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Frontier Town Sun Stone Saloon

He'd forgotten all about Odette's outburst with Drapion, in hindsight. Too hard on yourself. Hazard or Echo would have given the same advice... Odette just felt so capable. Better. Not a screwup. She wasn't a liability.

"Same thing you should tell me. Obviously that you're right and I need to give up," he said with a dry chuckle. He let out another sigh. His mind spun in circles, bouncing between Odette's words and all his muddled thoughts from earlier.

Odette was probably right, of course. "You sound like my team," he said with a snort, though he smiled a little. Still, he had to be better than that. Had to prove he was good enough. That Wes was wrong. "Of course I'd tell you you're wrong. It's just... I don't want to let anyone down. Doesn't feel like I've done much good, even if I haven't actually ruined anything either. Guess that's kinda stupid to worry about though," he murmured.
She narrowed her eyes at him, tilting her head down as if to say, “Really?”

“Ha, ha. Funny, funny,” she said prior to rolling her eyes.

“Well, listen to what you think your team would say. And listen to what you’d say to me if the roles were reversed. If my memory serves me right, you’ve covered my ass in more than one fight…” Her shrug that time was slow and deliberate, almost as if doing it for a dramatic edge. “That sounds like good to me. You haven’t let me down yet.”
"I haven't?" He shook his head the instant the words left his mouth. "Sorry," he murmured awkwardly. "Thanks." As irrational as it'd been, he realized some part of him had feared what happened at the escort would make Odette think less of him.

He cleared his throat, glancing down at the cup of water in his paw. An awkwardness lingered under his skin, compounded by sleepiness. "That's... That's what I dreamed about. Kind of. Having to fight everyone. Hurting the team. Hurting you." He could handle Wes's attitude and he wasn't sure how Mhynt felt about him. But Odette was a friend. Odette understood him. The thought of losing that was infinitely worse.

"A dumb dream, but it just felt so weird, you know? I guess it got stuck in my head," he muttered. "I just meant to take a walk but then I was worried too..." Worried about her. He shrugged and gave an apologetic smile. "Sorry again for waking you though."
Well, she finally got the answer she was looking for. She widened her eyes, both out of realization and understanding, before nodding once.

She didn’t say anything before she was sure he was done talking, and even after, silence still lingered around her as she rubbed her eye again.

“All things considered, that feels like a pretty reasonable dream to have,” she said. No, that sounded way better in her head. Cringing, she backtracked. “I mean…”

She got the gist of what he was trying to say. That battle had understandably fried him, and the dream had put him even more out of sorts and left him worried. While a part of her could have gone without being woken up, she wasn’t mad. Actually, she’d go as far as to say she was touched that he was that concerned. Yes, maybe she had made more of an impression on this teenager than she'd led herself to believe.

Offering a sleepy smile, she chuckled. “I sleep light anyway. Something was bound to wake me up at some point. Better this than one of my neighbors thumping a wall.” Granted, she had been pretty down and out, but Koa didn’t need to know that.

“Well, thank you for checking on me. I promise I’m okay and I promise my thoughts on you haven’t changed.”
Burying the rush of embarrassment, he opted to nod in thanks. Stupid as the dream had been at least saying it out loud helped get it out of his head. Supressing a yawn, he rose to his paws and glanced back towards the door. He was suddenly uncomfortably aware just how much later it was getting.

"I'll let you get back to sleep... I uh... Thanks for listening," he murmured. "And... If you ever need anything, my door is always open too." Despite his awkwardness, his tone was sincere. He took a step back, towards the door. "I'll make sure to reimburse you for the water," he added with a grin.
Whatever ease that had settled on Odette’s face was gone in an instant, chased off by something far more startled.

“Where do you think you’re going?” she said, climbing back to her feet and brushing off her robe. Yawning again, she shuffled back toward her bed. “You walked your ass all the way here in the dead of night, and you think I’m letting you go back now that it’s even later?”

She was shaking her head, even while she grabbed one of her blankets and and dragged herself over to the small seating area more toward the front of the room. “I would just walk you back myself, but I have a couch. And a spare blanket. Feels like a fucking no-brainer.”

She spread the blanket over the loveseat, then pointed down at it. “Park it,” she said. “You can walk back in the morning. I don’t wanna hear it.”

She pointed toward the door leading to the bathroom. “Bathroom’s through that door. It really creaks when it moves, so if you get up at any point, just close it slowly please. And don’t touch my perfumes; I’ll know.” Her gesturing hand aimed toward the dresser next. “Water’s on the dresser, help yourself. I can get more when the bar opens.”

It was evident she wasn’t going to take any protest, because she re-locked the hatch on the front door and trudged back to her bed and started settling herself back into it. “I’ll be here if you need me. You might have a harder time waking me up but, I’ll be here.”
"Wh-" Koa's eyes widened and he blinked in surprise. Stay? He opened his mouth to protest, only for Odette to cut him off.

Instinctively, he wanted to deny it. Leave anyway, tell her not to bother and that he'd be fine. Since he would be fine. (He had to be). Bothering her felt bad enough, he didn't want to cause more problems. He could just go back to his room. His empty room. Except he was tired, and walking across town in the middle of the night didn't exactly sound fun.

He hesitated again, before finally nodding. "Okay fine," he grumbled. "Since walking all the way back would be a hassle," he said nonchalantly, although the hint of gratitude in his tone betrayed him. "Besides if another crazy Skorupi attacks at least there'll be two of us to fight it." He jumped nimbly onto the seat, then reflexively turned in a circle before lying down.

"But I don't know how I'll control myself, I was really looking forward to testing out new perfume scents," he said with playful sarcasm. Yawning, he lay his head on his paws.

He half expected his mind to keep him awake like it had before, but he felt more at ease now. And way more tired than he realized. Another yawn escaped him as he lay there, his thoughts beginning to drift. There were worse spots to spend a night, he thought... Kind of nice. It remind him of being a trainer again, just a little. Funny how looking back, he hadn't expected Odette would end up as one of the people he trusted the most...

"You know, you're not the messiest," he mumbled sleepily. Wes could have that award. "You're pretty sick."
Odette stopped her hunt for comfort to glare dully over at Koa. "You wanna smell like a flower's ass crack? Be my guest," she said, almost as if it were supposed to be a threat. Still, there was the slightest waver, like she were trying not to grin.

From there, she settled against her pillow, exhaling and trying to lower herself back into slumber. She wondered, as consciousness started to fade again, if this was weird. Letting Koa stay instead of allowing him to walk back. It didn't take her long to decide no, it wasn't. If anything, it was the responsible thing to do. Like a mentor would. Or a friend. She wouldn't let, say, Hau walk back alone, so what difference did it make if it was Koa?

She wasn't far gone enough to miss his comment, and it was enough to prompt her eyes to snap open again.

Staring at the ceiling, she let his compliment run a few laps in her mind, feeling her frown increase in size with each passing second. It should have been nice to know a young, personable mind like Koa thought so highly of her. It should have felt good to know she'd made such an impression. She should have had no worries about the relationship she had with him, or any of the ones she'd made for that matter.

But, all she felt, for a long, uncomfortable moment, was anxiety. Because if only Koa knew.

He wouldn't think as high of her if he did. Not a chance.

"Thank you," she said, pulling her blanket up over her mouth. It's far from the truth. "You're sweet."

Now she craved sleep more than she had before she was woken up.
Koa was halfway to sleep when he thought he caught Odette's voice murmur something in reply. His ear twitched in response and he smiled, but didn't make any effort to reply. For the first time in a good few days he felt at ease.

Whatever happened, or whatever she found out, Odette wouldn't hate him for it. She understood.

He could trust her.

When sleep finally fully overtook him, it was blissfully dreamless.

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