It had been sunny for a while now. Clouds were beginning to float slowly into frame, all the purest of white. She was late. Ethan smiled despite himself, swinging his feet against the side of the roof on which he sat. It was so like her to be late, even on such an important occasion. She was one to be late to her own damn birthday.

That said, he was getting annoyed, and wondered if she was just going to sit there all day long, making him wait on her. Admittedly she wasn't really late – not to meet the Professor. But he'd been told when she was supposed to be heading to Elm's house, and for that, she was late. Increasingly so. And it would get worse if she just kept sitting there, leaning against her house. Finally he signaled to his partner out of annoyance. Marill rushed up to her as planned, while he swung off the side of the house to dash up after. She was eying the blue Pokémon uncomfortably when he reached them.

He laughed, "Sorry, Tama~! Marill just started running away from me!"

He picked his friend up carefully (but quickly) by the ears, scratching behind one of them for the excellent running time.

"No… problem, Ethan" She glanced at him, twirling her hair around her finger embarrassedly. It was funny when she did that, but also sort of cute. "And I told you, don't call me that."

"Ah? Why not?" He protested teasingly, "It's cute!" It wasn't, actually. Not at all. Marill squirmed in his grasp uncomfortably; knowing as well as Ethan did that she needed to get going.

"Exactly," She frowned at him, glaring. "I'm the new, tough, badass Tamaki. No time for girly nicknames, alright?" He stared back as seriously as he could before her lips twitched and she giggled. He grinned back. If only it could stay like this… But no, she had things to do. Things that didn't, at least most of the time, involve him. Important things. Holding back a sigh he reached his hand out to her, deciding it would be best to help her up and then remind her about Elm. As soon as she was off the ground realization slapped her in the face.

"Oh! Craaa… darn," She corrected quickly, and he smirked inwardly. He'd easily gotten her to believe he hated her cursing (he reinforced this with a small, scolding frown), but he hardly counted 'crap' was a cuss word regardless. "Ethan, I'm going to be in so much trouble if I don't run now—"

"Elm is, what, 30 seconds away? C'mon, I know you're desperate to get away from me, but—"

"Ethan, I'm an hour late." Tamaki bolted before she could see him stifle laughter.

She'd forgotten it was daylight savings time.

Ethan made sure to escape before she could realize her mistake. Teleportation was a sweet gig, even if he still had to have a Pokémon that could use it to do so. Oh well. He'd just gone to Elm's roof, knowing full well that he'd easily hear the front door of the lab open when she'd gotten her new partner. It wouldn't take long. Meanwhile, he stared at the sky. It would be the first time he and Tamaki had been away from each other for an extensive amount of time… and he hoped he wasn't the only one depressed about it. He'd been worrying about this day for a long time. Not that she wouldn't be ready – she'd been fully prepared. She was almost definitely going to succeed in what she was born to do (95.342% likely to), and yet he worried. Selfishly.

What if, after she saves what she is meant to save, she forgets about him? Or worse yet, he's never to see her again afterwards. His job would be through, after all. Over. There'd be no point for them to still talk – in fact, it would be far more likely for Arceus to decide against them meeting from that point on. It would be hazardous. Why? Ethan didn't know. Arceus just rolled that way.

After ten, fifteen minutes of thinking, he heard the door creak. He rolled off the roof silently. Tamaki was just about to head out. He smiled. She was rash when she got excited. He cut through the trees quickly, to get ahead of her. He grinned at her openly, and she blinked in surprise.

"That's your starter?" He asked lightly, dodging around her. He crouched down and stared at it.

"Yep. She's a girl. Nameless, as of yet," She sounded happy.

"Eva," He said, examining the Cyndaquil carefully.


"She's definitely an Eva." There was a slight pause. She began replying, but as he murmured "Congrats," to the chosen partner, he couldn't hear quite what she said. He assumed it was an agreement, since she smiled at him when he looked up. He glanced her over once, smiling softly back at her.

"Hey, you're about to head out, aren't you?" She nodded at him, tilting her head slightly. "Then you better get over to your Mom's. She's still got your Pokegear, right?" For the second time that day her eyes lit up with an "oh, shit" look on her face.

"Oh snap," She gasped, "You're right! Thank you, augh, I almost forgot!" Of course she did. She was about to lose her head, today. He wondered for a moment if he [i]should[/i] be worried about if she was ready… As the pessimism rolled through him, she paused.

"Ethan! Don't you dare leave before I get back here!" She stared seriously at him. He stared, falsely curious, back.

"Oh, why~?" He smiled. "You didn't think I was planning on just letting you go off all by your lonesome, right?" He froze when her eyes lit up excitedly.

"You're coming w-?" He interrupted her as quickly as possible, flawlessly.

"Elm assigned me with a project of my own. He knows how much I love traveling, so he gave me a task he thought would suit me." Ethan scratched at his head, smiling at her sheepishly. "… but what were you going to say?" Except he knew exactly what she was going to say, and exactly how she would reply. He ignored the dull throb in his chest, hating the way he felt like the Unlucky Childhood Friend in a shitty romance novel.

"Oh," She mumbled, looking away and twirling her hair again. Another throb. "Um. Nothing." Was this what hurting your best friend felt like? Hah… He'd never had to do it before. His main obligation was to keep Tamaki happy and to guide her.


"Gotta go," She said hurriedly, flashing an obviously fake smile towards him before bounding off to her house. He watched her go, sadly.

He felt too much for her. It was going to be the end of him, he just knew it.

Ethan teleported gently onto the skyscraper, then drew Abra back into its Pokeball.

"Gotta pack on you?" He asked the boy at his feet. He looked about ten years old, at most, but anyone who knew him knew he was far from that mentally. The boy looked at him from the corner of his eye, raising his eyebrows. "Course not…" Ethan mumbled, annoyed. He'd have to ask Dana for some, then. She usually came to flirt around this time anyway.

"Having issues?" Ben asked, keeping his eyes on the sky now. He often did that… just. Contemplated the sky. Ethan of course stared at the sky – but not like Ben. Ben focused on the sky, instead of allowing his mind to travel. He could see it when he looked at the younger boy. And yet, at the same time, he could carry on lengthy conversations. It was like he could focus all his attention on two things, equally. Ethan never could do that.

"No, leaving my best friend is the easiest damn thing I've ever done, smartass." Silence. "Sorry."

"It should be, you know. You shouldn't be having so many issues with it." Ah, yes, the way of Them. Emotions regarding love, or even anything beyond acquaintance, were stripped at "birth". ...Well, to tell the absolute truth, all emotions. Regardless, everything They did was supposed to be platonic. Not even that; you were doing it for Him, so relationships were generally viewed as impossible. Relationships other than what Dana was interested in, anyway.

Ethan was widely considered a slip up in that area. Like something in his "birth" had gone wrong…

"Oh my gooosh, Ethan," A squeal sounded behind them, "I am sooo glad you're here!"

Speak of the devil, and he shall appear.

Heyyy. You might want to read Lolipops & Lemonade for this to make sense, and vice versa. Of course you can just read the other one on its own and ignore this one, haha. Update coming next Tuesday.