A/N: So hey guys, I know I'm supposed to update Magatama Tsubasa, like, I was supposed to a LONG while ago and it's coming almost finished but I just wanted to make a 4-day late P/M Day contribution xD I'm sorry... I'll finish the chapter...And yeah, this will be a multi-chap fic. Thanks for being patient! (Reeeeeaally patient)

He hadn't been here for 7 years. Not since he had been disbarred. But now he was back, with his trademark blue suit and attorney's badge proudly pinned onto his lapel, and a clean shave. The only that had changed about him was he seemed more tanned and had a more sarcastic attitude.

Nonetheless, he was sure. He was sure she wouldn't care about all of that, that she would run up to him and hug him and say that she missed him, that he was an idiot, and that she loved him. And he her…

But he was wrong. He stepped off the train into the frigid cold air of the mountains and immediately knew something was wrong. Because all around him, were cold glares and she was nowhere to be seen.

Phoenix glanced around with a guarded expression. 'Show no weakness or they'll eat you up for dinner, Wright.'

Where was she? She was Kurain's master; she should be in her office or something at this time of day right? And where was Pearls? That adorable little girl probably wasn't so little anymore.

Before he could comprehend what was even happening, said "little" girl had come up behind him and kicked him in the leg angrily.

Phoenix turned around in shocked pain only to come face to face with…Pearl Fey. "Pearls…"He said dumbfounded. She stared at him, her face hiding something.

She knew, and he knew she knew. Phoenix immediately searched her face with concern for a hint of whatever she knew. "Pearls, what's wrong? W-Where's Maya? Please…what's wrong?" He had to restrain himself from shaking her shoulders.

Pearl's face softened at his worry and she quietly said, "Come with me Mr. Nick…"

She walked to the Winding Way, and gazed off into the garden courtyard as he slowly followed her, heartbeat racing as he pondered what Pearl was about to tell him. Did he even want to know?

Finally, Pearl blurted out, "Mystic Maya is….um…presumed dead." She turned to look at Phoenix and found that she could only stare at his eyes, which seemed to slowly grow in size and darken.

He gave Pearl a hollow expression before putting his head in his hands and yelling, "No! Nonononononono, how could this happen? What do you mean 'presumed dead'? Where is she? Where's Maya?"

Pearl quivered before whispering, "We don't know where she is…She left the village one night about a year after you were disbarred Mr. Nick…She's been missing for 6 years. That's why she's almost legally presumed dead. But in Kurain…she has another 14 years before she's dead to us. I don't think Mystic Maya has joined the spirits either."

Phoenix shook his head, his eyes wild. "No! That's not true! W-What about the packages she sends me? T-The Steel Samurai tapes! What about those?" He trailed off as watched Pearl's face remain the same. "S-She was the one that sent them to me…right?" he asked tentatively.

This time, Pearl shook her head, apologetically, "I'm sorry Mr. Nick…I sent them. Mystic Maya left a last note with instructions to send you her entire collection of Steel Samurai videos periodically and demand reviews back…I didn't know what to do with the reviews so I just filed them away in a folder."

Phoenix slapped a frustrated palm to his face. "T-that idiot! S-She told you to send me those under her name so that I…I wouldn't worry about her. W-Wouldn't worry where she w-went…Would think she was here. Safe, running the village…Happy."

He said the last word with such sadness that Pearl felt like she wanted to cry. She's known the two were "special someones" long before they did, long before many people did actually, only to have it end like this…

Instead of crying, she gulped and corrected Phoenix, "No, Mr. Nick you're wrong again. She wasn't happy, she was lonely. She missed you…"

Phoenix bit his lip and glanced at Pearl before putting a hand on her shoulder and asking, "Then why did she leave? And not tell us where she went? Agh! I'm such an idiot, thinking that 7 years later she'd still be here with a smile on her face! I hurt her dammit and I know that!"

Phoenix slumped down on the wall and stared out at the Winding Way courtyard with a lost, empty look in his eyes.

Pearl sat down beside him and spoke softly, "Mr. Nick…I don't know where she is or exactly why she is but I do know that you two are special someones, just like I always said when I was 9 but, love makes you do crazy things…"

Phoenix turned to stare at Pearl, his intent gaze making her nervous. Eventually he returned to staring at the Winding Way muttering, "Ha, wonder what Apollo would think if he saw me like this right now. Trucy would look like she was about to cry and tell me that it's okay."

"…Apollo? Trucy?" Pearl asked, confused.

Phoenix had forgotten that Pearl had never met Apollo and Trucy before, and proceeded to explain to her how he had taken on Apollo as an apprentice and how Trucy was his adopted daughter.

Pearl was shocked at hearing that he had a daughter and by a strange chance that his apprentice and daughter were half-siblings. Brother and sister.

Phoenix shrugged it off, his vision blurry, his head and heart aching, what was he supposed to do? Go home and forget about it all? No. He wasn't going to live in the past forever, he needed to place down a future, a future with Maya but to make that future happen…

Phoenix needed to find her, wherever she went, Phoenix would track her down. He stood up abruptly, startling Pearl and to avoid seeing her expression, stared straight at the incinerator and said "Like you said Pearls, we don't know where she went but I'll find her, and when I do, I'll apologize, I'll beg, hell I'll sell my soul for her…Anything to make her come back."

Pearl looked up at him and to Phoenix's surprise, she smiled. Pearl smiling was apparently rare these days and now she gave him a happy, bright smile of gratitude that lit up her entire face and reminded him of that adorable little nine year old girl he used to know.

"Mr. Nick!" Pearl choke-hugged him, her voice filled to the brim with excitement. "Oh I knew you two were special someones! You would do ANYTHING for Mystic Maya! Even back then, you'd really do anything in your power to see her smile! You hated seeing her sad!" She squealed loudly, causing Phoenix to flinch and look around wildly in case anyone had heard their conversation. They already suspected things between him and Maya and now that he was going to look for her, he didn't need more trouble than this was worth.

"Shhh…Pearls…Quiet, I don't need the Elders coming after me with their bewitched broomsticks and spirit-demon ice!"

Pearl tilted her head to the side and squinted her eyes sceptically, "….Bewitched broomsticks Mr. Nick? The Elders aren't witches."

Phoenix winked, cheering up because of his plan to find Maya, (even though his chances were as low getting all of the Elders to accept him as Maya's lover and be nice to him) and replied simply, "Maybe to you they aren't, I'm pretty sure I saw one of them wave a witch wand with cherry blossoms hanging off of it."

Pearl giggled before tugging on Phoenix's sleeve and asking earnestly, "But Mr. Nick, even if you are planning to find Mystic Maya, you don't even know where she is…None of us do."

Phoenix looked grim before replying, "None of us maybe. I have doubts about others…"

So how was it? Good? Terrible? I-shouldn't-even-be-writing? Tell me!

And ah...it wasn't that hard explaining the Steel Samurai tapes discrepancy. (Maya sent Phoenix video tapes in AJAA) She's probably ask Pearls to send them right? If she didn't want him to go after her...

It was kinda hard making Phoenix call Maya an idiot. Well, he doesn't see her as one, but he thinks her choice is a fool's choice. That's what I meant.

~Shizuka S. Ayasato