I want to write something with a magic system that requires cooperation.

Could be that it’s in couples, but I feel like that would too strongly promote the idea of hetero-normative-monogamy, so I was thinking about trios to start. Would they be three parts of a whole? A battery, a channel, a focus perhaps?

Do the groups come in different sizes? If they did, it argues that the battery is in all of them and some kind of connection is needed to make the magic in that case. Unless different batteries access different types of magic. A weather mage, elementalist, telekinetic, pyrokinetic, animal communicator, etc. That, too, argues that they wouldn’t be so much destined for one another, you know? If they could switch out, maybe? Hmph.

I would then argue that each battery needs a channel if that’s the route we’re going… I don’t know. I can’t decide! Too many choices and a lot of them lead to lots of different problems!! UGH.

Anyway, here’s a story I’m writing off the top of my head about the subject. Apparently it’s futuristic and in first person? Both of those are new, so we’re on an adventure together!

I stood behind my boss and nodded professionally at the other bodyguard, working for my boss’s meeting partner. Normally I’d engage in an staring contest if they wanted, or play Wink, Scratch, Glance if they knew them game. Anything to pass the time while we waited, but this woman caught my interest. A smile was trying to push its way across my lips; laughter was bubbling in my stomach. This had never happened before, but from the look of it, she was feeling the same. I clenched my jaw. It didn’t feel like anyone was using magic, and this bar was locked down against that kind of thing besides. Neither of our bosses seemed to notice – they were still posturing before the deal.

I got myself under control and decided to keep an eye on the area instead of the opposite guard, just in case. She didn’t look like she would start anything unless my boss did, and I knew he didn’t have plans of his own unless they did, blah, blah, blah.

Nothing happened, as usual, and the meeting ended with both parties feeling like they got one over on the other, which is usually best for everyone. 

We ended up walking the same direction at the end, which is always awkward, so I led us around the back to do a lap of the building. Outside the anti-magic field I felt like I could finally take a breath as my extra senses came fully to life. As a Channel, I couldn’t actually do anything with magic, but I could sense its presence and absence does always make the heart grow fonder. 

Despite traveling in three different countries and attending five different schools before graduating, I hadn’t been compatible with any Battery I’d met, let alone a Focus. Go figure. Mom was nice about it, but my aunt and sibs and cousins were pretty shitty with the off-hand comments and the like. Still, at least I could still choose my own work instead of a Focus deciding for me. It worked out, but like anyone missing a piece of themselves, I wondered what it would be like to have a group of my own.

I blinked. The bodyguard from before was standing at the mouth of the alley. She disappeared once she knew I’d seen her, so I didn’t think she was there to attack my boss. I realized then that he’d been speaking for the last little while and checked in to listen for a moment – no, nothing important. I grunted and he smiled to himself like I’d stroked his ego or something. 

I kept a wary eye peeled but once I stuck the boss in a car and it drove him toward home, I was free for the evening. I checked my bank account to confirm my night’s payment was transferred… yep. Then I looked around. No sign. I turned back toward the alley and found her leaning against the wall. She had a licorice between her fingers like an old-style cigarette and took a small bite with her front teeth as I approached.

I raised a finger in greeting. “You waiting for me?” I asked.

She nodded once and stuck the end of the licorice behind her ear. I stopped at a respectful distance. She was about a head shorter than me, a little more narrow, but wiry. I figured she could take me in a fight, but I figured that about just about anyone I met. It kept me sharp.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

I considered the question. Real name, work name, fake name… “Lizette,” I answered.

“Andromeda,” she said. I raised an eyebrow and she shrugged a shoulder. “My dad’s a pilot.” She used her shoulders to push off of the wall and took a step forward. “I just wanted to say ‘hey’.” She looked a little awkward now, out of her element.

“I got the giggles inside,” I admitted. “Couldn’t figure out why.”

Andromeda looked relieved. “Same. Figured there was a reason.”

The silence soured as neither of us had anything to say.

I reached a hand forward to shake and she did the same. I opened my mouth to excuse myself but as our hands made contact, our grip glowed like a miniature sun. We stared at it and then each other until the light grew outward and enveloped us entirely. I closed my eyes; not that I could see anyway, but it was less disorienting. I could still feel her hand in mine. Her grip tightened and I answered in kind.

It was only a moment before the light faded. I didn’t want to let go. I swallowed hard, my heart racing like I’d run twenty miles uphill, but instead of feeling drained, I wanted to go, go, go! Andromeda looked the same – kind of shocked, kind of excited.

“I’ve never-” she started.

“Me neither!” I said. She stared at me for a moment and then leapt into my arms. Before I knew what was happening I had her back against the wall and my mouth glued to hers. Her legs tightened around my hips and I leaned into her, desperate and delighted.

“My place is, like, two blocks from here,” she whispered into my mouth.

“That might be too far,” I answered. She bit my neck in response. “Is that supposed to help?” I asked with a groan. She grinned and pushed me away, sliding down out of my grip, but before we lost contact completely she took my hand and started at a fast walk.

“Let’s start again,” she said as we went, nearly running. “I’m Andromeda and apparently I’ve been looking for you my whole life.”

April 05, 2021

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