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After the raid; (Open)
Topic Started: Dec 24 2014, 10:35 PM (1,481 Views)
mutsumi
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[ * ]
After the raid, Mutsumi was finished with Catch she wanted nothing to do with him. Even after she had gotten her memories back, Catch's actions disgusted her to the bone. She was greatful for being saved however but she'd grown tiresome of Catch. The others that were saved, were reunited with their friends. Those like mutsumi, we're changed by the incident. However school seemed to go on like usual. She walked down the hallway towards her next class which turned out to be history. Now the last time she had this class was with Phoenix. She had hoped to see the girl in class today. Mutsumi had not heard from her friend in a while. Kana had heard that she had gotten wrapped up in the raid mess too. She just wanted to catch up with her old friend in class to get better clarification as to what happened with her.

She walked into class that day donning her school uniform. As she walked into the classroom, it seemed like she was the first person to arrive. Taking the seat in the middle of the classroom she waited her teacher, And if the luck favored her, Phoenix. Immediately she got out her pink notebook and a pen, Then began typing on the the desk in the rhythm to a song. As she did this students slowly started filling into the classroom. Mutsumi anxiously watched the doorway to see if anybody she recognized would walk them.
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History class...well, okay. Phoenix didn't hate it, she just didn't love it. The last time she had a history class it was with Cambell, and nothing could ever hold a candle to that. Ever since she had history literally come alive for her, drudging through textbooks and listening to teachers drone on was way too dull.

Phoenix stopped just outside the door. It was so...surreal. After being kidnapped, imprisoned, interrogated, threatened, and nearly blown up...things were just slowly returning to normal. Or, at least, something close to it. Normal enough to where she could worry about little things like classes being boring or interesting. So many students had been lost...Phoenix had seen rows and rows of them. She had grabbed as many as she could...but there were so many that she couldn't save. With each crucial second she had told herself that she could grab maybe just one more...and though her choices were random, she felt a heavy ton guilt for the others that didn't end up being that just one more. She imagined Willow, her dear cousin, lying there among the several other students in need. Nothing set her apart from anyone else except that she meant something to Phoenix and Cal. If they hadn't been there, she might not have been one of the students that were grabbed at the last minute. It was a scary thought, but it put things in perspective. Because each and every one of those students had to mean something to someone. And the ones that they had to leave behind? They died because their someones weren't there to chose them especially.

Phoenix was glad for the kids that she was able to pile on to Rain at the last second, but it broke her heart that so many others died just because they weren't one of the random ones grabbed. And the worst part? Even the few they teleported back was too many. The teleporter thing was only meant for two people, and under the weight of so many it had malfunctioned. Pieces of the students had been left behind. Cal lost limbs. Rain lost feathers. One student died because he lost his lungs. Another arrived dead with half of his head missing.

Phoenix had lost most of her hair and her right foot just above her ankle, but she counted herself lucky. The extent of Willow was in a coma still, and there was no telling when...or if, she would wake up. Machines breathed for her. Tubes ate for her. Clicks and beeps and digital codes kept her alive...if alive was the right word for it. Phoenix's healing tears could only do so much, and the fact that they couldn't wake her cousin from that idle slumber made her feel useless and helpless.

Phoenix sighed and stepped into the room. She walked with a limp now, as the prosthetic was still going to take some getting used to. She wore the winter version of her uniform, the one with long sleeves and pants rather than a skirt. She wanted the prosthetic covered and hidden, still being quite a bit self-conscious about it. She wore a dark blue knit hat over her head. Her hair was only just starting to grow back, and it was barely an inch long. Rain sat perched on her shoulder, head tucked under a sparsely feathered wing. Her talons hung on to the shoulder of her master tightly, as if even in her sleep she feared falling off and not being able to catch herself in flight. The bird's feathers were growing back quite quickly, but she was still covered in pink bald patches and the new feathers were soft and small, inappropriate for flight.

Phoenix kept her eyes on the ground. She and the other escapees didn't get teased for the banged up appearances during their recoveries. On the contrary, they were respected and regarded with the utmost sympathy. Everyone in the meta community wanted to support the kidnapped children. She wasn't afraid of being laughed at for her pitiful appearance. She just...she hated looking so pitiful. She was shy and embarrassed. She felt as though there was a bright sign on her chest reading: LOOK AT WHAT THE HUMANS DID.

When she finally did glance up, the first thing she saw was Mutsumi. A little bit of relief washed over her. Mutsumi...thank God. Phoenix was so glad to see the redhead there. Of all the people that could have been there...it was Kana, one of her best friends. She heard that she had gotten mixed up in the chaos, but hadn't been able to get a hold of her since. Phoenix was so happy to see that she was okay. Of course, she had been assured that Kana was alive, but she had still worried.

"Oh, Kana." Phoenix said softly as she took a seat beside her and smiled. "It's so good to see you."
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mutsumi
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[ * ]
As Mutsumi looked away from the doorway for only a bit. She began lost in her thoughts. She really thought she had seen her father. Her heart beat uncontrollably as the fake memories swirled about with her real ones. She wanted that dream to be her reality so much. A tear fell from her eye but a familiar voice broke her from her trance.

"Oh, Kana."

Mutsumi looked up and as her eye's focused upon the disheveled Phoenix and Rain. She couldn't believe her eyes, as the light settled around her.

"It's so good to see you."

"Phoenix!" Mutsumi hugged the girl tight. "Oh Phoenix I'm so happy to see you!" She said hugging the girl tightly. She released her with her hands still at her sides. She examined them quickly. Phoenix and Rain looked as if they'd been through a hurricane. Well Mutsumi couldn't really speak. Her limbs and legs were covered with bandages. She'd pet Rain a bit and smile at them softly. "I missed you so much. What happened to you? I was so worried after my memories returned."
Edited by mutsumi, Dec 25 2014, 07:15 PM.
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Phoenix trembled in Kana's arms. She felt like crying. So many terrifying things had happened, she didn't even know where to start.

"Um...well the group that rescued me had a teleporter that was only meant for two people. We gathered as many people as we could and...well, not everyone got back in one piece. It was too hard on the transmitter and some parts of everyone got left behind."

Rain chirped very softly at Kana's touch. She buried her head under her wing even further. She loved the attention, but she just wanted to stay asleep and forget all the terrible things she'd seen her master go through.

"It was awful, Kana. I'm just so glad to see that you're okay. So many people didn't make it..." Phoenix shook her head. The very thought was heartbreaking. But Kana was here. Kana was here and Kana was alive. Phoenix just wanted to hug her, cry to her, talk about things that they did before all this craziness erupted. She remembered the time she accidentally shot her with an arrow, and when they fought the hydra together. Back before the bombing, back before everything. When life was simple and it was the stupidest things that mattered. "God, I don't even want to deal with class today. Can we just go somewhere? Please?"
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[ * ]
"Don't worry it's all over now." However Mutsumi knew this was not true. They attacked the school not only once, but twice. What was to stop them from attacking again. Just because their personel had been reduced, didn't mean that this thing was even close to over. They tested, attacked, and killed students all because of their powers. The world she knew was determined to collapse upon itself. Did this mean that theses kids were denying fate?. Regardless of the matter Mutsumi was angry for all the deaths that had been caused on both sides. She'd play the devil's advocate till the end.

"Hm...I guess we could ditch Campbell's class." Mutsumi said standing standing up. "To be honest, I didn't want to come here either. Come on let's hurry to the Cafeteria before Ms. Campbell comes." She gathered her things waited at the doorway. Mutsumi was happy to skip class in order to hang out with her best friend. She needed to forget about the dead faces she saw, The mangled bodies of the scientests, and worst of all, the burned corpses. Well to be honest that wasn't even her fault. They attacked her, and she left the innocent alive to escape on his own. However she had broken her own rule in the midst of her rage and confusion and killed people. Sh-she burned them alive. She began to shiver as their faces burned further into her mind. At this rate she'd go crazy but it was as if her father's spirit kept her from going completely insane.

She gripped her fathers dogtags tightly and read the flipped them over. On one side was a small picture of her when she was young, and her father. He was lifting her up into the air while in uniform on the deck of that aircraft carrier. Memories of that day began flooding back into her mind. There she was, being tossed about in the air when the Captain came to collect Mutsumi so her father could finish his duties for the day. She was so young, playing pretend, giving ridiculous orders to off duty men, like treating her to Ramen, or giving her vanilla Ice Cream, even groveling at her feet. A feeling of Nostalgia swept over her. Looking back at the happier times helped her through hell.

Looking up she smiled to Phoenix and pointed a thumb to the door. "You coming?"
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"You coming?"


Phoenix wrapped her arms around Kana's arm. "Right behind you." It felt so nice to be near a friend. It helped her to stop thinking about all the awful things that had happened. Phoenix had killed someone too. A man who she thought would have shot her if she didn't. That wasn't the first, though. She had killed and maimed several scientists in the facility where Willow was kept the first time they rescued her. The idea that she had taken lives so easily...it was eerie and made her feel like she was sinking into herself. She couldn't feel guilty, because they had deserved to die. But she was still the one who actually killed them.

"Where should we go?" Phoenix asked. It probably wasn't wise to leave the island, but they might get in trouble if they got caught by another teacher.
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[ * ]
On second thought maybe the Caftetria may not have been a good idea. If a teacher were to catch them cutting class, it could turn out pretty bad. There was always the Red stars club which no teacher knew about, but speaking of such a club with many people around would be too risky, maybe they could go off the island to a place where not too many people from school were at this time. Suddenly an devious looking smile crossed her lips. "Oh I don't think a class is gonna cut. Phoenix since it's a friday I suggest we do something starting now going onto Sunday or Monday. Pack some extra clothes girl, cuz we're going to the Hot Springs!" She said smiling "And I won't take no for an answer." She grabbed Phoenix's hand and dragged her to the dorms.

She grabbed her phone with the other and flipped it open.

"Hello, Grandma. I'll be visiting the springs today with a couple friends. Sorry I know it's sudden b-but...Grandmaaaaaa....please......thanks grandma I love you... give grandpa my best."

With that she closed her cell phone. "Alright everythings all set. Call Violet and tell her that she can bring whoever she wants right now and meet us at the train station with a couple clothes. We're going to have a grand old time. Don't worry about payment it's my families Hot Spring so we're better off going there for free." She let go of her friends hand. "I'll meet you at the train station in say 3 hours, you better be ready by then!" She said smiling before rushing to her dorm room. She began packing her things for the 3 day stay at the hot springs. Mutsumi Knew she rushed into it too fast without giving anyone time to think but with what they went through, 3 -days of relaxation wouldn't hurt in the least. With that said she prepared her bag and rushed to the traistation as fast as she could to wait for her friends.
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"Oh I don't think a class is gonna cut. Phoenix since it's a friday I suggest we do something starting now going onto Sunday or Monday. Pack some extra clothes girl, cuz we're going to the Hot Springs!"


"Th...the hot springs?" Phoenix blinked at Kana. She hadn't really been expecting that. She could really, really use it but...was it really the best idea to leave? She still had to worry about Willow. What if Willow woke up over the weekend while she was gone? Sadly...Phoenix doubted that would really be an issue. Oh, how she would LOVE for that to be an issue! Maybe if she did go, the forces of irony would make it so that Willow did wake up.

...Ehn, maybe she should just sit out. After so much trauma it might be best not to go on some big tri--

Kana
 
"And I won't take no for an answer."


"...Okay." Kana was a lot more stubborn than Phoenix was. Oh well, it wasn't like she wouldn't enjoy a well-deserved hot spring trip.

Kana
 
"Alright everythings all set. Call Violet and tell her that she can bring whoever she wants right now and meet us at the train station with a couple clothes. We're going to have a grand old time. Don't worry about payment it's my families Hot Spring so we're better off going there for free. I'll meet you at the train station in say 3 hours, you better be ready by then!"


"Th-thank you, Kana..." Phoenix said, waving meekly as her friend hurried off. It all happened so quickly that she really didn't have the time to come up with a reaction. After Kana was gone she sighed and chuckled a little. It would be nice to relax with her friend for a few days. She packed quickly, leaving her roommate a note so she wouldn't worry.

--

"Violett couldn't make it," Phoenix said as she walked up to Kana and stood beside her. "She said Catch and his family really needs her around right now. Things are a little tough for them right now." Hell, things were tough for everyone. Certainly Kana could understand that. "She appreciates the invitation though. Thanks so much, Kana. We really do need this."
Edited by Newlight, Jan 13 2015, 06:19 AM.
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mutsumi
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As soon as she finished packing she made it to the train station and bought their tickets. She was so excited about having a mini vacation with her best friend. It was really her first time doing such a thing. She had also never seen her grandparents after her father had died. The last time she saw them she was in middle school so this was the first time she had seen them after her father's death. The Kanazaki Springs in Hiroshima wasn't going to be that much of a problem to get to.

At the 3 hour mark Phoenix showed up alone with an explanation as to why Violett couldn't come. "What a shame. Oh well I guess it can't be helped. I guess it'll be just the two of us then." She said with a smile. "When we get to Hiroshima my grandfather will be picking us up. Trust me you'll know him when you see him." She said smiling.

The train to Hiroshima pulled into the station and the announcer had asked for the people to board the train. "Oh it looks like thats our train. Let's go!" Mutsumi's excitement was beyond compare as she got onto the train with her friend Phoenix. "We should be there in a couple hours." Yes just a couple more hours and they'd be there.
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"What a shame. Oh well I guess it can't be helped. I guess it'll be just the two of us then. When we get to Hiroshima my grandfather will be picking us up. Trust me you'll know him when you see him."


Phoenix smiled at her friend and nodded. She was actually really starting to look forward to this. It would be nice to get away from the worries and the fears that surrounded her. Off at the hotsprings they would be secluded and wouldn't have to worry about humans tracking them down. It might turn out to be Phoenix's first good night's sleep since the terror of the raids.

Kana
 
"Oh it looks like thats our train. Let's go! We should be there in a couple hours."


"Alright, that's not too long," Phoenix said softly, adjusting the hood of her sweatshirt. She wore the hood up so that Rain would be concealed while she rested on her master's shoulder. "I hope your grandparents don't mind Rain."
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"Don't worry if anything they'll love her."

As she said this the train had begun to move out of the station. It started out slow but increased in speed as scenery passed by in what seemed to be a blur. She thought about how long it's been since she's seen her grandparents. Maybe her aunt or uncle would be there as well. It was usually around this time that they took off work normally. Mutsumi couldn't remember what it was they took off work for again. It was on the tip of her tongue. She knew she wasn't supposed to forget it. Since Mutsumi couldn't remember at the time she'd decide to warn Phoenix.

"You might meet more than just my Grandparents." she said with a giggle. "My family members can all be quite annoying." She loved her uncle to death but her aunt seemed to hate her for everything she did. Every family had it's problems and in Mutsumi's eyes these were her's.

Within a couple more hours the train had pulled into the station. The city seemed to be full of life as normal. There were an unbelievable amount of people going on and off these trains. Mutumi had grabbed her stuff and beckoned Phoenix to follow her. Out by the lobby was a man who was 60 but looked 45. He had a handle bar moustache the same color as Mutsumi's hair, but a little faded, and a short mullet that was the same color as his moustache. Mutsumi ran up to the man and hugged him. "Grandpa!"

"Well if it isn't my favorite little hot head." The man's voice was naturally rough but had a certain kind of gentleness. He looked up and noticed Phoenix. "Ah, you must be Mutsumi's friend. I'm Hayato Kanazaki. Mutsumi's Grandfather on her father's side. My car is just out this way if you don't mind following me." He began leading them out towards his black toyota.

"Hey grandpa, is this new? When did you get this?" "I got this the last time you visited. So it's new to you, but it's a couple years old. Now Mutsumi, why is it you decide to visit now of all times out of the blue?" "Oh you know the stress of school and whatnot. I also missed my family after not seeing them for years." This was obviously a lie. She didn't want her grandparents worrying about her. If they knew what was really wrong they'd have a heart attack. "Mmhmm." He said leaving the conversation at that. "So..." He said looking to Phoenix. "I hope my granddaughter hasn't been giving you too much trouble. How long have you two been friends now?"
Edited by mutsumi, Jan 15 2015, 07:40 AM.
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"Don't worry if anything they'll love her."


Phoenix bit her lip and nodded uncertainly. She reached her hand into the hood of her jacket and brushed her fingers against Rain's face. Rain's feathers hadn't all grown back yet. She looked sickly and weak without them, like a bird that had been caged so long it got restless and ripped its feathers out. Rain could be pesky and cause a lot of problems, but she wouldn't be a bother to anyone right now. All she wanted to do was sleep. Phoenix considered shifting Rain over to her human form...but that probably wasn't the best idea. Phoenix didn't even want to know how the givenveil neckalce would translate a barely feathered Rain into a human form. Would she be unharmed and complete since it was an entirely different form provided by the necklace, or would she be missing patches of skin or hair? Phoenix shuddered. She didn't want to know. Rain would stay a bird. The human form would only last five hours anyway.

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"You might meet more than just my Grandparents. My family members can all be quite annoying."


Phoenix smiled softly at her friend. "Don't worry," She said, grasping her hand. "If anything, I'll love them." She winked at her and sat back in her seat. Annoying family members? Yeah, Phoenix could relate. She understood, and she welcomed the bother. After all the hellish things that she had been going through with the humans' prejudice, she honestly welcomed having to worry about little things like annoying relatives.




Phoenix couldn't help but grin when she saw the old man's hair style. She didn't giggle, because Phoenix is awesome and self-controlled like that. But the amusing image did make her feel happier and much more comfortable. These people were going to be great. She just knew it.

Kana ran up to great her grandfather, and Phoenix steadily limped after her. Her hip was starting to get sore, and she looked forward to the hot springs more and more with each step. She was still pretty self-conscious about her banged up appearance, especially now that she was back in the human's world and not in the sympathetic meta community. Hopefully they would be retreating to the secluded hot springs before too long. She nervously reached up and tugged her blue knit cap down a little bit. If someone asked her to remove it during dinner or something, it wouldn't be that big a deal. The hair had grown back enough for it not to look totally unsightly. It was just probably one or two inches, unevenly so, and she didn't feel comfortable leaving it uncovered just yet.

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"Ah, you must be Mutsumi's friend. I'm Hayato Kanazaki. Mutsumi's Grandfather on her father's side. My car is just out this way if you don't mind following me."


Phoenix smiled sheepishly and bowed. She wanted to take both his hands in hers, as that was how thunderbacks in her tribe traditionally greeted each other. But she was minding her outside world etiquette today, and it wasn't exactly respectful for a young one to grab the hands of an elder. Elders or superiors should be the first to initiate that affection. "Yes, hello sir. I'm Phoenix Dawning." Her American accent was a lot more blatant these days. She hadn't been putting forth that extra articulate effort lately. Straightening herself, she removed her hood to reveal the sleeping Rain. "And this is Raindrop. I'm sorry you weren't warned, but I promise she won't be any trouble." She adjusted her knit cap and then pulled the hood back over her head to conceal the bird. "Thank you so much for having us on such short notice. I really do appreciate it." With that, she followed him to the car.

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"Oh you know the stress of school and whatnot. I also missed my family after not seeing them for years."


Apparently the lie wasn't obvious enough, because Phoenix thought that was a pretty indirect way of saying "the stress of the whole freaking world trying to kill us, and everyone at school being freaked out about it." She was certain that her grandparents had heard about the attacks. The first one had been aired throughout all electronic devices and had resulted in the entire world learning the secret existence of nonhumans. It also resulted in a school bombing, a school that Kana attended. There was no way they could have evaded that information. But the second attack with the scientists? Well, if they weren't Kana's immediate emergency contact, there were plenty of ways that one could have slipped under their noses.

Phoenix didn't fully consider that, though. She just assumed that her grandparents were fully aware that Kana had been kidnapped and tested on. Someone had to have told them, she reasoned. And given the right circumstances in a conversation, she just might end up telling them about it by mistake.

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"So...I hope my granddaughter hasn't been giving you too much trouble. How long have you two been friends now?"


Phoenix smiled warmly at Kana. "Almost two years. We were already dear friends at the first school before the attack." She sighed, but her smile didn't fade. "Kana is no trouble to me. She's very dear to me. I can't say I don't give her any trouble, though. Have you told your grandfather how we met, Kana? You you got hit by one of my stray arrows?"

Phoenix chuckled nervously. That was supposed to be funny, but she wasn't sure how it would be received. She was trying to go out on a limb here and make a good impression before her meek, sheepish, limping self gave them the impression that she was pitiful, shy, or weak. ...Though all of those applied in some form or fashion right now, she hated to just go along with it.
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"Oh yeah that's right, and shortly after we took down a Hydra." Mutsumi giggled and her grandfather did the same. "Well now. It seems you two have had quite a good time." As they arrived to the car Hayato opened the trunk for the girls to put their things in. He then started the car and waited for the girls to get inside. Mutsumi got in the back and buckled her seatbelt.

"Hey Mutsumi, has something happened recently?" Hayato asked his grand Daughter. "No why do you ask?" She replied. "Because..." Hayato started. "Your Mother has been calling us non-stop because she couldn't reach you. I think you'd better call her." 'HOLY CRAP' Mutsumi had forgotten that her mother was on the emergency contact list. She had turned off her phone after calling her grandparents and never bothered to look at her missed calls. She flipped her phone open and turned it on. THere were 30 missed calls from her mother. She called her mom's phone and a loud ear piercing scream came from the other end. "MUTSUMI! JUST WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN! I WAS SO WORRIED! WHAT HAPPENED?" Mutsumi's mother was angry but Mutsumi could tell that it was mostly just the paranoia of not knowing whether her daughter was okay or not. "I'm fine mom everything's okay. I'm on my way to the family hotspring. So no worries alright." "As long as you're alright." she replied. "Call me again when you get back to school okay? I love you." "Yes mom I love you too." with that said Mutsumi hung up and put the phone away. "It doesn't sound like nothing happened recently. It's alright Mutsumi you're mother already told us what was going on." Once her grandfather said that, she could feel her heartbeat beating in her throat. "It's alright." Hayato said patting Mutsumi on the head. "You didn't want to worry us and that makes us feel all the more grateful that your here with us now." He smiled sweetly to her. "Phoenix as for you I'll ask that while we aren't around that you please watch over this girl. She can be quite the hot head at times and tends to get herself into situations that she cannot get out of herself." He smiled as he looked at the both of them.

---

As everything had been loaded into the car they had now left the train station. The scenery had changed from the hustle and bustle of the city, to the quiet country side. The Entrance to her family's hot spring could be read clearly in brown lettering "Kanazaki Spring's". As the parked the car in the lot, Mutsumi got her things out. "If you don't mind me ladies I have to handle some paper work, so I must part with you both now. It was very nice meeting you Ms. Phoenix. If you both will excuse me." With that said Hayato walked away into the building and a set of three red heads came out. A tall boy with curly red hair, an adult woman in glasses with staight brown hair, and a young girl with red hair. "Shit." Mutsumi said under her breath as she grabbed Phoenix's hand. "Lets go." As she passed her aunt and cousins they stopped and scoffed and Mutsumi turned around glaring at her. "Hmph Meta trash. It's your fault." her aunt said under her breath. Mutsumi heard this and let go of Phoenix's hand. She had a fireball ready to go in one hand and unless Phoenix did something, Mutsumi would do what she would later on regret.

Regardless if she did something or not Mutsumi's Grandmother came out in a rush. "STOP THAT THIS INSTANT OR I'LL SEND THE BOTH OF YOU HOME!" Mutsumi's fire went out as she turned back around and scoffed. "Let's go Phoenix and leave them to be snotty." The Mutsumi's aunt and cousins turned around to their car and left. Mutsumi's Grandmother had just made their way towards them. "Honestly this happens each time you meet each other. You both either argue or your trying to kill each other." She said hugging her grand daughter. "But i'm glad that you and your friend are alright." She gave a hug to Phoenix as well. "I'm Mutsumi's Grandmother Kirigure Kanazaki. Nice to meet you dear." Kirigure looked aged. Her hair was grayish and wrapped into a bun. She was a very short and stout woman that wore an Apron with the Hot Springs logo on it. "Now hurry along inside you two, you've had a long trip. You don't want to be standing around forever do you?" With that said she walked inside with Mutsumi following her. She looked back and gave Phoenix a look. It was as if she said. "I'll tell you when we're alone."
Edited by mutsumi, Jan 20 2015, 01:14 PM.
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Oh, good. Phoenix's humor was well received. She wondered if Kana's grandfather understood that they were actually being serious or if he was just that chill.

Oh...Apparently her grandfather didn't know that something had happened. It's a good thing he asked, or Phoenix might have accidentally told him. But then...Mutsumi hadn't contacted her mother yet? Phoenix shuddered just thinking about how much trouble she would be in if she had waited this long. Her aunt, her uncle, and even her butler had all been a total wreck when they finally heard from her, and she had contacted them as soon as she got back to safety.

Thankfully, Kana's mother didn't seem to be man. Phoenix breathed a sigh of relief for her, then relaxed in her seat. She wasn't really paying too much attention to the conversation until Kana's grandfather started talking again. Oh...so he did know what had happened. That was good. And he wasn't mad, which was even better. It looked like Kana was having a streak of good luck today!

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"Shit. Lets go."


Or...maybe not. Phoenix bit her lip and tried to hobble along at pace with her, but ultimately she seemed to slow Kana down more than Kana sped her up. Why was she so desperate to avoid her relatives?

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"Hmph Meta trash. It's your fault."


...Oh...that's why. Phoenix froze in shock. She heard it too. Kana had let go of her and started a fireball, but Phoenix didn't notice right away. She was trying to register that comment. Meta trash? Her own family was prejudice against her? What was her fault? The bombing? The Domino riots? The student kidnappings? Or something else? It had to be. How could the humans blame them for the awful things that were happening to them now? How could this woman be so cruel and heartless when standing before two survivors, two teenage survivors, of aggressive terrorist attacks? Especially when one was her family member?

This was when Phoenix woke up enough to realize that Kana was about to commit a murder. She started stuttering and waving her hands, but she wasn't stupid enough to get in-between them. She didn't know what to say to calm Kana. Honestly that comment deserved a few burns at the least. She just spit out the first thing she could think to say. "W-wait, Kana! Don't prove the humans right!"

Luckily, Kana's grandmother ran up and diffused the situation. Kana led Phoenix away again, and Phoenix sighed in relief and followed. The aged woman hugged Kana and commented on her and the relative's poor relationship. Phoenix shook her head. She was still in shock from what she heard. She was shaking, and she wrung her hands in front of her nervously.

"That was so cold...after what we've been through," Phoenix said under her breath. She shook her head. Meta trash. Trash. It wasn't aimed at her, but it was going to be ringing in her mind for quite a while.

Quote:
 
"I'm Mutsumi's Grandmother Kirigure Kanazaki. Nice to meet you dear."


Phoenix blinked and looked up quickly. It took her a second to realize that she was being spoken to. "O-oh yes! Hello, ma'am." Phoenix bowed quickly. "I'm Phoenix Dawning. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it." She straightened and removed her hood, making sure that her knit hat was undisturbed. Rain was there on her shoulder. The excitement had woken her, and she looked around and cocked her head at the older woman curiously. "This is Rain. I promise she won't be any trouble. I hate to surprise you with a hawk, but Rain and I can only safely be a small number of miles from each other."

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"Now hurry along inside you two, you've had a long trip. You don't want to be standing around forever do you?"


Phoenix shook her head and followed, and nodded as understandingly as she could when Kana gave her that expression.

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[ * ]
"Your bird Rain wouldn't be a problem at all dear. In fact I think the kid's would love to have a tamed animal so close to them." Mutsumi's grandmother said as she walked towards the inn

As the Two girls entered the main lobby there were various people of all kinds checking in and out at the front desk. The line looked long. Like it would take a couple hours just to get everyone situated. Mutsumi's grandmother however beckoned them to the side hallway. Mutsumi would lead Pho.enix towards her grandmother. Who was waiting by a door. "Akemi could you come here a sec?" her grandmother called through the door. Wait...why did that name sound so familiar. After only a couple minutes a girl with obsidian black hair walked out the door and into view. It was as if Mutsumi was standing into a mirror. "Akemi!?" said as she couldn't believe her eye's. "Mutsumi!?" The girl said with in a slightly higher pitched voice as Mutsumi's. "OH MY GOSH AKEMI I MISSED YOU!" Mutsumi ran up to hug the girl who looked almost like her twin. "Akemi this is my best friend Phoenix." Akemi faced Phoenix and curtsied. "It's very nice to meet you." she said sweetly.

"Alright girls time to show you to your room." Her grandmother said moving farther doen the hallway towards the staircase. Where the 3 girls would go was on the top of the inn (AKA the third floor). Their room was 4A. As her grandmother opened up the door. It was like walking into a fantasy. There was a beautiful view of the grassy hills. From where they were they would see the sunrise beautifully breaking over those green hills. Mutsumi took a deep breath in and set her stuff down. "Oh my it looks so wonderful. Thanks Grandma!" Mutsumi said as her grandmother left the room. Akemi set her things down as well and immediately began to gather her things for the bath. "My GOSH I had a long trip! I'll see you guys later. I'm going to try out the bath's." She left the two girls alone. Mutsumi sat at the table and beckoned Phoenix over.

"That was my cousin from my mom's side." She took a deep breath. "But my aunt from my dad's side is ANOTHER story. She's cold, dishonest, mean, conceited, and just a straight up bitch." Mutsumi pouted and crossed her hands together. "Ever since she learned I've had these power'e she's been like that, which is why I avoided coming here all these years. However Uncle Sun isn't the type to skip out on a family vacation to the hotsprings here each year. It's unbelievable really. She corrupted her kids into believing Meta's like me are evil. Uncle Sun doesn't allow that talk around him though no matter how hard she tries to convince him. Sometime's I'd wish he'd smack some sense into that brain of her's." Mutsumi pouted as she'd rest her head upon Phoenix's shoulder. "I'm sorry you had to experience that Phoenix."
Edited by mutsumi, Jan 30 2015, 02:46 AM.
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Phoenix smiled with relief when the grandmother told her that Rain would be welcomed and maybe even enjoyed. She hoped Rain's sparse feathers wouldn't unsettle any of them. The transmitter had left her looking like she was going through a molting season. Perhaps that's what everyone would assume. Maybe Phoenix could make a lesson out of it.

Phoenix stayed out of the way when Mutsumi met up with her cousin. But, when she was introduced, she smiled and stepped forward. She couldn't help but grin when Mutsumi claimed her as her best friend. Besides her cousin, Kana really was the girl that Phoenix was closest to at school, even if they didn't get to hang out as much. It was nice to know for sure that Kana cherished Phoenix as much as Phoenix cherished her.

Akemi
 
"It's very nice to meet you."


Phoenix bowed. "Likewise." She said softly. When the two of them straightened, Phoenix took both of Akemi's hands in hers. It was the traditional way to greet someone you cared about in the Thunderback communities, so long as it wasn't an elder or an authority who should initiate the physical contact first. "You look so much like Mutsumi," Phoenix said. It was true, the two of them could have been twins. If she hadn't known better, she would have thought Kana dyed her hair that wild, red color just to have some way to differentiate them.

Kana's grandmother told them to follow her to their room. Phoenix let go of Akemi and started heading over when...oh no, stairs. Stairs were the enemy now. Phoenix took a deep breath as they started, and did her best not to wince as they went up. Her side was sore and the limp made her feel uneasy on the stairs, like she might fall. She gripped the railing tightly and smiled at whoever looked her way. She already looked so pathetic and beat up. There was no way she was going to go and make herself look worse.

The room, however, was well worth the walk. Phoenix put her hand over her mouth. It was so beautiful! And the hills! Oh, how she ached to let Rain grow to her true form and fly over those hills! It would be weeks until the bird's feathers were grown back enough to start flying again. She sighed contently and echoed Mutsumi's thanks as the grandmother left. She turned around to thank her again, but the woman had already left. Phoenix was tired and sore, so the first thing she did was walk over to the first bed and sit down. She moved Rain off of her shoulder and onto the headboard to perch. The bird looked around curiously and excitedly. The new place looked so nice!

Mutsumi followed Phoenix to the bed and took a seat next to her. This was when Phoenix was finally given an explanation for the aunt's behavior. "Oh Kana," Phoenix muttered, putting an arm around the girl when she rested her head against her shoulder. "You don't have to apologize. It's awful that you have to go through such prejudice with your own family. Your aunt sounds crazy. She has to be for her to go along with those anti-meta views when someone in her own family is a meta. I can't make sense of someone just...just turning against their own family like that." Phoenix shook her head. Her own family had turned against her and disowned her, but at least they had some sort of reason for thinking that they should. This woman had just randomly decided to hate Mutsumi for her powers, likely before the meta secret was even out. Why couldn't anyone just appreciate how amazing the powers were? Why did it have to be so bad?

"I hope you don't let anything she says get to you. Oh, Kana, please don't. Just look at what's happened because of views like hers!" Phoenix gestured to Rain, leaving her own injuries to be implied. Kana experienced firsthand how awful the pro-human viewpoint was, as did Phoenix. They went through hell in those laboratories.
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[ * ]
Kana smiled softly. "Yeah, has to he crazy but...there has to be a reason as to why she hates me so much." Mutsumi for the longest could never figure out why it was her aunt hated her for who she was. There had to be a reason to her disrespectful attitude towards Mutsumi. The girl simply sighed and pouted. She didn't come here to fight, she came to relax, with her friend. Looking to Phoenix she would hug the girl. "Don't worry, I won't let her get to me."

Mutsumi got up and gathered her items as she prepared to head out to the baths. "I'm going to go on ahead first okay? See you down there!" She would walk out the door and close it behind her. Moving on, she went down the stairs and passed the baths purposely. She walked upon the open bridge that led into the main house. There she opened that door and a series of others until she was faced to face with her destination. A door in childish lettering that spelled "Kevin" Gulping her own saliva, she opened the door to find a blue room. The walls were decorated with pictures of a young man with red hair.He had different expressions in each one. Pictures with friends, family, and her mother with a little girl within his arms. The shelves were decorated with dusty books and trophies along with some medals. Mutsumi smiled as she sat upon the bed that lay under the windowsill. It was neatly Made. Nothing had seemed to change from the last time she visited her fathers' room. This was one of the places within the world she could find Peace.

'I knew you'd be here.' Came a voice from behind her. Turning around she spotted her grandfather wearing the same robe he wore when he picked up Phoenix, and Mutsumi. This time he was wearing glasses. The old man with his faded red hair color smile and motioned her to get out of the room.

'You know, it's impolite to leave your guest on her own with lions prowling about the premises.' he obviously meant this figuratively, and Mutsumi caught its meaning.

"Wonder, she and her kids are back. Where's uncle Sun? I need to say hi."

'He's been in the springs. Have you not known?'

"I'll wait till he comes out." Mutsumi Smiled and walked away towards the bath. Undressing, she met with Akemi and slipped right into the baths next to her black haired doppelganger. She hoped Phoenix would find her way here.
Edited by mutsumi, Jun 2 2015, 04:32 PM.
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I'm going to go on ahead first okay? See you down there!"


"Um...o-okay," Phoenix said meekly. She was a little nervous about finding her way there, but she would manage.




Phoenix came out after Akemi and Mutsumi had just gotten settled. She had her items and was wrapped in a white towel. Rain still rested on her shoulder, but she was more awake now. She still had those bald spots and sparse patches of feathers, looking quite unsightly, but her eyes were bright and curious.

Phoenix's prosthetic foot was on full display now, and she had a deep blush about her. She wasn't wearing a had anymore either, and her short hair was also evident. She must have looked so war-torn compared to how she looked before.

"Wow...you guys just look so much like each other. I can't get over it." Phoenix shook her head, then she leaned down and took off the prosthetic, leaving it to the side of the pool where it would be dry. She was awkwardly balancing her self on one leg. She still wasn't used to missing that foot at all. "Um....well...." She said, holding her hand out and hoping someone would help her in. This was so embarrassing.
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[ * ]
Mutsumi got up and helped her best friend into the water. "Would you believe me if I told her she was older than me." Akemi nodded in approval. 'Yeah by it's only by a year.' Mutsumi helped Phoenix sit down as Akemi moved in closer to them. The hot water felt good. It was quite relaxing. All of Mutsumi's troubles were being swept away by the spring.

"I'm so glad we're here. I haven't seen everyone in ages. That and with everything happening in school I think we needed to get away. "

Akemi gave an evil grin to Mutsumi.

'So, you got anyone you like at school yet?'

Mutsumi's body turned red with embarrassment. "Well I mean...I do but, I told him while I was drunk so he didn't take me seriously."

Akemi nudged the red head a bit more. 'So tell me more about this guy. He must've been pretty nice not to try and take advantage of your drunken side.'

"Akemi! Inappropriate. And I was with 2 other girls and a guy so I doubt it would happen anyways."

'Alright. Fine. I won't pry any further.' She turned to Phoenix next. So I've heard quite a bit about you miss hydra slayer. So tell me, who is it your in love with?' Akemi might have been getting a bit too playful here prying into her life, but Akemi only saw it as harmless girl talk.

"You don't have to answer if you don't want to."

'Aww, your no fun Kana. Its only us and the steam. There is no one here.'
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Phoenix smiled in relief when Mutsumi came to her aid. "Thanks," she muttered. She had been worried about what Kana or Akemi would say or think when they realized she was missing a foot, but they didn't even act like they noticed. That was a relief.

Phoenix knew exactly who Kana was talking about when Akemi pried her, and she looked down at the water doing her best to act like she didn't know. It was Catch. She hadn't heard about that night that Mutsumi drunkenly confessed her emotions, but that was okay. Catch might not have taken her seriously, but at least she got it off her chest. Maybe it was better that he didn't take her seriously. That way it wouldn't be awkward for them later.

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So I've heard quite a bit about you miss hydra slayer. So tell me, who is it your in love with?'

"You don't have to answer if you don't want to."

'Aww, your no fun Kana. Its only us and the steam. There is no one here.'


Phoenix blushed deeply. "Oh, uhm, no one," she said. She looked down at her fingers and flicked at the water. It was then that she realized that it wasn't a cover. She wasn't in love with anyone. She wasn't even dating anyone. Phoenix looked back up at them, suddenly realizing how pathetic it was. It wasn't a lie. It wasn't a cover. There really was no romance in Phoenix's life.

"Huh...there's no one. No one at all." Phoenix shrugged and eased more into the water. "I guess I never thought about it. Dating's not really my thing."
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[ * ]
"Wow I thought you'd like some guy at school, but now that you mention it, I've never seen you flirt before with anyone."

'Well that school you guys go to does keep you busy. I'm surprised Mutsumi was able to find a love life.'

"Oh yeah well what about you. Still dating cousin Kaiya?"

Akemi's face flushed red as she sunk into the water. Now it was Mutsumi's turn to tease Akemi.

"What happened to all those love letters he wrote you?"

'You promised you wouldn't bring that up again! But they were adorable. He was adorable, and now we've been dating almost a year.' The room went silent and Akemi frantically tried to change the subject. 'So you guys doing anything tomorrow because if not I know a great place in town where we can go sho-'

'Give it a rest Akemi. God, you talk too much.' came a mysterious voice from the other side of the wall that separated the men and ladies. The voice was low a rough as they heard water sloshing on the other side.

"Uncle Sun, is that you?"

'Yeah, but your girl talk is ruining the bath so I'll be going.'

The sound of a door could be heard closing from the other side as Akemi froze up once more.

"You know Uncle Sun's going to tell everyone at dinner right? Lets enjoy our privacy while it lasts."

'So Phoenix what is it exactly you do? I know Mutsumi's a dragon that spits fire...' Mutsumi. Punched the girl in her arm.

"Who's a dragon?"

'I was kidding Mutsumi. Anyways what is your power?'




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"Wow I thought you'd like some guy at school, but now that you mention it, I've never seen you flirt before with anyone."

'Well that school you guys go to does keep you busy. I'm surprised Mutsumi was able to find a love life.'

"Oh yeah well what about you. Still dating cousin Kaiya?"

"What happened to all those love letters he wrote you?"

'You promised you wouldn't bring that up again! But they were adorable. He was adorable, and now we've been dating almost a year.'


Phoenix blushed for Akemi, and giggled when she thought it was appropriate. She hoped they were distant cousins...but then again that never seemed to be as big of a concern in Japan. Most still frowned upon it, but it wasn't an uncommon thing. Phoenix had lived in Japan since she was ten years old, and she still had so much that she was still getting used to.

When Phoenix heard the man on the mens' side of the bath, she blushed deeply and sank into the water to where only her eyes were above it. Oh man, now that was really embarrassing. Some strange man listening to their girl talk while they bathed...Phoenix shuddered. Public baths was another thing she was still getting used to apparently.

Rain did not appreciate her feet getting wet, and she squawed and pecked at Phoenix until she rose up out of the water. The bird shook herself to get rid of the droplets, then turned and faced away from Phoenix with her head held high. She was quite insulted. Even with so little feathers, Rain was a very proud bird.

Quote:
 
'So Phoenix what is it exactly you do? I know Mutsumi's a dragon that spits fire...'

"Who's a dragon?"

'I was kidding Mutsumi. Anyways what is your power


"Oh, uhm..." Phoenix pointed to Rain meekly. She was still recovering from all the embarrassment. "I'm a thunderback. A, uhm, thunderback rider." Phoenix instinctively reached around to move her hair out from behind her, only to blush deeper at the sad realization that there was nothing there to move. She rubbed the back of her neck and then turned to reveal the birthmark on her back. It was the pitch black silhouette of a soaring bird with the wingspan spread across her shoulders.

"That looks like a tattoo, but it's actually a birthmark. Those of us who are born with it are able to bond themselves to a thunderbird, like my Raindrop here. In her true form she's huge and very powerful. Thunderbacks ride thunderbirds and communicate with them." Phoenix leaned back against the edge and smiled at them. Rain had heard her name, and she was standing tall with pride, her chest puffed out just a bit assuming they were discussing her greatness. "I personally have the power to heal with my tears, but no other thunderbacks have it."
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[ * ]
'That's pretty cool.' Akemi said examining the bird. 'There's more to that bird than what meets the eye.' Mutsumi nodded in agreement as Akemi turned the conversation to Mutsumi. 'So What did you learn Mutsumi?'

"Oh That's right! I forgot to tell you Phoenix I learned this new move that I can do." Mutsumi got out of the water and stood a couple feet away. Because of how hot it already is in here I wont have to turn the temperature up any higher for the move to work." With that said she held her hands out and increased the heat in the room. Akemi and Phoenix would possibly see a Mirage. The Mirage would be something to play off of their own feelings and state of mind.

Akemi saw her mother with folded arms. She began sweating heavily. 'Mother! How Did you-?' The Mirage was interrupted by the waters movement. 'Whoa, that's a useful move you've got there Mutsumi.' Mutsumi got back into the water. "Yeah but...I mean the slightest movement from someone or something other than the person it's affecting stops the illusion." Mutsumi sighed. "Aside from that, my test scores are lacking as well."

Mutsumi was truly doing bad in most of her classes. She had either C's or D's, but the class she excelled in was Health and Phys Ed. She was great at athletics. She even joined her school's Tennis Club. It was the first time in her life she had decided what she wanted to do with her life. Aside from fall in love, get married, and have kids. Akemi moved on with the conversation.

'So what do you guys want to be in the future? I plan to be a Gynecologist.'

"Well I-er...." Mutsumi was hesitant in answering. "You guys promise not to laugh?" She said a bit embarrassed.

'Yeah!'

"Okay...I want to be..." she took a deep breath and looked away. "a pr........ Te..... Pl...er"

'What?'

"A Professional Tennis Player!" She said loud enough for them to hear. her face lit up with embarrassment. "I want t play professional Tennis. My Coach said with enough practice I could go pro and maybe make it to Wimbledon!" She blushed a bit and sunk into the water.

Akemi giggled a bit. 'Mutsumi you think that I'd laugh at your dreams? Of course I wouldn't." She patted Mutsumi's head and turned to Phoenix.

'So what are your dreams, Aspirations, your deepest desires, or what you want to be in the future?'
Edited by mutsumi, Jun 17 2015, 05:02 PM.
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Phoenix lifted a hand to wipe the sweat from her brow as Mutsumi worked at the trick, but when she moved it back she gasped. There was her cousin Willow beside her, her brown hair long and healthy as it was before the attack. Willow was still in a coma, and there was no guarantee that she was going to wake up this time.

Phoenix's eyes widened, and she whispered Willow's name. Her fingers rested over her mouth in shock. Willow gave an impish grin and lifted a hand to splash Phoenix, but in the next instant she was gone. Phoenix's looked around frantically before realizing that it was an illusion.

Rain, having a human sentience, was affected by the illusion as well. What she imagined was a chocolate covered granola bar, her favorite treat. She didn't get to eat sugar often because it made her rowdy. But she was always thinking of ways to sucker Phoenix into giving her such treats. Even now, when there were so many more important things to be thinking about, the one thing on the forefront of her mind was a chocolate covered granola bar. Perhaps having a mostly animal part of mind still ruled her thoughts, making her more focused on basic primal desires once the main dangers were out of the way.

When the granola bar disappeared, Rain gave a heavy sigh and glanced up at the stares, a forlorn glint in her beady black eyes. One day, so help her god, one day she was going to get her talons on an entire box of them.

Phoenix blinked over at Mutsumi as everything settled back down. Back to normal she supposed, trying to push Willow's happy image out of her head. No...she wanted to keep it. It might be the last time she...no, she couldn't think that way. Phoenix took a deep breath and smiled at Mutsumi.

"That was very cool, Kana. It will definitely come in handy."

Quote:
 
'So what do you guys want to be in the future? I plan to be a Gynecologist.'


Phoenix, still being a teenager who was rather prudent, blushed at that. Not that it was a practice to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it was an excellent field and it paid very well. It was just that Akemi so bluntly came out with it. She wasn't shy at all. And that made Phoenix shy because...well, because she's Phoenix.

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Well I-er.... You guys promise not to laugh?"


Phoenix nodded, but there was caution in her eyes. Kana seemed so nervous. Akemi had admitted to wanting to be Gynecologist without so much as a blush. What aspiration could be harder to come out with than that?

Quote:
 
'Yeah!'

"Okay...I want to be...a pr........ Te..... Pl...er"

'What?'

"A Professional Tennis Player!"


Phoenix had been bracing herself...but when Kana came out with that, she blinked in surprise. Oh, was that all? What was so embarrassing about that?

Quote:
 
"I want t play professional Tennis. My Coach said with enough practice I could go pro and maybe make it to Wimbledon!"


"I didn't even know you played tennis," said Phoenix. She still looked surprised at first, but then she smiled. "That's great. I wish you would have told me before." But it was understandable. She and Kana hadn't had a lot of time to chat, recovering from being kidnapped and experimented on and all. "Maybe I can come to one of your games? I'd love to see it. And then when you get big I can say I saw you at the beginning."

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'Mutsumi you think that I'd laugh at your dreams? Of course I wouldn't."


Uh-oh...now Akemi was looking at Phoenix. Akemi was a lovely girl, a very fun person. But it hadn't taken Phoenix long to learn that she was also shamelessly direct. Phoenix, being as shy and bashful as she was, had to watch herself around direct people like that. If they put her on the spot, she was awkward and not quick enough to react.

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'So what are your dreams, Aspirations, your deepest desires, or what you want to be in the future?'


That was a pretty loaded question. But it wasn't embarrassing at least. It was just a little...hard to answer. Phoenix blushed a little, ashamed of her own inability to answer right away, and glanced down at the water. Her hand absentmindedly reached up and stroked Rain's wing. The bird's presence always calmed her when she was anxious.

"Uhm...well..." Phoenix took a breath and shrugged. "I'm not really sure how to answer that. When I was younger, I wanted to teach children martial arts. Or anything with children, really. I thought about social work, preschools, stuff like that. I just wanted to do something with kids, you know? But when I was ten, I...changed my mind. And I decided that I wanted to work as an investigator for missing and abducted children's cases."

Phoenix shrugged again. This wasn't something she had thought about in a long time. It was something that she had pushed from her mind. And with all the craziness that had happened to her and Willow lately, she had actually been able to. Willow was the main concern in her life right now. But...deep down, her deepest desire would always be finding Tyler. Her precious little brother who had been so abruptly plucked from her life. Everything stemmed from that core desire. Her sympathy for children, her career goals and aspirations as an investigator, all of it stemmed back to that gaping hole inside her, to that aching need to fill it.

"But lately I've learned that the system is a little...flawed." A little. Well, wasn't that an understatement? After Phoenix's little brother had been kidnapped, the case had been brushed off and pushed under the rug. As a devastated child, Phoenix had never understood why, and had never known to question it. But a year prior when Willow had been kidnapped in the same way, and the case had been disregarded in the same way, and older and wiser Phoenix had realized that something wasn't right. And with a tip from a cop who, thank god, had a conscious stronger than his obligations, she and Willow's boyfriend, Cal, were able to take matters into their own hands and get Willow back.

Willow had been taken to one of those labs, one of those government laboratories to be studied as a meta, and try to interrogate her for the new school's location. Willow had held fast and not given them information, and Phoenix and Calcifer were able to rescue her just in time. But it came with a great cost. Calcifer, who had been a victim of the organization in the past, was recognized by the system during their rescue. And not only that, but when the entire school was attacked by that same organization months later, Phoenix couldn't help but wonder if she and Cal had been sloppy. If maybe they left behind some kind of evidence that led them back to Searchlight.

But no matter how they found the school, they did. And Willow had been taken again. So had Phoenix, but Cal and the other raiders had busted in and saved them both. Now, with all this slow recovery time ahead of her, Phoenix had a lot of time to think and reflect. And over that time, she had realized one very haunting thing: Tyler had been taken by one of those organizations all those many years ago. And the system that Phoenix had been depending on to find him? The very one that she had one day hoped to join? It had known where he was all along. But because the organization was of governmental authority, the cops and detectives were told to put the case away and keep their mouths shut. They were told that this was bigger than them, and that they needed to obey orders and move on, lest they risk their jobs. So they did.

And with that understanding came another: Phoenix was going to have to take matters into her own hands. Just like she and Cal did with Willow. But she couldn't be rash. She had to be careful. She had to find out which lab Tyler was in--god willing that it wasn't one of the ones that had self-destructed, she thought with a shudder--and find a way to get him out without risking another explosion.

But now, in her pitiful battered state, with so many heavy things weighing down upon her, Phoenix had absolutely no idea where to start.

"So now...I don't know," Phoenix said softly, still looking down at the water. "I had selfish reasons for going into it anyway. There was really only one case I wanted to solve. Now that I know that the system can't help me do it...I'm going to have to do it on my own. I just don't know how yet." Phoenix took a deep breath and leaned back against the edge. It became clear to her then that she hadn't told Kana about her past. That was a well guarded secret of Phoenix's, known only by her family and one or two friends that she had long ago lost contact with, assuming they were even alive after all the tragedies last year.

"But I will. And once I do, that's when I'll start worrying about career choices."
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[ * ]
That was the first time Mutsumi had ever heard her friends goals for the future. Phoenix seemed as if she kew exactly what she was going to do, Mutsumi however had no plan for the future asside from becoming a professional tennis player. She had no goals other than this. No back up plans, no plans after she became pro, she was just so hung up and focused on becoming a professional Tennis player. Even Akemi had a set of goals for herself. It made Mutsumi think about her future. Shed like to become a professional tennis player but what if she failed. Mutsumi sunk further into the pool of water leaving her nose above the surface. She sighed releasing a cloud of foamy bubbles that rose to the surface. Mutsumi was always one of those girls who lived in the moment, and never thought about what might have happened later.

Akemi was the first one to get out of the bath. 'Ya'kno I have to go help grandma and the other employees with serving the food, so I have to step out of this bath a bit early. See you ladies around!' With that said Akemi waved goodbye and left the baths leaving Mutsumi thinking about her future with Phoenix. The red head rose above the water and laid back. When she got to a fork in the road she'd deal with it. Thinking ahead was never really her style. "This is nice. Sitting here in the baths with my best friend, washing our troubles away. Thank you for joining me Phoenix. Honestly I don't think i'd have enjoyed this visit as much if you weren't here with me." Mutsumi gave the girl and her bird a delicate smile. "You too Rain. Seeing you both brings me so much joy!"
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"This is nice. Sitting here in the baths with my best friend, washing our troubles away. Thank you for joining me Phoenix. Honestly I don't think i'd have enjoyed this visit as much if you weren't here with me. You too Rain. Seeing you both brings me so much joy!"


Phoenix smiled and chuckled a little. She reached up to stroke Rain's feathers, but the bird maneuvered out of her touch and told her that she didn't want to get wet. Phoenix giggled a little and the bird shook itself as though shuddering. The heat from the water felt nice, but Rain wasn't in the mood to get covered in water tonight.

"I feel the same way, Kana. I'm so glad you're here." And in a world where the humans could strike out at them any time, Phoenix wouldn't be taking for granted the fact that her friend was there.
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