“No,” she snapped, spinning on them with an upraised, accusative finger. “Absolutely not.”
“You have to cut it out,” she hissed, backing them up against the wall. “Or I swear to God I will make your life a living hell.”
“Whoa,” they laughed, raising their hands. “Calm down, hon,-”
“Tst!” She whipped the finger forward, stopping just before hitting them. They flinched back, banging their head against the wall.
“Don’t call me that,” Rinet continued as they groaned and rubbed at their head. “I don’t know who you are or why you’re here, but if you don’t start acting professional-”
“You’ll what?” they interrupted, expression amused. “Tell on me to the teacher?”
She wasn’t fully aware of the exact journey her facial expression went on, but judging by their reaction, it was clearly significant.
Rinet sighed, stepping back and adjusting her glasses. “Grow up,” she said. “I have a job to do, a job I need to do, because the safety of this country is at stake. And you can either stop getting in the way of that, or we can find out definitively which one of us is more essential.”
And please, God, don’t let it be them.
Ceit broke eye contact first, raising their hands in surrender. Rinet really wanted to stalk out of the room, but she didn’t actually know where they were going, so she had to wait for Ceit to realise that and resume walking.
“So,” they said after a minute or so of silence, “what’s up with your eye?”
Rinet rolled her eyes- eye. Whatever. “It’s a business thing.”
“Business, as in none of yours.”
That got a laugh out of them, throaty and melodious. “Okay, I walked right into that one. How about this, then; explain to me how exactly this whole thing is a ‘threat to national security’? I get Auclair, but the other two are just some random kids, right?”
“…how about this,” Rinet countered as they came to a stop outside an unmarked door. “I’ll explain that, but in return, you give me a rundown of all that jargon you were throwing around upstairs.”
Ceit grinned, sticking out their hand. “Deal.”
She stared at them until they lowered their hand, then gestured at the door. “Is this your room, or mine?”
They just grinned even wider, and realisation hit Rinet like- like a truck through a morgue wall.
“You have got to be kidding me,” she muttered.
“Aww, come on, roomie, it’ll be fun!” Ceit said, opening the door to their shared quarters. “Dibs on top bunk!”
Chapter Twenty-Two: Lonely Boy (in which the third time’s the charm)
“…aren’t you getting?! A sandwich is filling between two slices of bread! Here’s the filling, here’s the bread! Explain to me how this is not a sandwich!”
“If you top pasta with more pasta, you just have pasta! It doesn’t matter how cooked it- oh shoot, I think we woke her.”
“<No kidding, you cacophonous baboon>,” Zarah growled. She cracked her eyes open, then immediately flinched away from the light, flopping one arm limply over her face to block it out.
“Good morning to you too!” Remy chirped from above her.
“Trust me,” Kihri said, “that’s definitely not what she said.”
“Shut up,” Zarah grumbled.
“Not you.” She pointed at where Kihri’s voice was coming from. “Her.”