At the Wind Ninja Academy, Brody was wandering around, getting a feel for the campus. He knew he should really be getting some rest for the drive back to Blue Bay Harbour the following day, but since they had come in Levi's truck, he knew that Levi would be doing most of the driving home and knowing that this at once time had been his home but that he didn't have much in the way of meaningful memories of it, he wanted to explore as much as possible while he was here.
It felt strange to think how much this place felt like a home to him. While he had only been two years old when he left, and he was only eight years old when Ripcon had kidnapped him from the farm, meaning that if anything the only real home he had, the only place he had that held any real memories for him had been there, it really did feel a lot like he should feel at home here. It very quickly became apparent that although Dane had left the Academy, it had never really left him. He recognised a lot of the design features of the Academy in things Dane had made for the farm that he had always held his training and his ways close to his heart. Even how he raised his kids had been framed largely as an extension of his old life.
Brody could never really remember a time when he didn't wear a training uniform or a time when he wasn't learning different combat or evasion techniques. Some of his earliest memories were of his father training him in concealment and misdirection. At first it had been a game, they would play a very competitive form of hide and seek, with some harsh penalties. By the time he was seven he was capable of doing a hundred push-ups. He knew that because that was often the punishment if his father could find either him or Aiden. They were both very fit and strong for their age since it was only really a few months before he was taken that they managed to beat their father at his game.
The Martial Arts lessons were a lot later. Brody was far too young to do some of the more intense work outs and training. His body was still growing and it would have risked very real harm if he was pushed too hard, but he was already getting some of the basic frameworks of his style. It was daily training on the Warrior Dome, together with what Brody now realised was the effects of the Ninja Steel on him opening his mind to techniques, some of which he had never even been taught, that led to the level of his skill now. Even Aiden, who was a few years older, was barely beginning to get a more intensive lesson plan.
He got to a unit and found Shane was here, teaching a couple of kids. It didn't take long for Brody to figure out that they seemed to be Shane's kids. They were both girls, and while he didn't really know, it looked like they were both quite young, probably less than ten years old. Their uniforms didn't bear any trim yet, and so it looked like they weren't officially enrolled in any of the three styles. Shane it seemed just wanted to give them some basics to prepare them for when they could be enrolled.
Brody stood and watched for a moment as they were sparring. For their young age, they were both incredibly skilled. He would have confidently put money on either of Shane's kids against someone twice their age. He smiled as one of them caught the other one out, taking her down and holding her in a tight hold. The one on the floor quickly tapped but didn't look happy.
"Dad! That's not fair! Skyla cheated!" She pouted as her sister did a little victory dance to rub her win in her sister's face.
"I didn't cheat, it's a legal move Kelly!" Skyla teased her, sticking her tongue out and continuing to taunt her sister. Shane stepped in, separating them.
"Kelly, you need to be a little more accepting when you lose. Your big sister didn't do anything that wasn't within the rules." Shane told her, before looking to Skyla. "But you need to learn there's such a thing as being a good winner. Perhaps a hundred push-ups, a hundred sit-ups and a hundred thrusts will serve as a good lesson."
"And we can make it two hundred if you don't tell me where you learned that! I know I didn't teach you it!" Shane told her. Skyla fell silent for a moment. "Remember, I've known your Aunt Tori long enough to know the Water Style when I see it."
Skyla looked to her dad and just nodded to confirm the detail. Shane didn't seem to mind though, he just smiled.
"Your Aunt Tori needs to stop trying to encourage you to abandon the family style." Shane chuckled.
"But dad, it's so cool! It really suits me! I love the stuff she teaches me!" Skyla protested.
"Oh?" He asked, arching a brow. "And how long exactly have these lessons been going on?" He asked her. Skyla just looked to the ground. Shane just sighed. "Well, I guess it was inevitable one of you was going to find one of the others styles more appealing. But if either of you asks to go to your Uncle Hunter's school I'm disowning you!"
With that, he pulled them in, hugging them both warmly. Brody had a feeling that Skyla's punishment would quickly be forgotten given the scene. He suddenly felt himself looking off as he thought back to something, a memory he wasn't even really sure of, one that was a little fuzzy all things considered.
Back on the farm, Brody was working on some basics, performing some rolls on the mats his dad had set up outside. As he took a little rest, he looked over to where his dad was working with Aiden. They had paused when his dad was calling out something.
"That wasn't something I taught you." Dane told him. "Where did you learn that?"
"I…I…just thought of it!" Aiden told him. "J…just now!"
"Aiden, you know I was at the Academy longer than you were alive." Dane said, giving him a little look. "Do you want to try that again?"
The memory faded. Brody was far too young to remember it clearly. He wasn't even sure if it was one of his real memories or just something that his mind made to fill in blanks in a story that he was hearing. He looked across to where Shane seemed to be finishing up with his daughters. He sat down with them as he discussed what they had practiced that day with them.
"Alright, Skyla, there won't be any punishment." Shane told her. Brody just smiled to hear this. He looked to them and started to sing.
"Together, we are family." He began. "Every day now, we grow stronger every day."
"Together, we are family!" They joined in with him. Brody came into view, rousing their attention.
"Oh, hey, Brody, I didn't notice you there!" Shane stated.
"Hi Shane." He greeted him. "I couldn't help noticing that song you were singing."
"I'll bet you couldn't." Shane said with a smile. "I heard your dad sing it to you and your brother every night. It just kind of stuck with me."
"Right, of course. I should have thought." Brody answered. "You didn't exactly look like a Tom Weston fan. No offence."
"Who?" Shane asked him.
"Tom Weston." Brody told him. "The guy who really wrote the song. I met him and he played it for me from his album."
"Really?" Shane asked. "I…I remember your dad writing it when you were a kid. He spent days after your mom died figuring it out."
"Well, Tom has the album so…I guess maybe dad heard it and borrowed it." Brody commented. Shane started stroking his chin.
"Tom Weston…as in Levi's brother?" He asked.
"Yeah." Brody answered.
"So, how much older than Levi is he?" Shane asked.
"I don't know…maybe a couple of years." Brody answered him with a shrug.
"So, he wrote and performed an album when he was a kid?" Shane asked.
"No, he was an adult." Brody told him. Shane just furrowed his brows.
"Brody…when EXACTLY did he write that song?" Shane asked him.
Back in Summer Cove, Hayley and Calvin looked up from the campfire as Preston and Sarah came back, laughing and holding each other closely. Calvin just looked to them with a knowing little smirk.
"We were beginning to wonder if you were coming back." He stated.
"So, what were you up to?" Hayley asked them. "Did you have fun?"
"We…definitely had a good time." Preston said, causing Sarah to snigger. It was only then that Hayley noticed the large lumps on their foreheads.
"Wait…are you two alright?" She asked.
"Oh, we'll be fine in a few minutes." Sarah assured them. "But it was definitely…educational."
"So…what happened?" Calvin asked.
"We kissed." Preston stated, seeing the grins on his friend's faces. "Well…kind of."
"It was a TOTAL disaster!" Sarah said as they both burst out laughing. "We basically head-butted each other?"
"Wait…what?" Calvin asked.
"Yeah, it was the WORST! No offence!" Preston said, wiping his eyes.
"Yeah, we're just SO not ready for that!" Sarah added. "Oh, are those marshmallows?"
"Um…yeah." Calvin said, offering her the bag. Sarah and Preston got skewers and started threading marshmallows onto them.
"So…are you guys alright?" Hayley asked.
"Oh, yeah, we're great!" Sarah chipped in. "I guess this just kind of shows us we liked things the way they are."
"Yeah, there's no point rushing things if we like things the way they are now right?" Sarah replied, holding a skewer over the fire. Preston pulled a blanket around them both as he levelled his own skewer over the fire. Calvin and Hayley just leaned back a little.
"We have some weird friends." Hayley commented.
"Totally." Calvin answered. "So…did we do a good thing or a bad thing?"
"It's…and ending." Hayley answered. "Let's just leave it at that."
Up on the Warrior Dome, Wrench came into Cosmo's office, dragging Phonepanzee with him. He had taken him to a torture chamber to "warm him up" before he presented him to Cosmo. The flamboyant alien was sitting at his desk, casually smoking a cigar as Wrench shoved him into a chair and held him down.
"So, this is the one?" Cosmo asked.
"This is your fraudster." Wrench told him, clutching his axe.
"I see my associate has shown you some of our hospitality." Cosmo said dryly. "Do you want a cigar? Perhaps some brandy? I only ask because you've taken so much from me already, I figured you might want to just help yourself."
"That's MR ROYALE to you!" Cosmo roared. He got up and started pacing the room. "So, you mimic people's voices, do you?"
"It's…one of my talents." Phonepanzee answered. "I was always a good mimic, even before I got my upgrades!"
"Upgrades? You call that an upgrade?" Wrench asked him. "When the hell was the last time anyone saw a payphone? You know people have cell phones now!"
"I didn't exactly have access to top-of-the-range stuff." Phonepanzee told them with a shrug. "Besides…I kind of like it. It's retro, you know?"
"I'll level with you here. I really don't care about your petty little scams." Cosmo stated honestly. "But the minute you started impersonating me and my senior staff, that affects my reputation. That affects my business, and that his MY PROFITS! When my profits start getting trimmed, my associate here might just start doing some trimming of his own!"
Wrench grabbed one of Phonepanzee's hands and placed it on the table, before raising his axe. Phonepanzee let out a huge shriek.
"NO! Don't, please don't!" He called out in another voice, one they recognised. Cosmo gestured to Wrench to stay his hand.
"That…that sounded just like Princess Viera." Cosmo stated.
"I…guess she's stuck in my mind, I heard her broadcasts only recently." Phonepanzee stated.
"Do that again." Cosmo told him. Phonepanzee took a deep breath.
"I, Princess Viera, Ruler of the Lion Galaxy, do hereby pledge my loyalty and my Kingdom to the magnificent Cosmo Royale!" He said in a pitch-perfect rendition of Princess Viera's voice. Cosmo looked to Wrench and gestured to him to back off a little.
"So, who can you copy?" Cosmo asked him.
"I can mimic anyone I hear talking." Phonepanzee informed him. "If I hear a word or two I can do a basic job, but if I hear enough, maybe a minute or so of them talking, then I can mimic someone close enough to fool pretty much any voice scanner."
Cosmo smiled at him.
"My boy, I have a job for you to do." Cosmo told him.
"A job?" Both Phonepanzee and Wrench chorused in confusion.
"Think of it as a way to repay me for all the defamation of character." Cosmo told him. "Of course, if you would prefer, I can let Wrench take you to his lab. I've heard he likes taking apart 'retro' devices."
Phonepanzee looked to Wrench and gulped, before looking back to Cosmo.
"What do you want me to do?" He asked.
Back at the Academy, Levi was lying on his bed, trying to get some sleep when Brody came barging in. Levi was ripped from his bed as he was startled by the door flying open.
"Brody, what the hell?" Levi asked him.
"Levi, when did your brother release his album?" Brody asked him.
"What?" He asked.
"When did your brother release his album?" Brody repeated. Levi just looked at him curiously.
"I don't know…I was about 13 when they found me on the streets, I was with them about three years before then…about 2012, maybe 2013?"
"Levi, you know how I told you your brother said I stole one of his songs for the talent show?" Brody asked.
"I thought you said you were over that." Levi said, yawning.
"Levi, he released that album in 2012 or 2013…I was kidnapped in 2008!" Brody reminded him. "Your brother never released that album until four years AFTER I heard that song!"
"What song?" Levi asked. Brody started scrambling around for something, eventually finding Levi's phone. He handed it to him.
"Where's Tom's music?" Brody asked. Levi just scrolled through to Tom's album. Brody looked through the songs, finding the one he was looking for and played it.
"I'm with you,
When you're far from home,
I'm still with you,
A family bond that can't break!"
Brody heard the song in Tom's voice, just as he had in Principal Hastings' office. He looked to Levi though who suddenly had a vacant look on his face. He held his hand over his eyes as it played.
"I choose a star,
Its light leads me home,
To be with you,
A family bond that can't break!"
"It's…it's not Tom's song." Levi whispered, getting flashes of another singing it. "I…I taught him that song."
"You taught him?" Brody asked.
"Together we are family,
Every day now, we grow stronger,
In our hearts now and forever," Levi sang as he found an image of a man, one whose presence he had felt before came into his memories.
"I can count on you," Brody sang.
"You can count on me," Levi repeated as the man in his memories started to come into sharper focus, and his face for the first time was as clear as day. He looked straight at Brody and felt tears starting to run down his face. The man in his memories, was Dane Romero. The other kid was Brody! That could only mean one thing.
"For we will always, always be,
Family." They chorused together. Levi got up off the bed, standing before Brody, reaching out for his face. He stroked it gently, before he could no longer contain himself. He rushed in, hugging him tightly. Brody began to feel his own tears starting.
"I taught him that song! That was our dad's song!" Levi told him. "I…I remember…I remember everything!"
"Aiden?" Brody sniffed as he parted from him, staring into the face of his brother, only realising the truth for the first time. "Aiden? Is that really you?"
"It's me!" Levi replied, hugging him again. "It's me Brody!"
Just then, Cam burst into the room, carrying a folder with him.
"Guys, sorry to interrupt, but I ran a DNA test on the water glasses you drank from and you will not believe what…!" He started to say, before noticing the scene before him. "…Or…maybe you will. Boy, I feel redundant. Um…I'm just going to leave this here for you!"
With that, he tossed the folder onto the floor and quietly slipped out of the room, leaving Brody and Levi to reunite at last.