Nope this isn't a drill, its update time. Hmmm…Where to begin?…Oh yes! Thank you everyone who read and reviewed. I can't truly express how happy that makes me. It's been awhile since I updated but I wont disappoint you, this suckers long. A big round of applause goes out to Master Celt for proofing this bad puppy. If she didn't, it would take you guys double the time to read it because the mistakes would have you saying. "That doesn't make any freaking sense." Well enough with my yapping and on with the show. That as they say is that.

Disclaimer. No typer monkeys were harmed in the making of this chapter. I did it all myself and now it's time to ice down the fingers.

Bold are thoughts and Italics are enfaces, flashbacks, phone calls, and spirit talk for one person.

Chapter 12

"When do you want it taken care of?"

Layla checked the time on the cell phone before she answered. "As soon as you can would be nice. I don't know the next time Sora will head back to the hotel but I want it to be a pleasant surprise when she does."

"I will do as you wish."

"I'm happy you were still at the hotel. It may be selfish of me but I'm glad your there when I need you the most."

"I understand mistress." responded the woman on the other end. "Serving you is my job."

"Did you understand what you need to do?" asked the blonde. She waited for an answer but she didn't receive one right away. "Macquarie?"

"I'll have them delivered to Sora's hotel room as soon as possible." confirmed the maid unenthusiastically.

Layla felt better after that was taken care of. "I appreciate this Macquarie."



The maid sighed through the phone. "Never mind, I'll take care of everything as requested."

"Macquarie is acting kind of strange." mused the former Kaleido star. "I wonder what's wrong." Before Layla had a chance to ask, her conversation was interrupted by the sound of a woman's voice.


The blonde girl let out a startled yelp. Layla wasn't one to be surprised easily but when Sora suddenly appeared behind her she nearly dropped her phone.

The brunette smiled goofily. "Sorry for scaring you like that."

"Mistress?" Macquarie's voice came through the phone. She heard her mistress's gasp of surprise and she wondered if anything was wrong. "Layla?"

After recovering from her embarrassing display, Layla quickly put the cell phone to her ear. "Bye." was all she said before she hung up. When the taller girl finally set the phone down, she turned to the woman she was pining for all morning. "Sora"

"That's me." said the Kaleido star sheepishly.

To say Layla was relieved to see Sora was an understatement. "I'm so glad you're finally here." The blonde let out a sigh of relief as she stared at the beautiful oriental. "Where were you? The surgery is about to start soon."

"It's kind of a lame excuse but I overslept." answered the smaller girl. She truly felt horrible for being so late on such an important day. "It took me awhile to pass out last night. On top of that I didn't have the best night of sleep." Sora suddenly recalled the unpleasant dream and it gave her the chills.

Layla could see Sora was upset over something and it caused a ping of guilt to poke her in the stomach. "It's fine Sora. I didn't mean to upset you."

"Huh?" responded the brunette in a detached manner. Sora shook her head to clear the cobwebs before she explained. "No it was just some stupid nightmare. I guess I've been a little worried over the surgery."

"You've been worried?" said Layla as she crossed her arms. "I've been a nervous wreck all morning."

Sora found that hard to believe. "You?"

"Yes me." Layla smiled. "Is it so hard to believe I get just as nervous as everyone else?"

The brunette shrugged. "Truthfully…then yes."

"Well maybe that's what I want people to think." said Layla as she leaned against the bed and cocked her head a little to the side.

Sora joined Layla by leaning against the bed as well. The way the blonde was looking at her with her head tilted like that was very adorable in Sora's opinion. "If I only had a camera." mused the brunette. "So why, tell me."

"Why do you think?" answered Layla with a giggle. The very girlish sound caught the blonde by surprise and she put her hand over her mouth to cover it up.

A familiar warmth spread throughout Sora. Those uncontrollable times when something deep inside Layla bubbled to the surface, were the moments she treasured the most. "You're adorable, you know that right?"

Layla's first instinct was to think the smaller girl was teasing but after looking in the other woman's eyes she could tell Sora meant it from the heart. "I guess, if you can't be honest with the person you love then why bother."

"I agree." whispered Sora as she stepped forward and put her arms around Layla's neck. "I know I missed out on most of the morning but do you mind if I make up for lost time?"

Layla answered Sora by pulling the smaller girl close for a very passionate kiss.

At first Sora was taken off guard by the other woman's intensity but she soon closed her eyes and melted into the soft embrace. The brunette felt Layla's arms wrap around her waste where the other girl's hands rested on the small of her back. It was all so intense Sora couldn't help but moan in pleasure. "God how I hope this isn't a dream."

"This has got be a dream." thought Layla as she felt the other woman moan through their intertwined lips. "Never in a million years did I think it would feel this good."


Fool and Passion left the girls to their own devices as they floated out of earshot on the other side of the room. "Would you look at that." uttered Passion quite contently. "Didn't know Layla had it in her." The silver haired woman didn't receive a response right away so she turned to her drooling partner. "Why does that not surprise me." Passion sighed. "Oh grow up."

Forcing himself to stop the ogling, Fool turned to the pestering woman. "Would you just let me enjoy the fruits of our labor. Oh, in case you forgot, I'm more than a hundred years older than you are."

"Act it."

"Don't wanna." mocked the man as he stuck his tongue out at Passion.

The silver haired woman had some choice words waiting at the edge of her lips but whatever she was going to say was cut off by the sound of very feminine moans emanating from their charges. When the spirits looked at the two women, the girls make out session had kicked up a notch.

As much as Fool was enjoying himself, he was also was aware of the surrounding. The last thing he wanted for them was to get caught in an embarrassing situation. Probably because Sora would take out her frustration on him. "Do you think we should break it up?"

"Hell no!" responded the silver haired spirit. "This is the good part."

The man laughed. "Grow up."

"Don't wanna." returned Passion in the same fashion as Fool's earlier response.

"Fine." said the spirit of the stage as he sighed. "Shame we don't have any popcorn."

Their show ended when Sora and Layla stepped away from each other.


"Wow!" thought Sora as she pulled back from Layla. Turning sideways, she discreetly wiped away some moisture from the corner of her mouth. "Sorry, I got a little carried away."

"Did it seem like I was complaining." whispered Layla. There were few times in her life where passion got the better of her and she realized that most of them occurred when a certain Japanese woman was involved. "She really is a good kisser. I wonder what else she is good at." Layla bit her lip to bring her back to reality but it only made it worse. She could still taste some of Sora's strawberry lip balm and it caused her to blush. "I guess today is the day." said the blonde as she attempted to change the subject.

"In a few minutes too."

"Yeah." said Layla as she back stepped and sat down on her bed. She motioned for Sora to follow her by patting the mattress near her.

The brunette smiled and took the hint. She walked over and sat down with her hands in her lap.

For Layla that wasn't close enough so she reached out and took her partner's hand. Sora faced her with a warm look on her face and Layla smiled back. A minute or two passed companionably before Layla broke the silence. "If all goes well…"

"Which it will." interrupted Sora enthusiastically.

"This is exactly what I need." thoughtLayla as she nodded. "When my surgery is done I hope I can achieve the level where we can be equal partners on the stage."

"I don't know about that Layla. We were never equal on the stage." Deep down Sora believed if Layla never hurt her shoulder, she would be the true Kaleido star not her.

"That's probably true Sora." The blonde gently squeezed the smaller girl's hand. "But not how you think."


"You always had something I didn't. Just looking at the crowds faces made me realize that."

The brunette shook her head. "You're wrong Layla. When you got up on stage you were amazing. The skill in which you did every stunt was simply magic."

Layla could see Sora wasn't getting her point. "I know I have the skill to perform but that wasn't what I was talking about."

The brunette was confused. "Then what?"

"You have the ability to make the crowd part of the show. Seeing you up there, doing your routine, made the audience feel like they were doing it too. I don't know how you did it but you drew the audience in with you and made the show truly come to life. Part of the reason I loved performing with you was because I could be part of the feeling you gave to the audience. It was like an applause of a million people it was so exciting..." Layla's voice trailed off as she got lost in thought. Once upon a time she would have felt threatened by Sora's abilities but now she felt envious. She knew the other girl was the key to becoming a true Kaleido star.

"Do you really feel that way Layla?" asked Sora. She never knew Layla envied her performances, especially when it's always been the other way around.

Snapping out of her thoughts, Layla once again focused on the brunette. "Yes I do."

Sora mulled over her thoughts until she realized what Layla was talking about. "I'm not an expert but I think I know how to give you what you are looking for."

That perked Layla's attention. "You do?"

"You are wondering what that extra power I have is, right?"

The blonde slowly nodded in response.

Sora shrugged. "If that's all you want to know then it's simple."

"Don't keep me in suspense. What is it?" asked Layla playfully.

The brunette held up her unoccupied hand and motioned for the taller girl to come closer. "Come here it's a secret."

Not understanding what Sora was getting at but obeying all the same, Layla leaned closer to the other girl. Sora knew she had the blonde right where she wanted. The Japanese girl smiled as she leaned over like she was going to whisper something in the Layla's ear. At least that's what the blonde thought Sora was going to do, but at the last second, the brunette leaned over and stole a gentle kiss from her lips instead. It was a soft and tender kiss designed to portray all of Sora's feelings.

Before Layla could entertain the thought of deepening the warm gesture, the smaller girl pulled back. "Sora?" questioned the blonde lightly. The cold hospital air was already making her mouth sorely miss their newfound partnership.

"shhh." shushed Sora as she pressed her finger to Layla's lips. "Let me talk, okay?" The taller girl nodded and Sora ran her finger softly over the other girl's lips. "That was exactly the thing you were missing Layla."

"A kiss?"

"Exactly." Sora stopped her slow teasing and pulled her hand back from the other woman. "I'm always surrounded by people who love and support me. It doesn't matter if it's the love of friends, family, or even lovers. I take all of it with me when I get up on stage and it allows me to soar. I do it with my whole heart and I guess it allows the others to share in that joy."

Layla smiled coyly. "Are you saying I need loving to perform like you do?"

Sora blushed and turned away. "Y…y…yes more or less."

"I guess that wouldn't be so bad. It could be a new kind of training regimen." Layla used her thumb to stroke the hand she was holding. "Oh, Sora?"

"Huh?" questioned the smaller girl as she once again faced the blonde.

"It's never too early to practice." with that said, Layla leaned over and kissed the girl.

It only last a few brief seconds and the taller girl pulled back. Sora sat there with a red face and she couldn't keep herself from letting out a giggle. "Always practicing aren't you?"

"It's the only way to get better." responded the very content looking Layla. She enjoyed flirting with Sora so much that she failed to notice a very nervous looking nurse who quietly entered the room.

"M…m…Ms. Hamilton?"

On instinct the two girls pulled away from each other. It wasn't that they were ashamed or trying to keep their relationship a secret, but both of them shied away from a situation that caused them unwanted embarrassment.

"Is it time?" questioned the blonde in her usual neutral voice.

Sora was somewhat shocked to see just how quick the transformation was. One second Layla was this tender and loving girl and the next she was this woman with an all business exterior. "I guess I'm the only one fortunate enough to see the true Layla."

The nurse nodded at the blonde. "Yes Ms. Hamilton. I'm here to take you to the operation room. I came earlier but the two of you were deep in discussion and I didn't want to interrupt."

"I understand and we thank you for respecting our privacy."

The nurse nervously waved it off. "It's common right before a big operation. Trust me, I've caught couples doing worse…much worse."

Both women blushed as they independently entertained those thoughts.

"This is it then Ms. Hamilton. We have to go now or I'm going to get into trouble."

"Okay." said Layla as she got off of the bed with Sora following closely behind.

When the trio reached the door, the nurse turned around and addressed oriental girl. "If you want Miss…" The nurse opened up her clipboard. "Oh I'm sorry. I meant Mrs. Hamil…"

"Its Miss." interrupted Sora with a groan.

"Huh?" questioned the confused Nurse. "Umm…It must have been a typo Miss…?"

The Kaleido star smiled. "Sora is fine."

"Then Sora it is." said the nurse with a smile. She was grateful for the Asian girl's friendly demeanor. It was usually hard dealing with people before these kind of operations because they tended to be nervous wrecks. However, these two women had a confident aura about them. "You can stay in the waiting room till the surgery is over. It might take a long time so it might be best if you…"

"I'm staying." interrupted Sora firmly. "As long as Layla is in surgery, I'm not going anywhere."

The blonde smiled gratefully. Having Sora here was the added bonus to her peace of mind.

"Layla?" said Sora as she got the blonde's attention.

"Yes?" answered the taller girl calmly. Before Sora arrived she was literally biting at her nails but now that the Japanese girl was here, it was like a sheet of calm enveloped her. Deep down the blonde knew no matter what happened in the surgery, Sora would be there for her in the end. It was a thought that made whatever happened inconsequential. "This feeling…it truly is amazing."

Sora quickly flashed a look at the nurse patiently waiting near by. The Kaleido star shrugged and stepped closer to Layla. "Before you go take this for good luck." with that said, Sora leaned up and gave the blonde an intimate kiss. The brunette tried to keep the kiss tame due to the fact they were in the company of other people but Layla wouldn't have any of that.

The blonde leaned in and ran her hands through the shorter girl's hair before coming to rest on each side of Sora's cheeks. If this was for good luck then Layla intended to give the kiss her all. The lilac haired girl moaned in appreciation. Oh how they wished they could continue but time was of the essence. Layla slowly pulled back and looked her love deep in the eyes. "I have to go."

Sora nodded and stepped out of the blonde's embrace. "Good luc…"

"Don't." interrupted Layla. "Its bad luck to say that before something important happens."

The blonde said that all with her stern mask and Sora couldn't tell if the other woman was serious or not. "Since when are you superstitious?"

Finally Layla cracked a smile. "Ever since someone gave me the world's most effective good luck charm."

"Ms. Hamilton?" said the embarrassed nurse. The poor girl was trying to look everywhere but at the two women. "I think we should go now."

Layla nodded and took one last look at Sora before she headed off.

The lilac haired girl calmly watched as Layla disappeared down the long hallway. When finally the blonde was out of sight, the oriental girl sighed. "Good luck my Kaleido star."

"Why the long face. You're acting like she just went off to war or something."

Sora jumped back in surprise at the sound of a man's voice near her ear. "Eeaah!"

The spirit of the stage was floating over her right shoulder with a sour look on his face. "You know you don't have to be so freaked out about seeing me." The spirit dramatically put the back of his hand to his forehead. "It's so very bad for my already fragile ego."

Gone was the surprise on Sora's face only now to be replaced with irritation. "Dam you Fool. You scared me."

"Ha." sputtered the spirit "If I wanted to really scare you I could. Believe me I have ways."

"What are you going to do? Hide in my shampoo bottle again."

"I'm never going to live that one down am I?" Fool rolled his eyes. "But back to the task at hand."

"Which is?" asked a puzzled Sora. She thought all she had to do was wait patiently for Layla to finish her surgery.

"Channeling your negative energies out and focusing your positive energies in."

Sora didn't dignify the spirit with a comment so she turned and headed to the waiting room. "If I'm lucky there will be other people around so I can be justified when I ignore him."

Fool followed behind closely. His little legs couldn't keep pace but being able to float made the job easy. "Aren't you going to ask me how?"

"Does it involve a shower?" responded the brunette sarcastically.

Fool laughed obnoxiously. "Silly girl, do you see any showers around? No, I simply meant that I can kindly provide you my shoulder to lean on. That way you can let all your worries ease out so they don't interfere with your happy thoughts."

"If I leaned on you I'd crush you."

"Then let me lean on you. I promise it'll help."

Finally Sora genuinely laughed. "You just don't give up Fool. I admire that about you."

The spirit's face lit up. "Does that mean yes?"


"Hmmmph." scoffed the little man. "See if I ever try to help you again."

"Good riddance."


The room Layla stepped into looked like a scene from Star Trek. Medical equipment of all sorts lined the walls and they made the traditional noises of being powered up. In the center of the circular room sat a long segmented tabled under a large half-cylinder medical scanner with robotic arms attached to it. "What is that?" said Layla to no one in particular.

One of the four surgeons, all leaning over a computer panel near the bed, looked up and smiled. "Mrs. Hamilton, it is so nice of you to join us. We were about to start without you."

"Funny." retorted the blonde. "And it's Ms. Hamilton."

Miranda laughed. "Sora would be so heartbroken to hear that." The doctor noticed how tense her patient seemed when she first looked up but magically after mentioning the lilac haired girl, Layla visibly calmed. "I take it she finally showed."

Layla crossed her arms and nodded.

Dr. Everett smiled at Layla before she turned to one of the other surgeon. "Set the sensitivity to level five. This needs to be precise, down to the millimeter." The other surgeon nodded and did as he was told. When Miranda was satisfied, she once again focused her attention on the blonde. "You eager to get this over with?"

"Yes." answered the former Kaleido star. "Let's get this started because I have some training to do."

"Wow. With that kind of determination I'm definitely going to Kaleido stage for one of your future shows."

Layla reached up and brushed an errant lock away from her eye. One of the things she missed about having short hair was it's convenience, but she missed having long hair even more so she was going to have to get used to it once again. "So, what is that?" asked the blonde as she motioned at the half-cylinder device again.

"Oh that." said Miranda as she looked at the instrument in question. "That's the bad puppy that's going to make you whole again. It's something I developed at M.I.T. before I went to med school. It's kind of a laser scalpel that is operated by a sensor panel for precision. That is not its only feature though." Dr. Everett walked over the device and stroked it lovingly. "It also has an electrolyte charger that allows cellular growth to be artificially accelerated."

The whole thing was a little out of Layla's field of expertise but she knew enough to recognize a medical breakthrough. "It's amazing."

"It is, if I may say so myself." To the doctor it was like showing off a smart child. "This device will revolutionize the medical industry. Imagine breaking a bone or getting a finger cut off. Those things could be repaired in one swift operation rather than waiting months."

"If that is so…why wasn't this published more than just a few articles here and there."

"Ah that." That point seemed to damper the doctors mood somewhat. "We still haven't gotten approval from the FDA."

"Why?" asked Layla. She knew by volunteering she would be exempt from federal regulations but she hopped that wasn't a bad thing.

Miranda simply waved it off. "Something about the treatments being too much like a steroid."

"Excuse me but did you give me steroids!"

The doctor laughed off the woman's concern. "I said because it's like a steroid not because it was one. Government officials are always iffy about new things but I'm hoping this operation will get them off their asses." When the shocked expression faded from Layla's face, she continued. "I assure you everything is safe. I actually invented the treatment and the electrolyte panel for…" The woman stopped in mid-sentence. She debated whether or not she wanted to say more but she ended up shaking her head. "Never mind about that but trust me it's safe."

Layla was curious as to what the doctor was about to say. "What did you originally invent it for?"

The doctor blushed. "That is a discussion for another time." Miranda reached down and pushed a button nearby and the device moved aside from the table. "If you would, Mrs. Hamilton, please take a seat."

"Am I going to be awake for this?" asked Layla as she walked over to the operating table.

"No. I'll make sure we give you something that will knock you out cold."

"Okay." responded the blonde as she sat down and slid into a laying position.

The doctor took out a syringe and injected it in the blonde's arm. "Sweet dreams."

"If everything works out I'll be able to fly with Sora again." Layla sighed contently as the world around her started to fade away. Her last thoughts before she surrendered to oblivion were of her beloved partner.


Kaleido Stage

"For the love of goddddd!" screamed Manami as she fell from the trapeze to the safety net.

Ken was there to help her back on the platform. "I told you to release when I say to." said the laughing man.

The Japanese girl gave him a sour look. "What's so funny?"

The blonde put his hand over his mouth to stem the tide of mirth that threatened to burst through the surface. "I know I shouldn't be laughing but that was very funny."

The girl turned her back on him and proceeded down the ladder to the floor. "I can't believe you talked me into that."

"Hey now." called out Ken as he followed the girl down. "I made the suggestion but you're the one who agreed to it. I was only joking too."

Stepping onto solid ground once again felt like heaven to Manami. She sighed and turned around to the boy. "I thought you were serious. Besides I wanted your help."


Two Hours Ago

Ken was going through the inventory and the stage crew reports when there was a knock on his door. "Come in."

The door cracked open slightly and short haired Asian girl popped her head through the opening. "Hello."

"Manami?" said the surprised crew manager. He didn't think anyone would be around this early, let alone Sora's friend.

"I'm not bothering am I?"

Ken looked at the pile of forms that Kalos wanted done before the end of the day. "Nope, please come in."

Smiling, the girl walked in and shut the door behind her. "This isn't a social visit I'm afraid."

"Oh?" questioned the blonde. He didn't think there was any business involving the girl.

"Hai." Manami answered. She stopped to look around the office. "Wow! You have your own office and everything. I thought you just wondered around doing whatever."

"My job is a little more official then that." Ken realized they were getting off topic. "But about your official business?"

Manami looked at the man from the corner of her eyes. "Yes that, hmmmm." said the girl mysteriously. "I recently came in possession of a room where I can sleep and stash my belongings. It's quite handy but the problem is I don't know where it is nor do I have anything to fill it with."

Ken smiled. "In other words, Kalos gave you an apartment and you need me to find it for you.

"Also to come with me to get some furniture but yes that's exactly what I need."

"I thought you said you had official business." mused the blonde.

"It is official business." retorted the woman. "As the new manager of hair care and style, I order you to help."

"That's not even a real position and you're not allowed to order me. I'm technically your boss."

"Pfffff…" gestured the woman as she waved it off. "Semantics."

Ken wanted to laugh at the girl's directness. "I really can't go right now. I'm sorry." The blonde looked at the pile of forms once more. "If I don't finish my work then you might end up being my boss because Kalos is going to demote me."

"Come on!" demanded Manami. "You strike me as one of those types who could get this all done in ten minutes if you needed to."

"Are you calling me a nerd?"

Manami grunted. "It was a complement you goober."

"Okay but why do you need me to help. I can show you on the directory where your room is. As for the rest, I think you can handle it yourself."

"I have my trusty credit cards with me and I plan to buy some furniture to customize my new home." Manami walked towards the desk and sat down in one of the spare chairs. "I've seen some of the apartments at this place. For a circus troupe, none of you have any sense of style."

Ken nodded. "Sounds like a good idea but again…why me?"

Manami looked at him like it was obvious. "Are you telling me you're going to let me move a bunch of furniture all by myself?" The oriental girl leaned forward on desk with her elbows. "Well news flash! I know you are used to all these buff acrobatic woman, but I'm a Japanese computer engineering major." Manami pulled back and flexed her arms for enfaces.

"She is cute." thought Ken. "Still, if you want someone's help to move your stuff, then why are you picking me? I'm not your shining example of buffness."

"You're the only one I know around here."

Ken picked up a pen and began filling out the forms. "Since you put it that way, I'll be happy to help."

"Good." said Manami with smugness. She crossed her arms and leaned back in the chair triumphantly.

Ken smiled inwardly. "But…tomorrow."

"Huh?" Manami's smugness faded. "Sneaky."

"So if you'll excuse me." said Ken. He had no real intention of leaving the brunette high and dry but the temptation to play with her was too powerful.

"Guess I'll have to bring out the big guns." Manami once again leaned over the desk in a way that forced Ken to look directly in her eyes. The oriental girl directed a high level pout in his direction while she spoke in a soft voice. "Please Ken. I would really appreciate it if you would help me out today."

"She doesn't fight fare does she." thought Ken as he swallowed the lump in his throat. "I must remain strong for the sake of the game. I can't let her win." The blonde did his best to ignore her. Instead he refocused himself on filling out the forms in his hands. "I work at a place predominately filled with women. If I didn't get immune to your techniques, I would have been in trouble a long time ago."

Manami's eyes narrowed. "You are good." The girl sighed and leaned back in the chair. "Fine! What will it take to make you come with me?"

"If you agree to swing from a trapeze I'll do whatever you say for the rest of the day." Ken knew Manami would never agree to something that outrageous so he felt quite smug that he won this round.

"And you will do all my biddings?" mused the brunette.

The boy shrugged. "Sure."

"Fine, I'll do it."

Ken dropped his pen. "What?"

"I said I'll do it." Manami rolled her eyes. "I call your bluff."

"She can't be serious." Ken looked over the desk at Manami's determined face. All thoughts of doing the forms faded from his mind. "Ok then, let's see how far she's going to take this."

The oriental girl smirked. "What are you waiting for? Let's do this!"

The boy stood up from the desk. "Let's."



"There must be something in the water where Sora is from because all their women are amazing. She actually went up there and tried that." Ken walked over and handed a bottle of water to the panting girl. "Here."

Manami glared at him but took the bottle anyway. "Arigato." responded the girl. She couldn't believe he didn't try to stop her. The whole time since they left the office they were trying to one up each others bluff until she ended up on the launch ramp. Up there on the practice trapeze she was scared out of her mind but for some reason she went through with it. Ever since she was a little girl she had a kind of rivalry with Sora. She could always do what the other girl did better. That was until her friend took up gymnastics and everything changed. It was a field Manami didn't stand a chance in so it effectively ended their competition. Since coming to America she always wondered what it would be like to jump off one of those swingy things. Deep down Manami still had that nagging voice that told her 'If Sora could do it then so can I.' That's probably why she decided to jump even though Ken kept telling her she could back down at anytime. "So that's what jumping from a trapeze feels like." said Manami with awe.

"Great isn't it." mused Ken. He didn't know he misinterpreted the girl's wide eyed response.

She looked at the blonde like he was nuts. "Are you kidding me!" Manami sat down on the nearby bench. "You guys are freaking nuts. Why would anyone do that for a living?"

"Oh." Ken shrugged as he scratched the back of his head. "It is fun once you get used to it."

"It was kind of fun." thought Manami. She shook her head and smiled. "Well I did my part of the bargain. I win so you have to be my slave now."

"Fine, my word is my bond but I'm not a slave. I'm simply bound by your orders for the rest of the day."

Manami brought a finger to her lips and tapped it. "Sounds a lot like a slave if you ask me."

The blonde smiled. "What do you want to do first Manami?"

"Call me master."

Ken had to laugh at such a ludicrous suggestion. "Don't push it."

"Be that way." responded the girl as she too started laughing. They both enjoyed themselves for awhile until things became quiet between them. Manami looked up at the trapeze and decided to break the silence. "So what did I do wrong?"

Ken caught sight of what the oriental girl was looking at. "It's all about the timing. If you pull it off at the right moment, it's amazing."

Manami could detect the warmth in his voice as he talked about the trapeze. "You miss it don't you?"

"Yeah, I do." Ken shrugged. "But like I said, my dream has changed and I'm happy where I'm at."

"Can you still do it or would that be too much?" Manami didn't know how to phrase the question properly. She didn't want to seem insensitive to Ken's heart condition.

The boy looked at the trapeze with firmness in his eyes. "My doctor would frown on it but I bet I could still pull it off."

"I would have liked to see your show back then." said Manami. "I bet it was amazing."

Ken turned to the girl with a weird look in his eyes. "Want to see it?"

"Huh?" Manami blinked several times before what he just said dawned on her. "You want to go up there?"

There was a strange firmness to the boy's demeanor "Yes."

"But that would be too dangerous."

Ken ignored her warnings and walked up the ladder.

"At least the platform is still set pretty low from when I tried it." thought Manami, as she followed after the boy.

When Ken got to the ladder area, he reached over and hit a button on the control panel. Soon the entire trapeze platform began to raise high in the air.

"What are you doing?" said the alarmed woman.

The blonde ignored her as he started ascending the platform.

"If your trying to impress me, you don't have to do this." called out Manami. She wasn't to wild about this whole idea. Normally Ken seemed so leveled headed but right now he was acting like a man possessed.

"This isn't about that." responded the boy as he climbed. "I need to see something for myself."

Seeing that her worries were going to fall on deaf ears, Manami stepped back and watched the boy make his way to the platform.

When Ken finally got to the top, he looked over to the other side with a sense of nostalgia that brought back many precious memories. His pulse was racing with excitement but he could care less. There was no audience or applause waiting at the end but that didn't matter. He had to do this. He had this nagging feeling in the back of his head that kept urging him forward. "Manami?"

"Yes." called up the girl from the bottom floor.

"When I say go, push the red button on the panel for the release."


The blonde nodded. "Please."

"Thanks for giving me a part in this crazy stunt you goober." Manami sighed. "Tell me when you are ready."

Ken closed his eyes and let out a deep breath. When he opened them he was ready. The blonde approached the bar and grasped it firmly. "Okay Manami, on the count of three."

Ken couldn't see her but Manami nodded in confirmation.



"Don't push that button!" said a loud accented male voice.

Ken stopped his countdown and Manami turned to the foreign voice. There at the entrance of the practice room was a tall man with long platinum hair. "What are you doing?" said the man as he stared at the boy on the top platform.

"Stay out of this Leon. It's just a simple routine so there's nothing for you to get involved with." Ken never really liked the man but in recent months, Leon had undergone a change from a brooding prick to a brooding care bear.

"You shouldn't do this." The man coolly walked further into the room. "Leave the trapeze to the professionals."

While Ken and the platinum haired man talked to one another, Manami just stared dumbly. "That's the one and only Leon"

The crew manager on the trapeze scoffed. "You're not my boss Leon."

"No but I am." This time the voice came from Kalos, as he too walked into the practice room. "Mr. Robbins, it would be best if you came back down."

"K..K..Kalos?" said the blonde in complete surprise. He didn't waste anytime climbing back down the ladder. When he got to the bottom floor, he turned to his boss. "Sir I was just…"

"No need to explain Ken." Kalos looked down at his own fingers. No one could tell he was looking at them behind his reflective glasses. "I understand more than you could possibly know but that doesn't excuse your behavior. Besides, I don't think your mother would forgive me if you harmed yourself. To be honest she scares me."

"I'm sorry Kalos."

"Hmmph." uttered the man as he looked over at Manami. "Twice in two days you break the rules Ken. If I knew Manami was going to be this bad of an influence I wouldn't have hired her."

Manami looked shocked but Ken was quick to the rescue. "This was all my idea Kalos."

"I'm sure it was." The Kaleido boss gave one of his super rare half-smiles at Manami. "I'm actually kidding. Kaleido star is better off with her here. Being able to recognize an asset is what I'm here for. Besides that, I need a haircut the day after tomorrow and I want to see how good she is for myself."

"Really?" said Manami before she regained her composure. "I'll impress you boss, you'll see."

"Until then." responded Kalos as she turned to leave. "Oh and Ken?"

"Yes boss?"

"Be sure you don't forget to turn in those forms. As for your punishment I want you to fetch that tour of Kaleido stage disk for Leon. "

"Why?" asked the blonde but it was too late, Kalos had already walked out of the room. The blonde sighed and turned to the male Kaleido star. As usual the man had on his expressionless face, but what truly irritated Ken was how Manami was sizing him up. "Not her too."

Manami couldn't help herself. "The man is cute."

"Be sure to give me that disk before the end of the day." said Leon as he started walking for the door. "As for your little stunt Ken. You shouldn't try things you are not capable of anymore. The past can't be changed so it's pathetic to try." The platinum haired man meant what he said genuinely as good advice, but he didn't catch the extremely hurt look in Ken's eyes.

However it was a look that Manami saw as clear as day. "That man is also a jerk."

So engrossed in his own thoughts, the crew manager forgot to ask why Leon needed the disk before he left the room. He snapped out of his self-loathing stupor when a warm hand slid onto his shoulder.

"I think you could have easily done it." said the oriental girl softly.

"I appreciate that but they were right." Normally when a girl touched him like that he would have gotten flustered, but right now it was very calming. "Doing that was crazy. I really don't know what got into me." He meant what he said. Some strange urge flooded his mind and before he knew it he was grasping the trapeze bar.

Manami watched the boy beat himself up so she tried to change the subject. "As your master I order you to forget all of this."

Ken smiled. "I'm not your slave."

"Semantics." Manami removed her hand and headed in the direction of the door. "The faster we find this disk, the faster we can help me move, which means the quicker you can do your work."

"Sounds like a plan." said the boy. He felt much better thanks to Manami and for that he was grateful. As he headed out the door he couldn't shake that strange feeling. "Why did I do that?"


High up on the trapeze platform, the chain that was holding the handle bar came apart and fell to the ground. Had Ken used it during the stunt, things would have ended badly.

"Dratz." swore an unseen voice from high in the air. "There seems to be way too much fortune around here, but alas my work has only begun."


Boston Regional Medical

The beeping sound of the heart monitor showed a nice and steady pace as three of the four surgeons gathered around the control panel. On the screen was a computer generated image of their patient. Bone, muscle fibers, and ligaments were all detailed to the letter as it encompassed the entirety of Layla's torso.

"Doctor." said Miranda as she turned to one of her colleges monitoring Layla's condition by the table. The unconscious blonde was lying there with an IV in her arm and the Electrolyte scanner secured to her upper body. "Were the solutions administered?"

"Yes they were."

"And the anti-coagulant?" questioned Dr. Everett.

"Yes doctor."

"Good." All though it was not visible by plain sight, on the screen it showed that an entire graft of Layla's skin, from the elbow to the upper shoulder, was removed. "Let us see if we can find the root of the problem."

"Yes doctor." voiced the unanimous reply from all medical staff present.


Sora let out the hundredth sigh in the last ten minutes. "I wonder what's happening."

"I don't know."

"I wish we could check."

"We can't."

"I just wish we could is all."

"She won't shut up." thought Fool. Sitting here for the last two hours was a test of his fortitude. It turns out when Sora was truly worried she couldn't remain quiet. "We just have to wait patiently."

The brunette sighed yet again. When they arrived at the waiting room they found it empty. At first Sora was annoyed but now she was grateful they had the whole place to themselves. Having Fool to talk to was a good way to keep her mind from wondering to unpleasant thoughts. "I just wish there was something I could do. My girlfriend is…"

"Say what again?" asked Fool, pretending he didn't hear the girl the first time.

"I said my girlfriend is…"

"I still can't hear you. Oh how I lament my tiny ears."

"I said my…" Sora turned to the tiny spirit. "You just want me to keep saying that don't you."

Fool smiled. "It sounds very erotic when you say that." The spirit didn't see the incoming magazine but he should have anticipated it. The booklet landed with an audible crack that knocked Fool off his perch. The spirit climbed back up and rubbed his sore head. "Ouch."

"That's what you get, perv." The oriental girl leaned back in her chair.

The spirit ignored the woman's look of frustration. "Since when did you two officially become girlfriends?"

Sora absent-mindedly played with the hem of her shirt. "We haven't actually said that word between us yet. I just figured since we've had a few dates, it's about time I started." The girl smiled warmly. "That and we love each other, so it should be all right."

"That's sweet." responded the little man as he floated to the chair's armrest. "Please say it again Sora."

"No!" Sora replied as she crossed her arms. "To you it may sound kinky but to me it's special, and I won't have you tarnish that beautiful feeling with your weirdness"

"Your beautiful feeling for what?" asked the spirit sneakily.

"The feeling I get when I call Layla my girlfriend."

"To easy." thought Fool as he fell on his back and looked up at the ceiling. "Hmmm."

The Kaleido star groaned when she realized she fell for such an obvious trap. "Dam you."

"I've had centuries to perfect my craft dear Sora. Don't beat yourself up too much."


Kaleido Stage.

"So what is this tour of Kaleido Stage disk?" asked Manami as they arrived at Ken's office.

The blonde walked over to his desk and started ruffling through it. "It's a disk that I made a long time ago that toured the dorms and stages. It's kind of a promotional we give to newcomers to entice them into working here. It's also a good way to show performers, who've already sighed on, around so they can get a feel for the place."

"Why does Leon Oswald want a tour disk?"

Ken stopped his search and looked at the oriental girl. "I wondered that too." Before he got back to search he had to add. "And you don't have to call him Leon Oswald. Leon would suffice."

"Oooh. He might be warming up to me. I think he's getting kind of jealous." Manami smiled and sat on the desk overlooking the boy's search. "I can't help it. That man is so dreamy."

Ken, who was looking in the bottom most drawer, moved up too suddenly when Manami said that. He ended up hitting his head on the top drawer and falling back down. "Owww."

"You okay?" asked the girl insincerely. She clearly enjoyed causing that.

"I'm fine." grunted the man as he went back to his search. "Don't get sucked into his web."

"If he's the spider I don't think I'd mind."

"He's bad news." reasoned the blonde as he moved on to another drawer. He still wasn't having any luck finding the elusive disk.

"According to Sora he's a changed man."

Ken had to be honest. "I guess he is."

"Is he single?"

"Why?" asked Ken a little too quickly.

The brunette shrugged. "Just asking."

"Don't bother." said the blonde as he shut the drawer. "He's weird."

"How so?"

Ken tried to do some quick thinking. "He's into voodoo."

"Voodoo?" said a surprised Manami. "That's a new one."

"Nice one Einstein." thought the boy with a groan. "It could happen."

The Asian girl smiled coyly. "Are you getting jealous by any chance?"

", I'm just looking out for a new friend." The blonde started laughing nervously. "Am I. Man that's so wrong, she's one of Sora's best friends."

Manami saw that she was pushing her luck. "Find the disk yet?" asked the girl as she attempted to change the subject. "We will continue this dance later."

Clearing out his thoughts so he could focus on the task at hand, Ken shook his head. "No. It doesn't seem to be here."

"Did someone borrow it?"

A light bulb went off in the crew manager's head. "Actually I think I let Sora borrow it last."

"There you have it." said Manami triumphantly.

"But Sora is in Boston so how are we going to get it?"

The girl sighed. "The dummy never did get a cell phone."

"If she's with Layla we might get a hold of her through Layla's cell."

"Should we be bothering them?" questioned Manami. As much as she didn't like the idea of Sora with the obnoxious blonde, she didn't think it smart to interrupt them.

"Why wouldn't it?" To Ken it seemed perfectly logical. Even though Layla intimidated him, the prospect of failing Kalos was a little scarier. "It's our best choice."

"You're the boss."

Ken smiled. "I thought you were the master."

"Fine." said the brunette as she got off the desk. "I order you, my faithful peon, to call Layla."

"Oh but master there is a simple problem." responded the boy.


"I don't have Layla's cell phone number."


Boston Regional Medical

Dr. Everett moved her hands slowly over the touch screen. The computer reacted to the slightest bit of pressure so her movements were soft and gentle. It was almost as if she was conducting an orchestra, or so the other surgeons thought as they watched the head doctor operate the machine. For every movement there was a mirroring movement from the apparatus connected to Layla. Layer by layer the lasers cut away until the first sign of bone appeared. "Finally."

"Doctor?" questioned one of the other surgeons monitoring the auxiliary panel.

Not taking her eyes off the screen for a millisecond, Miranda's response was measured with slowness. "Yes…doctor."

The man double checked his reading before continuing. "The patient's temperature is running a little high."

Dr. Everett did a quick check on the screen. "A… little…but…her…body…is…under…a…lot…of…stress."

"Will it be okay?"

Miranda nodded. "Should…be."

The two surgeons at the operating table had the second hardest of the jobs. For every vital incision they had to clamp up the arteries to stem the loss of blood. It was meticulous task that required the steadiest of hands. Another one of their jobs was to make sure the replacement fluids were fed quickly through the IV.

Back at the operating console, Miranda finally located the source of the problem. "How in god's name did she manager that."


Somewhere on a Flight over the Midwest

"Finally I can get some sleep." Yuri leaned back and let the slow rhythmic sound of the jet engines send him to the land of dreams.

Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep

Yuri groaned as he reached into his suit pocket for his cell phone. "I wonder who that can be." Yuri looked at the number but he didn't recognize it right away. "Hello?" answered the man as he pushed the receive button.

"I hope I'm not bothering you Mr. Killian."

"Who is this?"

The boy on the other end cleared his throat. "It's Ken Mr. Killian."

Yuri had been traveling to different cities for days as part of The Phoenix promotional. However in one of his brief moments of peace and quiet, he was being bothered. "Something I can do for you Mr. Robbins?"

"I was wondering if you have Layla's cell phone number."

Yuri reached down and moved his chair out of it's recline. "What do you want her number for?"

"It's not that we want to bother her but I need to get a hold of Sora."

That perked Yuri's interest. "Why would calling Layla be a way to contact Sora?"

"Sora went to Boston for the surgery and she doesn't own a cell phone. I figured you would probably have Layla's number so our best bet was to contact you."

The former acrobat suddenly felt very much out of the loop. "Hold up. Why is Sora with Layla in Boston, Especially when Layla is supposed to be in New York? Second…What's this about a surgery?"

"It's kind of complicated."

"I'm not going anywhere."

"Well Sora met Layla in Boston a few days ago. I don't know why Layla wanted Sora to be there, but Ms. Hamilton is having surgery done that might help out her shoulder or something. I'm surprised you didn't already know this. I thought if anyone would know about the operation it must be you."

"Actually this is the first time I'm hearing about this." Yuri reached over and picked up his drink from the holder. He then took a much needed sip. The burning liquid was a welcomed companion to his already fatigued mind. "If Layla was having some kind of surgery done then why the heck did she not contact me about it first?"

"Everyone is in the dark about the surgery but since we all went on break, Sora had some spare time. I guess she really wanted to be there in person to support Layla."

"I guess you are right." responded Yuri in a detached manner. He was still mulling over this newest piece of information. Yuri admitted it hurt that Layla didn't consider him important enough to share this news with. He knew from experience that his former partner detested hospitals. The only reason she would volunteer to be under any kind of medical scrutiny, would have to be rooted with the possibility of returning to the stage.

"So do you have her number?" questioned the crew manager over the phone. Ken felt like he just tattled on someone and he wanted to end this conversation as soon as possible.

"Yes but first can I ask you why you wanted to contact Sora?"

"Nothing super important but I need to find the Kaleido tour disk and Sora was the last person I gave it to."

"Very well." answered Yuri. He too wanted to end this conversation quickly. There were some calls of his own he had to make.


Kaleido Stage

"Did you get Layla's number?" asked Manami as Ken got off of the phone.

The man nodded. "Yep, now all we have to do is use it."

"Cool. So what are we waiting for? Let's find that elusive disk." Manami was overflowing with giddiness. After the mishap to get Yuri's number, she was having a blast.


Thirty Minutes Ago

"So what are you waiting for?"

Ken shrugged. "Kalos isn't here so we have to find someone else who knows Layla's number."

"That's going to waste too much time." Manami crossed her arms started taping her feet. "There are only so many hours in a day you know."

"I'm aware of that." retorted the boy in frustration.

"I'm sure your boss has a rolodex with the number."

"He's our boss and like I said the door is locked."

The girl bent down and analyzed the lock. "Can't you pick a lock?"

Ken looked at the girl incredulously. "Why would you think I knew how to pick a lock?"

The girl stood back up and faced the boy. "I thought all you circus folk knew how to pick a lock."

"That's just a stereotype."

The oriental girl shrugged and leaned against the door. "Well do you or don't you?"

The blonde let out a sigh and reached out his hand out towards Manami face.

The girl's eyes widened. "What are you doing?"

"Shush." responded Ken as he finger glided through Manami's hair.

The brunette closed her eyes. "Who would have thought he was so bold."

Just as Manami thought Ken was going to make a move on her, he stood back with a smile on his face. "Got one."

The brunette's eyes snapped open. "Huh?"

Ken held out one of Manami's hair pins. "Sorry for that but I was looking for this."

"Oh." The Japanese girl suddenly felt very stupid. "What did you want with one of my pins?"

"This." Ken kneeled down and stuck the piece of metal in the lock. A few seconds later there was an audible click. The blonde turned the handle and the door opened. "Tadah!"

"I can't believe this!" said Manami in shock.

Ken had a smug look on his face. "I'm full of surprises, aren't I?" The shocked look on the girl's face doubled his current ego level.

"Yes you are Mr. Robins." said a man's voice from behind the blonde.

Ken's eyes widened in surprise. "Kalos is behind me, isn't he?"

Manami nodded dumbly. "That's the part I couldn't believe."

Ken slowly turned around and there was his boss with a scowl on his face. "Kalos I can explain…"

"Is the reason so important you felt you had to break into my office to get it."

"Well…you…I…" The blonde was at a loss for words.

"This is becoming a bad habit for you Mr. Robbins."



It turned out Kalos didn't have Layla's new number either. On the bright side, if the whole incident had one, was Kalos did have Yuri's Number. Ken figured if anyone had Layla's new number it had to be her former partner. All in all this was turning into quite the adventure. Manami was very happy she decided to find the blonde this afternoon. "This is fun don't you think. It's like we are detectives."

Ken groaned. "More like criminals. I can't believe I broke into my boss's office."

"That was smooth by the way."

"Which part?" retorted the boy. "The part where I picked the lock or maybe the part where my boss emasculated me?"

Manami laughed. "Both."

Ken didn't want to give the girl the satisfaction of admitting it, but he was actually having a blast. "Let's just find that disk."

"So you do know how to pick a lock."

"I wasn't exactly the best kid growing up."

Manami bumped into his shoulder playfully. "Somehow I don't think of you as the bad boy."

"Trust me, I can be bad when I want to." said the boy very unconvincingly.

Manami rolled her eyes. "Sure you can." The oriental girl pointed to the phone in his hand. "Time to make a call, Mr. Bad Ass."

Ken ignored her and programmed the number Yuri gave him into the cell phone. "If we get a hold of Sora do you want to tell her about your new job?"

Manami shook her head. "I want to surprise her in person. She probably couldn't see this kind of thing happening so the shock value will be worth it."

"Your choice." answered the blonde. He wanted to be there when Sora found out her friend was going to be staying in Cape Mary. He was just getting to know Manami and he could only imagine what it was like to grow up with her. "I don't know if Sora will be happy or freaked out."


Boston Regional Medical

"This is like rearranging a glued on jigsaw puzzle." thought Dr. Everett as she used her finger to draw lines over areas the robotic arm will cut.

The surgeon to the right of the operating table gave Miranda the thumbs up. "You are doing great doctor. This is going smoothing."

Dr. Everett smiled. "How…is…her…temperature…faring?"

"Gone up slightly but nothing to cause any alarm."


Sora was leaning back in her chair and fanning herself with a National Geographic magazine. She stopped what she was doing when she caught sight of the front cover. "Ooooh look Fool." She turned the magazine so the spirit could see.

Fool wasn't paying attention to the brunette but when he heard his name, he turned towards her. There in front of him was a large monster pigeon with beady red eyes. "Ahhhh!" screamed the little man as he fell off the armrest.

Sora busted out in ruckus laughter.

The spirit slowly floated back up and peered over the top of the chair. He could now see it was just a large picture of a pigeon sitting on the top of a statue. "Very funny, Oh ha ha ha. Lets all laugh at the spirit's expense."

Sora took the magazine and started fanning herself again. "Thank you I was."

Fool regained his earlier position on the chair and glared at his charge. "Why are you doing that?"

The girl looked at the little man like it was obvious. "It's hot in here."

"Hot?" Fool regarded Sora strangely. "It's around sixty degrees in here. Trust me it's anything but hot. This temperature is freezing my…"

"Fool!" said Sora in warning.

The spirit held up his hand with a stupid grin on his face. "Toes…it's freezing my toes off."

Sora sighed. "Must be me then."

"Now if there isn't anymore evil tricks you plan to play on me, I would like to resume my relaxation."

Sora ignored his complaining. She leaned over on the armrest and put her head in her left hand. "Can you sneak in the operation room and tell how things are going?"

"No!" he yelled quickly.

"No need to get all angry."

"Sorry I just can't stand the sight of blood." The spirit floated away from Sora and laid down on the girl's purse. He scooted around until he found a nice, comfortable spot.

"B..b..blood?" responded the brunette with wide eyes.

"Of course, it is surgery isn't it."

Sora looked away sadly. "It didn't cross my mind until now that they're actually going to be cutting into…" The brunette shook her head to clear it of the unwanted thoughts. The very idea of harming Layla was painful. "Just remain focused on the positive."

The room fell into quiet, that Fool was grateful for. He decided that this reprieve warranted a nap. Slowly the world began to drift away as he settled down into his comfortable, makeshift bed.

Beep Beep Beep……….Beep Beep Beep

Fool shot up and once gain fell down to the floor. "For the love of Fate what is that?"

"Calm down it's just the phone." Sora reached into her purse and pulled out Layla's cell. She remembered to put the thing in there when she left the blonde's hospital room. "Hello?" said the girl into the receiver.


The brunette face widened with a smile. "Oh hey Ken! What are you doing calling Layla's cell phone?"

"I'm surprised I got a hold of you. This is great." was the excited response from the other line.

"Did you want Layla for something?" The brunette wondered what this was all about.

"Actually I wanted to call you but you don't have a cell."

Sora laughed it off. "Sorry about that."

"You answered Layla's phone so is everything okay?"

"Yeah." the brunette looked over at the wall clock. "Layla has actually been in surgery for a few hours."

"Now! I didn't know it was so soon."

Sora nodded even though Ken couldn't see the gesture. "She had it scheduled before I came up here."

"I hope everything works out."

"It will." replied the girl firmly.

"Me too." There was a slight pause before the boy continued. "I can't tell you how amazing it's going to be to have Layla back at Kaleido."

The resident butterflies in Sora's stomach fluttered around. "It's like a dream come true."


"So, what is it you need Ken?" The oriental girl wondered why the boy needed to contact her all the way in Boston.

"Oh that. I was wondering what you did with the Kaleido tour disk?"

"That's what this is about?" Sora paused to consider where she last put it. Suddenly she remembered. "I let Mia borrow it last. She wanted to transfer some pictures from it to her website."

"Mia has it?" came the boy's response.

In the background Sora could hear another person's female voice. "This is so like an American crime drama. Let's get ready to track down the next lead."

The brunette pressed her ear closely in time to hear Ken's muffled voice. "Ssssssh. Keep it down."

"Ken who is that?" questioned Sora. She could have sworn she recognized that voice.

The boy on the other end had to do some quick thinking. "Err… It's Jonathan."

"Excuse me?"

On the other end that female voice resurfaced. "Isn't that the seal you goober?" said the woman who was quickly answered by Ken.

"What? I panic when I have to lie."

"Goober?" Sora's eyes widened in surprise. "Is that Manami?"

"Err…yeah." responded the resigned man. "You want to talk to her?"

"That was her, I knew it. But what's she doing there with Ken." Sora leaned back in the chair. "Of course. Put her on."

There was some rustling before Manami finally answered. "Konnichiwa."

"Hello there Manami. What are you doing there?"

"I came here to visit you. Why else would I be here."

"Your roommate told me you were in Cape Mary but I meant the hanging out with Ken." The brunette smiled into the cell phone. "And calling him goober. You only call boys you like that."

The girl on the other end eeeped in surprise. "Would you shut up!"

Sora had a good little laugh. "At least I'm glad your trip wasn't a total bust."

"It wasn't." came her friend's evasive response. "So this Mia has the disk?"

"You're helping Ken find the disk?"

"Yeah, so does she have it?"

"She was the last person I gave it to." answered the Kaleido star. "Don't you want to tell me how your trip has been so far?"

"We can catch up later but we really need to find that disk. It's kind of been like a scavenger hunt."

Sora was kind of hurt that Manami didn't want to small talk. The other girl sounded in a hurry so she decided to help out. "Tell Ken I'll call Mia and ask, then get back to him."

"Later then."

"Bye." Sora hung up the phone and then dialed Mia's number, however she stopped at the last digit. "Hey Fool?"

Since the beginning of the call, the spirit sat nearby and eased dropped on the entire conversation. "Yes?"

The brunette put the phone down and gave Fool her whole attention. Whatever she wanted to say made her a little uncomfortable. "I'm going to call Mia in a little bit but I need some advice."

"Oh?" responded the intrigued spirit. "What words of wisdom can this humble being give?"

Sora took a minute to think before she responded. "Do you think I should tell Mia about me and Layla?"

"What about you and Layla?" said the spirit with a smirk.

The brunette sighed. "The part about her being my girlfriend."


"On what?"

The spirit shrugged. "On how you want to deal with it."

"Arggg." groaned the girl. She reached up and moved some hair out of her eyes. "Evasive as always aren't you?"

Fool started floating around in an obnoxious flourish. "I am what I am."

"Be that way." Sora reached down and picked up the phone. "I'll wait to tell her face to face."

The spirit waved if off like it was trivial. "So be it."

The brunette sighed. "She and Anna are my best friends so I hope they can understand how I feel about Layla."

Before she dialed she had one last thought. "I just hope they don't freak out because I like a girl."


Mia's Family Home

"I love vacations." thought Mia as she buried herself deeper in the sheets. It was cold this time of year at her parent's house, what with it being so far north. Though at the present moment she couldn't be any warmer. A pair of slender arms encircled her waste and pulled her closer to a warmth that put industrial heaters to shame. "Oh how I love vacations."

"Are you asleep?" came the soft whisper by her ear.

Mia's voice was equally soft. "No."


Soon all talking became useless as the hand that rested on her stomach began gently stroking that soft flesh. "Again?" whispered Mia. Her voice portrayed just how wonderful she thought that idea was. The person answered her with playful nips along the length of her naked shoulder. Soon those soft lips were lavishing soft, teasing kisses over the slope of her neck. "This must be heaven." mused Mia as she pushed her back fully against the soft body of her lover. The hand on her stomach grew tired of the game and trailed downwards to seek its prize. Mia's eyes flew open as she moaned in anticipation. "Annaaaa!"

Beep Beep Beep…Beep Beep Beep.

Anna rolled over stared at the ceiling incredulously. "You've got to be kidding me."

"Huh?" The loss of contact left Mia in a state of confusion. It took a minute for the sound to register. "I swear by any god listening I'll make whoever is calling pay dearly for that."

The aspiring comic looked over at the woman she was laying next to it. "Aren't you going to answer that Mia?"

The ginger haired woman blew an errant strand out of her face. "No!"

"It could be important."

"I'm on vacation." responded the frustrated girl.

Mia wasn't the only pent up one. "Look. The quicker you answer that the sooner we can get back to enjoying our vacation."

"Fine." responded the shorter girl as she got out of bed. As bare as the day she was born, the ginger haired woman walked over to the window table where her cell was at. Anna watched every second of it, not only because it was a beautiful sight to behold, but it was also entertaining to see Mia hop back and forth on the cold floor. "It's f…f…f…freezing." The girl didn't waste any time snatching up the phone. Mia hit the receive button as she ran back to bed and dived under the covers. "Hello!"

"Bout time you picked up Mia." came Sora's cheerful voice on the other end.

"Hiya Sora." The writer tried to sound cheerful but her friend just ruined the beginning of an exciting evening.

"Is something wrong?"

"N…no. Nothing at all. Just here at my parents house enjoying my vacation. Is there something I can do for you?" While Mia was talking to Sora, Anna thought it was be funny if she made goofy faces to see if she could get the other girl to crack up.

"Actually I called to see if you knew where the Kaleido tour disk is?"

Before Mia responded she had to deal with her goofball of a lover. The other girl was making it hard for her to keep a straight face so it was time to dish out a little revenge.

Anna was in the middle of her monkey pose when the ginger haired demon ran her cold feet up her thigh. "Eeeek!" squeaked the taller woman as she slid away from the frozen appendage. Unfortunately the bed was only made for one person and she ended up falling, butt first, on the cold floor.

Mia saw what happened and quickly covered up the phone just in time to conceal Anna's undignified scream. A minute later the disgruntled comic moved back into bed and turned her back to Mia. Quickly the aspiring writer turned over the cell phone. "I gave the disk to Rosetta so she's the one you need to get a hold of. I'm really sorry but something has just come up so I have to go."

"Okay thanks. Bye."

Mia hung up the phone and let out an ear splitting bale of laughter. It became so uncontrollably loud that the ginger haired woman moved her face into the pillow to cut off its torrent. When the moment ended, Mia slowly turned to her lover expecting the other woman to be upset over the whole episode. At least that was what she thought, but after all this time she should have known better.

As soon as she resurfaced, Anna had her on her back and pinned to the bed. "An?" whispered Mia in surprise.

The taller girl looked down at Mia with undisguised lust. "Did you really think it was that funny?"

"If you must know." answered Mia as she smiled lovingly at Anna. She reached up and cupped the other woman's beautiful face. "I thought it was hilarious."

To the lavender haired comic, that was the greatest compliment in all the world. "Oh god how I love you Mi."

"I love you too An…mmmhh." The shorter woman's declaration was cut off the moment Anna claimed her lips. Sora's interruption was soon forgotten as their flames of passion ignited with a vengeance. Both girls surrendered to that fire with a single fleeting thought. "I love vacations."


Kaleido Stage

"So what she say?"

Ken pushed the disconnect button and turned to Manami. "Sora said that Mia gave it to Rosetta."

"Is she the short one?"

The boy nodded. "She prefers petite."

The brunette scoffed. "Semantics."

"Well I guess we need to head over to Rosetta's and see if she's in."

"Lead on slave." said Manami jokingly as she got off of Ken's desk and headed for the door. "To the next lead."

The blonde let out a sigh. Try as he did but he couldn't hold the scold on his face. The need to smile was too powerful so he finally gave in. "Right away master." responded the boy as he did his best impression of a hunchback.

"What's that supposed to be?"

Ken looked at her. "It's Igor from Frankenstein."

"What's that?"

"Huh?" The boy blinked a couple of times. "You've got to be kidding. Frankenstein is a famous book and movie."

Manami shrugged. "Never seen it." She turned and headed out the door.

"Haven't you ever heard of the book?" called out Ken as he headed out of his office.

"No." came the faint voice from the hallway.


Boston Regional Medical

"Nurse." called out Miranda. The temperature in the room was very cool but the pressure of the operation caused beads of sweat to fall from the surgeons brow into her eyes.

The same nurse from earlier took her cue and used a gauze to wipe away the chief surgeon's sweat.

"Thanks." responded the doctor. She let out a deep sigh as she confirmed her work on Layla's shoulder. "Dr. Braham, could you take a look at this before we administer the regeneration."

The surgeon, who's specialty was bone works, looked at the screen with scrutiny. After going over it meticulously, he nodded. "Looks good. If this works just like the test show, then the shoulder will set perfectly."

"Okay." Dr. Everett stepped back and looked at every single doctor before continuing. "Trish?"

The surgeon to the left of the table looked over. "Yes Doctor?"

"How's her temperature?"

"Higher than last time. She's border zone fever."

Miranda nodded. Not exactly according to plan but it wasn't dangerous. "Pulse and respiratory?"

"Higher than normal."

"Guess that's to be expected." Dr. Everett stepped back to the station. "Let's make her as good as new."

"We can rebuild her, make her stronger…"

Miranda rolled her eyes. "Cut it out Braham. This is no time for jokes."

The doctor smiled and retook his position near the table.

"Hey." whispered Trish to get his attention. "I thought it was funny."


Somewhere on the Interstate Outside of Cape Mary

"I'm going to die. I'm going to die." thought Rosetta as she once again buried her face in her hands. It had been a familiar mantra ever since she and May left Kaleido Stage via the automobile. It sounded like a fun trip at first but it quickly turned into a nightmare when Rosetta found out that the other woman couldn't drive.

"Oh lighten up you baby. That car didn't even come close." May had her hands on the wheel and her foot on the petal. All the way down on the petal. "Driving is much more enjoyable than I realized. "

The redhead moved her hands out of her face and stared at the Chinese girl. "Haven't you ever driven before?"

"Nope. This if the first time." responded May with an overly pleased grin on her face. "I'm a natural, aren't I?" At that moment, May changed lanes and almost side swiped a minivan. The girl growled and stuck half her body out the window and shook her fist at the car. "You stupid mother…"

"Ahhhhhhhhh!" Rosetta's scream echoed through the car. Having no one in control of the steering forced the redhead to grab the wheel to keep the car in the lane. "For the love of God watch the road."

May pulled herself back in the car and grabbed the wheel. "The nerve of some people."

The shaking Rosetta looked over at the dark haired girl and gave her a look of pure contempt.

"Huh?" May wondered why the other girl looked so out of it. "What's wrong with you?" May's eyes widened. "You are not getting car sick are you, because you better not hurl on me."

The redhead choked off a sob and stared at the car ceiling. "Why did I ever let her talk me into this." The other girl thought it would be fun if they drove to her parents house instead of flying. Even to start out with Rosetta thought it was best to fly, but May somehow convinced her to take a car. She said it was the first time she got to have a road trip with a friend. When the girl put it that way she had no choice but to accept. Had Rosetta known that May was the worst driver in the universe, she would have suggested taking a bus.

"Let's sing a song." announced May cheerfully.

Rosetta crossed her arms. "I'm not in the mood."

"We are singing a song and that's final."

"Fine." conceded the redhead. "You choose a song first."

"Cool. I know a good one." May cleared her throat. "Wô xin zhong zhî yôu nî."

"I don't know Chinese!"

"It's about time you learned don't you think." The Asian girl grunted. "We'll come back to me then. Now it's your turn."

"Two can play at that game." Rosetta sat up straight. "À cause de toi Je ne vague jamais plus loin que le trottoir."

May growled. "I can't speak French!"

The redhead looked smug. "Bout time you learned isn't it."

"If you're going to act like that then no one is singing."

Rosetta turned to looked out the window. "I didn't want to hear you sing in the first place." mumbled the girl.

May turned her head and glared. "What did you say?"

The petite girl saw that May was once again not paying attention to the highway. "Ahhhhhhhhhh! Eyes on the road! Eyes on the road!"

"Huh?" The Chinese girl followed Rosetta's line of sight just in time to see an exit ramp divider coming right for them. Quickly she jerked the wheel back on the road. "Who in the hell would put something like that there."

"Maybe the State?" The redhead responded sarcastically. She tried to control her breathing while her heart begged for mercy. "Chinese people can't drive."

"Excuse me! At least I can reach the dam petal."

Both girls growled and gnashed their teeth at one another. Luckily an explosion was diverted by the sound of Rosetta's cell phone.

Beep Beep Beep Beep…Beep Beep Beep Beep

Rosetta picked it up and checked the number before answering.

"Who is it?" asked May calmly.

The redhead responded just as normally. "Ken I think." It was almost like they weren't even fighting just a second ago. "Hello?"

"Hi Rosetta it's me Ken."

"Is something wrong? This is like one of two times you ever called me since I gave you my number."

"I was looking for you earlier but when we went to your apartment no one was there. We asked Sarah about it but she said you and May borrowed her car for some road trip."

"More like a test of courage." Rosetta looked over at the May. The girl kept giving her glances that told her she was curious as to what they were talking about. "We're heading to May's parents house for the rest of the vacation. Is there something you needed me for?

"Yeah, I've been trying to track down the Kaleido tour disk. You wouldn't happen to know where you put it last?"

"Of course." Rosetta answered cheerfully. "I put it back in your desk where Mia told me to put it when I was done."

"My…desk." came the slow response from the other line.

"Yeah, I accidentally broke the original case so I put it in a generic one. I labeled it Kaleido tour disk, you can't miss it." There was no answer from the other end and the redhead wondered if Ken hung up. "You still there?"

"Hmm…oh yeah, but I got to go. Good luck on your trip." with that said the boy suddenly disconnected.

"I need all the luck I can get." thought Rosetta as she put the phone away.

May tapped the smaller girl on the shoulder. "What was that about?"

"Ken was looking for a disk. I just finished telling him where it was at."

"That's was all?"


May shrugged. "Where were we?" Before Rosetta could answer, the Chinese girl took her eyes off the road and started ruffling through the central compartment. "There's got to be some good music here somewhere."

"Eyes on the road! Eyes on the road!" screamed the petite girl.

May's eyes looked up at the hysterical passenger. "Huh?"


Kaleido Stage

Ken was once again going through his desk while Manami sat on top to watch him do it. "I thought you already looked here?"

"I did but Rosetta said this is where she put it."

"She must have been mistaken." mused the Japanese girl. "It would be lame if we spent most of the day searching for something that was in the fist place we looked."

"Crap!" swore the blonde.

Manami turned to the boy. "What is it?"

Ken stood up and held out a plain disk case. In pink ink, the words Kaleido tour disk was finely printed over the label. "Found it."

Manami stared at the disk in surprise. "You've got to be kidding me! Didn't you already go through the desk?"

"Yeah but I thought it was in another kind of case, plus Rosetta's print was so tiny I couldn't really read it well."

"Why not?" The text was hard to miss for her.

Ken scratched the back of his head while he reached in his pocket and pulled out a pair of reading glasses. "I wasn't wearing these when I searched the first time.

Manami glared at the embarrassed boy. "Baka!"

"Guess we need to find Leon."

"Don't bother." Both occupants of the office turned to the voice at the doorway. There in a fancy suit was Leon Oswald. "I swung by to see if you found the disk. Good timing it seems."

"Umm…here it is." said Ken as she held out the disk. The platinum haired man snatched it and without saying a word, headed for the door. "Leon?"

The man stopped and turned to Ken. "Yes?"

"Why did you need that disk anyway?"

"Nothing special. My old partner Emma was interested in Kaleido Stage so Kalos wanted to use the disk to entice her." Now that he answered Ken's curiosity, the man quietly left.

The blonde and Manami let out pitiful sighs. "All the hassle for that." groaned the oriental. "It couldn't have been something vital to save the stage from ruin or something equally important as that."

Ken sat down on the desk next to the woman. "I can't speak for you but the day wasn't a total loss. I had a lot of fun."

Manami smiled at the boy. "Actually I had a lot of fun too. I could have done without the trapeze but all in all it was a good day."

The blonde nodded and looked down at his desk of unfinished forms. It looked like he was going to pull another all nighter again. "Yeah but fun time is over. I have work to do." Ken slid off the desk and settled into his chair. "Sorry about not helping you move today but I promise I'll take care of it tomorrow."

"I'm good at the hotel for awhile." Manami stared down at the man who went directly to work on the forms. "Need any help?"

Ken stopped his work. "Nah. this is my job and it's probably going to take awhile."

"Yeah but I can help you get it done faster. After that you can give me a ride to the hotel."


"My first job was a temp secretary, so believe me when I tell you those forms don't stand a chance. But look at it this way goober." Manami leaned over so she could look at the guy directly in the eye. "You'll get all your work done in half the time, and when you're finished, you can take a hot girl home on the back of your scooter. It's really a win win situation."

Ken didn't know how to respond to that so he shook his head and laughed. "If you put it that way it's hard to say no."

"That's why it feels so much better to say yes."

The blonde smiled. "Then yes it is. Pull up a chair and let's get started."

"Good boy." said Manami as she hopped off the desk and dragged a chair over. "Just show me what needs to be done and prepare to be awed."

Ken cleared his throat so he could attempt his best Bogart impersonation. "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Manami sat down in her chair and gave the boy a confused look. "Who the hell is Louis?"

The blonde sighed. "It's from Casablanca."

"The place?"

"No the movie. You definitely need to see some classics."

The Japanese girl smiled. "Okay but I get to bring the popcorn."


Boston Regional Medical

The three other surgeons not already familiar with the treatment watched in awe. It was like seeing a flower grow at hyper speeds. The eerie blue light from the device glided over skin, bone, and tissue. Wherever it passed, the treatment already in Layla's system reacted and the tissue grew back flawlessly. The only snag was the nutrition supplements, needed for the body to reform the tissue, had to be intravenously fed at a snails pace. But it was better than the months it would have taken otherwise. Plus the tissue was being put on layer by layer with no visible scar tissue. Between watching that unfold and catching glimpses at Dr. Everett, the surgical team was awestruck. A common thought running in their minds was that the woman created something revolutionary.

Miranda would have smugly agreed with their assessments but something was wrong. "Why is her temperature and pulse so high?" The whole thing should have been done with little or no taxation to Layla's main life support systems, but her circulatory and respiratory functions are being heavily strained. If the other doctors weren't so engrossed in watching the regeneration process unfold, they too would have caught on that there was a problem somewhere.

Dr. Everett had no choice but to let things take their course. It didn't stop her from sending out a small prayer. "Please let everything go smoothly."

The doctor wasn't the only one sending out a prayer. Unseen by all the occupants of the room, was a silver haired spirit that watched over the unconscious woman like a sentinel. "I never ask for much Fate but don't screw this up."


Sora was staring off into space when Fool returned with a cup full of coffee. The man floated over and put the cup down on the nearby table. "Sora?"

The girl snapped out of her blank gaze and turned to Fool. "Arigato." said the girl as she reached out and took the cup. She took a sip and set it back on the table. "I appreciate you getting that for me."

The spirit shrugged. "I didn't mind but I think I killed an old lady when she saw a magic cup floating by."

"Are you serious?" asked Sora with alarm. She hoped getting her some coffee didn't end up costing someone their life.

"No." responded the spirit with a snicker. "The lady was so spaced out on meds, my floating cup was probably one of many she saw today."

The girl sighed in relief. "Good."

The spirit looked over at Sora in concern. The girl looked like she was coming down with a fever. Beads of sweat appeared on her forehead and she seemed to be breathing harder for someone as fit as she was.

"Are you okay?"

The brunette waved off any concern. "I'm just a little overly nervous so don't mind me."

"If you say so." Fool was depressed just watching around Sora. Normally the girl was so energetic but now she didn't show a fraction of the spunkiness she was famous for. "Cheer up Sora. If you want I can read your fortune."

The girl was once again staring off into space, but in a strange voice she replied. "Sometimes knowing your future will tempt Fate's ire."

Fool's eyes widened in alarm. "That was…incredibly insightful Sora. I once heard the same thing from a priestess of Artemis nearly two millennia ago."

Sora shook her head and turned to Fool. "Did you say something?"

"I told you what you said was incredibly insightful."

The brunette looked confused. "What I said? When did I say something?"

"I guess Sora is so nervous she's spacing out." Fool held up his hands. "Never mind."

"Okay." responded Sora slowly. "Fool is acting weirder than usual."

They both sat there and listened to the drum of the air-conditioner.

"Hey Fool can I ask you a question?"

"That's what I'm here for."

Sora had her legs drawn up closely to her chest but she let them go back to the floor before she continued. "Why do you wear that mask? I'm only asking because I know you can take it off."

Fool's one eye looked over at the brunette sadly. "If I told you I'd be breaking the rules."

"Since when do rules stop you?" retorted the oriental girl.

He sat there for a minute without answering. The spirit came to a decision and sighed. "Then I'll tell you." The spirit looked around to see if Passion was around. He doubted the silver haired woman would rat him out but caution was always the best policy. Seeing it was just the two of them, Fool continued. "I wear this mask as punishment."

This was one of the things that always nagged at Sora's curiosity. "For what?"

"A long time ago I fell in love with a woman who was meant to be with another. I tried to intervene by challenging Fate's will. By doing that I destroyed the girl's destiny and she paid for it with her life."

Sora didn't know how to respond. She thought of a hundred responses to her inquiry but she didn't see that one coming. "Y…y…you got your charge killed?"

The spirit turned away from Sora to avoid her piercing gaze. "The woman wasn't my charge."

"Then whose was it?" questioned Sora quietly.

Fool reached up and touched the mask he wore. "I…I…I don't remember. All I know is why I wear my mask but not how it happened. This thing can never leave my possession and it's probably the reason I can't remember."

"Poor Fool." She could almost see the pain coming off of the little man as he talked about this. "So why not wear the mask around your belt or something."

"It's a penance of my mistakes so it must be worn at all times."

Sora wanted to know more of what happened. "So, is that all you remember?"

"I also remember Passion was involved and she too was punished for what transpired." Fool wanted to say those things out loud but he thought it was best to conceal the other spirits identity. "Yes."

"I'm sorry that had to happen Fool, but thanks for telling me that much."

Fool shrugged off the unpleasant thoughts. "If you want to make me feel better, how about giving me a nice warm hug."

"Arggg." groaned Sora. "At least he's still the Fool I know."

The man smiled when he got the intended response. "My turn to ask you a question."

"Me?" The brunette shrugged. "Sure go ahead."

"You're acting rather strange. Normally I would say you're just nervous but it's something more than that isn't it?"

Sora was about to blow him off but she decided to voice what's been on her mind. "It's… this feeling I've had since the surgery started."

"Are you coming down with something?" asked a concerned spirit.

Sora shook her head. "I don't think so." Realizing she did feel pretty bad. "At least I hope not."

"Then what?"

The brunette once again pulled her legs to her chest. "I can't seem to shake this feeling something bad is going to happen."

The spirit nodded in understanding. "Only I can read the future Sora. Whatever that feeling is, it's probably a figment of your imagination."

"I hope so Fool." said the girl quietly. "I do hope so." She refrained from telling Fool that she also had an aching pain in her shoulder for the last few hours. "My mind must be doing all of this." thought Sora as she tried hard to convince herself that's all it was.


"Doctor the patient seems to be having trouble breathing and the heart rate has sky rocketed!"

Dr. Everett didn't have to be told that. She could see it all clearly. "Her temperature is also a hundred and three degrees and still going up."

Dr. Braham looked at Miranda with concern. "The test didn't show any kind of reaction like this."

Miranda sighed nervously. "I know that. After all I was the first test subject." Dr. Everett walked over and stared down at Layla's face. The girl's face was covered in a sheen of sweat and she was having trouble breathing. "This can't be caused by the treatment. There were twelve hours to see if her system rejected the medication but all signs showed everything was a hundred percent."

"Could it have been the volume of medication?"

Miranda shook her head. "We used less than the test. Besides, if the patient rejected the treatment it would show in the regeneration process, but everything on that front seems to be going as planned."

True enough the tissue under the Electrolyte scanner was regenerating at a remarkable pace. Trish looked at the patient's vital signs with concern. "Should we stop this Dr. Everett?"

"We can't." said Miranda firmly. "It would be dangerous if the tissue isn't reformed to cover up the parts the laser removed. If we stop now Layla could be horribly scarred or worse."

The forth surgeon who monitored all the vital readings, since the beginning, agreed with Dr. Everett. "Miranda is right about this not being related to the treatment. Her signs only deteriorated when we administered the assisting drugs, post epidermal removal."

Dr. Everett eyes widened. "These are all signs of an allergic reaction."

Braham turned to Dr. Everett. "There were only two drugs administered that weren't done in pre-op."

Miranda nodded in agreement. "The antibiotics and the blood thinners." The doctor looked at the patient. "It couldn't have been the antibiotics because she's been treated several times with those."

"It must have been the anti-coagulants then." suggested Trish.

Most of the surgeons realized that had to be the case. It was a very unwelcome conclusion for each them. A wave of dread washed over the medical team. People allergic to anti-coagulants were in critical danger after taking tiny aspirins. For the surgery Layla was given ten times that amount. "Dam it." Miranda swore. "She told me she wasn't allergic to aspirin. Probably because she never used them before."

Braham stepped forward. "Dr. Everett. I recommend we abort the treatment and do an emergency blood transfusion."

Miranda gritted her teeth. "We can't do that! If we do a blood transfusion it's going to remove the treatment as well, and that's the only thing stabilizing her system. We remove that and it's going to be fatal."

The man looked the doctor directly in the eye. "If we don't her vital systems are going to shutdown anyway."

The man at the console called out his reading. "Temperature at a hundred and four and rising. Now or never doctor. It's your choice."

"What kind of choice is that? Either way she might die."


"Sora what's wrong?" Fool was dreadfully worried.

Sora was breathing extremely hard and she was sweating profusely. "I…don't…know."

The spirit floated over and felt the girls head. "You're burning up Sora. We're in a hospital so why don't you go see a doctor."

The brunette shook head and leaned deeper in the chair. "Ahh!" cried the girl in pain as she grasped her right shoulder.

Fool stared at her wide eyed. "What wrong with you. Something here isn't normal."

"I'll be fine Fool." responded the girl with gritted teeth.

"Like hell you are." the spirit was ready to find help. He didn't know how but he'd find a way.

Sora was panting heavily. She saw that Fool was ready to bolt so she reached out and grabbed him. "Don't…go…anywhere…Fool."

The spirit struggled in her grasp. "You need help Sora."

"I'm not the one who needs help Fool. I can't explain it but whatever I'm feeling, I know Layla is feeling it five times as worse."

"What are you talking about?"

Sora took a deep breath but it caused her to wince. The pain was getting worse and she felt like she was on fire. "Whenever I'm distracted and not thinking about Layla the pain goes away but when I remain calm it's almost like I can feel her. That's why I know something is wrong with Layla. It's a feeling in the pit of my stomach."

Fool looked desperate. It was one of the oldest rules that a spirit was never to get attached to a mortal. That cost him dearly in the past but it seemed like he repeated a past mistakes because he cared for Sora's well being. The last thing he wanted was the girl to be put into danger. "Try not to think about her then. Whatever is happening the situation is obviously getting worse."

"I can't ahhhhh!" screamed the brunette in pain. Tears fell from her eyes.

Watching his charge in that much pain was agonizing. He started a new round of struggles to set himself free. If he could only move his arms, he could use his power to free himself. His best efforts grew futile because the girl had a vise like grip that only got worse with each spasm of pain. "Dam it let me go."

"No!" Tears fell freely from her eyes now. "Layla is fighting so hard right now, I can feel it. I just need to be here for her. I need to help her fight too."

"Not if it means hurting yourself now let me go get help."

"I won't let g…" whatever Sora wanted to say ended when her eyes rolled back and she fainted in the chair.

Finally free of the brunette's grip, the spirit of the stage floated towards the unconscious girl. "Sora?…Sora?" the little man sighed. "That's it. I'm getting help." The man turned around to leave but stopped dead in his tracks when he came face to face with Passion.

The silver haired spirit's eyes were deep and sorrowful. "If you disturb Sora…Layla will die."

Te be Continued