Chapter Twenty – Epilogue
It was amazing how fast five years could go by. One day, I was arriving in Viridian City with no idea what I wanted to do with my life other than get married, and the next, I was sitting on stage holding my diploma in my hands and waiting to give a speech at my graduation from the Pokémon Academy. It was as if I had blinked at the years blurred right by without any warning. And it was amazing how much I would miss this place after everything.
The remaining years of the Pokémon Professor Training Program went by without any more issues. I received another internship the following year after my internship with Professor Oak, this time with a woman named Professor Ivy. The year after, I graduated from the training program and received my license; of course, I still had a little bit of schooling left, but here I was—finally done.
Oh, and Hilbert? He was here today for my graduation, but he had returned to Unova to work with Professor Juniper there. I was so proud of him, and I was honored to call him my boyfriend of four years. He was that much closer to getting that house for his family away from the slums of Nimbasa, and that chip on his shoulder had helped him.
Things had turned out really nicely—in fact, they couldn't get much better for any of us. With age came maturity, and time had turned everyone into such powerful adults. Cheren, Roxanne, Bianca, Hilbert, and I all made it out all right. Considering I hadn't known what I was doing a few years ago, things turned out well.
Even Bianca had her own little happy ending. After breaking Joey the Delivery Guy's nose, the two began dating. I never knew something like that could bring people together, and I joked with her that I should have tried that years ago (which she never liked hearing from me since she was still embarrassed about the whole mishap). At the end of last year, the two married, and Bianca was pregnant with her first child.
That, too, was unbelievable. When I looked at Bianca or Cheren, all I saw were my two best friends who could never grow up. Now, Bianca was starting a family with her husband—who was still in the top percentage of delivery men even as he neared his thirties—and Cheren was graduating the Pokémon Academy with me today.
Once, I might have complained that we were all too old now. But the time came to grow up, and I was happy that it did. While there was something magical about being naïve and retreating into a shell and always having something to fall back on, there was something different about adulthood. Responsibility, which many people didn't want to take, actually made me feel human. It was even more magical than naivety.
So, as we all sat here—whether on stage or in the audience or in the pool of graduates—we all prepared to take the oath of responsibility. I knew we could do it. If I could, they could, too.
"Today marks a momentous occasion for many, and that does not only hold true for the graduates sitting in front of me and behind me," Roxanne said from the podium. Our class had elected her as class speaker, and I was glad they had; she was the best speaker I knew, and she was the best friend anyone could ever ask for. "There are parents who will watch their babies grow up and move on in a way very different from our Pokémon journeys. There are professors who taught us everything we know and now rely on us to spread their knowledge further. There are friends and family from home who laughed at us when we told them we wanted to go back to school."
There were some laughs of agreement in the crowd in front of us, and I smiled. For me, it wasn't so much that my friends laughed at me when I told them I wanted to go back to school—they laughed at me because it seemed impossible, at the time, that I would succeed. And I didn't blame them; if I was the person I was when I came to the Academy, I wouldn't be with the rest of the graduates here.
"Yet, in addition to all these people who shaped us, it is important that we recall the friends we made here because they are the ones who will provide back up when you need it most." Roxanne glanced back at me and winked. She certainly had provided me with all the backup I ever needed while I was here, and I liked to think that I had helped her, too.
Roxanne faced the audience again, brushing the hair out of her face. "Over the past five years, I learned that being true to yourself never goes out of style. This was not something I learned from class or from books—although this information is useful. This was something I learned from one of my best friends. So, remember to be yourself, and you will succeed in everything you do." Roxanne collected the papers from her speech on the podium and leaned forward against the microphone. "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your valedictorian, Hilda."
I was met with thunderous applause like I had never heard before. I laughed as I rose to my feet, and I hugged Roxanne as she walked by to take her seat. This was a moment I wouldn't soon forget; once, I was a joke here on campus. But it was amazing to see how true Roxanne's words were—being true to yourself will always pay off.
"To my fellow graduates, I congratulate you," I said into the microphone as I settled myself at the podium. I decided—and maybe this was a poor decision—that I wouldn't write down my speech (after countless scrapped drafts and several discussions with Hilbert). But I thought that spur of the moment decisions had worked surprisingly well for me, and although this was no habit to live by, I thought it might help my speech.
"When we first arrived here at the Academy, we may have known only a few faces—not many or maybe not any. In fact, for a few of us, this was our first time leaving our region. It was scary. No one could guess what was about to unfold here. No one could guess what friends you'd make. But, in a way, I'm glad that no one could tell me what things would be like here."
I folded my hands together, leaning in towards the microphone and smiling. "There will always be bumps in the road. There will always be high points. Yet… this experience was what you made of it. Did you turn those bumps in the road into learning opportunities? Did you share your secrets of success with your new friends and anyone else who needed them? Were you honest with yourself? Did you promote integrity?
"I hope that the answers to these questions are yes, but if they're not—don't worry!" A couple of people laughed in the audience. "You have time to figure yourself out. If you made it this far, you can make it the rest of the way. I have faith in you. Your friends and family have faith in you. Your professors have faith in you. And I know that every single person graduating today will make the best Pokémon professors."
I paused as some people in the crowd whooped or clapped, but this was a good stopping point to reflect upon. It was true—everyone in here would be marvelous. Our class was small; only the best had been sieved out of the bunch. But this made it that much better. We would always be friends, and we would always be around to provide back up.
"So, I leave you with this," I concluded as the clapping died down. "As you head off into the world, remember that first impressions are not always the only impression to consider; you must always have faith in each other; and you must always have faith in yourself. Congratulations to my fellow graduates—we did it!"
The crowd—the graduates, the parents, the professors—burst to life, cheering so loudly that I almost felt blown away from the podium. I stepped back down, covering my mouth to stop anyone from seeing how hard I was laughing. And in a few moments time, when it was finally time to say goodbye, that laughter would turn to tears.
"Thank you, Hilda," Roxanne said as she rose back to the microphone. I nodded to her, taking my seat again. "Now, we have one last very important order of business to attend to before we send all of you off into the world. Faith is not a stand-alone idea. In addition to faith, we must love each other. And I don't know a more perfect example of love than that between the woman who just left this microphone and her boyfriend, Hilbert."
My cheeks immediately burned up, and I gaped at Roxanne. What did she think she was doing?
"Hilbert, why don't you come up here for a minute?" Roxanne asked, and I shook my head. What was going on?
Hilbert rose from his spot in the audience and bounced up the stairs to the platform on which the podium stood. He winked at me as he passed me, and I felt my breath catch in my throat. He hadn't told me that he had planned a speech or anything, although it made sense, seeing as he had been valedictorian of his class. But why didn't he say anything?
"Hi, everyone," he began, and a few people chuckled in the crowd. "For those of you who don't know me, my name is Hilbert, and I graduated a couple years back from the Academy. I was an assistant in multiple classes, so I'm sure that most of the graduates here have seen me around. So, I'm not just some stranger popping up here and interrupting your graduation."
I laughed along with the majority of the crowd, but my heart was pounding so hard against my chest that the laugh felt much more nervous than I wanted.
"I hope you all don't mind if I take a moment of your time for… purely selfish reasons." Hilbert chuckled quietly, though the sound screamed back from the speakers. "The Academy prepared me for many things—being a professor, for one, life for another. But love hit me like bricks, and that's something nothing can ever prepare you for.
"So, I'm going out on a limb here. I've spent four wonderful years with Hilda, and I'm looking to making that a lifetime." I sucked in my breath as Hilbert turned away from the microphone, and as he began to walk towards me and pull something out of his pocket, my heart just about stopped completely.
Hilbert stopped in front of me, bending down on one knee and holding a little black box in front of me. The tears began before I even knew what was happening, and though I wanted to look around and see the reactions from everyone else—specifically Roxanne, who clearly knew this was going to happen—I couldn't take my eyes off Hilbert.
"Hilda," he whispered, as though he was still on the microphone and he didn't want anyone else to hear him. "You have turned that chip on my shoulder into something I'm proud of, and I can't picture myself spending my life with anyone but you. So, will you do the honor of being my wife and making me the happiest man I know?"
I jumped down off my chair, throwing myself at him and hugging him so tightly that he might break. There were oohs and aahs and claps and cheers from the crowd, but as I held Hilbert and nodded, he was the only one I saw.
"Of course. Of course, yes," I whispered back, kissing him full on the mouth. As we broke apart, I leaned my forehead against his and smiled. "I will always be rightfully yours."
Author's Note: This fanfiction was based on the movie/musical "Legally Blonde" (more so the musical than the movie, although many aspects—such as Elle's speech at the end—of the movie are still incorporated throughout). Many of you guessed it correctly, but for those of you who still wondered, there you go. :) It's a great musical, so I hope you all have a chance to see it someday.
And here's where I take my bow and give my thanks. Thank you for following me through this story. I was actually surprised by how many people took to it—I didn't realize that it would end up being more popular than many of my other fanfictions, so I thank you for that, as well.
I hope you enjoyed it, and thank you once again for reading all the way to the end. :)
Song correspondence to chapters (in case you're interested):
1. Omigod You Guys – No chapter correspondence
2. Serious – Chapter One
3. What You Want – Chapter Two
4. The Harvard Variations – Chapter Three
5. Blood in the Water – Chapter Four
6. Positive – Chapter Five
7. Ireland – Chapter Six
8. Ireland (Reprise) – Chapter Six
9. Serious (Reprise) – Chapter Seven
10. Chip on My Shoulder – Chapter Eight and Chapter Nine
11. So Much Better – Chapter Eleven
12. Whipped into Shape – Chapter Twelve
13. Take It Like a Man – Chapter Thirteen
14. Bend and Snap – Chapter Fourteen
15. There! Right There! – Chapter Fifteen
16. Legally Blonde – Chapter Sixteen
17. Legally Blonde Remix – Chapter Seventeen
18. Omigod You Guys (Reprise) – No chapter correspondence
19. Find My Way – Chapter Nineteen and Chapter Twenty