Author's Note:

Hi! If you're here because you're a fan of "Magicademy," welcome! I hope you enjoy the three-part "Summer Break" storyline. If you haven't already, please check the note at the end of the main Magicademy series; there's something important that I'd like your help with.

If you've just found this story, welcome! This is a continuation of "Magicademy," a long-running short story series that I've done. I highly recommend you don't read this first - it takes place after the original series and doesn't bother to explain much, so you might be confused. Check my profile and read the main series first. Yeah, there's a lot of it, but it reads fast, and people do seem to like it, if the reviews are any indication.

And now, on with the show...

Magicademy: Summer Break, Part 1

"The endless what?"

"Dude. You've got to get your girl to not answer the door naked."

Jacob looked over at Aidis. "Where's Aidis and what have you done with him?"

The two once-and-future-roommates were standing on what might have been the front porch of Jacob's Modesto apartment. The place didn't really have a porch, but it did have the railed balcony that ran all around the second floor. They each had a bottle of the blue elven drink called moon syrup, and Aidis took a swig from his before he answered.

"Seriously. First, I know you said way back when that you don't want anyone seeing her naked but you. Uael?"

"Uael," Jacob said. The word was elvish, an odd sort of both question and answer at the same time. From what he'd learned, the elves used it when the questioner thought anyone who disagreed was an idiot.

Jacob had a feeling some elves used it a lot, like the ones who'd challenged him and Cassida and Elisa to a duel, over the node in Elisa's room. He thought about it for a moment. That seemed like so long ago.

"And it's not like Cass's big on me checking out other girls anyway," Aidis continued. He took another drink. "So as soon as your furry female opens the door, Cass throws a hand over my eyes. Of course she puts her arm around my head to do that."

Jacob chuckled. "Of course. Yeah, you would date someone who'd use the headlock of love," he said.

Aidis paused, then blinked at Jacob. Three of his braids looped up, forming questionmarks. "Headlock of love? Okay, I really don't need to know what you and Dhai get up to--"

"No matter what you and Liz said last month?" Jacob asked.

"Hah! No, that was fun. Not as much fun when it's just us." He shrugged. "Anyway, I still had my sunglasses on, so Cass thwaps her hand over them, and. . . ." Aidis pointed to the large red mark between his eyes, then swigged again. "Hey, this stuff's really good."

"Told you," Jacob said. "Didn't you say it was an elf thing, back at that club?"

"You're the elf-by-proxy, dude," Aidis said and drained his bottle. "Anyway, it's good to see you're still alive up here."

Jacob half-snorted a laugh. "Yeah, that's Modesto for you. I'm glad you and Cassida finally showed up, I was going nuts." Jacob gestured with his bottle, to the apartment courtyard and, sort of, to all of Modesto beyond the walls. "I swear, I don't know if I'll make it the whole summer. I get stared at just for having white hair. And I got too used to living on the coast, it's too damn hot here."

Aidis raised an eyebrow. "Is that why Dhaiiski was naked?"

"She's nekati," Jacob said, giving his friend a hard look. "You'd want to walk around naked here if you were covered with fur."

"I dunno, I like walking around naked in general," Aidis cracked.

"Please tell me you're not going to do that at the apartment," Jacob said.

Aidis just smirked.

The two of them headed back into Jacob's apartment. Not long after Aidis and Cassida had arrived, the two women had started talking and pretty much ignoring anyone else, so Jacob and Aidis had retired - as it were - to the balcony. When they returned, Cassida was draped over the slumping couch, while Dhaiiski was in the small kitchen, stirring something in a very large bowl. She turned around and smiled as Jacob and Aidis walked in.

"Heya again," Dhaiiski said, her ears twitching at them. "Cass and I were talking about heading out somewhere for dinner, if we're not leaving 'till tomorrow."

"I dunno,"Aidis said. He whispered a spell and flipped his hand open, and glowing numbers appeared in the air above his palm. "It's only afternoonish in Hawaii, we could head over and not have to sleep anytime soon."

"Oh, I'm not dropping in on family early," Dhaiiski said, then grabbed something out of the refrigerator. "Okay, I could. But that'd throw everything off. And there might be other family there that's leaving today, so with us there too, there wouldn't be enough room to sleep."

Aidis gave Jacob a questioning look, and Jacob nodded. "Your family really is that big," Aidis said.

"We can stay here tonight," Cassida said, kind of slowly. "This is a really comfortable couch."

Jacob chuckled. "Broken in from years of crashing," he said. "I was the only guy in high school with my own apartment. A lot of people have slept on that couch."

"Any room there?" Aidis asked, walking over to Cassida.

"No," she said. Two seconds later, Aidis tried to sit on her, which got him thrown to the floor.

Jacob shook his head, and looked over at Dhaiiski. "Never changes."

"Nope," Dhaiiski said, though she was still smiling. "What've you two been up to since we left?"

Cassida rolled over, propping herself up on the couch's arm. "Not enough nothing," she said. "The lab's been working me overtime. I swear, the worst part about elven corporations is that no one sleeps. I heard one guy say he liked calling human-run places in the middle of the night, because anyone they got a hold of would be tired."

"Gotta be twenty-four hour to deal with elves," Aidis said, nodding like he knew what he was talking about. "Didn't Elisa know some guy who had a no-sleep spell?"

"I don't think I could handle that," Dhaiiski said, shaking her head, sending the braids in her tawny mane swinging back and forth. She walked out of the kitchen and set the large bowl on the table in the middle of the living room, then sat on the floor next to Aidis and motioned for Jacob to come over. "Here, try this, it's a fish dip from my great-aunt. Oh! Jacob, get the chips?"

Jacob sat down, then reached out with his inherent magik. A purple beam glowed out of his hand, snaked into the kitchen, and grabbed a bag of chips from inside one of the cupboards. The beam opened the bag as Jacob brought the chips over to the table.

"Dude. Been practicing?" Aidis asked.

"Hardly," Jacob said, rolling his silver-flecked purple eyes. "I only really use magik at home around here."

"That sucks," Cassida said. "Anyway, yeah, a lot of the human-run places started putting their people on shifts, so they've always got someone available. It's all a lot of politics and bullshit; I'm glad I'm in research so I don't have to deal with it."

"What about your work?" Dhaiiski asked. "Any progress?"

"I wish," Cassida muttered. "Sorry, I'm just tired, I've hardly been able to get a good trance for the past few days. They made me bring my work with me."

"Ah, yeah, hence the laptop," Aidis said, dipping a chip. "Man, spending your whole summer thinking? Give me physical labor any day."

Jacob and Dhaiiski laughed, while Cassida just rolled her reverse-colored eyes. "Still at the big damn warehouse?" Jacob asked.

"Yep," Aidis said. "My uncle asked if you could work for him again. I think he liked having someone there who can actually catch stuff."

Jacob nodded, considering. "That'd be pretty cool. It's a long flight for a part-time job, but it was fun."

Dhaiiski poked him in the side. "Just keep your hair short."

"I know, I know. . . ." Jacob looked at Cassida and Aidis. "Either of you heard from Tim or Elisa?"

"They're both in England," Aidis said, "no idea what else."

"Didn't Elisa have some family issues?" Cassida asked. "She left early, but she didn't tell us anything else. I could find out, but. . . ."

"Nah. If Elisa's not telling, she doesn't want us to know," Aidis said. "She's tight like that. Thought I gotta wonder what her family said when they saw her hair."

"That wasn't my fault!" Dhaiiski said, her whiskers twitching downward. "Okay, not really. I didn't really know the spell was only supposed to be used on nekati."

Jacob leaned over and put an arm around Dhaiiski, and she leaned into him and purred. "She'll be all right. Besides, England's a real magik-heavy place, so she might be able to get it dispelled there."

"Yeah, or maybe no one will notice," Aidis cracked. Cassida bent a leg sideways and kneed him on the shoulder. "Hey! I didn't deserve that."

She smirked. "Yes you did."

Jacob chuckled, shaking his head. Like he and Dhaiiski had said, some things never changed. With Aidis and Cassida, unless they were kissing or making out on the couch or something, it was easy to think they didn't even like each other. Sure, he'd never heard them say they loved each other. But Dhaiiski swore they did; she'd said so a few nights ago when they were up late talking. Jacob figured it wasn't really worth worrying about.

Aidis threw himself backward, laying on the floor. "You've lived here since you were how old, dude?"

"Thirteen," Jacob said. "I know, it kinda shows."

"I'm just surprised you can find the floor," Aidis said. "I mean, you've seen my room at my dad's place."

"It's worse at your mom's," Cassida said.

"Yeah, my elf-mom makes me clean up at least once a year," Aidis said. "But yeah. If I had an entire apartment for all my stuff? It'd be everywhere. I'd, like, have paths for getting across the room, and that's it."

Dhaiiski glanced at Jacob. "It's really that bad?"

"We had to clear off about seven years' worth of magazines to find space for my mattress," Jacob said. He'd stayed with Aidis's dad and elven stepmom during their spring break, which was also when they'd worked together at his uncle's warehouse.

"Hey, some of those are classics," Aidis said. "So, you were talking about heading out for dinner?"

"In a few hours," Dhaiiski said, nodding. "There's this really good seafood place a few blocks away, we've gone there a few times." She paused, and looked at Cassida. "The locals'll probably stare at you," she said.

Cassida gave a smile that made Jacob wonder just how dangerous she could really be. Mental-magik specialists could do some really warped things, he'd heard. The story about her teleporting herself through Aidis's forehead still weirded him out. "I'll stare back," Cassida said.

Jacob chuckled again. It was good to have his friends back. And tomorrow, they were off to Hawaii.

When they landed near the top of what was probably a volcano, Aidis managed to keep from falling over. Barely.

This wasn't supposed to happen. He'd read the address Dhaiiski gave him, focused on it like he'd spent all last spring quarter learning, and cast the travel spell. He hadn't made it all the way to Antarctica and back just to land on a volcano in Hawaii by accident. The fact that Hawaii was pretty much all volcano wasn't important right now.

Aidis turned, looked at Dhaiiski, and gave her his best glower. She laughed, which didn't help.

"I really should have thought of this," the furry girl said, looking around. "Hang on." She started rummaging through one of her bags. Thankfully, none of their stuff had started rolling down the stony mountain.

"Your aim's off," Cassida said.

Aidis took a moment to curse the elves for always being so damn calm no matter what, then shrugged. "Hey, at least I got us to the island," he said. "I could have missed, wouldn't take much out here. Did you want a salt bath?"

"I could have flown us," Jacob said. He leaned back and stretched, then ran a hand over his short white hair. "Yeah, I'd have hair long enough to reach back to California by the time we got here, but--"

"Dude," Aidis said. "Do me a favor and don't finish that sentence." He tried glowering again. It didn't work.

"Not your fault, Aidis," Dhaiiski said. She sounded cheerful. "My cousins would do something like this, I should have known. Take a look at the letter."

Aidis peered at the folded paper he was holding. He squinted, and murmured under his breath. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Cassida looking closer too. They both figured it out at the same time.

"Cute," Cassida said. "Remind me to mess with their dreams tonight."

Aidis cackled. "That'll teach 'em," he said. "Real funny, putting a misdirecting spell on the directions."

"Maybe they knew you were getting us here, and didn't think we'd blame them," Jacob said, grinning.

"Quiet, pest," Aidis said. "You know how to get there, Dhai? I'm not much good with directions, and I haven't been here since. . . ." He paused. "Ever."

"Hold on, I'll call 'em," Dhaiiski said, pulling something small, thin, and electronic out of one of her bags. A moment later, she clipped one end of it to one of her pointed ears and brought a microphone down to her mouth.

"A phone," Aidis said, trying to sound stuffy. "How quaint." Cassida thumped him, and he glowered at her too. It still didn't work.

"Aunt Caiili!" Dhaiiski said a moment later. "Hi, it's me! We're here. No, we're on the island. Um, on a mountain. It's not active, is it?" She laughed. "The twins did something to the letter uncle Jeraael sent, Aidis got us here when he was trying to get us there. Yeah, he's one of my friends, he took a travel magik class. Yes, I know he's better than that."

Aidis grinned, then looked around. In his sudden worry that they were on an active volcano, it hadn't really hit him that they were actually, finally, definitely in Hawaii.

From way up on the mountain, he could see all the way down to the beach, to white sands and palm trees and all that. There was forest all around the island, with little pockets of civilization here and there, roads winding through it all. The wind was kind of cool up here, but he had a feeling that'd change when they weren't a few thousand feet up.

But what really got him was the ocean. Deeper and brighter blue than he'd ever seen before, except in pictures, it looked much, much better than anywhere he'd been in California. He'd heard that in some places it was so clear, you could walk in up to your knees and just watch the fish swimming around you.

Yeah. It was definitely time for vacation. He made a mental note to thank Dhai's family for letting them all come, then looked back to her.

"Okay, we'll be there soon, have Kaii and Kiia send up a firework or something. Yeah, it'll be purple. Love you, bye!" Dhaiiski took off her odd phone and folded it up, then grinned. "It's not too far, but she said Jacob should fly, just in case." She looked at him. "Ready?"

"Oh yeah." Jacob tilted his head back and took a deep breath. "I think I'm getting tan and lazy already."

"Keep it up and you'll have braids in your hair before you know it," Cassida said.

Aidis blinked at her. ". . . .Hey."

"Am I wrong?" she asked.

"No, but. . . ." Aidis struggled verbally for a moment. "He doesn't get to steal my hair."

Jacob started to say something, then Dhaiiski glomped onto his arm. "He's not allowed to have long hair," she said. "It's one of my rules."

"Wasn't no one else seeing you naked one of your rules?" Aidis asked, then braced himself. Someone was going to get him for that. Eh, it was worth it.

"No, that was mine," Jacob said, then pushed up his sunglasses. "Okay, hold on, this shouldn't take long."

Jacob flared purple, and his magik sort of billowed out of him and surrounded them, until they and all their bags were in a giant sort-of clear bubble. Aidis leaned back against one of the walls. It was kind of squishy, but it held.

"Nice, dude," Aidis said. "You make this up?"

"Got it from Eildarian," Jacob said, his eyes flaring bright purple. He sat down in the middle of the bubble, and it rose off the ground. "We figured I should have a way to carry a lot that was better than just grabbing everything."

"Eildarian? Yeah, this is definitely elven," Cassida said, peering at the magik. Aidis had to wonder just what she could see that he couldn't.

Dhaiiski, leaning against Jacob and peering down at the ground below them, asked, "How can you tell?"

"It's just how it is," Cassida said. "I haven't studied kinetic stuff very much, I don't really know how to explain it. But it's kind of like that time I had to get in touch with just about everyone, at the end of last year. It's got a lot of points, and the magik connects all of them." She paused. "Did he teach you like that?"

Jacob chuckled. His hair was already down to his ears. "No, it was more like, 'Make a bubble.' It's kind of a stress, though."

"We should be almost there," Dhaiiski said. She leaned forward, just about pressing herself against the bubble. "Caiili said she'd have the twins send up a firework. There it is!"

There was a burst of color and light in the sky, off to the left. Jacob turned the bubble, throwing them all against the rubbery walls. There was a lot of yelling.

"Sorry," Jacob said, sounding kind of embarrassed. "It doesn't steer very well."

". . . No shit," Aidis muttered, looking up at the soles of his shoes. "That explains the lack of an in-flight meal. . . ."

Aidis got himself turned around, deliberately coming out of the tangle leaning against Cass. She didn't seem to mind. The bubble floated downward, heading for some homes a few blocks away from the beach . . . no, a few streets away from the beach . . . no, on the beach. With the beach as their backyard. Another firework shot into the sky, and Aidis tried to keep his eyes from bugging out. Okay, how rich were these people?

Then again, nekati who made it a habit of having family stay over pretty much had to be rich. Either that, or hunt their food. Aidis made another mental note, this time to get really used to the taste of seafood.

The house, when they finally landed, was two stories but sprawled out over an area about as big as the place in between all the dorms back on campus. It looked like an old-style beach house, mostly wood with plants growing all over it, but the satellite dish in the backyard made Aidis sure it was at least a little modern inside. There were kid-type toys scattered all over the front yard, and a moment later, two striped blurs sped out of the open garage.

"Kiia! Kaai!" Dhaiiski yelled, hugging the two nekati kids as they came to a sudden stop. Both of them were tiger-striped, though one was white and the other orange.

"Oh, good, we can tell them apart," Cass said quietly, coming up behind Aidis.

"Yeah, you never know with twins," Aidis said. "Makes me glad I'm not one. Can you imagine two of me?"

Aidis was spared whatever Cassida was about to say by one of the twins colliding with him at about fifty miles an hour. He kept his feet, barely, and managed to pry the white-striped squirming rugrat off of him and hold her at arms' length. "Have we met?"

"Hey, be nice!" Dhaiiski called, laughing. She walked over and took the kid out of Aidis's hands. "Aidis, Cassida, this is Kiia, my little cousin. I think you've already met Kaai, Cass."

Cassida looked down at the orange-striped kid clinging to her leg. "Charmed."

"We were waiting all day!" Kiia said, sounding like she'd already had too much caffeine.

"Yeah, what took you so long?" Kaai asked. Both the twins started laughing a second later.

Aidis tried really, really hard not to groan. This was going to be . . . interesting.

"We had to fly partway," Jacob said, grabbing both kids with beams of his magik. The two of them started shrieking, holding their arms out as he flew them through the air.

Aidis blinked, and leaned toward Dhaiiski. "He likes kids?" he asked quietly.

"Jacob loves kids," Dhaiiski said, giggling a little. "He told me once he kinda wishes he had a brother or sister, 'cause he was alone growing up and all that, and it would have been easier if he'd had someone else there." Her whiskers drooped a little, then she brightened. "We'll see what happens."

Aidis thought back to what Jacob said over spring break, when they were both coming down off the spell and the ale from the fire gatherings. Then he wondered if Jacob had actually told Dhaiiski about that, and decided on the better part of valor. For now.

A moment later, just as Kiia was flying by the house's front door, that door opened and a nekati woman in a swimsuit top and cargo shorts came out. She smiled, then yowled something, and Dhaiiski trilled something back. The woman headed over, and she and Dhaiiski hugged.

"Aunt Caiili!" Dhaiiski said.

"Good to see you, Dhaiiski," Caiili said. "I'm glad you finally got here. No thanks to you!" she called to the kids, who were too busy laughing.

"C'mon, Jacob, bring 'em in," Dhaiiski said. "Aunt Caiili, this is my boyfriend Jacob, and these are Aidis and Cassida."

"Heya," Aidis said. Never been much for introductions anyway.

Caiili smiled wide at both of them, reminding Aidis that nekati did in fact have scarily sharp teeth. "Ah, yes. Welcome! Come in, come in, all of you . . . you're probably hungry. Which one got all of you here, anyway?"

"Aidis took a travel magik class last year," Dhaiiski said, falling into step with her aunt as the rest of them followed toward the house. "He's really good at it."

"His landings are usually better," Cassida said, smirking.

"Hey, my landing was fine!" Aidis said, doing his best to look put out. "Not my fault we landed on a mountain."

"Volcano, really," Caiili said, looking back over her shoulder. "Did you know? Every once in a while, they still smoke."

Aidis blinked. This trip was off to an interesting start. . . .

"Man, our first night here and we're already setting things on fire. How cool is that?"

Jacob laughed. Leave it to Aidis to put things into that kind of perspective.

Then again, considering how his life had changed over the past year, Jacob had to admit that his own views were probably pretty skewed compared to most people. Heading off to college in a comparatively huge city, dealing with a lot of magik all at once, finding out he was a natural-born, and meeting a girl and ending up dating outside his species had definitely made him rethink his views.

But at least that had all been spread out over a year. Once, Jacob had pondered what it would have been like to learn all of that all at once, and his head started hurting.

"Last of the wood!"

Jacob looked over his shoulder. Dhaiiski and Cassida were walking toward the bonfire pit. Dhaiiski had a load of wood in her arms, while Cassida had a spinning six-pointed star glowing white on her forehead, with a load of wood floating behind her.

"What, don't want to get dirty 'cause of wood?" Aidis asked, and Jacob started counting down in his head. Sure enough, three seconds later, one of the logs Cassida was carrying flung itself at Aidis, who dodged.

"That was too easy even for you," Cassida said, though she was smiling.

"Oh, c'mon," Dhaiiski said. "Two women with wood and you think he wouldn't make a joke?"

Aidis made a face instead. "Let's not go there," he said.

"No problem," Cassida said. "You said something about a spell in the bonfire?"

"Oh, yeah," Aidis said. He started pulling pieces from Cassida's stack of wood and tossing them into the sand pit. "That was something from over spring break."

"That was pretty cool," Jacob said. "The elves there put some kind of woven spell into the fire - I got a good look at it, but I was kind of drunk at the time." Dhaiiski gave him a look. "I know, I know. But . . . there was something about the gathering, and the spell they used. It made everyone who was near the fire family, or at least really good friends."

"A brotherhood spell," Cassida said. "I've heard of that, it's an old trick." She started to smile. "The elves originally made it to make negotiations with humans and dwarves easier." She paused. "Hmm, that's an idea. . . ."

"Uh-oh," Dhaiiski asked, her ears perking up. "Should we stand back when you start plotting? And what'd the elves do with nekati?"

"Meat," Cassida said, still smiling. "Lots of it."

"Speaking of meat," Aidis said, nodding back the way Cassida and Dhaiiski had come. "We're gonna need a bigger fire."

Jacob looked over his shoulder, and tried to keep his mouth from falling open. He wasn't seeing things. Caiili was indeed walking toward them, tugging one corner of some kind of giant tarp, which slid over the beach so easily it had to be enchanted. On the tarp were four dead pigs.

"Do you guys put apples in their mouths?" Aidis asked Dhaiiski. "Or is that almost a waste of food?"

Dhaiiski snarled at him, but before she could say anything, Caiili reached them. She looked a little worn out.

"Long way from the house with these," she said, shaking out her short brown mane. "You think these are going to be enough?"

"Well, yeah, but what if you have guests?" Aidis cracked.

"Who else is coming?" Dhaiiski asked, ignoring him.

Caiili started counting off people's names on her fingers. Jacob lost count during her third time through. Dhaiiski had a very, very large family - he'd gone to their house for Thanksgiving last year, and the sheer numbers and amount of food had been overwhelming, to say the very least. Nekati appetites were legendary, as was their metabolism, so adding that to such a big family meant this was going to be one hell of a feast.

". . . twins should be back soon, I sent them for pineapples," Caiili finished.

"Do those go in the pigs' mouths?" Aidis asked. Caiili just gave him a look, and Jacob tried not to laugh. "Okay, so I don't know nekati cooking," Aidis said, sounding almost sheepish. Almost.

"Give it a day or two," Caiili said, grinning at him. "Oh, and take two steps to the right."

Aidis almost jumped to the right, and Jacob frowned at him. "What, just like that?" he asked.

Before Aidis said anything, a pineapple came soaring through the air and landed in the sand right where he'd been standing. Another followed a moment later. Aidis gave Jacob a wide-eyed look, then turned the look on Caiili.

"Thanks," Aidis said.

"Your head's hard enough for that," Cassida said, teasing a little. "I think I recognize the retrieval spell, though."

Caiili nodded. "Makes sure whatever they find actually comes back to me, and doesn't get eaten before they get home. You've used it, Cassida?"

The grey-skinned elf shook her head, her white bangs waving back and forth over her eyes. "My parents used it on me," she said. "I got into a lot of trouble when I was a kid."

"Ooh, stories," Dhaiiski said. "Save those for the fire."

"Yeah, it'll be going for a while," Jacob said. "We'll definitely have time for those."

"But all of yours are from Modesto," Aidis cracked. "Maybe when we need to get to sleep?"

Jacob gave him a flat look. "Cassida?"


"Hurt him, please?"

Aidis took off running, Cassida after him a moment later. Jacob watched them for a moment, then shook his head and chuckled.

"That should keep them busy," Caiili said. "Get the fire started, would you two? We'll have to put the pigs on soon." She started heading back toward the house.

Dhaiiski turned to Jacob, frowning a little. "Are you glad we invited them?" she asked.

"Yeah," Jacob said, shrugging. "Why, are you?"

"Oh, it's good to have them here," Dhaiiski said. They started piling up the wood in the firepit, and she continued a moment later. "I'm just worried we won't get much time to ourselves, y'know."

Jacob half-grinned at that. This had originally been their vacation, though when Aidis had been so eager to come along, he and Dhaiiski had decided to bring the two of them along, just because. But he could see where she was coming from. Sure, he could fly down to see her anytime he wanted, and she had cousins who were good enough with travel magik to send her up to Modesto - that was how she'd gotten there in the first place. But there was something to be said for having some alone time on their vacation.

Especially in a place like this.

"We've got a week," Jacob said. "We don't have to be with them all the time. You wanted to go snorkeling on that really small island, right?" Dhaiiski nodded eagerly. "There's a lot to do here, I'm sure we're not going to be together all the time."

There was a loud yell that almost sounded painful, and Jacob quickly looked around. Just in time to see Aidis go flying into the ocean, helped by the lingering traces of one of Cassida's telekinesis spells.

"Especially if they keep that up," Dhaiiski said, giggling.

"Something like that," Jacob said, trying to look serious. It lasted for about a second, then they both started laughing.

It took a while, but they finally got all the wood into the firepit and ready for the pigs. Sure, Jacob had to expand the pit from the bottom down to get all the wood in, and making spits strong enough for the pigs took a little time and more than a little creative use of his inherent magik, but they eventually got everything together well enough to meet Caiili's approval. By the time that was done, the twins had joined Aidis and Cassida down at the beach, and everyone had gotten thrown in many times.

"Slacking already?" Jacob asked, grinning at the drenched Aidis as they all walked up to the bonfire pit.

"What, like you wouldn't wonder what was wrong if I was actually working?" Aidis asked. "Nice pit, dude."

"Don't fall in," Cassida said, fending off Kiia as she tried to climb her. "We get to start that soon?"

"I didn't know you liked barbequed stuff, Cassida," Dhaiiski said.

"Everything tastes better cooked with fire," Cassida and Aidis said at the same time, then Cassida continued while Aidis looked proud. "I didn't really like it until I spent the weekend at his dad's place."

"The man knows his barbeque," Aidis said.

Dhaiiski took a step back from Aidis. "You're scaring me," she said. "Jacob, you light it."

Jacob laughed, then turned and held one hand toward the pit. He focused on his internal magik, then whispered a spell Elisa had taught him a while back. Fire was, in fact, the element he was naturally best with, he just rarely had reason to use it. But that meant it shouldn't be a problem. . . .

A purple spark leaped from his palm and streaked toward the wood. Two seconds later, the entire pile went up, and the four of them had to run back from the sudden heat. Jacob looked at the flickering mass of purple flames, and blinked. That might have been a little much.

"Dude," Aidis said, putting on his sunglasses - he'd probably just summoned them, Jacob figured. "Festive. I like it."