I have missed writing so badly this past month. There's just been too much to do... but I'm sure you all know how that is.
So this is my first foray into writing manga-related fanfiction (and by the manga, I mean Pokemon Special, but you probably knew that...). So I chose FranticShipping. Why? Well, I've read the entire Ruby/Sapphire arc, I love the characters, I love that it's a canon shipping, and there's next-to-none available. So enjoy.
Oh, wait, before you enjoy: So I was listening to one song that really, I think, fits in with the general mood of this fic, in a background-y, ambiance-ish kind of way. It's called "Chalk Stars" by Animal Kingdom (and, shocker, I don't own them...). So, if you like, you can tab open YouTube and listen to the song while you read. Really, all of their songs work, but "Chalk Stars" especially. And, lest I step on any important toes in this community, this general idea is called musicstory, and I wouldn't have thought to do that if it weren't for the author who coined the phrase, MediaMessiah. So, yeah.
DISCLAIMER: CarpeDiemEveryday does not own Pokemon. They are the intellectual property of Satoshi Tajiri. Carp has no idea who runs the PokeSpecial manga, but they are credited here as The Awesome Creator of Pokemon Special, which eventually traces back to Tajiri anyhow. Man, it has been a while; I actually missed writing disclaimers!
"I'm serious, Ruby!" Sapphire scowled at her friend, who was rolling his eyes. They had been wandering around Littleroot, enjoying the relative quiet of that day, until she had mentioned being excited about an eclipse, something which her idiot friend was apparently too stubborn to understand.
"Sapphire," he began in that condescending tone she absolutely hated, "it doesn't make any sense. At all. Why would a lunar eclipse, when the earth is blocking light from the moon, turn it red? If it's in shadow, it's going to be invisible, so what's the point of staying up all night to look at a spot in the sky where the moon should be, but isn't?" He finished, smirking at her with his arms folded.
Sapphire glared at him. "If you're so sure on this one, why not make a bet on it, hm?"
Ruby shrugged. "What are you wagering?" he asked. "Not that it matters," he added, "seeing as I'll be winning, but, still…"
Sapphire shook her head. "If it doesn't matter, then there's no need to tell you. What are you betting, then?"
"Hey, no fair!" he protested. "I shouldn't have to tell you if you aren't saying anything!"
She shrugged. "Whatever. So, I'll be on the roof waiting for the eclipse. You can meet me there."
Ruby blanched. "Whoa, wait, what? What do you want me to do, sneak out? To a girl's house?"
Sapphire turned bright red; she hadn't thought about that. "Uhh… good point… um, well, you could just come over. You know, to eat with us."
Ruby thought it over. "Yeah, that sounds a lot less… so, when should I be over?"
She shrugged. "'Round six, that's when Papa gets home. Sound good?"
"Yep," Ruby nodded, turning to go. As he activated his Running Shoes and shot off down the path, she could have almost sworn he had shouted "It's a date!". He hadn't, of course, she knew. But she still smiled slightly as she started back towards her house.
"Thanks for the food, Professor, it was great!" Ruby said, grinning.
The Professor smiled back, slightly uncertainly. "No problem, Ruby." Then he turned his attention to his daughter. "Now, Sapph, remember-"
"Papa?! Don't you trust me?" Sapphire interrupted, blushing once more.
"Of course," her father replied, now looking puzzled. "I was just going to say 'Make sure Ruby doesn't fall and die', but, um, should I say anything else…?"
"No, we're good, thanks, Papa!" squeaked Sapphire, grabbing Ruby's collar and dragging him upstairs. Professor Birch just chuckled.
"I miss those days," he mused, smirking. "Ah well, let them have their fun. 'Stargazing', indeed…" He wandered off to his office, reflecting on the past and forgetting to clear the table in the process.
Ruby glanced around him. "Your room's pretty depressing," he commented, gazing critically at the sparse furnishings. "You should really try and spruce the place up."
Sapphire scowled, standing impatiently at the balcony doorway. "It works for me, okay? Now c'mon, I dunno how long it's gonna take, getting your sorry self up on the roof."
Ruby scowled. "What, how hard could it be?" he asked, following her out to the balcony. "… Oh." He stared at the daunting task. He rounded on Sapphire. "I figured your room opened onto the roof or something, not the roof over your room! How d'you expect me to get up there?"
Sapphire smirked. "Well, normally, I'd tell you to climb up the side of the house, but accounting for the fact that you're a city boy and all, I guess you can use the ladder." She gestured towards a reasonably sturdy ladder leaning on the side of the house. "I'll go up first, if you want."
Ruby looked very nervous. "What if the ladder tilts sideways?"
"It won't. It's nailed to the house."
"Wait, if you have a ladder nailed to the side of your house, why would you climb up the side of the house without it?"
"For the challenge, of course! Now who's going up there first?"
In the end, Ruby went up first, with Sapphire standing ready to catch him. When they both reached the top, she punched him lightly. "See? Nothing to worry about. Now, c'mon."
They inched along to a point in the middle. There they sat, gazing at the stars.
"There's so many…" Ruby said, awed. "I mean, I've seen them before, but…"
Sapphire shrugged. "It's probably because of all the lights. You're from Goldenrod, right? Cities drown out the stars."
"Yeah… So, when's this magical lunar eclipse happening?"
Sapphire checked her watch. "In a couple hours, I think. Why?"
Ruby stretched out, leaning back against the roof. "Awesome. Wake me up so I can prove you wrong."
Sapphire blinked. "Wh-what? You're just going to go to sleep?" she sputtered.
Ruby yawned. "It's been a long day. Besides, I'd rather not fall asleep walking home or climbing down off the roof. 'Night." With that, he closed his eyes and pulled off his hat. Sapphire winced as she saw the scars, but he didn't notice. Ruby folded his hat into a makeshift pillow, then rested his head upon it, lying facing the stars.
"Uh, 'night," Sapphire whispered, trying not to disturb him. She sighed softly, gazing at the stars. But her eyes were drawn to the parallel scars across her friend's forehead. Bitter memories of the Salamance's attack filled her mind. She used to only remember the Salamance and not Ruby, that was why she hadn't recognized him when they'd first met. As to him not recognizing her… well, that wasn't surprising. She'd used to be a very girly-girl, everything was frilly dresses and dolls. But now, as she saw in her mind's eye the Salamance attack, she saw Ruby standing there, defending her, but it was the Ruby she knew now, not the little boy.
Dragging herself out of memories, she refocused on the scars. She was aware of how badly the attack had affected him, how it had completely changed his personality, but still, she wondered why he still insisted on always wearing his hat. Sure, they were a little imposing at first, but they were a part of him, a part of who he was. Was he really that vain? Sapphire knew he only wore glasses when he absolutely had to as a sort of personal vanity, but the scars really weren't that bad… Did they hurt him, even now?
Maybe it was her reaction, her horror at seeing her friend with blood dripping down his face. She remembered that part, but now instead of a dark, featureless head, she saw Ruby's. And that in itself was awful enough to make her wince. Maybe it was her reaction that had made him wear his hat always, hiding. Hiding from the world.
She sighed. Ruby had hidden so much of himself for so long that it seemed to have become a habit. It was almost definitely part of the reason they argued. She hated facades, and she usually tried to be understanding towards him, but sometimes it was just so hard…
Beside her, Ruby exhaled deeply, head lolling towards Sapphire. She smiled; he really was asleep. He looked so calm, too. She grinned, noticing suddenly that he looked like both of his parents at the same time. Another thought struck her: I really hope he doesn't sleepwalk… She stiffened, a whole slew of problems suddenly presenting themselves to her. She considered waking him up to ask him, but then decided against it. I'm stronger than city boy here, I can take care of things if there's a problem like that.
Shivering slightly, Sapphire drew her legs up to her chest. She examined her hands, tracing where the lines had been, when she had held Kyogre's jewel in her body. She wondered if Ruby ever had nightmares about that time. She wrapped her arms around her legs, eyes half-closed, as she thought back on those eighty days.
Sapphire was jerked out of her memories by her watch. She hurriedly shut off the alarm, glancing over at Ruby. He didn't seem to have been disturbed in the least. She then turned her attention to the skies, located the moon, and smirked. Scooting closer to Ruby, she shoved him lightly. "Ruby, wake up."
The boy's eyes twitched, then opened. "Wow, it's dark," he murmured. His eyes focused on Sapphire. "Hello."
"… I take it you win? You seem overly happy."
"See for yourself," Sapphire said, pointing up at the moon, which was no longer white, but now a reddish-orange.
Ruby's eyes followed her finger. Blearily, he fumbled in his pocket, drawing out his glasses. He put them down, and his eyes widened. "It's beautiful… like a peach, stuck in the sky. Wow..." he sighed. Turning towards Sapphire, he scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "All right, I admit it, I was wrong. So what happens now?" He looked slightly nervous. "Nothing… particularly difficult, is it?"
Sapphire bit her lip. "Well, that depends, I suppose. Physically, no. No climbing mountains or saving the world or traveling the countryside, nothing like that, so it shouldn't be that bad…" She was rambling, but she was suddenly wondering if she really wanted what she had planned on asking for after all.
"Yes?" Ruby prompted, looking even more apprehensive.
Sapphire steeled herself. "Okay. All I want from you is an honest answer. Can you do that?"
Ruby blinked. He took off his glasses, a slight frown creasing his face. "Yeah, sure, but to what?"
"Oh, thanks, that narrows things down."
"Don't be smart with me, city boy. Now, will you give me an honest answer or not?"
"I already said I would."
"Um, okay then." They held each other's gaze for a moment. There was something flickering in Ruby's eyes, Sapphire thought. Was it… fear? Or resignation?
"So, your question is…" Ruby prompted.
"Right," Sapphire nodded, taking a deep, calming breath. She turned her eyes towards the stars, unsure that she wanted to look at him, or if she could.
"Ruby… we went to Mirage Island to train. And as we left, I told you, I admitted to you, that I like you. And then, later, you trapped me in the car and said you liked me too. But then, then you flew off with that, that, that hooker from Team Magma to save the world, and ever since then, you act like you don't remember any of this!" Tears were leaking out of her eyes now, as she knew they would, but she made no move to wipe them away. "And I just want to know: why? Why do you keep pushing me away? Was it just a reason to keep me out of the fight while your ran off with that enemy slut, or--"
Sapphire, unable to control herself, broke down sobbing, curling herself up into a ball. Suddenly, she felt arms being tentatively placed around her. Though part of her wanted to hit him, she turned her face into Ruby's chest and cried. He held her, saying nothing, allowing her to let her emotions out. After a time, she managed to get herself to the point where, though tears still streamed down her face, she only hiccupped every now and then.
Sensing that the worst was over for the time being, Ruby cleared his throat. Sapphire noticed, vaguely, that he had not let go of her.
"Sapphire," he began, voice oddly husky, "I do care about Marge. There's a part of me that thinks she's beautiful, and elegant, and redeemable. You've probably seen that part before. But it's the same part of me who couldn't love Mimi, who thinks beauty is all about glamour, who's too vain to wear glasses or admit feelings. But that part of me is the one I created the day that Salamance attacked us. That was the version of myself that couldn't be hurt by anything, didn't feel anything, didn't love. But that's not who I want to be, not anymore. You… Sapphire… the part of me that cares about people for who they are, the little boy you fell in love with, and I know you did, you said so, he's the one that wishes he never had to hide. Sapphire, don't cry. Crying doesn't make anyone beautiful. It's just something that makes others sad."
Sapphire sniffled, looking up at him. There was a tenderness in his dark eyes, but it was mixed with pain and regrets, too. Slowly, he removed an arm from around her and gently wiped tears away from her cheeks. She watched as the salt water spread across the fabric of his gloves, darkening the fabric. Feeling totally bewildered by this sudden display of emotion, affection, even, she began to cry again.
Ruby wrapped his arms tighter around her, holding her close. He rested his chin on her head and let her cry once again.
"I'm s-so s-s-sorry," she mumbled into his shirt. "Now you're shirt's all wet. I'm sorry. I know you like your clothes to stay all nice…"
But Ruby was shaking his head. "No. That's the me I've built up. I don't care. Go ahead and cry, Sapphire." He paused, then added, "Though I do draw the line at blowing your nose in it."
The girl smiled, now laughing through her tears. Ruby began to gently rock her back and forth, murmuring, "There you go… Shh…", until she finally calmed down.
Sapphire looked up. "Ruby, could I ask another question?"
She bit her lip. "Your scars…"
His eyes hardened, hand instinctively going to cover the left side of his face. "What about them?"
"No, no, it's just… do they still hurt you?"
Slowly, Ruby's hand dropped down, revealing the slashes. "Not physically."
Sapphire sat upright, rubbing her eyes. "I'm sorry I acted the way I did, Ruby. I didn't know how much that must have hurt you. But… it's horrible, seeing your loved ones in pain like that." She smiled slightly. "But they say time heals all wounds, though, don't they?"
"I suppose they do," nodded Ruby.
"Well," Sapphire began, leaning close towards his face, "maybe this will speed things up a bit." Slowly, she kissed each scar across Ruby's forehead. Pulling away, she was surprised to see his expression had not changed.
Worried that she had overstepped, she twisted, trying to break free of his arms and escape the humiliation of having kissed someone who didn't react. "I'm sorry, I should go--"
"You don't get it, Sapphire," Ruby rasped, arms tightening around her. "I have a really hard time telling people how I feel, and I might never be able to say it again, but," his breath was hot against her face, eyes boring into hers, "Sapphire, I don't know how to fix broken hearts, but I can at least try and break your heart less times."
And then he was kissing her, innocently, uncertainly, but behind it was an overwhelming wave of love. Sapphire kissed him back with the same innocence, and then they broke apart, content in the knowledge that they were together, gazing at the heavens above.
"I have to go home. If I don't, Dad might send Slaking after me."
"Mm. That's a bad thing, right?"
"All right, then."
Professor Birch smiled as Ruby and Sapphire came downstairs. "Have fun watching that lunar eclipse?" he asked, glancing at their interlocked hands.
Sapphire followed his eyes and flinched, trying to pull her hand away, but Ruby only grinned and kissed her forehead. Turning to the Professor (and ignoring a beet-red Sapphire), he asked, "Sir, would you mind terribly if I took this young lady out on a date one of these days?"
"Not at all, son," Birch replied, his smile widening. "It's about time, really."
Ruby nodded, then turned back to Sapphire. "G'night." He hugged her tightly, then hurried out the door.
Sapphire watched him leave, then turned to her father. "You're okay, Papa?"
Birch's smile took on a watery cast. "Yes, of course. We always hoped that you two would-- but, wow, you've grown up… who told you to do that?"
Wordlessly, Sapphire hugged her father close, then hurried up to her bed, where sleep overtook her before she could even take off her shoes.
"Sapphire, sweetheart, you have a guest!" Professor Birch tapped on her door. Eyes snapping open, Sapphire looked down at herself, saw she was dressed, and hurried downstairs.
There on the couch sat Ruby, who looked her up and down critically. "You're a mess," he observed. "What, did you sleep in those clothes?"
"Um, yes…" Sapphire felt dread creeping up her spine. "Um, Ruby, don't you remember… you know…?"
The boy blinked, looking bewildered. "Remember what?"
Sapphire froze. "Y-you don't remember?" she stammered.
Slowly, he shook his head. But then his face broke into a grin, and suddenly his arms were around her. "Just messing with you, love," he whispered in her ear.
Love, she thought to herself as she leaned against him, savoring the feeling and the idea. Love, at last.
Huh. I think that went well.
But maybe you don't. Maybe I don't understand Ruby's motivations as a character at all, and maybe you want to tell me that. Maybe I disgust you. Well, I'll never know unless you review. Really. I don't care if it's one word, just tell me how I did. Also, if you think I did a rather good job, or if you want me to write more, well, that'd be nice, too...
Incidentally, I am not three shades of crazy, only two... But, really, lunar eclipses DO turn the moon red-orange. Look it up if you still don't believe. It's pretty cool, in my opinion, at least.
Hopefully I'll be able to write or finish something or other else before the new decade comes around. Gulp. That's so strange, that there's a new decade on the horizon. Y'know, this was the decade of Pokemon, at least for us Americans. It's really strange, seeing that being over... so let's make this new one as Poke-licious as possible! (Wait, Poke-LICIOUS?! Did I really just say that? Whatever.)
See you all next time!