Ken was frozen, his heart racing. Then, there was a bright purple flash behind him. And then the sound of a spotlight flipping on. The audience and the rest of the Good Samaritans looked on in shock, and Ken, mustering up the courage to turn around, slowly looked behind him.
Sitting at the keyboard onstage was Laura. The blue was almost entirely gone from her hair now, most of it having faded from the bleached blonde, and she looked more worn out than ever. But she looked to Ken, positioning her fingers on the keys, and gave him a very tired smile. And she played. She poured her regrets, her fears, her mistakes, all of it into this song, channeling it through her rasped voice. It was an apology. An apology to Ken, an admission of her stupid mistakes - And a hope of redemption. As she spoke, one of her bandmates handed a shaker to Ken, and he approached gingerly with it in his hand, joining Laura in the music. Everything Ken had gone through in the past year, all he had done to try to reach Laura, through sleepless nights and near-death encounters - and surely Laura's experiences were not much different, considering what had been learned - It all led to this moment.
As she played the last note, the crowd began to erupt into uproarious applause. Ken looked to the audience, and then to Laura, who had now stood up from her seat, clapping her own hands together to applaud Ken's performance tonight. She looked proud.
The other performers onstage had joined in, and the rest of the Good Samaritans as well, of course. Ken stood in disbelief in this moment, looking to his friends in the audience with tears in his eyes. When he turned around again, though, Laura was gone - Left behind was a note. Her number.
Once they had cleaned up after the show, Ken and the crew wound down with a trip to Benny's - which had now become a tradition. He texted Laura a meeting place: The treehouse. His teammates expressed apprehension at meeting her alone, concerned that it could be some kind of trick, so Ken allowed them to come with him - But at a distance. He needed to speak to Laura alone.
Ken sat in the treehouse, waiting nervously. Eventually, Laura arrived. It was strange, being in the quiet together, after everything - Especially in the treehouse again, after things had changed so much for the both of them. But they were able to have a moment to finally just talk. There was, predictably, a lot to talk about, but Laura didn't have much time. So she told him what was most important right now: That she was sorry.
Laura admitted that she wanted power. That's why anyone takes a deal from a dragon. But she wanted power to change things - To be able to help Shay, to be able to reach her own goals, to be able to do what she wanted without anyone to stop her. She didn't realize the weight of her decision until it was too late. She was bound by her fate as a Runechild and granted a power she couldn't control, all while juggling the life of a young rockstar in the music industry, as everything else fell by the wayside - Ken especially. She didn't have any excuses for how she treated him. She always had destructive tendencies, and they were only amplified by the power she was given, both in terms of magic, and in terms of fame. When Ken's mind painted her as a villain, she decided to play the part, hoping maybe it would keep him away. She thought maybe it's what she deserved. Needless to say, it didn't really work.
It wasn't until the incident at the sea cave lab, when she caused the death of her brother, that she finally hit rock bottom. From there, the only way to go was up, and she realized that the dragon mages, Sint Holo, all of it - It had only brought her suffering, as a result of her own decisions. The twisted kinship she had found with the Runechildren would only lead her down an even more terrible path. So she defected.
She had been on the run from them for a couple of months now, living on the streets and keeping her head low (though, at some point around this time, ended up on the wall of the local Benny's as the #1 Pancake Champ). She didn't seem very optimistic about things at the moment, resigned to feeling like a lost cause at this point, but Ken managed to convince her, just a little bit, that there could be hope for something better, and that she, herself, could change for the better, too. Ken offered to help, but she declined, as she couldn't come back with him right now - It would be too dangerous. She needed to go it alone for a while longer. But she told Ken that if he needed her, he could text her and she might be around. With a bit of an awkward goodbye, they parted ways.
Later that night, Laura was intercepted by one of her former fellow dragon mages. Her appearance at the concert had alerted them to her location easily, which she anticipated, and she had been found. It was then that she denounced her allegiance with Arkship and the Runechildren, tossing her cloak. She had something else to live for now. The mage warned her that there would be consequences...But, having formed a kinship with her during their time under Arkship together, gave her a headstart. With that, Laura disappeared into the night, her future uncertain.