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 Reunion

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Eventine

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PostSubject: Reunion   Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:08 am

Continued from this thread!:
 

The outskirts of Grassveil Town were a beautiful place.  They lived up to their name, perhaps even more so than the town itself--anywhere you looked, your eyes would be greeted by bright, vibrant green, be it in the form of grass or trees or bushes.  It was a paradise for Pokemon native to meadows or forests, so it was no surprise that Grassveil Town had grown so large, nestled right in the center...

But to a certain Skitty, neither Grassveil Town nor any of the other fields and forests surrounding it were as beautiful as the little forest trail she was trotting along today.  Every tree she passed and every boulder the trail wrapped around made her more and more excited than the last, until she was practically prancing forward, unable to keep still or to stop smiling and pointing out every little detail she recognized to her traveling companion.

"We're close now.  Really, really close," she said while purring and rubbing up against a tall oak tree.  "This tree is how we know where to turn!  The path doesn't go straight to our house, so we'll have to walk through the grass for a little while.  Sometimes visitors have trouble finding it, so when we know someone new is coming my sisters and my little brother and I will play out here and wait for them to walk by..."

She trotted forward again and gazed to the right of the path, down a long, narrow field bordered by more tall and shady trees.  The Skitty's excitement seemed to reach a peak, walking in circles and almost breaking into a run to chase her tail while she waited for her Igglybuff friend to catch up.  "I think you're going to love it here!  I have sooo much to show you," she said.

She forced herself to come to a stop, sitting on her haunches and regarding Alki with a big smile, though her tail continued wagging back and forth.  "And I think you'll like everyone.  They all really love getting visitors.  Just, umm..." she said, her voice faltering a bit and her tail slowing down.  "If they ever get too overbearing, and you need some space to yourself, tug on my fur, alright?  You've always been kind of shy, and, umm...  Well, we don't get visitors very often.  My little siblings don't always, umm...  Know when they're crossing boundaries."

She gave Alki an apologetic glance, her tail coming to a stop altogether.  "And...  My mom and dad will probably want to talk with you a lot, too," she said.  "...I've never been here with a teammate before.  I've...  Well, you know I've had a few teammates before you, Alki, but...  None of them have stuck around long enough for something like this.  And...  I think that might have been a good thing, 'cause..."

She looked up again and shook her head, suddenly blushing.  "Well, don't worry about it.  Just let me know if they ever get too weird, okay?  I'll make sure they give you some space."

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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:27 am

Alki had been excited the first couple of hours. The third one was where she began to grow ever-so-impatient, more from her tired feet and body than any sort of mental irritation or annoyance. By the fourth she’d begun to grow less irritated and more so desiring of a nap. She certainly hoped that she’d have the chance to rest a bit when they got there. By the fifth hour, she was practically sleep-walking. Who knew hours could drag on for so. Freaking. Long? She found herself tripping over every little thing, managing to right herself before any falls, yet, despite all the close calls, she stumbled along half asleep for the remainder of the trip. She did her best to keep up with the excited, jovial Skitty, but the way she was prancing forward, that was something that was easier said than done.

The Igglybuff found herself wanting to ask if they were almost there quite a few times. The sun had moved across the sky so much! Certainly it couldn't be that much longer. Sure, Grassveil was a big town, and Darcy had also told her that her family lived rather out of the way. She still hadn't expected it to be all that far out of the way. At least, she thought as she began to smile, it would be worth it. Oh, if the family was anything like Darcy it would be so, so worth it.

The Skitty even answered her silent question. They were almost there! She began to rub up against the tree, purring with the smallest, cutest smile on her face, sort of like that time in the marsh. It occurred to Alki, against, just how adorable Darcy was. Alki watched her sister with tired, bleary eyes as she launched into a wordy explanation of... stuff. What stuff? She was far too tired to pay much attention. It took all of her effort to stifle a disrespectfully large yawn, and while she did regret not being to pay full attention to her sister, she was sure that if the need came, Alki would be able to ask her later. Darcy was patient like that. She was such a wonderful Pokemon.

Alki nodded along as the Skitty spoke, doing her best to seem as if she was paying attention. It wouldn't be anything all too important, surely? Alki looked up in surprise as the Skitty's fast flow of words suddenly stopped. A cloud of doubt and confusion washed over her round, red eyes. What was she to say? “Ok… I… I-I’m ready to go…” She said, despite not sounding ready at all. “I got it.” wha What would the Skitty's family be like? She'd mentioned siblings, before, little sisters and perhaps a brother as well? Would they like Alki? Were they excitable or not? What about the parents? Surely, they weren't like her own, but that still left so many options? Happy or quiet or fun or boring or perhaps they were talkative? Well… there was only one way, she figured, to find answers to all these questions. What would the house be like? “W-Well… lead on Darcy.” The small, tired Igglybuff said.

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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:32 am

Darcy glanced at her sister and flashed a smile.  The little Igglybuff seemed so tired...  Maybe it would do to let her have a nap once they arrived.  Between being so small, and not being used to long trips like this, she must have been downright exhausted...

With a tiny, bemused smile on her face, Darcy trotted forward and gently bumped her nose against Alki's.  "Almost there.  There's a comfy bed waiting for you if you can hang in there just a little longer, alright?" she said before turning to lead the way, keeping her steps small and her stride short as she watched the little Igglybuff over her shoulder and led the way...

She fell silent as they passed through the narrow path, all sounds fading away except for the rustling of grass and leaves in the gentle breeze.  Though she tried to keep her pace slow, Darcy felt her heart beat faster and faster as they approached the exit, bright and sunny compared to the shady grotto they walked through...

At long last, they emerged, and Darcy's childhood home came within view.  The breeze grew stronger and rustled her fur as they looked out over a vast, bowl-shaped meadow, circled by a loose group of trees and flecked with bright patches of blues and pinks and yellows in the form of colorful wildflowers.  A broad grin grew across the Skitty's face as she beheld the craggy hill nestled in one corner, doors and windows built into it which led to the dearly familiar halls and rooms where she had spent most of her life.  Even the hill itself looked cozy and inviting, surrounded by gardens of flowers and herbs, and a little path hemmed with fences leading up to the top...

Her heart fluttered, and the grin remained firmly on the breathless Skitty's face.  "Umm..." she began softly, sitting down and resting her tail against her sister's back.  "...Welcome home, Alki."

...But their moment of reflection didn't last long.  "Sneak attack!!" a voice rang through the meadow as a figure dashed towards Darcy from a cluster of trees off to the side, the newcomer tackling her to the ground with a hug.

Pinned to the ground as she was, Darcy immediately giggled and hugged the newcomer back, another Skitty like herself.  "Hey, Amber.  Guess I should've seen this one coming, huh?"

"Glad you didn't thouuugghh!" the other Skitty sang while nuzzling her cheek against Darcy's, backing away just enough for her larger, older to get back to her feet.  "You always answer our letters right away but yesterday we didn't get one like we should've!  Figured that meant you would be around soon, and I guess I was right, huh?"

"You got me there," Darcy said, purring and nuzzling up against the newcomer in return.  "I hope that means you're ready to play together again.  The neighbor kids haven't totally replaced me yet, right?"

"Nawww, Darce!  We missed you!" Amber said, laughing and bringing the two of them to the ground again with a hug, her voice happy and content.  Their play-fighting might have gone on for a little longer.  But something caught the younger Skitty's eye, one of her ears perking up as she glanced towards Alki...

"Heyyyy, what've we got here?" she said, hopping to her feet and trotting close, the Skitty towering over Alki even though she was smaller than her sister.  "Is this a friend from town?"

She flopped prone on the ground in front of the Igglybuff, reaching a paw forward for a handshake while wearing a giant, excited grin.  "My name's Amber!  Let's play together later, okay?"

"Yep, this is Amber..." Darcy said, sitting at Alki's side and wrapping her tail around the Igglybuff like usual, hoping to reassure her a little.  "And she's not a friend from town, exactly.  We met somewhere right outside of town!  Do you...  Wanna introduce yourself, Alki? If it's not too much trouble?" she asked, flashing an encouraging smile to the sleepy, shy Pokemon at her side...

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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:39 pm

Alki felt the soft, familiar touch of the Skitty on her back. Had it really been so obvious? She’d really been hoping the Skitty wouldn’t notice, after all, wasn’t that a sign of disrespect, being so tired on a trip that the Skitty had been looking forward to for so long? No, being tired wouldn’t do, so she did her best to get over it. “N-Nuh-uh, I’m n-not tired, Darcy, really!” She mumbled, doing her best to infuse some sort of energy into the words, despite there being no reserves of energy left in her. It had been such a long, difficult trip, and despite her feeble attempts at seeming lively, she was quite looking forward to a nap.

Alki felt the breeze begin to blow harder, rustling through the thin, light coat of fur she possessed, and she found herself regretting not bringing a hat or even her cloak. Just the Ribbon had been a mistake… Alki peered out from behind the Skitty, the older, taller Pokemon stopping to overlook a clearing. It was rather beautiful, the fluffy clouds overlooking a bright meadow filled with flowers of all sorts of colors, Purples and Yellows and Reds and Pinks all there, growing beside each other and rolling up a hill. But as she looked at the hill, she quickly saw that the hill was not a hill, but instead a home. The Skittys words only served to confirm this, and Alki found herself giggling at the sight of the place. The trip had been long, but it was such a cool, unique place! Nothing like her own childhood home. “I-It’s really, really pretty...”

Her appraisal of the house didn't last long, as a battle cry from her right side echoed out. It sounded happy and playful, and Alki hardly had time to stumble backwards to get out of the way before the mystery Pokemon tackled Darcy. It was another Skitty, it seemed, and while the two were clearly fighting, it didn't seem serious, as neither seemed to put much effort into it. Alki heard Darcy identify the other Skitty as Amber, and Alki nodded to herself, watching as the scene unfolded before her.

The other Skitty, somehow, seemed to be even more cheerful and outgoing than her big sister. She was practically singing as Darcy got to her feet. It occurred to Alki that perhaps Darcy's siblings were generally like this, cheerful and outgoing and playful and she felt a surge of fresh nerves as she realized that perhaps her own shy, bashful personality would find itself sorely out of place in this new setting. Still, the two seemed to go together like bread and butter, and despite her surge of fear, she found himself smiling at the sight of the two Skitty's joy.

Amber talked about Darcy's letters, and the fact that she hadn't sent one the day before. Alki giggled, Amber seemed to be rather sharp as well, just like her sister. Hadn't Darcy mentioned at least one of their parents was a teacher, way back when? Alki had tried, and failed to read the thick, medical text that Darcy owned back at the guild more than a couple times. It certainly seemed like the sort of book a teacher would give a daughter. She became lost in thought, thinking about how smart this family must be. She hoped she wouldn't have to write anything. Darcy's footprint runes were a lot prettier than Alki's hand writing, despite the fact that a Pokemon with hands was supposed to have an advantage in the writing department. She hoped that she could impress this family. Or at least that they wouldn't look down on her too much…

Alki was jolted out of her thoughts as Amber began to trot daintily towards her, smiling and with a hint of mischief and curiosity in her eyes. The shy Igglybuff directed her eyes downwards, suddenly fascinated by the grass her small foot was pressing down on. Alki didn't look up, as Amber asked her the simple question of what she had in front of her. Alki hummed, trying to think of a suitable response to such a question.

“I… um, I'm Alki, I'm… an Igglybuff, and a Pokemon from the guild, I-I'm Darcy's teammate, you see…” She stumbled, trailing off. She winced. That was hardly a good first impression towards Amber. As the younger, tall Skitty extended a paw for a handshake, Alki found herself marveling at her own diminutive stature. Amber was certain smaller than Alki, yet she still towered over Alki. The Igglybuff shook the Skitty's paw, her small voice trembling ever so slightly. “I-It’s nice to meet you, Amber.” She said, managing a smile as she looked between the two Skitty.

Alki began to think as Amber invited her to play later. What would they play at? She wouldn't be a very good playmate at all, if Amber wanted to play fight with the Igglybuff. What games did Alki know? Not very many. She'd played chess before, and she at least knew the basics and the rules of some card games, but the small Igglybuff had a feeling that wasn't what Amber had in mind. Between those simple games and the books she was always reading, Alki began to feel as if she wouldn't be a very good playmate in general.

“I… I mean, I can try Amber…” She mumbled, hoping that she wouldn't be too much of an odd one out in this new place. “Thank you for having me, you two…” She said, fumbling with the joy ribbon on her head. Alki felt a pang of guilt at these words. They certainly wouldn't want to have her there if they knew she was a thief. What sort of parent wouldn want to have their kids around a criminal? And she was lying to them… she forced these feelings down, and looked at Amber. “Are you Darcy's only sibling? I… I’m not very good at this, but I'd like to meet them! Darcy's talked a lot about you guys…”
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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:21 am

The newcomer wore a wide, toothy grin as Alki shook her paw and quietly began to introduce herself.  Darcy watched with a smile on her face as well.  Alki was shy, of course, but, well...  She had expected that to be the case.  They seemed to be getting along well so far, at least...

Until Alki mentioned her role at the guild.  Like a rock thrown through a glass window, Amber's smile shattered as she heard those words, instantly crumbling into a look of shock, and then confusion, and then hurt.  "What?" she spat, staring at Darcy with disbelief as she returned to her feet.  "Darce, your partner is a kid like her, but you wouldn't take me with you?"

"A-Amber, c'mon," Darcy said, blinking with surprise at the sudden outburst, instinctively wrapping her tail more snugly around the Igglybuff at her side.  "It's a messy situation.  Mom and dad didn't want you to come either, and...  And Alki didn't really have a choice.  She didn't have anywhere else to go."

"Like we're any different?!" Amber snapped while stepping away and raising her hackles.  "Do you think it's fun to just sit around and watch mom and dad worry about how they're going to take care of us?  Ever since mom got hurt, I've felt...  I've felt worse than useless here!  You know that!  It's never been fair that only you get to help!"

She fired a glare down at the tiny Igglybuff but couldn't hold the child's trembling gaze for long.  She shifted her gaze to the ground and shuddered with frustration and anger, squeezing her eyes shut just as tears started to form.  "A-and now you're being a big hypocrite!  I-I'm telling mom!" she spat before turning tail and sprinting off towards the house.

"A-Amber, hey!" Darcy cried, ears flattening against her head as she bounded a few steps after her.  "P-please don't...  I swear I didn't..."  At a loss for words, she came to a stop and sat down as she watched her sister grow farther and farther away, eventually vanishing into the front door of the house.  She wore an uneasy frown and stared down at her paws, protracting her claws, then retracting them, still wondering what had just happened...

Eventually she looked up again, giving Alki an apologetic, downcast glance.  "S-sorry about that.  I...  I never thought about it too much, but...  Y'know, I should've known..."  Darcy stood to her feet and forced a shaky smile as she walked back to Alki's side and settled down to give her a gentle nuzzle with her cheek.  "...I don't think I've ever told you this before, but...  Our mom got hurt a while back.  I joined the guild to help pay for food and stuff, but Amber's still just a kid, and..."

She sighed, and stared at the ground as she stood back to her feet.  "S-sorry.  None of it's your fault.  I think mom and dad will be able to calm her down.  They're good at that.  Let's go inside, alright..?"

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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:08 am

Alki felt rather proud of herself. After all, the smaller Skitty was smiling so broadly, so she must've been doing something right! She went on about herself, mentioning her status as a guild member. That didn't seem like a good move, however. The Skitty practically exploded with a burst of emotions, anger and hurting and betrayal, and Alki suddenly felt like she'd crossed a very important line she didn't know had existed. The Igglybuff became the subject of an intense, emotional argument, and Alki could do little but watch as the young Skitty's opinion of her went down the drain. She tried to get in at least some word, an apology or explanation or something to try and salvage their meeting. That didn't seem to be possible, though. Her small and trembling voice was quickly overshadowed by Amber's boisterous, angry voice, and Alki found herself silent, nothing more than a spectator as the two Skitty argued about her.

Her eyes widened and she found it difficult to focus on anything at all. She tapped her hands together, watching the Skitty as she retreated towards their home. She supposed Amber did have a point. Alki did seem to be the youngest one there. The two Skitty towered over her, and Alki had a hard time imagining the angry Skitty as younger than her. What was she supposed to say? “S-Sorry…” she found herself saying, more like whispering. She didn't understand what she'd done so wrong. She hadn't lied about anything! She'd tried her best to be polite… “I… I-I think I might have spoken too much… I don't think your sister likes me…” She mumbled, staring at the door Amber had disappeared through with a new wave of fresh apprehension. “Suppose I waited outside? So that things can cool down a bit without me?”

She found herself embarrassed, both by Amber's and Darcy's reaction. She'd found herself kicking up clouds of dirt quite often, and while she had gotten over a select few of her insecurities, socializing most certainly remained a weak point in her life. Suppose Amber told her mom, and then Alki would find herself the subject of disapproval for the entire trip? That would be worse than her experiences in Shadowhue… she'd probably faint and she wouldn't wake up until Darcy carried her home to the guild, if that happened. Oh, how she hoped it wouldn't happen!

Darcy did her best to make Alki feel better, for her part. A strange half-apology, half-explanation came from the Skitty, and the fairy type found herself at an even greater loss. Her mom had hurt herself? How was that? Was that why Amber was acting so strangely? “Oh…” Was all she could manage to say, as she attempted to think of a suitable reply. “I… I know heal pulse, if that would help…” She offered weakly, as she found herself obeying the Skitty, with no complaints despite the fact that her weary muscles felt just fine now, due to the shot of energy and adrenaline that fear and nerves usually applied. She'd walked for hours, and it wouldn't do to simply wait outside, even if Amber seemed to hate her guts.
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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:51 pm

Darcy winced and stared at the ground as she began leading the way to the house.  "...I would be really thankful if you gave it a try.  Heal Pulse always makes things hurt less, at least.  But...  Her accident was really bad.  ...It's been a long time and she hasn't gotten much better.  We don't know if...  Well, she might not...  She might not ever be able to walk as well as she used to."

She sighed, and did her best to force a smile as she glanced up a the Igglybuff walking beside her.  "That's why I want to get better at working at the guild.  If she can't run her store like she always has, then it's my turn to help take care of everyone."  The thought seemed to make her perk up a little, her smile growing more natural and her tail playfully twitching.  "It's been hard sometimes, but I don't think I'd trade any of my experiences so far for the world.  I love being a guildmember.  And if none of this had happened, I never would have met you, y'know?"

As they got nearer, Darcy led the way along a tiny dirt trail leading up to the house's front door, flanked by gardens of bushy flowers that were almost as tall as the Skitty herself.  She paused and took a deep breath, staring at the wooden door in front of them.  There was a little glass window built into it, but it was too high up for anyone other than her parents to see through.  Whether or not Amber was still inside was a mystery...  "...I think my sister feels the same way as I do.  But...  It took a lot of convincing just to get my parents to let me go," Darcy said, frowning and looking back to Alki.  "I love Amber, but...  I think she should stay here a little longer, if she can.  I know dad still hasn't taught her everything he wants to, and...  And, maybe I really am a hypocrite, but being at the guild isn't always easy, and I don't know if she's ready or not.  I don't want her to do it if she doesn't have to, you know?"

She sat down, regarding Alki with big, sad eyes as her ears flattened against her head.  "...I guess I feel the same way about you, Alki," she mumbled, her voice morose and apologetic, almost like she was asking for forgiveness.  "Sometimes I feel really scared that you might get hurt.  Like when I heard that you were in Cattail Marsh.  But...  I'm right when I say you don't have a choice, aren't I?  You, um...  You still don't want to go home to your family..?"

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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:58 am

Alki felt herself feel a bit nauseous as she approached Darcy's house. She knew it harbored at least one Pokemon who was already upset with her. She knew it housed Alki's parents, and she had no idea, no idea at all what they were really like. Suppose they were strict and expectant like her own? What if she didn't hold up to scrutiny? After all, she wasn't exactly a picture of good influence for Darcy. At the end of the day, reasons and emotions aside, she had run away from home. She wasn't a good daughter for her own parents. Why would someone else's parents approve of that in their child’s friend? She could feel the anger and disapproval her parents had towards her. Alki began to feel dizzy, stumbling over herself as she walked, not bounced, towards the house. She could only hope that Darcy's parents wouldn't react in the same manner Amber had.

She found herself slowing even more as Darcy explained what her family was going through. Her mother had been in an accident, then, and couldn't run a shop? Darcy had left home to care for her, and Amber had presumably wanted to do the same. Clearly though, she hadn't been as lucky as her older sister in getting her wish. “S-So that's why you're always sending money away? You… you don't tend to keep a lot of it.” She asked, looking up at the Skitty. The money they'd earned on their missions hadn't been very much, but Alki had always kept her portion. She'd assumed that Darcy had done the same, until she saw the Skitty sending money away in a letter. This had been when she was still learning to read, although now she knew where she'd been sending it.

Guilt began to creep into Alki's mind. She had always kept the entirety of her rewards to herself. Sure, she'd never known that Darcy's mom had gotten hurt. Alki hadn't thought of that possibility, the Igglybuff thought that Darcy only seeked adventure for her own pleasure. Now it turned out that her family needed the money, and Alki had kept it to herself.

“Is… I mean, I can try… I will try. But how long ago was the accident?” Alki asked, her voice trembling as she looked down at her own two feet, gingerly bouncing on them. She'd never counted herself lucky to have them before, the flat, pink things. Walking was something everyone could do, she thought. But Darcy's mom couldn't? What had happened, anyways? “I'm really sorry…”

The Igglybuff had intended to elaborate, but the bashful fairy found herself trailing off as the Skitty began to speak more about her experiences. She wouldn't trade them for the world… that was really something! Alki found herself blushing, and perhaps even tearing up a bit as Darcy ended the small speech. “And if none of this had happened, I never would've met you.” No matter how much time passed, the positivity and sweetness from the Skitty would never get old. She made her feel special, and above all important. She could only wish she'd gotten to hear those words earlier. The Igglybuff took the Skitty's paw in her short, stubby hand and squeezed it softly, smiling through her joyful tears.

Alki held the Skitty for a few seconds before letting go. “Um… S-Sorry… is… um, is Amber going to stay mad at me? She's older than me, I don't want her to be mad at me… I… I really didn't have any other choice!” She exclaimed, as if trying to justify herself to the Skitty who already knew so much about her.

“I… I won't get hurt, Darcy. I'm… well, I'm… I know I'm your little sister, but I can handle myself decently. It's… well, I don't know. I'm an explorer too, at least, albeit, not a very good one.” She mumbled, managing a half smile. Alki had been worrying about herself quite a bit more than usual, what with Synd'r's invitation. She had accepted, but that didn't mean she didn't still worry about getting caught by the police, or Arceus forbid a guild member. Either way, she'd manage to disappoint and scare Darcy at the same time. “There's no need to be afraid for me…” She mumbled.

Alki waited to listen to the last things the Skitty had to say, and her eyes widened at the mention of her own parents. “No! I'm not!” She exclaimed, much louder than she'd meant to. She breathed in, breathed out, and started again, quieter. “No, I don't wanna… I'm… I burnt that bridge when I ran away. I was never as good a daughter as Melanie, and I guess they were always disappointed in me. They always called me… um, stuff, and I don't want to go back to that. Just cause they're right doesn't mean I wanna go back, I… t-they'd hate my guts ten times worse, please don't do it, Darcy…” She said, a low, rumbling terror at the thought of Darcy maybe, just maybe considering sending her back. The Skitty wouldn't do that though!

No, she wouldn't. They'd gone over that quite a while ago. “N-No, I… I don't think I'll ever want to go back… I'm… a lot happier. With you.” She said, managing to force a smile onto her colorless face. “Do… um, what do your parents do, exactly? Do you think they'll be alright with me? I mean… I don't want to disappoint them too…” She said, mumbling, as she bounced closer to the door, ready to push it in. As soon as she got an answer as to what she might expect. “Erm, I'm… ready, as soon as you are…” she mumbled, acting as if she were about to enter a mystery dungeon instead of her best friend's house. The fear she was feeling was about the same either way. “I just… well, I want to make a good first impression, y’know? I'm just… worried I might not be impressive enough. I don't even walk yet, I’m just bouncy, and… your dad's a teacher, right? He gave you that big, medicine book? I just barely learned to read… I'm… well, I'm scared, Darcy…”
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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:37 am

"It's been...  Almost two months now, I think..." Darcy answered.  She sighed.  Perhaps if they had gotten a doctor here sooner, things would have turned out differently.  Perhaps a Heal Pulse really would have fixed things then.  No matter how many times the Skitty thought about it, no matter how many times her parents reassured her, it all still seemed so unfair.  There had been no rhyme or reason behind it.  Just an unlucky accident, and suddenly, the security of the lazy, peaceful days she and her family had enjoyed had all been thrown into question...

She blinked and looked up again as Alki took a hold of her paw.  Darcy was about to ask what was wrong, but was stunned into silence by the Igglybuff's big, tear-filled eyes, and the grateful, warm smile on her face, the kind of look that could melt the heart of anyone.  ...Darcy gave the Igglybuff an appreciative smile in return.  These past weeks and months had all been so hard, so scary.  But in the ruins of her old life, something new had grown.  Something priceless.  She had discovered a new home, new friends...  And her family had grown by one.

Darcy took a deep breath, her spirit feeling renewed as Alki pulled away and mentioned Amber again.  The Skitty took a step closer and brushed her tail against Alki's back as the Igglybuff fell over herself explaining that she really didn't have a choice, that she would be okay...  It made Darcy feel a little better.  And it was true.  Darcy still viewed Alki as a child sometimes, maybe, but...  She really could take care of herself.  Perhaps even better than her team's leader.  The Skitty grinned a little, remembering how shocked and surprised she had been when Alki first demonstrated Flamethrower.

But the vehement refusal to ever return home shocked the smile off of Darcy's face.  Alki's family was something the two of them never talked about much, something Darcy knew was sensitive.  But after all of this time, she never would have imagined that it was still enough to stir up so much fear.  She felt a sharp pang of guilt, one that worsened and worsened as Alki kept talking.  They called Alki...  Things?  Her own parents called her names?  That was almost unimaginable, but what was worse, what made Darcy's mouth drop open with shock and concern, was that Alki thought they had been right.

That...  That was ridiculous!  They were truly, undoubtedly wrong if they thought Alki was a bad daughter.  Nothing at all could be farther from the truth.  Darcy's jaw tightened and she felt a pang of desperation run through her heart as she stepped forward to tell Alki as much, to banish all of those concerns with what she knew so firmly to be the truth.  Alki was shy, sure, but never in her life had Darcy had such a loyal friend.  It was unbearable to see her like this, still haunted by old memories from parents who didn't know what a gift they had been given when they saw it.

...But it seemed Alki didn't want to dwell on the subject.  She wore a tiny, shaky smile as she tried to talk about something else, and while Darcy still wanted to scoop her up and give her a hug, she sat down and nodded, ready to answer her questions.  The thought of Alki still bearing such unpleasant beliefs about herself was hard to manage, but...  If she didn't want to talk about it right now, it could wait until later.  She had been in a bad mood to begin with after being greeted by Amber...  Maybe now wasn't the best time.

"U-ummm...  Well...  Yeah, my dad used to be a teacher.  And my mom...  She used to gather plants and use them to make medicine," Darcy said.  She fidgeted with her paws for a while before finally stepping forward and pulling Alki against her fur with a hug.  "Don't worry about impressing them or anything, ok?" she said softly.  "They're two of the sweetest people in the world.  U-umm, they're a little protective sometimes, but I know they'll like you."  She pulled away and gave Alki an encouraging smile while stepping towards the door.  "Remind me to tell you about how they met, sometime.  It's a cute story.  Maybe before bed tonight?" she said, giggling a little bit as she pushed the front door open with her head...

They beheld a large, circular room, one hallway on the left and one across from the front door.  A staircase was built into the stone wall on their right, and big windows by the door flooded the room with warm afternoon sunshine.  Darcy took a few steps forward, the massive rug spread across the floor feeling delightfully soft and familiar underfoot.  A table rested at the center of the room, and all of the walls were lined with small bookshelves and strange, vibrant potted plants.

"Welcome home, Darcy," rang a soft, melodic voice as a pair of Pokemon slowly, carefully descended the stairs off to the right.  They were large, feline Pokemon, each with a coat of plushy brown and purple fur.  One of them leaned on the other, her steps short and uncertain, clearly favoring one of her back legs, thickly wrapped in bandages.  "Dad!!" Darcy called, an enormous smile spreading across her face as she scampered over to the stairs and pressed against the injured Delcatty's side to help her down into the main room.

"Amber let us know you were coming.  She's upstairs right now.  She, ah, said that she wants to be left alone for a while..." Darcy's father said as he and his companion settled down on their bellies in front of the low-lying table at the center of the room.  Darcy settled into a similar position, sticking close to Alki while her tail swept back and forth.  "Yeah...  We bumped into her on the way here..." she said, her ears flattening a little.

"She'll, um...  She'll warm up to you soon, I'm sure.  Don't feel guilty," said the other Delcatty, her voice somehow even softer and quieter than her partner as she eyed Alki up and down.  "Please feel at home, miss.  It's...  It isn't much, but Amber said you are her teammate?  We owe you the world for taking care of our daughter.  I hope she hasn't been too much trouble for you."

The other Delcatty smiled and gave Alki a nod.  "That's right.  My name is Rosa, and this is Thia.  We're here for anything you need.  I do hope Darcy has been treating you well?  Being respectful, and staying out of trouble?"

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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:29 pm

Alki nodded, noting both of Darcy’s parent’s positions. A teacher and a healer. Both jobs required quite a bit of intelligence, and Alki couldn’t help but feel worried that her dad, in particular, might not approve of her. After all, she was barely literate, she’d only learned to read about a month ago! The more she learned, the more she realized how little she knew. She understood what the concept of math was: Puzzle games with numbers. She could count. Maybe add or subtract some things, but other than that, she was clueless. And everything else, she might as well just forget about it: Science and history she was clueless in. Teachers expected you to know those things, right?

The Igglybuff found herself wondering if perhaps school were a better fit for her than the guild, until she was surprised by a hug from her older sister. Alki wanted to just hide behind the Skitty. She hadn’t talked to anyone’s parents except her own, ever. Her own parents were enough to make her scared, but at least she had always known what to expect from them. This was something entirely new, and entirely unknown. “S-Sure, I’m just… well, I don’t know what I am. I just hope you’re right...” She whined, hanging onto the Skitty a few seconds longer, until she was pulled away. Alki nodded. She was certainly curious to hear the story, but right now she was just a bit too scared to stay still. She might as well get it over with...

As she entered the room, Alki’s mouth dropped open in surprise. It was so big! It wasn’t nearly as big as the guild, sure, but that was a building meant for a plethora of Pokemon. This was just one family! And there were two hallways that she could see, and then the staircase that was built onto the solid, stone wall, and the huge, framed windows served to hammer home just how large the Skitty’s house was. She should’ve expect it, probably, seeing as it was built into the side of a hill, but now that she was inside, it was really something else!

As the excited Igglybuff looked up the staircase in wonder, she was greeted by the sight of two larger, feline Pokemon coming down the stairs. She supposed these were Darcy's parents, and the bandages on one of the Pokemon’s legs only served to confirm this. Darcy rushed forward to help her mother, and Alki began to bounce forward as well. That is, until she realized that a small, weak fairy wouldn't be much help at all, and so she bounced backwards, waiting for the Delcatty to get herself situated.

Once that happened, Alki sat herself down on the floor, resting her hands atop her stubby feet. She was the only non quadruped in the room, and even if she knew that really didn't matter, it only served to make her feel ever more like an outcast.

“Thank you, guys. I'm… well, I'm sorry I made her feel upset, I know I don't really look like a guild member, but… I don't know. I talked too much. Sorry.” She mumbled, wondering why the pair were being so kind to her. Her confusion was amplified as they stated that they ‘didn't have much’.

“Are you kidding? The house is huge! Umm… anyways, just call me Alki. I'm not a miss, really, I'm just a kid… and I really haven't done much. Your daughter's taken really good care of the and she… um, taught me a lot.” Alki shot a nervous glance at Darcy's father, unwilling to admit just what, exactly, Darcy had taught her. “She's been a great friend, and I have you to thank for making her such a good person…” She mumbled, not very willing to talk about herself. She did, however, manage a small smile as the two introduced themselves by name. “B-both of you have really nice names. It's really nice to meet you, s-sir and ma'am.” She stopped, pausing as she waved her hand and foot in a semi circle motion, choosing to focus on that instead of any of the feline Pokemon. “Are you sure Amber’ll be fine with me? I really want to make a good impression, is all…”

Alki scooted closer to Darcy, as if seeking protection or safety. “Um… also, ma'am, uh, I know heal pulse, if… you're ok with me trying to help, I… I should've helped too. Sent money and stuff, I didn't know about your accident, or why Darcy came to the guild, but… uh, heal pulse might help?” She said, trailing off. The fear of failure almost kept her from speaking, but the guilt and sense of debt she had towards Darcy, and by extension her family, permitted her to summon the courage to speak.



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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:41 am

Darcy wrapped her tail around Alki and gave her an encouraging glance as the Igglybuff scooted closer.  The nervousness was clear in her voice, something not quite lost on the Skitty's parents, their gazes softening and amused little smiles emerging on their faces as they listened to the balloon Pokemon.   "Um...  All the same, thank you for being friends with her.  Thank you very much," Thia said, a pleased, almost relieved look on her face.  "When you live this far from town, the community you have access to is very small.  It was a good location for my work, but I know that little Darce has always wanted a chance to meet more Pokemon than just our neighbors."

"Their children have never seemed to like her too much.  She's...  Always been a little energetic for them, I think," Rosa added with a frown.

Thia nodded.  "Moving to town and making new friends has always been one of her deepest wishes.  It's something she's looked forward to ever since she was a little girl.  None of us were happy about the circumstances, but when we finally agreed to let her join the guild, she  couldn't hold in her excitement and gratitude and she chased her tail for so long that--"

"M-mom!!" Darcy shouted, leaping to her feet and her fur prickling.

"S-sorry.  I-I, uh, really, I didn't mean to..." Thia said as she flattened her fluffy purple ears and shrank into herself.  Rosa gave her a little nuzzle and she looked up again, giving Alki a nervous glance as if to judge her response, a trace of guilt still in her eyes.  "I'm just truly happy that you've been there for her.  Thank you, Alki.  I-it means the world to us both."

"And...  As for Amber...  I think that she will be angry at us, if anything," Rosa said with a small sigh.  "I think she'll be envious of your parents for letting you leave home so young.  It's not our place to make decisions for them.  But neither of us were comfortable even letting Darcy join the guild.  Work there can be...  Worryingly dangerous, even for apprentices like her..."  He paused for a moment, wearing a tiny frown and tilting his head before he looked back to Alki.  "If ever you feel worried or lost, you can always come speak with me.  I'd be happy to lend you my advice.  Our book collection is yours to peruse as well.  Although...  It's, ah..."

He fell silent and stared at the ground for a moment, a sudden look of unease on his face as he fidgeted with his paws.  "Nevermind that.  It's wonderful that you know Heal Pulse.  ...We...  Think that the worst of the damage may be irreversible, but... Such moves have an analgesic effect.  I...  Do wish that you had been present when the incident first occurred, but your help is still welcome."

"I-it...  It does still hurt..." Thia murmured, looking down as well.  "I would be grateful if you gave it a try, Alki."

Darcy's heart sank a little.  Of course it wouldn't be so simple.  But she still forced a tiny smile, nudging Alki and giving her a nod...

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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:53 pm

Alki listened to the parents, looking between the two Delcatty. In terms of height, they trumped both Darcy and Alki. Especially Alki. So far, they’d been quite nice and agreeable, despite the Igglybuff stumbling over her words at every opportunity. That could change at any moment, though, just like Amber. It’d probably be best not to say too much, unless she really, really needed to. Yes, that would work just fine. Anything would be better than having another   couple of parents think negatively of her. Yes, she’d say as little as possible, she’d do as she was told, and everything would work out fine.

With this new plan, entrenched deep in her mind, Alki knew exactly what to do. But even if she was going to be silent, that didn’t mean she would be emotionless. Throughout her noiseless introduction, her face betrayed what she was feeling, even if no words were said. She smiled, as they thanked her the first time, looking between the two Delcatty. She hadn’t really done much, Darcy had taken care of her, protected her, taught her to read and, by extension, to write, Darcy had been the one to go looking for her in Cattail Marsh. Then again, she wasn’t about to tell these two they were wrong! Again.

Darcy had mentioned chasing her tail back in the marsh, and her parents were about to launch into a story that Alki would’ve absolutely loved to hear. Just the introduction merited a giggle, and her vow of silence was broken. Kind of. She didn’t regret it, though. Darcy had chased her tail for so long that she… what? Darcy’s sudden outcry was surprising, although justified. She’d just have to ask Darcy about it later. Oh, that would be a story to hear!

Her parents complimented her again. They really were happy with her, weren’t they? Her eyes flickered about the room, settling on the large, windows with golden sunlight streaming through them, before bouncing away to the staircase that led to a whole other floor, and her gaze danced between bookshelves on plants, before settling squarely on the pair of Delcatty. It flitted back and forth between the two, and she found herself equal parts confused and thrilled. Usually she’d be blushing by now. Why wasn’t she blushing? They really did appreciate her. They’d thanked her twice! This was the first time they had ever spoken!

The look of guilt in Thia’s eyes wasn’t lost on Alki. Why was she guilty? There’d been nothing either of them had done wrong. Alki stood up, bouncing in place ever so slightly, both her hands playing with each other. “Oh, really! It was nothing, I… well, being a team with her has been really great. I appreciate it...” She said, breaking her silence for the first time. It was going well! Sure, she should be a bit conservative with her words,  but when they thanked her twice, it hardly seemed appropriate to say nothing in response! The balloon Pokemon had no way of noticing it, but there was no hint of embarrassment in her face, her eyes, or her voice.

As the topic moved back to Amber, however, the cheerful, thrilled demeanor of hers could hardly last. She’d screwed up there, that was for sure. If only she’d been as silent then as she was being now. Her hands calmed down, and she found herself sitting atop the rug once more. And when they mentioned her parents, agitation took over her body. What if she told them she’d run away? Oh, surely, things would go south, really fast. No, she couldn’t go out and say that. Make up a story? No, just go along with theirs… “Y-Yeah, I’m really lucky my parents let me go so early.” She said, almost as soon as her parents were mentioned. The words ran into each other, and the stuttering she’d resolved to get rid of resurfaced. Oh, she was such a horrible liar. She’d have to practice that, wouldn’t she. Alki’s eyes settled upon a particularly curious plant, green and red and large. It rested atop a bookshelf behind the two Delcatty, and Alki observed it all. It’s frilly, dainty leaves that were attached to a bright green stem. A red flower grew out of the stem. It’d give her an excuse to not have to look at the Delcatty. See how they reacted. Rosa mentioned coming to them for help, if she ever needed it. Oh, how nice that sounded! If only her problems weren’t so strange, and more importantly, illegal. Darcy’s parents would certainly disapprove of the Phantom’s activities.

“Well, um, t-thank you, Sir. I appreciate it. And… well, books? I’d… Yeah, I like reading, thanks...” She mumbled, unsure of what to say in response to the sudden offer. He seemed unsure himself. With any sort of luck, Rosa wouldn’t notice the sudden doubt that inflected in her voice. Hopefully this whole conversation would end well.

Then came the last topic of business. Heal Pulse. The move that Darcy had claimed to be so useful, so many times. Well. She’d never used it on more serious injuries. She supposed that there was nothing left to lose, or to harm. Analgesic? Alki looked up at Rosa with confusion and curiosity in her eyes. Was that good or bad? Well, judging by the way he finished his sentence, and the manner in which Darcy pushed her along, Alki imagined it to be good. Hopefully. Alki looked back at Darcy and saw the Skitty nod, as if encouraging her. Alki bounced forward, before settling next to the towering Delcatty, next to her cast. The Igglybuff looked down at her small feet again, that feeling of guilt resurfacing. She had nothing to do with the accident, but some money might’ve helped. Money was always useful, wasn’t it? Nevermind that now… Alki set her hand above the cast, feeling the soft fur of the Delcatty, focusing on the skin and the bones beneath as she closed her eyes. Hopefully it’d work. She began to emit a sort of soft energy through her hand, an energy that was meant to heal. Although how much it would heal, she had no clue. Alki remained like this for a few seconds. Upon finishing, she opened her eyes, but was afraid to look up at the faces of this family. What if she’d failed? What if it hadn’t d one anything? No, she could just listen for now… she forced a yawn down, back into her throat where it had come from, but she couldn’t help the exhausted look in her eyes. She hoped it was worth it. She hoped she’d been some help, however late she’d come.
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PostSubject: Re: Reunion   Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:50 am

Darcy followed Alki and sat right beside her as she began her work.  The air in the room grew warm, pulsing gently with the same invigorating energy that had been directed at Darcy so many times.  She leaned inward, watching carefully as her mother closed her eyes and the waves of energy bathed her injured leg.  Everyone in the room held their breath, awaiting Thia's response as Alki finished her Heal Pulse and stepped back...

The Delcatty took a deep breath in, then out.  Gingerly, she stood to her feet, shifting her weight back and forth to test the strength of her bad leg...

Then grimaced and stumbled before falling back to the ground.  "N-no, I guess...  I guess it really is bad..." she mumbled.  "I'm sorry, Alki.  It certainly does hurt less.  I appreciate the help, really..."

"A-aww, but...  But Heal Pulse is supposed to fix things like this, right..?" Darcy mumbled, disappointment leaking into her voice.  She'd known this was a possibility, but...  In spite of herself, she had let herself get her hopes up...  She looked back at Alki, her eyes pleading.  The Igglybuff was tired...  Of course she was...  But now that she was actually here, with her mother, giving up so soon just seemed...  Unthinkable...  "D-do you think you can try just a little longer, Alki..?  D-do you have it in you?  I-I, I...  If you fix mom's leg, I'll owe you for the rest of my life..."  

"Don't push her, Darcy. ...Although, well, I admit that...  I had been hopeful too," Rosa said as he glanced away from Alki.  "It's...  I'm certain it's wishful thinking.  Even Heal Pulse must have its limits.  But...  While you seem tired, Alki, I... won't stop you if you wish to continue trying." He shook his head before giving the Igglybuff a gentle, apologetic glance.  "In either case, we'll make sure you have a chance to rest and regain your strength.  We all appreciate your attempt. Honestly."

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