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shifting waters

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Blanche shuddered at the abrupt sensation of Spark's fingers, often so clumsy, gently combing through their hair, smoothing out the long silver waves. Involuntarily, a sigh escaped them, and their eyelids fell shut. They reclined back on their chair, shoulders relaxing and head falling, giving Spark better access. Their hair, free from any sort of ponytail or bun, fell in delicate streams as Spark smoothed out the knots and tangles. He massaged into the base of their skull, hair moving smoothly through his hands. Looping a lock of hair around his index finger, Spark pulled lightly, causing Blanche to release another small noise of content from the back of their throat. He pushed aside the thick currents of hair and slowly dragged his fingers over Blanche's scalp, and a light smile formed on their lips as the tension left their body.

"Have I done something to warrant this?"

Spark laughed at that, a short burst of joy that filled Blanche with warmth as they pictured the way Spark must have been grinning, mouth split open and eyes bright with amusement.

"Just thought you needed a break from all that work you've been doing."

"I'm inclined to disagree, however - "

Blanche opened their eyes a fraction, enough to scan over the desk before them. Their laptop was on, several word documents still open - research studies on eeveelutions, graphs on each team's success rates, analysis on effective egg hatching strategies, and records on the supply of PokéMart inventories - surrounded by several stacks of papers (Pokémon and Their Natural Habitats, Effects of Exposure to Prism Scales, and numerous others), many of them handwritten, all of them neatly bound and categorized, but still far too disorganized for Blanche's liking. Their trashbin had fallen, its contents scattered across the surrounding area, and Blanche realized they must have dozed off earlier and kicked it over. Their mug of coffee was certainly cold.

Blanche sighed, so roughly it was almost a groan, and rubbed their eyes. "I can't remember the last time I slept."

Determinedly ignoring the exhaustion that weighed down on them, Blanche straightened their back and began flipping through the masses of paper with one hand, typing with the other. Slowly, they began to resume their work, poring intensely over file after file, twirling a pen between their fingers whenever they became fixated on a single train of thought, and muttering rapidly to themself.  

So engrossed they were in their research, they had almost forgotten about Spark's sudden presence until, without warning, his nose was pressed against their neck, his soft breaths dancing over Blanche's skin. "Your girlfriend's been worried about you, you know?"

There was nothing accusatory in Spark's voice, yet Blanche felt themself flinch at that. "I suppose I should apologize for concerning her."

"Candela wouldn't want you to feel sorry about that," Spark said, standing up properly and returning their fingers to Blanche's hair. "She wants you to rest, but she reckoned you wouldn't listen to her."

"Did she, now?"

"Yep. Called you a stubborn brat and everything."

The corners of Blanche's mouth turned up once more, too tired to feel embarrassed about the blush on their cheeks.

"And what do you think?"

"As your other partner, I vote for you joining the two of us in bed, and we can all cuddle together, or something just as cute."

"My platonic partner."

"Your queerplatonic partner."

Blanche pondered on his words for a few short moments, only vaguely registering Spark gently pulling and twisting their hair. They swallowed thickly before responding.

"My trainers are depending on me."

"I know they are," Spark replied, letting Blanche's hair fall in between his fingers. "We all have people depending on us. But it's not worth anything if we don't take care of ourselves, yeah? How many hours of sleep do we need, Blanche?"

"Adults ranging from age eighteen to sixty-five require a minimum of seven hours of sleep each day, or else risk frequent bouts of memory loss, reduced attention span, developing major depressive disorder, and several other inconveniences."

"You can't guide them if you've got all that memory loss, attention span, depression mumbo jumbo."

Blanche snorted. "Alright. I surrender."

Spark kissed the top of their head, fingers releasing their long locks of hair. "I never thought I'd hear you say that."

Sighing resignedly and stifling a yawn, Blanche switched off their laptop, then all at once collapsed into gales of laughter at the image of themself reflected in the blank screen. They grabbed their sides in an attempt to control themself, but their whole body continued shaking from the force of their delight.

Spark made no attempt to contain his roars of laughter, hooting and bending over to slap his knees. He wiped away his tears and peered over at Blanche, who was still overcome with child-like mirth.

"'Mmglad you like the pigtails, Blanche," he said, gasping for breath, "They suit you great."