Fairy Tail: Dawn of Change - first chapter
1272 days ago
Roxanne Simmons´ nine-year-old heart was pounding, and her breathing was quick and heavy as she raced to catch the bus before it left. She couldn´t believe how stupid she had been, hitting the snooze on her phone and going back to sleep instead of getting up when the alarm went off. As a result, she and her friends would miss the first bus on Day Two of LA´s Anime Expo. Which was why she was the one running to catch it. She felt bad that she´d made everyone else late, so she was doing what she could to make it up to them by catching the bus and thus not altering their schedule for the rest of the day.
The bus started moving away just as her feet hit the concrete, and panic and determination both hit Roxanne at the same time. Urging more speed out of her legs, she quickly moved up the length of the bus to run beside the door. Looking in, she could see the driver glance at her but to her dismay, he made no move to stop the vehicle. The bus continued on its way, leaving Roxanne behind as she dropped to a disheartened walk. She dejectedly watched it turn a corner before she walked back to her friends to wait for the next bus. There, Melody stood with her arms crossed and an angry look on her face, while Nicole waited more passively. Beside her friends, Roxanne´s seventeen-year-old brother Jacob stood patiently. Roxanne winced at the thought of how disappointed he must be. Not because they´d missed the bus, but because of why they´d missed it—Roxanne hadn´t gotten up on time, making the rest of them wait for her.
As she neared the group, she looked up at her brother. "I tried," she whimpered, nearing tears. She loved her brother dearly, so she hated it when he was upset at her. As a result, she did her best to be a good girl. But she was still a child, so she was prone to mistakes.
"I know, Roxie. It´s good that you tried." Jacob knelt down in front of his sister and patted her head with a reassuring smile. "It would have been nice if you hadn´t gone back to sleep, but you tried to fix what you could."
Roxanne sighed in relief and threw her arms around Jacob´s neck, smiling happily as he hugged her back. He wasn´t mad after all!
"Well, I don´t think trying is good enough!" Melody snapped, shattering the moment with her anger. Roxanne looked at her friend in shock and quickly decided she didn´t like today´s cosplay anymore. When Melody cosplayed, she took great joy in transforming her personality as well as her looks to match the character. Today, she was cosplaying Mawari Zenigata from ´My Bride Is A Mermaid´, a character whose desire to follow in her policeman father´s footsteps induced what was termed ´Mawari Mode´, a state where Mawari insisted on reprimanding another person for inappropriate conduct and threatening to ´teach them the rules of society´. Since Melody was the one who´d insisted on most of the panels they planned to visit today, and had even brought extra micro-SD cards for her camera, it wasn´t surprising that her emotional investment in the events had triggered ´Mawari Mode´ for her character.
"The fact is that you´re the one who decided to sleep in," she scolded harshly. "You´re the one who made us late. Don´t you know that it´s rude to keep people waiting for you?" She planted her hands on her hips. "Don´t you learn anything at those fancy after-school classes you go to?" Melody ranted harshly, pointing at Roxanne accusingly.
"I´m sorry, okay?!" Roxanne protested, still shocked. It wasn´t like Melody to act like this. This was actually the first time she´d been this, this mean.
"Sorry isn´t good enough!"Melody said stubbornly, still angry. "You always complain about how you have to be more than you are, be ´a picture of decorum´, whatever ´decorum´ is. Well, start showing us the person your parents want you to be! Start obeying the rules!"
Roxanne´s eyes started to tear up once more. She hated the extra classes her mother dragged her to, and the way she was expected to act like a grown-up. She hated being held to a higher standard, and relished opportunities to be ´just a kid´, like this trip to the Expo was supposed to be. She hated the way her parents´ wealth set her apart—some would say ´above´—the other kids at school. One of the few things she didn´t hate was having her brother. Jacob had even higher standards pushed on him, but he was always kind and gentle, and always knew what to say. Roxanne loved him for it, and admired him with all her heart.
Melody knew all of this, as Roxanne often vented her frustration to her friends, and it was often Melody who lent the sympathetic ear. So it hurt immensely for Melody, her best friend, to throw it all back at her. "Stop it, Melody." Nicole intervened, stepping between angry Melody and crying Roxanne. "You´re being mean, and even Mawari isn´t that mean! Roxanne said she´s sorry, and you made her cry."
"I´m trying to help her! How else is she supposed to learn to be perfect if she doesn´t get in trouble for messing up?"
"By trial and error, the same way you learn anything?" Nicole suggested tartly.
A soft touch on her hand reminded Roxanne that Jacob was there, and she buried herself in his arms as she fought to get her tears under control. She wasn´t usually this emotional, but the hurt of letting her friends down that way, followed by Melody´s verbal slap in the face, had pushed her past the tipping point.
"For someone who claims to be Roxie´s friend," Jacob said, controlled calm overlaying thinly veiled anger, to Melody, "You have an awful way of showing it. Maybe you´re the one who needs to learn more about rules and manners, if the best way you know how to help your friends is to make them cry."
By the time the next bus arrived Melody had been duly scolded by Nicole and Jacob, and Roxanne´s tears had subsided, though she still had yet to willingly leave her brother´s arms. But when she saw the bus stop in front of them, she forced herself to separate from her brother, forcing herself to smile and pretend her feelings weren´t hurt anymore.
She let her friends board the bus first. Melody rushed onto the bus, heading for the open back row. Because they were the only ones, the time being way too early for most Expo attendants, the bus driver closed the door after Jacob got on, but the driver didn´t wait for them to sit down before he set the bus into motion. Being suddenly on the move, Roxanne was thrown forward and a sharp pain ran up her leg to her hip as her thigh connected harshly with the armrest of one of the alley seats. With a cry of pain, she clamped a hand onto the already-bruising injury. She picked that very same seat to sit down on, barely registering Jacob castigating the bus driver for causing his sister harm. Trying to hold back yet more tears, Roxanne waited for the bus to stop at a light before she got up again and bolted to the back to sit with her friends. Eventually, Jacob finished reprimanding the bus driver and moved back to sit with them as well. Roxanne hooked her arm through his, hugging Melody too as her friend dropped out of character for a moment to apologize.
After the bus incident, and the slight hiccup in plans for the day, Roxanne and her friends enjoyed a rather snafu-less day. They still made it to the morning panel with time and seats to spare, and Melody´s lingering irritation evaporated now that the rest of the day had not been upset. As required by the Expo, Jacob stayed with the girls all day, but he still made sure that each girl had her cell phone in case they got separated in the crowd. He also made sure to buy them drinks and lunch to keep them going until it was time to head to back to the hotel.
The group stayed at Expo until ten o´clock, each very thankful that they didn´t use makeup to complete their cosplays. They didn´t need that extra six hours of putting on the makeup, time that they devoted to sleep and breakfast instead. They were also thankful that they didn´t have panels quite as early tomorrow, so they could sleep in until ten am.
By the time they got back to the room, prepped tomorrow´s cosplays and had showered, it was midnight. Nicole, Melody and Jacob readily fell asleep but Roxanne, still caught up in her current obsession, stayed awake for another two and a half hours quietly watching Fairy Tail.
The morning sunlight shone through Roxanne´s closed eyelids, waking her from sleep. She groaned as she sat up to stretch, wincing as her bruised thigh objected to being moved. She yawned and slowly opened her eyes. Seeing a bright, flowered meadow in front of her, she rubbed her eyes in confusion. "Am I still dreaming?" she mumbled sleepily to herself, looking around again. The grass and flowers had a strange, flat cleanliness, as though the whole world were animated rather than real. "It has to be a dream," she decided. It was too strange, too unreal to be real. She closed her eyes and shook her head rapidly, praying that she would wake up. All she succeeded in doing was rattling her brain around and making herself dizzy. When she opened her eyes, the meadow remained where it was. “Its not a dream.” She whimpered. "Where am I? How-how did I get here?!" She demanded of the world as she scrambled to her feet, desperately looking around for her friends, the hotel, something familiar. Her heart started pounding and she could feel the panic rising. "Melody?! Nicole?! Jacob?!"
As her breathing got harsher, Roxanne realized that she was starting to hyperventilate, and she forced herself to take several long, deep breaths, fists clenched tight as she fought to get the fear under control. She´d watched too many anime where people got hurt because they panicked to let herself fall victim the same way. If this was anything like No Game No Life, or Digimon, then figuring out what she had with her was more important than where, exactly, she was at the moment.
"I´m okay," she told herself firmly. "I´m not hurt, and nothing is trying to hurt me here. Wherever ´here´ is."
She looked down, and was only a little surprised to find that she wasn´t in her pajamas anymore. Instead, she was wearing a blue tank-top, brown shorts that matched her hair and eyes, blue and white sneakers, and a leather brown vest. None of the pockets held anything useful or valuable like her cell phone or a water bottle, and Roxanne had to force back irrational tears at the realization that she really had no way of contacting anyone. "I´m scared," she whispered, hugging herself tightly. "I want to go home. I want Jacob."
After a few minutes of refusing to cry, Roxanne wiped her stinging eyes and lifted her chin. If she didn´t have anything, she´d have to find something. If she could find a river, that should lead to a road, which should lead to a city, right? Living in Los Angeles meant she knew how important water was to cities, even if she was still a kid. "There has to be a town somewhere," she told herself firmly. "There has to be." With no way of knowing where, though, she had to pick a direction.
Closing her eyes once again, she spun for a few moments and then stopped, letting the dizziness subside. Once the world stopped spinning, she opened her eyes and started walking.
Roxanne didn´t know for how long she walked, knowing only that she hadn´t come across a single sign of civilization. There were no people, no buildings. Birds flew overhead and smaller ground animals scattered as she neared them, which meant that there weren´t any people hidden in the trees. If there were people around, she wouldn’t see any animals at all.
All she knew was the day quickly went from comfortable West Coast weather to seemingly Sahara Desert weather in a very short amount of time, and there was no water or shade around to help her cope with the stifling heat. Her muscles all hurt from the walking, her stomach growled from being empty, and her eyes hurt from the bright sunlight, and she wasn´t even sweating anymore, but she didn´t let herself feel any of that. She remained focused on the horizon and putting one foot in front of the other. She had to get somewhere eventually. She had to-
For one moment she paused, trying to see how far she´d come, and the lapse in concentration cost her. Suddenly she realized just how long she´d been walking, not just today, but the previous two days at the Expo. Her muscles shook with exhaustion, her throat burned dryly, her stomach rumbled, and her eyes stung. Her head pounded and she collapsed, the weight of everything too much to bear any longer.
Not long after she fell unconscious, Roxanne´s small form was discovered by a duo travelling the countryside. Concerned, the blonde-haired woman dropped to her knees beside Roxanne and did her best to get the unconscious girl some water. She also argued, needlessly, that taking the child with them was the best decision, at least until the girl woke up and could decide for herself. They could seek food, shelter, and medical aid until the girl woke up.
Without a word, the pink-haired male partner - who had silently agreed with everything the blonde wanted to do, he just didn´t want to show it - gently scooped Roxanne up in his arms as the blonde girl continued to fuss over her, and the group moved quickly off towards the closest town they knew.
JLS_123 I think this is great, i´m not that keen on this sort of thing but I enjoyed the first chapter. I´m not an expert but I feel that the girls day was written a little rushed
1271 Days ago