Author's Note: All the constellations were stolen directly from Pokémon Channel's Camp Starlight. All I have added are the North Star and the interpretations of what the constellations are doing. I know that the sky over Phenac City probably isn't the same as the sky over Viridian Forest, but they used the same constellations in the credits of the 6th movie, which is in Hoenn, so they're probably close enough for this purpose.
It was nighttime in Phenac City. Wes tossed and turned in a bed in the Pokémon Center, unable to sleep. After a while, he admitted defeat and got up. He left the room as quietly as he could, trying not to disturb Rui, who was sleeping in another bed. He ended up outside the city, leaning on the city wall, the thoughts that had kept him awake still tormenting him. There were only a few Shadow Pokémon left to purify – the quest which he had been on since saving Rui was almost over. It was a good thing, since Shadow Pokémon were a crime against nature, but he almost didn't want to purify the last few Shadow Pokémon. This quest had been his only direction and only goal since leaving Snagem – when it was completed, he didn't know what he would do.
He heard footsteps coming from the entrance to the city, and turned toward the sound. It was Rui, looking only half-awake. She walked over, and stood beside him.
"Sorry." He said quietly. She flapped a hand, waving off the apology.
"It's fine. There's no reason for us to wake up early tomorrow. What's the matter, Wes? I could hear you shifting before I fell asleep. Why couldn't you fall asleep?" He looked up at the stars, not wanting to meet her piercing blue eyes.
"For years, Team Snagem was the only thing I knew. While I don't regret leaving it... I don't know what to do. You're the only one who really accepted me, knowing my past. When this is over, and you're gone... I won't have anyone or anywhere. No one will want to be around me, especially since I still have the Snag Machine." He glanced at it with a slightly disgusted look. "But I won't give it up. I don't trust anyone else with it." Rui moved closer to him, then, hesitantly, put a hand on his shoulder.
"You're exaggerating. Cipher would have won if it wasn't for you. You're a hero." He turned away from her.
"And a thief." He said bitterly. "Who would want to be around someone who could steal their Pokémon at any time? Not only that, everyone saw 'me' attacking people with a Shadow Togetic."
"Wes..." She took another step closer. She was close enough that he could hear her breathing, and feel the warmth of her breath beneath his ear. Annoyed – he hadn't asked for sympathy – he stepped away, dislodging her hand. She sighed.
"I can't make you believe me. But... People do trust you. I'm not the only one who has seen how you've left Snagem forever." He stood there, not wanting to look at her. He heard her shift, but heard no footsteps, to his relief. He knew the hurt expression that would be on her face. Yet her words echoed in his mind. Could she be right? She had always been better at understanding people than him. But she wasn't from Orre. She didn't understand the anger ingrained in people after years about hearing about Snagem's crimes.... Right?
"I never noticed before... The stars are so much more beautiful here than at home." She said, awed, interrupting his thoughts again. He turned to look at her, despite the protests from part of his mind.
"They're better out away from the cities." He told her. She looked at him.
"You look at them often? I never thought of you as a stargazer..."
"That's because I'm not. We used them for navigation when we went to steal things at night." As he spoke, he realized that he looked back to those days with longing. Angrily, he pushed those thoughts away. That was over. Rui's voice pulled him away from the inner conflict.
"So you know the constellations?" He eyes were wide with excitement.
"Yes. You don't?"
"No. The city lights were always too bright at home." She gazed at him hopefully. "Can you teach me them?" He briefly considered saying no and telling her to go back to bed and leave him alone, but couldn't resist her hopeful expression.
"Sure." He took a couple steps away from the city walls, then turned, looking at the dark, imposing figure of Mt. Battle. He shifted his gaze to Rui. "Come here." As she walked over, he realized she had her arms crossed and her hands wedged between her body and her arms. He noticed for the first time how cold the night breeze was on his face, and started undoing the snaps on his coat. She reached him and stood next to him, looking at him curiously.
"I'll start with the most important constellation. Look at Mt. Battle." He instructed her, undoing the last couple snaps. As she complied, he took off his coat and moved behind her. As he had thought, she was shivering. Gently, he draped his coat around her, and closed the first snap around her neck. Her hands flew to the snap, and she looked back at him.
"No, I don't need-" He placed a hand on her shoulder, silencing her.
"I'm used to desert nights. You aren't." He said quietly, meeting her eyes. "Now, look at Mt. Battle."
"Thank you." She whispered, turning back to Mt. Battle. He leaned forward slightly, putting his head on the same level as hers, and looked over her shoulder, moving his hand out of the way as he did so.
"Look to the right and slightly up from Mt. Battle." He lifted his hand and used it to point. Almost without him noticing, he placed his other hand on her other shoulder and held it in a light grip. "Do you see the four stars in a rectangle, with the three stars going up and left?" His finger traced them as he spoke.
"Yeah." Rui leaned back against him a little bit, and, glancing sideways, Wes saw she was smiling. He felt a small smile form on his own face.
"That's the Teddiursa Constellation. The rectangle is its head, and the three stars go through its body at an angle, with the last star as its tail. That one's the North Star. If you head toward it, you'll always be heading north, no matter when it is or where you are."
"I've heard of the Teddiursa Constellation and the North Star. But... Where is the Ursaring Constellation? I thought it was near the Teddiursa Constellation."
"It's further to the right. Do you see the seven stars that look like the Teddiursa Constellation upside-down?" He pointed them out, like before. She squinted, then nodded.
"Is that all? It's a little small for an Ursaring..." He chuckled.
"No, that's not all of it. The three stars are just its tail. If you go up from the rectangle, you'll see three stars in a triangle – that's its head. See it?" He waited for her sound of affirmation, then went on, continuing to point out what he talked about. "From the base of its head, going right and slightly up, you can see a few stars going diagonally – that's its front legs. Below them, near its tail, is a parallel set – that's its back legs."
"It looks like it's fighting. Do you think it's trying to protect the Teddiursa from something?"
"Maybe. I only know the legends for a couple of constellations. The important part about the Ursaring Constellation is that it helps point you to the North Star – see the top two stars in the upside-down Teddiursa?" He waited until she found them, then continued. "If you draw a line through those, it intersects the North Star. But since you can only see the Ursaring in spring and summer, there's another constellation that helps you find Teddiursa." As he explained how to find the North Star, he demonstrated drawing the line with his finger.
"What is it?" Rui asked, slipping her arms into the sleeves of Wes's coat.
"It's the Milotic Constellation. It's left and down from Teddiursa, near Mt. Battle. There's a rectangle – that's its head – then it goes up and curves down around Teddiursa. Do you see it?"
"Yeah." She said, yawning. He glanced sideways at her.
"Do you want to go back to bed?"
"No." She leaned back slightly, putting more of her weight on him, and he lowered his head slightly so their eyes were on the same level again. "I like doing this. I've never known anything about the constellations, really. And you're a good teacher." He felt his face heat up slightly at the compliment, and was thankful she was looking at the stars, not him.
"All right, I'll continue. But you're too kind." He looked up at the sky, making sure the one he was thinking of was there. It was. "Right below the Milotic Constellation is the Seviper Bearer – a Machoke holding a Seviper. Do you see that curved line of stars below Milotic's head that goes almost to the horizon? That's Machoke's shoulder to his waist. The diagonal line of stars sticking out to the left about... a third from the bottom is Seviper's tail. And the line of stars at the end of the curving line is one of Machoke's legs." He paused, making sure she found it all.
"Go on." Her voice was quiet.
"To the right of the leg, you can see a parallel line of stars – that's Machoke's other leg. Curving up from that is the rest of his body. The kind of jagged line going right from the curved line on the same level as Seviper's tail is its head."
"The Seviper Bearer kinda makes me think of you." He looked at her, trying to see if she was joking, but she looked serious.
"Well, the Seviper Bearer is holding the Seviper, stopping it from hurting the Teddiursa or anything else, even though none of the other constellations notice. It's doing so even though the Seviper might hurt it. It's like how you helped me even though it had nothing to do with you and you knew that they wouldn't be afraid to hurt you."
"Rui, that's-" She cut him off, placing a hand on the one he had on her shoulder and touching the white stripe on his face with the other.
"Lemme finish." She said, sleepiness blending her words together. "He's gonna stay up there holding that Seviper for eternity, even though no one will ever thank him for it and his life was probably better before he grabbed that Seviper and was put in the sky. He's just like you. How you saved everyone from Cipher even though you thought they wanted you gone. How you turned your skills to good, even though you could have gotten more money as a thief, and how you talked to police and mayors when I asked, even though you could have been recognized and arrested." She looked up at him, and he realized she had been sinking down the entire speech, too tired to continue standing upright. "You're too hard on yourself. You would make a great police officer, if not here, then in some other region, or you could be a trainer on Mt. Battle – you're strong and smart enough for both." She yawned, then continued. "But I guess you wouldn't wanna be around people that much. You could be an explorer – Orre has tons of places people have never been, and there's no one better than you to explore them." Wes shook his head, not sure what to make of what she was saying. He decided to ignore it for now.
"You should go back to bed. You look like you're about to fall asleep." She shook her head weakly.
"I just remembered that my grandfather always would talk about the Pikachu Star, smiling down on everyone. He always said it was his favorite star. Where is it? Do you know?" He sighed.
"Yes, I do. Stand up."
"I am." She said, barely above a whisper.
"No, you aren't." He put his hands under her arms and lifted her to a more or less upright position, then let her lean against him. He put one arm around her waist to keep her upright, then used the other to point at the stars, as he had been doing the entire time.
"See that bright star to the right of the Seviper Bearer and below Ursaring?"
"Uh-huh." He glanced at her – her eyes were half-shut, but she was looking.
"That's the Pikachu Star. It's part of the Gardevoir Constellation."
"Gardevoir Constellation?" She sounded sleepy but curious, and although he knew she was probably about to fall asleep, it seemed cruel to leave her without answers.
"All right. See to the left of the Pikachu Star how there's a line of stars that splits in two at the Pikachu Star?"
"Uh-huh." She said after a bit.
"The top part is her body and head. The bottom part, where it splits, is one of her legs and part of her dress. To the left and up, you'll see a line of stars leading from her leg and dress to another line, which is about parallel to her leg – that's her other leg. See it?"
"Mm-hm." She shifted, and one of her hands took hold of the one he had on her waist. He was surprised, but didn't move, not wanting to disturb her.
"This one is one of the few where I know a little bit about its legend."
"Mm-hm. I've heard three reasons Rayquaza put her in the sky. The first was to remind us all of the goodness inside of us – to supplement the Pikachu Star's childish optimism and innocence with the wisdom that nothing and no one is perfect, but generally things are better than they seem. The second is that he wanted to honor her after she died fighting to save her trainer. The third is that he wanted her to watch us – to see through the faces we present to the world to who we really are, and report to him the true state of the world." He waited for a reaction from Rui, but getting none, looked at her. Her eyes were shut, and her breathing was slow – she was asleep. Emboldened, he said what he was thinking.
"If I'm the Seviper Bearer, you're the Gardevoir Constellation." He said it so quietly that even he could barely hear it. "You see the best in everything, even though you've seen as much of the bad as any of us. You can see more than the normal person can, both literally and figuratively. And you're willing to fight for what you think is important." As he spoke, he slowly moved his arm up from her waist to her shoulders, then placed the other behind her thighs. He lifted her, and, though he winced slightly at the weight, carried her through Phenac to the Pokémon Center, thankful the door was automatic. The door to their room wasn't, though, and as he readjusted the positions of his arms to get a hand free for the doorknob, she woke up.
"Did I fall asleep?" She asked sleepily.
"Yes." He said gently, finally grabbing the doorknob and going through the door.
"Did I miss anything important?" He considered the question as he put her down on her bed.
"Not really." He finally said, closing the door. At that point, she realized she still had his coat on, and started trying to take it off.
"Keep it. You can give it back to me in the morning."
"All right." She said as he walked over to his bed. "Will you be able to sleep?"
"I think so." He said automatically. She nodded, satisfied, then rolled over to face the wall.
"Good night, Wes."
"Good night, Rui." As he slipped under the sheets, he realized that he hadn't been telling a white lie to make Rui feel better when he said he would be able to sleep. He actually did feel much more at peace, and he realized it was because he believed Rui's statement that there were lots of things he could do. The smile that had been on his face for most of the night without him noticing grew wider. Sleep came to him easily, and he dreamed of the stars.