~ Kitty & Jubilee: The Witch Files ~

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Part Seven:

A Circle Complete

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"Aah! Watch the road – slow down!"

"I am slowing down, don't worry –"

"Don't worry? How can I help worrying? You drive like some sort of speed demon!"

"Okay, so I haven't had much practice... But we're almost there, anyway."

"Luckily. Ooh, no, don't turn! -" This was said just as the car swung into a sharp U-turn, flinging its occupants to the side.

" - Oh, god, I think I'm about to be sick..."

"Well, go ahead; I'm sure Scott won't mind..." Of course, Jubilee added heavy amounts of sarcasm to the comment. "I mean, he'll only want to tear you apart limb from limb - but hey, that's just him..."

"Okay, okay, I get the point. Oh, thank god, we're here."

Jubilee managed to park the car by making a series of miraculous swings and finally slamming into a parking space, and she and Kitty climbed out dizzily in front of the mall's front entrance. It wasn't hard to find Nancy's among the other stores in the brightly lit mall, but the two girls took their time, wandering slowly while discussing just what they were supposed to say once they saw Isobel.

"I don't think we should cut straight to the whole "Hey, guess what, we're mutants!" part, but we shouldn't start with the witchcraft either... Maybe we should ask her questions..."

"What sort of questions?"

"Well, we can ask her if her last name is Lynde," Kitty said, ticking it off on her fingers, "if she's a witch, what level she's reached, if she's willing to join a Circle of Three... You know, that sort of thing."

Jubilee just nodded, barely listening to what Kitty was saying. She was starting to wonder if this was really such a good idea; what if someone heard them telling Isobel that they were mutants, and then ran off and told someone else, and a reporter or a politician got wind of it... What if they traced them back to the school and found out that it housed mutants... And then the government could become involved, and the school might have to be shut down, and Professor Xavier would be so disappointed, and hundreds of mutant teenagers would have nowhere to live...

And it would be all because of them...

Jubilee shivered and shook away the thought, reminding herself that if they didn't clean up the mess they'd made, the school and its occupants would be doomed anyway. She and Kitty had done a little bit of researching on demons and hell-spirits the night before, and some of them really weren't the kind you'd like to run into on a dark night... Or a bright day, for that matter.  

"Okay, here we are," Kitty said, sounding ever so slightly nervous. Jubilee figured she was having her fair share of doubts too, but there was no way they were turning back now.

But when they reached the checkout desk, the girls realized something that should have been obvious.

Isobel might not be there.

Instead, an older woman with curly cherry-red hair stood there, neatly sorting away masks. When she noticed the girls, the woman raised her hazel eyes inquiringly at them, and Jubilee cleared her throat nervously.

"We were, um, looking for Isobel – Isobel Lynde. Do you know where she is?"

"Yeah, she's at home," the woman said, giving her an odd look. "She took the day off. Is there anything I can help you with instead?"

"No, not really – could you just give us her address or something?"

The woman gave them another odd look and pursed her lips. "I'm sorry, we don't give out employee addresses to just anyone," she said curtly.

What is this, a bank? Jubilee tried not to look annoyed as the woman turned away and busied herself with the masks.

"Excuse me, miss?" Kitty asked, in her most placid, polite tone. The woman half-turned and raised an eyebrow.

"We're really sorry to bother you, but we really need to know where she is. You see, we're, um... friends of hers –"

" – from school." Jubilee lied quickly.

"And we had planned a – a study date, and she told us we could meet her here, but since she went home..."

"See, we really need to study for this big test, and we don't know her address, so if you could just give it to us.... I mean, we know she won't mind.." Jubilee didn't really view what they were doing as lying, it was just making up a whole lot of stuff. There was a difference, after all.

"And you couldn't just call her?" The woman asked suspiciously.

"Her phone is out of order," Jubilee said, with a quick smile to cover up any guilt on her face.

The woman raised her eyebrows again, but she picked up a pen and a piece of notepaper and scribbled something onto it. "Here's where you can find her," she said, sliding the paper over to Kitty. The two girls nodded, said a quick thank-you and then hurried out of the store, worried that any minute the woman would call them back or, even worse, call the police on them.

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"I'll get it!" Isobel called, to no one in particular, heading towards the front door. Her aunt was upstairs in her bedroom, and there was no one else in the house to hear her. She didn't bother to peer through the little glass hole in the door before jerking it open; she was pretty sure it would be her aunt's colleage, Dan. She was planning on just telling him right out that she had been in the middle of performing a hex; she wanted to see how he'd react if he found out that she was a full-fledged witch.

"Hey, Da –" She stopped. Stared. Cleared her throat. "Oh, sorry. I thought you were someone else."

Standing there were two girls she recognized clearly – they had come to the store a few days earlier. What were there names? Kitty and something with J... Oh, right, Jubilee.

Isobel couldn't help wondering what they wanted, but she kept quiet and waited for them to say something.

"Um, hi." They just stood there, looking slightly awkward and a little embarrassed.

Isobel kept herself from raising her eyebrows and smiled politely. "Hi."

There was an uncomfortable pause, during which Kitty and Jubilee exchanged a glance. Then Kitty turned and sighed, her face suddenly very serious.

"Can we come in?" The question surprised Isobel; but Kitty's tone was perfectly polite and only slightly insistent, so she just nodded and held the door open for them. The two girls cast quick glances around them, taking in the pleasantly vanilla-scented hallway with its many ornaments and framed photographs. Isobel led them to the light, airy kitchen and they all sat down in silence. A light breeze fluttered aside the yellow curtains covering the wide windows, revealing the spacious garden outside, filled with bright tulips and the gentle drone of bees. Isobel tucked her hair back and waited for one of the girls to say something.

Jubilee cleared her throat and half-smiled, apparently about to say something very difficult. "Look, I know we don't know each other all that well..."

"We don't know each other at all," Isobel pointed out. She had meant it as a matter of fact, but Jubilee suddenly looked discouraged. "What I mean is," Isobel amended, "we haven't had a real chance to get to know each other." 

"Right," Jubilee continued, looking relieved, "but we came to talk to you about something really important." She glanced at Kitty, who gave a tensed half-nod, and suddenly rushed into an explanation.

"See, we-were-doing-this-History-paper-and-we-found-a-book-of-spells-and-we-tried-one, and-it-really-worked, but-then-it-went-wrong-and-we-fixed-it-but-now-we-did-this-wandering-spirit-thingy-and-it-worked, too, but-we-didn't-want-it-to-and-now-we-think-the-school's-haunted-because-of-it," Jubilee said, breathlessly – she had been talking at top speed, and Isobel hadn't understood a single word.

"What? What book? Who did a spell? And what's all this about ghosts?" Isobel raised her eyebrows, totally confused by Jubilee's haphazard explanation. "First thing's first – how did you get my address?"

"We asked a clerk at Nancy's," Jubilee admitted sheepishly. Isobel just nodded. "I see. And who are you?"

"I'm Kitty – Katherine – Pryde, and Jubilee's actually Jubilation Lee," Kitty explained. "We're both at Xavier's School for Mu ---- for Gifted Youngsters." 

"Okay. And you came to me because...?" Isobel trailed off, waiting for an explanation.

Kitty sighed and repeated what Jubilee had tried to explain. She did it very calmly, very quietly and with a perfectly serious face; she started with the History paper and finished off with the ghost she had seen in the dorm room. She even included the fact that they were mutants, and explained – or, rather, tried to explain – their abilities; and although she left out the fact that the whole school was full of mutants, she was pretty sure Isobel understood that part.

Isobel sighed and put her head in her hands, trying to take it all in. Then she lifted her face and attempted to work it out in her head. "Okay, the first and major thing you did wrong was cast a spell without reading up on it first, but I think you've pretty much learned your lesson – and secondly, the portal you opened has got to be closed, so I sort of understand why you came to me." She was focusing on the magic aspect of it all – the aspect she knew how to handle. The fact that Kitty and Jubilee were mutants didn't matter all that much to her.        

"Does that mean you'll help us?" Jubilee asked, hopefully.

Isobel titled her head to the side and nodded. "I'll come over and help you sort out the portal, although I'll probably need some sort of permission to get into the school."

"Well, it is almost a strictly mutant environment, but maybe ---"

"No," Isobel interrupted, "I think I can handle the mutant part. I'm just worried that the people at the school won't want a stranger around..."

Jubilee suddenly looked very pleased. "You're a mutant too?"

"Nooo..." Isobel said slowly, with an odd smile, "but I can become one."

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Two hours later, Kitty and Jubilee were still listening to Isobel explain the complicated spell she wanted to perform. They found out that she had, indeed, reached master witch level; but, as she put it, "I don't follow that kind of witchcraft." She explained that she was mainly a Wicca practitioner, although she did study druidism, and she didn't believe very much in the level system. "Witchcraft is witchcraft, no matter how you look at it," she said, shaking her head. "It's a completely eclectic way of life, and only contains very few rules. The level system is only one aspect of it – only one of the many choices you can make." As they listened to her talk, the two girls got the impression that they had only scraped the surface of witchcraft, while Isobel had studied it very thoroughly.

There was time for four rounds of iced lemonade while the three girls went through the stages of the spell that would make Isobel a mutant; they would talk about it, go over it in detail, backtrack, and then go over it again. They discussed the pros and the cons, the assets and the risks, until they all felt rather exhausted with talking. The spell, Isobel explained, would bring out whatever mutant genes – however faint – that were in her system and multiply them, enabling her to become fully mutant. It was only temporary, and would last for about six months: more than long enough for them to close the portal.  

Kitty poked the ice cubes at the bottom of her glass and looked pensive. "It'll be hard, though... Keeping it from everybody. Especially Sam," she added quietly.

Jubilee just rolled her eyes. "Even if St. John knew, he wouldn't care," she said frankly.  

Isobel just shook her head impatiently. "We can't let anyone find out. Not even your boyfriends," – with a sharp look at Kitty. "I need to get in to the school long enough to help you guys out, but that would mean enrolling, and I don't see how I'd be able to without my aunt finding out."

Jubilee looked surprised. "Your aunt doesn't know that you're a witch?"

"Of course she knows – she's the one that got me interested in it!" Isobel laughed. "She just doesn't want people to know, that's all. There's no telling what they'd do if they found out..." Her face turned grave. "I know that my aunt would never tell anybody the truth about the school, but I still... I just want to keep her out of this."

Kitty and Jubilee nodded: they understood perfectly.

Another hour was spent trying to work out a way to get Isobel out of her house for sixth months and into the school without arousing too much suspicion. The girls swapped several ideas among themselves, but there was always some little glitch – something that didn't fit in – and, after a while, idea after idea was dropped. In the end, there was only one plan left.

"Most of the students that come to Xavier's are runaways," Kitty stated thoughtfully. "The Professor never asks too many questions, he just accepts them, and nobody else thinks anything of it. But..." she trailed off, as if to say, "But it wouldn't be very easy for you, would it?"

Isobel stared at the ceiling for a long time, thinking. "I could do it," she said finally. "My aunt was one of those wild eighties flower children – she's always telling me about how she hitch-hiked across the whole country in a van with a couple of friends. I think, in some ways, she wouldn't be all that worried about me – and besides, I could always leave her a note. Tell her I'll be back soon."

And from there on, it was easy. All they had to do was sort out a few more minor details.

After they had said goodbye to Isobel, Jubilee and Kitty had a moment's time to reflect on everything that happened to them in the past month or so. In the end, it was Jubilee who summed it up, shaking her head even as she said it.

"Can our lives get any weirder?"    

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Author's Note: It's taken me forever to update this, but hopefully the seventh chapter will match the standards of the other six. The chapters will probably get shorter from here onwards, but that's because I'm working on multiple projects and want to be able to pay equal attention to all of them.

As always, reviews are more than welcome :-)

~Calliope~ (formerly Enigma)