Pearl blames everything on his father. Maybe that wasn’t right, since Senior Gold had a hand in it, but yeah, his father had a part in it also.
After the match his father had with Missy at the Battle Frontier, his father had gotten it into his head that he, Pearl, had a crush on her. He had scoffed then, and scoffed during further teasing when he would visit his father every once in a while.
“She’s perfect for you,” he’d say, “someone who listens to you yet isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes in, careful where you are rash.”
He wasn’t laughing now, not the day after he kissed Missy.
He wished he didn’t have to leave his room ever again. Not after that night.
“To celebrate my birthday,” Senior Gold said, pushing a bottle of beer towards each of the male Pokedex Holders with him in the bar, “you’re all going to get drunk with me.”
“I don’t think this is a good idea, Gold” said Senior Red carefully, looking around for backup. Unfortunately for him, Seniors Silver and Green had already left them behind, probably sensing that something like this would happen with Senior Gold being, well, Senior Gold. Senior Ruby looked wary and sniffed it, turning up his nose at the bottle, while Dia had already fallen asleep beside him.
“I agree,” Pearl said, “Missy, Dia, and I have a wedding to go to tomorrow.” He could imagine Missy now looking very unhappy if he and Dia turned up hungover and smelling of beer tomorrow before Fantina’s wedding. Even if she had loosened up during their adventures together and apart, she wouldn’t be able to forgive that.
“Eheh, I’m not even going to try and wake up Diamond” smirked Gold. “My target was you anyway, Pearl! And Ruby, and well, Silver and maybe Senior Green, but the two got away unfortunately.” He slammed his hand on the table. “Anyway, come on, it’s just a bottle of beer!”
“No,” he said firmly.
“Aww, live a little, Pearl. Surely you can’t be a stick-in-the-mud like Silver, right?” Gold leaned back into his seat. “How about I make it more interesting, that might interest you, right?” He pulled out a deck of cards. “How about we play a little Poker and everyone who loses a game takes a shot?”
“Gambling?” He could see her frowning already, his heart twitching, and he shakes her head. “That’s even worse!” he cried, though he realized that maybe Missy wouldn’t be so mad with this, considering her short-lived addiction to the slot machines back when they were traveling together which has served her well in many situations.
“Eh, we won’t do it for money, so it’s not gambling!” Gold said. “At least that generally works with Crystal. Besides, if you keep winning, you won’t have to drink anything.” His eyebrows waggled tauntingly at him. “C’mon, don’t tell me you don’t know how to play Poker.”
“I do,” he said quickly. “Well enough, but-“
Senior Red sighed. “Gold, this is likely a bad idea. But fine, I’m in if Pearl’s in.”
Senior Gold looked gleeful. “Great, Senior Red!”
Senior Ruby looked offended at the very thought of playing cards. “I’m not doing it.”
“I’ll tell Wild Girl about that time I heard you say her name in your sleep-“
“Fine,” said Senior Ruby, visibly shaken. “I’ll play.”
Pearl shivered. Hadn’t Senior Crystal said that Gold was a master of playing card games? He was so screwed.
How many hands later, Senior Red was dead asleep, Senior Ruby was five sheets to the wind, and Senior Gold was still gleefully sober as he won yet again.
Pearl himself was wondering if he was sober, and he has the clearly rational thought that if he wasn’t sure if he was sober, he was most likely drunk.
“Ehehe,” said Senior Gold, scratching his nose. “Didn’t Crystal warn you not to bet against me in anything related to card games?”
Yes, but you kind of tricked us all into playing with you anyway, Pearl thought unhappily. He just wanted to lie down and sleep this curious feeling off.
“Well, it’s time for bed!” Senior Gold says cheerily, taking a swig of his newly opened beer bottle before he lifts Senior Red onto his back. “C’mon, Pearl, let’s get these two back to where we’re staying!”
“Fine,” he says as he leans Senior Ruby on him, thankful that Dia’s Moo is ready to carry its Master where they’re going.
At the hotel, Senior Gold laughs as he drags Senior Red into the room he was sharing with Emerald and Senior Green, leaving Pearl to dump Senior Ruby into his bed since he has no idea where his senior’s keys to his room with Senior Gold are. He then helps Moo position Dia onto his bed, and resigns himself to a night on the couch.
At least it’s Missy’s family’s hotel, so the couch should still be top quality, he thinks. He should have suggested taking Senior Red instead, he thinks belatedly, since Senior Gold and Senior Ruby were sharing the same room. He blamed the alcohol, though he was sure Senior Gold planned it that way to annoy him.
His head starts to hurt again and he wonders if there’s any truth to the tale of drinking coffee to lessen the unavoidable hangover tomorrow.
He decides he needs all the help he can get and goes out to look for some coffee; he remembers seeing a vending machine near the end of the corridor.
One can of coffee later, Pearl feels somewhat more alert and more willing to search Senior Ruby’s clothes for his keys so he can reclaim his bed, when he hears footsteps.
“Pearl? What are you still doing up?”
He turns to find Missy next to him, eyes questioning. “I think I should ask you the same question, Missy.”
“Oh,” she smiles, “I wanted to see what was in this vending machine, you see, Senior Gold said that sometimes one is able to buy underwear from them.”
He fights the urge to beat up Senior Gold, momentarily forgetting that he is his Senior and should be respected. “Er, not the kind of vending machines in classy hotels, though.”
“Oh,” she said disappointedly. “I had wanted to see how much they would cost, and how many…”
“You know, Missy” Pearl said quickly, “Don’t try to investigate everything Senior Gold says. He’s kind of… sketchy.” Pearl groaned at the word as he said it, but it was the least offensive word he could think of right now.
“Sketchy? Is this because of his love for card games and billiards?” She looked puzzled. “Aren’t those useful traits?”
Yeah, useful for manipulating others into going along with what he does, Pearl thinks wryly, but decides to hold his tongue. “Anyway, Missy, did you want to buy anything from the vending machine?”
“Un, maybe some milk,” she said, “though I could probably call room service, I wanted to try something from the vending machine.”
“Here, my treat” he said quickly, his head starting to pound again, pressing the button and giving the machine some money. Missy looks surprised, but accepts the milk can. “Pearl, I could-“
“Don’t worry about it, you’ve paid for us dozens of times, and you’ve even put up all the Dex Holders in your family’s hotel for this reunion.”
“Okay,” she said softly, sipping the milk slowly. “Thank you, Pearl.”
She had a milk mustache on her upper lip and looked adorable with it, not that Pearl was about to tell her that. His mind must be tired if he was thinking that about Missy, he thought, not that she didn’t look adorable…
He wanted to bash his head against the wall. Damn.
“Anyway, when did Senior Gold tell you about the vending machine?” He bit down on his tongue before he could mention ‘underwear’ in any way.
“Ah, after you guys came back, he came by the girls’ room to visit. I was rooming with Senior Crystal, and he was…”
“I’m not sure, but I think he was drunk.”
“That’s what Senior Crystal said when she kicked him out after he attempted to kiss her after saying he was, though I wasn’t sure whether to believe her or him.” She looked thoughtful. “While I have read a lot about how one’s body is affected by alcohol, I have no real experience with drunk people, so I wasn’t sure whom to believe.”
“Believe Senior Crystal,” said Pearl. “Never believe Senior Gold. Trust me.”
“Okay,” she said confusedly. “Pearl, why did you drink coffee if it’s still quite late at night?”
“Um, I kind of need to wake up a little more to get to drag Senior Ruby back to his room with Senior Gold.”
“Oh, is Senior Ruby…”
“He’s dead drunk,” said Pearl, feeling that the coffee was starting to wear off and wanting to buy another one though he was sure that Missy would certainly be curious as to why he would be drinking two cans of coffee tonight. “I want to move him back into his room so I can sleep in my bed.”
“Oh, that’s horrible,” she said. “I’ll help you!”
“Missy, no need, he’s too heavy for you.”
“But you will help, right? So the weight will be halved, mathematically speaking, and Senior Ruby couldn’t possibly weigh that much.”
He sighed as he couldn’t find anything else to say; obviously, he was too drunk to argue with her.
“Okay, let’s go then.”
Senior Ruby, at least from what he's heard from Senior Emerald, is one of the less perverted of the Dex Holders, though from all reports none of them are really except for Senior Gold, but to be sure Pearl has Missy wait outside while he searches Senior Ruby’s pockets for his key card. Never know what you might find, he thought, what if Senior Gold slipped a condom or something in there just to shock him?
Finally he finds it in the back pocket of his pants and calls to her; Missy gamely helps him carry Senior Ruby back to his room, thankfully not too far away from his and Dia’s.
He asks Missy, who looks quite tired, to open the door so he can take Senior Ruby’s weight off her. She does so gratefully, and the door opens. A beer bottle rolls out improbably, making Platinum gasp in surprise and Pearl want to slam his head on the door.
Pearl makes a quick decision to place Senior Ruby on the ground.
“Missy, stay here a while, let me just check if…” he paused, “Senior Gold’s presentable. It wouldn’t do for a girl to see anything untoward.”
She leans down to make sure Senior Ruby is all right as he dashes into the room.
He notes another beer bottle on Senior Gold’s nightstand, though the room is generally still presentable, other than Senior Gold reeking of beer as he snores loudly in his bed. Noting his shirtlessness, Pearl grabs a blanket from the foot of his bed and covers him with it before he goes out again.
“It’s okay, Missy, let’s get Senior Ruby in here so both of us can sleep.” After she nods in agreement, the two of them lift their Senior and somehow get him to his bed.
Missy then covers Senior Ruby with a blanket carefully, then she turns to go.
“Ehehe, Pearl, didn’t think you had it in you” he hears from the other side of the room.
“Senior Gold?” Platinum says softly, turning to look at their senior, who looked gleeful at seeing them. Pearl groaned. This couldn’t end well, he thought.
“Imagine, Pearl, bringing a girl to a room this late; Crys would faint in horror if she knew!” Senior Gold proclaimed. “I’m proud of ‘ya; didn’t think you had it in ya! Too bad I’m here eh, but I can give ‘ya some privacy, if you know what I mean” and even in the darkened room Pearl can see his Senior wiggle his eyebrows and wink grandly at him.
His cheeks burning, Pearl quickly takes her arm and leads her out the door. “He’s drunk, Missy. Let’s get out of here, I don’t think he’ll harm Senior Ruby.”
“Okay,” she said softly.
Gold cheerfully calls out, “Don’t forget to be gentle, Pearl! She’s a lady, you know!”
Pearl actually does hit his head on the door going out.
Sure enough, much to Pearl’s chagrin, Missy asks him what Senior Gold meant as soon as they are near their rooms.
“Senior Gold was just babbling, Missy, it’s nothing to worry about. It happens to drunk people.”
“But you seemed disturbed by it, Pearl.”
“Of course I was,” he bursts out, causing her eyes to widen. He shakes his head then. “Missy, sorry, I’m just really tired.”
“Oh, of course” she said softly. “I mean, you were also out with the Seniors until quite late and you had to carry Senior Ruby twice, of course you should rest. We should get you back to your room immediately. She takes his hand to help him, and he lets her.
He shouldn’t be surprised at how soft her hand is, but he is, it is, and it makes his head hurt more. There are no places for these thoughts, Pearl, he berates himself.
“Besides, I can ask Senior Gold later when he wakes up; I’m sure he’ll be willing to tell me.”
“Don’t,” he says gruffly, trying to blink the sleepiness out of his eyes because of the horrible possibilities if he let that situation come to pass. “Don’t ask Senior Gold anything.”
She looked surprised at his tone of voice. “But he is our Senior and I’ve never heard something like that before, though admittedly I mostly read about Pokemon and things that would help my father and Professor Rowan. I don’t think those things Senior Gold said would have been mentioned in the research papers and books I’ve read.”
“Thank God,” Pearl mutters to himself.
“Though, maybe that book Senior Blue lent me might explain it. Perhaps I shall read it while I’m getting ready for the wedding later. Or maybe later, before I go to sleep.”
From all the tales of Senior Blue he had gotten from Senior Ruby and Senior Crystal, he was now afraid of finding out what kind of book she had given Missy.
“Missy, what was the title of the book Senior Blue gave you?”
“It was called the Kama Sutra,” she said cheerfully. “She said it was a work of literature that any young lady or gentleman should read and that it has been around for hundreds of years, so of course I accepted it since I have not been able to read much that isn’t for Professor Rowan or my father’s research.”
He doesn’t realize he’s on the floor until he hears Missy worriedly calling his name and holding out a hand to help him up.
“Thanks, Missy. I could have sworn I heard you say-”
“Your reaction was the same as Senior Crystal when I told her,” she said curiously. “Is it a book you’ve read, Pearl? Senior Crystal blushed when I told her what Senior Blue had given me and advised me not to read it until I’m much older.”
“D-Do you still have the book?” he croaks out. Please, please let Senior Crystal have taken it.
“Well, Senior Crystal asked me to give it to her, so I did, though I could always ask her for it. It was given to me, after all.”
“Please don’t,” Pearl grits out, his head starting to pound all over again.
“Okay, if you say so, Pearl. I trust you,” she said softly, her hand on his door.
“Thanks, Missy” he said.
“Is it so bad, then?” He could see the curiosity in Missy’s eyes, so endearing to him even though his head was hurting and he swears that even with her hair slightly mussed Platinum Berlitz is beautiful. But he’s always known that, even when she was still just a snobby tour guide to him.
But she was always so much more, even when he wasn't ready to accept that yet.
“Yes,” he says lowly. “It’s not meant for us to know that sort of thing in detail yet,” he said. Maybe he was more conservative than he thought, considering that Dia didn’t have any problem with Missy being in the Game Corner back then.
“One shouldn’t jump into it,” Pearl says slowly, trying to make sure nothing bad slips through his thoughts and out of his mouth. “You have to learn about other things first.” Many other things, his mind traitorously thinks, and he blames his father and Gold for all of these flooding his mind right now, at the worst possible time. Might as well blame Senior Blue too, for giving Missy that book in the first place, even, but that would just be asking for more trouble than he already had.
“Other things like what?” she says.
His brain is overruled by his heart that moment her blue eyes that he won’t admit have haunted his dreams many a night seek his, and he leans down and kisses her softly.
“Things like that,” he says softly, feeling his headache cease. “Those come first, before everything else.”
“Oh,” she says and he kisses her again quickly, impulsively, because he feels this must now be a dream if she hasn’t slapped him yet.
He blinks as she leans against the wall after, her whole face red with embarrassment, and it dawns on him what he has done, what he had forced on her, and he feels a waterfall of guilt hit him.
He thinks he gets out a hurriedheartfelthorrified apology before he runs into the room and throws himself on his bed, his hands pulling a pillow over his head.
She is so innocent, Pearl thinks unhappily, and I ruined her and he finally, finally, blessedly falls asleep.
He has to come out eventually, unfortunately. Even Dia, who always knows when Pearl wants to hide from something and usually lets him, drags him out in his own way with Pearl listlessly pushing his arms through his coat after he gulps down the apple juice Dia gives him.
“Missy will probably be ready by now,” his friend says cheerfully. “I’m sure she’ll look really pretty, more than when she was dressed up for the Contest in Hearthome City.”
He doesn’t doubt that, but an even more beautiful Missy than usual will just make his heart ache even more than it was already aching now.
She meets them in the lobby of the hotel in white, a simple dress with lace all over that perfectly symbolizes her innocence of the opposite sex, Pearl realizes with a groan. And I ruined that, he said.
“Pearl, are you all right?” she inquires, and when he looks up there is a faint dusting of pink on her cheeks that he swears couldn’t be makeup.
“Yeah, let’s go, guys.”
Fantina has invited a lot of people to the wedding. There are all the Gym Leaders they’ve all met before, the Champion Cynthia and her grandmother, and there are a lot of other people Pearl doesn’t know.
“She looks so happy,” Missy says to them after the bride and groom kiss.
“That they do, Missy” Dia says cheerfully. “Would you like a wedding like this, Platinum?”
She thinks thoughtfully. “There are expectations, certainly, for weddings in our family, but yes, I would like to have the people I’ve met on my journey, people I’ve learned from there, if it happens.”
“I’m sure you’ll get it, Missy” said Dia with a smile.
Pearl’s heart twinges when she stays silent, lost in thought.
The reception of the wedding is just as grand, with enormous amounts of food that remind Pearl of Fantina’s illusion when Missy fought her all those years ago. This time, though, they are real, and Dia is in heaven.
“I’m going to sample them all,” he says cheerfully as he goes for his fourth serving, his Munchlax at his side.
Pearl feels awkward now, being alone with Missy who has been strangely more quiet than usual, though he could guess why.
“I think I know what you want to say, Pearl” she says suddenly, interrupting. “It’s okay, Senior Crystal and Senior Sapphire explained to me what Senior Blue wanted me to learn from the material she gave me, although ‘in a more acceptable way’ as Senior Crystal said.”
“Oh?” He tries to keep his voice calm.
“Yes, it’s certainly fine. I mean, I have helped Professor Rowan and my father in numerous research projects; some of them certainly involved Pokemon reproduction.”
“It’s quite clinical, and Senior Crystal and Senior Sapphire explained it well and answered my questions like any lecturer would, though they said all they had was theoretical knowledge.”
Only Missy, Senior Sapphire, and Senior Crystal would be teenagers who could talk about such things with such detachment, Pearl thinks wryly.
“There’s just one thing, though” said Missy.
“What is it?”
“There doesn’t seem to be an equivalent exactly of what…” Missy blushed before his eyes, “what we did, Pearl. In the Pokemon World.”
“Oh,” said Pearl, suddenly dreading where this conversation was going. He wished Dia would hurry up and come back already. He had a bad feeling that Dia was purposefully taking his time to let the two of them talk.
“I mean, I was able to read some fairytales as a child, but…” She blushed but stared determinedly at him. “I never thought it would feel that way.”
His heart dropped somewhere down between his feet.
“I’m so sorry, Missy” he says guiltily, looking down at the table. “It was a mistake. I was drunk. I shouldn’t have done it.”
“Maybe not when you were drunk, yes” she said carefully, almost too calmly. “And I looked it up, if you were drunk, Pearl, yesterday, you shouldn’t have drunk the coffee. But if you weren’t drunk-”
“I’m sorry and I’ll never do it again,” he said in a rush, “and I’m really sorry, Missy, I’ve ruined your-“ He paused suddenly, his eyes suddenly catching hers. “Wait, what?”
She looked at him steadily, her blush growing much deeper. “I wouldn’t mind, if you weren’t drunk.”
He realizes after a while that his mouth is opening and closing much like a Seaking, but Missy looks undisturbed by the sight. “Senior Crystal said that kissing will feel different if it’s with the right person, and since I have no personal experience nor is it found in what I’ve read, I will have to trust her on such. Senior Sapphire says that she knows the right person for her, and when you find that person, you’ll know. Sometimes too late, sometimes really early. Well, she found hers when she was five, so I’ll also have to trust her on that.” She places her hand over his. “Pearl?”
He covers her other hand with his. “Missy,” he says slowly, not believing at all what has come out her mouth. “You have to be certain.”
Her eyes are serious as she stares back at him. “I promised never to lie to you again, Pearl.”
“Platinum, if you’re sure” he gets out quickly, before his lips cover hers.
“I’m sure,” she says against his cheek after the kiss. “As long as you are not drunk, in which case I would ask you to think things through first.”
He laughs before leaning down to kiss her again.
Pearl still blames Senior Gold and his father, but he looks away when Senior Gold pulls off one of his tricks again and he doesn’t scowl when his father teases him again about Missy, so the two immediately figure out what has happened.
They tell him separately they have to be the best man at the wedding.
Pearl thinks he has still a while to figure that one out (not that he thinks his father could be best man anyway, and it doesn’t seem to be a good idea in any way to let Senior Gold have any role in any wedding).
Besides, there’s still Seniors Blue, Crystal, and Sapphire to honor for their part in everything.