Something Nice Back Home

You smile. It's not a smile of intense happiness more than it is of extreme relief, and the tension you've held for the entire battle dissipates in one deep exhale. The entire stadium erupts in a frenzy but despite their deafening screams you choose not to cover your ears. You enjoy it - after all, they're cheering for you.

To your right is Brock, who greets you with a high five. Then Dawn captures you in a hug and whispers something in your ear. The crowd's wild pandemonium makes it difficult to hear, but you assume it's a compliment of some sort, and you hug her back anyway. Amidst the lauding fans, the falling confetti and your heart racing faster than you can bear, you can see your oldest friend scampering toward you, and you engulf him in a gigantic hug and tell him we made it, and thank him for everything. He coos his name and rests in your arms, exhausted from the last battle he just won, and you're so proud of him for doing his very best. Together, you wave back to the people, and your friends each take a wrist and help, and for a brief moment you think you've been in this situation before, a long time ago.

You're staring out into the cold night, overlooking the breathtaking vistas Sinnoh has to offer. The distant city lights look like fireflies, and a well known phobia makes you chuckle, and you wouldn't mind staying on the balcony all night if it isn't for a few people beckoning you to join the festivities. Someone hands you a glass of punch and you scarf down an appetizer before the waiter floats away. Your stomach growls, it's the only thing you've had to eat all day, but it'll have to do.

A voice seizes your attention and an older woman in a marble gray dress walks up to you. She's tall, blond and incredibly attractive. With an extended hand, she says you did a bang up job, and she couldn't be more proud to lose against such a worthy opponent. Thanking Cynthia, you tell her it was all worth it and she whispers you better be ready next time - half in jest, you assume. In passing, Brock says she's the prettiest thing on the planet, but you reply with a confident shrug. You've seen prettier, just not in a while.

The classical music hums merrily throughout the ballroom, and everyone's dancing and wearing a smile on their face. Brock's busy chasing down Officer Jennies, and Dawn's gabbing with Zoey about something, girl talk perhaps. A feeling of emptiness dwells in your gut, but you dismiss it as residual from all the euphoria experienced just a few hours before, and you hope more food will quell the tugs pitting against your enthusiasm.

Brock's light snoring is particularly unbearable tonight, and pulling your pillow over your face doesn't help either. It's been a long day, you should be exhausted, but you're still wide awake. Dawn's in the bunk above yours, she shifts in her covers, but she's obviously sound asleep. A narrow slant of moonlight finds its way through the drapes of the Pokemon Center, and you watch it crawl up to the ceiling. It's a boring pastime, waiting for unconsciousness, and you can't help but think of a few years ago, when you always had someone to talk to in the middle of the night.

The walkway doesn't seem so long this time, and you realize it's been ages since you last visited. But the town's exactly as you last left it, and the gigantic Dewgong on the front still looks completely ridiculous. Through the glass you can see the place is empty, it must be closed from office hours. The door doesn't make a noise when you open it, and there's not a single soul in the lobby so you explore further inside.

There she is, scrubbing the floor near the pool. She's barefoot, jeans rolled up to her knees, wearing a white tank top tied to the side so just enough midsection is visible. Her spiky ponytail flops from side to side, and you can hear her mutter something about how regular soap doesn't cut it anymore. Clearing your throat doesn't draw her attention, so you resort to a fabricated cough. The small sponge drops from her hand, and the bucket tips over spilling sudsy water everywhere.

You chuckle because she can't get past her bewildered expression, and she sputters a hello and what are doing here? all at once. You help her up and notice she's not as tall as you remember - she's about eye length now. She asks why you're alone and you explain how Dawn's traveling with Kenny, Brock's in Pewter, and Pikachu's waiting outside. The conversation switches tone and she mentions she saw you on TV. How she closed the Gym that day so she could watch the entire competition, and bragged to her sisters when it was all said and done. With the most devastatingly beautiful smile you've ever seen, she wraps her arms around your waist and whispers how proud of you she is, and her warm breath grazing your neck sends something like lightning bolts down your body. You're hesitant at first, but soon enough she's wondering why your hug is longer than hers.

You refuse to let her go, and you can see the light shades of green in her eyes as she trembles in your arms, asking again why you're here. In that moment you tell her how much you missed home. But it isn't the familiar valleys and plains of the Kanto region. It isn't all the wonderful people and Pokemon you met along the way, and all the Pokemon you left at Professor Oak's lab. It isn't your hometown of Pallet where you started your journey so many years ago. It isn't even your own bed and your mother's delicious home cooked meals.

It's the Cascade Badge you take out from time to time, reminding you of a memorable, yet unfinished Gym match. It's how no other region has a river quite like the one she fished you out of. It's how nobody can point out your flaws quite like she can. It's how the campfire used to light her face as you both waited for sleep to come. It's how she's the only person you know who still has a pathological fear of insects. It's how, after all these years, you still think of her, no matter how hard you try not to.

You tell her you left something nice back home, and before she asks the follow up question you know will come next, you press your lips confidently on hers to erase all doubt of what it is, and promise you'll never miss home again.

Wait, wasn't I suppose to be the guy who was going to take a brief hiatus but somehow posted three stories in a one month span? What can I say; I've gotten the craziest bouts of inspiration lately. Plus, writing helps me think about how to work out other stuff too. Or it could just be a handy distraction. Anyway, I've never tried second person before so I thought I might give it a whirl. I'm also trying more fics with less dialogue too. It's highly experimental, so tell me what you think and as always, I appreciate the read and reviews.

By the way, I recently updated my profile, so check it out when you get a chance. Later.