((Disclaimer: The writing within the “Memories” series is 100% headcanon. While I try to write within the boundaries of lore, much of this is pure speculation, and completely just character exploration.))
“Seriously,” Scylla scoffed, looking down her nose at the display on the table before her. “Did you have to bring that mutt to the convention hall?”
“Mutt?” Amon grinned back deviously, picking up Branch A and holding the puppy to his chest. “I’d say this pup has better breeding than you do.”
“You are so asinine,” her dark eyes narrowed as she fumed in that way that’d become so familiar to him over the passing years.
“And he’s a good deal cuter than you are, too.”
Scylla’s fists clenched slightly at her sides, but as she opened her mouth retort, Clio poled her way between them. Leaning on her walking aid, the girl chided them both. “This is a professional environment, you two.”
“Hrmph. Tell that to him.” Scylla grudgingly moved away from their table, glaring back at them from her own competing project display.
“Aye, and I am professionally insulting her,” Amon leaned back with a self-satisfied grin as he watched his rival retreat.
“Can’t you behave better?” Clio grumbled at him.
“Sorry, just got the jitters,” he admitted.
“And dog hair.”
Amon looked down at the front of his nice, newly-pressed jacket, which was now covered with assorted puppy hair, gifted so generously by Branch A. He groaned and placed the dog back in the kennel, trying without success to clean himself up before the advisors came to view their project results.
“Come here,” Clio told him, reaching up with her good hand. “I knew this was going to happen.”
He leaned down to her as she produced the aether-charged grooming device, which seemed to magically put right everything wrong when it came to clothing. Thankfully, Clio kept it on hand, because he was terrible with all things formal and orderly. This did away with the dog hair in no time.
She then started to fix his tie.
“’Tis fine, I’m sure,” he protested a bit, a bit embarrassed to be fussed over in front of everyone else. That and the fact bending almost double for her to address the situation was putting a crook in his back.
As time had passed, Amon had indeed answered the promise of growing into his once-too-large ears. Tall and still not used to his gangly limbs, he often loomed over most of his peers, even without really meaning to.
At an extreme contrast was Clio, who, due to the nature of her ailments, remained underdeveloped, just as she was in her younger teens. Each year, Amon had grown stronger while she more fragile. But the weakness of her body belied the brilliance of her mind.
Much of their current work relied completely on the underlying technology that Clio had developed. Sure, he worked through a lot of the formulations and knew how to bring it all together. But ideas without the means to express them were nothing more than ideas.
She had the power to make his dreams reality.
They were perfect together. Two parts of a whole.
And though there was a time in his adolescence that Amon had wondered if he’d ever experience the feeling of fulfillment and happiness, as they grew towards adulthood, he now knew he’d found it. Right here. Every day when he walked into the lab to see her smiling face.
He just… didn’t know how to tell her that.
Or maybe she already knew…?
Maybe she felt the same way…?
“Amon,” Clio tapped him on the cheek with a lifted eyebrow. “I’m done.”
“Oh… oh… right,” he gave a nervous laugh as he straightened again to full height.
“You really are on another planet today,” she teased him.
“I’m trying not to be. I just… have such a good feeling about this.”
Branch A barked at their shared excitement from within the kennel.
“Hold on just a little longer,” Clio told the puppy. “We’ll get you a treat when we get back to the lab.”
The girl was absolutely taken with the creature, despite the fact that it was a clone. Usually, she’d have nothing to do with cloning as a principle. But even she had to grudgingly admit, using a clone was the best way to test the result of their intelligence enhancement treatments.
Branch A was a self-aware clone, and being well-tended, had flourished under their care. Amon was pretty certain that once this convention was over, they’d adopted themselves one pretend-dog.
When the advisors came by to view their display, Amon put on his best theatrical face, and with the art only a showman possessed, began to work the professional crowd. Clio stood by as moral support, but he was the more outgoing one, the one who could sell an idea with a smile.
By the time he was done explaining the results, answering questions and chatting it up with the advisors, their elders were walking away with nods of approval. Once out of earshot, Amon let out a huge breath and slumped in the chair next to Clio in exhaustion.
“You were amazing!” She looped her arms around his neck in her form of a hug. She smelt distantly of cinnamon and sugar.
“And you thought those theater classes were a waste of time,” he grinned back.
“I never thought that!”
“Aye, you did.”
She ducked her head a bit as he messed up her hair. Then she protested, “Oh, come on!”
Whether their project won any accolades or not, at that moment, he didn’t really mind. Amon also didn’t care that they were acting like two giddy children in the middle of the scientific convention. With Clio there, his heart was light, full of a hope and joy that words could not describe.
Everything was going to be amazing from then on. He was just sure of it.