DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Written for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Where Magic Never Happens
By atfm


Ash crinkled her nose. When that, unsurprisingly, proved unsuccessful, she waved her hand in front of her face in the dim hope of getting some fresh air. Soon recognising that this, too, was futile, she let her hand drop back to her side and scrunched up her nose again.

"Is that really necessary?"

"It's not going to work without it." With each hand, Scribbs cut through the air with an incense stick, weaving intricate patterns, according to her, but to Ash it looked like wild and random waving.

Suppressing a wince, she reminded herself that, luckily, this wasn't her bed when, suddenly, a spark from one of the sticks swooshed past her head and landed on the sheet, only to be swatted immediately by Scribbs' palm. Ash stared at the tiny black hole with the charred edges. "Why are we doing this in your bedroom again?"

Scribbs placed the incense sticks into a holder on her bedside cabinet, resumed her cross-legged position, and pulled a nearby tray with various items onto the bed, placing it down between herself and Ash. "The positive energy, Ash. If I'm going to try to make you fall madly in love with me, I have to do it in a room where my love can embrace you, so you can easily recognise that we're meant for each other."

"You mean in case it works – which it won't – you won't have to drag me upstairs to your love nest; you can work your magic, no pun intended, right here," Ash muttered.

"Yes!" Scribbs beamed and picked up something from the tray. "You always tell me pragmatism is important. I think I'm being very pragmatic by sparing you the walk upstairs."

"This love ritual thing is bollocks." Ash had only agreed to go through with it because Scribbs had nagged her relentlessly, thinking that if Scribbs realised that witchcraft was useless, she'd eventually stop talking about it. Now, however, Ash felt decidely silly, sitting on Scribbs' bed, somewhat dizzy from the intense scent of sandalwood surrounding her and wondering how on earth she could have thought this wasn't a childish idea. Resigned, she pointed at her partner's hand. "And what's this for?"

Lifting her hand, Scribbs held the item up for Ash to see. "It's my cauldron."

"Looks like a plastic cup to me."

"That's because it IS a plastic cup. We're not in Hogwarts."

"Right, and excuse me if this is a rather bold question, but what do you need a cauldron for?"

"The love potion, of course."

"Of course. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't witches always have a fire beneath their cauldrons to boil the ingredients?" If Scribbs was going to do this, Ash was determined to see to it that she did it right.

Squinting at the label of a small brown bottle on her tray, Scribbs said absentmindedly, "Don't be ridiculous, Ash, we can't start a fire in my bedroom."

"I'm surprised you didn't bring a hotplate up here. Plastic cup, hotplate - everything would blend together so nicely, you wouldn't be able to tell what it originally was." Ash was beginning to feel snarky.

Scribbs adopted an eerily Ash-like stern look. "Do not, under any circumstances, mock the ritual or its proceedings. If you think it's so stupid, why'd you agree to do it?"

"I obviously wasn't aware of the degree of complete and utter silliness it would involve." Ash made to get up from the bed. "I think we should end your little experiment here and now."

"No!" Scribbs caught Ash by the sleeve of her shirt and pulled her back down onto the bed. "You can't interrupt the ritual. The book says if you don't follow the rules until the end, doom will descend upon you." It didn't really. "I know this will work." She hadn't a clue. "I'm absolutely sure." She wasn't.

With a mildly annoyed sigh, Ash returned to her previous position, sitting on Scribbs' bed across from her partner. "Fine. So what's next?"

Scribbs picked up a bottle. "First, a bit of this stuff, and then –"

"What exactly is 'this stuff'?"

"How am I supposed to know? The lady at the shop gave it to me."

"Marvellous. And how much of 'how-am-I-supposed-to-know' do you use?"

"Dunno, a few drops, I guess…" Scribbs poured a generous amount of the greenish liquid into the plastic cup and unscrewed the lid of a black container that looked highly suspicious to Ash. "Then, a dash of this" – half the contents found their way into the cup – "and some of this." A lump of an indefinable mass from a second container dropped from Scribbs' fingers. "Now, I need to stir it so the…Ash? You're looking at me funny."

Indeed, it seemed like the hint of disbelief on Ash's face might turn into maniacal laughter any minute. "I'm trying to decide whether your appalling lack of precision in doing this should worry me because of all the things that could go wrong, or whether I should be relieved because it's never going to work like this."

Scribbs inspected her potion. "It's a bit clotty because I didn't heat it, but other than that, it looks pretty good to me." She held out the cup to Ash. "I think it's ready for you to drink now."

Ash nearly went over the edge of the bed when she scurried away from the viscious mixture, distaste evident in her face and posture. "Drink it? Scribbs, are you mad? I'm certainly not drinking this."

"But it's a potion. You have to drink it."

"You never told me that!"

"What did you think I was going to do with it once it was ready?"

"I don't know, sprinkle it around the room? Although, with this colour and texture, spreading it around your bedroom seems like only a marginally better idea than drinking it."

Scribbs pushed the plastic cup into Ash's hand, whose fingers automatically clutched around it. "Drink it. Please?" She looked at Ash with what she hoped were her puppy-dog eyes.

Ash glared back at Scribbs, unmoving for a minute, then two, and then finally threw up her free hand in defeat. "Oh bloody hell, fine, I'll do it." Without a second glance, she gulped down the contents of the cup and screwed up her face. "There, satisfied? Now what?"

"We wait." Scribbs placed the tray on the floor beside the bed.

"For how long?"

"I don't know. Do you feel something already?"

Ash turned her eyes up to the ceiling in concentration and then back down to Scribbs. She shook her head. "No."

Scribbs seemed uncertain. "Maybe I did it all wrong."

Ash's heart twisted at seeing her partner so disappointed, and she wanted to tell her that it didn't take a silly potion to make her fall madly in love, but her tongue suddenly felt too heavy to speak, so she settled for smiling idiotically.

Wrinkling her forehead, Scribbs leaned forward a little. "You don't look so good, Ash."

The smile was replaced by a look of confusion. Ash swayed, focused on regaining her balance for a moment, and then, slowly, also leaned in, her eyes shiny and bright.

Scribbs was torn between concern about how pale Ash looked and how dilated her pupils appeared and eager anticipation of the kiss that was clearly impending, secretly pleased that the rather sloppily mixed potion had been effective. The decision, however, proved irrelevant when Ash keeled over and landed face-forward in Scribbs' lap, immediately beginning to snore in such an undignified manner that it would have horrified her had she been aware of it.

Blinking with surprise, Scribbs looked down at Ash and prodded her shoulder, with no result whatsoever. She glanced at the empty cup Ash still held on to and smiled.

"Well, she IS between my legs."

The End

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