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Don't want to let you go

Chapter Text

So Before we start, I want to get this straight: Moon had always been like some kind of wild bird.

She had been like that ever since she could remember… She could never just give it a rest, or so her mother constantly said. Back when she was in Kanto she would always change from school to school once she got bored of the atmosphere, and when she started to feel frustrated in Kanto itself, well… She took the first opportunity she saw to move to another region (Which was how she ended up in Alola).

That was her nature, nothing more. It wasn’t that she didn’t have any friends or loved ones. It wasn’t that she didn’t like the place she was at either. That was just her nature… A really chaotic one, but part of her personality in the end.

She didn’t want to be confined to a single place: She wanted to feel free.

Most of the times she changed something in her life she felt sad and lonely after doing it, she’d regretted decisions she’d took most of the time… or at least at first. Even though, she had always grown to love her new life even more than before.

Though never as much as I’ve loved Alola, she thought.

It was hot outside that day. Really hot. Maybe too much for her own taste. She felt the urge to just take the iced lemonade she had on her hands and place it in her forehead or just throw it in her entire freaking body to try to resist the heat her body was feeling. She decided to ignore the heath, though, as there were more important things to think about at that moment. She gave a sip to her lemonade and continued watching the Pokémon Battling Channel at Lillie’s house, along with her and Hau.

She loved her friends, she repeated to herself as she tried to repress that urge of freedom, of a wildlife, of starting everything all over again. She repressed it constantly, since she’d never been more established in a place than she was in Alola: She had lots of friends, two of whom were the best she’d ever had, she had her mother, she’d even had her own house for over a year now, right when she got 20… And not to mention her championship…

She really wanted to stop feeling this. She desired to be happy in Alola really bad. To be with her friends and find a ‘Good Hearted Man that loved her’ as her mother always said, but she had been fighting this feeling of leaving for two years now, and that tingling sensation of being stuck had never gone away.

She was doomed, she thought, to travel and leaving behind all the people she loved… And she didn’t even like to do it… She just needed to.

“Fairy Pokémon are a blast! Don’t you think that Lillie?” She heard Hau comment beside her, making her look at him. He had always been so happy. He’d been kahuna for a whole year now, and he was also the best Pokémon trainer she’d ever met (besides herself of course, she was still the champion after all), and even though he was still energetic and crazy, he’d grown more mature over the time.

“I love fairy Pokémon, they are really cute” Said the green-eyed blonde, without taking her gaze off the screen, her head resting on Hau’s shoulder.

They’d been growing more and more close to each other over the years, though still none of them had decided to take the first step to be officially together. They enjoyed each other presence as it was, 'at least for now', they’ve told her multiple times when asked individually about their strange relationship.

They only made her wonder… If she had someone… just like they had each other, could she stay calm at one single place? Would she be able to enter to that jail that’s so well known as “relationship”?

Probably not… Not even that could change her mind about it.

She heard the sound of someone’s footsteps walking down the stairs behind of her, the same that connected the living room of the House to the floor that held all of the bedrooms. The sound made her quickly turn around expecting to see Lillie’s mother Lusamine… only to find out it wasn’t her: Instead of the long-haired lady, she found the tall, kind of handsome guy Lillie’s older brother had grown up to become. She blushed a little as her dark brown eyes instantly locked with his deep piercing green ones. They looked at each other for only about two seconds, but it actually felt like ages for her. She looked away as fast as she could, still, that quick glance was all it took to tint Moon’s cheeks of a light red that always seemed to appear whenever he was around. Gladion, on the other side, continued walking across the living room and towards the studio, totally unaware of her weird reaction.

Unaware? More like uninterested. Moon thought.

It was ridiculous, she kept telling herself. She, as the 21-year-old she was, still had the same school-girl crush she had back when she was 12 and going through her island challenge. Thinking about Gladion always made her feel weird.

He rejected me after all...

Even though thinking about that day still hurt a little, she had learned to coexist with the boy. She spent a lot of time at his and Lilie’s house after all. They’d learned to talk about basic stuff when the situation required it and to ignore each other the rest of the time. It seemed easier for Gladion though… He had become a workaholic and had other things to worry about.

She saw the blond in question quickly retreating from the studio with his white lab coat and some papers in his hands, and just like that, without any kind of glance or signs of caring he’d walked through the stairs looking really concentrated and mumbling some inaudible stuff.

Moon sighed.

“Hey Moon, is something bothering you?” A kind of worried Hau asked her as soon as he heard her “You’ve been spacing out a lot today and Lillie and I are starting to get worried” Lillie nodded as the dark-skinned guy spoke.

“If there’s something bothering you feel free to tell us, we’re your friends, remember?” Stated her best friend with a sweet smile.

Of course, there was something bothering her, but the fact that Lillie mentioned that ‘being friends’ part only made it harder to say. She wanted to tell them, but it was just so hard for her…

Stop Moon. They’ll find out eventually either way, you’ve already started to get all your stuff ready and your house is full of boxes

Yes. She knew the right thing was to tell both of her best friends about her plans, but the words just wouldn’t come out of her mouth.

What if I hurt them?

But not even the love she felt for her friends could fight that urge that was so well engraved on her personality. Not even her mother, not even her championship… Hell, not even that stupid unrequited crush with Lilly’s 23-year-old brother could stop her from doing something she’d already decided weeks ago. She took a deep breath

“Hau, Lillie… there’s actually something I’ve been meaning to tell you both, and I need you to take it calmly… but seriously at the same time” She could tell she’d startled both of them, Lillie and Hau’s nervous expressions as she said so were obvious to her, but there was just no turning back now.

“I’m leaving Alola” She said, as the Mareanie battling on the screen of the television gave a final poisonous blow to a defeated Clefable.

“It’s nothing personal… You see, I’m some kind of wild bird”


 

“Wild bird my ass” Hau said with a really angry face that didn’t go well with his chirpy personality right after she’d told them about her plans on moving out of Alola.

“Please Moon, is there something we can do to make you feel comfortable in here?” Begged Lilly with tears flooding her eyes. “You are our best friend. We don’t want you to just move away from us, and knowing you…you’re planning on never coming back”

Lillie had hit in just the right spot: She wasn’t planning on coming back if she left, and her friend realizing that was what had made Moon run away from the scene, incapable of seeing her broken-hearted friends’ faces any longer. She’d run away from the house and towards the exit of the Aether paradise trying to page Charizard without any luck. It seemed like a pretty busy day for the Pokémon that served as a way of transportation to the trainers in Alola, cause Charizard was nowhere to be found. She’d waited for half an hour already, her eyes full of tears, but nothing had happened.

I’ve broken their hearts. She thought. And only for my own selfish reasons

Her Charizard wasn’t going to arrive anytime soon, she realized, so the girl started walking towards the docks, her head low and her hands trying unsuccessfully to wipe out the tears that mostly ended up falling to the floor and leaving a trail for everyone to notice just how miserable she was.

Cause that was what she was. Miserable. Miserable for hurting her best friends and still thinking her idea of leaving Alola wasn’t so twisted after all. In fact, she still desired to leave and explore other regions. Even with her heart broken into little pieces.

She walked across the little stairs that connected the paradise to the dock and sat at the farthest spot in the ferry. Far from every other person that could read her face and wonder what could possibly be wrong in the life of the Champion of Alola.

She’d never desired for things to end up like they had… She wanted to at least see her friends until the day she was moving away from them, she wanted to properly say goodbye to them and hug them one last time, was that so much to ask?

She guessed it was…because of how badly Hau reacted and how sad Lillie was with the news.

“Hey” She heard a deep voice right on top of her, not knowing whether she should raise her head and answer to whoever was addressing her or just plainly ignore him “Mind if I sit down here?”

Of course, she minded, she wanted to be alone, wasn’t that obvious?

She raised her head, ready to tell the curious stranger to fuck off when her gaze met with deep green. It was Gladion.

Her words banished and her mind emptied of everything she’d been thinking before that moment. Every thought dispersed as she tried to put the pieces together and find out how was it possible that he of all people was talking to her.

“Su…Sure” It’s all she could answer with her still blank mind. She watched him sitting right beside of her, careful not to sit on top of his lab coat.

She couldn’t even recognize his voice as he spoke to her, which only served as proof that they hadn’t shared a word for a pretty long time. His voice was deep but calm at the same time, it filled her with a weird feeling of tranquillity that kind of soothed her and made her stop crying. She didn’t know that much about his personality nowadays, but she could sure tell he’d changed from back when they still talked to each other. He’d grown taller… A lot taller. His hair was longer now and tied in a ponytail long enough to fall on top of his shoulders, his characteristic fringe the exact same way it was when they were younger and his eyes just as piercing and kind of hypnotizing as she’d remembered them to be.

She was trying really hard to keep her cool. Of all the people that could have seen her crying… Why did it have to be Gladion?

She started playing with her fingers to get some of her nervousness to go away, and it kind of did, as her mind started to fill again with the thoughts she’d had before the blond arrived. They sat there, silent. Neither of them knowing what to do or what to say, for they hadn’t talked in years about anything that wasn’t the typical conversation about Gladion going to the grocery store and Lilly and her asking him to buy popcorn or candy, sometimes even malasada when Hau was with them.

The conversations they’d had when they were teenagers were still engraved in her mind as some of the best memories she’d had in Alola, and even though they weren’t many, she cherished them and remembered them constantly. Like that one time, they were both helping to get rid of the ultra-beasts that were tormenting Alola and ended up talking about what each one of them wanted to do in the future.

I want to help my mother run the company, He’d told her. Aether foundation was created by my dad… And even if I can’t see him anymore, even if I can’t get to know him, well… I still have Aether

She’d never thought that he could be the type to protect his loved ones and care that much for them until they shared that conversation. Before that day, she’d always thought Gladion was some kind of rebel that only cared for his own sake and had escaped away from his family to live as he wished.

Still the last time we talked he pushed me away… She sadly remembered

She sighed and turned her head to him, trying with all her might to glance at his face without letting a single tear fall, only to find out he was looking back at her.

“What are you doing here anyway?” She asked kind of rudely, trying not to show any emotion while saying it. She didn’t want him to think she was weak if he heard her sobbing voice full of heartbreak. “Aren’t you supposed to be heading work at this time of day anyway?”

The blond didn’t really react to her comment. He maintained his cool, as always. A half smile appearing on his lips as he directed his gaze at the ocean.

“I was heading to work when I found my sister crying on Hau’s shoulder. He looked kind of broken as well, and you… well… You don’t look like the happiest person in the world either” Even when it was obvious that he was talking to her, he never really met her eyes, he just looked at the ocean, as if they were having the most casual conversation in the world. “Is something wrong Moon?” The blond finally asked after some quiet seconds had passed “I know we aren’t really friends but…”

“Yeah we are not” The girl next to him bluntly replied, her hands turning into fists, leaving Gladion perplexed “In fact, you haven’t shared a single conversation with me since you started working at Aether and I became the Champion so why should I tell you if something was indeed wrong?” The raven-haired girl looked at him with fury in her eyes. “You said you didn’t want anything to do with me…” She said looking at the ocean, her voice cracking not so much for Gladion but for the feelings that she still had about the conversation with Lillie and Hau.

“I didn’t say that Moon” The president of the Aether foundation replied as cool and collected as always “I never said I didn’t want anything to do with you and you know that… I just…”

“You said you didn’t want to get attached to anyone” The Alolan Champion remembered, she turned to him with a little bit of resentment in her eyes “…And that includes me, so stop poking your nose in what doesn’t concern you Mr President

The blond looked at her, his mouth opened in surprise and his eyes wider than she’d ever seen them. He’d never seen her acting this way, she had always been so calm and caring with everyone. She’d always been the best person he’d ever known.

“Moon I’m just worried…” The blond started explaining but stopped in the middle of a sentence as if the words had stuck in his throat and didn’t want to come out.

He sighed.

The girl had just stopped looking at him, her gaze so firmly focused on him minutes before was just gone. She was staring blankly at the beach of Akala Island, ready to stand up and leave the ferry as soon as she could. It was clear she didn’t want to talk to him anymore.

He didn’t know why though, had he said something that made her upset?

Moon got up as soon as the ferry arrived to the Island her house was at. She walked down the little stairs that connected the ferry to the docks and ran towards the island, unstoppable. She felt rage.

Why, you say? Well, it wasn’t precisely because of Gladion, she’d settled those feelings a long time ago, she’d decided not to hate him, her little crush the only remnant of the friendship they once shared.

It wasn’t that she had any kind of bad feeling for the green-eyed guy, she guessed he’d just came to her at a really bad time. Not the best day, and certainly not her best moment either, but she was still too stubborn to apologize or to tell him what was going on in her life…so she just kept running, disappearing from his sight.

The Aether President stared at her, watched her leaving without any kind of word directed to him. Without a ‘goodbye’ without even a glance. Gladion sighed for the second time.

“I’m just worried about you…” He finished quietly, the girl no longer there to hear it.

Chapter Text

It had been one hour already since Gladion started trying to tie the knot in the expensive brand-new tie Lillie had helped him choose, his nervous fingers still unable to find a way to do it. Tired of trying, the blond sighed in exasperation and proceeded to remove the article of clothing from his neck and throw it to the floor of his already messy bedroom.

How was he supposed to run a company if he couldn’t even do something as simple as tying a knot?

His thoughts were quickly interrupted by a loud knock on his wooden door. He walked to it kind of relieved to have someone distract him from the hardest day he’d had in years. As he opened the door, he found the relaxation he needed in the form of his best friends and his very own sister.

“Hey Glad… Can we come in?” Asked his sister with her characteristic sweet and calmed voice “We came to make sure everything was alright.”

He looked at Hau, who had the biggest smile he’d seen plastered on his face and then directed his gaze to the dark-haired girl beside of him.

Moon looked prettier than ever, with a floral dress and her hair loose covering her back and shoulders, a purple flower placed carefully at the height of her forehead on the right side of her soft and carefully combed hair. He blushed a little, but still managed to talk to his sister.

“Of course.” Was all he said, his eyes concentrated on Moon even though his words were directed to all three of them “My room is kind of messy, sorry about that.”

He sat at the edge of his bed and then laid back on it with a huge sigh, closed his eyes, and signaled for his friends to approach by gently tapping the place of the bed that was right next to him.

Moon was the first one to approach, she sat down and took Gladion’s hand on her own, once he felt her warmth he could sense the relaxation filling his body, he opened his eyes and looked at her, a light blush coloring her light kantonian skin.

“Don’t be nervous Gladion, I’m sure you’ll do great today, I believe in you.” His face softened when he heard her words and tightened his grip on her hand, making her blush even harder and look to another direction, trying to hide it without luck.

“Well, we all believe in you, Mr Future President.” Stated the cheerful grandson of the Kahuna, giving him a light punch in the shoulder.

“Yeah yeah, we all believe in Gladion.” Said the blonde girl, as she bent to pick the tie Gladion had so desperately thrown away “But he won’t get far if we don’t work on his tie first” she concluded with a smile.

She walked across the room and stopped next to her brother with a sweet and proud smile on her face, she extended the tie and urged him to get up in order to help him. The young boy obeyed and stood up in front of her, as she expertly placed the tie around his neck and tied it in a perfect fashion.

“You’ll do great Gladion, this was your dream wasn’t it?” Asked Lillie placing her hand on his chest. He smiled.

It was indeed his dream.

Most people would find an administrative job at a corporation like Aether boring, but he had wished to work there for quite some years now, as the foundation was all that was left from his missing father.

“Yeah...” his gaze going from Lillie to his friends “I’ll also be the youngest employee Aether has ever had.” A smile plastered on his face. He was genuinely happy.

“Well, Hau and I are going to find a good spot to take photos” Stated the Aether girl signaling the dark-skinned boy and walking slowly to the door “You should hurry up and get ready already, the press conference will start at any minute now.”

Gladion knew that, still, he let Lillie and Hau close the door before looking directly at Moon and smile at her. “Once the media is gone I’ll see you at the conservation area, Moon” Red plaguing his face as he spoke to the girl “I… want to tell you something important.”

He could hear the girl’s breathing raising and see her cheeks tinting of a light red once again, he smiled knowingly and left the room without any other word, leaving the flustered champion behind.

This was it. This wasn’t only going to be the day he became part of the Aether Foundation… It was also going to be the day he’d confess his feelings to Moon...

The day he’d tell her how much he liked her.


When Gladion arrived at the place where her mother was going to give her announcement he discovered all the media available in Alola were already waiting to start the live broadcast. Her mother could be found at the very back of the room, surrounded by cameras, her expression of tranquility served to show she was already used to cameras and interviewers due to her job as President of the Aether Foundation.

Gladion smiled at her mother from the entrance of the room and, unsurprisingly, she reciprocated his gesture.

He had to admit that some months ago smiling to his mother seemed like a completely impossible task. She hadn’t been the best mother since his father disappeared after all. She’d done so many awful things to Pokémon that she now regretted… Not to mention her fusion with Nihilego, which compromised her health and made her retreat with Lillie to Kanto for two years.

He’d forgiven her in the end, as he could tell she was a different person now…Or maybe she wasn’t. Maybe the one that was a different person was the woman she was while hunting down the Ultra-Beasts and denying her children. The person she was now was the same woman that had raised him and showed him how to love all Pokémon, even if the council thought otherwise…

Aether was a complicated subject. The foundation had been running without an actual president for two years until Lusamine came back to reclaim her position. Her mother had been obviously incapacitated while in Kanto and the leadership of the company had fallen over two employees of the foundation: Branch Chief Faba and Wicke, who constantly tried to keep Faba in line. Even though Wicke had made her best trying to control the situation, most of the time Faba’s attitude screwed up big deals and eventually led the company to reduce the staff and the number of conservation projects that could be done at a time.

Her Mother had come back to fix the situation, as Aether was the only thing she had left of her long-gone husband, but she’d found quite an opposition to her return, which had led her to this day, with all the media ready…

Ready for her public apology and resignation.

“Good morning to you all” He recognized his mother speaking, the cameras and microphones in the room all pointing at her “The reason why I’m here, in a live broadcast that will appear in all of the televisions of Alola is a really simple reason”

Gladion could feel the determination in her mother’s speech, he watched her attentively from his spot at the entrance.

“As all of you know, Aether Foundation is not just run by a president. Most of the important decisions come from a council that’s composed of notable people of different business areas across the regions” Lusamine spoke without a doubt in her words, fully compromised with her speech. “It was brought to my attention by that same group of people that my resignation was required for Aether Foundation to progress since most of the sponsors the foundation had retired their investments once they found out I had come back to fill the president position I left more than two years ago”

Lusamine let out a repressed sigh, anyone could obviously tell she wasn’t that happy with her statement.

“I’ve agreed to resign under three conditions that, I must clarify, the council have already approved” She looked at all the reporters, preparing herself for the storm that was about to burst “The first condition for my resignation is the following: There will be no president on Aether Foundation for a period of one year, starting today. The council will take all the important decisions that the foundation faces and the person responsible to voice the decisions they take will be the Branch Chief Assistant Wicke”

The press interrupted her first condition pretty loudly, all kinds of questions arising as to why an assistant would be the one to represent the foundation’s interests instead of an employee with a higher title. The answer was simple, but nothing that her mother wanted to share with the press: Faba. If she let the hierarchy of the company decide who was next as president the company would for sure be ruined.

“The second condition I established…” Stated her mother with a firm voice, making all of the reporters silent “…Was that any man or woman inside the foundation that actually showed some kind of initiative would be considered as a candidate for the role of President of the foundation once the trial period of a year finishes. Any investigator or administrator that shows he or she has what it takes to lead the company and restore its prestige will be able to become president. Ignoring hierarchy rules that were once established”

That statement made the reporters even more anxious, questions about the capacity of the employees to handle such a task could be heard coming from everywhere in the room. His mother was firm in her speech though, she already knew that her announcements would raise all those questions and that not everyone would agree with her conditions.

“My last condition is the most important one for me” The tall blonde woman shared with a smile, a smile that was specifically directed to Gladion. “I’ve requested the council to let my firstborn Gladion be considered as a possible candidate for the presidency”

Gladion started walking calmly towards the cameras as his mother had previously instructed him. He adjusted his tie and fixed his vest, ready for the cameras to focus on him.

“The council agreed under the premise that I withdraw my vote once the lapse of one year has come to an end and the new president to the foundation must be chosen, in order to avoid unfair advantages”

Gladion reached his mother and stood next to her, feeling the flashes and ignoring the questions the reporters had already begun to ask him.

“With no further matters to discuss on my part, I present my resignation in front of all of the Alolan citizens, the decisions I took in the past were not the best, and I recognize that. I’m truly sorry for all the damage I caused to this place and its people. I’ll leave you with my son, in case you have any questions for him”

And with that, Lusamine disappeared from the scene, leaving her last hopes for the foundation to the only person she could trust: Her own son.

Gladion was 17 years at that time. The time lapse her mother had set as her first condition was the way she’d found to make him a legal candidate for the presidency... Once the trial period came to an end he would be 18, and an adult according to Alola’s laws.


 

Gladion closed the door of the conference room and proceeded to inspect the state of his clothes. His red tie was still nicely accommodated and his black vest was impeccable despite all the hustle trying to escape from the reporters. He’d only managed to do it thanks to Wicke, who had appeared at the scene and deflected all the attention to her, freeing him from the press grip and insistent questions.

The teen still needed to wait until the press was out of the building to be able to meet Moon at the conservation area, so he decided he could go kill some time at his new and still unknown office. He searched his pockets looking for the key his mother had provided him and read the small label attached to the keychain.

“C-21” Read Gladion quietly as if he was still trying to believe he had a place at his family’s foundation. Even though he was the only one with the Aether blood left in it, he was determined to get to the position his mother had been at for so many years. C-21 would just be a temporary place for him, so he better not get attached to the place.

He walked through the corridor that connected the conference room with all the offices in that floor and clicked on the elevator button to get to the third floor, which was where all C offices were, but just as he was about to enter the elevator he could hear a well known feminine voice behind him.

“Going to your new office my son?” Asked the tall blonde in her mid 40’s, the same deep green eyes he had inherited looking directly at him, sparkling “I’d like to join you for a while if you don’t mind”

Gladion smiled at his mother and placed a hand on the elevator doors to keep them from closing, waiting for the woman to enter. They got inside and waited for the elevator to arrive at the right floor before they both started walking quietly to the boy’s office.

“Your father and I always hoped that one of you would take our place at the foundation, you know?” Stated his mother, breaking the silence between them. “I’m glad you were interested in it in the end, with Lilly so concentrated on becoming a trainer…” She continued with a joyful chuckle, her smile never leaving her lips. “You’ll become a great man my boy, just as your father”

Gladion smiled kind of painfully. His father was still a sensitive subject for him,  even after years of his disappearance he still couldn't erase from his memory all the family trips and quality time he’d spent with his father.

He opened the door to his office and invited her mother to sit on the chair right in front of his desk. He, on the other side, crossed the room and sat in the wooden desk that had been designated for him. He examined the office as he waited for his mother to continue with her talk. The room was large, and nicely decorated, he had a couch where he could guess Silvally would be sleeping 90% of the time and some trivial stuff such as a coffee maker and his computer.

“I’m glad you’re happy, mom, though I’m doing this for myself as well, not just for the company” The blond looked to his mother with a reassuring smile, encouraging her to keep speaking. Ever since the ultra-beast conflict she hadn’t have many people she could talk to, as most of the employees blamed her and had started to ignore her.

Lusamine looked at her child’s eyes with love and pride, her emerald eyes sparkling as he’d rarely seen them doing “Oh my boy…” She said softly “Do you know why I established all those conditions instead of just making you president of the foundation directly?” She asked suddenly without letting him prepare for anything.

He’d thought about that for some time ever since she communicated him with her plans, but he’d never known the right answer. He guessed it had something to do with the council not letting her, but he wasn’t all that sure.

“The council made me quit, but they asked me if I wanted to choose my successor” Started to explain his mother, leaving him kind of perplexed. “I chose not to... At least directly, and instead presented them the conditions you just heard at my last speech”

Gladion didn’t really know why she’d done that. It would have been a lot easier if she’d named him president of the foundation. The way things were now he’d have to put a lot of effort in making the employees like him and maintain Faba in its place so that the 'Branch Chief' wouldn't end up being the 'Foundation Chief'.

“Don’t hate me for doing that, my love” Apologized his mother with a tender tone in her voice “All of the employees of the company hate me now, and if I named my own son president of the foundation they would have hated you as well.” Her mother raised her hands and set them on top of her heart “I did this so you could win your own reputation. With hard work and dedication, yes, but also winning their hearts one by one...Becoming the president everyone in here wants to have”

He didn’t hate his mother, in fact, all of her words were making sense now. If he’d started working at Aether without winning his own place everyone would have thought he was just a spoiled brat that got away with anything that he wanted. It wouldn’t only affect him directly, but also his family’s name, and he would have to eventually leave Aether in the hands of someone that didn’t share the vision his mother and father had for the foundation.

He felt flattered. Happy that his mother had trusted him with such a hard task, but her words had also made him start to feel kind of unsure of himself. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to do it, and if he was going to accomplish his and his mother’s dream he’d have to dedicate his whole heart and soul to the purpose.

“Mom I’m glad you trust me…” Was all that the blond could say, afraid and insecure about the task he’d been entrusted with. “I’ll do my best…”

“I know you will, my love.” Lusamine said with so much love in her voice, with such a tender tone that made Gladion’s fears disappear “You always made your dad so proud”

And without even letting him process what she had said, she retreated from his office, leaving the boy alone and completely defenceless, with all the new thoughts that were starting to arise in his mind.

And what if I’m not up to his expectations?

A loud alarm coming out of his phone made the boy jump in his own seat and get back to reality. He checked the time and nearly fainted as he read the big “15:45” that occupied the whole screen of his phone

Fuck. Moon” He cursed. The time he’d spent at his office alone after his mother had left felt as if it had been minutes, but the alarm on his phone actually proved otherwise. He’d been thinking about his new life for at least an hour, and he was supposed to meet Moon as soon as the reporters had left the place. He exited his office without thinking it twice and started running through the third-floor hall. The conservation area was at the second floor, so he used the stairs instead of the elevator.

He got there, panting, as he wasn’t that used to running ever since he’d left team skull and focused on his family and pokémon team. He looked around, trying to find the girl, but all he could see were the pokémon the foundation was taking care of.

The conservation area was big, so he started walking through it, looking for the champion but only managing to find Aether employees that greeted him and congratulated him on his new job at the company. He grinned at all of them sheepishly, as the majority of them knew him ever since he was a little kid. The only thing he hoped was that they wouldn’t see him talking to Moon, as it would be kind of embarrassing if anyone else saw his kind of improvised love confession.

As he continued walking he started to become self-aware of what he was about to do.

He was about to confess his feelings to a girl… For the first time actually.

His face turned red as he started to think on what everyone’s reactions would be when they found out. Hau for example… or Lilly… or even his own mother…

He backed away as soon as he caught a glimpse of Moon, she looked so happy playing with the pokémon in the area. He wanted to approach her, to greet her... but for some reason, the last one of his thoughts couldn't leave his mind.

What would his mother think of him right now? What would his father think?

Would they approve the feelings he had? Could he be able to become the rightful president of the company with the feelings he had for the champion as his first priority?

His face went from red to pale, and his hands started shaking as he suddenly understood the meaning of his mother's words.

If he had to earn his place at the company, he’d have to make the foundation his first and only priority.

Moon turned around suddenly and caught a glimpse of Gladion. He wasn’t sure what to do, but he walked towards her while she greeted him happily with her free hand, the one that wasn’t petting a baby stufful.

The green-eyed teen felt his heart drop to the floor as he walked towards the girl he’d had a crush on for more than a year now. He faked a smile and greeted her back.

“I thought you’d never come…” Confessed the black-haired girl “...The reporters left like half an hour ago, so I was starting to think you wouldn’t show up”

He could see a tint of red invading the pale skin of the girl in question, his heart pounding in his chest but at the same time shattered into little pieces as he made up his mind.

He had come here to confess to Moon, but he didn’t know if he’d actually be able to be something more than a friend to her. Hell… he wasn’t even sure if he could even be a friend to her now.

“Sorry, Moon” He apologized trying his hardest to sound as if he wasn’t falling apart on the inside “I had some things to talk to my mother… and it got kind of late”

The kantonian girl smiled at him, trying to comfort him. But not even her smile could wipe away the thoughts that had started to invade the boy’s mind.

“Don’t worry too much about it” Stated Moon with a blush still noticeable, it was evident that she knew about his intentions of telling her about his feelings. “I know what being busy is too. I had to ask Kukui to cover me today, but god if being the champion is time-consuming…” her dark brown eyes making direct contact with his emerald ones “I can’t even spend all the time I’d like with you…”

The part of his heart that was still hopeful there was a way to be with Moon was beating, his face flushed lightly and his instincts dictated him to take the girl’s hand on his own and never let go, but some other part of his heart wouldn’t let him do it.

He had to choose between his heart and his family...

“I choose my family.” Said the blond in a hushed voice that confused the girl and made him look at him taken aback.

“What are you talking about, Gladion?” Asked Moon without understanding what the blonde was referring to. “I’m not making you choose anything…”

Gladion took a step back, away from Moon and from all the possible temptations he could have. He didn’t want to follow his instincts. He couldn’t hug her, he couldn’t kiss her... He had a job to do for his family and he’d chosen to do it, even if it meant letting the girl of his dreams go.

“I can’t get attached to anyone Moon” He explained with his voice trembling uncontrollably, as well as his hands “I need to take care of my mother’s company and you’re only an obstacle

He could see Moon’s eyes filling up with tears as the girl understood what Gladion was saying.

“An obstacle?” She asked, some of her tears already falling to the floor “I like you Gladion… I thought you’d brought me here because…” She couldn’t complete her phrase. Her heart was so evidently broken now, and even if Gladion wanted to hug her. Even if he wanted to tell her everything was okay and that it was all a lie… he couldn’t.

He liked her as well. He liked her more than he could imagine he would like someone at his early 17 years old, but he loved his family, and he wasn’t going to give up on his dream, even if it meant breaking the heart of the first person he’d ever wanted to be with.

“You thought I was going to confess to you?” Asked the blond trying his best to sound ironical “What? You can’t be rejected because you’re the champion of Alola?” He couldn’t stop his nervous tic, his hands were shaking like crazy so he turned them into fists. The force applied to them helping him concentrate on what he was saying. “I don’t like you” He lied, as he felt his soul crush inside of him. “If I’ve spent time with you it’s because you’re my rival, not my friend… or whatever you thought we were”

He turned around, unable to hold his own tears any longer, and started walking as the broken-hearted girl sobbed, capturing the attention of all the pokémon around her.

“Gladion wait!” She’d scream, but it was too late to turn back now, he’d taken a decision and if she saw his tears falling she would know it had all been a lie. So he kept walking, ignoring her as his soul ripped again each time he heard her scream his name.

“Gladion please!”

“Gladion…!”

“Gladion!” He heard someone shout as he suddenly raised his head from the desk and pretended he wasn’t sleeping. His eyes felt heavy and a single tear was running through his cheek. He attributed it to exhaustion and cleaned it quickly, before whoever had caught him sleeping could see it.

He lifted his gaze to find both her sister and Wicke, standing in front of his desk and staring at him.

His sister looked kind of mad, but Wicke seemed more on the worried side. He never slept during office hours after all. This was the first time she had surprised him doing it.

“Well well. Mr President is finally up!” Complained Lillie with a frown that proved she wasn’t joking this time “You worried Wicke sick! She said she’d never seen you sleeping and that she was worried about you!”

Wicke blushed lightly, she’d always been like a second mother to both of them, worrying for Lillie and for him even when there was nothing to worry about.

“I’m sorry, okay? I... don’t usually sleep at work” Apologized Gladion taking turns to look at both of the women.

“Well don’t do it ever again, you worried poor Wicke!” Screamed her sister kind of out of herself and then exited the presidential office, disappearing from his sight.

Gladion sighed.

He’d had that dream again. He’d never liked to remember that part of his life, as it seemed so distant now. Still, he’d been dreaming about that particular day for three days in a row, and it was starting to affect his emotional state.

“I’m sorry young master” Stated the purple haired assistant “I was just preoccupied. It’s not like you to sleep during work hours. Please excuse my intromission… but is something going on?”

He faked a smile and looked at Wicke, trying to make her stop worrying at him, but the woman had practically raised him along with his mother. In fact, he’d even been in contact with Wicke when he left his house and started working for Team Skull, so his facade just wasn’t working on her.

“You know I can tell when you’re lying young master Gladion” Said the young assistant with a sweet smile “I can tell both your lies and your sister’s, so don’t even try to hide it”

Gladion knew she’d read through him, so he turned around and stared blankly at the window that showed a perfect view of the sea that surrounded the Aether building.

“Are you thinking about the champion?” She asked Gladion knowingly, making him stare stunned at her and nearly fall off his own chair.

“W-What are you talking about Wicke!?” He asked trying to hide the shakiness in his voice “Why would you say something like that?”

The purple haired woman looked at him with tenderness “Oh it's just because I saw you yesterday, getting on that ferry with her when you were supposed to assist at a meeting with our sponsors” She giggled, knowing the reaction her comment would cause on the young president.

His face tinted with a light pink tone that wasn’t even near to the red that used to plague his face so many years ago when he heard the girl’s name. He’d forgotten about those feelings and gave up on them so many years ago…

“Please go to the meeting today, Mr Gladion” Stated Wicke seriously, her playful tone no longer noticeable “I know you’re young and you have so many things to do with your life still, but this meeting is important. So assist. And then go home, I’ve already cancelled all your compromises from 7 p.m. on”

The blond was astonished by the assistant last statement

“You’ve cancelled all my stuff?” He asked kind of mad but at the same time with a little relief “Why would you do that?”

“Well, your sister asked me to” The young woman answered. “She says she’s making a party and she wants you to attend.” She then asked for permission to leave and retired from Gladion’s office.

A party? He wondered

Why the hell would Lillie make a party?

Chapter Text

Hau and Lillie walked determinedly through the long-memorized path they always took to get to their childhood friend’s house, the fervent discussion they've had with her the previous day still present in their minds. The young kahuna looked at his companion and found her serious expression endearing, unable to stop the stupid smile that was already beginning to form in his own face. The blonde looked at him feeling his gaze over her and smiled sweetly at the young man.

“We’re going to make Moon stay” Assured the green-eyed trainer with certainty in her voice, staring sweetly at the youngster and smiling with her soft and well-cared lips Hau couldn’t stop looking at. He wasn't sure if their plan would work, He wasn't even sure if Moon would be mad with them once she found out about it, but Lillie's smile and reassurance were all it took for Hau to believe they could do it… That they could convince their best friend to stay with them.

The kahuna didn't really answer with words, he reciprocated her gesture and smiled at her as his cheeks tinted with a light red color that was not that easily detected in his dark sun-kissed skin.

The blonde continued walking to their target, followed closely by the boy. They kept strolling in silence, none of them willing to break the quietness as it wasn't really awkward, but calm and harmonious. Over all their years of friendship, they had learned to appreciate each other's presence as it was, even if they weren't talking they were always comfortable with each other.

“Hau I... want to ask you something” The girl spoke, breaking their prolonged silence, not really looking at the young kahuna and instead choosing to focus on the rocky path, as if trying to distract her attention “I know you and Moon won't really like it, but I kind of invited my brother to the party tonight...”

Hau didn’t stop his march, but he couldn’t deny her comment had taken him by surprise. Hau had always been a friendly person, 'hating' wasn't really his thing. He had been really good friends with Gladion some time ago, they've shared so many moments together and even though he still kind of remembered him as a friend, the only thing he could think of now when he remembered Gladion was 15-year-old Moon heartbroken and shattered, not willing to get out of her house for a whole month. He was the one who took care of her. He blamed him for her best friend's suffering and even though he wasn't resentful he had to admit he had been kind of avoiding Lillie's brother for years now.

He gazed at Lillie and found her expectant, biting her lip with nervousness and evidently waiting for an answer, but he could never hurt her, not even if that meant having to mend the bonds with her jerk older brother.

“Yeah, I don’t really mind so it’s fine…” He finally stated, not fully meaning it but believable enough for the girl to relax her tense shoulders and look at him pleased.

“It’s just… He’s been pushing himself really hard these days… he even fell asleep at work today, right at his desk! Wicke was so worried he was sick or something…He pushes himself too hard...” Even though she hadn’t mentioned her own feelings, he was sure she was kind of worried as well. He knew her, probably more than anyone else in the world.

“You don’t have to explain anything to me” Stated the young kahuna with a smile, taking a step forward so that he could catch the girl and make her look at him “It’ll be fun to see old Glad again”

The girl looked at him with sweetness in her eyes and a spark that only lit when she looked at him and no one else, making the boy flush again and forcing him to grab her hand into his own, not being able to control himself anymore. Lillie suddenly turned red, but he ignored it and kept walking the last part of the path at her side, not really saying anything but neither releasing her hand.

His feelings were starting to feel uncontrollable, the only reason why they were still unspoken being that since he had become Melemele's kahuna he had been busiest than ever.

He liked her so much, her hand felt so soft against his own that Hau felt the need to confess at that same spot, but he repressed the feeling. Those feelings would have to wait a little more, as their main concern right now was the Alolan Champion and her urge to leave her home and all her friends behind.

They both stopped when they recognized Moon’s house, and only then Hau released Lillie’s hand from his own, he quickly walked towards the entrance and ringed the doorbell.

It wasn’t long until the door opened and a depressed kind of disheveled Moon appeared in front of them, surprise evident in her features.

“Hau... Lillie” The young trainer muttered with some kind of joy in her voice “What are you doing here?” She looked at her friends with a grin, but it soon faded as she saw their gazes focusing on the boxes in her house’s porch. She closed the door in an attempt to hide them and instead chose to sit down on the wooden floor outside of her house, Lillie and Hau took a while to react, but they mimicked her in the end, a slight sadness still noticeable in both of their faces.

Lilly was the first one to speak, shoving her gloom aside and breaking the silence between them.

“Moon you know you are our best friend and we adore you” Spoke the blonde, trying really hard to find the right words for her friend “And we won’t stop talking to you… just because you have different dreams than us”

She had definitely caught the attention of the young woman. Lillie wasn’t sure how she would react once she told her about their plan, but she was confident enough to keep talking. This was the only way. After all, Moon was a very caring person. She had lots of friends all over Alola’s Islands, so this plan she and Hau managed to put together would be the only chance they had to make her stay.

“We’re going to support you through your journey…” She finalized looking directly at her and watching how Moon’s serious and puzzled expression transformed into a huge grin, she had even begun to open her arms to trap Lillie and Hau into a thankful hug when the blonde tried to stop her. “But under one condition!” She kind of shouted, hoping that that would detain the black-haired girl from hugging her but failing in the process. Moon’s weight over her slim and not very strong body making her lose balance and nearly fall to the floor, only managing to look at her partner in crime for support.

“Oh Arceus, you can ask for anything now for all I care!” Shouted Moon with glee and excitement, happy to have her friends back after the previous day's fight. Hau nodded to Lillie and decided it was his time to speak.

“We’re going to make you a goodbye party!” Stated Hau with a grin, hoping his childhood friend wouldn’t notice the malice behind the plan “Today, at 7:00 p.m., we already reserved Lillie’s backyard and invited like half of Alola”

Moon looked at him puzzled. She never expected a party as a condition for their forgiveness. She knew something was suspicious, but she wasn't all that sure yet.

“I… wasn’t going to tell anyone anytime soon… I was planning on telling everybody in like two weeks which was when I was planning on leaving…” She explained to the dark-haired boy, still not understanding what her friends were planning.

“Well, you don’t have to tell them yet” Responded Lillie with a calmed voice while looking at Moon in the eyes “It’s just so that you remember all of us and have that as a part of your good memories in Alola…”

For a moment, she really didn't know what they were talking about, but suddenly, it hit her. Even though Lillie was trying to sound calm she could still note some kind of nervousness in her voice and now she could see why it was. They were playing dirty... They were trying to make her stay… They planned to force her to see all of the friends she’d made in Alola, they wanted her to remember all the good memories she'd had in order to make her feel nostalgic.

“Oh, I get it now!” She shouted with resentment and an unshakable feeling of betrayal “You’re trying to make me regret my decision! You want to show me how wrong I am to leave with this ‘goodbye party’ bullshit !” She stood up from the floor and looked at her supposed friends with wrath “What kind of friends are you anyways…”

“Well, what kind of friend are you ?” Lillie’s voice was serious and felt like a million daggers were now pointing at her, her normally green happy eyes were clouded by pain. She was mad. She was hurt. And she surely wasn't having it.

Lillie and Moon never really fought, they got along really well most of the time, but there were sometimes during all of their years of friendship in which Lillie would just explode and tell her everything that she had been holding back. She guessed it was something she acquired after so much time repressed by her mother, by being forced to be a cute doll with no feelings, and in that sense, she was exactly the same as her brother Gladion.

Gladion and her didn’t really share many resemblances apart from their looks, but that explosive nature was surely something they had in common. They were dangerous bombs and no one ever knew when they would explode.

“What kind of friend leaves and doesn’t care what their friends think about it!?” Lillie yelled at her with tears of rage forming in her eyes “What kind of friend just disappears, Moon!?”

Hau looked at both of them kind of scared of the fight but managed to get in the middle of them, trying to stop the little quarrel they had going on. Both girls were pissed, but Lillie’s words had managed to break through Moon’s defenses. She looked at both of her friend’s faces and suddenly understood how they were feeling. She felt remorseful all of a sudden, her body relaxed and her gaze softened, small tears starting to flood her eyes as well, though hers weren’t like Lillie’s. She wasn’t mad anymore, she just felt sad.

“Well if that’s what you want…” Spoke the kantonian girl, managing to repress the shakiness in her voice and wiping away the tears. “If... I go to the stupid party... will you two let me go?”

“If… you still want to go after the party, then we’ll support you” Answered Hau, relieved that their fight was already over. “We’re not forcing you to stay, we’re just afraid you’re not seeing the whole picture. We’re not the only ones that will be hurt if you leave Alola” Hau showed her a smile, but it wasn’t happy as the ones he usually showed her, it was kind of fake and empty. It was full of pain.

She was sure she would hurt people on her departure, but she was also sure she would hurt herself more if she didn’t follow her dreams. Going to the kind of evil party Lillie and Hau had planned would surely hit her hard, but she was sure not even that would change her perspective.

Lillie took her acceptance as her sign to leave. She cleaned her white skirt from the dust of the ground they've been seated on and paged Charizard.

“Then we got to go” She spoke, without stopping “We’ve got so many things to prepare still...“ Lillie looked at Moon at that moment and gave her a sincere smile. She had hope. “We’ll see you at 7!”

Moon sighed and dropped to the floor again as she saw Hau and Lillie leave the island in the back of the ride pager's Charizard.

The night would be hard. And as if that wasn't enough, she had already begun to question her plans.

Would it really be okay to leave this place? Was it really worth it?

She looked at the sky and wondered but found the answer pretty quick.

She wanted to look at the sky from lots of different places... She desired to see the world. That had been her dream since she was a child, and nothing could change her mind about it.

Nothing and No one

Still, as she gazed at the clear and unpolluted Alolan sky, she couldn’t help but wonder if he would have understood her reasoning.

Probably not She admitted to herself defeated, shrugging off her thoughts about Gladion, as they always seemed to make her chest feel weird.


 

It was 5:00 p.m. already and the built fatigue was starting to be noticeable in Gladion’s body, his eyelids felt heavier each minute and he was sure his head was going to explode at any moment now.

Lazily, the blond took a sip of his extra strong coffee, trying to get rid of the weariness and instead focusing on the project he had been working on for the past few days. He had survived all week with just coffee and 4-hour daily sleep in order to make some progress on the mountain of un-revised papers that were sitting on top of his desk. He was already starting to feel the consequences, big and dark eye bags becoming a normal aspect of his appearance.

He finished his coffee and instantly turned the coffee maker on again, though he was starting to think caffeine was no longer sufficient. He stared at Silvally, his first and dearest Pokémon, resting undisturbed on his couch and making him feel kind of jealous. The only thing the Pokémon did was sleep and play the whole day, though he sometimes felt Silvally missed battling and traveling all over Alola with him. Ever since he had started working at Aether, the dog kind of Pokémon became more of a pet than an adventure companion. It wasn’t precisely fair, but there wasn’t very much that Gladion could do now, as he hardly had time for himself at this point and his 20 daily work hours never really gave him time for something as minor as Pokémon battles. Plus… it wasn’t as if he had someone to battle with. Even in his un-trained state, he was sure he was still better than anyone in the foundation, and the only person that had what it took to make him and his Pokémon grow was long gone out of his life.

He saw his Pokémon’s ears twitch and its eyes slowly open, attentive to the feminine voice that came from the Aether’s house backyard. Silvally lifted immediately from the couch and rushed out of the office, following the so well-known voice Gladion recognized as his sister’s, making Wicke’s words instantly come to his mind.

He made an effort to get up from his office chair, exiting the room and directing himself towards the elevator in order to get to where his younger sister was. He wanted to ask her about this supposed party that would undoubtedly delay his progress on all the paperwork he had to do. After all, even if the foundation didn’t precisely close its doors he was sure the noise that Lillie’s plans would generate would be more than enough to distract him and make him unable to concentrate.

The elevator ringed as it reached the ground floor and he tiredly walked through the foundation’s lobby and to the house he still shared with his apparently newly converted party animal sister and his mother. He’d thought of moving out of it for some years now, but even though he had the money to do it he could never find the time to actually carry on with his plan. He opened the back door and immediately caught a glimpse of the person in question.

The backyard was something they had recently adapted and he had to admit he liked how it had come out. It was large and in the perfect spot to catch the sunlight, so they decided to build a swimming pool in it. He barely used it, but Lillie and his Mother enjoyed it on a pretty much daily basis.

“Hey Glad!” greeted his sister as soon as she saw him at the entrance. She walked to him with what seemed like a worried look on her face “Arceus brother, you looked tired. Have you even slept?” The beautiful blonde reached him and moved his fringe away from his face in order to look at him thoughtfully.

It took him a while to react, but as soon as he felt her hand over his face he backed off, rejecting the gesture “I’ll sleep when I die. Right now I’ve got a lot of paperwork to do” The young president stated, gaining an angry glare from his younger sibling.

“No, you don’t! You need to relax Gladion!” The blonde’s hands were placed on her hips, her full attention now apparently focused on arguing with him “You spend so much time at that office… You look pale and stressed. You need to relax a little, you know you can always ask Wicke or me for help!”

“Lillie I am the President. The foundation’s been so busy with so many projects lately. I can’t afford to rest now…”

Plus… pretty much anytime I get some time to sleep I end up dreaming about how I broke Moon’s heart 6 years ago He thought, not really eager to tell that to his kind of nosy sister.

Lillie’s eyes were looking at the floor now, sorrowful and guilty for letting his brother go through all this alone.

She had to admit she sometimes felt remorseful. She followed her own dreams of becoming a Pokémon trainer and had completely disengaged from her family’s foundation. She sometimes thought how things could have been if she had started working at Aether at the same time that her brother had. Maybe then they could have shared all the stress and he could have a personal life, just as he needed to.

“Brother, I know you’re tired, and I know you’ve got work to do…” Lillie spoke looking at his emerald eyes that resembled so much to hers “But I’m sure Wicke already told you we’ll have a party today. I know it sounds silly, but I think it could really help you relax a bit and get to know some more people…”  

Gladion listened to his sister but didn’t really pay attention. He had never been the type of guy that liked parties, he constantly found them noisy and unnecessary.

The young president didn’t really have the social skills needed to start a conversation at one of these events, as he had only polished social skills that served him to make deals with corporate people and communicating with Aether’s employees. Parties were just out of his comfort zone.

“We’ve all been stressed out, it’s not just you” His sister continued speaking “Hau’s been kahuna for a year now, you’re Aether’s president, Moon’s Champion…”

The mention of the last making him twitch in discomfort, remembering his last conversation with the so-called Champion at the ferry. He was sure Lillie was still speaking to him, but for some reason, he wasn’t able to catch anything of what she was saying after she had mentioned his childhood crush’s name. He had been thinking on her a lot lately, and it wasn’t something that made him feel proud of himself.

He guessed everything had started with the recurrent dream he had been having the last days, and even though he retributed it to exhaustion he couldn’t deny it had started to make him feel weird and uneasy.

He had to admit he sometimes missed the connection he had with the girl, he remembered how he could always tell how she was feeling with just a glance to her dark-brown eyes, and because of that missing connection he knew this day would come eventually: The day in which work and a busy life wouldn’t be enough anymore to repress all the feelings he thought he had buried deep six years ago. He knew the day would come cause, in the end, he never really had a closure, he’d lied to himself and lied to the champion in order to shield her from the real reason why he couldn’t be at her side, but deep down he knew the truth: Even if Moon had believed in their breakup he never really stopped looking up to her.

He had been there all the time, like some kind of secret stalker. He had tried to reach her again lots of times, but never really found the courage to face her. He remembered how the first year they spent apart from each other he had gone to the elite four in a pretty much daily basis, always defeating the elite but never managing to confront Moon. He had stopped his visits when he became president and instead settled with catching a glimpse of the champion every time she visited his and Lillie’s house with some kind of excuse as going down for snacks or retrieving documents from the studio, but that was all of it. Those moments were all of what he had now, and he had accepted that fact a long time ago, so why was he having second thoughts now?

“…lots of girls and I could introduce some of them to you” He managed to hear his sister speaking and let out a tired sigh audible enough for her to hear.

“I don’t need a girlfriend, Lillie. Especially not one of your friends” He bluntly replied, but deep down he knew he was lying. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to be in a relationship, but that opportunity had disappeared long ago. He didn’t really have the time to devote to another person anymore, and even if he had… The person he wanted to devote to no longer shared his feelings.

The connection he had with Moon had been lost somewhere in the long 6 years they’d spent without speaking to each other. He had tried to test if it was still there by talking to her the previous day after he had found her crying, but when he looked at her eyes he had just found tears and emptiness. No feeling, no thoughts. He wasn’t able to read her anymore, they were complete strangers now.

He decided he didn’t have the energy to talk to his sister about it anymore and started walking towards the door. Retreating from the backyard and going back to his office, followed closely by Silvally, who had apparently been playing with Lillie’s alolan vulpix without him even noticing.

“Come to the party, there will be an open bar!” Shouted Lillie defeated, as her brother left the scene, but he ignored it and proceeded with his walk, not sure if all those thoughts would let him work anymore.

 

Chapter Text

He scanned the papers again, desperately trying to make sense out of the blurry letters that his outworn eyesight declined to focus on, but he was unsuccessful. He let out a tired sigh as the joyful screams of dozens of adolescents invaded the building and made him clench his teeth in annoyance. He had been right all along: There was no way in which he could get the foundation’s paperwork done with all of the noise Lillie’s party was causing.

He looked at the clock hanging on top of his office’s door and was surprised to find out it was barely 10:00 P.M. The blond stared down at the coach Silvally had fallen asleep into and smiled

“I guess I’m just exhausted then, buddy” The Pokémon’s ears twisted in response to his master’s voice but its eyes didn’t open. Gladion really needed to sleep, and suddenly snuggling with his dog kind of Pokémon in the office’s couch didn’t sound like a crazy idea anymore.

He stretched his arms and loosened his tie, ready to approach Silvally when suddenly his PokéDex rang. He took it out of his pockets with a groan and forced himself to look at it.

Lillie [10:03]

Are you coming to the party?

The blonde sighed in annoyance and thought of not answering to her insistent sibling but decided against it, as she would be messaging him for the rest of the night if she didn’t get an answer. She was his sister, and he knew her too well.

Gladion [10:04]

No.

He boldly answered, as he didn’t really have the energy to type anything else.

The young man walked past the room, circled the coffee table in front of the furniture and  gently shoved Silvally the closest he could to the backrest in order to make some room for him on the couch. He snuggled into it, causing the Pokémon to stir, eventually relaxing to the realization that the person trying to invade his territory was no one other than his very own master.

Gladion then proceeded to close his eyes, ready to fall unconscious at any moment when suddenly another loud ring brought him back to life. He groaned and decided to make a last effort to turn down his sister’s invitation, taking out his PokéDex again.

Lillie [10:10]

Is it because Moon’s here? You don’t have to interact with her, you know?

The blonde's eyes widened in surprise as soon as he read his sister's text. He dropped the PokéDex at the coffee table in a frenzy and forced himself to shut his eyes close. He tried emptying his mind and focusing on his fatigue but found it hard to ignore the now heavy pounding of his heart.

Moon’s here?

He thought, trying desperately to take control of his body once again, to shut down his system and make the weird feeling on his stomach stop. The tremble on his hands made its way onto his body, making him shiver and sweat as he realized that that sensation was more powerful than caffeine: His fatigue had disappeared, though his heart still felt as if it was going to burst at any moment.

What’s wrong with me?

He asked himself, not really wanting to know the answer as he got up from the couch and sat on the edge of it, covering his face with his shaking hands. He breathed deep and took his PokéDex from the table.

Gladion [10:20]

Is the open bar you talked to me about real?

He managed to write, looking desperately at the ceiling, trying to recompose himself.

Lillie [10:21]

Yes… Why?

Gladion looked at her sister’s text as another wave of screams penetrated his ears and made him groan in discomfort. He grabbed Silvally’s pokéball and a bright flash emerged from the device, making the chimera disappear. Gladion stored it in one of his pockets, then grabbed his Pokédex again.

Gladion [10:23]

I need a drink


Gladion looked around the backyard packed with what he thought could easily be half of the population in Alola and instantly regretted leaving his kind of peaceful office. Even though he wasn’t sure going there was the best idea he was certain of one thing: he wasn’t going to get any sleep, even if he tried his hardest.

Trying to ignore the surprised glances of the people in the party he pushed his way out of the crowd and walked towards the center of the area, eagerly looking for Lillie to ask her about the mentioned open bar and its comforting promise to provide him with enough alcohol to shut down his system.

When he finally found its way towards the center he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder and instantly looked behind him. His sister was gazing at him with a smile and her eyes sparkling with excitement, Stardust, her newborn cleffa, carried in her arms in an ever so slightly tight hug.

“You came!” She shouted excitedly “I’m sure this will be a great opportunity to relax and get to know some people, brother”

“Yeah, yeah. Where’s the open bar?” Gladion asked irritated, Still unable to control the beating of his heart and the weird sensation of what felt like tickles in his stomach. He even felt as if the pounding had gotten stronger the moment he had entered the so-called party. He felt nervous, but at the same time kind of weirdly excited. He tried really hard not to think about the text that had triggered all those feelings and instead chose to label them ‘exhaustion symptoms’, even though deep down he knew that was far from the truth.

Lillie looked at the blond annoyed and ignored his question, choosing instead to go back to the crowd to grab a girl by the arm. She walked towards him again with a short-haired woman that looked more like a girl than a young adult. Her hair was purple and her eyes big and innocent looking, the tint of blue in them standing out in her matching colored dress. When Lillie approached him again she spoke.

“She’s Acerola” She initiated “She’s a really talented trainer and an elite four member!”

Acerola looked embarrassed by the remark and immediately shrugged off Lillie’s flattery “I’m not that strong… At least not as nearly as strong as our Champion!” the girl said without mean intentions towards Gladion, unaware of the discomfort she was causing him with that comment. Lillie smiled awkwardly at the mention and prayed to Arceus his brother wouldn’t get mad at her for the remembrance of his failed adolescence romance.

Gladion looked at his sister with disbelief and a clearly irritated look “I told you I didn’t want you to introduce me to any of your friends” He bluntly remarked, not really caring if the girl heard him and instantly turning his gaze around, ignoring Acerola and deciding to walk away from the scene to keep looking for the one thing that had managed to convince him to come to the stupid party: alcohol.

But was that the only reason?

He felt a hand grabbing him by the vest and interrupting his thoughts, stopping his movement and forcing him to turn around. He readied himself to find his sister, but instead of Lillie, he found the ghost type trainer, a slight tint of red invading her pale face.

“Care to dance for a bit?” She managed to ask him. Forcing herself to talk despite her evident distress. She looked at him directly at his eyes with her now completely flushed face.

Gladion looked at her from head to toe: She was clearly interested in him. Not only her face had reached a shade of red that only inanimate objects could acquire, but her feet also twitched with nervousness. She brought one of her hands to her face to fix a strand of her violet hair behind her ear and waited for an answer.

He felt kind of embarrassed by the situation as he really didn’t know how to talk to women. All the knowledge he should have acquired in his early adolescence had been taken away from him by early age jobs, a bad mother-son communication and a failed attempt at a relationship.

“How old were you again?” He sarcastically replied, knowing that would startle the girl and make her stop following him. The disinterested comment about her appearance made Acerola’s expression change from ‘blushed and feminine’ to ‘frowning and pissed’ in a second, her whole made up concept of Gladion faling apart with his actions.

“Stupid rich boy” He managed to hear as the purple haired girl walked away from him and finally left him alone to complete his open-bar-search mission.

“That wasn’t nice…” He heard his sister behind him, but decided to ignore her. He walked away from the center of the yard and towards the very back of it. The whole area was crowded with people and their pokémon. Most of them were drinking or dancing, though there were also the ones that were engaging in drunk pokémon battles. He saw no harm in releasing Silvally for a bit, so he grabbed his pokéball, kneeled down close to the floor and gently clicked on the button of the spherical device. A sleepy Silvally made its appearance, but as the sound of music and the scent of other pokémon was registered by it its tail began to waggle. He looked carefully at Gladion, as if asking him for permission to leave his side and interact with the other pokémon that were playing or battling at the yard.

“You can go, buddy. Have some fun” Gladion smiled genuinely. Silvally was the only pokémon that had stayed with him after he had become the president of the Aether Foundation. All of his other pokémon had started to get depressed the next month after he took control of the company, forcing him to release them at the conservation area for an undefined period of time. He had tried to release Silvally as well, certain that he wouldn’t be able to give the pokémon the same attention he had once given it, but Silvally didn’t move an inch. He stayed in front of him, never leaving his side. It was clear at that moment that being with him was Silvally’s happiness, even if that meant not interacting with other pokémon or battling ever again.

Silvally jumped and barked in excitement, running towards a distracted Persian and nearly giving its drunken owner a stroke. Gladion chuckled at the sight and felt his body finally relax, his heart no longer feeling as if it was going to explode as he found no signs of the Alolan champion. He continued inspecting the place, he walked towards the back of the zone towards the swimming pool until he found what he was looking for: A bar stand, kind of crowded but bearable enough for him.

“Brother stop ignoring me” He heard Lillie speak again at his back “You could have been nicer with Acerola, you know? She was kind of interested in you…”

“Could you stop following me Lillie? and also, I told you, I don’t need a girlfriend” He responded, looking back and glaring at her at the remembrance of her pathetic attempt at introducing him with the purple haired girl “Now if you'll excuse me, I think I found the bar”

Lillie bit her lip with nervousness, a habit she had had ever since she was a little girl. It helped her think when the situation got out of her hands.

“You know Aether blood doesn’t mix well with alcohol…” His sister replied with a concerned tone and trying to capture his distracted stare into her own “Plus the open bar is crowded as well and I really don’t think you should go there…”

Gladion looked at her suspiciously as she bit her lip once more and moved her arms in discomfort.

“Are you really worried about me getting a hangover tomorrow? Or are you hiding something else?” He asked plainly and stared at her inquisitively.

“It’s nothing like that! I’m not hiding anything!” Lillie shook her hands in front of her in a negation motion, but her evasive eyes and her nervous chuckle made it hard for Gladion to believe her.

“Well, I’m just having a beer so stop worrying…”

With all her might, Lillie tried to stop his brother from turning around towards the bar stand. She took his hand and pulled, but Gladion was stronger. When he looked at the bar he saw one of the guys crowding the area move and reveal a face he knew too well. His heart skipped a bit and his body felt as if it was burning inside.

It had been so long since the last time he had seen Moon in a dress.

Arceus, she looks so beautiful

Gladion mentally slapped himself for that thought and he could hear Lillie repress a panic scream as he felt her hand grabbing his again. He felt paralyzed, his beating heart and his tickling stomach being the only thing in his body he could feel apart from the tight grip in his hand as Lillie tried to pull him away from the scene.

“I told you not to go there!” He heard her sister nag, but it was too late now. He had seen her, and his body wanted to go with her so badly, even if he knew she wouldn’t talk to him.

It was unfair, he felt. He had been living so peacefully for the past years, he had given up on the chance he had to be with Moon so long ago and learned to live with his decision, still, it looked as if the universe was now trying to put her everywhere for him to see her: His house, his thoughts, his dreams and now in the open bar he had so desperately been looking for.

He surely didn’t want this. He wanted to live without missing her, without regrets of what he had let go when he was a stupid child who didn’t know best.

Resolution filled his thoughts as he felt his body recompose and let go his sister’s hand. She looked at him surprised but he just smiled gently at her. He was 23 years old now, and he needed to start acting like an adult. He needed to stop running from uncomfortable situations and just plainly accept the fact that he and Moon were over.

“I’m an adult Lillie… I can handle it” He muttered “I’ll just have a beer and I’m out of here I promise”

His sister looked at him worried, and he couldn’t really blame her, she was the one who helped him get over the girl after all. When he ended his relationship with Moon she was the only one that managed to break through his barriers and find out the real reason why he had done it. Everyone was there for Moon, but just Lillie was there for him. She had discovered him crying in silence one night and reconstructed everything else by herself with just one look and a loving hug. She was his sister after all, and she knew he wasn’t an egocentric douchebag as everyone else pictured him after what he had said to the champion. She knew he loved her, at least as much as a 17-year-old could love someone.

Gladion took a deep breath. He arrived at the bar once it cleared up a little and glanced at Moon as his pulse grew higher and higher. Her hair was loose and it covered her back, her petite body laying carelessly on the table.

He reached one of the stools and moved it in order to sit on it, earning a not very expressive glance from the girl as she continued to drink what appeared to be a rawst berry vodka. He shrugged his nervousness off once he confirmed what he had expected: She wasn’t going to talk to him. Gladion signalled the barman and he immediately attended him.

“What would you like to drink?” The barman referred to him in an informal way, something Gladion wasn’t very used to but that didn’t really bother him.

“I’ll have a beer, please”

“Got it” As the barman turned around to get his drink he looked around him. Everyone was drunk by that time, even when the party had barely started three hours ago.

Getting drunk was something he wasn’t particularly a fan of, even though he had done it sometimes in his teenage years.

Lillie was right, Aether blood didn’t mix well with alcohol. The only thing he could drink without getting really drunk or having an enormous hangover was beer. Alcohol did a huge effect on him, and always made him act weird and out of himself, more extroverted and uninhibited, something he didn’t like to do due to the reputation he had to take care of.

“So Mr. Perfect President drinks now?” He heard a voice at his side and looked around startled.

Moon was talking to him. Her voice sounded slow and awkward, still, it was enough to make him start to sweat and not be able to speak.

“Well…?” Moon asked with a chuckle, clearly amused at the blond’s reaction.

“Y-you’re talking to me…” Was all Gladion could mutter. He wasn’t expecting to engage in a conversation with the girl… he thought she was mad after all as their last conversation had ended up in her leaving him in a ferry and not even daring to say goodbye.

“Sir your beer… Do you want it direct from the bottle or should I serve it in a glass?”

Gladion looked at the barman, his wide-open eyes still noticeable in his expression.

“I changed my mind…” Gladion spoke trying to shake away his surprise as the barman had started looking at him in a weird way “I’ll have tequila…”


It took Hau longer than expected to get to the party, but he made it. He looked around, trying to find Lillie and Moon. The young adult walked a little across the backyard until he finally saw Lillie’s unique blonde straight hair.

“Lillie!” He ran towards her and imprisoned her in a tight hug, her small Cleffa struggling to get away from it. The kahuna softened his grip and eventually separated from the girl, smiling at her.

“Sorry for getting here so late, I had some grand trials scheduled, but I made it!”

The green-eyed girl smiled at him, grabbing his hand in hers and placing a quick peck on his cheeks. Hau blushed, but didn’t move his hand. He enjoyed the warmth of Lillie’s delicate hand in his.

“So what am I missing? Is the plan working?” The youngster asked, looking around to try to find their friend, but failing to locate her.

Lillie sighed loudly, her shoulders falling with weariness and her expression changing completely.

“I tried to make her talk with the rest of our friends but she got really nostalgic and ended up at the bar stand” The blonde was clearly disappointed. Making Moon feel nostalgic was part of their plan after all, but she had chosen to get drunk and forget about it instead of reconsidering her decision of leaving her friends behind “I’m not sure if the plan will work…”

“Oh come on, how bad can it be? Let’s go get her okay? You’ll see we will convince her…” Hau tightened his grip on her hand, asking for her to guide him towards the open bar, but all he got from his crush was another tired sigh and a sorrowful look that didn’t match her optimistic personality.

“I don’t think we’ll make it work, she’s probably fighting with Gladion right now anyway…” Lillie lowered her head, the gloom aura around her being perfectly noticeable. It wasn’t her reaction this time, but her comment what surprised the dark-skinned boy and made him release her hand.

“Wait. What?! Why would they be near each other?” Hau screamed in a mixture of annoyance and confusion.

“Well I invited Gladion and he only seemed to be interested in getting a beer so they’re both at the bar now” Lillie explained with disinterest, sure that their plan would certainly not work now “I haven’t checked on them but I can’t know how well she’ll react once she sees him”

Seeing Hau mad wasn’t something usual, not even for Lillie, who hung out with him on a daily basis, so when she saw him frowning and tightening his hands into fists she knew something was wrong. She saw Hau walking towards the swimming pool and towards the bar with firm steps and she feared he would do something unnecessary, so he followed him. She tried to grab his hand and get him back to sweet-Hau mode, but it was useless. He had spotted the bar... and Gladion with it.

“...Lillie?” She heard him ask weirded out, but not mad anymore. She looked at him with wondering eyes as he spoke again. “Gladion and Moon ain’t fighting…”

When Lillie looked at the bar, she found his brother and her friend laughing. It was weird for her, but not unfamiliar, after all that was how they always looked before they started to ignore each other and slowly grow apart. They looked happy.

“Well… looks like I was making a tempest in a teapot…” She muttered happily “It’s been so long since I last saw my brother laugh…”

Hau grabbed both of her hands and looked at her sadly, the look in his dark brown eyes mixed with a tint of concern as he looked at her.

“Lillie I know your brother is happy and I don’t want to ruin it for him…” The kahuna started saying carefully “But the last thing we need is for Moon to be hurt again… Your brother ended what he had with her and she took so long to get over it…”

Lillie looked at him sadly, he was right in a way, but his idea of Gladion was far from the truth. She knew he never wanted to hurt her. Even so, talking about his brother’s reasons to Hau didn’t sound fair. She had sworn to keep his secret, and she wasn’t planning on breaking her promise now.

“She probably won’t remember tomorrow Hau” Lillie tried justifying “Why don’t we let them talk for a little bit longer?” She looked at them again and let a small smile show as she saw his brother blushing and laughing. She wanted him to be happy, to have fun… at least for that night.

“Lillie you know she still likes him… she always looks at him when she thinks we’re not watching”

And he likes her as well…

Lillie thought, but didn’t dare to say out loud.

Hau released her hands for a second time that night and started walking towards the bar with a serious expression, she followed closely, knowing she wouldn’t be able to stop him from protecting their friend. He wasn’t that protective when they were children, but taking care of Moon years ago had made him distrustful of any man who dared to talk to his childhood friend.

“Hey Moon!” He spoke, trying his best to sound cheerful and carefree, earning a glance from Moon and Gladion.

“Hau! I thought you’d never come!” She shouted and threw herself at his arms.

She was acting weird. And she was unusually affectionate, even though hours ago she was mad at him and Lillie for forcing her to come to the party. He returned the hug and found the answer to everything once he smelled the scent of rawst berry and vodka. She was wasted… and so was Gladion.

“Moon you’re drunk… you should rest a bit until you get better” He tried to reason with her, glancing at Lillie for help.

“Y... yeah Moon, we could go inside so you can rest a bit in my bed” The blonde shoot a glance at his brother, but he didn’t react to it “Gladion you look pretty drunk as well. ‘A beer and that’s it’ you said…”

The blond frowned at his sister for a moment but changed his expression into a smile as he saw her concerned look “I was kind of stressed out so I needed some relaxation. Moon and I were just talking about stupid trainers that tried to fight her at the elite four… Did you know she beat one of them in just six turns?”

“His team consisted on just Smeargles, can you believe it!?” Moon shouted in awe.

Lillie looked at her drunk brother in surprise and decided that maybe Hau was right in wanting to separate them. She looked at the kahuna and nodded. She took Gladion’s hand and Hau grabbed Moon and lifted her up bridal style, trying to separate them in order to take them to somewhere where they could get the alcohol out of their systems.

“Noooo wait. Hau!! I’m having ffuuun!” The champion screamed as she felt his friend lifting her. She struggled and managed to kick his chin with enough force to make him release his grip. She tripped, but barely managed to avoid falling to the floor, she then looked at Gladion, who released himself from his sister’s grip and instantly took Moon by the hand.

Both of their faces flushed, but none of them seemed to notice. They looked at each other with a mischievous grin and started running, getting away from Hau and Lillie and their clear intentions to separate them.

They were too drunk to know better. Aether blood doesn’t mix well with alcohol after all.


 

“Did we lose them?” The drunken girl managed to ask the blond as they hid behind one of the tables near the swimming pool, laughing a bit at the situation.

“I think we did…” The once serious president answered.

Gladion knew he was drunk. He was aware of it as much as he was aware Moon was in the same state. Still, it had been so long since the last time he felt that free.

He looked at Moon and felt his stomach behaving funny again. He decided he didn’t mind anymore, he had grown accustomed to the feeling over the night. Her dark brown eyes looked at him in a way he never knew was possible after the fight they had six years ago. She was happy, even if it was fake. He wanted to enjoy the rest of the night and, for the first time, he put his feelings as a first priority and shoved his early job at the foundation at second place. He could always rely on an aspirin and a cup of coffee after all.

“Hey Gladion” He heard Moon clumsily mutter “We should have a Pokémon battle”

Gladion laughed a bit at her comment and shook his head in denial

“No way. You’re too good and I’m out of practice. Plus I don’t know where Silvally is…”

“Well we were rivals once, I guess I’ll just need to find another way to best you tonight” She looked at him with sweetness and for a moment Gladion wasn’t sure if alcohol was the only thing that kept them together at that moment. He looked down at the floor, right where her hand was supported and thought about getting his hand closer. His face heated at the thought, earning a strange glance from the champion.

“What happened? Your face turned so red…” She spoke as she got closer to his face to examine it. Gladion could smell the slight scent of vodka in her breath and backed off as he felt the tempting closeness. They looked at each other for a bit, but Gladion enjoyed it for less than two seconds as her empty stare made him remember the day before and how their past connection was not perceptible any longer in her eyes.

He stood up at that moment, the effect of alcohol slowly becoming less important than his sober feeling of sorrow. Moon followed him, feeling an evident change in his mood. She took his hand on her own and smiled at him with an evil grin that surprised Gladion and distracted him from his thoughts

“W-whats wrong?” He asked as he felt her pull him closer to the swimming pool without even directing a word to him.

She stopped once she got close to the edge, smiling proudly at what she thought was clearly one of the best ideas she had ever had.

“We will have a swimming competition! If we can't battle then I’ll find another way to win!”

Gladion looked at her worried, the effect of tequila slowly fading from his thoughts as his responsible side took over his body

“Moon we’re drunk. I don’t think swimming is the best idea…”

“I’m not drunk, maybe you’re drunk!” The girl denied, offended that Gladion didn’t find her idea as good as she had thought it to be.

“Moon we haven’t talked in years and you’re grabbing my hand now…I’m pretty sure we’re both drunk” With the little bit of sanity he had left the blond tried reasoning, but it was evident then that Moon had spent a lot more time than him at the bar stand “I can’t let you get into that pool, you could get hurt”

Gladion tightened his grip on Moon’s hand, causing the girl to struggle until she managed to get away from it. She looked at him mad “I’m not drunk! I’ll show you!” She shouted, the loud music making her voice just audible enough for him to hear.

The girl turned around at that moment, and Gladion panicked as he saw her getting ready to jump into the pool. His instincts took over, grabbing her firmly by the waist and taking one of her arms with his other hand. The girl was surprised as Gladion’s reaction made her spin unexpectedly, but before she could think about what had happened she found herself in Gladion’s arms, her face merely inches away from his, closer than they ever had been, even in their years of friendship.

They looked at each other closely, neither of them knowing what to say but neither wanting to move away from the other. Gladion’s heart felt as if was going to explode, his pale skin flushed to the limits and his body urging him to close the still existing gap between them. He continued looking at the girl as he submerged himself in her hypnotizing stare when suddenly he saw a light spark.

He blinked once, then twice, just to be sure, but alcohol wasn’t playing mind tricks with him. The spark he had looked for in Moon’s eyes the day before was there now.

The dark haired girl reduced the distance between them, and it was then that Gladion understood what the spark meant… Their connection was still there. The connection he thought they had lost so many years ago. He could read her now, and she could read him as well. He leaned over and followed his instincts, placing a sweet kiss on her lips.

The kiss was soft. Inexperienced. Its taste a mixture of rawst berry vodka and tequila, but he didn't really mind. He moved his lips trying to adjust the rhythm to hers and lost himself on the one thing he had been waiting for years without even knowing it. Moon lifted her arms slowly and placed them around his neck as she merged into what felt like a different reality to both of them, both of their hearts beating harder and harder with each passing second.

They got so lost in the kiss that the balance was suddenly something hard to control, as the sequels of their drunken night affected their equilibrium. When Gladion felt the need to lean closer they tripped, the loud sound of their bodies hitting the water loud enough for the rest of the party to hear despite the loud music...

Thought no one saw them kiss, that moment was something that just both of them would remember.

That moment was just their moment.

Chapter Text

When Hau and Lillie heard the splashing sound coming from the swimming pool area they immediately looked around surprised. Both of them, as well as everyone else in the party, stared silently at the small movement waves forming in the water expectantly, whispers and questions arising as they all waited for the mysterious person that jumped to the pool to emerge.

Lillie’s heart sank as she suddenly saw Silvally breaking through the party crowd and running unstoppably towards the water. Hau was faster than her though, understanding Silvally’s anxiety and Lillie’s worried look he quickly withdrawn a PokéBall from his belt and threw it the closest he could to the swimming pool that he could without risking to damage the precious device.

“Primarina follow Silvally! Get Moon!” He screamed. The mermaid Pokémon nodded at his trainer when she heard the champion’s name and immediately rushed towards the water, repressed gasps and low voiced questions could be heard from the crowd as they understood the situation.

Primarina and Silvally submerged at almost the same time as adrenaline rushed through Hau’s body. He closed his hands into fists in a nervous attempt to hide his distress from the rest of the people. Seeing a kahuna getting panicked was never a good sight after all.

Seconds after and a few strong heartbeats that felt more as heart strokes in Lillie’s chest she managed to see her best friend and brother emerging from the swimming pool, both firmly clinging to their designed Pokémon.

The couple rushed towards them both scared and relieved at the same time, but when they heard them panting and coughing trying to get the water out of their lungs the only thing Hau and Lillie could feel was anger. Hau opened his mouth to argue with them, but this time Lillie was faster, she placed herself in front of him before the young kahuna could say a word and screamed.

“What the hell were you to thinking!?” She shouted in what the wide-eyed trio thought to be a completely out of character thing to do for the girl “You could have gotten yourself killed! Drunk swimming!? Really!? The Champion of Alola and The President of the Aether Foundation!?” She could feel her body warming up in built anger, and Hau couldn’t help but look at her surprised and admittedly a little scared, taking a mental note to never piss off the Fairy-type trainer.

Gladion and Moon looked at her in awe, not even capable of defending themselves. Gladion tried to mutter it had been an accident but stopped halfway through as he realized he didn’t really know how to explain himself.

Hau’s hand on Lillie’s shoulder seemed to make her relax a bit. She took her hand to her face and just stayed like that for a moment, giving the kahuna the opportunity to take her place in the ‘conversation’.

“Could you please tell me what were you two thinking? Cause I really don’t think you’re that stupid” The Alolan boy asked with a more concerned than angry look.

Gladion and Moon blushed furiously at the question, neither one of them capable of answering it as they both knew they would be judged if they spoke about how they fell to the water.

Hau sighed defeated, recalling his Primarina to her Pokéball and sitting exhausted on the ground next to the panting couple.

“Moon go get changed, I’m sure you’ll find something that will fit you in my room” The blonde spoke after some minutes calming herself. It was harder for her than for Hau, it was her only brother and her best friend they were talking about after all “Gladion… Go get some sleep, stay away from Moon for Arceus’ sake…”

Lillie turned around and took Hau’s hand on her own as she slowly walked away from them. The people at the party did the same and quickly returned to their previous conversations, the tense silence formed after the splashing sounds now completely extinct as Gladion stood up and lend the soaking wet girl a hand.

She stood up and looked at him in the eyes ashamed of herself.

“I’m sorry I put you through this…” She apologized, but was ignored by the blond as he stared down at the floor, still unable to take the weird but at the same time enjoyable sensation on his lips out of his mind. He touched them with his fingers, still unable to believe it was real.

“I think we may need to talk…” The blond stated looking directly into her eyes, making her blush furiously at the sight of his fingers touching his lips in disbelief. She was surprised as well, but the fear she felt when she heard those words was enough to cloud any other feeling she had at that moment. He had just asked for them to talk once before that day… The day he took her out of his life.

She looked at the floor nervously, not knowing what to respond to the young CEO, but when she finally decided to face him she found something very similar to a smile on his face.

“What?!” She asked shocked as she saw the blond’s serious face crack into a mixture of a nervous and amused laugh.

“D-did you see Lillie’s face a moment ago?” He barely managed to ask as he took his hand to his stomach in an attempt to stop the stomach ache that wild laugh causes, but failing in the attempt.

He was clearly drunk, and she knew it. It wasn’t possible for a sane and sober person to be that bipolar, still... It had been so long since she last saw him laugh. When she managed to catch a glimpse of his glistening emerald eyes she could feel herself starting to crack up in unison.

“She was so pissed!” The raven-haired girl recognized as she laughed so hard she could feel the weirded out glances that the people at the party were giving them. She recomposed herself after some seconds, grinning maliciously instead “Let’s piss her off again”

The blond looked at her curious as a smile was still visible in his features.

“What are you planning?” He asked with his voice low, trying not to be noticed in their evil planning by anyone else at the party.

It was evident they were still at least a little bit drunk, but they both felt so happy after their moment at the swimming pool that they didn’t really mind.

“You see that blue bottle that’s being displayed at the bar?” The champion asked in a whisper “Well it’s priceeeyy! Let’s steal it!”

The blond turned around attempting to be discreet and looked at the busy barman. The bottle Moon was talking about was placed at one side of the bar for decoration purposes, still completely full and unopened.

“And how will stealing a bottle from an open bar will make my sister lose her mind exactly?” He asked not very sure he understood the plan. The kantonian girl smiled at him mischievously.

“Well, it’s obviously not included in the ‘open bar’ deal… She’ll have to pay for it and I’m telling you… that stuff is expensive as shit!” The green-eyed boy looked at her and smiled, seeing in the robbery an opportunity to impress her with what his drunken state of mind made him think were ‘very manly abilities’.

“I can totally steal it…” He finally stated, earning a doubtful look from his partner.

“Prove it” She simply responded, their damped clothes now shoved to second place as the recently established game was all that their malfunctioning brains could think about.


“Gladion, take that back now!” He heard her sister scream as he ran at full speed across the corridors of the house, one hand holding the expensive bottle he had managed to take without the barman noticing and the other tightened around the arm of the amused brown-eyed girl that never thought he would take her dare seriously.

He felt himself trip on the floor as his wet shoes slid on the slippery material but managed to stop himself from awkwardly falling to the ground. He could feel his sister getting closer, and so could Moon.

“What are we going to do?” The female trainer asked with a tone that was both amused and scared.

“Shh… I know where to go!” The blond muttered as he started running towards another corridor she had never been on before.

“Gladion it’s her house too, I’m sure she knows all the places you could possibly hide on”

“Shh! I told you, not this one!” He looked behind in an attempt to see how close his sister was and was relieved when he didn’t see her, then he proceeded to open a dusty, wooden door and shoved them both inside the room.

He closed the door quietly and positioned in front of her, taking one of his hands to her mouth in an attempt to stop her nervous giggles. He stared directly at her eyes as they heard Lillie’s steps outside the room eventually fade as she passed across the hallway, ignoring the dusty door they’d barely managed to get into.

He removed his hand from her mouth once the ‘danger’ was out of sight and sat on the floor of the room. An old desk sat on the center of the place, that now looked more like an office. Equally dusty bookcases could be found at the back, filled with complicated looking books she would never dare to open.

The room looked abandoned as if it was just suddenly stopped being used years ago and had remained in its unaltered state ever since.

“Where are we?” The champion asked in a whisper as curiosity hit her “Why didn’t Lillie check this room?”

The blond sighed before answering her questioning, not daring to look at her in the eyes.

“It’s my father’s office…” He mumbled, barely audible enough for the young trainer to hear “I literally never enter here, that’s why Lillie didn’t search this room…” A slight tint of hurt could be heard in the president’s voice as he spoke. “She sometimes enters here though… It’s easier for her. She has three fewer years of memories with him in this office than I do…”

His partner in crime looked at him feeling kind of remorseful for asking such a personal question, not daring to ask anything else as silence filled the entire room.

Gladion couldn’t help to think on his father for a while but quickly shrugged it off as he recalled in his mind the last events that the once called ‘stupid party’ Lillie had organized had made him possible to experience.

He stared silently at the bottle of whiskey, feeling himself sobering up a little, the soaking wetness of his clothes and the proximity of Moon barely starting to be registered on his over drunk brain.

As he turned his gaze to the brown-eyed girl he felt his heart racing as quick as a Jolteon and his blood making its way towards his already flushed face.

He had kissed her. And she had kissed him back.

The thought lingered in his mind for a while as the blond tried unsuccessfully to forget about the feeling of her lips over his, of the taste of rawst berry and vodka that was now present on his mouth as well. He tried acting cool, but it was useless. He was fragile now, his heart opened to his childhood crush and the unwanted feelings he had tried to repress and keep to himself were already out.

Moon smiled a little at his stare, suddenly relieved of his mood change as a blush started to become perceivable in her cheeks. She looked down and tried to distract herself by playing with the damped skirt of her red floral dress.

“What a party, huh?” He heard Moon chuckle shyly in an attempt to break the long prolonged silence “To think we were both kind of forced to come here...”

Gladion smiled genuinely, hearing the girl’s voice with still the slightest hint of drunkness.

“Yeah…” He simply stated, not really knowing what to say. The conversation topics they had shared when they were younger long erased from his memories “We should probably get our clothes changed…”

Moon looked at him and frowned at his clearly evasive answer. It had been so long since she had really talked to him, and she wasn’t about to let go of her opportunity just yet.

She looked at the bottle of whiskey they had not dared to drink from since they had the idea to ‘steal it’ and found in it a way of breaking Gladion’s barriers. She knew she would regret everything tomorrow but, right now, she wanted to be with him. She missed their conversations, their connection and all the time they spent together. She also wanted to find out what the kiss they had shared a few moments ago had meant for him.

“I’ve got an idea” The champion suddenly stated, ignoring Gladion’s evident excuse to escape from her. He looked at her face, mentally slapping himself as he realized he couldn’t stop staring at her lips. He turned his face to the opposite side, trying desperately to hide his uncontrollable blush.

“What?” He replied bluntly, leaving Moon less than surprised at his usual monosyllabic answers. The girl chuckled nervously as she felt her heart racing.

“Before I tell you we’ll both have to have a drink of that bottle…” Gladion looked back at her, then glanced at the unopened bottle sitting between his legs. He wasn’t sure if he would be able to control himself any longer if he drank another single drop of alcohol. He opened the bottle though, ignoring his instincts and closing his eyes as he slowly placed the bottle in between his lips and tilted it ever so slightly. He parted away from it five seconds later, feeling the strong taste of the liqueur and handing it over in a quick motion to his challenger.

She took it from his hands and brought it to her mouth as she slowly drank the same amount as her partner for the night had drunk before her. She wiped off her lips with the back of her hand as she felt the effect of alcohol already acting in her body.

She turned around when she felt Gladion’s staring at her, his chest moving at a nervous pace, he waited expectantly for her answer. She took a deep breath before being able to voice her idea.

“I’m not letting you go tonight without getting some answers” She voiced determined “To make it fair I’ll let you ask your questions too, we can take turns. If you don’t answer you’ve got to drink” She motioned at the whiskey bottle and the boy looked at her surprised.

“Like some kind of ‘truth or drink’ game?” He asked with a frightened tone, alcohol already allowing him to mutter more than simple monosyllabic answers.

“Yeah, like a ‘truth or drink’ game, you can start if you want…” She gazed at his reluctant deep green eyes as they changed into a decisive look. He nodded at her.

“Okay, but you were the one with the idea so it’s only fair you start…” The blond looked at the floor, already kind of regretting his decision. He imagined all of the questions Moon could ask as he mentally prepared for the worst. He heard Moon breath loudly before noticing her quiet, distressed voice.

“What was that at the swimming pool?” She asked as the blond’s pulse reached an inhumanly high level. He knew this question was coming, but he wasn’t sure that he knew the meaning himself. He readied the bottle and took it to his lips, unable to come with an answer that would satisfy the girl’s curiosity. He felt the alcohol going through his throat at the same time as he heard the girl moan with exasperation.

“Not fair, you can’t drink for the first question!” She let out with a groan, making Gladion laugh silently.

“There’s no such rule in the game!” He complained with an amused smile. He closed his eyes and reflected on the question for a moment, but decided to keep the answer to himself. “I don’t know. I guess I just felt like it…” He hated himself for not being able to tell her the truth about his ongoing dreams about her. The truth about not being able to get her off his mind for some time now. The laughter, the happiness, the spark, the kiss… Those things were probably all alcohol for Moon. He didn’t want to tell her something he would regret later.

The girl frowned in annoyance at the denial of the answer she longed for. She needed to know if the kiss had meant the same for him that it had meant for her. Her heart pumping wildly as she remembered the look on his face before he closed the gap between them and fused his lips with hers in the sweetest kiss she could ever have imagined.

“I guess it’s your turn then…” She recognized and looked at the blond, waiting for his question.

The young president looked at her, certain of the question he wanted to ask her but not sure enough if he should do it. He gazed at the bottle tempted but decided to voice his question without the fake courage that whiskey generated.

“...Was that your first kiss?” He asked her as his cheeks blushed furiously. He knew the answer to that question would probably be ‘no’, she was 21 years old after all, and he hasn’t talked to her in years. Her life was a mystery for him. Before being able to look at her he decided he did need the fake courage alcohol could give him, so he tilted the bottle of liqueur and swallowed hard before being able to look at her. When he did, her face was red as a Tomato.

She thought about her options for a moment but decided lying would probably be worse than telling the truth, as she would have to make up an improvised story of her first kiss for the following questions. She took the bottle of whiskey from Gladion’s hands, not trying to ignore the question but instead trying to find the courage to answer it.

“It was” She responded after a good 5-second whiskey shot and was ashamed when she found Gladion’s startled face glaring directly at her. His eyes were wide open and his jaw hung down in awe.

“What?!” She asked embarrassed, trying to fight back his stare “Was it yours?”

The blond recomposed himself at her question and looked away from her.

“Is that your question?” He asked, wanting to make sure it wasn’t rhetorical but kind of wishing it was.

“Wha- No! It’s the same question, it doesn’t count!” She complained, but the boy grinned at her amused.

“You’re making up rules again” He chuckled “I can answer that if that’s your question, but you’re still free to change it if you want…” He looked at her still surprised by her answer to his question about the kiss. He couldn’t help but wonder how was it possible for a girl as pretty and talented as Moon to have her first kiss at her 21 years.

“Yeah… that’s my question” She decided, taking him out of his thoughts and bringing him back to reality. He looked at her flushed. He was 23 years old himself, he felt frightened to answer that question.

“Yes” He reluctantly answered. Forcing himself to grab the courage out of the already existing alcohol in his system and not from the one still in the glassed bottle. “It was my first kiss as well…”

When he looked at Moon and her confused stare he felt the need to run away from her but restrained.

“What?!” He asked at her kind of annoyed but received no answer. He looked down for a while, trying to fight back the urge to hide from her until he heard her soft voice speaking again.

“Sorry… It’s just… I thought since you’re older than me and all…” She doubted, as she played with her fingers “I thought maybe you already had experience with other girls… I thought that even back when we… talked” She finished. Struggling to find the words as alcohol affected her choice of vocabulary.

The blond looked at her with an embarrassed smile, amused that she thought like that even before they parted ways. He sighed, audible enough for the girl to hear.

“I’ve been so busy with the foundation…” He spoke, “And I never really found the right person…”

He wanted to look at her directly in the eyes. He wanted to tell her she was ‘the right person’, but decided against it. He stared nervously at the floor, complete silence perceivable once the shy chuckles and the curious glances stopped.

He knew it was his turn to ask, but he was so afraid now that he knew the truth about Moon. They shared their first kiss… In a weird way, they had waited for each other. Even after six years of silent treatment. He drank from the bottle of whiskey as the drink nearly reached three quarters and offered it to Moon. He needed her to drink too before he found the courage to ask his next question.

She took it obediently, the swallows getting easier each time as she slowly felt the alcohol take over her body. Gladion swallowed hard, then looked at her directly in the eyes, his emerald green stare breaking through her barriers.

“...Want to do it again?” He asked, his heart pumping as if it was going to break out of his chest.

“Is that your question?” She asked with wide eyes, feeling her legs shake with uneasiness.

He closed the distance between them, leaving her lips just inches apart from his. He looked at her eyes and lingered in all the feelings he found in them.

“Yes…” He responded, and she could feel his breath… his closeness with her mouth. He wanted her to make the choice this time, he wanted to know if he had forced her in any way moments ago in the swimming pool.

She bit her lip, slowly closing the distance and alternating her gaze between his eyes and his lips.

They kissed, slowly at first, not wanting to rush the moment as both of them were enjoying it so much. Their lips played trying to figure out the right way to do it, alcohol helping them overcome their shyness and getting closer each time.

Moon gasped, trying desperately to catch her breath and Gladion took it as an opportunity to experiment with his tongue. Their kiss grew wild pretty soon, they nibbled each other’s lips, enjoying the new sensations until Gladion felt himself growing excited. He separated himself from the girl, looking quickly at the ceiling, trying to find an excuse that would let him leave the place, but found it hard to concentrate.

“I… I think I really should go…” He muttered but found his lips trapped again as soon as he turned to look at his partner. He felt her closeness, suddenly remembering the soaked clothes as her body entered in contact with his and made him shiver.

He separated from her again, kind of forcing himself as he still longed for the lost contact. “We need to do something about this clothes” He mumbled, motioning at the still wet fabric that was starting to freeze up his body.

Moon looked at him with a spark forming in her eyes. A spark that he didn’t really know how to interpret as he had never seen it before.

“Yes… we should…” She whispered seductively as she got herself closer to his ear and gently kissed his neck. Her freezing hands slowly finding a way of unbuttoning his soaked shirt and gently caressing his chest, sending shivers throughout his body.

Gladion felt himself growing harder with each touch as he inevitably crossed the thin line after which he wouldn’t be able to stop himself.

He reached for Moon’s face and cupped her cheek as his tongue played with hers and placed his other hand on the girl's lower back, aiming for his desired target slowly but accurately.

He couldn’t stop now, he thought as he gasped for air after the long prolonged passionate kiss.

“A-are… are you sure you want to do this?” The female trainer asked as she slid his shirt from his body, taking the damp article of clothing away from him and throwing it uninterested to the floor. She looked into his eyes nervous but found them sparking with what seemed like desire and excitement.

“Shouldn’t I be the one asking that?” Gladion simply responded with a one-sided smile as he slid his hands below her body and raised her, carrying her bridal style towards the exit of the abandoned office.

“I want this” He heard her whisper as she placed soft kisses in his neck that drove him mad with every minute. The blond took her signal and kept carrying her across the hallway and towards his room, not caring anymore about the expensive whiskey bottle that had served them as entertainment for the night as it laid still half full at the floor of the office.

He wanted this as well…

And he just wasn’t going to let her go this time.

Chapter Text

Gladion could feel Moon’s breathing growing erratic with every kiss he gently placed on her apparently over-sensitive neck, her soft unintentional moans felt like the sweetest music to his ears as he realized she was actually trying to contain them and failing in the process.
He looked at her kind of nervous as he delicately lowered his arms in order to place her on his bed, her big brown eyes staring directly at his emerald ones.
His body trembled on top of her as he slowly caressed her light skin that seemed to reflect the almost non-existent light of the Moon in the most perfect way. He stared at her sweetly as the light blush on Moon’s cheeks became more intense.
“W-why are you smiling?” She asked him suddenly becoming self-aware. The soaked dress that still separated her body from his bare chest feeling thinner with every second his sweet but at the same time piercing gaze stared directly at her.
“I don’t know…” Gladion whispered as he lowered his body all the way down to her legs and started trailing soft kisses on them, slowly advancing to the top and dangerously approaching her sensitive area right between her slim but still well-toned legs. “I guess I just can’t believe this is happening…”
She could feel his heavy breathing right on top of her pubis as a really big part of her wished her dress wasn’t blocking his path and the other screamed her to cover up in awkwardness.
She let out a sigh of both relief and frustration as he stopped his ministration of kisses right when he got to the lower part of her dress and instead chose to grab on the fabric, gently pulling it towards her head and removing it from her body.
Her heart stopped as soon as she saw the blond throwing the dress desperately to the floor and she could feel her body growing hotter, not only because of the discarded wet cloth but also from the obvious arousal that grew wilder and wilder with each passing minute, gluing her to the blond’s bed and making her desperately long for his touch.
He took the initiative as he fused their lips together in a passionate yet sweet kiss, their tongues intertwining in a frenzy.
“Arceus Moon, you’re so beautiful…” The blond muttered as her hands reached for his pants and desperately unclasped them, sliding them down his legs and taking his lips on hers, grinding herself against his now barely covered erection.
Gladion groaned as he felt her entrance so close to him, perceiving her wetness despite the fabric that still separated their bodies.
He fought against the girl’s bra for nearly two minutes, too embarrassed to admit that he was actually having a hard time until he finally gave up with it and decided to remove it as a t-shirt instead, pulling it towards Moon’s head and throwing it to the floor.
The girl chuckled at his stubbornness but was soon silenced by his sloppy kisses on her sensitive breasts, his mouth ending up on her right nipple as an irrepressible moan that was more like a scream left her lips.
The pleasure overcame her as he played with his tongue, circling the bundle of nerves and driving her crazy as she determinedly tried to fight back, sliding her hand under his boxers and causing his body to arch a little bit.
She smiled triumphantly as she caressed his length and his breathing became more and more labored.
He let go of her nipple with a final nip and this time took his hands to her waist. He closed the remaining distance between their bodies and nibbled her neck playfully.
“Two can play this game” He whispered in her ear making her shiver and causing her goosebumps all over her skin. She felt his hands slowly removing her underwear, which was also the last piece of clothing that she had on her body.
He gazed at her, now completely naked as his scientific side took over and decided to inspect her newly revealed body part.
“W-what are you doing?” The girl asked as a strong flush warmed her whole face, the undisturbed blond inspecting her soaked entrance with one of his fingers.
“You’re really wet… Is that normal?” Gladion asked out of curiosity, earning a kick from the Alolan champion that was now as red as a tomato.
“I-I-I don’t know you idiot!” She screamed at him distressed “And also why am I the only one fully naked!? You still have your underwear!”
The champion’s kick was strong, putting some distance between Gladion and her as she took the bed sheets to cover herself up.
“You didn’t have to do that…” The blond complained as he rubbed the side of his face that had been kicked by the embarrassed girl in front of him “If you wanted me naked so badly you should have just asked” Gladion chuckled and threw at her a lopsided smile that made Moon’s heart skip a bit and her body heat to increase exponentially.
The blond’s discarded boxers ended up in the floor as his lips connected with hers and his hands caressed her body making her legs quiver.
“Gla---” She muttered as he pushed her against the pillows, trailing kisses down her jawline to her neck and slowly going down towards her breasts.
“Mhm?” The boy asked as he took one of her nipples on his lips and started toying with him, causing the young woman to whimper loudly.
He continued going down, ignoring her womanhood and going directly to her legs, only to start going up again, driving her crazy minute by minute.
“G-Gladion wait…” Moon moaned in a low pitched voice clouded with desire as he kissed each of her thighs, making the girl contain her breath and grab his hair desperately, pushing his face towards her soaked entrance.
“Do you really want me to stop?” Gladion inquired with a cocky grin as he reached her entrance with his finger and started toying with it.
It was obvious her body language and her words didn’t match: Her hands grabbed his head eagerly, pushing him closer to her every second and her hips danced and twitched with every new spot of her entrance his fingers discovered. The girl’s breaths were strong and her moans were growing louder, but when he raised his head to look at her eyes he could see some kind of seriousness in them, though it was clearly clouded by the animalistic instincts they’ve both waken up with their heavy make-out session.
The blonde recomposed and waited for her to catch her breath and do the same.
He had to try his best to not look directly at her body, as he was sure he would lose his remaining sanity if he did.
“Moon is there something…?”
“Why now?” The brown haired girl interrupted once she caught her breath back.
The question took her partner by surprise
“What do you mean why now?” He asked trying to force his alcoholized brain to make sense out of her question.
The champion frowned, then evaded his gaze in embarrassment as her hands raised the expensive blanket that covered the bed and used it to hide her body instead.
“I thought we had something back then… but then you pushed me away and stopped talking to me…” The blond could feel his soul-shattering with every word the girl muttered but decided to accept the guilt anyways and hear whatever the girl wanted to say to him.
“I mean… we haven’t spoken to each other in years… so why now? Why all of a sudden…” She started saying but stopped as her body grew hotter both in shame and in anger.
Gladion looked at her, trying his best to make eye contact with the girl, but it was useless. She evaded his gaze, not really focusing on anything in particular as she completely covered her body with the white bed sheets tightly gripped over her chest.
He knew what he was getting into when he decided to talk to her at the open bar some hours ago. He knew he was probably opening a door to the past that had hurt them both so badly. It’s not like he was expecting to hang out with her and just forget about his troubles like in the old times without actually giving her some kind of explanation...
...Or was he?
I need to take care of my mother’s company and you are only an obstacle. He suddenly remembered as he clenched his teeth in annoyance at the memory.
What? You can’t be rejected because you’re the champion of Alola?. His heart ached at the memory. He still couldn't handle it. Still, he couldn’t stop remembering the words he had said so many years ago. The words that had broken the girl’s heart and shattered his soul into a million pieces as well. His hands trembled in annoyance to the remembrance of his own words. So blunt. So venomous. How the hell was she able to handle it?
“I’m sorry” He finally stated as his gaze focused on his bedroom ceiling. “I’m really sorry I put you through all of that, and if it’s of any help… I’ve regretted it from second one”.
Moon looked at him in awe, not really believing his words as she perceived him so fragile, she opened her mouth to speak, but found nothing to say to the boy as he determinedly looked at her again at a close enough distance for her to smell the scent of liquor that still lingered in his breath.
“I… I know I hurt you, Moon. And trust me, I’ll never forgive myself for doing it. But I don’t want to lie to myself anymore… I-” He hesitated for a moment, the words stuck in his throat as he turned his hands into fists to stop the trembling.
There’s no way she’s going to forgive me. What the hell was I thinking?
He gave up. His eyes closed in realization as he opened his mouth to speak again.
“I’ll get dressed” He spoke defeated as Moon’s intelligible stare was still directed at him. “Feel free to grab some of my clothes. There’s no way your dress will dry off today” He moved the bedsheets away from him in a slow motion to give Moon enough time to look away and got off the bed ready to find some dry clothes to wear, but was surprised by Moon’s hands taking his own and impeding his movement.
He turned around surprised, finding the very flushed girl kneeled on top of the bed with her diverted gaze, pulling him towards the bed again.
He blushed furiously at the sight of the uncovered champion, but in the end, he obeyed her gesture. He got back to the bed, covering both of their bodies with the bed sheets and trapping her into a tight hug as his head rested on top of hers.
“Don’t leave me. Not this time” She muttered with a barely audible voice, making the boy smile sheepishly.
“I won’t” He stated, still not able to brush off the stupid smile that had formed into his face as he understood she had accepted his apology “I don’t want to let you go. Not again”.
They enjoyed the relaxed aura for a moment, enjoying their combined body heat as Gladion refused to break their tight hug until they both fell asleep.
On the other side of the door, leaning over the corridor wall, a flustered wide-eyed Lillie made sense out of the recent conversation, not daring to peep into his brother’s room, even though the door was still half-opened.
“Oh shit” She muttered to herself desperately trying to calm down. She was sure they were both asleep by now. If she wanted to go back to the party without them noticing this was the moment.
She got up still not believing her ears as her heavy blush remained on her face. The blonde closed the door in the most silent way she could and walked through the corridor towards the backyard, where the music could still be heard.
At least they didn’t do anything stupid. She thought as she spotted Hau and prepared her best poker face, not wanting to tell him about the scene she had listened to just yet. You should be happy. Wasn’t this what you wanted?.
She asked herself as she smiled and waved towards the young kahuna, running towards him and giving him a hug.
I just hope he doesn’t end up getting hurt again.


The loud and penetrating sound of her pokédex was what woke up Moon the next morning. She struggled to get her thoughts in order as the bright light coming from the small gap in the window drapes gave her a stinging and persistent headache.
She opened her eyes with intentions of turning down the call when suddenly she became aware of the strong arms that were embracing her tightly.
She panicked for a moment, trying desperately to remember what had happened last night but nothing came back to her mind. The only thing she could remember clearly even with the enormous headache torturing her was the scene of Gladion fusing their lips together at the party and then falling to the swimming pool.
The pokédex stopped ringing as the memory was processed by her hungover brain as well as another very important fact.
She was naked.
The girl blushed furiously, trying to escape from the grip of the man that had her imprisoned between his arms as her mind started theorizing and arriving at a conclusion that she suddenly felt the urge to prove.
She struggled under the bedsheets, trying desperately to get out of bed or at least manage to turn around to check up on who was spooning her.
What the hell did you do Moon?. She complained to herself as she managed to roll over and face the blond asleep on the same bed as her.
Her blush grew wilder as she looked at the upper part of his body. He was shirtless, and because of the tight embrace she was still trapped into she didn’t have to use her imagination to know in which state the bottom part of Gladion was.
Fuck.
She wanted to scream but controlled herself, as she didn’t want to wake him up. Her restrained shout was still enough to make the blond tighten his eyelids in annoyance and draw her body closer to his body in another strong embrace.
Oh god, I never imagined him to be a hug kind of person. How the hell am I going to get out of here?! What the hell did we do?
She breathed deep trying to calm herself as she felt her headache disappearing and being replaced by a big sensation of panic.
Her pokédex started ringing again, driving her crazy and forcing her to use all her force to break the blond’s embrace. She was still afraid to wake up the boy, but her pokédex’s ringtone was really driving her nuts.
She inspected the device and found Hau’s name on the screen, impatiently waiting for her to answer his call. She hung up and sent him a quick message saying she’d call him later, then got off the bed to inspect the crazy situation she seemed to have gotten into.
Gladion was surely a heavy sleeper, as not even her struggling had woke him up.
Had they really done it? It sure looked that way. At least she remembered them kissing and drinking like crazy.
Maybe I should wake him up and ask him? She wondered, but shrugged the thought off as her blush made her look as red as a tomato.
I’ll get changed and get out of here. She decided, but as she turned around and started walking towards her discarded clothes she heard the blond’s grunts as he waked up with, what she could imagine, was the biggest headache he’d had in years.
She grabbed her still damp dress quickly and used it to cover herself in the quickest way she could as she watched the young man open his eyes and look at the ceiling in what she figured out was a way of ordering his thoughts and trying to remember what had happened the day before.
She panicked as she saw him rise the blanket to check on the weird feeling of being naked and realizing it was not a feeling but a fact. She could see his doubtful face still not being able to process what had happened until he turned his gaze around and caught a glimpse of her.
He blushed. He really blushed. She could see him wide-eyed and nearly fainting as he realized she was just as naked as he was behind the fabric of the dress that she had improvisedly used to cover.
“Oh shit” He said. She agreed.
“Yup. shit”


“Are you sure you don’t remember anything?” The blond asked her as he handed her what looked like a hoodie and some pants she guessed would be too big to fit her properly.
“I just told you. I’m as confused as you are” The girl stated and proceeded to put on the clothes he had just lent her. They didn’t fit that well, but that would have to do.
She looked at him in the eye and found his strong blush had faded a little bit but was still visible enough.
“Did we really…?”
“It seems like it” Gladion interrupted her. They both fell under a completely uncomfortable silence, none of them knowing what to do next.
“I’m sorry” She muttered looking down at the floor in embarrassment as she zipped the hoodie and started putting on her shoes “I know you don’t feel that way. We must have been really drunk”
The blond felt a stinging pain in his chest as he remembered the kissed they had shared at the swimming pool and all the sensations that it had caused him: The tingling in his stomach and the pressure on his chest, as well as the feeling of every trouble suddenly disappearing from his head.
You’re the one who doesn’t feel that way, idiot. He thought but didn’t dare to say out loud.
“Maybe we should talk?” The blond asked with some hesitation in his voice, earning a confused look from the champion.
“I wouldn’t want to bother you. Maybe it’s best if we both forget this happened” She stopped looking at him again. She was embarrassed as well, he could tell. He could see her playing with her fingers in a way only Moon did when she was nervous about something.
“It’s not actually…”
A knocking on the door suddenly invaded the room as they both looked at each other wide-eyed and feeling the panic control them.
“Who the hell is it?!” Moon asked in a low voice to the blond trying hard not to throw herself out of the window.
“I don’t know! What time is it?”
“Like 12:30…”
The blond looked at her in disbelief and suddenly placed his hand over her mouth to stop her from speaking again.
“Fuck. The meeting. It’s Wicke” He muttered silently as he looked at her in the eyes “We have to hide you”
The champion assented with a quick movement of her head and followed the boy towards the closet. Gladion opened one of the doors with a swift movement, trying to not make too much noise as he guided Moon towards the closet and closed the doors in front of her.
He then proceeded to walk towards the door, not without inspecting the clothes he had put on himself earlier in a hurry to check if there was something that could make the situation obvious to Wicke, but decided the messy hair and the wrinkled shirt weren’t incriminating enough.
“Wicke” He voiced as he opened the door trying to look casual, finding the young purple haired woman standing in the corridor with a concerned look on her face.
“Young master is everything okay?” She asked him with a more worried than angry voice. There was supposed to be a meeting at 10 a.m. and he had completely missed his 7:00 a.m. alarm.
“Sorry. It seems I lost the meeting” He responded in the more relaxed way he could “I… I don’t know what happened to my alarm”
“It’s fine” Wicke spoke with a smile on her face “Lillie handled the meeting. She arrived at 10:00 o’clock and said you were probably hungover from yesterday and wouldn’t be able to attend” She stated with a slight chuckle.
Lillie had saved his ass.
“Still. I’m glad you finally took your time to properly rest. Your mother asked me to check on you”
“Yeah, I’m still sorry, It’s not like me to skip meetings” Gladion looked at the floor feeling a bit of embarrassment overwhelming him “It won’t happen again. I’ll go to my office right now, I just need to actually get dressed” He faked a smile and signaled to his wrinkled shirt and his messy hair, trying to give the woman an excuse to leave him alone and get Moon out of the house discreetly.
“Well then I’ll take my leave young master, I’ll see you in a bit” She stated, but as soon as she turned around a high penetrating sound started to sound inside the room.
Shit. He cursed for the thousand time that day as he realized the high pitched sound came from Moon’s pokédex.
He could see Wicke puzzled look at the unusual ringtone as he faked yet another smile and waved his hands in the air.
“It’s nothing. I was too drunk yesterday and changed my ringtone” He lied, turning around and closing the door in the process.
It would have been a smooth move if only Wicke hadn’t noticed his pokédex sticking out of the pocket of his pants. It wasn’t ringing.

Chapter Text

Neither Moon nor Gladion could remember with certainty what had happened the previous night, though both of them had come to the agreement that it involved kissing, falling to the swimming pool and stealing a bottle of alcohol. They had woken up that morning with a terrible headache and very naked bodies. Naked bodies in the same bed, and more than close to each other.

The president of Aether never lost his cool, he always acted calm and collected in front of every situation. He was used to working under pressure and dealing with stuff that required 100% of his concentration. Still, the mountain of papers over his desk hadn’t changed one bit since the morning of the fatidical day of the party.

Wicke stood in front of him with what he could tell was a worried look, as it was not usual for the young president to be this unproductive.

Gladion had never liked surprises, nor had he ever liked to be in a situation he couldn’t fully control. Waking up with his childhood crush in the same room had stressed him enough that morning, not remembering what had happened and leaving it all to assumptions was the end of him, but thinking about what had definitely happened the night before… well… That had been the cherry on top of the cake. A not very tasty, bitter and unexpected cake that he wasn’t very sure he liked.

We definitely did it. He had repeated to himself all day, without really knowing how wrong he was. And even though the fact that he’d probably practiced making babies with the champion stressed him a lot, it was nothing in comparison to the thought that had stung his brain all morning and made it impossible for him to work: What if it wasn’t just a practice. What if nine months away from now he could still see the consequences.

He stared at the purple haired branch chief in front of him as he took some of the papers on the mountain of work that needed to be read and signed, knowing fully well he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on those either but still trying to mask his frustration in front of her.

“Wicke, I need you to do me a favor before you return to your activities” The blond spoke seriously as he looked at the purple haired woman, making her tilt her head in curiosity.

“A favor you say, young Master?” The employee asked surprised. The young president then turned his gaze to his sister, who had strangely accompanied Wicke to his office that afternoon without a particular reason, or at least not one that he knew of.

“Alone” He muttered as he stared inquisitively at his sister, earning an angry glare from her.

“But brother… I need to speak to you about something…” The fairy trainer spoke in an attempt to reason with his brother. “It’s about yesterday” She finally stated, playing nervously with her fingers, not really knowing how to start the conversation.

“I’ll talk to you later, I need to speak to Wicke first” He terminated the conversation, getting up from his chair to direct his sister to the office’s door.

The slim blonde shoot him a glare before leaving the office, closing the door behind her and allowing his older brother to be alone with the recently promoted Branch Chief.

Gladion could feel his nervousness finally showing over his serious facade as he walked again towards his desk and took his seat.

He looked at the woman in front of him as he searched for the right words in his mind.

“Young Master?” He heard Wicke said “Is everything alright?”

And the truth was it wasn’t.

He had recurred to Wicke for help as she was more of a motherly figure to him than his own mother. She had practically raised him while her mother spent all of her free time in the foundation in her attempts to get his father back.

Wicke was the only one he spoke to before leaving his house to work with Team Skull... But she was also an employee in the end, and he could refuse to answer her questions after he had asked her his favor if he so wanted.

Yes. He had thought everything thoroughly. Wicke was the only one he could ask without a doubt. It was the only logical conclusion, still, that didn’t stop his hands from shaking when he forced himself to voice the first words that came to his mind.

“Wicke I… need you to get something for me” The boy asked as he suddenly felt a light heat invading his face “It’s something out of the foundation’s interests…”

The purple haired woman looked at him with a doubtful look. The young president was generally an expert when it came to separating personal stuff from work.

“Anything you need young Master” The branch chief still replied with a warm smile.

Gladion blushed harder as he carefully chose his next words, and he was sure that the pink on his cheeks was now at least a little bit perceivable.

“I need you to get me a pill…” He spoke hurriedly, but clear enough to not have to repeat his strange request. He really wished for Wicke to get the hint. To see the blush on his cheeks and put two and two together. Still, his nervous heartbeat boosted when he heard her answer to his statement.

“Yeah and aspirin and a coffee, right? No need to be nervous about it. you’re allowed to have some fun” The woman spoke with tenderness and in a very motherly way, but that didn’t stop Gladion from panicking.

“I don’t need an aspirin” He spoke firmly as the pink in his cheeks turned into a light tint of red “I need another kind of pill…”

The employee looked at him doubtfully, not sure of what he was asking her.

“An antacid then?” She asked, still believing his request had something to do with his hangover.

Gladion closed his eyes and covered his face with one of his hands. He needed her help. And if she wasn’t getting what he was asking for then maybe he needed to be more direct about it.

“I- I need one of those pills… that only women take…you know what I mean?!” He could already feel the heat radiating from his body. He swore if he knew Wicke was this dense he would have just asked his sister, but he was actually afraid of the reaction his younger sibling would have to the request.

“Cramp pills? Why would you want something like that?”

He covered his face with both hands in frustration as he let out a loud groan that startled the aether employee.

“Well you’re going to have to be more specific, young Master” The middle-aged woman replied annoyed, not understanding why it was so difficult for the young blond to speak clearly to her about what he wanted.

Gladion sighed in exasperation, preparing himself for the woman’s reaction as he stared at her with an angry glare that didn’t match with his now fully red face. The intense tint on his face contrasting with his piercing green eyes.

“I need a fucking morning-after pill, Wicke!” He snapped in a second. Speaking clearly enough to avoid misunderstandings but still being careful not to scream, as he didn’t want anyone else at the foundation to know about the strange request he was just making to an employee.

The purple haired woman stared at him startled, not really knowing what to answer. The idea the blond had been trying to convey now clear as day in her mind, but she still found herself trying to process it.

“I’d go for it myself if I wasn’t sure I’ll end up in the cover of some gossip magazine so please, get that for me. Today” Gladion evaded the branch chief’s gaze as soon as he stopped speaking, placing his right hand over his mouth in an attempt to hide his embarrassment, but still able to catch a glimpse at Wicke’s reaction.

The woman smiled a little bit once she understood the blond’s reaction to the whole conversation. She didn’t dare to ask, as she knew she would still not get an answer from the young president.

“I understand, I’ll get to it right now, Master” She spoke with a discrete smirk on her face that didn’t go unnoticed by Gladion, surprising him with her unusual choice on his title.

“Master?” The blonde asked intrigued, his insane blush now reduced to a light pink tint on his cheeks by that moment “What about the ‘young’ part?”

“Well… You’re not so young anymore, are you ?” Wicke asked playfully before closing the door behind her, leaving a once again very red and flustered president behind.

He should have just asked Lillie.


The champion’s tight grip on the strap of her bag got stronger as she approached the impeccable white structure of the Aether building.

She walked to the entrance unsteady, biting her lip as she forced herself to discard the idea of running away from the artificial island and never stepping on it again.

She’d come here to close a cycle, she thought as she looked at the small bag that contained the borrowed clothes from the guy she had tried not to think about all day, though her attempts had been rather unsuccessful. She had promised herself she would end this misunderstanding.

She was going away. She was going to travel the world. And nobody could stop her: Not her mother. Not Lillie. Not Hau and definitely not this incident with Gladion .

She hesitated for a moment, but finally managed to gather the courage to cross the imposing entrance. The young girl walked across the perfectly memorized paths she had walked by so many times in the past, trying to get to the elevator unnoticed.

“Miss Champion” She heard the soft voice behind her, making her turn around awkwardly to look at the purple haired woman.

“Wicke…” She muttered nervously, her intentions of staying unnoticed now completely sabotaged by the familiar person in front of her.

“Are you here to see Miss Lillie?, I’ll let her know in a minute” She spoke with a sweet and genuine smile that still managed to make the dark-haired girl to panic.

Lillie couldn’t know. Nor her, nor Hau, or she would never see the end of it.

“N-No Wicke, wait!” She screamed in an attempt to stop the branch chief from leaving the scene “I’m not here to see her...” She muttered awkwardly, not sure how to ask the employee where the president’s office was, as pretty much everyone in Alola knew what had happened between them.

It had been inevitable. They were so close when they were children... All Alola knew they battled pretty much daily, and they could also see the small signs of affection between them. They could see the smiles they shared and the light blushes in both of their faces as they spent time together… Until one day they just stopped.

Gossip magazines talked about them for a month, though Hau never let her read any of the articles.

She shoved away her thoughts as soon as she saw Wicke’s puzzled face looking directly at her, making her come back to reality in an instant.

“Then, if I may ask, who did you come here to see Miss Moon?” The purple haired woman asked, making her hands sweat as she thought of the best answer. The last thing she wanted was for Wicke to start making wrong theories about her and Gladion.

“Well, I’m here in the league’s name to discuss some matters with the president” She spoke slowly, trying her best not to evade Wicke’s gaze or do anything that looked like she was lying.

“The President…?” Wicke asked with a confused expression. She was obviously aware of how things had ended up for both of them, and she wasn’t all that sure how Gladion would react to her unexpected visit “...You mean Master Gladion?”

Moon twitched at the mention of his name but managed to nod slightly with her head.

The purple haired woman turned around as she understood the situation.

“Follow me, Miss Champion” She muttered politely as she guided the kantonian girl towards the elevator and selected the right floor on the small panel.

Wicke would never admit she was worried, though, in reality, she was... At least a little. Even though she was well aware she wasn’t the blond’s mother she had still practically raised him and his sister. She knew he was an adult, and he had more than proved to everyone at the foundation that he could make the right decisions, at least for the company. Still, seeing Gladion in the distressed state she had seen him that afternoon made her motherly instinct take over her. She was worried about the reaction he would have at seeing the champion after so many years of not speaking to her. After all the pain he had to go through in order to be the leader that his family’s ruined foundation needed to recover.

The elevator stopped as soon as it reached the desired floor, and Wicke proceeded to guide Moon across a corridor that connected to many small offices. They kept walking until a large office could be spotted at the back of the hallway, the glass in the room’s walls made it easy for her to spot the figure of the tall blond she had come all this way to see, his intense glare focused on signing some documents at the time, even though his stare still felt distracted... Or at least that’s how it seemed for the champion.

Wicke walked calmly towards the office door and softly knocked on it, trying not to startle Gladion too much.

The young CEO diverted his gaze from the papers as soon as he heard the sound of the door, staring directly across the office’s glassed walls and seeing Wicke, her hand still raised and in the shape of a fist after her last knock.

He got up from his desk and started walking towards the entrance until his distracted state managed to catch a glimpse of the other person behind the Aether Employee. He saw the figure out of the corner of his eye and quickly directed his gaze to be able to recognize who the other visitor was.

As his green eyes connected with Moon’s dark ones he froze, his hand already right on top of the handle of the door.

He was planning on investigating where she lived later in order to pay her a visit and give her the pills Wicke had gotten for him, as well as trying to talk to her about what had happened that night, but that didn’t prevent the shock he got as soon as he saw her right in front of him, with just a glassed door separating them both.

The blond’s shock didn’t fail to be noticed by Wicke, but he recomposed himself after a second, turning around the door’s handle and inviting both women to enter the large presidential office with a gesture of his hand.

He kept his serious facade, though, in reality, his heart felt like it was going to get out of his chest. Gladion could see Moon’s doubt before entering the room along Wicke, the grip on her small purse intensifying as she walked across the door.

“Master I’m sorry to interrupt you” The purple haired employee spoke in a polite tone “Miss Moon says she’s here to talk to you in name of the league”

The blond turned his gaze to the kantonian girl, her nervous smile evident to him as he looked her in the eyes trying to read her. She signaled him with her hand, hidden behind her back.

Just go with it. Her body language screamed, and he decided to follow her lead, as he didn’t want Lillie nor Wicke getting suspicious about what had happened between him and Moon. He had given Wicke enough hints already when he spoke to her that afternoon.

“I’m aware” He lied, directing his gaze to the branch chief and crossing his arms in a relaxed pose “Please leave us, we have some matters to discuss”

The employee noded, preparing herself to leave the room when suddenly Moon’s ringtone started playing in the loudest way possible with an incoming call from her mother, the high and penetrating sound being instantly recognized by both Wicke and Gladion as the one that she had heard at Gladion’s room that morning.

Gladion and Moon froze in their places as Wicke’s head finally put every piece of information together. The ringtone, the pill… Gladion being nervous all afternoon. Her serious face turned into a soft grin as she covered her mouth with one of her hands, trying to look discrete.

“I think I’ll leave you two alone to discuss everything…” She spoke as she closed the door behind her. She wasn’t all that sure what they were doing was right. She wasn’t sure they wouldn’t end up being hurt this time, but if her theory was right and it was really her that had been invading Gladion’s thoughts lately well… She guessed they would be fine. She really liked the Alolan Champion after all, and she knew he liked her as well.


“Wicke knows” The blond stated as soon as the mentioned was out of his sight, the heath of the red blush that had invaded his face as he saw Wicke’s smile could still be felt. It was obvious she had drew her own conclusions by now.

“You told her!?” The champion asked surprised and slightly mad at the boy “Why would you do that!?”

“I didn’t” He spoke calmly, trying to maintain his cool as he covered half of his face with his right hand “Your ringtone did”

“What?” The raven-haired girl asked puzzled, but five seconds later realization hit her.

Wicke had been in Gladion’s room that morning. And her PokéDex had ringed that time as well. Her heart raced as she felt her secret being exposed “Well but maybe she thinks it was just a coincidence…”

“She doesn’t…” The blond interrupted her abruptly, shoving his hand inside one of his white coat’s pockets and handing her a small package. “She got me these… I was planning on giving them to you some time today”

The girl examined the package before taking it in her hands, she couldn’t help but wonder what it was as she opened the small pink cardboard box, finding a single pill inside of it. She gave the blond a puzzled look as he covered his face in embarrassment.

“It’ll help with… you know… not getting pregnant”

The blond’s comment made the champion’s face acquire the color of a tamato berry, a red so bright only inanimate objects could have as she looked at Gladion wide-eyed.

She had never thought of that possibility.

They had both awaken up naked in the same bed, yet the possibility she might be pregnant didn’t even cross her mind. She had been busy all day thinking about other kinds of stuff…

Like on Gladion, for example.

“I’ll get you a glass of water” The blond stated. The champion nodded in understanding as she desperately tried to make her face go back to its regular temperature and color.

She had tried to stop thinking of the night before all day, but she had actually been revolving around it and couldn’t make it stop. The memory of his soft lips bruising against hers was something she couldn’t get out of her mind that easily, and the thought of actually having had sex with Gladion made her heart race as if it was going to get out of her chest, and she couldn’t understand why, but the idea of having forgotten such a moment actually made her feel a pain on her chest that wouldn’t go away easily.

She carefully took the small pill out of its package before accepting the glass the blond handed her, drinking it quickly in an attempt to distract her brain. She didn’t want to think on Gladion anymore. She wanted to end all this misunderstanding.

The president sighed in relief as she handed him the now empty glass and small cardboard box in which the pill was in, she then proceeded to open the bag she had carried all the way towards the artificial island, taking out the boy’s borrowed clothes out of it and quickly handing them to him.

The young president just looked directly at her, taking them in his hands and placing them on top of his desk muttering a quick ‘thanks’

“Gladion we need to talk…” The raven-haired girl spoke with a small tint of hesitation in her tone but ultimately determined to set things straight with him.

“Tsk… right to the point” The mentioned complained with an unamused expression, directing his gaze to her “What do you want to talk about?”

The champion bit her lip nervously as she tried to put some orders in all of the ideas that flooded her mind. Trying to ignore most of the questions that could get her into a complicated situation with the boy.

“I’m sorry about yesterday…” She finally spoke, startling Gladion as she did.

“Meaning...?”

“I most likely provoked all of it. That’s why I’m telling you I’m sorry…”

That last statement was something that the blond surely wasn’t expecting.

Her being the cause of everything? Didn’t she remember he was the one to kiss her first? He grinned a little, curious as of what the Alolan Champion was going to say in her defense.

“Explain…?” He asked out of curiosity as he saw the light tint on her cheeks getting more and more intense with every second that passed.

“When you rejected me… I was destroyed” She spoke calmly, closing her eyes in order to try to fight back the feelings that invaded her whenever she looked at her childhood crush in the eye “I cried for over a month and I’m pretty sure Hau spent a whole week sleeping on my house trying to make me feel better…”

“Wait, Hau slept at your house?” Gladion asked in a shocked tone, his eyebrows slightly furrowed, but still trying to keep his unamused facade.

“I’m speaking Gladion. Don’t interrupt me, this is pretty hard for me as it is…” The girl spoke, opening her eyes for a moment in order to glare at him. He crossed his arms over his chest, diverting his gaze and nodding to her.

“The thing is, I hated you for such a long time. I couldn’t look at pictures of you or hear about you on the news… It was just so hard for me to even listen to your name… Until it wasn’t” She spoke with her eyes still closed, trying to get rid of some of her nervousness by playing with her fingers “Eventually I understood it wasn’t your fault. I mean I… I guess I just assumed you being gentle to me were some kinds of signs you liked me as well”

The blonde twitched in discomfort as he heard her draw the wrong conclusions, but letting her keep speaking her mind out.

“When you rejected me I was torn apart, but I eventually understood it wasn’t your fault to not like me… It was hard for me, but I was probably the only one to blame. You were just so gentle to me and I was so quick to assume things… I probably made you uncomfortable all the time” She forced herself to keep speaking, to not let the pressure in her chest and the wetness in her eyes stop her. The blond looked at her with the corner of his eye, feeling his heart pounding in his chest uncontrollably.

He wanted to tell her. He wanted to tell her he did like her, but what could he do by now? She was out of his reach, she had said it just a moment ago: She hated him.

“You want to know just how stupid I am?” She asked him with an ironical tone and letting a small chuckle resonate in the office. When she opened her eyes Gladion could see a small amount of tears building up on the corner of her eye. “I fell in love with you again after some years…”

He looked at her wide-eyed, completely dumbfounded by her statement. Had she just confessed to him yet again?
“Moon I…”

“Don’t. Gladion. Please, I already know your answer” She muttered with a fake smile, trying to cover the pain she was in while opening like that to the boy who had broken her heart “I started looking up to you again… I was so intrigued by how much effort you put into restoring your family’s company...And then... I found myself blushing again whenever I visited the mansion and you passed by in front of me.” Her eyes had been closed again by now, and everything she said was just filler as the only important thing in all of her speech repeated itself over and over in Gladion’s head.

She liked him. She actually did like him. Even after all these years of being a jerk to her… Of ignoring her in order to bury his own feelings...

He swore he could hear the strong heartbeat in his chest, as well as he could feel his hands shake in nervousness. He leaned over his desk, placing his hands over it while still looking at Moon to the face, trying to counter the shakiness he was feeling at the moment. It was a good thing she had her eyes closed after all.

“Yesterday… At the party… I probably provoked you in some kind of way” She concluded as her face got redder and redder with every word that came out of her mouth “I mean I don’t have any intentions with you anymore… I understood how you felt years ago, trust me, but being drunk… I don’t know, I guess I just couldn’t control my feelings anymore…” She opened her eyes, looking at his face directly. If she didn’t know better she would have thought the light rose tone in Gladion’s skin was a blush. She knew Gladion didn’t blush though… At least not for her.

“Moon, listen…”

“Wait. Just a minute please” She stopped him again “I’m really sorry about yesterday. I’m so embarrassed, I never thought we would end up doing something like that…”

The blond grew more and more impatient at the time. He needed to tell her… Even if he regretted it afterward. He couldn’t control himself any longer.

“Thanks for getting me the pill, I’ll never talk to you again, I promise” She spoke as she turned around and attempted to walk towards the door, being stopped by Gladion’s gentle but firm grip on her arm.

She turned around again, looking surprised at him.

“Can I speak now?” The blond asked with a frown, clearly upset at her, though she wasn’t really sure why. She nodded as she moved her arm a little bit, releasing it from his grip.

“I kissed you first. Don’t you remember that?” He spoke with a displeased tone, clearly annoyed by all the stupid conclusions she had taken by herself.

Him not liking her? Her having all of the blame? He couldn’t stand it.

“I… Well… Yeah, I do… but we were both drunk…” She tried justifying as she heard the tall blond groan in exasperation.

“I swear you’re so dense…” He muttered just before getting one step closer to her, their bodies now inches apart from each other as her breathing grew erratic. He lowered his head a bit, looking directly at her dark eyes and making her melt right in her place, he positioned his hand on her back as Moon's body grew tense.

“Gladion… wha…?” She asked, but before she could even begin to make sense of what was happening his lips were already over hers.

She stood there, in the middle of his office, wide-eyed as his lips caressed hers in a soft and tender kiss, not sure about what to do anymore.

She needed to run, she thought, but her eyelids felt heavier with each moment. She closed her eyes, finally losing herself in the moment as she as well started moving her lips rhythmically, their bodies getting closer and closer to each other with every second.

She didn’t know when it happened, but she could feel Gladion’s arms gently embracing her.

She felt so lightheaded, her mind completely empty from every thought that wasn’t the blond’s incredibly soft lips over hers.

He was so skilled, she thought, even when she still remembered him telling her yesterday's kiss had also been his first… Had they really practiced so much?

Gladion was the one to part first, separating their lips in order to catch his breath as he looked down at her with the sweetest stare she had ever seen in her life.

His eyes looked as if they were sparkling with joy, and she swore she saw a smile on his mouth for a moment.

He approached again, putting their foreheads together and caressing her cheek when suddenly it hit her. She never expected things to end up like this.

She felt a pain in her chest as she saw him smirk towards her, pushing him away before he could reach for her lips again.

“I’m so sorry…” She apologized, running towards the office’s door and across the corridor, leaving Gladion dumbfounded.

“Moon where are you going!?” He screamed, trying to catch her and failing in the process.

She ran towards the exit of the building crying, ignoring every employee that recognized her and tried to greet her.

She couldn’t do this. She had promised herself she would end this misunderstanding… Gladion was supposed to hate her, or at least to not feel anything about her. But he had kissed her. He was sober now and yet he had done it again.

She felt a stinging pain in her chest as she flew away from the artificial island, just like how she had escaped that morning... She just couldn’t believe this was happening just two weeks away from her moving date. She just couldn’t believe she had gotten herself hurt again…

And by the same guy nevertheless.

 

Chapter Text

17 hours and 28 minutes.

That was how much time had passed after the unrequited kiss between the President of the Aether Foundation and the Champion of Alola, the time being so clear in his mind as the scene of the female trainer running away from him repeated itself over and over in his mind. The mental picture of the simple white clock on top of his office door marking 6:37 p.m. was permanently stuck in his brain as the time stopped for him after the clear rejection.

She had ran away from him. There was no doubt about that. And after her quick confession the day before... he couldn’t really understand why.

17 hours and 28 minutes. That was how much time it took for his mother to burst into his office uninvited with an envelope in her hand, managing to take him out of his thoughts as the glassed door was smashed against the wall, not shattering into a million pieces only by pure miracle.

“What is this?!” His mother snapped as she threw the yellow envelope on top of his desk. A mad expression pretty clear in her face.

Ever since she resigned to her job as president and started working on the department of public relations of the company his mother had been taking care of the foundation’s public image. She never appeared on public, as she knew there were still people that didn’t trust her in Alola due to Nihilego’s incident, but that didn’t keep her from handling the department from the shadows.

She was good at what she did, and she was his mother, after all, that’s why Gladion had kept her working for the foundation’s interest without minding her occasional rampages about his public appearances and relations with potential associates. Even though she was hard on him her intervention had helped him develop social skills he didn’t have when he started as the CEO of Aether.

“What is it now?” he asked her tiredly not long after he recovered himself from the shock of her sudden outburst.

“You tell me” She answered in a calmer voice as she signaled the yellow envelope, inviting her son to open it.

He took the piece on his hands as he saw Wicke come inside the office muttering an apology, clearly embarrassed by her former boss behavior. As soon as he took out the photo from inside of the envelope his body froze. His grip on the paper grew tighter as he turned his gaze away from the picture and towards his mother.

“Well?” She asked him expectantly “Are you going to explain to me why you suddenly lost interest in keeping away from gossips and maintaining your professional image?”

He covered his face with his left hand as his lips let out a long sigh.

A single picture.

That was how much it would take for his well-cared image of a dedicated president to go down the sink.

The picture of him and Moon kissing inside of his office rested on top of his desk as he silently regretted not closing the blinds of the office that day. Both of their faces focused through the office’s glassed walls at just the right moment.

“Wicke go find the snitch, please” He silently muttered as the purple haired woman looked at him startled.

“Yes Master” She quickly replied as she retired from the room quickly, ready to have some serious conversations with the employees in order to find out who had done it.

Wicke closed the door behind her, leaving just Lusamine and her first and only son to debate freely.

“I was careless”

“No kidding!” The tall blonde complained to his vague answer “I need you to fix this. Now”

“How did you even get this picture?” He asked as he looked at it with the corner of his eye, a light blush slowly heating his face by the memory.

“After all the bad press you got after your first ‘incident’ with the champion I made a friend at the edition department of that stupid gossip magazine…” She explained with an angry glare “He says they’re publishing this tomorrow. So I only really see two options” She crossed her arms over her chest as she looked at him, disappointed, angry at him.

“I’m listening…” The young president muttered. His public image did matter to him, after all. His mother and him had worked so hard to achieve the respect that the foundation now had at his charge, and that careless moment was about to ruin everything.

“We can bribe the magazine into not publishing the article. A practical solution, though a very expensive one as well…”

He couldn’t keep himself from looking at the photo. If that was really going to be the cover of some gossip magazine he was going to be in so much trouble with his sister. The media had talked and theorized about him and Moon for a month last time, if that picture really became public he was sure there would be no stopping them this time. He was doomed. They were doomed.

“What’s the other solution?” He asked the former president as he massaged his temple with two of his fingers, already feeling stress taking over him.

“You could make your relationship public before this gets out. You’ll kill the article and it won’t look so bad for the media if you’re actually a couple…”

That last option stung Gladion like a million needles, but he forced himself to keep calm in front of his mother, dismissing her comment.

“Can’t do that” He spoke with a one-sided grin “We’re not into a relationship”

“What do you mean by that?! I didn’t raise a player!” The woman snapped at his apparently carefree comment. “I need you to fix your little mistake Gladion. Now. I swear I never thought you’d get involved with that girl again… After all that you went through last time…”

His head stung and his heart ached at his mother’s comment.

She was right. He should have been more careful. But the fact that he finished his friendship with the Champion so many years ago didn’t mean he didn’t feel anything for her.

He’d buried his feelings on work. Covered them with documents that needed to be read, contracts that needed to be signed. Locked them up and shoved them aside as he busied himself with meetings and partnerships with other associations.

She had always meant something. He just couldn’t admit it.

“Get out” He muttered with his fingers still on his temple, Lusamine’s comment resonating in his head as he tried to think of a solution to his newfound problem. He had been an idiot for breaking up with Moon, yes. But he was surely not playing with her.

“I sent you the contact information of my friend. Talk to him” She commented, though it sounded more like an order than a recommendation.

“I said get out” He repeated, feeling his headache grow more and more intense with every word that came out of the blonde’s mouth.

Having exposed her wishes, Lusamine retired from his office. Leaving him alone to think about his options, though in reality, everything he could do was look at the photo.

It was troublesome, a threat to his public image and an unnecessary risk for the company, but as he saw the Champion’s eyes closed, the light red tint on her cheeks and her clear enjoyment of the moment, he couldn’t help but smile a bit to himself.

He would have to pay her a visit.


It had been so long since he last visited Mount Lanakila.

He regretted not bringing gloves as he shoved his hands into the not warm enough pockets of his white Aether coat.

He looked at his surroundings as he sneaked towards the back door of the Elite Four building, hiding from the ace trainers that guarded the main entrance of the edifice.

He needed to get to the emergency door for two reasons: The first being that he wasn’t used to battling anymore, and, even if he was, he hadn’t brought his team with him.

As for the second one...it was related to Nanu not being in there with him.

After he had ended his relationship with the Champion he had came back to the Elite Four lots of times, always with the intention of seeing her, but never managing to take the step towards the elevator that would get him to the Champion’s throne.

It wasn’t that he wasn’t able to beat the elite four members, cause he did everytime he visited. It was more of a matter of courage: He couldn’t bring himself to look at her in the eyes and confess he had hurt her for the foundation’s sake. It wasn’t right, as much as he regretted it.

He couldn’t bear to look at her eyes and remember how watery they were that day at the conservation area. He had hurt her so much… And being with her was now a completely selfish thought for him to have, after all, he had heard from Lillie how much time it had taken the Champion to go back to battle.

She had retreated to her house for one month: One whole month without filling the Champion’s Duties, one month conveniently situated after his mother’s press conference, one month in which media knew nothing about her.

He wanted her to be happy. And if she had already forgotten about him… Then maybe he needed to respect that.

He only visited the building when Nanu covered for that girl Lillie had introduced him at the party, Acerola. The old kahuna had always understood the young Aether boy, covering him with the rest of the elite four members after seeing his failed intentions to visit Moon the first time. He always told them he’d beaten him, even when that was far from the truth most of the times, as he knew he probably didn’t want Moon to find out about his occasional appearances.

“Please be the same” The blond murmured as he exhaled hot breath over his hands in an attempt to warm them a little before typing the password the kantonian girl had set for the emergency door the first day she started as Champion.

The password was one of their inside jokes, so the odds of her still maintaining it were pretty slim after their separation. He sighed as he entered the words and waited for the device to load, preparing himself for the imminent rejection of the entry and turning around towards the rocky path that would take him to the base of the mountain when he suddenly heard a click.

He looked back, surprised, as he watched the emergency door open in front of his eyes. The young president proceeded to enter the building as he looked around, making sure no one noticed his entrance. With the media already on the edge, he needed to be as discreet as he could be.


“Cause I’m not interested in a boyfriend, that’s why” The champion stated, trying to terminate the conversation with the persistent challenger in front of her.

“Well, I’m not asking you to be my girlfriend…” The curvy haired ash blond stated as he focused his blue eyes on her “Let’s go out together… have some drinks, maybe more.” He insisted “I mean I know you’re just playing hard to get”

The kantonian girl’s body felt tenser with every second she engaged in the conversation, her head aching as if it was being pierced by a million daggers at the recurrent trainer’s perseverance. She called back her pokémon and stored the pokéballs in her bag, ready to leave the scene and the annoying challenger with it until she felt a grip on her arm.

“Come on Moon, I know you can’t resist me”

His stare was heavy, and his grin grew larger with every inch his face got closer to hers, making her shudder at the sight of his lips nearly locking with hers.

“Stop it Chad!” She screamed, releasing the boy’s grip and standing steadily on the ground, her hand already reaching for her bag to grab her pokéballs if needed.

She wasn’t a weak woman, and she was already fed up of that loser.

“How many times do I have to tell you I don’t like you!?” She asked clearly irritated as she reached for her Decidueye’s pokéball.

The trainer’s cocky smirk turned suddenly into an offended expression, annoyance clear in his factions as he steadied his expensive tie and tried to pull himself together again.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, my Champion” He stated, closing the distance between them again, careful not to make it as abruptly as before. “We’re perfect for each other. I mean I’m perfect, and you are perfect” He spoke, connecting his blue eyes with her gray stare. He extended his hand, nearly touching her face as he spoke “Let’s go now, it’s getting late”

The girl backed off, her rejection completely ignored by the pedantic challenger that had only gotten worse since the day he started pretending her. She readied her arm to throw her pokémon towards him when suddenly the ash blond was thrown towards the ground.

It took her a fraction of a second to realize what was going on, her stare focusing on the tall blond pinning Chad to the floor, his green eyes radiating with fury.

“She told you she didn’t want you ” He spoke as Moon recognized his voice as Gladion’s “So get the fuck out

“Gladion…” She whispered, her tense body going back to normal at the sight of her childhood crush.

It was the first time she’d seen him ever since the kiss at his office happened. So many questions arising in her mind as her crazy beating heart and her strangely behaving stomach prevented her to speak.

“Gladion?” The curvy haired trainer asked, his body still pinned to the floor and making him unable to move “The president guy? I thought you two were over”

Gladion shoot the younger trainer a killer stare, tightening his grip on his arms and making the boy struggle in an attempt to release from his grip.

“Moon please let me punch him” The green-eyed president spoke, hatred perceivable in his voice as the girl tried to come up with an explanation as to how things had ended up like this.

Ever since they last saw each other she had been a crazy rollercoaster of mixed emotions. She had to admit she had part of the blame, though, she had confessed to him after all. The kiss was something she just didn’t expect to happen at all. Ever.

She could feel her heart pounding savagely and her stomach tickling with nervousness, a light heat slowly making its way towards her cheeks as she looked at Gladion at that moment. She never thought things would end up like this. Was he just playing with her? Or did he truly felt the same way as she did?. She fully blushed before being able to answer his demand, trying desperately to control her emotions.

She hated feeling that way for him. She hated being weak whenever he was around. She hated how her brain short-circuited whenever she caught a glimpse of his beautiful green orbs that managed to trap her into his spell every single time.

Still, as the seconds passed and she was made aware of the situation once again by Chad’s struggling whines she snapped, her troubled mind getting back to reality.

She was falling for him again. She was sure about that, as much as she was sure she couldn’t be stupid enough to fall for a guy that had already hurt her so much.

As Gladion focused on her he could see her eyes going from sparkling and hopeful to plain neutral, not really being able to understand the reason behind of her troubled expression.

“No Gladion” She spoke in a whisper, the only volume she could really speak at with her heart being constantly broken by the blond’s mixed signals of both disinterest and affection. He had never liked her, so why would he like her now? “Chad is right. We’re over, so please leave us alone”

Gladion stared at her wide-eyed, not really believing how her previous relief had turned into this.

“Moon he’s a creep…” He tried reasoning with her, but to no avail, she behaved like she was in a trance.

She needed to get out of Alola before she got hurt, that’s all she could think about. She couldn’t let herself fall in love again for the same person that had rejected her so many years ago. He didn’t like her, she repeated to herself, as she forced herself to forget about the two heavily romantic hinted kisses they had shared. Forcing herself to believe it had all been in her mind.

She needed to believe that, after all, how could she leave Alola feeling the way she felt for the blond?

“Chad” She spoke to the younger challenger, not really knowing what she was doing anymore but content with just shoving away the weird sensations in her stomach and chest “Tomorrow. 5 p.m., Malie Garden”

Gladion was speechless, his grip on the blue-eyed trainer suddenly growing loose as he got up from the floor.

“What are you trying to prove!?” The Aether guy spoke, annoyance and impotency making his voice tremble “We need to talk Moon, there’s this photo…”
“I don’t care” The champion terminated, feeling her stomach turning over as she masked her pain with irony “We were strangers for so many years. Let’s go back to that”

Her hands turned into fists as she walked towards the emergency exit, her eyes already getting watery as she tried to ignore the lump in her throat.

She couldn’t tell him how she felt. Even if there was a possibility that he liked her now. She had made her plans of traveling, of visiting other regions and learning about the world… She couldn’t let a small mistake caused purely by alcohol change her mind.

“If you don’t like me then why is your password still the same!?” The blond screamed, desperate, completely ignoring the curvy haired trainer as he got up from the ground and brushed away the dust from his expensive looking vest.

The kantonian girl froze in her place.

“What do you mean by that?”

“‘Get Out’, that’s still your stupid exit password” He spoke, a smirk of irony and pain clearly visible in his factions “You don’t want to have anything to do with me but you still remember that…” He laughed sarcastically, a single ‘Ha!’ resonating in the room as he looked at her.

She bit her lip, not sure how to debate him any longer. She had set that password on her first day as Champion. The remembrance of one of the first stages of their relationship always made her smile as she typed it. She had tried to change it several times, but it always made her feel empty and weird, so she’d left it that way. It made her smile every morning, and that was good enough for her.

“Chad let’s go” She commanded, making the challenger quickly run towards her, glaring angrily at Gladion before positioning himself beside of Moon and taking her hand into his.

The girl shivered at the touch, but eventually steadied herself, choosing to ignore how wrong his hand felt compared to Gladion’s the night of the party.

“I’m Chad Wellington, don’t ever forget that, idiot” He spoke to the angry president, not really looking towards him as he walked towards the entrance “I always get what I want!”

The last thing he heard was the door being closed.

He collapsed on the ground, just laying there speechless as he tried to understand the reason for his disgust, for his anger… Of this new found jealousy.

“Well I guess there is no way to deny it any longer” He spoke to himself as he tried to recompose himself and relax.

He wanted to punch that Chad guy so hard at that moment, he admitted as he hid his head between his arms and sat on the floor defeated.

He had fought his feelings for years. He had succeeded in keeping them hidden, yet there he was, lying on the floor, sure there was no way of fighting them this time. There was no way to deny his pounding chest and his sweaty hands whenever he looked at her and there definitely was no way to bury down his feelings in work again.

He was screwed, he thought. The feeling of her soft lips responding to his the day before and at the night of the party was something he couldn’t stop thinking about, even though he had tried so hard to fight it.

He had felt the blood in his veins starting to boil the moment he saw that loser of a trainer taking Moon by the hand. She was obviously not comfortable with this either, yet she had done it for what he could only assume was an attempt for making him stop chasing her.

He smiled weakly as he played with his fingers, contemplating his options and ordering his priorities.

He reached for his PokéDex, shoving his hand down his pocket. Getting it out, he proceeded to look for the message his mother had sent him earlier that day, the one containing the contact information of the editor of the magazine that had the exclusive on that photo that could potentially change his public image.

He took a breath before dialing the number, deeply losing himself in thought before even touching the ‘call’ button when he suddenly arranged all the ideas in his head.

And what if he didn’t ‘fix’ this as his mother wanted. What if he let the magazine publish their article? He could only really come with three conclusions: His professional image may get affected, that stupid Chad guy might leave Moon alone after seeing the picture and it would definitely catch the Champion’s attention.

He smirked malevolently as he stored his PokéDex in his pocket again, the last two conclusions being way more appealing to him than the opportunity of keeping his professional public image intact.

He walked towards the exit, content with his choice as he imagined the reaction the girl would have once she found out about the article.

Gladion chuckled. There was nothing to worry about, after all… he was sure Wicke would be able to fix it some way.


28 hours and 10 minutes

That was how much time it took for the Champion of Alola to burst into his office uninvited with a magazine in her hand, managing to take him out of his thoughts as the glassed door was smashed against the wall, not shattering into a million pieces only by pure miracle.

“What is this!?” The infuriated girl shouted as she threw the recently published magazine towards him, managing to land it right on top of his desk.

“I can explain it” Gladion spoke in a relaxed tone as he took a sip of his coffee, smirking at the title of the expected article in the magazine that had managed to be on the cover. “‘ Power couple back together?’ ” He read the title out loud while smirking “I got to say, these people really know how to sell their stuff”

“Gladion I’m serious” Moon asked him, placing her hands on top of his desk and shooting him a killer stare “Did you knew about this?”

Gladion looked away for a moment, directing his gaze towards the window that pointed to the immense Alolan sea and trying his best not to laugh at the girl’s desperation.

“How did Chad took the news?” He questioned with a lopsided smile, ready to face the rage of the young trainer in front of him.

“Are you kidding?!” The kantonian girl asked in a tone he was sure could be heard even by the pokémon at the conservation area “He left the place crying!”

Gladion looked at her both surprised and amused, trying hard to contain the laughter as he listened to the Champion’s last statement.

“And does that really make you feel that bad?” He asked her smirking, his emerald eyes sparkling as a blush started making its way towards the girl’s cheeks.

“Gladion that’s not the point…This could really affect both of our images”

The young president sighed, reaching for the phone on top of his desk and quickly dialing Wicke’s number from memory.

“Wicke…” He started, and she could swear she could detect a slight hint of nervousness in his factions “The article is out… Yes I know, don’t let Lusamine know yet” He ordered, pausing for a moment to hear the branch chief’s answer “No. I need damage control. Now” He added, concluding the call and returning the phone to its place in his luxurious desk.

“Well, that’s taken care of…” The blond stated, looking directly at Moon’s grey eyes and making her melt in her place “Now let’s get out of here before my mother finds out”

He smirked at her, walking around his desk and placing himself in front of her.

“Will you let me speak this time?” He asked her in a more serious tone, not losing the eye contact as he drew his body one inch closer to her’s.

“That depends…” Moon responded, taking a step back from Gladion as she tried to resist the urges to actually get closer to him.

“On what?” The blond asked bluntly, a little annoyed at the girl’s distance.

“Are you going to actually talk this time?” She joked, making the CEO chuckle a little.

“I’m not going to kiss you if that’s what you’re so afraid of” He playfully responded, making Moon’s pale kantonian skin acquire a strong red tint that only pikachus had on their cheeks.

He closed the distance again, taking advantage of the situation as he took her hand in his and intertwined their fingers.

Moon blushed exponentially at the action, the warmth in her hand barely being registered by her malfunctioning brain. She hated how he made her feel this way, so vulnerable and yet so happy at the same time. She hated to be so confused. She was sure he didn’t like her, so why was he doing all of this?
Her heart was beating so much, almost threatening with getting out of her chest while he directed her towards the elevator.

“Let’s get something to eat, okay?” He asked her smirking in a way that made her legs weak.

“Mhm” She murmured timidly, not able to come up with any other response as he tightened the grip on her delicate hand.  




Chapter Text

“Why is your stuff packed in boxes?” The blond had asked her as he made his way to the kitchen after having curiously explored the girl’s house for some minutes. She tensed at the question, but still managed to look at him while she turned off the stove, the hurried pasta she had improvised already ready to be eaten.

“Oh…” She started speaking, not sure if she wanted to tell him about her plans of moving away from Alola just yet “...I’m moving to Ula’ula” She lied, biting her lip a little, not entirely sure why she had felt the sudden need to lie to the blond.

She never planned to end up cooking dinner at her house, but the press had been so crazy after the release of the magazine featuring their kiss as the cover that having a conversation with him at a regular restaurant was not really an option. They couldn’t eat at the mansion, as he had made clear he was avoiding Lusamine, so her house had ended up being the only possible place they could go to.

“Oh, I wouldn’t recommend you living where you work” He joked as he flashed one of his characteristic side grins “But that’s up to you…”

The girl laughed nervously as she served pasta in two plates and walked with them towards the table in the living room.

The pair sat down at the table, playing a little with the food before starting to eat it quietly, none of them brave enough to be the one to start the conversation.

“So why did you sabotage my date?” The kantonian girl asked vaguely after a few minutes, breaking the silence and trying to mask her intrigue with a perceivable careless tone. She bit her lip a little, her heart beating slightly faster than usual as she expectantly waited for an answer.

The blond looked at her directly, his body tensing as he forced himself to keep visual contact with her and his brain fiercely tried to find the right words to start a conversation.

“Are you telling me you actually wanted to go on that date?” He asked with a snarky tone as a side grin formed in his face, failing to answer seriously at the girl and instead choosing to evade the subject by teasing her, an easier way to go compared to answering her question and taking the topic as a serious matter.

The blond gave himself an internal punch as he saw the girl in front of him blush and get seemingly embarrassed. He was aware that after everything that had happened a real conversation between the two was needed, still, the only thing he could manage to do when he saw her was avoid any kind of real and uncomfortable question with evasive comments or redirecting the questions towards her. It wasn't something he was particularly proud of, but finding ways to avoid speaking about his personal business and feelings was a requirement for a figure as important as the president of the Aether Foundation.

Her question had been direct. Simple. And, because of his inaccurate answer, now followed by a very awkward silence that was hard to endure for both of them.

“Why don’t you ever answer a question?” She muttered with a barely audible tone after a few minutes of dead air. Her insistence in the subject made the boy freeze in his place, the hand that had been playing nervously with his pasta minutes ago now unable to move as he listened to her wary comment.

What was wrong with him?

He had asked her to spend some time with him in order to talk about their unresolved relationship, the same subject the champion had tried to avoid so many times, and now that she had finally given him the opportunity he was the one dodging her questions.

He turned his left hand that was well hidden below the table into a fist as he connected ideas, trying to come up with a real way to keep up with the conversation.

Maybe if he brought up the magazine?

… Or her confession?

… Or the party?

“I’m tired of your mixed signals…” He heard her say in a more confident tone as all of his ideas disappeared from his mind. He directed his gaze at her, not believing the determination in her eyes as his indecision transformed into irritation.

“Are you seriously implying that I am the one sending mixed signals?” He suddenly snapped at what he thought was a very ironic situation. He grinned again, challenging her to keep speaking with his piercing green eyes “I’m listening…” He spoke and crossed his arms on top of his chest as he waited for the girl to continue her, as he thought, unjustified claims.

“Well, I…” The Champion muttered nervously as she straightened up her body “You asked me to see you at the most romantic place at the Aether foundation and then rejected me” She grumbled as her face flushed gradually into a bright red. Gladion's eyebrow twitched a little at the memory, his heart sinking deep into his chest but his gaze still firm on her as he listened to what he knew she was inevitably going to say. He had prepared himself for this moment a long time ago, he had prepared himself to confront her, and he just wasn’t going to turn back now.

“You also ignored me for years ” She added with her voice trembling and her hands slightly shaking “And then you suddenly and very unexpectedly spoke to me just days ago...” She looked down at the table, not able to stare at his penetrating gaze any longer, the pasta in both of their plates now completely forgotten about by the pair. “...How are those not contradictions? Mixed signals?”

He stared at her for a minute, waiting for her to speak again, to finish voicing her ideas, but no words came out from her anymore, her gaze was now firmly focused on the table, completely evading him as he recognized in her face what looked like worry.

He got up from his chair, managing to catch her attention again, though not her sight, or at least not yet. He walked a little towards her, evading the table and placing himself in front of her, but still leaving a considerable distance between them.

“You ignored me that day at the ferry but then you initiated a conversation with me at Lillie’s party…” He commented in a calm voice, even though inside he was actually freaking out. He looked at her, trying to catch her gaze again “You keep saying I’m contradicting myself, but what about your mixed signals?”

The champion snapped from her thoughts, her gaze slightly lifting from the table but still not able to lock with his “You’re the one that kissed me at that party…” She muttered in a low whisper, biting her lip a little in the process.

“What…?”

“I said you were the one who kissed me!” She screamed at him dramatically, her fists tightening as she continued “How is that not inconsistent ?!”

The blond looked at her wide-eyed, grabbing the courage to take a step towards her, closing their distance a little more but still giving her the space he could tell she needed

“You kissed me back!” He replied loudly, already feeling exasperated at the realization that the girl was trying to blame everything on him. He felt like he was going to die at any moment, his heartbeat had accelerated exponentially since the start of the conversation and his thoughts were so messy it was troublesome to keep speaking.

He saw Moon take a step closer at him, her stare went from angry to surprised at his remark, though just for a second. She frowned at him again, now looking directly at his eyes, no sight of the embarrassment or the intimidation she had felt at the start anymore.

“Okay forget about that” She spoke with a slight pause that he could only interpret as hesitation. “Nothing that happened at the party counts. We were both drunk” She concluded, earning a frown from the now angry president.

“You can’t dismiss it like it didn’t happen!” He screamed

“I can!” She retorted.

He took a step towards her again, the distance between them now barely surpassing two feet. He took a long breath, trying to order his messy thoughts and dismissing her stubbornness.

“Let’s suppose for a moment the party never happened” He spoke a little bit calmer “Just for the sake of the argument”

The champion looked at him nervously, but still not wanting to move an inch from her position.

She was a competitive woman, never showing any weakness at his adversaries, but he was a man of science, of facts, and there was nothing that could stand against his arguments. Not even her obstinacy.

“That doesn’t change the fact that you went to my office the next day and confessed to me” He added with a grin, already knowing she wouldn’t be able to turn the situation back against him. “You keep running away and evading me, but that doesn't change the facts”.

One step. Two steps closer, he closed the distance until it was barely existing between the two.

“Y-you kissed me and sabotaged my date…” She stammered at him, clearly affected by the lack of personal space as the only thing she could see were his intense emerald eyes and his left eyebrow slightly twitching.

“And how are those mixed signals!?” He screamed, unable to control his messy feelings anymore. He needed her to get it, even if his heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest. “I spoke to you first, I've chased you all these days, and I kissed you!... Twice!” He felt uneasy, exposed, but still strangely satisfied. The feelings he had been keeping for so long finally finding a way out of his troubled mind and aching chest. “I've been nothing but consistent ever since that day at the ferry!”

She froze in her place, not knowing what else to say as what she felt was all the blood in her body made her way towards her face.

“I still don’t know why you spoke to me at the ferry that time!” She tried to defend herself, evading his gaze and looking towards the floor.

She heard the young president moan in exasperation, his right hand grabbing her chin and gently turning her face towards his, forcing her to look at him again.

“I was worried about you” He answered plainly, and she couldn’t keep her eyes from growing wider with surprise.

“What are you saying…?” She asked, expectant, nervous. Her legs trembling at the contact. She was sure they weren’t going to be able to hold her up for much longer, and even though she knew it was dangerous, she couldn’t help but look at his eyes directly, almost melting at the warmth of his stare.

He removed his hand from her chin and looked at her with a sweet smile that made her heart beat even faster. He caressed her hair, taking a strand of her long raven hair and placing it carefully behind her ear.

I’m saying I like you, Moon” He murmured one time, though she could hear the words resounding in her brain, repeating themselves over and over without fully sinking in her still.

“What...?” She asked, clearly not believing what she had heard. Her body shaking even more but eventually relaxing as she understood his words.

“I like you” He repeated, closing the distance once more and putting their foreheads together “I’ve liked you since I was fifteen and have never stopped...” He explained, almost certain that she couldn’t still process the information.

Finally speaking about his feelings felt right and unexpectedly relaxing, he had never realized how much stress that secret was causing him. He cupped her face with one of his hands and smiled a little at her, his face slightly tinted of a discreet red and his eyes so deep and hypnotizing the girl couldn’t evade getting lost in his stare. “I’m saying… What if that thing at the party happened for a reason?”

She was definitely not thinking clearly. The proximity of his face, the spark in his eyes and the warmth of the contact his hand made with her cheek soothed her. His lips were so conveniently close she couldn’t stop herself from staring like a fool at them.

Their first kiss at the night of Lillie’s party was something she would never be able to forget, even if she wanted to... The sensation of his warm lips so inexpertly but yet so carefully caressing hers, the insane beating in her chest, the tingling sensation in her stomach...

She wanted it. She remembered how good his lips had felt over hers that day at Aether as well, so tender, and loving she couldn’t help but wonder how was it possible for her not to realize about his feelings sooner.

Their lips brushed slightly as she now stared directly at his eyes.

“Gladion…” She murmured as her breathing stopped for a moment.

Kiss me she had meant, as she placed her arms over his shoulders.

Her grey eyes pleading him to close the remaining distance, being instead surprised by the blonde retiring a little from her and smiling sweetly.

“Don't do this to me…” he complained with his voice shaking in hesitation “I promised I wouldn't kiss you tonight, remember?”

She could swear her heart stopped for a fraction of a second. Had she really been so close to kissing him? And most importantly...

Did she want to?

She internally slapped herself as she tried to think straight. The champion watched Gladion look away, desperately trying to evade her gaze as he was sure he would end up breaking his promise if he saw her pleading eyes again. They were both flushed red, all the intense feelings coming at the same time… it sure felt like a dream.

“...Do you like me?” Gladion asked directly after a minute of a not entirely uncomfortable silence, suddenly taking her out of her thoughts. Never had she felt so vulnerable, so nervous.

“Gladion I…” She started as a lump formed in her throat. Her head felt so lightweight she couldn’t help but think she was indeed dreaming, all of her worries had suddenly dissipated after the blond’s confession... At least before she remembered about the plane ticket, the one carefully kept on top of her nightstand.

She never thought she could feel so unsure about her feelings until she heard his words and felt them echoing in her head. She felt happy, yet weirdly discouraged.

“Moon…?” The blond asked worried as he saw her eyes beginning to water. He took her hands into his and looked at her concerned. “Is something wrong?”

And there was, in fact, something very wrong: Her inevitable trip to Unova. It had been so hard for her to finally make the decision, to speak about it to Lillie and Hau. She wasn’t about to give up on her dreams, even if she was initially heartbroken...

Even if she did like him . And he apparently liked her back...

“Gladion I can’t…” She spoke with a trembling voice, almost crying but still managing to stay strong.

Wouldn’t it be best if he finally told him about her trip?

...about her need for freedom?

… About how she couldn’t just stay in Alola with him and go against her nature?

The blond’s grip on her hands loosened as she saw the pain in his eyes after her vague response.

Do you like me?

His question had been direct. Simple, and, because of her inaccurate answer, now followed by a broken-hearted Gladion.

“So you don’t, huh?” He asked her, and she could recognize the ache that his eyes transmitted. “I waited so long, I should have seen it coming…”

He smiled at her, though she knew he was secretly breaking down on the inside. She wanted to scream, this had been her chance, and now she was the one who had ruined everything.

One minute. Two minutes of silence. Both feeling so troubled and none really wanting to break it.

He had ruined it. He had waited so long, Moon had obviously not waited for him.

He repeated to himself it was all his fault. That he shouldn’t have put Aether as his priority in the first place. He blamed himself.

The sound of the doorbell interrupted his thoughts as a surprised Moon glanced at the entrance, then at him.

“It must be Lillie and Hau” She murmured, removing the tears that had managed to stain her cheeks as she spoke to him again “Please hide in that room over there, I’ll just tell them I can’t see them right now…”

He looked at the room she was pointing at, then back at her. The mention of his sister reminding him of all the sleepless nights after the rejection, all the nights his sister had to spend with him, consoling him.

He had suffered so much from that stupid adolescent mistake, and he just wasn’t going to keep suffering from it. He wasn’t going to give up, he wasn’t going to lose her again.

His mind cleared as his eyes sparkled with resolution. He saw her open the door, but he didn’t care anymore if his sister saw him. The blond walked towards her, across the living room and ending up at the entrance. He walked until he was visible for the three, catching the champion’s attention.

“Gladion?!” The blonde trainer asked wide-eyed once she saw her brother behind Moon, the Alolan kahuna equally shocked at the sight.

“Gladion I told you to wait over there” Moon hissed at him with an angry glare, surprising her friends even more with the comment.

“I don’t care” The blond spoke plainly as he gazed at his sister for a fraction of a second, quickly closing the door in both Lillie and Hau's faces and leaving the pair outside the house.

“Hey!” The champion complained, not understanding what had gotten into the blond’s head as she crossed her arms on top of her chest “What the hell do you think you’re you doing?”

The president stared at her with resolution, cornering her as he placed his arm against the wall.

“Wha-”

“I’m not giving up on you” He declared, staring at her firmly as a very evident blush plagued his pale skin.

The girl looked at him wide-eyed, not saying  anything as she heard him murmur something unintelligible

“What did you say?” She asked him confused.

The blonde evaded her gaze, his face going from pink to red in just a second.

“I said I’m going to make you fall in love with me again!” He screamed at her, the hand that was not cornering her against the wall tightening into a fist as he struggled to keep his emotions in control.

He was not giving up on her this time. She was so fucking worth it.

The champion was mute, red, and incapable of thinking straight after the blond’s declaration. He shoved his hands into his white lab pockets, glancing at her for a fraction of a second as he secretly enjoyed her reaction. He walked towards the door, stopping for a moment once his hand reached the doorknob.

“...Any objections?” He asked her calmly, looking at her for a response.

She was still as red as a shiny Gyarados, but the nervous left to right shake of her head made him smirk triumphantly.

“Then I’ll see you tomorrow…” He muttered before opening the door, finding his sister and the kahuna at the other side of it.

He passed them quickly, making his way towards the small stairs of the gateway and walking calmly towards the docks. He was sure they had heard the conversation, but he didn't care anymore. 

He couldn’t help the stupid smirk in his face from growing wider.

Yes. She was so worth it.