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Page name: Paradise Sought [Exported view] [RSS]
2011-10-28 23:55:16
Last author: Wish_Alley
Owner: lrs928
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Chpt 1

  "Flynn Anne McCarthy, don't you dare keep the chickens waiting all day!" Called a petite women flailing a spatula.
  A red mass of hair rolled out of bed. From the mass emerged one scrawny hand and then another. The right hand grouped the top of an old oak dresser until it clutched a brush and began to tackle the red mass. Dull amber eyes stared into the mirror above the dresser as the locks were push back from her face. Flynn McCarthy huffed; she pulled out plain white knee high dress with green leaf pattern pockets and straps. She pulled it over top her undergarments that were somewhere beneath her hair.
  Flynn tightened the straps behind her back making the dress tighten around her hips. It wasn't much but it defined what little curves she had. Her chest was as flat as a board causing the top half to be loose. Flynn figured she might as well be a boy but she couldn't seem go fight those thoughts of long gowns and romance.
  Left her room and walked down the half flight of stairs to the kitchen. The women with spatula turned and smiled. Her skin was fair but free of freckles unlike Flynn and her hair a deep auburn but her eyes matched Flynn's. This women was Lilly McCarthy a mother of two, Flynn and Asthore, and wife to huge stout man named Paul.
  "Get to your chores will you?" Chided her mother.
  Flynn rolled her eyes and walked to the door. She picked up a pair of knee high brown boots that laced up the side. They were flat boots with no heel that were caked in dirt.
  "Bye Mom, I'm going out to hang out with Seri after I'm done. I'll be back for dinner with Seri." Flynn said as she slammed the front door shut of the old brick house.
  Flynn stomped over to the chicken. She hated dealing with the chickens but she was stuck with chore since her brother had left.[lrs928]

   Servina crouched low on her branch in the tree, watching the carnivorous winged white rabbits rip the finned jackal to shreds. The swimming canine had come onto land a few days ago. Seri had watched it make its nest. This was the only time of year they came onto land. They swim up shore through streams from the ocean, usually with their mate, lay their eggs, and gorge themselves on fresh fruit and fish until they hatch. It seems this one's mate was killed shortly after mating. She watched as the creature finally stopped twitching as the rabbits ripped away flesh and cartilage. A few left the carcus and began sniffing around the sand bank of the stream, her eyes narrowed as she saw them coming close to her quarry. Her taloned feet gripped the branch tighter, and suddenly she lunged from her perch with a high-pitched screech. Wings spread, claws bared, she landed on the beach and swiped at the closest rabbit, ripping open its side.
   The rabbits looked up in shock, and bolted from their kill. Dashing into the brush, through the stream, or taking to the sky. She chuckled, which came out as a sort of low twittering. She watched the one's side she had split open try to limp away. She had gotten good at taking out tendon in both the wing and legs, making her prey practically a sitting duck. Of course, if ducks weren't possessed telepaths. She bent down and picked the poor thing up, snapping it's neck quick and easy. She tied it to the belt around her waist. She walked a few paces and crouched down, using her clawed hands to dig in the mound of sand at her feet. She came up with eggs. About twelve. She grinned, her teeth pointed. These were delicacies in The Compound. She would make a killing, and they only came around once a year. After sifting around in the sand for another few minutes, she came up with about seventeen eggs. She was going to be rich until winter. She carefully placed the eggs in a padded sack, put the sand back into place, and with a hard jump into the air, took flight.
   She flew high into the air, trying to catch air drafts until she was finally able to level out and coast. The vegetation surrounding The Compound was the only place she felt truly free. The bracelet at her wrist felt like a chain, even out here. A weight threatening to be too much for her wings to carry. She closed her eyes and just let the wind carry her for a few minutes, before finally opening her eyes and scanning the dense green vegetation below. Finally she spotted what she was looking for. A pool with a waterfall surrounded red brick rocks, standing out like a beacon. She closed her wings and dove for her place. She dropped quick, but just before she was level with the trees, she snapped out her wings and glided down, landing gracefully on a rock neck to the pool. Any animals drinking quickly scattered. She smirked and walk over to the pool.
   The waterfall was more a trickle, so the pool stayed relatively still. She bent over the water and starred down at the other worldly creature starring back at her. Long thin face, the skin tinted red. Feathers coming low on her face like sideburns, sweeping back long to form her hair. Down covered most of her breasts, pelvic area, and thighs. She stood on the balls so her feet, giving her another foot and a half on her usual height. Her fingers and toes ending in long sharp talons. Long feathered wings sprouted from her hand, up her arms, to her back, with tail feather blooming from her spine. Her eyes large, black, and glossy. Her teeth sharp and pointed. The only thing adorning her body was a leather belt belt, a sack filled with fruits, another filled with medicinal herbs, the sack with eggs and the dead Wingbit
   Seri smiled as the other worldly formed changed. Features shifted, feather disappeared leaving skin. She seemed to shrink as her body settled down on normal feet, talons shrinking into fingers, her hair deepening from red into a dark brown. She smiled, as finally her eyes returned to normal and she back to being a simple human. Minus the large, feathery tan wings sprouting from her back. She stood up and stretched, flexing her limbs, and wings. Once she had changed, but forgot to switch some joints and nearly dislocated her shoulders and hips. So she took precautions to test out her body whenever she changed anatomy. She liked her harpie form, but she would be blown out of the sky if she went back The Compound looking like that.
   She looked back down at her reflection. This body was a twenty something, with bodacious curves, full lips, and even fuller breasts. She let the features on her face shift, becoming softer, less prominent, lightening her eyes, hair and skin, shrinking her breasts, and everything else, until was softer, younger version of what she was before. More of a teenager, skinny, and still growing into her looks. She nodded satisfied and walked over to one of the many surrounding trees. She got down on her knees and pulled out a side bag. She pulled out a jade green top, dark brown pants, and heavy duty brown leather boots. The top had tied around her neck, and middle back, so she could use her wings. The pants were pretty form fitting and worn, and were tucked into the boots before she laced them up. She wrapped her Wingbit, and put it and her sack in her bag. She slung it over her shoulder and went back to the pool. It took a bit of concentration, but finally she went invisible.
   She head for the rocks that led up to the waterfall. She beat wings and finally took flight over the edge. She glided over the tops of the trees and rode a draft up higher into the sky. Going invisible was actually a camouflage she had learned from some giant beetles in a valley a couple hundred miles west of The Compound. They could project their surrounding to go practically invisible. This had become a useful trick for getting in and out of The Compound. Before she could only go out at night, when she could change her skin to match the sky. If she flew high enough, they would never know. But going out at night was way too dangerous. She glided on the winds, starring far a head on the horizon. A glint flashed in her eyes and she frowned. The Capital. Denied to anyone who couldn't pay enough.
   The Compound finally emerged from the trees, and as always she was disappointed to see it. It was as sad, dilapidated, and run down as always. She glided lower, until she was coasting slowly over the shacks of the lowest of classes. The roads were nothing but dirt. Little to know vegetation anywhere to be seen. Already she could feel the dust creeping onto her skin and clothes, and into her lungs. She finally left the crumbling shacks for the sturdier cabins of the farms. This area was at least alive. The are smelled fresh, with water and greens. Even the fecal matter of the animals was better than the dirty streets of the slums. She finally spotted the house she wanted. A crumbling old brick number, and there was Flynn tending the chickens, looking sour.
   She landed softly, so as not to be heard and crept up slowly on the frizzy headed princess. She decloaked herself, spooking the chickens, and grabbed the girl around her waist. Hoisting her into the air, and spinning her around.
"Gotcha!" Servina cried with a laugh, finally putting her down on her feet. [Wish_Alley]

   One of the chickens screeched letting loose a stream of hot water from it's mouth. Water drenched Flynn her matted hair flattened, clung to her frame. Her white dress soaked through showed off her dainty pink bra and panties. Flynn looked less than amused.
  "You just had to scar the chickens didn't you? If you'd waited just another ten minutes I'd be done feeding them. Good thing it will be sunny day today." Flynn said as she looked down at the display on the silver band on her left wrist.
  A digital date, time, and weather was displayed on the band. It appeared to be just a bother day. Flynn heaved a sigh grabbed a hand full of seeds from the sack next to them and scattered the seeds lazily. Flynn dusted her hands and then smiled. She looked at Seri deviously.
  "I think the chickens are good to go they have enough food as it is they don't need to be plump right away. So, let's me and you get the he'll out of here. I can't stand looking at the compound for another minute. Think we could get to the cliff with out getting caught by the guards?" Flynn asked Seri. [lrs928]

   Seri just smiled, but stepped back to watch her best friend work. She got very quiet at seeing Flynn's drenched dress. No one was around, so she let her eyes wander, and linger just a little too long in all the right places. When Flynn turned around, Seri immediately met her eyes, smiling, trying not let her guilt show looking into that bright face.
"Damn straight we won't get caught," Seri said, matching that mischievous smile.
   She grabbed Flynn, one arm under the back of her knees, the other around her back. She closed her eyes, even though she didn't really need to, but Flynn being this close was enough of a distraction without actually looking at her. Finally she felt they were both cloaked. She spread her wings, and after a few beats, and more frightened, water spewing from the chickens, they were in the air.
   Seri went straight up, and finally leveled off when she felt a strong draft meet her wings. They glided for awhile circling over The Compound until Seri decided they were high enough. She felt the winds picking up, and a smile graced her lips.
"You better hang on, princess," Seri said, as they picked up speed.
   They shot fast across the sky, Seri riding the winds like a pro. She couldn't help but laugh as the blew past The Compound and out over the wilderness. It was mostly flat forest grounds, splintered by rivers, for miles. The ground rose up didn't start rising up into hill for miles. Finally the trees were broken by a deep valley. Dust rose high into the air. The giant beetles were forever migrating this path. They were born, lived, and died on this path. Never deviating. Seri still hadn't figured out how they even fed themselves, let alone mated. As they pass overhead, black shells could be seen through the dense dust, appearing and disappearing in rippling waves.
   They continued still farther until trees reappeared, and hill turned into high mountains. What Seri knew of their country's history was that everything changed more than a hundred years ago after a chemical accident. Their teacher had told them that along with humans, animals, and plants going through changes, the geography of their planet did too. She never found out how, she had dropped out of school shortly after that. But what she did know is that the earth was still changing.
   She flew close to the mountain until she found until they over, and rose high into the air until she spotted it. A cliff she had found some years ago, with normal trees, and grass. This side of the mountain seemed relatively tame compared to the rest. No exploding birds, or ravenous Wingbits. The only reason she disliked coming here was because of Flynn's reason for liking this place so much...
   She touched down, and let Flynn down. After removing her boots, wiggling her toes in the cool grass, and shifting away her wings, she pulled out the sack of fruit and sat down. She tossed a bright red, lumpy gourde at Flynn. The juices inside sloshed. She pulled out a bright yellow green melon and bit right into the skin.
"Ther ya guh," she said through a full mouth of fruit, gesturing to the view, hoping the fruit hid the irritation in her voice. [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn shook the melon listening to it slosh. She was glad it wasn't an explosive melon but she would rather be sure now than have the stomach pains later. Melon guts on her damp dress would have been annoying but those stomach pains were another level of pain. She breathed in the fresh clean air; her eyes scanned the distant horizon. The capital city was just in sight. Tall towers of white peaked in the distance.
   "It is so beautiful. The land where the nation is organized. The keepers of peace and the defenders of the mighty nation all called it home. I'm so proud of Asthore. I wish I could see him at work. I would kill to work for the nation. I mean come one Seri look how amazing the capital is. The electricity and the flying vehicals whizzing about leaving that faint hum we can hear. It is height of man kind," She sighed "I want to go there so bad. I know mom would scoff at the notion of us visiting Asthore. You're only allowed in the city with passport. I know they are picky who gets in because they want to keep the nation safe from the people who want to end the nation's rule but still. God, I would give anything at all just for one trip there!" Flynn ranted as she paced the edge of the cliff. She balancing on the edge half her foot hanging off.
  She took a large bite of the melon. The juices ran down her face. She wiped the juices away with her forearm. Flynn dropped the melon and watched it plummet downward. Stretching upward she flexed her muscles and then bent back until her hands touched the little bit of ground behind her feet. She flipped over doing consecutive back walkovers on the edge. Whenever Flynn was excited she unconsciously began to do rather dangerous acrobatics.[lrs928]

   Seri swallowed her mouth full of fruit and tried to keep from bolting at listening to her best friend go on about the wonders of the Capital. It would be rude to leave her little farm princess here, in the wild, to fend for herself. Even if in Seri's mind it seemed like a proper punishment for salivating over the chance to go to the Capital.
   She had never been able to place why, but she hated that place. A deep seeded hatred she could never quite get a handle on. It wasn't their selective system for their occupants, that was just disgusting. It wasn't their secretive nature, as long as they left her and the ones she cared about alone, they could keep their secrets. It wasn't even the fact they lived to be above others. Leeching off farmers like Flynn's family, or taking the strong from the lower class ones. Taking food, money, and sometimes women. Seri had a loathing for them, but what she was aware enough to admit to herself was, she might hate them because Flynn loved them so much.
"So why not go there, whats stopping you?" she said starring at her fruit, and suddenly finding it distasteful, discarding it by chucking it up and over the edge. "And would you stop? You know you scare me with that stuff. I'm not sure I can change fast enough to catch you." [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn stopped and pivoted on her tiptoes. The gloss of her eyes dulled and all hint of excitement faded. A journey to the capital? It was like a fantasy. It could take weeks to get to the edges of the capitol. Her heart pounded. What was stopping her from going? Her parents were already short handed on the farm with Asthore gone. Flynn shook away the negative thoughts.
  Her dreams were more important than petty chores and tedious foot travel. She could see Asthore and finally see the capitol up close. Her body shook with joy and she burst into a smile. Her knees buckled and she collapsed to the ground. Flynn arms spread out as she fell into Seri hugging her.
  "Oh, Seri you are right I should go right now. I'll need someone with me though. Please, please tell me you will go with me to the capitol. You know it will be so boring with out me in compound and I need my best friend with me. Their might be some hotties along the way." She nudged Seri with a grin.[lrs928]

   Seri saw her working through the thoughts and immediately regretted what she had said. She didn't want to go to the Capital. She didn't want Flynn to go to the Capital. But then she was smiling, and suddenly her arms were around her, and any thought Seri could have had was gone. Utterly gone as she let her mind wander as she felt the heat of the body now touching her's. She let herself hug her back, just a quick squeeze, anything more would have been too lingering. Too personal, and she let go. Giving a weak smile. She would never be able to deny Flynn anything that would make her happy.
"H-Hotties, right," she said with a slight laugh. "What are we waiting for?"
   The only hottie she wanted was right in front of her.

----

   Once the spazzing and hugging had stopped, and Seri's brain started functioning again, she told Flynn she needed to think. They would need to do a lot of planning, for routes and supplies. So Seri needed to think, and the best way for her to think was to work with her hands. She sat Flynn down, and after rummaging in her bag came out with a worn hardback book, and comb. Flynn smiled, and took the book, knowing what was next.
   Because Seri was illiterate, she liked to listen to people read. At least thats what she told Flynn. Truth was she just liked to hear Flynn's voice. Even if she stumbled over words, and slang slipped in, it was one of the things Seri allowed herself to love without question. Since they had been coming here, Seri would bring Flynn books and have her read. And while she was reading Seri would braid Flynn's hair. It seemed to make up for inability to read, Seri could memorize picture extrememly well. When she went exploring in the dense forests she would find old, abandoned houses, and come across things she heard others call 'magazines.' The would sequences for doing hair, or make up, or just random pictures. Flynn seemed to enjoy it, because it tamed her frizzy hair.
   Flynn would picture a random page and just start reading. This seemed to be some sort of old history book, so Seri paid little attention to what was being said exactly as she began to work the small comb through Flynn's hair. She made three long, straight threads, wetting them from time to time with water from a sack. She began weaving them together in what people had told her was a 'French Braid.' She always went slow, making sure the weave was tight, but that strands fell here and there like she liked. As she could see more and more of Flynn's neck and shoulders, bright red in the sun, covered in freckles, she feels her chest tighten. An unfortunately familiar feeling.
   She had almost done it once. Told her how she felt. It was when they were here watching the fireworks in the Capital once, at night. The moon had been full, so she could see Flynn's neck and shoulders perfectly. Flynn of course had been enamored by the fireworks. Hadn't noticed when Seri had reached out a hand to touch a shoulder, every intention to let linger too long. To press lips to that neck, to see what sound she could get if she sucked there. To see what would happen if she just let her hands go... Then another boom and Flynn's much younger face brightened with an excited gasp.
   Seri's dreams that night had been scandalous. She woke up sweating, hand working between her thighs. Even if she knew it was wrong, she had kept going, letting herself moan Flynn's name before promising she would never do it again. She attributed it to too much time in the forest. She made sure she took long cold bathes, flew regularly, and genuinely tired herself to the bone. The heat had become controllable in the last two years.
   She snapped out of that thought and quickly finished the braid. The sun was getting low and she still had stuff to do in The Compound. She packed up her stuff, and relaced her boots, all too happy to tear Flynn away from her precious view of the city. She cloaked them and off they went again on the winds. As they went she told Flynn she needed to think of a way to deal with her parents. They weren't just going to let her leave, and if she was gone for more than a day they would certainly call the guards. So they would have to do something about their bracelets. She rattled on as they arrived back at The Compound, and she dropped Flynn off at her home. [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn looked up at Seri. A bat of her lashes and a pout lip meant she didn't wan't Seri to leave. Flynn was known for playing this card when she wanted Seri to stay over. There she stood looking up at her best friend. Seri was rather amazing she could look anyway she wanted. If Seri would just stop judging the capital she knew they would accept Series with open arms. Shapeshifters were rare and many slipped through the cracks but the government was sure their new tracking program would prevent that.
  Honestly, Flynn knew that she was jealous of Seri. Her ability to look however she wanted it could be so helpful not to mention useful in a fight. What could Flynn do? She could balance well and tumble. Bravo, she could do what humans could do before the change. Flynn felt so pathetic. The capital would never accept her into the governments guard. From what school she did have she learned her power barely reached over a humans but her parents were upper mid powered and Asthore was high leveled his band went off triggering the visit from the government last year.
  "Please Seri, I all ready told mom you were coming for dinner. What is a little more family time going to hurt? After all we are like sisters right?" Flynn said with a few more bats of her eyes. [lrs928]

   Seri tried to not show how much the word 'sisters' burned her very soul. If they were sisters, Seri was a borderline sinner. She hadn't even had the heart to tell Flynn she had disabled her band years ago without being detected. Else she would have been hauled off to the capital the moment she learned to change her shape.
   Seri still looked hesitant, she had a lot to do. But a few more bats of those eyelashes, a tug on her arm, an almost quiver to the lip, and once again Seri was reminded of how she would never able to deny Flynn anything. Even if it meant breaking her own heart a little every time. She softened her smile as sign she gave in.
"Fine, but I need to leave first thing in the morning," Seri whispered softly. "Cause I needed to start getting supplies hours ago." [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn tugged on Seri's arm to pull her along. Glee was building up inside of her. She loved having Seri with her over night. Flynn's parents loved her as well, as long as nothing bad was said of the government.
  "It going to be perfect mom was making iceberry pie this mooring. The whole house smelled of them when I woke up. Well, that and bacon." She made a face at the mention of bacon.    
  When she was a kid she helped her mom hatch a baby chick and got a bit too attached. Needles to say she had chicken noodle soup oneday and the chicken was gone. Her mom had never been one to be discrete and informed Flynn that they ate chickens not befriend them. Since that day Flynn had stuck to fruits and veggies. She wasn't aposed to the occasional dairy product since an animal didn't have to die for her to eat or drink it.
   "We can stay up talking about the plan and in the morning I'll get up early and go fetch whatever you need me too. I can even go distract Avry Barns so you can get some bread. Or I'm sure I can flirt with him enough to get some out of him. You know how big a crush he has on me. I'm not sure why nothing special here." Flynn said. She was really hard on her Self. Her lack of self confidence was apparent. She had left school as soon as she began to struggle with the academic portion. In gym she had did well nothing to gawk at but she passed by just a little over above average. She was thirteen when she left taking leave to work on the family farm. Her parents didn't care. School wasn't for girls like Flynn and they needed the farm hand. They raised chickens for the cities people depended on them.
  The two entered the brick home covered in ivy. Flynn's parents turned from the kitchen counter where the two were cutting meat for dinner a salad set off to the side in a plastic bowl. They both smilled at Seri and Flynn. 
  "Evening girls, take a seat at the table. Dinner is almost done." Mrs McCarthy purred.
----

  The dinner was nothing out of the ordinary. Lots of talk about what the government was planning to do for the anniversary of the establishment. Fireworks were the norm for the occasion so it really didn't need mentioning. Then they went on and on about how proud they were of Asthore's pledge. Flynn found herself drifting off when her mother started in on the compound gossip. At some point Seri must have dragged her up to the bed room and helped her into bed because next she knew her mom was calling her down for breakfast. It was pouring outside flashes of light blinked in the sky accomapanied by deep rumbles. Rain was pouring in through the window. It you could call it that. Like all the windows in the house they had no screen or glass just two wooden planks they used as shutters in event of a storm. Since the change of the world storms had become even more unpredictable. Tornados roamed every where and hail the size of small chickens were normal. Flynn found it hard to imagine why her ancestors would have ever worried about pea sized hail.
  She drug herself out of bed once again. Her feet splashed into a puddle of rain water that had pooled on her floor. Irritably Flynn made it the six feet to her dresser and began to push back her hair. Like most days she pulled on another hand made dress and made her way down stairs. Hail had obviously hit once already because the kitch now had a new skylight and a chunk of ice was still melting on the floor. Her father would be working hard today to repair the roof again.
  Something was wrong, her mother was weeping at the table and breakfast was nothing more than toast and jam. She walked to the table and sat down beside her mom who put on a brave smile for Flynn.
"Honey," her mom started.
  Flynn knew it was bad news from the one word. When her grandma had died and her when her winged cat died mom had opened the same way. She bit her lip bracing for what her mom would say next.
  "The chickens," her mom spouted.
"I'll feed them in a minute just tell me what's wrong!" Flynn snapped but her mom held her hand up and shook her head.
  "No, the chickens died. All of the chickens died. The chicken coop was struck by lightning and what did make it from there were pulverized by the hail. Our entire live stock for next few months. With out it we won't have...have money... to eat." Her mom started into a fit of hysterics.
 Flynn stood silently and grabbed her boots and left. She ran into the rain and just ran aimlessly toward the wall. The gate was open a guard laid out on the ground clearly dead. A piece of hail broken beside him. She took it all as a sign that this was her time to go. Her feet took her deep into the woods where she collapsed and began to weep. What would her family do to survive? [lrs928]
  Flynn was surprised to see Seri had gon

   Seri let herself get led along. It wasn't like she was opposed to having dinner with Flynn's folks, they had known her since she was practically an infant. They were like her surrogate parents. Not a lot of people knew, but Seri wasn't born in The Compound, or the Capital, or anywhere anyone knew really. She had been found in a forest at one of the smaller cities on a whole different continent. At least thats what her care taker at the children's home had told her when she was old enough. She had been found by patrolling guards, just a baby sitting in the woods. No sign of parents, or anyone to explain how she got there. So they sent her to the Capital for processing. Her chemicals levels were low then, so they didn't think she was anything special, even if she showed an ability to mimic the mol-- sciencey mumbo jumbo saying she could mimic other people's DNA on a micro-whatever level. What they didn't know is that she matured quickly, and her power blossomed without almost anyone noticing.
   She was able to use other's abilities because she could mimic their DNA, the very thing that made them, them. It wasn't stealing, she could just look at them and hear their 'frequency,' as she called it. Everyone's body moved differently from what she could tell, and it was just a matter of making her body do the same thing. Soon she could mimic features, and whole forms. Changing her very bone structure, gender (even if she found being a man boring), and physiology, was like breathing for Seri. As soon as she was able to fly, she began taking trips into the woods. On one such occasion, she was mimicking some sort of electric bug, when she shorted out her bracelet. She wasn't sure how, but she freaked out, afraid they would find her. But no one did, she quickly learned that was the best thing to happen to her, else she would have had to leave The Compound a long time ago.
   She found out she wasn't from here when she was almost eleven and sort of lost her way. No one adopted her, so she took matters into her own hands. Already struggling with school because of her strange inability to read written words, she left the children's home, and school. There wasn't anything they could do to stop her, so they just let her go. She thrived in the woods, learned more than she ever did in school, and her ability flourished.
   She met Flynn the day she started school at four years of age. Her parents were dropping of her brother, and Seri saw her in her mother's arms. Red hair already coming in strong. They didn't officially meet until three years later, but they became fast friends. When Flynn found out she left school and the children's home, she made her promise to come stay with them. It was around then Seri knew she was helpless to this red head asking, or telling her to do anything. So she stayed with the McCarthys, helping around the farm when she wasn't out in the woods, and putting up with Asthore. It was about a year later when she started to notice Flynn in a way that no female best friend should. After that she stayed in the woods more, until she finally decided she couldn't stay away from Flynn and she would need to sort these things out. If it hadn't been for Flynn, she would have left The Compound a long time ago.
   Flynn was her's, she wasn't afraid to say it. She hated the way some people looked at her. If this was settled in the woods, she would fight them to the death to sway Flynn and make her her mate. But Flynn would probably think she was a freak. In The Compound women were only just a peg above live stock. If they didn't have an ability worthy to the Capital, they were to marry, and bear children worthy of going to the Capital. Basically they were expected to live and die here. Seri would never have to worry about that. She was about as desirable as a bag of sand. As she had heard others put it, she was too wild. No one would be able to tame her. But Seri wouldn't let that happen to Flynn. Which is why she wanted people like Avry Barns to stay the hell away from her.
   Rape was a common occurrence The Compound, it happened daily, and went unreported more often than not. Women in the lower parts of town were made to believe it was their duty to pleasure men. Even if they bore multiple children without ever being married, most thought they were doing a duty to the Capital. Seri found Avry on one such occasion she was testing her new found invisibility. This girl was not one of those brain washed dopes, she was crying, and trying to scream, as he was on top of her, pants down. What Seri did next she made sure neither of the parties involved would ever speak of. She changed, into a horrible, serpent like beast, eight arms, horns and fire spewing from her mouth. She beat Avry within an inch of his life and told him if he ever did this again, or he ever told anyone about this, she would take him to the woods and show him what Mother Nature was capable of doing when you were lower than scum. He ran away, bruised, bloody, and screaming, pants at his knees. But Seri was never arrested. She helped the girl, told her to report it. She said she would, but she never did. She was married now, to a kind fabric maker, they had three kids. Whenever she and Seri saw one another in public, she would simply nod in Seri's direction and continue with what she was doing. She was about as close to a friend Seri had that wasn't Flynn.

"I'll handle Avry," she said with an edge to her voice. "I'll have you get some other supplies."

   Dinner was simple as always with the McCarthys. If Seri kept her mouth shut, things went smoothly. She let them talk, adding in a faked or lied opinion to appease the people she thought of as parents. She tuned them out though when they started going on about Asthore, the government, and the Capital. It had been awhile now since he left and he was still all they talked about. It was even rubbing off on Flynn. Flynn was just as talented, and good looking as Asthore. Seri wished her parents could see that. Seri indulged in the dessert, and small chit chat with Flynn's parents, getting more comfortable when they gave her a small bit of wine.
   Despite her promise they would speak of their plans to leave The Compound, Flynn fell asleep first. Once Seri had finished her wine, she waited for her parents to turn their backs before she came over and gently picked Flynn up. She cradled her like a precious package that might break, only allowing the hand under Flynn's knees the barest of rubs to taint this precious cargo. As she laid her on the bed, a thought occurred. She looked over her shoulder, shifting her ears to hear that her father was already in bed, her mother was just finishing cleaning up. She looked back down at Flynn and finally decided.

"Sorry Mom and Dad," she gave in the quietest of whispers.

   She slipped the straps of her dress off her shoulders, and silently pulled the dress away. She laid Flynn on the bed, and quietly took a seat in a chair opposite her, shifting her eyes so she could see everything, even in the dark little room. It wasn't like Flynn was naked, or that Seri hadn't seen her naked. Since Seri began to realize she thought of Flynn differently, she tried not to be alone with her, where her eyes could linger, where she could be found out and lose the only connection she had left to humanity. Already she felt dirty just doing this much, even if she had no intention of laying in the bed with her, or touching. That was cheating. She just wanted to look at that pale freckled skin, those pretty little lips, her hair, the curves of her face, anything. She didn't care that Flynn didn't have curves, or big breasts. She liked her the way she was.
   Seri finally curled up in her chair and fell asleep. She was just having a dream where Flynn was letting her touch her when a crack of thunder in the distance roused her. She woke up and heard the rain starting outside. Her body was already hot from the dream, so she decided it was time to leave. The sun wasn't even up yet, so neither were the older McCarthys, so she put up their shutters on their few windows. She left the Wingbit for Mrs. McCarthy, and quietly went outside. She was so thankful for the rain cooling her skin and mind. She started to leave when she looked at the chickens, scurrying into their coup to escape the rain. She thought maybe she should wake the McCarthys about the coming storm, but it was just rain. The center would probably miss them entirely. She shifted her wings, cloaked herself, and took flight. Everything would be fine.

----

  She heard the crying before she saw the creature. But she saw the creature before she saw the source of the crying. The rain was starting to pick up again when the Dragonpede emerged from the trees heading for its prey. All Seri knew was that it's prey was human which meant, sorry Mr. Dragonpede, your babies will have to go hungry today. As the Dragonpede reared on it thousands of legs, drool dripping from the pointed teeth in it's gaping mouth, Seri crashed into it full speed in her Harpie form. It roared as in toppled over falling onto it's side. She looked over at the tiny form, drenched with rain and her heart nearly stopped when she saw the oh so familiar red hair. She dove for the tiny form, taking to the air immediately. She wasn't worried about the Dragonppede. They were slow, it would take him hours to right himself, and by then he will have forgotten about his lost prey. What she was worried about was the storm picking up again.
   She flew like a bat out of hell through the pounding rain drops, shielding her little farm princess as much as she could. She made it to the pool with the waterfall just as melon sized hail began to pummel the ground. She slipped them behind the waterfall and into a small cave just as a piece cracked right where they had just been. Seri shifted away her form to normal, not caring that she was stark naked, and now cold, as she frantically rummaged in her bag for a blanket. She pulled it around Flynn's shoulders and over her head, trying to bundle her in it before she grabbed her friend's face with both of her hands.

"Flynn, baby?" she said not caring that one of her pet names slipped out, as she was near hysterical. "Whats wrong? What happened? Why the hell are you out here!? Flynn, talk to me, please honey."

   She kept her hands on Flynn's face, trying to get some warmth into it. Not caring that she was too close to her face, or that she could see through Flynn's clothes. Or that her reaction was more than just a concerned friend. She was freaking out, and she didn't care if she was discovered. [Wish_Alley]
  
  Flynn took a deep breath trying to calm herself. She was crying so hard the words just wouldn't come out. Everything seemed to be falling apart, but she couldn't help but feel like this was a push the universe was giving her to just go. She started to speak but everything sounded like gibberish. Could she leave her parents? If she stayed wouldn't she just be a burden? Would the even miss her? Would they be happy? Would they make it threw the hard times?

  With all her might she pushed away from Seri. She had never felt so disgusting. She wished that Seri had just let her die. It would have been less painful than feeling these feelings. Flynn scooted farther away from Seri; she reached the edge of the cave and stopped. She wanted to hide away from everyone just until her head was clear. Another wave of painful thoughts hit her. Flynn's chest fluttered and now she couldn't keep it in.
  Lips burst open and chunks of vomit spewed from Flynn. Her back heaved as she let it all out. Most the vomit fell off the side and mixed into the water bellow. Fish below she was sure were going nuts. Her second hand food would be a feast for them. Finally, she laid her head down and closed her eyes. Her heart was finally slowing.

  Flynn knew that by this point Seri was terrified by the scene. She couldn't bare took look up and see that sympathetic look. Suddenly, the idea of that look even possibly being on her best friends face made her furious. The word baby, echoed in her mind. Who did Seri think she was acting like her mother. Calling her a child was driving her mad.

  "Don't baby me, Servina. I hate it when you act like my mother. I'm not a child. Most girls my age are married or working. I don't need you to save me! It would be a hell of a lot better if I didn't exist right now. My parents wouldn't have to worry about me or feed me if I didn't exist." Thunder clapped, "Fuck, I don't know what to do any more. I can't go back home. They won't even have a shot if they have to take care of me too. I'm sorry I know I'm yelling and making a total ass of myself but now I realize that there is not time to waste. I have to get to the capital. My brother should be making enough to help them. I just have to inform him of the situation and see if her can push them higher on the move list. They need to get out of that house;" she still refused to look at Seri, "The storm last night, it hit hard. Lightning struck the coope and killed the majority of the chickens and the rest died in the hail. Ironic how hail the size of the chickens killed the chickens. My parents have lost this seasons crops months of pay that they normally would live off not to mention loosing some of their own food. Mom, is devastated." Flynn said with a deep sigh. [lrs928]

   Seri watched the whole scene with pain. She wanted to reach out, to hold her. But that wasn't right. She wouldn't be comforting her as a friend. Hearing how much Flynn hated the nicknames, and pet names. It stung in a worse way. Like a mother? Is that what Flynn thought...? She really didn't see it? She felt a lump forming in her throat the more Flynn spoke, her chest feeling like it would break open.
   The thought of a world without Flynn, was traumatizing. She wanted to grab Flynn, pin her to this cave floor and scream at her for putting such images in her head. Make her see how important she was. How much Seri couldn't live without her. Which... Seri was only just realizing, which made this all hurt so much more. So she stayed where she was. Pulled her knees up to her chest, and wrapped her arms around her legs. She said the only thing she knew would help Flynn. The one thing Flynn wanted to hear.

"Okay. Okay," She said in a small voice. "Once the storm is over. I'll get the supplies. And we'll go." [Wish_Alley]

   "I'm sorry, I really am Seri. You know I'd go alone but I doubt I can fight off the wild. There are so many plants and animals that I've never even encountered. I mean I almost died in minutes of being in the forest. And plus who will keep my hair from becoming an afro? I know... I know that you aren't fond of the capital but if we go there you might find it isn't that bad. The journey will be fun too. You and me 24/7 traveling. It will be like we are those pioneers in the old times." Flynn said her voice had a hint of a smile in it.
   Flynn wondered though if it was ok to drag Seri along. This was so selfish of her. She knew Seri hated the capital. Every fiber in her body could feel the wave of detest that Seri breathed every time the capital was mentioned. She tried to convince herself that Seri needed to come with her. Seri wouldn't love her if she kept up this grim attitude. Flynn rolled over and looked at Seri.

    "You know that your the only one who understands me. You are all that I have. My parents barely even think of me as more than an extra hand. They gave up really caring years ago when they realized I was useless. How is it you can even stand by me? I'm boring, selfish, ugly, pathetic?" Flynn said with a sigh. Her heart was completely sinking yet again.[lrs928]

   Seri didn't respond right away. She had made a decision. The decision to stop thinking of Flynn. Stop wanting her. Stop having these feelings. She was her best friend. She wanted to do something and she needed her best friend and guide. Not this person who wanted nothing but to ravish her body in the worst ways. She took a deep breath. It was going to take time, but this was the first step.

"Oh please, everyone loves you. Practically everyone is tripping over themselves for you to be their bride. I'm more concerned why you hang out with me. I'm practically public enemy number one," she said offhandedly, trying to make it seem light, joking. "But it doesn't matter what they think. I'll always be there for you."

   She wanted to say they would always understand each other. But that wasn't right. [Wish_Alley]

  "You aren't an enemy people are just jealous. I mean you are a true jem. You can shape-shift one of the most rare gifts in the world. Not to mention you are every boys fantasy. You can be every girl a boy dreams of. Plus, the government will make you an offer one day. They'll want you to protect the people of our nation. I know your not fond of the government but still what an honor." Flynn sighed.

  To Flynn Seri was everything she wished she could be. There were times when she wondered if her parents loved her more. She'd heard them talk from time to time about how Seri was like the daughter she always wanted. Her mom would sputter on how Asthore and Seri should marry. The thought of her mom saying that again still stung.

  Her emotions spun again. Flynn was never good at letting out her emotions. Normally, she kept them locked up inside her chest. Numb to the outside she wore a smile and rarely dealt with the pain in her heart. She would become bitter and little grumpy but not fall into a rage. Today however she was finding it hard not to let everything out. Already, the emotions were slipping from her box of control.

  "I can't help but hang out with you. I feel like everyone else is boring compared to you. You're my sister the one I spent every exciting moment with. Would you mind if I didn't go with you to get the supplies. I really don't want to go back. It will be to hard to seem them again. If they see you tell them that you haven't seen me. I've got to figure out how to disable the tracking device on this damn band." Flynn said as she tugged on the silver band on her arm.

  She gave the band a yank. A bolt of electricity coursed through her veins. She had tried to get the band off once before when she was eight. That time she didn't recall it shocking her but then again it did go off instead. An alarm was probably better than shocking an eight-year-old. The shocking stopped and she cradled her left hand in her right. It hurt a lot now. If at all possible it seemed that the shock had caused Flynn's hair to frizz out more.[lrs928]

   Seri tried not to retort that, because it would only come out angry. She knew what people said about her, and it made her hate herself. She knew the McCarthys wanted her for a daughter in law, just as Asthore had thrown himself at her for years. Thinking his good looks would make her accept him eventually. He had tried to make her marry him once, saying if she was already touched no one would take her. She nearly back handed him through a wall. But none of them wanted her. They wanted her ability. They wanted grandchildren with abilities as amazing as her's, and that was too much to ask.
   She was comforted that Flynn liked her for her though. Even if it made the whole forgetting-I'm-love-with-you-bit that much harder. But she finally relaxed, even if she knew she still needed to comfort Flynn. She would oblige and get the supplies herself.

"Thats fine. I can---," she looked up as she noticed Flynn tugging at her band. "No, don't!"

   But it was too late. She watched the shock vibrate through Flynn's body and winced. Trying to keep the smile off of her face when she noticed Flynn's hair standing up just a little frizzier. But she needed to say something, so she steeled her face, and looked serious as she grabbed Flynn's hand. You're not in love with her, you're not in love with her...

"Allow me," She said, fazing her hand to a vibrant blue, electricity rippling over the sirface. "This might sting a bit."

   With a zap the band was fried and came loose from Flynn's hand. Seri removed and chucked it into the pool just outside the cave. You're not in love with her.

"They never noticed mine. I doubt they'll notice your's," she said off handedly, then took hold of Flynn's face with one hand.
"I'm only going to say this once, so I need you to listen. You will do everything I say. No more saying I'm babying you, no more saying you don't want to be here. You have a mission, and I won't do it for you. We're going to find you're brother, but you're going to deliver that message. So you will do what I tell you, when I tell you. No arguing, no saying you hate me, or I'm mean. These woods are dangerous, you almost died. I won't let that happen, if you copperate," she said, cursing herself on that last line, realesing Flynn's face. "Understood?"

   Flynn looked dumb founded. She had never seen Seri so stern. She took a deep breath and then nodded her head. At this point she wasn't going to argue with Seri. Her best friend was helping her escape the compound.

"Good," Seri said, looking outside at the the chunks of hail still cracking the rocks and into the pool. "We'll be here awhile it seems. So just focus on staying warm so you don't get sick."

   Seri began rummaging in her bag for clothes, suddenly feeling very chilled being naked in the damp cave. [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn suddenly realized that Seri was very naked. She couldn't help but stare at the deep curves of her hips. She swallowed hard and blinked as she noticed just how big Seri's boobs were. Seri's boobs were what she would say in your face.
 
   "Yeah, I should stay warm." Flynn said as she forced her eyes away from Seri.

  Flynn stifled a sneeze. Some how when someone mentioned to stay warm as not to get sick that was when she got sick. She needed to get her clothes off. They were just making it colder, not to mention how muddly they were. Flynn struggled for a moment but finally pulled off her soaked dress. Next, she loosened the laces on her boots and kicked them off. Her pink bra was replaced by a lacy black one. Her undies were black with white polka dots. A tiny red bow on the front. Flynn laid the dress over a rock inside the cave.

"There that should help keep me from getting cold. Mom, said that getting out of wet clothes will help but does that include undergarments?" She asked Seri.[lrs928]

   Seri had immediately stopped what she was doing the moment she heard the fabric rustle. It was totally against her will when she looked over. Literally starring. Outright starring. Where had Flynn even managed to find undergamrents like that? Seri didn't even own any, they were too resticting, and half the time just being taken off. She was sure her face was red. She was sure she looked stupid. But the moment she heard the question come out of Flynn's mouth, she did another thing totally against her will.

"Yes. Yes, I think it does," she said in a calm voice.

God dammit... [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn gave a nod and tossed the bra and panties onto the cave floor. She had turned her front half away from Seri and looked out into the rain. The storm wasn't showing any sign of stopping any time soon. The hail was coming down in spurts. Her mind wandered back to the house and she hoped in wasn't damaged too much but when it hailed the house always got holes. Her parents had always spent their time focusing double reinforcing the chicken coop. This time it just wasn't enough.
  Her shoulders sagged and she turned back to Seri. She put on a smile. If there were guys around she would have been embarrassed but it was just her and Seri. She felt relaxed and free. Her figure not doubt was boyish. Her left breast was small and perky but her right one was smaller. No, it wasn't natural. Her right breast was missing the tip and a large scar from the tit inward to the chest was a deep gash. The slice was clean, it was defiantly from a knife. It was old, her bra had just barely covered it from sight. [lrs928]

   As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Seri regretted it. Mostly for the guilt she felt. She wondered if leaving into the hail was a good enough punishment... But she was here, and Flynn was naked. She might as well go to hell happy. She dropped her head, trying to seem discreet, but her eyes took in everything she could see. She tried to tell herself it was her last ditch effort to get over Flynn. To get ready to head for the Capital, and if they made it back without being caught, she would disappear into the forest and never taint Flynn with her eyes again. But Seri knew, somewhere in her mind, that was crap. All of it.
   She wanted to touch Flynn, kiss Flynn, make Flynn scream her name with pleasure. She wanted to tell Flynn everything she loved about her, that made her so wonderful. To test out theories and fantasies Seri played out in her head. Take Flynn from everything that made her sad and grow old with her. But here she was, acting like a peeping tom, because the last time she had seen Flynn naked neither had hit puberty yet. Just wishing she could get her mouth on those breasts... She froze.

"Flynn...," Seri said in a small voice. "W-Where did you get that scar?" [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn paled. The scar... The scar, she hadn't thought about what she was revealing. No one, not even Seri had even had a hint about what had happened. Her mom hadn't seen her naked and nor had Seri since she was younger. Immediately she turned away ashamed. She had never spoke of this. She'd stared at the scar every night for a month and then she had made sure she had worn a bra that didn't dip down to low.

"It was just... I just went over there for a minute. He said that mom had an order he needed me to take home. He didn't mean to he was just... Just trying to make me like him and accidentally bumped me into the... the, um barbed plant." Flyn lied terribly. She avoided using a name and it was blatantly obvious she didn't just fall into the barbed plant.

  Tears were welling up in her eyes. She knew that Seri wasn't buying that bullshit story. This was far from easy for her to admit. She'd buried this so far in her little box that she had let herself believe it was all okay. That was until Seri asked.

  "I went into town a few months back. You were gone out in the woods and mom gave me some money for new clothes. I ran into an older gentlemen who knew my parents. He worked at one of the convenience stores. He told me my mom had bought some new bird feed. He asked if I wouldn't mind taking it home. I thought no big deal it would save mom the trip up and she had given me quite a bit of money. I bought the bra and panties and a couple dresses with it. Well, he took me back to the back of the house and showed me the feed. It really was there with my mom's name on it and all but the next thing I knew he had shut the door to the room. For an old guy he was so fast... and" Flynn cried again and this time she fell silent letting only tears fall down. [lrs928]

   Seri wasn't sure what she felt just then. So many emotions, she could barely get a grasp on any of them. What did know is, she was angry. More than angry. Beyond rage, beyond fury. Someone had done something to her precious person, and she was only just now finding out? Someone had hurt her. Made her cry. She was still crying. She was going to find this person. She was going to find him and hirt him. She him a smidge of what he had caused Flynn. She him what hell on earth was like...
   But right now... She moved towards Flynn. Throwing her plan out the window. Fuck her plan. She pulled Flynn into her arms. Wrapping her in her arms, and the blanket. Warming her chilled body with her own. Ignoring if Flynn struggled, ignoring if she wanted to be let free. She just held her. Not caring if it was friendlyor otherwise. She hugged her, rubbing her back, rocking her, trying to soothe her crying. Whispering how much she loved her, how beautiful she was, how they were going to leave this damned place, and she would never have to come back. [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn let her friend comfort her. It was nice to have the warmth and the gentel touch. Seri's words were so flowery but they seemed genuine. Her best friend, her sister loved her. They were words she wished she could hear from her biological family members more than once a year on her birthday. Flynn's crying slowed. Her scar didn't feel like it was burning her chest so much anymore. It had weighed down on her for so long she had forgotten what it felt like with out the burning sensation. Flynn's eyes were pink from the tears she had shed. Her body felt drained and she relaxed against her friends grasp.
  "I should have told you sooner," She said wiping a tear from her eye. " look at me I'm such a cry baby today. It was a While ago, and the last time we went to the market his whole shop had been burned down and he was no where to be found. I still wonder how I ended up by the old oak tree bandaged up. One of my new dresses were on and the bag of clothes and the bag of feed were beside me." Flynn said as she thought back. [lrs928]

   Now that Flynn had settled, their proximity caught Seri off guard. Even as she held Flynn who laid against her content, happy to be consoled by a friend, Seri was already trying to think of a way to take advantage of that trust. No... That wasn't right. She wanted to say it. To really tell Flynn, that she would be anything Flynn needed her to be. But she already knew that answer. Flynn needed a friend, a sister. Not someone who wanted to stay in this cave and 'mark her territory.' She gently pulled herself away from Flynn, feeling disgusted with herself, already throwing back up the walls she had previously hacked down. The storm had moved on, the sun already coming out it was time to go.

"Well thats okay. It was hard for you, but now I know. You can cry all you need to. Its part of healing," She said without looking at Flynn, grabbing pants out of her bag and pulling them on. "The storm has moved on. I better get into town now. I probably won't be back till dark, so we'll start out in the morning. Stay here. Do not leave the cave. There's some fruit in my bag if you get hungry. Stay warm, sleep."

   She pulled on a top with long sleeves, but like most everything she owned, it left her back bare. She pulled out small bags and other wrapped things, and put them all into a spare sack. She was trying to hide her hands from shaking. These were thing she needed though, and she needed to focus. She tied the sack string, gave a quick good bye, and dashed out of the cave, stumbling over large melting chunks, she shifted out her wings and took flight.

----

   Getting back in The Compound was easy. This had apparently been one hell of a storm, that forced even the guards from their posts. The city was a strange desert of broken roofs, scattered bodies, and ice chunks everywhere. Sights like these weren't uncommon. They happen at least once a month, totally unpredictable, and The Compound was left to pick up the pieces in its wake.
   The McCarthy home was empty like everywhere else, so sneaking in and getting spare clothes easy. She grabbed pants and shirt, more undergarments, another dress or two, and coat, stuffing them all into one of Seri's bags. She grabbed some spare clothes she kept them, and headed for the door.
   The only place in The Compound that would be open, even during a deadly storm, was the black market. An underground ring for seedy guards, an those smart enough to know how to make a living, and those wealthy enough to pay. She was able to sell all of her Finackal eggs she had collected over the last week for a killing. She picked up another bag, which she filled with food, as much vacuum sealed, or pickled food as she could get. It would keep longer, and the farther they got into woods she didn't know, the less risks she would take hunting their food. She picked up some solar flashlights, four water sacks, tarps, ropes, knives, and two machetes. She made it to Avry's stalls, and with one look she got six loaves of bread, a small jar of cheese, dried and fresh meat, and load of tea. As she was leaving, she passed Old Gark's stall. He had been a weapons specialist for the Capital for a long time before they found alternatives. Now he made them for others to protect themselves. His guns didn't requite bullets, or cartridges, they went off solar energy they stored. He gave her a fair price, and she unloaded, half of the money she had left, and a few precious items she had been waiting to trade. It was expensive, but she knew it would come in handy sometime. The Compound was just coming back to life to clean up as she left its gates behind and arrived back at the cave. Just as the sun sunk below the horizon. [Wish_Alley]

  When Seri left, Flynn walked to the back of the cave. She picked a smooth flat area and took to sleeping there. Flynn had slept late today and yet now she felt like she hadn't slept at all. Her limbs weighed her down and her eyes burned crying out to be shut. She wanted Seri back now. Why did they need so many things anyway? Weren't there stories of younger kids running off with absolutely nothing and they made it out just fine. At least she thought they made it out fine she had never really invested in reading one of those books all the way through. In fact she had never really finished any book all the way through. Not even the books she had been made to read for school. She just guessed the ending or asked others about the ending and called it good.
  Flynn sighed and closed her eyes. She pulled the blanket up to just above her mouth and sprawled out on her back. It didn't take long before Flynn had fallen completely asleep. Small little snores escaped her as her chest rose up and fell slowly. Her dreams were mixed with nightmares and moments of pure bliss. Fire seemed to be consistent though. Her mind focused on burning building and lit candles. Ever time the flame appeared in her dream it flickered and then seemed to freeze. The entire scene would become a still and she would walk through it. The strangest thing was that whether it was a peaceful dream or one that roared eerily it was completely void of any other person.[lrs928]

   Seri came back just as the night life of the woods came alive. More clouds had moved in so she expected rain if nothing else tonight. The Compound was really getting it bad today. She slipped inside, planning on commenting to Flynn how bad The Compound had been only to find her softly snoring. Seri sighed, even if she understood. She dropped the bags, and began cleaning up Flynn's strewn clothes. Making sure her mind didn't wander too much as she carefully lifted the undergarments and folded them into the dress. She then silently began rearranging things in the bags. Folding clothes, consolidating what could be consolidated, and making sure weight was evenly distributed. Taking careful consideration to hide the gun from Flynn, but in an easy to grab location. She left out the two machetes, half a loaf of bread, some cheese, some fruit, and two tea bags. It wouldn't be much of a breakfast, but Seri wouldn't have a chance to get other supplies until they were on the move.
   She finished arranging everything, and set the alarm on her cheap digital watch. She took a seat, placing one of the machetes in her lap and looked over at Flynn silently snoring away. Seri would have been absorbed in how cute it was, how she would have liked to snuggle against her like they did as children, if it wasn't for the feelings she was trying to numb inside her. She wanted Flynn too badly, and wanted too badly to make her happy. If she had her way she would quietly lead Flynn into the woods. Claim they were forever lost, and convince Flynn this for the better. For the both of them. They would be happy, alone in the woods, together. But Flynn trusted her too well. That made Seri's already guilty conscience scream. So she would numb these feelings. Numb them to keep Flynn alive, and give her the happiness of helping the family who didn't love her. If they made it back without getting in trouble, she fantasied about telling Flynn. About still asking her to leave The Compound, to marry her, or be with her. Its not like Seri couldn't give her kids. Oh, that would be a little hard to explain... But it might be worth it. Might be worth risking their friendship for something more.
   Seri's eyes were just fluttering shut with images of Flynn in a pretty white dress, red headed children running around her calling her Mama, and Flynn getting up on her tip toes to kiss her as rain began to fall lightly outside. It seemed like her eyes had just closed when her watch started going off. Seri shut it off, and looked out the mouth of the cave to the damp foggy morning, the area filled with dim grey light as the sun struggled to break through the overcast skies. Well, today was the day. [Wish_Alley]

   Flynn's eyes popped open. The sound of the alarm clock had startled her. Her heart raced from the startle. Red hair had consumed her face over night. The waves of her hair poofed out from the moisture in the air. She frantically pushed away the mass of hair so that she could see. Fog surrounded the cave and it looked to be morning.
   Her brown eyes scanned the cave until she found Seri. Seri appeared to be just waking up as well. Flynn was shocked that she had slept for so long but she supposed that the sleep would give her the boost of energy she needed. Really, she felt absolutely fantastic. Today was the beginning of their journey to the capital.
    "Seri," She shouted as she made a leap for the half a wake girl. "I can't believe today is the day and I slept so well last night. We need to get on the road soon. We are burning daylight! I just want to run as far and fast as possible through the woods. We could get so far. There is so much to see. I should have asked you to grab a journal so we could somewhat track the animals and plants, not to mention our path. To late though, " she said as she giggled with glee.[lrs928]

   Seri was only really just waking up when Flynn crashed into her. She didn't feel quite as rested as Flynn seemed to feel. But she gave the other girl a smile for all her enthusiasm. She quietly untangled herself from Flynn stretched, getting the kinks out of her back and neck. Seri had never been much of a morning person. Early morning, maybe, but never, the sun isn't even over the hills yet.

"Whoa there. You need clothes and food first," she said after yawning wide. "We'll eat first, then I need to teach you a few things. And make sure you wear pants."

   She allowed herself a split second glance at Flynn's breasts, before setting about slicing the bread evenly, and boiling water in her pot for the tea. [Wish_Alley]

   "Pants! Come on Seri, pants are so restrictive and..." She stopped remembering that she promised to do as she was told. "Never-mind, I'm right on it." She finished as she got to her feet and moved to the bags.

  Flynn sorted through the clothes that Seri had brought and pulled out a pair of black skin tight slacks. They were made out of an usually shiny material called spandex. It was used for a number of old comic book characters or so the merchant said. Flynn found the material flexible enough to still move and do her acrobatics. She pulled on the pants after redressing in her undergarments from the day before. She was glad that Seri had remembered that those were her favorite pants. Next, she picked out a a black tank top with a white heart with wings on it and finished dressing. Her brown boots were the last thing on.

  "I'm ready now let's get to it!" Flynn said.[lrs928]

   Seri was glad to see Flynn had taken her small threat to heart. Seri was too busy making sure breakfast was done right to repeat it. She was also glad she seemed satisfied with her clothes selection. That was one of Seri's favorite outfits. Even if Flynn thought she had no figure, Seri would say otherwise. Poor girl was too busy putting herself in mostly formless dresses to notice otherwise.

"Ah, ah, ah," Seri said shoving a piece of bread with cheese spread over it into Flynn's mouth. "I said food first."

   She passed her a plate filled with two more pieces of bread, and fruit cut into pieces. Once the tea was ready she passed her a cup, and began eating. She needed her whits about her before she took on the task of making sure Flynn didn't kill herself in the woods. She was surprised by how hungry she was, as she emptied her plate. Once Flynn was finished she washed the dishes and put them away, making sure the bags were secure.

"Okay then. I need to teach you some things before we start. Laws od the forest if you will. You will treat these like you treat a bible. Because it could mean life or death if ever we're separated," Seri said grabbing the machetes and stepping outside.

   The sky was a light grey with overcast clouds. The ground had dents from the hail the previous day, but the woods were calm. The weather having mellowed any carnivorous creatures wishing them harm. She started with Showing Flynn the machete. Seri considered this a crude weapon, but it would serve its purpose. She started with showing how to sheath and unsheathe the thick blade, and how to tie it to your belt so it was within east reach. She then instructed her how to use it. It was mostly for cutting thick brush, but could use for other things and defense. She let Flynn hack away at some surrounding trees and bushes until Seri was satisfied with her technique. Seri then led her back to the cave and began showing her how to the fill the water sacks and how to tell good water from bad water. They would each have two, two for Flynn's bag, and two for Seri sack, and bag. Next was food portions, and how they would only eat in the mornings, afternoons, and night. Seri intended to hunt and gather as they went. She tried to ease Flynn into the fact she might need meat to survive this journey, since she wouldn't have the vitamins and other herbs to keep her healthy the farther they got from the areas Seri knew. She instructed her on plants, roots, fruits, and berries that were okay to eat based on color. After a quick run through of things to avoid, if they were intended everywhere in the forest, Seri decided it was time to go.
   She decided they would fly past The Compound, rather than risk being caught. Since the next section would be miles away. They couldn't fly the whole way, because once they got into areas with electricity they would have to watch out for sensors and patrols. She loaded Flynn up with her bag, making sure it wasn't too heavy, shifted out her wings and off they went. Seri made sure to avoid flying over The Compound to spare Flynn seeing the destruction of the storm. [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn did her best with the machete but it wasn't her favorite. It seemed a bit heavy in her hand. It was awkward to use something with that long of a blade and she new then all the machete was really good for was chopping away at the plants. She had never played much with blades of any sort but part of her was a bit thrilled. When Seri seemed satisfied they finally left. They started off flying. Flynn loved being in the air but she felt a lose of control after Seri had got to high up for her to fall and land safely. Her mind constantly planned on what to do if Seri lost her grip. This consisted of swinging off branches and landing or landing on roofs.

  "Please, I beg you please do not drop me. You know how I feel About this. I am not Asthore, I can't jump or take falls more than the average person. So, again please don't drop me." Flynn said nervously.[lrs928]

"I would never drop you," Seri said over the wind.

   Seri rose higher in the air, taking satisfaction as Flynn clung tighter to her. It was already past midday when they finally left, so Seri decided they would cover as much ground flying of what she knew and take their risks on the ground tomorrow. Once they got out of the area Seri knew, flying would be too great a risk.
   The sun had slowly been creeping out of the over cast all day. Now it was late afternoon, the overcast was gone, and it was sweltering outside, and humid. Seri began to get ried, and now she was worried she might drop Flynn. Her arms were feeling weak. Even shifting her skin to accommodate the heat didn't work and she began to sink lower to the ground. Finally Seri was nearing her limits and drifted into the trees. She found a small stream, with a tree whose bank had slowly be worn away, making its roots like a house, and a perfect shelter. She put Flynn down here, and began to strip. Glad to be free of the sweat soaked clothes. She stepped into the stream, it was cool, and the water was clean. She splashed her face, and began running water over her body too cool herself. It wasn't like she was giving a show or anything. But it was some sort of sight. [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn was baking, they flight had become alarming uncomfortable. It wasn't unusual but she would normally stay inside all day on days like that. When they landed she crawled under the tree roots for shad. It felt so much nicer to hide from the sun. Then she heard the splash and she stopped focusing on the shade of the tree and saw Seri wade in the water. Why hadn't she thought of running to the water. The water in the stream would be cool from the winters snow that melted into it.
   Her smile spread into a grin. Flynn tossed away her clothes and bolted to the stream. She jumped head first into the stream. This she regretted instantly. The stream was too shallow for diving. Thankfully, her reflexes were quick and she threw out her hands and readied her self to spring from a stone in the water. Her plan however was as short lived as the time it took to think of it. Her right hand slipped on the rock and she tumbled into the water. Her head hit against the rock. Numb, she felt numb. The cold water surrounded her. She willed her arms to push her up and hoped they would obey. With sometime she pushed herself up. The heat caught her and she gasped for air as feelings returned. It had to have only been minutes but it felt like an eternity bellow the water.
  Blood slowly trickled from her forehead. She had no idea that she had cut her head and so she just laughed after she cleared her lungs.
 "Wow, I guess I shood look before I leap. That actully hurt. I'm sure I'll get a bruise on my forehead." Flynn said with a smile.[lrs928]

   Seri watched the whole scene with shell shocked, fear. Once Flynn went under she was scrambling to find her, and stopped short once she finally came back up. Breathing a sigh of relief as she cleared her lungs of the water. She tried to smile in return, but her heart was hammering against her rib cage, so it just came off as nervous. When she saw the blood flow from her forehead, that half smile turned immediately to a worried frown. She walked over and hoisted Flynn up so her feet touched the bed of the stream.

"Please don't ever do that again," she said calmly, leading Flynn over to the bank, in case she couldn't walk. "Here. I'll stop the bleeding."

   She sat Flynn down, and crouched in front of her. Seri knew how to use her body. Every cell and muscle and tendon, so when she crouched down, it was on the balls of her feet. Something in her mouth shifted, and a snake like tongue, dripping with a greenish saliva slid out of her mouth. Flynn looked at her with wide eyes, but she just smiled and leaned forward. She moved Flynn's wet hair out of the way and sucked at the cut. Just enough to get the blood off, while using her tongue to coat it with the saliva. Seri didn't much like blood, but these tastes buds did, so it wasn't too bad of an experience. Once the wound was coat she leaned back, shifted her mouth, and smiled, all pearly white teeth.

"Something I saw some Viperpedes do once. Their saliva has healing qualities, so give it a good few minutes then get back in the stream. Slowly. And wash the blood and the saliva off," she said with a smile.

   She waded back in the stream, practically purring at the cool waters. [Wish_Alley]

"Wait, what blood?" She said with a nervous laugh.

  Flynn raised her hand to her forehead and pulled it back to find the red liquid staining her head. Her face blushed she was by no means a clumsy girl and it wasn't often she ended up on falling and not landing safely. She did as she was ordered though and stayed under the tree for a while. It was much cooler now that the cold water still dampened her skin but that would change as she dried more.

"How long are we staying here?" She asked Seri now. [lrs928]

Seri looked up after dipping her head in the water, "Eh, I don't want to go much further today. I don't know these parts as well. We'll stay tonight, recover from the heat. I need to get us some meat before the day is out. Less we have to stop along The Old Road, the better. That one isn't safe."

   The Old Road was long abandoned stretch of what they're ancestors called "pavement." It was a long expanse of a road, with a mostly double solid line running through the middle. Most of the trees had grown around it, so it was still mostly in tact. Coming apart due to weeds and roots, but Seri had never seen where it began, or if it even ended. It didn't run close to The Compound, but they were close to it now. For everyone else it was a myth, but Seri had seen it, several times, and it would be the best way to get them to the next district. She stood up and began to ring the water out of her hair. All business.

"So, we'll stay here tonight. Make sure we're good and clean for the drip, since I doubt we'll find a time to bathe once we start hiking tomorrow. I haven't gone much past this area, I don't know if there are any sensors past here. I don't want to risk it flying," she started to shift into her harpie form, her body becoming leaner, and more slender. "Stay here, I won't go far. Just scream if anything comes, I'll hear you."

   Here voice was a gravely tweeting, and then she took off into the trees. [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn just stood dazed by the fact that she was going to have to eat meat. She wanted to yell out to Seri and beg her to look for some fruit or instead. Eating meat was suppose to be a last resort thing for her. This was not her cup of tea. Seri was gone with out even letting Flynn reply back to what she said. She made the decision to do a little bit of looking on her own. Flynn figured as long as she didn't go to far she would be fine. She'd just pick some fruit and bring it back to eat at the camp.
  Seri, wouldn't mind so long as she was careful and close. Flynn stretched and then walked behind the large tree into the woods. At first there were just trees but she could see some bushes a bit further into the woods. She took a deep breath and stepped further into the woods. She kept walking until she got to the bushes which was a lot further in the woods than she had thought. So far the little trek into the woods was going great. The bushes had large blue and red stripes and seeds like strawberries on the out side. The berries were huge about the size of her palm. She had never seen them before. There scent was amazing.
   Her stomach growled. Flynn shrugged and picked one from the bush and popped it into her mouth. It started out sweet but the after taste was tart. Never the less everything seemed fine. In fact they were better than fine. She felt so light and nimble. She jumped up she thought just high enough to reach the branches but ended up soaring up and above the tree. She floated mid air and awkwardly flung her arms trying to grasp something. The light wind was pushing her in the direction which it was blowing. Her body felt as though it had no mass.

   "AHHHH!"Flynn screamed.
  She was far to high in air to recover from a fall and she knew that the berries properties would wear off eventually. The camp was out of sight now. She wasn't sure which direction she was floating but she could only hope it was in the direction Seri had gone. Her mind raced with thoughts of times she had fallen. There had been a time her brother was sure that she was like him and pushed her out her window for laughs. He had found out the hard way that she could break. Flynn had a broken an arm and a broken leg that day; she was out cold for a few days.
  "Seeerrrrrriiiiiiii!" She screamed.[lrs928]

   Seri had been stalking a Leopard Boar, when she heard the scream. She looked up only to hear the animal scatter away, and nash her teeth. She stood up on her taloned bird like feet, and listened. She heard her name in almost a long sob, and suddenly her heart was rattling in her rib cage again. She shot up a tree and took flight. She headed back to the camp, and heard another sob. Flynn wasn't there, so she followed the trail until finally she spotted the fiery red head floating through the trees. She flew over and just as the girl was losing altitude, she caught her.
   What followed back to the camp was a string of curses and shouting in the Harpie tongue. Snarls and snaps, tweets and lots of ruffled feathers. Seri put Flynn on the ground back at the camp and stomped at the ground, twittering some more before finally she turned on Flynn obviously asking for explanation why the red head disobeyed her after Seri had specifically said she needed to do everything that Seri said. [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn flinched. Her face contorted-ed into a grimace. She was afraid and sad. They had barely just begun the journey and already she had messed up again. She got hurt and then she ran off. Flynn's eyes darted away not wanting to look Seri in the eyes. Life was changing too fast. The day before she had let out the pain she'd been hiding and opened up most of the box that she kept locked. Maybe she was too free now. She needed to focus and remember what her dream was. Tears spilled from the wells off her eyes. Her body was shaking.
  "I am such an idiot. I'm sorry I'm already fucking everything up!" Flynn cursed. A spout of curses ran together as she yelled at herself.
    "I don't ever think things through. I think I can bend the rules and be fine on my own but I'm not. I get myself in trouble whenever I'm by myself. You don't even trust me by myself. I'm sorry, I'm really, really sorry. I just wish you would have a little faith. Please, just lets move on." Flynn ranted.
  She wasn't sure if she made sense. Flynn was never sure that she made full since. Half the time her mouth just vomited words in her head making half sense. It didn't happen that half her life she had let others do the talking for her. Even Seri had fallen into the habit of speaking for Flynn. She wasn't sure what opinions were hers and which ones were spoken for her. 
  Flynn sighed. She just needed to grow up. This journey wasn't for a kid. This journey was dangerous. If she wanted to make it to the capital for her dream to be complete and for her family to get moved somewhere safer. She needed to make sacrifices.
    "If I'm going to do this than you can't leave me behind. I need to learn to forge for food. Teach me to hunt!" Flynn said as her brown eyes connected with Seri's. [lrs928]

   Seri didn't falter in her rage, not even when Flynn made her request. She felt for Flynn. She was sheltered and babied, and naive. Even Seri had done her fair share of keeping Flynn down. So if this was going to work, if she was going to teach her, Flynn needed to stop thinking of Seri as her best friend and sister. And Seri needed to get rid of her feelings, if she was going to teach Flynn, it was as a teacher, the only person willing to keep her alive. Seri finally relaxed and closed her eyes.

"Fine," she said with a steel edge. "But not today. And don't you ever leave the camp when I tell you not to again. I being serious. I don't know whats beyond these parts of the woods. For today. Stay. Here."

   Seri left the camp again, not wanting to talk about it further, because she couldn't get her heart to stop hammering up into her throat. She managed to get two kills. Her little out burst in Harpie form put the woods on edge. She was lucky to get this much. She returned the camp as it was getting dark, and shifted from her Harpie form. She didn't look at Flynn just went to gutting the creatures, making sure Flynn could see. She started a small fire and cooked the meat. Once it was ready, she got a large piece and put it on a plate, and handed it to Flynn.

"If you're going to hunt, that means hunting animals. Foraging will only get you so far. These aren't pets. They aren't domesticated, or coddled to produce meat. They are free range, devoid of fat, and if you're going to spend the day hunting, you're going to respect what you kill, and eat it. And make sure you killing the animals doesn't go to waste," Seri said locking eyes with Flynn, testing her conviction to grow during this trip. [Wish_Alley]

   Flynn took the plate of food. This was going to be a real challenge. She couldn't even recall the flavor of meat but her it was her only option. This was a test. Seri wasn't going to let her pass. Flynn knew she was right. Forging could only do so much. Both of them were not familiar with what the vegetation is like in these parts of the woods let alone the monsters that lurked in the shadows.
   Flynn forced a smile on her face. She picked up the meat and bit into it. Surprisingly, it was amazing. So tender and juicy, she took another bite. Suddenly, she was starving. The smokey flavor of the meat made her salivate. She ate wildly. Her share of the meat was gone in seconds. Flynn was surprised at her self. She was disgusted in breaking her vow and enjoying it so much.

"What did I just eat?" Flynn asked. [lrs928]

Seri couldn't help but smile as she replied, "Jackalope. Fast buggers, but thats what make it so good I guess." [Wish_Alley]

"Well, surprisingly they were good. What is the plan from here? Are we just setting up camp under the tree and waiting for tomorrow or should we travel more at night? The night is cooler but as you said earlier we aren't familiar with these parts of the woods." Flynn said as she scooted a bit further from the fire. She was far to warm to cozy up to it.[lrs928]

"No, we shouldn't travel at night. We would make too much noise, attract too much attention. No, we'll head out first thing in the morning. On foot. I know the next district has sky sensors, but I have no idea where they begin. The Old Road is around here and it should take up pretty close, without actually getting inside. We should take this road as far as we can. It leads pretty much directly to The Capitol. Once we get to the fifth district, The Suburbs, I, uh... Know some people. They might be able to help us get inside The Capital," Seri said, looking away, scratching her head.

   Knowing them was a bit of an understatement. These people had managed to leave The Capital countless times, going ever miles beyond The Compound, where The Capital's territory ended. Seri met them once while hunting. They mistook her for an animal and shot her. When she was wounded it seemed Seri lost control of whatever form she was maintaining and turned human again. They were shocked, but helped her, apologizing and offering Seri information and friendship in return. Seri never trusted the majority of them, but they had proved useful over the years. Like once Seri had arranged for a book for Flynn's birthday, and they had come through much to her appreciation. Their leader was also how Seri first explored her... Alternative tastes. She learned a lot about her body that summer.

"Tomorrow, I'll teach you how to hunt. We're still a few miles from where I last explored, so I'll teach you to hunt then. Listening to me still applies though," Seri replied flatly, glaring at Flynn. "For now lets just enjoy being away from The Compound."

   Seri finished her meal and stood up. She said she was going to take one last dip in the stream before they went to bed. She took off her belt, and stood up to stretch. She lifted her hair, exposing her neck and back. The shadows from the fire flickered over her skin as she slipped from their small space and into the stream. [Wish_Alley]

   Flynn set her plate aside and watched Seri head back into the water. The moon was out bathing the water in its light. The water was so inviting. The heat didn't seem to be lifting despite nightfall. Flynn looked over at her clothes and sighed. They were going to need to be rinsed out or they would reek. Grudgingly, Flynn picked up her clothes and headed to the water. She was going to need to take a bath as well.

   She set her clothes on the shore and wade into the deeper part of the water. Her hair clung to her skin once again. The water felt so relaxing and for a moment she submersed herself completely and then reemerged behind Seri. A grin was plastered on her face as she reached out to touch Seri. She was hoping to startle her just like they used to do when they were kids well mostly her brother and Seri scaring her.

   Flynn was not the stealthiest person in the world when it came to the water. In-fact she was rather loud like a child in the water. Only when she was fully underwater did she have a chance of being quiet. She reached over and taped Seri on the shoulder.
  "BOO!" Flynn shouted. [lrs928]

"Ah!" Seri yelped, losing her footing and falling down into the water with a splash.

   Her head bobbed out of the water, her long hair covering her face. She pulled it away, and glared at Flynn. Finally she stood up, and wicked smile on her face.

"Oh, I see how it is. Two can play that game," she grinned, splashing Flynn repeatedly. [Wish_Alley]

   Flynn squealed. Her smile grew as she began splash back. She pushed waves of water towards her friend. The moonlight caught the water on her skin and began to glisten. Flynn chuckled softly and dived forward and tackle-hugged her friend. For the moment they were just childhood friends having fun. The night was growing colder and the wind picked up and slpashes of water flung back into Flynn's face.
  She was fighting the wind and Seri. It seemed that nature wanted her to lose but she was determined. Flynn began kicking and flailing her arms wildly. She really was the master of the splash. It helped that her swimming skills were bellow par.

"I will not fail I am the FLAIL QUEEN!! MUWAHAHAHAHA!!" Flynn chuckled.[lrs928]

   Suddenly it didn't matter that they had run away from home. That Seri was fighting with feelings she didn't feel she deserved to have. That tomorrow they were just going to go further into the lion's dean, and she was going to teach her best friend how to kill another living creature. They were just kids again, playing in the community pool. Tickling each other and laughing. The moon rose higher in the sky, and Seri was laughing. Something she felt she hadn't really done in a long time.
   She was catching her breath after a particular rigorous bout of splashing when a breeze blew against her back. She shivered, it was so cold despite it being such a nice night. She looked up to see clouds rolling across the moon. Despite her good mood, they just reminded her of what she should be worrying about. A storm was moving in, and judging from the cool breeze, it was bringing more hail or snow. She smiled at Flynn and headed back to their dying fire.

"We should get some rest. Storm is moving in, I can already feel the temperature dropping, Get into some warm clothes, I'll rebuild the fire," she said softly. [Wish_Alley]

  Flynn sighed her heart still racing from the fun. She wanted to continue to play. Seri was still too focused on the travel. Part of Flynn knew that being focused would help them get through the forest but at the same time the excitement of seeing this new land was killed off. She wanted to enjoy this and escape the darkness that still loomed back home.
  She shook her head trying to force the thoughts of home away. Home wasn't home anymore. Back there was the only grief and she couldn't bare to watch her parents weep. Her mom and dad didn't even know where she had gone. Flynn's heart sunk as she slinked out of the water. She grabbed her clothes and laid them to dry be the fire.
Flynn rummaged through the other clothes and pulled out one of her favorite dress. A chocolate brown dress that hung loosely around her. A black rope attached to the dress tied around the waist to split it up. The wind was settling in and flynn decided it was best to put on her boots as well. If a storm picked up they might have to move during the night where there was more cover.

"I'll let these clothes dry for tonight and put them on in the morning. If the weather allows for them to dry." Flynn said with a sigh. [lrs928]

"I'm sure they'll get dry if we keep the fire up," Seri replied, twisting a tie into her wet hair for a pony tail.

   She disappeared into the trees getting as much dry sticks as she could, as well as dried brush. A cold wind has picked up, it it seemed to mimic Seri's mood. She was worried. Worried about this journey, about teaching Flynn to hunt, about actually making it to the capital. Even though she trusted her abilities, she didn't trust them beyond this point. It was back to basics, and she wasn't sure she could handle taking care of both of them.
   She got back to their small root nest just as it began raining. She pulled out the tarps, and began making a makeshift tent, anything to keep some of the fire's warmth inside. She said very littler preoccupied with thoughts, and when she did lay down, she was out like a light. They woke up late and finished off the last of Jackalope with some bread and water. Not much, but Seri wanted them to hunt as little as possible. It would make for lighter travelling and faster walking. By the time they were ready the sun was out in full force, the only thing protecting them from the heat was the over head canopy of leaves. Seri donned shorts and another top that tied around her neck and her back. It was alittle revealing but it was easy to move in and kept her cool. They hiked to the old road and emerged onto a cracked almost white stone path. But upon closer inspection it was linear and man made, with dull yellow markings that could be seen between the cracks made by weeds.

"Have you heard of the old road?" Seri said, as she started on the path. thankful for flat ground. [Wish_Alley]

   Flynn had changed back into her pants before the left. It seemed so pointless to have dried her clothes last night seeing that they would have felt so much better than the dry heat and sweat. The shade of the trees helped to cut some of the heat but it was still bad enough that she was sure she could fry an egg on a rock.

"Not much, the teachers never talked of it much. I know that they were a sort of path the built for their vehicals. It was safer than just dirt paths from what I learned. They say that the roads were once everywhere but if they were you would think we would have seen one before." Flynn said.

    She was beginning to wonder how long it would be before he lesson in hunting would begin. Though the food was delicious last night her mind continued to wander back to the horror of a dying animal. Though she never seemed to get along with most animals she still couldn't bare to think of them being eaten. The blood oh god she hadn't thought about the fresh bright red blood that would spill from the animal. She had seen her mom kill one of the chickens and she had nearly fainted from the sight and smell. She gaged outwardly and then turned and puked. She leaned against a nearby tree and tried to stop the nausea.[lrs928]

"Yes, well, the changes in the climate and weather wiped most of them out. This is the only one I've seen, but this is as far as I've gone. This should lead us straight to the capital, without getting caught. It does run through one---," she stopped when she heard Flynn puked and whipped around. "F-Flynn? Whats the matter?"
   She stepped forward, placing a hand on Flynn's back. Making sure to look around for any movement in the trees. [Wish_Alley]

   Flynn looked back at Seri and smiled. She really did have a weak stomach. Just the thought of blood made her puke then what would she do if she actually killed something. Flynn was not about to admit this to Seri.

"I'm sorry I think I just got a bit to warm or something. I just need a minute to rest and then I'll be fine." Flynn said, as she sat down under the tree. [lrs928]

   Seri didn't buy that for a second, but she didn't say anything. She was concerned, but she wasn't sure how to ask Flynn without being too pushy or persistent. Or overbearing... She let Flynn take a sit before she sat down next to her, she kept her eyes on the trees, and her ears peeled for anything dangerous.
"If you say so," she mumbled. [Wish_Alley]

"There isn't much else it could be and it so fucking hot today." Flynn said, in a huff.

  Flynn took a deep breath and took a few steps onto the pavement. That was when she heard movement. She looked back at Seri who was still but behind her further out in the tall grass she could see a large scorpion like tale sticking up. It looked to be just as long as herself. Flynn didn't wan't to see the size of the creature it was attached to. It didn't appear to be moving but she hadn't seen it before.

"S...ss... Seri, what is that behind you?" Flynn pointed behind her friend just as the creature leaped forward.

  It was no animal Flynn could have ever imagined. The beast had the head of a lion, the front legs were gorilla arms, the hind legs of an eagle, and the scorpion tale. It took a massive gorilla hand and grabbed Seri's left leg before she could full turn around. Flynn panicked. She let out a scream and did the only thing that she could think of. She grabbed Seri's arm and tried to pull her away from the beast. It seemed hopeless as the beast pulled back she felt herself moving towards the beast until the tail struck at her. She let go of Seri immediately and fell to the ground just barely missing the tail.

"What do I do?" Flynn shrieked.[lrs928]

"RUN!" snapped Seri, shifting her torso she shifted her arms into pincers and put the arm restraining her into a sharp vice grip.

   The creature roared in pain and dropped Seri, who hit the ground running. Her body was changing at an alarming rate. Wings sprouting, multiple arms, she didn't look human. She grabbed Flynn who had stood frozen starring at the creature and Seri, and flew as fast as she could into the trees. Leaving their packs behind. Flynn clung to her as Seri maneuvered through the trees, missing slamming into them by mere breaths. The creature was already hot in their pursuit.
   It thundered through the trees, knocking them aside like they weren't even there. Seri flapped her wings as hard as she could be she hear it getting closer. It was big, but stronger, it covered more distance than she ever could. She was only concerned with getting Flynn as far away as possible. Maybe she could make her way back to the District, but she would get her away, no matter what.
   She felt something clamp down on her leg, with enough force she was sure her bone was broken, rendering it useless to her body. She felt the pull. before it happened and through Flynn as far away from as she could just as the yanked her backwards. She shifted what she could ignoring the pain in her leg and used her arms to scratch and claw at the hand holding her. It grunted and slammed her on the ground. She felt her world spin and heard the sickening thunk of her own head on the ground. But she kept, kitting and squirming, anything to get it let go. Finally it dropped her, and just as the sky was coming into focus she saw its tail looming high above her. She just got the sense to move when it crashed over her hip. Crushing bone, and ripping cartilage, Seri would never be able to describe the pain she felt or the feeling of numbness that came with it as poison began to pump through her veins. Her world spun again, and she felt herself get sick off her own blood.

"FLYNN!" she screamed, gripping the tail tip still lodged in her body. "RUN!" [Wish_Alley]

  Seri dropped her sending her into a tree. She caught a branch in one hand. A surge of energy rippled through her. She flipped using the force of her falling and propelled herself up into the air. Falling only for a moment before she landed on a branch. Her heart was racing. Just like the edge of the cliff she didn't even notice that she was balancing on such a finite surface.
  Flynn watched Seri being pulled away and a rage built up. Her brother, her families livelihood, her own innocence stripped and now her best friend was being taken away. She was damned if she'd let it happen. Seri meant everything to her and was the only one she could rely on to save her and now Seri needed her. Flynn jumped, spun on the branch in front of her and dived bombed onto the creatures tail just shortly after it pierced Seri. Struggling to control the creature Flynn yanked the stinger from Seri's body before all the venom had transferred. The tail thrashed and the beast released Seri setting it sights on Flynn.
   The beast made a grab at Flynn who had jumped from the tail onto the ground. She had to make it to Seri and get them out. The shadow from the gorrila arms loomed above her and she closed her eyes knowing she would be caught. Just as quickly as she had seen the looming shadow it was gone or more so moved and a nother shadow was cast beside her. She turned looking to a man in his mid twenties with short black hair and bright blue eyes.
   Flynn jumped back as she saw that he was carrying someone. Not was it just someone, he had Seri in his arms. Blood was dripping from a hunting knife on his hip. Her jaw dropped.

"Follow me," The man said in between pants.

  He didn't wait for her to answer. He moved on through the woods. Flynn followed a few steps behind. She didn't dare look back where the beast had been. She knew in her mind that if she did she would see the beast dead. That was the only reason she could imagine it been on the ground. Flynn trembled, had she just blacked out and not seen what had happened or did she not miss a thing. Even the walk had seemed like nothing. She had looked down at her feet and second later she was at the front of some sort of camp. There were people everywhere. A dozen or more dirty faces all were around a camp fire eating some sort of roasted bird.

"Echo, what the hell happened?" A woman yelled as she ran over to them. "Karen get me some my med kit now." The tall dark skined women yelled. [lrs928]

"Ran into these two tangling with a Chimera," Echo said in between catching his breath. "This one got messed up pretty bad. We need Light."
"You know she won't---," said Karen bringing a med kit.
"Tell her, she can come willingly, or I will drag her by her hair if I have to," he snapped, yanking the med kit out of her hand.
"All right. Your funeral," Karen said, and off she went into the fray of people now surrounding them.
"Back off everyone! We need space! Jaraya! Deal with the other girl! Blade, get a crew together and go make sure that thing is dead, I'm not sure I got it, and I don't want it coming here," Echo said as people did as they were told.

   His companions brought a stretcher while he was barking out orders and laid it in front of him. He gently laid a delirious Seri down. Her body seemed to be paralyzed by the toxins, and she was starring at them wide eyed babbling and trying to struggle. A svelte, lean women sauntered through the crowd into the clearing. Her face, arms and legs were all thin and muscular. She had a perfect hour glass curve to her body, and walked like a cat, ball to hell, swaying her hips. She had short cropped dark hair, and striking gold eyes, and wore strange gold earrings. She wasn't so much wearing clothes as wearing something that covered her body. She walked by Seri on the stretcher and stopped, her calm, smiling face becoming one of shock.

"Servina!? What is she doing here!?" the woman said in a panicked voice, color draining from her face.
"Jarays, deal with the other girl!" snapped Echo, heaving the stretcher up with three other men and moving through the crowd and away into the strange camp they had.

   As they carried her away everyone could have sword they saw the girl's body changing. Shifting to look more human, streaks of white forming in brown hair, before the crowd close the gap and she was obscured.

Flynn tried to follow, but Jaraya stopped her, gently placing her hands on her shoulders, and said calmly, "Flynn, you don't want to be there for this. Are you hurt at all?" [Wish_Alley]

  The dark skined women followed behind the strecher. She was the nurse of the camp but all she could do was simple normal medical treatment. Light on the other hand had the power of healing. When Light did not help she was there to try and treat the wounded. For now she would watch.

  "Just some scratches and splinters," Flynn said as she looked at Jaraya. "I'm sorry but I'm afraid I can't recall ever saying my name. To anyone, and how could you know Seri. Who the fuck are you and where the fuck am I; that is my best friend you just took away. Don't you dare tell me what to do. I am not leaving her side." Flynn said, as she shoved Jaraya.

  Anger was boiling through her. This mystery crap was getting old. Her mind felt fuzzy just like the time she woken up under the tree. It seemed like there were gaps in time missing. Now, she was denied access to her friend. Flynn stepped back ready to use Jaraya as a spring board and get to where Seri was but she ran into someone. Hands rest onto her shoulders and suddenly she felt calm and happy.

"That's right just stay calm everything is going to be fine now,Flynn was it?" Said the man from behind and Jaraya nodded at him. He turned Flynn around. "It is a pleasure to meet you Flynn," The man paused and looked over Flynn.
  For a moment she felt very curious about her own name. The man was about the same age as Echo and was carrot top. He had plenty of freckles that could rival Flynns and was about her height his face looked like is was pondering and then it relaxed and once again Flynn was calm and happy.

"My name is Eric. Jaraya and I are going to see you to a bed. I think you should lay down for a moment." Eric said.
  
  Echo was walking back towards them now. More so he was being helped back. Echo was yelling at the women.

"Melina, I don't need to eat right now. I've got two kids we've got to figure out how to take care of. One of which is in a critical state and you want me to eat and go lie down. I am fine! I'm a little worn down but so is most the people in camp." Echo said stubbornly.

  As soon soon as he neared Flynn he legs buckled and his eye lids drooped. Melina stopped, she was only strong enough to keep him from falling face first into the dirt. His eyes popped back open a moment later and he pushed himself back onto his feet. His blue eyes caught Flynn's eyes and he sighed. He looked like grief had struck him and then he looked away.

  "Let's go eat bring the girl too." Echo mumbled as he hobbled to the fire with the help of Melina.
  
  Eric took Flynn's hand and led her over to the fire. She followed in a happy daze. They sat down on various old lawn chairs. Eric grabbed two bowls and filled them with backed beans. He brought them over and handed a bowl to Flynn. The bowl was really hot and Flynn winced almost dropping it into her lap. Beans, at least there wasn't meat was all she could think although she really didn't want to spend the night in this camp.

  Echo sat down next to Flynn. He blew on his beans trying to cool them and then looked over at Flynn.

"That was brave but stupid of you out there. You haven't a clue what you are doing in a fight. Chimeras aren't the best to learn how to fight. Those creatures have killed more of our trained fighters than any other animal. Not a surprise that the governments disaster is our killer. This here is the Rebel camp. We are organizing groups to over throw the capital. What you need to know is that you need some serious training if you are going to travel through the forest. Most of the land is uncharted and many of the creatures and plants are unknown. There are people who can train you but it will take some time. I'm sure that would help pass the time while your friend is out of commission. Plus, it can help you later on in just an every day setting." Echo said as he began to eat.[lrs928]

   Jaraya saw that Eric, Echo, and Melina had the situation under control, so she slipped away. She wanted to make sure Light was actually going to do her job for once. She traveled through the camp and quick pace. Not stopping to say hello when greeted or even acknowledge anyone else around. Rather than keeping up the appearance of being sultry and charming, Jaraya looked panicked. Servina had been stung. Chimeras were probably the worst predators in the jungle. If Light didn't work fast, she was going to die.
   The Rebel Camp was what was left of an city, left over from before The Epidemic had changed the world. There were lots of building, all uninhabited for safety reasons. Most were too unstable to even let refugees stay in the ground floor. They had been taking in more and more refugees over the last few years. Most were Norms from The Capital, whose numbers seemed to have doubled over over the last decade. It was unheard of to be born without powers. Especially the farther you got away from The Tainted Sea. But in The Capital, Norms were the most undesirable of all things. They became slaves. The ones that ran the glorious Capital, so the rich and powerful could spend their time oppressing everyone else in their boredom. Now that they had firmer footing in The Capital, the rebels helped the Norms escape. Those that wanted too, and hadn't been brain washed to believe being a slave was their calling in life.
   Most of the Norms couldn't fight to save their lives. They were undernourished, under educated, and mentally weak. There were a few like Melina and Karen that still wanted to help, and trusted all those with powers weren't bad. But most stayed away from the other Rebels. The only one they seemed to trust without a doubt was Light. Mainly because she didn't like using her powers, and often times refused when Echo called for her. She had been studying an old book since she arrived to the camp. Jaraya couldn't read, but apparently it was some spiritual text. She often gathered people and read from the book. Jarays never went though, she and Light didn't really see eyes to eye.
   The old decrepit buildings slowly fell away and tents took up their place. They were shielded by trees and people milled in and out. Finally Jaraya spotted what she wanted. A smaller building, nestled in between the tents. This one had many rooms, and even some glass windows still. A few Norms stood by the door trying to look menacing, but Jaraya knew these ones well. They were Light's personal guard, 'Knights' as Light likjed to call them. But Jaraya had spotted them on more than one occasion watching her as she walked by. One had even approached her for sex. The poor thing didn't know what he was doing, but she gave him points for enthusiasm.

She smirked at them, arching her back so her tits stuck out more, and change her walk she her hips swayed in just the right way, she purred at them, "Mornin' boys."

   They didn't stop her as she sauntered into the building. And she could feel their stares behind her as she walked in and up a flight of stairs. It didn't take long to find the right room. Servina had been placed on the second floor, and women wearing pale colored robes stood outside the door waiting for their Lady to call for them. As Jaraya neared she could feel their eyes judging her, but she just smiled sweetly and went to open the door.

"Not a one ah lowed in," piped up the frizzy haired plain looking one with the big nose and thin lips.
"She's a friend," Jaraya said smiling, her cheerful tone dripping with malice that she had to explain herself to these prudes.
"F-Fine, but d-d-disturb mah L-Lady," said the blond with a flat chest.

   Jaraya just turned up her nose at them and went inside. Light was inside with her right and left hands. Blond twins with long hair done in a braid, with one brown eye and one green eye. The only way to tell them apart was the braid, the older twin, Lisa, wore her's on the right, the young twin, Asil wore her's on the left. When they held hands they became a powerful psychic with one mind, but even without that they finished one another's sentences and one was never seen without the other. The manager of the building stood in the corner, a plump, short older lady who went by the name Funnel, Funny for short. She was a healer like Light, but no where near Light's level. Most she could do was heal cuts and bruises, and lower fevers. Broken bones were pushing it, and god forbid anyone came in with anything serious. She looked up when Jaraya entered and gave her a big matronly smile. Light and the twins on the other hand barely looked in Jaraya's direction.
   Light was small. Both in build and height. She was pretty, and striking, but mostly for her personality. She was icy and cold if she didn't like you, and bright and warm as the sun if she did. She wore crisp white robes, with a hood covering her white blond hair. Icy blue eyes looked out at you from a pale face, her hands were clasped in front of her.

"Why are you here?" she said to Jaraya, not looking up from Servina twitching on the cot.
"Echo just wanted me to make sure you do your job," Jaraya lied in a stern voice, crossing her arms.
"You're lying. Its not hard to tell," Light said as more of fact rather than an assumption, unclasping her hands she stepped forward to the bed.
"She would," began Lisa.
"Die without," said Asil.
"Our Ladyship," they finished together.
Just help her before the poison kills her," snapped Jaraya.

   Light glanced in her direction, and Jaraya saw the familiar hint she always had in her eyes right before she used her powers. Fear. You see Light was so powerful because she sucked the injury, illness, deformity, or disease right from you body. She absorbed it into her own, and then the problem slowly went away. Light seemed to have a high healing ability which made it possible for her to help others. But at the cost of feeling the pain the victim was experiencing. Once she had taken a tumor that was making a woman blind. The woman was healed and praised Light. But Light became blind and nearly a invalid for almost a week. Her people wouldn't let anyone near her in that time. On top of that, Light learned of every injury your body had ever experienced. That knowledge combined with experiencing their pain was too much for her, and more often than not she refused to help unless the person would die without her.

"I can help with the poison, the concussion, and the bleeding. But I might be able to make the ribs less painful, but I will not heal the leg," Light said, rubbing her hands together. "I'm also not sure I can help with the hair change of that scar on her eye."

   Jaraya's eyes grew wide and she looked at Servina for the first time. Her brown hair was slowly turning white, she had a scar over her right eye, and well as many others appearing. Her clothes looked too small for her body in the breasts and thighs. Despite the compress on the wound it was already soaked with blood, her eyes were now in the back of her head, and she was shaking, foaming at the mouth.

"D-Don't worry about it. Just save her," Jaraya said in a scared voice.

   Light didn't even nod, she just placed a hand on Seri's forehead and chest and closed her eyes. A glow formed under her hands and dark matter seemed to gravitate to the glow. The wound in Seri's hip began to heal, the bruises forming under her skin slowly melted away. Her breathing seemed to regulate, and she stopped shaking. Light on the other hand seemed to be having some sort of seizure, she was shaking, trying to stay on her feet and get all the poison out. Her eyes rolled back in her head, her mouth began foaming, and big read patch formed in the robes. Finally her hands seemed to be released from whatever force was holding her to Seri's skin and she fell backwards, her legs crumpling underneath her.

"My Lady!" the twins cried, catching her.

   They didn't waste any time, cradling her between them they hauled her from the room to the waiting women outside and away they went. Funny went over to Seri, placing a hand on her forehead. She seemed to be doing a mental check list, making little 'mhm' sounds. Finally she opened her eyes and smiled at Jaraya.

"Oh she'll be just fine! Lady Light got all the poison, the concussion seems to be gone, and all the internal bleeding has stopped. Her ribs still need healing, and that leg will be no go for awhile, but she'll be right as rain in a month or so!" Funnel said with a big smile.
Jaraya sighed in relief, "Thank god. I don't know how you deal with those crazies, Funny."
"Heh, maybe thats my real talent," she chuckled like it was the funniest thing she had heard all day and waddled from the room to go get supplies to cast the leg.

-----

   Seri felt like she had been hit by a raging rhino bug. Or dropped a thousand feet from the air. Or both. Either way simply breathing was laborious. She groaned, cursing her body for opening her eye lids. The room came into focus but the first thing she noticed was a person, and the fact she couldn't see out of her right eye. But the person became the more pressing matter because she knew her. And suddenly the pain didn't matter, because if Seri could actually make her body move she would have gotten the hell out of there. Pain or no pain.

"Morning sunshine," purred Jaraya Cat Blue as she leaned forward and kissed Seri full on the mouth. [Wish_Alley]

   Flynn ate her beans in silence. Echo was right, she didn't know a damn thing about fighting but it hurt. She had Seri telling her how useless she was in a fight and now this jack ass. Anger was piling up. She had caused all of this. If she hadn't been so weak, if she'd been born stronger more powerful then she would have been wanted by the capitol. She would have been a better fighter and she would have never dragged Seri into danger with out back up.
   Not only was her weakness the point of her rage but this campsite was filled with traitors. People who had abandon the government and went out on their own to scheme revenge. It was more than apparent that some of these people were powerful and perfect candidates to be part of the government and keep peace from those who wish to abuse their powers and harm people. These people were the type that would put her brother in danger. Her anger had reached its peak as her mind boiled with the thoughts of her brother fighting these low lifes. She sat down her spoon and looked Echo in the eyes.

"I don't want your help with anything but helping my friend get better. I am going to capitol to see my brother. He is part of the guard and I'm going to get a pass to move my family to the inner wall and stay as far away from your type as possible." Flynn said bitterly.

  Echo looked shocked almost as though he'd been slapped in the face by what Flynn had said. He shook his head and took a deep breath. He wasn't surprised. he'd heard her family talk about their pride in the government despite the conditions they lived in. They clung on to their pride because they desperately wanted to believe that the government would help them.

"If that's what you want then that is what we will do. There is only one thing. If you want you friend to be safe then you will let us escort you thought the forest and to the safety of the compound outside the capitol." Echo said sternly.

"Fine," Flynn said, she did want out of this hell and that was the best way.[lrs928]

   Jaraya. Jaraya von Cat as she preferred. Jaraya, a dangerous addiction Seri couldn't help but admit she had. The last person Seri would have ever expected to see, which meant only one thing. They were in the Rebel Camp. This was both good and bad. Good because at least she was alive, which meant Flynn was too. Bad because she knew Flynn would hate the rebels, and her addiction to Jaraya von Cat would out her to her friend for sure. But Seri was kissing her back. She smelled good, and she knew how to work the body of others to her advantage. Seri was tired, groggy, and sore, but the feeling of Jaraya kissing down her jaw to suck at her neck. Undoing the tie on her neck so Seri's shirt would come free and she could fondle her breasts. The feeling of Jaraya pressed against her all reminded Seri of how needy she was. Of how starved for the touch of another she was.
   Seri let her touch and kissed her back. Using her hands to free Jaraya's shoulders. She had a love affair with those shoulder. The way they shined in the sun. The raw look they had after Seri had put her hands there while Jaraya worked hers--- She stopped moving entirely when she caught a glimpse of her expression in the dirty mirror over the sink with no faucet or handles. She must have stopped breathing too, because Jaraya stopped what she was doing to her neck and pulled back to look at her.

"Servina?" she asked in a small voice.

   Seri had stopped because her face was different. She knew she couldn't hold a form when unconscious, but she hadn't seen this form in a long time. Another reason Jaraya von Cat was bad news was because she was the only person who had seen Seri like this. Half of her face had scars, light but still visible. A scar over her left eye, which was milky white with blindness, which Seri only just noticed she couldn't see out of that eye. Streaks of white were developing in her hair. Her face got paler if that was even possible, and she started to shake. She started to shake because she had been trying to shift her form since she noticed and it wasn't working. She looked Jarya in the eyes, panicked.

"Did anyone see me like this?" she said in a breathless voice.
"N-No. It just started when they took you here," Jaraya said in a small voice, not liking how Seri was gripping her arms.
"Your sure!?" Seri said in a higher voice.
"Yes! Yes I'm sure. Servina, calm down," Jaraya said in what was supposed to be a soothing voice.
"No. I can't change. I-I can't change. You can't let Flynn see me like this, Jaraya. Do you understand!? Tell her I'm still unconscious. I don't care, just don't let her see me like this!" Seri said, her voice slowly climbing higher.
Her hands were like vice grips on Jaraya's arms, Jaraya could feel her nails in her skin, "I understand, baby. Just calm down. I won;t let her see you. Now just calm down."

   Seri was breathing hard, looking like panicked animal. She slowly let go of Jaraya's arms, and sank into her chest. Leaning her face there, she clung to Jaraya. Eyes wide, starring at her reflection in the mirror. She wouldn't let it happen. Couldn't let it happen. No one was allowed to know. Ever. Jaraya held onto her, gently running fingers through her hair. [Wish_Alley]

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