It was 11:30 PM on Christmas Eve as everyone in Team Galactic's headquarters were all ready to retire to their respective bedrooms. A woman with shoulder length, curly red hair and a short, white lacey nightgown came from one of the rooms and headed towards the kitchen. Her name was Ariana and she was there to spend the night with her best friend. She smirked as she reached the refrigerator and began to open the door. She knelt down while scanned her eyes up and down the shelves.
"Well, darn. I was hoping they would have a good drink around here," she said to herself as she as her ruby reds were still scanning the shelves and the side door.
Ariana kept looking until she finally spotted a green can of what seemed to be soda on the middle of the top shelf. She smiled as her hand quickly reached for the can of soda. However, while she managed to grab one side of the green can, another hand with pink nails grabbed the other side of it and proceeded to pull on it.
"Let go, little girl!" the familiar voice frustratingly said. "Can't you see this is my soda?"
The Rocket executive looked up and saw a familiar face, towering over her with a scowl. While she tried to pull the can towards her, Ariana quickly got up from the kneeling position and placed her other hand on the can. The younger, taller woman she was struggling with was none other than Jupiter, a commander on Team Galactic. With her long, back length, dark pink hair down, her sharp dark pink eyes, her checkered patterned nightgown which was long sleeved and skimpy coupled with an hourglass figure, she was a very beautiful woman.
Ariana often would get intimidated by Jupiter's strength and beauty and tonight was no different. However, her quenching thirst for the soda prevented to loosening her grip in intimidation.
"Hey, I found it first!" Ariana retaliated. "Therefore, it's mine!"
"Um, no… this is my drink. I bought it," Jupiter said with a snarl. "Want to know why? Because it's diet soda. I'm actually trying to watch my figure. Of course, you don't do that so you wouldn't understand. I can tell."
Ariana's eyes widened as she loosened her grip on the soda can. It wasn't only her distaste for diet soda that made her almost let go, but it was the woman's insult on her image. 'Hey, I know I don't have a body like she does but it doesn't mean that I don't care about myself!' the redhead thought as she narrowed her eyes into a glare. Meanwhile, Jupiter used this as an opportunity to grab her can right out of Ariana's hands. With force, she snatched the can so hard that when she took a few steps back, the older woman fell forward on her stomach.
"Insolent girl…" the Galactic commander scoffed as she turned and walked away into her room.
Ariana slowly got up from the ground and stopped the refrigerator door from closing. Shaking her head in frustration, she once again scanned the shelves of the cold box for a cold drink. On one of the middle shelves, she spotted a medium sized bowl of kasib berries with plastic wrap over them. Once she stared at them, a smirk began to grow upon her face. 'Hm, a glass of water laced with sweet berries? Sweeeeet!' she thought as she began to pull the glass bowl from the shelf. However, as she almost removed it, she spotted a white piece of printer paper, with writing, written with a black marker, taped on top of the plastic wrap. It read:
DO NOT EAT THE BERRIES! (I need these to make Saturn's muffins)
Rather than get frustrated, she giggled as she put the bowl back in its proper place. 'Oh, that Mars...' Ariana smiled while trying to find open berries she could eat. Her luck turned up once she spotted a small container that contained salac berries. Though salac berries were known to be both sweet and sour, Ariana didn't mind the flavor. So she took the container from the fridge and got a plastic cup from the counter. While she filled the cup with water from the faucet, she heard a familiar voice behind her.
"Wha'cha making, Ari?" a girl's voice asked.
Ariana turned around and she saw a girl with red hair and eyes like her own, except her friend's hair was less curly and a bit shorter. This girl was Mars and she was Ariana's best friend. The teenaged commander smiled at her friend while holding a small laundry basket. She was still in her Galactic uniform, a small and white hooped dress with blackish gray leggings.
"I'm mixing water with some leftover salac berries," Ariana started to say as she turned to her water. "I wanted a soda, but it was snatched from me by a cruel force of nature that called me fat. So I decided on a nice berry flavored water drink. Since you are using the kasib berries for whatever you were making for Saturn, I'm using these salac berries. Which makes me wonder, where the heck do you find these?"
"Sweet and sour water? You're a weird girl…" Mars giggled. "Well, it started when Saturn took me to Join Avenue and bought me the kasib berries along with growth mulch. I started planting them and now I got many. His mother would sometimes go to the Hoenn region to visit with her relatives so she sends me some rare berries from there. Two months ago, she sent me those salac berries so I started to plant them."
Ariana smiled as she listened to what her friend told her. All the while, she was taking five of the salac berries and poking their sides with a knife. She dropped them in one by one, allowing the juices to flow from them into the water.
"Lucky you! I've never been to Join Avenue but I've heard that it was nice," the woman commented as she closed the container of berries and put them away in the refrigerator.
"It's between Route 4 and Nimbasa City. I heard that it replaced one of the gates," the commander stated. "You should go there. I'll ask Saturn to take me there again, this time with you as well. Anyway, I'm folding some laundry so I'll be in the room in a sec."
Ariana nodded as she watched Mars walk into the room she shared with her boyfriend and closed the door behind her. The woman took her glass of water and proceeded to retire to the guest room she came out of. She closed the door behind her and walked towards the bed in the middle of the room. The room itself was rather a dull, plain room with just the necessities for a guest to be comfortable. She set the glass on the night stand as she crawled into bed and picked up her P-Phone.
During this time, a nice fruity drink and a game of Jigsaw Detective went well together. While she did pucker at the sourness of her drink, she still did not mind it as she kept sipping it slowly.
Thirty minutes passed and Ariana was still immersed in her puzzle game. So much so that she didn't notice anything else around her, not even her best friend coming into the room. The woman did sense a presence right next to her however; she was so into finishing her game, she did not care to look. Until a hand appeared out of nowhere and snatched her phone right out of her hand. Her eyes widened as she turned to her left and saw Mars, standing next to her bedside with a scowl.
"Ari-ana, I've been calling you since I got here!" the commander yelled as she waved her friend's phone.
"Okay, you got my attention. Now give me back my phone!" Ariana raised her voice as she attempted to grab her phone.
However, Mars took two steps back while holding the phone over her head. "I paused your game. I'm not mean. I'll give you your phone back after I talk to you."
The executive nodded as she proceeded to listen to her friend. She did notice that she was wearing a plain long shirt, which looked like it belonged to her boyfriend.
"Now, I got most of the stuff to make my Christmas meals for Saturn and me. All I need are the ingredients to make the kasib muffins. These were requested so I am going to make them. Now, Ari I need you to wake me up at five o' clock in the morning. Got it?"
Ariana nodded with a smile. "Sure, but why?"
"Because, the Driftveil Market opens at that time and Christmas shopping is going to be crazy," Mars explained. "After that, we need to start cooking right away since Saturn gets up around seven thirty. Now, as I said, please wake me up at that time. You are coming with me so you need to get dressed at that time as well. Remember… five o' clock."
"Of course!" the woman exclaimed. "I'll remember. I usually get up that early for work so it works out."
Mars smiled as she gave Ariana back her P-Phone, with her jigsaw game paused. They gave each other a short embrace and a kiss on the lips goodnight. As soon as her friend proceeded to crawl into bed for the night, the redheaded woman resumed to her game until she started to feel drowsy.
It was 5:15 AM.
Ariana opened her eyes and stared at the blank wall for a few seconds. She was on her side, with one arm around Mars. Her friend was curled up on her side, sleeping soundly while her purugly was on the edge of the bed, curled up on her side. Ariana rubbed her eyes as she slowly started to sit up on the edge of her bedside.
"I can't remember… but…" she whispered to herself while standing up to stretch. "Wasn't there something I was supposed to do?"
The woman reached for her phone that was resting on the nightstand as she was trying to think. What was she supposed to do when she woke up? She looked at her phone while getting back into bed. However she propped her pillows to where she could comfortably sit up straight. Her jigsaw game was brought up on the screen and began to play it for a little while.
'Well until I can remember, I'll play a little game here to help me focus…'
It was 6:40 AM
Ariana was still on her phone; however she was not playing Jigsaw Detective. She was playing a game that involved popping bubble wrap. It seemed like a boring game, but to the executive, it was an addicting game and it helped pass the time. She smiled as she was touching the screen to pop the individual bubbles. All was well until she felt a tap on her right arm.
"Ariana, turn that game down," Mars muffled as she turned over on her back. "And… what time is it?"
The woman glanced over at the left hand corner of her phone. When she did, however, her ruby reds widened when she saw the time: 6:41 AM. It then hit her like a ton of bricks. 'Wake me up at five, got it?' Mars' voice echoed in her head. Ariana looked around nervously, trying to avoid answering her question.
"Ariana!" Mars yelled. "Answer me, NOW!"
Ariana jumped when her friend raised her voice. She was scared to the point where she had to tell her. "It-Its 6:43…?"
"6:43?!" Mars screamed as she bolted out of bed.
The Rocket executive also bolted out of bed, but in response to her friend's tone. She stood there, looking Mars in the eye. In her eyes, Ariana saw anger mixed with frustrated tears coming from her ruby reds. Mars also had on a glare so menacing that it made the older woman shake in her socks. She could feel that she was angry with her for not waking her up. And Ariana was afraid of Mars when she gets this angry.
"Ariana, tell me. WHAT time did you get up?!" the girl screamed angrily.
"I-I don't know. I-I w-woke up at 5:15 I t-think…" the woman stuttered in fear. "I'm s-sorry, Mars. I really am."
"You know Ariana, I should slap you right now…" the commander responded in a voice that sounded as if she was seething. "You were TOO BUSY playing your stupid game, were you?"
The executive nodded in shame as she dropped her phone to the ground. She couldn't even look her friend in the eye anymore, she was so afraid. She stood there, shaking, and her face turning red in embarrassment. Ariana was so embarrassed; she actually wanted Mars to slap her. Because if she did, then the stinging would make part of the embarrassment go away.
"Get dressed," Mars said angrily as she threw Ariana's clothes to her.
The pair soon arrived, by Pokemon, to the market. The Driftveil Market was huge and crowded as there were many people coming from in and out the store. Mars took out her Poke-ball and returned her crobat. While the woman and the girl both looked at the store and its large crowd, Mars got in front of her friend and then turned to her. Without saying a word, Mars glared at Ariana for a few seconds before turning to the store. She grabbed the woman's hand and proceeded to walk towards the busy market.
Ariana could now see what Mars was talking about when she said the market was going to be busy. They even had a difficult time getting through the crowd as they kept bumping in to people. The woman apologized along the way as some people's groceries were bumped out of their hands. Ariana wanted to slow down; however, Mars had a strong grip on her hand. Plus, she knew that she couldn't separate from her best friend, not in this crowd.
As they finally got to the entrance of the market, Mars lets go of her friend's hand. However, they saw that the inside of the store was no different than the outside, Crowds and crowds of people cluttered the place. They stood there for a few minutes, until a familiar voice called out to one of them.
"Ariana!" a girl's voice called out from behind.
Ariana's eyes widened as she turned around and saw a girl running towards her. She had dark purple hair, shaped into a bob cut and light brown eyes coupled with a black mini dress that had pink trim on the ends and a big red letter R on it. 'Oh no, it's Ellie… that must mean… he's here as well!' the redheaded woman thought as she took Mars' hand and proceeded to try to run the other direction. However, Mars quickly yanked her hand from the woman's grasp.
"What do you think you're doing?!" Mars yelled as she put her hands on her hips. "You KNOW what we came here for, right?!"
Ariana nodded as sweat started to fall down her forehead. "Yes, but I really don't want to be here. Please Mars, can we go?"
While Mars continued to look into the store, Ariana quickly turned back to see Ellie coming closer and closer to her. The girl was a rookie executive for Team Rocket and she had a tray of cookies and slowpoke tails in her hands. Seeing the slowpoke tails meant only one thing to Ariana… 'Proton's here!'
"Hey Ariana!" Ellie exclaimed as she reached the pair. "Did you know about the Team Rocket bake sale that we are having here? Want one?"
As the executive held the tray right in front of them, Mars looked over at the tray and grimaced at the slowpoke tails. "Eww… what ARE those?"
"Slowpoke tails... they aren't gross, Mars. You haven't even tried one!" Ellie exclaimed. "Anyway, you should try one! Proton made them. I made the cookies, which they are Proton's favorite! They have oran berries in them!"
While Ellie closed her eyes and still smiled at the pair, Mars gave her a menacing glare. Ariana could sense that the younger girl mentioning cooking and her boyfriend must have triggered the events in Mars' mind. One thing that the girls had in common was that they were both cooks. However, while they both liked to cook for their respective partners, Mars only liked to cook for Saturn and sometimes her friend while Ellie enjoyed cooking for her whole team. The older girl's fists started to clench as Ariana began to take a step back. And then…
Mars pushed Ellie's tray into the younger girl. The force was so great that the executive actually fell to the ground. Loose cookies and slowpoke tails spilled on the side of the road. Ellie looked at the spilled mess and then looked at Mars with a teary look. Ariana quickly knelt down and helped the rookie pick up the food that was spilled from the tray. While she was just about finishing, the woman felt a tap on her shoulder. The executive quickly got up and turned to her best friend, who had a scowl on her face. Before they could talk, Ellie began to cry. Tears started to form in her eyes as she looked at her tray.
"… Mars knocked me down…" the younger girl cried as she began to run off. "And she ruined my food…"
Ariana, once again, turned to her best friend as she moved her right hand up and down her left arm. "Mars, that was pretty mean. I mean, doing party trays like those are her pride and joy…"
"Hmph! Well, now wasn't the time for her to shove her cooking in my face, especially when I have my own cooking to do!" Mars said angrily. "Anyway, stay here! I'll be back…"
Ariana watched as Mars stormed inside the store, pushing a few people that were in her way. She managed to find a bench that was near the store. So the executive proceeded to head towards the bench and sat there. Feeling bored, she took out her P-Phone from her bag and began to play a little game of Jigsaw Detective… just until Mars came back.
Forty minutes have passed and Mars still hasn't shown up. Ariana had already played five games and had become bored. She put her phone always as she began to stand up and stretch herself out. While she began to sit back down, she felt a string of freezing cold water going on to her side followed by another familiar voice coming towards her.
"So it's true, the Dork Duo is here…" a boy's voice said.
Ariana looked up and saw a boy standing right in front of her. He was another executive, a low ranking one, about sixteen with aqua hair. His uniform, like Ellie's, was also black and had a big red R in the front. However, his uniform had white trim on the sleeves. This executive was none other than Proton, the guy who would always make fun of Ariana. He held a small water gun in his hand while he remained poker-faced.
"So, Dorko… I heard that your bestest pal, Doofus, shoved my girlfriend," Proton said in a stern voice. "I guess she was too scared to try the slowpoke tails."
"Proton, Mars wasn't scared," Ariana asserted. "She had to do her own cooking, that's all. She didn't really mean to shove Ellie."
Proton crossed his arms while he shook his head side to side. "Whatever, Ariana. You really are dumb, are you? Do me a favor and keep that gonzo girl away from my Ellie. Understood?"
The woman shook her head yes while she was twiddling her thumbs. The boy then narrowed his aqua eyes, which caused Ariana to flinch a little. She knew that Proton didn't like it when people answered him with head shakes. He preferred an auditory response from the person he was talking to.
"Yes, Proton," Ariana responded.
"Good…" the male executive said as he started to walk away.
The higher ranked executive watched as Proton began to walk away from the bench. However, he stopped for a few seconds and looked over his shoulder. The woman was alert as she widened her eyes. And then, he turned and proceeded to spray her once again with his water gun. This time, he did it directly in her face. As he laughed and walked away, the woman used her shirt to dry the water off of her face. When she finished drying herself off, she opened her eyes to see a person she was anxious to see.
It was Mars, and she stood there with a scowl on her face. She had three bags of groceries on the ground and her arms were crossed. 'She's still mad… something must have gone wrong…'
"Did you get everything on your list?" Ariana asked.
Mars just stood there, staring her down. The woman could see the fire burning in the girl's eyes. The commander clenched her fist and when she did that, Ariana's eyes began to widen.
"Yes… except for one thing…" Mars began to say angrily. "They… they were out of… out of FLOUR!"
Mars yelled so loud, that not only did it startle Ariana, but the rest of the crowd began to look their way. Even the Team Rocket members from the other side of the bench were looking over. Ariana's face turned beat red as she began to bury her head in her arms.
"You see, Ariana, I need flour to make Saturn's muffins," Mars explained in a voice that sounded as if she was seething. "Flour is essential to baking. Without it… you might as well not make them since it helps the dough rise. And because of you and your lack of responsibility, Saturn won't have his Christmas muffins, how about that?! I'm so angry… I'm so angry… that I-I can't cry!"
Ariana sat up on the bench and faced her friend and her rage. "Mars… how about you buy muffins already made?"
"NO!" Mars shouted. "Saturn likes it when I make them from scratch. So do I…"
"How about you buy muffin mix and put the-"Ariana started to suggest. However she was quickly cut off by the angry commander.
"UMMM… what did I say?!" the girl shouted. "What did I say?!"
Ariana let out a heavy sigh as she rested her head on her hand. 'Mars is making this harder than it really is. I mean, it's just muffins…' the executive thought as she looked up at her friend once more. This time, both of her fists were clenched as she began pumping them. Mars' eyes were closed tightly as she shook in anger. The redheaded woman held on to the side of her skirt. The Galactic commander opened her eyes, and then the unthinkable happened.
Mars slapped Ariana on the side of her face… hard. The beginnings of frustrated tears began to well in her eyes as she stared the older woman down. Ariana on the other hand didn't cry, but was very embarrassed. People began to stop and stare at the pair and the Team Rocket members, well some of them, began to laugh.
"There! Wanted to get that out of my system…" Mars said. "Let's go…"
Mars began to head out and Ariana proceeded to follow her. It was best that she had done so.
The pair arrived back at Team Galactic's headquarters. Ariana followed Mars inside the building. As they went inside, they spotted a blue haired man, sitting at the dining room table with Mars' purugly in his arms. As soon as he saw Mars, he got up from the chair and proceeded to put the cat down. His hair was up in a pointy fashion and was wearing his Team Galactic uniform. This man was Saturn, and he was Mars' boyfriend. Mars sets her groceries on the ground and proceeded to run into the commander's arms.
"Welcome back Mars… purugly was meowing for you. I don't know what you feed her so I waited for you," Saturn started to say. He then noticed that Mars seemed to be sniffling while burying her head in his chest. "What's wrong?"
"All I wanted was to make a Christmas breakfast, lunch and dinner for you. That was what I wanted. And there was no flour at the store, so I couldn't make your muffins," Mars cried as she looked her partner in the eye. "It's all Ariana's fault! She was supposed to wake me up at five but she didn't because she was too busy playing on her phone. Now they are out of flour! Now my Christmas is ruined!"
Mars cried as she ran to the room she shared with Saturn and slammed the door behind her. Ariana bowed her head in shame; it finally sunk in that Mars won't be able to make her muffins that she wanted. It didn't seem like a big deal at first, but now it was. Because all she wanted was for her partner to be happy. Since Mars felt that she couldn't make that happen, she wasn't happy.
"I am so sorry," the woman started to say. "It is indeed my fault…"
"No, Ariana, I don't think it's your fault," Saturn said as he came over and started to rub Ariana's back. "Mars tends to make a big deal out of things. She's making this harder than it seems. It's like not like anyone forced her to make muffins. I'm going to go talk to her…"
The executive nodded as the male commander proceeded to go into his bedroom. Once he was gone, Ariana walked over to the guest room she was staying in and sat down on her bed. She rested her head on the pillows while many thoughts were going through her head. She couldn't shake the fact that she had ruined things for Mars… and by accident to boot. Was there a way to fix this?
'There's got to be a way to fix this! If flour is needed for baking, can there be a replacement?' the executive thought as her eyes began to widen. 'Replacement… wait, maybe there IS a replacement for flour!' Ariana quickly got out her phone and proceeded to pull of the Goggles search engine. From there, she typed in 'replacement for flour' and pressed go.
It took her fifteen minutes to find a good search but she managed to find something. She pulled up a cooking blog that was featuring oatmeal. They blogged that one thing people could do with oatmeal was to make flour out of it. Ariana smiled at her phone screen as she read through the whole blog. She found what she was looking for when she saw instructions on how to turn oatmeal into flour.
"Add one cup at a time of old fashioned oats," the woman read off the page. "Put it into a blender and on high, pulse it until it becomes the consistency of flour…"
Ariana put her phone down on the nightstand as she proceeded to jump out of bed. She ran out of her room and stopped in front of Saturn's door. While she knocked a few times, she thought to herself 'I know they must have oatmeal! I've seen Mars make it for Saturn once…' While the woman thought the door would never open, it did… and it was Saturn.
"Is Mars around?" the executive asked. "I found a solution to her muffin problem."
While Saturn nodded, Ariana glanced over at the big water bed and saw Mars getting out of it. However, she was wearing a different outfit than before. Her dress was red and had fluffy red trimming on the bottom and sleeves. It was coupled with white stocking and red fur boots. She came to the door, poker-faced as she crossed her arms.
"What do you want?" Mars asked with frustration rising in her voice.
"Mars, I found a solution to your muffin problem," the redhead said with a smile. "You need oats for this. All you need to do is put them in a blender and you have oat flour! Want to try it? I read it on a cooking blog."
Mars uncrossed her arms as her eyes widened. She then went out of her room and straight to the cupboard. After the girl brought out a stool to stand on, she opened it and pulled out a bag of oats from the bottom shelf and a small blender from the middle shelf. Mars jumped off the stool and smiled at her friend.
"So I can grind oats to make oat flour, eh?" she asked. "If so that means I can make those muffins after all! Come on, Ariana you help me get the stuff out and I'll start cooking."
While the executive went over to help her friend with the cooking, Mars was setting the oven to 350 and turning on the stove as well. The pair both smiled at each other while preceding the get out the ingredients from the bags.
Thirty minutes passed by and Mars just pulled the muffins from the oven. Ariana took a jar of homemade kasib jam and a tub of butter and set it in the middle of the dining table. Saturn smiled at the woman as she went back and put the salt and pepper shaker on the table as well. While her boyfriend sat at the table and waited patiently, Mars quickly transferred the muffins from the pan to a plate.
"Ariana, you need to put the omelet on a plate and take the bread from the toaster," Mars instructed as she sets the plate of muffins on the table. "When you're done, leave it there."
Ariana nodded as she quickly went over to the stove and turned it off. From there, she grabbed a plate from the cupboard and proceeded to slide the omelet on to it. She then went over to the toaster and took out the two toasted slices of homemade white bread and set it on the plate as well. After she was done, she pulled out a chair proceeded to plop down on it. While she wiped the sweat off her forehead, she couldn't help but notice the muffins. The aroma exerting from them was quite relaxing and also triggered her senses. However, as Ariana was about to reach for a muffin, they tray as pulled away from her.
"NO! These are Saturn's muffins!" Mars yelled as she held the plate of muffins. "You have to ask first…"
Ariana lets out an annoyed sigh as she looked over at Saturn. He nodded yes as Mars puts the muffins back on the table. While the woman took a muffin off the plate and bit into it, her friend was putting the finishing touches on the plate she was working on. Finally, she took the plate, complete with a fork and knife, with a glass of orange juice and sets it in front of Saturn. Before he ate however, she bent over and gave him a kiss on the lips.
"Merry Christmas, Saturn!" Mars exclaimed. "I love you so much and I hope you enjoy. This is probably the best breakfast I've made for you so far!"
"Well, Merry Christmas to you to Mars!" the blue haired man said with a smile. "I love you to and you always make the best meals."
While Saturn dug into his meal, Mars ran over to her best friend and proceeded to give her a big hug. "Merry Christmas, Ariana! You're my best friend and I love you. I really, really care about you and I'm sorry for acting like a jerk to you this morning."
As they gave each other a kiss on the lips, Ariana grew teary eyed as she put her hands on her friend's waist. "I love you to, Mars. And I'm sorry for causing you so much trouble."
"Don't sweat it, Ari!" the girl exclaimed as she went back to the stove to turn it on. "Now, how do you like your eggs?"