"I'm home." Mjara didn't so much push the door open as lean against it until it fell open. Her bag thudded to the ground just inside the inn room, blocking the door from closing. She stared at it a moment, then nudged it with her foot, dragging it just out of reach of the door's arc before letting it close.
Shioyo scurried into view. "Long day, huh?" Shioyo slipped around behind Mjara, getting up on tiptoe to help her reach the buckles on Mjara's armor. Like many of her Viera sisters, Mjara was quite tall... and like many of her Raen siblings, Shioyo was quite short. It was a pairing that could make for awkwardness at times, especially since Shioyo had taken up work as Mjara's retainer.
Shioyo's nose wrinkled. "Who's the cat?"
"Eh?" Mjara's shoulders slumped forward as her breastplate fell free.
"Don't 'eh' me. You've been spending a lot of time with a cat lately. Enough time that you keep coming home late and tired. And with their scent all over you. I've known enough Miqo'te to know what Miqo'te smell like, you know. And your nose is much better than mine, so I know you can smell it too. So I'll ask again. Who's the cat?" Shioyo demanded.
Mjara set her helmet aside and rolled her neck. "Oi, no need to get pushy. It's just V'kebbe."
"Uh, nope, pretty sure it's true, I've been spending a lot of time with V'kebbe and the other rogues!"
"I can smell that. I can also smell another cat."
Mjara licked her lips, swallowing the smile that threatened to emerge there. "Okay, you got me. I've been doing some jobs with Chocola. I told you about her, didn't I? From Amber?"
"Did these jobs require you to rub her all over your body to get her scent on you this strongly? What kind of free company is this, again? If it's one of those brothels-"
"It's not a brothel!" Mjara flicked Shioyo's cheek. "Okay, they weren't jobs. I know what you're thinking, and nothing happened."
"Nothing." Shioyo's eyebrows lowered.
Mjara scratched her cheek, that smile she'd swallowed earlier coming back up. "... Yeah, okay, not nothing. But not what you're thinking, either! I was just petting her! She showed me her new apartment..."
"I can't believe this," Shioyo muttered under her breath. "So you already got a girlfriend, and when are you planning to move in?"
Mjara fumbled for words. "I'm not... we're not. Girlfriends. And nobody's moving anywhere. Though..."
"Well, we've... talked about some things, and... it's more that... neither of us is opposed to the possibility. Of... you know... wandering together, as she put it, if it should come to that-"
The corner of Shioyo's mouth quirked. "What, what is this... 'opposed to the possibility'... Don't use your whole vocabulary at once, Mjara."
"Oh, shut up! I know words good!" Mjara stepped out of her boots, grabbed a pillow, and lobbed it into Shioyo's face.
Shioyo caught the pillow and sat cross-legged on the bed. "I'm going to need to check her out. And if I don't like her..." She made a throat-slashing motion.
"Jealousy, Shioyo? THAT'S a new one," Mjara shot back, grabbing for another pillow.
Shioyo blocked this one with the pillow she held. "It's not jealousy."
"You just don't share well?" Mjara grabbed the pillow she'd thrown off the floor, tucked it under her head, and leaned back on the other bed. "Admit it, Shioyo, you've got it bad for me. 95% of the Sirens turned out to be gay for each other, and you're not in the 5%."
"I told you, even if I am, I don't do the whole ninety-fulm woman thing." Shioyo stuck her tongue out, tossing the pillow she held back to Mjara. "It's just that your life and mine are kinda tied up at this point, aren't they? You fall in love with some cat-"
"I am not in love. See, this is why I didn't want to talk about it, I knew you'd get the wrong idea..."
"Maybe not, but soon as we started talking about her, you suddenly came back to life as if someone'd Raised your gigantic ass," Shioyo snapped. "So you've got it bad. And if it keeps going the way it looks like it's inevitably gonna, I get squeezed out. No one else's gonna hire me, you know that."
Mjara frowned. "They hired me."
"And it's different, because I'm not you, Mjara. No matter how much you train me, no matter how much I practice, I'm not... you." Shioyo let herself fall back onto her own bed, spreading her arms out. "... So I don't think anyone's going to look past where I came from."
"Not with that attitude," Mjara mumbled. "I'll get you set up somewhere, you'll see."
"I'd rather you just stay with me," Shioyo said. It was a rare moment of honesty, and Mjara treasured it long enough that Shioyo took it back. "Not that it matters one ilm to me where you end up."
The silence was deafening.
Mjara looked over at Shioyo for a long while. "... I'm not gonna leave you behind, either."
"Yeah... whatever. So, what's she like?" Shioyo asked. Her voice was much softer now.
Mjara didn't contest the topic change, especially not given what they were changing to. Her face warmed again. "Ah, she's so cute it hurts... She's really strong, too. The other day, some of us were in a bit of a bind, and she happened to get back to the company house right then - she flipped that guy back to his senses like it was nothing. It was seriously impressive..."