disclaimer: Emerald doesn't own Pokémon Special, Ruby, Sapphire, Wallace, and... pretty much any/everything mentioned in this fic! Except for the plot, which was spawned from listening to the song "Love Ever After" by Daughtry.


Love Ever After

By Emerald Twin Blade

- UNDIVIDED -

The countryside rushed passed them as the air car sped down the lone dirt roadway leading out of Oldale Town and toward Littleroot Town. They had been driving nonstop for about four hours now, trying to make their way to the little town by the sea.

Ruby had his elbow propped up on the armrest of the passenger seat, his cheek cradled in his hand while goggle-covered eyes watched all of nature pass them by. To his left in the driver's seat sat Sootopolis City's Gym Leader, Wallace. It had been a great honor to have Hoenn's original Champion and 8th Gym Leader meet up with him in Lilycove City two days prior and offer to take him home, but also a great big help.

The white-capped 16-year-old had heard about the Pokémon contests in Sinnoh and decided to go participate for himself and his Pokémon. The only downside to this, however, had been that he had to leave his rival, his best friend, his partner, there in Hoenn. Looking back on the day he left, it was not a particularly enjoyable memory, as the crazed brunette had begged him not to go, shouted at him for deciding on his own, and eventually throwing many heavy, solid objects at him as he ran for cover on the ship from Lilycove City.

That had been over a year ago, and he was determined to make it up to the girl in whatever way he could now that he had returned.

The blue-haired Gym Leader looked to the teen out of the corner of his eye, his lip twitching into a half grin before looking back at the road before them, "You look pretty determined… Ready for the big day?"

Of course, Ruby knew that the driver had been referring to that day, September 20th, being the birthday of the girl he had been fixated on for the past 4+ years. He picked up a fingerless-gloved hand to scratch at the back of his white hat anxiously, a silent grunt escaping him before he grumbled back, "Just hope she doesn't throw stuff at me again…"

Wallace could not help laughing, "That's the spirit!"

Ruby sighed, not really seeing what was so funny; he was really nervous about seeing her again! What would she say? Has she changed at all? He mentally slapped himself; it had only been a little over a year! How much could have changed in that time? He leaned over the open window of the air car, going back to watching the ground whiz passed beneath them, 'At least things won't get any worse until I get there…'

As if on cue, a loud POP! erupted from somewhere beneath the hood of the car and they started to sway left and right uncontrollably. Wallace yelped before attempting to safely land the vehicle, accomplishing such with little difficult on the side of the road.

Ruby suddenly became active once the Gym Leader had exited the car to go take a look at what went wrong with the engine. He hopped out of the vehicle and hurried over to the other's side, looking at all of the smoke billowing into the air from under the hood.

He covered his mouth with his hand as he took a step back, "No…" Spinning around to move that hand over his forehead, the black-haired coordinator threw his head back to repeat himself a few more times, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no!"

Attempting to think quickly, Ruby pulled out his upgraded PokéNav, completely forgetting about the Pokétch on his wrist now that he was back in Hoenn. He checked the map, only to find that he was a little over 10 miles away from his desired location.

"AAGH! Wallace!" He turned to face his ex-Master, a pleading look on his face, "Please, tell me you can fix the car!"

The Gym Leader scoffed, "What kind of Master would I be if I couldn't do something as simple as fixing a car?"

For a moment, Ruby took a sigh of relief, but was cut short when the other continued talking while he stared at the engine, "… It'll just take me a while. We probably won't make it in time for her party, though."

That had stuck a nerve. Ruby had to make it for the party! If he did not, it would ruin everything, including his chances of ever seeing her smile again!

Ten miles from town and I just broke down

Spittin' out smoke on the side of the road.

I'm out here alone, just tryin' to get home

To tell you I was wrong,

But you already know.

He hurried back over to the passenger side of the car to get his bag, digging through it and pulling out a pair of old Devon Corp. shoes. He did not have the time to think back about how the pair of shoes had been a birthday gift from his father when he turned 12, or even the fact that they probably would not fit him correctly since he had definitely grown since then. All he could do, blinded by his determination to reach his goal, was take off his ordinary, stylish shoes and pull on the old running shoes.

After slinging his bag over his shoulder, he gave an appreciative bow to his ex-Master, "Thanks for bringing me back up to this point, but I really think I had better take it from here."

Wallace grinned at him, nodding, "You've really grown, Ruby; don't push yourself on your way there, okay? See you tomorrow."

With an informal two-finger salute, Ruby turned around and took off down the roadway on his own, the amazingly still-functional power in his running shoes giving him more than an extra push to rival the speed he and Wallace had been going in the car earlier.

Believe me, I won't stop at nothin'

To see you, so I've started runnin'!

The teenager huffed as he swung his arms to and fro, trying to give himself the state of mind that he was going faster than he really was. His eyes were narrowed with sheer willpower behind his orange goggles, the style having been stolen from a certain senior in Johto.

Memories of when they had met, and met again, and met again after that, began to entertain his mind as he put himself on a physical auto-pilot. Times when they had agreed… times when they disagreed, which outnumbered the former by a number that he would rather make decrease. By the end of every moment they spent together, however, they had always ended up laughing… and that was enough to make everything worth it. Just being with that girl was enough to drive him crazy, in both a good and bad way.

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter

As long as I'm laughin' with you.

(I'm thinkin' that) all that still matters is love ever after

After the life we've been through

'Cause I know there's no life after you.

Ruby grinned, unable to figure out just how he had managed to go on in Sinnoh without her. There were no calls… no letters. Nothing. He had not been able to stand that, but he had been focused on reaching his goal there in the foreign region and then returning to Hoenn to make up with her.

Without her, things just were not quite right for him. She made things perfect.

Unfortunately, the bad memory of when he had left float back to mind, wiping the smile off of his face and replacing it with an uneasy frown.

He had held off on telling her that he was leaving for Sinnoh until the night before. Even worse, he had informed her over the phone. It had not taken long, for a wild woman like her, to make her way from Fortree City where she trained to Lilycove City, where he would board a boat to cross the sea to a region neither of them had ever visited before.

When they had met at the port as he was about to get on the boat and leave, she had come to meet with him and begged him not to go. The crazy, barbaric girl who had, at one time, wanted nothing to do with him and could not wait to get away from him had confessed that she did not want to be separated from him. With everything having already been arranged, however, it was already too late.

She had resorted to anger after that, crying tears of rage and banging her fists on his chest as he attempted to calm her with a hug. She had cried "If you loved me, you wouldn't go!" and "Sorry for wasting your time!" Eventually, her strength had become too much for him and he was forced to back away and board the ship. From there, she simply looked for things around her to throw at him, which included several large rocks and a very unlucky Shellder.

Last time we talked, the night that I walked

Burns like an iron in the back of my mind.

I must've been high to say you and I

Weren't meant to be and just wastin' my time.

Ruby's fixed gaze had wavered, lowering for a moment in guilt. He came back to reality just in time to grunt as he turned along a sharp curve in the road.

He shook his head, eyes closing tightly as he beat himself up over what had happened; why did he not buy her a ticket, too? Surely, she would have enjoyed exploring Sinnoh with him…

But it was already too late for that.

Oh, why did I ever doubt you?

You know I would die here without you.

He looked down at the Pokétch on his wrist, noting the time. It had already been 20 minutes since he left behind Wallace and took off on his own. He then changed to the map application on the high-tech watch he had gotten while in Sinnoh, attempting to calculate how much further he would have to go.

Only 5 miles to go. If Ruby kept going at the same speed, he would be just in time for the start of the party.

If he could get there at the right time, he could catch the girl smiling… laughing, even. His imagination, however, refused to stay positive and kept bringing him images of her enthusiasm fading the moment she noticed him and yelling in his general direction ensuing. He would wince at the idea, but felt that, if anything, he deserved.

Perhaps, after giving him a piece of her mind, she would calm herself… and he could tell her exactly what she meant to him.

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter

As long as I'm laughin' with you.

(I'm thinkin' that) all that still matters is love ever after

After the life we've been through

'Cause I know there's no life after you.

She had been the one to confess to him first… He did not like it, but it was true. She had beaten him to the punch, but, even though he had felt the same way, he had never treated her any differently. For a long time after that, the white-capped teen had even pretended to have forgotten about the event.

Ruby had run away for so long… from his father, from the aiding the world, but mostly from her. It was about time that he came back to settle things once and for all.

You and I, right or wrong, there's no other one

After this time I spent alone.

It's hard to believe that a man with sight could be so blind

Thinkin' 'bout the better times, must've been outta my mind.

So I'm runnin' back to tell you

There it was! He had already entered the city limits of Littleroot Town, but he still had to make it to his destination. Just when he was about to kick it up a notch, the fuel that ran his running shoes suddenly vanished, and he was left to run by his own strength.

Ruby growled, running as fast as he could through the familiar plant life and roadways of the little town. He glanced at his watch: 7:18 PM. Picking up his eyes to look ahead of him again, he could see it; the home of Professor Birch.

Light blue balloons had been tied to the mailbox, displaying that a special occasion was in progress without the house. The black-haired boy, with his adrenaline finally dying out, could feel his legs getting heavier and heavier with each step. He could not stop, though; not when he was so close!

He pushed himself to the limit, ramming his shoulder into the door and falling onto the carpet floor inside of the house.

Whatever activity had been going on suddenly came to a halt. All occupants of the room stopped what they were doing and looked to him. One person, a girl, navigated through the small crowd to stand before them all, staring right down at him in surprise.

"… Ruby…?"

Panting so heavily that his lungs hurt, Ruby made a fist and pushed himself up a little. His other hand yanked off his goggles, as well as his hat on accident, before directing bright ruby red eyes up at the shocked brunette.

"Happy… Birthday, Sapphire…"

For a moment, all was silent. Sapphire took a few slow, shaky steps toward him before she fell down beside him and grabbed him into a tight hug. She cried aloud, shaking him right and left to emphasize how absolutely happy she was to finally see him again.

"I can't believe you made it back! For my birthday, even!"

Ruby was actually very surprised by her reaction to his return; he had not thought that she would cry, let alone be happy to see him in the slightest… All he could do was smile, though, as he hugged her back, still trying to catch his breath.

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter

Without you God knows what I'd do, yeah!

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter

As long as I'm laughin' with you.

All that still matters is love ever after

After the life we've been through

'Cause I know there's no life after you!

"I love you, Sapphire."