IV: Dusk, Dawn and Dreams
The stormy skies slashed rain throughout the eastern part of Hoenn. The heavy drops hit everything equally, painfully. The plains, cities, and the forests bore the brunt of the downpour. All living creatures sought safety of their living quarters, except for the water-borne ones, who rejoiced. It was the fiercest part of the storm—only an idiot would go tramping around in this weather. And only an idiot would continue shouting in a storm whose din overpowers everything else. If that was so, then it is safe to say that at that very moment, between the wild of Petalburg City and Oldale Town, there existed an idiot of a trainer.
The young trainer crossed his arms and shouted above the howling wind. He kept his head down, gritted his teeth, and trudged on. He stopped in intervals to bring up his face and shout. Nothing could've possibly heard it above the winds but still…
A fierce blow forced Rowen to stumble and fall sideways from the path, rolling up a slick shield of mud and grime. He gasped and struggled to get up. He walked unsteadily, not knowing he strayed from the clear trail for travelers. All he knew was somewhere in this howls and cold bites, his Pokemon were lost for him.
He scraped though the woods, knocking against trees and scratching against the long grass and bramble. He had no sense of time, no sense of anything but the splat, splat of rain against his body and the burning sensation it left behind. A cold desperate feeling sank within him and finally he comprehended the futility of his actions. He understood as he leaned against the painful bark of a tree that he was an idiot.
He heaved and began running, as if to escape that cold, dousing, hopeless feeling. He ran and ran—and as all heroes do when running from a bleak situation—he tripped and tasted earth. The rain continued its assault, pounding its message on Rowen's back. He overturned, exhausted not just in body but from just summoning the will to go on. He gazed wearily to the sky where the sky has lightened a shade of blue and a steadier and slower pouring of rain fell upon him. The shadows of tall trees seemed to almost merge from his point of view. His head slumped back in total defeat, tears freely mingling with the rain.
He was a complete failure: he had lost his Pokemon, he had no more money left, he had no friends, no family. What a complete failure, what an idiot, what a fool… The hot tears continued to flow.
But more than that…he thought with half-closed lids…he had failed his dear partner, the one he had had since the beginning of his journey. He hadn't deserved her.
He slackened completely, closing his eyes for sleep… Sleep…the eternal sleep. How easy it was just to lie back and let nature take its course; let death approach the total failure and wipe it out from the face of the earth. Survival of the fittest after all. Let him lie here and die…
The jarring thought startled him and he quickly opened his eyes, fat, falling drops stinging them. There was a soft blue light floating just above him but it was so hazy.
Together…A childish voice pleaded with him, a deep voice that resonated within.
Together? Yes, hadn't the...his Combusken always been with him together? A soft warm feeling ignited within his heart. Ken never left him, never gave way to his side…
Rowen strained his eyes, now not minding the sting of the drops. The ball of blue light landed softly on his chest, the rain smoothly going down its sides. The light unwound and washed over Rowen, a blue, transparent blanket hovering above his body. The rain washed over it, though some of the drops managed to penetrate it.
"Ralts…" rasped a childish voice. Rowen raised his head and saw a small creature levitating above his heart. A green half of a sphere covered its bluish face and two flat red disks protruded from its back and front. Its neck was thin and so was its arms, the bluish body flared out into two short, wide legs which had the impression of loose cloth hanging from it. In its arms cradled the slender stem of a white orchid, raindrops on it glistening in the blue light.
Rowen had never seen such a heartrending sight. The creature had the air which made one sad—not piteous, just sad. Instead of dwelling on that emotion, he concentrated on the new Pokemon. He had never seen this one before, nor heard of it. He knew this must be a fairly uncommon Pokemon, having familiarized himself with the common Pokemon in the area just the days before.
"Who are you..." he whispered reverently.
"Ralts..." It hovered nearer, peering into his face. It stopped as the boy's hand nearly touched its green surface but the hand stopped as well. It sensed the boy was afraid...no...reluctant to touch it...because it might be...offended?
No. The creature closed the gap and touched the boy's bare skin with its front red horn.
Rowen had heard of rare Pokemon which saved humans from bleak situations, when they were down and saw no hope of returning...Maybe...
"Are you..." breathed the boy, "a legendary?"
"Ralts...?" It sensed the majestic ones that he was referring to and shook its head. It was not of the legendary ones.
"Still, you must be very special then..." Rowen smiled. The Ralts blushed and hovered away as Rowen slowly lifted himself from the ground into a sitting position. The flattened grasses tickled irritably at his legs but he was too busy pondering what he should do next.
Ralts made a little moue with its mouth and Rowen knew it was as troubled. But why? Oh. It was as troubled about him. Rowen smiled sadly.
"Its okay, Ralts. I'm just...worried about my Combusken. What if I never see her again?" He turned skyward where the storm had reduced to a drizzle. The blue blanket had disappeared, letting all the little raindrops fall. There was a slight tickle on his chin and when he looked down, it was the white orchid.
"Together." Ralts held the white flower towards him. Rowen's face was shadowed as he cupped the flower. His hands cradled the tiny creature and carefully held Ralts close, setting the embers of hope into a steady fire. Yes, he'll be able to find his Pokemon; he wasn't a complete failure. One tear trickled down his cheek.
"Thank you," he whispered. "Ralts."
Rowen resumed his quest and managed to find the main path again. He walked straight on but veered twice when the Ralts pointed a new direction with the orchid. What was amazing was the little guy mostly slept in his hands, but whenever the desire for finding his team was strongest, the flower suddenly pointed up. He had wondered whether to follow or not but decided it was better than no direction.
As he fought with the bushes and squeezed between tight spaces of trees, he found that following had paid off. There just beyond a small clearing and two trees was his Combusken and Hero. The Combusken was looking darkly to the ground, hugging a shivering and hungry Poochyena.
"Guys!" Rowen shouted so jubilantly that Ralts woke up.
Good, thought Ralts as she rubbed her sleepy eyes, he's finally happy.
Combusken slowly looked up to the noise, studied him for a minute then began to stride slowly towards him.
"I thought I'd never find you! Have you seen the other..." Rowen trailed off, his eyes looked heavenward. There was an odd splotching sound as the trainer tottered forward, releasing Ralts into a free fall. Ralts fell with a soft thud. Rowen swerved to his side so he wouldn't fall and crush Ralts. But as he fell down, an arm pinned Ralts's leg. Rowen's legs had three gashes on either side, blood seeping the wounds. Beyond his legs was the Combusken, the blood from its claws being washed away by the rain. Ralts squirmed and struggled, frightened by all the intense, negative emotions he felt.
"You left us in the cold and hunger, let us be scattered by the rain and predators then still you have the audacity of prancing in here with another Pokemon?" Combusken glared at Rowen then turned sharply at the rustling noise of a bush.
"Hey!" cried a new, happy voice. "Look who I found..." Like his trainer before him, the Zigzagoon trailed off.
The Pokemon following him, a Lotad, stopped in fright. Zigzagoon took in the sight of the defiant stance of the Combusken, the whimpering Poochyena, the struggling Ralts, and of course, the fallen body of his current trainer. He saw blood, the long gashes and Combusken claws. He sprinted to the body and nudged the head. Breathing, only knocked out, mostly from exhaustion. He placed his fore paws on the brown hair and turned to the Combusken.
"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU! YOU DO NOT ATTACK AND/OR TRY TO KILL YOUR OWN TRAINER!"
"Stay out of this, outsider," Combusken said quietly, placing an acid emphasis on the last word. Zigzagoon narrowed his dark brown eyes.
"Outsider huh? Well, you're more SCREWED up that I thought you were! You call me an OUTSIDER but I care more about your stupid TRAINER than you do about your STUPID fu—"
Zigzagoon stopped and looked at the sobbing Ralts, the small thing covering its face.
"Ralts's right," said Rowen softly. Zigzagoon removed his paws as Rowen got up. So the boy wasn't knocked out as he thought. Rowen got to his knees, winced, and walked awkwardly using his knees to Combusken. He hugged her but she grew stiff, unfeeling it.
"I'm so sorry, I'll never do that again," said Rowen. But the Combusken already pushed him away, going back to the Poochyena.
"Unbalanced freak." Zigzagoon sniffed as went back to get the last two Pokemon missing from Rowen's party. "The day I even begin like that cocky bastard will be the day I die!"
The Gardevoir thrashed in the bed and rose up, the blanket flying off in a sudden burst of blue light. She gasped, a film of cold sweat on her skin. She placed her slender hands to her white face. The moonlight still poured from the outside, displaying the room in perfect translucence, casting the night in a delicious eerie of silence, darkness and light. The cabinet was still beside her bed, as did the book shelves on the walls and the table beside the window. Of course they would still be there. Had she expected them to sprout wings and fly? But Psyche couldn't help but feel that the room was incomplete somehow. She levitated the blanket and finally saw what was missing.
Rowen's sleeping bag was still curled up in the middle of the room.
Psyche floated to it, feeling the emptiness of the whole room, of her whole being perhaps. Ever since they had gotten the house and Psyche had taken a liking to the bed of the master bedroom, Rowen insisted that she sleep there. He wanted wherever his Pokemon felt the most comfortable. As for himself, he had taken up his sleeping bag from his trainer days. While he told everyone that he was much more comfortable in a sleeping bag than some cotton soft, king-sized, four poster bed with tassels and hangings you could pull around to conceal the bed… (Here he would pause and shake his head) Psyche knew better. There were sometimes that he got home late and would sleepily get into the bed and doze off. And during those few times, she would wrap her arms him. (Heart!)
But tonight it was rolled and he wasn't in bed. Tonight, her anxiety from the day had given way into her dreams. She had relived the memory of how she was captured, through her dream. Psyche smiled inwardly as she remembered what Sly had said on that day, when he and Soleil still had their misconceptions about each other. She had experienced Rowen's recollection: perhaps by the numerous times they had linked their minds together, she had been unwittingly given privy to his buried memories and sensations. She could know his true, inner feelings, Psyche thought as she curled on the couch before the window, but only dreams. Who knows if she can do it again while awake.
And in that dream had she gotten a clearer answer. The evidence was there. Even when the fire fowl had pushed him away—Rowen obviously preferred Soleil over Psyche. Ardent volition would sometimes overcome steady cognition; even as Psyche's rationale cried out how this reasoning was flawed: his master hadn't yet spent much time with her when she was captured; Soleil had been a much longer partner; he preferred Soleil in fighting... Psyche's feelings prevailed over her.
Rowen had called Soleil his strongest; to be strongest meant to be the one most trained; and the one most trained meant that it was the favorite. The favorite is the one most lavished with love…
Feeling tired and despondent, Psyche laid her arms under her head and sank into another spell of sleep…
It was night and some sort of festival was going on. There were lots stalls, light and people and all were moving about. But they were there in one part, hiding behind bushes and a boulder. One side was a cliff and on the other was the bushes and rock, and fairly a distance away from the boulder was the festival. Hero watched the festivities from her perch on the boulder, tongue out and tail wagging. A Combusken leaned against the rock and rested her eyes, a wing holding one of the hyperactive Poochyena's legs.
But nearer the edge of the cliff, she sat, her green legs tucked in the circle of her arms. She had two large, beautiful, red eyes, and a white body that flared at her waist like a tutu. She still retained her "horns", the flat red protrusions on her green head, except they were on the sides now, instead of front to back.
She was a Kirlia and her name was Psyche.
Psyche yawned and continued to watch the moon's reflection on the sea. Hero had gotten off the rock and began rolling around on the dirt and biting on the bushes. Combusken tiredly followed the Poochyena's shenanigans. They had fought in a Gym that afternoon, Psyche can't remember which one but she and Soleil had done most of the fighting. And they had been together. It was night when they had finished and what should've been a rest in the Pokemon Center was turned into invitation to party. Soleil had never liked her Pokeball anyway so she opted to rest here in the secluded spot. Everyone else followed suit and was let out of their Pokeballs. Then Rowen had taken off along with the other male Pokemon, saying something about the festival being "a prime opportunity for guys". Granted, they would've taken Hero along but she proved that to be under exercised was not a good thing and tried to bite everything she saw. (That, and Rowen still didn't know that Hero was actually a girl, the dense rock) So they left her behind because Hero wouldn't bite the Kirlia or Combusken.
Now they were flat out tired from playing with her. Soleil dragged herself beside Psyche and smiled wearily.
"Soleil, where's Hero?"
Combusken pointed backwards where Hero was chasing her tail. "Told her I'd give anything I could get her if she could catch her tail."
The chicken pulled up into a sitting position and looked to sky. It wasn't really black; it was more of a very dark blue. The stars were out and Combusken was challenging the Kirlia to find the constellations. Soleil knew a lot but Psyche was a quick study.
"Can you spot the Gardevoir?" said Soleil.
"Hmmm..." Psyche scanned the skies for the familiar W pattern and after a minute..."There! Found it!" she cried happily. She no longer rasped like she did as a Ralts but grown accustomed to speaking telepathically in a pretty, if rather girlish, voice.
"You're becoming faster each time we play," approved Soleil. Her voice was rich, low and warm, like a reliable camp fire.
Psyche savored the complimented before resuming her silent stargazing. She shivered in the cold, dew-laden air; a warm feathery feeling covered her back and pulled her in, followed by ticklish fur and wet laps on her face. She laughed as she pushed away the Poochyena, who wanted the warmth that both provided. A happy picture of laughter, a playful Poochyena and Kirlia being warmed by the arms of a quietly concerned Combusken.
"Soleil, make her stop!" Kirlia laughed. She didn't mean this in a negative way but feared that was the effect when Hero abruptly stopped. The Bite Pokemon slowly backed away, keeping her yellow eyes on the Psychic.
"Soleil," Hero repeated softly. "Soleil, Soleil, Soleil, Soleil, Soleil, Soleil!" She began to run in time with her chants. She leaped onto the Combusken's lap, knocking down Kirlia. "Leader Ken's Soleil!" She turned to Kirlia. "You're Key!" Poochyena reared up proudly. "And I'm Hero!"
"That's right, Hero but until...you catch your tail, you can't call me that, okay?"
Poochyena nodded ardently and whispered as if she was being let in a big secret. "Okay. But—" She frowned, wagging her tail. "Leader Ken, yours is Combusken and Key is for opening locks...What does Hero mean?"
The young fowl thought about it, gazing at the shifting sky on water. "Bravery," she decided.
"Hero is bravery! Hero is bravery!" Poochyena sang then screeched to a halt. "Pack leader Ken!"
"What is it?"
"How about Soleil! What does Soleil mean?"
"I'll tell you if you catch your tail," said Combusken complacently.
Hero yipped and took up the challenge with much gusto, chasing after her tail much faster. The Emotion Pokemon looked incredulously at the Poochyena then to the Combusken.
"I'm for opening locks!"
Combusken nodded, an amused expression on her face. "Apparently so."
Some more time passed before either one spoke.
"Soleil?" said Psyche out loud.
"How is it that I may be able to call you by your nickname but no one else could, especially Rowen?"
The Combusken did not answer right away, so Psyche thought she must not have heard. The fowl leaned back on a wing, and put up a claw against her beak, contemplating.
"Because the others don't know. And because," she looked vaguely at Kirlia, "You remind me of myself. A living Torchic doll."
With that she got up and went to check on Hero, who had played dead from all the spinning that she did. But Kirlia stayed rooted to her place, her red eyes fully opened in bewilderment.
It was just then that the guys came back. There was a melodious trill and Swablu came floating down, holding something in his beak. The blue bird hovered in front of Kirlia's face but a night breeze blew away the unsuspecting creature. Poochyena had heard the trill and playfully chased the Swablu. The cotton bird flew lower then plopped on the puppy's head, like a cotton hat. Poochyena barked, asking something and the bird nodded. She yipped happily and opened her mouth expectantly. The bird fluttered above the open mouth—then immediately began swabbing the face; it was filthy from all that rolling around! The puppy shook him off, growling. Hero pointed to her mouth and Swablu dropped the object but not before Kirlia caught sight of it. A small, brown, heart-shaped candy.
So intense was her concentration that she didn't notice the arrival of the others. Kirlia swiveled her head just in time to see Zigzagoon brush off the bush leaves off himself and the plastic-covered package on his back. He walked little by little to the Combusken, who eyed him warily. He stopped in front of her and, almost embarrassed, took the package in his mouth and offered it like an expectant dog. Combusken stared at it disinterestedly. Zigzagoon's ears drooped, laid the package to the ground and walked dejectedly.
Kirlia's spirits dropped-she hated seeing anyone sad-but rose back quickly when she saw Combusken pick it up. She motioned to the raccoon, and he turn around to catch the young fowl look lost, as if not knowing to do with the darn thing. Zigzagoon sighed.
"You eat it," Zigzagoon said. "I didn't poison it, you know," he replied exasperatedly at the suspicious look Combusken gave. "Here lemme help you."
As they played tug-of-war with the plastic, Kirlia now saw that it was like the object that Swablu gave, only much bigger. It was a chocolate heart; only it has an eye…Kirlia gave a small gasp. It was actually a chocolate Luvdisc! Combusken, after tasting a little bit, began to wolf it down. Zigzagoon, back to his mischievous spirit, tried to snatch some bites but the Combusken wouldn't let him, leading to a haphazard game of tag.
A Luvdisc…thought Psyche. Hero had lain down to sleep with Swablu scrubbing away every speck of darn dirt. Soleil and Sly have even settled down and were earnestly finishing off the chocolate. She smiled sadly at the two. Did they even know what it meant? Hero got one, and so did Soleil but herself… The Kirlia turned away, unable to watch the scene of content when she collided into a black post.
She slowly turned up, looked up the black pant leg…and up the black tee and into the smiling face of her trainer. Rowen kneeled down and held out a shiny, chocolate Luvdisc.
"Here, this is for you."
Psyche slowly reached, not daring to believe it, her own Luvdisc! She took it in her arms and skimmed the surface sacredly, barely an inch thick; it was bigger than her body in width! She was too lost in the excitement of getting a Luvdisc to properly hear Rowen going on about the festival.
"…things cost a small fortune! But in the spirit of the festival, they said that we guys get it free if we have someone in mind to give it to. A girl, I mean! Something about expressing true feelings or something. Or just give it to a female you like." Rowen scratched his head apologetically. "Actually all the guys went to get one so they told me to get one too. But the guys who claimed their chocolates said really good stuff about the girl they're getting it for. (If you're a Pokemon, they wouldn't expect any words). I just couldn't think of any females I'd want to give it to—human females anyway—and then…" He looked so embarrassed and he was rambling. It was so cute, blushed Psyche. But the blushed faded away in shock of his next words.
"I suddenly thought of you."
Five simple words. But they meant so much to her.
"And when I told them your name, they told me it was really cute. So I kinda carried away and I told them real proudly, 'Not as cute as owner of the name!' I must've sounded stupid, judging from their goofy smiles. So sorry, dragging your name into this." He clasped his had in apology.
Psyche looked to the ground and shook her head, hugging the Luvdisc chocolate close to her chest.
"There…is no need for apology."
Rowen smiled and placed his hand on her head, almost touching the horns. "But know what, Psyche? I meant every word."
Her mouth went dry. Her heart was so fast. She was furiously blushing again. Time slowed for her and she wanted it to last…but a loud jarring sound suddenly ruined the atmosphere. She turned her head to the source. Ridiculous the Lotad was heatedly tearing apart the plastic and angrily devouring his chocolate.
When Gardevoir woke up, it was near dawn. Her heart was still racing from the dream, this time from her own memory. She touched her cheek. Hot. No doubt the blush was turning her cheeks dark green. She pulled her slender legs and relived her dream. Rowen had thought of her.
She was quite lost in her reverie but was abruptly brought back by the darkening of the room and a melodious shrill. As she opened her eyes, she met the sight of long-necked blue bird perching on the window, surrounded by clouds. It gave another shrill, sounding much like a (very) drunken soprano who managed to keep her beautiful voice.
"Rowen, my sweet, dear Rowen..." Altaria cried in a sing-song voice, swaying her head at every word. Gardevoir flinched. Why did they have to get the stuck-up, superficial Altaria? Why couldn't have Swablu stayed as his nice, sweet old self?
Her sweet, old self, corrected Psyche. They once had thought that Blues was male: he acted like one, spoke like one and sang fine sounding just like one. Then he had to go evolve as an eternally perky, air headed primadonna. Again, Rowen had not bothered to check the gender; so "Blues" the Swablu became "Aria" the Altaria.
"Oh...Sigh...Key..." Psyche flinched again. Aria just had to sing everything. She sighed the "Psy" part and sang the "Che" at a very high key. It was plain annoying. "Where…is...my dear...sweet...Roweeeennnn...?"
Psyche briefly related the story of their nephew, Solsly, and how Rowen is staying close by to him. As she was telling it, she felt a pang of guilt. She had wasted time dreaming and finding fault in herself and others when her dear nephew was still in the infirmary. The Altaria looked stricken for a moment before turning back to her perpetual happy face.
"Toooo...bad! I shall visit dear, sweet Sol, and sing...my...Doom Soooong!" Among the lot of them, only Altaria would call the Torchic, Sol. Gardevoir suspected it might be because Sol resembles the word song. How shallow could the Altaria be? And no way was she gonna let the loud mouth do any doom song!
"Oh, what do you want from Rowen?"
"To deliver a message...of love...From Hillareeeee!" Aria was left behind Lilycove, to act as a mail carrier between Rowen and his friends. Psyche was about to inquire why Hilary would send a love letter to their master when the smell of something burning filled the air.
"Oh dear, better go see..." merrily sang Aria. Gardevoir glared at her before teleporting downstairs to the kitchen, where something was definitely burning.
Aria waited a minute after the form of Gardevoir vanished before throwing himself on the bed. His happy face creased into a weary expression. The white ovals on his cheeks became black and he groaned as his wings became splotchy gray. He grimaced as he thought of the Gardevoir's expression just short while ago. Disdain for what he had become. Or to be truthful, what they thought he had become.
In terms of function, Altaria was truly male but in a way he's now female. When he had evolved, his illness fully manifested and his true persona was conquered by a light-headed double. He still had an idea of what was happening but he can't do anything about it. He didn't even tell his trainer about it. He could sometimes control his body but not only was it very tiring but it was effective for only a short while and just sped up the process. Letting his pseudo persona take charge was far easier on his body than struggling for control. In the end, it only slowed down his condition—not stop it completely. He could feel his slow demise—it was still his body after all. His mind was slowly killing him.
"And I never got to tell her how I felt…and now I won't be able to tell her, not with 'Aria' around." Black teardrops fell on the soft, white coverings and Blues hastily wiped the rest away. He won't be the coward anymore. But he wasn't blind either. Even so, before time is up, he would tell…nay…profess.
Feeling slightly better and having cleared his thoughts, Bluesy got ready to rest. He closed his eyes—the black ovals become white again, the stormy clouds became as pure as whitest cotton, and the pained face was replaced by the permanent plastic smile of happiness. The lovely Aria hopped to the window and took off, heading for Mossdeep's Pokemon Center.
A/N: Anything between them, Ri2? We definitely know Psyche has thing for Rowen but Rowen himself? Who knows? (Yeah, I do. But like I said before, subtlety has never been my strong point.) Try to see if you can get anything from this chapter. I've been trying to catch up on Latias' Journey and will review soon as our exams our over, which would be maybe this weekend.
Lots of relationships? You know, nightdragon0, you're right, they were a lot…and I didn't even notice. (And I wrote this thing!). Blaziken does have a nickname but back when she was a Combusken, she'd kicked Rowen if he used it. There was a time when Combusken let go of her anger and let Rowen and others use it but Rowen made a terrible mistake then it's back to attack-you-if-you-say-my-trainer-given-name.For now she lets Psyche use it because she reminds her of a "living Torchic doll."
Coincidence? No. Rowen thinks that he's using all female…
About the "living Torchic doll", Magician is like that too, so maybe Psyche and Magic might get along fine...
ShakirBBB: Sorry if my writing confuses you but I really appreciate the honest, critical review. That kind of thing doesn't come very often. (Blinks) There's humor in my fic? That's a relief. I don't do humor well.
"Their ways of attraction"? Would it detract from my fic if I tell everyone that their basis of attraction is completely superficial at first? No, scratch that one, that only applies to Magic and Hellbringer.
Original? (The Who-is-my-daddy part...well, everyone's gotta start somewhere) I thought there'd be dozens of fics telling the love story between two Pokemon of the same trainer…and the complicated relationships around them. But how would I know, I'm relatively new to the fanfiction scene of Pokemon. Are there stories of Original Trainers falling for their Pokemon out there? Just checking.
What would happen if Psyche and Soleil were to battle it out? Next: Blazing Emotions, The Sun Vs. The Soul