Seeing I didn’t want to talk any further, Altair remained still as I finished patching him up, pressing a wad of cotton to his cheek and taping it in place. “All done?” he queried.
I nodded absent-mindedly, propping myself up next to him. Silence followed.
“Here.” Altair stretched his paw out to me, the Orb of Sorrow resting within. “This is yours, correct? I retrieved it from the lake. You didn’t want to let go of it at first.” His lips raised in a small smile. I remained silent. “You saw me, didn’t you?” he questioned as I took the offered orb from his paw.
“Yeah,” I muttered. “The Orb of Sorrow granted me the same vision I’d seen ages ago. I thought it was myself, at first. Only tonight, just before…” I trailed off and shook my head. “I knew it was you. I wanted to be sure.”
Altair nodded. “Despite the fact you almost drowned in the process. Good thing I was there to save you.” He patted my head with a smile.
I knew he was doing his best to cheer me up, but I was so down lately I didn’t think anything was going to work. And there was now the issue of where we stood. No, in fact it wasn’t just us any longer. It was where Rye, Altair and I stood. All three of us. Now Altair was here, alive and breathing, it just made things all the more worse. I couldn’t have the two going at each other’s throats again. At the moment I wanted nothing to do with Rye. I clearly told him that. The Elekid had caused me too much pain. Showing up now, even though he had saved my life in the process, hadn’t changed a thing. He should have known better. I noted I was beginning to accumulate a rather large sum of debts to others.
“Rye knew, didn’t he?” I asked Altair, peering through the bangs on my forehead to venture a glance up at him.
Altair sighed, resigned. He didn’t need to ask what I was on about. Of course he knew. “Yes,” he told me. “I said as much.”
“I thought so.”
A cool stillness encased the room once more. The muted chirps of Ledian and Kricketune outside were the only sounds of life. This room seemed devoid of it. The silence was almost beginning to be deafening, and I was growing increasingly uncomfortable. Altair saved me by leaping off the bed onto the stone floor. “Well then, I should go. It’s clear I’ve caused you nothing but trouble, Zanna. I’m sorry for that. It was my last intention. Thank you for your help, though,” he added. “It was much appreciated. If you need me, I’ll find you.” He inclined his head faintly and smiled his warming smile – a mask, I thought – and made to leave.
“Wait.” Without even realising what I had done, my paw acted of its own accord and grasped his, preventing him from walking any further. I stared down at the joined paws as shock flitted across my features. Altair swung around in surprise.
“You don’t want me to leave?”
Eyes widening at my rash action, I dropped his paw immediately. “I just…don’t really want to be left alone right now. You have nowhere else to stay. The others wouldn’t be so understanding of your situation, I don’t think. It might be best if you stay where I can keep an eye on you,” I concluded somewhat awkwardly. What was wrong with me? My thoughts were becoming all muddled. This was really not my day. And the last thing I wanted was for him to get the wrong idea. And what was the wrong idea? I didn’t think there was one. I didn’t know what ‘wrong’ was anymore. I tried to relax the muscles in my face in an attempt to mask my confusion, probably unsuccessfully.
But Altair stayed. The Pikachu told me to get some rest and after hearing I hadn’t been sleeping well lately – and that it really was no surprise – doubly insisted I do so. Under his wishes, I crawled under the covers, drawing them all the way up to my chin. I bade the Pikachu goodnight, and he nodded his head at me from his position at the doorway. Even though there was really no threat within the Missionary now, one couldn’t be too careful. Altair was adamant about keeping watch. He told me he wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway, and I came to the conclusion that would most likely be the case. He would have much on his mind to mull over.
So I watched him from where I lay, blinking away the sleep every once in a while as I did so. There was something I was missing about the situation, I was almost certain. It seemed odd that Altair would show up here, now, of all things. My mind wandered to Arceus, the supposed lord of this land. I used ‘supposed’ because I had as yet to see any proof he actually existed, or cared about what happened to Talzere. So far I had no inclination to believe either.
But it wasn’t long before the day’s exhaustion overcame me, and the events I experienced throughout spun into vapour before my eyes. And so I fell into a deep sleep. The last thing I remember seeing were the bright hue of Altair’s hazel eyes, staring back at me with some emotion I couldn’t fathom in my sleep-induced state. And I couldn’t help but note they seemed sad. Why would that be?
I didn’t wake until early afternoon, which was fine with me because I had missed most of the morning meeting. It seemed no one had bothered to intrude upon me anyway, probably thinking I could use a well-deserved rest. No one had seemed to notice Altair. In accordance to my wishes, the Pikachu had not left the room. At this moment he was still in the chair where I had left him, only I suppose he had been tired after all because he had managed to fall asleep. His breathing was soft and even, so at least he was sleeping peacefully.
I watched him silently for a minute or two before pushing the covers away from my body and stretching wide, ready to welcome to sunlight into the room. I roughly pulled open the window to allow air to circulate through it. The breeze was warmer today, and lifted a few stray leaves over the balcony as it flowed by. I snorted as one tickled my nose. Spring was here and summer wasn’t too far beyond. It would be growing warmer soon. Jarre had told me this year might even bring about a heatwave. The earth’s climate was changing; the weather was getting hotter by the day.
Altair stirred behind me and I turned from my position against the balcony to give him a warm smile. “Sleepy head,” I grinned. “I’m sorry, did I wake you?”
The Pikachu rubbed an eye with the back of a paw and yawned. “No, it’s all right. I just dozed off for a minute there. Did you sleep well? You were out like a light as soon as your head hit the pillow. But your breathing was deep, I suppose you didn’t have any nightmares.”
“I did sleep well, ye–” I stopped mid sentence. “Wait, you watched
me sleep? That’s a little, uh…disconcerting.” I mulled the word around in my mouth, thinking it was better to use that than ‘creepy’.
“Oh, sorry if that makes you uncomfortable,” he shrugged. “I used to watch my family sleep just like that when I was alive. It gave me peace of mind.”
“Family?” It shocked me somewhat to hear Altair speak of them. I suppose after thousands of years I had expected him to forget about them completely. I hadn’t even asked if he’d had a family. But that was childish; of course he had. Where else had he come from?
“Yup. It’s a little hazy, but I remember I used to have a mother, a father, and two younger sisters. My father passed when I was only young, but the other males in our clan taught me all I needed to know about survival. I was always a survivor, they said.”
A clan? Oh, right!
I had forgotten Altair was technically over 10,000 years old. Civilisation would have been merely sticks and twigs back then. No houses, no means of transport, nothing. I wondered why he wasn’t stunned being in this new, modern world. It most certainly wouldn’t have been what he was used to. But just as I was about to ask, Altair continued on with his train of thought.
“The leader of our clan always told me; ‘the best way to deal with a problem was to face it head on.’” The Pikachu chuckled at the recollection of the quote from his elder, but my mind had completely closed off. It was as if a sudden spark had lit in my brain; one that I was unable to see before until this very moment. And suddenly everything became clear. I knew now how we were going to defeat Deoxys.
We were headed into the very depths of Meteor Mountain itself.
As a tiny note, I also changed the theme song for the fic, which can be found at the top of the first post. It's called Light My Fire by KOTOKO. And yes, it's a Japanese song that I heard while watching the anime Shakugan no Shana.
But after looking into the lyrics for the song, it seemed fitting enough to be placed as the theme for this story. It's about fighting against life's fate, and telling the world who you are; don't be afraid to be who you are. Everyone deserves the chance to exist. And that's what Zanna allows. As a Light Pokemon, they quell the darkness and give life to those around them. So everyone deserves their own life. n.n