"Lorraine? Please come down - there's someone I'd like you to meet."

She remembered when she first saw him, shy and uncomfortable in a damp silk suit. He was standing beside his father in the entrance hall having just come in out of the rain. His black hair was wet and she could see where bits of it stuck up despite his having run his hand through it a few times. His eyes were pools of liquid ebony, dark and shining on his golden-hued face. Looking back upon the moment she could admit he was an adorable child, though at the time her reaction was that of any other twelve-year-old: 'another icky boy'.

<"Sattori-san, it is my pleasure to introduce my daughter Lorraine."> Her father's Japanese had always been overly formal, but tonight it sounded like he really meant the honorific.

<"Lorraine, this is my friend Sattori Hanzo-san and his youngest son, Sattori Yasuo-san.">

The men in front of her bowed formally and she automatically started to slide her heels together to return the bow. Unfortunately as she was still in the process of making the last step down the staircase, her body betrayed her by overbalancing and lurching forward.

Nikishi, directly in her path, started to take a step forward to try and catch her, but only managed to entangle himself in the whirlwind of arms and knees that was Lorraine. They came to rest on the floor with an undignified thump, damaging only their pride.

Her father's rumbling laughter only enhanced Lorraine's crimson face, and she almost fled at Hanzo's chuckling comment to his son, "Only fourteen and already beautiful women are throwing themselves at you!"

******** Time Passes ********

She blushed again, again because of him but this time it wasn't from humiliation. He just looked so dashing in his high-school grav-ball uniform! Sleek, trim and muscular with all the right moves on the court - and a few nice ones off the court, too, her friend Sally whispered to Penny, they both looked at Lorraine and burst into giggles.

"Ok! Fine. I admit it! He's good-looking. There. Happy?"

Obviously not, as they descended upon the still-blushing girl and dared her to do something about her feelings for the boy they all had been admiring.

"... and he's only sixteen and-" "Seventeen - his birthday was five weeks ago." "Ooh - she knows his birthday! What else do you know about him? Tell!" "Of course I know his birthday - his father and my father are friends so-" "You've been to his house? What does his room look like?" "Penny! I did not go to his room!" "Was the bed soft?" "Sally!"

The blush didn't go away for a long time - at least, it felt like forever.

They had both dared her to ask him, and finally she decided that if she wanted to go with him, she'd have to do something about it. He didn't have a girlfriend at the moment, it wasn't a romantic holiday like Valentine's day, and she'd be able to spend time with him and perhaps change that 'little sister' attitude he sometimes had. She's seen him staring at her and knew he'd noticed her developing curves, and in the dojo he'd been careful to avoid touching certain parts of her body.

Now it was time to find out if he was interested in her 'that' way, or if it was just her imagination.

She gathered her courage and ignored her friends, and walked over to him as he left the locker room, laughing with one of his buddies.

"Yasuo?" He stopped, turned to her and she could see the grin on his face turn from one of laughter to one of happiness as he saw her. "Would you go to the Halloween dance with me?"

******** Time Passes ********

The note was short.

Lorrie - You know what's happened, and you know what I have to do. I'll try to stay in touch more often but I couldn't stay in Angelus. I really wish we had time to explore what we've got between us, and I'll do my damnedest to stay alive so we can find out. I'll wait for you at Hachiko.


Short, sweet and incredibly late. It'd been over a year before he'd written her. Eleven months since she'd attended a memorial for those slain in the purge, laying flowers at the small stone engraved with his family name. There were no reliable ways to find out if he'd survived, but from the power and ruthlessness of the takeover, nobody had believed it except her. He said he'd survive, and in the years she's known him he'd never broken his word.

Then they'd been attacked on the way to the dance. It was the first time she'd ever felt true terror, and her power had responded. In a pulse of white-hot, adrenaline-fueled pyrokinetic fury she'd obliterated most of the assassins before collapsing. The few loyal bodyguards managed to cut down the rest of the killers, but they knew something was dreadfully wrong. Yasuo had carried her to safety, hidden her away from the wreckage of the spinner, then told her he'd be back but he had to go find his father.

And he was gone.

And he never came back.

She was devastated when she learned what had happened, how an evil sorcerer had slaughtered so many of her friends, how the rest had fled the city and now there weren't any more Japanese parties. Her friend was gone, and it was the fault of Ryuzo. Him and the Yamaguchi-gumi had taken her true love away, and they would pay! All of them!

Ok, so maybe he wasn't her one, destined true love. She'd wanted to find out, anyway. But she swore they would pay. She'd entered the APD academy a year early and wanted to enforce the law, bring the evildoers to justice and get revenge for Yasuo.

Now he's finally written her and she wasn't sure what to think. He was alive and still seemed to care for her, but he'd let her grieve for a year and didn't say when he'd be back. Perhaps there'd still be a spark when he finally showed up, perhaps not.

******** Time Passes ********

"We never did get to the dance, did we Yasuo?" Lorraine whispered, in the darkness and silence of the night.

It was late and cold and wet, that almost-freezing rain that clung to your clothes and chilled to the bone. She was shivering and her bruises hurt, but she steadfastly maintained her steps. "Pain is the mind-killer" she muttered, quoting one of her IOTA professors. "The trick is to acknowledge the pain while not letting it consume your consciousness." It was a neat trick if you could do it, and Lorraine was very good at separating her mind from the crude matter of her flesh.

Unfortunately, that was all she could do, for while she could easily create a flame to warm her, it would interfere with her ability to maintain the security of the academy. Not to mention set off any number of alarms and get her into trouble.

A last, lingering look at the school and she turned back to her patrol. Her databand told her that it would be another two hours until she was relieved and could head off to a hot shower and a soft bed, and another seven months until she graduated the APD academy.

She has volunteered for sentry duty tonight, despite her scores giving her the privilege of six solid hours of sleep a night. The end of october always made her sad, and what better way to keep your mind off the loss of your first love than to tromp around in the freezing rain for a few hours?

What was that? Sound over there - can't see anything. Going thermal - God I love being a pyrokinetic - there! Three figures in the near IR band, outlines are flickering so they're probably wearing camo-optics. Hot damn - action!

"Sergeant of the Guard, Sentry Six. Three humanoids attempting to breech the perimeter fence between the library and the gymnasium. Requesting backup."

"Six, Ops. Acknowledged. Hold your position. Weapons Free."