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The Summer had hardly been uneventful but despite a few close calls and a thorough condemnation for reckless risks and an equally thorough commendation for breaking up the ring of Daka Crystal thieves Kam and his friends had returned to Claremont Academy.  They arrived in advance of the next year with time to catch up on the news of Freedom and more importantly perhaps share their own exploits.  The late summer sun found several of them gathered for lunch in the central quad trading stories.  

 

Kam let out a bright laugh, "Then they spun her." he shook his head at the memory nodding at Janus and eyeing his sister with a teasing glint in his eyes, "At least half of that giggle was genuine."  he prodded perhaps foolishly given her penchant for getting the upper hand in these wars of words.  Looking directly at Elizabeth he smirked, "It was like something out of one of those teen musicals."  he joked easily.  It would likely be less funny when those pictures circulated to where their father uncovered them.  Raising his hands the Dakanan prince deflected gamely, "I will grant it certainly got people's attention."

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"Never underestimate the power of theatrics," Janus drawled lazily. The prince sprawled out, long legs stretched out as they used their belt dagger to peel a curl of apple skin from the apple in their hand deftly. Janus was more relaxed, post their Dakanan vacation. The binder that Janus had been wearing was gone and the deep plunge of their poet's shirt only showed a flatly muscular chest. The changes were subtle but it made all the difference in Janus feeling comfortable in their body and that showed. 

 

"If a Danger can't manage to be charming, we must turn in our keys to all Danger affiliated merchandise. It's in the company by-laws," Janus added, a bright flash of white teeth making it clear they were joking. With the Dangers, it was sometimes hard to tell.

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White Lioness

Àjàṣorò picked at her salad as she listened to her brother tell his tale, even though she’d been there and he was definitely elborating profoundly. It reminded her of the tall tales her mother used to tell them both at bedtime, unlike herself he’d obviously pick up the skill at storytelling.

 

“Don’t forget to tell how embarrassed you were, I can always tell when your hiding something little brother!”

 

He’d been hiding something for ages, and she was dying to find out just what, but for now she was happy to wait until her was ready to tell her what.

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"Oooh, secrets?" Elizabeth said, leaning forward onto the table; she'd been listening with at least decent attention, taking in the tale with one ear while the rest of her simply enjoyed the noontime ambiance, but now her attention was entirely on Kam and her eyes shone with the kind of wide display of color that animals usually used to advertise danger to potential predators. "Secrets and embarrassment. Kam. Kam. You know the secret tax."

 

She leaned even further forward, somehow, grinning. "The tax is that you have to tell us your secrets."

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Kam winced a bit at his sisters gentle ribbing.  "Ahhh."  he shrugged a bit, "Well I was concerned what mother and father might ..."  he waved it off as unimportant, "Regardless it worked and..."  Then Elizabeth started in.   Kam rolled his eyes in mock frustration, "If everyone knows a thing it's no longer a secret now is it?"  he countered stealing a furtive glance to Janice who was at least slightly more in the know as to his nocturnal rendezvous. 

 

Quickly trying to once more gain control of the conversation he arched a brow to elizabeth, "I could tell you what happened next in Turkey?"  he suggested smiling wide, "That's a bit of a secret still."  The Dakanan Prince waited only a few beats before continuing his story then.  "It did have the desired effect lots of people took notice and a few obviously on the lookout for usss....."  His words trailed off as his eyes fixed on a figure crossing the quad some distance away clearly distracted and surprised at the what he saw.  his mouth hung open for a moment then he realized his gaffe and he furtively looked from face to face of his assembled friends, "aahh where was I oh so we uhm followed and..."

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Janus' smile was equal parts reassurance and provoking. It was a very cat-that-ate-the-canary as they folded their trim arms behind their head and stretched out lazily. When Kam very uncharacteristically paused and then fumbled, Janus' went tense and straightened with the sort of bow-strung tight tension that was more appropriate to the battlefield than the school Quad. Despite their efforts, Kam's mystery girl had remained exactly that - a mystery. At least Janus knew there WAS a girl, which was more than most people had managed to suss out. 

 

Janus' violet gaze darted over possibilities only to finally land on a young woman making their way with determination across the quad. It was no current student, and she didn't have the look of a new student, either, as the young woman made her way with confidence across the quad. Muscular and compact in the way that gymnasts might be, the woman moved across the green grass towards the administration with lethal grace. The most noteworthy feature, at this distance, was the fact that one of her two arms was a high-end prosthetic; distinctly Dakanan to those who knew what to look for in its simple silver design. 

 

"Ooooooh," Janus said, scooting up to perch on the table and blatantly shade their eyes to get a better look. "Ooooooh. Her?  Is that her? It has to be her."

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Elizabeth turned her head to follow Kam's gaze, and when she turned it back her face was the very image of delight, wide grey eyes and raised white brows and wide Cheshire grin. She was also making a noise that, while quiet, lived in a pitch probably more audible to dogs than people.

 

"You have good taste," she said, still all white teeth and smiles. "Does she know? Does she reciprocate? Is she as mysterious as she seems, with the arm and everything? Can we meddle?" That last one gave her pause, for a moment, her expression falling as she looked at the others. One would hope that Elizabeth was hitting the brakes on her enthusiasm, if one had never met Elizabeth. "Can he stop us from meddling?"

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White Lioness

Àjàṣorò couldn’t help but smile as the reason for his strange behavior was finally revealed, and she’d had her suspicions for a long time really.

 

“About bloody time if you ask me, Mother will be so pleased!” she grinned as she was trying to get a good luck at the lucky woman.

 

She was happily surprised truth be told, she’d always figured it would be her that found an American partner, he’d always seemed to be the type to marry someone from back home. Not that she wasn’t delighted that her brother was happily with someone

 

“I think it would be rude if we didn’t introduce ourselves, after all we might be future family!”

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Kam knew he was going to pay for the unguarded reaction, that might matter if he'd had any ability not to have had the reaction.  He clearly did not.  Shooting Janus a warning glare he briefly considered if he might be able to spin this as nationalist interest in her arm.  He could not particularly not after his sister and Elizabeth joined in he let out a sigh and whispered, "Keep it down."  through gritted teeth.  

 

"I most certainly can."  he replied to Elizabeth.  He wasn't sure how exactly he might prevent their meddling but he was stalwartly going to declare it in his power regardless of the truth.  He buried his face in his hands as Àjàṣorò mentioned thier mother and shook his head, "It's not."  he paused uncomfortably, "Like, that."  he insisted.  It most certainly was like that.

 

His eyes grew wide as his sister suggested introductions, "Don't you dare."  he answered more firmly, that at least was a line in the sand as it were and he let out a relieved sigh as the woman in question vanished into the administration building.  Fixing his gaze finally on Elizabeth who for the moment seemed the safe option to engage on the topic of his nascent love life he took a deep breath and shook his head, "She is not, and I have no idea if she reciprocates."  he paused heavily a curious look on his face for a moment, "I am in fact uncertain why she would even be here."  Kam added mostly to himself then looked up at the others, "I have worked with her on a few occasions."  he explained quietly, "In costume"  he added quietly which was to say she had no idea who he was and likely thought him an adult not a student and certainly not a prince of a near magical land halfway around the world.

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"That is Robin Chevalier; the Fens vigilante Nighthawk," Janus offered to Elizabeth and Aja, with a lazy smile. They arched their brows at Kam in the very picture of innocence. "I warned you that you were bad at this sort of deception, Kam. I offered to help lie for you but you were stubborn and now it's out. He's been sneaking off to do costumed crime-fighting alone at night. In the Fens, apparently."

 

At Kam's quelling look, Janus shrugged, "The one thing Grandfather is firm on is in knowing the local heroic types. He says there's nothing worse than ending up in a team up and not knowing what to call the other person. It's embarrassing. I do so hate to feel embarrassed. Besides, she's in the yearbook. She had two arms then, though. I assume the accident happened after photos were taken senior year."

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"Senior year!" Elizabeth's eyes went wide, clapping a hand over her mouth in what was probably supposed to be shock. "Kam! An older woman! What a wonderful scandal. I knew you had it in you!"

 

She was grinning again, ear to ear, and had possibly never stopped. Still, she leaned back in, conspiratorial, and said, "think you should let us help. We'd be wonderful wingpeople." Her eyes were sparkling and she was making a very conscious effort to do absolutely nothing with her hands, which probably had nothing to do with the animated neon sign above Kam's head that read CUTE SINGLE BOY above flashing arrows. "We're very subtle, and you can trust us to only have your very best interests at heart."

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