A/N: I finally did it. I finally finished the latest chapter of The Light in the Darkness. Again, I apologize for taking so long. I know I said I would have it ready in January. However, not long after I posted the update, I got sick, which screwed me up for about a week. After that, I got dragged into Skyward Sword again, which killed my winter break. Then I had my spring semester of college at VT, which was made more difficult by the fact that I missed a week of classes due to competing at Nationals with the Clay Target team. After that, I did a summer semester. Finally, I've been able to find some time to work on this fic, just before I go back to classes in the fall.
I will try to make sure the next chapter doesn't take as long, but as in the past, I can make no guarantees, especially since I'm going into my junior year at college. I thank all of you who have stuck around waiting for this. I cannot guarantee this is my best work ever, but I hope to get back in the groove again. As usual, feel free to comment.
Chapter 12: Truth and Consequences
I told him everything: the letter, arriving at Gilroy, the transformation, the escape. Every single thing that I hadn't told him before, I told him now. By the time I finished, I was fighting back tears. Soru didn't say anything as I spoke. I don't know if he was being courteous, or if he really didn't know what to make of it.
"I really didn't want to lie to you, Soru," I said, "but I was scared that you wouldn't believe me." He was still silent, which concerned me. "You…you do believe me, right?"
He looked away for a moment, seemingly trying to process everything that he had just been told. "This is a whole lot to take in, Amber," he began. "You're saying…that humans are actually capable of changing one of their own into a Pokémon?"
"I guess," I admitted, knowing all too well how ridiculous the concept sounded. "But you have to believe me. This really happened to me." As I spoke, my voice began to rise.
Soru moved closer, gesturing for me to quiet down. He glanced back at the kitchen and once he was sure Kirk wasn't coming, he turned back to me. "I will be honest with you, Amber. This is very hard for me to comprehend." I started to turn away, disappointed. "But that doesn't mean I don't believe you."
"But you just said—"
Again, he hushed me up. "There are a lot of things that I don't understand about humans. Perhaps they are capable of doing such things. It wouldn't surprise me, having seen what these humans are capable of." He placed a paw on my shoulder. "I trust you, Amber."
I felt an overwhelming rush of emotion surging through me. I jumped up and hugged Soru's neck. "Thank you, Soru," I said, trying desperately to keep my voice down. "I was so worried that you wouldn't believe me. I was afraid—"
A gagging sound alerted me that I was yet again choking out Soru. I immediately released my stranglehold on his neck. I blushed and looked down at the ground sheepishly. "S-Sorry…"
Soru rubbed his neck, a sheepish smile on his face. "Why wouldn't I believe you, Amber?" he asked rhetorically. Then, he looked down, as if he was pondering something. "But…"
I tilted my head, almost afraid to hear the second part of his statement. "But what, Soru?"
"There's one thing that doesn't make sense." He looked toward the door that led out of the apartment, as if he was expecting someone to knock. "If…that was your brother earlier…and he wanted to do all those bad things to you before…then why did he leave you here? Wouldn't that be the last thing he wanted to do?"
It wasn't what I was expecting him to say, which was somewhat of a relief. But at the same time, it was a very curious observation. Why did Kyle leave me here? It must've taken a lot of time and resources to locate me. After all, it had been a few months since I broke out. Plus, I would've thought that he would have a personal vendetta for me, especially considering I had injured him and probably embarrassed him. Surely, I would've been a top priority for Gilroy to recapture. Yet, when he did find me, he left me behind. Scared shitless, of course, but I was still with Kirk and Soru.
Plus, I could tell that he could recognize me. I could see it in his eyes. It was as if he had finally found something precious that he had been searching for. Yet when he left me, I sensed no remorse. It was as if…he was planning something. As if he wanted me to stay here. But why?
I looked up and noticed Soru staring at me, waiting for me to answer his question. I shook my head. "I…I have no idea…" I didn't tell him about my other thoughts.
"Maybe he didn't recognize you," he suggested.
I didn't totally dismiss his notion. "Maybe…But I knew…I knew it was him…And I could tell that…" I looked away again, really not wishing to talk more on the subject.
Luckily, Soru seemed to notice my angst and decided to stop probing. He put a paw on my shoulder. "Let's…not talk about it anymore…especially if you're uncomfortable."
I looked back at him, a clear look of relief on my face. "Thank you, Soru." I paused for a moment. "Could you…not tell anyone else about this?"
He nodded. "Of course, Amber. You have my word."
Both of us jumped and looked up. Kirk stood there with his arms crossed. He didn't seem upset or anything, but he was looking at us with great interest, as if he were listening in on our conversation. Which seemed particularly odd, as both of us knew he couldn't understand us. It was also then that I noticed that Soru had a soft blush on his face, as if he were embarrassed to be caught talking to me.
"I never thought I'd have to repeat myself," he said. "Usually, you two are on top of things, especially with dinner."
I looked up at the clock on the wall, realizing that I had been talking to him for a few hours. Quietly, Soru got up and walked out to the kitchen. I looked up at Kirk before following suit. I noticed that he was looking over me with particular interest. I picked up my pace, quickly catching up to Soru and joining him for dinner.
We ate dinner in silence, in sharp contrast to the last few hours. The rest of the evening was more of the same. I couldn't bring myself to talk to him again. I felt guilty that all my worries were now on his mind. I poured my soul out for him and, while it felt good to get it off my chest, it did seem unfair to make him worry about me. At least, more than he already did.
Kirk didn't stay up late that night, as he had work the next morning. As I expected, I was having difficulty settling down. My mind was still racing. There were so many unanswered questions. How did Kyle find me? Why did he leave me? What was he planning next? I tossed and turned before letting out a frustrated groan, unable to get comfortable.
As far as I could tell, Soru was asleep. At the very least, he wasn't shifting around or talking to himself. I began to wonder what he really thought about what I told him. He said he believed me, but did he really? How could I know for sure? All I could do was trust his word. He had been honest with me up to that point, so I had no reason to not trust him. Still, I had my apprehensions.
I closed my eyes, doing my best to just go to sleep. But as I did, images of my earlier encounter flashed through my head. Especially Kyle's icy blue eyes. I shivered at the thought of his cold gaze looking over me. It wasn't long before I was awake again, gasping for air.
After failing numerous times to fall asleep, I gave up. Doing my best to not disturb anyone else, I got up and began walking around the living room. It wasn't like I wasn't tired; in reality, I was about to keel over. Yet those thoughts continued to haunt me.
As I walked around the room as quietly as I could, my eyes would be drawn to Soru, sleeping soundly. Every time I did, I suddenly felt…calmer. Those fears that had been holding me back were no longer bothering me. I walked over to him, an interesting idea crossing my mind. The only question was, would Soru be willing to share?
Amber's confession was, needless to say, shocking. It was very difficult to believe at first. I mean, a human becoming a Pokémon? It seemed outrageous. But Amber seemed to sense the doubts that I was having and tried her best to explain everything to me. She spoke about receiving a letter from her brother and how it led her to some place called Gilroy. The more she talked, the more she emotional she got. And the more confused I became.
Eventually, I began to get the gist of what she was talking about, even if I didn't fully understand the specifics. She had been tricked by her brother and transformed into a Pokémon. She managed to escape and we found her sometime afterward. Like I said before, the whole idea was outrageous. I am sure that she had told this to most other Pokémon, she would've been scoffed and cast aside as crazy.
However, I felt differently. I'm not sure the particular reason. Perhaps it was because I had gotten to know her personally over those months. Perhaps it was because I could hear the fear in her voice as she told her tale. But whatever the reason, I believed her.
Another thought occurred to me as she told me about how she came to be: my own past. I know, I know. I've lamented about it a lot already. However, I couldn't help but feel guilty as she spoke. It created a dilemma for me: should I tell her or not?
It only seemed fair that I told her the truth about myself. She was telling me her deepest secret, something that she probably wouldn't have told anyone else. Yet I was holding back on her, and I had ever since we met. But what if what I told her lead to a rift between us, or worse? I didn't know if I could take it. So, the question remained: should I, or shouldn't I?
No, I decided, shaking my head. I won't tell her. I shifted around in my bed. At least, not right now. She was too worried about her own issues at the moment. Trying to talk about my issues would probably be too much on her mind. I would wait until things calmed down, and then I would tell her.
I turned my head to find Amber sitting in front of me. "Is something else wrong, Amber?" I asked.
"I was having trouble sleeping and I was wondering if…perhaps, I could sleep over here with you tonight," she inquired sheepishly. "I mean, if…that's okay with you and…"
I couldn't help but smile. She was so sweet, almost like a child. "It's no problem," I said, making some room on my bed for her.
She looked between me and the space I made her, perhaps somewhat surprised that I was actually allowing her to lay down beside me. Tentatively, she walked over and lay down in the space I made her. She curled herself up in a tight ball, just barely rubbing against my side.
She gave a sigh of relief. "Thank you, Soru," she whispered quietly.
"You're welcome," I whispered. Before I could say anything else, she had fallen asleep.
I found myself looking down on Amber's sleeping figure for a long time that evening. She was such a cute little female. If there was one thing that those humans got right in the process, it was creating what appeared to be the perfect Eevee. Of course, I knew that she wanted to be her former human self, but if she was stuck like this, she shouldn't ever worry about her looks.
I curled up around her, almost completely surrounding her. My head rested beside hers. I was careful to not touch her in any inappropriate manner, although it was somewhat difficult. "Good night, Amber..." I whispered softly before drifting off to sleep.
The next few days were very uneventful. During the day, Amber was very quiet, almost as if she were contemplating something. When I asked her what she was thinking about, she would respond with very vague answers, leaving me more confused than anything else.
The nights were an entirely different story. She would toss and turning, unable to get to sleep. Occasionally, she would wake up Kirk, who would do his best to calm her down. However, this never worked and eventually, she would come over to my side of the room and ask to sleep with me. Once she did, she would sleep like a log. By the third night, I would insist that she sleep with me, so she wouldn't disturb Kirk anymore.
The fact that she wouldn't have any sleeping issues while sharing the bed with me was perplexing. What was it about sharing a bed with me that made her comfortable? I guessed that she wanted someone to comfort her. Still, why me and not Kirk? Eventually, I had concluded that it was just a matter of convenience; I had the closest bed to her. Yet, I couldn't help but wonder if there was more to it.
A few days after all of this started, Paco and Alex were over. Paco, as I have previously stated, is quite observant and was quick to notice Amber's behavior was unusual, even when she didn't stick around in the living room for long. "What's wrong with la chica?"
I sighed. "Amber had a bit of a scare a few days ago."
He tilted his head. "Oh, what happened?"
I hesitated. Amber made me promise to not tell anyone else about what had happened. I looked down, pawing at the ground as I tried to come up with something, afraid that Paco might inquiry further.
However, he seemed to notice my trepidation. "It's something personal, isn't it?" I nodded. "Okay…I won't push it."
I sighed in relief. However, there was something I wanted to mention to him. "Paco…There is something I do want to talk to you about."
He nodded and sat down, back against the front of the loveseat. "Okay, hombre. What is it?"
"Well…After her scare…Amber hasn't been sleeping all that well. I mean, she's tossing and turning every night."
"Yikes, must have been pretty bad then."
I nodded again. "However, every night since…she has ended up coming over to my bed every night and…well, sleeping with me."
Paco chuckled. "You're acting like it's a bad thing, hombre. I would've thought you'd be thanking Arceus for this opportunity."
I blushed a little in embarrassment. "W-Well…N-No, it's not a bad thing. I was just saying…She's coming to my bed and not Kirk's. I don't think it's anything…but…"
He cut me off. "She's sleeping with you because she trusts you."
"Even if that's the case-"
Paco wasn't letting me get out of this. "Don't try to sugarcoat it, hombre. This might be your best opportunity to let her know how much you like her."
I looked down. "But…Wouldn't I be taking advantage of her? I mean, she's not in her best emotional state right now."
"Soru, you keep overthinking things. If you don't take chances, you'll never know if she has the same feelings toward you."
He does make a good point. Perhaps showing her some affection would make her happy. But I could also see it backfiring, and that's what made me nervous about doing it. "I…I don't know. This just doesn't feel like the right time to me. I just want to do something that will make her happy."
He sighed, seemingly a little disappointed that I wasn't taking the bait. "Fine, fine. I do know how you can make her happy, though."
"Well…when are you two going to the park next?"
I thought for a moment. "I think Kirk mentioned something about tomorrow."
Paco clapped his hand together. "Here's what you do: Do whatever she wants to do. Do what you can to make her happy. I know that you usually like to just sit around in the sun at the park, but trust me, do this and she'll brighten up."
"You think so?" I asked. I had to admit, it was a pretty good idea.
He nodded confidently. "I know so."
Not much notable happened after Paco left. It was just like any other evening since the encounter. Amber was back in my bed again. As we settled in for the night, I noticed her cuddling up closer to my chest than usual. I probably wouldn't have thought much of it had it not been for my conversation with Paco earlier. I shifted away a little, causing her to look up.
"Is something wrong?" she asked, noticing my own shifting.
I shook my head. "N-No…Just a little close, that's all." I looked away as I could feel my cheeks heating up a little.
"Oh…I'm sorry about that." She moved over a little, giving me more room. She yawned softly and laid her head down. "Thanks for doing this, Soru. You don't know how much I appreciate this."
I watched her as she drifted off to sleep, much like the previous nights. However, I did something that I hadn't done before. Once I knew she was deep asleep, I leaned in and pressed my lips against the top of her head, gently kissing her. I don't know why I did it, but it felt right. I drifted off to sleep, wondering what the next day had in store for me.