Maxie always hated the rain. He understood why it was necessary, of course, but he couldn’t imagine how anyone could enjoy it. It was always so cold, and being wet was one of the worst feelings in the world.
And then sometimes, when your body feels like it hasn’t suffered enough, you get sick.
Maxie groaned for the hundredth time since he woke up that morning. Archie awakens an ancient, legendary Pokémon and almost causes the end of the world, and yet it's Maxie who winds up with a cold. Cause that’s fair.
The sick man threw another tissue into the trash bin next to his bed. The nerve of that damn pirate! He’s probably at his base… not being sick. Bitch. How dare he. He probably feels great right now! Physically at least, emotionally it’s hard to say. Last time Maxie saw him he didn’t seem like he’d stop feeling guilty and stupid anytime soon.
Good, he definitely deserved it. Despite thinking that, Maxie couldn’t help feel bad for his rival. It’s not like he wouldn’t have done the same with Groudon in some alternative universe.
Still, it was 100% Archie’s fault that he was sick right now, and for that he will pay.
Archie stared at the papers from the weather institute. They tried to warn him, why didn’t he just listen? He knew why, he was stubborn, so caught up in his goal he never considered he could make such a terrible error. And the whole world almost paid the price.
He sighed, pushing the papers aside. He needed to focus on his plans, look to the future instead of getting stuck in the past. The past wasn’t coming back anytime soon.
Just as he decided to get back to work, his phone started to ring. He picked it up without checking the caller ID, assuming it was Shelly or Matt.
“Fuck you,” the voice on the other end said, and Archie could tell who it was, though it was certainly unexpected.
“It’s nice to hear from you too, Maxie” he responded, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“It won’t be for long,” Maxie threatened, “guess what, you’re an idiot, and you did a really stupid thing.”
Archie sighed, he should really just hang up, what he didn’t need right now was his rival in his ear telling him things he’s heard a thousand times already.
“Is this all you called to tell me? Because if it is I’m going to hang up. I have better things to do than listen to another person tell me how terrible it is that I almost destroyed the world, as if I don’t already know that!”
“Oh forget that, the world is fine, you didn't destroy it, that’s not what I’m upset about,” Maxie stated. “I’m upset because you-” he was cut off by a well timed sneeze, “got me sick.”
Now that was unexpected. “Are you telling me you’re more upset that I got you sick than the fact I almost got all life on earth killed?”
Archie could hear the other man blowing his nose over the phone.
“Yes, like I said you didn’t destroy the world, life on earth is still alive, and I know you already feel bad about that. What you did do was make me get a cold, and now I want you to feel bad about that instead.”
“And what makes you think I’m going to feel bad about getting you sick? I could be enjoying this for all you know,” Archie asked, he didn’t actually enjoy learning that his former-enemy was sick, but he didn’t know that.
“Because I'm going to make you sorry,” Maxie stated, pausing to sneeze before continuing, “I will simply annoy you until you have no choice but to feel bad about getting me sick.”
“Mhm interesting plan, but how would it work if I were to just hang up?”
“I would call you back, obviously.”
“And if I didn’t answer?”
“I’d keep calling until you did.”
“But what if I blocked your number or turned my phone off?”
Maxie didn’t respond for a moment.
“You had to think about that one, huh?” Archie teased, “it’s okay, take your time, I know it can be difficult for you to think sometimes.”
“Oh you’re one to talk,” Maxie shot back.
Archie sighed, “yeah, I know, I did a really stupid and dangerous thing and hurt everyone, I know.”
“Though I suppose I can’t really say anything, we both know I would have don’t the exact same if I was able to, with Groudon instead of Kyogre of course.”
Maxie stopped for a moment to blow his nose again before continuing.
“I know you didn’t mean to put everyone and everything in danger, I’m not saying I agree with what you wanted to do but I can’t exactly blame you for getting caught up with your ambitions when I completely understand what that’s like.”
Archie paused, “thanks, for saying that.”
“It’s simply the truth.”
“Yeah but, I never would’ve expected you to admit something like that,” he said, “oh and also, I am sorry.”
“I just told you I understand you don’t have to-”
“For getting you sick I mean.”
“Isn’t that what you wanted? Why you called me in the first place?”
“Honestly I was hoping I could make you as miserable as I feel right now, so maybe that would make me feel slightly better.”
“Ironic since you’ve actually made me feel better then I did when you first called.”
“Hm yes, it appears my plans have failed once again. Thought I must admit-” Maxie started before being cut off by a yawn, “talking to you had been rather pleasant, and I do feel at least slightly better than I did when I first called, though that could just be because of the cold medicine I took earlier.”
“Wow, really? I knew I was good but I never thought I could improve your mood.”
“Hm, or perhaps I’m simply delusional due to how incredibly sick I am.”
“Hmm no, I think you just like talking to me.” Archie teased. There was no way Maxie was actually enjoying talking to him. Not that guy. Sure Archie was enjoying talking to him but still.
“That’s complete nonsense,” Maxie said as he yawned again, “apologies, the medicine I took earlier was the night kind, and it seems to be kicking it at last.”
“Well then, I think you should get some rest.”
“Hm yes I think I will do that.”
“Though we should talk again sometime, you’re not so bad, you prick.”
“I suppose I wouldn’t mind that either, you jerk.”
“Take care, Max”
“Mhm, love you, bye.” And he hung up.
Archie froze for a moment. Did he hear that right? Did he just say that?
Did he really just say that?
Maxie, previously on the verge of sleep, shot up in bed, his body quickly punishing him for doing so. He slowly laid back down and stared at his phone screen. Shit, he already hung up. Did he just tell Archie that he loved him? He didn’t mean to say that! He was half asleep, and it’s a thing people say when hanging up all the time, maybe Archie will, rightly, assume Maxie didn’t mean it and simply slipped up. Right? He could call him back, tell him he didn’t mean it. But that would be such an awkward conversation, one he did not have the energy for.
Alright, he had a plan. He would take his nap, and when he woke up, he’d make a plan. It’s full proof.
Archie stared at his phone. He definitely heard the words, “love you,” come out of Maxie’s mouth. And it was directed at him. He couldn’t have meant it, right? It had to be some kinda mistake, right?
If it was, wouldn't he call back or send a text or something letting him know it was a mistake? Maybe he fell asleep before he could, or maybe he didn’t even realize he said it! Or maybe he meant it.
No, there’s no way he actually meant it.
Archie wondered if he should call back and check, would that be weird? Yeah. And what if he did mean it. Should he even consider this possibility? It feels impossible. Archie could barely imagine Maxie caring about him let alone… that.
And then Archie would have to think about how he feels. But that’s not too hard! He hates Maxie, obviously. They’re enemies!
Except, they’re not really enemies anymore, and even when they were it’s not like he really despised Maxie. He was never upset about running into him, even when they were fighting. But that was just because he wanted to beat him, right? Then how would he explain away being happy to see him when they weren’t fighting? Like on the phone just now?
So maybe Archie enjoys his company so what? At most that would just make them friends. Nothing else. Though even that felt like a stretch.
Archie finally dropped his phone. Maxie clearly wasn’t going to say anything anytime soon. Which was fine. What he said was clearly an accident! Even if it wasn’t there would be no time to think about that now! He simply had to get back to work, planning what he and the rest of team Aqua could do to start making up for everything they’re done. Everything he’d done.
What Maxie said didn’t leave his mind completely, but he did his best not to focus on it.