Re: [WAR X] Ingrained
Vermillion is quiet, by the seas and calm. Although he had loved water, he had hated the S.S. Anne.
Standing at the dock, Leaf notices that it has yet to return. Perhaps, she thinks, it is like he is—little by little, scattered to the winds, a memory to never return.
She sighs quietly, turning away. The silver pouch jostles by her hip.
The wall of plans, writhing and grassy, glowed with the same green aura of Overgrow. Red’s eyes widened in shock, and his mouth was half open to shout out a counterattack, but then he closed it, bowing his head in defeat. “Flamethrower,” he whispered, although the look in his eyes said that he only kept fighting for the sake of Charizard.
Leaf was stunned. He had submitted, although he audience could not see it.
Charizard prepared the fire in his maw, but nothing could outspeed the wall of plants surging towards it. The earth quaked beneath the dragon’s feet and the roiling plans lashed at it from all sides, a forest in true frenzy. The flailing roots obscured Charizard from view, and for a moment, there was only silence.
The roots retreated, and Venusaur panted, hard. Leaf knew the end was near.
Across the field, Charizard still stood strong, the roots closest to it on fire.
And, as if in slow motion, the great dragon bowed down to the earth, hitting the hard-packed dirt with a dull thud. Dust swirled in the air. Red lowered his head.
It was over.
They had won.
She remembers the ease with which he had demolished Cerulean Gym as she stands balefully by the glass double doors.
He had evolved, growling in frustration, in their battle against Red by the bridge, desperate to become stronger than his Charizard—then a Charmeleon. She remembers the pure joy on his face as he had finally overcome his enemy, the one with the tail that burned white-hot.
She scatters a bit here, too, knowing that this is a place she will visit often.
They had won. There was a moment of silence as the dust settled and Venusaur stood their balefully in front of Leaf, and then the cloud erupted into cheers.
Something, though, kept Leaf from looking triumphantly on Venusaur. Some instinct kept her eyes riveted in Venusaur. She was shocked to see how awful he looked, his leaves drooping and panting, hard. His breathing was ragged, and tendrils of purple vapor came out of his nose when he snorted in pain, weakly coughing up purple globs of sludge.
Leaf’s eyes went wide as she watched her friend stagger for a moment, eyes flickering, and then fall altogether.
He had fainted before. Only once, and she had been scared half to death and had nearly hugged the Nurse Joy when he woke up, but he had fainted before.
This was different, though. She didn’t know how she knew it, but she knew. Her vision swam and her hearing went fuzzy, tuning out the roar of the crowd. Somehow, she knew, this was worse.
She was screaming, not with joy but with horror, and the audience finally gets the idea that something is horribly, horribly wrong.
The next few hours for her were a blur. The paramedics, their uniforms crisp, rushed onto the field, stretchers in arms. She could hear the worry their voices as they carefully hoisted Venusaur’s gargantuan body onto the white cloth and rushed out.
Leaf’s body felt numb as she gawked for a painful moment and then rushed after them. She screamed, reaching for him, but in her heart of hearts, she already knew.
He was dead.
Pewter is her almost her last stop, and maybe one of her most painful. It was here that their journey had truly started, when Venusaur—only then a mere Bulbasaur—had burst through the double doors of the gym and growled his challenge to Brock, the rock master.
It was here that she had given him his special name, the one that only the two of them had known.
Leaf’s face is unreadable as she fiddles with the drawstring of the pouch.
Leaf could not believe it. The nurse had tried to break the news as gently to her as possible, but Leaf simply sat there, stony faced, feeling the guilt and regret lick away at her heart. The nurse tried to comfort her wrapping an arm around the young girl and offering false words of condolences that could not possibly mean anything. Still, Leaf said nothing.
It was only when the kind-faced nurse had given up and left that Leaf began to cry. And when she did, she cried and cried, locking the doors and simply screaming for days straight.
It was only when she no longer had the voice or the tears to cry that they told her how he had died.
It was a freak accident, they had described it. A one in a million chance. It had started with the poison, the one thing that shouldn’t have hurt him. But in burying his roots in the ground, in attempting to use the poison to boost his own attack, Venusaur had inadvertently absorbed the horrid toxins into his system, alongside the nutrients. The poisonous parts of his nature were unaffected by it, but the ingrained roots linked directly to his grassy heart.
It hadn’t lasted long, the nurse had said when trying to comfort her. Once the poison had reached his heart, had had been dead within a few minutes. And it certainly hadn’t hurt.
Leaf still sat there, arms wrapped around her knees, and said nothing.
Things will get better, the nurse had told her.
She had finally turned, her eyes filled with cold fury, and replied that things would only get better when science could bring back the dead.
The nurse had left after that, unsure of what else there was to say.
Red had entered later on, an oval-shaped object in his arms. Leaf recognized the pale green pattern speckled with darker green triangles and turned away from the egg instantly, frowning. She had ignored his kind words, about how he would have felt horrible if the same thing had happened to him, and how he had wheedled with the Professor for ages to get an egg like this one, and did not face him. No hatchling would ever replace Venusaur, her one and only starter.
Red had tried to insist that she keep it, with kind, pleading words, until she had snapped. She threw the stupid champion’s medal in his face, screaming, and shrieked at him to leave. If this was what being a champion was like, she said, Red was perfectly welcome to it.
He had left sheepishly, sheltering the egg in his arms, and left her there alone.
For three more days, Leaf locked herself in her room near the arena and just cried.
And then, just like that, she got up and left, her eyes hardened with resolve. She had a job to do.
She pauses for a moment outside of Oak’s Lab. It is here that they had met, a twist of fate when she hadn’t arrived in time to get a Pikachu, like the cool kids.
She had looked into the earnest eyes of her Bulbasaur, though, and decided that she didn’t mind.
It had been here that Red had challenged her to a battle, right there in the front yard, and their rivalry had started. She had been so afraid hat Bulbasaur was dead when he had fainted…
She remembers that fear with a pang, now, and hen dips her hand into the pouch.
Leaf opted not to bury Venusaur, much to the surprise of nearly everyone. It’s not a matter of money—she is the champion, after all, albeit half-heartedly. She could have buried him in an ornate manner beneath a luxurious shrine, befitting to his line, in the rocky grounds of Mount Silver, where only a few privileged such as the Elite Four may tread.
She refused. He hated the earth. He hated being trapped in one place, with no where to maneuver. And the thought of his body, buried in a small box under so many feet of earth, where she could never see him, after so long… she just couldn’t do it.
To nearly everyone’s confusion, she had him cremated.
She knew that that is what he would have wanted. This way, he can rest in the earth, bringing new life wherever he rests. His body will provide the roots of a new generation, allowing the scores of plants that he loved to grow and flourish. Each part of him, each little grain of ash, will help a new creature grow.
He was a free Pokémon, free as the open sky and the leaves that flit in the wind, and he would have wanted it this way.
She has walked across Kanto, alone, just like they once did, just the two of them. He was as free as the grass roots in the ground. He never liked being in one place. And this way, wherever she may go, a little piece of him will always be there for her, rooted and ingrained in her heart.
Leaf makes her final stop at home, her heart twinging as she walks past her house. How long has it been since she has last visited? Three years? Four?
She walks purposefully behind her house, to the great oak tree in the backyard that has towered over her since she was a little girl and the world was four feet high, watching over her with its wise leaves. He always had a fixation on this tree, how its boughs swayed in the summer wind but never broke.
She pulls the silver bag from her belt, loosening the drawstring with a pang. Inside, it holds the last link to her first Pokémon. She slowly holds the nearly empty bag in her palm, staring blankly at the black, coarse ashes that used to be a living, breathing friend, who, once upon a time, tended to the earth like it was his own.
The backyard never had a fence. It opens up to a cliff face, overlooking the sea. The gentle ocean breeze plays with her brown hair, flapping it against her back. She does not face an arena, but the prospect of what she is about to do is equally daunting.
She takes a deep breath. Leaf knows that here, after so long, it is time to let go.
Time will stop, eternity will pause, and death will halt on its inevitable course for just these few precious moments. For they are hers, and forever they will be, ingrained in her heart.
She lifts the bag, filled with the ashes, and hesitates for only a moment—
It’s hard, letting go. They never really got to say good-bye.
--and then she scatters the remaining contents to the winds.
At the base of the great oak tree, with its limbs spread wide to the sapphire skies, there is finally peace for the gentle creature who fought so many. His Pokéball, the paint on the red half already peeling and the white half growing dull, has begun to rust.
But she knows that this is where he would have wanted it to rest, a tiny red and white orb nestled between the gnarled roots of he oak tree and always, forever ingrained in her heart.
Last edited by Kai-Mei; 06-29-2011 at 10:01 PM.
Reason: Typo'd lots of stuff... SILLY LETTERS DOING SILLY THINGS... SILLY INTERNET FOR TAKING SO LONG...