It had been several weeks. Kat’s head rested on Millie’s lap, trying not to doze off, but it was hard work. She wanted to be as in the moment as possible, enjoying Millie’s fingers running through her hair, but she was just so dang comfy. Millie was reading a book that hovered just in front of her, more for the exercise than because she was really interested in the material. Kat liked to think she was also a pretty good distraction. She felt sleep creep up on her again so she opened her eyes, looking up at Millie’s face, scrunched up as the girl tried to keep the book afloat.
“You’re pretty when you’re concentrating, you know,” Kat said with uncharacteristic confidence. They’d been together for some time now, but she still had trouble staying calm when she was trying to compliment Millie. Drowsy calm probably contributed to her ability to fawn over her girlfriend with a ‘straight’ face. Millie’s concentration was broken, and the book dropped down. Kat didn’t even blink as her girlfriend caught the book in mid-air. She had full confidence in Millie.
“Babe,” Millie said with an exasperated smile, “that could have hurt you.” She wiped some hair out of Kat’s face, and kissed her forehead.
“Are you saying I got to you?” Kat grinned. It earned her another small kiss, this time on the nose.
“I’m saying you’re a distraction and you know it.”
“Distraction and proud,” Kat smiled. They both smiled contentedly for a moment. Kat saw Millie look up and followed her gaze to the two girls approaching them. Hand in hand, Violet and April were talking to each other about this and that, their bare feet in the warm grass as they twirled around each other.
Over the past few weeks, their ‘volunteer work’ for Kat’s thesis had been a tremendous success. It had taken Kat some time, with Ms. Richards’ help, to get the dosage exactly safe and right, but it had been only a matter of days. Now, Violet and April were forced to eat some combination of yams and potatoes twice a day, but Kat didn’t think she’d ever heard either of them complain for even a second.
Sure, the four of them still took turns casting the transfiguration charms on Violet and April once a week. But in those few moments where the spell wore off they had already seen immense progress. Where normal medication could take weeks or months to effect change, they’d seen distinct progress, months’ worth, within the first week. The difference between their transfigured selves and the person underneath was getting smaller every week, and it had reflected on the two girls in the best way. Kat had never seen either of them so happy, so joyful. It warmed her heart.
It had been reflected in their grades, too. Sure, they spent about half the time still keeping the spells intact, but they were just so much happier it was easier for both of them to focus on studying. It didn’t hurt that they made pretty good study buddies, and spending all of their time together made it inevitable that they’d spend at least some of their time studying together.
April’s parents hadn’t come around. Well, not really. They’d extended a poisoned olive branch. “We love you,” her mom had said. “Please come home. Why are you hurting us like this?” And then her father had appended the “And give up this whole ‘girl’ business. We miss our Roland,” cementing April’s decision. With help from the others, April had made a very clear and concise statement in a letter.
“Whether I’m in your life or not is up to you. But only as April. Take it or leave it.” April had been worried it was too curt, too aggressive, but Millie had insisted, that they’d keep asking for more, that they’d keep moving goal posts under the guise of love and family until she’d be forced to pretend to be a boy for the rest of her life. That had made sense to April, who was more than a little familiar with her family’s insistence on conflict-averse optics. April’s mother seemed to be somewhat willing to reach out. The last time they’d had contact, it had been Millie, going over to the Mayweathers’ house to get some of April’s stuff. According to her, the parents barely spoke to each other, and if they did it was snide and cutting, so perhaps April could hope to one day be reunited with some of her family.
Kat smiled at the two. April was showing Violet how her new summer dress went spinny, and Violet was just staring dreamily. It was hard to tell from this distance, but Kat was pretty sure she saw the short girl bite her lip. “Useless,” she sighed. Mille chuckled. “You know,” Kat said, “I’ve been wondering.”
“Hmm?” Millie returned her hand to softly running her fingers through Kat’s hair as they both looked at their friends.
“Why did they both have a sword summon prepared?” Kat asked. “It’s a hard spell, not one I’d imagined either of them knowing, let alone be able to perform.”
“I think it’s a lesbian thing,” Millie mused, softly running her nails over the top of Kat’s scalp, eliciting an approving purr.
“That doesn’t make sense,” Kat mumbled. “Why would that be --”
“Do you know it?” Millie interrupted.
“Well, yes, but that’s not… oh…”
Millie chuckled again. “Maybe we should spar some time.” She looked down at her girlfriend. “I’m sure you’d look really hot with a sword.”
“H-- hey,” Kat stammered. “I don’t even know how to fight well! I just thought it was… you know… You’d just win anyway!”
Millie kissed her forehead again. “Are you implying that you wouldn’t want me to win, Kitkat? That you don’t want to be forced to your knees, your chin tilted up by the point of a sword?”
“Hhh,” Kat said eloquently. “Maybe. No. Yes. Shut up.”
“Good girl,” Millie said and kissed her softly on the lips, silencing any upcoming protest. Kat’s grumble turned into a soft contented moan.
“That’s gay,” Violet said happily as she and April joined the other two beneath the tree. They had finally made it all the way over, despite constantly being distracted by each other.
“Your face is gay,” Kat mumbled from under Millie.
“Hell yeah, it is,” April said and kissed Violet on the cheek. Millie finally sat upright again, leaving a slightly disheveled Kat to smile contentedly up at the sky. “How’s things?” April asked.
“Pretty good,” Millie said. “I’m still figuring out where I wanna go with my studies, to be honest.” She levitated the book up. “I’m considering taking some Warlock courses next year. See what fits. Kat’s been doing great, though.”
“Full marks!” Kat added, raising a triumphant fist. “With bonus credit for ‘exemplary behaviour in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of a fellow student or students.’ That means you two.” She grinned at Violet and April, who grinned back. “If I can actually publish what we’re doing here, I could probably pursue this indefinitely.”
“That’s awesome, Kat,” Violet said with a warm smile. “I’m glad you’ve finally stopped pretending you don’t like being up to your elbows in filth. It really is your calling.”
“Fuck off,” Kat said lovingly. “What about you two?”
“Taking things one day at a time,” Violet said, leaning back in the grass. “We both have a lot of stuff to figure out. Who do we want to be, all that stuff.” Kat raised an eyebrow. Violet looked at her girlfriend, and for a split second her brain was lost in that pink gay fog that made her eyes go glassy before she continued. “I can’t speak for April, but I never figured I’d be a girl. That I’d get to be one. So now that I’m here I have no clue where to go from here. I know I love April,” she said, and April rewarded her candor with a little kiss, “and I know I’m a girl. But beyond that? Not. A. Clue.”
“Same,” April said, the quintessence of eloquence. “Besides, we’ve got some big stuff coming up.
“Right,” Millie said. “I heard they’re finally giving you a room of your own?” Millie was referring to the fact that April, for the past two weeks, had been staying in a smaller, provisional dorm room in the girl’s dormitories. While it had apparently been very validating, and she’d gotten lots of tips on how to do her make-up, the room was very small, especially if she was going to be living in it for the foreseeable future. Considering her financial situation, the school had elected to present her with one of the larger rooms, in the same building as Violet’s.
“Yeah,” April nodded. “Across the hall from Vi.”
“Pfft,” Kat scoffed. “Why even give you an extra room, then? Like you’ll be spending any time not wrapped around each other over summer break.”
“Listen,” Violet said. “I... “ She paused. “I was really hoping a valid counterpoint would present itself by the time I got to the end of this sentence, but nah, I got nothing.”
“I’m not complaining,” April shrugged. “Can’t hurt to have my own living area, right?”
“I was just teasing,” Kat said. “Everyone needs space. It’s healthy.” She took a breath. “Still nothing from your parents on that front? I can imagine it’s kinda hard to go from, well, where you came from to pretty much nothing.”
April shrugged again. “I’m eating a lot more rice and pasta, that’s for sure. But I’m okay, really. I don’t need much. Dad always complained I wasn’t ambitious enough.” She chewed her lip for a moment. “I don’t know, if I’m honest. Haven’t heard from Mom and Dad, but my brother says they’re fighting a lot.” Thankfully, April’s brother had been mostly accepting of her, after a while, and while he hadn’t burned all his social credit with them by actively fighting them, he had been trying to advocate for her to some extent. “I don’t know what the future looks like, but… I don’t know. It’s not like I don’t have family anymore. Mom and Dad… they’re… It’s complicated.” April smiled softly as Violet squeezed her hand. “I’ll figure it out.”
“We’ll figure it out,” Millie said reassuringly. Kat nodded and Violet made an affirmative noise. April hadn’t been wrong, Kat realized. She might have been referring to her brother or another relative who had accepted her. Kat had the sneaking suspicion, however, that to April, the three people who sat here in the grass with her were the people closest to her. It had been a hell of a journey for Violet and April, and Kat was secretly proud of them both. Violet had gone from a vindictive little turd of a best friend to a young woman who was trying to figure herself out, find her place in the world. April had been a mostly self-absorbed privileged rich kid, and now she was a proud young woman who was embracing her newfound family, and her identity with it.
Kat hadn’t known Millie, of course, not really, but she was immensely grateful that Violet and April had picked their fight. Kat had never been this content before. She spent a lot of time with Millie -- and a lot of time at her house -- figuring out what it meant to be in a relationship with a girl, and so far she’d loved every moment of it, and Millie had made it abundantly clear that the feeling was mutual.
Her biggest issue right now was the fact that Violet and April were both incredibly cute. Her best friend had always been a distraction, but now Violet had the power to make her blush. She had diligently pushed down any and all feelings in that direction because of everything going on, but it was really hard to ignore the eye contact that felt like it was meaningful and held just a little too long, and again she tried not to think about it. Those were feelings for later. Right now, she wanted to enjoy the moment without making things even more complicated.
“I love you,” Kat said happily, and made sure to look all three of them in the eye. She got three ‘I love you’s and a kiss back, and she smiled in the summer sun. It had been a very strange few months, but she wouldn’t have changed it for the world. In each other, she waxed poetically to herself, they’d found a small family, and it was one she was going to treasure for a long time.