I should warn again, this fic has massive spoilers for the ending of Diamond and Pearl Adventure!, so if you haven't gotten the last volume yet, keep that in mind.

"Do you believe that I could ever have a normal life?" Cyrus asked.

He and Mitsumi were sitting across from each other at the small table in the house he had bought in an attempt to gain stability in life, and as he spoke he stared out the window at the nearby forest. It wasn't Hareta's forest, but one across the region.

Mitsumi looked at her hands, folded on the tabletop. He had been deep in silent thought for some time, and she had lapsed into silence as well. "Well...I think that depends on what you mean by that."

"I've never been normal, you know," Cyrus told her. "My whole life I've been apart from the rest of them."

She nodded absently. "Yeah..."

There was a small choking noise. "You managed. How did you do it?"

She shook her head, peeking up at him. He was still looking away from her. "I don't know. I...think I was looking for something and found it with Rowan."

"Mm." He always had to keep a tight control over her. She was different too, different from the other Galactics, despite his raising her to be his finest acolyte. He had put his faith in her in those days, and when she left he steeled himself and dismissed it as another failure of the world. Everyone was alone, he had always preached, because he had always believed it. But when she spoke to him on the Spear Pillar during Hareta's selfless fight to save all creation, he had felt the whisper of something new.

"He's like a father to me," she continued. "Suddenly the idea of having a quiet life made sense. The world can be better for that. It doesn't have to be some big, grandiose thing and it doesn't have to be something entirely new. I think if we take what we have now and improve it, it can be wonderful."

Cyrus considered that for a moment, finally shaking his head slightly. "...I can't agree with that. We can't be subtle in dealing with the world, and we can't be slow with it either." He looked subdued, almost ashamed to say it, a far cry from the confident, logical manner she always associated with him.

"I know," she said softly. It hurt to see him like that. Even though she had split from them years ago, even knowing that for years she had been just a vessel for his own rage and hatred at the world, a part of her still and always would view him with respect and admiration. She leaned forward a bit, resting her hands on his. "Cyrus, look at me."

He did, staring at her brown eyes. What an odd sight, that brown near the deep green of her hair. Every day for years she had served by his side but her eyes had been green then, covered by contact lenses in his desire to be surrounded by uniformity.

She looked back, pushing aside the intimidation she still felt around him. "To answer your question, no. I don't think you could ever have a normal life."

"...I see."

But before he could turn away again, she stood, leaning across the table to touch his face. "You may not be able to have a normal life, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing."

His brow furrowed, and his mouth was open for a few seconds before he could ask her "...what do you mean?"

Next to him then, she trailed her hand up to ruffle his hair in what she hoped he would know was a playful gesture, and was pleased that he showed no further confusion. "I don't think you're meant to have a normal life. Normal people are everywhere, and they get forgotten. I know you couldn't be content that way. You have to change the world. It's who you are."

"When I tried, the only way I knew how--" he interjected with a degree of desperation that was probably unintentional, but she cut him off.

"No, listen. You have to change the world, but now you know that there's other ways to do it." Mitsumi smiled patiently. "You're learning about compassion and friendship, and with your intelligence and drive, you're going to be something truly incredible."

Cyrus turned away and she let him. "...I don't think I could trust myself. It's still there, that need to set things right through any means...and I don't think that it will ever go away."

She knew that feeling, of never wanting to show her true ability lest she lose everything she'd learned about her heart. But she was learning too. She took a step back. "But you can deal with it. You're already coming to terms with yourself, and I think you can find what you need."

He was silent for a while. The forest he watched was silent too, and he wondered what Hareta was doing right now. "You're leaving again, aren't you?"

"Not for a few weeks," she said. "He wants to see the Kanto region. Plus, Koya says that the rumors of a powerful pokémon hiding out in a cave may be linked to Silph Co." Since Charon's arrest, they had found out more about their turncoat scientist's history with many different organizations, but none who had served with him could quite bring themselves to say the man's name in Cyrus's presence. "I'd like to come over again sometime between now and then."

More silence. Mitsumi was about to speak again when Cyrus did instead, his hand cold against hers. "I have a lot to learn. You will teach me."

That was the first real order he had given her since she last wore the uniform. Even when he'd told her to go to her friends because that was where her future lay, it had been more of a request than a command. But it didn't sting or bring up bad memories. He wasn't the powerful leader any more. Now he was just a man trying to find his place in a world he had never felt comfortable in.

And she smiled again. "You won't have a normal life, but a happy life is so much better."