By: Hugo Reed
Chapter 6: Starry Night
Duplica wasn't having a good day, in fact this may have been one of the worse parts of her life. She had told the man that she loved how she felt and he had just completely ignored her and then ran off. He hadn't even come to talk to her about it.
Well what did you think? she mentally asked herself. That you could just waltz in and sweep him off his feet. Stupid, stupid girl.
There was a knock at the door, and Duplica pretended not to hear. Whoever it was knocked again, louder this time.
"Come in," said Duplica, giving up on her attempt to ignore the person.
Ash's mother walked in. Duplica looked at her through blurry eyes. She knew she was a mess and just didn't care. Her mind was so purely focused on the thought that the boy she'd pledged her love to hated her, that she didn't much care even for her pokemon at the moment.
"Hey Duplica," said Delia. "Did something happen between you and Ash earlier today?"
"He told you?" Duplica asked dully.
"No," she said simply, but still in that sweet voice of her's. "But Ash always asks me a loosely related question when something is troubling him and he asked about his father. I knew whatever it was couldn't be something to do with Brock so I thought maybe you…"
"I told him that I loved him."
"Ah," she said, pausing. "And you didn't think a twelve-year-old would freak out at that?"
"He's almost thirteen," Duplica said softly. "I just had to let him know, and I hoped that we could become something more than friends."
"Well you won't get to just be friends. I don't pretend to know how he feels, but I'll tell you this; Feelings change everything. Sometimes it's for the best, sometimes not. But that whole thing about it being better to tell your feelings isn't always true, and love is the strongest emotion out there, next to fear. Don't give it out lightly."
Duplica felt slightly stunned. She knew she wasn't be reproached, but felt slapped as though she had been. She did know that it was time to get out of the bed now. She went outside and saw Misty talking softly to Brock. Not being in any mood to deal with the redhead, she scooped up ditto and placed him on her shoulder. Duplica decided to go for a walk through the town which was still so new to her.
The town was small, but peaceful. The sun was shinning and a soft wind blew across her face, chilling her slightly because of the tears that had stained them. There weren't any paved streets, just a lot of simple dirt trails and Duplica only saw one car, which was parked on the side of the road. Ditto was too busy enjoy the weather to notice her distracted state, which she was grateful for. It wouldn't do to have the critter trying to work out her thoughts now.
She wasn't really paying attention where she was going and soon found herself by the sea. She knew where it lead, down to Cinnabar Island. It struck her how small Kanto truly was. It was almost constricting. Duplica sighed softly to herself and sat down, with her feet dangling over the edge of the small wall that held the water back.
"What do you think Ditto?" she asked her partner. "Should I go away from here, and leave Ash behind?"
Ditto looked at her, seriously considering the question. It then slid off her lap and transformed. When it was finished, an all but perfect replica of Ash was in front of her, smiling softly. The clone stared at her as if to say, Could you really leave him behind?
"You're right," she said as ditto changed back. "I can't leave… not just like that."
"Glad to hear it," came a voice from behind her.
She turned quickly and saw Ash standing there. He wasn't wearing his cap or favorite blue and white shirt, and his hair was even messier than normal. It made him cuter in her eyes. He sat next to her own the wall, and was only a couple inches from her. It made her heart skip a beat and then quicken. He didn't look right at her, but she knew he was relaxed and calm.
"Ash," she said softly. "About this morning I'm…"
"You know," he said, cutting her off. "I never really did think about much in my life aside from pokemon. My mom was my world before I left and my journey was all there really was, aside from Brock and Misty of course. I'm still young, Duplica, and I know that. I'm still not sure what I feel about… liking people that way."
Now she hung her head, ashamed.
He does hate me for telling him.
"But," he said lifting her head softly. "If I were to like someone, I think it'd be someone like you. Someone strong, who loves pokemon as much as I do, and not to mention is just a little bit crazy. It'd be nice not to have someone second guessing all my ideas."
Duplica couldn't breath properly. He wasn't saying he loved her, but he could in the future and that was a damn good hope.
"Speaking of," she said when she could. "How do you put up with Misty?"
"Misty? She's a pain most of the time, but she's still my friend deep down and good to have if there's any trouble. Just wish she didn't act so defensive and angry over everything, you know? The only time she smiles is when she's playing with Togepi. She's just always so tense, like a branch about to snap you know?"
"Yeah, I've been seeing that side of her all morning."
Ash laughed lightly, and so did she. Alright, so it wasn't love confessions or a kiss, but this was nice; just the two of them talking. She didn't know how long it went on, but when they finally stopped to notice how late it was, it was easily past midnight. Ash stretched out and laid in the grass.
"I think I'm just going to stay here tonight, this is relaxing."
"You're going to what?" she asked, laughing. "Don't you think your mother will worry about you?"
"Not really," he said. "She's kind of strange, and smile more than most people; but she's better than most mom's about worrying. I mean, at first when I started sleeping out of the house she was concerned, but I just kept doing it and she eventually let it go, figuring it was going to happen one day anyway, so she'd best get used to it."
"When did you know you were going to be a pokemon trainer?"
"I've known I was going to be a master since before I can remember," he said. "Ever since I knew my… father was a trainer I wanted to be one. I used to hope I would meet him."
"What's wrong?" she asked, sitting on the ground next to him, and seeing the pain on his face. "You look like a kangaskan sat on you."
"It's Giovanni," he said softly.
"Giovanni?" she repeated. "You mean that team rocket guy?"
"Yeah," Ash said, losing the smile. "That asshole is my father. If I ever meet him I'll stomp him into the ground, with the pokemon Professor Oak gave me. You know the two of them fought for years? The professor always wanted to beat him."
"What were they fighting for?"
"Mostly my mom," Ash said, and Duplica felt a stab of guilt. "He still gets this misty-eyed look when he talks about her. I think he's still in love with her."
"I thought he had kids, isn't Gary his grandson?"
"He adopted… he said he couldn't marry anyone because he was already married to his work, but I don't think he was telling the truth."
"What tells you that? I mean, you're dedicated to pokemon, why can't he be too?"
"Oh I don't doubt he loves what he does, there's no way he'd be able to still do it if he didn't. No, but I know he could've if he wanted. I've known the professor all my life. I think he just never really got over what happened, but he's as stubborn as a bull. I'd like to see my mom happy and I know he's a good man, but he's a coward."
"Well it's hard to express your feelings. You never know if the person you like will feel the same way."
"I suppose," he said, half-heartedly. "But I still say it's better to take a chance than dream your whole life. I'd never gotten in the pokemon league if I just stayed home and dreamed. So what if I didn't win? I learned a whole lot! Besides, I met a load of people and I'm glad I did."
"Well," she said, smiling softly. "I'm glad you stopped by to meet me at any rate."
"Me too," he said softly yawning. "Goodnight Duplica."
He closed his eyes and soon she heard the sound of his soft snoring. She lifted her head and saw his body, so stretched out and relaxed; with his arms spread to either side. A reckless dare seized her and she crawled over to his form, and bit her lips staring down at him. Finally, she leaned down and lay her head on his bicep, and curled up into him; just a little. She smiled, feeling his heat. He was so close she could even hear his heartbeat, soft and smooth. She looked up at his face, still so peaceful.
Duplica contemplated it for what seemed like ages. She knew she shouldn't do it, but she did want to so badly. If he woke up she'd really be in trouble. To hell with it all, she decided. Her trembling fingers reached up, and just using the tips, she touched his face. It was soft, though tanned just slightly from the sun through his journey. Because of all the traveling, there was almost no baby fat left on the boy, either in the face or body. Duplica removed her hand carefully, and turned over so her back was pressed against the boy. She needed sleep, but decided to make one more move.
Careful as she'd been when she touched his face, she reached over and stroked his fingers and palm. Because he'd almost always worn gloves on his travels, the palms were still smooth and unmarked, though the fingers were course and rough, especially for a twelve-year-old. Duplica took her hand away from him again. She would've happily held his hand in her's all night, but she couldn't think of a way to explain it to him if he woke up. Speaking of, she really needed to move away from him…
Well, she thought softly. It's not so far-fetched that I would be cold tonight, or want someone near when it's dark.
And as that thought drifted throughout the girl's head, she passed into the world of sleep and dreams.