They sat side by side in an abanoned warehouse across the street from the LitPol branch waiting for night to fall. Afro was sketching ideas in his black book, planning ahead for their trek across the country no doubt.
Asheyna looked at her friend. He was so different from anyone she had seen in a long time. His long hair and tattoos really made him stand out, and while she found it intruiging she wasn't sure now was the time to draw attention to themselves.
"Umm.. Afro?" The tone of her voice must have given her away somewhat because instead of trying to hold a conversation while sketching Afro put down the book and set the pencils beside it.
"What's up?" She looks nervous, he thought. A hundred things she would want to talk to him about ran through his mind. Normally he was good at reading people, but instead of putting his foot in his mouth, he waited.
"It's, well it's about your hair." She managed to blurt it out before she could stop herself, and before he could interrupt she continued.
"Well we're going to be on the move, and your tattoos are easily covered up but, well your hair isn't. I just think we should try and blend in as much as we can."
He took at a deep breath and looked at her. It was obvious it took a lot for her to bring up the subject so his tone was quiet and gentle as he replied.
"I've thought about it, of course. Hard not to when you're being chased by LitPol every other day and getting weird looks from everyone else on the off days.
"It's not something I can do. If I do that, then they win a little bit more. We have all given up too much of ourselves already. When the last concert I was at got raided, I decided I wasn't giving up any more."
Asheyna nodded, wondering not for the first time if she really understood anything about her new partner in crime. He was many things under that slightly frightening exterior.
"I get it," she whispered softly. "Thanks for explaining."
He smiled at her and, sensing she needed to be alone with her thoughts, went back to sketching.
His instincts were confirmed when she picked up her pack and stood up.
"I'll be back in a little bit. Just need a walk, all that driving. I'll be back before dusk."
Asheyna slowly walked out of the warehouse and began wandering the streets. No one looked twice at her, she looked just like everyone else.
How much of myself have I given up? She wondered. Sure she was a Protagonist, she still wrote, drew, and now she was learning yet another forbidden art form. Yet she could move among the LitPol with ease. Sure she rebelled inwardly, hating the bland and boring clothing that they all wore. She wore it anyways though.
As the sun began to set she made her way back to the warehouse where Afro and Reeza were waiting for her. As she approached the door she quickly slipped into a secluded ally.
Afro strained to see the lines of his newest sketch. The dancing gypsy looked remarkably like someone he knew. He smiled and then as he noticed how dark the room was he frowned. She should be back by now.
The door swung open and he tensed, ready to run. Instead, the gypsy from his drawing had sprung to life infront of him.
Asheyna walked in, her long and colorful skirt flowed with every step she took. Her shirt was a vibrant green that brought out the color of her eyes. In her hair were tiny braids here and there among the waves. She carried a pile of grey material under one arm.
"So after we're done tagging, how about a bonfire to celebrate?" She smiled as she gestured to the bundle of clothing.
"I'm tired of letting them win. Shall we go start pissing them off for a change?"