"Even though I don’t totally despise most versions of Phantom R, I’ll never forget the past. None of the broken bones. Especially not that… unfortunate body-swap incident."
Despite the gaze she gave him, he couldn’t help but smile a little. If she wasn’t going to do the same that the others, everyone… If she wasn’t going to rag on him, then she was better than them. Charlie was tough, from what he knew, but she wasn’t beyond caring for others… Even if it was in a harsh tone, it was meant to help.
"… Okay. I’ll… Do my best to remember that."
Catching the girl in front of him looking away felt strange, so he did the same. To the Shimon, if felt as if… As if he was spotting a moment of weakness, something he shouldn’t know. Staring at his own feet was all that made sense in that moment, letting the actions roll around his head.
How embarrassingly awkward she was behaving right now. As she turned her gaze back to him, only to notice that he had looked away as well, her face turned a faint shade of red from it all. It was hardly her fault. He behaved so differently from the people she was normally around. All those boys she ended up spending her time with were rough in their words and actions, like watered down versions of her, with her loudness and attitude that typically scared away the shy. How should she know how to act around someone so much more quiet and sensitive?
"Well, good then. And I don’t want to hear you say one more bad thing about yourself, you understand?"
What other way to handle the awkward atmosphere than a Vergier-style defiant attitude? Posture straight, hands on her hips, and overall looking like she was attempting to appear bigger- That was the best way she knew to beat the mood.
"I mean it. You’re only to say positive things about yourself from now on."
Ah, why did this class have to start so early? Well, no matter, it was just like any other day. Walking into the class room he looked around for Charlie, spotting her quickly and going over “Good Morning Charlie, you’re here early, as usual”
"Did you get your assignment done?"
As per the usual, Charlie had arrived at class sooner than necessary and passed the time by reading yet another novel she had picked up. Mystery, of course. Another detective story. What else should one expect from her of all people?
Her attention was torn from the book in an instant when she heard that voice pipe up. There was no doubt in her mind, no hesitation in pinpointing the owner of that tone, even before she had looked up.
Ah, her voice had risen. Even if she was shocked beyond proper expression, she really needed to keep it down.
"What are you doing here?"
"I-I’m trying, alright?"
That was meant to be comforting, but it came off much different, leaving him wincing at his own words. She was right, though, he was pretty useless at day-to-day activities… When he was truly trying, he was better; that effort wasn’t usually put out, however. Which left him a walking disaster.
"……. Charlie, that… This time. Right…"
As if that was supposed to help the Shimon boy stopping his worrying, he shot a quick glare before it gave way to a small smile. How was he supposed to stay mad when she was proud of herself, confident in her own words? Yes, she was not graceful with her words either, but it was… Oddly charming, in it’s own way.
"I still worry, Charlie. At least let me clean off some of it, okay…? You look much better without caked dirt and blood."
"I— I’m sorry, Enma. I know you’re trying."
Her harsh expression from before failed her now, replaced with one that made it blatantly clear that she was aware she had done damage with her words this time and that she felt bad for it. Leave it to Charlie to let her attitude get the best of her in a way that would have a heavy toll on those around her.
There was a pause after Enma’s next words, in which the detective opened her mouth to say something- presumably that, even if she did break something, that wouldn’t stop her- but then she closed it without letting the sound escape. That certainly wouldn’t help the situation.
"Huh? Oh! I thought I got all the dirt and blood off already!"
Now that she gave it a proper amount of attention, she hadn’t. That’s what she got for being so rushed before in cleaning herself up and changing. Jeez, how embarrassing that she would miss something like that so easily- especially when he was the one to pick up on it.
"I won’t stop you if you want to. I- I wouldn’t normally make that mistake, though."
Well, he tried. He tried so hard.
And in the end, he embarrassed himself immensely in front of Charlie while trying to be a considerate person. He probably worried her, knowing her… Damn.
"Y-Yeah, fine, reall—Oof!"
Without warning, she yanked him from the ground and onto his shaky feet. The two worked together to get most of the dirt off him, and he did his best to hide the roadrash on the palms of his hands. The blood would dry and clot, right? “Charlie, are you alright? Y-You really shouldn’t push yourself, have you properly treated things…? Oh god, are your arms ok…?”
What a worrywart. He just wants her to be ok, even if he isn’t in the best shape himself.
"Idiot. Don’t worry about me when you can’t walk without falling on your face."
Harsh words, perhaps, but she was genuinely concerned for him. He was involved in some dangerous things, from what she had heard, yet he could barely breathe without hurting himself or someone else in some way. It wasn’t like she could be there to keep an eye on him all the time either.
"I’m fine. It takes more than one crash to bring a Vergier down, you know! Besides, nothing broke this time."
Very reassuring, Charlotte. Her word choice may not have been the best, but her glowing confidence had to be of some help, right? Even if she did look beaten up, covered with bruises and bandages like that, her expression was one to show that this was nothing to her- which, perhaps, should be more concerning than reassuring.
Well, he looks human, acts human, all those good things. it’s just he has a Pokemon form and can use his moves in his human form… Yeah he has no idea what he counts as either. Some freak of nature if he was going to be honest with himself-
No time to think about that though Charlie just choke on her coffee. A worried look came over his face
"Ah um-" was it a sore question? Nervously his feet kicked at the ground, putting the swing into motion a little. "I was in the police station… Stealing some info-" yeah he’s not gonna lie "You mentioned your father was an inspector so…" You are so lucky your father doesn’t look a thing like you or Ace would have tried talking to him already
"The only inspector there at the time didn’t look anything like you so now I’m curious as to who it is" he spoke quickly, fiddling with the cup in his hand before taking a sip. Mm… " I mean… I look human aside from the whole… Smoke thing so I think I could meet him without there being any problems but… You’d know that better than me"
What a relief. For once, she was thankful that her father held no similarities to her in terms of appearance. Ah, but how would she explain why she didn’t want Ace to meet him without making him worry that it had something to do with himself?
"It’s no surprise you weren’t able to recognize him as my father. I take after my mother much more than him." She responded, wiping away the warm coffee that had spilled onto her chin from her earlier mishap. That much was true as far as looks went, but in terms of personality, they both had the same fire running through their blood. Perhaps that was the biggest reason she didn’t want him to meet Ace. He was as quick to become hot-headed as she was.
"It’s… not you, really." Her words followed a sigh. It was partly him. The way he stood over everyone with that mask over his face, mostly. However, Ace wasn’t the issue. It was Paul Vergier himself, the man who couldn’t be around his own daughter without yelling, that was really the problem here. "It’s him. I got my temper from him, you realize. The same man who tried to convince me when I was six that it was illegal to kiss anyone until you’re married."
"Charlie, are you okay?!"
And here comes Enma, a worrywart as usual. Charlie may be living proof that someone can fall from great heights with minimal damage, but Enma is still going to try and take care of her injuries, no matter how small.
He is also living proof that you can get injured by tripping over your own feet and rolling to the feet of the girl you’re trying to check up on.
Jeez, how could he be worried about Charlie when he was so clumsy? In the end, he only made her worry for him too, watching him literally roll over to her feet.
"You’re one train wreck after the other, I swear. Are you alright?”
Her arms were in a fair deal of pain from her crash that morning, but it wouldn’t stop her from pulling the redhead to his feet no matter how much they protested. She would help dust him off and look him over. What had he even tripped on? His own feet? What a disaster.
"Flying-types can be rather nasty sometimes."
Look who happened to be covered in bruises, cuts, and band-aids; all of which she wore proudly, even showing off her beat up knees with that dress. How can one person crash a hang glider that many times and live? She’s indestructible.
Despite her usually brash nature, he could feel the ease washing over him in waves; waves timed with the movement of her thumbs and the sound of his own breathing. Enma was used to people dismissing him, calling him weak for feeling this way, but… She was there, and it was like that all dissolved from his mind.
Opening his mouth to speak up, he was silenced quickly when the girl’s face came close and pressed against his. Instantly, his face lit up red, bright and warm. “O-Okay… I’ll do my best, Charlie, promise.”
"I wouldn’t ever want to leave anyway."
What a relief, seeing that smile spread across his face. It was enough to bring the corners of her lips up as well, and she felt a bit impressed with herself for being able to help him relax. That was… never her greatest skill. Could one blame her for that content sigh, or the way that she gave his hands a gentle squeeze? Especially when his face lit up that way. He was far more adorable than one guy ever should be.
"Good. I’m glad." Oh? What was this? In a surprising turn of events, her expression became quite stern all of a sudden and she looked at him with hardened eyes. "You’d better not. I don’t think the most well-prepared of the mafia could protect you if you tried."
Good thing she wasn’t being serious. Mostly.
"Why is it that when ever I wear my casual clothes around someone who first met me while I was wearing my work clothes, they always give me odd looks? Do they expect me to dress like a detective constantly?"
Now, wouldn’t that be something? There would certainly be even more confusion about her if she did that.