Well, there are two ways to look at this chapter: either we're finally getting to see a hint of Kit's overall motivations or… Karolina learns that doesn't it just suck when you figure out once and for all that the girl you think you love doesn't love you back? Or perhaps that what you feel isn't love? Actually, there are a lot of ways to look at this chapter, I'm finding. So look at it.
Karolina stalked down another of the maze-like hallways of the complex under the tar pits, flicking the flashlight in her hand from side to side as she walked. So far, only a third of the massive underground complex had been explored and mapped out, and most of that had been thanks to her. Nico was tied up with Kit most of the time - sometimes literally, even - while Gert and Chase were just as obnoxiously coupley, Molly and Victor had an odd sort of friendship going, and Old Lace… really wasn't good conversation. Now that Xavin was gone, that just left Karolina with herself for company and since she couldn't eat ice cream all the time - well, without her ass getting as big as the Leapfrog - she'd begun dedicating more time to exploring just to keep herself busy.
For the group of runaways, the maze beneath the La Brea Tar Pits was a safe haven. There were two ways in that didn't involve trying to take a dip in deadly tar: the Leapfrog and using Kit as a magical navigation beacon to teleport oneself in to an inhabitable area. And outside of the seven of them living there at the moment, the only others who even knew it existed were either dead or fellow superteens who wouldn't rat them out. Still, the majority of the complex remained unknown to them and so Karolina spent many an hour mapping the tunnels and rooms to make sure there wasn't a back entrance none of them knew about. So far she'd uncovered one room with a few primitive androids made by Chase's parents, another with strange animals that they were pretty sure Gert's parents had brought back from the future, and a handful of bizarre booby traps that seemed straight out of an Indiana Jones
Really, who used a giant boulder as a security measure anyways?
And so, suspecting a back entrance existed somewhere even if she hadn't found it yet, when her journey through a previously unexplored part of their haven was disturbed by a hand clamping over her mouth while another tugged her into a side room, Karolina was understandably freaked. Wrenching off her bracelet, she shifted to her energy form, bathing the dark room in multicolored light and revealing… "Kit?"
"Heya." The goth gave Karolina a wave and what she probably thought was an innocent little smile. "What's up?"
Karolina snorted as she slid her bracelet back on, dampening her powers as the room's motion sensors detected signs of life and the light level came up to something manageable. Kit and innocent went together about as well as ice-skating and hell. "Other than you almost giving me a heart attack? Nothing." She eyed the brunette suspiciously. "What do you want?"
Running hand over her left wrist, Kit materialized the staff that Karolina had seen her use lately. The revelation that it was a pair that could only be used by siblings or lovers - and that Nico owned the other one - had sent the blonde on an ice cream-eating binge big enough to put a serious dent in the group's rainy day fund. She was unceremoniously punted from her thoughts as Kit thrust the staff into her hands. "Try it."
"Why? How? What?" Karolina was confused, spinning the staff slowly in one hand. If it really was some love-powered staff that worked for Kit because she and Nico were together, it wouldn't work for her. So why was Kit doing this?
Kit stepped up behind her, pressing her chest against Karolina's back as she gently guided the blonde to take a two-handed grip on the staff with the head pointed at the far wall. "I want you to focus on blowing a hole in the wall. Magic is all about your mental focus unless you're using a crutch like the Staff of One. Just envision a great big explosion taking out a chunk of the wall, and say 'Destroy'."
Shivering at Kit's breath on her neck, Karolina did what she was told. "Destroy?" Nothing happened. "Destroy." Again, nothing. "Destroy!" Karolina waited… and waited… and waited more. Still nothing. Scowling, she pulled out of Kit's grasp and turned around. "I can't use it. I could have told you that already. Was there really a point to this other than reminding me that you're a witch and I'm not?"
Kit pulled the staff from Karolina's unresisting hands, tapping it against her left wrist to turn it back into a bracelet. "Well, for one? Compared to Nico, I'm no more a witch than you are. She was born into it. I learned it. You could too, if you wanted to. But that's not the point I wanted to make. Which is to say there is one, but it's not that."
After a few moments of silence in which no answer was forthcoming, Karolina got impatient. "And that would be..?"
"I wanted to teach you a lesson about your place in the world." Kit held up her arm, tapping her bracelet with her right index finger. "Nico herself told you that she was never yours. That hasn't stopped you from being a possessive, borderline creepy stalker little bitch. So I decided to give you a reminder you couldn't miss: I'm not this barrier between you and this blissful little fairy tale romance where you two end up with a house with a white picket fence, two-point-five kids, and a dog. Even if I left today, or had never even born? You wouldn't have her. It's not me. It's you."
Karolina's jaw dropped at Kit's rather blunt announcement. "You're lying. This proves nothing." It didn't, damn it. Sure, the Ice Cream Incident had been a majorly huge setback for her, but her and Nico were talking again. Kinda. Sorta. A few words at a time. But they'd heal things, some day. Nico did like her, damn it, and she was getting closer to the day when-
Turning the bracelet back into the staff, Kit held it out to Karolina again. "Would you like to try it again? I called Dawn up about the Staves after we started using them. There's three ways they'll work for you." Kit held up one finger. "One: you and the other user are in love with each other." Another finger. "Two: you and the other user are full blood siblings." Then three fingers. "Three: you and the other user are getting horizontal. Or more than one of the above; usually the first and third but I'm not gonna judge anyone if it's any other combination. Laugh, yes. Judge no. But anyways, we know the second one isn't true for you and Nico, the third option definitely isn't true… and if the staff won't work? It means the first isn't true either. Face it. She just doesn't love you."
"Why are you doing this?" Karolina wasn't going to cry. She wasn't, damn it.
Kit twirled the staff before rapping the head against her wrist again, turning it into a bracelet once more. "Because you're making Nico unhappy and that pisses me off. According to her, you two used to be good friends before you got all creepy obsessive like this. Me? I don't like you. At all. But for some reason, she thinks of you as a friend and wants her old friend back. So I'd really appreciate it if you could pull your head out from between your thighs and remember how you used to treat Nico. Because I'm not going anywhere until I'm damn well good and ready. If you don't get your shit together, you might be. So stop glaring at me, fix shit with Nico, and then either find a girlfriend or learn to find your own g-spot. If you're nice, I might even help you out with that last one… the girlfriend version, not the version that involves fingering yourself."
"Really. This is Los Angeles; how hard can it be to find a lesbian around here? Or we can see if Bekah knows how to get ahold of Julie Power. Two rainbow-powered lesbians, how ironic would that be? My friend Dawn knows some werewolves; you'd be a big hit with them if it turns out your powers can hold back the moon's influence three nights a month. Um…" Kit tapped her finger against her chin as she thought before snapping her fingers. "Or if you want to try a one-night stand or three to get the ball rolling, what about vampires? They're pretty much guaranteed to end things by trying to bite you and as soon as that happens… poof. Don't even have to worry about thinking of a polite way to kick her out." Reaching out, Kit patted Karolina on the shoulder. "But for fuck's sake, girl, pull yourself together. Whatever you decide to do with yourself, no future girlfriend is going to want to hear you wax poetic about Nico. Look what it did to Xavin."
And with six words, any positive feelings Karolina might have felt growing towards Kit disappeared as if they'd never been. "You're a bitch, you know that right?" Karolina's hand brushed Kit's off of her shoulder and then twitched down towards her wrist, aching to pull her bracelet back off and give the smug brunette a true taste of her feelings at the moment. But she stopped herself. She wouldn't lower herself to that level. Not now, not ever. Instead, she just turned and headed for the door.
Kit's voice stopped her. "I may be a bitch, but I'm Nico's bitch. Remember that."
"I hate you so fucking much."