[WAR X] Silver Summits
Your climb is long, hard, and filled with ice. The gloves don’t help much; your hands are going to be useless soon, anyways.
But you don’t care. Not a bit. It doesn’t matter, none of it. Not your hands, not your feet, nothing. Even if you die, you won’t be worried. You won’t be missed. Your death won’t be that big of a deal. It’s just something to be expected, anyways.
The only thing that matters to you is getting to the peak.
When you finally reach the top, after innumerable hours of climbing, your lungs numb from the icy air and your body protesting, you can’t help but laugh a bit at Lance, despite the pain. He’s spent so many years telling you that you’re irresponsible and stupid—well, you’re up here, aren’t you? Finally.
But before you can gloat any more, your next thought is, He’s is gonna die. So bad.
Mtount Silver is supposed to be empty. A perfect training area: there are no distractions, but it's filled with powerful opponents to last a lifetime. And that stupid redhead stalker can’t even fly in here any more. The only creatures alive for miles are Pokémon, and only high-leveled ones, at that.
There are no humans at the peak.
So, naturally, when you see him standing there quietly, eyes piercing you, you feel so gypped.
You’re livid to see that he’s not shivering or anything, unlike you. The mountain is so freezing, the air is so rarefied, and the climb was so freaking ridiculous, but he’s just standing there, calm as usual. You don’t know how he’s doing it. He’s completely fine, like it’s absolutely nothing.
You know that it’s more than that to him. And you want to kill him for it.
You switch to words, though, knowing that you don’t need any trouble with the police if his body is found. “Why won’t you talk?” you scream to him through the wind, hoping that he’ll lose that unearthly, creepy composure of his. It unnerves you. You want him to attack you. Because that would be normal. Expected. Well-received, even.
Of course, he doesn’t bother. He’s anything but normal; you know it and you can feel it. He does not grace you with words; he only shrugs.
You take a deep, shuddering breath. The air hits your lungs like a punch, and the icy chill is seeping into your bones. “Tell me why you’re here!” you demand angrily. You don’t expect an answer. “How in the blazes did you get up?!”
He only shrugs, and you wonder if you can break his bride along with his neck.
You don’t know why you do it. You though you had grown out of it. You thought you had learned that some things in life required more elegant solutions, and you know that you can’t take back what you say. But you don’t care. All you can do is grind your teeth, relinquish yourself to the fury roiling inside, and hope that he’ll accept. “If you won’t talk to me, I’ll have to make you!” No response. And then, “I challenge you to a battle.”
A stupid, accusing finger. An overconfident grin. And that’s when you know you’re in the fight for your life.
The wind howls in response and hits the two of you straight in the face, pushing your hair away. He scratches his nose idly; you shiver so hard you can feel the rocks shuddering beneath you. You don’t think you’ve ever been so nervous. You don’t think you’ve ever been so cold. You don’t think you’ve ever been so concerned about someone else’s approval. (Except for back then. But you don’t want to bother remembering it)
That moment stretches out long and long until it reaches forever. You wonder vaguely as you stand there, up to your knees in snow, if it’s even possible to look stupider.
He simply nods at you as if in a daze, and calmly pulls a Pokéball out of his pocket. It explodes in a flash of light high above you both.
At first, you think he’s pitying you with that Pikachu. It has liquid brown eyes, and the tip of its tail twitches, buffeted by the freezing winds on this godforsaken mountain. It looks like it’d rather be playing a contest, somewhere warm (then again, so would you), than be in the most important fight.
And then you watch as its eyes harden and sparks of electricity flit around its cheeks. You’re not concerned at first, until you watch as the snow around it melts beneath the heat.
And then you realize, no. That Pikachu that he got from who-knows-where means you won’t even think of going easy.
It’s pretty darn fast. You know that. So you send out your Weavile, one of your best, and hope that his Pikachu is as immature as it looks. And without delay, you order Weavile to go in, ready for the fight of his life. You know, from a single thought, that this fight certainly will be.
Waves of electricity float around the field as the two clash. Claws meet tail, a blast of electricity, retaliation. Rinse and repeat. After the first few hits, you don’t bother to watch any more. You know Weavile is good enough to hold its own, at the very best.
So instead, you choose to observe him.
His hair is loose and close to the shoulders, shaggy and in need of a cut. That cap he wears faces forwards and covers the top half of his face. You vaguely wonder what happened to make him retreat into a hat… there’s a flash of pity that you quickly quell. You can’t see his eyes, but you can tell he’s been lost like this for a while. It reminds you of… of…
Yourself. The two of you, lost in your own worlds. You’re not to different, the two of you.
You hear a cry and tear your eyes away, back to the battle. His blasted Pikachu is riddled with crimson gouges. Weavile’s body smokes from repeated electrocution. Neither one is ready to continue. You both return them and whisper words of thanks. Well, at least he does. You just tell Weavile it did all right. Pretty good, considering. You don’t care about stupid sentimental stuff like that any more. Your Pokémon know when they’ve done well. They’re smart.
You just know that he’s doing something arrogant and appraising beneath that stupid red hat. You glare at him and mutter, “Just send out your next one.”
He does. It’s a bloody Charizard. You don’t know how he’s gotten something as rare as that. Is that treatment for fricking champions like him? First pick of those imported breeds? The Professor probably got it specially for him, the old coot. So wonderful how everything just works out for him.
You feel weird, but you sent out your Typhlosion against it. The volcano Pokémon roars in defiance at the top of the peak, a thin thread of dark fire erupting from his maw. His own battle cry. You’re impressed, but not proud. No matter.
You feel the warmth of his fire as the corona of flames around his neck blazes to live in the snow, and you suddenly remember how cold it is and how nice small things like breathing are.
You try to discreetly warm your hands, to work the feeling back into them, but by the time you can even twitch your numb digits, he’s already into the fight and smacking his tightly curled body into Charizard’s wings. There’s a blast of fire in retaliation, and a full battle of fire masters begins.
And between the two of you, a full battle of silence begins.
And then you break it. “Think you’re so tough?” you scream desperately as your two fire-types battle, their flames blasting hot air into your faces. It makes you dizzy, the sudden blasts of heat. “Think you can unnerve me with this silent act?”
He doesn’t bother to respond. And you can’t really blame him.
You growl angrily under your breath. He’s still not talking. Why couldn’t he just say something, anything, and make you feel like you’re actually serious? Why couldn’t he talk, say something, anything, to fill up the raging silence between blasts and slashes and tackles? What are you in his eyes? Just another challenger?
You’re just about to say this, in a voice full of rage and pain and resentment, when you’re interrupted. Typhlosion is thrown into a boulder and completely knocked out.
The moment replays in your head a million times a second. There’s a crack. The wind roars. The two are locked together, and then another blast of fire. A giant roar, this time not a wind. Then, a blazing ball of fire, and another crack. And another. A thousand more, spread among the bones and the rock.
The last of the rocks trail sadly down from the cliff, landing with gentle thuds around his unconscious body. It hurts just looking at it.
He was your starter, that Typhlosion. Your strongest. And when you look back at that Charizard, breathing heavily but barely scathed, everything becomes so much colder.
You hate him for it. He knows it, too. He knows how much more afraid you are without Typhlosion.
Rage does not cloud your judgment, though. Magnezone is out in an instant, and you feel a pleasant tingle when you see how charred the dragon’s wings are after the Thunder.
But he just shrugs and returns it. A sigh. Like it’s nothing. Nothing at all. Just like you.
And then he sends out another.
The stupid fat lump just stands there, green and hulking. Snorlax. Where was he supposed to find one of those things around these parts? It’s insane. Stupid perks of his being a champion, you think.
But as that stupid bucket of lard is slowly pounded into the ground by Magnezone, you suddenly realize what’s wrong. He doesn’t seem to care at all. And when it hits the plumped up pillow with a Focus Blast at full power, he barely blinks.
And you quickly realize why when the green lump heals itself. And then snores at the two of you.
And then Magnezone faints.
He smirks at you.
You hate him so much for that. But you also realize that’s the first time he’s showed any emotion other than indifference.
You pretend not to care. “How long have you been up here?” you ask casually.
On the battle field, though, it’s everything but casual. You sent out Alakazam, and you’re trying to wear the stupid Snorlax down.
Psychic. Rest. Psychic. Sleeping. Psychic. Snore. Misses. Psychic. Another crater.
But he’s not focused that much on the battle, either. He carelessly holds up three fingers.
Three months. You can’t believe he’s lasted that long. And then he mouths the words after, because the wind has whipped the snow and his fingers are numb when they’re not in his pockets. At least, that’s what you’d like to think.
Three years spent here, in this godforsaken mountain, with only the wind to talk to. You shudder at the thought. You would have gone insane in his place. You wonder if that’s why he’s so quiet.
And then, Psychic. Alakazam flips the Snorlax into the air and slams it hard into the ground. There’s a crater, but from a different creator. You almost scream, giddy with joy, when the stupid bucket of lard finally goes down.
He sighs as he returns it. You can’t help but feel a rush of thrill.
A Lapras comes out next, and the two are at it immediately.
That’s when you suddenly realize how broken the two of you are. To be so used to battling that both of your Pokémon fight as soon as an opponent appears… it feels so wrong. You still remember the time when that stalker prick showed you what your Pokémon really meant to you: they’re not just fighters, not just tools. His determined face in your mind looks so similar, so much like the one in front of you.
But it’s not the one in fro not you. That… look… he’s so lost, even though he’s right in front of you. He’s a stranger to you.
Alakazam manages to fire off one last Psychic before it’s hit head on – Body Slam, if that’s right—and falls over, unconscious. A crater splits open and the land quakes where Lapras lands and brays its satisfaction.
You return Alakazam quietly, glancing around the mountain and noticing how you’ve destroyed its beauty. Yes, you realize grudgingly: there was beauty there at some point to begin with. But still, the atmosphere waits with baited breath, the wind stopped, to see what will happen next.
It’s two to two, now. And you know what’s coming. Kind of.
Out comes his Espeon. You imagine that stupid thing as an Eevee, klutzing around and generally being a waste of space. You wish that you had saved Weavile for this, but you have no choice. You finger the other two Pokéballs that you brought. Neither of them are really going to have a good time.
He hasn’t gotten to the top with only brute strength, though. You want to show him that you haven’t, either.
But your last, last Pokémon… you can’t use it. It’s your last resort. Proof of how far you’ve come. You don’t want to let him see it. Not yet. Not now. You want it to surprise him, to catch him reeling off guard.
You want to give him the greatest bloody last round he’s ever seen. Well, it would have been better if Typhlosion was still there, but you can’t complain.
Gengar it is.
The two are at it again, and you glance back at him. There’s something in his eyes, brief flashes, that make you think something is up his sleeve. You know that he knows that whichever Pokémon can land a hit first is going to win. Gengar is from the shadows, and a single attack of darkness will knock that stupid Espeon into the ground. But it’s also a creature of poison, and a single psychic hit from Espeon will kill Gengar.
So both of them dodge.
Gengar cackles as a blast of psychic energy misses him by inches, instead hitting and shattering a boulder. Shrapnel flies everywhere. It sounds like bullets driving into the earth, and you wince as those sounds bring back all of those fears from back then.
The wind knocks off his hat, and you see his face.
It’s grinning, with gleaming eyes. And dimples. And beads of sweat, in this impossibly cold mountain. And a bleeding scratch on his temple, one that you doubt he even notices. His hair is disheveled, covered by debris and dust. It’s tired, prone, bruised, battered… so hurt and so young you feel guilty for causing the cuts that join the whitened scars… where did he even get those, anyways? But after all of the abuse on that face, he’s still laughing. You can feel it from this far away. It’s that powerful.
So he’s human, after all.
Gengar hits the ground with a thud in front of you, and you realize you don’t know why. Afraid, you glance across at his Espeon, only to watch it spit out a glob of poison from its mouth and hit the ground as well, unconscious. So Gengar’s Sludge Bomb actually had a use. You both return them.
You don’t know why, but both you and he are laughing. It feels good.
It feels like hours, this battle. Like something that was meant to last an eternity has finally reached the end. But it’s not a waste.
You got to see him. You got to battle his Pokémon, too. And you’ve seen his face. You’ve seen deeper than that, too, and you know why he’s guarded. It wasn’t a waste of time. It wasn’t bad.
And that’s when you know that now is the right time to let it out.
Your last resort.
You can remember when you first caught him. Small, blind, weak. Like a thousand others swarming in Union Cave. You hadn’t wanted him at first. Blue really wasn’t your color, anyways. And, most importantly, you didn’t think such an annoying thing was good enough for your dream team. But you caught it anyways, because you knew Golbat were decent flyers, good attackers, and you saw hidden potential. Kinda. And then that idiotic redhead and a certain stalker really helped you understand, opened your eyes. Golbat was a living creature with feelings.
And now he’s a Crobat.
He’s different now. Grown-up, big, powerful. Strong. He’s not weak any pathetic any more.
And neither are you.
You watch with satisfaction as he stares, pointing a single finger at Crobat. He’s freaked out. He can’t understand. Incredulous. He’s wanting an explanation, a chance to figure out what he’s seeing. You know it’s not shock; he’s the champion. Odds are he’s seen a thousand other Crobat before, but none like this.
There’s an unspoken question between you. Between time, too. From back then. Your past, if you could call it that.
“I messed up,” you reply quietly. Respectfully, even. Because you suddenly realize that neither of you are the strangers your first met on top of here, or in the beginning. He’s not distant, not cold. He deserves your respect now that he’s human. “I messed up a lot before.”
He only stares at you, his jaw nearly scraping the floor.
That’s good. You want to say your spiel before he breaks his strange vow of silence and iterrupts. You need to say this before anything else goes wrong. You’ve waited long enough. It’s now or never for this, and this lost present is more important than anything else. Maybe even the battle.
“I…” you mutter, trailing off. And then you toughen up and continue in a bigger voice, “I… I went around, beating, treating them like… tools – I didn’t… I didn’t care about them. But then Lance came around. First, he beat the crap out of me. And then he showed me up, showed me everything. Then I saw how people, people with strong ones, the truly strong trainers, how they treated them… and then I realized… I messed up, okay?”
He looks at you as if you’re a new species that landed from the moon.
You ignore his stare. You’re shaking, but not from the cold. It’s hard to breathe, and you’re suddenly hot even in the blizzard.
“I messed up everything!” you roar angrily, waiting for him to break the silence and being disappointed. Your palms are bleeding as your nails dig into the soft flash there. “You were right, you idiot, you were right about everything! I was wrong. I was so wrong!”
He drops into the snow with an ungraceful thud, but you don’t notice.
“My Pokémon are still scarred—they cower when we lose, and it took my years and years to get Golbat to even look at me straight. I ruined my chances – their chances from the start. I messed up, I messed up everything, and everythi—everyone… they’re ruined!” You don’t notice the wetness until it’s sliding like sweat down your cheeks.
He seems embarrassed. You cringe. You’re the one crying, you’re the one embarrassed. He shouldn’t be crying… but at least he has the sense not to walk up to you and hug you or something stupid. You both know you’ll hurt him if he tries.
You continue in a quieter voice, lest it cracks. “I’ll never be a champion. Not like you, not like Lance, not like Red. Me and my Pokémon aren’t gonna… because of me, we’ll never get far. I messed up everything. And before you say it – I know you will, you idiot – yeah, we’ve gotten far, but we won’t get any further. Because I’m here, and these guys are still behind me. Because I’m on this team.”
He seems confused. Anxious. He blinks, and opens his mouth.
But you snap your eyes up and catch his. You glare.
There is no pity. No encouraging words. No nothing about how you didn’t do anything wrong, or how things will get better, or how you’re already good enough. You don’t need it. You never wanted it. You came up here wanting proof that you were good enough to find and challenge him. You wanted to practice what you were going to say with enough wind to whip the words some place they wouldn’t echo. You wanted a chance to become better, to become greater, to become stronger…
It’s too late.
You're not so sure, now that he's here. He's always gold.
Always Gold. And you're always just silver. The rival. The challenger. Just… Silver.
Like how it always is. How it’s always been. How it’s supposed to be. But you don’t know if you should keep it that way any more.
“Stand up,” you growl, your red hair flicking in the wind. You spit out the words with all of the hate left in your body. The shivers have left you gone. You’re ready.
It’s now. The battle that you’ve always wanted—both of you—is finally here.
“Stand up and fight like the champion you are.”
Last edited by Kai-Mei; 07-24-2011 at 01:31 AM.