"You can't just... just leave!"
"Why not?" he prompted, the smile intended to reassure her triggering a sudden wave of nausea instead. "I'm following my new dream, Touko. Isn't this better than before? Isn't it what you wanted?"
But you were supposed to stay with me...
She finally caught his gaze, watched as it widened in recognition and horror. "You look like the Tranquill," he whispered, voice suddenly and inconsolably devastated.
"N, I don't know wha-" she began, then stopped short, realizing it wasn't true. Because she knew exactly what he meant.
It had been a difficult day.
"Have you... caught... any new Pokemon?" N asked, smiling down at her. He still stumbled over the word, hesitated, but he knew it wasn't wrong. Not when it was her. Touko was a good trainer. Touko cared about her team. No, not her team. Her friends. Just like his friends.
And they were friends, too, he reasoned.
Friends talked and laughed and rode ferris wheels together, he was certain.
"Yes!" she responded, eyes alight with excitement at the thought. "I completed my team, and now I even have one more to spare! The two new ones are a Darumaka and a-"
She stopped at the sudden sadness in his expression. "To spare?" he asked quietly.
"Oh, no, N, it's not... it's not like that..." But even as she said it, she knew it wasn't true. For a brief moment, she felt indignant, almost defensive. Other trainers did this. Other trainers used the PC- why else would Amanita have gone to the trouble of inventing it? Why did it have to come to this? Just because she knew some stupid, naive-
"You have seven Pokemon now. League rules state that you can only carry six... do you follow my logic, Touko?" he prompted. The sorrow in his eyes and the patience in his tone were too much.
"N, I promise-"
"Which Pokemon did you replace?"
The silence was a millisecond too long. "My Tranquill," she admitted softly. The flare of rebellion was gone now. She had raised it from a Pidove, and it was the first of her Pokemon to evolve. She remembered phoning her mom from Castelia the instant it happened, watching her fawn over her newer, stronger, faster partner. She remembered the way she'd glowed with pride. But even as those moments flashed through her mind's eye, dread was already coursing through her. She finished her train of thought aloud, quietly. "And now it'll never leave the boxes..."
N smiled, but the simple gesture was tinged with all the heartbreak she felt. "She'll be happier in the wild, Touko. Where she can make a future for herself. Sometimes..." he paused thoughtfully, closing his eyes, and she knew he was attempting to remember something he'd read. He opened them again after a moment and caught her gaze, offering another half-smile.
"Sometimes, if you love someone, you need to let them go."
He came with her to the route where they released her- the same place Touko had caught her as a Pidove in the first place. She hoped the Tranquill might be able to rediscover her family, or at least some of her own kind. But when the light of the Pokeball flared for a final time, she realized it was all too much.
She cried into N's shoulder, a nervous bird hopping from foot to foot beside them.
After some time, when the girl had been reduced to rubbing the wet tracks from her cheeks and the red from her eyes, he spoke again, this time on behalf of her Pokemon. "She says she'll come back for you, Touko," he announced, twisting around from his cross-legged position to smile in her direction.
"Tell her... tell her I'll come back for her too," she replied, voice still quivering. The hand balled into a fist remained frozen over one eye.
"I think you can tell her that yourself," N responded, still smiling. He watched from a distance as she approached the Tranquill, one hand trailing through delicate feathers.
"Take care of yourself, you hear me?" she whispered, grinning through the tears. The Tranquill cooed softly, nuzzling its head against her cheek, then spread its wings.
Briefly, N wondered if friends were meant to watch a bird disappear into the clouds together.
Touko struggled to steady herself. Already she had N's departure to cope with, and the reminder of her Tranquill hadn't helped. But he crossed the distance between them in two long strides, and suddenly she stopped thinking completely.
"Will you let me go?" he asked softly. She wondered how much of that encounter he remembered. Wondered if he knew the question he had really asked.
Do you love me?
But whichever answer he'd been looking for, her response would have been the same. "Yes," she replied, the word scarcely audible. She wasn't sure he could hear it over the pounding of her heart- she knew she couldn't. Touko paused, waiting for it to slow, then asked a question of her own:
"Will you come back for me?"
N didn't answer. Instead, he threaded his fingers through hers, not noticing the red that crept into her cheeks. They stayed that way for what felt like an eternity, Touko keeping time by the beat of her own heart.
She had only just reached eight when he pulled away again.
No more words passed between them. One last half-smile, his head tilted ever so slightly to the left, hat skewed a little to the right. Green eyes that went on forever. She wanted to remember this moment.
And then he was gone.
Touko lingered there for a long time. She was regretful, realizing she may never know the answer to her question- although that would be an answer in itself. But more than that, she was numb: so much so that she didn't even notice her own hands still clenched into fists. Opening one and then the other, she simply stared at first, surprised by her discovery. Then a slow, sad smile spread across her features.
The Tranquill feather was all the proof she needed.
I am in love with this pairing. Sue me xD
I'm a bit new to and fanfiction in general, but I hope you like it! ^^;