2nd January 2015, 2:19 AM
I had the privilege of participating in the Serebii Yuletide, and I wrote a story for Pakira, who wanted a Malva/Wikstrom fic! I've never thought much about either character before, but I had a lot of fun learning about and writing them. Happy New Year, and enjoy!
“Greetings, colleagues!” Wikstrom’s voice boomed through the dining hall as the giant of a man descended the central stairwell. He struck an imposing figure as he entered, bathed in white light from the huge window as snow fell outside, and each footfall from his leather boots echoed in the high-ceilinged room. The space was entirely empty save a small buffet and a few tables and chairs draped in fine purple velvet on the ground floor, where a single woman was filling her plate.
“No ‘colleagues’ today, Mister Sunshine - it’s just you and me.” Malva called back from below, her pink curls swishing as she served herself a plate of scrambled eggs.
“Marvellous! Where is everyone on this fine snowy afternoon?”
“Siebold is giving a guest lecture in Lumiose City, Drasna is in Johto training with the Dragon Clan, and Diantha is off doing whatever she does.”
“Our comrades are truly keeping busy! What is for lunch, good lady?”
Malva resisted the urge to roll her eyes. It was hard to take Wikstrom seriously when he spoke like that. As always, she did her best to ignore it. “Not one of Siebold’s specials, I’m afraid. It’s the usual Sunday catering from Le Yeah.”
“How grand,” Wikstrom said as he reached the landing and grabbed a plate from the stack. He smiled his usual wide smile at her, as if he couldn’t have been more delighted, but Malva always thought it seemed a little too forced. He was wearing a fine tunic and cape, as he always did outside of accepting challenges, when he donned his ridiculous suit of armour. Of course, his non-ceremonial clothing still looked outrageous, especially with his finely-waxed hairdo, but without his armour, the large knight seemed almost naked. “I hope they have also brought Lumiose Galettes, they are my absolute favourite!”
“Yeah, help yourself,” Malva said, gesturing to a small tower of the desserts and trying to widen the gap between them. “Anyway,” she began, making for the stairs with her full plate, “I’ll just take this up-“
“Nonsense! Please dine with me, Malva,” he insisted, putting a hand on her shoulder.
Malva bristled. Wikstrom noticed, and quickly let his hand fall. Malva stepped away.
“No thank you, Wikstrom. I would rather eat in my quarters.” She turned and made for the staircase, plate in hand.
“You cannot keep hiding, you know.”
He said it softly yet firmly, and it made her stop dead in her tracks at the foot of the stairs. Malva’s heart started pounding in her chest, and she felt nauseous. Her skin prickled with heat, and she had to place the plate on the flat base of the banister and close her eyes to beat the feeling down.
“I…I have to go,” she sputtered, and made a beeline for her private chambers without a glance back.
Malva paced back and forth across her living quarter, casting the occasional heated glance outside her window. The snow was floating lazily down to earth and coating the grounds in an otherworldly blanket of bright white that overwhelmed the eyes. Malva hated the cold and snow, especially on days like today when her heart burned so hot she felt she could melt steel.
It had been months since the incident, and all she wanted to do was put it behind her and never think of it again. It had felt almost like a different time, a time of hope and dreams of beauty, and it pained her to even think of it. She did her best to focus only on the here and now, but her colleagues would not forget, and it seemed they would not let her forget, either. Malva balled her hands into fists, her nails digging into her palms as she paced.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
Her head snapped as she focused her glare on the baritone voice coming from behind the closed door. Great, just what she needed. How much clearer could she be about wanting to be left alone? “What is it?” she demanded.
There was a pause. Perhaps that had come out harsher than she had intended. “You had forgotten your lunch downstairs. I wished only to return it to you.”
Malva’s face flushed with embarrassment. She has forgotten about her hunger entirely, but at the mention of lunch her stomach growled insistently. Some food might do her good.
Malva took a deep breath and regained her composure. She went to the heavy oak door and opened it to find Wikstrom standing awkwardly in the hall, plate in hand. For half a second he lacked his usual composure, and seemed just as surprised to see her open the door as she had been to hear his knock. He quickly stood at attention.
“Th-thank you, Wikstrom,” Malva sputtered, feeling foolish. He nodded silently and handed her the plate, and for a moment the two merely stood there, unsure of what to do.
“May I enter? I wish only to speak with you.”
“I-…all right,” she found herself saying. Might as well get it over with; if he was going to torment her, it might as well be on her own turf.
Malva shut the door behind Wikstrom as he entered, even though the halls wear near empty aside from a few servants. Inside, the tall man took a seat on one of the burgundy velvet couches, though she could have sworn he took up space enough for two people. Malva seated herself in her favourite armchair and put her lunch on a side table. Her heart had begun hammering in her chest again, but she did her best to ignore it.
“I wished to speak with you, about what happened.”
“What’s there to discuss? It’s in the past, now; it’s over.”
“Malva,” Wikstrom said, then gave a sigh. His body seemed to weigh down on him, as if he was wearing his armour even now. “It may be in the past, but it is not over. What happened…”
“I am trying to put that behind me. I don’t want to dwell on it anymore.”
“It is not so simple. The events of a few months ago truly rattled this region. Kalos is still reeling from shock.”
“And how is that my fault?” Malva snapped. “I had as much say in what Lysandre did as Sycamore in the end! You can’t blame me for a crazed man’s actions.”
“Nobody is blaming you, Malva. However, it is common knowledge that you were a member of Team Flare at the time. People will not soon forget that. We will not soon forget that, no matter how much you hide.”
Malva’s heart ignited, and for a moment she wanted nothing more than to burn something. She said nothing, but her body had tensed and her nails were digging in to the armrests. Wikstrom watched her intently.
“I’m trying to recompense for what I did.”
“Isolating yourself is not the solution. You must reclaim your honour.”
“You would know something about honour,” she sneered.
“I would indeed,” he said without a trace of irony, staring evenly at her. “I lived and learned under the Code, and it is clear to me that you have no honour left even for yourself. You must make right. With the people. With the League.”
“Don’t you think that’s what I’m trying to do?” she hissed.
Wikstrom silently leaned back in his seat. Malva knew how people got when her anger flared, but the knight was surprisingly composed, considering that she was glaring daggers at him. There was something admirable about that.
“What are you hoping to accomplish this way?”
“Staying out of the limelight. Letting this all blow over. Trying to let people forget. Trying to let all of you forget.” Malva turned her gaze away and looked out the window, into the cold, bright nothingness. “Right now I’m just an angry reminder of the destruction that almost plagued this region.”
Wikstrom sighed. “Malva, you cannot fade away so easily. You are among the most esteemed trainers in this region, and a known personality on the Holo Caster. They will not forget. You are a member of the Elite Four, and now you must act like it. Take responsibility for your role in this, and help Kalos move forward. Be a force for change in this region.”
“That all sounds very nice, Wikstrom, but I don’t know what everyone expects of me. When you get down to it, what tangible, real thing can I do?” She couldn’t hide the bitterness from her voice.
“Geosenge Town,” Wikstrom growled, as if it were a challenge. “The former residents have started returning and rebuilding there. They could use a leader.”
Malva’s heart skipped a beat. It was true; when the ultimate weapon emerged from the ground, it had destroyed the centre of the town, and the residents had fled for their lives before it had fired. It was truly where Team Flare had wrecked the most destruction. He had a point: she could do some real good there.
Malva found herself smiling. Her heart was still ablaze, but now it was with passion for a newfound goal. She had joined Team Flare with the objective of making the world a better place, working in the shadows for fear that others would not understand their noble intentions. Instead, all they had done was bring destruction and fear. Her shame for the role she had played had burned hot, and she had tried to conceal it - and herself - from the world. But this she could do openly and with pride, and she would no longer have to hide it. Malva could bring beauty back into the world, just as she had always dreamed. And clearly, Wikstrom wanted the same thing.
The knight noted Malva’s silence and stood up. “I had best be going,” he said, making for the door.
“Wait,” said Malva, getting to her feet. She reached out and took his large, leathery hand in hers. The knight paused.
“Wikstrom, thank you. I am done hiding. Will you stay, if just for awhile?”
She released her grasp and let her hand fall.
Wikstrom turned, and for the first time since she had seen him coming down the stairs that day, he was smiling. It was not, however, his usual jovial smile, but a more subtle one that reached the corners of his serious blue eyes. Malva liked it.
“It would be my pleasure, my lady.”
Malva laughed. “Thank you, but first thing’s first; no more of this ‘my lady.’ I’m Malva. Just Malva.”
Wikstrom’s grin widened. “As you say, Malva.”
Last edited by Psychic; 2nd January 2015 at 8:34 AM.
2nd January 2015, 11:31 PM
IT IS SO GOOD TO READ SOMETHING OF YOURS AGAIN, LET ME TELL YOU.
I hadn't given either of those characters much thought before now, either. Granted, that's mostly because I haven't given many 6th-gen characters much thought at all, whoops. I came away from this with a bit more interest in both its players, especially Malva. How I'd managed to forget she was with Team Flare I'll never know, but after reading this it's all starting to come back to me.
Also coming back to me: the hilarious image of all those houses in Geosenge knocked over yet perfectly intact. Hard to appreciate the magnitude of the destruction when the buildings just flomph over like empty cardboard boxes like that. X3 I want to believe that in this fic's universe, things in Geosenge transpired a little more realistically. That way my brain doesn't auto-substitute "propping their **** back up" for "rebuilding", heh.
3rd January 2015, 10:06 PM
THANK YOU SO MUCH! Dang, you probably haven't read anything from me since...2008?
Spoiler: I haven't posted much since then anyway. I’m happy to see you!
Thank you, I'm glad I could make other people interested in these characters, too! Malva has a lot going on in-game, using language that evokes fire and heat, being a Holo Caster star, and being a former member of Team Flare (which I had also never really realized until I read the Bulbapedia page)! I wish the games expanded on what her role was in TF, so I'm hoping they do so if there's a third Kalos game. Wikstrom also seems interesting in that his mere presence raises the question of "how the heck do knight still exist in the Pokemon world?" Needless to say, I've been developing a whole headcanon around that one!
Yes about Geosenge Town! I wasn't sure how the fic should end, but I remembered that at no point after you beat the game does the town go back to normal! Of course, the way the houses were all just knocked over like that was pretty darn hilarious, so I imagine the town would look slightly different in my fic-verse! (Though even if everything did just wind up on their sides like that, the houses would still be a huge mess inside! Such a weird decision, Game Freak...)
Thanks for stopping by and giving it a read!