I don't know if this makes sense. Please review.


Quiet nights are nothing new to Green; with the laconic Red around, they tend to seem even quieter. Maybe it's more a sudden lack of silence, then, that's keeping him up tonight.

It's not the first time he's laid awake since Red came back, of course. The first few nights, Green was up constantly, wondering when it was going to end, when Red was going to disappear once more. He even checked in on the other boy's room in a few moments of extreme paranoia; thankfully, Red turned out to be fast asleep both times.

This is worse. This kind of silence is dead and empty, and utterly uninterested in Green's troubles. It isn't interrupted by Red's faint breaths from the other room; it isn't tense or even uneasy. All Green can hear is his friend's absence.

It's 1:53 now, but Green has no idea what time it was when Red left or how long he's been awake. It seems like mere moments ago and the sound of the door latching is still ringing in his ears, but he knows he must have fallen back asleep between then and now. Being awake is both a blessing and a curse and mainly the latter, especially since it's too late. He remembers speaking to Red before he left, no coat as usual, but Green realizes he must have been too sleepy to think straight. Now he wishes he could have dragged Red back into his room and locked the door.

The wind doesn't blow. The clock, digital, doesn't tick. Green's breaths are quiet, his muscles are tense, and he lies in bed and stares at the ceiling, waiting for his mind to stop racing.

"Where are you going?"

"Don't worry. You'll find me."

Green heard from someone about a man who thought everyone he saw was an impostor. He had been in an accident, and the parts of his brain that dealt with vision and that dealt with emotions became disconnected. Without that emotional connection to a person's appearance, the man was unable to believe that that person was someone he loved. He only recognized his family and friends over the phone.

(The light by the door is still on, and try as he might, Green can't fall back asleep.)

Green's brain isn't damaged, although he's starting to think Red's might be. Still, sometimes he's not sure who he's talking to. Red, his rival and friend? Red, the trainer and Champion? Red, the strange, distant, and quite possibly crazy mountain hermit? It's hard enough to see how one person can be all of those at once, but Green's long since accepted that Red can manage it. What remains is the question of which one is real, and which are just familiar-faced impostors.

(Red has been gone for two hours now, and Green is wide awake, pacing back and forth and glancing out windows.)

It's as if the other trainer exists to defy expectations, even ones that Green's spent years building up. Green can think he has everything under control, and then Red will say something completely unanticipated and the world as Green knows it will become suddenly more difficult to understand. Without Red around, Green thinks he knows exactly who he is, but as soon as they're face to face he becomes a stranger.

(Green picks up the phone, dials Red's number, and waits restlessly for something besides ringing.)

The point isn't that Green wants Red to change, per se; it's that sometimes he questions whether he really knows Red at all. All those years have to mean something, but if they do, that something is doing a very good job of staying out of their way. Ever since dragging Red's ass down from Mt. Silver, Green has seen it as a job well done if he can carry a conversation between them to almost-completion. It's only on those rare occasions that they're around others that he's reminded how much closer he is to understanding Red than most everyone else who knows the guy.

(The phone picks up on the other end after a second call, and Green isn't sure whether to yell or sigh in relief.)

When it comes down to it, Green just wishes he could make more of a connection: something enough to get more than his words across. He doesn't know how he's lived this way this long without something falling apart. If Red could just get that there are other people in the world, or that Green doesn't like watching his every step, or that there's not always going to be someone to bring him back home...

"Where are you?"

"Waiting for you."

The time isn't 4:13 when Red gets back, but as Green doesn't think to check the clock until later, it might as well be. Green is sitting awake in the kitchen, fiddling with a glass of water he doesn't really want to drink, and somehow the moment when Red opens the door and steps in disguises itself as something completely normal, well enough that Green doesn't question it until the moment's already gone.

Red steps in, tosses his bag on the floor, and heads straight past the kitchen to his room. Green stares at his back, looks at his glass of water, then slams it down and stalks after Red.

He doesn't expect an answer until the morning. He doesn't expect a clear answer at all. Red manages to disprove only the first.

After he's cleaned up after himself in the kitchen, Green looks in on Red's room once more. For once Red isn't asleep, and their eyes meet before Green can turn away. It might be the insomnia talking, but Red's look guilty.

Green groans quietly, closes the door behind him, walks back to his room and falls onto his bed.

"Where were you?"

"I was wrong."