"Thank fucking Arceus..." My dry sigh barely escapes my lips as I see a nimbus glow...
"Thank fucking Arceus..." My dry sigh barely escapes my lips as I see a nimbus glow on the horizon, tell-tale signs of the merry light-pollution that a city provides. I can't feel my arms by this point. Amy's not heavy, but carrying her all the way out of Viridian forest in the early hours of the morning after not an hour of sleep is something really quite tiring.
I look to my left with a glum sigh, seeing Dev walk alongside me carrying the black-clad man over his shoulder without effort. I'm grateful to say the least that he swapped with me- that guy's actually damn heavy.
"Huh, a city." Dev grins, directing his next comment specifically at me. "That's nice. My arms are getting a little itchy."
"Shut up." I do manage a feeble grin at him though, shaking my head. He's sure as hell got stamina, my own arms are at breaking point it seems.
"Seriously, you owe me for this." He reminds me for the hundredth time, repositioning Jason on his shoulder.
"So he is heavy?" I tease, thinking he might be getting a bit shitty from carrying the guy all this way.
"Not heavy." Dev shakes his head. "But I'm scared as hell he's going to wake up."
"Scared?" I blink, looking Dev up and down searching for answers.
"Scary aura." Dev says eventually, shifting the man's body again. "VERY scary aura. It's all weird and black and... I just can't describe it." He pauses. "It's like having anal sex with a sleeping Rydon."
"You have to understand if I get the wrong idea from that..."
"It's all fun and fine, but if it wakes, you're going to be the one getting fucked."
I chuckle a little and shake my head. "That was terrible." I laugh, humour momentarily easing the weight in my arms. "There really isn't a way to describe it without referencing anal sex?"
"Yeah, well that's the feeling." He shrugs. "Seriously, this guy's a mess."
"This is nice." Jason decided finally, settling his shoulders back into the evening grass and letting them sink in. The turf was soft and spongy, lush and green; blades of grass enveloped his skin with a soft cool touch from all angles.
"It is." Beside him, a Lucario turned her head to him, smiling with immeasurable content held in her beautiful irises. Her back fell to lean against a gnarled oak tree and one leg was upraised, forming an arch beside her straight one. Jason felt a smile tug at his lips as her smile lit up with a pale light. Her eyes sparkled with lovely azure, glinting icily with a cool, peaceful shimmer touching her soul- far from the regular red. Her entire face was cloaked in a soft ethereal glow cast by the twilight heavens high above, speckled with stars galore, novae streaking and bursting from golden orange to purpled green across the rim of the world in the far distance, and above all: a mesmerising perplex of colour that was an aurora flexing and winding liberally across the deep sea of stars, singing serenely through the humming night breeze whistling through the blossom petals above and showering the three below in a flood of rose pink.
An oak tree adorned with blossom petals- wisdom and beauty combined into one. This was an obvious sign to Jason he was dreaming since such a thing was so unheard of in truth.
"This is beautiful..." He murmured, eyes unshaded and transfixed on the marvel unfolding across the heavens overhead. His own eyes shone emerald green, capturing the sight in a deeper tint that was his irises. One of his hands lay across his stomach lazily- bare and muscular, but warmed by an all-consuming warmth wrapping around his skin, comforting him. His other arm was wrapped around a smaller blue Pokémon, lying on his stomach nuzzling affectionately into his neck.
"Rio." He murred, overwhelmed with joy and nirvana as he cuddled into Jason forcefully and lovingly. Jason returned the favour with settled bliss, one hand slowly stroking the Riolu's furry head and back with a tender touch. "Riolu..."
"I know you do, buddy." Jason crooned, placing his other hand on the Pokémon's back and rubbing it warmly. "I love you too, son."
"I can't believe this..." The Lucario shuffled a bit closer to Jason, lying down beside him on her side so she faced him with her grin. "Dreams, huh?"
"This isn't a dream, Keiomi." Jason shook his head, smiling for once. "This is real."
"Real." Keiomi nodded, sharing in Jason's joy. "To think, all it took was sleep..."
"You will always be in my heart, Keiomi." Jason rolled onto his side, placing the Riolu between him and Keiomi and returning her smile. "You will always be in my dreams, wherever I go. However destroyed I am, we can be with one another here. I love you and our son more than anything in this world, and you will never leave my sights. I promise."
Warmth radiated between the three as Jason and Keiomi kissed, lips needing no introduction- already being familiar. They simply ignited an old spark, still shimmering as an ember. Between them the Riolu hugged both of them tight, smiling contently with both auras touching his and wrapped in such joy and bliss that they were together.
Beneath those silvery stars on that perfect night: Jason was complete.
But it was a chimera, and fantasies are only that...
"He's coming to." Jason figured that as the guy who chased after him. About six foot-four, just over maybe.
"Yay." Jason hadn't heard telepathic sarcasm in a while, it was almost welcoming. "Lets put bets on who he kills first."
"He's not killing anyone, Dev."
"We might get lucky..."
Jason properly awoke with a little grunt, stirring. He found himself staring at two silhouettes blotting out fluorescent lights from above, outlining the two. His eyes flashed instinctively, giving each of these strangers a short aura once-over.
"What?" His murmur barely passed his lips as he brought himself upright, once weak body suddenly exploding with strength again, shooting through him like an electric shock. "Where-?"
"Settle down." Jason's view ceased fuzzing finally, blurs settling in their spasming and focussing on a poster directly in front of the white bed he lay in. "You were out for a while." Jason turned to the voice, cocking his head curiously. The first thing he noticed was the hair, about as long as one could grow their hair as a male without ridicule. The guy looked amusingly like one of those anime characters- though this guy's plain black was far from the outlandish garish of colours one would see on TV. Second was the pommel of the rapier attached to his belt. The way he stood said it all; this guy had one hand on that thing 24/7, and therefore there was either something he was protecting or something sensitive he was hiding. His aura confirmed Jason's suspicions.
"Yeah. I guess I was." Jason stretched out of the bed quite calmly, loosing a long yawn as he did, then sat upright. "Jason." He held a hand to Ben, grinning a bit. It was only now he realised his shades were missing, but at a moment like this it didn't really matter.
Ben paused, freezing at the sight of the hand, but gathering his wits he shook it unsurely. "Well... that's nice, but we've already met. Yesterday." He added.
Jason's stare turned a little, a little confused. He closed his eyes tight for a moment. The room around him just seemed to silence and fall static in that moment as he recollected his memories. This was something he had to do occasionally.
"The Feraligatr..." He remembered, eyes opening slowly.
"Yeah. You had that machine gun and the grenade launcher."
"Yeah..." Jason raised a little grin and hung his head sheepishly to the side. "That didn't work out too well..."
"So you killed it, huh?" Jason swung his legs out from under the covers and over the edge of the bed, fixing Ben a curious look. "You aren't the type to run away like that... I can tell."
"Killed it?" Ben edged away just a little. "I just knocked it out." Jason's eyes narrowed just for a split second, but his expression rose again to one of little concern.
"That's probably okay." He shrugged. "I think a couple of the guys landed safely, they would have found it and killed it I guess." He kicked his legs out and flew of the bed, landing with a soft slap as his bandaged feet hit the tiled floor.
"What's the deal with that anyway?" Ben placed himself in a chair beside Jason's bed. Behind him Amy lay in a similar bed, covered up to the neck in white blankets and tucked in. "The big evil shadow Pokémon?"
"Well, they're big and evil, as you saw." Jason started with a shrug. "That's about it."
Ben raised an eyebrow, clearly not satisfied. "You jump out of a plane that explodes, land in a forest without pulling your chute- and we found it still packed in your bag, you start a random-ass firefight with a Feraligatr, and now I've got Dev telling me that you're a Lucario." Jason looked over his shoulder, following Ben's pointing finger to the Lucario standing behind him.
"Hey." Dev raised a paw and a grin in a somewhat awkward introduction.
Ben continued. "You expect me to buy the whole innocence act and believe you have no idea what's going on here?" He grunted. "Bullshit. What's this about?"
Jason's eyes narrowed as they returned to Ben, staring and mustering his most intense stare. "You have no idea what you're getting into." He hissed, eyes still focussed heavily on Ben, who didn't appear to even blink at Jason's menace. Jason just seemed different suddenly. That scary insane guy Ben had seen in the forest just wasn't this guy. The guy Ben met was scary. He was just naturally scary, it was just something that came to him effortlessly as anybody would breathe. But this person... this person was trying to be scary- and frankly he wasn't doing a very good job of it.
"Cut the shit." Ben snapped, recoiling Jason in surprise. "I was attacked by some big, black Feraligatr and I saved your ass to boot. Tell me what you know before I start to get pissed off."
Jason's eyes flickered uncertainly for a moment. Ben felt an inwards grin at a hint of fear glinting in Jason's red eyes- but then Jason blinked, and when he reopened his eyes, every inch of that fear deserted, and Ben was caught staring into those empty red pits.
Jason cocked his head with an amused grunt, a sort of cold curiosity occupying his expression. "That would be inadvisable." He stated, still staring. "Anger makes us do stupid things, stupid things can upset me- and you really don't want me angry."
Ben leaned back a bit in his chair, in reality trying to escape as far as he could from Jason without showing any fear. "Then I suggest we settle this civilly." He offered, imitating Jason's indifference. "Whatever business this is of yours, that thing attacked me. It's my business now and I have a right to know."
Jason stared for a little longer, then blinked. He sat back down on his bed with significantly less composure than a second before, clasping his fingers together on his knees and leaning forwards. "I'm a hunter." He said simply to begin. "I hunt down shadow Pokémon, and I kill them. Shadow Pokémon are evil, cold creatures who feel nothing but hatred and rage, and I'm trying to put a stop to them." He paused, looking to the wall for a few to gather his thoughts. "Have you seen the reports on the news? Pokémon attacking their owners- killing them, then running off?"
"I've seen a few." Ben nodded grimly. There had been a few disturbing cases on the nightly news he had picked up on. Pokémon disappear, Pokémon return, Pokémon kill. "I don't suppose team rocket's behind it?"
"I have no idea." Jason shook his head. "I'm just an agent. The boys up the top point and say "sick'em", and I kill them. I'm just an attack dog."
"The boys up the top?"
"The boys up the top." Jason nodded. "This is something I'm not sharing with you, but they're the ones with all the Intel on everything. They make the plans, I execute and execute."
"Whoa." Ben gulped, nodding slowly. "Sounds like a conspiracy or something."
Jason cocked his head, thinking about that. "Whoa... that does sound like a conspiracy..." Ben was alert suddenly, focussed on Jason again. His composure had dropped another few notches.
Ben nodded idly, sitting forwards in his chair now that he thought it was safe. "So... next question. I don't suppose you have a Lucario, do you?"
Jason bit his lip, looking sideways as he thought. "I'll answer that-" He started, a strange grin growing slightly on his face. "if you answer a question of mine..."
"Um... okay..." Ben shrugged. What harm could it do?
"Sweet." Jason stared hard at Ben, rubbing his chin a little in thought. "Do you have Suicune?"
"What?" Ben almost exploded, but he caught himself at the last possible moment.
"Suicune." Jason flattened his hand at a height of about five feet. "About yay high, blue, quadruped, a legendary Pokémon?" Ben's blank stare told him nothing. "No?" He shrugged. "I've never seen Suicune's aura before, but that aura in your ball just fascinated me and I guess I just made a guess by how it felt." He paused, unsure of whether to press on. "I've never seen it before."
"You can read aura?" Ben asked eventually.
"Yeah." Jason shrugged casually, as if it was something normal. "You could say my Lucario and I have a strong bond."
"Strong?" Both turned to Dev with his telepathic grunt. "That's an understatement. It's impossible for you to read another Pokémon's aura with your Lucario in its ball."
Jason grinned a bit at Dev, turning and throwing his legs over the other side of the bed to face him. "Do you see a pokéball on me anywhere?" Dev blinked a few times, confused. As his aura vision flashed briefly, it confirmed what Jason was suggesting.
"No auras... no ball."
"I don't have a Pokémon in a pokéball." Jason explained vaguely. "But yes-" He turned to see ben over his shoulder. "I have a Lucario."
"So where is it?" Jason turned back to Dev with a grin.
"I'm right here, silly." Dev 's head hit the wall behind him as he jumped back quickly.
"A very, very close connection." Jason explained, turning back to Ben. "It's a long story, I won't bore you with the details- but you still haven't answered my question."
"I did." Ben replied calmly, heart beating faster as Jason pressed into awkward territory.
"No, I believe you didn't." Jason smiled a playful grin. "You never gave me a straight answer."
"No." Ben answered levelly. "I don't-"
"Liar." Jason interrupted, shaking his head. "Liar, liar, liar. I can tell you're lying, I can feel it."
"Just tell him." Dev sighed, transmitting his message to Ben privately.
"Yeah, just tell me." Dev froze as Jason turned over his shoulder, still holding a cheeky grin. He made a grabbing motion. "Yoink."
"You... intercepted me..." Dev realised in horror. Jason caught onto his private telepathy. "How did you-"
"You're still a pup." Jason replied. "You haven't explored your own aura enough to keep your words private from me."
Dev turned to Ben, awestruck. "I swear to Arceus, that's a Lucario."
"I am." Jason shrugged and stood up, stretching with a yawn. "Keiomi." He held a hand across the bed to Dev, smiling warmly.
"I thought your name was Jason..." He backed up a bit, confused by this whole situation.
"Our name is Jason, his name is Jason, my name is Keiomi. Pleased to meet you." Dev took whoever's hand was outstretched to him and shook it unsurely.
"Okay... Keiomi..." He nodded cautiously in that way people would when speaking to circus freaks or insane people. "It's nice to meet you..."
"I'm totally sane, don't worry." Jason nodded as he released Dev's hand. "It's probably hard to believe I guess, but I am." Jason's creepy smile widened further.
"Do you want your glasses back?" Ben offered quickly, about sick of seeing the grin that daunted him so.
"Oh." It disappeared finally as Jason turned back to ben. "Yeah, that would be cool."
Hand already in pocket out of anticipation, Ben slipped the shades out and dropped them into Jason's palm. "They fell off as I was carrying you." He explained, trying to keep as calm as possible. He was anxious. Very anxious. Jason made him anxious the way he acted, he was like two totally different people.
Dev lowered his head into a short but meaningful cough at Ben's mention of "carrying."
"All right..." Ben muttered and rolled his eyes. "They fell of as Dev was carrying you." Dev's smile grew back with a nod.
"Huh, is that so?" Jason turned back to Dev as he slid his shades back on, fitting like a glove over his ears. "Aren't you a tough prick?" Dev grunted and shrugged, looking down again as Jason's attention put him too on edge. "Huh. Unfriendly much."
"You're just creepy." Ben said at length, following a few of awkward silence. Jason turned back to him with a curious incline of his head. Ben nodded in silent response, arms crossed and looking down in an attempt to mask his unease with uncaring confidence. "Seriously, what's your damage, man?" He looked up and was relieved not to find Jason's eyes boring into him furiously. "First you're scary badass with a machine gun, now you're just all... funny." Ben shrugged hopelessly. 'Make up your mind! I'd rather be talking to a scary badass than whatever the fuck you're changing between."
"Don't act tough. It gets you nowhere." Ben's gaze froze on Jason's shaded eyes. He did it again. His composure just jumped a mile high, and he was back to what Ben had seen yesterday. "You're in no position to make demands of me, so shut it."
"Can you blame me?" Ben fell back in his chair, subtly switching to the defensive. "Think about this from my position: Crazy guy jumps out of plane, shoots at a shadow Pokémon with a machine gun but gets knocked out, next thing he's speaking through telekinesis and he's bubbly and cheery- I just don't know how to react to you!" His arms fell to his sides in exasperation.
"Then don't." Jason offered monotonously. "I'll be going."
"Not yet-" Ben barely managed the courage to say that as Jason made a move for a door at the opposite side of the room. "Look, I want answers. Like I said, you've gotten me involved in whatever this is." Jason turned to ben slowly, staring in his unique scary way through his shades.
"The world is in danger." His voice came so low his words were almost a rasp. "It is all in danger, and I have to do everything I can to stop that danger. This doesn't concern you."
"Think about that." Ben countered sharply. "In case you didn't notice, I live in the world too, I think this concerns me."
"It concerns you, does it?" Jason grunted. "I don't care. This is something I am alone in. The less you know the better."
"I fought a shadow Pokémon." Ben answered calmly, feeling his position in his argument elevate by the second. "I don't know why it was like that, or why you want them dead, but I presume they really aren't friendly at all."
"Excellent observation, Sherlock. You're right." Jason crossed his arms and leaned against the bed behind him. "They are vicious, sadistic killing machines, and I'm going to kill them all. I'm going to find where they're coming from, and kill it too so you little trainers can sleep easy at night- any questions?"
Ben stared, mouthing something. "You're serious." He realised. "You're hunting these things down, and you're killing them."
"Better them than us."
"Trainers, Pokémon, people, us." Jason explained. "I kill shadow Pokémon or they kill people."
"They kill people....?"
"No. They bake them cakes and cookies and shower them in love." Jason answered calmly, his sarcasm almost going unnoticed. "What do you think?"
"So you kill them so they don't kill people?"
Jason sighed. "I thought we already went over this... yes. I kill them."
"Cool." Ben nodded slowly. "Can I come?"
"I'm sorry?" Jason almost stammered, but his voice held together.
"Dude, Pokémon are killing people." Ben stood slowly to face Jason at eye level. They were equal heights. "Like I'm going to sit around and do nothing while Pokémon kill people."
"There's nothing you can do." Jason decided quickly shaking his head. "This is my mission, it has nothing to do with you."
"You'd be dead if not for me." Jason and Ben maintained a tense stare, eyes of both parties still and unwavering in their challenge. "I can help. I want to help. If people are in danger, I'm going to do everything I can to save them."
"I remember you." Jason's words rose in pitch through his sentence. Whatever it was he did when he changed so suddenly, he did it. "You're Ben Raymond... that guy who killed the Scyther."
"That's me." Ben nodded, patting his rapier.
"He's that guy, Jason!"
"So?" Jason replied levelly, unimpressed.
"Don't be an ass, he saved us!"
"It doesn't matter."
"You're being an ass!" Keiomi snapped. "He's already helped us, let him come!"
"You're being stubborn."
Jason sighed, shutting his eyes in thought. In truth, Keiomi had far more say than he did. "If you want to help..." He reopened his eyes. "You can come. But I'm leaving in two days from now. If you want to help, you're on board. You can stand in as Shari."
Ben didn't even bother asking what "stand in as Shari" meant, nor did he care. The thrill of mystery and excitement overwhelmed him far too quickly. Shit, this is real. He realised with shock. I just agreed to follow an insane guy around and help him kill evil Pokémon? He blinked heavily. That's so intense... "Sounds like a plan." He agreed prematurely.
"But don't get in my way." Jason added. "I'm a lone wolf, that should be said. I don't play "teamwork", kapeesh?"
"Kapeesh." Ben nodded. He was clearly pushing it for this much, and he quitted while he was ahead.
"So let's see this Suicune of yours." Ben froze with the mention of Suicune. Jason ignored him and went for the door, and held the doorknob. "I'll hold the door so no one gets in." He turned around to face ben, nodding.
"I don't know..." Ben scratched his head nervously. "I usually keep her hidden."
"I'm trusting you, Ben." Ben wasn't sure if it was the mention of trust, or the use of his name, but Jason beat him. "So trust me. This is only going to work if we can trust each other."
Ben sighed letting his head fall to see his ball on his belt. "Yeah... that's only fair." He agreed, fingering the ball. He took it from his belt and held it in his right hand, rolling it in his grip. "She might be a little... odd. I'll warn you."
"Release." Jason instructed. With an obedient sigh, Ben complied, flicking the button on the front of the ball. The laser flashed a short distance and diverged, growing into a larger shape. A red body grew limbs, a head, and tails, and then shrank away into blue. "Very interesting."
Startling most of the room save Jason, Sumieri released an immediate, guttural growl upon release. She shrunk back towards Ben, eyes focussed on Jason before her.
"Whoah, settle Sumieri..." Ben backed up a bit, but Sumieri followed him backwards.
"Who are you?" Her eyes held fast on Jason, growl slipping between her bared teeth as she took a step between Ben and Jason. Jason was perhaps the only one who saw the purpose of this step as Sumieri made herself a barrier between the two, separating them with her body. She looked as if she were frozen through circling Ben, standing close by his legs.
"Jason." Jason fell to one knee before Sumieri, surprising all watching. He did that thing again, where he changed. "I am humbled by your presence, my goddess."
Sumieri recoiled sharply, growl ceasing in her throat as she closed her muzzle. Ben grunted as he watched. "Kiss ass." He murmured. Even he had never acted like that around Sumieri. Then again, he first found her young and it just seemed a bit... odd, bowing before something so small. Then he just grew accustomed to her, and the whole "humble" thing just wore off on him.
"Another human." Sumieri angled her head slightly, looking Jason up and down like she had Dev. "How curious."
"And this-" Ben moved one hand to point roughly at Jason. "Is Jason. He's also going to be... well, we're travelling with him."
"You are travelling with him." Ben's heart leapt, instantly making assumptions at what that meant. "I'm travelling with you." Ben let out an inwards sigh of relief. He had thought Sumieri was suddenly deserting him.
"Well, ain't this turning into a riot." Dev finally spoke up, drawing everybody's attention to him. He smirked under his brow as he leaned against his wall, arms cross and one leg bowed, foot against the wall. "We've got quite a crowd here, huh?" He looked up a little so everyone could see his eyes properly. "Suicune, a swordsman, a Lucario, a nurse-" He smirked at Jason now, much more confident suddenly. "-and whatever you are."
"I'm Jason." Jason replied with a short nod.
"I have no idea what you are." Dev admitted. "But I have a feeling we're going to end up speaking eventually."
"That is the way fate will likely take us." Jason affirmed. "But speaking of what- we shall see."
"We shall." Dev nodded, his aura receptors behind his head bobbing. "I'm sure we shall."
After a lot of time considering, Ben left the Pokémon centre with Cheri. Most of this time was spent pondering, but in the end he decided to leave Sumieri behind, out of her ball in the room with Dev, Jason and a sleeping Amy. He handed Sumieri's ball to Dev for safekeeping, and in case anything went awry.
To say the least, Ben was impressed by Cheri's ability. Just south of pewter city he found flocks of Pidgeys hopping around in the grass, where he tested her mettle. Knowing Brock used rock Pokémon, Ben limited their attacks to non-electric attacks, since such would be especially effective against the flying types. He wanted to test her power, totally unmodified, therefore he resorted to attacks such as bite and tackle to dispatch the poor bird Pokémon- but of course left them alive. Pokémon had remarkable healing abilities, and those Pidgey would be fit and able in a day or so.
He worked in a few slams near the end of their training session. It took Cheri a while to get used to attacking with her tail, adjusting to the length of it and how to spin as she swung it, but she got the hang of it in the end.
The day was growing late as Ben and Cheri returned to Pewter. Above them the skies lit up a golden orange, clouds glowing in the sunset hue. On the horizon a few clouds were painted a blue-black colour, contrasting to the oranges and reds streaking across.
Ben's hand slipped on the doorknob to the room in the Pokémon centre as he tried to open it. Locked. "Dev!" He leaned close and banged a fist on the door, shaking it. "It's Ben." He heard an eventual click as the bolt slid away, then the door swung inwards slowly about six inches. Dev stood in the gap, just checking Ben out. for a second and then stepping aside for him to enter. He shut the door and locked it after Ben and Cheri.
Jason sat on his bed, shades off and staring. At the other end of his gaze, Sumieri sat on the floor, staring back. Red eyes on red eyes, but not as much tension between the two as Ben immediately anticipated.
"They've been like that for an hour." Amy, now awake, sighed as she looked between the two. "No moving, no speaking... just staring."
"You're filled in already?" Ben took a place leaning against the door as Dev returned to the same wall he was at when Ben left.
"I'm filled in..." Amy nodded slowly. "But I'm not sure if I should believe anything. It's all... surreal."
"Hello, Ben." Ben turned to Sumieri, mouth open a fraction unsurely. "I trust your training was rewarding?"
"Yeah." Ben nodded slowly at first, but then more quickly. "Yeah, it was actually. Thanks for asking." He lifted himself off his wall and moved to Sumieri's side, crouching at half a metre's distance. "Are you okay?" He asked, a little concerned at her stillness.
"I am well." She nodded. She took her gaze of Jason and set it on Ben. "And you?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." He nodded, standing up. Sometimes he was a little worried about her...
"The nurse knocked on the door earlier." Jason spoke up finally, still staring at the space of air where Sumieri was a moment before. "Your friend and she worked something out. There's a room upstairs waiting for us. Single with bathroom. Four beds. She's asked us to be out of here by six." Jason paused, giving Ben time to take this in. "Now's five-forty."
"How do you know that?" Ben looked all around, searching for a clock.
"I'm counting." Ben fixed his gaze on Jason- who gave no indication of sarcasm. With all that was going on, the concept that Jason was counting every second as It passed suddenly wasn't so strange to Ben.
"I guess we better get moving then." Ben sighed. He held his hand out to Dev, and the Lucario placed a ball in his hand. Ben returned Sumieri for the moment, just while they transitioned. Amy and Dev were first out the door, Amy leading since she knew where to go. Ben left next with Cheri, and Jason trailed after.
"She's a mess." Ben looked over his shoulder, unsure if he just heard something.
"I'm sorry?" He asked, eyes on Jason who followed at a similar pace.
"Your Suicune. She's a mess."
"Oh? How so?"
"Her mind is messed up." Jason shifted in that instance, demeanour shifting down. "She's afraid, sad, confused... it's sad really."
"Afraid? Afraid of what?" Ben slowed a little, letting the others go one ahead. "She's confused?"
"I don't think she would be comfortable with me telling you." Jason shook his head. "but you should talk to her. She's a wreck- I can tell by her aura. You should sit down with her and have a talk."
"I didn't know you were a relationship councillor." Ben said calmly.
"You don't have to snap at me." Jason frowned, crossing his arms. "I'm just trying to help."
"All right." Ben stopped in the corridor and turned around, arms crossed and imitating Jason. "What are you? You just keep changing back and forwards. First you're calm and scary, then like this. What is with you? You've got to let me know what I'm dealing with if we're going to get along."
"I'm different people." He sighed. "There's a few of me in my head."
"Like multiple personalities.?" Jason nodded. "So there are two people in your head?"
Jason looked to his fingers twiddling them a little in thought. "More like... one and two-thirds."
"One and two-thirds people in your head?" Ben raised an eyebrow. "So... the other person is incomplete or something? Like, part dead?"
"Let's not talk about it..." Jason's head fell, Ben's mention of "dead" catching on him. "Not now...please... it's..." He sniffed, fists clenching as memories stirred "I lost my son that day..." This was why Jason didn't let Keiomi take control so much. Whereas he was strong, Keiomi was a little soft.
"Oh..." Ben recoiled a bit at Jason's next sniff, but his nature got the better of him. "Hey... I'm sorry man..." He added dumbly, moving forwards again. "Hey." He placed one hand on Jason's shoulder. "Are you okay?"
"I'm okay." He murmured, brushing Ben's hand aside- not rejecting his touch, but rather... easing it away for the time being. "Let's go."
Ben dismissed Jason's sudden change and followed after where he saw Amy go. Passing their room he heard Amy call to him, and he backtracked and went through with Jason and Cheri. He stepped aside as Jason walked in and locked the door after him.
Dev looked up as Jason paused just past the doorway, staring down. He stood up, lifting himself off his bunk and began towards him, eyes still like in a trance.
"Dev...?" Ben murmured, curious as Dev made a beeline for Jason.
"Hey," Jason looked up as Dev neared him, "are you okay?" The eyes of the room fell on Dev and Jason as their silence enveloped everybody suddenly. Something drew their eyes to the two as they stared at one another.
Moving as one, they stepped towards one another, arms opening wide- and they hugged. Ben moved off his wall and half a step towards the two, mouth dropping halfway as he watched the two.
"It's okay man..." Dev patted Jason's back a couple of times. "It's okay..."
Ben didn't know why, but he dropped Sumieri's ball beside him as he watched, releasing her.
"This is strange." Came immediately as she appeared, also watching.
"What are they doing?" Amy sidled around the two towards Ben, eyes unable to leave them.
"I don't know." Ben whispered. "Jason was upset in the hallway... he said something about multiple personalities, then he was all sad."
"Multiple personalities..." Amy nodded a little. "That would explain it..."
"Huh?" Ben managed to focus on Amy now. "What do you mean?"
"When I woke up..." Amy started, pausing as she tried to remember. "Dev and that guy were talking, and I mean talking. I've never seen a guy who can keep a conversation up with Dev for so long, but they were smiling and chatting like-" She shook her head. "I just couldn't believe it when he suddenly went silent and began staring at... at your Suicune." She stopped, leaving the two of them hanging in an accusing silence.
Ben didn't need to see Amy's expression to tell what she was thinking. "I'm sorry, but I didn't trust you enough at the time." He sighed. "Dev only found out on accident. If I had it my way, the only person who would know about her would be me."
Amy nodded grimly. "So who knows?"
"You. Me... Dev and Jason..." He paused, thinking. "The only others are my mum... and my dad..."
He was wrong about that, but that's a side arc I haven't reached yet.
"Thanks..." Jason sniffed a little, arms still holding Dev rather tightly, but he ignored the twinge of pain, rather trying to avoid Jason from impaling himself on his chest spike. "It's... I can't..."
"Then don't." Dev replied as the two of them closed their eyes. "We all have parts of our past we would rather forget- I sure do."
"Thanks..." Jason opened his eyes, lifting his head off Dev's shoulder, a few feet lower than his. "It's... it's good to have someone who can understand."
"I wouldn't know, to be honest." Dev admitted shyly. "It's something I don't tell people..."
"Well, if you ever feel the desire to share-" Jason stepped back from dev. "I'm glad to return the favour."
"I'll remember that." Dev nodded, sharing a brief smile with Jason as they stood at a distance.
"Hey, there's a shower in that bathroom isn't there?" Jason asked, turning to Amy.
"Yes, there should be." She nodded, speaking monotonously. She was still a little edgy about this guy.
"Having a shower!" Jason called loudly, setting off for a door at the end of the room with a grin. The rest of the group watched curiously as he closed the door behind him, then all converged quickly in the centre of the room.
"I like him." Dev chirped up, grinning warmly.
"Seriously?" Ben gave him a confused glance. "He kinda creeps me out still, but I'm willing to give him a chance."
"I don't know..." The others turned their heads on Amy now. She looked a little irked still, watching the door Jason had left through. "He's weird, and from what I hear- dangerous."
"He is." The heads were on Dev. He nodded to confirm his statement. "We had a chat while you were gone, Ben. He shared a little with me about himself, and it's clear he's dangerous to all of us if we fuck around."
"Fuck around?" Ben bit his lip as he glanced at the door. "That's promising."
"He has a delicate-" Dev paused, deciding delicate wasn't the best word, "unstable mind-set. It ranges from what we just saw then, stable and happy, to being extremely volatile. He told me if he appears volatile we should steer well clear of him."
"So he's insane?" Amy's jaw dropped. "He's a psychopath?"
"Part of him." Dev shrugged. "Even I don't understand fully, but he's just... random. Unpredictable, but as long as we're "careful around him" as he says, we should be alright."
"Fucking brilliant." Ben sighed. "This gets better and better by the minute..."
"You certainly have a talent for picking our company." Ben dropped his gaze to Sumieri beside him.
"Hey! Shut up." He nudged her with his knee, his own playful smile forming suddenly, growing warm. However, Sumieri's face dropped as soon as "up" landed on her ears.
"I apologise." She slunk back quickly, to everybody' surprise. She didn't manage to fully stifle a whimper, and just a sharp sound emerged before she could silence herself.
"Whoa..." Ben took a step towards her warily. "Sumieri, don't-" She turned and walked away hurriedly to a corner of the room, ignoring Ben. The room fell silent and watched her go, various amounts of shock and concern spread amongst them all. They looked to one another for support- prominently Ben with his immediate pang of guilt. He searched for something in Dev and Amy, but each shook their head and shrugged. Even Cheri, sitting on a bed behind the two, shook her head. Ben was in this situation alone. "I'm going." He sighed under the accusing glares of everybody else, and made a step towards Sumieri in her corner where she had curled up on the ground.
"Hey, Sumieri..." Sumieri didn't raise her head as Ben sat cross-legged. Her back was to him, confining herself to her corner and hiding her head from view. "I'm sorry... I didn't mean that..." He apologise sincerely. "I was just joking around, I didn't mean to upset you."
Sumieri just stirred a little, shifting her positioning a little, but not responding.
"Please..." Ben chanced a hand on her shoulder. She still didn't react. "...talk to me... please..."
"Why would you want to talk to me?" She murmured. "For what purpose?"
"I... I'm sorry... I just wanted to say that."
"Your apology is accepted... whatever it is for." She added. "But you have not wronged me... so why must you apologise?"
"I guess I kind of snapped at you." Ben sighed. "I've snapped a few times when I shouldn't have. I guess you just... you get to me sometimes."
"I know I do..." She sniffed, alarming Ben. "I'm sorry... I know my words anger you."
"No..." Ben ran his hand a little over Sumieri's shoulder, tousling her fur. "They don't, it's just... I don't understand you, and that annoys me."
Sumieri finally raised her head, looking over her body at Ben curiously. "You are annoyed that you do not understand me?"
"Well, I guess I've always thought... we'd be closer than this." Ben glanced across at A TV as it flashed on. Amy sat on a bed with Dev beside her, remote in her hand. He turned back to his Pokémon. "I mean, I've had you with me for longer than your mother did, and I still know so little about you, we're so distant..."
"And that is a bad thing?" Sumieri blinked disbelievingly. "Distance is something you don't like?"
"Of course I don't like distance..." Ben stroked her a little more, rolling a little strand of violet hair between his thumb and forefinger. "I want to be close to you... but it's just so weird. I don't know anything about you... it's so awkward, you never talk to me."
"I didn't think you liked talking to me."
"What?" Ben recoiled at the accusation. "No, I like talking to you- why would you think that?"
"You always silence me when I speak..." Ben froze as he heard something chill him. A sob, a sniff, the whimper of tears. "I thought you didn't want to talk to me..."
"I do want to talk to you..." He reassured her, stroking longer strokes now that he was feeling safer doing so. She was definitely not going to snap at him like this. Really, she never had, and Ben was beginning to wonder if she ever would have... "I do. I want to talk to you..."
They both fell into silence, eyes dropping from each other's gaze feeling confused. Ben happened to turn his gaze on the TV just to occupy the moment of silence until one of them worked up the nerve to say something else.
On the screen, he saw a couple of humans, standing in the rain underneath an umbrella shared between them. At their feet a Vaporeon stood by the man's legs, and a Leafeon by the woman's. And then they kissed. The man wrapped his arms around the woman still holding his umbrella, and they melted into each other in one tender, loving kiss. At their feet, their Pokémon seemingly felt the same, both moving forwards to lock muzzles in their own display of love.
Ben almost forgot Sumieri was there, watching too. "Affection." She said simply, looking for any way to spark a conversation now.
"Yeah..." Ben drawled off as he watched. "Sumieri, I think that's a little more than affection..."
"Oh? How so?" Ben turned his confused gaze to Sumieri, now uncurled and lying beside him, watching the kiss on TV.
"Well, that's what comes after affection. That's love."
"It looks like affection to me." She shrugged as she watched alongside Ben. "But then again, what would I know of affection? Such is foreign to me."
Ben stifled an outburst and swung his shocked gaze to Sumieri. She just went too far with that, and he could swear he saw her flash him an accusing glance. "I'm sorry?" Sumieri shuffled away quickly, looking afraid suddenly. Her eyes were wide, trembling and staring at Ben. "How can you say you know nothing of affection?" His tone eased on that, softening as he slid towards her slowly. "How can you say that?"
"Well... it's true." Sumieri dared, remembering what Ben and her had just talked about. This was clearly a conversation, and she wanted it to continue. "I've never felt affection."
Ben shook his head slowly, confusion masking his outrage. "Then what was that night?" He asked coldly, fixing Sumieri paralyzed with his stare. "That night we first met? I lay with you in my bed all night and took care of you and I stroked you- what do you call that?"
"You treated me no differently to my mother did." Sumieri shrugged, feeling confident in her argument.
"Yeah, and how did your mother treat you?" Amy and Dev threw each other quick glances, and between them decided it would be best to leave the room. Amy switched the TV off with a button and crept towards the front door as Ben and Sumieri continued.
"Just... like she should." Sumieri shrugged. She didn't understand what Ben was getting at.
"Affectionately." Ben stated.
"Affectionately..." Sumieri rolled the word on her lips, like testing the sound of it. "No. Not affectionately. Why should she treat me affectionately?"
"You're her daughter." Ben answered with a "no-shit" look.
"Yes, I am." Sumieri shot back much more confidently. "But I stayed with her for not a month- what could I have possibly done to deserve her affection? What could I have done to give her reason to treat me affectionately?"
"You're her daughter." Ben repeated with a dumbfounded stare. "Mothers naturally feel affection for their daughters..."
"So you're telling me my mother was affectionate towards me?"
"Yes." Ben nodded, most of his mind occupied with speaking and the rest left in a confused jumble at the back somewhere, trying to piece together what Sumieri was telling him. "And I treated you affectionately on that night because you were scared- I was trying to make you feel better. Safe."
"That was affection?" Her eyes glinted with a strange sparkle for a moment.
"What did you think it was?" Ben asked slowly.
"Just..." She shook her head quickly. "I don't know... I had always been treated that way, it was no different to how I had been treated all along... it seemed normal."
"That was normal for you?" Ben's voice shook a little. "You were used to being coddled and hugged and... all that?"
"I was..." Sumieri nodded. "Until you saved me..." Something in Ben's heart leapt in triumphant victory at the mention of "saved". She realised what he did for her, she admitted it. "After you saved me... it all changed... you didn't treat me like that... I don't know why..."
A strange, eerie cold crept up Ben's spine at that. His mouth opened to say something, but it froze on his lips. "I just treated you normally..." He defended weakly. "I... I didn't think I should do that to you every night. I thought you wanted space."
"Space is empty..." Sumieri murmured. "Vast and lonely. I don't like space... it makes my heart grow cold."
"I was isolating you." Ben realised. His life flipped around in that instance. "These months I've had you... I thought I was giving you space... I was isolating you..." He realised something else. That cold gripping him lifted, and a great surge of warmth rushed through him from the ground up, filling him with an inexplicable joy. "You want attention."
"I do..." She sniffed, finally looking up at him in the eyes. Her muzzle was twisted into a look of hurt and sadness. It looked so... terrible on her, so unnatural. Such a beautiful creature warped by this painful look, it tore Ben up inside. "But you ignore me so..." She accused quietly, dropping her gaze away. "You treat me so coldly..."
"I didn't mean to, please, I'm sorry..." Ben took her muzzle gently in his hands, casting aside all concern, and lifted her gaze to meet his. "You just acted so coldly to me... I thought you didn't like me, so I didn't talk to you... I thought I would offend you."
"You acted so coldly to me, I thought you didn't like me, so I didn't talk to you..." Sumieri repeated perfectly, but in her own tone with her own sincere feel. "...I thought I would offend you."
"You're kidding..." Ben's mouth fell wide. "We've just been ignoring each other like this... how did this happen...?"
"I thought you hated me, Ben." Sumieri sniffed, tearing up a little once more.
"No..." Ben moved forwards and placed a finger under Sumieri's eye, and wiped her fur gently. "I've never hated you... never... I just thought you were cold..."
"You left me so alone." She retorted quietly. "You left me cold, Ben. You left me without your touch, or your attention I've craved for so long. I like you, I really like you, but you never showed that feeling back to me..."
Ben never was one for that metaphysical "heart" stuff but he swore he felt a sudden surge in his chest, like a twang of pain and guilt. He leaned forwards and wrapped his arms around Sumieri's neck, hugging her tightly into him as she cried. She buried her head into his stomach, pressing into him forcefully as her tears soaked his shirt beneath. Ben played his fingers on the back of her neck gently, stroking and petting her as he whispered to her. "It's okay...." He told her. "It's okay Sumieri... let it tall out..."
"Please..." She sobbed. "I need to know something..."
"Go." Ben nodded.
"If you truly do not hate me... why do you torment me?"
"You tormented me..." her head hangs again, with a shudder. "You would torment me of visions of my death... you would ask "what if I didn't save you?" You would plague me with... visions..." with another soft sniff, and a soft sound like a tiny cough, I feel the tears coming on once more.
"Sumieri..." I squeeze her lightly, pressing my head into her fur, now feeling thinner and bristlier somehow "I'm... I'm sorry..." I stutter as the extent of my questioning comes to light. All my innocent attempts to get a shred of gratitude from her were tormenting her...
"...I would see him in my dreams..." She sobs into me, her sweet voice choked with sorrow. "The Dragonite... He would hit me, and hit me and attack me... I would scream for you Ben... I would scream out and beg and plead for you to help me as he struck me... but you wouldn't come... you wouldn't save me... and as I died... as the terrible light filled my vision... I would feel you near me... "Why Ben?" I ask you with my dying breaths... "Why didn't you save me..?" And you would say, cold as ice: "I hate you..." "
Gripped by her vision, something arises in me. I put her through all of that... I made her think those things... I killed her in her sleep; I let her die over and over... "Sumieri..." I tighten my grip on her neck; I feel my own eyes begin to flood with tears in my anguish. "I'm so, so sorry..." That's all I can think to say. "I'm sorry..." I repeat. Both of us crying... together... "I will save you..." I say at length, regaining some self-control in my fit of snivelling. I brush my hand through her velvety hair, twirling it and rubbing my hand across her back as I do so, feeling those bristly hairs ease their tension, and once again fall back to the wet, soft feel that I have come to love so much. "Wherever you need saving, I will save you..." I whisper now, things suddenly becoming more sincere and serious as I echo her last confession in my own way.
"I love you, Ben." Her words hang in the air like an all-consuming echo. Suddenly, her and I are the sole things in the world.
"I love you, Ben." She paws at my shoulder weakly, still crying. "I do... you're the only thing I have in my life... my mother is gone, no possessions... you are everything to me..."
She's done it. I can't believe she's done it. The ice queen herself has just officially melted my heart.
She pulls back from me, by the sparkle in her eyes, her glamorous, scarlet eyes, I can tell that last word struck with her. "Do you love me?"
"I do." I nod, gripped in a wonderful trance by her eyes.
"I love you." She says immediately after my answer, nudging my shoulder with her muzzle. "Does this mean... I can show you affection?"
"It does." I say with a nod. "It means we can both show each other affection." Everything changes in that instant. The shivering, shaking Suicune before me, legs trembling and jittering in fear and confusion and so many other thoughts, shears off all of that anxiety in a second. Her composure comes crashing back like it was just dropped from the sky, and she is standing again.
And for the first time I've ever seen, for the first time in her short, crazy life, Sumieri smiles. That look suits her so perfectly, the way her muzzle curves up so naturally, it looks so right... it looks so wondrous. Everything else ceases for a moment. Her mane billowing in a still current is the sole piece of animation in my sights, no sound occupying this place save the pounding of my heart in my ears.
Sumieri makes a gliding step forwards, and she places a paw on my shoulder, pushing me gently onto my back. She walks over me and lays down, pressing her lush, furry chest down onto my body and holding me under her. She doesn't need to though- her eyes have me hanging immobile in a state of bliss, entranced, I have fallen in her natural graze so deeply I can't do a thing as she moves onto me, and we kiss.
My eyes drift shut on their own as her tongue presses my lips open, slipping between them as hers touch on mine. The smooth, cool feeling of her tongue curling up the inside of my cheek, the warm yet cool sensation of her coat on my skin and body as she holds me down- that feeling alone takes over all of my other senses. I feel my skin everywhere dampen; it feels like a giant wave is crashing and rolling over my entire body. It's like jets of water, gentle and soothing on every pore as they wash all over, wrapping me in one giant current of warmth, twisting and coiling around me all over as we kiss. The most sensational feeling, I feel myself wrapped in the embrace of the sea itself, its tranquil, tremendous power folding and twining around my being even on the inside. I feel it all through, not just on my skin but my soul. Every little thing eases, every little doubt and regret and worry is washed away by the great flood as it consumes me, leaving me, just for this moment, pure of anything that isn't bliss or love.
Then it grips me. The currents swirling all around through my body and souk turn solid, suddenly ropes, and they tighten. I loose a shocked grunt into Sumieri's mouth, but her body swaying left-to-right and brushing across mine eases me back into my binds, fearless and calm... peaceful as they tighten around me and bind me. Ropes of the sea itself, it's fixing me in place and wrapping and coiling around me all over.
It's alive. There's something flooding through my soul, and it's alive. "Sleep..." It whispers, voice flowing like Sumieri's, rolling like a foaming, sparkling wave through me. "Sleep now... with me... with us... with you... sleep Ben... sleep and let us lie with you..."
Ben and Sumieri simultaneously dropped into sleep, both shrouded in pure bliss and nirvana, despite a radiating menace standing arms-crossed at the bathroom door, red eyes fixed hatefully through shades.
"Jason, don't feel like that..."
"That should be us..." He murmured, voice heavy with fury and uncontained rage, yet monotonous still. "That should be you and i..." His teeth gritted, fangs drawing blood from his lip.
"...I know Jason... I know, but you can't hold resentment to them. It's not their fault what happened. They love each other, so please- stop feeling like that towards them."
"QUIET! YOU KNOW NOTHING YOU STUPID BITCH!"
The voice inside Jason's head drew away. Not upset and crying as one might expect, but rather with an exasperated sigh.
"I sometimes doubt there is any of you left, Jason..."
Fuck, I've had that bit with Ben and Sumieri on my hard drive ever since... chapter one? Though I rewrote it a little.
Congratulations. The shit has hit the fan. (Well, not really...)
Next up will be Science and Religion part (... um... fuck what is it? *counts* 7?)
And Ben's in for one hell of an awakening...
So that's all done. Hope you enjoyed, as usual. Cyber cookies for comments. And not the creepy kind that track your movements everywhere... the kind that are theoretically tasty (But only theoretically. Biting your monitor will not accomplish anything).