Here's a little extension of the original...not really another chapter, just kind of an alternate ending. This picks up where Dawn, Candice, and Jun are leaving the house to make it in time for the train to Twinleaf (right about where Jun says, "We'd better book it over to the train...it's leaving in fifteen minutes). I decided that it was just a little TOO long, so I went with a shorter ending, but this helps to flesh out the characters a little bit more and tie up some loose ends and just generally polish the story up a little bit. Please enjoy and let me know what you think in the reviews.
Dawn stole a glimpse at her watch and frowned slightly.
"We better hurry," she announced, her tone surprisingly urgent. "The next train headed to the Twinleaf-Sandgem area is leaving in...fifteen minutes."
"Holy..! Dawn why didn't you say something sooner?!" Jun exclaimed. "We can't make it to the depot in fifteen minutes! iAnd/i it's the last freakin' train of the day, so if we miss it, we'll have to stay the night here in Snowpoint..."
Candice's face lit up, and she quickly informed Jun, "It's perfectly fine if you guys spend the night here."
Jun rolled his eyes and dryly replied, "Yes, and how would it go over when we meet Johanna? The first time you meet your girlfriend's parent, it's generally not a good idea to stay, 'Yeah, we spent the night together' and all."
"We could just lie," Hikari stated, her face deadly serious.
Jun stared at her with disbelief. "What's wrong with you?! Since when do you lie to your own mother?"
"Since I could speak in whole sentences," was the pokerfaced responce.
Jun simply sighed and held up his hands in surrender. "Okay, whatever. The more we argue, the lower the chance of us making the train. We have to leave now...and you guys had better book it!"
"Please! Please just let us through!" Candice waved her train pass frantically in the ticket taker's face, but the dismayed young woman simply shook her head for the third consecutive time.
"But the train's still in the station!" Dawn whined. "We can still get on! Just phone the conductor or something!"
"Sorry." Here came the fourth head shaking. "It's the policy here. Once the doors are shut, no-one is allowed onto the platform."
"Please," Jun entreated, his face manifesting desperation. "We'll have to spend the night iout in the cold/i unless we get on that train--"
"You have to understand, I can't compromise my job or the safety of others just because you got here a few minutes late, sir."
The speaker that was mounted next to the woman's little window suddenly crackled on.
"Donna?" A voice emanated from within it. "The roads and the tracks are a bit too icy, so because of the possible danger, and the potential passengers who have been delayed, we'll be making a little detour. Could you re-open the gates, please?" Looking none too pleased, the woman now known as Donna stood up from her post and strode over to the gates to unlock them with her card key.
"Go ahead." To the relief of everyone involved, she waved the trio through.
The group slipped into a nearly empty car and slumped down into the velvety.
"God, am I exhausted," Jun sighed, rummaging through his knapsack for a bottle of water, or a bag of pretzels, whichever opened up more easily. Dawn allowed herself to relax completely, and she moaned slightly of exhaustion as her arms fell limp at her side.
Candice tried to sit as ladylike as possible, even though her running all the way across town had taken a signifigant toll on her posture and stamina. Unintentionally, her eyes began to gaze over at Dawn. Dawn intuitively glanced back, and cracked a smile. They couldn't resist looking longingly at each other, even after they'd just sprinted nothing short of a marathon. Was this the elation period psychologists always discussed. The lemirence, then the reciprocation, then the desperate desire to never be apart? But it was also a short period, as the increased levels of adrenaline and euphoria took a toll on the heart...but this feeling shouldn't end--it couldn't end, since it made someone feel so complete. She just wanted to look at Candice all day, and everytime feel the tingle and warmth and intoxication come over her. She wanted to feel that forever--if everyone could find love like this, then there'd be no need for televisions or computer games or sweet foods. Those warm, amber eyes would be a more than adequate replacement.
Jun couldn't help but notice the looks of affection Candice and Dawn were exchanging. He threw a handful of pretzels into his mouth and began chewing fiercely to draw attention away from the fact he was scowling. Well, why should he pretend to be happy? Why should anyone feel jolly once they discovered that, after years of pining over someone, they're in love with someone of the same gender as them. He sighed and felt his face loosen somewhat. Dawn hadn't known just how deeply he'd felt...she may have suspected a slight crush, but she wouldn't have carried on like she had if she'd known he was completely smitten. And, in any case, Dawn being of the orientation she evidently was, she couldn't have returned his love. The best he could do was support her and be her friend, even if he felt like he was going to simultaneously vomit and pull the hair out of his head (that might be a bit dramatic, not to mention unseemly). Hadn't Dawn said he'd find a girl, and make her the happiest girl in the world? She did seememphatic about it, so, maybe it was true. Maybe someday he'd find someone else, fall madly in love, and make goo-goo eyes at her on a train. But...what good was that if the said girl wasn't the one person he'd always admired, and, more importantly in his mind, desired? He began fiddling with the buttons on his jacket and staring out at the snow falling daintily, and much more neatly than earlier, outside. Well, whatever. Maybe he'd find someone else who made him feel the same way Dawn had. Lightning idoes/i occassionally strike the same point twice.
"Do train rides make you nauseas?"
Chin in palm, Candice glanced peculiarly at Dawn upon hearing her question.
"No-o," she replied, noticing the green tint to Dawn's paling cheeks. "Are you okay?"
"Just a...little...motion--sickness," she stammered out, rising and exiting into the adjacent car.
Candice raised an eyebrow and gave Jun a concerned look.
"Why would she go into the car?" she inquired.
"That's where the toilet is," he answered simply, more engrossed in playing Tetris on his pokétch than anything else.
"Aren't you worried?"
"About your friend being seriously ill!"
Jun rolled his eyes and paused his game.
"Dawn always gets sick like this," he informed her, leaning back comfortably and placing his arms behind his neck. "It's just one of those things you have to accept--if you live in San Francisco, you have to deal with earthquakes; if you travel with Dawn, you have to put up with her puking whenever she's in a car, train, or boat too long."
Candice was now giving him a pained expression, and he sighed and resumed his Tetris game.
"I'm not trying to be apathetic here, Candice," he maintained. "I'm just being practical."
Candice shrugged and continued to look out the window as various evergreens came in and out of view in a blur. Was that symbolic of something in life? How things, events, people entered your life, then exited before you realized what had happened? Ugh, she didn't want to get into this poetic, philosophic material again--she was too mentally exhausted.
Candice heard the door connecting the cars slide to a close, and the soles of Dawn's boots slap the ground as she walked briskly back to her seat. Her neck was too stiff to allow her to look up at the noise's source, but, all the same, she sensed Dawn's physical queasiness and wasn't eager to sit too close to her. Jun tried to act as if he was completely ignoring either Dawn or the situation, but he had notably moved as far away from Dawn's seat as possible.
"Will you cut it out?" she snapped, so loudly that it caused even Candice with her ankylotic neck to whip her head around and look at Dawn. "I'm not going to barf on anyone--so stop acting like I'm some sort of leper!"
"Better safe than sorry," Jun countered, whose eyes had been temporarily torn away from his pokétch. "Besides, everyone heard your retching sounds while you were in the restroom."
"It was no big deal, okay?!"
"Dawn, you're the one whose overreacting--"
"Just shut the hell up," Dawn cut him off. She sat down squarely, in the dead center and looked so icily at Jun he had no desire to continue the tiff.
Candice sat their awkwardly for a moment, the discomfort in her neck growing exponentially. Nonetheless, her eyes didn't waver from Dawn, and her fellow traveler looked at her apologetically. Aknowledging this, Candice assumed arguments like the one that had just passed were commonplace with Dawn and Jun, and that they would make up eventually. From what she had witnessed earlier, there was too much history and genuine fondness between them to be erased by a shallow quarrel.
She smiled a bit as the pair continued to inconspicuously frown at each other, and relaxed her neck into a less agonizing position. It would be nice if, in the years to come, her relationship had the same staying power...without the nasty spats, of course.
"Jun?" Dawn asked tentatively, trying not to sound as strained and agitated as she felt. "Can you tell me what time it is?"
"No," he replied shortly.
At this, Dawn's muffled temper began to flare up again.
"Why not?" she demanded. "You're looking RIGHT AT your pokétch."
"I'm in the middle of a game," he explained without looking up from the miniscule screen.
Dawn clenched her teeth and seemed prepared to lunge at him when candice grasped her shoulder and whispered, "Calm down...you've put him through a lot today." Dawn settled abck into her seat, but continued to give Jun evil looks.
"You know," Candice continued, her voice only increasing the tension between Dawn and Jun. "We should be very close to Twinleaf and Sandgem by now...you guys should enjoy the scenic view while you can."
"It is quite stinning out there," Dawn agreed quietly. She watched the foliage and streams and inlets move by in a whirl, so different from the pristine, frigid backdrop of Snowpoint City. Jun reluctantly looked out the window on his side of the car, and was shocked by the vibrant colors and the sparkling surface of the lake they were passing. As unmanly as it was to him, he marveled at the beauty of nature.
He felt a hand gingerly touch his elbow, and he turned around to see Dawn giving him a bittersweet smile.
"I feel awful that we fought," she conceded. "I wouldn't be who I am without your friendship, so...truce?"
Jun grinned and grabbed her hand to shake it.
"Yeah...I don't even remember what we were fighting about."
"You two...make up so easily," Candice remarked, causing the balance of attention to be shifted back to her.
Dawn laughed and rejoined, "Well, it's not that big a deal--I mean, most friends get along like that. Forgiveness is part of the definition of 'friendship', right?"
Candice shrugged and looked down at her shoes, trying and failing to hide her minimal distress.
"I know, but, try explaining that to my mom and sister." Dawn and Jun looked at each other uneasily, but didn't interrupt Candice.
She looked up at them, the wave of anxiety having passed over, and she smiled.
"They're kind of...uptight," she continued. "They live in Kanto, like I said earlier, but they came and visited a few weeks ago..." Candice made a sour face after saying this, forcing a giggle out of Dawn. "And they put these stupid house plants up all over the place. My sister even had the nerve to put this puny little ivy thing on one of my ice sculpture!" Candice now cleared her throat and tried to look more serious. "I--confessed to them, and they just, they sort of frowned. No, more like scowled. My sister voiced her disapproval-loudly-and my mom stood up, shook her head, and walked out the door. I've tried calling them so much, but they won't even pick up. Normally they're so eager to have the chance to talk someone's ear off, so I know that their ignoring me is deliberately hurtful." She felt Dawn's hand rest consolingly on her shoulder, and she smiled more widely, much more enthusiastically.
"But I think deep down, somewhere in their superficial hearts, they do love me. And maybe they'll return my calls and learn to accept me." She paused and placed her own hand on Dawn's upper arm. "And the person I love."
The look of Jun's visage was apparently caught between sympathy and perturbation.
"I think we're almost at our stop," he announced curtly.
Candice and Dawn pulled apart and laughed sheepishly. Jun rolled his eyes, but couldn't resist the temptation of smiling at them.
That sat soundlessly for the next few minutes, but this silence wasn't awkward and tense, it seemed almost comfortable and inviting, as if nothing was left to be said, and yet everything was being said.
"We're at St. Cypress Depot!" the conductor's words rang through the air and alerted the three passengers to rise from their row of seats. "Everyone headed for Twinleaf or Sandgem needs to disembark now!"
Candice took in a deep breath and gripped the handle of her duffel bag tightly, since the sweat on the palms of her hands was making it slippery.
"So this is it," she said, not looking at Dawn or Jun, but instead at the now open door, and the willow trees swaying seductively in the breeze. "Here's where we get off...my first trip outside of Snowpoint in a year..."
"You haven't left Snowpoint City for a year?" Dawn asked, surprised.
Candice shrugged. "I've been caught in a rut, I guess. I was too busy soulsearching and doubting myself to consider vacation." She took a broad step toward the door, and turned her chin up, suddenly full of determination and pride. "But now--it's time for a fresh start. I've found myself, and I need to get to know her better."
The crisp, warm air was beckoning her. The hopes of a beautiful new romance were tugging at her sleeves. She had to put her dreary, cold winter days behind her and walk into the welcoming light of spring.