AN: I found myself guiltily typing words instead of codes so I'm back (quicker than I expected) for the second installment. Methinks the positive response (reviews, favorites & alerts) worked like a charm in conjuring my muses again as they are cooperating so thanks to everyone for this. Oh well, hope this one does not disappoint. Unbeta'ed so all mistakes are mine. And yes, I've taken quite a lot of liberties about her relationship with Chin's 'mentor' so apologies to H50 purists out there =)
Standard disclaimers apply of course.
Time passed and the princess finally came of age. There was much celebration and merry-making. Alas, the fulfillment of a long-ago curse came to pass when the princess pricked her finger on the loom...
… Fine! So she didn't really prick her finger – she wouldn't even be caught dead near a loom – but as we've already established, she is not a princess anyway, okay?
…and she fell into an enchanted sleep that lasted for a hundred years.
Seriously, a hundred years is a bit much – it's more like a couple of minutes actually (concussion, anyone?).
But then again, this is not really fairytale is it?
Even if like in the fairytale, she too falls…
Chapter 1: The curse
Off her surfboard that is.
She comes to just as they drag her to shore and she wishes she'd stayed under, because the pain in her knee is excruciating. She is glad the ocean water dripping from her hair disguises the track of tears on her cheeks because she knows even before they tell her that it's bad. She tries to keep a brave face throughout the ambulance ride but when they finally wheel her into surgery she's unable to keep it in and she's glad for the drugs because everything fades out again before she can take another look at her knee. When she comes to the second time, she's in a hospital bed and her leg is in a cast. While the doctor is optimistic about her recovery, she knows in her gut that it's an act. But she pretends like she believes him anyway because her family's varying expressions tell her they're just waiting for her to break down and cry and well, she's always been one to defy expectations.
Her mentor and sponsor, Ian, assures her he'll still be honoring their contract and even foot her medical and rehabilitation expenses. She's grateful and overwhelmed but she's also realistic and tells him bluntly that she might never be able to come back. But she's never been a quitter and her mentor's continued support helps ease her fears. So she goes through months of therapy on the off chance that maybe all of them were right and she can still surf competitively after all. But when her first time back on the tour ends disastrously and with much pain, she finally accepts that it's time to find herself another career.
Although she's quite smart, joining surfing competitions all over (and outside) the country meant her education had been spotty at best so the first thing she does is pass her GED. She's good with tech stuff and considers taking some courses on programming but thinks (modesty aside) that she's also a great cook (even if she's never had much time before to indulge) so maybe culinary school might be another option for her. Still, she takes her time and in the year (and some change) that she's been 'finding' herself her family don't really pressure her (even if their constant hovering is a pain in the backside). It doesn't help that they all act as though the world has ended for her. She is devastated about the end of her surfing career of course, but she's not about to just go curl up and die.
It's only her cousin Chin Ho who refuses to treat her like an invalid – because let's be honest here, she really isn't one – just that her knee can't support her the way she needs it to for long surfing competitions. So she takes to tagging along with him more (when he's off duty) so she doesn't suffocate completely from all that attention. It's while she's hanging out with him that she meets his mentor.
For an old guy he's pretty cool and she can definitely understand why Chin thinks very highly of him. Her father died early (shot during a store robbery he responded to a couple of years back) and since Chin is too young to be a father figure to her, she secretly assigns this role to McG (as she's taken to calling him) even though she takes great pains to avoid meeting his family because role model or not, she's already related to half the island and adding a couple more just might drive her over the brink. Not that there's even a chance of meeting them anyway, since he's packed off both his son and daughter to the mainland when his wife died and they've all been estranged ever since, at least that's what she gleans from Chin anyway. So she continues tagging along when they do target practice and when McG finally allows her to try a gun out for size, she realizes there's actually one more thing she's quite good at.
It is when her big 2-0 looms in the horizon and it's time to decide what to do with the rest of her life already that she finally chooses. And even though she's never considered joining the 'family business', so to speak, both Chin Ho and McG and her newly discovered affinity for guns and shooting targets make her rethink this. Her decision to join the Academy is met by surprise across the board, especially after the family name is tarnished when her beloved cousin is embroiled in a case that she knows he is not guilty of. But she is as stubborn as they come so she goes on ahead and defiantly continues to hang out with Chin even after he's left the force.
She focuses all her attention to being the best while in the Academy, not only because she has to prove herself but also because she's always striven to do well in whatever activity she chooses to spend her time on. She aces tests and trains harder than most and if her knee gives her trouble every now and then she just grins and bears it because she's suddenly fired up again over something that does not involve a board, giant waves and wearing bikinis.
She is in the middle of training when word comes to her of McG's death and she considers coming to his funeral briefly but she's not family (even if in her heart he is part of hers). She chooses to channel her grief in her workouts instead and beats the crap out of every single one of her sparring partners, which, of course, does not help her social life at all.
If her dating life during her rehabilitation had been in need of resuscitation, the fact that she could kick the butt out of most of her Academy classmates on the training mat and off (she can outshoot most of them to boot) just about sends it flatlining. Not that it had been that busy to begin with – turn down an invitation once or twice or…okay maybe most of the time and suddenly she's the ice bitch on tour, so yeah, whatever. Who gives a flying f*ck anyway? After kissing (just kissing, mind you) quite a lot of frogs while traveling in the pro surfing circuit in the hopes the one might turn out to be a prince – not that she'd ever admit this to herself – and finding them all to be… uh just frogs after all… she's not exactly too enthused about defibrillating her dating life again. (What? She loves medical dramas, okay?)
But sometimes, when she's alone in her bed and she lets herself remember, she swears she can still feel her lips tingle from that long ago kiss. And she wishes somehow that she sees him again. If only to prove that he is still only just a frog and that kissing him again won't suddenly turn him into a prince.
Not that she really believes frogs can turn into princes anyway, because you know, she doesn't believe in fairytales.
And this is not a fairytale.