HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 387

Melody turned and looked Frederica up and down.

“Goddamn,” she muttered. “You look just like a Disney princess.”

Frederica felt her face grow warm. She stared at the floor.

“I guess that would make you Prince Charming,” she said.

“I don’t know,” Melody said, stepping forward. “I’ve always identified more with the Beast.”

She grabbed Frederica by the hips and pulled her roughly into a kiss. Frederica leaned into it, draping her arms over Melody’s shoulders. They swayed together awhile to the music and laughter wafting up from the tavern.

“Have I mentioned lately that I love you?” Frederica asked.

“In this universe?” Melody replied. “Not yet.”

“Well then,” Frederica said, leading Melody to the bed, “we’ve clearly got some catching up to do.”


In the morning Frederica put the dress back on and headed downstairs with Melody. She felt a bit overdressed; she hadn’t worn anything even close to this fancy since Angela’s wedding all those years ago. Her friends were already in the tavern below, waiting. They all turned to look up at her.

“Oh shit,” Josephine said. “I think my sister’s been replaced by her parallel-universe doppelganger.”

Nila just whistled.

“You look beautiful, Fred,” Magh said.

“Yeah,” Tommy agreed.

“Thanks,” Frederica replied, glancing away.

Melody hooked her arm through Frederica’s.

“Come on,” she said. “It’s time for Lady Frederica to make her debut.”

Frederica groaned.

Melody chuckled and said, “You love it.”

As the six of them headed for the door, Magh reached into her cloak and produced four silver chains. Each bore a stone pendant carved with symbols and embedded with a pale blue gem.

“I asked Orna to make these,” she said. “They’re levitation charms.”