Disclaimer - I don't own anything at all really.
Author - Warlordess
Notes - I've gone back and forth on this but here we are. This is one of many random one-shots I'm writing in response to requests made on my Tumblr. None of them are related to one another and all of them are based on people who sent in specific quotes/scenarios pertaining to any of the characters/ships in my given fandoms. I only posted about accepting unsolicited requests about a week ago but I've received a good twelve of them already. Hehe... I've only finished two and am currently working on the third.
This is sad for me. Lol. Anyway, please enjoy, and I hope that you'll review (unless you're going to be one of those douches who flames me simply for writing about a ship you don't like - especially this one. If that's the case then please believe that your review won't even see the light of day because I'm moderating all reviews before they get posted. Good luck to your sad attempts at lashing out at those who think differently than you.
Title - "spectrum"
Summary - It's still her precious, sacred secret, still all hers to bear or bury, but nonetheless left otherwise alone. GeekChic friendship (and possibly more), loads of one-sided Amourshipping.
It doesn't end the way she expects it to.
Perhaps that's because she's gone so long with the flow, so long with Ash's companionship, that she thinks she knows him about just as well as any one person can know another person. Perhaps it's because there were no other signals beforehand to indicate that her hopeful love would end in failure and rejection... Perhaps it's because she just assumed that being at his side for so long, being kind, giving the occasional hint, investing herself in his company - if not his future - would do the trick.
At the very least, she had thought that she'd at least have the time to pluck up the nerve to confess to him but... sometimes things just don't go the way you want, right?
"Love you too, Myst," he says into the video-phone receiver with a chuckle.
It's completely casual. It's completely meaningless. She could go on about her business and pretend she'd never heard it for all of the serious, emotional nature it was lacking.
But it was Ash. Ash, who'd never said anything even remotely close to that word before in her presence. Ash, who rarely ever belied such intense feelings seriously...
Casual works for him in this case. It gets the message across, and especially to more than just the person on the other end of that phone-call.
She knows it's over.
She knows there's no point in saying anything now. There's no point when this Myst person - Misty, she learns later when she finds the nerve to ask the dreaded question - has already swooped in and made her move and taken Ash away; precious Ash, the first boy she ever loved, the boy who inspires her, influences her, coaxes her to dream her dreams until they're very, very real.
The boy has been most of her world for what seems longer than it should be. After all, she'd practically forgotten about him until that fateful evening newscast she'd stumbled upon at home, until she'd watched a courageous - if reckless - boy fall assumedly to his demise only to be saved at the last moment by a third party.
She'd almost forgotten him, what seems a hundred lifetimes ago, but everything had come back in an instant as she watched him fall, screaming selflessly for his Pikachu, arms open wide to catch his companion before the two of them hit the pavement and everything was over.
It's not over until it's over, right? Well... It was definitely over now.
When he escapes beyond the castle walls of her small yet constantly growing world - only because of him, she thinks - she realizes just how gray it's turned in the absence of that feeling she'd so willingly embraced before, that feeling she'd depended on far longer than she probably should have.
And the days grow grayer still.
Suddenly nothing excites her, interests her, intrigues her. She feels as lost as she did the day she left home, alone, frustrated, misunderstood. The only thing lacking in the resemblance is the gnawing emptiness where that hope used to be.
And it hurts.
"Ah!" she exclaims in shock and pain, dropping the knife that had been in her hands onto the portable cutting board she'd borrowed from Clemont earlier on that afternoon.
"Serena? What is it?" he asks in curiosity and concern from a few meters behind her, where he's been diligently setting up the table for dinner while Ash and Bonnie gather extra firewood (though Bonnie has probably led Ash on a wild Pokemon chase to catch some invisible, non-existent new addition to his team by now).
"Nothing, it's…" she begins but the words are caught in her throat next instant and she can't find or vocalise new ones to replace them.
"Oh no, you're bleeding! Quick, we have to disinfect it!" he exclaims next, grabbing her softly around her wrist and pulling her away from the vegetables she'd been dicing for dinner.
She wrenches her head back at them in melancholy, wishing to return to her dismal activity, only to find herself traveling further and further away until Clemont stops on the other side of the campgrounds they'd set up in order to find the first-aid kit he always carries around in his backpack.
"Hehe, you know, I'm actually sort of surprised you cut yourself. I mean," he rambles at her, possibly to ease her mind though she can barely hear or decipher the words he's saying, "I guess it's to be expected when we're the only ones in the group who do any cooking and we do it for four people, three times a day, but…" he tapers off after having rinsed her half-an-inch long cut with some water from his canteen and then softly wiping it with an alcoholic swab, finally looking up from his work to inspect her face, only to find her eyes slightly puffy and cheeks flushed, tears starting to cascade down the slight mounds of her cheeks.
"I - I'm sorry, Serena, does it hurt that badly? Did I make it worse?" he asks next, and immediately holds up both of his hands and lets her go just in case, nerd lenses flashing in fear that this is indeed the case.
"No," she murmurs sternly, shaking her head emphatically at the same time to reassure him.
Clemont breathes a deep sigh in relief and leans back on the makeshift log bench just behind him, staring up at the aspiring Pokemon Performer standing less than a foot away, tears still leaking down her face, shoulders wracked by her not-quite-completely-silent sobs.
"I don't… Hm," he falters, awkwardly biting his lower lip and trying to find the right words to make her feel better, though it seemed pretty impossible when he had no idea what the cause of her despondent disposition was, "I'm sorry, Serena. I don't know what I can do…"
He takes her hand back in his again and then cautiously lets it go, gesturing for her to keep it in position as he pulls out a bandaid and tears it open, then removes the plastic from the sticky sides and applies it to her wounded finger.
The world is stagnant and dry already, but nothing looks more foreboding to her than the bright cerulean blue bandage Clemont's just given her, the one with a lightning bolt running across its center.
Cerulean, like the city Ash had told her this Misty girl resided in. Lightning, like Ash's go-to elemental Pokemon, Pikachu.
It mocks and haunts her all at the same time, frustration and anger and bitterness curdling around the edges of her skull and brain and trying to suffocate her. So, as her wet sobs finally die into dry heaves, she grasps the finger that band aid had been placed on a few moments ago and starts to pull.
She wants it off.
She wants it gone away!
But Clemont is having none of it, finally deciding - despite still not knowing anything - that he must make it, her, better. So he stands up with a firm expression on his face and lays his hands on her shoulders before sliding them around and pulling her in, holding the two of them together.
It's still her precious, sacred secret, still all hers to bear or bury, but nonetheless left otherwise alone.
Clemont doesn't pressure her for any answers, doesn't ask the questions she knows he probably wants to, doesn't address his own concerns further, and definitely doesn't speak, not knowing what words he can say, not knowing why she's breaking down in front of him for no reason at all that he can think of.
Her dry heaving leisurely eases into hiccups and then, a few minutes later, into the slightly uneven breathing of someone formerly distressed but not coming to terms.
And, slowly but all too surely, color begins to fill Serena's world again. The contrast is a little different, certain hues brighter while others remain dull, but she realizes how much a fool she's acting, how worried she's making the boy currently enveloping her in a warm embrace, how silly it is to think life is over because one other boy - one still highly valuable friend of hers who will remain an active part of her daily life - doesn't think about her the way she does him.
It honestly still stings to think about, Serena can't lie to herself, but nothing is over until it's over, right? Her life isn't over because of Ash. Her life hadn't begun with him either, no matter the inspiration he'd given her as they'd gotten to know each other up to this point.
It will take time for things to return to normal, will take time for her to move forward but… with friends like Clemont and Bonnie a - and Ash, she knows she can do it. This is the person she's become after all of her laborious efforts to change and grow since leaving home.
One deep, shuddering breath later and Clemont knows to release her.
She moves to ease herself back up to her full height but stops short, her forehead laying gently on his nearest shoulder. He can't see her blotched cheeks and red eyes, can barely make out just how unkempt her hair and clothes after her weeping session, and he certainly stands no chance of seeing the small smile filled with renewed hope as it graces her features.
"Thank you, Clemont," she tells him simply and, unbeknownst to her, he smiles too.
Notes - Yeah, these were going to be more Tumblr-only posts but I figured why not? At least this way the people who like my writing know that I'm still active, even if I'm not working on one of my unfinished projects.