Everything She Does Is Magic, Part One

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“Look at this!”

Jack, leaning back and taking a long sip of coffee as he turned a small brass ring over in one hand, almost jumped out of his seat as Catherine came storming in, with Blossom trailing behind her. He sat his cup down carefully and returned the ring to his pocket as Catherine slammed a newspaper down on the table.

'DOCTOR CROYDEN STRIKES AGAIN! MAGISTERS LEFT BAFFLED AS ROGUE NECROMANCER RUNS RAMPANT!'

“Oh, dear,” Jack said midly, taking the paper and running over it. “Clyde Barrow, this time. Well, we were expecting that. She seems to be striking every Sunday night, like clockwork.”

“Yes, and she hit Dallas while we were all sitting in Kentucky guarding the Harpe Brothers' tomb!” Catherine said.

“No need to get so angry, Catherine,” Jack said. “I told you it was just a hunch. She seemed to be alternating between Old West outlaws and mob-related ones, and there were signs of someone poking around down there. Who would have thought she'd move straight to bank robbers?”

Catherine sank into a chair. “We're going to have to find a better hunch. This woman is making us look like chumps. Jesse James, John Dillinger, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy. She even found Jimmy Hoffa's corpse! If we don't figure out what she's up to soon, we're going to be in for a lot of trouble.”

“What she's up to seems rather obvious, frankly,” Jack said. “How many reasons could you have for stealing the corpses of some of history's most famous criminals? Either she's building a gang of super-criminal zombies, or she's building a single super-criminal zombie.”

“Maybe she's building a corpse museum,” Blossom said without any real conviction. Catherine glanced over at her, and she shrugged fluidly. “Just a thought.”

“Right. Well, while you're thinking, I'm going to be in a meeting with Director Henry, seeing if we can narrow this down from every outlaw in the United States to a slightly smaller list. If you have any more ideas…” Catherine broke off, and sighed. “Every suggestion helps.”

“I'll keep that in mind,” Jack said with a wry smile, as Catherine walked off with much less energy than she had arrived with. He sighed, sitting back in his chair, and reached for the paper and his coffee. A moment later, he looked up. “Yes, Blossom?”

Blossom hesitated a moment, mask blank. “Um… sorry, Jack. Where did you get that ring?”

“Which ring?” Jack looked down at his hand. “This one? I've had it for several years. A long story, really.”

“No, the one you were playing with when we walked in?”

“Oh, this old thing?” Jack reached into his pocket, flipping the ring between his fingers. “Garage sale. Thought I sensed some magical residue on it.”

Blossom watched him for several seconds. “Jack?”

He sighed. “Yes, Blossom?”

Blossom frowned slightly. “I know that everyone in this building treats me like a kid – except for Yousef, and I don't think he likes me – but I'm actually pretty smart. For example, that's a brass ring, and you only wear silver. It's very old, and I think those are paleo-hebrew letters etched around the edge. Most of them are so old they're faded almost out of existence, but there are a few that look like they were carved in the last few years – the brass is a different color.”

Jack sat in his chair for several seconds, looking down at the ring. “And what do you know about paleo-hebrew?”

“Not much,” Blossom admitted, “except that it was the language that Solomon used. I mean the one we arrested last month, not the original, but it was the one that the original used too. I recognized the symbols because they were all over his tower, and I asked him what they were, and he said that he used paleo-hebrew for his alchemy, so I guess what I'm saying is… did you steal that ring from him while we were in New York?”

Jack sighed, turning the ring over in his hands. “I came across it while we were checking Solomon's rooms for dangerous magic. What I told you, about magical residue – that was true. This ring is magic, and I believe that it is powerful magic.”

“Then why haven't you told anyone about it?” Blossom said, leaning on the table across from him. Jack sighed.

“It's complicated, Blossom. I need to decide what it does, first. And what to do about it if my suspicions are correct.”

“Couldn't the Director help? I mean, he has a pretty big library…”

“No!” Blossom started at the force in Jack's tone, and he forced himself to calm down. “Blossom, can you keep a secret?”

“Of course, Jack. You're my friend.”

“Even from Catherine? Or Roland?”

Jack watched Blossom seriously as she considered that. “I guess so. If it's not going to hurt them.”

“It shouldn't,” Jack said. “Blossom, I don't trust our director.”

Blossom's mask went totally still. “Why?”

“Several reasons. First off, I don't like the amount of information he seems to have that he doesn't deign to share. I don't like that he has access to a massive inter-dimensional home base, the likes of which I've never seen before. I don't like the way hints of magic leak off him when he's distracted, and I very much don't like the fact that his history is fractured, fragmented, and mostly hidden. Add to that the fact that he is much older than he appears, and all sorts of alarm bells start going off in mind.” He reached down to the ring, holding it up. “And if this is what I'm beginning to think it is, I absolutely don't trust our mysterious leader with it.”

“But…” Blossom hesitated. “If you don't trust him, why did you join the team?”

“Curiousity is my fatal flaw, my dear.” Jack stood, pushing his chair back. “Can I trust you to keep this to yourself, Blossom? Just give me a few more weeks to finish some research, and then I'll decide what to do about this ring.”

“Well…” Blossom considered blankly for another few seconds, and then nodded. “I trust you. But I trust Mr. Henry, too." She paused. "But I'll let you decide what to do for yourself. Just… try to decide soon, okay?”

She sighed, walking away. Why was human life always so hard?


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