we begin with once upon a time


day zero.

He is a storyteller. At night, he stands by the ocean and he whispers his words to the wind—at dawn, he leaves his post and walks back to his home, his gym. During the day, he mutters the tales of the stars to his pokemon, to the walls, to anyone and anything that will listen. He murmurs under his breath as he battles, for he isn't one who has that spark in him anymore—he is tired of the battling, tired of the attention, tired of always winning.

She is alive. Night, day, dawn, twilight, dusk—she is alive. She sits in her gym, waiting (waiting and waiting) for a challenger worthy of her time—but still she is alive, never losing the will to battle, never slowing down.

day one.

She stands in the water and laughs, in the city so close to her own, one night while he is making his way to the sand.

"Why are you laughing?" Someone murmurs behind her, and she turns around, not quickly and not slowly.

"Is there anything that I shouldn't be laughing at?" She shoots back, teasing the tall man in front of her.

He shrugs. "There are lots of things that you shouldn't be laughing at." He says, more to himself then anything. She looks at him curiously.

"I'm Jasmine." She smiles, sticking out her hand. He contemplates her, before answering.

"Volkner." He mutters, putting his hand in hers.

She pauses. "Volkner the Gym Leader?"

A groan. "Is there anywhere I can get away from that title?" He asks the sky, vivid blue eyes closed in frustration.

"Fine," Jasmine says. "This will be a place where you can get away from that title. With me."

He looks at her, questions rising on his lips, but she interrupts them. "Meet me tomorrow night, here."

And then she's gone.

day two.

He does what she asks, and shows up the next night.

"Good," She laughs (she is always laughing.) when she sees him. "I was beginning to think you weren't going to come."

She receives a grunt in reply. "Oh, don't be like that!"

"I'm sorry." He mutters when he sees the look on her face, caught between sadness and defeat, a stark contrast to her cheery words.

She smiles at his words. "It's okay, Volkner."

He sits down on the sand, and she plops down beside him, craning her neck to see the stars. "Some days," She breathes, "I like to pretend I could just catch the stars." There is a pause. "They're so beautiful."

He looks to his side, only to see her reaching up, as if she's brushing the stars with her fingers. "I feel like that, too, sometimes."

"Oh?" She murmurs curiously. "You don't strike me as that sort of person."

He smiles bitterly. "I was that kind of person, once."

"I see."

They fall silent, until she pulls herself up. "Same time tomorrow night?" She asks, and he thinks he catches the hope in her tone.


day three.

"You don't talk much, do you, Volkner?" It is said with a question mark, but it is not meant—or expected—to be answered.

There is silence.

"How was your day?"

He wonders how he is supposed to answer her. "It was...alright."

She nods.

It is not long before they part ways, and it is harder then the night before.

day four.

"What do you like to do, Volkner?"

"I tell stories."

A smile. "Yes, I can see that."

day five.


"Good," He mutters. "I was beginning to think you weren't going to come."

It is the first time he has honestly made her laugh.

day six.

"Why are you here, Jasmine?"

"I'm here because you're good company."

"No—not like that. Why are you here in Sunyshore?"

"I don't know. I felt like it was important to come here."

"Was it?"

"Yes, of course. I mean, I met you, didn't I?"

day seven.

"Do you have a best friend?"

"Yes, I suppose. Flint."

"The one in the Elite Four?"


"I never would've guessed."

"Are you teasing?"

"No, I really wouldn't have guessed."

"You don't know him, though. How would you know that he's...Flint?"

"Um, no reason."

day eight.

"It's so beautiful here, Volkner." She murmurs. "I can't believe I have to go so soon."

Blue eyes turn to her. "What? When do you have to leave?"

"In six days. This was only a vacation."

"Why do you have to go? Is there really anything so important that you have to—"

She cuts him off. "I'm sorry, Volkner. I really am—it's just, I really, really have to get back to Olivine."


"Yes. I never told you, did I? I come from Olivine, in Johto."


She shakes her head. "I'll see you tomorrow."

day nine.

"You're the Olivine Gym Leader. Jasmine, the Steel-Clad Defence Girl."


"Why didn't you tell me? I told you so much about myself, so why didn't you tell me?"

"Volkner, I," she stutters, "I'm sorry. I just thought it would be easier if I was just another tourist—you've seen me at conferences, I figured you'd already know..."

His eyes are dull. "Whatever. This is pointless now."

"Wait! Please—"

He's already gone.

day ten.

He doesn't show up.

She sits alone, feet dug in the sand, until the sun comes up.

"He really isn't coming," she whispers.

day eleven.

A challenger comes to the gym, and defeats Volkner.

It's a good battle, admittedly, but he is angry.

The same challenger sees Jasmine at the shore. She talks to them, voice quiet.

"I defeated Volkner," the boy says.

She smiles softly. "Good job."

He still doesn't come.

She still waits.

day twelve.

"So this is what heartbreak feels like..?" She breathes, barely audible.

day thirteen.

He is angry at everything.

Flint tries to help, but he is of no use.

It is only at night he realizes she is leaving tomorrow.

day fourteen.

She stays after dawn this time.

"Please come," She says, fingers crossed. "Please come."

He doesn't.

He is running towards the dock.

It is barely there, honestly, but she can still hear it. "Is that..?" She questions the sky.



Volkner is in front of her. "I'm sorry," he whispers, like it'll make everything better. "I'm sorry."

She is smiling. "And here I was, thinking you were never coming."

He is smiling back. "Wouldn't miss it for the world."

day fifteen.

"You're still here," he says, disbelieving.

She laughs (she is always laughing). "Of course. Where else would I be?"

"Lots of places."

She doesn't answer.

"You know," he says, "I think I might love you."

"I think I might love you too." She tells him, and it's what you might call a happy ending.