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Lauren narrows her eyes at the label in front of her. The problem with so many of her ingredients is that they're old and the labels have faded, but their age is precisely what makes them so strong.

She sighs deeply, regretting it when the fumes make her dizzy. She needs to complete this batch of the headache relief potion for Ally before she can leave.

The door to the back room flies open but Lauren barely glances up to greet Normani.

"You've been back here a while," Normani says, looking concerned. "Usually you're busting out of this room as often as you can. Is everything okay?"

Lauren drops a few lavender petals into the brew, watching the entire thing flush pink from it.

"I'm fine," she lies.

Something weird has been happening to Lauren. Every night this week she's woken up in a terrible fright, her heart racing and her body soaked with sweat. She's tried every spell and potion she can think of to try and get a good night of rest, but nothing has worked. The worst part of it all is that she can't even remember the dreams.

"Ally sent me back to check on you," Normani continues, studying Lauren carefully. Lauren fights back her annoyance at the action; she knows her friend is just concerned.

"I'm fine," she insists again, waving her hand lazily to stir the potion. Several of the ingredients she's been using fly neatly back on the shelves as she digs her knuckles into her temple, letting her eyes slide shut. The bright glow her eyes give off when she uses magic reflects on the back of her eyelids, making it even worse.

"Yeah, you're sure acting like it," Normani scoffs disbelievingly.

"Mani, you're really not helping my headache," Lauren groans, finally turning off the heat. Her potion is done and she can't wait to lie down and sleep, even though she knows it'll be fruitless.

"What's not helping your headache is you sitting back in the Lair with all these fumes. Come sweep the front or something."

Lauren sighs because she knows Normani is right. "I thought we agreed not to call it the Lair," she says instead.

"You said we shouldn't call it the Lair," Normani counters. "Everyone else still calls it that."

"You'd think with all my witchy powers, my friends wouldn't be so mean to me," Lauren complains as she lets the other girl drag her out to the front of the store and shove a broom in her hands.

"Get to work," Normani orders, gesturing dramatically to the floor.

"You don't even work here," Lauren grumbles, but she does as she's told.

"I don't have to work here when my girlfriend owns the place," Normani grins triumphantly.

"Speaking of," Lauren looks around the empty store, "where is your girlfriend?"

"Here!" Ally's voice comes from beneath the counter. She pops up with various colorful soaps in hand, looking for all the world like a child with candy on Halloween. Which is just a few weeks away Lauren notes faintly to herself.

"I'm trying to figure out which ones to display," Ally says, frowning down at the collection in her hands.

"Why don't you ask Dinah?" Lauren suggests, because Dinah has the best eye out of all of them for this sort of thing.

"Great idea!" Ally perks up and Lauren can feel the waves of positivity flowing off the tiny girl.

Ally is actually distantly related to a witch. She can't do magic like Lauren can, but she can broadcast her emotions to other witches and she makes amazing soaps like Lauren can potions. She told Lauren about it the night Lauren had shattered a plate with her magic, exposing herself to Normani and Ally.

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