Re: Communication (PG-13)
Solonn carefully gauged the distance between the windowsill and the bed, then sprang from his perch. The mattress yielded with a bounce to Solonn’s weight as he landed, yet Morgan slept on, snoring slightly. Solonn gazed at her from the foot of the bed. Her sleeping form glowed softly through the darkness with the heat of her body, giving her an almost spectrelike appearance.
Moving toward the concentrated glow that surrounded the human’s head almost as if it were a beacon, Solonn made his way to the head of the bed. Morgan’s face was half concealed by a few errant strands of her hair. Solonn moved them aside, revealing the serene face of his captor. It was interesting, he thought, how a creature whose practice was to abduct people from their homes could look so incredibly benign. The snorunt then reached down toward the human’s face again, this time drawing his hand slowly across her cheek.
Morgan stirred, but only very slightly. Solonn had assumed that the contrasting coldness of his hand against her warm skin would be sufficient to awaken her but now realized that he should have recognized her as a heavy sleeper when his jumping on the bed had failed to make her wake up. He began prodding her in the temple, hoping that that would end her slumber. If it didn’t, he was prepared to do whatever was necessary to awaken her. He was not averse to giving her a small bite if that was what it took.
Luckily for Morgan (at least compared to the biting that she would have received otherwise), Solonn’s current efforts succeeded in waking her up, albeit only because one of his prods missed its mark somewhat and found its way into her left eye.
“Hey!” she responded at once, awakening instantly but not quite fully. She lifted her head slightly from the pillow, grumbling incoherently and rubbing her sore eye for a moment, then shook her head a bit in an effort to more fully awaken, yawning loudly as she did so. She then shifted and turned, sitting up slightly more and craning her neck awkwardly in order to try and get a look at what could have possibly just poked her in the eye. Her eyes, still blurry and adjusting to their resumed usage, just managed to make out the pointed silhouette of the snorunt standing beside her. The light from Solonn’s eyes partially illuminated his face and reflected brightly off of his teeth, giving him a rather eerie appearance.
“Hello, Morgan,” he said quietly, nearly whispering, in a voice that wavered slightly but sounded like Morgan’s voice nonetheless.
Morgan blinked sleepily at the snorunt for a second. “…Hi,” she said finally, the word almost lost in its emergence in the near-simultaneous release of another great yawn.
Then she realized to whom and what she had just replied.
In an instant, she was wide awake, sitting upright and staring at the pokémon beside her with greatly widened eyes. For several seconds, response of any sort to the situation failed her. Finally, she managed a half-gasped, “What?”
“I said hello,” Solonn repeated, his voice deceptively calm.
Morgan remained silently agape for a brief while before she seemed able to get her next words out. “…But… no, you can’t…”
“Yes, I can.”
“But… how?” Morgan asked, her voice sounding rather strained.
“…I don’t know how I can,” Solonn admitted uneasily.
Morgan took a moment to digest that silently. “This is a dream,” she then decided aloud, and began to turn away from Solonn and back toward her pillow.
“No, it’s not,” Solonn said. “And you know it’s not.” He leaned over her slightly so that the light from his eyes washed over her face. “But if you want to be sure, I can bite you. It’d hurt, and I’m sorry it would, but you’d be sure you were really feeling it, I promise you.”
Morgan sat up once again. For a second, she was leveling a look at Solonn that suggested that she wanted to accuse him of lying, but that gaze faltered almost as soon as it had formed. She turned slightly, seeming less than willing now to look him right in the eyes. “It’s okay, Azrael. You don’t have to bite me. I… I believe you.”
Solonn nodded slightly. “Good. That’s good,” he said, his words followed by a small sigh of slight relief. There went the first obstacle—Morgan seemed to have accepted that she could now understand his speech. Hopefully, she could now be counted on to hear him out. “…But Morgan? My name isn’t Azrael. It’s Solonn,” he then said.
Morgan’s expression momentarily turned to one of surprise, but quickly relaxed once more. “It shouldn’t surprise me that you have your own name,” she said, sounding a bit apologetic. “I bet a lot of pokémon do. Like Sei; she told me hers the first time she evolved, and I’ve been calling her that ever since. Before that, I’d been calling her Enchantress…”
Morgan gave a faint chuckle. “I liked that name, but she told me not to call her that anymore, so I don’t. Now, Ominous… Sei told me what its real name was, and so I asked it if it wanted me to start calling it Oth from now on—that’s its name—but according to Sei, it said not to. I think it might have been worried about hurting my feelings by turning down the name I gave it; it’s such a softie, really…”
“So… you mean you can understand Sei, too?” Solonn asked, a bit surprised.
“Yeah. But that’s only because she’s a very powerful psychic-type. She has really advanced telepathic skills, and that’s how she can make me understand her.”
“Oth has telepathy, too. Why can’t you understand it?” Solonn asked.
“…I actually didn’t know that it had telepathy,” Morgan said, sounding surprised.
Oth must be hiding it from her… Solonn realized. He found himself beginning to wonder why it would do so, and also began to worry slightly that he perhaps shouldn’t have told Morgan of its telepathy since Oth apparently desired to keep that matter a secret.
Morgan, meanwhile, had found herself able to make eye contact with Solonn again. Her expression now was one that spoke of burgeoning amazement. “…I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be goggling at you like this,” she said as she seemed to realize the way that she was looking at Solonn. “It’s just… God, this is so incredible. I thought pokémon had to use telepathy to make themselves understood.”
“Guess you were wrong,” Solonn said simply.
“Guess so.” Morgan gave a soft laugh and smiled, her features exuding something that looked rather like pride (although why Morgan should feel proud, Solonn couldn’t figure out; it wasn’t as though she were to credit for his ability to speak to humans, after all).
The human’s features shifted suddenly, becoming strangely unreadable. “Hey. Could you do me a favor, though?” she asked.
“Do you… do you have to sound like a girl when you talk?” Morgan asked. A very odd look came over her face as she realized something. “Do you have to sound like me? How can you sound like me?!” she demanded, sounding rather alarmed.
“Shh! Try to keep quiet; I don’t want your mother to wake up,” Solonn urged. “And I already told you, I don’t know how I do it.”
“…Sorry,” Morgan said, lowering her voice significantly. “But anyway, could you just… um, not sound like me? No offense, but it’s… kind of weirding me out. Why don’t you just use your normal voice from now on, okay?”
Solonn was about to respond, to tell Morgan that she would no longer understand him if he stopped using that human voice. But then, something caught in his mind: Why should what voice I use make a difference in whether or not anyone understands me? He could understand how the abilities of a psychic could make the understanding of speech possible by entering the mind and tricking it into hearing words it recognized. He, however, was no psychic, and he knew it.
A different voice should still only produce the same words, he reckoned; it shouldn’t have the power to transform those words into others. If a creature, like this human, could not understand his words, he should have to use different words to be understood. Their words. Their language.
The gears of his mind momentarily stopped turning as epiphany struck him like a falling stone. The only way Morgan could be understanding him was if he was, in fact, speaking her language instead of his own. And that was precisely what he was doing.
Solonn was stupefied. For the life of him, he could not fathom how this could be at all possible. That he could be spontaneously able to fluently speak a language that he did not, could not know, a language of which he had only heard a couple of handfuls of words, was a staggering, almost paralyzing notion to him.
He swallowed hard, and his mouth went immediately dry afterward. He was fond of wondering and loath to resist the urge to do so, but the desire to understand this matter was so savagely desperate that he could barely tolerate it. It was almost physically painful, knowing that there was something so strange within him and wanting dearly to know quite what it was and how it could be possible but seeming unable to do so.
If he had belonged to some other species, he might have begun crying in his astonishment. As it happened, though, his tears were not in service to his emotions, as was the case for all of his kind. His internal struggle to fathom himself could only convey itself through the trembling of his body and the wavering of the light in his eyes.
“Is… is something wrong?” Morgan asked, sounding more than a little concerned.
Solonn met her gaze, the earnest care behind the human’s eyes managing to register within his mind despite everything else going on behind his own eyes at the time. He tried to respond but couldn’t quite decide what to say, especially since he wasn’t quite sure of how he should say it. He should be able to use his own voice, he tried to reason silently—it had to be the language and not the voice—but he still just couldn’t quite believe it.
“It’s okay,” Morgan said. “If you’re not comfortable talking to me in your own voice, you don’t really have to.”
Solonn closed his eyes. “No,” he croaked softly, continuing to use Morgan’s voice, his throat feeling as though it were trying to seal itself shut. “No, it’s… it’s not that.”
To prove that that wasn’t the issue, he determined that he would have to try and speak to Morgan with his own voice while still speaking her language. He would just have to try and force himself not to let his mind be ensnared by the mental block that was created by the notion that he was doing something that should not be possible.
Solonn took a deep breath and forced himself to return Morgan’s gaze once more. “It’s nothing…” he finally managed. Conscious as he presently was of the seemingly impossible thing that he was doing, the release of his every word felt as though he were pushing a boulder out of his mouth. Get a grip, he tried to command himself, you’re supposed to be talking to her for a reason, remember? “Listen…” he began slowly, all too self-consciously. “I’m sorry I woke you… but we need to talk.”
Morgan nodded. “Okay. What about?”
“Well… it’s about those contests…”
“You don’t want to do them, do you?” Morgan said. “I’ve kind of gotten that impression.”
“…What?” Solonn was taken aback—he had not expected that the human would have recognized his desires. “No… I mean, I’d rather not, but… I’ll do them.”
“Azr—Solonn… you don’t have to. Seriously, if you don’t want to…”
“No, it’s okay,” Solonn insisted. By the initial impression that he’d gotten from Raze’s and Oth’s words, he had imagined that Morgan would take great offense to his wishes to have nothing to do with the contests if she were to learn about them and would vehemently refuse to relinquish her plans for him. Yet here she was, ready to give up her intentions for him without any sign of a conflict. Solonn now found himself feeling quite guilty about his unfavorable preconceptions of her.
He sighed. “I know… I know you’ve been planning hard for a long time for this… and I know it means a lot to you. It’s… it’s not a big deal. Really. I’ll do it—but only on one condition.”
“What?” Morgan asked, sending a troubled, doubtful look into Solonn’s eyes.
Solonn took another deep breath. “Okay. Raze and Oth… they showed me their ribbons. Four each. That’s… that’s how many I have to get myself, isn’t it? Four?” he asked. Morgan nodded. “Okay. After I get the fourth one—you have to promise me, Morgan—after I get that fourth ribbon… you have to let me go. You have to take me back home. Promise me, Morgan. Or I won’t do it.”
“Oh, Solonn…” Morgan’s gaze turned from merely troubled to earnestly sad, earnestly sorry. “If you want to go so bad, I’ll take you home right now. I’ll get Ominous out of its ball and wake it up, and we’ll teleport there right—”
“No!” Solonn interrupted her. His guilt had increased greatly—not only was Morgan fully accepting of his wishes regarding the contests, she was even completely ready and willing to take him straight back home, and he had imagined her as immovably, irreconcilably possessive of him, as a creature who would never release his life from the grip of her own…
“No… I said it’s okay, and I meant it,” he insisted, trying his best to convey a firm conviction in spite of the way his voice was shaking. “I’ll do this. I don’t mind, I really don’t, just as long as I know I’ll be going home when this is done. That way… that way, we can both get what we want.” He swallowed. “It’s only fair, don’t you think?”
There was a long silence, one that seemed to tremble along with the two who shared it. Morgan gazed with anguish at Solonn, silent until a strangled sound, the prelude to a sob, escaped from her throat. In the next moment, her eyes filled with tears, which then fell forth in streams that shone in the moonlight as they ran down Morgan’s face. Solonn had never seen such a thing in his life; he couldn’t help but stare in wonder, amazed by the beauty that he saw in it.
Morgan nodded then, but that action was overshadowed by a sudden, forward motion that was halfway between lunging and collapsing. Her arms encircled Solonn, and she pressed her forehead against his. The snorunt stiffened, initially surprised by and resistant to the unexpected contact, but he managed to get himself to relax quickly enough.
“Okay,” Morgan said, half-whispering, half-sobbing. “If you’re really okay with this, then we’ll go ahead with it. And then afterward, I’ll take you home. I promise.”
Solonn nodded, acknowledging Morgan’s seeming acceptance of his terms. He had imagined that he would be greatly surprised should the deal go through. Now, however, he couldn’t believe that he’d honestly expected that it wouldn’t. Morgan cared as much about his wishes as her own; that much was now certain to him. She was perfectly willing to give him what he wanted. In return and in appreciation of that—and in apology for harboring such harsh preconceptions, too, although he did quite a good job of convincing himself that his sense of guilt had very little to do with it—he would give her what she wanted. In his mind, it seemed only fair, after all.
The definite impression Solonn got from the human was that her word could be trusted. One day, she would take him home. But, until then… It was now, with the initial panic at the prospect of never again seeing home having gone and passed, that the opportunities of Solonn’s situation dared at last to come forward and present themselves to him. Until the day arrived when he would return to Virc-Dho, perhaps he would get to encounter and experience more strange things, more wonders of which he could never have conceived. This, he reckoned, could be interesting…
You may have gathered that I am following the game version of contests more than the anime version, what with the contests being divided into five categories. I will, however, be implementing a couple of elements from the anime version, as well as a couple of things which occur in neither the anime nor in the games.
Next time: In entering into the lifestyle of a contest pokémon, a new era of Solonn’s life begins… See you then!
- Sike Saner
Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 12:50 AM.