Magical Security Taskforce




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Chapter 20: Moving Day

Session One

For almost two whole days, Donovan honored Molly's command not to look at Grimoire 17. He tucked the briefcase next to the bookshelf in the dark room on Monday and went about his business of thinking he scared people. The successful implementation of this illusion was crucial to Donovan surviving high school. When shattered, bad things happen.

Whether she knew it or not, Kamila had too short a temper to care. She and Donovan shared a study hall together and for an entire semester she was just another unenlightened fool for him to ignore. He would go to the dark room and she would do whatever she called studying.

Unfortunately, the closing weeks of the year spawned a hellish term paper assignment that kept Donovan in the room. He would still supervise Blaine and Bryce as they did the actual research and writing- that was how he did all his homework. But the dark room's lack of useful references, a computer and light in general weren't conducive to such an undertaking.

So Donovan stood at a table, arms folded, watching his minions gather book after book on his thesis about the collective works of the Brontë sisters (making a post-modernist argument that they are a blight on humanity and must be destroyed). This required a lot of table space and made him the room's centerpiece.

Still, most of the other students ignored him. But after listening to Donovan constantly command Blaine to skim Wuthering Heights faster, Kamila had heard enough.

“Hey, give it a rest, will you?” she shouted. As the sole occupant of the adjacent table, she could only tolerate so much before it became an honest distraction to her work. Kamila threw her book down, pulled off the headphones she been using to covertly listen to a baseball game, and stood up. Now other students took notice- watching someone tell off Donovan was always quality entertainment, especially with the faculty supervisor asleep.

Donovan narrowed his eyes at her. “Do not tell me how to do my research. There must be a way to remove these accursed books from existence.”

“Actually, this isn't bad,” Blaine mumbled. “Nice body count.”

Kamila huffed. “Do it however you want. Just shut up. I got stuff to do and the Pirates have the bases loaded.”

“Your work is inconsequential to my plan.”

“Go to hell.”

He raised his eyebrows and leaned towards her. “Working on it.”

She shook her head and sat back down. “Work harder... just do it somewhere else.”

The spectators murmured their approval, which led to discussion of other subjects, growing in number and volume. Before long, the once-quiet study period had become an loud afternoon social. All the additional noise agitated Donovan, and there was only one person he could blame. And she needed to be punished.

That afternoon, in the dark room, he struggled to find a nice, easy way to curse
Kamila. At least with the normal collection of books on his shelf.

“Blast! These books are useless.”

Yes, he actually said 'blast.'

“You know, maybe if you returned those to the library, they'd let you check out new ones,” Bryce offered. Donovan ignored the suggestion and reached for the briefcase.

“In these desperate times, we must turn to the Tome of Vincent Wagner.”

Donovan set the case on the table and unsnapped it. Bryce's mouth fell open. Blaine's would have if he hadn't been engrossed in Emily Brontë's prose.

“Uh... isn't that overkill?” Bryce asked. It was all he could say to deter Donovan that didn't constitute insubordination. Of course, Donovan didn't know the meaning of the word and started paging through the grimoire.

“Nonsense. There must be something in here that doesn't destroy her.” Not that Donovan was that picky. If he accidentally killed Kamila, he accidentally killed Kamila.

There were, thankfully, two major deterrents built into the book. First, Class A grimoires were serious, high-end documents that would make enlightening bathroom reading for even the strongest of magi. Thus, it was above elementary trifles like minor cursing spells. Furthermore, anything that did seem reasonable to Donovan required a piece of Kamila's hair or clothing and Bryce was far too scared of her to try to attain it.

“Hmm.” One page caught his eye, but not because of its ability to harm his enemies. In fact, he forgot all about Kamila the moment he saw the invisibility circle and realized that this was a conceivable spell for him to pull off.

“Stand back,” he declared, rising to his feet and retrieving a can of salt. With it, he carefully created a circle in the corner of the room and stood in the center. Donovan read the page, tweaked the circle as per the spell's instructions, and set the book down so he could concentrate.

“Um... sir?” Bryce mumbled, but there was no getting through to Donovan. He focused his mind around what the book told him to focus his mind around and executed his trigger. Grimoire 17 glowed a bright orange as it obeyed.

And Donovan vanished.

“Wow... very good, sir.” Bryce was surprised at his genuine respect for Donovan's handiwork. Donovan chuckled to himself and picked up the book. To Bryce's eyes, the grimoire levitated and fell onto the table.

“With this newfound power, I shall torment the masses!”

Donovan stepped out of the circle. All Bryce saw was... Donovan stepping out of the circle. Apparently the spell only applied when standing inside the salt ring.

“Uh, sir?” Bryce called out, but Donovan ignored him. He opened the door, not noticing his visible hand turning the knob, and walked out of the room to unleash whatever havoc he could... regardless of whether he actually went


Session Two

With his newfound (and no longer existent) powers of invisibility, Donovan looked for anyone he had a vendetta against. Yes, he had a vendetta against half the school, but now that he thought he was going sight unseen he wanted to strike someone high on the list. Like Troy Monroe.

Or even his girlfriend, who seemed innocent and harmless enough for Donovan to revile. Marie passed him in the hallway, not noticing Donovan, thus reassuring him that the spell was working. He followed her closely, keeping his eye on her at all times. Even without knowing he was there, she was bound to feel uncomfortable under his watch.

Indeed she did, and she stopped to look over her shoulder. Marie saw him, but like most students did not want to make eye contact. She looked away from his face, shuddering at the sadistic grin on his face. All she could do was face forward and keep walking. This process repeated itself several times. Donovan lived it up while Marie grew increasingly terrified.

Then, from the side, someone jumped on her and grabbed her shoulders. “Heya, 'rie! What's up?” Kamila shouted. Marie almost fainted.

She took a few deep breaths, then replied, “My blood pressure.”

“You seem a bit antsy. You okay?”

Marie shook her head. “Just a little... confused.” she tilted her head back towards Donovan. Kamila stole a peak; Donovan glared at her as well, thrilled to be able to haunt the girl he was trying to get revenge on in the first place.

Quickly, turning back to Marie, Kamila whispered, “Why's that idiot following you?”

“I don't know,” Marie mumbled. “Should I be worried?”

“Want me to take him out?” Kamila pounded a fist into her hand.

“No! You'll get in trouble! Let's just go in here...” Marie led Kamila into the girls' bathroom.

And Donovan followed them in.

The girls only had a second or two to regroup before Marie caught sight of him crossing the threshold of decency. She dashed into a stall, grabbing Kamila's arm and dragging her in too. Marie locked the door and huddled down to peer from below the door.

Hands on his hips, Donovan looked around the bathroom. He had never been in a girls' bathroom before and was a little disappointed. It looked pretty much the same as the boys' bathroom with more stalls, a lack of urinals and a dispenser on the wall that he shied away from once he realized what it dispensed. Very ordinary, in his opinion, which made him question why entry was forbidden.

Standing with his back to the mirror (and his reflection against it), he deduced that his prey was hiding in the stalls. Two footsteps helped clue him in to one of the correct commodes. He inched closer to it, but stopped in front of the stall when he realized that he had no idea what he was planning on doing. Proper revenge is a tricky thing, you see, especially when Marie herself had never actually wronged him. Marie, of course, ran through several possibilities in her head and struggled to control her breathing.

The possibilities proved to be academic when Kamila threw the door open, striking Donovan's head and knocking him flat.

Stepping over his unconscious body, Kamila calmly walked over to the sink and washed her hands.

Marie looked him over. “Well, I guess that works. So what now?”

Over the air dryer she was using, Kamila replied, “Now? I gotta get to practice. Let's bolt.” She finished drying her hands and strolled out like nothing had happened. Marie followed, hesitant about leaving an unconscious (and likely injured) boy alone on the floor of the girls' bathroom.

Although Kamila reassured her that Donovan did not warrant a second thought now that he was out of their hair, Marie was relieved to see Molly walking down the hallway. “Moll...” she caught herself. “President Pearson!”

As Molly stopped, willing to give the girls her attention, Kamila bowed her head. “Ma'am,” she said in deference.

Marie explained the entire situation. Somehow, Molly didn't flinch, nodding once or twice as if this sort of thing happened every day.

“Is he still in there?” Molly asked.

“Should be. I got him pretty good,” Kamila answered.

“I'll take care of it.” Molly normally left such matters to Claude, but he had stubbornly refused to enter the girls' restroom ever since the locker room incident back in chapter one. You wouldn't believe how often it came up.

“Thank you,” Marie said. Both she and Kamila bowed again.


By the time Molly reached the bathroom, Bryce was already inside, trying to revive his master. He had trailed Donovan, eager to see what kind of mess would ensue and certain that he'd have to save the day.

When Bryce heard the door swing open, however, it was every minion for himself. Kamila had knocked Donovan hard; he wasn't going anywhere until Bryce could come up with a decent spell. That would take time- unavailable with another girl coming in. So Bryce reached for his crystal for a quick teleport out of there.

“What the hell is he up to?” Molly shouted, interrupting Bryce before he could complete the spell. Startled, he lost control of his crystal and it flew into the toilet.

“Um...” Bryce went back and forth between Molly and his submerged magic crystal. “Botched invisibility spell.”

She scoffed. “Is that all?”

“Sort of...” He didn't want to elaborate on the whole 'opening forbidden book and succeeding with fixed invisibility circle' part. He did want to get his focus item out of the toilet and managed to evade Molly enough to do so.

Even so, Molly pieced it together. “So he opened the book?”

“Uh... yeah,” Bryce replied, reaching in and pulling the wet crystal out. He tried to dry it with a square of toilet paper.

Molly sighed, but didn't seem so hellbent on destroying him as she had promised at the party. In fact, she was conciliatory about it all. “At least it was just invisibility,” she said. While she didn't get too much of a glimpse into the book, as a Class A grimoire there had to be some seriously potent stuff in there. Donovan causing mischief with an invisibility spell was the least of their worries. She was afraid he'd try something that tapped so much energy from both himself and the book that every power-thirsty demon in the district would be lured into town.

Still, she had to get him out of this bathroom. Molly uncapped her magic marker and started to draw a circle around Donovan. As Bryce gave up on the toilet paper and resorted to the air dryer, he said, “You want to use my crystal instead?”

“Do you remember what happened last time I used that thing?” Molly asked, continuing her drawing.

“Yeah, I heard it was pretty sweet.” Molly narrowed an eye at him. He shut up and let her finish.

When the circle was complete, Molly stood back to make sure it was round enough to suffice. In that time, Donovan snapped back to reality and sat up.

Bryce exclaimed, “Oh, good, you're-” But Donovan put a finger to his lips, beckoning silence from his minion. There was a grin on his face, and a knowing smile towards Molly. Despite the technical knockout, he still thought he was invisible.

Molly executed her trigger anyway. The floor around Donovan lit up, flashed brightly and vanished, taking him with.

“So, uh... where did you send him?”

“Don't know,” Molly replied, capping her marker. “Don't care.” She spun around on her heels and walked out. “Wherever he is, he'll probably need you to get him out.”


Session Three

Every year, seniors at high schools around the country succumb to the senioritis bug. Marred by a lethargic attitude towards classes and daily life in general, these students just want it to be over with so they can get out and do the same thing in college. Upperclassmen at L. B. Gould didn't fall victim to senioritis as often since Molly took charge. She had a way of keeping kids on their toes, so seniors generally remained attentive and aware of their behavior, for fear of accidentally wronging the council and suddenly finding themselves juniors again. The senior class's motto was 'we're almost clear- for the love of God, don't screw up now!'

Senioritis was not a foreign concept, however, and everybody just assumed that Kurt had caught it without pondering his increased melancholy. Just as well, as Kurt had trouble explaining that his anxiety was due to his uncertain fate with the secret magic organization he had spent his life training to serve.

His friends were under no such spell. In fact, with only a couple more weeks until summer vacation, they were downright giddy. Besides the wonderful notion of no school, Troy and Yuki were stoked for the next session at Central, particularly the thought of making it there without needing to survive a demon attack first. And while Kathryn generally enjoyed the party at Kurt's, she was looking forward to having Reggie show her how it was done. She didn't give a flip about the rest of her education there.

So while everyone else at the lunch table excitedly discussed their plans for the summer, with three of them ignoring a certain three-week stretch in July, Kurt sat back quietly and took it in. He was only two years older than Troy and Kathryn, yet his outlook on life was already different. Honestly, he wouldn't have minded one more year here. Another chance for Marlowe to find him some recruits, and more opportunities to train Troy and score with Kathryn.

Speaking of which, they both glanced at him casually, but stopped and looked harder when they saw his earlobe wiggle. Kurt felt it and tensed up. Good or bad, contact from the MST was a big deal. Kurt excused himself while Troy and Kathryn played dumb when Marie asked them what was wrong.

In a corner of the cafeteria, where he was unlikely to be disturbed but in a loud enough spot to prevent anyone from overhearing his conversation, Kurt pulled out his cell phone, held it up and pretended to use it as he pinched his ear to take a different wireless call.

“What's up?” he asked, with urgency.

It was Alistar Marlowe himself. “Kurt! Took you long enough to answer! I was afraid you weren't home,” he said in his usual overbearing manner.

“Mr. Marlowe? What's going on?” Getting a psychic message from Marlowe was very unusual. Unlike Uriel, Marlowe was up with modern technology and normally communicated through e-mail.

“Got some great news! I think we've found something for you.”

Naturally, Kurt was thrilled to hear it. Yes, Marlowe had dodged, delayed and danced around Kurt's problem for almost a year, but it sounded like he came through in the end and Kurt loved the guy for it. The surprise telepathic conference now seemed totally appropriate.

“Oh, that's great. What did you find?”

“Meet me at Central this Saturday and I'll explain everything and give you all the paperwork.”

Kurt paused. As great and as overdue as the news was, he wouldn't have minded waiting another week. “Saturday? Why Saturday?”

“Well, we're on a schedule here, Kurt. Obviously, this took a lot longer than we had hoped for, so we've got a lot of work to do in a very short time. You can stay at the residence hall for the time being.”

“But I graduate Sunday!” He knew how this worked: once he left for Central, there would be no reason for him to return to L. B. Gould.

Marlowe dismissed the argument. “For that high school? So what? You're not from around there anyway. If you'll be missed at the ceremony, just have Pearson do a cloning spell.”

“Molly doesn't know a cloning spell.”

“Oh. Remind me to have Melrose teach her one sometime.”

With a sigh, Kurt tried to rephrase his argument. In the long run, no, his graduation ceremony wasn't a big deal. Molly would take care of things on that end, cloning spell or not. But he had spent two good years in town and saying goodbye in two days was going to be difficult.

Before Kurt could come up with a way to speak his mind without getting too sentimental, Marlowe added, “Look, we're taking care of the apartment, so you should have plenty of time to tie up loose ends and say your goodbyes.”

“I got a lot of friends to say goodbye to.”

“Great! They can help you pack!”

It was foolish to try to convince Marlowe to spare a week. And the more Kurt thought about it, the more he saw the folly in stalling his future by dwelling on the present. Marlowe was right: he wasn't from L. B. Gould and his time there was just a brief chapter of his life. He was lucky to have this opportunity to begin with and had no reason to jeopardize it.

Marlowe was also right in that his friends would help him pack. Kurt ended his conversation and pulled Troy, Kathryn and Yuki from the table to deliver the news.

“That's great! Way to go!” Yuki chirped.

Kathryn wasn't as excited. “So wait... Saturday?”

“I'm not thrilled about it either, but I've waited long enough for this,” Kurt replied.

Troy needed a moment to let it sink in. Kurt had been one of his biggest mentors and confidantes, both in the MST and in regular high school affairs. While him leaving was inevitable, Troy had written it off as something for the future, not this weekend. All he could determine in that moment was that he needed a little more time to figure it out. So he shook Kurt's hand, forced a smile and congratulate him.

Kathryn didn't. “I don't get why you have to go now.”

“Neither do I, but Marlowe's never gone out of his way to make our lives easier. I mean, he did throw Yuki at you guys.” He looked down at Yuki. “No offense.”

Rather than letting Yuki get a rebuttal in, Kathryn said, “Did he say anything about what you're doing?”

“No, I figure that's what I find out Saturday. Probably just introducing me to my recruits and figuring out the best way to drop the bomb on them. It usually doesn't involve a hell hound.”

“Great, get more kids into this,” Kathryn mumbled unhappily. She turned away and walked back to the table.

Despite Troy continuing his attempt to handle the news maturely, Kurt was fixated on Kathryn and her failure to do so. She sat down, arms folded and head to the ground. The normal energy that he loved to see from her was lost.

In time, she lifted her head and looked back at him from over her shoulder. Their eyes met, and she caught him as he was reminded why leaving like this was so difficult. Kurt knew that Kathryn did not care much for the MST, but did care deeply for just about everything else. It meant so much that she still found room to care about him, even as she turned away again in protest.

He was going to miss her too.


Session Four

Kurt still attended school Thursday and Friday. That is to say, he was present in the building during designated hours. His actual attendance in his classes was negligible. He had accumulated several friends in his years there and had to systematically say goodbye to any that did not know magic. Those that did were going to help him pack. That's what magic powers are for, after all.

His process was simple- show up at the classes his friends were in and chat them up until he got what he wanted. Occasionally, he would stay for the entire period out of respect for a teacher he liked. More often, however, he would leave a few minutes after the bell. Especially those involving a class he was not actually taking. His peers were very surprised Molly permitted such blatant truancy. Some even tried it themselves, to disastrous consequences.

By doing this, Kurt handled his mundane affairs with no hassle. When it came time to leave Saturday morning, he had help from Troy, Kathryn and Molly. Nobody had seen Donovan since Monday and it would be another week until Bryce could get him out of the void Molly had sent him to. Renee and Yuki didn't have any magic useful for moving, so they were off the hook.

Not that Kathryn or Troy did either, but the former had muscles and the latter had no place to decline. They did the grunt work while Molly supervised. Strong as Kathryn was, after lugging boxes outside for an hour, she was tired and set a chair down just after getting out the door.

“Jeez, he's got a lot of crap,” she moaned.

Molly, supervising the pile of said crap already outside, telekinetically lifted the chair and took it the rest of the way.

“Wait, you can use the Force? That's no fair,” Kathryn complained. To make matters worse, Troy teleported in with an empty bookshelf in one hand, adding it to the pile before walking back for more.

“Go to hell, Troy,” muttered Kathryn.

Troy simply smiled at her, turning to Kurt as he walked out with a box. “Hey, how do you want me to pack your race track?”

“I dunno, use your imagination. Just don't break it,” Kurt replied. He finished his delivery and looked over at Molly.

Besides delegating the workload, Molly was also filling out orange tags and attaching them to everything on the pile. Tedious, yes, but at least it didn't involve heavy lifting.

Kurt apologized anyway. “Sorry about that. They didn't get the pre-printed ones done in time.”

Molly shook her head. Normally the magic transport sent luggage to a designated dorm easily enough, but as Kurt's future residence was in limbo, so too were his belongings. The identification tags kept them all in place while they floated around nothingness waiting to be moved.

“So if you aren't staying in Hall D, where will they put you?” Molly asked.

“Marlowe said they'd put me up in A.”

“Aw, A?” Kathryn said, stretching her arms. “With all the preppies? Least they could do is stick you in B. Fun times there.”

Kurt furrowed his eyebrows and looked at Kathryn. “B's full of druggies and perverts.”

“Like I said, fun times.” Kathryn headed in, leaving Kurt and Molly to scratch their heads.

Once everything was packed up and on the pavement outside, Troy drew a circle with sidewalk chalk. Kurt locked his apartment door for the last time, pausing a moment to let the finality of it sink in. Even though he had had three days to come to terms with this, the actual act of leaving was still difficult. The whole experience seemed unresolved, as if he had yet to do everything he was supposed to here.

His waxing on about this made him miss Molly activate the circle and send everything he owned into the great beyond. When Kurt turned around, all that was left was his car, his three friends, and the stick of chalk in Troy's hand.

“All set,” Molly said, seemingly unmoved.

“You sure you don't want to get breakfast with us or something?” Kathryn asked, obviously more moved than Molly.

Kurt shook his head. He was supposed to meet with Marlowe at four, and already needed to drive like a maniac to make it on time.

“Well, I guess that's that then,” Troy said, not as wistful as he was trying to be. Kurt approached him and put a hand on his shoulder.

“Yep. Maybe I'll see you at Central. I'll give you a call sometime. Keep up the good work now.”

Troy nodded, taking in the final words from his mentor. Not that they were that profound, but let the boy enjoy the moment.

Kurt moved on to Molly, deliberately not making eye contact with him. “Thank you,” she obliged.

“It's been fun,” he said with a smile.

“No it hasn't,” she spat back.

“Well, maybe it will be now.”

When Molly looked up to argue, he leaned in and hugged her. Even as he felt her body tense up, he squeezed her tighter, waiting for the inevitable moment where she'd sigh and relax. At that moment, he whispered, “You're going to be fine.” Her hands found their way to his back. For a second, she almost believed him.

In hindsight, giving Molly Pearson a great big hug probably wasn't the best way to calm Kathryn down. Kurt went up to her next; her eyes were still bulging.

He smiled, said, “Your turn,” and hugged her as well.

Kathryn scoffed, even as she received it. “Yeah, knew this was coming.”

But this was a shorter hug- just a friendly embrace with no intense emotion behind it. He ended it quickly, though keeping his hands on her shoulders.

That gave him a better angle when he kissed her.

It lasted longer than either hug did; Kurt intended to get his money's worth out of it. For all the joking about him wanting her and her being coy to his advances, there was nothing funny about this- just a good, honest, wholesome kiss that left her breathless when he finally leaned back.

“You take care of Troy now,” he said as her eyes began to well up.

He nodded again at Troy and Molly, but Troy's jaw was still on the sidewalk and Molly had turned away, folding her arms stubbornly. Thus the final round of farewells was pretty one-sided. Kurt took his last bow, got into his car, and drove off forever.

Troy was left trying to understand what the hell had just happened. He wasn't sure which was bolder- hugging Molly or kissing Kathryn. Doing both in the span of a minute and driving off unharmed was ballsy too. Kathryn was still frozen in the moment. Molly was trying to shake it off. Her mouth was in a contemptuous sneer, which was typical. But her eyes were cast downward, lacking their usual hard edge. She was angry, of course, which Troy did not find surprising. But somehow, he gathered the strange feeling that she was also just a bit sad.

When Molly realized that Troy could see her face, she turned away from both him and Kathryn. Without a word, she took two steps and teleported out of the scene.

With Molly gone, Troy carefully approached Kathryn. She remained speechless; her only movement came as her fingers carefully felt her lips. A couple tears streamed down.

“Oh my God...” she mumbled after an intense delay. She blinked and wiped her eyes, before realizing the obvious: “He was serious.”


Session Five

After a mind-numbing six hours, Kurt pulled into Central Academy. Without the normal furor of five thousand college kids arriving, the place felt cold and silent, even on a sunny May afternoon. The empty parking lot just looked wrong. As he parked way up front alongside a couple dozen cars, Kurt felt like he was claiming a handicapped spot. He took one look back across the desolate sea of blacktop and walked in.

Even at its quietest, kids still dotted the background at Central. Students were always playing catch, loafing about, or showing off their magic. While almost all of them knew how to teleport and levitate, most still preferred to get around campus the old fashioned way. Kurt saw none of this, and it bothered him. Familiar as it was, it seemed outside his element, and suggested that he was somehow different than the normal populace. Unwilling to accept that, Kurt teleported to Marlowe's office to get his new instructions.

Marlowe flashed his usual smug grin as soon as Kurt entered. “Kurt! How was the trip?” he asked, far too enthusiastically given the flat terrain Kurt had covered.

“I didn't fall asleep at the wheel,” Kurt replied.

“Ah, too excited to sleep? I understand. This is quite the opportunity for you.”

“Yeah.” Kurt nodded and smiled. Boring as the drive was, he was anticipating his reward. “So where am I heading?”

Marlowe held up a finger. “First thing's first. Let's get the pleasantries out of the way.” He pushed a stack of forms across the desk.

Sifting through all the carbonless copies, Kurt found five different originals. The top thirteen inches on each carried a printed contract with six-point lettering. All Kurt saw were a series of black stripes resembling paragraphs. The bottom of each page had a small white space with a thin black line under it, along with a yellow 'Sign Here' flag Marlowe had attached.

“You don't expect me to sign this without knowing what these say, do you?”

Marlowe took it with humor. “Why yes, it would speed things along. In fact, I'm not entirely sure what's on those myself.” Assured that Kurt wasn't signing anything without at least a clue, Marlowe added, “It's just standard legal affairs- residency contracts, compensation, zero-liability form in case a demon tears you apart.” He shrugged. “You know- the usual.”

Normally, Kurt would remark about the need for a zero-liability form for a run-of-the-mill guardian post. But after a year with Molly's group it seemed like a fair precaution. Besides, while Marlowe was notorious for using fine print as his weapon of choice, Kurt realized something else.

“I don't have much of a choice, do I?” he said.

“No, not really.” Attempting reassurance, Marlowe added, “If there are any nasty surprises in there, they'll only come out if the situation arises.”

With a deep breath, Kurt signed the forms.

The moment he crossed the 't' on the final form, Uriel burst through the door. “Welcome aboard, Kurt,” he said, with total professionalism and no joy.

Uriel's appearance was so sudden that Kurt didn't know how to react at first. Only at first though: his secondary instinct flared 'not good.' “The heck are you doing here?” he said, guarded.

“Greeting my new field agent for L. B. Gould, Ohio.” Uriel extended a hand for Kurt to shake.

Kurt didn't touch it. “What?”

“It was my idea,” Marlowe interrupted. “You needed work and Uriel needed a new agent. And since you were already keeping an eye on things over there... you know, two birds and all that.”

Despite the inevitable reunion with the primary cast, Kurt's fears were confirmed: this was trouble. Given all the developments that had taken place, Molly needed a trained professional to look over things, investigate suspicious activities and take out any lurking demons. Kurt was eighteen, trained only to be a guardian and his magic abilities were nothing compared to a pro like Richard Herman. He would have no clue what he was doing and Molly's unit certainly needed better.

“Um... I'm not qualified to be an agent. I don't even know what agents do.”

'Not a whole lot, if you read Richard's reports,' Uriel almost muttered. He decided against it as it didn't quite mesh with his appropriate response: “Nonsense, Richard Herman gave you a glowing endorsement.”

“Probably because he doesn't want to do it,” Kurt snapped back

“Well, there's also the letter of recommendation I got from Molly,” Marlowe said.

Kurt rolled his eyes. “That was for a Guardian position.”

“She doesn't say nice things very often. I think she likes you,” replied Marlowe, with way too much insinuation.

“Two referrals from two respected magi. Hard to argue,” said Uriel.

“Wait, does Molly even know about this?” Kurt asked.

Uriel chuckled. “Of course not. She would kill us. But we have few other options at this point. The only other applicants were no more qualified than you.”

“Maybe you should pay more,” suggested Marlowe.

“Should...” Uriel nodded in concession. “...but won't. It is still considered an entry level position.”

“If it's entry level, why didn't more people apply?” Kurt asked. Field agent was a desirable career, and new positions didn't open up often. Only one thing could have prevented magi from jumping at this job: “Does everybody know what's been going on over there?”

“Seems to be the case,” Uriel muttered. “Having Grimoire 17 in the area doesn't help matters much.”

Marlowe smiled brightly and he raised his eyebrows. “Oh... Donovan did end up with that?”

Both Uriel and Kurt looked at the Head of Student Affairs suspiciously. “Mr. Marlowe, how would you know about Grimoire 17? I wasn't even forewarned of the transfer.”

“Gotta get online more, U. One of the message boards I check out was having a discussion on it. We knew it was up for transfer this year, but didn't know who it was going to.”

“Wait... so people knew about all that?” Kurt asked, now very concerned. Uriel and Molly had agreed that anonymity was the key to keeping the book safe.

Marlowe shook his head. “No, just idle speculation. Donovan wasn't the odds-on favorite to get the book, but he was on the list of possible recipients. I mean why else would we have enlisted him? But don't worry, I don't post. I only lurk. I like to see what everybody else knows.”

Uriel cleared his throat. “In any event, we do have to get you up to speed on your new duties. You'll start in two months when Molly's unit returns from the academy.”

“Yes, we have a lot of ground to cover in a very short time. As you said, we may have hired you, but you are not currently qualified,” Marlowe said pleasantly.

Kurt shook his head. This was all pretty overwhelming, and while he didn't have a choice in the matter anyway, a part of him didn't mind getting to be around Troy, Kathryn and even Molly again. It just wasn't a part that involved rationality: whatever training was required to make him as capable as they needed, getting it in just two months probably wasn't going to be fun.

“What's the first step?” he asked.

“First off...” Uriel opened his briefcase and pulled another stack of forms. “Let's fill out your W4. Got your Social Security card?”

Kurt groaned. His card was floating somewhere in the void with his other belongings.





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