"We're gonna get in sooo much trouble..."
"Shhh! Keep your voice down!" The two flaaffy giggled as they smeared more berry juice over the wall, writing and drawing obscene things all over the shop. Fresnel covered his mouth with one paw, trying to stifle his laughter. They only had a few minutes to get this done, but it was impossible when she kept giggling! "Shhhhh..." he whispered, eyes crinkled in a wide grin.
"You're the one laughing!" Mary said, breaking into another chorus of snickers. She finished up her own work, stepping back to admire it. 'JULES IS A BITCH' was written in bright blue and red juice, drying against the stone wall as she watched, hands over her mouth in an attempt to stop her giggles. "So much trouble, if we get caught," Mary added, looking to Fresnel. Her eyes drifted to the drawing he was currently adding the final details to, and her face cracked into another smile. "Wow. Really?"
"Isn't it great?" he said proudly, stepping back from the wall to look over his piece. Mary started to nod, expression amused, then shook her head.
"Why does it only have one testicle?"
"Never mind, come on." She tossed down the remainder of the berries, pulling off the gloves she had worn to keep the juice from staining her paws. "We gotta get outta here before anyone comes by and sees us."
"Ha! I guess so." Fresnel tossed his own gloves on the ground, trotting after Mary as she cut through an alleyway to bring them toward the main road. It was an hour past sunset, so few pokemon were up and about in the streets, but more than likely a patrol would come by soon to make sure no one was doing precisely was he and Mary had just done. The flaaffy held back another laugh, imagining the look on the face of the guards who came across their 'art'. Mary peeked out from the alleyway, making sure the coast was clear, before she brushed her wool neatly and strolled casually into the street. Fresnel copied her, chin tilted up and lip stuck out. Mary laughed, jabbing him in the ribs with an elbow.
"Stop it! You're gonna make us so obvious!" she whispered, trying to hide her amusement. Fresnel waved off her concerns with a stubby paw.
"Look, they can't prove anything one way or another, so who cares?" He began marching forward in an exaggerated manner, just to bug her, and smiled to himself as his performance brought forth more snickering from the other flaaffy. This was how he spent most of his days and nights. Well, not necessarily with graffiti, but hanging out with Mary, his best friend, making trouble or playing around all the pokemon too stuck up to let loose and have fun. Fresnel knew the patrol would suspect the two of painting the building, but he was also correct when he said they could not prove it. They hadn't been seen, they had nothing on their wool or skin to point to their usage of berries, so all the patrol had were suspicions that they could just sit on for all he cared. He turned his head curiously as Mary gasped, looking up at the sky in shock.
"Sheesh! I didn't realise how late it was..."
Fresnel grimaced, looking up at the moon's position in the sky. "Oh... Yeah, I think I was supposed to be home a long time ago."
Mary shook her head, laughing lightly. "Sure, make your mom worry, Fres. Anyway, I have class tomorrow, so I need to get home and go to bed."
This elicited another expression of chagrin, but he grinned for Mary, nodding. "Yeah! You better make sure you aren't late for class. You don't want Jules giving you another talking to about tardiness
Mary slapped his shoulder. "It's because of you I get in trouble, you know," she chided him, but she was smiling. “I do have to go, though. I'll see you tomorrow after class, okay?"
"Yeah!" he responded, watching her turn and race away down the street. Unlike her, he did not have much worry of being home later than expected. He imagined her parents were rather strict with their daughter, making sure she got enough sleep and rest and 'stayed out of trouble' so she could excel in her engineering class. Fresnel grimaced again. Engineering. He would have liked to be in one of those classes, but he was not allowed.
Fresnel sighed as he continued down the empty street, his mind wandering to various topics as he made his way home. His eyes slid over the magnificent buildings that bordered him, spires made of steel and stone, as the name of his home implied. Steel City. A place of incredible talent and advancement, where technological progress drove nearly everyone's lives forward. Whether you were a repairman, a peddler of wares, any sort of shop owner, or, in rare cases, an engineer, their lives circulated around--and even depended on--the inventions of ‘mons before them. That was how it seemed to him, in any case. He had heard of other cities outside his own where they lived in wooden huts, cooked with fire, and needed the sun for a light source. He glanced up at a lamp as he passed, only one of hundreds picketing the streets all throughout his home. What did they do when they needed to work in the dark? Torches just seemed so... dangerous and barbaric. He wondered often if everything he had heard of the outside world was true.
He had once voiced aloud to his mother that it seemed selfish to hog all this wonderful technology to themselves, but she had merely smiled and shushed him, stating that the law was the law, and this was just the way things were. Nothing taken out of the city, no one allowed in without extra special permission. There was no point in arguing the matter, so he did not.
Fresnel's thoughts vanished from his head as he realised he was standing before his house. He could see the lights were still on through the front window, so his mother had certainly stayed up to make sure he came home safely. He smiled sheepishly, trotting to his front door and pushing it open carefully. His mother never yelled, never scolded, but he knew that she herself had to be awake early for work, and so his coming home late meant she was missing out on much needed sleep. He closed the door behind him, trotting forward into the living room. His mother, a pretty ampharos named Anbari, was dozed off on their couch, a pillow held on her belly between her paws. He noticed a plate sitting on the table before her, the food untouched, and a guilty surge jolted through him. Of course, she had made him dinner, and he had let it go cold.
Fresnel was just thinking of trying to sneak the plate up to his room to allow his mom to sleep when Anbari's eyes fluttered open. She made a small yawn, giving a jerk of surprise when she saw the flaaffy standing before her. "Oh! Fresnel!" She smiled, standing up as he trotted closer. She patted his head, looking sorrowfully down at his meal. "I made you dinner, but I'm afraid it looks to be rather cold by now... Would you like me to heat it up for you?"
Fresnel shook his head quickly, seating himself before the table and pulling the plate closer. "No, no, that's fine mom! Your food is good, whether it's cold or not!"
Anbari smiled sweetly, patting his head lovingly. "You're such a good boy. Well, you eat up. I'm afraid I need to make my way to bed." She glanced up at their clock. "I have to be up in a few hours."
Fresnel nodded, eating his dinner with a gumption. He hadn’t exactly realised how hungry he was until the first spoonful hit his tongue, but now he felt ravenous. He wondered when was the last time he had eaten. "No problem, mom. You go to sleep. I'll, uh, be home earlier tomorrow so we can eat together."
Anbari smiled to him again, and nodded with a bow of her long neck. "I'll hold you to that," she teased, pinching his horn. "Good night, darling." She turned to the staircase that led up to their bedrooms, making her way carefully up the steps toward her bed. Fresnel watched her go, then looked back down to his half eaten plate of food. His mother was an engineer, working under the very same raichu who was teaching Mary: Jules. The flaaffy sighed, poking at his dinner half-heartedly. He would have liked to try being an engineer himself. It was fascinating work, not to mention well-paying, rewarding... It was the reason he and his mother lived so far up in the town, in the richest district of Steel City. Certainly she dressed up their home modestly, but he knew she made bundles of money, along with gaining the respect of all her colleagues...
All things he would never have a chance to try for. Jules absolutely refused to train men to be engineers. He did not know why - he had a few nasty thoughts, however - but any time he brought it up to his mother, she would simply pat his head and reassure him. Maybe one day she would change. One day he could be an engineer. Try not to fret, dear. Fresnel sighed, eating another spoonful of food without even tasting it. He did not feel so hungry anymore.
Part 1 of "Fresnel's Error" by