Disclaimer: I don't own em, never will.
Author's Note: A sequel to last year's "Live It Up". Of course, after seeing the Groudon/Kyorge two-parter, I figured to give a stab at handing some closure over the sordid mess. Special thanks go to Alter Ego of the Pokemon Community forums for being the only one to acknowledge (and liking) the prior story, so this one is for you, kid. As for the naming issues, go check the Author's Note of "Live". Since this is an actual songfic, I suggest moseying to my Mediaminer profile for the official lyric-lanced version.
Beta: Busy at the moment, unfortunately.
Timeline: A few hours after "The Scuffle of Legends".
The sunset loomed overhead on Monsu Island. Both of its current occupants, Maxie, the leader of the organization known as Team Magma, and his second-in-command, Field Commander Harlan, ventured off in their respective ruminations of the colossal face-off of the Legendaries Groudon vs. Kyorge. Maxie had an epiphany in the battle and realized the truth: man cannot dictate the power of nature. As for the imminent fate of the organization and its agenda, the Magma Boss was noncommittal but Harlan could ascertain that the death knell was about to be performed.
"Harlan, are you going to be alright?" Maxie tenderly probed. Unlike the condescending arrogance of Giovanni of Team Rocket or the grandiosity of Archie of Team Aqua, Maxie was a dissimilar type of leader: compassionate towards his agents and flexible to the grander picture, while retaining a strapping image.
"Yes, sir. I was merely lost in thought."
He bobbed his head at the subordinate. "Well, we should go round up the rest of the agents."
"Sir, with your permission, I'd like to stay here to reflect but if you need me to assist you, I will serve." Harlan remained steadfast in his position on the cliff.
"No, I'm fine. I can handle things myself. I'll contact you when we're assembled." His leader briefly gripped his shoulder in reassurance and then departed. The Field Commander narrowed his eyes and commenced with his considerations.
'I know Maxie was right about the Legendaries' uncontrollable power but it is still a hard pill to swallow. After devoting two years of my life to this goal, it just suddenly ends. What's the adage? "Not with a bang, but with a whimper"? Given the conclusion — the Red Orb just arbitrary removing itself out of Archie — I have to agree.'
He darted his eyes for his competition: the rival Team Aqua's leader and its own delegate, Archie and Isabel respectively. They accompanied the Magma duo in the brouhaha but were absent in the aftermath. It was irrelevant, for he had larger concerns to tend.
'Hm. I'm sure those two have their own pondering to do, so I shouldn't worry about them. Curious about Isabel, though. Granted, I normally don't care for her, but now that we'll probably both be out of a job soon, or I will be, I can only conjecture what she'll do in the meantime. Just one of a million questions for me.'
Like the Field Commander of Team Magma, Team Aqua's Tactical Commander/Captain Isabel was also meandering in her cogitation as she and Archie ambled further into the island.
'So much for my bravado. After all the courage I mustered up on the Boss about going on this mission and proving the world of my abilities, I lose it all, thanks to my boss' obsessions and possessions by the Red Orb, by Groudon's power, by the grace of God.' She eyed her somber superior hiking beside her. 'At least he is safe. Unfortunately, I don't know what will happen next: if I'm getting fired or I'm still maintaining the mission in another way. I don't know.' Her peripheral vision gazed at the ocean.
"Isabel?" Archie rumbled out in his notched voice.
'I'm sure Harlan is having similar thoughts: what's going to happen next? I wonder how he is taking today's events. Is he taking it as hard as I am? I saw him before, yet I didn't have a chance to speak to him, pity. I so wanted to resolve our glorious rivalry.
'I know his boss, Maxie, had an epiphany during the mêlée about realizing the errors of his ways with Groudon, so Harlan might be out of a job. Curious, at least my own leader hasn't declare that — giving us the upper hand in our turf war — but after his possession by the Red Orb, I don't know what to think. He was disoriented, but that is passing.'
"Apologies, sir. I was lost in thought."
"Understandable. I noticed you keeping an eye over there every now and then." The young woman's visage appeared flush.
"Yes, sir. Permission to speak freely?"
"Oh, drop the military theatrics, Captain."
She slackened her posture. 'It's becoming clear: I need to see Harlan before we both move on with our lives. I think I need the closure before the other shoe drops from either organization. Except, how can I leave Archie and how to word the request? I suppose I should be honest to a degree and let my natural ability to act carry it along.'
"Right. Anyway, I have concerns about a specific Team Magma agent: their Field Commander, Harlan. He and I have a history together and after this change in events with Kyorge and Groudon, I feel that…it would be a perfect opportunity to end our rivalry once and for all. Therefore, I'd like permission to pursue him before he leaves Monsu Island. However, I won't leave your side since you're still recovering from your possession of the Red Orb."
The Aqua Boss frivolously waved his hand. "I'm fine. I wouldn't be much of a ruler of the sea if every little thing got me down."
"But sir, you lost your faculties, fell off your airpod, and nearly drowned."
"Minor details. I can hike the rest of the way and gather the agents while you stall and/or capture him and we can use him to our advantage." The man was absorbed in his scheming.
'Normally, I'd be thrilled to be the one to do that, yet I don't want to, anymore. Have I lost more than I thought?'
"I'm on my way, sir. Are you sure you're going to be…?" His minion was ready to scamper away.
"Yes, yes. Go! Get him for the glory of Team Aqua!" He pumped his clenched fist.
'I love that man's histrionic streak.' Isabel admired her chief as she scurried across the island.
Harlan watched intently the rippling waters enveloping the island. It was a paradoxical tranquility, given his recent experiences within the eye of Kyorge's induced hurricanes. He immersed himself into his musings.
'I hate to admit it, but I am enjoying the serenity here. What is stirring these feelings inside of me: is it Maxie's moral about the power of nature? Or is it having what I wanted — the rise of Groudon — explode in my face? Or is it having Maxie ready to reconsider everything and renounce all we've done? I believe that is what is gnawing at me most of all.
'After allying with Team Magma, I had what I was searching for: a position where I would provide help and comfort to the world. Despite some of the…questionable actions I had to undertake to achieve it, the ends would have justified the means. I don't see nations dealing much with the overpopulation problem or providing any relief. Those fools were simply not seeing the problem through or conceding too quickly.
'Or in some cases, they add further complications, such as Team Rocket and Aqua. The Rockets only carry on human greed, and while they want world conquest, they don't harbor illusions about repairing the world's problems from what I can tell. Aqua, on the other hand, deludes itself, into believing it can solve the world's problems by straightforward global domination. Therefore, they are the most dangerous, and dare say almost cult-like.'
He rather noted on his uniform. 'Not that I should talk. Nonetheless, in spite of my issues with Aqua, they are colorful adversaries, like with Isabel and her dramatic delivery and melodramatic image. She amuses me in a perverse way. Ironic, considering I'm in a life that can't afford much amusement, only professionalism, which I strive to maintain.
'I'm actually going to miss her now. Perhaps that is why I am brooding. That, or I've grown accustomed to both her and my lifestyle and it's a fear of change being drawn out of me. It is broad as it is long.
'Either way, I have my work cut out for me as not many people will hire a former — would I be considered a terrorist or just plain criminal? I do not believe I am classified as that — agent of Team Magma and I doubt the Global Police will be hiring. There is always freelance or being a Pokémon hunter and use my professionalism as there are no regulations. Of course, there is always working in the nine-to-five businesses, since I have never been arrested, so, I have no criminal record as far as the legal world knows. At least there are possibilities.
'I hope the other agents can find other work, such as Maxie. The man deserves more than this disgrace. Once I'm established in whatever job I choose, maybe I can do something for the man. I wonder if anyone else on the island is having these thoughts or questioning themselves as I am.'
His mind flared with deliberation. 'Well, I'm sure one other certainly is and that is the third time I've thought about her. Why? I don't think it's not attraction, or is it something else? Hm.'
The wind faintly rustled as he sensed another presence in the rear locale.
"I'm in a generous mood at the moment, so I suggest you cease your spying and quickly run back to where you came from, before I sic my Mightyena on you. Otherwise, prepare to be disemboweled," he proclaimed.
"Ugh, Harlan, when I said 'be colorful with your introductions', I didn't say 'be graphic'," Isabel reproached as she advanced near him. His back was to the impending Aqua affiliate.
'Speak of the devil.' "What do you want, Isabel? This isn't the best time." His tone was his "all-business" character.
"I figured with the temporary trace between our respective organizations, it would be a good time to have a word with you. I just want to talk, no Battle today."
He faced her. "Really? Just as well, as I'd thrash you again."
"That Battle on Mt. Chimney was a draw."
"Then, why did you recall your Pokémon?" he mischievously sneered.
"Because I believed that recalling was the better tactic. I am Team Aqua's Tactical Commander, you know."
"They best reconsider their training methods."
"I think you better take that back, or I'll create a world of pain for you." She flailed her fist at him.
"'World of pain'? Oh, Isabel, you and your over-the-top delivery. And quoting Giovanni doesn't rack points with me either." He nodded his head in disapproval.
"What? It works! Or, it will, when I…" She whipped out a Poké Ball.
"You said you wanted to talk, so talk. I'm not up for a Battle at the moment." He revolved away from her.
The female combatant blinked in astonishment. "Well, fine, but it would have served you right for goading me."
Harlan rolled his eyes. "I could just say 'whatever' to you for that, but I don't want to lower my standards."
Without a beat, she quipped, "I didn't even know you had standards."
"Ha. Ha. You have something to say besides the scathing banter?"
She sidled up next to him. "No. Actually, I wanted to know how you were feeling in the aftermath of the battle…, you jerk."
"Let's just say I have a lot to think about," he avowed in his sober tenor.
She slumped down her shoulders. "I'm sure you do — I heard your fearless leader's monologue about being unable to harness the power of Groudon. Sounds you might be out of a job."
"If you're happy about it, then, say it. Don't hide behind niceties, Isabel. It doesn't suit you," he snarled.
"I'm not. Because I'm thinking the same thing with myself. I sense Archie's own epiphany coming down the pike. It's just a matter of time."
"I thought he was too busy in his megalomania and killing his own people to care," the Magma deputy snorted.
The Tactical Commander was not certain which stunned her more: Harlan's comment or the fact her leader was indeed ready to engulf all his underlings into a watery grave. "I'd retort but I'm paralyzed with rage right now," she fumed.
He clucked his tongue whilst he folded his arms. "You never stop with the histrionics, do you?"
"If you keep insulting me like this, you'll see for yourself what I won't stop in…"
"If you want a duel, I have a gauntlet handy. However, this bickering is rather pointless."
"It's fun, though," she chimed. His only response was an effortless glower.
"Anyway, don't worry; the whole sordid incident has left me to think as well," the redhead remorsefully remarked.
He elevated an eyebrow. "About what?"
"The aftermath, if I'm getting fired, or the fact my swelled up bravado went the way with Kyorge. Take your pick."
"Yes, I remembered your email subject stated how 'Groudon shall sink into the waters.' It technically did as Kyorge pulled it in the ocean, but that doesn't have the same dramatic effect," his smirk then modified to a wistful smile. "You know, I'm going to miss this job. I thought I was making a real difference in the world," the male stated despondently.
"So, was I; doing what we do for the good of humanity, even if they couldn't appreciate it."
"Our sparring matches and our endless pursuits of trying to top the other."
"Indeed. It's the end of an era. We've spent two years clashing with each other and now…" The Aqua agent trailed off.
"Now we get real jobs, or work in other rival organizations, except I don't see ourselves working for Team Rocket or the incompetent Global Police."
"Well, we could always pool our resources and work in a, uh, flower shop, except you'd be rather conspicuous with your sneers and gruff demeanor. Unless I get you all dolled up, plus it would be a perfect way to conceal yourself if you're going underground. I know your agent, Brody, cross-dressed, so, it's not like it's anything too shocking. What say you, 'Tabitha'?" the female sniggered.
"Bite your tongue," The Magma delegate spat.
"I think it would be perfect."
"You would. And maybe we can do something about the giant pile of fluff you call hair."
Isabel was flabbergasted. "My hair is perfect."
"It looks like you dunked your head in a cotton candy machine."
"I…I…" Her rejoinder would not occur as she detected a twinge of a beam on his lips.
"Are you smiling?" she gasped.
"It's only a twitch."
"No, that's a smile — you're smiling, Harlan," she humorously reproved.
"That is debatable," he harrumphed.
"Oh, please, you're enjoying yourself. Admit it." The Captain wagged her gloved finger.
'I suppose I can't deny the fact. Silly Aqua woman.' "Well…"
"You're having fun, too," he jeered.
"Yeah," her epiphany boiled to the surface. "Yeah, I am. I am just as surprised as you are."
"Indeed, Tactical Commander."
"Stop being so dispassionate and serious. You need to enjoy yourself every once and while. Why do you think I am so over-the-top — as you claim, even though I think you're quite capable of it, too — with my job?" she posed.
"Because you enjoy being the drama whore?" he irreverently jibed.
"Since I'm in a good mood, I'll let that go. Nevertheless, Harlan, loosen up before you explode. You've certainly deserved the right to play. You can't beat the crusade drum every day, you know."
'Beat the crusade drum? She was always one for a phrase.' "Hm. That is your opinion." He haughtily hoisted his nose up.
"Field Commander, you're not fooling anyone."
After a moment elapsed, the moon materialized in the sky. "I suggest you get going. Maxie will be returning with my comrades sooner or later." He monitored the mountaintop.
"And I should be going, too. Although, in order to get here, I had to tell Archie I was going to capture you." Her countenance reddened like her curls.
He flaunted a supercilious grin. "Then, you best give him something," Harlan striped off his garnet cloak and paraded his mauve hair. "A trophy. Just lie and say it was all you could grab, until I can ready to fake my own death, that is."
He presented the mantle to her. "Harlan, I…"
"You're wasting time, Tactical Commander." He tapped his wrist with his index finger in a timepiece gesture.
"I'll see you later, then, Harlan. Meet me at the flower shop." She scuttled off.
'He never ceases to amaze me.'
He evoked a minor chuckle as she was out of view. 'She never ceases to amaze me.'
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