Disclaimer: I do not own Hikari, Shinji, or the Pocket Monsters (Pokemon) series in general. It belongs to Satoshi Tajiri, Nintendo, and Shogakukan Inc. All I own is this story and I do not make any money off of it. This is just for fun!
Author's Notes: My first attempt at a ShinHika (Ikarishipping) fanfiction. It is written from two point-of-views, Hikari's and Shinji's. This uses the Japanese names and terms, so I'll give you a run-down.
Hikari : Dawn
Reiji: Paul's older brother, who, as of yet, has not appeared in any English dub episodes
Yumomi: Another one of Dawn's childhood friends, like Kenny. She went to school with her.
Monsterball : Pokeball
I hope you enjoy! Please read and review.
Hikari watched as Satoshi ran over to Shinji, yelling out a challenge in his usual hotheaded way, to which Shinji responded coolly in his usual manner. A short taunt and a promise to prove to the other how much he had improved later, the battle had started.
Ever since that incident in Kurogane, Hikari had been annoyed with Shinji. And in her opinion, more than was necessary.
Shinji always remembered Satoshi (as the boy with the Pikachu who knew Volt Tackle, but remembered him nonetheless). Shinji had never remembered her. And it bothered her to an annoying extent. Why should she care about what Shinji thinks anyway?!
After she had gotten out of her slump and back into Contests, it had returned to strength. It was always there, at the back of her mind, nagging her, and coming to the forefront whenever Shinji was around.
She blinked, hurtling back to reality when she realized the battle had ended. Satoshi had lost, once again.
She got up and walked over to Satoshi. 'Satoshi, are you alright?'
'Yeah,' he said, unconvincingly. He didn't mask his emotions as well as she did; if Satoshi was upset, everybody could tell.
But luckily, Satoshi was just as bad at staying sad. He then lifted his head, smiled at his companions, and swore to train twice as hard from now on to beat Shinji.
Shinji, who she noticed still hadn't left though his back was turned, muttered about how useless people always remain useless, no matter what.
Without thinking, Hikari walked right over to Shinji and challenged his way of thinking.
'Hey! Shinji! I want to ask you a question!'
He blinked, then slowly turned, with a confused look on his face, as if the very idea that the snow-cap girl being capable of intelligible speech beyond 'Satoshi! Good luck! Satoshi! Where's Satoshi?!' had never crossed his mind. He glanced towards his self-proclaimed rival just to make sure he was still around. Now, what could this girl possibly want…?
'Why do you always release your Pokemon if they lose?' she asked, cheerily.
'It's because they're useless and I have no need for Pokemon who always fail and never win.'
'Oh, really?' she continued to smile, though on the inside, she was seething at his explanation. If that were true, she would have given up on Contests a long time ago… 'But ne, Shinji, they can improve!'
'You're just like him,' he made a sound akin to laughter. 'I can see why you're his tag-along.'
Keeping the cheery and bubbly act was becoming harder by the second, but she promised herself not to blow up this time…
'So what you're saying is,' she said. 'If somebody is always losing, that means they're useless and improving is impossible.'
'Then I have a suggestion for you!' she clapped her hands together.
She could hear Satoshi and Takeshi walking over. She smirked inwardly.
'You should just give up being a Trainer and dump yourself in a ditch somewhere, since I saw you lose to the Champion, Shirona-san! Remember?'
Shinji blinked. '… Now, listen, you loser… I don't 'dump off' all of my Pokemon… if they've proven themselves capable of winning and have an off-day, I can forgive them that…'
'Wow! So you've been winning from the beginning of your journey, huh? That's incredible!'
Shinji had no comeback, but he was seething.
'My name is Hikari!' she said with a wave before running off to join her friends.
Shinji was not entirely sure what had just happened, but he didn't think it was worth bothering with.
The next time Satoshi and friends encountered Shinji was en route to the next town for Gym battles and a Pokemon Contest.
After some arguing between Satoshi and Shinji, the second had left with another scathing remark, which only served to further encourage the first to train.
It was then that Hikari broke off from the group and ran over to Shinji.
Just as the boy was turning around, she thrust a monterball in his face. 'I challenge you to a Pokemon battle!'
He blinked in surprise and then smirked. 'What a waste of time.'
Hikari did not retreat, so he stepped back calmly so he was not blinded by the red-white sphere. 'I've already won before we even start. You're just a pathetic Coordinator,' he said the word in a mocking tone, probably finding the very concept of a Pokemon Contest laughable.
Hikari grew even more annoyed, but she would not back down. 'So you have no excuse to run away from a battle!'
This annoyed him, she could tell, so he reached into his pocket for one of his own.
He hurled the monsterball into the air. 'Finish this, Dodaitose.'
A white beam of energy shot out from the ball, the energy twisting and growing larger to form the shape of the large Continent Pokemon. Shinji's Shinnou starter and the strongest of his Shinnou team, and the one he used when facing off against the Champion of Shinnou herself. Only then did Hikari falter somewhat.
'Listen. Just in case you thought I was taking you seriously,' he said, looking her in the eye. 'I'm not. I just want to end this quickly. Three-on-three, no switching until the Pokemon is unable to battle, the one with the overall victory wins.'
She glared. 'Yeah, well, we'll see about that!'
Reaching into her pocket, she thought worriedly to herself. Pachirisu, Mimirol, Pochama… all of them would look like insects in front of such a scary opponent… but Pochama has gone against the odd several times. Besides, size isn't all that important. She would weaken it by tiring it out with Pachirisu, then Mimirol, and Pochama would take care of the rest.
She threw out her monsterball, 'Pachirisu, go!'
Pachirisu hopped down, eyes closed, darting from place to place before smacking into Dodaitose's massive tree trunk of a leg.
'Pachi!' it cried out, opening its eyes to glare at the 'tree.' Then it blanched and moved back. 'Pachiiii…'
'Pachirisu, don't worry!' she said and felt her cheeks flare up as Shinji laughed again. 'Here, I'll give you some Poffin.'
He repeated poffin in a mocking tone of voice and she became even more determined to win.
Two rounds later and Dodaitose was still standing tall, Pachirisu was knocked out, Mimirol had managed to confuse itself, and Pochama was still standing out of sheer willpower alone.
'You should just recall your Pokemon and call it a day. You're not impressing anyone.'
Still, she did not consider this a failure. She was actually finding this whole experience very informative. Through her battle with Shinji, she had learned two things that were integral to his character.
The first being that Shinji loved winning. The second was that Shinji hated losing, above all else. Now, she knew that from watching him fight others, Satoshi especially, but she had never known to the same extent that she did now from battling him.
Pochama put all the strength it had left into a final Whirlpool (which had such an effect on the Half-Ground Type, she almost thought she was winning this last round), then it promptly passed out.
'Thank you, Pochama,' she sighed, recalling it.
'You did great, Hikari!' Satoshi finally spoke up.
'You really did,' Takeshi said, putting a hand on her shoulder.
She smiled slightly. 'Thanks guys…'
'Now, are you going to waste my time any longer, or can I just leave?' Shinji asked, irritably.
'Hm? Oh, you can leave-- just one more thing! My name is Hikari!'
Shinji stepped out of the Gym after obtaining his newest badge, only to find that annoying blue penguin thing waddling over to him.
Its shoulders were hunched more than usual, the color of its cheeks were more of a purple than blue, and it had on its face the look of someone whose pride had just been gravely injured. 'Pocha!' it demanded, sticking out one small flipper.
Shinji stopped walking, allowing the Pochama to come closer. It was then that he realized it also had a sickly-sweet scent practically radiating from it, and even the mild weather and the soft breeze blowing had only managed to carry the smell right over to him.
Shinji covered his nose, the word 'decorum' now meaningless; he just wanted to block out the smell.
'Pocha!' it cried again, before turning around, revealing some horrible pink lines on its back. At first, Shinji had thought that the Pochama was diseased and had broken out into blisters, so he moved away to avoid being contaminated by whatever it carried, but then he caught the glimmer and came closer. The smell was coming from the glittery fluorescent pink ink on its back.
Shinji hated being ordered around by this stupid arrogant bird. He realized he didn't have to take orders from a Pokemon of all things. 'You've got this all wrong,' he didn't care about his voice being muffled by his sleeve. 'I'm the human, you're the Pokemon. I'm the master, you're the servant. Now let's put what we've learned into action here by following orders. Move.'
'POCHAMAAAA!' it whipped around to face him again, blowing a stream of bubbles in his face.
Shinji stumbled backwards, tripping on the steps leading into the Gym (he could have sworn he heard giggles from the bushes) and falling unceremoniously on his behind, but at least he was out of the range of fire.
'Fine, I'll look at your stupid message!' he yelled at it and hoped that nobody was around.
It stopped, closing its beak, and waddling over, climbing up the steps before sitting in front of him.
The smell was much stronger now and Shinji was willing himself not to vomit. It was some synthetic nausea-inducing aroma that one couldn't tell it was supposed to be a 'flowery' scent unless it was written on the container. He briefly wondered what the stomachs of the girls who bought these pens were built out of before focusing on the message.
'My name is Hikari' was written in bold glittery pink non-toxic ink.
For a moment, there was an unpenetrable stillness as Shinji sat, dumb-founded at the tattooed Pochama and only the sound of the breeze rustling the leaves of the nearby trees was heard.
'Get away from me!'
Shinji got up and stomped off, while his eleven year old mind conjured up images of an evil-grinning Hikari laughing manically as she plotted a diabolical plan to murder Shinji by way of sickly-sweet perfumed messages.
As soon as Shinji had left, Pochama sprung to its feet, overjoyed that its role of makeshift-note had ended, and ran into the bushes.
Hikari, who was applying the last of the ointment onto her peck-marked cheeks, threw up her hands in defense, waving them frantically. 'No more, no more!'
She caught the bird and hugged it, while Pochama, ego bruised and battered, cried into her chest, flippers waving frantically.
'It'll wash off, I promise!'
She sighed to herself. She had wanted to use Mimirol, but she was so tired from the Contest that she had fallen asleep wearing mama's dress and Hikari didn't want to destroy it by writing on it or risk waking her up. Pachirisu wouldn't sit still long enough for Hikari to write anything, so how could she expect it to stand still long enough for Shinji to read what was written?
'You were my only choice. Come on, let's get you cleaned up…'
By that point, it had become almost ritualistic; whenever Hikari wasn't competing in a Pokemon Contest, training to compete in a Pokemon Contest, or watching Satoshi take part in a battle, she was plotting, planning, and writing.
For she never knew when they might come across Shinji, so she had to always be prepared.
She was going to make him remember her if it was the last thing she ever did! That was what she vowed, so long ago, in the heat of the moment, after screaming at him in Kurogane.
Even she could tell that Shinji was starting to remember her. As soon as he parted ways with Satoshi, he would walk slower than usual, glancing not-so-discreetly this way and that, expecting her to show up. She always did, but never in the way he had expected. The only recurring theme was Pokemon. She only ever made contact or communicated with him through Pokemon. Commenting on his training method, sending Pokemon as impromptu messengers, talking while a Pokemon battle rages on (their own or her commenting while he fights)… never without Pokemon. That was the one and only rule that she had never broken.
She didn't know when or how, but it had transformed from being about Hikari and her obsession with being remembered and not forgotten, to becoming about Shinji and understanding him...
How someone could be so cruel and not be bothered by it, nor even see what he was doing wrong, quite honestly, disturbed her. And the more they interacted, the more she saw of Shinji.
And the more she saw of Shinji, the more human he seemed to be.
Shinji as just that heartless creature, Hikozaru's old abusive Trainer, and Satoshi's mean rival, was somehow a more comforting thought to entertain than to see him as Shinji, the Pokemon Trainer.
He had dreams, goals, and aspirations, just like any Trainer. He fought winning and losing battles, he challenged Gym Leaders, and he even challenged the Shinnou region's champion. He was a Trainer, like her, like Satoshi, and like Takeshi.
He also trained his Pokemon. But his training was unimaginably strict and cold, no words of encouragement, only yelling and shouting, and 'do this,' 'do that,' and 'you're not trying hard enough,' even though even she could see that they were doing their best.
But Shinji, he viewed it all as necessary so that won't become 'soft' and 'spoiled.'
While thinking of that, she looked down at Pochama, sleeping calmly in her lap, and she knew she could never treat her Pokemon that way. She stroked its head with the very tips of her fingers and the bird let out a soft 'pochaa' and shifted to a more comfortable position.
She used to wonder if he even knew what feelings were and what it was like to feel for someone else. If he hadn't had emotions and really was a heartless creature, that would have been easier to understand. But, as Hikari was starting to realize, the real world wasn't that simple.
Now she was starting to understand what Satoshi had said to Shinji when Hikozaru used Blaze again. She was also starting to understand why Satoshi yelled at those kids who laughed at Shinji after he lost to Shirona-san.
She was also starting to understand why he had gotten so emotional each time, taking everything so personally, that even Shinji still couldn't understand.
Because Satoshi saw so much of himself in Shinji, that it scared him.
For all her teasing of Satoshi and comments about how 'uncool' he was for hiding his unkempt hair with a hat, she had always respected and looked up to him. She didn't think anything really scared him until now.
And she was starting to feel that same fear too.
She also saw him from another view, this one even scarier than even the heartless creature and the Trainer combined. She saw him as Shinji, the kid.
With the heartless creature, she could feel pure and unrelated to him, except by some distant genetics (he was of the same species, but she wouldn't call him human). With the Trainer, at least, she could say he wasn't a Coordinator, thus they were different. But as a kid, the gap was so uncomfortably tiny; it was nothing but a silly crack she would be called crazy for even mentioning.
Shinji was a kid. A kid who thought that in order to become strong, one must have a natural talent for it, and nothing was to be gained from determination; a kid that didn't see why it was wrong to hurt others for his own gains; a kid that couldn't understand the pain of others, or why he should even care about what others went through.
Despite everything, he was a kid. She was too, now that she thought about it. Satoshi was one too, though Takeshi was much older.
He complained about his brother's embarrassing antics, he called him rude names when they fought, which he didn't have to apologize for (they both just got over it, no strings attached, and then it was forgotten), and he wanted to prove himself to a world of adults who didn't care. Trainers had all the privileges of adults, but were also expected to carry the responsibilities and endure so much, that it was as if they had forgotten that they were still, underneath it all, just kids.
That he was the same as her; a human, a Pokemon Trainer, and a kid. That was the scariest thing about Shinji.
Hikari spent so much time observing, so little time plotting and planning, that she was beginning to forget her initial goal, heavily interested in what was once simply her friend's enigmatic rival, now her personal pastime.
With that in mind, Hikari planned her last. And this time, she wasn't going to hide behind her Pokemon. She wasn't going to hide behind her own excuses.
'Hey, Hikari!' Yumomi grinned, clapping an open-hand on her more timid friend's back. 'Kya! Oh, hi, Yumomi!'
'Sorry I got you in trouble back in class like that,' Yumomi rubbed the back of her head, laughing nervously. 'It's fine for me, but I guess you'd like a more spotless record, huh? Say, you're gonna be a trainer, aren't you?'
'Oh, it's okay! Yeah, I am!' Hikari said cheerily.
'Well, you gotta toughen up a bit more, but you know what? I really think you can do it! You have what it takes. Say, you got my note, you know, the one that got you in trouble?'
'Note?' Hikari asked. 'It was a blank piece of paper, that's why the teacher let us go after yelling at us, isn't it?'
'Nope! You see… just hold it up to the light like this,' Yumomi demonstrated and then, Hikari realized, the paper wasn't blank. Strange brown-orange writing made itself apparent when the light shone through.
'Wow, Yumomi! How did you do that!'
'Easy, you just take some lemon juice, and dip a toothpick in it…'
Hikari giggled at the memory from fourth grade as she sat up in her seat, putting the finishing touches on the last of her four letters. Then she blushed slightly as she picked up the toothpick and dipped it into the juice. She wrote a secret message on the fourth letter, before she set it out to dry.
Shinji was taking a break, so he returned to his hometown of Tobari.
As soon as his foot hit the grass, he was blind-sided by a frontal assault courtesy of his loving brother.
'Shinji, you made it!'
Arms flung around him and squeezed him tightly, Shinji gasping for air as he felt his eyes threatening to pop right out of his skull. 'A-Ani…!'
'Hm? What's that, Shinji?' Reiji said, cheerily, before slowly setting him down (Shinji hadn't noticed his feet had left the ground due to the air being forcefully expelled from his lungs).
Reiji finally ended the hug, releasing his brother. Shinji tried to stand tall, but he couldn't manage, dizzy from lack of oxygen. He put a hand on his knee while he tried to catch his breath.
Reiji was going to kill him one of these days, he knew it…
'Aniki,' he said, calling Reiji by the same term for 'brother' he always used. 'You're going to--'
Before Shinji could say another word, his brother had thrust something white in his face, overwhelming both his eyes and his nose in that one simple action.
His stomach turned at the now all-too-familiar scent.
Shinji pushed the envelopes from his face, more forcefully than need be (but he just had to lessen the impact of that stench), allowing his home and Reiji to enter his peripheral vision. 'Mail? I never get mail…'
Reiji was beaming with a bright smile. 'Shinji, it's from her!'
'Her?' Shinji repeated as his brother ushered him in. 'Do you assume I know who you're talking about? What 'her?''
He knew, of course, just from the smell, but he didn't know if Reiji knew.
'Hikari-kun, of course!' his brother said in an incredibly irritating sing-song voice.
'… Did you give her my address,' Shinji asked in a monotone. 'You apron-wearing freak of nature?'
Reiji only laughed and left the letters in Shinji's hands, strolling into the kitchen to prepare a late lunch for his brother. 'Is there anything you'd like?' he called.
Shinji didn't answer, of course, but neither of the two was expecting it. Shinji knew Reiji would always make him his favorite meal whenever he returned; the yelling was just because Reiji liked to yell when he was excited enough.
Shinji slipped off his shoes and his stomach churned uncomfortably as the stench of the ink and his sweaty socks combined to form some unholy union. In his mind's eye, he saw that sweet innocent Coordinator, laughing evilly as she wrote (in that same glittery pink ink that she seemed to have an endless supply of) and planned this whole thing out.
Shinji would walk in, Aniki would pop out from seemingly nowhere smother him to weaken him before presenting him with the scented letters while he gasped for the pure oxygen his lungs needed desperately (forcing him to inhale that horrible smell) and then, if that wasn't enough to kill him (that cunning woman…), when he stepped inside his home, where he would lured into thinking he was finally safe, he would be forced to remove his shoes, and then the combined smell would be enough to do him in!
Shinji hit the pause button in the always-open cinema that was his mind, to take in his surroundings which, as he just realized, had changed. He was standing at the door to his room.
And if that fails, he thought wryly, Shinji would slowly die of paranoia-induced stress.
He needed to stop thinking in this childish manner (even thiough he knew he couldn't help it), or he might really lose his mind. He was coming up with such complicated plans, that if he were to present them to the foolish girl himself, he might actually be giving her ideas she would never have been able to come up with herself.
Opening the door, he walked into his room, and set the letters down on his desk. Everything in his room was as 'clean' as he had left it, not a trace of dust anywhere (he imagined Aniki, lying flat on the floor, reaching as far as he could under the bed to dust and sweep, lest he be driven to insanity- or rather, more insane than he already was- by untouched dust bunnies). He pulled up his chair and sat.
The only thing Reiji couldn't touch were his drawers, which drove the Pokemon Breeder absolutely insane. Sometimes Reiji claimed the only reason Shinji does not allow him to clean there was because Shinji wanted to drive him insane. To which Shinji always replied, 'you shouldn't worry about that, because you already are.'
Shinji smirked in amusement. He threw on the desk light and looked at the letters.
A knock, followed by an announcement of his imminent entrance, and then Reiji poked his head through, to find his little brother looking at the letters.
'Look, it's your favorite! Where do you want to have it?'
Shinji waved his hand dismissively. 'Anywhere. Put it on the desk. I don't care.'
'Oh,'Reiji said, in that annoying 'knowing' way. 'I see, I won't bother you while you read her letters they're obviously very important.'
'I'm only going to read them so I can throw them out,' Shinji said coldly. 'You only think they're important because they stink.'
Shinji could hear Reiji quietly put down the tray behind him as he pulled the trash bin closer to the desk.
'… I see.' Reiji sounded disappointed.
At least he would stop singing and being annoying now.
'I'll leave you to it.' Reiji left the room, closing the door behind him.
Shinji spread out the letters on his desk after tearing open the envelopes (which were marked with 'read this one first,' 'read this one second,' 'read this one third' and lastly, 'read this one fourth.') in the order she wrote.
Four pieces of paper; garishly girly Mimirol customizable stationary to be exact (which didn't even have the blank in 'from the desk of ' filled out yet).
'What' was the only word written on the first in gigantic blinding pink lettering, completely filled out with ink (forget endless supply- he wondered if her mother had bought the whole company), so he moved onto the second letter.
Shinji sat back in his seat for a long moment, doing nothing but staring at the message of the combined letters. It was the first time she had spoken (though it wasn't really speaking) to him in such a direct way, without the excuse of Pokemon.
She had bothered to send four letters to Tobari, just to ask him this silly question?
He did not reply, though when he moved to brush them off his desktop, he noticed something that made him stop. He squinted at the letters, then began to worry about the girl's sanity. The letters weren't entirely filled out as he had previously thought. Rather, they were an optical illusion, made up of thousands of tiny characters.
While he tried to read, the writer appeared in his mind, yet again, that scheming girl… was there no end to her plotting? Her evil laughter rung, echoing in his mind as she towered over him in her massive pink boots and she carried in her arms a bundle that any passer-by would have dismissed as but a baby, but Shinji knew better. That was no baby.
She emptied the contents of the bundle and he was lost to a paper hurricane which then transformed into a tidal wave of paper, looming over his head before crashing down, leaving Shinji to 'swim' through them. He waded through the paper which cut at him, covering him in miniscule cuts, as the smell overpowered him. The towering figure demanded him to read, read, and read…
'But I read all of them!' he yelled to the figure. 'They all carried the same five characters!'
She demanded that he looked closer and it was yet another evil plan to make him go blind and lose his sense of smell. Then he realized he didn't know what that was called. Was there a word for losing that sense?
He shook his head, snapping back to reality (why did he have such bizarre completely insane fantasies, anyway?!) and found that the first letter contained the message 'Shinji! How are you? I hope these letters reach you! I asked Reiji-san to give me your address, so I know where to send them to…' that apron-wearing freak.
The second character, 'is', was made up of this message: 'Everything is okay here, but it's getting kind of boring. I hope you haven't forgotten me! I won the Grand Festival and mama was so proud, she put my cup right next to hers! I felt so proud. Having your dreams come true with the help of your friends, it's a beautiful feeling. I hope you can learn to depend on your friends too someday. And I hope all your dreams come true too, Shinji.'
Shinji paused for a moment, thinking about what she had written. His friends…? He didn't understand who she meant, so he moved on to the third message.
The third character, 'my,' was actually the following:
'Satoshi was worried and said I was becoming a bit obsessed with you. He says even he doesn't think about you that much! I just laughed and said it was nothing. But… then mama said I might 'like' you and I thought that was the most ridiculous one yet! Don't you think so too, Shinji? But it made me wonder… what do you think of me? Am I your friend?'
Shinji snorted, 'ridiculous…' but his normally hard eyes softened somewhat and he wondered to himself, what Hikari meant to him.
The last message's 'name' actually read:
'Shinji, look through your window. I want to show you something and did you ever hear of the lemon juice trick? I hope not. Because that would make things kinda weird. If you haven't, I'm glad! That's relieving… please reply and tell me if you haven't! And even if you have, still, please reply.'
He knew he had smelled something different about this letter, but the smell of the scented ink was so over-powering, he hadn't paid it that much thought. Was it lemon? Did the silly girl dip her letter in lemon juice? He certainly had no idea what she meant by the lemon juice trick, but that was enough of that.
He glanced at the window (and prayed he wouldn't see Hikari staring right through the glass—he certainly didn't need a stalker in his own home!), and for the first time, noticed something taped to the glass (he hadn't really noticed it when he came in because it was dark outside).
Opening the first drawer, which was filled with candy and bubblegum wrappers and other bizarre things he couldn't remember why he kept (but refused to part with, naturally), such as one of Reiji's useless old hair bands which had the elastic removed, the broken arm of an old toy, and bits of cardboard. As well as a dead cockroach that had been crushed by the weight of his rubbish (he liked to scare Reiji with it).
He looked at the letters, and then cast his gaze downwards to the trash can, before looking back to the drawer.
He grabbed the letters and put them inside the drawer, after dumping the contents into the trash (but he kept the cockroach and air refreshener), making room for the letters. He shut the drawer and made his way over to the window. 'Hn. Let's see what this thing is…'
He opened the window and removed the object, along with the tape that held it there. It was a crumpled up piece of paper. 'Another note?'
His nose wrinkled at the smell. 'I'll never see anything written in pencil or a normal pen, will I?' he muttered.
'Come meet me near the river, behind Tobari Gym, at sunset,' was simply stated on the letter.
He left the next day, making up some dumb excuse for Reiji as he did, as soon as the sky began to change from cerulean to varying shades of pink. As he walked, he found himself gazing up at the colors until he realized he couldn't find a shade of pink that obnoxious in real-life, so he set his gaze on the ground and continued to walk, making the trip to Tobari Gym, and the surrounding forest.
He walked over to the river and, as his gaze was on the ground still, the first thing he noticed when he looked into the river, was that the sparkling pink reflected in the waves was almost as pink as the pinker-than-pink ink.
He heard her voice and raised his gaze to meet hers. Blue eyes sparkling, she tilted her head to a side with a girlish giggle before closing them. 'I knew you wouldn't write back, but I didn't think you'd come either!'
She began to run towards him.
'Heh. Looks like you don't know me as well as you'd like,' he said, half-insulted, half-amused. He looked thoughtful for a moment, then added, 'Hikari.'
She stopped abruptly in mid-run, tripping, her eyes widening in surprise. Shinji blinked; he hadn't expected this reaction.
He took a few steps closer (she wasn't far now) and caught her.
She blushed at the closeness and it took Shinji a moment to realize what he had done and to quickly let go. Fortunately, the amount of time it took him to realize that coincided with the amount of time it took Hikari to gain a foothold.
'You… remembered my name,' she said, surprised and then giggling. 'You remembered! You said my name!'
Why such a simple thing made her so happy, Shinji didn't know. 'You…' he started, but didn't finish.
Instead of another insult, he just smiled. Somehow, her happiness just then was enough to make him feel happy too.
Maybe this was what it meant to empathize with others.
'What brought you all the way here?' he asked, after a moment. 'Want another battle?'
'I came,' she said, smiling with sincerity. 'To see you.'