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Author's note: Whenever I can't think of a good title for my story, I often use the name of the song I'm listening to when it's finished. This one is 'Dress' by Buck-Tick.
Tyche walked with a few of her classmates after school. They’d all decided to head to the movie theater, since it was Tuesday and tickets were only a few bucks.
“Dude! I got my acceptance letter from RR University,” Marcus said excitedly.
“No fair! All I can get into is the community college,” Samantha said, sticking her tongue out at him.
Tyche laughed and nudged her jokingly. “You should be lucky they’d even take you.”
“Like you’re one to talk!” the girl shot back, “Lil’ miss absentee.”
“How are they even letting you graduate?” Kevin asked.
“Because the teachers love me~” the animagus chimed.
They all laughed. “You’re hopeless.”
“What are you going to be doing after graduation Kev?” Samantha asked the boy.
He looked thoughtful. “I got accepted into Yale but…I think I just want to get a job.”
Marcus got Kevin in a chokehold and noogied him, shouting playfully, “You get into my dream school and just decide not to go? I hate you for that man.”
Samantha looped her arm into Tyche’s and asked, “How ‘bout you Ty?”
“I don’t think I want to go to college. Traveling is more my thing,” she replied, striking a pose and pointing towards the sky. “I’ll go everywhere in space!”
They laughed, thinking she was joking. “Well, where are you going to start?”
“I’ll probably head back to Tokyo for a while,” she giggled.
Kevin looked up at her with wide eyes. He was much younger than the rest of them, and it showed, but he was a little genius. His expression was full of childish wonder. “You’ve been to Tokyo before?”
“You don’t look Japanese at all,” Marcus added, “You know the language?”
“I’m fluent. I have a lot of friends there too,” Tyche said.
“Oh my god. You MUST take me with you!” Samantha squealed. “They have the cutest clothes there!”
“They do! And…”
The small group continued to chat excitedly as they entered the mall. It was crowded as usual – being the only entertaining place in town. It had shops galore, various arcades, and – of course – a movie theater.
Tyche spent her last years of middle school and high school in different places, and different timelines. She probably didn’t even need to attend school at all, but it was of good way to pass time. Of course, she took time to check up on her best friend, Soin, pretty often, but when she was gone this is what she was doing. It wasn’t difficult for her to adapt to new settings and make new friends. She couldn’t rightfully call any place ‘home’ though.
It often occurred to her that being a centaur animagus was hard for normal humans to accept, not to mention one that was able to freely travel through time and space. Tyche kept this to herself, like a double life no one was meant to discover. It was a lonely existence. She thought back to her childhood, when she didn’t have to hide who she was. That memory brought back many more.
Avi. He was a full-blooded centaur, as well as her rival, guardian, and friend. Of all her memories, those ones with him were the clearest. She held them dear. He lost his arm in a battle protecting her, and disappeared shortly after. Part of Tyche’s new life was devoted to finding him again. It had been her goal for the past 7 years.
“Opps! My bad!” Marcus apologized after bumping into a guy.
“Sorry,” the man apologized, quickly walking by. As he passed, he looked intently at the animagus.
Tyche’s heart stopped for a moment. She looked back at his retreating form, paling to a sickening shade; her sapphire eyes distant. Was that-?
Samantha pulled on her arm. “Hey, you ok? Earth to Ty!”
“Y-yeah,” she stuttered, snapping back to reality. She laughed and bonked herself on the head. “Crap! I totally forgot I had something to do today. Catch you guys later~ Have fun with the movie~”
Tyche took off, leaving her friends confused.
‘That couldn’t have been him,’ she thought as she ran after the man. She stopped at the food court, frantically looking around. Every fiber of her being told her to find him, but her mind kept saying, ‘There’s no way.’
She barely caught sight of him as he went out of the exit. Tyche followed behind, accidentally bumping into people on the way out. The man was half way down the street.
“Hey!” she called, grabbing onto the back of his shirt. ‘It can’t be-’
Her breath left her completely as the man spun on her, sharp forest green eyes glaring down at her. Old emotions struck Tyche like a tidal wave. She stumbled back a few steps, shocked.
“Avi…it really is you.”
“Long time, Tyche.”
She stared at him, hardly able to form a clear thought. “You’re…human,” was all she managed.
“Yeah,” he replied simply.
The former centaur looked the same and yet so different, even without a horse’s behind. His hair was much shorter, but still that same gentle black. The Sagittarian clan tattoo on his chest and back could be seen peeking up from the collar of his shirt, only slightly darker than his naturally tanned skin. His eyes spoke volumes about his mood, just as they always had, even as hard as they were now.
“And your arm?” she asked, still trying to recover from the shock.
“Prosthetic. Completely useless,” Avi said. His tone was somewhere between anger and detachment. She had a hard time telling.
“I thought you were dead.”
“Well, I’m not,” he replied.
His short answers rubbed her the wrong way just then. Tyche clenched her fists and shouted, “Then were have you been all these years?!”
“Do you know how long I searched for you?!”
“What does it matter?” Avi shouted back suddenly, reacting to her anger, “Because of you I couldn’t go home!”
“The hell are you talking about?” Tyche snapped.
“I’m talking about this-” he gestured sharply to his fake arm, hidden by his shirt. “I lost my arm because of your stupidity that day! I couldn’t fight any longer and your father dismissed me from his service. I couldn’t go back to Sagittarius. The clan wouldn’t take back a cripple, nevertheless a traitor!”
“You don’t think I didn’t know that?” Tears of frustration and hurt spilled openly from her eyes. Years of pent up emotions poured out. “Avi, you don’t think that wasn’t the first thing that occurred to me when you disappeared? I know it was my fault, and I was willing to do anything to fix it!”
The man lowered his voice coldly, “It can’t be fixed.”
She gritted her teeth. Avi turned from her and walked away, with full intent of never seeing her again. Tyche refused to let it end like this. She picked up a tiny rock and threw it, hitting him squarely on the back of the head. He stopped.
“Don’t you dare disappear on me again! Not after all this!” She said, letting the words fall out of her mouth. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry I was stupid, I’m sorry you lost your arm because of me, and I’m so, so, so sorry for what happened to you. A million apologies can’t begin to cover how sorry I am. But you have no right to walk away from me now!”
“Shut up!” The animagus paused to regain control of herself. She approached behind the man and wrapped her arms around his waist, crying into his back. Sadness replaced her anger. It seeped into her voice. “I loved you Avi…I wasn’t able to let go of that feeling.”
Avi sighed and pried her arms off. He turned back, looking down at her. She looked very much like she did as a child, crying like that. He couldn’t help but smile a bit at that as he pulled her to him. Even as many years as he spent blaming her, he couldn’t forget her. “Idiot.”
A laugh escaped as Tyche buried her face in his chest. “Meanie.”