perfectworry: black skies have changed into blue but some nights I still dream of you (but I've seen oceans)
[personal profile] perfectworry
title: Epiphaneia
rating: G
word count: 1375
prompt: Advent
pairing: Penelope+Violet
summary: Penny and Violet celebrate Epiphany with a midnight ritual.
note: a couple of high school girls messing around with magic they don't really understand

Usually, my dad doesn’t let me have friends spend the night on a school day, but he made an exception for Violet. Violet was always the exception.

She spent the whole vacation back on the mainland with her dad’s new family. I stayed on the island with my dad. We did all the usual holiday traditions, but this year I was just going through the motions. It wasn’t the same without Mom, anyway. But I had been looking forward to today since last Thanksgiving.

Violet picked today because it’s Twelfth Night. She read about it online, and we planned a party and begged my dad to let her stay. He relented, on the condition we be asleep no later than ten o’clock.

That was an hour and a half ago.

Violet and me always share a bed when we visit each other’s houses. It’s easy to whisper to each other in the dark, quieter than mice.

My stomach is full from the all the things we ate. Violet did the research, and we bought gingerbread cookies and fruitcake and apple pie at the grocery store. All the sugar made me silly, and a little bit sick.

“Do you think your dad’s asleep?” Violet breathes into my ear. The hallway light switched off ages ago.

“Probably,” I whisper back.

But we lay still and give it a little longer. I’m breathing slow and deep, pretending so hard that I’m asleep that I almost fall asleep for real.

Then Violet nudges me, and we slide out of bed onto the floor. The room is lit only by her phone, which casts a bluish tinge over everything. I try not to giggle as Violet shakes out a packet of salt stolen from the local hamburger joint in a rough circle on the floor.

“You’d better sweep that up when we’re done,” I hiss. “My dad will kill me.”

But Violet shushes me and frowns. This is serious spiritual business, not a time for worrying about earthly matters. I sit beside her and shut my mouth.

She wanted to light a candle, but I drew the line at burning anything in my room. So instead she opens up an app on her phone. I line up the spices from my dad’s rack in the kitchen while Violet fetches the ginger ale hidden in her backpack.

We settle down across from one another.

I burst out laughing.

The look on Violet’s face shuts me up, and I sit a little straighter.

“Did you bring it?” she asks.

“Close your eyes,” I say, and pop up. I fish around in my sock drawer, and find what she asked about: her Christmas present. It’s a seraphanite necklace. Violet’s magical stone. The book says it’s for protection during astral travel.

I sit back down opposite Violet, so our knees are touching. I clutch her necklace in my hands. I saved up my allowance for a whole month to buy it from the New Age shop in the city. I wonder if she can guess.

Violet hums and chants. I close my eyes and mumble along. Violet knows so much about magic, and I’m just a beginner. She promised to consult her books and her psychic stepmom helped her see my magic stone.

“It’s emerald,” I told her.

“Not your birth stone. Anyone can look that up in like two seconds. I mean like your magic stone,” Violet explained. That’s when she told me about the seraphanite and traced her fingers lovingly over the pendant at the shop.

“Hold out your hands,” Violet says now. I reach over the flickering candle app. Violet’s present looks out of place wrapped in cheery Santa paper and topped with a red and gold curly ribbon.

She’s holding my present in her hands. It’s in a tasteful velour box, the kind you get at department stores when you buy expensive jewelry. My emerald necklace from Dad came in a box like that.

I gasp.

“Now,” says Violet, sitting up a little straighter. “Repeat after me.”

I nod.

“I drink from your cup.”

“I drink from your cup.”

With her free hand, Violet holds her ginger ale up to my lips. I sip, and try not to snort when the bubbles go up my nose. I flinch and freeze, worried that my dad will hear.

She hands me the bottle, and I do the same for her.

“I will walk through the fires of hell for you.”

“I will walk through the fires of hell for you.”

I don’t feel so silly any more as we clasp hands, even though our fires of hell are just an app on Violet’s phone. A sort of deadly seriousness settles over me.

“I honor you as my true soul friend.”

“I honor you as my true soul friend.”

I’ve never had a true soul friend before. I’ve had a couple of best friends, but we always drifted apart. I don’t want it to be like that with Violet. It feels like I’ve known her my whole life, even though she just moved here at the end of eighth grade, But I’ve seen her every day since then, except while she was away for Christmas and New Year’s with her dad. She even took me when she went to the city with her dad for her birthday.

Violet leans forward then and kisses me on the lips. It’s just a quick kiss, the kind I give my cousins at Thanksgiving, but I still blush.

“What?” asks Violet, when I giggle a little. “It’s just a kiss. King Arthur used to kiss his men all of the time. It’s not gay or anything.”

“I think it’s just all that sugar, and it’s really late,” I say, trying to explain away my discomfort as too many sweets and not enough sleep.

“I stay up later than this all of the time.”

“Yeah, but you know my dad,” I say. I shrug. I want to exchange presents and go to bed already.

“Well, if you’re gonna be a baby about it, let’s just finish the ritual. Give me my present,” she says, reaching for the gift in my hand.

We open them at the same time. I’m quicker, because mine is wrapped just in it’s fancy box. I swing open the hinge. Inside is a shard of tiger’s eye. It’s pointed on one end, and capped with maybe gold on the other. It dangles on a long chain.

“Put it on,” whispers Violet.

“I’ll get all tangled in it!” I say. I even take off my emerald necklace when I sleep.

“You don’t like it,” pouts Violet. “That’s why you don’t want to wear it.”

I put it on.

“No! It’s beautiful, Vi.”

It really is pretty, at least as well as I can see by the light of a phone. The stone pokes my chest and it’s cold against my skin, but I tuck it into my pajama shirt to keep it from getting tangled up with my hair.

Violet has been taking her time opening the seraphinite necklace.

She gasps when she sees it, and I’m trying to shush her and say you’re welcome at the same time.

“This is amazing,” she says. “It’s the one from Angel Intuition!”

“You said you liked that one, and I didn’t know where else to get seraphinite,” I say. It’s true. I’ve never even heard of it before we went to the New Age shop in the city. “I went back and got it when Dad took me Christmas shopping.”

Violet launches herself at me. She glomps onto me, hugging me so hard I topple backwards and whack my head on the dresser.



I freeze. A floorboard creaks in the hall.

Quick as a flash, we shove the spice bottles and the ginger ale under the bed. Violet switches off her phone screen and we scramble back under the covers.

This time, I fake sleeping so well that I really do drift off, and Violet doesn’t wake me up. I fall asleep with my hand pressed over my heart and my new necklace, and I’m still like that the next morning, when I wake up and the pendant has left a dent in my skin.
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perfectworry: meet me in the door with the desert in the morning I am there (Default)
李杏 | Frances J., a lion-hearted girl

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