~*Checkmate*~

What were the odds of the queen cornering her own king?


"We're lost, aren't we?" Black sighed, rubbing his forehead with his eyes shut tight. At his feet, his Starter Pokémon padded along beside him, her black gaze distant as always.

White whipped around to glare at him, indignation burning in her voice. "Of course we're not lost! I know exactly where we are!"

He was skeptical about that, but didn't pursue the issue. He just walked after her as his friend pushed on, looking around at their surroundings. They were far from their hometown, deep into the surrounding forest and getting deeper by the second. Sunlight filtered down from between every branch, like golden fingers stroking the depths of the shadows that formed under upraised roots. The shade created by the canopy of leaves dimmed the bright colors of White's clothes, and it also caused her Tsutarja's orange eyes to glow in the dark, off and on, as they passed through golden rays and out again.

Mijumaru, his otter-like companion, slapped her tail on the ground, obviously uneasy. Knowing her, she was probably worried that some Mamepatos or something would come flying at them from the undergrowth, since with their luck; they'd disturb their nest or meal time or something.

The trail became steadily rougher and a bit on the rockier side, and Black found it a little harder to keep his balance as they crossed a small, gurgling creek.

"Hey, White…"

She turned to face him with her customary determined scowl. "I'm not lost, okay?"

Ignoring that, he went on. "Where are we going, again?"

Blinking, she exchanged a glance with her Tsutarja, and he simply shrugged back. "We're looking for rare Pokémon, of course!"

"Right…" Black readjusted his satchel's strap, peering into the bushes. "And what do rare Pokémon look like, exactly?"

"We'll know them when we see them!" White thrust an excited fist into the air. "They're usually really special looking."

"Special how?"

"I dunno, maybe they're Shiny?"

"The only thing that makes a Shiny Pokémon any different from a regular one is its coloring." Black picked up his Mijumaru before she stumbled again on another treacherous rock. "And that's all. Is this really worth it?"

She glowered at him before shaking her head, putting her hands on her hips. "Why's it always got to be questions with you?"

"Smart people ask questions," he pointed out. "One never learns if they don't."

"Well I'm learning plenty without asking you anything."

"Such as?" He drawled, unimpressed.

White sighed and shook her head without looking at him, her gaze moving away. "You like to make things difficult. Can't you just walk with me without—"

Startled by her change of tone, Black hurriedly said, "Okay, okay. Don't look so unhappy, I'll stop asking questions regarding what we're doing. Promise."

She peeked at him from over her shoulder, having had turned around during his hurried, unvoiced apology. "Alright, thanks, Black!" She then promptly skipped off into the forest, vanishing past a row of tall sycamores.

Perplexed, though only momentarily, he growled crossly to his Mijumaru, "I just got played, didn't I?"

The Water-type nodded her head sadly, and there was obvious pity in that gesture.

A half-dozen swear words charged through Black's mind like a herd of angry Tauros, but he shook it all off and went after White before he could lose her all together. He was always rather reluctant to make White truly unhappy, but he wasn't quite willing to give in to her odd demands either. She was ever asking him to do something demeaning or stupid (in his self-righteous opinion) such as being her partner for the impromptu dance lessons she had signed them up for. On one occasion she had shook him awake at five in the morning so he could take a picture of the sun rising over their town.

But yes, if she gave him that certain smile he gritted his teeth and put up with it, only because it was her.

I'm so pathetic, she's got me wrapped around her little finger and I'm not doing a thing about it.

Something occurred to him as he raced after White, and he remarked nonchalantly, "The chances of us encountering a Shiny Pokémon are about one in eight-thousand-one-hundred-and-ninety-two."

White groaned, and her Tsutarja waved his leafy tail in annoyance at the comment. "Don't be so pessimistic! Doesn't have to be Shiny either, we can find a rare Pokémon that isn't just a colored copy."

"What's with—" Biting his tongue to stop the question from fully forming, Black sought to find a way to word his intentions without having the accursed question mark in his tone. "I can't help but wonder why you suddenly care so much about this."

She came to a halt on top of a fallen log practically swamped by moss. Tsutarja sprang up into a tree and disappeared from view, and with a deep sigh, Mijumaru began her undignified attempt at scaling the thick trunk of the oak, blunt claws scrabbling against the bark for a decent grip. The Grass-type resting in the branches snickered deep in his scaly throat.

"You don't have to be so serious, I just thought, you know….Before we start our Pokémon journey and we probably end up splitting ways for a bit…we'd have one more adventure together. We're just friends right now."

Black raised his eyebrows. "What's that supposed to mean?"

White exhaled sharply, frustration etched into her blue eyes. She jumped down and stalked towards him, and the startled boy took a hasty step back. He just gawked at her with an expression identical to his Mijumaru's faraway look as she stabbed a finger into his chest repeatedly to emphasize her words.

"You're going to go fight the Elite Four and be Pokémon Master and all of that jazz, right?"

"Er—yes?"

"Well, so am I! That means we're going to be rivals when we finally set off. Right now, we're just two friends enjoying an outing in Isshu, but it can't really stay that way, can it?"

"We don't have to fight," Black stammered out, raising his hands as if to fend off a blow. Her eyes flared again, and he barely noticed Mijumaru as the stocky Water-type slid back to the ground in an improper heap of blue and white fur.

"Oh yes, we do. That's what Trainers always do. With our luck we'll end up at Sinnoh's Battle Frontier in some kind of bout against each other."

"Well, I'm going with you right now! What do you want me to do?" The startled kid found he had been continuously retreating, and now he was stuck with his back against a tree and a small slab of jagged bark digging between his shoulder blades. Even past the material of his jacket, it was uncomfortable.

White's mood swings often freaked him out, and as he watched, the fire faded from her Arctic gaze and she lifted one shoulder before letting it fall. "Can you make me a promise?"

"S-Sure. Anything within reason."

She turned away from him and took five steps towards their Pokémon, who were frozen mid-game as they watched their Trainers with concerned eyes. She wrapped her arms around herself and said so quietly that he barely heard past the rustling of the leaves—"Don't change so drastically that when we meet again the word friend won't even apply. We'll not just be rivals…right?"

White's current emotion often changed on a dime, but the melancholy words she spoke now truly and honestly unsettled him. And thus, the reserved boy walked up behind her and hugged her close, resting his chin on her shoulder.

"Hey, now, don't start talking like that." Black told her softly, and he gave her one of his rare smiles. "I mean, with our luck, it'll come true if you think about things regarding us and…well…succumbing to our competitive natures."

She was astonished, he knew, since he scarcely put up with any physical contact between the two of them. White put both of her hands over his and leaned into his embrace with the closest thing to a shy grin he had ever seen on his intrepid friend's face.

"I just realized something," she informed him.

"Yeah?" Black knew he'd end up blushing and uncomfortable the moment he thought about what he was doing, so for once, he didn't question their situation.

"We always say 'with our luck'. Why's that?"

"Well, that's an easy one. We've got stupid luck, both good and bad."

"How?" She tilted her head to the side to study his expression, as if his brown eyes held the answer. Maybe they did.

"Remember that time we went to deliver that package to Ms. Uchida? It ended up raining, and then hailing, and after that Mijumaru had to go out into the elements to find your Tsutarja because he ran away from you after—"

"After I said a Pokabu would be more useful. I was mad that it was freezing outside and neither of us have a Fire-type." White laughed to herself.

"Heh. Regardless, we have good luck also. If you recall, we had to replace your front door after your cousin May's Blaziken kicked his way into your house."

"Why did that happen, again?"

"I think he went out to meditate or something, heard May screaming, and broke in, only to find that she was screaming with laughter at something on the television." Black smirked a bit. "Remember what happened after that?"

"How could I forget? While we were fixing the door, that same Blaziken slammed everything back into place with a single punch. It was impossibly amazing."

They shared another fit of snickers and giggles at the memory, and just then, Black realized how close White's face was to his own. He made to pull back, but her fingers laced with his and she murmured, "Don't."

He froze, involuntarily, blinking at her and feeling heat rush to his cheeks.

"So, do you promise?" White inquired casually, her eyes gazing into his deeply.

"W-What, you mean that we'll always be friends, not just rivals?"

"What else?"

Black nodded hurriedly. "I promise, you have my word as a Trainer, if that's worth anything."

"It's worth the world, to me, anyway." White sighed, obviously content, and she let him go. He moved away hurriedly, tugging at the brim of his hat and studiously looking at his Mijumaru instead of at his old companion.

Tsutarja bounced nimbly out of the tree to land beside his owner, his expression infuriatingly haughty as always.

"Let's keep looking for those Shiny Pokémon," Black announced in an effort to break the silence. He strode past White, pacing into the forest without glancing back. "Maybe we'll even find a Zoroark."

He hadn't gone ten steps before White stated casually, "When are you going to just shut up and kiss me?"

Every muscle in his body locked painfully for a heartbeat, and Black whirled around, startled, to find that she was only a foot behind him. A mischievous smile danced on the edges of her lips, and something similar to that flitted in Tsutarja's tawny stare.

Mijumaru brought her paws to her mouth and made an odd puffing noise that sounded uncomfortably like stifled laughter.

"Wait, what?"

And suddenly she crossed the distance between them in a single stride, grabbed one of his arms, and pulled him close as she kissed him. Black, again, didn't know how to react. His intellect went flying out the window and, as if his body was on auto-pilot, he closed his eyes and returned the action.

It was nothing special, and yet it was, because it was both of their first times. And nothing can ever replace that.

It was over in a handful of seconds, but Black was left feeling warm everywhere. He imagined he had a somewhat dreamy look on his face as he watched her and thought of nothing but her, for a span of several heartbeats.

Mijumaru started applauding. That was what broke him out of his trance. So red in the face that he probably rivaled a Charmander's tail-tip, Black endeavored to retreat.

White, however, wouldn't let him. She gave a playful roll of her eyes and tightened her grasp on his arm, sliding her fingers down to hold his hand. "It's just us. You don't have to be so nervous. We've been friends for what, our entire lives?"

She was right, but regardless…and why was his darn Pokémon clapping? And Tsutarja's stupid, smug smirk wasn't helping one darn bit. The sun was setting, and the dull orange light swept the pair of teens in ginger and dark burgundy.

And yet, impossibly, White's blue eyes didn't seem to lose their sparkle.

"What was that for?" He complained feebly, pointedly glancing away.

"You're so stupid," she mumbled affectionately under her breath. "Stop asking questions and enjoy the moment, Black."

"…Okay." He smiled weakly at her and she returned it tenfold.

"We should be getting home. It's late." White headed back the way they had come, Tsutarja and Mijumaru following at a suspiciously far distance, as if trying to give their Trainers time alone.

I bet she planned this whole escapade, and then got my Mijumaru in on it somehow! Black thought moodily.

Still holding hands, Black let her lead, allowing a companionable silence to settle between them that carried an unusual tinge to it that he was unfamiliar with. Something new and exciting but not yet explored. He lifted his gaze skyward, searching the twilight verge between day and night for something that he did not yet know. The beautiful brush of shadowy azure and fading scarlet was one of the most majestic things he had ever seen, and it was the reason why Isshu's sunsets were so renowned. Like Hoenn's eternal summer, Kanto's brilliant spring, Johto's warm autumn, and Sinnoh's gorgeous snowfall, it was a defining characteristic of the region.

A pale shape came into existence unexpectedly. Right where the twilight formed.

Black paused, causing White to do the same as he sought to see better. Was that a star, that luminescent form in the sky? It didn't look like one, unless stars were becoming jagged or something now.

No, it most definitely was not a star.

"White, look at that!"

She did so, and gasped as the figure soaring towards them came into full view. Tsutarja and Mijumaru gaped openly at the approaching Pokémon.

It had an egg-shaped body, covered in thick, white feathers that seemed to hold a radiance of their own. Ivory wings were spread wide as it dove towards them, but the air of benevolence coming from the creature made it clear it had no desire to fight. The belly of the Pokémon was sprinkled with tiny red and blue triangles, and its small feet were close to one another. A magnificent three-pointed crest rose from its head, the left spike seeming to have been dipped in blue, the right, red. It had to be about five feet tall, at least, and it circled the pair with unmistakably friendly ebony eyes.

"Oh my Arceus," White whispered. She stepped closer to Black, clinging to his sleeve, their shoulders touching as they watched the happy Pokémon spiral around them. It chirped, seeming to grow more excited as Black wrapped a protective arm around White, just in case.

"I…I've heard of it, but…"

"Do you know what it is?" She spoke in a low voice, as if frightened that she might scare the Pokémon off.

"It's a Togekiss, I'm sure of it…however, they're rare! Ridiculously rare! They haven't been seen in the wild for ages!"

"Why not?"

"It never visits any area with needless strife," Black explained.

"What does it do?"

"It…shares blessings with those that love one another."

Black felt himself smile despite everything as White pressed her face into his neck. "Looks like our luck is about to change," she murmured.

The Togekiss chirped, clearly pleased, alighting so softly on the forest floor that it didn't make a sound. It looked at them expectantly, and Black exchanged a quick nod with White before placing his hand on top of the Togekiss's head, his fingers slipping around the flexible spikes. She did the same, and the Togekiss seemed to glow for a moment or two before it spread its wings again with an energetic cry and took to the air once more.

They watched it, their eyes never leaving its as the Pokémon weaved around them again. Tsutarja and Mijumaru were still busy gawking.

Togekiss finally let out one more tiny chirp of satisfaction, and then it promptly proceeded to vanish from sight behind a small grouping of gray night clouds as if it had never been.

The pleasant atmosphere it had generated still lingered.

"Wow." A huge grin worked its way onto White's face.

"Wow," Black agreed, still looking after the departed Pokémon. Mijumaru reached over and shut Tsutarja's hanging jaw.

"…You know what this means?"

"No."

"In your face!" She brandished one finger at her unofficial boyfriend with a ludicrous smirk of victory. "We saw a rare Pokémon! And touched it, even if we didn't capture it! Isn't that just freaking awesome?"

"I guess," Black replied, feigning indifference. He shoved his hands into his pockets, but White was undeterred. She simply hooked her arm through one of his and walked beside him. Leaning over, she kissed his cheek, causing the boy to blush again.

"Come on Mr. Serious, let's go home."


This story is inspired by RawkstarVienna's Monochromatic Dreams. You'd do well to go read her story, 'cause not only is it better than mine, but it's generally epic in every sense.

I had to break my own rule and use the Japanese names for the Black and White Pokémon because they do not yet have English names. Tsutarja is the lizard-like Grass Starter, Pokabu is the pig-like Fire Starter, and Mijumaru is the otter-like Water Starter. Mamepato is the pigeon-like Normal/Flying-type bird.

I did not make up Togekiss's origins, those are quite real. There is a Psychonauts Shout Out line in here, bonus points to anyone that can catch it.

Long author's note. I'd be grateful if you dropped a review!