Of Unexpected Twists
She could still remember when it happened. She was seven years old, but she knew that when her mum and dad started crying after the strange man in the yellow coat had knocked on the door. She remembered asking where her sister was, and getting no reply.
She remembered the look in Colin's eyes.
So much time had passed since then. She was going to college now, Colin was engaged; life had gone on. Time doesn't stop when another life ends. It marches on.
"Now arriving in Russell Square," the speakers announced. "Please mind the gap."
Shifting her rucksack slightly on her shoulders, Kathy Peters stepped smartly off the tube and made her way up to Russell Square, her oyster card in her hand to swipe her through the barriers. As she stood in front of the entrance to the station she just left, someone bashed - not bumped, a proper bash - into her, sending her flying onto her rear. Her card flew out of her hand, landing several feet away where a person wearing a hoodie picked it up, looked right at her and simply walked away with it.
The bloody nerve! Pushing herself to her feet, she started jogging after the person.
"OI!" she shouted. "Give that back!"
As per usual, the London crowd didn't even bother looking up at the noise, while Kathy's thief simply sped up. Kathy did the same, and was soon pounding after her mysterious thief, her rucksack hitting her back painfully as she ran. She spared half a thought to her laptop before turning a corner and meeting a tall brick wall.
"Weird," she huffed, trying to slow her breathing down. She'd been sure that whoever it was had come down here. The bugger had probably given her the slip. Or else she needed new glasses. She adjusted hers before turning to walk back down the little ally. She never made it back to the main street.
"Are you the Lady Yuna?" a hooded figure asked. Yuna paused and turned on the sands of the little hidden cove, her mismatched eyes glowing in the moonlight.
"I am. Can I help you?" she replied, a smile settling on her lips.
"Yes. Would you be able to take care of this girl?" the figure asked, gesturing with a nod to a limp, unconscious girl in his or her arms.
"Oh my goodness!" Yuna exclaimed, darting forward. "Is she all right?"
"I think she's fine, there are no wounds," the person assured, "I would like to leave her here though; I am needed elsewhere."
"Is she related to you?" Yuna inquired, starting to walk back to the village.
"Not in the slightest," the person said with a shrug. "I just found her like this."
"Oh dear. I'm sure we will be able to care for her until she can return home."
"I'd be much obliged."
"It's just in here," Yuna explained, entering her little home. "Lulu! We have visitors!"
The beautiful Black Mage came out from her room, eyes narrowing in suspicion.
"Friends of yours, Yuna?" she inquired in a cool voice. The summoner-to-be shook her head.
"No, but the girl needs to be cared for," she explained. Lulu glanced at the cloaked person who put the girl onto the soft sofa.
"And you are...?" Lulu asked.
"Chiasa," the person - no, woman -answered, drawing the hood of her cloak down to reveal luminous green eyes and waves of chestnut hair. "And I cannot linger - I am expected in Bevelle."
"It's quite rude to leave someone on our hands like this," Lulu commented, ignoring Yuna's gasp at her words. "How do we know that she isn't an assassin?"
"That, I cannot vouch for, but judge for yourselves. I, personally, do not see her as a threat," Chiasa said serenely.
"We don't either," Yuna said assuringly. Lulu snorted. "You can trust us, we'll make sure she makes it home safely."
"I thank you," Chiasa brought her hands together and bowed. "I found this with her too," she added, holding up a large black bag. "Her belongings, I assume."
"We'll give them to her when she wakes," Yuna assured. "You have my word she'll be taken care of."
"Thank you, Lady Yuna," Chiasa smiled, pulling up the hood of her cloak again. "Perhaps we'll meet again."
"Goodbye." Yuna turned to see an irritated Lulu tapping her finger against her arm and she stifled a groan. Another lecture. Oh dear.
Her head hurt.
Kathy groaned before opening her eyes, blinking twin pools of cerulean confusion before realising that her glasses were off.
"I don't know how I keep forgetting that," she muttered to herself, slowly sitting up and patting along the covers for her glasses, where she always dropped them. Her brow furrowed as her hands found nothing but more blanket.
Must be on the floor again, she mused, pushing the blankets off of her and swinging her legs over the side. The second her feet touched the floor, Kathy knew something was off.
"When in the hell did I get a carpet?" she muttered, slowly kneeling down and patting along the carpet all around the bed.
"Are you all right?"
Kathy yelped in surprise, turning in the direction of the voice. A blurry purplish-and-white-someone (probably a girl) was standing by what she assumed was the door.
"Can I help you?" the girl asked again, "Are you missing something? Let me help you up."
"Um, yeah, I can't find my glasses," Kathy said sheepishly, her hands automatically going to smooth her hair. It was only a bob, but it always liked to stick out and piss her off. "Thanks, by the way."
"It's fine. Here are your glasses," the girl replied, pressing said item into Kathy's hand. "They were on the bedside table."
"The one place I never look," Kathy groaned, slipping them on. "Thanks."
She turned to smile at her companion. It was a girl around her own age, with shoulder-length brown hair and what looked like a blue-beaded hair braid behind her right ear, hidden by a lock of her hair, and her eyes were different colours; the left one was blue, the right was green. She was wearing the most gorgeous, if unusual clothes, Kathy'd ever seen.
She had a simple purple pleated, flower-patterned skirt, black boots, a white wrap-around that swept around her neck and over her chest; and a yellow patterned obi with a chōchō musubi knot and a decorative obidome to clinch the cords. Two separate, kimono-esque sleeves which were white, then slowly faded to a deep pink completed the outfit.
"I'm Yuna," she smiled, doing something weird with her arms and bowing. Kathy, bemused, stared at her.
"I'm Katherine, but I prefer Kathy," she answered, holding out her hand. "Nice to meet you."
Yuna stared at her hand like it would bite her.
"Haven't you ever had a handshake before?" Kathy asked in confusion. Yuna shook her head slowly. "Give me your hand. The right one."
Kathy slowly grasped Yuna's hand and shook it gently before letting go.
"That's...unusual," Yuna managed, staring at her own hand now. "Is that how you greet people in your village?"
"Most people do it," Kathy shrugged, pausing. "Speaking of. Where exactly am I?"
"You're in Besaid," Yuna said, sitting on the bed with a smile. "We can send you home as soon as you'd like!"
"Where exactly is Besaid?" Kathy asked, feeling a flutter of panic beginning to take root in her gut.
"Spira, of course!" Yuna answered in surprise.
"And where is Spira?"
"Spira is the world."
"Are you okay? You've gone very white."
A blank look.
"Yuna, please don't tell me you haven't heard of them."
The look of confused sympathy was enough. Kathy's head swam as she tried to piece it all together and her chest was getting tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter and she could hear Yuna calling for someone, but shecouldn'tbreathecouldn'tbreathecouldn'tbreathecouldn'tbreathecouldn'tbreathecouldn'tbreathecouldn'tbreathe...
"Are you all right now?" Yuna's friend Lulu asked coolly, her eyes narrowed as Kathy took another puff of her inhaler.
"Better," she croaked, "Sorry."
"What happened?" Yuna asked curiously.
"I panicked, which triggered an asthma attack," she replied, slipping her inhaler into her pocket and groaning at the blank looks she received. "Basically, my lungs stopped working and my brain panicked at the lack of air which made me panic more. The inhaler helps calm me down, because my brain has associated the inhaler with air. It's basically fooling my brain."
"Do a lot of people suffer from this?" Lulu asked.
"A fair few, but I've a minor case. Some people have it much, much worse than I do. I only use this thing-" she held up her inhaler, "in emergencies."
"And what, exactly, made it an emergency?" Lulu asked in a sharp voice. Kathy sighed, looking at her from behind a curtain of black hair.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," she muttered. "I barely do myself."
"Try me." Lulu's voice was dry. Mentally, Kathy snorted. Let's see how long that lasts. Taking a deep breath, she took the plunge.
"I'm not from Spira. I'm from a place called London, England, on a planet called Earth."