Disclaimer: The characters and world of Valdemar belong to Mercedes Lackey.
I would like to ask patience from my readers who are looking forward to the crossover into Valdemar. I desired to give a proper taste of my character in her home territory. I promise Chapter two finds her there.
Sending for Valdemar.
The hundred dollar bill stayed outstretched in her foster father's hand. Kagiso gave him an incredulous look. Was he an idiot, or had too many teens coming through his doors broken him? A hundred dollars would get a young teen into a lot of mischief and the misdemeanour kind at that. Finally she asked, "Are you an idiot?"
He laughed, "Just bring back the change." He gestured for her to take the bill. He really was an idiot. No foster kid was going to give him back the change. He had to expect it to disappear, so why do it? She scowled. Her dark brows lowering over her equally dark eyes. She may be only fourteen but she wasn't stupid. It must be a test.
"I only need a twenty." she said firmly not moving from where she stood in the kitchen's doorway.
"Like I said, bring back the change." He smiled broadly offering the bill again, "I have a feeling you'll pass." She snatched the bill with a grumble. She stuffed it in her pocket as she headed for the front door.
Looking back over her shoulder she vowed, "You'll regret this." before she closed the door behind her. She hitched her backpack higher onto her right shoulder as she headed down the hall for the elevator. On the main level she went out through the parking lot exit. A block down the street was the bus stop. She rode it for three stops before getting out at the mall. She finally settled on a pair of white sneakers with purple stripes on the side and decided to wear them out of the store. Having finished her task she stopped at the dollar store and bought a chocolate bar. When the cashier gave her the change she politely asked her to exchange a twenty for coin.
A few hours later she sat at a table in the library idly spinning her hoop earring as she read the textbook laid out in front of her. Her hand lowered from her ear to turn the page. She lifted her mechanical pencil and made notes in her notebook as she continued to read. Her notes were methodical and neat. She looked up as the chair beside her was pulled out. Her friend and former foster brother Drew sat down beside her. She'd shared her last placement with him though it hadn't lasted long. A record if she weren't mistaken. She'd been with the couple a month before they decided she wasn't for them, something about being a smart aleck, ungrateful child. He looked over her notes with a whistle. "This is what you do on a sunday. No wonder you have top grades. You wouldn't catch me working on my days off."
"I wouldn't catch you working anyway," she retorted, "What are you doing here?" She gestured the vicinity which of course was the library. He wasn't here to study of that she was sure.
He held up the blu-rays in his hand in answer, "Why don't you come over and watch one with me?". And go back to that house, no thank-you she thought adamantly. She did like Drew well enough though. His easygoing nature was, well easy to get along with. She sighed. Friends like him didn't come often in her experience. He handed them over when she reached for them. She shuffled through them then stopped. She had been wanting to see this one. She held it up to show him the cover. He nodded. She packed up her stuff and they went to check out.
They stopped at a few more stores on the way. They ended up going back to Kagiso's place instead to her great relief. Her foster dad was lounging on the couch watching the game. He looked up to see Drew and smiled kindly, He'd met him shortly after she'd been sent here. He'd come to apologize for his foster parents behaviour explaining they weren't all bad. She had decided while she certainly didn't agree with him, he was a good person himself. Kagiso stepped in front of him and put a plastic bag on the coffee table with a loud clatter. She really needed to rethink her revenge plots in the future. This one had almost been more trouble than it was worth, though her foster fathers face was a good conciliation. "Your change." she said smugly. He blinked for a second than burst out laughing. Kagiso reluctantly smiled. Perhaps she might stay with this placement awhile.
After the movie Drew took his leave. She locked her bedroom door. Than changed into a baggy t-shirt that served as her nighty. She said a silent prayer for her parents in heaven and went to bed. Tomorrow she'd be starting a new school. Transferring in mid semester was tricky. All the groups had already formed at that point. Well she supposed it didn't matter that much. She'd either find a group or be a loner. There was no way to tell till she got there. No use stressing.
To her annoyance her new homeroom teacher had decided to introduce her to the class. It wasn't like this was her class all day. In high school every students schedule is decided individually. All four classes would be different groups of kids. She stood as he even wrote her name on the board. Was this elementary school? "Class this is Kagiso Yamamoto." He was done. She glared at him. If he was going to force her into this, he could at least have put some effort in. What a half assed introduction. She went to a desk in the back and settled. A boy in the seat beside her poked her in the arm. She glared over at him.
"Yamamoto is a Japanese name. You're black," He stated cooly. No shit sherlock she thought. He squinted a little, "Now that I look closer your eyes do look japanese. Are you a halfer?" She stared belligerently.
"I'm Canadian." She stated flatly, "My last name is Yamamoto and yes my father was japanese. My mother was South African and though it doesn't sound it, so is my name Kagiso. Enough info For you?"
"That's so cool!" He exclaimed all sparkly eyed. She stared again. Was this guy bi-polar? What a pain. She was used to being asked about her background. There aren't that many half asian half african that she was aware of. When she'd googled it it seemed like they mostly looked like one side or the other. She'd inherited her father's asian features though her lips were a bit fuller and her nose stronger. Her colouring was her mothers. Her hair was a black unmanageable fro that she kept pulled back in, for lack of a better term, a puff ball. Her skin a deep rich brown. Her eyes were technically brown as well, but one wouldn't be able to tell without getting closer than she would prefer. She'd heard people say she was pretty before. With her luck she'd grow out of it. She was yet to hit puberty.
The boy was going on about something but she only half heard. She was already reading the text her teacher had dropped on her desk as he did his rounds through the class. As was to be expected they were working on a project she'd completed in her last school. Different teachers tended to schedule the work plan differently. She skipped to another section and got to work. While the different classes places were different, the textbooks they worked out of were always the same. She liked the solidity of it.
At lunch she got stopped by a group at her locker. She often pondered what drove people to single out the new girl but then again she supposed to be singled out you needed to be part of a group already. They were laughing over some joke she hadn't heard. Probably at her expense.
"Can't your parent's afford new clothes for their little girls first day of school." The apparent leader asked in baby voice. This brought a new side to infantile behaviour. She shrugged, her open worn leather jacket shifting over her loose jeans. "Other people's left behinds rarely fit properly," she gestured to her belly where her jacket hung an inch or two above her belt. Her red shirt was tucked in. "I thought I did rather well considering."
"Are you trying to be smart?" the leader demanded.
"Of course not," Kagiso said appeasingly, "I am smart." The boy swung to hit her. She dodged smoothly leaving the lockers for his fist. He swore mightily shaking his hand. He turned to attack her again only then realizing she'd already moved into the crowd.
"Later boys." she called over her shoulder with a backwards wave. She was sure she would see them again. Bullies didn't take lightly to being upstaged.
To her dismay the bi-polar boy was in her next class. It seemed he had trouble in geography though as he stayed focused on the map he was drawing. Despite herself she corrected him when she saw him make a mistake. After that she was stuck helping him work on it. The teacher seeing what happened approved and assigned them as partners since it was a bit late for her to start the project from scratch. Of course as a joint project it was expected to be of higher quality. By the end of class she knew the boy quite possibly was bi-polar jumping from one mood to another easily. That and he'd decided she was to be his new best friend. He followed her to her last class of the day pointing out things as they went. It turned out he was in her last class too. Three out of the four, what were the chances?
He talked away without breathing or so it seemed to Kagiso. At least he wasn't asking her questions anymore. Finally when she'd had enough she held up one of her hands to silence him. "Do you want to be my friend?"
"Oh yes please!" He wiggled in his seat excited.
"Then shut up for a while." She stated coldly. He visibly deflated. He crossed his arms and laid his head on his desk. She hid a small smile. Obedient fellow. He was annoying but it seemed he could also be quite amusing. She watched him fidget for the rest of the period, a one sided smile on her face. When the bell rang she taped him on the shoulder. He raised his head to look at her. "Wanna grab a slushy?" she offered.
He smiled. As if afraid to speak, he nodded. She grabbed his arm to pull him up. After he'd collected his stuff she shoved him out the door. She suddenly realized she didn't know his name. "Did you need to grab anything, Sam?" she asked casually. He looked dejected.
"My names Christof, I told you before. Christof not Christopher."
"Yeah sorry 'bout that." she said uncommitted brushing it aside.
Coming up on the bus stop a slushy in each of their hands they talked about their project. They were going to the library to finish it. A skateboarder suddenly zoomed straight for them making no effort to go around. They both dodged barely avoiding being knocked down. She cursed him then turn to ask Christof if he was okay. That was when she saw the bus. Christof had stumbled of the curb in his avoidance of the skateboarder, right in front of the oncoming bus. Her slushy hit the ground in a brown splatter. The coke flavoured contents spreading across the sidewalk. With a great shove she rammed into Christof. Everything slowed down. The buses front seemed frozen in front of her. Her parents flashed before her eyes. It had been a car accident that had taken them. Even though she'd been in the backseat she had somehow survived. The terror of that time returned full force. The flames filled her vision. Then the moment was over. The buses brakes screeched past nothing but air.