In which Sidney is a punk, Karen doesn't like him, and Lance could totally be a great super-villain.

"He's such a punk!" So saying, Karen stomped her banana yellow high-heeled shoe into the floor. Frustrated at the non-epic result, she stormed over to Lance's closet and began hunting for his sturdiest pair of boots. Umbreon followed her, yawning.

Watching her, Lance said, "Have you ever considered you can't stand him because he's, like, your identical twin?"

"Shut up, Lance!"

"I'm just saying." The dragon-master made himself comfortable in his chair.

"He doesn't even have hair!" Karen retorted from the ground, where she was ransacking Lance's meager shoe collection. "And his pants are hideous!"

"Fine, fine." Lance conceded. "He's you if you had no sense of fashion. Happy?"


"I mean," Lance said, hiding a smirk, "I''m not entirely certain you do have a sense of fashion. I'm just taking your word for that."

"You wouldn't know fashion if it was a dragonite tap-dancing right in front of you," Karen said, giving up on Lance's shoes and sitting herself cross-legged on the floor. "I am not like Sidney because Sidney is intolerable. Have you ever heard him? 'You can talk all you want – might is right!'" When Karen quoted Sidney she spoke in a mocking falsetto. "'They said I was a punk, but I'm one of the elite four!' Not mutually incompatible, dumbass."

"Don't you say the same thing about the strength of dark-types?"

Karen shrugged. "I say it better."

"You say it better. I see."

"Don't you take that tone with me, Lance."

"And what tone would that be?"

"That dubious, I-think-that-you're-acting-like-an-idiot-but-I'm-n ot going-to-say-anything-because-I-am -Lance-and-I-am-a-good-friend. That's what tone I mean."

Lance quirked an eyebrow. "Should I be flattered that you catalog my tones of voice so specifically?"

"I pay attention to things that annoy me," Karen replied, rolling her eyes.

"Like Sidney."

"Really, Lance? Yes, like Sidney, who is annoying, except that Sidney is not worth the time it takes to be annoyed with him."

" . . ."

She got up, grumbling. "I hate how eloquent your silences are."

"Say one nice thing about Sidney, Karen."

"Why should I?"

"In the spirit of inter-regional cooperation."

"Okay. Here goes: sometimes he shuts up." Karen smiled triumphantly.

Lance put a finger to his temple. "Not exactly what I was looking for."


"You're not alone in your enmity, believe me. Apparently Lucian has been quite adamant about his dislike of Sidney too – "

"Lucian has a sudowoodo up his ass. And he uses psychic types!"


"You know you agree with me, Lance. Sudowoodo. Up. His. Ass."

"I don't believe I'll be touching that remark," Lance said. He picked a magazine at random off the table beside him and began to read.

"Hey Lance?"

"Yes?" Lance said, looking entirely unsurprised at the interruption.

"Who says enmity, anyway?"

"Well, apparently I have earned the enmity of numerous criminal organizations – "

"Same excuse, every time," Karen said, putting her hands to her hips and leveling Lance a knowing look.


"Whenever you get melodramatic you blame it on those monologing villains you're always taking down."

"That's because it's the truth, Karen."

"You could be a great villain, you know," Karen said thoughtfully. She began to circle him, bearing an uncnany resemblence to a mandibuzz. "You're more than halfway there. All you need to do is dye your cape black. Wait, never mind, it already is black!"

"And abandon all my morals too, let's not forget that," Lance said agreeably.

"Morals, whatever." Karen waved a dismissive hand.

Lance sighed, and for a few minutes they sat in easy silence.

"Hey Lance?"


"He may have a gorgeous absol."

Lance began to smile.

"But that doesn't mean I like him! Oh, wipe that grin off your face, it makes you look deranged."

"Whatever, Karen."

"He's still a punk," she said, crossing her arms.

"I don't suppose you'd be interested in tag-teaming with him against Lucian and Caitlin at the next international elite gathering, then?"

"Are you kidding? I'll take the chance to make Lucian into moo-moo milk any day. I can endure Sidney's company long enough for that."

"It's settled, then."

"So it is." She shot him a suspicious glance. "And don't think we're going to bond over kicking Lucian's ass. Because we're not."

"Of course not."

"That's your humoring-Karen tone. Don't think I don't recognize it."

"I wouldn't dare."

"And that's your – you know what, Lance? I am abandoning you to your lonely, lonely life of isolation and loneliness. Catch you later, krookodile." With a flourish, Karen turned and strode out of the room.

Lance's expression became pensive. "I wonder how long it will take her to notice she's left her shoes?" he said aloud.

In answer, Karen's umbreon cocked an ear, in a gesture that was most probably a shrug.