South Station - Track #9
December 24, 2011
South Station - Track #9
'Well, this is…'
Tara looked around, trying to think of something nice to say about the tiny bedroom she was sitting in. Using her own body as a rough measuring stick, she guessed it was only six and a half or seven feet in length and a few inches wider than it was long. The room would have been a tight fit for three teenagers no matter what, and the in-cabin bathroom that occupied a considerable amount of one corner did nothing to help that. '…it's cozy?'
A snort drew Tara's attention upward and she watched as Sophie forced the folding second bunk upward into the wall, securing it in place with Phoebe's help and making the room feel at least a tiny bit larger. 'We know, it's tiny. Our only consolation is that Mother's bedroom is just as small. It's already got her thinking about gutting the
Nor'easter and rebuilding it. Shrink that lounge into a more intimate living room, and we'll each gain three feet of bedroom. Which may not seem like much until you realize that'll make the room almost half again as big.'
Tara's first thought was that what the twins were describing sounded like the worst sort of conspicuous consumption, especially given that she was - at a minimum - the second owner of everything she was currently wearing. Then she realized that for what might be happening in the near future, having some extra room to work with might have been nice. Calling the bed she was sitting on 'twin-sized' would be generous, with little room left to spare once the twins seated themselves on either side of her. Not that she minded having them pressed up against her but, well, nothing brought a make out session to a screeching halt faster than falling off the bed. 'So…' 'Does this have something to do with us being curious about how you feed?'
Sophie exchanged a look with Phoebe before quickly amending that. 'If we were, I mean. Ivette could have been lying. …except I phrased that first question totally wrong for something I was trying to cast doubt on. Damn it. Can I wipe the last few seconds of your memory and then try that again?'
Grimacing, Tara shook her head rapidly. 'I'd really rather you not. Memories are important, even bad ones. Not that yours was particularly bad. Just… awkward for you. That, and you're right and so erasing my mind and starting over would just be a waste of time. I'm willing to teach you magic, or at least get you started down the path, but first I need… okay, magic lesson number one: the nature of magic. There are four sources, or at least four that I've been introduced to. The first is internal magic; you're calling on the power inside yourself. Not everyone has it and I used to call it a 'magical core', but then I met Faith and… well, who knows. Maybe being a mutant is close enough to being a Slayer or a witch and you'll get lucky. I hope so, because that's the easiest way to power the spell you want to learn.'
Phoebe sighed and shook her head at that. 'Which means with our luck, we won't be able to. Okay, so, if the first kind is internal… does that mean there's external magic too?' 'Actually, the other three kinds are all external, just coming from different sources: items, the earth itself, or deities. Items…'
Tara's hand came up to her chest, brushing over the pendant that was hidden under her tank top. She debated pulling it out, since the glowing gem made for a great visual example of an enchanted object, but then decided against it. The last thing she needed was someone accidentally discharging the crystal that helped her control her urges around pretty girls. 'Jewelry, weapons, clothes, armor, and even books can be enchanted and empowered by someone or something magical. After that, unless they have protections to block it, most can be activated and used by a normal person. After all, the power is already there; you're just supplying the will to guide it.'
A pale hand reached in from her left, and Tara watched in amazement as a slim silver band appeared around Phoebe's ring finger. Any uncertainty over whether the illusion had been hiding the ring or making one appear evaporated when it shifted into a thicker ring that reminded her of the class rings that the senior at her high school, and then onward into an even more intricate piece of jewelry. 'So you could, say, enchant some 'Rings of Levitation' for us with the right spell and then we'd be able to activate them and be 'telekinetic'?'
Tara pondered that for a moment before frowning and shaking her head. 'Well, I couldn't. I'm not that good. But someone could. Unless they got really creative, though, you'd be limited to just that one spell and so we should definitely try testing you for internal power first. The third source - pulling from the earth - is only an option if you can do that. It's not always a good idea, depending on the history of where you are, but it's a quick way go gain access to more power than you have on your own. And then deities… pretty much exactly what it sounds like: calling on the power of one or more of the higher powers. Most witches beseech Hecate, some call upon the Mórrígan, I prefer Ishtar because of my, um, nature… you could probably even appeal to that 'Thrúd' who's been spotted around New York a few times, although I'm not sure she'd be too happy to show up and hear you wanted something silly. Which brings me to the reason why it's not a good idea in the first place: you're asking someone for help. Most gods and goddesses aren't exactly the charitable types. If they respond and if they agree to do what you ask, there's always a price to pay.'
A soft giggle echoed through Tara's mind and then a hand holding a cell phone reached over from her other side. Tapping two fingers against the screen and spreading them, Sophie magnified a specific portion of Ishtar's Wikipedia article and Tara blushed as she realized what had caught the blonde's attention. 'Ishtar was the goddess of love and war, above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution.' 'So… what kind of price do you have to pay?' 'Funny you should ask that. See, the reason asking about me feeding led to a lesson on the nature of magic… is that my internal power actually has an external source.'
Tara brought one finger up, tapping it against her lips. 'When I'm 'hungry'? I run out of juice to do magic, and I'm running on pretty close to empty right now. So unless I get to feed tonight, I can do theory and meditation exercises with you, but Faith's trick is the only magic you're actually going to get to see.'
Looking back and forth, Tara nibbled on her lower lip nervously as the sisters stared at each other. Well, she'd put her needs - and herself - out there. Now she just had to wait while they decided how to rejected her, and then she could sli- 'So, what exactly are we talking about here?'
Eyes widening, Tara turned to stare at Sophie in disbelief. 'Kissing? Serious making out? Or do you need to go all the way? Because that might be pushing it; we want to learn magic but we just met you. Oh, and does the fact that there are two of us to feed from change anything?'
Tara's jaw worked soundlessly for several seconds. For the first time, someone knew what she was and the ulterior motive behind her wanting to be them… and they still wanted her? '…what? I mean… what? Are you serious?' 'No, I'm Phoebe. Sirius is Harry Potter's godfather.'
Phoebe actually laughed aloud at that as Tara buried her face in her hands, before reaching out to tug gently on Tara's hair until the brunette looked up. 'All jokes aside, I don't see the problem. Quid pro quo, really: you need something from us before you can give us what we want from you. Like how Mother pays for the food the servants need and then the servants cook it for us. And you're pretty, so it's not like feeding you is a fate worse than death or something.'
All of that made sense enough to Tara. All of it except for one part, that was. 'You think I'm pretty?'
Sophie nodded, the movement in the corner of Tara's eye drawing her attention back to her. 'So do I. Celeste and Esme too, to a degree. The only one who doesn't is Ivette, but she's a bit of weirdo.' 'We think she might be straight.' 'Eww. Oh, I hope not.' 'Shush, Sophie. She's our sister and we'll love her even if she is straight.' 'But then she'll be thinking about boys, and maybe even doing stuff with boys, and-' 'Maybe we can love her even if she's straight but suggest she become a nun?'
As amusing as the inversion of the traditional coming out conversation was… 'I can feed off any sexual activity. Heck, I can even take… Faith calls it 'sloppy seconds'; I kiss her and feed off the energy she's collected while out having fun.'
Tara paused, blushing darkly. That was actually where most of her energy had come from since moving to Boston, and she thanked the Goddess every day for Faith's method of burning off residual post-slaying energy. It was a bit awkward and Faith loved to tease her about it, but it was far easier than trying to find her own prey while adjusting to new surroundings and a new school. 'Firsthand is much stronger, though, and obviously the further things go, the more I can feed from.'
There was a moment of silence as the twins absorbed that, and then Sophie brought her left hand down to rest on Tara's thigh as she leaned across the brunette's lap. 'So then if I do this…'
Reaching up, Sophie tangled her free hand in Phoebe's hair and pulled her sister in for a kiss, making Tara's jaw drop for the second time in only a few minutes. As the kiss continued, Tara was reminded of a perk of telepathy: one didn't need their mouth free to talk. '…and then she kisses you after we're done, you'll get more energy?'
Pulling back, she licked her lips slowly before grinning at Tara. 'What? All of us experience what happens to one of us. So we decided to learn to kiss on each other. Made more sense than sending one sister to do it while the rest of us mentally eavesdrop. That'd just be weird.'
Evidently she and the quintuplets had very different ideas of what was and wasn't weird, but Tara wasn't going to argue. Mostly because it was freaking hot to watch. 'I don't know. I've only eve-'
Suddenly, Phoebe's lips were on hers and Tara's mind short-circuited, bringing her telepathic conversation to a halt. Without conscious thought, her powers roared to life and Tara felt a gentle tingling in her lips as her body began to absorb precious, life-sustaining energy from Phoebe. All too soon, though, the kiss was over and she found herself with both blondes staring at her curiously. '…I think I felt something, but I'm not sure. Could be because it was just two quick kisses, though.' 'Oh.'
Sophie looked from Tara to her sister and back before offering a grin that tried and failed to be innocent. 'Maybe we should try a few more experiments? Just so we're sure?'
Leaning further across Tara's lap, she took her sister's head in her hands and kissed Phoebe again, harder this time. And… was that tongue?
Tara grinned as she reached out tentatively with her right hand, resting it on Sophie's ass and then squeezing. This was definitely a plan she could get behind…