Summer's Dying Days
by Jedi Amara
Author's Note: This is one of the stories written in the first half of 2005 that I am currently archiving on FFN. For once, characters aren't named after famous musicians, although you could imagine they were if you wanted - although I can't think of any with those names. (OK, fine, maybe I can think of Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand... but he's not named after him.) The story's short. Surely you've realised by now that I don't usually write super-long oneshots.
This story received second place in the Melbourne Anime Festival 2005 fanfiction contest, and a Standard of Excellence award from the Pokémon Community's Frostweaver.
Disclaimers: I don't own Pokémon or any related names/indicia. I own my OCs.
Warnings: Rated PG for 'adult' themes.
Spelling/Language: Australian ('-our', '-tre'). Autumn is the season known as 'fall' in some parts of the world.
The room was white, sterile, stark. A shape lay silently on the low cot; by now, it was fading away, almost ethereal. He sat beside his friend, watching, waiting. He was beyond tears, too tired to let emotion swamp him. Outside the shaded window, the sun still shone on the Bellossom, the Butterfree still frolicked among the white-flowered bushes, but in the room there was only the darkness within that light.
Nurse Joy emerges from the operating theatre, a serious look on her usually smiling face. She twists a strand of her hair around her index finger.
"Alexander, I'm afraid I have some bad news for you," she starts, nervously.
"Chansey! Chansey," says her Chansey, but it is something even Chansey's miraculous egg cannot help.
"We found a malignant tumour next to Linoone's spine. It's inoperable," she tells him. Alexander looks confused.
"I'm sorry. Linoone has cancer."
Alexander makes an odd noise, almost a bitten-off sob, and runs from the Pokémon Centre, into the sunshine outside.
She finds him there later, sitting on the edge of the fountain, bathed in rays of light from the dying sun.
"Nurse Joy told me," she says softly. He turns away, stares into the sunset.
"You need to talk about it. It'll help."
Alexander glances into the water, picking at his fingernails.
"Why now?" he asks finally, bleakly.
The days were getting shorter now. Soon it would be autumn, with the dead leaves forming a glorious red carpet to cover the ground.
Dead leaves... Linoone always loved to play in those leaves, burying itself under a layer of them, running through to leave the carpet rippling in its wake.
Linoone was still awake, although barely there. Does it know what's happening to it? he wondered, hoping it didn't.
"I won! I won," crows his opponent, but Alexander has eyes for no one other than his best friend, his partner. It seems that Linoone is unable to move, and he is worried. He scoops it into his arms, though it's near as big as he is, and runs for the nearest Pokémon Centre. Emily follows him, leaving the other trainer shouting curses after the two children.
Patients should not be touched, he knew, but there was nothing more that touching could do to Linoone. Nothing was worse than this slow diminishing of the friend that he had known, now clinging to the last vestiges of life. Reaching out, he laid a hand on Linoone's head, and was rewarded with what could pass for a smile.
On a whim, he stood, tugged at the string, letting the sun shine through the west-facing window. It lit the flaccid form on the cot, making it seem more alive than it had for a long time. Sinking into the hard chair, he sat and simply stroked the soft fur.
Zigzagoon runs by his side, touching one point, then another on the other side of the path, creating an endearingly jagged pattern...
Zigzagoon runs at a Wurmple, knocking it off its feet with a Headbutt...
Zigzagoon plays happily in the mud, splashing it all over Alexander and Emily; they look at each other and laugh...
A white light that comes from the inside - Zigzagoon glows, and changes shape...
Linoone jumps up, places its paws on his shoulders, chattering gleefully...
Linoone smashes a rock, giggling at the Shuckle that pokes its head out...
Linoone dances among the autumn leaves...
...the dead leaves...
...summer is gone.
Linoone sighed slightly, summoned some great effort to lift a front leg. They touched once again, hand to paw; then Linoone expelled a final breath, and was gone.
He stared out the window, into the rich sunset; the sun fell beyond the horizon, ready to return in the morning.
A single note sounded from the heart monitor, and held. He took the cord in one hand, pulled.