When I'm too tired to stand it anymore and close my eyes, I'm back at the festival. It's funny how every detail remains so vivid in my mind. The Alolan sky sprawls out over us in a starry tapestry; the air is warm and smoky from the bonfire blazing blue at the center of the clearing. You're smiling, the moonlight reflecting silver off your hair. I keep looking from the moon to your smile, and back again. It's hard to say which is brighter.

Somehow, everything made sense that night. The future felt like a mountain pass laid out in front of me, rocky and shrouded in fog, but with something miraculous waiting at the top.

Only a week later, you left.

Hau cried his eyes out when we saw you off, but I wasn't able to say anything at all. It was like I was under-water and choking on salt. My eyes itched and my throat burned, but no words came out. I wish I had been able to say something to describe the sheer panic that flipped my stomach when I heard the news, but I wonder . . . If there was anything I could have said that would have changed your mind.

I had thought, that night, when we watched the fireworks burst, when we snuck off together and watched Tapu Koko dance, when you took my hand . . . I've never been so good with words, and I thought you were saying that was okay. That you were answering a question I hadn't known how to ask, and saying yes.

We got the diagnosis three months after you left. Then everything happened at once. They told us the best treatment would be in Unova. Alola certainly didn't have the proper facilities, unless we wanted to trust Mom's life to mysticism and traditional herbs. Professor K organized another festival to see us off. It felt like a cruel joke to me. You weren't there, Hau was sobbing in the corner, and the tapu didn't come. Somehow that hurt the most—the island's guardian had been the one to believe in me when I first arrived. Now even the tapu had given up on me.

I hated Unova at first sight. Everything was congested and loud. The people spoke too quickly, as if they were in a hurry to get the conversation over with. There was nowhere to hear yourself think.

We found a tiny apartment within a block of the General Hospital. Mom apologized that the place was so small. She wasn't sure how much the medical bills would be, she told me. And she was afraid her savings wouldn't go very far.

I said I didn't mind. Of course I said that. But my room didn't even have space to let out my pokemon all together. When I realized that, I wanted to scream, but instead I just cried these ugly, muffled tears into my pillow. I didn't want Mom to hear, and the walls were so thin.

I thought the prize money I'd saved up in Alola would help—but when I took it to the conversion exchange, it hardly amounted to anything. Alolan currency doesn't mean much, it turns out, in Unova.

Then I thought I could win some money here. I could still battle, after all. I was Alola's first champion!

Paying the entrance fee to my first tournament cost me a fourth of my savings. They inspected my pokemon before battle, and told me my Z-crystals were forbidden. I didn't recognize the typing of my opponent's pokemon and made mistake after mistake. I only lasted into the second round and what's worse, I hated it.

I thought of you, actually, in that tournament room, with the loudspeaker buzzing, the crowds screaming, the harsh electric lights blazing against my skin. It was nothing like battles back in Alola, when my toes dug into the sand, when I could hear every movement my pokemon made. When I felt part of something bigger than myself. I understood how you could hate battling, if battling was like this.

After that, I promised my pokemon we wouldn't compete in any more tournaments. I'd help my mom some other way. The next day I found a job in a local cafe. It doesn't pay much, but it's something, at least. It's enough to make a difference.

Since, it's you, I can tell you a secret. Well, and it's not like you're going to read this anyway. You didn't leave us an address to reach you by. That's the kind of careless thing I might do but you—you were never careless. So was it on purpose, then? Maybe you didn't want us to weigh you down, with your whole life stretching out in front of you. Maybe you also saw a path that night, and it led away from mine.

Since you won't get this letter, telling you my secret is like digging a hole in the sand and burying my words there. So here goes.

I want to travel. I want the open air. This city makes me feel like I'm suffocating all the time. I want to walk at night, and see the moon. That's the only thing that gets me to sleep anymore, when I can see the full moon from my window. It makes me think that you and I are both watching her, that she's watching over both of us.

I'm pretty horrible, huh? Here's my mom, on the edge of dying, and I want to leave her.

You wouldn't understand that at all, I know. Your mom was horrible, and you would have given up everything to take care of her. It makes me a bit angry, actually. I sometimes wish my mom had a daughter like you, and I had a shitty mom like Lusamine. I'd have left her to rot in prison . . or maybe I'd have left her in that alternate dimension that she was so ready to sacrifice the world for. I keep dreaming of it, the slow purple poison filling up my lungs, burning the inside of my throat. Then a gelatinous monster bursts out of your insides and you're reaching out to me, but I can't breath so I can't run and I am always too late . . .

I'm always too late to save you.

But then, you don't really need saving anymore. It was so simple that first time, when I flung my body over Nebby's and felt the spearrows' hard beaks against my back.

This time it's different. This time I'm the one who wants to call out. But there aren't any spearrows, and there's no bridge, and anyway . . .

You're not there.


A/n: The Sun/Moon fix-it fic, because all the cool kids were doing it :D