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fic - kdtv 22 - pennies on the pavement - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - kdtv 22 - pennies on the pavement
Series:  Kyuuketsuki Duo
Arc:  TV Series
Title:  Pennies on the Pavement

Kyuuketsuki Duo
Episode XXII - Pennies on the Pavement

There was a faint twanging along his senses that made Quatre stop and take a look around him.  He glanced up and down the street, and saw nothing out of place.  There wasn't too much traffic out and about in the midmorning sun.  He wasn't on one of the main streets, but he wasn't in any shadow-infested alley either.  He casually stepped to the side of the road and pretended to tie his shoe while taking a deep breath and trying to recapture the fleeting sensation.

He couldn't readily identify its flavor.  It wasn't Duo.  Duo's power, as difficult as it was to classify, was far different from this.  His was dark and light, deep and fresh all at once, and had a marked tendency to shift according to the mood of its master.  The power he sensed didn't strike him as Shinma, or even malevolent in any way.  It was just power, existing and not being exercised in some display of grandiosity.

Quatre sighed to himself, wishing he had the ability to make more concrete determinations, rather than these vague intuitions he normally worked with.  Duo had taught him a good smattering of the basics, but he was no expert in the precise craft of spiritualism.  The best he could do was point Quatre in a few directions and hope he could figure out some things on his own.  That sort of approach might have worked with Duo's power, but then again, that power seemed to be much more freeform than Quatre's.  It was from the Dark, a plane that Quatre guessed lacked order.  A spiritualist's power rested mainly in wards and chants, rituals and certain mindsets, all in an attempt to manipulate the power of the earth, which had its own rules and flows and structure that one had to work with.

Finished with his shoe lace, Quatre chose to follow the trail laid down in the ether.  He knew Duo had warned him against doing such things, but this didn't feel dangerous to him.  It even seemed vaguely familiar to him.  But even if it did turn out to be something he wasn't ready to deal with, he was prepared to leave and report to Duo if necessary.  But Duo had seemed preoccupied lately.  Of course he was.  He was the Guardian, after all.  He had duties to attend to, and babysitting a fledgling spiritualist was definitely not a part of his job description.

The scent of power reasserted itself, and a few minutes of following later, he caught more than just a whiff, and stuck his head around a corner in time to see a momentary flash of energy that blinded his inner senses.  When it cleared, a woman remained.

She stood with her back to him, facing a corner formed in the concave bend of a building.  She was dressed rather normally, her hair loose in a short bob.  A wisp of power floated in the air around her and before her, lavender and magenta from what he could See.  She turned halfway, and caught sight of his blonde head poking out from behind the building.  Quatre reactively began to duck back out of sight, but then decided such an action would be juvenile and useless, and instead stepped out into full sight of the woman.

"Who are you?" she asked, calmly, but with an edge.

He held his hands before him in a subtle gesture of benevolent intent.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to intrude.  But I was just passing by, and..."

"Did you see anything?"  Her eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly.

"Not much," Quatre answered truthfully.  "But there was a flash of light and... are you a spiritualist?" he asked, suddenly realizing why the power signature seemed to familiar.  But if she was a spiritualist, then she must have just been passing through, or else he or Duo would surely have discovered her presence earlier.

The woman's eyes bored into him with a peculiar intensity.  "You saw something.  You must have power yourself, then."  Quatre could feel a slight tingling along his senses as the woman's power reached out to crawl along his own.  Her scrutiny finally softened, but only some.  "You hide it unusually well, young one.  Was there something you wanted?"

Quatre's eyes widened slightly as she finished turning around to face him, revealing a glint of steel in her hand that was smoothly sheathed in a well practiced motion and hidden away again.  "Ummm, well, you see, like you said, I've got this power.  And... well, I don't really know how to use it.  I was wondering if you could... maybe tell me a little something about being a spiritualist?"

"Untrained, you say?" she repeated, taking another moment to closely examine his power signature.  "Your aura says otherwise.  It's far too controlled for you to be untrained."

"Oh, well I--"  He remembered his promise to Duo, the one that said he wouldn't reveal any knowledge of him, the guardianship, or Shinma to anyone outside of their little group.  "I managed to figure out some things by myself.  But I'm not really *doing* anything with it, you know?  From what I've been able to find, I can't really do anything with it without actually knowing how.  So I thought maybe you could point me in the right direction?"

The woman snorted lightly.  "That wouldn't help.  These aren't things you can figure out by yourself.  You must be taught the ways."

"Oh."  He was a bit crestfallen, but the response was about what he had been expecting anyway.

The woman gave him another long, appraising look.  "I'm going to be town for a little while," she said finally.  "I can teach you a few things."

Quatre's expression brightened again before his manners reasserted themselves.  "Are you sure?  I mean, I wouldn't want to impose on your time or anything...."

She smiled, and it transformed her countenance into something less strict and forbidding.  "Of course.  We could always use someone else in the field.  My name's Penny, by the way."

"Quatre," he introduced himself reflexively.  "Pleasure to meet you."

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