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Absence (makes the heart grow fonder)
pokémon special
Title: Absence (makes the heart grow fonder)
Character(s) / pairing(s): Green / Blue
Rating: PG-15
Word count: 2922
Note: Personally pleased with this fic. I tried to include more of the pokémon world, like game locations, to both give the fic a more 'complete' feel and to express my love for said world. The mentions of Hoenn are completely self-indulgent (favourite pairing + region in one fic! perks of being a writer!) but justified by the upcoming remakes, no? Enjoy and let me know what you think! :D
Summary: They were apart half of the time, but they made it work.

Absence (makes the heart grow fonder)

They were apart half of the time, but they made it work. In a way, perhaps it suited them – retaining their independence, retaining a sense of freedom, it was what both tied them together and kept them apart for weeks on end.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, Blue had quoted meaningfully one night, and although Green hadn't inquired what trivial novel or movie that came from, perhaps she was true.

If the way he'd been glancing at the calender for the last few days were anything to go by, she might be true entirely.

(Not a very comforting thought).

For the last two weeks Blue had been away from home again, travelling the Hoenn region. It had been as much impulse as it was acting on a long-held desire of seeing more of the world around them. We're young and we need to make the most of our time seemed to be Blue's mantra; and if he were a psychologist he could trace it back to possible child traumas, but he wasn't, so – instead he kissed her good-bye and wished her well and that was that.

Every day he'd receive texts from his girlfriend, in most cases accompanied by a photo.

A picture of a sunny Slateport Beach (entirely not accidentally sent on a day it was dreadful weather in Viridian).

A picture of Blue's face and a desert in the background (why are you blocking the main point here, he'd texted back. I am the main point, came back the haughty reply and after that a whole day of nothing).

Then, later: pictures with their juniors from Hoenn and their greetings to him; the vast ocean with Wingull flying overhead (he'd been studying the foreign pokémon, inspired by his girlfriend) and shopping malls with pictures of things Blue wanted to buy and apparently wanted his opinion on. As though it would ever be something else than 'you don't need it, don't spend so much'.

It's evident that Blue is enjoying herself far from home while he's minding the Gym as usual – and it's mostly all right like that.

It's 8 p.m when his phone bleeps. He's been reading for an hour now in a volume about Pokémon stats (making short notes here and there, placing question marks next to sections he doesn't agree with) and it's with some delay that he glances at the lighted screen.

stop studying

Green frowns. It's obvious that the text is from Blue – no need to look at the listed sender for that – but how did she know what he was doing when she was several hundred miles away? Only after a second does he realise that he studies every Thursday night at this hour: so, all right, he might be slightly predictable. Perhaps something to work on (certainly in light of the person behind the text and anything she can be up to) but not now.

Ignoring the text, he returns to the book at hand. “How to raise defense stats.” Just as he's delved into the first paragraph and placed his first question mark (the author clearly never has met his Exeggutor if he states that grass types are low on defense) his phone bleeps again.

He sighs and rubs his eyes. Intending to set his phone to silence mode, he gives the new text a once-over.

I'm lying in bed and am thinking of you

Slateport has four hours time difference with Kanto, he thinks vaguely, so it makes sense Blue would be heading to bed. Right as he's lifted a finger to lower the volume, a new text appears.

wish you were here so you could fulfill my ~needs hohoho

Green raises an eyebrow at the last part. He's still looking when the fourth text appears:

I'll take care of it myself now, bye

He stares for a moment and then decidedly pushes the phone away. Instead he looks at the book again. “Fighting types naturally have high defense stats already.” Yes, Green thinks, but as he reads on, the image of Blue swims in his mind. Lying alone in a double-size bed in some unknown hotel chamber, wearing the black nightie she often wears. Eyes closed, white sheets, her hand –

Green clears his throat. Only now does he come to the realisation that he's been staring at the same spot for the last half of a minute; and also that this might exactly have been Blue's purpose.

Stop studying.

“Pesky girl,” he mutters, even though said girl was a grown woman by now. One who might not even be lying in bed but sitting on a barstool amusing herself thoroughly over her texts.

Or she really was lying in bed, and the thankful absence of annoying bleeps in the last few minutes was indeed because she was occupied otherwise.

He clears his throat again, willing his mind not to go down that route again. “Pesky woman,” he repeats to no-one but himself and emphatically presses 'delete' on all the recent texts. Then he returns to his books.

Defense never looked less interesting.

Don't send inappropriate texts, he texts Blue next morning, when he thinks some kind of reply probably is in order. Then adds: Everything is well here.

The merry reply comes ten minutes later.

I'm off the beach, love you too, bye

It's a rainy Friday in May when the bell rings, and when he opens the door Blue is there – tanned, hair slightly wet, Skitty-patterned umbrella above her head.

“Souvenir from Slateport,” she says when she sees him looking. “Also got a Spheal one if you're interested.”

“Overjoyed,” he states, and though it's sarcasm he's aiming for, he still feels a little jolt in the stomach at the sight of Blue – the kind he previously only experienced during a good battle. It used to scare him, before (maybe it still does sometimes).

“Come on in,” he says, stepping sideways to make way for her. She folds her umbrella before accepting his invite, wiping her slightly muddy trainers on the doormat. She looks around as Green closer the door behind her, face ending in the direction of the kitchen.

“You made lasagna,” she says, her tone going up as her senses register the familiar smell from the oven.

“Yes,” he says. He may or may not have made her favourite dish when he read she came home tonight – okay, he did, but basically all the ingredients were there already, so. Not like it's a big deal.

She turns towards him. Looks for a second, and then falls forward with her arms around him.

She smells like Blue despite the presence of a whole lot of new scents – sea, travelling, new perfume, too flowery for his taste – and it makes him wrap his arms around her, makes something inside of him unwind.

He feels rather than hears her sigh softly in the crook of his neck, her breath tickling his skin. He nuzzles a little, before letting go. There's a smile on her face.

“First I want that lasagna, and then I want a bath,” she says. Green answers her smile, despite himself.

“Make yourself at home, why don't you,” he says – which, well. It really is, isn't it?

Later that night they retreat to the bedroom, their kisses bordering on desperation as much as they'll allow themselves to be. There's an intense quality to the way she grabs his waist, pushes him against the wall, licks inside his mouth. It makes most of his thoughts obsolete and for once that might actually be a pleasant thing.

When she takes off her shirt and consecutively bra, he notices that not every part of body has seen sun.

As his mouth quirks, she raises a finger to silence him. “Don't even say it,” she says. “Besides, you should be glad I decided not to go topless. I mean, if you look at how much attention I garnered even without that...”

“Is this a way of boosting your ego or making me jealous?”

“Why is it always either or with you?” she says. “Anyway, stop trying to analyse a woman's mind and rather continue this.

“Pesky woman,” he replies, more amused than exasperated (he does not know when that had happened) and then bends down again; presses mouth against white skin.

Once in a while he leaves the self-chosen confinements of Viridian to train in other places: Mt. Moon, the coast near Lavender, Seafoam Islands. Carefully selected places, decided on after deliberation of terrain and wild Pokémon ratio, after peering at maps. Yet the acknowledgment that staying in one place leads to stagnation, no matter how good the training facilities, probably owes something to Red.

He reviews the thought before dismissing it from his mind.

This time it's Cinnabar. Not far from home, though it feels like it. The volcanic geology speaks in millenniums rather than the hours displayed on his pokégear. Even he forgets the time after awhile, getting immersed in the beauty of his Arcanine's flamethrower, all measured heat and intensity.

He doesn't bother checking his phone while he's out here. No reception probably, anyway.

At night he lets his eyes wander over the vast night sky above him, before closing them again for a short night's rest. The stars have the same clarity here as they do in Pallet. Free from pollution and nocturnal lights.

He's not the poetic type – God forbid – but still there's an inexplicable beauty to it. Not inexplicable in the sense of hard to fathom, but of things that can't (shouldn't, needn't) be explained. Captured in words or diagrams.

He thinks of Blue then, and perhaps the metaphor wasn't really meant for night skies.

The next day when he visits Cinnabar's pokécenter, he makes a video call to home.

When Blue answers with light surprise, he explains, perhaps superfluously: “I just wanted to check everything was under control at the gym.”

“Hmm,” Blue answers, denial nor agreement, though her sparkling eyes tell a story of their own.

“So, everything is well?” he continues.

Everything is a big word,” she answers sweetly, “but I have time.”

“I don't,” he retorts, “this video call is only ten minutes.”

As though she hasn't heard him (emphasis on the words 'as though') she carries on breezily: “In terms of health I'm fine, though I feel like I have a cold coming up. Must be because I stayed out late the other night – it was such a beautiful day, I didn't feel like wearing a jacket, but then it started raining. The pokémon liked it, though, Wigglytuff kept dancing in the rain. They're all fine, by the way. I'm thinking of taking them for another picnic. But then, in terms of – ”

“OK, I'm hanging up,” Green interrupts.

Blue pouts. “Meanie.”

“Aren't we over that stage,” Green replies flatly, but right as he moves his finger to end the call, Blue speaks up, “Wait, wait, wait.”

Green halts his movement. “What?”

Blue pauses meaningfully. Then she says, “Don't forget to bring home Cinnabar cookies.”


“If that's all, I'll go now,” he says.

“It's the most important thing,” she agrees, “except, you know...”

And instead of finishing her sentence, she blows him a kiss.

Green smiles faintly. “All right, I'll see you in a few days. Good-bye.”

And he ends the call.

Now he probably ought to go buy Cinnabar cookies instead of returning to the training field. Do the responsible thing.

He hoists his bag on his back and walks straight past the shops.

After all, he'd already foreseen and met her request the day he'd arrived.

Two weeks later it's a gym leader conference, held bi-annually. Excesses like those that had happened almost a decade ago now should be prevented – it's not like everyone isn't painfully aware who his predecessor is.

After the conference there's the inevitable mingling. “How is the gym?” they ask, “how is your grandfather?”

“Good,” he'll answer to both – once maybe annoyed of being regarded as the grandson of, but the real significance lies in the fact that the first question is asked before the second.

“How's Blue?” he then hears suddenly. It's from Misty, drink in hand, crimson hair messily tied up, and the question catches him off-guard.

How's Red is what he'd expected (because there is nothing new under the sun) but –

“Yes. She's well,” he says.

It feels more like a confirmation of things than an actual answer. If the way Misty smiles is anything to go by, maybe it is.

It's August when there's a long while of nothing. It's been quiet at the gym, the last challenger having announced herself four days ago (a beedrill, machoke, raticate – easy).

It's always busier at the start of summer. As though the brimming days give Trainers confidence – only for it to have been replaced by a sense of reality two months later.

Green looks outside though the kitchen window. Blue is sitting in the garden, drinking her self-made smoothie. Oran berries, pecha ones, the recipe changes every time, but once in a while she'll collect berries in the neighbourhood or buy them at the market and mix everything.

A waste of good food for pokémon, Green says. A nice cooling summer drink, Blue counters.

He watches her let Wigglytuff take a sip, and all right, the pokémon does seem to like it. The sky above their heads is pleasantly blue, any traces of bad weather far away. As he looks at it, he comes to a decision. He walks away from the kitchen window, through the back door into the garden.

Blue looks up as he approaches her.

“Also fancy a sip?” she asks merrily. “Oh wait,” she answers her own question before he can say anything, “I'd forgotten, you don't do nice drinks. Well, all the more for us.” And she lets her Clefable take another sip.

“He seems to like it,” he observes.

“Of course, it was made with love and care,” Blue sing-songs. “Your loss, sweetie.”

He ignores the sugared jab. Instead he declares: “Let's go to the Viridian forest.”

Blue looks up in surprise. “Why? What d'you want to do in there?”

“Wouldn't 'it's a nice day for it' suffice?”

“I guess with anyone except you that would suffice,” Blue agrees mildly and then winks at him. “Sure. It is a nice day. I can take the pokémon along.”

“Yeah, I don't see why not.”

Blue stretches her arms above her head, eyes closing momentarily at the warm sun light, and then jumps up. “We can hold a picnic,” she suggests with unbridled enthusiasm, “or collect more berries. I've ran out of Oran ones.”

“For medicinal use?” he asks against better judgment.

Blue just pats his arm as she walks past him to go collect her things. Right.

Twenty minutes later the Viridian Forest greets them with its semi-eternal summer scenery. In two months everything will be cast in a golden light, the last step before temporary decay, but right now it's an abundance of green in every possible shade.

Two steps in he already spots a Weedle and two Pidgey cooing on a beech branch. It's his trained eye for capturing pokémon, but then again, there might also be some of his grandfather's methodical researcher's blood there.

Blue follows his gaze and smiles at the sight of the Pidgey. “Look at them. They look like us.”

Green raises an eyebrow. “Are you comparing me to a Pidgey?”

“I'm comparing us to a Pidgey.”

“I'm not sure if that makes things better.”

Blue shrugs undeterred and resumes walking. Green copies her leisurely stride without much thought – the peaceful green shrubbery and canopy above their heads make it deceptively easy to forget about goals, about deadlines, about purpose.

There are few days where strolling seems excusable, but an August day in the Viridian Forest makes do, apparently. Or perhaps it's just the woman next to him.

Then Blue suddenly speaks up: “You wanted to come here because it makes things seem simple, don't you?”

Green looks at her in surprise as Blue gestures around her, at the place close to both their roots.

“Nowadays, we're both so often away. And so much has been happening – since as long as I can remember, it feels. But look around you. It's as though it will never change, doesn't it?”

She stops and looks at Green.

“In here it's just us, isn't it? You and me. Blue and Green.”

She smiles. A strand of her hair has gotten loose from her ponytail and falls over her face.

Green is silent, and the only sound for a while is is the now somewhat distant sound of the Pidgey, and of twigs breaking as some pokémon scurries through the low shrubbery. Forest life.

Then Green says, “You really ought to stop reading my mind, pesky girl.”

Blue's smile upgrades to a beam as she links her arm with his, leisurely resuming their walk.

“Now, you know that is my job.”

“I wasn't aware that was in the job description for girlfriend.”

“Let's file it under extracurricular activities. And anyway, don't pretend that was not beautiful just now,” she whispers as she leans into him.

He rolls his eyes. “No need for modesty,” he fruitlessly reassures her.

Yes, some things do indeed never change.

And, Green decides, it's a very good thing they don't.