Fandom taught me how to behave...

thesandpiper


The Sandpiper Hotel

Where it all goes down...


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Show Premiere: Vermillion
Fandom taught me how to behave...
thesandpiper


The second the girl in the glass room hit omega, Desdemona felt it.

Mrs. Quiroz hovered around in the background, making the mood all the more tense – like a bumblebee in a room full of allergic kids. Had it been up to Desdemona, Mrs. Quiroz wouldn’t have been there. She generally worked much better when she wasn’t being monitored. Then again, she would have eventually had to get used to being watched now that she was about to graduate.

Desdemona knew of this girl only in the vaguest sense. She was the tall black girl who seemed to always be down the hall whenever Desdemona walked to class.

She noticed the girl twitch just the slightest and waved her hand. Not even a twitch could be tolerated in this situation. If Guster was really as powerful as they insisted, then regaining control of her movements could result in a tornado.

When Guster hit omega, it hit Desdemona with the force of a ton of bricks. Her limbs grew heavy, her eyelids wanted to close. Guster’s subconscious was fighting back, working at a full capacity she couldn’t control when she was in her right mind.

A quick look over at Mrs. Quiroz confirmed that she was speaking in low tones with Annabelle, the young secretary who Amoret had taken it upon herself to terrorize. Amoret had gone for a moment, probably to the bathroom or to get a bottle of water from the student center, so Annabelle had apparently decided to complain to Mrs. Quiroz about the unruly student. Not like there was anything Mrs. Quiroz could do, Amoret was as terrible as she had been at six, as she had been at ten, as she had been at thirteen and she would be at twenty-five and fifty. Making people miserable was her specialty and unfortunately for Annabelle the Secretary, Amoret had her targeted since the moment she’d first laid eyes on her.

Desdemona turned back to the glass pane in time to see Guster clambering to her feet. She looked down at her hands quickly. Guster had been under full sedation, there was no way she could have –

With no time to think about it, Desdemona pressed her palm against the glass, her veins stretching against the skin on her wrist, and felt her ribs press down in her chest. The power ebbed from her slowly, but not enough to put Guster back under. Desdemona was an omega herself, but she’d never gone up against another omega – there weren’t many in the world, let alone high-school aged ones. Even Amoret, highly lauded as one of the most powerful witches in their age group, had yet to crack omega status.

Speaking of Amoret.

“What the fuck is going on?” The dragon herself was apparently back from wherever she'd gone. Annabelle the Secretary quickly fled, not wanting to incur Amoret’s rage again for being in view.

Desdemona’s power slipped again and the glass in front of her cracked down the center. Wind pounded against the barrier from Guster’s side. The cracks began to spread, turning into spider webs before the window finally shattered and fell to the ground. Before Desdemona felt even a hint of Guster’s power, Amoret had waved her hand and each individual shard of glass flew back into its original spot.

“Get her!” Amoret flicked her free hand at Desdemona. Desdemona managed to ensnare Guster under her spell once again, but not before the locket around her neck grew unbearably hot.

Cy.

Desdemona had done it without him knowing when they were kids. It was a Papas thing, invented by one of her ancestors far back in the day when Papas women were hired out as protectors of children. If he was hurt, she would be the first to know.

“I’ll keep Guster,” Amoret said, her eyes locked on the glass. Desdemona wasn't surprised that Amoret knew about the locket. She'd seen Amoret's eyes on it before they'd even formally met two years ago.

Desdemona glared at Amoret. “This is my job.”

“No,” Amoret pointed to the locket. “If Cy’s in trouble, Owen’s in trouble. You have to go report that.”

“Report the un-registered magical tracking device that I made for a normal when I wasn’t age of majority yet?” Desdemona hissed, lowering her voice so that Mrs. Quiroz couldn’t hear her – she was too busy staring at the screen of her laptop trying to record Guster’s rising magic levels. “You’re the smartest girl in school, Amoret, so tell me. How many laws would I be breaking there?”

“Six,” Amoret said quickly. “If you don’t mention the underaged thing.” In one swift movement, she snatched the locket from Desdemona’s neck. “You’re life sucks enough already, Papas. I’ve got you for this one.”

She closed her fingers around the pendant and in a split second, Desdemona felt the magic linking her mind to Cy’s health snap. Amoret wrapped the long chain of the locket around her hand and stuffed it into her pocket.

Amoret’s wide brown eyes met hers in something of a terrifying gaze. “No ‘thank you’?”

“I didn’t ask for any favors,” Desdemona muttered. “So don’t think that’s what you just did for me.”

“Of course not,” Amoret smiled, taking a step back. “In fact, you just did a favor for me, Papas.”

“I don’t want it repaid,” Desdemona determined. She wasn’t sure if Amoret had ever repaid a favor before, but if she did, it had probably ended badly.

“Just keep her down,” Amoret urged her. “Make sure she doesn’t make shit worse than it already is. I’ll handle Cy, Owen… and whatever witch is fucking shit up.”

In a blink, Amoret had disappeared, following the chain of magic she’d modified to Owen.

“Where’s Amoret?” Mrs. Quiroz asked, walking over to Desdemona only seconds later.

“Her father called her home,” Desdemona lied. “He said it wasn’t safe for her to be out.” She spared a glance at the teacher. “You know how Fernandez is. He would never let anyone, let alone us get in the way of his daughter’s safety.”

Mrs. Quiroz gave a heavy sigh. “We’re sending a team out to the witch’s house to collect her. I meant for Amoret to come…”

“Maybe it’s a better idea that she didn’t,” Desdemona pointed out.

“Still,” Mrs. Quiroz looked at Guster through the glass window. “She’s our success story. And a little bird told me that Wilson-Krauss just put Sara Goycolea on their recruitment team.”

“Sara?” Desdemona shrugged. “Never heard of her.” She didn’t recognize the name ‘Goycolea’ either as being a particularly strong witching bloodline.

“You will soon,” Mrs. Quiroz said unhappily. “She’s becoming a hell of an elemental manipulator.”

~*~


Amoret’s raison d’etre was pissing her off again, not that this was unusual at all. Owen had a knack for making her angry, but in such a cheeky way that she anticipated it happening again the next day.

The wind outside swept her hair astray, blowing her perfectly-coiffed bangs around unflatteringly. Amoret would have scoffed if anyone had been around to see, or hear it. Instead, her eyes scanned the streets around the school for any signs of trouble. Owen had a reputation for being a cautious driver, and in weather like this it probably would have taken ten minutes for him just to triple-check that Cy had his seatbelt on securely.

Amoret took out the locket. It was old and heavy, almost the size of a pocket-watch, with Greek letters etched into the back. There were five of them, so Amoret figured they spelled out Papas without too much trouble. Today hadn’t been the first time Amoret noticed the locket – sometime during the beginning of their shared time at Vermillion, Amoret had seen it and known it was magical. Desdemona wore it everywhere, even when swimming at her pool at home. Normal necklaces rusted once in a while, and normal necklaces didn’t rattle on occasion when their wearer ran, and normal necklaces certainly didn’t have eight teeth, two strands of hair belonging to separate people and a fingernail in them. One of the teeth had been Cy’s – with the rough and tumble childhood he’d had, it had probably been knocked out in a mosh pit not long before they’d started school – and now it was Owen’s. Amoret had made sure of that. A simple diversion spell had given Amoret the connection that Desdemona held over the amulet. It wouldn’t last for long.

The locket pulsed furiously in Amoret’s clutch, much hotter now than it had been on Desdemona’s neck. She was getting warmer. She closed her eyes and followed the line blindly. Within a moment she stood in front of the wreck.

The pick-up truck Owen had been a posthumous gift from his favorite aunt, a rodeo owner who’d gotten smushed by bulls or something just about a year ago. He’d kept it in the same condition sparkling condition that she did, but it was still an old truck with a risky break system and bad shocks. The wind had knocked it back, probably the very second that Guster went omega, flipping it upside-down once, pushing it it down the road maybe half a mile, then flipping it right-side up again.

Amoret went to Cy’s side first. The door melted into sand with a glance and the seatbelt undid itself with a loud click. Amoret reached in and touched his forehead.

“Wake up.” His eyes snapped open. It took him a second to adjust to the adrenaline flowing through his veins. Amoret grabbed a water bottle from near his feet – Owen had a thing against throwing away beverages that he drank in his car – and shoved it into his hands. “Drink.”

“Witch,” he coughed once his voice came back. The water stayed untouched in his hands.

“Fucking drink it,” she ordered.

“Did you have to be the one to find us?”

“Shut up.” Cy’s eyes drifted over to the driver’s side and he jumped out of the car.

“He’s bleeding!” Amoret saw him reach for the door and dissolved it before he could touch the handle. She climbed in through the other side of the pick-up. The seatbelt popped open with a click just as Cy reached for his friend’s head, trying to locate the source of the blood.

“I’ll do it,” Amoret murmured, but Cy pulled Owen out quickly before she could put her hands on him.

“You’re a witch, not a nurse. Who knows what your patch-up magic will do to his head.” Cy raised his eyes to meet hers – daring her to try and challenge him. He was right, of course. She wasn’t trained in doctoral magic, that would come later if it was decided that she was good enough at skin-grafts and blood-making. Her magic would probably hurt Owen in the long-run. Cy scoffed. “Just send up the signal.”

Amoret thought about making a comeback to his words, but Cy had found the source of the blood running down Owen’s face before she could think of one. When he moved hair out of the way of the wound, blood spurted again, covering his hands and prompting Cy to let out a small, strangled noise – one that Amoret was sure she wasn’t meant to hear at all.

Amoret took a deep breath and extended her left arm to the sky. The help signal left her fingertips, a long, red burst of flame that stretched out in mid-air and sparked as it got higher.

Not two minutes later, the nurses from Vermillion had descended onto scene. Cy scrambled back from where he’d been sitting once they had Owen on the stretcher and began coughing himself. He set his eyes on Amoret and nodded.

“840 South Tango.”

Amoret nodded. “840 South Tango.”

“If we go there… and I prove that she’s not a witch…” Cy glanced at his best friend, then locked eyes with Amoret again, “will this be over?”

“We’d have to find the real witch and tap her –“

“Can you do that?” Cy interrupted, too impatient to listen to the end of her sentence. “Whatever you need to do to stop this shit so that Guster gets back to normal, can you do it?”

After a moment, Amoret shrugged. “My car’s at Vermillion.”

~*~


It was an entirely odd feeling having Cy in her car. Owen had been in her car once, Desdemona quite a few times on a trip to go pick up jugs of water to turn into liquor for her parties, and several of her girlfriends had piled into the car all at once when they went up to LA to go clubbing, but never Cy. Of course, the car had only been in her legal possession for a few months. Her shiny, black Jaguar XF was her pride and joy, especially when she’d first gotten it and had been the first of her friends to drive their own car. Of course, Desdemona had a town car and a chauffeur to cart her around, but it wasn’t the same as the freedom provided by an unsupervised set of wheels.

Amoret automatically chided Cy when he reached to touch the radio controls. “Don’t touch that.” He recoiled quickly and leaned heavily against the car door, apparently trying to stay as far away from her in the enclosed space as possible.

The next few minutes on the freeway passed in a silence that worried Amoret. Cy wasn’t the kind to keep quiet, especially not towards her. He talked persistently, often only to hear the sound of his own voice and mostly with the added intention of pissing people off. This was, after all, the guy who, at the age of twelve, stood up in the middle of his cousin Carla’s wedding vows and asked loudly if he could go take a piss. Silence just didn’t come naturally to him.

Amoret bit the bullet and asked the first question. “When was the last time you saw your sister?” She wasn’t sure how to refer to the girl – whom Owen had talked to her about all of once during the course of their relationship. He’d said “Blue,” but Cy would probably jump down her throat if she used the same nickname for his sister.

After a second of thinking, Cy finally answered her question. “Last month. I went to the movies with…” he shrugged. “Alissa? Ana? Ava? Something with an A. She was getting popcorn, I guess she was going with some friends to see that stupid Cameron Diaz movie or something.”

“You guys don’t talk?”

“Never found reason to. She looked happy.”

Ironically, Amoret’s Jag was gliding up the smooth, clean pavement of the Garcia family driveway when she said the words, “Well, appearances can be deceiving. Trust me.”

Cy noticed the shocked up-and-down looks she gave his former residence and smirked wryly. “You like the place?” He stepped out of the car with a sudden grace that came with arriving on one’s home turf and stretched his arms, non-plussed at the size of the home. It wasn’t quite as big as Desdemona’s, but it was definitely larger than Owen’s house – at least double the size. “My grandparents went conventional in their mid-fifties, which pissed my parents the fuck off because they weren’t done complaining at the government yet. Abuelo and Abuelita gave Ama and Papa a huge amount of cash provided they get their asses out of the commune and into the suburbs. Ama and Pa put half of it into this apocalyptic beast and gave the other half to the commune, just to piss them off.”

The house was colossal, about the size of the Fernandez house in Miami, where Amoret’s father’s relatives lived – about twelve of them anyways. It wasn’t pretty like all of the other houses on this block either. It sat on the land, huge and square, with small windows fit for prisoners. No wonder Cy spent most of his childhood trying to get out of here, obviously his parents had bought the house as another of protest rather than a respectable home to raise happy children in. They obviously hadn’t given it a paint job in the past decade, and the front garden was overrun with weeds.

Amoret searched futilely for pathway from the driveway to the front door, several steps away, but ended up following Cy when he stomped through the weed-ridden garden. He searched through his pockets for a second before coming up with a key-ring and stuck a darkened silver key into the hole. Amoret turned and stared down the long driveway.

“They’re coming,” she said. “Get inside. They’re coming.”

“Calm down,” Cy rolled his eyes. “I live here, with a key to the house. As far as they know, I’m just bringing a friend home to study.”

Amoret scoffed. “Like you ever study.” He gestured for her to get into the house and she acquiesced.

“Blue?” Cy called out into the huge empty foyer. “Blue?”

Cy?” the return call came. Footsteps echoed throughout the entire hall, preceding the petite girl who appeared seconds later. Blue, Amoret assumed. She had the unmistakable look of a girl playing hooky – robe still on, hair up in a bun, mug of tea in one hand and slippers on her feet. Blue herself resembled Cy in just the slightest ways, a pointed chin and blue eyes being the only sign that this girl was at all related to the six-two football player standing next to Amoret. Aside from her obviously-dyed bright-red hair, she didn’t wear any visible body modifications like Cy did. Her eyes widened at the sight of her older brother. “What are you doing here?” she hissed.

“Did you ditch school?” Cy demanded. “I thought you didn’t ditch!”

“L-O-L,” Blue rolled her eyes. “Like middle school grades even count.”

“Ugh!” Cy groaned, striding forward and grabbing his sister by the arm. Blue shrieked.

“Yo! Tea!”

Amoret followed the siblings into a kitchen with dishes overflowing from the sink and the distinct smell of rotted fruit in the air. Blue broke out of Cy’s grasp and made a show of giving him the middle finger.

“When did you dye your hair?” Cy asked, pointing at Blue’s red hair. “I thought they didn’t let you do that?”

“They loosened the rules after you, ummm, left?” Blue hopped in a tall barstool and cradled her mug. “Didn’t care what I did to my hair as long as it was all-natural dye.”

Cy scoffed. “Typical. I do all the work and you get a free ride through your… teenage-hood.”

Blue scoffed right back at her brother. “Adolescence. You’d know that if you ever picked up a book or stopped fucking around long enough to bother about school.” She looked past Cy at Amoret, who had been nonchalantly watching the whole situation go down. She doubted she’d ever get a chance to watch the Garcia siblings in their natural habitat again after this, so why not enjoy it? Blue’s eyes narrowed when they found her though. “Quien es ella?

Cy answered in rapid-fire Spanish that Amoret wasn’t able to pick up on. She wasn’t even sure most of it was proper Spanish, probably some fucked up pidgin they’d put together while living in communes for the first part of their life. What little Spanish she’d picked up from visiting her father’s relatives didn’t help at all to understand him.

She cleared her throat to interrupt Cy. “My name is Amoret. I’m a friend.”

Blue raised one dark red eyebrow at Cy. “Friend of yours?”

“She’s Owen’s girlfriend.”

“Owen slutty Owen?” Blue shot back.

“Don’t disrespect, she’s company.” Cy nudged Blue authoritatively. He looked back at Amoret, his eyes suddenly gaining the age of an older brother trying to keep his younger sister in line. “Amoret Moore, this is my sister Bluebell Mary. Blue, this is Amoret.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Blue said, a sarcastic smile quickly covering her lips. Cy pushed her again, this time rougher. “But what are you doing here?”

Cy answered before Amoret could edge a word in. “She’s a witch. She wants to help you make some decisions.”

“About what?”

You’re a witch,” Amoret said, speaking quickly before Cy could.

Maybe,” Cy added.

“A witch?” Blue’s wide eyes swerved back to Cy. “What are you talking about?”

“They think you’re a witch.”

“Who is they?”

“Us,” Amoret said. “Or, the administrative faculty at Vermillion Girls’ School.”

“That’s impossible,” Blue crossed her arms. “Cy, you told them that’s impossible, right? That’s impossible. We’re not witches.”

“We aren’t,” Cy agreed.

“But you are,” Amoret corrected, looking at Blue. “Why’d you stay home from school today?”

“Migraine,” Blue answered. “Told Ma when I woke up, she made me tea and told me to stay home.”

“You been getting them a lot? Especially the last few months?”

“A little,” Blue replied. “It’s not a big deal.”

“Those migraines,” Amoret began. “Witchcraft is mental. It’s us tapping into that huge chunk of grey matter that normals don’t have access to and using it to shape the world like we want it. Those migraines are like your brain making pathways to those previously inaccessible places. The more powerful you are, the more painful those migraines get.”

Blue’s eyes shifted from Cy, back to Amoret quickly. “Say I believe you. What do I do about the migraines? Do they just wear off?”

“You’re taken in by a school,” Amoret explained. “There they… temporarily relieve you of your abilities until you’re taught how to access those mental pathways without your brain exploding. There are machines, spells…”

If she’s a witch,” Cy cut in. “Let’s not jump the gun.”

“Stop denying it, Cy!” Amoret snapped. “Your sister’s a witch. We don’t know how it happened or why, but it’s happening.”

“We don’t know that!” Cy’s voice grew desperate. “She could still be normal.”

“What’s your problem, Cy?” Amoret asked. “You act like we’re trying to figure out whether or not she has leprosy. She’s a witch! Do you know what a gift this is?”

“A gift?” Cy rolled his eyes. “You seriously think it’s a gift to be locked into one power, one life, one job for the rest of your life when the only alternative is to have your ‘gift’ cut out of your brain? That is not a gift, Moore, it’s a fucking leash.”

Amoret’s mouth gaped open, her mind unprepared for his words. Bluebell Mary was looking frantically between the two and even Cy looked shocked at his own words. Before Amoret could reply, the doorbell rang.

Amoret took a deep breath and turned her eyes to Bluebell Mary.

“If you’re a witch, I don’t care what anyone on the other side of that door says, remember this: know who you are. If you want to go to Wilson-Krauss, I don’t care; if you want to go to Vermillion, I don’t care. I know you’re thirteen and this is kind of a big deal, but you have to just keep calm and remember where you came from. Otherwise you’ll lose everything. You understand?”

Bluebell Mary didn’t respond. The arm holding onto the seat of the chair she sat on shook violently.

“Fine,” Cy said after a moment. “If we’re all just going to stand here, then I’ll get the goddamn door. Not even my goddamn house…” he stalked away into the entrance of the foyer. Bluebell Mary exhaled.

“Is it true what he says?” she asked. “If I’m a witch, I don’t get to chose what I do?”

“You get options,” Amoret said, side-stepping the question. “And you get the power to change the world.”

~*~


On May 13th of Owen’s junior year in high school, he woke up on the floor of Desdemona Papas’ dining room with a pair of Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses on, clutching what appeared to be a coke can but smelled like it was just plain rum.

Desdemona’s hemp slippers appeared in his line of vision, blurry at first but then clearer. She grabbed the coke can away from him and put an Advil in his hand and a bottle of water near his head. After downing the pill with a sip of water, Owen clambered to his feet, his head spinning just the slightest. Witches could do a lot, but generally high schoolers were limited when it came to dealing with hangovers.

Owen arrived into the living room to see Desdemona standing in front of the plasma screen T.V. idly pressing buttons on the remote control – MTV, CW, VH1, The Weather Channel and all sorts of other things flashed onto the screen before Desdemona chose some soap opera to watch and threw the remote on the couch.

“Did you hear?” she asked.

“About your graduation?” Owen guessed. It was in less than a month and it was all Cy talked about anymore. Last night in particular Cy had gotten extremely smashed and started crying, which was when Desdemona dosed him with a sleeping pill and stuck him in a guest room.

Desdemona glared at him, but spoke anyways. “About Bluebell Mary.”

“What about Bluebell Mary?” Owen asked, taking a seat on the couch next to her. And more importantly, what was for breakfast?

“She’s a molly,” Desdemona said, a smile creeping across her lips. “Same thing as Amoret. They’re speculating that she might be even more powerful than Amoret…”

Owen felt the blood drain out of his face at those words. More powerful than Amoret? Not that that wasn’t cool for Cy’s little sister and everything, but…

“She’s going to tear her apart with her bare hands,” Owen mused.

“Oh yeah,” Desdemona snorted. “Wish I could be here next year because it’s gonna be a hell of a school year for you guys.”

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