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The Drink Dates We Don't Talk About

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Once a week, the team leaders for Valor and Mystic met for coffee. Fridays at 2 pm sharp. Nobody questioned it anymore. They didn't dare to.

The first time someone asked, it was a member from the red team who spotted them sitting in a cafe that was several blocks from the headquarters for Mystic. He seemed to be a brave trainer, since he walked over to them and most members might be a little more than intimidated to approach one, let alone two leaders. Nevertheless, whether he was brave or just carefree, they both seemed wrapped up in their own little world and conversation and didn't realize he was there until he spoke. "I wouldn't expect you guys meeting here for drinks! It almost looks like a cute little date. Do you do it often?"

This particular trainer happened to be named Stephan. Candela had an incredible knack for names, and every single person in her building was filed away in her brain. (Even Blanche was impressed, though they wouldn't admit it. The Mystic leader couldn't remember half they people they worked with on a day to day basis. It was actually quite a lot though, so it wasn't really a big issue.) When both heads snapped to the newcomer, Candela took one look and smiled. It was soft on the outside, but her eyes were as sharp as a Syther's blades. "Stephan." The tone seemed pleasant enough, but sent a chill down his spine so cold that he thought Blanche had brought out Articuno. He shivered. "We're a little busy. Would you mind if I chatted with you later?"

"Uh-" Stephan had been so surprised and honestly, intimidated, that he just nodded and left quickly with his drink. Word spread through the teams like a wildfire and though everyone was extremely curious, they agreed to leave the two alone. The obvious exception to this was Spark, but that's an entirely different story. Also the reason the other two never met at the same cafe twice in a row.

The truth was extremely simple, not at all conspiratorial, and started on accident.

Candela and Blanche happened to be at the same coffee shop for their only break of the day. (The leaders worked themselves way too rugged. Willow had reprimanded them more than once.) The two were unaware that they were in the same shop, Candela flipping through emails and texts on her phone while she waited at the far end of the counter, and Blanche at a table catching up on the latest research journal. A barista called out "Team Leader, Order up!" She was oblivious of course to the fact that there were two. (Granted she had just started her shift, so give her a little break.) Two hands closed over the same cup without looking. Candela pulled it towards her before fingers grasped about hers. Blanche was jolted forward into her chest and luckily the coffee was lifted in the nick of time, not smashing between the two of them.

In usual friendly fashion Blanche glared up at her, resulting in a smirk from Candela. "Fancy meeting you here."

Blanche stepped back from Candela's chest, but their fingers didn't let go. "You have my coffee."

She cocked her head and her hair bobbed a bit with the movement. "Pretty sure this one's mine, hun."

Clicking their tongue, they let go and crossed arms over their chest. "It has the Mystic logo on it." When Candela moved her fingers to get a better look at the blue mark under them, they raised an eyebrow. "See?" Holding their gaze, she waggled her eyebrows with a soft hum, bringing the drink to her red lips. "Candela-" The stern tone did nothing to stop her from taking a sip, afterwards her eyebrows shooting up high into her hairline.

"Why, I never-"

"Don't you dare." A hand shot out to keep Blanche back and she grinned like a child presented with their first pokémon. The silver-haired leader narrowed their eyes and reached for the cup, only to have it moved further in the hair and away from their reach. Damn Candela and the minute height and arm-span difference. "If you are about to judge me for my choice in coffee- or even say what it is out loud, so help me, Candela..."

"Why, Blanche," the woman crowded in again, leaning to whisper into the other's ear, "a quad, nowhip mocha with a shot of mint? I never would have guessed." Blanche of course jolted back and glared once again.

It was in that moment that a barista, who seemed to be very sorry to be working and to interrupt, coughed. She received a raised eyebrow and a frown, respectively. "I'm sorry, but Miss Candela's order is ready." The worker shrunk a bit under the dual gaze.

Before she could move, Blanche grabbed her drink. "And what does the leader of Valor drink, hmm?" Their thumb stroked up the side of the cup and over the Valor logo. "I feel as if it would either be straight black coffee... or something ridiculous that takes about 10 minutes to convey at the register." They brought it to their lips. Candela's eyes widened and she made to grab it, but it was too late. Blanche sputtered and held the drink away as if it had done them a great injustice. "What the hell-"

"Skinny vanilla latte with protein powder and steamed milk."

Blanche grimaced. "It was somehow disgusting and tasteless at the same time."

"Sounds like you're describing Spark." Candela used the moment to switch their drinks, then took a long sip and smiled. She seemed to like the concoction a lot. That, or she was much too proud of her joke. It was really a toss up.

The other leader snorted and rolled their eyes, wiping bright and smudged lipstick away from the rim and savored took a long drink. "Could be."

Candela pulled them out of the way when the next drink order came up, and back to their table. To Blanche's annoyance, she sat down as well. After a moment of drinking, she met their gaze with innocent eyes. "What? We can't take our breaks together?" The curve of her mouth under the rim of her cup betrayed her tone.

Blanche opened their mouth to argue. Then closed it. Really, there was no good reason the Mystic leader could come up with. Actually, it was a bit convenient. No normal trainer would annoy them if the both of them were sitting together. Candela was chatty, but she often had interesting things to say. And she wasn't Spark. (Not that Blanche hated him or anything, but there was indeed a limit on how many times they could tell him they didn't want to hear more about memes, or every single egg he had hatched since they last saw each other, or "That one time when Noire got locked out and forgot a robe-")

Therefore a random meeting and stealing drinks resulted in a reoccurring drink time and an email in the morning about which shop they were visiting next. And if Candela had started to call them drink-dates... Blanche didn't exactly try to stop her...