Spots of Silver
A Pokèmon: SoulSilver Drabble Collection
"I still feel like you cheated somehow," Lyra complained, sticking her tongue out at Ethan as they walked through Fuchsia City. Ethan grinned.
"Hey, I won fair and square. It's not my fault you can't ride as fast as I can." Mari chirped her agreement at Ethan's feet, and Pantalaimon pulled a face at her.
"Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater," Lyra shot back, and Ethan crossed his arms.
"Say what you want, but you still owe me a vanilla milkshake later. I also want to see a movie."
"Fine." Lyra crossed her arms in an imitation of Ethan, raising her chin defiantly. "But I bet that you drink that milkshake too fast and end up with a brain freeze."
"Pft. Bet whatever you want, it won't happen."
Ethan and Lyra both turned, watching as an unfamiliar man ran up to the pair of them, waving enthusiastically. Lyra glanced at Ethan, but saw that he looked just as puzzled as she felt, and looked back to see the man slowing to a stop in front of them, reaching out to shake Ethan's hand.
"Ethan, I was wondering when you'd turn up! I've heard so much about you from my father!"
"Your father?" Ethan asked, shaking the man's hand a bit awkwardly. The man nodded.
"Yes! Does the name Baoba ring any bells?"
"Baoba? Oh!" Ethan's eyes widened in recognition, and he nodded. "Oh, so you're . . . ooooooh, okay. But, why are you . . . Oh, wait. Don't tell me you . . . Ooooh."
"Oh?" Lyra asked, feeling thoroughly confused by this point. Ethan did have a tendency to go off in his own little world when he had epiphanies, but that typically didn't do a thing but leave her completely in the dark. Ethan turned to look at her, and then his eyes widened again as he seemed to realize something.
"Oh . . . Uh-oh."
"Uh-oh? Ethan, what's going on?"
"Uh . . . That's . . . Oh man." Ethan took his hat off, running a hand through his hair before pulling it back on. "Uh, Lyra, can we take a rain check on the milkshake and movie? I've, uh, got business to take care of. Elsewhere. Yeah." Ethan looked back to the man, raising his eyebrows. "Right?"
"Well, I'd like a moment of your time, if it wouldn't be too much trouble." The man smiled. "The park is still new, so if you could just pop on over . . ."
"Park? Oh. Oh. Oh, man . . ." Ethan pulled off his hat to run his hand through his hair again. Lyra sighed.
"Look, I'll just go battle the Gym Leader here, and you can . . . do whatever you need to do. Just call me when you want to take up that rain check, okay?"
"Yeah, that sounds good." Ethan smiled sheepishly at her, adjusting his hat. "I'll explain everything later too, okay? . . . Probably."
"Right." Lyra sighed, deciding that it was probably best that she didn't push the issue right now. "Just . . . Right."
"Invisible walls and clones?" Lyra knew it was childish of her, but she couldn't help but frown as she ran into yet another invisible wall. Sam shook his head at her feet. She supposed she could have just followed him, but that felt like cheating, and the multiple Janines were staring at her in a way that made her feel as if they were judging her. "Why does this gym have to be so difficult?"
"Because," the Janine closest to her answered, but another Janine across the room picked up, each Janine speaking up in turn.
"-ninja!" The Janine in the very center of the room finished it off, and Lyra felt her exasperation peak. From the way Sam mewed irritably at her feet, she guessed that he also remembered Koga, and his infuriating ability to answer every question with the same response from some undetermined point of the room. Guess he passed that onto his daughter, Lyra thought grimly. But as she looked at each cheeky grin mirrored back at her, she couldn't help but think of the incident back at the Celadon Department Store, and a sudden idea occurred to her. She supposed it was kind of like cheating, except it wasn't really; she was still going to find the real Janine due to her own abilities, it was just that her tactics were just a little bit questionable. But she's a ninja, Lyra reasoned, so she's not really one to talk.
"Fine," she said, turning away - and smacking straight into another invisible wall. She scowled, and as the Janines around her laughed, she cemented her idea in her mind. "Be a ninja if you want. I just won't battle you. Instead, I think I'll go see Scowlybangs and see if he wants a rematch. I'd rather battle him, anyway."
"Hey!" Lyra didn't see who shouted that word, since her back was turned, but she heard that it definitely came from only one of the Janines - and when she looked over her shoulder, she saw it was the Janine in the dead center of the room. "You can't call him Scowlybangs! Only I can call him Scowlybangs! He's my Scowlybangs, you got that?"
"Oh, so he's your Scowlybangs?" Lyra asked, turning with a grin. Janine faltered, and then her lips formed a definite pout. "Well, okay then," she continued brightly. "How about a battle?"
As a Legendary Pokèmon, Suicune had lived for many years, and it remembered each of those years clearly. Of course, the years before its rebirth were hazy and indistinct, but as far as Suicune was concerned, those years didn't matter.
Suicune remembered being reborn - remembered the warm glow that was quickly replaced with the chill of the northern wind. It remembered being entrusted with the small Clear Bell around its neck, the one Ho-Oh trusted Suicune to bestow upon one who would be able to battle alongside Suicune as an ally, rather than a trainer, if and when the time came for it.
Suicune remembered racing across the world for hundreds of years, never finding a suitable human, sometimes wondering if there would ever be a suitable human. Suicune remembered seeing Lugia go to sleep under the Whirl Islands, and remembered seeing the Bell Tower built to tower over Ecruteak in a vain hope that Ho-Oh would one day return.
There were billions of things that Suicune remembered - billions that Suicune could recall if it closed its eyes. But in recent times, Suicune remembered two people in particular, and as it stood upon the water next to some windmills that stirred the north wind that Suicune brought with it, Suicune saw both people approaching.
Lyra, the girl who could be trusted with the Clear Bell, if only temporarily, and Eusine, the one who tried so hard, yet was simply not ready.
Suicune remembered each of its encounters with both humans, and understood far more than either human knew. Yet as they approached, Suicune turned and bolted, its paws flying over the water, their petty conversation lost on its ears.
There would only be one more encounter - one more encounter that would decide the fate of the precious bell that Ho-Oh had given Suicune, as well as the fates of the two humans now arguing back by the windmills.
And whatever the outcome, Suicune was positive that it would not forget it.
089. The One Not Chosen
As though he was being chased by a pack of vicious, rabid Houndoom, Eusine ran.
How could he have been so stupid, so blind? Suicune would appear by water, some place up north. Given that Suicune was in the Kanto region, there was only one place that could be. After all, what city was farthest up north and also by water? Cerulean City. How could he have missed that? How stupid was he, really?
Eusine's lungs burned hotter than the flame atop a Charizard's tail, and his legs felt like they were being weighed down by a pair of Onix, but he didn't care. He forced himself to keep running, sweat sticking his brown hair to his forehead, his lungs heaving past the stitch in his side.
"Eusine!" Morty, having gone to Kanto to track Eusine down, kept shouting in vain behind him. "Eusine, wait! Slow down!"
No can do, Eusine thought. He would have shouted it, but he thought that if he spoke right then, the exertion might make him throw up. I have to get there. I have to get to Suicune. I have to, I have to, I-
Several things came into Eusine's line of sight at once.
The first was the hill. Up a pair of stairs that had been carved out of the side of the rock was a flat hill-top overlooking the river that ran around Cerulean and to the ocean. The second was the magnificent, beautiful creature atop the hill. Long purple mane blowing in the wind, with fur more blue than any body of water Eusine had ever laid eyes upon, Suicune stood with a regal head held high and sapphire-like eyes burning. And third was the girl that stood before Suicune, looking apprehensive as she fidgeted, a Furret by her feet.
Lyra. Lyra had beaten him to Suicune, again. And Suicune, for all that it was always flighty before him, was standing perfectly still before Lyra.
"Eusine!" Morty finally caught up, coming to a stop beside Eusine. Eusine hadn't really been aware that he'd stopped running - at first, the only thing he'd been aware of was Suicune's supreme presence before him, and then Lyra's before Suicune - but he was now aware of the pained gasps he was taking as he tried to regain his breath, and of how each stab in his chest was painful for reasons other than sheer exertion. Morty, too, seemed to catch sight of the hill in that moment, for he put one hand on Eusine's shoulder. "Eusine, wait. Don't do anything rash-"
Eusine looked at Morty sharply, and he wasn't sure what Morty saw, but whatever it was made Morty stop talking immediately. Eusine looked back to the hilltop to see that Lyra had noticed their presence, and that she now looked almost afraid. Afraid? Eusine thought scathingly. She's scared of me when Suicune has . . . When Suicune has chosen her? If she's going to be like that, then she's unworthy. She's unworthy of Suicune's respect!
"Eusine," Lyra called down, sounding apprehensive. "This is . . . Um . . . Okay, look, I didn't ask for this, okay? I didn't ask for Suicune to come before me, it just did. And if I could change that, I would, but I can't make Suicune do anything! So if you're going to be mad, then be mad, but don't take it out on me, because it's not my fault!"
"Of course it's not your fault, Lyra," Morty said, and once again Eusine found himself staring at Morty, hardly able to believe his ears. Lyra, too, looked to Morty, and when Eusine glanced back, he saw that she looked relieved. "It's no one's fault. It's just Suicune's choice." Morty glanced at Eusine, and then looked away again. "I think you need to battle Suicune now," Morty said. "Battle it and prove yourself worthy."
"Or unworthy," Eusine muttered, and Morty shot him a glare. Eusine found that he didn't care. Instead, he started forward - walking at first, yet then running, taking the steps two at a time.
"Eusine!" Morty called warningly, starting up immediately after him. "I meant what I said before. Don't do anythi-"
"Shut up, Morty," Eusine snapped, and Morty's glare grew fiercer.
"No. If you try anything, so help me, I will stop you. By any means necessary."
"Go ahead and do it then," Eusine shot back. "I don't care. Now," Eusine rounded on Lyra, "I want you to listen to me, and I want you to listen to me very carefully."
Once again the fear was back in Lyra's eyes, but she didn't show it otherwise. Instead, she merely swallowed, and squared her shoulders. "Yes?"
"Suicune is a magnificent creature," Eusine began, and though he could hear his voice shaking, he couldn't stop it. "Suicune is magnificent, amazing, honorable, and worth more than anyone else on this entire planet. You are not fit to clean Suicune's paws. You are worth nothing when compared to Suicune. Nothing. Do you understand that? Nothing you ever do will put you even near the same level as Suicune. Nothing."
"Okay," Lyra said, nodding. "I understand-"
"Knowing that," Eusine went on, raising his voice to speak over her, "you better do your damnedest to make yourself worthy of Suicune's time and patience. If Suicune wants to battle you, then you battle. You do your very best. And if Suicune wants to end the battle, then you let it end. You consider this the highest honor - you consider this the most blessed moment of your life, because it is. You take this seriously - you had better take this seriously, because if you don't . . ." Eusine took a deep, shaky breath, closing his eyes. "Because if you don't, then trust me, you will regret it." Eusine could feel Morty's gaze on him, but he blocked it out, focusing solely on Lyra. "Do you understand? And don't just say that you do - mean it. Actually understand. Are you capable of that?"
"Yes," Lyra replied. She looked over at Suicune, and Eusine did too, his heart jumping to his throat as he did so. "I understand completely, Eusine."
"Good," Eusine choked out, speaking around the heart that had decided to take root in his esophagus. "I'm glad you do." Even looking at Suicune now, so close that all it would take would be one step and he'd be standing right in front of the magnificent creature, Eusine could tell that Suicune wanted nothing to do with him. Suicune watched him warily, as any wild Pokèmon might watch a potential enemy, but it had none of the certainty in its eyes that it had when it looked at Lyra. Eusine felt the heart in his throat splinter, burning as it tumbled back down to take root in the pit of his stomach. Suicune wanted nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the brown-haired child standing next to him.
Despite the fact that the day was warm and sunny, Eusine felt icy cold.
"Hey, Eusine." Morty had walked up beside Eusine, and he gently put a hand on Eusine's arm, starting to tug him away. "Come on. We should probably go. We need to give Lyra space to battle, and-"
"No." Eusine jerked his arm from Morty's hold, but continued walking backward - past the stairs that Morty wanted to lead him down, and back to the opposite side of the hill. "I . . . I need to see this."
"I said I need to see this, Morty!" Eusine snapped roughly, crossing his arms and clenching his fingers upon them. His grip was so tight that it was almost painful, but Eusine hardly noticed it, especially when Lyra's Furret ran forward, smacking its paws upon the ground to summon a large lightning bolt that hit Suicune in the dead center of its back. Eusine winced at the contact, and at the pained cry that Suicune emitted. It was underhanded, in his book, to use an electrical attack against water-type Suicune. Where was the honor in that? How could Suicune respect that?
Soon, Eusine lost all awareness for Morty, and for the shift in time around them. He saw and recognized nothing but the battle, watching as Lyra's Pokèmon danced around Suicune, attacking here, evading there. Suicune fought valiantly, shaking off attack after attack, retaliating with an Aurora Beam or Gust. Every time Suicune took a hit, Eusine involuntarily winced, and when Suicune ended up paralyzed because of one of the Furret's Thunder attacks, Eusine felt like he was going vomit - especially when Lyra continued attacking. Stop it, he wanted to shout, but found that his throat was far too constricted to do so. Can't you seen that you've done enough? Suicune is injured - how could you continue treating such a magnificent creature that way? Cut it out!
But Lyra didn't. She continued fighting, wearing Suicune's energy down as much as she could, unrelenting until Suicune stopped, lifted its head to the sky, and roared. Even injured, Suicune's roar sounded melodic to Eusine, and he watched with a brief flicker of hope. Maybe, just maybe, Suicune saw Lyra's tactics as brutal and unworthy. Maybe he saw her as nothing more than an insect who dared to look upon its grace. Maybe-
But no. Lyra recalled her Pokèmon - her Umbreon, this time - and Suicune stepped forward, padding forward until it stood before Lyra. Then it slowly lifted its head down, and touched its nose to Lyra's forehead.
Acceptance. Suicune accepted Lyra as its Chosen One. Eusine's chest felt like someone had wrapped it in a Bind attack, and he suddenly found that his eyes were burning terribly, despite how he blinked to try and dispel the burning. When he looked back up, his eyes burning a little less but his cheeks a lot more wet, he saw that Suicune had gone, and that Lyra was holding a little bell made out of crystal in her hands.
"Suicune had this bell around its neck," she explained, glancing up only fleetingly at him before she looked back to the bell. "I wonder what it is . . . maybe I could use it to call Suicune, if I ever need Suicune's help? Since I couldn't catch it, I mean . . ."
"I think that's exactly what you do," Morty said, sounding as if Lyra had just happened to stumble upon a new book or some other equally trivial matter. As if Lyra hadn't just single-handedly destroyed everything Eusine had ever cared about. "That Clear Bell probably won't ring otherwise. Keep it safe, Lyra - and congratulations."
"I will. Thanks, Morty." Lyra put the bell around her neck and then properly looked at Eusine, who was suddenly aware of the fact that Morty was staring at him as well. Eusine swallowed, trying to clear his throat so that he could talk, but found that every word he spoke just seemed to drive the knife deeper into his chest.
"Congratulations," he ground out, and he didn't manage to make the word sound even the slightest bit pleasant or genuine. "That was an . . . intense battle. You did . . ." Eusine could not think of a positive word that wouldn't be a lie, and so he let the sentence hang, shaking his head as he felt his eyes sting again.
"Eusine?" Lyra asked tentatively, taking a step toward him. "Eusine, are you-"
"Enjoy your victory," he spat. "I'm sure Suicune will be around for you whenever you need it." Spinning on his heel, Eusine bolted for the stairs, ignoring both Lyra and Morty calling after him. Unlike Lyra, Morty gave chase, jumping down the stairs in order to follow Eusine's path before Eusine pulled a Pokèball off his belt and threw it behind him. "Electrode!" he shouted. "Self-destruct!"
Just as planned, the Electrode exploded straight in Morty's face. Eusine knew full well that Morty could have been - and probably was - injured in the blast, but he also knew that right then, he didn't care. After all, Morty didn't care about the fact that Lyra had just stolen Eusine's life dream out from under him, did he? Let Lyra tend to Morty, Eusine thought bitterly, recalling his now-fainted Electrode as he ran. I'm sure he'd prefer that anyway. They can go off and be best friends for all I care. I don't care. I don't need either of them in my life. Not after what just happened.
But not even his righteous anger could take away the crushed, hollow feeling inside him, and by the time he made it back to Cerulean City, he was somehow feeling one hundred times worse.
The first thing Eusine did when he returned to Ecruteak was shut himself in his room and lock the door.
He didn't know where else to go. What else was there to do with his life? He'd devoted his whole life to Suicune, to being worthy of Suicune, to being the one to receive the Clear Bell at the end of the epic battle. But that dream was over. It was over the moment that Lyra had gone down to the basement of the Burned Tower and had Suicune circle her, appraising her, focusing all attention on her. Eusine should have known it then - and perhaps, deep down, he had known it then, but just hadn't wanted to realize it. Dreams die hard, but you hold them in your hand long after they turn to dust, and Eusine hadn't wanted to let go.
But his refusal to let go only meant that it was ripped forcefully from him, torn brutally out of his heart, leaving a bleeding, aching hole in its wake. And no matter how much Eusine sobbed - and he did cry hard, behind closed doors where no one could see him - the pain would not ebb or lessen. His entire life's work was rendered useless, his dream was destroyed, and he had nothing to show for all of the years he'd devoted to it besides a beautiful little bell hanging around a young girl's neck.
Just thinking about it made Eusine want to scream, but he'd done that already - had done it until his throat was raw and his voice was hoarse - and it hadn't helped.
It only took one day into his solitary confinement in his room for him to hear a knock on his bedroom door. At that moment, Eusine had been lying flat on the floor, the tear tracks mostly dried on his cheeks, his eyes lethargically moving up to stare at the wooden door (he didn't have the energy to move his head). Logically, he knew that there was only one person other than himself that had a key to his house, and therefore, there could only be one person who would be knocking on his door. Nevertheless, he still croaked, "Who is it?"
"You know who it is," Morty said from the other side. "Eusine, come on. Open the door."
Eusine glared, and the anger that flared up in him gave him the energy to sit up, moving over to sit with his back against the wall next to the door. "No."
"I said no," Eusine snapped. "Why don't you go talk to Lyra? Isn't she your new best friend now?"
Eusine heard Morty sigh. "No, she isn't, although she was nice enough to patch me up after your Electrode exploded in my face and knocked me back fifteen feet. Don't think I'm not still pissed as hell about that, by the way," Morty added darkly. "Because believe me, I am."
"I wouldn't have had to use the Electrode if you hadn't decided to follow me."
"Eusine, I was trying to help you."
"Really? Do you typically try to help people after you stab them in the back? If that's the case, then by all means, go and betray some other people, Morty. I'm sure they'll fully appreciate the 'help' you offer them afterwards."
"I didn't betray you, Eusine."
"You fooled me, then," Eusine spat. "You know, with the way you congratulated Lyra for grinding my dreams into the dirt."
"What was I supposed to do, Eusine?" Morty demanded. "Yell at her? Call her names? Perhaps sic my Gengar on her?"
"Yes! No! I don't know!" Eusine tossed his hands up, letting them thud against the floor. "Something, anything to show that you were on my side. Instead, you were on her side, completely and utterly. So, fine - go be on her side. But don't try to come around and act as if you give a damn about me afterward."
"I'm not acting like anything," Morty snapped, and Eusine smirked humorlessly at the anger he could hear building in Morty's voice. "If you could stop feeling so bitter and victimized for two seconds, then maybe you could realize that I was just trying to help you."
"Help me how, Morty?" Eusine demanded. "By telling me not to do anything rash, as if I'm the one in the wrong for trying to defend my dream? By trying to take me away from Suicune, so in the off-chance that Lyra failed I wouldn't be there to prove my worth? By congratulating Lyra and giving her advice so that she can further display proof of her achievement, flaunting it in my face? By the fact that - in doing all of that - you basically treated me like nothing but a criminal, or a child that needed constant supervision?" Eusine shook his head. "If that's your definition of 'help,' then I don't want you to help me ever again. I just want you to get out and stay out, both out of my house and out of my life."
Morty was silent for just a moment before he began speaking. "First of all," he said quietly, "you don't mean that last part." Eusine laughed darkly.
"Oh," he said, "but you'll find that I do."
"Secondly," Morty continued, acting as if he hadn't heard what Eusine said, "no. You're twisting everything that happened - not twisting it, really, but you're seeing it from a skewed perspective. None of what you just said was what I was actually doing - at least, not in the way you see it."
"Really now?" Eusine asked sarcastically. "Enlighten me then, Mortimer. Tell me what you were 'really doing.'"
"Don't call me Mortimer," Morty snapped, and Eusine smirked in petty satisfaction. "But fine, I will. Gladly.
"When I told you not to do anything rash, it was because I was worried about you, you idiot." Eusine opened his mouth to respond, but Morty continued, clearly unable to see Eusine through the door. "In case you haven't realized this about yourself yet, you're a very emotional person - and not only are you emotional, but you tend to be very . . . irrational. Just take a look at yourself, Eusine; you do things that normal people wouldn't do every day. I wasn't sure what you were going to do - if you were going to attack Lyra or what - and so I tried to give you a warning because I was worried that you would do something that you would end up seriously regretting. I didn't want to see you end up in prison.
"I tried to get you away from Suicune because I thought that watching the battle would just be painful. And if the fact that you looked about ready to tear your own arms off was any indication, it was. Eusine, I've known you for fourteen years. You think I don't know how important Suicune was to you - probably still is to you? Watching that battle was nothing but pure masochism, Eusine. All it did was hurt you."
"I needed to see it," Eusine said, closing his eyes. He instantly regretted it. With his eyes closed, he could see the battle again, and it felt like someone had poured a bucket of salt into the gaping hole where his heart used to be. He opened his eyes again, glaring at the opposite wall. "I had to at least try to get some kind of closure."
"So you say," Morty replied. "But I still felt like it would have been best to just get you out of there. Anyway . . .
"I congratulated Lyra because it's not like there's much else I could do. Really, Eusine, what did you think I would do? Yell at her? Attack her? Both of those things would have achieved nothing except for ruining whatever potential acquaintanceship I could have with her. Nothing either of us could have done would have prevented Suicune from choosing Lyra, Eusine, especially once the battle was over. I wasn't trying to help her flaunt that fact in your face; I was just trying to be civil.
"Finally . . . Eusine, I wasn't trying to treat you like a criminal or a child. You're neither of those things. I was there and I did those things because you're my best friend. Whether you choose to believe that or not, you are. You're my best friend, and I care about you. I was there because I wanted to be there for you. Why else do you think I closed the Gym and headed all the way to Kanto? It wasn't because I wanted a vacation or because the weather in Kanto is nice, and it's certainly not because I wanted to play cheerleader to some kid. It's because of you, Eusine - because you're practically a brother to me, and I knew that after all of this, you would be hurting." Something thudded against the door, then - Eusine guessed it was Morty's hand. "That's why I'm here now, even though you had your Electrode self-destruct in my face."
By the time Morty got to the last sentence, Eusine was starting to feel bad. His anger was melting away, leaving nothing but guilt and his general depression in its wake, throbbing more painfully than ever. Eusine shook his head, resisting, trying to grab the anger and yank it back. "If you cared so much about me, then why didn't you act like it then?" he demanded. "First she stole Lugia, and now Suicune, and you don't even care."
"I do care," Morty countered. "I care a lot Eusine, more than I let on. But the fact is, what will agonizing over it do? What will blaming her do? It won't change the fact that she's the one that awakened Lugia. It won't change the fact that she's the one Suicune chose. All it will do is drive me crazy and make the pain last longer. I do care, Eusine. But all of the agonizing in the world won't change what's already happened."
"I know that," Eusine said, speaking before he could help himself. He pulled his knees to his chest, putting his arms on them, his forehead on his arms. "I know that agonizing over it won't change what happened. Believe me, if it would change what had happened, I'd have that Clear Bell right now. But . . ."
"But that doesn't change how you feel," Morty said softly, only just loud enough for Eusine to hear him through the door. "That doesn't stop it from hurting."
Somehow, despite all of the crying that he'd already done, Eusine felt his eyes stinging again. The anger had faded completely, once again leaving nothing behind but the raw ache, this time tinged with guilt for how he'd treated Morty before. Squinting his eyes shut, Eusine shifted his arms so that he could squeeze his knees to his chest, hugging them like his last lifeline. "Why, Morty?" he managed to ask, his breath hitching with his tears. "Why was I no - not good enough? Why am I so - so worthless?"
"You're not worthless." As Morty spoke, Eusine heard the lock on his door click despite the fact that he didn't move to unlock it himself, either due to a ghost Pokèmon he hadn't noticed or a power that Morty wouldn't own up to possessing. Milliseconds later Morty opened the door, shutting it behind him immediately after entering so that he could sit with his back against it, beside Eusine. He put one hand on Eusine's shoulder briefly before pulling it away. "I mean it, Eusine. Don't think like that."
"I had one pur - purpose," Eusine choked out. "Ju - Just one go - goal, and I cou - couldn't even do tha - that. M - My whole life un - until this point is me - meaningless. I'm meaningless. I - I have no purpose, I - I can't do anything ri - right . . . I - I might as well not even-"
"If you say a single thing that even remotely sounds suicidal," Morty said quietly, his voice scarily even, "then broken arm or not, I will hit you so hard your head will become stuck in that wall."
Eusine looked up, wiping his eyes quickly on his sleeve, to notice that Morty's left arm was indeed in a sling, and he had bandages wrapped around his head above his eyes instead of his normal headband. "Your arm is broken?"
"Yes, well, that's what happens when an Electrode self-destructs right in front of you," Morty said casually, shrugging. "You tend to break a few bones, sustain a concussion, get some cuts and bruises . . ."
Eusine winced, the guilt flaring white-hot inside of him, and he looked away. "I'm sorry," he muttered. "I shouldn't have done that. I - I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Morty said, and he sounded as if he genuinely meant it. "I know you didn't mean it."
"I did mean it, though," Eusine countered, for even though he knew it wouldn't help his case, he was nothing if not honest. "At the time."
"Probably, but you didn't actually want me to get hurt."
"Eusine, do you want me to forgive you for this, or not?"
". . . Right." Eusine sighed, still not looking over at Morty, preferring instead to stare at a spot on his carpet where he'd spilled something purple - most likely grape juice, but over the years his memories tended to run together, and at the moment he couldn't be bothered to try and remember exactly what it was. "Sorry."
"Apology accepted." Morty let those two words hang in the air for a moment before he spoke again, his voice still soft, but no less firm. "But I meant what I said, Eusine. You're not worthless. Your life is not meaningless. You serve more than just the one purpose in the world, especially since that one purpose you decided to choose for yourself is something that's so high on the scale of expectations that it bypasses unreasonable and shoots straight into impossible. I know that doesn't take away the sting, but not achieving that doesn't make you worthless; it just makes you normal."
Eusine scoffed. "Because being normal is so much better. Being forgettable is what every person dreams of."
"Eusine, there is nothing about you that's forgettable, and that's not always a compliment." Morty's tone was somewhat teasing, but Eusine couldn't bring himself to crack a smile. "Remember, you're the guy who decided that it would be a brilliant idea to be a caped crusader for a year in order to deter criminals from wreaking havoc across Johto, only to have yourself be branded as a criminal instead, which ended up causing the people at the radio tower to create a drama centered around your escapades. If that doesn't make you memorable, I really don't know what does."
At that, Eusine's lips did twitch, even if the smile didn't stay. "That was a fun year."
"If by 'fun' you mean 'more stressful than necessary,' then yes, it was a fun year."
"But it doesn't change the fact that I have nothing to do with my life now. My entire life up until this point has centered around being chosen by Suicune. I . . . I have no job. I have no idea of what I would even do for a job. I won't be able to pay the bills or the rent at this rate. I . . . I won't even be able to survive at this rate, and despite your threat from earlier, Morty, what do I really have to live for now? I failed at the one purpose I had. I was not good enough. If I am not good enough to fulfill m one life goal, then what can be good enough for?"
"First of all," Morty said, and once again, Eusine felt his lips quirk upward ever so slightly in spite of himself. Trust Morty to always list things off in the most logical and rational order, "you've never had a job, period. Chasing Suicune does not count as a job, Eusine, as there is no viable source of income there. Second of all, since you've never have a job, you've never really paid the bills or the rent. Sometimes you do, but most of the time you don't, and the only reason you still have a place to live and working utilities is because I pay your bills and rent, and you know that. Finally, you have yourself to live for. Live for you, and for no one else. The most important thing to do, Eusine, is just to live."
Eusine laughed weakly, mirthlessly, and put his chin on his knees. "That's easier said than done," he said hoarsely. "So much easier said than done, especially when I . . . when I . . ." Eusine couldn't think of an adequate way to finish the sentence, but it didn't seem to matter.
"I know," Morty said. "I know it's easier said than done, and I know it'll hurt no matter what I say. I don't expect you to get over this today, or even this month. It'll take time - lots of time, but most importantly, time that you have. You have all the time in the world, Eusine. And . . . you also have me."
Eusine looked back over at Morty, and their eyes met, Morty smiling faintly. Once again, Eusine smiled a little, but this time the expression lingered.
"You're my best friend, you know that?" Eusine said, saying the words before he'd even really thought of them. Morty nodded, raising his right arm in a fist. Eusine brought his own fist up to meet it, knocking his knuckles lightly against Morty's.
"Yep," Morty agreed. "'Till the end."
A Few Notes:
1.) I know that HeartGold players get the Clear Bell as their Bell when it comes time to raise Suicune - believe me, I know this, even though I own SoulSilver. However, in Pokemon Crystal, the Clear Bell was the item that you were given to summon Suicune to the Tin Tower. Given that fact, and given that these are SoulSilver drabbles and not HeartGold drabbles, I figured I could get away with calling it the Clear Bell versus something like the Crystal Bell like I was going to do originally.
2.) The reason why I felt like I needed something like this was because of my refusal to write the capture of Legendaries into my fics. I know this probably seems strange to a lot of people, but I felt like having Suicune merely run off wouldn't make a single bit of sense. It worked for Lugia, but I felt like it wouldn't work here. There had to be something, and so I came up with the Clear Bell. It will have relevance later, especially in regards to Ho-Oh. Trust me.
3.) The line "dreams die hard, but you hold them in your hand long after they turn to dust" is from the movie Braveheart, I believe, and is not mine.