Alex Russo blew her bangs from her face and stared at her oldest brother as he went on and on about some useless toy that she'd "accidently" broken while looking for keys to the family flying carpet. If he'd just handed them over like he should have then they wouldn't have a problem, would they?
"...not a toy, Alex! It's a prize replica...no one in the world has one of these...time you started acting your age for once in your life...! I cannot believe you...! Look, you're not even paying attention, are you...!"
His voice cut in and out of focus while she leaned her head against the cool countertop, still pretending to listen. He went on and on, sounding more and more like her nagging history teacher and she almost fell asleep before her father walked into the lair.
"Okay, kids! Today's lesson will be something I think you'll all enjoy." Jerry called loudly to his three adolescent kids. It didn't escape Alex's notice that he seemed to be talking directly to her. "So listen up. I will be teaching you how to become...invisible." He paused dramatically and waited for the excitement to bubble up.
"Really, daddy? You're gonna teach me how to become invisible?" Alex asked excitedly. She smiled slightly and thought of how many people she could avoid with the perk of being able to render herself invisible for any amount of time. Her history teacher, for one. Justin, her father when he asked her to clean up the shop after-hours, her mother when she asked if her homework was done, her science teacher when he asked if her homework was done, Harper when she came up with another wacky idea that Alex would rather die than go through with... and also Dean, since their breakup last year she'd pretty much avoided him whenever he came into town to visit. Oh yes, being invisible would have it's perks.
Her smile become more sinister and cunning by the minute and Justin spoke warily, "Yeah, dad? Are you sure that's such a good idea..? Teaching us all how to turn ourselves invisible?" He stared at Alex as he said this, eyebrows raised.
"Yes, Justin. The spell will only last an hour. Or 30 to 35 minutes if the wizard is suspicious of using the spell for wrong-doing. Meaning, if you're up to something, you'll instantly be changed back. How far could she get?" He laughed loudly but, seeing the look on Alex's face, he back-tracked. "Or--or him. Or him."
She grinned at him sweetly. This spell couldn't be that hard to fool. She'd seen spells like this one before. One simple innocence charm and it worked like it should. It was the one spell she'd found worth memorising. Silly, silly child, do as you're told; But spin once around and the rules you will hold. Change them carefully, don't get caught; Go down and good manners will be taught...
She'd found it in the old spell books stacked on the shelves behind her. It said the spell was used for altering the balance between what was good and evil, whatever that meant. But it did the job, what used to be bad was changed to look good in everyone's eyes and she got off scotch-free every time. At least for an hour. There was a warning stretched across the bottom of that page that still made her nervous even now. It warned every wizard that if the spell was used for anything that they considered "bad enough", they would come to punish said wizard. She tried to avoid getting in trouble by the Wizard Council, they made her hair stand on end, especially since the time she'd barely escaped with her powers. It was now thanks to Justin that she was still an actual wizard. If the Wizard Council caught her doing something even remotely illegal then she didn't what would happen...
"...and so, to start off the lesson I want each of you to get the spell books I've ordered from the Wizard Net out when they arrive. Which should be any minute now... Ah, yes, here they come now." He paused, watching three heavy-looking and battered text books flying through the open window, wizard mail style. Justin got there first and tossed Alex her copy, followed by Max, her youngest brother. The large, bold text read: Wizard Studies: Volume 36. It was a very large book, and she opened it only half-heartedly, sifting through it`s pages with a worried expression. "Now, let's get to buisness. This is a very important lesson because you haven't learned anything this advanced so far. I want each of you to open to page 5,758: chapter 101. Come on, quick."
Alex shoved one-third of the book's pages over, glancing at a few interesting titles at the top of a scatter pages. The Time-turning Charm (pages 741 through 800), 101 Ways To Disguise Yourself (all of chapter 7), How To Change Your Appearance: From Your Hair To Your Toes (page 600), Beginner Spells: The Basics, The Copy-Cat Spell (pages 900 through 1000), Spells For The Adolescent Wizard, Emergency Spells (page 1001), How To Make Animals Talk and Various Animal-Related Charms (page 1002 through 2027), Love Spells (page 6000)... Alex had never been so excited to read a book in her life, there were so many useful spells in here that she could use. She was so anxious she hardly noticed that she'd been flipping pages for 10 minutes already or that her father had continued his brief discussion about the book and their instructions.
"Alex, what are you doing? You're supposed to be reading chapter one-hundred and one." Her dad made his way up to the table they were working on, trying to see what she was doing. She carefully turned a page on 102 Most Annoying Charms for the Adolescent Wizard so he wouldn't get the wrong idea. "Alex, Justin and Max are there already. What's taking so long?"
"Sorry, Dad. I'm there." She flipped over another third of the book and a few dozen pages and it fell on the appropriate page. Chapter 101: Body-Altering Spells and Charms. Underneath was a picture of a full-wizard whose head was that of a woman and whose body was that of a man. It was a very odd picture but it made her giggle. Justin shushed her, absorbed in his own copy of the odd Wizard Studies book.
The words were hand-written and beyond hard to read, though Justin seemed to be having no problem. Even Max was reading ahead. She looked up to see Jerry laying down gingerly on the sofa opposite them and not paying much attention. Perfect.
She whispered the spell as quietly as possible with Justin and Max only two feet from her. "These words confuse my mind; Change them to fit my kind." Nothing happened. She cringed, seeing Justin look over accusingly. She'd have to try again, then. "These words fill my mind with dread; Fix them up so I can read. Oh gosh, that doesn't even rhyme. Umm... Okay, I got it: This text looks funny in my head; Time to fix them so I won't dread(!) Let me read these words of doom; Or just I might assume...!" She watched with glee as the page rearranged itself, leaving everything in it's place but the words in simple print. She still didn't think the spell she'd recited made much sense, but oh well, if it was good enough to become an actual spell, it was good enough for her.
She read on gladly, avoiding Justin's watching eyes. The page was mostly an introduction to body-changing spells. Stuff about the different ways you could alter your physical appearance. The little bit about an invisibility spell caught her attention and she, again, flipped over a dozen pages to find the subtitle that read simply: The Invisibility Spell.
Her father wouldn't mind that she hadn't read the whole chapter. It wouldn't even surprise him.
She nodded to herself and continued reading happily until Jerry called the class of three to order. "Okay, so you get the gist of it. Now I'll do a demonstration and one of the three of you can try yourselves. The rest of you can just practise until next lesson. Okay, watch me carefully," he told them in a serious tone, capturing each of their attention. Their father closed his eyes and spoke clearly, reciting words, "Body, mind, and sight; I dissapear! Not just am I gone from your vision; I am...Invisible." The words did not rhyme, however, but nevertheless, in a blink of an eye: Jerry Russo dissapeared.
Alex gasped and jumped from her seat. The others followed, looking around for sight of their father.
"Aha ha!" His booming laugh came from behind, causing Alex to give a small shriek and jump. He was still invisible.
His voice sounded again, this time speaking the counter-spell. "Body, mind, and sight; I am visible... once again!" And his large figure reappeared again, grinning broadly.
"Wow," Alex breathed, awestruck. Any spell that could scare the pants of her was one heck of a spell! "You've gotta teach me how to do that!"
Jerry grinned again. "I will now... Now, I want the three of you to line up beside each other over there." He pointed and the three Russo children moved to the spot by the enchanted chalkboard quickly. "Okay, now close your eyes. That`s very important. You have to be completely centered on turning yourself invisible. Don`t worry though, you won`t feel a thing. You might not be able to turn invisible just yet. It takes time and practise and most importantly, patience..." But Alex wasn't listening to that. She would become invisible, she could feel it. This time, she would outshine Justin in magic. "The counter-spell isn't neccesary but you'll want to memorise it. You normally reappear on your own after several hours. If your focused enough, you can reappear at will. No counter-spells, nothing. But that's for you to learn later... Now recite after me: Body. Mind. And sight. I dissapear."
Alex whispered the words, mostly to herself. Not feeling the need to yell them out like Justin was now, trying to imitate his father.
"Not just am I gone from your vision... I am invisible."
Again, she whispered them quietly, a small smile upon her lips.
"Now you can open your eyes, but...Oh--oh, wait. Oh my. Alex, what happened to you?"
Justin looked around himself in annoyance, wanting to get back to work. She'd just gone wondering off somewhere while the rest of them were trying to learn an advanced spell... Typical.
Beside him, Alex was grinning widely, knowing it had worked perfectly. She made her voice sound as innocent as possible. "I'm right here, Daddy. Can't you see me?" Just the sight of Justin jumping in surprise, accidently knocking Max into the chalkboard, was worth it.
Jerry gasped in response, marveling at his surroundings, looking for her just as they had looked for him. "No..No, I can't, Alex. Where--?"
But Alex opened her eyes slowly and took a step forward, revealing herself. "Voila."
Jerry laughed, sounding amused yet surprised at the same time. "Well, Alex, I never expected you to do so well, especially the first time!" He shook his head. "Great work, hunny." He smiled at her, walking over and pulling her into a hug that spoke for itself: I'm so proud of you.
Justin's mouth was still hanging open in pure shock. "What? That can't be right. How did you turn invisible on the first try?"
Alex turned in his direction, smirking at her older, wiser brother. "Well, Justin. Maybe if you spent half your time learning your spells as you do trying to outdo me...Well, then, maybe you`d have done it right. Right, Daddy?" She turned expectantly towards her father and he gave her a look.
"Alex," he chided her, then turned to Justin. "And Justin, your sister got the spell right first. You should be proud of her."
Alex covered her mouth to stifle the laugh that bubbled up in her at the look on his face. When she recovered, she couldn't help grinning at him. But before she could say anything to make it worse, her father said, "OK. Time's up for today. I want you guys to practise for Wednesday, alright? You can keep your new books in here, you won't need them just yet."
But despite his words Alex walked over and picked up the gigantic Wizard Studies book and brought it up to her room while Justin glared after her.
She kicked a heap of clothes out of the way of her bed and sat down, sifting through the many pages. She eventually turned to the back of the battered text book and looked questioningly through the index pages until she found what she was looking for.
"Aha! Here we go..." She smiled widely and turned to page 741 as quickly as she could.
She read, "the Time-Turning Charm... An advanced spell, usually reserved for full-wizards with full-wizard powers, is a tricky charm that will turn back time up to 20 years previously... However, it is an extremely difficult spell and may take up to 3 days to complete... The wizard who completes the spell must be careful to not make mistakes when using this spell for horrible things have been known to happen in situations where wizard`s have been careless while time-turning... Using this time-turning charm illegally and without permission from the Wizard Council (adults) or wizard guardians (adolescents) will result in either a) termination of all wizard powers or b) banishment from the current dimension... Meaning, the accused wizard will be summoned to another dimension with no wizard powers (wizard will have to prove to the Wizard Council that they deserve their powers before they are given them back) and where no one will recognise nor remember said wizard (including family, friends)...The accused wizard will not ever be brought back from the alternate dimension for illegal time-turning is a serious crime and shall and will be punished cruelly... Before a wizard attempts such a spell, they must keep in mind that time-turning is a risky charm to attempt... In history, only very advanced wizards have succeeded and even so, many of the best wizards have failed... Use it well."
Alex sat back. "Oh, I will..."