Tag Archives: Cerise

NaNo 18, Day 3: A Father’s Love

“Evangeline!” he greeted her, his voice more enthusiastic than his expression–but then, her father’s stern expression was nearly legendary. Overly serious by far, she could see a lot more of herself in him than her mother. But there was a softness there, affection for his only child, that had been present all her life outside of Gym battles when he had to be scary. “I wasn’t expecting a call from you and Aya for a couple of more days. Are you settled already?”

She winced a little. “Um, about that.” She ran her hands over her braid in nerves. “The nearby professor got word of me being here. Professor Sycamore. He, um, decided he could lump me in with the latest trainer class he was giving starters out to.”

His only visible eyebrow raised, and she could only tell because of how well she knew him that he was shocked. “So you have already started your journey?” he asked.

Evangeline nodded slowly. “Pretty much right away,” she admitted. “My starter is a Froakie, his name is Kakashi. Or, was. He’s already evolved.”

Falkner tilted his head. “I’m not familiar with that one, so not a Flying type in any evolution,” he said, his tone deceptively bland.

“No, Water,” she said, and quickly added. “Henri is the flyer, a Fletchinder.”

That smoothed his expression over, making her want to sigh in relief. “At least you have one,” he said, with a nod. “Your Maiko is doing well here, by the way.” Her heart swelled at the mention of the Pidgey-turned-Pidgeotto she had trained under her father’s guidance as a child. “I’m considering using her for Gym Battles, if you are okay with it. My current is ready to evolve, and she’s the best Pidgeotto in the Gym right now.”

“Of course,” Evangeline agreed. “I’d be honored.” Oh! Scrambling, she grabbed the case she’d brought with her from her room. “Speaking of Gyms, I faced the first one here, at Santalune City,” she said, and held up her case, letting him see her only badge so far. “I’ll be heading towards Cyllage City for my second in the morning.”

“Good work!” he complimented with a soft smile, making her sit up straighter in pride. But then he tilted his head like one of his Hoothoot. “Is that a beetle…?”

She whined, wilting at the reminder so her head rested on the table in front of the computer.

“Oh, my poor chick,” he said with a chuckle, though he turned serious again. “At least if you had stayed here in Johto, I could have talked to Bugsy for you.”

“I don’t want special favors,” she complained, voice muffled by the wood of the desk. “We talked about this, ad nauseam, before I left.”

“I know, but I promised the bird keepers I would ask their ‘hime’ if she was ready to come home yet,” he said. She snorted at him. If they were asking that, he must be talking about her as much as he talked Flying philosophy. “Evangeline,” he scolded.

Right, right, act like a lady. Sighing, she straightened up to pout at him. “I’m doing just fine here,” she muttered. “And I like that it’s different. New Pokemon, new places, new challenges. No one who knows who I am just by looking at me.”

Her father gave a slow nod. “I won’t pretend to understand,” he admitted at least. “I never had the desire to leave here, and just wanted to improve the Gym. But your grandfather Walker did, and it was quite some time before he settled here as the Gym Leader. Take your time, Evangeline, and follow your heart. It’ll lead you to your intended roost, just like it did him.”

“Yes, Father,” she promised and glanced at the clock. “I had better get to bed and let you get to work. I’ll call you in a couple of days?”

He nodded and added, “Make sure you call your mother sometime too. Or let Aya handle her, which ever you think is best.”

“Considering Aunt Aya was her idea, I’m tempted to just let them talk,” she muttered, but nodded in agreement before saying good-bye and hanging up. Neither of them were the type to casually mention their love for each other, but both knew it.

Evangeline sighed and went to go find a space in her own bed for her, between the cuddlers that made up her group of Pokemon. She’d call Aunt Aya in Cyllage to give her an update for her mother. Her father was too right, it would be easier for her to let Aya handle the communications back to their home regions as much as she could. If her mother wanted to talk to her, Aya could tell her that way.

*****

The aquarium’s collection was impressive. It made Evangeline wish she had a fishing rod. Of course, as she walked down the beach path, she found that desire was waylaid by the sight of the waves crashing up on the sand. She understood why Nurse Joy had pushed at her to consider taking some time to enjoy it. There was a small area that seemed intended for tourists, or at least those who might not have worn their bathing suit for their journey to the coast.

She let her Pokemon out as she struggled to get her hair up in a ponytail and out of the way. Kakashi gave a whoop and was off to the waves before she could stop him, Ella right on his tail. Shaking her head, she straightened the ruffle at the top of her one-piece swim suit–it formed the straps that sat just off of her shoulders, tying with a chord in the middle, and not exposing any cleavage but just highlighting her collarbones. It was in her preferred aqua blue, with white and pink flowers and navy leaves for the print.

Glancing around at the ever-so-fashionable other swimmers, never had Evangeline been more happy that Aunt Aya had insisted on a shopping trip before they even boarded the boat to Kalos. She hadn’t even owned a swimsuit before, and would have looked awkward in either her ninja gear or her hakama skirts trying to wade into the water. She already felt odd since she was so simple compared to high French fashion. But it worked for her, and she was going to be happy.

Kakashi and Ella were joined by Chiko, who seemed to be enjoying snapping at the spray with her larger-mouth and the splashing at the others with her hands. She didn’t even try to convince Haruka, figuring that salt wouldn’t be good for him, and he seemed content to guard her bag. Cerise stayed with him rather than risking getting carried away with the waves, being so small. Felix seemed torn between avoiding Cerise and avoiding the water, and settled for sitting away from the other two and far from the waves. One of the handful of stands that rented out equipment included beach balls. Evangeline was more than happy to purchase one for those in the waves to bounce back and forth.

Of course, keeping control of the ball was something else entirely. One wrong hit by Ella sent it crashing into a nearby girl who was splashing around herself. “Hey!” she shouted, spinning around and indignant. Her blonde hair was easily as long as Evangeline’s, but perfectly straight and cut in fashionable layers, contrasting with the tan of her skin. Her pink halter bikini exposed a lot more skin than her one modest one-piece, and it made Evangeline self-conscious.

But she wasn’t going to let her Pokemon get yelled at. “Sorry, it was an accident,” she said, stepping forward and folding her hands in front of her to give an apologetic bow. “We’ll move further down the beach and be more careful.”

“We?” the swimmer looked over and saw Evangeline’s team. “Oh, a trainer! You can apologize with a battle. My Pokemon will get me vengeance.”

“It was just a ball,” Evangeline protested, but didn’t try and argue. She just gestured for her own team to gather around. The swimmer released a Psyduck, and she barely refrained from groaning. At least she knew how to handle them. “Haruka, you’re on!” she called out. The Budew waddled over, his bud opening and closing as he faced off. Cerise came over to watch, which Evangeline only thought could do the Spewa good.

At least until the Wingull came out. Cerise squeaked at the sight of the bird, trying to hide behind Evangeline’s leg. Haruka quaked a little too, but Evangeline stood firm. “You can do this, Haruka!” she promised. “Just keep up your attacks!” Both of her littlest Pokemon looked up at her. The Grass-Type puffed up, and he set his mouth in a firm line. He faced down the dual type with a fierceness that filled Evangeline with pride in him. So when he burst into white light at the end of the battle, she wasn’t surprised.

Haruka (Roselia)

What did surprise her as Cerise inched forward to watch was Cerise copying him.

Her breath caught in her chest, and she looked between both of them. Haruka finished first, shaking his new hands and then raising them up in happiness. Then he saw Cerise and quickly came running over as her wings flicked off the light with a gust.

Cerise (Vivilion)

Purple wings. Evangeline felt like she could collapse in relief. Apparently they had moved into a new region for wing patterns for Vivilion. She smiled softly as Haruka and Cerise danced together in excitement for their new forms, the others clapping and cheering. The swimmer sulked and tossed her some coins, which she went to go put in her bag.

She looked up just in time to see Felix approaching. Evangeline tensed, watching the Charmeleon pause behind Cerise. The new Vivilion’s wings fluttered anxiously. But Felix held up his clawed hands, delicately taking her much smaller paws in his. He gave them a little shake, ducked his head, and then went to walk next to the bag to sit again.

Evangeline grabbed him by the shoulders, hugging him close. “That’s my boy,” she whispered to him, making him flush before she ran to join the celebrations.

Advertisements

NaNo 18, Day 2: Responsibilities

The reactions to the napping Spewpa went… about as well as could be expected. Kakashi was leery, but he put his trust in Evangeline. Most of the newer Pokemon didn’t particularly mind one way or the other. Kanna became a doting aunt to compliment the proud papa Henri, perhaps as part of her need to apologize for what happened to Cho. Ella and Hiromi weren’t particularly happy, but they still listened to Evangeline, so she could only hope it would get better with time with them. Haruka, of course, was just happy for another playmate, even if this meant he had to share his spots with her. And that left Felix.

The Charmeleon was very obviously sulking, and he growled every time he so much as spotted the new Bug, who Evangeline had dubbed Cerise. He also growled at Evangeline, which she tolerated–she wasn’t going to get on to him for expressing how he felt.

It was when his Ember attack came too close to hitting her, and she saw him glance at her to see what she would do, that she had to draw a line. “Felix, come here,” she ordered when the wild Pokemon ran off. He paused, and so did all of the others who were playing around her sleeping bag and the nearest flower bed. He made like he was going to walk in the opposite direction, and she added with a touch of steel to her tone, “I mean it. Come. Here. Right now.”

Growling, he stomped over to her crossing his arms (a much easier task than when he was a Charmander and his arms were so short). Rather than match him defensive posture to defensive posture, Evangeline put her hands on her hips and gave him a stern look. “You can be upset,” she said. “I understand, and respect that. You can vocalize this upset as much as you want and physically can, and again, I will respect that as long as it doesn’t turn towards bullying one of the others. But you do not get to attack me over it. Are we clear?”

His eyes grew wide in surprise. She didn’t back down. Felix’s surprise turned to anger, and he opened his mouth–the threat visible, the fire lingering in the back of his throat and sliding forward. “Kakashi!” she shouted, and the Frogadier slid up from the others to stand in front of Evangeline defensively.

Felix stared at them, smoke rising from the corners of his mouth. And then he turned around, collapsing into a sit with his tail wrapped around his legs, chin up mulishly in the air.

Evangeline walked around to the side, spotting the tears at the corners of his eyes. “Oh, sweetie,” she murmured, moving to where she could cup his jaw. “I know this is hard, and you are twisted up from losing Cho, not to mention evolving. But I can’t have you around if you are going to hurt me or the others. You evolved so fast, but there is further for you to go. You have to learn to control your impulses now, and I’d be an irresponsible trainer if I didn’t pull you up.” She wiped at his cheek to catch his tears. “You will always be my friend and a part of this team, Felix. No one is ever replaced. We just grow.”

He sniffled, pouting for just a few more moments. And then he reached out to wrap his arms around her waist, tucking his head into her stomach and bawling. Sighing and wishing for just a moment he was still small enough for her to pick up, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and patted his head. “It’s alright,” she murmured, promising as much as she could. “We’ll figure it out.”

The rest of their day passed much easier, and slowly Evangeline made her way back to Ambrette Town as the sun began to set. She reviewed where everyone was at, and while Cerise was far behind, she thought they had made enough progress today that she could press on in the morning.

When she expressed that to Nurse Joy, she clapped her hands. “Oh, you should spend the morning at the beach, before you press on to Cyllage City,” she suggested with a wide smile. “The weather will be absolutely perfect for a little fun in the surf, and it’s on your way. They even have little tents where you can change in and out of your swim wear.”

“The beach?” she repeated, confused.

Nurse Joy nodded and pointed towards the map. “Muraille Coast actually has two parts,” she explained. “The cliffs which you passed through to get here, and then if you go through the aquarium and down one level, you’ll reach the other half, a beach front road that goes straight into Cyllage.” She folded her hands in front of her politely as she added, “Our aquarium has an impressive collection of oceanic Pokemon too that you might enjoy seeing.”

Evangeline hummed. She still wasn’t sold on one singular type of Pokemon like her parents, who were either Fly or Die in the case of her father and under heavy regulations on his Gym team’s strength since he was the first on the Johto route, or Poison and the resulting tie to Bug-types, who Evangeline had developed a bit of a phobia about, like her mother and grandfather. (She was going to be the family disappointment, she just knew it. Bad thing since she was the end of both family lines.) But the aquarium sounded interesting, and would give her an idea of what was in the local waters. Kalos being such a different region, she doubted it was nothing but Magikarp.

It did make her feel guilty for not writing or calling home. With all her recent battles, she had plenty of coin for postage, and it wasn’t like the Pokemon Centers didn’t offer free wireless calling. She did some quick math. Both of her parents were workaholics–they’d be in their respective Gyms by eight a.m. It was an eight hour time difference, and it was going on evening here. If she called before bed, they’d be just getting up and feeding their Pokemon and themselves. Nodding slightly, she thanked Nurse Joy and set about getting everyone dinner for the night. (Lo and behold, Theo actually ate a smaller meal than normal after finishing off all of the berry pies earlier that day, and went right off to sleep from exhaustion due to training. Maybe she had him handled too.)

By the time it was all done, she’d braided her hair for the night and slipped into her pajamas. No one else was staying in town, so she felt comfortable padding out in her slippers to the computer terminal. Nurse Joy waved at her, but stayed behind the counter in case of an emergency. Evangeline shut the curtain of one of the computer/phone booths and logged in with her trainer ID. The system took a long time trying to set up the connection through to Kanto, but finally she was able to reach the Nurse Joy who was responsible for communication. “Call to Fuschia City Gym, please,” she requested. “For Janine.”

“Of course, and who’s calling?” she asked, hitting a few keys.

“Her daughter, Evangeline.”

“Putting you through now,” the Joy confirmed with a wide smile. “Your mother will be happy to hear from you, I’m sure!”

Evangeline managed a tense smile. She hoped so, anyway.

The line rang for what felt like forever, until finally it answered in her mother’s office. But not to her mother’s expression. Instead, a very harried looking camper picked up, squinting at the computer screen as his eyes still adjusted to the light of the lamp and screen. “Fuschia City Gym. Who is calling the boss at this ungodly hour?” he demanded in Japanese.

“Good morning, Barry-san,” she greeted him in the same language, smiling weakly. Barry had been one of her baby-sitters, the rare times she visited home after the incident.

He immediately straightened up as he got a better look at her. “Evangeline-hime!” he yelped. “I am so sorry!” He rapidly bowed several times in succession to the computer screen.

“It’s alright, I know the time difference is awkward,” she assured him. “I just wanted to check in with Mother. Is she already training?”

His face fell as he looked up. “Oh, I’m sorry again, hime. She went to go visit your honored grandfather in his mountain retreat for some bonding time. She was set to be back in a couple of days to check in with Aya-sensei.”

That lined up with what Evangeline had already known, she just hadn’t expected her mother to be gone in the days leading up to that call. Well, as far as her mother knew, Evangeline was safe and snug in Vaniville and hardly in any danger, of course she’d feel comfortable going on a trip. She smiled rather than show her distress to Barry, who certainly didn’t deserve it. “Alright, thank you for letting me know. I’ll try again in a couple of days, then. Give her my love when you do see her.”

“I will be happy to, hime!” he promised, and the line went dead.

Sighing, Evangeline restarted the connection, this time tracing it to the Johto region. “Violet City Gym, please,” she requested as a new Nurse Joy picked up the line. (And she could only tell the difference because the uniforms were slightly different between Kanto and Johto.) It was an old hat at her to make the same requests, just switching the names, although when she was younger she had gotten it muddled a few times. “For Falkner.”

“Putting you through right now,” Joy said cheerfully, and the call went through.

It took much less time for there to be an answer. “Violet City, Falkner speaking.” The man on the screen was stern of expression and clean shaven, having finally grown into a square jaw and narrow eyes. His navy hair hung slightly in his eyes in a style she was more than familiar with, though the bulk of the length was pulled back to the nape of his neck. He dressed in traditional clothes, only the sky blue of his haori visible, and his teal eyes were the same as Evangeline’s own.

She swallowed thickly and bowed her head slightly to the screen. “Good morning, Father.”

(AN: Blatantly calling out the anime and how they handled the Charmeleon/Charizard situation there…)


NaNo 18, Day 1: Cue Training Montage and an Unwelcome Surprise

Where to start was…a little overwhelming. When she’d first started this journey, she’d been able to bring a new Pokemon up to match the rest of the team pretty easily. But with a new Gym on the horizon, not only did she have to get her old team up to snuff, but she had to get five new Pokemon to their level to.

Evangeline decided the best thing she could do was break it up like her old situation as much as she could. Picking one of the new Pokemon at random, she built a supporting team of more experienced battlers around them. Then once the new friend was up to challenges on the same level as the older members, she could switch out one of the old guard for someone else. Kakashi grumbled next to her, leaning his head against her shoulder. “This looks like a lot of work,” he complained. “Nap instead?”

She shrugged that shoulder to jostle him. “No, no naps,” she scolded teasingly. “I know this down time hasn’t been necessarily restful, but we need to get going again.” It wasn’t just Evangeline who needed a chance to grieve the lost of her Vivilion, Cho, but the entire group. She was determined to ease them back into their journey, though.

“So, setting up a picnic spot?” Kakashi guessed. “Like you did outside of Santalune?”

But Evangeline shook her head. “No. We rushed down that last route so fast, I’m sure there are trainers who are upset that they didn’t get a chance to battle with us. We’re going to back track, taking on the trainers and wild Pokemon we missed last time.” She looked to him. “And I thought to go back to the river. The Pokemon are a little less…assertive, there, and that seems like a better way to ease the new ones into our style.”

He nodded slowly, crossing his arms. “Take it slow, if you need to,” he cautioned her. “We all understand, and would rather you be a little more protective than to lose someone else so quickly.”

“I will,” she promised, standing up. “Okay, let’s get the first team ready to go. I think I’ll keep Haruka with me regardless, he’s been a bit clingy lately.”

“Isn’t he technically a baby Pokemon?” Kakashi asked as they walked over to the computer.

Evangeline hummed. “Something like it, and I think his evolution is based off of how well cared for he’s feeling. Maybe that’s why he’s wanting to stay close to me. It can’t hurt to indulge him a little.”

So Kakashi, Haruka, Felix, Lars, Hikari, and Antoine came with her as the starting team. And the number of trainers she missed was a little staggering. That, or more had come out over the last couple of days. She couldn’t be sure which. Either way, her team gave it their all–even the newcomer Lars caught some of their excitement, even if he didn’t get as much action as Evangeline had hoped. But there was an infestation of Psyducks, and she wasn’t about to risk him against a Water-Type! (The cute little idiots sometimes pulled power moves at the weirdest timing.)

As a result of all the fighting, Evangeline was more than happy to flop down into a field of flowers. “Somehow, this wasn’t exactly how I planned for today to go…” she muttered. The blossoms fluttered around her, as if hearing her comments.

Wait, that was a lot more literal than she thought.

Sitting up, Evangeline blinked at the little heads poking out of the various flowers. “Oh, hello,” she said quietly to the group of Flabébé that surrounded her. “I’m sorry, did I disturb you?”

They giggled and spun around her a bit, shy but not aggressive. Tilting her head, Evangeline remembered that this was around the area that she caught her own Flabébé, one that she’d barely had a chance to meet. She reached for her bag, hitting the appropriate switch and letting Hikari out.

She blinked up at Evangeline in surprise. “Another battle?” she asked in her little voice, the petals of her flower wilting a little in exhaustion.

That made Evangeline feel better about her decision. “No, I think it’s some old friends of yours, but they seem shy.” She said, pointing to the surrounding group of Fairy types.

Hikari floated up to look and squeaked in happiness. She was off in the group before Evangeline could blink. Smiling, Evangeline also released a certain Frogadier.  Before Kakashi had a chance to disrupt the reunion, she flopped back down and pulled him to lie down beside her. “Okay, now you can nap,” she promised. “Just until we all have a chance to catch our breath. Then training time.”

He grinned, snuggling up close so he could lie his chin on her stomach. “Right, as much training as you want,” he promised. He grunted in complaint when she reached to let Haruka out too, but the little bud was all to happy to snuggle on the other side of her like a toddler for his own nap in the sunshine.

When they woke up, Evangeline lived up to her promise and ran her team through their paces. The nearby daycare had a computer that they let her use to shuffle the team along as they got tired, so she could get the others out to run their own paces. (Or in Emi’s case, give Evangeline a chance to learn how to curb her enthusiasm.) One of the workers suggested a nearby berry farm when Evangeline inquired if they had any sort of cafe or if she needed to go back to Ambrette or Camphier Town to visit their Pokemon Centers.

The path to the farm was a little narrow, so she wasn’t surprised she missed it before with Tierno and Trevor urging her to pick up the pace. The more common trees slowly gave way to an orderly grove, the trees short and squat. With numerous bug types leaping from bush to bush, sniffing the blooms…and eating any berry ripe enough to be plucked.

A little girl, her hair in pigtails, chased after them with a net. “Get away, get away!” she begged, waving the net wildly. “You’ll ruin today’s harvest!”

Evangeline just couldn’t sit there and wait. “Henri, come on out!” she called, throwing out his Pokeball. The Fletchinder came out with ease, and at the sight of the joint Fire and Bird type, the collection of bugs scattered. The girl stopped her running and spotted Evangeline. She waved and pointed to the base of a tree where another net was lying down. Seeing no harm in joining the fun, Evangeline grabbed it and joined Henri in his dash around the trees, swinging the frame to gentle rattle branches and shake out hiding Pokemon.

Including a Spewpa, who fell right into the net with a fearful squeal.

She acted first, thought later. “Oh shhh, sweetie,” she crooned, reaching in to pull the little thing into her arms. “It’s okay, shhh, it’s okay.”

Big ochre eyes looked up at her, and it sniffled. “S-sorry,” it–no, she, Evangeline had enough experience to know that tone was feminine for this species–whispered. “I’m just so hungry…”

It was like a fist squeezed around her heart. She tried to tell herself no. The rest of her team was going to be absolutely furious, see this little one as a replacement. Even if the personality was completely different. All they’d see was the same as their friend once was.

Henri fluttered over, perching where he could crane his head to see what she was holding. “You aren’t going to let her go hungry, are you?” he asked. “I mean, the others looked like gluttons. This one looks kinda scrawny…”

“No, no of course not,” she said quickly. “We’ll… We’ll share our lunch with her, how about that?”

He nodded, pressing his head against her cheek with a coo. She patted him gently so as not to accidentally burn herself, and carried her burden over to a nearby picnic table. There was a chalkboard set up near it, with a list of different prices for lunches (human and Pokemon friendly), and the nearby building had a sliding window that was open where she guessed she’d get orders.

“Hey!” the little girl said, running up to her while still carrying her net. “Wait right there, okay?”

Blinking, Evangeline could only nod in agreement. She took a seat nearby, Henri joining her and tickling the Spewpa, earning a series of quiet giggles. Well someone was bonding with the wild Pokemon. She eyed him in concern, but before she could argue, the little girl was back, carrying a huge basket that was probably used for the berry harvests, a cloth covering over it.

“Here,” she said briskly as she set it down. “Those Bug-types have been ruining the harvests for days now. If it wasn’t for you and your Fletchinder, we’d never have gotten them to go away. I talked to my grandparents, and they agreed.” She pulled back the cloth covering, revealing a veritable hoard of berry hand pies. “These are for you and your Pokemon. They keep pretty well for a couple of days even, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad if it takes you a while to go through them.”

Startled, Evangeline started to shake her head. “Really, you don’t have to try and feed us, we just saw you needed help–”

“And so has at least four other trainers who just turn around and leave, not realizing the bug population is too high so rather than helping pollinate, they are just being a menace,” the little girl argued, crossing her arms. “And I recognize you from Camphier Town gossip. Tell me you don’t have a Snorlax you are trying to keep fed. I dare you.”

Henri chirped in laughter, reaching in to grab a pie with his beak. “She has you there,” he said, almost swallowing it whole. “I know if we made a dent in Theo’s stomach, his handlers and the nurses would appreciate it.”

Evangeline groaned. She was out-numbered. “You and the others eat before Theo,” was her only condition as she pointed at Henri in a mock-threatening manner. “He can empty out the basket.”

He gave her a mock salute with one wing…and pulled out another pie. Rather than eating it himself, he reached over to dangle it in front of the Spewpa. Due to her lack of hands, it was obvious she appreciated the help in getting her own meal. Evangeline bit the inside of her cheek to keep from chiding him, getting her own pie to nibble on.

Only after the Spewpa was fed did Henri lean his head against her thigh, making his eyes as big as possible. “Can we keep her?” he whispered.

She stared down at him. “She isn’t a replacement for Cho.”

Ruffling his feathers, he rapidly shook his head. “Of course not! We… We can never replace her. But this little one needs us. Cho would never forgive us for leaving her behind, you know? Under that diva mask, she really did care.”

Sighing, Evangeline looked at the Spewpa who was starting to dose off in her arms. “Fine,” she agreed in a whisper. “But you get to tell the others.”

He winced, but nodded in agreement.

Cerise (Spewpa)