Sunday, May 19, 2013

Insert A Very Happy Birthday Here

"Lemme go! I really don't have time for this!" A British-accented voice protested as its blonde-haired owner was dragged down a hallway by an iron-clad grip on her forearm.

"You're going to make time, Tash. All work and no play make you a dull girl."

"I'll relax later, really! Now, Phoenixia, please-"

"You said that last week. I never once did see you relax in any way, shape or form." The older woman, her hair a hot pink color and nearly reaching down to her waist cut Tash off, her robe ruffling against the floor as she pulled the Librarian down towards their destination.

"How do you I didn't take the time to read or role-play with the WARGS?"

Phoenixia rolled her eyes. "Tash, you forget who you are talking to. I know nearly everything that goes on in this Library. Connected to the security cameras and computer systems, remember? So I know the only reading you did was reports and duty rosters and the only role-playing you've done is practice your fancy-talk for so you could get into that convention on Garland Prime to get the Book of Discord Harmony."

Tash spluttered, unable to refute Phoenixia's statements. For the past several weeks, several of the other Agents had approached her and tried to her to relax through various hints, nudges and suggestions. Tash had always promised she would find time, but never really meant it. After all, there was so much stuff to do as Librarian. Translate tomes, find books, meetings to attend, and fetching tomes for Library visitors, not to mention whatever duties she had for the Society. "Let me get the latest batch of reports done and I promise, I'll take a break. You can even sit and make sure I do."

"Tash, by relax, I mean 'take a day off and do nothing related to your job', not 'plow through reports, watch Doctor Who and then get back to the grindstone'."

"But Doctor Who is relaxing…" Tash protested feebly. "Well, except when they show those angels…"

"Uh-huh." Phoenixia didn't sound convinced and guided the other woman around a series of corners swiftly before halting in front of a large oak door. "Here we are."

"And 'here' is where?" Tash inquired. Despite being Librarian, she didn't quite have the connection to the Library as Adrian had had, and so telling the location and names of individual rooms was difficult to say the least. If Phoenixia hadn't been guiding her, she'd probably have never found this room. Or at least gotten lost a few times along the way.

"It's one of the Egyptian Archive rooms." The pink-haired woman explained, opening the door and pushing inside. "Now just keep walking straight and you'll see what we're here for."

"Mmmmhmmm…" Tash decided to just go with it and made her away down between the shelves, which were full of books and papyrus scrolls and clay tablets and even chunks of wall covered in hieroglyph. The shelves towered over the nearly six-foot Tash by at least two feet. "Wow, you said this was just one of the Egyptian Archive rooms?"

"Yep. The Library differentiates between alternate realities and while most of them are similar enough that there's not any new information, you occasionally get one that has radically altered dates and series of events." Phoenixia replied, a step behind Tash. She ran a hand over a clay tablet. "This room, if I'm not mistaken, has some stuff in about an Ancient Egypt that was apparently founded by aliens and the Sphinx actually has a semi-evil god inside and has been influencing history for years…"

"I see…" This new knowledge didn't really surprise Tash. After joining the Society and living the Library, her strangeness and weird tolerance had increased greatly in size. "Now, what is it I'm supposed to see…?"

Her voice trailed as she nearly walked right into what Phoenixia wanted her to see. It was a large, Egyptian-style bath, six feet by four feet. The surface rippled slightly and the blonde realized that it also had jets as well. "What's this doing here?"

"Oh, I think it's always been there. Adrian used it occasionally to just get away from things-the Library is so huge, just moving to the other side made it easier for him to unwind." She gestured to the bath. "And now you're going to do the same."

Tash frowned at her. "I don't have any swimwear on me and I don't feel like getting naked right now."

"I know what sizes you wear- your bra and panties will work out fine." Phoenixia replied, shucking her robe to reveal that she was wearing a modest two-piece swimsuit that matched the color of her hair, only slightly brighter.

"And just how do you know that?" A quirked eyebrow that looked like it was trying merge with a glare.

The other woman smiled. "I… ah, borrowed some socks last time I was in your room overnight. I ran out."

"Hmmph. Just don't stretch them out." Arms were folded. "Look, I appreciate the effort of you finding this room and taking me here and…are those Lush products?" Blue eyes were drawn to the a rather large basket near Phoenixia's feet that was filled to the brim with soaps, lotions, shampoos, body washes and more. "Wow… that's a lot."

"Damn near bought out the store…" A mischievous grin crossed Phoenixia's face. "But have a few hundred trillion dollars or so in my bank accounts made me feel better about buying them all."

"I'll bet." Tash looked to be wavering, her gaze slipping occasionally to the Lush products. "Like I said, I appreciate this, but I have a ton of stuff do, not to mention my real world work, so I'll have to pass."

"No, you're not."

Blue eyes rolled. "I just said I was. What, you're going to make me take a bath and spoil myself rotten with luxury?"

"Yep." Phoenixia reached out and casually gave Tash a shove. The British girl yelped, her arms flailing like pinwheels before gravity won the fight and she toppled into the bath with a splash. "That was easy…"

An irritated Tash surfaced, spitting water as she gave the other woman a glare. "That was not nice."

"But it was kinda amusing." The twinkle in her violet eyes matched the grin on her face. "And now that you're all wet, you might as well enjoy it and have a nice relaxing soak."

"Fine." A sigh from parted lips. "Just help me out so I can take off my wet clothes without accidentally peeling of my underwear, too."

"Sure." Phoenixia extended her hand, which Tash grabbed…and then promptly pulled her into the bath. "Hey!"

Tash snickered as she pulled off her shirt and the older woman parted the soaking curtain of pink hair to stick her tongue out at the blonde. "You had it coming. And you're right, it is amusing."

"Bleach!" She stuck her tongue out again and then pulled her hair behind her head and getting her bangs out of her eyes. "Yeah, yeah…but I've only had this body for a few months! How did you know if could swim or not! I could have drowned!"

"Oh, pssh." Tash snickered some more, tossing her wet clothes off to the side. "You're so top-heavy; you would have floated-easy."

She laughed as Phoenixia gave a growl of mock-anger and splashed her. "This is war!"

In seconds the two women were trading splashes and trying to dunk each other, laughing and giggling.


"Mmmmm… I have to hand it to you, that bath was a nice idea…" Tash muttered, lying on her stomach atop her bed, resting her head on a pillow, her hair wrapped up in a towel.

"All my ideas are nice. Or good. Or excellent." Phoenixia told her simply from her perch on the blonde's back, dressed in a rather modest- for her- robe. "I've never had a bad idea in my life." Her fingers expertly kneaded the area around Tash's shoulder blades, prompting moans and sighs of contentment. "In fact, when I say an idea, even if someone else said it first, it automatically moves from 'poor' to 'fair', at the very least."

"Sure, sure…riiiigghhhhhttt." Tash drawled out with a smirk. "What about- ahhhh, a little lower, would you?- the time you told Adrian it'd be a good idea to ambush the enemy by dressing up as one of the retinue?"

"It was a sound plan." She replied, working the base of her palms in small circles along the edges of Tash's spine, watching with a grin as the Librarian practically melted under her touches. "It's not my fault that Adrian can't pull off looking like a girl well." A thoughtful expression as she paused briefly. "Though, that might have had had more to do with the fact that the target picked him out for a night together than the fact he had to look like a girl…"

"Don't stop, please…" Tash gave a sigh of contentment as her massage continued and smiled, letting the pleasant sensation wash over her body. "Mmmm, you are really good at this. I think I'm going to melt right through the bed…"

"That's not the best idea- I think one of the boy's room is below us currently. You might scare them by just appearing out of their ceiling." Phoenixia chuckled as her fingers worked gently at Tash's spine. "You'd probably explode from embarrassment."

"Probably." The Leader yawned slightly and stretched, arms reaching over her head. "Mmmmm…is there anything else you'd like to do or I can just lie here forever happily and not move?"

"Actually, yeah. There are a few more things I want to do with you today. C'mon, let's take a trip to my garden."



"…I'm not going to need my sword and a bottle of Emily's Fangirl Disinfectant this time, am I?"

"Oh, geeze-louise, that only happened that one time…"

"It tried to eat me!"

"It wouldn't have - I don't raise any carnivorous plants."

"Well, it sure looked like it was!"

"No, it just wanted some of your blood so it could nourish itself."

"That doesn't make me feel any better…!"


Phoenixia tip-toed down the pathway, gesturing for Tash to do the same as she whispered. "We need to be quiet around here… my Whomping Willowe has grown a lot and I haven't gotten around to trimming it yet."

"You have one of those?" Tash hissed back, partially in amazement and partially in fear. She glanced around at the massive room that housed Phoenixia's equally massive garden. It was at least several stories high, with balconies here and there that were filled to bursting with flowers and exotic plants and what even looked like a vegetable garden in one. The ground floor was perhaps literally carpeted in flowers of so many different kinds, colors and sizes that Tash wondered briefly if she had walked into Wonderland.

Several trees spotted the ground floor as well and it was one of the that the pair was creeping around. As the blonde eyed the tree, she watched it's branches creak and sway here and there, as if it were searching for something to smash and pulverize.

"Yeah, got it from Harry Potter fandom during one of Adrian's trips." Phoenixia hissed back. "Normally, I don't let it get this large because it's dangerous, but now that I have a body, it's hard to get close enough trim it back…"

"I can see why…" Came the reply. The tree's branches creaked and it's trunk twisted slightly, looking as it where following the two. Tash hoped it wasn't. She'd hate to get in a fight with a tree-judging how nasty it looked, this tree might win.

Finally, they were clear and Phoenixia picked up her pace, the other woman right behind. They brushed past a literal rainbow of roses that arched over the pathway and the British girl blinked in surprise as she realized that as a breeze rustled the roses, they let out soft chimes that covered the musical scale, playing a soothing song. "Wow…"

"Those are Lullaby Roses-from a remote quadrant in the…Star Wars fandom, I want to say." Pink hair trailing behind her, the buxom woman rounded a bend in the path and pointed up at a small hill, where a checkered board pattern of black and white flowers were. "And those are a hybrid of my own creation. Took a lot of genetic tinkering, but I got them down. So now, no matter how you plant them, they'll always grow like. They're Checker Lilies."

"Awesome!" Tash grinned as she watched a little red bug hop across the 'spaces' on the board and then a black bug darted off the board to the sidelines. "Do they always play a game?"

"Yeah, so far it's 6,233 to 5219, in the red's favor." Phoenixia replied, stepping up a tiered path. "Ah, what we're looking for should be just up here…"

"And just what are we looking for?" The Librarian asked. "You have some amazing flowers… I could spend all day in here and not get bored with them. What makes these particular flowers so special?"

"Flower - singular." Her companion corrected and shot her a grin over her shoulder. "And it's not my flower, its Adrian's."

"Really?" Intrigued now, the blonde hastened her steps and reached the top of the hill. "I didn't know he had a green thumb."

Phoenixia chuckled. "Oh, he doesn't have one in the slightest. He once killed a kudzu vine. But what he does have is a lot of free time and some unique ideas for magic. Keeps him from growing too bored or insane. This particular flower he started a while after he met you-took him the better part of two months. Trust me, it was a good thing he never slept."

"Well, where is it?" Tash asked eagerly. She loved learning new things about Adrian and his skills and hobbies.

"Right there." A slim finger pointed to the center of the hill.

Tash followed the direction of the finger and her eyes widened slightly at what she saw. "Oh, wow…"

Sitting the center of the hill was an iris. It was several times larger than a normal one, but what made it truly a sight to behold was the color of the petals. Normally, irises were a purplish red, but this one changed colors, slowly flowing from a rich purple to a lighter violet to somewhere inbetween tinted with red and then a reddish color streak with a very pale violet and a few other colors Tash couldn't quite distinguish. "Adrian made this…?"

"Yeah- he spent hours and hours and hours, trying to work the magic into the plant it wouldn't age or get damaged or anything. The way it shifts colors like that? He spent three days trying to think up all the shades he could and another two getting them into the plant and god knows how long getting them to shift." Phoenixia smiled softly. "He called it the Spectrum Iris. He meant to give it to you when it bloomed, but it only bloomed this morning…"

"Wow…" Tash walked up to the flower and knelt down, watching it change colors as she gently ran her fingertips along the petals and leaned over to sniff it. "It smells… sweet…"

"That'd be me. For some reason, the magic Adrian used on it means now it has to be fed sugar to stay alive."

"Hehehehe…" A loving smile broke out on the British girl's face as she imagined Adrian working on the flower for hours and hours on end. "Silly kitty… it's lovely…"

"Isn't it, though?" Tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear, the other woman smirked. "Don't spend too long staring at it, though. We've still got a few more places to go..including the most important thing on a lady's day off."

"Oh? What's that?"



"What do you think?" Phoenixia tapped a few buttons on the console in front of her, selecting the image of the piece of clothing she wanted and a holoprojector hummed to life, dressing her in her choice. "Is it me?"

Tash glanced up from her own panel and quirked an eyebrow. Phoenixia was 'wearing' a slinky outfit that was nothing more than thin strips of material that covered the necessary bits. "If you're gonna wear that, wouldn't it be better to go naked?"

"Perhaps, but there's something to be said for showing everything but the best parts…gives new meaning to 'tantalizing.'" Flipping through some more choices, she picked out another outfit and pressed the button. The outfit this time was a Victorian gown, with a poofy skirt and high-collared back and it was covered in pearls and gemstones. "Ugh, too stuffy…"

As her friend went back to outfit-hunting, Tash went back to scrolling the rather massive list of corsets the store had. She'd found a few she liked, but wanted to get something really special. "Hmmmm…" Picking out white one that looked interesting, she tapped the button.

Phoenixia smirked as the outfit materialized on Tash. The corset was leather and laced together at top with a small, ruffle-like fringe along either side and geometric designs in silver decorated the rest of it. "Hey, that's not bad. Though I liked that lingerie you tried on earlier better."

Tash blushed furiously, glad that no one but Phoenixia could see her in the dressing room they were in. "That skimpy violet thing? It was nothing but a bunch of patterns…barely covered everything." She frowned slightly. "And it's not like I have anyone to wear it for."

"Well, disregarding the fact I'm sure a few of the other female Agents would like some fun with you, myself included, you could just wear it just to wear it." The pink-haired woman said, selecting another outfit and a moment later, she was wearing an ash-gray kimono that was decorated with dark blue dragons that twisted and snaked around the outfit. "Trust me, wearing that stuff just to wear it means it's pretty comfortable and allows a lot of freedom of movement."

"I suppose you would know." The Leader replied wryly and then glanced at the list of corsets she had a set aside that she liked and then at the five or so bags from various stores stacked near her feet. "I'd like to get these, but I've already gotten so much stuff already…"

"Oh, don't worry about it. I'm doing something nice for you and I've got more than enough money. You could get all the Society girls together, send them on an all day shopping spree with no spending limit and you probably wouldn't even dent my savings." Phoenixia said, adding the kimono to her queue and searching through some more outfits.

"Yeah, but the Library already provides us with some clothes. And I don't like spending other people's money… I haven't really done anything to deserve this." Tash squirmed uncomfortably, caught between wanting what she selected and her reluctance to spend money that wasn't hers.

"Oh, for heaven's sake!" Phoenixia leaned over and tapped the 'Buy' button on Tash's screen before she could react. "Tash, listen to me. This isn't making any difference to my income. I sell books on nearly two dozen different Earths and I make more in a year than some of their entire populations do."

"Mmmnnn…okay, okay…" Tash still felt a little guilty as a panel opened on the wall and out slid a bag, her chosen clothes already neatly folded and stowed inside, but still felt good about getting the clothes, too. Grabbing the bag, she glanced at her watch, which was still set to Library time. "It's getting to be about half past six. Do you have any other stores we should hit before get back?"

"No, but it doesn't hurt to walk around, ya know." The two women grabbed their purchases and exited the store into the market proper, squinting in the bright sunlight. "The others will reach us if there's an emergency."

"Yeah, but to be honest…" Tash followed close to Phoenixia as the two merged with the crowd of shoppers that filled the street, a menagerie of aliens of all different skin tones, people with horns growing out of their heads and so many more varieties of life. "I'm getting kinda nervous…"

"I can see that…" Phoenixia nodded and the two ducked into a side alley to avoid the heavy traffic. Already, two different groups of males had tried to play fresh with the two girls. Phoenixia, in turn, had played 'Target Practice' with them with one of Incandescent Silverreign's pistols. "You sure you don't want to do anything else here? I mean, there are some races and we did fly the Manta here so you could have some fun doing that…"



"Who the hell taught you how to fly a spaceship!"

"Why are you so overreacting? It is a race through an asteroid field…"

"But do you have to skim close to the surface of each one!" Phoenixia, who was quite pale and gripping the armrests of the copilot's chair so tight that her knuckles were white, eeped as Tash whipped the Manta around a rather large-asteroid so close that the buxom woman could count the tiniest craters.

"The shortest distance between two points is a straight line." Tash replied with a grin and whipped the Manta through a series of loops around a cluster of asteroids, darting between two of them at were skipping off one another just as they collided, a few chips of debris bouncing off the ship's hull. "Whoops, probably chipped the paintjob again. Emily's going to throw a fit…"

"I'm going throw myself out the airlock. It'll be faster way of dying than crashing into a giant rock in space!" Phoenixia closed her eyes and gripped her armrests so tight they creaked as the Manta's pilot worked the controls, wrenching the ship in a spiral around a moon-sized chunk of rock, effectively firing the Manta like a sling-shot and tripling her speed. "Oh god!"

"Oh, calm down. You've flown the Phoenix Zord before through stuff like this and even a sun or two, from what I hear." Tash's grin got wider and crazier as her maneuver briefly overwhelmed the Manta's internal dampers and pinned the two women against their seats, the ship darting and weaving and twisting through the asteroid field so fast that it looked the view screen was nothing but solid rock, only Tash's rather impressive reflexes keeping them from winding up space dust.

"Yes, but I was the Zord and I feel a lot safer as about a thousand tons of war-machine and weaponry than I do as a hundred and seventy pound flesh-and-blood woman!"

"A hundred and eighty pounds. Your breasts have to at least weight five pounds each, the way you practically rip out of your clothes some days."

"Is now the time to be joking at my breasts' expense!"

"There's always time to do that. I once used them to knock down a door in a game of Munchkin." Tash frowned as she checked the scanner in front of her. "Dang it, we're just barely in third…we need to catch up to the other two somehow." She glanced in front of her at the upcoming, quarter-planet sized piece of asteroid coming at them. It was filled with holes and was so large the other two racers had to veer around it. "Scanners say that there some tunnels that go right through that thing…"

Phoenixia's eyes widened. "Oh no… you wouldn't…"

"Oh, yes I would!" Tash slammed down on the throttle and the Manta roared forwards, straight towards one of the holes at top speed.

"You're crazy, Tash! You're crazy!"

"No, I'm just British! And. It! Is! Awesome!"


"Well, that was a productive day.." Tash grinned as she lugged all of her purchases into the room, as well as a large golden trophy she had tucked under her arm. "I knew that trick would pay off."

Phoenixia scowled and held her bags tighter. "Sure-you scared me so much I about swore to go celibate if we survived. You nearly accomplished in ten seconds what Adrian and a few hundred years couldn't!"

Tash merely grinned, then blinked. "You know, I had a lot of fun today, Phoenixia. And I feel a lot less stressed. So thanks a lot." She gave the other woman a swift hug. "I needed this."

"You're welcome, dear." Hugging her back, the older woman smiled. "But there's another reason I needed to distract you all day."

"Really? What's that?" Tash released her and stepped back.

A frown creased her violet eyes. "Tash, don't you know what today is? It's your birthday…"

"Oh…" Tash felt her face flush furiously. "I can't believe I forgot my own birthday!"

"See? You have been working too hard. Hence the day of relaxation and fun." A twinkle appeared in her violet eyes. "And… you may have forgotten, but there are some people who didn't."

"Huh?" Tash blinked as her friend grabbed her and steered her towards then nearest door. As Phoenixia opened it, her eyes widened in realization. "Oh, you guys didn't-"


"It's a Tash!"

The Leader was blinded temporarily as the lights in the room burst on and then she was sent staggering backwards as Alice glomped her hard. "Gah!" Then the rest of her friends joined in, nearly sending her sprawling to the floor. "Gahhhh! Hug overload! Hug overload!"

Finally, Tash was released from the massive group hug and glanced around at the room with wondering eyes and a smile on her face.

The room was decorated to the nines, with crepe paper steamers everywhere and balloons filling the ceiling while a giant banner that read 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TASH!' was strung up across the back. And every Agent in the Society was packed into the room, grinning madly at her and wearing party hats. (Save for Tyler, who was apparently trying to use his as a ice-cream scoop, only to be chased away by a knife-wielding Rhia) "You guys… did all this… for me?"

"No, dummy, some other Tash we know." Hati punched her friend's arm and grinned as Tash winced slightly. "You've been so busy wrapped up in Society work and Librarian stuff that we knew you'd forget your own birthday or worse yet, not even want to celebrate it."

"So we decided to throw the biggest bash we could to force you to have a celebration!" Jess declared, gesturing with what looked like a glassful of cider. "Also, the Society needs more excuses to party and celebrate the general awesome of its members!"

Phoenixia grinned as Rhia darted between a floating Aster and Chrys, shooing them away with her knife as the former was trying to get at the three-layer chocolate cake and the latter was trying to get to it before the former did. "So I volunteered to distract you all day while they tracked everyone down and set it all up. And it worked! You didn't suspect a thing!"

"Only because… only because…" Tash's cheeks flushed and she grinned. "Okay, I can't think of anything witty to say… but everyone…" Her eyes glistened. "Thank… thank you, so, so much!"

"Hey, no tears just yet!" Hati slung her arm around Tash's shoulder and started her towards the large pile of presents that was stacked in the corner. "You can have them after presents…" She blinked as she realized Tash was gone. "Uh…"

Phoenixia pointed to the stack of presents, where the blonde blur was already digging through the pile, a woman on a mission. "I think she smells the books of yaoi we got her in there…"


A solid six hours later, Tash yawned as she made her way into her bedroom, rubbing blearily at her eyes and adjusting her pajamas. "Wow… I can't believe how long that party lasted… or how long Hati and Jess could sing 'I'm a Cider Drinker'…"

Snapping her fingers, her room plunged into near darkness save for the bed stand lamp. The exhausted English girl crawled into her bed, smiling dreamily at all the fun she had had today and what a wonderful birthday she'd had. She grabbed Phoenixia's present, which was a fairly large stuffed white kitty with fur as soft as silk. Tash had dubbed it 'Magic Cuddle Kitty'.

Snuggling the plushie toy to her chest, she blinked when she saw a round, metallic disk sitting on her pillow, roughly the size of a coaster. "A holographic message…?"

Curious, she grabbed the disk and looked it over, but there was no markings or anything to indicate who it was from. Sitting cross-legged, she set the disk before her on the bed and tapped the activation button.

It hummed to life and she broke into an immediate grin as she saw who the five inch-tall figure was. "Emuishere…"

"Hey, love." Adrian's holographic image looked sheepish as he spoke. "Umm, well, I'm recording this for you, obviously. I mean, you're the one getting it, so how could you not know that it's for you? That'd be like… well, I don't know what'd it be like. I suck at anything that's not really magic or fighting."

Tash grinned more at the sheepish expression his face.

"Anyway, Phoenixia suggested - okay, ordered - that I do this. Why, it's beyond me, considering I see you every day and tell you all sorts of 'I love yous' and whatnot practically every chance I get…" Then he winced as a book flew into the shot and cuffed him on the head. "Ow! What was that for!"

"That's for lying, you dummy! You do not tell her all that every day! I watch you both! You can barely get it out most times and you're usually stammering and stuttering!" Phoenixia's voice scolded him and Tash giggled. "Now be honest and just do this right! Or I'll pelt you more!"

"Alright, alright!" With a sigh, Adrian ran a hand through his hair. "Right. Now, my message. See, Phoenixia thinks that being a Counter Guardian and Librarian, I might not be around for the holidays or your birthday or Valentine's Day or the birth of our child… wait a minute, birth of our child! What kind of teleprompt is that!"

Another book smacked Adrian in the face. "A kind, sweet, truthful one! You'd miss your nose if it wasn't attached to your face! So either read the teleprompt or speak right!"

"Oh, screw your teleprompt, you digital witch!" A third book smacked into Adrian hard enough to knock him out of the shot and Tash couldn't help but laugh as he crawled back into view, getting to his feet and rubbing his head.

"Ahh, where was I? Oh, right." Adjusting his coat, he clasped his hands before him, ears twitching here and there. "Since my job has me gone for various lengths of time at unpredictable intervals and I may not be there for any special days that we wish to share together, I'm recording this. I know it's not much, since I'm using it to cover all the holidays and stuff, but I promise, I'll get some more for each one done, promise."

He smiled happily at her. "So here goes: I love you, Natasha. And even though I'm not there to show it right now, I will always love you. I could spend all of my eternal life finding ways to show you how much I love you and it wouldn't be enough. So, in lieu of my kitty ears and magic comfort skills, I leave you this message. An honest one, from my heart. Know that you complete me and give strength to my heart. And I will do anything to return to you, hale, healthy and whole. You are never far from my thoughts and always in my heart. I have the utmost faith and love in you and you will always, always make me proud."

Adrian smirked and stuck his tongue out. "See, I knew I could do it without your silly teleprompter!"

"Adrian, you idiot, we're still recording!"

"What?" He blinked and it hit him. "Oh, phooey…"

"You stupid idiot! You ruined the mood by acting childish!"

"Me! You're the one with the crazy teleprompter and throwing books at me! I didn't do anything!"


"Hey, hey! Watch it with those! They're heavy! Gah!" Adrian ducked as several large books flew over his head and then he dashed towards the projector. "Must preserve my dignity! Can't let them see me get beaten up by a hologram!"

"Too late!" Phoenixia appeared out of nowhere and tackled him, his hand smacking the recorder and the image dissolved into static.

For several long minutes, Tash just sat there, cuddling her new plushie and smiling with a big grin on her face, a few happy tears trickling down her cheeks. Then she reached out and tapped the 'Play' button to restart the message…

Phoenixia watched from her position of peeking the door and smiled to herself, quietly slipping away.

"Happy Birthday from your kitty, Tash…"

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