DISCLAIMER: I do not own Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island, nor the Atelier series in general. GUST does.
A/N: I've been putting off finishing AA for so long. Once I got to playing it again after a couple of years, the characters had me charmed even more than the first time I played the game. Seriously, I love pretty much all the characters in Atelier Annie. They're all so fun and quirky and I wish some of them got more screen time (like Julian and Claus). Anyhow, this may or may not become a oneshot/drabble collection in the future, just because I find the characters fun to work with. Sadly, the Atelier Annie fandom is so small here.
About the oneshot itself, I thought it started out funnier at the beginning before becoming more lightheartedly serious at the end. I get the feeling that Annie might be a little OOC in this. Terribly sorry for that, along with any mistakes I might've made here and there; typed this up rather quickly for my own standards. The entire time I was typing this up, I was listening to Atelier music. Anyhow, to whomever is reading this, enjoy.
Every Day is Friday
Clothes (Do Not) Make the Man
It was a day like any other in Lichterzehn.
That is, Annie was being worked like a dog by Pepe as usual (not that Annie wasn't trying, or anything, because she definitely was), Kyle had broken and entered her workshop already and it was just past noon, Beaux had been starving and crawled his way to her workshop (seriously, Annie always wondered how the hell such a directionally-challenged boy kept finding his way to her workshop when he couldn't even make his way from her workshop to her next door neighbour's), Kilbert had lost to Gillian in a duel and went off somewhere in the mountains training and spouting some ridiculous mantra about getting stronger, and Gillian was massacring entire streets with the revolting smell of her medicinal juice.
But as said earlier, it was a day like any other in the charming little town. See, if there was one thing Annie was sure of, other than Pepe secretly being a sadist that took great joy in working her to death, and Liese's undying love for cole, it was that she'd never get bored living in Lichterzehn.
Because troublesome things seemed to always find her. Even when she tried to run away from them. Things like Kyle's breaking and entering into her workshop, or a starving Beaux at her door were common occurrences to her now, such that she didn't even flinch when she and Pepe were welcomed home by unwanted guest Kyle.
Of course, that didn't mean that something even zanier than usual would happen. It was Lichterzehn. The place attracted all sorts of crazy people. ...Or maybe it was just Annie that seemed to be a magnet for the outrageous.
Because right at the moment, her eyes were nearly popping out of their sockets when she saw Hans walking out of the Weapon Store in a weird costume. Or, rather, weird was an understatement... It was tacky, with mismatched bright greens and oranges. There were a slew of raggedy frills fluttering from the garment; unsure of another way to put it, Annie deemed it gaudy.
'Oh my God. Oh God. Oh God.' There it was. Stiff-as-a-brick Hans, wearing something that looked like it came out of garden before being butchered at a meat factory. It was alarmingly out-of-character and the seventeen-year-old began to wonder if the world was meeting its end.
Honestly, she felt so much second-hand embarrassment seeing Hans walking around in that costume that she began running right up, hollering in fear the entire time. Hans flinched as she drew nearer, along with her undignified shriek.
"Oh, it's you, Annie," he said, completely nonchalant and void of any trace of embarrassment
'What!?' Annie thought, shocked. 'Wh-Why the hell is he so damn calm about this? He's wearing such a terrible outfit. What happened to his work clothes? A-Anyway, I've got to get him out of the public eye, quick!'
"You! Come with me!" Annie commanded, and before Hans could muster a response, she was dragging him to her workshop at a breakneck pace.
Immediately after reaching her workshop, Annie slammed the door closed, intent on not letting her friend's fashion embarrassment meet the critical eyes of the public.
"Why'd you drag me here!?"
Annie ignored his discontent and cut straight to the meat and potatoes of what she was thinking. "Why...aren't you...in your work clothes?!" she huffed, gasping for air and slumped against the door.
"Uh, because I'm on a day off?" Hans narrowed his eyes, staring at her as if she was an idiot. All the alchemist could think at that moment was 'No! Why am I the one being looked at so condescendingly?! You have no right to give me that look when you're wearing that sorry excuse for a...shirt...thing!'
"B-But I thought you'd decided to wear your work clothes even on your off-days. "Whatever happened to that idea, anyway?
"Oh, about that..." his face blanched. "See, I thought that would be alright, too, but just the other day..."
And he continued to explain to Annie that he'd seen his co-workers the other day on one of his days off. They told him they thought he had a day off and Hans had promptly replied that, yes, indeed, he wasn't working that day. Then his co-workers looked him head-to-toe.
"And?" Annie tilted her head, waiting for him to continue.
"A-And then they asked me...'How come you're always wearing your work clothes, even on your days off?'!" he finished, burying his face in his hands in shame. Honestly, she wanted to hide herself in a tree hole for allowing Hans to walk around in that...shirt...thing.
She held out her hands nervously, trying to reassure her supervisor. "I-It's okay, Hans!"
"It's not!" he argued, fist clenched and eyes pointed. "They looked at me like I only had one pair of clothes to wear!"
'Well, it really does seem like he only has one outfit... Not that I should be one to talk.'
"Y-Yeah, whose bright idea was it to wear your work clothes everyday anyway?" Annie laughed nervously.
"It was yours."
The ebony-haired girl was effectively silenced for a moment, an awkward silence hanging above them. She wondered if he was mad at her, or maybe at himself, for having listened to her, but the latter thought made her feel a little guilty and she eventually caved.
"U-Uh, sorry, Hans. I'll make up for it — I-I'll even go clothes shopping with you! Oh, but you might want to know that I'm not that fashionable, either, so I might not be of any help, so just promise me you'll stop wearing that gaudy thing!"
Hans was taken aback. He knew he wasn't great at picking out clothes, but had he really chosen something so repulsive?
"Um," he could feel the shame of a thousand bitter defeats, "is it...that bad?"
'Yes, terribly so,' she thought. But she opted not to be so terribly blunt.
"A little, yes..." Annie admitted, feeling guilty as she said it. B-but it was for his own good, right? 'Honesty, honesty. It's the best policy...Hopefully.'
But the blonde was silent, and the silence worried her. Maybe she should've lied instead...? Annie thought it over again.
Maybe she shouldn't have been so quick to judge him. Yes, maybe it was terribly gaudy and didn't look like something that was comfortable to wear (at least to Annie), but maybe Hans actually liked wearing it. If he was fond of wearing it, then she felt her conscience clawing at her doorstep and she couldn't ignore it. She shouldn't have judged Hans and tried to push her own ideals about clothing onto him.
"Sorry Hans. I shouldn't try to preach my ideas about fashion to you when I'm not very good at picking out clothes, either."
"Geez," he sighed. "I wasn't mad, so you don't have to apologize..."
The corners of her lips tugged gently upwards. "But if you did your best in choosing that shirt and like wearing that, you don't have to mind what other people say about you," the lackadaisical teenager reasoned.
"Who says I like wearing this?" Hans scoffed, tossing the odd thing aside, causing Annie to gawk. And not to worry, because he was wearing another, much more normal shirt underneath the...extravagant pullover...thing.
"Then why'd you buy it in the first place?" she muttered.
"I guess I just felt pressured to buy it after hearing what my co-workers said," the committee member conceded, a half-smirk gracing his features. "But you're right. I shouldn't have let what they said dictate what I wear."
Annie smiled wholeheartedly. "That's the spirit."
"But to be honest," Hans cut in, "I wouldn't mind having more than just my member uniform to wear."
At this, Annie had a sudden idea.
"Why don't I just help you synthesize the same uniform but in different colours? You like wearing your uniform, right?"
Hans blinked. "I guess...but are you sure you want to go through the trouble?"
"It's not a problem at all. I'm doing this because I want to." Something about the twinkle in her eye told Hans she was serious, so he relented.
"Well, if you say so. Thanks..." he flushed.
Annie lit up. "I'll get started right away - after I get myself a snack! Ah, and don't tell Pepe that I stole from his stash if he asks, okay?"
Some things would never change.