Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon; just pieces of the franchise. :P
A/N: Secret Santa gift for The Light's Refrain! Merry Belated Christmas and a Happy New Year! I tried added pieces and mentions of people that you liked. It's slightly slice of life, but there's a definite romance. And for clarification, I'm treating the Poké Gear as the equivalent of a cell phone even though you'd only find them in GSC. But then again, Pokémon Special treated the Poké Gear as a universal cell phone too. XD
Anyways, I hope you like it! :) Thanks for reading!
Prompts: I am the chosen one, no one can know
Characters/Pairings: Volkner, Jasmine, Flint plus other mentionables. AlexandrianShipping.
.: Home is You :.
~ Thinking of you no matter where we are. ~
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
"What about this one?"
"Isn't that a little long? How would she wear that?"
"Volkner…it's a scarf…"
"…That doesn't look like a scarf," Volkner weakly retorted, turning away and deciding to glance around the boutique in a vain hope to not look like an idiot. It wasn't his fault; Volkner's specialty was in electrical engineering and gadgetry, not fashion.
He heard his companion sigh and when he received no other verbal response, the blond male hesitantly returned his gaze on the long-haired brunette. Jasmine preoccupied herself with the multitude of so-called scarves that were hung against the wall, pulling ones in shades of blue and looking extremely concentrated on her choices. Volkner wanted to tell her that it didn't really matter which one she chose; he was sure Candice—being the fashion guru that she claimed to be—could manage to do something creative with any piece of clothing. Ah, the woes of going shopping with a girl… So this was what Flint had warned him about before Volkner departed for the Kalos region.
Suddenly, his vision darkened and Volkner snapped out of his thoughts when he realized Jasmine perched sunglasses on his nose. She was smiling; downright close to giggling as she stood in front of him while examining every inch of his face. "Hmm…those actually look nice."
"But I don't wear sunglasses."
"Yes, I know," Jasmine agreed, finally deciding on which scarf to buy: a blue-plaited pattern with equally blue pompoms attached. "They aren't for you; they're for Lt. Surge."
It was as if a pin drop could be heard. Volkner immediately ripped the sunglasses off his face and questioned with a tight furrow of his brows. "Why are you putting them on my face then?"
"Well, you…kind of remind me of a younger, less gruff version of the lieutenant," Jasmine confessed as her cheeks filled with a shade of pink. She quickly rectified her statement when Volkner's expression went glum. "Volkner, it was a joke! Please don't be upset… Lt. Surge isn't a bad guy; he's actually really nice once you get to know him."
Too bad that's never happening, Volkner thought with a roll of his eyes. Honestly, there were certain people Volkner didn't care for and Surge happened to be one of them. Maybe he was being immature, but ever since their battle in the finals of the Type Expert Tournament in Unova, Volkner bared a slight grudge against the older Electric-type Gym Leader. Had it been born from a rivalry between two users of the same Pokémon type? Sparked from that smug look Surge gave while underestimating Volkner's prowess in battle? Well, whatever it was, Volkner already made a mental note to avenge his loss to Surge at the next Pokémon World Tournament…
"Let's see." Jasmine took advantage of Volkner's spacing out to plant another pair of sunglasses on his face. "Wow, sunglasses look amazing on Electric-type Gym Leaders."
"Stop that." Volkner frowned and slipped off the black-tinted sunglasses, nearly slamming them on the glass shelf case to his left. He knew Jasmine wasn't purposely irritating him, but he didn't want to hear anything more about that military man. Sighing, Volkner leaned against the glass shelf with one arm, lowering his face close to Jasmine's with a slight narrow of his blue eyes and whispered. "You're awfully carefree this evening."
Jasmine smiled; not at all uncomfortable with Volkner's close proximity. That in itself was strange—Jasmine normally hated it when Volkner was being upfront about possible physical contact because it made her fluster in embarrassment. Ignoring his perplexed gaze, the Johto Gym Leader responded. "I don't see why not. I'm spending my time with you after all."
Volkner literally flabbergasted, once again looking away. He could feel his cheeks warming up and he actually hated the sensation. Sure he's been embarrassed a few times (for rather stupid things on Flint's part), but having to feel it because Jasmine was being so incredibly cute was something Volkner wasn't quite used to yet.
…Though he might as well start now; especially since Jasmine placed another accessory—a hat—on his person. The blond turned to face her, tilting the hat's rim upward when it blocked his view of the girl's face. Jasmine was practically beaming now; engrossed with her dress-up game. "You look so different with a fedora! It reminds me of your friend, um… I think his name was Riley?"
Sighing, Volkner decided right there and then just to follow Jasmine's pace; at least until she was done buying clothes at the boutique.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
"Walking around the streets of Lumiose City? Nice, nice—sounds like something you two lovebirds would do." Flint snickered over the speaker of Volkner's Poké Gear. "I wonder though…Volkner did you whisk poor Jasmine away to the Kalos region just to do some last minute wooing before the year ends?"
In response, the Sinnoh Gym Leader looked down at his Poké Gear in disgust. Flint obviously couldn't see him, but that just meant Volkner could afford to 'look' at the Fire-type Trainer with heavy disbelief. As the pair of Gym Leaders strolled down Vernal Avenue side by side—the brunette quietly giggling—Volkner corrected Flint's misunderstanding; annoyance inflected in his voice. "I can see you are completely out of the loop. Did you conveniently forget how I mentioned Jasmine wanted to see a Pokémon Professor in the Kalos region and I had free time to go with her?"
Flint burst out laughing by this point. Arceus, having to deal with Flint over a communication device was far more exhausting than being with the guy in person. Volkner wanted to run a hand down his face, but he remembered that both his hands were full: one hand held his Poké Gear and the other carried some of Jasmine's shopping bags (for a girl who wasn't a shopaholic, she sure bought a lot). Flint piped up during Volkner's dilemma. "Chill out, dude. No need to be so high-strung. Hey, Jasmine, has he been like this all day?"
Adjusting the hold on the bags she carried, Jasmine freed Volkner of his Poké Gear, inadvertently allowing Volkner a sense of peace when he massaged the knot forming between his brows. Jasmine held the device close to her mouth, speaking softly. "He's fine, Flint. It's just been a long week."
"Figured as much, but I guess I can't blame you guys. You rarely get to spend this much time together; what with you living in different regions and all." Maybe he said that just to tease them, but it was still a cold, hard truth. It caused Volkner to look away awkwardly, but he was well aware Jasmine had done the same. He wasn't blushing (thankfully), though the brunette was probably doing all the flustering for them. Sensing the uncomfortable shift in atmosphere—since no one was talking to him anymore—Flint quickly started a new topic. "So! Did you get a chance to see that Pokémon Professor, Jasmine?"
"Eh? Oh, y-yes!" Jasmine's posture became stiff as she continued to avoid Volkner's gaze when she stopped walking. From what the blond could see, her face took on a bright shade of red that matched a Tamato Berry. "I learned a lot from Professor Sycamore. His research on Mega Evolution is interesting…"
Volkner was listening to her, but at the same time, he really wasn't. As he tuned out of the conversation between Jasmine and Flint, Volkner decidedly looked around him. They would be walking again soon, but neither he nor Jasmine had a particular destination in mind; which was fine. Even though they spent almost a week in the Kalos region, the Sinnoh Gym Leader felt as if he hadn't actually experienced what the faraway region had to offer.
Lumiose City was exceedingly rich with Kalosian culture. Many cafés lined the streets up and down; a high end boutique that sold only the finest (not to mention pricey) couture; a variety of shops selling goods that were considerably rare…the Prism Tower. Now there was a landmark if Volkner knew one. The Prism Tower was the pinnacle of the city and that was only emphasized with it being at the heart of Lumiose. It shone brightly during this time in the evening and it was near impossible for Volkner to not keep his eyes away from the tower. In truth, the Sinnoh Gym Leader had given Prism Tower many fleeting glances when no one was watching. Admiring its architectural design was part of the reason, but most of it stemmed from the fact that Volkner was a little homesick. The bright light that Prism Tower gave off…it reminded him of the Vista Lighthouse in Sunyshore City.
"Mm-hmm, I have registered you to my Poké Gear now, Flint."
Quickly turning his attention to Jasmine, she was already giving back the small communication device after putting away her own; unaware of his state of panic. "Flint wants to talk to you, Volkner."
Blinking at first, the blond regained his bearings and took the Poké Gear out of her gloved hand. Volkner turned around again, back facing Jasmine, and nearly hissed after turning off the conference call to have a more intimate conversation with the Fire-type elite. "Why is Jasmine registering you?"
"Hmm, jealous boyfriend much?" Flint was quick to speak before Volkner could chew him out. "Anyways, Jasmine just wanted to make sure she has someone else to contact in case she couldn't get a hold of you."
"I always answer her calls—"
"Volkner, even I know there are times you ignore the phone when you're renovating the Gym."
Volkner grumbled under his breath. It wasn't that he was refraining Jasmine from exchanging numbers with whoever she wanted, but Flint had a tendency to bug people when he was bored. The Sinnoh Gym Leader simply didn't want Jasmine to be an up and coming victim to Flint's plight…and no, Volkner wasn't afraid that his best friend was going to be cozy with her.
However, it was like Flint could read his mind—like always. "Man, you are so serious about her! But that's a good thing; you've been getting moody lately without a distraction."
"Don't worry! I swear swapping numbers is just for emergency purposes only. And…"
"And?" Volkner did not like that trailing tone of voice.
"Volkner." Flint suddenly went serious and that snapped Volkner out of any suspicions he held previously. It wasn't common for the Fire-type specialist to shed his laidback nature unless he was really serious about a subject. Flint took pause for a moment, Volkner patiently waiting before he heard the man speak. "As your friend, it's my duty to embarrass you from time to time. If you find that Jasmine knows a silly story about you, know that I only mentioned it to her because I trust her not to think you a fool."
"…I hope you wake up one morning to find your precious afro shaven clean off your head," Volkner deadpanned in a cold whisper. That was it; this was the last time he was ever going to take Flint seriously over the Poké Gear.
Unfortunately, Flint himself knew when not to take Volkner seriously when it came to death threats (or something similar). Volkner could practically see the smirk etched on Flint's face. "You're coming back tomorrow right? Before the New Year? I'll call you again."
"You're not on speaker anymore, Flint."
"I know; you have to tell her that for me. Duh."
"Fine. Bye." After ending the call, Volkner couldn't help but stare down at his Poké Gear, feeling the corners of his lips turn up unconsciously. There were just some things about Flint that Volkner honestly wouldn't trade for the world. Tucking his Poké Gear back into his coat pocket, Volkner ran a hand through his spiky hair as he turned around to face Jasmine again.
She wasn't doing anything in particular; simply standing in place while holding her bags in front of her. Jasmine was staring at the clouds, watching the beginning of snowfall descend upon Lumiose. It was here that Volkner quietly took his time to examine her. Jasmine normally wore sundresses of white or bright colors, but today (or rather, for now), a white winter coat, black stockings, and boots replaced her typical attire. She still wore twin pigtails with the rest of her hair falling down her back, but the large, fruit-like accessories were traded for a pair of orange earmuffs. Strangely enough, they looked just like Jasmine's missing hair accessories…
Breaking away from her trance, the brunette brought her brown eyes down to meet Volkner's blue ones, letting a small smile cross her face. "What is it?"
"It's nothing." Volkner shrugged nonchalantly. Now that he actually got a good look at the sky, however, he only just realized how late it was. "We should probably head back to the hotel, Jasmine. I forgot we're taking the next flight out of Kalos in the morning—"
"Wait." He felt himself freeze the moment Jasmine slipped her arm around his, but then she suddenly pulled him forward. Catching himself to match her stride, Volkner blinked in surprise as he glanced down at the brunette. This was new; Jasmine rarely initiated the physical contact between them. Keeping her eyes forward, she explained. "I want to see one last sight before we retire. We can cut through Centrico Plaza to get to North Boulevard on the way too."
Well, that was productive since Hotel Richissime—their current residence of stay—was in North Bouvelard, but…Volkner just didn't feel like walking anymore. He tried to persuade her. "But don't you think a taxi would be faster? We can even take a pair of Skiddo if you want."
"But we're already so close to Centrico Plaza." Jasmine gave him a small pout. "And then the walk to North Boulevard won't be long either… I'm sorry, are you tired?"
Yes he was, but he just couldn't admit that out right; especially since Jasmine's energy made him look unfit in comparison. Did Jasmine walk a lot or was this the 'steely resolve' of a Steel-type Trainer at work? Either way, Volkner didn't want to upset her; Jasmine seemed really keen on fulfilling her momentary goal. "No, I'm fine. I just thought you were."
Jasmine stared at him, most likely catching his lie, but said nothing of it as she smiled. "Mmm, I'm okay. But…we can take a taxi back to the hotel? When I think about it, buying so many things for everyone and then carrying it all at once probably wasn't a good idea…"
Arceus, this woman was heaven-sent. "Deal."
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
By the time they reached Centrico Plaza, very few people were left hanging around. Snow was beginning to pile up on the streets and the glow of the streetlamps lining the pavements shone brightly. Every snowflake that fell to the ground looked like tiny crystals when they reflected the light of Prism Tower. It reminded Volkner of the diamond dust phenomena he'd seen in Snowpoint City once before. Eerie quiet…only the toll of bells rang throughout the plaza, signifying the hours of the night.
The Sinnoh Gym Leader found himself staring up at the illuminating tower again before he heard Jasmine collapsing on a nearby bench. "Phew! I'm getting a little tired…"
Ah, so steel wills weren't at work tonight. Letting out an amused snort, Volkner walked over to the bench, piling his bags on top of hers before looking over his shoulder at Prism Tower. He could hear Jasmine shuffling with her own bags, but refrained to speak. Maybe she was looking up at the landmark too; it was such a sight to behold.
The silence between them persisted a few minutes more before Jasmine broke it. "No one can know…"
"Hmm?" Volkner returned his gaze on Jasmine's face, watching her pull her legs up on the bench.
She shyly glanced at him from behind her knees; warm breath dissipating into the cool night air. "Us—it's been half a year now that we've been…seeing each other."
"Yeah. I guess it has been that long."
There was a thought Volkner hadn't considered in a while. He'd grown so comfortable with their relationship that time simply didn't have any relevance anymore. Sure, maybe it did during the first few weeks into their budding romance (plus the added effect that neither of them had any experience with long distance relationships), but after overcoming the doubt and solidifying a trust in one another, time was just an observer.
Sighing, Volkner took a seat beside Jasmine's free side; hands nestled in his coat pockets and allowing the brunette to lean against him—presumably for warmth and comfort. Jasmine rested her head against his shoulder, closing her eyes. "Were you ever mad at me?"
"For asking you to keep our relationship a secret," Jasmine answered. Surprised, Volkner looked down at Jasmine, but she hid her face against the long end of his black scarf. From what he could see, however, her cheeks were red and it probably wasn't from the cold. "It was all too much for me when we started…I couldn't handle it if everyone else knew about us."
"Well this is your first relationship," Volkner explained, trying to keep his point brief. Unlike Jasmine, Volkner had been in relationships before meeting her. The only difference was, she was the first girl he was ever serious about; and knowing that he was her first boyfriend, well…it put a bit of pressure on him. He added to lighten the mood. "Besides, it's not like it bothers me all that much. If Candice ever got wind that I was dating you, I'm pretty sure she'd be pestering me every day."
Jasmine giggled with a small nod. "I guess, though…I don't mind it anymore if we let people know. Erika in particular has been dying to let someone else know; especially Misty and Janine."
"Hmm, then how about I go to the Johto region with you tomorrow instead of going home? We can tell people then," Volkner suggested with a reassuring smile.
The offer seemed tempting to her, but Jasmine remained uncertain. "But you…have that year-end party at the Sinnoh League the day after tomorrow right?"
Yes he did, but Volkner didn't feel like attending it this year (though it was sort of—maybe—mandatory for Gym Leaders to attend). He'd probably get in trouble for it, but Volkner was willing to live with the consequences since he'd rather spend the beginning of the New Year with Jasmine. Volkner shrugged. "I'll get Flint to make up an excuse for me. He still owes me for covering his butt when he accidentally incinerated Lucian's novels during one of our battles."
Jasmine shook her head in amusement, but that just meant she accepted the change of plans after tomorrow. As her eyes flickered to the Prism Tower, Jasmine went silent again before speaking. "It's strange. I've been to so many regions—Sinnoh, Unova, and now the Kalos region too—but I still get a little homesick…"
Homesick? Volkner knew that feeling every time he looked at the Prism Tower. He remained quiet as Jasmine continued her monologue.
"You would think I was used to being away from home by now…" Jasmine sighed with a close of her eyes. "Actually, that day we went to see Professor Sycamore, I wanted to go home right away after we found out Mega Evolution only worked for a select few."
At this point, Volkner furrowed his eyebrows because their meeting with the Pokémon Professor was five days ago. "If you felt that way, why didn't you tell me? We didn't have to stay here for the whole week."
Jasmine shook her head, collaborating. "Because I had a change of heart." Sitting properly in her seat with her hands on her lap, Jasmine took in a deep breath, craning her head upwards. Snow started to get lost in her hair as Volkner quietly watched. Suddenly, a smile touched her lips and her brown eyes seemed bright when she looked at him; it made his heart race. "Whenever I look at you, Volkner, I feel like I'm at the lighthouse."
"Mm-hmm. It's like…I'm at home whenever I look at you and it relaxes me." Jasmine laughed to herself, turning her face away in embarrassment. "Even before we started dating, when I first saw you in Sunyshore, I was able to relax after taking my first big step in a new region by myself. I felt the same way again during the Pokémon World Tournament even though I was among friends. That feeling only seemed to grow when you started talking to me in the lobby, that day after our match in the World Leaders Tournament. "
Maybe it was just him, but Volkner could've sworn Jasmine had never talked so much in one sitting before. Not only that, the things that were coming out of her mouth were starting to make his face heat up again. Thank Arceus Flint wasn't here; the Fire-type elite would have been rolling on the floor laughing by now if he caught a glimpse of Volkner's dumbfounded expression!
"The rest as you know is history." Jasmine concluded; unaware of Volkner's struggle to keep his blush swallowed down. "Every time I look at you, I know I'm safe wherever I go… You're my beaconing light, Volkner; that's all I wanted to say."
He stared at her; the light coming from the Prism Tower softened Jasmine's feature in the dark. It was times like this that puzzled him the most. How was it he was able to have her when there were countless others who probably suited her best? He found himself lucky to say the least—he was the chosen one to stand by her side.
Slowly, the Sinnoh Gym Leader wrapped one of his hands around Jasmine's, breaking the girl's trance on the Prism Tower. Jasmine was stunned for a few moments before she eased into a smile when she saw the look on his face, squeezing his hand tightly. He wasn't the sentimental type, but only Jasmine could coax an honest smile out of him when it mattered.
She once again leaned against him as Volkner wrapped his arm around her to hold her close, glancing up at the sky. Jasmine murmured. "I didn't mean to say all that, but the Prism Tower reminded me of lighthouses too…"
Volkner chuckled, finding her comparison of Prism Tower a strange coincidence to his own. Jasmine had definitely surprised him a lot tonight, but that was alright. It was one of the reasons why he loved her.