Title: On Hearts, Not Marble

Prompt/Inspiration: Suddenly Suicune (Part 3). Slightly modified plot + endpoint, but uses some original dialogue.

Song: "Make This Go On Forever" - Snow Patrol.

Characters: Crystal, Suicune, and Eusine.

P.S: The title is from this quote - "A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble." (by Charles Spurgeon)

There had be some special brand of amnesia for times like these. She recalled that she had fallen, but so much more of those last moments before losing consciousness were blurred and inaccessible. Her legs and arms pulsed with a dull ache of soreness and she rubbed at her eyes; sitting up was a dizzy task.

She registered a gasp near her side and felt another presence there as well. Turning her head to see, she acknowledged him, "Eusine!"

"You're all right!" Palpable relief colored his voice as he now hovered over her, and she found herself feeling a bit of the same. A tough situation was always easier to face when you weren't alone in facing it.

"Wh-Where am I?" she wondered. It didn't look like where she had remembered being. She was sure that she had been outside when the fall had happened.

"The top floor of the Tin Tower... inside Suicune's crystal wall."

He glanced around, and was overcome with a curious emotion as he scanned the familiar landmarks of the room. This was an old and holy place, and special for those reasons. It was a location of great impact in the story of the adversary he so dutifully and passionately tracked after for the past decade. Because of his esteem as a legendary expert, and, to be fair, perhaps a little of the reason could be attributed to his friendship with the guardian Trainer of the city, Eusine had been allowed to study the Tower on previous occasions to help with his research.

Eusine had been here, oh, innumerable times, had carefully studied every aspect he could think to glean knowledge from, but now he had the unshakeable impression he was starting back at square one.

The presence of the North Wind had only stirred up that which he thought he knew, and yet the changes were so subtle that he feared they were too intangible for him to grasp. He desired to begin anew, much as it ruined his pride to admit. Now that he had come so close, new details had surfaced and he must, by necessity, reformulate his stratagem.

"As for Suicune..." he carried the sum of his regrets in that breath, sighing as if hoping to impart them to the air and thus lose them from himself. He stared listlessly at the pale boards of the wooden floor, noting their aged, weathered quality and errantly wondered if he too, would seem so hopelessly inconsequential with the passing of time.

"Oh. I'm sorry." Crystal's mind was at work once more, and details were beginning to return to her. Despite these ruminations, she could not miss his melancholy, and as best as he might have hid it from her, from what little she knew of him, she could gather how paramount an encounter such as this would have been to him. She had been the one to live it, and he might have, had he not immediately detoured to care for her.

"It is what it is," he consoled his companion, placing one hand on her shoulder. He did not have it coded into his nature to blame others for his problems, either acute or complex.

He was too much a gentleman for her sensibilities, at least in this matter. "No, it isn't..." she refuted firmly, shrugging off his touch. "If I had something I wanted half as much as you do, I'd feel entitled to be a little disappointed. And if someone had been the cause of it, I'm afraid I would want them to take responsibility. So I am. I'm sorry, Eusine, for keeping you."

"The thing is, I understand now. I don't mean to be conceited, or anything like that, but I think that I see what you have seen. From the first time I came across Suicune I was fascinated, but there's something very different that I feel now that I have been blessed with the opportunity to truly meet it. Suicune is..." her eyes brightened at the memory, the thrill it had sent coursing through her heart, and she fell off her train of speech, lost in the depths of the recollection.

"Magnificent," he finished for her, his normally cool blue eyes probing her expression and appreciatively noting the sincere emotions mirrored in them.

"Yes," she sighed. "I suppose no other word would describe it better than that."

"Well." Eusine felt the strangest conflict between the weight of the ten years he'd been searching and a new respect growing within his heart as he found the words, "Where's the fun in letting it all end so suddenly, my dear? Have faith Crys, we will see Suicune another time yet."

He ventured to embraced her again, this time with both arms. To her mute surprise he placed a kiss at her forehead. From it she drew a odd sense of comfort, the effects washing over her like water. She thought she should be embarrassed by it, but as it had happened she had had no such reservations. It felt as natural as such a thing could be.

It relieved her guilt, as he truly seemed not to be upset with her over what had transpired.

He stood after that gesture, brows knitted as he considered his next movements. Crystal, a bit dazed, sat up on her knees, eying Megaree, who seemed to be unsure of this whole atmosphere that it found itself party to. "It's okay," she told the tiny Chikorita. "We're fine. Everything's fine now." She patted the leaf that was extended to her from Megaree's head, and the little one nuzzled into the touch, happy that its Trainer seemed to be entirely well.

"I must be on my way." Eusine grinned in a charming way and flourished his cape as he swept her an old-fashioned bow. "As the game is still afoot. These past few days have been a joy, my lady."

She blushed. How many times was he going to do this to her?

"I understand," she replied shyly. "And bye."

"We'll meet again soon, my worthy rival. I bid you adieu."

She focused on her backpack as she nodded in recognition, cheeks still burning pink without her permission.

He looked over his shoulder one time before he left. "Crystal," he announced with one foot placed out the window. Her attention transferred to him as she was gathering up her gear. She waited expectantly, not very sure what this final mention might be.

"Soon." He smiled once more, and her breath caught.

'Who knew a single word could sound so very...?'

He departed after that, leaving her alone with her belongings, her Pokemon, many wonderful new things to consider, and a crystal wall that was still suspiciously intact.





A/N: Short, but serves as my quick practice. These three are showing up in a chaptered fic I am writing at the moment, so I wanted to make sure I was warming up enough for that since I've never written any of these characters. I have to say I find the dynamic between these two people and the legendary to be one of my favorite things in the manga. The strangest part is if you asked, it'd be hard for me to articulate just why that is. Maybe I'm just a Johto-arc-iphile. - probably true

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