Cresselia was unimpressed.
Things were starting to get really strange among the deities and titans. Although, to be fair, "strange" was a relative term when referring to them; at times, it seemed like she was the only one who held any sense of normalcy to begin with.
Dialga and Palkia were actually getting along for once, or so Giratina said. His definition of "getting along" tended to differ from most others', but to his credit, there did seem to be a noticeable change in the deities of Time and Space. Now, instead of constantly griping at each other and threatening to bite their heads off, the normally arrogant Dialga would just sit there and take Palkia's verbal lashings, occasionally groaning and rolling his eyes at her. He wasn't even bothering to fight her back anymore, and it was throwing everyone for a loop.
Mew and Latias were up to something, and Cresselia's instinct told her it was something sinister. One question she had - out of many - was why hadn't they let her in on the subterfuge? The three of them were best friends, and normally they didn't hide things from each other. But lately, every time she happened upon the other two psychics, they would start giggling and float off before she had a chance to say anything. It kind of hurt her feelings, but she figured that they'd tell her what was going on eventually... or at least she hoped so.
And... Darkrai was acting weirder than usual. He was doing the same thing that Mew and Latias were doing: whenever she happened across him, he would suddenly grow very quiet and anxious, muttering something before hastily floating away. This was what bothered her the most; he was hiding something as well, but it seemed to be a lot more serious than whatever her friends were plotting.
Needless to say, she was starting to feel a bit left out. Had she missed a memo or something? Had Arceus gone off the deep end and suddenly declared that all legends must hide some Deep Dark Secret from everyone they knew? Nowadays, she found herself spending more time on her isolated island then with the others. At least it wouldn't hide things from her.
But for all she knew, it could've become sentient and was in on this little private joke that the other gods seemed to share.
It honestly wouldn't surprise her all that much.
Cresselia's hunch was right: Mew and Latias had something up their sleeves (or lack thereof), and it was definitely something sinister. The two of them had made their way over to Lake Verity, because they had some things to discuss with the resident Being of Emotion.
"You've noticed the recent change in Dialga, right?"
Mesprit floated there and nodded at the Eon Pokémon's question. "Indeed, I have," she replied, "anyone with eyes would notice that he is considerably different than he was before."
Mew hovered around excitedly, dancing in circles around her. "He's become more humble! I never thought I'd see the day when he didn't think of himself as the greatest thing in the universe!"
"It is not about his lack of arrogance," Mesprit corrected. "Around many of us, he is still the same old Dialga who sees himself above us. While it may be true that he has undergone some sort of transformation, it must be noted that this change is only apparent when he is around Palkia."
Latias nodded in agreement. "Yeah, he doesn't fight back when she berates him anymore! It's weird, they always used to spend every day fighting, but now he's become more passive about it. I wonder why that is?"
"Palkia... seems to have an effect on him. She has not exactly been herself lately, either."
Tilting her head, Latias gazed at the ceiling in thought for a few moments. "Now that you mention it... something seems different about her, too. It's like she's only harassing him just for the sake of harassing him."
Mesprit nodded again. "Correct. Palkia knows that everyone is accustomed to seeing them fight, so she continues to provoke him in order to keep that appearance up. Something is most definitely different between them, but she would much rather hide it. Unfortunately for her, Dialga doesn't seem to be going along with the act." She paused, then regarded the other two with a curious look. "But you said you were here to talk about Darkrai, and not Dialga or Palkia. Is something the matter with him?"
Mew finally stopped doing somersaults in midair and hovered next to Latias. "Oh yeah, that! Um, well, me and Latias noticed that Darkrai's been acting kinda weird lately too, like Dialga has. We were wonderin' if you might have any insight, 'cause you're the being of emotion..."
"It might help," Mesprit began, "if you defined 'weird' for me, especially if you are referring to Darkrai."
"Oh! Well..." Mew fidgeted, taking a sudden interest in the end of her tail. "He only acts weird around Cressy, y'see. I don't think he's spoken to her in days!"
"Mhm! Lately, whenever he sees her, he gets all quiet and runs away. It's really upsetting her," Latias said quietly, looking worried for their friend.
Mesprit hovered over to the entrance to her cave. "It is... extremely difficult to tell with him. Darkrai has never been one to show much emotion. I understand why you have come to me to ask about this, but I am afraid I cannot be of much help to you," she replied apologetically. "Darkrai shows so little emotion that it is difficult for even me to tell what he is feeling."
"I think I might have an idea," Latias offered. Once she had the attention of the other two, she smiled, a dreamy look forming on her face. "I think he might like Cresselia, but he doesn't know how to tell her! Or maybe... ohmigosh, maybe he doesn't even realize it!"
Mesprit chuckled. "Latias, I do believe you have been spending far too much time in Alto Mare reading comics with your human friend." She floated back over to the other two, taking on a serious look. "But do you have any reason to believe that that might be the case, other than what you have already told me?"
"Well, I know Cressy's been really upset about it," Mew answered. "They're usually pretty civil around each other, if not almost friendly, but ever since he started avoiding her, she hasn't been as happy as usual." She sighed, looking down at the pool of water within the cave. "And we don't like seeing her sad..."
"Oh... oh! Maybe she likes him too, and that's why she's been so upset!" Latias flailed a little, doing a backflip out of excitement. "Eeeee! This is... this is almost like that one story I read with Bianca where the girl's friends-"
"Latias, please," Mesprit suddenly cut her off. "We do not want to jump to any conclusions, or else it may make the situation worse." Latias suddenly squeaked and clamped her paws over her mouth, nodding meekly. Mesprit shook her head and continued. "Your hypothesis about Cresselia may be correct; after all, you two are her closest friends, therefore, that conclusion may come easier to you than it would to me. But as far as Darkrai goes..."
She looked thoughtful for a moment. "Keep an eye on him over the next few days. Watch his interactions with the other deities, especially Giratina - the two of them are rather close as well." She made an odd face. That didn't seem to be the right choice of words. "Well, as 'close' as beings like them could get... but I digress. Watch Darkrai, and see if he makes any drastic personality changes as Dialga did. Wait and see if he starts making any display of emotion, and then report back to me with your findings."
The other two nodded at her, then glanced at each other, as if silently agreeing. Mesprit watched them for a moment, and suddenly gave them a knowing smile. "In fact... if you can provoke him into any kind of emotion, it may actually help your case..."
Mew and Latias blinked at her. "What, you mean like intentionally making him angry or something?" Latias asked, tilting her head.
"That... that might work..." Mew suddenly squealed, giggling into her paws.
"But be extremely careful about it," Mesprit warned. "The one emotion I am positive that Darkrai does possess is anger, and I am sure that if he knows what you two are up to, then he will not hesitate to retaliate. As a Dark-type, he has the advantage over the both of you, and if you push him too far, there will be dire consequences."
Mew stopped laughing and waved off Mesprit's warning, looking a bit dismissive. "Yeah, yeah, okay, we'll be careful! Don't worry about us!" Twirling around a little, she zipped over to the entrance of the cave, motioning for Latias to follow. "C'mon, Latias! We'd better get busy!"
Latias giggled in response and started to follow, but suddenly paused and looked back at the Being of Emotion. "Thanks, Mesprit. We'll let you know how it goes!" And with that, she had followed her small pink friend out of the cave.
Mesprit slowly hovered over to the entrance of the cave, watching the two of them disappear into the clouds. She smiled and crossed her arms, leaning back into sort of a lounging position. Of course she knew what was going on; however, it wasn't in her nature to divulge such matters to others. If they wanted to know, then they had to find out for themselves, for it wasn't her place to tell them.
But if Darkrai and Cresselia were anything like Dialga and Palkia, which she had a strong feeling that they were, then this would certainly be interesting.
"Seriously, man, what the hell's the matter with you? You've been acting crazy all week!"
Darkrai groaned and hovered over to a wall. The thought of banging his head against it was all too tempting - he hadn't come to Turnback Cave to be taunted, he'd come here to vent his frustrations to Giratina. After all, he'd had to put up with the God of Dimension's many rants about Arceus; surely the ghost-dragon would show the same courtesy?
"It's... complicated," he replied, keeping his back turned. "I barely even know what's wrong, myself."
If Giratina had eyebrows, he would've raised one at him. "You don't know what's wrong with you? You been hanging out with Dialga or something? Has his stupid rubbed off onto you?"
Head, meet wall. "No, I haven't been 'hanging out' with that idiot," Darkrai replied sharply. "You know how horrible I am with emotions. Why are you so surprised?"
"I dunno." One of his wings twitched in the closest thing to a shrug he could get. "Even if you do suck at feeling things other than rage, I'd think that you might know how your own mind ticks. Why would I know if you don't?"
Finally, Darkrai turned to look at him. "Point. But... it's hard to explain. It's like... there's someone, that whenever I see them, I feel like running away. But at the same time, it feels like I shouldn't. I'm not sure what to do about it. I've had this feeling for a while, and to say it's frustrating would be an understatement."
"By 'someone', you mean Cresselia, right?"
The Pitch-Black Pokémon faltered a bit. "Uh. Why would I mean her?"
Giratina rolled his eyes. "Oh, please. Every time you've seen her lately, you've run away. Don't think I didn't see that time in the Hall of Origin when she was coming over to talk to you... she smiled at you, and you were either gonna drop those Tamato Berries you were holding, or crush them into a pulp. And then you made an excuse to get the hell out of there. It was pretty damn funny, to be honest."
If Darkrai had been drinking something at the time, it would've made for the greatest spit-take in history. "You saw that? Ahh, I mean..." He shook his head. His face felt really, really warm all of a sudden. "That was just... I remembered something important, alright? It was only a coincidence."
"Uh huh. Coincidence. Suuuuure, I believe you. I believe you as far as I can throw you." And throwing was kind of difficult with six legs and no arms.
Groaning again, Darkrai balled a clawed hand into a fist, pounding on the wall he was leaning against. It was probably better than hitting it with his head.
Shaking his head, Giratina stomped over to him. "Dude, when are you gonna man up and admit that you like her? You're not fooling anyone, here - everyone can see it, you know. We can can already tell that you feel something for her, it's only the most obvious thing since obvious came to Obvious Town."
Darkrai was silent for several moments before finally speaking up again, his voice considerably quieter than before. "I don't feel... I mean, I- I can't, okay? Everyone sees me as 'that Pokemon who gives everyone nightmares and it's evil and terrifying'. There's no chance of her ever seeing me as anything other than that, so why even bother? It'll never happen."
Giratina gave him a flat stare before sighing in exasperation. "How do you know that?" he asked. "How do you know she ain't sitting pretty on her little island - which, might I add, is the only one remotely close to yours - and thinking about how much she wants to sit under the moon with you and count the stars with you and all of that mushy stuff that Latias goes on and on about..."
Darkrai continued to float there and silently listen to his companion. He had to admit, the idea of doing those things with Cresselia made him feel... different, less empty inside. But still, he shook his head and allowed himself to float down to the ground. "It just wouldn't work out, alright?" His expression was blank, but if Giratina had good ears, he might catch a hint of sorrow in the Nightmare's voice. "We're opposites. We're not meant to interact in that manner."
"Try telling that to Dialga and Palkia."
"...I still maintain that the only reason they fought over Alamos was because of the sexual tension."
Giratina snorted. "I ain't gonna argue with that. But you know, you and Cressy have that going on, too. It's only been there since, like, the beginning of time. Why do you think Arceus put your islands so close together?"
Darkrai shrugged. "Convenience?"
"Yeah, convenient for you guys."
Darkrai could've swore that Giratina was winking at him.
He let out a frustrated sigh. "Whatever. You're no help at all," he said coldly, pulling himself back into a hover. "I came here thinking I might accidentally be able to get some advice from you, but I should've known better than to take you seriously." Shooting Giratina a piercing glare, Darkrai headed for the southern exit out of the cave, knowing it would get him far away from the ghost dragon in a minimal amount of time.
Giratina called after Darkrai as he left. "Dude, that was my advice!" Once he was sure his 'friend' was gone, he chuckled and shook his head. He raised a clawed wing, summoning a Haunter from behind the large stone pillar in the center of the room.
"Go and tell Latias what you just witnessed, alright? I think she'd get a kick out of it."
It was crowded in the Hall of Origin.
Granted, it wasn't as crowded as it could've been, given the absence of some of the larger and louder deities, but it was still too stuffy for Darkrai's preferences.
Why was he even here, anyway? Every time Arceus called for one of these gatherings, he always stayed off to one corner and avoided everyone else. This time was no different - he hovered off to the side, trying to look as menacing as possible in order to discourage anyone else from coming near him. And given his recent frustration, it seemed to be working.
It didn't work for long, though. Out of the corner of his eye, Darkrai spotted a flurry of rainbow feathers heading toward him, and before he knew it, Ho-Oh was perched next to him.
He raised an eyebrow, regarding the Rainbow Pokémon with a blank look. "Can I help you?" he deadpanned.
Ho-Oh craned her neck indignantly. "Whaaaat? Can't I say hi to our friendly neighborhood God of Nightmares?"
"Uh, you and I never speak to each other. Why should this time be any different?"
Ho-Oh raised a wing to pat him on the head. "I just feel like being social today, that's all!"
Darkrai cringed, shrinking away from the bird's touch. "Yeah, well, I don't. Please go."
"Nah, I don't think I will." Ho-Oh smirked (as well as one could smirk with a beak) and ruffled her feathers. It looked like she was starting to get comfortable where she was sitting, and knowing her, she probably wouldn't be moving any time soon. Darkrai groaned and looked around the area, trying to think of any excuse he could to get away from her.
All of the other legendaries who were present seemed to be preoccupied: Jirachi, Celebi, and Manaphy were all bouncing bubbles back-and-forth between each other (so very mature, the three of them were). Shaymin was perched atop Arceus' head like a little green grassy hat, rambling on about flowers, and she listened to her intently (Arceus always had to play favorites, didn't she?). The three birds from Kanto were bickering again, and Lugia hovered around them, trying to settle the debate (a futile effort). Mesprit was discussing something with the other members of her trio (Darkrai could've swore that every now and then, she would turn and glance at him).
He sighed and crossed his arms, glaring down at the floor. Why had he even bothered coming?
He looked up again, only to find Cresselia within his line of sight.
... Oh. That had been why.
She, of course, was talking with Mew and Latias, and she looked much happier to be doing so than he remembered seeing her. Seeing her so cheerful helped to ease his anxieties a bit, and he let out another sigh, relaxing a bit.
Ho-Oh took notice of this. Her eyes drifted from Darkrai to Cresselia and back again. The look in her eyes was nothing short of diabolical, and she ruffled her feathers before speaking up again.
"Man, Cressy's lookin' good today, don't you think?"
Darkrai's hover faltered, and he looked up at Ho-Oh. Had he heard her right? "What."
"Cressy. Check her out, she looks a lot more... sparkly today." Ho-Oh raised a wing, gesturing in her general direction.
Well, she did look a lot perkier than she'd been lately, yes. Darkrai watched as Mew circled around her for a few moments before latching onto her head. The Lunar Pokémon giggled and shook her wings a bit, sending a shower of sparkles everywhere.
"I dunno about you, Darky, but I wouldn't mind spending some time with her... if you know what I mean."
This caught him completely off-guard. "What?" Before he could stop himself, he shot up to hover in front of Ho-Oh's face, charging a Shadow Ball between his claws. "Would you mind repeating that?"
Ho-Oh snickered. Just as planned. "What'sa matter, are you jeeeealous?"
Again, he wavered, his Shadow Ball dissipating. "No, I'm not jealous! I just..." Crap. How was he going to get himself out of this one? "...Cresselia's more dignified than that!"
"So, if you're not jealous, then you wouldn't mind if I, y'know, just kinda hung out with her for a while, if you get my drift?"
The Shadow Ball returned. He failed to notice that the entire Hall of Origin had grown deathly silent by this time. "Come near her and I'll be haunting your dreams for the next few millennia!"
Ho-Oh lifted a wing again, covering her beak as she let out a cackle. Darkrai was so busted. "Ohohohoho! You're making a scene, Darky!"
"Uh." Darkrai turned to look over his shoulder, only to find everyone else staring at them. Including Cresselia. His face suddenly flushed, and he rubbed at the back of his head before lowering himself back down toward the floor. No, he didn't know why he'd even bothered coming.
Lugia made his way over to sit next to Ho-Oh. "You weren't serious about that at all, were you."
"Maybe I was, maybe I wasn't. The world may never know!"
"... You're a sadist."
Meanwhile, Cresselia was completely lost. She turned to look at her two friends curiously. "...I am so confused right now."
Mew and Latias had huddled together. Their eyes drifted from Cresselia to Darkrai and back again. And then Latias squeaked, covering her mouth with her paws. Instead of responding, she let out an earth-shattering amount of giggles before turning and hovering off, Mew following immediately after.
"No, wait-!" Cresselia instinctively started to follow after them, but once she realized that they were doing that thing again, she stopped and cast her eyes down to the floor dejectedly. When were they going to stop this silly little game they kept playing with her? When were they going to start acting like her friends again?
She sighed and lifted her head again, suddenly finding her eyes drifting over to Darkrai. He didn't seem to be paying much attention, but after a moment, he looked up at her.
Their eyes met, and for those few brief seconds, she felt at ease - like there was someone who wasn't ignoring her for once, like there was someone who possibly cared about her situation.
She started to move toward him, but just as quickly, he broke eye contact. He'd suddenly taken quite the interest in his clawed hands, and he floated off without a word.
Cresselia watched him leave, a forlorn look on her face. Everyone had been acting so strangely lately, that she was starting to wonder why she'd even come here herself. The little bit of fun she'd been having with Latias and Mew had ended rather abruptly, and she hadn't been able to speak to Darkrai, either. Everyone else seemed like they were busy, so she figured that she might as well go home.
She didn't get very far. On her way out, she suddenly felt something latch onto the back of her head, just as Mew had done before. "Creeeeessiiiiie..."
Cresselia smiled. She recognized that voice. "Hello there, Jirachi."
The tiny Pokémon giggled and let go of her head, hovering around so he could look her in the face. "You're leaving so soon? We haven't had a chance to play yet..."
It was hard to be sad when Jirachi was around. There was something about his adorable innocence that always managed to lift her spirits. "I'm sorry, Jirachi. I'm just not feeling very well right now, so I thought I would go home and rest..."
Jirachi pouted and floated closer, nestling himself under her chin. "I hope you're not getting sick! I'd be really sad if you got sick. Promise me you won't get sick, okay?"
She nuzzled at his head a bit. "Don't worry, I'm not getting sick." Well, maybe not physically sick. Emotionally was a different story altogether, but the naive Jirachi probably wouldn't understand it if she tried to explain it to him. "I'll be fine, I'm just tired. It's been a long day."
"Oh, okay!" Detaching himself from around her neck, Jirachi started to slowly circle around her. "Yeah, you should go home and rest up if you're sleepy! But you have to promise me that we'll play sometime soon!"
Cresselia giggled and gave him a smile, watching him float around. "We will, I promise." Giving him a little wave, she made her way out of the Hall of Origin, feeling a bit better than she did before. At least she'd been reassured that someone still cared about her.
"Well, this is certainly an interesting development..."
Latias and Mew had returned to Mesprit's cave, in order to report their findings over the last few days. Latias had explained what she'd been told about Giratina's discussion with Darkrai, and the three of them had also mused over the scene they'd witnessed at the Hall of Origin.
"I would almost assume that you had informed Ho-Oh of your plans, were she not so devious to begin with," Mesprit considered. "She definitely enjoys stirring up trouble, so it is not surprising that she acted the way she did."
"I thought it was kinda funny!" Mew chirped, waving her arms excitedly. "She really got Darkrai angry! It's like she's a professional... um... anger-er?" She tilted her head, looking confused at her own wording.
Mesprit chuckled. "Provoking others is a hobby of hers, yes. But regardless, Darkrai did show quite the display of emotion. Did you happen to hear what incited that rage?"
"Um... not really," Latias replied sheepishly. "But once everything got quiet, he did say something about giving Ho-Oh a bunch of nightmares if she went near Cressy!"
Mew nodded enthusiastically. "That has to be a sign!"
Mesprit shook her head. "Do not get ahead of yourselves. Ho-Oh and Darkrai have never gotten along very well, so he may have been reacting that way because of his own distaste toward her."
The other two psychics' faces fell. "Awww..."
"If you truly want to prove your hypothesis, you'll have to use a more direct approach." When she was met with two curious gazes, Mesprit smiled and continued. "You will have to get involved with Darkrai and Cresselia themselves. It would be taking a huge risk, but if you two can pull it off, then it could work to your advantage..."
Mew and Latias glanced at each other, and then back at Mesprit. "We're listening!"
"Latias? Mew? Are you here?"
Cresselia floated down the heavily-wooded Spring Path, feeling extremely apprehensive. She hadn't been here before, and she was caught completely off-guard by how eerie the place seemed to be. It was slightly foggy - not like it made much of a difference, since it was dark outside anyway, but the whole feel of the place was spending chills down her spine.
Why had she been asked to meet them here? Couldn't they have picked a prettier place to meet up? Like Floaroma Meadow? That place was nice and peaceful, that was a good place for them to meet up. Not like here. This place was beyond unnerving; downright scary, even.
A sudden rustling in the bushes broke Cresselia's thoughts. She tensed up, using all of her willpower to keep from turning and bolting on the spot - if her friends had asked her to be here, then she couldn't stand them up. For all she knew, that could've been them arriving, so she steeled herself and hesitantly spoke up. "H-Hello? Who's there?"
If she was expecting anyone in particular, it definitely wasn't Darkrai. So when she saw him emerge from the bushes, looking quite confused, she blinked at him curiously. "Darkrai?"
"Uh." For a moment, it looked like he was about to run. But instead, he sighed and raised a hand in greeting.
She floated over to him, actually feeling a bit relieved now that he was here. "What are you doing here?"
He shrugged, rubbing at the back of his head. "Giratina asked me to be here," he answered, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "What about you?"
"Latias and Mew wanted me to meet them. You haven't seen either of them around, have you?"
"... No, I haven't." Inwardly, Darkrai groaned. Oh, yeah. He knew what was going on. But it was too late to back out now. They were both already here, and for all he knew, their 'friends' - if one could call them that at this point - really could be waiting for them further along the path.
Not to mention, she looked scared. He'd been down this path many times before, and it had never bothered him, but she looked so timid at the moment that it seemed to tug at whatever heart he might possess. He felt the urge to stay with her, to ease her fear. After all, he knew the concept of fear like the back of his hand, and with that knowledge, he also had the ability to disarm fear. "You... do you want to go and find them?" he offered, glancing down the path.
She nodded at him, inching closer. "Yes, please. This place is giving me the creeps, so the sooner we find them, the better."
"Alright. Come on, then." He started to float along the path again, motioning for her to follow. She promptly hovered right up alongside him; her eyes nervously darted around the area, and occasionally she would shiver. He had to admit, this place probably did seem frightening to someone unaccustomed to being there.
Darkrai glanced at her from the corner of his eye. She was hovering awfully close to him, and while it didn't necessarily bother him, he couldn't help but wonder if it was just because she was so frightened, or... other reasons. (He inwardly cursed Giratina for enabling him to actually consider this stuff.) At the very least, though, he could try and make her feel better. "Calm down," he said quietly, "there's nothing to be afraid of, here."
Cresselia swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded again. "I know. S-sorry, it's just that I've not been here before. Honestly, I don't know why Mew and Latias chose here, of all places. I would've expected them to ask me to meet them somewhere nice and pretty like Floaroma, maybe - or they could've just came to my own island, even..." She trailed off, shaking her head in exasperation. "They've both been acting very strange lately. I swear, I'm going to find out why if it's the last thing I do..."
Darkrai crossed his arms and nodded. He was pretty sure he knew what was happening here, but like hell was he going to bring it up. "Well, regardless, I won't let anything happen."
She turned to him in surprise. "Really?"
He was suddenly very glad that he wasn't looking at her, because that had slipped out completely unexpectedly. He glanced off to the side, mentally berating himself for his poor word filter. But once he regained his composure in light of his slip-up, he let out a sigh of irritation. "Yeah."
Cresselia gazed at her counterpart for a moment, a small smile forming on her face. "You know, a few others have been acting peculiar lately, too. Have you noticed that things have changed between Dialga and Palkia?"
The God of Nightmares snorted, nodding in response. "'Peculiar' is an understatement when it comes to them," he replied. "Though I have to admit, it's sort of refreshing to see Dialga not acting like a pompous jackass for once."
"Oh I know, isn't it? Whatever's happened between them, it's doing them both a lot of good," Cresselia said, casting her eyes up to the dark sky above them. "It's one less pair who are constantly bickering at each other."
"I'll say." Darkrai failed to notice that his companion had started to fall behind a little bit. "I do hope that Latias' guess is wrong, though. The idea that the two of them might have fallen for each other is just a little mind-boggling, especially when they hated each other so much before."
"Aww, I think it's cute," the Lunar Pokémon responded, taking on a peaceful look. "If they've truly put aside their differences, then maybe that means everyone else can do so, too..."
Darkrai smirked. "You'd really like that, wouldn't you, Cresselia?"
He received no answer.
Only when he was met with silence for a second time did he finally turn around to look at her.
She was gone.
He could feel the blood start pulsing through his veins. "Cresselia?"
Almost immediately, he darted into the forest surrounding the Spring Path. Where had she gone? It was like she'd vanished into thin air! And as he zipped between the trees, his own fear started to grow. Surely nothing had happened to her; he said he wouldn't allow it! And that realization started to weigh him down immensely during his search. He'd told her that no harm would come to her, that he would protect her, and yet...
The deeper he got into the forest, the heavier the fog got. Before long, it was starting to obscure his vision and he could barely see two feet in front of him. That wasn't going to stop him from finding her, though. He continued to call out to her, weaving between trees, occasionally firing off an Ominous Wind attack in an attempt to blow the fog away. It worked for a couple of seconds, but the fog crept back into the area almost immediately, blocking his line of sight again.
Eventually, he emerged back onto the path, letting out a growl of frustration. Now he was getting angry. He was almost positive that this was Giratina's doing, and possibly Latias and Mew had had a hand in it as well. Undoubtedly, it was some kind of ploy to get him to admit his feelings to himself and Cresselia.
It was working.
It had been a long time since Darkrai had been scared of anything. As one who was so adept at causing fear himself, there were very few things that could actually scare him. The prospect of losing his counterpart was one of them - something that he had forced himself not to acknowledge until now.
But now wasn't the time to think about that; the more important matter at hand was actually finding her. Maybe she was already at the spring, so he continued to brave the ever-thickening fog, making his way toward Sendoff Spring.
As he drew closer to the spring, he could just barely catch what seemed to be a faint pink glow through the thick haze, and a wave of relief washed over him as he reached out toward it.
His hand came into contact with a delicate wing, and just as suddenly as she'd disappeared, the dense fog suddenly lifted, blowing away with a strong gust of wind. Once the fog cleared completely, it revealed that the two of them were hovering directly over Sendoff Spring, the clear night sky overlooking them.
She'd sharply turned her head to look at him as he latched onto her wing, but as soon as he came into view, her shock faded. "Darkrai..." Almost immediately, she huddled close to him, nestling her head against his shoulder.
He briefly tensed up at the contact, but he gradually relaxed and reached up to place a hand on the back of her head in a comforting gesture. "What happened to you?"
Cresselia let out a shaky sigh and began to explain what had happened: she'd been following just a few feet behind him when she'd suddenly felt something grab her, and before she could do anything about it, she'd found herself here. Unsure of where she was, she'd simply stayed there, hovering in that same spot, until he'd finally found her.
"I just didn't know what else to do since I didn't know what had happened or where I was. The fog was so thick that I couldn't see anything, and..." After a few deep breaths, she finally seemed to calm down a bit. "I'm just glad you're here."
Darkrai wasn't sure how to respond - a good few moments of silence passed before he spoke again. "I apologize... I told you nothing would happen, but-"
"No, no, don't be sorry," she cut him off. "I should be the one apologizing, I didn't mean to make you worry-"
And then she blinked, as if someone had flipped a light switch in her head. She lifted her head to look at him, surprise clearly etched on her face.
"Wait, you were worried about me?"
Darkrai tensed again, and he soon felt warmth rushing to his face. "Ah, well..." Huh. This was a familiar situation. There he was, having talked himself into a corner again, faced with an insinuation that was totally true no matter how much he might've denied it. But this time, he wasn't going to get angry in response. It was time to swallow his pride and stop kidding himself.
"Yes." He reached up again, this time placing his hands on both sides of her face. "I was worried about you, Cresselia."
He held her gaze for several long moments, hoping she would realize that he was being completely sincere. Her face flushed as well, but she was smiling. "That's... I was starting to think that nobody cared about me anymore. That everyone was just going to keep ignoring me and running away. So, I- it's weird to say, but I'm kind of glad you were worried... that you care that much."
Darkrai sighed, feeling as if a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders. "I do care," he said quietly, brushing a thumb against the side of her face, "very much."
And far off in the bushes surrounding the spring, a red and white head popped up from behind one of them, with a small pink cat perched on top of it.
Latias and Mew first looked at each other, then the two lunar deities, then the three Haunter accompanying them. They would have to tell them to extend their thanks to Giratina.