one; ♫ death cab for cutie - crooked teeth
'cause I built you a home in my heart,
with rotten wood, and it decayed from the start.
For Green, "friendship" is a nebulous term that has many meanings at once and none at all. Green has many friends - the kids at school who want to associate with him, want to come over and visit his grandfather's lab, and Green quickly learns that friendship always comes with expectation.
Then, there's Red. Red, who has always been there and is there - is with him - without any condition. Green doesn't know if this is friendship, but whatever it is, it's nice.
That is, until Leaf comes along. At first he likes Leaf, or as much he could like a girl. He teases her about her cooties, and she riles him about it, but it's easy and fun and there're no expectations at all. He likes this too, what's between him and Leaf, and him and Leaf and Red, but what he has with Red is special.
Or so he thinks until he finds Red and Leaf playing in their - his and Red's - hideout.
"Green?" Red's voice is quiet and timid, and even Leaf seems unsure about Green's conflicted expression.
"Nothing. Nevermind." His voice is tight in his throat. "I have to go now," he says, and ignores the fact that he just got there.
Green laughs at himself for thinking Red was different the entire way home.
two; ♫ jimmy eat world - firefight
don't ask twice if you don't wanna know.
"Why are mad at me?"
"Go away," Green says, and refuses to look him in the eye.
"What did I do?" Maybe Red doesn't always take the initiative, but never let it be said that he's no
t straightforward when he does.
"I think you know," Green bites and finally looks at him. A flash of hurt passes through Red's eyes, because he really doesn't.
When Green turns to move away, Red grabs his arm. Because - Green is his best friend, and he couldn't leave them like this, leave this heavy feeling stuffed up in his heart.
"Green," Red says. Green stares at him. Then shoves him to the ground.
Red's not a violent person - his mother taught him better than that. But Red's not a weak person either, and that was enough of a reply for him.
Red shoves back.
three; ♫ charlotte martin - civilized
but you could still appreciate my point
"Go 'head. Take his side. Like I'd care."
Leaf's hand meets her forehead. "I'm not taking his side."
She waits for Green's reply. When it doesn't come, she tentatively starts again. "...if I were taking sides, I'd call you out for being such a jerk and then say I was never talking to you again. I'm trying to help."
Green snorts in response but continues staring at the ground.
"Oh come on," Leaf says and pokes him in the shoulder. "That can't be much fun. Just tell me what's wrong." She keeps poking him until he snaps.
"Go away," Green hisses and his head jerks up, the vicious glint in his green eyes matching his sharp words. Leaf recoils slightly. "There is nothing to talk about so leave me alone."
This time, the silence that hangs between them is heavy.
"You know, I'm not going to let you push me away like you did to Red. Even you need friends, Green." Leaf takes one last look at him before she turns to walk away. "Whatever it is, try to work it out. Please don't make me choose. You're both my best friends." But it's not true. Green knows it's not.
"Yeah," Green breathes when she's too far away to hear, "that's the problem."
four; ♫ the fray - over my head (cable car)
just say that we agree and then never change
Leaf's a fucking liar. Of course she would be. Green tries not to be hurt about it even though she'd told him she wouldn't take sides, but Green always knew she would. She'd always liked Red better.
Well, fine, whatever. He doesn't fucking need anyone else, especially not after his grandfather gives him Eevee. She's all he'll ever need and will always be his number one, and he knows he'll always be hers.
Belatedly, he hears through the grapevine that Red and Leaf got Pokémon from his grandfather as well. The memory passes through his mind that they'd promised once, that they would journey together. He scoffs and hugs Eevee a little closer to his chest. She snuggles up to him and doesn't mind.
Green's fine, all fucking fine by himself. He doesn't need anyone keeping him from the top.
And it's definitely not lonely when he gets there.
five; ♫ coldplay - shiver
but you never even see me
It's cold and empty up here. Red's not sure why he's here of all places, but he knows it's for himself. He needs this room to think.
He's not stupid enough to think that no one will miss him, but the person he wants to notice he's gone probably won't. He bites his bottom lip and feels the cold chapping them over.
Strangely, he's not cold at all.
After all, it may be cold and empty on Mt. Silver, but not colder or emptier than in his heart.
six; ♫ copeland - sleep
at someone else's door.
Red's gone, and Green doesn't give a fuck because it's none of his fucking business anyway.
"Don't you care at all?" Leaf asks. "Red ... is your best friend, and he's gone." Green can almost hear her bite back the 'was.' "What if he's kidnapped? Dead?"
"Would my caring change anything?" he retorts.
Still, when he goes to sleep, Green dreams of red eyes and the words he'd never say.
It's none of his business - he doesn't have any right to make it his business - but Green looks for Red anyway.
seven; ♫ vienna teng - antebellum
keep the weapons down, keep the wounded safe
Green hates this, hates climbing Mt. Silver. He does it anyway, and visits Red out of some bizarre attempt to assuage his guilt. For what, he's not sure, because it wouldn't be his fault if Red freezes or gets sick or dies up here. Red has his own volition to starve or isolate himself if he wants to, but Green would certainly feel responsible.
"You don't have to do this," Red always says, and Green will respond: "I'll stop doing this when you stop being stupid."
"I'm not stupid," Red replies.
Then, once, Green snaps. "Look, I'm fucking sorry, okay?" The residual of the lie tastes awful in his mouth. He's not sorry - never going to be sorry for that - but they're the words Leaf had always wanted him to say. And if gets Red to leave, he's willing to say anything at all. "I'm sorry, so can you get off the fucking mountain now?"
Red looks at him impassively. "What makes you think I'm here because of you?" Red looks down and pulls his hat over his eyes. "The world doesn't revolve around you, Green."
Green walks down the mountain with a hole burning in his chest. He can't tell what's worse: that Red won't come down, or that it never had anything to do with him at all.
eight; ♫ mae - on top
like a hurricane, oh bringing me on display
"The top is lonely, Red," Leaf tells him the first and only time she comes to visit. "It's easy to forget how far you had to climb to get that high." She smiles wryly and he knows she's not talking about Mt. Silver.
"Ethan's already beaten me."
"But it doesn't mean you're not still the best." Leaf tugs her scarf on a little tighter and tries to brush the static off her bangs with her mittens. "And, Ethan doesn't climb alone."
Red shrugs. "Green visits me."
"Oh, Red," Leaf says, "he does. But he also misses you."
The next time Ethan comes to fight him, he drags along pigtails and the redhead. They fall all over each other in Red's dark cave, and Red finds the answer he's been looking for.
He makes sure to beat Ethan this time.
Then, he goes home.
nine; ♫ lady gaga - speechless
oh boy, why you so speechless?
"Why is he staying here. Why with me?"
"Do you not want him to? You could ask him to leave."
"He - he doesn't have anywhere else to go."
"He doesn't?" Leaf hums. "He could stay with me."
"...You have a place?"
"I do, actually. But I like the gym. Maybe he wants to stay with you for the same reason I always stay with you." A pause. "Well, maybe not exactly the same."
"No, I don't mind. I'd rather it be me. I just don't know why he would want to."
"Why are you asking me, then? Why don't you ask him?"
"He doesn't talk to me."
"You don't talk to him either." It's not a question.
"...No. I don't."
ten; ♫ goo goo dolls - better days
'cause everyone is forgiven now
It happens over breakfast.
Red's staring rather longingly and mournfully at the milk in a way that must mean he wants it, and Green just sighs. He probably wouldn't have noticed this if he were eating his breakfast like a normal human being instead of sneaking glances at Red when he thought the other wasn't looking, but no, of course Green would be demented. And for some reason, Red can't simply get up and reach for the milk himself or even attempt to just ask because six weeks and two days into this bizarre whatever kind of thing they're having, they still have not managed to enter the "conversation" stage of the relationship.
Green's moved the bottle about two inches when Red starts to speak.
"I don't forgive you," Red says, and Green sputters and drops the milk.
There's a long pause with some scuffling and wiping up the small mess before Red says anything else.
"You're not sorry, so I don't forgive you." Red looks at him meaningfully in the eye. "But I'm not sorry either, so you can't forgive me."
In that moment, Green feels that they've finally reached an understanding between them, though maybe it's not the one he wants.
Still, Green can't help but think that Red tastes a little like hope when he leans over across the table and their lips meet.
bonus; ♫ muse - starlight
i don't know if it's worth it anymore
"I was afraid when I woke up and you were gone."
Red looks over his shoulder as Green drapes a blanket over them. He shrugs once then turns his eyes back towards the stars.
"I thought... I thought you'd left again." Green's voice is small, and even without turning around, Red can feel that he's far away. He wonders if Green would catch him if he were to fall backwards. Red closes his eyes.
"Sometimes, I can't sleep." He leans back a little, and this time, Green is there. "Your apartment is stuffy."
"I know," Green says. "Sorry."
Red breathes evenly as Green moves to his left and slips under the blanket.
"You can see the stars really clearly from here," Green says while looking up, and Red hums in agreement. "The sky is so wide. We had many dreams growing up. I wonder where they all went."
"Realized dreams only leaves behind empty spaces," Red mutters and leans over to play the lapel of Green's jacket.
Green stares at him as he continues to tug at it. When Red looks up at him, there's a smidgen of fear in his eyes. "Is this not what you wanted?"
Red curses under his breath for saying the wrong thing. He can see how badly Green wants this to be perfect - as much as Red wants it to be - and right now it is. He doesn't want to ruin this. "I meant -"
Green wraps both arms around Red's shoulder. "Let's take over the world together, you and me. We'll be like Team Rocket. 'Cept more successful." Red feels Green smile into his shoulder. "Then we'll never be boring." Green laughs, and for a moment, they're both six-years-old again. Red decides that's alright too.
They fall asleep under the stars.