Disclaimer: "Hey everybody! Today we have a special guest with us to read the disclaimer! Please welcome the one, the only, CORNELIA HALE!"

cricket chirps in awkward silence

"Um, okay then. Cornelia, would you please be so kind as to read this?" Hands Cornelia a notecard

Corny: "Kandrakargrl does not own WITCH or I Love Lucy. If she did, Irma would actually have a storyline, Taranee and Nigel would have kissed already (A/N: we're only up to book 17 here) and Cornelia would get those awful portal headaches instead of Will…HEY!"

"Enjoy the story people!" ducks out of the room as Corny's hands start glowing green

Chapter One

Irma: Where We Were

(General POV)

Irma Lair had never been one for sappy, happy-go-lucky recalls of memories…at least, that's what she let on to everyone. I'm the spirit of our little group, she'd always tell herself whenever she felt her mind and soul slipping back into what she now knew was that little feeling of loneliness. If I don't keep up the happy, who's going to? Corny? She chuckled a little at that. Will? Taranee? No…I just have to work through it. I always have. No one has to know…ever. But now, looking out onto the dull crystal waters that fanned out before her, she wasn't sure she could take bottling those emotions anymore. So she let the memory into her mind, the memory of the day when she had met her best friend, Hay Lin:


Suddenly, Irma was seven years old again, skipping across the sand in her still warm from the laundry Boy Comet t-shirt without a care in the world. And then the cave came into view. It was absolutely the most beautiful thing Irma had ever seen, a glimmering cavern in the shape of a shell. She'd spent so many sun-filled days and star littered nights exploring every nook and cranny that haven had to offer her, letting herself get wrapped up in the freedom of it all.

But when she peeked her head into the fogged up darkness that particular day, she discovered she wasn't the only little girl who came calling for the most outrageous adventures to take over her day. A wiry little Asian girl had a stick of chalk running wild on the floor of the cave, and Irma just stood there, frozen in awe as she watched the little girl draw.

Even though she had to be roughly Irma's age, the girl could draw. It wasn't exactly the clearest drawing, but Irma could make out a beautiful blue palace, looking like something out of the world of Atlantis (A/N: If you've seen the comics, you know what I'm talking about here) But the thing that most fascinated Irma was that hair. It traveled almost stick straight down to the girl's waist in two rippling, shiny pigtails. Self-consciously, Irma's hand flew to her own wavy brown locks.

The girl finally noticed her standing there, raised her head up, and instantly smiled the biggest, pearliest grin Irma had ever seen. "Hi!" she chirped, picking herself up off the ground and running over to Irma. "My name is Hay Lin? What's yours? Do you want to be my friend? Come color with me!"

Even though she was slightly…okay VERY freaked out, Irma managed to answer Hay Lin's questions. "I'm Irma," she said as Hay Lin dragged her over to a bucket of chalk. "And sure, I'll be your friend."

Irma didn't think it was possible, but Hay Lin's grin grew even wider. "Great! Here you go," she said as she handed Irma an ocean-blue piece of chalk. Irma smiled and set the point of the chalk down onto the dank hard floor. And then, even though she hadn't the slightest clue what that building Hay Lin was drawing was, she knew exactly where to pick up where her new friend had left off. And with her soon-to-be-water-wielding hand, she filled in ethereal landscape of a little place called Candracar.

End Flashback

And ever since that day, Irma and Hay Lin had been the Lucy & Ethel of Heatherfield, inseparable practically from the day they had become friends. Best friends. The kind of friends to who you told your innermost dreams, thoughts, schemes, and fears. But what Irma didn't know as she gazed across the frothing waves was that Hay Lin was keeping a secret as big as hers, and that both of them, who had sworn to be there for each other to the end, would be tested so rigorously that maybe they would actually think twice about whether they could keep that promise.

Like? Don't like? R&R please! Flames will be used to help Taranee with her target practice.