send those letters home

(the story of a self-proclaimed enigma, and an insufferable prick.)


dear cheren,

i'm flattered by your interest in becoming my pen pal! i didn't realize schools in the unova region forced students to play nice with foreigners, it's an interesting concept. in fact, it's so interesting, i decided to trash your letter, because to be honest, i don't think you're really interested in anything i have to say. your words are diamond cut, they tell me more than you think. you're just another city boy with nothing better to do, counting the days on his fingers until he's allowed to embark on his pokemon journey. don't try to be coy-it doesn't work with people like you. you're too smart for mind games. i would imagine you're the blunt type. you say things without thinking, or conversely, you think too much before you speak. maybe you go through every single situation, every single offshoot branch, a myriad of possible parallel universes that can be created if you eat a grilled cheese sandwich, instead of a yogurt cup.

or maybe not. maybe you're just another boy, as predicted in an earlier sentence, who wants to get a quick assignment done and over with. i wouldn't be surprised. you sound like an insufferable prick.

so, mister blanc. have a good day. if you have anything of substance to tell me, please do. in fact, here's a request from me. keep your bullshit trivia at home.

cheers.

marley.


"Can you believe her! She's a total bitch!" The bespectacled boy growled through clenched teeth, dark eyes in a perpetual squint. His companion, a teen taller than him by a good six inches with brown hair, and a strawberry scone in his mouth, made an honest attempt at replying.

"Gjrgh, I tughkn ghyuou rhegttagsdcting."

He swallowed the offending piece of pastry, and tried again.

"Cheren, I think you're overreacting. I mean," Black took another bite of his breakfast, chewed quickly, and downed it with a sip from his cold milk jug. "She hit the nail right on the head. You are an insufferable prick." The brunet chuckled to himself, sidestepping his friend's punch, avoiding it completely. Cheren wasn't so lucky, his hit landed squarely on the lamppost Black was previously leaning against. He let out a glass-shaking screech, the pidove that made their home in Castelia City Square flew away in fright. A dancer near the fountain tilted his head toward the duo, confusion written all over his face. He asked if everything was okay. Black waved him off, and told him that everything was fine, and that there was no need for his well intentioned concern. The dancer nodded, and returned to his group.

"Case in point." Black finished off his scone with a "hmph" that sounded more like "I told you so" than a "I'm done with your shenanigans."

"Why are you the counsel to my grievances, again? White would've been more sympathetic." Cheren crossed his arms over his chest, his stiff, black uniform blazer provided warmth in the freezing winter weather. A breeze picked up, trees shaking near the eastern, and western entrances, their benches assaulted by early bloomer flower petals. Black quirked a brow, and stuffed a paper ball that used to be scone wrapping into his pants pocket. He brushed off residue crumbs from the blue jacket that protected his black blazer, and gave Cheren an incredulous look.

"Are we talking about the same White? My girlfriend, White? She's a manic pixie girl. She would've pressured you into writing back, and confessing your love for her in the style of a Kanto haiku. It would've gone something like this-" Black rummaged through his charcoal-colored messenger bag, and produce a piece of paper, and pen. The chicken scratch he dared call handwriting summoned small letters, and they became syllables. "Dear Marley. You look very hot today. Please bear my children."

Cheren felt faint. So faint, he didn't correct Black's pronunciation of the word children. When the brunet said it, children had three syllables, ruining the typical haiku format. He needed some ice cream. Yes. Think about the positive. His lips twitched at the corners with the thought of a waffle cone, with three scoops of rocky road. Maybe some hot fudge to go on top. Oh, and little marshmallows! Bianca hated them because they got stuck in her braces when she was a kid, but Cheren loved them. They were god's gift to humanity.

"Cheren, I was just kidding. Shit, dude. Are you okay?" Black pressed a palm against the immobile teen's forehead, checking for a fever. A negative. Cheren stood still, probably from shock, Black guessed. It was the only logical reason for his brain's total black out. "Earth the loser, earth to loser. You all right?"

The pidove took the black haired boy's shock as an opportunity to fly back to their nests. The dance troupe called it a day (morning, it was seven fifty-two, and if Black couldn't get Cheren to respond to his questions within the next eight minutes, they would be late to class), and Castelia Academy's other students that were loitering around the square began to shuffle toward their homeroom, face buried in scarves and tinted with pink splotches.

Brought to life by the warning bell, Cheren blinked. "What a bother."

Black simply shook his head. He pushed his friend toward their first class of the day, and murmured a plot to set Cheren up on a blind date with the pretty redhead girl who worked as a cashier at the Casteliacone Ice Cream Shop. That would get him out of this Marley-induced funk.


dear cheren,

your last letter was just as charming as the last. that is, if charm was measured by how many times i had to stop reading to laugh at it, and then compare it to a dead frog's croak. then yes, it was simply exceptional. your way with words is phenomenal. i found this particular sentence to be endearing:

"you are a huge bitch. i hope you remove the stick from your pretentious sinnohian ass soon."

let's do some analysis. my handy dandy stethoscope hears something! this is the part you say, in a terrified whisper, "what is it doctor?" in response, i will put my hand against your paper, and murmur the following phrase. it is your nightmare incarnate, mister blanc.

"i hear...butthurt."

oh, how crude, you say! incredibly so. a crude phrase for a crude person. it's only fitting.

enough about you, you're boring. let's talk about the rest of your letter. i found it by far, more amusing than the first. the first was only an appetizer. a caviar spread on integral wheat crackers. you show emotion in your second letter. it's pretty. i like it.

hmm. you actually asked a question. i'm astonished, absolutely astonished.

i'm sixteen cheren blanc. my birthday was a couple of weeks ago. i know, i know. i speak like a scholar. it's lovely, isn't it? i guess it's a sinnoh thing. we're all pretentious "dickwads" with sticks up our posteriors. but that isn't new knowledge for you, is it? your brother is a brilliant battler.

did i hit a sore spot?

oops.

cheers.

marley.


"What the hell did you write that made her so angry?" White's drawl was replaced by a more frenzied speech pattern, her emphasized words today were hell, write, and angry. Understandable, at best. She leaned over the male's desk, her snivy was curled around her neck in a weak attempt to gain some sort of warmth. Her long, red fingernails tapped against the newest email, in 8 by 10 inch paper glory, from Cheren's pen pal from the distortion world.

"I wrote what was on my mind. Obviously," Cheren pushed several buttons on his C-gear, and pulled up the affronting email. "it wasn't the best idea."

White let out a low whistle, and tucked a stray piece of brown hair behind her ear, chewing on her bottom lip while she read. "Cheren, sweetie. You called her a bitch, threatened to be the downfall of her family, and called the entirety of the Sinnoh region a disgrace to humankind, and pokemonkind. Don't you think that's a bit harsh?"

She was being sarcastic, but Cheren could tell she was surprised by how coarse his language was in the letter. He never let his emotions get in the way of perfectly executed thoughts, and actions. It was not a Cheren Blanc thing.

Cheren let out a sigh, and rubbed the bridge of his nose. While his fingers made circles, and providing some sort of calming effect, White shrugged off her standard black cardigan, revealing her untucked white shirt, and messily done bow tie. She stole a chair from an unsuspecting victim, and sat down on it, using the back of the chair as an arm rest. The brunette leaned forward, and pressed her chin against Cheren's oak desk.

"I wasn't thinking straight, okay. That still doesn't excuse her from using my brother." He let out another sigh, and White joined him.

"Write back, and apologize? Through in a sappy "Marley-kun, you make my kokoro go doki doki, gomen for being frank" for good measure?" White gave him a lopsided grin, her teeth opaque behind her painted lips.

"Black was right about your advice. It sucks." With a groan, Cheren slumped onto his desk.

White grinned, and turned her stolen chair back to its correct position.


dear cheren,

it seems like you do have a heart, underneath all those textbooks and flimsy excuses for being a jerk. i'm so proud of you. your apology has patched up my ruined world, whatever should i have done in the off chance you refused to apologize!

oh wait, you're not that important. ha. ha. man, i'm good at this. i found this letter to be just lovely. your apology, and your line of questioning brightened my day.

yes, my name really is marley. i think it's prettier than cheren, for your information. who names their kid something that sounds like sharon? are you a very girly boy? oh my goodness, i'm imagining you like the star of the shoujo i'm reading. it's called wolf girl and black prince. he's also a pretentious loser. it works out nicely, i think. you're probably reading this and going, "oh, marley reads shoujo! the horror. she's obviously much less cooler than I am." well, sorry coolkid, i'm still cooler than you.

but i really recommend that manga. i think you'd enjoy it. or at least, you'd enjoy psycho analyzing the shit out of it.

please ignore the torn edges. those were from my weavile. she doesn't take kindly to strangers.

i'm rereading your letter, to see if there's anything i missed. oh, it seems like i did. yes, cheren, i was born in sinnoh. i'm from sandgem town. it's a little speck of a place. it's quaint, but compared to jubilife, or hearthome, it's nothing special. to put it into perspective, sandgem town is the sinnoh equivalent of accumula town.

how about you, cheren? where are you from? is it pretty? sandgem isn't a sight to behold, but it has a nice beach. too bad it's below freezing. my friends and i had a bonfire there once, there were like twelve of us, just hanging out, and i got pushed into the water. i got sick for days.

but that's enough about me, i like being an enigma.

cheers.

marley.

post script: i apologize about mentioning your brother. he is really nice, though. i go talk to him on weekends. i think he's just very lonely.

kind of like you?


"I think you're getting too worked up over this." Bianca's soft soprano echoed in the empty port. She was sitting prettily on the wooden dock that would take passengers to Victory Garden, if they had the correct pass, her suede booties skimmed the water's surface. Castelia's sea was sad today, it was idle, its color fifty shades of dark blue. The wind was picking up at a faster pace, and Cheren pressed his scarf against his face, as he sat down next to his blonde friend. The scarf was a red, hand-knit oddity, a gift from Bianca for his sixteenth birthday. She always smiled when he wore it, and he was never without it during the wintertime. The waves crashed against the shoreline, and the glasses wearing teen let out a sigh. He tilted his head up toward the gray sky, the clouds were telltale signs of a storm, but neither of them did anything to avoid it.

"I don't know, maybe I am." He drummed his fingers on the wooden planks. Her pale hand was inches away, and he made sure not to disturb her fingers's rhythmic tapping. She noticed how he shied away from her, and took a deep breath, sea salt and cheap perfume filled her lungs. Bianca adjusted her orange peacoat, and her white cap. Cheren brushed off his black trench coat.

"So," she looked straight ahead, green gaze focused on a ship, sailing on the horizon. It bobbed and ebbed, and she couldn't tell if it was coming or going. Maybe it was an intricate metaphor for what was going to happen next.

"So?" Cheren turned toward the blonde girl, waiting for a response. He settled his eyes on a patch of freckles on her cheek. She fidgeted with the buttons on her coat, buttoned and unbuttoned them, and tilted her head down and away from the horizon. The ship had passed. She stared at the gold buttons instead.

"What do you think about Marley, Cheren? How do you feel about her?"

He tensed under the question. His fists clenched, and he stuffed them into his coat pockets.

Silence. Absolute silence. The wingull stopped crying. The last ship to the Victory Garden was back, and anchored.

"Oh."

Cheren could hear a plethora of emotions in that single word, in that single utterance. She got up. Fixed her dark brown tights, turned on her heel, and began to walk away. As she reached Castelia City's main street, he noticed her pause.

She waited.

He stayed seated, and pressed his hands against his face.


dear cheren,

i'm sorry about what happened with bianca. have you tried talking to her about it? maybe it's a misunderstanding. get with the program, coolkid. she's probably been in love with you since forever, and being in unrequited love with someone sucks balls.

just trust me on this one. you need to go and apologize to her. i don't know, just apologize, and clarify what you feel for her. don't go into the relationship thinking you're forced to love her, just for the love of god, don't do that.

it won't end well for anybody.

i'm sorry for being so lame today. i'm acting like you.

you answered my question. lovely. you're from castelia city? i'm almost surprised, but considering you go to school there, i'm not really shocked. how's it like in the big city? it's probably really noisy.

and cold! that reminds me! there was a snow storm today. i had to go outside and shovel the snow off my lawn, and i saw my friend lucas. he's really nice, and we got to chat over hot chocolate. i even got him to shovel the snow out of my driveway for me. i'm the obvious incarnation of charisma and delight.

i should go now. my mother wants me to practice for something, it's not a big deal.

cheers.

marley.

post script: have you ever seen sinnoh during the winter time? it's really pretty.

i was wondering if you, i don't know, wanted to come over for the winter break?

post post script: never mind that is a stupid idea.

post post post script: it's really stupid and not serious please don't take me seriously


Cheren clicked out of his email client, and put his head on his desk. Today was the first day of winter break, and he forgot to process the heating bill on time. His postmodern apartment in Castelia City's upper east district was cold and lonely. He curled up on his leather rolling chair, lifting his head up to stare out the window. Snow lined the concrete streets, buildings looked picturesque with their holiday decorations, and snowy exteriors. He sighed, his breath coming out in small puffs, as he fished for his Xtransceiver out of his desk drawer. Once he found it, he scrolled down his friends list, and found Black.

"Sup," the brunet greeted, disheveled brown locks sticking out like he hadn't brushed his hair in days. Cheren quirked a brow as Black yawned, stretching his arms out, before stabilizing the Xtransceiver. "It's really early, why are you awake?"

"I got another email from Marley."

"That's the thirtieth one you've gotten. Congratulations." Black rubbed at his eyes, and rolled out of bed, scavenging for a shirt to wear. When he realized that he hasn't seen the floor of his room for days, he declared his expedition fruitless, and went to his closet to grab a muscle shirt. He shrugged it one while Cheren babbled about how yeah, this was the thirtieth one, and we've been talking a lot, and yeah, I know I've only shown you guys four emails, but that's enough to know where this is headed, and I'm scared because she wants me to go to Sinnoh for the break, for god's sake Black are you listening to me?

"I'm listening loud and clear, Cheren." The brunet was sitting crisscross on his unmade bed. "I don't get the problem. You've talked to her a lot. She wants you to come over. Wasn't this the plan to begin with? There's nothing wrong in this equation, why are you freaking out so much?"

Cheren tucked his legs under himself, and propped his elbows on his desk. "I haven't talked to Bianca in a while."

Oh. The lightbulb in Black's head went off. "Jesus, Cheren. You haven't apologized for the fiasco before break started, huh? Well, no more advice from me until you get your ass over to her house."

With that, Black hung up the call, and went back to sleep.

"Thanks for the great help." Cheren mumbled into a dead call. Black was right. He needed to apologize, clarify things, and maybe accept Marley's invitation? They've been emailing back and forth now, she's been less of a prick, and more indulgent with her life. She came from the Mai family, a family dedicated to protecting Shaymin, and on her fifteenth birthday she and an escort when to Flower Paradise. She was a battler, with a focus in the speed stat. She hated winter, and loved summer. She was in the top twenty of her class. She was an actual photographer, and her favorite things to photograph were her pokemon, and flowers.

Marley Mai was still a complete self-proclaimed enigma. He fascinated her, her long, and drawn out letters were entertaining, and he learned a lot from her.

But.

There was always a downside to things like this, Cheren mused, as he took his coat off its hanger, and put it on over his plain white shirt and black jeans. His brown leather boots were waiting for him at the door. When he was out of his apartment, he locked the door and headed north, up the hill to where the Noir family lived. He needed to sort this thing out with Bianca, before it was too late.

She opened the door when he rang the doorbell. Bianca tilted her head to the side, apprehension in her green gaze. Her lips were chapped from the winter winds, and her attention to detail was long gone-she wore a green hooded sweater, dark blue jeans, and tattered calf-length boots.

"Good morning, Cheren," she gave him a quizzical look. "It's about eight. What's going on?" She knew him too well. She knew that to get Cheren out of bed before eleven on a weekend, and or break, was a miracle from god.

The black-haired boy leaned against one of the marble pillars that lined the Noir manor. He looked at Bianca apologetically, and sighed before he began.

"I'm really sorry about what happened earlier this week, Bianca. About me not being honest with you about my feelings." Wait, no. This was not where this was going. His mind began working on overdrive, as Bianca crossed her arms over her chest with a raised eyebrow.

"Really." Deadpan, flat. Much like his response to ridiculous statements.

"Bianca, I cherish you. I really do. You've been with me forever, and I don't want to hurt you. I don't want you to play a guessing game with me, I want to be honest, because that's the only way we'll be able to get better after this."

The blonde realized that her ship on the horizon from earlier this week must have crashed and sunk.

This was not happening.

"I know how you feel about me-"

She cut him off, with a cynical noise that sounded like a scoff and snort. "Cheren, for the love of god almighty. You don't even let me confess my undying love for you. You would preemptively dump me."

"I'm not preempting anything, Bianca. I just want to be clear with this." He pleaded with her, his voice hitching up a couple of scales. "I don't want us, our friendship, to be ruined over someone oceans away."

The wind picked up, and Bianca rubbed her sides with shaking hands.

"So what's that supposed to mean, Cheren?"

"I don't love her." His heart felt a pang. He was chipping away at it, with every word that came out of his mouth.

"But you don't love me either." She breathed. They stood, a foot apart. An iron curtain fell down between them. He couldn't help wonder how she was so pretty, when did she get so pretty? Her teeth were pearls under pink, winter bitten lips. Her eyes were Christmas green. Her hair was made of angel feathers and sunshine.

"I'm so sorry." Cheren turned away, and Bianca watched him leave.

She turned to close the door, and before the oak hit the wall, she saw him running back.


dear cheren,

i don't know whether to be angry or ecstatic you're coming over.

i think i will be a mixture of both. see you soon!

cheers.

marley.


Route 224 was breathtaking. It held all of Sinnoh's high points, rolling hills, green grass in the distance. The ocean was warm, it smelled of the typical sea salt, but there some sort of kindness to it, it was always moving, energetic and cozy at the same time. The snow was still knee high, however, and he plodded through it with determination. His host was standing on a grassy hill, shorter than he imagined, with a lithe figure. Maybe a dancer? Cheren kept his imagination at bay as he struggled to catch up to her.

When he did, he saw she wasn't dangerous, or cold. She had a soft face, soft features, there were no sharp angles about her. Her black hair was cropped short, she wore a headband with a white bow. Instead of a black and white dress, like the one she showed her during their photo exchange weeks earlier, she wore a simple wool jacket over a turtleneck sweater and skirt. Thigh high stockings protected her legs from winter's kiss.

The wind was gentle, it tossed flower petals around them, and for once in his life, Cheren was left speechless.

Marley smiled. He swore that smile could heal world hunger, global warming. Pokerus, even.

She noticed his dumbstruck state, and her grin intensified.

"Hey there, pen pal."


dear cheren,

winter break with you was so much fun! i don't think i've had that much fun in a long time. spring is rearing it's ugly head up over here, and it's kind of sad, but inevitable. winter had a good run.

i also wanted to congratulate you on your latest achievement. i'm really happy you talked to bianca again. more than that, i'm really happy you're both friends again. i was sort of terrified of the idea that you two wouldn't be friends anymore. she seems like a great person.

so don't get married without telling me okay. not after all the great advice i've given you! we've been through so much, mister blanc.

i'm joking, of course. don't get married, i have dibs on your hand. ;)

have fun with your new semester at school. tell your new pen pal that they'll never be as cool as me.

i'm not joking that time.

ha ha ha.

cheers.

marley.


notes: hi im angie and i ship this to hell and back