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Dear carpetofstars challenged me to write a little ditty about two characters from two entirely different beloved children's books getting together. Because I really didn't have anything better to do while running off thousands of copies today, I scribbled this on the back of misaligned Social Studies tests.

Good heavens, do I need a life.

Title: The Tenth Good Thing About Anastasia
Author: Rrie Selavy (that's me!)
Rating: PG
Pairing: Anastasia Krupnik (the Anastasia series by Lois Lowry)/ Minna Pratt (The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt, by Patricia MacLachlan)
Synopsis: College girls fall in love and there are pretty words. That's about it.

1. There is a quote taped above Minna's desk: There is no remedy for love but to love more.

2. Anastasia never made jokes about Minna finding her vibrato. This alone won a place in her heart.

3. It was like this: Minna had read a personal ad at open mic night, on a dare. Anastacia had finally attended open mic night, on a dare. They met over chai and gulab jamun, which neither of them could figure out how to eat, at first. Minna twists her napkin into peaks; Anastasia rips hers into stars. They kissed for luck in an almost abandoned used bookstore, amongst stacks of pulpy paperbacks filled with heaving bosoms and heteronormative standards. When Minna opened her bag that evening, she found a well-loved copy of The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet tucked within, receipt carefully placed in the front cover.

4. When they couldn't hold hands, they linked pinkies. When they couldn't link pinkies, Anastasia would shove her hands in her pockets and whistle their song. Monday you can fall apart, Tuesday Wednesday break my heart, Thursday doesn't even start...

5. The Pratts were confused. Mr. Pratt had no objections, but he was certain that Minna's childhood held none of the traumas generally associated with a homosexual lifestyle. His wife sighed a little, and resigned herself to an herb garden instead of grandchildren. Surprisingly, their most heartfelt well wishing came from Sam and McGrew; they wanted to be brothers someday.

The Krupniks baked her a roast (middling good) and a cake (terrific), and toasted their union with mead and Sappho's poetry. It was good to be home.

6. Anastasia was quick to hold the door, pour the drinks, and defend Minna's honor. "My parents raised me to be a gentleman," she'd joke, shoving her hands into her pockets or running them through her squash-colored hair that she'd "accidentally" cut too short a month before they met.

7. "Why do girls in books always hate your name," mused Minna one evening, shivering slightly under their handmade quilt. The loft was cold, except for the warm part; that was where they kept the frogs. Emily, Hilda, Sylvia, and Anne. Sometimes, when Anastasia was in a whimsical mood, she'd wet her arm to the shoulder and let one sit there, just meditating on froggish things. Hilda was the most inclined to join her on the yoga mat. She'd curl up, barely blinking, looking like a jade cabochon on her pale forearm.

"Sometimes I still pretend I'm a czarina, fallen on hard times and forced to make my way in this world as a teaching assistant," Anastasia rolled over, curling her knees close for comfort. "Living in a garret, playing the flute on a highwheel in Harvard Square for money," with a nod towards a frame piece of wallpaper from her childhood bedroom. Every wall was a different color, but all the furniture was white. Minna had clippings from her mother's herb garden drying over the sink

"I used to pretend I was a concert cellist, first chair. I even imagined the review in the Times, to follow." Minna stretched the kinks from her shoulders. It was going to be another long season with the Boston Philharmonic, she could tell by the way the wind was blowing. The cello sat in its own corner, looking vaguely put out by the new love in Minna's life. "Look at her," it seemed to say, "she is scrawny and unlovely, and the noises she makes when you touch her cannot hold a candle to mine."

"Can you pretend we find a better apartment? You're better at this than me." Anastasia laughed, and turned out the light.

8. Anastasia has 14 freckles across her nose, and 7 others in places she'd prefer people didn't know about. She knows this, because Minna counted them, and told her they form the Pleiads constellation if you squint a bit. She considers this a sign and portent.

9. Over the desk of Anastasia Krupnik flutter these things: 5 prayer flags, a picture of a kitten wearing a frog hat, a knitting pattern for a nautilus, and a quote.

here's to opening and upward, to leaf and to sap

10. Truly, next time they would pick less nocturnal pets, but how many could say that a chorus of poets sang them to sleep?


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