May-28-14, 01:52 AM (EDT)|
"SOON: S5DS04 Familiar Spirits"|
And by "soon" I mean, like, late tomorrow or sometime Thursday.|
Shiro Shinobi Arena was packed and roaring on the first day of
the Major League Bending regular season - much more so than it had been
for the exhibition game Utena had caught, and Corwin had found himself
playing in, a couple of weeks ago. There had been a good crowd on hand
for that, but tonight the place was absolutely -rammed,- standing room
only and not much of that, and there was a whole different intensity to
the energy in the room. It reminded Utena of nothing so much as the
Toronto Raiderdome just before Game 7 of the 2404 World Series. Here at
the other end of the season, the excitement was all about potential, not
ultimate outcomes, but the level of it was about the same.
She reflected on that day as she and Corwin made their way to
their seats. That was, she was faintly shocked to realize, before she
met him. Nowadays she often had trouble imagining that there had been
such a time, but there it was. There'd been two whole terms - half a
school year - when (apart from MegaZone) she knew no one at all in
Midgard outside of WPI. Utena didn't much like to look back at those
days; in many ways, they had been the darkest of her life. True, they'd
contained the seeds of her eventual deliverance, but she hadn't known
that at the time. Apart from a few bright and precious moments, she'd
only known the heartbreak until Christmastime.
Game 7 had been one of those moments (in fact, the whole Toronto
trip had been stuffed with them), and she had no qualms about calling it
to mind now. They weren't heading for the bleachers this time, but down
front, to one of the courtside boxes where the season ticket holders
sat. This was much like being in the regular stands - they were still
down in the great bowl of the arena, in the thick of it all - but with
better seats and smartly uniformed waiters to handle concession runs.
Utena approved of this arrangement, and it was with a smile that
was part nostalgia and part plain enjoyment of the occasion that she
took the seat Minami Sato was holding for her down front.
"Evening, Prince Tenjou," said Ryo with a courtly bow from the
far side of his sister. "You're looking divine as always."
Utena thought that was pushing the boat out a little, since she
was dressed in nothing fancier than some old Martian Army cargo shorts
and Corwin's KARASU 99 Fire Ferrets sweater (which served her fairly
well as an overcoat), but she smiled and thanked him graciously all the
same. It was hard not to be gracious with Ryo, even when his charm went
a little over the top, because it was always done with such deliberate,
self-mocking wryness - not -irony-, exactly, that would've been tedious,
but with a winking acknowledgement that he couldn't help being a little
silly. He reminded her slightly of Devlin Carter, with whom, she
suspected, he would probably get on like a house afire.
Corwin slipped into his own seat beside her, checking his watch
as he did so. "Hmm, just in time for the pregame show," he said,
powering up his omni-tool.
"Ooh, what's that?" Minami inquired eagerly, leaning across
Utena to get a better look.
"I'll show you later," Corwin said, waving her back to her seat.
"I bet you will," said Utena, elbowing him.
Corwin gave her a Vulcan-style I-beg-your-pardon eyebrow, which
got giggles out of both the women to his right, and then went back to
what he was doing; a moment later, the tool's holographic interface fell
back to passive mode and the audio feed from the Republic Television
Network gently overlaid the rest of the sounds around them.
"... to MLB on RTN! I'm Hitomi Hattori. With me as always is
ace earthbender and two-time Western League MVP Kuo Renli."
"Always a pleasure!"
"And on my right, joining us here for opening day at Shiro
Shinobi Arena, a guest I'm sure requires no introduction. Welcome back
to the press box, Avatar Korra."
"Thanks, Hitomi. Good to be back. How was your offseason?"
Corwin sat back in his seat and smiled, listening to Korra chat
and banter with the two regular commentators. He'd always enjoyed
watching and/or hearing her work a room, be it just a couple of people
in a broadcast booth or, on one memorable occasion, the United Republic
"(How come you're not not pulling in the video feed too?)" Utena
wondered, leaning to murmur in his ear.
"(Do you really want me to have to explain how I'm doing that to
Minami right here and now while she sits in your lap?)" Corwin replied
dryly. "('Cause that's what happens when I bust out the full-motion
holograms, tellin' you right now.)"
"(Hmm, good point. I guess we'd better skip that for right now.
I wouldn't mind so much,)" she added with a mischievous grin, "(but Ryo
might be embarrassed... )"
"(You're in a playful mood tonight,)" said Corwin with a wry
"(Why shouldn't I be?)" Utena replied with a carefree toss of
her hair. "(It's Friday!)"
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