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Pokémon: Atonement

Kanto Region


a part of Pokémon: Atonement, by Nemeseia.

The Kanto region: filled with various pokémon and nefarious deeds.

Nemeseia holds sovereignty over Kanto Region, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

3,971 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:


The Kanto region: filled with various pokémon and nefarious deeds.
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Kanto Region

The Kanto region: filled with various pokémon and nefarious deeds.


Kanto Region is a part of Pokémon: Atonement.

7 Characters Here

Kasimir Rheinallt [106] "Why yes, I *am* the brains of the operation. Thank you for noticing."
Eryk Nero [98] "I find myself looking for something I cannot have, and yet..."
Cyrilla Niav [97] "They won't be able to stop me... not now. Not ever."
Aidan Klein [94] "I guess I'm part of the ugly truth now."
Nevena Solomon [63] "It's not my place to say..."
Rocket Files [61] [ Codex of Information ]
Anastasia Asher [60] "Every day is a gift. Or that's what I tell myself, anyway."

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2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cyrilla Niav Character Portrait: Kasimir Rheinallt
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1.00 INK

July 5th
The Cloyster - Morning - Muggy
Cyrilla Klein

Cyrilla thought that she might know how Eryk currently felt. She had not been able to sleep at all when he told her Marah was here, and what she was here for. They had broken off their engagement because they both wanted different things, but Marah didn't know that. She was here because of an image in the newspaper, one that showed how happy Eryk was with another woman. Cyrilla was thrilled for him because Eryk loved Ana, or at least she thought he did. He'd become so much more as a person because of Ana, and there was no doubt in Cyrilla's mind that Ana was good for Eryk. Much moreso than either of them deserved.

There were times when Cyrilla still felt like she wasn't good enough, but that would all fade away the moment she saw Kas and she just knew. She knew what it meant, the way her heart fluttered every time, the times where she felt breathless by just his mere presence. She was in love with him for everything he was. Kas was her best friend, the person who let her see who she could be and not be held back by old archaic rules and family. He made her a better person, and she loved him for it, would love him still even if he didn't feel the same way about her.

And they still hadn't talked about that night. It was strange how they'd shifted back into just teasing each other with their words and sometimes when they danced, but... she couldn't find the right opportunity to bring it up. It made things much more confusing than they needed to be, but Cyrilla couldn't quite work up the courage to talk to him about it. What she wanted more than anything was to know what he thought, what he felt. She wasn't going to pretend that she didn't know how she felt, but she didn't want to push him about it, either. If he viewed it as a passing thing, then maybe she should be content that they were at least still friends.

She missed sleeping in the same bed with him, though, and falling asleep to his light breathing and the way he'd hold her...

She sighed softly and pushed the thoughts that threatened to enter her mind, away. She was so far gone, wasn't she? She threw her right arm over her eyes, blocking any sort of light that threatened them until she felt a wet nose nudge her. “Not now, Diva. I'm still moping," she stated, earning a light huffing sound in response. The lycanroc moved Cyrilla's arm from where it was with one of her paws and stared at her.

“Fine, fine. I'll stop moping and get up," she stated, causing Diva to huff in a haughty manner. “Don't you make fun of me, I know that's what you're doing," Cyrilla muttered, but placed a hand in the tuff of fur at the top of Diva's head. The lycanroc released a satisfied huff before moving towards the makeshift bed in the corner of the living room where Noctis was currently sleeping. He grunted a bit when she forcibly placed her self on the other side, and curled up next to him.

“I swear you're horrible," but Diva would always have a special place in Cyrilla's heart. “Now, I should probably make breakfast before Kas comes back from his morning jog. I can think of what to do about Marah and her stupid scheme, later. Now... what to do about breakfast."

It was no secret that Kas ate a lot, but Cy didn't mind. If anything, she actually enjoyed cooking for him. There was just something about watching the way someone she loved enjoy the food she made. It made her feel all warm inside, and she furrowed her brows when she felt her cheeks flush. Once she was able to concentrate, she got to work making breakfast. Waffles, avocado toast, a bowl of dried fruits and berries, some bacon and scrambled eggs, and a smoothie were set out on the table.

“It's excessive isn't it," she stated to herself, shaking her head. Even she had to admit that she might have over cooked. “I guess I could save some and take it to Nev and Big Bro in a bit." That was, of course, assuming Kas didn't it eat all, first. She didn't mind either way.

Kas walked in the door right at the usual time—one thing it was easier to notice having lived with him for so long was that, in spite of his apparent laziness and disdain for work, he was actually pretty punctual. He just had his own schedule, and stuck with it rather than anyone else's. He had a short towel around his neck, his loose athletic tank damp around the neck and in a vee at his chest. He did a full circuit of the island even on the days Big Bro would probably make him do it again in training.

He did a short double-take when he saw breakfast on the table, and grinned at her. "I'm pretty sure you know this, but my birthday's not quite yet," he said, with obvious amusement. It was this month, but not so early in it. "Give me like… five minutes to shower and not be sweaty, and I'll be back out?"

“Yeah, yeah," she stated, making a slight shooing motion with her hands. “I'll reheat the sausage while you shower," she added. It wasn't like she cared if he was sweaty or not. As strange as it was, she liked the way he smelled...

No, no, we're not going there, Cy.

“Enjoy your bath, er, shower," she corrected and waved him off. She could at least make a pot of coffee or something. The sausages didn't need to be reheated, either, since they'd just finished when he walked in, but she'd said it anyway because, what? Because she was nervous? About what? What was there to be nervous about? This was just two friends about to eat breakfast together and probably make a plan on what to do for the next few weeks for the finals.

Marah didn't deserve any place in Cy's thoughts. She didn't want to think of the woman at all, actually. She sighed heavily, perhaps moreso than she should have, and grabbed three plates from the cupboard: two for Kas, one for her. She piled on the food she wanted, and set Kas's plates down so that they would be ready for him when he came back.

He returned, as promised, in about five minutes, freshly dressed and smelling like sandalwood shampoo, as he would considering his hair was still damp. He hummed a low tune under his breath as he piled his plates high, carrying them over to where she sat and settling across from her. "Thanks for all the food, Cy," he said, smiling over at her with narrowed eyes.

"Got me feeling all special." The wink he shot her was cheeky, to say the least, but the appreciation of the food was, she knew, quite genuine.

“Well you should because you are," she replied smoothly, fighting the flush that threatened her face. “Plus with all the training Big Bro has you doing, I figured I might as well start cooking you specialized diets to make sure you're eating properly. Can't have my favourite person dying of hunger or thirst or anything like that. Big Bro puts you all through hell so the least I can do is make sure you're fed." It almost felt like she was rambling now, and she wanted to roll her eyes at herself.

“Speaking of, though," she decided to bring the subject to another topic, one he'd brought up just a few minutes ago. “I know it's kind of a shitty thing with Marah being here this month, but do you want to do anything for your birthday? We can invite the others, too, if you want, or..." she trailed off, glancing down at her plate of food.

“It can just be the two of us if you'd like. Either way, it's up to you," she shoved a piece of pancake in her mouth so she wouldn't say anything else to embarrass herself further.

"Oh, am I hearing that I could get a date out of this?" Kas's grin widened a little. "I might have to reconsider how much I look forward to my birthday." He didn't push it, though, taking another bite of his food and chewing with gusto.

"Seriously though," he said once he'd swallowed, "no need. I figure we can just tack it on to the inevitable celebration once she's gone. I've never met her, and maybe if I'm lucky I won't, but it seems to be stressing you guys out a lot. Anything I can do to help?" He draws his glass close to him, studying her over the rim of it as he takes a drink.

Cyrilla chewed her food, giving her some time to contemplate his statement. “To be honest, I don't know. I would love it if you could help, but..." she paused, pursing her lips together. What could he do to help them? “She wants... she wants me to marry Eryk at the end of this month, but as you know, we're not doing that," she began, furrowing her brows. “We both decided that we wanted different things, and that I didn't want to be tied back to the family, so we called it quits."

“But Marah saw that newspaper with him and Ana on it, and she's going to get suspicious if we don't do something. I'm not marrying Eryk, and it's stupid as hell to think that she can force either him or myself to do it." It made her angry to think that Marah thought she had that kind of control over the both of them.

“It's just..." Marah wouldn't stop. “If we don't go through with it, she won't have any resistance getting our engagement formally annulled, and she'll try to get Katia to marry Ryk. It's archaic to even think of that, now, and... ugh," she groaned, closing her eyes momentarily. All of it was frustrating to think about.

Kas furrowed his brow. "Sounds like a pain," he said slowly. "More than a pain, honestly." He set his glass back down, getting to work on the avocado toast almost contemplatively.

"What about you?" he asked. "Any chance you take backlash from this, too?"

“Probably," she answered, sitting back in her chair and pushing the eggs around with her fork. “It's been a year or so since Aidan officially adopted me as his little sister, but I'm almost certain that my parents will try something else to get me back. They'll likely try to force me to marry Eryk since their status would elevate from the branch family to the main house. If they can't have Eryk, chances are they'll try second-best."

“Not that they could force me to do anything, anyway, but they'll try." And they will try their damnedest. She sighed softly and offered a small smile. “Even if they do try, at least I won't have to face them alone," she stated, feeling relieved by that. “I've never really had anyone take my side or fight for me to get out as hard as Eryk did, and... well, all of you, really. I'm really glad I have you in my life, all of you. I don't... honestly, I don't think I'd have been able to resist this if I didn't."

Cyrilla was positive she'd give in to their demands and go through with something she'd regret for the rest of her life.

Kas considered this for a bit longer, then nodded slightly. "I guess it'd be more convenient if you two were already married to other people," he noted, "but if you have other ways of resisting them nonetheless, that's good. I'm glad you're willing to fight it, Cy. I know this is obvious, but… it's not right, the way they try to control your lives like that. Neither of you deserve it."

“Thanks Kas," she stated, offering him a small smile. “You're right, though. It'd be more convenient if we were already married to other people, but I don't think Eryk would do something like that. He wouldn't marry Ana just because of Marah, and I'm almost certain he wouldn't want to bring her into the family, either. He loves her that much to not want that for her, but... well, we shouldn't be making decisions for other people."

“As for me, well, I couldn't really marry just anyone for obvious reasons," she stated, winking in his direction in a slightly playful manner to change the atmosphere a bit. It was suffocating thinking about that woman and what she was trying to do. Kas was right, though, neither she nor Ryk deserved what their family was trying to do.

“I'll promise you this," she started, leaning forward so she could rest on one of her hands, “If it becomes too much and we can't figure something out, I'll come to you for help, deal?" She reached towards him with her pinky finger extended.

He chuckled, reaching forward with his own hand and winding his little finger around hers. Even this part of him was so much larger than hers, and slightly roughened from what must have been his life before. She knew he sometimes worked out on sandbags with only minimal handwraps, so that might be it, too.

"Sounds like a deal to me."


3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aidan Klein Character Portrait: Cyrilla Niav Character Portrait: Eryk Nero
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0.50 INK

#, as written by Aethyia

July 6th
Field Office #9 - Early Afternoon - Rain
Aidan Klein

Leaning back in his chair to crack the window, Aidan let out a sigh. It'd been a while, but he really needed a cigarette. Unlike a lot of smokers, though, he didn't like the smell to linger anywhere he had to be. Still, he reached into the drawer at his right hand. Little Ninja and Nero were due in his office in a bit, but he still wasn't quite sure how he was supposed to break the news to them.

Flicking his lighter, he held the far end of a new smoke to the end of it, letting it catch and flare before killing the flame. Inhaling, he held a moment, then expelled the smoke through his nose on a long sigh. It wasn't often he managed to feel totally powerless these days, but he figured that his expended social circle made it at once better and worse, somehow.

"What a drag," he muttered.

Frost, curled in the large pokémon bed against the far wall of the office, lifted her head at his tone of voice, tilting her head at him before exiting it with a swish of her fluffy tails. She sat next to his chair with all the grace of a lady, and set her head on his knee.

He rested his free hand at her ruff, petting thoughtlessly.

Nero was the first to arrive, looking about as rested as he'd been the last few days. He still had bags under his eyes, but they weren't as dark as they were the day before. He glanced in Aidan's direction, nodding as his way of acknowledging him, before finding the nearest chair to sit on.

“Cy stopped by the bathroom; she'll be here in a moment," he stated, leaning into the chair almost as if to sink into it. “Tough day?" he asked, arching a tired brow in Aidan's direction.

Aidan cracked the smallest of smiles at that. "What tipped you off?" he asked, wondering if perhaps his 'protégé's' observation talents weren't sharpening a bit. Honestly, though, with Nero it was probably more like… he noticed things when he cared. If he didn't care, he couldn't be bothered to notice. It was a pretty sensible way to go about things, really.

Nero snorted softly and tipped his head in Frost's direction. “She says you need a very long vacation," he replied, sinking further into his chair. “It's been more of a tough week, though, if anything."

Ah, of course. He forgot about that sometimes. Aidan had to admit he was a little jealous in a sense, but on the other hand he wasn't sure he'd want to know what was—or more likely wasn't—going on in Brick's head.

“Hm, but it wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for she-who-shall-not-be-named," Little Ninja stated as she entered Aidan's office. “As intimidating as he is, not even Big Bro can seem to scare her off, and that's saying something about her persistence. She's like a..." she paused as if to find the word she was looking for.

“Joltik, Cy."

“That's an insult to joltik; they're cute, she isn't."

"Yeah I gotta say. My mom was a deadbeat but at least she doesn't hang around and try to act like anything else." He shook his head, running a hand back through his hair and turning to the side to expel some more smoke. He could feel himself relaxing, just a little bit, and this was the exact reason he couldn't quite kick the damn things just yet. He was getting better though. This was his first one in a couple weeks, and he didn't feel the need for a second.

"Anyway, bad news, kids. Gregorovich is staying out of it." He sighed and regarded them both with sympathy. "To be clear, he thinks this shit is stupid, but also that it's family business that has nothing to do with him. If you can make an argument it's interfering with work he might be able to do something, but she's too smart to bother you here, I'd wager."

“Hm, it was worth a shot," Nero stated, pinching the bridge of his nose. Cyrilla gave Nero a sympathetic smile and nodded her head in agreement. “Marah is too smart to interfere with work, here, though she overstepped her bounds when she tried to harass Ana."

“Wait, you didn't mention that, Ryk. She harassed Ana?" Cyrilla stated, her eyes narrowing slightly when Nero nodded his head.

“The other day, she showed up at the shelter and tried to get information or something from her. Moira wasn't sure, either, what Marah was trying to do, but it's obvious that she knows something. It's just a good thing that she hasn't figured anything out, yet." Nero seemed frustrated nonetheless.

“I swear that woman is more persistent than a magikarp trying to climb a waterfall," Cyrilla stated as she shook her head.

Aidan tapped his fingertips against the desk. "Actually, that might be the basis of an argument. If she's trying to push Ana away from you, we can always use the fact that she's technically your assignment to make her back off." He winced a little as he said it—it was a cold way to talk about things, but not untrue.

"But you know, even if Gregorovich could get her to step back on those grounds, is it going to solve your problem? Seems like she might just go after you indirectly in that case, like through Little Ninja, or anyone else she gets an inkling you care about." It was a lot easier to pin down the dynamic here if he just treated Marah more as a nemesis than a mother. Go figure.

“I told her Ana was a mission," Nero winced at the word, perhaps for the same reason Aidan had, “and that caused her to back off a bit." Nero sighed and shook his head. “It might give us more time if I tell her that right now isn't a good time to be married," he began, glancing up in Aidan's direction.

“As much as we all hate saying it, it might actually be good thing that Ana is a mission. If Ryk were married, it'd be hard to convince her that he was single," Little Ninja stated, sighing heavily.

“It'll buy us more time to figure out what to do, and it's a convincing enough argument that she'll believe it."

“Especially since we don't know how long this mission will take. We've been doing this for the better part of a year and some months, now, so... if we tell her we can't get married because of the mission... she might back off," Little Ninja added as she folded her arms.

“But Aidan is right, you know Marah will try and come after me indirectly through you, or anyone else, if we don't do what she wants," Nero stated.

“She will, but Eryk, we need to get this under control. If she tries to come after me as revenge for this, then at least we can figure something out, somehow when it happens. For now, we can see if Gregorovich can get her to step back on the grounds that you need to be single for this. Do you think he'll be able to do it?" she asked, glancing at Aidan.

Aidan shrugged. "She's a Koga, he's the boss," he says, leaning back in his chair and taking another long drag. "You said she's not even a direct blood relation to the old man, right? Gregorovich can handle her."

Stubbing out the remains of his cigarette on the glass ashtray atop his desk, he pursed his lips. "He'll interfere exactly as far as the mission goes, though, guys," he added seriously. "No further. We're going to have to handle whatever she might do after that on our own. Ana might still get some flak. So might you, Little Ninja. Or Rheinallt, or who knows who she picks, you feel me?"

Both Nero and Little Ninja nodded. “I'll do what I can to ensure Ana gets minimal exposure to that woman. Cy, you'll have to find a way to avoid her as well, but..." Nero paused and pursed his lips together before letting out a long sigh, “we both know how persistent she can get. Just do what you can."

“I will, but you know we can't avoid her forever, Ryk. For now, we'll do what Big Bro says. We'll have to handle whatever she might do the best we can," Little Ninja offered a wry smile before turning her attention towards Aidan. “Thanks for the help, we'll be counting on you a lot," she stated, offering him a small grin.

He nodded, very keenly wishing in this moment that there were more he could personally do. But the exact nature of the ties here between the work and the rest kept him pinned, and Gregorovich had been clear that for some reason NTR still needed the Kogas, overall. So there was only so far he could get the woman to step off before it was just… out of his hands.

"I'll do what I can," he said on a sigh, managing a wry smile and ruffling Frost's fur. "Keep me updated if anything changes on your end, too."


2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cyrilla Niav Character Portrait: Kasimir Rheinallt
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0.25 INK

July 9th
Cinnabar Back Island - Dusk - Clear
Cyrilla Klein

Cyrilla threw back the drink a lot quicker than she had intended to, choking a bit as it burned on its way down. Diva placed a heavy paw on Cyrilla's back almost as if she were trying to console her somehow, but there wasn't much the lycanroc could do. Currently, Cy was at the one place Marah didn't know about, the one place she felt safe. She needed some place quiet to collect her thoughts and to stave off the anxiety she was currently feeling.

“It's not fair," she mused out loud, earning a soft huff from Zero as she leaned back against the arcanine. “It's not," she repeated, taking a steady breath. Marah really couldn't leave well-enough alone. Somehow, she'd managed to convince Cyrilla's parents to give her dowry to one of the other Koga members. He wasn't Eryk, who was Koga's direct grandson, however; he was still a member of the main branch. Archaic as it was, that meant that she was going to have to marry someone she didn't know.

Someone she didn't love, and someone who was in the family.

“I tried so hard to get out of it," she murmured softly, pulling her legs to her chest. After everything she did, they had somehow managed to reel her back in.

You'll always be part of this family.

To anyone else, those words might have been comforting to hear, but to Cyrilla, it was the complete opposite. There was no comfort, no warmth or love behind the meaning of those words. It meant that she would always be chained to them no matter what she did. No matter where she went or who she became. The Koga had members just about everywhere, and Cyrilla knew that Marah would do everything in her power just to keep Cy from marrying Eryk.

“I'm not even marrying him, and still," she paused when she felt something wet on her cheek. Diva whined softly, raising a paw to Cyrilla's face as if to wipe the moisture away. The gesture was enough to cause Cyrilla's train of thought to disperse as she shook her head. “Today sucks," she stated, earning a slightly amused huff from Diva.

“I need a drinking partner," she said as she reached for her phone. She hesitated for a moment. What if he was busy? What if he was doing something else and didn't want to? After all, things were still a little awkward between the two of them, but...

“Fuck it," she could dwell on that on another time. She sent Kas a text, silently hoping he'd be able to join her.

She received a return text within moments, and after that the minutes ticked by slowly, the sky overhead darkening as night began to settle.

Kas showed up about half an hour later with a paper bag and a weary smile, setting down next to her and reaching back to pat Zero before crossing his legs under him and setting the bag down on the sand in front of him. It proved to, of course, contain more alcohol and mixer options, as well as recyclable plastic cups.

"Rough day?" he asked, pouring himself a liberal amount of tequila and adding some pineapple juice and ice to it, mixing the whole thing with a straw before tipping his head back to take a long drink.

She offered a small smile before shrugging. “I'm not sure if rough is the right word," she stated, reaching for one of the plastic cups and pouring herself a drink. She didn't bother mixing it nor seeing which one it was. She filled the cup, put it to her mouth, and chugged it as best as she could. She regretted it almost instantly, but endured it until it was gone.

“I ran into Marah today," she began, leaning back a little further against Zero's side. She was grateful for the warmth he provided, even if it was already a warm day. Something about it just felt nice. “What about you?" she asked, glancing sideways in Kas's direction.

“You look like you've had an equally rough day. Did Big Bro run the both of you ragged?" She wasn't trying to divert the conversation away from Marah, but she wasn't sure if she should bring it up just yet. Maybe she should since the two of them were still, technically, sober?

"Oof." Kas placed a hand to his heart, as if he'd been wounded. "Way to deal a direct hit to a guy's ego, Cy." He grinned, though, so if there had been any ego damage involved in saying he looked like he'd had a rough day, it was probably minimal. His confidence did seem pretty resilient that way. It made her chuckle, though.

"Work wasn't so bad. It's just busy enough at the moment that anything I want to do with Nora has to be on my own hours, and I'd really prefer to get that contraption off her head sooner rather than later, you know?" He downed the remainder of his drink and poured another, just a doubleshot of tequila this time, it seemed.

"But anyway. Encounter with your would-be mother in law from hell. Sounds like a blast." Kas rolled his eyes, then shook his head and regarded her a little more seriously. "You okay?"

“No," she answered truthfully. How could she be when Marah basically told her that she was going to marry someone and have no say in it? It wasn't fair that those people could dictate her life this way. What gave them the right? They never liked her to begin with, and neither did her parents. They had only seen her as a means to a gain, but now... Cyrilla was among people who did.

She found people who liked her, and loved her in a way she never thought she could be. It was warm, comforting, and... beyond words to describe. She wanted to be with these people, to make them her true family. She knew Ryk wanted the same thing, and they were trying so, so hard.

“Marah... she ruins everything," she began, her voice low and softer than she was used to. “She convinced my parents to give my dowry to someone else in the main branch. Because of that, it basically means," she paused to suck in a sharp breath. “It basically means they've sold me to someone else, and I don't have much of a choice in the matter."

The Koga were everywhere. Even if she didn't want to marry the man they'd supposedly chosen for her, they would make it very difficult for her if she tried to avoid or fight it. They would either forge her signature, or... she didn't want to think about it.

“I don't know what to do, Kas. I'm trying... I'm trying everything I can and yet," she couldn't finish the sentence. She tilted her head back to blink away the tears that were threatening to fall, and took a steady breath. Why couldn't they just leave her alone? It wasn't like she wanted to be born in that family.

He had to process that for a moment, his brows knitting as an uncomfortable expression flitted over his face. Like he had to remember what a dowry even was, and didn't like the recollection. Which was fair, for someone whose family lived in the modern century.

"Fuck's sake," he murmured, a note of disbelief in his tone. It wasn't that he didn't believe her, though, because of course he did. She could see that in the way he looked at her. Not pity, exactly—Kas wasn't the kind of man who pitied people, that she'd seen. But there was definitely sympathy in it, along with a curious, underlying something that looked like anger, a strange heat in the expression she couldn't quite place.

Kas swallowed. "I'm sorry, Cy," he said softly. "Do you—do you want a hug?"

“Please?" she stated, immediately moving towards him and wrapping her arms around him as best as she could. What she needed right now, more than anything, was this hug. It would, she hoped, calm her thoughts and help her process the situation with more clarity.

“Why couldn't I have had a family like yours," she almost jested, but part of her was serious. It wasn't perfect, from what she could recall him telling her about it, but it wasn't them. It wasn't the Koga, and at this point, Cy was willing to believe any family was better than that.

"Hey, let me know if this isn't okay, but—" Kas shifted his arms a bit and lifted her, twisting so she was more or less settled sideways over his folded legs. He'd done this before, and it could definitely be a sexual thing, but it didn't seem that way this time. Honestly from the way his grip changed back again, it seemed like he just wanted to be able to hug her better, and indeed he let out a long sigh when they were both more or less still again, arms still wrapped around her back and his chin atop her head.

It was quiet for a moment, and then she felt his posture stiffen slightly. "Uh. Hm." He hummed, almost as if to himself, the fingers of one hand drawing nonsense patterns where his hand landed on her arm on that side. "So… I just—never mind, that's dumb even for me."

“Kas, you're the smartest guy I know," Cy began, sighing softly as she squeezed her arms a bit around him. “If you have anything, any kind of suggestions that might help, I'd really appreciate it," because at this point, she was willing to do anything to get out of this game Marah was playing.

"Well it's just…" He pursed his lips, one hand moving up and down her back as if automatically. "I can't help but think boss had the right idea, just… not quite far enough. Your adopted brother doesn't really have a say in your marriage but, uh… I can think of one family member who definitely would."

She pulled back far enough so she could look up at him, arching her brow in a confused manner. “Ryk?" she stated more than questioned, really. Eryk was technically part of her family, but she didn't know how much say he actually had in her marriage. He might be the next heir, but even so, she didn't think there was much he could do. He would try, because that's who Eryk was, but... well, there was only so much he could do without outright marrying her.

And even if she was against marrying whoever her family picked, she wouldn't do that to Ryk.


“I'm not sure if he has any real say," she murmured, furrowing her brows slightly.

"Not exactly what I had in mind, no," he replied, an edge of humor creeping into his tone. It disappeared quickly, though, and Kasimir frowned. "I meant… well, there's one kind of legal protection I can think of that they can't really do anything about. Specifically, if you were, uh…" He trailed off.

It wasn't often that Kas was awkward about anything. He was the kind of person who could breezily talk about things that would trip the average person up more than a little. But he was definitely awkward now.

"If you were already married. Bigamy's illegal, see. And uh… both parties have to sign off on a divorce, so uh—supposing the person you were married to wasn't the kind to fold to pressure, you'd be, well, shielded, in a way." He laughed, the sound faintly strained.

"So… if you can't think of anything else, you could always. Y'know. Marry me instead."

“Wait, really?" she stated in a slightly shocked manner. It wasn't that she was repulsed by the suggestion, she just... well, she didn't think that that would have been a suggestion or solution she would have thought of herself. She could understand now why people said that awkward was contagious. She was certainly feeling it right now.

If she were in a right state of mind, she would have agreed readily enough. She would say they should do it now just to get Marah off her, at least, even if that meant Marah would be taking her frustrations out on someone else. Ryk could handle it, Cyrilla knew, and she also knew that he wouldn't let any harm come to Ana. Big Bro was definitely capable of handling himself, but she wasn't so sure about Nev.

The real problem here was Cyrilla's damn heart. Marrying Kas meant marrying the person she loved for a reason that wasn't traditional, or at least in the sense that most people married for. She wasn't a sentimental person, of course. Cyrilla never really dreamed of her wedding day like most young girls did simply because it wouldn't have been the sort of occasion to look forward to. Hers was, if anything, a forced marriage, however; Kas was giving her another option, something better.

She could marry him and she would still be free. She wouldn't be going back to the family, and she knew Kas wouldn't do anything to make her feel uncomfortable or anything of that sort. Unlike that family, Cyrilla knew Kas respected her. But was that really okay? Was it really fine to marry him simply so she wouldn't have to marry someone else?

“It... it wouldn't be permanent," she stated, lowering her head to avoid his gaze for a moment. “It would just be long enough to keep Marah and the rest of them away. I just... is it..." she couldn't seem to form the words right, and she furrowed her brows before letting a small smile cross her face.

“Thanks, Kas. Give me a few days? To see if there's nothing else? I mean... I hope that doesn't sound like I wouldn't want to marry you. You're my best friend so of course I would, but... it's just," she didn't want to make it seem like a last resort.

Awkward really was contagious, and she was feeling it very keenly now.

It was hard to tell, because of the dark as well as his complexion, but she thought maybe Kas was actually a tad red in the face. "Yeah, uh… not a problem, obviously." He chuckled; it sounded a little strained. "Sort of a lot to hit someone with out of nowhere, so don't feel like… obligated. It's an option there if it… if it would help. That's—that's all I'm trying to do here, Cy. Help however I can, so… yeah. You won't offend me if you decide to go with something else, you know?"

“Thanks, Kas," she replied, leaning so that she could hide her face a bit. He wasn't the only one with a bit of red on their face, but she was, for the first time this month, happy. She didn't feel so strained or stressed about this... whatever it was Marah was trying to do.

Cyrilla had help, and that was more than she could ever ask for.


2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aidan Klein Character Portrait: Cyrilla Niav
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#, as written by Aethyia

July 11th
Cinnabar Shopping Center - Afternoon - Hot
Aidan Klein

Aidan killed the engine once the bike was comfortably in the parking spot, knocking the kickstand down with a booted heel and setting the same foot on the ground. Unfastening the internal strap of his helmet, he tugged the thing off with a sigh. Thankfully there hadn't been too much time for him to start sweating underneath it—it was a damn furnace out today.

Setting the helmet down, he swung off the bike and ran his fingers through his hair a few times to make sure it was standing up in its usual spikes. He didn't consider himself especially concerned with appearances, but he knew enough not to want helmet hair, anyway. He confirmed he had none in the mirror of his motorcycle, then headed inside.

Cyrilla's text had indicated she was in the food court, and it didn't take long for him to spot the palest head of hair in the room. Making his way towards her, he cleared his throat politely when he was in range, setting a large hand down on her head but not messing her hair up. He knew enough to know that, too.

"Hey, Little Ninja. You want to shop and talk, or eat and talk?"

“Let's eat and talk, I'm kinda starving," she said as she gave him a lazy smile. “I was also craving noodles so I was thinking maybe the new noodle place that just opened up," she stated, nodding her head in the direction of a store named House of Noodles. “They have somepthing called jjamppong and I want to try it. It's supposedly made with a spicy broth."

"Noodles it is, then," Aidan replied, waiting for her to stand before he headed over to the shop in question and got in line. "On me today," he added, lifting his eyes to the menu board to gauge the options. He let her put her order in and got himself some pho, and the two of them made their way to one of the tables in the shop. He figured that was probably better since the bowls seemed to be the reusable kind, so it was probably better not to leave the place with them.

Once he'd slid into a booth seat, Aidan ripped the paper on the disposable chopstick he'd been given, separating them with a soft crack. The top of one ended up bigger than the other, and he frowned slightly, cracking off the extra on the one. No big deal, even if it looked weird.

"So, what's got you in the mood to hang out at the mall with me?" He had a feeling he knew, but it was generally better to let people explain things for themselves even so.

“Oh, you know," she began, cracking her own chopsticks and stirring her bowl for a moment, “it's a public area, people recognize you a little, and less chances of running into Marah by myself. Plus, I feel like we don't get to spend much time together as siblings, y'know?" The small grin on her face belied the stress she seemed to currently be under before she sighed softly.

“I also would like to get your advice on something," she muttered softly, taking a bite of her noodles and chewed in a contemplative manner. Once she swallowed, she seemed to steel herself before glancing up at him. “Marah's managed to get my parents to sell me off to someone else," she began, grimacing slightly at the choice of words it seemed.

It wasn't hard to guess why; that was shitty news and the shitty words were therefore apt to explain it. "Fuckssake," he said, shaking his head. "I don't get any of this shit at all." Expelling a long breath through his nose, Aidan lifted some of his pho with his chopsticks, finishing the bite before he spoke again. "So… basically you're engaged to someone who isn't Nero now? And that means you can't just act like you intend to get around to it eventually."

“Pretty much," she replied, taking another bite of her noodles. “It would be easier if they weren't so archaic, y'know? I'd be able to get around it somehow, but you know the Koga. They're everywhere," she began once she'd finished her bite. She sighed softly and ran a hand through her hair.

“They'd make it damn near impossible to avoid it, and would try and forge my signature or something else. But..." she paused, pursing her lips together as her brows furrowed, “Kas brought up a good point."

“Bigamy is illegal, and..." she paused as if she were trying to think of how she wanted to word her next statment, “they wouldn't be able to do anything to me if I were already married. The only problem with that is finding someone who wouldn't be easily intimidated or swayed by the Family."

“And... well, Kas, he said that I could, y'know, marry him," she spoke almost too quickly at the last part. She didn't seem embarrassed about it, if the expression on her face was anything to go by. She seemed more troubled by it. “I just... you know things are kind of awkward between us, and I don't want to make it any more than it already is. I'm not seeing any other solutions, though. That's why I wanted to run it by you, first. You've always been a big help with that." She offered him a half-smile.

Aidan had to let that one sink in for several seconds. He'd known Rheinallt and Little Ninja had it bad, obviously, despite any and all insistence to the contrary or personal hangups or whatever else. But even he definitely hadn't been expecting something like this.

In a way, it was a very Rheinallt move. Everyone was playing checkers, and that guy was on some completely different board, playing shogi or something similarly much more complicated. On the other hand, it was exactly not the kind of awkward, tentative kid-gloves handling he'd been giving this whole thing since they slept together. He almost wanted to think it meant something had changed, but… something else classically Rheinallt about it was that he'd definitely stick his neck out for a friend in a bind, even if it put him in an awkward position.

Aidan wanted to think he'd do that too, but he'd certainly never had to prove it like this.

He expelled a deep breath, taking another bite of noodles to contemplate it. "Well, it's probably going to be more awkward," he said at last. "But there's no way he didn't know that when he suggested it. So I think you can take that to mean he's willing to accept it. Or to put it another way, he thinks helping you is worth that. So, the question is: do you agree?"

He knew she didn't always, but her confidence had come a long way. Hopefully far enough that she was willing to let herself be helped instead of damning herself to a life she didn't want for the sake of someone else's convenience.

She seemed contemplative for a moment, chewing the bottom of her lip in the same manner. “I do agree," she finally said, but it seemed to trouble her still. “I guess what I'm more worried about than that is..." she paused, furrowing her brows, “I don't honestly know. I think I'm just scared, if I'm being honest. Of what, I don't know." She'd muttered it softly before she took another bite.

“I know he's not the type and I know he can handle himself, but there's still just this small part that's 'what if', you know? What if they do get to him? What if he decides that it's not worth it? I'm just... I know Kas isn't like that, but," she didn't seem to know how to finish that.

“It just feels like I'm doubting him when I know I shouldn't. And he doesn't really deserve that."

Aidan hummed. "Well, it's a pretty outside-the-norm situation, kiddo," he said, shaking his head slightly. "I think in this kind of scenario it's pretty natural to doubt a lot of things. I don't think he'd count it against you, all things considered. But if you're really worried about it, you could always just tell him how you're feeling about it, and see what he says." He didn't sound flippant about it, or talk down to her like it was obvious.

In a sense, of course, communicating was the obvious answer to problems that didn't need to be problems. But it wasn't like there were no genuine issues to worry about here. Even outside the context of her fucking insane family, there was a lot to worry about in deciding to get hitched, he figured. Aidan had avoided anything remotely close for as long as he'd dated, and by default now that he didn't. Also, sometimes communicating itself was much easier given as advice than actually done. There was no unsaying something, after all.

She half smiled at him and nodded her head. “I guess you're right, but even that's a hard can of wurmples to open. I'm sure you've noticed but we're pretty bad at communicating," she seemed to half joke, but she also seemed more resolved to try. “I guess a lot of it is just me worrying about more of the smaller things. Things that don't really matter when it comes to this situation," she paused for a moment as if to gather herself, “things like this wasn't the way I wanted to get married with him."

She laughed almost awkwardly at the statement. “I mean, you know, not the way if somehow we managed to even get that far, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind for a proposal," she smiled a little broader, though, and shook her head. “Thanks, Big Bro. I knew I could count on you and your advice," she said in a more confident manner.

“We'll see how the rest of this goes, I suppose," she chuckled almost as if she found something funny. “Who knows, maybe you'll be getting a brother-in-law. Just make sure you don't pull him any favors just 'cause you'd be related." She was obviously joking, but at least she seemed to smile more genuinely, now.

He was half-tempted to go bother Rheinallt until he did the proposal part more properly, but at the same time Aidan knew they weren't, emotionally, at that kind of point. It'd just make everyone uncomfortable to act like this was a normal situation like that, so he couldn't do much more than hum sympathetically as she spoke.

There was a chuckle when she finished, though, and he shook his head. "Like I'd ever give that guy an easier time of it for anything." His lips quirked into a smile. "I do that, and Nero starts complaining—justifiably, I might add. They both know you're the favorite but I have to treat them the same or it'd be a whole thing." He was half-joking, of course, but he did take treating them equally quite seriously.

Reaching across the table, he ruffled her hair gently. "I think you'll be all right, kid. For whatever that's worth."

Her eyes narrowed with her smile, “It's worth a lot, to me at least." She finished off her noodles before her smile morphed into a grin. “I suppose if we are going to do this thing, I'll have to speak with him about it. What do you think, Big Bro? There was a ring shop a few stores down, want to help me pick something out? The proposal might be shot, but at least I can find something that'll suit him. I'll surprise him with a proposal of my own."

Aidan snorted. "Yeah, all right. I'm game for it."


3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kasimir Rheinallt Character Portrait: Nevena Solomon Character Portrait: Rocket Files
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July 11th
Cinnabar Gym - Afternoon - Hot
Nevena Solomon

Today reminded Nev why she never really liked hot weather. Her skin had felt sticky and she'd nearly started sweating the moment she stepped outside. Maybe it was just her since everyone on the island seemed perfectly fine, but then that just might be the fact that they lived here. She was, however, grateful for Drake letting her, Kasimir, and Mel use his gym. The indoor pool would be nice to swim in, and there wouldn't be too many people around when she did a check up on Nora, Kas's newly acquired pokémon.

She would admit that she was looking forward to it. After reading the information Kasimir had given her, she wanted to see to what extent the research had gone with the type: null. She would have invited the others but Aidan and Cyrilla were currently on a sibling date as Cyrilla had called it, and Eryk was more tired than anything and opted to stay with Ana at their home. Drake was currently at a league meeting, something about his credentials and challenger quota. All Nev knew was that he was updating them on whether he was still considered a major Gym or if he'd be demoted to the minors.

Regardless, Nev was excited to spend time with the two Rheinallt siblings, and learn a little more about Nora.

Mel appeared from the kitchen, a tray of snacks and drinks in her hands. "Hey, Nev," she said, setting it down next to where she was sitting. "Looks like maybe the heat's gotten pretty bad out there, so I made some stuff to cool down. There's also alcohol if you want to spike them, but everything on the tray is virgin as-is. There's berry lemonade, club soda, fruit punch, and a cranberry lime spritzer. Oh, and regular orange juice, if you prefer." She pointed each out in turn, then settled in the chair nearest, pouring herself some of the spritzer.

"Mirmir's bringing Nora by today, right? I haven't seen her yet. Some totally new type of lab-synthed pokémon, right?" She seemed intrigued by the idea.

“He is," Nev replied, feeling the smile on her face widen a bit. “From the notes he'd sent me, it seems like Nora was the only one they could fully create. It said they had three failures but I don't know what could have possibly happened to them," she continued, her brows furrowing slightly. She had a guess as to what might have happened.

Like most things that fail, they are either destroyed or terminated somehow. It might be that the case for the three failures, but Nev couldn't be too certain. She was about as intrigued about Nora, though, as Mel seemed to be. The prospect of studying something so new made Nev's blood run in a way it hasn't in a long time. She wanted to see what made Nora so special.

Kas arrived not too much later, strolling into the Gym in what seemed to be his usual casual manner. For some reason, Mel frowned in his direction, then sighed.

He dropped into another chair near them with a smile. "Ladies," he greeted, the expression brightening into a grin for a moment. "How are you both?"

“Excited," Nev said as she smiled brightly at him. It was true, though. She was excited about the fact that she was about to look at a new creature. It would probably be put on the legendary or even mythical list considering that there was only one. Or one that they knew of that was still alive.

“What about you, are you ready to see what makes Nora tick?" she asked, grabbing one of the drinks Mel had put out eariler.

Kas chuckled. "Well, I've already done some homework," he admitted, pulling the last ball back from his belt and giving it a small toss. It opened with the customary flash of red light, and the pokémon he'd named Nora appeared. She was as the photos suggested: quite large, quadrupedal but with front legs different from the back, mostly white, and with some kind of metal device strapped onto her head.

The part that let her peer out the front swung from Nev to Mel and then to Kas, the pokémon's head tilting inquisitively. She seemed tense, but when he set a hand on her flank, she relaxed a little, and sat down.

"She's… a pretty crazy melding of biology and tech," Kas said. "As far as I can tell. Like a porygon, but partly organic. A… cyborg, I guess. Sounds crazy, but that's the best way I can put it. I figure I can learn the tech side myself, but… you're a better biologist than me by a mile, Sis."

Despite the fact that his actual sister was present, there didn't seem to be any confusion around the nickname.

“I suppose that holds some truth," Nev replied, her eyes narrowing with her smile. She glanced at the creature, holding back her excitement as best as she could. It wasn't every day that she could study something so rare. Something that was part organic material and something that wasn't. Nev took a step closer to Nora, doing a once over before making a full circle around the pokémon.

“Hm," she hummed to herself. The helmet Nora was wearing was peculiar, but there didn't seem to be anything too particular about it. “Is it alright if I get closer?" she asked, turning in Kas's direction. Nora was still a recently caught pokémon, and Nev didn't want to take a chance getting close and risking her safety. Pokémon could still have wild natures even if they were caught, and Nora would be no exception, especially if the data Nev had read was true.

“There's something I want to check about her helmet. And... if she'll allow it, I'd like to pull some blood from her at a later time. I want to see what exactly is in her DNA," she added. Nev would be able to get a better understanding of what the scientists were doing when they created Nora if she studied Nora's blood. Plus, she could learn a lot more about a creature through its DNA structure than just its physiology, alone.

"What do you reckon, Nora? She looks all right to me, but I'd get it if you were suspicious." He patted the pokémon's flank as he spoke to her in a stage-whisper, grinning mischievously at Nev. It caused Nev to snort softly as she tried not to laugh.

"You're going to corrupt that poor, innocent pokémon," Mel replied dryly.

Kas chuckled; Nora seemed to consider it, but then visibly relaxed further.

"Looks like you're allowed, Sis."

“Yay," she replied with a little too much vigor. Nev wasn't able to conceal her excitement, but did her best to tone it down so she wouldn't stress Nora out. The last thing she wanted was a stressed pokemon that could potentially harm everyone around. “Alright, let's see," Nev murmured as she walked closer to Nora.

“So, how's everyone doing these days?" she decided to ask while she inspected Nora's helmet. “It feels like I haven't seen a lot of either of you this month," or anyone else for that matter. She didn't count Aidan since they lived together, but everyone else seemed to have vanished. She saw them at lunch on occasion, but... well, things seemed a little weird. Nev couldn't claim to be the mood reader in the group, but she'd like to think she knew her friends a little better.

As she waited for their responses, Nev gently took hold of the helmet that encased most of Nora's head. She let her hand smooth over the contraption, pursing her lips softly as she inspected it.

Nora stayed still under the inspection, but seemed a little uneasy about having the contraption touched.

Kas seemed to be monitoring her carefully for any signs of discomfort or pain, though, and he didn't say anything, so it was probably fine to continue.

"Me either, actually," Mel observed, leaning her chin in her hand. "Though I heard Eryk's mom is in town and she sounds kind of like the worst human being ever, so they probably have a lot to deal with."

"Yeah, uh…" Kas hesitated a moment. "She's a real bitch, and I don't use that kind of word lightly, you know? She's trying to marry Cyrilla off to some other member of the family so she can make Ryk marry Katia or… something like that. It's… put her in a tight spot."

"Is there anything we can do? I can call mom or something…" Mel frowned, looking a little confused about the whole situation. "I mean, it's not the dark ages. Who can force people to marry people anymore?"

"The Kogas, apparently," Kas replied, running his hand along Nora's flank. "I uh… did what I could, but it's up to her to decide how she wants to handle it. Much as I wish she didn't have to."

Nev pursed her lips in confusion. Cyrilla was being forced to marry someone who wasn't Ryk? When where those two dating? Wasn't Ryk dating Ana? She removed her hand from the contraption and furrowed her brows in Kas's direction. Nev felt a little painful twinge in her chest; she couldn't understand the reasoning behind it, either way, but it seemed like Kas and the others were trying to prevent it. Maybe they didn't want to tell her so she wouldn't have to worry about it?

Nev knew herself to know that she did worry a little too much, especially when it came to her friends. “Can Eryk's mother do that, though? I don't know what's going on, but it sounds like Eryk's mother can't really do that, even if she is a Koga." The Koga family wasn't a family Nev was familiar with. She wasn't a native in Kanto and didn't know much of its old families or anything like that.

“What about Cyrilla's parents? Wouldn't they have a say?" she asked. Nev wasn't completely certain, but... this just seemed strange.

"Ah, shit. I forgot you weren't up to speed, Sis, sorry. The long and short of it is uh… Ryk and Cy are both Kogas to some degree and their family does weird arranged marriage shit. They were 'engaged' to each other for a long while, but haven't ever been interested in each other that way. They more or less broke it off when Ryk fell for Ana, I think, but it's kind of… not something the family approved of. Cy tried to leave the family, too, but they're basically trying to pull her back in with this. I'll be honest—I don't always totally get it either."

"So what did you do?" Mel asked, tilting her head.

He shrugged. "I uh… told her she could marry me instead if she wanted."

"You what?"

If Nev was confused before, she felt completely gobsmacked, now. “You... told Cyrilla she could marry you, instead, if she wanted?" Nevena couldn't say she understood what was going on, but it seemed to be that both Cyrilla and Eryk's family wanted them to marry, or marry someone else. And that they were certainly not very good people. Nev furrowed her brows lightly as she tried to make sense of what was happening.

“Has she said anything about it? I mean, I can't imagine this is going to be easy for either of you," Nev stated, turning her attention briefly to Nora before returning it to Kasimir. “Marriage is a very... big deal, I would think." It wasn't that Nev believed that it was a one time deal. She knew enough that sometimes people didn't last in marriages, but maybe this was something different? Maybe they were doing this for another reason?

"Uh, no. Nothing definitive. I just wanted to give her an out, and it was the only one I could think of."

Mel frowned, releasing a long sigh. "I get it, but at the same time, poor Cy. Kind of sucks that it had to be you to offer. Maybe I should…" Her brow knitted.

"What's wrong with me specifically?" Kas asked, looking slightly affronted.

"Well, for starters, you needed to ask that question."

“I don't know much about what's going on, but I suppose if it's that serious, maybe I should help, too," though Nev didn't know what she could help with, exactly. She could offer to marry Cyrilla as well, but she didn't think it would be... quite that simple. “Hopefully it won't come down to that," she began, furrowing her brows slightly at herself.

“I mean, not that you're a bad choice, Kas. I think you're a good choice considering, but it is quite sudden. How are you feeling about this? It's not something you would have offered on a whim; you aren't the type to do that," at least Nev liked to believe so. She'd known her friends for over a year now, and she knew they wouldn't do something like that without a good reason.

"Well at least someone thinks so," Kas replied dryly, then shrugged. "I don't really know how I'm feeling about it. A little weird, since she hasn't said anything about it since then. Makes me feel tense just trying to have a normal conversation."

"Nervous," Mel specified. "You're nervous because she hasn't answered your proposal." Raising an eyebrow, she gave him a look that suggested she was implying something, though it wasn't totally clear what.

Kasimir sighed. "I mean, yes, technically, but not like you're thinking."


“I'd be nervous, too," Nev stated, giving Kas a sympathetic look. She couldn't imagine the anxiety of waiting for a reply to something like that. Even if it wasn't a proper marriage, a proposal was still a rather big deal, or so she thought.

“I'm sure she's also just processing everything to make sure that the decision isn't done on a whim," she stated, patting Nora on the side of her neck before stepping away from the pokemon. “I know I wouldn't want to go straight into something without making sure it wouldn't be difficult for me or the other person. It's a big decision to make, I think, and... for whatever it's worth, you two would be adorable regardless if she says yes or not. The two of you are very good friends, after all," and she liked to think that friendships wouldn't break over something like that.

“What about you, Mel? What do you think? If she does agree, you might be getting a sister-in-law."

"I think something's gotta give," Mel said on a sigh, shaking her head with something like exasperation. "But what do I know?"

Kasimir rubbed at the back of his neck. "Yeah, well… we'll get it figured out, one way or another. You, uh… you guys want to come ring shopping with me? I figure I should have one in case she says yes, to make it look official and all that. Can always take it back if she doesn't."

Mel gave him a long, considering look, then sighed again. "Yeah, all right. Who knows what she'd end up with if we let your taste decide?"

Nev smiled sympathetically and nodded her head. “I'm not sure I'd be of any help choosing, but I'll do my best." Regardless of what happened between the two, Nev hoped that they would be fine, and that things would work out.


2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cyrilla Niav Character Portrait: Kasimir Rheinallt
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#, as written by Aethyia

July 13th
Cinnabar Backisland - Afternoon - Hot
Kasimir Rhienallt

Perhaps, if Kas had been thinking straight, he might have considered the possibility that a spontaneous invitation for everyone to head to the backisland for a little relaxation would end in a majority of nos. It wasn't as though everyone was always available after all, but everything going on this month had really put a dent in everyone's free time.

So here he was, alone with Cy again.

It wasn't that he minded being alone with Cy. She was amazing, and sometimes he found himself wanting to be alone with her, which for a social being like him was a rare thing to want. It was just that right now, with his 'proposal' still unanswered and a ring burning a hole in his pocket, he wasn't really sure how to handle himself. Maybe if he just acted like everything was normal it'd almost feel like it was.

"So. What's on the agenda? Destroying randos at volleyball? Surfing? Working on your tan?" The last one was a lighthearted joke, made obvious by his grin, because Cyrilla physically could not tan without burning. Actually…

"Did we bring enough sunscreen?"

Cy smiled when he asked about the sunscreen, the corners of her eyes wrinkling almost in a pleased way. “Of course," she replied, holding up a bag in her arm. “Unlike tall, dark, and handsome, I'm pastey white so I have to make sure I wear plenty of it," she added, arching a brow up at him.

“Besides, I'm not going to need a lot of it. I just need enough to cover my arms, legs, and my neck," since she still didn't seem to wear anything that exposed much of her back. “The real question you should be asking, though, is did you bring enough drinks? I have a feeling we're going to need them today," she stated, a hint of mischief in her tone.

Kas pointed at the large cooler under one of his arms with his chin. "Nothing but booze and snacks," he said with a solemn nod. Probably a bad sign if the prospect of being alone with him makes her want to drink, itself, but then he had brought them, so he wasn't sure what that said either.

"Let's get set up." Picking a good spot, he let the cooler down, and the bag in his other arm, then hefted the large umbrella from over his shoulder and staked it into the ground, opening it up to create a large shade circle. There were a couple extra-large ground cover towels in the bag, and he spread those next, setting up the cooler right next to the umbrella rod and stepping out of his sandals and onto the towels.

“Hmm, this is close enough to heaven," Cyrilla stated once everything was set up, and she plopped down onto her towl, giving Kas a small smirk before reaching towards the cooler. “Since it's just going to be you and me today," she began, pausing in the cooler to reach to the other side of her where she'd had a basket stashed, “I brought some of your favorite things to eat. Not entirely sure it'll all go well with the booze, but we'll see."

She set the basket more or less between them, and arched a brow at him. “How are things going with Nora? I know Nev did a check up on her the other day. Anything new come up?" she asked, pulling out one of the ciders in the cooler.

"You remain, as always, the best," he said, pulling a meat bun from the basket with a grin and taking a large bite of it. The pleased groan that came out was almost entirely involuntary; this was one kind of thing that did taste good with alcohol, and on the beach, for that matter.

"Nora's doing okay. She seems to be in pretty good condition, though I'm still not a fan of the helmet. Hard to take it off without risking doing her some real damage, though, so I'm leaving it for now. It at least doesn't seem to hurt her. Still working on figuring out what all her inorganic components do."

The corners of her eyes narrowed as she smiled, listening to what he had to say. She didn't say anything, instead, remaining quiet and taking a sip of her drink. “At least it's not hurting her," she finally stated, huffing lightly before reaching into the basket for one of the buns. She took a bite of it and chewed quietly before she swallowed.

“So, uh," she began in a tentative manner. “I suppose I've let this stew long enough, so,um, I've got something to tell you," she continued, furrowing her brows slightly. “Which... I thought would be easier since no one else is here and all, but nope, I was wrong," she seemed to be rambling at the moment, unsure of what or how to say whatever it was that she wanted to.

“I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for taking so long to finally answer your, uh, suggestion. Mostly because I'm still not used to this kind of help," she smiled ruefully before glancing down at her hands. “And mostly because of the small little fears I have."

Kas chewed his own food thoughtfully. He didn't want to seem like he was trying to change her mind, so maybe it was good that she hadn't really made her decision clear yet. "Well," he said slowly, "if it would help, you could always talk with me about those. I guess maybe there's a lot of stuff to think about that wasn't really at the front of my mind when I made the offer. That's not me taking it back or anything, just—"

He sighed. "There's legitimate reason to have worries and fears and questions and stuff, but if any of them might go more clearly one way or another if you asked about them, just… know you can do that. I won't mind; I'm practically immune to awkwardness." He grinned; it wasn't exactly true, but compared to most people he was certainly resistant to it.

Cyrilla huffed lightly, and shook her head. “You might be immune to it, but it's still an intimate friend of mine," she stated, rolling her eyes at herself, it seemed. She chuckled in a good natured manner, though, and sighed softly. “I guess my main concern is that..." she paused, pushing out a soft breath.

“If we do go through with this, if we do get married, I just don't want you to think that I'll hold it against you if you change your mind. You've dealt with some of our family members and issues, and you know how they can be. I don't want you to get overwhelmed and feel like it's too much pressure just to help me, out."

“This isn't something that should be taken lightly, even if it'll be for a short time. I just want to make sure you're absolutely okay with this, because... well, if you're marrying me, you're going to be marrying into a good amount of trouble for a time. Are you certain this is something you want to do?" Her brows were furrowed into a serious manner as she seemed to try and hold his gaze.

Kas pursed his lips. There was a time when he would have just brushed off concern like that, because he didn't care about that kind of thing and had difficulty believing it would ever touch him in any meaningful way. But that answer didn't seem satisfying anymore, or even correct.

"I get it, you know?" he said after a moment. "I honestly get what kind of people your family are, and I know my life isn't necessarily going to be the same if we do this. It might get a lot harder in some ways. Sometimes I might really feel the difference between being at the outside of things and right in the middle." He huffed softly, finding her eyes with his own.

"But you know… I'm all right with it even so. You're just worth it, Cy. No matter what happens."

She offered him a half-smile, and he could see her lip quiver for a moment. She took a deep breath and turned away from him, sniffling softly as she reached on the other side of her for something. “No matter what happens, I want you to know that if it does get to be too much, you can back out of it. Any time. I'm not... making this permanent in any way you don't want it to be because you're my best friend and I love and respect you."

“You've... been more than anything I could have asked for, honestly and," she paused, huffing slightly with a light blush dusting her cheeks, “I really don't deserve a friend like you. I really don't, but I'm so glad that you are mine and that I haven't scared you off." she seemed to jest at the last part if her huff was anything to go by.

“But... Kasimir Rheinallt," she paused again, holding his gaze more seriously as she brought her hands forward, clasped over something it seemed. “It's not the way I wanted to do this, but... will you do me the honor of allowing me to be your wife?" She unclapsed her hand, producing a smooth, black ring with a dark green strip going around it.

He almost had to laugh, considering what was weighing his pocket down. And in fact he reached for it, somehow the act of her having done the same making it feel easier. "You went and jumped the gun on me, Cy," he said, popping open the little velvet box to show her what he was talking about.

He'd opted for something a little less conventional, for her. He thought diamonds were kind of boring, and he sort of suspected she might understand where he was coming from. So the ring was an antique, one that had been in his family a while but wasn't, at least until now, part of anyone's wedding set. He'd tried to look in stores, but had found that there just wasn't anything that seemed to suit.

The band was white gold, in the shape of a woven strand of vines, with green enamel set into it, almost of a shade with what she'd gotten him. The proper gem, though, was in the shape of a tiny flower, the stone a dilute ruby the color of her eyes. His older sister had taken pictures of all the family pieces, and as soon as he'd seen this one, he'd known it was the right fit. Well—he'd had it sized, so it also now should fit in the literal sense.

"I think I can do that," he said with a grin. "But only if you can stand to be my wife, too."

Cy huffed lightly. “Why wouldn't I be? Honestly, I don't think any woman would want to pass up the opportunity to be your wife," she started, her eyes narrowing slightly with her smile. “But I guess I'm the only one who can stand to be your wife." It was easy to tell she was jesting, but she sighed softly and nodded her head, replacing the box in his hand with the one she'd had.

“I guess... we're really doing this, then. The big 'fuck you' to Marah and the rest of the clan," she said lightly as she slipped the ring on her left hand. She seemed to inspect it for a moment, holding it out in front of her with her fingers spread. “I shouldn't get too attached. Might not want to give this back down the road," she stated in a joking manner, wagging her fingers in front of him before shaking her head.

“In all seriousness, though," she paused, “thanks, Kas. I promise with this, you'll have nothing but the best breakfasts and lunches until this whole thing blows over. Don't know about dinners, though. Might just leave those to you." She grinned, but Kas could tell she was being sincere in her first statement.

He laughed, but it was hard to tell if it was more at what she'd said or the absurdity of the whole situation. Hell, maybe he was just laughing to cover his pretty serious nervousness. It still didn't feel quite real, but it was approaching that in a way it hadn't before.

"Jumping right into chore division, huh? Very practical of you." He nodded, feigning more seriousness than the topic really deserved. "If you take breakfast and lunch, I'll do dinners and laundry. I think whoever doesn't do the dishes should handle the vacuuming…" He trailed off, flashing her a broad smile.

There was something a little inherently ridiculous about all this, but oh well.

Grabbing more of the alcohol, he topped her off and poured another for himself as well. The ring on his finger felt oddly like weight, but he could ignore it. Or get used to it. He wasn't sure which was the better idea, really.

Lifting his glass towards her, he arched an eyebrow. "To the big 'fuck you' we're about to give your entire rich and powerful family?"

“To the big 'Fuck You', because it deserves to be its own title," she replied, clinking her glass to his in a soft manner. “And to our own future," she added, her eyes narrowing lightly with her smile.

"That, too."


7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aidan Klein Character Portrait: Cyrilla Niav Character Portrait: Eryk Nero Character Portrait: Kasimir Rheinallt Character Portrait: Nevena Solomon Character Portrait: Anastasia Asher Character Portrait: Rocket Files
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July 19th
Ana's House - Mid Morning - Humid
Eryk Nero

Eryk sighed, running a hand through his hair to shake the strands loose. He wasn't getting enough sleep as of late, and it was always worse after his interactions with Marah. The woman was insistent on getting him married, and he was tired of arguing with her. She wanted to have her way, but he wasn't going to let her. He'd had enough of her, but he shoved the thoughts to the back of his mind as best as he could. He needed to focus on what he was doing, now.

He'd been told the night before to wake early and meet Kasimir and Cyrilla at the courthouse. He wasn't entirely sure why, but he could speculate. After all, it wasn't just him that they were meeting. It was all of them; all of their friends, and Cyrilla had asked them to dress semi formal. He'd chosen a pair of grey slacks with a matching vest over a black long sleeve shirt as his attire. He'd rolled the sleeves up to his elbows, and was currently fiddling with the tie. It was the only color he had, being a deep red. He sighed in a frustrated manner, though, before letting the tie hang loosely around his neck.

“Ana," he called out, moving from his room to find her. He wanted to see if she could help him with his tie since he was too tired to make much more of an effort, and they needed to leave soon.

He found her in her room, albeit with the door wide open. It seemed she was fiddling with the ribbon tie at the neck of her light blue dress—he believed they were called skitty bows for some reason. Large and soft, in this case made of what looked like a silk ribbon that also lined the tea-length hem of the dress, which was a simple handkerchief skirt with a closer fit at the top.

She dropped it as he appeared in her doorway, the ends falling to lay neatly on her left shoulder. "Eryk," she greeted, the word soft and gentle on her tongue. "Tie troubles?"

Not waiting for him to confirm, she approached, white lace flats making no noise on the rug over her bedroom floor. She stood on her toes to reach properly, tying with competence if not precisely expertise. She had to smother a yawn at the end of it, and fell back onto her heels with a wry smile, setting a hand lightly on the scarred side of his face. "You're tired," she observed. "It's… your visitor, isn't it?"

He hummed softly for a reply as he closed his eyes and pressed a little further into the palm at his cheek. “My mother is... relentless," he spoke softly with a sigh. “She has not given up, and I don't think she's going to do so any time soon."

He would be surprised if she did. The woman was a krookodile, and wouldn't give up so easily once she had her jaws on something. “I think," he began, a small smile forming on his lips, “that once she leaves, I'll be able to get some rest." Although that was relative to what rest actually meant for someone like him. He took a deep breath and turned so that he could place a gentle kiss on the palm of her hand.

He still firmly believed he didn't deserve what she gave him, however; he was trying, slowly, to convince himself that he did. She was... becoming more important to him than anything he could think of, and he wasn't sure when that truly began.

“I'm thinking about suggesting to the others that we take a break after this and go camping somewhere. What do you think?" because Arceus knew they needed a break away from whatever this was. He also wanted to let her know in advance so that they could, potentially, get someone to cover the shelter while they were gone.

Ana seemed to consider this for a moment, then nodded. "I think that's a really good idea," she said, turning just a little pink in the face when his lips brushed over the palm of her hand. "I'll have to work out a volunteer schedule and someone to live at the house for a bit to watch things while we're gone, but I think I can manage that."

Shifting forward, she wrapped both arms around his middle and gave him a gentle hug. "Make sure you pack some comfy things for the tent so you can get good sleep," she advised, then pulled back to look back up at his face. "Not, um, not that you're ever not handsome, but… I think this is the kind of event that might mean pictures. Do you want me to use a little bit of concealer under your eyes, just in case?"

He huffed lightly at her sugestion. “It wouldn't be the first time I've had concealer on," he muttered softly. After the photo shoots, Ryk was almost certain he was used to being in front of the camera and wearing some form of make up. “Perhaps it would be best," he replied, pulling back from her albeit begrudgingly.

“We should head out, after," he added. He didn't want to be late to whatever it was Kas and Cy were doing, after all.

"Of course." Anastasia smiled, ducking into the bathroom attached to her room, and reappearing with a small, seldom-used from its condition, makeup bag. A quick application of concealer later, and they were ready to go.

It didn't take long to get much of anywhere on Cinnabar Island, and the courthouse was no exception. "Should we split up?" she asked. "I suppose Cyrilla and Kasimir both might need a bit of checking on, and I'm not sure if the others are here yet."

He furrowed his brows a bit, pursing his lips together in the process. “That might be best. I think that's Aidan's bike over there," he stated, shifting his head in the direction of a black bike. It was a small possibility that it could be Aidan's, but then again it could be someone elses. Ryk's muddled mind couldn't make much difference between them.

“I'll go see if I can find Kas if you want to find Cy?" he asked, arching a brow at her. “They shouldn't be too far, I wouldn't think." For all he knew they could be running late. It would be rare if they were, but he couldn't say for sure. Maybe Kas was in the bathroom? Seemed like a plausible place to check first.

"I think that's a good idea," Ana agreed readily. If she noticed his muddled state, she was polite enough not to mention it. Standing on her toes, she gently kissed his cheek. "Come find me if you need anything. I'm checking the reception area for Cyrilla." Squeezing his hand, she let go, and headed in first.

It was quite strange to him, the feeling he felt when he watched her leave. He didn't want her to leave, but he also knew that she would be back. Shaking his head to himself, Ryk made his way towards the bathrooms. He didn't find Kas there, and five minutes into his search, he came to the courtroom itself. It was empty except for Kasimir and Aidan. He seemed to be in the middle of a conversation with Aidan, and Ryk made his way towards the other two men.

“Kas, Aidan," he greeted. Judging by their attire, Ryk could vaguely assume what was going on.

Kas was wearing perhaps the nicest suit Eryk had ever seen him in. It was white, but the shirt he wore with it was actually a fairly understated dark green, and his vest and tie were both black, as were his belt and shoes. He'd neatened his short hair for the occasion, and looked strangely nervous, for Kas.

Aidan paused him in his fidgeting with a hand on his shoulder to straighten his tie. The older man was attired in black as usual, the same suit he'd worn to court the last time. "Relax, Rheinallt. You're not second-guessing your decision, are you?"

"No. Just…" Kas waved both hands around, which looked rather odd with Aidan still re-knotting his tie.

"Just nothing, then. You know your reasons are the right ones. You still feel the same about it. You're just nervous because nothing's happening yet."

Kas gave him an incredulous look. "Or, you know, because of the million other ways this could go wrong."

"I don't think she's gonna care if you snore, peon."

Ryk furrowed his brows heavily. Kas was nervous, dressed in a nice suit as was Aidan.


“So I see you're actually going through with it." Everything clicked into place: Kas was actually going to marry Cy to solve the dilemma. Ryk might have caught on to it, earlier, if he hadn't been so damn tired and drained. “I suppose that explains... this," he gestured his arms to the courtroom. He turned his attention back to Aidan and Kas, though, and offered a half smile, or about as much of one that he could muster.

“Aidan might be right about that, though," he stated, tilting his head slightly. “Might as well get whatever else is on your mind before the others show up. What else is bothering you?" Ryk couldn't say that he was all that great at offering comfort or advice, but Kas was his friend, and he wanted to at least try to ease his nerves.

Rather than picking up the thread of the conversation, both of his friends regard him with open surprise, and a little concern, less obvious on Aidan than Kas but present nonetheless.

"You okay, Nero? Pretty sure they didn't forget to mention what this was."

Ryk rolled his eyes softly. “Define okay," he murmured before shaking his head. “They did, but I forgot until just a moment ago," he replied smoothly. “Kas is getting married, and it's apparently making him nervous. Did I forget anything else?"

He was almost certain he didn't, but it didn't bother him too much if he did. He wasn't, after all, the one getting married. His lips twitched slightly, though, as he regarded Kas for a moment. “You know, you really didn't have to do this," he started, reaching over to pat Kas's shoulder, “but I'm glad you are, even if it seems you're shitting bricks about it."

"Shi—hey fuck you, man." The oath was accompanied by a light laugh, though. "I'd tell you to try it and see how it feels, but I guess there's no reason for you to get real-fake married to someone to stop their shitty family from marrying them off to someone else. No offense."

Ryk shrugged his shoulders and replied, “none taken." He knew better than most how his family was archaic as hell. There was a faint smirk on his face, though. “Might have been easier if you'd just married me, but I'm not the one who needed your help."

Aidan huffed softly.

Kas on the other hand, grinned much more like his normal self. "I would have, for the record. If you needed me to. Sadly, I'm going to be off the market now. Guess you'll just have to ask boss when it's your turn."

"Eh, it'd work, but Katia would hate him even more."

“Might as well give her one more reason," was his simple reply. He was about to say something else, however; the sound of the door opening caused him to turn in that direction. Drake made his way towards the three of them, grinning broadly like a particularly happy lillipup. He was dressed in a crisp, dark blue suit, a pair of black shoes, and a coral colored tie. It looked... much like something Drake would wear regardless of the occasion.

“Hey guys," he greeted when he was closer. Ryk nodded in Drake's direction as his way of greeting. “The girls are on the way, but Cy wanted you to meet her outside, Aidan," he stated, still grinning. Ryk arched a brow, but didn't say anything. He supposed she wanted to talk to Aidan about something.

Nev walked through the doors, next, smiling excitedly to herself, it seemed. She was wearing a chiffon-styled pale blue dress, one that seemed to be off shoulder and knee length. The black stiletto heels that accompanied the dress had what looked like a small ribbon tied around the top part of her ankle. Her hair was pulled back into just a simple tail, with her bangs swept to the side.

“Oh, this is so exciting. My little brother is getting married," she stated, nearly beaming at Kas. “You look so handsome, too. You as well, Eryk," she stated, causing Ryk to nod his head.

“You look nice as well," he replied. Not as nice as Ana did, but that might have been his bias.

Aidan headed out, apparently unsurprised by this request, passing by Ana and Mel in the doorway. The latter, in keeping with what seemed to be a trend for the women, was wearing light blue. Hers was a halter-necked gown with a layer of soft lace over the main dress, which was to her knees in the front and longer in the back. Her shoes were white, like Ana's, but heeled instead of flat.

They both made their way over to the rest, Mel hugging Kas briefly. "Well I can't say I ever planned to see this day," she said with a small laugh, "but here we are."

"I'm full of surprises," Kas replied dryly.

A different door opened, this one admitting the judge, who blinked at them with recognition. He was the same one from Aidan's trial, and wore a small smile. “It seems I will be presiding over a much nicer occasion for you all this time," he said, sounding a little amused. “Which of you is Kasimir?"

Kas raised his hand, then stepped forward to shake the judge's. "Nice to see you again, Your Honor," he replied, his smile a touch sheepish.

“So it is."

Ryk huffed lightly, the left side of his lip twitching just slightly. It would have been a nicer occasion if this were an actual marriage, and not a real-fake one, as Kas had put it. He wasn't, however, going to let that thought dampen his mood. All that mattered was that it was going to get Marah off of their backs, and out of Cinnabar Island, or at least he hoped it would. The doors opened once more, catching Ryk's attention. Cyrilla was standing next to Aidan, which seemed to explain why she'd called him earlier, with a sheepish smile on her face.

He couldn't see from how far they were, but he thought there might have been a faint blush on her cheeks. It might have also been make up, he wouldn't be able to tell unless he was closer. She was dressed in a simple, mint green dress, chiffon in style with flutter sleeves. Her hair was parted to the left with a single braid wrapping around towards the back. It looked like she had a lavender butterfree pin holding it all up. She said something to Aidan before they made their way to where Kas was standing.

Whatever she said made the usually-stoic man smile, just a little, and shake his head faintly.

“Looks like everyone is here," Ryk murmured, moving to stand next to Ana. He reached for her hand and gently took it, keeping his gaze fixed on the three people in front of him. The sooner they did this, the sooner they could breathe.

Ana gave his hand a squeeze in return, smiling softly as Cyrilla and Aidan made their short procession down to the area in front of the judge. Aidan shifted away, allowing Kas to reach out and take Cyrilla's hands in his.

"Here we are," he said softly, and unless Ryk was very mistaken, there was a sort of awe to his tone, or maybe just faint disbelief.

“Hm, here we are," she replied in an almost sheepish tone. Cy gave Kas's hand a squeeze before she cleared her throat. “This is it," she stated softly, glancing towards their hands. Ryk could hear how nervous she was in the tone of her voice, but he also knew she was taking this every bit as serious.

“I just want you to know that I am really grateful to you, Kas, for doing this," she seemed to be merely whispering at this point. “So... shall we?"

Ryk felt, for a moment, a small twinge in his heart. He wasn't sure if it was a small sense of pride he felt, or if it was something else. All he knew was that, at this moment, he was truly happy for his friend and his sister. Under different circumstances, he might have even offered a celebration for them, however; this wasn't exactly the time to celebrate anything.

“Good luck," was the only thing he could offer them.

The ceremony was relatively short. Kas and Cy had opted not to make things weird by saying vows beyond those the judge asks them to swear, which aren't many. There was no kiss—Kas had made sure to add that to the request ahead of time, so they were never prompted for one. Rather, they signed the certificate, and then their witnesses did afterwards. There were more of those than usually necessary, a precaution everyone elected to take in case Cy's family decided to legally challenge and managed to get one of them invalidated somehow.

When it's all over, the group heads back outside, into the midday sun.

"So." The first one to break the silence was Mel. "What now?"

Eryk sighed softly before taking a slow breath through his nose. Even though Kas and Cy were now legally married, Marah and Cy's parents wouldn't be able to do much about trying to force Cy to marry some other clan member. Marah was going to raise Hell, Eryk already knew that much, but she couldn't do anything. Not with as many witness signatures they had and with the legal documentation that was now being filed away.

“Well, I mean, we could go get lunch?" Cyrilla suggested. Drake merely nodded along, not really paying too much attention to anything else. He seemed out of it for some reason or another. Or maybe Eryk just wasn't paying much attention to him.

“Before all of that," Ryk cut in, clearing his throat a bit. “I've a suggestion for us, given the month that it's been." He glanced towards Ana for a moment before he continued, “there's a small island located just south of Cinnabar. It's an old abandoned facility that Team Rocket no longer uses, and is mainly used for camping."

He hoped they all knew what he was trying to imply because he wasn't sure if he'd have enough energy to explain much more. Kas, Aidan, and Cy should know what he was talking about.

"The idea, I think," Ana said, stepping in to finish the explanation, "is that maybe we could all use a break, and it might be good if we could all go camping together."

Aidan nodded, but it was Kas who spoke up next. "Count me in," he agreed, almost on a sigh. "I know this isn't even the biggest thing we're dealing with right now, but somehow the press got my phone number, and I've been getting calls about the damn doping story for days. Let's get away from all of this crap for a while."

Not a one of them disagreed with that.


2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eryk Nero Character Portrait: Anastasia Asher
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#, as written by Aethyia

July 23rd
Ana's House - Evening - Muggy
Anastasia Asher

Ana breathed out a long breath as she shut the food bin. That should be everything set for the volunteers to take care of the place for a few days. They'd all planned the camping trip to encompass Kas's birthday and a few days after that, but in order to make it happen, she'd needed to get an extra week's worth of work done in advance, so all the volunteers would need to do was feed the pokémon and keep their environments clean, besides the normal things they did with letting them out to move around and play. 

She'd written meticulous instructions for their medications, too, but just in case she was actually taking a couple of those with her that needed more complicated things like injections, so she could administer those herself on the trip. It was exhausting work, trying to get ahead like this, but she still doubted she was half as tired as Eryk. 

Speaking of which... where had he gotten off to?

Almost as if her thoughts had summoned him, Eryk rounded the corner, holding Stella in one hand and a pack in his other. His shoulders had been slumped as if he'd lost something, however; from the pleased look on Stella's face, it was clear that he'd lost an argument of sorts with the stunky. Eryk glanced in Ana's direction, though, and offered a half-smile.

“Stella doesn't want to be left behind so she's tagging along," he muttered, setting the bag down to his side, and placing Stella on his shoulder. “Is everything ready?" he asked, arching a tired brow at Ana.

A little smile tucked Ana's lips upwards, and she reached up to pat the little pokémon. Her fur was pleasantly soft, these days, and though she was still a bit skinny and in need of medicine about daily, she was really doing much better overall. Certainly, she was fit enough to travel. "I actually think that's a really good idea," she admitted, lowering her hand. 

Her brow creased with concern, putting a little line above her nose. "But... no more work for you today, okay? Come sit in the kitchen and let me make you something to eat." While perhaps in most other circumstances she'd have phrased it as a question, she was both comfortable enough with Eryk and worried enough about him that she elected not to give him the implied choice in the matter, and she turned around to move towards the back door inside. 

She'd get some good food in him, then put him to bed, and hopefully he could get a decent night's rest for once.

Eryk pursed his lips together in what Ana recognized as a pout, but he did not protest when she mentioned food. He followed her towards the door, cradling Stella back into his arms as she slid from his shoulder. Once they were in the kitchen, Eryk placed Stella on the floor, causing her to grunt in protest but she flopped where she was. Luckily, it was by the chair, and she wouldn't be in Ana's way.

“Do you want me to help you?" Eryk called out, arching a brow in the process. “I... can do something simple if you want me to," he continued, probably recalling belatedly that she had just told him no more work for the day.

Ana turned back over her shoulder to throw him a slightly-grumpy look of her own. "I've got it, promise," she said, her tone pleasant in spite of the attempt she was making to look stern. It had never really been the kind of expression that worked on her face, anyway, never mind alongside the rest of her demeanor. She could be awkward sometimes, for sure, and a bit odd, but most of the time she didn't get anywhere near cranky. 

Moving efficiently about the kitchen, she got her pans down and the like, chopping up some vegetables and protein for a mild form of curry. Letting the meat brown in the pan for a bit, she turned back towards him, leaning against the island on both forearms and catching his eyes with her own. "Has Marah left the island yet?" she asked, knowing well the cause of much of his restlessness.

He frowned in response, knitting his brows together as he stared at his hands folded in front of him. “Yes," he finally responded after a moment. His shoulders seemed to tense for a second before they slumped in what seemed to be relief. He blinked slowly before lifting his gaze to meet hers.

“Not without a fight, though," he added, the knit in his brows returning. “Claimed she would have the marriage nullified or some bullshit like that. I wasn't paying too much attention. Just..." he paused to draw in a soft breath, “be a bit more vigilant? I do not doubt that she will concoct some plan or another to get back at us, in her words." He shook his head and rolled his eyes tiredly.

“Marah doesn't know how to give up when she wants something badly enough. Shares that with Katia, I suppose." He merely shrugged his shoulders.

Ana certainly remembered how unpleasant Katia had been, mostly for the others, of course. She could see the similarities, obvious as they were. It was hard for her to understand the idea that a relative—not even an especially close one, as in the Marah-Cyrilla case—would try to exercise that much control over someone's life. Her own relatives were controlling in some ways, but they were that way from a distance, concerned for the family's reputation and only for her own actions insofar as those might have an effect on it. 

"I'll be careful," she promised. Even if she didn't understand it, it was clear to her that his worry was real, and she'd never take that anything less than seriously. 

Adding the first few vegetables to the pan, she stirred them around enough to get them cooking, then turned back again. "What would you like to drink?"

He pursed his lips in a thoughtful manner as his brows furrowed slightly. “Hm, do we have any lemonade left?" he asked, his brows furrowing slightly. “No," he breathed out, “it won't taste right with the food."

“I'll take grapefruit juice if we still have any," he stated softly. 

Nodding, she retrieved it, carefully sliding a glass across the island to him. The curry was cooking quickly, fortunately, and she spiced it and added the cream sauce within the next few minutes, cooking some rice to go with and setting down a large bowl of the result in front of him. The rest, she put into a smaller one with the intention of eating herself, and hopped up with only minimal difficulty onto the stool next to him. 

"Anything in particular you want to do on the camping trip?" she asked, scooping her first bite and softly blowing on it to cool the food. "It's been a while since I camped; and even then it was only Luna, Nova, and I, so I guess I don't really know what people do on trips with friends."

Eryk huffed lightly before taking a drink of his grapefruit juice. “That would make two of us," he replied, setting the cup down. “The only camping experience I have isn't quite the same as you would do with friends, so I've been told," he continued, rolling his eyes a bit as if to himself.

“Missions usually require reconnaissance of some sorts, and sometimes that means camping out," he pursed his lips together before furrowing his brows. “But... if there was something you wanted to do," he trailed off for just a moment, “I wouldn't mind experiencing this new thing together."

Ana smiled at him. "I'm sure our friends will be more than happy to inform us of exactly what we've been missing," she noted. He huffed slightly and shook his head.

Spooning some of the curry along with the rice into her mouth, she knocked him lightly in the arm with her elbow as she chewed, looking at his own plate in a slightly-pointed manner. He did need to eat—and then he could sleep.

“More like tease us about it," he muttered before taking a bite of his food. “You know how much they like to do that," he added, the corner of his lip flickering upwards for a moment in amusement before he returned his attention to his food.

She hummed an agreement, and the two of them worked the rest of the way through their food in companionable silence, at which point Ana picked up the dishes and quickly washed them, leaving them in the drying rack before approaching Eryk's seat and offering her hand. 

"Okay," she said. "It's time to sleep now. Don't make me make you." There was a little edge of playfulness to the words.

“Is that right?" he stated, arching a tired brow in her direction. His lip quirked in mild amusement as he took her offered hand, however; he pulled it closer to him and placed a gentle kiss across her knuckles. “As much as I'd like to see you try," he began, huffing lightly and standing from his chair, “it wouldn't take much in my current state."

“I'll only sleep more comfortably if you lay beside me, though," he added, smiling softly at her.

Ana was probably blushing to the roots of her hair, but... well, that was okay. She didn't mind the feeling so much, even if there was a dizziness to it that would otherwise make her worry she was on the cusp of an episode. This was by far the nicer way to feel unmoored and unsteady, especially when his hand was right there to steady her. 

"I... that could be arranged," she said, clearing her throat sheepishly. "Just—because sleep is important, and all that."

He huffed softly, his way of showing he was amused by something. "Comfortable sleep is more important, wouldn't you agree?" he stated, lacing his fingers with hers and pulling back slightly. "We have a long weekend ahead of us, and I doubt we will be able to enjoy anything if we're tired," he continued as if to clarify his reasoning.

"Well... yes. I suppose not." She smiled, following when he pulled. She certainly hadn't planned to go to bed with him, but... it was hard to think of it as a bad idea. 

In fact, it might be a very, very good one.

Sometimes, she really did think she was in trouble.