Reviews for Prayers Unheard
NebulaDreams chapter 1 . 9/16/2019
Well hello! I've been looking forward to this one-shot for a while, seeing how we talked about it before, but now it's out, I thought I'd give my two cents on it. And as it turned out, it was really goddamn sad. But for the moment, let's focus on the bit-by-bit moments.

[Outside, a youthful Litleo tackled a giggling, gray Meowth. Brigid winced, claws digging into the wood enough to leave small markings. She bit down on her tongue—hard—and finally looked up again, eyes fierce.]

This was an interesting passage. Of course, I can see why Brigid is saddened by this, possibly seeing her son in parts of it, but it also begs the question of the sort of troubles young souls would have to go through entering Kilo Dream. They'd probably be taking it the hardest, and honestly, this could make for a good enough premise for a similar one-shot to this. Oh well, food for thought.

[Smeargle tilted his head, resting the tip of his tail just below his chin. When he took it away, a small, green blotch remained.]

D-does that come out? Ah, I guess it wouldn't matter so much in the afterlife.

[“Mm.” Brigid stood in place and didn’t realize it until Angelo motioned to the seat across from the table. She shook her head and sat at the seat adjacent to him instead. By the time she realized her mistake, she didn’t want to get up to correct it again.]

Even in the afterlife, awkward social situations are still very much a thing.

[As her eyes closed, the papers compressed beneath her like a pile of leaves. Something brushed against her back in a gentle caress. Something shuffled behind her. She heard a weak, affectionate growl. With a gasp, she spun around.

Nothing. Just a few papers that had fallen from the pile over her head. The sound was her own feet. The growl was in her head.

Her legs shook and her vision blurred and she couldn’t find her breath—after only a few wobbling, aimless steps toward the mouth of the cave, she collapsed in a trembling pile of sobs.]

Oof, this really hit close to home.

[“Brigid. Are you feeling well?”

“I—I am. How do you know my name?”

“I am familiar with all spirits present. It is part of my job. Forgive me for not acknowledging you sooner; I was recalling memories of you.”]

I mean, props to Zygarde for remembering one out of possibly a billion souls.

[How… how did I fail? Just like that… I… Why didn’t it work?]

Because you're not in an anime, Brigid.

Hoo boy. So, there's a lot to unpack here. Poor Brigid. Through the course of the fic, you really get the sense of how torn she is about the whole thing. Knowing the Aerodactyl from Hands of Creation,even though he was just a bit-character/starter-villain, we know his situation is perhaps less than ideal. Although we don't really learn too much about him, the scrawled up letters really sell that sense of hopelessness he probably feels. So of course, she's going to be upset about it, and not only upset, bitter as well. It's not hard to see why she'd lash out at those around her, even when they only mean the best for her. And by the end, she arguably ends up worse than she was before. So this made for a consistently bleak one-shot. The setting sort of reminds me of Black Mirror's San Junipero, in a way, except it's definitely not the sort of heaven that reunites others.

At least Angelo provided some sort of relief for her (and hey, I'm all up for more Smeargle representation in fics). Their awkwardness was kind of cute, and his muted resignation to the whole thing provided an interesting dynamic to Brigid's defiance. Even if their last conversation didn't end on good terms, the fact that he still sends her letters by the end of it kind of shows how concerned he is for her. And on that note, the ending.

This was a bit tough for me to swallow at first. I didn't expect there to be some sort of universe-bending resolution where Brigid sends that final letter off to her son, but I at least expected her to get over herself and accept her situation. It's what I would've hoped anyway, just to see any sort of relief for this poor late mother. I was surprised by how ambiguous the ending is, since it doesn't really point to either conclusion. Either she lets go of Angelo's letter and is permanently stuck in the past, or she lets go of her son's letter, presumably letting go of her past baggage and moving on with her life. Then I realised that was kind of the point, since the fic presents arguments throughout that mean both could happen. It definitely left an impression on me and was a lot more memorable than if had a definite answer.

So on the whole, good stuff, and as usual, I'll be on the lookout for more of your future projects.
AdamthePyromancer chapter 1 . 9/14/2019
Huh. This was depressing