== First Battle ==
a PokéCombat Academy story by Aelius, set after Last Vacation
The recent trip to the beach had taken a turn for the worse on its final night.
Blaze had finally gathered the courage to tell Storm how she always felt about him, but he was unable to return those same feelings. Although it was not for lack of trying, it seemed to put a wedge between them that was easily seen by their other teammates, Neon and Stiletto.
Even during the ride home they barely spoke a word, instead using the radio to replace whatever reasons they might have to talk. It was obvious they were afraid to bring up what happened last night, and it was bugging Stiletto like crazy.
Listen, I know you both are having friendship issues, but at least youre not angry at each other, right?
The Sandslash was met with silence.
Stop being so scared of each other! It was a mistake, no ones at fault here!
Neon turned to her teammate, I do not think forcing them to talk will work, Stiletto
Well, we gotta try something. Look at them; Ive never seen them so depressed.
The Dragonair nodded in agreement, Indeed
Stiletto watched as Storm and Blaze continued just sitting there, probably more lost in thought than listening to the radio. Even Storms usual favorites like Leaf Green Day and Red Hot Spelon Berries didnt seem to lift his mood.
The Sandslash leaned over to Neon, Yknow, I think its time we start thinking about recruiting some alternates. I dont think either of them is fit to battle like this.
Neon sighed, I suppose you have a point
but who would we choose?
Its a brand new year and classes start tomorrow; Im sure there are some new independents itching to be on a team.
* * *
Recruiting proved to be easier said than done, however. Neither Stiletto nor Neon were experienced with proper advertising, and the applicants they came to didnt seem to be up to the caliber of battling they preferred in an ally.
In the hallway between classes, Neon finally caught up to her teammate, Stiletto! May I speak with you for a moment?
Hmm? Oh, whats up, Neon?
I have been thinking about our current situation, and I wonder if we might be able to ask Blazes friend, Sienna, for a temporary position.
The Sandslash shook her head, No, wont work. Siennas not interested in joining a team.
Yes, but perhaps we can convince her. She and Blaze are well-acquainted and if we tell her the situation, she might take pity and agree to join temporarily.
Stiletto rubbed her chin, Got a point
I guess its worth a shot. But we still have another position to fill.
Well, why dont we try someone that knows Storm?
But everyone we can think of is already on a team.
I told you, we are hoping that this will be a temporary situation; are you sure there is no one willing to join only for
If youre looking for another pity join then youd need
Neon tilted her head, Hmm?
I got an idea. Stiletto checked a nearby wall clock, then turned back to the Dragonair, After our next class, head to the Aqua Pools.
* * *
I dont believe it
he finally found someone beautiful who has a crush on him and he isnt interested?
A sleek, toned Vaporeon girl did her routine stretches near one of the pavilions many pools, I hate to ask this, but is he hiding in the closet or something?
As Neon glanced at her with a confused expression, Stiletto dismissed the notion with a wave, Naw, its not like that. He just wasnt expecting this one.
That figures, heh
my brother hardly expects anything.
Well, thats beside the point, Marina. Bottom line, we wanna know if you can cover for him until we can get him out of this deep funk. Weve already got a potential for Blaze.
Marina stood up and arched her back a bit, looking up at the blue-toned skylights in the buildings ceiling, Well
I shouldnt abandon him at a time like this. My teams probably on the verge of breaking up anyways. I could use some action.
Neon clasped her hands, Wonderful! We can set up arrangements tomorrow.
Whats that? asked Stiletto.
Marina rubbed the back of her neck, brushing her crests, Who do you have lined up for Blaze? I dont think shell like the idea of being replaced.
The Ponyta from Cinnabar? How do you expect to convince her? Last I heard, she didnt want to be associated with a team.
Were hoping shell do it to help Blaze. Aside from Storm and the rest of us, I think shes the only other person at this school the fox could associate with. We figure shed be the only one willing to help her out with no questions asked.
Well, good luck on that.
* * *
and they have been unable to speak to each other ever since, said Neon.
Sienna was leaning against the wall, arms crossed with a look of forced concern on her face, Sounds to me like they need a councilor. Whats their problem? Too afraid to talk to each other?
We believe so
The Ponyta sighed, Well
I guess I could make an exception to keep you all on your feet. I own Blaze a favor anyways for when she bailed me out that one time.
Neon blinked, She bailed you out? May I ask of what?
Id rather you didnt. Ill meet up with you guys later today for the training session. She turned to walk away, then paused and turned back, Hey Neon
Have you told this to Blaze, by any chance?
well, no, not yet
This was primarily a security measure to keep Team Indigo from losing rank.
Thats what I was afraid off
Listen, dont tell her, or Storm, anything about this, yet.
Because you dont know how long this depression is going to last, and something sudden like this might make it worse.
* * *
Storm walked into the empty gymnasium, finding only dust particles lingering in the sunlight shining in from the high windows of one wall. It was smaller than most arenas at the Academy and rarely used due to its age, but it still had use for those willing to brave the lengthy uphill trek to its doors.
The old wooden bleachers were pushed back, showing nothing but a vacant dirt floor that hadnt been kept in years. Even the arena boundaries and marks were half-faded.
Right as he began to wonder why Stiletto asked for them to do their beginning-of-the-semester training here, the doors behind him opened and Blaze walked in.
She paused at seeing him there, then quietly made her way to lean against the bleachers nearby.
They tried to make eye contact, but could only make it to each others feet.
Storm muttered, So
howre classes this year?
One of them might get in the way of training.
The two of them sighed, unsure of how to bring up what happened over the weekend. They wanted to make things right, but they just didnt know how.
Their attention was suddenly diverted as Stiletto walked in with a determined scowl on her face, I wanna try something different for our beginning-of-the-year training.
Storms and Blazes ears perked.
I challenge you both.
Storm blinked, What?
Me and Neon against you and Blaze; two-on-two. And the real thing; no scrimmaging. This is an authentic, full-fledged battle.
Storm and Blaze exchanged glances, meeting each others eyes for the first time since last weekend.
Blaze turned back to Stiletto and said, You do realize that this is rather unorthodox.
I dont care. I wanna make sure this team is fit for battle this year.
Storm stepped up, So, who do you plan on reffing this match?
At that moment, Neon entered followed by four others; a rather enthusiastic-looking Swampert, a big Chansey with a goatee, a Mantine with a spacey look in his eyes, and a Parasect in baggy clothing.
The Parasect nodded his chin up, speaking in a deep, bass-like voice, sup, Storm?
Storm gave a confused wave, Oh, uh
Stiletto answered, Meet Team Recovery. We found them while scouting for alternates
You scouted for alternates without telling us first?
Stiletto held up her hands, ignoring Neons frantic gestures not to say anything about it, Lemme finish
They enrolled last year to specialize in medical stuff, and their leader knows how to be a referee. Plus, their specialty training with Nurse Rocco means they can handle whatever injuries we might encounter when its over.
The Swampert eagerly stepped forward, Im ready when you are. And, um, this wont really be an official fight or anything, but I can call it as if it were. Oh! And my team can help with any healing and medical issue
muttered Blaze as she stepped up and removed her trenchcoat. Storm did the same, leaving his static jacket next to hers before making his way toward the arena.
Within moments, Team Indigo was divided to opposite ends of the arena and waiting for their battle to start.
The Swampert spoke to the two groups, Ill give you all a minute or so to strategize and talk things over. When I blow the first whistle, itll be time to line up and get ready to fight.
As Storm and Blaze stepped back to plan, the Jolteon spoke up, Listen, I-I know shes trying to get us to
Stilettos going to focus on short-range attacks; we have to keep our distance, said Blaze with all the methodical seriousness of a battle planner. Shell take advantage of her immunity to electricity, so use any other distance attacks to keep her away.
Neon is wise to my attack style. We need to do a switch-up first; you go for her when the match begins to throw her off balance. Shell probably try and keep us separated so we cant work in tandem. Ill play defensive and redirect whatever attacks I can at the other, so keep an ear out for my signals.
No, Neon knows them. I figure if we can stagger our whistle signals
Three, two, four, two, one, four? Alternate between regular and opposite signals in that order?
Great. Basic duo configuration, and we give em the obvious just to mix things up.
Yep; theyre still vulnerable to my species hypnotism, as well. Goad them into a trap just like we did with that other team during last semesters finals.
All right then. And we need to be light-footed here. You know those two are our wall fighters so theyll be able to take a lot of punishment. Remember to keep moving and never give them a chance to recover.
You dont have to tell me twice. Good luck, Storm.
They hesitated for a moment, then held out their hands to shake in agreement. They were ready.
On the opposite side, Neon was feeling rather uneasy as Stiletto went over her own battle plan, Stiletto, I still think this is a bad idea. Situations like this can rip teams apart!
Im hoping it does the opposite. Now, remember those evasive tactics we worked on last week?
Element manipulation? Yes.
Perfect. Redirect Storms ion trails to disorient him while I make sure hes separated from Blaze. Shell be expecting you to attack her directly, so keep your guard up and paralyze her the first chance you get.
Whatever you do, see to it they cant reach each other. You saw how they performed in tandem back at the woods.
Also, forget about our Latin code phrases. Just use eye contact and the usual audio cues to coordinate our attacks.
One other thing
When I tell you to step out, I want you to remove yourself from the fight.
Neon blinked in disbelief, You want me to throw the fight?
No. Well, maybe, in a way.
Stiletto, that could be ille
It wont, at least in this situation. Just promise me youll do it. I need to make a point, even if I have to force it on them.
What point might that be?
One way or the other, they have to realize Indigo is going nowhere with that depression lingering around. If they arent gonna take the effort to fix it, I will take over until they do.
You might as well be challenging Storm alone if it is a leadership issue.
Theres more to it than that. Maybe a tandem battle will help bring them back together if they can work mutually like they did over the weekend.
The two teammates stood there eyeing each other in silence.
if I leave the battle
how do you know you can take on both of them yourself?
The Sandslash answered with a smirk, I havent gotten to where I am now without taking chances like that. Besides, Im worried this teams position in the Academy rankings is gonna take a nosedive if we dont do something drastic.
I am not sure that this is the correct way to do so
Hanging back near the center line, out of bounds, Team Recovery was holding a short discussion as well.
I aint never seen Storm in a funk like that bfore
The Chansey stepped up to gauge the fighters, I dunno, Bikks
You sure you know what youre doing?
Bikks the Swampert pulled a whistle out from under his shirt, Of course I do, and call me Undertow.
He was met with a weird glance. Sighing, he added, My new nickname, remember?
I dont remember anyone calling you that
I know; I gave it to myself. Im trying to start the trend. All the cool people have nicknames!
He then signaled for the teams to take their places. Storm and Blaze were already in position, ready and waiting with deadpan stares at their opponents.
Stiletto and Neon took their positions and waited for Undertows second whistle to begin the match.
Storm rocketed forward when it was blown, heading straight for Neon.
The Dragonair arced to the side and met him with an Ice Beam to make him slip, but the Jolteon was already in the air raining Pin Missiles at his opponent.
Following a wall of fire to keep Stiletto away from him, Blaze was sprinting and zigzagging all over her side of the arena to avoid the resulting Slash attacks. Stilettos Swift attacks werent fazing her this early in the match. The Sandslash was wise to keep from locking eyes with the kitsune, but Blaze was doing an amazing job keeping her distance.
Hold still and fight me, fox-girl!
Blaze uttered not a word in response as she twisted around to fire an Energy Ball right into Stilettos face. Her opponent took a direct hit and skidded onto the ground, catching up more dirt in the process. With hardly a moments hesitation, Stiletto clawed forward with her momentum and disappeared below the arena.
Blaze quickly put her fingers to her lips and let out a coded whistle. Storm caught the signal just in time to spring up and away from Stilettos sudden eruption from the ground. The Jolteon was Slammed by Neon in the process, however, and was sent sailing to the other side of the court. Landing in a roll mere inches from the boundary, he shot forward towards Blaze as his two opponents charged from the other side. Suddenly leaping in the air, he let the Ninetales rush under him to intercept while he pirouetted to fire a Shadow Ball to compliment his partners Dark Pulse.
The attacks connected, but the opponents werent as deterred as the duo hoped. Neon broke off the assault and darted toward the other side in an elegant, graceful motion while her hands moved as if she were swinging swords.
Recognizing the Swords Dance, Blaze quickly glanced at her teammate, Storm.
The two traded places as Blaze dove low to catch Stiletto before she could attempt another Dig attack.
Neon dodged a sudden Thunder attack with her movements, then lashed out with an Iron Tail. Her opponent immediately rolled under it and sprang back up with a Double Kick, striking her in the abdomen.
The Dragonair let out a muffled grunt before shifting back to counter with another Slam attack. This one was evaded due to a quick Double Team move by Storm, followed by a sudden Thunderbolt attack.
Neon furiously shook off the effects in time to send out a Flamethrower, singeing her opponents fur right as he tried to dodge. Storm quickly formed a Light Screen and just barely eluded his opponents Dragon Rush before charging up and sending out another Thunderbolt.
She pushed through the electricity and charged her own voltage, suppressing a Thunder Wave into her aura to redirect Storms own ion trails. It was easy to assume her species could affect the weather due to her finesse.
The Jolteon was indeed affected, pausing from the sudden electromagnetic abnormality long enough to get struck in the back with an Iron Tail attack. Storm sailed forward and then tumbled along the ground before stopping at the feet of Stiletto, who was already waiting with a wicked grin.
Her Brick Break attack shattered his Light Screen, scrambling light particles everywhere before Blaze could come to his rescue, having been sent across the arena from a Rock Slide earlier. The Ninetales was immediately assaulted by Neon in a quick switch-up play and she dove to escape a Blizzard. The Dragonair followed up with a Surf attack to catch her as she got back up, but Blaze fired an Energy Ball to split the waves and leaped forward, catching the Neon with an immediate Confuse Ray attempt. The dragon jolted in response, trying to shake off the daze but not in time to avoid a massive Fire Blast in her opponents follow-through.
Nearby, Storm was dodging and weaving to stay away from Stilettos claws, but a Slash feint caught his leg and set him up for a Crush Claw follow-up, sending him to the ground with a shriek of pain.
In the split-second it took to notice Neons confusion, Stiletto called out, Neon! Leave! Now!
Storm and Blaze both paused, Huh?
Blaze was suddenly struck in the back with a Shadow Claw as Team Recovery jumped up to the boundary.
She cant just leave like that!
Yes she can, theres no rule against forfeiting.
Are you kidding? She used it to take a cheap shot!
That aint against the rules either; it could even be a strategy!
Thats the worst strategy I ever saw, yo
An abrupt Sandstorm was kicked up as Stilettos next attack. Blaze knew she would go for a double-shot if they tried to come near each other. She quickly whistled the cue, signaling to move to opposite ends of the arena.
Disregarding the immense pain in his leg, Storm took off running fast as he could, juking to keep his pattern random yet knowing Stiletto would go for Blaze instead. Not only would she take out the slower-than-he strategist, he was certain shed try to goad him into a retaliation by attacking his best friend. She
was still his best friend.
He shook the thought from his head and called out, Blaze, switch-up!
Almost as if she were reading his mind, the Ninetales was already behind him, soaring through the air from an impressive leap. Storm quick bolted sideways to Double-Kick Stiletto as she tried to attack the spot where the two friends would normally have joined at. As he reeled from the aching effects of the move, Blaze immediately followed up with an Energy Ball which missed as the Sandslash disappeared back into the swirling dust.
muttered Blaze as Swift sparks appeared from her paws. Her ruby-red eyes began to glow as she quickly searched for her prey. The two friends stood back-to-back as they waited for the next attack; Stiletto was a master as using her Sand Veil ability to hide in Sandstorms, and all the whirling dirt particles was making it difficult, not to mention painful, to see.
Storm pursed his lips and let out another coded whistle, signaling an immediate separation. He dove to Dig as Blaze leaped back into the air, firing Swift stars out in all directions. Through the Sandstorm she saw none of them arcing around to any target, giving her a horrifying realization, Storm, get out of the ground!
The Jolteon slammed into her as Stiletto sent her leader flying out from a dirt mound. She was underground the entire time!
Storm quickly got up but was send back to the floor by a Rollout attack. Blaze tried to fire more Swift sparks but a sudden Earthquake wave knocked her back, sending even more sand into the air.
Weakened by the successive Ground attacks, Storm frantically tried to get back to his feet, spitting sand mixed with blood in his own saliva. From the within the rage of the Sandstorm he suddenly heard Blaze screaming in pain.
Ignoring all logic that it might be a trap, he shot forward, attempting an agonizing leap at the last moment to avoid a Night Slash. He quickly landed and unleashed a squall of Pin Missiles at Stiletto before she could dodge, then followed up with a Shadow Ball that knocked her back into the Sandstorm.
Using the brief pause, he let out a signal whistle. Nearby, Blaze whistled back, polo, before making her way to intercept. Stiletto had disappeared again, however.
Surges flickered from Storms stiffened fur spikes as he tried to use his electricity as radar, but all the dust was acting as a chaff swarm, blinding even his sixth sense. There was only one way to fix that
Hearing the tell-tale sound of another Rollout, Storm dodged to the side and spun into a graceful twist, letting out another signal whistle in the process to let Blaze know what he was doing. It was a risky move, but using a Rain Dance to dispel the Sandstorm was the only way they could catch her, even if it did reduce Blazes power.
Before he had a chance to complete the movement, however, he was nailed by Swift stars, sending him stumbling back. Stiletto was already lunging at him only to be stuck down by an Energy Ball out of nowhere. Blaze rushed over to follow up, but Stiletto quickly avoided the Nintaless Hypnosis attempt by Digging again.
Ignoring the still-bleeding slash marks on her back and side, Blaze signaled with a low, fluttery whistle, telling Storm to cover her for a moment.
The Jolteon was already on it, using another Rain Dance attempt to distract their opponent. His attention was diverted again, however, as Stiletto emerged and attacked Blaze, pinning her to the floor to finish her off.
The Sandslash suddenly found herself flying across the arena from a supernaturally-powerful Fire Blast. Blazes Nasty Plot worked just in time.
By then, the Sandstorm was beginning to subside. Stiletto used the last of its throes to unleash furiously-fast Rollout, hitting Blaze hard when the fox attempted to close in.
Blaze grunted from impacting the ground after such a serious critical hit; her nose and slash wounds were bleeding profusely and there were still bits of sand in her eyes. Storm was already after her attacker but was unexpectedly struck with a Crush Claw to his already-injured leg. As the Jolteon crumbled to the floor, Blaze rushed forward and caught Stiletto with a Dark Pulse but the enraged Sandslash fought back with a Brick Break, nailing her teammates shoulder with a sickening crack.
Undertow raised his whistle to call Blaze out, but the Ninetales held out her arm, wincing, Im fine! before being sent back to the ground in another attack.
Behind her, Storm tried to take Stiletto down with a Shadow Ball but once again the Sandslash was still standing, responding with an X-Scissor before Blaze could counter with an Energy Ball from behind. Stiletto Endured it and answered with a feral Slash attack. She dove back into the ground as Storm and Blaze limped to each other.
Only got one shot at this
said the battered Jolteon.
Stiletto burst from the sand to lunge at them, claws fuming with Dark energy from an impending Shadow Claw attack, but Storm and Blaze were already back-to-back, arms interlocked. Stiletto couldnt change her trajectory in time as Blaze spun around, using her momentum to help Storm unleash a brutal Double-Kick that sent their opponent sailing backwards.
Blaze groaned and clutched her hurt shoulder as Storm forced himself into a shambled run, trying hard to ignore the excruciating pain in his legs in hopes of finishing her off.
Stiletto jadedly dragged herself back onto her feet, Im not
An Earthquake attack sent Storm back to the ground, but Blaze appeared from behind as he fell, making contact with an Energy Ball.
Stiletto stumbled back and took another Fire Blast before collapsing.
The arena was finally silent again, save for the ragged breathing of the remaining contenders.
The battle was over.
Blaze hobbled over to Stilettos side and kneeled, gently rubbing her teammates bruised head, Why must you be so stubborn?
that stubbornness got us to sixth place ranking last year
Stiletto wheezed with a weak smile.
Storm limped over, That
was a boneheaded move, Stiletto
he panted. But
Ill admit it was
He sat down on the other side, tenderly feeling between some of her quills.
It was worth it
she replied. You two oughta
Ow, hey, whatre you doing back there?
Acupuncture. I found a book on it last year and thought
I could give it a try with my own fur needles. My electricity keeps them sterile so I figure
it might help us recover faster.
Just what we need in the new year
she muttered, New age stuff
Blaze let out a soft chuckle as Team Recovery arrived, That was awesome!
Moogs ambled up behind them, You three look like you been through a meat grinder.
Storm painfully lifted a hand to rub the back of his neck, Yeah
I dont think well make the preliminary battles after this.
It may also endanger our rank status, said Blaze. Despite being displeased with the impulsive Sandslash, her hand kept reassuringly stroking her teammates head. If anything, it was an attempt at reconciliation.
Storm and Blaze finally helped her up, supporting her with an arm over each shoulder as they lead her to a section of the bleachers that was pulled out. Standing next to them were Marina and Sienna.
If I didnt know any better, Id say you planned that
said Sienna with a wry grin. Youre a bad influence on her, Blaze.
Blaze raised an eyebrow as they set Stiletto down and Moogs checked out her own injured shoulder, I get the feeling Stiletto attempted to recruit you as an alternate
Yeah, she said your crew might need some extra help. Looks to me like we came just in time.
Storm sat down and looked at Marina, They pull you into this, too, sis?
Heh, I dont mind; its not like my own team is going anywhere.
Esther and Tank still cant get along?
Nah, I dont think Team Cyan will even exist by graduation.
Moogs began wrapping Blazes shoulder, Gonna have to keep this tightened up for a while. Some Potions oughta help it.
Ill be fine, replied the Ninetales.
She glanced over to Storm, finding that he had been watching her the entire time.
Suddenly, something started beeping from her trenchcoat.
Oh! My final class for today, she said, standing up. I have to go, folks.
Storm watched her leave, then got up, albeit slowly, Ugh
Im gonna feel this tomorrow
Just take it easy, Storm, said Undertow. Your legs should be okay, but they probably wont feel very good until the muscles heal. I got some Super Potion you can use
he turned and glanced down to Stiletto, We need to have a little talk, spikes
Stiletto grinned again, I regret nothing
Later, after Team Recovery helped Stiletto down to the infirmary, Storm and Marina remained at the old gym, leaning against its outside wall as they watched the sun descend in the sky.
Fall Formal starts in a few hours
sighed the Jolteon. I wonder whos gonna be there
Still feeling bad about Blaze?
Her brother gave her a look, So you were told, huh?
I dunno if Stiletto had all the details, but I put two and two together.
Cmon, Im your twin sister, she said with a cheerful smile, I know you a lot more than you give me credit for.
So, are you planning to attend the Formal?
Blaze and I attended the Prom last year, but we werent really dates or anything. I-I mean, when I saw she didnt have anyone to take I volunteered to take the spot, simply because I couldnt leave her hanging like that. I can only imagine how that mightve lifted her spirits that night while I never even had a clue.
So youve always seen her as just a friend, huh?
Thats the gist of it, yeah. I mean, I think shed make a great girlfriend, dont get me wrong; weve known each other that long, but
I just dont feel for her that way. I dunno why, but I dont.
I guess that means youll be attending the Formal, then?
Whahuh? You mean like to look for a girlfriend? I cant do that, itll devastate her
So you plan on being single for the rest of your life
Storm let out a weary sigh, sinking a little against the wall, I dunno what Im gonna do
* * *
Students of all types milled about as the Fall Formal was in full swing that night.
Stiletto, still bruised and bandaged but otherwise fine, stood near the refreshments table with Neon, watching the activity.
I must admit, Stiletto
said the Dragonair, I never would have expected you to attend a gathering such as this.
Team Bistros got the best punch recipe Ive ever tasted. Trying this stuff again is worth all the social awkwardness. Besides, I gotta keep an eye on ya. Youre still a bit too trusting of folks and someone actually got you to escort them to their room at last years Prom.
he was telling the truth when he said he needed help moving his TV cabinet.
Yeah, but dont expect that to happen twice.
Elsewhere, Storm tugged at his collared shirt as he uneasily scanned the crowds for someone, anyone, to talk to. He was never comfortable at formal gatherings like this, especially when facing them alone.
His ears perked as he noticed the song playing over the speakers was Love Hurts.
You got that right
I was hoping youd decide to attend, came a familiar voice behind him.
Storm turned to find Blaze standing there. Her shoulder was still bandaged up but she was wearing the same sparkling crimson gown she wore at last years Senior Prom.
The Jolteon blushed, rubbing the back of his neck again, Uh
hi Blaze. You
really look nice tonight.
Blaze chuckled nervously, blushing as well, I figure theres no point in wearing an outfit only once. You said the same thing at the Prom.
The two stood there in an uneasy silence for a few moments.
Storm finally spoke up, So, that was some battle this afternoon, huh?
I cant believe Stiletto actually got that close to defeating us by herself. We shouldve practiced more over the summer.
I think there was more to it than that, Storm.
The Jolteon sighed, Yeah, about that. Listen, I
can we talk about this in private?
The two friends made their way to a secluded part of the arena-turned-dance floor, near some of the stacked bleachers.
Storm continued, Im sorry about what happened the other night.
No, dont say that, replied the Ninetales. You did nothing wrong.
I just feel bad about how it made you feel.
It isnt your fault. If anything it should be mine; I was a fool.
Storm put a hand on her uninjured shoulder, Cmon now, you dont have to take the blame like that.
Blaze managed a tiny smile, I guess were both in a quandary then, huh
Like Neon said, it was just an unfortunate situation. I just wish there was a way we could put this behind us. I wanna be friends again
like we used to be.
After what happened, Im not sure our friendship will ever be the same again. Knowledge like that could make things
The Jolteon tilted his head, Well, I was thinking about that
and I figure I might just go along with it.
Blaze glanced up at him, What?
I know I cant force myself to feel for you in that way, but
that doesnt mean I cant be sensitive to how you feel.
Storm, please dont burden yourself with how I feel. I dont want to hinder any other relationships you might
end up in.
Storm gently rubbed her arm, Thats what I mean. Why dont we just go along with how we have been? Maybe knowledge of this might actually change things in the future. I cant make an promises, and I cant guarantee Ill never have another girlfriend, but
well, youre still my best friend, and Ill always have a special place in my heart for you. If things between us change in the future, then, well
, said Blaze, suddenly comforted by her friends tenderness. Im willing to wait that long, then.
You sure? I mean, are you willing to wait for me, even though you dont even know if Ill ever be able to return that love?
This will sound cheesy, but
youre the only person Id ever want to wait for.
Storm blushed again, Heh
Its the only uncertain risk Im willing to take.
He then nodded, Fair enough. I just wanna make sure youre happy.
Blaze smiled reassuringly, As long as youre happy, you have nothing to worry about concerning me.
The two friends embraced. It seemed as if the concerns were already melting away.
As they stepped back, Storm looked back towards the crowds on the dance floor as a new song began to play, Well, care to dance?
Stiletto swirled her drink with one of her claws, Hmm, recipes different this year
Oh, them again
Neon pointed into the crowd where a Jynx was giggling next to a rather sour-looking Drowzee, I have noticed those two are always together like that. They must be really close
Oh, Weaver and Ishtar? Yeah, you could say that
They certainly act much closer than many friends I have observed here.
Well, that would make sense. Theyre lovers.
Neon blinked in amazement, They
are? But theyre female!
You mean females can fall in love with each other?
Stiletto gave her a bewildered stare, You really were isolated when you were younger, werent you?
I never realized it before
they can. The Sandslash glanced back at her drink, sniffing it, I think someone spiked this stuff
Nearby on the dance floor, they could see Storm and Blaze amidst the crowd, slow-dancing in each others arms. A smile of relieved contentment was on Blazes face, and for the first time at the Academy, she didnt care to hide it. Storms own expression of joyful calm completed the image.
I think they have finally made their peace
said the Dragonair.
Its about time, smirked Stiletto. Thats one headache over with
Now we can finally start this year off right.