Words: 884 in 114 lines
Based on the audience poll, Guard-Bug had the majority.
Most of the poem set shortly after “Secret World” but the end jumps ahead.
The people from SPOON said she needed a mentor.
They had probably already said this earlier.
But to be perfectly honest,
Tsubasa had difficulty processing anything beyond
'I'm not dead' and 'I have wings' the day she woke up.
Standard operating procedure for new soups, they said.
Not required but highly recommended.
Especially if she decided to do cape work later.
Tsubasa wasn't sure of that direction.
Her wings were pretty and just might allow her to fly.
They were also a big tempting target.
The principled supervillains might avoid causing permanent damage
but not all of them were that decent.
And even not-permanent damage would still hurt.
No thank you.
She thought about declining.
But the idea of someone to talk to,
who knew what it was like to have
your whole world change was very tempting.
She might have stayed on the fence about the issue
but then she started seeing things.
Things that were there, thankfully,
just not visible to anyone who wouldn't see in ultraviolet.
Wings she might have been foolhardy or stubborn enough
to tough out on her own.
Her eyes going weird so that nothing looked right
and the gods only knew what else
because they said she was still flickering.
Pointer wasn't certain what that (hopefully) last power was –
it seem to be hovering between Insect and Soul powers.
She wasn't that stubborn.
She asked to meet a mentor.
Because of the Insect Powers, they picked Facet.
Or Bug-eyes as everyone seemed to keep calling him.
The nickname (slur) should have been enough of a clue.
Tsubasa blamed lingering shock and sickness
for making her a little slow on the uptake.
So she was more than a little surprised
when someone with big, fly eyes
where human eyes ordinarily went
walked into her room.
She managed not to scream when
her brain realized that yes, what she was seeing was real.
She laid that down not to any sort of internal discipline
but the fact that while half of her brain was going 'Eek! Fly eyes!',
the other half was going 'Oooh, pretty colors.'
She did gasp and her body stiffened.
A reaction made enough more noticeable
by her wings flaring out.
It was almost enough to make her miss
a soft, resigned sigh.
The sigh drew her attention
to the rest of the man
standing in the doorway.
To the way his arms were crossed
and his shoulders hunched.
As if to ward off a blow.
Tsubasa suddenly felt like she had kicked a puppy.
'A hurt puppy,' she thought, noting the wan quality of his skin.
That and the tightness around the mouth said tired and hurt to her.
'Wait, didn't they said one of the local heroes was stung by the Berettaflies?'
'Yes, they had.
And if the caller knew it was a strange bugs,
they probably asked for someone with insect powers.'
The kicked puppy feeling re-doubled.
“Forgive my reaction. You startled me,” Tsubasa and bowed.
Low, low as she could get without kneeling on the floor.
She might be American born and raised
but her parents were not.
And her mother had made sure her children's
Japanese manners were as good as their American ones.
It saved trouble when they visited family.
And the Japanese way of apologizing felt more correct in this case
than the American I'm Sorry.
“It's alright. You aren't the first to react that way.”
'That doesn't make it right,' Tsubasa thought
but nodded as she straightened back up.
She made a promise to herself to be better than this.
She started by looking Facet straight in the eyes and introducing herself.
“Hello, my name is Tsubasa Inoue. I look forward to working with you.”
It might not have been the most promising beginning
but Tsubasa was determined to make it work.
It helped that Facet was willing to meet her halfway.
More than willing, he seemed surprised that anyone
would make any effort to overwhelm their initial reaction to his eyes.
Tsubasa tried not to think about that too much.
It made her angry.
But you couldn't (and shouldn't) control someone else's behavior.
The only person whose behavior you could control was your own.
So Tsubasa controlled hers.
She made a point of always looking him in the eye.
And before too long, her staring had more to do
with the beautiful swirls of color than lingering revulsion.
And if other people were too stupid
to see the person Facet was,
then they didn't deserve him.
Adalina, Ashley, and Tsubasa didn't agree on everything.
But that was at least one opinion they shared.
They were also amongst the few who always called him Facet.
And snarled at other people for calling him Bug-eyes.
Honestly was it so hard to call him by his actual cape name?
Some joker had starting calling them his guard-dogs.
'More like guard-bugs,' Tsubasa thought.
She couldn't speak for Adalina and Ashley
but found she didn't mind the comparison.
Everyone needed defending sometimes.
Facet was one of the people she chose.
He had been right.
It was just like kittens.
No matter what you promised yourself,
you always ended up coming home with another cat.
But Facet thought he could get used
to this particular set of cats.