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Hyouka: A Pillar of Support

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By Nox-Nemoris
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The young Luxio locked his gaze on the office in front of him, taking a deep breath as he reached for the doorknob, the digits of his forepaw twitching intermittently. Coming to within an inch of pawing it completely, Houtarou suddenly jerked his paw back as if he had touched a searing hot object by accident. He bit his lips in frustration, slowly crumpling up the resignation form in his other paw.

“Why am I hesitating?” he chastised himself, a huff escaping past his lips. “Didn’t I foresee that this day would eventually come? Why the heck then is it so difficult?”

After storming out of Head Professor Chelle’s laboratory session, Houtarou practically marched over to his dormitory room to retrieve the resignation form he had filled out in advance. He felt that he never truly did fit in amongst his fellow Researchers, but he kept putting off throwing in the towel since he promised his sister to give his life as a Researcher a fair chance. Whilst the Electric-type admitted that there were the occasional moments where he experienced genuine joy, Chelle’s unwarranted dressing down of him proved to be the straw that broke the Numel’s back. At that point, he had his heart set on quitting the Researchers so it confounded the Luxio as to why he was having second thoughts.

He screwed his face into an expression of mock pain as images begin to flood his head. “Tch, since when did I care about what others think of me?” The words proved to lack any true weight behind them though given how he was still thinking about a certain Chespin. “It won’t do my reputation any good if I just up and leave him,” he mulled, tugging at his forelock. “He still has a fair bit of growing up to do before—” Houtarou suddenly gritted his teeth and perished the thought with a vigorous shake of his head. “Iie, why am I pondering things from that angle? We aren’t exactly the closest of friends. I bet he’ll just forget about me instantly.”

“Who’ll forget about you instantly, if you don’t mind me asking?”

A sharp gasp hitched up the Luxio’s throat and passed through his oral cavity upon registering the familiar voice which he had not heard for quite some time. Wetting his lips and calming his rapidly beating heart, he spun around to face the Pokémon to which the voice belonged.

“Solstice-san…”



“Going by this resignation form,” Solstice intoned perceptively, flapping the piece of paper in her claws, “I guess it should be obvious that you’re planning on terminating your guild membership.”

“H-hai…” He refused to meet the Swoobat’s eyes, instead allowing his gaze to wander about the office they were in. Aside from several new trinkets and the huge stack of paper on each of the two desks, the room was relatively unchanged from the last time his sister brought him to the Researchers Guild Headquarters to meet the single criterion of Bring Your Relative to Work Day. Of all the Guild Leaders he was coerced into meeting that day—she truly was heartless for guiltlessly threatening to put a Shinx in an aikido hold—Solstice left the biggest impression on him because not only did he find her to be very likable, he also was fond of her sarcastic and dry sense of humour: the latter trait made him feel like he could relate to the Swoobat.

Some light scratching sounds prompted Houtarou to finally direct his field of vision forward, and it was then that he noticed that Solstice had an oddly intense expression plastered on: he figured that the tendrils of purple energy rising from her ears and coating three quills which were scribbling on the topmost paper of each stack contributed to that.

“Eto, are you okay, Solstice-san?” the Luxio inquired concernedly.

The administrative director blinked at the question, inadvertently botching her concentration as the quills floated down to rest on the stack of paperwork. “Ah, sorry about that,” she apologized, wincing as she massaged her temples. “I just have a lot of paperwork to go through in preparation for the upcoming expedition. Done five whole stacks on the trot.” She expelled a tired sigh before the bat-like Pokémon sent a half-smile Houtarou’s way. “But let’s just focus on you for now. Wanna tell me what exactly spurred you into thinking of hanging your labcoat?”

Houtarou weighed the pros and cons of acceding to Solstice’s request; he did not wish to trouble the latter with his measly little problem, but on the other hand, he reckoned that his mind would clear up considerably by sharing it with someone. Eventually, he opted to reel in his obstinacy for once and open up to the Guild Leader.

Solstice listened intently as Houtarou told her of what had transpired between him and Head Professor Chelle earlier, offering the Luxio nothing but the occasional nod.

Immediately after concluding the retelling of his scolding by the Reuniclus, the Spark Pokémon glanced sideways and murmured, “You must be disappointed in me.”

“A little,” Solstice admitted, the half-smile still colouring her expression, “but we all have our moments of pessimism and outright defeatism at some point in our lives. An obstacle-free existence in this world is an unrealistic thought, so you shouldn’t beat yourself up for letting the feeling overcome you.”

“D-demo…” In spite of the administrative director’s reassurance, Houtarou was still feeling rather downcast.

The Courting Pokémon hummed, mulling over how to tackle her current predicament. From what she gathered from her conversations with Tomoe, the younger Fueki was also gifted with a brilliant and intuitive mind; as such, conventional advice would be less likely to work in order to get the Luxio out of his doldrums. After a while, Solstice nodded to herself and cleared her throat, making Houtarou peer back up at her.

“Well, just listen,” the bat pronounced, flapping closer to her fellow Researcher. “Subordinates rarely get to choose their leaders, hence why they must learn to adapt to the leaders’ pace, mannerisms and philosophy. Therefore, you should’ve approached a more experienced member for some information concerning how to act around Chelle. You would have been spared the lecture you mentioned.” Adjusted her scarf, she resumed, “However, leaders should make a concerted effort to get to know those under their command. Not everyone operates on the same wavelength from the start, and singling out the ‘baggage’ would merely be stunting their potential for growth.” Solstice huffed, shifting her jaw from side to side. “I get along with Chelle and Archimedes well enough, but their close-mindedness leaves a sour taste in my mouth.”

Houtarou’s mood improved somewhat, a faint smile symbolizing that; though Solstice criticized him, the Swoobat made it clear that he was not entirely at fault. “Arigatou, Solstice-san.”

Solstice nodded in return, looking very satisfied that she got through to Houtarou. “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending,” she added. “Just keep this in mind and you’ll be fine.” A slightly pained look flickered across her visage. “Ugh, apologies…but I’m starting to feel the onset of a headache coming along.”

“Solstice-san’s lucky that I brought this along,” the younger brother of Tomoe mused, producing a thermos and pouring some of its contents into its lid before he handed it over to the Swoobat.

A single whiff was all it took for the administrative director to figure out what was in the lid. “Oh, one of Tomoe’s fast-acting drinks.” She blew into the cup and tipped the greenish liquid down her throat, her headache slowly but surely receding until it became non-existent. “Mm, tasty too.” Solstice’s expression brightened up considerably, screwing the cap back to its original position atop the thermos via her kinetic powers. “Thanks.”

“Ah…” Houtarou eyed the stacks of paper. “I can help out if you want…”

The Swoobat’s eyes glinted mirthfully. “Oh, why the incentive?” she teased, evoking a sputter and blush from the younger Pokémon. Settling a claw underneath her chin, she flapped her free wing slightly and brought over some blank paper from the pile, their floating gently down to rest atop the table in front of Houtarou in the form of a small stack. Pushing a quill and an inkpot forward, she then said, “Let's see you work your stuff.”

No sooner than the words rolled off her tongue, Houtarou had filled out the forms in five seconds flat.

Solstice did not even need to look them over thoroughly to tell that they were perfect and mistake-free, if the nice penmanship was anything to go by. ”Well, Tomoe did tell me that he can very productive if he actually applies himself more.”

With Houtarou’s help, Solstice managed to finish the task which she took it upon herself to accomplish in a quarter of the length of time she had expected to reach the final expedition form.


The other half of two late Researchers' June Tasks.

:iconcommentplz:

NPC Cameos

- Solstice the Swoobat © ClockworkShrew 

Merits & Strikes

- +1 Merit

Rewards

- N/A

Team Application ~ Hyouka
Published:
© 2014 - 2020 Nox-Nemoris
Comments8
anonymous's avatar
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Tanglecolors's avatar
I love the bit of bonding Houtarou had with Solstice ^^
s'adorable QAQ
Nox-Nemoris's avatar
Nox-NemorisHobbyist Writer
Elated that you think so. :)
julioblah's avatar
All of a sudden, I felt a certain kind of kinship with  Houtarou

Nice work, Setsuna. Liked it. *thumbs up*
Nox-Nemoris's avatar
Nox-NemorisHobbyist Writer
Glad I could make you more invested in him. :)
xDarkThunder's avatar
xDarkThunderStudent General Artist
Damn, reading more of your works made me wanna work even more harder, but I'm so occupied with studies that I can't concentrate QwQ
SpeckulativeDust's avatar
Well this is a nice change of pace. Seems like Houtarou is a pretty chill kid, even if he is somewhat of a recluse.
Nox-Nemoris's avatar
Nox-NemorisHobbyist Writer
Helps that Houtarou and Sean are pretty non-confrontational. Chill as in?
SpeckulativeDust's avatar
Chill as in relatively calm and collected, considering how insecure he was feeling.
Plus, that's the vibe he was giving me.
anonymous's avatar
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