Disclaimer: Do I own W.I.T.C.H or The Life and Times of Juniper Lee? No, Disney and Cartoon Network do, respectively. This a non-profit work that is derived from established characters and settings. Enough legalese, onward to adventure! Er, just scroll down, I mean.
Summary: (W.I.T.C.H/The Life and Times of Juniper Lee) When Yan Lin is summoned by an old friend, the Guardians of Candracar and the Te Xuan Ze must unite to stop an old enemy-if they don't take each other out first. Part of the Never Too Young Crossover Universe.
Author's Notes: When I was getting "NTY" together I saw the episode where it was revealed that Juniper Lee was trapped inside her hometown by a Te Xuan Ze-proof forcefield. Nice drama, but what about my story? Then this one hit me. There are no specific spoilers for the "NTY" main series and very little spoilage for if you've already starting reading the "Never Too Young" story itself.
One thing this will explain is June's mad love for Will in "Never Too Young" (platonic love, of course.) It was orginally going to be called "Guardians and Protectors" but that title seemed too generic and I brain-stormed until I got the current one. Sorry for the confusion if there was any.
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone that soar above
Enjoy such liberty.
from "To Althea, From Prison", Richard Lovelace
Freedom is the illusion of an imprisoned mind. - All About Everything, Leonid S. Sukhorukov
It is true I wished to escape; and so I wish still; is not this lawful for all prisoners? - Joan of Arc
Chapter One: Calling for Freedom
The beautiful city of Orchid Bay is surrounded by green hills and the blue ocean, making it a scenic spot where few would ever want to leave. The few that would are kept here by circumstance, broken down cars, a fear of public transportation, or, in Juniper Kim Lee's case, a gigantic magical force-field that covered the corporate limits of the quaint city that served as a nexus for the many layers of the magical dimensions, like the pit of a inter-dimensional peach.
Obviously, Juniper Kim Lee isn't your average eleven-year-old girl.
Slam! Slam! Slam! Fists the size of small apples hit the force-field with enough power to shred sheet metal like toilet paper. Yet the supernatural energy held, silently mocking her attempts at freedom. "Huarrrrrrragh!" she cried with each swing, breathing raggedly as she swung at the barrier.
In her logical mind, she knew it was useless. The barrier was placed there by the Elders, beings of supreme magical power. Even the Te Xuan Ze, the Protector of the magical worlds who was endowed with fantastic strength and abilities, would not be able to pierce it. So why did she even attempt to?
If you asked June (from a safe distance, say, the next county) she would tell you, "Because it looked at me wrong." And if you couldn't accept that... your funeral.
Minutes before June had been walking home after breaking up an underground cockatrice fighting ring. As she skimmed the eastern edge of the barrier her gaze drifted to the roads just a few hundred feet away from the invisble force-field. Roads that led to other cities, to other people, to dreams... June had felt the sorrow building in her and the anger that was fed by it; her grandmother had warned her about letting her emotions run wild, but even her Ah-Mah's loving voice began to fade in her growing rage. Finally, she just snapped, running to the barrier and attempted to clobber the hell out of it.
She would have had better luck breaking a mountain; even stone was more yielding than the arcane energies that held her future inside the city limits. "Aaaaaaaahhhhhh!" Hands clasped together, she slammed them against her unmoving foe in one final assault. The earth shook under her feet from the kinetic energy of the blow transferred back through her small frame, but the barrier didn't even flicker.
June collapsed to her knees, dragging her hands along the barrier as she stared at those roads. Tears begin to well up in her eyes and the beginnings of sobs began to wrack her petite form. Even her colossal will power and stubbornness was overwhelmed by her pain. She turned and sat with her back pressed toward the barrier, her face held in her hands as hot tears soaked her palms.
"Help me," the Protector whispered, not knowing who she was beseeching. Not even the gods could aid her. "Please. Help me! Someone..."
"The reign of the Incan Emperor Kuzco is considered to be an age that blurs the line between myth and history," Professor Dean Collins said to his sedate last period class at the Sheffield Institute. "The most prevalent story is that Emperor Kuzco was able to change shape into numerous animals, including a llama." The students that were awake and listening chuckled. "Of course, we do know that the Kuzco dynasty was rife with political intrigue and, surprisingly, elaborate musical numbers..."
When your mother was dating your history teacher, you had to pay that extra bit of attention to keep him from having a "talk" with her, Wilhelmina "Will" Vandom told herself to force her eyes open wider. Not that Dean tried to get her into trouble or anything to score points with his lady friend; worse, he seemed to genuinely care.
Will knew this should be a good thing, but every time he thought she wasn't getting enough sleep he brought more attention to Will's extra-curricular activities; this was the last thing Will wanted. It wasn't that she smoked pot or hung out with a bad crowd or anything; Will liked to think her mother would proud of the fact that she did good things for people. And... not-so-good things to not-so-good people.
As a Guardian of the Infinite Dimensions and empowered by the talsiman called the Heart of Candracar, Will felt that fifty percent of her life was helping others. While she was used to people asking for help, it was rarely at a good time.
Like... wait for it... now.
Will jerked upright in her seat, eyes darting around the classroom. No one gave her abrupt movement a second thought; history class was the universal depressant when it came to humanity. Even the usually vivacious Irma Lair was sluggishly doodling in her seat next to Will and their teacher Dean Collins seemed half-awake himself as he described the role of a llama herder in Emperor Kuzco's return to the throne. The only person fully conscious was Will, thanks to the voice in her head.
In most people voices in their heads would be a cause for concern and possibly an MRI, but for Will mysterious voices were still a concern but not a possibility of mental illness. What it was a possibility of was someone needing help, but Will wasn't certain who it was. To find out she have to do one of the hardest things a Guardian could: wait for the three o'clock bell to ring.
When Will finally caught up with Irma outside the front gate to Sheffield Institute the Water Guardian was doing cartwheels of joy at the beginning of a three-day weekend. Her mood immediately took a turn for the sour when she saw Will's face and collapsed on the grass. "Rut-roh, Raggy, I know that look. Is it a G-Thing?"
"Maybe," Will said uncertainly as she helped Irma up and they made for the Guardian meeting place. "Did someone call you for help last period?"
"Er, Martin asked me to carry some equipment for him before the last bell, but that's it. And he pledged his undying love again and if that's not a cry for help..."
"No, no, I mean... in your head." Will pointed at her temple for emphasis.
"Ahhhhh... this is the point where I would normally check your temperature and ask if you hit your noggin, but with our 'alternative' lifestyle, I'm just going to skip the 'normal' routine. No, I didn't hear anyone calling for help. Who did it sound like?"
Will examined the voice in her memory. "It was... a girl. Crying. A little younger than us, I think, a few years maybe. And it was close... in this dimension, close. Don't ask me how I know, but I do."
Irma sighed explosively. "And there goes my weekend. First spring break and now... hey, did she have an accent or anything?"
"No, not really."
"Hmmm, so she's in this country. And she's not from the South. Well, that narrows it down. There's like, what, over three-hundred million people in all, cut out the guys and any females older than us below the Mason-Dixon line... wow, we're still screwed."
Will smiled apologetically. "I'm sorry, I wish I had more..."
Irma patted her on the shoulder. "Ah, it's not your fault. Let's save the details until we get to the Dragon so you don't have to repeat yourself. Oh, man; Corny's going to be ticked when she finds out our weekend's shot."
"I am so ticked! Don't tell me my weekend's shot... why are you laughing, Irma?!" Cornelia Hale, Guardian of Earth and Mistress of All Things Fashionable, glared at her verbal sparring partner as Irma guffawed. Will and Irma had met up with the Air Guardian Hay Lin and Fire Guardian Taranee Cook on the way to the Chinese restaurant Hay Lin's family owned, the Silver Dragon; this nice little ethnic restaurant nestled in the heart of Heatherfield was the command center for the protection of Earth from cosmic threats.
Forget the Pentagon; the fate of humanity rested among piles of fortune cookies and dirty dishes, the battle plans drawn in the cavernous basement where the Guardians were now meeting.
Cornelia was the last to arrive and had rushed in at Taranee's psychic summons to touch base with her friends before figure-skating practice; her green leotard was covered by a track suit that must have cost more than the others' entire outfits, including their "Unmentionables" and socks. Irma silently mused on the absurdity of a designer track suit that was just going to get sweaty anyway as Cornelia continued to whine. "I am serious here; if I have to cut out on any more practices, my coach will bench me for the next competition."
"But Cornelia," Hay Lin implored, "A little girl may be in trouble!"
Cornelia rubbed the bridge of her nose as she felt a familiar headache coming on: the Guardian Migraine. The only cure usually involved saving a world from evil. "I know, but all you've told me is that she's in this dimension and from this country. As usual, we have next to nothing to go on and we have to waste time-and our personal lives-searching high and low."
"That's cold, Corny," Irma reprimanded, but there was little force behind it. Every one of them had felt the same way at one point in their "careers" and Cornelia actually dreamed of skating in the Olympics one day, whereas Irma just hoped to graduate with her friends the same year. Guardian work interfered with her dreams more than the other girls, which probably explained why she was the most reluctant to put on the tights unless her beau Caleb was with them.
Caleb, unfortunately, was on his home world of Meridian rounding up the last of the former ruler Prince Phobos' monstrous hordes with his troops; barely sixteen years old, Caleb put in more work hours than most adults on Earth and in far more dangerous conditions. The other girls had quietly agreed that it was good that Cornelia was just the teensy bit self-absorbed; if she had given any thought to what Caleb was doing now without the Guardian's help, she'd be pulling her perfect hair out.
"Don't call me 'Corny' and that's just fact. How do we even go about finding this girl?" Hay Lin gave a rare smirk as she noticed that Cornelia had never said they shouldn't help Will's mystery girl; being a Guardian had filed away some of the armor Cornelia wore to distance herself from the world and had made her more emphatic.
"Only Will heard her," Taranee began as she lined the facts up for brain-storming, "And since lots of people ask for help every day it would have to be a special person for her to hear, someone... magical, maybe?"
Irma crossed her arms and tapped her chin with her finger as she wondered, "How many magical girls do we know who aren't in this room? And ain't Southern?"
Cornelia's eyes widened. "It wasn't Elyon, was it?" Will shook her head at the mention of Cornelia's oldest friend and current Queen of Meridian. "Oh, thank god..."
"It wasn't like she was in danger, " Will said quickly. "More like she was depressed. Like she had a problem that no one could help her with." She swallowed as she remembered why the calls for help had sounded so familiar. When Will was living in her hometown of Fadden Hills, she had realized one day that none of her friends had really liked her at all; she had had no one except her mother and even parents can't entirely make up for a lack of real friends.
Will smiled at her friends-and especially Cornelia-warmly; the willowy blonde had been the most reluctant to let her in the group and they had fought horribly about telling Elyon about her evil brother Phobos, but somehow Will felt that of all her friends Cornelia was the one that she could rely on the most. Cornelia may have to be prodded into action, but when she did she went all out.
Not really sure what Will was thinking, Cornelia shot her a disconcerted look back. "What?"
Will shook herself out of her gaze. "Oh, nothing. Just thinking."
Irma gave a low whistle. "Man, Corny, you must be hot. Even Will's staring dreamily into your eyes!"
Will blushed and grimaced. "Irma! I was thinking about all of you-not like that. The voice reminded me... never mind. Like I was saying, I don't think it was life-threatening or anything, but... heart-breaking."
"Ohhhhhhh..." Hay Lin said softly "Poor thing." Will wasn't sure if she meant the girl or herself, or maybe both knowing Hay Lin's strange insightfulness. "Well, let's ask Grandma. Maybe this is some sort of Guardian spam..."
"Guardian spam!" Irma exclaimed. Sensing what was coming, Taranee tried to clasp a hand over her zany friend's mouth but Irma was too fast. "That would be an awesome food product! We could each have our own flavor! Mine would be seafood..." Taranee tackled her to the concrete floor. "Oof! Taranee's extra spicy jalapeno, Cornelia's herbs and grains-ow, T., watch the merchandise!"
Irma squirmed out of the academic's grip only to have Hay Lin hop on her back and cover her mouth. "Mmphmhh... and Hay Lin's is soy sauce which is probably what half her blood is by now, anyway." Will approached her with a rag that she held up like a gag. "And for Will... dang, I don't know. Something pink like the Heart... shrimp!" Dignified Cornelia actually laughed and snorted as the rather short Will now held the rag like she was going to strangle Irma with it.
Hay Lin's grandmother came down the stairs and blinked as she saw the girls in mid-tussle. "Errrr... not sure I want to know what's going on here," Yan Lin said as Will dropped the rag and smiled sheepishly. "But I'm glad you girls are all here. Something has come up and I need your aid."
"What is it, Grandma?" Hay Lin asked, still perched on Irma's back.
"An old friend-really old, hee hee, ahem-is having a problem and has asked for my help; more specifically your help, Guardians. I know you five are having your three-day weekend..." Irma groaned pitifully. "But this shouldn't take more than a few hours and it could make a world of a difference to a young girl..."
The single light-bulb in the basement brightened to the point of nearly burning out as Will looked at Yan Lin in shock. "Whoa, hold on. A 'young girl'?" Will quickly explained the voice she had heard.
Yan Lin's eyebrows raised in thought. "Well, now... I guess it makes sense that you'd be able to hear the Te Xuan Ze, but it's still a surprise."
"The... 'Tersh Wan Zey'?" Hay Lin asked. Strangely, she was still on Irma's back, though neither seemed to have noticed. "What's that mean?"
Yan Lin placed her hands in the sleeves of her robe and explained. "The Te Xuan Ze is a Protector of the magical world that exists on Earth. Ever wonder why no one realizes magic is real? There's a Veil on Earth that keeps most magical creatures unseen, like a giant Glamour that cloaks the entire world. The Te Xuan Ze is charged with keeping the peace and protecting both the human and magical worlds."
"That's a relief," Irma said as Hay Lin dismounted. "I thought we were all alone in that department."
Yan Lin's eyes twinkled. "You would be surprised... but for now, I should explain. An old friend, Jasmine Lee, who was the previous Te Xuan Ze, has been searching the world for something to free her granddaughter and the current Protector."
"She's been captured?" Hay Lin asked worriedly.
"Not... exactly. The Te Xuan Ze protects a specific section of this world that intersects with several dimensions of powerful magic. A city called Orchid Bay was built on this land and has been the home of the Te Xuan Ze for generations. To ensure that the Protector is always around when needed, a force field of incredible power was erected around the area to keep them there."
Will frowned. "That sounds like a prison."
"In a way, it is. Jasmine has been searching the world for way to free her granddaughter ever since the mantle was passed some months back. During my recent trip to Reno with Mira I met her flying in from Canada. We got to talking and when she mentioned her problem I thought of something that can open anything." She looked expectantly at Will.
Will's eyes widened. "The Seal of Phobos!" The Seal was a magical pendant that had been absorbed by the Heart of Candracar and acted as a universal skeleton key. Will almost forgotten about it since she hadn't used its power for so long. "That could open a hole in the force-field?"
"Perhaps. I won't lie, girls, the power of the barrier is something else, having been placed there by the Elders of Magic itself; not even the Oracle could do anything about it and at best we're just exploring options at this point. Since everyone but Cornelia is staying for dinner, that gives us some time to Tele-Transport to Orchid Bay to meet with Jasmine and Juniper, the girl we're trying to help."
Hay Lin smiled. "Their names are flowers and berry trees? Cute!"
Yan Lin chuckled. "And slightly ironic, considering what toughies they are. Shall we go now, Guardians? I told my son I'm taking you shopping at the mall."
Irma mock-frowned. "I don't know about that cover-story, Mrs. Lin. Who would believe that Cornelia would miss shopping?"
"Ha, ha," Cornelia said. "I'm sure they'd believe it about you, Miss Off-The-Rack."
Yan Lin held up a hand. "Now, now. We all know it is what's on the inside that counts, right? Right?"
"Yes, ma'am," the girls intoned.
"Good. Of course, it doesn't hurt to look as hot as I do, hah!" The Guardians giggled. Yan Lin waved a hand and an image of a living room with a large fireplace appeared in the air in front of Will. "When you're ready, Will, this is where we're going... don't worry, kiddo, you'll do fine, your Tele-Transporting is really coming along. Good luck on your practice, Cornelia."
"Thanks, and..." Cornelia began, but by then the others had vanished in their own miniature lightning strikes that were the visual cue of Tele-Transportation. "...tell me how... it goes." Cornelia picked up her skates and started up the stairs of the basement, feeling much more alone than she would have thought. She reminded herself that her entire life did not revolve around the Guardians.
Even if being a Guardian had brought together the best friends she'd ever had since she met Elyon, helped her meet her first boyfriend and made her grow as a person. Cornelia shook her head and tried to focus on her upcoming practice.
"Tried" being the operative word.
"June?" BANG. "Juuuuuunnnnneeeee?" BANG! "June! Juunnnnnnnnnnnneeeeee..." BANGBANGBANGBANG...
June lay on her bed as her younger brother hammered on her room's door. Without taking her gaze off the ceiling she said, "Go away, Ray Ray."
"No can do, June! Ah-Mah wants you at her house on the double!"
June's nose wrinkled. "What about what I want? Does anyone even care what I want?"
On the other side of the door Ray Ray groaned. "'Juniper Lee, pity party of one?' C'mon, June, get over it! You've got the coolest job on the planet!"
June sat up and stared at her bare feet. "A job I never asked for." Putting on her socks and shoes, June went to the door and opened it to see her younger brother standing there, an eight-year old boy with red shirt with a decal of blue fist, with his hand raised as if to start pounding on the door again. Ray Ray Lee looked up sheepishly at his taller sister. "Alright, I'm up. Let's go."
The Lee children made their way downstairs and through the empty house; their parents were still working and their older brother Dennis was at a friend's house trying out a new video game. June wondered if her parents ever noticed all the times she literally ran out of the house to deal with one magical crisis after another. As long as she kept her grades up and stayed away from drugs they didn't seem to care what their only daughter did in her free time. How liberating...
"Ach, so you're up?" a voice with a Scottish accent said near June's feet. June looked down and saw a small grey pug with a dark marking around his equally black eyes. "I swear, kids these days are so inactive, it makes you pudgier than mud goblins."
June smirked and tapped her foot against the dog's side. "Like you've ever refused any of my fries, Monroe."
Monroe looked very offended; June knew he was sensitive about his weight. "I'm doing my cardio! It's genetics that are against me, the cold Scottish nights made me whole family thick-bodied to keep the heat in! Enough about me, lass, we need to get moving."
"Did Ah-Mah say what this was about?" June asked as Ray Ray held the front door open for her, likely to appease her current grumpiness. "I admit, I'm in the mood to hit something." Something that I CAN break...
"Let's just say... we've got some important guests appearing this afternoon," Monroe said vaguely.
June huffed. "What, is she showing me off? 'And this is my granddaughter June, the Te Xuan Ze. Don't worry, she doesn't bite.'" Truth be told, June was in a bad enough mood to consider changing that.
Ray Ray shrugged. "Hey, we're just the messengers; let's remember not to kill the messengers, awright?"
"Awright." June passed the time walking to Ah-Mah's house by looking at the rows of houses in her neighborhood and seeing the subtle signs of magical occupation that most people missed; smaller beings traveled discreetly through the bushes and shrubs while human-sized and larger creatures walked along the sidewalks and yards on their daily commutes. A few waved to the Te Xuan Ze and Ray Ray and shouted greetings to their Protector. June smiled and nodded to them in reply since any normal humans would see her conversing with empty space.
Despite her earlier episode with the force field, June didn't particularly hate being the Te Xuan Ze. There were high points to it like saving people and the sense of importance that came with the position; at an age where most of her peers were having self-esteem issues, June knew she was one of the most important people on Earth and was also particularly good at her position.
It was just... there were moments when the limits of her life became maddeningly apparent. June suddenly realized what had set her off earlier had in fact originated at a career fair her school had held yesterday. It was a standard deal seen in schools across the globe: people from various jobs set up booths and tried to recruit'em young.
June's friends had been mostly undecided (Ray Ray, for a reason only the Gods of Magic knew, spent most of his free period at a zamboni operator's booth) but the Te Xuan Ze had immediately located the Air Force booth-and more specifically, the section set aside for NASA, since it was June's dream since she had started dreaming to become an astronaut.
The recruiter, a woman about the same age as June's mother, was surprised at June's eagerness for information; most kids avoided her area like the black plague since anything stricter than public school was an automatic turn-off. She had explained to June the requirements and difficulty of getting into the space program only to find June already knew as much as she did. The recruiter had smiled and said that the only thing June had to do was enlist as soon as she graduated.
It was in that split-second that June remembered who she was and her face had fallen so fast the recruiter thought she was sick. June had quickly thanked the woman and rejoined her friends, plastering on a happy face with far too much ease.
Just like she was doing now.
In no time June and Ray Ray were at their grandmother's house. Annoyed as she was, June couldn't hold back the feelings of warmth that came at the sight of Jasmine Lee's home; ever since June was... well, June the cottage had been a sanctuary and playground for her. Since her appointment to Te Xuan Ze it had also been a source of guidance and seemingly infinite wisdom. June reminded herself that Ah Mah was always on her side and was looking for a way to free her even now.
"Uh, June?" Ray Ray asked hesitantly. "You and Ah Mah aren't gonna..." He made some chopping motions in the air with his hands.
June smiled weakly. As angry she could get, June would never attack her grandmother. Her brothers, maybe, but not Ah Mah. "No, I'm okay. I was just PMS-ing."
Ray Ray looked relieved. "Oh... wait, I didn't think you had your... you-know... yet..."
"Watch it, doc." June raised her hand to open the door and Will's butt landed on her head. For the Te Xuan Ze, it was just turning out to be one of those days.
I suck, Will thought as she appeared several feet above the ground and fell, her Tele-Transportation once again off. Her friends were falling beside her, too startled to shriek as they tumbled to the ground. Will was momentarily concerned for them and Mrs. Lin, but Guardians were tougher than average girls and had taken some serious spills over their short career. That made her feel better, even if she had still messed up.
She was feeling better until she felt her body fall on someone smaller than her with long hair. Will panicked when she came to rest on the form of a young girl as they dropped to the steps in front of a house. Will was about to leap up and see if the girl was hurt when suddenly she was flying through the air again.
Not really flying, but thrown. The little girl had pushed herself up and tossed Will toward her friends without laying a hand on her with, barely wth a nudge from the shoulders. Will rolled to a stop at Yan Lin's feet who, with years of practice at Tele-transportation, had landed perfectly while the younger Guardians were picking themselves up off the ground.
Hay Lin had fallen onto a young boy and was apologizing to him profusely. "I'm so sorry, are you okay?!"
Ray Ray winked up at her, trying to play it "cool." "It's all good, beautiful. How you doing?" Hay Lin arched an eyebrow at him, not used to boys hitting on her and definitely not those younger than her.
"Let me state for the record," Irma groused. "'OW.'"
"Has anyone seen my glasses?" Taranee asked. "I can't see anything without my glasses."
"Here you go, lass," Monroe said, pushing Taranee's glasses toward her hand with a paw.
"Thank you!" Taranee put her glasses on and turned to see the nice older man who gave them to her-and saw that he was a dog. "Ah... did I hit my head?"
"I don't think so," Monroe said, then held up a paw. "How many digits am I holding up?"
Will sat up and turned to look at the girl she landed on. Well, she wasn't hurt; June was standing in a fighting stance with a look of such intensity it didn't seem to fit on her young face. She looked ready to hurt someone, particularly the one who had landed on her.
Before Will could apologize June's gaze darted over to Ray Ray and, in a fluid motion so fast she actually seemed to blur to Will's eyes, the Te Xuan Ze darted over to her brother and yanked him out from underneath the Air Guardian. She then leapt fifteen feet straight up and landed on a tree branch with Ray Ray tucked under her arm like a newspaper, now possessing a good vantage point with all the unknown girls in her view.
"June!" Ray Ray whined from underneath her arm. "You're interrupting my play!"
Yan Lin looked up at the Lee kids and smiled. "Ah, young Juniper. You look so much like Jasmine it's freaky."
"Who are you and what do you want?" June asked in a no-nonsense manner. If people were dropping out of thin air it was rarely a good thing, no matter how innocent they looked. "If you're looking for trouble, you picked a bad day to mess with me!"
"Calm down, June!" Monroe said. "These aren't enemies, they're firmly on the side of Good."
Yan's face brightened. "Monroe!" She scooped the talking dog up in her arms and rubbed his head. "How's my handsome little man?"
Monroe's face twisted up in embarrassment. "I'm... I'm good, Yan. And you?"
The door to the cottage opened and Jasmine Lee walked out onto her porch. Unlike the thin Yan Jasmine was a physically robust woman who looked like she enjoyed an active retirement. She squinted at Yan and looked through her at her reading glasses and hmphed at her friend's dark hair. "How much dyeing are you doing to the mop of yours, big sister? At least I'm going naturally gray."
Yan fixed Jasmine with a insulted glare. "What are you talking about? No paint on my head, sweetie! Isn't that right, Roe-sy?" she asked Monroe.
"Ah... ah'd rather not get involved with this discussion, ladies" Monroe said haltingly.
Still up in the tree and under June's arm, Ray Ray snickered. "'Roe-sy'!"
Jasmine looked up at her granddaughter. "June? What are you doing up in the tree?"
"I'm afraid we dropped in on the Protector when we Tele-Transported in," Yan explained.
"You're too old to be doing any Tele-Transporting, Yan, I..." Jasmine noticed the five girls standing around her front yard. "Oh! I'm sorry, girls. Welcome to my home, Guardians!"
"'Guardians'?" June said as she looked at the new girls from above. Of what? They look like the Babysitter's Club! If Ah-Mah is trying to get me a sitter, I'll disown her!
"June?" Ray Ray asked meekly. "Can we get out of the tree now? I'm getting queasy..."
Author's Note: Yah! With this chapter published the NTY has officially become a crossover universe of stories! Wah hoo!
Went a little crazy with the quotes, sorry, but they're so good! Joan of Arc rocks!
Episode References: Dean's lecture was about the Disney movie "Emperor's New Groove" and the television show "Emperor's New School."