world seven wonders

Aries —
oh, my sweet, sweet child, what has the world done to you? you were a bright promise,
the tomorrow we had hoped for, holding flowers in your mouth without crushing them
and trusting blindly in those around you. and then came the blood; and now your fire
is a quiet thing, a crackling murmur hidden in the shadows. you’ve curled into yourself
like a newborn babe, held your heart tightly to your chest and began the tedious healing.
and all the salt in your tears made the deep wounds sting; was it this what kept you pure?
I wonder, oh, I wonder. before you, I had never seen an anathema so full of innocence.
(the world tried to cast you down from paradise; and it succeeded. but the fall couldn’t
maim you, for fire cannot kill fire – it simply shrunk you, much like a mimosa bloom.
I hope one day you’ll feel safe enough to flower, for there is so much beauty in you.)


Taurus —
I wish I could wrap my hands around your shoulders and hold you close for a while,
because oh, what sad things they are, your bones. I am so sorry, beloved; so very sorry.
and I am well aware these apologies cannot change anything, but I want you to know
that there is someone who sees you as you are – even when all the others see is your
superfluous frivolity and your desire for riches, I see the thoughtful mind, the gentle
gestures, each and every of your heartbeats. the song of you is imprinted into my memory
as the change in seasons is; you are unforgettable, something so precious and so very dear.
(don’t let them shame you for your greed – those who try to do so cannot wrap their
all too little minds around the fact that sin is not necessarily negative. your love for gold
has root in the same place as your love for others; you only want it so you may share it.)


Gemini —
it’s lonely, isn’t it? not being the way all others are. they tell you you’re a forgery, that your
smile is a mask and your composure an act, simply because they cannot accept the idea
that people are supposed to be multidimensional. on and on they go, pinning their ignorance
to you under the name of blame, seeing in you only that which they wish to see. sometimes,
you wish you were like them. I know you do. you shouldn’t. it might be lonely where you are,
but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing; lonely doesn’t mean secluded. there are others like you,
with minds like diamonds. others like you, who are only habitual in their tendency for change.
(you will find someone who can make sense out of you, one day, you know. they’ll know you
better than you yourself do – every single aspect of you, every single frantic facet and feeling.
and when you do, the wait will be more than worth it. I promise you won’t die nor live alone.)


Cancer —
you poor, poor, poor thing. it’s been a thousand years since you’ve curled into yourself, hid
your heart deep in the cradle of your ribs and let yourself sleep; then the time came for you
to awaken, and you found the world unchanged – it was as if everything had stood still.
reality swept into you like saltwater into gaping wounds, and every fiber of your soul wept.
fearful, you took the broken glass road still, walked it fully aware of what laid in waiting;
like a bride the night she is wed to a stranger, you swallowed your terror and saw it through.
often, those ignorant make you out to be such a bumbling coward. you’re not. you just aren’t.
(in fact, you’re on of the bravest people I know; it takes so much courage to let the world
see you weep – and it takes even more of it to wipe your tears and keep moving forward.
above all, it takes immense courage to allow yourself to love even when you know it’ll hurt.)


Leo —
the size of your heart puts to shame both Jupiter and your own pride and ego; to this day,
I am not sure if you would have been better off with one much smaller, but I know for sure
the world would have been emptier by far. you see, your touch is one of gold; whomever
you decide to invest your time and love into grows the size of Atlas, and so, without you
as you are now there would have been much less in the world. that is your downfall, isn’t it?
always has been. the way you’ve always put others first, giving them all of you, never asking
for anything to be given to you in return. you are a gardener, dearest, and people are your roses.
(it breaks my heart that all your selfless effort was almost always repaid in hurt and sorrow;
know that you are not to be blamed for any of it. you have done nothing wrong – sometimes,
things simply fall apart. don’t shut your heart. I’d hate to see your love rot and turn to hatred.)


Virgo —
you have endured well the contempt of others, my dear; you have taken every blow with open arms.
they have called you frigid and prude and arrogant and everything in between, but you knew better.
tell me then: if you can endure so well the slander of others, if you don’t care what they make of you,
why do you worry so? why do you see only blemishes when you look at yourself in the mirror?
your hesitance to trust others stems in your fear that if you let them in they’ll see your ugliness, all
the imagined imperfections you see in your reflection. you can’t trust others because you don’t trust
yourself; and I wish so badly that you would have a little more faith in who you are, in your beauty.
(being unable to forgive, jealousy and lust do not make you terrible. hate is human nature as much
as love is; emotions, be they bad or good, are intrinsic to mankind. you are such a passionate being,
despite your outward delicacy, and that, my dear, is simply stunning. please try to love yourself.)


Libra —
darling child, didn’t the gods tell you the mob sees dancers as something of the devil, especially
when their preferred stage is the sharp edge of a sword? few in this world love truth, and fewer still
are fond of things like righteousness and justice. your ability to remain indiscriminate in the face
of contradictory realities and deny none of them is both a blessing and a curse. your mind, I fear,
is the Pandora fate has crafted specifically for you; a beautiful gift that hides such doom and sorrow.
and you are aware of all of this – how you were meant for greater things, with your noble mind
and your true heart, yet on you dance, fighting against the windmills of adversity. how brave you are.
(know that your effort will not go without reward. know that you won’t be forever unloved, nor
will you be forever misunderstood. there will be those whom, like you, have the makings of just men,
and they will understand. keep your eyes open and search the crowd; that is what you do best.)


Scorpio —
I look at you and my heart grows small; there is so much sadness in you, from the flower
of your eyes to the slouching arch of your shoulders. you have been misjudged
and falsely accused for so long: whore, they said; monster, perverter, sickness of the soul –
and all of it because you like sex, as if somehow they are the virgin mary reborn,
the goddamn hypocrites. this, too, is something they have misunderstood; it is not sex
that you crave or are interested in. it is intimacy: it is the vulnerability that comes with having
your soul completely bared and lain before another; you crave love, in its’ purest of forms.
(and I know they have convinced you that someone of your kind is not “worthy”; fuck that.
your love is priceless, and one day someone will call your battle scars a masterpiece.
one day someone will love you as wholly as you deserve to be loved. they will love all of you.)


Sagittarius —
there is such wanderlust in you – you’ve made a home out of the long, long roads,
walked the earth to its’ ends and bathed in the oceans of the horizon; the sky was
your sole companion, its’ stars your map, the wind a spellsong to ward off the passing
sadness and melancholia that threatened to dim the flame of your heart. oh, my child;
how very wonderful you are, a barefoot nomad forever in awe of the world. the feeble
minded call you rootless; how wrong they are. having a voyager heart does not make you
afraid of commitment. it simply means your roots lie elsewhere, splat across the world.
(do not let their malice plant doubts into your mind’s garden; your gypsy heart is worth more
than all their empty ones combined. keep daring the world, sate your thirst for journeying;
only exploration can ever lead to discovery, so let your feet and head both walk the world.)


Capricorn —
good god, you’re so tired. life has worn you down to the marrow of your bones,
took everything from you until you were bare-handed; and yet.
and yet you’re still here, standing before me, your spine hardened to titanium,
a delicate thing that can withstand even the most apocalyptic of sieges;
you still find it in you to smile, bitter-bloody-all-teeth and still happy, somehow.
know that I am proud of you; of your bravery, of your resilience,
of how you’ve clung to life by the skin of your teeth. I am proud of you.
(and know that you deserve happiness – you may feel like you don’t, you may feel
that it is above the likes of you, but you deserve it; you have earned it.
know that one of these days, the sun will shine down on your lane, too.)


Aquarius —
there’s so much of you inside your skin I am often surprised it has yet to come apart at the seams;
there’s so much of everything inside your skull I am left in awe of your bones – often I wonder,
how are they strong enough to contain the exploding universe inside? my god, this world of ours
has seven wonders and you are all of them. the fortitude of your bright mind ceaselessly
surprises me; I know what to expect, and yet I am still thrown off by your ingenuity and your
ability to remain rational in your abstract ways. nobody but you is open enough to accept it all;
nobody but you can see through the prism of all eyes and walk away with their sanity intact.
(I know they call you “cold”, an ice queen of the Siberian tundra. let them be. those who cannot
see your white-hot warmth are not worthy of your brilliance. you are the brightest star, my dear,
someone accepting and embracing of it all. do not settle for anyone that is blind to your light.)


Pisces —
and how terrible it must be for you, who lives always halfway, to be stuck in a world
that demands certainties which you will never have to give. it is not to say you don’t want
to be resolute – you simply cannot. your world does not have truth, nor does it have falsity;
all that your world has are colors, swirling, forever mingling anew like the clouds in the sky.
one day you are overflowing with everything that blooms inside of you, and lilies
are spilling out of your ribs; the next, you’re empty, and you can’t for the life of you
find something that is all-encompassing enough to fill the growing abyss south of your sternum.
(know that it is okay. the most humane thing you can be is full of contradictions;
as maddening as it can be, each paradox gets you closer to the entity your peers call god.
it was never the devil that built his home on the crossroads, you know. embrace your nature.)

—  poetry for the signs: the “you’ve done well” edition, L. Schreiber
The Signs as the Seven Wonders of the World

Colossus of Rhodes: Leo, Scorpio

Great Pyramid of Giza: Pisces, Virgo

Hanging Gardens of Babylon: Taurus, Cancer

Lighthouse of Alexandria: Gemini, Aries

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus: Aquarius, Libra

Statue of Zeus at Olympia: Capricorn

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus: Sagittarius

The enigmatic Kailasa Temple at the Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, India has fascinated researchers and tourists for centuries. It’s breathtaking construction points out that thousands of years ago, ancient cultures were far more advanced than what mainstream scholars are crediting them for. Everyone is trying to understand how the temple was built, ’cut from one piece of solid rock’, without the use of ‘modern’ technology.

Keep reading

Aries — 

 Oh, my sweet, sweet child, what has the world done to you? You were a bright promise, the tomorrow we had hoped for, holding flowers in your mouth without crushing them and trusting blindly in those around you. And then came the blood; and now your fire is a quiet thing, a crackling murmur hidden in the shadows. You’ve curled into yourself like a newborn babe, held your heart tightly to your chest and began the tedious healing. And all the salt in your tears made the deep wounds sting; was it this what kept you pure? I wonder, oh, I wonder. Before you, I had never seen an anathema so full of innocence. (The world tried to cast you down from paradise; and it succeeded. But the fall couldn’t maim you, for fire cannot kill fire – it simply shrunk you, much like a mimosa bloom. I hope one day you’ll feel safe enough to flower, for there is so much beauty in you.)

Taurus — 

 I wish I could wrap my hands around your shoulders and hold you close for a while, because oh, what sad things they are, your bones. I am so sorry, beloved; so very sorry. And I am well aware these apologies cannot change anything, but I want you to know that there is someone who sees you as you are – even when all the others see is your superfluous frivolity and your desire for riches, I see the thoughtful mind, the gentle gestures, each and every of your heartbeats. The song of you is imprinted into my memory
as the change in seasons is; you are unforgettable, something so precious and so very dear. (Don’t let them shame you for your greed – those who try to do so cannot wrap their all too little minds around the fact that sin is not necessarily negative. Your love for gold has root in the same place as your love for others; you only want it so you may share it.)

Gemini — 

 It’s lonely, isn’t it? not being the way all others are. They tell you you’re a forgery, that your smile is a mask and your composure an act, simply because they cannot accept the idea that people are supposed to be multidimensional. On and on they go, pinning their ignorance to you under the name of blame, seeing in you only that which they wish to see. Sometimes, you wish you were like them. I know you do. You shouldn’t. It might be lonely where you are, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing; lonely doesn’t mean secluded. There are others like you, with minds like diamonds. Others like you, who are only habitual in their tendency for change. (You will find someone who can make sense out of you, one day, you know. They’ll know you better than you yourself do – every single aspect of you, every single frantic facet and feeling. And when you do, the wait will be more than worth it. I promise you won’t die nor live alone.)

Cancer — 

 You poor, poor, poor thing. It’s been a thousand years since you’ve curled into yourself, hid your heart deep in the cradle of your ribs and let yourself sleep; then the time came for you to awaken, and you found the world unchanged – it was as if everything had stood still. Reality swept into you like saltwater into gaping wounds, and every fiber of your soul wept. fearful, you took the broken glass road still, walked it fully aware of what laid in waiting; like a bride the night she is wed to a stranger, you swallowed your terror and saw it through. Often, those ignorant make you out to be such a bumbling coward. You’re not. You just aren’t. (In fact, you’re one of the bravest people I know; it takes so much courage to let the world see you weep – and it takes even more of it to wipe your tears and keep moving forward. Above all, it takes immense courage to allow yourself to love even when you know it’ll hurt.)

Leo — 

 The size of your heart puts to shame both Jupiter and your own pride and ego; to this day, I am not sure if you would have been better off with one much smaller, but I know for sure the world would have been emptier by far. You see, your touch is one of gold; whomever you decide to invest your time and love into grows the size of Atlas, and so, without you as you are now there would have been much less in the world. That is your downfall, isn’t it? Always has been. The way you’ve always put others first, giving them all of you, never asking for anything to be given to you in return. You are a gardener, dearest, and people are your roses. (It breaks my heart that all your selfless effort was almost always repaid in hurt and sorrow; know that you are not to be blamed for any of it. You have done nothing wrong – sometimes, things simply fall apart. Don’t shut your heart. I’d hate to see your love rot and turn to hatred.)

Virgo — 

 You have endured well the contempt of others, my dear; you have taken every blow with open arms. They have called you frigid and prude and arrogant and everything in between, but you knew better. Tell me then: if you can endure so well the slander of others, if you don’t care what they make of you, why do you worry so? Why do you see only blemishes when you look at yourself in the mirror? Your hesitance to trust others stems in your fear that if you let them in they’ll see your ugliness, all the imagined imperfections you see in your reflection. You can’t trust others because you don’t trust yourself; and I wish so badly that you would have a little more faith in who you are, in your beauty. (Being unable to forgive, jealousy and lust do not make you terrible. Hate is human nature as much as love is; emotions, be they bad or good, are intrinsic to mankind. You are such a passionate being, despite your outward delicacy, and that, my dear, is simply stunning. Please try to love yourself.)

Libra — 

 Darling child, didn’t the gods tell you the mob sees dancers as something of the devil, especially when their preferred stage is the sharp edge of a sword? Few in this world love truth, and fewer still are fond of things like righteousness and justice. Your ability to remain indiscriminate in the face of contradictory realities and deny none of them is both a blessing and a curse. Your mind, I fear, is the Pandora fate has crafted specifically for you; a beautiful gift that hides such doom and sorrow. And you are aware of all of this – how you were meant for greater things, with your noble mind and your true heart, yet on you dance, fighting against the windmills of adversity. How brave you are. (Know that your effort will not go without reward. Know that you won’t be forever unloved, nor will you be forever misunderstood. There will be those whom, like you, have the makings of just men, and they will understand. Keep your eyes open and search the crowd; that is what you do best.)

Scorpio — 

 I look at you and my heart grows small; there is so much sadness in you, from the flower of your eyes to the slouching arch of your shoulders. You have been misjudged and falsely accused for so long: Whore, they said; monster, perverter, sickness of the soul – and all of it because you like sex, as if somehow they are the Virgin Mary reborn, the goddamn hypocrites. This, too, is something they have misunderstood; it is not sex that you crave or are interested in. It is intimacy: it is the vulnerability that comes with having your soul completely bared and lain before another; you crave love, in its’ purest of forms. (And I know they have convinced you that someone of your kind is not “worthy”; fuck that. Your love is priceless, and one day someone will call your battle scars a masterpiece. One day someone will love you as wholly as you deserve to be loved. They will love all of you.)

Sagittarius — 

 There is such wanderlust in you – you’ve made a home out of the long, long roads, walked the earth to its’ ends and bathed in the oceans of the horizon; the sky was your sole companion, its’ stars your map, the wind a spellsong to ward off the passing sadness and melancholia that threatened to dim the flame of your heart. Oh, my child; how very wonderful you are, a barefoot nomad forever in awe of the world. The feeble minded call you rootless; how wrong they are. Having a voyager heart does not make you afraid of commitment. It simply means your roots lie elsewhere, splat across the world. (Do not let their malice plant doubts into your mind’s garden; your gypsy heart is worth more than all their empty ones combined. Keep daring the world, sate your thirst for journeying; only exploration can ever lead to discovery, so let your feet and head both walk the world.)

Capricorn — 

 Good god, you’re so tired. Life has worn you down to the marrow of your bones, took everything from you until you were bare-handed; and yet you’re still here, standing before me, your spine hardened to titanium, a delicate thing that can withstand even the most apocalyptic of sieges; you still find it in you to smile, bitter-bloody-all-teeth and still happy, somehow. Know that I am proud of you; of your bravery, of your resilience, of how you’ve clung to life by the skin of your teeth. I am proud of you. (And know that you deserve happiness – you may feel like you don’t, you may feel that it is above the likes of you, but you deserve it; you have earned it. Know that one of these days, the sun will shine down on your lane, too.)

Aquarius — 

 There’s so much of you inside your skin I am often surprised it has yet to come apart at the seams; there’s so much of everything inside your skull I am left in awe of your bones – often I wonder, how are they strong enough to contain the exploding universe inside? My god, this world of ours has seven wonders and you are all of them. The fortitude of your bright mind ceaselessly surprises me; I know what to expect, and yet I am still thrown off by your ingenuity and your ability to remain rational in your abstract ways. Nobody but you is open enough to accept it all; nobody but you can see through the prism of all eyes and walk away with their sanity intact. (I know they call you “cold”, an ice queen of the Siberian tundra. Let them be. Those who cannot see your white-hot warmth are not worthy of your brilliance. You are the brightest star, my dear, someone accepting and embracing of it all. Do not settle for anyone that is blind to your light.)

Pisces — 

 And how terrible it must be for you, who lives always halfway, to be stuck in a world that demands certainties which you will never have to give. It is not to say you don’t want to be resolute – you simply cannot. Your world does not have truth, nor does it have falsity; all that your world has are colors, swirling, forever mingling anew like the clouds in the sky. One day you are overflowing with everything that blooms inside of you, and lilies are spilling out of your ribs; the next, you’re empty, and you can’t for the life of you find something that is all-encompassing enough to fill the growing abyss south of your sternum. (Kknow that it is okay. The most humane thing you can be is full of contradictions;  as maddening as it can be, each paradox gets you closer to the entity your peers call God. It was never the Devil that built his home on the crossroads, you know. Embrace your nature.)

— Poetry for the Signs: The “You’ve Done Well” Edition, by L. Schreiber.

7

The seven wonders of the ancient world by Te Hu
Hanging gardens of Babylon (Iraq)

Great pyramid of Giza (Egypt)
The lighthouse of Alexandria (Egypt)

Colossus of Rhodes (Greece)
Statue of Zeus at Olympia (Greece)

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Turkey)
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Turkey)

10

For tumblr FINALLY raising the gif limit to 3MB, I had to make some gifs of “How To Steal The World/The Seven Wonders Of The World Affair” :) Enjoy!

130 years later, scientists may have 'rediscovered' 8th wonder of world

Scientists may have “re-discovered” the 8th wonder of the world in New Zealand, some 131 years after it was buried by the ferocious eruption of a nearby volcano, a new study suggests.

Officially, there were seven wonders of the world, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Pyramid of Giza, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia and the Lighthouse of Alexandria, among others.

But at various times throughout history, candidates for another “wonder” have popped up, and the famed Pink and White Terraces of New Zealand were sometimes referred to as the 8th wonder of the world.

Read more. 

(Photo: Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery)

Day 3: The Twin Stars

Note: I apologize in advance for how long this thing turned out to be. It’s a couple days late, but it sure ain’t short.

It was, Marco Diaz reflected, an atypical Saturday at the Diaz household.

For starters, nothing had exploded yet. And after spending most of the previous year with Star, Marco had begun to find peace and quiet downright eerie.

With a hint of concern, Marco walked over to Star’s bedroom and opened the door. There, sitting on her bed staring up at the ceiling, was Star, holding her wand in one hand and the dimensional scissors in the other, staring pensively at one, and then the other.

It was perhaps the most thoughtful Marco had ever seen Star, and that was eerie.

“Oh, hey Marco.” Star said as Marco approached, her attention still clearly focused on the two objects in her hands.

“Hey, Star,” Marco said as he walked up to the bed. “I hadn’t seen any fires all day, I was getting nervous.”

Star examined the scissors carefully. “Yeah, yeah, those fires… you know that stuff.”

Marco frowned, and sat down on the bed. “So, uh, what are you doing with the scissors? You thinking of taking a trip somewhere?”

Star shook her head, and sat up on the bed. “Nooooooot exactly. Marco, have you ever heard of something called a ‘parallel’ dimension?”

Marco’s face broke into a wide grin. “Oh, you mean like something from Tim and Monty? Oh yeah, those things are so cool! I bet there are all kinds of weird dimensions, like one where I was the magical princess and you were the safe kid, or one where I was like, some kinda bad boy and you were-“

“Yeah, yeah, I get it Marco.” Star sighed. “A couple of weeks ago… I think I saw some alternate mes. And now I can’t stop thinking about it. What if they still had the book? Maybe I could get Glossaryk back!”

“Woah, hold on Star.” Marco held his hands up. “One Glossaryk in this dimension is bad enough, I don’t even want to think about what would happen if there were more of him.”

Star fell back on the bed and sighed. “Yeah, I guess you’re right, Marco. Still, I wonder if there was just some way….”

Suddenly, Star shot back up and leaped off the bed, knocking Marco to the floor in the process. Sweeping the scissors through the air, she cut a dimensional rift across the room.

“Where’s that go?” Marco asked as he stood up off the ground.

“Here.” Star replied curtly. “But now, if I do this…”

Lifting her wand into the air, she twisted around and shouted “Alternate Dimension Portal Transform!”

Glowing a bright pink, the wand shot a blast of magical energy directly into the portal.

For a second, time seemed to stop. Before Marco’s eyes, the portal warped and twisted, and began pulsating rapidly with magical energy.

Then, it exploded.

Marco was forced to shield himself from the searing flash as the entire room disappeared into brilliant white light. Then, a second later, the floor beneath his feet vanished, and Marco felt himself falling.

“Star? WHAT DID YOU D-“

Only a few seconds later, Marco collided heavily with the ground. Groaning, he rubbed his eyes and looked around. Somehow, he’d managed to fall… a few feet outside his own house?

Looking up, Marco saw Star’s bedroom tower had completely disappeared without a trace. Instead, the Diaz household looked identical to what it had been before Star had moved in.

Shaking his head, Marco stood up and looked around. Aside from that one change, everything seemed… pretty normal. The sky was still blue, the neighborhood looked identical to the one he’d left, and there was even a normal, ordinary neighbor down the street cutting their grass.

Just as he was about to look away, Marco’s head snapped back, and he stared. “Is that Star’s Da-“

Before he could complete the thought, he heard a loud bang from the open window above him, followed by rapid shouting.

“Oh hey Marco! That was weird, hu-“

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE?”

“Wha-“

“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, YOU WEIRDO!”

“Marco, I live here!”

“If I told you once I told you a thousand times, YOU HAVE YOUR OWN HOUSE DOWN THE STREET. YOU DO NOT LIVE HERE. AND MY NAME’S NOT MARCO!”

“Sol, what’s going on?” Marco heard his dad calling. “Is there someone up there with you?”

Before he could respond, he heard another voice shout back. “That weird kid from down the block snuck in again!”

Unable to respond, Marco could only continue listening in on the bizzare showdown, his mouth agape.

 “Oh, would she like a drink?” he then heard his mother call, “I just bought some from-“

“Marco, please, just tell me what’s going on, this isn’t like you!”

Marco heard an unsettlingly familiar scream of frustration. “You snuck into my house and you won’t leave! For the last time Star, there are no monsters here, there is no magic, please, just leave me alone!”

A second later, Marco heard the door to his room slam.

Fine! If that’s what you want, I’ll leave, you jerk! You’re making me wonder why we’re even friends!”

The door to Marco’s room slammed back open. “For the last time, WE. ARE. NOT. FRIENDS!”

Even though the words hadn’t come from his own mouth, the words shook Marco to the core. Whatever alternate reality this was, he already didn’t like it.

As the door slammed back shut, the house became eerily quiet. Then, Marco heard a muffled sob, and then, a second later, saw Star running and leaping right out of the second-floor window, landing directly on top of him. Rolling over away from Star, Marco coughed as ne nearly swallowed a mouthful of dirt. But then, to his horror, he saw her racing to stand up and run.

Leaping up as fast as he could, he grabbed Star’s hand before she could dash. “Star, wait!”

Marco was shocked at the face that looked back at him. In the near-year he’d spent with Star, he’d seen her run the gamut of nearly every emotion-many times within a singular thirty-second span. But he’d never seen Star with such a look of rage, embarrassment, or hurt before.

Star pulled away, nearly ripping Marco’s hand off, but he held on. “No, wait, it’s me! Marco! Your friend! From earth!”

Star tried to pull away again. “Marco, what the heck is going on! How could you possibly say we…” her voice broke, “Aren’t friends?”

Marco pulled Star into a tight hug. “Star, that wasn’t me! That was… some other me, I guess. From some weird dimension where… I guess we know each other, but we aren’t friends?”

Star pushed Marco away again, but this time her face was filled with excitement. “Wait, Marco, does that mean I-“

Marco nodded. “I think you pulled us into a parallel dimension.”

Star leaped up into the air, absolutely beaming. “Ohmygoshohmygosh this is SO COOL! I mean, I knew when I shot the portal SOMETHING would happen, but I didn’t think it would really work!”

Then, looking back at Marco, she gave him a punch. “There’s no excuse for your parallel self being a jerk, though.”

Marco rubbed his arm and nodded, looking back up at the house. “Yeah, that guy sounded… not cool. It was weird, though, it almost sounded like he knew you, but you lived here on earth?”

Star’s eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. “Marco, do you think this means we’re in a dimension where I’m from earth?”

“Well, possibly, but-“

“Oh man, we have got to find my parallel self!” Star shouted, grabbing Marco’s arm. “I bet she’s super cool, and has lots of friends, and-“

Marco allowed himself to be dragged along as Star started sprinting down the block, but tried to slow her down as much as he could. “Now wait Star, we should take this slow. What if she’s, like, evil or something?”

Star stopped in her tracks, nearly sending Marco hurtling the ground, and waved her hand. “Oh puh-leeze, Marco, you think any of MY parallel mes could be evil?”

Marco shrugged. “I dunno. I mean, I didn’t sound too cool back there.”

Star raised a finger, but brought it back to her chin. “Yeaaah… you do have a point. I guess that means we’re gonna have to conduct some…” her voice dropped to a whisper, “reconnaissance.”

———-

On the whole, Princess Star Butterfly (Interdimensional Protector, Defender of Good, and Fighter of Evil, as she would always add added) considered, the day could have been a lot worse.

It had started, as most days did, with a mission-her mother, Queen Moon the Terrible, had sent her on a sacred quest to rescue a loaf of bread from a vile merchant. Star had, of course, taken on the mission with her usual gusto, though her mom had forced her to promise she’d actually pay for the bread this time instead of stealing it.

But, on her way to the merchant, she’d been accosted by a pack of local hooligans, no doubt sent by the dark Queen Eclipsa from across town. Fortunately, she’d managed to fight them off, through a combination of her magical power and being too fast for them to catch her when she ran. But in the process, she’d lost the money her mom had given her, and she’d missed the bus. That’s when she knew in order to make it to the market and back on time, she’d have to use an interdimensional portal.

And frankly, the less said about that whole fiasco, the better.

Sighing, Star looked down at her magic wand. Somehow, despite all the beating and abuse it’d taken over the past ten years, when she’d first received it at her Official Sailor-Scout Themed Birthday Extravaganza, it was still holding together-even though, she winced, one of the wings was held on with tape, and many of the scratches and dents had been painted over with off-color paint substitutes.

At least the nail polish added some much-needed sparkle, she thought.

Then, she stopped and looked around. Her well-trained ears had sensed something rustling around in the nearby bushes, and this time she was fairly certain it wasn’t a feral cat.

Raising her wand towards the bushes, she formed her classic defensive stance. “Halt, evildoers!” she shouted, clutching her wand as tightly as she could.

Then, she saw herself emerged from behind a tree.

Her arms dropped to her sides, and she stared at the sudden appearance of her doppelganger. The girl standing before her looked just like her, down to the waist-length blond hair, heart-shaped cheek marks, and oversized magic wand. But whereas Star’s cheek marks were merely peeling stickers, and her wand a hunk of plastic, the girl before her looked… real.

After a moment, Star’s jaw slacked open in sheer disbelief. “Whaaaaaaaaaa-“

“Star, you can’t just leap out of bushes at people!”

Tearing her gaze away from her doppleganger, Star suddenly saw Sol emerge behind the bushes. Her temper flaring, she raised her wand again. “Is this some kind of trick? You’re not going twist my mind, evildoers!”

The boy sighed. “My name’s not-urgh, Star, just tell her!”

Star suddenly noticed that as much as she’d been staring at the girl, the girl had been staring right back. With the boy’s words, however, she snapped to attention.

“Oh right! Well, my newfound friend, let me introduce myself. My name is Princess Star Butterfly, and I come from a-“

“Oh, forget it.” Spinning on her heels, Star turned around and began marching away, her cheeks burning with rage. She knew Sol was a jerk, but to think he’d gotten some random girl to dress up like her was a level beyond.

“No, wait!” the girl shouted. “I really am you! And I can prove it!”

Angrily, Star spun back around and squared off against her opponent. “Oh yeah? What’s my birthday?”

The girl smiled. “Oh, that’s easy. The 12th of Grobnock.”

“It’s November 26th.” Star replied angrily. “Who’s my best friend?”

“Oh, Marco, duh.” The girl replied, gesturing towards Sol.

Seething with rage, Star turned back around and began stomping off. The next time she saw Sol, she was going to-

“Oh, and Flying Princess Pony Head.”

Star stopped in her tracks.

She’d never told anyone about Princess Pony Head. She’d never even written it in her diary. So how could this girl…

Slowly turning around, Star stared down the girl, who still appeared as cheerful and bouncy as ever. “Who… who are you?”

“Like I said, my name is Princess Stat Butterfly,” the girl said as she pulled out her wand, “And I’m you from another dimension!”

With a sweep and flourish, the girl drew a flaming rainbow through the air with her wand.

At that moment, Star would have sworn her heart had stopped completely.

“Your wand…” she stared at the girl. “Your wand, it’s…”

She stared down at the cheap, plastic imitation in her hand.

“Magic…” she whispered.

“Thaaaat’s right!” the girl said cheerfully, flipping her wand up into the air, and nearly failing to catch it on its way back down. “Passed down from Queens of Mewni for generations. Absolute one of a kind. I use it to fight monsters!”

“Real monsters?” Star breathed

The girl nodded. “Oh, only the biggest and baddest!” she said, punching the air. “Of course, Marco and I can usually handle it.”

“So,” the girl said, giving Star another once-over, “What do you do? Fight for truth? Defend justice? Don’t think I didn’t see that kick-butt stance!”

“I, uh, go to school, I guess.” Star said. “And, I fight monsters! But most of the time, it turns out they’re not… usually monsters.”

Though his Star remained typically oblivious as she nodded along to whatever her dimensional double said, Marco could tell the girl they’d met was facing a serious existential crisis. From the moment he saw her, he’d realized she wasn’t a real magical princess-how could she be, with that beat-up plastic toy and faded stickers on her cheeks? But Star, being Star, just had to dive right in, not stopping to consider that she’d just given her alternate self a good, hard look at what she could never be.

Still, Marco considered, at least the conversation was going better than it could have potentially gone. At least the girl hadn’t asked if-

Then, his own Star innocently and cheerfully asked the question he’d desperately hoped neither of them would ask: “Say, could I see your wand?”

Marco smacked his forehead. Of course this was happening.

For her part, the alternate Star appeared utterly incredulous at the question. Hesitantly, the alternate Star lifted up her plastic toy and handed it to her double, who examined it closely.

“Heh, yeah, I think I had one of these when I was a kid.” Star said, picking at a patch of off-color paint. “Not a bad wand though, if you know how to use it.” Then, looking up, she grinned. “You wanna see my wand?”

The alternate Star, her eyes wide as dinner plates, nodded slowly.

“Uh, Star, are you SURE this is a good idea?” Marco interjected.

Star turned around and threw up her arms. “Marco! My dimensional twin and I are having a moment.” Then, spinning back around, she took her own wand and dropped it into the other Star’s hands. “Here you go!”

The second the wand touched the alternate Star’s hands, it erupted in a bright flash of light and magical energy. A second later, the light faded, revealing the same wand, perfectly unchanged.

“Oh yeah,” Star laughed, “It’s supposed to change based on the ‘personality and character of the user’ or whatever, but you’re me, so I guess it wouldn’t change for you.”

It was clear, however, that the other Star wasn’t listening. Instead, she continued to stare at the magical artifact in her hands, utterly transfixed.

“A real wand…” she whispered.

“Hey! Why don’t you go give it a spin, while Marco and I check out your place? I’d love to see what you’ve done with your room,” Star suggested.

“Yeah…. Yeah.”

Marco stared with disbelief. “You’re just gonna leave her alone with your wand? Are you out of your mind?”

“Oh come on Marco, what’s the worst that could happen?” Star said, already beginning to walk away. “Now come on, I want to see how my other half lives!”

Marco looked back at the alternate Star. She still hadn’t moved, and appeared content to simply continue staring at the wand. Wincing, he turned around and headed out after Star.

———-

“So here it is.” Star said, “My home, if I was born on earth.”

Marco shrugged. “I mean, it’s nice I guess.”

Sitting a mere half-block away from the Diaz household, the home was a far cry from the Butterfly Castle on Mewni. A two-story ranch, it appeared not entirely dissimilar to Marco’s own home.

Star shrugged. “Say, how do you know this is my house, anyway?”

Marco pointed to the garage. There, the double of River Johansson, minus crown, cape, and shirt, was struggling with a lawnmower.

“Blasted thing!” River shouted, picking up a hammer. “I’ll teach you to-“

“Daddy!” Star shouted, and ran towards him. River turned, surprised, and reacted just in time to catch his daughter as she leapt into his arms.

“Star!” River laughed as he set Star down, “My Princess! How’s your day been so far? Vanquish any monsters?” He said, winking.

“Nah,” Star replied, “I just travelled to an alternate dimension and met a parallel version of me.”

“River! What did I tell you about indulging her?”

Shocked, Marco turned around. Standing in the driveway was Queen Moon, as he’d never seen her before-dressed in slacks and a light-blue blazer.

River sighed. “Oh, honey, I was just-“

“Dear, you know we shouldn’t be encouraging her! It was cute when she was in grade school, but she’s fourteen now! She needs to be able to separate fantasy from reality.”

After an awkward silence, Moon turned to Star. “Dear, did you pick up the bread from the grocery store like I asked?”

“Uh, no?” Star bit her lip, then brightened as she grabbed her wand. “Oh don’t worry though, I got this.” Reaching into the sky, she shouted “Wonder Ultimate Bread Storm!”

Nothing happened. Looking up at her wand, Star realized she still had the fake toy she’d taken from her alternate self, and chuckled. “Heh, oh yeah.”

Moon shook her head and buried her face in her palm. “Look Star, I really don’t have time for this. I have a very important meeting to attend this afternoon. Please, please, just stay home and don’t cause any trouble. Just this once?”

Star nodded slowly. “Uh, yeah, sure.”

Moon sighed again, and turned to Marco. “Hello, Sol. Is there anything you need?”

Marco coughed. “Uh, nothing, just, you know, hangin’ out with Star.”

Moon’s demeanor immediately improved. “Really? Well, I’m glad to see you two are finally getting along. Maybe you two can watch some of those cartoons you like so much.”

Marco laughed nervously. “Heh, yeah, maybe! You know us, always… watching those cartoons.”

Moon gave Marco a suspicious glance, then brushed it aside. “Well, I better get going. River, can you make sure to have dinner going by the time I get back?”

“Oh, absolutely, my dear!” River said, then turned to the lawnmower. “Just as soon as I can send this foul beast back into the pit from whence it came!”

Moon glared sharply.

“I mean, as soon as I fix the lawnmower, honey.”

Moon smiled, and walked away.

River turned to Marco and Star and sighed. “Well, you heard your mother. You’re free to do anything you like around the house, just please don’t leave and do anything rash. We don’t want another… incident, now do we, sweetie?”

Star nodded her head, smiling awkwardly. “Uh, yeah, totally! Thanks dad!”

Grabbing Marco, she sped into the house as quickly as she could, and slammed the door behind her.

“Well that was weird.” Marco said, rubbing his wrist where Star had grabbed it. “They weren’t like your parents at all.”

“Actually, they seemed exactly like my parents.” Star said, grimacing. “Come on, let’s check this place out.”

Together, the pair began exploring the house. It was, to Star’s disappointment, typically suburban, with tasteful furniture and decoration scattered throughout. There were a few tantalizing parallels to Star’s home dimension, including a honeymoon picture of “King River and Queen Moon” standing next to an English castle, and a portrait of an old show dog labeled “Chauncey”. For the most part, however, the house was clearly as un-magical as could be.

Venturing upstairs, the two had no trouble finding the alternate Star’s bedroom-after all, there were very few people who would have taken the time to bedazzle an entire door. Stepping inside, Marco was struck by how similar it was to Star’s room back in their own dimension-in spirit, at least, if not in size. Stuffed animals, toy weapons, and countless other trinkets covered every surface of the room, save for the walls and ceiling-which were themselves covered in paintings of castles and posters of Sailor Moon.

“She sure has a lot of stuff,” Marco said as he carefully stepped across the room, stretching to reach the few spots of uncovered ground.

“Aw, she has her own Cloudy and Beanbag, too!” Star cooed, knocking everything in her path aside as she made her way across the room to inspect the pair of pink and blue beanbag chairs in the corner, each with faces scribbled on them. “They’re not alive, though.”

Marco walked over to the closet. “I wonder if she has a secrets closet, too.”

A second later, he received his answer when the door burst open, burying Marco in a pile of clothing, discarded and disused items.

“Marco! You don’t just walk into a Princess’s Secrets Closet without permission!” Star lectured. “Now get outta the way, I wanna dig through it.”

Straining with the effort, Marco dug himself out from underneath the pile of debris, and stood up. After glancing at Star’s desperate efforts to sort through the junk, his eye spotted a purple notebook lying underneath a particularly large and battered stuffed Narwhale. Picking it up, he turned it over and opened the cover.

“Chapter one,” he read aloud, “Mom’s a poop-head.”

His eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “Uh, Star?”

“Can it wait?” Star replied. “I think I found an old fish tank.”

“Sure, if you don’t mind me flipping ahead to chapter 11.” Marco said, turning the pages as noisily as he could. “Chapter eleven: My thoughts on-Sol? Oh yeah, I guess that is my name her-“

Before he could read any farther, he was knocked over by a heavy blow from a stuffed unicorn that had been clumsily dyed grey. Dropping the journal, he fell to the floor and stared up as Star burst from the pile before him, more stuffed animals in hand.

“Marco!” she shouted, grabbing the journal before it could hit the floor. “What did I say about reading my journal?”

“Well, technically it’s not your journal.” Marco replied, playfully tossing the stuffed unicorn back at Star.

Not even bothering to dodge, she merely glared at Marco as the soft toy bounced harmlessly off her head. “Nope, still me, still my journal.”

Marco shrugged. “So, anything good?”

Star opened the journal and skimmed through it. “Well, it’s definitely my handwriting,” she reported. “Aw, she even dots the i’s with little hearts! Soooo sweet.”

As she continued to read through it, however, Star’s face began to fall. “It’s… really similar to my journal. Except where it’s not.”

“Very descriptive, Star.”

“No, like here-Chapter 7, Fighting Evil,” she said, “I remember writing this part after I fought a bunch of monsters. And the way I-I mean, she writes about it here, it’s pretty much the same. Buuuuuut….”

“But what?”

“Well, there’s all this stuff at the end, like here-‘And with Billy’s help, I successfully managed to fight off the vicious troglodytes. Unfortunately, Mom-sorry, that’s crossed out, Queen Moon declared that they weren’t actually troglodytes, but the Johnson kids from down the street, and that I wasn’t allowed to play-that’s crossed out too-‘do battle’ with them anymore.”

Marco frowned. “I’m not gonna lie, Star, your alternate self sounds nuttier than my abuelita’s fruitcake.”

Star nodded. “Yeah, it’s weird. I-her-sound like I’m-me-she’s a magical princess, but the evidence seems preeeetty concrete that I’m not.”

Star spat out her tounge. “Bleh, I mean, she’s not. Man, this parallel dimension stuff is getting confusing.”

Marco nodded. “Yeah, a little bit. You want to head back now?”

“Mmm, yeah, that’s probably for the best.” Star snapped her fingers. “Oh shoot, we still have to get my wand back, first.”

“Well,” Marco said as he stood up off the floor, “Let’s go find the other you. Hopefully you haven’t gone too far.”

“Oh, I’m sure I haven’t.” Star said. “And hey, you know, even if I’m crazy and think I’m a magical princess in this dimension, at least I got to give myself a taste of what it’s like to be me.”

She smiled. “Now come on, let’s go find me.”

———-

Star stared at the column of smoke and fire before her that had once been Echo Creek Academy.

“Ooooooh, boy.”

Marco shook his head. “Well Star, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.”

She sighed. “Well, at least it’s not as bad as when I first got my wand.”

Then, she winced involuntarily. “Yet.”

As near as Marco could tell, the school had been just one location on a path of sheer destruction the alternate Star had wrought. More columns of smoke were already rising in the distance, and the sound of dozens of distant sirens filled the air.

Slowly, Marco and Star began making their way through the corridor of devastation. Fortunately, in spite of the property damage, nobody appeared to have gotten hurt-though how long that would last was anyone’s guess.

“Hold on, I think I see her.” Marco said as they passed by the ruins of Sensei’s strip-mall dojo. In the distance, he could see a figure standing atop a wrecked police cruiser, silhouetted by the flames before her.

He frowned. “Well, that’s ominous.”

Star cracked her knuckles. “Too late, I’m going in.”

“Star, wait!”

Before the words had even left Marco’s mouth, Star was already running. Scrambling to chase after her, Marco saw the alternate Star turn around and smile.

“Star! It’s so good to see you!” She jumped down off the car and began skipping towards them, twirling the wand in her hand. “There’s just so much evil in the world that has to be defeated, and I never could have fought it all alone.”

“Yeah, that’s… great.” Star said, slowing to a stop. “You, uh, sure have been busy!”

“Oh, definitely.” The other Star nodded. “I mean, first, I had to go destroy the Dark Lord Skeeves’ fortress. Then, I had to go fight those creeps who always hang out on 7th Street.” She paused, and nibbled on her wand. “I miiiight’ve gone a bit overboard on the Spirit Committee, but I’m sure they’re all fine.”

Star laughed nervously. “Well, I can tell you’ve been doing a lot of hard work, fighting the forces of evil, buuuuuut, I’m gonna need my wand back.”

The other Star looked at Star’s outstretched hand, confused. “Your wand? No, this is my wand.”

Star’s eyes narrowed. “Sister, you better think about your next words very carefully.”

The girl recoiled, clutching the wand to her chest. “But I can’t let you take my wand! I need it, to fight evil! And maybe blast Sol, the next time I see him!”

Stepping back, she leveled the wand directly at Star. “I see it now. I thought you were here to help me defeat the forces of evil, but it turns out you’re one of them!”

“Wait, what-“

Narwhale Blast!”

Star dodged out of the way just in time to avoid the tide of magical Narwhales that blasted out from the other Star’s wand. Marco wasn’t so lucky, and was knocked back into a pile of rubble.

Dashing forward, Star made a lunge for the wand, only for the other Star to twirl away at the last second. Barely dodging another Narwhale Blast, Star was forced to roll away and take cover behind the damaged police cruiser, breathing heavily.

“You can’t beat me, you know!” Star shouted. “I’m a magical princess, and I’m the best me there is!”

The other Star laughed heartily. “But you’re forgetting, one thing, Princess…”

Before Star could react, she felt the police cruiser begin to rise into the air. Scrambling to turn around, she saw the other Star lifting the vehicle with her wand.

The girl smiled in a wild, manic grin. “So am I.”

Flicking the wand, she sent the police cruiser sailing into a nearby storefront. Then, she turned back to Star, the wand raised and already glowing.

Star did the only thing she could do-she quickly picked up a broken piece of pavement and chucked it as hard as she could. Too surprised to react, the other Star merely stood and watched as the chunk of asphalt sailed right into her face, knocking her over and forcing her to let go of the wand.

Star was already on her feet and running. The wand was so close-but before she could reach it, she felt something grab onto her ankle. Crashing to the ground, Star rolled over and saw the other Star latched onto her leg with one hand, with the other already balled up into a fist. Star dodged the first punch, and quickly retaliated with one of her own, hitting the other Star square in the ribs. Exhaling involuntarily, the other Star loosened her grip, allowing Star to kick her leg free. But before she could go back after the wand, the other Star leapt straight off the ground and onto her back, pinning her to the ground.

“Stop fighting, stop fighting!”

Both Stars stopped struggling and looked up. Marco, though battered and bruised, had run up and was holding a taser, pointing it directly at the struggling girls.

“Marco, you’ve got to help me!” the other Star suddenly shouted. “She’s the evil twin, not me!”

Marco lowered the taser and stared, clearly confused. “What? No she’s not. Look, one of your cheek stickers even fell off.”

The other Star rubbed her cheek, clearly surprised to find it bare. “Oh, yeah.”

Then, without warning, she leaped off of Star and charged towards Marco. Sliding between his legs,  she pulled the wand off of the ground and leapt up, reflexively blasting the taser out of Marco’s hand. Then, stepping back, she leveled it directly at the two.

“Well, this has been fun,” the other Star said, “But there’s only one way to vanquish evil once and for all.”

“Stop fighting, stop fighting!”

The three turned around and stared. Running up behind them was Marco’s dimensional double Sol, clearly exhausted and out of breath. Stopping, Sol took a second to lean over and gulp in several lungfuls of air before looking back up.

“Wait, didn’t we already do this?” Star said.

Sol ignored her and focused on the girl holding the magic wand. “Star *gasp* you can’t do this! Destroying buildings *wheeze* hurting people, this isn’t you! That’s not the Star I know!”

Star let down her wand and stared angrily at Sol. “The Star you know? You don’t even know me!”

To Marco’s surprise, Sol looked legitimately apologetic. “You know Star? You’re right. We’ve been fighting each other for so many years, all because I never did get to know you. But I think I do know you well enough to know that this isn’t what Star Butterfly, defender of good, would do.”

He smiled sheepishly. “And you know, after you snuck into my house this morning, and I said what I said… I realized that, you know what? We might not be friends, but maybe we should be.”

The other Star dropped the wand, staring at Sol. “You really mean it?”

Sol nodded. “Yeah, I do, Star. Everyone else might make fun of you, but you’re the coolest girl I know! You’re always fighting stuff, and you never back down, and I saw the way you took down Lars that one time!”

She smiled. “Wow, Marco, that really…” Suddenly, she looked confused. “Wait, I didn’t sneak into your house this morning.”

“Oh, that was me.” Star said, brushing herself off as she stood up off the ground. “Sorry about that.”

Sol stared. “THERE’S TWO OF YOU?”

He nearly fell over when Marco walked over and placed his hand on his shoulder. “There’s two of us too, buddy.”

Sol stared at Marco, awestruck. “You mean… Sol Diaz didn’t come into this world alone?”

Marco shrugged. “Well, I’m actually from a different dimension. You know, parallel universes and all that jazz.”

“Wow.” Sol said. “Another Sol Diaz. Never thought I’d see the day.”

“Actually, my name is Marco.”

“Marco? Wow, that’s dumb.”

Marco frowned.

As Star watched the bizarre display, the other Star leaned over and picked up the wand, turning it over with her hands. Then, she walked over to Star and presented it to her alternate self.

“I… I think this is yours.” The other Star whispered, staring at the ground.

Star took one look at herself, and pulled herself in for a tight hug. The other Star looked dumbfounded for a second, then broke into tears.

“I just… I just wanted to be like you!” she said, sobbing. “You’re everything I ever wanted to be! When you let me have the wand, I just… I just…”

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” Star said, patting her alternate self on the back. “You’re not the first person to go wand-crazy.”

The other Star broke out of the hug, tears still streaming down her face. “But that’s just it! You have a wand! How am I supposed to be anything like you without it?”

Star nodded sadly. “I mean, I’m not gonna say that having a wand doesn’t help. Or living in a castle. Or being a princess. But those aren’t the things that make me, me!”

Star gestured over to Marco, who was apparently in the middle of his own heart-to-heart with Sol. “What matters is having friends, who care about you. I mean, even with all my magic, if it weren’t for Marco my parents probably would’ve shipped me off to Saint O’s.”

The other Star screamed. “They have Saint O’s in your universe, too? Wait, wait-” She began frantically looking around. “Oh no, OH NO!”

Star frowned. “Okay, this is getting a liiiittle weird. How about we-“

“No, you don’t understand! If my mom founds out about this-“ Star gresticulated wildly, indicating the devastation around her-“She’s gonna freak! And she’s gonna send me to Saint Olga’s Psychiatric Reform Hospital for Wayward Youth! And she’s gonna… and she’s gonna…” Tears began welling up in her eyes again.

Star smiled, and took her wand back from the other Star’s limp grasp. It flashed white once again, and crackled with magical energy. “Not if I have anything to say about it, she’s not.”

———-

Moon Butterfly nearly drove the car beside her off the road as she soared across the expressway, aiming for her exit home. The meeting with the Avarius Corporation hadn’t gone as well as she’d hoped-apparently they’d undergone a hostile takeover recently, and were less than inclined to listen to her own buyout offer. They’d been on the verge of a breakthrough, however, when she’d gotten word there’d been some kind of natural disaster in Echo Creek-and before anyone could utter another word, she was already in her car and speeding back home.

At first, it had seemed as though her worst fears had been realized. Thick columns of smoke had been rising into the sky from the distance, and a veritable convoy of emergency vehicles had passed her by. But as she drove through the town, everything appeared normal-there was no fire, no rubble, and, as near as she could tell, no disaster.

Pulling up beside a fire truck surrounded by dismounted firefighters, she rolled down her window and waved. “You there! I heard there was some kind of disaster in the area, what happened?”

The closest firefighter shrugged. “Lady, I don’t know what to tell you. We gots a call that half the town had blown up, but when we got here, nadda.”

“Some kinda prank if you ask me.” One of the other firefighters said. The rest nodded in agreement.

Sighing, Moon rolled her window up and drove away, heading for home. It would be just her luck that the entire thing was a false alarm. But at this point, it was far too late to head back and salvage the meeting-and besides, she had to make sure Star was safe.

Pulling up into the driveway, she got out of her car and headed inside. Surprisingly, she found River standing in the doorway, looking pale.

“River, dear? What’s wrong?”

“Well, hrmm, honey, you’re not going to believe this, but-“

“Hi mom!” River was interrupted by a blonde blur that leapt up and hugged Moon. Overcome with relief, Moon kneeled down and wrapped her daughter in a tight embrace.

“Oh, Star, I’m so glad you’re alright.” Moon said. “I heard there was some sort of incident, and I came home as soon as I could.”

She laughed. “I suppose it was just a false alarm, though.”

“Noooooot exactly.”

Surprised, Moon looked up and nearly fainted. Standing in the hallway was a carbon-copy of her daughter.

After a brief moment, she recovered her ability to speak. “Who-“

“Oh, yeah.” Star coughed, and held out her hand. “I’m Star Butterfly. I’m, uh, not from around here. I’m from another dimension.”

Hardly believing what was happening before her eyes, Moon gingerly reached out and shook the girl’s hand. “It is a… pleasure to meet you, Star.”

“Aaaaanyway,” Star said, “I just wanted to let you know that I came here, and I met your daughter, and there might have been some… stuff. But it’s totally cool!” She threw up her hands. “Everything should be back to normal. Probably.”

Moon’s motherly instincts gradually began to take over from her disbelief. “I see. And was my daughter responsible for any of it?”

Star froze, clearly not having anticipated this response. “Noooooooo?”

Moon rolled her eyes, and stood up. “Well, if everything is, as you said, ‘totally cool’, than I suppose I must thank you, Star.”

“Heh, yeah.” Star said nervously. “Like I said, totally cool!”

The other Star, freed from her mother’s embrace, walked over. “Well Star, I guess this is goodbye.” She said sadly. “I really am glad I got to meet you.”

Star hugged herself. “I’m glad I got to meet you too. And if you ever know anything,” she said as she passed Star a piece of paper, “you know where to call.”

“Now come on Marco, let’s get out of here.”

Marco walked out from the kitchen, munching on a bowl of chips. “Are you sure we can’t stay? Your alternate dad’s making fish!”

“Caught ‘em myself!” River interjected proudly.

Star sighed. “No, Marco, let’s go.” Taking out her dimensional scissors, she tore open a portal in the living room. Then, raising her wand, she again shouted “Alternate Dimension Portal Transform!”

The Butterflys covered their eyes as the living room vanished in a brilliant white flash. Once the light faded, there was no trace of the alternate Star or Marco.

“Goodbye, Star.” Star whispered sadly.

“Well I have to say, dear, you handled that much better than I expected.” River said. “I fainted right on the couch when they told me.”

Moon smiled. “Yes, well, that girl isn’t the only one who’s traveled to other dimensions in that family.”

Star stared at her mother, awestruck. “You mean-“

That, dear, is a story for another time. Now, get ready for dinner. Your father worked very hard on that fish.”

———-

Sol reached up to ring the doorbell. Before his finger could reach the button, the door swung open to reveal a near-hyperventilating Star.

“YOU’RE HERE OHMYGOSH I KNEW YOU WOULD BE BUT YOU’RE HERE!”

Sol grinned. “Well, it was a tough choice between this and throwing rocks at a hornet’s nest with Ferguson, but-“

Before he could finish, Star grabbed Sol and pulled him inside. Dragging him to living room, she practically threw him on the couch and ran to the TV. Already displayed on the screen was the DVD menu for the first season of Sailor Moon.

Smiling, Sol shook his head. “Ah, sorry Star, but I’m going to insist we try something with a little more… punch.” Reaching into his bag, he pulled out a DVD set of Dragonball Z, and grinned again.

“What? Sailor Moon has plenty of punch!” Star objected. “I’ll have you know that…”

Her voice trailed off as she looked at Sol’s hopeful face. Then, sighing, she gave in. “Oh alright, we can watch it just this once.

“Yes!” Sol punched the air and leaped off the couch, running to the DVD player. “Don’t worry Star, you’re gonna love this.”

Star smiled, and sat back on the couch. She knew, and had finally accepted, she wasn’t magic. She didn’t have a magic wand, and she wasn’t a princess. She even, sadly, knew she’d likely never see the other Star again-she’d tried calling the number she’d given her, but only person she’d reached was this weird lady named Darron.

But, for the moment, being able to sit on her couch with a friend, watching their favorite show…

That was enough.

(submitted by aceb133)