Comfort - Commission

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By Skiyomi
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Misty sat by the edge of the river, her arms folded across her knees. Her red hair, tied back in her signature ponytail, quavered in the warm breeze. She'd sat on that bank on many summer days, but the scene was very different than it had been in the past. Her lips were drawn in an inconsolable frown, and her tear ducts threatened to make her feelings all the more apparent.

She let her head sink until her forehead touched her forearm. She wasn't going to cry. She wasn't. She was very clear with herself on this point. But it was so hard for her not to. Even when she tried to calmly, unemotionally think of what to do: crying seemed like the next logical step.

She settled for a sigh. She finally had her mother back. That's what she'd wanted, but… but it wasn't even really her. Now the Light of Destruction threatened everything that drew breath… and that force had her mother under its control. Her own mother would be the one to pull the trigger—to end everything and everyone, to kill innocent and guilty alike, to leave nothing but void and silence. And now it seemed like there was nothing that anyone could do in order to stop her…

She felt a tear forming in the corner of her eye and hastily wiped it away, her hand shaking slightly as she did so. She lifted her head and took a deep breath. Control: that's what she had to get back, but control was exactly what the situation denied her.

She looked out into the water, running over the rocks like a rushing glaze. A soothing sound emanated from the current as the stream trickled away from its source. It was the kind of sound that people paid a few Pokédollars for in the Holo Caster app store via white noise creation for when they needed such sounds in order to fall asleep. But you didn't have to pay money for a recording when the real thing was just outside; not that most people understood that these days.

She needed the river now. It reminded her of a simpler time—back before the family had been fractured. She'd fished for Goldeen in it as a child and she'd learned to swim in it almost before she could walk. On hot summer nights she'd go skinny dipping in its refreshing depths, splashing through the star-reflecting surface as though she was swimming in the night sky.

The world was crashing down on her, and she wished just as hard as she could that she could return to those simple days. Why couldn't she have a life where her biggest concern was finding that a Caterpie had nested on her folded clothes or that some out-of-town trainer would waltz over and demand a gym battle?

She wanted that life back. Desperately.

Misty reached back and pulled away her ponytail holder, letting her ginger hair fall down to her shoulders. She looked left, right and behind her, straining her ears to pick up on any lurking presence. Finally satisfied that no one was around, she lifted her tank top over her head.

Once she'd undressed, she gathered her clothes in a neatly folded pile and set them on a boulder by the water's edge. Tentatively, she stuck a toe in the running water to check the temperature. It was freezing, so it took a few slow steps for her to work her way into the stream, so that her body could adjust to the temperature bit by bit. By the time the water was up to her belly-button, it had ceased to be frigid, passed bracing, and become comfortably cool.

She swam to the deepest part of the river. Her legs kicked out underneath her to keep herself afloat. Her chin grazed the surface and the tips of her hair had gotten wet. She closed her eyes and felt the current buffet her; felt the water streaming along past her; felt the water's spray splash up against her face; smelled the damp scent of moss and algae.

Here was tranquility. Here was freedom. Here were memories. Here was love.

…And the heartbreaking thing was: none of it could really belonged to her anymore. Lately her world had been a chaotic mess, choice was a burden, and memories and love were things that only caused hurt.

In the midst of a safe place that no longer felt safe to her, she let go of the hold on herself and wept—sobbed, to be perfectly honest. Her tears fell down her cheeks and mixed with the fresh water of the channel. It was as though her childhood playground had been tainted by those tears—by the misery that had come into her life. And from now on she knew it would be impossible to separate the tide from the salted tears. This once happy place would never feel clean to her again.

A rustle from the tall grasses along the water's edge interrupted her bout of tears. Goosebumps shot across her flesh. Startled, she folded her arms protectively over her chest before turning to peer at the source. She relaxed almost as soon as she saw the figure who had intruded upon her solitude. Its body was thin and wolf-like, with a flowing purple mane that billowed along its back. Its tails framed its body, undulating softly in the wind like white paper streamers.

"Suicune," Misty said, wiping her tears. The legendary name had once been remote—unreachable. But now, thank whatever force for good there was left in this world, it was a close and friendly one.

The aurora Pokemon stepped toward her. It walked across the water as though it was a solid surface. Energy pulsed under its paws and were absorbed into the stream as it padding over to her. With each step it stamped impurities from the river and replaced it cool, clean water: the kind that came from snowmelt in valleys that no human had ever reached; the kind that water bottle companies would love you to believe that they could package; living water of redemption; the kind that only magic could create.

You've been crying.

The sentence dropped into Misty's head without the legendary Pokemon opening its mouth. The tone was direct, verging on accusatory, but there was a strong undercurrent of concern. She couldn't be sure if it made its deductions from the look on her face or from some sense it gained from the water itself. Surely Suicune could pick up on a single tear in an otherwise pure stream.

Misty sniffled, trying without much success to fix herself up. "No I haven't," she said, against all visible evidence.

Suicune lowered its head as it licked Misty's cheek. You have, it insisted.

Its red eyes were always so serious; for as long as Misty had known it, they'd been that way. They held a flame that even the legendary beast of water itself couldn't quench. Its canine brow furrowed as it watched her, thinking carefully before it spoke again.

Nobody would blame you for crying, Misty, it offered.

"I know," Misty said thickly, trying to hold back a second surge of tears, "but I just…"

Tears come before action, Misty, it seemed to say, tilting its head. The rain must put the fires out before the hard decisions can be made about what to do next. There was a memory in its eyes. Of course, Suicune had seen the terrors of uncontrollable flame. What's more, it knew that putting them out was only step one to putting things right, but nevertheless it was the first step.

"But that's just it…" Misty said, struggling to put her feelings into words. "I don't know what I can do next—there's nothing." A lump was forming in her throat. "So the crying will go on forever, because that's all I have…"

No. Suicune's doglike head nuzzled against Misty's cheek. Like anything even remotely dog-like, it had a cold nose. That fact did little to detract from its majesty. Crying never lasts forever, it confided sagely. The time for action will come and you must—you will rise to face it. I am absolutely certain of that. More than anyone else in this world, you have the ability to triumph over those who seek to destroy us all.

Misty held up her hands and put them on either side of Suicune's snout, resting her head against the beautiful blue crest on its forehead. It spoke of her like she was some powerful force—something to be reckoned with. Naked and in tears, she didn't feel like triumph would even be an option.

"Easy for you to say," she said. Talking like this was one thing, but actually doing something was another thing entirely.

She's your mother, Misty, Suicune replied firmly. That in and of itself gives you an advantage. You are equal to this task—uniquely so.

Misty closed her eyes, trying to fight off a renewed fit of tears. Her bare shoulders shook. "That's just the problem," she said, her voice quavering. "She's my mother, Suicune. I can't… I can't just treat her like an enemy. I don't want someone else that I love to get hurt. I… I can't lose her, Suicune. I just can't. Not after being apart from her for so long."

If you don't want to lose her, then standing against her is your only option, Suicune pointed out, being damnably logical in the face of her emotional reaction. The Light of Destruction will bring about the end of everything if you do nothing. Your mother will be lost if you let that happen—and so will everyone else you love. Doing nothing will not stop the hurt.

Misty sighed and pulled back from Suicune. "I know that," she said softly, almost to herself. "But still I… I don't think I can. It's just too much. And if I fail…" She trailed off. Failure was too grim to contemplate.

You are her daughter, Suicune cut in. There was such certainty and faith in its tone that Misty couldn't help but be moved by it, even amidst her despair. The connection that you have to her is greater than that of the Light of Destruction. Never forget that.

Misty hesitated. Absence had tested the bonds between her and her mother, but yet they were still… family. There was a certain unconditional quality of love there that perhaps even a force as powerful as the Light of Destruction couldn't stand up to. Maybe…  It sounded so impossibly optimistic, such a sentimental notion, but it was their only hope.

"Do you really think so?" Misty asked, barely daring to hope that there might be a way out of this. She was already so low, that she didn't think she could bare it if a light at the end of the tunnel appeared only to be snuffed out. Better to get accustomed to the darkness than to have the light taken away from her all over again.

I would not say so if I did not, Suicune replied. Its certainty and its patience reminded Misty that even a tiny stream could cut into the rock of a mountain, given the fullness of time. Suicune wouldn't say it if it didn't believe it. She should've already known that. Suicune didn't lie.

"What should I do?" Misty asked, taking it as an article of faith that Suicune was right.

Suicune looked off into the distance. Its mane flowed behind it like the aurora. Those intensely red eyes that contrasted so greatly from his cool exterior closed in thought.

You must duel her, Suicune finally decided, opening its eyes and turning its gaze back to Misty. This must be decided through a direct confrontation.

Misty's brow furrowed. "Duel her?" she asked, echoing her friend's proposal doubtfully. She didn't doubt her own abilities—though squaring off with the Light of Destruction was a somewhat more uncertain matter. "What will that accomplish?"

She shook her head. "What will change if I win?"

It isn't about winning, Misty, Suicune corrected. It's about reaching your mother; about reminding her who she used to be; about breaking the grip that the Light of Destruction has on her. The challenge will give you an opportunity to accomplish this.

Suicune turned from her, water-walking back to the shore. Your strong heart and spirited dueling will move her, it said.

The legendary Pokemon leaned down, picking up the pile of clothes Misty had left, as though inviting her to leave the security of her river and go out to face the dangers ahead. …As it always has me.

Misty felt a smile twitching at the corner of her lips. It felt like forever since she'd last had cause for such expression. She paddled back to the river bank, and rose out of the shallows.

With one hand she took the clothes from Suicune's jaws, and put the other on the Pokemon's cheek.

"I won't let you down," she said, striving with all her heart to believe it. "Not you… not my mother… not anyone."

I know.
A scene from his Pokemon/Yu-gi-oh! crossover commissioned by :iconjohnnyd2:.
© 2014 - 2020 Skiyomi
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johnnyd2's avatar
wonde rwhat the spam was about XD