Humans may keep on destroying; but can he really be so blind when she lays her hand upon his struggling Dragonite – when she doesn’t have to – and kisses it well?
She holds out an olive branch in her calloused hands and as Lance first stares at it and then slowly reaches out for it, Yellow trembles under the weight of the seemingly small branch; then shivers when his hand, in grabbing the branch, brushes against hers, and all at once, the world has pitched forward and flipped in the span of a simple gesture.
He’s surprisingly sweet in dreams; he threads flowers through her hair and around her neck, says sweet-nothings as if the words will run out if he doesn’t say them then, and even wraps his arms around her and maybe tickles her; but for all the nice, almost smothering attention, this is not Lance, and she wakes up to his silhouette by the river, Dragonite and the Forest the only things between him and the insanity of so-close-yet-ruined dreams.
“Megavolt,” and all the memories of a Dratini drowning in oil-slicked waters and his vow to protect it and to destroy its foes come back with a vengeance; for all his raging and flailing though, he has lost and is left with only a world of darkness.
When she brushes a blond strand away from her face as she pushes the shovel deeper into the soil, Lance almost wants to help her; then he remembers that watching her struggle at making her plot is a lot more amusing.
Throughout the torrent, Yellow’s face stays raised to the skies, the girl laughing with each splatter of fat drops upon her cheeks, and Lance stays even as he wonders about his lack of sanity.
She answers the question before he can even open his mouth about the basket of chocolates suddenly thrust into his face: “Because you’re no longer someone I have to fight, but someone I can trust now.”
It’s not the paradise he had envisioned (and he no longer has the strength or the will for such grand schemes) but somewhere along the way, he’s grown to like this one, with its trees growing thickly under the burden of berries and bug pokemon, its gentle hum from nature working as it should, and the quiet acceptance of another born to this place.
“I should had never given you my number,” his voice crackles over the receiver, but Yellow knows by now the half-hearted tone that accompanies that line, and she proceeds to update him on the Forest’s status, knowing that Lance loves their home as much as she does.
“Have you ever read Lolita, Lance,” Silver asks one day, while they watch Yellow chase Chuchu on the other side of the river; Lance feigns deafness.
Lance is a name that inspires many things, among those fear, anger, and vengeance, but for Yellow, it summons what-ifs, like what if Lance had turned to peace instead of genocide, or guidance instead of resentment, or love instead of hate.
All of the sudden, his face is so close - too close - and their noses touch, and all she can breathe in and out is Lance, and her face is growing warm, then hot, then cold, because he has just pulled apart to walk away from her.
Her corpse can no longer cry for mercy upon humanity.
She didn’t want to get into the details of their first time – or the times after that – and the only thing she would stutter to Blue was that Lance could be surprisingly gentle with his teeth.
Yellow flinches when he first sets a hand on Chuchu and Chuchu’s fur starts to bristle beneath his fingers, but as Lance begins to mumble into her fur, Chuchu relaxes, stills, and finally closes her eyes in gentle sleep, and Yellow has to blink back shock when the corners of his lips prick upwards into a smile.
At the beginning of their acquaintance, Lance was much worse and Silver still had the scars to prove it; but even as the fits gradually lessened in number and intensity, Silver still wondered who and what this Yellow could have done to provoke such glassy-eyed rage – and then grief.
He found her by a pond, settled into a crouch, and though it had been a while since either had felt uncomfortable about bumping into each other in the Forest, the way she hugged her knees and the way the pond rippled – when it shouldn’t – made Lance turn and go the other way.
In retrospect, if it weren’t for that ridiculous proclamation about the superiority of his Dragonite over her Butterfree in flying ability, Yellow wouldn’t have ever sailed through a cloud, not while laughing her heart out, and her body held in place by comforting hands.
Years he spends reflecting upon could-haves and should-haves, but when he thinks he finally has a good answer for what happened atop Cerise, he finds that unlike him, she has already moved on.
“I forgive you.”
“Everyone deserves to live, pokemon or not,” and he wakes up in a sweat, wondering how low he has fallen.
Red forgives him easily but Lance can’t say the same for Red, not when he has Yellow, who single-handedly crushed Lance’s dreams (and opened up new ones for him), wrapped around his finger; it’s a matter of pride and nothing else.
She thrusts her damnable hands onto his chest and before he could push them away, the gash turns into a thin white line into skin that looks no different from skin, and he can suddenly breathe again, and she whispers as though he’s a recovering pokemon under her care, “Don’t get up yet, but you’ll be okay,” and her hands gently stroke his not-wound before she stands and leaves him cursing behind her.
Her tongue flicks out to lick moist chapped lips and for a moment, he imagines putting his lips to hers for a small taste.
Yellow should know that nothing ties him down; while his ambitions may no longer involve destruction, they are still too great for the Forest to contain, but somehow she always knows where to wait for the flap of Dragonite wings, and somehow he keeps returning.
This is the first time she touches him, her small hand cradling his left cheek, but he swears to himself that it won’t be the last.
He stands triumphant upon her body – now she wears a red jacket like his – as he proclaims to her grieving pokemon, “She would have made a valuable comrade had she not believed so much in so-called humanity.”
Years later found him within the Forest for the first time since he left to fulfill his dreams (now long buried), unable to move and breathing growing ragged, under the throes of an illness that seemed to seep even into his thoughts, until a fuzzy face surrounded by a yellow glow descended upon him to cool his brow, thaw his thoughts, and return him to a strange reality where his savior was a long-ago enemy.
“You can sing,” and to her surprise, he doesn’t ignore her or interrogate her about her eavesdropping; he says, after a long silence, “When I was young, it was the only thing I could do for pokemon before they died.”
Yellow knows well that this Lance is not the same one she once fought; yet she still can’t bring herself closer to the figure standing in the middle of the clearing, and she thinks about the immense distance between acknowledgement and forgiveness.
“Just because we fought in the past doesn’t mean that we can’t live together in the same home now.”
He had lost; Cerise was barren; no more Lugia; that foolish girl; the pokemon were happy; had they come back because of her; bad humans, good humans; Dratini; what do I do now?
His pokemon are a barrier between her and her pokemon, their bodies lying in a heap, and he does not say a word as she runs towards all the gaps she can find between the dragon pokemon’s bodies, only to be blocked by sharpened claws or whip-like tails; his silence alone only makes her try harder, even as she bleeds and all she wants is to lay down with her friends and sleep.
A lightning flash after, not only was his utopia gone but as he rose from the rubble, he also realized that her ideals had come true instead - he screamed.
“Oh, what an interesting relationship you have with that gentleman of the dragons,” the fortuneteller whispered as soon as Yellow started walking away from the woman’s booth, and the girl all but turned back around and rummaged around in her bag for the few Pokedollars she must surely have.
There was no doubt about it – with the red cape, red hair, and the dour face he wore, she knew it could only be him – but as she tried to run after him (for answers, for secrets, for a connection forged in enmity and sympathy she had never gotten out of her head), the man rounded a corner past a seller hawking the catch of the day and when she ran around it, panting for breath, Lance wasn’t there.
She came to him through a Charizard that most definitely didn’t belong to her, and while he was racking his mind for ways he could possibly punish Silver and whomever lent her the Charizard, she had shoved a piece of paper under his nose, and with a face that reminded him too strongly of the moment before he plummeted to his near-death off Cerise Island, she said, “They’re planning to tear down the Forest, Lance, help me stop them.”
In vivid dreams set at the top of not-Cerise, she holds back her Pokemon, and when he’s close enough, she says, “I want to help build your paradise.”
Lance deemed himself skilled in the art of reconnaissance – far more skilled than his fellow clumsy and innocent Viridian at the very least – until the day she suddenly turned around and picked him out from among the nearby trees, and smiled sweetly and knowingly at him, and then skipped away as Lance’s face grew too warm for his liking.
For her good, he smashed it to pieces beneath his boot and had her try to put it all back together, knowing she would always have one piece missing.
If he has to listen to Silver murmur, “Humbert-Humbert,” under his breath and Blue scream, “You’re sick, you know that,” to his back, then so be it; but really, it’s her fault for making this – for lack of a better word – union palatable, and if she doesn’t like the treatment he gets, she shouldn’t have seduced him in the first place; too bad she won’t get a second try.
Yellow regrets finally goading an answer out of Lance about the shape of the clouds, and she hopes he doesn’t notice her beginning to doze off underneath the brim of her hat as he repeats the “majestic and kingly” Dragonite spiel for the third time.
At thirteen, Yellow’s getting a bit heavy for Butterfree to carry into the air for long, and though she much rather not do this, she can’t afford to lose Lance to the skies now, especially when he’s so close to being a part of them and the Forest has been calling for his return, and as Butterfree clings to her back and begins its ascent, Yellow hopes, hopes, hopes that she can reach him on time.
When he wakes up this time, it’s not to the crumbled shores (and dreams) of Cerise Island, it’s to golden hair in his lashes and on his cheeks, and as he blinks back the dregs of sleep, he drags that damnable girl down and doesn’t let go.
Five minutes before the world ends, Lance finds himself in front of a crumbling tombstone in the Forest, wondering if, even as a pile of bones and charred flesh, she can hear the world’s Pokemon cry and his crumpled body break.
She was named “Yellow” for the color of her hair, she said, but Lance thought the name simplistic and ill-fitting when, holding hands with her Raticate, she turned to the sun and glowed.
He was often awake deep into the night and she, too, was increasingly doing the same; surprisingly, considering the man’s past, he made a pleasant conversation partner as they sat under the moon.
Every once in a while, she would take off her clothes and sink into the cool waters of the Forest’s river, though this stopped after Lance suddenly appeared one day at the other bank to smirk and ask, “Now, are you sure you want others less scrupulous than me to be able to see you like this?”
Her hair was what gave her away, and his heart was what she took in return.
They leaned against each other’s backs – their Pokemon safe and unseeing in their Pokeballs – and when Yellow reached for Lance’s hand, he let her squeeze it, and as the sky collapsed in golden flame, he squeezed back.