“You’ve been exposed” The simple sentence came out of the agent’s mouth more bluntly than expected, yet the purple-haired woman’s expression remained blank, her words mechanical and her gaze firmly focused on the raven-haired champion. “You and all of the others that entered the ultra-space”
The kantonian trainer blinked, feeling her consciousness fade for a brief moment, only one of the various symptoms she had been suffering from since her return… and the main reason why she was currently safely kept under watch at Aether’s facilities.
“What do you mean exposed?” The girl whispered, but though she hated to admit she was already half-aware of what Anabel was trying to explain to her. She had been experiencing strong, persistent headaches that would come to her randomly every once in a while, her concentration faded at times, and she constantly struggled with insomnia, but perhaps her most notable change was the one related to her eyes…
Her light gray eyes, which she had inherited from her father, now sparkled with a bright purple hue when exposed to certain types of light. It was nothing that caused her pain, nor something that particularly bothered her… If anything the change in the color of her eyes, while directly demonstrating that the trip through the wormhole had changed her, had ultimately proven to be harmless.
“We’ve called you the ‘Fallen’” Anabel explained “Humans who have entered the wormhole and that have been exposed to its environment and radiation”
Gladion scoffed, though his posture remained undisturbed. His back laying on the doorframe of the champion’s room and his arms firmly crossed in annoyance. He kept his eyes closed in an attempt to distract himself from the conversation between the trainer and the purple-haired agent, but her last comment had just been too much for him to tolerate.
“You’re implying that my sister was affected as well” The blond hissed, his intense emerald eyes now fixed on the two members of the International Police.
“She was” Looker replied, knowing very well that having the future head of the company that developed the ultra-wormhole technology on their side could make their job far more simple “There’s a lot of this ‘space’ we still don’t know about, we’re not sure why it affected the Champion more than it affected Ms. Lillie”
The blond’s hands turned to fists as he struggled to keep his own emotions in control.
He should have been the one to go with her…
He could have protected his sister…
He could have protected Moon…
If only he hadn’t been such a coward…so weak… so angry at his own mother to even try to help her.
“There have been strange reports lately” The female agent continued, dismissing the blond’s troubled state to focus on the conversation with the only person in the room that could help them with their mission. “There have been sights of this ‘ultra beasts’ all over the region of Alola”.
The Champion’s eyes widened at the statement and her body straightened impulsively, sitting on the bed and reducing the distance between Anabel and her.
“Is the region in danger?” She asked instinctively, causing looker to shake his head in negation.
“There hasn’t been any damage up until now, but we’re not sure it’s going to stay this way” The male officer spoke, trying his best to not alter the champion more than she already was “…But we need your help”
Anabel looked at him before voicing her ideas, taking control of the conversation once again with a calm voice “We need your help. Yours and the other fallen’s…”
Gladion’s heavy steps made everyone in the room turn to look at him directly, his eyes were open wide now and the fire in them was evident, his hands were trembling as he advanced towards the champion’s bed to face both Anabel and Looker, frowning.
“You’re crazy if you think she’s going to help you with this” He hissed with a barely audible tone, but loud enough for both of the trained officers to get chills running down their spine.
“That’s not your decision to make…” Anabel replied with her arms crossed, perfectly masking her surprise “We need someone to enter to the wormholes and we can’t affect more people with the environment they’re subjected to…”
The mauve eyed woman spoke coldly, staring directly at the president-to-be face to try and prove she was not scared of him. She couldn’t let her guard down for a second, she was an agent after all… And she needed to remain calm.
“I think I have a say in this considering you’re speaking about my sister and my…” The blond stopped as he doubted. His eyes flickered, as well as his confidence “My best friend and my rival…” He continued, but it was too late, the female agent had already won the war against him… She was adamant, her eyes still fixed in the blond.
“Gladion I’m fine with this” Moon suddenly muttered, taking both of the agents and the Aether family member by surprise. She smiled at him, reassuringly.
“As long as it helps the region…”
She had taken her decision after that conversation four years ago… A conversation that had ultimately led them towards this day. With him nervously pacing around the Altar, accompanied only by the two agents that had driven her to do this.
In all of the years she had spent taking on these missions this was the first time she went alone. He had volunteered to go with her, but Anabel was inflexible: No one that wasn’t already a fallen could enter the wormholes.
It wasn’t that he didn’t trust in her capacity, he knew she was by far the best trainer Alola had ever seen. Still, with his arms crossed over his chest and his nervous movements around the altar he couldn’t stop the unusual sensation in his chest.
He smoothly shoved his hand into one of the pockets of his robe, taking out one of the only two pokéballs he had brought along with him and releasing Silvally from it.
He watched as the artificial Pokémon materialized in front of him, earning an angry glance from Anabel, who had previously forbid him to bring his Pokémon with him to the incursions.
He couldn’t be trusted. That’s what both officers thought, his feelings were chaotic and he was too quick to act on impulse. They had managed to keep him away from the ultra-wormholes for the last four years only by a miracle.
“Mr. President you know you’re not supposed to bring your Pokémon here” Anabel spoke strictly, still not managing to earn a reaction from the blond.
As soon as the artificial Pokémon had gotten out of the device it had started to act strangely. The dog kind of Pokémon looked at the wormhole agitated and started growling at it.
Gladion’s heart sunk at the sight of the agitated Pokémon, something he had not seen ever since he became his trainer. His mind started running at the speed of a Jolteon as he discretely introduced his hand in his other pocket. The one that contained the pokéball his sister had gave him.
“She has never taken this long to come back…” The president uttered unsettled as he grabbed the spherical device.
“It’s just for emergencies…” His sister had told him “Please don’t do anything stupid while I’m gone”
But he was, as a matter of fact, planning to do something stupid.
Something very stupid.
“You know as well as us that that doesn’t mean anything” Looker spoke, watching nervously as the blond's hand slid in the labcoat’s pocket and discreetly grabbing one of his pokéballs from his belt. “She must be on her way now…”
“She doesn’t have Lillie this time…” The blond spoke with a seemingly calm tone “Not even Guzma, this is the first time she goes alone”
“Gladion if you’re thinking what I’m sure you’re thinking…” Anabel suddenly interrupted “…You could even put her in danger…” The agent continued, not willing to give up on her resolution.
It was just a matter of time, they could tell the young President was impulsive. They were prepared for this kind of situation, she thought, as she readied herself for battle.
“You can’t always act on your feelings!” The female trainer screamed “You can’t compromise the mission just because you have trouble trusting her”
The blond frowned at the comment. She didn’t get him at all.
“If there’s nothing wrong with her tell me why is Silvally so uneasy?” He asked, with a steady tone still in his words.
He was worried sick, but showing that to them wouldn’t help his case. She had already been gone for three hours, which was at least double the time she usually took to complete her missions. She didn’t have Lillie with her. She was alone, and there was just one thought repeating and repeating all over again in his mind:
He should have gone with her
He remembered the last time he’d felt this way. Useless. Empty… It had been the night she had agreed to enter the wormhole again. It had been that night she had looked at him directly, with those gray eyes sparkling with purple as the moon reflected in them.
The night she had asked him not to worry. The night she had promised him she would be fine.
Except she wasn’t. And he was sure of it.
“Gladion recall Silvally into its pokéball again” Looker added to the conversation, already altered by the young president’s apparently calm reaction.
A minute of silence passed, neither of the three making a single move, though this time the female agent had made a terrible mistake: She was beginning to lose her patience.
“Gladion…” She spoke, as she placed her finger near the button of the black and yellow sphere in her hand “Recall Silvally…” She ordered, finally earning the glance of the male trainer.
“I won’t do that…” He muttered, throwing her a death glare as the air between the three of them grew heavy.
“Well, we can’t risk the mission just because you don’t care about it!” The purple-haired agent screamed, finally losing her last bit of patience. As soon as the last word came of her mouth she bit her lip in annoyance. She had made a mistake, and she knew it.
“You know what, agent?” The blond spoke, finally letting his feelings out in the process. He hated them. He hated them for doing this to her, for forcing her to participate in this.
He hated that she was now most likely in danger thanks to them.
“There’s one thing you were right about in everything you said…” He declared, his hand finally grabbing the pokéball his sister had given him.
“I don’t fucking care”
He pressed the button, causing a large amount of smoke to spread at the altar.
The agents called their Pokémon out, but it was useless, Lillie’s Lunala stood now in front of them imposingly.
“Silvally!” Gladion shouted as he mounted the Moone Pokémon, motioning the artificial Pokémon to follow him
“Nebby, take me to her…” He finally whispered as he caressed the legendary pokemon’s back.
Anabel and Looker watched him disappear in just a fraction of a second, his entrance causing the wormhole to sparkle and deform for a while until it finally stabilized.
Both agents dropped to the floor, exhausted. Defeated. There was nothing they could do now except for waiting.
As soon as Gladion entered the wormhole he could feel his head growing heavier, his concentration failing and his grip on Nebby loosening. He had thankfully managed to recall Silvally on its pokéball before entering the ultra-space.
He struggled to keep himself focused as he looked at all of the wormholes that appeared in front of him. It seemed so easy to get lost… He couldn’t believe Moon had never taken more than 2 hours to come back…
At least until now.
Lunala floated steadily, avoiding expertly every wormhole that appeared in their way. He could tell the legendary Pokémon knew where it was going, but that didn’t help to keep his uneasiness away.
He mentally slapped himself, ignoring all of the weird sensations this new space was causing him to experiment. He knew he would be exposed to this, and he didn’t care.
He only cared about getting to Moon as soon as possible.
A different wormhole appeared in front of them, a bigger one which he could swear shined of a different color, his stomach flipped as Lunala dashed towards it, screeching.
His sight blurred as they both went through the wormhole, the action quickly managing to make his head feel heavy again, but he couldn’t give up now. Not when he was so close.
When he finally managed to look at what was inside the wormhole he found an empty terrain, the soil was gray and a lot of unidentified beings floated around him, seemingly undisturbed by his presence. The air was thick and his body felt like it was being dragged towards the ground. He looked around the place, trying desperately to find the Champion, but he couldn’t find her or her Pokémon anywhere… At least until he spotted her in the distance, lying on the ground.
His heart sunk as he ran towards her, ignoring the previous feeling of heaviness, ignoring the thick air that plagued this unknown atmosphere until he reached her.
She was unconscious, her pokéballs all scattered in the ground around her.
He kneeled and grabbed her by her back as he suddenly watched in horror the growing red stain on her shirt, the evident wound in her stomach.
That was all he could see.
The red liquid staining his hands as he struggled to concentrate.
Focus! He reprehended himself. Quickly taking off his now red lab coat and tearing a piece of the clothing before tying it up around the champion’s body, tightening it enough to stop the flow of blood and finally taking her in her arms.
“Don’t die, please don’t die…” He pleaded as he mounted the legendary, partly wishing to find the creature that had done this to her. He felt resentment… But he mostly felt distressed.
He didn’t even have to signal the Moone Pokémon, as it flew out of the wormhole as soon as he and the female trainer were secured on its back.
He looked at the Champion’s face hoping for a reaction, but her eyes never opened to him. She was cold. She was so cold it scared him.
Had he made it in time?
“Please don’t die” He muttered as he joined their foreheads “I…” He spoke, feeling his consciousness fade little by little. He was obviously being affected by the ultra-space environment, but he wasn’t willing to give up just yet “I don’t know what I would do…” he muttered, barely managing to keep his eyes open “…If I lost you”.
He managed to see the altar at the end of the large tunnel, he could watch the moon shine brightly at the other side despite his blurry vision, his grip on the girl never loosening even as he felt his brain collapse minute by minute.
Lunala screeched as soon as they came out of the wormhole, surprising the agents that were still waiting at the altar. Gladion jumped to the ground, holding Moon tightly, he could see the bloodstain growing once again as he collapsed to the ground, looking at Anabel firmly even though he himself felt as if he was going to fade at any second.
“She’s wounded…” He muttered, his body trembling as his arms grew weaker. His pleading, yet firm gaze now sparkled with a bright purple hue “Take her...” He whispered “Hospital… now…”
As soon as he saw Looker take the Champion into his arms he fell depleted. Unconscious.
When the blond opened his eyes he was greeted by the sight of a peaceful looking Moon. Her body was pretty much completely covered in bandages and bruises, he noticed as he watched her sleeping for a second, not managing to fight the overly-happy smile the sight had caused him.
She was sitting in a chair next to his bed, though the upper half of her body rested on top of the mattress. Her hand was gently wrapped around his, and even though she was asleep, he could feel her grip was tight.
His face turned a discrete shade of pink as he caressed her hair with his free hand, feeling his heart strongly beating in his chest.
She was alive. She was fine…
He sighed, feeling his chest lighter as a goofy smile formed on his face.
… Had she always been this beautiful?
He could feel her body moving a bit with his gentle touch. He panicked for a second when he saw her stretch, but was ultimately soothed by her charming smile and her soft stare.
“You’re awake” She spoke serenely, catching the newly acquired violet tone in his eyes for a fraction of a second. She let out a surprised sigh as she deviated her glance, looking towards the floor. “So you really did enter, huh?” She asked, though his once emerald green eyes were already proof of his actions.
He was surprised to see her shaking after the comment. He could tell how she felt, he had known her for too long.
He rotated his body and dropped his legs to the ground, sitting at the edge of the bed and now looking directly at her eyes. He knew his eyes probably caused her pain, but he wanted her to understand his feelings as well.
“Moon” He called her, patting the area of the bed next to him.
She was lost in thoughts, he could tell, but she still obeyed. She lifted from her chair and sat next to him as the tears started falling down her cheeks.
“I remember thinking I wished you were there…” She started speaking, her gaze still focused on everything except for him “When that creature attacked me and dropped me to the floor… I remember calling your name countless times in my head…”
The blond couldn’t stop looking at her. He wanted to hug her, to tell her everything was fine, but she needed to release everything. She needed this to stop her pain, and he wasn’t about to deny her that opportunity.
His head didn’t feel heavy anymore, he realized, in fact, it felt lighter than ever.
“I’m sorry for being so selfish…” She apologized, her eyes connecting to his this time, though hers were almost filled with tears “You should have left me there… I...” The girl struggled, her hands wiping her tears in quick motions, though it was useless. The tears kept falling. She felt regret. She felt responsible for the situation.
She had ruined the life of the person she cared about the most…
“I’m sorry…” She repeated, directing her gaze at his once again, only to find a soft glance and a sweet smirk.
The blond placed a hand over her cheek, whipping her tears with his thumb as he repressed the voice in his head that screamed to hug her the tightest he could and never let go.
“Moon you don’t need to be sorry…” he murmured, struggling to decide if taking her hand in his was actually that good of an idea.
He was still afraid to scare her. He was sure of his feelings for her, but he wasn’t sure they were returned.
“I did it because I…” he whispered, his eyes still not able to look away from her hand. “…Because I wanted to…”
“Why though?” She asked, looking at him confused, her stomach feeling like a hundred of flying butterfrees were trapped inside of it.
She was trying hard to stop crying, but she could still feel the tears falling down her cheeks, unstoppable. Gladion’s hand cupped her right cheek, making her quickly look at him, and though she once again saw the purple in his eyes she was sure there was something more in them. Something that made them spark brighter than she had ever seen.
She could feel herself getting lost in his stare as one last tear slid down her cheek... She could feel his gentle finger whipping it off and after that, a soft kiss in the exact place the tear has been a moment ago... A soft, tender kiss that made her mind go blank.
“Gladion…” She whispered, not being able to formulate anything else. Her heart pounded like if it was going to get out of her chest and her face felt so hot she was sure it was the color of a cherubi.
“Why...?” He asked playfully as he placed a strand of her hair behind her ear “Well you’ll have to guess…” He muttered, finally gathering the courage to take her hand in his.
She could feel the tears flowing once again, but this time her chest didn’t feel heavy at all.
“Gladion…” She whispered again, now being her the one to close the distance and kiss the blond’s left cheek.
He turned at her wide-eyed, never expecting to get that reaction from her. He grinned like he hadn’t grinned since he was a child, embracing her tightly and causing both of their bodies to fall from the bed. They were both hurt, but they didn’t care, they laughed for a little, his body on top of hers as they rested on the floor, feelings now shared and peace of mind finally reached.
“Now I can accompany you to those missions and Anabel can’t say nothing about it” He played, not loosening his embrace as if he was scared she might fade. As if he was scared this was just a dream…
Only that it wasn’t.
“Hey Mr. President ~” She murmured as she lifted her head a little, finally closing the gap between them and joining their lips together in a tender first kiss “I... I love you as well”.