Yay midterms round two on Tuesday ;_;
Friday, November 12th. I woke up to the news that Veilstone City had experienced a blackout all night. The blackout tally was up to two.
"Oye qué pasó?" I sang under my breath.
"Pardon?" Definite asked, sounding quite confused.
I burst out laughing and couldn't stop.
I arrived at Megan's house at one, wearing a nice shirt and the now-togepi-patterned necklace that she'd given me. "Happy birthday," I said when she opened the door.
"Thanks," she said, hugging me. It felt like any other no-emotional-strings-attached hug, which made me glad. I handed her a box with a card on top. Megan took it, looking puzzled.
"'Happy 17th'?" she read from the card.
We realized it simultaneously.
"Arceus, you're 16 again–"
"You've already been through my 16th birthday–"
"Since I'm 17 I thought you'd be… Ah man, I'm old," I said.
I mean, I was originally a few months older than her? But a few months is very different from a whole year?
"You still act younger," Megan said nonchalantly.
"Hey…" I said, laughing.
We went in, her discreetly tucking the card under the box. Her party wasn't a huge gathering; just a get together at her house. Tricia would be there, some other friends from school were there.
I hadn't seen any of them in a few months, so they asked about my journey (haha "journey" sounds really serious but you know what I mean). I told them a bit, omitting a lot of details but including the fact that I'd faced Lucas in the recent tournament.
"I saw that! That was a nice battle," Jonathan said.
Jonathan and I were family friends. In high school, he and Lucas became best friends, which gave us a funny relationship.
"Have you been talking to Lucas?" I asked Jonathan when the conversation branched off.
"A little. He doesn't like to call that much," said Jonathan.
"Did he…" I lowered my voice. "Do you know if he's mad at me?"
"I don't know. He says he isn't, but…"
Jonathan shook his head. "He didn't say anything. I can't see him being mad at you, though."
That was comforting, I guess.
I don't know why I hadn't thought of it sooner – or why I thought of it now – but the last time I saw Jonathan was before the incident at Lake Valor. I had no idea how he reacted to the news that his best friend had died.
I watched him laugh at something someone else was saying. He no longer had any idea his best friend had once died.
Conversations moved into board games. Tricia sat out the round of Catan because there were too many people. At some point I realized Megan had blocked the route I was going for.
"Ah man, when did you do that?" I sighed.
"Last turn?" she said.
"I missed it."
She grinned evilly. "It's your turn now."
"Oh!" I picked up the dice, feeling really out-of-it. I could've sworn my turn had just happened.
Megan inevitably won Catan. By then it was five (Catan takes sO LONG) and we ate dinner. Megan and I were having a normal conversation about the tournament next week, when across the table we heard, "Roark is literally so hot though!"
The entire table heard and started laughing. "He is!" said Abby defensively.
"Okay, but he's got nothing on Volkner," said Leona.
"Volkner's almost thirty!"
"Roark is almost that age, what's your point?"
An "Ooh" went around the table, followed by another round of laughter. "Jonathan, do you have a fave?" asked Abby.
Jonathan looked confused. "Fave?"
"Like a fave girl gym leader."
"Oh." He turned a little pink. "Probably Cynthia."
There was a collective "Ahh." No one could argue against Cynthia.
You know… Cynthia was very attractive. Objectively. And she was Sinnoh's top trainer and leading expert on mythology, and seemed like a kind person on top of that. But I'd literally just met her, and no matter how I looked at it, I couldn't see myself being attracted… like that… to her. She was just this awesome trainer.
I smiled inwardly. I wasn't worried about falling for a girl anymore. Megan was my best friend, that's all, and we were closer than we'd ever been. And other girls didn't affect me, and April only freaked me out because I was overthinking things. I had nothing to worry about.
The evening wore into night. A few people started drifting home, escorted by their parents. It had been a while since my mom walked me home. To be fair, my pokemon did that for me now.
"Megan, you didn't open presents yet," someone pointed out.
So we did that. A few people gave her board games, a mug, earrings. Tricia's card was passed around the circle, and the piñata piplup she'd shaped from cardboard and duct tape was opened strategically so we could get to the candy without breaking it.
Megan opened my box. "Aww," she said, lifting out the togekiss I'd stitched together.
"It was going to be a togepi, but this was easier to sew," I confessed.
She laughed. "It's cute– oh…"
A thread had fallen from the base of the wing, revealing a line of stitches that had fallen off. "Why does this always happen?" I sighed.
"It's okay. You'll just have to come over again to fix it," Megan said.
I grinned. "Visit you again? Oh, darn."
Afterwards, Megan suggested Telephone Pictionary, so we ripped up scratch paper and sat on the living room floor. Jonathan, who was next to me, took ages to draw his pictures. At some point Megan and I were both waiting on him, and he had two stacks of paper in queue.
"Jonathannn," I sighed melodramatically.
"Sorryyyy," Jonathan said.
I leaned back until I hit the ground. It had been a really nice day. I was getting tired, but I'd enjoyed the party.
Megan, who had nothing to do, looked down at me. Her head tilted to the side, and she picked up the necklace sitting on my chest.
I suddenly couldn't breathe. My chest was tight; my head spun. The skin below my throat had never been so sensitive. Unaware, Megan examined the heart-shaped pendant and asked, "Did it change color?"
Words were failing me. I stuttered, "Yeah, it… it does that when it evolves… when it's used to evolve."
Megan placed the necklace back on my chest. My breathing returned to normal, but the tightness in my chest was replaced by a tightness in my stomach.
"It's pretty. It matches Hope."
I sat up like nothing happened and took the papers Jonathan passed my way.
What the hell was that? Why did I react so strongly? I thought I was over this!
The day wound down quickly; people were tired by now. When I left, Megan hugged me, and I was no longer sure what I felt when she did.
Exhausted from the party, I went to bed early. It didn't do much good; I wasn't able to sleep until past 11 anyways.
I couldn't stop thinking about Megan. I thought things were going well. I thought my worries were a fluke brought on by my stressing over Lucas. But now I had no idea if it was true or not. Which was possibly the worst part of it all – if I knew, I'd at least know what kind of problem I was facing, and I could come up with a solution. As things stood, I didn't even know if I liked her, and so there was nothing to solve until I knew if there was a problem.
I guess I drifted off, because the next thing I knew, I was running. And so was Lucas. We were running through a cave I recognized as part of Mount Coronet's cave system, pokemon attacks whizzing by us. Galactic was in pursuit.
Lucas made a short noise of pain and fell. I stopped in my tracks and turned back. In the dim light, I saw his shirt was spotted with blood.
I crouched down and lifted him up – he was even lighter than I expected – and started to run again, carrying him in my arms. I have to get him somewhere safe, I kept thinking, looking for a place to hide. Attacks continued to shoot past us, and I knew we'd be doomed if we didn't get out of Galactic's sight soon.
Suddenly, Lucas shifted in my arms – I tried to catch him as he fell, but he landed on his feet.
"I'm fine," he said, turning and running on his own.
I started to run again, but hesitated – should I run the same way as him? Should I leave him alone? – and in that moment of hesitation an attack hit me in the back, knocking me forward–
I landed on my rear somehow, legs dangling over a cliff – I was somewhere else.
I looked out over the lake. This was it. This was the last stop on my list.
I shook my head. The stupid list. I started it for the sake of healing, and yet here I was, finished with my list of landmarks, no better than when I first arrived.
When we were still together, she told me about all the places I needed to visit if I ever went to Sinnoh. "The bridge in Canalave," she said. "The flower fields in Floaroma. The Foreign Cultures Building in Hearthome. And you definitely have to see Eterna Forest."
She grew up in Jubilife, and sometimes her family went camping at Lake Verity. Of all the places on my list, this was the only one that surpassed my expectations. It was framed by wooded mountains, and in the starry night, it was peaceful.
It made me sad.
I didn't know if I'd continue in Sinnoh. There was no reason for me to be here anymore. But I didn't know where to go next.
I exhaled and rubbed my eyes. I hated feeling this useless. I'm a Pokemon trainer, for Mew's sake. I'm a trainer with a total of ten badges in two regions, and I reached the quarterfinals of a tournament in a foreign region and even won a tournament back in Johto, and here I was, immobilized by a heart that had been broken half a year ago.
And then when I saw her – it was so out of the blue, but I instantly knew she needed to see that I was fine without her, and I was so focused on it that I lost the battle. At least I kept it together as I shattered completely.
So here I was, sitting by a foreign lake in the middle of the night, trying to be happy, and I kept remembering I was in April's favorite place without her, and I'd never felt so thoroughly alone.
The tightly-packed ball of sadness in my chest started to leak. It diffused outward like ink in water, radiating into the rest of me. I buried my face in my hands when the tears began. No one was around.
…do you ever really crash, or even make a sound?
I just kept crying because I could, and because I hadn't, and because I needed to. And when I was done, I opened my eyes to a pink lake.
I woke up. The clock by my bed said it was one am.
I threw off the covers and got dressed quickly. My poketch pinged as I slipped my socks on. It was Looker.
I accepted the call as I strapped the poketch to my wrist. "Hey."
"Did you just get a weird dream?"
"Yeah. It's Thomas. I'm going to go meet him."
I gathered my pokeballs and let Coeur out as my backup, and headed out.
How did he hide all that? How did he manage to bottle everything up and keep it so thoroughly contained, even when April showed up out of the blue? Hiding your emotions seems like so much work.
The outskirts of Twinleaf are typically quiet; I could tell I was approaching the Pokemon Center when the nightlife started to increase. I passed the Center and kept walking in the direction of the lake route.
It was a fairly deserted road, particularly this late at night, and it wasn't hard to see the lone figure walking back. I withdrew Coeur so he wouldn't feel outnumbered.
We slowed and stopped ten feet from one another, neither of us saying anything. He looked exhausted beyond the lateness of the hour, his eyes swollen still.
"Hey," I said.
"Hey," he said back.
I had no plan. There was a lot I wanted to say, but not when he was hurting like this. I'd thought he was honest with his feelings, but between hiding his reaction to seeing April and lying about how long ago they broke up, I knew there was a lot I hadn't seen.
"I'm here for you," I finally said.
His face crumpled just a little. I essentially walked into him – trying to comfort the bigger person in a hug was a challenge, but I placed my hands high on his back and took up as much space as I could. He relaxed into my arms.
There was a lot I wanted to say, but it could wait.
Wow wow the trio of soulmates is completed
...lol I gotta go study chemE, see y'all 'round.