That night when everyone was asleep, Piper, Aerrow and Phoenix slipped out of the house and ventured on foot over the ridge. No one could see them there and that's where the Condor landed to take them home.
The first thing or 'person' that Phoenix saw was Radarr, Aerrow's side-kick. Then she saw Junko ,then Stork and finally Finn. He came racing out and enveloped Phoenix in a bone-crushing (literally) hug.
Piper and Junko had to pries him off her. "He can get a little too excited at times." Aerrow had said later on. Phoenix knew this because they had gone to school together and were pretty tight before Aerrow had come to take him away with Claire.
That day she hadn't wanted to let him go. To let him go with the Storm Hawks. To go in to something that could get him killed. Now she was here. Joining him on the Condor, joining him in the fight against the Cyclonis, joining him in the Storm Hawks.
Going against everything she had been avoiding since he had gone. Now Piper had hooked up with Finn because they found out that they had so much in common but Nix was cool with that.
She found that she had much more in common with Aerrow than Finn. Finn was a really close and good friend but Aerrow was like her hero and her soul mate. Did she believe in this sort of stuff?
Not until now when it was happening to her. Now she knew it was true. Or at least… she thought it was. Something was changing inside her and Aerrow knew it.
She wasn't the person that he had been keeping track of the past few months. This person that was now joining his squadron was like the quieter mares on the farm rather than the wild and arrogant stallions in the hills near the aerodrome you could so closely relate her too.
No… something was really different. The other Phoenix, the one everyone knew would have put up a fight about coming for weeks instead of just giving in and coming.
She also would have never stood for Finn giving her a hug in front of everyone. The stallion Phoenix would have found it embarrassing but the mare Phoenix found it durable. That didn't seem right.
Was it just her or was it one of the Storm Hawks or was it even the shock of finding that Claire was dead… It had to be Claire. Those girls were always so close before and Aerrow knew it.
The only thing that Phoenix didn't know was that Claire had told Aerrow before she died that "…if they had to find another replacement it would have to be Phoenix."
Of course, Aerrow had respected Claire from the start and had every desire to do as she asked. He would have to tell Phoenix sooner or later but not now when she was still grieving over losing her so suddenly.
Phoenix seemed to settle in to life on the Condor easier than anyone else had because she and Stork were sort of related. His mother was or had been married to Phoenix's father.
She looked nothing like anyone in her family when Stork looked like his mother. She had long silky copper hair that glittered in the sun when her father had straw coloured hair and her sister and mother had black hair.
She also had pale skin while everyone else had tanned. In some ways though she looked a lot like Aerrow which was probably why they liked each other so much.
They were so happy in each others company and in the first two weeks, Phoenix had saved Aerrow's life on more than three occasions. He owed her and loved her for that. This all happened in an eventful Summer season. Next to come was a colder Autumn.