*Author's Note: This is my first Poke fanfic, and I'm very excited. :3 I've got ten chapters written, just because I like to have a bit of.. cushion just in case. (the chapters appear to like catching up really fast when you're not paying attention) It's got FranticShipping (Win!), and will probably have SpecialShipping(:3), ChosenShipping(for OldRivalShippers, this isn't a big part of the story at all, and it's most likely only going to be hinted at), and whatever I feel like adding. :P Please read and review! :D*
"It's sure getting stormy, dontcha think, Ruby?" commented Sapphire, eyeing the black clouds with scrutiny. "Do ya think we'll be able to get to shore on time?"
The crimson-eyed boy put on his glasses, scanning the horizon for traces of land. He and Sapphire had been travelling across the ocean for a few days, trying to reach Lilycove City, where a commemorative contest and Pokemon tournament would take place to celebrate the fifth year anniversary of Hoenn's near-death escape from destruction. "It looks pretty bad to me. But we'll be safe on Walo, right?"
The Wailord made a snort of approval and the vibrations made Ruby stumble a little bit before he caught his balance.
"It makes me think of this huge storm in the forest when I was eight. A whole buncha trees were knocked down and all the Pokemon fled for a coupla' days. It's gonna be bad." Sapphire watched the quickly approaching storm clouds with unease, smelling the scent of rain on the increasingly strong wind. There was a crackle of lightning that made her hair stand on end, and Ruby let out a little girly squeal.
"That was really loud! And that means the storm is huge!" he exclaimed, taking a Pokeball from his belt. "I don't want to get my new clothes drenched! They'll get wrinkles!"
"Ya could stand to stop worryin' 'bout yer clothes every once in a while! Someone would think ya were a girl!" teased Sapphire, rolling her eyes.
"Excuse me for caring! I spent absolute ages making these, just look at the skill! Not just anyone can hand-embroider like I can! And you should care too! I made those for you, and I don't want to see my workmanship ruined by rain!"
"Unlike ya, I don't care 'bout whateva Mother Nature has ta' throw at me!" Sapphire stood up proudly, beating her fist against her chest twice. "A little rain ain't gonna worry me!"
"Popo, get ready to use Sunny Day!" The small gray Pokemon burst out of its Pokeball, nodding its head at Ruby's command. "Make sure Sapphire's covered too. Maybe the wild girl doesn't care about the clothes I made for her but I sure do!"
Sapphire sighed, trying to suppress a smile. Over the past five years, she and Ruby had grown extremely close, and almost nothing had changed. Their constant bickering and overwhelming differences still remained, and they were still trying to out-do each other with constant achievements in contests and battles. But no matter what, Ruby still took the time to make her a matching set of clothes every time he redesigned his own, a gesture that made her feel warm inside.
But of course, the stubborn boy still insisted he remembered absolutely nothing about Mirage Island, an irritation that was like a thorn in Sapphire's side. She was just about certain he remembered their confession- how amidst the raging thunder and torrential rain, her whispered words, his declaration, how he'd pushed her into the air car for the sole reason of protecting her. And he refused to admit it.
It worried her. After all, what did it mean if he was lying about such an important memory? Had his feelings changed? Was he not interested in her anymore? And if so, why? Had he gotten tired of her antics? Thought she was too troublesome? Too strange? The questions always plagued her with doubt and uncertainty.
After all, her own feelings remained unchanged. Correction, they'd only grown stronger. She'd gone from merely liking Ruby to loving him, all his strange quirks included. The way he could rant on and on about how beautiful his Pokemon were, the blaze of red-got fire in his eyes as he competed in a contest, the careful, elegant way he brushed a Pokemon's fur, and his soft smile, something so rare that Sapphire had only seen it a few times. A smile that reflected the kind, caring boy that hid behind an obnoxious, indifferent exterior, a smile that spoke of the real Ruby, a boy she was proud to know and love.
"Hm?" Sapphire felt a drop of water on her shoulder, and within seconds the one drop seemed to transform into buckets of ice cold water poured over her head, drenching her from head to toe.
"Popo, I told you to cover Sapphire too!" said Ruby, who was completely dry under the shining Castform, which quickly shone the rays of warmth and light onto her as well, protecting her from the rain. "There you go, wild girl. Would you rather this or Mother Nature? Because I personally feel it's much better to be under the warmth of Popo's beautiful sun that sitting out in that terrible, clothes ruining rain. And by the way, you'll have to let me iron out your outfit once we get to shore. It already looks horrendous."
As usual, his priority was her clothes, and not even a dime of his concern was really cast upon her. But Sapphire figured that was just his way of showing he cared; after all, Ruby wasn't really one to fuss over something that wasn't completely superficial.
Which was why she was surprised when he came over and wrapped his jacket around her shoulder, giving a satisfactory smile as he did so. "There. That way you won't catch cold. The rain looks like it could freeze someone to death."
"Thanks..." Sapphire felt a blush flood to her cheeks, and shook her head in an attempt to banish it, her hair covering her face as the caramel locks swished back and forth.
"Is something wrong?" asked Ruby, staring curiously into her azure-hued eyes, leaning in so that their faces were barely inches apart. "Is it not warm enough?"
"I- it's fine," she stuttered, backing away a few inches again, feeling the incriminating red spread even further. "I was just... drying my hair."
"Your hair! How could I have forgotten? After I spent all that time styling it so you would look your best at that tournament, it's been ruined! I need to fix it, now!" He dived into his bag for hairspray and a brush, taking out the two necessary tools for the crisis at hand. "Sit still."
"Sitting still," she muttered as she felt Ruby's hands carefully move across her head with the grace of a well-practiced expert, drawing each strand of hair into a perfect tight bunch within his fingers.
"Popo, can you help me dry her hair real quick? Otherwise, there's no way to style it!" The small Pokemon quickly obliged, filling the air with intense heat for a few seconds, instantly evaporating all the water from Sapphire's previously soaking wet hair.
"The waves are gettin' bigger," Sapphire observed, looking down towards the fuming sea, which was throwing the waves higher and higher across the Wailord's side. "I think they might reach us soon."
"Nonsense!" Ruby replied, brushing her hair with intense concentration. "Walo's huge, and you'd need a twenty-foot wave just to touch us! They won't get that big."
"What do you know about the sea?" challenged Sapphire, feeling queasy. She was a forest girl, and the ocean just wasn't her forte. At least in the woods you could hide from a storm. In the ocean you were trapped. "You've spent as much time on it as I have!"
"I have common sense," responded Ruby quickly, spraying her hair with flourishing motions that Sapphire was pretty sure were for dramatic effect, humming as he did so. "Hey look! Rocks!" he said excitedly, pointing a couple hundred feet in front of him. "We must be close to land now!"
A strong wind buffeted them, and Ruby groaned as Sapphire's hair was blown out of perfection. Mother Nature always seemed to want to destroy his hard work. Why else would it keep messing up Sapphire's hair?
"You can just stop tryin', Ruby," said Sapphire, though she could barely hear herself over the shrieking wind. It had suddenly gained immense strength and was roaring as loudly as the waves crashing across Walo's side, but was a high-pitched keening rather than a whiplash. "Do it once we get to a Pokemon Center or something!"
"What?" he yelled, struggling to hear her.
"The wind's too loud, I can't hear ya!" shouted Sapphire, gasping in terror as she watched a wave rise above them. Instinctively, she clutched Wailord's fin where all their stuff was strapped, preparing herself. "Ruby! Grab on!"
The boy turned around and watched the wall of water with a horrified fascination as it hit him. "Ruby!" exclaimed Sapphire, choking on the salt water that had worked its way into her throat, trying to keep the burn out of her eyes. With all the strength she could muster, she forced herself to open her eyes, discovering the worst. Ruby wasn't there.
"Ruby!" she shrieked hopelessly despite knowing that there was no way he could answer. She dug into his bag ferociously, thankful that he had decided to keep his Pokemon in it, pulling out Zuzu's Pokeball and releasing the Swampert. "Help me find Ruby! He fell in the ocean!" she begged, grabbing the Swampert's neck. "Walo! Just get to shore, okay? Get yourself to a safe place? She grabbed their supplies as Zuzu jumped off Walo, landing in the water with a loud splash as it started to search for its trainer.
In spite of her panic, Sapphire couldn't help but think a small apology for getting Ruby's spare set of clothes wet as Swampert submerged into the depths, making its way through the murky depths with stunning speed.
Sapphire struggled to keep her eyes open, ignoring the fiery scalding of salt, keeping her eyes open for Ruby. Be okay, be okay, she silently pleaded, clutching Zuzu's neck tightly.
A dozen or so yards away she saw him as his body hit one of the tall rocks he had seen earlier, sending him bouncing off like a rag doll, and there were no air bubbles coming from his air and nose signaling a struggle. She turned Zuzu in Ruby's immediate direction, grabbing the unconscious boy as Zuzu fought to get back to the surface, where the storm was beginning to die down.
She took a big breath as her head broke through the top of the water, fear blossoming like a flower in her heart as Ruby failed to do the same. His eyes were closed, and his chest wasn't moving up and down with regular breathing. He was completely, eerily still, and Sapphire was paralyzed with terror for a second before she regained her senses. She could only do one thing. She had saved a drowning Pokemon before and she could certainly save the boy she loved. There was no time to hesitate.
She placed her hands on his chest and clamped her mouth on his, performing CPR to the best of her ability as Zuzu swam as fast as he possibly could towards the beach, which was visible in the distance. She didn't think about it technically counted as a kiss, she only thought about how she had to keep on breathing air into him, keep trying to force the water out, keep breathing, keep pressing, breathe, press, breathe, press. Ya have to breathe, Ruby, ya have ta!
When she was about to think all hope was lost, she heard him cough beneath her, and she released him, allowing him to vomit out seawater, helping him by giving a few aiding presses to the chest to expel the remaining water. But he didn't wake up, his crimson eyes remained covered, and the only thing signaling life was the slight rise and fall of his chest and the weak pulse Sapphire could feel in his wrist. Popo floated above them, frantically shining warm light above them, making Sapphire aware of how cold she was.
As more of a gesture to her unconscious crush than anything else, she returned the nearly-dry jacket to him, carefully blanketing him with it as Popo made it really seem as if it were a hot sunny summer day instead of the remains of a terrifying, destructive storm.
His hat had fallen off, Sapphire noticed, and he looked like the small frail boy he had been five years ago at eleven, vulnerable. His scar where the Salamence had clawed him was still just as visible as it had been when he'd revealed it to her after pushing her into the air car, and the raven-black hair he so carefully concealed beneath his white hat was splayed out like an ink spill across the blue of Zuzu's back.
She hugged him and cried, feeling so relieved that he was breathing again and that they were about to reach shore, where she could take him to a hospital and make sure he got better quickly. The moment Zuzu reached the sand, no, even before that, Sapphire had already jumped off, charging through the water and sand with Ruby in her arms, who she could still lift despite being three inches than him. Zuzu trailed after her, nudging her and motioning for her to put Ruby on his back. She complied, running step for step with the Swampert, which was moving like lightning through the mud.
Ruby won't be happy that you got dirty, Zuzu... mused Sapphire even though her head was consumed with worry. He won't be happy with how wet and muddy I am either. He'll have a freak attack and rant about how much I've ruined his beautiful sowing for an hour. She envisioned him lively in his anger, waving the wrinkled, mud-stained outfit in front of her, veins popping in his forehead as his scarlet eyes burned hotter than fire.
So different from the Ruby that was laying immobile on Zuzu's back, who looked so weak and pale and helpless. The Ruby who was perfectly fine just a few minutes prior, who was fussing over her hair like a mother hen over its chicks, who was acting like he was king of the world as usual.
Sapphire and Zuzu burst through the Lilycove Hospital doors simultaneously, both breathing hard, but she still had more than enough breath to explain what happened. "We were just caught up in that storm right now, and he was knocked off Walo and he wasn't breathing but he is now but he's still unconscious-"
She didn't need to say anymore. The nurse at the desk immediately called for a stretcher to take Ruby to a hospital room, and Sapphire followed behind the doctors worriedly. Once in the room, they took his temperature and checked for other vital signs that could signal danger while Sapphire watched with agonizing fear. What if she hadn't saved Ruby soon enough? What if-?
"Your friend has a concussion, but other than that, he should be fine," reported the head doctor, running the stethoscope over Ruby's chest one more time. "All he needs is some rest."
Sapphire felt her eyes well up with tears. Ruby was all right. He was going to be all right. She thanked the doctor profusely and settled into the chair next to the hospital bed, Zuzu beside her. The exhaustion of the day finally caught up to her, and she quickly fell asleep.
*Please leave me a review! :D There is nothing better to brighten up someone's day. :3 I'll reply to all reviews in the next chapter, which'll be updated probably next week. Chapters will be uploaded on a 1-2 week basis, 1-week normally, 2-week if I need to do other stuff and am too busy to write. So... See you next week! ;D*