Care: Generativity vs. Stagnation
Cave. Crate. Bottle. The sight Lucario awoke to should not have been entirely unexpected, but he found himself quite surprised none the less. He had just been dreaming about getting into a pinch and suddenly evolving into a fearsome creature, his hair growing longer with his hands and feet turning red. Several spikes sprouted out all over his body as he gained enough super-powers to turn Darkrai into mincemeat and then following up by dancing a cheerful jig with Mew.
A bothersome headache broke him out of his dreamland, keeping him from getting engulfed completely in the fantasy. Rationalizing, he figured that to have spikes shoot out of him and later retract would probably hurt like hell.
"Lucario, what are you doing!?" a shrill voice behind him echoed, and Lucario slowly came to realize the origin of his unusually happy dream. Looking back with a blank expression, he saw that the legendary Celebi had come to visit. Her eyes were wide open, but the skin underneath them possessed abnormal shades of dark green. Even so, the strangest thing about her was her posture. Although constantly hovering, both she and Mew would always make a point to keep their bodies upright for the sake of being on the same level as everyone else. Now Celebi just kind of hung there like a blanket on a hook, tilting a little to the side while casually spitting in the face of gravity.
"Stop that!" Celebi burst out in shock as Lucario's current appearance was nothing to boast about either, "Steel-type or not, you will destroy your liver!"
Lucario shrugged before putting his head against the wall. Even in a state like this she possessed the aura of positive energy. Normally it would cause Lucario to feel better, but currently it was only able to cancel out the worst of his depression, leaving him with a numb sensation.
"... A liver failure for a living failure..." he muttered, nothing but complete apathy running through him, "... Sounds fitting to me..."
"What kind of reasoning is that?" Celebi asked with genuine concern, "You will contract painful and potentially lethal diseases!"
"Good," Lucario replied bluntly, "I'm getting impatient."
Unable to retain enough pride to stop it, Celebi felt her eyes tear up. To refer to her as a broken shell of her former self would be an understatement. She had been captured. She had been shot. Her sister had turned out to be a serial killer, Pikablu had possibly been paralyzed for life and now her best friend since birth was dead. It was as if the entire universe had come down on her, squeezing out what little spirit she still had after the fateful battle at Hilltop Mountain.
"Stop it... Please..." she whispered while shaking her head in denial, "Don't... Don't you leave me, too..."
She looked at Lucario, his eyes devoid of sympathy.
"Other way around," he answered, "You leave me. Alone."
Lucario's insensitive behavior was beginning to affect her in the worst way. Like a cauldron at boiling temperature, long subdued anger was beginning to bubble to the surface.
"You... You selfish bum!" Celebi exclaimed loudly while pointing at him, "Just sitting here, killing yourself and not caring about how it affects anyone else!"
Lucario's head snapped up, surprised by her sudden change in mood.
"I'll have you know, I still have a sister to take care of!" Celebi fumed, "Duties to perform! Friends to c-comfort! L-Loose ends... T-To..."
Her voice broke up as she failed to uphold her rage. Although she had begun to scream and shout, her tears from earlier had not stopped pouring out. She quieted down while Lucario simply looked at her, expressionless.
"No one... N-Not a single one of you knew Mew like I did..." she sobbed while turning her head away, "Why c-can't I sit around and w-wallow in pity forever...? H-How come I'm not allowed to c-curl up and d-die...?"
Lucario sighed as he leaned back and stared up into the ceiling. No matter how hard he tried, he could not find any words of comfort. He just didn't care about anything anymore.
"Hey... You want to trade places with me?" Lucario asked in a low-key voice, "I can't do anything for anyone without causing misery... You want my body?"
Forcing back her tears, Celebi looked back and stared at Lucario in surprise. So far she had assumed herself to be the only one hurting so bad from Mew's death, thinking the others had barely even gotten to know her.
"I got to spend half a year with Mew before losing her forever... You want my past?" Lucario continued bitterly before giving off a cold snicker, "I'm not even really here. I'm a ghost who's possessed a dead body, shouldn't even exist... You want my life?"
Already lamenting how Lugia, Mesprit and Zapdos would react, Celebi had not anticipated that Lucario had been so close to Mew to begin with. Was he mourning the fact that now there was truly no way for him to become human again? Or was he simply feeling guilty that he could not save her? In her musings, she begun to realize that it did not matter. Neither he nor she was the one that deserved pity.
"Why are we complaining...?" Celebi whispered as she wiped the tears away from her face, "We are still alive... Mew's the one who..."
"... What else can we do?" Lucario replied quietly, "I already miss her. I want to see her again, I need to talk to her..."
"You can come by and visit her later, if you wish," Celebi said as she was immediately met by a confused expression, "... I am doing my best in keeping her body intact. I... Cannot bear to see her wither away."
Not having any gratitude to offer, Lucario simply nodded. Mew was dead; after crying in the snow for what seemed like an eternity he already knew that talking to her corpse does not do a damn thing. Thinking back to that time, he suddenly remembered a certain selection of Mew's final words.
"... I need to get back..." Celebi said in a dismal tone, "... Cerebral necrosis always stalking around the corner..."
"Wait. Out there in the snow..." Lucario mumbled as he looked at her, "Mew said something about you."
"... She did?" Celebi asked, a little agitated that he had not told her about this before.
"She said she'd tried something you told her to do," Lucario explained, every last thing Mew said burned into his mind, "But... She was ashamed."
He decided to leave out the last part about Mew avoiding him on purpose, as it could make the others realize that she had been in love with him. It was not something he was ready to acknowledge, still wondering if the memory had not just been another drunken dream. But even though he purposely left the part out, he realized his cover had been blown as Celebi's face suddenly turned slightly red.
"Oh..." Celebi exclaimed while looking away in embarrassment.
"What... Was it?" Lucario asked slowly, clinging on to the faint hopes that he had not been busted.
"Back at the Seafoam Islands..." Celebi started before finding herself at a loss for words, realizing she was about to give the least fitting eulogy ever, "... No, this is not something you need to know about."
"... It's about me, isn't it?" Lucario admitted while lowering his head, awaiting the inevitable bombardment of questions even he did not know the answer to.
"It has nothing to do with you," Celebi answered with a huff, wishing he would act a bit less self-centered, "In fact... One might say it is none of your concern. At all."
Lucario stared blankly at her for a moment before sighing out in relief, never having felt so glad to have been told off. Soon afterwards, Celebi slipped out of the cave to go tend to her very unhealthy obsession, leaving him to return to his drinking binge. Cracking open another beer with his teeth, Lucario wondered if maybe he should take her up on her offer after all.
Are there things left for me to do?