Torchwood Special Part 2: Torchwood no Go
I still do not own Doctor Who or Torchwood. Both are the property of 4Kids TV...wait, what? Okay, so in this alternate version of reality, everything belongs to 4Kids, but I'm pretty sure that in the normal version of reality, Doctor Who and Torchwood belong to the BBC.
Yamada Yumi, John Smith, Captain Jack Harknass and Gwen Cooper were still trying to hunt down an alien symbiote. After possessing John, the symbiote had left him and bonded with Britney Spears. The four who were looking for the symbiote knew that it had abandoned Britney, but they needed to follow its trail. Therefore they confronted her for questioning.
"We believe you were signing autographs yesterday," said Jack.
"Is that a crime?" said Britney.
"We're not arresting you," said Gwen. "We need some information to help track down an alien symbiote that was possessing you."
"Are you crazy?" asked Britney.
"Normally we wouldn't be this forward with alien information," said Jack, "but we know that you already know about this alien's presence. You can't deny what you went through yesterday and the day before."
"Is it that hard for you to believe that I'm simply ultra-popular?" asked Britney.
"Not popular enough to monopolize the entire music industry," said John.
"All right," said Britney. "I was signing autographs, when suddenly the symbiote thingy abandoned me for the guy whose autograph I was signing."
"Whose autograph were you signing?" asked Yumi.
"If I tell you, will you help me get that symbiote back?" asked Britney.
"Um, yeah," said John. "Totally."
"I don't believe you," said Britney.
"That was pretty unconvincing," said Yumi.
"Look, we need that symbiote," said Jack. "It's dangerous."
"I don't care," said Britney. "It was the best thing that ever happened to me."
"Was it really?" asked Yumi. "I think popularity is overrated."
"How would you know?" said Britney.
"It's funny you should say that," said Yumi. "Back in Japan, I'm more popular than I ever wanted to be. I came to America specifically to get a break from all that."
"Why would anyone do that?" asked Britney.
"Well, that was a complete waste of time," said John after they had given up and parted with Britney Spears.
"I think this is what the symbiote wants," said Yumi. "It probably bonded with Britney Spears specifically to shake us off its trail. She signed many autographs for many people, and the symbiote could have moved on to any one of them."
"Sally, what happened to your voice?" asked John. "Didn't you have some kind of accent before?"
"What did you just call me?" asked Yumi.
"That's your name, isn't it?" asked John. "Sally Smith?"
"No it isn't," answered Yumi. "It's Sally Smith."
Everyone paused for a second, trying to make sense of the last two sentences.
"It must be that symbiote," said Sally. "It's warping reality again. Now I can't say my own name, although I can still remember what it sounded like in my head."
"I can't," said John. "All I remember is Sally Smith."
Sally turned to Jack and Gwen.
"Actually, I think this is the first time that we've been introduced," said Jack. "My name is Captain Jack Harknass I think."
"I think I'm Gwen Cooper," said Gwen.
"Sally, have you ever played charades?" asked John.
"Yes, I have," said Sally.
"Why don't you try acting out the sound of your name?" suggested John.
Sally tapped two fingers of her right hand onto her left forearm.
"Two syllables," said John.
Sally tapped one finger against her forearm.
"First syllable," said John.
Sally pointed at Jack Harknass.
"Jack?" said Jack.
Sally shook her head, then pointed at Gwen.
"Gwen?" said Gwen.
Sally shook her head again.
"Torchwood?" suggested Jack.
Sally pointed to herself, then crossed her arms over her chest, then pointed at John.
"I love you?" said John.
Sally blushed, then held up three fingers with her left hand, while pointing to John with her right hand.
"Oh, 'you,'" said John.
Sally gave John a thumbs-up. She then tapped two fingers against her forearm.
"Second syllable," said Jack.
Sally pointed at herself.
"I?" asked John. "You-I?"
Sally shook her head. She pointed at John, then crossed her arms. She hesitated, her face flushing deep red. She nervously pointed at herself.
"You love me," said John. "The second syllable is 'me.'"
"And the first syllable is 'you,'" said Jack. "Put it together and it's 'Sally.'"
Sally buried her face in her hands.
"That was really weird," said Jack.
"Just try to remember what it sounded like in your head," said Sally.
"Sally, I introduced myself to you before the symbiote switched hosts," said John. "What's my name?"
"It's John Smith," said Sally. "That honestly was what you said your name was."
"Oh, <bleep>," said John.
"What was that?" asked Jack.
"I tried to swear," said John, "but all I heard was a bleeping noise. I can still swear in my head. So how come I can remember that, but I can't remember Sally's real name? Not only that, but when the symbiote bonded with Britney Spears, I actually thought her music was good. Why does the symbiote's reality-warping powers only sometimes modify our memories?"
"I think it's because it tries to warp the physical aspects of reality if possible," said Sally. "If the reality-warping changes don't apply to the physical world, then it warps whatever does apply in the case of my name and Britney Spears' popularity, our minds. The whole point of Britney Spears bonding with the reality-warping symbiote was to make her popular, which meant that everyone had to like her."
"So how come your mind is unaffected by the symbiote?" asked Gwen.
"Well, I don't like to brag," said Sally, blushing a little, "but I have been known to have a particularly strong mind that cannot be forcefully bent to the will of others."
"That makes you pretty useful to our mission," said Jack. "You can look for clues that the rest of us can't see."
"I guess I should start looking," said Sally. She searched through her own bag for a few seconds. "My manga volumes! They're all gone!"
"What manga were you looking for?" asked John.
"I'm not even going to try to say it," said Sally, who had been looking for "Hikaru no Go." "If I do try, it will sound disgustingly wrong. Anyway, my volumes were in Japanese, and I was expecting the writing to change to English, with everyone's names being changed. I wasn't expecting them to be stolen."
"They weren't stolen," said John. "They disappeared completely."
"How can you be so sure?" asked Sally.
"Because I know who is currently bonded with the symbiote," said John. "Does anyone have a laptop, or something that can browse the Internet?"
Sally took out her android phone.
"Search Google for 'Al Kahn's thoughts on manga,'" said John.
"I think manga is a problem because we're in a culture that is not a reading culture," said Al Kahn's voice from Sally's phone. "Kids today don't read, they read less today. In every survey, we find that they're watching more television, they're on the Internet more, and that content, although being king, is very disposable. Because the way content gets put out now, it gets put out free. We're streaming most of our shows. The reason why we're streaming them is we want kids to watch them as much as they can, and get vested in the concept and go out and buy products. The products ain't free. The content is going to be free. And manga in my mind is trying to put a square peg in a round hole in the U.S. It will never be a big deal here, for the kids that are in the computer or the Internet generation, because they're not going to read. They haven't read, and they're not going to start now."
"I think I'm going to be sick," said Sally.
"So this Al Kahn guy doesn't like manga, or books in general," said Jack. "Does he also not like Japanese names?"
"Totally," said John. "He's the CEO of 4Kids TV a company that translates Japanese anime into English. But they do more than just translate. They censor all aspects of Japanese culture, trying to make kids think that the shows were American to begin with."
"Do they ever swear in the 4Kids versions of anime?" asked Sally.
"Never," answered John.
"Jack!" said a woman's voice with a British accent. Jack turned around to find a woman walking towards him. "It's good to see you!"
"I'm sorry, do I know you?" asked Jack.
The woman rolled her eyes. "Take a good look at me," she said.
"Okay," said Jack. "You look familiar, but..."
"Now close your eyes, and picture me standing in front of you, but imagine that my skin is darker."
Jack closed his eyes for a second, then opened them. "Martha Jones?"
"How did you become white?" asked Jack.
"I have no idea," said Martha. "Half an hour ago I was black. Then suddenly, I was white."
"It's the symbiote," said John.
"Hang on," said Gwen. "The symbiote switched hosts yesterday, but Martha's only been white for half an hour."
"It takes about twenty-four hours for the effects to kick in after the symbiote bonds," said John.
"But back at the airport, when the symbiote tried to possess me and failed, it re-bonded with you and made you invisible instantly," said Sally.
"That's probably because the bond between the symbiote and me was still fresh," said John.
"Would someone mind starting from the beginning and telling me what's going on?" asked Martha.
"There's a powerful symbiote that can bond with a host..." started Jack.
"I know what a symbiote is!" said Martha.
"...and warp the very fabric of reality based on its host's persona," finished Jack.
"And its current host hates black people?" said Martha.
"I'm not sure," said Jack. "We know his name: Al Kahn. We know that he's in charge of a company called 4Kids, which edits Japanese cartoons by translating them into English, and also Americanizing the cultural aspect. Now that Kahn has the symbiote, he's doing the same thing to the real world that he does to anime."
"He hates black people, all right," said John. "One of the shows he dubbed was 'One Piece' although 4Kids lost the license to that show to FUNimation after two years. While 4Kids still had the license, they edited one of the characters by changing his skin from black to white."
"I'd like to have a word with this Kahn bloke," said Martha angrily.
"Mr. Kahn, sir," said a 4Kids employee, "there are five people who wish to see you."
"What do they want?" asked Kahn.
"They weren't very specific," said the employee. "They just said that they have some important information that you need to know about your closest friend. They said you'd understand."
They are referring to me, said the symbiote's voice in Kahn's head.
I know that, said Kahn. Should we let them in?
Sure, why not? said the symbiote.
"Send them in," said Kahn.
Jack, Gwen, Martha, John and Sally entered the room. Gwen scanned Kahn. "The symbiote is definitely inside him," she said.
"Symbiote, meet Martha Jones. Martha Jones, meet the symbiote. The rest of us, the symbiote has already met."
"What about me?" asked Kahn. "Aren't you going to introduce me? I'm feeling left out."
"You're the symbiote," said John.
"No, I'm Al Kahn," said Kahn. "The symbiote is a very close friend of mine both emotionally and physically."
"I don't believe it's Al Kahn talking," said John. "I think it's the symbiote."
Jack scanned Kahn with his own scanner. "Actually, according to my scanner, most of his physical body output is under no influence of the symbiote."
"But when the symbiote possessed me, I had no control over my body!" objected John.
"Maybe it's because the symbiote needs to balance its energy between controlling its host and warping reality," speculated Sally. "When it bonded with you, all it had to do was make you invisible."
"Besides, why would it need to control me?" said Kahn. "We're already good friends."
"Kahn, the symbiote can't be trusted," said Jack. "Now, I'm willing to show it mercy if it's willing to cooperate. I have a jar here thats' designed to contain psychic symbiotes. Once it's in the jar, I will interrogate it, then if I determine that it's safe, I will return it to its home world."
"And what if I don't want to go in the jar?" sakd Kahn, whose voice had suddenly grown colder, indicating that it was now the symbiote talking.
"Then I will have no choice but to shoot you," said Jack, pointing a gun at Kahn. "This will leave Kahn's human body unharmed, but it will destroy the symbiote."
"You won't be doing that," said the symbiote.
"Oh, yes I will," said Jack. He then pulled the trigger.
"That wasn't very nice," said Kahn, whose voice was back to normal, and whose face was dripping wet.
Gwen scanned Kahn again. "The symbiote is still present," she said.
"Of course it is," said John. "That's a water pistol you fired."
"No it isn't," said Jack. "I swear it's a delta wave gun designed to destroy specific targets and pass through all other matter without harming it."
"It's a water pistol now," said John, "thanks to the 4Kids curse."
"You think this is a curse?" said Kahn. "With the symbiote's help, I've brought peace."
"Peace is nice," said Martha, "but the racism needs to stop."
"Racism?" repeated Kahn. "That usually implies violence and hate crimes."
"Keyword: usually," said Sally.
"But those are the times when racism is a problem," said Kahn. "All I want to do is help you fit into society."
"No, you want us to blend in," said Sally. "We don't need to blend in in order to fit in. I'm perfectly happy with the diversity I had."
"Wow, that's deep," said John.
"Deep won't help us defeat the symbiote," said Jack.
"You're right," said Sally. "But maybe we could make a deal with it."
"Like what?" asked Jack.
"I challenge you to a game of Go," said Sally. "If I win, the symbiote unbonds with Kahn and goes into Captain Harknass' s jar."
"Why would I agree to that?" said Kahn. "I've never played Go before."
"Maybe Al Kahn hasn't," said Sally, "but the symbiote is an intelligent life form from outer space."
"And I suppose that automatically makes me a formidable Go player?" said the symbiote's voice from Kahn's mouth.
"Well, are you?" asked Sally.
"Yes, actually," admitted the symbiote. "But if you want me to go into that jar if I lose, you have to wager something equally valuable if I win."
"If you win," said Sally, "then I will allow you to bond with me."
"Why would the symbiote even want that?" asked Kahn. "We're best friends."
"Don't worry," said the symbiote. "I don't have to bond with you to be your friend. If I obtain her power, I can do anything you want me to do, and more."
"That's the most pathetic lie I've ever heard!" said John. "Even Al Kahn isn't stupid enough to fall for that!"
"Don't be too sure," said Jack. "Have you ever heard of wishful thinking?"
"Speaking of lies," said the symbiote, "how do I know you won't just force me out again if I win?"
"I was just about to ask you the same question," said Sally.
"I have an idea," said John. "Kahn and the symbiote together can turn 4Kids anime into reality. Let's make this a shadow game, like in Yu-Gi-Oh!. In a shadow game, the loser cannot break his or her promise regarding the outcome of the game."
"Good idea," said the symbiote. "Sally Smith, soon you will be mine!"
Kahn stood up and took down a gold-colored pyramid-shaped object from his shelf.
"What's that?" asked Sally.
"It's called a Millennium Puzzle," said Kahn. "In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Millennium Items were usually necessary for creating shadow games."
Sally took out a Go board that she carried in her bag at all times. She set it up on the table while Kahn hung the Millennium Puzzle on a string around his neck. He held it in his hands and concentrated. After a few seconds, the eye on the Millennium Puzzle started glowing.
Sally bowed. "Game on!" she and Kahn said together.
"Wait, that's not what I meant to say at all," said Sally.
"I suggest you just go with it," said John.
Neither Jack nor Gwen nor Martha had any experience with Go. John, on the other hand, was very experienced by human standards, ranked about 4dan (non-professionally). He saw both Sally and the symbiote play strong moves that he would never have imagined. However, he was pretty good at calculating who had more territory, although Sally and her opponent were both better than John at claiming more territory, taking the opponent's territory away, and defending one's own territory. John saw that the difference between territory was slowly growing larger in Sally's favor, but it remained very narrow until the late mid-game.
Sally remembered the game she had played against a Slitheen back when she first met the Doctor, as well as a game against a Sontaran after she parted with the Doctor. The symbiote was significantly stronger than the Slitheen, but a little weaker than the Sontaran.
In the end, Sally won by ninteen and a half points. The symbiote should have resigned before the game was over, but it was facing imprisonment in Jack's jar.
"No!" said the symbiote as the Millennium Puzzle started glowing again. "I will not go into that jar!"
"Too late," said John. "You can't break your promise now."
"Help me, Kahn!" said the symbiote. "Together we can undo the reality of the Millennium Puzzle!"
Kahn squeezed his eyes shut, held his breath and clamped his hands around the Millennium Puzzle. After a second, the Puzzle stopped glowing. Kahn exhaled, then took the Puzzle and the string it was hanging from off his neck and threw the Puzzle out the window.
"Get out of my office, now!" he said angrily.
"We were so close!" said John as they went outside and picked up the Millenium Puzzle off the ground.
"How are we going to defeat the symbiote now?" asked Martha.
"I think we're asking the wrong question," said Sally. "It's not 'how,' so much as 'why.'"
"You mean, 'why should we defeat the symbiote?'" asked John. "Who's side are you on?"
"No," said Sally, "I meant 'why would the symbiote choose to bond with Kahn, of all people?' What's it trying to accomplish?"
"I've been wondering that question myself," said Jack, "but I'd rather defeat the symbiote before I find out the answer."
"But if we could figure out the answer before it happens," said Sally, "it might give us a clue as to how to defeat it."
"We saw what happened when Jack tried to shoot it," said Martha. "Maybe it's trying to make Earth defenseless against an alien attack."
"But what if it also censors alien weapons used against Earth?" asked John.
"I doubt it will," said Sally. "You said that the symbiote was looking for a specific target, presumably Al Kahn. I think someone else told it to look for him. That someone is probably an alien who told it not to censor that alien's weapons, but only Earth weapons."
"But my delta wave gun isn't an Earth weapon," said Jack.
"By 'Earth weapon,' I didn't mean 'made on Earth,'" said Sally. "I meant used by Earth to defend Earth."
"Wait a minute," said John. "If these aliens want to destroy Earth, they may succeed, but they won't be able to reuse their weapon on other planets, since Al Kahn will be destroyed with the rest of the human race. Therefore it must be someone who holds a particular grudge against Earth."
"I do know one species of people who might be particularly interested in eliminating the Human race, but not the planet itself," said Jack.
"But how will knowing this help us stop the symbiote?" asked Gwen.
"Kahn probably believes that he can censor weapons from an alien attack just as easily as Earth weapons," said Sally. "If I can show him that he's wrong, he might be willing to expel the symbiote. I have a plan to help that process along, but I can't guarantee that it will be successful."
"But the only way to prove him wrong would be to wait until the attack actually happens," said Martha. "Then it will be too late."
"Not if we time it perfectly," said Sally. "That's where you come in, Miss Jones."
"How's that?" asked Martha.
"If I am successful in ridding Kahn of the symbiote, reality will return to normal," answered Sally. "We need some kind of signal that will indicate the exact time that happens, so that we can immediately launch our defensive weapons."
"Right, I understand now," said Martha.
The five of them each took their separate battle positions. Martha went to her headquarters at UNIT. Gwen took an airplane back to Cardiff, England to man the Torchwood defenses. Jack gave her his own psychic paper so that Gwen could get to Cardiff as quickly as possible. Jack himself stayed in New York, ready to pilot a jet for reasons the rest of the team weren't quite sure of at the moment. Sally and John went back to Kahn's office.
"I thought I told you to get out of my office!" said Kahn.
"Says the man who is about to be responsible for the destruction of planet Earth," said John.
"I don't know what you're talking about," said Kahn.
Sally pressed a speed-dial button on her phone. "Hello, it's Sally Smith. That's still not my real name, but anyway, It's time to go live. Over."
Gwen pressed a button on a Torchwood control panel, and Kahn's TV suddenly displayed a bunch of spacecrafts above Earth's atmosphere.
"No problem," said Kahn. "They can't hurt us. If they do, I'll just censor them."
"That's what you think," said John, "but the symbiote has something else in mind. It was sent here by those aliens to make Earth defensless."
"Don't listen to them, Kahn!" said the symbiote's voice from Kahn's mouth. "They're lying!"
"Actually, I thought that Captain Harknass said that the Silurians weren't aliens," said Sally. "They were the former dominant species on Earth before humans."
"How do you know about the Silurians?" asked the symbiote.
"I didn't," said Sally. "I only suspected, until you confessed just now."
Suddenly, the Silurians started firing. One of the missiles hit UNIT headquarters. "The shield density is being compromised!" said one of the UNIT staff.
The outside of UNIT headquarters was on Kahn's TV, showing the building unharmed.
"See?" said Kahn. "No problem."
"That's because UNIT has force fields protecting them," said Sally. "The 4Kids censorship spell only affects destructive weapons not shields." She then spoke into her phone. "We need a shot of civilian areas!"
Kahn's TV switched to a view of streets filled with people screaming. Missiles hit, and people died.
"Impossible!" said Kahn.
"You've been tricked," said John. "We're all going to die, and it's all your fault."
"But there must be something we can do!" said Kahn.
"You need to focus the symbiote's reality-warping abilities and control them," said Sally.
"I can't!" said Kahn.
"Maybe you're not strong enough to warp the reality of an entire Silurian battle fleet," said John, "at least not without the symbiote's consent. But maybe you can focus its power on one Millennium Puzzle." He walked over to Kahn and hung the Puzzle around Kahn's neck.
Sally placed Jack's containment jar on Kahn's desk. "The symbiote has already lost the bet from that Go game," she said. "All you need to do is make the Millennium Puzzle real to finalize the deal."
Kahn closed his eyes. A faint light began to glow from the Millennium Puzzle's eye. After a second, it disappeared.
Kahn's eyes opened, revealing a sinister glare. "You've failed, Sally Smith," said the symbiote.
"Damn!" said John.
Sally turned to face John. "What did you just say?"
"I said..." started John. "Oh my God! I actually swore!"
"Impossible!" said the symbiote as the light in the Millennium Puzzle's eye reappeared.
"By the way," said Sally, "my name isn't Sally Smith. It's Yumi Yamada!"
"No!" cried the symbiote as the Puzzle glowed brighter. A field of energy appeared to flow from the edges of Kahn's body inward, converging at the Millennium Puzzle.
"Actually," said John, "I kind of prefer the way your full name sounds in Asian name order."
"Yamada Yumi!" said John and Yumi together.
The symbiote screamed as it was sucked from Kahn's body, through the Millennium Puzzle and into Jack's jar.
"Sayonara!" said Yumi and John together, each waving both hands.
Meanwhile, at UNIT headquarters in New York...
"Shields off line!" said a UNIT staff after another missile had struck.
Martha looked at the skin on her hands. It was darker than it had been a few seconds ago. "Fire at will!" she screamed.
"Fire at will!" repeated the chief into a communicator that was linked to all other UNIT headquarters across the globe.
The UNIT weapons staff started firing missiles up at the Silurian fleet while the shield staff worked on repairing the shields as quickly as possible.
"The symbiote has failed us!" said a Silurian warrior in one of the ships as a nearby ship was hit by a missile. "Open fire on 4Kids headquarters!"
Yumi and John were leaving Kahn's office. They were standing outside when Yumi saw the missile coming down.
"Should we run?" asked John.
"I don't think we can run fast enough to escape the blast radius," said Yumi.
Suddenly, a jet airplane collided with the missile in midair. The jet disintegrated, and something fell out of the sky from where the collision had occurred.
Yumi and John watched in horror as the body of Captain Jack Harknass hit the ground.
"He gave his life to save ours!" said Yumi sadly.
"Wait a minute," said John. "His jet disintegrated, so why didn't he?"
Suddenly Jack sat up and inhaled deeply with a loud gasp.
"You're alive!" said Yumi joyfully.
"I can't ever die," said Jack. "Ever. You, on the other hand, won't be so lucky. The Silurians are ready to fire another missile any minute now."
"So what are we going to do?" asked John. "You can't use yourself as a shield again unless you can get back up in the sky."
"Actually, I contacted a Silurian colony underground and told them what their rogue fleet was doing," said Jack. "I still needed that jet to buy some time for you."
"Halt!" said a voice from every electronic speaker on the planet. "This cowardly attack will stop at once! We are better than this. You are a disgrace to the Silurians!"
"Apparently the Silurians know English," said John.
"I don't think that Silurian was actually speaking English," said Jack. "They have advanced translating software."
"But how come I was hearing English?" asked Yumi. "The last time I encountered a translator, it made me understand what I was hearing in my head, but it didn't change the way it sounded."
"This isn't a psychic translator," said Jack. "It rewrites the audio coming out of the speakers. It's being broadcast around the planet, being translated in each area in whatever language is most popular in that area."
"What about the Silurian fleet?" asked John.
"The Silurian from the colony below was obviously addressing them," answered Jack, "and he was probably speaking to them in native Silurian. He wanted the human race to hear him so that we would know that he's on our side."
Yumi, John and Jack met with Martha and the rest of the New York branch of UNIT. "Miss Yamada, please hand over the symbiote," said the chief.
"What will you do to it if I give it to you?" asked Yumi.
"That thing almost destroyed our planet," said the chief. "It must be destroyed."
"It's also a sentient life form!" argued Yumi. "I won't let you destroy it!"
"If you defy me, I will have no choice but to arrest you," said the chief.
"You can't do that!" said John. "She's responsible for saving the planet in the first place! I mean, we all worked together, but Yumi contributed more than the rest of us combined."
"Even so, I must have the symbiote in my custody," said the chief.
"If you're a top-secret alien defense agency," said Jack, "then surely you've heard of the Doctor."
"How is this relevant?" asked the chief.
"Do you know what he was called during the Time War, besides the Doctor?" asked Jack. "He was often referred to as the Oncoming Storm. He was feared by all his enemies. Even the Daleks and Sontarans, who claim to be fearless, would much rather face each other than the Doctor.
"Now I recently did some quick interstellar research on this girl Yamada Yumi, I believe and I found out that she has acquired her own nickname across the stars. While the Doctor is the Oncoming Storm, she is the Angel of Mercy."
"And what exactly does she want to do with the symbiote?" asked the chief.
"I will have it sent back to its home planet somehow," said Yumi. "I'm just not sure how."
"The Silurians will know how," said Jack. "They were the ones who found the symbiote and made the deal with it in the first place."
A few days later, Yumi and John were enjoying a relaxing day at the beach together.
"It sure feels good to finally get a proper holiday, doesn't it?" said John. "A peaceful holiday, I mean."
"I wasn't aware that today was a holiday," said Yumi.
"Sorry," said John. "I thought you knew that we British have slightly different vocabulary than Americans. I believe that what we call holidays you call vacation."
"Actually, I call it yasumi," said Yumi. "But when I studied English, my primary focus was on American English."
"Sorry, did I say 'you?'" said John. "I meant 'Americans.'"
"So what do you call days like Christmas and Easter?" asked Yumi.
"We call them Christmas and Easter," said John.
"No, I mean, Americans call them holidays," said Yumi. "What do the British call them?"
"Oh, we call them bank holidays," said John.
"Anyway, I'm going to miss you when we go home," said Yumi.
"I don't want to go home," said John. "I want to go to Japan with you."
"But don't you have a family back in England?" asked Yumi. "Wait a minute. Miss Cooper said you lived in an orphanage."
"You remembered," said John.
"But even so, won't they worry about you?" asked Yumi.
"I was never that close to those folks," said John.
"But you still can't disappear without a trace," said Yumi.
"Sure I can," said John. "If they think I'm dead, they may feel sorry for me, but only at the level that they would feel sorry for anyone whose name they read in an obituary."
"That's not very reassuring," said Yumi.
"All the more reason I don't want to go back," said John. "The only problem is that I don't have any money for a plane ticket to Japan or England."
"I can pay for that," said Yumi. "Do you speak Japanese?"
"Hai," said John. "Yamada-sama ga daibun suki desu." (Yes. I like you a lot, Yamada-sama.)
Yumi blushed deep red. "I like you too, Smith-kun, but please don't call me 'sama.' I'm not a warlord or a noblewoman!"
"Oops," said John. "I guess my Japanese isn't that great," said John. "What do people call you?"
"Back in Japan, I have to put up with being called 'Yamada-Sensei,'" said Yumi. "But you can call me 'Yumi.'"
"And you can call me 'John,'" said John.