[WAR XI] Waltz for the Moon [Judged]
Dresses, I had spent most of my life in dresses while other girls wore shorts and jeans, only to be surrounded by girls in dresses at parties. It never made any sense to me, especially upon hearing the things the girls did to try to make themselves look "better" in dresses. My mother had hated them on her, and it was something I could understand--she had been a tomboy. Me? I just supposedly inherited her energy, free will, and strange, nearly red eyes. Now, I was surrounded by dresses and tuxedos, many rather insane in appearance because those wearing them often wanted to attract attention in contests. Mine was fairly simple--a pretty strapless, crimson number accented with small, clear beads here and there, as well as a simple ruffled skirt that fell just short of knees.The dress I was wearing was newly-bought for this occasion; as I had never entered contests myself and never intended to, however it was hard trying to convince your somewhat insane relatives that you just weren't interested in going to a party for a bunch of contest-lovers--being pushy was in the family, I guess. I'd seen it enough times with my both my aunts and multiple of my first cousins once removed, which it seemed I had a lot of, along with even more second cousins--which was why I was here now. Honestly, I didn't know why Dahlia thought it was so important for me to come in the first place--she'd ditched me the moment we got through the door of the Hearthome contest hall, and now I was on my own; well, with the exception of Musei acting as a guard.
There'd been buzz among the Pokémon I'd talked to all night--it seemed that there was another one like me out there; one who could understand the language they spoke just as well, maybe even better, than the language we spoke. That had certainly caught my interest; however the guy had so far remained elusive. Of course, to be fair, I had yet to get frustrated enough to allow Musei to try and hunt him down mentally--I mean, how hard was finding a guy with long green hair supposed to be? Normally it probably would have been pretty easy, but with the contest hall now packed to the brim like it was, it was substantially harder to even move around; let alone track down a single person.
“This place is a zoo, Musei,” I muttered to my Gallade, who looked up at me and nodded.
/Ready to give up yet?/ He replied telepathically, sounding somewhat amused. I could swear I heard him give a mental sigh when I shook my head.
“Not just yet.” I was projecting my words just as much with my mind as I was with my mouth, seeing as how in the current crush of people we were stuck in, it was difficult to hear well—not that mentally projecting was hard for me since I had been doing it for nearly as long as Musei had been with me, and that had been a few years now. It was the Gallade’s only means of communication with me since an incident with a Poochyena when he was a Ralts had cost him his voice, something I’d managed to give back to him over a rather hefty timespan, but only mentally.
We continued to push our way through the crowd until it ended suddenly--so suddenly we both nearly fell out of it, prompting someone nearby to let out a laugh that was quickly cut off, as though they’d thought better of it partway through. Looking around in attempt to discover who the laugher was, my eyes landed on a figure who had basically propped himself up against the wall of the room who seemed to be looking straight at me.
/Looks like you found him, Sophia./ Musei’s tone betrayed him--he was surprised to see the young man with long green hair wearing casual clothes, as opposed to the rest of the party’s attendees, leaning (almost lounging, really) against the wall. Me? I was just glad I was lucky enough to have found him.
“You’re the one who laughed, weren’t you?” I asked, him, approaching slowly. He held a black and white baseball cap in his hands, and at my remark, he seemed to reach up to put it on before he seemed to think better or that, too, and lowered his arm quickly and decided to glance down at his shoes. Was he embarrassed I’d caught him? I’d only meant to start a conversation, maybe tease him a little, but it didn’t seem as though he found it funny.
“Yes, sorry,” he admitted so quickly I almost didn’t catch it. “You just looked so surprised it was comical.” The sentence flowed out of his mouth like water; so quickly that it took me a moment to comprehend what he’d told me, really. When I finally realized what he’d said, I laughed.
“I kind of was—so many people in here, I expected it to be wall-to-wall crammed.” Of course, now I noticed that he seemed to have a whole bubble of space between the crowd and him that completely isolated him from the rest of the party, and I was in that bubble. “Sooo, I’ve heard that there’s a guy here with long green hair that can understand the language of Pokémon, would that be you, by chance?”
The reaction was nearly instantaneous. The young man instantly looked panicked and started glancing around, probably trying to find a way out where there was none, thanks to the crowd. Seeing that there was no exit present, he looked almost angry. “And who did you hear that from?”
“Easy, easy, I’m not gonna make fun of you for it! Arceus knows I went through enough of that--the Pokémon here said it themselves. I can understand them, too; you can ask any of my Pokémon, and they’d confirm it for you.” His expression quickly morphed into confusion before he glanced to Musei beside me. Polite as ever, before the guy could put any questions to him, my Gallade raised his chin to show the guy the nasty set of scars at his throat in indication that he couldn’t speak; his reaction this time was almost explosive.
“Just what in the world did you put your Gallade through!” he snarled, shoving himself off the wall. “And yet--“ Whatever he had been about to say was cut off as Musei promptly grabbed my arm and forced me behind him while he moved closer to the young man. His mouth moved for a moment, as if to yell at the guy in spite his motion to indicate he couldn’t speak just moments before—that was when Musei did something I had never seen him do before; he didn’t take the time to have me explain or ask, he went straight to shooting off telepathic remarks at the guy.
/Don’t you say a single thing about Sophia!/ Was his opener, and from there it seemed he became so frustrated that rather than explain the story, he reverted to sharing his memories of the events that brought us together, from the attack of the Poochyena that he had accidentally stumbled upon, to my finding him and taking care of him, and then the beginnings of me teaching him how to speak mentally. Musei shared how I had taken in most of my current Pokémon after they had been hurt or abandoned, and how we all acted like one big family most of the time. The onslaught seemed to startle him, causing the young man to stumble backwards, into the wall, before I slipped out from behind Musei to steady him and keep him standing.
Neither objected to my actions, although Musei decided to punctuate his sharing with /See? She “put me through” nothing—she saved me and took me in. She took almost all of her Pokémon in, and these same Pokémon would do anything for her in return./ The young man, however, still seemed to be dazed and didn’t respond.
“Musei, you didn’t have to hurl the memories at him…” I said softly, and my Gallade stepped closer to me.
/I didn’t mean to… I was angry…/ I couldn’t tell if he was still talking to the guy as well or not, though this was answered when he spoke up.
“It’s alright, I understand now…more than I probably would have understood if you had explained it. Just…took me by surprise, that’s all.” He straightened himself up and looked at me. My hand was still on his arm from where I had steadied him earlier. “I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions; I shouldn’t have, but it’s hard not to, when…” At this point, he simply gestured to Musei.
“I know, it looks bad, and you aren’t the only one who’s jumped on me about it, but you are the only one who completely flew off the handle over it. I understand why, though--you speak to them, too. You grow closer to them when you can do such things; my Pokémon are almost like my family away from home… By the way, I’m Sophia, if you didn’t figure it out from my Gallade’s rant,” I offered, letting him go.
/Sophia calls me Musei, and I am sorry I lost my temper before,/ Musei added, and this time, the young man’s gaze flickered to him.
“It’s quite alright, I can understand why you were angry, now… Anyway, it’s nice to meet you both, I’m N,” he replied. N? Just a letter for a name? My curiosity got the better of me.
“N? Is that short for something?” He looked to me, expression somewhat surprised, before he shook his head.
“Nothing that I’d like to share.” I couldn’t help it--I laughed at that.
“That bad, huh? I’m sure I’ve probably heard worse.” N just shook his head, chuckling.
“I doubt you have.”
“I have this first cousin once removed who had rather eccentric parents. Her name is so overly long and complicated that was all just call her Ash,” I told him, he shook his head again.
“Sounds bad, but I still can’t say that I think it’s worse than mine,” N said simply, I shrugged.
“Well, Ash was the best I had, I think. Of course, I guess I’ll never know, considering I don’t know yours beyond N.” N just held his hands up as if he was trying to ward me off.
“Don’t look at me like that, Sophia--I really don’t care to share it.”
“Fine, then,” I told him, and it was in that moment that my crazy side started to act up. “You know what? I heard there’s supposed to be dancing in the arena area and just standing around is boring--come on, dance with me!” N blinked. Musei looked at me like I was insane.
“I, ah...can’t dance,” he said softly, almost like he was embarrassed.
“It’s not that hard,” I assured him, “I’m sure you’re just giving yourself less credit than you deserve.”
“Well, I’m really not--“ he protested, but it now seemed I’d inherited the pushiness from my relatives as well.
“It’ll be fine, come on; I’ll show you an easy dance--pretty hard to mess up a box waltz.” I reached for his hand, and rather than yanking it away, he allowed me to take it.
/Sophia, are you sure this is smart?/ Musei followed us as I began to tow N through the crowd to get to the door to the arena area. I laughed back at him.
“Does it need to be smart? I just wanna do something other than stand around!” This got a laugh out of N as we reached the door that led down into the arena area, where music was playing and a handful of people and Pokémon were dancing on the floor where contest participants usually stood. The only thing between us and the makeshift dance floor now was a set of stairs; a set of stairs that I proceeded to hop down, taking N with me.
I nearly took us both tumbling down the stairs once, thanks to the edge of my shoe getting caught and tripping me up. However, I was only airborne for a moment before the mutter of /Dangit, Sophia,/ filled my head and I was frozen mid-fall and gently placed back on my feet. /Be more careful!/
“Hey, mind slowing down a bit now?” N asked, and for his benefit, I nodded.
“I guess we can,” I sighed, looking back to the strange young man still holding his baseball cap in his free hand and my Gallade. “And thank you, Musei.” The Gallade nodded to me in acknowledgement, and N gave me this look of almost grateful look before we started down the stairs again at a slower pace than before. It felt like it took ages to reach the bottom from that point, however we reached the bottom without further incident, much to both N and Musei’s relief.
/I’ll stay out here, on the sidelines,/ Musei announced as I began to tug N towards the makeshift dance floor.
“Alright then, enjoy your break,” I called back a moment before N tugged back for once, holding his baseball cap out to Musei.
“Hold on a moment,” he said quickly before looking to my Gallade. “Musei, would you mind holding my hat for me? I would rather not have it go flying off my head in whatever chaos Sophia has planned,” he chuckled, I frowned at him.
“Box waltzing doesn’t exactly get wild,” I informed him, but Musei smiled and took the hat anyway.
/I’m sure you’ll find a way to work him up to something beyond box waltzing, Sophia. You’re you, after all./ That earned him a frown as well.
“How about have some faith in me?” I asked him, he just smiled while N proceeded to chuckle.
/I have faith in you--faith that you’re going to get as bored with box waltzing as you were with just talking earlier./ N’s chuckle grew into a full laugh at that, however before I could fire anything back, he turned to me.
“Well, if you want to dance so badly, why are we just standing here?” he asked me. With a grumble, I shot one look back at Musei before leading him off. The Gallade only continued to smile.
“Alright,” I started as we neared the dance floor, “box waltzing is as repetitive and simple as you can get. As the name suggests, your feet make a kind of box pattern when you dance, all you should really have to do is watch my feet a time or two before you have it.” I smiled to myself as I spotted a relatively free spot on the floor and headed towards it.
“Okay…” I heard N say behind me, still sounding nervous.
“You’ll be fine,” I assured him as we reached the empty spot I’d been aiming for and spun around to face him. “Okay, now, one of your hands goes on my waist,” I simply raised the hand I hand been holding onto and moved it into place before letting it go. “My hand on the same side goes on your shoulder.” I was going over this partly for his benefit, partly for mine, as I was going over a mental checklist as I went through the process of moving us both into correct form. Finally, I held out the hand not resting on his shoulder and smiled. “And then you take my other hand.”
You could probably have fit another person between us, maybe two, and N was obviously uncomfortable, but he did take my hand in spite of the obvious discomfort. He wasn’t the tallest guy I’d ever seen--he wasn’t even that much taller than me, really, I noticed, so at least things weren’t going to be horribly difficult in that department. It really seemed like the hardest part was going to be teaching him the steps and getting him comfortable with them so he didn’t stare at my feet the entire time. “Now what?” N seemed to ask out of nowhere, catching me off guard. It took a couple moments of blinking and furious thinking for me to remember what came next.
“The steps, which are fairly easy. You move in a fairly simple squarish pattern, however it’s easier to show you than explain... It’s silly, but think of it like both of us have magnets on our toes, and the magnets on your toes are attracted to the magnets on mine, so whatever I do, you follow. That make sense?” He nodded quickly, suddenly looking rather determined.
“I think so; let’s try it.”
“Alright then,” I laughed at his newfound seriousness before stepping back with my right foot. Immediately, N’s left foot shot forward after it, and he barely avoided kicking only to almost fall on me instead. “It’s supposed to be a slow dance, N,” I informed him teasingly as he let go of me, muttering a long stream of apologies, face bright pink, and attempted to walk away. “Hey, now, don’t get so down so quickly! I’m not letting you give up that easily!” I called, chasing after him and dragging him back.
“I told you,” he complained, “I can’t dance!”
“Well I’m not letting you give up after one mistake,” I replied, placing my hand back on his shoulder and holding out the other. After a rather long moment, he sighed and took up starting position again. “Remember, slow this time. Now, forward…” I said as I stepped backward with my right foot. This time, N followed without trouble. “Forward and side,” I murmured, stepping back and to the left with my left foot. This time, N’s following was a little slower and shaky this time, but it didn’t come close to nearly kicking or falling on me like before. “Now back with your right, and then follow up and take a step to the right with your right foot.” This went off pretty well, as N seemed to catch on as quickly as I had expected him to. “And now follow with your left and close the box.”
“That’s it?” He looked up from my feet at last, and I nodded, grinning.
“Yeah, that’s all it is; that same pattern over and over. Simple, isn’t it? Once you get used to it, you don’t even have to look at feet. Ready to try it again?” This appeared to improve his mood drastically, as N laughed in response.
“Of course, if it’s that simple!”
“It is that simple--again, forward…” I laughed along with him as I stepped backwards and he stepped forwards without overdoing it or going too slow this time. The rest of this “box” went through without incident as well, and surprisingly, on the next one, he lifted his eyes from my feet, and one box later, I stopped murmuring the directions. Five boxes later, N asked to amp up the difficulty, and we began moving in a small circle along with the box pattern. He proved a fast learner again, and was asking for something even more difficult. This set the pattern for the rest of the night, and it went on for quite a while…