The Guy I Hate the Most
It was the trip back after one of Blue's get-togethers for the DexHolders. They're seventeen and beginning to get prepared to do the things they wanted to do in life. It felt so odd to Ruby to be flying on the back of a Salamence of all things but Sapphire looks as calm as anything even with the wind whipping ashy brown hair about her face and Ruby feels so uneasy on Salo's back. He was even surprised—tad shocked that she had even caught a Salamence in the first place!
But she looks happy, as if riding on the back of the Pokémon who has caused them trauma was nothing. Ruby huffs; of course she looks happy coming back from the get-together he thinks bitterly. She spent most of it with Red. They went off sometime during the party to battle or something—and came back rather disheveled and out of breath—and it looked so, so wrong he remembers thinking, the plastic fork cracking in his grip.
Gold, being Gold, called them out on that and they were both so flushed and frantically denied all accusations. Ruby hid his displeasure under the disguise of murmuring how filthy their clothes were and somehow he was prepared for this—them disappearing to train or battle or whatever has been happening a lot lately—and he had pushed a bag of spare clean clothes into Sapphire's hands.
And here he wonders if she'd given up on him like he'd planned her to. All those times feigning ignorance of certain events and evading her advances had paid off.
Ruby sighs silently and reaches to touch her shoulder, "Sapphire?"
Sapphire looks back at him with a grin, "Yah, what is it?"
Ruby tries to look merely curious and fails—it's too serious to act like it's nothing.
"Do you like Red?" he asks, chest constricting.
Her brow furrows betraying her confusion. "Uhhh, yeah?"
He resists snorting. "No, I meant like Red." He stressed the word 'like' for her to understand.
Sapphire immediately turns…ugh red and looks away. "Um..well…maybe."
It's like she punched him in the gut and he's so grateful that she had looked away.
"Was…Gold right about what he said earlier today?" he asks slowly, implying that Gold thought they had done…that thing he can't really bear to think about.
Sapphire looks at him quickly, "No! No." She looks away, shaking her head. "Gold's being stupid. Again. We were just tryin' out new tactics."
"Hah," Ruby laughs so fake Sapphire narrows her eyes and lets them flit to the corner of her sight but never looks back him. "I thought so. Gold's so inappropriate and he's like…18."
"Some people never change," Sapphire replies with a shrug. She never realizes how much that stung him.
It's not like he can't understand why she wouldn't like Red. His ego puffed that it was more easy for her to like Red because he and Red looked so alike with jetblack hair and crimson red eyes. But Red was everything he wasn't but the most defining feature was that Red liked to battle and Ruby did not—not anymore at least. And Sapphire was attracted to that old self of him, and saw it in Red while Ruby tried so desperately to repress the barbarity of all thigns related to battling
It's just…hard. Even if it's his own fault for not admitting his own feelings to her that she'd moved onto someone more like her, more like his child self that protected her from a rampaging Salamence. But Ruby wasn't going to be able to give Sapphire what she wanted, wasn't going to be able to exhibit the traits she admired.
And he had to let her go.
Red is surprised to see him at his door a few weeks following that talk. But he smiles anyways because it's Ruby and Ruby is a friend despite some of the darker looks he sometimes sends him.
"Hey Ruby! What's up? Sapph with you?" Red leans out his doorway and looks around and see no Sapphire—which is odd because if Ruby is around Sapphire is never too far away although the same can't be said if Sapphire is in Kanto because Ruby is probably still in Hoenn. It wasn't always this way though.
"Sapphire isn't here," Ruby lets irritation slip into his voice only slightly and Red is blissfully ignorant (and Ruby would like to call him dumb).
Red smiles still and steps back into his home, "Oh, okay. Wanna come in?"
"Thanks," Ruby nods and steps over the threshold. Red closed the door and approached the younger boy.
"Is something up? You never come here by yourself. Did Sapph go to train with Green?" he asks pleasantly, leading Ruby into the living room.
"Sapphire's in Hoenn right now. She's helping her father with some deep sea Pokémon research." Ruby says.
"Ahhh, I see." Red says although he's a little uneasy when Ruby never answers his question about being here.
Ruby sees a huddle of picture frames on a table and wanders over there, inspecting. Red stays where he is, watching his junior's odd behaviour. Something in Red's gut was beginning to tell him this wasn't a social call.
The pictures were of them—the DexHolders and some other people Ruby were only vaguely acquainted with. He picks up the photo of Red and Sapphire, both are messy and dirty and grinning in this picture while they ate sandwiches—no doubt Gold or Blue took this photograph. His brow creases slightly and puts the photo frame back in its place.
"You're twenty-one years old," Ruby says aloud for Red to hear and the older red-eyed man laughs nervously, wondering where this was going to lead to.
"Sapphire's seventeen," Ruby stresses his best friend's age and looks crimson-to-crimson at Red.
"Not even close-in-age laws allows that," he says.
Red blinks and feels his face heat up. Ah, Red runs a hand through his hair, it's about that.
"That's why Sapphire thought we should wait until she's eighteen at least," Red says sheepishly.
Ruby feels his heart sinking, his fear that Sapphire had lied to him come true.
"Ah," Ruby mutters. "So you guys haven't done anything yet?"
Red shifts uncomfortably, "Well nothing even close to what…Gold accused us of last time."
Ruby smiles wanly, all the thoughts of what they most likely would have done huggedheldhandskissed and clenches his fists.
"I see." Ruby says with a careless shrug.
Red furrows his brow and opens his mouth to ask—why are you asking all of this?
"Will you take care of her?" Ruby asks. For me?
Red stops short and nods immediately. "Yes. Of course!"
Ruby grins wider but Red feels a threat in there somewhere.
"That's what I wanted to hear," Ruby says.
"Why are you asking these things?" Red frowns bemused.
"Why wouldn't I?" She's the girl I've loved all along… "She's my best friend."
Ruby walks past him to the front door and opens it, "I'm counting on you to make my best friend happy, Red."
He shuts the door behind him when he leaves. And you're the guy I hate the most.