“I still think this is a bad idea…” Famfay mumbled.
Although it was Tuesday and Roy didn’t have class that day, he came to the HQ anyway.
“Shh, it’s okay Famfay. We won’t stay for long…” Roy patted Famfay’s head as he made his way to the lab.
He hadn’t been here since his degradation to an Apprentice. It was odd, because ever since he’d started working for the Defenders, all he did was work at the lab. The last weeks had changed so much in his routine, and he was no longer up to date with his former work.
That was why he had decided to visit the place.
Roy entered the lab unnoticed. He didn’t want to bump into anyone, he wasn’t quite sure whether what he was doing was against the rules. He was trained in lab safety and would never tamper with anything dangerous, so he doubted it would be a big deal, but better safe than sorry.
He didn’t intend to touch any of the utensils, Morpho Mon bodies or machines. He just wanted to see the documents of the last weeks, so he looked through the file cabinet in the office part of the lab, where lab workers documented their daily work.
He opened a drawer and pulled out the file for this month. The documents were neatly sorted, and Roy scanned the results quickly.
“... There has been a breakthrough in the examination of corrupted Morpho Mons…”
“Mh?” Famfay looked up. “Really?”
“Yeah, see-” Roy pointed at a line one the paper. “... Corruption is cureable by-”
“AH-” Roy jumped, accidentally dropping the file and all the papers fell out of the file on the floor. “Sorry- sorry- oh lord--” He haphazardly collected all the papers that were scattered everywhere.
“Gee, no need to be startled.”
Leilani Hawks, Science Department Co-Leader, leaned against the wall next to him.
She was a very prominent figure of the lab, her brightly orange-dyed curly hair was a stark contrast to her black skin. Roy hadn’t seen her coming, which was confusing to him, to say the least.
“I haven’t seen you around in a while.” Her lips made a popping sound as she took out the lollipop she had in her mouth. “So it’s true you have switched departments, eh?”
“... I have been degraded.” Roy sighed. “I just wanted to see how things are going in the lab.”
“Well, it’s going well. Almost didn’t notice you weren’t here anymore.”
“... I see.” Roy pushed up his glasses. “I read something about… curable corruption…”
“Yuh. But you didn’t read the fine print, right?”
Roy shook his head.
“It only works when it Morphs…”
“... Okay- How did you find out?”
“A defender’s partner got corrupted. They used their gem to make them Morph into Pergrandis Form. And the corruption vanished. We did some tests on some bodies of corrupted Morphing Monsters. And the tests showed a successful erasure of corruption with the change of forms.”
“How did we never notice before…”
“Y’know. So far every corrupted Morphing Monster had to be killed instantly. We never gave ’em a chance.” Miss Hawks shrugged. “Guess that just shows what we actually think of the Morphing Monsters.”
Roy laid the files on the desk.
He looked up as he heard Charlotte’s voice.
“What are you doing here? You didn’t have classes today, did you?”
“Uhm-” Roy looked around. “I- We-”
“Ah don’t worry Miss Evans.” Leilani put her hands in her lab coat’s pockets. “He was just helping me sort the documents of last week.”
“Well.” Charlotte looked at Roy. “You wanna come for a coffee to my office?”
Roy gulped. “Sure.”
“See you there.” She turned on her heel and left the lab.
Roy sighed in relief. “Thanks for not telling her-”
“Yeah yeah. I just didn’t want you to get in trouble, nerd.” Miss Hawks picked up the remaining papers from the floor. “Now go, don’t make her wait.”
“S-Sure- Thanks again-!” Roy waved at her and left the lab.
“So… How’s the apprenticeship going?”
Charlotte and Roy were in her office, she was leaning against her desk while Roy sat on her couch, next to the pet bed where Cinq laid in. Famfay was sitting next to Cinq - they’d known each other as long as Roy and Charlotte had and usually got along.
“Uhm…” Roy held onto his coffee cup.
The situation was relatively awkward, despite the fact that Roy and Charlotte had been colleagues for years. The last two weeks had had a noticeable impact on their friendship. “It’s going fine so far.”
“Very well.” Charlotte took a sip from her Latte.
“What about you? Are you doing better again?”
“Mh. I’d say so. I had a good time yesterday, actually. I was out on patrol with Cinq. And we’ve even encountered Catalina.”
Roy looked up at the mention of Catalina’s name.
Similarly to Charlotte, his contact with her had been sparse over the last weeks. Not only because of his degradation, but even before when he was just too busy with work. He hadn’t even gone out of his way to check on her. Man, he thought, I’m such an awful friend. “Well-” Roy nervously tapped the sides of his coffee cup. “How’s she doing? Did she say anything?”
“... we went on a spontaneous date after she asked me out.”
“Really?!” Roy’s eyes lit up.
“Yeah. At last, she finally did it.”
“Wait…” The blond tilted his head. “You knew she had a crush on you?”
Charlotte smiled. “Come on. She wasn’t very subtle about it at all.”
“So… how was the date?”
“It was fine.” Charlotte placed her cup on her desk. “She was terribly nervous. But it was still enjoyable.”
“So… Do you think you’ll go out again?”
Charlotte frowned. “I don’t know… we’re very different from one another…”
Roy gulped. “Is- Is that a bad thing?”
“Not necessarily… Opposites can definitely benefit from one another. But she’s also noticeably younger than me. This is something that can cause some issues… for the future…” She sighed, now crossing her arms. “It’s just been a while since my last relationship has ended, and I don’t have the time or the motivation to go out a lot anymore. I feel like my next relationship should be my last one. And I’m not sure if someone like Catalina is ready for this kind of commitment.”
“I see…” Roy looked at her. “I don’t remember you being in a relationship at all for the time I’ve been here…”
“My last relationship ended a few months before you came.”
Roy took a sip from his coffee, then holding it next to Famfay so he could have some as well. “I don’t mean to be nosy but… I believe you’ve never told me about this…”
“...” Charlotte laid her hand on the back of her neck. “W-Well… my last partner was…. Frederic….”
Roy blinked. “Frederic Williams?”
“Why does that shock you so much? We’ve spent quite a lot of time together the last 10 years. And, well… there was chemistry…”
Roy narrowed his eyes. He had a very, very hard time imagining Charlotte in a relationship with Mr. Williams. In fact, he didn’t even want to imagine the details. Just the idea of the two together was very odd. Even without Roy’s dislike for the CEO after what he’d done to him during their last encounter.
Charlotte straightened her back. “Sometimes you fall for the person you least expect. Anyways, it didn’t work out. But I got a lot of insight on Frederic as a person. More than anyone else in the HQ, I believe.” She looked Roy in the eye. “I can understand why you’re mad at him. I am mad at him too for what he’s done. But I also understand he’s a troubled man who’s been through some very traumatizing events.” She sighed, then took a step away from the desk. “In the end I just want everyone to get along… We broke up because we noticed we weren’t compatible… Not because he did anything strange. But of course, that doesn’t mean you have to like him or forgive him.”
Roy gulped. “Mhmh...” He picked up Famfay to rest on his shoulders again. “I don’t think I’m mad at him anymore… I just don’t want to encounter him anytime soon.”
“That’s fair.” Charlotte smiled softly. “He’s always pretty busy anyways. I believe the CEO of the London Morpho Defenders will come visit us next week. There’s a lot to organize until then.”
Then suddenly, Charlotte’s phone buzzed and she picked it up. “Speak of the devil… Mr. Williams wants to talk to me.” She looked up at him again. “If you want to, I can talk to him about… Everything that has happened.”
“I- I don’t know...”
“I suppose he will decide for himself whether or not he feels the need to personally apologize to you. Just so you know.”
“...” Roy got up from his seat. “Thank you for the coffee, Charlotte. We will go home now…”
“Okay. I’ll text you if I need you.” She waved at him. “Drive safely~"
“I will…” He waved back, turned to the door and left the office.