Title: Growing up
A/N: Features Papa!Train and Mama!Sven. Well, sort-of. Anyways, I really, really don't like this, but I haven't updated this in a while...*sigh* I'll make the next one better, I promise.
Summary: This day was bound to come eventually, but it still caught Train by surprise.
"She's growing up," Sven comments one day, sipping his coffee as he flips open the newspaper.
Train stops shovelling the waffles down his throat, glancing up at his partner. His fork hovers over his plate as he responds. "Waf--"
Sven grimaces, pointedly ignoring Train and the crumbs of food flying everywhere. "Finish your food at least!"
Swallowing, he starts again. "What are you talking about?"
A sigh, the older man stares at his partner as he tries to explain what has been obvious from the start.
"Train, Eve's growing up."
He ends up spending the day watching her. At least, he tries to. Controlling himself, he only peers at her from behind plates and small cracks of the door, looking at her from the corner of his eyes as they move.
It doesn't work, this self-control, and he ends up flat-out staring.
"What are you doing?" Train blinks and realizes Eve is glaring at him. Her book--Weapons through the ages--lies closed and forgotten beside her. After a few minutes, she crosses her arms, the glare growing even stronger.
Best to play it casual, especially when the princess is in this state. "Nothing."
"Right." She narrows her eyes, ignoring his sing-song voice and broad grin. She repeats herself, with even more venom, "What are you doing?"
"Princess, do you think you need another hair-cut?" She doesn't budge, still waiting impatiently for his answer. He plays his ace, his last-minute ploy that worked on Rinslet last time. "Did you gain weight?"
Eve doesn't even blink. He's a cornered animal and he's just run out of options. For a moment, there's silence, a face-off.
This is the moment where Eve will try something. Some sort of attack, a jab, a spear of words.
Instead, she gets up and leaves. "I know you're up to something."
Watching her walk away, Train frowns. Now that is different.
"She's a teenager, of course she's different," Rinslet tells him the next time they go on a 'mission' together. He would have refused, except Rinslet is a woman and would probably understand what's going on with Eve.
That and it's been a while since he could eat all he wanted.
"So it's a stage." That, he supposes, is surprising. Over time he has forgotten that their youngest member is still just a child. Everything they've been through has made him think otherwise, but there are some things that experience can't replace.
Still. Eve, changing? Maturing? It doesn't fit in his mind.
"Train, stop grinning like that." Rinslet frowns at him. "You went through this once yourself."
She smirked. "Right, how could I forget. You still haven't grown up."
"Hey, I'm going to get him before you," Train sings as he jumps out of the car. Eve merely rolls her eyes, quickly opening the door and rushing out after him.
The tall man, his tanned skin peeking from underneath his red jumpsuit, turns to see them approaching. "Two more? I'm feeling loved!" He grins, winking at Train. "And a cute one too!"
"..." Train stops, his brain freezing. "He..."
"Heh," Eve chuckles. "I think he likes you."
"..." The gun snaps out, already shooting.
"Train, you should stop teasing Eve so much," Sven finally says as they walk down the street. The black cat frowns, looking slightly puzzled, before Sven explains himself. "You've been doing it more than usual. I really, really, do not want to return to a destroyed hotel room. Again. "
"...So Princess has been complaining, eh? I--" Train halts, glancing around carefully. Something feels wrong, something he can't explain but his experience understands. "Look, if we catch this guy, we'll have enough to repair the room, right?"
"That's not the point!" Sven tenses as well, not missing his partner's signals. After being together for so long, it would be impossible to do so. "We have enough debts on our hands without trashing a room because you wanted to."
At the same moment, they spring apart, dodging the two men that come flying down from the roof. They're small fry, easy enough to defeat, and it's only minutes before they are knocked out and tied up.
"Hmph. I thought you said they were going to be interesting."
He picks up his hat, dusting it lightly before returning it to his head. "Train, do you really think you would have caught any of these guys if I didn't say that? Consider them your lunch money."
"So I can--"
"..." Train pauses before a wide grin crosses his face. "This was no fun at all but I suppose Princess would be more than willing to make up for it."
"Hey, Princess, you lost this time!"
"No, I just let you get him."
"You were closer. Besides, if we destroyed another fruit stand, Sven would kill you."
"Aww, you ca--"
"You can't die until you pay off your food bills."
It hits him, suddenly, that Eve no longer goes out of her way to show him up, to beat him in battle. She argues and yells at him, and maybe even gives him a punch, but nothing more.
She really has grown up.
"Hey, Eve," Train starts, watching the young girl (woman?) read her book comfortably on the chair. She looks up, giving him a moment to compose his thoughts and speak, before going back to her studies.
"Eve," he tries again, not liking the way her name sounds. Not liking how he is using her name so much.
Eve gives him a quick glare, her blonde hair swishing as she turns to face him. "Stop bothering me." Then she returns to her book, making notes as she continues.
"Princess," his last attempt, "want to fight?"
At this, she stops her pen, glancing up to see his serious expression. A small smirk rises as she closes her book and sets aside her papers. "Of course. Today, I'll be Sven's partner."
Train grins, getting up to follow her out of the room.
She is still Princess.