Halcyon Days (The Perks Of Being A Paragon)
Serafina heard the crowd cheering from her dressing room. The collective, passionate, synchronized reverie of the Wota. I’ll miss this place. Until next tour. She loved her birth country of America; the country of her father. Yet, another part of her felt so at home here in Tokyo as well. The place of her mother’s heritage and cultural pride. They were certainly more ‘intense’ in this region of her fandom. A knock on the door. “All set, Sera. Get out there and Shine.” Book called from outside. Serafina felt her body temperature rise. No cause for alarm; well, not for her. All part of her act; part of her ‘power.’ She fitted her reverse-edged katana, Hanabi 花火, snugly into her obi. Another part of the act. She opened the door and came face to face with Book, who was ready and waiting with her trademark ‘Thumbs-Up’ pose. “You’re burning up, girl.” Serafina did not dignify the painful pun with a response. She strode past Book, ignoring her mischievous grin, towards the sound of her adoring fans.
“Introducing The Shining Idol! The Blazing Sword of Tokyo! SERA ANGEL!”
“Another successful concert! Can pie!” Book thrust her sake cup at Serafina’s own, in a clumsy toast. “I love these ochowohos.” Serafina sighed. In truth, she loved every bit of Book’s irreverence and spirit. Playing the part of exasperated friend was just part of their relationship dynamic. It had always been, ever since they were kids. “It’s Kanpai, first of all. And these cups are called Ochoko.” Book laughed. “Yesh! Thatsh what I said!” No, they were not of drinking age. It didn’t matter. A small vice in the scheme of things; Besides Book, the rest of her staff just counted their blessings the two of them weren’t into coke or heroin. Stars had a different set of rules. Not something Serafina particularly agreed with, but that was simply the way of the world. “This is the last stop before we head back, right Book?” Book nodded. “Yup yup yup. After this, we’re officially students. And Americans again. American students. Again.” Halcyon City. New Heights Academy. They both easily qualified for admittance. Star power could get you anything, but Serafina did study just as diligently as her peers. Book, for all her antics, was a genius. In her own… unique way. The school allowed them a one-month ‘Grace Period’ of sorts to finish their tour. “By the way, Sera, we’re not even close to late! The school closed down for a whole week due to some crazy Hazard shenanigans!” Serafina was taken aback. True, she was busy, but she should have kept better tabs on her hometown. “Book! That’s not something to celebrate!” Book blinked. “Uh, you got it all wrong. No one got hurt! Not too badly anyway. I mean, no deaths or casualties or whatsit. A real team of badasses stepped in. As usual. If we had been there, then watch out! Kapow! You know? Even more carbon steel, ground-and-pound ass-kicking!” Once again, Book used fifty words where ten would suffice. “If you say so…” Serafina said hesitantly. “Hey babe, you nervous about starting school? We’re in different classes, but there’s always lunch. You know, I bet all your classmates will be starstruck when you walk in! They’ll all be in your shadow!” Book reached out and ‘booped’ Serafina on the nose. Why me? “Book, that’s not what my music is about, and it’s not why I’m a Hero. I’d rather shine a light than cast a shadow.” Sudden silence. Book’s gaze met hers, and she saw a look of thoughtfulness and sincerity. Uncharacteristic of her dear manager, to say the least. “If you don’t want to cast a shadow, you’re in the wrong line of work. You see, that’s what light does, Sera.”
The day before their flight was, for the most part, uneventful. After a tough but rewarding tour, everyone just wanted to relax. Serafina spent the morning practicing with Book; their disparate combat styles making them perfect sparring partners. With Book narrowly winning the ‘best two out of three’ competition, Serafina walked with her in a circle as a ‘cool down’ exercise. “Hey, Sera, to celebrate the tour and all… and my magnificent victory, I want to buy you dinner. On me, you know?” Book fidgeted nervously. Serafina stopped for a moment, and looked at her in total confusion. “What kind of millionaire vocalist lets her girlfriend pay for dinner?” Book stamped her feet. “Hey, managers of millionaires aren’t exactly scrounging for pennies. Anyway, I would imagine it’s the thought that counts.” She pouted, complete with puppy dog eyes. Serafina’s only weakness. “All right, Book. I assume you already prepared a reservation.” Book gave her a thumbs-up. “You know it, girl. I ‘booked it.’ Eh, eh?” Book nudged Serafina with her elbow. Serafina hung her head in resignation. What have I gotten myself into? Book began to shadowbox and cheer, randomly. More antics, shenanigans, histrionics. Despite herself, Serafina failed to hide her smile. What have I gotten myself into? I know the answer. Something, someone, I’ll always treasure. Something, someone, I’ll never regret. Look out, Halcyon. Here we come.