Author's Note: I already knew I'd be susceptible to this pair, but I think just that brief moment of seeing Iris and Cilan sitting together on top of the jungle gym in BW012 was enough to cement me in Camp Wishfulshipping. So here's a little piece on that moment. I haven't really written for Iris or Cilan before, so I'm still getting used to it. In any case, I hope you enjoy this oneshot.
Iris put her hands on her hips impatiently and stood on her tiptoes to peer over the heap of rubble that made up the Trubbish Squad's barricade.
"How long does it take to talk to some kids anyway?" she asked, frustrated that she couldn't see beyond the piles and would be consigned to more standing around and waiting.
"I just hope Ash can talk some sense into them," Daniela said, looking with distaste at the trash befouling her play yard. "Otherwise… I'll have to take action."
"Relax," Cilan said confidently. "The teeth-meltingly sugary taste of childhood… the cinnamon aroma of adventure!" he said, gesturing expressively with one hand.
"All I can smell is garbage," the Kindergarten teacher commented sullenly, nostrils flaring at the sight of the refuse in front of her.
"Both Ash and the kids have the same flavor," Cilan concluded. "If anyone can persuade them to see reason, it's him."
"Maybe," Iris said uncertainly. "But I've just gotta wonder… who's gonna persuade who?"
"Hmm," Cilan hummed thoughtfully, resting his chin in the crook of his thumb and forefinger. "You may have a point."
"I just wish I could see what's going on," Iris went on, hopping slightly to see higher up. "Those kids really piled that trash high."
"They're an industrious bunch, aren't they?" Karena commented, adjusting her hat and looking strangely proud.
"Oh," Daniela fretted. "Someone's going to get hurt if they don't get out of there soon."
"It looks kind of unstable and I don't want to climb over it if I don't have to," Iris began thoughtfully. She looked around at the playground they were standing in. Wobbly horses on springs creaked slightly back and forth in the wind over by the chalked in foursquare and hopscotch patterns, pink and blue shovels and the remains of sandcastles littered the sandbox, and…
"That's it!" Iris cried out joyfully, catching sight of the jungle gym. "Maybe I can see from up there!"
With that she tore away from the group and made her fleet footed way up to the top of the climbing frame with Axew holding on tightly to her hair as she ascended. She swung herself up to the very top and took a seat on the bar. It was only then when she looked down that she noticed Cilan following her a few bars down.
"I must say, you're very athletic," he commented, sounding impressed. "Like a gymnast even!"
"Uh… thanks," Iris tried, not having expected the compliment. Of course, Cilan was very coordinated too. She couldn't help but notice it in the way that he moved. But seeing him climbing the monkey bars was a little strange. It just wasn't an image that easily settled into her head. It was because he was… refined, that was it. That's why it felt a little bizarre to see him scrabbling up the jungle gym to follow her. It was just a little out of place.
She remembered herself in time to stop analyzing how the situation felt and instead reach down to help him up. He took her hand with a smile and, with her help, lifted himself up to the top of the jungle gym where he took a seat next to her.
"Thanks," he said brightly, turning to her once he was settled.
"Oh, it's nothing," Iris said, waving her hand dismissively with no worries of losing her balance. "I've been climbing on these things since I was a little kid."
"Come to think of it," Cilan said thoughtfully. "You were the only one who was nimble enough to dodge the mud balls those kids were throwing—and not only that, but elegant enough to keep your balance on that fence post."
Iris turned her face away. She didn't want to give Cilan too big of an indication of it, but she liked the word 'elegant' being linked to her entirely too much. It wasn't an adjective anyone else ever attached to her. "Come on, Cilan," she said. "Anyone who's seen you preparing food knows that you're the one with great balance."
"True," Cilan admitted, not immodestly. "Taste is a performance, and a good chef and waiter should be able even to balance the main course on top of his head. I'm practiced, but you, you have a natural flair for it." He looked at her fondly. "You're a very graceful young lady."
And suddenly Iris felt her ungrateful streak activating. She should've felt complimented. 'Graceful' was certainly another word along with 'Flair' and 'Elegant' to be cherished forever in connection with her. But instead of opening her mouth to say 'thank you' what actually came out was: "I'm not that young. You can't be more than three or four years older than me, so don't pretend you're an adult."
He peered at her curiously. She turned aside and tried, without much success, to exorcise the sulk off her face.
"Is there supposed to be something wrong with being young?" he asked.
Iris couldn't really articulate it. There never had been before, but suddenly it made her feel so… so insignificant. She wouldn't ask for much, really. Just… well, three or four years.
She stood up, balancing her feet on one bar and turned away from him. "There is if you're going to treat me like a kid. Like… like Ash or something!"
She saw Cilan's brow crease slightly out of the corner of her eye. "Aren't you and Ash the same age?" he asked.
Iris stomped her foot, and it was lucky that she was so well coordinated or she might've fallen onto the sand below. Boys! Did none of them understand anything? Even ones that wore cufflinks and bowties and could speak in beautifully poetic sentences seemed to miss the point. "Don't think of me like you think about him! I'm much more mature than that!" …Aren't I? She hoped so. Somehow she thought stomping her feet might disqualify her from the 'mature' category.
But Cilan appeared to be thinking. "Ah," he concluded. "So someone as mature as you would be a 'lady', not a mere 'young lady.'"
"Exactly," Iris said, glad he agreed as she sat down next to him once more.
"You know, it's funny," Cilan said, scratching at his cheek as he mulled over something. "But when I called you a young lady before, I wasn't doing so to draw a distinction between us."
"Huh?" Iris asked, drawing back slightly, confused.
"Well, as you said, I'm not that much older than you," Cilan explained. "So I wasn't trying to say that you were a young lady and that I was a gentleman. Rather that you're a young lady and I am a young gentleman."
"…Really?" Iris asked. Cilan considered her his equal?
"Oh yes," he said. "But I suppose since you're actually so mature, a grown-up lady like yourself must look down on a fledgling gentleman such as myself."
"But Cilan, you're so mature too!" Iris argued.
Cilan shook his head. "I still have so much to learn. I'm content to be a young gentleman at the moment."
If Cilan, the most mature boy she knew, could own a bit of immaturity… well… so could she. "Then I'll be a young lady too," she said a little too quickly. After it came out she knew that it made her sound approximately seven years old and cursed herself for speaking too soon.
"Then as a young gentleman, I am at your service," Cilan said with a short bow.
There was silence between them for a moment, punctuated only by the sound Iris's shoes made as they dangled against the metal framework. She didn't trust herself to look anywhere but at her own knees in that moment.
"So," Cilan said brightly, shading his eyes with one hand to look ahead of them. "Can you see any sign of Ash from here?"
Iris had to brace herself against the metal bar to keep from sliding off the structure. Right! How could she forget the whole reason that they came up there? She'd just been… distracted… momentarily.
She squinted and scanned the piles of rubble. "I can't see him anywhere," she said. "I think they must still be in the tree house."
"That's a shame," Cilan said. "It was a good plan: the crisp cool breeze was a fine counterpoint to the refreshing change in perspective. I'd hoped it would be a recipe for clearer vision." He sighed. "Oh well. Shall we climb down then?"
"Uh… no," Iris said, silently praying that Axew wasn't laughing at her from the depths of her hair. "I uh… it's nice up here, that's all. I think I'll stay."
"Then I'll stay too," Cilan replied gallantly. "Don't worry. I'm sure Ash will convince the Trubbish Squad soon, so you won't have to wait much longer."
"I… don't really mind waiting so much," Iris said quietly. Not for now at least.