The first week of summer in Iron City is a time for peace and tranquillity. A lazy heat settles over the city like a blanket, slowing the normally frantic pace of the city to a leisurely stroll. Everyone is a little more friendly in the summer; a little more welcoming. You must have lucked out today especially; the sun shines strong and bright, though its heat is kept in check by the cool breeze from the Badlands.
Alita asked to you to come to Doc Ido’s practice for a surprise. It’s her home too, but like everyone in Iron City you can’t help but think of the building as his. You walk through in to the hallway, halfway hoping that Ido isn’t there. Luckily for you it seems to be only Alita and nurse Gehard, sitting in the ground floor theatre. They are deep in conversation, with Alita gesturing emphatically as she tries to prove some kind of point. Your footsteps echo on the floor and they turn to you in response. Alita’s face breaks in to a joyful smile and she runs across the room, slamming in to you with a forceful hug.
She breaks off her hug and reaches up to give you a quick kiss.
“Hiya!” She looks back at nurse Gerhard who simply waves and gestures towards the stairs. You give a small wave back. It seems polite.
Alita speaks again, excitedly taking your hand as she leads you towards the stairs.
“I have something to show you!” You walk up the wooden stairs, taking note of the art works on the walls. Ido’s taste is old-fashioned.
“Most people don’t know this but the building has a roof and because I had some spare time I set it up as a place to relax.”
True to her word, the stairs pass the second story and eventually lead to a small wooden door. She unlocks the latch holding it shut and you step on to a small rooftop. The buildings of Iron City loom in the distance, and Zalem hangs eternally in the sky above. The sun does make it to the roof here though, and you see a pair of old recliners looking almost like beach chairs, along with a multicoloured parasol. Alita brings you to a chair and gestures you to sit down.
“It’s not much, but I like it.” The affection for her rises in you; a tide crashing against your heart.
“I like it too.”
She’s so earnest, starting back at you with an expectant smile. You follow her instruction, and as you lay there soaking up the sun a quick flash of realisation crosses her face. She turns back to head downstairs, despite your protests.
“I want to show you something but you have to close your eyes, ok?”
You lay back in the chair. “Ok. When should I open them?”
“I’ll tell you.”
You hear her feet lightly step downstairs as you lay in the chair. The padding is soft, and you begin to doze in the comfort of the day’s heat.
You’re woken from your sleep by a soft kiss on your forehead, and a quiet voice.
You stretch and slowly open your eyes. In front of you stands Alita, hands behind her back and shyly looking down, her eyes peeking through the strand of hair across her face. You see immediately what she wanted to show you. She’s wearing a beautiful sundress; white, silken, with tiny red flowers making a pattern throughout. The sun shines through the delicate fabric as she twirls, causing hypnotic ripples. You sit there, stunned by her beauty.
“Do you like it? I don’t know much about dresses but I saw this in the market and grabbed it!”
All you can do is nod as she twirls once more. Her shyness has worn off now and she steps forward. A slight red flush blossoms in her cheeks as she pulls a face which you know means that she’s focusing.
“There’s something else- I hope this works.”
She closes her eyes and furrows her brow. You watch intently for a change. Slowly, surely you stare in amazement as the colours of her very body itself change. Her deep purple cyborg muscles meld in to a smooth red, and the black of her superstructure fades; replaced by a pure white. Though she’s known as the battle angel, with her white, silver and red body gleaming in the sun she seems like a totally different angel. An angel of healing. Of restoration. She exhales and opens her eyes, laughing with delight as she notices her body’s change.
If you were breathless before, it is nothing compared to now. You manage to choke out a single word.
She looks back at you, eyes alive with light and hope. You reach out to gently feel the dress, and she steps towards you, carefully sliding down in to the chair beside you. Her face is still flushed, and you feel her heart beating faster than usual as she cuddles up next to you. You run your hand lovingly along the curves of her body, seeing where the dress becomes artificial flesh. Her voice is muffled by your chest as she buries her head deeper in your embrace.
“I figured out how to do it yesterday. Nurse Gehard says that it’s because I have better control of my body. It seems like I go back to
my usual colours after I sleep though.”
You feel her smile through your soul and you return it in kind.
“I think you’re beautiful no matter how you look.” You pause, then continue. “I do like these colours with the dress- they match perfectly.”
She sighs with content, and you watch as the sun plays over your intertwined bodies. With the sounds of the city in the background, and with the smell of her enlivening your spirit, you wonder at how truly lucky you are to share a life with a person so perfect.