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Rider was a good kid, even if he wanted to act like he wasn’t.

Sheldon gets it though, that a lot of the attitude the squidkid exudes came from that teenage impulse of wanting to look cool amongst their peers. Still, it wasn’t every day that someone walked into his store and intently listened to his every word of his products’ introductions instead of their eyes glazing over before he even mentioned the new weapon’s sub. Sheldon was happy to talk shop, and if he had the clearance to, sometimes lets Rider try out unreleased weapons behind the shop before anyone else. Rider in turn helps with penning their descriptions after testing them out, even if they both knew that no one ever really listens to them.

Though lately, Rider seems…occupied.

Sheldon accepts that, supports it even. He gets that people get new interests as time goes by, and maybe it was a little unhealthy for the both of them to have weaponry and splatting on the brain almost 24/7. Still, Sheldon wouldn’t have guessed Rider would be the kind of guy to fixate on this.

“You won’t believe what he did this time….” Rider seethes right as he barrels into the shop, the bell above the door swinging violently. Sheldon hunches further over his workbench, steeling himself for another hour or two of venting.

Rider rarely, if ever talks about people, and at most would sit down with Sheldon in the back room of Ammoknights discussing any tough enemies he’s played recently. None of these discussions would go on for more than two days at most, and yet Rider has been yammering on about this one ridiculous squid kid for almost three weeks now.

And as much as he tries, Rider never fully manages to sound convincingly furious, the exasperated fondness in his voice winning out every time.

Sheldon shakes his head. The kid’s got it bad.

The shopkeeper treats it like white noise as he fiddles with a busted range blaster, while Rider paces around his shop, even managing to help a customer with her preorder while he continues his spiel. “--and I tell him, ‘get behind me, I have a tenta brella for a reason!’ And what does he do? Jumps straight into the water!”

Sheldon looks up from his work, squinting a little. “Didn’t you say you guys were at Mako Mart?”

“Yeah!”

“…there’s water there?”

“I think a jellyfish spilled something in one of the aisles and he somehow managed to jump into that one puddle…” Rider shakes his head. “I can’t stand it, I really can’t.”

“And yet you seem to be spending a lot of time together lately…” Sheldon nonchalantly mentions, twirling a screwdriver in his hands.

Rider frowns. “Well, yeah, I need to train them—”

“Need?”

“I mean, I guess I don’t need, but they’re just kind of pathetic, especially him, so I guess I gotta help them out…” Rider blusters, crossing his arms.

“Them? But it seems like you only take the Splattershot guy with you for League Pairs.”

“That was then, I’m going to train the others one on one as well…” Rider mutters as he stares at the floor, and Sheldon decides to back off on the teasing, as fun as it is.

“There you are, Rider!” A cheery voice rings out in the shop, and Sheldon doesn’t have to look up to know who it is, though he’s already smiling to himself.

“What are you doing here,” Rider snaps, but the other inkling boy tilts his head in confusion.

“But you said that after I get a drink from Sean, we’re going back to the warehouse for tower control, and I saw you walk in here…”

“And now we’re walking out, ok, let’s go, quit dawdling—”

“Have fun!” Sheldon calls out, watching as Rider pushes his protégé out of the store, the grimace on his face clashing with the deep blush across his cheeks.