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when all gates stand closed

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At the edge of the forest, they find a pale, glowing city with spires tall enough to breach the skies.

Rocket smirks at the sight, shares it with Blondie who has her arm propped on Amber's shoulder. "Looks like we'll have to storm the castle."

"No." Sweet Pea looks up and up, but there's too much to take in all at once, and really, what's the point? "We need a better plan."

"She's right," Baby Doll says, and the old man nods, too.

Rocket rolls her eyes. Seems like everyone's on big sis's side these days.

"For this mission"—the old man smiles—"we need a little magic."

What they have are four dragon slayers, and the magic that surrounds the city can't stop them or a dragon's breath when Baby Doll cracks the stones together.


"So this," Amber says, and holds the necklace up. It twirls, the metal catching every bit of light in the room and shining in Rocket's eyes. "This is going to make us invisible?"

Rocket snatches it out of her hand. She knows better and flashes Sweet Pea a grin when she gives Rocket one of those looks. "No point in waiting. Let's see if it works."


But it's too late.

She drops the necklace over her head, and the stone rests cool blue against her chest. She doesn't feel any different, but then she looks up, looks at Sweet Pea and Blondie, and the world shimmers around her. The magic is: she gets to see everyone's faces when she disappears — ta-da — like magic.

"Too cool," Rocket laughs, and takes off the necklace, passing it to Amber, who's closest. "You guys have got to try it."

"We should save it," Baby Doll says. "Just in case."

"Just in case what?" Rocket asks, and Baby Doll's becoming as much of a killjoy as Sweet Pea is. It's because of all of the time that they spend together, going over their missions, getting ready for the next bit of treasure they'll have to fight for and steal.

"In case there's only so much magic in it." Baby Doll's hand closes tight around the stone, and Sweet Pea's hand closes tight around hers.

"There's going to be enough," Sweet Pea says, squeezing Baby Doll's hand like the first time they'd met. Rocket always knew something was there. "Enough for all of us."

Rocket claps her hands together and stands. "Come on, girls." She slips an arm into Blondie's and grabs Amber's hand, pulling her up. "Let's leave these two to be responsible. It's time for the rest of us to celebrate." She flashes Sweet Pea a smirk. "And don't worry, mom. I promise we'll be safe."

Sweet Pea sighs, but there's a hint of a smile, maybe even gratitude. Rocket winks and saunters out the door.

One step over the threshold and she risks a look back. She catches sight of Sweet Pea and Baby Doll moving closer to each other, sharing a kiss, before the door slams shut. Yeah, she'd been right, but she usually is, even though Sweet Pea never wants to admit it.