Serena sat down in the grass with a quiet huff. She was beginning to think she wasn't actually wanted on this excursion and Professor Sycamore had asked her along simply to be polite. He hadn't let her do anything thus far. He'd insisted on carrying everything by himself, then insisted setting up the equipment by himself, and now he was running system checks and camera tests, again, by himself. Whenever she'd offered a hand he'd just waved her off telling her to relax and leave everything to him. She wasn't sure whether she ought to feel grateful or insulted. Sure she might be a bit of a newbie at the lab but she could set up a camera tripod by herself.
She ran her hands idly over the grass and sighed. Her Froakie hopped about, inspecting random clumps of wild flowers and patches of clover with far more interest than his trainer could muster at the moment. She watched Sycamore fiddle with the machinery for a few seconds before her anger bubbled up again and she had to look away. She plucked at a wild flower, hoping the motion might stem her frustration a bit. It didn't, so she plucked another. She plucked a few more before she felt sated and then stared at the flowers in her lap, suddenly feeling a little guilty. I ought to do something with them, she thought vaguely to herself.
She took one and carefully looped the stem around another, starting the beginnings of a chain. At least it was something to do. Her Froakie wandered back then and began watching her movements intently. Since she now had an audience and nothing better to do she started fashioning a very basic flower crown. Her Froakie caught on quickly and started ferrying flowers to her whenever she began to run low. If she'd been in a better mood she might've felt bad about the rapidly widening bald patch in the field. Every so often she would glance up to see Sycamore had moved on to the next camera. Once in a while she'd catch him glancing over her way but she'd quickly turn away from his gaze, hoping she looked properly annoyed and not just coy.
She finished her first flower crown and placed it atop her Froakie's head with an exaggerated flourish. The Pokémon jumped up and down excitedly then immediately raced off to bring her more flowers. I should tell him to stop, she thought wryly to herself, but at least this way one of us is entertained. She started on a second flower crown, which she placed upon her own head when she finished. This one was a little neater and better woven since she had the rhythm down now. Froakie continued to bring her more flowers.
She reluctantly started on a third crown. Maybe she could goad Sycamore into wearing it as punishment for not letting her work, as petty of a payback as that would be. She thought she could strike the right sort of tone for that if she tried. That brought her back around to her resentment of her current uselessness. She was once again frustrated and angry in no time at all.
A voice from over her shoulder startled her out of her thoughts. "Is that one mine ma chere?" She was proud of the fact that she didn't flinch or jump from the intrusion but she did almost snap the stem she was working with at the moment. She let him stand there waiting for an answer as she carefully wove the end of the stem into the structure of the crown. When she finally did answer her tone was decidedly cold. "It might be. It depends."
"Depends on what?" He asked as he took a seat in the grass next to her, his voice sunny and seemingly unaffected by her icy demeanor. That only annoyed Serena further. Could he not see how aggravated she was already? She frowned and only the thought of her behavior being seen as childish prevented her from outright ignoring him. "Depends on why you dragged me out here. I came because I thought you wanted my assistance but you won't even let me near the equipment." She thought she'd kept her voice even but some of the hurt snuck in despite her best effort. She finished the flower crown in silence, afraid if she kept talking she'd say more than she'd mean to. He leaned back with a contented sigh. Her frown deepened at this carefree attitude.
"Now now ma belle, no need to make a face. I just wanted the pleasure of your company today. Once the equipment is up and running there's little else to do but sit and wait. I find sitting and waiting is much more enjoyable with a lovely young lady at my side." She finally turned to look at him for the first time fighting the rush of warmth she always felt when he used his talents for flattery on her. The hint of a smirk at the corner of his mouth had her glaring. She wasn't in the mood for his charms right now. "I believe you owe me a flower crown now ma chere." With a small huff she unceremoniously dropped it over his head. It landed crooked and half slid low on his forehead to partially cover his right eye. It took all Serena's will power not to give in to the desire to giggle. She didn't want Sycamore to think he was off the hook just yet.
Seeing that she was out of flowers again her Froakie immediately sprang off to fetch more before she could stop him. Sycamore adjusted his flower crown with care which caused the corners of Serena's mouth to twitch upwards for half a second unbidden. It was exasperatingly difficult to stay angry at the man, especially when he was being so adorable. Her Froakie returned with a mouthful of flowers and dumped them in her lap. Out of people and Pokémon to make flower crowns for, she chose one and absentmindedly began to pluck its petals one by one. The nursery rhyme chant of he loves me, he loves me not instantly popped in her head, the words automatically aligning themselves with her movements.
Sycamore chuckled at her side and stole one of her flowers before she'd even realized he'd moved. "I know this game. He loves me, he loves me not, oui?" It was disconcerting how easily he'd read her mind, never mind that it was a very obvious conclusion to draw, and she felt her face heat up. "Did you know it originated here in Kalos? The Kalosian version is much longer, I greatly prefer it. Here, let me show you." Serena found herself unable to look away as he began to pointedly remove petals one by one, his voice dipping low as he alternated his attention between the flower and her face.
"Elle m'aime un peu." A petal fell to the grass between them. "Elle m'aime un beaucoup." Another petal joined the first. "Elle m'aime un passionnément." A third petal fell. "Elle m'aime un à la folie. Elle m'aime un pas du tout. Elle m'aime un peu. Elle m'aime un beaucoup…" Serena lost track of the words quickly since she didn't know the language but her focus zeroed in on the cadence of his voice, how the words seemed to just roll off his tongue, and the underlying melody of the silly little distraction. The flower slowly, agonizingly slowly, became barer as he circled through the phrases and petals. It took what felt like ages but at last there was only one petal remaining. "Elle m'aime un à la folie," Sycamore ended, his face unnecessarily triumphant.
"Mhm, and was exactly does that mean?" Serena asked, her mouth suddenly feeling too dry. He grinned at her in a way she could only describe as wickedly. She was torn between playing along with his fun and acting on her indignation. "Elle m'aime un à la folie, ma chere. She loves me madly," he explained, putting far too much emphasis on the last word.
She crossed her arms over her chest in a show of indifference and scoffed. "Does she now?" Her little act was ruined when she was abruptly pulled into Sycamore's lap, spilling all her flowers in the process. Serena wriggled a bit in his grip but didn't put up much of a fight beyond that. She was already tired of being mad at him, especially since he could tell she wasn't serious. "She does when she'd not vexed with me," Sycamore assured her, setting his chin on her head and holding her close. "Je suis désolé, ma belle. I should have been clearer when I called you out here that I didn't actually need assistance. I had no intention of insulting you. Forgive my horrid callousness?" She sighed loudly and snuggled into his chest.
"Consider yourself forgiven. Next time just ask on a date like a normal person," she teased, kissing him on the cheek. He smile and Serena was a little gratified to see real relief in his expression.
"It's a deal."