III: Han Solo and his Pet Dinosaur

"What in the world are you listening to? I could have sworn I heard your mother telling you and your brother and sister not to listen to music in Spanish."

I pursed my lips and ignored the overwhelming urge to smack Theo around with my softball bat. "Yes, thank you, Captain Obvious," I retorted, stretching out on my bed, trying to keep my eyes trained on the ceiling instead of on the boogeyman who was currently sitting in the wooden chair opposite me, his feet propped up on the foot of my bed. "I don't particularly care what Bruja tells me I can and can't do. She doesn't have the right anymore."

I heard him sigh heavily, "But couldn't you put on something that I could at least understand? How about French? They taught French when I was in school. And you should have more respect for you mother. She did bring you into this world, after all."

"Number one: I'm Cuban and I speak Spanish. If I want to listen to Juanes or Selena or Julieta Venegas, then I damn well will." I had held up one finger and added another, still refusing to look at Theo. "Number two: Bruja doesn't deserve my respect, punto y final. The woman had an affair and then left her children with her ex-husband's mother for a year. Didn't ask how we were doing, never called, never came for a visit. Nothing. We hadn't seen her for a year."

"If you hate your mother so much, why not just live with your father?"

My eyes narrowed and I sucked in a hard breath before forcing myself to calm down. It wasn't a subject I liked discussing. My father was a bona fide idiot for what he had done and I was the first to admit it.

I mean, because he went and burned the house down and got himself put in jail, I had to stay home and resort to COD instead of playing college ball at Northwestern. I couldn't just leave Erin and Ricky with Abuela after what Bruja and Dad pulled. I would not leave them like our parents did. And great load it's been doing me now; I was stuck at the community college until I graduated and could transfer to another school for my master's degree, and there was a boogeyman who wanted to get in my pants living under my bed.

Way to go, Dad. Thanks for the crazy music-magic-thing blood and leaving me to fend against the boogeyman. Caray.

But he was still Dad and better than my poor excuse of a mother. "Because my dad's in jail," I answered impassively, "for arson. He was mad with Bruja and he set the house on fire. Hence why we've been staying with Abuela for the past year."

I could practically hear the wheels turning in Theo's head as he archived all this information for later use. "You're a legal adult," he pointed out after a moment. "You don't have to be here. You could room at school in a dorm."

"Give me an honest answer to this question: would you leave a six year old and a fourteen year old with their mother who abandoned them, even if it meant having to deal with the bruja herself?"

When he didn't answer, I smirked, nodding my head with my eyes closed. "Exactly. You wouldn't leave. You'd stick around until you were sure they could take care of themselves and not have to depend on Bruja."

We lapsed into silence, both preferring to listen to my apparent music-magic-thing, Alguien por Julieta Venegas. "I really don't like this song," I muttered halfway through it. I didn't see how this was what my incredibly latent magic decided to "sing."

I mean, seriously, magic singing? I know we had already confirmed that I was indeed not schizo, but all of this was still pushing my capabilities of staying sane. Aw, screw it. I was already crazy.

Theo snickered, crossing his arms over his chest. "Then why are we listening to it? Can't we put something else on?"

"No, we can't. Julieta Venegas stays on until I figure out why the hell this is my music-magic-thing." I put the back of my hand to my forehead. "Why not something by Juanes? I like Juanes. I loathe this song! Caray."

I didn't need to see his face to know that he was sitting up a bit straighter and he was probably frowning in bemusement. "I think I'm missing something here. What are you talking about?"

"Cameron didn't tell you? Ricky hears music-magic-things. Apparently, he's a warlock and the rest of my screwed up Cuban side of the family has latent magic."

"Oh, I already knew that." Oh my God. I could almost see him waving a flippant hand at me as he said it. "Your brother's the first warlock from the Rivera bloodline in a long time. Centuries, if I remember right. All that latent family magic's been building up to that little boy. I've never even heard of a bloodline coming back into their magic. It's amazing, no?"

"No, it's not!" I near screeched, feeling like I wanted to pull my hair out. "It's sheer insanity! I sound like this effing song, my little brother sounds like the freaking Lion King, and Cameron sounds like Joy to the World!" I paused mid-rant. "Although, you know what? That song suits him. All he needs is Sunshine and he'd be the happiest warlock hippie there ever was."

"You do realize that the magic's singing usually reflects the witch or warlock, right?" Theo remarked in an amused tone, completely ignoring my comment on Cameron's future hippie wife of whom I've named Sunshine. "You might not like the song, but it's you in an essence."

"I am not Alguien," I argued sulkily. "And Ricky is not I Just Can't Wait to Be King either. It makes no sense. He's not a prince or stuck in some Hamlet/Richard III mix."

"He's still little," he said soothingly, probably attempting to keep me from digging my bat out from my closet now that I was becoming more agitated with every comment he made. "He'll grow into it and then it will change when he starts puberty. You, on the other hand," I could feel his eyes look me up and down in that unashamed way of his, "have been this song since you started maturing, and chances are, it won't change again."

I muttered under my breath unintelligently, reaching a blind hand out to my nightstand and grabbed the iPod and speakers, rolling through the list until I found the songs I had downloaded yesterday. "You're telling me that this song is my little brother?" I asked, sitting up, and blasting the Lion King music. "Ricky isn't going to be a king or anything. Or a lion cub. He doesn't trick his elders like this kid either."

Theo's face stretched into an amused smirk. "Maybe not now, but later?" He shrugged, still grinning while I frowned, eyebrows knitting together. "He's going to be one hell of a warlock someday. I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up more powerful than I was. That makes him kingly enough in the world of the supernatural."

"Your modesty is admirable," I replied sarcastically. "I bet you sucked at magic and that you had some loser music-magic-thing. Worse than Alguien."

"I was up to be nominated to the Council. Could have been the head of it by the time the thirties rolled around. I don't remember what my magic sounded like."

I sat, silent and listening to the iPod shift to Juanes. "How do you remember that?"

"Remember what?"

My eyes went from the ceiling to meet his. "That you were being nominated to the Council?" I elaborated. "Cameron said that sentencing meant your memory was wiped clean except for what you did wrong. How do you remember anything? Even your name?"

He heaved a sigh, his eyes darting from mine for just a nanosecond before looking at me again. "To put it in the simplest of terms? The Council's fucked. They sentence anyone and anything that breaks one of the laws, even when it's broken in self-defense. Slight problem with that, though: memory wipes aren't very efficient when used on someone who hasn't actually committed a crime."

Now I sort of felt sorry for him. Sure, it had been one thing yesterday when Cameron was telling the story because, hey, at least he couldn't remember all the good things he'd lost. You couldn't miss what you didn't know. It had to be bad enough to be stuck for eighty-five years under beds, knowing you did some unspeakable crime, but to be stuck there because you had killed someone in self-defense and still remember your life from 1923?

It had to suck.

"So. Uh," I squeaked awkwardly. "How much do you remember?"

"That I had an older sister and two younger brothers; magic ran strong in the family and I was the prodigy child out of my siblings. We lived near Taylor Street on the near West Side and most of my friends were kids from Little Italy. I remember the girl I was courting and the bastard that pulled the knife on me. And when the Council sentenced me." He laughed humorlessly, "I remember that real well, but I don't even know my real name, to be honest. Real sad. I can recall the exact place my family lived, but I can't remember my own name. Theodore just happens to be the first name that popped into my head when the Strattons asked who I was."

Christ, he didn't even know his real name. He really knew how to pull on the heartstrings of a girl. I chalked it up to him trying to make me fall in love with him.

Another bout of silence ensued, because, really, how could I even begin to respond to his semi-amnesia? "So…yeah."

He stood without warning, brushing imaginary dust off his dark washed jeans as he had when I caught him in my room yesterday. "I have one question. What is the basic translation of your blood song?"

I blinked, arms dropping to my sides slackly as I sat up quickly. "My who-whatsit?"

Theo sighed, as if I was an idiot that needed explanation in the slowest of terms for everything he said. "Your so-called 'music-magic-thing' is what I think you called it. What is the translation of the words?"

"It talks about how she's looking for someone to love her and stuff," I answered, completely confused. "Why? It's a terrible song. I hate it. I would have preferred Juanes or Selena over that."

He smiled and chuckled lightly at his own private and unspoken joke. "You might hate the song, but it's you. You just haven't figured it out yet."

My lip curled distastefully. Where did this guy get off? Again, his Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card contract came to mind. He was only here to get into my pants. "What do you know?" I spat, glaring a barrage of daggers at him. "You've 'known' me – if you can call being a perverted stalker 'knowing' someone – for a grand total of three days."

He laughed at me. I'm not even kidding, this guy burst out into a peal of laughter so gut wrenching that I was half sure that he was going to go into cardiac arrest. "Oh, please," he finally managed to gasp out, wiping away a tear or two. "I know that you've been making googly-eyes at that warlock boy – what was his name again? Josh Leonetti."

I stood up so quickly I thought I'd fall over from so much blood rushing in my ears. I denied his claim wholeheartedly, "I have not!" Caray. My face was so red that it actually hurt. "You don't know anything!"

"I know more than you could probably imagine about everyone in this building," Theo bragged, a self-satisfied smirk splitting his face. "Besides, Cameron and Luc were speaking yesterday while you were upstairs relaying everything to your sister. They both agreed that they'd rather see you with me than Joshy-boy. There's something off about that kid."

"Hijo de puta," I hissed, turning my back on him to avoid showing him how much redder my face had gotten. "Know what? I'm done speaking about this," I grunted, reaching for my car keys and making it to the doorway.

"Where are you going?"

"To go talk with normal people," I answered sweetly. "I'm sure you can remember them from eighty-five years ago. They don't have magic or singing blood or have to worry about La Chupacabra eating their six year old brothers." I turned around, holding the door, slamming it in his face as I continued in a shout, "And they most certainly don't have to worry about jackass boogeymen!"

Now, granted, Cameron had reassured me that La Chupacabra wasn't in the boarding house. Did I believe him?

Hell no!

If the boogeyman was living under my bed and my – possible – future boyfriend, my little brother, and my two stepbrothers were warlocks and I was chock-full of latent magic, then why wouldn't La Chupacabra be somewhere in this mad house?

Besides, Abuela said that the goatsucker was in this place. She was already right about faeries in the closet and boogeymen under beds; chances were, she was right about La Chupacabra too.

I passed the kitchen, ignoring my sister's giggling. She'd taken in all the craziness way too easily to be considered healthy. According to what I'd seen last night at dinner, she had already made friends with a small group of werewolves who were temporarily away from their pack down in Shelbyville so that the four of them could attend schools around here when the fall semester came.

I still have no clue how I knew they were werewolves without them telling me right out after Bruja and Man-Whore left the room. Or how when I'd passed an old lady who lived in the room next to mine, I knew she was a hag. And I'm not trying to be mean, either. She's a real nice old gal. But she was the supernatural variety of hag.

I also really don't know how I suddenly knew that Erin sounded like some Nelly Furtado song that I had never liked enough to look up. It was faint as the briefest of whispers being pulled on the wind, but it was still there.

It was official. I had jumped off the deep end. I was off my rocker. I had strayed from that ever-so-thin line between sanity and lunacy. I could identify other people as werewolves and hags and who knew what else and I could hear blood songs. Caray.

Cameron had warned me that this sort of thing could happen. That all Erin, Ricky, and I had probably ever needed was the knowledge that we could do these things and we'd just start to do it without even noticing. More so with Ricky considering he could move chairs and other inanimate objects now.

I was almost out the front door when Josh appeared, his head sticking out from behind an old, plum colored armchair in the front sitting room. "Hey, Martine!" he called, almost too cheerfully for my horrid mood. "I was wondering if you'd like to go see a movie with me down at the Tivoli on Friday?"

He had stood up and was leaning against the back of chair, a carefree smile frozen on his face. While it was a relaxed stance, I could literally feel waves of magic pulsating from him, and of course, it was terrifying but still so exhilarating.

And attractive.

As I was steadily learning, the world of the supernatural worked so much more like the natural world than what I was used to. The females in most species are attracted by powerful males, and warlocks and witches were no different, I supposed. Magic worked like some extra sex pheromone.

Josh was the only other warlock besides my brothers that I had encountered so far, and I wasn't sure how I'd do against a stronger warlock; I was already aroused. He wasn't even up to par with Cameron, but caray, Josh had enough magic to do him some good.

I mentally slapped myself. Maybe that hag who roomed next door to me could teach me how to control my reaction to magic because I was definitely not going to hop into bed with any old warlock who happened to pass me by on the street.

"I, uh, yeah, sure," I stuttered, using any and all willpower I had to keep from jumping his bones right then and there. And before I could cause myself any further embarrassment, I darted out the front door and made it in my car and down the street in what seemed like a new world record. I took a shaky breath, trying and ultimately failing to calm myself down as I sped past my old high school and the library before ending in front of a cozy looking two story house, blue painted window shutters and all.

A face peered out the window near the door when the sound of my squealing tires and the banging on the door made it into the house. "Martine? What are you doing? I really hate to tell you, but you're not in NASCAR."

"Shut it, David," I muttered, stalking past him through the door. "Why are you answering the door and where is Marion?"

"Well, she's supposed to be down at the World Dance Academy helping out teach the little kids Irish dance," he answered, drawing his syllables out.

"Aren't you supposed to be there helping too?"

Marion and David had met through an Irish dance competition in Indiana a few years ago and they'd been dating ever since. They were an odd pair to look at, with Marion missing a small triangle of skin at the tip of her right eyelid from a surgery when she was little and David looking like some conglomeration of some flavor of Asian, Irish, and about four other European nationalities.

"I should," he replied, starting to smile, "but I'm not. Neither is Marion. We decided to call in with 'too much work' from those darn summer science courses at Joliet Junior College."

I rolled my eyes, heading towards the living room of Marion's house where I found her, sitting on the ground, eyes glued to the television as she played some new game she'd gotten. "Marion, what would you do if I told you that there was a boogeyman currently living under my bed?"

She paused her game, turning her head to stare at me with one eyebrow raised. "There's no such thing as the boogeyman," she said slowly, blinking. "If the boogeyman existed, then Han Solo would show up in this living room with a pet dinosaur and ask me to marry him."

David's jaw dropped as he stared at his girlfriend in shock. "You'd marry Han Solo over me?" he whined. "But we already decided that we were going to name our first kid Fitzwilliam."

"Hey, it's Han Solo, okay?" Marion protested. "With a dinosaur. You've got to admit, that's pretty sexy."

Before David could get another word in, I pushed him over onto the couch, choosing not to listen to his griping and spoke over him, "Okay, that's great and all, but there's a creeper living under my bed who needs to have sex with me to stop being the boogeyman, my brothers are warlocks, and I think La Chupacabra is going to eat Ricky."

That shut both of them up real quick. "Is she joking, Marion?" David asked in a whisper. "Because she doesn't look like she's joking."

She hushed him, standing up and putting her hands on my shoulders, giving me her best concerned and serious looks. "Martine. You're one of my best friends, but I sincerely think your abuela's schizophrenia is a hereditary problem."

Without warning, I grabbed their hands and started to drag them out to my car. "I am going to prove to the both of you that I'm not schizo. Okay, I'll admit that I'm completely insane, but I am not imagining this crap."

Marion didn't seem to mind being manhandled. She was probably just assuming I'd take them wherever I needed to take them and it would dawn on me that I was schizophrenic.

David, on the other hand, was complaining the entire time and Marion and I had to team together to shove him into the backseat of my car. "Marion! Why are you doing this to me? First Han Solo and now this? What am I? Just something to throw around?"

"Yes," she answered as I growled, "Just shut up."

It didn't take long before I was parked by the boarding house and we were dragging a whining David through the front door. "You're going to have to shut him up before we get to my room. He's too loud and the creeper won't come out if your boyfriend's screaming bloody murder."

She clamped a hand over his mouth and we continued up the stairs, passing Erin and her werewolf buddies, all of whom stared at us like we belonged in an asylum.

Cameron and Luc were in the second floor hallway and their mouths dropped when we passed.

The hag up on the third floor just grinned and nodded at me, as if she already knew what I was planning. I seriously didn't doubt it.

I put a finger to my lips and unlocked my door, waiting for them to walk through the doorframe before I closed it, dropping the keys on my dresser and collapsing onto the bed.

Marion and David stood near the door, looking around in confusion. Just as she was about to open her mouth and reassert my schizophrenia, Theo started to crawl out from under the bed.

"Martine, it's really rude to slam the door in someone's face," he had started to say, but as soon as he was fully out from under the bed, he turned an interesting shade of white when he noticed the two other people in the room.

"Marion, David. This is Theo. He's a boogeyman," I said calmly, standing. "Theo, these are my friends Marion and David. They think I'm schizophrenic. You happen to be my proof that I don't have some mental disorder."

Theo's mouth opened and closed. "Does Cameron know what you've just done?"

I shrugged. "No clue. The hag lady that lives next door does, though. She kinda smiled and nodded at me." I nodded to myself, crossing my arms over my chest. "I'm really starting to like that woman some more. I bet she'd tell me if La Chupacabra really lives here."

"Did that guy just come out from under the bed?" David mumbled, his eyes wide. "Because I think I'm schizophrenic, Marion. Next thing you know, I'll be seeing Han Solo and a dinosaur."

Ignoring him, Marion walked up to Theo and poked him in the arm, much to his amusement. "I'm not a ghost," he joked. "I won't just dissipate with a touch."

She looked at me with all the seriousness she could muster. "There's a boogeyman. Where's Cameron? I want to see him do magic if he's a warlock."

By the time they both left, I was already half asleep on my bed and Theo – for whatever reason – was in the chair at my desk. Wow. Talk about déjà vu. "Are you happy now? Not only did your brothers tell you that you weren't going crazy, but your friends have too."

I gave him a half-shrug. "I know I'm not schizophrenic. They just didn't share my opinion on that particular subject. They're science majors. They needed to see you to believe it." Sitting up, I yawned, taking off my glasses and placing them on my nightstand. "If I asked you if La Chupacabra was really in this building, would you tell me the truth?"

Theo's eyebrows came together. "You seem awfully obsessed with that thing," he mused. "But I believe we have a more pressing issue to discuss. Why did you agree to go out on a date with Josh? I know you're not dumb enough not to notice there's something off about him."

"He's hot and he doesn't live under my bed." I didn't say anything about the magic pheromones. Those were most definitely another reason for me accepting the date.

"I'm not stupid. You're starting to come into that latent magic of yours and you can feel magic stemming off of others," he accused, standing and coming to stare down at me on my bed.

My face burned scarlet and I rolled over so that I was almost suffocating myself with my pillow. "No, I didn't," I said without any conviction whatsoever. "Josh seems really nice. A much better date than you."

He snorted. "No. You want to have sex with him."

For the second time that day, my lip curled in distaste and I shot up to stare him down. "How is that any different from you? You want me to have sex with you so that you can be a warlock again." I huffed, turning my head away from him haughtily. "And I'll have you know that I left the immediate area before his magic pheromones got any worse. I plan on keeping my born-again virginity for a while longer, thank you very much."

I heard him chuckle again. "You're hopeless, you know that, Martine?" he asked me, his laughter dying down. "How do you plan on not jumping him when you have enough trouble just spending five minutes with him? He doesn't even have as much magic as your brothers! And Cameron is only slightly above average! I've never seen a witch have a reaction like yours to Josh."

"Shut up," I growled, pulling my knees close to my chin and hiding my face with a veil of hair. "I'm not a witch, okay? I'm just a classifiably normal girl with latent magic that does stupid things to my head. Why doesn't this stuff do anything to Erin? She's hanging out with werewolves and God knows what else without anything like this happening. Caray. I'm a failure at latent magic."

"Oh, Martine," he crooned softly in an almost loving tone, "did I hit a nerve? It's okay, you'll get used to it. You probably just have more latent magic than your sister. Think of it this way: if I were to suddenly get my magic back, you'd have already pinned me to the bed. At least you managed to control yourself long enough to get away from Josh before you did something stupid."

I lifted my head to send him a look that suggested I was less than amused. "That's not helping," I hissed through gritted teeth.

Theo cringed, realizing his mistake. "Uh. Well. I'm sorry. Maybe you should talk to one of the witches in the house. I'm sure they'll be able to help you stop any…uh…unwanted urges."

"Oh God. Caray. Just leave, Theo, before you make it any worse," I groaned, falling back onto my bed, pulling the covers up and over my head.

The more time I spent in this house, the worse everything seemed to become. Why couldn't I just be a normal girl going to college and not some crazed up one that wanted to jump a guy's bones because he had magic pheromones?

I sighed under my breath when I heard Theo go back under the bed and started to seriously think about the mess I had gotten into.

And that despite the fact that a boogeyman wanted me to fall in love and sleep with him, he was actually half-decent most of the time. Maybe – just maybe – if he hadn't have made those poor excuses of nerdy pickup lines, I'd have been more inclined to think higher about his intentions towards me, which as of now, were completely innocent.

Not once since his stupid pickup lines had he made any inappropriate move on me.

I rubbed my eyes furiously, poking my head out from the covers and pulling my pillow closer so I could lie down properly. What was happening? In the short time since I first caught Theo sifting through my underclothes, he had gone from creeper to half-decent.

My face, which had already gone through an exercise in blushing, turned a deep red again. Whether I really wanted to admit it or not, Theo was probably higher up on the good looking list and his words earlier sort of scared me.

If I was close to jumping Josh – who was, yes, probably only an average warlock – then what would I do in the presence of a Theo who had his magic back?

I almost slapped myself. Bad thoughts. Bad, bad, naughty thoughts. If Theo were a warlock again, I'd probably be screwed.

Literally. He'd probably screw me, and I'd probably thoroughly enjoy it.


A/N: Oh my lordy. I come home from my dad's house to find reviews and favorites/alert adds? You guys rock. Seriously. Here you go, chapter three, out sooner than I was actually planning, which is, admittedly, due to the unfavorable ending of Avatar: The Last Airbender (I mean, come on. Kataang is just gross. Zutara should have become cannon). Few quick notes: I do not own anything remarkably recognizable from the world outside my imagination and schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder; I understand I'm making light of it because my character does.

Spanish Translations:
-Bruja: witch
-Punto y final: period!
-Caray: oh jeez/crap/God/come on
-Hijo de puta: son of a bitch

Reviews:
-Jevanminx - Thanks xD I'm surprised someone's even noticed that I've done a significant amount of research.
-StopThisSong - Martine seems to be harboring quite a bit of rage. I think I've only just scratched the surface of it, though. Oh well. It's understandable, right? xD Thanks for reviewing!
-fortuneismymuse - Mmm, technically, you're right. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder. While you can't "catch" it, it is influenced by genetics, early enviroments, and social/psychological/neurobiological processes. Anyways, thanks for the review xD
-Kuritsutaru Takahashi - Thank you xD
-Claudia - Gracias xD I like using Spanish in my writing, which is odd in itself because I'm not even remotely Hispanic, but meh...it's good practice for AP Spanish IV next year. Thanks for reviewing and referring it to your friends!
-adda lee - Thanks! I hate short chapters. They annoy me. I make it a habit of getting at least eight pages churned out for an update xD
-Irish Silver - Thank you xD
-VVastedtime - Wow...you are by far one of the most excited reviewers. Ever. Thanks for the reviews! They made me laugh to read. Here's the new chapter, 'kay? And it's early!
-Guacamole - Thank you! It's okay; I'm still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts to arrive. It's only coming up on being six years late. Thanks for the reviews xD

-extrapolating ideas