Actions

Work Header

First night, last night

Work Text:

"Groceries are here !" Green shouts when he reaches the cave.

He can see the shadows moving against the red tint of the fire, farther down the cave. Outside the wind is howling so Green walks fast toward the light.

In the deeper part nothing seems changed from the last time he was here. The fire paints shadows against the cave walls. One of these shadows whirls when Red stands up and as way of greeting holds his hand toward him. Green drops the bag's handle into his hand with a grumble.

"It's fucking cold outside. I would think the trek up here would become easier with time but it's as excruciating as ever to reach your hideout. Hope you're grateful."

Red just nods and looks into the bag. He begins pulling up cans of food and ice heals and organizing them. Green sighs and drops in front of the fire. Red's Charizard and Pikachu are snoring on the other side. The others seem to be in their pokéballs. Green sheds his frozen boots and jacket and holds his hands in front of the flames. Finally.

Red is moving around without making a sound, disposing his things delicately into straight piles. The firelight cuts him into sharp shapes. That's the thing Green remembers most from the first time he was here. Sharp shapes and harsh lights from a fire on top of a mountain.

***

Green was the first to clear the Elite Four. He won the race, but somehow Red was the one who ended up winning. Three years later he's still a little bit bitter about it. At fourteen it felt like a tragedy. So instead of cutting his losses and moving on with his life, he continued the race. He completed the Pokédex save the legendaries. He took Johto's league by storm and beat the Elite Four a second time. But he still didn't beat Red because instead of racing him, he had disappeared.

Red didn't care about him nearly as much as he cared about Red.

So Green moved on. Or at least, tried to pretend he did. He became a gym leader and battled bratty kids, wondering if he sounded as annoying at their age.

When the rumours about a legendary trainer on top of Mount Silver started to run around he didn't even feel embarrassed about packing his bag the very minute.

Mount Silver was harsh. Victory Road was, at least, a road. This was just a desolated lonely mountain, only remarkable for the sting of its winds and the ruthlessness of its wild Pokémons.

But once he passed the labyrinthic caves, the murderous wildlife and the never ending storm, he breached the cloud cover and found fields of pristine white snow only breached by tiny greyish bushes and a few pine trees. It was the last day of November and the first snowflakes were falling on Viridian. Mount Silver was already covered by the snow that gave it its name. It was beautiful and terribly cold.

He could have lost himself to this never ending landscape if it hadn't been for a very distinctive Charizard flying around the mountain tops.

The astonished look on Red's face when he finally found him was well worth the trip.

"I think you owe me a return match." He said with his usual cockiness. The effect was somewhat lessened by his chattering teeth but oh well. Red of course didn't answer anything. He just kept staring at him like he was wondering if he was actually real.

"Come on I didn't come all the way here to be looked at. Battle me !"

He threw Rhydon's pokéball into the air. The colossal Pokémon materialized in a flurry of displaced snow. His battle cry echoes between the mountaintops. Red kept staring at him. His Pikachu looked back and forth between them, her tail swishing. She at least seemed eager to battle. After a long, uncomfortable silence, Red finally... pointed at the sky.

Green followed stupidly his finger. The sky was empty. No cloud, no moon, just the sun slowly drifting West.

"... what ?"

Red shoved a hand across his own face and made a frustrated sound. Then he turned around and walked away.

It took a second for Green to process what was happening. Then he paddled in the snow to follow him.

"What ?! For once in your life you decline a fight and that's when I climbed a fucking mountain to find you ?"

Red said nothing. He zipped close the bag he was filling with --whatever, Green didn't care-- and climbed on the back of his Charizard. The dragon gave one puzzled look at Green and flew into the crisp blue sky.

"Oh no you don't !!"

The next second Green was on Pidgeot and desperately flying after Red.

The cold wind cut at his skin during what felt like a far too long ride. They were still in the sky when it started to suddenly get dark. The sun wasn't setting but it was already hidden by the mountain. It wasn't night but everything was shrouded in shadows. Without the sun on his skin Green was freezing. Pidgeot didn't look so good either.

And Charizard kept flying.

When the dragon finally touched down, followed by Pidgeot, Green couldn't feel his fingers anymore. He intended to swiftly jump down but when his legs connected to the ground they collapsed and he found himself kissing the hard frozen dirt.

He forced himself to stand, blinked away the stars in his vision and searched for Red. What he saw was Charizard's flaming tail entering the mouth of a small cave.

Pidgeot let out a pitiful cry. Green recalled him and, on feeble legs, entered the cave. It was nothing but a small tunnel going down that morphed into a slightly larger cavity. The ceiling was low, the walls full of shadows. Green was already feeling claustrophobic. It was just big enough for Charizard to curl up in the corner, his tail illuminating the scene in a ghostly light.

Was this Red's hideout ? It didn't look like a place someone spent the last two years living in. There was a big backpack in the corner that Red was currently foraging into and a cot on the ground with a sleeping bag that looked far too thin for the location. Charizard was resting on a bed of pine needles. Those were the only indications that someone may have spent a night or two here.

The second Green sat down on the cold stone he felt the exhaustion catching up on him. Okay, maybe he could wait a day for his rematch. He was sure he could have felt asleep on the spot but he needed to get his sleeping bag out unless he wanted to die of hypothermia in the middle of the night. Charizard's tail was not enough to warm up the cave.

He laid out his sleeping bag with heavy limbs. It was a good mountain bag, brand new, the only thing he took the time to shop for before taking off to chase after Red. He removed his shoes and slipped in the duvet with all of his clothes still on. Still, it took him a few minutes to get to a comfortable temperature. Minutes that he spent looking at Red. He was laying against Charizard's belly, writing on a notepad. With just a long-sleeved shirt. "Aren't you cold ?" He grumbled at him. Red lifted his head to give him a curious look. He shrugged, and went back to his notepad. Maybe being against Charizard was enough to keep him warm ?

Green was drifting off into sleep when something poked his cheek. He blinked his eyes open to find Red hovering over him, his notebook literally in Green's face. "Waddya want ?" Red just pushed the notebook with more insistence. "Alright alright." He was too tired to think of a snappy remark. He willed his eyes to stay open long enough to see... a lot of scribbles. The notebook page was covered in hazardous letters, most of them stroked out. Only one word remained readable. Misshapen letters uncertainly thrown together to form the word 'tomorrow'. "Tomorrow what ?" Red mimicked a boxing motion. "What, battle ?" Red nodded. "You want to battle... tomorrow ?" Red nodded again and a small smile appeared on his face. Green turned over "Yeah okay whatever, just lemme sleep."

***

Green didn't sleep well that first night. The rock was too hard, the air too cold. The flickering of Charizard's tail painted eerie lights against the walls making it seem like a large pokémon was lurking in the shadows.

Red felt asleep a lot later than Green. But once his eyes closed he slept like the dead.

At one point Green opened his eyes between two too short fits of sleep and the light from Charizard's tail was gone.

The cave was too dark. There was a pale light coming from outside thankfully or Green might really have panicked. He crawled on the floor slowly, barely seeing where he put his hands and feet, until he was under the white winter sun.

It had snowed during the night. The crumbled snow where their Pokémons landed the previous day was gone, as their footsteps. But they were replaced by a single set of footsteps and a new circle of mashed up snow where Charizard must have taken flight that morning. Green squinted at the horizon. There was only pristine snow as far as the eye could see, glimmering under the sun. Green would have found it beautiful if he didn't feel so weakened by the cold and the lack of sleep. No way to chase Red. So he might as well take a breakfast.

He got Arcanine out to light up a torch before going back inside the cave to retrieve his backpack, and got back out immediately. He preferred the bite of the wind to the dark of the cave.

He felt a lot better after having eaten something. Still shitty and tired, but better. But still no sign of Red. He laid down against Arcanine's fur and tried to sleep a bit more.

He must have managed to fall asleep since Arcanine's growl woke him up in a startle. "What's the matter buddy ?" he asked, and followed his gaze toward the sky.

Red was back.

He watched Charizard's form grow in the sky, his irritation growing with it. Where were they coming from ? Couldn't he have told him he was going somewhere ? Couldn't he care just a little bit ?

Charizard touched down. The air displaced by his wings ruffled Green's hair and chilled him even more. He placed his best scowl on his face. Red completely ignored him and went straight inside the cave.

"You know, polite people at least say good morning to the people they ditched without leaving a note !" he yelled into the cave. He didn't get inside. There was no reason for him to be the one following all the time. And the cave freaked him out.

"You owe me a match ! You afraid or what ?!"

The cave, of course, didn't answer. So Green turned toward Charizard instead.

"Tell your stupid trainer to come out and fight me !"

Charizard scratched his armpit.

Green yelled and kicked at the snow until he reached rock.

It was several minutes later that Red emerged from the cave. He blinked away the harsh light reflected by the snow. Once his eyes were accustomed to the light enough for him to locate Green, he held out to him the notepad from the previous day.

A single word was written on the page : 'battle ?'

Green smirked. "Fucking finally."

Green fought ruthlessly, Red precisely and calculating. Green used to fight with the same focus and precision. But he was angry and tired. Too desperate to make a point, to show Red... what exactly, he didn't know yet, but he would show him. Under his command his Pokémons fought with abandon, with a carelessness that Green hadn't displayed since the St Anne battle that cost Raticate his life. But at the moment he wasn't thinking about that. He only thought of Red and how he continued to ignore him, to go about his life like Green wasn't worthy of his attention. A victory would show him.

And so, Red was forced to become just as ruthless. Green displayed a manic grin seeing that he finally got a reaction. Now they were both engaged and careless in a battle involving titanic forces on the roof on the world.

In retrospect, Green would slap his own face at how stupid they had been. But in the moment the rush of adrenaline was clouding everything else. Mount Silver was burning and Green hadn't felt this alive since the Elite four.

An attack went a bit too strong, a bit too precisely over a weak point. Arcanine crashed hard against the rock of the mountain and felt in the snow with a weak whine. There was an instant of tense silence where Green couldn't help but wonder for an instant if Arcanine could still fight. Charizard yelled loudly in victory, the sound echoing far. The mountain growled in answer. The next instant snow poured from the mountaintop right over where Arcanine felt.

Green ran toward Arcanine. He had never been smart under pressure.

***

White, heavy. A loud buzz in Green's ears and something heavy pressing everywhere on his body at once.

Trapped. He was trapped under an avalanche and oh god this was bad, this was really really bad.

Green took a couple seconds to force himself to FUCKING CALM DOWN. He also noticed that he was hyperventilating and some part of his brain was remembering something about breathing and avalanches. So he forced himself to take slower breaths. It helped a bit with the panicking.

White, white everywhere. And too much silence that was making his heartbeat ring in his ears. Why was it so silent ? He needed to get out of here. His first thought was to get his hand to his Pokémon belt. But his hand couldn't move. The snow was too heavy, packed too tight. Then he remembered that all of his team had just fought an intense battle and that there was no space for any of them to materialize.

Arcanine, he remembered suddenly. Arcanine was buried deep somewhere in this white cage. He yelled after him, but the eerie silence meant that his voice couldn't reach him anymore than the outside sounds could reach Green.

He tried moving his hands again. His feet, his legs, anything. The snow didn't move. At that moment he realized he was truly fucked.

Deep breaths. The most important thing in a dangerous situation was to not panic. What were you supposed to do under an avalanche again ? He couldn't even move, what was there to do ? Just... Just breathe slowly. And wait for Red to rescue him.

That was all he could do.

He hoped Red could save Arcanine too.

He yelled again, hoping to help Red localize him. No answer. Should he yell again ? Would that consume his oxygen too quickly ? He didn't know. He had no fucking clue, but there was nothing else he could do, so he yelled again.

Silent. It was all too silent. He couldn't be buried that deep. Everything was white, not black. Stay calm stay calm stay calm.

What was taking Red so long ? How long had he been here already ?

What if Red was buried too ?

Don't panic. Don't panic or you'll consume all of your oxygen.

He was going to die here.

He was going to die on this stupid mountain going after stupid Red because he was stupid stupid stupid.

He felt tears dripping sideways across his face.

He was not going to fucking die on this stupid mountain !

He struggled harder against the snow. The surface wasn't far. He knew it. He just had to fight harder. He always fought through life. He could do it ! HE COULD DO IT !

He had to do it.

The snow didn't move a single millimeter.

What else could he do ?

What else was there to do ?

Black at the edge of his vision.

He was going to die here.

For real.

He wished it had been for something less stupid.

.

..

...

Eh. Even if Red did hear him yelling, it wasn't like he could yell back.

Stupid last thought.

.

..

...

He felt kinda something at his leg.

It was hard to focus though. He wasn't sure he was awake at all.

Yeah, he did feel something. Not really sure what. His leg was kinda numb.

Something at his back now. Weird. And now that he was thinking about it... There was something to be heard too, wasn't it ? It was... distant.

He tried to focus on the sound. For some reason, it was important. "eeeeee" it said. Just the vowel. "eee". Maybe he just couldn't hear the rest.

Oh. It was Red voice. Was he trying to say "Green" ? Eh. That would be funny.

Something at his back again. Higher. Oh. Red was trying to dig him out. Cool. He should move a hand or something to show he wasn't dead yet. Ah, but his hands were still trapped. Could he move a foot ? He heard Red yelling again. Did that meant he saw him ? Cool.

Something tugged at his hair and suddenly his face wasn't full of snow anymore.

He gasped and coughed. Everything was blurry. Red's eyes, wide open. Oh.

He was going to live.

It was like the world suddenly came back into focus. The oxygen reached his brain and his panic went back full force. He gasped in big mouthfuls of air that felt like fire in his lungs.

His head was pounding. And he felt so, so tired. He rubbed at his eyes and noticed that his hands were bone white. Strange, he didn't feel cold at all.

Oh. That was probably a very bad sign.

"Red I..." his sentence was interrupted by a coughing fit. It felt like his vocal cords were made of sandpaper. "need... heat. Fire... Arcanine !"

Oh Arceus. There was no possible time for Red to save both of them. And he was still alive so...

But Red gave a gesture toward the place where Arcanine had disappeared under the snow. This space was now a puddle of clear water. Beside it Charizard was blowing hot hair on a very wet, and fainted, Arcanine.

Please be it just fainted.

"Revive... ?" Green croaked. Red shook his head. His lips moved and he said the words "no have".

Green could have paused and noticed that it was the first time in years he heard Red say a single word, let alone two. But he was too preoccupied with the life of his Pokémon for that. "my bag" he simply said.

Red let go of him to go find his bag. Without any strength left Green just let himself fall on his back. His vision was filled with blinding blue sky. Wasn't his bag lost to the snow ? Damn his head hurt. Merely thinking felt difficult.

He was hearing footsteps around him but it was hard to follow what was going on. He felt very much like passing out but wasn't sure he would ever open his eyes again if he did.

Heavier footsteps. The wet nose of Arcanine bumped against his cheek. "Hey buddy." he croaked. Arcanine looked just as tired as he was. But he was alive.

They were alive.

Now if they could stay that way, it would be great.

Red recalled Arcanine for him. Charizard and Pikachu were now the only two pokémons out. Charizard lifted Green in his arms and his orange skin against his hands felt like burning. His breath against his face was like being submerged in boiling water. "t, too hot" he managed to gasp. The Charizard didn't blow on his face again, but kept him protected between his arms.

Little by little, the warmth sept through his clothes and the fog lifted from his brain. He gained a new awareness that everything in his body ached. And now that he was a little warmer he started to feel the cold again. He knew logically that it was an improvement but he just felt shittier and shittier.

"Welp. That was a disaster."

Red snickered. The bastard.

"This is literally the worst place ever. Why are you living in the worst place ever ?"

Red looked at him, his eyes suddenly serious. He mimed writing something. "What ?" Red gestured to the snow around them with an exasperated look. "Oh. You can't write down an answer because you lost your notebook." Red nodded. Great. As if talking with him wasn't hard enough. "You talked earlier though. And you used to talk more when we were in Pallet. Why don't you now ?"

Now that he thought about it Red hadn't said a word when they saw each other during their journey. But he used to talk, back in Pallet. He was never very talkative, preferring nodding or gesturing over verbal answers. And when he did talk he mumbled so much it was hard to understand anything anyway. Or he stuck to monosyllabics. So Green hadn't really noted the complete silence the few times they met during their journey. But now that Red was resorting to using writing to communicate it was clear that something had changed.

Red didn't answer anything to that question, gestured or otherwise. He just looked darkly at the snow at his feet. Pikachu jumped between the arms of her master and shot Green a murderous look. Charizard closed his claws a bit tighter around Green as a warning.

Green sighed.

"Alright not talking about..."
"People" Red interrupted.

...

"What ?"

Red bit at his lip. He stayed silent for a while, just petting Pikachu and seemingly thinking about what to say next.

"People... if talk think retard or thing I not I want the that I !" His words collided with each other and he gave up finishing his sentence. Instead he knocked on his own head.

"Woah dude no need to punch yourself !"

Pikachu jumped to the ground while Red gave himself two more knocks and hid his face between his knees.

Green had no idea how to react to that. His head was still hurting and he was still so tired he probably wouldn't be able to stay in a sitting position without Charizard against his back. Why was Red suddenly incapable of making coherent sentences ? He talked normally when they were kids. Well yes, he remembered some of Red's sentences being a little weird... not that Green heard many sentences from him...

The two of them never really hung out together in Pallet, even if there were few other kids. Red was just... weird, in an inexplicable sort of way. When they were children Green was a bit afraid of him though he couldn't recall a reason. Once they started school Green was jealous of Red's good grades in everything and started the rivals thing over it. So they never really became friends after that. Or interact with each other. Had he always talked like that and Green never noticed ?

What do you say to someone you know since you were children but never noticed a single thing about besides what he beat you at ?

"You don't have to talk. I'm too tired to listen anyway."

Which was the truth. That even got a chuckle out of Red. Progress ?

"Seriously, can we go back to your cave and sleep ?"

Red got his head out of his knees and pointed toward the sun while looking at Green. "What ?" Green felt like this word was all he was saying since he got up here. Red reiterated his motion. What could he fucking mean... The last time he pointed at the sun was when... "Oh. You're saying that it's just morning ?" Red nodded. Eh, Green was feeling pretty proud of getting that one right. "Red I don't fucking care I almost died I think I've earned a nap."

Red bit his lip. He traced a word in the snow between the two of them.

'sorry'

This would have been a great opportunity to put all the fault on Red and feel superior for once. To unload on Red all of his irritability and bitterness. But, well, he wasn't feeling very irritable right now. Just sleepy.

"Ah, don't sweat it. Make sure another mountain doesn't fall on me while I nap and we'll be even."

***

When Green opened his eyes again the cave wasn't dark like earlier that day. Charizard's tail was providing a small light painting everything in gloomy shadows. But at least it wasn't claustrophobic black.

Green had woken up because he was feeling cold again. He shivered and shuffled a little bit closer to Charizard's tail. On the other side of the flaming tail, Red was busy brushing Pikachu's fur.

Still in his thin shirt.

Green scowled at him. When it occurred to him that Red was too busy to notice him giving dark looks he added an audible comment. "Aren't you fucking cold ? Just looking at you makes me feel like an icicle."

Red shook his head.

Green didn't feel as tired as before. His head was still hurting and he was feeling bruises form under his skin. But at least he was feeling a bit more cognisant. He tried to go back to sleep but found himself staring at Red instead. The raking light was making him look even stranger than usual. It cast tiny shadows all over the goosebumps of his skin. For someone who proclaimed to not feel cold he was certainly covered in it.

And his skin looked marbled too.

"You sure you're not cold ?" Red gave him an odd look. "I mean, you're covered in goosebumps. Why aren't you cold ?" Red shrugged.

It was just Red being weird, he supposed. He was ready to brush it off his mind with the same nonchalance as Red when he remembered something. The thought made him feel like he was in a cold sweat.

"Red. When I was buried under the snow and even after when you dug me out, I didn't feel cold. At all. When you're in hypothermia, after a point, you stop feeling the temperature. So are you really sure you're not cold ?"

Red looked at him like he had grown a second head for an instant. But then he frowned and appeared to be thinking hard about it. He stopped brushing Pikachu and lifted his arm to his eye level to examine the aspect of his skin. Finally, he shrugged. But not in a way that meant "dunno, don't care" rather "I'm really not sure".

"Let's build a bonfire."

***

Technically Charizard could suffice as a heater. But Green was still feeling cold even between the Pokémon's arms and they couldn't very well ask him to breathe fire for any large amount of time. So Green set himself to find wood and Red followed. They cleared a space near the cave's entrance where they would be sheltered enough from the wind but still in the open so they wouldn't asphyxiate themselves. Green got a couple food cans from his bag that they heated over the fire.

Warm and with a hot (if small) meal in his belly, Green was feeling loads better. Red had just nodded when Green had given him his half of the meal. After that he mimed writing. Fortunately Green had some lose paper at the bottom of his bag that he had landed to him.

That was half an hour ago.

Green had no idea what Red was writing. Not a novel he hoped. It looked like Red spent five minutes thinking before writing a single word. When finally he gave him the paper back Green was not really surprised to find that his message was pretty short.

'I'm not very good at knowing when I need to eat, or sleep, and all. So I'm not sure about it, but I think I feel a bit better now. I had forgotten to eat for a while. Thank you for reminding me about it.'

"Forgotten to eat ?" Green thought out loud.

Red nodded.

"How do you forget to eat ? Don't you feel hungry ?"

Red shook his head.

"Then you need to have someone come here and feed you every once in a while."

Red nodded.

Green sighed.

"Well it's not like your mom is going to climb the stupid mountain."

Red shook his head again.

There was a second of silence where Green debated if more needed to be said or not. But since Red was being particularly obtuse he felt it would be better to spell it out.

"Alright. Can't beat your ass if you die of starvation. I'll bring you groceries and shit if you battle me for it."

Red nodded.

And that's all that was said about it.

***

***

***

"You know it's been a year already since I've started coming here." Green murmurs, half to the fire and half to Red.

Red shots him an interrogative look over his groceries sorting.

"Winter's around the corner."

Red shots him that look again. The one that means that he has no idea where Green is going.

"'m just saying that it's going to be harder for you. Less stuff to forage and all. So tell me if you need anything else. I'll try to come more often but you know the climb's more difficult as well when it's snowing."

Red simply nods.

Once everything is settled to his liking he comes to sit at the fire, next to Green. Pikachu immediately jumps on his master's lap to demand petting. Green uses his proximity to steal a look at Red's skin. No goosebumps. Good.

"So is there anything else you need ?" Green asks in case he wasn't explicit enough the first time.

Red shakes his head. But it's a bit stiff in a way that says that there's more to it. But he doesn't reach to his notebook as he would do if there was something more he wanted to say. So... Is he missing something he doesn't want to ask for ? Green has become pretty good at understanding Red over the last year. Or at least as good as anyone can be which is not much at all. And this time he's not sure what he's supposed to understand.

Can't hurt to do a bit of prodding.

"Are your Pokémons all good ?"
Red nods with what looks like a tiny start of a smile. He scratches under Pikachu's chin which makes her buzz happily.
"Are you all good ?"
An hesitation. And a shrug. Ah, they're getting somewhere.
"You're not hurt are you ?"
Red shakes his head. Then turns his head toward Green, hesitates, bites his lip.
"Okay. Something's bothering you. Do you know what it is ?"

After that first visit Green had come several times to find Red about to starve or turn into an icicle without him noticing at all. The question still makes sense.

Red hesitates a moment, then gives a small nod.

"Great. Is it water, food, sleep, heat... ?" he starts while counting on his fingers to be sure he's not forgetting anything.
Red shakes his head before Green is done. He steals a glance at him and bites his lip again.
"It's going to take a while for me to guess then. Can you write it down, or show me somehow ?"
Red frowns. He opens his mouth and says... something. There's vowels in here, probably a consonant or two. He looks at Green expectantly. Green raises his eyebrows.
"Sorry man, still gibberish."
Red groans. And punches his own head with the heel of his hand. The move makes Pikachu jump from his knees and take refuge on the other side of the fire. Red then raises a finger to ask Green to wait a moment and goes to where he keeps his notepad and pen.

This is going to take a while. Green distracts himself by looking at Pikachu climbing on Charizard's lap in the time it takes Red to wrestle with the pen and beat his thoughts into actual words. When Red finally makes an approving sort of sound and gives him the paper Green takes a few moments to decipher the misshapen letters.

'I miss skin' it says.

"Skin" Green repeats, dumbly. Red nods sharply. Skin. What the hell does he mean by skin.

"...skin as in, hugs and such ?" Red nods again.

"Okay, that's... not something I can shop for."

Honestly, Green is surprised. He assumed Red had zero need for human contact. Isn't it the precise reason why he's living on top of a mountain ? Red is curled on himself, looking at the fire and stealing a glance at Green from time to time. Maybe even Red needs a hug once every... three years ?

"I can hug you. If you want." Actually saying this feels extremely dumb.

Red sits still. He doesn't give any indication that he even heard. Green takes it as a no but then Red finally gives a very small nod. Okay then. Green scoots closer, observing Red's reactions like he's a frightened animal he doesn't want to startle. Which is stupid, really, but Green prefers to be careful. If there's one thing he doesn't want it's to intrude on Red while they're in his sanctuary.

Since Red doesn't bolt or shake his head, Green slowly warps an arm across his shoulders. And... pats his opposite shoulder. Okay, this is lame. Red is stiff under his arm. This is not comfortable. At all. But Green is not retrieving his arm until Red gives him an indication that he wants so.

There's a few seconds of uncomfortable silence. Then Red seems to make a decision. He turns toward Green and wrap his arms around him. Green does the same in answer. Red finally relax and this is starting to feel like an actual hug.

"Now that I think about it, I dunno when was my last hug either." Green murmurs into Red's cap. Red answers with a vaguely positive grunt. Green rubs his back.

"Feeling better ?" Red nods against his collarbone and hugs him tighter.

Green allows himself to sink into the feeling. This is... nice, actually. Red feels solid against him. His hands hold him tight. It feels... safe. He breathes in just to feel Red's hand tighten against his ribcage.

He could get used to it.

***

When Green wakes up the next day Red is gone. Like just about every time Green comes to visit him. He brings groceries, stays a day or two to be sure Red has everything he needs, and then goes back down to the land of the living. And each time, once Red has gotten his new things organized, he goes on with his normal program outside as if Green wasn't there. Green's not mad. Not anymore anyway. Red didn't went into exile to be bothered by Green's presence. He could survive without the groceries, really, if he didn't forget to eat. He never requested anything. Green practically imposed on him a better quality of life. So the lack of interaction between them doesn't bother him.

Except that for some reason this morning, while still half-asleep, his arms try to find Red and he's bothered when they don't.

It takes him a moment to properly wake up and identify the source of his grumpiness. And when he's found it he looks, perplexed, at his empty arms and remembers what it was like to have Red in his embrace.

Okay, this is far too romantic for this early in the morning.

He opens his water bottle and splashes water on his face to properly wake up and dismiss the intrusive thoughts. He grabs a food can at random and approaches the cooling coals to make himself a breakfast. But as he swallows the unidentified canned food the sensation of Red's fingers against his back invades his thoughts again.

Well. Now's a good time as any to finally admit what he's been trying to ignore during the past few months : He has a crush.

If he's honest with himself he probably always had a crush on Red. Even as kids he craved his attention. He made his starter evolve into Jolteon just to counter that stupid Pikachu. His whole journey was centered around beating Red and even now that Red is living on this stupid, stupid mountain, Green is still chasing him up here. His feelings toward Red are... complicated and all tangled up. But they are there. And the tingles in his spine when he thinks of the touch of Red's fingers gives him a bit of an idea as to what he wants from him.

He puts his breakfast down and hides between his arms to scream.

***

He finds Red collecting hazelnuts a short fly away from the cave. It's late fall and the temperatures are dropping faster than a Seismic Toss. Soon the ground will freeze and Red will have nothing to eat but can food and pine cones. Wordlessly Green recalls Pidgeot and starts picking nuts too.

The sun is shining bright so it's not so bad. Naturally, the second he thinks that, white clouds come to prevent them from feeling slightly comfortable. Green closes his vest with a scowl then watches critically Red's open one. "Close that." He says with a finger jamming into his chest. Oh shit, where did that gesture came from ? Red wouldn't like being touched like that without warning. But instead of putting distance between them he bats away the offending finger and closes his vest without any kind of reproachful glare.

Uh.

They collect every last nut they can find and go back to the cave to put them away in empty jelly jars that were once part of Green's groceries. After that they let their Pokémons out for a stretch that ends up in a battle. Green loses of course, but it's a near thing, and Green doesn't mind that much because they never battled seriously on Mount Silver since that first visit. Too far from any Pokémon Center. Too risky. In a real battle he would beat him, Green keeps repeating himself, because his competitive streak hasn't mellowed along with his animosity. Red gives him a thumb-up and a bright smile and Green doesn't know if he wants to wipe that smile from that face or look at it forever.

It's still too early for such sappiness. It was a terrible idea to admit to himself the existence of his crush while he was on Mount Silver. The feelings are too raw and Red is too close. And he hates feeling so emotional. Sometime later in the comfort of his flat in Viridian he'll have a proper breakdown about it. For now he squashes the feeling away to some dark corner of his own mind and follows Red for his various chores of the day. They go down the river to fill up jugs of freezing water, Rhydon chops off a tree for firewood and they clean up the pile of ashes in the center of the cave. He feels like a Pachirisu storing Apricorns for the winter. Winters are stupid. Green saw Red go through a winter once already and it wasn't pretty. He doesn't even want to imagine what his first winter was like, before Green came barging in.

But he can't stop the winter and Red doesn't look like he's coming down any time soon. So he squirrels everything he can.

***

At the end of the day they are back at the cave. Red counts the hazelnuts and makes calculations to decide how to ration them. Beside those there's four big jars of chestnuts and about fourty food cans neatly stacked. It's not his first winter. He'll be fine.

Green focuses on brushing Jolteon's teeth instead of looking at Red's skinny back. When he's done Jolteon snaps at his fingers just to remind him that she does not like that and goes chasing after Pikachu in the darkness of the cave. He can hear a buzzing sound from the rat that sounds like a giggle.

Seems like Red is done with his food inspection since he plops down next to Green with a satisfied smile.

"Think you'll have enough ?"

Red nods confidently. He takes his notebook and starts writing something. While waiting for him Green puts away his Pokémon's grooming supplies.

'I have enough to last thirty days without you bringing me anything. So even if there's a big snowstorm and you can't come I'll be okay. But I'd still prefer if you'd come.'

Green feels a strange warmth in his chest. It's the first time Red actually says that he likes having him here. It's the first time Green doesn't feel like an intruder in his territory. He wants to explain the significance of that but he doesn't know how to not sound like a romantic idiot. So instead he just says "Eh. Me too." When it comes to talking about his feelings he's not more competent than Red.

Red touches his arm with the tip of his finger and opens the other one in invitation. "Thought you got enough skin contact yesterday to last you the next three years." Green jokes. Red shakes his head very seriously. So Green loops his arm around his waist and rests his head on his shoulder.

It's comfy. It's safe. Red closes his arms around him and snakes his head under Green's chin. His rough dark hair tickles his skin.

Green let out a comfortable sigh.

After what feels like a while Green starts to move away but Red's arms squeeze him more. Green chuckles. "Alright, 'm not going anywhere." Red's index finger starts tapping against Green's vertebrae in the gesture Red does when he's thinking. But when he's doing it against Green's back it's hard to stay focused. Green can feel Red's jaw opening and closing several times against his collarbone.

"M-mh. Other... Mh. Also it's, I with also, mmmmh !" Red makes a frustrated growl.
Green chuckles. Red growls more.
"Also... ?"
"Also other !" Red repeats with conviction, like if he puts enough willpower in his words they will start to make sense.
"There's another thing you want ?" Green tries.
Red makes an affirmative "mh-mh."

Green's mind immediately jumps to other kinds of needs involving skin on skin. He shoves back the though immediately. But his voice is still cracking as he asks "Can you write or uh show..." he can't even finish the question or his mind is going to run with it and never come back.

He can feel Red tense a little bit. He's thinking it over. Finally, he moves his head and Green think he's going to move away to grab the notepad, but instead his head rotates against his neck and his lips connect with his skin.

Green freezes. Was that... accidental ? No, no it wasn't, because Red is now making the tiniest of kiss against the skin of his neck and oh god, Green can feel goosebumps radiating from the kiss.

"Uuuuuh" he says intelligently.

Red really moves away now. His arms are still loose around him, but his head is now facing him. His eyes ask if this is okay.

"You uh..." Green tries again. One of his hands goes reflexively against the place Red kissed. "...want..." For once his words fail him, but Red understands anyway and nods.

Green quickly reconfigurates his entire universe. "Well, this is new." he says to stall for time while he thinks of a proper way to react. Red shakes his head. This is not new ? "How long... hold on, Red, you're really going to need to write this down, I can't just guess when it comes to... well..." whatever the hell this is, he completes in his own head.

Red grabs the notepad and quickly writes down something before shoving it in Green's face.

'do you want to ?'

"Do I want to what ?" Green croaks.

Red blows him a kiss. And he does so with a smile so full of mischief Green feels like he could go hard just from the sight if he wasn't feeling so... surprised ? confused ?

Red taps on the notepad. Right.

"I uh... I'm not opposed..." yeah, that's the understatement of the year "but, how do I say that. I don't want to..." kiss ? have sex ? "...go there if it's just because I'm the only human around."

And isn't that the one million pokedollars question ? Has Red even seen another human these past few years ? There's this kid from Johto who climbed to fight him a few months ago, but besides that...

Red never cared about him the way he cares about Red. He knows that. So why him ?

Red looks at him like he's being a particularly obtuse child. He grabs the notepad and writes quickly with a scowl on his face. Then shows it to Green.

'you're YOU'

The last word is underlined. Twice.

Green let out a breath.

"But... you don't like me."

Red rolls his eyes. He drops the notepad to wrap his arms again around Green. "You" Red insists while looking him right into the eyes. Green gulps. He doesn't know what to do with his hands. He doesn't know what to do at all. Red deposits another kiss to his neck. "You" he repeats again. Then another to his cheek. "You" To his jaw. "You" On his collarbone. "Stupid you".

Green chuckles.

"Okay I... I can't say that I hate you."

Red's fingers coil around his waist.

"And I certainly don't hate this."

Red hums, then licks his neck. Green hisses. His hands finally move to wrap around Red's back and rest between his shoulders. Red is doing a thorough job of mapping the skin of his neck in kisses and light bruises. Green stretches his neck to accommodate him. He still doesn't know what Red wants exactly. Making out ? More ? So he just let him do his thing for now. Especially since the thing sends tingles all over Green's skin.

Red's body moves under Green's hands. They were still sort of side hugging but Red gets in front of him and climbs into his lap without ever stopping kissing at Green's jaw. Green inhales sharply and his hands tighten around Red's waist. He can feel Red's back muscles roll under the clothes as he finds his balance. For a second he's hovering over Green. His mouth climbs up his jaw to find his earlobe, and his thighs lower him to sit on Green's lap.

Green is breathing hard. He doesn't know when it started but he is. Red, who he thought had zero interest in him or in humans in general, is sitting on his thighs, one hand at the back of his head and his teeth tugging at his earlobe. He deposits a single kiss to Green's cheek and draws back to look at him.

His eyes are dark and intense. It's like he's pining Green down just with his gaze. "Ok ?" he asks in a low voice.

One of Green's hands go caress his cheek. "More than."

Red turns his head to kiss Green's palm. Then he grabs the hand by the wrist and draws a line of kisses from the palm to the inside of the elbow. Green gasps. He didn't know the skin here was so sensitive. Red razor-sharp eyes notice that too. He hovers over the skin for a second, then bites it. Green let out a louder gasp. "Why ?! That hurts !" In lieu of answer, Red sucks a bruise right over the bitten skin. Then licks over it. This time, Green's gasps take an entire different coloration. The bruised skin is now so sensitive every brush of the tongue is multiplied.

"Fuck. Thought you just wanted kissing." He tries to laugh, but it comes out breathless. "Ok ?" Red repeats against his skin. Green smirks. With his free hand, he holds Red's hair tight. "If you want to be rough, go ahead, but two can play this game." Because apparently his body likes the bites and bruises, but fuck if he's going to go down without a fight. Red answers with a smirk that means trouble.

Red's weight shifts on his legs and the next instant Green's head hits the ground. Green wants to rub the ache out of his scalp, but he discovers that both of his wrists are pinned under Red's hands. Red hovers over him, his weight crushing Green's wrists. "Fuck" he let out. Red brings Green's wrists together and moves his weight so that both of Green's wrists are pinned down by only one of his hands. The weight is bringing pins and needles to his fingers.

Green tugs a bit. Honestly, holding two wrists with only one hand isn't a very secure hold and Green thinks he could free himself pretty easily. But Red bites his throat and every other thought flies right out the window. God damn it. It hurts and why does his deranged brain like it so much ? Red lets go pretty much immediately but still it feels like he has a big bruise right across his Adam apple. After that Red drags his teeth across his collarbone, then kisses the hollow where the bones meet down his throat. Red stays here, lips pressed against his bones and Green feels pressure building at each intake of breath. The stone is hard beneath and Red's body heavy over him. Every inch of his body is compressed to the point it's difficult to take a breath.

After an eternity Red finally lifts himself up a little bit. He brings Green's wrists closer to his head. He put a crushing weight on his wrists with his hand and on his mind with his eyes. Then only he releases his wrists, the order to keep them here crystal clear.

Blood rushes to his fingers and Green groans at the sensation. It's so overwhelming he doesn't even know if it's pleasurable or not. He flexes his fingers once and twice and pins and needles fill up his flesh. He automatically moves his fingers around to keep the sensation coming, so he guesses that somehow he must like that.

Meanwhile, Red uprighted himself and is now sitting on Green's tights again. With a single fingernail he traces down the middle of Green's shirt. The fabric blunts the sensation. "You can remove it" Green says and oh god is that his voice ? It's breathy and shaky. He sounds like he's done for and they haven't really started yet. Red only nods, indifferent to Green's conundrum. His finger reaches the bottom brim of the shirt. It slips under and makes the same journey back up. It's featherlight, the nail too short and blunt to scratch. It's a counterpoint to the overwhelming sensations in his hands and on his throat.

Green waits. Red is only tracing shapes across his chest but his stare is so intense and calculating, Green burns with anticipation toward what's going on behind those crimson eyes. After a stretching moment of calmness Red brings up Green's shirt with his free hand and rolls it up under his armpits. The fingernail running on his skin stops on a nipple. Red looks at him right in the eyes and Green's breath catches. Slowly, oh so slowly, Red bends down, his eyes still on his until he has to bend the neck. His face is now right above his nipple. He opens his mouth. Green can see his own heart beating madly and bringing his chest closer. Red raises his eyes again. And he bites.

"Aah-un ! Fuuuck !" It hurts like a bitch. "You sadistic motherfucker !" Red is a few centimeters above the abused nipple, observing his own teeth-marks. He bends again. Green holds his breath. And Red... licks it. Green groans, he can't help it, it's like he's skinned alive with his nerves exposed to the elements.

Red continues his treatment of Green's skin. He bites, licks, drags his teeth and suck bruises on Green's entire chest. Soon Red only has to drag his fingertips across his skin to elicit gasps and groans. Red murmurs something that sounds like a praise, contemplating his canvas. "I..." He clicks his tongue. He's trying to say something, and it must be damn important if he's stopping to say this. Green groans and he's about to ask for more but the mere thought of begging makes him shut his mouth with a blush. Instead he uses the time to clear his head a little bit. God damn it he never got fired up so quickly before. It's so infuriating that even in this Red is so effortlessly good ! Above him Red is still trying to put his words in good order. He mouths a few, testing out the syllables. "I cannot but feel... you say ok but... want no real not yeah ? no hum... no hurt"

Green frowns for a second while he tries to parse the words. He doesn't want to really hurt him, is that what he's saying ? Green exhales softly. Red seems genuinely worried. "Dude, if I didn't like it I would have kicked you a while ago yeah ? Now please don't make me ask for you to continue what you're doing 'cause I don't think my mighty ego would survive it." Red still seems worried. He presses a hesitant fingernail to a blooming bruise between his nipples. Green hisses. Now that he's come down a little bit, it actually kinda hurts in a bad way. He wants Red to go back to... he doesn't know, being all intense and focused and godamn hot. But he's above asking. So he needs to bring back Red into the mood.

"Hey, can I move my hands ?" He doesn't know why he asks really, but Red nods. Green slips his hands under Red's shirt and grabs his hips with his fingernails digging in. He hits bone immediately. Red tenses up but doesn't make a sound. Well, now Green just has to force him to become noisy. He sits up and puts one hand against Red's back to press their chests together. Red's shirt against his bare and abused chest makes him bite his lip to silence a hiss. Red reflexively grabs his back too. Red's neck is right in front of Green and so tempting. Wanting to give him a taste of his own medicine Green bites down hard on the shoulder muscle. Red's hands spasm against his back. Green kisses the spot, then makes another at the crook of the neck. Again, Red tenses but keep silent. "You like it ?" Green asks, actually worried that he doesn't. That would be just his luck. If he could at least give back he wouldn't be so embarrassed about liking the rough treatment so much. But Red nods, thank god. So Green covers the side of his neck with teeth. When he detaches himself to go to the other side his eyes meet Red's and he stops. Red's face is deeply flushed. He's a bit short of breath as well. Green's relieved to see at least some indication of his pleasure. Green cups his cheek and Red nuzzles into it. "Did I ever mention that you're cute, golden boy ?" Red's eyes go a bit wilder and his flush flares up. Green kisses his cheek. "Living up to your name." They turn their head at the same time and their lips meet in a quick kiss. "Don't bite my tongue." Green warns before deepening the kiss.

Red's mouth is hot and demanding. Green is driven into it, sucking tongues like his life depends on it. Red --finally !-- let out a small moan. Green grins into the kiss. His hand moves from Red's cheek to his hair. He gives an experimental tug. A bigger moan. Now he's literally pulling his pigtails. Seems like their relationship hasn't changed much after all. After that Green tries out a few things without too much intensity, searching for Red's buttons. Despite his earlier nod, biting doesn't seem to be Red's favourite thing. Scratching gives far better results. Green puts this information to good use and slips under the other's shirt to cover his back in long red marks. Red is hissing along each one and trying to hide his sounds by biting on Green's shoulder. It's a beautiful feedback loop that gets them both hot and panting. And as Green slides his nail across the dip of his back, Red's hip start to make a tiny motion. He's still sitting on Green's tights, his front flushed to Green's stomach. Red is grinding gently against his stomach.

The realization makes Green rock hard instantly. And he knows that Red can feel it against his buttocks. Red stops his motion for a brief instant, just enough to detach himself from Green's shoulder to look him into the eye. "U-uh ?" Green wonders if he has something to say again. But Red now resumes his rocking motion deliberately slowly, putting all of his weight into it. Green can feel the other's hardness digging into his stomach. He holds into Red with his nails and tries to hide his face in Red's shirt, but he's stopped by Red's index finger under his chin forcing him to look back at him.

Red eyes have an intensity impossible to bear. As he rocks against him again, Green can't help closing his eyes for a brief moment. Red's eyes never leave him. Green digs his nails around Red's shoulder blades. Red bites his lip but doesn't even blink. "Look me" he orders when Green tries to bury his face into his neck again. Red's gaze is burning. Green does his best to keep his eyes open and steady despite Red's eyes and Red's slow grind and Red's finger under his chin. Red is carefully studying his every reaction and Green feels completely naked under those eyes despite both of them wearing way too many clothes.

"C, come on, I don't want to come in my pants like a bloody teenager."
Red barely lifts his eyebrows.
"I know we're teenagers, my point still stands." He insists.

His hands tug Red's t-shirt up, which conveniently breaks that unbearable eye contact. He also get rid of his own shirt which was still bunched up under his armpits. Red is thin. He already knew that. Red was starving on that damn mountain before Green started bringing him groceries. Green presses a careful hand to Red's ribs. They're just under the skin, but at least they're not trying to poke out. Red looks reasonably healthy, Green concludes with a small smile. He trails his nails over Red's chest and this time he can see the red lines blooming on the skin and the brief tightening of the abdominal muscles. Red may try to stay silent but he can't hide the way his chest tightens when Green digs his nails between his ribs.

Green puts his middle finger on one of his nipples. Red's breath stops. Green eyes look up because it's his turn to carefully study his reaction as he digs an experimental nail on the sensitive part. Red takes an audible gulp of air, eyes shutting close, teeth biting his lower lip. Damn is that face sexy, Green thinks as he pushes his nail deeper. Red's face scrunches. He's not sure if that's a good or a bad expression, so he lifts his finger up and pushes again a millimeter to the left, his other hand resuming its scratching. Red's reaction doesn't disappoint. His chest is heaving, his hands try to fist in Green's shirt and upon not finding it fist in his hair instead. Okay, so apparently Green is into hair-pulling as well. Go figure. Between that and Red's reaction to having his nipple attacked, Green's painfully trapped dick starts to protest. At least that pain is bad pain. Small mercies.

He wants to get his trousers off but that would imply dislodging Red's ass from hip lap. Tough choice. But he does not want to come in his pants if only because the damn mountain doesn't come with a washing machine. "Hey, you mind if I ditch my trousers ?" Red shakes his head, his eyes still firmly closed. Green's hand gives a little tap to Red's hip to tell him to move. When he's free to move Green quickly removes trousers and boxers in the same movement. He's far past being shy at the idea of being naked. Still, the act of removing his underwear cements the fact that they are going to have sex. Did Red ever have sex before ? Probably not.

Green searches Red's eyes. He's busy popping the button of his own trousers. Green puts a hand over his and Red gives him a puzzled look. "Hey. You sure you wanna do it ?" Red simply nods. There's no hesitation in here. "You know we can stop whenever right ? You just have to say the word, I mean, you just shake your head or something." Red nods again and goes back to getting naked. Alright then. Green's done his best to get consent and he wasn't the one who started it anyway. He feels a bit uneasy having sex, especially kinky sex, with someone who can't simply say "no". But he thinks he knows Red well enough by now to be able to get what he wants to say. And if Red wants to do this it must mean that he trusts Green to be able to understand him. Right ?

Green's interior voice doesn't sound certain enough for his liking. But Red is naked and pushing him to lay on his back and climbing on him and Oh my god he's grinding against me ! and reservations are quickly forgotten in favour of grabbing Red by the shoulders and crushing their mouths together.

Red's hardness is rubbing against his. Green hisses. It would be a lot better with some lubricant. Thinking quickly Green licks his own fingers and snakes his hand between their bodies to get their dicks in hand. Red's breathing stutters. Good, Green thinks with a hungry grin. He has one hand around their dicks and the other making nail-shaped marks on Red's back. It's hot and messy and Green loves it. The patches of skin where Red had sunken his teeth earlier are radiating with fire. Red's moaning now, a delicious sound that feeds Green's hunger even more. He can feel his dick twitch in his hand. "m'not gonna last long." he warns. Red's fingers grab his hair and tug. Hard. Green cries out and let his head follow where Red wants it to go, barring his throat to him. Red captures the skin on the side of his neck between his teeth.

The sensations blur together. There's Red's teeth on his throat and the tingles in his scalp and their moans filling the cave completely. Red is thrusting in his hand, his dick rubbing against his own. Green feels cum on his fingers before he can comprehend what is happening. He should be finished but his brain is still riding the high. Red's teeth let go in favour of open mouth moans against Green's collarbone. He can feel Red's breath on his skin, hot and stuttering, carrying more sounds that Green's ever heard from him. Green buries his nails between Red's shoulder blades and strokes his dick faster. Red isn't long to come. His breathing stops completely during an impossibly long second. And then he exhales, a deep and shuddering breath, and all his muscles turn to jelly. He's suddenly very heavy. Green doesn't care. It's even comfortable, in a weird way. He can really feel that Red is here, with him, all of his body against his skin.

The cum is however not as comfortable.

"Oi. Let me grab a tissue or something." he says with a light push.

Red answers by burying his face more into his neck.

"Come on, it's going to be gross and you don't have a shower. We can go back to cuddling after."

When exactly did his life took such a turn that he is now negotiating less cuddling from Red ?

Red reluctantly agrees to roll over. Green grabs a tissue packet from his bag. He wipes his dick and his stomach and turns to Red. He's sprawled on the rock floor, one arm over his face. His chest his still heaving. Green wipes him clean too and Red doesn't move. "There, better."

The moment Green lays back again on the cot Red is on him again. Literally on him. Green doesn't tell him he's heavy. It feels nice.

Red's hair is a mess. Green thinks his own is probably worse. He puts his fingers through Red's hair and Red reacts with a groan. "Good ?" Red nods against his skin, so he continues massaging his scalp.

"If we fall asleep like that we're going to catch death." Green remarks in a mild tone. Red's hand snakes around his shoulders and squeezes. Green chuckles. "Alright, clothes later."

They stay like that a long time, but eventually Green starts to feel seriously cold. They tear apart to get dressed again and fall back under the same cover, arms around each other.

***

Green is woken up by his own sneeze. Great, he did catch a cold. His hands try to find Red but close around nothing. He opens his eyes. Red's gone. Like every morning.

He swears. He should be used to it by now. Red does his own thing. He's not going to change his schedule by a micro-second for something as inconsequential as Green. It shouldn't bother him.

He turns over and tries to go back to sleep. After a while he can hear footsteps. Is Red back ? Someone who really can't be anyone else slips under the cover and hugs him from behind. "You're already back ?" Green whispers. Red makes an interrogative noise. "I mean, you're usually out training at this hour." Red's hand comes to find his. He traces letters into his skin. Three letters : 'pee'.

"Oh. Okay."

Red holds him and falls back asleep. Green isn't long to fall asleep too.

***

The next day is strangely normal. They get up at the same time and take their breakfast together, which is out of the ordinary. But after that Red is back to his usual rigid schedule. He spends the rest of the morning training. They have lunch and then they go foraging together. They fly down to the treeline to get at a grove of chestnut trees that Green discovered during his trip up the mountain some months ago. They fill two large bags with nuts. Green is rather pleased with their loot. But when they get back to the cave and empty the bags on the floor to sort out the wormy ones everything they gathered doesn't take a lot of space at all.

"Come down with me." Green blurts out.

Red looks up from the nuts he's sorting with interrogation on his face.

"I saw you go through a winter up here. You were miserable. Come down, at least until the winter passes."

Red twists his lip. He hesitates... and shakes his head.

"Why not ?" he asks. But he knows why not. Or at least he thinks he does. It's quiet up here. Predictable. The cave floor is uncomfortable, there's no hot shower and it's freezing for the most part of the year. But it's also peaceful. Green has come to enjoy his visits. It's like a vacation away from the annoying brats at the gym, from that middle-aged lady who's always complaining loudly at the pokemart check-out, from bills and taxes and the million little things that consume his time minute by minute. On Mount Silver, all his time is his. He doesn't have to care about others.

Red doesn't answer. He just continues sorting chestnuts between good and wormy.

"You're not happy here."

He doesn't know why he says that. But he knows it's true. Red gives him an annoyed look. He gets up to get his notebook and starts composing his words. While he writes Green takes the sorting job right where Red left it.

It takes a while for Red to find the appropriate words. More than usual. There's a lot of groaning and striking. Judging from his twisted lips Red's not really satisfied with his message when he turns it toward Green.

'Down is worse.' The notepad reads.

"You're not happy here, but it's still better than the other option ?" Green asks just to clarify. Red nods while looking at the floor.

Green sighs and scratches his head.

"Worse than literally freezing to death ?" Red doesn't react, just keeps staring at the floor. "Worse than starving yourself ? And starving your Pokémons at the same time ?" Red winces. Of course that's the thing that gets to him. "God damnit Red you can't stay on that stupid mountain forever ! Just... Tell me what it is that's making the outside world worse than that freezing pile of rocks ! I'll help you through it." He pushes the notebook back toward Red but he doesn't take it. He just hugs his own knees tighter. "I can't help you if you don't tell me how !" he shouts without meaning to. Red puts his head between his knees, his arms crossed protectively over it. Pikachu makes a loud buzzing sound from her spot near the fire.

There's nothing Green can say past this point.

"Sorry." He whispers, and gets back to preparing Red's winter reserves.

A dozen minutes later Red starts to unfold himself. Green gives him his time and space. That's the two things Red needs the most. He stays focused on his work with the chestnuts until Red's notebook is placed over the unsorted pile. Red goes back to sit near the fire before Green can even pick up the notebook.

Words sit disorganized on the paper. Lots are crossed over. Some are underlined.

'loud'
'people'
'hurt'
'too many'
'mike'

Green stares at that word a few seconds before he understands that it's meant as microphone. Red got a lot of those stuck under his chin after his victory at the League, no matter that he never said anything into them.
'cars'
'loud loud loud'

"Do you mean loud in a literal sense or... ?" he whispers.

Red gestures for the notepad. Green crawls very slowly toward him and gives him the notepad by the tip of his fingers. Red turns to a fresh page and writes a single word.

'both'

After a second, he takes back the notepad to add another.

'everything'

Green let out a breath. "I understand, I think. I'm not saying you should go get a flat in the middle of Celadon. But there's a middle ground between that and living as an hermit in the harshest place this damn planet has to offer."

Red starts to write, quicker this time.

'Tried others before. Islands. Mount Moon. Still people. No one here.'

Green remembers that. "Champion sightings" that appeared in the trashy journals from time to time situating him in one wilderness or the other. At the time Green had thought that he was just exploring, looking for species he had missed. He didn't think he was trying to hide.

"You could hide in my flat..." Red shakes his head immediately. "...yeah, thought so." He couldn't imagine Red staying caged between four walls.

Green's raking his brain, trying to think of somewhere Red could be comfortable without being completely removed from society. He jumps a bit when Red's fingertips touch his cheek. "What ?" In lieu of answer, Red shuffles closer against his chest. Green closes his arms around him and rests his head on top of his. That seems to be the right reaction judging from the contented sight from Red.

Green strokes his hair slowly, still thinking.

"If someone tries to bother you, I'll punch them." He thinks out loud. Red wouldn't need anyone to do the punching for him anyway. But still Red chuckles and his arms close around Green's neck.

Red's fingers brush against the teeth marks embedded into Green's skin. He hisses. "Careful, it still hurts a bit. And not in a good way." He adds with a chuckle. Red detaches himself from him just enough to search his eyes with a worried look. "Hey, hey, don't worry." Green strokes his cheek. "It doesn't hurt much. And it was worth it."

Red searches for his notepad and starts to write, his bottom lip trapped between his teeth.

'I didn't really know why I did it the first time. I just felt like it. I didn't plan on doing it more than once but your reaction' here some words are crossed out 'I couldn't stop.'

Green let out of breathy laugh. "Yeah, I didn't think I was the sort of guy to like this shit either, but here we are. High risk, high reward I'd say."

Red still looks deep in thought. Is he still feeling guilty ? But it looks like he's thinking of something else entirely so Green gives him time and strokes his hair in wait.

Finally Red goes back to his notepad. His writing is slow and hesitant but when he presents the message to Green there are no crossed words.

'Sometimes you have to get hurt to find out if it's worth it.'

Green frowns. "That... isn't where I was going. But I guess it's true. So my kinky brain is the thing that's going to convince you to get down the stupid mountain ?"

Red nods very seriously. Green chuckles. He's too happy to get mad. "Never tell that to anyone alright ? If they ask tell them that you missed me too much."

Red mimics zipping his mouth shut which makes Green laugh again. "You're without a doubt the most ridiculous person I've ever met." Red writes something quickly and shows it to him with a fond smile. "I love you too" it says.

Green doesn't know if he's meant to take that seriously or not. It doesn't really matter. He'll have all of winter to figure that out.

***

Red stands on the edge of the precipice. He has been here for the past two hours.

Green first waits. Then he gets cold so he starts pacing behind him. Then he gets back to the cave to check if they didn't forget anything important. They are leaving a lot of things here. The chestnuts they picked yesterday. Red's cooking utensils. The small pile of firewood and food cans in the back. Red could come back anytime he wants. The ashes aren't even cool.

Green gets back outside. Red is still standing here.

"What are you thinking about ?" He finally asks as he comes standing besides him.

Red stays silent, gaze on the valley low before them. After a while he gets the notebook out of his pocket and writes slowly.

'What will I do ?'

"Whatever you want. You can do the same as you do here everyday. Train. Explore."

Red is frowning. He looks unconvinced. His pencil is slow and hesitant.

'I don't want to keep on doing the same.'

"Then do something else. I'm sorry I don't understand what's bothering you."

Red taps his pencil against the paper, thinking. He finally turns the message toward Green while looking at his feet.

'I'm afraid of the unknown.'

Green let out a soft exhale. He puts a careful hand around Red's shoulder. Red's head rolls to nuzzle against his neck.

"I'll be there. I'm not unknown, am I ?"

Red shakes his head. He takes Green's hand and starts to walk.

They get down the mountain together.