Humming a little ditty she’d heard some customers singing the other day, Anana made her way along the path back to their house. It was hardly a long walk, but she had forgotten to bring any money to the little stall near their place, and thus had to assure the owners she would bring it later after breakfast. It would have taken too long to get it from their own warehouse; that was at least another ten minutes each way, and eggs did not take very long to cook. Oh well. She was in a relatively good mood.
Along the way, almost right before the corner you had to turn at to reach their home, was a furniture maker’s house. He had a very reflective window, the large kind used to display wares. So, of course, there were ornate pieces of furniture behind it. But what caught Anana’s attention was her reflection. Her pale green, with her deep, orange facial stripes...
Payapa had been right...
It really was kind of ugly.
She frowned a little, slowing enough to regard her unfavorable color for an extended period of time, and then picked up the pace once more. Maybe she would be able to decide a better color soon, but she just didn’t know what it was. Not yet.
All thoughts of could-bes left her head the moment she walked through the front door. The dead silence from the breakfast table was an immediate signal that something had happened during her brief absence. Some sort of fight. Anana frowned further. If this was a sign of things to come...
She took dainty steps to the kitchen, attempting to feign a happy mood, pretending to be oblivious to all that was wrong with the family picture. She had found that if you just acted like things were good, then sometimes others played along, and that was an acceptable substitute. It was certainly much more favorable than this detestable, horrendous silence, at least.
Anana kept humming the little tune. If she could just break through the nasty silence enough, things might become right. “Hi, guys! I got some fresh juice this morning! I thought it might be a little nicer than water, you know?” She poured one for each of them: four total, with a little more in the last cup for her sister. Anana took a moment to appreciate the pretty mauve fluid in its semi-transparency. The daylight was hitting the juice in a neat way from the kitchen’s window, and she welcomed the distraction. A certain shade of purple might have made a nice color for her, but her sister had already chosen that...
Well. There had to be another color, one for her. Or maybe she was just resigned to green.
Grabbing two of the cups, she walked to her mother and father, sitting wordlessly in front of their plates. Her father’s meal had been eaten already, but her mother’s sat untouched. The same was to be said for her sister’s... which was unusual. Payapa was known to like eggs. Anana became extremely uneasy.
She sat the cups down. “Here, Daddy! It should taste really good, it’s super fresh! And here you go, Mama.”
At the very least, her mother managed to speak up, albeit barely. “Thank you, dear.” There was clearly restless fatigue in her voice, and this worried Anana. A picture of what had happened started to form in her head, though she made a note to ask Payapa later for the details.
And then she took an actual look...
...and noticed that Payapa was sitting with her head down, staring listlessly at the table. Anana felt a little sick. She didn’t want to spend the whole day picking up the pieces of whatever conflict had exploded. She returned to the counter and grabbed the two remaining cups. If nothing else, she would at least show her sister she had kept her end of the bargain and gotten the favored drink.
Anana placed the fullest glass next to the untouched eggs of her sister. “Here you go, Sissy, here’s yours!” She considered adding in a remark about how it had better be enjoyed after all the effort she went through and all that jazz --a playful remark-- but decided that such a joke would make it incredibly obvious that she was trying to ignore the oppressive tension of the situation. So she simply took her own seat, instead.
Anana was halfway into her first bite when their father spoke up. “You both need to know about where eggs come from.”
She paused. Answering as sweetly as possible was key here. Maybe it would lessen his apparent anger at... well, Prosphora knew what. “What do you mean, Daddy?”
He spoke coldly. “I’m talkin about you two bein old enough, for, well, egg stuff. I got a list, and both of you are gonna memorize it. It’s a list of all yer compatibilities. I expect y’all both to know this by heart in the morn.” Anana noticed her sister fidgeting in the chair as soon as he started talking. She knew Payapa well enough to know memorization was not her favorite thing in the world, so Anana decided right then that she’d try to find a way to make it interesting for them both later that day.
“Yes, sir, Daddy. It sounds very important.”
He looked at her sternly, and then asked with suspicion: “Are you sassin me, girl?”
She was actually surprised at this. That wasn’t her thing; defiance was her sister’s thing! It bothered her that he would even suggest this, but she let it slide. He was obviously upset and his senses had slipped... “No... no, not at all! Egg stuff sounds very important, or you wouldn’t be telling us about it! You wouldn’t waste our time, Daddy...sir!”
He settled back into his chair, momentarily placated. “Alrighty then. Well first off, you girls know where eggs come from at all? Tell me now, honestly.”
Anana felt uncomfortable. She had a vague sense that it involved stuff parents did when they were alone, but that was about it. She had no clue if her sister knew more than that. “No, sir. I mean, I know they come from moms somehow, but...”
“Right.” He looked to Payapa. “And you?”
She fidgeted in her seat for a moment more before meekly replying. “Um... no, not really. I mean, ‘sides what Anana said...”
“Hmm. Well, you’re both at that age where boys are gonna want to get real close to you. I mean, really close. And if you get too close to the wrong boys, you get an egg. And then we got trouble because that boy is gonna try and mooch off of your mother ‘n me. And I hate moochers.” He took the first sip of juice of the four of them, and then continued on when he was well and ready. “So I’m gonna give both of y’all a list of types of boys you gotta keep your guard up around.
“And speakin of eggs, I know girls just naturally lay em sometimes. I do know somethin bout ladies, y’know. Y’all are both of that age too. But I can tell the difference between an egg with a baby waitin inside and one without. How? Well, it’s real easy. The types of eggs your mother eats each mornin? Those ain’t got a thing, they’re blank, duds. All white. Can one of y’all guess how you know there coulda been a baby, then?”
It didn’t immediately dawn upon Anana what the alternate type of egg was, since she wasn’t the usual cook in the morning. It did, however, immediately dawn upon her sister, who turned a rather pale shade of purple in an instant.
Payapa barely opened her mouth to utter a couple of words. “The colors...”
Their father smiled, though something almost sinister was visible beneath the surface. Or maybe that was just the lighting. “That’s right. The colored eggs coulda ended up as little baby ‘mons one day. Not anymore though. They ain’t gonna be more than a meal, now. Yer mother won’t eat em, you know her thing against meat, but you girls oughta been able to tell that the eggs we eat are always really tasty. Always a bit different from each other, too. That’s cause there are so many types of Pokemon. It’s hard to get these eggs, y’know? It’s sort of a... a secret market thing.
“But where was I? Oh, right. So don’t think I won’t know if there’s some egg you’re hidin from me after you got too close to a bad boy. I’ll know. But if you’re just sheddin a dud, that’s just life. Lots of girls do that. Tons of chicks at the ol’ ranch did that each ‘n every morn, and we’d fry em up just like yer sis did here.”
This inspired a new sense of horror in Anana, causing her to push her plate to the side. “So wait, we’re going to lay eggs too? And then someone’s going to... eat them?! That’s so gross... That’s so gross! Why?!”
“Well it’s a natural thing, but yeah, dud eggs are common and good eats. We
won’t eat em, cause that’d kinda be like cannibalism or somethin, but we can sell em for a nice penny. Eggs are priced by rareness ‘n all that,” he explained. Anana felt rather ill looking at the cold eggs she’d started to nibble. She wasn’t sure she could stomach them anymore. It was basically like she’d bitten into a pair of babies... and this made her want to vomit.
“Daddy... sir?” she asked.
“What is it, girly?” Firm, but caring undertones. Whatever terrible Pokemon she had thought was present earlier had faded in an instant, and he was her daddy again. Not the mean one who seemed to like divulging horrible secrets that chipped away at her childhood.
“Can I-- may I be excused? I’m not very hungry this morning.”
“Sure thing. I’m gonna give your mother the list later, and both you best make sure to mind me. Memorize it well.” He looked from Anana to his other daughter. “You too. Especially you.”
Anana excused herself quickly and ran to her shared bedroom, where she decided what toys, if any, she wanted to bring to the beach in an unsuccessful effort to get that breakfast conversation out of her mind.
Part 8 of "Complementaries"