pokemod: (by koyuki @ DW. [pikachu cake])
pokémod team ([personal profile] pokemod) wrote2016-01-17 01:41 am

"Lace and Steel" for Tauri

Title: Lace and Steel
Author: [tumblr.com profile] Definefreakforme
Recipient: [archiveofourown.org profile] tauri
Rating: T
Verse: Games
Characters/Pairings: Malva/Diantha
Summary: Malva missed an important Elite Four meeting regarding the ongoing political tensions with the Indigo Plateau. Alone with Diantha afterwards, she realises how severe the situation really is.

She hated wearing sunglasses inside. She’d seen the Lumiose city kids doing it as some sort of fashion trend lately, but Malva was never one to roll with the popular trends, despite her job.

But, as usual, she was willing to make an exception for the Champion.

“It’s so damn bright in here.” She scowled, sitting down at the table without waiting for an invitation. The other seats were empty, and there was no welcoming plate of sweets this time.

Malva glanced over towards the opposite window. Diantha stood in front of the stained glass, effortlessly glamorous in a white dress, staring out to the mountainside. The Champion didn’t even look her way. She wasn’t going to pretend like that didn’t hurt.

“That bad, huh?” She asked, leaning back against the chair and crossing her legs. Flicking at her nail in a faux show of not caring, she continued. “I guess this means Markol isn’t getting you back for another disappointing sequel, then? Pity.”

There was no reply for a moment, and Malva couldn’t help but feel on edge. No matter how bad the political situation got, Diantha would always rise to her teasing. She watched the Champion, who was almost a statue at this stage, and felt her hands twitch with the desire to comfort her. She balled her hands into fists, pushing it down.

Finally, Diantha sighed.

“I never thought he would actually do this,” she said, almost too quiet for Malva to hear. The Champion turned around, cream chiffon train dragging against the floor. Diantha traced the length of the table with her hand, before taking her place at the head. “Lance has threatened before, but I never thought…”

Malva grimaced, realising that what the League had been fearing for years now had finally come to pass. Of all the meetings she could have missed, it had to be this one.

“He might just be puffing his chest out a bit more,” Malva said, trying to reassure the worried woman in front of her. “You know how he is. What with the latest riots from Johto, he needs to show how big of a man he is. He’s done this before.”

Diantha glanced up at her with hooded eyes, and an unreadable expression.

“Wikstrom said that,” she replied evenly, looking away again. “He’s going to try and use Kalos as an example. He sent me a letter, saying that he was lawfully placing Kalos under the rule of the Indigo Plateau.”

Malva raised her eyebrows.

“Plucky, isn’t he? As if anyone out of Johto gives a damn about what the Plateau wants,” she rolled her eyes. Diantha didn’t react, so she quietly continued. “Under what charges?”

Without a word, the Champion slid the letter across the table, and Malva picked it up and read it immediately. Her eyes strained to read the almost clinical writing but a single sentence stood out above all.

“Supporting a criminal organisation that threatens the world?” She hissed, anger rising. “Has he forgotten Team Rocket? How do they even know about Team Flare?”

“Siebold said that,” Diantha muttered. She shrugged and took the letter back, scrunching it in a way that only she could make look elegant. “I guess the Plateau has more spies in Kalos than I thought.”

That was when it hit Malva. Team Flare was clearly comprised, as there was undoubtedly a spy within the ranks of the organisation. This spy might realise how she was connected with them, and had reported back to the Plateau detailing how a member of the Kalos League was a high ranking member of the most prominent criminal organisation in Kalos.

In other words, this was her fault.

Hands clenching, she slowly allowed herself to meet Diantha’s gaze. The Champion’s expression was unchanged, and whether this meant that she didn’t know about Malva’s involvement, or she was leading into a confrontation about it.

“Well, what are we going to do?” Malva asked cautiously, playing it as though she had nothing to hide. If Diantha noticed her questionable acting ability, she said nothing. “We’re obviously not going to lay down and let them seize control.”

“The Gym Leaders are already rallying support in their respective zones and most will actively participate in the skirmishes that are sure to break out on the borders,” Diantha replied, standing up and facing the nearest window. “Every member of the League will do their part as well.”

“But the Plateau occupies Kanto and Johto,” Malva said, nervousness put aside for the moment. “What we have alone may not be enough.”

“Agatha said that.”

Malva scowled, angry at how…quietly Diantha seemed to be taking the situation.

“I get that you’re angry that I missed an important meeting, Diantha,” she began, trying to keep her frustration out of her voice, “but I don’t think that’s the most pressing issue right now!”

“Don’t you?” The Champion asked coolly, facing her with a steeled expression. “Ironic, that you were at a Team Flare meeting while the League discussed how to deal with the consequences of your continued involvement with them.”

She was frozen, eyes wide in alarm.

She knows.

In the clutter of reactions going on inside her head, Malva couldn’t help but wonder how long the Champion had known.

“Diantha, listen”- She began, but was cut off but that refined but cold voice.

“You have said nothing to me that I have not yet heard from another of our League, Malva, and you have been betraying me for some time,” Diantha continued, as if Malva had not spoken. That barb cut deep, as was intended. “But you are right in that we need outside assistance. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any missive of ours will reach another region by the normal paths.”

She crossed over to Malva quickly, lace seeming to be ill-fitting on the steel face of this woman. This queen.

“So I will ask you only once, Malva,” Diantha began softly, smooth but icy hands cupping the other woman’s cheeks as she leaned in closely, “what can you offer me?”

It took Malva a minute to catch herself, and to stop the damn shaking in her hands. She had only ever seen the Champion like this once before, when she had first taken over the position to lead the League. The softly spoken idol of the public made it easy to forget how terrifying Diantha could be when she was angry.

“They- I mean, we…can get a message through to the region Champions,” Malva muttered quickly, correcting herself of her habit. “Lance won’t pick it up, I know it.”

Diantha dropped her hands away from Malva’s face and began to walk towards the door, picking up her heeled shoes at the entryway.

“I leave this to you, then,” she finally answered, not able to look at the other woman. “Do tell Lysandre that this is of the utmost importance.”

Malva visibly jerked upwards, as she whipped her head around to face the exiting Champion. She’d obviously known about Malva, but Lysandre took extreme lengths to make sure he was never found to be linked with the group. How did she know about him?

“What?” Was all that Malva could say.

Diantha paused on her way out and finally looked back over to her, with a strange look of…regret in her eyes.

“I’ve never taken you for a fool, Malva,” she answered, clenching her hands tightly. “Please pay me the same kindness.”

With that, she was gone, leaving Malva to sit alone in a golden room and contemplate what her pride had wrought.

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