A/N: This is based loosely on my favorite manga, 'Immortal Rain', and one of the coolest books, 'How to Live Forever' by Colin Thompson. While you might think it's a kid's book, I didn't understand half of it when I read it when I was little. It made me cry, though.
Anywho, this is a bit on the angsty side, I'm afraid, but much less cheesy than Everything Changes. The idea might have already been used, but I love all the things you can do with immortality.
And I just love Ho-oh.
Life. The great miracle and the great mystery.
This seems to suit myself. I am a mystery to humans; some perceive me as a legendry being, others as a powerful entity and others as a mighty god. I am also a great miracle.
You see, I possess the power of immortality.
Time is a funny thing. Sometimes is goes unbelievably slowly, and at other times you find yourself wondering where all the time went. But when you live forever, time is neither here nor there.
I suppose I had better introduce myself. I am Ho-oh. The Bringer of Rainbows. The God of Life. The phoenix. The immortal. I have lived on this planet for millennia. I can't record precisely how long, as, like I said, time bears no meaning to an everlasting being.
I choose to live alone. I sleep alone, I fly alone… I try my very hardest no not let anyone see me. Humans are fascinated my me; some dedicate their lives to trying to find me, and therein find the secret to eternal life. How ironic. Wasting your life in the pursuit of immortality.
I have not always lived alone. When I was much younger, before many of the Pokémon species that are here today were even beginning to evolve, I had a great friend, Celebi. She lived for an immensely long time in earth terms. She was everything I wished to be: kind, compassionate, loving. While she was alive, she would always bring the bodies of any Pokémon or humans she found and give them a burial in her own cemetery. She taught me how to appreciate the values of kindness and empathy. While I disliked her at first, thinking that it was important only to look out for yourself, her love of life showed opened my eyes to the world.
She is buried in her graveyard now. I gave her a funeral myself. I will remember that day forever; I woke up and she was still and cold. I knew instantly she was dead. Celebi, in life, was never cold, but always full of energy. I think that saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I would spend years on end standing by her grave, weeping my loss alone.
Then I met Charizard. Charizard was a lot like Celebi in that he was always lively and full of vitality. He was less serious than she had been, and always looked on the brighter side of things. He taught me an important lesson about letting your loved ones go. His family had been killed by a tidal wave when he was young, leaving him to face the world alone. While many would have lost the will to live at the passing away of their entire family, Charizard looked upon it was a chance for life and that he had been saved from perishing for a reason. Charizard lived for a much shorter time than Celebi did, living for only about three hundred years, but in that time I was probably happier than I had ever been. Charizard died suddenly and unexpectedly when he collided with a cliff edge after misjudging a landing. His wings broke and he plunged into the sea. I gave him a funeral in Celebi's cemetery also. After his passing I continued with Celebi's tradition of giving all the bodies that I saw a proper burial. I make every body a cross out of sticks and vine. There are now endless crosses in the graveyard, stretching out into the sunset. While many would regard this as an immensely sad sight, it seems to me almost harmonious. So many Pokémon and humans lying finally at rest.
While traveling one day, I met Xatu. Xatu was always much more serious and somber than my other friends, and he always spoke as if trying to keep the fear out of his voice. He became my friend, and he would watch patiently while I prayed for the souls of all those in the garden.
He was nearly killed by a human in search of me one day, after refusing to lead him to me. His selflessness shocked me – he was wiling to give up his mortal life in order to make my immortal one free?
Xatu wasn't much of a talker, but he trusted me with his life. He even told me of some fragments of the future; a taboo among his species, but I always thought he made up the things that he told me about, as many of them were just too horrific to believe.
I believed too late – Xatu was killed during the battle between the Pokémon of the sea and those of the land; something he had predicted only a few years before. In his death, I think he showed me the importance of trust.
Xatu's body joined the endless array of graves in the cemetery. I think it was only after Xatu's passing that I began to dread the future. I knew I was being ridiculous, and I could nearly hear Charizard and Celebi telling me to ignore the feeling of dread the seemed to accumulate in my heart.
But when one has a lot of time to think, things like worry multiply. And I had centuries to think.
Mistrevus was my last friend. She was amazed by me; she believed that I had everything because I had immortality. I taught her what Celebi had showed me – that it is important to care for others, and putting others before yourself makes you a better being. Before, she had lived in a cave, mostly by herself, and enjoyed doing things like drowning Pokémon that were unable to swim in the rivers, or tripping people over chasms in the rocks. Celebi's message helped her, I think. This gave me anincredibly warm feeling inside- the thought that Celebi was living once more through me.
Mistrevuswent from somebody would kill for fun to a kind and caring friend. As I grew to know her, she opened up, and shared with me her life experiences and views of life. She left the cave and lived with me by Celebi's graveyard. She even retrieved some of the bodies of those she had killed and we gave them proper burials.
It surprised me when she died. Not only because her positive outlook on life and the way she was always full of energy deceived me into believing that not even death could stop her having fun, but because she was already a ghost. But no – even ghosts pass away. She lived for a long time, evenfor her species; hundreds of years. But even then she faded away eventually. She knew death was coming. She grew weaker, and she gradually grew thinner and thinner before disappearing completely. Only the orbs that used to circle her neck were left. I buried them and held a funeral in her memory. Naturally, I was the only one there.
After Mistrevus' death, I think the slow realization came to me – I would never die. Not die in the way that all my friends, all Pokémon, all living things do. I would grow old and then erupt in flames, but then be born again with a new body. But with the same thoughts and memories.
My friends had lived happy and full lives and then passed on to the next great journey. I was left behind. I would always be left behind. I realized that I would be forever doomed to roam the earth, knowing that everyone I knew, cared about or loved would eventually pass away, leaving me only with a body that I would create a small cross for, one in a garden of millions of others, and memories that would haunt me until after the end of time.
This is why I choose to live by myself. If I never love anyone, then I will never have to say goodbye to anyone. I know the human phrase, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all", but whoever wrote that had not stood at his friend's graves for hundreds of timeless years with silent tears running down his face.
I want to die; I want to be mortal. Why am I cursed to forever walk the earth and have everyone I care about fade into shadow and dust? Why can they pass into the next journey and I cannot? Why should it be I that is hunted by humans seeking immortality? Why am I abstract, forced to watch all other living things through the barrier separating mortal beings from those with infinite life? Why is it that every time I lose the will to carry on and try and end my pitiful existence, that I simply erupt in flames and have a new body? I can feel tears streaming down my beak: I let them. After eons of tears and pain, and with millennia of tears and pain ahead, these do not make a difference.
When I think back to them, each of my loved ones; Celebi, who taught me the value of love, kindness and compassion, Charizard, who showed me that every cloud had a silver lining, Xatu, who proved to me how important it was to trust others, and Mistrevus, who thought to have immortality was to have everything.
She was wrong.
As I stand here, perched alone in a tree in Celebi's garden at nightfall, overlooking thousands of generations of graves of people and Pokémon finally at rest, I ponder the realization that has haunted me for millennia and will be with me for the rest of my doomed eternity in this purgatory, wracked with the pain of knowing that all I have in this cursed existence is endless tomorrows.
To live forever is not to live at all.