This is actually a plot-bunny I had gotten a couple of years ago after I first watched “Rise of Darkrai”, but I never got around to finishing it. Yesterday, I found and bought the manga adaptation and remembered why it is I liked the movie as much as I did, and after reading through it, I remembered this one-shot. Okay, yeah, I worked on it slightly off and on the past couple of years, but I never got anywhere with it. So I went ahead to fix it up and finished it (even though I'm not too proud of the beginning). Yay.
Despite the two characters being Darkrai and Alice, this isn't AegisShipping, but it's more-or-less a one-sided pairing between Darkrai and Alicia. (I don't know the name of the pairing.) This is actually a little bit outside of my comfort zone, maybe, but I have a small soft spot for this for... some reason... But considering the plot (or whatever you call it here) revolves around it, that's why it's here.
Anyhoo, enjoy! *conks out at laptop*
It had been no more than a good month after the near-erasure of Alamos Town and the scare Darkrai had given them. Things had returned to normal, almost like it never happened. What separated then from now was Tonio had gathered enough courage to officially ask her to be his girlfriend, in which she gladly told Baron Alberto the details once approached. He hid his jealousy well, and continued to make proposals wherever and whenever possible, even having the nerve of doing so in front of her childhood friend. Not that it was nothing new, he was always trying to “mark his territory”. Alice, in turn, still shot him down without taking extreme measures (though her Chimchar accidentally once set his suit on fire when he sneezed from the cologne Baron had used). With exception of that day, she almost always would send him a small, teasing threat:
“One of these days, Baron, you'll drive me to the ground, and Darkrai will have your head.”
Despite all Darkrai did for the town, Baron was one of the few skeptical people who still didn't like him. To keep from making the phantom a living legend of respect, in all his interviews he made sure to degrade the Pokémon in some way or another. Thanks to his loyal fans (and his money to a degree), he was able to avoid being torn apart by the interviewers who disagreed on his views. He was then free to remain as an inspiration and a constant thorn in Alice's side.
It crossed her mind every now and then why it was she even put up with him, or why he hadn't given up and chased another woman, preferably a fan. Then there were the “what ifs”. What if she finally agreed on marrying him? Would she be happy? Would he be loyal to her? What about her close friends? He never liked them. Would he forbid her to interact with them? All these and more would make her toss and turn at night and mentally nag at Tonio to hurry up and propose to her so the madness would end. She would gladly take him in a heartbeat. To help calm her nerves (and get some sleep), she would play her cherished song, hoping she would get over it afterwards.
On one such restless night, the leaf fell apart in the middle of a note. Alice wasn't surprised it did; on average, she got a new leaf every few weeks. In the fall and winter, she had to resort with a small flute. Crumbling the remains and throwing them out her window, she slipped on her boots, passing a glance at the sleeping form of her Chimchar. She fought with herself over whether or not to wake him, as it was nearing a new moon, and it was cloudy out. Deciding against it, she quietly slid out, snatching a flashlight from the drawer in the living room before exiting the house. A slight chill was in the air, and she was in a tank top and shorts. What made her forget to take a jacket?
Alice only shrugged. “I'm just going to the garden anyway,” she convinced herself, walking down the steps and switching on a dim light. All her leaf whistles came from the garden, usually on the same tree closest to the fountain, though any leaves could work well with her.
To avoid disturbing the sleeping inhabitants, the woman tip-toed through the garden to reach the chosen tree. Glancing around her surroundings and a quick scan of the branches, she plucked a twig off and backed away to rest on the fountain wall. Tucking the flashlight between her legs, she pulled off a leaf, pressed it to her lips, and softly blew. There came not a squeak. Dropping it nonchalantly to the ground, she picked off another and did a test blow. Same response. Reject and repeat.
The third made an unpleasant crackle under her fingertips, and she frowned. Framing them against the light, she couldn't help but sigh. “Autumn's on the way.”
Only one leaf on the twig looked the greenest, so Alice gave that a test. She managed to blow out a few pleasant notes before it gave out on her. With a small huff from her nose, she snapped the twig and let it fall from her fingers. “Why'd I choose to come out at this time anyway?” she muttered, bumping her heels against the stone. “I could have just waited `til morning.”
Her flashlight then blew a fuse. Scowling, she flicked the switch off and flung her head back for a look at the sky. She could barely make out the contour of the waning moon through the clouds, shivering as another chill attacked her. Slowly, Alice stood up and began making her way down the cobble pathway for the house.
“Leaving so soon?”
The woman gave a short, frightened gasp, nearly dropping the flashlight when brandishing it. Spinning around, her heart jumped at the sight of sky-blue marbles glinting at her in mid-air. Squinting at it, she began to calm down, swallowing down a whimper that had stuck in her throat. “Oh... you got me there for a sec, Darkrai.”
The phantom was barely noticeable in the dark for except his snow-white hair. Once her eyes grew more accustomed, Alice could just make out the rest of his flowing body and see a tint of red. She would flinch whenever he blinked, thinking he vanished. He tilted his head down at the scattered leaves, eying her knowingly.
She nervously, yet endearingly smiled. The Pokémon was always quiet, yet his bold presence made up for it. He was rather omnipresent, she couldn't hide anything. “Eh, my leaf whistle finally died on me, so I came to get a new one.”
Darkrai's gaze faltered a little to scan the failed leaves, then glanced back up. Alice shifted in place, raising a hand to scratch her head. “I... couldn't really sleep, and I thought it would help.” She laughed a little, almost tensing in place when another wave of cold air blew by.
His eyes wavered into what looked to be a disappointed emotion. “Is it me?” Darkrai quietly stated.
The woman waved her hands around. “No, no, it's not you. You've always stayed in the farthest edge of the garden around this time. You're good at keeping your distance.”
He wavered in place, most likely embarrassed. Alice tried hard to focus on his outlines, fighting the urge to lean down and rub warmth into a leg.
The specter suddenly queried of her, “Are you cold?”
“It's nothing!” she tried to assure him, grinning. “In a few minutes I'll be back inside, it's not going to kill me.”
His emotion then began changing, his eyes dimming as he hung his head. “I understand,” came as a small whisper that tugged at her uneasily.
“It always gets cold out when the sun sets!” Alice blurted out, feeling like she could sweat. “I promise it has nothing to do with you, Darkrai!”
“I know.” The phantom paused, and she could see more clearly his slumping shoulders, a hand reaching up to run through his hair. It was a curious gesture in a Pokémon such as him. She caught herself touching her own head of hair and smoothing down some frizz, and quickly dropped her arm to her side.
With the awkwardness settling in, Alice cast her eyes to the dark sky, trying to find a constellation through the passing clouds. “It's... a nice night out,” she broke the silence. “I can't really tell without moonlight, but it looks like it could rain.”
“Alicia used to visit me like this.”
There was a way he said her grandmother's name that made her insides feel hollow. She always took it as though he held it sacred. The very few times she held a conversation with Darkrai, he had brought her up by name here and there, each time in a softer tone compared to his graveled, icy vocals. They were odd discussions, but she came to the conclusion the two were closer than she thought, even if her grandmother had nothing negative to say about him.
A little curious about his statement, she dropped her gaze to gently ask, “What would you two talk about?”
“Everything and nothing.”
Alice had to think on it for a moment, but came up with nothing. “And what does that mean?”
“Everything and nothing,” he repeated, sending her an odd glance.
Feeling it wasn't going to go anywhere, Alice slowly nodded as she averted her stare. “I see.” Swaying in place, she hurriedly paced for the fountain and sat back down, crunching the broken twig further in sudden interest. The brush of cool air at her side told her Darkrai had also settled. “How often was this?”
“Quite often,” was his quiet response. “Except new moon.”
“And the full moon?”
A slow exhale of breath sounded from within the specter, neither in frustration or satisfaction, nor any emotion at all, like it was neutral. “She loved it.”
Alice looked out the corner of her eye to find him looking up at the sky, his wisps of hair and cloak slowed simple rhythmic waves. He appeared more thoughtful than she normally saw him, almost like he was reminiscing. “She would sit out for hours to catch a glimpse of her. I would be with her, and made sure she returned home to sleep.” His eyes closed as his body fell in a slight slump. “She wanted to see the moon goddess.”
The woman's eyes lit up at a memory being triggered. “Oh yeah, Grandmother Alicia mentioned that before. She believed she’d have good dreams all her life if she saw Cresselia, or eternal peace, I can’t quite recall her exact words.” A grin spread on her face as she looked up at the slivered moon when it peeked out. “The full moon is thought to bring out Cresselia’s true powers, and she’d fly around the world spreading good dreams and good luck or something to everyone who’d see her—ah, I think that was it, good luck. I’ve only seen paintings of her, and she’s so beautiful. It’s like she came from a dream herself, much like how Lady Luna did. I don’t blame my grandmother for wanting to stay up all night, I would do the same if I wasn’t so—”
“I love her.”
Alice paused mid-sentence, staring blankly at the dark trees. Slowly, she turned to Darkrai, whose eyes still gazed rather longingly at the sky. “Come again?” she breathed out, only to take another one in.
“I love her,” came the quick recap, same pose, same tone.
Aware her mouth was dropping open, she pursed her lips shut, glancing away. She raised a hand to her chin, though not in thought. “Um... which one?”
The phantom turned to her quizzically like he had no idea what just happened. “What do you mean?”
“W-Well... we were talking in between my grandmother, Cresselia, and the moon—Lady Luna, though I think they're the same thing. Which one were you referring to?”
Had he have brows, she was sure Darkrai would have risen them. “Alicia.”
The woman could only bring herself to nod, inhaling an irregular breath and squirming in her seat. She felt her back pinch from hunching, and leaning back resulted in a small crick. “Oh,” was all she could manage.
“No, no-no-no, there isn't! Lots of Pokémon love humans, it's perfectly natural!” She shrank a small ways away from the Legendary, a grin plastered on her face. “And according to the diary entry Tonio had discovered, you and my grandmother were close friends.”
His stare didn't falter. “I developed emotions.”
“Darkrai, all living beings have emotion—”
Her stomach clenched, and she abruptly shot to her feet. Closing her eyes, she loudly declared into the garden, “It's been proven, Darkrai, that even Pokémon can develop human emotion to a small degree.” Certain she had disturbed a few sleeping inhabitants, but not caring at the moment, she swiftly sat back down, fixing her tank top and brushing down her shorts. The prickling on the back of her neck bothered her enough she refocused her attention back to her companion. “You sure you weren't mistaking 'love' with 'loyal'?” Alice verified.
Darkrai slowly shook his head.
She wanted to cry, or get up and return to bed. She didn't want to believe she was hearing from a Pokémon that he had developed feelings for her former grandmother. The atmosphere it presented itself with was uncomfortably awkward. Her gut feeling was trying to take control of her body so she could leave, and it would have done so had her lifelong curiosity of knowing more of her grandmother not kept her planted in place. All the meanwhile, her teeth were tightly glued to her bottom lip as her brows knitted.
“How long?” she somehow squeaked out.
“Since she was young. It grew with her.” He shrugged.
Alice turned away to go over what she wanted to say. Her mind and body demanded sleep and thus why she was beginning to hear things. Yet deep down inside, she believed every word he said, it just didn't make her feel better. She didn't want to deny such emotions could develop, especially as she had read folk tales about Pokémon and humans once living together in the past. Darkrai's age was unknown, so it wouldn't surprise her if he lived around that time period. Or it could be it was always part of the genetic code.
How odd she hardly batted an eye reading such things, and yet she now squirms at the mention of a Pokémon having fallen in love with her grandmother. She made a mental note to ask Tonio about it later.
“Love is odd,” the phantom continued to muse. “To make sense of it all is difficult... yet it is simple. It is full of truth, of fact and fiction.”
Alice suddenly realized Darkrai was talking as much as he had. Most times, they would only get out a few small sentences with each encounter. She wondered if it was because they were talking about her grandmother, and thus he got more interested. Or, as she stared back up at the crescent moon, it dealt with strength—he was noticeably more powerful and out-going with each new moon. Perhaps his speech was affected by it as well.
“I refused to believe it once, we were no more than just friends. When Alicia got older, it was not her fault she changed.” The woman glanced over, unsure or worried about where he was going from there—she didn't know herself. “She at least explained to me she was growing up. But she promised our friendship would be the same.”
Darkrai then gave out a sorrowful sigh, catching her attention. “She saw other males of her own kind. She would come home with good news or bad news about them. If they were bad, she cried. I am not a fan of tears,” he said this matter-of-factly when he glanced up at her, jarring the mood. “What do you humans call it? I know there is a word that describes that.”
“Dating,” she couldn’t help blurting out. For an odd reason, her heart flipped when it escaped her lips.
He nodded, and continued, “She found a male she saw often. They were together for a long time, I was even introduced to him. He was a good human. Alicia was happy then...” His voice then lowered solemnly, and the glow in his eyes dimmed. “Then… the day came. They were in the garden… in this very spot. I was over there, under the tree. They did not know I was even there when he asked to be her life-mate. That was the day when I learned I loved her… and the reality behind it. A human and a Pokémon could never surpass friendship. I think my heart broke right then. I myself still do not know why I went to their ritual. She asked me to go, so I went. I was left in the garden for a week so they could be alone. That was the week of the full moon… and I saw Cresselia.”
A small gasp emerged from Alice’s throat, and her hand flew up to her heart. He twitched slightly at her reaction, hands curling in a repulsed manner, but she didn’t notice. Leaning forward, she breathed out almost excitedly, “What did she look like?”
Darkrai glanced at her side-ways, words hardening in growing anger. “It was not my dream, it was Alicia’s. I had no desire to see Cresselia, I was only there for Alicia so she would not be alone. And that swan had to show up on a night she was gone to another place.” He let out a growl as his eyes pulsed. “She was mocking me… that dance of hers… Was that all she was there for? To make me angry? If she was not the goddess of dreams, I would have gone on a feeding frenzy.”
His cloaked body started to shiver with rage, negative vibes rolling off him in an almost repelling effect. Hesitantly, the woman rested her hand against his collar. He jerked under her touch, turning to glare at her as he clutched the stone edge of the fountain. She nearly pulled herself away when her insides froze up, yet remained diligent to prevent from provoking him further. Taking a deep, slow breath, she murmured softly, “What did Grandmother say about it?”
Darkrai’s eyes may have narrowed, but he didn’t lash out in any form. They stared intently at each other for a little while, the drop in temperature barely noticeable as was all sense of time. Finally, the phantom let out a somber sigh, and Alice dropped her hand. “She asked me the same question. I told her every little detail—that I could make out—from the colors of her feathers, or lack there-of, to the sparkles of light that fell from her with every spin… even said what she sang that night.” His eyelids slid tightly closed. She could tell he was trying to keep himself from tearing up. “Her response to it all… it confuses me to this day.”
“What’d she say?”
A moment of silence passed them by as a chill. His voice was unnaturally quiet. “'Just like how I imagined her. You have a good eye.'” He managed a little smile at the memory. “'Or our minds must be more connected than I thought.' By that time, she knew of my powers. I never pried into her dreams, I respected her,” he immediately added.
Alice flustered, twiddling her fingers almost subconsciously. “You always have.”
“But I knew what she dreamed of,” Darkrai stated, sending a slight chill down her back. “She dreamed happy dreams... she woke up happy, and she went to bed happy. No matter what happened, she went to bed smiling. That is what made her Alicia...”
A warm feeling made itself known in her core, chasing away all the negativity that had befall her. The precious memories she had of her grandmother were still strong in her heart, having been close to her as a child. Darkrai explaining who she was with such respect and admiration, despite still making her squirm, added more depth to her than she had imagined. The stories of her life was the same, just from a different perspective.
It was strangely refreshing.
Darkrai had now fallen silent, either out of words to say, or he was waiting for her response. With a small smile on her face, Alice leaned in to be in his line of sight. “And that's why you love her?” she whispered. “Because my grandmother was very nice to you?”
The specter nodded. “I dreamed because of Alicia. She is the moon to me.”
Somehow, Alice wasn't unnerved by them locking gazes any longer. She didn't know if talking about her grandmother, his main interest, mellowed him out in some form or another, it was hard to tell (though she wouldn't doubt it). Guessing from how long they looked at each other before she broke the gaze, he appeared more gentle than normal. What was “scary” or “evil-looking” was now what she would describe as “contentment” or “dreamy”.
“You are not cold anymore.”
She blinked in confusion, sitting still for a few seconds until she felt a small wind blow by. It felt warm against her skin than it was earlier, and she couldn't help smiling. “Oh, yeah. Told you it wasn't a big deal.” Alice darted her eyes up to find the cloud cover was thin, then yawned.
There was a quiet chuckle that made her freeze slightly before she relaxed. “Finally tired.”
The woman grinned, glancing over to met his amused look. “Yeah... guess I am. Well, then...” She got up to stretch, looking down at the crunch of a leaf.
A movement caught her eye, and she watched Darkrai slip to the tree before them and upward into the leaves. Alice stood there staring at where he disappeared, feeling her brows rise quizzically and straining to hear any sounds beyond the faint Kricketot chirps in the distance. When none came, she shrugged a little and yawned again. Upon opening her eyes, she nearly yelped and took a step back at the sight of the specter before her eyes.
“Try this leaf,” he said, making her blink. She trailed down to the item in his hand, looking like the other leaves except bigger.
Picking it up, she held it up to the faint moonlight for a brief moment to eye it, then placed it to her lips to blow. She was pleased to hear a note squeak by that wasn't too high-pitched. “It's good,” she told him, giving a smile of approval. “Should last me another few weeks.”
Nodding, Darkrai's irises glinted as he backed away into the shadows. Alice watched him melt away to nearly out-of-view before she spoke up again, “Thank you for tell me about Grandmother Alicia.”
She didn't get a reply back, but a physical brush by her arm was satisfactory. With no uneasiness to shake off, she turned around to head down the path just to remember the flashlight. For no apparent reason, she decided to flick the switch on just to get herself blinded by the flash before her eyes. “That was stupid of me,” she muttered to herself through a snicker, carefully resuming her walk back to the mansion.
Looking back up at the sky one more time, she rubbed her eyes and blinked several times to make sure she wasn't seeing spots in her vision. To her annoyance, whatever she had seen was no longer there for her to look at again. However, she was certain there was something that had shimmered blue and pink in the sky as it flew by, and was silhouetted against the crescent moon for a split second.