"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" –Walt Whitman


He was always in the same spot. The caverns were damp, dark; they smelled of must and magic, old magic. Odd patches of fire fungus glowed here and there on the walls, and their dim light cast shadows that danced to an unholy sonata; a festival to welcome the dead and decaying. Beyond them lay bottomless pools of water, ones that had no beginning and knew no end. Occasionally, through the darkness of the marias flashed a streak of silver-blue; the blink of moonlight against mercury. But then the moment passed, and the seas were once more empty, painfully empty. All but for the eyes, the eyes that were always watching from beyond the murky depths of the waters. She couldn't see them, but she knew. She had always known.

He never looked up at her approach. She never expected him to. Together, they looked out over the emptiness. The emptiness looked back at them with a "no-care" laugh, but they did not hear. They were listening to the siren's song. Honeyed voices spoke of noble deeds, of heights yet to be ascended, of the joy that was something new.

She knew what liars the voices were.

So many questions pleaded their cases during those sessions, so many alternate lives begging to be known. "Where do you come from?" "What was so horrible that you fled from nowhere to steal a defenseless creature because you had to begin again?" "Why do I keep finding you, or is it that you keep finding me?" "Where do you go?" "Why are you still here?" And last, and always, "What is your name, stranger?"

And in the end, she asked nothing at all. But there was always such wondering.

She had no liking for him. One would think that after all this time, all this war, there would finally be a hand extended in an offering of truce; but both held fast to stony silence. There would be no forbidden tryst, not even a chance at friendship. No, she did not think she much liked his company at all. And yet she still returned to that place, every Tuesday and Thursday. She didn't know why. Perhaps this was the thing that her mother had once spoken of, The Ties That Bind.

And though many resisted, all were tied…

There was always a distance between the two. Only a few feet, but in that watchful place a few feet were all that mattered. And yet she would often turn and look at him. She'd look at the tattered red jacket, the pale legs lacerated with scratches from needles and bramble, the hopelessly tangled scarlet mane. The wicked eyes that were no longer intimidating, only tired and sad. She would look at him, and wonder what had gone so wrong.

Together they sat while the universe held its breath, in that place that had fallen back into timelessness. There were questions that burst at their seams to be asked, there were answers that desperately needed saying. But it was all right, these two could wait. The battle was over. They had time. They had all the time in the world.

Once, only once, he broke it. His voice was hoarse from disuse. "Why do you keep coming here?"

The truth spoke itself. "You're the only one I have left." So many meanings, so many things that could not bring themselves to be said. These seven words did their best to speak them all.

His expression did not change. "The only one what?"

Nor did hers, but the words laughed at themselves. "If we knew that. Wouldn't we be somewhere then."

Someday, she would ask his name. Someday, Someday, they both lived for Someday.


Author's Note: This is a bizarre one-shot about the girl main-character in Pokemon Crystal, and the red-haired rival. The first time I played that game, and the policeman asked what his name was, I thought it was serious in that his name was , so I called him that. I did that for about five different games, until I finally figured out that yes, it was okay to call him something else. But by then, he was , nothing else would do. It's always bothered me that we never find out anything about him. Where he came from, what is he doing here. I've had this idea for a few weeks now, and I can't remember how it got to me in the first place. Yes, this takes place in the Dragon's Den, after she's battled him for the final time. You can find him there on Tuesdays and Thursday (or so I've been told).