world – game
– please ignore ugly formatting; this is a fill for inked kisses on the pokanon kink meme on lj, title also provided by inked kisses.
prompt – Gold is too perfect, Red is too perfect, they meet. /shortened version

They battle.

"You win,"

the redhead repeats a statement; a prevailing fact.


the boy sighs.

'How to Excel'
a beginner's guide for the unhappy people

Gold does not know what number to label this victory, and he almost does not seem to care (but then he sees the ferocity in Silver's eyes, and he thinks twice). Back when he had been a sprightly new trainer, quiet and determined and everything ambitious little boys were skilfully manufactured with – he had diligently accounted for each and every battle he had won.

He realises he has never counted his losses – there aren't any.

The cycle of receiving a challenge, battling briefly, and subsequently winning is a prevailing factor of his journey. He gains affluence, skill, fame – material objects that fail to sate his desire, things that make Silver launch an instinctive punch at his face in utter contempt and vehemence. He takes the expressive fists sparingly with one ready arm, or sometimes with his cheek when he is caught off guard. Even the pain has its boring familiarity, the haunting feeling of those boyish knuckles roaring upon his skin and attempting to recapture just a whit of lost pride in that movement alone.

Gold just stares at Silver expectantly while the scorching sensation ebbs and slinks disappointedly away under his cool skin; waiting for the usual creative curse word, knowing that those metal eyes will glare at him with the freshest annoyance.

It is yet another dreary pattern that seems to have no end and no alternative way out. For Silver is unable (un-intending) to distance himself from Gold for any longer than a month – always finding a persistent way back to his only rival's nonchalant side, pokéball ready in that gloved palm and dusty peach face burning with hope and anticipation (a remainder of the myths about what ambitious little boys were made of).

Gold retraces his steps as much as he carves out new paths, venturing curiously into deeper and darker crevices in caves, thicker blankets of forestry and the tallest concrete buildings in the region. But to no avail, there is nothing he hasn't seen – nothing he hasn't achieved. There is only a legendary pokémon strapped to his loose belt and the constant, unchanging motive of Silver and his feraligatr.

There are other areas in battling that might prove to be a worthy challenge – he tells this sudden wish to himself. There is only a breadth of hope gurgling in the pits of his empty stomach, but it is sufficient to make him walk forward, and that is all that matters. He squints when the sun hits his eyes the moment he steps out of Victory Road. From there, Gold makes his slow, eventual way to the Battle Tower built on the plains skirting Olivine.

But then his ascent to the hundredth battle is too quick and sudden, until he himself is surprised that he has already cleared the final match and clinched yet another coveted title. His eyes regard his trustworthy typlosion, who grooms the night of his pelt, unfazed and in perfect health at the end of it all.

Gold takes the meaningless award blankly, feeling the weight press down upon the skin of his hands – but still, nothing special happens to disrupt the dull thrum of his heart.

One night that is the same as the ones before it and the ones after, he and Silver sit quietly on the side of a road in a town. The town does not stick to his memory, but he recalls the ginger-haired sixteen-year old informing him about the existence of a person called 'Red'.

'Red', like the primary colour, like passion before it burns out, like victory before it tastes bland, like the shade of real blood and everything that Gold can relate the word to in his systematic mind. It is a simple name, it doesn't betray much, doesn't give him enough interest to continue listening to his only consistent friend.

"He's strong, unbeatable and gifted. He's the most talented trainer in all the four regions, or so they say," Silver explains, briefly taking a sip from his can of lemonade.

Gold immediately looks up from the cap of his bottle of mineral water, his lips parting slightly. He feels the ghost of words long unspoken drift over his parched mouth, but can't find the ability to speak. Silver understands him enough to know what he means. The rival runs a hand through the length of his hair, before sighing and proceeding to tell him the details of what he's learned.

"Don't you dare lose, got it?"

He tips his cap and readjusts his goggles before leaving the empty street.

The trek up the desolate mountain is not especially arduous or challenging – it is akin to a warm shower in the early mornings; something that heats his bones just a tad, and nothing else. Of course, the pathways are notably longer, thinner, weaker and that much more interesting to explore. His hands itch as they scrape walls and trace for handholds, hungry with anticipation. Even his little furret has a difficult time keeping up with the speed of his climb, scurrying at his heels with a sparkle in the pebbles of its eyes – like it can predict what is about to unfold.

When Gold emerges through the mouth of the dark caves, the cold wind slaps his cheeks and he pulls his goggles over his blinded eyes the moment he overcomes the sudden chill attacking his entire frame. He tucks his hands snugly into the pockets of his jacket, before stepping forth, into the fierce storm and the open arms of the pelting snow. Before long, he finds a figure standing on the top of a formation of rocks, as if on a miniature pinnacle.

The older boy, still very much a teenager, is observing the map of land so far down below with stern eyes and a firm lip. Gold sees him and watches the way he does not move, does not show emotion or weakness to the cold for a short minute or so – admiring the picture. And he finally thinks he has found what he has been searching so desperately for since the last two years of his stint as an absent champion.

The moment he takes a step onto the pedestal, the ultimate trainer turns to address him. The colour of plain red drills its way into the empty chambers of his heart, and he will never forget the way the pokéball feels in his hand at that point.

With quivering hands, he passes Red a modest stack of money, and while the winner handles the cash with vacant disinterest, Gold's heart pummels the bones of his ribcage. His blood surges through his veins at a pace that reminds him of his virgin day as a pokémon trainer, unbridled and eager and existing.

The perfect field of snow is destroyed with the pressure of unsteady feet staggering mildly, bare chalky hands raking the unmarred ground, ugly indents sinking into what was supposed to be an endless white –

Gold collapses.

Gold returns the next week.

"… Replace me."

The mumbled, infantine words are somehow heard through the howling of the unrelenting storm. There is a helpless, pleading side to them, and a raw desperation writhing in those dark blood eyes that peek out from under the bill of a worn cap. Red turns to a different colour in that second.

"No," the recurring challenger repeats it fluently.

There is a delighted smile. Expensive golden eyes are opened wide and porcelain skin a beautiful blue in the face of the laughing cold.

They battle.