Hey there (: This is the fourth chapter of "The Rift" I really think I did a good job of portraying the emotions and dialogue in this story. Enjoy!
Thanks to drakenguard42 for helping me proofread it and to palikabufun for lending me Jack, Felix, and the Cafe Plaisir.
4: Trouble for Two
The Hydreigon stirred in his sleep. The morning sun had risen and cast down light into the barren cave the draconian Pokémon resided in. He slowly rose from the thread-bare pile of leaves that served as his bed and lumbered over on his hind legs to the opening of the cave. Too tired to levitate, he walked slowly, all three of his scaly heads flexing and twisting to work off the stiffness of sleep. Upon reaching the cave mouth, the Hydreigon allowed himself a deep breath of fresh sea air; it wafted into his nostrils and brought with it a pulse of invigoration. The fresh air also brought a gnawing hunger in his belly. Having three mouths to feed, he always hunted daily. He chuckled to himself; the local Pokémon population were practically his slaves, trying to bring him offerings to prevent from getting them and their families eaten. However, he still ate one or two of the populace's children; just to make an example. He had been living in isolation for as long as he could remember, but he was king here on this deserted island. He leapt from his craggy home and flew off to the beaches, a cruel and hungry sneer on his mouth. Life was good.
"Daddy, who's this?"
Eric, a proud Herdier father, turned his kind gaze to his only kid; a Lillipup named Aaron. The eager and cheerful pup was on the sandy beach to the right of their tree house. The dog-like Pokémon was curiously sniffing what looked like a large lump of sand. As Eric trotted further in, the canine got the shock of his life: it was a Pokémon! Instinctively, his parental instincts kicked to life as he barked at his son.
"Aaron! Don't go near that thing! It could be dangerous!"
"But Dad, he's injured!"
"That doesn't mean you should go near him, let me son."
Aaron looked dolefully at his father, concern etched on his innocent eyes. He then gazed worriedly at the bearish Pokémon lying unconscious on the sand.
"Are you going to help him, Dad?"
The Herdier's expression softened. Their species placed high values on compassion and caring. He was glad his son was no different. He gently nuzzled his child's fuzzy cheek, reassuring the Lillipup. Aaron giggled a little in pleasure. He looked at the figure lying motionless on the ground. Eric was a kind creature; he would never turn an injured Pokémon away.
"It's alright," Eric whispered softly, "Daddy will take care of him, I promise Aaron."
"Really, don't you worry about a thing, alright?"
Eric trotted over the figure lying prone on the beach, he didn't recognize the species, it was unlike anything he had seen on the island; or Unova for that matter. The Pokémon was considerably larger than himself, slightly taller than a human and resembling a bear; albeit with blue and cream fur. He was lying face-up, his eyes tightly shut and muzzle stained with salt and something that looked horribly like blood. As he got closer, he could see multiple cuts on the body, blood slowly congealing on his scorched fur. Multiple sections of the Pokémon's hide had been seared off, leaving raw skin behind. Bruises and other scars covered his belly and chest, the ribs showing through his muscles. The Pokémon looked gaunt and malnourished, as if he had been starved for weeks. Most horrifying of all, a piece of his right ear was missing; it looked torn off, leaving a bleeding nub.
"Oh, Arceus..." Eric muttered softly. If it weren't for the tell-tale rising and falling of the chest, Eric would have thought him dead. He turned to his fretting son, who was anxiously pawing the ground. Aaron stared at his father, fear for the stranger evident in his baby-blue eyes.
"Daddy..." The Lillipup began to whimper, "Is he going to die?"
"Of course, not." Eric replied confidently, his manner hiding his own worry. "He's going to be just fine. Quick, get the Oran berries from our stash, he needs nutrition.
Aaron nodded eagerly, pleased at being assigned an urgent task by his father. He turned and raced towards the forest as fast as his tiny paws would carry him.
Eric smiled at his son's energy and kindness. If they weren't trapped on this island, Eric would have shown him all of Unova. His son deserved to be brought up with humans, they took care of Pokémon, and they were friends. This god-forsaken island was no place to bring up a child. Eric shook his shaggy head and turned back to the unconscious stranger. He placed a paw to the Pokémon's sinewy neck. Good, there was still a pulse. It was a strong one too, this Pokémon was a fighter. Eric allowed himself a grin.
Eric heard his son's shout and turned, expecting to see Aaron returning with the berries. Instead, the sight the Herdier saw stabbed straight through his eyes and viciously pierced his heart.
"Aaron!" The father screamed desperately.
There was his son, barely older than a baby, being firmly clamped in one of the Hydreigon's jaws. Aaron's eyes were wide with fear and his chubby cheeks were running with tears. He dangled from one of the Brutal Pokémon's maws like a doll, completely at Hydreigon's mercy. The dragon looked cruelly at the dismayed father and chuckled darkly at the Herdier's hoarse shouts for his precious child and his feeble pleads to spare the Lillipup.
"Please... Let him go." Eric shakily spoke, fear clouded his heart as he cowered under Hydreigon's evil stare.
"Silence!" Hydreigon roared. He sneered at the Lillipup's weak attempts to free himself.
"Eric," He continued, not letting the arrogant sneer leave his snouts for a second, "I'm a reasonable Pokémon right?"
"Y-yes sir, you are the most generous creature of all!" Eric was desperately trying to win Hydreigon's mercy.
"But surely you realize that even someone as perfect as I, have limits. Every other Pokémon has paid their tributes to me. Only your family has not. Do I need to make another example? Like I did to your mate?"
Eric bowed his head in grief. He began to shudder, rage and despair shaking his very being. Eric's mate, another Herdier, had tried to plead Hydreigon to show some compassion for the innocent Pokémon on the island. Hydreigon was angered by this and snapped her up in his wicked jaws. He carried her high into the air and deftly snapped her neck for all the horrified onlookers to see. A loud, bile-bringing crack had reverberated through the air, permanently imprinting itself in Eric's memory. Hydreigon had then casually tossed her corpse into the water, flailing like a marionette. Hydreigon had guffawed with glee as the body was swallowed up by the uncaring sea and the dragon had laughed even louder at Eric's outburst of anger and sheer sorrow. Aaron had only been a baby then. He would never know a mother's love.
"Damn you..." Eric muttered under his breath.
"What did you just say?" Hydreigon's voice had taken a deceptively soft tone. The softness of his voice did little to hide the dragon's ferocious anger. His jaws tightened around Aaron's neck, causing the child to yelp in pain. The father flinched at the heart-rending sound, quickly back-pedaling.
"N-nothing!" Eric stammered. "Please sir, I beg you, don't hurt my Aaron! We'll pay our tributes in double! Triple! Just don't hurt my only darling... I'm begging you!"
The Herdier began to sob, tears of frustration and grief spilled down his weathered snout.
"Hmmph, you're pathetic..." The Hydreigon huffed. His eye then caught another Pokémon lying still on the sand. A new comer?
Eric stopped crying, sensing a chance.
"Sir, that's a foreign Pokémon, he washed up on the beach and we were about to heal him and-"
"Don't bother." Hydreigon interrupted. "I'm taking him."
Eric began to nod furiously, desperately hanging on to his last shreds of hope.
"O-of course my lord! You can do whatever you want to him, just give my son back!"
"You've gotten lucky this time, Eric. Next time, you won't be so fortunate."
Hydreigon casually tossed Aaron in the air. Immediately, Eric had dove onto the beach and caught his son. The family then hugged tightly as they cried hysterically on the sand, their moans of relief filled the otherwise pristine air.
Hydreigon rolled his beady black eyes and picked up the limp bear-like creature in his arms/heads. A lustful grin had worked his way onto his maw. It was a win-win situation. If this stranger were dead, Hydreigon would be well fed for weeks. If he were still alive, then the dragon would have a new play-mate. After all, being King was very stressful; having his own private whore would work wonders, especially such an exotic and muscular one. Hydreigon kicked off into the air, carrying the still body with him. It was a good day to be king.
Outskirts of Castelia City
Across the great channel separating the island from mainland Unova, the sun had been busy. It roused the Pokémon from their slumber and once again made the cities bustle with life. At one certain café, The Café Plaisir to be exact, the sunlight had yet to penetrate the dark room. The sun was persistent however; it shone its rays through the velvet curtains and directly into the eyes of Jack. The Typhlosion didn't care; he was too busy trying to get Han to calm down. The young man was irate; his brown eyes filled with panic and rage. He stood beside the bed, still unclothed, as he faced the Typhlosion. Han's face was contorted with grief. He had woken up today, the picture of content. Seeing the Typhlosion sleeping next to him when he was roused made him happy. Ty was alive and the terrible past few days were but only a dream. However, that fleeting hope had been ripped from him when he realized that it wasn't Ty; it was an imposter.
"I'll ask you again. Who the hell are you? You're not Ty."
Jack raised his paws in defence; he was utterly bewildered. Last night, he had met and slept with the most passionate and handsome human customer in the history of the Café Plaisir. This morning, that man had disappeared; Jack was now dealing with a pissed off human who was most likely scared half out of his mind. He sat up straighter in the bed and spoke calmly, his Irish accent low and soothing.
" 'Ey there, will ya please calm down? My name is Jack, ye called for me last night."
Han's eyes narrowed. Jack flinched a bit at his harsh gaze. He could have sworn that his eyes were brown a night ago. Now, they were like twin shards of obsidian: hard, razor sharp, and dangerously black.
"Called you? I don't recall even seeing another Pokémon other than my own on the ship."
Jack tilted his furry head to the side, confused.
"Ship? Sorry, but we ain't on a ship, this is the Café Plaisir, near Castelia City o' Unova."
Han then looked around, the Typhlosion was right, he was on land. The trainer could see sunlight and buildings past the cracks in the curtains. The brightness of the windows contrasted greatly with the dark room. Han's eyes immediately shut as he was painfully aware of an ear-splitting headache. The back of his head felt like someone had cracked it open with a baseball bat. He gingerly placed his hand on his temples and massaged his pounding head. Han heard a constant buzz in his ears, and tasted alcohol staining his breath. Alcohol? He quit drinking a year ago.
"You OK there?"
Han looked up to see the Typhlosion still sitting on the bed, his lower body covered by the white sheets. The Volcano Pokémon was worriedly staring at him, apprehension and concern clearly shone on his face.
He looked a lot like Ty, Han realized. There was a startling likeness; all Typhlosions looked similar, but there was a definite resemblance between Ty and... whoever this was.
"I'm fine, but how did I get here?" Han managed to say.
Jack looked thoughtful, the claws of his right paw stroking the fur on his chin.
"Well, yeh came in yesterday. Went to the bar an' ordered some drinks. It looked like you got drunk."
Han began to get a sinking feeling in his gut. That had explained the headache and the alcohol in his breath. Han tried to remember what had happened the night before, but he drew a blank. His mind was extremely addled; all he remembered was him on a cruise ship with Ty, Cynthia, and his Pokémon. Where were they? How did he wind up alone here?
"Was anyone with me? Did you see any of my friends?" Han desperately asked.
Jack shook his head and shrugged his bulky shoulders.
"Nope, yeh came here alone."
Han frowned. He needed to get his bearings and find his friends.
"Alright then, what did I do next?"
"Well then you headed upstairs, then you requested that I come up and be your waiter." Jack replied, tactfully leaving out the intimate part. The Typhlosion broke eye contact, not wanting to make things worse.
"That doesn't explain why I woke up here next to you." Han flatly stated. Han then felt a shiver in his spine and looked down. His eyes widened in shock.
"And why the fuck am I naked!?" He burst out.
Jack was beginning to get frustrated. Obviously, the hangover had severely messed up his mind. Or maybe the human was just an idiot.
"Well yeh should've realized by now, you're at the Café Plaisir!" Jack spoke with an edge of agitation.
"What does that-"
Han's body stiffened, he locked his gaze onto a pile of laminated papers strewn just under the bed. He picked up the first one. It was a menu, lists of food and drinks were listed as well as a picture of the waiter. Jack. Han flipped over to the backside and nearly had a heart-attack. Pictures. All of them of Jack in very suggestive poses and positions, some of them were very revealing.
"Oh my fucking god..." Han muttered. He looked up at Jack, who looked smug, a teasing grin on his face. "Did you and me..."
"Yep, ta be honest, you were the one that started it."
Jack snickered, but Han was not amused. He threw the menu down and shook his head in revulsion, a distinct shade of crimson colouring his lips. He stared daggers at Jack, the murderous look back in his eyes.
"Tell the truth, is this a brothel?"
"Well when yeh say it so harshly like that-"
"Where are my clothes?" Han interjected.
"In th' bathroom, I took the liberty o' foldin' them for you."
Without a word, Han stalked into the bathroom and slammed the door. Ignoring the neat stack of clothing on the counter, he looked at himself in the mirror. The trainer looked like a complete mess; his hair was unkempt, his eyes red-rimmed and puffy. There were "stains" all over his chest and even on his face. Han gagged a little in his mouth. Not only did his body feel dirty, so did his conscience. He quickly moistened a washcloth and cleaned his face and upper body.
Guilt gnawed at his soul, he had just cheated on Ty and now he had no idea where his lover even was!
"Damn it!" He muttered, shaking his head. He put on his clothes, wondering where his jacket was. Then he heard a clack. He looked down and saw a bottle of pills rolling on the tiled floor. It looked familiar, ominously so. Like a trigger, the pills made memories resurface in Han's head, slamming into his mind, tearing it apart.
Jack stared nervously at the closed bathroom door. Han had been there for ten minutes already. He couldn't hear the shower running so Han must be brooding. Jack sighed and threw the covers off of his muscular frame. Had he been too rash with him? Jack often dealt with customers who had been ridden with the typical after-guilt, but Han really got him worried. His eyes, they had changed overnight, they seemed pained, like Han had been tortured or something. They made Han look vulnerable, a far cry from the confident and handsome human the night before. The Typhlosion had to mentally restrain himself from trying to hug Han, tell him everything was OK. Jack remembered the raw passion that Han gave and Jack couldn't help but be attracted to him. Was it simply the alcohol? Or did it have something to do with Ty? Han had called him, "Ty". Jack didn't know who he was, but he had a good hunch that Han's dramatic change in personality had something to do with that.
Jack looked at the clock. It had been twenty minutes since Han went inside. Something had to be wrong. The Typhlosion got off the bed and lumbered over to the door. He was about to place a paw on the door when it burst open. Han staggered out, fully clothed. He pushed past Jack and made for the door.
"Hey! What's wrong!?" Jack grabbed hold of Han's arm, but the trainer roughly batted it away.
"Let go of me!" Han shouted. His voice was ragged and hoarse, as if he'd been screaming for hours. Jack caught a glimpse of his face before Han rushed out the door. Tears were streaming down his tortured eyes, staining his features with salt.
Jack was immediately concerned for him. He followed Han down the stairs as Han stormed into the lobby, knocking over a portly man in his forties as he was reading a newspaper. Han walked on regardless and was out the door and into the busy morning streets before Jack could call out.
Jack strode over and helped the man up. Instead of being angry, the man seemed to look after Han with confusion.
"Sorry about that sir, you alright there?"
The man nodded, he turned to Jack and spoke. He had a brisk and clipped London accent.
"No worries fellow, that man looked awfully familiar. I think I saw his face in the tabloid I was just reading."
"C'n I see?"
The man picked the newspaper off the cedar flooring and handed it to Jack. The Typhlosion flipped to the front page and skimmed the headline.
"Disaster at the Docks!"
Intrigued, Jack read on.
An explosion off the docks of Castelia City panicked many board walkers as the cruise ship, "SS Coni", carrying two champions of the newly-met Johto and Sinnoh regions. The ship was about to dock when the port side of the vessel was destroyed by what witnesses called, "A huge lightning bolt" The crew and Pokémon aboard suffered no serious injuries. However, one of the Champions is in critical condition; supposedly recuperating at the Blessed by Arceus hospital in Castelia City. Only one fatality occurred; a Typhlosion who was seen to have remained on the deck before the explosion destroyed the front end of the ship. No body was found, although he is presumed dead.
" 'Oly shit!" Jack hissed under his breath. Underneath the article were pictures of the two champions; a young, blond women and Han. The young man in the photo looked playfully at the camera, his eyes seeming to dance and twirl with life and happiness. A cheeky grin was plastered on his face. The trainer in the photo looked nothing like Han; he looked so mature and happy in the picture yet desolate in reality. Jack re-read the last section. Another Typhlosion was killed. Jack felt his heart sink as he now fully understood what Han's grief and anger was about. They Volcano Pokémon clenched his fist; Han and Ty must have been close, really close. And when he died, Han must have tried to drink his way out of the misery. It explained why Han thought he was Ty; Typhlosions generally looked alike. Jack could not imagine what Han must be feeling now; to have someone that close to you be ripped away from your life. Han must be tearing himself apart on the inside. Did he make it worse? Did Jack put him over the edge?
Jack finally tore his gaze from the article. He gave it back to the man, who was secretly sizing Jack up. With a seedy look, the man whispered.
"Say, are you one of the waiters here?"
"Sorry, I'm off duty," Jack quickly said. He was already headed out the door; he needed to find Han. Suddenly, Felix was striding alongside him; the Flygon had a worried look on his face.
"Jack, was that the guy from last night? What did you do?"
"Sorry Felix, I need teh go after 'im."
"Hold on!" Felix placed a restraining claw on Jack. The dragon wanted to ask Jack some more questions, but was stopped by the urgent and desperate look on his co-worker's face. His expression softened and Felix instead walked over and took Han's leather jacket from a rack. He handed it to Jack and gently patted his back.
"You better get going."
Jack nodded and dashed out the door and into the crowded, slushy, streets.
Han staggered through the throngs of pedestrians on the sidewalks. Hot tears blinded him as he lurched unsteadily into random people.
"The fuck's wrong with you?!"
Han ignored the shouts and complaints, sitting down heavily on a bench with his head in his hands. He heard the world around him as a tarry, distorted jumble of sounds and noises. It soaked in his ears and into his thoughts, mixing with the pain, anger, and guilt already bouncing around in his over-taxed mind. Any lesser person would have had a nervous breakdown. However, his guilt would not let him escape that easily. He had been so happy when he woke up next to a Typhlosion. He remembered his elation at seeing Ty. That warm feeling was crushed when he realized it wasn't him, a cold, merciless wave of despair had slammed into his emotions, overriding all of them, but sadness and angst.
"You fucking idiot," Han angrily thought to himself. "Ty sacrificed himself just to save you, and how do you repay him? You get drunk and sleep with a damn whore!"
Han fumbled with his hands and grasped the bottle of pills he had stolen from the hospital, he quickly opened the cap and downed an Oxycontin. He felt the sweet numbness envelop him, dulling the sharp needles of pain in his self. He leaned back against the wooden bench and sighed. How could he face Cynthia and his own Pokémon? They must have been worried sick; what would he tell them?
The trainer bolted up from the bench, instantly recognizing the scream.
"Togekiss!" Han shouted, ignoring the staring onlookers. There, he saw her. The Jubilee Pokémon was on the ground across the street, Han's backpack slung around her neck. Two thuggish looking men were trying to drag her into an alley, they pinned her wings to the ground and prevented escape. Han watched as his friend tried to struggle, to fly towards him and break free, firing Aura Spheres wildly into the air. He saw the one of the thugs, armed with a rusty knife, viciously kick Togekiss in the chest with a boot. He heard her cry of pain ring through the air and his own grief transformed into boiling rage, the fires fueled by adrenaline. He saw red spots in his eyes and every sinew in his body tense. He already lost someone dear to him; there was no way in hell he would lose another.
"Bastard!" With a roar, Han charged straight into traffic, dodging speeding cars and leaping over shocked Pokémon. He had every intention of absolutely destroying the gangsters who threatened his Pokémon. One of them saw him coming and managed to open his mouth for a warning. The warning came a grunt of pain instead when Han did a full-on rugby tackle; catching the thug on his knees. The man crumpled to the ground, and Han was already rolling off and standing on his feet. With a snarl, Han brought his foot down in a powerful stomp. He felt bone and cartilage break under his sneakers, and a satisfying scream resonating in his ears. Without a second glance at the thug rolling in agony on the ground, Han turned to face the second one; adrenaline coursing through every vein, anger rushing in his heart, and oddly enough, memories popping back into his mind.
He was back in Johto, training with Ty at a karate master's dojo. Han had been training there for eight years before leaving on his journey; and they decided to make a visit to strengthen themselves. The master of the dojo, whose name Han had forgotten, watched stoically as Han and Ty squared off on a dirt circle.
"Alright," Ty had said to him. "Are you ready for some sparring?"
"Yes." Han replied.
"Remember!" The master had said. His voice was hoarse and grating, but still seemed to carry fury with every syllable. "You must gain an advantage over your opponent, that is the style of Isshin Ryu!"
With no further fanfare, they had begun the bout. Han had forgotten who had won, but the golden rule of the style still shone clear in his mind's eye. Put yourself in a position of advantage; closing yourself off and leaving the opponent wide open. Han remembered seeing Ty's fist closing in, rushing with the force of a small truck. And then all of a sudden, Han was back in the present; his mind clear of all anger, his thoughts on nothing but the fight.
The knife-wielding thug closed in, his weapon imprinted in Han's cornea. Then, it attacked. He clearly heard the air swishing as the steel blade split it. Han dropped into a horse stance, his hands on his hips. With surprising swiftness, he brought his left hand swinging to hit the thug's thrusting arm. It was batted away, the gangster's body trying to keep balance. Leaving his side wide open. Like twin sledgehammers, Han's fists hooked into the thug's body. The first one slammed into his kidney, causing his back to arch wildly and him to scream. Half a second later, Han's second fist drove into the thug's gut, pile-driving the air out of him. "O-uchi, o-uchi": the technique had been called. The man fell to the ground on his hands and knees, wheezing and crying in sheer pain and terror. A vicious snap-kick to the face ended his troubles as he slumped unconscious.
By then, Han was already rushing to Togekiss, who had been watching in awe.
"Han!" The Jubilee Pokémon shouted.
"You alri-" Han's air was then cut off. He felt two arms wrap themselves around his necks like two pythons. They began to squeeze. Togekiss' cry had been a warning. A black blur began to stain the edges of Han's vision. Han kicked out, catching the second thug with the broken nose on his shins. The man buckled, but continued to stand up, holding Han with his death-grip. Through his bleary and blurred sight, the trainer saw Togekiss begin to glow with energy, preparing an attack. The man's hold on Han's neck tightened and he slowly felt the fight being choked out of him. The thug screamed out something intelligible to Han's addled hearing and he saw the aura around Togekiss disappear. The avian stood desperate and helpless as she watched her trainer slowly getting strangled by the thug.
Han was suffocating. The coppery tang of the thug's blood filled his nose, stinging his blocked airways. The adrenaline rush was gone, the Oxycontin slowly eroding the fight left in his body. The drug that had kept the despair at bay had also ended his chances for survival. Han's head was filled with a rushing sound. His lungs cried out for air that would never come. Han's thoughts were sluggish from lack of oxygen and the trainer remembered the terrible minutes on the stretcher back at the docks. The feeling of helplessness, the strength deserting him, and the all-consuming despair.
At least it would be over, Han thought, he would be reunited with Ty.
The air was completely gone now, the sensation of weightlessness filled Han's limbs as the black rose up to claim him.
Jack sat on his bed back at the Café Plaisir, feeling absolutely depressed. He thought of yesterday, of the young man he had met but never got to really know. Where was Han now? The Typhlosion sighed. He had been racing through the streets of Castelia City with Han's jacket in hand; frantically calling for the trainer, trying to make things right. The Volcano Pokémon had then heard a scuffle in the alleyway to his right. He rounded the corner to see a terrifying sight. Han was getting strangled; a bald man had wrapped his arms around the trainer, trying to choke the life out of him. By instinct, Jack dropped Han's jacket and had pounced, he grabbed the thug by the back of his neck and practically tore him off Han. Jack had then wound up and hurled the unfortunate man directly into a brick wall.
Jack looked down at Han, he was lying face up with his eyes shut, nasty purple welts covering his neck. He wasn't moving or breathing at all.
"No!" He shouted.
A crowd started to appear, Jack heard sirens in the distance, getting louder with each passing second. The Typhlosion noticed another body lying on the ground, another thug who must have fought Han. He felt a wing on his shoulder. He turned a saw a Togekiss; it must have been who Han had been trying to save. A flash of recognition flashed across her face for a second, before being replaced with confusion. The Pokémon was urgently speaking.
"Get out of here!" She shouted.
"Wait, I can't-"
Jack was about to argue, but the Togekiss would not be swayed. With a final look at Han's unmoving figure, Jack turned and ran deeper into the maze-like alleys, disappearing from sight.
Jack frowned and inwardly slapped himself. He should have made sure Han was OK. He should've stopped Han from leaving like that. He was a damn coward.
"Oh Arceus, it was all my fault!" He choked out to himself.
Jack whirled around to see Han standing in the doorway, a slight smile on his lips. He was dressed much simpler this time, a sky-blue sweater and a woollen scarf that covered the bruises on his neck. He still looked very fit and handsome. Only the pained, black eyes betrayed his inner feelings.
For a moment, human and Pokémon simply stared awkwardly at each other, not sure of what to say. Eventually, Jack broke the silence.
"Yer... Alive..." He said, his maw agape.
Han chuckled lowly, his voice slightly husky because of his injuries.
"It'll take a lot more to kill me."
His expression than became sober. Han went on.
"I was hoping to be able to talk with you."
Jack managed to beat back the thousands of questions he wanted to ask and nodded.
"O' course, Han. Take a seat."
The young man walked into the room and took a seat on the chair in front of Jack's. He took a long, searching look at Jack before finally speaking, his voice quiet.
"Togekiss told me you saved my life," Han said, "and I never got the chance to let you know how grateful I am."
Jack rubbed a paw through his fur.
"No problem, Han. I jus-"
"I also wanted to..." Han looked at Jack, slightly bemused. "You can go first, Jack."
"No, it's nuttin'."
"You want answers, don't you?" Han firmly stated. "So ask."
Jack gave a small smile, before continuing.
"I jus' wanted to know what happened yesterday, who were those guys attackin' ya."
Han's face grew stony. "The two thugs were apparently low-level members of a criminal organization. The police don't know the name, but they've taken those two assholes into custody."
"Didn't th' police question yeh?"
Han gave a short, harsh bark of laughter before answering.
"Cynthia and I made sure the police kept their mouth shut, as well as the newspapers. Johto and Sinnoh have both threatened to close off all trade and close Unova off from their borders as well as the borders of Hoenn and Kanto. I guess that a lot of Unova's policemen got fired after what happened with the SS Coni."
Han's voice faltered at the last few words. He gripped the arm of the chair tightly. He closed his eyes and began taking deep breaths. Once he had calmed down somewhat, Han looked back up at Jack.
The Typhlosion so desperately wanted to go and embrace the trainer then and there. He couldn't imagine what Han was feeling right now. He managed to restrain himself though.
"I'm sorry for what 'appened. Ty must've been important to ya."
For a moment, Han looked like he was about to break down again, but he regained his composure. He looked back down at the floor. When he spoke again, his voice was soft, so much that Jack had to strain to hear him.
"He was." Han then looked up. "Ty saved my life on the ship. He was the most important person in my life; he was my lover and my best friend."
Han's shoulders began to shudder ever so slightly.
"To be honest Jack, you remind me a lot of him. You both have that constantly cheerful air about you, you're both caring, brave, and you even look alike; right down the eyes and ears."
Suddenly, Han's eyes began to pool with tears. In a strangled voice, he said, "You both saved my life too, when I was too weak to help myself."
"That's not true, Han!" Jack interjected. But Han had already stood, his face turned away from Jack. He started to make for the door. Jack took his chance. He got up as well, driven by need, and grabbed Han in a tight hug.
"Don' say things like that, Han." He whispered gently into the trainer's ear.
Han turned around, keeping Jack's arms around him. He turned to face the Typhlosion, silent tears flowing freely from his midnight-black eyes. Without a word, Han buried his face in Jack's fur, his tears being dried up by Jack's soft hide. The trainer wrapped his arms around Jack and they both stayed like that for a good five minutes, no words needed to be spoken.
After a while, Han stepped back. They looked at each other for a while.
"I need to get going, and I'm sorry for the night and morning before. I wasn't in my right mind."
Jack wanly smiled. "Aw, no need ta worry, it was worth it to get to know you."
They both grinned at the joke and for a moment, Jack saw a flicker of the carefree and handsome young man return to Han's eyes and face. The smile slowly disappeared, but the eyes remained serene; unburdened.
"I don't suppose I c'n convince yeh to stay here for a bit, can I?"
Han shook his head, a sad smile on his face.
"No, I talked with my Pokémon and Cynthia. I want to spend time with them, I need to be there for them because they had it just as bad as I did. I also need to make preparations for Ty's... funeral. I won't be around Unova much longer."
Han then looked pensive, trying to hide his thoughts and emotions. Jack edged closer and gently nuzzled Han with his snout.
"Aye, I understand."
Han sighed softly and managed to grin. He looked at Jack with bright eyes.
"Thanks. And I also wanted to say..."
Han looked away for a second, unsure of how to continue.
Jack placed a reassuring paw on Han's shoulder and patiently waited for Han to speak.
"If... If there ever was a bright side to setting foot on Unova, Jack, it was getting to meet you."
With that, Han gently placed a hand to Jack's furry cheek. He leaned in close. For a fleeting moment, Jack thought Han was going to kiss him, but instead, Han brought his brow to affectionately touch Jack's; a gesture of trust and gratitude. Jack felt the human's cool brow against his warm one, he blushed a little. The trainer gave one last smile and turned to walk out the door, shutting it behind him. Jack watched the young man go and placed a paw to the cheek where Han had touched him. He spoke, despite Han already being out of earshot.
"Goodbye, Han. I 'ope you find peace."
Looks like Han had a chaotic morning after; looks like it ended up well for him though! ^-^ Well, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. As always, a rating and a comment is a great way to let me know how I'm doing as a writer. Also, this is my first attempt at trying for a fight scene and I would like your opinion on it as well as other things you liked or disliked.