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Brightest Shade of Starlight

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As they approach, the palace looks bigger and more sinister than Katya remembers it. They have both been tense since Katya spotted the black towers in the distance. Trixie grabs her hand and doesn’t let go as they cross the large iron gate and make their way up the long path up to the main doors. 

As they get there, Katya wants to assure her she’ll be safe here, but the doors fly open and Jinkx hurries down the stairs towards their caravan, so she just squeezes Trixie’s hand twice before jumping down from the bench. Jinkx pulls her into a tight hug before Katya has the chance to say anything.

“It’s good to have you home.”

“Thanks.” Katya pats Jinkx’s back until she pulls back, grabbing Katya’s shoulder and holding her at arm’s length.

“You feel different,” she remarks with obvious curiosity.

 Katya shrugs “I got my magic back.” 

Jinkx doesn’t reply. She lets go of Katya and turns towards Trixie, who’s standing a few feet behind her.

“This is Trixie, she’s my… star,” Katya finishes awkwardly, and before she’s finished speaking, Jinkx hugs Trixie, who gives Katya a helpless look over Jinkx’s shoulder. Katya just grins. 

“You’re a very special person,” Jinkx tells her once she’s stepped back.

“Bianca said something like that too, just before she tried to burn us alive,” Trixie remarks with a lopsided smile.

Sorrow washes over Jinkx’s face.“I’m sorry you had to meet her like that. She’s a great witch, in some ways.”

“Katya.”

At the soft voice Katya turns towards the doors, spotting Sasha on the steps. She approaches them swiftly and gives Katya a brief hug, before greeting Trixie with a nod.

“I’m very glad to see you both here.”

“You don’t seem to be surprised that Trixie came with me,” Katya notices.

Sasha gives her a brief smile. “We hoped she would.”

Katya looks from her to Jinkx. “You knew she’d be a person?”

“No, not at first.” Sasha seems to be thinking for a moment. Then she adds, “We have something to show you.”

Katya expects her to head up the stairs and into the hall, but Sasha walks past them, along the palace walls. Jinkx gives them another smile and follows her, so when Trixie looks at Katya with confusion, she just shrugs and sticks out her hand for Trixie to take. She grasps it right away, her palm warm and soft against Katya’s.

They follow the sisters down the path around the side of the palace, leading to the garden. Once it held flower beds and manicured lawns, with hedges drawing straight lines in between. Katya barely remembers that time. By now the hedges have grown into an impenetrable labyrinth with only the herb garden, close to the kitchen door, still accessible.

Or at least Katya thought so, until Sasha climbs through a narrow gap in between the wall of hedges, Jinkx squeezing in after her. 

“Where are we going?” Katya’s question receives no answer, so with a sigh, she shimmies sideways through the hole, pulling Trixie after her. 

The space behind is dark and eerily quiet. Neither sunlight nor the chirping of birds reaches the narrow path between the hedges, and Trixie holds onto her hand a little tighter. Katya squeezes twice again and gives her a reassuring smile. They follow Jinkx along the winding trail until the walls of greenery open up into a large clearing. 

It’s not naturally grown, the hedges bend to the side before going upwards, and Katya is sure magic redirected their growth. At the other end the garden opens up into the forest. The clearing itself is empty, safe for grass, a few bushes and scattered wildflowers. 

Katya expects them to head out into the woods, but in the middle of the clearing Sasha stops and closes her eyes. Nothing happens. Trixie shifts nervously from one foot to the other, tugging on Katya’s hand. Jinkx is standing perfectly still, apparently waiting, so Katya does the same.

After a minute or so something approaches. They only hear it at first. It is some kind of creature; several feet are hitting the ground, and fast. It finally bursts through the treeline, and Trixie shrieks. Katya can’t tell what it is as it keeps barreling towards them, but it stops just before crashing into Sasha, with its paws digging into the ground.

The lion starts to purr as Sasha scratches it behind one ear. Meanwhile the goat tries to sneak its mouth into her pocket, and the snake winds around Sasha’s arm. It’s the chimera Sasha killed when it was her turn to find a new source for her magic. Or was supposed to. It’s clearly alive and happy to see her. 

“Somebody please explain what’s going on,” Trixie says quietly, pressing herself close to Katya.

“Uh, yes, I would like that too.” With a frown Katya watches the chimera roll over onto its back, Sasha kneeling down to rub its belly that’s part lion, part goat, and part snake.

“I couldn’t bring myself to kill him when I brought him here,” Sasha starts to explain without stopping to pet the chimera. “He hadn’t done anything to deserve that, and taking such a marvelous creature from the world seemed too cruel. So I let him go.”

“I don’t understand. You have your magic back.”

“Jinkx helped me fake it at first, taking over my tasks. We were trying to figure out another way to restore my magic.” Sasha smiles down at the chimera happily rolling around in the dirt. “And then Vanya came back.”

Vanya ?” Trixie barks incredulously.

“Of course you’d make him your pet,” Katya adds with a headshake.

“Not my pet, my friend,” Sasha corrects with a calm smile. 

“We tried to send him away, but he would always return.” Jinkx looks at the scene in front of them, unbothered, like it’s an everyday occurrence. “So we did our best to make sure Bianca wouldn’t find him.”

“He wasn’t always this cuddly, but he got more comfortable over time. And one morning I woke up and my magic was back.” When Sasha stands up, Vanya rolls over and gets onto his paws and hooves as well. He keeps bumping his lion head against her shoulder, and Sasha absentmindedly scratches him.

“Love,” Trixie simply says.

Jinkx nods. “We didn’t make the connection for a good while. And when we did we had no way to prove it.”

“Is that why you didn’t tell me?” Katya is only now catching up with the fact that her sisters have kept this secret from her for years; knowledge that would have changed everything on her journey to find Trixie. “Do you realize what this would have meant for me? How much anguish this could have saved me?” At her raised voice Vanya steps in front of Sasha, the three heads growling, bleating and hissing. Katya stands her ground.

“We had to!” Jinkx rushes to her side, grabbing her bicep on the side Trixie isn’t already holding on to. “This is so much bigger than just us. It could change everything for witches; give us independence and reduce so much pain. But we needed to test it, and we couldn’t risk skewing the results. This was too important. You needed to decide to spare the creature that’s your fate by yourself.”

Katya swallows, thinking about what she could have done to Trixie. “And what if I hadn’t?”

Jinkx smiles and cups Katya’s cheek for a moment. “We knew you would. You’re you.”

Trixie squeezes her hand and when Katya turns her head, she smiles. “See? I told you.”

Katya snorts. “Alright, and what if you hadn’t fallen in love with me?”

“That couldn’t have happened.” Trixie grins. “You’re you .”

The irritation that had started to constrict Katya’s chest loosens its grip, and she smiles back. The moment is interrupted when Jinkx clears her throat.

“We were waiting to hear from you to prove our theory. And you have, so now we need to spread this message around and let other witches know they’re not doomed to be killers.”

“This is wonderful, it truly is,” Trixie interjects, “but what do we do about Bianca?”

“I’m sure she’ll come around when she sees the evidence.” Even as she says it, Sasha doesn’t sound completely sure.

“Right, is that why you’ve kept Vanya a secret?” Katya asks with a raised brow.

“You’re underestimating how much she wants to kill me.” Trixie’s voice is flat as she adds, “Enough to accept harming Katya in the process.”

“I’m alright now,” Katya says quietly.

Now , yes. But you shouldn’t have been hurt in the first place.”

“What happened?” Jinkx asks, with worry on her face. Katya had explained before that Bianca had set the inn on fire. At the time she didn’t think it would add to the conversation to talk about her arm. It seems unavoidable now.

As she hesitates, Trixie’s expression becomes determined. “Show them.”

With a sigh Katya lets go of Trixie’s hand and takes her coat off. Jinkx gasps as Katya rolls up her sleeve, showing off the new skin that’s still tender when she’s not careful. It looks worse than it feels now, having grown too fast over her gnarled flesh. Katya knows it’s never going to look quite right again. It’s still vastly preferable to dying.

Sasha’s jaw squares as she looks down at Katya’s arm. “We need a plan.”

“Right now, we need Aquaria to look at this,” Jinkx counters, gesturing to Katya.

“Do the others know?” Katya rolls down her sleeve again but doesn’t bother putting on her coat. She nods towards Vanya, who is still rubbing his heads against Sasha.

“They do now. We showed them after you contacted us.”

Katya nods at Sasha’s explanation. “Right. I think it’s time we all stood up to our big sister.”

*

Once they make it out of the labyrinth, Alaska, Aquaria and Dela are already crowded in the open kitchen door, waiting for them. One after the other they hug Katya, and Dela pulls Trixie into a hug as well. At no point have they told anyone about the exact nature of their relationship, but none of the sisters bat an eye when Trixie takes Katya’s good hand again as soon as they sit down at the large wooden table in the kitchen. 

After Jinkx made Katya show off her arm again, Aquaria hurried off and returned shortly after with an armful of bottles and jars. As they talk she dabs a variety of strongly smelling creams onto Katya’s skin, making it feel soothed immediately. 

“She’ll catch up with us eventually,” Trixie says. 

“It won’t take her long to figure out we came here,” Katya adds. “All of us being there should stop her from doing anything rash.”

“Like setting the whole place on fire,” Alaska offers with a dry smile.

“Like setting the whole place on fire,” Katya agrees with a nod.

“Right, but what do we say to her?” Dela asks, looking close to wringing her hands.

“We’ll tell her there is no need for violence and that there is no place for that among us anymore.” Jinkx sounds collected in a way that takes Katya by surprise. She had expected everybody to be talking over each other, fretting, maybe even crying, but it’s a strangely sober discussion. 

“The real question is what steps are you comfortable actually taking against her?” Trixie’s question stuns everyone into silence.

“What do you mean?” Alaska asks with a frown.

“I mean,” Trixie starts with a sigh, “that I could have ended all this at the inn. I could do it now. But would you be alright with that?”

“What?” Katya stares at her perplexed and Trixie turns to face her.

“I didn’t want to hurt you by hurting her.”

What? ” Katya repeats.

“Oh, honestly.” Trixie rolls her eyes, exasperated. “You’re all willing to accept that I have the ability to make Katya more powerful than before, but none of you considered where that power is coming from?” She looks around the table with raised brows. “This is not a meeting to determine how you can protect me. It’s about me making sure that Katya will still want to talk to me when I’m done.”

"What are you suggesting you do?" Sasha asks carefully.

The corners of Trixie's mouth twitch, but the smile never reaches her eyes. "Sparkle really hard."

*

Katya closes the door to her bedroom with her heartbeat loud in her ears, lighting the candles with a flick of her wrist. Trixie stands in the middle of the room, slowly turning and taking everything in. 

It’s the first time Katya has been back here since her birthday, when she had no more magic and didn’t know Trixie yet, didn’t even know her fate was to find a star. It’s only been about two weeks but it feels like a lifetime ago. Her room looks smaller and darker than she remembers it. She spots the crack in the mirror of her vanity that she regretted not fixing before, on the morning of her birthday, and her fingers itch to fix it now, but she feels embarrassed to do it in front of Trixie for some reason.

“It’s nice,” Trixie finally offers, not convincingly at all. With her foot she nudges one of the curtains, and a cloud of dust rises up. "It could be cleaner."

Katya snorts. "We're a coven of famously evil witches. We don't dust."

Trixie acknowledges it with a hum. “You know, it’s…”

“What?”

“Not what I had imagined when you said palace .”

“It is a palace, shut up!” Katya caws, her mouth wide open in indignation.

Trixie grins at that and comes closer, winding her arms around Katya’s waist. She kisses the tip of her nose. “Don’t be like that. I don’t hate it, I’m just saying that it could be nicer.”

Katya doesn’t argue with that, just pushes up on her tiptoes. Trixie leans down, deepening their kiss, before pulling away and with an excited ooh heading for Katya’s wardrobe.

She swings open both doors and is faced with a lot of black. “Huh.”

“What? I like my clothes.”

“They could do with some color, that’s all,” Trixie mutters as she looks through the dresses. With a wave of one of Katya’s fingers, the dress that Trixie is looking at turns blood red. 

“Is that better?”

Trixie just raises one brow. “It’s a start.” After a moment of silence, she adds, “I like you in anything, by the way. You’d look stunning in a potato sack.”

Katya hums, and this time it's her hugging Trixie close. She rests her head on Trixie's shoulder.

"Come to bed?"

Trixie grins slowly. "Yes, you still have to make up for lying to me."

Katya snorts softly, the noise drowned in Trixie's dress. "Is that how it works? How many more orgasms until my debt is paid?"

"I'll let you know."

As Trixie leans down to kiss her, Katya opens up to Trixie’s insistent tongue but pulls back after a moment.

"Actually I just meant sleeping. It's been a long day, and we might need all our strength tomorrow." There's nothing to say that tomorrow will be the day Bianca catches up with them. Katya would just rather be over-prepared than taken by surprise. She doesn’t know whether to wish for Bianca to come quickly so they can get it over with, or hope that she won’t arrive for weeks, letting them enjoy this calm before the storm. 

Earlier, they all decided that it would be best, if they had to use force, for Trixie to step back and let the sisters deal with Bianca. Trixie had agreed, under the condition that she could still intervene should things get out of control. Nobody had argued with that. 

After their meeting, Jinkx cooked, and it wasn’t until she sat around the dinner table with her sisters that Katya realized how much she missed all of them. They stayed in the kitchen for hours, Alaska producing several bottles of wine from somewhere, and Trixie and Katya told them about their travels, about Bob and her flying ship, about Priyanka, about the unicorn and the kittens. And finally, about the fire. 

The previously excited mood had gotten somber again. That’s when Jinkx suggested they should all retire. As they all got up, Dela offered to show Trixie to a guest room, but Trixie only raised her brows and grabbed Katya’s hand. They trudged up the stairs under the knowing smirks of Katya’s sisters. Under different circumstances Katya might have been embarrassed. Right now she has more important things on her plate. 

Despite Katya’s protest, Trixie lets go of her and returns to the wardrobe. This time her hands confidently find the simple cotton nightgowns Katya has squeezed in at one end and pulls out two. 

“Can you make one fit me?”

Katya doesn’t reply, she just closes her eyes and imagines what she wants it to look like. Her mind traces the shape of Trixie’s body that’s already so familiar to her. The nightgown grows longer and broader, making space around the bust and hips. Just because she can she adds ruffles around the neckline, and she hears Trixie laugh quietly. 

They go to sleep pressed closely together, in the bed Katya has slept in for most of the past one-hundred years. It had always felt too big before. She just needed someone to fill it out with her. 

*

Jinkx is the first to know. When the rest of them get up two days later and trod down to the kitchen for breakfast, she’s already sitting at the table, her hands wrapped around a mug that’s filling the air with the aroma of her personal blend of herbal tea.

“She’ll be here today,” Jinkx says calmly, her face blank.

They all turn to Katya for some reason, as if she’s going to call the whole thing off. For a moment she considers just that. But there is no alternative. Now that she’s here again, she doesn’t want to run anymore. She shouldn’t have to run at all; she didn’t do anything wrong. Trixie squeezes her hand twice, giving her an encouraging smile that Katya returns. 

By the end of the day it will be over. Whatever that means.

They all mill around the palace aimlessly, unable to actually sit down and do anything. Dela has volunteered to try and sense Bianca, so that they'll know when she's close. The sun is already beginning to set when Dela rushes into the hall where they've all found themselves congregating.

"She'll be here in a few minutes." 

At her frantic voice the hairs on the back of Katya's neck stand up. But Jinkx puts one hand on her arm and the other on Trixie's and leads them to the front of the hall. This is where Katya ended the life of a goat not so long ago. The other sisters take their places at the sides of the hall so that Bianca will be surrounded when she walks in.

When the doors fly open, Katya jumps slightly, and Trixie holds on to her hand more tightly.

"What do you all think you're doing?" Bianca's voice easily fills the hall. She stalks towards them, despite clearly having registered the others. "Restrain the star. And Katya too; she can't be trusted."

Nobody moves, and finally Bianca slows down, stopping still a good distance away from the three of them.

"Alright, what is this?"

"We're going to do things differently from now on," Jinkx explains evenly. "There will be no more killing. Katya has proven that we don't need it."

"What are you talking about?" Bianca sneers, looking from Jinkx to Katya. Only then does she seem to fully take in Katya's rejuvenated appearance. “But it’s still there!” she screeches with one finger extended towards Trixie.

She is a person, thank you very much.” Trixie has her brows raised and regards Bianca coldly. 

Bianca ignores her, addressing Katya instead. “How did you get your magic back?”

Katya looks to Jinkx, letting her explain, as they had agreed to.

“There are other ways to regain your magic. There is no need for violence anymore so we’ve decided we won’t tolerate it.”

“Oh, have you?” Bianca sneers. “And what if it doesn’t work? What if Katya is just a freak of nature?”

“That’s a weird thing to say, considering we’re all witches,” Katya remarks with a frown, but Bianca ignores her.

“What did you think all this,” she gestures to the room and the other sisters that are spread out, “would accomplish? Did you think I’d just say alright then and we’d move on with our lives?”

“We hoped so, but if not we’ve decided you’re no longer welcome here. Not after what you were prepared to do to your own sister.” Jinkx has squared her shoulders and she’s staring Bianca down.

“After what I did? You ungrateful little shits, if it wasn’t for me you’d all be dead.”

“What are you talking about?” Alaska asks, stepping forward. 

“About Ru, of course!” Bianca snaps.

“What did you do?” Dela sounds anxious.

“After Jinkx was born she had her seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and decided she didn’t need the rest of us anymore. She gave me the option to help her kill all of you in exchange for being spared.” Bianca is breathing heavily, her nostrils flaring as she finishes her explanation.

Silence falls over the hall. 

Katya had never expected much warmth from the woman she called her mother, but she had not assumed her to be so cold to produce 6 witches as fillers, willing to murder them when they had served their purpose.

“You’re lying,” Dela says, looking close to tears. 

“Why would I? I have nothing to gain from telling you this,” Bianca counters. “You want to believe I’m a ruthless killer? Fine, maybe I am, but it was always to keep us alive.” She turns in a slow circle looking at all of them. “Who else is looking out for us?”

“You could have killed Katya,” Aquaria speaks up. “Is that looking out for us?”

“I didn’t think she was actually stupid enough to butt in like that.”

“She wasn’t stupid, she was selfless,” Dela says.

“Yeah, and where has that ever gotten anyone?” Bianca sneers.

“I got my magic back because of it,” Katya adds calmly. Seeing everyone else jump to her defense makes her feel confident that they can work this out somehow. 

Bianca rolls her eyes. “I’m tired of this. I’ll figure out what to do with you lot later,” she points one finger at the sisters spread out through the hall, “but for now I’m killing the star and--”

She doesn’t get to finish her sentence. Katya has stepped in front of Trixie, one hand extended in front of her with the palm facing Bianca. A wave of an invisible force knocks her onto her back, making her slide several feet backwards across the black marble floor. When Bianca scrambles back onto her feet she looks surprised.

“Finally found some backbone, have you?” She smiles slowly. “Alright, if you want to have a go at this, let’s do it.”

Then, a lot happens at the same time. As Bianca raises her hands, both Trixie and Jinkx try to push in front of Katya. At the end of the hall the doors fly open, and in storms a man with his sword drawn. Katya only recognizes him as the prince that’s been on Trixie’s tail when he calls out My lady, but unfortunately for him it also makes Bianca whirl around. Whatever attack she had intended for Katya is about to hit him, and Katya quickly leaves Trixie and Jinkx behind and makes the prince float up towards the ceiling.

While Katya is still keeping him out of harm’s way, Bianca turns again. Katya can only see the flick of her wrists. Immediately she feels something slash across her torso, making her drop the prince with a shout, stumbling backwards and falling to her knees from the force of it. Her hands go to her chest and stomach by themselves, and when she looks down, blood is running over her fingers. 

Katya can already feel the magic in her working without her having told it to, stitching together what needs to be closed, the blood flow stopping quickly. Trixie doesn’t know that. She’s silent as she steps in front of Katya again, her jaw set and a thunderstorm in her eyes. Katya immediately notices the glow as it appears.

“Close your eyes,” she calls out to her sisters. From her position on the floor she can only see Sasha, who immediately does as Katya says. Then she closes her own eyes, and not a second too early.

Trixie’s light is familiar to her now. She knows its warmth but also its power. None of what she’s witnessed before compares to the explosion that knocks Katya onto her back now. She can hear the mirrors lining the walls shatter and crash to the ground. The air around her feels alive, like it did on the airship as they were catching lightning bolts.

And then it’s over.

Katya only opens her eyes when Trixie’s hands are on her face, frantically repeating her name over and over.

“I’m alright. I’m alright,” Katya assurres them both, pulling apart the cut in her shirt to reveal bloody but freshly healed skin underneath. Trixie’s breath rushes out in one relieved exhale and then she’s kissing Katya, pouring her abating fear into it. They’re interrupted by loud wailing. Trixie helps Katya up and they spot Bianca, on the floor in the middle of the hall, staring at her hands like they aren’t her own. With a shriek she points one at Trixie and nothing happens. 

“Oh, that is very interesting.” Aquaria is the first on her feet, slowly approaching Bianca. 

“Careful,” Alaska warns her, but Bianca doesn’t pay attention to any of them anymore. She shakes her hands like she can squeeze magic out of them, but all her attempts at spell casting remain unsuccessful. 

“You stripped her of her magic.” Jinkx has come up to Trixie and Katya. She sounds both amazed and terrified.

“It would appear so,” Trixie mutters before going back to examining Katya’s healed wounds. 

“I didn’t know you could do that.” Katya catches her nervous hand and intertwines their fingers.

“Neither did I.”

Katya breathes out a baffled laugh. “What were you trying to do, then?”

Trixie looks at her, her expression serious. “Stop her by any means necessary.”

A small voice comes from the back of the hall. “What the fuck.”

They all turn around to the prince, still standing by the door. His hair looks a bit singed but otherwise he seems unhurt. 

“You!” 

At Trixie’s voice he jumps, looking around like a rabbit that knows it’s about to be devoured by a wolf.

“You nearly got the woman I love killed.” Her voice is cold which is so much worse than if she was screaming. She ignores Katya’s objection that she really is fine.

“But-- but I…” he stammers. “She’s a witch ! She abducted you!” He points one shaking finger at Katya.

Trixie scoffs. “No, she didn’t. She saved me after you abducted me. I cannot state enough how much I don’t want to marry you.” She raises her brows. “Now get out before I get angry again.”

The prince looks at her, then at Katya and the other sisters scattered around the hall, including Bianca who’s still wailing. On his face Katya can see the exact moment he decides that pursuing this any longer is not worth it. He turns on his heels and books it, leaving only his sword behind. 

“Now that that’s dealt with,” Jinkx calls their attention to her, “we have to figure out what to do with her .” Her gaze falls on Bianca. Everybody else turns towards her as well, and for the first time since Trixie’s explosion, Bianca falls silent.

*

Katya wakes up sweating, as she does every day now with a contentedly glowing star draped across her. The curtains are drawn, but she thinks the sun can’t be up yet; it feels early. That makes it all the more surprising that Katya’s eyes meet Trixie’s, looking at her with barely held back excitement. 

“Good morning,” she chirps, and Katya hums in reply.

“You’re up early.”

“It’s a big day!” Trixie rolls over onto her back, stretching and yawning, but then throwing one arm over Katya’s waist again. 

“It almost seems like you don't like this place. So eager to leave,” Katya mutters with a smile and presses a kiss to Trixie’s jaw.

She snorts. “Don’t be ridiculous. I wouldn’t have spent so much time making this place nicer only to abandon it.”

“Oh, you made this place nicer, did you?” Katya’s smile grows into a grin.

“Well, I had the vision. I needed someone to execute it.”

“Uh-huh.” Katya pulls Trixie closer and kisses down her neck. Under Trixie’s watchful eye the sisters, but mainly Katya, had cleaned, decluttered, and brightened the palace until it was actually an inviting place to live. Katya had never minded how grungy it was. She had accepted it as part of her responsibility as a witch. She’s relearning a lot about what she’s supposed to do.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Trixie asks, not even attempting to deter Katya’s mouth from its path downwards.

“I gotta recharge, all this redecorating has drained me.”

Trixie laughs. “Right, because that is definitely how it works. Instead of eating my heart you eat something else.”

“Well,” Katya grins up at her and then presses one kiss to the exposed part of her breast, “do you want me to stop?”

Trixie grins back and lifts the blanket up. “Shut up and get down there.”

When they finally make it down to breakfast, they are met with knowing grins, and Alaska remarks what an unusually bright morning it is. Only a few weeks ago Katya would have been mortified on Trixie’s behalf, but she is entirely unfazed, pouring herself a cup of tea and smiling in response. 

Jinkx is already rushing around, putting together food for their journey. They’ll be taking the caravan, so they can plan ahead a bit further this time, especially with the icebox Katya has added that’s kept magically cool. The caravan has gotten bigger, with shelves for some books and potions and other things to make it homey. Dela has added a nice rug and a quilt that keeps them warm in cold weather and cool when it’s hot.

Bianca is the last to walk into the kitchen, with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders and looking grumpy as always. For the first week after their confrontation she didn’t speak to anyone. They feared Trixie damaged her voice, but after a while she started angrily insulting Dela, the most gentle of them and therefore an easy target. 

Jinkx stepped in and told her she could only stay if she managed to behave herself. They were surprised she had decided to stay at all after they gave her the option. She was no danger to anyone anymore, and it would have been cruel to kick her out of the only home she’s ever had. Trixie was not happy with the decision but respected it. What she didn’t do was keep her mouth shut around Bianca, telling her that maybe she could get her magic back by making it up to her sisters for being a murderer who lied to them about Ru for decades. Maybe she could earn their love back.

“That’s actually not a bad idea,” Jinkx said, after giving Trixie a dark look. Bianca only scoffed, but she stayed. 

No violence and no hierarchy; those were the rules that Jinkx suggested after everything was over, and they unanimously voted in favor of them. It was Sasha who suggested they should try to contact other witches, explain their discovery. 

“It’s going to completely change what it means to be a witch, for us and for humans,” Alaska pointed out. It hadn’t caught up with Katya what all of this really meant, not just for her. Jinkx, the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, really was ringing in a new age for witches. Like any good prophecy, it wasn’t fulfilled the way any of them had expected. 

*

Katya holds her hand out for Trixie to take as she climbs up to the bench at the front of the caravan. They have hugged all her sisters, except for Bianca who went back to her room to sulk after breakfast, and Katya feels a pang of sadness to be leaving her home again after only a few weeks. But it made sense for the two of them to venture out into the world and seek out any witches they might hear of. They have a starting point with Priyanka. Katya is sure she knows others, and she’s in a good position to control the kind of gossip about witches that is spread among the pirates. 

Besides, Katya is excited to go travelling with Trixie, this time with nobody on their trail, trying to murder them. They have their own little home and an infinite lifetime to explore the world. 

“You could make it into a real house,” Trixie says as the caravan rolls through the gate and onto the road, once again powered by Katya’s magic. 

“A house on wheels?”

“Why not? Or you could give it legs.”

Katya laughs. “Right, I’m sure that would be really helpful in making people less afraid of witches.”

“Who cares what people think?” Trixie caws, her hand warm on Katya’s arm. “From now on we’re living for ourselves.”