A/N: Thank you.

Sun Child

Chapter 2

In high heels, two women walked steadily toward the dining hall of the rather large estate. Walking through the heavy red wood doors they continued down five steps that lead into the dining hall.

The dining hall was three stories. Four large gold encrusted pillars stood tall at each sector of the room, and red wood rails encased the second and third floors. The decor was simply elegant. Burgundy and mustard carpentry were underneath their heels, circular tables with white linen surrounded them, a dance floor made of the same red wood and the most grand piece was the crystal chandelier.

To say the young 19 year old was in awe was an understatement. Never before had she been in a room as grand as this one. A princess belonged here, she thought. And at that moment she never felt more like a pauper. Especially with whom the setup was for.

"Much better than the last seminar they held five years previously." Her mentor smirked walking around the room.

With the absence of a reply her mentor turned to look at the young woman she had come to raise in a short amount of time, two years. She could just taste the insecurity that was rolling off of the young woman. And for a slight moment those wide cinnamon eyes reminded her of the young girl she had met at SPR. So full of life, joy and youth. She was none of those things anymore and it pained the elder at times but still her pupil was just as beautiful if not more.

"You belong here, Mai." The young woman looked up at her. "Do not think otherwise."

It had taken only those words for Mai to breathe out evenly and relax her shoulders. Mai had other issues to take concern of anyway. Tonight was her debut. Welcoming to the paranormal world the new reformed and refurbished Taniyama Mai. No longer a misfit psychic, she was a competitor.

Madoka, her mentor, had surprised her with the invitation to England. Although she weren't personally invited, Madoka assured her she would be welcomed once they heard of her abilities. So here Mai found herself with Madoka in a London England hotel which was to hold some of the most prominent psychic researchers, psychics and mediums. Soon these empty tables would be filled with the lot of them and she would be included in this. She was nervous for multiple reasons but her biggest concern was the impromptu reunion that would take place here in a few hours. She would see some of her old coworkers as well as her notorious employer again after three years.

Old feelings wanted to resurface but she swallowed them down. Her heart was guarded and it would stay that way.

Many people came flooding into the luxurious building. Groups upon groups of people from both gender, race and age entered dressed beautifully. And soon the mass majority had arrived making their greetings. Languages from all over the globe could be heard spoken. Mai had enjoyed deciphering what languages were being spoken. She stood off to the side uncomfortable with engaging conversation with anyone quite yet. She was happy to be in thought alone.

Tonight would be the night she would see the man who took everything from her three years ago. It was a scary thought to process but she reminded herself she was stronger and less naive now. Looking into the crowd with that moving thought she found someone approaching her she had not prepared herself to see.

In beauty and grace she had grown. The teenage girl who she jealously quarreled with over a boy whom cared for neither of the girls. Hara Masako.

She glided across the room in her kimono that fit the current season, summer. Bamboo leaves adorned the ivory kimono, the fabric underneath was fuchsia and an obi of red and gold. Her face had become more shapely, her skin managed to obtain that first snow fall and her hair had grown much longer, it was past her shoulders. She was breathtaking and just as intimidating as she were three years previously.

"Taniyama." Masako averted her eyes in greeting. She would never bow to Mai for in her opinion Mai was lesser and by social standing she was correct.

"Masako." Mai spoke carefully. From many interactions with the young woman there had been many slights and insults shared. She did not know what to expect presently but three years before she would be certain hushed insults would be majority of their conversation.

"I see you've faired well, Taniyama." A compliment was a change. "Madoka's doing, I suspect."

A frown made its way to Mai's face. Still with three years separating them, the beautiful girl in front of her held hatred toward her.

"Madoka is my mentor, yes. If that is what you were asking. For the past two years we have been developing my psychic abilities and tapping into other parts of myself that were yet discovered." Mai proudly professed.

"As usual, you speak far too much." Her sleeve covered the giggle ready to escape. Instead of getting flustered Mai in turn smirked. She was a chatterbox even in conversations made to be small talk.

"Naru agreed." The name turned the harmless conversation into something much more. Mai stood frozen as Masako continued to speak.

"He'll be here later tonight, you know." Masako fluttered her eyes meticulously. "He called me not too long ago to apologize for his late timing."

"He doesn't apologize." She lifted an eyebrow. "You're lying, Masako."

An amused smirk plastered the elegant woman's face.

"I've been in contact with Naru for the past two years. We've become... closer over that course of time." The tone of voice used specified that there was a relationship of sorts. Wether intimate, Mai did not want to know. "People change over time."

Mai felt that fire ignite in her. The same fire she had felt as a young love sick teenage girl. It amazed her how years apart from this one specific woman could ignite the exact same scenario that happened three years previously. She tried to bite her tongue but the insult she had hidden in the confines of her lips was too good to not retort.

"Hm and still after all these years he's made no commitment to you, Masako. That hasn't changed. I find that rather sad."

A moment of silence filled the air and the atmosphere changed. The expression Masako wore on her face could be referred to as incredulous but she covered the expression rather quickly. A sound of giggles interrupted the victory Mai once felt.

"You find me sad?" A cruel giggle escaped, "You've come here for only one reason, Taniyama. Pretend that it pertains to your newly found skills but you and I know the truth. This is all for him. And that is rather pathetic especially when three years of no contact stands between the two of you. You may even consider yourselves strangers with that duration of time." With a dainty hold of her silk kimono, she held it over her mouth and dismissed herself entirely from Mai.

Feeling sickness take over her, she scurried into the restroom and found herself in a stall leaning over the toilet pouring every emotion she tried to suppress. Tears threatened to stream down her face but she refused to let them shed. She fell silently against the floor deep in thought. Three years had passed. She was sure she killed off her old self and yet one interaction from Masako had her just as angry as she had been at 16. She was foolish for thinking she was ready to be here. She wasn't. And to think she believed she were prepared to see the cause of all this anger. She wasn't ready. No no she was not.

"Mai." A voice called. "Taniyama, are you in here?" The familiar voice called again.

"I.. I'm here." She opened the stall door but did not get up from the floor.

"Get off the floor before you ruin that beautiful dress, firstly." A manicured hand reached out towards her, and she secured it with her own being lifted up gently. "Secondly, what did Masako say to you?"

Her eyes widened in surprise but she quickly averted them downward and proceeded to tell the rude encounter.

"Eh, she's always been a little bitch. And I'm sure over the years she's become an even bigger bitch." The statement did not make Mai feel any better. If anything she questioned why this hatred was toward her.

"She hates you because you intimidate her."

"Me?" Mai scoffed. "She's renowned. Practically paranormal royalty. And I'm just.."

"A young woman who seems to capture the attention and hearts of others without a single spotlight on them." The woman smiled kindly. "Mai, you carry your own personal spotlight wherever you go. Masako has to make effort and it destroys her confidence to see you not even lift a finger."

A moment of silence took over. The 19 year old was becoming overwhelmed and she swore to herself she could handle this but so far she couldn't hide how she felt. The anger, the sadness... The betrayal.

"Where were you?" The words came out in a whisper.

"Excuse me?" Her companion asked.

"Where were you when I needed you, Ayako?" Her eyes were narrowed in anger but there was overwhelming sadness radiating off of those eyes.

A sigh escaped the red haired woman. And eyes became solemn. "Mai chan I wanted to be there. Monk wanted to be there. But Naru convinced us that it was in your best interest to be absent in your future."

"And you listened to him?!" Mai yelled. "I loved you guys. You were MY family and you abandoned me. You left without a phone call, a letter or word. I needed you." The words echoed off the bathroom walls and Ayako went to reach for Mai but the young woman flinched from the touch. Sadness overcame her from the denial of her touch. She would have to reach Mai through words.

"Naru gave valid reasonings. He convinced us, in his way, that by contacting you we would be selfish and endangering your future." Mai's arms uncrossed and she looked to the woman she had once called sister. "Mai, had I known you wished for us to stay I would be with you always. But we were told it was safer to keep you away from the paranormal world. And that our love was selfish if we were to be around you. And we do love you, Mai. So we decided to be selfless and do what was in your best interest. Or what Naru had informed us was your best interest."

Mai felt terrible. Monk and Ayako would never abandon her willingly unless it was to protect her. They loved her, she knew that. But it still hurt to know that all these years they could have been with her. She was so entirely alone and lost within that first year. So drained and with no one to tell her secrets too. It pained her that not only did Naru abandon her but it seemed the rest of her surrogate family had as well. She needed monk's jokes. She needed Ayako's sisterly banter. She needed them.

"I missed you so... So much." The tear filled words escaped a dry throat.

Enveloped in older arms she held onto the woman she considered an older sister. A hug that had not been felt for over three years. And the damn broke. Tears spilled from Mai's face, washing away all the anguish she felt throughout the three years.

"I'm so sorry Mai chan." The words were repeated through sobs. And with each shake she held on tighter afraid it would leave again.

This reunion was bittersweet for Mai but she knew no matter the distance and time love prevailed any sorrow.

Part 2

The convention had begun with everyone seated at their assigned round tables. Mai looked around the full room with a nervous feeling. Never before had she been around such power people. It was intimidating to say the least. But her thoughts kept her from truly letting the nervousness settle in. Instead there was a great sense of anticipation for one person. A person she could not find in the sea of people. She found Ayako seated with a couple of Japanese people to her far right, and her eyes casted over to the center where Masako sat delicately. The chair beside her was bare as well as the chair beside the empty one. A young English couple sit at Masako's table and an Indian female in her late twenties, she speculated.

Thinking back to her small spat with Masako she assumed the empty seats were reserved for no other than Lin and Naru. She sighed as she now had to believe Masako when she said Naru would be late. Focusing on the podium she let the thoughts drop from her foggy mind. There were bigger matters to think of.

Prestigious paranormal workers from all over the globe patiently awaited the next speaker. Mai felt her heart pound in anticipation as Madoka confidently walked toward the podium. She looked so powerful and the gleam in her eyes could only be described as arrogant. Madoka was always herself in her line of work. Wether speaking with clients, co workers, friends and a room full of intimidating superiors... She was just herself. Mai felt a tinge of admiration flood her cheeks. She appreciated the older woman so greatly. And giving her full attention she would learn from this moment and someday achieve this status.

Madoka cleared her throat once before peering into nearly every person, who was seated, eyes. Once she felt she had their undivided attention she begun with a strong voice, speaking in English. Because it were more universally accepted.

"Being a parapsychologist, I often find my head on the chopping board."

A few chuckles of agreement were heard. She waited for them to stop.

"Many of you can relate to this vulgar yet accurate analogy. Simply because we live in a world of skeptics. What these skeptics don't understand is that the biggest skeptics are a part of a rather taboo team. A team interested in the paranormal world.

I've studied parapsychology for over a decade. And in my line of work I've seen many things and have received much criticism for my choice in career. We are seen by the world as gullible."

Madoka, using her hands to grip the top part of the podium, leaned forward intimidatingly. "I assure you, I do not take interest in things that are not a sure thing. And I can assure you that astral projection does exist."

Immediately the reception of the room changed. A few people scoffed at her words, some gawked, and shook their heads displeased but overall the mass majority raised eyebrows. Madoka only relaxed having expected the reaction the crowd would give.

"Already, many of you are denying its existence and I cannot blame you. Extensive research from the best scientists could not even prove of its existence rather than claim it as just a theory. Astral projection is perhaps the upmost controversial notion. Even within the paranormal world. The direct lack of physical evidence has made it abundantly clear."

She began to grin like the Cheshire Cat. "I have evidence."

"I will be introducing a very unique attribution to the paranormal world. You will not forget her name nor her abilities at the end of this convention." Her eyes then traveled to the side where Mai stood transfixed.

"My protege, Mai Taniyama, everyone."

Soon applause could be heard and Mai looked around stunned before looking at Madoka who ushered her hands for her to join her at the podium. Mai quickly getting in step, losing her footing for a second, clumsily made her way over. A red blush and averted eyes were the younger girl's immediate reaction. Madoka smiled continuing with her speech.

"I met Mai four years ago. She was working as an assistant in a psychic research facility. She had pre cognitive and post cognitive dreams that often directed our cases. It wasn't until a rather very dangerous case, where a colleague went rogue, that the team witnessed Mai using not only astral projection but teleportation of objects. She transferred a simple house key to her colleague through astral projection and when we found said colleague she indeed held the very house key Mai graciously gave.

For the past year, I've taken Mai under my wing and we've explored her psychic abilities discovering she could astral project, teleport objects in her vicinity through dreams, have post cognitive and pre cognitive dreams, a latent psychic, strong intuition, and a successful medium."

Mai wasn't sure how to take all the gasps about her abilities. She was proud of herself sure but it was another thing to be bragged on so leisurely. Especially on matters that weren't common amongst many. She could practically hear the whispers of amazement, skepticism and anger. She wanted to shrink away but stayed rooted from her shock.

"My book, It's Not Just A Theory: Astral Projection, would not have been a thought if it weren't for a person I've come to value greatly. Thank you, Mai Taniyama for your kindness. I look forward to seeing more contributions from you in the paranormal world. Mai you are truly phenomenal."

Madoka held a beautiful smile on her face as she faced Mai and clapped her hands. Mai could only look in astonishment at her mentor but she wasn't prepared for the loud applause and whistles she received from the crowd. She looked toward them and felt tears starting to form from the grand response. Everyone was standing and clapping, all eyes on her.

She felt noticed. She felt appreciated. Finally Mai had done something praise worthy and in the eyes of powerful people. She didn't need the assurance, she was confident in herself but it was a nice change.

Looking amongst the crowd her eyes were directed on him. Of the hundreds that had shown her eyes found him. The breath in her body left her, her lips parted and a sense of aching and hollowness took over. All because cinnamon brown specs found deep blue orbs.

He was taller, more toned from what she could see, his features were sharper and his eyes held mirth instead of its usual sorrow. She wondered silently when he had obtained his peace. And shook her head at her callousness. Obviously it had happened after discovering Gene's body. Everything was put to rest including his sorrow. Well almost everything.

Everyone surrounding him applauded Mai. Except him, she noted. His hands were deep in the confines of his pant pockets. His mouth held that same smirk that made her knees weak those few years ago. Instead an overwhelming feeling of sickness came over her in waves. She could feel her reserve leaving her by just looking into his eyes.

He was actually here.

The clapping was dying down to only a few sounds of shuffling chairs. She could feel hands pressed on her lower back and shoulder ushering her off the podium. She followed the person, whom she soon discovered was Madoka, without fight but her eyes continued to look at her former boss. The man who had deprived her of a job, a family, and love.

Oliver Davis.

It did not pass her thoughts that he too followed her very gaze till the vicinity blocked them from each other entirely.

Dinner was being served. A fresh garden salad was the first course, the second course was scallops, lobster and mashed purée in a citrus sauce and dessert was served shortly after, a plentiful slice of coconut cake. Mai had never eaten so well in her life. She nearly scoffed down the entire meal though she had great trouble with the silverware. She missed her chopsticks, greatly.

Mai was seated with Madako, Ayako and two unfamiliar gentlemen whom she shared polite smiles with upon being seated. Everyone was in polite conversation, eating their meals in relative silence. What could be heard mostly was silverware upon plates and soft chewing.

A clinking noise was heard throughout the room. Mai scooted her chair back a few centimeters and looked behind her to find Oliver standing with a glass of water and a fork gently hitting the glass. Once he got everyone's attention he placed the items down.

Mai looked around his table to find Masako to his right, Lin on his left and a young English couple across from them. He cleared his throat and said with finality...

"I'll be opening SPR in Japan next month. That is all." His eyes landed on hers before he sat back down.

The room erupted in talk. Mai only heard silence. The shock of his words awakening her with the shake of Ayako.

"You know what this means right?" Her eyes dancing with mischief.

Mai looked down at her slice of cake with a sudden loss of an appetite. Naru would be in Japan again. He would open up SPR again. Did that mean he would employ everyone who worked there previously, including herself? From the eye contact he made she assumed so.

"Well that was sudden." Madoka laughed sipping from her glass of white wine afterward.

She didn't want this. This feeling of anticipation and excitement at the prospect of him coming back and asking her to be his assistant again. She wanted nothing to do with him but to make him see. See what though? That she was worthy. She was smart, intriguing, a strong mature independent woman.

Why she had to prove this to him? There wasn't an answer. But it felt necessary.

The convention was far from over and now it seemed it would continue long after it was over. Tonight would get interesting, that was certain.