Hey there! Sorry for such a long wait, life got complicated real fast. That and I got distracted with another fic. I still technically am, but I figured I'd finish this while I have the mindset to. This is the last chapter of the actual story, then I plan on having a bonus chapter for all of the Rev x Tora fans. It's been fun guys
Disclaimer: I do not own Loonatics Unleashed
You don't have to be held down, because I used to be a shell. I let them rule my world. But I woke up, and grew strong, and I can still go on.
And no one can take my pearl. ~Katy Perry
Tora traced the words, gliding over the glossy white page of her yearbook in fancy print. At the last minute possible, she had phone called her high school that she did indeed want to be included in the book, despite her status as being home schooled. She was still on the roster, and despite past feelings, she had a right to be included in the book.
She had let those kids chase her away once, she wouldn't let that happen anymore. As demonstrated by her senior quote, sitting bold and bright by her picture.
The surge of adrenaline that came with the uncommon feeling of assertiveness in her had quickly escalated when she told the principal that she would indeed be present for the graduation ceremony with her fellow peers. 4 months ago, after a successful training session with Ace, it had seemed like a perfect idea.
Now, sitting on her bed all dolled up thanks to Cal's fussing, wearing a simple but elegant but sweet dress under her white graduation gown and just an hour away from facing all of her worst nightmares all over again, she wondered what on earth she had been thinking.
She placed a hand over her heart as if to steady its rapid panicking beating,
"Steady Tora…" she murmured quietly to herself. She couldn't go back on this, she wouldn't allow it. Somewhere out there, she was sure, there was a girl or boy that was too busy hiding from the world and their problems. Too scared to take a chance and go out to find something better. How could she hope to be someone they would look up to, and follow her lead as she had her six heroes, if she couldn't face her demons head on while she had the chance?
Ignoring the waves of unease roiling in her tummy, she placed the yearbook carefully on her bed just as Cal knocked on her door and entered upon her saying it was okay.
Dressed to the nines as always, but with a formal but flamboyant flair, Cal cocked his hip to the side and examined his handy work with a critical eye. He had managed to convince her to wear a strapless dress, scattering sparkles over satiny material that ended just over her knees. It stayed with the theme of white, her now signature color, and just like her Loonatic uniform, it reflected every other color in the right light. Her dark wavy hair had been coaxed in some parts, pinned with shimmering jeweled barrettes Cal had insisted she wear.
The boy couldn't keep the nonchalant attitude up, tears sprung to his eyes and he pressed a hand over his mouth,
"My god, Tora, sweetie," he breathed, "Beautiful doesn't do you justice right now. You're radiant."
Tora smiled shyly and folded her hands over her gown, shrugging because she wasn't sure what else she could say. For once, she couldn't find the words to argue with him. She felt beautiful. Her ears stood straight and proud, miraculously.
Cal wiped some imaginary dust from her shoulder and hugged her, being careful not to smudge her makeup,
"I'm so proud of you, you know that right? You've come so far in such a short time. And soon I'm going to be able to say I know the city's greatest hero. As soon as your training with the Loonatics is over and your officially announced as one anyways."
Tora giggled, "You'll know the city's greatest heroes Cal."
"Yeah yeah, but you're what's important to me."
Tora shook her head with a small chuckle, and let go of him.
"Speaking of the Loonatics, have any of them talked to you lately?"
Cal cocked his head to the side, looking confused, "Not really. Not since your last training session, why? Did you forget to invite them?"
She hadn't. In the passing time she had spent with the Loonatics, they had become, in all honesty, like a second family to her. They did more than jus train her so she would be one hundred percent ready to take on the baddies they did. They helped her overcome her reservations that she still had, her scars. She had been naïve to think that a brief moment of courage was enough to erase an entire memory bank of abuse by her peers. Scars took time to heal, and the Loonatics had no problems taking all the time she needed.
Now she finally felt ready to be a Loonatic, but whenever she brought it up, the other team members seemed to either brush it off, frequently saying "I'll put the word in to Zadavia" but then she'd never see anything to warrant that they did. Most of the time they would just quickly switch to a different topic. It was confusing, and frankly it hurt a little. They had been so anxious for her to join the team before, now if it weren't for the fact that they kept inviting her back to the tower every couple of days to train or just hang out, she would think they wanted the opposite now.
Despite this interesting turn of events, she had invited them to her graduation. It was largely because of them that she was able to gather her courage and go after all. Now she wondered if it was the right thing to do, they were always so busy after all. All she was was an extra at the moment, just backup until her training was pronounced over
She stopped that crippling chain of thought before it could take hold,
'No' she thought, 'You asked if they'd like to come, and they said they would if they could. You didn't demand anything, there was no harm done. They'll be there if they can, just like they said.'
The car ride to the graduation hall felt oddly like a dream. It was rather surreal, knowing this might be the last time she would see any of her peers. She was sure if things had been better between them, it would have been a more bittersweet notion.
She was only vaguely aware of Cal kissing her on the cheek and telling her he'd be watching from the front row of the family seats, and wishing her good luck. Next she knew, she was standing in the hallway that lead to the backstage area, where she and her classmates would wait to be called during the ceremony.
A few glanced at her, but seemingly ignored her as she walked by, to them she was no different than the day she had left the school.
But she knew better.
The navy blue curtain was too heavy and thick for her to peek around and try to find Cal in the crowd, plus she was sure it would show up on someone's home video and she wouldn't ruin the occasion. She took a seat and tried to listen to the principals muffled talking as he commenced with the opening speech.
Finally, there was the sound of the band striking up, and pomp and circumstance echoed loudly throughout the auditorium. Tora's heart dropped to her stomach, but she did a marvelous job of covering it up.
Here we go.
One by one her classmates were called, alphabetically, to the stage to pick up their diploma and sit all together for one last time. She waited for the g's to come aorudn before she stood…
But her name wasn't called. To her panic, the principal moved on to the h's without calling her name. A few students snickered as they passed her, and she was left to babble incoherently in her own mind about what could have happened.
'Did the principal forget I said I was going to be here? Did they not have my diploma? Did I fail one class so I didn't have enough credits to graduate?'
These questions flurried around her mind and she fought back tears. She was so close, so close to feeling that freedom and accomplishment, please, don't let this be the answer..
Finally, the last person in her class with the name 'Yachovitz' was called. And she was left alone back stage. She was about to sheepishly sneak out the back door, when there was a clearing of a throat at the podium.
"Now, as some of you are probably aware, there was one name that was not called when it should have been,"
Tora paused, and listened, turning her ear to the curtain so she could hear better.
"But that is because, I thought it proper, that with one special occasion, another should follow suit."
There was a pause and a ruffle of cloth,
"Tora Gonzalez," the principal's voice called from the microphone, "Will you come out here please?"
Relief flooded through her at finally being called, only for her stomach to twist slightly at the approaching stage fright that was bound to occur. She fought to not let it take hold.
"No turning back, only look forward," she whispered to herself, before she parted the curtains and walked out onto the stage.
There was cheering from the parents section, mostly coming from a berserk happy looking Cal (some of the parents actually shifted a few inches away from him nervously) and a few scattered claps from the students section.
But she could hardly pay attention to that. Not when she was staring with her mouth open at her surprise on the stage.
Standing in a line by the teachers, and smiling at her with pride,
Was the Loonatics.
Rev waved at her with a happy grin as one slowly came to her face, the others following suit while Zadavia gave her a calm smile.
They made it!
The brief flicker of hurt that had been niggling at her all day from their lack of answer evaporated immediately, and she stepped forward to join them when the principal held up a hand to stop her.
"Before this remarkable young woman receives her diploma, our special guests would like to make an announcement. So now I give you Zadavia, of the Loonatics."
Tora felt incredibly out of place, just standing and gawking at one of the stage while Zadavia stepped up to the mic, shaking hands briefly with the principal. Her only answer to the question splayed out on her face was a brief gentle smile, before the ethereal woman addressed the rest of the auditorium.
"Today, these bright young people have proven once again that perseverance and hard work will always pay off in the end. Every one of them deserves to be congratulated, and hold their heads up proud as they exit into the real world. From this point on, there will be both happy times, but also challenges that I know they will overcome, just as they did those years in school,"
She paused to let this sink in before she continued, "But there is one, special young woman, who has overcome perhaps some of the most daunting challenges that comes with growing up. Acceptance of self, no matter who you are, and believing in herself."
"Not only this, but in addition to the use of incredible courage, and determination to protect those around her, I'd like to not only award Tora with this long deserved diploma, but also would like to announce yet another accomplishment in what is surely to be a long growing list in the future."
Butterflies fluttered in her stomach, her eyes widening.
Was this…Was Zadavia saying..?
The smile the Loonatics shared with her answered her question.
"I would like to announce, that this young lady, Tora Gonzalez, will be the newest addition to Acmetropolis team of super heroes, the Loonatics."
There they were, the words she had been waiting to hear for so long. Even in the collective confused silence of the auditorium, she beamed.
She knew what they must have all been thinking, what was special about her? Why was she going to be a Loonatic?
The old her would probably have a heart attack if she even thought about what Tora did next. But While it still made Tora nervous, she felt no shame when she shared a secretive smile with the Loonatics, and turned invisible, right in front of everyone.
There was a gasp in the crowd and murmurs and confused shouts all around. She calmly walked forward so she was standing next to Zadavia, who waited with her poised outwards for the handshake she knew was going to happen.
Tora waited a moment, letting the fact that she disappeared really sink in, before she rematerialized, ignoring the second collection of short gasps and yelps when she did.
Zadavia grinned at her, and took her hand, shaking in a way that was both firm, and gentle.
"Will you accept this honor Tora? Make it official?" She asked into the Microphone.
Tora spared a glance to her classmates. Most had their jaws hanging slack from their skulls, some even smiled, in an albeit surprised way. For a split second she caught the eye of the boy that had threatened her all that time ago, but as quickly as she did, he looked down again, refusing to acknowledge her again. It was the only thing he could do now to save face. She briefly wondered if the day would ever come that they would make amends, she wondered if the day would come that she would ever want to..
Turning away from the shaded faces of her classmates and to the Loonatics, who seemed to glow in the stage light, she smiled triumphantly.
There was an eruption of cheering, throughout the auditorium, roaring and shaking the rafters. Zadavia touched her shoulder then let her pass to be officially welcomed into the fold by her teammates.
The principal handed her the diploma, and Lexi hugged her tight around the ribs, only for them both to be almost lifted off their feet in the embrace slam enveloped them in. Duck shared a small, but belligerently satisfied smile with her, while Tech brushed his knuckles under her chin with an 'atta girl'. Ace ruffled her hair fondly, and finally Rev met her in the long line of affection by matching her elated look.
He grinned and finally scooped her up and off her feet bridal style, swinging her around and around while she clung with a small yelp and laugh. Her triumph shone on her face like a beacon, promising a bright and wonderful future.
And Cal caught it all on tape.
So there it is, that's Tora's story.
I think you can probably figure out how things went after that for yourself. It was just like Zadavia said, happy times, mixed with challenging times. But that's life, and Tora was finally ready to face it.
So the next time someone tries to make you feel invisible, or that you aren't important. That there isn't something waiting for you out there that's going to make everything seem right again, remember, they were wrong.
And no one can take your pearl.
Ugh, finally! Done! Well sorta, I want to add just one bonus chapter, but for the story purposes, I'm done. Thank you to all the readers who stuck with this story right into the extremely belated end. I love you guys!