Author's Note: Last set; last notes. Thanks to everyone who stuck around for the ride! All of you are sweethearts who made this a lot of fun to do.
Re, #5: You're welcome.
#01 – Motion
The first time they make love, her hands guide his – gently, slowly, as if she was guiding him to specific points on a map – until he begins to know her.
#02 – Cool
Either because the interior of the Sea Cottage is perpetually chilly or because researchers aren't always darting back and forth in their own laboratories, Bill's hands are almost always cold; sometimes, Lanette sees his pale fingertips and feels tempted to warm them between her palms.
#03 – Young
Amanita is young, not stupid or innocent; this (among other reasons, including a not-too-pleased Fennel) is why she terrified Bill when she went right up to him and said, "You know, it's not that hard to figure out what you're doing with Lanette."
#04 – Last
Despite how observant Bill was when it came to pokémon, he was usually the last to figure out things concerning humans, like the fact that Celio was gay, that Brigette was bisexual, that Bebe used to have a crush on him but now had that kind of relationship with Hayley; Lanette didn't mind how oblivious her partner was, in part because it amused her and in part because she knew he was too dense to react to the way she treated him.
#05 – Wrong
One of the places where they made love was within the chamber of the teleporter – the one subsequently built into the storage system as the component that transports your poké balls to every pokémon center in Kanto and Johto.
#06 – Gentle
Lanette can be gentle if she wants to be, but these moments are usually in private, when her careful hands redress his wounds and caress his face while her words are not reprimands but instead "I'm worried about you."
#07 – One
Just as there is only one Ho-oh, one Kyogre, one Groudon, one Jirachi on this planet, there is only one Bill, and although Lanette knows it'd be just as bad to capture his heart as it would be to catch one of the embodiments of nature, the scientist in her – the curious creature attracted to all the unstoppable forces of the world – tempts her to try anyway.
#08 – Thousand
They meet each other in a thousand different lives, in a thousand different universes, in a thousand different moments where they never actually say how much they need each other, and in this one, Lanette realizes it's because it doesn't need to be said.
#09 – King
In a way, the programmers' relationships to each other could be likened to chess pieces: Bill, the king (the centerpiece of their efforts, the one around whom everyone else danced); Celio, the pawn (the one who bowed before the others' talents); Amanita, the rook (straightforward in everything she does); Bebe, the knight (one of the most loyal servants to the group); Brigette, the bishop (moving at her own pace and in her own direction compared to the others); and Lanette, the queen (the one who would fight the hardest to defend the king).
#10 – Learn
Although Lanette is ashamed of how she treated Bill before they were partners, if there is anything positive she could say about that time, it's that it made her realize it was easier for her to absorb information when she felt like she was in competition with him.
#11 – Blur
Without lenses over her eyes, Lanette saw the world as a massive, rainbow blur; she hated feeling that vulnerable but somehow managed to tolerate it when Bill found her glasses on the floor and carefully placed them back on her face without a word.
#12 – Wait
The day before graduation, as soon as she reached the tree (that familiar tree), the first words out of her mouth were an apology, and to this, he smiled, handed her a notebook, and replied, "I'd wait all day for you. You're the only one who can help me with a little science project I have in mind. What do you say about violating the laws of physics?"
#13 – Change
Bill was fascinated by change and in fact based his entire career around it one way (revolutions in technology) or another (reinventing the way people thought about pokémon), but when he accidentally walked in on Lanette – his childhood friend, the one person he wasn't used to seeing as a woman – taking a bath, the avalanche of illogical thoughts that ran through his brain for the next week almost made him hate it.
#14 – Command
The misconception concerning them was that most people assumed Bill was the de facto leader of the programmers and that the storage system was largely his work, but in reality, Lanette, who had an equal hand in everything, simply thought he had more of an ability to demand the respect of others than she did and therefore arranged things so that he was the one the interviewers would go to first.
#15 – Hold
Bill sat, fingers laced, bellsprout-shaped receiver lying beside him, Lanette on hold; he pretended he was going to address an emergency with the Kanto branch of the system but was, in reality, struggling to suppress the completely inexplicable feeling of irritation he got at the mention of her new boyfriend.
#16 – Need
When Lanette began to see him as a friend instead of a rival, she noticed that although he was friendly and liked company, he thoroughly believed he didn't actually need anyone; years later, as she stitched shut his latest accident, she caught a split second of confusion on his face that made her wonder whether or not that fact was still true.
#17 – Vision
At one point, his style of research wasn't so much the product of pure genius as it was the product of pure genius combined with a cocktail of psychedelics, but he vowed to kick his dependency on the latter when one bad trip made him see swarms of kabutops slicing her open and feeding on her slick, pink entrails.
#18 – Attention
Bill once jokingly asked her if she was jealous of all the attention Celio, Bebe, and the rest world gave him; Lanette responded with a smirk and the reply she knew would irritate him to what she thought were adorable levels: "Only a little bit."
#19 – Soul
He puts everything he is into everything he does, and she wonders one night while lying against him what part of him she would have left if he lost everything.
#20 – Picture
"I'm not laughing. I just think it's cute," Lanette said as she hid her smile behind a hand; in response, Bill glared at her as coldly as he could and snatched back the picture of what he looked like as an eight-year-old in a high school uniform.
#21 – Fool
Hours before he met Ash Ketchum, Bill sat trapped in the kabuto costume, dwelling on his predicament and idly wondering what was worse: the fact that his eagerness got him into this mess or the fact that he was too proud to call Lanette and ask for help.
#22 – Mad
All of Bill's ideas were, at first, typically perceived by the rest of the scientific community as being the products of fragile psychological stability (especially considering the fact that many of these ideas seemed to involve disregarding the laws of physics), but what reassured Lanette the most was hearing Bill proclaim, in typical comic-book fashion, that he would only use his powers for good – because it reminded Lanette that even if he was insane, it was the good kind of insane.
#23 – Child
Amanita is young but gifted with intelligence and Unovian bluntness, and for this reason, out of nowhere in a conversation with Lanette, she likens her role model's relationship with Bill to her big sister's relationship with Professor Juniper and clarifies this by stating, "When you say he's your partner, you mean he's that kind of partner, don't you?"
#24 – Now
Bill thinks of the past when he's alone and the future when he's hard at work, but he thinks of the present – the now – when they experiment together, as if being conscious of it will make it last.
#25 – Shadow
Frequently, Bill describes the shadows he sees to her – the ones in his dreams, the giant one shrouded in fog, the countless unknowns that reached out for him, and Lanette sits and listens quietly until the end, when she still doesn't know what to say as a reply.
#26 – Goodbye
Bill wasn't human anymore, but despite the fact that she had no idea if he understood her, Lanette kept her promise because she just didn't have the heart to say goodbye to him – not when she wanted to believe that the look in his eyes was some evidence that a shade of him still existed deep beneath the feathers and claws and raw instinct.
#27 – Hide
There was a strategic advantage to living in Goldenrod, one where it was easy to hide in plain sight because of the overwhelming number of people and how friendly they were to decent folks; for that reason, even if Team Rocket infested the streets, not a single agent was able to find the completely ordinary apartment where the McKenzies and half a city block hid one of their own and the girl they practically accepted too.
#28 – Fortune
Lanette teaches him how to read the future in a deck of cards, Bill uses the same deck to teach her how to play blackjack, and in both, the outcome seems to favor her over him.
#29 – Safe
Before he met her, Bill heard of her from rumors and the scoreboards, how she was only twelve but competing for the top score on every exam against eleven-year-old him, and as he stared at her name on the board – this time above his – he concluded that she was just like him and that he had to meet her… because he knew even then that he wouldn't be safe to be himself with anyone but her.
#30 – Ghost
For the next several months, Lanette walked down the halls and pathways of Celadon University feeling as if she was being followed, but every time she turned, she would only catch a glimpse of the spirit behind her: a rustling bush here, a closing door there, a figure darting into a crowd too quickly for her to see properly.
#31 – Book
The truth was that Bill had little patience for books (reading them or writing them himself) while Lanette adored them, and as such, Bill did his best to pretend he knew anything about them as Lanette, fingering spines of potential purchases at a used book store, smiled and humored him.
#32 – Eye
When Lanette adjusts her eyeglasses, Bill knows it's usually to highlight the expression she's about to make, like the one where she adjusts her glasses and looks at him with mischievous eyes when she's about to trick him… or, more frequently, the one where she adjusts her glasses and looks at him with an ice-cold glare as he walks in to be patched up.
#33 – Never
"What would you do if you never met me?" Lanette asks; she says it as an off-handed joke but feels her smile falter when she notices Bill's expression.
#34 – Sing
On the very rare occasion that he's lonely, he plays the piano; she found this out one day as she stood in the shadows of one of Celadon University's auditoriums, listening and naming all the tunes and wanting for that brief moment to go to the stranger on the stage and tell him she knew all his songs.
#35 – Sudden
Lanette knows that Bill doesn't do anything without a good reason for it, but nonetheless, his decision to drag her to Unova to experience first-hand all the pokémon the region had to offer seemed random even to her… until she found out about the region's drastically changing seasons and Amanita's hypothesis that these may affect eevee.
#36 – Stop
Lanette wishes she could stop Bill and show him how self-destructive his habits and priorities are regardless of how well-intentioned they might be, but she knows her partner well and can't say anything because she knows how well he would(n't) understand.
#37 – Time
To Bill, time and space were only barriers whose solidity had to be tested – forces of physics he knew he could defy if he really tried; in another lifetime, Lanette, though normally proud to work with him on projects like these, felt that there was something genuinely wrong about his latest proposal and absolutely refused to have anything to do with the Time Capsule.
#38 – Wash
Lanette couldn't decide whether to be amused or exasperated when Bill, mid-shower, ran his fingers along her wet body and labeled the anatomical parts he touched, one by one.
#39 – Torn
When Bill's youngest sister came up to him in tears just before her first contest to show him the tear in her costume, Lanette, who always thought her partner wasn't particularly domestic, didn't expect him to do anything but encourage her to do her best anyway, so she couldn't help but raise her eyebrows when she saw him calmly take out his sister's unopened sewing kit and teach her how to fix it.
#40 – History
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it," Lanette told him bitterly as she yanked each pin from his back, and to this, Bill, who had just survived an encounter with several (justifiably) angry beedrill, could only grumble a response in between sharp yelps.
#41 – Power
When the jet of water dispersed and Entei (wide-eyed and snarling) fled to parts unknown, Bill lowered his shaking hands, dropped to his knees, and looked over his shoulder at Lanette (who was equally shocked to watch her best friend pull a Water Gun out of literally thin air) to say, "Lanette... help me."
#42 – Bother
Sometimes, on very rare occasions (and almost always when there is a wound that needs to be stitched up or a patch of pins that need to be extracted or some other silly injury), Bill admits fault and apologizes for inconveniencing her, and to this, she smiles and says, "It's no bother, Bill. Someone has to do it."
#43 – God
After Entei appeared to them, Bill knew what was coming and knew just as well that he had to speed up his transformation, not slow it down – because although he didn't know whether or not whatever it was he was becoming could stand up to his gods, he still wasn't about to let their wrath hurt her.
#44 – Wall
What scares Lanette more than darkness is the fact that she realizes Bill sees the walls she's built around herself – the ones meant to protect him, if anyone at all, from getting hurt – as a challenge instead of a warning.
#45 – Naked
The things that made Bill human were never any clearer than when he was naked; then, Lanette would lightly trace her fingers over the countless scars he had gained over the years from one mistake or another while he lay back, eyes closed and breath coming in short gasps.
#46 – Drive
At one point, the other programmers were surprised to find out Bill didn't know how to drive; they were doubly surprised to find out that, despite the fact that she was normally quick to reprimand him for his mistakes, Lanette was the only one calm and patient enough to teach him.
#47 – Harm
William – the name literally meant "determined protector"; Lanette couldn't help but realize that it fit her partner well when he, sometime after the awakening of Ho-oh by Team Rocket, grasped her shoulders tightly and said, "No matter what happens, I want you to know I will never let anything hurt you."
#48 – Precious
"You need to ask yourself this, Bill: what's more important to you? Your purpose or your own desires? Do you want to make this world a better place, or do you want to give in to distractions now? What do you want?" she asks him, and although he would have responded without hesitation a few years ago, now he looks at her and knows in his heart that the answer is a little less clear.
#49 – Hunger
No matter how many men she had been with, Lanette knows that none of them have what she's looking for; none of them have that innocence, that wit, that gentleness, that precision, that hodgepodge of everything that would satisfy the incessant hunger she felt – that hodgepodge she knew to be her partner.
#50 - Believe
After all the world burns to cinders thanks to Team Rocket and an enraged Ho-oh, the remnants of humanity cluster in small settlements around cooking fires and share stories throughout the cold nights: folktales about a two wanderers who travel the dead region with contraptions – magical devices that they (the witch and her companion included if, as the storytellers say, they actually exist) believe have the power to save their tomorrows.