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Wishful Pining

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  Ever since she showed up, everything he’s done has gone completely wrong.

  He thought he had everything figured out. He thought his life would turn for the better. From the moment he was adopted by Chairman Rose, Bede legitimately thought he had everything at the palm of his hand.

  But no.

  He was supposed to be unbeatable. He was supposed to be the next Champion of Galar. People would see him for who he shaped himself to be. People would be in awe, would be at his feet to gawk at the marvellous trainer who was gifted by the hands of the amazing chairman himself. He had everything planned out. His first Pokémon. His first battle. His first victory. Everything was coming to his favour.

  He had everything, and he would gain everything more.

  That is, until she came into his life.

  She just had to ruin everything! That single thought haunted him day and night. Thanks to her, he was disowned by the very man who gave him food and shelter. Thanks to her, he was robbed of his very desire to become Galar’s only hope. Thanks to her, he was dragged by a strange old lady and was visibly forced to shape up into a gym leader against his will.

  Well…technically the last part was only half the truth. In time, Bede actually enjoyed and appreciated all the lessons – gruelling as they may be – and this, in time, actually made him into a stronger trainer than he was before.

  Hell, thanks to her, he is now one of the most powerful gym leaders in Galar.

  Gah! He shakes his head, anger and annoyance bubbled uncomfortably in his stomach. Hands run through fluffy white hair. Teeth grind together, jaw tightening before he opts to take a deep breath. Warm air puffs out of pink lips. He needs to stop, he thinks to himself. It has been 3 years since that happened. Life moves on, and so have they.

  He’s moved on. He is moving on.

  There is absolutely no reason to lament on the past. Orphan that he is, Bede cannot deny the fact that Opal is family to him now. Despite the harsh trainings and quizzes and all that pink, she is a loving and kind-hearted woman. Everything she did made him into the excellent leader he is now. Groan and whine and growl as much as he wants, Bede will never forget the fact that Opal is the only who…adopted him when he thought he would be alone all over again.

  The old lady still has some spunk in her, visiting him once in a while after taking a break from her little travels. She is an estranged woman, no doubt, but it did not take long for Bede to see Opal as the grandmother he never had.

  Not that the young man chooses to admit that publically anytime soon.

  Oh well, he is sure Opal knows how he feels.

  He just wishes the ex-gym leader wouldn’t know much about his feelings for a certain someone.

  A sigh slips off his lips.

  His train of thought reaches a halt when he hears an eerie caw. Violet eyes look up, spotting a dot of deep black growing bigger and bigger until it forms a shape. Hands tucked inside the pockets of his pink jacket, he takes a few steps back to let the Corviknight land soundly.

  Violet eyes never stray away from the young woman who hopped off the back of the Raven Pokémon.

  “Thank you, Hilda.” A smile graces those pretty pink lips. Her voice is all he hears, and Bede rues at the fact that his heart starts to pound a few beats faster.

  Apparently that wasn’t the worst of it; the second a pair of crimson meets violets, Bede can feel himself breathless.

  Oh, he hates this.

  “Sorry I’m late,” she apologizes. Her smile still remains present. Still remains beautiful on such a pretty face. “I had to fly back home because I needed to give my mom something. Hope I didn’t make you wait.” Her voice ever so soft, so serene, yet lulls such confidence that comes from such calm teenager.

  Ooooh, he hates the beat of his heart.

  “You’re irresponsible.” Why would he say that? “Making me wait when I have a lot of things to do.” He really didn’t have anything to do today—and he didn’t wait that long.

  Arceus, her smile is a knife to his heart.

  “Sorry,” is all she says. Returning the Corviknight back into her ball, Devina shrunk the Pokéball before clipping it to the right side of her belt. “If it makes you feel better, how about I treat you to some ice-cream?” Head tilts slightly to the right. Fingers lightly brush the bangs of deep dark hair. Patiently she awaits his answer, completely unaware that her actions alone cause a whirlpool of emotions in his heart.

  “Do you really think free food will please me?” It does. “I’m not one of your rambunctious Pokémon.” He really likes ice-cream.

  He wonders what it would be like to see a frown on her face.

  “So, no ice-cream?” she ponders curiously.

  He does not want to see it anytime soon.

  His left eye twitches. “I accept the ice-cream.” He huffs once. Defeats slowly looms within him, but he would rather bite off his own tongue than admit it.

  The second his gaze fixates on her again, Bede then holds back a groan to see that smile beam brighter.

---

  He wonders how the hell he got roped into hanging out with her.

  Was it 3 years ago? No, 2 years to be exact? They were both 15 and still trying to get used to living lives as strong, famous trainers. Devina all the more had to accommodate faster. Ever since she was crowned Champion, task after task came flooding down on her until she had no time for herself. After saving the world from the second coming of The Darkest Day and basically defeating the so-called Unbeatable Champion in a span of a week, the girl definitely had her hands full to the brim.

  He couldn’t complain much, though. He was busy prepping himself to replace Opal as Ballonlea’s gym leader. He overthrew her easily (as how he would explain it) and since then, only a very, very handful of trainers were able to defeat him in the yearly Gym Challenge. He guessed he should take pride on that. Trainers were able to see that he was a force to be reckoned with before they could actually see the real force that is the woman sitting right beside him.

  It all happened the year after they’ve met that she started to form a sort of friendship with him.

  Well…'try' would have been a more appropriate term.

  She was relentless. One would wonder how such a calm and collected person could be so assertive and persistent. He was perfectly fine with seeing her as his rival. Nothing more. Nothing less. She is the Galarian Champion. He is the most powerful gym leader in Galar.

  But one day came, and so did she. The first morning, Bede took it as nothing more than the usual training routine he had with Opal and the other Fairy Pokémon. The second he opened the front door, however, he was laid stumped at the sight of a smiling trainer right in front of his doorstep.

  “How are you?” He remembers the first words that came out of that pretty mouth of hers.

  “I was wondering if you’re free today.” He remembers how baffled he was when she admitted that.

  “In that case, how about a battle? If I lose, I’ll leave you be to your things. If I win, you have brunch with me.” He remembers rejecting her invitation, then being baffled again, then immediately accepting her challenge.

  He lost, of course. And Bede still wonders if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

  It became a habit as time went by. Monthly challenges became weekly. Weekly challenges became weekly hangouts. From sitting in a café in Ballonlea with such an awkward silence around them to going around other places with many topics to converse, Bede wouldn’t lie that he was still dumbfounded at the outcome that is their friendship.

  Friendship…

  Her laughter brings him back to reality. Focused gaze lures to her, then stays perfectly put at the gleam of her smile.

  It is the damn mushrooms. It is definitely the damn mushrooms’ fault for putting light into her smile.

  “It was the first time I’ve ever seen Hop run so fast.” Snickers tickle their way out of her mouth. “Turns out he can outrun a Charizard, and an angry one too.” Fingers brush her giggling lips. Both sit on a log inside Glimwood Tangle. Of all the places they could explore, Devina decided to chill inside the mystical forest. To her, the place was peaceful and mystifying. And given that it is going to be winter soon, she loves that the forest is not too hot nor too cold.

  Bede didn’t complain when she suggested today’s venue. If anything, he doesn’t mind any venue at all if it means being close to her—wait.

  Wait… Realization kicks him right in the head. He flinches on the log, then freeze on the spot. Immediately he shakes his head. The strands of long, white curly hair softly slaps his face, but the boy was too preoccupied in making sure he never finished that thought—

  “Bede?”

  Shit.

  Violet eyes snap open, pupils enlarge slightly at the sight of his rival.

  Curiosity turns into concern. “You okay there?” Voice ever soft, she scoots an inch closer.

  He feels the air getting colder.

  “I’m fine.” Sharply he retorts, only to silently regret his tone at the sight of Devina being surprised at his cold reaction. “I just—tired, is all.” Quick. His mind needs to be quick. “Trainers have been coming to the gym lately and trying to battle me as training sessions. They lost, of course. But the amount of trainers this week took quite a toll.” Keep talking. Just keep talking and ignore her mesmerizing eyes.

  Maybe he needs to get up and move away from her as well.

  But like hell, “It’s really annoying…” He wants nothing more than to close the distance between them. “They just…can’t give up and realize that they’re no match for me and my team.” Words are out of his mouth, but sight is hypnotized by the fiery glow of her iris.

  Silence fills the air around them. Only the soothing sounds of Shiinotics and Spritzees can be heard nearby. Two teenagers do not a muscle. One looks at the other quite quizzically. One wishes his body can be swallowed by the earth below.

  Pretty pink lips part, then gapes. “A-Anyways—!” he stutters. “Why are we here?” Quickly he changes the subject. Quickly he breaks his gaze away before it can falter down to the shape of her lips.

  She is surprised; he can tell.

  “Well…” Hesitance bites off her next words. Fidgeting on her seat, Devina cocks her head upwards. “There’s a special reason why I wanted to come to Glimwood Tangle tonight.”

  “With me?” Damn it shut up!

  He wonders if the tiny fraction of silence was her being offended at his foolish reaction.

  “Yeah…” She looks down. Slim fingers play with each other, one pad of her finger tapping the nail of another. “I mean, I know I could have bring Hop or Marnie along.”

  To hear Hop’s name, to hear Marnie’s name; Bede doesn’t know why—he somewhat knows, but he rather does not want to know—but to hear those two names feels like needles poking his wild heart.

  “But today is our day, you know?”

  Whatever feeling of bitterness he felt a few seconds ago disappears in a flash. “What?”

  She turns to look at him.

  Her smile truly is brighter than any mushroom in Glimwood Tangle.

  “Our day to hang out?” She adds on, meekly. “We always chill at different places a few times in a month. And I know you live in Ballonlea and this forest is practically your home, but I feel coming here tonight will make it even more special.”

  Oh, she is definitely aiming to make him die of suffocation.

  “O…okay…?” His reaction this time is not out of spite, but out of sheer bafflement. Like every other time, Devina truly has a knack in knocking him right out of his comfort zone. He takes a sharp breath, then exhales in a slow, shaky manner. “I don’t want to sound like I’m not having a good time.” Believe me, I do. “But what’s so special about tonight?”

  She didn’t answer immediately.
 
  Instead she remains silent, yet her mouth slowly curls that smile he adores so much. Without a word, Devina looks at the giant mushrooms a few steps away from them. Taking the silent signal, Bede dumbly brings his gaze to the colourful fungi.

  As is right on cue, the mushrooms glow brighter.

  The colours are warm and soft and mesmerizing all together. But unlike the other times where they only glow when touched, these mushrooms begin to glow on their own. Shock paints the man’s face, then awe comes next as the mushrooms start to gleam and sparkle like crystals.

  One by one the fungi around them shine. The sounds of Pokémon nearby are music to the twinkling mushrooms, probably in awe as well at nature’s beauty. A colour of pink, blue, lavender, and green paint the forest. The leaves and tree branches sway gently by the touch of calm wind, and this cast glorious shadows on the ground thanks to the shine of the breath-taking moon.

  “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

  Her voice. Her voice is all it takes to make him come back to reality.

  He didn’t realize he was holding a breath, for Bede gasps silently as he looks at her. She is so enthralled by the sight of nature’s gift. She is so absorbed on the sound, the music of floral and Pokémon. Both hands lie on her sides, palms pressed gently against the log.

  Ever since she showed up, everything that has happened was completely not part of his plan.

  “It is…” She is the biggest inclusion of this unplanned fate.

  The glee of enjoying the sight around her turns to surprise when she feels something caressing the back of her right hand. Her head turns to his direction. Crimson eyes widen in silent shock. Smooth cheeks redden at the heat of the moment. She is a sharp person, so Devina holds a short breath when she realizes the very close distance between them. Pink lips part slightly, though she is at lost on whether to ask if everything is okay or to just call out his name—

  All of that is flown out the window when she feels soft lips against hers.

  Eyes are round as they can be, then immediately shut tight in a second heartbeat. Oh man! The words scream in her mind. Oh man! Oh man! Though panic seems to ring her brain, unspeakable joy burst inside her racing heart. Body now trembling slightly from hand to toe, Devina brings her right hand closer to his, fingers intertwine like perfect puzzle pieces. Breath still held firmly in her lungs, she tilts her head slightly, further deepening the kiss.

  And this…her actions alone…the fact that she is returning his kiss…Bede feels as if there are fireworks exploding in his chest.

  Emotions completely overpowering what little common sense he has, he brings his hand to cup her face. It’s soft…he wonders. She’s soft… Palm gently caresses her cheek. Fingers slowly slides upwards until they brush the short strands of dark hair. Nerves rattle him endlessly at the physical contact, yet he wants nothing more than to have her desperately close to him.

  Chu… He presses the kiss again. Chu… And again. Chuu… And again.

  Eyes closed and lungs ache at the baited breath, Bede whines slightly and brushes the tip of his nose against hers. He feels her other hand grip his arm. He feels those soft lips brush his own. The little whine that escaped causes his mouth to part slightly, and Bede feels like melting into a puddle when he feels her lips on his lower lip.

  “Bede…”

  Her voice feels like a pair of scissors that cut the strings that kept him afloat.

  Immediately he snaps his eyes open. As if being kicked by her Cinderace, the young man gasps sharply before pulling apart way faster than they like it to be.

  “I—!” Words fail him horribly. “I…I—!” Oh dear fuck, what has he done?

  Though darkness consumes the area of the forest, Bede can perfectly see her under the light of the moon, stars, and glimmering mushrooms. He can see her face, flushed and red and utterly kissable. He can see her eyes, quite heavily-lidded with eyelashes fluttering at every needy blink. He can see her lips, parted and wet, deliciously inviting him to taste what he has been missing all along.

  Saliva tastes like rocks as it slides down his throat.

  “I need to—” He has ruined it. “I just…!” He has ruined a perfectly sound friendship with someone who has the common decency to like him for who he actually is. “I—go—!” He doesn’t know why, but the thought alone pricks tears in his eyes.

  Not taking a chance for her to respond, Bede jumps to his feet and runs away.

  …Or at least, he decides to, if not for the fact that he has forgotten the young woman before him apparently is way stronger than she looks.

  “Wait—!” Impulse works faster in terms of verbal and physical reactions. Actually forgetting her own strength, Devina grips his hand that still holds hers and accidentally tugs him downwards.

  “What the—!

  Plop!

  “Oof!”

  Thankfully, the ground is soft.

  Unthankfully, the young woman above him is made of flesh and bones.

  Everything happens so fast. The first minute, they were sitting on a log, talking and enjoying their little moment. The second minute, they were kissing – intensely, he might add – and thought of nothing but her body pressed closer against his. The third minute, he remembers panicking, then trying to run away, then being forcibly chucked down by the strength of what society calls her ‘The Divine Champion’.

  And now? Bede only groans in ache as his elbows press against the soft soil.

  It takes him a moment, but heat then paints his face to realize his rival whom he has kissed like a hungry fool is now leaning against his body.

  The mushrooms still glimmer beautifully. The wind still hums its soothing tune.

  But by Arceus, not even the Alpha Pokémon itself can rid the raging wave of emotions in the gym leader’s heart.

  He then hears mumbles on his chest. “Uh…” Like a fool, he gapes. One elbow still placed as an anchor, Bede nervously moves his right hand towards her. “De…Devina…?” His hands shake terribly. He knows damn well she can hear his heart screaming like a mad Loudred right now. “Devina…?”

  “Don’t go…”

  His hand flinches and hovers near her back.

  Truly he is at lost for words for the hundredth time tonight. He remains frozen in place despite the ache in his left elbow. Bede feels a shiver—her shiver, his shiver—and this drives the boy nothing more than the need to wrap his arms around her.

  “Bede…” Her voice rumbles against his still chest, against his drumming heart. Hands clutching the front of his jacket, Devina takes a deep breath and looks up at him.

  Arceus take him now for her longing gaze is a surely the reason for his death.

  “Don’t go…” She repeats. Legs brought up until her knees touch the soil beneath them. This allows Bede some room to breathe properly—which he still fails—and this also allows Devina to adjust herself so that her weight won’t crush him.

  She is now leaning on his chest, though. Not that he’s complaining.

  “Bede, I…” What will she say? What will she do? She already yanked the poor guy onto the ground. The least she could do is get off of him. “I just…” But no. Instead she just tightens her grip on his jacket.

  Mouth pressed softly against his chest. “I love you…” It is now or never. “I… Please don’t go…” Her face is hot. She really wishes winter will come falling to her body now. “I love you…” Unable to handle the pressure of the moment anymore, Devina presses her face against his chest.

  While the young champion wallows in shame, Bede is too busy being flabbergasted by her confession.

  “I love you…” Did he hear her wrong? “I love you…” Did the impact of her pull and weight actually killed him and he was sent to heaven?

  Violet eyes widen, sight sharpen then blur then sharpen again. Time feels as if it has stopped for them. If Bede didn’t realize that he has been holding his breath for a good minute, he sure does now as he gasps out loud in shock.

  Devina doesn’t know what he is feeling right now. She is too afraid to even look at him right now. As much as she wants to run away from this, ironic that is sounds considering a few minutes ago, the champion only lingers on his body until she grimly awaits the second Bede pushes him away out of disgust and hatred—

  Her body startles, but she feels herself being dropped downwards.

  Quickly she brings her head up. Crimson eyes widen in shock, pupils dilate and enlarge at the quick adjustment of darkness and light. She then sees Bede lying on the ground, one arm draped across his eyes while the other spread to the side.

  Man, she surely is feeling so many emotions in one night; she is just glad Starlight is sleeping soundly inside her Friend ball or else the Hatterene would definitely throw a violent fit.

  He isn’t saying a word. Neither is she.

  Both wonder if they can stay like this until the next morning.

  “…ou…too…”

  Confusion sparks her mind as she tilts her head. “Uh…what?” Deciding to not get off his chest, Devina instead scoots closer. “Bede—?”

  “I said I love you!” His arm flings away from his face, and he is equally startled and glad that he didn’t accidentally smack her head.

  Well, they sure are feeling a lot of emotions right now.

  Their faces mirror each other. Cheeks burn like a thousand suns. Their heartbeats now boom as one. Their bodies still and shiver in a mixture of shock and glee.

  “I…” Ever since she showed up, he has the tendency to pour his heart out to her.

  Unleashing a sigh of great defeat, Bede finally just throws his arms around her. “I love you…a lot...” Very thankful that her face is close to his, the young gym leader lifts his head to plant a short kiss to her lips. Stifling a shy groan, he shuts his eyes and let the earth take him.

  Her body jolts slightly at the hug, at his kiss, at his confession. Did she hear him right, she wonders. If this was truly the trick of some trickster Pokémon, Devina really did have the right mind to unleash and awaken all six of her Pokémon to hunt the cruel being down.

  But to feel his embrace, so warm and snug. To hear his rapid heartbeat beating against hers. Devina can’t beat back the smile that shakily, shamelessly grows on her beet red face.

  She giggles once. Twice. Then laughs gleefully before nuzzling into his neck.

  Arceus, she will be the death of him as he flinches from the delicious contact.

  “I love you, Bede!”

  Ever since she showed up into his life, Bede has known nothing but wonderful happiness.

  His smile grows wider and wider. Laughter then accompanies her own. Not caring about the flushed red that burns right to the tips of his ears, Bede lifts his head again to press a lingering, loving kiss to the top of her head.

  “I love you too, Devina.”

END