Archive | July 18, 2016

The Florence Charm and Captain America, a fanfic/Aunt Family crossover, Part II

After Part I

Arranging a trip to New York City was neither a quick endeavor nor one done simply. Eva had to get time off of the job that her family still thought she ought to quit. She had to talk Hadelai into letting Beryl come with her — which, in the long run, meant telling her sister what was going on.

Telling Hadelai came with risk, of course. If Haddy told their mother, then she was likely to tell everyone. The same problem if anyone told their sister Fallon.

In the end, Hadelai, Beryl, and Eva ended up going on a “family trip” to NYC, with a promise to the rest of Haddy’s children that they, too, would get a later trip and a blithe answer to the grannies and cousins who wanted to complain that “Even an Aunt needs a vacation once in a while.”

They could not actually tell her no — after all, no matter what they liked to pretend, the Aunt was supposed to be in control, not the grannies and great-aunts and so on — and so eventually, the fuss stopped. By then, Haddy and Eva had their time off, Beryl had been excused from school for a long weekend, and they’d booked their train tickets.

On the train ride to NYC, they perused scans of the oldest extant Aunt diaries, including hand-copied versions of even-older books that had since fallen into dust despite careful packaging. Haddy raised eyebrows at Aunt Sarah’s most racy interludes, and then made her daughter and sister both raise their eyebrows with some of her own stories. The young businessman sitting in the next seat moved once in Utica, and then again an hour later.

“What are you going to do?” Haddy asked, her voice soft. She shot an uncomfortable look at Beryl before looking back at Eva. “I mean, are you going to tell him? What are you going to tell him? How are you going to get in to see him?”

“I… good question. Good questions.” Eva wrinkled her nose. “I brought the diary. I think I’ll show him the part where she wrote about him, and see if anything sparks — poor choice of words — brings up a memory. I should have brought — well, no, I shouldn’t have.” Eva frowned. “I thought about it, but I didn’t want to risk some sort of imprinting.”

“Both you and Beryl would count, wouldn’t you?” Hadelai looked even more uncomfortable. “Women — well, female people — within a marriageable-age?”

“Technically, yes.” Eva pursed her lips. “Even though no, miss Beryl, you know better than to be aiming in that direction for quite a few years. No, I put together a charm that essentially says ‘nope, not me’ for both of us. I want to scout this round, not end up coming home with a Captain America baby.” She shook her head. “I don’t know what Asta was thinking…”

“I think,” Beryl offered, “she was thinking ‘man, he’s brave, handsome, and strong. I wouldn’t mind spending a little time disqualifying myself with him, but, oh, darn, there’s a war on, and that won’t do. Well, I’ll put him aside for later like a can of peaches.’”

Hadelai stared at her daughter in horror, but Eva stifled a laugh. “That does sound like our family. It even sounds like Aunt Asta, I have to admit. All right. So she stored him for later, and it worked better than it ought. The question is — he’s not some trinket someone shoved up in the attic or between the walls — don’t ask, Hadelai, I can just say that the Aunt House does not have a problem with mice or insects — but we can’t just leave him on the shelf and hope the next Aunt knows how to deal with him, or sell him at a yard sale. We have to do something about the Florence Charm.”

“We have to meet him, first,” Hadelai pointed out. “From the pictures, I have to say I might agree with Asta here. But he could have horrible BO or a curse on him, you know. We could want to remove the charm and flee as soon as possible.”

“We’ll find out soon,” Beryl pointed out. “We’re here.”


It was Beryl’s first time in New York City, but she didn’t rubber-neck. It was only her mother’s second time, but she didn’t, either. Eva, who had been there many more times, was both amused and pleased by the determined set of mother-and-daughter jaws, and the way they very intentionally didn’t look around.

“There’ll be time for seeing the sights later,” she reassured them. She had put herself between them, mostly so she could keep an eye on both while navigating them through the packed sidewalks. She didn’t like the city, but there were many things to draw a young archivist here. “Now, let’s see.” She held up her cell phone as if checking a text and floated her small will-o-wisp spell behind it. “Interesting. Definitely not in Avengers tower right now, let’s see. Hrrm. This way.”

“That’s a neat little spell.” Beryl bounced up next to her Aunt. “I mean, I can see — Mom, don’t make that face.

“You’re not the Aunt, Beryl.”

“And? The power runs through the family. The Aunt just holds the weight and bulk of it, not every little sparkle and ember. That would be silly.”

“He’s in this coffee shop just down the road,” Eva interjected. They were going to go on all day otherwise. “Now… are we ready?”

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Soul Fire… (A continuation for the Summer Giraffe Call)

Written to rix_scaedu‘ commissioned continuation of Insta-Cure from my Summer Giraffe Call.

Aspen pulled the candles and fake logs from the fireplace and whispered a quick spell, unstoppering the chimney. “Fire,” she murmured, pleased with herself. “All right, Toph, Betsy, there are eight candles in there. Arrange them in a half-circle around the fireplace, and then we’re going to put you in the middle, Toph, and we’re going to focus on the problem.”

“No, uh-unh.” He shook his head emphatically. “That’s how we end up with the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.”

“No, no. That’s how we ended up with the nice shield over this block, remember? It’s not always like Ghostbusters, bub.”

Topher sighed loudly. “All right, all right. We can focus on the problem. Which is me, yeah? Me is the problem?”

“Your lack of self-esteem is the problem, Toph.” Betsy frowned at him. “You keep acting like you’re somewhere down below the totem pole, and it’s ridiculous.”

“Hello, have you met you? Either of you? You’re like the most impressive women in your class, probably in the state, and likely in the world. Me, I’m… I’m me. Topher George, loser extraordinaire.”

“You see? That. That’s what I’m worried about. Okay. Here’s the last candle and here’s the actual flame. And here here’s where we write it on parchment.”

“So we, like, we’re literally burning up my flaws?” Toph stared at the parchment in unwilling awe. “And this actually works?”

“Well, the book I found it in says it works, and it’s a good one. Not the kitties-and-puppies book,” Aspen hastened to add. “So yeah, I thought we’d do all three of us, but we can focus on Toph first. And then Betsy and I will be clear-headed if we need to fix something really fast. All right.” Aspen lit the fire in the fireplace and lit the candles. “Topher, you do the writing. Betsy and I will do the chanting and the focusing. Ready?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” he allowed.

“Good. Betsy, you come in on the second repeat.”

“Got it, boss.”

The chant was easy, repetitive, the Sumerian coming smoothly to their tongues after the number of rituals the three of them had performed. They closed their eyes as Topher wrote a word on the parchment and tossed it into the fire.

The flames surged, dancing higher than they had fuel for, and then vanished. Only Topher’s eyes were open, so only he saw the flames actually dart up the chimney.

“Asp? Were the flames supposed to become a little pixy thing and run off with all my flaws?”

Aspen finished the chant. “‘The flames will take them’ is what the ritual says.” She opened her eyes. “How’re you feeling?”

“Mostly… like I want some donuts.” He stretched and wiggled his fingers. “What? Don’t look at me like that, Asp. It’s not like hating myself colored everything I did. I mean, okay…” He trailed off thoughtfully. “Hunh. Well. I guess it feels a little different.”

“Oh, good. I mean, I was thinking maybe it didn’t work or maybe it really was like the Stay-Puft marshmallow man and now you were going to crave donuts all of the time, and that would have been awful, I mean, at least kind of awful…”

“Well, to be fair, I already craved donuts all the time, it was just that I was… hunh. I wonder what a gym membership costs. I wonder if I can get a part-time job that doesn’t suck. What d’ya think, Asp? Barista, maybe? Someone around here has to need someone to work for them, and why not me? I mean…”

Betsy and Aspen shared a look. “Well,” Betsy allowed quietly, “this isn’t too bad, so far.”

“You know… I’ve wanted to know something for a long time, and I figure, you can both kill me for this if you want, but you only live once, right?” Topher looked between the two of them and grinned. “And you two are the only two I’ve ever really wanted, but I guess I figured I wasn’t strong enough for you or smart enough for you, but I’m not all that dumb and I’m crafty where I’m not strong and, well…” His smile got sly and mischievous. “Threesome?”


This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable