Prologue

July 1, 2008

She walked into the lobby if the family-owned hotel and took her headphones out, walking up to the counter.

"Checking in?" the older gentleman behind the counter asked. She would've described him as old- fashioned. But in a 40-year-old dad that can't start his day without coffee and goes through a pack of cigarettes in a week kind of way. He had a small radio behind him playing classic rock, a calendar with 80's sports cars on each page, and a model airplane sitting on the shelf, and his name tag read "Barry". She got a different kind of vibe from him, but she couldn't put her finger on it.

"Um... Just looking for room 106." she answered.

The man checked the computer in front of him, "Um, that room has already been booked." he said, "I'm just waiting for him to come and check into it."

"Uh... Adon Shishima?" she asked.

"Yes, were you meeting with him?" he asked.

She nodded, "Yeah, that's my dad. We haven't seen each other in four years."

"You're so young, what are you... Eight?"

"Eh- I'm turning thirteen at the end of the month." she corrected him.

"Wow, you're still young..." Barry whistled, "Well, I can have you check in in his place, if you want to meet him in there." he offered.

"That'd be great." Tacome nodded, "Thank you..."

"Okay then, let me get your signature..." he put down a piece of paper in front of her, as soon as she signed the paper, he turned around and reached for the key labeled 106 hanging on the wall, as he grabbed the key, he accidentally knocked the model airplane to the floor, "Whoops..." he handed her the key and picked up the plane, "Aw, the wing broke..." he huffed, "Welp, okay, guess I'll have to fix it later." He set the plane and it's damaged right wing on his desk.

"Sorry about your plane..." Tacome gripped the key in both hands.

Barry waved off her apology, "Not your fault, sweetie, things happen." he said, "Enjoy your visit, we have complimentary breakfast in the mornings." he informed her, "Until eleven."

"Okay, thank you." Tacome bowed her head and walked off.

When she got to the room, she plopped her bag down and pulled out her flip phone, dialing her father's phone. She held the phone to her ear and waited.

"Hey, you've reached Adon Shishima. I can't come to the phone right now, but leave a message and I'll give you a call back as soon as possible." she heard his prerecorded voice answer.

"Hey, Dad, it's Tacome... I'm at the hotel. I already checked in. Just... Wondering when you were gonna be here." she said, "I'll see you soon. Bye..." she hung up the phone and sighed, laying back on one of the twin-sized beds.

"Your dad better show up, or I'll give him hell." she heard her mother's voice in the back of her mind.

"Let me know how it goes. Be safe. I love you." her sister had told her before she left.

"Hey, think we can hang out when you get back? It's kinda nice having the company..." another, newer voice asked, belonging to a friend she had made before she got on the plane to Thymmetri from Charion. He was the local homeless kid who was only stealing food so he could live. She felt bad for him, so she bought him lunch that day, a bag of chips, beef jerky, a bottle of electrolade and a few bottles of water. She looked forward to seeing him again.

She yawned loudly and drifted to sleep where she laid.

By the time she woke up, everything was pitch black. She sat up and groaned, popping her back, stiff from sleeping on the bed the way she did. She opened her phone and shone the light around, looking for the light switch. Once she was able to turn the lights on, she checked her phone for any notifications. She sank when she realized there were none. She dialed her father again.

"Hey, you've reached Adon Shishima. I can't come to the phone right now, but leave a message and I'll give you a call back as soon as possible."

"Hey, it's me again. I fell asleep, but… you know… yeah, just- waiting on you. Um… where did we want to go for breakfast tomorrow?" she asked, starting to think that they won't be going out for breakfast the next morning. "Um… I'll be here." She said. "Bye…" she hung up and sighed. "Come on, Dad…" she groaned and sat back down, finally checking the time. Three in the morning.

She rolled her eyes and turned on the television, sitting on the bed and watching some obscure cartoons until the sun rose.

There was a knock on the door, Tacome's heart jumped with hope.

"Housekeeping."

Tacome checked the peephole, finding a small woman who had been at this job for far too long. She sighed, "Hi."

"Good morning. Does your room need cleaning?" she asked.

"N-no. Tacome shook her head, "Thank you though. I can just fix the covers later, that's all I've done in here, is sleep."

"Okay, then." The woman smiled, "Enjoy the rest of your stay."

Tacome nodded and watched the woman leave. "I should…" she closed the door and thought, looking at her phone, which still didn't have any notifications. She sighed, "Call Dad again…" she said, "If he doesn't answer, I'll just go get breakfast…" she muttered to herself.

She dialed, her stomach sinking when the call went straight to voicemail.

..xxXxx..

Tacome sat in the lobby, picking at a pile of scrambled eggs that she had dumped a packet of salt on. She clenched her jaw, her shoulders were tense, the last words that had left her mouth ran through her head over and over like a bad pop song. "Hey, Dad… eh- look. If you're going to be late, at least let me know. Or call the front desk and have them tell me. If you're not even going to show up, then tell me. You invited me here, I flew all the way out here to see you, I checked in hours ago, and I haven't heard from you. Just- call me when you get the chance, okay?"

Barry sat at the front desk and watched Tacome sympathetically. He stood up and walked over to her, "Is your dad sleeping in?" he asked, sitting down next to her.

"He hasn't even shown up yet…" she huffed bitterly.

"Hasn't he called you?"

"No calls, no texts… nothing. Just-" she sighed, "He just flaked out on me… again."

"Again?"

"He has a history." She grumbled. "Sometimes I feel like there's something wrong with me and my sister that make him not want to be around."

"I'm sure that's not it." Barry said, "You have no idea what a dad will do for their girls." He said, "I have a daughter just a few years older than you and that little girl means the world to me." He explained, "A father/daughter relationship is a very special bond." He said.

"Wish I actually knew what it felt like…" Tacome set her fork down, "Last time I saw my dad, he said 'I have to take care of something, I'll be back', got into a car and drove off. Four years ago. Haven't seen him since. He'd send money to my mom for me and my sister, but that's it. Not even a message to go with it. No 'hi', no 'how's Tacome and Elanie?' nothing…"

"I'm sure something just came up." Barry said.

"Something always comes up."

Barry sank and looked away, "I guess that's fair…" he took a deep breath, "Well, if you ever need anything, come talk to me. I'll be at the desk."

"Thank you… sorry…" she closed her eyes as they watered. Eventually, she picked enough off her plate to decide she was finished and disposed of everything. She walked back to her room and checked inside, a small sliver of hope that her father had gotten there while she was eating.

Empty.

She rolled her eyes and locked the door again, going out for a walk around the block, blasting music from her MP3 player through her headphones.

After her walk, she returned to her room, not expecting for her father to be there anymore. She pulled out a sketchpad and began drawing flowers, dragons, and even an unknown figure missing an arm and a leg, her messy pencil strokes, adding blood pouring from the figure's stumps. She tore the page out and crumpled it up, setting it aside and brushing her hair back. She looked at the time, it was three o' clock now. Three more hours and she would have checked in twenty-four hours ago.

She rolled her eyes, and dialed once more. After listening through the prerecording without the phone ringning again, she spoke, "Hey, um... Look, if you're not here tomorrow morning, I'm just going to check out and go home." she said, "An explanation would have been nice, but.. I'm not going to keep staying here, keeping up false hope that you'll be here when I know you won't. If you're not here by eight tomorrow, I'm going home... Bye." she hung up and closed the sketchbook. She grabbed her MP3 player and headphones and walked down to a fast food restaurant for dinner. After sitting down with her order, a family of four sat at the next table over, the parents talking to each other and blatantly ignoring their adolescent boys, one her age and the other a couple years older, who were wrestling each other.

The older brother caught the younger in a headlock and held onto him. Tacome watched the younger brother's face start to turn read as he tried struggling out of his hold.

"Hey- I don't think he can breathe." she spoke up, catching the older brother's attention and the parents.

"Dylan, leave your brother alone." the mother said, immediately returning to her conversation with her husband.

Dylan sighed and let go of his brother, "Don't be such a bitch..." he scoffed, "Where are the video games in this place?" he asked as he walked away.

The younger brother caught his breath and sat on the bench across from Tacome, "Thanks, but you didn't have to get involved." he said.

Tacome shrugged and dipped three fries into a carton of ketchup, "He looked like he was getting too aggressive." she said, "Sorry..."

He shook his head, "No... It's cool." he said. "Sylvester..." he held out his hand."

"Tacome." she introduced. "Your folks are really attentive, huh?"

Sylvester rolled his eyes, "Only when they think someone is judging their parenting." he huffed. "Parents of the year..." he waved his hands sarcastically.

Tacome scoffed, "I'm from Charion, my dad invited me here and I haven't heard from him since. You wanna hear about parent of the year?"

"So… wait, you're here without your parents?" he asked.

"Technically."

"What about your mom?" he asked.

"With my sister. In Charion. My birthday's at the end of the month, and apparently now was the best time for my dad to fly me out here to Thymmetri and flake out on me." She explained. "Mom's pissed at dad for walking out on us." She explained. "Which is why she isn't here. And my sister has conflicting feeling about the whole thing, so to save her the anxiety, she opted out of not coming too. Guess I was the idiot for thinking there's even a sliver of a chance he'd actually want to be a parent, huh?"

"That sucks…" Sylvester winced, unsure what else to say, then he blinked, "Hey- we're heading back to Charion tomorrow morning. I guess we just go to different schools, huh?"

Tacome nodded, "We might catch the same plane if my dad doesn't show up by eight tomorrow morning."

"Maybe… Anyway, I'm gonna go eat. Nice meeting you." He moved back over to his family's table.

Tacome grunted and continued to eat. When she finished, she emptied the tray, put it away, and walked back to the hotel. Now came the waiting game. She pulled out her sketchbook again and drew birds, demons, and aquatic creatures. When she grew tired, she laid down and fell asleep, keeping an alarm set for seven-thirty.

The alarm chimed, Tacome rolled over and turned it off, finding herself in a still-empty room. She opened the sketchbook again, losing track of time completely. It was nine-thirty before she knew it. She sighed and packed everything away. When she finished, she shuffled to the front desk and wordlessly handed Barry back the room key.

Barry sadly took the key back, "I'm sorry things didn't work out, ma'am…" he said.

"I'm going home…" she said, her eyes watering, "I'm done with him…" she sniffled.

Barry nodded and stood up to put the keys away, accidentally knocking the model plane down again, the same wing breaking off on impact. "Dammit…" he muttered to himself. He picked up the plane and set it on the desk to be repaired again later. "Good luck." He said, "Have a safe flight."

"Thanks…" Tacome turned and left the lobby.

Barry watched her leave sympathetically, internally seething. He looked up the name again in the system, "Adon Shishima…" he muttered, then he picked up a black phone from under the desk and dialed, getting up walk to the back, "Henry, I need a favor…" he started, "Yeah, get the boys to look for a guy named Adon Shishima. Yeah, about mid-thirties, tall, black hair, dark blue eyes. Mercenary. But that doesn't give him an excuse…" He described, remembering how the man looked when he came in to book the room. "Nah, don't kill him, just bring him here, I need to talk to him."

..xxXxx..

Tacome got on the plane and took her seat next to the window near the right wing of the plane, music blaring through her headphones.

Standing in the aisle next to her row, was Sylvester. He gathered that her father never showed up like she said he probably wouldn't.

"Dude, sit down." Dylan jabbed his side.

Sylvester shot him a glare and sat down next to Tacome. "Sorry about your dad…" he said, watching her carefully.

She leaned her head against the edge of the window, eyes watering, tears streaming down her face. She didn't hear him, nor did she acknowledge that he was even there. Her jaw tightened as her lower lip twitched.

Sylvester sat back and left her to her music.

Once the plane was completely boarded, everyone fastened their seatbelts, and the plane took off.

Tacome's MP3 player finally died, leaving her in silence. She took out the headphones and put the device back in her bag and dug out her sketchbook, glancing over and finally noticing Sylvester, "Oh, hey…" she greeted him, "Guess we did catch the same plane…"

"Same seating, too."

"Yeah…" Tacome stared at the cover of her sketchbook, "Yeah…" she sighed.

"Sorry about your dad…" he repeated, knowing she could hear him this time.

She sighed and shook her head, "Whatever…" she said, "If he didn't want anything to do with me or my family, then he didn't have to waste my time by blowing me off…" she opened to a blank page and tapped her pencil on the surface, trying to think of something to draw. She eventually gave up and closed the book again and shoved it back in her bag, leaning back in her seat, "I'm gonna get some sleep."

"Okay…" Sylvester went back to the graphic novel he had been reading.

He had wanted to tell her that things will only get better from there, but she was asleep before he could. It was only a few minutes later when he realized he would have been wrong anyway.

Very… very wrong…

His heart pounded in his ears, his head throbbed, everything was burning… He remembered fire, and smoke threatening to suffocate them. Every time he blinked, he thought time had frozen. He tried looking over, his head bobbed weakly as he tried keeping his head up. Tacome was unconscious, blood trailing from her head, over her ear and down the side of her neck. Her right side being engulfed in flames. "Ta… Tacome…" he slurred, letting his head turn back to look in front of him. He struggled to keep his eyes open, until he squinted, "Leg…?" he reached forward in front of him, he howled in pain after feeling the mangled limb from just above his left knee. His eyes drifted shut, before he forced them back open again, he looked over to the other side, flames engulfing everything else, "Mom…? Dad…?" he called, then he coughed, "Dylan…?" He coughed, trying to breathe in the smoke. He tried to swallow the extra moisture in his mouth, finding the after taste of iron. He felt something trickling down the side of his nose next to his eye. He felt it and found more blood on his smoky fingertips, "Any…one…?" his eyes rolled back before losing consciousness.

..xxXxx..

Barry sat behind the desk in the lobby and watched the news, horrified at the news coverage on the plane crash. Flight 293 had been on its way to Charion, but one of the engines failed, causing the plane to crash violently near Avoncor. No survivors had been confirmed yet. Barry gasped upon seeing the plane completely engulfed in flames, and the right wing completely missing. The rest of the plane had fallen apart, the body broken into three pieces.

Barry looked down at the model passenger airplane that he'd accidentally dropped, the right wing had been glued and taped back on. The coincidence terrified him.

The housekeeping lady walked in, "Um… boss?" she called quietly.

"Tiffany… when this plane finishes drying, put it in the glass case in my office…" he instructed.

Tiffany nodded, "Um…" she held a crumpled piece of paper, "I found this in room 106…" she said, showing him the rough, messy sketch Tacome had done of the figure missing its limbs. The right arm and the left leg.

Barry stood and took the paper, then looked back at the television. Emergency response had finally gotten the flames under control and were now pulling bodies out of the plane. Two of them, still alive. Tacome, whose right arm was likely unable to be saved, and Sylvester, whose left leg was mangled from just above the knee. He took a deep shaking breath, "Have you heard from Donnie and Franklin?" he asked.

Tiffany shook her head, "Not recently. Last I heard, they were complaining on how hard that Shishima guy was to find."

Barry nodded, "Let me know when you hear from them." He said, setting the paper on the desk and sitting back down. "That Adon guy has hell to pay for ditching his daughter without so much as an explanation…"

..xxXxx..

Tacome and Sylvester were both rushed to the Avoncor hospital, both in critical conditions. Sylvester woke up first, three weeks after the accident, with no memory of the accident, Tacome, or his family. His leg couldn't be saved and was amputated. When asking what had happened, he was told that he was in a violent plane crash, and that he and one other person were the only ones to survive. Everyone else, including his family, was dead.

Tacome woke up six months later with no memory whatsoever. She had to learn how to walk, talk, and dress herself all over. The authorities found the list of passengers for that particular flight and found two other people with the last name 'Shishima', and were then convinced that her family died in the crash as well. Her arm was mangled, and burned beyond saving, so it was amputated as well. She recovered at a remarkable rate, relearning all of her basic functions much faster than the doctors had anticipated.

During their stay, they were introduced to each other again. Having heard the rumors of Tacome's success, Sylvester grew to resent her, wanting to show that he was capable of the same, and bitter that she was so cheery, despite her condition. How could she be so happy if everyone they knew was dead in that accident? How could she be so happy when they were missing so much, but they didn't even know what it was?

The two were taken in by separate doctors who would personally oversee their recovery and rehabilitation. Carlisle Frond had taken in Sylvester Mykannor, and Toni Baker took in Tacome. After leaving the hospital, Tacome practically begged for Toni to let her find a job, having been inspired by a polite waitress at a diner. Toni hesitantly complied, seeing that it would probably help with her physical therapy, but reminding her that her options were limited while she only had one arm. Tacome took a waitressing job anyway, wanting to build up money to get a prosthetic arm. She aspired to helping people, even beyond waitressing, and maybe even becoming some sort of therapist.

Sylvester kept to himself, becoming deeply depressed in wanting to remember everything, but nothing ever came back to him. He felt he knew Tacome before the accident somehow, but couldn't remember how he knew her. Often, he would ask Carlisle if anything else had been discovered about any remaining family he might have had, but Carlisle always replied, "I don't know. Why? Is there something wrong with me?" Sylvester never thought there was anything wrong, but he always hated that answer, and it became the 'something wrong'.

Adon Shishima was still missing. Barry kept his best men and even called his connections in other cities and told them to keep an eye out. He only prayed that Tacome made good recovery and that she would completely forget about her father.

Sylvester and Tacome, despite not remembering the accident at all, suffered PTSD panic attacks from the accident. They were often triggered by seeing any shape or form of flames, explosions, or even their own nightmares.

**So… this gives me a much better feel than the original shit did. I apologize for that, those of you who have read that before I updated this. Trust me, this was actually the hardest episode for me to write because of the fact I know shit when it comes to medical stuff (hence me making the ending part as medically vague as fucking possible). Anyway, episode one will be up in a few (hours, days, who the hell knows at this point). Stay awesome, folks!**