Some Things Go Without Saying.

Arceus, she was a beautiful woman.

Harley normally didn't think such about the opposite sex. He had his preferences, and since he was a kid, he had been attracted to men. It wasn't until he started his journey and met Solidad that he actually realized he was bi—or perhaps gay with Solidad being the exception. He was quite certain there was no other woman he would ever want to date.

He wasn't sure if she knew. She had a natural intuition for many things, but they had never discussed his sexuality. She never pressed it or made it an issue. His flamboyancy was never questioned; she just accepted it as part of him and went along with it, even being amused by it.

While he could appreciate her tacit acceptance of him, her silence on the issue still drove him crazy. He worried that perhaps she did (rightfully) think he was queer, but didn't realize he felt differently about her.

So he decided he would take a risk and lay it all out on the table. He could take comfort in the fact that, no matter what, no matter how she felt, they would always be friends and rivals. Rejection would hurt, but if she felt similarly, he couldn't let her slip away and be snatched up by a handsomer, less conniving, more straight-acting male.

It was after the Johto Grand Festival, at the afterparty. The twerps, May and Drew, had run off somewhere together. The four had been traveling together off-and-on throughout the region, and he had yet to find a good opportunity to talk to Solidad about this without Drew or May possibly overhearing until now.

They were on the outdoor balcony, and as legal adults, were enjoying the benefits of the gala's open bar. Harley had already ordered several shots; he needed to be a little drunk to do this.

"Another festival, another chance to become Top Coordinator gone," Harley shook his head. "Curse that grasshead and his talents. I'm older. I've been working at this longer. I should have gotten the title before him."

"Drew is exceptional," Solidad mused.

"Yeah, you can say that without being bitter, 'cause you've already won a festival," Harley grumbled.

"You'll win some day, I'm sure," Solidad replied, stirring her drink.

"And that day was not today."

"Don't be so grumpy about it," she gently admonished.

"I'm only complaining 'cause I know you'll put up with it," Harley said. "You know, it's part of the reason why I love you. Did you know that? I love you."

She didn't blink.

"I know," she said, taking another sip of her alcoholic beverage.

Harley stared at her, utterly baffled. He supposed he hadn't been direct enough.

"No, hun," he shook his head, "I mean, I love you."

She raised an eyebrow.

"I know," she repeated.

"You have nothing to say about that?" he asked, sounding exasperated, though he felt a stone sinking in his stomach. "Come on, Sol, throw me a bone."

She let out a chuckle.

"Harley, some things go without saying."