You lay sobbing on Guzma, feeling the warmth leaving him. He's gone. He's gone and it feels like something within you has completely broken. They're tears of terrible sadness and heartbreak, but also guilt. Guilt for all your presence brought to Po Town and guilt for failing to break the curse when you wanted to so badly.
The howls of all the Lycanrocs fill the air. But curiously, it's now the only sound that can be heard. You realize there's a certain noise missing as you rise from Guzma's body. You look out the shattered window.
The rain has stopped. For the first time since you've been there, the night sky is now clear and calm over Po Town.
The howls come to a close and you look to the two Lycanrocs on either side of you - likely Liam and Plumeria. "There's no rain," you tell them.
The two of them look at one another and then exchange glances with the other pokemon in the room.
"Look!" Alana yells. In her hands the Comfey is sprouting fresh blossoms and opening her eyes. Years seem to be reversing on the pokemon as she looks fresh, vibrant, and green.
Then there's something happening one by one to every grunt in the room. Fur is disappearing, teeth are shrinking, forms are changing.
"Alana, close your eyes!"
"What?! Why?" she whines.
"Just trust me on this one," you say.
Alana sighs and places a hand over her eyes as all the grunts around you go from being Lycanrocs to humans.
Liam's next to you looking at his hands that were paws just a moment ago. "But it's night!"
"The curse is broken," Plumeria murmurs.
"It is?" Alana yells. She removes her hand from her eyes only to have Plumeria's hand suddenly replace it.
The other grunts grow increasingly louder in disbelief and wonder as they realize the truth in what Plumeria has said.
But the celebration is cut short when Liam asks, "But... what about the boss?"
You turn back towards the body, waiting, hoping, silently begging. Please, please let there be one more miracle tonight.
Then it happens. Fur is replaced by skin, the large jaws shrink into a familiar face topped with white hair, and the paw you'd been holding now has fingers. The wounds seal themselves and heal, leaving no trace on his body.
The whole room waits. You hold your breath, not sure you can take being let down.
But there's no rise and fall of his chest. There's no movement at all. There's nothing.
Behind you some of the grunts begin to cry. Liam puts a hand on your shoulder. You feel a new wave of hurt and anguish coming over you, as tears slip from your eyes again. There would be no further miracles today. The two of you had managed to break the curse, but you could not save Guzma. He was gone and there would be no more to your story together. You remember seeing him walk into the dining hall for the first time as a human, and the way he looked panicked when his eyes met yours. How he cleaned his glasses while laying on the couch the morning after rushing out to rescue you. Him in his room as he recovered and how the two of you first started to get to know one another through conversations you had there. The reading room and the time you both spent there. Holding him after he told you how he came to be cursed. The whimsically out of place ballroom dancing and all the came after. The many, many cups of Tapu cocoa, and that charmingly crooked smile. It's all gone.
In the newly found tranquility of the night, the only sound is the gentle crying from those around you.
But then Guzma inhales sharply. You drop down beside him and his eyes open. He breathes in deeply over and over until it slows and he looks at you. He smiles. "Hey, why all the tears?"
He sits up and you throw your arms around him sobbing in relief. The grunts erupt into cheers. He holds you and looks around the room, putting together the night sky outside and the naked (but human) grunts and realizing what it means. He huffs in disbelief, "It's - it's broken." He looks as if he might cry too. "Holy shit."
"And you're all naked!" Alana yells. Plumeria places another hand over her eyes as Alana says, "What, I already know."
"Ah, yeah, that," Guzma says, looking at you. "Bit of a disadvantage, right?"
"More of an unexpected benefit," you smile.
He laughs and pulls you towards him, his lips meeting yours for a long kiss.
Garret's body was never found. In the spot where his body should have been, there were only the pokeballs he had taken from her before leaving Tapu Village. No one would ever see or hear from the missing Alolan champion again.
He comes to on a tiny island, much smaller than any others in the Alolan region. There's water visible in just about every direction. He stands, confused, and dusts the dirt from his clothes. How did he get here? He begins to explore, looking for anyone who might be able to explain things to him. But the island's so small it doesn't take long to cover it and find that there's no one. He'd run into absolutely nothing. Except many damn Exeggutor.
It begins to rain ferociously and he scrambles for cover in a tiny alcove. He sits, grumbling to himself about "damn beasts" and doing his best to fix his hair.
"Excuse me," a voice interrupts him. He stops and looks to find four kids. Two boys and two girls.
He watches them carefully and says, "What are you kids doing here? What is this place? How did I get here? You know anything?"
The four of them look at one another, shrugging. "It's Exeggutor Island, sir. That's all we know," says one of the boys.
"Figures," Garret spits, turning from them. Of course the kids were no help.
"Can we come in with you?" asks one of the girls. "We just got caught in the rain and it'd be nice to get out of it."
"Nope, nope, can't help you there kid. See this? This is Garret's hole. Go find your own."
The other girl removes her backpack and pulls out a pokeball, holding it out to Garret. "We'll give you this Comfey."
Garret laughs. "Do you even know who I am?"
The kids shake their heads.
"I," Garret continues, "just so happen to be the champion of Alola. I've got no use for your Comfey, so take it and go."
"Are you sure?" says the other girl.
"em Are you suuuuure?/em" Garret mocks her. "Yeah, I'm sure, so scram."
The four look at one another again, then back to Garret. He opens his mouth, about to tell them to "fuck off," but then each child becomes a beacon of blinding light. When the light recedes, it's not kids in front of him anymore, but the four Tapus.
But they seem to be reciting poetry now.
Boast all you want but no one will listen
For now this island will be your prison
To leave the land will bring you great pain
So here you'll stay through sun and rain
Here you'll be not apart from the crowd
You'll find yourself so heavily boughed
Grow as tall and leafy as you will
Yet you will find yourself unfulfilled
For none around you will know your words
And all your great deeds will be left unheard
You won't age a day as you lie in wait
For another to come and change your fate
Without title, without fame, without your wealth
You must learn to love another as you love yourself
Chase this task with all your power
You only have until the death of the flower
The ground suddenly becomes a long way from Garret as his neck elongates. His arms shrink into his sides and a tail sprouts out his back end. His head splits into three and his hair becomes large, green leaves.
When the Tapus are gone, he finds himself standing as an Exeggutor alone on the island in the rain. He hears a chime above him and looks up to just barely see the Comfey sitting perched on his main head. "Ha, big deal," he says and is startled when his words are said in his voice three times. "What?" And again there's three voices. The other two heads seem to speak whenever he speaks.
Garret smirks. "I've got my own curse to break? Fine, whatever. Easy. It'll be over and done with as soon as the next person that comes to this island. Guaranteed. No one makes people fall in love like Garret."
He stands defiant in the rain. But then his expression slowly falls. He'd been here about an hour and already he felt an absolute annoyance at the lack of ears to talk off.
He approaches another Exeggutor. "You, yes, you. As you can see, I'm one of you now. Can you understand me?"
But the pokemon just stares back at him dimly.
Garret tries to kick the Exeggutor, but his legs are so short and stumpy that instead he nearly falls. He gives up and stares out across the water that he can no longer touch without severe pain.
"Hey," Alana addresses him after they're all dressed and downstairs. Everyone is gathering what they wish to keep and crossing the border as a group. "Can I see your glasses?"
Guzma removes them from their perch on his forehead and hands them to her. "Sure, tiny."
She puts the lopsided glasses on her face and continues looking around the mansion. It's an absolute mess after all the fighting. Despite this, Alana still says, "We're all gonna live here now, yeah?"
"Would you believe I'd rather live anywhere but here?"
"But, it's a mansion."
"You try living here as long as I have and see if you feel the same way."
Alana pulls the sunglasses down under her eyes and looks at her sister. "Well, we can't go back home, can we? It's gonna be awkward with all the neighbors. You think that Incineroar is still there?"
She shrugs. "Dunno, but we could probably use a change of scenery anyway, huh? Get out of that old village."
"Where - where would you wanna go?" Guzma asks, rubbing at his undercut.
"Well, uh," she looks a bit sheepish. "You know there's this library in Malie City and-"
"Done!" he tells her.
"Malie City. We'll get there and figure it all out."
"What, like, move there? I mean, I'm pretty sure I've lost both my jobs by this point. We're kinda broke."
He smiles at her. "Ya know the thing about being stuck in one place for so long, is that it makes it kinda hard to spend the money you inherited. Your boy's got you covered."
Alana cheers, the sunglasses that are far too big for her head wobbling on her face.
"I-" She's absolutely flabbergasted.
"You gonna need roommates, boss?" Liam asks.
Plumeria sighs. "You can't just invite yourself along, Liam... though it would be a good place to get back into music."
"I would miss you guys if you weren't around," she says smiling, coming around to the idea of a move to the city.
Guzma supposes that many of Team Skull are going to be displaced after this. They'd been stuck in Po Town so long and it's a different world now. There was a lot that they'd missed, and so much to catch up. Many of them would be starting over with nothing. The curse might be broken, but that was just step one to repairing everything. He might have been the reason the grunts were trapped, but he's got a few ideas for making up for it.
When they're ready, all of them leave Po Town and stop at the edge of the border - the place where their prison cell ended for so long. By this point it's morning, and the first time they've seen a sunny day since the curse fell on them. Guzma stands as the grass around them gently blows in the wind. He closes his eyes and breathes in deep, feeling full rays of sun on his skin. He hadn't ever been much of an outdoors person, but this, he missed. Looking around at the rest of the grunts and the relieved smiles they're wearing, maybe they all had.
This was it. He looks back at the gates behind them. He can see the highest part of the mansion peaking over the edge in the distance. Po Town held so many memories. Some good, but many bad. He turns back to the land out in front of him - ground he'd been unable to so much as walk on for so long. It was finally time to leave behind all the hurt, guilt, and anguish Shady House held.
She takes his hand and he smiles at her. It was time to build a new beginning.
He takes a deep breath and steps beyond the border.
And absolutely wondrously, nothing happens.
The entire group lets lose in whoops and cheers, running across the border. Some do cartwheels or chase each other about. Some just laugh or cry tears of freedom and happiness.
They travel further away from Po Town, out into a new Alola.
"You know, you've got to stir the pot, you can't just stare at it," you tell him.
Guzma huffs. "I know that, doll." He grabs a wooden spoon and begins stirring the contents of the pot on the stove, grinning sarcastically at you. "See, I got this!"
"You all would have never survived in that mansion without that cupboard. That's for sure," you tease him.
"I think I can handle making coco," he says, stirring a little too enthusiastically, causing milk to spill over the side and hiss as it hits the burner.
There's the sound of the apartment's front door opening. Alana appears in the kitchen, setting books and her backpack down on the table. "Cocoa again?" she says to Guzma. "Can't you two drink coffee like normal adults."
You shrug. "Eh, coffee's ok."
Guzma wrinkles his nose. "Coffee is disgusting, tiny."
Alana digs a pokeball out of her bag and releases Comfey out onto the table. You know it's not the same as her Yungoos, but you're glad that she had a new pokemon to ease the pain of losing her former one.
There's a knock at the door and you leave the kitchen to answer it.
Plumeria greets you with, "Hey, girlie," before looking for Guzma. When she reaches the kitchen, she tells him, "2B's flooding again, G."
"Well, shit." He switches off the stove and leaves with Plumeria.
Though he was technically now the owner of the apartment complex, he had named Plumeria the landlord. Each unit held members of Team Skull who'd had no where else to go after leaving Po Town. Many of them returned to school or found work, trying to rebuild after being absent from society for so long.
"You like your new job?" Alana asks as she begins on whatever homework she has spread in front of her.
"Definitely." You were Malie City library's newest librarian - a dream that you once felt was so out of reach.
That night you and Guzma head out into the city, leaving Alana, who insists she doesn't need a babysitter, on her own. You're not worried. Should anything go wrong, she could knock on just about any door in the apartment complex for help. It might not be the most conventional, but this child was definitely being raised by a village. Alana may not have a mother and father, but she had a family - even if that family was her sister, a former gang leader, and his gang. At the very least, it made for interesting stories at school.
You're both walking to the local venue that Plumeria's playing at. By day she might be a landlord, but at night she underwent a different kind of transformation. She and Ethan teamed up to put on music and light shows together. She handled music while Ethan's technical know-how let him put together lights and effects that grew more impressive with each gig they got.
"Is Liam coming tonight?" you ask Guzma.
"Not sure. I guess studying architecture leaves you pretty swamped."
Since coming Malie City, Liam had decided to finish his degree in architecture. His passion for it had set him apart from the other students, and he'd even earned himself an internship. Plus all the drawing it required had made him a proficient artist, which absolutely delighted Alana, who'd asked him to teach her. She often bugged both Liam and Ethan in her spare time, as they lived just a few doors down.
Living here was so different from Tapu Village. Gone were the disapproving comments and stares from nosy neighbors. No longer did you feel like such an outsider surrounded by perfect little families that looked nothing like the dwindled one you had. Now, you lived among a family of your own choosing - one you loved even with all its imperfections. One that you belonged to. Now, you belong. You and Guzma continue down the city street.