The year was 1977, nearly twelve years since Asen and Renata had first moved to Black Swan Bay, The two Romanova children were excelling in their training, along with the other students, although most children got sicker as years went on, everyone continued to live past everyone’s expectations, In the Swan Hall everyone was eating and conversing amongst themselves, Asen was making his way towards the table to hear everyone’s conversation. He made a seat beside Ivan, who greeted them warmly as Anton’s obnoxious voice spoke
“And that’s when I knocked the dummy high across the training ground, in one swift blow it was in the tree!” He proclaimed proudly
“Oooh Anton tell them about the professor, go on-” Khorkina egged him on, her hands wrapped around Anton’s arm lovingly, the two were lovebirds from the start, childhood sweethearts to teenage lovers Anton was one of the older teens around Renata’s age, Asen was the youngest of the group being only fifteen where the other kids were 16-17 they loved to tease Asen for it.
“Right! and the Professor, hah! He was so proud, saying how well I’ve excelled in the Academy! I’ll be going to the capital for sure!” he laughed obnoxiously, Asen couldn’t help but roll his eyes,
“All bark, no bite, You’ll never make it to the capital” A voice echoed. they all turned towards Z. The boy who never left Renata’s side, the two were best friends. Over the years the lost boy grew quite a bit, very knowledgeable, and had a tongue that shot arrows. He never joins training, sleeps most of the day, and always sticks his nose where it didn’t belong, as far as anyone was aware, Z wasn’t a hybrid, he showed no powers or proof in being so, but he was very skilled, knowing tons of knowledge about dragon history.
“And what do you know Z? Huh? Tell me this, do I see you ever out on the grounds! Maybe if you weren’t on your ass all the time!” Anton Scoffed
“At least I know where my powers lie, I don’t need to overcompensate for what I’m lacking” Z replied, a smirk forming on his face.
Asen nearly choked on his food and Ivan did a clear spit-take, everyone in the Swan hall was now snickering at Z’s Comment.
Aton’s lips kept flapping like a fish despite no words coming out, his face a bright red scarlet. After a moment to process, he shot himself upwards to stand, slamming his hands on the table.
“Yeah Yeah go on! Why are you even here anyway, you aren’t even a hybrid! You’re just a lazy ass macho! At least some of us try-” Anton shouted before storming out, Khorkina in tow trying to comfort her partner outside,
Z just gave a small scoff before proceeding to eat what was on his plate,
Renata broke the silence and spoke up
“You may have been a little harsh on Anton, Z” She sighed
Ivan perked up with a small chortle “Who Cares, It was funny, he was getting too full of himself anyways~”
Asen just sat quietly as he ate, thinking to himself
“Thank you, Ivan, See Renata, Ivan found my joke amusing” Z glanced over to Asen and gave a small hum
“Hey, Asen, what did you think?” Z called out.
Asen looked up towards Z’s direction indifferently, “Think about what?” He muttered
“Do you think I was too harsh on poor Anton?” Z questioned
Asen swallowed the food in his mouth and let out a small sigh,
“I think we should treat family with more respect-”
“Were not family Asen, were all stuck here because people didn’t want us” Z explained, Everyone went silent upon that statement, the air was tense now,
“I-I kinda thought of us all like a really weird family,” Ivan mumbled under his breath.
“I did too..” Asen stood up, clearly bothered
“Hey- Where ya’ goin’?” Ivan questioned before standing up to follow Asen out,
“Now look what you did Z, You need to be nicer here,” Renata nagged
“Renata my darling look around, I speak nothing but the truth, Orphans here are only used as experiments, you can’t seriously believe we’re a family here.”
Renata fell quiet, silently eating her food before speaking again
“I care about you Z, a lot, and I care for my brother, and the professor-” She began
“Oh please-” Z rolled his eyes, leaning back
“What now? Can’t you drop this act? I like you when you’re you, not when you’re trying to show off! If this is how you’ll behave then we can be done.” Renata stood up, taking herself towards the door
“Renata wait-” Z stood up and grabbed onto her wrist, holding her back. Renata whipped her head around, her frost blue eyes stared coldly towards the Albino kid.
“What Z?” She huffed
“I’m-..I’m sorry, Renata, I never intended to upset you,” Z explained in a hushed tone
“Well, what were you intending?” Renata said with a huff,
“I don’t know...I just, tend to be too blunt sometimes.” He mumbled,
“Please forgive me,” He continued, looking at her with a gentle expression. Renata simply sighed and turned to him, pinching his nose lightly
“Be nicer Z, People here aren’t like out there, we try to look out for one another, alright?” She explained
“Alright Alright, I’ll dial it down” Z agrees, wincing at his nose being pinched.
“Good, now, I have to go find my brother and make sure he’s alright” she explained leaning up to kiss Z’s cheek, lightly squeezing his hands that were now in her own.
“When will you tell him about us?” Z asked
“Are you kidding? Asen can’t stand you, he would totally flip out if he knew” Renata explained
“Now we’ll talk later, alright?” She said with a small smile, Z just nods as she made her way out from the Swan Hall.
Renata walked through the snow, heading towards the Serdtse Cabin where She and Asen stayed. As she opened the door she was greeted by a ghostly presence in Asen’s shape, it was a spitting image of him, being pearly white and completely translucent.
“Hello Comet,” She cooed giving a small nod to the soul,
“Hiya Renata! I missed you!” The presence echoed,
“I know I didn’t see you with Asen in the Swan Hall, Did you want to stay in here?” She asked
“The Snow is colder today, I wanted to stay in the cabin,” they explained.
“That’s Understandable, Say, Where Is Asen, have you seen him?” She questioned,
“I know he’s by the Father Tree, the one you decorate for holidays!” Comet exclaimed, pointing towards the window in the direction.
“Thank you Comet, we’ll talk later,” She hummed enthusiastically. Comet happily swirled around her, like a gust of wind before leaving her be to exit as she wished.
Renata went back outside down the trail to find Asen alone by the trunk, playing with his small hand-made guitar. The plate of half-eaten food was now cold. He was grumpily playing with his guitar, tuning the strings, each note he place in between was out of tune, he continued to try to fix it.
Renata gave a small call, a melody the two used as if a secret code to call one another, Asen perked up to see her at the top of the hill, he just gave a half-hearted wave and signaled her to come down. Renata made her way down the hill to the base of the tree, standing over where Asen was sitting,
“Hey Mr. down-in-the-dumps” She teased lightly
“I thought you were busy hanging with your best friend” He air quotes, refusing to look up from his guitar.
“Asen--” She spoke before being cut off
“Why do you hang out with that guy, he’s rude, snarky, and just snide! He’s no fun at all” Asen complained
“Asen, I don’t want him isolated, he’s rough around the edges but he’s trying to be better, he’s had a hard life, you understand don’t you?” She sat beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder
“We’ve all had rough lives, were orphans, but that shouldn’t excuse him to be mean to the rest of us.” Asen huffed, slumping back against the tree
“Asen, Patience is a strong virtue, give him time, I’m sure he’ll come around, as for now, I’m trying to teach him to be nicer to the rest of us, will you trust me?” She begged
“Alright alright, I got it, but I still don’t like the guy, I wish he’d just hurry up and fix himself already” Asen grumbled.
the whir of the plane was suddenly heard, the fighter plane Hertzog used was overhead, coasting through to the mountain’s landing point
“The professor is back, we should greet him together,” Renata extends her hand towards Asen, which he reluctantly takes, walking together on the trail to meet up with Hertzog from his travels, leaving his guitar by the base of the tree.