction turns out to be, "Oh. Okay. I like her all right," before returning to her latest magical project, which makes Vivian giggle. How very like her daughter.
Life proceeds reasonably comfortably for the new few years. Isabella makes acceptable progress in school and astonishing progress in magic, or rather, she does whenever she can be lured away from 'casting healing spells' with Vivian. Vivian herself blows up a few beetles but eventually manages to create non-extinct species. Vivian claims a newfound interest in traveling to her friends, and periodically bundles Isabella onto a plane to go 'be a tourist' somewhere. Panda bears and Florida panthers start mysteriously, coincidentally increasing in numbers.
Gianna is still wonderful but she refuses to come out to Ilario, which Vivian... is upset about, but deals with. Reluctantly. It's not her place to say how and when Gianna comes out, if she does at all, but she hates feeling like a secret. The long distance becomes more of a sticking point. Vivian can't move to Italy or Gianna's friends would Find Out; Gianna won't move away from her brother. When Isabella is eleven, Vivian and Gianna reluctantly admit it's time to break up. It's about as amicable as they can manage under the circumstances, but Vivian still spends a couple of weeks sadly eating chocolate. Isabella is quietly soothing and spends a lot of time hugging her, which Vivian appreciates. Sphinxette snuggles are the best snuggles.
She throws herself into her work. She successfully creates a baby pegasus for a pegasus couple struggling with infertility, and suddenly finds herself with a second source of income. Critter couples hoping to adopt have very few options if they want a child of their own species- or they did, until Vivian. She charges more than the adoption centers, to encourage parents to take home existing children, but there's occasionally someone willing to pay. She contributes the bulk of her earnings to Isabella's college fund and uses the rest to reduce the amount of time she spends making charms. More time for Isabella, more time for magic research, more time trying to locate dragons. (She has been wildly unsuccessful at this task so far and she finds herself regularly heaping swearwords on runecasting's inefficiency at information gathering. This does not help.)
She dates a few more women, but nothing nearly as long as her relationship with Gianna. When Isabella is fourteen, she explains to her mother in her serious Isabella fashion that she thinks she likes women. But also men. Vivian tells her that being bisexual is totally okay, she will always love Isabella very much, and yes, it's time for the sex talk now.
More time passes. Vivian and Isabella continue to travel, mostly to China. They speak the language, they can visit Vivian's relatives in Wuxi, and people love Isabella. They ask her for pictures, they want to pet her hair, they tell her how beautiful and pale she is, they exclaim excitedly over her wonderful Chinese. Isabella's not wild about travel in general, but she likes China, and Vivian just laughs and takes advantage of it. The Chengdu research base is confounded but delighted.
Isabella is seventeen when Vivian overhears some interesting gossip in the Avalon. Someone turned up a wyvern in Toronto of all places, isn't that odd? A brand new one too, just found her medallion by accident. Who knew there were wyverns in Canada anyway?
Vivian didn't, that's for sure. Her friend Helen is roped into babysitting Isabella, and Vivian catches the next flight to Toronto.
Time to meet this wyvern.
"Yeah. Come on, you too."
Isabella goes fullform likewise, purring on May's couch.
Vivian absently pets Isabella's back. "Sorry, none for me," she laughs.
"Poor Vivian," says Isabella. "Would we look good on a black and white informative flyer together, do you think?"
"You'll miss the dramatic blue and gold effect, but I think being a dragon and a sphinx will make up for that just fine."
May lashes her tail. "How long are you guys going to be up here?"
Vivian shrugs. "I'm self employed and Isabella is home schooled. We planned for a few days, but we're not in a rush."
"That's long enough to be worth checking out the local Avalon, maybe starting there as a testbed and gauging responses?" suggests May. "I don't actually know how to drive there, I found it on a really old map and that was after I made my charm, but I've made more since so I can show Isabella and we can look at the roads as we go."
"Sounds good to me, if Vivian doesn't mind hanging out here in the meantime?"
"I can amuse myself," Vivian promises. "I still want to tweak that composting spell, and I have to write back to that couple in Michigan, and... well, whatever else is scribbled down somewhere," she sighs. "Go on, you two, have fun flying."
May gets herself and her magical sphinx duplicate each an invisibility charm. They turn invisible, the door opens with some giggling and sounds of teenage girls bumping into each other, the door closes, and they fly away.
Vivian introduces herself to Charlie and asks for someplace out of his way to write some letters. The kitchen table turns out to be the easiest solution, so she fetches her stationary from the car and starts working on a response to the Michigan gryphons. Charlie inquires if she minds if he turns on the game; she somewhat distractedly assures him that she doesn't. The equilibrium seems to work for them both, broken only by occasional yells from the television set whenever a goal is scored or the hockey players get into the inevitable fights.
The girls are gone for several hours, but May calls Charlie in the middle of this period of time to tell him that they're getting dinner and should not be awaited. Charlie makes sandwiches and offers Vivian one.
Vivian accepts it with a smile and a thank you. It's not fine cuisine, but it's tasty enough. When she's done, she washes what few dishes resulted; it seems only polite, since Charlie made the food.
Later, the door opens on its own, and closes on its own. There is giggling.
"Sphinxette, you've still got the invisibility spell on," Vivian reminds her.
They take off their necklaces with their free hands. Their occupied hands have interlaced fingers.
Vivian has never managed the arched eyebrow of surprise that Isabella is so fond of, but manages a look comfortably close to "raised eyebrows" anyway. "So you two had fun then?" she asks dryly.
(Giggling. Lots of it.)
"There's a joke there," snorts Charlie, "about your healthy self-esteem. Isn't quite coming together."
"I will take it as meant."
"I'll try to restrain my teasing about rampant narcissism," Vivian jokes.
There's a couple serious conversations about this to have with Isabella later, but they can just get in line with all the other conversations about dragons and sphinxes. And none that need to occur in front of May or Charlie.
"Did you find the Avalon, at least?"
"Yeah! It's tiny, but really cute."
"Did you figure out a way for us poor, wingless humans to visit while you were at it?"
"Yeah, I can point out the route on a map if you want to drive there, but it's really nothing much and kind of far away if you can't just coast over the mountains."