The scent of tea always calmed Cat down, even if it was the locally produced herbal tea rather than the exports she’d grown up on. The legion was camped for the night and the sun had started to set as Cat sat with Megame in a large tent, sharing cups of tea between them as they chatted in the waning hours of the day.
“You seem a bit…off, Cat-chan,” Megame said as Cat took a long gulp of tea.
“Off?” Cat asked. “H-how do you mean?”
“Just the past few weeks I’ve noticed you’ve been acting quite oddly. I understand the pressure but…still it’s something…if you don’t wish to talk about it I won’t-“
“Ah! No, it’s not you, Megame,” Cat sighed. “It…well, something has been bothering me…if you can keep a secret for a while.”
Megame’s face split into an eager smile. “Oh, of course, Cat-chan. I’m here for you.”
“I’m sort of…well…I think I’m…in love with someone,” Cat tried to say it quickly, almost slurring the words together.
“Eeeee!” Megame practically screeched as she leaned forward. “Tell me everything! Who is he? What’s his name? Is it someone I know? Nicomede maybe? Or some boy in the camp?”
“Well, it’s umm…” Cat’s face was scarlet as she tried to find the best way to phrase it. “It’s…umm…not a boy.”
Megame paused, staring intently at Cat with a bewildered expression before her face started turning steadily redder. “Eeeh…C-Cat-chan I am…r-really quite flattered but…”
“Huh…wait no! Megame it’s not you! Honest!”
Megame sighed, the color draining from her face. “Thank goodness…n-not that I think you’d be a bad girlfriend, Cat-chan but…I’m not sure I could do it.”
Megame managed to pull herself together as she sipped from her tea, taking the moment to think. “Mmm, then who is the lucky…girl, I suppose?”
Cat took her own long sigh, preparing to admit it for the first time out loud.
Once more Megame stared at her for an exhaustingly long moment before her face split into a grin once more.
“Keep it down!” Cat hissed at her, glancing around as if merely saying her name would summon the redhead like some kind of demon. “Yes, it’s Rosa.”
“That’s…oooh, Cat-chan, I’m sorry, but that’s just so cute!”
“How is it cute?” Cat asked, still red-faced.
“Oh, just the way she’s always so gruff and in your face and the way you’re more idealistic and kind. It’s a great romance setup! Plus her red and your blue mix so well together.”
“W-well, before you gush anymore, it’s not like I asked her out or anything. I’m still not sure…how to approach it.”
Megame giggled again, even after Cat gave her a glare.
“Sorry,” Megame said. “But the way you’re being so shy and unsure is so out of character for you, Cat. Where’s that heroic girl who fights monsters and saves nations?”
“These are entirely different things!” Cat said. “I work closely with Rosa and she’s my friend and I don’t want to ruin anything…and besides, I’m not sure if she’s even…interested in someone like me, or girls in general. She might even be seeing someone else.”
“She’s not,” Megame said plainly.
“And…how do you know that?”
“Because I pay attention, Cat-chan, honestly,” She let out a long false sigh, even though there was still a smile on her face. “Rosa flirts with everyone, Nicomede and Evangeline-san the most, but she’s not dating anyone.”
“You’re sure?” Cat asked. “Like…super sure?”
“I am super sure, Cat-chan,” Megame said. “And as for whether she likes girls…well like I said, she flirts with Evangeline-san.”
“That could just be teasing,” Cat said.
“Her eyes don’t lie,” Megame said. “And I noticed they tend to go to very particular places when she talks to Evangeline-san.”
“Well, great,” Cat rolled her eyes. “I know she might be gay, but now I’m self-conscious.”
“Mmm, Evangeline-san has us both beat in the body department,” Megame nodded. “But I don’t think she returns the feelings, which means there’s nothing stopping you.”
“There are plenty of things stopping me,” Cat said. “Terror for one.”
“Cat-chan,” Megame leaned in again, looking at her. “You can’t be afraid of these feelings or they’ll keep eating at you. Besides, how do you think Rosa would want you to come to her? Scared and timid or bold and straightforward?”
“Well…probably bold,” Cat admitted. “Knowing Rosa, it’s the only way to get her respect.”
“Respect isn’t the problem,” Megame said. “Rosa respects you, we all do. But you need to show her that you can be as bold with her as you can be with a monster. Do you understand?”
“Heh, when did you become good at relationship advice, Megame?” Cat smiled. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Well…no,” Megame blushed. “I talk a lot with your friend Sheh is all. Plus, a lot of it is really obvious when you’re looking at it from the outside. You like Rosa, so you should tell her while you have the chance.”
“Yeah…I knew I’d have to, I just…guess I needed someone to tell me that. Thanks,” Cat sighed, leaning back in her chair before looking back at Megame.
“So what about you? You said you didn’t have a boyfriend but have you ever been attracted to girls?”
Megame scoffed. “No, thank you. I prefer men, Cat-chan.”
“Reeeally?” Cat grinned. “Because I know how much you like Nico and he’s an awfully effeminate man.”
Megame blushed. “M-maybe but he’s still a man, and I value him for his heroic and strong qualities…a-and it’s not like being clean-shaven and thin makes him less of a man.”
“I’m just teasing,” Cat said. “Although…what about Kara?”
At this, Megame stiffened up considerably, much to Cat’s delight.
“What about her?” Megame asked, trying to be as nonchalant as she could manage.
“She’s awfully cool, with the whole ‘pale skin, dark hair, and troubled past’ thing. Heck, just some of your stories had me swooning a bit myself.”
“Kara is very cool,” Megame said, keeping face straight. “But I don’t really ever…think of her that way.”
“Not at all?” Cat asked. “She’s got a pretty boyish build. If you cut her hair shorter you probably wouldn’t even know until you pulled off her-“
“Sh-she’s very pretty but we’re just friends,” Megame insisted again. “A-and besides, even if we weren’t, it’s not like being with her would mean I prefer women.”
“Wait…so let me get this straight,” Cat smiled. “You’re saying it’s not gay if she’s a valkyrie?”
“N-not so crudely!” Megame turned red again. “And I am not interested in her that way but if I was…”
“I don’t buy that for a minute,” Cat said. “I mean I buy that you prefer men, but valkyries are pretty clearly all female.”
“I know that!” Megame insisted, Cat had never seen the girl so flustered before. “But we’re…very close and if she brought it up I’m not sure how I’d respond but I’m not going to…pursue that kind of thing.”
“Well, now you know a little about how I feel about Rosa,” Cat said. “Though with me it’s more that I’m worried it could spoil your friendship.”
“I don’t think it will,” Megame said, pulling herself back together. “I know you both better, and I think this will go well for both of you. Besides…given the mission…this isn’t something you should keep pent up, Cat. And she might be feeling the same way.”
“Right,” Cat nodded. “Heh, does that mean you’re going to confess to Nicomede?”
“N-no!” Megame insisted. “I’m not sure I like him THAT much yet…though I’ll think about it.”
“Mmm, thanks Megame. Maybe we could practice?”
“Sure,” Cat said. “Like I try and practice my…love confession, I guess, and you pretend to be Rosa.”
“Mmm, I’m not sure if I can estimate how Rosa would react,” Megame said. “Besides if you kept saying something like ‘I love you’ to me over and over I might faint. I can only take so much after all.”
“Heh, alright, I guess I’ll just have the one shot. Besides, Rosa’s taller than you, If I practice too much, then when it comes to the real thing I might wind up staring at her chest.”
“Probably not a great way to start,” Megame said. “Though now I’m curious…I always wondered how cute I was to different boys. What about you?”
“Heh, you’re pretty cute, Megame,” Cat smiled. “But I sort of got the sense you either weren’t into girls or were waaaay too into your valkyrie friend.”
“S-stop that,” Megame huffed. “Kara and I are just very good friends.”
“Alright I’ll stop,” Cat said. “And thanks again for the help, Megame.”
“Tell me how it goes!” Megame said. “I’ll be waiting eagerly.”
The Cities Eternal©2017, Evan Murdoch, Ben Sousa