an egyptian painting

They, Burgh thinks, are just one tragic, minor cycle in the grand scheme of of heartbreak and unrequited love. –BurghElesaVolknerJasmine

Elesa has eyes that sparkle like the sun, a lovely upturned mouth like a flowerbud, and lovely blonde hair. She's beautiful, and Burgh's known that for awhile. It was her who inspired him to take up the paintbrush, her who made him want to take up paper and pencil and capture the moment of her lovely smile forever.

They had grown up simultaneously, both children of long-running gym leader families. He reveled in the choice of his family – bug types are beautiful; he loves to document the genteel curve of their wings, the fluid motion of their flight. Elesa plays the part of supportive childhood friend, peeking over his shoulder during stolen moments of school and complimenting his art. "Burgh, you're really good," she would say, giving him a shy grin. "You're going to be really awesome one day, mark my words, okay? But don't forget me, we have to be the super awesome gym leader pair, remember?"

But he knows Elesa well enough to know that she's not exactly happy with the electric theme her parents choose.

She rebels. She becomes a model instead of having something like a doctor as her side job. She is on the verge of neglecting her loyal Pokemon, as well as the gym itself. She stays up past curfew and leaves her parents fretting. And as always, they turn to Burgh, because they know that their daughter loves him – as a friend, as a brother, as Burgh, as something. It was always complicated.

She'll come back. Burgh is sure of it. Elesa is constant, like a star, always shining brightly. She'll never change.

But one day, she does.

The broadcast from Sinnoh had been quick and fleeting, advertising tourism and whatnot and the types of gym leaders and the Frontier Brains that could be found there. They seemed a mixed bunch to Burgh – young and pretty, sure (at least the ones that didn't look like they were going through a midlife crisis), but nothing special. Nothing Unova couldn't beat.

But there's someone who stands out, and he knows Elesa feels the same way.

Suddenly, she changes.

Elesa cuts her hair and changes her wardrobe. She throws herself into training her Pokemon with a fervor her parents have never seen her possess. She stops smiling, and the once perpetually upturned mouth is drawn into a blank line. The sparkle disappears from her eyes.

Her parents fret, but for an entirely new reason. They ask why their daughter is different. They ask why their daughter has changed.

But this time, Burgh is sure of the answer. He knows why Elesa is ever so slowly slipping away from their fingers. He knows why she's trying to change herself so much.

Burgh is changing.

Elesa looks at him sometimes. The comfortable, familiar cardigans and jeans that were so Burgh have disappeared, replaced by campy scarves and only slightly outrageous fashion choices, as if he's lost in himself, calling for attention. Selfish as it may seem, the familiar sparkle that adorns his eyes when he looks at her is gone – replaced by something she can't entirely place: pity? Regret? Atonement?

For what?

Elesa will say they're growing apart, and she's not going to deny it's her fault – at least in part.

She will say that it's for the betterment of the Gym. In a way, it is. Volkner is young and handsome and wonderful and dedicated and talented and if Elesa was like him, wouldn't she be a much better Gym Leader? Wouldn't challengers flock to her? So she keeps her hair short and her smile blank and trains her Pokemon dedicatedly, because isn't that what he does?

One day, she will surpass him, one day she will be one of the best electric trainers out there, one day she will meet him and all her dreams will come true, even if she loses herself in the process. One day, she'll apologize to the friends – friend – she pushed away. One day, she'll let the emotionless mask break and let the cheerful little girl out again. But in the meantime, she'll just have to keep up what she's doing.

And she does love Volkner, in a way, because hadn't the primary reason for her becoming a gym leader to meet him anyway?

But Elesa knows he will never love her. That he may admire her, sure, because electric types are fairly hard to handle, but the way his eyes are cold and blue means he is far away. The distant way he holds his hands in his pockets mean his heart is with someone else. She knows it well enough.

She's seen that look far too often on herself.

But she has always been a dreamer.

The girl on the seashore is fascinating.

Jasmine is shy and lovely with bright eyes and a lovely voice, with a mien so subtle it's heartwrenching. She has a ringing laugh and an affinity for sundresses. The contrast between the two of them is striking, her in all her sparkling girlishness against him with his military jackets and stoic demeanor. She's an intriguing character, if only because she is so different from him.

Sometimes they sit on the beach and she chatters on and on about her Ampharos, with him occasionally slipping in a couple of words on Ampharos upkeep and her rebutting him by telling him she'd had Amphy since she was a girl, surely she'd know how to care for him.

She is like a naïve little girl in her delicacy and yet she's an adult, a strong capable adult who is capable of besting him in battles. It's a conundrum, and it interests him.

"Why are you in Sinnoh?" Volkner asks her once, a half-smile on her face. "Why leave the Olivine Gym?"

"I hear the contests here are wonderful," she admits. "And the Pokemon are beautiful, aren't they?"

He gives a crooked smile. "But you'd be headed for Hearthome and not Sunyshore, Jasmine," he says. "Why are you here?"

She laughs and dips her feet into the seawater. "Olivine," she murmurs, closing her eyes. "The air here is different and there aren't any Wingull, but the lighthouse and the beach and everything remind me so much of Olivine." She smiles. "Have you ever been to Olivine, Volkner?"

He finds her charming, and hates knowing that she's leaving for Johto in a little over a month.

One day, she asks him if he has a girlfriend.

He gives her a pointed look. "You're joking, right?"

She raises an eyebrow, a thin smile adorning her lips. "You of all people should know that you have countless admirers in the throngs of Sunyshore's female population," she cajoled, poking him in the arm. "And there's that gym leader from Unova, as well…"

He grunted in reply. "I… There's someone else," he finished lamely, avoiding her eyes. "How…about you?"

She nods, smiles widely, and her cheeks turn a lovely shade of pink. He curses the fact that his heart skips a beat. "Have you ever heard of Morty, the gym leader from Ecruteak?"

Burgh is insightful. He notices these things.

And he knows that they are just one minor cycle in the grand scheme of heartbreak and unrequited love.

Burgh sometimes looks at Elesa and sees someone who used to love him.

Elesa looks at Volkner and sees someone she wishes she could be.

Volkner looks at Jasmine and sees someone he can never have.

(But isn't life just so cruel?)


I like the first explanation more.

But anyway, I am really really not satisfied with this but whateverrrrr I'm just going to sit in the back and derp about it

Title is from an anonymous quote: "Love is like an Egyptian painting. Everybody's staring at the back of somebody else's head." Geddit? Leave it to me to totally misuse humorous things.