Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.
Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon
“I’ve decided! I’m going to get stronger than him! You should...do your best! Fill up the Pokedex and have my back. Got it?”
Out of the many things I’ve said to her, that was one of the things I remembered best. I also remembered what happened after. I went into the tall grass, looking to battle Pokemon. For a few hours, I didn’t see her. She headed to Virbank. But, eventually, she came back.
I was still battling wild Pokemon. But the first thing I did when I saw her was take a break and ask what happened in Virbank. She told me she lost against Roxie. She was having a hard time training her Growlithe in the Complex, since it was raining, reducing its power. Rather, she went back here to train. She asked me what I was doing in the grass in the first place.
“I have to get stronger than Team Plasma!”
She sighed and put her hands on her hips in the cutest way. “Honestly, what’s with you and Team Plasma? You always have a short temper when it comes to people and their Pokemon. And whenever Team Plasma enters into the mix, you grow irate and run off.”
I turned my head away, unable to look her in the eye. “It’s nothing.” Before I could rethink, I rested my hand on her head for a few moments. “Don’t worry about it. Just enjoy your journey and fill up the Pokedex for Juniper.”
A few moments of silence. I took my hand off her head and shoved it into my pocket awkwardly.
“What… What’s wrong with you?!”
I looked at her, startled. I could see the wetness in her eyes; whether it was from the rain at the Complex or tears, I could not tell.
She stepped forward, a familiar blazing look in her eyes. “First you tell me to have your back, then you don’t tell me what’s wrong! I can’t have your back, Hugh. Not if you’re not going to tell me what’s wrong…”
I recognized that look. I had seen it before from when we battled. It was the same passion that fueled her in every one of our battles. That strong, raging desire to win. I could see the twin fires blazing in her eyes as she struggled to keep herself under control.
I struggled to find an answer. “I-I don’t want to drag you into anything. Please, just go…”
She looked at me. I could definitely tell she was crying now. “Fine!” she shouted. “I’ll go beat Roxie and get out of here! Then I won’t have to see your stupid face anymore!” She turned her head to look at me one last time before she ran away. “To think I came here to ask for your advice,” she said in a rough voice, thick from crying.
I gritted my teeth and clenched my hand into a fist. The potion I was holding broke, its contents dripping into my bleeding palm. It stung, but I barely noticed it in my frustration. I threw my head up and screamed at the darkening sky. “Why do you always have to ruin everything?!”
The only thing to answer me were the ensuing raindrops.
I paused as I leaned against the building. “What to do…” I murmured to myself.
I turned my head to see Rosa run up. Her pigtails flew out behind her as she ran as fast as she could. She stopped in front of me, panting.
I smiled. “For such a promising Pokemon trainer, you sure are out of shape.”
“Shut up,” she wheezed. She straightened her spine and looked me in the eye excitedly. “Hey, you wanna ride the ferris wheel?”
I sighed, trying to keep my cool. Secretly, though, an intense fluttering feeling was climbing its way up my chest. “Sure. You need two people to ride the ferris wheel. Since my sister’s not here, I guess I can ride with you.”
She pouted. “Come on, Hugh. Stop being like that.” She grabbed my hand and dragged me inside. I turned my head away to try and cover the blush that was running rampant across my face. We both sat on the bench.
I moved to go sit on the opposite side when Rosa tugged my hand back. Wordlessly, I understood that she wanted me to sit with her. Obligingly, I sat down and turned my head towards the window so she couldn’t see my face. Damn, it looks like someone lit a fire on it! I thought as I checked my face in the glass.
As we got higher and higher, I felt Rosa lean against me. I stiffened as I felt the sudden contact. I also noticed the fact that her boobs were pressed against my left arm. I blushed even harder. Now something else was stiff! I turned my head to look at her. Although her visor was covering her eyes, I could see her ruby lips and caramel hair. She seemed almost to be asleep.
I panicked mildly as she stirred. I quickly crossed my legs, trying to look as casual as possible. “Yeah?” I asked.
I didn’t hear an immediate reply, so I turned my head over to see her. She looked queasy and vulnerable. “I don’t like heights,” she admitted.
I looked out the window. “We’ll be down soon.” At the time, we were right at the highest point.
Before she could answer, we jolted to a stop. “The ferris wheel is experiencing technical difficulties. Please be patient as we try to fix it,” a mechanical voice announced from the speakers.
Rosa shivered. I could see a trickle of nervous sweat dribble down from her brow. I had never seen her that pale before. “I-I don’t feel very good, Hugh.”
“Well, what am I supposed to do?”
She pressed herself closer to me. “Can you hold me? This thing feels really unstable.”
Grudgingly, I uncrossed my legs and hugged her. I felt her tense up. “What’s this?”
I felt that familiar blush reacquaint itself with my face. “Umm… The stress of the ferris wheel breaking is kinda exciting me.”
I didn’t hear a reply. But she didn’t push me away, so I just remained still and willed myself to calm down. Gradually, my elevated pulse faded and I didn’t feel as much pressure anymore. Soon after, the ferris wheel started to move again and we got off.
I struggled to keep my cool as we stood there. “See ya, I guess.”
Rosa wouldn’t look me in the eye. Her eyes contrasted harshly with her face, them being an icy, brilliant blue, while her cheeks were bright red. “Yeah,” she mumbled.
Forcing myself to rebuff all emotion, I shoved my hands in my pocket and trudged off. As soon as I was out of sight, I leaned against a building and wiped the sweat that had collected off my brow. I headed to the hotel room I had reserved in Nimbasa for the day.
I groaned as the ice cream I was holding splattered all over the sidewalk. I squinted my eyes as I looked up at the glaring sun. Once again, thoughts of yesterday swept me up. Almost on instinct, I found my eyes attracted to the ferris wheel in the distance. She’s probably still here, I reminded myself. I shook my head. No, don’t go looking for her. What are you, some kind of stalker?
With no destination in mind, I tossed the rest of my ice cream in the trash and started blindly walking. As I felt the fatigue start to envelope me, I found the Battle Subway. Desperate for some shade, I stumbled in and sat on a bench. After getting a fresh water, I realized that I had found the right place. I hadn’t found any good battles since I came to Nimbasa. I needed to train to beat Elesa.
I was about to get off the bench and find an opponent when I saw Rosa coming out of one of the stairwells. I got off the bench and ran over to her without thinking. “Rosa!” I shouted. “Ros-” I stopped as I saw a guy come out right after her. They were talking. I saw her laugh.
She stopped as she saw me. “Oh, Hugh. Hey!”
I faked a smile as I approached. “Hey, Rosa.” I looked at the guy in the visor similar to hers. “Who’s this?”
He stepped forward and shook my hand. “I’m Nate.” I could tell his polite act was fake.
“Nate, this is Hugh,” Rosa said. “He’s been my best friend since we were little.”
“Oh. So you’re together, then?”
Rosa’s face lit up like a Mareep’s tail. “No! We’re just friends.” She sighed and tried to straighten her skirt. It was what she did when she was embarrassed. “Anyway, Nate… How about you battle Hugh?”
We both smiled threateningly at each other. “Yeah, that’s fine with me,” Nate replied. “What about you, Hugh?”
I gritted my teeth. “Sure. I’m good with that.” We summoned our Pokemon. His Dewott vs my Pignite. “How about 1 on 1?” I asked.
“Perfect,” he snarled. “Dewott, Razor Shell!”
“Catch it, Pignite!” I yelled. It heard me too late, however, as Dewott hit it with the move. I saw Pignite fall over and I returned it to its Pokeball. I had lost in one turn!
I turned the other way as I trembled in rage. I didn’t want to lose my temper in front of Rosa. I wanted to at least retain my dignity.
“Nate!” I saw Rosa hug him. He put his arms around her and held her there for a few seconds longer than she intended. She blushed. “Nate…” She walked over to me and I turned around to face her. “You battled well, Hugh,” she congratulated me.
Even though it practically killed me, I forced myself to smile. “Thanks, but I’m gonna have to get much stronger if I ever hope to beat you one day. I lost in one hit. I still have a long way to go.”
She smiled at me once more. “Hope to see you around some time.” She turned around and jogged back to him. “Nate, you battled amazingly well!”…
Whatever happened after that was a blur. The last thing I did remember was my feet carrying me away from that place and collapsing on my hotel bed. For the first time since I was helpless to save my sister’s Purrloin, I cried.
I lost her.
I lost the best thing that had ever happened to me.
“Rosa!” I grabbed her hand as she ran down Victory Road. We were right in front of the Pokemon League. I had lost, and she had beaten me. But I didn’t mind. Like the feeling I only got from battling her, I didn’t mind losing. That didn’t mean I didn’t pour my heart and soul out to battle as best as I could. I was just surprisingly passive about losing to her.
She turned back to look at me. “What, Hugh? Can’t you…” She trailed off as she saw the look in my eyes. For once, I was going to tell her my feelings.
“I-I just need to tell you that I…” I swallowed nervously as I continued. “I’ve always felt something toward you. And…I can’t keep it a secret any longer. Rosa, we’ve always been friends, but I want to be more.” I swallowed once more. “I’ve wanted to be more since we began our journeys years ago. I just…need to hear your answer.”
For the longest time, she didn’t reply. After a while, I looked up to see her face. She was crying. “Hugh, I’m sorry… I just don’t feel this way. I like someone else.” Her voice shrank to a whisper as she spoke her next sentence. “I like Nate.”
Nothing. I felt absolutely nothing. I did feel pain. But every other emotion was oddly silent. It hurt less than I thought it would. I guess, deep down, I knew she loved Nate. Maybe I had been preparing myself for this ever since that day at the Battle Subway. But that didn’t mean I didn’t love her. I loved her enough to feel my heart ache at her answer. But that also meant I loved her enough to put her needs over mine.
I faked a smile and looked at her. “Make sure he takes care of you. Even though I’ve always hated him, he’s really a nice guy. I can tell.” I shoved my hands in my pockets and walked away. “So please…don’t look back.”
I stopped as I felt her hug me.
“Don’t screw with me.”
I froze. “What?”
“I said don’t screw with me!”
I turned around to see her glaring at me. This felt oddly familiar…
“I can’t just walk away from you, knowing that you’re hurting!” she yelled. “Baka! I’m your best friend,” she murmured, hugging me again. “Even if I don’t feel the same way, I am still your friend. So just…don’t feel sad, okay?”
“I…” I brushed my hand across my face only to draw it back, wet. I was crying. I buried my head in her shoulder and sobbed. I didn’t know what to do anymore. I knew I needed to find my sister’s Purrloin. But everything just felt far away and distant.
But I didn’t feel sad. I knew that she was happy. I just needed to vent. I needed to expel all the frustration and anger that I had accumulated all my life. I never had anyone to tell my thoughts to. That was why it just got so unmanageable. Now I could just cry. I didn’t need to feel any shame or anger at myself for doing so. It was the first time I had ever done so. And it felt good. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel any anger towards anyone or anything, which included myself. And you know what?
It felt good.
It felt really good.