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XXI - The World

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“Three doubles, Cassandra. That’s jail time, baby.”

“Ugh, I hate that. Hate it.”

“Just pick another one if it’s not working. Come on.” Kiki rolled over from her spot on the floor, accidentally knocking over a plastic house. “Oops, where was that? Regent Street?” 

Cassandra dutifully moved her scotty dog to the jail cell. “No, I’m just… not used to it. That’s normal when you take on a new name. It’s fine.” 

“Hey, maybe a nickname will sound better. Cass. Cassie. Sandra? Sandy?”

Cassandra wrinkled her nose. 

“Right, well, we’re gonna try Sandra for now, you can tell me if you don’t like it.”

“Okay,” she said, and after a pause, quieter, “…Thanks.”

Kiki racked up another hotel in the blue lane. Cassandra reached over and swiped a card from the top of the pile. Get out of jail. She sighed. Monopoly was a lot less fun when both players had perfect luck of the draw. They were going to run out of fake money at this rate.

“Can we play something else, literally anything that doesn’t involve dice, or cards, or any kind of randomness? Are there even any sleepover activities without randomness involved? Are sleepovers just a plot invented by Big Fate to sell more randomness?”

“To be honest, I expect a lot more booze at an ‘adult sleepover’,” Kiki grinned.

“This is not that kind of sleepover,” Cassandra groaned. “This is a Stop- um, Stop-Me-From-Having-A-Mental-Breakdown-Two-Days-Before-Finals sleepover.”

“Uh, I dunno. I can do your hair?”

 

#

 

Cassandra stared up at the ceiling, her head laid in Kiki’s lap while Kiki put curls into her hair, both of them covered in a small flurry of monopoly money. She couldn’t quite see what Kiki was doing up there, and the sensations of the top of her head being touched made a weird itch travel down to her fingers. 

“-I just don’t know why every name has to be so meaningful, like why did society decide ascribe so much power to random sounds to label people, It’s honestly a bunch of bullcrap. And like, why are names even gendered in the first place, gender’s fake anyways-”

“Sounds like you’re having doubts,” Kiki hummed.

“I’m not having doubts!” said Cassandra. “…Sure, fine. Maybe I do have doubts. But I’ve had so much doubt all my life. I’m pretty sure this is just... normal doubt.”

“Why’d you even put an unlucky name in your deck anyways?” Kiki was momentarily distracted by petting the cat. “With something that important, why take the risk?”

“A deck with only good cards in it is a pretty useless one,” said Cassandra, exasperated. “I... wanted to prove myself to fate, I guess. I had Saiorse be an official witness and everything, going back on my choice now would mean breaking the pact.”

“Yeah, that could affect your magic in a bad way,” Kiki mused. “Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it like that.”

“Still think cards are just superstitious nonsense, huh?” Cassandra said dryly.

“No, just that I knew what I wanted my name to be since I started training.”

Cassandra picked up some fake money, stacking them and shuffling them idly with the ease that comes with practice. “It goes both ways, I could never have the nerve to just ask my parents what name they’d have picked for me.”

“I know, guess I'm pretty lucky,” Kiki said. Cassandra decided to let the moment lapse into a mostly comfortable silence.

Kiki picked off the bow from her own hair, and clipped it onto Cassandra’s head. A tug and snap of elastic elicited a faint grimace from her. “Almost done."

“Look at that, you’re almost a full witch now. I’m so proud of you, Sandra," Kiki said, smiling brightly.

Cassandra glanced over at their reflections in the bedroom mirror. The witch looking back at her looked like she could be a Cass. Or Cassie. Or Sandra. “Almost there,” she agreed.

 

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              2:09 AM: actually i’m not really feeling sandra, can you call me cassie?

2:10 AM: sure thing <3
2:10 AM: but also go to sleep seriously