Author: .ForeverFrozen. aka Annabella

Rated T for language and..well, just stuff.

Pairing: M/R (eventually; work in progress)

This story takes place about four years (well, three and a half if you want to be technical; what, with Storm taking place in the spring...) after the events of Storm. Alfea's long finished and therefore all the girls and guys went off to start their lives. I'm not going to mess with the whole Enchantix/Believix/Roxy crap or with the girls all teaching at the school together. Because believe it or not, girls have lives outside of their BFFs (haha, that wasn't meant to be offensive or anything if anyone took it that way).

I know that Storm ended on an awkward note, but I'm hoping that this will dissolve that mostly. Well, not this chapter particularly, but the story in general. Also, I'm going to try to make the people more in character now that the storm has passed (i.e. Musa not cussing like a sailor, Helia not punching walls and yelling, Layla not being a bitch...etc.)

So, enjoy? Et merci!


Chapter 1.

Reconciliation: the ending of conflict or renewing of a friendly relationship between disputing people or groups. The making of two or more apparently conflicting things consistent or compatible.

Musa scoffed in laughter. They had a public service announcement about making up with each other? Who was going to take the time to read a poster about making friendly with people who fucked with them?

The bell above the door dinged. Musa looked up, an angry red handprint on her face where she'd been leaning for the past hour, and stared at the family as they walked in and stopped to stare at the walls covered in outdated motivational posters and painted a drab colour of beige. She couldn't shake the feeling that she knew them, this woman walking in with dull violet and grey hair writhing in the air like tendrils, and two little girls, no older than three years old, holding onto each arm as they tottered along beside her. The woman had already sat in a booth facing away from the blue haired fairy by the time she thought to take the time to figure it out.

Every time someone came into the diner, Musa wondered why. The light fixture in the center of the room sparked and died.

Musa's gum popped over her face. "Damn," she cursed. She reached up and began to peel the pink candy from her skin and she gathered up her notepad and pen, stuffing them into the black apron tied around her waist. With her gum back in her mouth, Musa brushed her bangs away from her face and pulled the striped candy-red stockings up higher as she walked across the tiled floor covering the dimly lit restaurant.

"Welcome to Libby's where you get great food with a smile," she said in almost monotone as she approached the table. Musa rolled her eyes because the truth was that the food sucked. She smirked and looked at the the little magenta haired girl (fashioning a heart clip) smiling up at her in heartfelt innocence. "It's great as long as you don't order anything that's on the menu." Musa winked.

The little girl laughed a high tinkling sound that brought a genuine smile to Musa's face for the first time in months.

"On that note," Musa said with a sigh, turning to the little girls' mother (who she still swore she recognized), "what can I get you today?"

The girl's mother chuckled, turning her stormy green eyes up at her. "Is that cheerful introduction why you have so many customers?"

The restaurant was too quiet for her with its only other occupant being an one-hundred-and-four year old man who came in every morning for the same meal of undercooked bacon and porridge. Musa still wasn't sure how he could eat either without any teeth.

Musa shrugged. "It's a living." Musa's eyes balked and she scraped a wad of blue gum from the corner of the table. "Not a good one though," she allowed.

The mother looked towards her little girls. The dark haired one looked bored out of her mind. "Nieve, stop kicking your sister."

The dark haired girl's dark eyes enflamed. "Taisie started it!" She pulled on her sister's hair and the pink-haired girl pouted and scooted away.

"I don't care who started it, young lady; that is no way to behave in public."

Musa shrugged. "It's better behaviour than most. You should see the owner on his angry days—Libby—yeah. There's a sight to behold." Her nose scrunched. "Then you throw it up."

The woman's eyebrow arched. "I didn't know Libby was a man's name."

She looked over at the kitchen. "It isn't, but that's what he says. I don't think I'd ever want to imagine him PMSing and the last time someone asked that he pulled his pants down in front of everyone"—she shuddered—"so we don't say anything."

The woman's face screwed up in disgust.

"MUSA!" Musa turned around to see her boss standing in the doorway of the kitchen, his face absolutely red with anger.

Musa groaned. "I'm with a customer, Libby!"

"No you're not," Libby shouted back, his face growing redder by the second. "You're fired."

Musa's jaw dropped. She looked to the family quickly—"Excuse me."—and stormed into the kitchen where her boss was sweating vastly over the stove.

Libby was a man—a poor excuse for one, anyway—of medium height with greasy greying dull brown hair. He was always sweating, even in the dead of winter, and judging by the smell you received if you walked too close, he never seemed to take the time from his 'busy schedule' to remedy the fact. The man could have been hiding a whole other person in the flesh hanging from his midsection and Musa assumed that all the extra bacon grease from their 'morning rush' went into keeping his current hairstyle.

"Did you just say I'm fired?" She asked, hoping that something had momentarily lapsed her ability to hear.

"Yes. You're making me lose customers. Now get the fuck out of my restaurant, you whore." Libby stirred a pot of molding porridge on the stove top with his hand that looked to have never been washed in his life.

"What; all of your two customers a month?" Musa gritted her teeth. "I need this job, Libby." Nothing in her wanted the job by any means, but since the record company had rejected her album, it was all she had.

The 'man' turned to her and loomed over her. Musa stepped back to escape the ripe smell. "So what? I need to get laid. I don't give a fuck what you need." She wiped a spot of spit from her nose.

Her fists clenched. "How am I supposed to pay my rent?" she asked him, knowing that his answer would probably just make her angrier.

Libby's beady eyes probed over her from head to toe, staying particularly long over areas that had her squirming at the violation. "Prostitution," Libby stated. "Though you probably already do that just for the fuck of it."

Musa's eyes widened, flashing in fury. "You fucking ass!" Musa untied the apron from her waist and threw it at Libby's sweaty face. She pushed through the kitchen doors and grabbed her coat from behind the front counter. She may have needed money, but this wasn't worth it. "What kind of a name is Libby, anyway?"

"Better than your stripper name." Libby stepped out from the kitchen, his oversized gut moving as he walked and talked. "You storm right on out of here, slut. You need me more than I need you."

Musa laughed bitterly and stared the man down. "That's a load of bullshit and you know it. You're the one who needs me." She pointed a pale finger at her brunette co-worker, sitting in the back corner stabbing her prized dagger into the table. "You really think Charlie's going to stay here on her own?" Charlatan looked up at the mention of her name, her piercing green eyes narrowing at the sight of her vile boss. How she hated the man—she believed in keeping her enemies close.

"Where the fuck else is she gonna go? Ain't no one's gonna hire a dirty thief," Libby jibed. Charlie held up her glinting knife as she stared at him, as if contemplating where she most wanted to stick it. Charlatan had wanted for almost five years to slice the poor excuse for a man. However…it was 'illegal'—a concept that had Charlie scoffing whenever it was pointed out. "Just like you," he continued stupidly. "You may be all that in the harmonica nebula, princess, but here you're just another worthless nobody who can't make it anywhere."

Musa threw her hands up in the air. "I'm so relieved you finally fired me, Libby. I'd hate to work here any longer; I really would." She looked over at her short-haired co-worker. "I'm really sorry I'm leaving you alone with this dick, Charlie. I'm not going to stay another minute."

Charlatan bolted up from her seat. "Musa, wait up a second!"

"You keep walking, whore!" Libby yelled as she opened the door. "I better not see your skanky ass cluttering up my diner anymore!" Libby looked over at the frightened looking children with their mother that Musa had been talking to and looked away in disgust. He hated children. "Charlie, take care of my customers!"

As Charlie ran past their table, she set a set of plastic utensils down. "Awfully sorry about all this; be with you in a moment," she rushed out in her thick cockney accent. "Musa!"

Musa stopped outside the door, shrugging her coat on over her low cut uniform. She hated that he made them wear such revealing clothes; short shorts and a shirt that barely passed as such. Musa tightened the long jacket around her, the November air biting at her skin instantly. She ran her hands through her hair, pulling them out of the pigtails she despised.

Charlatan bolted to a stop in front of her. The brunette looked down at her and frowned. "You're really leaving me here alone with that guy?"

Musa shrugged. "He fired me. I can't do anything about it."

Charlie bit her lip. "I could get you your job back," she offered, completely fearful that Musa might actually say yes. Because the truth was that she had absolutely no idea how she'd manage something like that without giving Libby leverage over her.

"No," Musa insisted. "It's not even a good job." Musa looked inside the windows of the door and grabbed Charlie's arm. "Neither of us should be taking this, Charlie. We're better than this."

She shook her head. "Maybe you are," Charlatan said. "You're a princess. I'm just a thief." She twirled the blade between her fingers. "It's like he said; no one around here will hire me. I'm a wanted criminal."

"So we can leave," Musa suggested. "There's so much more to the realms than just this shabby corner of Sperare. I promise you."

Charlie shook her head, a small wistful smile growing on her face. "This is my only home."

"Charlie, you hate it here. You've never been anywhere else and you've always hated it."

"Well…I have no home." She waved a hand back at the crumbling building called Libby's and frowned. "This is not a home. It's where you go when you've never had one." She smirked. "And honestly, I'm still waiting for a chance to cut Libby." Her blade danced around her fingers and Musa wondered how her friend managed to do such a trick without cutting herself.

Musa chuckled. "Your day will come, I promise." I really hope it doesn't was what Musa should have added. Charlie was already in enough trouble and as vile as Libby was…it wasn't worth going to jail (or worse) for.

Charlie nodded. "I know. I'll give 'im an extra slice for you, eh?"

The blue-haired fairy rolled her eyes. "Sure." Please don't bring me into this. She hugged her friend. "I'll call you later, huh?"

Libby opened the door, letting out a stench that Musa hadn't noticed since her first month working there. "You still cluttering my doorstep?" He spat on the ground. "Why don't you get back to working the corners, whore. It's all you're good for."

Charlie's grip on her knife tightened. She walked past Libby into the diner and he pinched her ass. Musa laughed as Charlie nearly lunged at the man, ready to murder him in the blink of an eye. But Charlie held back, looking back at the family inside who were watching the debacle with anxiety in their eyes. Besides, it was like Musa had said; her day would come.

"What the fuck'chu laughing at, girl?" Libby shouted. "I tell you, I'm gonna be the one laughing when you come crawling back begging me for a job."

Musa rolled her eyes and started walking down the sidewalk, away from her own personal hell.

"Just you watch! You'll be begging!"

Musa simply shook her head as she walked away.

•○

Musa was nearly crawling up the stairs by the time she got to her apartment.

When she had left Libby's, she thought that for once she'd take the subway. She had a date with Tatum later that night and Musa figured she's get a new dress. After all, they'd been dating for almost six months. She thought that maybe—just maybe—their relationship might take a turn. For the better, she'd hoped. Besides, she didn't have anywhere to be till then.

Musa stepped out of the subway at Trinicord station and she walked three blocks to the closest discount retail store. As she looked through their collection of dresses, Musa laughed at the thought that if Stella saw her buying retail and not couture, she'd probably have an aneurism and strangle her to her best extent. Nevertheless, Stella would never know. Musa found a knee length dress in a crimson red that she absolutely adored and started back to the subway for her trip back home.

That was where things started to go wrong.

People really should know that when a light is red, they shouldn't drive. Generally, red meant 'stop' and any violators shouldn't even be driving in the first place. Musa was crossing the street at a normal pace, not lagging behind like the old man behind her, and out of the blue—BAM—some teenager going much too fast on a levabike clipped her in the side, sending her sprawling onto the ground against the curb.

According to the Med Mages, it was bad. Bad enough that she had to have sixty-seven stitches on her forehead before they could even begin to work on her with magic.

Four hours and several sedation spells later, Musa was escorted home, ambling on crutches with her head pounding and her new red dress sporting an unattractive rip and stain. The officers helped her up the dodgy stairs to her apartment (one of the nicer ones on this side of town; a rundown loft which the stairs weren't completely decayed) and left her to her own devices from there. Musa dug her key from her jacket pocket and unlocked the door, snatching a crumpled yellow piece of paper from the mail slot.

Finally inside, Musa took off her jacket and hung it on the hook behind the door then took off her shoe and the striped sock that they hadn't cut off. She threw the sock in the trash bin—she was fired, after all, and it was tacky—and set her dress over a chair. She'd try a few spells on it before Tatum got there to try to get the blood and dirt out. What she needed was to just sit down and relax for a moment.

Musa blinked, just to make sure her eyes weren't playing tricks on her. Nope; her couch was gone. The balcony doors were wide open and her couch was gone. Musa hit the heel of her hand against her forehead and winced in pain. She drew her hand back to see a whole new coating of blood on her skin.

Musa made the smallest whining sound in the back of her throat as she limped to the kitchen, not caring to bother with crutches. She didn't get the point of the healing spells in the cast—it took a long time to heal either way.

Musa turned on the faucet and found herself in contact with icy cold water. She'd have to talk to the landlord about her water heater.

The phone rang. It sat a foot away from her hand, ringing merrily and lighting up with the news of a call. Musa assumed it would be Charlie, but the audio component kept chirping "Helia" in a tone that even Stella couldn't manage.

Musa wiped off her hand and stared at the phone until the bright green began to fade into violet, a sign that the call was about to disconnect. She snatched the phone from the base and held it to her ear, sucking in a breath.

"Hey," Musa mumbled grievously. She slunk over to one of the chairs, yellow paint chipping to add to the morose atmosphere of the room, and sat down in it, her feet relieved to finally have a rest. Musa groaned. She really needed to think about replacing the lights. The last working bulb flickered dimly, casting a pale green colour throughout the room.

"Hey yourself," Helia said, his voice more amused than Musa could tolerate. "Why is it that you sound absolutely resentful to be talking to me?"

Musa sighed. "Sorry." She tenderly touched the wound on her head. "I've had a hell of a day," she amended.

Helia hissed. "What happened?"

Musa rolled her eyes sarcastically and did her best to keep her voice optimistic. "Nothing novel-worthy. I got fired from my job, hit by a bike, and someone broke in and stole my couch." She pouted. "I think I was stashing about sixty bucks in that thing."

"You got hit by a bike?" Helia's voice rose in concern. "Musa, how can you say that's not important? Are you alright?"

Musa shrugged. "It just kinda paled in comparison to getting my couch stolen." She stared over at the spot where the couch had previously been. "I liked that couch, you know?"

Helia's eye-roll was almost audible. "I'm sorry about your couch, Muse." He sighed and Musa could hear a muffled conversation on his end of the line. She wasn't alert enough to care to pick it up. "I'm also sorry you got fired."

Musa stood up, noticing for the first time bright green writing across her refrigerator. "Don't be; my boss was a dick." Upon closer inspection, she could make out (in his chicken-scratch handwriting) that the words said, 'Not coming to dinner. We're over. Tatum.' Musa groaned. "Oh, of course."

"What?" Helia asked her, not liking the sound of exhaustion she was making.

"Nothing," Musa said. "Just adding to the phenomenal events of today." She started wiping at the writing with a rag. "So, I know this isn't a purely social call. What's new with you?"

She could hear Helia's smile through the phone. Her cousin chuckled. "Well…I have something to tell you."

"Yeah, I got that from the phone call and all," Musa mumbled. The damn words weren't scrubbing off. Stupid washed-up guitarist trying to get the best of her. His ego was too big for the rest of him to support.

"Well if you don't want me to tell you, I won't," Helia said. "Which would be a shame because I really want to tell you."

Musa rolled her eyes. "I don't mind you telling me but what you're doing is gossiping like a twelve year old school girl. If you have something to say then just say it."

"Flora and I are getting married."

Musa dropped the rag. "Married? Like…weddings and rings and vows and stuff?"

"Yeah," Helia laughed happily.

"That's…" Musa picked up the rag and started rubbing at the words with new fervor. Her words seemed to strangle her. "That's great, Helia."

"We were both hoping that you'd be there; that you'd be in it?"

"Oh." Musa put the rag down and leant back against the counter, her eyebrows drawn together. "Oh." She winced and drummed her hand against the cold surface.

"Oh's all you got for me?" Helia teased.

"Well…it's just…I've got a lot of stuff going on and…" Musa plucked at the yellow paper she'd pulled from her door. "I don't know, Helia. I love you guys and all but weddings just…aren't my thing." She smoothed the paper out and found herself staring at the blank side.

"Come on, Muse. How many times does your favourite cousin get married?"

"You're only my favourite cousin by a process of elimination. Since you're my only cousin there's not much eliminating to be done." She closed her eyes and turned the paper around.

"All the more reason. Not to mention that Flora would be completely heartbroken if her best friend wasn't there. Plus, you're my favourite cousin too."

She frowned. "Double guilt trips aren't fair footing, Helia." She looked down at the paper.

NOTICE OF EVICTION

To: Musa of the Harmonic Nebula.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN of the termination of a month to month lease…

"You've got to be kidding me!" Her eyes skimmed down quickly and Musa wadded the paper up and threw it against the scrappily painted wall, as if it would cause the wall physical harm.

"No, Musa, I'm not. Though if you didn't want to have anything to do with it, you could have just said so." Helia's voice had lost its joy, replaced with disappointment and dismay.

"No, sorry, Helia." She glared at the paper, willing it to catch fire. It was unfortunate she wasn't a firestarter. "I wasn't talking to you." The red dress caught her eye—"Who's going to be there?" Musa asked, walking closer to the chair holding the red dress as if she was seeing it for the first time.

"Everyone; the girls, the guys, Flora's family, your dad."

Musa rolled her eyes. "I see." She felt the fabric between her fingers and tilted her head. It really was a nice dress. Musa sighed in resign. "Well…count me in."

"You'll make it?"

"I don't see why not. How many times does your only cousin get married, right?"

Helia laughed. "Well, I'll tell Flora. I guess we'll be seeing you soon."

"Yeah," Musa said bleakly. "See you soon." Helia hung up and Musa let the phone slip from her fingers. "What the hell did I just do?" She glared at the dress. "This is your fault."


Yes, Libby's a wonderful person. Not. I know it's cliche but that was the point.

Well, here's the start of this attempted Sequel.

Don't have much written so far, so your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I hope it doesn't completely ruin my other story.

xxEcho.

P.S. I will smile and then have a coronary rupture if anyone can guess my inspiration for Charlie xD.