They crash with each other sometimes; Lyra apologizes and he walks away, because he doesn't really have anything to say to her.
The lights are dim in the run-down Pokécenter, but her bruised, awkward smile lights up the whole room despite the pouring rain outside.
"Stop your futile attempts of affection," Silver growls, and pushes her away, "I'm not your friend."
Her behavior would put a child to shame—she's smiling in all the pictures he sees of her, but when her eyes catch onto him, her lips are a line.
"I loved you desperately," he whispers, but Lyra is too busy crying to notice the past tense.
Silver places a hand on her chest to feel her heartbeat; however, he notices nothing but the softness of her skin.
On the other hand, Lyra has tried – many times – to hold his own, but he wriggles it out of her hold every time she does so.
He remembers Lance holding him in place, his bigger arms around his own, while Lyra dived into the Rocket hideout, uniform and all; he kicked and scratched and bit, but the champion's arms were steely.
"Let me fix you. You're not broken beyond repair, Silver," she says softly, and he can only nod his head—what's the harm in trying?
He doesn't have anything he holds precious, and when he tells Ethan this, the boy tries to hide his sad frown.
11. odds and ends
The shadows in Elm's lab are enough for him to hide in; as soon as the air-headed professor turns to his left, grabbing sheets of paper and miscellaneous things, Silver places an empty Pokéball on top of a table and leaves as quietly as he first entered.
Her house smells of mint tea, but she doesn't—he takes comfort in knowing she's often not at home, for some bizarre, perverse reason.
The locks of Lyra's hair are like tree branches, brown and twisted and smelling of morning.
"I'm better than you!" Silver screams, and when his voice echoes throughout Victory Road, Lyra flinches.
The only thing he finds soothing besides the sound of silence is his mother's voice, but both of those are damn hard to find.
It's like he's born to fight, to kill and to defeat anyone that opposes his ideals; once, when Lyra and him fight, she tells him it must be a family thing and he almost can't suppress the primal urge he has to hit her pretty face.
They're soaked and in a cave when he takes his shirt off—soon enough they're both naked, and he finds that he likes her best when she's too bothered and embarrassed to speak; they stay back to back for the entire night, but even if they weren't, he still wouldn't look at her (he can't bring himself to, for some reason).
The first time they meet, he pushes her away because she's distracting him from Elm's lab; the twentieth-second time they meet, she pulls him closer to herself and kisses him.
Mount Silver is cold and ruthless, but when he reaches the top, only to witness Lyra's loss against a mysterious foe, he has never felt so alive.
The skin of his new Totodile used to be blue and clear; years later, it turns darker and dirtier, and he feels satisfied to know that, for once, it actually matches its trainer's persona.
Lyra is born into a quiet little town, and she is raised in the placidity that only villagers have; Silver is left to fend for himself in Goldenrod, which, really, tells a lot about who he is.
"Is that the champion?" someone asks, adulation-covered voice; Silver's fist tighten silently beside his hips when Lyra smiles flatly at the crowd.
When he feels particularly devious, he drops by her place – uninvited of course – and kisses her, slow and deep; he adores knowing that her mother will bombard her with questions after he leaves, and perhaps that's the only reason as to why he does it.
When he isolates himself to train, he goes to Lake of Rage; it drives him insane with fright—the noise of waterfalls makes him sick and the slow bubble of the pond reminds him of past tragedies, and that only makes him stronger.
He's tried eating berries before, when he had no one to steal money or food from; bitter are his favorite.
Sometimes, when they've just battled, he forgets just how weak and fragile she is, and when she discreetly looks away from his eyes, he feels a pang of guilt.
He hates winter because Lyra is gone to greet her family, Ethan disappears into research papers about cocoons, and the roads are empty—snow is his only friend.
"Hi, it's – it's Lyra. When you hear this, give me a call. I… I miss you, Silver."
His cheeks color when he decides to replay the message, only to hear her voice again.
When he travels to Hoenn in order to forget brunettes with naïve eyes, he meets a gym leader whose gracefulness in battle rivals hers, and the point of travelling is rejected since he is constantly reminded of her.
"You belong to me. Don't forget it," he hisses, and lets go of her collar.
She chokes on her rebuttal, but it still comes out strong, "I'm not a pet of yours, Silver."
There's a funny feeling in his chest when she reaches her hand out to Ethan's, but Silver doesn't really know why (and he doesn't want to, either).
"This would be so much easier if he wasn't so pigheaded," Ethan murmurs, under his breath, when Lyra goes running to him, tears in her eyes.
Their eyes meet, and, suddenly, there's so much heat in the room, he has to excuse himself.
When she's challenged, she maintains a façade of coolness and sympathy; but when they're alone, Silver notices just how primal and rough her instincts run.
"I didn't think it possible to fall this hard in love with a person," Lyra confesses, and her Ampharos nuzzles her neck softly, in a comforting way.
She shakes him by the shoulders until he realizes he's awoken, but the wetness in his cheeks is still there, still tangible and real, and Lyra finds herself to be crying as well.
He finds himself disgusted at the ease with which Ethan and Lyra smile towards each other.
40. good riddance
"She wasn't worth it, anyway," his father murmurs in his ear, and though his insides twist into tight knots, he nods.
"I'm tired, Silver. I'm sick and tired of being so sick and tired – you know what, I don't even know why I bother anymore," she breathes into the phone, and when the sharp beep screams against his ear, signaling the end of the message, Silver throws the phone against the wall just to watch it shatter.
There are three parallel lines in his left shoulder, and when, once, Lyra asked him how he got them, he was forced to admit that he didn't remember.
43. last dance
It's dim behind Goldenrod's casino, and as he lights a cigarette, he remembers complicated plans devised by Lyra and Ethan in order to get him to dance; he pulls sharply and remembers soft hands in his own, and the constant beat of joyful music.
Silver gets distracted, and when he notices it, his cigarette is already near his fingers, scorching with exact slowness; he marvels at it, and doesn't even curse when it burns his fingers.
He steps on the butt, opens the door and steadily walks towards the darkness inside.
The day Silver turns seventeen, his father gives him a Beretta—it's polished and heavy and cold, and feels familiar in his hand.
"Once I asked Sabrina to put some freaky voodoo-thing on you, so you'd stop being an arrogant prick," he remembers Lyra saying once, in a rare display of anger, "Obviously, it didn't work."
He soon asks his Gyarados to burn the gun with an outrage, and when it complies, he feels extreme satisfaction in watching the flames engulf the previously shiny metal (he gets off with watching mindless destruction, and he's rather fine with it).
It's midnight and he finds himself staring at her apartment's door, so, before he gets any ideas, he releases a Pidgeotto and flies away, quickly and desperately.
The stars are mercilessly staring down at him when he finally reaches Cianwood, and Ethan's voice echoes in his mind: 'first we set the tents, then I'll teach you constellations'.
He's been to hundreds of cemeteries before, but somehow, it feels horrifyingly different, when the grave he stands before is his father's.
His voicemail's inbox gets full of urgent messages: from Elm, from Ethan, from the police, and from a woman that calls herself Athena—but none from the one that truly matters.
The freedom he experiences is terrifying, but it's a wave of relief he feels washing through him as he decides that he'll visit Sinnoh; although it hurts that for once he doesn't hear the suave disappointment in the voice of a dangerous man.
"Congratulations in beating the League," the blond woman says, and Silver feels as if he's getting nowhere fast.
In Sinnoh, the closest thing he has to a garden is the green quietude of the lake's shore, but he soon discovers, after his clothes get humid and sticky from the weather, that he prefers Johto's natural park by a long shot.
56. i know
"I'm sorry," Silver says to his phone, calmly and mournfully, and Lyra's response is obvious: "I know you are."
It's very awkward when they meet again; he arranges it for her to meet him in a run-down Pokécenter (the run-down Pokécenter, he adds mentally), and when she walks in, the dust, inked golden by the sun, climbs and falls around her.
Three weeks pass and they haven't left the bed once, save for eating—Ethan rightfully assumes they're living the dream.
To Silver, destiny's always been a bit of a bitch, but to Lyra, it hasn't, and maybe they balance each other out, that way.
Lyra throws a shoe to his head, her nose scrunched up: "No, not spring, you moron! It's our birthday!"
Ethan meets with him in a bar, and sighs in relief when Silver shows him the ring: "I thought you'd fallen out again."
While she's sleeping, Silver touches her fingers, slowly, so that she doesn't wake up, and pictures a golden circle around one of them.
It's Whitney of all people that tells him that she's not ready for marriage, but he's getting tired of waiting and none of them are that young anymore.
"Besides," the pink-haired girl points out, "She always sort of took you for a playboy."
"At least I didn't have a picture taken of me while stalking Morty," Silver smoothly retorts, and he hopes that, in her embarrassment, Whitney can't see the apprehensive look in his eyes.
"We'd get married in July, and – " he stops talking, ecstatic, and realizes she hasn't said 'yes'.
"I – I just don't want to get married," she says, very softly, "At least, I have no desire of doing so right now."
He slams her apartment's door harshly that night, and as he leaves, his clothes in a bag and his Pokéballs tightly secured in his belt, he realizes that he hasn't felt this free in a very long time—the problem is that for once, Silver actually wishes that he didn't feel so unrestricted.
He turns up at Ethan's house, drunk for the first time in his life, and when the other man asks him what happened, Silver replies that he's been celebrating his new-found freedom, and then he passes out on the rug.
The tabloids have a field day, because she's champion and he's the tragedy-struck son of the mafia.
He's called at the morgue the following month, and when they ask him to identify a red-headed woman, he is at a loss for words; not because he isn't used to dealing with death, but because he's seen that exact shade of red hair in the mirror.
When Lyra calls him, she's met with nothing but a rude welcoming message: "I'm not in the mood. I need my space. Fuck off."
She finds him in Mt. Silver, kneeling in the snow and crying; he declares, with a poison to his voice that she hadn't heard in many, many years, that he was doomed to be wiped-out from the beginning, and she herself can't control her tears.
"I have her hair," he mumbles, before she helps him onto the single bed, "…I wonder if she was as alone as I was, for her to have chosen my father of all people—" he chokes and does a half-snort, half-sob, and Lyra holds him tight against her, kissing his feverish skin.
He spends his days sleeping peacefully, just as if he was under a spell, and Lyra sometimes forces herself to wake him up just to make sure he's still alive.
She finds a letter in his bag, and curiosity takes the best of her as she starts reading it; she realizes that it's directed to her, in case of his death, and she feels something inside her break.
77. phone call
"…Y-yes? Ethan. I – need help."
He almost can't hear her over the loud, booming music, but as soon as Lyra hangs up, defeated, he calls her back almost immediately.
"Sorry," Ethan says, and there a sudden silence, "But I think I can't really, really help."
When Silver wakes up for good, he reaches for his pocket, and, with an unlit cigarette on his mouth, he asks Lyra to play poker with him.
It turns out that he meant 'strip poker', and when his shirt falls to the floor, Lyra's eyes stitch upon a blotch of black ink on his chest—it looks like an 'R' (this worries her).
When her own pants are nothing but a messy blue beneath the table, it's Silver's eyes who get stuck upon the pink elephant she's tattooed on her ankle.
He fits a handful of her hair and kisses her, pushing her against the wall, and her eyes scream: 'be careful how you play this time, Silver'.
The following morning he wakes up before her and smells reality; so he grabs his bags and gets the farthest away from Goldenrod he can.
Lyra stays still while he goes around grabbing his things, breathing slowly and pretending to be asleep—maybe this time it'll be easier, if she faces things with uncharacteristic serenity.
So he travels towards Lavender town, because he remembers being taken here when he was just a kid, and tripping over bones and skulls was the best way he had to feel connected to the world.
87. chalk dust
But the tower of the dead has been replaced with a radio tower, and all that's left are ashes, so he blows and watches the whiteness fall on his hands.
There are very few graves left, but the ones that remain, stiff and gray, have all the same name onto them.
He runs his fingers across the stone and somehow hopes that they'll get stained.
The search for perfection is futile (Silver knows this, of course, but somehow he can't stop looking for a woman with brown hair and tiredeyes).
It's months later when he comes across the ring, hidden in a compartment in his bag, and he stays very, very still; then he grabs it and throws it away, watches it plop onto the ferocious waters of Lake of Rage.
Silver isn't used to riding on a Dodrio, so the first time he tries, he falls—the last time he tries, he manages to drive it around for half an hour, just to impress her.
When he and Ethan go out drinking, he realizes that by midnight Ethan has to get home (because he has a wife and kids) and he is left alone, missing the company of him and her all the same.
94. full moon
He stays there until the bar closes and the bartender kicks him out, and when he looks up, he sees with the white circle in the sky, and can't help but to give it the finger.
95. new direction
"Is this what you came to do, Silver?" she says, and when he looks at her she looks so alone in the middle of the street, hair up in a serious bun and stilettos (stilettos!) that shine in the moonlight; she grabs him by the arm and drags him towards her apartment.
The sun shines in the windows, and Lyra stays up to see what he'll do this time—he grabs her harder, pulls her closer in his sleep, and she tries to smile.
"Good morning," she murmurs, when he wakes up, and Silver notices that her eyes are searching for something when she talks.
She doesn't have syrup, but Silver contents with honey in his pancakes, anyway.
That day, they talk seriously to one another: Lyra tells him that if he pulls another stunt she'll give up – and she means it, too – and Silver tells her that if she gets too independent, and that if she forgets that he is a human being with feelings, he'll leave and never come back.
He takes a bite out, watches her sip her coffee, and thinks – they can do this.