Again, it taunts you.
The shimmering pool that first led you into that world of only Pokemon. That entryway that had led you to an adventure of a lifetime. The portal that led you to meet Vernir, Emolga, Dunsparce, Virizion, Umbreon, Espeon, Hydreigon, and so many others that you held dear to your heart, and still do.
If you could just move forward, and dive in, you'd be back. You could see them all again. You could talk to them all again. You could be with them all again.
Yet no matter how hard you try to move, you can't. You can't move your arms, your legs, or your tail that you no longer had.
You can only watch the pool as it ripples from the breeze. So close, yet so far away.
Then you wake up.
Light flooded into your eyes, as you witnessed a sight you've seen almost every morning. Sunlight shining in through the window right to the left of you, and your dresser next to that. Your television in the corner of your room opposite you, unplugged for the night; your bookshelf next to it, filled with books and a few random objects; and an open door across the room from you, leading into the rest of the house.
Still the same room it's always been.
Yet another dream about that place. How many have you had of it since you came back? Five? Six? Seven? You were beginning to lose count.
Maybe a good book would take your mind off things.
You got out of bed, then walked over to your bookshelf, beginning to look across it. The Three Swords; The Porygon and the Jungle; History of Ransei; Ferrum and Synergy; the frism—
The one object you took back with you from your adventure. The object that proved that it wasn't just a dream, that it all really happened. The object that was Vernir's final gift to you.
You picked up the crystalline object, and walked back over to your bed, sitting down with it in your lap. Looking down at the frism, you thought about just how strange they were. Being able to store sound not with machinery or electronics, but just with a simple layer of ice, was completely fascinating. Even though messages could only be played once, it was no wonder they were so valuable in that world of only Pokemon.
And Vernir had given you his.
You thought back to when you had received it. Hydreigon gave it to you before saying goodbye and letting you float away, in a ball of light with your world as its destination. You were shocked — Venrir knew that you were going to go.
And then you warmed the frism, and Vernir's words spilled out. About how Hydreigon told him what was going to happen, how you were going to go back to the human world and everyone was going to forget you, about how he didn't want to take you away from the people who cared about you in the human world, about how he'd never forget you, no matter what...
"I won't ever forget you, Gen! Come on, we've even changed fate by now, haven't we? Our friendship isn't something that's gonna disappear so easily!"
And then everyone else's voices came.
"They think we're just gonna forget you or something? Like that'll ever happen!"
You had felt so surprised when you heard Emolga's voice, but also comforted. He was the light of the team, keeping everyone smiling and laughing. He was such a joy to be around, and despite his feuds with Virizion, you were so glad he had joined your team. It was great to hear him one final time.
"After all, Gen...you're my hero!"
Dunsparce was next, and you felt so proud of the little guy. He was definitely the weakest of the team, but even so, he saved the team on multiple occasions, and what he lacked in strength, he made up for with heart. And hearing him call you his hero...you remember shedding a tear right then.
"When I think of how much you meant to us...there's just no way we'd forget!
Even with how cold Virizion was when you first met her, Virizion was a great part of your team. She got the team out of so many tough situations, and she even started to open up to everyone as you adventured together. You were glad that she felt like having friends again.
"That's how much you care about everyone, isn't it, Gen?"
To the end, Umbreon and Espeon were so understanding and caring. Despite the team's initial suspicions of them, the two were a key part of the team, and with their entercards, they were able to get to places they never thought they could, and so quickly, too. And despite you never directly saying goodbye to them, they understood why you did it.
"I'd go all the way to the human world for a friend like you, Gen!"
Even Gurdurr, who ripped you and Vernir off when you first met him, and caused you to chase him to the peak of Hazy Pass to get him to finally build you a house, even he cared about you. Enough to declare that he'd build a house for you in the human world if you needed one. Though you doubted he'd actually be able to do that.
"Thank you so much for everything you've done for us. Thank you for being one of us. Good-bye, Gen. Please have a good life."
The final thing Vernir said to you was a thank you, and to have a good life. Yet, you felt sort of empty now. You barely had the motivation for anything since you returned. You still missed them all, so so much. You really wished you could return and see them all again.
And there was that promise you made, too. That you would stay in the world of only Pokemon. Even if it was doomed to fail, you still felt guilty about it.
Vernir had a point, though. You cared about your family, too, and they had been so worried while you were gone. You remembered when you saw them for the first time after arriving back home. There were looks of pure joy on their faces when they saw you, but also bags under their eyes, and their hair was the messiest you had ever seen. You didn't want to put them through that again.
Maybe you didn't have to give either up? Maybe you could find a way to go back and forth between both worlds! Though that'd require being able to go back to that world at all, and that seemed extremely unlikely…
Maybe something like what Gurdurr said could happen, and they come to the human world? How would that even happen, though? Hydreigon never mentioned anything like that being possible, and what if what prevented you from staying there also prevents any Pokemon from that world from coming here? Once again, he never asked about that possibility.
You heard a beep, and looked over towards the source. Your alarm clock was signaling that it was time for you to get ready for the day. You should probably do that.
You stood back up, and walked over to your bookshelf, putting the frism right back where it was before. As you did so, you said something to yourself. Maybe you were deluding yourself, or maybe it was actually possible. Whatever the case may be, it was comforting to you.
"I will find a way to reunite."
I woke up to the sun shining through the window of our little house. I immediately looked over towards the straw bed next to mine, in hopes that I'd see someone there.
Still empty. Just like it had been for the past several months.
I sighed and stood up, walking towards the door. Halfway there, I realized that my tail was dragging against the ground. I lifted it up into the air. Had to make sure everyone thought I was ok.
I walked outside and greeted the sunshine.
Looking around, I noticed that the new grass was growing great. This place really has come a long way from the wasteland it used to be.
Emolga and Dunsparce were quietly chatting about something near the oran field. I walked over to see what was up.
"—ve you noticed how down Vernir's been lately?" I heard Emolga ask.
"Y-yeah. I can tell he's been trying to hide it, but I don't know why," Dunsparce answered.
Ah. So they have noticed. My tail drooped back down, lightly smacking against the ground.
Quickly, Emolga and Dunsparce both turned towards me.
"Oh, hi Vernir!" Emolga said, a mareepish grin on his face. "How long have you been standing there for?"
"Long enough to hear that you don't think I'm ok," I said. "Look, I'm fine—"
"It's about Gen, isn't it?" Dunsparce interrupted.
"...yeah. I still really miss him," I said.
"We all do," Dunsparce said, slithering closer to me. "I really want him to come back. I wish he didn't have to leave. But at least we still have the rest of us."
"Yeah…" I couldn't imagine how I'd be if we had lost Emolga, too, or Dunsparce, or Virizion, or anyone else. Still, though... "But he's my dearest friend! He gave me my name! He saved the worl—"
Before I could finish, Emolga walked over and hugged me, while Dunsparce curled around me.
"I understand, I miss him too," Dunsparce said. "I know Emolga does, too."
"I know he's your best friend, but we're your friends, too!" Emolga added.
"We care about you, too!" Dunsparce exclaimed.
I took in the embrace of my friends for a few seconds. Slowly, my tail lifted back up into the air, and a smile formed on my face. "Thank you," I said.
"Y-you're welcome," Dunsparce said. "We're here for you, no matter what."
"Maybe wearing your reunion cape again will help!" Emolga suggested. "You haven't worn it since Gen disappeared. It might help you feel closer to him!"
"Maybe," I said. I wasn't sure if I was ready to look at it again. "Thank you for cheering me up. I'm going to go check on the rest of Paradise. Bye!"
I pulled away from the two, waved, and then walked away, to see how the rest of Paradise was doing. The shop area was bustling as usual. The dojo area was packed with fighting-types today, including Virizion and Keldeo. Hydreigon was dancing next to Meloetta's music device. Things were good.
I looked over towards the entrance to Paradise, where Victini was posing next to his V-Wheel while Umbreon and Espeon talked to him. So much had happened in this area. It was where I first got a name, where we decided which requests to take each day...and where we all watched Gen float away, never to return.
My tail drooped back down to the ground. I'd never see Gen again.
I thought again about Emolga's advice, to try and wear my reunion cape again. It was worth a shot.
I walked over to the deposit box and opened it. With a vine, I sifted through the items inside, until I spotted something green with frills. I wrapped the vine around the reunion cape and pulled it out, staring at it.
When I had first got it from that box Rampardos had busted, Gen had the bright idea of dying it green to match me, to prevent it from being mixed up with the other 14 that were in the box. The dye was faded now, but it was still there.
As I continued to look at it, tears welled up in my eyes, as memories of Gen flowed through my mind. Of us going through Ragged Mountain together after meeting for the first time, of us traveling through Hazy Pass to confront Gurdurr and Scraggy, of us working together to escape Munna at Mount Kilionea, of him rescuing me in Holehills, of me pleading for Kyurem to spare Gen, of the two us forging through the final spire of Glacier Palace together, of the final day we spent together, of him giving me a name…
Almost every Pokemon had a "special name" in addition to their species name, given to them either by their parents, or someone else close to them. Something to call themselves as, something to designate them as their own person, something to give them a sense of self. Even though few openly went by their special name, there were even less who didn't have one at all.
I never had one. I never had anything to call myself, other than "Snivy". I never had anyone who would give a name to me.
I looked at the Oshawott in front of me. Gen, the human. I had met him only a few hours ago, and yet I already felt closer to him than anyone else I had ever known.
It was weird that he had given his special name to me so quickly. Was that a human thing? Whatever the reason was, though, every time he uttered his special name, I was reminded that I didn't have one. If he was going to go by his special name, I wanted to finally have one, too.
Maybe he could give me one.
"So, Gen, now that we're officially friends and all...If you want to give me a name, that would be OK!" I said.
"Give you a name?" Gen asked, looking confused. "You don't have one?"
"No, I don't. It's...a long story," I said. As much as I liked Gen, I wasn't sure that I was ready to spring on him the fact that nobody else ever cared enough about me to give me a name.
"Hm…" Gen muttered. He looked to be lost in thought for several seconds, turning towards a patch of grass in the rocky wasteland.
I wondered what name he would give me. Would it be something cool! Would it be something cute? Would it be something I liked? Would he even give me one at all?
Eventually, Gen looked back at me. "How does "Vernir" sound?" he asked, smiling.
"Vernir?" I said to myself, testing out how it felt to call myself that. It sounded...nice.
No, it didn't sound nice. It didn't sound good. Not even great.
It sounded perfect.
"All right then, Vernir it is!" I said, my tail thumping against the ground as I smiled. "Call me Vernir from now on!"
I wanted Gen to be able to call me it, as thanks for finally giving me a name.
Vernir. Vernir. Vernir.
It felt so great to finally call myself something other than Snivy at last. It felt so great hearing my name.
I wanted to let the whole world hear it, too.
"That's it! I'm going to have everyone else call me that from now on, too!" I said, smiling. I wasn't Snivy anymore. Now I was Vernir!
Gen didn't explain just what it meant until much later, until the day before we went to Mount Kilionea. It was made from a word from the language I knew, and two words from a human language. The "ver" was from the word "verde", which was what green was in that human language. The "ern" was from "fern", chosen because I were a grass-type. The "ir" was another word in the human language, meaning "to go". Gen said that he put it in my name because I had kept going places from the moment I met him. He also told me that while he didn't intend it at the time, my name was also rather similar to the human word "venir", which meant "to come", and "to come back".
How I wish that part of my name would come true, for me to come back to Gen.
I looked back down at the reunion cape. It was covered in damp spots.
There was a reason I never wore it again after Gen disappeared. The memories were too much to bear.
I almost put the reunion cape back in the box, before stopping myself. I should at least try putting it on.
I took a deep breath, then put the reunion cape over my head, feeling its fabric for the first time in months. How I missed this feeling. If I closed my eyes, it was almost like I was with Gen again, going through mystery dungeons together, tapping the bow to reunite if I ever got separated from him.
Reunion capes were such fascinating items. Sending you to someone you were connected with via a tap of the bow. They'd brought me and Gen back together many times after getting separated in mystery dungeons. But unfortunately, mine couldn't do that now. They couldn't send people to other worlds.
...actually, could they? I never heard anything saying they couldn't.
But if they could, surely someone would have done so by now, right?
But then again, just how many reunion capes were connected to people from other worlds? As far as I knew, Gen, the other humans Hydreigon summoned, and that human who saved the world from a falling star were the only ones who had ever come to this world from another one.
Could it really bring me all the way to the human world, though? That seemed impossible.
But we had already done the impossible by defeating the Bittercold and keeping our memories of Gen after he left.
I needed to at least try. It was the only idea I had that might work.
After a few seconds of hesitation, I took a deep breath, and tapped the bow of the reunion cape.
It flashed white for a brief moment and then suddenly I was thrown into the sky. I barely heard a shocked yelp from Umbreon before he was too far away for me to hear.
I continued rising up, passing by the rainbows of hope in seconds. Did it...did it actually work?!
I looked down towards Paradise below, and Post Town next to it. They were so small now from up here!
Suddenly, my vision flashed white, and then Post Town and Paradise were gone. The only thing below me now was a pool of pure blue below me, surrounded by clouds.
Abruptly, I was yanked to the side, away from the pool. Around me, I saw a swirling vortex of colors, and a bright light in the distance, growing closer and closer. Could this be the entrance to the human world?
Before I knew it, I entered the light, and then immediately began falling towards some sort of town below, unlike any I had ever seen. The buildings were so tall, and there were so many of them! On the paths of it, there were a ton of figures that didn't look quite like any Pokemon I knew about. Was that what humans looked like?
I continued falling down, directly towards one of the figures. That had to be Gen!
Was I going to collide—
You had just exited from your house to take a breath of fresh air, wondering what you were going to study during tomorrow's school day. Old Johtonese architecture? More about speaking Galarish? Pokemo—
You felt something leafy smack into you, knocking you down to the ground.
What had just happened?
You got up and turned around to see just what hit you. Did a potted plant fall down?
On the ground, you saw a dazed, small, green snaky Pokemon...with a three-pronged leaf on its tail...wearing a... green reunion cape...
'Is...is that Vernir?!'
You watched in shock as the Snivy slowly got up from the ground. They looked around, seeming to be trying to figure out where they were.
You watched as they turned around, and saw you, their eyes opening wide.
"...Vernir? Is that you?" you asked, your voice shaking from the suspense.
A thought crossed your mind. 'If this really is Vernir, what if he can't talk here? Or what if he can't understand you here? Or what if he really did forget? Or even—'
"Gen!" the Snivy—no, Vernir exclaimed with a smile, his tail swaying from side to side. "It really worked!"
You felt tears well up in your eyes, as a great, big smile emerged on your face. It really was Vernir!
You didn't waste any more time, immediately picking Vernir off the ground and hugging him tightly. You felt vines wrap around your chest, as he hugged you in turn. You felt his tail thump against you rhythmically, as Vernir always did when he was happy.
"Vernir! It's really you!" you said, a small laugh escaping your mouth. "I thought I was never gonna see you again!"
"Neither did I!" Vernir replied, closing his eyes as he briefly laughed as well. "But we already defied fate to not forget you, so no reason I couldn't defy fate again and reunite with you!"
So the others didn't forget, either...that was a relief.
Vernir opened his eyes, and looked up at your face from within your embrace. "You know, you look pretty weird as a human! I'm so used to seeing you as an Oshawott!"
Before you could say anything, though, Vernir continued. "It doesn't matter if you're a human or an Oshawott, though, you're still my dearest friend."
Your smile grew wider as you looked down at your partner. No matter if you were a human or a Pokemon, no matter which world you two were in, no matter if fate itself tried to make Vernir forget you, you two were the closest of friends.
"Thank you, Vernir," you said. "Thank you so much."
The two of you stood there together silently for several minutes afterward, simply taking in the presence of each other for the first time in what felt like forever. It felt so nice to hug Vernir again, and he probably thought the same about you.
A few questions were on your mind, though.
"How did you get here?" you asked Vernir to start, loosening your hold on him slightly.
"I really wanted to see you again, and I tried activating my reunion cape," he answered. "I didn't expect it to actually work, though, but I'm so glad it did!"
So it was the reunion cape that brought you two together again. That item that you had thought little of at the time, was the thing that reunited you with your best friend.
And...only your best friend, you realize.
You were so, so happy to see Vernir again, but what about Emolga and Dunsparce? Virizion and Hydreigon? Umbreon and Espeon?
Were you never going to see them again? Was Vernir never going to see them again, now that he was here?
"What about the others?" you asked, worried what the answer might be. "Did anyone else come with you, or...are you the only one?"
Vernir's eyes widened, and his tail drooped. "Nobody else came with me. I'm the only one. I'm sor—"
You hugged Vernir tighter before he could finish. "You don't have to apologize. I'm so happy that you're here."
"...thank you, Gen," Vernir said, hugging you back.
"If you're here, there must be a way for the others to come here, too. We...we can't give up hope when we're this close to all being together again," you said. "If there's anything I've learned from the Bittercold, it's to never give up hope. Even if...I was beginning to fail at that before you came here."
"...yeah. We can't give up hope. There has to be a way," Vernir said.
You smiled. You'd find a way. The two of you were here together now. You both defeated Kyurem together! Getting the Gardeners back together again couldn't be that difficult...right?
Suddenly, you noticed someone walking on the sidewalk across the street. Quickly, you headed back inside, and closed the door behind you.
"What was that about?" Vernir asked, still in your arms.
"I saw someone, and I don't know how to explain...well, you," you said. Who knew how someone else would react if they saw you talking with a talking Snivy, or if they heard any of the other things you two were talking about.
Actually, thinking about it now, how would you explain Vernir to your parents? You never really told them what had happened when you disappeared, they had just assumed that you had gotten kidnapped and managed to escape, and you went along with it thinking that they wouldn't believe you if you told them the truth. How would they react to a talking Snivy? That you were in another world while you were gone? That you had saved that world?
Well, you could think about how to explain things later. For now, you just wanted to be with Vernir, and figure out how to bring the rest of the team back together.
"But that can wait," you said. "Catching up with you is more important. I'll figure out how to explain things later. Come on, let's go to my room for now. Follow me."
You set Vernir down on the ground, and the two of you began walking through your home. Vernir stuck close to you as you led him to your room.
Before you could arrive there, though, an orb of light formed around Vernir. Just like the one that had formed around you before you were taken back to your world.
He couldn't stay here, could he?
"Oh," Vernir said, looking around at the orb. His tail drooped. "...I guess this is goodbye, again."
You felt crestfallen. You were finally able to reunite with Vernir, and he was already going away. Even if he could come back after returning home, you'd never be able to be together for more than a bit at a time again.
"...goodbye, Vernir," you said, as the orb of light began floating up into the air. He looked down at you, tears welling up in his eyes.
Even after the two of you had found a way to reunite, you could never truly be together again for long.
You couldn't give up hope.
There had to be a way for him to stay here, right?
As Vernir began floating away, and as you waved goodbye to him, an idea crossed your mind.
"Vernir, try activating your reunion cape again!" you shouted. If it brought him to you from another world, could it bring him back to you even as he is floating away?
Vernir's eyes widened, and he didn't hesitate to tap the bow of his reunion cape. Immediately, he was flung towards—
You were knocked to the ground again. Quickly getting back up, you saw that Vernir was on the floor in front of you, and there was no orb of light surrounding him. He looked dazed, but was smiling. That bright smile was exactly like the one he showed back then, when you promised you two would always be together.
"It worked!" you cheered. You picked Vernir up, and hugged him. You didn't have to say goodbye again!
You should probably make sure he's ok after that, though.
"Are you alright?" you asked.
"I can still feel something tugging at me to bring me back. I think another orb of light is going to try and bring me back soon," Vernir said, "But I think if I keep activating my reunion cape every time I'm about to go back, I can stay as long as I want! And I can go home by just letting myself be taken there!"
"Great!" you said, smiling back. "Now we just need to figure out a way for the others to—"
You saw something white, black and yellow smack into Vernir, knocking him over. Immediately, you ran over to him. "Vernir, are you okay?"
"I'm fine—wait, Emolga?!" Vernir exclaimed, looking past you.
Your eyes widened, and you looked behind you, seeing a white, black, and yellow squirrel sprawled on the floor, wearing another reunion cape. He slowly got up, and turned around.
"Vernir, where did you—" Emolga began, before looking towards you. "Is that a human?!"
You run over and pick him up, hugging him. "Emolga! It's me, Gen!"
"YOU'RE Gen? You look so weird!" Emolga said, eyes wide.
"Yep, that's Gen," Vernir said. "I managed to reunite with him!"
Immediately, I felt Emolga wrap his arms around me, as much as he was able to. "It's super awesome to see you again! I thought you were gone for good!"
"It's great to be with you again, Emolga," you replied.
As you hugged Emolga, you noticed Vernir standing alone on the floor. Holding Emolga with one arm, you picked him up with the other arm, and hugged both of them at the same time.
The three of you took in the hug together, saying nothing. Even if the whole team wasn't here, the three of you had reunited.
After a few minutes of hugging, Vernir looked towards Emolga. "How did you get here? My reunion cape was connected to Gen and activating it was how I got here, but I thought yours was connected to Dunsparce?"
"I had one connected to you, too! We have 15 of them! Once I saw you fly up into the sky suddenly, I grabbed mine that was connected to you, activated it, and now I'm here with you and Gen!" Emolga explained.
Vernir disappearing must have been quite the shock for the rest of the Gardeners. You wondered how everyone else back in Paradise was doing. Were they worrying about what happened to Vernir and Emolga? Had Emolga told anyone what he was going to do before doing so?
"So...what now?" Emolga asked. "How are we going to get home? And can Gen come with us?"
"I...can't come. I don't have any way of going, and Hydreigon would probably send me back even if I could," you said. "And I think you'll start going home in an hour or so. An orb of light appeared around Vernir just before you came here."
"Ohhh," Emolga said, frowning. "How is Vernir still here, though? Or did I knock him back down when I smacked into him?"
"Gen suggested that I try activating my reunion cape, and it caused the light to stop pulling me away," Vernir explained.
"So pretty much we can stay here as long as we want?" Emolga asked.
"Yeah," I said. Aside from probably sleeping and such. "Just you two it seems, though."
"Awwww. Dunsparce would have loved to see you again," Emolga said.
Actually...Emolga's reunion cape was connected to Vernir...and the team has 15 reunion capes...and they'll go back if they don't activate their reunion capes again...
"...I have an idea to get us all in one place again," you said, smiling.
Vernir's eyes widened. "What is it?"
"Once you two go back, grab as many unregistered reunion capes as you can out of the deposit box, and connect them to Vernir. Then give those reunion capes to the rest of the Gardeners, and Gurdurr, Quagsire, and Swanna too. Then, Vernir can activate his reunion cape and get sent to me, and then everyone else can activate their reunion capes and get sent to Vernir, and then we'll all be reunited!" you said. "How does that sound?"
"Perfect!" Vernir exclaimed. "We can finally all be together again!"
"Sounds good to me!" Emogla cheered. "I can't wait!"
"For now, though, until you go back, let's just appreciate being with each other again," you said. "I have so much to tell you all."
"Yeah! You gotta tell me all about the human world!" Emolga said. "It's so different!"
"Let's have fun until then," Vernir said. "And then, once we're all together here, let's celebrate our reunion!"
You smiled widely.
You had found a way to reunite. And you couldn't be happier.