“I would take it upon myself to fix this but I simply do not have the time,” is all Ada says to them.
“Whatever it is Ms. Cackle I can tell you I’m absolutely going to hate it,” Dimity slumps down into a chair in Ms. Cackle’s office.
Gwen stands next to Dimity and just says, “I know I’m going to regret asking but what is it you wish us to fix?”
Ms. Cackle is giving them that small, strained smile she usually reserves for her sister or the Great Wizard. “Well, you see, Ms. Pentangle and Ms. Hardbroom have had an unfortunate series of events occur over the last two weeks and apparently Ms. Pentangle is angry enough at whatever Hecate’s done that she’s running for Super Head, and this time she actually means to take the title if she gets it.”
Dimity actually lets out a small laugh, mouth closed, and it almost comes out a snort. Gwen smiles small, and says, “We’ll look into it Ada, no need to worry.”
Dimity goes to protest but Gwen simply smiles and raises an eyebrow at her and she stays quiet. They both leave Ms. Cackle’s office and once outside Dimity turns to her, “What on earth was that?”
Gwen places a hand on Dimity’s shoulder and says, “Dimity I spent 20 years looking for Algernon and I just found him and sometimes we fight, but I wouldn’t let him go for all the gold in the world and he feels the same for me.”
“What in the name of the Great Wizard does your love life have to do with HB?” Dimity interrupts.
One look and Dimity is back to being very quiet. “I think that Ms. Pentangle and Hecate have been waiting a very long time and that one mistake shouldn’t erase 30 years of waiting.”
Dimity can’t help but say, “Knowing HB I bet you otherwise.”
Gwen drags her off saying, “No wonder Hecate treats you like a child, I swear on the Witch’s Code…” She doesn’t finish her sentence.
They reach Hecate’s classroom and knock on the door. It opens slowly before them and Hecate is sitting at her desk, bringing her hand back down to write on her parchment. After a second she sets down her markings and looks up at them. “Can I help you with something?” She asks them.
“Oh Hecate dear,” Ms. Bat starts and the way she says it kind of creeps Dimity out. “Won’t you join us for tea. We have some business which needs to be discussed promptly.”
Hecate simply nods and Ms. Bat transfers the three of them to her quarters. She flicks her wrist and a tray appears in her hands with hot tea almost spilling out of three brimming cups. Dimity and Gwen sit on the couch and Hecate sits on a chair directly next to them. “What business must we attend to?” Hecate asks, setting down her tea.
Gwen starts to speak, “Well you see we’ve come upon a delicate situation and Ms. Cackle has asked us to interv-“
“Apparently you pissed of Pippa,” Dimity interrupts her explanation. Gwen just blinks at Dimity and Hecate just blinks at both of them.
Hecate shakes her head slightly and says, “I’ve done nothing of the matter. Pippa and I are on excellent terms.” She’s practically daring them to disagree and Dimity doesn’t back down from a dare.
“Well I think maybe you should talk to Pippa cause she seems to disagree. She’s waging war on Cackle’s and explicitly stated it was cause of you. Well you and Ada but that goes without sayin’.” Dimity glances at HB and takes a long sip of her tea to distract herself.
Gwen smiles at Hecate before speaking. “You see the thing is Ms. Pentangle has decided that she’s going to try to be Super Head, for real this time, which means that Ada would be out of a job. She informed Ada and when Ada asked why she said that you and Ada should know exactly why she was doing this.”
Hecate’s back straightens and she arches one eyebrow. “Well I talked to Pippa just this Tuesday and she said nothing of being Super Head. She explicitly said she never wanted to hurt me or Ada in such a way.”
“Well then whacha done in the past two days? Cause you had to do something.” Dimity and Gwen just stare at her as she mentally goes over the past two days in her head.
She goes to speak but stops herself and continues thinking a moment longer. “Well, we spoke on Tuesday about Pippa’s appearance at the school several weeks ago and how I should have trusted that she had mine and Ada’s best interest at heart and she agreed that she hadn’t even wanted to be Super Head and I agreed that I wanted to trust her from now on. Then on Wednesday night we mirrored again and spoke of the upcoming Council Event. Pippa asked me to attend but I informed her that Ada asked me to attend and so I could not attend as Pippa’s date because I would already be going. That is the last time we spoke and the last thing we spoke of. Pippa seemed agitated but not enough to do something of this sort.” Hecate did not allow her voice to waver and held her body straight in the chair.
Dimity and Gwen gave each other a look before glancing at Hecate. Gwen spoke first. “I can see where the misunderstanding came from now.”
“Well do inform me,” Hecate said rather impatiently.
“You turned down Pippa to go on a date with Ada,” Dimity said with a snort.
Hecate snapped her head up sharply and Gwen looked rather exasperated at Dimity’s continuous outbursts. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am not accompanying Ada as her date, I’m going in her place and Pippa was simply asking me as a friend, nothing more.” Hecate pulled her shoulders back and glared at Dimity.
Gwen spoke again saying “I can see that you might think that, but see this from Pippa’s point of view. Even after you told her you wanted to trust her and all that you turned her down for a date and she feels betrayed. So she’s attempting to hurt you back the best way she knows how, through Cackle’s and Ada.”
Hecate huffed and said, “But Ada and I aren’t-“
Gwen interrupts her, “Yes I know but you and Ada are rather good friends and anyone can see that, so whether or not you and Ada are together hurting her hurts you too. I must go now, it seems that Ms. Pentangle and I need to have a bit of a discussion.”
Gwen stands and Dimity is hot on her tail saying, “Well if that’s all done I don’t think I’m needed anymore.” Gwen rolls her eyes and says "well scurry off then," and Dimity is gone just as soon as she was allowed.
Gwen turned to Hecate who had risen out of Gwen’s chair. Hecate spoke then, “Let me talk to her. I believe this is a matter for her and I to discuss.”
Gwen shook her head, “No you won’t. I will speak to her first. At this time anything you said would likely only worsen the situation. I will inform you directly after the mirror call on how it went and then and only then may you speak to her.”
Gwen did not miss the way Hecate’s face softened, the same way it did when she’d been drinking Witch’s Brew. She did not miss the way Hecate’s hand immediately reached to grip at her pocket watch, the thing she only did when she was worried or anxious. She did not miss how Hecate wanted to argue, just to talk to Pippa. She did not miss the way that Hecate at no point blamed Pippa for any of this.
Moments later, when Gwen and Hecate had finished discussing what exactly had been done and was to be done in terms of Pippa, Gwen turned to the large mirror on her vanity. She paused to ready herself and proceeded to mirror Ms. Pentangle, unsure if she would even answer.
Within three rings the mirror popped up with Ms. Pentangle inside of it saying, “Hecate I do not wish to speak to you at the present- Oh! Ms. Bat! I do apologize I saw that the call was from Cackle’s and assumed it to be Hecate.”
“No worries Ms. Pentangle,” Gwen said. “We have important matters to discuss anyway.”
Pippa did not waver in front of the strong eyes of Ms. Bat and sat as tall as she could in her chair. “I do not wish to be lied to or to be persuaded into doing what I should have done weeks ago.”
Gwen smiled at her. “I understand your hesitation,” she started, “But as a modern witch maybe second chances and benefit of the doubt is something you can understand.”
“Second chances,” she said incredulously. “I’ve given Hecate several second chances and third chances even. I do not need to be lectured on how a modern witch should understand second chances. I’ve given that woman plenty.”
“But you see,” Gwen cut in. “You have not been given all the information. Would you like all the information before you make what could be an unforgivable mistake?” It comes out rather harsher than she means but Ms. Pentangle gets the idea.
“I guess I can afford the time to hear you out,” is all Pippa says.
Gwen clears her throat before starting. “Firstly, Hecate and Ada will not be attending the Council event together. Rather Hecate will be attending in place of Ada because Ada has the girls and work she must attend to here at the time of the event and she hates the Council. Hecate did not turn down your offer in favor of going with Ada or because she does not wish to go with you, she simply meant she needn’t the invitation to come as your date for she would already be there.”
Pippa eyed Ms. Bat rather suspiciously. Her face was riddled with all the fears that were probably true. She’d overreacted and if she didn’t backtrack very quickly she’d soon regret it. “Are you sure?”
“I do not lie,” Gwen responded rather flatly, but with a smile all the same. “I feel that you have someone other than me to speak to now.”
“Oh goodness,” Pippa responded, tears pricking at the corners of her eyes. “I’ve made such a fool of myself and now everyone knows why. How can Hecate ever forgive me for believing something so stupid?” Pippa is spiraling and freaking herself out.
Gwen clears her throat and says, “Why don’t you just talk to Hecate. Do not assume anything that you aren’t sure about. Isn’t that the thing that has gotten the two of you into your historically long feuds?”
Gwen takes a breath once the mirror call is over. She informs Ada of what’s been done and all of two hours later there’s Ms. Pentangle, flying towards the castle. It’s 7 at night and the kids are all gathered outside watching her. Hecate is there too, standing beside Ada, Gwen, Algernon, and Dimity, who won’t stop smirking.
The moment Pippa lands she stomps her way over to Hecate the kids all simply watch her, unsure of what to do. Gwen steps back away with the rest of the staff, her hand gripping tight to Algernon's and everyone watches as Pippa stands in front of Hecate.
“Hecate Hardbroom, you are the most brilliant witch I have ever met and I want to ask you something.” Pippa lets out a long held breath and Hecate starts to speak but Pippa holds up her hand. “Let me finish dear. You are the most brilliant witch I’ve ever met and I’m standing in front of you after two hours of straight flying and I’m quite exhausted but the only thing I want to do right now is ask you to attend the Council event as my date. Hecate Hardbroom I’m asking you on a date and if you say no I might kill you.” She glares up at Hecate and the two simply stand for a moment.
Then Hecate must come to her senses because she says, “I would find that arrangement adequate.” It’s a yes from Hecate and Pippa barrels forward into her arms and Gwen is prepared because suddenly green smoked has enveloped the Headmistress and the Deputy Headmistress and they are gone.
Gwen smiles to herself and holds tighter to Algernon's hand, Ada is beaming, and Dimity keeps making jokes under her breath and laughing. The girls all look stunned and one of them says, “I’ve been waiting for that to happen for AN ENTIRE YEAR!” She’s practically shouting.
Gwen glances across the crowd of girls, at all the surprised but happy faces and settles on one face in particular. Mildred looks less surprised than anyone, which is a first because the girl always looks surprised.
Mildred catches her eye and smiles a knowing smile and Gwen knows too. She knows that Mildred has known what she’s known all along. Pippa and Hecate have been waiting on each other just as Algernon and her have been waiting on each other.
The next morning Gwen is surprised when she does not see Pippa sitting at the table with the rest of the staff. Surely she could afford to miss one day at her school. However, she is even more surprised that she does not see Hecate either.