"Alright, are you ready to go?"

"I'm ready when you are!" The voice coming from the headset on her ears was just as sweet while garbled by static as it was in real life, which helped lessen the blow from the fact that she wasn't in fact hearing it in person like she had planned to. Even though family obligations meant that they weren't spending the weekend together for the first time in months, the girls weren't going to be kept away from their weekly dose of gaming.

After taking a deep breath and stretching her fingers, Soleil nodded. "Alright, let's go," she said, firmly pressing the button that got them into their online lobby. "So how are we feeling like tackling this tonight?"

She could hear a dramatic "hmm," on the other end as she watched the screen inform her how long it was taking to find a game. "I think I feel like healing today."

"Well that narrows it down," Soleil said sarcastically. "Well, I'm feeling DPS, so wanna stick to me?"

A gasp from her companion told her that her suggestion was understood. "Does this mean we're going to use the Double Shooting Star Barrage?"

Finally a game was found, and the character select screen that the girls were so familiar with stared them down, Soleil acting quick to select her pick for the night. "Yeah, sure. You do know there's a proper competitive term for that, right?"

"I do," her friend said, locking in as a character as well. "And it's stupid that it's not the Double Shooting Star Barrage."

"You're adorable," Soleil cooed as they waited for the rest of their team to pick.

As the match dragged on, Soleil once again found her teamwork with her pocket healer to be indispensable. As their team fumbled about around them, her friend's shot calling and her quick reflexes single-handedly salvaged what would have been a complete shutout of a game. Nothing quite matched the catharsis of hitting that ultimate attack key, watching the enemy team fall, and hearing her headset mangle the sounds of her friend screaming "Double Shooting Star Barrage!" The only thing that came close was watching it happen again during the post-match highlight and hearing the attack name yelled again. "We did it, Soleil!" She said after taking a sip of water to soothe her strained voice. "It's good to know that our teamwork is still the picture of perfection even when we have to work around the distance between us."

Soleil made a noise that said she agreed, then said, "the lag from the headset isn't even that bad. But it just doesn't replace the real thing."

"You said it," her friend said quickly. "It's not the same without a friend to high five when one of us gets play of the game."

"Well, who's fault is that?" Soleil teased.

"Not mine! Gods, Soleil, you act like I decided when my grandma would be born like, a million years ago."

Soleil gasped. "Your grandma didn't hear that, did she?" After being assured that what was said was safely between them, she sighed in relief. "I didn't want to hear you die because you insulted your grandma's age on her birthday."

A laugh as cute as a newborn kitten came from the headset. "Oh, Grandma Lissa wouldn't hurt a hair on my head." After a pause, the voice came back with, "okay, we're going to sing and eat the cake now."

"Don't let it get burned down by all those candles," Soleil warned, earning a loud laugh from her friend.

"We won't! And since this is likely going to be the last chance I get to be on tonight, I'll say goodnight."

"Okay," Soleil said with a sigh. "Next week, I'm gonna ask your mom to bake me extra food to make up for this weekend."

"Duly noted, my friend! And now, without further ado: Goodnight, Soleil."

"Goodnight, Ophelia."

Without her partner, there was no reason to continue playing, so Soleil sighed and turned the game off once the line went dead. One night out of the ordinary wouldn't normally be a big deal, but it was a bigger deal after nearly two decades of the same schedule with minimal exceptions.

Ophelia and Soleil's fathers were the best of friends, which meant that they were practically raised together, always finding time for one another just as their parents had over the course of their long friendship. As a result, the two girls had a bond that was nearly unmatched by any pair their age. For almost all occasions, communication of entire ideas could be accomplished by mere looks or hand gestures, and they understood each other even better than they did themselves. This intimacy gave them the uncanny power of perfect teamwork, and weekly game nights were how they used this talent. Truthfully, without Ophelia's companionship, Soleil would have no interest in playing the game herself, being perfectly content to just watch the pros play. Of course, they played all sorts of games that had two player modes over the years, but few could keep Ophelia's attention like the colorful team shooter they played when they could get their connection to cooperate.

However, their cooperation in the game could only take them so far. When they had to rely on four other people, things started to fall apart, and no amount of working together like a well-oiled machine could make up for a terrible team struggling against an excellent one, and bragging rights about fancy, shiny emblems under their portraits could only take them so far. Sometimes, Soleil would find herself wishing for the opportunity to show off how well they worked together in a way that had more tangible rewards, but those thoughts never lasted long. Soleil stood and stretched her arms before venturing out of the room, getting lost in those thoughts, among others.

True to form, those thoughts had all but vanished the next weekend, which found Soleil and Ophelia meeting at the latter's house to fulfill the promise from the previous weekend. After a veritable feast from her mother, the girls sat in Ophelia's room, eyes glued to the screen. This time around, they were playing a game that relied only on the two of them, and they breezed through the cooperative game without pause. The session that started at sunset went well past midnight, and once they were done, they set their controllers down and feigned exhaustion, despite being wide awake. With a dramatic sigh, Soleil fell back, laying on Ophelia's bed with her arms spread out. "Whew, that was a ride."

Ophelia giggled from her desk nearby. "You can say that again. And now it's after midnight, so neither of us can shower without making my parents mad."

"Oops," Soleil said with a shrug. "It was worth one night of being smelly, I'd say."

"I'm inclined to agree!" Ophelia said, turning to the screen once more to watch the credits. "This game was created with such decadence and style, I can't help but feel a kinship between the writers and myself. What marvelous craftsmanship! If I were to name this play session, I'd call it..."

Soleil turned her head to watch Ophelia's face morph into one of deep thought. The way her brows furrowed and she bit her lip as she put her finger to her chin sent Soleil's heart racing, though she wouldn't admit it. She swallowed hard as she watched Ophelia's stormy grey eyes dart to and fro. Finally, Soleil swallowed her pride, built her courage and said, "gods, you're beau—"

Suddenly, Ophelia slammed her hand on her desk, startling Soleil into silence. "Eureka! This night shall be called: Escape Operation; Ophelia and Soleil's Daring Adventure Into The Night!"

Soleil smiled warmly, sitting up and giving a genuine laugh. "That's pretty good," she admitted. "I love..." Her courage from moments ago melted away all at once, and she paused to try to play off what she said as something other than what it was originally intended to be. "I loved playing this with you, Ophelia."

"And I, you, Soleil," was the response Ophelia gave. "It's just another shining example of our perfect teamwork and kinship."

Soleil nodded, the intrusive thoughts of being in love with her lifelong best friend all but dismissed. "Say, Ophelia," she said, a new subject in mind. "Speaking of that teamwork and whatever..."

"Kinship, but go on," Ophelia said quickly.

Soleil couldn't help but giggle. "Anyway, I've been thinking, maybe there's another way we can show off that bond?"

"What do you mean?" Ophelia asked. "Are you tired of video games?"

"Of course not," Soleil said quickly. "I could never get tired of doing this with you, but we can't exactly show off our accomplishments from all this, you know? It's not...like, productive."

Ophelia nodded. "Right, I understand. You want to do something that we can talk about and be recognized for."

Soleil nodded, finally taking a stand and stretching her back. "Pretty much. I just don't know what there is."

"I bet my dad would have an idea," Ophelia said, absentmindedly playing with a pen on her desk. "He can usually think of something."

"Oh trust me, I know," Soleil laughed. "No matter how outlandish it is, we can definitely say he thinks of something..."

"But we'll have to see what he says tomorrow," Ophelia said, triumphantly standing from her chair. "Until then, I do believe it's time for these maidens to get their beauty rest."

"Now it's my turn to agree," Soleil said, moving to put the controllers and other equipment away while Ophelia scurried to the bathroom to change into her pajamas. While she had the room to herself, she sighed wistfully. "Some day I'll tell her," she mumbled.

Once both girls were changed and ready, they went to bed, thoughts of what Ophelia's father would suggest in the morning running through their heads. For the past decade or so, Ophelia's bed had the requirement to be big enough to comfortably fit both girls without them having to huddle uncomfortably, and while it was cool that her parents were understanding enough to accommodate, the past two years or so found Soleil wishing for a smaller bed to share. She couldn't help the feelings she was harboring for her best friend. Unfortunately, no matter how strong those thoughts were, she couldn't speak them without the risk of ruining their friendship, and the possibility merely existing caused her eyes to water at the thought. Perhaps some day, she could find a way to tell her friend, or even find another woman to woo, but until then, she was content silently longing for Ophelia.

At some point in her sleep, Soleil could recall hearing a distant heartbeat. It was comforting and relaxing, but somewhere in the not-even-half awake haze, she recognized that it was not her own. She was far too tired to care about waking up to investigate, but it still struck her as odd.

The mystery solved itself in the morning, when she was woken up by an unusual warmth. She opened her eyes and found that the heartbeat was, in fact, Ophelia's, and at some point in the night she had sidled up to her. Now, her hand was wrapped around her friend's waist and her ear was pressed firmly against the small of her back. Her eyes widened and she scrambled to move away, her quick movements bringing a small laugh from Ophelia. "I was wondering when you'd notice," she said sleepily.

"I'm so sorry," Soleil said quickly, her face reddening rapidly. "I was asleep, I didn't mean to."

"It's alright," Ophelia assured her. She turned around, looking at Soleil with half-open eyes that made her heart skip a beat. "I didn't mind too much. I was getting cold, so the extra heat was nice."

Soleil couldn't fight the smile that came to her face despite her continued blush. "Heh, okay. If it happens again, I'll try to give you a head's up."

After a yawn, Ophelia said, "okay. Now let's sleep a little longer." Without even waiting for a response, her eyes closed again and she was off to sleep. Soleil took this opportunity to admire her crush, watching the scant light filtering through the window illuminate her sleeping face, casting it and her blonde hair in a soft, cozy light. She knew that, under that serene sleeping face, she was likely thinking about her next story, or what she would name the next notebook she was to buy; her current one was getting full, after all.

Soleil smiled warmly before turning over and following Ophelia back to sleep. The sound of her heartbeat was no longer present, but it was just as fresh in her mind as it had been in the moment.

The next morning, the girls shared their thoughts of wanting a new outlet for their talent with Ophelia's father, who thought about the conundrum dramatically, thoughtfully stroking his chin. "This is quite the predicament you ladies have found yourself in," he mused. "Not many recreational activities are suited to duos. How about cheerleading?"

Soleil's mind immediately wandered to what cheerleading entailed; namely, the short skirts and intense physical activity. The nature of her thoughts must have shown on her face, because Ophelia quickly said, "Uh, that's gonna be a hard no."

Her father nodded understanding. Meanwhile, her mom spoke up from the other side of the table. "Um, have you maybe considered sports?"

"I already said sports," Owain said.

"You said cheerleading," Ophelia corrected him.

"Are you saying cheerleading isn't a sport?" Her father shot back cheekily.

"N-no!" Ophelia said quickly. "I was just saying you only said a sport, not sports."

Soleil shrugged. "Either way, both cheerleading and sports in general kind of tend to involve relying on more than just each other, which is the problem with the game we usually fall back on."

"Not true," Owain countered. "There are plenty of sports with two-man teams."

"Like?" Ophelia supplied.

Owain's thoughts came to a screeching halt, and a moment passed silently before he said, "er…ice skating, maybe?"

Soleil gasped, clapping her hands together. "It's perfect! Ophelia, next weekend, we learn to ice skate!"

"You make it sound so easy," Ophelia giggled. "But it's a date!"

Despite the confidence the plans were stated with, it took a weekend or two for settling with video games again due to pre-existing plans and the fact that the closest place to learn that was surprisingly busy on the weekends. After some time, the girls finally managed to fit this new activity into their plans, and they stepped into the building that housed the ice rink confidently. "Alright, Ophelia," Soleil said, chest puffed out proudly. "Today's the day. After today, the ice skating world will never be the same!"

Ophelia giggled behind her. "You're acting more like me today, Soleil. Aren't we forgetting something, though?"

"What could that be?" Soleil asked.

Ophelia gestured down to their feet and said, "we don't have actual, you know, skates."

A silent beat.

"Oh," Soleil sighed. "R-right. Even with the extra weeks, I don't think I thought this out well enough."

"Well you're in luck, because I did," Ophelia said. "I looked it up, and they rent out skates here."

Soleil could feel herself recoil at the thought. "But those have been on other people's feet! They're going to be disgusting."

"Would you like to be the one to buy brand new, expensive skates?" Ophelia asked. When Soleil didn't respond, she grabbed her wrist and lead her through the building. "Didn't think so. Now let's rent our skates."

"Just for today," Soleil insisted. "If we're naturals at this, we get our own. And you're allowed to name my pair."

"Yay!" Ophelia bounced and gripped Soleil's wrist tighter. "Speaking of which, I should name our adventure today."

"Shouldn't we wait until it's over?" Soleil asked.

"Nope," Ophelia answered. "This name will be a good luck charm to ensure our success. Our adventure today will be called..."

The thought trailed off, and didn't finish until both girls had rented their own skates. Then, with a triumphant step onto the ice, Ophelia declared the name proudly. "Lesbians! On Ice!"

Soleil couldn't hold back her laugh, watching Ophelia struggle to balance as she yelled the name enthusiastically. "How many exclamation points did you yell that with?"

"Four," Ophelia said matter-of-factly. "Three after Lesbians and one more at the end."

With another laugh, Soleil stepped onto the ice after her friend, but she wasn't as lucky as far as balance went, because her feet immediately flew out from under her. Ophelia stifled a laugh, but helped her up anyway, the both of them taking shaky stands. "Off to a bad start," Soleil mumbled sheepishly.

Unfortunately, time passed and the bad start dragged out into bad middles and a definitive bad end, both girls leaving the rink riddled with bruises. "I don't think that went very well," Ophelia said, rubbing at her neck.

"I don't think Lesbians on ice is getting a second season," Soleil sighed. "It was a complete flop."

"I think you mean—"

"I don't have the energy for so so many exclamation points right now," Soleil managed to say with a laugh. Still, her face sunk, unmistakably disappointed in their performance that day.

"Hey, you know what might cheer you up?" Ophelia asked, putting an arm around her friend's shoulder. "Let's head back to your place and play a few rounds, yeah?"

Soleil looked to the sunset wistfully. "Actually, yeah. That does sound nice. Let's do it."

After making a pit stop at Ophelia's house to grab the laptop she used for gaming weekends, the girls played the night away, winning nearly every match they played and becoming MVP's in pretty much all of them. By the end of the night, Soleil was showing significant improvement. "See, I told you we could play our sorrows away," Ophelia said once they wrapped up.

"You were right," Soleil admitted. "Now if only we could play away the bruises I'm going to find all over myself for the next few days."

With that, Ophelia excused herself to shower, leaving Soleil alone with her thoughts once more. Being in her own room allowed her to find plenty of distractions to take away from the failure that was earlier in the day, and she gladly did just that. After killing some time on her computer, She had nearly lulled herself into the mindset that she was home alone, but before that idea could cement itself, Ophelia burst into the room, hair still dripping wet and clothes clearly thrown on in a frenzy. "Eureka!"

Startled, Soleil jumped in her chair before turning to see her disheveled friend breathing heavily in the doorway. "Wh-what?"

"My parents weren't able to help, but yours probably can!" Ophelia declared. "I propose that tomorrow, we ask them as soon as we can."

Soleil smiled wide. "And this revelation was so important that you needed to rush in here looking like you just got your world rocked?"

Ophelia blushed, skipping over to Soleil's drawer and grabbing the spare hairbrush that sat on the top. As she ran it through her hair, she explained, "I just didn't wanna forget about it. If I share the idea with you, we'll be more likely to remember it in the morning."

"Fair enough," Soleil said with a nod. "Just try to be better clothed next time. If my parents saw you like that, they'd jump straight to the worst possibility."

"Don't worry," Ophelia assured her. "Next time I'll run in with only a towel on. They'll love that."

Now it was Soleil's turn to blush, completely freezing up at the thought. She struggled to come up with a response, stuttering out half-words and nervous laughs. Finally, she stood up and said, "I'm gonna go shower now."

With a laugh, Ophelia sat on her bed, straightening her clothes and encouraging Soleil to do exactly that. After grabbing her change of clothes and hurrying out, Soleil locked herself in the bathroom and buried her face in her hands as soon as she could. "Oh gods, I'm hopeless. Leave it to me to turn an innocent joke into such a big deal! Get it together, Soleil!" Was Ophelia oblivious to her affection? Did she know and start teasing her? Was Soleil just taking jokes too seriously and ruining everything, despite her continued insistence that she didn't want to ruin their friendship over a crush? All the possibilities were going to drive her nuts if she fretted over them too much longer, so she settled on taking the hottest shower she could tolerate to hopefully melt the anxiety away.

The rest of the night was uneventful—complete with Soleil restraining herself from cuddling people in her sleep—and the girls found themselves experiencing a variation of the scene from a couple weeks back. Inigo sipped from a cup of morning coffee as he thought, Soleil doing the same in almost the exact same way as he did. Her mother happened into the kitchen and sneered at the father and daughter in feigned disgust. "She's so much like you it's disgusting."

"Peace, Kjelle," Inigo said, holding up a finger. "I'm trying to help our daughter and Ophelia with their conundrum."

"What's the conundrum?" Kjelle asked, repeating the last word with a mocking tone. "I guarantee you I'll solve it faster than you've been able to."

"They are looking for an outlet for their perfect teamwork," Inigo explained. "They've already tried ice skating and fell flat, so they need an—"


"Excuse me?" Soleil and Inigo asked at once, causing Kjelle to exaggerate another cringe.

Once she was done pretending, she repeated herself. "Tennis. I used to love playing tennis, and doubles is the epitome of teamwork in sports. It's not as technical as other sports, but it's still intense, skill-based, and requires exceptional synergy. It's also nowhere near as embarrassing as ice skating. What were you thinking with that one?"

Soleil's mind had started racing. She had seen a tennis game or two playing on televisions at restaurants, and her mom always did seem invested in them, but the only thing she could remember was the short skirts the ladies would wear, and that sent her mind racing in other ways. The idea of Ophelia in a short skirt and the two of them just relying on each other was starting to sway her in the idea's favor, but Ophelia seemed unconvinced. "I don't know," she said. "That seems...lame. Tennis just doesn't interest me that much."

"Nonsense," Kjelle said. "You've just never seen it because your father is an uncultured idiot."


"Just watch a game, and you'll be convinced," Kjelle insisted. "Tell you what, there's a very important game on today, so watch it with me and we'll see how you girls feel then."

Soleil nodded agreement. "Alright, I'll watch it with you, mom."

Seeing her friend agree to the plan, Ophelia shrugged. "I suppose there's nothing to lose, right?"

"That's the spirit!" Kjelle said. "I'll yell for you two when it's time."

The group dispersed shortly after that, and Ophelia still seemed unsure. "Are you sure about this, Soleil?" She asked.

"I mean, why not, right?" Soleil responded. "There's no harm in just watching a game. If it catches our attention, it does and if it doesn't, no harm done."

"I suppose," Ophelia finally said. "I'm not expecting much, though."

Neither girl expected much, in all honesty. Soleil merely expected it to be a nice bonding exercise with her mom, and she'd get her eyeful of girls in skirts and be able to move on with her life. Neither girl was prepared for how the game would change their world.

A few hours after the conversation, Kjelle ushered the girls into the living room, and Inigo watched more out of being present than anything. The TV was on, and two sportscasters were sitting at a desk, talking about the game to come. "Don't listen to any of their bullshit, here's what you need to know," Kjelle explained. "This is the final match of the women's doubles bracket of the tournament, otherwise known as the only bracket that matters. The defending champs are a couple of bitches who are really full of themselves and don't think they'll ever lose, but their competition in this match is one of the most interesting stories in all of sports this year."

As if to illustrate her point, the screen cut to a shot of the two girls in question. "Meet the most impressive rookies in the entire time I've been keeping up with this sport," Kjelle continued, muting the TV so she didn't have to talk over it. "The short one's Ochaco Uraraka and the tall one is Momo Yaoyorozu." The girls looked in awe at the duo on the television. One short, with a brunette bob cut, and one taller, dark haired girl who, on sight, looked like they couldn't have less in common. "This Japanese team came from absolutely nowhere and shot from rock bottom to the final round of the most important tournament they'll play in this year. Momo is silent and calculating, and she thinks on her feet. She's the shot-caller, and if you listen during the match, you'll hear her bark out orders to her partner."

"A woman after my own heart," Inigo said, putting a hand over his chest.

"Same," Kjelle said without missing a beat. "Uraraka, meanwhile is highly competitive, but she doesn't let it get in the way of her playing. She's so fast, people say that she seems like she's floating when she plays. Watching her feels like nowhere on the court is out of her reach, and apparently her bubbly attitude keeps their spirits up when they're backed up against the wall."

"She's so cute," Soleil said, clapping her hands together. "What about the other team?"

"They're bitches and full of themselves," Kjelle spat. "Almost nobody wants to see them win."

"Fair," Ophelia said plainly, suddenly invested in the backstory of the pair that was still on the screen.

"Alright, I'll stop talking your ear off and unmute the TV now," Kjelle said, laughing as she hit the button to turn the volume up. Almost right away, the match began. Immediately, the rookie team pulled ahead, scoring almost enough points to win a full game without contest. Momo served two aces in a row and Ochaco won a couple of rallies, only giving up two points in the first game.

"Whoa," Ophelia said, completely mesmerized by the game. "It's like watching art."

"Beautiful, beautiful art," Soleil agreed.

Inigo nodded thoughtfully. "Those girls are definitely art, alright."

Kjelle shot a glare at Inigo. "If I catch you ogling their boobs, I'll kick your ass! That goes for you too, Soleil." Both Soleil and Inigo tensed up, faces flushing red at their scolding. The match continued after that, and the defending champs got their groove back, which turned the game from a one-sided sweep to a fierce, evenly matched game. Soleil and Ophelia watched in awe as the girls struggled to keep up with their opponents' renewed vigor. It by no means turned completely around, but it definitely made the game much more interesting than it already was. The girls repeatedly found themselves leaning forward in their seats intently, watching the fireworks fly between the athletes. The first match drew to a close, but Ophelia tilted her head in confusion when they continued past someone getting 40. "Miss Kjelle? Why are they still going?" She asked.

"Because you have to win by two points," Kjelle explained, holding up two fingers. "If both teams get to 40, they get a deuce, and then the next point gives whoever scored it advantage, and the team has to win the next point to win the game, or they go back to deuce and do it all again."

"Sounds like matches have the potential to get pretty long," Soleil said.

"A little," Kjelle admitted. "But it never stops being interesting."

Ophelia had stars in her eyes. "Just like my dad's animes..."

Soleil couldn't help but laugh. "Well, I guess you're not wrong."

"I do pray, for your sake, that you're referring to the ones where everyone retains pants," Inigo muttered, thankful that his remark that had the potential to derail the conversation went unheard.

The defending team surged back in a big way, winning a couple of games in a row and bringing Ophelia to the edge of her seat. As the match wore on, Momo and Ochaco started looking visibly worn out, but when they took a moment to huddle, Ochaco seemed to say something, and they came away with their heads held higher. After that, they took almost an entire set without any notable resistance. "Wow, did you see that?" Ophelia gasped. "It was like they got replaced by a whole different team! How did they do that?"

"Ochaco said something," Soleil said, accidentally cutting her mother off of saying the same thing. "Mom did say she had a knack for inspiration."

Ophelia smiled wider than Soleil had ever seen. "It really is just like the animes! Go, girls! You can do it!"

Another hour passed, and the match point was upon them. Momo and Ochaco were three scores ahead, and one more meant the match went to them. The defending team looked grim, and they started coming back with a vengeance. After two straight service aces, they stood one point away from driving them into a deuce, and all three of the girls watching were on their feet cheering against them while Inigo snickered at them silently.

They served, and Momo returned it sloppily, lobbing it into the air and setting the stronger of her opponents up to smash it back at them. Even on the TV, they could hear Momo shout, "no!"

The racket hit the ball so hard, it wasn't even visible on the screen, but Ochaco knew where it was going, and in what looked like a single, floaty stride, she met it at its landing point and returned it with a desperate cry. The other team wasn't prepared for the ball to be returned, and it whizzed between the dumbfounded bitches, winning the game for Ochaco and Momo. "Game, set, and match!" The referee yelled, changing the score display to a picture of the rookies' faces and throwing the stadium (and Soleil's living room) into a scene of loud celebration. Ochaco and Momo hugged each other tightly, tears streaming down their faces as the celebration roared around them. After they broke apart, Ochaco rushed over to the net to meet the opposing teams in hugs of their own, with Momo following her to offer good sportsmanship handshakes. "Oh man, that was awesome!" Soleil said, hugging Ophelia in a similar manner as the new champions.

Though her voice was hoarse from shouting curses at the former champs, Kjelle smiled and said, "I'm glad you liked it."

Ophelia was absolutely starstruck, getting almost as emotional as the girls on the screen. "That was the best sport I've ever seen! We've gotta do it, Soleil. Our teamwork would turn us into shooting stars, just like Momo and Ochaco!"

Soleil agreed, nodding vigorously. "If we get good enough, maybe some day we'll be able to meet them!" The possibility alone was enough for Ophelia to emit a scream reminiscent of a fan of a boy band. After flinching back, Soleil's smile came back full force. "Something tells me you liked that idea."

"Let's start practicing today!" Ophelia said, completely unable to contain herself.

Soleil put an attempt at a calming hand on Ophelia's shoulder. "Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves now, we're kind of missing something."

Before she could elaborate that they were short on something to actually play tennis with, Kjelle said, "no you're not. I've kept my old tennis racket and some balls hanging around just in case the urge to play came back to me some day. I'll take you girls to the park and show you a little of the basics."

"The park by here has tennis courts?" Soleil asked.

Kjelled nodded. "You've just never noticed them because nobody ever uses them. It's honestly astounding they never tore down the damn things. Regardless, we can go whenever y'all want."

"Y'all," Inigo parroted, barking a laugh afterward.

"I'll kick your ass if you make fun of the speech patterns I got from my dad," she snapped, shaking a fist at him menacingly.

"Can we go to the park today?" Ophelia asked, indifferent to Inigo cowering for his life.

"I'd be up for that," Soleil said, the bruises on her back completely forgotten thanks to the game.

"Alright, let me grab my stuff and we'll head out as soon as we can," Kjelle said, all anger from earlier melting away.

When Kjelle disappeared into the house, Soleil and Ophelia exchanged toothy grins. "This is exciting," Soleil said, clapping her hands together.

"You've got that right!" Ophelia struck a strange pose with her arm outstretched dramatically in front of her. "We're going to be the best tennis duo ever!"

Despite not being involved in the conversation, Inigo barked a laugh. "You've known of Momo and Ochaco for all of a few hours and you already wish to surpass them. You are definitely your father's daughter."

Ophelia's grin only widened. It was only another moment's wait before Kjelle came down, a tennis racket slung over her back and a small bag full of tennis balls in her hand. "You girls ready?" When she was met by two eager nods and a husband bidding them to have fun, she nodded at the door. "Then let's go!"

I was planning to post this fic once it was done, but Ophelia's birthday is today AND she just got added into Heroes, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to give one of my favorite Fates girls a little something extra on her special day. I do hope the inclusion of outside-of-fandom characters isn't too jarring for you, because it's just gonna keep happening! See if you can find all the fandom references I cram in...