World – Game
– Steven, May
Pairing – StevenMay, Hoennchampionshipping
Genres – Romance, Angst
Note(s) – Requested by inked kisses and something I wanted to try after writing that LanceKotone.
Disclaimer – Pokémon belongs to Gamefreak, Nintendo, so on and so forth.

"Pure quartzite is white or light-coloured,"

"I'm sixteen," she slips it in, intentionally – childishly.

"Really?" Steven angles his eyes and turns his head, he laughs – cries. (Because in the end, balancing on the brink of reality, she remains firmly immature)

She struts up to him, footsteps echoing across the endless caverns. There is peach skin and blueberry eyes, her deep bronze hair framing her oval face, shadowed by the darkness that finds home in the caves. She feels smooth like a weathered rock – rough edges now forever blunted, disappeared under the covers of three years as a champion – as she embraces him full on. "You should know, you were the first to wish me today," she murmurs into his broad, adult-like chest. Her breaths are warm, her arms are tight and her whole body is shivering. She doesn't seem to understand the importance of his unwrinkled suit – her bike shorts are worn, her shirt splattered with dust and grime. She's pushing herself, unaware (aware) that she's pressing her full chest against the top of his stomach. Her gaze is roaming his face adventurously, drinking in his cautious expression, lilting at his tight smile and politely veering eyes.

She's so brave – she's always been this reckless, this foolhardy.

He can tell that this giving passion is unbridled, is mesmerizing – childlike.

This is the fire, the spirit, of a girl who has three titans secured on the capsules of her belt. He has but a Metang, maybe two Beldum. He has forgotten the exact numbers in his party, there has been little need to call out his Pokémon nowadays. The wild ones know well enough to leave him alone; trainers don't bother to search desperately for him now that he has stepped down. He is nothing but a normal stone researcher, a simple man.

But she addresses him with eyes that say too much, that run too deep and dig out unwanted skeletons.

Perhaps, the age of seventeen is a better number. Yes, it is less intimidating than sixteen. Stones polish over time, enduring hardships, molded by experience and survival and beauty… the list is endless. That is why they are so captivating, so wondrous and alluring. It is the hardest – impossible – to unearth them, and then let go. Steven slowly eases away from her; he knows he has to keep himself in check. Sometimes, he spends hours on end on one stone alone, a particularly transfixing one. He will scrutinize it, touch it and show his interest, but he will never clip it onto his belt because it still has time to weather into something so much greater.

She frowns, lowers her eyes. The hug should have been longer – should have included something more. Her lips are still virgin – surprisingly. He reads it on her face, the dying hope, the growing disappointment. She steps away, womanly hands crossing behind her back, masking her ugly countenance with a well-played feint. "I… have to go now. Brendan wants to celebrate with me too." She jerks her head, pepper green bandana striking against the backdrop of glooming grey. Steven wonders if she is praying to see jealously blink into her eyes – he chooses not to spoil her. He nods his head understandably, picks up a piece of granite and runs his thumb over its cragged, rocky surface in distraction.

"You aren't here for a battle?" he inquires absently – thickly.

She stiffens slightly, as if battle is a rare, scalding word. She tucks her chin to her bare neck, starts to shake her head with a pursed mouth. Steven knows the real reason, but he humors her like he always does. Unhealthy habits develop into obsessions, he notices too late.

"So, see you again next year?" He smiles. He wishes she would visit more often, but knows that she has responsibilities now.

But Steven does not know. He does not know how much she has grown – how much blood she has split and seen split that she can tell the difference (Pokémon have black, red, or none at all). And how many times she must lie through her teeth and smile in a façade and pretend that everything is alright back in Hoenn? Because everything is not the way Steven has left it three years ago, everything is falling apart. No one blames her, but they are wordlessly piling the excuses onto the shoulders of a young girl who knows more than she needs to, whose responsibilities reflect her age in the image of a shattered mirror. She knows why Steven had escaped given the chance – he was wise, he was freeing himself. (How did he stay so sane under all the pressure?) The walls of this cave are comforting and shielding, uncanny and lined with intimidating cracks coupled with stalagmites and preying Golbat – but nice. So very cold and unwelcoming, it is not yet time for her to set camp here, but how much time is left before she goes? – crumbles?

She calls out the third Pokémon from the end of her belt to accompany her out of the winding tunnels. In the process of bursting scarlet, he gleans respect and surprise and an emotion like romance but no. It beeps and buzzes, metallic body sparkling in the dimness. There is a hint of nonchalance and unemotion etched on its featureless face. She gives it a quick, endearing hug before climbing onto its head – body – and waves to Steven in goodbye. Her hands rest on her faithful companion; she smiles weakly at it with something like attachment, and shrugs her shoulders at him. It is almost as if she is ashamed that it does not look particularly special or prized. Steven grins at her mannerisms. Only children could find concern in such trivial matters.

"See you next year?" he reminds her.

As she hovers off, she tries and tries to think about Brendan and his young mirroring face, one that is void of wrinkles and unseen maturity, something that is attainable. And Steven can't help it anymore; he stares unabashedly at the way her dry, dry lips curve and articulate.



"but other minerals that are present may impart other colours."