Summary: Because every time Shinji left, Hikari always demanded that he leave his jacket behind, as a small reminder that he would return. Ikarishipping
Disclaimer: I have a copy of Pokémon Diamond, of which I possess a Flareon, of which will proceed to burn you to a crisp if you dare to think that I own Pokémon.
On a close inspection of herself, Hikari discovered that there was a lot that she complained about: the weather, her hair, her combinations, why Satoshi never ever seemed to be full (she swore that that boy's stomach was a bottomless pit), her Pokémon (why couldn't Pochama and Hinoarashi ever get along together for more than a few minutes at a time?), too much walking, the coordinators who always seemed to be beating her at the Contests, not getting past the first round of Contests, and so on and so forth. Her life was good, she knew, and there were a lot of things that happened in it to make her sufficiently satisfied with living, but there were just about as many annoying things in her life that warranted her to complain.
Of course, now that she had grown up some and didn't travel as much her complaints died down a little. She had a nice little house in Masago Town that was close enough to Futaba Town that she could go visit her mother whenever her new life got a bit lonely and far enough away from Kotobuki City that the hustle and bustle of city life didn't disrupt her quiet existence. The house she had bought with her Contest winnings, and she had decorated the inside of her living area until it was a cheery place. In the central room, an inset in the wall sported her Contest Ribbons, where she had hung up to remind her of her triumphs. The shelf directly underneath it was crowded with picture frames, housing photographs of her in her various Contest episodes (she would admit quietly that it would have been a great place to display the prestigious Ribbon Cup, but she didn't have one, having only placed Top 4 at the Sinnoh Grand Festival). A group shot of her, her Pokémon, and her friends and their Pokémon was in the center of the cluster of frames. Looking at that photo always made her nostalgic, wanting the life of travel and adventure that she had when she was ten but not quite wanting to leave her settled life again. Hikari wondered what exactly it was about being nineteen that made her feel lazy all of a sudden.
A door opened and shut upstairs and she turned her gaze away from the photographs and Ribbons, crossing the room and following behind the back of a lithe young man as he made his way to the front door. Although some of the complaints from her younger days had gone, they had been replaced with new ones: the fact that so many girls swarmed around the new Sinnoh Champion like Garmeil around honey, the new Sinnoh Champion himself, having her flowers in the back garden always under constant threat of getting trampled or flattened by some attack.
The front door opened, and he moved to step out. Hikari hastily snapped out of her musings and reached out, grabbing onto his sleeve and stopping him from stepping out onto the porch. "You're leaving?" she asked.
He stopped, turning to look over his shoulder at her, raising one eyebrow in an expression that said, 'What did you think I was doing?' He had a bag slung over his shoulder, of which he had spent the last hour packing any necessities that he would need for a trip and supplies for his Pokémon, and his clothes were certainly not the average let's-go-for-a-walk attire. He had chosen sturdy, weather-proof clothes, of which his trusty blue-and-black jacket was present and accounted for. "I have a League battle," he said simply. "I won't be gone long." He never was.
However, this did not seem to satisfy Hikari, and the nineteen-year old Coordinator kicked in her forlorn puppy face. Sighing, he dropped his bag, shrugging out of his jacket and draping it over her shoulders before putting his bag back on. She brightened immediately, giving him a hug and waving to his back from the porch as he walked off.
When Nozomi and Kengo heard about Shinji's departure and how Hikari was left with only his jacket, they could only shake their heads in wonder. "Why not ask him to leave something that he really can't give up?" Nozomi had asked. "Isn't a jacket a bit… replaceable?" Hikari's answer was always a smile; neither could get a solid answer out of her. But either way, replaceable jacket or not, Shinji always came back a few weeks after his trips, jacketless, perhaps grumbling about the cold that he had been forced to endure without it, but always walking back down the main street of Masago Town towards a little white porch where a certain smiling blue-haired Coordinator would be standing, Pochama faithfully by her side.
"Tadaima," he announced as he climbed the steps, Pochama squeaking a greeting while Hikari presented his jacket to him. He'd take it with a small 'Hn,' give her his bag, then turn and head to the Pokémon Center. It was his established routine.
Except this time, after he announced that he was back he didn't take the proffered jacket, instead opening the door and stepping right into house. Curious, Hikari and Pochama trotted after him. He couldn't have been in a bad mood; he had just won his latest battle and proven again why he was the Sinnoh Champion even at the age of twenty-one. Hikari wondered if something had happened during his journey to or from the battle when Shinji turned to her and said, "Give me the jacket." Half occupied with her thoughts, she did so, not snapping at him for being rude like she still did on occasion.
She did, however, notice him rummage through one of the inner pockets, a look of concentrated intensity on his face. Pochama tipped its head lightly to one side as it looked curiously on, head snapping up when a small box emerged from the pocket. Brushing past them, Shinji shoved the box to Hikari and commanded, "Take it," before leaving the house to go to the Pokémon Center.
Hikari's blue gaze turned from door to box and back to the door again, before she opened it, Pochama jumping up to her shoulder and peering at its contents as well. A simple silver band with a diamond greeted her eyes, along with a small note taped to the top of the box, written in Shinji's soft, lilting letters:
Not a question, not a hope, but a strong command. It was typical of him.
When Shinji returned, Pokémon healed, he found Hikari playing with her Pachirisu (after years of seeing this routine Hikari had finally broke him down enough not to complain that she was spoiling the small squirrel. After all, that thing had a nasty Discharge), ring on her finger. Pachirisu noticed him and bounced over, scrambling up onto his shoulder where it squeaked happily before leaping down to play chase with its tail, then bounding off to chase Pochama.
"I wish you'd be more romantic," Hikari complained, standing next to him and watching her Pokémon's adorable antics. "It's a girl's greatest dream to get married. You could at least make the effort to try for some romance."
"That was the jacket's job," was Shinji's answer, and she grinned, hand slipping over to hold his bigger one. The coolness of the band of metal around her finger felt perfect, like it had always belonged there.
The next time he left for a League battle, leaving Hikari with his jacket, Nozomi ventured to ask the question of why again, as that was part of the routine as well. This time, Hikari smiled at her and said, very seriously:
"It's the part of Shinji that I wish was always there but isn't."
Because Shinji wasn't a romantic person, and she knew it. He was hard on himself and others and expected the best out of everyone. But every once in a while he'd display a little action that proved that he had a heart, that he wasn't so bad, and although Hikari could count those moments on her fingers (they being few and far between), they were enough to make her hope.
To make her dream.
To make her wait for him even with those annoying Garmeil girls always lurking around the corner.
Of course, the little note that he left in the pocket every time he gave it to her was also a reason why she wanted his jacket every single time. Because Shinji's way of saying 'I love you,' was to leave a note that said, 'I'll be back.'
Pulling the warm jacket around her, she let her gaze trail along the street, where his figure had just vanished no more than a few moments ago. "I'll be waiting," she whispered, and as the wind brushed past her bundled in that warm jacket, it whispered it's translation in his ear:
I love you.
Masago Town: Sandgem Town
Futaba Town: Twinleaf Town
Kotobuki City: Jubilife City
A/N: Oneshots of glory, yeah! XD I'm sorry if this is confusing, but this idea was playing around my head for a while and I really wanted to write it down and fashion it into something readable. It's not that bad, is it? Everyone's in character? I never imagined Shinji as the kind of person to get really romantic so the shoving ring at girl and commanding her to marry him kind of fits... I guess... I think... XD
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