Note: This was written for the Zexal Flash Bingo challenge, for the prompt "Merag".


"Honestly, sometimes it's still hard to believe," Rio was saying, "even though the other Barians still call me Merag..."

Kotori nodded her sympathy. The two of them were sitting by the side of a public swimming pool, doing a bit of catching up. Things had been hectic in the wake of the Barian invasion and Astral's departure, and Rio had suggested this trip as a chance to talk and reconnect. The weather was almost too cool for swimming that day, so they had the area nearly to themselves. They had paddled for a while in the water before deciding it would be more pleasant to just relax and chat at the poolside, stretched out on a matched pair of deck chairs with their towels draped around their shoulders. It was nice to have some privacy.

"Hey, ladies. You look lonely."

L Well, privacy except for him. Rio scowled up at the man who had intruded.

"Didn't I already tell you to go away?" she snapped.

The man only grinned at her. He was the only other person at the pool, and was apparently more interested in looking for girls than in swimming. The fact that the only girls available just then were barely teenaged didn't seem to bother him.

"You just look so cute, I can't keep away from you," he said.

"Well, this is a private conversation," she said. "You weren't invited. Scram." She turned pointedly back to Kotori. "Like I was saying, the thing is, I've always been a Barian, I just didn't know it before, so I don't feel any different. I just remember how to do some things I've forgotten, that's all..."

"Hey," said the man, "I was talking to you! It's rude to ignore someone!"

"And yet, you keep ignoring me when I tell you to get lost," said Rio sweetly.

The man's face went red.

"Fine!" he said. "You don't have to be a bitch about it."

Rio watched him stomp off towards the water.

"How long before you think he'll be back?" she asked.

"Not long enough," Kotori muttered. "What is wrong with some people?"

Rio shook her head. "I might just have to do something about him. So, where were we?"

"You were telling me how you were adapting to knowing you're a Barian," Kotori prompted.

Rio nodded slowly, still watching the man as he prepared to dive into the water. Her eyes flashed, and for an instant the air seemed to chill. In the next moment, the man hit the surface of the water and, instead of going in, he slid across a smooth sheet of ice. Rio stood up.

"Let's say it has its advantages," she said. "Come on, let's hit the mall. I think this pool is too cold for swimming."