Tanya ate her meal listening to Sandy, nodding and shaking her head when she could. It was better she was eating anyways; somehow she knew that listening to all this reminded her of the punk boy (whose name she'd never bothered to learn) and how awful he was to Pokémon as well. Maybe this old trainer of Muru's and the punk were related. It wasn't too far-fetched a theory, and it wouldn't surprise her if it were actually true.
Niamh left her lap after finishing the sweet, causing a playful scowl to appear on Tanya's face. She quite liked the Eevee's attention and sweet demeanor. Most of her meal done, Tanya set down her fork and was about to speak when Sandy seemed to recall something and left the room. Watching her friend go, the red-head let out a light sigh and leaned back in her seat, wondering what the other girl had in store.
"Oh Sandy, you shouldn't have!" Tanya exclaimed when Sandy returned and slid a gift towards her. It made her feel bad that she couldn't return the favour at the time, but perhaps she'd be able to repay Sandy's kindness the next time they ran into each other. She opened the case and smiled brightly at the beautiful, shiny feather. The glint of light that reflected off of it caught Starscream's attention, who lifted his head to gaze at the object.
Curiosity burst to life in his gleaming golden eyes, but dulled when Tanya replaced the feather back into its case gently. "Thank you, it's awesome ~" the girl enthused, standing up and walking her dish over to the sink to clean it off after Sandy was done with hers. "Forgot how quickly it gets dark in the winter... you getting ready to wind down for the day?" Tanya asked as she finished washing her plate. Time seemed to have gone by so quickly without her noticing it at all.
Sandy smiled, happy that Tanya liked the gift she had gotten her. She was hoping she was correct about the possibility of the older girl liking something like that. Niamh was by now, on the other side of the kitchen, scuffling with Muru on the floor. Muru was holding a wrapped piece of candy that Niamh had probably stolen while Sandy wasn’t looking.
<Muru come on its mine!> Niamh argued, pawing lightly at the other creature.
<But it’s mine now Niamh!> Muru teased, pushing her off and getting up. Niamh dashed after her, hot on her tail. She really had wanted that piece of candy. As annoyed at Sandy was at Niamh for taking something without permission, she couldn’t help but laugh as they exited.
“Those two are always fun to be around, aren’t they you guys?” The other Pokemon shared annoyed glances.
<I like them!>
<They don’t bother me…all the time.>
<They’re less annoying than Hiroki.>
<Hey! Watch it hot-head, I am your elder!>
<Barley.> Sandy watched her Pokemon chatter amongst themselves until Tanya asked another question. Sandy stopped running the water and nodded.
“Yes, Mac says the Blizzard should stop by tomorrow, so it’ll be safe for us to travel again. I can show you to the guest room of course.” Sandy stood up and left her Pokemon arguing in the kitchen, leading Tanya down into the basement, where a single, well lit room sat.
“Here we are! Despite it being in the basement, it’s actually really nice.” She promised the other girl. Sandy seemed happy to have seen her again.
“Do you need me to lend you some clothes for the night?” She questioned next, arranging the pillows on the bed again as Niamh and Muru entered the room side by side
Tanya's Pokémon watched Sandy's as they commented over the antics of the two Eevee as if they were watching a tennis match. 'They are... rather cute.' Saphira admitted, her blue eyes sparkling despite her fatigue. Starscream let out a huff as he stood, towering over the rest of them. His scar was thrown into harsh relief by the lighting, and the golden gleam in his eye was intimidating. 'They are but furry pests. Intolerable, just like the lot of you.' The Skarmory strode out of the kitchen to mutinous muttering.
'What an arrogant butt... fungus!' Caladrius snorted after he was sure Starscream was out of earshot. The Blitzle pawed the ground, annoyed with the bird's constant demeaning attitude. A metallic chuckle surprised them all from the corner, where Ironhide had been eating. The Aron was regarding them with an amused expression. 'Perhaps if you lot weren't annoying, he would not have to act as such in the first place. Think about that, fur-face.' the Aron said, directing his last statement at Caladrius.
Caladrius narrowed his eyes and stared down Ironhide as the Aron lumbered over, as if anticipating a challenge. But before anything could get started, Tanya looked over at her partners and frowned. "Easy now, guys. Keep it civil or no treats for a week," the girl warned before following Sandy out of the kitchen. 'No treats..? But I didn't do anything.' Moka sounded dejected and slumped down on Saphira's shoulder.
Tanya looked around the basement with a rueful smile. "I have a guest room in the basement at my cottage too. Maybe we can do this at my place next time," she said with a laugh. As she took in the room, she shook her head at Sandy's question. "I'll be alright. 'Sides, I may not fit in your clothes." Being tall had its pros and cons, after all. She'd just sleep in what she wore, as she'd done before when she was younger, passing out after spending hours reading.
Sandy smiled as Tanya politely declined her offer of clothes, and suggested next time they do this kind of thing at her place. Laughing a bit herself, Sandy nodded. Her pale blue eyes gleamed, signaling she was happy and as cheerful as she had been the whole time since Tanya arrived. After telling her that she’d leave the dim hall lights on so she could find her way around if she had to go to the bathroom or something, made sure she knew what it was, and looked down at Muru and Niamh.
“Alright, well, Mac says this blizzard should end by morning, so maybe it won’t be so cold in the morning.” She said, shivering as an unintentional added effect.
“Goodnight Tanya.” She said, signaling to the Eevee duo. The sisters looked at one another before bounding out of the room after Sandy. Sandy soon found her way to her room in the loft, sitting on the bed that rested across from her cousin Raine’s. As much as she hated the girl’s choice to join the Rockets, she couldn’t help wondering how she was from time to time. Muru and Niamh hopped up on the bed, curling into two fluffy spheres, almost instantly falling asleep around Berry, who had already been resting. Sandy slipped off her day clothes and replaced them with her night gown pretty quickly
“Goodnight guys.” She murmured, shutting off the light as she settled under her covers. She fell asleep rather fast, but it was nothing new. Sandy always slept pretty easily unless there was something on her mind. Niamh woke up around midnight, raising her head into the air and flicking one ear. She kind of wanted to see the red-haired trainer again. She had been really nice to her before, and maybe she was awake.
Getting up, she was careful not to disturb Berry or Muru. She hit the floor with a soft thud on the wood, and after looking back to make sure she hadn’t woken anyone up, she scurried out through the small open space Sandy left in the door. She ran downstairs, past Mac’s room which was just above the basement stairs. The man was fast asleep with his door shut.
<Here it is…>Niamh said softly to herself as she reached the basement, pushing the door open a little to enter. The guest room was dark, which meant Tanya was probably asleep by now. If here Pokemon were out and asleep, she was careful to avoid them as she climbed up into the trainer’s bed. She spotted Tanya’s form in the dim light of the moon, which had shown now that the blizzard had stopped. With a yawn, Niamh curled up against Tanya’s back and settled in there, curling her tail around her body and over her nose.
The next morning, Sandy woke up and had a nice long stretch. She was glad to see the sun shining outside of her window, though there were mountains of snow outside. It appeared as if Mac was already out there with Gem, using her abilities to melt the snow around the house. Berry woke up as Sandy shuffled out of her room and hopped after her, leaving the others in the room to sleep in peace. As Sandy entered the kitchen, she found Mac had already prepared two hot plates of food not to long ago.
“We’ll let Tanya sleep, she’ll get it when she’s ready. But you know Berry, I didn’t see Niamh this morning…” She mentioned, taking her fork to the eggs.
<Probably just had to pee, you shouldn’t worry, she’s somewhere around here.> Sandy shrugged and soon went back to her eggs. Hopefully Tanya would wake up before her meal had the chance to go cold.
Her Pokémon slowly filed into the room, dodging around Sandy as best they could with Starscream waiting off to the side so that the girl had room to leave before he attempted entering as well. Tanya grinned brightly, her own gem-green eyes sparkling as Sandy bid her goodnight after explaining she was going to leave lights on in case of a midnight pee break.
"Night Sandy, see ya in the morning," she replied before her friend left, her two Eevee trailing along behind her. Tanya stretched her arms up high and let out a long yawn, rubbing her eyes as they watered from the intensity. The red-head turned to her Pokémon and stared them down as they assembled before her, looking for instruction. "There's more than enough room for the lot of you. However, if you don't want to sleep outside of your ball, let me know now."
Ironhide immediately tossed his head to signify he did not want to remain out of his ball and was recalled swiftly. The rest remained quiet and made themselves comfortable on the ground, with the exception of Moka, who hung herself upside down on a light that dangled from the ceiling. Saphira curled herself into a neat shape so that her tail was held aloft from the floor, dozing off immediately. Caladrius tucked his legs under himself and laid his head on the ground, Aster perching next to him to use the Blitzle as a pillow.
Starscream took up residence next to the bed and settled down low on his legs, one wing lifted up so that his head was tucked under it. Tanya removed her sweatshirt coat and placed it over Aster and Caladrius, knowing they'd appreciate the extra warmth. She quickly clambered onto the bed and slipped under the covers, sighing with relief as the comforting warmth helped lull her to sleep.
'Mmpf... go back to sleep, whoever that is.'
Saphira's voice was quiet, but enough to stir the others. Niamh's midnight intrusion hadn't gone unnoticed. 'Shut your trap, dragon. It is not I being a sneak.' Starscream's voice was muffled but clearly irritated. 'Go back to sleep! I'm tired!' Caladrius hissed, silencing them all with his annoyance.
The rest of the night went smoothly after they'd all returned to slumber, greeted in the morning by brilliant, butter-yellow sunshine. Tanya was the first to wake up, alerted by the smell of food. She rose up and stretched, noticing there was something on the bed with her. "Aww, when did you get here tiny?" Tanya laughed, putting a hand on Niamh's sleeping form. Her Pokémon began stirring, yawning and groaning and stretching sleep from their bodies.
Sliding out of bed, the girl stretched one more time before leaning over and gently scooping up the dozing Eevee. "I bet everyone is wondering where you've disappeared to. Might as well let them know you didn't wander off and get some of that yummy food at the same time," she said lightly, heading upstairs and entering the kitchen, setting Niamh down next to Berry before sliding in next to Sandy.
"Mornin'. Breakfast is the one meal of the day I refuse to miss," Tanya said, digging into her food. She chewed a mouthful thoughtfully before looking over at Sandy. "I don't suppose there's any coffee is there? And by the way... Niamh was in the guest room with me last night. No idea when she got in there, but I figured you should know in case you were curious."
Sandy’s pale blue gaze was quickly directed to the entrance of the kitchen as she heard Tanya come in. In her arms was a small ball of brown, and Tanya quickly explained that Niamh had been a guest in her room the night before. Sandy couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped her as Niamh woke up groggily, jumping to the floor to be beside her sister, who was already eating breakfast.
“Thanks for telling me Tanya, I wondered where she wandered off too. She must really like you, because she’s really scared of the basement.” Sandy explained, getting up as Tanya had mentioned Coffee before. She pulled out the machine and set up a fresh brew, leaning against the counter as she set it to work.
“Coffee’s coming up Tanya. Mac normally has some but he went out to clear some of the snow.” She mentioned. She was fine with making the coffee on her own though, not needing Mac to do everything. As Gen joined the Eevee sisters, Sandy looked down at them, focusing on Niamh. The little Eevee seemed quite attached to Tanya in such a short time, and Sandy had felt terrible not being able to keep her on the team with Muru. It must have been really lonely in the Vacation house all by herself. Her gaze then shifted to Tanya. She knew the girl was a good trainer, and a fair one at that. She breathed in, sitting back on the chair beside Tanya’s.
“Hey Tanya…I was wondering...” She began, finishing another small bite of her food. “Niamh…well, she needs someone to take care of her…she might have me, but I’m not around for her all the time, and I feel like she gets lonely, knowing Muru’s out traveling while she’s stuck here.” She had never asked anyone to just take one of her Pokemon before, so this was strange for her. Niamh and Muru each raised their heads.
“So I was thinking…I really trust you, and it’d be great if you’d let Niamh come with you. I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll be seeing you, so you can tell me how she’s doing when I do see you, and I think Niamh would really enjoy it.” Niamh looked back at her sister, and Muru could see the glitter in the Eevee’s eyes. She would be pained to see her sister out of Sandy’s care, which was where Muru could make sure she was okay too, but at the same time, she knew this was a chance for her to make something of herself. She playfully butted her head against her sister side, shoving her towards Tanya, and Niamh glanced up at her, waiting for an answer much like Sandy.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to get rid of her, I just want to see her have a good chance to go places, just like Muru.”
The red-head smiled appreciatively when Sandy went to start the coffee maker. Caffeine was how she kick-started her day; well, that and good, hearty fare. She listened to Sandy explain that Niamh was scared of the basement and her eyes widened in surprise. The little Eevee had braved that fear just to sleep with her? She put her fork down and stood up to walk over to the coffee maker, carefully scooting around the pair of Eevee eating their breakfast.
She looked over her shoulder as Sandy spoke, eyes sparkling with curiosity. Lifting the pot from the machine, she nabbed a mug from the cupboard and was about to pour the coffee when Sandy made her offer. Startled, Tanya nearly spilled the scalding liquid on her hand and set the pot down quickly, turning round to face her friend. But before she could speak, an annoyed sound came from the entrance to the kitchen.
The steel bird seemed unamused at the prospect of seeing Niamh added to their ranks. He ignored the Eevee as he passed, gazing solemnly out the window, knowing very well Tanya would likely end up saying yes. "Take Niamh? B-but..." she said brilliantly. To be honest she was a bit embarrassed that Sandy trusted her enough to want to let her take one of her Pokémon.
But looking down at Niamh, who was gazing up at her, there was no way she could say no. She'd been sold on the darling Eevee the moment she'd hopped on Tanya's lap the previous night. The girl took a deep breath before answering. "I'd be happy to take her along. She'd certainly never be lonely with my little party of scoundrels and mischief-makers," Tanya replied with a smile.
Finishing making her coffee, she sat back down and winked at Niamh. She'd certainly work hard to make sure Niamh was taken care of and got to explore, just like her sister. Tanya took a sip of her coffee and grinned as a thought came to mind. "Mm, next time we meet I'll be the one showering you with gifts. Watch out," she said in a playful tone, setting down the mug and eating a bit more of her breakfast. "It's a good thing I didn't leave my Pokémon behind, Saphira's gonna be useful with all that snow on the walk back."
Sandy smiled as Tanya said yes, her eyes shone as Niamh seemed very pleased herself. With a gentle laugh, she picked Niamh up and placed her on the counter so she could skitter around on the top like she always seemed to want to do when she was excited. Sandy sat back down next to Tanya and laughed about her comment on the gifts.
“Well I won’t hold you to that, but it sure is a thought.” She answered. Muru walked over to Sandy’s chair, bumping her foot with her head. Sandy looked down and noticed the sadness in the Eevee’s eyes. Of course she’d be sad. Her sister was leaving them. Sandy realized that she knew why she had given her away, but it didn’t take away the slight heartache she felt from seeing her Pokemon so down. Berry walked over to the young Eevee and placed her arm around the fox’s shoulder.
<She’ll be just fine with Tanya, don’t worry. Besides, look how happy she is.>Muru set her gaze on her sister, who was still on the countertop and nodded.
<Yeah, she will be.> Sandy finished off the last of her toast and nodded.
“Yes, it’s sure a lot better than having to shovel through it.” After breakfast was done, Mac stood outside with Sandy.
“Alright Tanya, just remember if you run into any problems on the way back, don’t hesitate to head back here okay?” Mac smiled and then added to what Sandy said.
“You shouldn’t though, people were probably working on the forest all morning. But I’d be glad to have you back sometime. I haven’t seen Sandy so happy to have a friend over since she used to have those old sleepovers-“
“Right Right, well, I’ll see you again Tanya.” Sandy nodded.
“Yeah, and I hope we run into each other again soon!” Sandy bent down, patting Niamh on the head. Muru had already said her goodbye before.
“Be good Niamh, I’ll miss you." Hugging the Eevee, she stood up and handed Tanya her Pokeball.
“Don’t want to forget that, right?” Sandy chuckled as she placed the Pokeball into Tanya’s hand.
The grin remained in place as Sandy said she wouldn't hold her to getting those gifts. "Count on it. It's one thing to give objects as gifts, but it's another to give a Pokémon." Tanya finished her breakfast quietly, watching Niamh scamper about the countertop excitedly before shifting her eyes to the Eevee's sister. Muru seemed saddened about parting with her sister, sparking Tanya to speak.
"If you want, I can try to call you as often as I can and let you know how she's doing. I'm sure news of her would cheer Muru up," she offered. Once done, she went downstairs and collected her stuff, recalling all of her Pokémon save for Starscream and Saphira. Without her Skarmory, getting back to the cottage would be a pain, seeing as how the snow covered the trails. His keen eyes would lead the way home, and Saphira's fire would make the trek easier.
She walked outside with the pair, breathing in the crisp morning air with a light sigh. Her eyes brightened at the mention of people having worked on clearing the forest. "Saves me some trouble, though I'm still gonna have these two help me. Knowing my rotten luck, I'd go walking into a ravine," Tanya said with a rueful chuckle. She bid Mac goodbye before turning to Sandy, receiving Niamh's ball. The red-head recalled her new Eevee, not wanting to subject her to the cold on the walk back.
"Remember; my place next time! See ya around Sandy, take care of yourself and good luck~," Tanya said with an exuberant smile, turning round and beginning the long walk back home, eager to play with Niamh a little more and introduce her to the rest of her Pokémon, and eventually Sable when she returned from her holidays.