Tammy opened her eyes as well and a moment later moved aside for Rei who was the first to express her relief.
“Aki!” she hugged her. “You had me worried you jerk!”
“Sorry…” she was still kind of out of it as she put a hand to her head. Tammy gave a little smile before heading for the door.
Kiko called out to her, “Tammy…” Tammy stopped and watched Kiko sit upright on the table. “Thank you.”
She smiled again, this time to Kiko, “Gratitude denied.” Then she walked out of the medical bay. We were all stunned until her voice echoed in the room, “Joke.”
I seriously have to teach her how to tell a joke.
“We’re seriously leaving Glutvagant?! Didn’t we just get here?!” Kiko was surprisingly, completely back to normal within a few hours.
This sounded familiar…
“Yeah, apparently we’ve been unconscious for the month that we were on Glutvagant.” Rei answered.
“What?! A month already?!” She was in disbelief, “What about the stone?”
She got her answer from our disappointed faces, but I answered her last question, “Ozias has the stone, along with the morph stone.”
I remembered my failure, along with other things I didn’t want to recall. Kiko handled the news better than I thought she would.
“At least we’re all still alive and we know where it is,” she said.
“It was decided that it’s best to leave the third stone for another time” said Rei.
She nodded in agreement.
We were back in space again. It felt like we were just here, which was odd. The only one who felt the full effect of being on Glutvagant the whole month was Tammy. I went up to the flight deck to see what she was up to and I found her tapping away at the panels.
“What’re you gonna do now that you’re back on the ship after being alone for a month?” I asked.
She finished panel tapping and got up, “Take a shower and sleep for a week.”
I chuckled as I watched her leave the flight deck.
She wasn’t kidding. She really did shower and sleep non-stop for nearly a week. That month must’ve really taken a lot out of her. It definitely felt like she was a slightly different person, but sleeping for a week straight?
“Does she normally sleep that much?” I asked Rei in the kitchen one day while I was making dinner.
“We’ve seen it before. One time when Cashel was gone on an errand, she over-exhausted herself after working on one of her projects and she spent a week and a half in bed afterwards. Needless to say Kiko and I were reprimanded once he got back for letting her overwork herself that much.” She gazed into the air, pondering, “That was a long time ago.”
I decided that I would try and wake her up to see if she was okay after an entire week but I didn’t have to. The next day I found her working in her room, looking the same as usual.
I made sure no one else was around before I walked inside and asked her something I couldn’t ask Kiko herself, “Did you see what she was going through?” I had been wondering this the past week. Kiko was no longer training but constantly meditating.
“Yes.” I waited for more and she continued, “It was her past.” She closed the door behind me. “I should tell you…” she stopped her work and said seriously to me, “Kiko broke through two of the three barriers that held her true potential at bay during that ordeal. Those barriers cannot be easily fixed, especially since she doesn’t know about them, and the only barrier left, is one that only she can control.”
I put the pieces together in my mind, “Her meditating?”
“Correct,” she nodded. “The only thing left holding her power back is her own sheer will, which will become increasingly difficult to keep holding back as time goes by. Cashel decided not to tell her about the extra precautions we had been secretly implementing on her because he was afraid she would rely solely on those barriers to keep her tremendous power under control when in fact her own desire not to kill is the strongest barrier she posesses.”
That made sense, “I see…”
“I’m telling you this so that you can keep an eye on her. If she loses control… you have to bring her back to us, in case Rei or I are not there to help.”
Bring her back? I could see how Rei or Tammy would be able to do such a thing, but me? I’ve known her the least amount of time compared to the others. What would I even be able to do?
She opened her door again.
“Rei’s looking for you.” She finished.
Rei passed by and stopped at Tammy’s door, “There you are!” I was caught by surprise. She pleaded with me in a whispering voice so that Kiko wouldn’t overhear, “Can you help me clean my section of weapons?”
I sighed, “Well you shouldn’t wait that long before deciding to actually do your section.” I followed her out of Tammy’s room.
“Ugh! But cleaning them is so boring! And it takes too long!”
We walked to the weapons bay together.
“Have you considered getting rid of some of the ones you don’t use?”
She quickly turned her head with shocking disappointment, tsk! “That’s like asking Tammy to stop growing weird glowing hair!”
Uhh… that comparison didn’t really made sense, but whatever.
It took hours to clean all her weapons, some of which I don’t think she’s even used.
“Do you even know how to use these?” I asked, dusting off an archaic-looking weapon.
“Um…” her eyes squinted in thought, “Yeah, you know… I’ve seen it fired before, that’s the same thing right?” She didn’t even wait for an answer. Instead she went back to piecing together the large weapon she was dusting.
I shook my head and chuckled, and a new thought came to mind. “Hey, have you ever thought about what you want to do after the race?”
“Hmm…” another pause, “Probably go back to Dezner. I eventually want to start my own family though believe it or not!” She smiled at her mental speculation. “What about you?”
“I just want to stay with the crew.” I finished dusting off the archaic weapon, “I love it here. You guys are my family.”
She laughed, “You have a weird family!”
I laughed with her, “You’re the only one that makes it weird.” We both laughed for a moment and then I said seriously, “Thank you for taking me with you... you know, off Sola.”
She gave me her famous Rei-grin, “Thanks for the water!”
I had just finished leaving the weapons bay when I saw Kiko in the kitchen muttering to herself in anger, “Ugh! I told her not to eat all the smiggers, that brat!”
I sat down at the table, “Should I come back later?”
She closed the ingredients hologram with frustration. “No, just looking for a snack.”
I opened up the same hologram she was just looking at, “Yeah, same here.”
“If you want, I can make you something. Just don’t share with Rei. I’m still mad at her.”
I chortled, “Deal.”
She whipped something up and I remembered the question I asked Rei earlier.
She handed me a cone of whatever she made and I asked her before she was about to walk away, “What do you want to do after the race?”
I could see she hadn’t thought of it before.
“I guess go back to bounty hunting,” she answered, her gray eyes meeting mine.
“You don’t want to start a family?”
She gave me a surprised, perplexed look and I realized how I asked that to her.
“No! Not with me- or it doesn’t have to be- you know- with me…” My face grew hot as I fumbled to somehow correct the situation. She continued to stand there, bewildered. “I’m sorry, I’ll just go… just forget about what I said…” I quickly left my seat and headed straight for the room I felt most comfortable in.
Tammy was already waiting for me. “Awkward! That was awkward! I’m such an idiot!” I said as I paced around her room thinking to myself. Her eyes followed me while in her chair, with an entertained smile on her face.
I knew she knew what had just transpired but I felt I had to explain it through my own experience, “I asked her what she wanted to do after the race was over and she said ‘go back to bounty hunting’ and I said ‘oh! You don’t want to get together and start a family? Maybe have some kids?!’ Of course she would give me that look!” I explained, mocking myself. I sat down on her bed and smashed my face in my palms. “Did I completely mess things up?” I groaned.
Tammy actually chuckled, “No, but it was a funny conversation.” She jokingly flashed a ‘10’ on her hologram laughter scale.
I gave a heavy sigh. I didn’t want to approach Kiko again for a while, just to get over that initial awkwardness.
“Alright I’ma hafta sleep this one off…” I lamented, getting up.
“I’ll be up all night.” She assured.
I waved my hand goodbye in acknowledgement and left for my room.
I was in a deep sleep when suddenly my door slid open and a silhouette of Kiko appeared at my doorway. She came in and the door closed behind her. I jumped up, half-asleep.
“What?! What is it?! Are we under attack?!” I asked trying to determine what caused the intrusion.
“No-no, we’re fine,” she assured quietly. “I just came to tell you what I wanted to do after the race…”
It was still completely dark in my room, so I couldn’t see her at all.
“Oh, that…” I spoke to her blindly in the dark but I could tell she could see me pretty well if not perfectly because she swiftly sat at the edge of my bed.
“I want to travel more, and see the night sky from different planets…” I listened intently. I liked her dream so far... “-But… I want to do that all with you.”
Was this a confession?? My heart started pounding through my chest and I got butterflies in my stomach that wouldn’t go away. I had a longing to reach out to her but I was too nervous to make any sort of movement. I didn’t know what to do and could feel that she was watching at me closely.
“Uhh yeah, I want to do that stuff with you too.” I chuckled nervously.
It was quiet again until I felt her stand up.
“Well, I’m glad I told you,” she chuckled nervously too. “Sorry to bother you late at night.”
“No problem. Anytime you wanna talk… I’m right here.” I answered awkwardly.
The door slid open and she gave me an awkward wave goodbye before leaving my room.
Once again I was able to make things even more awkward with her. I covered my face with my pillow and let my anger out into it. A ding rang and I removed my pillow to see a lit up ‘10’ on my ceiling. I’m glad someone was enjoying this.
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