A dark pine forest spread out. It nestled a shining human town in its western corner, dwarfing the rather large town with its impressive display of fragrant green pines.
Snow was falling.
It capped the trees and fell softly to the cold earth, muffling pawsteps and piling up higher by the minute. It whitened the forest, obscuring the gentle palate of forest colors and hung transparent icicles on weighed-down boughs.
One rather small creature struggled through the deep snowdrifts, alone in the silent night. The other creatures of the forest had had the sense to hide in their burrows and dens, sheltered from the pretty but freezing-cold snowflakes that fell in a frenzy from the dark sky.
The pokemon was an umbreon, though you could barely tell by the snow that fell on his pelt and froze his fur into spiky clumps. His red eyes were narrowed in concentration, as he could barely see where he was going. The snow fell as though it would never fall again, transforming the world into a white, blinding, swirling mass, transforming depth and turning nearby objects into dark, shapeless humps or hiding them completely. Sometimes his head was barely above the snowdrifts, his whole body bathed in the clean, wet, achingly cold substance.
A lesser creature would have given up. But he had a directive, a purpose, a driving force.
He barely allowed himself to shiver, tried to control the chattering of his teeth. His whole mind was focused on just one subject. Nothing else crowded his mind, not food nor shelter nor warmth.
Only two things mattered to him: staying away from humans and finding his sister, the second more than the first.
He would struggle through any amount of blizzards to find her. He would brave the most lashing rain, the widest river, the closest lightning, and yes, the meanest trainer.
He would spend as long as it took to find Keira, alive or dead. To press his nose into her fur, to speak to her; or to finally put a cap onto the question that had troubled him since that fateful day, even if it meant fresher waves of grief.
If he was killed, so be it; if it took years, so be it.
And so he struggled on through the snow, one tiny umbreon in the center of a raging blizzard, in the center of a giant forest.
Final A/N (warning long): Finally. Finally, finally. This is the epilogue and so, obviously, the last chapter. I am very proud of myself for finishing my first chapter story. Sure, it's pretty short. Sure, it took me nearly a YEAR to complete, and I probably spent more time on "hiatus" than actually writing. But it's my story, and it's finished. So that makes me happy. :)
I didn't want to stick my Final A/N in until the end, since I didn't want to ruin the (hopefully) epic epilogue, and it just feels right. Thanks to all my reviewers! And if I start slacking off on a story, I never mind a PM or whatever to remind me to get my rear in gear. :) Anyway, I've been thinking about a sequel to Friend Ball. It would be called "Chasing Dreams" and involve Je's search for Keira. It would also be longer, probably much longer. I'm going to put a poll up on my profile. Hopefully some people will vote. :)
And last but not least, review replies.
xxxNam-niCxxx - Aww, don't be sad! :) And as you can see, your updating wishes have been fulfilled.
CastformLover - I hope you liked the ending of the story.
PhantoMNiGHT321 - Indeed. :) (I think I might be going overboard on smiley faces...)
fractalman - Quite the little naught eevee, huh?
Darkluvumbreon - Heh, I'll try (very hard!) not to disappear again. As you can see I have an idea for the sequel, not fully fleshed out yet, but yeah.
And with that, thanks once more to my fans/reviewers! Remember to vote on the poll!
P.S.: I should get a reward for having an A/N almost as long as my chapter, or something...