Well, again many a thanks go to Unleash The shadow for editing this oddly long Epilogue...
Well everyone! It's been a fun time, but I'm afraid... this is the last chapter of A Phoenix Among Hawks- the Epilogue. Its basically just Aerrow's thoughts, but umm ya... why don't you all just read for yourselves, that would work instead of me telling you what its all about!!
I don't own the Storm Hawks, they are the property of Nerd Corps. (When have they ever been anyone else's property? And HOW many times have I told you all this??)
Well... here it is! The Epilogue!!
The Phoenix Star
It's been about a week now since Piper and the guys rescued me from the Cyclonian palace.
This week sure has been pretty uneventful compared to the last one and our adventures that started with our recon mission to Amazonia.
I guess I should have listened to Piper's request not to go to Amazonia in the first place, but if the events of the past couple of weeks or so hadn't happened… I'd still be in the dark about Piper's abilities.
I mean, even before our recent encounters with the Cyclonians and the discoveries surrounding Piper's abilities I knew that Piper was special, I'll admit that, but now… now she's even more so.
Never would I have once guessed that Piper was a shapeshifter, heck, I hadn't even believed people with such abilities existed until I met Ayrgyn a couple of years ago.
He's only a shapechanger though; not a shapeshifter like Piper is. I wouldn't have known the difference between the two either if it hadn't been for the experiences I've been through these last couple of weeks.
I was still a little shocked about Piper's abilities, but it all seemed to sink in for the most part after we discovered that cavern in Amazonia just before I was knocked out and dragged off by Talons. I still don't know how that happened.
The fact that a Talon had gotten the better of me in a battle really ticked me off, but not as much as when I was in the Cyclonian dungeons and a Talon had gotten the better of me there as well.
The strange thing though was that that specific Talon had attacked the back of my knees and usually the only person who is smart enough to do that is Piper.
At the time I had tried to think nothing of it, but I was suspicious, to say the least, when on the way to the throne room I realized that the Talon who had managed to subdue me was really a woman. Now that piqued my interest.
When we finally reached the throne room, I tried not to give up hope. The Talon had brought my weapons after all, so what was stopping me from taking them? How about the way the Talon was holding onto me, trying to restrain me from escaping? She was firm and had an iron grip, but there was still somehow something kind and gentle about her touch.
I tried to tell myself that I was crazy; surely anyone who was worthy enough to be considered for the role of the Dark Ace's 'apprentice' would of course show no mercy.
So maybe you could fathom how surprised I was when this Talon helped me up from the floor and refused to be the Dark Ace's apprentice.
I would have laughed at the scene if I wasn't so surprised at the Talon's actions, especially when she gave me back my energy blades.
Astonishment collided and stuck to my face when she took off the usual Talon headpiece and goggles to reveal thick black locks of hair and piercing golden eyes like the rising sun.
I'm sure that my mouth must have hung off of its hinges in complete and utter shock of gigantic proportions. The Talon was really... Piper...? Well at least I thought it was… It looked like the same sort of disguise she had been using earlier that day when we were on Amazonia, but now... now it didn't look like it was a disguise being produced by a chroma crystal. It had to be something more complex.
The really big clue that helped me figure out it was Piper was when for a mere split second, I saw a flash of light blue dart across her eyes, a sure sign of the Amp Stone's presence and that it was probably hidden underneath the collar of her Cyclonian garb.
What confirmed all of my observations though was when she shifted into an Amazonian Black Panther. Up until that moment, I didn't even know she could shift into that animal… they were legendary for a reason, no one has seen one in years….
I guess she is a native to Amazonia; it would make sense if she had seen one before.
It was now a week after the events that happened in the throne room on Cyclonia, yet I can't seem to get something out of my head; why did Cyclonis seem so scared when she saw what her 'Talon' looked like when they took of their goggles and headpiece? I didn't know what had gotten her so spooked, and I also didn't know what score Piper had to settle with Cyclonis either, but I doubt that I'll find out anytime soon.
Piper's been really quiet ever since we got back from Cyclonia, and I'm not exactly sure why...
After escaping from Cyclonia on our skimmers, we landed on the Condor a few minutes later, and once we did, Stork had pushed the engines a little harder to get out of Cyclonian territory. The Condor was still invisible, but you could tell from Stork's eye's uncontrollable twitching, the invisi crystal modified shielding might not last for much longer.
"Well, its good having you back pal!" Finn said as he slapped me on the back with a smile on his face.
"You're safe Aerrow!" Junko cried as his arms enveloped me in one of his famous bone crushing hugs.
"I can't – breathe!" I gasped before Junko released me from his grip.
"Sorry!" Junko mumbled as he stared at his feet.
Putting a hand on my friend's large shoulder I said, no problem Junko! I'm fine, really!" I assured him as I began to grin.
Junko nodded in response and smiled as well. It seemed like everyone was smiling, even the corners of Stork's mouth were turned skyward, but Piper – I don't know, she seemed out of it for some reason.
"So," Finn said as he turned towards where Piper was leaning against the window. "Why haven't you turned off your advanced chroma crystal yet?"
Advanced chroma crystal? What is Finn talking about?
"I, uh – that is..." Piper said avoiding Finn's gaze.
As Piper fumbled about for an answer I quickly stepped in and said, "Piper can you come with me to the lab, I think my shoes need some help…"
I pointed to my brown hair with reddening tips before Piper replied quickly, "Sure."
As I followed Piper off of the bridge and towards the lab, I grabbed onto Piper's wrist once we had turned around a corner.
Turning to stare at me quizzically Piper asked, "What are you doing, is something wrong?"
Letting go of her wrist I said, "No, nothing's wrong with me, is anything wrong with you?"
Piper looking down at her toes gave me answer enough, but I still wanted her to confirm it. "Piper?" I asked with concern in my voice, concern that I hoped she heard. Maybe if she knew I cared, she would be willing to open up and tell me what was bothering her.
Looking up at me she changed the subject asking, "You said you needed help with your shoes…?"
I couldn't help but stare at her blankly until my mind finally kicked in. "Oh, OH!" I scratched the back of my head while I stared at my feet before saying, "It was sort of just an excuse to get you out of there - " I cut myself short, as when I looked up, Piper wasn't there anymore.
I did a double take before I ran off down the hall towards her room.
Once I rounded the last corner, I saw that Piper's bedroom door was open, but Piper was just standing there, leaning up against the doorframe, her arm resting on it, and her head leaning on her arm.
"Piper?" I asked with worry laced into my voice, as from where I stood a few feet away from her, I was able to see that her whole body was shaking. I didn't know if it was from exhaustion, or what, but I knew it couldn't be good. Just as I was about to reach my hand out to rest on her shoulder, a small blue cloud began to form around her.
What's going on? Why is she shifting?
When the blue cloud dispersed following a small flash of light blue light, I heard a moan before I saw Piper sway from one side to the other, one hand on her head.
Piper was now back to her normal midnight blue haired, orange eyed self, yet she didn't really seem like herself at this exact moment.
With a final moan, Piper's knees gave out from beneath her just as I managed to catch her before her entire body crumpled to the floor.
"Piper?" I whispered. "Piper?"
A moan being my only response, I gathered my friend into my arms before carrying her to the bed that was just inside of her room.
Setting her down gingerly, I brushed some of her bangs from her eyes as I whispered, "Piper? Piper, can you hear me?"
More moaning was Piper's reply.
"Come on Piper... wake up!" I continued to whisper as my hand found hers and grasped onto it. With my action, her eyes fluttered open and closed a few times before they decided to remain shut for the time being.
"Piper, what am I going to do with you?" I whispered as I began to run my thumb across her hand in small circles.
Honestly Piper, what am I supposed to do with you? It seems that every time that you have to use your abilities, it's to save me, and you're always the one to get hurt; because of me.
When we were going to get caught by Cyclonian border patrols, you turned into a Phoenix to distract them. When you finally came and found me, you just, just... collapsed on me!
When we were on Amazonia and you became an Alarian Hawk, you fell from that tree and crashed in to the ground – hard. Plus that dumb Talon that shot you in the leg! You could hardly walk!
Wait – your leg! How were you walking on it before? How were you not limping?
Letting go of Piper's hand for a moment, I turned to look at Piper's right leg which was now bandaged, but the bandage wasn't exactly white; red or blood red would be the proper colour to call it in its current state.
"Look at what you've done and gone to yourself now." I mumbled as I slipped my hand into hers once more.
After another few minutes of sitting beside her on the bed, gently rubbing my thumb against Piper's hand in slow circles I felt her stir ever so slightly.
"Piper?" I whispered, leaning towards her, squeezing her hand gently.
Her eyes fluttered open once more, and this time they managed to stay open.
Looking down at her, I saw Piper blink a few more times as she glanced around quickly before her eyes met mine and she asked, "Aerrow?"
"Hey." I said softly, memorized by her eyes.
"Hi." She whispered back, before breaking my gaze to stare at my hand which, once I followed her eyes, I realized was still clasping her hand.
"Oh!" I said quickly as I untangled my fingers from hers. "Sorry 'bout that..." I mumbled as I ran my hand through my messy hair, hoping beyond all hope that my cheeks wouldn't turn the same colour of red to match.
Giving a weak smile Piper replied, "Its okay, really."
I gave her a meek smile before it turned itself into a frown.
"What's wrong Aerrow?" Piper asked me as she tried to get up into a sitting position. Her efforts were dashed though as she put a hand to her head, lying back down with a moan of pain escaping her lips.
"Nothing is wrong with me Piper, I think its you..."
Piper looked at me blankly before I sighed and said, "Piper, I don't know how you did it, but, but… I think you shifted into … a different person? And when you shifted back, you kind of just – collapsed."
When Piper still said nothing I continued, "Piper, you had me scared... I wasn't sure what was going on with you; you just kind of… collapsed, and now…."
"And now, what?" Piper asked, trying to avoid my gaze.
"Now your leg is busted up pretty good."
"What?" Piper questioned as she tried to get up again.
This time I helped her into a sitting position before saying, "Look at the bandages…." My voice drifted off as I heard Piper gasp at the sight.
Looking down at the reddened bandages I mumbled, "I don't remember it being that bad, what happened while I was gone?"
"Well…" Piper said trailing off as she once again refused to meet my eyes.
"You can tell me Piper, I need to know."
"I – it's just that… I don't know." I raised an eyebrow at her response before she continued to say, "It wasn't too bad back in the cavern behind the waterfall, I was just sitting there waiting for you after all."
I nodded my head as she continued.
"After you left to go help Junko and Finn, my Amp Stone started to glow – a lot. I didn't know if it was you in trouble, or Junko, or Finn, all I knew was that I had to help you guys. I stood up and I ignored the pain in my leg and I… shifted."
"Ya…" I said in hopes to encourage her to continue.
"I raced out to the clearing that was around the river and waterfall to see Talons everywhere; I couldn't even see you and Finn until later when all of the Talons were running away from me."
"But what did you shift into to make them all so scared?" I asked, trying to be polite and not cut into her story too much.
Giving a small smile Piper said, "An Amazonian Black Panther, like my mom..." The smile that was adorning Piper's face only moments ago melted away into a small frown before Piper shook her head and continued, "That wasn't what I was trying to get at though. The thing is that even though my leg was bothering me before in the cavern, it wasn't bothering me when I was in a shape other than my own."
Frowning I said, "So that's how you saved me, you shifted into someone who wasn't you and then you infiltrated the palace?"
I nodded, but realizing something I asked, "Why did your wound get worse then?"
Piper glanced down at her bandaged leg before replying in a quiet voice, "I guess it just makes it so that the wound isn't visible to others, and that you can't feel it."
"I guess." I replied as I stood up from the place I had been sitting on Piper's bed. Holding out my hand to her I said, "Come on, lets go and let Stork patch you up. Your Amp Stone obviously isn't doing anything at the moment to help it out."
Shaking her head, Piper took my hand and got up slowly, leaning heavily on me as we walked out of her room and down the hall towards the infirmary.
Once Piper was settled in the infirmary, I walked out to get Stork, but as I left I heard Piper mumble, "Stork's going to have a field day with this…."
Piper's quietness could just be because of her feeling under the weather from her injury, but I just can't shake the feeling that there's something more to it; something more personal than a wound trying to heal.
The truth is that I'm worried for her, not just because of her leg, but because of, well… a lot of things. And most all of them had happened in the past couple of weeks.
She'd been captured by Cyclonians and thought that we were dead.
Piper and I had been about to get attacked by Talon border patrols, and she risked having me mad at her just to save us using her… abilities.
She had told me everything that she knew about her abilities, and she had been forced to think back to her childhood to tell me so – a childhood that I felt like Piper would rather forget.
Piper and I had been chased and hunted by Talons on Amazonia when we were trying to crack the riddled clue.
We had jumped off of a waterfall, and she had almost drowned.
I had gotten kidnapped and she and the guys had to come and rescue me.
She faced Master Cyclonis and the Dark Ace alone… While I just stood there glued to the spot in astonishment.
Those experiences were just the recent ones.
There were so many things she'd been through…. We'd gone through most of them together, but up until last week, I didn't know much about her life before she came to live with me and my parents and the original Storm Hawks on the Condor.
I knew her parents had died, but I never really understood how she felt until mine went down with the former Storm Hawks… Piper had been there for me then.
I wanted to be there for her now, like she was always there for me when I needed her, but this time... I just didn't know how to help. After all, it's hard to help someone when you don't know what's wrong with them in the first place.
Once Stork had finished bandaging Piper's leg the second time, I made Piper promise not to use her abilities until her leg was better. I could tell she wanted to protest, but for some reason, she complied. Maybe deep down she knew it was for the best.
Like I said earlier, it's been a pretty uneventful week.
No Cyclonian attacks, no Raptors, no Murk Raiders, not even a single Sky Shark… absolutely nothing.
Piper's pretty much fallen into the routine of locking herself in her room all day, only to limp to the kitchen for meals. Other than that, the only time she would come out of her room was at night, when she thought everyone was asleep.
How did I know that? Well a few days ago I wasn't able to sleep so I went and climbed onto the roof of the Condor to sit and stargaze. It was peaceful until out of the corner of my eye, I saw something, or rather someone walking to the edge of the runway.
Rolling over so that I was lying down on my stomach and not my back, I rested my head on my crossed arms in front of me, watching the person.
Even from far away, I could see Piper's form silhouetted in the glow of the soft moonlight. I saw her glance around quickly before she jumped off of the edge and into the clouds below.
I gasped at what my friend had just did, and then I stumbled to get myself up to see over the edge of roof, but before I could will my body to move, I saw a bright flash of sky blue and then, a steady glow of red - orange.
It was déjà vu all over again.
I blinked as off in the distance I saw a phoenix break free of the clouds, and flap its fiery wings, soaring high in the moon lit sky like it had no care in the world. It had a crystal around its neck reflecting rays of moonlight, shimmering in sync with a far off star.
After a few moments of staring at the bird, I finally sat back down on the roof and pulled my eyes away from the Phoenix that was flying back towards the Condor.
Each night since then, I've gone up and sat on the roof, staring at the stars before a different one appeared that wasn't as far off. I started to call it the Phoenix Star because when Piper turned into a Phoenix for her late night flights, her Amp Stone always seemed to glimmer and shine like a star would.
Sure I was upset that Piper was using her abilities while her leg was still healing, but I guess I never really made her promise not too….
The truth is while Piper was off flying who knows where, and thinking about who knows what, I got some time to myself to just sit back and well, think.
I thought about a lot of things. Mainly about my team and the war with Cyclonia, but every now and then my thoughts would drift off and somehow I'd end up thinking about Piper. I was still really confused about her Amp Stone and how it activated... and that we were each others… one true love? It all just seemed so… I don't know. It's just, well you see – ugh.
I could never really figure it out.
Except for the night when I got back from being a prisoner on Cyclonia, Piper and I hadn't talked much; I had decided to give Piper a little space though. She probably had the same, if not more thoughts running through her head than I did this week.
I was wondering if the Storm Hawks could still operate from a day to day basis like we used to. I know we can, its just some things have just, well – changed.
One change now is that I have to wear my stealth shoes everywhere on the ship in case we were ever to fall victim to a surprise Cyclonian attack. To Master Cyclonis and her minions, I'm as good as dead; at least that's what they think.
Unbeknownst to them I'm still around and kicking… I just have to use a disguise whenever they're around.
The other change is a little more obvious though. Piper just rediscovered her shapeshifting abilities, and Ayrgyn and I were the only other people in all of Atmos they knew. Well, at least I hoped no one else knew. I would have also liked for the rest of our squadron to know, but I guess Piper will tell them in time, I just have to wait.
I couldn't help but wonder one more thing whenever I'm up on the roof surrounded by stars and Piper is off flying. I couldn't help but wonder; is Piper going to be happy being a Storm Hawk now?
Now that she has these abilities, well I guess she's had them forever, but anyways…. Now that she has these abilities, she could go and be whatever she wanted. She could probably defeat Master Cyclonis single handedly.
So now, one question remains that weighs heavy in my heart.
How long can Piper be happy being A Phoenix Among Hawks?
Well, I hope you all enjoyed reading A Phoenix Among Hawks! And I'm REALLY sorry that it took me forever to update this... THREE weeks to be exact... anyways I'd just like to give a shout out to everyone who reviewed! This was my first Fanfiction story EVER and thanks to all of you wonderful people out there, I received over 100 reviews over the course of this story! I think you all deserve a cookie!!
Many thanks go out to:
My first reviewer ever: Dragon77
Reviewed every chapter but one: Tuberculosis Queen
Faithful Editor: Unleash The Shadow
Many other reviewers such as:
Ace of Aces 2.0
Allie-Chan the Clepto
Crystal Lit Moon
alice the dark angel
The Fallen One
If I left anyones name out, feel free to message me or leave a review saying so, and I'll add to the list above.
Now I know one individual in particular right now that is probably awfully steamed at me for forgetting their name, but I didn't!
I want you all to give SakariWolfe A HUGE round of applause!! They are the ONLY reviewer who reviewed EVER SINGLE chapter!! You want to know how that happened? They sent me the single review I received for chapter three LOL.
Well, I just want to say thanks again to everyone who reviewed and read this story, and who put up with all of my sparodic updates!!
Now... just before you go, please, on your way out, check out the new poll I have posted on my profile. Even if you aren't a member on this site, go and check it out and then come back and leave a review with your opinion or something... I do accept anonymous reviews you know! Anyways... the poll is about... APAH, what in particular, I'm not saying yet but I VERY STRONGLY suggest you check it out!
Well, hopefully You've all enjoyed this story!
Until next time,
PS. GO AND CHECK OUT THE POLL!! (its for your own good... TRUST me! :P)