Disclaimer: All Pokémon names, locations, prevalent world characters, gyms, etcetera, are copyright to Nintendo, Game Freak, and a lot of other people. Original characters are of my own creation. If anyone wants to use them in their own work, please ask first.
Author's Notes: So, I recently realized that I also really like Jolteon. Scratch that. I like all the Eeveelutions. ^.^ Anyways, this story has its origins in a debate I had with a couple friends of mine. I'd definitely like to point out that I do not deserve all the credit for this story. Drakenguard42 and AddictedToMusic, you guys put as much into this as I did, maybe more. I was just the one who turned it into a story and posted it. Thanks to both of you! So, again, I ask that any and all readers be brutally honest. Tell me what you think. I like having my ego stroked just as much as I enjoy receiving constructive criticism. No, I don't plan on this particular story being more than a one part. Anyone who asks obviously didn't read this...
"Use thunderbolt!" I cried out to Zap, my Jolteon. She replied with a small nod and sent an arc of electricity into her weakened opponent, a Typhlosion. While not as effective as it had been yesterday, directed at a Croconaw, the attack was enough to take the fire type out of the fight.
"Jolteon," she said, collapsing to her stomach. I pulled out her Pokéball, planning to put her back for the walk back to the Pokécenter. As I walked up to her, though, I decided against it. I returned the lone Pokéball to where I clipped it to my belt.
"Great job out there, Zap," I said as I squatted down to scratch her ears. She didn't stir, so I gathered her in my arms to carry her, as I had the day we began our journey together. We had met only the day before we set off, she an Eevee and me having just turned 14. That was 4 years ago, and we were still together.
"Jolt," she muttered as she squirmed out of my arms, dropping to the ground. She stood up weakly and pointed her nose at her ball, signaling she wanted to travel in stasis.
"Zap, I was hoping to talk to you about something," I protested, but she refused to change her mind. She shook her head once more, before staring at her ball. "All right, but later, I want to talk."
Her ears drooped slightly, in what appeared to be fatigue, but also had a small hint of... shame? ... sorrow? I pulled her ball out once more and recalled her, replacing the now occupied Pokéball to my belt.
What could she be sad about? I wondered. She had just beaten a much more experienced Pokémon, after facing an Arcnine and a Ninetales only minutes before. She should be proud! Maybe it's got something to do with what I want to ask her later...
I walked up to my opponent, extending my hand. He shook it, but I thought I heard him mumbling something about Eeveelutions being overrated. Continuing along the path I had been following until my encounter with the trainer, I gazed up at the sky, noting the failing light.
At least I'm almost to Ecruteak, I thought with a deep sigh. I adjusted the backpack I wore and quickened my pace, wanting to get a free room at the Pokécenter before they were all taken for the night.
* * *
By the time the Pokécenter came into view, it had already grown quite dark. There were no stars visible, as clouds also began to form overhead on the walk into town. Just as I strode through the double doors, I heard the pattering of raindrops beginning to splash the ground.
Wow, I don't think that I could've timed that better, I thought thankfully. I had spoken too soon.
"I'm terribly sorry, but all of our rooms are taken for the night," I heard the Nurse Joy explain. "I can heal your Pokémon, if you require, though."
I was almost always happy to hear the ever-cheerful voice of a Nurse Joy, but I simply couldn't manage a smile this. Even the sound of the rain, one I had always enjoyed listening to, seemed to mock me.
"Well, I'll take what I can get," I replied dryly. If Nurse Joy heard the tension in my voice, she didn't show it. I handed her Zap's ball. "Thanks."
Just where exactly are we going to camp out tonight? I wondered sullenly. I turned to face the window, looking outside.
It wasn't as if we weren't prepared to sleep outside. Quite the opposite, in fact. The tent I carried in my backpack was waterproof and my sleeping bag was warm, especially with Zap snuggling against or even sometimes inside it.
Maybe that was the problem. She wouldn't sleep outside of her ball anymore. She hardly spent any free time outside of it anymore, come to think of it. I still didn't know why, though. She had only been acting this way for the past month or two.
It wasn't just that, either. Not only did she seem to spend less time outside of her ball, the time she did, Zap was different. She had always been timid, but not as much as recently. She hardly ever looked me in the eyes anymore, and I was the only person that she ever did in the first place. Granted, if she was ashamed of something, then she wouldn't look me in the eyes either, but she usually got passed that in a day or two.
She was always quiet, but if she wanted something, she would say something to get my attention, even if it was only a small word or two. Recently, she hadn't been talking to me unless it was absolutely necessary, though. Not that I could understand her, but it was nice to hear her voice. It let me know she was still there with me.
When she did travel outside of her ball, she was always either farther ahead of me, not letting me catch up to walk with her, or falling behind, not willing to keep up with me. It seemed like she was purposefully avoiding me. Before she started changing her behavior, Zap had always been right on my heels, hiding from many things, but right there in case I needed her. I also missed her playful attitude when no one was around. When the routes were empty of all others, she would always open up a bit, lightly nipping at my heels and then running off to have me chase her in a game of tag.
I thought back to how she had evolved, and how I got the idea of what she was going to evolve into. This was three years ago, when she was still an Eevee...
* * *
We had gone into a Pokémart to get some supplies, and we walked by the evolution stones. She hadn't known what they were for, but for some reason, she had seemed so interested in the yellow electric stone.
A month later, without her knowing, I purchased one at another store. That night, before we went to bed, I showed her what I had bought for her. Again, she seemed very enthralled in the stone, not just awed by its beauty. I explained to her what it was for. I told her that she was ready to evolve, and could do so by focusing on the power within the electric stone.
I also made sure she knew that she didn't have to use this stone if she wanted to evolve differently. She shook her head, smiling madly at me.
"Vee!" she exclaimed happily, and then turned her attention back to the evolution stone. Time seemed to slow down as the air around her began to grow... heavier? Her focus on the stone intensified.
Suddenly, her eyes widened as she yipped loudly, bright white light enveloping her whole body. I heard her begin to howl and scream with pain as her body changed. The light was painfully bright, but I was able to find her and held her tightly, whispering encouragement to her.
After a few minutes, I noticed that her screams were different. They weren't screams of agony so much as cries of a struggle being slowly brought to a triumphant end. Her voice sounded stronger, more feral. I could still hear the pain lacing her yells, but now there was more determination in the sound. I also noticed that her shape was changing. Her short, soft fur was growing longer, rougher, and spikier. Her ears widened slightly in the middle, while still tapering to a point. She grew leaner, her legs lengthening, and her body becoming more toned. Overall, her size and length increased as well.
As I held her, my arms began to prickle all over, like I was being shocked by a million small zaps of static electricity. I didn't feel pain, just a strong tingling sensation. The light began to die down, as did her cries, which were now much more mature. I was still hugging her tightly to my chest, my eyes streaming tears, as I didn't enjoy knowing she was going through such pain. Her howls had completely stopped, being replaced by an exhausted panting. I was still sobbing gently when I heard her voice speak up again. This time, there was definitely an apparent difference!
"Jolteon," she calmly stated, looking up into my eyes. She was now covered completely with yellow fur, save the spiky mane of white. She smiled at me, giving me a small lick on my cheek. Her head snuggled down against the crook of my arm, her exhaustion claiming her for the night. Still feeling all tingly, a single word came to mind, and I knew what I would name her. I carried her to my bed and fell asleep soon after, still cradling her in my arms.
* * *
Arceus, I never want to hear her scream like that again, I thought. I never enjoyed having my best friend undergo pain for me. That included battles, too. She seemed to be okay with them, quite competent even, but I was still scared of injuries.
Despite her shyness, she had always been there for me. During times we were broke, or running from bullies, or even that time we took on a whole group of Rocket grunts trying to take some girl's Chikorita.
And when I stood next to my parents' graves, their caskets being lowered into the ground, I thought sadly. Two years ago... Has it already been that long?
I shook my head, determined not to focus on the memory of their death. It wouldn't bring them back, and I didn't want to remember them out of sadness.
Zap and I were always there for each other. We always knew that both of us had to deal with the same crap that life threw at us. Knowing we weren't alone made it easier. And even during the times that only one of us was directly affected, the other was right there to help ease the pain.
When I broke up with Janet, the girl from Goldenrod I had been dating for about a year, I was crushed. It also didn't help to find out that she had been cheating for the last three months. Zap, the best and only true friend I had, was there to help take my mind off of Janet.
When Zap was evolving, I was there, holding her while she screamed in the agony she felt by her sudden changes. Though I was embarrassed once I knew what was going on, I had taken her to the Day Care Center to allow her to calm her heat, once she was a Jolteon. She always made sure that she let me know when we needed to start traveling there when the time came every few months.
Wait a minute...That got me thinking. She had just had her last heat a month ago, and had already begun acting strangely by that time. Maybe her behavior has to do with...
I almost tripped over my own legs turning so fast to sprint back to the main desk.
"Nurse Joy, can you perform a check-up on Zap?" I asked hopefully. "A female-specific check-up? She was recently having her heat, so..."
My face flushed a bit as I asked Nurse Joy, but I was more than willing to deal with a little embarrassment. Anything was worth it as long as I made sure that I took proper care of Zap.
"Of course," came the expected response. "Were you expecting her to bear an egg?"
"I don't know, but she's been acting strange lately, and it's the only possible explanation I can think of."
"I'll take a look," Nurse Joy promised.
A few minutes later, the Rejuvinator beeped, signaling that my team of one had been restored to full health. Nurse Joy took the Pokéball and what appeared to be a TM into a back room. I waited outside, curious as to what the mysterious item was used for.
Only one minute later, she returned with both the ball and the item.
"The scanner reads only the one Pokémon in this ball, so that means that your Jolteon has yet to become a mother," Nurse Joy said, lifting up the unknown object and placing Zap's ball in my hands. "But, she is perfectly healthy, at least physically. Have you changed her diet recently? That can sometimes have an affect on anyone's behavior, not just Pokémon."
I thanked her for the help and gathered my things from the chair I had set them down on. Once I had my backpack, and was covered in a warm jacket, I set off into the rainstorm to find someplace to hunker down for the night.
* * *
The small group of trees didn't do much to stop the downpour from soaking me as I set up my tent, but they provided at least a token barrier. Luckily, I had some dry clothes in my bag that I could change into once I got into the tent. I only wished that the one suitable spot for camping had actually been inside Ecruteak City.
Damn it, Darkrai! I thought as my fingers slipped while I was driving the tent spikes into the ground. I was cold, wet, and now my fingers hurt. Add all that to what I'd been thinking about all day long, and I was not a happy camper.
I laughed a bit at my own unspoken joke, not caring that it wasn't very funny. The light giggles rid me of some of my sorrows, and that was enough for me. I finished driving the last spike into the hard, rocky, and wet earth, again slipping and banging my fingers. I sighed, giving one last check to all of my work, it wouldn't do to become trapped in a waterproof tent that collapsed because of some mistake I had overlooked.
I unzipped the tent just enough to crawl in and quickly zip it again. I pulled my small electrical lantern out of my bag and switched it on so I could see what I was doing. Before I started to remove all of my wet clothing, I grabbed Zap's ball and thumbed the release button, sending her out in a beam of red energy.
Unlike most Pokémon, that cry their name when released, Zap simply gave me a sad look. She looked disappointed that I had kept my word about us talking. She hung her head as her ears drooped visibly.
"Stop your moping, you kicked ass today!" I teased playfully, hopeful that I'd get a response from her. I wasn't surprised when her ears didn't even prick up a bit, however. "You don't really have any reason to be so sad do you, Zap?"
I hoped that the last question would make her open up a bit, but again, she didn't even stir slightly. I switched tactics, coming a little more direct.
"Something's up, wanna talk about it?"
Again, no response. She just sat there, staring at the ground.
"Are you hungry?" I asked. "You haven't eaten all day."
"Jolt," she responded flatly, shaking her head slowly. She still didn't look up at me.
"Zap, I'm your friend. Please tell me what's bothering you. I want to help, but I can't if you don't let me."
I waited for a reply. Would she look at me? Start to try to explain something? Twitch an ear?
There! my mind shouted. A single, tiny tear was visible trailing its way out of her left eye. Why is she crying?
I didn't mention it for the moment, as I was still cold and wet. As I stripped off my shirt, I caught Zap eying my chest shyly, but as soon as I noticed, she turned away quickly, blushing slightly. This was new as well. She's seen me naked before, when I've bathed or changed in the tent, but it's never meant anything to either of us. I wondered why she was suddenly embarrassed to see me change.
I didn't think about it, as I wanted to get into dry sweats as soon as possible. Once I was naked, I stuffed my wet clothes into a plastic bag that I kept for this kind of thing. I began searching for my backpack, as it was where I kept all of my clean, dry clothes.
Where did I set my bag down? I thought I put it right...
I looked to the other side of the tent to see Zap sitting on my backpack, still looking down at the ground.
"Thanks, Zap. I knew it was in here somewhere!" I said, happy that she was at least talking to me, in a sense.
I moved over to where she was sitting on my bag and moved to pull my back pack closer. When I grabbed the handle of it, however, Zap didn't get off. She sat there, only looking at my hand once, before bringing her eyes back to the ground.
"I need to get my pajama's out of my bag if I'm going to be warm tonight," I said. I moved closer and tried to pick her up and move her, but she put her paw on my hand, pinning it to the ground easily. Even at their small size, Pokémon are quite strong!
"Zap, can I please get into my bag?"
"Jolt," she replied sadly, moving a little closer to me. She released my hand and started to nuzzle my arm gently.
"Well look at this. You're feeling better, then?" I inquired. She made no reply of any kind, only continuing to push herself against my arm. I thought it was cute, to see her affectionate once again, until she moved up against me, rubbing her fur against my bare skin. The tingling feeling I always got when I was touching her spread immediately.
"Zap, not that I'm all against the sudden friendliness, but it's a little awkward with you rubbing against me like that while I'm not wearing anything. Can you let me get dressed first, please?"
I don't know what it was, but something I said set her off again. She whimpered softly, jumping away from me.
"What did I say?"
She ignored me, keeping her back to me. I sighed and shook my head, getting back to dressing myself. Once my task was done, I went over to set up my sleeping bag. I unrolled it and laid it out on the ground. I unzipped it and climbed in, but left it unzipped for the moment.
I looked over at Zap, curious as to how I should continue my questions. Making up my mind, I moved on.
"I'm sorry for whatever it was that I said to offend you a moment ago," I told her. "Can we please move on and talk about whatever's been bothering you for a while?"
No response. I sighed again softly.
"Please talk to me, Zap. I'm your friend, and I want to help. How can I fix whatever it is that I screwed up between us if you don't talk to me?"
"Jolteon..." she replied, finally looking in my direction, but not right at me. "Jolt."
"What do you want me to do? You're my best friend, Zap, and I don't want us to be separated like this."
She didn't move or say anything, so I continued.
"I really care about you and don't want you to be sad or angry. Is it the battling? Do you want to stop? If you do, I have no problem with that. Was it something I said? Did I forget something important to you?"
She guiltily pawed the ground, but gave no sign that she was going to respond.
"Have I done something to seriously offend you, or hurt you?" I asked her. Still, she ignored my questions.
"Zap, if I have done anything to harm you in any way, you have to tell me about it. You don't deserve to be treated poorly in any way. Still, I don't think I deserve the way you're treating me. If you truly are my friend, then you'll help me to figure out what's wrong. You'll let me make it up to you."
She finally looked into my eyes, the first time in months, but didn't say anything. I could tell that she was crying softly. Zap wasn't sobbing, but her eyes were streaming tears. Seeing them only made me suffer even more.
She's been my best friend for years, I thought sadly. I think I would realize if I had done something to offend or hurt her.
"Zap, I... If you..." I started to choke up as I tried to get out the words I had never wanted to say. "If I've been as bad to you as it seems I have, then I don't deserve you. And you don't deserve to be forced to stay with me."
I took a deep breath, hoping that I would be able to go through with what I had planned, if only for her sake. This was something I had never expected to do. We had always been so close, so together.
I reached for my backpack, digging out my Pokédex. I remembered how if we had problems with each other, we were normally able to work it out between us.
"What's different?" I wondered aloud. "What changed?"
Fighting back tears, I activated the Pokédex's "Team" application, bringing up the only page contained in the menu. Zap's page. She was my only Pokémon, as I never seemed to be interested in the whole capturing thing. Zap had never seemed to mind being my only companion, as she was always shy around everyone else.
I selected the "Manage Team Member" option, highlighting the "Release" option.
Looking at her, now with tears blurring my vision, I prepared myself for saying what I felt needed to be said.
"If I'm causing this much pain for you, then I'm sorry." I managed to say. "You shouldn't have to live through that, and I don't deserve you."
Now beginning to shake slightly, I looked at my Pokédex. Taking a deep breath, I hit the "Enter" key, confirming that I was sure that I wanted to release my Jolteon. There came a soft glow from across the tent, where Zap's ball was still attached to my belt.
Zap's eyes widened as she realized what was happening. She made no sound, no motion to stop me however.
The screen of my Pokédex showed numbers counting down.
Three... Two... One...I watched as each second seemed to pass by slowly.
"Purge complete: Your Pokémon has been released! Have a nice day!" The readout seemed sarcastically polite, as only machines could. The Pokédex slipped from my fingers, falling onto my sleeping bag.
As I dropped my face in my hands and began to sob uncontrollably, I heard Zap manage to unzip the door and walk out of the tent. I didn't bother to close it as I continued weeping until I eventually drifted into unconsciousness...
* * *
I awoke the next morning from the light streaming in through the thin fabric of my tent. My pillow was damp, obviously from the tears I must have shed during the night, and my feet were soaked. Obviously, rain had gotten in through the door I had neglected to close.
What a night... I thought dreadfully. Why did I just let her go? I didn't have to release her.
If you had forced her to stay, you wouldn't have been acting as a friend, a soft, familiar voice whispered inside my mind. It should have been familiar! It was the voice of my mother. Her words of wisdom and guidance had always kept me on the right path, even after she was gone. It was her choice to go, and she took it. You only made that option clearly visible to her, as any friend should have.
"But why did she choose to leave?" I asked aloud. I didn't expect an answer, whether in the form of a memory or an actual response. None came. I let out a long sigh.
What do I do now? I wondered. I've lost the one thing I had that was worth it.
Not knowing what to do, I simply began packing up my stuff, not caring about the damp part of my sleeping bag. I could always dry it off later. After rolling up my bedding and stuffing it in it's carry bag, I dressed myself in some dry jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. I made one last sweep of my tent, either packing up my things or throwing out twigs and other unwanted items. Using one of my last dry towels, I soaked up the small puddle of water near the entrance. Finally satisfied that my tent was ready to be packed up as well, I exited, zipping up the entrance.
Although the day was beautiful and cloudless, with bird Pokémon crying out their unique songs, I felt no joy. Not even a hint of a smile of a smile crossed my lips. I had nothing to be happy about. I had no family to go to, no friends to comfort me, and I had lost my only Pokémon the night before.
It must have been something I had done, my mind insisted. But why wouldn't she talk to me? She's approached me before the few times I'd offended her or forgotten something.
Even with the difficulties we'd had communicating directly, we had worked things out, or so I thought. It hadn't always been easy, or simple, but she had been able to get across the idea that something I did had pissed her off. After she "told" me, it was only a matter of me working to not make the same mistake again.
I had no idea where I wanted to go, or what I would do, but I knew one thing was certain. I wanted to leave. I wanted to be far away from here as soon as possible.
Collapsing my tent was simple. Folding it into a shape small and neat enough to be stored in it's own little satchel, which I hung off the bottom of my pack, was much more complicated. Normally I felt a small sense of triumph in finally packing up my tent, but today I felt none. I was already too preoccupied with my depression.
Surveying my campsite for anything I may have neglected to pick up, I shouldered my backpack. I didn't see anything that I left behind, so I turned around and made my way back to the main road.
What I'm leaving behind has probably already made her way to Goldenrod, at least, I thought glumly. I had no idea if that was even the direction she had went. For all I knew, she might have been on her way to Jubilife City in the Sinnoh region.
Stepping onto the path I that had led me into Ecruteak, I glanced towards the direction I had come from the previous day. I turned and looked up the path towards the town. I didn't have anywhere to stay, but I also had no reason to continue my -our- journey. Making the decision to backtrack until a better plan came to mind, I began walking away from Ecruteak city. The place where I had parted with my best friend.
* * *
For over two weeks I slowly trekked back to... where? Home? I didn't have one. Friends? I had none. Family? The one family I knew about, a cousin, was some big shot gym leader in Unova.
I had no plan, no destination, and no money. With Zap around, there was always enough cash from trainer battles to keep us fed and healthy. Pokécenters offered free medical care to Pokémon, but only discounts on the services for their trainers.
I simply walked. I made no major changes in the direction of my journey, only following the series of Routes that were commonly traveled. A few nights I had been able to stay in the rooms available in Pokécenters, as I was still a registered trainer. I couldn't even remember which cities I had passed through. Most nights, however, I camped out in my tent, which was much more alone than even when Zap had been hiding in her Pokéball.
My funds had only lasted me two weeks, and as of two days ago, I was completely broke. I had been able to find some berry bushes yesterday, but I wasn't sure I could count on berries as a stable source of food everyday.
At first, I had believed that the more I walked, the more I would be able to deal with my loss. I knew that I would never truly get over losing my only friend, but I had thought that the idea might have become more bearable with time. I was completely wrong in that sense, as each step had seemed to get harder to take than the last.
Is this what it feels like to give up? I asked myself. To not have the urge to move on anymore?
I halted my depressed march for a moment, sitting down on a fallen tree on the side of the road. Taking the time to finally view my surroundings, I noticed that darkness would soon be upon me. I yawned deeply, a sign of my lack of sleep. I hadn't slept more than three hours in one night since Ecruteak. I had simply been too restless, which also led to bad quality in the small amount that I did sleep.
I planned on staying a few days at the next town. Hopefully I'd be able to take on a few odd jobs. I would need at least a small amount of money soon. When I had last glanced at the Pokédex's map, it looked like I would be able to make it to the next town by morning, if I didn't stop.
Continuing my trek all the way through the night was not an appealing idea, so I picked myself up from the log and forced myself to endure more travel, if only to look for a suitable campsite for the night.
* * *
Finally having found a decent clearing, as there were no clouds present in the sky this night, I had set up my tent and strewn out my sleeping bag on the floor. I was laying inside it on my back, staring up at the light blue color of the material. I had been laying there for... Arceus knows...
"I'm damn tired, and I don't care how long I've been here," I muttered aloud. Arceus, just let me pass out and not wake up for a few days. That would be nice.
I closed my eyes and continued fruitlessly wishing for sleep.
An indeterminable amount of time later, I began hearing noises of a Pokémon brushing up against my tent. It didn't sound large, but that never meant it wasn't dangerous. Not wanting to risk startling a curious Sneazel or other creature, I ignored my instincts to kick the tent where it was rubbing, whatever it was.
I simply laid there in my sleeping bag, hoping that the thing would lose its interest in my tent and just leave. I wished again that Zap had still been with me. She would have been able to send the unknown Pokémon scampering away like a scared Ratatta.
The sound of the rubbing moved along the side of my tent. When it got to the corner, I expected it to move on, leaving the area. Instead, the creature followed the tent all the way around the corner, finally stopping near the door, where a light scrabbling could be heard.
Shit, not only does it know that's the door, it's trying to get in! I thought, only slightly worried. I was more annoyed than anything. I didn't want to be bothered at all right now. "Go on, scram! Beat it!"
"Jolt..." came the reply to my shouts. I immediately sat straight up, unsure if I was dreaming or not. I rubbed my ears a bit, thinking that my mind was using my senses to play cruel jokes on me. "Teon. Jolteon..."
"Zap?" I asked in a whisper. "Is it you?"
I got my confirmation when the scrabbling finally became the sound of a zipper being tugged on by the muzzle of something. Only one Jolteon I knew of had figured out how to open tent zippers. The flap of the door fell to the side, and there she was.
I expected her to instantly pounce on me, but it must have been a little too cliché for even Zap's taste, as she simply walked into the tent and sat down a foot or two from me. Not wanting to let any more cold air into the tent, I reached over and zipped the door closed. Zap's eyes never looked up from the ground, I noticed.
After closing the tent, I turned my attention back to Zap. She looked no different than when she had left, which was good. At least she had been able to find food for herself. I wanted to wrap her in my arms and squeeze her in an immense hug, never letting go. I didn't want to scare her away, though, as that might not be something that she wanted.
"It's good to see you again. Are you okay?" I asked her, finally managing to find the words in my mouth. She began to nod, then quickly shook her head after seeming to ponder her response. "What's wrong? Are you hurt?"
She shook her head, which was comforting, but I still felt like something was up. I thought that if she had come back, then maybe she was willing to try and work things out now.
"Zap, I can tell that something is bothering you. Are you willing and ready to talk about what's wrong?"
Still looking down, she drew in a deep breath, letting it out in a deep sigh. After a moment, she looked up at me with determination and nodded. I smiled brightly, as I hadn't expected her to immediately accept.
"Okay. So, is it something I've done to offend or harm you?" I asked. She shook her head, so I moved on. "Can you help me out a little? I can't understand you when you speak, but show me what you can."
For a moment, she seemed to be thinking of a way to communicate with me. As she pondered, I laid down, hands laced behind my head. It was calming, that she was so willing to come back and try to fix things up with our friendship. I closed my eyes and relaxed, breathing easy as Zap figured out a way to help me understand why she was so upset.
"Jolteon, Jolt." she stated matter-of-factly. Hearing the tone of her voice, I immediately looked up. As she slowly made her way closer to me, I could tell that she was blushing.
Again? I wondered. I still didn't know why she seemed embarrassed around me, as she had the night we parted. Maybe she's embarrassed about whatever it is that's bothering her.
She cautiously walked up closer to me, a slight tinge of red still visible in her cheeks. She curled up against me, nuzzling her head against my chest. She looked up into my eyes questioningly.
"It's okay, Zap," I comforted her, thinking that she was just trying to relax before she told me. "You can tell me however you need to."
"Jolt, Joltee!" she said frustratingly.
"Oh, you are trying to tell me," I realized, putting up my hands in an apologetic gesture. "Sorry I misunderstood you."
"So... you're saying that you were acting distant because you wanted to cuddle more, and you thought I didn't?" I asked uncertainly. It has to be more than that...
I was right about that last thought, as Zap shook her head and looked at the ground, again thinking of how to continue. She stayed this way for almost a full minute, before slowly bringing her head up to look me in the eyes. This time, she was blushing furiously.
She stood up, her body still pressed against my chest, and brought her face closer to my own. Time seemed to slow down, as she hesitated for a mere moment before abruptly closing her eyes and pressing her muzzle to my lips.
I felt as if I should have pulled back, but, despite my astonishment, the kiss was surprisingly pleasant. I instinctively pushed back against Zap's muzzle, closing my eyes in my enjoyment. I felt Zap's tongue flick across my lips softly, intensifying the tingling sensation that direct contact with her had already given me.
Almost as soon as the kiss had started, Zap leaped away, appearing ashamed for what she had done. I was too shocked by her actions to do anything other than gape at her. I really hadn't expected her to do anything like that.
If she means what I think she means, I... really don't know what to do, I thought in disbelief. I had heard of relationships between Pokémon and their trainers, but technically they were illegal, at least in Johto. The few instances I had heard of was whenever a story had appeared on the news, regarding some trainer abusing his Pokémon.
But that would have meant that those Pokémon hadn't been given a choice, that their trainer was taking advantage of or harming his Pokémon, I thought. I had never considered the idea that maybe there were truly affectionate relationships between trainers and Pokémon, with both sides consenting.
It wasn't that I was completely against the idea of two willing parties loving each other, despite being different species. I believed that Pokémon felt every emotion that humans felt. Zap's recent behavior was proof enough of that! Rather, it had never occurred to me that Zap might have harbored feelings for me, deeper than a longstanding, close friendship.
I've always loved Zap as a friend, but never as a... a what? I asked myself, still unsure of how to respond. We had always been there for each other when life seemed to shit on either of us. We were always spending time together, whether hiking by day or sleeping by night. We had formed a very strong bond, more of friendship than of simple partnership.
All of these things would have screamed "couple" to anyone, had Zap been a human my age. If she was just as capable of feeling all the emotions any girl could, what was to stop her from forming a strong love for me? The more I thought of it, the more it made sense to me. Turning my attention back to my Jolteon, I noticed she had regained her composure.
That's a major understatement, I thought. While she didn't look happy or even hopeful, Zap gave off an air of stoic confidence. She seemed resigned to accept her fate, whatever it may be.
"Zap?" I asked her quietly. "Do you mean what I think you mean? Have you... er... do you...ah..."
I couldn't seem to formulate the words. Zap waited patiently, however. Taking a deep breath and releasing it in huff, I decided to just push it out.
"Areyouinlovewithme?" I managed to spit out, albeit garbled. My own embarrassment was made apparent by the reddening in my face. Zap, maintaining her indifferent expression, simply nodded her head.
"Jolteon," she stated. "Joltee, Jolt?"
She had stated her feelings. Now, she wanted to know how I felt about her.
Not knowing what to say to her, I simply held out my hand to her. As I had hoped, she walked up to it, sniffing it before nuzzling it with her head gently. I laughed softly, as the action reminded me of when I first introduced myself to her.
As she nuzzled her way up my arm and back to my chest, I thought of how we had always been each other's best and only friend, excluding the last few months. I smiled, remembering how she had been my only shoulder to cry on when my parents passed away. She also helped me get over my first and only break up. While not nearly as painful as my parents' funeral, it was tough to deal with.
Zap, now curled up against my chest once more, looked at me inquiringly. I laid down on my side as I stroked her fur, grateful to do so once again. Looking into her eyes was calming, more so than anything I could remember.
Is this what it's like to gaze into the eyes of that special one meant for you? I wondered. I couldn't think of a better explanation. Only slightly surprised, I was beginning to feel as if I did love her more than a friend. And what's to stop me from loving her? She obviously wants me to love her as she does, and I already disagree with the law prohibiting such relationships.
Making up my mind, I leaned closer to Zap, pulling her towards me. She only looked slightly shocked as I pressed my lips against her muzzle, before relaxing and pressing back against me.
As she began to growl softly, small arcs of electricity arced from her cheeks to mine in her joy. After a moment, she opened her muzzle and her tongue slowly wrestled its way past my lips. She intertwined her my tongue with her own as she softly gained control of the kiss. Using one of her paws, she pushed me onto my back, climbing on top of my body, not once breaking contact with the kiss.
"Jolteon... Joltee..." she said contentedly, finally releasing me. She gave me a small lick on my nose, before nuzzling her head against my neck affectionately. I continued stroking her back as her breathing slowed.
After a while, I realized that she had fallen asleep. I held her tight to my chest as I reached down and pulled the sleeping bag up and over us, leaving her head free. I stayed awake for short time longer, simply enjoying the fact that I had my Jolteon back, emotionally, as well as physically.
I'll capture her again tomorrow, if she wishes me to, I thought. Having my best friend captured by someone else would be my worst nightmare.
No, I thought as I drifted to sleep myself. She's not my friend. She's something more...
* * *