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Blue Belle: Director's Cut

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Blue Belle Universe". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: He dressed up as his state's senior senator. Now he's a blue woman. How the hell does Xander keep landing himself in these situations?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > Xander-Centered
Marvel Universe > Avengers
Marvel Universe > Spider-Man
(Moderator)JoeHundredaireFR1840204,388126934218,0574 Jun 1215 Oct 14No

Chapter 27

Blue BelleJoe's Note: Let's see, what do we have here? Harmony makes herself useful for once: check. Brittany helps, even. Buffy having a meltdown over finding out she's not The Slayer anymore: check. Still hilarious. Ivette dealing with the fallout of her peers finding out she's got a half-sister and the non-Emma parent is Jean: check. New, and hilarious. And replaces a full thousand of the original three thousand words in a chapter that's now over four thousand words long. So… some tweaked stuff, some more tweaked stuff, and a hunk of new stuff. Reason enough to tune in, right?

November 23, 2011
Sunnydale High School - Library
Sunnydale, California

     "Oh! Oh! Mister Giles! We found it!"

     Cordelia looked up from her book at Harmony's exclamation, immediately regretting the quick action as her neck protested the sudden movement. The dark-haired girl was bouncing in her seat next to Brittany, waving her arm back and forth excitedly as Giles approached. The Watcher stopped between Brittany and Harmony, his eyes slowly widening as he took in the mess of paper spread out in front of the two girls. "Good Lord. Is this..?"

     Preening at their success - or at least Cordelia hoped that was why she was puffing her chest out with Giles standing over her like that - Harmony gestured to the papers. "We… are brilliant. See, Brittany and I both lose stuff all the time and we came up with pretty identical ways of dealing with it. When we buy something, we add it to a list. Pants have a list, shirts have a list, shoes have a list, and so on. Then when I know I've lost something but can't figure out what it is, I go through and check off the ones I can find. The one that's left is the one I lost and the one I need to look for."

     "I saw you looking at the card catalog, and I was like, 'Harmony, isn't there a card in there for every book in the library? Kinda like one big book list?' So we sat down and made an actual list of the books from the section that you said was missing one, checked off all the books that we could find, and when we were done? Only one thing wasn't checked off." Brittany picked up a piece of paper, offering it to Giles. "There's the name of your missing book. Tada." As soon as he took it, she turned to Harmony with a smile, her blonde locks coming to life and twisting into a distinctly hand-shaped construct. "Hair five!"

     Harmony eyed the hovering hair-hand for a moment before shrugging, leaning forward and obliging Brittany. "I keep thinking my life can't get any weirder, and then it does."

     "My word. I'm ashamed to admit I never would have thought of something like that. Good job, girls." Giles gave each girl a pat on the shoulder before wandering off with their list. Brittany just shrugged it off, turning to converse with Santana, but Harmony… Cordelia's jaw dropped. Harmony was actually blushing faintly as her eyes followed Giles's retreating form. Suddenly, she found herself reassessing her previous position on the cause of Harmony's preening. Maybe her friend really was attempting to flirt with Giles, albeit incredibly awkwardly due to the whole 'Giles wasn't a high school jock who'd taken one too many hits to the head' factor. It was a disaster of epic proportions in the making… but it'd be hilarious as hell to watch. Like a car wreck. Or, in this case, a train derailing onto the 405 and crushing a few dozen cars in the process.

     Cordelia waited until the room dissolved into idle chatter before rising from her seat, circling around the table they were at and leaning down to whisper in Harmony's ear. "What the hell was that?" Her friend looked up at her with a familiar clueless expression, and Cordelia rolled her eyes before gesturing to where Giles was checking the list of books against… something. "You know exactly what I'm talking about. The blushing and pushing out your chest so 'Mister Giles' could see down your shirt?"

     Her fading blush returning with a vengeance, Harmony sniffed and looked away. "I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. But even if you were right, I don't see why it'd be a problem. He's all classy and distinguished looking, and his accent is dreamy. A definite step up from… who was your last date attempt? Oh that's right. Devon, all the way back on Halloween. Who stood you up, if I remember things right."

     "At least I'm not going to end up in the yearbook as Most Likely to Get a STD."

     "Well yeah, you're sorta out of the running there. The only action you're getting is from your own hand."

     Before they could argue the matter further, Giles let out a strangled gasp and Cordelia sighed before eyeing the Watcher uncertainly. "What? Oh come on, please tell me it's not actually the end of the world. There's a great BOGO sale at my favorite shoe store next week and if the world ends before then…"

     "Hmm?" Giles looked up from the book before shaking his head. "No, no. This is worse. Much worse. According to this, the missing manuscript is home to a large number of spells and rituals that specifically affect vampires. One of the most notable is a ritual that can restore an injured or ill vampire to full health. A vampire such as Drusilla, who is older, more vicious, and far harder to predict than her paramour Spike. I believe you met him on Parent-Teacher Night?"

     Cordelia looked over at Michelle, who shuddered at the name Spike. She made a mental note to ask the redhead about whatever encounters she'd had with the vampire, because if he was that bad and this Drusilla chick was worse? Not good for anyone's continued well being.

     Before Giles could continue, Willow's head whipped around to face the library doors and she growled low in her throat, her bone claws shooting out of her hands and feet. Deciding to trust the girl's enhanced senses, Cordelia reached into her purse and pulled out her selection of pointy metal shards, laying them out in a row on the table in front of her. A few seconds later, the doors flew open and Cordelia leapt into action, seizing the shards with her powers and flinging them at the intruders. Her eyes widening as she recognized one of the new arrivals, she brought the metal spikes to a stop a few inches in front of Buffy… and a strange black girl? Well, that was new. "Buffy. I'd say it's a pleasure to see you, but it's really not. Who's your friend?"

     Eyes bouncing back and forth between Cordelia and the floating metal spikes uncertainly, the girl eventually decided that it was a question worth answering. "I'm Kendra. De Vampire Slayer."

     Cordelia raised an eyebrow at that, her gaze sliding over to the distinctly put-out looking Buffy. Evidently they didn't make Chosen 'One's the way they used to anymore. "Huh." Waving her hand, she pulled the cloud of floating metal shards back to her before looking around in search of one Cordette in particular. "Hey, Aura, check it out. You're no longer the only black girl in Sunnydale."

     "Well shit. There goes my gimmick."

     It was then that Buffy evidently realized that the library was a little fuller than usual. The bottle blonde's jaw dropped as she looked around, taking in the girls occupying every available chair. "Um, did I fall asleep and wake up in a parallel universe or something? Why is the library full of cheerleaders?"

     Harmony coughed before raising her hand slowly. "Not a cheerleader. Tried out but I didn't make it."

     "Fine. Why is the library full of cheerleaders and Harmony?" Michelle cleared her throat to get the Slayer's attention, and Buffy let out a sigh. "Cheerleaders, Harmony, and Willow's cousin. And Willow. All right, before I have to do the whole thing again, let's just make this simple. Giles, why are there people in the library who aren't you?"

     While she didn't exactly owe the man anything, especially since him calling Willow had resulted in her spending fruitless hours pouring over ancient books, Cordelia couldn't resist the chance to take free shots at Buffy. "Buffy? You do realize this is the high school library, right? The public high school library? And that we're students at said school? One of those nifty benefits of being a student is that we're allowed to visit the library whenever we need to so we can look stuff up."

     Buffy scowled in response to her jibe, making Cordelia smirk victoriously. Sometimes it was just too easy. Before the Slayer could reply, though, a new voice entered their conversation. "So… Buffy… is it true that you're dating a vampire?" Looking over at Brittany, Buffy nodded hesitantly and the blonde furrowed her brow in confusion. "But supposedly you're a 'Vampire Slayer' or something like that?" Another nod, this one even more hesitant. "How does that even work? I mean, isn't that like a cop dating a prison inmate?"

     "Actually, I think it'd be more like a mortician dating one of their, err, clients. You know, with her boyfriend being a corpse and all." Janae shuddered at the thought. "That's just… what the hell, Buffy? I'll do a lot of things, but… no. Just… no. Eww."

     "Yeah. Then again, look at how much she doesn't take care of herself. Living Dead Boy is probably the best she can do." Brittany's words made Michelle snort with laughter; looking over at the redhead curiously, Cordelia received a mouthed 'later' and then Brittany was talking again. "I mean, seriously, there's sexy skinny and then there's gross skinny. You need to go slay a cheeseburger or something. And it might not work for your boyfriend, but when was the last time you looked in a mirror? Your roots are ridiculous."

     Reaching up, Buffy tugged a strand of hair forward so she could examine it before snorting. "Sorry, I've been a little busy lately. You know, killing vampires, trying to keep the world from ending, that sort of thing."

     Brittany scoffed, reaching up to run her fingers through her own hair. "And I'm up way past my bed time playing with smelly old books. You don't see me looking like… well, you. Speaking of which, are we done? I may not need beauty sleep like you obviously do, but I totally love regular sleep."

     "And your Watcher is Sam Zabuto, you say?"

     "Yes, sir."

     Michelle turned her head back and forth like a spectator at a tennis match as Giles attempted to squeeze information out of Kendra. She was perched on the edge of the table they'd been sitting at earlier, Cordelia standing between her spread legs as she worked the kinks out of the cheerleader's back and neck. Off to Michelle's left sat Willow, Janet's head resting in her lap. The size-shifter was a bit smaller than usual, likely so she could fit more comfortably in the space available on the table. Given that they were the ones Emma would most likely call upon to handle the situation, the four of them had decided to stick it out even after the rest of the girls had left for the night. So far, though, they'd yet to get down to business. Mostly because Buffy was having a bit of a melt down as her Chosen One schtick came crashing down around her ears, courtesy of the Chosen Other One. "Do you know him, Giles?"

     Looking from the pair of Slayers to Michelle, Giles nodded before pausing and shaking his head. "I don't know him, per se, but I do know of him. I've never met the man, but he's very well-respected within the Watcher's Council. Respected enough that I'm surprised that he wasn't called away from his work with Kendra to become Buffy's Watcher after Merrick's passing."

     "Dey asked 'im. 'e read de information de Council provided on Buffy and declined."

     Giles looked over at the visibly annoyed blonde and coughed, doing his best to hide a smile. "Yes, well, she has been an… experience… to say the least. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, though."

     Letting out a noncommittal noise, Kendra turned away and made her way over to where the four girls were sitting off to one side. She inspected them slowly; Michelle guessed she was trying to reach out with whatever supernatural senses a Slayer possessed in an attempt to suss out their secrets. She finally came to a stop in front of Cordelia, canting her head to one side. "You do not feel like a witch, but I saw what you were capable of. What are you? And who are your allies?"

     "I'm a mutant." Kendra just stared at the green-haired girl blankly, and Michelle didn't even need to see Cordelia's face to know that there was an epic eye roll going on. "You know, Homo sapiens superior? The new subspecies of humanity with awesome powers? Seriously? Nothing?" Kendra shook her head and Cordelia sighed. "I'd tell you to google it but you probably don't even know what that is. Let's just put it this way: mutants are humans with a bit extra in their genes. I'm a magnokine, which means I can move metal with my mind. Michelle…" Cordelia jerked a thumb back over her shoulder and the redhead waved. "…is a shapeshifter. If you see a blue girl with bright red hair? It's Michelle. Don't slay her, or I'll slay you. Well, that's if her cousin Willow doesn't get you first. Willow?"

     Lifting a hand from where it was resting atop Janet's head, Willow made a fist and ejected her claws. "There's these. I also heal really quickly - on Saturday, I actually came back from clinical brain death - and have very sharp senses. I could hear you arguing about five seconds before you reached the library." She gestured down at Janet. "She's basically a human-sized wasp. Flies, stings, et cetera."

     Kendra tilted her head to the side as she stared at them. "And why are you 'ere?"

     "Because someone rich and powerful is blackmailing my Watcher, but she can't be bothered to do her own dirty work." Buffy eyed them for a few seconds before scoffing and waving dismissively. "Whatever. Not important. What is important, on the other hand? The fact I've got another girl here who claims she's the Slayer too. Which we know is impossible. I mean, one girl in all the world ring a bell, Giles?"

     Slipping his glasses off, Giles reached into his pocket and removed a handkerchief, polishing the lenses furiously. Idly, Michelle found herself wondering what might happen if she hid all his handkerchiefs one day. What would he do without his usual nervous activity to fall back on? "Yes, well, Obviously something has changed if Kendra here has been Called, Buffy. To the best of my knowledge, though, it's entirely unprecedented; there has been only one Slayer at a time for as long as the Council has existed. I'm really quite flummoxed."

     "I don't see what's tripping you up, Giles." Leaning forward, Willow gestured from Buffy to Kendra." When one Slayer dies, the next Slayer is called." She gestured to Buffy again. "Died." And then back to Kendra. "Called. And then there were two Slayers."

     Michelle shot a surprised look at Willow before staring at the two Slayers in disbelief. Get out. She was single-handedly responsible for turning millennia of tradition on its head and creating a second Slayer? Well that was just… neat. Buffy didn't seem as eager to embrace the explanation, though. "I was only gone for a minute!"

     Looking down at his unhappy charge, Giles only offered a slight shrug. "Clearly it doesn't matter how long you were gone. You were physically dead, thus causing the activation of the next Slayer."

     Cordelia took a step forward and stretched before groaning softly. "Listen, as thrilling as this is… Giles. This ritual that vampire boy might be using to restore insane vampire girl. Is it going to happen between now and sunrise?" He shook his head. "Between sunrise and sunset?" He shook his head again. "In that case, I'm out of here. Let us know when you have a when and a where for the ritual." The cheerleader pointed at Kendra. "You're coming with us. Two Slayers have to be better than one and I don't trust Buffy not to shank you in your sleep or something. I've got a huge house. I'll find somewhere to put you." Turning around to face the trio still occupying the table, she jerked her head in the direction of the doors. "Anyone not in the car by the time I get my seatbelt on is walking home."

     Blinking, Michelle looked over at Willow and Janet. "I think she's serious."

     "I'm pretty sure she is. I'm also pretty sure my weather app says it's forty-one degrees out, and I sure as hell don't want to walk home in that." Janet sat up and then her clothes folded in on themselves, a six inch tall figure floating up out of the neckline of her shirt. Fluttering on over to Kendra, Janet plopped herself down atop the Slayer's head and tugged on her hair. "Onward, noble steed! To the parking lot!"

     Kendra's eyes rolled upward as she tried to spot her passenger, making Michelle laugh. "Welcome to Mutant High. Weird shit happens daily. Now c'mon. Cordelia wasn't kidding about letting you stay over… or leaving us behind."

     As the three Cordettes plus Kendra exited the library, Buffy scowled and crossed her arms over her chest. "No, sir, I don't like it."

     Looking up from the book in his hand, Giles furrowed his brow at that. "I would think that you'd be happy to see her go, if only for a short while."

     "Seriously? I'm the big picture thinker here?" Buffy shook her head. "Think about it, Giles. They've turned into Frost flunkies. Frost wants her fingers in slaying. Frost's flunkies just found Frost a Slayer. They can cut us out of the loop now."

     Thank God. Giles thought back to the tail end of his conversation with Emma and shuddered. Whether the blonde intended to suborn Kendra's Watcher in a similar way, or try and directly interpose herself as the Jamaican Slayer's authority figure… it wouldn't be his problem anymore. And good riddance. "Again, I fail to see a problem with the situation. Unless you actually enjoy the idea of being under Miss Frost's thumb, that is?"

     "No! I just…" Buffy sighed. "It's bad enough that I have to compete against another Slayer now. How am I supposed to compete with another Slayer who has a bunch of spiffy mutant helpers to throw at all her problems?"

     And this was why Giles thought that Watchers should be assigned in pairs - one male and one female - or work more closely with local talent. He knew how to kill dozens of species of demons, but when it came to helping Buffy untangle her social and emotional problems, he was completely out of his depth. Then again… perhaps one of the things he'd learned dealing with Buffy herself could help his Slayer now? "One of those 'spiffy mutant helpers' used to be a good friend of yours. And another wanted to be your friend at one point. Perhaps if you tried talking to them in a non-adversarial manner…" He trailed off as Buffy stared at him blankly. "Be nice to them and maybe they won't try to replace you with Kendra."

     After pondering that for a moment, Buffed nodded. "That makes sense. You know, maybe if I'm lucky I can catch all of them together tomorrow. Kendra owes me some answers about what she did with Angel, and I can talk to the others and score mutie points at the same time! It's perfect!"

     Giles opened his mouth, hesitated for a moment, and then closed it. Sometimes, one just had to let the child prod the flame…

November 23, 2011
Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters - Emma Frost's Classroom
Westchester, New York

     "Good morning, class." Greeted by half-hearted mumbles, Emma paused on her way to her desk and looked over at her class. "Let's try that again, shall we? Good morning, class."

     "Good morning, Professor Frost."

     "Oh boy! Good morning, Mother!" The class broke into snickers at Esme's enthusiastic greeting, and the leftmost quintuplet on their long couch at the back of the room blew a strand of hair out of her eyes before shrugging in response to Emma's exasperated expression. "What? We had breakfast with you. You're so controlling that we're hardly ever rid of you. You can't expect me to act like I'm thrilled to see you again. Especially at nine in the morning on a day when I didn't get to have any coffee."

     Scowling, Emma marched over to her desk, depositing a white folder and a small stack of papers as she grumbled under her breath. "Rotten child. Should have brought her to Sunnydale. Vampires might have gotten her." Whirling around to face the group of teenagers spread out before her, she pasted on a wide smile. "Today's class is going to involve memory manipulation, specifically memory recovery. Since our guinea pig seems to be running late, talk quietly amongst yourselves until he arrives." With that, she circled around behind her desk and sat down, opening the folder she'd brought and getting to work.

     In most classes, an order like that would have resulted in the low rumble of a dozen and a half people talking at once. But in Telepathy class… silence. Ivette opted to block out the psychic noise of her sisters talking amongst themselves, instead taking the time to examine the motley group that were her peers. Looking at them made her wonder about the science behind the X-gene; while the school's headmaster was proof that powerful male telepaths could exist, the girls in her class outnumbered the boys on a literal five to one basis. Then again, the exact opposite was true in the more combat-oriented power sets like energy projection and superhuman physical abilities, and so perhaps it all balanced out in the end.

     Like Esme and Sophie, Ivette needed to look to opposite sides of the couch and pillow-filled room to find two of the class's three boys. The two boys were almost exact opposite ends of the emotional spectrum: while Gene Hayes was calm, collected, and caring, Quentin Quire was a brilliant and powerful telepath who was ruled by his emotions and tended to let them get the better of him, often landing him in hot water with the professors. The third boy was tucked into the corner of the room at a small desk beside Emma's. As an empath, today's was a lesson that Manuel de la Rocha couldn't participate in, and so he was making the most of what was essentially a free period and working on other assignments.

     Then again, the girls were just as diverse. While most of the class was Caucasian, there was a splash of color off to one side: Cheyenne illusionist Danielle Moonstar, Vietnamese possessor Xi'an Coy Manh, and the dark-skinned Mary Sue named Monet St. Croix. Ivette bit back a chuckle as she eyed the latter; as odd as the term she'd found in Michelle's thoughts was, it certainly fit the girl. Monet had super-everything. The blonde glanced down at her chest and then over at Monet's before revising that statement. Perhaps not super everything…

     Then there were quiet Alice Hayes, who was rarely found more than ten feet away from her brother, and vivacious - to be polite; Ivette could think of a number of other terms for the girl - Regan Wyngarde. Purple-haired and preppy Betsy, creepy-looking Negasonic Teenage Warhead - Ellie Phimister was quite emphatic about wanting to be called by her post-human name - and eyeless Ruth Aldine. And the Five-in-One themselves, of course. Who… were starting to look about as varied as the rest of their classmates.

     Ivette looked down at her own outfit - the white blouse, skirt, knee socks, and loafers that had been the group's unofficial weekday uniform for so long - before looking first to her right and then to her left. On one side sat Sophie and Phoebe in their anachronistic, puffy white dresses. On the other, Esme was sprawled out on her back with her legs thrown over the back of the couch as Celeste shook her head in amusement, both clad in white leather pants once again albeit with different sweaters today. Both pairs were waiting for her to back their idea so they could impress it upon the others as their new 'normal', but Ivette wanted nothing to do with their little power struggle. If they didn't get her act together soon? Marie's layered, semi-gothic style might be passable in whites, light greys, and silvers. Or there were other students she could try emulating…

     When the classroom door opened, Ivette looked over curiously but it wasn't Professor Lo… err, Howlett as she'd expected. Instead, Professor Grey was leading Maeve Palmer into the room. Maeve was an interesting girl, and not just because she was 'three corpan away from being a baroness'. Which was a horrible way to phrase such a thing, unless she was trying to end up the prime suspect in any future investigation involving a dead relative. Gifted with psychometry, Maeve also had something that few others in the school had: a physical mutation. Unlike Ruth's 'simple' lack of eyes, though, hers was far more extreme and left her looking for all the world like the unholy lovechild of a woman, a Roswell alien, and a giant squid: rubbery blue-grey skin, bulbous black eyes, tentacles for hair, and fluttering gills on her neck.

     Behind them came her half-sister along with the class's newest member but before Ivette could greet Rachel, Maeve's voice grabbed her attention. Standing in front of Betsy, the diminutive Scot crossed her arms over her chest as she peered down at her roommate. "Braddock. Is that my scarf you're wearing?"

     "Wotcher, Maeve." Betsy grinned up at the girl, before looking down and fingering the black scarf wound around her neck. "Oh, this? Why yes. Yes it is. Would you like it back?" Maeve just narrowed her eyes at the purple-haired girl as Betsy unwound the scarf, holding it out to her. "Here you go."

     From her past dealings with Betsy, Ivette knew the girl was being uncharacteristically polite and therefore found herself waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maeve seemed similarly suspicious, eyeing Betsy distrustfully for a few seconds before reaching out to take the scarf. Her fingers curled around it and then she froze, her eyes slowly getting wider and wider. Letting out a shriek, she hurled the scarf at Betsy as she recoiled from the purple-haired girl. "Oh! Oh! Foul! You filthy, foul, disgusting little… siùrsach!"

     Betsy just smiled innocently as a torrent of Gàidhlig profanity erupted from Maeve, holding the scarf back out toward its owner. "Does that mean you don't want this back anymore?" Maeve's lip curled back to reveal a mouth full of sharp teeth and she lunged at Betsy, only to come up short as her momentum was arrested in midair. Behind her, Marie stood with one arm outstretched and a look of concentration on her face. Her hand trembled softly as she held the Scot in place, letting out a sigh of relief as Professor Grey took over for her, floating the petite girl away. Sighing theatrically, Betsy wrapped the scarf back around her neck before turning to Ellie. "Sheesh. Let your boyfriend tie your wrists together with your roommate's scarf while he buggers you senseless, and she treats you like you killed her kitten or something."

     Ugh. Ivette shuddered in disgust. That was more than she'd ever wanted to know about her classmate's sex life. Rising from the couch, she wandered over to where Marie and Rachel were standing. "Nice reflexes. Couldn't you have let Maeve get a hit or two in first, though?"

     "Sorry. I grabbed Rachel on instinct and, well, Rachel actually likes Betsy for some odd reason." Marie smiled shyly at Ivette before looking over at Rachel uncertainly, reaching up to play with one of the bright red tendrils of hair that framed her face. "As long as I'm borrowing your powers… those rumors going around about you having two moms… I'm kinda curious…"

     Rachel frowned as she contemplated that for a few seconds and then looked over at Emma, who nodded before turning back to her work. "Eh, what the hell? I mean, I think the only one who hasn't heard the news at this point is Kitty's monitor lizard." Actually, consider Kitty tended to talk to 'Lockheed' when deprived human companionship because she seemed pathologically incapable of being silent for more than a few seconds? That wasn't a bet Ivette was willing to take. "Not for very long, though; I don't know how we'd fix you if my powers wore off while you were in that form."

     Nodding, Marie took a deep breath and then exhaled slowly before transforming into a very close replica of Rachel's ruby form. Hers lacked the ball of flame where her heart should be, but that had nothing to do with Rachel's mutation and everything to do with something far bigger. Rachel offered a brief burst of applause before deciding to burn the bag before the cat could try crawling back into it, shifting from flesh and blood to blood red corundum herself. And then Ivette slipped into her diamond self because… well, she was feeling a bit left out to be honest.

     Given how little skin she had exposed, it took Marie a scant few seconds to look herself over to her satisfaction, and then she returned to her flesh and blood form. Rachel followed close behind but before Ivette could do likewise, Marie's hand shot out and wrapped around her glittering wrist. Ivette arched a crystalline brow at the action and Marie bit her lip nervously before offering an explanation. "One-fifty if you'll let me take some pictures of you like this." The other eyebrow rose as well. "What? I've got a recessed east-facing window. I'd have you pose on the window seat during the golden hour; you'd probably look spectacular in the light. Which sounds like something Professor Frost would say… or that Rachel might have heard Professor Frost say at some point. Great. I've added Rachel bits to the mess in my head."

     "You say that like it's a bad thing, Miss D'Ancanto." Emma looked up from her work again, peering over the top of her glasses at the brunette. "I would think my daughter would be a rather welcome addition to your mental menagerie, considering some of the other voices in your head. The hormonal Mississippi teenager, the Auschwitz survivor turned terrorist, Professor Howlett…"

     Marie appeared to struggle with that for a few seconds before surrendering. After all, it wouldn't do to insult the daughter of the woman who graded her. "Yes, Professor Frost." Nodding in satisfaction, Emma promptly went back to ignoring the class and Marie sighed before turning to Ivette. "Don't suppose I can borrow from you for a while? Rachel's always been nice to me, but first come random thoughts and next thing you know, I'll be braiding Betsy's hair or something…"

     …yeah, Ivette could see where that might be a problem. On the other hand, if there was one thing Ivette had learned from her mother, it was to never give something away for nothing. Unless she was giving to an organization with 501(c)(3) status, in which case it wasn't really for nothing because she could write it off on her taxes. "Not only will I model for you, but you can tap my powers for class and homework for the rest of the semester… if I can have the outfit from yesterday and at least one other. Preferably two."

     "Losing two whole outfits would be bad enough, but three outfits? I'd have to do laundry every single weekend or I'd have nothing clean to wear on Mondays. Two outfits, perks, and wardrobe replacement money."

     "Two, an extra shirt, perks, and a hundred dollars."

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