Heart and Hope (CLOSED) Apr 18, 2016 17:11:36 GMT
Post by Kay-El on Apr 18, 2016 17:11:36 GMT
Part One: Heart
Shikk looked as welcoming and familiar as revisiting one’s first house after years of being in a bigger, better, newer one. Like a shoe you once wore to some big event that never quite fit right and you’d long outgrown by now, the old Coliflo holdings had been rebuilt in her absence and no longer had room for her. Sure, Kay-El Coliflo could walk through those doors and be welcomed by everyone whether they meant it or not, but how many people remained from before the incident?
You think you’re so small like you’re itty bitty, just one match in the lights of the city. That old feeling like she didn’t really matter sank in as she watched the glittering lights of her old city in the distance. The Port city that housed her portion of the Coliflo family twinkled and glittered invitingly in the distance. This time of day it promised food and water, merriment and joy found in parks and beaches alike as children played at their games. She played with them once, but that was a long time ago before her father died and before things took a turn for the worse. Days when she thought she could help a local homeless man or make a difference.
Maybe she should have brought a friend. Maybe she would have if she had any friends. Maybe she should have brought Pin, perhaps he could have taught her something about making a difference only he didn’t seem the type to try and make things better without personal motivation. Maybe that was a lesson she needed to take to heart and an attitude to adapt for herself instead of leaving herself an open, gaping wound that might never have time to heal properly otherwise.
Dreaming never really helped anyone, and now all she could offer was dreams. Those same homeless people still sat on their corners begging, dying or both. A little bit every day, everyone died, some just faster than others and the sooner she learned that, the better, according to some people, anyway. Now staring out over the sandy ground between her and ‘home,’ the port city of her childhood home loomed in the distance like some sinister dark alley above, taunting and jeering at her as if it dared her to enter. Less than a mile from the gate of the city that raised her, the little songbird never felt so alone. Perhaps coming here like this wasn’t the brightest idea she ever had.
In life everyone faced hardship and loss, hatred and vice, but not many had to deal with it at the tender age of five (and a half). Not like she did, that is. Sure, there just might be others out there who went through something similar for all she knew, but none who knew her exact pains for those were unique to the person who bore them. Still, it didn’t keep her from trying to help, but that was before the incident. Walking by strangers on the side of the street like a quarter in a cup’ll get ‘em up on their feet. Sometimes cynicism wins out and burns the old idealism to the ground, replacing it with a realism that settles in so firmly that to dislodge it feels like you’ll die. Morbid much? Who, her? Naw...surely not. Alright, well, maybe just a little but if anyone said it was uncalled for she’d call them a liar to their face. Perhaps, just maybe, Kay-El earned the right to her sadness, although lately it felt like she’d been letting go and that opened up a whole new can of worms she wasn’t ready to face: did that mean that by letting go of the past she was letting go of him?
A small kitten brushed up against her ankle and she swept Pounce up into her arms. The black ball of fur had grown as cats will in the month or so she’d had him and she giggled as he licked scratchy, lazy kisses at the webbing between her fingers. Perhaps it was time to give this city another chance, it wasn’t like she’d be staying long, right? It wasn’t long ago she’d look out from the living room window whenever her father went away. About a year and a half ago, her world fell apart, but before then everything was as normal as expected for the half Saiyan, half Demon, child that the Coliflo’s adopted into their household when she was just a day old.
You think you’re never gonna make your mark, sit back and watch while it falls apart. And oh how fragile that house of cards proved to be when a hard wind blew. The world pushed, it all came to a show of force, and the child all of four years old wasn’t willing to shove. Her feet seemed to move without her permission, bared to the elements, soft white sand coated her webbed toes as they made their way towards her old home. Closer and closer each step brought her to, to what? To seeing someone who might not even recognize her? No, she hadn’t changed outwardly all that much, but it sure felt like she had.
Turning, she remembered her ship. So caught up in the moment, and the vessel being such a new thing, she almost forgot the let it shrink like she usually did. Her scouter locked inside, also a newer addition to her toolkit, it was off anyway and would just shrink with it. Capsule technology really astounded her, engineering was never her strongest suit. As the hot pink space pod with black detailing shrunk down into a matching colored capsule, she tucked it somewhere safe before setting Pounce upon her shoulder. The cat curled up on his favorite perch and she headed towards the bright lights, so bright even in daylight, once again.
Once, that city represented hope to her. A vast, sprawling expanse filled with friends and the fearless world young girls should expect. But it left her behind during her time after...the incident. After her father’s friend arrived on the morning of her fourth birthday, the day Wiz Coliflo was supposed to return from his trip - he’d promised to be home for her special day - but he never came home as ‘promised’ by that friend’s arrival on their doorstep. He’d told her and Nana about how Wiz’s ship fell under Arcosian attack and how there was nothing left. The then four year old fell into a depression that lasted well over six months, out of sight and mind of the city and eventually what little friends she used to have. Like, out of sight, out of mind, like, like, It's just a waste of time. And even after when her friends tried to engage her elsewhere, she only had eyes for her new friend ‘Uncle Sam,’ the demon who promised to teach her how to escape her vicious, abusive adoptive mother and her home that did nothing but held her back from her true potential. Not only that, but he told her she had a brother out there, too, and that would alter her life not just for good, but for the better, too.
The reason for her impromptu, unannounced return was to go back to that dingy, coastal cave in which she’d been born but that could wait. It would be there later, after all, and not much will have changed in the meantime. Besides, maybe she could get Grady to go back with her...and rely on him keeping her visit secret? If Pea asked him a direct question, could she really rely on the slave’s ability to lie to his master? Perhaps it would be unfair of her to even ask, especially since Kay wasn’t going to stay to see the repercussions. Perhaps she’d grown up after all while away.
Passing by the old well she picked up a shell from the beach and tossed it in, hearing the tell-tale plop as it hit the water within. Eyes shut tight she wished for, well, it had been a long time since she’d wished in this well or upon a shooting star and she didn’t really know what to wish for. The truth, answers? What did she want after all and perhaps she was too old now to believe in the magic of this place like she used to. Wish in a well, shooting star in the sky, we can do anything if we try. Such a childish thought, a dream to be squashed not by age but by experience. Experience was, perhaps, the harshest of teachers and maybe it could make one rich or famous or just a more well rounded person, but it crushed the hope right out of you if you really wanted to learn as much as you could from it.
Children laughed and built castles in the sand, mothers and fathers watching merrily and chatting idly, not worried about the fate of the world or the future of their children. Little did they know that time and effort are required for good results, but bad results often use the same ingredients. Did it matter in the end? Nature or nurture, which had a higher impact on the end result? Some would believe Kay to be too young for being this much a critic of the world at large, but experience taught her to be wary. “Come on, Pounce,” she whispered and the kitten meowed softly in response.
The open gates of the city sparkled, shining silver in the sunlight, and it was easy enough to blend in with a catch of children around her height and age making their way in for lunch or whatever they were going to do. Shopping, maybe? Who cared? Kay didn’t, that was for sure. While the layout of the streets remained the same, the classics as immovable objects against time: the unstoppable force, all the restaurants she used to love lined the boardwalk. And yet here and there offered a surprise in the way of something new, something that wasn’t there before she left. Somewhere in the back of her mind Kay almost expected everything to be as she’d left it, but of course the world kept turning, people didn’t just stop their lives, especially in such a tourist-trap of a city like this one.
Momentary relief flooded her as she spotted the specialty bread baker’s stand and made her way over to it. When she used to come here with her adoptive father, this was always a mandatory stop. “One seaweed sesame bun please,” she said and the woman smiled kindly down at her before they exchanged money for goods, no flicker of alarm or strangeness since Kay-El, like many children, appeared to be wandering with a presumably close by parent in the vicinity.
Managing her own Zeni felt strange. Another reason she didn't plan on staying on Shikk was that she’d left Nana behind on Vegeta to keep Pin company, sneaking out while she could, insurance of her return sooner rather than later. Taking a bite of the warm roll she found a seat on a bench facing the water, inhaling the salty, fresh smell of the oceanside city with its surf and turf feel. Other smells of food cooking and drinks brewing reached her and she took another few moments to just be there because who knew how long it would be before she came back again, if ever. As it was, this visit was more spontaneous fluke than anything else.
If she could have wished for anything, it would have been for things to go back to normal. Well, whatever that meant. Would it have been for Mary or Wiz to come back to life? Only the supposed, rumored Dragon Balls could do that and that was just a bedtime story, right? Can't resurrect Mary, resurrect Wiz, but if we put our heads together We 'can do anything.' Then again if people like General Mayze and her brother, Pin, believed in their existence whose to say they weren’t real, after all?
Ripping off a small piece she offered it to the kitten on her shoulder whose soft fur caressed the soft skin of the child’s neck as it ate greedily. “You act like I never feed you…” Kay-El smiled, offering the beast another piece. “You eat so much. I suppose you are a growing boy.” Getting up she walked over to another vendor to purchase a stick with various cooked fish on a it when a poster in the background caught her eye.
“Can I help you?” the man behind the cart asked and her dark eyes found his, the corners crinkled to match the smile he gave her.
“Oh, one please,” she said, having finished the bread by now even if Pouce got about half of it. Another exchange and she shared the fish with Pounce even as she wandered closer to the bulletin board tucked away in a corner of the dock, mostly without attention by passerby or tourist alike. And it was a good thing, too, as Kay-El knew the person whose picture stared back at her from the ‘missing’ sign. She ought to, anyway, since it was her. Oh, sure, the photo was an old one from before the incident but it wasn’t like she’d allowed any to really be taken after… She had to be two years younger in that photo but she felt centuries older now. Hair longer, taller now, she undid the braid supported by the two white bows and tied them as makeshift ‘wrappings’ around her wrists allowing the long mass of dark curls to fall behind her. Having never been cut, her hair was long, and she liked it that way. At least with it down she looked less like the girl in the picture than before.
Whose idea was it to put up posters and even offer a reward, anyway? Pea’s? Naw, surely the woman hated her as much as she claimed. Then again, she might have just for appearances, right? Right, that must have been it. There was at least one way to find out that Kay-El knew about and that was to go there, snoop around, and find out for herself. That old saying about wanting something done right? Well, she wanted this done right, that was for sure.
She’d completely forgotten about the cave-in. Pounce, now safely tucked inside her bag and most likely asleep, was out of the way so she carefully and gently set the bag down before beginning to shift the rocks in her path. Why she didn’t do this the first time was mostly because she didn’t know how deep the rocks went. The young girl contained the ability to move the heavy rocks, but when the cave in happened time had been a more pressing concern. It made her think of Wiz, who taught her to move rocks one day at the beach, the best way to lift or heave and just train in general. It went to show that a little kindness could go a long way, you didn’t have to have the world to be able to give it to someone else, or even be the world to a little girl that idolized you. Like...you don't have to be a billionaire, you don't have to have much to show how much you care. Like give a smile, give a wish, like...give a little happiness.
Having made her way stealthily back to the house she called home growing up, the shed remained as a standalone building she’s had no problem slipping into and then through to get to the secret passage below. If one only put their heart up, opened themselves up, it could change their world. Let me see you put your hearts up, yeah. If we give a little love maybe we can change the world. Only now Kay-El felt all out of ‘open’ signs.
But just like these rocks, she didn’t let it bring her down, wouldn’t let it crash around her this time. Forging a clear path through the rocks she pushed onward, stronger now than she’d been that first, scared rush to find an escape. Even as the building threatened to burn down around her, that wasn’t what she’d run from - wasn’t who she ran from.
This passage led to the sitting room in the western wing, if memory served her right and she hadn’t been gone that long, right? The fireplace there opened, too hot to be in use this time of year, she felt safe from that fire, at least. She was done letting Pea Coliflo make her feel small. The only person to blame for that was, in the end, herself now. Having gotten away once, she wanted nothing more than to gloat in Pea’s ugly face about how she’d met The Queen, and Zucceta had even noticed her! They’d exchanged pleasantries, even if she’d learned none of them from her adoptive mother. Don't let em bring you down now, down now. Ain't got nothing but love now, love now. That became her mantra as she took the steps two and three at a time, slowing only at the sound of voices coming from the very room she wished to infiltrate.
“Now, Pea,” a familiar voice said. “Tell me about this report...what of the Queen has you so worried?” The voice, that was daddy’s friend, the same one that came over to tell the family of Wiz’s death. What was he doing here, anyway? Peering closer, she tried getting a better look at the man and her adoptive mother chatting on one of the sofas like he didn’t ruin their worlds.
Part Two: Hope
“Reports of some child in the middle of that spar in the square!” Pea yelled, a flash of hands in the air and then another, more masculine set taking them in his own to trey and calm the Saiyan woman. “I was ready to think she died in that fire until this!”
“Oh, Pea, you have no reason to think that would be her, do you?” The friend, Wiz’s friend, spoke in a calm, almost soothing voice.
“Oh and why not? She fits the description aside from a few odds and ends comments. But the square was packed with people that day and -”
“But she was with people.”
“She’s a wily one, who knows how many she’s conned into helping her by now?”
“Pea, she’s just a child out in the world alone. Do you really think -”
“It doesn’t matter what I think! I matters what they think… If the locals knew she was alive they’d plot to get her here in my stead.”
“She is a child! Pea, if she’s alive she is probably so far out of her depth and why in the galaxy would she want to come back here?”
With a jolt, Kay-El realized they were talking about her. Just as she’d left Pea for dead in the burning house, so it seemed Pea would have been just as content to see the five year old burn as well. No, there was no love lost between the two of them, that was for sure. In order for love to be lost it had to exist in the first place. Sure, Kay once loved Pea, but the lack of that love returned slowly turned Kay’s into hate. Her hands balled into fists at her sides and her eyes stung with tears she blinked away with rapid movements of those inner, clear, thin eyelids that came down when she swam or got nervous. Half tempted to turn back around and go out the way she’d come, she thought of heading to that cave alone and wasting the trip here. While at the house she might as well explore a little and see what else had changed.
There's a song that's inside of my soul. It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again. Her heart ached despite already knowing how much Pea despised her, it still hurt to be reminded of it like this, face to, well, the truth of it, she supposed. When the two forms got up, the voices moving further and further away, Kay-El counted to one hundred before daring to follow. Slipping out of the fire place and into the sitting room, she left through the open door and hung a right, back to the wall as she tried to be quiet as the mice that ran the halls at night.
The five year old almost made it all the way to her bedroom when she heard a familiar voice say, “Birdie?”
The girl turned slowly, eyes wide, and her eyes met Grady’s. “I can’t...are you really here? Pea said…” he took a deep breath and Kay approached, one finger over her lips in the universal ‘shhhh’ motion. Grady nodded and the two swept into her old room and shut the door behind them, it had been shut when she lived in it, and it remained shut while she didn’t, she was glad to see that didn’t change. “Pea told us all you were dead!” Grady said, pulling her into a tight hug - and then he started crying.
I'm awake in the infinite cold, but you sing to me over and over and over again. Terror at being found mixed with adrenaline in her small body and she pleaded up at Grady with wide eyes for him not to go and ruin this for her. “Pea can’t know I’m here…” she shivered, but the chill was inside and not out, a chill she’d never shake unless she got to the bottom of this whole mess. “Please, I just came back to see how things...how everything is. How you are.” She pulled him into a tight hug while he cried and didn’t tell him she feared he’d died that night she fled. Prepared for the worse, him being alive was both blessing and curse. A double edged sword, as it were. “Grady, please, I need your help…”
While not a particularly loud crier, thankfully, it was rather wet and long but he seemed to pull himself together eventually. She grabbed a thing of tissues she’d always kept by the bed and pulled off the top few to rid them of dust before handing him the box. Tossing the dust-riddled ones, she didn’t think anyone would be in to notice any time soon, and if they were, well, she’d be long gone before anyone decided to tidy up in the small bedroom.
“Whatever you need, Birdie,” he said seriously despite the soft, sad tone that crying always seemed to leave people with. “I’d give about anything to hear that sweet voice once more. Promise you’ll sing for me when we’re done? Before...before you go again.” Grady always had been a perceptive one and she smiled despite herself, giving him the slightest nod which in turn made him smile and made the promise worth it. Grady always had been one of her closest friends.
“I want you to take me to that cave.”
She expected him to protest, like he had in the past, but he only set his shoulders and said, “I knew this day would come. Mind you, I know you’ve been there when I told you I wouldn’t go with you that time, I followed you...but I always knew I’d have to take you there some day. You weren’t ready then and I’m not sure I’m ready now, but, if that’s where you wish to go, then we shall go. But promise me one thing, Birdie,” she met his eyes, not even bothered that he’d fallen back into using the childhood nickname she’d all but banned after her father’s death. “After we find whatever it is that you’re looking for, we’ll talk and maybe you don’t have to leave?”
“We’ll talk about it,” she promised. Talk was an easy thing to promise someone, because even if she had no intention of staying, maybe Grady would feel he’d made a difference in the end. Or not, that wasn’t really her problem, though, was it? She could also talk to him about maybe not telling Pea he’d seen her here to begin with. Yeah, that sounded really fucking awesome.
And with that the two headed out of the small room and Kay paused, taking one of Grady’s hands in her own. “Wait, I know a shortcut.”
“Why am I not surprised?” he joked, but he did let her lead the way. As she pushed at a section of wall in a specific way, he frowned and said, “Not I understand how you always moved around so quickly. No matter where I turned, you always managed to lose me as an escort.” She turned an apologetic look his way but his lips and eyes held only a smile and silent approval.
The cave looked and felt just as she remembered it which was both good and bad. True, it seemed to have shrunk or she’d gotten bigger, although not by much. Sing to me the song of the stars. Of your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again. High, stone ceilings blocked out the view of the outside world and for good reason. Low tide made entry by land possible, something that hadn’t been on the night she’d been born. Perhaps that helped save her or her biological mother, perhaps not. From inside the cave everything felt so distant and far away, like nothing else in the world mattered. Not Sam’s plans for her or her parents,all four of them, and certainly not herself who ultimately made little or no impact on galaxy at large.
Oh, sure, some people’s lives might have been touched by her own and vice versa, but in the end they were all very small fish swimming in the largest ocean imaginable.
“There’s something over here I think you should see…” Grady said and Kay-El joined him at a strange assortment of rocks that looked more falsely put together than made naturally in her opinion. She’d noted it the last time she’d been there but didn’t think anything of it than, nor did she now, but if Grady was pointing it out to her it must mean something, right?
When it feels like my dreams are so far, sing to me of the plans that you had for me over again. Too heavy for the Shikkian to move on his own, Kay-El had no trouble shifting the rocks and unearthing what looked like an old, leather pouch. “Your mother buried this here it was from your father to her and she said she didn’t want to keep it or remember him. She also said...if you wanted it some day, and I felt it appropriate, I should pass it on to you.”
Opening the bag, the leather that used to be soft once upon a time not cracked and flaked as she pried it open and dumped the contents into one outstretched hand. A simple data disk fell onto her palm and she stared, a bit wide-eyed and terrified to see what was on it if anything still was at all. “I don’t suppose…” she whispered, not entirely sure why she was whispering, but she did it nonetheless.
“I don’t…” he said and she squared her shoulders. It was alright he didn’t have a datapad or anything to read it on now, perhaps it was best if she just took this back to her ship and looked at it there, alone. Yes, alone was better for something of this potential magnitude or, worse, let down. If it was nothing or didn’t work, she’d be devastated. It was better if no one saw her cry.
“Now, as per our agreement?” he said as she stuffed the datapad in her own bag, safely in the zipped compartment alongside her precious capsule. Oddly enough, this small piece of information potentially held more value than her brand new ship and current love of her life.
“So it is you,” she heard and turned to see Pea in the entrance of the cave. “And you, Grady, I should have expected you to help the little brat the moment she showed that ugly, unwelcome face here.” Kay frowned, Pea’s words held an appropriate amount of venom to match the scathing look painted on the Saiyaness’ face.
“I’ll show you what loyalty to that scum buys you when I’m finished with her. Trust me, Grady, you’re next. If it weren’t for you I’d have never even met the brat and Wiz might still be alive.” Kay-El frowned and took a step back but it seemed Grady wasn’t as afraid of Pea as she was, but Kay thought he should have been. Maybe he’d come with her when she left Shikk.
“Don’t you dare...Kay-El is brave and kind and everything you aren’t. Just because Wiz loved her more than you could love even yourself doesn’t mean you should treat her like that. Wiz made a deal for her, and this is how you honor his memory and the person he loved most?” Poor, poor, brave Grady did not gain more than the merest flick of an almost bored eye roll from Pea with his amazing speech.
I give you my destiny, I'm giving you all of me. Kay took a step forward and Pea did the same, a ball of Ki hurtling full speed before Kay knew what was even happening or could think to use any of her own fancy new moves. I want your symphony, she screamed and a body appeared between her and Pea and then froze in the air before falling with a heavy thud to the ground. Singing in all that I am. Grady took the hit for her and now he’d paid the ultimate price, dead for real just as she’d feared. Was there a rejuvenation unit around? The closest was the house but “Can’t reju a corpse,” she muttered as if on autopilot.
She stood then to her full height, all three feet practically vibrating with anger and energy as she began to charge her Ki with no goal in sight yet. At the top of my lungs, she charged and sang softly, the freeform style really doing its work and letting her use her abilities in potentially the most efficient way possible. But Pea, too, decided to charge an attack of her own. I'm giving it back.
The two circled, mother and daughter and maybe last time Kay only won from the element of surprise, but this time she had a few new tricks up her proverbial sleeve. Last time she had, too, but her old trick was something Pea knew about, she just hadn’t realized how strong Kay-El had gotten over time. Both took pot shots at each other, each dodging and scraping by the best they could. A orb of deep, dark red zipped past and almost took Kay in the shoulder as she threw her own swirling mass of greens and blues to make an ocean envious of their shades, almost hitting Pea in the hip.
Flashes of her dream came back where she fought Mary and the other ghosts in this very cave, that time she’d learned to run and dodge like it was nothing, but she’d save that dodge for when she needed it most, she decided. Pea reared back as they both charged at maximum capacity and a beam of red shot out, and Kay reached deep inside herself for one last reserve of power and found it buried deep like a sleeping dragon begging for an excuse to come out and wreck shit.
Her whole body shuddered with it, green and blue energy swirled around her like dark shadows hiding her from view as her skin became covered in glittering scales as she shot her own attack forward. Hands out and forming ‘guns,’ she intended to give this everything she had and end Pea once and for all. The two attacks met, blood red meeting the depths of the ocean, and both struggled. Even with her new, strange strength, it felt difficult and she didn’t know who would win this one. Pushing forward, the swirling green and blue overtook the red and pushed it back at its owner before engulfing Pea completely.
So I lay my head back down and I lift my hands and pray. As the Ki and smoke cleared she looked down at Pea’s body on the ground laying so close to Grady’s and seriously debated finishing the woman off once and for all. But she just couldn’t do it, mercy for the one who raised her staying her hand as she caught her breath. With a final look at Grady, Kay-El took off through the mouth of the cave and went inland just far enough away from civilization to throw her capsule onto the ground and allow it to bloom into its full size.
To be only yours, I pray she shuddered as she got in, letting the cat out of the bag so Pounce could stare at her from the other seat he usually took for himself. “I know, I’m sorry,” she said, plotting a course for Namek.
Wait, Namek? Yes, Namek. To be only yours, I pray It was peaceful, out of the way, and looking for reasons why Pin had been there before might be a good distraction from what happened here on Shikk.
With the data card in her bag she didn’t think she was ready yet. Namek, she’d wait for Namek, that planet had loads of good places to rest and think and meditate and shit, right? To be only yours, I know now…
Namek, she’d find Namek and get answers one way or another there.
You’re my only hope.
Unlocking x11 transformation styles after demonic heritage.