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"So..." Edward said, "is this the end?"

"You've asked that twenty times already," Mel said, through gritted teeth. "And the answer is still no". 

"Twenty-three", June said.

"Twenty-three what?" Mel snapped. 

"He's asked twenty-three times. I've been keeping count," June said. 

"Why have you been keeping count," Mel said.

"Because I'm boooored," June said.

They all were. 

There was only so many times you could cycle through this damn basement, which kept resetting into new but somehow identical formations, none of which brought them any closer to the exit, before you started to go out of your mind. Actually, that was probably what had happened to the former owner, who was apparently now threatening to unleash a magical bomb, destroying the castle and the three neighboring villages.

Mel and Edward had been on their way to a honeymoon by the beach. Mel was going to sip pina coladas and watch Edward flail around in the water like an idiot, and Edward was going to drag her to petting zoos and talk her into bringing home an animal she didn't want while Mel complained about him being an idiot who never thought through the long term implications of thinks that shedded scales and pooped everywhere. It was a good plan, Mel had been looking forward, so of course on the way they ran into June, who'd been sent to deal with the rogue magician. 

Why couldn't Mel ever catch a break, seriously.

And now there were ten minutes left on the giant, ticking, glowing, spectral red clock that had been following them around cackling evilly to itself ever since they'd entered the castle, and soon they were probably all going to be dead.

"Edward," Mel said. Her throat felt dry, suddenly, and she swallowed. But she wanted to force the words out anyway. "Edward, whatever happens, you know that I--"

"FOUND it!" Edward crowed triumphantly, and pulled back a hanging tapestry they must have walked past twenty-- twenty three-- times already. The glowing red clock hissed in dismay and transformed into a glowing red man.

"What were you saying, Mel?' Edward said, even as he was drawing his sword and she had both daggers out.

"Nothing important," Mel said. He didn't need to know that near death experiences made her almost waver on the question of pets. There was no knowing what he would do with that knowledge.

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Gyendal was in the girls' bathroom again, smoking. 

"Ugh, seriously, go back to the boys' room," Lydia said. He hadn't even opened the window. Now she was going to smell of smoke. 

"It's more interesting in here," Gyendal said, blowing a smoke ring at her. 

"You're a gross pervert," Lydia said. He sniggered, but she decided to ignore him. Some people were hopeless. She looked at herself in the mirror, trying to decide if her hair needed fixing. No, she looked perfect. She should probably head back to Trig soon, before Mr. Mathers started to get suspicious. He was so boring, it was like his superpower. But as long as she played up the dumb ditz act he was always willing to give her plenty of extra credit. 

Lydia didn't like studying-- she wasn't a nerd-- but she did need a good enough GPA to get into an Ivy so she could choose a really rich husband. It was at times like these she wished her parents were rich enough to have donated a swimming pool somewhere or something but no, life was perpetually unfair. 

"Say, Lydia," Gyendal said, too casually. 

"What." Lydia said, not bothering to look at him. God, she couldn't pee while he was here. She'd just go back to class.

"If I said I had the answer key to Mrs. Green's final, what would you do?"

"Report you to the principal, you cheater," Lydia said. 

"What if I was willing to share?" Gyendal said. 

"And get caught? No thanks," Lydia said. She wasn't an idiot.

"Fine, if that's not the right incentive, let's try this-- I can help you get revenge on Edward Pendragon."

That got her interest. Edward Pendragon, super rich, captain of the football team, and a total loser who had dumped Lydia-- publicly!-- after they'd been going out for only two weeks. 

"...Let's hear your plan, first," she said, slowly.


The plan was long, convoluted, and terrible, but Gyendal insisted it would work. 

Lydia's part in the plan was giving Mel a makeover.

Mel was... Mel hung out with the absolute bottom of the social ladder, the total pariahs. June was a ten year old in high school, which sort of spoke for itself, and Yvette was known by all as the "Bird Girl" after the incident in tenth grade from which she'd never recovered. 

It was a bit surprising because Mel herself could probably have gotten along fine with several other cliques around the school. She had a certain weird charisma.

She had agreed to go along with Lydia's offer of a makeover only after Lydia had half-lied that it was for a bet. She'd insisted on checking a mirror every five minutes, too, which would have been hurtfully suspicious if Lydia was inclined to feel hurt. She suspected it was actually an under-handed dig, not just an appropriate level of caution. 

Mel's hair, which she'd cut into an unflattering short haircut there was very little to be done to salvage (and she'd refused to let Lydia try), was, at least, very thick and smooth and soft. Lydia tucked a loose strand back behind the headband and stepped back to admire her work.

She was, clearly, a genius. 

"Unfortunately no amount of good looks can overcome serious personality flaws," she mused out loud, thinking of Mel's horrible taste in friends.

"Tell me about it," Mel said. 


...Somehow Gyendal's brilliant plan ended with Mel becoming prom queen and Edward making a public declaration of love for her, which she threw back in his face. Lydia found the loss of a title that was rightfully hers infuriating, and the satisfaction of Edward's humiliation was completely erased when he came in the next day holding Mel's hand, the two of them blushing furiously. 

"Wait, wait! There's a stage two to the plan!" Gyendal said, raising his arms protectively when she marched over to find him. "I promise, it's brilliant--"

Lydia considered the likelihood that it was worth hearing Gyendal out and finding out what he had planned next.

Then she kicked him in the balls. 

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@Blurble I need you to know I squealed ten different times while reading this. THANK you. :D (For the record, Mel/Lydia is my OTP, and that makeover scene hit me directly in the feelings.)

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@Blurble just want to say that these made my day. I've been reading your stories on AO3 and your writing totally does it for me! Also, modern AU Lydia kicking Gyendal in the nuts over Mel/Edward is quite possibly the best modern AU written for anything, ever 

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@Blurble If you still take offers, how about Ean choosing the option to go to Thais at the end of AV2, but ending up having the same duty of Tailor Darzon of saving the Pendragon from some new whatever evil.

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@Scrivener of the Gods

"This looks like peasant food," Alicia said, wrinkling her nose.

"It is," Talia said, between bites. "And it's delicious."

"I remember my mum making this..." Devin said, looking at the pieces frying in the pan Jack was overseeing, wistful.

"Well, I guess I can try it," Alicia said, with a sniff. 

Talia didn't roll her eyes. She would have nudged Devin, to exchange a glance of understanding about how ridiculous Alicia could sometimes be. But lately he'd been more uncomfortable with that, so she didn't.

It was good chicken, anyway.

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