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Galatine

Sunflowers (IC)

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He panted heavily, his sweatshirt torn by branches and bushes as he tore through the park. Twigs snapped and sounded like gunfire. Every rustle of dry leaves sent shivers down his spine. He still had the bag. Still had the jewels. Still had the ski mask on. If he could get away. If he could just get away he would make out of this scot free. No need to split the loot into shares. But only if he got away.

It had happened so fast. He and his friends had cased a jewelry shop that afternoon. They weren't stupid, they were cautious about it. He brought his girl in to look at the product, complained about how they didn't have the money to afford them. The owner never saw anything more than a girl and her put upon boyfriend. And that night, tonight. Tonight he and his girl had brought one of his pals along. Broke the window. Started grabbing what they could carry. The cops wouldn't show for about thirty minutes, he knew.

They didn't last ten.

This guy came at them out of the sky. So damn fast. They had guns sure, for all the good they did. He had barely escaped, just as the hero was dealing with his girl. He thought he heard her yell for him. Heh, sorry babe. After this he could always find another one. But only if he could get away.

He stumbled into a clearing of the park. There was moonlight, illuminating everything. Damn. Now he was lost. There were plants rustling to the side. He pulled his gun and pointed. More for his own good than anything. Menaced with it in every direction. The ski mask was too hot. Too stifling for the summer. So he tore it off, still breathing heavily from his run. One second. Two.

The thief sighed in relief. He had gotten away. Scot free.

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Standing anywhere in Freedom City while wearing a ski mask and carrying a loot bag was just asking for trouble. Tonight, trouble came dressed in green, in the form of vines that shot straight up from the ground and wrapped around his legs like something out of an eco-horror movie. Before he had time to do more than yelp, a giant yellow daffodil loomed over him, its giant cup yawning wide and full of shadows. It leaned down and swallowed the miscreant in one gulp, a large bulge in the stem revealing where the crook waited to be released.

From the shadows, another figure dressed in green stepped out, surveying her handiwork, then picking up the dropped loot bag. "I was hoping that wasn't just a sack lunch," Fleur de Joie murmured in amusement as she looked over the purloined jewels. "Otherwise I'd owe someone a big apology." She was distracted from her work by a spark of bright light in the sky overhead. She shaded her eyes, trying to get a better look. It was definitely getting closer...

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Pharos had just finished up tidying up the other two burglars for the police. He hadn't been all that concerned about the runner, already flying after him in pursuit. He knew exactly where the guy was. He probably didn't even need his enhanced hearing for it with all the noise the man was making. It was the other sounds coming from that direction that confused him. A scraping and grinding sound he had never heard before followed by a yelp of surprise. Flying over the area, he was able to pick out what the noise had come from. It wasn't every day when you managed to see a daffodil that enormous.

He descended, cape fluttering behind him as he did so, his costume white and sun gold. The concentrated sunlight he used to power his flight faded as he touched down to earth in front of the green woman holding the loot bag. He looked up at the bulging daffodil which oddly enough seemed almost content with the thief being held in its cup, a look of amusement on his face.

"Wow. Certainly saved me the trouble there."

He turned his head back towards the green woman, chuckling. "Thanks for that."

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Fleur watched as the glowing man floated down to earth, a little surprised at the nature of his powers. Was that... sunlight? Her own powers definitely thought so, and she had to suppress the urge to push back her cowl to expose her hair, and maybe lay down for a little nap. But the impulses that came along with her powers were often unwise and generally easy to push aside. She smiled at the newcomer instead. "No problem, he practically fell in my lap. I'm glad you came along though, saves me having to haul him to the police station and figure out where he comes from." She studied the new hero for a moment. "I don't think I've met you before. I'm Fleur de Joie."

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"Hah, I don't think we have met. Where are my manners?" Pharos turned and offered a small bow. "Pharos. I'm new to the city so I'm not surprised we haven't run into eachother." He cocked his ear for a second, listening. "The police are over at the store he and his friends just tried to rob, so we can drop him off with them. Now the question is though, how do we get him down?" He turned a quizzical look to Fleur.

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"Nice to meet you, Pharos. And it's no problem, my flower will spit him out whenever I want him, or I can transport him through plants," she explained. "When I do go to the police station, I usually just have them take the plant from the receptionist's desk into a holding cell and spit the criminal out there. Saves on the slip between cup and lip, you know?" she added with a chuckle. "If you want to take him into custody, I can hork him up whenever you're ready. But I just have to ask, what's a guy with sunlight powers doing patrolling in the middle of the night?"

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"Convenient that. I usually have to knock them out before I can turn them over." He put on a thoughtful expression before adding with a good natured chuckle, "I'm jealous!" He laughed at the question, "You noticed eh? I could ask the same question of you, since last I heard most plants needed a little sun to grow. And is it that unusual for me to be out after dark? Just because it's night doesn't mean there aren't people who need help, you know?"

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"It's true," she acknowledged with a nod of her head. "I work at night because I have a full time job... and because it's much quieter and less populated at night. The fact that it's when the bad guys tend to come out is mostly incidental." She gave him a bright smile. "I was just thinking that it would be hard to sneak up on anyone if you look like a little patch of daytime flying around. Doesn't matter if you don't have to sneak, I suppose."

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"Hah, I see. I see. I suppose I could try and guess your job but I've never been that good at twenty questions. Don't get too tired working all day and staying up all night though?" He smiled back, shrugging. "And sneaking around in the dark just isn't my style. Its just more difficult when you're a patch of sunlight whenever you use your abilities."

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"Bad form to try and guess someone's secret identity anyway," Fleur informed him cheerfully, "so that's not much of a deficit. And I almost never sleep. Only if the weather is cloudy for a few days in a row. Plant magic, go figure, right?" She laughed. "Do that thing with the glowing again, would you? I want to see how these flowers are going to look in the daytime." She gestured to the work she'd been doing before she'd been interrupted, a vast blanket of flowers in all colors covering most of the ground.

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"Sounds familiar but for me a few cloudy days brings on a bit more in the way of headaches." Pharos looked over at the multitude of flowers covering the field, most of the blossoms closed for the night. He smiled and nodded. "I would be happy to, one moment." He closed his eyes and brought his closed hand before him, concentrating before gently blowing on it. Warm yellow light began to leak through the cracks in his fingers, and when he opened them It revealed a sun in miniature floating there. Small arcs of flares dancing across its fiery surface. He let the small sun float upwards, where it illuminated the entire clearing in sunlight. Sensing morning, the blanket of flowers opened their petals to let in the vital light they subsisted upon, arraying in vast swaths of color before the two. "This alright?"

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"Oooh, it's beautiful..." Fleur looked from the miniature sun to the blanket of appreciative flowers with great satisfaction. "It was just what I was hoping it would look like." Succumbing to temptation, she pushed back her cowl, revealing green hair in a series of elaborate braids around her head, which turned darker green as soon as it was exposed to the sunlight. Raising an arm to shield her eyes, she looked up at the sun. "How does it work? Is it reflected, or do you generate your own?" Even the giant daffodil was responding to the sunlight, turning its massive yellow head towards the miniature star.

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Pharos steps forward, taking in the view of the flowers as well and sending an amused look upwards at the shifting bulge in the cup of the moving daffodil. "Neither. Its a small portion of the actual thing. I simply played the conduit to put it here. So I wouldn't recommend trying to touch it or look directly at it." He laughed, looking over her verdant green hair with a curious expression, motioning a hand towards it. "So...plant magic you said?"

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Fleur chuckled. "It's not dye," she assured him, tilting her face up, eyes closed to the miniature sun. "Not always the handiest kind of power to have in an actual fight, but I can hold my own against crooks like our boy here." She chucked a thumb towards the giant daffodil. "And it's useful after super-battles, in the cleaning up phase, or during natural disasters, things like that. They also serve who don't spend all their time fighting crime, right?" She opened her eyes and looked over at him. "Where do you hail from, if you don't mind my asking?"

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"Oh I don't know. You might not give yourself enough credit there." He crossed his arms, thinking back to how he watched his home island's resident hero, the Arboreal, on the news when he was young. "And too true. Crime isn't the only thing that help is needed for." He paced a bit at the question, hand to his chin and his eyes closed. "I don't mind, but that's probably a tougher question for me than you planned. Lets see..." He shrugged, "I come from Italy, Sardinia to be more exact. Beautiful country." Pharos turned his head to glance at Fleur, "Yourself?"

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"Oh, I've been there!" Fleur told him enthusiastically, her hair continuing to green in the sunlight till it was the dark color of grass in the summer. Discovering her plant transit network could take her anywhere on the planet had led to several weekends of world-touring, to all the places she'd wanted to see and never had the money or time to visit. "It's just beautiful there, amazing. And the food, and the wine!" She grinned, remembering all of it fondly. "I'm from Chicago," she admitted. "Not nearly so romantic, but it's not too bad."

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"Hah! Let me know next time you plan on heading out, I can recommend a few restaurants you could stop by. And some places to visit that don't have as many tourists." Pharos grinned back. "I've flown about Chicago, but I'm afraid that I haven't been able to find the time to properly visit it yet. Flying through the downtown was great through!"He gestures to the tall skyscrapers of downtown Freedom and laughs. "Nothing like this back home. Don't suppose you have any suggestions on where to go if I do get the time to drop by Chicago would you?"

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"Well, the Sears Tower probably wouldn't be much of a novelty, since you can fly," Fleur decided. It was still the Sears Tower and always would be to her, doggone it! "If you eat, even recreationally, you need to pick up a deep dish pizza from Giordanos, and get a Chicago Dog from one of the stands downtown. The museums are great, there's the Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry..." She went on like that for a few minutes, listing all her favorite places, and there were quite a lot of them. Eventually, she realized she was probably giving him way more information than he wanted to hear. "Sorry," she said with a grin that lit up her face even behind the domino mask, "I guess I get a little homesick sometimes."

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Pharos simply laughed, waving off the comment. "Doesn't everyone? And just because I can fly doesn't mean something isnt fun for other reasons, no?" He kept chuckling. "Certainly have to check out the hot dogs. One of the reasons I moved here actually."

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Fleur waved a hand humorously. "Well, I wouldn't say Freedom City does a bad hot dog exactly. They're okay, especially if you don't know what you're missing. But there's noplace else in the world that you can get a Chicago dog or a Chicago style pizza. That's why they're called that!" She laughed, feeling relaxed and energized in the light of the miniature sun. "So where in Sardinia do you come from? Where are the best places to visit? I'm always looking for new things to see and try."

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He shrugged and shook his head. "Hah. No harm in saying I suppose." He began pacing, feeling his boots brush against the grass and wildflowers below. "I come from Oristano on the western coast of the island. Beautiful city. Try to go during Carnival Sunday or Mardi Gras, thats when Sa Sartiglia, a giant equestrian festival, is held. Now other sights...lets see.... The Cathedral of St. Francis has a wooden sculpture of Christ from the fourteenth century. And the view from the top of St. Christophoros' Tower is wonderful, especially while watching the sun set over the ocean. The whole city is white and red from the reflected light. And the sky is such a rich purple that the clouds look like some giant cloak." He closed his eyes for a moment, remembering the time when he stopped by after discovering his powers and watched that exact same view unfold.

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"I saw that church, it was beautiful," Fleur enthused. "I need to get back there sometime. There are so many beautiful places in the world..." She glanced over at the giant daffodil as it swayed in the breeze. "It makes up for the small ugliness of guys like that. But somebody still has to be around to clean up the mess they make. Would you like me to dump this guy in holding at the police station for you?"

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