Chapter I : Meetings & Greetings

Well this girl came up to me - she says she's new in town

But the crew been said they seen her around

I thought they were right but I didn't wanna know

-She's Crafty by Beastie Boys

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It had been three months since she had talked to Graydon, and he had been good to his word. She had gotten what she needed. And ta think, that was tha easy part, she thought wryly. She checked her gloves another time, pulling them tighter to her wrists as she walked down the crowded street in Chicago. She had been in the city for barely a day and she was already leaving. It was a fairly nice city though, windy despite the heat. She hailed a cab and instructed the cabbie to take her to O'Hare.

Anna walked into the airport after paying her driver and went to get her ticket at the counter. Tugging on a solid auburn lock she looked like all the other impatient flyers. She slipped easily through security and waited at her gate sitting with her back to the people passing by, surveying the scene below the window through her sunglasses. She looked down at her watch. Only a five more minutes. She silently waited in the line to board the plane while handing her ticket to the blonde flight attendant. She looked at to find her name was Jenny. She'll do, she thought. She walked down the aisle and made her way towards the bathroom. She looked in the mirror as she recalled one of her psychic templates. Slowly her ginger hair turned straw colored. Her emerald eyes became sapphire, her face shrank giving her a smaller nose and thinner lips. Satisfied with her outward appearance she concentrated on a flight attendants dark blue ensemble including the little hat perched atop her head. She pulled on some white kid gloves and let out a brief sigh. The outfit showed more skin than she would like, but she would have to deal with it.

She exited the bathroom and started the long journey of walking down the aisle to leave the plane. She walked off the plane and straight past Jenny, who was oblivious to the woman that looked like her twin. Her heels clicked on the tile floor as she walked away from the gate towards her destination. Arriving there she was pleased to see the plane had just started boarding. She walked past the flight attendant taking tickets and smiled a greeting while walking on to the plane. She walked down the middle of the plane and headed to the bathroom. She concentrated again on the template and her body slowly shifted. She became shorted slightly, her eyes turned their natural green, and her hair turned its natural auburn with two streaks of white framing her face. She smiled slightly at seeing her hair, it always went back to its natural state no matter how hard she tried to dye it one solid color.

Walking from the bathroom she adjusted her now leather gloves, feeling more comfortable in her own clothes that covered all of her skin. She stopped towards the middle of the plane and chose a window seat, deciding a view would be nice for once. Her mind started to wander as she looked out the window. She had done everything like she planned, she should be untraceable. They shouldn't, couldn't find her again. She didn't care what happened to her as long as she didn't go back. At least she knew Graydon wouldn't betray her, they had too much in common for him to ever do that.

"Is this seat, like, saved?" A brunette girl asked with an obvious Chicago accent.

"Nah it's free," She responded being jerked out of her musings.

The girl sat down letting out a sigh of relief. "Thank god. People are such hogs on planes," She muttered. "Oh, I'm Kitty by the way. Kitty Pryde," She extended her hand in greeting.

"Nice ta meet ya. Ah'm Anna Raven," Anna answered offering her own hand. She had already found out one thing about this girl, she was perky.

"So do you, like, live in Chicago or this just a connecter flight for you?" Kitty asked.

"Connecter flight. How could ya tell?" Anna said conversationally.

"You totally have a Southern accent."

Anna laughed. "Ya got a Windy City drawl yaself," Kitty laughed in turn.

"So, like, if you don't mind my asking what are you doing going to New York? I mean its kind far from anywhere near the south," The valley girl's curiosity was endless.

"Ah needed a change of pace. A fresh start kind of thang," The Southerner explained. "What 'bout ya?"

"I go to school in New York. But I was visiting my family for a little bit. They aren't, like, quite happy with me being there and all. They think it's too dangerous for me in New York, which is stupid, 'cause Chicago isn't exactly clean. I think they secretly just don't like New York, keep calling them Yankees and everything. But then I pointed out that me going to school has nothing to do with baseball, they just went back to the fact that they don't think its safe. And I mean they're pulling the whole protective parent thing on me, and—" Kitty said taking a breath and then flushed sheepishly, "Sorry. I, like, go off on bunny trails some times."

Anna couldn't help but chuckle. "It's ok sugah, we all do once in awhile."

Kitty grinned. "I'm so glad I got to sit by someone nice for a change. I always tend to get seated next to the people who fall asleep on top of you or, like, are silent as a bone."

"Well there's no promises from meh that Ah'm not gunna fall asleep on ya."

Kitty laughed and looked back at Anna. "You do seem, like, dead tired. Not getting much sleep?"

"Ah've been doin' a far amount of travelin'. Ah suppose Ah haven't rested a bunch," Anna admitted sheepishly.

"Make sure you take care of yourself in New York. Cause something could totally happen to you when you're too tired to notice stuff around you," Kitty cautioned in a motherly tone.

"Is the Kitty-cat worried over me?" Anna teased.

"NO! Well, yeah. But its just, like, you seem really nice and it'd be a shame for something to happen to you, your first time in the city."

"Ah'll have to keep that in mind," Anna replied. She conveniently left out saying she'd been to New York a few times previously. Not for pleasure, but business. It was always business.

They sat in a comfortable silence for a few minutes before Kitty literally looked like she was gong to burst. Anna couldn't help but let an amused smile from her face. She thought about asking what it was but decided to wait out the Chicago native, figuring she couldn't hold back much longer. She was right of course.

"Ok, I can't, like, take it anymore! I have to ask. Is your hair natural? Or did you like dye it that way? Because that has to be the best dying job I have ever seen if it is!" Kitty blurted out.

Anna couldn't help herself and threw back her head and laughed. Kitty had a confused and slightly hurt look on her face. Anna took a few calming breaths before looking straight at Kitty. "It's not that. It's just yah face—yah looked like yah were fighting with yaself on whether ta ask tha question or not. Ah assumed it woulda been something more important than 'bout mah hair."

Kitty caught on and looked embarrassed before letting out a giggle. "Sorry, I just wanted to ask. And then I wasn't sure if it would, like, offend you or not. I figured you might get asked about it a lot."

"In regards to mah hair, it is natural as it keeps reminding meh every time Ah try ta dye it."

Both women laughed at the statement. Their conversations varied from there, with Anna having to lie a few times at some of the more personal questions Kitty asked. They spent most of the hours on the flight talking and when they walked off of the plane they had one another's number's safely programmed in their respective phones.