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A/N: This was my Secret Santa gift to Azran Flame. I hope she enjoys it and the direction I'm going with this. Also, you can PM Sweet May to double-check if you don't believe me.
Chapter 1: Clouds
The blonde looked around the snow-covered city of Nimbasa, taking in all of the lights and colors from the decorations. She was leaning on one of the many railings that covered to city walkways to make sure that the young children who run amok didn’t fall into the icy depths of the river below. She did fall in once, but she was able to get out before anyone noticed. If not, she wouldn’t have been a Gym Leader, and her entire life would have changed.
She looked at her X-transceiver, which had a golden outline with silver sparks decorated on them. She shifted through the various voicemails and emails she gotten stored on there to look at the time. Why she didn’t have it instantly pop up was still a mystery to her, maybe because of how she was such a klutz. She finally found the time -4:30 PM- and sighed.
The woman was going to be late to her appointment if she kept loitering on the rails. She started to walk towards Gear Station, making soft crunches into the layer of snow at her feet. She could taste peppermint in the air, something she commonly snacked on as a kid. She continued walking; the noises of children and Pokémon playing gave her a small comfort. She always seemed to find solace in the winter time; it brought such calmness to the normally sparking city. The Ferris wheel that normally ominously loomed over Nimbasa was transformed into a mechanical Cryogonal, the blue lights radiating in flashing hues made her smile and feel like a kid again. It was always nostalgic in the winter for the young Gym Leader.
She arrived in the station, where many trees and wreaths were decorated carefully to the doorways to the different trains, giving a sort of symmetrical feeling to the station. The bright greens and reds that dotted the entrances clearly contrasted with the dull brasses that the station were normally colored. She looked at the gigantic spire in the middle, which she thought was made to keep balance to the structure.
She went down the stairs, trying to avoid the furious holiday shoppers that were coming and going from Nimbasa, trying to get in presents for the day that almost everyone looked forward to. She went to the station clerk, who asked for her ticket.
“Here you go,” the woman enthusiastically told the clerk, though her face would suggest it was just a ruse.
“Alright, thank you, Miss Elesa. Hope you come back soon,” the clerk gave a curt bow with blush laced on his cheeks. He was one of the many fans of her, as Elesa was one of the world’s top models. It was expected that she’d get treated the way she did.
She just gave him a curt nod before walking onto the train, not wanting to waste time striking up a conversation. She preferred to be punctual, as it builds on her reputations as a credible model and gym leader. Though, sometimes this has led her to some bad corners. Elesa knew that sticking to her code of mannerisms was the optimal way to live her life.
If I just threw everything away… I would be like a kid again, but, it would also bring shame to me. Well, I can’t be dawdling on this subject; I have to get to that appointment…
Elesa sat down on the subway train, looking at her notebook of hairstyles. She was picking out one that would complement her Santa dress for the Nimbasa holiday parade. She shifted through the book during the slow ride to Castelia city.
Stepping through the portal that’s called the subway station stairs, Elesa took in all of the colors and noises the exploded into her mind. Castelia City, the capital of the Unova Region, was on full blast for the holidays. She looked around, taking in the many sights such as the giant Christmas tree in Castelia Plaza and the ring of Cryogonal high above the city constantly providing snow.
Those Cryogonal, they must be hard at work. They’re doing their best to complete their job, trying not to falter even through the pain and suffering they go through. It’s just like me; I have to do that with both modeling and battling. It’s funny how this world works at times.
Elesa looked at her X-Transceiver melancholically, checking to make sure she had enough time to spare. She was surprised it was only five; normally the train got in the city at 5:25, five minutes before her appointment. She decided to have a look around the city within the area of her appointment, maybe to ease off some of her stress.
She decided to walk and take a left down Mode Street, as it was basically the shopping district of the city. She saw many stores and boutiques she commonly fancied to, everything from cosplay to Pokémon supplies. She was about to enter a store called “Sparking Boutiques”, her storefront for all of her current and past, fashion lines and trends. Though, she heard a sort of desperate screaming that caught her off guard.
“PLEASE! Does anyone want a Casteliacone!?” was basically the pleading scream of the Ice cream stand clerk across the street. Elesa, curious, decided to walk over there.
“Oh thank Arceus someone finally came over… Would you like anything to eat Ma’am?” the young ice cream clerk asked Elesa. Judging by her age and looks, she was around 16, just past the legal working age in Unova. It also looks like she’s been constantly stressed, and to a small extent… abused.
“Sure, my appointment isn't for another fifteen minutes so I’ll just take a simple vanilla, please.” Elesa told the girl, judging her body. She was certainly beautiful for a girl her age. It was such a shame she was working here.
Though, I wonder why she’s working here… She seems like a nice kid. She does have good looks, and is devoted to her work, but her outburst earlier. Was that… double-edged!?
“Here you go Ma’am! I hope you have a nice day! That’ll be two dollars,” she told her with a certain enthusiastic tone. Though, Elesa could see through the ruse. She felt this strange connection to this girl, no, it wasn’t love, she knew what that felt like. It felt more, as a bond… She needed to talk to her more.
“Excuse me, what’s you name dear?” Elesa asked in a soft, almost motherly tone.
“My name’s Mirabelle! I’m here from Driftveil city working at this here ice cream stand. Though, it wasn’t really my choice. I had to get a job to ensure my family had a happy holiday, as we never really have a happy one,” she seemed to explain to Elesa, and she instantly recognized why her voice was so familiar. All people in Driftveil have those types of accents. They’re polite, honest people as well.
“How about you come with me for dinner tonight? I think you have potential to be a model,” Elesa told Mirabelle
She just nodded, while Elesa left an extra tip of 3 dollars. Elesa grabbed her Casteliacone and walked to her hair appointment, savoring each bite as it was gold.
It’s always hard working there at winter. Nobody wants ice cream in the winter. Everyone, but me that is. II’ll see her later, I know I will.
Elesa strolled out of the hair salon with a new, fancy bun on the back of her head. It was dyed a lighter blonde than then her natural hair color, the dark blonde she sported two years ago. It was also wrapped together by a diamond-snowflake encrusted ribbon, and two locks that draped down to her neck. It wasn’t a traditional style in Unova, but she felt it gave a regal flair to her Santa dress.
She started walking towards the Ice Cream stand to pick up Mirabelle, but felt someone bump into her, and she saw a familiar head of spiky blond. She stared into eyes that were laced with melancholy, with a hint of “get lost”. He then spoke, and she realized who it was.
“Oh, sorry about that Miss… I should really watch where I’m going,” he sighed, and then stared up at the sky, as if he was waiting for something and not completely in this world.
“Volkner, it’s been quite a long while, hasn’t it? Why are you in Unova?” Elesa asked the Sunyshore gym leader. He was a fellow Electric-type trainer like her, and they’ve met only once during a regional convention between Unova and Sinnoh. They were both pretty young around that time, and Team Magma and Aqua were still running amok.
Ahh, sweet memories, though, he seemed a lot more happier back then.
“E-Elesa!? Is that you? All I remember that spunky, annoying girl who kept on blabbering about clothes. Now, all I see is a beautiful woman and rival standing before me.” He gave a sly smirk. “Remember, the Pokémon World Tournament’s starting up after the New Year. I’ve already spent the Holidays in Sinnoh, so I decided to get on ahead and get here as fast as I can,” Volkner gave a nonchalant reply to her.
“And all I see in front of me is a man bringing power outages instead of sparks. Seriously, what put you in this funk, no good battlers?” she retorted, before asking her concerned question while blushing. It was different for someone to call her their rival: only Skyla really did that, but she always got shocked. “Ah, I see. I’m going to a dinner party at Burgh’s tonight; you’re welcome to come with me, if you want,” she offered her old friend
“Sure, why not. Also, nice hair,” He replied stoically, basically ignoring the first part of what she said.
I’m guessing that’s a yes…
“Well, I need to pick someone up first,” Elesa replied, motioning Volkner to follow her. He did, and the two walked down Mode Street next to each other, but not holding hands. When they got to the Casteliacone stand, they picked up Mirabelle
“Volkner, Mirabelle. Mirabelle, Volkner,” Elesa introduced
"Hello,” Volkner replied interested
“Hello, Sir. Are you uh, her special someone?” Mirabelle asked the two of them.
Elesa and Volkner looked at each other in unison, both of them confused on why Mirabelle would ask them that. Elesa sighed and the sheepishly grinned at her, and went one to explain that they were just friends.
“Alright then, you’re just friends. I got it. So where is this fancy party?” Mirabelle asked, still in her waitress uniform.
“Um, Mirabelle, take these. I picked them up for you on the way to the hair salon. You can put it on when we get to the party. Just follow me. It’s at Castelia Spire.” Elesa gave the girl a bag of Sparkling Boutiques brand clothing, then walked towards a gigantic Spire that overlooked the town.
This’ll be a long night.
Elesa, Mirabelle, and Volkner finally reached the Spire, traversing through the many crowds and fans around, and stalking, them. When they got there, Elesa shooed Mirabelle off to the bathroom while having Volkner go talk to someone about something. She also had to go to the bathroom, as she needed to change into her dress from her everyday street clothing. When she entered the bathroom, she heard sobbing.
“Mirabelle, is that you?” Elesa asked the young waitress as she started to get out her red velvet dress.
“Y-yes Ma’am… This dress, it’s so beautiful. I-I’ve never seen something so fancy and pretty in my entire life. You really got this for just me?” she asked hesitantly through her sobs of joy. Elesa knew that it was the perfect dress for the young girl once she saw it, she once wore it during her teenage years, and it fitted a brunette better than a blond. Elesa started to unzip her jacket, the giant fluffy one that she wore in the summer, but instead of her summer outfit, she wore her original gym clothing.
“Mirabelle, I know this may be sudden, but has anyone hurt you for no apparently reason?” Elesa asked cautiously. She knew girls like this are normally abused; she’s watched enough television, no matter how mind rotting it is, to know between truth and lies.
“Y-Yes, Pa always puts me through the heavy work, and always slaps me when I do something he deems wrong. Sometimes, he even whips me in front of my family. I don’t know why he does… It’s just not fair at times. Though, I have to be strong for my mother…” she started to cry again, but of sorrow instead of joy. Instead of huge sobs, Elesa heard soft sniffs, the clear signs of an ill-woken memory.
“Why don’t you tell me about your mom and what happened,” Elesa asked sympathetically. It was always hard talking to people like this for Elesa; she never knew what to do. People just thought of her as too cold to care, for her bad jokes just made it uncomfortable and had the situation turn sour. She was trying to uphold being a Sparkling Beauty, instead of a shocking one.
“Well, let’s see here. Pa works in the mines with Mister Clay, and we own a ranch off Route 6. Ma was a seamstress and had such beautiful, glistening auburn hair. She had these wonderful blue eyes that shone like radiant crystals, like she was pure of heart and content with her life. She was always having a happy smile on her face, and always cheered us up when we were down. My older brothers’ help around the ranch, making sure our Moo Moo Milk is the best in Unova. I used to be the clerk at the stand for our ranch in Driftveil, but we weren’t getting as much customers as we used to, so we sent my younger sister to work there for us. Well, everything in our life was perfect until the accident. Some wild Darmanitan lost control and started burning everything in sight… We saved everything we could, and we did… well, besides my mother. She died in the fire trying to protect me. I was sick durin’ the time, so I was lying in bed and fast asleep. She didn’t perish in the fire, but she breathed in too much smoke and died from lung poisoning. Pa came home after he was notified of her death, and seemed detached from the world. Even though it was a couple years ago… I can still remember that day like it was yesterday,” Mirabelle fully explained her story to Elesa, crying most of the time. It was easy to put the rest of the pieces in place for anyone with a good amount of knowledge of the people of Driftveil.
Her Pa abuses her both because she looks exactly like her mother, and she does from her description, or because of his beloved wife died saving her, or both. He probably doesn’t want to be reminded of his dead wife either, so he’s trying to make his daughter not look like her. She is such a pretty girl as well.
“Well, we have to keep on moving forward. My past sometimes comes back to haunt me at times, but we need accept what has happened and move on. I’m sure you already have, but tell your father that. Oh, I don’t think I’ve ever told you my name! I can be so…” Elesa searched for the right word. “Flighty at times.”
“Well Ms. Elesa, it’s an honor I met you. I think I should tell Pa that when I get home. Well, anyways, how do I look?” Mirabelle asked as Elesa heard the stall next to her open. Elesa finished putting on her dress, carefully to not ruin her bun, and stepped outside of bathroom stall. Mirabelle seemed to look like a winter princess, literary. She had a light blue dress with a glitter effect to it draping down to her ankles, with white, fluffy trims on the sleeves, collars, and end of the dress. She also had on a matching snowflake necklace. The dress really highlighted her eyes, and her hair seemed to have a certain shine to it.
“Very nice… Now go on! Enjoy yourself at the dinner!” Elesa hurried the girl out, before grabbing her belongings and setting them aside. Burgh knew how to through the most magnificent parties, even if he was out there. Elesa went outside and saw that spider silk was weaved into elegant patterns and designs to make the room feel like it was filled with snow.
Elesa decided to go and see Volkner, who was just sipping a martini glass. She saw him get up as she approached him.
“Well, you look beautiful,” Volkner told her, making her blush. Something was different about him.
“And you still look dull. Come on, we’re at a party! Llet’s have some fun! It’s not fun if you just mope in a corner getting drunk.” Elesa mischievously sighed and shook her head.
She took Volkner’s hand and started to drag him into the middle of the floor.
“What are you thinking?” he questioned her in a cautious tone, she could tell he was horrible at dancing just by his expression.
“Just a little dance. It won’t be that bad, I promise you that,” Elesa responded to him. She grabbed his hand, and had him put his hand on her back. “Look at me in the eyes,” she ordered, but it was more of a suggestion the way she said it. “Now, we just move forward and backwards. Is that simple enough for you, Volky?” she asked him in a taunting tone; even resorting to the old nickname she called him. She could see his face erupt to a passionate red.
“Y-Yea, I guess so. I guess we shall dance then.” Volkner seemed to look the other way before staring her in the eyes, and they started the tradition ballroom dance. Elesa felt swept away with all the wondrous rhythms and motions of the simplicity of the elegant dance. They continued, leaving sparks of hard work behind them, trying to perfect such a simple and elegant dance in the spire. Soon, all of her worries were swept away in the dance, and she could sneak on his face a small smile, even if it was there for a second. Soon, she felt like she transcended earth with him, and they dancing among the clouds, with them alone. Though, of course, she was never the luckiest girl.
“Miss Elesa! Watch out” she could hear Mirabelle breaking her illusion, and she tripped on something. She felt like she was flying, and Volkner was alone with her. Everything was moving too fast to register in her brain, and when she was finally clear-headed, she found herself sitting in a fountain, with Mirabelle and Burgh hovering over her.
“Where’s Volkner,” she asked, “And why am I in a fountain?” she asked the two, who had smirks on their face.
“Miss Elesa, I was tryin’ to warn ya about a stray pokeball that fell on the floor. It sent ya flying into the fountain; Volkner flew in the other direction and landed on Mr. Stu Deeoh. They’re both okay, thankfully. I came over here to see how you were!” Mirabelle explained to Elesa with a certain motherly demeanor. Even though through the short time the two spent together, they had formed a tight bond.
“My bug-types were telling me that the party was of huge success, and that love was in the air, but then they started to squirm. I could sense something was wrong, so I came here as soon as I could. It was a good thing you weren’t hurt, otherwise I might have had to cancel this wonderful party,” Burgh told Elesa in his ominous bug talk. Burgh was the eccentric gym leader of Castelia, but his silken suit seemed to note he was richer than he seemed.
“Thank you two for the concern. I had a wonderful night tonight, but I feel that I just need to go home. Mirabelle, here’s my X-Transceiver number. When you get to your home next, please ring me up a call, okay? I want to take you on as an apprentice. Burgh, sorry we couldn’t chat tonight, but I’ll see you at the meet they’re holding at a few months. Now, if you excuse me, I need to go see Volkner,” Elesa explained to the two with certain enthusiasm she got up from the fountain, and gave them both a hug goodbye. She then made her way towards Volkner.
“It was good to see you again,” Elesa told him.
“I guess it was,” he replied back.
“How about we meet up next Friday?” she asked.
“Sure, I don’t see the problem,” he looked the other way.
"Fine, I’ll see you then.”
Elesa gave him a hug good-bye before walking towards the bathroom to pick up her stuff. She then waved everyone at the party a good-bye, and went into the Elevator. She pressed the button to close the door and went down to start the long trek home, with thoughts of her wet clothes and Volkner on her mind.