A/N: No, I am not giggling fangirlishly as I watch the Rise of Darkrai for the first time in forever. You must be mistaken.
Today had been exceptionally exhausting for Alice. She had had a couple of extremely rude guests on the hot air balloon. They were pestering her about making it go faster, claiming to be "hot air balloon experts," and almost got them all killed. If a flock of Pidgeotto hadn't been flying by to help, she was just about ready to sick Darkrai on them. Because of that she had been late to the music center, where she played as a flutist. Then, at lunch, she got to experience more sexual harassment from Alberto, who had joined as a trumpeter for the sole reason of being close to her. He was a good player, due to being a baron and having a copious amount of money with which he could purchase the services of elite teachers, but Alice would have preferred that the band didn't have him. Alberto had promised to stop his advances but old habits die hard. Once he heard how serious Alice and Tonio were getting Alberto became just as tenacious as ever. And since he was so influential, it was hard to find someone to help her situation who wasn't going to take the rich guy's side. He had even insisted on walking her home, and although Alice loudly refused, she had the sneaking suspicion that he had probably followed her for some time…
And in the middle of all this, when Alice thought she couldn't handle any more, Tonio had had to cancel their date. Already having been pissed at the day in general, she was really pissed at Tonio for canceling the thing that she was looking forward to and that had helped her get through part of her harrowing day. She loved the nerdy guy but he was so infuriating sometimes. Replying over the phone to his stuttered apologies with a terse, "Good day, then," and hanging up, Alice let her thoughts stew and her emotions come to a boil. When she arrived home she didn't stay long, snatching a few things and stormed off towards the garden. Chimchar was a bit scared of her fiery mood (odd, considering it was a Fire-type), and so it stayed home to watch the house.
By the time Alice had arrived at the garden, it was evening. The sun was just starting its descent, the beginnings of orange and pink hues developing in the sky. If she were in a better mood, Alice would have paused to admire it. But since she wasn't, she didn't.
She plopped down onto a bench and pulled out some of her more fast-paced music (for when soft and soothing sounds weren't going to cut it) and her flute. Taking a sharp breath, she began to play furiously. While some liked to paint and some liked to write, Alice preferred to express herself through music. She played a furious tune, the quick changes of notes easy for her nimble fingers to make as she puffed into the flute with a passion. She put all of her fury at everything that had gone wrong that day into her music. It was both beautiful and terrifying; the Pokémon admired it but wisely kept away from the obviously angry blonde. Only one Pokémon dared approach her, although Alice didn't realize it until she had finished. When she realized someone was sitting next to her, she didn't think twice before thinking it was Alberto and grabbing her music folder and slapping the one next to her with it. "I told you to leave me—oh!" For it wasn't Alberto at all.
Darkrai was on the ground, rubbing his head and giving an annoyed look at Alice. "What was that for?" he wondered in his gravelly voice.
Alice blushed, dropping her folder and leaning forward to offer a hand to the Pokémon. "I'm so sorry! I thought you were Alberto."
Darkrai accepted it and she pulled him up. "He is following you?" he asked, a dangerous edge to his tone.
"Not exactly, just bothering me. Again. I've had an all-around stupid day," Alice muttered as she folded her arms.
Darkrai tipped his head. "Explain."
Alice did. She vented her emotions, even standing up for a moment to emphasize her frustration. Darkrai was a patient audience, occasionally nodding in agreement or making a small noise to voice his understanding. When she had finally finished, she sat back down. "So, yeah. Today sucked."
"So it seems."
Alice smiled as she looked toward her friend. "But hey, at least I'm having a good time now. I'm already feeling a whole lot better."
Darkrai would have smiled. "Good."
"So how are you? Did you do anything interesting today?"
The Dark-type considered for a moment. "I met with my fellow legends."
"That's right, today's Thursday. Was that fun?"
"No," replied Darkrai. "The meetings are much too lively."
Alice hummed. "Oh, I suppose. But liveliness is kind of fun sometimes, in my opinion."
"It is lonely. I am an outcast because I am not trusted."
That confused the blonde. "But didn't you help with the dilemma between Dialga and Palkia? Surely that would be a good reason to be respected by the other legends…?"
"They 'forgot' to mention my assistance," snorted the Legendary. He looked at the ground, light blue eyes narrowing.
Alice looked at the ground as well, frowning at that. "…Well, that's stupid."
Darkrai chuckled. "Indeed." He suddenly jolted up.
Alice stood up with him. "What?"
Darkrai did not answer. He flew up and looked around the surrounding trees. Alice quietly followed, with an air of curiosity. Darkrai then went into the bushes, digging around almost frantically. But suddenly, a soft and melodious voice sounded with a gently teasing note to it. "Why, Darkrai! You do care."
The mentioned Pokémon looked up quickly, banging his head on a tree branch. "…Ow."
Alice looked around. "Who's there?" A blinding light shone and she shielded her eyes with a yelp. When the light subsided, Alice saw a Pokémon she had never seen before. It was very elegant-looking, with a blue and yellow body adorned with three pink rings.
"Hello, there. You must be Alice," the Pokémon stated calmly in a female voice. Alice, with a nod, noticed that her mouth was not moving, but Darkrai didn't even have a mouth and he could still speak. "My name is Cresselia."
"Cresselia…" repeated Alice softly. Such a nice name. "It's very nice to meet you. How do you know who I am? Are you a friend of Darkrai's?" Speaking of the shadow, he had recovered and quietly come to hover next to Alice.
Cresselia bit her lip. "Well…not exactly. You know that Darkrai is the bringer of nightmares, yes?" she asked, ignoring Alice's first question.
Alice looked towards her companion. He was silent and his face was expressionless, his usual demeanor when not speaking solely to Alice. "Yes," she replied uncertainly.
"I am his opposite. I bring good dreams. The Lunar Wings you sometimes see sold in shops, while not effective themselves, are modeled after my own. True Lunar Wings can dispel nightmares that my counterpart may inadvertently cause." Cresselia demonstrated by slightly ruffling her feathers and allowing a Lunar Wing to drop. Using her psychic powers, she levitated it towards Alice. "For you."
Alice accepted it. "Thank you!" she exclaimed, looking at it fondly. She looked back towards Cresselia. "Why are you here? Do you need something from Darkrai?"
"I wanted to speak with him, yes."
"Oh. If you want me to step out for a bit…" began Alice, starting to back away. Darkrai flinched and looked between the two. Alice felt bad for leaving him, especially given his introverted state, but she didn't want to get in the way of their conversation. She went to her flute and music and began to gather it up, but Cresselia's voice broke in.
"No, no, it won't be for long. I just need to borrow him for a quick second," Cresselia explained. Although she was supposed to be his opposite, Cresselia seemed to Alice to radiate the tranquility and peace in which Darkrai liked to thrive. "I do apologize, I don't want to interrupt your visit."
"It's completely fine," Alice replied with a smile. "I can spend some time with some of the other Pokémon while I wait." She went forward to give Darkrai a side hug (although it was obvious that their relationship was entirely platonic, Darkrai was always awkward when it came to physical contact) and went off to talk to her friends.
Darkrai turned to look at Cresselia. "What do you want?" he wondered in a low and irritated voice.
"Forgive me for intruding," began Cresselia, "but after the way you stormed off, I had to check on you."
The dark Pokémon turned his head. "Worry not. I am fine," he replied stubbornly.
"Denial, yes," Cresselia hummed. Her demeanor turned more serious then. "Did it have to do with what Palkia said? Because I made sure to give her a stern talking to about that. I'm sure she wasn't trying to hurt your feelings, and it was just a pride thing, she doesn't like admitting Pokémon are stronger—"
"No," the scratchy voice cut in, contrasting with her smooth and light one. "That is not why."
"Then why?" pressed Cresselia gently. "We worry about you."
Darkrai snorted at that. "Also untrue. They do not worry for my welfare."
"Fine," Cresselia said in a softer tone. "I worry about you." She could tell that he did not believe her.
"You pity me," muttered Darkrai darkly. "And you have come so as to alleviate your own pain."
Cresselia's expression hardened. "Never." She looked away. "I can't believe you'd accuse me of such a thing." The swan sighed. Hearing his accusations, she stopped kidding herself. She knew exactly what was bothering him. "Truth be told, I did not approach you because I did not consider that you disliked being alone. I saw that you were less that social but I did not take into account the idea that you were unhappy due to that. That was thoughtless of me."
"It was," agreed Darkrai in a low voice.
Cresselia frowned at him. "Can't you see I'm trying to apologize?"
Darkrai huffed. "What I said is true, then. This only proves that you are doing this for your own benefit."
"How can I attempt to make amends when you're threatening me all the time? Look, I feel absolutely terrible about how lonely we all made you, but I can assure you that that was not our intention. You can accept it or leave it, but I will at least put it out there." Cresselia took a deep breath and sighed. "I'm sorry."
Darkrai studied her, as if to try and determine by look alone whether or not the lunar Pokémon was telling the truth. After a moment, he inclined his head. "Thank you. I accept your apology."
"Truly?" Darkrai nodded once. Cresselia gave a wide smile then, a huge weight having been lifted off of her shoulders. "Oh, good. I hope this means we can eventually be friends."
The shadow was at a loss for words for a few seconds. "…You wanted to be friends with me?" wondered Darkrai incredulously.
He could have sworn that her face took on a slightly pinker hue that went well with her similarly colored eyes. "Oh, yes. You're very nice to talk to, and you use the politest of words," Cresselia stammered quickly. "It's rather rare nowadays."
"I suppose I am a bit old-fashioned…"
Cresselia smiled rather shyly. "You say that like it's a bad thing." She cleared her throat. "Well, I'd best be off. Perhaps next week we can hang out at the meeting?" she asked a tad hopefully.
Darkrai wished he could smile. "I would like that."
"Wonderful. Until next week, then. I look forward to it!" Cresselia backed up and teleported under cover of a blinding light that lasted momentarily. When she had appeared at her home she let out the huge breath she had previously been holding.
Darkrai found that his chest felt tight after their conversation. He glanced at the spot where she had previously been, sighed softly, and went to seek out his friend.
It didn't take long. However, the scene upon which he stumbled was far different than what he had imagined: Tonio was spontaneously there, and Alice was sobbing on his shoulder. This was naturally alarming to the shadow, although he kept his distance in an attempt to keep from interrupting them. The move was futile, however, for Tonio had already spotted him. "Darkrai! Perfect timing!"
Perfect timing? Why did he sound so happy when Alice was sobbing like that? Always the over-protective one, Darkrai let out a gravelly threat as he formed the beginnings of a Shadow Ball. "You take pleasure in her pain?!"
Tonio's smile faded and was replaced with a look of fright. "That's not—huh?"
Alice immediately detached herself from her boyfriend, now shown to have a smile that contrasted greatly with her tears and red face. "I'm not in pain!" she giggled. She held up her right hand, which now had a sparkling ring on it. "I'm getting married!"
Darkrai's eyes widened as he allowed the move to dissipate. "…What."
Alice giggled again. "Let me explain what happened after I left you and Cresselia to chat."
But Tonio interrupted excitedly. "Cresselia?! As in the lunar Pokémon?! She was here?!"
Both Alice and Darkrai rolled their eyes. "After," Alice said gently.
"Right, sorry. Please continue."
Alice smirked at him before turning back to Darkrai. "So I left you and your lady friend to chat…"
Alice walked around in a bored way. "You guys…someone…I'm not mad anymore, please talk to me…" Apparently after her spell of fury, none of her Pokémon friends wanted to talk to her. It made her sad and upset that she had been in such a rage before. "I'm sorry I got so mad," she whined. "I had just had such a stressful day." No response. Alice sighed as she folded her arms and sat against a tree. "Well, fine. Whatever. Guess I'll just be alone then." She put her hands behind her head, wishing she had gone ahead and grabbed her flute. She took a leaf and began to whistle, but was stopped by the sound of someone's stumbling and crashing through the trees. The person obviously had no regard for keeping silent to avoid startling the Pokémon, and Alice's face paled. Was it possibly Alberto…?
That theory was quickly abandoned when Tonio appeared, tripping over a branch and literally falling into her lap. They both cried out and Tonio rolled off of her while she shoved him. "The actual heck, Tonio?!" shrieked Alice, clutching her chest.
"I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!" wailed Tonio, sitting back on the ground with his glasses askew and his hair disheveled. It was then he actually noticed who had tripped on. "Oh! A-Alice!"
Alice then remembered one of the reasons her day had gone badly. She folded her arms. "I do not want to talk to you," she huffed, looking away.
Tonio had an ashamed look, but stammered, "I-I understand why you're mad, and you don't have to talk! Just listen. I had to cancel because I had the urge to go do something and I don't think I would ever have the nerve to do it any other time so I went and bought something really important and then I, I don't want to sound creepy, but I followed you here, and—uh—" Tonio broke off and fumbled in his satchel for something. He soon found what he was looking for with an "Aha!" The man turned back to Alice and held the item behind his back. Though he was still sitting he arranged himself in an awkward pose that resembled a kneel. "Alice," he began tentatively, "I've known you forever, and I can't imagine a better girl for me. I-I know I mess up a lot and I probably get in your way and freak you out and all and I understand if you don't want to, because I tend to get things wrong when it comes to social stuff and all, and then there's the rambling which I'm doing now, of course, and I guess that must really get on your nerves and—well—Alice, will you marry me?" he finally blurted, whipping out a ring box and snapping it open to reveal a very nice-looking ring with a glittering, decent-sized diamond on it.
Any trace of anger that Alice had melted away on the spot. "You broke our date to buy a—an engagement ring? So you could propose?" she finally asked in a quiet voice.
"I'm really sorry, I should have gotten it done quicker, but I couldn't find a good one and I knew I'd have to be late and like an idiot I decided I'd have to sacrifice our date and—" But Tonio's senseless babbling was halted when a teary-eyed Alice threw her arms around him and kissed him hard on the mouth.
When they finally separated, Alice exclaimed, "Oh, Tonio! I can't believe I was so mad at you! Yes, I will marry you!"
"You—you will?!" Tonio gasped. When Alice nodded excitedly, he laughed happily and hugged her.
The two stood up after breaking apart. Alice tried to say a coherent sentence but instead ended up bursting into tears again and throwing her arms around her fiancé.
"And that's how you found us," concluded Alice. She was grinning widely. "Oooh! I still can't believe I'm getting married!"
Darkrai could feel the couple's bliss radiating from them. Although he usually detested the sickeningly sweet feelings that humans always spouted, this time was actually kind of nice. In addition, he was exceedingly happy for Alice. Of course, the Pokémon made a mental note to give Tonio a stern talking to that would let the nerdy guy know what exactly he could expect if he did anything to hurt Alice, but somehow Darkrai knew that he wouldn't have to worry. Tonio was a good man, and he cared deeply about Alice.
"I am very happy for you," Darkrai chimed earnestly, looking at both on them.
Alice responded by hugging both of her boys with a happy sob. "You guys!" she wailed. Darkrai and Tonio exchanged an amused glance in her arms.
The humans remained in the garden for a little while longer, talking with Darkrai and some of the other Pokémon who finally began to show back up. Alice went to get her flute and played a few peaceful tunes to the Pokémon to assure them that she was fine, ending with everyone's favorite, Oracion. She and Tonio left when evening gave way to the night and the Pokémon all had to return to their own homes.
Darkrai didn't have a technical "home," himself. He used to live just past the far corner of Sinnoh, on the isolated Newmoon Island. The only piece of land close to that was Fullmoon Island, where Cresselia dwelled. But even though Darkrai was a loner, he found that he disliked being so far away from society. He liked watching humans; they were such strange creatures that he had to see what the fuss was all about. When he arrived in Alamos he was exiled for his boundless dark powers, his uncontrollable ability to bring about horrific nightmares on those who came into contact with him. And that wasn't just the people; even the Pokémon despised him at first. Of course, that all had changed when Alicia came along.
Alicia…whenever Darkrai interacted with Alice he immediately compared her with Alicia. And he began to notice the subtle differences between the two; whereas Alicia was soft-spoken, Alice liked to talk a bit more. It was obvious that Alicia was a social outcast and very different than the others of her age group, but Alice got along with anyone and everyone that she deemed agreeable. And that was pretty much anyone but Alberto. Alicia was calm and soothing; Alice got angry a bit easier, even though her demeanor was still just about as peaceful as Alicia's was. Most of the time. And even though Alice was wonderful, and Darkrai cared deeply about her, she was not Alicia.
Darkrai never asked what had happened to Alicia. Based the fact that Alice never brought her up, Darkrai could only assume that the woman had passed on. The thought pained him. He didn't like to think about humans growing older and dying. True, they were never really gone, especially in the afterlife, but Darkrai didn't venture there that often. Legendaries generally weren't allowed except during special occasions.
The shadowy Pokémon shook his head and scolded himself for letting his mind fall into such a depressing state. Even as the nightmare Pokémon, thinking depressing things never helped him. A bit ironic, but it was still a fact that held true for anyone. Darkrai forced himself to think about where in the garden he would lay his head that night. Although he could survive without sleep, it still helped him to have some rest every now and again; it was just that skipping a night or two of sleep to go prowling didn't take much of a toll on him. A patch of grass? A bush? Maybe lie down on a flat path or something? It wasn't as bad as it sounded; sometimes it did Darkrai well to lie on something hard like a stone or a path when his back was aching. It really depended on how he felt at the time.
He eventually decided to float up and sleep on a tree branch. Having lived in this garden for a while, Darkrai knew how to position himself to avoid falling. He laid there for a bit, letting his eyes droop as he eventually drifted off to a peaceful sleep…
…Only to be awoken a few minutes later by someone poking him roughly on the arm. Darkrai's eyes snapped open as he hissed, "What is it?"
"Oh, good. You're awake."
"…Cresselia…?" It was hard to make out her shape, but that was definitely her. Darkrai groaned. He did not despise her presence but he didn't really appreciate her waking him up for something that would probably be frivolous. "What are you doing?"
Cresselia's demeanor was a bit nervous. "I noticed you sleeping on this tree branch," she admitted, "and thought you looked uncomfortable. So I got you a little something-something." With her psychic powers she held up a pillow.
"Yes. It's stuffed with Lunar Wings," added the swan, "to ensure you'll have good dreams. That is—um!" she exclaimed suddenly, as if just realizing something. "If you're into that. I mean, if you don't like good dreams then you can just throw it away and all, uh, if you want!"
Darkrai quirked an eyebrow at her stuttering. Surely she had considered that he was a nightmare Pokémon and didn't do good dreams! What on earth had made her so forgetful of such an obvious fact?
But he also noticed that she had obviously put a lot of thought into the gift. And when he thought about it, a pillow did sound rather nice. And when he thought about her making that pillow just for him, it gave him a warm and fuzzy feeling that was alien, but somehow pleasant. Not to mention surprising; they had only just reconciled! But even so, he took the pillow and held it. "It's very soft," he commented.
Cresselia looked back at him, her stammering having been cut off. "You think so?" she asked hopefully.
"Yes. Well-made, too. Thank you!"
The lunar Pokemon smiled widely, although she didn't know Darkrai could see it. "I'm so glad you like it! I didn't mean to make things awkward, I just really wanted to give you something to let you know that I lo—appreciate our newfound friendship."
Darkrai made a mental note to get her something in return as he looked at her in the dim light. What was it about the night that made her seem so dazzling? "You truly did not have to do that…" he mumbled.
"Well, I wanted to."
Another thought occurred to Darkrai. "Where did you find time to make this?"
Cresselia blanched. "What—what do you mean?"
"Well, we only just parted about two hours ago. This pillow is of expert quality; I am not doubting your skills in sewing, but it requires much of it to create something like this in so little time."
The swan gulped. "I—well—didn't have very much to do this evening…so I got straight to work! I wanted to finish it as soon as possible, yes. I—must—I gotta go. Sweet dreams!" And she flew off hastily.
Darkrai blinked. Another abrupt entrance and another abrupt exit. That Cresselia was such an odd character. Especially odd in giving him this gift. Such actions always caught him off guard; he just didn't know how to respond when offered gifts or friendship. The only logical response was to give something back, but what to give?
A yawn emanated from him. It would do him no good to dwell on this when still sleepy. Settling the pillow on his branch, Darkrai leaned his head on it tentatively, curiously wondering how he would react to the Lunar Wings in it. Right when his head hit the pillow, he was filled with bliss. The pillow emitted a soft warmth and cradled his head perfectly, and within five seconds he was out. His last thought, already blurred by the irrationality that only sleep could bring, was curiosity whether or not it would feel like this if it were Cresselia he were cuddling…
Gosh, I love these two. They're just too adorable.
I keep forgetting to remind you guys: I changed my Tumblr username. It's now fangirl-of-hoenn. Sorry I'm so flip-floppy; I'm ninety percent sure that this will be the one I stick with. Possibly. Maybe.
Anyway, hope you liked. Keep reading and God bless,