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the devil’s in the details

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He strutted in like he owned the place, hands tucked in his pockets but shoulders pushed back and chin held high, all clean and pristine in his tailored clothes.

And she knew, immediately, that he wasn’t there for the gym leader.

“Ah, my dear Erika, I knew I would find you here.”

“What do you want?”

She stared him down the best she could, sat on the floor with her legs traditionally tucked under her body, kimono sleeves swaying with the slight breeze coming in from the open windows.

She could hear the younger lasses swoon- he was conventionally handsome with pale teal hair carefully trimmed short and neat; body lean and covered tastefully with clothes that sought to flatter and show off; and mannerisms elegant, every move precise and calculated.

She couldn’t blame them, if she didn’t know who he was and was younger, she’d swoon over him too.

“I’ve just come to chat, no hostility here.”

He presented a smile, pale lips stretched and showing pure white teeth, but it didn’t reach his eyes. His hands glided out of his pockets, jokingly put up in surrender. A sign of peace-bringing, done only to show the others that he had no ill intentions by arriving unannounced.

Erika nodded, standing up and beckoning her Vileplume to follow after her as she strolled to the gym’s doors, her Jumpluff floating after her in curiosity.

“Let us talk outside. My trainers need not hear this.”

His smile dissolved into a smirk as he walked behind her, pace slower and calculated. The two of them knew he could easily move ahead of her, his natural strides much longer, but this was a diplomatic move- to show he could follow and not be rash.

The self-control he had was something Erika envied, how he could be so calm and collected in enemy grounds while asserting his dominance over the people all the same.

The only time he walked in front, two strides easily placing him ahead, was to open the sliding glass door of her gym for her. Like a gentleman, he stood to the side to let her walk through first before following and closing the door behind him. Still, she kept her eyes on him, head held high and elegant and ladylike- she had as much power as he did, and more in the city of Celadon. 

“Why are you here?”

He furrowed his brows a bit, nasty smirk still on his face and not the least bit intimidated by her off-character sharpness. 

“Down to business so quickly, Erika? Don’t want to catch up for a bit?”

“I want to know why you came so blatantly and without warning.”

He chuckled, hands still tucked in his pocket, and gave her that dry smile again, pearly whites showing but almost like he was a wolf looking down his prey.

“You should know why, my proposal still stands.”

She shook her head, and saw him take out a pokeball from his pants pocket. Her Vileplume stepped in front of her just as he sent out his Crobat.

“My answer remains the same, I refuse to be with you.”

And join you in reviving Team Rocket, the silent continuation ghosts between them.

Erika watched the Crobat fly above their heads, Jumpluff floating near it curiously, bumping into it occasionally.

“I thought you said there would be no hostility?”

Erika crossed her arms, eyes narrowing at the man in front of her.

He chuckled, one hand still in his pocket while the other fiddled with his hair, “And you have my word. Crobat just likes the fresh air.”

She turned, Vileplume still between the two, “If that’s all you came to bother me for-“

“Is that Jumpluff the same one?”

Erika paused. He knew the answer already, and she didn’t want want to entertain him. Jumpluff cautiously floated down towards the two, placing herself behind Erika’s shoulder.

“I’m sure you know.”

“There’s a probability it’s not.”

“You know,” Erika continued her steps into her gym, “now if you’ll excuse me, I have a gym to tend to. You should run off and do whatever it is you do now that Team Rocket has disbanded.”

She stepped into the gym, closing the door behind her as a silent invitation to not follow, and sighed.

One lass came up to her, “Was that your boyfriend, lady Erika?”

“I’d rather not talk about it.”