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Written Story Galar Mature dandelion

Thread Description
a retrospective Shield Storylocke | vi. space

Garish Garchomp

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Pokédex No.
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he's ok i guess
Sonia leads Leon along by the hand so he doesn’t get lost
Lmao, perfect. Most people say “I don’t know where I’d be without you,” but when Leon tells Sonia that, he damn well means it in every sense.

I love the details in the flashback, though, about how awed and hyped Leon is. Like, it’s just cool to see him from years ago and be like “oh yeah, it def runs in the family.” Ofc he’d be first in line so he can grab #1. But omg that moment at the end of the flashback with both of them ;;;;;;;;;;; just fuckin nail me in the heart, why don’t you

Also ok but imagining Nessa tryna give Sonia a wardrobe update but purely based off Nessa’s sensibilities would be fucking hilarious. At least give Sonia a cameo on Nessa and Raihan’s social media or smth… or maybe not bc they’re fucking disgusting together lmao

The grand gesture is meant to be overblown and silly, but she can’t help but wonder if Rose’s egregious ways haven’t begun to rub off on him.
I mean, you and I both have read a lot of wonderfully awful Roses since release, but it still is so fun to read stuff like this, his influence and his prickishness and all that manifesting in all kinds of ways. This was a great example of that… and the next bit, about the chipped tooth, only adds to it. Saying a lot about him without the man even being there, really.
 

Aurea

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #42
Ohhh this chapter was a fun start to the dinner party shenanigans. I love Sonia and Nessa being such good friends, and the way just hanging put made Sonia cheer up. I also really like the touch that Sonia's jealousy makes it hard for her to enjoy her friends' successes. Its ugly, but very human.

The opening seen was very sweet. And I also find the line about Sonia resenting Rose for "polishing Leon beyond recognition" really interesting! I'm very interested to see where her conflict with Rose goes!
Definitely an ugly thing, but yes, unfortunately all too real to sometimes envy our loved ones even despite being truly happy for them. ;; But yes, Nessa brightens every room she's in! I loved the snippets of their canon friendship we were given (in-game, Twilight Wings, etc.), so it's really fun to include it here.

I'm glad you liked that line! It's one of my favorites I've written for this story so far, and it's definitely something that's going to be a recurring theme, regarding Rose and Leon. Thank you for reading! ^^

I love love love glamorous dinner party settings! The intrigue, the way that the thrum of the room sashays from this way to that, dodging or clawing into the spotlight, watching from afar... it's never a bad choice for a setup in a story, and you do it justice here! Sonia's jealousy of Raihan and Nessa is super relatable, as is her disgust at her own feelings. Rose remains a slimeball (I love when fics actually make him into a villain--you and glance are both doing great at that) and that interaction between her and Lee at the end is sublime. So slick. You say this is your favorite chapter so far? I believe it~

Looking forward to more!
I'm glad I'm not the only one! :D I'm such a sucker for them. Glad you felt I did it justice so far, hopefully I manage to maintain that energy in the next few parts. Glance has done an incredible job making Rose a slimeball, I can only hope to attain half that level, but I'm glad that he's coming across that way so far! Sonia definitely does not care for him. Thanks Dee ❤

oh my heart...😭

Oh but Sonia feeling out of place back then, and then feeling out of place now, with her friends?? Sonia, please.

Btw thank you once again for the Nessa/Raihan content, I adore them...

Mmhmm, sure, just the martini.

👏 You know you love her, Leon.

Mmhmm. God these two are helpless.

Oh god right, I forgot about this. ;;; One thing I really like about this drabble is how it kinda twines her distaste for Rose with her issues with Leon, related but distinct from each other.


Thank you for this, I'm a ho for all of it. 💙
I'm glad you caught that. ;;;; A lot has changed over time, but she still sorta feels like she doesn't quite fit anywhere. And you are, of course, very welcome for the Nessa/Raihan content, I love them so much. 😭 I'm glad that this drabble served well to really weave her issues with Rose and Leon together, because you're right - they're separate but not entirely unrelated, which means it's a lot for her to unpack... They are absolutely helpless hehe, but that's half the fun! Thanks 13th. ;w; 💙

Lmao, perfect. Most people say “I don’t know where I’d be without you,” but when Leon tells Sonia that, he damn well means it in every sense.

I love the details in the flashback, though, about how awed and hyped Leon is. Like, it’s just cool to see him from years ago and be like “oh yeah, it def runs in the family.” Ofc he’d be first in line so he can grab #1. But omg that moment at the end of the flashback with both of them ;;;;;;;;;;; just fuckin nail me in the heart, why don’t you

Also ok but imagining Nessa tryna give Sonia a wardrobe update but purely based off Nessa’s sensibilities would be fucking hilarious. At least give Sonia a cameo on Nessa and Raihan’s social media or smth… or maybe not bc they’re fucking disgusting together lmao

I mean, you and I both have read a lot of wonderfully awful Roses since release, but it still is so fun to read stuff like this, his influence and his prickishness and all that manifesting in all kinds of ways. This was a great example of that… and the next bit, about the chipped tooth, only adds to it. Saying a lot about him without the man even being there, really.
LMAO. Yeah, it's pretty literal with him. I'm glad you liked the flashbacks though! Definitely trying to parallel the two journeys, and if it makes it sting a little bit more that way, I'll know I succeeded. ;w;

They're absolutely obsessed with each other dflaksdj;k. It's been fun to write Raihan/Nessa juxtaposed with Leon and Sonia, who are very much at odds rn. And I'm glad you enjoyed those little details with Rose! His influence reaches really far, and I can't wait to dive into it a bit more. (which, thank you for your brainstorming help!!)

v.

Sonia doesn’t pry herself away from the bar until she has her third drink in hand. She’s not sure what she intends to do, but the alcohol makes her feel bolder, while the room around her dulls.

“You look like you’re having about as much fun as I am,” she says in lieu of a proper greeting, perching on the back of the plush loveseat the youngest Harris boy has claimed.

Hop startles a bit, glances up, then crosses his arms. His frown deepens, and he continues to stare straight ahead. “Hi, Sonia.”

“What are you doing over here by yourself?” she asks, picking at the polish on her manicured nails. “I thought for sure you’d be having the time of your life, chin-wagging with all the other challengers.”

He shrugs, but doesn’t offer any explanation. She follows his gaze across the room, to where a group of challengers have gathered around the chairman. Not just Rose, though -- a young boy who looks an awful lot like Hop’s mate is right in the thick of it.

“Victor seems to be getting along swimmingly,” she comments, swirling her drink.

Ah, that does it. Hop’s face clouds up a bit more, and he hunches forward. “Yeah. He’s a natural.” He practically spits the word.

“Seems that way.” Sonia moves to sit next to him, and Hop blinks in surprise. “Why do I get the feeling you’re not thrilled about your mate’s success?”

Hop sighs, leaning forward and propping his elbows on his knees, covering his face. “That’s not -- I’m happy for him, yeah? I want him to do well. I’m glad he got endorsed so that we could travel together…”

“...But?”

He’s quiet for a moment, and she can practically hear the gears turning in his 13-year-old, ill-adjusted head as he carefully sorts through his thoughts. After a moment he sighs, waving her off. “Forget it. It’s stupid.”

“Feelings aren’t stupid,” she says firmly. “They don’t always make sense, but they’re not stupid.”

Gods above, she sounds like Gran.

“No offense, but what difference does it make to you?” he asks. The words are pointed, but his tone lacks venom. She suspects he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body, just like his older brother.

They’re so much alike. Maybe that’s why she hates to see Hop do anything but smile.

“Only room for one pity party this evening, and I’m older, so I’ve got dibs,” she says. When he still doesn’t look at her, she crosses her legs and sips at her drink. “I’ve got all night, mate. Out with it already.”

Hop eyes her dubiously, and when she raises an eyebrow, he finally throws his head back dramatically with a groan, sinking into the sofa. Like he hopes he might disappear altogether. “I was so excited for Lee to come back home. He’d been gone so long, and I just -- I thought if he endorsed me, we’d get to spend more time together. Practice battles, dinner, maybe traveling together some…” He sinks down even further, voice growing softer. “I’m really happy that he endorsed Victor, too -- honest. I’m glad Vic’s getting his shot…”

“But you’re tired of having to share,” she finishes for him, looking down at the lone olive that’s sunk to the bottom of her drink. The sentiment hits a little closer than she cares to admit.

Hop perks up a bit, sitting a little straighter. Like he’s surprised she gets it. “Yeah, exactly. And -- and sometimes it feels like people think Leon gave me a handout I don’t deserve, just because I’m his little bro. But I earned it, Sonia, every bit as much as Victor did. I’ve watched all Leon’s battles, read every battle theory book he brought from your gran’s library. I’ve been practicing with Cotton for years…” he trails off, clenching his eyes shut. His fists dig into the cushion beneath him, shoulders trembling slightly.

“Hey,” Sonia whispers after a moment. He buries his head in his arms, and she nudges him gently.

“‘M done talking…” he mumbles, voice muffled by the sleeve of his hand-me-down suitcoat.

“Me too,” she agrees, getting to her feet. “C’mon, I’ve got a better idea.”

He glances up and stares at her offered hand skeptically. “Like what.”

“Like getting your mopey arse on the dance floor.” His eyes widen, and she smiles coyly. “You’re tired of being in Lee’s shadow, yeah? Let’s make him jealous.”

He hesitates, brow furrowed. “I’m not interested in helping you get back at my brother, if that’s what this is.”

She huffs, retracting her hand and placing it on her hip. “Honestly, Hop, he’s not that fragile. You want him and everyone else to notice you? Come dance with the girl who turned him down. You might even have a bit of fun.”

His eyes flick to the floor. “I don’t know how…”

“Lucky for you, I’m a great teacher. Now if you’ve run out of excuses, shall we?”

Sonia leads him gently to the empty dance floor, dead center. Gone are the days she’d settle for dancing on the fringes. He’s stiff at first, hand hovering awkwardly before resting on the small of her back. His touch is feather-light. “Is this okay?”

She nods. “Relax a bit, it’s like dancing with a bloody broom handle. Just follow my lead.”

And he does. He’s almost cute, the way his tongue pokes out slightly when he’s focused. Hop’s never been one to half-ass anything, and it turns out dancing is no exception. Soon he’s keeping pace with her, even venturing to take the lead himself with the tempo changes. Other couples began to trickle in, filling the room and making Hop loosen up even more. By the end she’s holding out her finger, letting him do ridiculous spins at the end of her arm until he’s nearly too dizzy to stand and both of them are laughing breathlessly.

She doesn’t miss Leon watching them from near the stage, trapped in a conversation with the chairman, and some posh woman who must be a sponsor.

“Alright Hop, mate,” she laughs after what feels like an eternity, tugging him off to the side. His grin threatens to slide off his face, almost as if he’s disappointed they’re ending so soon. “These heels are killer, I need a break. But it’s perfect, because I’ve got your next mission.”

He frowns, confused. “Mission?”

“Yeah, for Operation Stop-Feeling-Sorry-For-Ourselves,” she says, stifling a hiccup. Gods, that last martini hit like a freight train. She feels all fuzzy at the edges. “I’m going to take a breather, and you--” she pauses, grabbing him by the shoulders and steering him around to face a table three rows over, “are going to go ask that cute lil baddie over there to dance with you.”

He squints, and shakes his head when he sees who she’s set her sights on. “No way Sonia. That’s Marnie, she’s wicked cool. Trains dark types, and wins all her matches without even dynamaxing!”

“I know who she is,” she scoffs. “Her big bro’s a gym leader, so you have something in common. Plus, she’s been admiring your slick dance moves all night.” He still doesn’t seem convinced, and Sonia rolls her eyes. “Fine. A hundred quid on her saying yes.”

His amber eyes light up. “Now we’re talking! You’re on.” He turns to go, pauses, and next thing she knows his arm is wrapped around her waist in a quick side-hug. “Thanks, Sonia,” he murmurs.

Sonia gives him a mock salute, and settles in with a smug grin as he darts away.

A full shot glass appears over her shoulder, and she glances up to see Nessa smirking at her. “You’re not nearly drunk enough, babe. This is on the house.”

The redhead hums, raising it in the air to clink against Nessa’s, before downing it in one go. She can’t help the look of disdain as heat claws its way down her throat, but Nessa hardly looks phased. “Fuck was that, jet fuel?”

“Close enough.” Nessa sidles up next to her, somehow still smelling of lavender and vanilla in a stuffy room full of people. She nods at the dance floor, where Hop is gingerly showing Marnie how to dance. How quickly the pupil becomes the master. “Not quite the Harris boy I expected you to be wooing tonight.”

Sonia exhales a laugh through her nose. “Me neither.”

Nessa’s grin is devilish. She’s been spending too much time with Raihan. “You’re absolutely powerless against them.”

Sober Sonia would deny it. Tipsy Sonia buries her face in her best friend’s neck and groans. “It’s those fucking eyes, Ness. They have no business having eyes like that, the fuck.”

“I know, love.” Nessa pats her shoulder gently, before giving it a squeeze. “You ready to join the big kids now? There’s talk of an after party.”

Sonia groans and points at her feet, pouting. That shot sure kicked in quick. “Can’t walk. Feet hurt.”

“Then take them off, you ninny,” Nessa laughs. “You’ve gone soft.”

She slips off her heels and gets some relief, but there’s another reason entirely that she’s dragging her feet.

When I began writing this back in November, it was intended to be Sonia/Leon fic. So I find it incredibly amusing that my absolute favorite dynamic so far for this story has been Hop and Sonia. xD There are so many parallels in their stories that I'm excited to cover, and while they definitely aren't best friends, this has been my favorite part so far to write. ;w;

As you can see, there won't be flashbacks for every part. That was originally my goal, because there are a lot I want to cover and they're a big part of the storytelling here, but I didn't want to make it feel as though any of them are shoehorned in. This was one of those that I was really happy with, and didn't feel like much else was needed.

Also, promise there will be actual Pokemon in this story. At some point. xD

Current Team (as of part v.)
GIZMO
ROOK
 

localhoney

grook
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Localhoney, the Sweet Toxin Pokemon. It's said that the sounds it emits can paralyze even a Gigantamax Grimmsnarl.
Hop and Sonia dancing is so damn cute, I love it. Love to see the parallels between their relationships with Leon.

big 👀 for the afterparty bc you already know who's gonna be there~ and especially after that shot of jet fuel, anything can happen.
 

Epsilon

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Hello Aurea...

It's a v good thing you've got brewing here. As I've said elsewhere, I like runs that focus on actual canon characters, and Sonia was a pretty wasted character all around. Seriously, they mention her being Leon's rival like...once in the real game? That's kind of a big thing just to immediately forget with the game's emphasis on rivals and stuff, lol, so thank Arceus for fanfiction. I know we both have similar issues with SwSh's story so I'm interested to see your take on fixing those issues.
 

Garish Garchomp

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he's ok i guess
Ooooh, the little resentment towards Victor is juicy. I love their talk so much though, just… idk, they’re so different in so many ways but this is the exact kind of place where they could make even just a small connection, even if only one of them has the aid of alcohol in doing so. The detail you’ve got about his pointed words that aren’t quite that level of pointed is such a great little descriptor of Hop too, that he’s still an innocent little kid even if he’s a bit snot-nosed and a bit too much like his brother. Also, Marnieeeeee (aka “that cute lil baddie” which is exactly how Sonia would describe Marnie isn’t it, lmao)

Also honestly you just do so well at portraying him as a fuckin’ kid, all melodrama and side-eyes and too much energy going into literally everything, even being lethargic and pitiful.

Shoulda gotten Cotton on the dance floor tho. Just sayin’.

Before I say “I love that ending” (oops never mind) I also just wanna say I love the lil relationship between Sonia and Nessa, I could read an entire story of them just getting into trouble together and all that. Every interaction with them is straight gold... god there's just so many lines I wanna quote too, like the Sober/Tipsy Sonia one and all, but I don't wanna take up three pages worth of your time. I just wanna say again that I'm so glad this run is around and that someone's here to do Sonia all the justice in the world and then some, because she damn well deserves a spotlight and a voice and a whole damn story of her own to be her boss-ass self.
 

Tailsimp

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I really adore Sonia and Hop having that little moment to connect over their bit of envy and touch of resentment towards their friends that they should be otherwise happy for. This angle for Hop is super interesting to explore, and doing it while working through the odd relationship he and Sonia have was really engaging to read. And the fact that they dances together was so cute!!! Also I adore your writing between her and Nessa. It's just so clear that they're good friends and I love to read the pair every chance I get!
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
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A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
I love the various way you've interpreted Sonia's relationships in this fic... everything from her sympathy towards Hop to her simmering old flame-ness towards Leon and especially Nessa (I love when people dial up the friendship the games basically only hint at) it's really great.

Glad to see that alcohol hits Sonia like it hits me, too XD--it's the ultimate social lubricant! hehe
 

Thirteenth

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The reason she guides people all the way down to the mountain's base is that she wants them to hurry up and leave.
MY HEART, can Sonia adopt Hop please, thanks. They're so sweet and Hop may not like her a whole lot but he could use her support.

Hop perks up a bit, sitting a little straighter. Like he’s surprised she gets it. “Yeah, exactly. And -- and sometimes it feels like people think Leon gave me a handout I don’t deserve, just because I’m his little bro. But I earned it, Sonia, every bit as much as Victor did. I’ve watched all Leon’s battles, read every battle theory book he brought from your gran’s library. I’ve been practicing with Cotton for years…” he trails off, clenching his eyes shut. His fists dig into the cushion beneath him, shoulders trembling slightly.

“Hey,” Sonia whispers after a moment. He buries his head in his arms, and she nudges him gently.

“‘M done talking…” he mumbles, voice muffled by the sleeve of his hand-me-down suitcoat.
hop bby ;;;;;;;

pls post the next one soon, I would like more dinner party shenanigans 🧡💜
 

Aurea

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #49
Hop and Sonia dancing is so damn cute, I love it. Love to see the parallels between their relationships with Leon.

big 👀 for the afterparty bc you already know who's gonna be there~ and especially after that shot of jet fuel, anything can happen.
God I love writing her and Hop together so much. I've always liked the parallels between them, but still somehow didn't expect to have this much fun with them. I'm glad it's fun to read. No after party just yet, but the man of the hour is here!
Hello Aurea...

It's a v good thing you've got brewing here. As I've said elsewhere, I like runs that focus on actual canon characters, and Sonia was a pretty wasted character all around. Seriously, they mention her being Leon's rival like...once in the real game? That's kind of a big thing just to immediately forget with the game's emphasis on rivals and stuff, lol, so thank Arceus for fanfiction. I know we both have similar issues with SwSh's story so I'm interested to see your take on fixing those issues.
Ahh, thank you! I absolutely agree that Sonia had so much wasted potential. I wish they'd dug deeper, but hey, it makes room for some incredible fanfic so I can't complain too much. I definitely wanted to focus less on the region itself and more on the characters, so hopefully they come across well and you continue to enjoy!
Ooooh, the little resentment towards Victor is juicy. I love their talk so much though, just… idk, they’re so different in so many ways but this is the exact kind of place where they could make even just a small connection, even if only one of them has the aid of alcohol in doing so. The detail you’ve got about his pointed words that aren’t quite that level of pointed is such a great little descriptor of Hop too, that he’s still an innocent little kid even if he’s a bit snot-nosed and a bit too much like his brother. Also, Marnieeeeee (aka “that cute lil baddie” which is exactly how Sonia would describe Marnie isn’t it, lmao)

Also honestly you just do so well at portraying him as a fuckin’ kid, all melodrama and side-eyes and too much energy going into literally everything, even being lethargic and pitiful.

Shoulda gotten Cotton on the dance floor tho. Just sayin’.

Before I say “I love that ending” (oops never mind) I also just wanna say I love the lil relationship between Sonia and Nessa, I could read an entire story of them just getting into trouble together and all that. Every interaction with them is straight gold... god there's just so many lines I wanna quote too, like the Sober/Tipsy Sonia one and all, but I don't wanna take up three pages worth of your time. I just wanna say again that I'm so glad this run is around and that someone's here to do Sonia all the justice in the world and then some, because she damn well deserves a spotlight and a voice and a whole damn story of her own to be her boss-ass self.
Hehehe, I'm so glad you enjoyed their conversation! It's one of my favorite things I've written for dandelion so far. Hop is such an integral part of what brings everything together, so I'm excited that you caught on to those details about him (and that he actually feels like a kid, haha).

I'm legit so happy to hear that, because Sonia and Nessa are a blast to write together! It's weird writing a character that actually has close friends, and is a good friend herself. xD And aaaa thank you, I am constantly worried about doing Sonia justice, but her voice just sorta jumped out at me so it's great to hear it's translating to the story. ❤
I really adore Sonia and Hop having that little moment to connect over their bit of envy and touch of resentment towards their friends that they should be otherwise happy for. This angle for Hop is super interesting to explore, and doing it while working through the odd relationship he and Sonia have was really engaging to read. And the fact that they dances together was so cute!!! Also I adore your writing between her and Nessa. It's just so clear that they're good friends and I love to read the pair every chance I get!
I'm so excited that it was engaging to read, and that you like this angle with Hop! I know a lot of people found him tiresome in-game, but I really had a soft spot for him, so I thought it'd be fun to explore him as a pre-teen. I wasn't intending him and Sonia to play off each other so well, but I'm having a blast using those interactions to dive in deeper to their dynamic as well as others around them. I love that people seem to enjoy Nessa and Sonia together! I've got some future parts planned with them that I'm really looking forward to sharing, some day down the line.
I love the various way you've interpreted Sonia's relationships in this fic... everything from her sympathy towards Hop to her simmering old flame-ness towards Leon and especially Nessa (I love when people dial up the friendship the games basically only hint at) it's really great.

Glad to see that alcohol hits Sonia like it hits me, too XD--it's the ultimate social lubricant! hehe
Ahhh, thank you! ^^ Game gave me an inch and I'm taking every damn mile, there was setup for some really good potential and I am a sucker for that payoff. This is why I love fanfic so much... I'm glad its hitting those vibes for you though, with all Sonia's relationships, and hope it continues to do so! (And I'm right there with you, alcohol is the best for forced social interactions)
MY HEART, can Sonia adopt Hop please, thanks. They're so sweet and Hop may not like her a whole lot but he could use her support.

hop bby ;;;;;;;

pls post the next one soon, I would like more dinner party shenanigans 🧡💜
;w; He doesn't like her much rn but she's still definitely like a big sister to him, much as he'd loathe to admit it. I can't wait to change that thought because I love them together.

vi. space​


It takes every ounce of her self control to remain on the sidelines.

This battle feels personal, and every bit as much hers as it is Leon's. As much shit as they give Avery, they're a talented battler. Or at least, skilled in the art of attrition warfare.

Avery's first move is to have their Slowpoke summon rain, a move taught specifically to dampen Leon's spirit, and render Vesta's flames near useless. It's a smart tactic, and admittedly not one she and Leon had prepared for in all their hours of training -- but rain or shine, the key to beating Avery has always been to get under their skin. It's easy enough to do.

The cornerstone of Avery's dignified, reserved battle style is their ability to feed their Pokemon telepathic instructions. They stand reticent on the sidelines, silently issuing commands with an insufferable smirk -- like this is all some sort of inside joke to them.

What a shame it'd be if they were unable to concentrate on communicating.

Leon's in constant motion, jogging up and down the side of the field, barking commands and praise in a near endless stream -- serving to embolden his Charmander, and deteriorate the patience of his opponent. It's overplayed, borderline theatrical, and perhaps most importantly -- it works.

Sonia hazards a glance at Mustard to see what he makes of the display, but is surprised to find his attention elsewhere, lips pressed together in a grim frown. Gizmo squirms in her arms as she cranes her neck to follow his stare.

She almost doesn't recognize the man at first glance. He's dressed modestly, with a ball cap pulled low over his face and dark sunglasses despite the overcast sky. She's seen him countless times on the telly, but only once before in person on an equally dreary day.

She remembers wondering at the time what kind of man precedes his arrival with decorative sprays of his own namesake, wears pale gray amongst a sea of somber black, who dares to talk business to an old woman in mourning. The funeral parlor had been drenched in blood-red roses, a murder at the hands of his hubris.

A triumphant shout snags her attention back to the battle at hand, just in time to see Avery recall their Slowpoke before the referee's flag even hits the ground. They tug their hat down over their eyes as they stomp away.

The chairman and Avery might get along, she thinks.

The ceremony is later that evening. She sits wedged between Gran and Hop, who practically crawls in her lap to be close to Gizmo, constantly cooing and stroking his fur. They all laugh at the way Hop's already unruly hair stands on end from the accumulated static.

There are four new recruits to the dojo this year, but thanks to his most recent victory, only Leon is inducted with the highest honors. It means he will get to study directly under Mustard himself. It means, someday, he will choose a tower to master. Her heart swells. It's everything he's dreamed of, and she couldn't be more proud.

The heavy perfume of roses creeps into the room, overpowering the traditional ceremonial incense. Off to the side, the chairman cradles a full bouquet, watching Leon and Vesta with appraising eyes.

The smell makes her sick to this day.


----------​

Their intimate group has grown considerably, the circle widening to make room for Leon and the people clamoring just to stand in his vicinity. He's messing with his phone when he catches sight of her and Nessa making their way over, and nearly spills his drink in his haste to get to his feet.

They don't move quickly enough, and are intercepted halfway across the room.

The chairman weaves through the crowd like a rattlesnake to head them off, the other partygoers mere blades of grass that bend over backwards to get out of his way -- the click of stilettos tailing him the rattle warning of his approach. Rose's shadow is willowy and dead-eyed. They make a killer combo.

"Vanessa, Sonia!" Rose calls out, face creased into a perfectly calculated smile. "So good to see you both here."

She feels Nessa's nails bite into her arm at her full name, and Sonia sucks in a breath. Message received -- should've moved faster. "Good evening, Chairman. Oleana."

The shadow makes no move to acknowledge her, instead glancing at Sonia's bare feet in apparent disdain. As if to compensate, Rose sweeps Sonia's hand into his and grips her fingers tightly, stooping to plant a kiss with too-soft lips. It takes everything in her not to recoil, or let him know that he's rattled her. She'll deny him every victory she can, no matter how small. "A fine evening indeed. I've been hoping to catch a moment with you, before the night is through. Won't you excuse us, Vanessa darling?"

It's not a request. Nessa shoots her an apologetic look and peels away, leaving her at Rose's mercy. He shepherds her to a cocktail table, waving over a waiter and winking at her. "Martini, correct?"

Her stomach sours. He's been stalking his prey all evening. "Water is fine, thank you."

His chuckle is as mirthless as it is insincere. He orders both for her, a glass of cabaret for himself, and nothing for his shadow. She looms over his shoulder like a bad omen, not joining them at the table. "Tell me, Sonia, how is the professor?"

"She's well."

"A shame to hear about her retirement," he muses, propping his head on his hand in an attempt to appear disarming. "Your dear gran's been a treasured colleague for many years. I can only assume you plan to pick up where she left off? That's quite a legacy to uphold."

She gives him a tight smile. "Quite."

Rose mirrors her, only breaking eye contact when Oleana's spindly fingers find his shoulder. He follows her gaze, then claps his hands together in delight. "Oh, splendid! Will you be joining us for a drink?"

Leon positions himself between Sonia and Rose, forcing her to shift aside to make room. She's never been more grateful for created space. He holds up his glass and smiles. "I'm covered, thank you. What'd I miss?" His question is for the chairman, but Sonia can feel his gaze on her.

"Oh, nothing of consequence. Oleana and I were just catching up with Sonia here." He brings his wine glass to his lips, eyebrows raised. "I take it you're here to steal her away? So soon?"

A sheepish grin. "Guilty as charged."

Her knight in a doofy cape. She could kiss him. His presence emboldens her enough to speak out of turn. "Yes, I'm afraid I do owe Leon a dance before the night is through."

Rose puckers his lip as if to pout, then waves them away. "Well, don't let me keep you from it." Sonia moves to leave, but his hand ensnares her. She dares shoot him a look, and the corners of his mouth turn up a bit. It's an exercise of control. "My offer still stands, dear. There is always a place for you at Macro Cosmos."

Sonia swallows thickly and nods, unable to speak, and it's only then that he relinquishes her -- once again jovial, having released her on his terms.

Leon's hand is on her waist, gently guiding her onto the dance floor and out of the serpent's lair. She lets her left hand rest on his shoulder, and he takes the other hand in his. "Hope you don't mind me claiming my dance now," he says, voice low, leaning in to be heard over the din of the party. His smile is mischievous. "Seemed like you were debating stabbing him with your heel."

"You know me so well," she laughs, but the joke falls flat and she frowns. Used to know me, she reminds herself. Her fingers curl against the thick fabric of his cape, brushing against a sewn-on sponsor's patch. They're running out of space, each one crammed against the one that came before.

She remembers the day he received his first. The cape had been a gift from Rose -- a way to wear his sponsorships proudly, with the Macro Cosmos logo in dead center to signal their overarching endorsement. He'd watched with childlike glee as she sewed his first sponsor's patch -- a fancy seafood restaurant in Hulbury -- into the bottom left corner of the cape. Hugged her tightly when she'd finished.

Another couple bumps into them, jarring her from her thoughts. They dance in tighter circles to accommodate the other guests who have flooded the dance floor now that he's here.

His life is so crowded, now.

"I must admit," he pulls her arm in, trapping warmth between them and bringing her even closer to him. She admits to herself that maybe it isn't entirely a bad thing. "I'm a little hurt you turned me down in favor of my teenage brother. Fancy yourself a cougar, these days?"

She exhales a laugh through her nose despite herself. "He's a far better dancer than you ever were at his age. Seems he didn't inherit your two left feet."

Leon brings his hand (and hers) to his chest and reels dramatically. "And now you twist the knife!" He steps back and creates enough space to twirl her out, and back into his arms. Her head spins, and her chest feels fuzzy. Must be the alcohol, she reasons. "I've come a long way though, yeah?"

Sonia hums, choosing her words carefully through the haze. "I'm sure you learned far more from the lessons Rose paid for than I could've ever taught you."

"Rubbish," he says, and her heart quickens as he catches her gaze and holds it there. "You've always been my favorite teacher."

Her cheeks flush and she glances down quickly, lip working between her teeth as she bites back temptation. God, she needs another drink. Or maybe five.

He must sense her discomfort, because he looks down as well and chuckles awkwardly. "You and Hop sure looked like you were hitting it off. That's new." She shrugs a shoulder, and he clears his throat. "How's he seem to be getting on?"

"Seems like something his brother should know more about than me."

"Normally, yeah," he says, letting out a tired sigh. "He's not been talking to me as much lately. Think he's cheesed off I bought him and Vic tickets to Motostoke inside of letting them go through the Wild Area. You know how it can be out there."

More than anyone. "He didn't mention that to me."

"Right…" he trails off a bit, hesitating and inadvertently slowing. She takes the lead, getting him back in sync with the tempo. "I did have something I wanted to talk to you about."

Her eyes narrow. "So help me, if you try to make a case for me working for that creep--"

He lets go of her hand, holding up his palms in mock defense. "Come on Sonia, I know better than that. Give me some credit." She still looks skeptical, but allows him to take her hand again -- this time lacing their fingers together, as if it's the most natural thing in the world. "I wanted to ask you about the Slumbering Weald."

She stiffens, but keeps her tone level. "What of it?"

Leon hesitates, drumming his fingers against the small of her bared back. "Hop ventured in."

"What did he see?" she asks quietly. She's not sure she wants to hear the answer.

"Dense fog, mostly, but he saw movement deeper in. Thought he was hearing the wind, but it petered out further in and he still heard the howls. He managed to call me before..." He's watching her carefully, expression guarded. "I got there as quickly as I could, but he was unconscious and dazed, and pretty damn spooked. Not unlike how I found you."

Except she hadn't woken up for two days. And when she finally had gotten the courage to speak about it, to try to describe the nightmares that plagued her, the howls that beckoned her, no one believed her except Leon. Not even Gran. "I'm not sure I understand what this has to do with me."

"I was just wondering whatever came of your research. About the harbingers of--"

"Nothing," she says, a little icier than she means to. "You heard Gran, Leon. It's a folktale. It's not real." Stop getting caught up in fairytales and intangibles, Sonia.

"But it was real to Hop. And it was definitely real to you," he presses. When she doesn't look at him right away, he squeezes her hand. "That's real enough, yeah?" She shrugs, and he mimics her. "I dunno, I just thought you might want to know. I plan to look into it some, but I'm not nearly as good at this sort of thing as you are. I thought maybe..."

He doesn't finish the thought, but then again, he doesn't really need to. It's an invitation to travel, to research history, to revisit the stories she'd pored over during their original journey. Here on the dance floor, with ample booze in her system and Leon holding her close, it's an intoxicating prospect.

But eventually the night will end. The musicians will pack up their things, the partygoers will trickle out into the streets. The buzz will wear off. And Leon will go back to belonging to Galar, and above all else, the chairman. It's inevitable and sobering. "I have responsibilities, Leon. I have a lab to help manage. I can't just up and leave to go traipsing all over Galar on some... wild goose chase."

The words don't belong to her. Leon may be Rose's puppet, but she's become Gran's mouthpiece.

Remember how I said dandelion was going to be an exercise in writing what I enjoy, and skipping the parts that don't interest me enough? It didn't take me long to forget that. Avery and Leon's battle was proving challenging to write (high stakes battle between a Slowpoke and Charmander with limited movesets? eugh), but thankfully a few good friends reminded me of my goal here. It's amazing how just cutting their battle entirely loosened the stopper. I'm a lot happier with how it came out.

Our first real introduction of Rose and Oleana! Of course it's clouded by Sonia's personal opinions, but I do plan to give them far more active roles in the story. c: And of course, some hints at Sonia's background with the Slumbering Weald. 👀 We're about to wrap up the dinner party chapters, and then we can finally get to the nuzlocke part of the story!

Current Team (as of part vi.)
GIZMO
ROOK
 
Last edited:

Thirteenth

Number XIV
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The reason she guides people all the way down to the mountain's base is that she wants them to hurry up and leave.
What a shame it'd be if they were unable to concentrate on communicating.

Leon's in constant motion, jogging up and down the side of the field, barking commands and praise in a near endless stream -- serving to embolden his Charmander, and deteriorate the patience of his opponent. It's overplayed, borderline theatrical, and perhaps most importantly -- it works.
LMFAO I fucking love this...

She remembers wondering at the time what kind of man precedes his arrival with decorative sprays of his own namesake, wears pale gray amongst a sea of somber black, who dares to talk business to an old woman in mourning. The funeral parlor had been drenched in blood-red roses, a murder at the hands of his hubris.
I know I read this already but I love this paragraph so much, it is just. Anything and everything you need to know about Rose is here, and that last sentence in particular is ❤❤❤

The chairman and Avery might get along, she thinks.
:')

The heavy perfume of roses creeps into the room, overpowering the traditional ceremonial incense. Off to the side, the chairman cradles a full bouquet, watching Leon and Vesta with appraising eyes.
Ew I don't like this.

The smell makes her sick to this day.
;;;

The chairman weaves through the crowd like a rattlesnake to head them off, the other partygoers mere blades of grass that bend over backwards to get out of his way -- the click of stilettos tailing him the rattle warning of his approach. Rose's shadow is willowy and dead-eyed. They make a killer combo.
Ugghhh he's awful and I love this, that first sentence especially.

The shadow makes no move to acknowledge her, instead glancing at Sonia's bare feet in apparent disdain. As if to compensate, Rose sweeps Sonia's hand into his and grips her fingers tightly, stooping to plant a kiss with too-soft lips. It takes everything in her not to recoil, or let him know that he's rattled her. She'll deny him every victory she can, no matter how small. "A fine evening indeed. I've been hoping to catch a moment with you, before the night is through. Won't you excuse us, Vanessa darling?"

It's not a request. Nessa shoots her an apologetic look and peels away, leaving her at Rose's mercy. He shepherds her to a cocktail table, waving over a waiter and winking at her. "Martini, correct?"

Her stomach sours. He's been stalking his prey all evening. "Water is fine, thank you."
Uggghhh he's so fucking grosssss

Also, Oleana specifically being his shadow is so damn ominous, she says and does nothing but she looms over the scene the entire time.

Leon positions himself between Sonia and Rose, forcing her to shift aside to make room. She's never been more grateful for created space. He holds up his glass and smiles.
God bless you Leon 😭

Sonia moves to leave, but his hand ensnares her. She dares shoot him a look, and the corners of his mouth turn up a bit. It's an exercise of control. "My offer still stands, dear. There is always a place for you at Macro Cosmos."
Uggghah;dfls. He's so icky and predatory and I hate it and I love how effectively you written him but also ugh

They're running out of space, each one crammed against the one that came before.
Running out of space for her too...

"Rubbish," he says, and her heart quickens as he catches her gaze and holds it there. "You've always been my favorite teacher."
😭🧡💜 Stop you can't do this to me...

"Dense fog, mostly, but he saw movement deeper in. Thought he was hearing the wind, but it petered out further in and he still heard the howls. He managed to call me before..." He's watching her carefully, expression guarded. "I got there as quickly as I could, but he was unconscious and dazed, and pretty damn spooked. Not unlike how I found you."
👀👀👀🍿 Sonia and Hop getting the doggos, I like it.

He doesn't finish the thought, but then again, he doesn't really need to. It's an invitation to travel, to research history, to revisit the stories she'd pored over during their original journey. Here on the dance floor, with ample booze in her system and Leon holding her close, it's an intoxicating prospect.

But eventually the night will end. The musicians will pack up their things, the partygoers will trickle out into the streets. The buzz will wear off. And Leon will go back to belonging to Galar, and above all else, the chairman. It's inevitable and sobering. "I have responsibilities, Leon. I have a lab to help manage. I can't just up and leave to go traipsing all over Galar on some... wild goose chase."
Aaaaaa pleaseee Sonia, go with your himbo. I mean obviously she goes for it in the end but pls

The words don't belong to her. Leon may be Rose's puppet, but she's become Gran's mouthpiece.
😭😭😭

I don't have anything coherent to say, I just love this a lot 🧡💜
 

localhoney

grook
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Team Omega
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Localhoney, the Sweet Toxin Pokemon. It's said that the sounds it emits can paralyze even a Gigantamax Grimmsnarl.
Yessss! You tease with more of my favorite girl, but the tension with Rose and Oleana oof, very good.

Also really enjoying Sonia and Leon together, even though she's still hurt by what happened, that's her mans and I feel like she knows it and is trying to avoid it. Like she says at the end, she's become her grandmother's mouthpiece, so how much of what she's doing really comes down to what she wants to do and say versus what she should do and say? Excited to see her decide to traipse around Galar with the champion himbo.
Her stomach sours. He's been stalking his prey all evening. "Water is fine, thank you."
this made me so damn uncomfortable, so job well done in making Rose's very existence skeevy.
Her knight in a doofy cape. She could kiss him. His presence emboldens her enough to speak out of turn. "Yes, I'm afraid I do owe Leon a dance before the night is through."
kiss him then stupid
Used to know me, she reminds herself.
Fancy yourself a cougar, these days?"
wrong fic Leon
"Rubbish," he says, and her heart quickens as he catches her gaze and holds it there. "You've always been my favorite teacher."
wrong fic Leon
 

Tookie

The Immoral Bard
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This user does not exist. All impressions to the contrary are propaganda pieces and not to be trusted.
oh, rose, you eternal shitheel, can't a party just be a party without the looming stench of corporate greed? i feel like i need to wash my eyes to get the sense of his pervading ooze off of them, he disgusts me, i love it

and aaaaaa leon being soft, i love this glorious man, we stan one raging himbo in this house sonia please pursue this for your health, obligation is the greatest curse in the fairy tale
 

Missy

i left my heart in alola
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nanu for hire (rates may vary, payment upfront)
I have enjoyed every minute of this party.... right up until Rose showed his face. Really, he's perfectly polite, but Sonia knows more than I do. That's not a face I trust.

But also, I am very intrigued by these new crumbs of lore? Of backstory? The past comes back to haunt, and it's gonna make for some tasty drama.
 

Tailsimp

A Universally Under-Rested University Imp
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Tailsimp: The Impish Pokemon. Despite being quiet and reserved, this pokemon is usually very happy to talk and is always excited to help out!
Okay I adore everything about the way you wrote Rose's and Oleana's introduction. It was so striking and terrifying that I literally relaxed and let out a breath when Sonia and Leon "escaped the serpent's den." The imagery of Rose as a snake and Oleana his shadow are going to follow me into replays of SwSh I just know it.
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
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Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
My thoughts, part i-iv: man, Sonia is so melancholic, I just want her to be happy, also this is the THIRSTIEST nuzlocke I have ever read goddamn

My thoughts, part v: I would die for Sonia and Hop’s friendship, also Sonia and Nessa’s but ESPECIALLY Sonia and Hop

My thoughts, part vi: “The funeral parlor had been drenched in blood-red roses, a murder at the hands of his hubris.” is the RAWEST SHIT, GODDAMN, I LOVE IT. “His life is so crowded, now” stabs me directly in the heart, as do all of Sonia’s tender-ass memories with Leon that have somehow transmogrified into this distance between them Q_Q Backstory! Puppets! Legacy! Oh damn I’m SO here for this
 

Dee

THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE
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A regular writer of fanfics and other works, this pokemon loves puns, bugs, and the outdoors.
God this entire run was fire. I'm loving the slow trickle of Sonia's backstory (her encounter with the wolves in the Weald especially has me 👀) and the dynamic between her and Leon was great this chapter. But most of all, I love love love what you're doing with Rose. He could have been--should have been--such a domineering, effective villain in base SwSh but ended up being a quite limp antagonist... but that just means runs like yours that pick up the slack are that much more rewarding for it. God damn if I don't just want to reach through my screen and punch his lights. And also, I know others have posted about it already, but this?

The funeral parlor had been drenched in blood-red roses, a murder at the hands of his hubris.
This shit's fire right here
 

SilverDoe

Kanto League Champion
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163
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Verdanturf Town
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I enjoyed the dinner party a lot. It was great to see Sonia interacting with several different people/groups in such a short space of time. If really made the contrasts stand out in which conversations she was more or less comfortable. It really did a lot to show how she feels about some characters as well as gave impressions for how those characters feel about her. I’m already with Sonia in disliking Rose and am bristling in her defense and they’ve only had one interrupted conversation. Speaking of interrupted, I’m really curious to learn more about Sonia and Leon’s relationship in the past and also to see what will happen to it in the present/future. And we all know Sonia’s not going to just stay in Wedgehurst and not do any darkest day research. I hope, anyway. I’m curious about the slumbering weald too and what happened to her. This dinner party introduced several mysteries and questions while also being fun and setting up the world and providing introspections and introductions to some important characters. So, yeah, I liked it lots.

Also Nessa and the talk of Marnie are all I really needed.

Sonia’s story still has me hooked.
 

Garish Garchomp

Friendly Neighborhood Landshark
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he's ok i guess
Again, and I cannot stress this enough: Fuck Avery.

I love the way you portray that battle tho, just out of sheer tactics because I’m a huge tactics nerd like that. How the key for both participants is to make like John Mulaney and throw them off their rhythm. The fact that it comes so early on too, that it’s Slowpoke vs Charmander and that they’re doing this in a flashback which means they’re young lil shits, it’s just wonderful tbh. Absolutely shocking that Leon is good at the dramatics and theatrics, though. Who’da thunk.

Goddammit and then you ruin such a nice moment with Rose. Eugh. Get that stench outta here, jfc. (The details in that are A-fucking-plus, from the perfume to the pretentiousness of it all to just that whole paragraph that I’mma quote below bc it’s MY SHIT).

She remembers wondering at the time what kind of man precedes his arrival with decorative sprays of his own namesake, wears pale gray amongst a sea of somber black, who dares to talk business to an old woman in mourning. The funeral parlor had been drenched in blood-red roses, a murder at the hands of his hubris.
Also lmao, just calling her “Rose’s shadow” is brutal and perf as well. All your metaphors are absolutely on-point this chapter, and not just that, but the way you uphold them throughout is expertly done.

Jesus christ almighty stoppppppppp with this Rose shit ugggggh you do too good a job making him viscerally unnerving. The fucking callout with the martini and the follow-up thought, “he’s been stalking his prey all evening,” I legit looked away for a moment bc I hate it so much.

He'd watched with childlike glee as she sewed his first sponsor's patch -- a fancy seafood restaurant in Hulbury -- into the bottom left corner of the cape.
Motherfucker. This makes too much sense and I hate it. Goddammit why is all this so well thought through and/or well-improvised, Aurea.

Actually lemme add onto that. Goddammit why are you so mean this chapter? To everyone? #FreeSonia you prick! I'm not even touching on the plot hints yet even tho that's kinda mean to do headachy things to her too but you're being mean to good people and I cannot abide.

In conclusion:
Her knight in a doofy cape. She could kiss him.
Fuckin do it then, coward.
 

SprungGeoduck

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Team Alpha
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120
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78
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Timid
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okay so I've already blown up your DMs about this run at great length, and I wanna focus on the current chapter.

1. I'm very intrigued by Avery. Bringing them (also yessss at giving Avery they/them pronouns) into the story from IoA and making them Leon's rival is cool, and I also like the lore about Leon being tutored by Mustard and getting his own tower someday - wait that just clicked, hehe

1.5. Hop is delightful, and Sonia seeing so much of Leon in him tugs at the ol' heartstrings.

2. ROSE. FUCKING ROSE. What a repulsive bastard! I have a soft spot for love-to-hate-them characters, and this iteration of Rose is no exception - especially when he's written so well. Seeing him interact with Sonia and Leon is just... nails-on-a-chalkboard mentally and I'm loving every minute of it.

3. I... was never really a Sonia/Leon kinda girl, even though canon's brief mention of their past rivalry intrigued me (and god wouldn't it have been great if it was expanded on at all), but right here, right now? I'm begging these two to work it out again. Please, Aurea?

Fantastic work! Keep it up!
 

Lady Venamisa

Conqueror of the Cerulean Gym
Team Omega
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2835
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10
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Tries to be a refined lady, but always fails. Loves Fairy more than any other type.
The feeeeeeeels! The damn feels! So much melancholy, so much heartbreak. Everything is so sad and wistful, and I love it. The awkwardness of being apart from people and places you used to find comforting... is really raw and visceral. I relate too much to Sonia's bitter jealousy. Everyone around me is far more together and accomplished than I, and it really gets to me sometimes.

And ROSE. Oh my god. Just the way you've portrayed this man is skin-crawlingly perfect. This is how I see him, a sleezy, skeevy, uncomfortable man. One who uses his own money and power to do as he wishes. I just... ugh. I hate him so much, and I love it!
 

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