I wrote this whole thing today (collapses) BE HAPPY, I FINALLY GOT THE URGE TO FINISH IT... Now I can actually take it down from the "Ideas" section on my profile. (I WILL get your challengefic out someday, SilverUmbra, I promise.)
At any rate, this is my first PrimordalGroundshipping fic. I've actually never written this pairing before - never written anything starring Groudon or Arceus, actually - and I normally see Arceus as a guy, so I'm sorry if this feels a bit awkward at first; I got better as I went along. (I did love writing the festival part XD)
Also, you should probably know that there's a timeline to this thing. You'll more than likely figure it out as you go along.
Disclaimer- I don't own Pokemon, nor do I own "Nine in the Afternoon" by Panic at the Disco, or "Fences" by Paramore.
The first time he comes to her, he is filled with hesitation.
"You are all dismissed. This meeting is adjourned."
Arceus watched with what must have seemed like godly indifference as her fellow Legendaries roused themselves from their seats and started toward the exit. The low hum of the legends in deep conversation with one another resonated throughout the room, fading only slightly as some of the Legendaries left to return to their duties. A flash of golden caught her eye and she turned her gaze toward it just in time to see Raikou trailing along after his counterparts Suicune and Entei. The thunder tiger looked deep in conversation with the nightmare-maker Darkrai, and while Raikou's countenance held as much naïveté and brightness as ever, the phantom seemed almost bored, with only the smallest glimmer of affection in his cyan eyes betraying his façade. Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit were floating around Celebi, chattering animatedly about something new that Mew had done. The green fairy's face was alight with amusement, while the cat in question took on a mock-sullen expression. Even Rayquaza had taken some time out of his "busy" schedule to talk to Latias.
Looking on, the qilin-like Pokemon felt a sudden burst of something… strange. Inwardly, she searched her vast knowledge to try and put a hoof on what exactly was going on. Jealousy? Anger? No, this feeling seemed to be too… soft for that. Besides, she was fairly certain she had conquered the two aforementioned feelings long ago.
The tentative voice roused her from her contemplation. Frowning slightly, Arceus glanced down from where she still stood on her high pedestal, wondering who would dare disturb the goddess herself.
But at that moment golden eyes met hers, golden eyes set off by tough red-and-black skin and hesitation, and her own eyes widened slightly.
That's odd, she mused. Groudon had never been the type to just throw courtesy to the winds and approach someone without their express consent; he'd be more likely to run up to Kyogre and hug her from behind, which the blue whale would probably not take very well, Arceus knew. The mental image was rather amusing, but the goddess held back the urge to laugh and simply gazed at the land rex. Apparently her expression was more frightening than she gave herself credit for, because he actually cringed a bit and glanced away. Her frown deepened and her conscience scolded her that a goddess could not afford to be frightening; she had people to protect, after all – but she brushed it off, determined to keep her stoic expression in place.
"What is it, Groudon?" she asked, suddenly trying to keep a sigh out of her voice.
She watched his face carefully for his answer, wary because barely any of the Legendaries had bothered to speak to her face-to-face before. Like any other god, Arceus held somewhat of an undesirable status: respected, idolized, but closed-off to anyone, prohibited from getting close to anyone.
However, Groudon's countenance showed no signs of only being there due to a report or, heavens forbid, a dare. Arceus couldn't hold back a little growl at that; that sounded like just the type of thing Raikou or Palkia would put the ruler of land up to. As far as she could tell, maybe that assumption wasn't too far off the mark; after all, while being the ruler of land, Groudon was, for lack of a better word, a bit soft-hearted.
She started a bit in surprise when she realized that he, in turn, was surveying her carefully, and she got the distinct feeling of being a bug under a microscope.
"Well… are you feeling all right these days?"
Arceus blinked. And blinked again.
Not only had no Legendary bothered to speak to her face-to-face, certainly, no Legendary had bothered asking her how she felt.
Needless to say, she hadn't the faintest clue how to respond to his sudden concern.
She drew herself up – suddenly painfully aware of the twelve inches he had over her – and spoke carefully. "Yes, I'm fine…" She hesitated before adding "Thank you."
"That's good, then," Groudon answered, a smile revealing his dangerous-looking fangs. Anyone else would be put off by them, but with the slight complication that Arceus had created the dinosaur, she found it rather difficult to be shocked by him.
Right… So why am I so surprised that he's acting this way?
"It's just that you seem a little stressed these days." At his words, she blinked again – but this time, instead of feeling confusion, she felt sudden exhaustion. "Stress" – that was one word for it.
He must have noticed the way she hung her head a bit, because he quickly tried to amend his words. "I'm just saying, what with the latest disasters and all, you seem… stressed." The repetition seemed to make his shoulders slump in a sigh, as though disappointed that he couldn't think of a variation of his previous comment.
Arceus continued to eye him a little suspiciously. "Well, thank you for your concern, but I'm doing fine."
"As fine as a goddess ruling over all humans and Pokemon can do, right?" The qilin-like Pokemon opened her mouth to make an indignant response, but he just chuckled to himself, which made her jaw close in astonishment.
He turned away and started lumbering toward the door in his strange, slightly limping gait – Kyogre had inflicted a particularly nasty blow on his foot in their battle millennia before and it had never quite healed – but he glanced back just as his claw touched the knob.
"Just… if you ever need anyone to talk to, I'm here, all right?"
Arceus blinked. And blinked again.
As he left, her eyes lingered on the crimson of his tail, stark against the marble of the Hall of Legends. Suddenly the reality of what just transpired hit her, and she sighed, staring at the top of her tall pedestal.
And her self-appointed rules came back to her.
You are a goddess. You cannot afford attachment to anything or anyone; it might hold you back if those things are lost, might cripple you with grief, and then how will the world go on, without a god to fall back on? Attachments are a liability.
Then she realized what she'd felt earlier.
The second time he comes to her, he is filled with energy.
When next she saw Groudon again, it was completely shocking, because a meeting of Legendaries hadn't even preceded his appearance. A patchy cover of clouds currently held sway over the sky, the air relatively calm after the night's previous rain. Arceus shook her head and blinked to free her lashes of the water droplets still clinging to them and looked around. She felt a burst of anger at her own negligence upon looking at the Hall of Origin. Why couldn't she have bothered to create a damn roof for this place, anyway? Yes, it was invisible to mountain hikers and travelers due to the barrier she'd placed around it – a huge stairwell extending from the top of Spear Pillar and leading up to a large opaque platform wasn't exactly inconspicuous. Yet last night, while she checked Sinnoh for any sign of imbalance, the rain had all but sneaked up on her; she was going to have to talk to Zapdos about that sometime. So, naturally, this was the first place she'd thought to stop, summoning it forth with a flick of her hoof so she'd have somewhere to sleep for the night. However, it seemed that that hadn't gone too well, as her damp pelt and annoyance could testify.
One would think that the goddess would be a bit more prepared for this… A sigh rang through the air, and Arceus realized that it had come from her.
She turned toward the stairwell, prepared to descend the stairs and hopefully get out of here without being spotted…
…and then jerked backward, a gasp escaping her as the murky, translucent portal opened up in front of her and a blur of red tumbled out.
Groudon all but landed on top of her, and the goddess suddenly found herself practically falling over backwards to avoid the potential awkwardness. She stared at the ruler of land with one eye slowly narrowing – her illusion of "raising an eyebrow" – as he got to his feet, laughter rumbling out of him in a strange caricature of last night's thunder.
"Groudon," she finally hissed, voice trembling slightly due to her previous shock. "What are you doing here?"
Even as she growled her demand his laughter was dying down, his eyes widening as he realized where – and, nearly, on whom – he had landed. "Hi, Arceus," he said, one clawed hand going up and brushing some water off his face. "Sorry about that – inter-dimensional traveling gets pr-etty tiring after a while!"
His giggles rent the air and Arceus narrowed her eyes in an exasperated frown. "Inter-dimensional traveling?"
"Yeah; Palkia showed it to me last night." Groudon shook his head, still laughing helplessly.
Arceus stared at him, certain that her confusion was showing on her face. "So… you stupidly decided to just jump through any old portal that Palkia conjured – Palkia, who, as we all know, isn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer – you just went through dimensions without even considering that you could get ripped apart from the inside out?"
Groudon hesitated. "Eh… it doesn't sound quite as fun when you put it like that…"
"Then don't do it anymore! You could have endangered your own life for the sake of fun!" Arceus didn't even know why she was getting so upset over that, but oddly, the thought of the land rex's bloody remains splattered all over some other dimension roused her irritation and… something else.
As it was, she could only shake her head and look haughty. "Don't do it again. We can't afford to lose the creator of land."
Groudon gave her a bemused look – she could almost hear him thinking just like you couldn't afford it when Kyogre and I went to sleep thousands of years ago? – but then sighed, his confusion turning into self-reproach. "Sorry, Arceus. I won't do it again."
"Please don't." Arceus huffed and looked up at the sky, now feeling guilty for lecturing him. Don't feel bad, she told herself, he deserved it for being such an idiot.
Yet the feeling wouldn't go away, and abruptly she turned to face Groudon, who started a little at her sudden gesture. "Groudon," she said, "about what you said yesterday…"
He blinked. "Um, yeah?"
Was it just Arceus' tired mind playing tricks on her, or was that regret she saw on his face?
She ignored that thought and continued. "Do you… um… want to take me up on that?"
"On… what, exactly?"
Arceus sighed, only partly annoyed. He could be so oblivious sometimes. Good her, this was going to be more difficult than she'd thought. She wasn't sure whether to berate him or continue, but she figured she'd intimidated him enough, so she chose the latter option. "On you being there for me to talk to."
His eyes brightened – hell, his entire face just lit up. Whether it was recognition or pleasure, she wasn't sure. Again, she thought that she'd created him, she should know what he was feeling or what he was going to do.
"Oh, I remember now! So… what do you want to talk about?"
And the look his countenance carried was so curious, so open, so willing to listen, so unlike her that Arceus swallowed against a rapidly-growing lump in her throat.
And so, on the platform above Spear Pillar that was Arceus' birthplace, Arceus began to talk.
The third time he comes to her, he is filled with disappointment.
"This meeting is adjourned."
As the same words mechanically made their way out of Arceus' lips and into the Legendary-filled room, Arceus sighed, making sure to keep her voice quiet so that no one could hear. Everyone got up to leave, and despite herself, she found her gaze drawn to a certain land rex.
He wasn't too hard to spot among the others due to his vibrant crimson skin, but the awareness of how obvious she was being prickled along her body as she looked on. Groudon was talking with Kyogre, as usual, his face bright in what she'd come to know as his listening expression. Currently the expression he held fit him, as Kyogre was now the one speaking. If there was anything Arceus had learned from her last encounter with him, only a couple of weeks ago, it was that Groudon had the uncanny ability to learn and listen and, most importantly, understand. As she had rambled on about the latest issues and how she felt about them – such as the way mountain hikers had nearly discovered Moltres atop Mt. Ember and how Arceus had had to do some memory modifications – Groudon had nodded, given little quips when needed, and even made jokes from time to time: jokes that, she had been surprised to realize, had actually had a bit of amusement value to them.
Her green eyes widened slightly at the look in Groudon's eyes as he begins to hold up his end of the conversation with his counterpart. Again, she had to search for the feeling attached to the glow on his face.
However, when she found it, she didn't feel as triumphant as she should have at finally, finally figuring something out about him. If anything, the emotion boiling up within her was… annoyance?
It wasn't like she had any issues regarding romance among her fellow Legendaries – she only had a problem with the fact that anything that happened to any Legend was automatically blown out of proportion by his or her better half. (Yet another reason why Arceus kept herself from getting attached to anything; a goddess could not afford to be anything but rigid and ready, after all.) She hadn't minded when Raikou and Suicune had come into the meeting room and sat a little closer than usual on their close seats; she had congratulated Mesprit and Mew when the little cat had bounced up to the goddess and informed her of his and Mesprit's new "connection"; and Arceus had thanked everything that was holy that Rayquaza actually had the capability to show that type of emotion toward Latias.
So why couldn't the qilin get her mind wrapped around the fact that Groudon was clearly in love with Kyogre?
The room was all but empty now, and, delicately placing one paw on the ground below her pedestal, Arceus shook her head with a snarl. Attachments are a liability, she told herself.
Yet her conscience seemed to tell her too bad; you're becoming friends with Groudon whether you like it or not.
At that moment, Arceus looked up and saw the object of her thoughts standing there, one clawed hand raised in a little wave.
"Hello, Groudon," she greeted, a little warily. She stepped off her pedestal and took a few more steps so she stood in front of him. She had to tilt her head slightly upward to meet his eyes as she gave him an expectant look. "Is anything wrong?"
He seemed to realize that she'd asked him a question, and he gave a small start, eyes comically wide, before sighing and lowering his head.
"I saw you talking to Kyogre," she said, hating herself for the way his expression saddened even further, if that was even possible. "Does that have anything to do with it?"
She'd hit his problem right on the mark, though it wasn't that difficult to do. He looked back up at her, golden eyes locking with emerald ones, and another sigh tore itself from deep within him. "Yeah…" he muttered at last, staring back down at the ground. "I try talking to her, but she doesn't seem to catch on."
Watching him, Arceus felt a wave of sympathy wash through her. She tilted her head slightly to the side, trying to gauge the level of sorrow that Groudon felt toward this event.
But before she could get a good reading on him, he'd raised his massive head and looked at her again, this time with a small, bitter smile gracing his countenance. "Ah, it's fine," he said. "Besides, I don't have any room to be complaining; it's just my counterpart, right? I'll see you in the next meeting," he continued before she could interject.
She blinked. "Erm, yes. Or perhaps before that."
"Yeah, maybe. Bye." Groudon turned around and started toward the exit.
As Arceus watched him go, suddenly she wanted to run after him; to grasp his claws and assure him that everything would be all right.
But she smothered the urge, at the same time reprimanding herself for feeling such worry in the first place.
The fourth time he comes to her, he is filled with excitement.
"I'm serious, Arceus, we should really go there!"
"If we want to be discovered, that is."
"It'll be fun – a trip to Slateport Festival, just the two of us!"
Arceus had to admit that his last word induced a shiver in her, but thankfully she repressed it so that it remained unseen by her companion. Currently they were together in the Legendaries' meeting room after another session with all the other legends, a session that had involved Cresselia saying how close those sailors were getting to Fullmoon Island; Raikou begging for Arceus' mercy after he'd destroyed yet another portion of Johto's Ilex Forest; and Palkia confessing how he'd caused a dimensional rip to be formed (near Spear Pillar, no less; his attempts to redeem himself by saying he'd fixed it did not sit well with Arceus). Clearly noticing Arceus' aggravation toward the whole situation, Groudon had approached her after the others had left and presented her with a brochure for Slateport City's annual festival, which was apparently taking place tonight.
And that brought them back to the present: Groudon insisting on how fun it would be, and Arceus shooting him down.
Her already-dark frown deepened. Hmph – that doesn't sound quite so logical when put that way.
"I thought you gave us the ability to turn into humans at will." Groudon leaned against the top of her pedestal and propped his cheek against his palm, his claws brushing lightly against his temple.
"Yes, but after Mew, Raikou, and Jirachi caused that incident, we all made a pact that we would never use our human forms again. Don't you remember?" Arceus asked dryly, leaning back slightly so that their faces weren't so close.
"How could I forget?" Groudon winced. "All right, so you have a point there…" His face suddenly lit up. "Hey, why can't we go after it's all shut down and everyone's gone to sleep? That could work, right?"
"Typically, they take all the festivities down by then," Arceus pointed out.
"Not this one – this pamphlet says that for this year's festival, they're gonna keep everything up till morning so that everyone can say goodbye!"
Arceus blinked. She had to admit that he had a point there… and besides, how long had it been since she'd allowed herself this kind of chance?
She thought back. And back. And back some more. Well, damn.
"All right – but the instant a light goes on in the city, we're done," she added hastily in an attempt to preserve her dignity.
Groudon laughed. "That works. I'll see you at midnight tonight, then?"
"Yes. Now shouldn't you be getting back to Kyogre?" Was it just her, or did Groudon's face get even redder at the mention of his sea-based counterpart?
So, that night, they met near Slateport's museum, with Groudon approaching from underground and Arceus making her flight over the sea. As she lighted down, she was somewhat surprised to find the land rex standing there, his arms folded and his index claw tapping an impatient little beat on the opposite arm. "You're late, goddess," he joked, the smile he reserved for her covering his countenance.
"There was a little turbulence," she answered coolly as she walked toward him.
"Couldn't you just teleport here or something?" Groudon queried, uncrossing his arms and starting to walk at her side.
Arceus narrowed one eye. "I'm not Mew, Groudon. I may have psychic power, but only to a certain extent – I put most of it into the other Legendaries."
Groudon's golden eyes were curious as he glanced over at her. "So… you were strongest before you started creating us?"
Arceus shrugged self-consciously. "I suppose you could put it that way."
"Wow," Groudon murmured, his words punctuated by awe and wide amber orbs. He surveyed the area, and, following his gaze, Arceus had to admit that the festival was elaborate. There was an immense platform nearby, a platform that, by the microphones still perched upon it, seemed to be for the local music performers; stereo speakers lay in apparent disarray around the stage. She knew that only a few hours ago, the bulbs along the perimeter of the city had been lit with varying colors of light.
"Arceus, look!" Groudon suddenly said, his grin widening. He headed over to the stage – ignoring Arceus' snapped orders to step quietly, of course – and, stepping carefully onto the platform, lifted one of the comparatively-small microphone to his lips. "I'm Brendan Urie!"
Arceus blinked. And blinked again.
Seeing her confusion, Groudon sighed in mock annoyance. "The lead singer of Panic at the Disco? C'mon, you'd think the goddess would know this stuff!"
The qilin hesitated. "Honestly… I've… I've never bothered with it before."
"You should!" Groudon laughed.
Arceus' green eyes narrowed. "And what, pray tell, is so funny?"
"Oh, nothing." He raised his large, reptilian head so that he seemed to be facing the whole city and began speaking louder. "Hellooooo, Slateport!"
Arceus couldn't hold back a small growl, at the same time frantically turning her head about to see if any people were awake.
Ignoring her subtle order to shut up, Groudon began to sing; even though Arceus had never heard the song before, his deep voice was clearly hitting all the wrong notes.
"Your eyes are the size of the mooooon… You could 'cause you can so you doooo… We're feeling so good just the way that we do when it's nine in the afternooooon… Come on, Arceus, get up here and sing it with me!"
"B-but I don't even know the song –"
Yet again, Arceus' protests fell on deaf, nonexistent ears, as Groudon leaned down, hooked one arm around her middle, and hoisted her up onstage. Arceus let out a most un-goddess-like squeak and found herself standing right next to him, overlooking the whole city.
"You don't even have to sing it – just hum it or something!" The land rex's joy was strangely contagious, and the qilin heard a bout of raucous, clearly female laughter joining it. Who is that? she wondered, before abruptly realizing that it was coming from… her. She wondered what was going on again. That is not Arceus – not me.
Nevertheless, she found herself following Groudon's advice and humming along; since she didn't know the exact melody, her voice was just as off-key as his was.
As Groudon finished the song – a fact made obvious by him imitating the ending notes – he turned to her, eyes still bright with amusement. "C'mon, we haven't done everything else yet!"
And before she knew it, he had dragged her off to yet another section of town. Shockingly, Arceus' orders for him to be more discreet petered off as the night went on. They explored the town in general, and it hit her then how long it had been since she'd bothered actually looking at Slateport – many things had changed. They wove a path around the entire city, with the two of them occasionally talking about their regular lives as Legends. Arceus hadn't expect to find that Groudon occasionally headed to Lavaridge Town to relax in the hot springs – "but don't tell Kyogre; she'll eat me alive for not inviting her!" he added with a laugh. Arceus listened dutifully and nodded, adding little comments of her own whenever she could; noting dimly the way his eyes shone and his tone lifted when he talked about his counterpart. The situation being what it was, she tried not to let it bother her too much.
Then it was Arceus' turn, and she surprised herself by having much more to say than Groudon. The words poured from her, with Groudon successfully holding up his end of the conversation as well (which was more than she had done when he was talking). She couldn't help but blush a little – hating the fact that her snowy pelt failed to conceal it – when they passed the flower stand and Groudon picked up a bouquet with gentle claws, holding it out to her and saying gallantly "For you, goddess." She took them (after all, despite her attempts to maintain her dignity, she couldn't refuse without looking rude) and they proceeded.
After a while, a couple of hours or so, Arceus guessed, they ended up back at the stage again. Groudon glanced over at her with a sly smirk. "You want to sing another song?"
"Don't even bring that up," she sighed.
She raised her eyes toward the still-cloudy sky; little speckles of stars were visible through the gaps in the dark gray blanket. Abruptly she became aware of how tired she was, and, throwing pride to the winds, opened her mouth wide in a yawn.
Groudon noticed at once – of course, she thought, a little annoyed – and came to stand right in front of her. "You tired? Do you want to head back?" he asked seriously, placing his claws on her shoulders.
Arceus shook him away. "I'm fine," she insisted, but then traitorous exhaustion pulled her jaws wide in another yawn.
"You are most certainly not fine; you're clearly up way past your bedtime." Groudon steered her toward the museum. "Now c'mon; I'm taking you back to my place so you can get some –"
At that moment, his slightly-lame foot stumbled over a cord, and, waving his arms wildly in a comic attempt to keep his balance, the land rex promptly catapulted into the speakers.
There was a silence, during which Arceus' eyes opened wide with horror and she tried to speak – but then screeching, high-pitched feedback from the speaker roared cacophonously through the city.
Abruptly, the windows in the nearby houses were illuminated with light.
"Oh… crap," Groudon hissed, leaping to his feet. "Uh, Arceus…?"
"Way ahead of you," she grunted. Now fully awake, she summoned her strength and, growling with exertion, lifted him up with psychic power. Her eyes still narrowed into emerald slits with effort, she took off. With it being a dry start, she couldn't get much headway, and carrying a two thousand-pound ruler of land didn't help things, but she managed.
She waited until Slateport had vanished from the horizon behind her before landing on a small island. She sighed in relief as she carefully lowered Groudon onto the sand, but the feeling vanished as she watched him get to his feet, to be replaced by anger.
"Do you realize how incredibly stupid that was?" she demanded, voice tight with suppressed rage. "We could have been seen – could have been used as freaking research subjects! Do you not know how to listen? I only told you about ten times – no, it was probably more than that; I lost count around the sixteenth – sixteen times that we couldn't get caught, and what do you do? You damn near get us caught! I swear to me, Groudon, if it weren't you that did that I'd probably –"
Arceus had been lecturing full swing (it was an art, she thought, lecturing; it wasn't like she hadn't perfected it over the years anyway, Palkia and Raikou had made sure of that), but as she glared at Groudon she realized something, something that halted her right there.
Groudon was… laughing. Practically rolling around on the ground, he was laughing so hard. Sand was clearly absorbing into his skin, making it coated with a thin layer of the gritty substance, but he was in that position all the same.
Arceus blinked. And blinked again.
After a moment, she joined him, her own feminine laughter mingling with his deep-voiced cackle.
He had a nice laugh.
The fifth time he comes to her, he is filled with sorrow.
Arceus' heart felt heavy like lead in her chest as she dismissed the meeting and the Legendaries left. Like the last meeting a week ago, she found her eyes drawn to a dash of red.
Not Groudon this time, but Latias – the eon dragon who looked so empty, so wrong, without her silver-and-blue sibling by her side.
The female dragon in question currently had her face buried in her clawed paws with tears flowing freely down her face as she floated toward the door. Not even Rayquaza's solid presence by her side could comfort her, it seemed. Not even the presence of her better half could replace her counterpart, her sibling, her friend.
Arceus had never known Latios very well, but she knew that sacrificing himself to save his sister, the Soul Dew, and Alto Mare was something she would expect from him – then again, though, what did she know? Having created these Pokemon didn't make her wise; it just made her existence full of surprises. These were living, breathing creatures she had under her beck and call, and they didn't have to conform to what she expected.
Arceus sighed, staring down at the ground near her pedestal. The meeting had been called due to Latios' death; normally the Legendaries' meetings took place from every two weeks to a month, depending on life's happenings. A tear made its way down her face at watching everyone's reactions to Latios' absence. Raikou and his counterparts, who had been close to the male eon dragon – had even frequently visited Alto Mare to spend time with Latios and Latias – looked numb with grief, and Suicune leaned against Raikou's shoulder as the trio departed. Entei looked stoic as ever, though his eyes were glowing with sympathy. Uxie cried softly and Azelf slipped his paw into hers; although the blue pixie shed no tears, he looked badly in need of comfort himself. Giratina sighed softly, clearly acknowledging the fact that Latios' soul would certainly become part of the howling ether in the realm beneath Turnback Cave. Even Mewtwo and Darkrai, the self-proclaimed loners, seemed stunned by Latios' sacrifice.
And oh, Arceus wanted to burst into tears at Latias. The red-and-white dragon had always been so sprightly and vivacious, had always found the bright side of things no matter how severe the situation. Now that seemed like an entirely different Latias, as now her golden eyes were awash with tears. Though Rayquaza said and did nothing to comfort her, he vaguely resembled a long-bodied, emerald green shadow, standing solidly at her side no matter what.
She didn't notice Groudon approaching her until he called her name. Her green eyes widened a bit in surprise, and, ignoring the way the tears fell a bit faster due to her eyes' movement, she stepped down off her pedestal so she could address him properly. (She'd learned to tolerate the height difference.)
If Latias' reaction had shaken her, then it surely paled in comparison to Groudon's. His amber eyes were wide and unblinking, as though he himself were holding back tears. (That would be just like him, she thought, fighting back his own urge to cry for everyone else's sake.) Clawed hands were clenched into fists, as though by the action of his claws digging into his flesh, he would be brought back to the harsh reality of having to move on. (Would he welcome that? she wondered. Being thrown back into the real world, where one can afford no attachments?) He lowered his head slightly to meet her eyes, and suddenly Arceus' urge to cry was reborn in stronger proportions.
"Latios… I'm gonna miss him," the land rex said gruffly, his voice trembling ever so slightly.
Arceus let out a sigh, a sigh that shook with the force of her own repressed tears. "Yes. Who's going to guard the Soul Dew in Alto Mare with Latias now?"
"To hell with the Soul Dew!" Groudon snarled the words in a vehement tone, causing Arceus to stare at him in shock. Ordinarily she would immediately reprimand him for shouting at her, but somehow, this didn't seem like the type of situation that called for it. "Latios is gone. Do you know – do you even realize how this is going to affect Latias? How it's going to affect the rest of us? He and I were good friends, and then he just freaking goes and throws his life away over a damn piece of rock?"
Groudon's voice had heightened to a near-crescendo, the sob in his words becoming more and more obvious as he went on.
"But you're a goddess," he said, chuckling bitterly. Arceus blinked at the sudden lowering of his voice, almost into a whisper. "It doesn't matter, does it? Because you can't get close to anyone – you've never wanted to. You figure, hey, Latias can take care of things by herself. She can't, Arceus! She's so… fragile. Latias… she just can't handle things right now. I mean, yeah, she has Rayquaza, but that won't be enough, because she remembers that she had Latios.
"But you've never had anyone, have you? Because you've distanced yourself so much from everyone else."
The words, once he'd started speaking them, seemed to flow over from his lips like rainwater over a small leaf, and they hit Arceus with the force of a hailstone, because more than anyone, she knew the truth of what he said.
Attachments are a liability…
"I'm sorry," she murmured, surprising both of them. By this time they're the only ones present in the room.
Attachments are a liability…
Groudon stared at her, his tears now falling freely down his smooth-skinned cheeks. Arceus met his eyes evenly, swallowing against the lump in her throat as she began to cry herself.
The thought cut itself off when, a sob seeming to tear itself from his throat, Groudon lunged forward and wrapped his arms around her in a tight embrace.
Arceus could only stare helplessly into one of the white spikes along his neck – one of them was slightly chipped; she'd never noticed before – as he whispered,
"I'm right, aren't I?"
She hesitated, and then pressed her head against his chest. She didn't reply.
The sixth time he comes to her, he is filled with the shock and desolation of one who has loved and lost, but is sure as hell not glad to have ever loved at all.
"Kyogre… she rejected you, didn't she?"
He nodded, shaking his head furiously to clear it. His attempts weren't successful.
Arceus hesitated, and then stepped forward. Tentatively, being careful not to frighten him off, her hooves delicately moved across the tile of the Hall of Origin, her entire body moving in his direction. Groudon looked over at her from where he'd had his face buried in his hand and watched her in the curious way a young Stantler might watch an unfamiliar creature. His amber eyes were blurred with the tears that seemed to continuously cascade down his cheeks, and Arceus wanted to scream and cry herself.
However, for now, all she could do was resume her trek toward him and hope her test worked.
Carefully, she stopped in her tracks at the point where they stood chest to chest (or chest to head, if one wanted to get technical). Her neck craned up to look at him, and his eyes still watched her carefully.
And then she pressed herself against his chest, wishing she could bring her forelegs up to hold him. He choked back a sob – she could feel it vibrate against her head – and brought his clawed hands up to hold her back.
The seventh time, she realizes she is in love with him, but by then it's too late.
She raises her head from where it was resting against her folded forelegs, and a pang of joy fully awakens her. She's been trying to get some sleep for the past few hours, but at the sight of her familiar land rex, sleep is suddenly the last thing on her mind.
She hefts herself to her hooves and smiles at him as he makes his way across the Hall of Origin (their designated meeting spot) toward her. "Hello, Groudon. How… how did things with Kyogre go?"
She hates herself for the conflict going on inside her head right now, because one part wants him to be happy, so, so happy, and yet another horrible part of her wants his counterpart to have rejected him so that he can come into the goddess' embrace. Last time the latter occurred, but then as she'd embraced him, he'd managed to tell her that later – later, when things weren't so strange and busy – later, he would go talk to Kyogre again. And now, the result of that encounter fills her with dread.
The pleased look on his face, a look akin to a child with too much candy, doesn't help matters.
Her heartbeat accelerates in a most un-goddess-like manner as Groudon stands close to her, that grin still stretched across his face.
"She said she'd thought about it, and then she realized that she cared for me too, despite all the arguments we used to have back in the day." On his last words, he'd brought his hand up to scratch the back of his neck.
"Oh," the goddess manages, suddenly choking back tears. "Well… that's great, Groudon. I'm glad she cares about you." She carefully skirts around the word 'love', instead choosing one of its many synonyms in an attempt to keep her façade of happiness.
Groudon grins. "You know, Arceus, I've never regretted talking to you that day," he then says, his golden eyes soft.
Oh, no. Arceus bites her lip. Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry.
Attachments are a liability…
You cannot afford attachment to anything or anyone; it might cripple you with grief if something happens to that someone.
Well, great. It looks like there just was a variation to that rule.
But things will not always be unrequited. One day, when Latias' grief is calmed, and the eon dragon sails across the sky with Rayquaza at her side. One day, when Azelf summons up his courage and tells Uxie how he feels, and the bookworm and the stubborn fighter spend time at the library with the latter pronouncing all the four-syllable words for him. One day, when Darkrai and Cresselia meet on a moonlit night and exchange confessions of their own. One day, when Palkia and Dialga finally put aside their differences for one night and just talk.
"Arceus, can I talk to you?"
One day, long after Groudon has broken down Arceus' fences, when he returns to the Slateport Festival to finally say what he needs to say.
I sincerely hope that the deliberately-ambiguous ending made up for the angst burger just before that. And yes, it takes Groudon a freaking YEAR to realize he is in love with Arceus. How sad is that?
Anyway, I know it kinda seems like a cliched "boy with female best friend goes out with other girl, then breaks up with other girl and realizes he is in love with female best friend" story, but review anyway plz? I LIEK MUDKIPZ.