Linda Danvers: Pretty Virgin Guardian

4

"Linda's New Roommate"

Written by Mark Moore

Author's note: I wrote this story from Sunday, July 25, 2004, 5:00 PM to Thursday, September 2, 2004, 12:30 AM. I'm sorry that it's late. Thanks to Io for the translation work! Feel free to send/leave me reviews, whether you love, like, dislike, or hate the story. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2004, 8:21 AM

Linda walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator.

She took out a bottle of Pepsi Edge and closed the refrigerator.

Linda opened the bottle and took a swig of the Pepsi Edge.

The telephone rang.

Linda walked over to it and picked up the receiver. "Good morning. Supergirl Enterprises. This is Linda speaking. How may I help you?"

"Hey, Linda. This is Clark."

"Hey, Clark." Linda said. "What's up?"

"Well, I was wondering if you'd like to come and meet my parents this weekend." Clark said.

"Uh,...I guess." Linda said.

"You don't sound too excited." Clark said.

"Well, it's just that I was planning on going back to Leesburg to spend the long weekend with my parents." Linda explained.

"Oh." Clark said.

"I also want to take American citizenship on the 4th." Linda said.

"I don't understand." Clark said.

"I'm not an American citizen." Linda explained. "No one knows it except for a small number of people, but I want it to be real. I've lived in this nation for enough years to take citizenship. As far as the officials know, it'll be merely a confirmation of American citizenship for me 'just in case'."

"Ah." Clark said. "Okay. Some other time, then."

"Well, I tell ya what." Linda said. "I'll go down to Smallville on Friday after work, meet your parents, maybe spend the night, and then go to Leesburg. Sound good?"

"Yeah." Clark replied. "Thanks."

"No problem." Linda replied. "May Lara come?"

"I'm sure it'll be all right." Clark replied.

Linda smiled. "Great. I'll see ya then."

"Okay." Clark said. "Bye."

"Bye." Linda hung up the receiver.

Linda took another swig of the Pepsi Edge.

Lara walked into the living room and then into the kitchen.

She opened the refrigerator and took out a bottle of Pepsi Edge.

Lara closed the refrigerator.

"Hey, Clark just called." Linda told her. "He wants me to spend the weekend with him and his parents in Smallville. I told him about my plans. Is it okay if we go to Smallville on Friday, spend the night, and then go to Leesburg?"

Lara opened her bottle. "Sure."

Linda smiled. "Thanks."

Lara took a swig of the Pepsi Edge.

Friday, July 2, 2004, 9:25 AM

Linda and Lara walked up the steps of the front porch. Linda knocked on the screen door with her left hand.

They waited for 37 seconds.

A woman with shoulder-length gray hair walked over and opened the screen door. "Yes?"

Linda smiled. "Hi. I'm Linda Danvers."

The woman smiled. "Oh, Clark's cousin!" She hugged Linda. "Hello!"

Linda hugged her. "Hello. You must be Clark's mom."

They released each other.

"Yes." the woman said. "I'm Martha Kent."

"This is Lara Love." Linda introduced. "She's my girlfriend."

"Oh." Martha offered her right hand to Lara. "Hello, Lara."

Lara shook her hand. "Hello, Mrs. Kent."

They released each other's hand.

"Please come in." Martha offered.

"Thanks." Linda said.

Martha walked back into the living room.

Linda and Lara followed her.

A man with short gray hair was sitting in a chair, watching "The Dukes of Hazzard" on the television. The opening theme song was currently playing.

"Jonathan, these are Linda Danvers and Lara Love." Martha introduced.

He stood up and walked over to them.

"Hello, Mr. Kent." Linda said.

"Hello, Mr. Kent." Lara said.

He offered his right hand to Linda. "Hello, Linda. Call me Jonathan."

Linda laughed and shook his hand. "I prefer 'Mr. Kent'. Thanks."

"Fair enough." Jonathan said.

They released each other's hand.

Jonathan offered his right hand to Lara. "Nice to meet you, Lara."

Lara shook his hand. "Same here."

They released each other's hand.

"Well, let's go into the kitchen." Martha said. "Clark's got dinner almost ready."

Martha walked into the kitchen. Linda followed her. Lara followed Linda. Jonathan shut off the television and followed Lara.

Clark was setting the last of four plates on the table.

"Hey, Linda. Hey, Lara." Clark greeted.

"Hey, Clark." Linda and Lara replied.

Jonathan, Martha, Clark, Linda, and Lara sat in chairs at the table, picked up their forks and knives, and started eating.

"Well, Linda, we're glad that you're here." Martha said. "We've been wanting to meet you for some time."

Saturday, July 3, 2004, 10:43 AM

Clark, Linda, and Lara walked on a sidewalk to a soda shoppe.

Clark opened the front door.

Linda and Lara walked into the soda shoppe.

Clark followed them.

The door closed.

They walked over to the counter.

A man with short, blonde hair and an Asian woman with long, black hair were sitting on stools. Each of them was drinking an ice cream soda.

"Pete, Lana." Clark greeted.

The man and the woman smiled. "Hey, Clark."

"This is my cousin, Linda Danvers, and her girlfriend, Lara Love." Clark introduced. "Linda, Lara, these are Pete Ross and Lana Lang. We grew up together."

Linda offered her left hand to Lana. "Hi."

Lana shook Linda's hand. "Hi."

They released each other's hand.

Linda offered her left hand to Pete. "Hi."

Pete shook Linda's hand. "Hi."

They released each other's hand.

Lara offered her right hand to Lana. "Hi."

Lana shook Lara's hand. "Hi."

They released each other's hand.

Lara offered her right hand to Pete. "Hi."

Pete shook Lara's hand. "Hi."

They released each other's hand.

Clark sat on the stool to Lana's right.

Linda sat on the stool to Clark's right.

Lara sat on the stool to Linda's right.

A man with black hair and a black mustache walked over to them behind the counter.

"Clark!" he exclaimed. "Well, it's nice to see you back here. What can I getcha?"

Clark smiled. "I'll have a vanilla-lemon-lime ice cream soda, William." Clark replied.

"Okay, and how about you?" William asked Linda.

"I'll have a chocolate-Pepsi soda." Linda replied.

"Okay, and how about you?" William asked Lara.

"I'll have a vanilla-Mountain Dew soda." Lara said.

"Okay. Coming right up." William said.

William walked away from them.

"Hey, girls, I'm on my lunch break." Lana said. "You wanna come check out my business after the sodas?"

"What kind of business?" Linda asked.

"I own a magic shop." Lana replied.

"Cool!" Lara exclaimed. "Definitely!"

Lana unlocked and opened the front door of her store, Magical Senses.

She allowed Linda and Lara to walked into the store first and then followed them inside.

Lana flipped the light switch.

The lights turned on.

Lana flipped the sign on the door from CLOSED to OPEN and flipped the sign in the window that indicated that she out to lunch.

"Feel free to look around." Lana said.

Linda and Lara looked at the various items on the shelves.

"Wow, nice book selection." Lara commented. "I might get a few of these."

Linda looked at the Tarot decks.

Lana walked over to her. "You interested in Tarot?"

"Just looking." Linda replied. "The artwork's pretty on some of these. I don't believe in it, though."

"Tell ya what." Lana said. "Let me give you a Tarot reading."

"I'll pass." Linda said.

"I usually charge $5.00, but I'll give you one for free." Lana smiled. "C'mon. What've you got to lose?"

"Okay." Linda agreed.

Lana grinned. "Great!"

"This'll be cool." Lara said.

"I consider a Tarot reading to be a very personal experience." Lana said. "It's up to the querant if she wishes to permit others to view it."

"My future affects Lara's future." Linda told her. "She's welcome to join us."

"Okay." Lana walked to the back wall and opened a door.

Linda walked into the room, followed by Lara.

Lana walked into the room and flipped a switch.

A blue ceiling light turned on.

Lana closed the door.

"Have a seat." Lana offered.

Linda sat in a chair at the circular table. Lara sat to her right. Lana sat across from Linda.

"Are you okay with nudity?" Lana asked Linda.

"Yeah." Linda replied.

"C'mon, she's Supergirl." Lara told Lana. "She uses x-ray vision."

Lana stared at Linda.

There was silence for a moment.

"You look good." Linda finally told Lana.

Lana blushed and reached into her front right jeans pocket with her right hand.

She took out a box.

Lana opened the box and took out a deck of Tarot cards.

She set the box on the table, away from them.

Lana offered the deck to Linda. "The querant shuffles the deck."

Linda took the deck and started shuffling the cards.

"This is the Robin Wood Tarot." Lana told them. "It's one of my favorite decks. It has beautiful artwork, and most of the Christian symbolism has been removed."

"No." Lana replied. "I was raised Catholic. I didn't care for the rituals. I didn't like how Christianity considers itself to be the one true religion. I never felt any joy when praying."

"I know the feeling." Linda told her. "I basically just dropped out of the Church."

"Did you replace it with anything?" Lana asked.

"Nah." Linda replied. "It gives me an extra free hour every week."

"I got into Shinto, my biological mother's religion." Lana said. "It's kinda cool."

"You're Japanese?" Linda asked her.

"Japanese-American, yeah." Lana replied. "My parents never married. My mother came over here, pregnant, and died, giving birth to me. I was unnamed for a week, then the Langs adopted me."

"I'm sorry." Linda told her.

"It's okay." Lana said. "That's enough."

Linda stopped shuffling the cards and handed the deck back to Lana.

Lana set the deck on the table, drew some cards, and laid out a Celtic Cross spread, face down.

"I really don't believe in this." Linda told her.

"Do you believe in anything supernatural?" Lana asked her.

"No." Linda replied.

"Well, whether you believe in fate or not, whether you believe in a deity or not, you should realize that there will be only one outcome for any given event. In a sense, the future is set." Lana said.

Linda thought about that for a moment. "I guess."

"People have many different theories as to how Tarot cards work - everything from 'They don't!' to 'It's magic!'" Lana continued. "My belief is somewhere in the middle. If you believe that the future is set, then is it so much of a stretch to believe that two people's minds could subconsciously see the future and present it through the shuffling and selection of cards?"

Linda thought about that for a moment. "I dunno."

"I ask only that you take this reading seriously." Lana told her. "If you don't, I'm not gonna do it."

"Okay, I will." Linda agreed.

Linda and Lara walked out of the magic shop.

"Well, that wasn't helpful at all." Linda said. "As far as I know, my future could have a million different possible outcomes. Well, duh!"

"Hey, at least we got free Tarot decks out of it." Lara said.

That night, after she fell asleep, Linda started dreaming.

Linda was lying on the ground. She was wearing her Supergirl costume. She was bleeding and in pain.

Clark, wearing his Superman costume, was holding her.

"C'mon, Kara,...don't give up. You'll make it." Clark said. "Pl...Please stay with us."

"I...I can't." Linda replied. "B...But it's okay. I knew what I was doing. I wanted...wanted you to be safe. You mean so much to me...so much to the world."

"Y-You succeeded in destroying the machines." Clark told her.

"Thank Heaven." Linda said. "The worlds...have a chance to live. Y-You're crying. Please don't. You taught me to be brave,...and I was. I...I love you so much for what you are. For how...good you are."

Just as she was about to die, the dream ended and was replaced with a different dream.

Linda was standing on the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol building. She was wearing a suit.

A large audience was watching her. A man was standing in front of her.

"Governor, are you ready to take the oath?" he asked her.

"I am, sir." Linda replied.

"Please raise your right hand and repeat after me." he told her.

Linda raised her right hand.

"I, Linda Lee Danvers, do solemnly swear..." he said.

"I, Linda Lee Danvers, do solemnly swear..." Linda repeated.

"...that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States..." he said.

"...that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States..." Linda repeated.

"...and will, to the best of my ability,..." he said.

"...and will, to the best of my ability,..." Linda repeated.

"preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." he said.

"preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." Linda repeated.

He offered his right hand to her. "Congratulations, President Danvers."

Linda smiled and shook his hand. "Thank you, sir."

The dream ended.

Linda woke up.

She looked over at the clock radio.

It was 11:30 PM.

Linda closed her eyes and soon fell asleep.

Sunday, July 4, 2004, 11:55 AM

Linda and Lara walked up to the front door of Linda's parents' house.

Lara was behind Linda.

Linda rang the doorbell.

They waited for 27 seconds.

The front door opened. Edna stood there.

Linda smiled. "Hi, mommy!"

Edna smiled. "Hi, Linda!"

They hugged each other for a moment and then let go of each other.

"Do you have nice time in Smallville?" Edna asked.

Linda shrugged. "Yeah, it was okay."

"Hi, Lara." Edna said.

Lara smiled. "Hi, Mrs. Danvers."

"Your fathers almost have hamburgers ready." Edna said.

"Cool." Linda said.

Edna walked back into the living room.

Linda and Lara followed her.

Lara closed the door behind her.

They walked into the kitchen.

Edna opened the back door and walked outside.

Linda and Lara followed her into the backyard.

Fred, Peter, and Jean were there. Jean was sitting at the table. The men were at the grill, putting the hamburgers onto a plate.

"Hi!" Linda and Lara exclaimed.

Fred smiled. "Hi, Linda!"

Peter smiled. "Hey, Lara."

Linda and Fred hugged each other for a moment, then they released each other.

Lara and Peter hugged each other for a moment, then they released each other.

Jean smiled. "Hi, Lara."

Lara walked over to her mother. "Hi, mom."

They hugged each other for a moment, then they released each other.

Lara sat to Jean's right at the table.

Linda sat across from Lara.

Edna walked over to them and sat to Linda's right, across from Jean.

Fred and Peter walked over to the table. Fred was carrying the plate with the hamburgers on it.

"Mmmm." Linda said.

Fred set the plate on the table and sat to Linda's left.

Peter sat to Lara's right, across from Fred.

Linda took a hamburger bun out of a bag, opened it, and set it on her plate. She picked up the fork with her left hand and got a hamburger. She set it on her bun. She set the fork back on the hamburgers' plate, picked up some slices of onion, and put them on her hamburger. Then she picked up the bottle of barbecue sauce, opened it, poured the sauce on top of her hamburger, closed the bottle, and set it back on the table. Finally, she closed the bun, picked up her hamburger, and took a bite of it.

"So, Linda, are you ready to become an American citizen?" Fred asked.

Linda swallowed the piece of hamburger. "Yeah. I filled out the application and took the exam. The judge ruled that I'm qualified. I'll take the oath when I get back home."

"Good." Fred said.

"Then I'll go to register to vote." Linda said.

"Me, too." Lara added.

"Are you gonna register with a party?" Fred asked.

"No." Linda replied.

"Actually," Lara said, "it might be a good idea if you do, Linda."

"Why?" Linda asked.

"No independent candidate has ever been elected President." Lara replied.

Fred, Edna, Peter, and Jean looked at Linda.

"President?" Fred asked Linda.

"It's just a thought." Linda said. "It's mostly Lara's idea."

"Wow." Fred said. "Which party are you joining?"

"Well, I definitely ain't becoming a Republican." Linda replied. "The only other major party is Democratic, so I guess I'll go with that. I don't agree with everything that they traditionally stand for, but I'm pretty liberal, so it's close enough."

"Which route are you gonna take to the White House?" Fred asked her. "Are you gonna become a Senator? A Governor?"

"I dunno." Linda replied. "I'll decide that later. I've still got 16 years until I can make my first bid."

Linda and Lara stood in front of the judge's bench in a courtroom in the courthouse.

"Okay, Ms. Danvers, please raise your right hand and repeat after me." the judge told her.

Linda raised her right hand.

"I, Linda Lee Danvers, hereby declare, on oath,..." the judge said.

"I, Linda Lee Danvers, hereby declare, on oath,..." Linda repeated.

"...that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;..." the judge said.

"...that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;..." Linda repeated.

"...that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;..." the judge said.

"...that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;..." Linda repeated.

"...that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;..." the judge said.

"...that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;..." Linda repeated.

"...that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law;..." the judge said.

"...that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law;..." Linda repeated.

"...that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law;..." the judge said.

"...that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law;..." Linda repeated.

"...that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law;..." the judge said.

"...that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law;..." Linda repeated.

"...and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;..." the judge said.

"...and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;..." Linda repeated.

"...so help me God." the judge said.

"...so help me God." Linda repeated.

"In acknowledgment whereof I have hereunto affixed my signature." the judge said.

"In acknowledgment whereof I have hereunto affixed my signature." Linda repeated.

The judge offered his right hand to her. "You are now a United States citizen, Ms. Danvers. Congratulations."

Linda smiled and shook his hand. "Thank you, Your Honor."

They released each other's hand.

Lara grinned. "Congratulations."

Linda grinned. "Thanks."

They hugged each other.

Lara kissed Linda's lips.

Monday, July 5, 2004, 12:32 PM

Linda, wearing her Supergirl costume, was flying above Ohio Street.

Suddenly, she saw a taxi go into the left lane.

Linda flew down to it, but it collided with another car before she got to it.

She heard a girl scream.

Linda tore the back right door off of the taxi.

A girl was sitting inside. Blood was pouring from her forehead down her right cheek.

Linda tore off the seatbelt, took the girl in her arms, and carried her over to the curb.

She sat the girl on the curb.

Lara arrived and parked the car by the curve.

She opened the door and got out of the car.

"What happened?" Lara asked.

"Look after her!" Linda ran back over to the taxi.

Linda tore the back left door off of the taxi. She tore off the seatbelt, took the man in her arms, and laid him on the curb.

The girls started screaming.

Linda tore off another seatbelt, took the woman in her arms, and laid her on the curb, too.

The girl started screaming even louder.

Linda tore the driver's side door off of the taxi, tore off the seatbelt, took the driver in her arms, and sat him on the curb.

Then Linda ran over to the other door, tore the driver's side door off of it, tore off the seatbelt, took the man in her arms, checked to make sure that there was no one else in the car, carried him over to the curb, and laid him down on the curb.

Linda took a portable police radio out of her left pocket and turned it on. "Supergirl calling HQ."

"Go ahead." a dispatcher said.

"Accident on Ohio Street involving two vehicles. Three unconscious; two conscious but may have concussions." Linda reported. "Send an ambulance."

"Roger." the dispatcher said.

Linda turned off the radio and put it back into her pocket.

"Supergirl, I'm not sure if I'm doing this right, but I can't feel a pulse on any of them." Lara said, pressing her left index finger against the unconscious woman's neck.

Linda crouched down by the taxi driver. "What happened?"

"I dunno. I fubbawubba..." He threw up on the street.

"You're drunk." Linda said in anger.

The man passed out.

Linda laid him on the curb and went over to the girl.

"What's your name?" Linda asked her.

"Dounatteru no?!" the girl asked. "Fubo! Fubo wa daijoubu desu ka?!"

"What language is that?" Lara asked Linda.

"Japanese, I think." Linda said.

"Do you know Japanese?" Lara asked her.

"A little." Linda replied. "I've memorized the meanings of a few words and sentences. I can also recall whole lines from anime and match them with subtitled lines, but I usually can't break them down into individual words."

"Meaning?" Lara asked.

"We need a translator." Linda replied.

"Maybe the hospital will have one." Lara suggested.

Linda looked at the girl and pointed at herself with her left index finger. "Kara Zor-El." She pointed at the girl.

The girl nodded. "Kioko. Yoshiguchi Kioko."

"Kioko." Linda repeated, smiling. "That's a lovely name. Kawaii."

Kioko didn't smile.

An ambulance arrived, followed by a police car.

Linda watched as the medics got out of the ambulance, bringing their equipment with them.

Two police officers got out of the police car.

One of them went to tape off the area. The other walked over to Linda.

Linda stood up.

"What happened?" the officer asked her.

"The taxi went into the left lane." Linda began. "I flew down, but it hit an oncoming car before I could get to it. I pulled the girl out of the back seat first. Then I pulled out a woman and a man. They were unconscious. I pulled out the taxi driver. He was conscious. I pulled out the driver of the other car. He was unconscious. When I tried questioning the cab driver, he seemed disoriented. I smelled alcohol on his breath. He threw up and passed out. I laid him down. I tried questioning the girl, but she doesn't seem to speak any English. I think she's Japanese, so we'll need a translator."

"Okay." the officer said.

"All of the adults are dead." one of the medics told the officer. "The girl has lost blood and may have a concussion. We need to get her to the hospital."

"Have a Japanese doctor waiting for you." the officer told the medic.

"Got it." the medic replied.

Linda looked at Kioko and knelt in front of her. "Deddo."

Kioko started crying. "Hahaoya! Chichioya!"

"Ashikarazu." Linda said, placing her left hand on Kioko's right shoulder.

"Ms. Zor-El, we need to get her to a hospital right now." the medic told Linda.

"Right." Linda offered her right hand to Kioko.

Kioko held Linda's right hand with her own left hand.

Linda stood up and helped Kioko to stand up.

"Tsuuin." Linda told her.

Kioko nodded and walked over to the ambulance. She got into the back of it.

"I'll meet you there." Linda told Lara.

Lara nodded.

Linda flew into the air.

Soon, she arrived at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Linda landed in front of the entrance and waited for Lara and the ambulance to arrive.

When they did, Linda, Lara, Kioko, and the medics went inside.

They were joined by a male Japanese doctor and went into a room.

Kioko sat on an examination table.

"I'm afraid you're going to have to wait outside." the doctor told Linda and Lara.

The medics, Linda, and Lara walked into the corridor.

The doctor closed the door.

The medics walked away.

Linda started pacing nervously.

"Calm down!" Lara told her.

"I can't!" Linda told her. "That's girl's an orphan because of me!"

Lara stopped Linda and placed her hands on Linda's shoulders. "That girl's alive because of you! Go change."

"Okay." Linda said.

After going home and changing into regular clothes, Linda returned to the hospital.

Soon, the door opened, and the doctor came out of the room.

"Who are you?" the doctor asked Linda.

"Linda Danvers." Linda replied. "I'm Supergirl's PR person. Supergirl had to leave on an emergency, but she notified me, and I came here. How's Kioko?"

"The good news is she doesn't have a concussion." he told the girls. "The bad news is she needs a blood transfusion. According to her student ID, she's type A."

"I'm O." Lara told him. "I dunno how you'd get it out, though. My skin's pretty tough."

"You're meta-human?" the doctor asked her.

"Yeah." Lara replied.

"Your blood may cause unforeseen side-effects." the doctor told her. "It may even kill her. I don't see that we have much of a choice, though. Come with me."

Lara followed the doctor into the room. Linda followed Lara into the room and closed the door behind her.

The doctor looked at Linda. "Um, you - "

"Get to work." Linda told him.

The doctor looked at Kioko. "Kono ko wa kawatta ningen na no. Kanojo no chi wa anata wo sawaru ka dou ka, warera ga wakaranai kedo, shinjirareru kamo. Soredemo tsudzukete hoshii desu ka?"

Kioko nodded. "Hai."

The doctor set up his equipment.

Lara sat to Kioko's left on the examination table.

The doctor pushed a needle into Lara's right wrist.

Linda watched the blood transfusion.

When it was over, the doctor put his equipment away.

"Dou kanjimasu ka?" the doctor asked Kioko.

"Yoshi." Kioko replied.

"Konna ni hidoi koto ga okotte, hontou ni sumimasen." the doctor told her. "Hoka ni sinseki-sama wa dareka imasu ka?"

Kioko shook her head. "Iie. Kongo kara, watashi wa watashi hitori."

"This girl has no living relatives." the doctor told Linda and Lara. "When she's done here, she'll be sent back to Japan and placed in foster care."

Linda was silent for a moment. "No."

"I'm sorry." The doctor looked at Kioko. "Okinawa he no okaeri ryokou wo junbi shimasu. Shinsetsu na kazoku ni kanyuu sarerareru you ni, o-inori itashimasu."

"Iie!" Kioko exclaimed. "soko de wa daremo inai no ni! onegai! Rinda-san to Ra-ara-san to issho ni itai?"

The doctor looked at Linda and Lara. "Well, this is interesting. She wants to know if she may live with you."

"Yes." Linda immediately replied.

"What?" Lara asked her.

"Hai." Linda told Kioko.

"What are you doing?" Lara asked Linda.

"I can't let this girl be placed in foster care." Linda told Lara. "She asked to stay with us. Are we going to turn her away?"

Lara was silent.

"Please, Lara." Linda begged. "We're the only people that she knows here, and she has no one back in Japan."

Lara remained silent. She looked at Kioko. The girl was staring at her. Tears were running down her cheeks.

"Hai." Lara finally said.

Kioko stood up, ran over, and hugged Linda and Lara. "Arigatou!"

Linda and Lara hugged her.

"We need to get her a green card." Linda told the doctor. "We also need to set up a custody hearing."

"I'll help in any way that I can." the doctor told her.

"Thank you." Linda said.

Linda unlocked and opened the front door to the house.

She, Kioko, and Lara walked into the living room. Kioko was holding a suitcase in her hands.

Lara closed the door and locked it.

They went into the kitchen.

Linda picked up the receiver and dialed her parents' home telephone number.

The telephone rang twice.

"Hello?" Edna asked.

"Hi, mommy." Linda said.

"Hi, Linda." Edna said. "What's new?"

"Oh, quite a lot." Linda said. "Would you turn on the speaker phone, so I can talk with daddy, too?"

"Speaker phone?" Edna asked.

"Yeah, the speaker phone that I bought for you for Mother's Day." Linda said. "You have used it; haven't you?"

"Fred! Come turn on speaker phone!" Edna yelled.

Linda chuckled and shook her head.

She heard a bit of feedback for a moment, then it was gone.

"Linda?" Fred asked.

"Yeah." Linda replied.

"What's up?" Fred asked.

"I have some big news." Linda told her parents. "Today, I saved a 15-year-old Japanese girl from a car wreck. Both of her parents were killed, and she has no living relatives in Japan. She was going to be sent back there and placed in foster care. She asked if she could stay with us, and Lara and I accepted. We applied for and received temporary legal custody of her. If we get a positive review by DCF, we'll be granted permanent custody two months from now."

"What?!" Edna exclaimed.

"Linda, that's an awful lot of responsibility!" Fred told her.

"I had to do something." Linda told them. "I couldn't let them take her away against her will."

Her parents were silent for a moment.

"What's her name?" Fred finally asked.

"Kioko Yoshiguchi." Linda replied.

"We'd like to meet her someday." Fred told her.

Linda smiled. "Cool. We got her suitcase from the hotel that she was staying at. Apparently, she and her parents were here on summer vacation. As soon as I can get a day off from work, we're gonna go to Japan to get the rest of her belongings."

"Sounds good,...mommy." Fred said.

"Mommy?" Linda asked in surprise.

Fred chuckled.

"Have a good day." Linda said.

"You, too." Fred and Edna said.

"I love you." Linda said.

"I love you, too." Fred and Edna said.

Linda hung up the receiver. "Your turn."

Lara walked over to the telephone.

Linda shook her head. "Mommy?"

Linda moved some of her clothes in the closet and the dresser and put Kioko's clothes in the empty spaces.

"This will have to do for now." Linda said. "We'll need to get a second dresser before we go to Japan."

"Yeah." Lara agreed.

"She'll also need her own bed." Linda said.

"No, she won't. We can all share and have a threesome." Lara suggested.

"She's jail bait," Linda told her, "at least here."

"Well, you know, when we get to Japan, we can - "

" - help her pack, do some shopping, go to dinner at a nice restaurant, and come back home." Linda finished.

"You're no fun." Lara said.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004, 6:21 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of "Devil Lady: The Complete Collection", Volume 7 of "Final Fantasy Unlimited", and Volume 4 of "All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku" on DVD.

"I wanna try out this 'Devil Lady' series. It looks cool." Linda said.

"Yeah." Lara agreed. "'Final Fantasy Unlimited' is good, and Nuku Nuku is cute."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up three bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and two bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Friday, July 9, 2004, 6:22 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a shelf. Each of them picked up a copy of the July, 2004, issue of "Newtype".

"'Gravitation' and 'Dai-Guard'." Linda read. "Well, the titles are interesting at least."

"Yeah." Lara said. "Let's hope the shows are."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up three bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and two bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the magazines and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko were sitting on the couch in the living room, watching "Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon" on DVD.

The telephone rang.

Lara stood up, walked into the kitchen, and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"

Kioko laughed. "Baka Usagi."

"What?!" Lara exclaimed suddenly.

Linda picked up the remote control and paused the DVD. Then she set the remote control back on the coffee table, and she and Kioko turned to face Lara.

Lara started crying. "Yeah. Yeah, I'll be there soon, mom." She was silent for a moment. "I love you, too." She was silent for a moment. "Bye."

Slowly, Lara hung up the receiver.

Linda and Kioko stood up and ran to Lara.

"What is it?" Linda asked Lara.

"You didn't hear?" Lara asked her.

"I was blocking it out to focus on the TV." Linda replied.

"My dad died." Lara told her.

Linda was surprised. "Oh, I'm so sorry."

"He went in for an operation on his arteries and bloodflow and apparently had a stroke after the operation." Lara told her.

Linda hugged Lara. Lara hugged Linda.

"Doushita?" Kioko asked.

Linda and Lara released each other.

"Kanojo no otousama wa mou inakunatteshimaimashita." Linda told Kioko.

Kioko hugged Lara. "Hontou ni gomen nasai!"

Lara hugged Kioko. "Arigatou."

They released each other.

"I need to go to Leesburg." Lara told Linda. "I'll be back after the funeral."

"Do you want me to pack a bag for you?" Linda asked her.

Lara wiped tears from her eyes with her left hand. "No. Thanks. I'll be fine."

"Okay." Linda said.

Lara walked into the living room, unlocked and opened the front door, unlocked and opened the screen door, and walked outside.

Monday, July 12, 2004, 8:05 AM

Linda and Kioko were standing by the stove in the kitchen, making breakfast.

The front door unlocked and opened.

Linda and Kioko turned to face the door.

Lara walked into the living room.

"Hey." Linda said.

"Hey." Lara said.

"How'd it go?" Linda asked her.

"I went to the hospital." Lara said. "I saw my dad. Later, my mom and I looked at pictures. We had the funeral yesterday."

"How are you feeling?" Linda asked her.

"Okay, I guess." Lara replied. "I dunno. My dad and I weren't very close. I didn't cry all that much."

"That's okay." Linda told her.

Lara walked into the kitchen. "My mom's been discussing moving."

"Where?" Linda asked.

"Kentucky." Lara replied.

"Are you...going with her?" Linda asked nervously.

"How could I?" Lara asked her. "I've spent more time talking with you over the past year than I have talking with my mom in the three previous years. Give me some credit, Linda. You're the one I want to live with."

Linda hugged Lara. Lara hugged Linda.

After a moment, they released each other.

"Did you eat yet?" Linda asked her.

"Yeah, but I'll join you two anyway." Lara replied.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 6:23 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of "Megazone 23, Part 2" and Volume 4 of "Wedding Peach" on DVD.

"I like 'Wedding Peach'." Linda said.

"Yeah, it's cute." Lara agreed. "I wanna see what happens next in 'Megazone 23', too."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up two bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and three bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004, 12:01 PM

Linda and Lara walked into 7th Inning Stretch. They were each carrying 1,000 copies of Supergirl #12 in plastic bags.

They walked over to the counter. Linda placed the bag on it.

"Hey, Jimmy." Linda greeted.

"Hey, Jimmy." Lara greeted.

"Hey, girls." Jimmy replied. "You got 2,000?"

"Yeah." Linda replied.

"Okay." Jimmy said.

Linda placed a sheet of paper on the counter. Jimmy picked up the list and read it.

He went, got the comic books and other items, and returned to the counter. He placed the items on the counter, got a calculator, and calculated the total price.

"Linda, $25.51. Lara, $46.24." he said.

Linda and Lara got out their cash and paid him.

He opened the cash register, put the money in, and put their items into brown paper bags.

"Okay." Jimmy took out money and closed the register. He counted as he placed the money on the counter, separating it into two piles. "$100; $200; $300; $400; $500; $600; $700; $800; $900; $1,000; $1,100; $1,200; $1,300; $1,400; $1,500; $1,600; $1,700; $1,800; $1,900; $2,000; $2,100; $2,200; $2,300; $2,400; $2,500; $2,600; $2,700; $2,800; $2,900; $3,000."

Linda picked up her $1,500. Lara picked up her $1,500. They each put their own money into their front right jeans pockets.

"Thanks." Linda and Lara said.

"No problem." Jimmy said. "Bring in the same amount next time."

"Okay." Linda said.

Jimmy took the copies of Supergirl #12 out of the bag.

Linda picked up her bag. "Have a good day."

"You, too." Jimmy said.

Lara picked up her bag, and she and Linda turned and walked back over to the door.

Linda opened the door, and she and Lara left the shop.

Linda and Lara entered John's Books. Linda was holding a copy of Supergirl #12 in her right hand.

They walked over to the counter.

"Hey, Linda. Hey, Lara." John said.

"Hey." Linda said.

"Hey." Lara said.

Linda placed the comic book on the counter.

"Oh, 'Supergirl'. Neat." John picked up the comic book and flipped through it.

John put the comic book on the counter and took a wad of bills out of his shirt pocket. He took two $1 bills and handed them to Linda. Linda took the bills and gave one of them to Lara. The girls put the bills into their front right pants pockets. John put the wad of bills back into his shirt pocket.

"Thanks." Linda said.

"Not a problem." John said.

Chuck walked over to the counter. "Hey, girls."

"Hey, Chuck." Linda and Lara said.

John picked up the comic book and showed it to Chuck. "New 'Supergirl'."

Chuck took the comic book and looked at it. "Sweet."

"We should get home." Lara said. "I gotta make dinner."

"Okay." John said. "Take care, girls."

"See ya." Chuck said.

Linda and Lara waved and walked back over to the door. Linda opened the door. Lara walked outside, and Linda followed her.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004, 6:24 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 3 of "Azumanga Daioh" and Volumes 1 and 2 of "Pokemon: Advanced" on DVD.

"I just can't get enough of 'Azumanga Daioh'." Linda said.

"Yeah, it's addictive." Lara agreed. "What the hell are we buying 'Pokemon: Advanced' for, though."

"I dunno." Linda admitted. "It's harmless, though. Mind-numbingly repetitive but harmless."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up three bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and two bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004, 6:25 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 4 of "Comic Party", Volume 3 of "Galaxy Angel", and Volume 5 of "Kiddy Grade" on DVD.

"Last 'Comic Party'." Linda said. "Too bad we didn't wait until today to get all of it."

"Yeah, but we had no idea they'd release a boxed set." Lara said. "'Galaxy Angel' and 'Kiddy Grade' are cute."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up two bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and three bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Friday, July 30, 2004, 6:26 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a shelf. Each of them picked up a copy of the August, 2004, issue of "Newtype".

"Where's the DVD?" Linda asked.

"They're not even wrapped." Lara said. "Have they stopped including DVDs with each issue?"

"If they have, then they'll lose a lot of sales." Linda said. "The DVD was the main selling point and the reason that I got the magazine every month: so I can try out new anime series for a low price before buying the entire series. The magazine alone isn't worth $10. The DVD alone isn't worth $10. I can look up the same kind of information online for free. Screw this."

Linda placed her copy of the magazine back on the shelf. Lara and Kioko did the same with their own copies.

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up two bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and three bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004, 6:27 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 3 of "Kaleido Star" and Volume 2 of "Miami Guns" on DVD.

"'Kaleido Star' is such an uplifting series." Linda said.

"Yeah, it's nice." Lara agreed. "'Miami Guns' is over-the top but fun...in a 'Miami Vice' kind of way, appropriately enough."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up three bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and two bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004, 6:28 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 1 of "Gundam SEED" on DVD.

"'Gundam SEED' looks pretty interesting." Linda said.

"Yeah." Lara agreed. "The girls are cute, too."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up two bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and three bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Friday, August 13, 2004, 5:43 PM

Linda unlocked and opened the front door to the house.

She, Lara, and Kioko walked into the living room.

Kioko closed the door and locked it.

They went into the kitchen.

"The Yu-Gi-Oh! was awesome!" Linda exclaimed.

"Definitely!" Lara agreed. "The animation seemed a bit less detailed than on the show, though. That was odd."

Linda opened the refrigerator. "Yeah. Strawberry or Melon, Lara?"

"Melon." Lara replied.

"Kioko?" Linda asked.

"Ichigo no wo kudasai." Kioko replied.

Linda took out a bottle of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and two bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. "Did you like the movie, Kioko?"

"Hai!" Kioko replied.

Linda closed the refrigerator and handed one bottle of Sangaria Melon Soda to Lara and the bottle of Sangaria Strawberry Soda to Kioko.

"Arigatou." Kioko said.

Lara opened her bottle and took a swig of the Sangaria Melon Soda.

Kioko opened her bottle and took a swig of the Sangaria Melon Soda.

Linda opened her own bottle and took a swig of the Sangaria Strawberry Soda.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004, 6:29 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of "Wet Summer Days" on DVD.

"Okay, 'Wet Summer Days' looks twisted, but I gotta try it." Linda said.

"Twisted is good." Lara said. "The sex is a nice bonus, too."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up three bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and two bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004, 12:07 PM

Linda and Lara walked into 7th Inning Stretch. They were each carrying 1,000 copies of Supergirl #13 in plastic bags.

They walked over to the counter. Linda placed the bag on it.

"Hey, Jimmy." Linda greeted.

"Hey, Jimmy." Lara greeted.

"Hey, girls." Jimmy replied. "You got 2,000?"

"Yeah." Linda replied.

"Okay." Jimmy said.

Linda placed a sheet of paper on the counter. Jimmy picked up the list and read it.

He went, got the comic books and other items, and returned to the counter. He placed the items on the counter, got a calculator, and calculated the total price.

"Linda, $8.23. Lara, $5.21." he said.

Linda and Lara got out their cash and paid him.

He opened the cash register, put the money in, and put their items into brown paper bags.

"Okay." Jimmy took out money and closed the register. He counted as he placed the money on the counter, separating it into two piles. "$100; $200; $300; $400; $500; $600; $700; $800; $900; $1,000; $1,100; $1,200; $1,300; $1,400; $1,500; $1,600; $1,700; $1,800; $1,900; $2,000; $2,100; $2,200; $2,300; $2,400; $2,500; $2,600; $2,700; $2,800; $2,900; $3,000."

Linda picked up her $1,500. Lara picked up her $1,500. They each put their own money into their front right jeans pockets.

"Thanks." Linda and Lara said.

"No problem." Jimmy said. "Bring in the same amount next time."

"Okay." Linda said.

Jimmy took the copies of Supergirl #13 out of the bag.

Linda picked up her bag. "Have a good day."

"You, too." Jimmy said.

Lara picked up her bag, and she and Linda turned and walked back over to the door.

Linda opened the door, and she and Lara left the shop.

Linda and Lara entered John's Books. Linda was holding a copy of Supergirl #13 in her right hand.

They walked over to the counter.

"Hey, Linda. Hey, Lara." John said.

"Hey." Linda said.

"Hey." Lara said.

Linda placed the comic book on the counter.

"Oh, 'Supergirl'. Neat." John picked up the comic book and flipped through it.

John put the comic book on the counter and took a wad of bills out of his shirt pocket. He took two $1 bills and handed them to Linda. Linda took the bills and gave one of them to Lara. The girls put the bills into their front right pants pockets. John put the wad of bills back into his shirt pocket.

"Thanks." Linda said.

"Not a problem." John said.

Chuck walked over to the counter. "Hey, girls."

"Hey, Chuck." Linda and Lara said.

John picked up the comic book and showed it to Chuck. "New 'Supergirl'."

Chuck took the comic book and looked at it. "Sweet."

"We should get home." Lara said. "I gotta make dinner."

"Okay." John said. "Take care, girls."

"See ya." Chuck said.

Linda and Lara waved and walked back over to the door. Linda opened the door. Lara walked outside, and Linda followed her.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004, 6:30 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 1 of "Megaman: NT Warrior", "Megazone 23, Part 3", and Volume 5 of "Wedding Peach" on DVD.

"'Megaman: NT Warrior' is okay, I guess. A little goofy, though." Linda said.

"Yeah, it's alright." Lara agreed. "Last part of 'Megazone 23'. 'Wedding Peach' is always good."

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up two bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and three bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004, 8:40 AM

Linda entered John's Books. She was holding a plastic Wal-Mart bag in her left hand.

She walked over to the counter.

"Hey, Linda." John said. "Whatcha up to?"

"Hey." Linda set the bag on the counter.

John looked inside the bag. "Comics! Why?"

"I have no room." Linda replied. "Kioko needs room for her stuff."

John looked through the comics. "Lots of CrossGen. Not worth collecting them anymore, really, since we're not gonna get the ending. 'Raw City'? Oh, this looks like Warren's crap. Mix of porn and action."

"Yeah. I bought those based on the covers. I got them at Warren's."

"Oh. See? I knew it was Warren's. 'Savage Dragon'? You know, these are worth a lot." John glanced from side to side and then shook his head.

"'Emma Frost' is probably ending with issue 18." Linda said.

"Oh. They cancelled that, too?" John asked.

Linda nodded.

John chuckled.

"'Mary Jane' has three issues out." Linda said. "The writer was told to stop writing after the fourth issue. It hasn't been cancelled, but..."

John laughed. "'Mega Man'? Is this an extra copy?"

"No. I was getting an extra set for a coworker, but Jimmy had only one copy of issue 3, so I decided to just buy it for her."

"Oh." John said.

"They came out with only four issues." Linda said.

John chuckled.

"I'm also buying 'ThunderCats' for her." Linda said.

John shook his head. "I don't even have them all. I mean why do they come out with all these miniseries? I'd understand if they'd come out with one per year, but there's no break between them. A month after one ends, a new one begins. It makes it confusing."

"I read online that it's because it's not strong enough to support an ongoing series." Linda told him. "They come out with new issue 1s to boost sales."

"Yeah, people order more number 1s, because 'It's number 1. It may be good.' But then sales drop again."

"I read online in the monthly sales chart that the first issue of the new miniseries sold less copies than the last issue of the last miniseries." Linda said.

"So, people are sick of it already." John said.

"Yep." Linda said.

"Comics are dying." John said. "I hate to say it, but it's true. The movies aren't doing anything to boost sales of the comics."

"Yeah." Linda agreed.

"So, how much you want for these?" John asked.

Linda shrugged. "I dunno."

John laughed. "Make me an offer. They're your comics."

"Well, I paid $20 each for the two trade paperbacks." Linda said.

John nodded. "Yeah."

"$60 for all of them?" Linda asked.

John took a deep breath and withdrew slightly from the comic books.

"That's $40 for the trade paperbacks and $20 for the rest of them." Linda said.

John nodded. "Yeah, I know, but money's tight right now."

"$40?" Linda asked.

Linda was silent for a moment, then he opened the cash register, took out two $20 bills, closed the register, and offered the bills to Linda.

Linda took the bills. "Thanks."

"Oh, thank you. Really." John said.

Linda took her wallet out of her front right pants pocket, opened it, put the bills inside it, closed the wallet, and put it back into her pocket.

"I gotta get to work." Linda said.

"Okay." John said. "Take care, buddy."

Linda waved and walked back over to the door. She opened the door and walked outside.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004, 6:31 PM

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked into Suncoast.

They went over to a row. Each of them picked up a copy of Volume 4 of "Azumanga Daioh" on DVD.

"Gotta love the girls of 'Azumanga Daioh'." Linda said.

"Yeah, they're adorable." Lara agreed.

"Kawaii!" Kioko exclaimed.

They went over to a display.

Linda picked up five bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda. Lara picked up five bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. Kioko picked up three bottles of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and two bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda.

They went over to the counter and paid for the DVDs and drinks. They received their change and bags. They placed their change into their bags.

Linda, Lara, and Kioko walked out of Suncoast.

The End

Translations:

"What's going on?!" the girl asked. "My parents! Are my parents okay?!"

"Kioko." Linda repeated, smiling. "That's a lovely name. Cute."

Linda looked at Kioko and knelt in front of her. "Dead."

Kioko started crying. "Mom! Dad!"

"I'm sorry." Linda said, placing her left hand on Kioko's right shoulder.

"Ms. Zor-El, we need to get her to a hospital right now." the medic told Linda.

"Right." Linda offered her right hand to Kioko.

Kioko held Linda's right hand with her own left hand.

Linda stood up and helped Kioko to stand up.

"To the hospital." Linda told her.

The doctor looked at Kioko. "This girl is a meta-human. We don't know how her blood will affect you. You may die. Do you still want to do this?"
Literally, "strange/changed human" was used for "meta-human".

"How do you feel?" the doctor asked Kioko.

"Fine." Kioko replied.

"I'm very sorry for your loss." the doctor told her. "Do you have any other relatives?"

Kioko shook her head. "No. From now on, there's only me."

"I'm sorry." The doctor looked at Kioko. "We'll make arrangements for a flight back to Okinawa. I hope a kind family takes you in."

"No!" Kioko exclaimed. "I have no one there! May I stay with Linda and Lara?"

The doctor looked at Linda and Lara. "Well, this is interesting. She wants to know if she may live with you."

"Yes." Linda immediately replied.

"What?" Lara asked her.

"Yes." Linda told Kioko.

"Hai." Lara finally said.

Kioko stood up, ran over, and hugged Linda and Lara. "Arigatou!"

"What happened?" Kioko asked.

Linda and Lara released each other.

"Her father died." Linda told Kioko.

Kioko hugged Lara. "I'm very sorry!"

Lara hugged Kioko. "Thank you."

"Kioko?" Linda asked.

"Strawberry, please." Kioko replied.

Linda took out a bottle of Sangaria Strawberry Soda and two bottles of Sangaria Melon Soda. "Did you like the movie, Kioko?"

"Yes!" Kioko replied.

Linda closed the refrigerator and handed one bottle of Sangaria Melon Soda to Lara and the bottle of Sangaria Strawberry Soda to Kioko.

"Thank you." Kioko said.

Copyright 2004 by Mark Moore