Today, the sky is blue. Such a clear, pretty blue, the kind that seems to promise no rain—there aren’t even any clouds—and it’s nice and warm. There’s a breeze winding its way through the trees, and normally I would be happy, but today it just doesn’t seem fair. I kind of wish it were raining, one of those torrential downpours that keeps you safe inside the house and staring out the windows through the cold, drop-blurred glass. Maybe if it was, we’d still be inside together and not out here, where I know this journey is finally going to end, and I don’t want it to. As crazy as it’s been, I don’t want to have to say goodbye after spending months together—it’s hard to think that after all the crap we’ve gone through, he won’t ever be the same after today. He won’t be human ever again after today, and that was what bothers me the most—up until now, he’s still been at least a bit human, and after today, that will be gone.
We walk through the forest quietly for a while before Seth stops. “You aren’t saying anything,” he says softly, back still to me.
I sigh, “Do I really need to say anything?” I ask him moodily. “Other than this sucks?” In front of me, he shakes his head, long brown hair waving with the motion. I miss the days when it was short, the days when he looked the same as he had when he first opened his front door when I knocked on it—his hair had been short in the back and long in the front then, and his eyes had been gray rather than brown, one eye obscured by his overly long bangs swept off to one side. It was the single gray eye that I could see that registered surprise at the sight of myself standing at his doorstep as though he couldn’t believe he was seeing me, in spite the fact we’d never met before.
“I guess you don’t, though I wish you’d say something to make me feel a bit better about this,” he says, sounding bitter. “Because you aren’t the only one who thinks this sucks. No more human Seth after this…I can’t ever go see my family or friends again… I think I’ll keep in touch with you, though. You know; have known from nearly the beginning—“
“I was a friend to Duke before I was a friend to you. I spent these months with you because he asked me to, because he felt you needed someone you could trust, and I found a friend in you as well. He gave his life with the others to protect you and the other ones like you…I would do the same for you, Seth. If you ever need someone to talk to or turn to for help, I’m going to be there because I was there for your predecessor from the day I turned fourteen…it’s only been three years, going on four, but still… You get it, don’t you? You’re welcome in Pallet Town any time.” His family and friends back in Johto weren’t going to be the only ones to miss him—we had stayed in my hometown on and off over the last few months, and he had really grown on the townspeople once we managed to explain what the heck was going on and why Johto’s government was basically trying to plaster our pictures everywhere and call us terrorists. Seth had had to stop Mt. Ember from blowing its top more than once, and there had been at least one trip to Cinnabar, so he had made friends and left good impressions in those places as well…Seth Micheals would be a very missed human once he was gone.
“You will not die for me, ‘promised guardian’ or not, Riika. It’s bad enough that you have those scars on your arms. Duke was grateful for your help, but he never could get over the guilt of being the cause of them, and he knew he was going to die regretting dragging you into this, too.” I shake my head and sigh; so they weigh as heavily on his mind as they had Duke’s?
“You don’t get to choose what I do, Seth, we’ve been over this multiple times. I know it’s hard for you to understand, but even if I hadn’t promised Duke that I would protect you, I’d still be willing to do the same. You’re important—me? Not as much. And I’m proud
of my scars, thank you very much, I don’t know why Duke felt so guilty about them, but I was certainly aware he was. They prove to me that that whole thing wasn’t a dream; it wasn’t a flight of fancy that I met an Entei and saved his life because I wasn’t afraid to give up! It always bothered me that he felt guilty over them, you don’t need to feel the same guilt, Seth.” He turns to look at me, reaching up to brush the crest of hair formed by his bangs that looked so much like the crest that took up Entei’s face, eyes (now even more red than mine) studying me.
“Why didn’t you ever tell Duke that?” he asks me, and I shrug.
“Would he have ever listened? There was never really a time for it, anyway,” I told him, shaking my head. “I told you, though, so keep it mind for him, because I know it’s bothered you since you found out.” I remember how he pestered me until I eventually agreed to show him, and I remember seeing his face when I pulled my armwarmers off so he could see the webwork of slightly raised lines that covered my arms. The look of surprise and horror I had seen that night was enough for me, I kept the skin of my arms out of his sight from that point on.
“I don’t know that he would have, though I mean, you knew him for three years—that’s what you just said, right? I’ll keep it in mind, though…”
“I’m serious, Seth, don’t brood over it like Duke did. And yeah—I knew him for three years, but I didn’t ever see him very much, and when he did stop by or drag me out somewhere, it was almost like he wanted to be…normal. I mean, there was a time or two when he really wanted help, but other than that, we would just talk. I don’t know if he thought he had a responsibility to talk to me, or he wished he had a trainer, or what it was, but he would call me out someplace where he wasn’t likely to be seen and we’d just talk for a little while about what we’d seen while we were out adventuring, how we were doing, that kinda thing. You’re welcome to do the same, by the way, it’s gotta get lonely sometimes, roaming around aimlessly and having to hide from people… Especially when you used to be around them all the time.” Seth’s eyes grow sad as he looks back at me and balls up his hands into fists. All the conversations we had over the months came flooding back—how he missed the idea of getting to grow up, how he’d probably never expand his family, and how he’d miss his already existing family and friends…
“I’m sorry,” I murmur, and he shakes his head before turning around and starting to walk again.
“It’s alright. You’ll probably see a lot of me in the future, though,” he admits, I can’t help but smile at his back over that as I follow him.
“I don’t mind that at all. Feel free to bug me anytime,” I tell him as we come out into a small clearing. I glance around out of habit, though I know that at this point, Seth’s senses are better than mine and there isn’t much of a point to me trying to act like a guardian anymore.
“You know, I ought to bug you all the time because of that remark?” Seth teases back, and I actually laugh out loud at that.
“Feel free to, I don’t care. It’ll be like old times.” It’s my turn to make him laugh, which Seth does easily as he turns to me.
“You’re calling the past few months ‘old times’ already? Jeez, Riika!” he laughs as he turns and sheds his jacket, holding it out to me. I just look at in confusion.
“Why are you trying to hand me your jacket, Seth?” I ask him, Seth just smiles at me and kind of shakes it out in front of him.
“So you know it wasn’t a dream. So you know I was human once, and those months you spent with me weren’t a dream. So you have proof to go with your scars.” It’s at that that I nearly burst into tears, and I’m not entirely sure why, other than it seems so final.
“But Seth, I—“
“Just take the jacket and make me happy.” I take it simply because I don’t know what else to do. The moment it’s in my arms, though, I latch onto it and hug it like I never intend to let it go on some childish impulse that makes Seth laugh again. “Thank you,” he says softly before walking towards the center of the clearing and leaving me behind on the edge with his jacket as proof he used to be human.
He had left his Pokémon in their Pokeballs, which sat on the kitchen counter at my house next to a letter, where Ericka or mom would find them at some point when they woke up—I had already been told they were to go to trainers who would treat them well. The letter was for my family as a whole, though, and I hadn’t been allowed to read it, so I wouldn’t find out until I got home, probably after my twin sister cussed me out over not waking her up when Seth woke me up so she could come with us to say goodbye. She was over-emotional, so Ericka would probably bawl while she was cussing me out and mom would probably just ask me if that was what a “responsible young woman” would do. Dad and Aiden would nod to mom’s disapproval while Ericka would probably still be bawling, and once this was eventually over, I would get to hear what he had written to my family. I kind of wanted to know, but then I got to see him last and tell him goodbye in person—guess I couldn’t get everything I wanted…even if I already wasn’t getting everything I wanted due to the fact Seth wouldn’t be coming back home with me.
I chase after him as he reaches the center of the clearing, dropping the jacket so I could tackle him, wrapping my arms around him in a hug. “Riika, what--?”
“Ericka would want me to. You know how my twin sister is; at least I can tell her I hugged you for her,” I tell him, fighting back tears once more as I refused to let go of him. Seth laughed again and hugged me back.
“You are not hugging me for Ericka, and I know it. Stop lying, Riika,” he replies softly, and I try to tighten my grip on him.
“Fine—I’m hugging you because I don’t want you to go. I’m gonna miss having you around, you know?”
“I’m not going to be completely gone, Riika,” he sighs.
“You won’t be there like you have been for months.” I know I sound like a child, but I can’t help it. I’ve never had anyone else other than family get that close to me, and that was what it felt like I was losing now—a part of my family.
“But it’s not like I’m dying. I’ll still bug you sometimes…” And that’s it—I’ve started crying. Not like Ericka would have been, but I’m still crying. “This is not the same Riika I’ve known for months. Not the same Riika that beat down Johto soldiers with a baseball bat and her Raichu at her side--that Riika’s tough and takes crap from no one. Where did she go?” Seth asks me, and I shake my head.
“She took a vacation,” I mutter, and he chuckles at that.
“She needs to come back so she can tell me I have to go through with this. Because at this point I’m tempted to take this Riika back home and not bring this journey to an end.” I bite my lip—now I’m just being unfair, and I know it.
“She’s trying. She says you need to do what you came here to do.” I let him go and try to smile through my tears. Seth just shakes his head and turns me around.
“Why don’t you go pick up my jacket? It was kind of rude for you to drop your proof, don’t you think?” I can see what he’s doing, but I don’t object, because I’m just as likely to try and stop him again if I don’t have anything to distract myself. I move forward almost mechanically and I think back to all our discussions over the months as I do, when one hits me and I whirl around to face him.
“Seth?” I ask softly—he’s standing where I left him with his eyes closed, but he opens them when I speak. “Sophia—that was the name right?” He looks confused for a moment, but I can feel the faint smile on my face. I remembered the conversation pretty clearly—he had been talking about the future he could never have, and mentioned he would have liked to have a daughter he could name Sophia because he had always loved the name for some odd reason. I remember laughing at tha time, but I wasn’t laughing now.
“If you’re talking about what I think you are, yes, Sophia was the name…why?” He still looks confused when I reach down to pick up the jacket.
“Because it’s the least I can do—I ever have a daughter, I’ll name her Sophia for you.” Seth blinks and then a huge smile breaks out on his face as he closes his eyes again and he lets the transformation take him over for the last time.
I remember when we first made it into Kanto and things calmed down while we were in Veridian for the first time, how he looked at me and told me “Looks like we’ve just got to make the best of the time we have,” and now I realize I never knew if he meant before Johto attacked or before he became the next Entei permanently.
Whichever way he meant it, the time we had was now gone, and goodbyes were hard. I just stood there, hugging his jacket to me as the newest addition to the ranks of Legendary Pokémon turned his head to look at me. /No more human Seth,/
he informed me mentally, and I nodded slowly as the tears came back in full force. /Thank you, Riika. For everything./
The words are nearly a mental whisper, but they’re still there.
“You’re welcome; it was fun getting to know you, Seth,” I tell him softly, then raise one hand to make a shooing motion. “Now I think you’ve got a volcano to fix somewhere, don’t you? I’ve got a raging family to get back to.” He lets out a sound that’s something like a chuckle of a laugh before he looks up at me.
/Sorry about that… Remember what you promised me about my Pokémon, though, and I’ll be back to bug you soon,/
he tells me mentally before he turns and bolts off into the Viridian Forest.
I turn and begin my walk home slowly. Somewhere along the line, I finally manage to stop crying, but it only resumes the moment I make it through the door to my house and see Ericka sitting on the couch with mom, giving me a murder glare the only makes me clutch Seth’s brown jacket with cream-colored fur cuffs closer to me as the waterworks come on again, and Ericka explodes into tears again, too. For the first time in years, in the living room of our house on a beautiful day, the Amano twins are crying like children together over a friend who would never set foot in their house again.
Today, the sky is blue. Such a clear, pretty blue, the kind that seems to promise no rain—there aren’t even any clouds—and it’s nice and warm. There’s a breeze winding its way through the trees, and it reminds me of the day years ago when I said goodbye to a good friend of mine, though the goodbye wasn’t completely permanent. The fact we’re heading out this way is proof enough of that, actually I’ve seen him a bit more often in recent years, to be honest. Ahead of me runs a little girl whose long blonde hair streams behind her along with part of her red dress. Her father calls after her, and I shake my head, laughing.
“You know there’s no point, Davis,” I tell him, still looking after her. “You know there’s no one else she loves seeing more.” Next to me, my husband sighs in defeat.
“I blame it on you. She’s got your free spirit, Riika, and your same love for Entei…it doesn’t help that she’s got him wrapped around her little fingers, either.” I take my eyes away from our daughter to look at my husband and smile.
“Sophia has had Seth wrapped around her fingers since the day she met him. It was to be expected, really, considering—“
“You named her Sophia because he couldn’t. I know. I just wish she wasn’t as wild as you were,” Davis replies as I look back to where Sophia has disappeared into the small clearing ahead of us. I can still hear her laughing, and I’m pretty sure I hear her triumphant cry of “Seth!” amidst more laughter.
“Hey, she’s not beating up boys yet, is she? I wouldn’t complain too much about our daughter, Davis—she could be exactly like me!” I tease before kicking into a run myself and leaving Davis behind, laughing as I do.
When I make it into the clearing, she’s already gotten Seth into play mode—she’s taking great amusement in the fact he can still roll her around between his front paws in spite the fact she’s now five. Sophia lets out a great shriek of laughter as Seth acts like he’s going to pounce on her and he moves his paws off to the sides at the moment, both freeze, however as I speak up. “Hey, where’s my greeting?” I ask, and Seth and Sophia both look up like guilty children. Sophia waves enthusiastically and giggles as she does.
/Hello, Riika, nice to see you again,/
Seth tells me telepathically, and I roll my eyes.
“Yeah, yeah, I know, Seth. Lemme guess, ‘Now leave me alone so I can play with your daughter’? Big softie,” I shoot back playfully. “It’s nice to see you again, too.” The Entei playing with my daughter like he thinks he’s a Vulpix levels his gaze with me.
is Sophia’s fifth birthday. She should be the one getting all the attention./
I laugh at Seth’s counter.
“She’s going to be sick of attention by the time her party is through—I made the mistake of letting her Aunt plan the party, and you know how Ericka can get.” Seth makes a sound similar to a laugh as well, and this time Davis’s laugh joins his.
“Well then, you should stop letting your sister plan parties,” he suggests, though we both knew I hadn’t exactly ‘let’ Ericka plan.
“Better than my sister-in-law
,” I shoot—Kelly was worse than Ericka where party planning was concerned, I felt bad for my nephews and niece. “But anyway, we can only stay for a little while; gotta get back before Ericka pitches a fit about plans and possibly ruining them, so have fun with her while you can,” I sigh, and the playing resumes before Davis and I take a seat on the grass.
I had said goodbye to Seth the human years ago in this same clearing, but that had really only been the end of our first adventure. Seth the Entei had been a part of quite a few more afterwards, and he would definitely be part of more adventures in the future, even if they were my daughter’s… Sure, that first goodbye had been hard, but I was no longer seventeen and knew there wouldn’t be a permanent goodbye between us for years to come.