Words are its own magic. It's what you use to represent the mental image of the shape you want your will to take, when casting spells.

But it isn't always like that. Sometimes words -the right words- don't need any more effort than what it takes to say them.

You find yourself in a supermarket, a memory fog slowly spreading, while your enemies surround you, and the only thing you have going for you other than your wits and your magic is a person who doesn't quite reach your own shoulder level.

But you know she can take it. She's a tough girl.

You know the type.

They come in all shapes and sizes.

From the ones who used to bully you on the play ground, to the ones who would either laugh or punch your face in, if you tried to ask them out.

It's even worse when she's a cute, blonde thing that's only 5' and change.

Why?

Because that kind of cuteness can get you most anything.

And she chooses a job where you need to swim with the sharks.

A job where everyone is tough, needs to be tough, to put the bad guys away.

Because, more than anyone, she knows that while cuteness may do wonders for your social life, it can also label you as "weak."

Or worse, Prey.

One way or another, there will be people who will underestimate or try to take advantage of this fact.

And you either take it, use it or fight back.

So, in a family of cops, strong-willed men and women, there was really no other way for Karrin Murphy to turn out.

She did all three.

She took it. Bore with it, while working her ass of at school. Because there was no way she was going to let them think that cute and/or blonde meant stupid. Because she may not have any control how she looked, but she wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of fitting her into a mold, an insulting one at that.

She took up criminology, became an officer of the law, learned martial arts and how to shoot, and hell, excel at it, because if anyone was going to go for what seemed like her weakness (her height, her weight, her appearance), they sure as hell were going to be sorry for it.

And it wasn't just for her own protection. If there was anything Law Enforcement (and eventually, Special Investigations and her association with you) had made her realize, it was that it wasn't just her. It was everyone.

You didn't have to be old, or a kid or a woman. Bad things can happen to people, even when you're a 6 foot male, with enough magical power to burn down buildings with a single word.

You can be anyone. And the moment something catches you off-guard, it's game over. And she wasn't just gonna roll over and take it. Not after all that effort.

But no defense or offense is ever perfect. Everyone knows that.

And knowing it doesn't do jack, when something finally breaks through or slips in and catches a person off-guard.

And you watch her freeze up as she finds herself in a position of vulnerability because of it. Mental and emotional training only get you so far. Lack of sleep and the exhaustion that comes with it will make it worse, and she is barely holding on, still trying to suck it up, and take things, head on.

You know how bad it is, because she is no longer able to hide it.

You know what it costs her to know that you know. As well as the amount of trust she must have in you, that she allows you to.

So you repay it the only way you know how.

You look her in the eyes, and say the words. Only, she knows that because it's you, it isn't bullshit.

"You're hurt. But you'll get through it. You'll be okay."

Of course...considering the kind of person she is...it doesn't exactly work.

(Well. That was mostly you trying to be kind and sensitive, anyway.)

And because that doesn't, you say the one thing you know that will.

"I will personally make fun of you every day for the rest of your life."

She snaps in attention at this as you elaborate.

"I will call you a sissy girl in front of everyone you know, tie frilly aprons on your car, and lurk in the parking lot at CPD and whistle and tell you to shake it, baby..." You say, stretching out the last three words slowly, making sure the mental image sticks and that you are enjoying every second of what would be her imagined response because of it.

Her, and whoever else gets exposed to it.

"...Every. Single. Day." you point out, smugly.

She looks at you, sees you relish the thought as you smirk at her, and you see a small twitch of her lips as she reminds you she has a gun, and you know it works.

And while she knows you're joking, you know she isn't. And you know in that moment, everything would be alright.

Because you don't get tough girls to hold up with a pep talk or a Hallmark line. That only affirms that their weakness is showing.

But joke and threaten and insult them? That was familiar. That, they could deal with.

They'd beat you up and shoot you, but they'll stop falling apart, feeling lost and helpless.

Yeah. That'll get their engines going.

And it does. And not only does she break that Ghoul's arm, she shoots that bitch, sends it bleeding, desperate to escape. She cripples the ogre and saws the chlorofiend with a freaking chainsaw. Even with an injured leg, that wasn't even caused by any of those things, but by you.

Because a well-placed insult is a tough girl's abracadabra.

And as it gets retold in Billy and Georgia's flat, you realize again the potency of words. Even something as simple as an (admittedly well-placed) insult.

Just words. no special ritual, no gathering and directing of energy.

Just the right words, to the right person, at the right time.

And it works.

Just.

Like.

Magic.