Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon.
Author's Notes: Sorry for the erratic-ness of my chapters. Just explaining it again for new readers, but this story is based on events from the game, not a straight continuity. Like, for example, the next chapter. It will take place a good amount of time after this one, and though there will be an explanation of what happened in between these two events, there won't be any in-between chapters. See? Just like I said, erratic!
"Can we take these blindfolds off now, please?" Summer complained to a giggling Nema, Leanne, and Rand, who were pushing both her and Ben along, respectively. Ukulele Pichu squeaked excitedly from her shoulder, a blindfold shielding his view, as well.
"Just a few more seconds," Leanne laughed, pushing a little harder on Summer's back, resulting in them walking a bit faster. Summer huffed and crossed her arms, but kept quiet for the rest of the short distance the five crossed. And, just like Leanne said, no more than thirty seconds passed before they all halted to a stop. Placing her fingers on the end of the knot of Summer's blindfold, her husband doing the same to Ben's, Leanne said brightly, "Now you can take them off!" She stepped back and pulled the knot, allowing the blindfold to fall to the ground.
Summer's eyes fluttered open at that, and she gasped slightly at the sight before her, her hands going straight to her mouth. Ukulele Pichu jumped up and down beside her, strumming his ukulele in happiness. Before both him, Summer, and Ben was Cocona Village, but it was decorated with colorful streamers every which way and tables of foods and drinks set up. Ben blinked in awe at it before flying around to stare at Rand and Leanne. "Surprise!" they cried.
"W-what is this?" he managed to say, blinking again.
Leanne opened her mouth to speak, but Nema answered for her. "It's the Rainbow Festival!" she hopped up and down at that.
"But not just that," Rand continued from his daughter. "It's also our little way of saying thank-you for how much you helped us. It's the least we could do for you."
Summer turned around now, beaming. "You guys are the best!" she ran to them, arms open wide to embrace them. She hugged each of them before returning to her spot next to Ben.
"Now let's get this party started!" Nema threw her hands into the air at that, and began running around, Ukulele Pichu following suit, all four of the others laughing at their sudden enthusiasm.
Summer turned from her perch on the Rainbow Dais beside Nema to see Ben standing beside her, holding two drinks in his each of his hands. "Want one?" It had been four hours since they had arrived at seven, meaning it was now eleven. The entire time they had partied, and as a result, were exhausted. Both were kind of just lingering around now trying to recollect what energy they had left.
Nodding, she reached over and took one. "Thanks." Beginning to walk away, he motioned for her to follow him. She did as she was directed, Ukulele Pichu tagging along obediently, and a few minutes later, they were sitting on the corner of Booker's deck.
"So, uh," Ben rubbed the back of his neck, looking out at the moonlit sea. He swallowed, not wanting to face the inevitable. He took a quick swig of his drink, trying to clear his throat for what he was about to say. "Um... we're going to have to leave soon."
"I guess so..." Summer trailed, checking her Styler for the time. "It's almost eleven. We should probably get to back to Rand's - we have an early patrol tomorrow." Ukulele Pichu yawned at that.
Ben sighed, setting his drink down beside him before turning to Summer. "No, Summer, I mean we're going to have to leave Oblivia soon. I... I don't know when, exactly, but soon. We're done here - we finished what we came here to do. We defeated the Pinchers already, and Hastings said for us to be back as soon as possible. I got the message last night, but didn't want to tell you because... well, we're both so happy here. I love Oblivia."
The realization of it all hit Summer just like *that*. It was true. They were going to have to go back to Almia and leave Oblivia behind. They were going to have to leave Rand, Leanne, and Nema. Tears formed in Summer's eyes at that. Did they really have to leave? It seemed like it was just too soon! And she couldn't bear to leave behind Rand and his family! She just couldn't! "Ben... I... n-no... I don't want us to go back to Almia..." She, regretfully, let a tear fall.
Ben almost couldn't bring himself to utter the next bit of news to her. If leaving Oblivia was this hard for her, as it was for him, would the next thing he was about to say be as horrible for her as it had been for him? "Summer, I... I'm not going back to Almia," he admitted, looking away so he didn't have to see her reaction.
"W-what do you mean, 'not going back to Almia'? Where would you being going instead?" She blinked incredulously, and he looked back at her with sad eyes. Once again, realization it her, and she balled her fists and snapped her eyes shut to stop the newest flow of stinging tears. Her hands then flew to her face as they forced themselves out of her eyes. "No, Ben! No! You can't leave me! You can't go to Fiore! I won't let you!" Pichu's expression changed from confusion to immense worry for his Partner.
"Summer, please, don't do this," he placed a hand on her shoulder, rubbing it soothingly. "This is already hard enough - don't make it worse than it is." Ben was trying to stay the rational one in the situation, the strong one, but he, too, began to find his resolve slipping and himself beginning to tear up along with her.
"B-but, B-Ben..." she looked up at him, trailing, tears spilling from her big, brown eyes. She couldn't bring herself to say anymore, and simply leaned into arms, silently asking for a hug. He complied instantaneously, wrapping his arms around her.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Ben heard a familiar voice call. He looked up to see Rand and Leanne walking over to them, a worried look on both's faces. Upon hearing their footsteps crunching in the sand, Summer pulled away suddenly from Ben, sniffling and wiping her nose and eyes the best she could. When they arrived at the pair, though, it was still very evident that she had been crying.
"Oh, honey, what's wrong?" Leanne put her arm around Summer's shoulders, pulling her into a motherly embrace. This just restarted Summer's waterworks.
Rand looked over at his wife and the other Ranger, who were now sitting on Booker's deck trying to cease Summer's tears. The question and concern was evident in Rand's eyes, and Ben sighed before answering. "We've been told we have to leave soon." He glanced at Summer again, before continuing in a whisper, "And we're being split up. I... I'm going to Fiore, and Summer's going back to Almia."
At the mention of leaving, Leanne's hand snapped around and she gave an audible gasp. "What are you talking about?" she inquired sharply. "You two can't leave!" Her face reddened in the sudden flush of emotions - a motherly sadness and anger - that filled her. "You can't leave Oblivia!" Her voice quietened then, like Ben's. "You can't leave us..." Her eyes began to tear up, as well, which caused a chain reaction for all of them. Even Rand, big, tough Ranger that he was, shed a few.
"Is there anything we can do to convince you two not to leave?" he asked after a second, crossing his arms.
Ben shook his head sadly. "It's not our decision to make, or, trust me, we would stay in a heart beat." He flashed a look over at Summer and Leanne, before turning his attention back to Rand.
For what felt like hours, the scene remained quiet, the only noise coming from the partying villagers back in Cocona. The only thing that brought them back to reality was Leanne's watch beeping. She switched it off, before sighing heavily. "That's the alarm I set for Nema. I said she could be out until twelve, just for tonight. I better go get her." She turned to her husband. "I'll see you at home." She then stood up, pulling Summer with her. "Summer, do you want to come with me? You look exhausted." And the truth was, she was horribly so. But she couldn't go to bed yet - not quite.
She simply shook her head and murmured something akin to 'no' in response. Leanne stared at her before nodding and heading back to the village to find her daughter and leave. Ukulele Pichu followed. At that, Rand turned back to Ben, and saw him staring at Summer with wide eyes. Noticing that they needed a moment alone, he called after his wife. "Actually, dear, I'll come with you!" And with that, he left the two young Rangers alone with each other again.
Ben took a seat next to Summer, both having completely forgotten about their drinks. After a second of consideration, he placed his hand on top of hers, but was surprised when she pulled hers away and instead crossed her arms, staring intently out at the moonlit sea. Ben just barely contained a sigh, and the pair remained quiet for the rest of night until they went home.
When morning-time came around, everyone was too sad to speak, and so the kitchen was strung with tension while making breakfast. Nema was confused, but kept quiet, only thanking her mother for making her breakfast. When the time came that they all sat around the table, though, Nema could no longer take it. "Why isn't anyone talking?" she cried, Ukulele Pichu squeaking in surprise from beside her.
Summer glanced at Ben, and Rand and Leanne gave each other a look before Leanne nodded, giving her husband the go to explain. "Nema," he started, closing his eyes and taking in a breath to brace himself for what he was about to say. He knew his daughter had grown attached to Ben and Summer, so this would be just as traumatizing for her as it had been for them. "The thing is... Um, you see... B-Be-"
Rand was cut off by Summer. "Ben and I have to leave Oblivia now that the Pokemon Pinchers are out of the way here and everyone is safe again," she answered bluntly, glaring at the syrup-soaked pancakes on her plate. She hadn't touched them even once, just stared.
All eyes flew from Summer to Nema, whose own eyes were beginning to fill up with tears. Though, instead of turning to either of her parents, she directed her next question at Ben. "I-is that true?" she blinked. How could this be? How could BOTH of them be leaving her? It wasn't fair!
Ben simply nodded. Nema felt like screaming at the conformation, but contained herself. Leanne tried to comfort her daughter, "We didn't want you to find out like this, Nema. Really. It was so sudden for you."
Nema glared at her mother. "When were you expecting to tell me, then, hm? At all, even?" And at that, she hopped off her chair and stamped away to her room. "I'm working on my newest invention. Please leave me be," she informed them through clenched teeth. When she arrived at her door, she turned around, gave each of them a dirty look before the full force of it hit her and the tears began to spill from her eyes. She turned away from them hastily and removed her glasses before wiping them away with her lab coat sleeve. Finally, she entered her room, cast them all one more forlorn glance, and slammed her door, effectively cutting herself off from the situation - for now. She knew in a few hours that she would have to face the truth and talk to her parents about it.
Summer was the next. Her chair made a heinous noise as it she pushed it out rather violently. She left the room without a word. Ben sighed at her actions. He'd been through the silent treatment already! It's not like he could control it! But, deep down, Ben knew that Summer was not angry with him because she did know that it wasn't his fault that they had to leave and that he had to go to Fiore instead of staying with her. It just wasn't. This was just way of venting - acting all angry and concealing the sadness within. He knew Summer, and this was just her.
Rand, no longer wanting to deal with it all, also got up from the table, taking a piece of toast in his mouth while mumbling to his wife, "I'm going out to, uh, patrol." The only people left at said table were the troubled Leanne and Ben. Leanne now got up herself and began to collect the half-eaten food and dishes left behind. Ben, with another sigh, got up to help her. This was going to be a long day, he could tell, and it was only nine in the morning.
End of Chapter 7~!
Author's Notes: I thought y'all deserved just a slightly longer chapter.
'Til next time!